Busted Halo

Vanessa Gonzalez Kraft tries to balance her traditional Mexican-American cultural heritage and Catholic identity, personified by her grandmother La Lupe, with her roles as a young wife and mother.

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July 9th, 2010

Trusting Sin City


lalupe-sin-city-flashThere may be a lot of things I would question about my husband: his taste in ties, his organizational skills, his ability to shoot a basketball. But I would never for a moment question his faithfulness to me. Socks making it to the hamper are one thing but when it comes to the “important stuff” Brandon is a rock solid husband. This is why it was strange to me that La Lupe — my grandmother — would doubt this.

When I was eight months pregnant, one of Brandon’s college buddies was having his bachelor party in Las Vegas. It never crossed my mind to worry about them doing the whole “Sin City” thing. I knew they were just going to play blackjack, eat at cheap buffets, and drink beer as one last hurrah. Nevertheless, I thought it was a funny story to tell – me almost due and Brandon gallivanting off to Vegas – so I would bring it up in conversation often. It was good for a few laughs.

When I told my mom about it, instead of a laugh I got a puzzled look. “Why would they want to do that?” she asked. To my parents, spending time with family is the utmost priority. Thus, my parents don’t do girls’ night or guys’ night with their respective friends.

Both my parents have seven siblings so I understand how family is such a priority to them. There was always so much family around to keep them busy that a monthly night out with the guys at the local pool hall never found its way into the schedule. My dad has even turned down baseball tickets to see his favorite team because they didn’t have an extra ticket for my mom. Likewise, some of my mom’s friends from work asked her once if she wanted to go out with them, my mom joked, “Why would I want to see more of you guys? I see you all day. I want to see my family.” Fair enough.

Not learning from this interaction with my mom, I told La Lupe about it. I started to chuckle until I saw her face get serious and concerned. “You never know what the diablitos (little devils) are going to get Brandon to do,” she warned. She was truly worried that Brandon would fall into temptation and sin. I was surprised by the grim reaction.

La Lupe was born and raised in a small town in Mexico where the stereotypical Mexican machismo prevailed. Back in that time I don’t want to say that it was common for a wife to have to overlook her husband’s indiscretions but it was not a surprise to anyone if it happened. La Lupe has seen other wives fall victim to their spouse’s infidelity and has seen what it can do to a family. It makes sense that she was truly concerned for Brandon and did not understand why I would agree to such a trip. I assured her that Brandon was a good man who I completely trust. Being the good abuela that she is, La Lupe dropped the subject, asked me what I (and the baby) wanted for dinner, and reminded me that I better give the baby a name she could pronounce.

Generationally, our experiences with men are different. La Lupe knew her husband’s friends and would not have allowed this sort of trip ever. My parents are obviously very committed to each other so my mom trusting my dad and his friends is not an issue. My dad probably would not have wanted to go on the trip in the first place if my mom couldn’t go. Me, well, I was not worried about my husband who watches Star Trek and gets excited about new toll roads and whose friends once had a guys’ night where they built Lego cities all night.

So off Brandon went to Vegas and off I went to spend the weekend with my parents and La Lupe came to keep us company. While La Lupe and my mom had their reservations about the trip, they were impressed at the number of times Brandon called that weekend to check in on me. Every time he would call, La Lupe would pretend to not notice but couldn’t help but raise her eyebrows and nod her head up and down a little. I could tell that Brandon had won this battle but he’s still got some work to do to completely win her over.

The Author : Vanessa Gonzalez Kraft
Vanessa, a Notre Dame grad, loves the Catholic Worker Movement, Catholic education, and overbearing Mexican mothers, which she may or may not be. She lives in Austin with her husband and five daughters and is a freelance writer. You can find Vanessa at v.kraft.im or follow Vanessa on Twitter @laluped.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Brandon

    First — thanks to all who have started reading my wife’s blog and commenting. It has been fun/interesting to help Vanessa in reading over these articles, comments and whatnot.

    I wouldn’t say that our experience is the universal experience or should be how everyone approaches every situation (or this exact situation for other people). Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses.

    It’s important for someone to know their own weaknesses. I love the computer games that really suck you into it–you become part of the world of the game. But, I know that I absolutely would spent way too much time in the game. I know it would negatively impact our marriage and absolutely negatively impact my professional life. I haven’t bought a computer game in six years or so. I avoid that aisle at Best Buy and avoid the gaming scene completely. Must avoid that temptation.

    The sex, drinking and gambling of Vegas does negatively impact far far too many families. On the trip Vanessa mentioned, a guy asked to borrow my cell. It was to call his wife (or ex-wife) swearing to her that his gambling luck is different/better. Most likely, Vegas was the last place he should have been; life would probably be better if he stayed home playing computer games.

    Overall, what I’m trying to say that it is naive to think that any man (myself included) is above temptation. But, every man doesn’t share the same temptation to the same degree. He must continually examine himself–and be honest with himself and his wife/girlfriend–about any new temptations and avoid them.

    Thanks y’all.

  • Rusty

    I suppose that some men would “play” while on a trip like this but I think it depends on the man’s true character and how hard his friends push him to join in. But something does not have to happen. The same applies to women. My husband had no interest in traveling so after working all year, I travelled around the world by myself and never, ever got involved in anything with anyone I came across. I wanted to see the sights and did. It depends on the person involved.

  • Rachel

    My dh has to go to Las Vegas every other year or so for a business conference. We like to joke about it and tell our friends and family ‘What happens in Vegas, DOES NOT happen to Matt!” It always gets a laugh. He goes knowing full well what he’s heading into, makes plans to go the daily Mass and visit with colleagues who are there like him – only for work and not for anything else. He has always said it is sad that such a beautiful bit of our country is made so ugly by the businesses that saturate the area.

  • Janet D.

    Yes, a ‘sweet story’. But, I’m afraid, a little naive. I agree with Mary. Read the book, ‘The Cleavers Don’t Live Here Anymore’, by Laurie Hall. If I didn’t know better, I’d think I wrote it myself. It is good to have confidence and trust in a marriage, and to that I give you much credit. But temptation, especially to a man, is great. An annual fishing trip is one thing. To go straight into the eye of a hurricane is another. Be careful (and prayerful). I lost my husband to addictions 5 years ago after 14 years of marriage to a ‘wonderful’ Christian man…

  • Catherine

    This was a great story and helps me to realize why my parents disapprove when my husband leaves on his annual fishing trip with his brother. And that’s ok.

  • Christine B. Whelan

    Nicely done! What a great piece, Vanessa. Thanks!

  • Meagan F

    Thanks for the thoughtful essay, Vanessa. I love your stories of La Lupe, and I’m rooting for Brandon to win her over!

  • Vanessa Gonzalez Kraft

    Mary, thanks for sharing such a painful experience. I appreciate the sincere concern.

  • Aaron Mudry

    Thank you for sharing such a thoughtful story. It was an enjoyable read.

  • Chris Babb

    Nicely written, I can’t wait to see what other stories you will have for us!

  • Mary E Richter

    This is a very interesting story; My mother once said to me that 75% of husbands will play around. “Well,” I said “mine is in that other 25% and of that I was sure.”
    My mother was happy to know that I could make such a statement and really believe it.
    My spouse was gone often on business trips and I never worried a bit but he turned his eyes elsewhere only once. And it nearly destroyed me. He had no idea I could be so hurt. I think that now I would be more realistic and not set my husband on such a high pedestal lest he fall off.

  • Angelo Hardy

    That was a very sweet story, I liked it

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