It's every girl's dream. A beautiful gown, a handsome prince and the promise of forever. The dream paints a fairytale and etches "happily ever after" in our hearts. It's what we long for. It's what we search for, knowing that our beloved will complete our lives. And then one day we find it. We walk down the aisle to forever and we promise.
To love and to cherish...
In sickness and in health...
Till death do us part...
To love and to cherish...Till death do us part.
The very words fall heavy on my heart: the fairytale shattered. Tainted by years of angry comments and selfish manipulations. Blemished by a recording of wrongs and a refusing to forgive. We all want to believe that it's not true of our own marriage, of our own hearts, but the truth tells a different story. Marriage is hard. It's not a fairy tale and the doing is a very different story than we imagined.
So we live in denial... until everything falls apart.
I've been there. My "happily ever after" crashed head on into betrayal. My heart begged to wake up from the horrific nightmare only to find it a dream. But it wasn't a dream. It was 3am and I wept alone in that bed playing the words over and over again in my mind. "I don't love you."
"I've NEVER loved you." The words cut deep into my soul. My mind couldn't be wrapped around the insanity of such a statement. Instead I replayed countless memories of smiles, precious babes being born, and nights in his arms. While no marriage is perfect, I could only remember a good one. I was blind to the dark tunnel that our selfish ambitions had hurled us into. I unknowingly refused to see the blaring holes that I had tried to fill with the love of a man. Holes that could never be filled by anything but a holy God. Holes that left me demanding and unsatisfied.
He left. Tears invaded as I watched the brake lights of "happily ever after" fade into the distance. The moments were excruciating. Questions haunting.
What do I do now?
To everyone else, the answer seemed obvious. Kick him out and demand a divorce. After all, the Bible allows for it in the case of adultery, right? I'd heard it so many times. Honestly, it sounded pretty good...until I remembered the vow. The words spoken before a holy God. To love and to cherish...till death do us part. By HIS grace, God had begun changing me. He whispered promises in my ear. Promises of healing and redemption. Promises that He loved and adored me. Promises that He would carry me through. I realized that love wasn't what made a marriage work. It was the covenant: the promise of forever. I knew that I must honor this covenant, even if he wouldn't.
As high as God is above man, so high are the sanctity, the rights, and the promise of love. It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.
~DIETRICH BONHOEFFER, Letters and Papers from Prison, 27–28 (taken from This Momentary Marriage)
Friend, is your marriage in trouble? Maybe the suitcases are packed. Maybe he/she has been gone for years. No matter what your circumstances are... you are not the only one who has ever been through this kind of pain. You are not the only one to ever lose hope or wonder how God could possibly restore your marriage.
I know you want to give up. But you promised. You made a covenant before God to love him/her. Will you honor it?
I would love for you to join me here every Tuesday as we stand. Intentionally. Honoring the vow we made....loving, forgiving, and trusting in His beautiful plan for our lives. Until next week, you can find me on the Intentionally Standing Facebook page, a private group where we can encourage one another or over at Not Consumed. I can't wait to meet you.