Meredith and I were just awful early on in marriage and I am guessing many other young marrieds are in the same boat.
No one could tell… from the outside, we were a Jesus-loving, obviously adorable young couple living blissfully in love.
Ha! Got ’em.
In reality we were really struggling, we didn’t know why we were struggling, and we certainly didn’t know how to talk about anything. Things began to cycle downward…
Let me lay some of it out for you:
- We were not friends. At best, we were friendly-ish towards one another.
- We came in with very different expectations of each other.
- We came in thinking “family life” was supposed to look vastly different.
- We were not on the same page financially. Horrible decisions were made that led to bitterness, hurt, and anger.
- We were not on the same page sexually.
- We did not have a culture of repentance, grace, and forgiveness in our marriage.
- I was leading horribly- as in, I wasn’t. I was abdicating most of my important responsibilities. I was also a jerk. I was extremely nice to everyone around me, except my wife- which of course cut her deeply.
- We were constantly quarrelsome.
We were mad. We were done. My wife, who fights divorce with all of her might, confessed, “If this is what this is going to be I don’t want to be in it.”
When she said it, I thought, “We are finally on the same page.” This was in year 6 of our marriage.
Neither one of us actually wanted to get divorced, but we didn’t want our marriage either. But, we had no idea how to address our issues and as a pastor I certainly didn’t want to say anything (I could get fired, right?!?! Pastors are supposed to have it together!).
Thankfully, in year 6 of our marriage, after both finally admitting it was ROUGH and we couldn’t take it anymore, we asked God to help us and we humbled ourselves before Him and each other.
In God’s providence, Meredith and I had a weekend trip previously planned that happened shortly after we finally admitted something had to change.
She would read a chapter aloud: we would then weep with sadness, confess sin and repent to one another, extend grace and forgiveness to one another, and then weep with joy. This genuinely happened after every chapter.
God broke through our hard hearts and began to redeem and restore our marriage.
This is why we want to invest in other young married couples. Not because we have been amazing at marriage, we haven’t. We were horrible at it. Marriage came especially unnatural to me. But, over the last few years God has done an amazing work and while we are far from perfect our marriage is night and day from what it used to be. It is marked by joy, laughter, grace, and friendship.
In December, we will have been married for 9 years and we want to start investing in other young married couples the same way we wish we would have been invested in. We want to help couples have the conversations we needed help having. We want to get to the heart of the issues young marrieds have and help them walk through the practical side of things, like we needed.
We want to serve others in the way God has served us.
We are going to start investing in couples for one year at a time, prayerfully asking God to strengthen marriages, save some from divorce, and allow marriages to be the joy they were meant to be.