Married to a Stranger

As I sat in the Mothers of Preschoolers (“MOPS”) meeting, I sat still listening to her story.

“We were best friends, madly in love, when we got married. We had two, beautiful healthy kids. We poured everything into our children. We raised them in a wonderful, Christian home. They grew up and started their own lives (one of them went into full-time ministry).”

Picture perfect, right?

She went on to say, “After the kids were gone, I looked at my husband and realized I didn’t know him. He was a stranger. There was nothing left between us. All that energy and attention focused on the kids, but we didn’t make time for each other. After 26 years of marriage, we divorced.”

When I first heard her story, I thought – Were they really madly in love? How could two people grow that much apart?

Then, life happened to us. Miscarriage, followed by a complicated pregnancy – it was a tough year. After our healthy baby finally arrived, I was consumed with late night feedings, lack of sleep, my husband’s long work hours, etc. There was always something.

Life was about survival. I struggled to get through the day. The moment he walked in the door, I would go upstairs for a quiet shower. The kids would tackle him like a jungle gym. By bedtime, we were exhausted. A kiss on the cheek, an “I love you” and then we would go to sleep. Repeat the next day.

Life was mundane. We were living on auto-pilot.

Through it all, though, we withered the storms. We remained faithful to each, committed to our marriage. We prayed. We read the Bible and attended church every weekend.

Picture perfect, right?

We were committed to each other, but were on the verge of disaster. We didn’t argue, but there was a silent wedge growing between us. We had put our marriage on the back-burner.

One night, God prompted me to share her story with my husband. He responded immediately, “I can totally understand how that can happen. Kids require so much.”

Her story then opened up a new line of communication in our marriage. Over the next several weeks, we had many in-depth conversations and made changes in our relationship. I made a mental, but detailed list of why I married him.

Now, we make each other a priority every day. I remember why I fell in love with him. When he works late, I miss him (not the quiet time away from the kids), but … him. We appreciate our marriage because it’s fun and exciting, not just out of obligation. Instead of being the person I rely on, he’s the love of my life!

When our kids start their own families, I pray that we are still laughing and enjoying our marriage. For that to happen, we must continue to work hard, make time for each other, remain together … as one.

 

“…a man leaves his father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become one flesh.”
Ephesians 5:31

3 thoughts on “Married to a Stranger

  1. Thank you for your honesty Mandy! Such true words! Those precious kids are only here for such a short time – our best time – but our husbands are here for the WHOLE time – HE should have our BEST of everything, energy, attitude, love. Wish I could say I’ve modeled this consistently for my girls, two of whom are soon to be wives themselves, but it is my goal. We celebrated 29 a few weeks ago…I pray we have 29 more together! I so appreciate the reminder Mandy!

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