You know, one of the tough things about blogging for me is simply being transparent. While I am a fun loving gal on this side of the screen, I do not like being vulnerable, and I especially dont like digging up things that bring sad feelings instead of happy ones. However, I dont know about you, but Valentine’s Day can be one that is happy as well as hurts, and so I am going to be vulnerable today and share my heart with you. As always, I do it because I know the Lord will bring someone, somewhere, who needs to hear what I have to say.
The Handy Hubby and I went through a patch of ugly, nastyÂ briars in our marriage about six years ago–almost seven now. Many of you know, we love the Lord, and divorce was the very last option we would consider. I come from a terribly broken home, and I remember what it was like as a kid to grow up without a dad. I know this is far more common now, and honestly, if you want to argue with me about how you also grew up in a broken home and ended up ok, please dont. Just move on.
Find a happy place and keep scrolling.
All around us right now, my husband and I are seeing old friends, dear friends, etc, splitting up. Perhaps it is the age we live in, or the easiness in which divorce is offered. Perhaps it is because simply it is easier to quit than to work hard at a marriage. I dont know, because I know when we went through our tough times, those were some of the darkest times of our lives. And we made it through. We were wounded, scarred, broken, and untrusting. We had to start fresh. But we are STILL together, and those times made our marriage so much deeper and stronger than it had ever been. It gave us a huge heart of compassion for those many couples God has brought to us that were or are in that dark thorny place we went through. We want to help, and sometimes God blesses us with the ability to help.
And here we are, 18 years in love, through the good and the bad, and we want to tell you what works.
Forget the books. Forget the seminars, and the fluff. There are some sweet, simple, stupidly easy things that force you to a point where you not only have to interact with your spouse and change your relationship, but they help you to realize just how short life is, and help you grow together. We want to share with you what we know works, what we implemented after the breakup, and what keeps us together. I hope it helps someone right now who is where we were, who is broken and looking for simple solutions, and who is willing to work towards a solution to healing.
First one: always, always always try to focus on the good in the other person, and not the bad. Face it, everyone has bad sides, and yucky places, and nasty habits, and morning breath, and put the tp on the wrong way. They love the shirts you hate, and forget to take out the trash, and have bad days. So do you. Exactly the same. What your spouse needs (and kids) from you is biting your tongue and telling them how much you love them, how dear they are to you, how precious time is with them, how much you appreciate them, etc etc etc. If you can try to find the good inÂ any person, and overlook the bad, you will go a long way towards starting a bridge across whatever breach has happened. When my husband and I went through that 18 months of our marriage where we were apart, with a devastated broken-hearted little girl in our lives between us, I had to make the conscious decision to grow up and realize he was never going to be or meet all of my needs and wants. He was going to have bad days just like I did. He was broken, I was broken, and only God could heal us. I intentionally began to speak words of love and bite my tongue on the criticism. So did he. It was like a warm balm over the broken and sore spots. Just try it.
Second one: Always start your morning with a little time together. We are so busy, arent we? So busy that we often forget that life rushes along, faster than we do, and we miss out on the things that are truly, absolutely important. My husband and I made a committment to one another that we would try to sit down with each other every morning for ten minutes or more before he goes to work, (or after he gets home, depends on the day) and just share a cup of coffee. We barely use words sometimes, but it gives us a thread to carry through the day that unites us.
Third one: Make it a point to share one meal together as a family. For us, that is dinner. We are together. We hold hands and pray. We talk about our days. We give our opinions on each others struggles and triumphs. We talk about nothing at all important, but just spend time together. It is our cement, our glue, what keeps us all moving in the same directions and purposes.
Fourth one: We pray for each other. Every day. It doesnt matter who prays for who, but we hold hands, or hug, and lay hands on one another and pray for each other. It encourages us, strengthens us, binds us together with cords that can not be broken. There is more love that passes between us during those times than an hour spent at the table or the bedroom. If we stand together and lift one another up, then we can face anything, united.
Fifth one: Never be willing to give up. Never. Be broken if that is what is needed to get yourself out of the way and your focus on the other person. Marriage is all about seeing behind the mask that everyone creates to make themselves appealing and loving a person as they really truly are. Fight for your marriage, because you started it. You chose that person, you gave them your word, and your faith promise, and you just dont quit when things get tough. Let me tell you a secret that is not a secret at all: LIFE IS TOUGH. How much better to face it with someone at your side that you have walked through the darkness and the painful times with, that you know has your back, and you have theirs.
Our marriage is a miracle, and a blessing. It has been beautiful and it has been painful. We are not lucky. We dont have a magical formula, amazing connections, miraculous sex, anything like that. We are two people who know what it is to be without one another, and who trust in the Lord to carry us through day by day. We are determined that no matter what we are given to face, we will, absolutely, face it together.
Call it what you will. I call it grace. Marriage is all about grace. Giving it. Receiving it. Gritting your teeth and walking through it.
Blessings to you and yours,
PS—I know that some of you will not agree with this post, and that is ok. Some of you will come to me, privately or publicly, and say that this does not apply when it comes to abusive relationship and your particular set of circumstances. Let me tell you something. If you are in an abusive relationship, yes, you need to step away. Until that other person comes to their senses and is healed of that tendency to hurt and destroy, you can not move forward. As to your particular set of circumstances, share them with me. Ours were horrific. And when I say that, I mean that, and you can ask anyone who watched us walk through them. Perhaps yours are worse. Either way they are your story. Yours, not mine. And sharing them with me will help me lift you up, encourage you, pray for you. Maybe that will be the time that God will allow me to be the one person who looks at you and says, DONT GIVE UP. I don’t know. But I am willing to reach out to you, pray for you, lay hands on you virtually, and pray for grace and mercy and peace to walk through those dark times. That is what life is about, right? True friends who are willing to be that hand that reaches down and yanks you to your feet. So comment.Talk to me. Send me a message. I will be here.
PPS—many of you know the blog was down yesterday, which was MY error (*ducks and hides*). I am so sorry about that but will announce the winner over on the Facebook page later today. I will try to have another one around Mother’s Day for those of you who missed out on entering. Have a wonderful, blessed, and encouraging day. <3
Thank you for your openness and transparency, Heather! There are many other marriages out there (including mine!) who have weathered the storms of life and came out on the other side… thanks for sharing! 🙂
love you too Gail.
Glad to know that, and God bless you for sharing too. <3
Spot on! Bravo!
Someday I’ll tell you our story, miracles are still happening. Thanking God for His grace!
HI Heather. This is a wonderful post. You hit the nail spot on. Each of the steps that you gave are perfect and are absolutely what is needed. Life is work and marriage is definitely work. I love what you said though about having someone by your side as you walk through this life. That is actually part of the premise of my post for Monday on Tanya’s commentathon.
I am so glad you and hubby made it back together and have come so far. It is worth it!! And our loving Heavenly Father never intended for us to go it alone, although we know some folks will through no fault of their own.
Of course, there are two ways to look at going it alone. One is without relying on the Lord, and the other is without an earthly partner. Either way, that is not what he intended.
Thank you for sharing your heart and being transparent. I am sure there are many who will benefit from the sharing of your story.
I’m simply sharing this on Facebook! I know there are plenty of people who need to hear this! Heather thanks for being vulnerable. God uses our problems to help others!