After sharing yet another, “About ten or twelve years ago,” story, my daughter asked me, “Why did everything terrible happen when I was young?” (Yes, we’re saving money for therapy bills now.) But I considered her question honestly. Ten years ago, my husband and I were $24,000 in debt. Thirteen years ago (or so), we lived in constant, insult-hurling chaos. Fifteen years ago, we said “I do” and promised to love and cherish one another, forsaking all others, till death do we part, and embarked on what we believed to be a fairy tale life of moonlit strolls, giggling children, and stress free living.
Then reality hit, and suddenly we were confronted with issues and circumstances we were ill-equipped to deal with. But God was faithful, and step by step, year by year, problem by problem, He has removed faulty thinking and negative behaviors that threaten to destroy us, continually showing us His better way. It hasn’t always been easy, especially when we’re chin deep in a mess of our own making and know it’s going to take some heavy, throat-clogging pride-swallowing to get us out. But one thing I’ve learned, no mess is too big, no circumstances too dire that we can’t begin again.
About ten, maybe twelve years ago, after a rather brutal verbal fight, my husband looked at me with a stone cold face and said, “I don’t love you anymore.”
My world ended that day. I can’t quite describe the feeling. I wanted to hurl, to cry, to beg him to take it back, but my pride was stronger. Things quickly spiraled, and before we knew it, we were sitting in a lawyers office talking about alimony and child support.
When we got home, I packed suitcases and stacked them by the door. I held our daughter in my arms. My husband followed me, and I still remember the look in his eyes–it mirrored the cries of my heart. “Stop me! Tell me you don’t want me to leave! Please, don’t let it be over.”
In that moment, as I watched my husband reach out for our daughter, I knew I couldn’t take her daddy from her. Tears choked my voice as I turned to my husband and said those words I should have said on battle night, “I don’t want to go.”
The next few years weren’t easy, and there were numerous other “line in the sand” moments, where we had to choose God’s way over our own and cling to our commitment. We had to unlearn negative habits, rebuild shattered trust, but now, ten years later, I’m so very thankful I spoke up that day. Today, I love my husband even more than the day we wed, and he often tells me the same.
I’m going to send you over to Reflections today to an article Elaine Cooper, author of The Road to Deer Run, wrote that is well worth pondering. And if you are struggling right now, remember yesterday’s post and the story I shared today. It is never too late to turn around and begin anew. It might be hard to make the first step. You’ll have to swallow your pride, and fight your strong yet destructive fight or flight tendencies, but it will be well worth it.
Ah, Jen–this post is the inspiration needed by so many people today. God bless you!
Jennifer…I love the heartwrenching honesty of this post. Those of us who stick with our marriages “for better or for worse” know exactly what you mean. I have a similar post on Jan. 3rd. We don’t live in a fairytale world. I just read a blog yesterday that stated God blesses broken people. We just need to admit we are in need of fixing. It sure helped me when I admitted it too! Blessings to you and yours and all the best in 2011.
I will have to read that post. Thank you so much for telling us about it!
And I have to give a shout out to my husband and how willing he is to allow me to share some of our most personal moments.
I needed this today, Jen. Thank you for opening your heart in a simple pure honest form that has blessed me so today. Inspiring and hope giving.
Sending big hugs your way, Robin!