“For better or worse”…four words with so much meaning, responsibility, and purpose behind them. Allan and I have experienced our better and worse seasons. Four and a half years ago was our worst “worse”. I was overly controlling and Allan was overly passive- the two of those combined resulted in our month long separation (which so happened to begin on Valentine’s Day- yeah not one of our greatest memories!).
That was the hardest month personally and of course relationally for both of us. We considered divorce and I found myself in such a low and dark place. One day I drove to Barnes and Noble and told God to give me something that would bring hope- I didn’t care if it was a children’s book, magazine, CD, whatever- just lead me to hope. As I skimmed the shelves and aisles I came across “Hope for the Separated” by Gary Chapman. There it was “HOPE”. I sat on the floor of the bookstore and thanked God. I bought it, rushed home, and turned through the pages- highlighting and underlining as I went. My Father spoke loud and clear that He wanted me to stand for my marriage. I fought it and thought I was justified in my anger and resentment. I would say to myself, “If Allan doesn’t want to stay in this marriage then why should I fight? How desperate and pathetic is that?!” There were times I was angry with God for speaking that to me I shouted and cried and wanted to rebel. But then I slowly started crawling out of the darkness I found myself in and started believing in the restoration of our marriage- despite the fact that Allan was not in the same place I was. I still was struggling between my heart and my head- my emotions felt like a roller coaster and at times I feared I was going crazy. One day I called my sister at 3:00am because I couldn’t sleep I was overtaken by anger towards Allan, “How could he want to walk away from everything? I mean we had literally been through war together and now he doesn’t think he loves me?” But my sister challenged me to act out of love for him despite my feelings. (Which later I began to understand is the definition of love.) I showed up at his parents house when he got off of his shift at 5:00am with my copy of “Hope for the Separated” and a copy of our wedding vows. It was a quick exchange that I would later find out spoke volumes to Allan.
The following Wednesday I went to church with a friend and heard something that made so much sense. The pastor spoke about how so many couples who have been married for two years walk into his office and want a divorce because they “fell out of love” or fear they shouldn’t have married their spouse in the first place. He went on to speak about how physiologically our bodies stop responding to love (i.e. the butterflies and romantic “feelings” begin to dissipate) in that time frame. It’s a chemical/hormonal response the brain has when we are in the infatuation-just-can’t-get-enough-of-each-other-phase. And many people perceive the lack of feelings to mean that they’re not in love anymore. BINGO!! It was like he was talking about us! He proceeded to say the upside is that when you commit to fight through those periods or lulls, the hormonal response returns in long-term committed relationships and the physiological response is actually greater than the beginning butterflies.
To make a longer story a little shorter: Allan and I eventually chose to fight for our marriage through counseling, prayers, and accountability. We still go through our better and worse moments especially since the struggle with infertility is emotional and ridden with frustration- all of which can bring out the worse in a person. But despite the obstacles, we have vowed to take the “d-word” out of our vocabulary.
We tell you our story because we want to instill hope into your life. We want you to know that wherever you find yourself, the Lord makes all things new. There is hope and there is healing in the name of Jesus. We refuse for our marital separation to be in vain and we want to be a beacon of hope, light, and a reminder that you’re never too far gone. Marriage takes work, commitment, intention, sacrifice, and the choice to act in love towards each other- regardless of feelings or emotions. The man that I once was fearful of having children with for the fear that he might up and leave is now the man that I cannot wait to make me a mother. And while this vlog focuses a lot on our battle with infertility (lack of children), I want to clarify that while our home may not be full of children- it is still full of love, laughter, memories, plans for the future, and promises.
We are far from perfect and we don’t have it all together but we vow to stick together for better or worse.
Halloween 2014 – Forrest Gump & Jenny
“Jenny and me was like peas and carrots.” -Forrest
Confession: Forrest Gump has always been a favorite movie of Allan! We even had our wedding rehearsal dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company in Fort Lauderdale Beach (so serious!). So for Halloween this year we decided to pay tribute to one of the most quoted movies! Quotes that have stuck for decades: “stupid is as stupid does”, “run Forrest run!”, and “My mama always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’” Our favorite quote has always been “Jenny and me was like peas and carrots”. That pretty much sums up our relationship (you know peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs)! Call us corny but we’re simply better together.