At the young ages of 18 and 23, just before Darren launched to fight at Panama, we said I do. We made a vow. Today – is the 24th Anniversary.
We have walked through quite a few hard years of watching many of our friends split up and divorce, and some have remarried. It’s a new season for us. Past the everyone as newlyweds, new parents, new homes, new jobs – to trading it all like they are at a used car lot.
It makes me wonder what I can offer as advice for how we’ve stayed together. I can share that I believe in Covenant Marriage. My vow is to Darren but also to the Lord. My covenant relationship is different than anything Hollywood tries to portray on TV. When I hear the stories of broken hearted ladies – I hear that what they are wanting me to say is is to be true to their heart, do what makes them happy, take care of you. They want me to say it; but I seldom do.
In 24 years we have gone through 11 moves, worked for all of the companies that went under in our poor economy, spent a combined total of 11 years in the United States Coast Guard, went through college together, had two babies, have walked through the suicide of a loved one, and many deaths of family and friends. We’ve had years of selfish sinful living. We’ve had weeks of distrust and anger.
We’ve also discovered new areas and explored new paths. We’ve learned with each new job opportunity. We draw strength from our military upbringing and first hand experience. We’ve learned and laughed together. We’ve found our strongest bond through the parenting of two very different boys. We’ve learned to lean on each other through thick and thin, gain and loss. We’ve learned that selfish living only pulls us apart from each other, our loved ones and the Lord.
Were there times in the last 24 years that it felt as if life would be lighter if we were to separate? Both of us could say yes.
This year has been the most shifting year – to peace and joy and love and togetherness. My husband broke his shoulder and all of the muscles last January 8th. It has been a long year of healing, surgeries, and more healing. Our life has seemed to be a long string of hospital stays for dear hubby. This summer started our journey to use foods to heal. Not only removing 4 white items from our grocery list – Flour, Sugar, Rice and Potatoes, but adding a delightful array of veggies, grains and meats.
In the process we’ve lost 65 pounds – 32 for me, 33 for the hubs.
We’ve been walking together more in sync with the Lord as well. Becoming prayer warriors together for each other, our friends and the boys. I’m not able to share Darren’s story in detail; what I can share is that he participated in a super powerful prayer experience this month that lifted the burdens he carried from his sister’s death. The last week has been amazing, I feel as if I have my happy bubbly silly hubby back.
My silly hubby and his one eyed wife taken this morning by our oldest son.
So as I sit here, still trying to type as I think, and wonder what sort of advice I can give to the hurting wife out there . . .
Keep going. Release hurts. Cut the tiniest seed of bitterness out of your heart. Take some Blackberry Weed Killer to the ones that have taken root. Focus on your commitment to the Lord. Focus on your responsibilities as a wife and a mother. Base your actions on what you know pleases the Lord, regardless how little or much your spouse deserves it. Draw yourself closer to him when he’s sad or angry (not advice for physically abusive relationships). The days you are most sad, most neglected, most alone try to think of one thing that could make your spouse happy. Cook that nice meal. Put on that lipstick. Get out of your yoga pants. Fold all of his socks. Iron a couple of his shirts. Pray while you straighten the wrinkles. Pray the word over his work. Pray the word over his relationships.
I’ve been praying for my hubby since I emotionally lost him 10 years ago. He loves me. I knew then and know now that he does. But emotionally – he has not been able to engage with me or the kids or any friends for years. This year my prayer was answered, that my hubby, the one I married, would come back to me. And my prayer had changed the last couple of years. Not for me, but for him. I didn’t want him to live like this for the rest of his life.
And that’s the thing. Separation? Divorce? I’ve never yet seen it heal anything in any of my friends. For a couple, in emotionally abusive/physically abusive relationships, it’s brought safety and a space to breathe, and rest. For many, the manipulation, jabs, hurt, and anger carry on long past the divorce. They seem to carry on the same relationship just in different homes, over the phone, sometimes played out on Facebook. These hurts – deep wounds, are carried into the next relationship – where they sometimes find healing, but from the outside, I rarely see it. Just an easier existence.
My advice this year is to seek healing with the one you have covenant with. Seek healing for him. For you. For each other. For their relationships with their family and work. Pull out any ‘deal breaker’ cards out of your hand. Throw sand over the line that says this far but no further. Because life happens. Deal breakers are made. Lines are crossed. Then you have to decide how committed you are. If you are only committed to the person, your marriage will be over. If you are committed to the covenant, made before God and man your only choice will be to breathe, pray, seek rest, and wait for restoration.
I am processing a post of who I am now compared to 5 years ago. I will share my personal journey to joy with you when it is finished. I don’t believe that Marriage is between a man and a woman. I believe that a Marriage, a covenant union is between two people and the Lord, God Jehovah. He will do his great work in both people, individually and together.
1 Peter 1:7-9 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
We have walked through trials of our faith, and we have rejoiced in the joy unspeakable and full of glory!
Next year will be our 25th. I expect that we will be new people inside and out.
Congratulations to a long run that sounds like it’s getting even better. happy anniversary, and here’s to many more years together.
(And happy christmas and new years to you and all of yours!)