The top photo of us in red was taken at his mom’s, around the 4 year mark when we were having issues. Only a few people knew, that I know of. What follows is personal and dear to my heart.
I needed counseling. That was all there was to it. I didn’t know it. I didn’t think I needed it. I honestly wasn’t going for me. To be fair, we needed counseling. After 4 years our marriage had hit not a bump in the road, but chasm. I was willing to go to get him to go because I believed that he was the problem. Not saying that I was the problem. I am saying that we both had issues we though pre-marriage counseling dealt with, apparently did not.
(Pre-wedding, we were out shopping for tuxedos for our groomsmen.)
So I took the first step and approach our person at church who heads up that department and asked what we had to do to get us, mainly him into counseling. She had herself, another lady and a gentlemen, just recently complete a counseling program that would be perfect for us. You see, to facilitate the program you have to complete it first. That began our first step into a year-long process of Celebrate Recovery.
No I have no idea what he talked about in counseling because the men’s classes are separate from the women and everything is strictly confidential. I can sit here and tell you about my personal issues that I dealt with and put to rest. Honestly because of Celebrate Recovery I can talk about my issues freely now. I can discuss things that happen to me as a child, that haunted me and dogged me, openly without regret. These were things that I had carried with me thinking they were my fault, when in reality I was a child/teen. I had no control over the things happening to me or the adults in my life. Being able to let those things go and put them to rest lifted a weight off my shoulders and allowed me to take on my true task in life. That which was loving my husband without preconceived notions, loving my children without exceptions and serving in my church with out running myself ragged because I was over compensating for all the years as a kid I missed out!
I was fighting with my past daily, using past experience to determine how I went about daily task and took on new challenges. I was not brought up in a Godly home, nor a stable home for that matter. FYI you can be raised in a stable home and it not be Godly. I wasn’t raise in either. So it was mortal chaos and Hell all at the same time. I expected reactions out of my husband and while expecting those reactions, he was reading my emotions and going off into left field because he could not understand why I was acting how I was acting. I had been programmed and brainwashed to expect certain things out of certain people in my life. This just pushed us further and further apart. Celebrate Recovery showed me that the way I was raised did not determine the rest of my life. My upbringing did not determine how I was going to conduct myself within my marriage.
(Our 9th first date anniversary, he recreated the date, took me to the same Chick-fil-a and movie theater. Thank goodness the same movie wasn’t playing. The first one was so bad we walked out on it and drove home slow. Following that trip though we now ride with the windows up in Gainesville. He was doing he cool country boy thing with his arm hanging out the window and a rogue palm tree attack him on a back street just past the theaters. I didn’t know a person could become so irate at a palm tree.)
I did have some good examples growing up. I did have a few good loving people in my life. As I got older and got to know people this group grew. These are people I have grown on to look up to and respect. Some have passed on now, but I still look back on the time I spent with them and the wisdom they passed to me. I realize now, how valuable it is, just the example they set with their life. People who show/ed me exceptions, that rare jewels are less rare if you pay closer attention to the people around you. The funny thing is these are all older ladies and a few gentlemen. By older I mean older than me by 30-50 years. Some are widowed, some were not at the time I met them first. I got to see them interact with their husbands and families. I still get to see some of them interact. FYI my husband will celebrate 11 years this coming June. These ladies though they don’t hold back when it comes to showing affections or generosity. They don’t waver in their faith through the hard times. They don’t waver in their faithfulness to their husbands, even if their husband has passed away 30+ prior. The men are the same, but in a different way. They are courteous, respectful, honorable everything I want my boys to be when they grow up.
About 6ish years ago my marriage was headed for the toilet. The thing is I made a vow. I don’t make those lightly. My husband made a vow and he is a man of his word, one of the reasons I married him. Our marriage was broken to a point, yes. It was not however unfix-able. We were still breathing, and we both still loved each other very much, we both still wanted to make a life with each other. Frankly we are tougher than most people, or at least that is the way we think of ourselves and our marriage.
(Doing his superhero thing and having lunch with the boys!)
I think that is the way everyone should think about their marriage. Theirs is the toughest out there. It might get broken, put a cast on it. It might get bruised, there is an oil for that. It might get shattered, put some super glue on it. It might be just falling apart, patch it up with some duck tape till you get to the ER(CR). Eventually though you’ll have it patched up, repainted, polished, the dents buffeted out, maybe not in that order, but looking like something new. You won’t be your old selves. You will be something new. Because you will have whether a storm of catastrophic damage and survived, and you will be stronger for it.
In this case there’s a saying that hold so true it is not even funny. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I think Needtobreathe “Hard Love” is a prefect translation of this sentiment. Follow that up with Casting Crowns “Broken Together”.
My heart goes out to those whose marriages are in jeopardy. It is never easy to confront those you love or battle the baggage from the past that it threatening what matters now. But know that the battle is worth it, because it does matter, and it is so worth it.
Just as a FYI update, we still have our days when we fight and disagree and sometimes we might go a day or two when we are not happy with each other. We eventually work it out. Make up sex is still the best. I love him now more than I ever thought I could. You might not think it to look at him, but to me he is the sexiest man alive. I don’t want, and could not be tempted by anything else.
I hope you each find a love like mine. May His Son shine on you!!
(Our 11th Proposal anniversary Beauty and the Beast happen to be appearing that weekend. He surprised me with tickets to the movie, the dress you see here, in my size, no I did not try it on before hand, it was on the bed when I got home from town that morning after a few errands, dinner at a really nice restaurant, a hotel in the same town, his parents to babysit, a photo shoot schedule just prior to leaving for the dinner and show. We also had a couple of friends join us. It was a great night! I even had some little girls and some adults that wanted to take a picture with “Belle”. Another FYI, this has been my favorite movie since I was a little girl. It’s not his favorite movie, he’s not really a fan, but because it is mine, he went all out!)