Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Done: For days when marriage feels impossibly hard

I am the kind of done that gets out of the car. I wrap my sweater tight against the wind and try not to stamp my feet; conscious of how large and childish my anger swells. My favorite boots crush glass shards, glittering under the streetlights and stars. I am grateful for the snarled traffic and police officers directing my steps at every stoplight. I hope in equal parts that he will follow and that I will never see him again.
A string of days and weeks that lead into months have brought us here. Knotted in an endless loop of too many dishes undone, promises broken, words flung from mouths in fits of anger, and too few graces. His eyes speak hurt and mine mirror, flashing with warring emotions of wounded and I-don’t-even-care. And so I march past brake lights, shivering and hoping.

Our relationship has always felt sturdy, trustworthy. We meet eyes and raise brows when friends tell us they want divorce, mirroring gratitude and even, daresay, pride at our own solid friendship. Oh no, we never fight we declare gleefully, entwining fingers over milkshakes and entire seasons of The Wire, and playing card games late into the night. Yet somehow, years tick by and life sneaks between. Teenagers move into our extra bedroom, and kiddos fling cards and the remains of their snacks all over the house. I sigh extra-loudly as I clean up seven pairs of size-14 shoes discarded into corners and under the table and next to the couch.

After my march down the street, I sheepishly climb back into the passenger seat and silently slip under feather duvet and shut my eyes; not repentant quite yet. Sorry, certainly, but not convinced I am wrong. Later we meet with an older, gentler, calmer, and certainly wiser than us, couple from our church. They point us to Jesus. They ask and prod us and remind us that Christ, and not ourselves, is the center of this thing we call marriage. I tug at my own stubbornness, willing it to move; on the precipice, if not necessarily willing just yet to ask Jesus to move it for me. They ask why not and I reluctantly and slowly unearth a fear that perhaps nothing will ever change if I don’t change it for him. I cannot bear the thought.

Ok, so what if nothing ever changes? They ask me. I feel tears silently stream down my face and I dab desperately with a wadded Kleenex, the last one in the box.

I’ve answered this question before, chasing my fears all the way through and staring square in the face of what if. When Caden lay entwined in wires and beeping machines with his chest rent open, somehow I answered my deepest fears with surrender and a certainty that God was not only good, but infinitely near. Answering now seems somehow harder; I stumble over my own seeming ability to change things. But perhaps therein lies the true Gospel: a God who carries and draws infinitely near not only in our moments of deepest crisis, but also in all our daily worries and fears. Who offers hope like a torch at my son’s bedside, and like a candle when I feel suffocated by the impossibility of untangling and navigating the strands of my marriage.

I’m not saying that things shouldn’t change, or even that they wont. But I’m slowly leaning into a Savior who washes me in grace even if they don’t. Truthfully, our marriage still stands sturdy. We don’t teeter on the edge of divorce: we are faithful and we trust and love each other deeply. Most days, we are perfectly fine. I sometimes just lose sight of that fact in the midst of two small children and neighborhood kiddos and running a ministry and working and dishes and the never-ending laundry pile. I forget and we fight and I withdraw and pull away instead of forgiving and moving towards.
So for everyone (aka moms on both sides) who is panicking and worried about us, rest assured that neither of us is going anywhere, nor do we want to. And it's honestly a little scary and vulnerable-feeling even typing all this out. But I have beautiful brave friends who cried with me, their hands wrapped around a cup of coffee with flavored creamer and whipped cream on top (which makes everything a little easier), when their marriage was hard, when they felt done. And that makes being in this place a little easier, less scary. And I had this thought that maybe some of y'all dont have people who have admitted the hard, who are willing to talk about walking through the refiner's fire in their marriage. Maybe for some of you, my voice whispering and trembling as I tell you that we aren't perfect, that we're struggling; maybe that voice will be the one that makes you brave, that gives you hope.  Because I think we need more voices gently declaring that marriage slants hard, and that’s ok.  Sometimes grace finds shape in “me too!” And even more than that, this recognition of shared struggles leads to the novel and frightening realization that perhaps God want to teach us something through marriage that has less to do with happiness and an equitable sharing of chores than it does with our hearts. Perhaps He will use our spouses and our marriage to transform us. Perhaps our marriage doesn’t need to be “fixed” so much as our pain needs to be felt and battled through together. Maybe we will learn the beauty of the Gospel in unexpected ways as we navigate daily disagreements and mundane worries and find a God who stands unchanging in the midst of it all.

37 comments:

  1. I love your honesty and vulnerability, Becca. I commit to pray daily for you and Adam. Phil and I hit bottom 38 years ago, and only through Christ's love and grace did we survive together. Hang in there and call me anytime. I love you both!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love you guys a lot -- we miss you and should probably have dinner or something soon!!

      Delete
  2. Becca,

    I've been there/done that and so deeply wish someone would have told me then that it would be okay. I struggled with myself, with him, with life and thought "what is wrong with me?"

    Thanks so much for your candid honesty and for pointing us all to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith!

    Blessings,
    Heidi

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is so raw and honest and has me in tears. Not tears of fear for you or anything like that, but tears of grace because, girl, I've been there. And it's hard. Divorce is not on the table for Andrew and I either, but that doesn't mean there aren't times that it is so, so hard. You are married to a man a lot like I am, driven and passionate and maybe suffers from a bit of tunnel vision where the focus is too great to see what's going on in the day to day. I know for me, it's hard because I can't talk to friends about it because they are too quick to judge him and hold grudges.

    You are not alone and the good FAR outweighs the bad and hard and ugly. I'm praying for you today, that your love tank (hate that word!) would be filled and the spark reignited. Marriage is hard but it really, really good.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Perhaps He will use our spouses and our marriage to transform us. Perhaps our marriage doesn’t need to be “fixed” so much as our pain needs to be felt and battled through together." --- Thanks for sharing. These lines will echo in my mind,as I too struggle with grace in my marriage right now.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love your honesty, love your resolve. Press in and press on...and keep writing about it for the rest of our sakes! Thank you for this post.

    ReplyDelete
  6. i think we all reach that point in our marriage, whether we admit it or not. i admire your bravery for being open with your struggle....i know that this post is going to give someone the strength to carry on. someone who desperately needs it. the day-to-day is what drags me down and gets me worked up against my husband. but as a person who went through three divorces and one separation as a child growing up, i went into my marriage knowing that i would fight for us even when it got hard. your words have reminded me that it's not by my own strength that i can overcome the struggles, but through my Lord who will give me the strength and patience (that i SO do not have on my own!). thank you for writing this :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. It is ALL about the Me Too. I have the same problems with marriage and with houses. I see the Pinterest version of everyone else's. And I look at mine and it's so messy and clearly I'm doing it all wrong. Until I read something like this and realize, "Yes! That IS what it's like. Me too." And I realize it's all ok. (This is true of parenting too.) Thank you for sharing the messy part too.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm sooooooooooo proud of you for writing this. I love you!!! And, for the love, could you write any more gorgeously?!?! Sheesh.

    ReplyDelete
  9. My parents just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. Was it hard? Oh, YES, they will tell you! But prayer got them through the many trials, arguments, and "done" moments. And they will tell you that there were many! I am so happy that you chose to hit 'send'. Your honesty is such a gift.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I made my way over here from Boo Mama and I'm so glad I did.

    I know this well. The whole lot of it. I wonder at how mundane and everyday things can cut so deep sometimes.

    But what I really wanted to say is that I agree. We need more voices that honor hard and beautiful sanctification that is marriage.

    ReplyDelete
  11. well, girl. this encourages me so greatly today. i really don't even have words.

    thank you.
    xo

    ReplyDelete
  12. love. tears. hopefulness and faith.

    can't wait until our next cup of coffee with flavored creamer and whipped cream. when you'll be recalling hopelessness and struggle in the past tense.

    I'm standing in the gap for you, friend, full of faith.

    ReplyDelete
  13. You are not alone. At all. I appreciate the raw honesty that you share about your life and love. I'm here ... holding hands and praying with you from afar. xo

    ReplyDelete
  14. "and I withdraw and pull away instead of forgiving and moving towards. " AND "Perhaps our marriage doesn’t need to be “fixed” so much as our pain needs to be felt and battled through together."

    For the last month God has been saying to me, "Push towards when you want to pull away."

    The only thing missing from this was the actual coffee and whipped cream. THANK YOU for your willingness to share. This perfect stranger has definitely found grace in the "me too."

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love you and your heartland honesty is do encouraging!!!! Thankyou for being real and open!! You inspire me!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Beautifully and humbly honest. Thank you for sharing your heart and your struggles. Marriage is not easy and I fully understand how the every day "life" can get in the way. Praying with you and for you my friend. ALWAYS!

    ReplyDelete
  17. As I have learned from Brene Brown's research and writing, speaking our vulnerabilities is what brings us the greatest strength and the most powerful, honest results. Not only for us, but for others as well. Thank you for finding the courage to be so honest about something so many women feel too shameful to share about. You are truly an inspiration and source of strength to others!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I agree with all the comments about your honesty! You are stripping power away from the belief that we have to look like we have it all together - and are consequently pointing all to the power of Christ. I am blessed and challenged this morning.

    ReplyDelete
  19. There is grace in "me too" so thanks for sharing this Becca. :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. I love you so much, I've been praying hard for you...thanks for being so vulnerable and sharing your heart so often. I am inspired, challenged and motivated by who you are.

    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  21. I love this, and I love you. Thank you for your honesty.

    ReplyDelete


  22. Thank you for being honest--it is so rare to hear a raw and heartfelt post about marriage bumps. Praying for you, Adam and your family today.

    P.S. If you ever move back to Canada, I'd like to put in an application to be your friend!

    Amelia

    ReplyDelete
  23. Wow- just perfect. How we struggle with life and marriage and trusting God. Thank you for your honesty. It speaks the heart of many too afraid to speak.
    Blessings.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I have been reading your blog for awhile. I have never commented. I have to now. I have to let you know that I read a lot of blogs. Yours however, is one of the most beautiful, uplifting blogs I have ever read. I truly believe, with all of my heart, that you will be rewarded in Heaven someday. More then I.

    God Bless you and your family. God Bless all the work you do. It is not done without being seen.

    Cathy

    ReplyDelete
  25. You just wrote exactly what I've been holding in (and yelling at a wall) for a few years now. I've been married for 7 years (almost) and together for a decade. We've been through open heart surgeries, job layoffs, birth of two kiddos, full time college, foreclosure, bankruptcy, a 1700 mile move, and countless other stuff. It's impossible to go through what you've been through without some battle scars. But the fact is- you are both going through and you WILL keep making it through. Because already have for this long. Most couples can't go through even a tiny speck of what you and your hubby have graciously dealt with. And it makes you an all the more awesome couple. I know it doesn't always feel like that..and it doesn't always feel like that with mine.. but it's beautiful to get through the crap and still know that you're both each there for each other, even still.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm just getting caught up on some blog reading, and I am so thankful you shared this! I don't see how anyone's marriage could be worth much if these feelings didn't crop up at some point. God's grace in my marriage makes it beautiful, not me. I am praying for you!

    ReplyDelete
  27. wow did this post hit me! What is your instagram name? I'd like to follow!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I've been married for 23 years and when I'm asked about longevity - I always say "you don't get to be married this length of time without some s^*t going down.

    Quite frankly I don't trust any couple that doesn't fight. I'm a bag packer and my husband likes to throw the remote into the wall. Thank God for grace, pride swallowing, and plaster.

    Beautiful post - love the get out of the car maneuver.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Sweet girl. I found this post through FPFG and it brought me to tears. I tell my friends that are getting married that marriage is the hardest, best thing I have ever done. Thank you for your pure and brave honesty. It touched my heart today. I feel like I need to print this out and wallpaper my house with it. ;)

    Big hugs to you today!
    xo

    ReplyDelete
  30. Beautiful, brave, and honest. There is hope here, Becca. Thank you for this!

    ReplyDelete
  31. dropped by from FPFG. Thank you for your words.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Such beautiful, honest truth!! Thank you for this!

    ReplyDelete
  33. My family just moved to Georgia and this sounds like my life the past year-can we be friends? I have flavored creamer and whip cream??

    ReplyDelete

I LOVE hearing from you. Thank-you for reading and interacting, and being the best!

ShareThis

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...