This heart song was written by my precious friend, Robin. She is one of the bravest people I know, and I am so thankful that the Lord has blessed me with her friendship. Her love story is incredible, and I had the distinct pleasure of watching it all unfold. Watching them as they grow together makes the love of our Father a beautiful reality. I’m so glad to be able to share their story with you- as well as some very wise words from my beloved friend! She is married to seminary student (and one day, Pastor), Chad Washington, and stays at home with her two lovely children- Kira and Caleb. They hope to have more children as the years go by!
My love story is a cautionary tale, with a happy ending. I’ve been married to Chad a little over 5 years, but we almost didn’t make it past two. There were several poisons that threatened our marriage, and I want to warn all you lovers out there of their subtle dangers.
Preconceptions about marriage romance
When I got married, I imagined our dating life, but even more fun. I wanted lots of attention. I wanted my husband to relish in our intimacy and put me on a pedestal. What actually happened was disappointing. Chad had a hard time being intimate with me. He didn’t enjoy talking. When he came home from work, I wanted to talk about our day and play games together and for him to compliment me on my excellent cooking. It often looked more like him playing on the computer while I cleaned up, then going to bed alone. It was hard, trying to console myself with an imperfect spouse (hint: they all are, and you are too) and, at the same time, feeling like my unhappiness was all my fault, somehow.
Trying to fix it myself
So I tried harder. I thought, he doesn’t want intimacy. I must be too out-of-shape. He doesn’t want to talk. I must be a nag. He seems grumpy. I must not be providing a happy home environment. Some of those were at least partially accurate. I didn’t know it then, but the truth is, love in a marriage SHOULD NEVER depend solely on how one or both partners FEEL. I worked really hard at fixing my issues, and trying to change how Chad FELT, but it never occurred to me to pray over our marriage. Friends, I might have avoided a lot of pain, had I let the Lord do the fixing there.
Betraying intimacy by talking to friends
As a newlywed, I had a great desire to not “lose” my single friends, just because I was married. I heard things like, “I hope you don’t change”… ALL THE TIME. It was everywhere. I felt pressured to minimize the importance of my bond to Chad. Even my married friends would talk about their husbands using language that was patronizing. I’m sure you hear it too. “Men are so helpless when it comes to X. I can’t believe I have to put up with (fill in the blank here).”
Please let me be clear. Betraying confidences outside a marriage is as harmful as selling tickets to a seat at the foot of your bed. I know, you think I’m exaggerating. But I’m not. Oh, how I wish someone told me that before I was married. If you’d rather your husband didn’t hear the words you say, DON’T SAY THEM. Period. I resisted the temptation to enumerate my disappointments for about two years, but after we had our first child (whom I thought would fix all our issues- what? But that’s a whole different post), I started complaining out loud. To just a friend or two at first. Without fail, I heard, “You shouldn’t have to put up with that.” So I began to feel justified. It wasn’t my fault after all. I kept seeking justification in another friend, and another. Ultimately, I complained to a male friend, who was very sympathetic. It quickly led to an affair. Not only that, I was ready to divorce Chad and “start over” with this new man.
I knew that what I was pursuing was contrary to the Bible. But it was all too easy to justify. A sin’s a sin, right? Why couldn’t I just have this little happiness? Plenty of good people are on second marriages. Plus, doesn’t God want me to be happy?
Friends, these are the lies of the enemy. Even when they were swimming around in my mind and heart, there was a part of me that winced at the words. There is no one righteous, no not one. There aren’t ANY “good” people. And if left to my own devices, I would have committed any number of atrocities to claw away from my marital duties; doing “whatever it took” to secure my happiness.
The Word of God teaches us to put God and His wisdom above our own happiness, because He knows that in our sin and selfishness, we will hurt ourselves and others again and again.
The world says that being self-serving is okay. Good. Normal. Look out for number one. Take care of yourself. Life is too short to be unhappy. YOLO.
Well, the truth is, life is too short. God wants our perfect happiness, which is in Him, forever! Not wrapped up in our broken little vapor-lives here on earth. In this life, there are always disappointments and failures, on our parts, and on the parts of those we love.
So what happened? What changed my mind? Why wasn’t I abandoned in my sin?
The short answer is, while I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me. He chose me before the foundation of the world, and no one (not an affair, not even myself) can pluck me from His hand. But the tools He used in my life were pretty amazing. Chad, in desperation, sought godly council. He was pointed to the book of Hosea, particularly. I have to be honest, I’ve never heard a sermon out of Hosea. If you want the CliffNotes version, it’s an allegory of Christ and the church. There is a husband with an unfaithful wife. He is within his rights to scorn her and push her away. Instead, out of great love, and in obedience to God, he PURSUES her. He loves her with all his might. He loves her so much, she is wooed again. That is what Chad did to me, for me. I hated it, at first. I wanted a divorce! Then, by Gods grace, he softened my heart. One day, I just emotionally collapsed. The realization washed over me that our promise to God on our wedding day was being preserved… by God. How very very precious!
I live in gratitude to my Savior for not just my salvation, but His mercy in removing this particular sin from my heart. Without Him, I would be lost and justifying myself in a sin that the world considers normal. Now, we’re living in a happiness that is more full and free than we ever had before.
“I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.” Hosea 1:19-20