The first time divorce crossed my mind I was only a bride of two years. The magnetic passion that pulled us together dissipated, replaced with the ache of a brokenness neither of us recognized.
Three years later I was a preacher’s wife in a foreign country with two children and one on the way.
My husband was absent and cold. Anxiety disorder and panic attacks began interfering with his routine and his duties as a minister and father.
I was bitter, resentful and hungry for a love he was just not capable to give.
One night during a rather silent dinner, I began to stab him with questions and responses poisoned with my disapproval. With fists clenched he pounded the table and yelled, “SHUT UP!”
That night I was given an out. I was offered an escape. But I didn’t go. I stayed. I didn’t stay because I was in love. I didn’t stay because it made me happy.
I stayed because:
It was right.
I might not have loved him but I knew what God said about divorce. And the truth is that sometimes my fear of God’s wrath was the only thing that kept me planted.
What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. Mark 10:9 ESV
God joined us.
I was well aware that marriage wasn’t just a me thing or an us thing. Marriage was an us and God thing. God invested something into this I couldn’t bring myself to destroy it.
In the original creation, God made male and female to be together. Because of this, a man leaves father and mother, and in marriage he becomes one flesh with a woman—no longer two individuals, but forming a new unity. Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate his art by cutting them apart. Mark:10:6-9 MSG
I haven’t made very many promises in my life but I did make one gigantic one. I stood before that man and told him that I would stay. I told him I wouldn’t leave him no matter what.
I stood before God and told him I wouldn’t leave this man no matter what.
After a bitter argument that filled me rage, I hit my knees, not to pray but to scrub the bathroom floor. I spoke over and over, “I will not get a divorce. I will not get a divorce.”
I was a child of divorce. It costs money. It breaks hearts. It destroys people and wounds children.
I was not going to do that even if it killed me.
“For I hate divorce!” says the Lord, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.” Malachi 2:16 NLT
Five years later my husband and I hit critical mass levels in our marriage. He was having a total break down. I was convinced he was crazy and resigned to living as roommates. We were at the end of the rope of our own will and ability.
And then, we did the unthinkable as we stood at the final crossroad of our marriage. We risked it all. We laid bare our souls to each other in ways that didn’t feel safe anymore. We were honest, vulnerable, merciful and kind.
And here were are 18 years, finally in love.