A recent run has brought me to this place. As you have learned while joining me on our family blog, there are quite a few annual blogs. Birthdays and anniversaries seem to be things I am really motivated to document. I had accepted this year I might have to bypass my tradition and not write my thoughts or what I am learning. I think shame and frustration were the champions to whisper that defeat. But as I listened to one of my favorite podcasts, I knew that what I am experiencing is real and is maybe for you too, to somehow let you know you are not alone.
I won’t rehash our marriage. Go through pasts blogs and you will see I have been very candid about married life with Richard. Last year, when I shared the top 10 things I have learned in marriage, I cringed. My breath might have stalled as my loud beating heart took over after I hit the publish button. It was one of my most open, nothing held back blogs. Much to my surprise I had a lot feedback. Funny how the deepest, scariest things we share are the things that can draw authentic people in…
So 11 yrs.
As I have pondered on this timeframe, 11 yrs of marriage, 17 years of being in each others’ lives. I keep hearing a title, one that I have recently embraced as my season, maybe as my life long banner: Broken for His glory.
I was sharing in my safe little bible study group recently something I had despised and quite frankly caused many fights, silent treatment and resentment was now gone. Wives, it was the dirty underwear left less then a foot or two from the laundry basket. Years and years went by. Didn’t he get it when I chewed him out? Did he think the dirty underwear fairy came every morning to gather them up and magically wash, fold and put them back in the closet? Of course not, because me, this fairness, justice seeking wife ensured he knew no such fairy existed. As I was working through frustrations with the Lord, it was placed on my heart why I find that dirty underwear not it it’s assigned place.
He is typically in a rush, a rush to come help me with the kids or better yet serve his family. He isn’t going down Sarah’s list of tidiness. Relieving me so I can make dinner or letting me shower while he starts breakfast is where his mind is at.
Why was I willing to waste so much energy on something that was the remnants of his desire and willingness to attend to my needs?
It took 11 yrs to learn this.
We had an opportunity to talk to a young couple, still in the dating phase, but looking like they are headed into the direction of a big choice. I love those moments when we get to do things together. Sentences are finished, we are animated, we feed off each other. I often wonder what it would be like working with him…
As we shared key things to think about it brought up something I like to hide inside.
We shared why we have higher moral standards when it comes to TV shows. Sounds so silly, archaic, maybe even cheesy. I have seen eye rolls, defense arguments have been delivered my way, I have been told my/our standards are too far. Yet as I shared with the young man why this was so important, I saw it clicked. You know what I said? I said it’s his job to cherish his partner, to honor her not just by his mouth, hands, deeds, but also his eyes, the very things that are the gateway to his soul.
I am so passionate because Richard had to work his way through a very guarded, walls built wife.
11 yrs ago he took my baggage.
I have 4 little ladies. Trust me the weight of these gifts is too much for me at times. Yet I also see glimpses of Gods goodness and redemption in their little souls. I believe he knows I will fight to teach them, guide them, help them understand why they need to have high standards. Standards that won’t make them many friends at times, standards the world will laugh at, standards that set them apart.
Those standards were things I didn’t have the chance to live out in my adolescence.
There is a young teenager that makes me think so much of me. I don’t know her whole story, honestly I don’t really even know her, yet I KNOW her. I know the emptiness, the constant searching to just be loved, the self preservation to take care of her needs and attain them anyway she can. Ultimately being on the search to finding true acceptance.
When I see her, my past, it’s yuckiness, the baggage of my choices are piled high on that insanely expensive airport luggage cart. Each bag is labeled “fragile, contains explosives, cold, hot, damaged, keep this side up”, etc.
My choice to not keep a standard that demanded respect and better yet set boundaries for me to experience true love and acceptance meant Richard had to marry a woman with not just any baggage, but spiritual baggage that resulted in the choice I allowed my soul to be tethered with others in my past.
For 11 yrs, I have been slowly unpacking.
No surprise here, but I don’t adapt well or quickly to change. Richard has learned this very fast. Thankfully he sees the warning signals and backs away very slowly before damage is done that neither of us want to experience. He has waited, pursued and asked how to help me work through my stuff. In the end, we both learned the only person who could help me unpack my stuff is our Heavenly Father.
11 yrs later, healing is happening.
I don’t think there is any big “this is the only plan”. But I will tell you there is one factor in why healing is happening.
As I read his word more, as I hide it in my heart, as I meditate on it day and night(seriously I do), I find out who and who’s I am.
My Heavenly Father is healing the wounds that have left me an embittered, difficult, stubborn, and yes still a stand offish wife when the valleys seem too deep and too close together.
I don’t believe this healing couldn’t have happened had I not had Richard though. Faith for him comes easily. If God says he will do it, Richard believes it. He doesn’t spend days, months, every single second questioning God on every what ifs. So his faith in the things unseen, the things yet brought into his glory, he truly believes they exist and he will see their existence one day. Case in point, he believes he will have a wife that will no longer be trapped in bondage that Christ freed her from.
Even though something as minimal as seeing his lack of laundry etiquette not an insult but instead a byproduct of his heart that wants to care for me in ways I was not cared for or witnessed personally seems odd, it’s proof of healing for me.
Guys, HA, if you even read my lengthy, wordy blogs, you know that ones that seem to make your wives cry or say “hold on”. If you are reading this and have seen there is something that is holding your wife back, will you do me a favor? Will you bring her to the mighty healer. Will you seek him and ask him how to love her as the Lord helps her unpack her junk?
Ladies, if you have an elephant in the room, the thing that will send you running to the chocolate, wine, obsessive workout schedule, social media dependency, unlimited need of acceptance. Will you take a moment and ask yourself, how is this impacting my marriage? What baggage are you choosing to pack and lug behind you, sweat dripping off your face? Do you want to be free from it?
11 yrs ago.
I said yes to a man who didn’t know God. I said yes to an idea of something I had no clue about. I said yes all while trying to hide and not deal with my stuff. Yet God in his promises that seem to never end, has helped me not be known by my baggage. Best of all he has given me a spouse that sees me as a masterpiece, something that was made just right for him, someone he wants to hold onto tightly and squeeze, yet releases me to the one who can repair those hurts.
I have recently found myself finding little ways to show him my appreciation (be his helpmate) more importantly thank him for his patience. For not running the other way when it finally hit him how deeply messed up his wife was.
His faith has helped him in marriage see his wife was broken for Gods glory to shine through in what seemed impossible.
So a little incentive. Help her and she will help you.
Happy anniversary to the other half of my soul.