I have shared in previous posts I had waited until the week of our anniversary to write about our relationship, past and present. I honestly thought they would be mushy sonnets. Yet, anger, hurt and pain came up instead. Honestly, Mark had changed, he had begun to become the man I needed him to be and yet by the time he was ready. My heart felt like it had already given up.
What I think really happened is I was finally given freedom to truly feel the amount of excruciating, deep pain I had experienced from him. The years of feeling like I was emotionally parenting on my own. The times I wanted him to sing and dance in the rain with me through life and I was left on my own.
Mark and I were sitting on the couch one day and I realized I no longer loved him, I had no respect left for him and I certainly did not trust him. It was a cold and chilling realization. I did not dream of this moment as a little girl and I was shocked and yet, sadly, it was freeing to admit it. I shared with Mark where my heart was and I braced myself for his anger. Yet, his anger didn’t come. Instead, he looked at me and I knew he knew it was his fault. I knew that he knew he had begun to take responsibility for the state of my heart and our marriage.
I had lost love for my husband and I could not muster up any more respect and I didn’t feel guilty about it. I had loved him, cheered him on and given it my all. I had done my part, all I could do was trust God with my heart and my marriage. I pulled away from Mark physically, mentally and emotionally. We attempted to function cordially for the kids sake, but even they knew something wasn’t right. It was stressful and sad, even Skye knew something was up.
Mark had realized he had to change. He realized he needed to listen to what I and the kids needed him to be as the leader in our house. He had to let go and become the safe, approachable man of God we needed. He didn’t know how to do it and yet he was willing. Oddly, God spoke to him through one of his paintings. Mark loves abstract art, it’s how he sees the world. He had taken a picture and posted it on Facebook. A few people commented and asked if he had meant to put the boy in the picture. We didn’t know what they were talking about and we went to look at the painting. Sure enough, in the picture, was the image of a boy. Tears started coming out of Mark’s eyes.
He said, that boy in the painting is me. It is the little boy I refuse to let out and the one I am ashamed to look at. The man Mark had become was finally forced to look at the little boy he didn’t want. The boy he once was had been crying out from within him and God finally through art let his little boy free. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed. I had a similar experience during the Ultimate Journey. The day the adult I had become learned to talk to the child I was. It is a weird process, but when this moment happens you gain the ability to go forward individually and in relationships.
This painting, this moment has been a gift from God for both of us. We no longer need each other to be what we never got from our parents or the world. We no longer needed each other to fulfill impossible expectations. These also include trigger emotions passed down to us from past relationships from our parents, friends and other people we had dated.
We have in return been able to not take what we know to be a trigger response personally. We are able to call each other on the reflex trigger response and love the other person through it.
I recently realized I love Mark. I trust him and I respect him. This was not the case even a few months ago. God has transformed Mark, he has transformed me and together we are ready to share our journey with others. We are ready to share the blood, sweat and tears it has taken us to get here.
So many days I was sure our marriage would end in divorce. I don’t know why our story is different than others and why it didn’t end in divorce. I don’t know why we were spared, while other marriages are breaking and falling apart. I am thankful God has allowed us to work through the muck and come out on the other side. It is a miracle story, a story of redemption and I am ready, excited and willing to walk through the fire with those God allows us to.
Love this post so much! And if you want a glimpse into why you survived, check out the book Wife for Life! It’s a treasure trove of “secrets.” I chose the author as my mentor on my path to more solid family bonds. 😉 And you know what? I think you had more to do with that success than you realize. And your husband? Make sure to give him a big bear hug. How awesome (awe-some in it’s literal sense, and not so much it’s popularily used sense) that he allowed God to soften his heart and chose to make that step out of fear and into faith. No. Don’t give him a bear hug. Give him two. You truly are a blessed momma and wife.
Thank you, Anne for your sweet words and encouragement. It has been a hard road and I am thankful God has answered my prayers and has restored the years the locus had taken away. Towards the end I was praying for direction and the Lord said, sit, be quiet and pray. It was so hard to trust him, but I was desperate and I did it. When I pulled back, Mark began to soften. Thank you again for your encouragement!