"The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock." Matthew 7:25
We wanted our marriage to stand the test of time because we built it on the very firm foundation of Christ.
My treatment is over. My cancer is gone. But Terry and I would both agree we're still facing the rain and the winds. We've been together for nearly 10 years. Once we started dating we were almost inseperable. And for 10 years we've developed some strong traditions. We were alike in thought and attitude in the beginning, but after a decade we've grown even more similar. We agree over the big things, and most of the small things too. For years we'd go to bed at the same time every night, always together. We'd talk on the phone while he drove to work, and again when he drove home. We spent our free time together, we spent our busy times wanting to get back together.
And then out of no where I got sick. And we couldn't be a couple anymore. I had to be at doctor appointments. I had to be sick but hide the worst of the illness from the kids. I had to be diligent to fight away depression. I had to be strong when we headed into surgery where I would voluntarily offer up part of my female identity to be cut into and cut away.
Terry had to be at work. He had to be with the kids. He had to be in charge of paying the bills and cleaning the house. He had to be sure he was always at work when it mattered, so they still saw him as a valuable part of the team. He had to relay the messages of my progress, pre-op and post-op. He had to be ok with me being sick.
We couldn't be a couple anymore because our lives suddenly depended on us being indpendent beings who could tackle our "to-do" lists. There's still been love. Always lots and lots of love. But there hasn't been much togetherness. Gone are the days of going to bed together. I've been turning in at the same time as the kids and Terry's been up until the sun rises trying to get work done. Date nights have dwindled due to budgetary constraints and time constraints and fatigue. And somehow when we do go out it usually ends up being with other people.
I looked at Terry a few nights ago and just felt like, "Where have you been?"
What I do know is where our marriage is going. Good places. Great, big, golden-anniversary places! And the way we're going to make it there is that we've acknowledged what a funky spot we're in now and we're setting out to get back on the right path. There were so many days during the last 6 months when I'd look at Terry at the end of the day and say, "I need such and such." And he'd respond with his own long list of needs. We were both desperate for help and at the same time both so empty that we had nothing to give. I truly believe that this was a recipe for disaster... We would have ended up resenting each other had it not been for our ability to turn to God to supply all our needs.
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
I married Terry because I love him. And because he likes board games as much as me. Because he is a homebody and because his jokes are so cheesy. Because he loves kids. Because he likes to take me out to eat Mexican food. Because he likes to dance with me even though I have no rhythm.
But I'm so grateful that God has helped me to understand that it isn't Terry who will make me happy in life or give me the things I want or need. I believe we would be sitting in couples counseling right now if we didn't both go to God during this process. He gave us strength. He gave us love. He gave us hope.
And then we were able to go back to each other feeling content just knowing we were still with our loved one. And now that our dark sky is beginning to allow the sun to peek through, we see that we've made it intact. And now we can rebuild the intimacy that existed before.
I hope this is the hardest thing that our marriage will ever endure. And I hope that when the next storm comes we can look back and see that if God could carry us through this, then He will surely be faithful to help us uphold His beautiful marriage design during the next curveball life throws us.
I've said it for a decade now-- Terry is the biggest blessing in my life. He is my best friend and "holy smokes" I'm grateful for him! He's seen me bald, bruised, and broken and still fought to hang in there for me. I told him last week that we have a new song. More specifically, it's my song for him... (Swerdna Eiluj, husband!)
If it all falls apart, I will know deep in my heart
The only dream that mattered had come true
In this life, I was loved by you