[It’s an honor to have my friend and fellow Civitas Press author, Joy Wilson guest blog today. Check out her new book Uncensored Prayer: The Spiritual Practice of Wrestling With God (available in paperback and Kindle). I’ve gotten to know her online and she is a remarkable woman. The floor is yours, Joy . . .]
by Joy Wilson
“I’m getting a divorce,” she said, arms crossed like a shield over her heart. “I don’t want to talk about it, but I would rather have a best friend than a husband.” Then she left. In and out my kitchen door in sixty seconds flat.
I knew better than to run after her. Katharine keeps her true feelings buttoned up tight, and the fact that she came to tell me in person meant a lot to me. This girl’s known for her loud mouth and silent heart, and I couldn’t for the life of me tell if she was callous, angry, or heart-broken. She and her husband are kissy-face with each other on Facebook, and their posts the previous week had been no different. What happened so suddenly? Nothing.
A divorce doesn’t heat up in a microwave. It simmers for a long time until everything good boils away and the pot cracks. Love, trust, and respect leak out the holes, and the situation may seem irredeemable. “Nothing is impossible with God” can sound like a bad joke. I know. I’ve lived there. But what I didn’t know years ago is every marriage comes with booby-traps and a self-destruct kit you don’t have to be taught how to use.
There’s a dormant seed in each significant relationship that will sprout when fertilized with enough evil – evil meaning anything that doesn’t look like our loving God. Pain and injury are unavoidable, but damage control is possible if both parties are willing to participate in the healing process. It’s the practice of inflicting pain over time that finally kills.
I don’t know what happened between Katharine and her husband. They’ve only been married two years, but things can disintegrate really fast, especially if the glue is water soluble. It’s easier to bolt than struggle through difficulties. In similar situations, I’ve run, lied, cheated, abused, and been abused. I did this enough times until I gave up on half the population, and vented my rage at God. I thought I had given up on marriage. What I didn’t know was I had given up on myself. Over time, I faced the fact that my best plans and ideas had never worked, and I finally asked God for help. I had become teachable, and learned that I am a precious woman of great value, capable of having a wonderful marriage if I allowed God to change my heart and teach me healthy ways to interact with men. No new marriage was ever promised. But then I met Bud – a friend of God.
For almost twelve years now, Bud and I have shared the marriage I’ve always wanted: realistic, but filled with love and respect, and we do whatever it takes to keep it alive and well. God is first in our lives, followed by our relationship. Even our children aren’t second in that line-up. I know this may sound weird, but I love my soul-bond with Bud more than I love him. Unlike Katharine, I’d rather have him as I husband than as my best friend.
I have three best friends: Bud and two “girlfriends”. We share confidences and enjoy each others’ individual company. Each one meets different heart’s desires in my life. Of the three, Bud and I have a unique partnership because of co-habitation, sex, joint finances, and family, embraced by commitment to God and each. That last part makes all the difference when I’m really pissed at Bud and want to tell him to get the f… out (for an hour or two).
Katharine would rather be “right” than be right with her husband. Even when we each think “I’m right”, Bud and I have decided to seek a solution that’s mutually beneficial for both of us. I would much rather run from this responsibility sometimes, or use words like a weapon. But I haven’t so far, and pray I never will, because I know Bud and I are fully capable of destroying this beautiful marriage. I’ve also learned that God can resurrect the dead to new life, but we have to be teachable and unselfish. We have to be willing to cooperate with God and each other. We have to be willing to heal.
Katharine, if you’re living in hell, I wouldn’t want your marriage either. If you’re running because you’re not “in love” anymore, or life together has gotten tough, I wish I could convince you that your next marriage won’t be any different unless you change. I learned the hard way that God alone heals broken hearts and relationships, and I pray the day will come where you fall flat on your face, if that’s what it takes, so that you can learn that, too.
Joy Wilson is the author of Uncensored Prayer: The Spiritual Practice of Wrestling With God (Civitas Press, 2011). She and her husband, Bud, are two life-long hippies. They live in Bartlett, TN, with six cats, two dogs, and a timber wolf hybrid. Joy is an Outlaw Preacher and an active participant in Kairos Prison Ministry. You can usually find her at home writing or intently reading history and mystery books. Contact Joy at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook (website is under contruction).