The moment is captured in my memory in vivid detail. It was night–time around New Years in 2010. We lived in the country and had windows all along the back of our house. I sat by myself staring out the windows into the night knowing I was utterly alone.

For years Mark and I’s marriage had survived by some thread of hope.   We had such a broken marriage.  To this day, I believe it was only by the will of God that we hung on, because by all societal standards we should have not only gotten a divorce, but also hated one another’s guts.

And on this particular night, we were yet again on the verge of collapse. I was home alone with a young, maybe 1 year old Eli, and Mark was out somewhere. I don’t remember what the argument was about, but I can assume it was about the same things we always argued about. Isn’t that the pattern we all follow?

In that moment, I realized two life-changing realities.

2 Realities that Helped Heal My Broken Marriage

  1. There are problems in life that cannot be fixed by human effort. Sure I can fix my garbage disposal (which I did this week, thank you!) but fixing the brokenness in my marriage, in me and in my husband was not something I could or even knew how to fix.
  2. I was alone. No one could help me. My husband, the one I turned to most often, could definitely not help me because at the moment, he was part of the problem. I had read every self-help book and Oprah magazine ever written. I couldn’t tell my friends because there was so much back-story, so much hurt but also so much love. There was so much at stake that did I really trust anyone to give me the right advice? No. This was my problem. It was my problem alone. I was the only one who could decide the right path.

Mark and I were not friends. In name, we were spouses, but in action we were simply two people orbiting around trying to avoid the chaos and hurt that we ourselves were causing. We were dodging our own daggers. We REALLY wanted to be better but in our brokenness we could not figure out how to get it done.

I see this so clearly now in society. You hear all the time about divorce and that marriage is a dying institution, but the only way divorces can happen is if we are still getting married and hoping and wanting them to work. So many of us know deep down marriage is a good thing, we just can’t figure out what we are doing wrong.

How could something that started with such good intentions and so much “love” cause so much heartache? How could it be mired down with so much hurt, so much deceit, and so much despair?

Those of you who are living in this or have lived in it know what I am talking about. To this day, I can still feel this pain…..I don’t live in it, but when I think back, I can feel it deep in my being. I still know it. It is still very real.

The Third Reality

In the pain of that night, however, I realized that the only help I could get would be from God. No human being could solve this problem. It was way too big and it had been going on for too long.  In my earthly loneliness, I realized that I am never truly alone.  At the end of myself and the end of my faith in anything of this world, I realized that someone even greater walked with me.  God was the only one who could truly give us any hope.

I hear about loneliness all the time. So many people have distanced themselves from people because people are messy. It takes a lot of humility and hard work to not be lonely. But the reality is that though we don’t have to be lonely, we all end up alone. When I get some disease and face by death, no one is going to go with me. I hope that I will have some loved ones by my side before I pass through, but no one can truly face death WITH me.

No one could truly sit in my marriage problems WITH me. I was alone EXCEPT for God. With no one else to turn to, I began to trust only in him. Who else could I trust? What other hope did I have? I had nothing to lose.

All people are like grass,

And all their glory is like the flowers of the field;

The grass withers and the flowers fall,

But the word of the Lord endures

Forever.

1 Peter 2:24

Even if I had someone to trust, the fact is that they would wither and fade. They will die and their words are not always words to live by. The word of the Lord is flawless and it endures forever.

At the end of myself, in that moment, I received the best gift I could ever receive. What Satan intended for evil, God used for good. I realized God was my only hope.

One would think that at this point in the story, life would become rainbows and roses, that we would make a 180-degree turn and I could write about stability, comfort, rekindled love, and the absence of great struggle.  Hmmm…..

Believing in God and seeking God fervently, gave me hope and definitely provided a sure path to follow, but digging out of a whole as big as the one we were in, was not an easy task. Things got better, slowly but surely over YEARS, but the road was not straight and not easy.

Along the way, God was faithful. The patience that is required to see the work of God is some times staggering and discouraging. From that day until now, we have fallen hard. We have gotten back up and fallen again. We have sought the Lord and we have sinned horribly.

broken marriage

Today, however, I wake up so very grateful, absolutely overwhelmed by the goodness of God and his deliverance. We were not always obedient and we were not even on the same page much of the time. We do not have the perfect marriage and our lives are not and will not be free of struggle. But when we were obedient, and in spite of our disobedience at times, I can look back now and see so very clearly His hand on our life and on our marriage.

Ever since we started the event business, Mark has traveled a lot. I will just be honest in saying that there were many times, even most times that I was REALLY glad he traveled a lot. I needed a break. If you had asked me if I missed him, I might have lied and said yes to save face, but I didn’t. I have always loved him, but when the tension and the frustration grew to a toxic level, it is just easier to be apart. The work it took to be together was exhausting.

On Monday, Mark returned home from almost 4 weeks away. My friend Amy asked me “Did you miss him?” At first glance that is a weird question. Doesn’t everyone miss their husband when they go away? When we lie, the answer is yes. I always miss you. When we are truthful, we don’t always miss our spouses. People are messy and it is easier to be alone much of the time.

When Amy asked me this time, I did not have to lie. I missed him, and while it is hard to be away from your husband for 4 weeks, it gave me such joy to know that I got to welcome home my best friend. I missed him dearly. And, while that sounds super nice and touchy feely, what I need to write is “I welcome home my best friend for one of the first times in 14 years.”  What a precious soul he is to me.

broken marriage

By the grace of God it was a great day. Be sure it was not of our own doing because in ourselves we are a mess. But in God, we have great joy and a life much better than anything we could have imagined in our own feeble human minds. God is so much bigger, so much nobler, so much wiser than we can ever imagine.

How do you heal a broken marriage? You don’t. You get on our knees and you humbly ask the God of all the earth to fix it. You read His word and let his wisdom speak to you and then you get up tomorrow and you do it again and again and again.

Your broken marriage has hope too.  It is not in yourself or your spouse, but in the one who created you and your spouse……

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