{LOVE Series} Share Your Strength

I confess to still grumbling under my breath when my husband leaves an empty cereal box in the pantry or, even worse, on the counter right above the trash can. My eye twitches when I see a growing pile of dirty clothes on his side of the bed instead of in the laundry basket two feet over in the closet. I still don't understand what he finds so difficult about scrubbing a toilet.

He cringes every time I kick back on the couch and pop my feet into his lap, silently requesting a foot massage. Or when I'm mentally lost in another world and am oblivious to the important things he's saying to me. It also drives him absolutely insane when I suddenly jump into hyper drive and practically run him over at every turn as I zoom through the house getting things done. 

But we're never more content than when we stand in our sleeping children's doorways at night. He's the one who knows that a pint of ice cream and old episodes of Friends pull me out of a funk faster than anything else. It doesn't work when he's not seated beside me on the couch. Matt is the most important part of that equation. I'm the one who knows how to ask Matt the right questions so he can find needed answers when he's been stuck in a cycle of "I just don't know."

We are imperfectly perfect together and partners in every facet of life. We have different strengths and past experiences that help us fit. Through the ups and downs of the last 10 years, we have always grown together. In those times when we started to move separately, we quickly found each other again.

I've never really been one to subscribe to the idea of soul mates. Yet as Matt and I grow through life together I've started to consider it more. As I look back over our entire relationship, it is obvious to me that we were meant to do life together.

As I've mentioned, my past is littered with varying degrees of abusive relationships. Some were out of my control while others were due to extremely poor decision making. Over the last few years I've wondered why I needed to experience so much of it. Why had some of these key relationships been so detrimental to my well-being? What was the purpose? I wasn't wondering out of anger or frustration. It was simply curiosity. I certainly didn't expect an answer.

Yet one day when I was cleaning the bathroom, the thought flitted through my head and just as quickly God hit me with the answer. As clear as day He said,

"So you could save Matt."

My head jerked in surprise. Um, what? There was no mistaking what I heard. Was that really you, God? I knew it was. It resonated deep within me with a peaceful strength and it certainly wasn't an answer I would ever craft on my own.

Over the last few years my husband has been working through the acknowledgment of an abusive past. He's endured an extremely public and far reaching fallout. With appropriate support in place, he chose to confront the abuse and was stonewalled into oblivion while the rest of the world was told fantastic tales. The tales, usually sprinkled with just enough truth to be believed, were meant to silence him. To silence me. To ruin us. How dare he find his voice and say "I am worthy." How dare he support and defend that horrible, controlling wife of his. How dare he protect his children. How dare he speak truth.

It sounds paranoid, I know. But it's not. We have the thousands of dollars in therapy bills that say otherwise. We have the nightmares, uncovered memories, and a deep desire to help those who are further victimized when they give voice to their own abuse stories.

I have never been prouder of that man than the day he decided to stand up for himself and his children. I remember watching him fold up a letter the therapist helped him write and place it in an addressed envelope. His hands were shaking and a detached fear I'd never witnessed haunted his face. There was more to this than he had ever shared with me. He was terrified of the fallout he knew would ensue. But he still mailed it. He still did what he knew needed to be done to break a vicious cycle for himself and our children.

The blessing of being able to share my strength in the midst of that storm, even at my weakest, was because of my past. My abusive situations helped us navigate arguably one of the most significant events of my husband's life. God knew what He was doing all along.

Love isn't always sunshine and roses. It isn't always happiness. It's a mix of ease and struggle. It's having someone to laugh with through the good and bad. It's also having those arms to rest in and a shoulder to cry on when your world is collapsing around you. 

I am humbled that I was meant to save my husband, but I didn't really save him at all. No more than my husband saved me when he showed me what a healthy relationship looks like.


That was all Him.