Something transpired a while back that made me question the moral foundation of my entire twenty-three-year first partnership.

I shared it with someone and the response was, in part, “I’m not saying your entire {Christian} marriage was a sham, but…”

And someone else recently referred to my current marriage as my first real marriage, as if my previous marriage was so bad, it wasn’t worth counting.

But I heartily disagree.

Even if all the good that came from my first marriage were my two precious children, that would be enough and thanks be to God.

But I believe so very much more came from that relationship that made it worthy of existing.

I’ve been thinking back on the books I read, and the dates I initiated, and the tears I cried, and the counseling sessions I sat in on, and the fights I fought, and the prayers I prayed.

Those books shaped me. They taught me things. They helped me feel not so alone.

Those dates proved that I could do something I didn’t want to do when I thought I was doing something that was right.

Those tears were my balm, and have been saved in a bottle by the Creator of the universe and counted, and, I believe, treasured as precious.

Those counseling sessions taught me to be authentic. And to be humble.

Those fights taught me I was both walk-on-able and that I could be very mean. Neither are good, both are scary. I needed to learn this about myself.

And those prayers…they didn’t just waft past God as he rolled his eyes, thinking how this marriage didn’t even count since he knew it was going to end.  Not in a million freaking years.  They mattered. Every prayer I prayed in that first relationship mattered, even if they didn’t get answered in the way I would’ve thought they would or should.

And so, you, dear sweet one, in a hard marriage, feeling like it’s all a waste of time, or you, dear sweet one, who is out of your hard marriage and feeling like you just wasted the best years of your life…

It isn’t a waste. It wasn’t a waste.

It isn’t a sham. It wasn’t a sham.

It matters. It mattered.

All of it.  Every moment of it.

Every single second of your hard relationship – when given over to God – will serve as a sacrifice of worship to him and as a tool to transform your heart into something both softer and stronger, despite what may or may not come of it, whether it continues or ends.

It all matters.

If this post resonated with you, join me in one of my two marriage courses or my private Facebook group designed to help you think more clearly and feel better and steadier.

If you trying to stay for any manner of reasons and you need tools – different tools than yelling and crying – to learn how to become steadier and think more clearly, I invite you to press into Marriage Methods. For more information on this three-month course, go here.

Decision Time (formerly Should I Stay or Should I Go?)
Or, perhaps, in the quietness of your mind or in the privacy of your journal or in the confidential office of your counselor or across the table from your best friend, you find yourself asking, “Should I stay or should I go?” For more information on this five-week course, go here. 

If you’re looking for support with other women who are in difficult marriages, join my private Facebook group.

You’re exhausted. You’re confused. You might be fighting back anxiety or depression or both. It’s time to try something different, something that will work, created by a woman who has walked your journey.

Life isn't always how we want it. When change seems elusive, and we're stuck in old routines, a gentle push or some self-reflection can make a difference. Let these questions be that nudge to get you moving.

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