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First Lady Jenny Sanford

First Lady Jenny Sanford

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First Lady Jenny Sanford said this afternoon that she asked her husband, Gov.

Mark Sanford, to leave two weeks ago with the goal of �ultimately strengthening our marriage,� and that her husband agreed not to contact the family.�Because of this separation, I did not know where he was in the past week,� she said.Sanford said today he is not formally separated from his wife, though she physically remained in Sullivan�s Island while he held a Columbia press conference.Sanford said today that his relationship with a mother of two from Argentina began with an �incredibly serious conversation� in which he urged her to return to her husband, from whom she was separated.�There�s a certain irony to this,� Sanford said in a press conference called to address his prolonged absence from the state in a trip to Argentina.The eight-year relationship became a �remarkable friendship� in part because she lived thousands of miles away and because he could ask her advice in confidence � a rare reprieve from the glare of the Governor�s Office, Sanford said.Then, about a year ago, the friendship �sparked� into something more, Sanford said, adding that he�s seen her three times �during that whole sparking thing.��All I can say is that I apologize,� said Sanford, who choked up several times during his remarks.He said he would resign as chairman of the Republican Governor�s Association.Sanford said he�s been working through the issue with his wife and counselors over the past five months, and returned to his Christian faithto explain what he described as a sin that was �grounded in this notion of what is it that I want?�Sanford said he�s committed to �getting my heart right.� Jenny Sanford said she initially pursued reconciliation through forgiveness before reaching a point where it became necessary to �maintain my dignity, self-respect, and my basic sense of right and wrong,� and she asked Sanford to leave.She said enduring love is �an act of will,� and that the commitment �must be reciprocal.��I believe Mark has earned a chance to resurrect our marriage,� she said.Sanford apologized to his wife and four sons by name today, and to friends, fellow Christians and state residents.

He also apologized to his staff for creating a �fiction� about where he was headed, stating an intention to go hiking on the Appalachian Trail when he actually flew to Argentina.�I�ve let down a lot of people, that�s the bottom line,� Sanford said.�While indeed, from a heart level, there was something real, it was a place � based on the fiduciary relationship I had to the people of South Carolina, based on the boys, based on my wife, based on where I was in life, based on where she was in life � a place where I couldn�t go and she couldn�t go,� Sanford said.
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