Saturday, October 13, 2012

Love is not a fight

So many of my friends are experiencing "issues" in their marriages.  It breaks my heart.  You know that song "Jesus, Friend of Sinners"?  There is a line in there that says "break my heart for what breaks yours."  And broken marriages are breaking my heart.  I think they break Jesus' heart too.

I know that every situation is different.  I know that every marriage can't survive what Kris and I have survived (or worse) and that there are always other factors that will make it difficult to STAY married.  Getting out seems like such an easy answer.  I never thought I would want to get out of my marriage.  Until 8 months ago.  8 months ago, I seriously thought "Can I do this alone, or should I try one more time to fix what is broken?"

And really, I don't think it is the failing/suffering marriages that break my heart so much as the people hurting and broken in those marriages.  Marriages where not all are believers.  Marriages where there is abuse in one form or another. Marriages where there is no spark, no connection.  Marriages filled with addictions.  Marriages filled with lies and adultery (I know mine wasn't the only one...).  So, I know it's easy to say


"Fight for what you started."

"Start over.  With the same person."

It's so easy to say that.  But not every marriage can be so easily fixed.  It's not always that simple.

I think that in so many ways God poured out a tremendous amount of grace and mercy on Kris and I, and gave us the ability to reconcile and begin to rebuild our crumbling marriage quickly.  We both decided we wanted to fight.  We chose to embrace this:

Love is not a place
To come and go as we please
It's a house we enter in
And then commit to never leave

So lock the door behind you
Throw away the key
We'll work it out together
Let it bring us to our knees

Love is a shelter in a raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of a war
And if we try to leave, may God send angels to guard the door.
No, love is not a fight but it's something worth fighting for.

To some, love is a word
That they can fall into
But when they're falling out
Keeping that word is hard to do

Love is a shelter in a raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of a war
And if we try to leave, may God send angels to guard the door.
No, love is not a fight but it's something worth fighting for.

Love will come to save us
If we'll only call
He will ask nothing of us
But demand we give our all

Love is a shelter in a raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of a war
And if we try to leave, may God send angels to guard the door.
No, love is not a fight but it's something worth fighting for.

I will fight for you
Would you fight for me?
It's worth fighting for.

My heart hurts for my friends, and for all those I have read about recently who are experiencing tremendous pain in their marriages.  Men or women whose spouses are living with "the other man" or "the other woman" instead of coming home to them and their children.  I've read about those who have been holding on for years, praying for their spouses to come home.  Praying for God to shine a light in the darkness and open their eyes.

My heart hurts for those who want so desperately to make their marriages work but have partners who don't want to try, or those who just feel like it just isn't working anymore.

Staying together.

Getting divorced.

Neither option is easy.

I've seen my friends around me, getting divorced, and it is never as simple as they thought it would be.  It's ugly.  It's painful.  It's not easy.  They *might* end up happier in the end.  Their kids *might* be better off than they would be left in a harmful environment.  So I am not judging anyone who is divorced, getting divorced, or thinking about getting divorced.  I'm just observing that my friends who have already gone through that have told me how incredibly hard and painful it is on EVERYONE.

I have seen firsthand in my own marriage how hard it is to stay when all you want to do is run.  To try to work it out.  For 12 years Kris and I tried to "work it out".  Unbeknownst to us, we just weren't doing the right work.  We were trying to do it our way.  Kris was trying to do what he thought would work.  I was trying to do what I thought would work.  And then, eventually, we quit trying altogether.  We just began to coexist, which also is a very unstable environment to put your kids in.

So when I left 8 months ago to "think", to get some perspective on my life and what I wanted for myself and for my children, I realized that something had to change.  What we were doing, Kris and I, this horrible cycle of hurt and pain we were causing one another, was damaging our children. Staying together "for the kids" isn't always what will provide stability and protection for your children.  At the same time, any separation or divorce will affect your children in profound ways.  While ultimately they may reach that place of stability and safety, it'll take a lot of work to get them there, and in some cases, counseling.  Kids just can't understand the horrors of adulthood and the tough decisions we have to make.

And while Kris was always the one to commit to working it out, I was at a place where I seriously considered whether it would be better for the kids and for me if we got out of the vicious, unhealthy cycle we had been living in for over a decade.

Ultimately, God didn't let me make that decision.

Well, He did.

We always have a choice.

But He orchestrated things in such a way that when I was ready to say "OK.  I'm going to try to go it alone.", something happened in Kris' heart. Something changed, and he began to woo me.  It is amazing to me how little he had to say and do to pull my heart back to him.  But for the first time in our married life, he started expressing his heart to me.  He was being open and vulnerable and showing me his heart for me and for our marriage.  And God was softening my heart as well, or I never would have been receptive to Kris' emails in the beginning.  I wouldn't have seen them for what they were.  And I am so thankful that God brought Kris and I both to that place at the same time.  That place where we decided, not as a united front but individually, that we would fight for our marriage.

That love was worth fighting for.


  1. Such a vulnerable and helpful post, Jamie. So happy God has brought you back and helping you use what you've learned to help others. Congrats on finishing the challenge too! Woo Hoo!
    P.S. I had to read your post in light of what our post today is about. You'll have to check out our 13th Fall Date Idea. <3

    1. Thanks!! I'll check it out. I hope to catch up on reading this afternoon.

  2. I am working my way through your blog from the beginning. I am hooked. I am struggling on my second marriage. In fact I would argue that it is much, much harder to do it a second time.
    When you have kids, a divorce is just a couple who separate their beds. They still have to figure out how to work things out and co-parent! Then add in new spouses, their kids and their ex's - it is a MESS!
    Anyways, this statement you made really struck me...
    "Kids just can't understand the horrors of adulthood and the tough decisions we have to make."
    I think I will post that in my room to help me remember. I know I have to love my step-kids no matter what in order to love my husband fully. It is very hard at times.
    Thanks for publicly sharing your story. It has really helped me in my own process. You have such good things to consider and I like all the songs you reference too!

    1. I imagine no matter what marriage you are's difficult. Each type of union presents its own unique set of consequences. Thanks for reading along and for your comments. Really appreciate it. Praying for you and your marriage and kids.