We used to fight. We used to fight alot.
And then one day we stopped fighting. And after about a year I realized that we weren't fighting at all anymore. We had grown complacent. I stopped caring if he was here or there. He stopped caring whether I cared or not. He went about life as he always knew it. I went about life and how it had changed. It was all very separate. It was all very sad.
There was no connecting.
For awhile there was me begging for him to want to be around more-to choose us instead of the gym. But then I grew too tired of begging.
There came a time when he said that he missed 'us' (he and I) and I resented that statement. I missed us too but there was no going back. This was our new life and I didn't have the energy to give to 'us' and this journey with Mabel. She was taking it all and the process was taking every bit that was left over, which wasn't much.
It happened slowly like it does to an over used kitchen chair. Every day wear and tear led to loose bolts in our marriage. I can think of a handful of things that may have led us here-to a place of disconnect-but none of them matter much. The real reason is that we stopped putting the effort into it like we once had. Other things became overwhelming and took precedence over one another. We chose other things.
Then something life changing happened that shook me out of my grief and he out of his selfishness. It was dramatic and just painful enough to open our eyes to one another once again.
Suddenly I found myself looking at him and realizing that I still do love him passionately and I don't want to miss out on all that our love has to offer us. It took a couple of hard days but we spent more time talking than we had in many months. We asked hard questions and gave painful answers and it ended up being a time of real connection.
Before I knew it, God was using his strong arm to tighten the bolts. I felt Him squeezing them and manipulating them in order to fasten us back together tightly once more. Where we once were wobbly and loose, I could feel the sturdiness building again.
He had some paid time to take off work and so he did. We spent two weeks looking at each other, holding hands, laughing, crying, apologizing, forgiving, kissing, praying and reminiscing.
We spent time reading the Word together-something we used to do but stopped somewhere in the midst of chaos. We spent time praying together and over one another.
We explored God. We dove into each other.
For an entire year I was so focused on being a good mom to Mabel that I lost sight of other things in my life that are really important to me.
I absolutely, truly, totally and wholly love this man.
Whether he was emotionally here for me this year is again, besides the point. He was present with me at every doctor's appointment and in most breakdowns. He held me even if he felt nothing.
He disconnected. I let him. I withdrew. He let me.
We didn't know how to help ourselves or each other and the walls came down around us.
Without knowing it, we lost one another in the shuffle. It was a slow process and one that I can see would be hard to avoid in a situation as unique and difficult as ours.
It was a year ago this week when he took me away for Mother's Day. We stayed away over night and it was incredible. The months to follow were filled with so many heartaches, so much confusion and a whole lot of drifting apart. After realizing this over the last couple of weeks, we decided to get away again-just the two of us.
I always say it. "You'll make the time for what matters to you."
I have been reminded that this marriage matters to me-more than anything. Not only is it important to make time for my husband but I really want to. It is not selfish to take time away for he and I. It is a mistake not to. I am not being a bad mom by disconnecting from these kids for a bit and purposing to connect with him. In turn, we connected as a family in great ways as well. It has been greater for the whole and I am so thankful. I am reminded in a whole new way that God works all things together for the good if we only believe He can.
We took the train to Chicago a whole day doing fun things at a fast pace. We slowed long enough to look at each other and hold hands as we passed strangers on the street. I snuck a lot of kisses and as we ate ice cream across from each other, I reached over and 'toasted' to us-and these two weeks that will hopefully be a reformation that we will never forget.
We had the best day. I didn't once feel sorry for myself, thinking about the sick baby that we left behind at home. I didn't once worry if she would miss me or be ok without me. I was completely and totally focused on enjoying the company of this man who I really missed [and didn't even realize it.]
It was the perfect day.
None of us are-
but we are not an ordinary couple.
Despite falling in love at 16 and chasing dreams across the country, this man has been to war and home again-twice.
He is a veteran who is not ashamed of his anxiety or trauma or the medication that has helped make him better along the way.
He came home from deployment to a baby and weeks later another. He transitioned into civilian life uneventfully but not very gracefully either. It was difficult for all of us-but we did it.
We settled into what felt like a perfect life. Great job, healthy babies, strong bodies, and full friendships.
And then life through us a curve ball named Mabel.
Looking at him yesterday, I thought about all of these things. I thought about where life has taken us and how proud of him I am. All before our ten year reunion, we have endured things that most people never will in an entire lifetime. We have done it together.
It has not always been done right or even well but it has gotten done.
We have depended on God and loved each other, the best we could, along the way.
Marriage is difficult anyway.
But we have had many extra challenges added to our life over the years.
This man is my very best friend and I am proud to go through them with him.
We have hurt one another many times in many different ways and yet we stand together, hand in hand at the end of it all.
The Bible tells of an account where Jesus tells his disciples not to forgive only 7 times but 70 times 7.
This has and always will be key in our marriage. Big or small, we are pretty determined to always forgive and show grace to one another just as God does to us every single day.
Somehow, out of trial, God brings miracles.
He comes in and shapes us up perfectly in order to refine us.
I believe that we are in a great place where we can finally be properly used in this marriage. I believe our roles will finally fall into place as I learn to loosen control and he learns to rise up for this family in all new ways.
There are greater things happening here than I could ever imagine. I am just so thankful that I am open to God's plan. I am thankful that He steps in and takes control when we aren't awake enough to see Him reaching for us.
Thank you to all of our friends who have drawn near the last couple of weeks.
Your support and kind words have been so healing for me. In moments when I felt like giving up, or giving in-you pushed me on. You led me in the right direction and I am thankful. Thank you also for loving Daniel in the same ways you care about me. You are all so encouraging and in this journey of life-I'm so thankful to be alongside you.