Saturday, January 26, 2013

Al Roker Shamed my Husband

So What happened this week in my family? LOL  Well, it kinda exploded.

It started one week ago when my husband and I agreed to be interviewed for a relationship column in the Wall St Journal. They were talking about weight as a stressor in marriage. That published on Tuesday with an accompanying Skype interview for their web show. We were completely open about it, sharing a few of really low points and some of the truly idiotic things my husband has said regarding my weight in the past. You can read the whole WSJ article here.

Well, a half and hour after the Skype interview aired, the Today show called. THE Today show. They wanted to fly my husband and I out to to New York to appear on the show... the next day.They promised to show my book and let me throw in a quick plug. Can't beat that. Except my husband has some wicked social anxiety. For him to even agree to be interviewed over the phone was groundbreaking, but to talk to people in person... wow this was a huge sacrifice on his part, especially since he was getting pretty beat up over the WSJ article.

So we agreed, my mother in law said she could watch my kids and we jetted off to New York. We would have about 4 minutes to answer Savannah Guthrie's questions on our marriage and weight. And find a way to plug my book without sounding smaltzy. To say I didn't sleep would be an understatement.

At the show, we got our hair and makeup done, (yes even Jarom) and then we waited to go sit on the sofa and get wired up for sound. Before we went on, Al Roker went by. I shook his hand and told him I was a big fan. Him keeping the weight off has been a huge inspiration to me and for my dad (who is currently going through the bypass process himself). Mr. Roker was so nice, to me anyway. He expressed complete disbelief over the comment referenced in the WSJ article that my husband said, basically surprise that he said it and was still alive and next to me.

Then it was our turn to sit on the couch. Jarom was terrified and I'm sure, pale as cheesecake under all that foundation makeup.

The next little bit was a blur, but somehow we survived. Video

And now the aftermath. Positive side: My little teeny regional book has gotten huge exposure and started taking off. And I've been contacted by some women who are going through those same trials as I once did.
Downside: It's really hard to give an accurate accounting of a marriage in 4 minutes.

One comment I hear over and over, Why didn't you leave him? You should have divorced someone who would say such hurtful things.

At one point, I almost did. Our marriage was fairly miserable for about 5 or six years. Neither one of us were very good partners to each other. But the cavalier attitude about just walking away and finding someone else disturbs me. That some people believe I am less for choosing to stay to work on things.

The "world" doesn't understand marriage in terms that we do as Latter Day Saints. Jarom and I were married in the temple. Getting a divorce is not like moving out of a bad neighborhood. The decision should be weighed with the heaviness of the eternal consequences it possesses. For us, the union was salvageable through love, understanding, and repentance. That's just us and our story though.  But to have people imply that I am abused, weak, a victim or a horrible role model because I made my marriage work -- blows my brain.

I am thankful to have grown up in a church that proudly proclaims the importance of marriage and family. To have the attitude that divorce is a last resort, not the first option of convenience. Sometimes the bond can't be saved, even for LDS, and I am just grateful that wasn't the case for us.

If I had left that one cold night seven years ago, if my husband hadn't let the air out of my tires so I couldn't drive off, my daughter, Lily, wouldn't be turning 6 next week. I wouldn't have her or my littlest one Autumn. My husband wouldn't have had the chance to grow and change, becoming my best friend and biggest supporter. And I would have been emotionally broken still, stuck in that loop of hiding from painful things instead of standing up and repairing myself.

So yes, my husband used to be an idiot at times, but there was plenty of that to go around on my side too. But in my opinion, any man who is willing to go on national tv with you, knowing he will be chewed out for being a jerk, by Al Roker no less, is a keeper.

23 comments:

  1. I thought your interview on the Today Show and the article in WSJ were both great: real and open and honest. I know, too, that coming from an eternal view on the far side of a temple sealing, the world just doesn't get it most of the time. People hope for the best, that their relationships will last past this life, but there are many who consider getting rid of a spouse like a worn out pair of shoes no big deal. Thank you and Jarom for being strong enough to face this--your willingness to share will make it possible for some one else to do what you have done.
    Wahoo, Betsy!

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  2. There is a fantastic Mormon Messages video about marriage in which it shows a man who has been badly injured and rushed to the emergency room. His wife tearfully stands by as they try to save his life, and one of the general authorities speaks about the marriage covenant being as important as a human life. He says you don’t just try once or twice and call it quits. You take every lifesaving measure possible to save it, you do everything in your power to resuscitate it until absolutely no hope is left.

    It sounds like that’s exactly what you did. It’s true that there are some marriages beyond saving, but I’d say you took heroic measures to save yours, and that is something to be commended, not criticized.

    And knocking it out of the park with what will probably make the NY Times Bestseller list probably doesn’t hurt either... ;-)

    Here’s hoping your courageous story will inspire others in their lives!!!

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  3. I think a weak person would have walked away from the marriage. It takes really strong people to humble themselves and make a marriage work when feelings have been hurt and mistakes have been made. It takes an even stronger couple to talk about it in the public eye and take the abuse that comes when the public thinks their opinion matters! I am amazed and inspired your commitment to each other and you husbands willingness to do this for you. Everyone should realize he has nothing to gain in this except to help you sell your book. That should be the message the public should be taking. But Satan wants the public to think that making a marriage work is weak. You guys just spit in his face so there will be backlash. Stand strong and many people will get the right message and it will be because your love was strong

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    1. Stating a woman who would have left him is just wrong! There is no justification for emotional and psychological abuse especially religion! As a woman who is a mental health professional health professional it saddens me that A) women who refuse to be treated like second class dirt bags are considered weak for not roughing it out! And B) that somehow being a good member if a specific faith equals abuse is justified!

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    2. I can see how I probably didn't word that correctly. I really meant that in this situation people are saying that based on those two comments she was weak for not leaving him. I think it took strength to stay when her feelings were hurt so badly. I'm only basing my opinion on that. I grew up in the church and mother divorced twice. I in no wise think that people should stay in bad situations. Neither does our religion. But we believe in try to make a marriage work

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    3. the problem with your response is that you make it sound like she stuck around and changed herself, but her husband stayed the same big jerk he may have been at one point. she changed the way she did things, but the HUSBAND DID TOO. if only one half of a broken relationship is willing to work on improving and fixing things, it will never heal and they will never be happy together. one half alone cannot fix a whole. the fact that BOTH of them made changes and tried to make it work and repent and forgive and fix their marriage is the only reason it worked. if he had stayed an insensitive jerk, then she should have left, absolutely. but she stayed and they both fixed it TOGETHER. the only thing their faith had to do with it is it helped them look beyond the emotions of the moment and to not cut and run as soon as she gained weight again or he said something mean. they both tried to better themselves and both tried to fix their marriage.

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    4. And I would add, Chelsea, that in this article Betsy mentions she stood up for herself and repaired herself. That's kind of the whole point of her story. We often come to marriage as two broken partners. The whole reason it worked is because SHE changed and grew AND her spouse did as well. Often times, couples in a relationship see two options: (a) live with the abuse or (b) leave. I think that's all you saw. We forget there's a third option (c) CHANGE and work together to have the kind of relationship you want. That's a success story.

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  4. What a sad commentary on society's views on marriage when people would criticize you for sticking with it and working with your husband to build a strong, happy marriage! You and Jarom are a great example of doing what it takes to overcome past struggles and hurts and move forward in unity. Congratulations to both of you!

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  5. That must have been so hard to go on tv! I can barely even talk about my weight issues/challenges/complexes one-on-one let alone on national tv. Congrats to you both for making changes, and coming out even stronger as a couple!!!

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  6. Hey Bets anyone who knows Jarom knows how hard it was for him to go on tv. You both did such a great job! Your letter above is beautiful. I am going to read your letter to my kids for family night. People are lame. Love Jaynell

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  7. Stating a woman who would have left him is just wrong! There is no justification for emotional and psychological abuse especially religion! As a woman who is a mental health professional health professional it saddens me that A) women who refuse to be treated like second class dirt bags are considered weak for not roughing it out! And B) that somehow being a good member if a specific faith equals abuse is justified!

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  8. Congrats, Betsy, on the book, the TV appearance, and your continuing success!!! You two looked great on the Today Show!

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  9. We all have issues to overcome and changes to be made. The important thing is that through your book, you will help thousands. The issue isn't always weight. We all need to change and allow our spouse the same privilege. It's great you two stuck it out together, and have now built a great relationship. Good for you.

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  10. I loved watching this clip! You and your husband both looked so poised and sounded intelligent and warm. You looked beautiful! Thanks for your candor and honesty. I am thrilled for the opportunities this is giving your book. Cheering you on!

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  11. Betsy, you are a hero and so is him. Glad you work things out and are living the fruit of that trial that help you grow closer together. Kudos to you both. Hugs
    Anna del C. Dye
    for clean tales of Elfs & Romance
    http://www.annadelc.com

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  12. If he criticizes you frequently and doesn't get help then he's not keeping his covenants so eternal marriage isn't relevant at that point. However, if he acknowledged his mistake and stopped the behavior then why would anyone rush to divorce? The nice thing about being over 40 is that you get to a point where you say, "Don't like it? See ya later, alligator." Weight loss is a great thing for many reasons, most of all health. There will be times in life where priorities shift because of illness or other circumstances, and in the game of life if my spouse is more concerned about how good I make him look, then I hope the door won't hit him on the butt on the way out.

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  13. A few stupid comments do not constitute an abusive marriage. Our society is too all or nothing. No marriage is perfect. No spouse is perfect. There are times when forgiveness is all it takes. Good for you.

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  14. Congratulations on your book and the publicity it is receiving, and more especially for the example you and your husband are to those who struggle talking about boundaries in marriage. What's off-limits? What's not? What's said--and how is it interpreted?

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  15. I haven't watched the clip yet, but i want to let you know you are a true hero of mine! Sometimes courage comes in different forms. It takes courage to stay and work things out—when you know it's the right thing to do — but you have pressure from friends and family to divorce. Thank you, thank you for your words and sharing your story.

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  16. I know that every relationship has its ups and downs. I would hate to think that the fate of my entire marriage would rest a few horrible things I said. While I know there is wisdom in learning to hold our tongues and let kindness be all that is spoken, I am not perfect at this. There are times I say very hurtful things, even to those I love the most. I pray for their forgiveness. I am so happy to see, that there are those that can come through those tough times with a stronger relationship.

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  17. Very nice and brave interview. I applaud your honesty, and your commitment to your marriage. Congrats on the book!

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  18. What a story. Thanks for sharing.

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