A formula for the destruction of a marriage…
You take two kids who marry before either have really grown up; you add in financial struggles; let things fester for a decade; then multiply it times unforgiveness. The result is inevitable disaster.
To understand what really happened that Easter weekend in 2011, I’ll have to take you back and tell you the story from my wife’s perspective. When we met, I was 21 and she was 19. I knew she was “the one” on our second date, and I told her so. In a month we were engaged. We were married a year to the day we met. Like I said, we were young.
We never really figured out how to be married. Over a decade later, we had become more business partners than lovers. We had two kids; two jobs; two mortgages. Most of our conversations were about how to pay the bills (which we weren’t doing a great job at) or raising kids.
And then, she began to question everything about life. Did she want to be married? Did she want to work? Was there any purpose to her life?
Was God even real?
You take all of those questions, and add in a jerk of a husband who has become consumed by anger, resentment, and bitterness, and things just aren’t going to work.
I was clueless. I didn’t even know things had gotten that bad. That’s what unforgiveness does. It blinds you to everything going on around you. All you can focus on is yourself.
So, when I received that “text” at Wal-Mart on Good Friday 2011, I had no idea what my wife was really saying. Her response to my question, “Where are you going?” took the air out of my lungs. “I’m leaving YOU. I’m taking the boys. It’s over.”
I convinced her not to leave that night. I made up some excuse regarding not ruining the boy’s Easter weekend or something like that. We went to church on Sunday. I looked like a spiritual superstar with all of my weeping and tears. I wasn’t thinking about Jesus.
I was doing everything I could to keep things together. I was promising Christy that I would get our financial problems (which were major) under control; that my job would fix everything. (Which only shows you how clueless I was – the problem wasn’t our finances and the solution wasn’t my job.) She wasn’t biting, which shows you how smart she is.
I kept waiting for the “moment” when she would actually leave. On Monday, I spent most of my time at work trying not to cry. Then four o’clock came. The Senior VP of the company came into my office and shut the door. He said that things just weren’t going to work for me there. I needed to clean out my desk. I was being let go.
I can’t even think of the right words to describe what I felt. The one thing I was counting on to fix everything had become nothing.
I got home. Christy walked in the door from her job. I told her. She got in the car with the boys and left.
Even now, the options I was considering are chilling. What’s the one thing you can do when all hope is lost?
She came home that night. I’m still not sure why, but I’m glad she did. I don’t know what I would have done if she hadn’t. Let’s just say the last thing I needed was to be alone.
I started trying to find something – anything – to do to make money. I was still under the delusion that our problems would be solved with a good paycheck.
It was while I was out “beating the streets” on Wednesday morning that something truly extraordinary happened. She called me and asked me to meet her at her work; we needed to talk. I admit, I thought that papers were being served.
We sat in a meeting room at her office, and this amazing woman turned everything on its head. She said, “I’m willing to give us one more shot. But I’m not going to think about us. I’m going to work on my relationship with God. I suggest you do the same thing.”
For Christy, that meant starting to read her Bible again. And she did. So did I. Not every, single day. But most days.
And as we read the Bible our relationship with the Savior in that Bible grew. And, as our relationship with Him great stronger, our relationship with each other grew stronger.
I now describe that Easter weekend in 2011 as a “horrible blessing.”
Two days ago, Christy posted something on Facebook where she described me as her “best friend.”
Is there any doubt as to why I believe in the power of Bible reading?