Have you ever felt led to do something that scared the livin’ daylights out of you? Is there one part of your life you’ve struggled so hard in private while putting a smile on your face in public? Have you ever felt God leading you to open up and share that very private part of your life? Not for recognition, pity, or any other selfish reason, but so God might be able to use it to help someone else. I’ve felt that tug on my heart and I’ve refused to share it. That part of my life is my marriage. I want to get a few things out in the open right from the get go. First off, my marriage is not a cautionary tale, but rather an ongoing story of God’s redeeming grace! Secondly, when I talk about a difficult marriage, that is not the same thing as an abusive marriage. God has given provisions in His Word for women(and men) who are being abused in marriage. If your spouse is abusing you or your children, you need to get safe and seek help. If you need help getting out of an abusive relationship, I can, and will help you.
I’ve been very reluctant to open up about my difficult marriage. I’ve struggled between wanting to scream from one corner of the world to the other about every transgression, to never wanting to air my husbands dirty laundry. I still don’t want to parade out his sin, or present our struggles as solely his fault, so I’m not going to. However, I am done hiding in the dark. I’m done being ashamed and scared. I’m done listening to the lies Satan has spewed at me about my husband, my self, our marriage but most importantly, the lies he’s tried to sell me about God. I’m sure most of you know the lies, they go mostly like this… I deserve… He’s not doing what I need him to do…. This is so terrible there’s no way God will work this for good… And on and on they go. But hear me when I say this, THEY ARE LIES!!!
My husband has struggled with alcoholism for about ten of the eleven years we’ve been married. I am an adult child of alcoholics. My dad was sober for most of my life. My mom is another story. To say I hate alcohol and it’s hold on people, is an understatement. It’s presence in my life makes me feel very unsafe and uneasy. Between his struggles and my baggage, it has not been easy for us to walk this path of marriage, even though we love each other very much. My husband is one of the funniest, sweetest, non-traditionally romantic, genuine, down-to-earth, easy going, laid back, level-headed and supportive people I’ve ever known. He can also be short-tempered, unmotivated, and uncommunicative. I can be kind, generous, loving, patient, hard working and motivated. I can also tend to be stubborn, prideful, hot tempered, discontent, impulsive and sharp tongued. He can slip into alcohol addiction and all that entails pretty easily, while I can allow bitterness and unforgivness to take root in my heart pretty easily. We are clearly both imperfect sinners who desperately need Jesus and His Grace.
God has used these facts of our marriage to grow and change me. Growth and change are never easy, very rarely make us happy(at the time), and take time. As I’ve floundered down this path God has graciously helped me navigate, I’ve learned some lessons that are treasure to me. I’d like to share them with you. Beginning with this nugget; we married all of one another. This was a huge lesson for me to learn, and when I remember this truth, it changes how I love him. I married all of him. The best, worst, and every part of him in between. And he married all of me. How amazing is that? He doesn’t get to only be married to me on the days when I’m nice and non hormonal. And I don’t get to choose to only be married to him when he’s sober. God in His Sovereignty brought us together and that means all of us, every day. Not just the fun and pretty parts on the good days.
I’d like to share more about the ways God has used my difficult marriage for my good and His Glory. Here’s a few more lessons I’ll go into detail about:
Really learning to believe God’s promises, getting out of God’s way and letting Him do what only He can, I can’t do anything to get or keep him sober, how I learned to stop acting like a victim and martyr in my marriage, that his sin is the same as my sin in God’s eyes, how I’m learning to respect him even when I struggle to like him, the strength in staying and how to get it, how to be submissive but not a door mat, and how I finally stopped looking for a way out. My hope and prayer is that these words would encourage you in someway. If you have a question or just want to chat with someone who’s been there, I’d love to hear from you. One last thing I’ve learned is that there will be good days, not just good, but great days along the way