I never imagined that God would restore my broken past, or that the pain of divorce would eventually subside. I never imagined that I’d be able to say “I do” again. I know the Lord is near to the broken-hearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18) . . . I just never imagined He would do that for me. But in His awesome power, that is just what He did.
On August 31, 2017, I said, “I do”, in a small ceremony in Colonial Williamsburg officiated by my dad with just our families standing by. I was so looking forward to being a newlywed. I was so looking forward to candlelight dinners, and long talks staring into the eyes of my love. I was so looking forward to coming home and building a life together. I was so looking forward to the fairytale.
We got home . . . and real life hit.
We immediately went back to work, and had all of our co-workers and volunteers pulling on us. Two teenagers we know were in a terrible home situation, and the state was going to pull them from our town, their school, and their activities to send them to a group home. We couldn’t let that happen, so we’ve been fostering them until they can find a home. My eight-year-old son moved into our bedroom to make room for the other two kids. And to top it all off . . . I began having severe pain in my legs and hips from an old car accident.
Life hit us hard.
You see, life doesn’t always give you roses and champagne. Sometimes, life just is . . . well . . . life. It changes with the wind, and sometimes pulls us in directions we do not want to go.
When a season of life doesn’t turn out as you expected, you don’t need to lose your hope. Like the Apostle Paul, we can learn to be content in all seasons. (Phil. 4:11)
Steven and I have learned, in this crazy season, to apply some practical tools to our new marriage to help us navigate these new waters.
1. We Communicate.
I know we hear that all the time as new couples, but it truly is key. Every night before we shut our eyes for the evening, we talk about the day. We talk about what we are grateful for and what we have struggled with. We talk about what our new family needs in this season of change. We talk about things that made us fall in love with each other that day, and things that made us angry with each other that day.
We talk until we feel the pressure of the day lifted off of us, and we can rest knowing that we are on the same team, fighting together, and serving the Lord together.
2. We Laugh.
There were a few weeks in the past month that were so stressful, and so burdensome that all we could do is laugh. We would just look at each other and laugh, because that seemed to be the only sane thing to do in the moment. Htave you ever had that laugh that turns into tears, and the words just start flowing? We’ve had a few of those moments. I call them healing moments. The Bible says that “laughter is good like a medicine” (Prov. 17:22) and that laughter has certainly healed some stressful moments.
The last thing you and your new spouse want to do in difficult seasons is fight, argue, blame, and point fingers. You are a team. You are a unit. Allow laughter to heal the brokenness and bind you closer together.
3. We Rely on Each Others Strengths.
Steven is the analytical one in our relationships. He is the thinker, the analyzer, and the problem solver. He thinks about the facts before making decisions. I am the heart of our relationship. While I am not ruled by them, I carry the emotions, the compassion, and I think about feelings before making decisions. In this season of change, we have had to rely on each other’s strengths more than ever.
Instead of trying to push each other over to your side of the aisle, applaud and celebrate the differences that each of your bring to the relationship. In our case, I know that at times we need Steven’s problem-solving skills, and at other times, he knows when we need the compassion I bring.
While I am looking forward to days of champagne, roses, and being “real” newlyweds, I wouldn’t trade this season for the world. It has given us a strong foundation in which to build our life together.
When it comes to walking through difficult seasons, we can despise them OR we can embrace them with laughter, get through them with communication, and lean on the strengths of your partner. In doing so, our foundation grows stronger, and the fairytale marriage we’ve always dreamed of becomes a reality.