The enemy uses so many things to distract us in today’s world. The one safe place we all are looking for is a marriage and home where we know everyone is for us. They are on our side. But, we have a real enemy and he uses people, even in our safe places, to cause chaos and pain. The entire 224 days of sex challenge, I want our readers to be aware that we fought almost every day and the fights were ugly and nasty. We treated one another like we were worst enemies. I honestly didn’t know if I would survive that challenge. I did, we did, and God has used it to save “us”.
Following the challenge, I nearly moved out of our home. I didn’t want and don’t want a divorce from Hubby. Period. But, when I made the decision to move out, I was moving out because I couldn’t handle it anymore. I felt like a season apart would be good for us. God asked me to stay. I had shared with Hubby that I would make my final decision by October 31 and a couple of days prior to that I was at Bible Study Fellowship. I was in my circle room where there were about 30 women. As some of the women were sharing, I drifted off into conversation with God. In that conversation, He began to ask me questions. By the end of that conversation I recall hearing Him ask me this question, “Would you stay if he wanted you to?”. I didn’t feel wanted by him at all, except for sex that is. But did he really want me to stay? And would I? I wasn’t sure in that moment. As class let out and I met up with our daughter Caylee, I asked her if she wanted to leave before big group because I selfishly wanted to hear her thoughts. She lived with us throughout that time and she saw way more ugly than any kid should have to witness. (Now, I want to be clear that she was 20 years old at the time and needed to move out. I finally had to tell her it was time for her to figure it out and get out before we did anymore damage to her.) Caylee is rather wise and can help you see other perspectives without causing any damage in the process so I knew she would give me a fresh perspective. When we got into the car, I asked her what she would think about me staying. Part of me thought she would consider me a schmuck for staying. The other part thought she might just encourage, and that part won out.
I remember going home and sitting on the back porch with Hubby and asking him if he wanted me to stay? His response to me was, “I never wanted you to go in the first place.” I needed to hear that. One thing that makes our fighting harder for me, I think, is that he isn’t continually praising me for things I do well. So, when hateful things are lashing toward me from his tongue, it seems to me it’s deeper than the things I say to him. At least he has a lot of comparison of words since I naturally praise him rather consistently. That may just be wishful thinking, but I hope I don’t cut as deep as he does because of that. We both can get really ugly with each other. He was so angry that year, between me getting sick the year before, again, and him stepping down from the ministry he had served in for five years, it was all too much for him. When we were apart and I was at home, I spent so much time praying and praising God because He gave me pictures of Hubby getting past this hurt and pain and growing into the man of God that He designed. I’ve been able to see the good that will come from all of that fighting but I have to be honest, we still do it. Not as often, and typically now, it doesn’t get as ugly as it used to, but sometimes it does. Today, and for the last week, it has gotten ugly.
I’ve used the word divorce a few times. No, I don’t want a divorce but sometimes it seems it’s the only option if we want to find peace. I’ve been through a lot in my life. The fact that I am still breathing, to me, is a miracle. I recognize the enemy I just don’t always take him on well. This past month, I haven’t taken him on well. I’ve let things Hubby has done and said really hurt me. What is that scripture God taught me all those years ago? “Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.” (Prov 4:23 NIV) When I heard that scripture for the first time, I didn’t have a clue what it meant. To me, guarding my heart meant building fortresses around it so that no one could get in. The sad part was, no one got in. I recall asking God to show me what that meant. When I ask Him for those kinds of things, my hope is that over a course of time He will show me in life what it means. I asked Him for this verse and over the course of six years He has rooted it AND He has given me specifics of how to do that in life. My problem has been “real time”. I get lost in my emotions and let them speak for me as much as Hubby does. The biggest difference I’ve experienced is that once the fight is over, he is done looking at any of the communication that led to it or that was spoken in it. At least it feels that way. What I tend to do is go to God and let Him help me walk it out and look at my part. I don’t have proof, well I may it would just take going back in texts to find out, but I think that I have come back to him on my part and asked for forgiveness quite a bit more than he has. I’m not comparing to say that I don’t need to continue this pattern but I do say that I desperately need him to look at his part. Through a different lens of a human being if possible, but hopefully also through the lens of love, which is God.
I got an earful from a friend who asked if she could play devil’s advocate. I allowed it. I like being challenged with someone else’s pictures, it gives me a clearer view of where I can improve and love better. I asked God in 2015, begged Him in fact, to teach me to love well. That means I have to let friends speak up for Hubby and give an interpretation of his views. It also means that I need to choose my friends wisely, and share wisely all the time, so that when I mess up or we are fighting, they have information to offer because they know he is a good man. But how do I guard me and choose Hubby at the same time? How do we both win? Winning has been a priority to both of us most of our marriage but I feel like I am to the place that the only win is when we both win. A win-win here, to me, would be both of us owning the responsibility for our part. But then the question becomes, who apologizes first? So, after talking to my friend, I apologized for my part but apparently I didn’t do it well, he just got more pissed off and called me self righteous. I don’t know y’all, marriage is hard. I do think we need some time and space apart. He has held himself together long enough since I went to my week long counseling in Colorado about a month ago. Hubby is an introvert and has been around people for about two weeks now, he needs a break. I think without time apart we may just keep breaking each other. I messed up, he’s messed up and if each of us takes time with Daddy to explore our parts, I know we will come back together stronger than ever before, we always do.
But, today, today is tough. Even when we are fighting I miss him. Even when it is healthier to take a break, I miss him. I know the calling God has on our marriage and I see the devil’s handiwork at play. I know how to fight in prayer for the best outcome of all, peace. I know God has both of us, loves both of us, and wants for both of us to win. I know we will win, don’t ever count us out.