Fiercely Fighting for my Marriage
One night in April 2015, my husband moved out, leaving me and my three children alone in our home.
I had sensed a separation brewing for many years, especially in the past six months. After consoling our heartbroken children and dealing with my own pain that awful night, I was surprised to feel relieved. We had finally hit bottom, and the looming question of “When will he leave us?” had been answered with a date and time.
Yet many new questions loomed. Will he do what it takes to address our problems? Will he finally agree to healthy changes? Will he ever come back home? Will we become destitute? Will our children ever recover from this loss? I wondered in the loneliness of our king-sized bed.
Fiercely Fighting | Getting to the root of the issue:
In the year 2000, we were drawn to each other in a whirlwind romance. Both from divorced homes, we possessed a keen awareness of one another’s hurts and sorrows. Both starved for love, we rushed to the altar eight months after our first date. Our problems began only two weeks after our wedding since each of us came into our marriage with a bushel basket full of unresolved issues.
During our frequent arguments, I withdrew in hurt while he lashed out in anger. The more I withdrew, the angrier he became. The only way to stop the bitter descent was to appease him. I became an expert pleaser, unconsciously granting him myriad avenues for taking advantage. But he lost respect for me when I appeased him and the cycle of hurt and anger reignited. We were both toxic for each other’s mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
When our first child was born in 2004, I felt a new, powerful sense of self-worth. Our baby depended on me for everything. I had the power to give him life through feeding, attention, and care. For the first time ever, I felt needed and valued. I joined a mother’s Bible study group at my church and began connecting with godly friends. I steeped myself in God’s word and began reading Christian self-help books. My goal was to become emotionally whole.
The stronger and healthier I became, the more my husband resisted. He was used to being in control and didn’t like being challenged. He pushed back with emotional abuse, having not learned healthy relationship styles in his childhood. God granted me special insight into my husband’s past, which gave me compassion for him. Yet I realized I couldn’t fix his problems. He needed to choose to get healthy all by himself; I couldn’t make his choice for him. After years of abuse, I doubted he would make a good choice.
So, I cried rivers of tears. I attended counseling for four years. I read scores of helpful Christian books. I sought wise advice from trusted friends. I wrote out my pain in my journals. I uttered thousands of prayers for healing in our marriage. As a result, my faith grew exponentially and became as strong as steel. But my marriage problems seemed to multiply as the years passed.
No matter how difficult our marriage became, I never gave up on my belief in God’s great plan for marriage, instituted in the Garden of Eden. I thought God’s plan for intimate union between a husband and wife was beautiful and within reach for every married couple, even though we hadn’t attained it yet.
On the morning after my husband left, I sent the kids to my mom’s house while I called an army of supporters. I asked them to pray fiercely that God would not allow anyone or anything to permanently break the bond we had sealed on our wedding day.
Fiercely praying myself, I asked that God would soften my husband’s heart and speak to my heart too. Again and again, I prayed Psalm 139:23-24 out loud:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (NIV)
I did not know what would happen next. But I put all my hope in God, who moves mountains. I knew God’s will was for us to stay married, but I also knew God had given both us free will to choose our own paths, whether wayward or righteous.
Fiercely Fighting | Marriage transformed:
As April turned into May, we made progress. When he came over and visited on Sunday afternoons, he showed clear signs of regret. I needed proof he would repent from emotional abuse, and I fiercely set boundaries against old behaviors. As the spring flowers and trees bloomed in an unfolding parade, I saw my husband’s heart transform from week to week. His resistance toward me began to fade, and his regret changed to repentance. My own heart softened toward him and opened toward hope for lasting change.Boundaries in marriage are a must if healing is to take place. #fiercelyHis #fierceFriday Click To Tweet
The weekend before Memorial Day, my husband and I had a special meeting. He wrote me a letter, crying openly while he read it out loud to me. The Holy Spirit spoke to me while he read, saying, “It’s time to welcome him back home.” We embraced a new tenderness, willing to accept each other. We were a new couple in a new marriage, working hard to turn our backs on the past.
Our five weeks of separation were over. New life slowly came back into our marriage. We had both been transformed by God’s miraculous intervention. If I had not fiercely fought for our marriage with prayer and boundaries, our marriage would have never survived. God prepared me over the years to fiercely fight for our marriage.
Now I tell our story to others who feel trapped in painful marriages. Healing and hope is possible with God’s help. If my story helps just one woman fight more fiercely for her marriage, it is worth the telling.Healing and hope IS possible with God! #fiercelyHis #fierceFriday Click To Tweet
Sarah is a warrior! And she is #fiercelyHis
Sarah Geringer is a wife and mother of three. She lives in her beloved home state of Missouri. On her blog, she focuses on helping women find peace in God’s word. She enjoys reading, baking, gardening, and walking in nature. Her theme verse for 2017 is:
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, for they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3 NIV
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