It was the tail end of March 2011, my husband Matt and our four children had just moved. We had finally purchased OUR dream home – a stone farmhouse overlooking Keuka Lake with 20+ acres of vineyards, office space for our business and a pool for the kids. And, in an effort to “get away” from the cold weather and stresses of moving, we took a ten day vacation to Florida to relax and visit with family. It was great. On our plane ride back, I had visions of spring starting and the joys of beginning our adventure in our new home. After all, I homeschooled, and this was going to be the PERFECT place to raise and educate my young bunch, all under the age of seven.
OH….BUT WAIT!!! Unbeknownst to me was that I was drowning in the pace of our life. I was burnout in my first year of homeschooling I was constantly busy trying to keep up with housework and meals. I was sleep deprived. I was recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I was completely drained from our move. I was stressed with the pressures of owning our own business. I was off my exercise routine and gained unwanted weight back. And, last but not least, I was only passing Matt in the hall in the wee hours of the night to say hi and bye. We were doing all of this in the name of trying to raise a solid family. Right? We had made some really good decisions to build a Godly family and life. I couldn’t understand that the cost of it all was wear and tear on our marriage. I was devastated. What had brewed behind the scenes was not only shocking, but heartbreaking. Over the course of the next few weeks.….I came “undone” and was in a battle for myself, my marriage and my family.
You see, my husband and I have been each other’s best friends for over a decade. We began dating in 1994, and it continued through college into our new adult lives. We were married August 11, 2001, and from then on began building our careers, home and family. Through everything, and I mean everything, we were always solid and it was easy. Over the last ten years now, we had leveraged each other with second and third jobs, house renovations, conceiving and delivering four children, grieving the loss of a parent, medical battles, job transitions, and what seemed like never ending extended family battles. BUT, we believed our life was still right on track, only to wake up one morning in March, and realize that it was happening to us. I couldn’t even process it. After all these years of working to get to “this point” why was everything so wrong right now?
With the grace of God, and the strong love we have always had for each other, and the prayers of many of our friends we went into battle together. Real battle. We spent endless nights talking about how we had gotten where we were, and what each of us needed from each other to move forward. Most
importantly, we learned how to put on the armor of God to lead us through this dry valley. I personally have never felt so vulnerable. I was in a place that only God could take me through to the other side, and I still wasn’t sure I could see the light on the other end.
We slowly began to reawaken to each other. We each began to be intentional about our love for each other. I began to process just how much of a load Matt had on his shoulders being the provider in our family, and he began to tune in to how difficult and isolating it can as a stay at home mom. I deeply desired his attention while he was home.
I think the dry valley that we’ve walked through most recently has made us stronger and our love for each other better. It has also given me a new sense of thanks for a marriage that in the past I definitely took for granted. It has given me a new sense of compassion for just how hard some couples can struggle in marriage. But most importantly, it highlighted to me just how much I needed to focus and rely on God for true strength and happiness in my life. I realized that the best decision I can make for my marriage is to love God with all of my heart.
My prayer for anyone reading this is that you use your God-given strength to battle through circumstances in your marriage and fight for the one you love. Realize you both are on the same team, and that modern society doesn’t exactly promote strong healthy marriages. Work, kids, money and other temptations can quickly consume a beautiful marriage. It is only you that can be intentional about maintaining a strong Godly marriage in which love and honestly flow freely. And when it does….oh, what a beautiful thing.
We just celebrated our 10th anniversary in August with the renewing of our vows. And we did it with feelings of triumph and proudness, knowing that God will continue to lead and prune us as individuals, and as a couple. When you are going through the storms in your marriage and frankly feel like jumping ship, remember the promise that “…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5: 3-5)
Appropriately titled, I named this piece Love and War after a fantastic book Matt and I just read called Love and War, by John and Staci Eldredge. It’s a fantastic read, so pick a copy up at your library or local book store. Or, visit www.ransomedheart.com
Have you faced similiar dry times in your marriage? What got you through?
What do you do in your marriage to “reawaken” to each other when you realize life is dragging you down?
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