Tuesday, October 21, 2014

P. 3 A Marriage in Trouble {Transparent Tuesday}

Part 1  

Part 2

Part 3 and the conclusion of our Marriage Series, "A Marriage In Trouble".

Marriage to me had for a long time been a charming accessory. People go to school, they grow up, they get married, they purchase a house, they have kids. You follow this tell-tale road map - and your life is good and happy. Complete.


In retrospect I realize that for the first several years that we were married my focus wasn't on my marriage or my husband. My focus was on myself. He and I had different schedules. We both went to work. We both came home. I wasn't trying to disregard my marriage, but I made the mistake of thinking that our marriage didn't need maintenance. 


 In my apathy towards my marital relationship I brought a lot of destruction to our marriage, indulging in my own selfish desires and therefore falling into the trap of believing what society says - that not only was my marriage disposable and unimportant, but that I needed to look out for number one.  


When you have something of value you take care of it. You don't leave it where it can get lost, damaged or stolen. You don't neglect it. You make sure it is safe, handled carefully, and sheltered. Marriage is highly valuable.


As I saw my marriage disintegrating I realized that nobody was going to fight for it except for me. I needed to repair what had been broken. I put my mind to rebuilding what had been lost. I started going to individual counseling weekly, I read books, I prayed - constantly. I made sure that when my husband was home things were always as pleasant as possible in our home and between us.


I needed to change. He needed to see me change. He needed concrete evidence that our marriage was going to be different. I couldn't go back in with the same hand. There had to be a very definitive shift. 


People had told me marriage would be hard, they said we'd go through times that would test us. For some reason you never expect it to happen to you. 


This man, this marriage they were important to me - not expendable, but rather to be held in high esteem. It was time to stop looking out for myself and start looking out for the person I was called to love more than anyone else. I started doing the Love Dare without letting Greg know. I talked to women who had been through similar experiences in their marriage, I looked towards the end result and what I wanted and set my mind and heart there. 


So, when Greg told me that he wanted to work things out I cannot properly give credence to the emotions that wash over me, even now. I love him. So very much. 


When I made the decision to move back to my mother's house I knew it would be hard for my family. I wasn't going there to dodge my responsibilities, but rather, to face them head on. I had to admit my failure and make a plan to change our future, to change my heart. We needed to get our feet back under us financially so that we were not fighting a war on two fronts. In such tight quarters Melissande and I began to retreat to our room together. I was finally beginning to learn how to communicate with my wife effectively again. It was in those days that I learned failure is not a destination or title, but a state of learning and growth.


Renewed and deeper communication was a must, but it also became clear I needed to pour more time into our relationship. I heard it said once that "the grass isn't greener on the other side of the fence. It is greener where you water it." I had to water my lawn. I stopped all of my extra activities that didn't focus on my wife or family. I stopped going out with friends. I even stopped exercising! Anything that took me away from my wife I stopped doing. Extreme, but necessary for me. The grass started to grow again, but if I am to take this analogy any further I can't ignore the condition of my roots. I was not planted in my faith anymore. When disaster struck I had done the worst thing possible and pushed away from our small group and community of friends. I had transplanted myself into a desert of isolation.


After just shy of two months at my mom's we had been able to get an apartment and were closer to Ann Arbor again. We knew we needed a new church home. We picked a place to go. As fate would have it we missed the service. We fought, (I strongly dislike being late) and continued to the next closest church. Despite our frazzled demeanor upon arrival we felt at home unusually fast. We knew very few people, regardless, I sought out a men's group within the first couple weeks. This was the soil my roots had been dying without. I needed the support and fellowship of men who had my best interest in mind. Men that had wisdom and faith. Men that could help me find the definition of what a man is. It was in those early weeks that I found the verses in 1 Peter 5: 8 - 11 to have new meaning for me. Society tells me to be tough, to be independent, to be an army of one. but what I really needed was God and family and brotherhood.


Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:8-10

  Happiness of Those Who Divorce vs. Those Who Remain Married Through Unhappy Times

  • Two-thirds of unhappily married spouses who stayed married reported that their marriages were happy 5 years later. The most unhappy marriages reported the most dramatic turnarounds. Among those who rated their marriages as very unhappy, almost 8 out of 10 who avoided divorce were happily married 5 years later.

  • Conversely, on average unhappily married adults who divorced, whether staying single or remarrying, were no happier than unhappily married adults who stayed married.

  • Commitment to their marriages was responsible for staying in their marriages and finding happiness five years later.

From: Does Divorce Make People Happy? Findings from a Study of Unhappy Marriages by Linda J. Waite, Don Browning, William J. Doherty, Maggie Gallagher, Ye Luo, and Scott M. Stanley, Institute for American Values.

This week I'm featuring Melissa from Wading Through Motherhood. 

Her link up from last week "Carry Me: The Physical and Emotional Demands of Parenthood" was a good one.  Check out what she has to say about truly carrying your child. Thanks for linking up, Melissa!

Today is Transparent Tuesday!

I invite you to link up and join me in an effort to cast aside the filters! We all have a story to tell. The best stories are those where ordinary people rise up and work through the tough situations, the unseemly moments, the mundane, and the unglamorous.

All you have to do to link up is:

1. One posts, two posts, three?! Link (up to) three posts of anything authentic! A picture, a post, a quote you love!

2. Copy the url for your post (not your site) in the linky below.

3. Finally, last but not least copy the code for the Transparent Tuesday graphic and attach it to your post so that other people can come and see all the other posts for Transparent Tuesday. The more the graphic is shared, the more people will be able to participate!

If there are enough linkups I will be able to feature one the following week! Please link up and share with other bloggers who might be interested! I love seeing what other transparent views people offer! If you link up keep in mind that any graphics you use on your site are now available to me for use in my feature of your post. 
P.S. I tweet all posts that are linked up! I often pin them, share them on Google+ and share on Facebook as well. 
Our Growing Roots


  1. Marriage does need 'maintenance.' Thank you for sharing your stories. I have really enjoyed, and learned, from this series. Also, thanks for including my link up in your post.

  2. This is so true! You can never stop working on your marriage, I really believe that! I really enjoyed this series, thank you so much to you and your hubby for sharing!

  3. Marriage is not easy! I love this series! Thank you for writing with such honesty, I can't imagine it was easy. But sharing your hard learned lessons are much appreciated. It has helped me reflect on my marriage and recognize things that are great and pinpoint things that can be worked on.

  4. Thanks for sharing something so deeply personal and how special to write it together.

  5. I agree that it is important to value and work on your marriage. I enjoyed your very personal story.

  6. That is a wonderful testimony of overcoming a rough time in marriage and changing your attitudes. If I felt that marriage should end when it was unhappy, I'd have ran away from some very difficult times with my husband. Like the two of you, we had to dig deep and adjust the way we handled life. Thanks for sharing so transparently.

  7. I linked up one of my posts above. When I tried to add the button to my post, though, it wouldn't allow me. WordPress (free version) is really weird about what graphic links I can add, so maybe that is the problem? I tried!

  8. Thank you for writing this. It's such a great reminder that our marriages need constant work. I too am trying to make changes within myself in order to better my marriage. Like your hubby said, the grass is greener where you water!

    Young Love Mommy

  9. It is always amazing when people can open up and share their challenges. It connects us all through the sharing of experiences. Thank you!

  10. A beautiful ending to a beautiful story. No matter what, marriage takes work, dedication and commitment...on both sides. Two flawed sinners will forever be working on things and striving to be better, for themselves and each other. If both people draw closer to God, they inevitably end up closer to each other. So glad you all stuck it out and have this beautiful testimony to tell.


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