It's funny how selfishness tints a situation. It's like dropping some food coloring into a glass of water- you can still see through it, but things just don't look the same. I've lived my life this way. I've always been priority number 1. What was easiest for me. What was best for me. What made me happiest. What I thought I deserved. My marriage has been no exception.
Hang tough with me through this one. It'll take me some time to put my heart out there.
Aaron and I married almost 5 and a half years ago. There has been a few high times sprinkled in the really low times. Granted, Aaron and I have gone through more than the average couple married for only a few years, but still. I wouldn't ever say that Aaron and I have shared 5 blissful years of marriage. Quite opposite actually. It was easy for me to place the blame for our problems on Aaron. Why would I take responsibility for things that I didn't feel were my fault. This mindset ruled my marriage and I micromanaged and mothered Aaron until the only thing that existed between us was bitterness. Anger lived constantly just below the surface, ready to erupt at any moment, and it often did.
Those things grew in me. They choked God out of my marriage and many other areas of my life. I made some terrible decisions. I didn't feel that way at the time of course. I felt justified. I was only doing what was best for me.
At the beginning of December, we'd reached the breaking point. Aaron had done everything I'd unfairly asked of him. He wanted to make our marriage work. He wanted to love me. He wanted us to be a family. I did not. I was fighting it with everything in me. I told God that if being married to Aaron was what his will was for my life, then there would be no surrender. If the next 70 years of my life were going to be anything like the last 5, then there was no way I was going to be a part of that. I wanted what I wanted. Out of total desperation, Aaron gave me a choice- Choose your family and set your selfish choices aside or continue down this path and accept that I'm leaving with the girls.
It was like a bucket of ice water dumped on me. It was a shock to my system. One that opened my eyes. Initially I was so angry, but I realized that Aaron and I had no where to go but running to God. To throw ourselves at the foot of the cross and ask for redemption in our lives and in our marriage. That is exactly what we did.
Fast forward to today. Aaron and I are in counseling. He made the choice in the middle of the major crisis to step down from his position as a youth pastor. We've stripped our lives down to us, and our kids. We are taking the steps necessary to restore our marriage. No, not restore, but to totally recreate. In most respects, we've started over. I started praying for hope in my marriage. I started praying for a future. I had to decide that even when my marriage seemed hopeless that God promised to give us a marriage that we want, but most importantly, one that's pleasing to Him.
Aaron and I decided that even though we didn't really like each other much, and even though we saw nothing on the road ahead, we had to make the choice to do the hard stuff. We had to make the choice to live out love to each other when it was only love in action, and not feeling. And wouldn't ya know... God is honoring that. The healing process is in full swing. We have walked headlong into our anger and bitterness and hurt. God has proven himself faithful and is redeeming our marriage. Most importantly though, he's redeeming us. Aaron and I recognized that we couldn't continue in our marriage as the same people we entered it as. We committed to one another and ourselves that we were going to let God work in our hearts THEN our marriage.
It's been a painful process thus far. God has peeled me back like an onion. Just when it feels like there is nothing else to strip away, there's another layer of my self and sinfulness that God exposes. I'm so thankful that he promises not to leave us that way. I'm thankful that he promises that he won't leave my marriage that way. He wants the best for us, in every area of our life.
As God has changed me, so has he given us the strength to start changing our marriage. I'm married to a much different man than I was 6 months ago. God has given me a love for Aaron that I didn't think possible. He's answering our prayers. And I'm excited that this is only the beginning of our journey in the right direction. Valentine's Day will be different for us this year. I feel like for the first time we can use this day for what it was intended for- to celebrate the love we have for each other. Love that will only continue to grow and grow!
Thank you for loving me as Christ loved the church- with grace and forgiveness. Thank you for standing by my side even when I was trying to run from you. Thank you for never giving up on me, even on the darkest day. I'm excited to see where our new road is leading us. For the first time in our marriage, I'm excited to be your partner and to stand by your side whatever comes. Thank you for allowing God to shape you and lead you as you lead us. I love you, and I promise to try and love you the best I can with God's help until our last day together. Happy Valentine's Day!