My wife and I were sitting in first class on The Chunnel heading to the City of Love, and I was gutted by the absence of connection between us. I had known her for most of my adult life, and I had grown accustomed to the distance that failed to dissipate with time. We grew close early on and then it was as if we hit our ceiling. We had almost raised our family, the nest was emptying out, and I realized that I was emptied out too. Moments like this don’t simply happen but are born and grown over time. She looked up at me and asked me what I was so deep in thought about, “What are you thinking?”
Dare I answer? Dare I speak the raw truth that gripped my mind?
I had been in a trance of thought with my face toward the glass, with this one phrase rolling over and over in my head. I wanted to make this pounding thought audible, but I wrestled. I knew these would be the harshest words she has ever heard from me, and once spoken, there would be no getting them back. And so I did, in a quiet yet resolved tone, I spoke, and each time I repeated the phrase I was more convinced of this truth, “I am done.” The vocal admission was euphoric, and felt like one of the most honest and intimate moments of our marriage.
I am done.
We arrived in Paris with reservations waiting and stood in the train station attempting to apply the practical implications of “being done.” Why spend the next week in Paris? Why not head to the airport and get home so that we could figure out the next steps of ending our marriage? No viable flights without enormous cost held us hostage to our original plans. So we took in the sights of one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and ate at phenomenal restaurants…in profound silence. It felt right to grieve the end of our marriage together.
Days after we returned home, two dear friends showed up at our house and in our lives. They listened, empathized, cried with us and then refused to give up the fight with us. They would not allow us to throw in the towel. And we saw them fighting more and harder for our marriage than we had the strength or want to. Weeks turned into months, with some days showing signs of hope while others revealing even far greater issues and work still to do.
Statistics say that 50% of marriages fail, and they seem to reflect no difference inside or outside the church. You would think that Christians would have some greater edge on successful marriages. Apparently not. I am grieved each time I hear of another marriage “being done.” I was there. We were there. I believe what saved our marriage was not Christ in me or Christ in my wife, but friends who called Him out in us and reminded us constantly of His presence with us and for us.
Some would say, we were lucky to have friends like this. Luck had nothing to do with it. God gave us friends, relationships inside the church, who He knew would be a life rope for us when you know what hit the fan. There seems to be a consistent theme among those marriages that survive – they are not alone.
There seems to be a consistent theme among those marriages that survive – they are not alone.
I am so glad for depth of relationships that were present when life unfolded for us, and even more grateful now for even greater depth with these dear friends, and with my bride. I went from “being done” to being “undone” by the kindness of God and His pursuit to redeem my marriage.