Well, wow. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to participate in Marriage Monday, and E-mom doesn’t mess around with the topic.
As in, as a Christian wife blogging on marriage today, why am I still married?
Why haven’t I divorced?
Is commitment a key?
I’m not one to hide behind fancy words or wear a mask when it comes to my feelings. I’m authentic in the what you see is what you get because I promised God I would live a surrendered life to and for Him. I long for women to live free in Christ. And it has to start with me.
I didn’t enter marriage as a secure woman. Rejection was such a part of the “old foundation” that I daily waited for 10 years for the moment my husband would realize what a failure I was and let me know we were done. It was such a fear before he came along I resisted relationships and tried to end them. I tried to break up with my then fiancé/now husband several times before the wedding simply because I was scared.
But in His love, He knocked out that old foundation through Beth Moore’s Believing God and a deeper experience with the Holy Spirit, along with a lot of time. I became solid in who I was and am, and who my Savior is. When rejection came from other sources, it basically bounced off me and I was thankful for the experience.
I started to forget about my husband rejecting me.
And not long after that he entered a burnout that had disaster written all over it for both of us.
He was working 70 hours a week. He went on a business related trip that to this day I feel he caught a spiritual flu. It might not make sense, but being run down in body and spirit, I felt like he was vulnerable. I honestly think he was contagious to what I call the corporate spirit. It’s my own term where appearances matter more than people. A critical nature develops. Perfectionism. Not a lot of compassion.
It wasn’t his fault. He wasn’t just working, he was serving in ministry in a place that was meant for a full time pastor. We had a pre schooler with special needs and a son that deserved his attention.
Day by day, week by week, month by month, and yes, in three years, the man I loved was fading fast. He was tired, striving to please, and feeling in need of having things done as he wanted, when he wanted. Afterall, that’s how corporate mindsets work.
Marriage doesn’t deserve to operate in a corporate mindset, though. As you can imagine, we weren’t walking in unity. As I learned with FamilyLife, if you aren’t in unity, you are in isolation. The stressors built and one night it exploded like lava out of a volcano.
Let me stress, I do not believe this was his fault. It was burn out and a spiritual battle that left us pretty beat up and left for dead.
But in the culmination of that season he did what I always feared.
He let me know I was this and that and we were done.
And you know what?
I had total peace. I mean I literally felt supernaturally protected, like a wall surrounded me where nothing could truly get to me. Not those words.
It was an agonizing night, but for me it had been going on so long, I kind of knew this night would change everything. For better or for worse.
Did you read that last line?
Read it again.
For better or for worse.
We’re together and actually stronger because of that season because we didn’t make a commitment.
We made a covenant.
We vowed to God we would not break up.
Now don’t think those three years were fun, or that night was a great time. It was hard and awful. But when things simmered down I was able to give examples of things I knew he couldn’t see or didn’t realize he had said or done. When I calmly shared, he broke for the Lord and repented on the spot. He was devastated he said the very thing I feared every day for a decade.
And marveled that when he actually said them, I didn’t receive it, nor did I fear or quake in faith.
My two take aways from this is that if you struggle with rejection, let God heal you. For me, Believing God by Beth Moore was huge. His method for you may be different, but please don’t let rejection rule you. Know you are God’s beloved. His cherished daughter. You are royalty to Him. When you have His love branded on your heart, you’ve got no place for rejection, and it feels great. Trust me.
My second take away is live your marriage as a covenant. When you fight, don’t throw the divorce card down to trump him. It’s not fair, mature, and that’s not covenant living. You’re better than that, and so is your marriage.
That’s my take for Marriage Monday and why I haven’t considered divorce.
What do you think about divorce? What does commitment mean to you? What are your thoughts on staying together for the kids?
Feel free to share your comments, and definitely visit everyone sharing their hearts through Marriage Monday.
I’m glad to be back once again participating with e-Mom’s bi-monthly Marriage Monday. She asks a great question today—do you remember the day your husband proposed? In all honesty, e-Dad thought up this topic, so let’s get to it. Share your story, link back to Chrysalis blog, and read the other great stories.
The day that Tom proposed was two months to the day he asked me to be his girlfriend. He was a new Christian and on fire for God. He was so passionate about his new relationship that he heard from God in ways that I can’t say I did—at least not as fast as he did. 🙂 Tom felt the day he asked me out that the Holy Spirit showed him that we would be married. So his intentions were clear from the get go.
He lived two hours away and would come back to his hometown weekends to see me. This particular day, September 15, 1995, I knew I’d be with two teenage sisters I mentored. They had never met Tom and they were excited to meet him. We were going to watch movies and have chocolate peanut butter ice cream, one of the girl’s favorite.
Tom was late and this was before the days of cell phones, so I wasn’t sure where he was. We’d looked at rings beforehand so I knew a proposal was coming, I just didn’t know when. He arrived, as I remember, an hour or more late, and I was full of questions. When he got there it was me, my roommate, and the two teens.
He was so nervous and excited he didn’t take long to ask. Turns out he’d been at my parent’s house and asked my dad for my hand. My dad worked for the Town and kept early hours, which meant an early bedtime. When Tom got to the house, my dad was already in bed. Mom had to wake dad, which accelerated Tom’s nervousness. When he asked, my parents decided for the first time to tell a joke. They were never known to be overly funny people. But of all the days, that was the day they thought being funny would be a good way to act. Tom asked them, and they said they would think about it. Then they broke out laughing and said yes.
Anyway, he got on his knee at my apartment and asked if I would marry him. The girls and my roommate were screaming and all excited, so much so I was kind of extra calm. In fact, I was so at peace it was my roommate that called my mom, not me!
One of the teens found out that night not only was she getting Tom as a new friend, they both liked the same ice cream. She was immediately smitten and threatened up to the day of the wedding to steal him away, LOL. The other teen wasn’t so excited as she was scared I’d leave them and our weekly visits. But that night we all watched the movie and ate the ice cream.
And on August 31, 1996, we were married.
It’s Marriage Monday! Here is an invite from e-Mom:
Please accept my invitation to join us for Marriage Monday on March 7, 2011.
Our Topic for March is “Trust”
As always, you have all the freedom you need to cover the subject matter in whatever way you want. You can post prose, a bulleted list, a video, a slideshow, a poem, or a song—whatever the Spirit leads you to share with us. You’re the expert, and we’re counting on you to teach us a few new things to apply to our own marriages.
e-Mom @ Chrysalis
It was probably Fall 1995, less than a year from our August 1996 wedding. Although I knew Tom’s family well, Tom himself came into my life with a bang. When God decided it was time for us to meet, it was fast. We were engaged three months to the day he asked me to be his girlfriend.
I was a fairly new Christian not yet dealing with wounds I’d let penetrate my heart. Even the pure and true love Tom was pledging wasn’t enough to take down the walls around my heart I erected.
So when he asked what was wrong, I said nothing.
Right up until the morning we met but needed to drive to church separate. He asked one more time what was wrong. I gave my standard answer, burdened by the lie we both knew I was telling.
And in our stress….we both backed into each other’s vehicles.
The fender bender was minor but the internal damage felt a total loss. Tom took that as a last straw knowing I wasn’t being truthful and the pressure led us both to hit something so obvious and visible. He was hurt and shut down just when I panicked enough to decide it was time to start talking.
It took nearly a week before we had communication. I had no idea if the wedding was still on and if I could get over the guilt that I allowed my fears to kill something so good before it even really started. When he finally approached me I learned how essential communication is. And if you can’t be honest with your spouse in the small things, you aren’t going to do well with the covenant called marriage.
Learn from my mistakes. If you’re dealing with fears or hurt, communicate them. Don’t think you can handle it yourself. Find a pastor or counselor with a Biblical foundation to speak to. I can’t say enough about the John and Stasi Eldredge book, Captivating.
And may your marriage be blessed.
You deserve it!
The first Monday of each month is time to participate in e-Mom’s monthly meme called Marriage Monday. I committed to reviewing Lysa TerKeurst’s Made to Crave book and DVD for Monday so I’m a day early.
I love the topic e-Mom posted for Marriage Monday. She went deeper than regular Valentine’s fare and asked bloggers to share their ultimate love story: their salvation story. There isn’t a greater love than the one Jesus Christ has for us and there wasn’t a harder nut to crack than yours truly.
I’m happy to share my ultimate surrender…also known as my journey to a relationship with Christ.
I tell people I was born on Good Friday with tornado warnings and I was also that girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead. The poem went something like when she was good she was very good, but when she was rotten, she was terrible. That speaks volumes about my life before Christ.
It wasn’t so much that I was smart, I just loved books and had a photographic memory. I also had what I call justice issues. If I saw something that I felt was unfair I was going to let you know and I wasn’t going to forget. Decades later I also understand I could discern things faster than others. I saw something was a bit off in our family, these days a family would love to have our issues from then but I felt isolated and angry that I saw a situation spiraling out of control and no adult seemed to be doing anything about it.
I became one angry little girl.
Who became an angry tween.
The ironic part about being angry with adults for not seeing what I could see was that they listened to me over the bigger stuff I wouldn’t have. I remember being instrumental about having issues with our religion. My Sunday School class had parties and let us listen to the soundtrack for Grease. My justice radar couldn’t handle that and I complained loudly. I wasn’t mentored in prayer or that Jesus was not a bunch of laws, but a real Friend who could be closer than a brother. We quit going to church after I suggested it.
My first week in high school everything at home hit the fan and our family was no longer active in alcoholism. We were now a family in transition to wellness. I was told to get on board and attend functions that united us. Thing was, I was still angry. Through my high school years I was so mad that issues weren’t addressed or that in my mind I got the short end of the stick knowing things before others that I would test my parents to see what they would do. I got away with profanity I would never allow my kids to try to utter let alone spew my way. I slammed plates every night. When people would visit our home and ask my post high school plans I’d sneer at them I’d do whatever it was that took me furthest away from my life right then. Oh, was I a joy.
Then I went to a community college and socially I blossomed. I have no idea why but I was pretty popular. My favorite professor was an atheist and spoke regularly on the topic. I was ready to board that train. I realize now he was a very wounded man hurt by his former religion. I don’t think he was a true atheist, but I liked his talk at the time.
Add transferring to a state college away from home where I could be smart and popular…I let loose. I stayed away from my hometown as much as possible. I drank heavily, my tolerance very high. I believe I drank not just to be popular but to medicate the pain. The anger was always right there, and I’m sure perceived rejection from those years were there too.
My best friend since kindergarten let me know during this time she was serious about a man she started dating when we were in community college. More than that, she let me know she proclaimed the faith this man was sharing with her. I let her know in know uncertain terms that was not for me. I was so focused on being the party girl with no ties to home I missed her wedding and cut off communication with her.
At the same time I was being stalked on campus. It started with me telling a kid that was absolutely mocked by a professor not to worry. That was all I said. I wasn’t the only one he stalked, I think at the time there were four of us. He had no fear. I remember entire fraternities coming up to him and threatening him and he was undaunted. He’d just show up and just stare, letting me know he was around. I resented the protective detail of friends that had to take me everywhere. One night I went out on a cheap beer night, but it wasn’t my drink of choice. I let my floor mate know I was leaving and I left. Alone.
I heard my name and thought it was a guy from my class.
It was my stalker.
That experience gave me my first serious prayer with God. I asked Him to help me know what to do. I walked with this guy through the most lit path I could think of, a path security drove by every few minutes. In fact, the police car waved. They had no idea the danger right before them. I kept him talking and in a quick turn his friendly chat turned sinister. He made it clear he could do whatever he wanted and no one would know or care. He also let me know he was walking me to my dorm. My dorm was the last on the path before rural cornfields, acres and acres. I knew if I didn’t reach that dorm, it was over.
We passed his dorm and he grabbed my elbow, letting me know he was taking me to my dorm. When we were within two steps of my dorm he pulled on my arm. He was directing me towards the corn field but before he could get the leverage, a guy came out of the dorm and said hello, locking eyes with both of us. My stalker let go and fled.
That alone should have brought me to my knees but it still wasn’t time. Not long after that a floormate tried to commit suicide. It was a cry for help more than a real attempt but it left our entire floor confused and scared. I remember thinking there had to be more to life than this.
Then my best friend called me.
We spent three hours on the phone and she confessed calling me was something she felt prompted by God to do, and she was scared. After all our sharing she invited me to her baptism, and I attended. I kept attending as I was in town. I graduated and started planning the big corporate life far from home. No job offers came. That summer I received a challenge to write an article as the organization was torn between me and someone else. I learned they published my article but didn’t want me for the job.
I realized at that moment I never had control over my life or anything in it. I never would. I got on my knees in my bedroom and asked Jesus to help me. I let Him know I was tired of keeping Him at arm’s length, I needed a true love and help to guide me and believed He was the answer. I confessed my sins and hangups and how I knew He was none of those things.
I call that day my ultimate surrender.
I felt a peace right away but it took years for Him to walk me through the anger to a place of healing. I love how He makes dates special. The day I prayed for Jesus to come into my life was July 22, 1992. Our son was born on July 22, 1998. That best friend I rejected gave me my first Bible. The date she gave it to me was August 31, 1992. I got married August 31, 1996 and that best friend was at my wedding as a Scripture reader, something I found so precious.
As an aside, many ask about the stalker. At the time the school turned a blind eye because they didn’t want a PR event. I warned them he would strike again, and he did. A year after I graduated he stabbed someone in the same bar parking lot he accosted me. He was kicked out of school and I’ve not heard a thing since. I believe the injury was minor but still, it is obvious that man was troubled and I was certain one day I’d be on Oprah telling this story.
I hope this post encouraged you today. If you have anger issues please know there is a better way to live. I literally could feel toxins rolling around my body from all the anger I was spewing. My life as a Christian has not been easy, I will never promise that. But I have a peace and an assurance that nothing, not one thing in the world could give me. Please, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me. You. Are. Worth. It.