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Shut Up, Sanford!

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Here's why the governor needs to zip his lip.

Gov. Mark Sanford. Jenny Sanford

Dr. Janet Taylor: Enough. Governor Sanford, it is time to listen to your handlers and close your mouth. Either that, or spend some time with a therapist or spiritual counselor to seriously explore your emotional journey over the last two decades.

By your admission, you have "crossed the line" with a handful of women over the duration of your twenty-year marriage. I'm not sure what that means, but your lovely wife Jenny can add those transgressions to her forgiveness list. (I will get to her later.) 

What exactly is a soul mate? Experts report that it is someone with whom you feel a deep connection, someone who can't be replaced and fulfills all of your needs. Huh?? That thinking is unrealistic and rooted in fantasy. Kinda like waiting for Prince Charming or stumbling across Sleeping Beauty. There is no human being who magically appears and is capable of always meeting all of our needs. In fact, it's the process of finding individuals or communities that meet our needs that can provide meaning in our lives. By identifying our likes and dislikes, we can broaden our inner knowledge and ask for what we need. Searching for goodness and perfection and being able to find it in a multitude of everyday folks that we meet, while being thankful for the experience, is what connects us to our own souls. An exciting, thrilling, exotic, forbidden sexual tryst or "soul date" is a great summer book read, but like a trashy novel, easily forgotten. Governor Sanford, if you have truly found such a "love story" with your mistress, close the chapter with your loyal wife and family. Have the faith to end their misery and stop embarrassing them because of your own selfishness.

Clearly, one real issue that becomes evident as we watch this saga unfold is how differently marital partners deal with adversity and conflict. Jenny Sanford, whether you agree with her stance on her forgiveness or not, is admirable during this deeply personal challenge. How she can listen to her husband's nonsense is beyond me. His statements regarding "trying to fall back in love with [his] wife," Jenny, even as he grapples with his deep feelings for Chapur (the mistress), make me want to call a moving van myself. Her faith in forgiveness, however, grounds her to not be reactive but patient. For me, that would be a struggle. I believe you can forgive, but that you do not have to forget or stay rooted in pain and suffering.

However, forgiveness can be powerful and healing if one can truly release the pain. Jenny Sanford appears to be a realist, citing time and "repentance," while curiously omitting the word "love." Hmm ... Her most recent statement quoted Desmond Tutu: "Forgiveness is the grace by which you enable the other person to get up, and get up with dignity, to begin anew." Governor Sanford, you married the right woman. Right now, in many households including mine, you would be helped up, but the question would be, to where?

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1 comments so far | Post a comment now
Beth July 6, 2009, 3:45 PM

I know where I’d be helping “up” to. He is incredibly lucky that she is so patient. I know if my husband said something that idiotic, he’d be searching for his toothbrush in the lawn.

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