The following experience is very personal and tender to me and my husband. I hesitated sharing this, however, a sweet friend suggested that I do. Too many marriages and families look picture perfect on social media. Sometimes when I see these perfect marriages and families I wonder what the heck is wrong with me!? There is real life behind each seemingly perfect photo and behind each seemingly perfect blogpost. It is my hope that our story can provide a glimmer of hope to other young couples who have given up.
In some cases, the phrase “distance makes the heart grow fonder” could be true. For us, it wasn’t. We had become detached not only physically, but emotionally. Distance took its toll on us. For 4+ of our 7+ years of marriage, we found ourselves in a vertically-oblong cycle. The cycle was good for a brief moment at the top, took a quick decline to “bad” and “very bad” and then took a very long time to get back to the top where “good” was waiting. Repeat. I had a lot of doubts about our marriage. Why couldn’t we work it out? Why wasn’t I happy? I know that Heavenly Father wants me to be happy… And marriage? Isn’t that supposed to be one of the most important and fulfilling relationships? And ours is supposed to last for eternity? Oy Vey.
I wasn’t sure I wanted that. There was too much hurt and anger and the cycling was getting so very exhausting.
I remember one of the times I asked my mom for advice. “I just want to love him again.” I told her. She told me, “pray your brains out.”
I thought I did that. But to be honest, I went a long time without putting in much effort at all. My priorities were not in order. I didn’t make my husband a priority. In all honesty, I was pretty selfish. When he was at home he cleaned! He cooked! He played with our daughters. He has always done everything that he can to provide for our every need and our every want. He really is an exceptional husband and father and I’m so grateful for him. And it feels so good to say that and mean it.
But during the muddy times, which was often, I thought of life in greener pastures.
God asks us for a broken heart and a contrite spirit. In a nutshell, that means to align our will with God’s will. I’ve hear of many accounts in the scriptures where people had hard hearts and chose not to listen to the council of God. Well, sure as heck, I was one of those “hard-hearted souls.” Maybe you can recognize this in yourself with something you have struggled with or are struggling with. All the talks and lessons and inspiring messages in the world on “said struggling category” couldn’t shift your mind set, or soften your heart. My mindset wasn’t shifting, my heart wasn’t softening. I sat through the lessons, I read articles, people tried to give me their advice… None of it seemed to phase me.
I knew that not putting enough time, energy and work into my marriage was wrong, and quite frankly, I didn’t think I was the one that needed to change. I thought, If he’d only stop doing this and this and this. Selfish alert! Maybe you’re reading this and all you hear is a broken record. You’ve heard this before… you can only change yourself, blah blah blah. But guys, it is true-and worth it, might I add. And sometimes it’s just a mere attitude adjustment!
So, after a shmoz of sin and error and selfishness and loss of hope which lead to numbness and “woe is me,” I started to think, ok… is it really that bad? What is the next step here? I’m not staying like this forever, so it’s either cut the cord or smarten up and figure this out. You know Heavenly Father doesn’t want you to be miserable. You know what the right thing to do here is. You know that those sweet, precious girls need their mom and dad in their life and the kind of parents that are more than just “roommates” would be great.
I also knew that if I decided to recommit, fixing our relationship was going to take A LOT of work. Work that at the time I really wasn’t willing to put in. Months, possibly years of hard work. I was so exhausted. I found myself, less than reverently, asking God to throw me a bone already!
Josh decided to go back to medical school in the Caribbean. He left in May 2016. Rumours about our personal life spread like wild fire, twisted and manipulated by people we thought we could trust.
On Friday, October 28th 2016, there was a knock at my door. My daughters’ friend’s parents came in. The girls had been at a birthday party at their home earlier that day. I thought maybe something had happened or something.
Me: Is everything ok?
Him: Oh yeah, everything’s fine.
Her: … and it’s about to get better… for you!
Them: What are you doing next weekend?
Me: Um, working?
Him: Can you get it off?
Me: Uhhhhhh… Maybe? ok, what are they planning? A girls getaway or something?
Him: Well get it off because you’re gunna go see your husband.
Me: Wait… WHAT?
Them: We’re taking your girls for the weekend and flying you to see your husband.
Me: *shock* … words similar to: Are you serious? Thank you?! Thank you!!! Oh my heck!
I’ll never forget the joy in their faces as they surprised me at my front door.
To be honest… I was fine to wait ’til Christmas to see my husband. I didn’t have much of a desire to see him before then. I realize how horrible this sounds… I was more excited to spend some time at the beach.
The day of my flight arrived. I headed out the door for my 2.5 hour drive to the airport, excited and anxious. I listened to some podcasts on marriage as I drove. Then I prayed. “Heavenly Father? I’m exhausted. I’m working on being willing to stay in this marriage, but I am so tired. Help me get both feet in this. I need a miracle this weekend. Please help me. I can’t do this on my own…”
I approached the arrival doors in St. Maarten. I walked through the doors with anticipation on my face. He wasn’t there.
WHAT? Are you kidding me? Wow… what a fabulous start to this weekend. Not. I’m sure if anyone was watching they would’ve noticed my excitement-turned-disappointment face. I found a place to sit and I waited. About 10 minutes later I saw a hurried Josh make his way over to the arrival doors. I guess my flight landed a bit early. All the anger left my body. I stood up and sneaked up behind him, tapped him on the shoulder and then we embraced. I use the word embrace because that hug was no ordinary hug. We had been less than affectionate to each other for quite some time. There was love in that embrace. “That was strange.” Was the first thing he said.
The rest of our weekend together was simply incredible. It was healing. We were submerged in forgiveness and found understanding for each other.
It hasn’t worn off. Hurray! Our love for each other was rekindled and we are keeping the flame alive. Neither of us are naïve to the fact that we have a life long of challenges ahead of us. But, I have learned and experienced that forgiveness can be found and love can be rekindled and burn deeper than one could ever imagine.
We are beyond grateful for the beautiful couple who gave us this opportunity. They’ll never fully know of our gratitude.
All the glory goes to God and His son, Jesus Christ, for continually giving us experiences that strengthen and heal our marriage.
Dress: Free People