I am proud to announce today that it is my 15th Wedding Anniversary!
Today I’m going to be talking to you about marriage. I’ve been to the combat zone, I’ve conquered pain med addiction, recreational drug use, alcoholism, codependence, raising girls, PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Depression, and the list goes on and on. The hardest and most rewarding thing I’ve recovered though, is my marriage.
We met while we were 19 years old, in the Army on Active Duty. We knew each other for about 6 months before we married. I know, you hear it all the time, but honestly, I just knew it was supposed to be. I remember very vividly, standing at a vending machine in the barracks right after he asked me to go to a party with him. Everything went black, then I saw us together in the future and I was telling him I loved him (which for me was crazy because I had never said that to a guy before). My entire body was stunned, like I was asleep, but awake in this deja vu experience. It wasn’t lust, it wasn’t love, it was a message.
We spent the first year of our marriage deployed to Iraq as Military Police. As far as marriage roles go, we were both completely lost. I didn’t know what a wife was supposed to do, or be, or project. I didn’t know how to love, even though I wanted to. It would stay this way until we found ourselves in recovery 7 years later.
Reflecting now, here’s what I did wrong the first 7 years of my marriage.
- I was selfish
- I didn’t know Jesus
- I was codependent
- I was emotionally abusive
- I was ignorant
- I was controlling
- I was a blackout drinker
- I had untreated PTSD, Depression, and Anxiety
- I didn’t know the importance of connecting with other women
- I lived with one foot out the door
At 7 years I was ready to call it quits. I was convinced that it was the end, that there was no way we could ever reconcile our differences. I had a lawyer, I had a job, I had everything figured out. God had a different plan though.
My husband never quit on me. He never gave up on us. He refused to divorce me, and instead we found ourselves in counseling and recovery for our own issues. Slowly, but surely, life began to turn around for us. Don’t get me wrong, it was not quick, and it took a good 5 or 6 marriage counselors over several years to find one that worked for us. The key is we didn’t give up. Because he didn’t give up on me, I didn’t give up on this marriage.
I started my recovery journey in Celebrate Recovery. I attended every week for several years. I was dedicated to the program and completed two step studies, one of which I helped lead, and became a member of the leadership team. None of this would have been possible if I hadn’t met my lord and savior, Jesus Christ through the program.
I didn’t save my marriage, my husband didn’t save my marriage. Our marriage counselors didn’t save my marriage. Celebrate Recovery didn’t save my marriage. The only thing capable of saving my marriage was Jesus himself.
Here’s how he did it. Jesus met me while I was at my worst, and loved me anyway. Transformation does not happen overnight, it took me years of recovery to figure out how to live a sober, healthy, faith filled life. Every time I relapsed and messed up, he was still there, without judgement, gently guiding me toward love. I didn’t know what love was until Jesus showed me.
In the study You and Me Forever, Marriage in Light of Eternity, Francis Chan states “most of the problems we experience in marriage stem from a lack of relationship with God, which means they are not really marriage problems, they’re God problems.” I wasn’t going to have a healthy marriage until I reunited with God and his son. I wasn’t capable of it without him. I had to fall in love with my creator, to fall in love with my husband. I thought I knew what love was, but I had no idea. After this revelation, healing, and reunion, we renewed our vows at 10 years.
My husband and my father (God) gave me the wedding of my dreams, once we were capable of loving each other the way God intended us to. Our first marriage was at the courthouse with a judge (there’s nothing wrong with that) but I’m quite nostalgic. Once I reconnected with the little girl inside me and healed her, she knew what she wanted, and she wanted a beautiful wedding. So that’s what my father gave me.
Some folks choose to see marriage as nothing more than a legal, binding document. That’s cool. That’s their prerogative. If that’s the case though, how is it ever going to work with two imperfect, and incapable human beings? The character of the human being by nature is everything marriage is not. Marriage was intended to be so much more.
The intent of marriage is to teach spouses how to treat other humans with the kindness, grace, humility, forgiveness, and love that Christ treats us with.
If we can learn to treat our spouses with the tender love of Christ, we slowly become more capable of treating others in our lives with the same compassion. Imagine a world where people actually loved each other like Christ loved the church. What a beautiful place it would be.
Anyway, I’ll step of my soapbox now. I tend to get fired up for Christ when I reflect on what he has done through my family! Don’t get me wrong, we still tread rough waters from time to time. We still go to counseling. We still need interventions sometimes. I still revert back to my selfish ways and need to be reset at times. It’s the human condition. What makes it work is a belief in something greater than ourselves, and allowing that greater being to fill the gaps when we are incapable of loving each other right.
My husband and I have no deal breakers. Divorce is not in our vocabulary anymore. We’ve come to realize we are pretty forking unstoppable together. We are fun, we are exciting, we are impulsive, and slightly reckless. We are out of control with our devotion and love for each other. We embarrass our kids with our PDA, and we love the crap out of them too.
If you’re struggling with relationships, I advise you to talk to your higher power. I truly believe it takes two parties in the relationship willing to do what it takes to make it work, and if you’re the only one trying, you might talk to your higher power, and a professional about that.
If you’d like prayer, support, encouragement, don’t be afraid to comment below, or email me under the contact me tab, I’d love to listen and support you!
Stay sober my friends.