About 4 years ago, Craig and I were in a really dark place. We fought a lot. I had unreasonable expectations. I wanted him home more, but we needed more money. I felt unloved. I felt unwanted. I had packed my bags.
“In the heart of every wife is this cry: ‘surely now my husband will love me’ (Genesis 29:32)”
A little background, my parents separated when I was 11. My dad wasn’t around much anyways because he worked all the time. My mom worked full-time and raised me and my two brothers. After my dad left, I felt abandoned. I didn’t have grandparents living close so seeing what a marriage was to look like was hard. I grew up in a church but my family never seemed to have strong relationships with other people. I was also young enough I didn’t pay attention to marriages.
Craig grew up in a Conservative Mennonite church where there was no divorce but men and women had their own jobs in the family. Wife did indoor work and cooked. Husband did manual labor jobs around the house. His parents never really talked about marriage either. Craig had examples of good Godly marriages growing up with all the family he had close. But they never talked about marriage or how God intended marriage to be.
“If a wife is experiencing marital problems, she is no fool in God’s eye’s for trying to ‘be reconciled to her husband’ (1 Corinthians 7:11)”
When we got married I had vowed to myself “DIVORCE WAS NOT AN OPTION.” Statistics say that 1 in 3 marriages last. Well I was not about to be apart of the statistic. I had made sure to ask Craig if it was okay if we found someone to meet with before I took any steps. I had posted to Facebook asking for some Christian counseling services that were local. We found Cornerstone Brief Therapy at that time. We met with our Therapist for our first meeting. She was from the Kalona area which was nice because we were able to make that connection.
Side note: I had been reading a magazine article about one of my favorite celebrity couples and how they went to marriage counseling and how that was the secret to their happy marriage. Here is the article if you would like to check it out.
At that time I was used to counseling services as I had gone to them as a child and before I got married. counseling and talking with someone about issues you are having I a great thing. I like to talk things out to figure things out so counseling was good for me. I was afraid that it would be hard for my non-talking, non-emotional husband.
“It is as if God said ‘I’m going to allow for tension to exist in your marriage. I intend for you to work this out, because as you work out your tensions, your relationship is going to deepen and then deepen some more, and you’re going to continue to go through life working it out–back and forth, back and forth.” -Love and Respect
Marriage counseling wasn’t going to be our easy way out for solving all our problems. Craig and I just didn’t have good grounds to help build our marriage up. We both are very selfish people, and naturally as sinners we all are. Marriage is about blending two peoples beliefs and we were struggling on knowing HOW to do this.
Our marriage is NOWHERE perfect!! In fact this whole week we have been fighting. The issue we come down to most of the time anymore is communication and connection. Counseling has helped us open our eyes and we are able to see where and how to work through our issues. So tonight, I found someone to work for me, a sitter for the kids and we’re going on a date.
Since we started counseling our therapist started her own practice, Imagine Therapy Solutions. In our sessions we always begin with prayer, then we talk about things we feel need to be talked about or we’ll talk about “homework” she gives us. Before every appointment I always pray that God will guide the session. I always go in with my own agenda on what I think we need to talk about or work through. But never fail God always goes another way but the right way. We always end in prayer. Usually after our sessions we try and make it a date day and either do lunch or run errands together.
Marriage is probably the hardest thing in life. We always forget that our marriage is what is going to hold our family together. So here are some things we have found to help our marriage out.
~Marriage counseling. It’s not for everyone but it never hurts to try. It’s also nothing to be ashamed about. It’s a great time to talk about your marriage and have at least one hour of uninterrupted time together.
~Shared google calendar. This is something I struggle with but has also helped with the communication issues. We put our event in the calendar and then when the other wants to do something they know if it is available.
~Scheduling dates AND sex. We struggle with this one as well. Everything else becomes a priority or we have a hard time finding a sitter. My goal for this year was to have 2 dates a month. One out and one in. Helps to save money and forced to find creativity. You may have heard the scheduling sex part before. That one is simple pick a few days and there’s no turning back. Build up to it. Text each other throughout the day. Look forward to what is to come when you get home.
~Laugh. Laughter is so good everyone! not just in a marriage. I love to laugh! Try not taking things so seriously. Life is short.
~Mentors. After Craig and I were married we were paired up with a couple in our church that we met with for a few weeks and have now developed a relationship with. They don’t have to be older but someone you can be comfortable with. Someone to ask questions.
~If you like to read I recommend reading “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. This book is so good to go back to when things are tough. When you need a good reminder that our relationships are often how we view our Father in heaven. “In the ultimate sense, your marriage has nothing to do with your spouse, it has everything to do with your relationship to Jesus Christ”
~Never be afraid to ask for help! This one is SO IMPORTANT. If you are hurting or need help. NEVER FEEL ASHAMED TO ASK! You’re marriage is so precious and God doesn’t want to see you hurting. Ask for prayer, ask for help, ask for guidance.
This past October Craig and I celebrated 10 years together. We will be celebrating 7 years of marriage this year. Our marriage is far from perfect and we struggle a lot, but I would never change who I married for a second. I truly believe God chose Craig for me!