If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that Fred and I went through a surprising and frighteningly isolated/lonely/despair-filled season of marriage around our fifteenth wedding anniversary.
(I say “surprising” because if you had asked me years ago if we would ever feel so distant from each other and struggle so much in our friendship and marriage, I would’ve said no. When we met and fell in love, during grad school, I don’t think I was naive enough to ever presume that we wouldn’t have some level of struggle and suffering as a couple, I just never thought it would get SO BAD. But it did.)
Thankfully, after running away/ignoring the problem for too long, and having reached pretty much rock-bottom in how we related (or, more accurately, DIDN’T relate) with one another, we started being more open about needing help. And God graciously brought us timely, faithful, grace-based love and counseling from wise and spiritually mature friends.
Over time, things have slowly and gradually improved. So I was quite surprised when my heart was SO tempted to pull back again after we had a difficult, frustrating conversation over (of all the silly things!) a CAR SEAT.
But there I lay in the darkness, paralyzed by how much we were missing each other. A part of me wanting to work through it. A part of me wanting to just keep my back to Fred and go to sleep (or at least lie there until HE went to sleep and then get up and do more filing/organizing—my oft’ drug of choice).
Thankfully, instead, I remembered one of the first things our friend said to us last summer after we had both unloaded a bit of our story re: just how AWFUL things were. He looked at us with love. He wrapped us in compassion. And then he said:
“I know this is extremely painful for both of you and you’re both feeling hopeless that it will ever change. But I want to encourage you that I KNOW it WILL change. Things will get better. But not in your own strength.
Neither of you has the resources to “fix” this. You can’t make these problems go away and return your marriage to a safe, loving, open relationship.
But there are resources beyond you! God is real. He is with you. He has and is everything you need for life and godliness. He has given you Himself. He promises to always be with you.
You’re forgetting Him right now. But He never forgets you.
You’re forgetting His promises and His help right now. But He never falters. He never wavers.
What are the resources you have that are beyond yourselves?”
As I lay there in the dark , so tempted to run away emotionally, so tempted to NOT TRY … I did pray.
I prayed that God would please help us. That He would give me the faith and grace to remember Him and trust in His promises. That by relying on Him, on His resources, on His character (goodness, faithfulness, kindness, compassion, omnipotence, holiness), we would please FIND A WAY through this silly, but not-so-silly, fight.
And even though it necessitated a trip to the garage at 11PM, with lots of time looking for a car seat instruction booklet (that I’m FAIRLY certain our paper-eating-addict-of-a-Golden-Retriever ATE) and then rebuilding and reinstalling a car seat … we did go to bed feeling a little bit connected, talking a little bit, and NOT even dipping one toe into the dark, escapist waters of non-communication that truly drown marital friendship and love.
I am grateful. Still not all “lovey-dovey-feeling” inside. But grateful—mostly that God is real; He cares about little ol’ Fred and Tara in Billings, Montana; and He truly is at work conforming us to Christ and building His Kingdom:
“The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!'” Luke 17:5
“For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purposes.” Philippians 2:13
“Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me.” John 17:11
He does. He truly does.
Hope you have a blessed Monday and a wonderful week.
[A repost from 2009]