This is the big-daddy of them all. The grand finale of all I've been writing this week about marriage and my life with Todd.
In the last few months, I've wanted to call it quits. I've wanted to be done. I have even contemplated divorce. I have asked questions and thought thoughts I never imagined that I would. In many ways, I feel like our marriage is hanging on by a thread. It feels exposing to share this, but it's true.
Yesterday, Todd referenced several times how he is almost waiting for me to pack up and leave and be done with us. I felt myself gulp a bit when I hit the publish button on that. But this is real and this is where we have found ourselves. What he said was true. I have wanted to leave and be done. Close the book on our life together and just move on.
Truth be told, I really needed to write all of this down for me and my heart.
I have wanted to be honest and real and I (we) made the decision it was okay to share that here - with our friends, our family, with strangers we may never even meet. Based on the e-mails and Facebook messages and comments that I've received this week - it was something that maybe I was meant to do. We are not the only ones struggling. We are not the only ones who had a horrible first year. We are not the only ones who are wanting to or have wanted to give up. We are not alone.
I never imagined that I would consider divorce. Not just because of what the church has to say about it, but because I come from divorce. In a way, divorce made me, and I stood firmly in this place that what happened to my parents would never, ever happen to me.
When my parent's marriage ended, it broke me. Things like that hit all of us differently, but for me, it was this nearly fatal blow that took me out for years. I was angry with God and I was angry with my parents. I had no clue how I would ever find healing in that place or even be able to stop asking "why?"
Interestingly enough, God used all of the problems and issues that I was having with Todd to break down these hard, bitter parts in my heart that were there as a result of what happened with my parent's marriage. Some of the icy, cold places in my heart, especially towards my dad, Robin, and my mom, all started to melt. I found myself full of compassion and understanding. I wasn't angry anymore that my dad and mom didn't stay married simply because it was the right thing to do or because it was biblical.
Something clicked there for me, and I found forgiveness and grace. And a new-found understanding, love and appreciation for them, that honestly, I never expected to be able to have. My thoughts and beliefs shifted too - about marriage, separation, divorce. And I think they needed to change. I was prideful and arrogant and judgmental. All I know is that I have grace here for others, where I didn't have it before.
I've been prideful and arrogant in my marriage too. I've only been looking at where my husband disappoints me or lets me down, how he doesn't show up, where things feel hard, rather than seeing what I'm doing. Where I am closed and cold toward him and the damage I've done these last six years to his heart. It's not all him, and I think I was convinced that it was.
So I've been looking at my part in all of this. Where I have wounded him. Where I've broke him. Where I'm responsible for the way things look right now. Lately, I've been looking at where I am slow to extend grace and where I have hard time loving him for who he is now, rather than who I want him to be.
And I've been remembering the good too. The places where Todd has shown up for me valiantly and bravely and the impact that has had on me. How knowing him has enabled me to live more freely - his love, even in his brokenness, has brought me to life in so many ways. My desire is to love him like that too.
I remember a phrase that we heard from some friends of ours a few years ago when they talked about how to move forward after conflict or really disrupting things that would come up in marriage.
Recommit and go again.
The other night, my husband and I were having another of our many talks about us and our future. About another one of my disappointments I had with him. It was the night I first asked him what I had done, where I had hurt him and I just stayed quiet and listened. That was the night I realized I needed to own up to my part too and commit to loving him with more tenderness and vulnerability than I have.
I decided that night, that even though so many of my thoughts, fears and questions have centered around wondering if we had reached our end, that I wasn't done. Something reignited in my heart. Hope was not lost. I made the decision to recommit and go again.
Sometimes, I am afraid to love. I am afraid to stay in this relationship, this union where there are no real guarantees. Marriage, in all of it's beauty and glory and promise, is so fragile and needy. As if any moment it could all fall apart and end tragically. It's risky to be so vulnerable. It feels foolish sometimes to keep trying and going when the odds seem so stacked against us. I guess at the end of the day, I still believe that we are worth fighting for. That we are made for each other. That he is the man I still want to do life with. That it's not just marriage I believe in - I believe in our marriage.
One of the things I love most about us is that Todd isn't afraid to be foolish and silly with me. We play, we laugh and we still enjoy each other - even with all of the tension, raw honesty and hard places - there is still time for laughter and life. The pictures below are of us in the last year - the same year that we've been struggling. There were still moments that were full and happy and full of hope.
My hope is that there will be time for more car dancing and water fights in the kitchen. I hope for more flirting and hand-holding. More playing, more kindness, more real conversation. More enjoying and being enjoyed.
"It's the possibility that keeps us going. Not the guarantee." - Nicholas Sparks
"Sometimes it takes a really good fall to know where you stand." - Hayley Williams
"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great." - A League of Their Own
"True love doesn't come by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person, perfectly." - Unknown
"Be curious. Not judgmental." - Walt Whitman
"Anyone can be passionate. But it takes real lovers to be silly." - Rose Franken
"Let me recklessly love you, even if I bleed. Because you're worth all of me...."