Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Wait…did I say for better? or for worse?

Marriage is the toughest job I’ll ever love.  Forget the Peace Corps.  There are some days when I definitely feel the work outweighs the rewards but most days and even times on the bad days, I feel like I won the giant bear at the state fair.

My husband and I met each other in March of 2001.  By July, we were married and expecting our first child.  Our first year of marriage was not a whirlwind of new romance and feathering a nest.  Instead it was plagued with sadness over losing our first child and wrestling with trying to conceive again.  But our love was held fast by the Lord and instead of untying our devotion to one another, it was cemented in place.  If we could survive such sorrow, we could put all petty things aside and live happily ever after, right?

By our first anniversary, we had news of our second pregnancy and a new hopefulness in beginning our family.  But again our wedded bliss was put on hold because of complications.  Bedrest for twelve weeks and then a four week hospital stay led to the early birth of our second son.  The challenges of being new parents were doubled when I learned of my third pregnancy around the time our son turned five months (and right around the time of our second anniversary).  I am laughing to myself as I type this, because I know what you are thinking.  And yes, we did know what was causing all of this. 

So it went, baby number three arrived a few months before our third anniversary.  And we were deeply in the throes of keeping up with a seventeen month old and a two month old.  Everything seemed in order.  I was staying home with the children and slowly pulling out my hair.  And my husband was working hard to bring home the bacon.  Then the bottom fell out.  My husband lost his job.  We were devastated, again.  I found myself wondering what I had signed up for.  Was this what our married life would be like forever?  Where were all the promises God had made and the ones we had made to each other? 

By our fourth anniversary, we had decided to make a fresh start.  We packed up our family and moved thousands of miles away to live in a place that would never be home to me.  We were closer to my husband’s family and that brought a measure of solace to him that I could not give him.  But I was pregnant again and things were unraveling quickly.  The baby was not developing and my pregnancy hormones were literally going up and down and up and down.  I was having a hard time adjusting to our new home and I was lonely staying at home with a one year old and two year old.  I ended up having a emergency surgery for an ovarian cyst and my pregnancy was finally declared a miscarriage.  I was at the end of myself and left that place to come back thousands of miles to Alabama.  My husband had to stay behind and tie up loose ends.  We were apart from each other for four months.  I believe that some people thought I had left my husband.  But I did not.  I missed him terribly and felt as though part of me was missing and could not be found.  But I just could not survive so far from the south.  The heart of dixie is the heart of me, I guess.

Then we were in our fifth year.  Reunited and settled, once again.  Another pregnancy came and ended in tears.  I was riddled with health problems over a few months and we finally decided that I should not have any more children.  I was faced with another set of doubts about being married.  Would my life have gone drastically different if I had married someone else?  Should I cut my losses, which seemed so great, and find a new beginning?

In year six, we bought our first home.  It was modest but ample.  And we thought we had finally reached a plateau in chaos.  Life filled up with the everyday stuff.  Getting ready for school, bath times, paying bills and what’s for dinner.  This is what I had been striving for.  What we had been fighting for.  Life.  Sweet married life with two precious kids in tow.  I gave God a pat on the back for finally getting it right.

But there is not an up without a down.  Year seven brought a change of jobs for my husband and a mounting set of financial problems.  We are not people that live beyond our means.  We don’t have credit cards or new automobiles.  But suddenly, it became expensive to live. 

Those problems flowed into year eight and despite months and months (literally ten months) of back and forth with our mortgage company, we faced foreclosure.  We were working frantically to get assistance from a government program, but it came too late.  On Christmas day, we left our home for the last time.  I thought it was such a nice touch that the company who had delayed and postponed the proceedings for nearly a year, would not concede to wait another week.  They seemed nonplussed over evicting us on Christmas day. 

I am sure you are wondering what year nine has brought upon us.  Or you might be wondering how long this story can go on…enough already, right?  So far, it has brought nothing but joy.  I have taken a long look at my ingratitude and bitterness.  God has never forsaken me.  He has never abandoned me.  He was right there weeping with me and feeling the pain that I felt.  He was lifting up my husband, when I was putting him down.  He was knitting back the bond we have when one of us was ripping it apart.  I look at my husband when he walks in the door after work and know that he is the person that survived all of this with me.  No one else knows my secrets like he does and no one loves me in spite of them like he does.  Well, maybe my mother but you know what I mean.

As we work our way towards a decade of knowing and loving each other, I hope that this will always be what I have.  Circumstances will change and the world will try to overtake us.  But the promises we made to each other, before God, will be what holds us together. 

Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil.  Ecclesiastes 9:9

1 comment:

  1. Amanda, this is a beautiful testimony! Thank you for sharing it here to encourage others. I'm happily your first follower. :)



Like George Washington Carver said:

1. Be clean both inside and outside.
2. Neither look up to the rich nor down on the poor.
3. Lose, if need be, without squealing.
4. Win without bragging.
5. Always be considerate of women, children and old people.
6. Be too brave to lie.
7. Be too generous to cheat.
8. Take your share of the world and let others take theirs.


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