Today, Mark and I celebrate eleven years of wedded bliss…er…something. I love Mark more today than I did the day we got married. The path to loving him more is not because he is my knight in shinning armor, he woes me with chocolate or he gazes lovingly in my eyes.
The reality is in our eleven years of being married we have almost separated and/or divorced four times. I know, gasp, I said the D word. I have well intentioned family and friends who would say never let the D word come out. Yet, I think it, so why not say it. I know, I know, self-control, but honestly I was in so much pain it came out anyways. I’m not sorry it came out, I’m not sorry I was desperate, I’m not sorry I was not willing to live in the state my marriage was in. I would not settle for the crap state of being our marriage was in.
Mark didn’t know how to love me. He tried and in all fairness to him, he tried well. The problem was he was trying to do the work. He was such a wounded man that no act of power on his own behalf was going to do a lick of good. He could not muster up emotions he did not have for himself or for Jesus. He wanted to have them, he had good intentions to have them, after all it’s what good, Godly christian men are suppose to do. After my fit of anger, yelling, ending up in a sobbing heap on our bed, the floor or the couch he would try to do better and I would try to believe him.
He did well for about a day, sometimes a week and then would fall back into the unfeeling pit he often lived. He hated the pit, loathed it even, he tried to climb out and would slide right back in. We prayed, we pleaded with the Lord to change him and yet we felt unanswered.
Then the Ultimate Journey happened, surely this would fix whatever ailed him. There was high hopes of finding wedded bliss. The process was one of the ugliest times in our marriage which makes sense, because when you scrap the bottom gunk off of something it’s going to be disgusting for a while. Finally we both finished the process, surely now we would be happy. It would take a year and half after journey for the Lord to whack us into even seeing some sign of wedded bliss.
Honestly, divorce never crossed Mark’s mind once and I believe him. He is loyal to the death, he is committed and disciplined. I, on the other hand jump at the first sign of “nope, not taking it”.
Why are we still married? Why didn’t we throw in the towel? 100%, hands down because the Lord’s hand of mercy and grace was upon us. A chunk of it is probably the level of stubbornness we both have. If you were to ask our kids they would tell you we still have our share of good ole fashioned yelling matches.
We both, not at the same time had to come to a place where the child that was once in us could meet the adult we are now. God had to teach both of us what it means for an Abba to love us. We both have had to learn what it means to accept mercy and grace. Truly understanding how much of a free love we have been given. We cannot earn it, we cannot run fast enough, long enough or constant enough. In and of ourselves we cannot do anything.
We both had to feel and take responsibility for the wounds we were putting on each other. Wounds brought to our marriage from childhood. Wounds of distrust, yelling, abuse, hurt, rejection and other ugly emotions.
Ours is not an ushy, gushy love story. It is a battle story, a war story, a working in the trenches story. Fighting each other, fighting for one another and finally fighting together for the good of each other, our family and our community.
I can honestly say I think we are on the other side. The other side of seeing the best in one another, the side of honoring each others wounds and praying for healing. No longer trying to get what we never could have gotten from each other, taking responsibility for feelings and emotions we are reacting to but is not actually being said or given out. Seeing each other as we are and allowing Christ to fill us to overflowing.
Ours is a love story of Christ’s redemption and love in our lives, allowing us to love one another. No longer loving each other out of need or want or even obedience. We are resting and taking each moment, one day at a time.