Thanks to the wonders of Facebook, I found out over the weekend that one of my dearest friends has left his wife of more than a dozen years.
As I learned about his affair and the battle that’s already begun over his two children, I sobbed. I didn’t know what to say, how to react, what to feel. I just knew that nothing about this situation is okay.
And I was reminded of a couple years ago when three of our couple friends (friend couples?) got divorced, all within a few months of each other. One couple went through a very public split that involved betrayal and infidelity; another couple lost a business, their house and eventually their love for each other. The third couple just stopped fighting and moved on.
I don’t say any of this lightly. Though I was close to each of the couples I’m describing, I’m well aware that I have no idea of the pain they’ve been through. All of my friends who have experienced divorce have hurt – they’ve hurt each other and they’ve been hurt themselves – and I know they still bear the scars of broken relationships, broken promises, broken hearts.
Thinking about this, facing this – it just makes me so sad. I don’t presume to know the details of anyone else’s relationship or what is right or wrong for anyone’s life. But I do know that each of my friends made promises to God and to each other, and those promises have been broken.
I’ve broken promises, too. Mark and I have been married for 10 years (woo-hoo!), but the majority of those years have been peppered with fights and frustrations and tears and tantrums and disappointments and – hmmm, I wish I could think of something else that started with a “d.” But you get the point.
We came into marriage with expectations and assumptions, and we each let the other down in every way possible. We’re going through a Bible study about marriage right now, and the chapter we just finished talks about focusing on the good things about your spouse and ignoring the bad things. Let’s just say we had that reversed for more than a few years.
Early in our marriage, we even considered whether or not we’d made a mistake by getting married in the first place. I said I didn’t know if it would work. I thought that maybe it wouldn’t.
I’m not sure how we made it through. Not without scars of our own, that’s for sure. But somehow, we kept putting one foot in front of the other. We kept coming home to each other. We kept trying to fight it out and figure it out. We talked, we cried (Okay, I cried. Mark handed me Kleenex.), we prayed, we screamed, we planned, we promised – and then we did it all over again.
Why did we stay together? Is it that we couldn’t stand breaking our promises for good? Were we afraid of disappointing our families? Were things really not that bad?
Well, no. They were bad. We’ve had, ahem, issues. But in the end, we still loved each other. (Even when we didn’t like each other at all.) And we realized that our problems didn’t make us want to escape the relationship. Instead, they just made us anxious – no, desperate – to fix what had gone wrong.
I am not judging my friends or anyone else who has ended a marriage. I know that it’s only by the grace of God that I have not been in their shoes. Those situations break my heart, but they also remind me of how blessed I am. I spent the afternoon after learning about my friend’s affair patting my husband on the arm, just making sure he knows that I’m still here, and that I’m glad he’s still here, too.
A few of my friends have written some beautiful posts recently about marriage, and I want to share them with you.
- Lisa-Jo wrote about expectations and the Prince Charming myth.
- Sarah wrote about her affair and how God redeemed her – and her marriage.
- And Alece shared the story of her husband’s betrayal and how she’s picking up the pieces.
I also want to hear from you, about your relationships, about your experience. How have you made it through tough times in your marriage?