Six years ago at this time I was planning my dream wedding. The amount of effort I put into planning that event was unbelievable. To this day, I still have no idea how I managed to not lose my mind entirely. I’m not crazy about planning big events, big events will in fact be the death of me. The dress, the flowers, the food, the guest list (Lord, help me), the cake, the music, the frills, the photographer; it was all so magical to me but thinking back to that day, I don’t remember the details. I remember how I felt. I remember looking at this man with such confidence of a future with him. I remember sobbing and hardly making it through my vows to him because I couldn’t imagine a better man to do this life with. I remember his face seeing me for the first time, pure wedded bliss.
The wedding was perfect but little did I know: I was entering into an imperfect marriage, with another imperfect human. But we were meant to be, we were a solid couple. We did everything “right”. No sex before marriage, premarital counseling, we didn’t live together before marriage, we wanted to set up a flawless foundation. We wanted to plant our life around ministry. We ensued so much passion to live by two standards: love God, love people. We were so unclear about how to reach this broken world but we planned on taking the world by storm, hand in hand. Fast forward six trying years, the storm is fixing to take us out. I used to believe marriage counseling was for the weak marriages that weren’t making it; now, I’m convinced it’s for the strong ones. It’s brave, it’s grace to committ, to fight, to say all the sorries in order to save your hurting soul.
Sam and I have always been in love. Love isn’t the problem. Our counselor once told us we were going to make it through this because he saw something special in us. I didn’t really feel like that at the time. See, this world created a storm for us that I’m certain will destroy not only me but my marriage. If I’m being frank, most days we battle each other. This past month has been some of the most trying for me. I can’t even fully communicate my anger, my bitterness towards my partner. This post is not meant to bash him in anyway, please understand he’s an amazing man. I just have these expectations, I have the weight of “our” world on my shoulders, and I’m feeling a bit like a pile of rubble. The desolate disappointment is killing me. Day in and day out I dream about how different my life would look if only I chose another path six years ago. My mind wanders and gets me so far away from my husband that somedays I can’t seem to find my way back. I know he’s here, he’s with me but I feel so empty and alone. I’m boggled by how I got here. I’m mad that I let bitterness rule my heart and can’t seem to forgive. If there’s one thing we’ve always been good at is quickly forgiving, not today. Today, I’m sitting here in all the hurt and disappointment in this life and wondering if we’re going to make it. I close my eyes and pray to God for guidance. My marriage was never meant to satisfy me, my marriage is a sacred sacrifice to my partner to be wholly his and he mine, forever. We may feel like we’ve drifted whole continents apart but in reality we’ve only grown closer to ourselves. Living in a self-centered marriage will wreck you. No person on this earth can give you what you’re looking for in any season, in any stretch of your imagination; not even yourself. I’ve created a monster within me: I’ve put myself, my needs, my expectations, my justifications, my burdens on myself. I’ve offered them to my husband as merit badges looking for some sort of prize. This is not love, this is not holy matrimony, it’s selfish.
Everyday I walk past our vows that we confessed for each other all those years ago as they hang in our bedroom. Somedays, I breathe heavy as my eye catches the words on the paper. Sometimes, I want to take them down because they hold me accountable when I don’t really give a shit. Today, I took time to read them and realized something for the first time: we both started out our vows saying: “with God’s help”…with tears in my eyes I can truly say that we can make it through this and anything:
with God’s help.