We’ve had such an amazing week of marriage input. Learning about differences in ministry styles. How to have fun again and know each other deeply. How to celebrate, forgive, and keep it hot. Is there anything else to say?
Maybe just one thing.
Maybe there’s someone out there that has tried, really tried to follow all the marriage advice out there. But you are still left with a marriage that is not what you want. You know marriage was never going to be perfect, but you didn’t know it was going to be like… this.
We like to think that people like us are above the divorce statistics. But how many of us know of too many co-workers whose marriages have ended? And from people we LEAST expected.
We shake our heads and wonder “WHY?”
But we know why. We know that marriage is crazy hard. And we know that cross-cultural stress and transition makes it crazy harder.
So maybe we should stop being surprised.
Maybe we should start living as a community where it’s okay to say, “My marriage needs help!”
Maybe we should cast off the judgment that creates the fear to say this.
You know I’ve written little bits about how a year ago my husband and I spent time in counseling. It’s hard to announce that publicly because people (or at least I think people) immediately assume you’re marriage is in danger, on the brink of divorce.
That wasn’t the case with us. The “D” word had never entered our minds.
We’re were both just really stressed and instead of leaning into each other, we were too often butting up against each other. We still deeply loved and were committed to each other.
But we felt ourselves slipping further into patterns we didn’t like. We weren’t enjoying each other like we wanted to. And arguments were happening too often to be healthy. There was a disconnect and a discontent.
So WE GOT HELP.
We refused to settle for a functioning marriage. We wanted a healthy, thriving one.
And I can’t tell you how much has changed in a year. How newly-wed feelings have come back, but stronger. How we’re able to identify core issues now when arguments happen (and they still do). How my husband has been gone for six days and I’m giddy to go get him from the airport in an hour.
We’re still journeying through big stress, but now it feels like we’re side by side, holding each other up, not head-butting anymore.
I share this to say, “There is hope.” There is hope for you, the one feeling the disconnect and discontent. The restoration of Jesus is real and more powerful than you know. So reach out and find the help you need. Despite what it may cost your ministry or your bank account.
But also, I know there are those out there for whom the divide spans much greater. You believe in the restorative power of Jesus, but that is not going to be the story of your marriage. You are two hearts who are ending your journey together. And you are heartbroken for that.
Can we sit and be heartbroken with you?
I have more than one friend who is walking this story right now, so my pain for you is fresh.
We’re here to be a safe place if you need it. To say, “I’m so, so sorry.” To pray His presence and comfort over you.
Can we whisper a truth to you too?
The restoration of Jesus is for you, if not for your marriage, it is still absolutely, always for you. You are not disqualified from his love, from his kingdom work, or from this community.
You are loved.
Have you ever hesitated to get help for your marriage struggles for fear of what people would think?
What has brought you out of hard times in your marriage?
If your marriage has ended (or is ending), how are you doing? How has the presence of Jesus met you?
How can the overseas community be better at handling marriages that are struggling or in crisis?
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