“Just leave me then!”
“I’m not changing!”
It was an argument I remember so vividly in my mind. We were in our master bathroom and a disagreement had escalated into a lot of yelling (on my part only). It had been one of many arguments during that time in our marriage, but this one stands out because of my husband’s reaction. He stood there quietly hearing me yell, seeing me so irate and full of frustration, and once I quieted down he said in the most humble, loving, yet firm way while looking straight into my eyes, “No, I’m not. I love you and I miss my wife.” The way he said it, his energy, and the genuine sincerity that came with what he had just said impacted me because miraculously I said nothing back and simply walked away. This wasn’t specifically what made me fall more in love with him, but it was a turning point in our marriage. (The moment comes much later in this blog post) I left that argument asking myself what was wrong with him?! Here I am yelling and angry and he’s telling me he loves me and misses me?!
I didn’t want to admit it then, but I know now that he missed the wife he had always known, who he had fallen in love with so many years earlier. It had been almost a whole year of being completely disconnected in my marriage when this specific argument happened. I had become distant, lost in the what ifs of the world, controlling, nagging, completely self-absorbed, and 100% rebellious to the Lord. He’d ask me to pray and to go to church again, and I’d tell him boldly, “I don’t want that in my life anymore. I don’t need it, and you need to get used to the idea that that’s not part of my life anymore.” My husband would say nothing. He’d put his head down and often times simply say okay. Again, leaving me very perplexed, but it did nothing to shake me out of the path of destruction I was in: throwing myself into my career (defining myself by it and living FOR it), my workouts, drinking, and spending money. Luke 8: 11-15 details the different people and what they do when they hear the seed (the Word of God). I fell into verse 14:
Now the ones that fell among the thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.
After months and months of filling my heart and mind with superficial and worldly motivations it all came crumbling down. Emotionally I always felt like something was missing and I simply couldn’t keep afloat anymore and was tired of these temporary fixes that led to the same feelings days later or whenever it got even a little tougher than usual. I was allowing myself to be bombarded with:
- praise over this new me
- getting convinced that since I was a good person a relationship with God was my choice and that it looked different for anyone
- getting enabled and encouraged to keep living the opposite of a godly marriage
I finally realized that I did not like who I was becoming. I was alone in the house and I dropped to my knees, head down, arms in the air, and started praying aloud asking the Lord to forgive me for everything I had done and said, for being a worldy wife and woman, for making idols out of my career and my workouts, for prioritizing everything and everyone above Him, my husband, and my children. It was late 2015 when I surrendered my life back to Jesus and now live for Him. I’ve said this in other posts and I’ll mention it again – this does not make me think I’m perfect or holier than thou or judgmental towards others. Often times Christians are seen as this because of the complete shift in heart, mind, and attitude that happens. I assure you that although our lives may have looked so different before we surrendered to Jesus and although we’ll still make mistakes because we are all sinners we’re still very much allowed to share and proclaim our new found faith and His Word. I realize now how annoying I’d find other Christians because they spoke the truth and it convicted my heart and how I was living. For so long I simply chose to brush it off. I know better now.
Fast forward to early 2016 in the middle of a financial ministry class my husband and I were taking together through our then parish. Our group leader was talking about the power of prayer. We had already shared a little bit of our story and how I had become so distant with the Lord not too long before. At some point my husband turned to our group leader and said:
“Yea, it was tough for me because I’ve always been a man of strong faith in God and to hear her talk like that made me think that this could be a deal breaker, but instead I prayed for her everyday. I asked God to protect her and bring her back.”
My eyes watered and it all came flashing back. All of his humble, loving, yet firm reactions to all of our arguments, to that big argument in the bathroom! to those raw conversations about not needing the Lord, to the worldly person I was becoming … This man had been praying for me. Not nagging me. Not questioning me. Not reprimanding me. He prayed. This man sitting next to me had loved me unconditionally and his faith in God alone and through prayer had zero competition with the strong hold the enemy had on me.
And this is the exact moment when I fell more in love with my husband. I had a God fearing man by my side and although I had been so lost for so long his believing was enough for the both of us. You see Ephesians 5:25 commands husbands to love their wives just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her. They are to be servant leaders of their home and although I was failing at Ephesians 5:22 that commands wives to submit to their husbands just as to the Lord, my husband stayed true to his role and for that I am eternally grateful.
Our marriage has triumphed in ways none of us could have imagined. We each serve Jesus Christ first, then each other, then our children. It’s a beautiful cycle and once embraced it all fits together much better than any other way today’s world tell us to manage our marriages. My husband and I pray every single day – on our own and together. We recognize that we are still far from perfect and the one person that knows our hearts, our hurts, and our weaknesses is God. So it’s the reason we give ourselves anew to Him everyday in prayer by repenting for falling short of His grace and asking that we stay on track with His word. The hope and drive we have in our hearts is built on 2 Corinthians 5:17:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
Bottom Picture: The Bible Devotional we started using every night together.