For Better or Worse……
Those words don’t even come close to describing the ups and down of my marriage…they are simply a vague statement that we routinely say without realizing the depth of those few words.
In good times and in bad…for better or worse…in joy and in sorrow…as long as you both shall live…
Yet when you really think about the meaning of those words, they become so powerful and are not to be taken lightly.
Today’s my anniversary. A reminder of the lifelong commitment we made to each other before God, family and friends 11 years ago today. Being together 14 years thus far, we were so proud to have Lydia with us share our special day.
I’ve got to admit, the best wedding gift we received was this …….
Love is unconditional….. Has hung over my kitchen sink ever since that day, giving me a daily reminder of what it means to love.
1 Corinthians 13:4–8a
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails … (NIV)
For years we had some fabulous times, sprinkled with some little annoyances throughout, like any normal marriage. But things were alright, no major complaints.
Yes, we did things out-of-order, having that precious baby before we were married, but that experience made us who we are. After we were married, naturally I assumed life would be perfect, full of happiness, beautiful children and good times, not once entertaining the thought of total devastation.
After Lydia passed away, we were left with nothing. We were no longer in the “normal” marriage. The foundation of love and family had been ripped from our feet leaving brokenness and despair. I was afraid to look in the mirror, afraid my husband hated me, afraid of the future, not knowing if I even had a marriage anymore or who I was. The emotional roller coaster had taken us both hostage and wouldn’t let us go.
I’m not going to lie, it was really bad for a long time. Dark, lonely, hopeless. I wondered how on earth we could survive this grief as individuals, let alone, how our marriage would survive, questioning those words.
For better or for worse. Yep, this was definitely the worst.
The third year after Lydia died would prove to be the most difficult, pushing us to the brink of divorce. Looking back, it would have been a lot easier to call it quits. It’s not surprising that many marriages are ended after such a tragedy as we became complete strangers.
We both went our separate ways with our grief, isolating ourselves and not communicating, exchanging harsh words, unkind feelings and at times utter disgust for one other. Lydia’s death affected us in every aspect, seeping its ugliness into all corners of our life, pushing us into our own self-absorbed worlds of suffering. It was terrifying and unlike anything I had ever experienced.
Suddenly we were dealing with more than just her death, it was the tremendous weight of our own individual guilt and grief, coupled with trying to parent our surviving son, while maintaining our careers and stability. Well, I’m sad to say it tore us to shreds, ripping apart everything what we had worked so hard to build.
Grief is like a noxious weed, spreading and multiplying smothering and overtaking the beauty of the planted flowers and seeds, destroying everything in sight. That is, until we acknowledge the problem and take steps to stop the destruction.
Eventually, after years of determination, working both together and individually to rebuild and remind us of why we married in the first place, we found our way back to each other.
Most importantly we found hope.
It takes an unfathomable amount of strength to endure such heartbreak and pain and come out on top. However, by putting all of our trust in God, knowing He was the only way, we have made it through.
Marriage is not easy. Actually, it’s a tremendous amount of work even in the perfect life void of disappointments and heartbreak. Despite all of the horrible times and incredible struggles, we have also had an enormous amount of wonderful times.
Eventually, we would come full circle and deep down, never wavered from our commitment and love to one another. He supported me, held me when I cried, comforted me when I couldn’t get out of bed, encouraged me when I was afraid to go out in public, and stood by me and I by him.
It was then I realized that no one else could ever share in the bond that had been created between us due to our child dying. We were the only ones that could ever understand and know the immense sorrow yet wonderful gift of Lydia’s life.
My husband is the strongest and bravest man I know. The pressures of having to tell his wife the dreadful news, having to provide for the family, while struggling with your own grief takes so much from you when you have nothing left to give.
If I could describe our marriage in one word, it would be…. Perseverance.
1 Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (NIV)
Today I’m thankful for my husband. After five children and all our years together, despite all of our hardships, we have truly been blessed.