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Rewriting Tragedy

August 16, 2009

We sat on an iron bench and watched as people walked their dogs and fed pigeons. It was a lovely summer day and my boyfriend Josh and I were eating lunch in a park near where I worked. We’d only been dating for a few months, so I was excited when he stopped by for an impromptu visit.

My excitement soon turned to shock and sadness as Josh told me the news his mom had just shared with him the day before.

“My dad is committing adultery and unwilling to leave the relationship,” Josh explained to me, with sorrow in his eyes.

Fast-forward three years later after Josh has now become my husband.

I hang up the phone after talking to my mom one Sunday evening and burst into tears. I choke out, “My dad’s having an affair!” Josh folds me into his arms.

He understands how I feel.

In the space of five years both of our parents have separated or divorced due to adultery. The ripping up of a marriage is a tragedy. It is devastating, particularly to the children—no matter how old—who still have to deal with both parents. Emotions of betrayal, anger, and bitterness all must be dealt with, perhaps for a lifetime.

Having had a front row seat to the disintegration of a marriage, I became skeptical that successful marriages even existed. For a time, I felt doomed to the same failure, with the thought creeping across my mind, “Will this happen to us?” But by God’s grace, it doesn’t have to be that way. As the Sara Groves song says, I can “re-write this tragedy.”

Continue reading . . .

I’d love to hear from others. What steps do you take to develop a good relationship in your marriage? For those with separated/divorced parents, how does that influence your marriage–or your view of marriage–both positively or negatively?

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. August 17, 2009 11:21 am

    Danielle, I have really been enjoying your posts lately; it’s as if you are handing us a chance to get a wider glimpse into who you are.

    I can’t imagine what both you and Josh went through with your parents’ relationships falling apart the way they did. Pete and I both have parents with pretty solid relationships, so “maintaining” our marriage hasn’t really been a focus as I can imagine it has been for you and Josh.

    You already brought up something that Pete and I have found so helpful in our relationship. When I was younger, I told God I wouldn’t marry anyone with whom I couldn’t be the person I am with God. Pete is that guy, and he hears and sees it ALL. I’ve never been good at hiding stuff anyway. We have an extremely open door in our relationship to allow the other’s humanity and personhood, as well as to encourage one another in our individual relationships with God. I think it has really helped us both to realize just how little control we have over the relationship, how powerless we are to hold onto the other if they should decide to go.

    The only thing that holds us together is God; our oneness comes through Him, and has nothing to do with common interests or keeping up the romance, at least for us.

    Oh, and I absolutely laughed over your comment about crashing on the couch and watching TV – if we DIDN’T do that sometimes, we’d go mad, because we’re both such intense personalities that we HAVE to get a “nothing” break once in a while!

  2. August 17, 2009 12:23 pm

    Thanks for sharing out of your experiences, Kelly. Growing together in the Lord IS the most important thing. If that’s happening, a couple certainly won’t be growing apart!

    BTW, I hope the article didn’t come across sounding like vegging was “bad” or something one should never do. My main point was just that we need to purpose to know each other deeper as a couple. “Nothing” breaks are definitely needed! I’ve just spent the past two evenings on the couch watching “Daniel Deronda” and knitting, because I had the energy for nothing else! 🙂

  3. August 17, 2009 8:22 pm

    LOL – it didn’t come across that way! What is “Daniel Deronda?”

  4. August 18, 2009 5:22 am

    They made Daniel Deronda into a movie??? It’s the only George Elliot book I’ve ever read….

  5. August 18, 2009 5:40 am

    Yes, Daniel Deronda is a BBC mini-series. Very good! Got it from the library!

  6. melodyejoy permalink
    August 18, 2009 12:01 pm

    Danielle — Danny O (I always call him that!) and I have been married for 29 years. We have two adult children and I have MS (since 1990). A few things that have helped to hold our marriage together is

    1. We usually have a cup of tea, glass of wine each night, especially in the winter months. Danny isn’t a great sharer of feelings (what man is), but we just sit and enjoy each other’s company.

    2. I constantly remind myself why I married him — he is a man of great integrity, he has a huge heart and is a servant. He and I share our spirituality differently, but he is my constant, my friend.

    3. I actually LIKE him!! Love is a commitment, but I think “falling out of like” with someone is the biggest detriment to a marriage.

    4. I keep short accounts — I am called to be a prayer warrior and one cannot pray when one has sin in their life. I don’t really have anyone I share with, but I go to God all day, every day, making sure my heart is right before Him.

  7. August 18, 2009 8:56 pm

    Melody, thanks for sharing! It’s great to have someone share who’s “gone the distance,” so to speak. And I agree with you about #3.

  8. zoanna permalink
    August 19, 2009 6:34 pm

    I’m sorry you have had to suffer this tragedy. I really am. I can’t relate (my parents have been married almost 48 years and I’ve rarely heard them argue). I won’t offer marital advice, as we could use plenty ourselves (and plenty of the advice we already have have gotten after 22 years) except to remember your mate is not your enemy and there is no “new and better model” out there. The one we’re married could always be improved, but so is the one HE’s married to! It’s a commitment, plain and simple, even if you “fall out of like.”

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