He sat there on the side porch, holding his loafers in his hands; his hair prematurely graying from the sleepless nights, stress and depression which were taking their toll. I stood there in the doorway filled with resentment and bitterness and unwilling to share an ounce of compassion for him.
I tried to ignore my husband's presence, yet my eyes shifted and were drawn to his bare feet and the tears falling uncontrollably from his tired eyes. "I want my family back. I want to come home. Please let me in." For several months, against my husband's will, we had lived apart. Our children broken and confused after being shuffled from place to place. I had selfishly reached a point that I no longer had the will or desire to see it survive.
Communicating with one another had turned into nothing more than what seemed like a television WrestleMania shouting match. I was mentally exhausted from crying and verbally defending my selfish decisions. Entangled emotionally with a male friend and flirting with sin, I began to justify that our marriage separation although very painful to everyone involved, would surely lead to happier times in the future for the both of us.
You know what was baffling? We both had been raised in church all our lives. We had held leadership positions, taught Sunday School, been involved in the choir and dramas. When we walked into the church we appeared to "have it all together"...a nice home, successful jobs, beautiful kids, financial security. We had the perfect fake, plastic smiles and handshakes to masquerade the fears and hurts from a marriage that had turned to isolation, disrespect, and mixed up priorities. Yet deep down, we were broken, frustrated, filled with unforgiveness, and felt all alone.
Can I get real with you? As a couple, reaching out for help was one of the hardest things we ever had to do. You know it seemed as if we had always been led as Christians to compress the hurt, hide the pain, and never let anyone in the church see or sense our failures. Our marriage looked good from the outside. Our neighborhood or church would have never guessed that we were struggling. We became experts at putting on a front.
My husband and I never once realized what I am about to share with you...
There are NO perfect marriages. There are NO perfect Christians.
Your deacons, Sunday school teachers, and even your pastors mess up from time to time. Deep down, at the end of the day, everyone still has hurts, disappointments, and frustrations; everyone sins and fails God. That sin can lead to brokenness, loneliness, and can even lead you down a path of shameful regrets, BUT it's okay to let it lead you to a place where you realize you can not walk it out alone. A place where you have to say, we don't have all the answers, we don't have it all together, we just need help.
Maybe you are at a point where I was years ago. It was embarrassing for us to share our junk with our pastor. I want you to know that is fine, as long as you reach out! Reach out to a godly counselor, a pastor at another church, a godly friend. Whatever you do Reach OUT! Somewhere along the way we as Christians have gotten the idea that is wrong to ask for help, that it is wrong to show there is nothing less than perfection within our churches.
Desperate, my husband and I reached out to godly marriage counselors who in turn showed us there was more to love and marriage than a whole bunch of bottled up fickle feelings. Our counselors began to show us the biblical truths on marriage, encouraged us to pray together, worship together, and empowered us to attend marriage events/getaways that allowed for healing and restoration. There are times when we have to lay down our pride and realize that we can not do it alone.
To resist temptation, make wise decisions and get back up when you have been knocked down, there will be times you when you have to lay aside the pride and ask for help.
Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14
These are some resources that will meet you where you are with the truth:
These are great getaways to put fuel in your marriage tank!