It’s the day that has been waited for. The scene is set with ambient music and the gentle whispers of loved ones. The announcement is made that the bride is on her way. You can feel the anticipation rising. As she makes her way to her beloved, the tears of joy flow. They take each other by the hand and utter the most significant promises.
The promises go something like this…”I vow to support you, push you, inspire you and above all, love you – for better or worse, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer, as long as we both shall live. I pledge my faith, love and fidelity to you.”
I never really understood why other couples would get misty eyed as the oh-so-in-love bridal couple would make these vows. That was until I got married and faced the tests of every word I uttered to my husband at our wedding. I sat at my sister in laws’ wedding this past weekend overwhelmed with that same feeling I had seen wash over many couples at previous weddings. The weight of the words her and the groom said hit me like a ton of bricks.
For better or for worse – Marriage is wonderful. It is hard work and it is what two people make it. No matter how optimistic you are, how much preparation you have – NOTHING prepares you for marriage like being married. Jeremy and I had put boundaries in place, setting things in motion to help us create a wonderful marriage. However, in year 2 and 3 of marriage – we were so close to calling it quits. There was a period where we lived in two separate rooms in our home. We found ourselves right in the pit of the test – for better or for worse. It’s easy to love when someone is loveable. It’s not easy when everything in you hurts, feels betrayed and you wonder if your love has grown cold.
It was the worst time for both of us. I had packed my bags and was ready to leave. I had argued my list of reasons to justify why walking away was the right choice. That’s when I looked at what I had written down on a piece paper…all my reasons started with the word “I”. I had become so wrapped up in my own hurting heart that my reasons were terribly selfish, despite how valid they were. I cried for three days straight and hardly left our room, in which I was staying alone at the time. I wrestled with the vows I had made. Let me tell you – I was about to get schooled in what real love was.
I read this and it rocked me to my core: “Love like you’ve never been hurt. In a world where retribution and payback is common, almost religious, this statement is quite outrageous. It means learning from the experience, but letting go of that black mark against that person. It means tearing down those defensive walls, working through the wound – not skipping over the issues, and learning to restore one another in and through LOVE. It means accepting an apology and not hanging the issue over their head. It means LET IT GO. Do not rehearse what was or could have been. Stop keeping score and learn how to lose count”. I pretty much wanted to back peddle from reading this. There was no ways I wanted to practice REAL love – not the emotional high type but raw, authentic love.
Yet I texted Jeremy to ask if we could go out for coffee. An sms seemed fitting considering we had not spoken in about a week. We sat in silence. If you ever wanted to know what raw hurting people looked like – we were the poster children of it! My reasons faded as I realised how both of us carried such pain. We both went from being “me, myself & I” centered to “we” centered. We were hurting so much that vulnerability was the only thing we each had to offer. The conversation that followed was both brutal and beautiful. It was the beginning of our journey to restoration. The conversations continued for months as we underwent counselling and took time to rebuild our marriage.
On the road to restoration, we went back to basics. We established boundaries within trust and honesty – through communication and actions. We learned that there were going to be days when feelings and thoughts got the better of us. We learned to listen and speak so that the other person felt heard and cared for. We learned about loving like we were never hurt. It was and will always be a process of learning.
Now on the other side of this test, we are wiser for it. We know there will be more tests. But instead of doing damage control, if one of us or both of us call a timeout or reset, we slip away for a day or just take a drive out for the morning and reconnect. In us taking the pressure off, we are able to open up and speak heart to heart instead of head to head.
I have never stopped loving Jeremy even our our bad days – and I know the same is true for him. I have just learned how to better love him in a way he understands and needs. Jeremy has learned to do the same for me. I have and will always love him for better or for worse.
When you’re in the middle of the 10% that is “bad”, don’t lose sight of the 90% that is good in your spouse. Instead of trying to change them, why not try loving them in the way they need and if you aren’t sure of how – ask. You’ll be surprised by the outcome!
Remember – if you don’t get healed in the place you’re cut (hurt), you will bleed on those who did not cut you, and this sometimes means hurting those closest to you. Choose to become whole, whether you’re married, dating or waiting for your special person. You’re worth the investment – even in your waiting!
From my heart to yours
Taryn ~ Truly Tazz
NOTE: There are definitely cases where walking away and reaching out for help, whether professional or through the law is the right choice. I am a huge advocate for people not being subjected to any form of abuse, whether male or female. In my situation, this was not the case – there was no abuse or fear of either spouses’ safety. I am also an advocate for respectfully addressing the problem, doing the hard work and the journey ending in forgiveness and restoration. If you’re in a situation where you need help, reach out. Reaching out for help/counselling is never a failure – it could save you and/or your relationship.