Tuesday, June 14, 2016

God's Continued Provision in Our Marriage

 

Typically, on our anniversary I write a sappy post. I hope they're original and well written and true to us, but in reality they're also just typical posts written by one person who loves another.

That's not this year's post. In one sense, that's hard for me- mostly because continuity is huge to me (I'm realizing that more and more). It's so hard for me to break a cycle of something or deviate from what I've always done. It's partly security and control but it's also partly compulsiveness.

That said, I think this is an even better post and a better story. The kind where God is renewing and redeeming things in the places I can see, and, I hope in faith, also in the places I cannot yet see.

Over the course of our marriage, I've watched God bring us to consensus (and more than consensus, in all these cases really it's more like happy voluntary agreement) on so many things. I personally can't ignore that it has to be God's provision because we have often come from such divergent places.

Here are a few of those areas:
- Lifestyle (simplicity, where and how much travel we do, ect.)
- Where we live
- How we use money
- Pace of life and energy levels 
- The division of labor inside and outside the home
- family size 
- sexual compatibility

Those last two are huge and really I almost feel like it's nothing short of a true miracle that we're on the same page. 

In many ways, we are happier than we've ever been, but there's still that one box that felt checked for a long time and no longer is. The box that, in many ways, feels the most important. That is, of course, the faith box.

I tear up when I think about how far we've come. 

Except for this one nagging thing. I know for some people, it's nearly impossible to imagine themselves married to someone who is not a professing Christian. And I don't blame them at all for that. Even with Peyton's history of doubts, it's not a situation I ever really imagined myself in, for that matter. In fact, at least one person has asked me point blank if I had considered not staying married to him (it was at a point when I was really struggling and this friend asked the question in such a gracious way that it really didn't upset me). First of all, in our situation I think loving him well is the best picture of the Gospel I can give him (rather than nagging him about coming to church or shoving apologetic literature at him) and doing any less would be a very poor witness on my part. BUT, aside from that, he's still my very best friend, he's still an amazing father, he's still a person of integrity, he's still a wonderful confidante....he's still so very many things.

Our lives are far from perfect, but in so many ways I feel like these are the best days. Like I'm living my dream. Like I don't really want for anything. I feel genuinely happy in a way I really didn't at earlier points in our marriage. It's all feels so right.

That's not to say I don't have some really lonely days. And that's not to say I don't wish I could fix this. Or wish God would fix it. Like right now

I hate viewing someone's faith life as a box to be checked, but often I do. I wish I could just put a nice solid check in it and move on with our lives. But I know there's a purpose in this pain. I know it's leading me to deeper trust.

I trust that God gave us those other things in his timing and that the hard, devastating days* in our early marriage were part of his planning and purposing to grow us in some way.

* Our first year of marriage, and I say this a bit sheepishly- Annie (who was still inside me) did most of the work of sustaining us. I remember being in the tub one time, sobbing uncontrollably, so unhappy with our lives and wishing I was dead. I didn't think concretely about doing anything to that end but I wished for death. But then, in that moment, I remembered her tiny life and how I HAD to go on living for her- getting out of bed in the morning, putting one foot in front of the other, and doing the hard work of trying to find a way to be married to Peyton and a way to make his marriage to me somewhat tolerable and hopefully enjoyable. Similarly, he left town one weekend for a professional trip and a woman strongly came on to him at the conference. It was clear to him all he had to do was say the word and she was up for spending the night together. He told me (much) later that it was thoughts not of me, but of Annie, that prevented him from saying that word. During those days I saw her as an oops and a accident but God used her so powerfully to do some incredible things, one of which I think back in retrospect was to save our lives and our marriage.

Just as I've seen God's provision is so many areas of our marriage, I believe that He will provide for us in season of disbelief for Peyton. I've already seen it in the beloved churches He has given us; the supportive friendships he has given us; the continued joy and love in my days, my family and my marriage, despite the pain and differences; and the great hope for a different tomorrow He has given us.

I'm so grateful for these days and this man. 

1 comment:

Bech and Marley Evans said...

Thanks for your honesty--it is so refreshing and encouraging. There have definitely been times I have been so frustrated or upset at Bech that I thought, "If it weren't for the kids, a divorce would just be so easy and quick." But few people in nice, safe, Christian circles share those thoughts freely. So thank you for that!