Normally these posts are lighthearted. We share with you some of our favorite moments or things we love. But today my heart is heavy for those facing extremely challenging circumstances–terminal illness, job loss, rebellious children, chronic pain. All of these seasons are difficult to walk through even in a strong marriage. But all of us have faced them.
Today we want to share with you our Five Most Challenging Times not in any particular order.
1. Miscarriage – Our first pregnancy was exciting. So exciting we told the world as soon as we found out. I was only 6 weeks into the pregnancy when I miscarried. We were out of town on business and I had to call Tom out of his meeting to come get me. It was terrifying for us to walk through such loss. But God showed us how deep our love was for each other. We learned more about ourselves in that season, and we were sobered about how fragile life is. We realized that not all dreams become realities. I was hit hard with the question, “Will I be able to have children?” And the haunting fear that came with it. God taught us how His Word informs our heartache and that is where hope is found in great loss.
2. Moving to a new city – Tom lived 2.5 hours away from me while we dated. After we were married I move away from my family and the only city I had ever known to live with my new husband. No job. No friends. No church family and no history. I felt disconnected because I was. Add to that the fact that Tom worked 70 – 80 hours a week. I was alone and lonely most of the time. I learned that anytime someone relocates to a new city it takes about 2 years to feel like it is home. Fortunately we didn’t have that long to adjust. Tom was transferred to another new city. It wasn’t until we had been married a year and a half that we moved back to my hometown. We have called Orlando home ever since.
3. Realizing your spouse isn’t perfect. It was not long after our wedding vows were shared that we realized how imperfect we were. Face it. There is no perfect spouse. Only Christ is perfect, and He is the only One who can help us continue to love and cherish each other through all the imperfections and sinful patterns. And it didn’t happen immediately. We have to continually choose to be honest, transparent and forgiving as Christ has forgiven us.
4. Job loss and financial tensions – Through the many struggles we have faced of this nature we discovered where we were putting our trust. Looking back now we can see that God was helping us to trust Him with uncertainties. He has faithfully provided for us even when we didn’t know how or where the provision would come. I wish that I had time to tell you how God provided us with the most beautiful Christmas tree we have ever had the year when we barely had money to buy our children gifts. Or when God supplied us with the money needed to buy the company where Tom had worked for 16 years. He also freed Tom from his work responsibilities right before my Mom passed away making him available to walk me through one of the most difficult times in my life.
5. Parenting at all stages. From bringing them home from the hospital to sending them off to their first day of school. Letting them go happens in stages and each one was difficult for me. I must admit that having my grown children move far away has been the most challenging for me. I hear young moms constantly say how they can’t believe how fast their little ones are growing. We had children with the goal to raise them to be responsible adults didn’t we? But many of us, if we’re honest enjoy the responsibility of having someone depend on us. It can leave us feeling empty and useless when this season ends. I loved seeing my children find the love of their life, get married and start a family. The hardest part for me was watching them each move to different states. This wasn’t what I had expected for this season of my life. I love being a Nana to my 8 grandchildren and not being involved in their daily life is sad for me. But God is teaching me how to trust Him in this season as He has in every other season. Tom and I have grown closer together as well. We love being empty-nesters.
That’s it for this list. Of course there are many more challenging times in all marriages, but these are the ones that stand out to me.
What have been challenging times for you in your marriage?