In today's society, most people tend to think that when the marriage is unhappy for a length of time, or one person has spent a year not pulling their weight that it means it's time to get packing. I've explained the blessings of marriage in this post, while also ranting over marriage from society. The truth is that marriage, at the end of it all, is an amazing thing, so what is your answer when the times get hard?
Recently my marriage was really put to the test. Not going into specifics, Joshua had hurt me in a specific way, and I didn't know where to go. Every time I tried to talk about it, I got nowhere and in fact just pushed him away further. I spent a long time NOT talking about anything for fear of what his reaction would be, of ruining the day, or losing him completely. I don't have an answer for whether or not I should have "controlled" the situation better, but I lean toward not making the change for him. It's a constant fight for women to control. It's "the fall of man" sin, so I try really hard, and fail a lot, to not control.
When I went down to the farm, we were both getting distance, because he was mad at me all the time for being upset and not doing things I should have done and I was honestly at a loss at how to help him realize that change needed to happen. So I went away, I do that naturally I learned to run from my dad, but I always give myself a time limit, in this case it was two weeks. The days before I left I started getting more nervous as the time of my departure grew near, by the day I was leaving I didn't want to go.
I am so thankful I did. Once I got there the secret of what had happened, that I hadn't told anyone was let out to his parents. The intention of telling them wasn't to "tattle" on him but because I trust their opinions and can open up to them in ways I can't with others. They're still the only people I've told. I also knew they would love him regardless. I decided on the honesty policy and told them everything and then informed Joshua that I had told them. HE WAS SOOOOO MAD! He hung up on me on the phone, so I texted him that I loved him and hoped he would have a good night. The next day the phone calls and texts were still awkward, but I digressed and continued to tell him I love him. In my despair I broke down and just turned all my sorrow to the Lord.
Later on that day, Joshua seemed to thaw, he wasn't as cruel or mean or short as he had been. That night he exclaimed how much he missed me and wanted me to come home. A part of me wanted to badly because I wanted to fix us. But I knew there was NOTHING that I could do there. As the days wore on down on the farm, Joshua's attitude continued to be sweet and loving and I kept thinking that something had changed.
By Friday, with other factors at work, I realized that I need to get home and work on my marriage. I realized that my marriage, the second most important thing, needed a lot of work. I made plans to go home. I felt so bad for leaving early that I tried to play it off but in truth I just needed to get home, and fix this all.
On the car ride home we had a long discussion, only to find out that while I was away the issue had been occurring most of the time I was gone. I was so disappointed, as I had different expectations of how my time away would have played out. It was at that very moment, in the height of my disappointment and anger that this post is all about. I had a choice to make right then and there. Joshua, my husband, had again done something that was so hurtful to me that I cried and begged for him to stop. I had to make the decision of whether to trust him again and forgive him and continue to love him or to allow bitterness to grow within me.
Some might call it being naive, that's fine, but I'm not naive. I know that my husband will make mistakes, I'm sure that there are mistakes he might make that are much harder to forgive and love again after. However, with that being said, I would want the same thing one day. One day when I do something and then truly regret it I would love the opportunity to be forgiven.
We spent most of the remainder of the car ride talking about it, but when I had said the things I needed to say, I dropped it. The issue was no where near resolved and so for my "women brain" I still needed to talk it out, and I do sometimes, but mostly I knew that if I continued at him, he would shut down, again. Once we arrived at home, Joshua presented me with one of the most AMAZING letters I have received, of course not as wonderful as our engagement letters, but still amazing in their own right. He expressed how sorry he was, and how he had realized the error of his ways, and how he sees what he has done wrong.
Ladies, it is in these moments in our marriage where your love and commitment is really tested. I'm not saying that in every circumstance you should forgive and move on, it's just not possible in all circumstances. We make the decision on how to conduct ourselves in our marriages. We can get mad, bottle it up and allow that anger and hatred to turn to bitterness in our heart, which I'm here to tell you will then continuously poison your marriage, continuously! Or we can try to love them like Jesus does. We can TRY to forgive and we can TRY to love them instead of.
I love Joshua now after all of this more then I have before in my life. He still messed up big in my book, but I have no bitterness in my heart and I can see the Lord's hand in all of this. My husband is now more attentive and loving towards me, I'm sure parts are from guilt but I hope it can move into just effort on the relationship. My husband is my best friend, and because of that part of our relationship I know that he is truly sorry.
Please make the decision each day to pray for your marriage, pray for your husbands and pray for other marriages that might be in trouble. This world needs examples of true love, not the gooey ones you see in the movies but the real love, the forgiveness, truth and hurt that can come from a REAL marriage.
I'm including a link to a video that I love a LOT! It's a song by Eric Church, called Like Jesus Does.