In the past few months, I have heard so many of you comment "what a wonderful marriage" "You two are so happy together". But, I hear your pain in those comments. Hurt. We do have a wonderful marriage and we are happy together. Now. This wasn't always the case. It has been on my heart to share our journey, in hopes of helping you on your road to healing your pain and hurt.
Before I begin, I want to state that this is not a "husband bashing" post. Quite the contrary. Each of has has sinned and fallen short. I know that I am not always pleasant to live with. The post is written from my (Susan's) point of view, because writing is my medium.
For those of you who have recently joined our trail, you might not know the journey that led up to this point. Our life changed the day we found out Joe had Kidney Disease (click this link to read how it all started). Joe took it really hard. After all, he was healthy. Not just healthy, but HEALTHY. I mean, the guy hiked the John Muir trail twice. In case you aren't familiar with the JMT, it's not a car camping trip. It's 21 days in the backcountry, without seeing another soul. THAT kind of healthy. He, understandably, fell into depression. He withdrew from us, from God.
That was a really hard time for us. It was sort of our Dark Ages. Joe didn't want to go to church. I thought that we had to go to church together as a family, so the boys and I didn't go either. For a year. I finally got to the point where I wanted to train up my children in the way they should go, so when they are old, they would not depart from it. I remembered women in my past, who were unequally yoked, yet they took their children to church every week. In time, their husbands came to know Christ and their children had a firm foundation. I still struggled with going to church without my husband. I searched the scriptures. I found story after story of women who made a difference (one who even changed history!) because of their faith, even though their husbands did not believe.
To Joe's credit, he believed in God. But, he was MAD at God. Mad that he was sick. His anger became a dark umbrella that covered anything close to Joe. Including us.
I found solace in my girlfriends. I intentionally did not seek out "husband bashing" friends who would casually throw around the word "divorce". Instead, I sought friends who loved their husbands and wanted a stronger, better marriage. I actually had more friends who were in the same boat, than I had realized. We cried together. We made promises to pray for each other (and still do). We wrote scriptures on pretty note cards and sent them to each other in the mail. We put flowers on each other's doorsteps.
It was about this time that I watched the movie "Fireproof". I highly recommend it. I won't give away the ending, but I have often referred back to a certain part. I bought and did "The Love Dare" book. Let me tell you. Good marriages don't just happen. They take work. Hard work. One marriage seminar I watched said, "the key to marriage is to make love.............................(long pause) a verb". Make love a verb. An action. Not a feeling. Not an emotion that can change faster than a remote control TV. A verb! Although I have finished the Love Dare, I still find myself returning to certain aspects of it.
And I prayed. I don't mean your "sitting in bed, thinking nice thoughts to God while watching TV" kind of praying. I mean "on your face, on the ground, weeping, snot pouring out" praying. I don't write this to show how amazing I am. 'Cuz I'm not. Quite the opposite. But, I did learn that I couldn't get any closer to God than to be on my knees, literally.
The reason I share all this is to help my sisters who are going through rough times also. If I were to hold all this in (and let y'all believe I have a fairy tale marriage), it would all be for naught. Sister, pray. Seek God. God was the creator of marriage. He doesn't make mistakes. I know this is tough, but pray and delight yourself in the Lord. I pray that your husband does come to know Christ. Does have a relationship with God. But until then, don't sit on the sidelines. Take your kids to church. Fellowship with other believers. Pick up a copy of "The Love Dare". If you really need it, message me and I'll buy it for you! I love you. And so does God.