God went to a good bit of trouble just to get Jim and I in the same state. Even in the hardest, most challenging times, we haven't been able to forget the miracle of it: how--in no time flat--God made possible the nearly impossible. At points it would've been easier to doubt, but we've never been able to doubt: God joined.
As people who love God, then, and cannot doubt His joining; as people who love one another; as people who love our children...quitting has never been an option. The only option has been to live (ever after) happily, unhappily, or somewhere between.
One would expect love to make happiness easy to come by; it doesn't, necessarily. One would expect persistent unhappiness to be born of some huge infraction (addiction, adultery); it isn't, necessarily. So many ways to sin against one another, and "little sins" can accumulate and become fertile ground for resentment: a sin that leads to even more sin. Nothing snow balls like sin. I'm not telling you anything you don't know.
Jim and I spent six sessions with a counselor, but (long story short) our insurance company paid for the second half of the sessions only upon our appeal. We haven't yet found the will to switch to a counselor approved by our insurance company.
In the meantime, we've made halfhearted attempts to follow the reflective-listening process our counselor taught us, and interestingly, we've experienced a bit of a breakthrough. (Pity it took so long; I blame our lackadaisy.) It happened because Jim said: "Your hurt doesn't come across as hurt. It comes across as anger, and I go immediately on the defensive." It happened, too, because I was in the right spirit to receive those words. (I give the Lord credit for all of it.)
As I considered Jim's words, I knew he was right. Not only does my hurt come across as anger, but many of my negative feelings (disappointment, fear, frustration, etc.) come across as anger. The anger is real enough; I become angry that I'm hurt, disappointed, fearful, frustrated, etc. But all Jim can perceive is anger, and--because he doesn't think anger is warranted, and/or because he's unwilling to help me with a problem when I'm angry--the problems persist or even grow.
I've been shooting myself in the foot for so long.
In case you're wondering why in the world I'm writing/posting this, I mean only to encourage. I'm not trying to make my story yours. (Only you know where you are, and why, and how God is leading you.) I'm just sharing: inside of my own marriage, love hasn't made happiness easy to come by; yet, I don't think hard always means wrong or not worth saving. Also, even recently, I've thought: we will never get past ___. But then (like that old cliche about its being darkest right before dawn) we've gotten past, like, four ___s, and all at once.
I love him. For the first time, I'm taking seriously the spirit with which I approach him. It's helping.
|Photo by Heather Causey|