For years, my husband Don and I had an extremely rocky marriage. During those tumultuous years, I confided in a lot of girlfriends. I told them everything he did and did not do. I was painting a picture of him that had them not speaking to him or wanting to be around him.
When things were at their worst, I ran my mouth. Straight up. I even convinced myself that I was going to leave him. As I plotted to leave him, these friends were right there to encourage me to follow through with it.
For a while, I felt like they understood me and my pain. I felt that they knew me way more than my husband. I even allowed another man to fill my head with lies of what he would do for me when I left my husband. You see, I had a loveless marriage. I made a choice to stay for the kids’ sake. This is my truth.
After years of this plotting to leave Don, I decided to ask God how this was going to go down. God said, “Pray for your marriage”. Needless to say, I did not want to do that. I wanted God to say, “go down to the courthouse and file your divorce papers.” But, that was not the answer I received.
I remember clearly hearing Him say, “Your husband is your ministry.” That response shocked me to my core because Don still was not acting right. We were still arguing. We were still on and off again not speaking to each other. I was still holding back on sex and being affectionate. I was still telling my friends how terrible he was.
It took me several more weeks to make up in my mind that I was going to stay. Once I did that, I was motivated to tell my friends. I was extremely nervous because I knew this was a complete 180 change from what I had been saying for years. I did not know that some of them would be slightly disappointed by this latest development. I thought they would be happy, but some were not, especially my single friends.
I had friends replay some of the things I shared in an attempt to make me upset with my husband. Others questioned why I would stay after all we had been through. Others let me know they thought it was a stupid idea. An ultra-independent friend told me that I was a slave to my husband and that she was disgusted that I allowed a man to control me.
This experience taught me several things about myself and about people. Some of those things are:
- Seek God first! His ways are truly not our ways.
- Everything that goes on in your marriage does not need to be shared
- Everybody has an opinion of what they would and would not do. Follow your heart!
- Don’t share your marriage drama with friends and family unless they support your marriage
- Some things your single friends will not understand
- Divorced friends are sometimes the hardest critics for staying married
- Confide in one or two friends who will pray with you and tell you the truth about yourself
- Make sure you have people who believe in marriage in your corner
- When friends start to talk bad about your husband, shut them down
- When your mother starts talking about your husband, shut her down too
- Your husband is not as bad as you think he is
Guess what? Those same women who encouraged me to leave are no longer in my life. Guess who is still here? My husband!
Marriage is not easy but it is doable if you see the good in your husband. In turn, he will cherish and love you back. Had I listened to these women, Don and I would not be looking at celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary on June 12th. God is faithful if you are faithful.
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