Pain is Pain, No Matter the Year - Elisabeth Klein

During my marriage, I kept journals. Lots and lots of journals.  Some would say it was a record of wrongs, something we as Christ-followers are called not to do as an act of love.  But I knew better. I knew what my journal meant to me.

It was my lifeline.

It was the place I could be the most honest.

It was holy ground where I wrestled with God, wrestled with the mysteries and sadnesses and fears of my marriage journey that was so continuously confounding to me.

I never once looked at them as evidence, as proof that things were as horrible as I thought. Instead, I was simply a girl who was desperately hurting, begging Jesus on the page to help me figure all of it out.

I never once thought anyone would be privy to those private thoughts.

So, imagine my surprise one day when I was window-shopping with Tall-Shadow at an antique store, and came across this:

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As you might imagine, being a woman who is a journaler, being a woman who was in a difficult marriage, and being a woman whose current life’s work is to come alongside hurting women, I was drawn to this little book.

And in the pages, I read such sad, sad words. So much so that I began crying in the store (completely befuddling Tall-Shadow, I’m sure).

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But I had to have that book. I knew that one of two things would happen with that diary if I didn’t buy it: it would either remain unpurchased, or someone who wouldn’t understand its profound meaning would buy it and perhaps poke fun or roll their eyes. And I felt that in my buying it, I was honoring this sweet woman who was now gone, but who lived in a very difficult marriage.

Her diary chronicles between 1929 and 1935, and she has entries that say things like:

…gave back his Xmas basket…did not get what he wanted…real ornery and mean…

…not a word…nice way to start a new year…

…can’t depend on him…his word doesn’t mean anything…

…found tin of ten eggs he had hid…so mean…

…asked him to dry dishes…refused…said nasty things…

…told me to go to hell…

…did not get up with me this morning to fix fire or put coal on this winter…sure has been fierce…

…is fierce again, almost unbearable…

…did not come home for supper until 8 o’clock…

…went to burlesque show…did not get home til 10:10…

…did not speak to me for two weeks…

…I was sick today…would not lift a finger…

…he sure is sore I enjoyed my vacation, but believe me, I needed it… (This one made me smile.)

…called me a G.D. liar…

…Sunday was terrible…smashed me into the door…made my arm, chest and shoulder black and blue…

…can’t stand it much longer… (This comment – about not being able to stand it much longer – she said at least a half dozen times spanning six years. I totally get it.)

Completely and utterly heartbreaking, right? I almost could not bear to read it. This precious woman was an abused wife, in every way if her chronicles are accurate.  If I could, I would go back in time and walk into her kitchen as she’s writing these words and whisper to her that she is not alone, that there is a better way. That there are options. That there is help. That God sees her pain and loves her.

But I can’t.

So this is what I can do.

I can say those words to you, sweet reader. If you are in a relationship that resembles this woman’s, you are not alone. There is a better way. There are options. There is help. God sees your pain and God loves you through and through.

And I can also pray that if I am ever blessed with a new husband and a second chance at marriage, that my new journals will be filled with words of gratitude for a man who loves me well and tenderly and prayerfully. And that that chronicle will override the first half of my life, and will show others that there is light and redemption and hope.

“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten…” –Joel 2:25

 

 

If this post resonated with you, I’d recommend Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage.