After years of struggling to understand this life that had spun into a web of lies, I found myself angry , impatient, and moving through life on auto pilot with my children.
Tony and I bounced in and out of counseling. He wasn’t completely ready or willing to be honest nor was he done in his pursuit with pornography, marijuana, and lying.
We were 2 days into the new year. I kept telling myself “The new year is your favorite time Jame, you get to start all over. Be happy.”
My body felt heavy and everything seemed to be covered by a dark cloud that followed. We had just dropped our oldest daughter off at work.Trying to seem happy and polite I asked Tony, “So what do you think this new year will bring us?” His frigid reply was, “Whatever you want it to bring. You’re in control, I’m just here for the ride.”
His words pierced me. I pulled the car into the nearest parking lot, turned the engine off, unbuckled my seat belt and turned to face him, my voice stern and loud. “Are you kidding me?”
It was during that fight he informed me that he would be leaving. He had decided to take a job on another Island. He would send the money home to pay for everything, he was done!
“Done?” I retorted, “You can’t be done, you don’t get to be done!” I was now screaming in protest of his decision! He shut me out and I continued with rage of brutal words gushing from my hurt filled heart.
We avoided each other the rest of the day. That night I watched him gather his things. I wanted to stop him and unpack everything he had put into his bag. I wanted him to hold me, I wanted a truce, I wanted our words to be filled with “I’m sorry” just like we had done in the past. Anger and pride stood in the way.
I couldn’t sleep that night. His hand brushed up against my arm in the middle of the night causing the tears to pour silently on my pillow.
The early morning drive to the airport was cold and silent. For the first time in our marriage we did not resolve, nor did we say goodbye. He grabbed his bag, slammed the car door and walked away.
I had the task of telling our four children ages 9-18 that dad is going to live somewhere else (“because of work” is what I used to reassure them all was well). We lived like this for a few years with him coming home on most weekends and sometimes for a week or so to transition to another job on a different Island. Fights were often the outcome of him coming home and over time I learn to be quiet through the weekend so our kids would not have to be the victims of our bitter hearts.
His next job took him to Kauai, on the drive to the airport we both agreed living like this was no longer an option and divorce was the next step. For six days we did not talk to each other, our phone calls were usually about: money, bills, or the kids. But neither of us would pick up the phone.
One night in particular after the kids had gone to bed, I shut my room door, reached to plug-in the string of tiny lights that hung above my bed. I pulled the covers down and sat leaning my back against the old white picket fence that served as a shabby headboard. It was that night that I realized we were really broken.
I had been going to church, reading the bible, praying , reading marriage books, yet I was so broken inside and falling apart.
As I opened the bible my tears began to fall, wetting the pages of the ancient stories, I cried out for God to come for me.
“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude as Christ Jesus had.” Philippians 2:1-5 (NLT)
I was so convicted as I continued to read. I was so sorry for my attitude, the horrible words I spoke to Tony. I was so consumed by my own hurt that I didn’t care if he was hurt. I was demanding he stop hurting me! The rest of Philippians 2 talks about Jesus taking the position of a slave, he gave up his rights, to be obedient to his father. I stood in this place of repentance long enough to hear the Lord say,”Pick up the phone and call Tony. Ask him to forgive you.”
I could feel myself resist that notion. Surely the lord is not telling me to make that call, shouldn’t Tony be the one? He started the break down of our marriage.
How quickly I saw my pride rise up. My thoughts vacillating. “Give up your rights Jamie, to be angry, Set Tony free.” Why should I let him off so easily? He broke this, he should be calling me.”
After 30 minutes of struggling, I finally surrendered and picked up the phone. I called twice and it went to voicemail, I hung up quickly convincing myself that I had tried.
Again I heard, “Call Tony and ask him to forgive you.” It was a battle for sure before I called again and left a message, trying not to let my voice crack as the tears began to flow.
“Hey it’s me, I jut wanted to say I’m sorry for the way things have been and I hope you can forgive me for hurting you.” I quickly hung up and began to weep.
My phone rang a minute later, I cleared my throat and answered, Tony was on the other end, he sounded sad, “I got your message Jame, and I love you and I don’t want a divorce, I’m ready to come home and do whatever it takes to fix this, please forgive me.”
The road to healing has been long and hard. It took some serious circumstances to bring us to the point of surrender. We had to take our eyes off of the other and allow God to show us our true selves in order to begin healing.
Our pride, selfishness, and disobedience were the very seeds that we had planted. It had taken root and began to destroy what once was a beautiful love story. But God in his grace and mercy, heard our cry for help and once again he answered.
What is destroying your love story?
What are the areas in your life where God is calling you to surrender?
“Let your relationship with your spouse point you to what you really need most of all: God’s love and active presence in your life. (Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage)
His Power Is Alive To Heal Your Marriage, will you let him?