today concludes our love story series and i’ve enjoyed sharing these with you.
i’ve been reminded again of the diversity among us and how no matter what our journey
the main theme throughout is God At The Center is the best marriage of all!
thanks to each of you that shared.
we will definitely do this again.
our last story comes from audrey from over at, an extrovert expounds.
i first met audrey several years ago at a bloggers retreat..
instantly drawn to her candor and transparency, not to mention awesome rock star hair!!
she’s one of those people who seems to say what everyone else is thinking.
i love her heart and have been challenged so many times through her friendship and writing.
If you’re looking for the typical “we met…we fell in love…magic happened… we lived happily
ever after…” kind of story, you’ve come to the wrong place. Sometimes I wonder if those
stories even exist in the real world.
People tend to only show us the happy parts of their stories and leave us wondering what is wrong
with ours, when, in fact, their story also has lots of broken parts and pieces, if they would only
allow us a peek inside.
Ours is a broken story and this is the peek inside.
I guess when some people think of their story, they think more of how they met and ended up
getting married. While that is obviously an important part of the story, when I think of our
“love story” I don’t even really think about how we met. That’s been 15 years ago and while
I remember a lot of the details, that was the easy part.
Falling in love is seldom hard.
Staying there…that can be the difficult part.
When Amber asked me to write something about our marriage for her February “Love Story” series,
I felt something like fear in the pit of my stomach. I wrote back to her and said “I’m sorry. I can’t.
My marriage has been a source of a lot of pain albeit also a source of growth, but don’t count on me
unless something changes.” My perception is that people don’t want to hear about pain where
there should be happiness and sunshine. People want to believe in love and all of the fairy tales
surrounding it. In fact, I am sure that was one of my crippling misconceptions going into my marriage.
This idea that it would be easy. That it wouldn’t require hard work, because, after all, that’s how
the love stories that I read as a teenager made it sound.
If it was hard work, then we were doing something wrong.
That’s the lie I believed.
We met and married at a very young age. We were both 20 years old on that February day in 1999
when we said our vows in front of a church full of family and friends. Till death do us part…
to love and to cherish…keeping yourself only to him…in sickness and in health… The words rolled
off of our tongues easily enough. We just had no idea what all they would mean. I entered marriage
thinking it was going to fix me. That it would heal my brokenness and make me feel complete and whole.
Jeremy thought the same thing, only his version was that I was going to finally make him feel worthwhile
and loved just as he was. I was going to be his deliverer from the worthlessness and lack of self confidence
that he felt.
Two broken people looking to one another to save them from themselves and heal their pain…
let me tell you, that is never going to happen. As long as we believe the lie that there is someone
out there who is going to make us feel whole, we will continue to be disappointed and heart-broken.
The truth is that God within you is the only way to be made whole.
His Spirit is inside each of us and we already are whole because of Him. We are fully loved and
accepted by Him…just.as.we.are. We just need to ask Him to help us figure out what is blocking
that knowledge and our acceptance of it.
We both tried for years to get our worth from the other person. So, if Jeremy worked too much,
that defined me as being unimportant. If he didn’t understand me and know what I was trying to
communicate, that defined me as strange and weird and unable to be accepted and understood.
When I didn’t respect him and questioned his ideas, he just knew that he wasn’t really OK after all.
When I eventually withdrew emotionally from our marriage and looked else where for that connection,
it just cemented in his mind the fact that he would never have what it takes to be my man. I needed
Jeremy to be happy so that I was happy, so I would hide from him whatever I thought he didn’t like and
only tell him the things that I knew would feed his need for me to admire him.
So developed the pattern within both of us of avoiding and hiding from whatever seemed hard for us to deal with.
But anyone who has tried that route knows that time is not on your side and that you can only run
from the truth for so long. But that same truth will also set you free, if you are willing to really
see it. “Good girls don’t get divorced.” That’s what I told my counselor when he asked what makes me
stay in my marriage. Pretty noble, huh? But I couldn’t risk the stigma or face the fears of what not
staying together would look like. I didn’t think I was strong enough. But I felt trapped and dead inside
and I didn’t know which way to turn.
Sometimes when all you see is pain in front of you and behind you and around you, there is nothing
left to do but walk through it.
So that’s what I did last June. I got honest, at least as much as my fears would allow me at the time.
I told Jeremy how I felt. I said that I don’t know if I can keep on doing marriage the way we’ve
been doing it.
My brother asked me lately, “How can you know if you are choosing the right person to be married to?
How can you be sure that you choose someone who won’t let you down when the going gets tough?”
I told him that I think you can watch for certain character traits in a person, but honestly,
you really don’t know.
The true character of a person is only revealed in the harsh light of difficult circumstances.
I had no idea that when the chips were down, Jeremy would be the kind of man who would show unfailing
loyalty and love in ways that I couldn’t have imagined. It makes me cry to even talk about it. Neither did
he know that when the chips were down, I would be a person who wanted to run instead of stay and fight.
The idea that we attract and marry the person who is best equipped to help us grow and heal in the areas
that we need it most was a new concept to me. I thought we marry the person who we are most compatible with.
The person who makes us feel good about ourselves and thinks we are perfect just as we are. While that is all
well and good, the true opportunities for growth happen where the rub occurs. The true growth happens
in those places where our insecurities come to light and our broken places rub against each other,
sometimes even cutting us to the bone.
I am learning that running will only make me tired and more restless and that wherever I go, I will
still be there. Staying and fighting (if your partner is willing) will develop character and produce
healing and teach you lessons about yourself that you may never have an opportunity to learn otherwise.
I also want to acknowledge the pain of the situation where one person wants to stay and fight but the other
is unwilling or unable to participate and difficult choices need to be made. Believe me, I get that and I feel
for you. I’m just sharing my story as it is. I did a lot of blaming in our marriage. I played the victim well.
I thought that if he would only be better at communicating, if he would only understand me more, if he would
only be more “connected” to me emotionally, then all would be well. I gave away my power and sat around for
years waiting for something outside of me to change. And all the while, God was waiting for me to be brave enough
to look inside, face my fears,and begin to allow Him to heal me.
I am learning that love truly is not about what we can get, but about what we can give.
I am learning that we can’t give what we don’t have, and that as long as I don’t love and accept myself,
I will never be able to truly love Jeremy. There is a peace that passes understanding that comes with
the knowledge that I will be OK on my own. I am whole and complete. But I WANT to be in this marriage
relationship to show love to my partner, to represent God to the world and to learn what commitment means.
When asked what is the most important aspect of marriage, many people would say “communication”.
And sure, that is right up there. But I think it’s another “C” word that actually makes the top
of the list — Commitment. Without that solid ground beneath your feet, the storms of life will
rock you right out of the marriage boat. I saw this quote a few months ago and I think it describes
Jeremy and I.
“The couples that are meant to be are the ones who go through everything that is designed to tear
them apart and come out even stronger than they were before.”
Sometimes…I think those love stories are the most beautiful.
Because when we reach the end of ourselves, He is there waiting to pick up the pieces and make
something remarkable out of them.
The story isn’t over.
We aren’t even exactly on the other side of the current crises.
But I have hope and a deep faith that it will be good.