Moving Forward Through Grief Towards the Horizon

We haven’t been to church in a few weeks.  Mainly our family just needs some down time.  I needed to be there yesterday. Pastor Steve Hage was preaching, which we hadn’t known since we hadn’t been at church.  Through him, God named what I’ve been feeling the last few weeks: grief.

You see, I have explored my husband’s internet activity.  I’ve discovered things on his blog exposing some of our most private issues and my deepest insecurities.  I have discovered that he has made friendships with strange women and has empathized with one in particular who was in a bad marriage and was somewhat of a shoulder to her. I’ve discovered that he has friended strangers for no apparent reason other than “that’s how the social web works”, and has had interactions with another woman which he told me he never talked to.  He called her baby, lady, woman. I discovered flirtatious comments and connections with women that he had made over the period of a couple of years, this period being a time during which I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome.  He did connect with men as well, mostly for business, but from a wife’s perspective, relationships with other women tend to present more of a problem.

Through the years, I never felt prioritized.  I never felt important enough to him to be at the top of his list.  In fact, I always felt last if I was on the list at all.  So I got bitter and angry, not knowing the real emotion was pain.  I lashed out critically at him and begged for attention.  I had found outlets and bandages for the loneliness of my own over the years, decorating my home, cleaning, shopping, food, exercise and an emotional affair seven years ago.  Through all of these things I learned that in order for a marriage to stand a chance I can’t cover up the pain and the problems with external things because the problems will only get bigger.  I couldn’t run from it anymore. I had to get brutally honest about the emptiness I felt in the marriage and the unhealthy ways I had dealt with it in the past.  I had to keep taking these feelings to my husband, no matter how he shut me out and wouldn’t hear me.

This period of things being the same in our marriage, but me handling it by not medicating the truth with different “drugs of choice”, is what brought me to my knees. “Lord, what do I do?  What do I need to change?  Show me, and help my heart stay loving.  Don’t let bitterness take root again.  Tell me, daily, how to respond, how to show love.”  The answer I heard was,”Just hold my hand, and don’t let go.  Keep seeking truth.  Keep allowing me to change you.  Keep inviting me into your storm.” While I was on my knees, my husband was living like he was single and had decided that our marriage was over before it was over.  He told me how great he and the kids would do without me, how happy he’d be, how he no longer had any desire for me and I wasn’t what he wanted.  I looked upward and went,”Did you hear that Lord? I’m still holding Your hand.  I’m still trusting.  Show me my responsibility and help me to do things Your way, not mine.”  I heard, “A soft answer turns away wrath.”  I said,”WHAT????  OK, fine, I’ll do it, but it goes against everything I WANT to do.  Help me to embrace this.”

I learned to bite my tongue more (still working on this) and take everything in prayer to God.  I knew that divorce couldn’t be the answer.  I’ve seen the rippling, long-lasting effects it has on children of divorce, and adult children of divorce. I could not do that to my children, and I had to be an example of faith and perseverance, even when the going got the toughest it’s ever been.  I knew that if I kept my eyes on the Lord regardless of the storm, He would handle it.  God can only do good and when you stick with Him long enough you begin to understand that He is in the middle of the storm with you, bringing you to the other side, no matter how long it takes or how hopeless things look.  That prayer was answered the night my husband gave me the journal and said his new aim was to love me, to lay himself down for me and put me and our marriage first.

Yesterday at church, the pastor talked about bruises under the skin that no one can see (that’s a whole different post).  He talked of grief and sorrows and how Jesus took those on for us on the cross.  As he was talking about this grief, it touched in me the feelings I have had over my husband’s internet use most recently, but other things that I feel have taken my place throughout our marriage.  I grieve the loss of the woman I could have been.  I grieve the loss of so much joy and peace.  I grieve the freedom with each other we could have had this whole time. I grieve the loss I feel about the compassion, empathy and pursuit shown to other women while I was on my knees with a broken heart, empty, lonely, and desperate for those things from my husband.  I grieve the loss of trust and security.  I feel robbed.  I feel he gave things away that belonged to me, while I was given disdain, contempt and hardheartedness.  I grieve the loss of my husband for those years.  He had a whole separate life which I was not a part of and he never talked to me about.

As I grieve, while it is difficult, it’s good grief.  I have spent years stuffing feelings.  Knowing what those feelings are and allowing myself to feel them honestly and in no rush feels awesome, because the only way to get on the other side of it is not to go over it and ignore it but to go through it.  I see new things on the horizon and have great hope as God continues to transform us into the people, and couple, we were meant to be.  I’ve always had hope, which is why divorce has never been an option to me no matter how bleak the outlook (God has a much different outlook than we do).  I meant for better or for worse, in sickness and in health.  I hope, because I have experienced the miracles that God has done in hearts.  I have seen effectual, fervent prayer avail much.  As I grieve the losses, and while things are by no means perfect, we are also finally moving in a direction that has evaded us for so long: forward, towards a beautiful horizon.

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  1. Laura Correia

    Sandi, I’m so pleased to hear that there’s a new hope in your marriage, and that it’s based completely Christ. What a testimony I think you’ll be as a couple, as you walk through and finally make it through this struggle, to others around you. I think there are truly so many people in this same situation, who need someone to share with them the very things you wrote about. Thanks for your transparency. We’re praying for you, old friend!!

  2. Brandon Michael

    Thank you for posting this. It’s truly inspiring. I am a kid myself and my parents are in this situation. I hope all goes well with your marriage.

  3. Hi Brandon- Sorry for not responding sooner, I haven’t been on here in so long! Thank you for your kind words. I hope your parents can work things out.

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