Three months of separation, hiring lawyers, court papers, status conferences… it was all too familiar and seemed like the end was inevitable. What could possibly save our marriage from ripping apart at the seams? Despite being at war with each other. What happened in our lives could not be described as anything short of a miracle.
We had reached the point long ago where nothing on earth could keep our marriage afloat. We had tried everything from counseling, reading books, improving communication skills and more. Even prayer at times could feel empty and useless. The contention in between us had reached epic proportions and while we were separated the hurt grew to become defensive ninja stars to chuck at each other.
I was returning home from Education Week in Provo, Utah where my primary goal was learning all about Forgiveness and Healing. I was in a positive and peaceful frame of mine even though I faced my worst nightmare all over again. My husband had also been through his own humbling experiences as well. While we were separated he was dealing with a custody case with his ex-wife. At the same time the crumbling company he worked for laid him off without notice and without severance. The expression my husband likes to use for that time period of our lives is: “Who knew rock bottom had a basement.” Needless to say we were both at the most humblest of mindsets I think we had ever had in our lives.
My husband reached out to me and asked to meet at the Temple, a place we believe to be the house of the Lord, where we could peacefully talk and to find out if there was any hope of saving our marriage. It was only in my humble mindset that I would have ever agreed to meet. Any other time I would have been too filled with anger to even consider the possibility, especially since I had already hired a lawyer. I was still terrified to open that door and even begin discussions. But more than the fear of fighting was the realization that if I never even tried, I would never know if there was that possibility to finally have our happily-ever-after. It also so conveniently happened that for that week after I returned, both of our older children were with their other parents. So there were no little ears to overhear potential arguments. Also without either one of us having employment at the time it allowed my husband and I to solely focus on each other and our little 1 year old girl.
We decided to meet at a neutral location and go for a walk. The discussion started as awkward small talk and slowly built into a deep discussion of apologies, remorse and empathy. We spend the entire next week talking, crying, hugging and comforting each other. There were times I was hyperventilating I was crying so hard while my husband held me and reassured me that he was here for me, that he wouldn’t leave me and that we can get through this together. We barely slept and I think we both went hoarse from long hours of discussions. We talked about everything from small talk catching up over the past 3 months to deep discussions about the hurt that had been building for years. We took breaks from those discussions when they became too intense by joking, talking about sports, politics and reading scriptures and sharing thoughts and insights. It was one of the most difficult and yet the most beautiful times of our marriage.
By the end of the week we were both feeling more in love and more hopeful for our marriage than I think we had even felt, even on our wedding day. Some would call it luck, some coincidence but I know that in order to get all of these stars to align just the way they did needed a much greater force at work. Devine intervention needed to put all the pieces in play while we simultaneously needed to be humble, forgiving of each other and completely trusting the Lord in order to heal our marriage.
While we were in absolute astonishment at how this miracle happened we knew that in order to keep this transformation going it would demand continued diligence in making this marriage work. We began working on a plan to keep this happy momentum going. Not only would we attend weekly marriage counseling, date nights and personal time where we could each be alone without the pressures of every-day life but we could not forget our prayers, scripture studies and including the Lord in our lives.
I know there are marriages that work without the Lord. They appear happy and I personally know of several who have been married for years. But honestly I don’t know how they do it. I can’t say for certainty that my first marriage would have survived had we included the Lord, but I do know that involving the Lord in my second marriage saved it and that it could not have healed without him. I have a concrete understanding that a marriage is not only between a man and a woman but it also must include God for a marriage truly takes three.