I get asked all the time if my husband could write a post sharing his story. Here you go…
In my first marriage, I was up and down with God, hot and cold. Different life experiences would bring me closer to God but then it would fade away. I’d go to church for a while and then stop for large amounts of time.
I put all the pressure on my then-wife to be the godly person, to take care of the finances, to take care of the kids. I believed providing was my part. I thought working and providing food and shelter was the fatherly thing to do. But it was selfish of me.
I wasn’t good at praising my kids or my wife. I didn’t see those things and I didn’t tell them good job. We’d talk about sports and homecoming but I didn’t go deeper, asking things like how they were with God or if they were hurting or if they needed anything.
I think I was verbally abusive with everybody, my wife, my kids, even when I played sports. I was out of control. I carried a lot of anger and bitterness with me.
I had tunnel vision. I didn’t realize my mistakes until it was too late, until I was out on my own during our separation.
During the final few months of being at home and then moving out was my rock bottom, knowing divorce was real, realizing there was nothing I could try to fix this time. I felt very alone and helpless. I went to work, came home to an empty apartment, laying around on the floor, sleeping all the time, really depressed, sleeping alone after all those years, the quiet – holy cow, it was quiet. I lost a lot of weight. I didn’t follow through with anything I was going to do. People would try to get me to go out and I would say yes and then not show up. I wanted to but couldn’t get there.
I started going to counseling. I thought I would be the last guy to go to counseling. I’m sure a lot of guys out there think I know who I am, I don’t need counseling…she’s the one who needs counseling, not me. But I went.
I was told to exercise, journal, get sunlight. I was pushing myself to go to the movies on my own. I started to referee again. I was going for walks, I was reading my Bible, highlighting passages in the Psalms that were helping me. I was looking up different verses on love, etc. and I was doing a lot of soul-searching…how did I want to handle this? Did I want to fight her on every little thing? Did I want to be the bad guy? I decided I was free to let everything go. Keeping the stuff wouldn’t make me happy, so I didn’t fight. I didn’t want a lawyer, I didn’t want to be spending more money on that. I went back to church, listening to the Word.
I dated too soon though. I wanted to prove I was worthy, that someone would want me the way I was. I had a couple relationships that didn’t go well and ended after a couple months.
Fast forwarding to be married to Beth…
I tell Beth I love her a lot. I’m not as jealous as I used to be. I affirm Beth, saying I’m proud of you. I ask how she’s doing and how’s her day. I’m more affectionate. Losing a marriage can make you more appreciative of what you’ve got. My motives for doing stuff like cooking now are more selfless, I’m not doing it out of resentment or to get thanked.
God changed me enough that I now have a desire to be in church weekly, to depend on him to get us through whatever we’re going through during the week, for myself, my marriage, and our kids.
If this post resonated with you, check out Part 2 of Buzz’s story and my latest release, Second Time Around: Some Thoughts on Remarriage.
Interested in working with me? I’d love to help you move forward in your healing.
As I read this, I am asking myself whether or not I believe it is possible for anyone to change? That sounds harsh, because there is ample evidence in Buzz’s life alone that God can and does change lives. My life has been forever changed since my divorce, and I will never return to the person I once was. That being said, I can’t imagine having to deal with someone else’s adult children as I grow older. Seems so much simpler just to deal with my own life and those of my children. As I told a friend last night, God will have to be VERY CRYSTAL CLEAR with me if I am ever to remarry. I know how hard I have to work to keep my own heart free from sin, and the thought of inviting anyone else into my mess seems to be asking for trouble….that and all of my divorced friends have been married and divorced multiple times….and I refuse to go down that road again. Once was quite enough for me. I appreciate Buzz’s testimony, and I thank God for what He has done in your life through Buzz’s transformation. But remarriage is something that I think is risky and comes with way too much drama. I’ve still got a lot of healing to do, and I’ve got a solid spiritual director helping my continue to heal. I’m going to leave dating and remarriage to everyone else.
There’s a lot of truth in your statements. We were intentional in our dating, did premarital counseling and weighed the risks. Thank you for reading and commenting.
Remarkable story. I am probably heading for a divorce. My husband refuses any help, will not come to the negotiating table, nothing. It’s all me and my fault. Through all the pain and it’s been awful I still would like to share my life with someone.
Thank you for reading and we hope there’s enough support out there for you.
I read this and found myself asking if Buzz ever finished his “work” in dealing with all the issues from his other marriage?? I hear over and over from women who have decided to start dating again, that they cannot find men who have done their “work” in understanding what brought about their other failed relationship(s).
I don’t mean this as criticism….I’m just curious about the type of in depth counseling Buzz had been through before you both decided to marry?
I don’t want to discount the “church” part of his growth but I don’t think it takes the place of the counseling?
I’m still married but moving toward divorce after 33 years of a husband who will not stay in counseling because it takes too much time and he doesn’t agree with the things the counselor asked of him. I have no desire for another relationship but if i ever did, it would HAVE to be a man who has done the hard and sometimes long work of good counseling.
Follow-up post coming tomorrow.
Thank you for sharing this, Buzz. I believe it’s possible for God to change people’s hearts and lives. I now know so much about the ways I failed in my marriage. My husband left 15 years ago when our children were 5, 7, 9, and 13. I realized too late that my marriage had been neglected in an effort to be a “good” mom. I didn’t know about his needs and no one told me. I’ve heard and read a LOT about male/female differences since then and wish I had had the knowledge I now have before my marriage fell apart. I’ve been in counseling after being diagnosed with clinical depression which was a big factor in my marriage failing. I’ve been on medication for the past 16 years and will be the rest of my life. I know I’ve change and pray I will continue to grow and become the woman God created me to be. It’s true that growth and change take time and effort, but it’s so worth it.
Thank you for your story. Sounds like you’re putting in the effort and working toward a healthier life.
I’m concerned about this post and wish it were more in-depth as a large part of your audience are hurting women who would love a happy ending.
Maybe I’m uncomfortable with the idea that Buzz went from bad relationships and didn’t share what happened in between that and meeting Elisabeth that changed him. What tools did he gain to make him a better partner?
I’d hate for women to jump into a quick, intense relationship and marry quickly when we talk so much about narcissism and abuse and love bombing.
Maybe hearing from someone who admits to being verbally abusive about the changes he has made (and how) will be helpful. Has he made amends with his ex and kids? All of these are important facts if your goal is to have a ministry based on women in hurting marriages.
I, too, wondered the same thing as I read this.
Follow-up post coming tomorrow.