I don’t know about you guys, but last week was kind of a crazy one. It went something like this:
Friday-Sunday: DeMolay Conclave
Monday: T meets with a candidate.
Then the whole cycle repeats again with DeMolay on Tuesday! Since I had to work Wednesday, as well as the weekend, I did not get to see T much, not to mention that relaxing time alone with him was non-existent. While I do appreciate knowing that he is men of high moral values, sometimes it can feel like Masonry can eat at your social, as well as personal life. This can tend to lead to feelings of jealousy, resentment, and all kinds of other icky stuff.
Why do I feel this way?
Let me start off by saying that any feelings you may have toward Masonry, either overall or just your Mason’s involvement, are perfectly valid. However, you’ve got to own those feelings, and if you don’t like the way that you feel, then you need to figure out what you can do to change the situation. A common reaction for women to have when they first learn about Masonry, is not true jealousy, but envy. Envy simply says, “I want what you have. Gimmie.” This is usually from the feeling of exclusion that many women experience when they realize that they cannot join regular Masonry, I know that I certainly did. Envy does not have to lead to jealousy however, and can in fact lead to very motivating thinking, such as being involved with auxiliary groups as much as possible.
Jealousy, on the other hand, says “I want what you have, and until I get it, you shouldn’t have it either.” This step beyond envy not only attempts to push you forward, but also aims to hold the other person back. Most often, when it comes to jealousy and Masonry, the feeling stems from two sources- fear and insecurity. Many types of fear can cause us to feel jealous when our Mason is away at Lodge. Usually, however, this jealousy comes from fear of loss, and fear of the unknown. Staring with the latter, fear of the unknown si obvious when it comes to Masonry and it’s auxiliary groups. If you and your Mason just started dating, or if he is a new member, this is incredibly common. Often, new members are not sure what it is that they can tell their spouses, and therefore tend to not say anything at all. If you do not do your research (please do!), your imagination can dream up all sorts of awful things going on at the meetings. It is always important to educate yourself. Ask your Mason what you would like to know about what goes on. If he is unsure, I recommend you talk to senior members of his lodge, or pick up this book.
Fear of loss is also an extremely common root of jealousy for those involved with Masons. You see it all the time on the anti-Masonic wives “forums” (none of which seem to have been updated since 2003). Usually it sounds something like this:
I’ve two boys 21 and 17. Everyone who has responded has hit it right on the money. I thought I was the only one who was feeling this way. My husband sits on the couch and reads this little blue book after work til its time to go to bed. Not to mention he is gone every Saturday all day long for ceremonies out in the woods. Yes he calls all of them brothers now and yes I agree this is a CULT!! All he does now is spends several hours a week with them. Hours that he could be spending with his own family, working on the lawn, keeping up the pool. Nope that is on the back burner as well as me and our youngest son. Everything is so private that I don’t know where he goes or what he is doing. They have secret handshakes and secret codes. I am found home alone most of the time now. I can see that they are more important than me. Divorce is on my mind more than ever. Its a CULT and they have brainwashed him. (Gizzy)
Ignoring for a moment all of the cult and brainwashed business, it is very clear that this woman is not only jealous of the time her husband spends involved in Masonry, but also feels that she is losing him, and therefore her marriage and everything that goes along with it, to Masonry. Very closely related to the fear of loss, another cause of jealousy is simple insecurity. The insecurity may come from anything, although most often when talking about Masonry and jealousy, the insecurity is insecurity of the relationship, or yourself. This is where the feelings of “Well, what if he meets a younger, more involved woman at Grand Lodge?” “How can I compete with a bunch of guys he is so involved with and have so much in common with?” come from.
Taming that beast
So, how can you get rid of all these nasty feelings? There are lots of suggestions out there, but I will just go over the main ones.
Recognize your jealousy, and keep it in check. Often, just recognizing that the jealousy is there can help alleviate some of the hold it has on you. In addition to this, it is important to be mindful of your own emotions, and a big part of this is knowing yourself. Try taking several deep breaths, and attempt to detach yourself from the intensity of the emotion you are feeling. This can help give you a better idea as to where its coming from, and why. Be sure and spend time alone, dancing, listening to music, going for a walk, or even just meditating, to help process your emotions.
Educate yourself. As I said above, jealousy can often come from fear of the unknown. There can be a lot of unknowns when it comes to Masonry, so it can help a great deal to turn as many of those unknowns into knowns as possible. As I linked above, I strongly recommend FreeMasonry for Dummies, as a very nice introduction, that provides resources for more in-depth information if you feel you are still lacking. Ask your Mason questions. If he doesn’t know, ask the senior members of his Lodge. If his Lodge has a library, ask if you can borrow books (they won’t be hiding any secrets there though!) You may be surprised as to how much of Masonry isn’t a secret.
Communicate with your Mason. Perhaps one of the most important, and simplest answers. If you do not tell your Mason that you are jealous that he is spending three nights a week at Lodge, he may think that everything is fine and dandy. You’re not a mind reader, and neither is he. If you feel that he is spending too much time at Lodge, and not enough at home, let him know, and try to work out a compromise. You two may decide that two nights a week is a maximum, or, perhaps that Masonry is just not good for your relationship at this time in your lives. If you don’t speak up, nothing will change, and you will find yourself just getting more and more frustrated.
Get involved. While I know that this is not the answer for everyone, many women find attending Lodge dinners and other Masonic functions quite enjoyable. You may find solace with the Sisters in the Order of the Eastern Star, or just with the ladies who play cards during the business meetings. Attending Masonic events will not only help you expand your social circle, but you may find that once you realize just how boring waiting for a three-hour Master Mason degree to be done can be, that you are more okay with your Mason attending more Masonic functions. Getting involved goes hand in hand with educating yourself, and helps eradicate the fear of the unknown.
Perhaps the most important thing to say about it all is simply: Own your feelings. Don’t let them own you.
I hope that everyone has a wonderful week, and as always, feel free to contact me with any questions!