For Better, For Worse

It was a beautiful fall day.  We gathered together for a common purpose.  As I stood beside the man I loved, I repeated these words: “For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”  I said “I do,” with all my heart.  So what happened when the hard times came?

For Better, For Worse: Loving your spouse through the hard times.

In 2010 our life changed.  It was a beautiful sunny day.  Ironically, I stood again beside the man I loved.  I had no idea of the devastation he held inside.  He looked at me with tears in his eyes.  “I don’t want to tell you…I don’t know how to tell you…”  My heart beat fast.  I silently prayed.  Finally, he said as gently as he could, “Your father has been arrested.  He hurt the kids.”  I shrunk to the ground, drowning in pain, desperate to hold on to reality.  At that moment I ceased being a wife, mother…I was a little girl again…hurt.  I wanted only my mom.

The first couple weeks were a blur of pain, anger, tears and misery.  My husband tried to keep our family together as I spiraled into a dark place.  He held me as I sobbed myself to sleep.  He patiently took over the task of managing our household while working full-time.  He spent hours on his knees praying for me.  I felt secure in his love and strength.  Slowly I began to heal, and the new reality became familiar.

Then the memories began.  Issues in our marriage became mountains we were unable to climb.  Unable to control the anger that was welling up inside, I lashed out at the one person I loved most.  Finally, he snapped under the weight of it all.  He had enough.  I had enough.  The situation seemed hopeless.

In desperation I begged my husband to try counseling with me.  Although it had never worked before, I knew we had no choice.  I made a vow and I aimed to keep it.  I couldn’t look at my children if I didn’t try.  Their future hung on our decision.  So we went to counseling.  What a wake up call!  I recognized the issues that were threatening our marriage.  I made a decision to release myself from the power my father had over me still.  The moment I did, our lives changed.

They say “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  There is no truer statement.  On our wedding day I felt invincible–able to conquer the world with our love.  Through the years, “For better, for worse” continued to rumble through my mind.   When the worst arrived, the vows we made would be the single thread that kept us together.   Today, our marriage is stronger, more real than it has ever been.  I am blessed.

My husband is not a saint; he’ll be the first to tell you that.  Still, I have to admit, he was the stronger one during this time.  He made a choice to love me despite what I did, said, or felt.  I’d like to share with you how he loved me through this hard time.

  • Prayed for me.  Whether I wanted him to or not, he prayed.  He prayed for peace in my soul.  He prayed that he would understand what I was going through.  He prayed that our family would grow through the situation.  He prayed for my father.  He prayed.  Constantly.
  • Held me.  Some days all I needed was just to be held.  No talking.  Nothing.  Just held.  Even when he had things he’d rather do, he would take the time to just be with me.
  • Encouraged me.  When I was down, he’d encourage me to do something I enjoyed.  He began to take me out on dates.  He encouraged me to get my hair done.  Get a pedicure.  Spend time with friends.  He would send me texts to tell me he loved me.  Always encouraging me to move forward.
  • Accepted me.  It’s hard to love someone who doesn’t want to be loved.  My husband, despite my pushing him away, accepted me.  For me.  The broken, little girl…the scared woman…the ADD, grace-dependent momma desperate to be whole.  He accepted ME.
  • Let Go.  Ultimately, he let go.  He let go of his expectations of what a “good” wife should be.  He began to embrace the gifts I possessed and forget the ones I did not.  He let me have my bad days, focused on the good days.  He dealt with the messy dishes (he did them!), the forgotten dinners, the hours spent in bed crying.  Yes, he had days when he was frustrated and let me know…but mostly, he let go.  This allowed me to let go. 

My husband taught me what it means to live “For Better, For Worse.”  I encourage you mommas… Love your spouse.  Pray for him.  Be with him.  Encourage him.  Accept him.  Let go of your expectations.  You will find a love beyond anything you can imagine! 

Share with us:  How do you show your spouse love through the hard times?

Photo Credit: iwallpapersfive.com 

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