Divorce and Sex

Two words that carry a lot of weight in our world.  Unfortunately, the lack of one can lead to the other, so they are extremely intertwined from what I’ve experienced.  Growing up, I lived in a Christian home and am truly blessed by that, I also am a product of divorce.  I think because I was, I made some decisions early on that I wanted to be good at marriage.  I couldn’t imagine going through what I watched my mom go through and I was hell bent on not following in that track.  I determined when I got married, he would be my best friend for life.  I refused to bring children into this world without giving them some security that they are a part of a larger story.  I didn’t know what different looked like, but I can say that for me, it was the opposite of what led to divorce in my home.  So, sharing EVERYTHING with my hubby was vital and being transparent to hubby and our kids (within age appropriate limits) wasn’t even a question for me, I needed that!

I was married at 21, hubby was 19, and we started on a journey of combining our “raisings” and growing up together.  For us, young marriage was GREAT! He wasn’t looking for his parents marriage, although they have been married for nearly 40 years, hubby wanted something different, more exciting.  I didn’t want my parent’s marriage, divorce wasn’t an option and laughter was desperately needed!  Because of sex being a taboo subject growing up, it carried tons of shame.  For many years of marriage, I enjoyed making love but I was never quite able to understand that shame and how it made me feel.  After my first Captivating experience, it was like God opened a door I never could see through.  The enemy has come in and said to me that this is shameful, talking about this subject to the world?  What would my mother think?  I guess that is what he’s been doing in marriages from the beginning and thus, lots of divorce.  After that experience in 2013, I was awakened to my husband, I’d been asking for it but wasn’t sure God was going to show up for me here.  What I began to realize is this, we NEED to be talking about this.  Not the acts that are going on in the bedroom, that is for another site and another day if God leads, but for today, THIS is about my heart.

All of that being said, this week I became an orphan. I actually have been one since my mother died in 2007, the year my dad remarried for the third time. In three marriages, 43 years of him telling me with as many actions that I have no value in his life or to him, I chose to tell him the for the first (and I knew last) time that I have a good life with my husband and he wasn’t right about us. I believe he started hating me around three and I worked to earn it for that long. Today, I’m good with being an orphan in this world because I know who my Dad is. 

Today, hubby and I have formed habits and ways of dealing with differences in ways that are unhealthy. Maybe we thought sex would cure what ailed us. Maybe I did. It abut ally has led us to massive amounts of healing but we need some time apart. I’ve asked for two days to spend our individual time with God and not see each other. So, our challenge ends today and I will be the one to accept fault. We’re not done with our marriage and I believe we will recreate TheChallnge to work for us. I will also keep writing. 

We are not perfect and never want to claim to be. We are in desperate fight to have a marriage better than what was displayed for us. So, we are in counseling and we communicate constantly, we have to do so in healthy ways and with my childhood abuse, and his stuff, we must unlearn tons and relearn healthy patterns. Both of us. 

God still has a plan in this and I’m not willing to give that up. Nor are we throwing this away, it may have a few skipped days but we will come through to the other side because that is who WE are. We are ONE. Thank you for reading about our lives and keep watching my if you’d like to see how two people who love be each other and God work through some difficult times and a lot of bad habits. 

 

In A Bad Mood

The past few days, I have been in a bad mood.  It’s interesting really, because I don’t typically have bad mood days.  I am, for the most part, a very fun and excited about life kind of person and I truly love other human beings.  It’s one of the gifts I believe God gave in making me, I really like life and want to live it to the fullest as John 10:10 offers.  But for the past three weeks especially, one of my naturally born tendencies of lacking sympathy is showing up a lot more than I have seen in a few years.

I really like people and enjoy getting to know others and share in their story, but when I invest in others, I do so with all my heart.  That being said, lacking empathy (which I assume God has a purpose for making me that way, on a scale of 0-100, mine is like 10) and the amount of physical suffering I have gone through is making me bitchy.  I told hubby that I feel like I am one of the meanest people right now because I am tired of hearing people tell me what they deserve.  That being said, when I hear others giving me a sob story when their life looks like the choices they’ve made and their suffering is the consequence for those choices, I don’t have much left to offer.  Now, if someone sees that it was their choices and they are fighting like hell to make new ones, with God, then I am able to muster more sympathy.  I guess I am a rarity in today’s world, but I am coming back again, at 46, and in that I am fighting like hell for an incredible marriage to live fully.

Now that I have explained a  bit about where I am and where I am coming from, I want to offer a bit about why I’ve been in a bad mood.  Firstly, we are fighting for an incredible marriage, we truly want to have this experience here be preparation for what is to come and frankly, I’ve lost a lot of it to bad choices.  Several of my health issues came about because I was fat and that wasn’t okay for my dad, at all, so his treatment toward me as a child for it was awful.  I have forgiven that and moved way forward, but because of it, I was broken and didn’t like me.  Hubby married that girl when she was fairly thin and the larger I got, the more I hated myself.  When weight loss surgery became a big deal, my mom and I went to my dad and asked him to pay for it as money wasn’t a major issue in his life.  He told us he would pay for it since he made me fat.  I don’t really care what his reason was, I hated me because he made me feel like I was unworthy of his love because of it.  I was 277 the day I went into surgery and within five years, I was suffering some health issues because of it.  That wasn’t the whole problem but it contributed to making me an unhealthy person for a lot of years.  The past year of 224 days with a tube and seven surgeries, didn’t come from that but I am 46 and I am determined to regain my strength and my stamina even if I die doing that.  I am in pain every day in some area of my body and I am having sex with my husband 224 days in a row, more than halfway, and I am tired of hearing people make excuses for failing in life or not living life fully when they are able bodied and healthy.

Why am I choosing to do this with hubby?  Because I love that man more than any other human being I have met to this date and our marriage being exactly what everyone sees on the outside is VITAL to health.  So, I want health in my marriage and my world.  We live in a broken world of people staring at their cell phones and choosing divorce when it gets too hard and their pride is too great to admit there are problems and you don’t have to choose to divorce to fix them.  You have to be willing to listen to others tell you the truth and work with God and counselors and mentors to make different choices.  Video games, cell phones, technology and television are robbing us from life and what we are doing by doing those things addictively is living vicariously through them.  The other people on facebook or the movie, whatever it is.  I was forced to not live life fully because of health issues and I watch others choose it daily instead of life.  Yes, I am kind of on a rant but really I am struggling with hubby to renegotiate a lot of choices that have been made and what is so really cool about him is this, he wants the same things!  So, we are figuring out how to make it happen for us but it is tough.

Here is the tough part…by the end of each day, we are tired and many days, we have been in debate.  Sex and orgasm at our age is normal about every three days and our drives are waning at daily sex for more than 115 days.  Do we quit because we aren’t “in the mood” as often as we’d like?  We have talked about it.  In the midst of argument, we have both threatened it.  And, thus far, we have not quit.  It is hard, but everything in life that is worth anything might be hard, but it is worth it.  Yesterday, we truly thought about quitting because honestly, sex every three days sounds wonderful.  The pressure would be off, we wouldn’t have to blog (not that we do, we just might not have anything to blog about), and life could be easier, that is the real question, “would it”?  As of today, it wouldn’t so we have decided to continue for now.  If we do quit, it will be because God releases us and our healing is completely where it has to be so we really do have sex every three days and we LOVE it every time!  I hope you read this to the end and please know this, we are fighting for FULL life and we are having some bumpy times but we are both committed to each other and to God and I believe healing is a gift worth whatever I have to offer to God.

Anticipating change. . .

We are entering an exciting time in our lives over the next few months – soon, probably before the end of the year, all of our children will be out on their own:

  • Our oldest just graduated from college, and in August, she will be starting an internship at Disney World in Orlando.
  • Our son has been stationed overseas, but in the fall, he will be reassigned to a base here on American soil.
  • And his twin sister will be getting married (no date yet, but looking at December).

Most likely, by January 1st, Chandra and I will live alone, just the two of us, for the first time in over 23 years – and I, for one, am excited about it!

Unlike many couples we have known, we have always kept the romance alive in our marriage. We left the kids with a sitter or the grandparents and went out on dates.  We took weekends and trips with just the two of us to keep us connected. Chandra has always been my priority, and I have always felt like I was hers (our kids were a priority, too, but they were always second to our marriage). We knew that someday it would just be the two of us again!

And as a bonus God gave us TheChallenge to reconnect on an even deeper level, at this point in our lives, as we are anticipating the change that is coming.  I love His generosity!

“A good woman is hard to find,
    and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
    and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously
    all her life long.”               -Proverbs 31:10-12 (MSG)

Cuddle Time

This morning hubby and I got our cuddle time.  We are blessed with two mornings a week that we get to stay in bed a little bit later and talk, cuddle and catch up.  We had so much of that time on vacation and today was the first opportunity we have had since then.  We both were eager for it today and were so grateful to have it.

As I lay in the crook of his arm, looking up into his beautiful eyes, I could see how much he enjoys this time too.  My heart is so blessed to have him for my hubby, we don’t always agree and neither of us is perfect, but we are perfect for each other.  Our time this morning was precious, I had surgery on Friday and have been a bit out of it since then.  This was the first morning that I woke up feeling “normal”.  We talked about the weekend and how things had gone around here, our vacation and how great it was, God and our reading plans, and many more things.  It is such special time.

It is mornings like today I thank God for.  We didn’t always take the time to do a morning in bed when we were younger, the opportunity isn’t always there.  With life happening as it does today, children, jobs, parents, cell phones, computers, iPad’s… the list of things that can get in our way is growing.  I’m so grateful that we do take that time today.  If you haven’t ever taken a morning in bed together, I challenge you to put it on your schedule. You can make love or simply communicate, either one will bless your day and your marriage.

“Like the finest apple tree in the orchard is my lover among other young men.  I sit in his delightful shade and taste his delicious fruit.”  Song of Solomon 2:3

 

Reconnected

Phew, the screw is gone and I am healing well, thank you for your prayers!  I have mentioned all the surgeries I have gone through over the years, this screw was a leftover piece of hardware from having my toes repaired over 10 years ago.  I have decided that I must have a high pain tolerance, even though hubby might disagree.  We began reconnecting on Thursday, it is amazing how are “life” at home can get in the way of that connection, but it happens easily to us and we work hard at it.

We had a weird day on Thursday, lots of conversation that led to our understanding of the disconnect.  Hubby hadn’t had ANY down time since we returned from vacation.  I had a lot of down time.  Thus, he needed to recharge when I needed to talk with him.  It’s a catch 22, but we are figuring things like that out and God is definitely using it to grow us.  My surgery was equally odd, I was scheduled for 10:30, arrived by 9, and didn’t go into the OR until 1:30.  By that time, I was in a panic state (I have decided I must have some PTSD that perks it’s head when I am in a hospital setting), I had taken medicine to lower anxiety around 9 expecting to be close to on time and by 12 or so I was panicking again.  The anesthesiologist came in and gave me something to relax me and not long after that, I wasn’t fully there.  I don’t remember recovery or coming home that day and only have bits of memories through Sunday, I really hate that medicine!  Today, I am feeling human again.  I have felt a grip of fear come over me the last two days that is so unrealistic, hubby and I prayed while he was home for lunch and I am getting my Spirit settled.

We began reconnecting Thursday, hubby essentially got two days to recharge and tonight we’ll be back on track for a fun night, yay!  I have to say, hubby is an incredible care taker and he has been a huge blessing.  All the way through illness, he always shows up to bathe me, wash and dry my hair, anything that needs to be done.  At lunch today he came home and washed my hair in the kitchen sink because I can’t get my foot wet.  Truth be told, that was my place of reconnect, when hubby cares for me in practical, special, and needed ways, he receives many brownie points;-).  As hubby washed my hair, I was watching him, his eyes were soft and gentle, loving.  We will definitely be having a good time tonight!

Thank you for all your prayers, I can already tell that my foot is better.  Here is my meditation verse for today…

“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Romans 15:5-6

Day 104 – Surgery

Wow – I can’t believe it’s day 105 already! Yesterday was 104, and we completed TheChallenge first thing because Chandra was having surgery mid-morning, and we didn’t know how she would feel in the evening. (It was a small surgery, on the Chandra-scale of surgery – she had a screw removed from her left foot that had been giving her problems – sometimes I think she is the bionic woman!)
And even though she is still in pain today, and on some pretty strong pain medicine – there is little doubt in my mind that we will finish day 105 of TheChallenge later today.  We have the house to ourselves until our daughters get home after 10, and I know my beautiful wife won’t let a little pain get in the way of this challenge that God has set before us.

 This challenge has been difficult, exciting, scary, and so much more.  And God is growing us through it all!

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Phillipians 4:13

Disconnected

Today was the first time I saw a post from WordPress that challenged us to write on a topic and it was so interesting that this was the topic.  Hubby and I have been talking a lot about how I feel like we are disconnected and today we had a disagreement about it, so I am going to take the challenge.

I feel like hubby and I are disconnected.  Our trip was amazing and I started seeing a glimpse of someone in hubby that I long to know better.  It was an authenticity that I don’t get super often because it gets overrun by the task oriented hubby.  As soon as we got back, life began to run him again instead of him running it.  What I mean by that is this, he doesn’t seem to be able to turn tasks off in his head throughout the day to reconnect since then.  This weekend didn’t help in that department, he was at annual re-licensure all day Saturday and Sunday and from the time he was done each day, we had parties and people to attend to and it was so full we lost us.  I know I probably sound dramatic, after all it has only been a week, how could I get here?

Now that I have asked that on paper, I feel a need to look deeper.  I’ve been praying non-stop hoping that it is spiritual warfare or attack, but when I am done in prayer, the sadness in my heart doesn’t go away.  I am not a person that sleeps during the day, never have been, but three of the last seven days I have taken or attempted to take a nap.  I’m so sad.  I’ve cried and cried out to God and I truly don’t know what is going on.  When we are together, he is spending so much time arguing with the pain I’m feeling that he isn’t spending the time discovering where the disconnect is.  I share what I am feeling and in the middle of it, he begins fighting to be right in all his actions.  That doesn’t change my heart, even when he can win the argument by only looking at his actions and if they are proper.  It isn’t about his actions, it is about his heart.  After reading him for 26 years, I feel I’m pretty good at knowing if he is present or not and this past week I’ve seen very little of him being present with me.  He is asking what action he can do to “fix” it for me (it isn’t up to him to fix it, by the way, it is between God and me) and there isn’t an action he can take that would work until his heart is present again.

I know that hubby is more of an introvert than I am, he needs alone time to recharge.  I champion his time to himself, more today than EVER in the past.  I didn’t even know recharging without people was a “thing” I am so extroverted by nature.  Thankfully today, I long for alone time with God on a daily basis so I get his need, but if you don’t use that time to recharge with God it seems fruitless.  Today is the first day I feel like I asked God if I have what it takes to finish this challenge.  I had a brief thought before we began that said I couldn’t, I put it behind me and got my hormone pellets and said “Yes” to God and hubby.  Today, with no sex drive at all, I heard the question, “Can you really finish this challenge?  And, is it really worth it?”.  And, today, I don’t know the answers to these questions.  I’ve been so good at looking at what God is doing in it and through it that I’ve been able to get past the times hubby isn’t romantic at all and the times he isn’t looking at me the same way.  Today I am wondering if I, I have what it takes.  I believe hubby would finish it without even questioning if he would or could, that is the kind of man he is, I don’t know if I am that woman.

Today I feel disconnected.  Hubby says he feels we are good, for him.  I will continue to pray and ask for God to fill the gap and see where He leads me.  I am impressed with us exactly where we are today, we have made it over 100 days.  At 46, with the health issues I’ve faced and face each day, I know we have won even if we don’t make it to 224.  Hubby did tell me this week about a book a couple wrote that set a goal to make it 365 days, they were younger than we are and only made it a little over 100 days.  I haven’t read the story but if that is true, I’m even more proud that we are here today and still striving to reach the goal. None of this is hubby’s fault either, he’s the guy I married and I love who he is. Please pray for us, this is hard y’all!

“I can do all things through Christ who give me strength.” Phillipian 4:13

Be – Do – Have

Last weekend, Chandra and I were having a discussion about changing our behavior.

Society (the flesh, or even possibly the enemy) thinks this way:  “If I DO this activity/task, then I will HAVE this thing/person/relationship, and I will BE happy/popular/successful.” Even most self-help books teach you to attack life from this angle: “Stop procrastinating. Think positive. Let it go. DO SOMETHING.”  DO – HAVE – BE

Here is what I have learned:  It is impossible for me to DO something that doesn’t match up with who I BE – pardon the bad grammar – I can’t be a good speaker if I’m terrified to get up in front of people; I can’t be a good husband if I believe my wife deserves better; I can’t be a good leader if I believe I have nothing worth offering to others. I might be able to fake it for awhile, but the change will not be lasting, or authentic.

The only way to truly and authentically change my behavior is to BE someone different – not just pretend – actually BE. The BE comes first!

When I was in college I read that most of us, as human beings, are not who we think we are, and we are not who others think we are – we are who we think others think we are.

I AM WHO I THINK OTHERS THINK I AM.

Think about that for a minute.  How many of us base our identity on who we think others want us to be. Whether I want to or not, I have always tried to mold myself into who I thought others thought I was supposed to be!!  And most days. . . I don’t even know who I am supposed to be; how am I supposed to know what others think I’m supposed to be?

That was true until a few years ago when I met a counselor who started teaching me about my identity in Christ.  He said, “The truest thing about you is what Christ says about you.”  And then he ran through all the truths in scripture about who I am now that Jesus has stepped between me and God, and offered me His identity IN THIS WORLD, if I would just accept it.  

Wow.  

How do I get that identity? The one and only method to change who I am BEING is to renew my mind. 

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” – Romans 12:2a (NASB)

When we become Christians we receive a new heart, but our minds were trained in the world.  We have to think differently if we want to change who we BE:

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” – Phillippians 4:8 (NASB)

And when we change our identity, our priorities change, too:

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33 (NASB)

So for the last 6 years I have gone to the Bible to find out what God says about me.  I have sought a relationship with Jesus and a place in His kingdom. And I have stopped focusing on the bad news in this world, and started focusing on the promises of God for my life.  And over the last 6 years I have begun (just barely) to believe in myself the way my wife and my family and my friends believe in me.  And I am starting to BE who I was meant to be, so I can DO what God has called me to do which is love others as I love myself. And now I HAVE a life and marriage I had only dreamed of having my entire life.  BE – DO – HAVE

This 224 day challenge has been a proving ground for who I am going to BE – Am I going to be selfish and demand my way? Or am I going to do what’s best for our marriage and lay myself down? Will I apologize when I am wrong; show compassion; pursue my wife when I am tired and the world has worn me down? 

Yes, some days I am going to be selfish.  And on those days my wife is the one who shows compassion and gives in.  And some days I get to be the hero who saves the day.  And it takes two people, committed to each other and to God, to make a marriage work.  Thank you, Jesus for putting Chandra and me together 25 years ago!

 

 

 

Birthday Celebrations!

Today I am celebrating the birth of this incredible, Godly, kind, patient, caring, genuine and authentic man of God that I was so blessed to marry over 25 years ago.  It is hard to believe that we have been celebrating your birthday together for 26 years and yet, we have barely scratched the surface that the next 26 have to offer!  Hubby on this special day, I want you to know that you are a man of such integrity and passion and I am grateful for your leadership daily, thank you for choosing me.

Looking back over our marriage, it’s funny to realize that for many years of our life together, birthday sex was pretty much mandatory.  Hubby is/was a celebration kind of guy and his celebrations always included sex.  We talked about that a few times jokingly and he said it was the only time he was guaranteed sex and he was taking full advantage of it!  I don’t blame him, the sex wasn’t consistent or incredible for many years.  With illness comes a slew of choices and decisions, sex isn’t high on most people’s mind during it.  I didn’t place a high priority on sex when I hurt and was sick, but I knew that hubby needed to be taken care of, so holiday and vacation sex always happened.  I think if we had only had sex on those occasions in any of those dark years, we would have still beat the average marital bedroom stats which says couples are having sex 10 times a year.

I’m excited to celebrate with friends and family tonight, I’m still struggling with the fact that we are, wait for it, mid-40’s.  That sounded so far away when I was turning 21 as our twins did yesterday and here it is.  I really do love being mid-40’s, this is a new place of wisdom and courage that I haven’t known before, a place of healing and restoration. During 2016, God made a commitment to me to do some mighty things in our home and they are unfolding with each celebration.

Today, hubby’s day, it is a special one.  We are about 100 days into the challenge and have no desire to give up, that alone is a miracle.  We are on fire for God and one another and it is so blessed.  Our children are all moving forward in their lives and we get to watch as God uses each of their lives to lead others to Christ.  It is beautiful walking hand in hand with you hubby, I pray you know every day that I choose you and Christ and I am grateful for the day you were born.  Tonight we will celebrate with our friends and family and then we will celebrate with each other, I’m looking forward to what today brings.

Honeymoons

This last weekend was like a second honeymoon for us – a celebration of our 25 years of marriage. It was also intended as an escape from our everyday life – a long weekend to relax and renew ourselves. Of course we intended to complete TheChallenge every day we were there, but it was so much more! 

I think last weekend was what God would intend for every honeymoon to look like.  There was no stress about sites to see, things to do – no time tables, and no alarms!  Only time to connect with God, revive our own hearts, and connect and enjoy each other like few couples ever take the time to experience.

We slept naked every night, and (after a little coffee) we had some intimate time every morning before breakfast.  After breakfast we might read, or shower, or just sit and talk and cuddle and make out, and a couple times we had sex again before getting ready to head out for the day.  I lost track of how many times we had sex last weekend – the whole weekend was about exploring each other – mind, body and spirit. By the end of the weekend we had piles of clothes everywhere – and we just didn’t care – we had thoroughly enjoyed our time together that didn’t require clothes!

If we only knew 25 years ago what we know today – I think we would have done our first honeymoon a lot differently – and probably wouldn’t have waited so long for our second! I came home with a new love, attraction, and passion for my wife and my marriage that only comes from a weekend of exploration like we had. I can’t wait for the next one. . .

I would challenge you readers to schedule a weekend away with your spouse soon – with no schedules, agendas, alarms – only time to ENJOY each other – body, soul and spirit!

“9 May your kisses be as exciting as the best wine—

Yes, wine that goes down smoothly for my lover,
    flowing gently over lips and teeth.[b]
10 I am my lover’s,
    and he claims me as his own.
11 Come, my love, let us go out to the fields
    and spend the night among the wildflowers.[c]
12 Let us get up early and go to the vineyards
    to see if the grapevines have budded,
if the blossoms have opened,
    and if the pomegranates have bloomed.
    There I will give you my love.”                                  – Song of Solomon 7:9-12