Friday, October 23, 2015

I'm Not Sure I Want To Be Married Anymore

Clay and I had a blissful marriage for the first ten or twelve years. BLISS, I tell you.
We used to go on about how lucky we were. We actually had friends and family complain about how "in love" we were. (Eye-rolling was definitely involved.)
Even as late as 2012, I wrote a blog having to clarify to all of you that Clay was not, indeed, Superman. I knew I gushed about him a lot. I was consistently trying to accentuate the positive.

Long story short: things declined.
It took a while to get to the point where grace just quit winning, but we got there.
In the past few years, our home has been full of icy silences and loads of tension. We couldn't talk about anything of substance without arguing. The same stubbornness which kept us fighting, also kept us talking to each other on a surface level and attempting to be "happily married".  We knew God wanted more for us than what we were experiencing, but we lived angry at each other or pretending not to be.
So when our friend uttered, "I'm not even sure I want to be married anymore," he might have expected a sympathetic response. We understood the distance he was experiencing in his marriage. We were a safe place for this kind of confession.
Then my husband of over 17 years, looked our friend in the eyes and replied with love and conviction, "Does it really MATTER what you want?"

Rock on, Clay.

Promises have been made. Children are involved. Adulthood has arrived. Maturity is required. Stomping our feet and wanting our way is not going to improve the situation or benefit the greater good. And yet...that is exactly what our whole culture does.

How has it become acceptable in our world to simply quit being family?
We don't get to say, "I don't want to be a parent anymore. My kids don't make me as happy as I thought they would."
(Well, we may say it...but anyone who actually makes that parenting choice is chalked up as selfish, heartless, scum of the earth - to put it nicely.)

We constantly deal with situations that are not ideal or easy, but we figure out how to maneuver within them because we HAVE NO CHOICE. We can't say, "My car is wrecked, but I still owe money on it. I'm just going to quit paying the loan because I am no longer experiencing the happiness I expected."
Again, we COULD take that path, but we would hide that information from society so they don't easily find out about the resulting debt-collectors and see us for the self-centered, childish sucktons that we are. (I just made that word up. Feel free to use it. Satan wants us all to be sucktons.)

So we won't/can't walk away from some of our responsibilities; but, "I'm not happy. I don't want to be married anymore," has become perfectly acceptable in our culture...and in our churches.
It's like people forget that they made a COVENANT WITH GOD.

Christian brothers and sisters, how did we become spoiled pansies with such hypocritical, empty faith? What happened to good character? How have we made God so small, so theoretical, so NOT REAL? How have we chosen to ignore the benefits that come from perseverance, endurance...and TRUST. COME ON, PEOPLE!
Most of us have learned how to walk, talk, or ride a bike. We have seen the benefits of diligently working to accomplish a hard task. Getting back up after falling down has brought us victory in areas of our lives. Blessings can come!
God promised that He can use all things for the good of those who love him.
He WILL bring glory to himself if we obey, believe, and follow!

We don't expect our kids to fulfill us. We get hurt by them (all.the.time), yet still love them. They say jerky things, and we give them grace. We even take some of the blame for their crappy attitudes or make excuses for them.
"That apple doesn't fall far from the tree."
"He probably just needs a nap."
(I bet it would make a HUGE difference if I would just let Clay take a nap.)

We don't expect our friends to fulfill us. They have LIVES OF THEIR OWN. They are messes (just like us) that need our love and support. They can't be dealing with OUR drama all the time. (Or if they do, they may need to grab a quick nap before making the phone call to interact with our baggage.) Friendship provides the luxury of space. We only see them in small spurts, so they don't get as many chances to tick us off.

So, why do we expect our spouse to fulfill us? Why do we expect perfection, right attitudes, and every moment to be like movie highlights? How can our spouse POSSIBLY have the capability to ignore their own perspective and see things from our point of view when they are made so very differently than we were? We can't do that for them, afterall. Where were we supposed to learn this skill in the first place? As children? (I know my children are not learning that skill.)
We are so warped to expect that kind of miraculous "oneness". It takes DIFFERENT pieces of a puzzle to make a beautiful picture. A pile of the same pieces just stays a pile.
The Bible warns us that those who marry will have troubles in this life. (1 Corinthians 7:28)
We need to quit being shocked by the trouble and embrace the value in it.

The Holy Spirit's love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control are being missed in this world. (Galatians 5:22-23) We don't experience them, because we don't experience HIM.
Instead, we expect all that wonderful fruit to be provided by our spouse.
(Lucky human. Such a huge, IMPOSSIBLE task.)
I am writing this blog to stay, "Stop it already!"

I told you I should not be trusted to write blogs and post them without days of contemplation.
You are getting a whole lot of REAL.
I have spent the last two years yelling at myself every time I consider my own momentary happiness rather than keep my eyes focused on the big picture. Now I have decided to yell at you too. I have learned so much by persevering, and we both know that I don't learn well alone.

Clay and I are on a fabulous (if not a bit rocky) path back to being a team. Back to passion.
Back to the sickly, electric, grace-filled love that we lost. We have been fighting like crazy in efforts to get back to that place. (No, fighting hasn't really helped in the efforts; but perseverance in faith IS.)
We both want to be healthy. We both WANT to be happy again. We finally asked GOD to show us how...and quit trying to fix it on our own.

My next blog will be much more positive. I promise.
I'll let you know about the 5-7 year journey we have been on, how we ended up living in the HARD, the lessons we learned (and are still learning) while walking through it, and the solutions God keeps providing.
Even when life is hard. God is faithful. (And sunglasses are useful.)
*the small print: This post is not saying you must stay in an adulterous marriage. It is not saying that you should stay in an abusive marriage. It is saying that life is bigger than your happiness...and that doing hard things brings great reward. So if you do not have Biblical grounds to leave...suck it up. Make sure that God is the lamp unto your feet in each and every path you choose.

(The next post has been written: The Truth(s) About Marriage)


  1. You knock me out, cousin. That was great.

  2. This is good stuff! It's comforting to hear from people in the trenches in their marriage, and know I'm not alone. Sucking it up, and looking for the positives right along with you. Blessings!


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