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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

the one thing I don't want to do

A lot of people online are writing about Lysa TerKeurst's divorce. I posted a link to one of those posts on my Facebook page this morning, it's a beautiful post from the husband's perspective, but as I read his post I felt like maybe I should write from my own experience. Because while I don't know what it is like to experience the kind of heartbreak and betrayal that Lysa has been experiencing I do know a little something about being in a failing marriage. I do not mean this as a criticism of Lysa or her marriage, I am the last person in the world to judge another woman about her marriage.  I have been the foolish woman who tears down her house with her own two hands, and I have sat across the room from Daniel as he is telling me that he doesn't want to be married to me any more. Words spoken not out of anger  in the middle of an argument, but words of surrender to the heartache of a failing marriage. We have walked through that fire and come out on the other side, and I'd say we are stronger now than we have been in a long long time. I'd consider this  nothing less than a miracle.

As I have lived on the roller coaster of an unhappy marriage I have learned that there is a time to be quiet. When marriage is hard sometimes  the only thing you can do is bring your broken heart to God and cry out to Him and trust Him, in the middle of the wind and waves, to be the rock under your feet. Sometimes you just have to stand still and trust that God will make the walls fall down. Sometimes you have to be quiet and let God fight your battles. I think that maybe this comes more naturally for me. I am good at standing still and I am good at being quiet.

But lately I have been learning that sometimes  I need to do the one thing that I don't want to do to fight for my marriage. Sometimes I need to speak up. I am learning that I am the canary in our marriage. I am the one who makes mountains out of molehills before the molehills become mountains. I am learning that sometimes I have to fight for my marriage with my mouth. With kindness and with encouragement and with a challenge. It didn't take me long to learn that I'm not the Holy Spirit and it's not my job to take responsibility for Daniel's walk with God. It's not my job to be picky,nagging or complaining, and it's not my job to change my husband so that things are more comfortable for myself. But it is my job to fight for my marriage. It means I don't give up and I don't give up and I keep on speaking up. It means I don't expect him to agree the first time or the second time and I try not to take it personally but I keep on believing in my marriage. I keep on loving. I don't give up the hope that I will have a happy marriage one day with the man I'm married to now.

I totally suck at this. I am better at getting offended and angry or quiet and bitter. I am not good at giving a loving challenge, especially when I know it probably won't be well-received. But I've also learned what happenes when I am quiet when I should speak up. It is unloving and selfish and the one way I don't want to love my husband. I am very good at sweeping things under the rug and getting over it and letting things go. I would rather love my husband with all of the hugs and cups of coffee in the world just don't ask me to have another hard conversation where I feel not-listened to.

When my marriage hit rock-bottom I felt like God gave me this challenge - was I willing to do the one thing I don't want to do in order to fight for my marriage?  I don't know what your one thing that you don't want to do might be. This is mine.

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