Boyfriend #1: kinda sorta cheated on me

Boyfriend #2: broke our engagement

Husband #1: addiction and abuse stuff

First man after marriage that I kinda sorta dated: one day after meeting me, after six months of long distance, ended things

Random guy I had one date with: called me names on the phone, then hung up on me, then sent me ridiculous texts, then called me baby and told me we were going away together

Not to mention the childhood stuff that left me…umm…vulnerable? needy? untrusting? waiting for every shoe to drop?

Wall up around my cold-as-ice heart. Obviously. Not one romantic bone in my body left, if there ever were one. Now, hold that thought.

With my children and my friends and now my grandchildren, I am a sap. A complete sap.

I text them too much. I write them notes. I buy them presents. I think about them all the time. I pray for them. If I could fix their every problem, I would. Sometimes, I cry thinking about how much I love them.

Sounds like a woman who has zero walls around her totally warm and whole heart, right?

Okay, enter my now husband. That poor guy. He had no idea what he was getting into.

Cut to our vows. Oh, I made vows. I wrote them. I believed them. I was going to be a different kind of wife this time around and I was going to love that man, in word and deed, every day for the rest of my life.

But.

Well, that darn wall around my freezing heart. I only realized something recently, like maybe six years into our now seven-and-a-half-year marriage.

I realized that on our wedding day, I wasn’t all in with him.

Now, I was all in on my part. Oh, I was going to DO THIS THING.

But he wasn’t getting all of my heart (I wasn’t thinking that then, I wouldn’t have been able to name that then, and if someone had told me that then, I would have disagreed defensively).

And, also, I was pretty sure he would leave me or hurt me or something. Literally, just assumed it. And I knew I’d be fine if he did, because of that wall around that icy I-can-no-longer-be-hurt heart, because he wasn’t getting all the way in, whatever.

Not because of HIM. But because of MEN.

In fact, it was only about year six, when I had been out of town for a week, and he came to visit me partway through and he was getting ready to head home, and I started to cry.  As in, crying because I like, you know, love him so much with my icy heart and I was going to miss him my buddy. And I was like WHAT IS HAPPENING???

Ooohhh. I see. Days upon days and weeks upon weeks and months upon months and now years upon years of Richard loving me, being kind to me, doing sweet things for me, taking care of me, holding my hand, opening my door, leaving me post-it notes to find, not hurting, not hurting, not hurting, (apologizing when he does though), staying, staying, staying…well, that man has worn me down with his love.

Who knew? Truly, who knew at 52?

To be clear: Jesus is my Healer. But I also think that Jesus uses other things and other people to bring us more healing, and he has done that in my marriage.

I sometimes even forget my first marriage. Those words right there are complicated and sad and unreal to me. How could I a) forget twenty years of PAIN and b) forget the union that my children came from? I sound like either someone in denial or a monster.

So, I don’t mean that. I guess I just mean, I can’t believe that was my life. I can’t believe that was the state of my heart for so long. I was so sad and I became so mean to protect myself. And I’m just not that sad and I’m just not mean anymore and it’s a wonder to me, what Jesus and love can do.

If you’re reading this and you’re in a difficult marriage, there are things you can do now to recover your own heart, I promise. A different man won’t do it.
And if you’re reading this and you’re separated or divorced, a new man is not the answer…a new man doesn’t fix the problems…but a new man can be a gift after you’ve done the work.

So thank you, Jesus, for healing me over and over and over again, and thank you to old me for trying again, and thank you to my husband for staying and staying and staying some more.

in a difficult marriage?
*if you’re not safe or if you or your children are being physically or sexually hurt, please set up a safety plan (http://www.ncdsv.org/images/DV_Safety_Plan.pdf) and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233)
*Detaching with Love webcast: https://elisabethklein.com/detaching-with-love-1/
*marriage assessment: http://bit.ly/marriage-assessment
*my 3-month e-course, Marriage Methods (now PAY WHAT YOU CAN): https://bit.ly/marriage-methods-pwyc

if you’re in a difficult marriage with biblical grounds to divorce and you’re trying to decide whether to stay or go:
*my 5-week e-course, Decision Time: https://elisabethklein.com/product/decisiontime/

separated or divorced or single mom?
*grab my book, Unraveling: Hanging Onto Faith Through the End of a Christian Marriage: bit.ly/UnravelingMarriage
*Lies We Tell Ourselves webcast: https://elisabethklein.com/lies-we-tell/
*my 3-month e-course, Heartbreak to Hope (now PAY WHAT YOU CAN): https://bit.ly/Heartbreak-to-Hope-pwyc
*Are You Ready to Date quiz: https://elisabethklein.com/partner-quiz/

 

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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