My husband and I have been back together for six months now and it surprises me how often people assume that life is all rainbows and unicorns - as if we are magically unbroken and flawlessly navigating relationship. No way, friends. THIS is the hard work. Who we were when we married each other hasn't completely changed. In fact, now that he is sober, our individual messiness seems to be amplified. It's as if we were never able to even recognize what made us so co-dependent and triggered because his addiction took center stage for 10 years. But now, in our reconciliation and determination to rally for one another, our brokenness is blaringly obvious. There aren't any unicorns. Or rainbows. We're still a mess.
We're doing the hard work though. We're staying up late to hash it out. We're seeing counselors. We're letting our triggers drive us closer to Jesus. We're facing the struggle of being married to another broken person. Some days I am completely defeated. Sometimes I feel exhausted and heartbroken. Sometimes I feel deep relief and genuine gratitude. Nothing is perfect and that is perfectly okay.
Marriage is the hardest thing I have ever done. It has never been easy and I doubt it is easy for most of us. When we're in painful spaces, navigating the wilderness in our own home, we tend to think that everyone else is doing it better. Other marriages look disappointment-free. We find ourselves longing for the relief of an easy marriage and, if we're truthful, we've all wanted something we think we should have.
In my most desolate spaces I have sensed the Presence of God pressing into me. I have never been more aware of Jesus, my sustainer, than when I am aching and desperate. He is so faithful to me, friends. These past few years have chipped away at the fear that I am invisible to Jesus; that I am insignificant and overlooked. I've done really deep work, sorting through the lies that have penetrated my heart and surrendering to the freedom that has always been available to me. Someday, when this season has ebbed away, I will look back and long for the season of needing Jesus more than air. That understanding has made this time sweet for me. Rather than resenting the hard work, I'm grateful for it. I still ache and cry and process all of my abandonment and fears, but at the end of the day I am gloriously ruined. Gloriously. Ruined.
If life is hard for you, friend, whisper an 'amen'. Lean in, absorb mercy and just keep showing up. Listen for his whisper - he knows your path. I haven't made a move in 2 1/2 years without seeing the cloud move first. I left Joe because Love asked me to leave. I stayed gone because Love asked me to hold on. I asked him to come home again because Love asked me to draw him in. I keep showing up in my marriage because Love asks me to. It looks different for you - our roads are different. What is Love asking of you? When we are clear of co-dependency and people pleasing we are able to listen for the whisper that rescues us. Love is speaking, friend. Listen and be obedient. You're not alone.