An aspect of my life that I find I do not talk much about is our marriage. Unintentional really, but nevertheless, something I really feel needs to be talked about more in society in general.
In Christian circles, marriage is one of those subjects where our lips are often glued shut. Why is that? Is it because our marriages are perfect and there is nothing to talk about? Is it because they are boring so there is nothing interesting to say? I’m going to guess two big fat NOes on those. But is it maybe because marriage isn’t always easy and when we admit it’s hard, we assume something about that person or think “our’s is better than yours” mentality when in reality, we’ve ALL been there?
Dan and I have gone through a season of life that has not been easy. At all. Surgeries, hospital stays, up and down moments, discouraging appointments, seeing your child struggle right along with you – it’s beckoned survival. And not thrive-al (sorry, that’s the only way I could make it rhyme).
It wasn’t until this fall that it was becoming hard-er. We made it the past year doing okay and summers by our pool were the dates we needed! Not that our marriage was falling apart, but we needed to do something when this fall hit. We were on different wave-lengths. We were short-fused. Defensive. In roommate mode. Surviving.
After one particular heart appointment this past fall, we both struggled, but in different ways. And therefore, we struggled to see where each other was at. Really, we both hurt. Really, this heart stuff felt like too much. When was it going to end? But in reality, the “ending” is what we could not control. What we could control, was how we got there.
That’s when we knew we needed to do something different. We weren’t sure what that looked like always, and it made for some hard conversations. You know, those conversations that start with “I just need to say how I feel and I don’t mean for it to be hurtful or pointing fingers, but I need to be honest.” Yup, those conversations. They were happening more and more often, but each one we had, we were taking steps forward. We were on the same team, we just didn’t even realize it!
Dan and I have often thought that the times in life when you need to get away, is when you can’t. You know what I mean? When we lost the twins, we were given the advice to get away for a bit to grieve, to deal with it, and to grow. But we couldn’t afford to. But God worked in mighty MIGHTY ways in that. Someone showed up with a coffee can of money. Someone let us stay at their cottage for free. It was what we needed. And God knew it.
When we received some Christmas money, as much as that $100 needed to go towards a new vehicle for Dan, even more so, we needed to take a night away. So Dan found a hotel room at a nice-to-us hotel for less than that and we escaped for the night. And it was the BEST decision we made. For us. For our marriage. Not that we were crumbling to pieces, but when trials keep coming at you consistently, they start to weigh on every aspect of your life. Including your marriage.
And I KNOW we are not the only ones. Job changes. Job loss. Having a child. Children hitting different stages of life. Death. Suffering. Broken relationships. Lack of self-worth. Financial struggles. All of these things are wedges that can either bring us together or further apart.
We often joke (but not really), that our toughest year of marriage was the first year. Boy we had a lot to learn! I can chuckle at that now, but ugh we had some growing to do. I’m thankful for that time because who knew our life would look like this. In 2019. Who knew YOUR life would look like it does?
But one thing we cannot let get wounded in those tough times is our marriage. Our little family. My body may get thrown around in every direction and our hearts long for health and healing (no pun intended). But even if that is not what God deems as best, we want to continue to walk this path TOGETHER. Hand in hand.
It may mean taking that night away. It may mean investing that money in your marriage and not in the next material thing. It may mean taking the time to have those hard conversations. It may mean taking a night out together. Or a night in, alone. Marriage is this beautiful gift, created and designed by God. He hasn’t set us up to fail. He has set us up to flourish. We just can’t lose focus. And when we do, it’s time to call it back INTO focus.
So let this post be one of encouragement to you, that indeed, we have those hard conversations too. Our marriage is far from perfect because it consists of two imperfect people. But since God is working on redeeming every aspect of life, I know we are part of that process as individuals which means our marriage is too. And that’s an exciting journey to be on.