We turn 12 today, Chris and I. And words cannot adequately express to you what this anniversary means to me.
You know the harder you have to fight for something, the more it means to you?
That’s kinda what I mean. Today is the answer to a big, God-sized prayer that I knew was highly unlikely but I had been praying in faith, nonetheless. God chose to say yes.
I won’t get into details, but suffice it to say that marriage is hard and today is a big, honkin’ deal.
Worthy of celebrating.
One year ago, we spent five days in Buena Vista for our 11th anniversary. It was the time of Covid and masks were required everywhere we went. You guys, the masks were coving up so much more than just our faces. And we had no idea. While we had some good moments, overall the trip was fraught with trauma. Not unlike our entire relationship.
Throughout the trip, there was an underlying and ongoing fight for control that had actually been present throughout our dating and marriage.
We’d learned to live with it, but life felt like survival. Life together was tolerable, but just barely. And if felt like at any moment, we could break. We were so fragile. Things were spiraling out of control.
The fights were more frequent. Literally every birthday, every holiday, every anniversary was filled with conflict. The tension was constant. The destructive cycles seemed unstoppable. And the level of emotional distress in our home and our family was super high and rising. The kids were starting to try to intervene every time they sensed another conflict. It was bad.
Most people would have called it.
In some ways, divorce seemed like a relief. Yes, it would cause pain for everyone, and was horribly unfair to the kids, but wasn’t it better than them growing up in a home with so much ongoing dysfunction and conflict? And with no hope for change in sight, what alternative was there?
The journey to this place nearly broke us. Almost twelve years in, we were at the very edge, peering over into the abyss of divorce.
Like I said, most people would have called it. But we’re not most people. That’s not the story God wants to tell with us.
Looking back on the arc of our relationship, I can see now how we got here. And how we had to get here in order to be in the place where we were open to the process of growth and healing we needed.
Looking backwards over the last year, it’s so beautiful to see how God was arranging things for us.
Back in mid-June we went to a small family camp on the western slope of Colorado. We spontaneously signed up, not really knowing what to expect. But God knew.
We met people at camp who would change our lives. I know I’m sometimes prone to exaggeration, but this time I mean it literally. The things they said … the conversations we had … the advice they gave … the resources* they recommended during dinner line conversations throughout the week have been hugely impactful to us during this season. So obviously God’s provision. They gave us a starting point to begin the course correction we needed.
They couldn’t have known what we would need over the next two months. But God knew. He was kind and gentle with us, knowing exactly what was coming and placing specific people in our lives for such a time as this.
We’ve got a long journey ahead of us. We’re still early on in what will be a multi-year process of awareness and growth and healing. But today I’m pausing to celebrate.
Every day now feels like a gift. I wake up and cannot wait to see what the day holds and how we’re going to get the chance to step into the healthy marriage and life God is calling us to. Again, I’m having a hard time capturing it in words.
I guess that’s what it’s like when God is involved. Hard to capture in words. I’ll just say this…
What seemed like the end was actually the beginning.
*In case you’re interested in the specific stuff we’re learning, it’s about attachment theory, trauma and healing.
1. Podcast: Adam Young’s The Place We Find Ourselves
2. Book: Aundi Kolber’s Try Softer
3. Book: Dan Allender’s To Be Told
4. Emotion Focused Therapy and Trauma Informed Therapy