For the next several weeks, our L&LI Marriage Team is going to share with you some of our marriage mistakes. Things that happened in our marriages that we are certainly not proud of and wish we could take back. But, we can’t, so why not share some of our “dirty laundry” with you and allow you to see that, although it may appear that we know a whole lot about marriage, we haven’t always. Here we go…
Tomorrow, I will celebrate 21 years of marriage with my main squeeze, Chris Beall. He is my best friend, the one I enjoy taking road trips with, the person I love sharing a BJ’s Pizookie with, the one I snuggle up in bed with to watch Downton Abbey with. (Did he just lose his man card?)
Although people tell me often that they wish they had a marriage like Chris and I do, we haven’t always been this healthy. Case in point.
Chris and I both knew Jesus when we met and were seeking Him daily. We were involved in our churches and had a close-knit group of godly people around us who influenced us positively. We pretty much seemed to have it all together. So you can imagine my surprise during our first year of marriage when things started going sour. And not just during our first year, but on our honeymoon.
I. Am. Not. Kidding.
We fought like cats and dogs that year. Oh, sweet mercy, we tried to get along and that only lasted a few hours until our next fight. I am not exaggerating when I say that we fought every other day for the first 10 months of our marriage.
I remember one particular fight that ended rather poorly. I can’t even tell you what the fight was about but I’m sure I was right and that he was being totally unreasonable. (Isn’t that almost always the case?) I was mad. Steamin’ mad. My German blood was boiling, and I was ready for a fight. After throwing out some blankety-blank-blank words (Hello, my name is Cindy, and I used to cuss like a sailor when I got mad) at my beloved, godly husband, he yelled some back. I am not sure what they were but I guessing I was referred to as a female dog at some point. And rightly so. I’d earned it. Within an instant, my car keys were in my hand and before I realized what was happening, they were flying in the air at the man I had just pledged my forever love to a few months earlier. Thankfully, he had a good dodging ability and they hit the wall just next to where he was standing. (That, or I had terrible aim.) That could have taken the whole fight to another level, but my husband stared at me, chose not to retaliate and just left the room.
We just have no idea what we’re doing when we first get married, do we? No amount of pre-marital counseling, albeit incredibly helpful, can prevent some things from happening. We just sometimes have to go on the field trip instead of learning in the classroom. Unfortunately, many couples never move from this place of immaturity and instead, live there beating up one another with their words and possibly even actions.
If you have ever found yourself in this place or maybe you are there right now, take heart. You are not alone. Many of us have said things and acted in ways in our marriage that we never imagined we’d do.
Whether we want to admit it or not, we want perfection and friend, it’s just not possible. We want our needs met, but we don’t want to have to share what they are. We want a strong, healthy marriage but aren’t willing to put the needed effort in to reach such a standard. We want to have healthy conflict but continue to bring up past fights and wounds that just drive the nail deeper.
That’s where grace and forgiveness enter the picture. We must choose to extend the same grace and forgiveness to our husbands that we so easily want given to us in our times of failure.
At the same time, some of you are in places where you aren’t expecting perfection, you just want to feel safe and secure with the man you married. If you are in a place of hopelessness, or even despair, in your marriage, please don’t stay there alone. Seek help. Tell a trusted friend. Find a godly counselor in your area who can help.
Our marriages are that important. For without healthy marriages, our ministries will fail.
Feel free to share one of your marriage bloopers below – even if, especially if it’s just plain silly.