I promise you that the wild look in my eyes was the result of a limo driver who got me to my own wedding twenty minutes late while people were waiting in a ninety degree church. I barely had time to breathe. It wasn't because I was ready to bolt.
But maybe it should have been.
Maybe me from 12 years ago actually knew deep down that I was about to do the scariest, stupidest thing a human being could ever do. To give myself - this flawed, broken, wounded self - to another human being, as flawed, broken, and wounded as myself - if not more so. To allow myself the possibility of being hurt beyond anything I could imagine. It's insanity. Maybe it's better that I didn't have a chance to second guess any of this. Maybe it was grace that my confidence that this was exactly the man I was supposed to marry did not waver that day. There wasn't even an inkling right at that moment of what our marriage would entail. Bolting would have made sense.
I've had this on my heart for a few months now but haven't been able to find the words that fit. But I'll just fumble my way through and hope it makes sense, I suppose. I have had this feeling like there are people or maybe just a person out there who needs to know that they are not alone.
It's a beautiful thing when people share the wonderful things about their marriage, especially in the Christian blogosphere. It's needed and it's important. Please keep sharing the beauty of your marriage. We need that. But it can be hard to read that when you are in the midst of a real fight for your marriage. When you feel like you will never ever have that. When it seems like that soul's longing will never be filled in this life. Or even when we've just surrendered to mediocrity. People don't often share the hard parts, and understandably so.
So let me share something: Brian and I have struggled. A lot. Like crazy real struggle. Not the "marriage is so tough, he left the seat up again and never thanks me for making dinner" type of struggle. Real stuff. Ugly stuff.
I have this sense that there are people reading who are hurting deeply. Who are struggling hard in their marriages and who feel afraid, lost, alone, broken, and hopeless.
I want you to know you're not alone.
There are those for whom marriage seems to come easy. Perhaps they entered with less wounds, were better prepared, or just got a better break. Then there are those of us who feel like we are making it up as we go along. Those of us who have been hurt. Those of us who have at some points lost hope. Those of us who have considered giving up.
I almost did.
I can't speak to your specific situation but I do know this in the deepest part of my soul: Our God is a God of redemption. A God of hope. A God who delights in redeeming us from the ugliest of situations and lives to pull us out of the muck of our sinfulness.
He is a God who laughs in the face of pop psychology and He is a God that insists our life depends upon us following Him to a crucifixion. He is a God who was whipped, beaten, and torn apart to save His beloved from death. This is the God that wants to fight for you and for your spouse and invites you to enter the battle. A battle that when won, is more glorious than anything we could imagine.
I want you to know that where you are right now does not have to be the end of your story.
And I need you to know that the fight is worth it.
I don't know if I will ever have the words to share Brian's and my story, or if I ever even should. But I know our story is a story of redemption. It is a story of a God who made us for a life of beauty and passion and true love. Who called us to a battle that was soul-deep, a battle that is still not over and is being used for our own sanctification. That name up there at the top of this page is my tribute to that reality. It reflects my belief, sometimes willed with all my might, that the only thing better than perfection is redemption. The best fairy tales involve a dragon and a war that must be won. They involve battle scars and a Love that will not give up even if it must sacrifice its very Self.
God can use the pain, the battle, the struggle, the stripping away of what we thought marriage would be for our own healing and to help us become more fully the men and women He created us to be. He asks for two people to become one so that He can make us better than we ever would have been without that person. He asks us to let go of everything that we thought it would be so that He can replace it with something beyond our wildest dreams. I see Him doing that with us.
Nope, you are not alone. There are others fighting the battle, too, and there is a God who longs to give you the victory. You may be considered a fool by the world to hope for that kind of love or for even engaging in the battle but it is real and I'm here to tell you it is worth it. Keep fighting.
Then again, maybe I did bolt...
(Just kidding, it was raining ;)