The worst had happened. I laid awake all night thinking, crying and praying. God, I never wanted this, and I certainly don’t want it for my kids. I wasn’t happy either, but I did not want to break up my family. I wanted to work on my marriage, but my husband had decided he wanted to leave.
I wonder how many people reading this have experienced the same thing. I am so sorry if you have. But I am praying that by writing this I can encourage those who still have a ray of hope, because my story didn’t end by ending.
As I lay there that night praying, I sensed the Lord tell me, “Keep loving him.” The conversation (or you might say argument) continued, in short, something like this:
“Just keep loving him.”
“But how, Lord? I don’t even like him right now!”
“Show him real love. Show him he can trust your love.”
And after a bit more discussion, “Okay, Lord, but you’re gonna have to love him through me cuz I got nothing.”
That’s all God needs, you know, a willing heart. I had to put aside all my anger, resentment, and ill feelings towards my husband. Then I had to trust God. How’s that for faith–I actually had to exercise it, not just say I believed. I had to put it into action. This meant even though I couldn’t see how we could fix things, I had to trust God to do what only He could do. I sure knew I couldn’t do it. I had nothing, remember? No-thing.
I lift up my eyes to the hills, from where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2 ESV
We lived a separation for many months under the same roof. It’s funny how God used our lack of funds to keep us living together—we couldn’t afford two living arrangements at the time.
I continued to pray. I continued to act in a loving way towards my husband, as opposed to acting cold or resentful or not speaking—you know, all the things we do when we’re angry or don’t get what we want. I was determined not to allow things to get ugly.
This was the ultimate test of what I had heard, that “love is a decision.” It sure is, because it certainly wasn’t feelings during that time. Did anyone ever tell you love is not feelings? That’s infatuation. We were way past that. We were in the disillusionment stage of our marriage, along with a lot of other dis’s.
It’s been said there are three stages of marriage: infatuation, disillusionment, and, if you make it through the second one, joy.
A funny thing happened on the way to joy. As I continued to act in love towards my husband, my heart began to soften, and so did his. He began to feel loved and act differently towards me. Amazingly, feelings were beginning to return.
Love makes up for all offenses. Proverbs 10:12 NLT
Then one day, as we met each other at our son’s t-ball game, he called me over to his truck and told me he wanted to work things out.
So the work began.
I won’t tell you it was easy. It was not. Things weren’t instantly fixed that had put us in that predicament. We had a lot of work to do. To be honest, it took a long time. But doesn’t everything worth having? Success doesn’t come easy or without a lot of time, commitment and hard work.
Notice I said success, not happiness. We may be looking for “happily ever after” when we should be looking for success. Can we, and how do we, succeed at this thing called marriage?
I’ll tell you how:
The verb love. The love in action kind of love. The hard-core commitment kind of love. The love that says, “I’m in this for better or for worse. I am not giving up. I will not quit.”
And by all means, continue to pray, for your spouse, yourself and your marriage, because…
God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that works in us. Ephesians 3:20 NKJV
And here we are, over forty years in. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
(Grand child number seven was born after this picture was taken.)
That’s the power of love!
Again, I am so sorry if this was not your story. But I hope my story blesses someone who needs to hear it, who may be disillusioned and discouraged in their marriage this Valentine’s Day.
I also want to mention that there was no abuse in my situation. If that is part of your story, please get help and stay safe (National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233).
God bless you. I am praying for you and all who read this.
And I would love to hear from you in the comments here or on social media. Or you are welcome to click the “contact” button above if you’d like prayer or to discuss something privately. I am here for you.
Prayer has been a significant part of this story, as well as others in my life. If you would like to know more about prayer, deepen your prayer life and have a more effective prayer life, please consider Pursuing Prayer – Being Effective in a Busy World.
You can learn more here.