March 06, 2016

Marriage on Lent Day #31

Thank you to Lisa Laster for her thoughts on marriage and sharing her testimony with us.

I jumped into marriage with only two thoughts; I'm crazy about this guy, and, I don't want anyone to have this guy but me. We weren't married a year and my thoughts had morphed a little into; this guy makes me crazy, and, is there someone who would take this guy away.
We had gotten pretty toxic as a couple by our second year but also learned we were to be parents. We needed help and quick we met a young couple who's church we had visited who brought us to Christ and just as important, into a community of people who loved us and mentored us. Being the recipients of these intentional relationships improved our marriage dramatically.
Fast forward to two children, a late term miscarriage, and the stress of continued schooling combined with full-time church ministry. Add in some close friends whose marriages failed, and any confidence I had in our marriage was undermined. I began to fall apart from triggers & issues that I had no coping skills to handle. I'm blessed that John & I had no fears about seeking counseling when our marriage became painful this time, because the trajectory wasn't looking good if we didn't change how we were functioning.
Over our 32 years of marriage we have become believers in outside help and guidance. We began by seeing a counselor years ago in Dallas who helped us with basic communication. She was such a good counseling experience that we sought help later in Alabama when 2 kids seemed to be more than I could handle. Our counselor worked with us for a couple months on parenting skills that we despatately needed.
Then later after moving to Michigan, we sought help learning to cope with an addictive family member who revealed to me that I had some very co-dependent behavior that was unhelpful and very toxic to our marriage. I have benefitted much from EMDR therapy to recover from childhood trauma that began my co-dependent behavior as well as working with Celebrate Recovery for a couple of years.
I share the above to tell you that dealing with life and marriage can be hard work, but never too hard when helped by godly counsel and a willingness to do whatever it takes to deal with your own stuff.
God is our hope & salvation, but we aren't passive when help is needed. I'm hopeful when I hear someone is in counseling, and saddened when people use money or lack of time for not seeking help when it is evident it is needed.
It takes two to marry, it takes two to destroy a marriage, and it takes two to keep a marriage growing and together. One partner cannot do all the work, it takes two.
If you or your spouse are struggling, talk to a trusted friend get a referral to a marriage and family counselor. Together make a commitment to work on the relationship that will grow you into the Christ-like behavior God wants for you.
Even a strong marriage can unravel and fall apart if only one person is willing to do the work to remain vital and vibrant; may you always be willing to do the hard work necessary to continue to grow into what God has for you as a couple.