the marriage fight

grace (she said)

Posted By on Sep 2, 2013


When I asked google to define grace – I got this.

1. simple elegance or refinement of movement.

2. (in Christian belief) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

Wikipedia gave me this –

The love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it. It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to man – “generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved”.

I don’t ask for grace – either from God for me or for me toward others. In fact – I don’t think I can ever remember asking for it.

Until the middle of July. It’s interesting that the last few posts that we wrote were about our craziness and how hard marriage is. If you need to go back and read those posts – please do. It’s important to what I’m writing here.

And – I don’t know if we shared this word from God on this blog or not – but I wanted to share it now.

I firmly believe that God gives words to people. And visions and dreams. This specific word in our life came from God through a dear friend. Two days after a conversation Jared and I had about our next pregnancy – should we ever have one. Two days after a decision that no one else knew about. A decision to not tell anyone if we got pregnant again. Not until the first trimester was over. Confirmation. While I don’t know much about God and how He communicates with us sometimes – I do know this. Confirmation is important. Very. Important. When you are given a word for someone – you don’t take it lightly. You hold it and pray. You might even consult with the ones that YOU hold dear and counsel with. You pray. And then you pray again. And – in my opinion – when God says – now. Share this now. You do. After prayer and consideration. But – like I said – that’s just my opinion – and I don’t know much about it. At all.

So – our dear friend sent us this in a text on 9.8.2012.

“You will get pregnant again. And even though you will default in your minds that you will probably miscarry – oh no. You will have a healthy child – possibly twins! It will be huge and massive BUT you must keep it to yourselves and announce at the END of the first trimester.

This is a promise from God and you will rename the son Enoch. God is NOT done with you. He’s just starting. You need to tuck this word on your hearts and cover it. The Enoch tattoo was intended as a remembrance BUT in God’s time was a prophetic act as to your next son’s name being branded. 

It will be a massive testimony and will restore relationships, friendships, and family ties in ways you never thought possible. It’s going to be mammoth. It will be full circle. Both of your families will be remarkably astounded at what God will do through you in this next pregnancy. BUT you MUST NOT announce it until the end of the 1st trimester. Not even to close friends or family. YOU MUST WAIT!

I honestly feel stronger about this than the word I gave you for Fitzy! You can’t even tell me when you first find out – I will already know. You can’t tell ANYONE! BELIEVE IT! RECEIVE IT! ACT! God is good and will be massively glorified through it. Save these messages for confirmation and documentation. Not for me – but so that we can honor Christ Jesus & God’s ridiculous faithfulness. He is good. He is really REALLY good!”

Awesome – right?

I share this now – because it’s important. When we announced our pregnancy at Fitzy’s birthday party – I read that text to everyone. Not the part about a son and a name – we waited to share that. And then when we blogged about it – we shared this. In joy and excitement. Not to bring focus to the person that God shared it with – who shared it with us – but bring honor and glory to God. To share His promise. His faithfulness. To encourage. To share what God does and is doing. Right this moment.

And when I look back on it – I can see the signs. Starting – the day we announced our pregnancy. The signs showing me that something wasn’t right. That while I was chalking it up to my emotions and being pregnant and being – well – crazy – there was something deeper going on. Something building. Something that would change my life. In what seemed like an instant. But was really building since that day. The something that made me beg God for grace. For myself and for my family.

While I am sure we will write about it more and share more as time goes on – for now – you just need to know this. That something was manic depression. That something was building in Jared. That something boiled over into mania the middle of July. I watched as my husband became someone I didn’t know. I begged him to stop acting so … strange. I had no idea what it was at first. I thought maybe it was my emotions again. Maybe I’m just being oversensitive. I had no idea that Jared was struggling under the surface. He didn’t have any idea. And it was the hardest thing we’ve ever done.

Once we figured out what was going on – I thought it would be over. Get some new medicine and he will be back to his normal self. Ya know – tomorrow. It didn’t happen like that. It got worse before it got better. It’s not my story to tell – so I won’t.

But I will tell you about grace. About how much I think that footprints poem is silly and overdone – but I can honestly tell you – without a doubt – that God carried (and is still carrying) me. It’s not so silly now. I am telling you that I have NEVER ever felt the strength of God like I have over the past month. While there were moments that I was absolutely confused. Hurting. Upset. Whether just in general or with my husband – I felt the strength of God – like never before. And I felt something else. His grace. At first – without even asking. Then more and more as I cried out and asked. Begged. Help me to not hold these things against Jared. Help me to not hold them against You.

It’s so easy to have the – why me – it’s not fair – mentality. I’ve been there before. Miscarrying and trying for a baby. It can take you to a deep dark place. A place where satan wants you to live. A place where he wants to drag you. A place where he will play dirty. One of our friends told me – satan’s goal is to confuse. Confuse your thoughts. Confuse your love. Confuse the good things that God has given you. The good things God is GOING to give you. And he will confuse you. And you must be prepared. So I prayed. I prayed that God would continue to pour out His grace on me. And give me a lot of it for Jared. Not God’s grace for him – I can’t do that. But the grace of a wife toward her husband. The forgiveness of a wife toward her husband. The love of a wife toward her husband. Please God – help me to support him and forgive him and show him grace. And while I asked for it quite a bit – I found that He was giving it to me quite a bit. And more. And some more.

While I am NOT a grudge holding person – I am a “don’t hurt me again” person. Forgiveness is amazing and awesome. It’s freeing. It’s beautiful. But I want to make sure that I don’t need to give it again. So – I guard myself. I don’t get as close as I was. Because while I need to forgive – I don’t need to be hurt over and over again. Which is true. But forgiveness isn’t a one time thing. Right? Not seven. Not seventy seven. Seventy times seven. Which doesn’t mean 490 times. Basically – always. Forever. Again? Yes. Again. So I know I needed it. And God gave it to me.

My heart only grew for my husband. My love dug deeper. The marriage fight. I was in it. I had a period of sadness and absolute despair. It was short compared to the period with boxing gloves on. Fighting. For my marriage. For my husband. For our boys. For our life together. For the glory of God.

Remember that certain part of the word we were given –

It will be a massive testimony and will restore relationships, friendships, and family ties in ways you never thought possible. It’s going to be mammoth. It will be full circle. Both of your families will be remarkably astounded at what God will do through you in this next pregnancy.

Restore relationships. Not break them down. Restore. Our marriage. Our love. Our commitment. Right before and then right after Jared was diagnosed – I had weddings to shoot. The first one – I was angry when I heard those vows. I wanted to interject and say – what about when your husband acts insane and you don’t know what to do. Even then? What about when you are so confused and don’t understand this sudden change in your husband. Even then? Little did I know how much I needed to be there. Right then. Capturing a beautiful bride and her groom – promising their lives to one another. Not knowing what might be ahead of them. But making a promise to be there. Together. Fighting. For their marriage. And then the next wedding – I was a wreck. I cried when I heard their vows. Knowing that the answer was – yes – even then. Yes. In sickness and health. In good times and bad. For richer for poorer. In sorrow and in joy. Yes. Even then. Together. Fighting.

When someone asked what I needed – I told them. Pray for me. Pray that bitterness does not take root. Pray that I can encourage and love my husband. Pray that he will be better than ever through this. Pray for him. Pray for him. Pray for him. God is carrying me. Pray for him.

When I was 22 weeks pregnant with Fitzgerald – Jared told me that he was very depressed. He was in one of the darkest places I’ve ever seen him. When Fitzy was born – Jared finally felt “normal”. I was 22 weeks pregnant with Enoch when we discovered what was happening with Jared this time. The doctor told me that it might take 3 1/2 to 4 months for him to truly feel “normal”. Taking us right to our due date.

It’s going to be mammoth. It will be full circle. Both of your families will be remarkably astounded at what God will do through you in this next pregnancy.

Those are words that God gave us. Words that I held onto. Words that renewed my strength. Words that grew my faith. Words that I know are from God. This pregnancy – what happened last month – while I don’t understand why (and we will probably never know) – I do know that God knows. Because He is awesome.

Even through this – through everything – Danielle – how can you say that? Because He is. And if He isn’t. Then why are we here? What are we doing?

As for me and my family. We are serving Jesus. We are believing in His power. We are waiting for Him.

In grace. Simple. Elegant. Grace. A refined movement.


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Writing that title without capital letters is hard. But I’ve done much harder things in life. Watching your wife suffer with jaw pain, praying for a 24-year old friend to beat cancer and then standing in front of his casket, hearing your dad has Leukemia, are just a handful of the hard things I’ve walked through.

Being a dad is hard. Mostly because I’m not a kid person. I find it hard to relate, hard to pretend “play”, etc.

But marriage. Marriage is hard. Marriage is everyday. It’s 24/7 hard. Like hard. For realz (as the kids say).

Don’t get me wrong. I love being married, and I LOVE Danielle, but loving Danielle every day and holding up my end of the vows is not always a walk in the park.

You see, I’m fairly forgetful, I think it’s part of the Male condition, for whatever reason. And Danielle values having things done (gifts of service for you 5 Love Languages peeps). And I try, I really do. Sometimes I try too much and just ending up forgetting in incredibly epic fashion. #FAIL, if you will.

And yet Danielle loves me, even though I drive her completely cuckoo at times. For that, I’m eternally grateful. She claims not to be patient and caring sometimes, but she is.

Lately Danielle has been “interesting” to live with. I blame the baby! (just kidding, Baby Barden) Something about hormones and such. And I get it. I do. But it can be challenging at times. I risked bodily harm by informing her one evening that she was, frankly, being crazy. She took it remarkably well, because she’s awesome like that. She can admit when she’s being more Almond Joy than Mounds.

And here’s a little secret. Ready? Being an only child, I value my alone time. Because for roughly 20 years of my life or so I basically had as much of it as I wanted. So to be by myself for a day, or two, or three, is no big deal. It’s not that I don’t like being around Danielle or Fitzy, but sometimes…I just need my space.

I enjoy golfing. 3-4 hours of just being out in the elements playing a game that is deeply maddening and enjoyable at the same time, usually with friends. It’s one of my favorite things to do. But, it does take me away from the rest of my family. So I am working on finding a balance. Which is hard.

Lately Danielle has been on my nerves and I’ve been on hers. Sometimes I think we need a separate vacation, but you didn’t hear that from me ;) I think my problem is that I assume she’s going to be upset about something, so I go on defense automatically. I just can’t help it. And Danielle assumes I will forget something or not do something, so she goes into “prepare to be disappointed” mode, if you will.

And yet we work. We keep at it, because it’s worth it. Now, more than ever, society needs examples of marriages that work, in spite of all the challenges. So we fight.

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Marriage. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. For me – it’s harder than being a mom. While I have only been a mom for a little over 2 years – I’ve known my whole life that I would be one. To be honest – the whole being married part – didn’t really enter my thoughts. I mean – I knew I would be married. But – you just get married. And you live happily ever after. Because you are married. Because that’s what they say. Because that’s what happens at the end of movies.

Parenting is hard work. Parenting is exhausting and time consuming. Parenting is about letting go of your selfishness. Not marriage. And while parenting IS all of the above. Marriage is hard work. Marriage is exhausting and time consuming. Marriage is about letting go of your selfishness.

Marriage is much harder than parenting. For me. Right now. Or – maybe it’s marriage AND parenting combined.

Right now – I am extremely emotional. I am extremely sensitive. I am on edge. (I wrote about that here) So maybe right now – marriage is harder than usual.

It all comes down to this. Jared doesn’t listen to me and do what I want him to do. I think he should do certain things – without me telling him. Things that are painfully obvious to me.

And it’s stupid stuff. Right now – in a moment of rationale – I can see that. I can admit it. But in the moment of the issue – I’m extremely irrational. I know I am – but I can’t stop. It’s like I’m telling myself – just don’t say it. Just don’t say it – just don’t … BLAH BLAH BLAH. YOU DIDN’T DO THIS AND THAT. WHY DO YOU NEVER LISTEN TO ME. WHY DON’T YOU CARE ABOUT ME. Seriously. It boils over – out of control. And I can see it when the smoke has cleared – but when the same exact situation comes up again – I freak out.

Here’s the crappy part – being married to Jared isn’t really that hard. Being married to me – is crazy hard.

I would love to tell you – and sometimes think – I can let things go. And while I can forgive – it’s hard for me to forget. When Jared does or doesn’t do something once – then I expect it to happen again and again. Which is really just me setting him up for failure. If I believe that he will always screw up (no matter what) – he will most likely screw up (no matter what) – because I’ve already prepared myself (and him) for that. That’s the excuse I use. Being prepared for the worst. Seriously.

I would love to tell you that I’m the encouraging wife – in every and any area of life. When it comes to anything. But – I suck. Like – really really suck. Words of praise and encouragement are Jared’s love language – he needs it. And the concept is absolutely ridiculous to me. (Again – not in the concept of parenting – I get that. They are just little guys that need positive reinforcement – but in the case of grown men – or women – I don’t get it) I wanted to start a business – so I did. I made up my mind to lose weight – so I did. Again – I don’t say this to be insensitive to anyone – just to let you know a little of what goes on inside this head.

Jared has spent most of his life trying to blend in with the crowd – not make waves – make people happy. I’ve spent most of my life trying to stand out in the crowd – be proud of being the goofy girl – not concerned with how people view me. Obviously – there are pros and cons to each situation. Jared craves encouragement and recognition. I crave time and service.

When I come home and Jared has picked up or done the dishes – he waits for recognition. I feel that I don’t need to say anything because that’s just something you have to do every day. I don’t get thanked for keeping up the house and doing laundry and blah blah blah. But then again – it’s not important to me. I don’t need it. He does. I just needed the house picked up and dishes to be done.

Why is it so hard for to me to say – thanks for doing the dishes. Why is it so hard for me to say – yes – go golfing. Why is it so hard for me to say – great job. Why is it so hard for me to leave shoes out of place. Why is it so hard for me to see the things that Jared has done to help instead of doing what I do best in pointing out the things he hasn’t.

Last weekend – I was explaining this to my parents. I said – I’m just so irritable right now! My dad said – as compared to what? He was joking – but not really. It’s not that I’m an unpleasant person – but I am a particular person.

I know that. Jared knew that when he married me. And while you shouldn’t want to change the person you marry – you try. And hopefully YOU end up being changed. It’s happening – even if it’s ever so slowly. I’m not as freaked out about things being “perfect” like I once was. I’m not nearly as uptight and stubborn as I once was – believe it or not. I’m trying – even as I type this – to think rationally. To pick my battles – so they say. To let things go. I don’t consider myself a fixer – although I know people would disagree. Instead of a fixer – I’m more like a – if you would just listen to me and do things my way – person. Which might be why mothering comes easy to me and marriage is harder.

But in the end – mothering isn’t about that either. Mothering and marriage is about trust. Trust in God. I can’t even say trust in your spouse. Because your spouse will fail you. Your kids will fail you. The only person you can really truly trust is God. And when you both trust in God to protect and guide your marriage (and your kids) – it’s a little easier. Still hard (for me) because I have control issues which means I have trust issues. And while marriage is the hardest thing I’ve ever done – nothing in this world worth having comes easy. I have a husband who loves me and stands by me (crazy or not) and I know why. Because he loves me – which has to be hard. And I love him.

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nine years (he said)

Posted By on Jun 28, 2013

Nine years. 3,285 (give or take) days. 78,840 hours.

45 times longer than Kim K’s marriage.

A long time when you’re only 32 years old. And yet, it seems like not much time at all.

23 year old Jared. Ha, he thought he knew about life, but he was wrong. He thought he know about love, and he did, to an extent. He thought he knew what “for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health,” meant, but he didn’t.

I still remember that day and the previous day pretty clearly. There was the “fight” the night before, resulting in a pretty sweet rut in our back yard. The good times with friends, waking up to breakfast at Crossroads B&B, the nearly cloudless wedding day, the minister calling me “Brian” when it was time to kiss the bride, the EPIC best man speech, dancing the night away with friends – so many great memories.

And yet that was 1 day. One of 3,285. And while it was an important day, our marriage has been made in the 3,284 days since. In jaw pain, in owning a puppy, training a puppy, having a miscarriage, having Fitzy, experiencing more loss, going through church struggles, developing couple friendships, experiencing more loss, having our marriage commitments tested, going through anxiety and depression….you get the picture.

As I look back, all of these things, and thousands more, have shaped me into the man I am today, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Happy Nine Years, babe. Even knowing everything I do now, I’d do it all again. In a heartbeat.

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nine years (she said)

Posted By on Jun 26, 2013

Nine years ago I woke up with a headache – which is the norm for me. But I remember thinking – not today. Please not today.

Thankfully my girls distracted me and we started hair and make up and had a relaxing morning. I got ready and dressed at my future in-laws house – with those most dear next to me.

The dress fit perfectly – the day was beautiful – I was ready.

Cus that”s what a wedding is about. A beautiful dress and no pimples to hide! Perfectly manicured hair and nails and a bright shining sun in the sky. Looking your best. With all your friends.

Oh – and then walking down an aisle to say I DO and kiss. Dancing the night away with your friends and family. And gifts.

That’s totally what a wedding was about. That’s totally what a wedding IS about.

And it shouldn’t be. A wedding should be about your marriage. Not the dress – not the weather – not the party. You and this boy pledging your love and commitment to each other for all time. No matter what. In rain or in shine. In craptastic days and fantastic days – or weeks or months or years. In pain and sorrow or in good health and joy. In newlywed bliss or brand new baby tiredness. In every moment that takes your breath away and every moment that you want to scream.

I look back on today – nine years ago – and think. The nerve. The nerve I had to look Jared in the face in front of all the people dearest to us – and God – and tell him that I loved him. Yes. I will be there for you. Yes. I will love you. Yes. I will support you. Yes. Yes. Yes. I had NO idea what I was talking about. I had NO idea what marriage was really about. Sharing your hopes and dreams and life and loves. Putting Jared and his needs before me and mine.

I love him so much more today – than I did nine years ago. And it’s about more than love. Our trust has been tested. Our dreams and desires have been put on hold at times. What I wanted – it isn’t about me anymore. It’s about us. And believe it or not – that’s a hard concept for me. And I’ll bet it is for you too. I love him so much more today – but it’s also a deeper love. I know what it’s like to be scared. To look at my marriage and ask the really hard questions. To listen to – and give – hard answers. To sacrifice.

To think about the vows we promised each other. To trust each other.

I wrote about how I’m a little bit crazy – okay – a GIANT bowl full of crazy. And to think that Jared has lived with me – loved me – supported me – stayed in the same house as me – for nine years. Nine crazy long years. It makes me cry. He is kinder than I am. He is more patient than I am. He is more giving than I am. I’ve always said that I wanted to have a baby with Jared – because he is the best person I know. I know that Fitzy gets his kindness and gentleness from his dad. Thank You Jesus.

While I am still in the midst of crazy Danielle (I’m working on it) and while we’ve been through some really ugly days and weeks and months – when I look at my life. It’s beautiful. It’s blessed.

Your wedding day should be one of the happiest days of your life. I am so thankful that my husband has made every day since then even better. And next year – I will love him even more.

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I’m crazy (he said)

Posted By on Jun 10, 2013

No really. I am.

At least technically I am.

Or, better put, I struggle with anxiety which at times is mixed with depression. So yeah, I am a little bit crazy.

And I forget things. A lot. Just ask Danielle if you don’t believe me. She’ll confirm it in a heartbeat. And it always seems to be the things she NEEDS me to remember. It’s almost like I try so hard to not forget that I end up forgetting. Go figure.

But I digress. Living with anxiety and depression is the worst. I would probably rank it right under living with a terminal physical illness. And this might sound harsh, but if you’ve never experienced it, you don’t understand, at least not fully.

And I’m speaking from my point of view. I can’t imagine the toll it has taken on Danielle during the 3-4 significant bouts I’ve had since we’ve been married. I can’t say “thank you” enough to her for sticking it out with me. Many other women would have left, and honestly, I wouldn’t fault them for it.

When Danielle refers to herself has crazy, I think of it more as OCD/control issues. Not literally crazy. Maybe annoying would be a better word, but you didn’t hear that from me.

So while her “crazy” is trying to deal with at times, I think it pales in comparison to what she went through standing by my side. Let me give you a little glimpse.

It’s Monday morning. 7:15 AM. The alarm has been on snooze at least 3 times now. My side of the bed is drenched in sweat, and I’ve been up off and on since 4 AM. My stomach is knotted up unbelievably tight, and the though of just getting ready for the day is a daunting, if not impossible, task. Imagine thinking everyone is upset at you or that every little thing you do is wrong. You constantly second-guess yourself. You’ve been going to the gym for a month or so, but now it’s been 3 months, and you haven’t canceled your membership, because that would be “giving up” and really admitting you have a problem.

Welcome to my world from August 2012 through February 2013.

That’s a small glimpse of what Danielle lived with for half a year. HALF A YEAR. She’s a saint in my book.

Of the two of us, I’m the crazy one. But I’m glad my best friend is fighting with me.

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i’m crazy (she said)

Posted By on Jun 9, 2013

I’m crazy.

No – seriously. And Jared will agree with me.

I’m usually pretty crazy anyway. But being pregnant – makes it much worse.

I feel horrible. Cranky – moody – irritable (I realize those are all the same thing – but believe me – you can describe me right now with each of them – capitalized if you’d like). I’m not complaining. I’ve been pregnant 5 times and when I feel like this – it’s a good sign that a baby is here to stay. So the worse I feel – the better I feel. If you know what I mean.

BUT – that doesn’t help Jared. And the people around me that are exposed to my craziness. But like almost anything – I try and put on the best face I can for my friends and family. So – Jared ends up getting the WHOLE ball of craziness. Awesome.

We’ve gotten good news about this pregnancy. A baby on a screen. A heartbeat (seen and heard). No signs of tearing or bleeding. But the slight spotting continues. And I think – I was bigger with Fitzy – but I was also 20 pounds heavier in general. And I worry. And I try not to. And I know that it’s in God’s hands. I know that He has given us a word and a promise. I know that. I do. And yet I worry. And I try not to.

So what happens – is I start to control the things that I can control. Mostly things being picked up and neat and orderly and having a place. I have some OCD tendencies – but they’ve been able to be under control – for the most part. But there are certain places in my life where you can see them – very evidently.

My business. I pay my taxes on the first day of the month – not the 20th when they are due. I pay quarterlies a month ahead of time. I have a spreadsheet calculating my taxes and mileage and sessions. When I do a session – the first thing I do when I get home – is open three little spreadsheets and mark down all the info – before I even download any pictures. Because it”s what I’ve always done. Because if I don’t – it’s just not right. Nothing bad will happen – it’s just what needs to be done. Crazy. I know.

My desk. Pens go here. Sticky notes go there. Bills go here. Checkbooks go there. And you don’t move them. Ever. Because that’s where they go. And I get crazy about it.

With my business and my desk – I”m like this all the time. Thankfully – with the rest of the house – I have chilled out – a lot over the years – because I am pretty sure Jared would have left by now. But when I’m where I am right now – it starts to spill over. And shoes NEED to go here. Plates HAVE to go here. Dishes NEED to be done NOW. Toys MUST be organized. EVERY SINGLE THING has a spot and it must be in it. And when I have to ask – oh no – much worse. Because you should already KNOW that all these things MUST be done this way. I mean – we have been married for almost 9 years – haven’t you figured it out yet?

Jared assures me that I’m not THIS bad all the time. Today he told me that I usually keep it at a manageable level – but it’s just out of control right now. In his exact words – you’re just crazy right now. And he tried to think of a better way to say it. I said – just say it. So he did. And I said. I know. We need to talk about it – cus I’m not happy right now. I’m not happy with you – not happy with me – just not happy. And that’s the way it is with OCD and control issues. People think you do it to make yourself happy. But you do it to maintain the crazy that’s spilling out ever so slowly – or in my case – pretty rapidly.

I deal with anxiety – always have. And my anxiety comes out this way. With control issues. Jared knows this. He knew this when we started dating – it was much worse then. And he still chose to stay with me. And while I’m not happy with him right now – and his inability to live up to my crazy standards – we talked. Because mostly – I’ve just been sighing and crying and saying ONCE AGAIN – you didn’t do this – you didn’t do that. And I feel better. Tons.

But – I’m still crazy.

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I’m watching The Office. Jim and Pam are in marriage counseling. OH THE HORROR!

I know – it’s a television show – it’s NOT real. Just remember that I know that.

Pam was engaged. To a jerk. She wasn’t happy. She met Jim at work. They became close friends. They fell in love. Jim asked her to choose him. She said no. Jim left. Pam called off the wedding. Jim started dating someone else. But we all knew they were meant to be. They FINALLY got together. They got married. Had two babies. Jim got a new job. His focus changed. Pam may have gotten a little too close to a friend – a guy friend. They are asking the hard questions to other people – not each other.

Why would the writers take it down this road? This can’t happen to Jim and Pam. They have the perfect relationship.

Because it happens. To the best of us.

We lose sight of what it means to be married. What it means to actually put someone else ahead of our own needs and wants. We get selfish. We start to confide in someone else. We start to put more value in their opinion than our spouse’s. We start to assume.

And then it all comes out. We find out that we’ve lied to each other. We’ve lied to ourselves. We’ve become someone we don’t recognize. We’ve said things that we regret. We’ve asked each other questions that we never thought we would. We don’t know how to trust each other.

Because it happens. To the best of us.

Because we aren’t the best. Because we are human. Because we are sinful.

Because we need Jesus more than we need each other. And sometimes crappy stuff has to happen for us to realize that.

Jim and Pam can make it. They need to ask each other the hard questions. They need to cry. They need to say I’m sorry. They need to forgive. They need to get on the same page.

Sacrifices had to be made. An aspect of my job. A relationship with a friend. The reliance on a FACEBOOK account. Time. Sleep. Priorities.

It was hard. Really truly very hard. We talked. We cried. We yelled. We forgave. We learned to trust again. We re-evaluated our marriage. What it meant to be in this. Together. What the new rules had to be and living within those boundaries.

A year ago – I didn’t know what would happen. I wasn’t sure where we would be today. Seriously.

We turned to Jesus. And he helped us turn to each other and stay there. We’re on the same page. We’ve made sacrifices. We are in an awesome place – a place I didn’t think could exist. It was hard. Because life is hard. But so worth it.

While we didn’t turn to marriage counseling – we would have. If you’re reading this and you’re struggling with your spouse – no matter what the issue is – it’s not going to just go away. I’m willing to bet it will only get worse. Confront the issue. Let your feelings be heard – not pushed aside. Remember that your marriage is more important than any friendship. Remember that you are in this together. Remember why you got married in the first place. Remember why you fell in love. Go there. Stay there.

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