Saturday, April 5, 2014

Broken Together

Snuggled up against my husband's chest, wrapped in his arms at the end of a long day, I was feeling especially contented... happy...  blessed.  Sometimes I just can't quite wrap my mind around what God has been doing in our lives and it was one of those evenings.  I was lost in the wonder of it all when I suddenly realized where I had been a year ago.  At the beginning of April last year... our psychologist had helped me uncover something that had shocked me to the core. 

Carl and I had begun counseling not because there was anything earth-shattering going on in our marriage.  It wasn't full of hostility or knock-down, drag-out fights.  There wasn't even the slightest threat of divorce.  At times there was some tension just below the surface – it's easy to get off-balance when you're walking on all that stuff swept under the carpet!  Really, though, it was just that our marriage wasn't what it should be... or what either of us wanted it to be.  We were more business partners than best friends.  Traveling basically the same direction, but on parallel roads – enough distance between us to make for a lonely journey.   By the time that morning in April had rolled around, we'd been in counseling for somewhere around 6 months, making slow progress.

That morning, though, Carl wasn't feeling well... so I went to our session alone.  I started by talking about my own mood issues.  We talked about the fact that I internalize and bury emotions so deeply that a lot of the time even I don't know what's going on inside me.  Our psychologist began trying to help me draw it out by using stem sentences – he would start a sentence like "I feel most sad when..." and I was supposed to complete it.    After a few rounds of stem sentences he stopped and observed, "So you feel sad and alone in your marriage."  I corrected him, "Not sad... but, yeah...  alone."  The next stem sentence took a slightly different turn.  He started, "I feel most happy in my marriage when...."  I stopped cold as I realized there was nothing – the only honest answer I could give was "I don't."  After struggling with that for a few minutes I finally turned to our counselor and quietly gave voice to my realization, telling him it had surprised me.  He nodded his head in understanding and added, "Not a good, surprise, huh?"  It wasn't.  It shook me to the core.

So here I am...  a year later...  snuggled into my husband's chest, overflowing with love and happiness and feeling blessed beyond belief.  What happened?  God happened.  As I snuggled deeper into Carl's chest I reflected aloud, "You know, we've been through some pretty hard things in the last year...  but I wouldn't trade any of it if it meant we couldn't be right where we are today."  He understood exactly what I was saying and agreed completely.  We have been through some rough stuff.  We've been through some things that any sane couple would want to avoid... some things that should have pushed us further apart – especially given our "drifting" status before we even hit them!  Honestly, if God had let me in on what He was going to take us through, I'm not sure I would've agreed to it.  Actually, I am pretty sure I wouldn't have!  Yet... those very things which should have pushed us apart have drawn us together; things which should have destroyed trust, instead nurtured it; things satan meant for harm, God used for good.  And there in the storm, in amazing ways that could only be God... love grew.  

The truth is, we wouldn't be where we are without those hard times... times when we were broken together.   Broken to become healed.  Broken to become stronger.  I've heard it said that broken bones heal to become even stronger than they were before the break.  I don't know if that's true.  I do know that we have.  Our marriage now is much more than either of us could have dared to dream. So, no... I wouldn't trade any of it.  Not even the tough stuff.

And with that thought and a prayer of thanks, I snuggled even deeper into my beloved's chest, feeling his arms tighten around me... contented...  happy... blessed beyond belief... and absolutely amazed at all God has been doing and is continuing to do. 

Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete
Could we just be broken together
If you can bring your shattered dreams and I'll bring mine
Could healing still be spoken and save us
The only way we'll last forever... is broken together
            - Casting Crowns, Broken Together