It’s no secret: marriage is hard. Sharing air, space, a bed, a life with someone else is not happily ever after.
Last May we celebrated our 11 year anniversary. These last couple years have been rough. We have stopped seeing the best in each other. Time passes. There are so many conflicts, hurts, wounds, misunderstandings, and distance. We force our lines, smile pretty for the pictures. We’ve both wanted to quit more times than we care to admit.
The road to reconciliation is not paved. It’s filled with thistles, thorns, overgrowth… a wasteland of obstacles; weeds of unforgiveness, selfishness and silence. We need armor and supernatural weapons to wade through.
Love has gotten lost amongst the dirty dishes, remembering to set the coffee maker, a ridiculous amount of laundry, medical crises, an overwhelming stack of bills, things that need to be fixed around the house, a baby that doesn’t want to sleep, and anxiety about our future.
We used to know how to do this. We used to pray for each other and laugh at the days to come. We used to think we were invincible. We used to think nothing could stop us. We had passion; we were driven against all odds. We have forgotten who we are without all these strings of obligations and roles.
This rift, this chasm between us- I’m still trying to figure out if we can fix it. Our hands are broken. Our feet have failed us yet again, and hope… hope has disappeared. Our trust has been severed.
A crisis of faith is tearing us apart.
They tell us to use the weapon of gratefulness. There are numerous things to be thankful for: our son who is happy and makes us whole: he is our light amidst these dark days. Our home which shelters us from so many storms - provides refuge, peace. Our family who shows us that love shows up in person, no matter what; they help us laugh at ourselves and carry us through tough times by praying for us, fixing a leak, troubleshooting computers, helping us unpack into our new home, planning the kids’ birthday parties, and making the pecan pie that is out of this world!
Love is actions. Love is Steve catching the fact that I left boiling water on the stove and got lost in another project. He makes the rest of lunch for me. He sees me in the garden, and brings me a bag for all the weeds I toss to and fro. He comes home with another bottle of my favorite wine since I ran out last night. He cleans the car seat after Drew has thrown up everywhere. He finds me the Sonicare toothbrush I wanted for Christmas. He comes looking for me on my walk around the neighborhood after my phone went dead. Steve gets up every morning, gets Drew ready for school, starts my car even on the coldest of mornings, and loads up Drew’s book bag and essentials for school despite the fact that he’s in excruciating pain and would much rather lay in bed and not face the day.
Ministry and missions is not always about serving the needs afar. More often than not, the poor, the destitute, the broken are under our own roof bleeding uncontrollably by our own hands as we do the mad dash out the door.
Sometimes, the one bleeding uncontrollably is you.
So here’s the plan: we continue going forward… whether we’re walking or crawling, arming ourselves with the shield of gratefulness and the weapon of actions. We continue to have hope for tomorrow. We ask for prayers and courage for the dark days. We laugh more. We build each other up with love, encouragement and try not to take everything so seriously. Above all, we stretch out our hands in friendship and kindness. These are the things we have missed most in the last couple years.