I'm about to be super vulnerable and share a piece of my heart that I've never been comfortable putting out there before.
But if I needed to experience this - I know I'm not the only one.
Agree with me on how I'm handling this or not...
We will all experience dissatisfaction in our marriage at one point or another.
On this side of eternity I am certain of at least one thing:
God will use my marriage (as messy, selfish, lacking and troubled as it sometimes can seem) for His glory.
For me, this is some pretty heavy stuff and I am no where near having all the answers.
I've struggled immensely with feeling our marriage is completely one-sided, focusing on all that I do that my husband doesn't do and even feeling incapable of loving him the way that I'm supposed to as a wife.
I don't even know how to tell our story without over complicating it by drawing it out so much that it rambles through all the hard parts..
Or over simplifying it by skipping all the gory details and planting us right where we are at this time.
Believe me, I've tried.
I've written pages and pages then closed the book and put it right back on the shelf.
I've listed all of the ways I've been wronged and held them over his head.
I've sulked, pouted and silently wished our marriage had that never ending pursuit of the other person.
I've wondered "what's wrong with me", "does he feel anything toward me" and "what are we even doing"?
In all honesty, why NOT us?
Our marriage is just as affected by the consequences of sin as anyone else's.
Here we are, 9 years in to being married, and I've only recently felt led to dig deeper into God's perspective on marriage: the why's and the whole design of it. I've just never thought to question it.
Not that I doubt it - but looking for more in terms of what can I do to fix something that isn't where it ought to be.
I'm learning: I can't expect my husband to be someone he wasn't made to be.
It can be so easy to forget that our spouses will never be able to "complete" us OR meet the demands of our highest expectations OR fill in all the empty spaces that only God can.
My husband isn't God - and giving him that high of a position in my life was destroying the way I saw him.
I had always set myself up to be let down - by looking to my husband to nourish and fulfill me in the ways that only God can.
Almost a year ago, I was broken, hurting and in need of being rescued.
Our marriage had been suffering for a while on the inside but on the outside, it was business as usual.
Only, I felt like I was completely by myself and nothing I was doing was working.
No one really talks about all the hard stuff.
I didn't even want to acknowledge it because that would give it a name and make it that much harder.
I always push things down and try my best to get through it on my own.
I didn't want to talk about it because that would mean a confrontation.
And when I get upset, the words in my head just don't come out right.
Sometimes the weight of everything continues to build - creating an avalanche threatening to send me over the edge.
Alone, resorting to the last thing I knew should have been the first thing I reached for, I turned on worship music. A playlist I created years ago for when I would read my bible. It had been quite a while since I'd done that too.
I don't even remember the song.
But I remember feeling it grip me and being brought to my knees.
I couldn't even sing along because the words kept getting caught in my throat.
All I could do was sit there and cry.
And that is the exact place where God met me and pulled me back up to my feet.
I handed it all over to God because it was the only thing I hadn't done.
He spoke to my heart and in a matter of seconds filled me with peace and hope in a way that no one on the face of this planet is able to.
I know this isn't usually the case but for me, at that minute, on that day, in the stillness, I heard His voice speak words that I clung to so fiercely.
"I am ENOUGH for you. I am all you need."
and that was it.
Those words put my whole world back into the right perspective.
It makes more sense now than it did then but I was flooded with all the ways I wasn't turning to God in the midst of blaming my husband for not being all of the things I expected him to be.
The problem wasn't with him - it was with me.
I was putting WAY too much responsibility on my husband to cover distance and bring us together in ways that only God can.
It's still a journey but its easier to understand how someone can feel totally alone in their marriage.
I was looking to the wrong relationship for fulfillment.
My husband did try to point this out to me in subtle ways but of course I always dismissed them.
And then one day, it just made sense.
In my search just this week I stumbled upon a series of posts from Focus On the Family
Marriage: God's Idea.
Another one of those eye opening, earth shaking, heart clinching moments happened again.
One of those times where it's totally a "God thing".
You see, sometimes I still feel slighted because we don't have a "conventional" love story.
It wasn't "love at first sight".
I never got the romantic, well thought out proposal.
I never experienced with my husband a wedding with meaningful vows surrounded by family (we signed a marriage certificate, it was notarized and taken to the court house).
I never had a doting fiance/ husband that longed to hold my hand, be near me or fell over himself to put my needs above his own...
We were married simply out of "duty" because our child needed a complete family to grow up in since he went through U-Turn for Christ when I was 8 months pregnant (until Hailee was almost a year old) and wanted to do what was right for her and us (him as a new, baby Christian - he was an atheist before this). < how was that for oversimplifying things ;)
I've since accepted this as God's will for us and understand that I will stand by my husband because it is God's plan for our lives and I want to be obedient to that.
It hasn't really even been an issue any more.
When I got to the 4th post in the series, Reflecting Our Relationship with God, it's focus was primarily on us as believers: God married us both corporately as the Body of Christ and individually as sons and daughters - "who He loves with such intensity that He was willing to let evil men torture Him on a cross in order to win our hearts"
The part that grabbed my feelings the most??
And there is was -
my romantic, well thought out proposal, one that came from the ultimate example of sacrificial love.
One that I could put all of my hopes and expectations in.
Along with the most meaningful wedding vows anyone could imagine - spoken right to me!
This is where the healing reached past the years of hurt and covered me with the love that I so desperately ached for.
Why hadn't I seen this before???
probably because I wasn't looking for it.
and probably because God reveals things to us in His own perfect timing.
Even now, things get hard. Marriage is hard because it's supposed to be selfless - that doesn't come naturally.
"Behold, I am making all things new" Revelation 21:5
Because if anyone can restore and transform my heart, HE can.
And whatever God has planned for our marriage, I trust that all of this messy stuff will be used to show others His glory and grace and mercy.