Do you ever look back at your life and wonder if you’ve made a huge mistake? If you had just chosen that path over the path you did choose, how much different (read: better) your life would be now?
I had that thought about five years into my marriage.
You see, pre-marriage, I had one of those fork-in-the-road moments. My on-again/off-again relationship with my fiancé was currently off and I had been seeing someone briefly but who I had fallen hard for. But the pull of what I had with my fiancé was too much, and one night I called my new guy friend and told him that I missed my ex-fiancé/ex-boyfriend and I needed to see if he would take me back. And so I did. And in that one phone call, I changed the entire trajectory of my life.
And then my marriage turned out to be very hard. And I thought of that phone call over and over again. And I asked myself over and over again, “Was this marriage a mistake?”
I do not know your situation. You may be reading this and in an amazing marriage and this does not resonate with you in the least because you are grateful on a daily basis that you chose the path you chose and that the husband you have is the husband you have. And if that’s you, thank Jesus. A lot.
But if you have wondered if your marriage were a mistake – and not just in a passing moment in the middle of some random fight – but if you think about this and worry about this and can’t seem to get passed this, I’m speaking to you today, sweet girl. And I’ve got a few thoughts for you.
First, to paraphrase Beth Moore, “The moment you got married, your husband became God’s will for you.” Bottom line. What’s done is done. Even if insecurity or sin got you to this place in your life, the husband you have is God’s will for you in this moment.
Secondly, as my mentor says, “God plays the ball where it lands.” It’s not like God’s up there all upset with you for picking the guy you picked. He might be thinking, “Well, that’s interesting…” or, gently, “Sweet one, what were you thinking?” but he’s not blown away; he’s not stumped. He is just moving on with your life, doing the transforming work into the likeness of Christ with the choices you’ve made.
And lastly – and perhaps most importantly if you are a mother – had you married someone else, you would have different children. Had I not made that phone call and walked away from one to go back to another, I would not have Sara and Jack. And I refuse to believe that Sara and Jack are my “wrong path” daughter and son. They are the kids I was supposed to have. I cannot imagine my life without those two, and I bet you can say the very same thing about your children.
So in your darker, quieter moments, when you find yourself upset with yourself for the choices you’ve made that have brought you to this place, take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Unclench your fists. And ask Jesus to help you see the beauty in the pain. Ask Jesus to help you embrace your reality and to live it fully. You cannot go back. Rehearsing what-if’s will never move you farther ahead in your journey with God, they will just keep you stuck. He’s got this. He’s got you. He’s never left you.
Thank you for writing this! I needed to read it this morning. I have often wished that I had not taken my Ex husband back when we were dating and he cheated on me with an old girlfriend. I have fantasized about how completely different my life would be if I had simply had the self esteem and backbone to end the relationship then and there rather than take him back when he returned from his romantic trip out of town with her. I taught him in that moment that I did not hold myself worthy of respect and that he could treat me as he wished without any consequences. What a terrible mistake on my part, but you have reminded me that the two most wonderful blessings I could have ever received -my children – would not exist had I not made that “mistake” all those years ago. God takes our poor choices – our weaknesses – and turns them into amazing blessings!!
“You cannot go back. Rehearsing what-if’s will never move you farther ahead in your journey with God, they will just keep you stuck. He’s got this. He’s got you. He’s never left you”.
AMEN!! AMEN! AMEN!!! Rejoicing as I read this today because it has been a specific answer to a prayer I prayed this morning!! PRAISE THE LORD!!
It’s so hard to think about those moments that could have changed everything … we think for the better. It’s a fantasy, though, and we must live in the present reality, trusting our choices and outcomes to God. That’s difficult, but also freeing.
Amen to what each of the ladies above have said!! “God’s got this. He’s got you. He’s never left you.” (Thank you Kim!). And Nicole; “I taught him (the ex) in that moment I did not hold myself worthy of respect”!!!
I have many times struggled with the “What if”! For me, in my heart and mind, it has been “if only”! All the “if only’s” are of course what I could have done differently to save my marriage, because like you I can’t imagine a world without MY BOYS. 🙂
If only I had insisted on counseling sooner, and not let him talk me out of it…. I might have helped him with his meanness to me and his sexual addition. If only I had set boundaries sooner… I could have made him treat me better. If only, once I did start using boundaries, I would have followed though more consistently, and not allowed myself to be manipulated with anger or pity…. I could have helped him respect me more. If only I had prayed more instead of having my own little pity party…. Maybe God would have changed him! If I had been sexier; no porn. If I had been more sexual; no other women! You get the theme? It was I, I, I, ….! How could I have saved my marriage?
Of course I have now been through enough counseling to know it was not my job to control or change him. And yet still…. I wonder… If only….
I can totally picture those fork-in-the-road moments in my past. Thank you for saying this and reminding us that no matter the choices we make, God will make the best of them.
I know my fork-in-the-road moment. And unfortunately, I was not alone for it. It happened when my earthly father looked me in the eye and said, “Ruth, you can marry him if you want to. But he is a deep, dark hole. And if you marry him, you will spend your entire life trying to fill it, but you will never succeed. You are a far stronger person than he is. And if you marry him, your life will be consumed by his neediness.” Oh, how right my father was. And although my wonderful father has never, ever reminded me of that conversation, I can’t forget the fork in the road, and sometimes when I look at my Dad, I know he can’t either. I have to let it go. Thanks for the reminder.
Wow, this is something I needed today. I know I made a mistake, but I’ve heard that quote by Beth Moore and do also believe that. Whats so hard for me is my life is no different. My husband and I can’t seem to have kids so after 8 years, I feel like I could have (and wished) I had just been single this whole time. There’s nothing that I would miss. Ugh. I sound terrible, but its just been so bad. If we had children, I could view this so differently.
Somedays I get so upset that no one tried to stop me. I don’t know that I would have listened, but couldn’t someone in my family, my dad, have had the strength to stop me or at least try?
Having a rough day, but finding encouragement in your blog. Thank you!
JD, I am so very sorry for your pain. I have two resources for you.
I moderate a private Facebook group for women in difficult marriages. If interested, please send me a friend request at http://www.facebook.com/elisabeth.corcoran so I can add you. I believe it would bring you some additional support.
A resource that may help you as well:
My newest e-book/PDF, Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage , came out of my almost-nineteen-year difficult marriage, available here: http://www.elisabethklein.com/store.
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