I stood there, silent, as our pastor asked us to repeat our vows. Staring at him, I had flashbacks of what our love used to look like. It wasn’t this. It wasn’t happy. It was so hurtful.
In the beginning, he felt so empty. He wouldn’t let me in. We would enjoy small moments of closeness. Then, when it was time to take another step, he would push me away and I would fight harder to stay. For 3 years, I let his love wound me with his distance and lies. As if I needed more wounding in my life. That’s just it, though. His empty love felt like home. In a world where I had known nothing but retractable love, his emptiness validated the very thing that had been spoken over my life for the previous 35 years. It was quite obvious that broken had attracted broken.
I knew that there was this incredible, responsible guy with so much more potential than he was giving and I couldn’t find the right words to help him see what I did. I wanted to get him to church. I knew I couldn’t teach him how to be the man I was needing, but I knew the Bible could. But he wouldn’t go and all I knew to do was the very same thing I had done my whole life…. fight. It was the only thing I was good at in relationships. My words had been formed as weapons at a very early age and I was very talented at aiming them below the belt.
Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. Proverbs 21:9, NIV
Life was gloomy. We fought constantly. As time passed, our fights became more intense and violent. Our life together was a war zone. We would break up and get back together as often as most people changed clothes.
His demons were those that most women wouldn’t accept, which I did for 3 years. My demons were the reason most people had walked out of my life, and he hadn’t. So, we held on to fighting for a love that neither of us knew how to give.
I remember coming to the realization things would never change. My spirit was so broken and he had surrendered to a whole new level of deceit. I knew, at this point, the best thing I could do for myself was cut my losses, evaluate my part in our madness, and begin fixing the woman within.
Next thing I knew, I was standing in front of him with teary eyes telling him, “I have given you everything that I have. I have tried to prove to you that I was worth investing your life in. From ripping my heart open to opening a business to prove my worth to you, I have tried it all. My heart is so exhausted. I am hurting and I need to heal. I can’t be here while I do that. Loving you hurts me and if I am going to do this life alone, I am going to be alone while I do it.”
Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife;
quarrels and insults are ended. Proverbs 22:10, NIV
In the blink of an eye my life flipped upside down. As I have mentioned multiple times in previous posts, this is when I fell homeless, sleeping in my office for Thanksgiving, working day in and out in my salon and remodeling my fixer upper camper. During this madness, I agreed to see him here and there, but my heart wasn’t completely focused on him, anymore. It was focused on therapy and God’s plan. Although, I must admit that I was utterly exhausted at the time, so my heart barely knew it was beating all. I still loved him, but the busyness of healing made it easier to shut him out when I couldn’t see the changes in him that God was making inside of me.
This was equally the most beautiful and brutal time of my life.
I am not sure what his days were like during that season, but I could imagine pretty quiet. For 3 years he had lived with the constant noise of my son and I. Then, all of a sudden he had nothing but the sound of his own silence. I couldn’t imagine that would be an easy transition. Relaxing, at times, I am sure, but not necessarily the family environment that he had gotten so used to. Every now and again I’ll ask him and all he says is, “I just missed you.”
By wisdom a house is built,
and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled
with rare and beautiful treasures. Proverbs 24:3-4
The day came when I, finally, finished the building process. A season of content and finding out who DeLayne really was, was upon me. It was a season where I wrote… a lot. This writing began with speeches, then quickly transpired into a blog… this blog to be exact.
While all these newfound aspirations and hobbies began to take hold, I felt a sense of ending when I thought of him. I wasn’t wondering what he was doing anymore. I wasn’t missing him. Matter of fact, when I thought of us, I couldn’t understand why I fought so hard to stay.
Just as I was getting over him, I met someone who would, ultimately, change my life forever… but for reasons I could never expect. This was the moment that God changed my husband’s heart.
In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”
Ephesians 5:28, ESV
This is the day he finally finally showed up. Just as life was moving on, he called me with the words I had been waiting so long to hear. “I didn’t know that’s how it was supposed to be. I treated you so wrong for 3 years and you never left me for dead. If you need to date him, date him, but you didn’t leave me for dead, so I will not leave you. I will still be here.” That’s the day I first noticed God’s work in his heart.
A week later, after the heartbreaking reality of my situation had settled, my soon to be husband was there with a message from the Bible to pick up the pieces. That moment changed the dynamics of our lives together forever. This message brought him closer to God and brought us together in ways that only God could achieve.
Since then, peace and forgiveness has spread through my life like a wildfire. I have watched the miracle of God’s mercy bless our relationship in ways I could have never expected. I see the unfolding of our story with a whole new understanding.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death
or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
Revelation 21:4, NIV
You see, we were brought together with empty toolbox’s. We, both, come from broken families. We didn’t know how to love one another as God wants a husband and wife to love one another. We were irresponsible with each others love and didn’t know how to work things out together. So, as parents do when their children cannot stop fighting, He separated us. God had to take us out of the situation so that He could work on us individually. He had to bring both of us to our knees, begging for mercy, so that we no longer leaned on each other for guidance, but on Him, our creator. We were unarmed until the day God took His place in our relationship.
I imagine more storms will come. Frankly, I look forward to them, because the way that my husband looked at me the day we were married told me that I have nothing left to fight for, except my love for God. I can rest assured that we will handle whatever is to come with grace and endurance through faith, and faith alone. I would do it a hundred times over if I knew we would land right where we are today.
The work that we put in means nothing without the love of our Lord, Jesus Christ. He is the true hero in our story. This healing would be completely meaningless without God’s ever flowing mercy.
The critics can say all they want to say… but I am 100% certain that God blessed our journey on that incredible day. His presence in this world is so evident and our love is a living testimony to it!
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mathew 19:4-6
Thank you, Lord, for blessing our lives with the trials of the last 4 years. It is because of these hardships that I was able to heal the most broken parts of my being. It is because of these obstacles that my husband is such an incredible man today. I am forever thankful for Your mercy and the journey we get to walk with You tomorrow and always. Please let the words of our story touch someone’s life today, Lord. So that they may find peace in their battle. Your name will forever be alive in our home.
Sweet child, live free.