Once upon a time, many years ago when I wasn't quite as secure about my marriage as I am now, Clay and I were having a discussion about cheating. I had just gotten back from a Girls' Weekend Out; we had worked our way through some of Pam's famous questions, and had some interesting conversations about remarriage, cheating, soul mates and the like.
Several marriages around us were breaking up over cheating, and I remember ranting and being ticked off at all men in general. Clay, unfortunately, bore that wrath until finally he yelled,
"Hey! Stop it! I would never cheat!"
At this point I believe I tossed some silly rebuttals, like what if I got b*tchier, fatter, lazier, etc.
It really doesn't matter what I said, because his reply has taken on historic significance in this family:
"It has nothing to do with you."
What? WHAT? Nothing to do with me? Well, now I was really ticked.
Then, he went on to explain that it wouldn't matter who he was married to, he would never cheat because he had made a promise. A vow. A solemn vow before God and my dad, for pete's sake.
It took me a little while to catch on to the fact that this was the most loving thing he could ever have said to me.
It has nothing to do with you.
It has everything to do with loyalty and keeping your word, whether spoken or unspoken. It's why he's such a good dad, son, brother and friend. You might not always do and say things he would approve of, but he will support you regardless. I've never known him to turn his back on anyone, and I can't even imagine the scenario which would lead to that.
So last year, when John Edwards, my pick for the next President of the United States, protested accusations of an extra-marital affair by saying how much he loves his wife, how wonderful she is, how sexy she is (ick, TMI), and what a good mom she is, I should have known better. A big red flag should have waved in my brain.
And I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when he confessed last week to having the affair.
It should have had nothing to do with Elizabeth.
Then, to make it all a little worse, he asked us to remember that he had the affair when she was in remission.
It should have had nothing to do with cancer.
I know there are many people who believe that a person's personal life should have nothing to do with his or her ability to lead the country, but I just don't buy that. If you can't keep your promise to the one person you love, how could you possibly keep your promises to a bunch of people you don't even know?
I joke that I would never have an affair because it would just be too much work -- along with all the logistical nightmares of sneaking around, there would be lots of grooming issues to deal with -- shaving, plucking, sucking in. And the man who would want to have an affair with stretch- marked, wide-bottomed me? Yikes. Pretty sure I wouldn't be interested in him.
But it wouldn't matter even if Alan Rickman or Colin Firth came calling.
It has nothing to do with them.