My husband and I were fairly young when we married. Both of us came from homes with broken relationships, but armed with unrealistic expectations of what it meant to be a wife or husband we thought we understood how to be in a marriage relationship. How wrong we were.
From the beginning we struggled financially. A situation compounded by the early arrival of two children into our marriage. Neither of us truly understood what it meant to be a helpmate to the other. We didn’t know how to love beyond the superficial understanding so prevalent in our society. Love which is selfless. Love which provides deep and abiding friendship even in the midst of chaos. Love which stands firm even when your partner is acting unlovable for a time.
Twelve years into our marriage the bottom dropped out. Emotionally and spiritually immature…angry at God, the church, and each other…we decided we’d had enough. Clearly we weren’t making it as a couple. We decided to call it quits.
I made the decision to pack up our young daughters and leave, running to the the “safety” of my family. I spent a month packing and shipping boxes to my mother’s home. Because I didn’t have a car, I purchased three tickets on a train which would transport us from Virginia to Michigan over a three day trip. Numb to all but my resolve to escape I didn’t realize the gravity of our decision…until it was too late.
As I watched my weeping children say goodbye to the father they loved and herded them aboard the train, the pain hit my chest like an anvil. I was a failure. My hopes and dreams of sharing life with only one man were suddenly shattered into a million pieces…and I was helpless to make it right.
God, however, was not.
My husband and I were separated for a total of five years…including one brief reunion which failed miserably. Up until then we had been trying to fix our relationship on our own…an impossible task. The turning point finally came when we both understood the only one who could restore our marriage was God. Until we were finally willing to submit ourselves wholly to Him…as individuals and a couple…true healing would never take hold.
God stripped us both down…spiritually and emotionally…dealing with our baggage and misconceptions. I won’t deny the process was rough and everyone thought our relationship would never see it though. God had other ideas. Today, my husband and I enjoy a relationship that is solid because it’s built upon a strong foundation. We are united in God with a fresh understanding of love and covenant marriage. Because of this I can gladly say my husband and I will technically be celebrating our 21st anniversary this December 17th. The anniversary of our true unity…where a man and woman become one…began December 4, 2007.
I have learned over the years there is always hope if we will only put our faith and trust in God. I find myself looking at any woman going through the loss of her husband through separation or divorce and extend my hand as a sister in Christ. Even though a situation may seem hopeless stand firm in your faith. Lean into God and trust Him. Allow Him to work in you whatever changes are necessary to help you heal. Our God is more than able to comfort…and restore…what’s been broken.