I had a feeling when I titled this post, that it could easily be misconstrued. With the word “covenant”, and “fighting” in the same sentence, coupled with the fact that I have an obvious belief in the Creator I thought about whether or not I would get any negative feedback based on the title of the post alone. I ALMOST re titled it so there would be no misunderstandings as to what this post is about. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with who should and should not be allowed to marry in this country/world. It has nothing to do with heterosexuality, homosexuality, or any other kind of sexuality. I will be writing in regards to the covenant that I am a part of with MY husband. It will be the post that I previously referenced about my opinions on marriage…and why some work…and so many more fail these days. It will be my opinions on the fragility of this covenant and realities of how disposable love is treated in this generation. Nothing more, so please don’t make it more than it is. And hopefully, you will enjoy!!
I love this ecard that I found on Pinterest! The beauty of the couple recognizing that they haven’t stayed together for 65 years because it was “easier” for their generation, but rather acknowledging that they have lasted more than half a century because they WORKED at preserving their covenant. They did not enter into it lightly, and through sheer will, love, faith and stubbornness…they have persevered. They took seriously their vow to “fix it” rather than disposing of what didn’t work in exchange for something different. I know, I know…I am probably reading way more into this one cute little captioned ecard than I should…but it made me cry the first time I read it because I can identify with the choice the animated characters have made to stay, rather than go.
A little background on my own marriage…my husband and I literally have grown up together. I don’t mean knowing each other since childhood, I mean since we got married, we have become adults together. Well, mostly. 😉 We dated the first time while I was in my sophomore year of high school, and proceeded to be “off and on” (mostly off lol) until my senior year. High school for me was rough. Not because of bullying, or any of the normal things, but because I was a wounded kid, making bad choices, and trying to find any way to make the pain of my past go away. Those attempts at self medicating manifested themselves through promiscuity, alcohol abuse, and drug abuse. I know that a lot of kids go through rebellious stages, and experiment, but for me it had surpassed experimentation and developed into a full blown methamphetamine addiction by my Junior year. I will save the entirety on that part of my testimony for another time, but you now understand where I was when my love came into my life for what would be the last time.
It was March of 1998, and we had reunited for about 4 weeks. We were engaged on April 4th, and by April 28th we were finding out that we were pregnant and married four days later. Yes…I said four days later. Fast forward those four days to May 2nd, 1998 and my fiance and I are standing in front of a justice of the peace in Loughlin, Nevada. Exchanging vows, and making life long promises. We are accepting responsibility for the choices that we made, and promising to love each other no matter what….forever. Neither of us…had any idea what we were getting ourselves into! My husband will tell you that he did. That he loved me from the first time he laid eyes on me, and knew before I did that I was going to be his wife someday. ❤ But regardless of that, there was no way at the tender age of 20 and 17, we had any concept of the covenant we were entering into.
There we are…in all our wedded glory. Yep…braces and all! ha ha!
Neither of us had any concept of loving someone more than we loved ourselves, because to be honest…neither of us had ever loved ourselves very much! We had both come from broken childhoods and all though completely infatuated with what we thought we knew of the other, what we knew was not much at all. We had no idea how dangerous it was to take two wounded souls and tie them together in the bonds of marriage without working diligently to find peace and healing within our own hearts. We didn’t know any of that, because as I stated before…we were babies! We were babies about to have a baby, and wanted to do what was right by our baby. We were all ready engaged…so why wouldn’t we just marry? As if a decision that HUGE can be made based on such a limited scope of facts. Looking back, I can only shake my head and smile because I see now the miracle of this marriage that we are in. All though it took us at least the first 10-12 years of it to develop that bond that we should have had from the first day we said “I do.”
Our oldest daughter was born in December of that same year, and she was beyond anything we could have ever hoped and dreamed for. She was exquisite, beautiful, and a complete miracle in so many ways. I have another post that will be shared soon on the story of our pregnancy and how our Father used her to bond and create our family, and how amazing this precious child is. For now…we’re going to stick to the marriage aspect of this story. 😉
Our daughters entry into the equation came with all of the challenges that any parents knows comes with a newborn baby. Ours was simply amplified by the ways I would cope with my intense love and devotion for her, and how it would affect our marriage. For reasons I did not understand at the time, I felt an intense and overwhelming need to protect her from anyone and anything that might hurt her. I had been wounded as a child by my biological father, and before I knew it, I was projecting my unresolved issues of not having felt protected onto my husband. I hang my head in shame when admitting these things, because my husband is a devoted father, and while not the most hands on Daddy, he is a good one. His daughters know that he loves them beyond himself, and he never lets a single day go by without telling them that he loves them. He did not deserve the way I treated him. He did not deserve the way I would scream at him to get away from us (myself and our daughter) when we would fight. He did not deserve for me to take the one precious thing in this world that for the first time ever was truly his…and treat it as though it wasn’t. He helped create this tiny being. He was the father of my child, and my husband, and I treated him as though he was disposable and a nuisance. My husband has his own issues and when our issues clashed it was the most magnificent all of fights. We fought loudly, emotionally, and violently at times. It makes me cry when I think about how broken we both were and how long we spent blaming each other for our pain.
I would be lying if I said this wasn’t us for a year or two…or five or seven. Ha ha!
Forgive the above levity while talking about such real and raw emotions…but we have a rule in my house…if we don’t laugh about it…we would never laugh! 😀 My husband forgets that often, but hat is why God gave him me…so he would remember to laugh. 😉
We went on to have our other three daughters within the next 4 years. We had all four girls under the age of 5 by the time I was 23, and oh boy, oh boy, was it a survival act!! My husband had become a truck driver when our oldest was two months old, so he was gone…a lot. Looking back, I see now how that only added to our laundry list of issues and amplified them by 100. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to work on a marriage while you are only together for a few days every 4-6 weeks. I felt alone, and feelings of abandonment consumed my thoughts of our marriage. I am sure that it is easy for those in all different kinds of marriages to identify with those feelings. Feelings of abandonment are a powerful thing, and can touch on so many other emotions within us. I again, had no idea what I was actually dealing with at the time, so we spent years in an unhealthy cycle of abandonment, rage, anger, and frustration. Then…we would make up and have another baby. Ha ha! Sounds funny now, but I believe that was the closest thing we had to therapy at the time!
It seemed like an unending cycle. One that I felt desperate about time after time, as I’m sure my love did. I remember begging God…pleading on my knees with tears so thick I could hardly see through my swollen eyes to let me out of this. “I was too young to make this kind of commitment Father…you could NOT have meant for this to be my life! I know I’m a mess…but he’s a bigger mess and I can’t deal with it! I didn’t sign up for this!’ Each time I whined, and cried, and pleaded….I heard a still small voice that said, “You will wait…because my son will become the man he is to be. And in the process…you will become who I have called you to be.” I didn’t like hearing that honestly. It would have been so much easier to just walk away. To cut our losses and I was even convinced for a time that we would be better off without each other. Those are the thoughts you begin to let yourself have when you are tired. I consider myself a strong woman, with the ability to endure almost anything life throws at me. But this marriage that I was a part of just made me want to sit down and give up more time’s than I care to admit.
- And oh boy would I have lost out!
One of my greatest revelations was in a time of prayer one day. I was whining to Father about how different my husband and I were, and about how he didn’t understand anything about me. About how it seemed like everything that made me, me, he didn’t like. I can’t quite explain what happened next, but it was a life changing moment. It wasn’t a clouds part and angels sing moment, but it was a quiet speaking to my spirit moment that left me floored at how stupid I had been. I began thinking about all of the things I prided myself in being. Intelligent, articulate, self assured, confident, capable, kind, considerate….Okay, I’ll stop now. 😉 And as these thoughts were going through my mind…the revelation of WHY I was these things hit me like a Mack truck. I began to think of myself before my husband. How insecure and broken I was. How lonely, and desperate for acceptance I used to be. I began thinking….”would I be the self assured, strong, capable woman that I am….if I didn’t have the love of a good man?” I am not a woman who believes that you need someone else to define you….I am painfully independent. But that day, I learned that I very likely, would NOT have grown into my own skin as beautifully as I was….without this man whom adored me. This man who calls me his queen every day, and while he hasn’t always treated me that way…has always shown me how precious I was to him in his own way. This man who couldn’t stand the thought of loosing me, and would walk through fire to ensure that I and his children were safe. I realized….that love is the most powerful of emotions…and because of his acceptance of me…I had been freed to feel love like I had never felt it before.
My husbands love has helped me find healing. It has opened up doors to my soul that I would have left sealed forever and the baron holes behind those doors would have been left filled with unforgiveness and and bitterness. My Father knew before I did, that all though this was not going to be a easy love…it was going to be a love worth fighting for. That from this marriage…I would begin to understand His covenant with us and be irreversibly broken before Him. That I would allow Him into places of my heart that I swore I would never relinquish, and heal them forever. That one day, down the road, we would look back and see that if this love had been easy…we likely would not have appreciated it the way we do now. I know that our story is not an uncommon one. But I am beginning to see that our future is. Because we choose NOT to treat this like a common relationship, a disposable one, we are becoming the minority in this world of “my way or the highway” love. I, as his wife, choose to love him, cherish him, honor him, and respect him. Even when I do not understand his reasoning’s. I have learned to rest in his wisdom, and even when he is wrong, I have learned to be thankful for whatever lessons come out of those mistakes. We choose daily to accept the responsibility of our vows and all though we still drive each other crazy daily, we CHOOSE to love through the ugly. We CHOOSE to forgive. We CHOOSE to stay. And most importantly, we CHOOSE to accept the differences in each other (which are more than our similarities!) and rest in how those differences make us a more well rounded couple, parents for our girls, friends, and human beings.
Bottom line…when it is broken….we CHOOSE to fix it. And I am thankful every day….that we do. 🙂