Monday, January 16, 2012

Thoughts On Getting Used To Marriage - And Confessions On Not Seeing God.

Disclaimer: I adore my husband. I love that we are married. Marriage is incredible. But marriage is neither "just so amazing!" nor "always so terrible." It is both. Life is life, and the ups and downs are ever present, regardless of our relationship status. This is my attempt to be honest about both.

- - -

Last night, I shoved my feet into the boots I was married in. I don't notice anymore that my socks don't match. When you dig them out of a duffle bag for the 428th time, socks are socks and the color of the toe doesn't matter much. I did notice that my socks were too thick for these boots, and I cursed them for it.

It's been 10 days off the road, 10 days in Hollywood, and 10 days in our first apartment. 133 days of being married.

My socks should match now, but in furnishing an empty apartment with our income, new socks are not on my priority list.

So, I fought about how much we should spend on a new dresser with my husband, standing in my wedding boots, on the corner of Sunset and Vine.

Just like we'd fought about everything else this week. Food, groceries, carpet cleaner, sex, the color of our clothes hangers, the brand of garlic salt, bath mats, cash vs credit, and parking.

We were late for church. We'd spent too much money. We told the girl with the dresser "maybe," and then my phone died.

I told Max where to park. I picked where we sat. I mentally bitched at the announcement-giver and churches everywhere who ask you to "squish" down to seat people that walk in late. Our collective "squishing" just opened 247 seats for 4 people.

I recited all the lines in every song, thinking only about the days when single-me attended a church with enough room down front to go sing my heart out to songs I knew and loved. Thinking about how I used to go to church alone, sing alone, and disappear alone. I met God, and I met God every single Sunday. I loved it. I missed when my life was just me and God. My life. I could do what I wanted. I could make it an entire 24 hours without speaking to a soul.

And then I looked at the entire row of single girls in front of me.

I imagined what they were feeling when they sang. Praying to be able to pay their bills. Praying for boyfriends. Praying for husbands. Praying to not be alone. Waiting on God. Because that's what we do when we're single. We wait upon God. When we're single, heartbreak is ever present, and that's okay. Present in our past break-up, present in our single-ness, present in what we dread in the future. And we find God there, with us. It's rich.

I wanted to join them.

I wanted to shout that I was confused. That being married isn't a solution to The Great Ache. That love is beautiful but so broken, too. That broken and alone was easier than broken with another broken person.

But then God whispered: "Lauren, when you're lonely, it has nothing to do with other people. It has to do with you and Me."

Lauren, when you're lonely, it has to do with you and Me.

Lauren, when you're angry, it has to do with you and Me.

Lauren, when you're selfish, it has to do with you and Me.

Lauren, when you're worried, it has to do with you and Me.

Lauren, when you're bitter, it has to do with you and Me.

Lauren, when you're jealous, it has to do with you and Me.

It has nothing to do with other people. It has only to do with our heart and His.

I slowly stood and followed my husband up to communion. I stood behind him in single file line, in the dark, like I was just another girl at church. Not his wife. I felt like he didn't want to be there with me. I hoped he felt that. Because I was feeling it. And then he reached out his hand behind him and took mine, and my heart broke.

I wanted this. I asked for this. I prayed for this. I begged God for this. I am blessed. I am fed, clothed and sheltered. I am loved. I am recipient of the greatest gift in the universe. I have everything. I know this. What is wrong with me?

And so, I went to where the prayer team was, sat in a corner, and cried. Until someone offered to pray for me. If you have never poured out your hurt to someone you've never met, and had them pray with you - for you - over you - with you, you have missed out on what it means to have brothers and sisters in Christ. You have missed out on bearing one another's burdens. Overcome your fear next Sunday and just do it.

"I have never left you. I have never forsaken you. I am not a God who punishes his children without reason. I am not a God who turns his back on you. I am not angry with you. I am not disappointed with you. I know where you are."

I sobbed and asked God if I'd done the right thing. If everything was going to be okay. If I would feel Him again like I used to. If I would learn to be close to Him all over again, now that I'm married. If our bills would be paid. If this was Right. If this would be too hard for me, for us.

"Seriously, Lauren? I have stripped depression away from you. I have removed you from the place you didn't want to be. I gave you a man that you love, who loves you. I gave you passion again. I gave you Good Women Project. I gave you a Story. I gave you new friends who know my Love. I let you travel across the country. I did miracles in front of you. I gave you the awe-commanding sunset behind your wedding on a cliff. I gave you Family. I gave you a new home. And tonight, I brought you to be with children who love me - and sat you at the feet of a woman who would pray over you until you Felt me again. - - - And you ask where I've been? If this is right? If I still love you?"

I saw Him again. I heard Him, where I should have heard him a dozen times before. We forget what he has done when we do not intentionally sit at his feet in our mess. We are blind, until we ask Him to let us see. I re-learned unconditional love.

We went home silently, and I held onto his hand for dear life. Remember your first love. I kissed him and I apologized. I made dinner, and I apologized more. I refused to let him help clean up. I sent him to bed to watch what he wanted to watch and found joy in doing the work so that he could play. Love. Not-about-me love. This is what happens when we see God. It is necessary to see Love in order to give love.

I could write a book on last night, and the perspective that God righted in my heart. On marriage and learning to confess everything. On knowing that really, really hard doesn't mean really, really bad. On how it is not human nature to believe that someone is going to love you unconditionally, and that it isn't human nature to love them back unconditionally.

But instead, I share my little story of Sunday. A reminder of the blessing we have in one another. Of seeking God until we find out He's been there the whole time. And of being thankful for what we have, because it's so much better than we know.

And to say thank you to my husband for letting me pick out the bath mat. That we still don't have, because I'm unforgivably picky.

I love you. And I love that we are re-learning to love Him together.

47 comments:

cmisch said...

Wow. Thank you for sharing!

michelle said...

so painfully beautiful, lauren. thanks for being vulnerable with us all.

Anonymous said...

i have been feeling the same way in marriage lately. thank you for your vulnerability, and reminding me to sit at his feet in my mess. <3

Laura Noelle said...

This is an incredibly raw salve on my soul that was wrestling with many parallel issues last night. I have been feeling very alone, though in a strong relationship, because of a desire for marriage and family. I was upset last night because I didn't want to go to church alone--though I have for years. That I wanted him to be with me--knowing full well that once he is, I will crave being alone and single again, in search of a life of my own.

It is encouraging to hear that life won't be perfect during the single to married transition, but it doesn't have to be terrible either. I love that you said "really, really hard doesn't mean really, really bad". I know discontentment is the monster in my life I have to face and destroy with a faith I often waver in.

Your honesty is a blessing!

Jesssica said...

Dearest sweet Lauren, thank you for sharing your Story. I am still, at 28, one of those girls in the row of single girls. Thank you for affirming what I often doubt, that this time is especially rich and beautiful, that the waiting on God is full of promise. Blessings.

Natalie said...

Wonderful Lauren! I needed to read this and be reminded of God's love! Thank you!

linds4lif said...

Thank you for sharing, lots to learn from this even as a single girl

Amanda P. said...

ohhhh, lauren. i am so much older than you are and have been married for a bit now...and so many parts of this are still so familiar. i read your stuff: i forget my age! we are all sojourners. thank you so much for sharing so openly and courageously. i learn from and am inspired by you in so many ways.

Anna said...

I absolutely crave honesty. We do NOT see enough of it in this day and age, in this world, in these people. Everyone has so much to protect, so much to hide, so much that no one else is allowed to see even though we can tell it's there.
But with this gift of writing you have, everything is vulnerable and raw and honest. You don't sugarcoat. You call it as it is. Drawing lessons from the everyday and the mundane, and even (or especially) the ugly.
Thanks for being the you you were created to be. You know how I KNOW this is something special? When I read these posts, I don't think "Gosh, I wish I was like Lauren..." I think, "Gosh, I really want to be the best me I can be for the glory of God".
And that's the best kind of inspiring.
On another note, as single, condescending-toward-marriage don't-screw-with-me-or-my heart kind of woman, it's the real-life words like this that put things in perspective and make me realize - marriage is WHAT. I. MAKE. IT.
So yeah. any way. Cheers to you and cheers to honesty.

Allie said...

This was so beautiful Lauren! Thank you for sharing your Story so boldly.

Katey K. said...

The beauty of our brokenness is that we are never alone with Him as our rock and foundation. I thank God everyday that I found your blog-- to learn from you, to weep with you, to grieve with you, to love you from far away...and more importantly to hold you, your intentions and your marriage in my heart as I sit in prayer.

I couldn't have asked for a more precious sister in Christ.

Thank you for being you, brokenness and all. Whether we ever meet or not, you are truly a beautiful mouthpiece of our Lord.

Mercy said...

That's a fantastic story. Thank you for being real with us, and giving hope to us for marriage, while still keeping things real. Your posts are such an encouragement.

chelseakim said...

this is very relevant. thanks.

lorelailaura said...

That is really beautiful Lauren.

I may not be married, but this is a wonderful reminder that I need to sit at his feet in my mess too. I so often feel that I need to present my best side to God, forgetting that he already knows everything. And, more importantly, his grace already covers it all. So thank you so much for the reminder.

carley said...

i recently got married. i love being married, i love my husband, but i'm at the place where i'm realizing (though academically i knew) being married isn't a solution to the great ache, and that love is beautiful but so broken, too. thank you for posting. <3

Tara said...

This is so real and so beautiful. If only more people would just be transparent and let us see the good AND the bad. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of reading this. Many blessings to you, Lauren!

Alyssa said...

I've been here. This exact, deep place...I've been here.

Ally said...

Lauren,

Thank you for being so real and honest. You are not alone, and I love all the comments from women who've been here too. I so know this place of feeling broken and selfish and disgusted with myself that I am so broken and selfish.

In my whole year and a half of marriage, I think the greatest thing and hardest thing about it is constantly being confronted with our brokenness, but being reminded of the need to lay down our lives for Him (and for the him we're married to) every day. So hard to do, but so beautiful when we do.

Chantelle said...

Lauren, you made me cry. God has blessed you with a beautiful gift, the ability to convey your story and your emotions through prose.

jourordinaire said...

so basically, LOVING this post!
#radicalhonesty to the MAX.
reading your blog + GWP has really helped me on my journey to loving singlehood & understanding the lessons of total reliance & dependence on God. I'm glad to see what it's like behind the scenes for a married girl not much older than i <3

monique said...

thanks so much for open and honest and saying what others try to hide. Its so wonderful to know that I am not the only one who has upsides and downsides.

diana said...

Yes, Lauren. YES. Because it's hard does not mean it's bad. Hard is important. Hard is necessary. And being prayed for by a stranger? One of my favorite parts of being a pastor (and now on the post-service prayer team) is praying for anyone who wants/needs it - known or unknown. It feels like a sacrament somehow - a connector between our dusty flesh and the heights of heaven. Thanks for these good, honest words.

Jessica said...

One of your best posts...a great piece.

Overthinking Mama said...

I love you and your blog!! you are an inspiration to me! Thank you for sharing all you have with us. You are truly a blessing!!!

Jeff Goins said...

I love the life you guys are creating together. Stay in there, show each other grace, and keep talking. You'll be great.

Hannah B said...

I just found your blog through the post your husband wrote on Jeff Goins' blog.

This is a beautiful post. Deep down it is something that many women have felt but were never able to articulate those feelings as beautiful as you have.

Kate said...

Lauren, this is wonderful.

It's so good for me to hear, as a single woman waiting anxiously for my future. To know that marriage will not solve my loneliness. That Christ's love is the only solution.

You're learning love in such a new and fresh way. It excites me to be there someday. To be stretched and challenged in ways that being single will never do for me. But I am also encouraged to seek Him in what I have been given on this day.

Thank you!

Rosanne said...

Thank you SO much for this note from your heart. God bless you in a new and amazing way TODAY!

Sara said...

As a newlywed myself, I TOTALLY understand this! Thank you for your honesty...on this post and others. I admire you for putting yourself out there and hope that you are continually encouraged--both in your marriage and as a writer. Marriage is the best hardest thing ever. :)

april said...

Love this post. Beautiful. Honest. Real. Also love what Sara said, "marriage is the best hardest thing ever".

Kirsten said...

That was one of the most amazing posts I've read on your blog, seriously. It was moving and convicting all at the same time, and I just want to thank you for sharing your heart. It was encouraging to read this morning. Thanks so much for writing it.

Haley Marie said...

Such a wonderful post. I just wrote one on the joys of being single, so it is very awesome to see someone just around the bend on the other side. God will always be there, and he will always be our priority. Thanks for the reminder and reinforcement. Love your vulnerability.
--divinedating.org

Naomi said...

"Really, really hard doesn't mean really, really bad." LOVE THIS.

Thank you for this post. I found you (and Good Women Project) through see Preston blog and have been encouraged by the honesty, love, grace, and authenticity I have found here. I wish we lived in the same state so we could be friends.

Hope :)

Obehi Janice said...

Lauren, this is an awesome blogpost. Thank you.

Emily Joi said...

Going on 2 and half years of marriage this is SO true. Post brought tears to my eyes. God often reminds me that the amazing love and dedication TJ and I have for each other is something to be FOUGHT for and PROTECTED and CHERISHED. The world and everyone around us tries to get in and destroy it...and my own evil heart tries to destroy it from the inside but it is WORTH the fight because then it is a beautiful reflection of God's selfless love for a broken church.

<3 keep on sister.

Amber@theRunaMuck said...

Lauren, it's been 12 years for us, and so much has changed. So much. I love that you're starting in an open place and in a story-telling place. You'll have sign-posts everywhere.

I started a confession journal to write who I believe God to be today. Some days I have to confess that I'm believing things about God that aren't true. Marriage has been the best to show me what I really believe.

Thanks for being a leader.

Anonymous said...

I think I'm about 2 steps and 30 days behind you in this journey - seeing that marriage is hard, but worth it; that God had not abandoned me or become silent, but that I need to re-learn how to listen. truly, truly thank you.

iheartvegetables.com said...

I was sitting at my computer, literally just needing a nudge to get me into some quite time with God because I just WASNT feeling it, and your blog was literally what came to mind. And then I read this and oddly, it's just what I needed to hear. Not because I'm married, but because sometimes I feel like the girl praying and waiting for some guy to be the answer. But GOD is the answer. He's always the answer. And yet I still continue to forget that and lose sight of that. Thank you, once again, for putting things in perspective :)

Amanda @ wandering said...

Wow - I have had many of these feelings lately. Thank you for speaking to my heart.

Candice Jenee' said...

While reading this, I pictured myself as one of those single girls in the row ahead of you. Having never had a real boyfriend, they are the one's I relate to most. Will my bills be paid? Will I ever find someone? Will there be someone to share the load. These are questions I ask often.

Your words are an encouragement. A marriage is not the answer. And, hard doesn't mean bad (in a marriage or in single life). But most importantly, you have reminded me that my loneliness has nothing to do with other people. It is about me and Him.

Thank you.

laura said...

thank you for this, just, thank you.

busana muslim said...

Very interesting... I really like it... Thank you so much...

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Fully, completely. My husband & I've been married for almost 12 years, and I am just now figuring this out, that the lonliness and emptiness I sometimes feel is usually a product of my own selfish, sinful nature. I am so glad for you that you are learning this lesson now, to be able to have a fuller marriage so much sooner! And our marriage has been great, but so much fuller lately. And AND, I was able to share it with a friend who has been truly struggling in her marriage. So thank you so much for your honest sharing!! May our Lord continue to bless you!!

AliciaStarrNC@hotmail.com

alreadysetfree said...

Lauren, this was beautiful. This so gripped my heart. It was exactly what I needed to hear. Thanks for helping me feel not so alone with my struggles and thoughts, and for sharing the real root of loneliness.

Anonymous said...

Lauren, what a beautiful story and how it has opened my eyes! I have been married for 28 yrs, and I have never really looked at this in a way this story was told. Thank-you!!! I too have been made aware of my own selfish sinful nature, with all the ups and downs in a marriage this story rings so true. We are in service to the Lord and through him our lives and marriages can be so enriched. God Bless

Michelle said...

"But then God whispered: "Lauren, when you're lonely, it has nothing to do with other people. It has to do with you and Me.... It has nothing to do with other people. It has only to do with our heart and His."

This. This this this. Thank you for providing the answer i have been searching for the past 2-3 weeks. i'm at a crossroads in life and while its not that dramatic, depression threatened. And this was the answer. "It has to do with me and God." God really is the answer to all of our problems and only He can fully supply all of our needs! Thank you thank you thank you

Stephanie May said...

It is so nice to read pure honesty about what it means to begin a marriage, and also continue a marriage with the Lord. I've often found myself in relationships wondering where the line was between focusing on the person I'm with, focusing on the Lord, sometimes fearing that one takes away from the other, and wondering what all of this is SUPPOSED to look like.

It's so refreshing to hear the truth that marriage doesn't 'solve' anything, and that having bad days doesn't mean that anything is wrong. It's just like anything else... good, hard and beautiful. And it's so refreshing to be reminded of that.

Your writing is beautiful, your thoughts are so relatable, and I'm BLESSED to have found your blog.

Keep writing. You're making an impact. Absolutely.

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