At the Revive 11 Conference I had a precious young woman seek me out to tell me she saw our marriage video the previous year. With a look of true concern she asked, “How is your marriage doing now?” I had to catch myself to keep from laughing, because I thought, “Oh, my . . . she must think when we shared about our marital hopelessness that it was a recent thing . . . that our relationship is still fragile and struggling.”
Thankfully, I didn’t laugh, but regained composure to answer her question. After that conversation it occurred to me that others who read the book or have seen the video and don’t personally know us, might have similar questions. You may be wondering whether the change that occurred has been real and lasting. I would love to have the opportunity for LeRoy and I to sit down and share with you, but for now this post will have to serve as a way to communicate where we are now.
I’m not able to adequately describe how dark, how hopeless and miserable, our first several years of marriage were. I would have to say that our sixth year of marriage was the absolute worst. I didn’t think we would survive it. LeRoy was working at a secular job that kept him out of town quite a bit. Our daughter was just over a year old and I felt like a single mom most of the time. I hated the long, lonely nights. We argued a lot over his job, how little he was home and how he didn’t seem to care. I felt things would never improve.
For the next few years we coasted into a less stress-filled arrangement, he was pastoring full-time and no longer working a secular job, we had our son and we’d learned how to manage our relationship, but we each maintained a simmering resentment toward the other. We isolated ourselves from each other and that was easy when we were both so busy with ministry, church and family activities, and two little ones. We shared a bed, but not our hearts.
But about ten years into the marriage, we hit rock bottom. It wasn’t due to immorality, addictions, or a financial crisis—but due to a destructive relationship cycle I’ve mentioned before. We were miserable. We felt like hypocrites sharing the gospel with others while seeing no transforming effect on our marriage. My husband resigned his position as the senior pastor of a large and growing church. We had a toddler and a five year-old, and he walked away not knowing if, or when, he’d ever be able to return to the pastorate.
During that season we attended a few marriage seminars and some counseling sessions with a pastor who knew us well. I’m sure all those things were contributing factors to speak truth into our lives along the way, but we never saw lasting change until we both came to a point of humility and brokenness. I share about that experience in Fierce Women and the process of building our relationship after that.
That’s been almost fifteen years ago now, and I’m so thankful for how God has given us a new marriage, a relationship that is far beyond what I ever could’ve imagined. We no longer struggle through the ups and downs that characterized the first half of our marriage. The walls are down and we are experiencing the joy of a one-Spirit, one-flesh, one-heart relationship that God desires for all marriages to know.
This verse is a living reality for us:
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20)
I pray the same for your marriage!