Steve and I had been passionately in love during the early years. Date nights, trips out of town, words of affirmation, deeds of service, time spent: you name it, we did it. We were experts at keeping the romance alive.
My second child was just shy of five months old when my husband wrecked my car. Instead of being concerned for his safety, I wanted to run away. He may have been stranded on the side of the interstate, but it was just too much for me.
Even though I adored my children and loved the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom, caring for two little ones all day is not a walk in the park. On top of that, I was still trying to nurture a relationship with the man I married, promising to love, cherish and respect him. But as we hung up the phone that morning, I was fully aware that the wreck was his fault, and we had no car insurance.
Every little burden piled on my shoulders.
Instead of nurturing our marriage, I was tired and trusted it would somehow continue on autopilot, as I threw myself into the demands of motherhood. Motherhood is an easy out for a weary wife, too tired to fight for her marriage, because who is going to fault a good mother?
While the experts all say you should “check-in” with your spouse regularly, I couldn’t find the time or energy to give one more ounce. I knew our marriage was in trouble, so I focused on potty training and play dates instead. He was focused on building a career, and I was focused on raising the perfect children.
Neither of us was focused on the other.
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. It can also make you miserable. The kids and I took a one-way flight to Florida, unsure of when or if we would return. I feared my marriage was falling apart. It was much deeper than a one-time incident and lack of insurance. We were both exhausted. He was tired enough to fall asleep at the wheel, and I was finally tired enough to take a time-out. The wreck represented to me a breakdown in communication and the stability of our marriage.
In the two weeks apart, we had time to rest and refocus. I spent time at the very same beach where I first met Jesus during my teenage years. My husband took a silent retreat at a monastery, listening to God and disconnected from every other distraction.
When we returned, we found an incredible therapist, who asked the hard questions, gave us valuable homework, and helped us reconnect to the partner, friend, and lover we once adored so very much. During one of our final sessions, she pointed out all the “red flags” we defined during our counseling.
These days, we’re able to better recognize when we’re steering off course and take intentional steps to walk away from unnecessary busyness and make our marriage a priority.
If our marriage isn’t well, neither is our family.
Sometimes church answers just don’t cut it. Sometimes you can’t just pray together and read your Bible till the “happy” comes back. I continue seeking out genuine faith, but I no longer expect a magic “Jesus pill” to fix my marriage. Asking for professional help from an unbiased third-party was wise and helpful.
What about you? In what ways have you found healing, apart from altar calls and prayer benches? Have you found yourself finding hope and help in unconventional ways? Do you have a support system outside of only the local church? I am grateful to have found healing in the middle of the sacred and the secular.If our marriage isn’t well, neither is our family.Click To Tweet