A few months ago, I sat down across from a dear friend over a cup of coffee. We chatted about kids, church, work and new recipes. Our conversation was light hearted, but every time the topic of our husbands came up, she changed the subject, never really saying much. Finally, the avoidance of her marriage was too much for me to bear.
“Honey, is everything ok with you and him?” As I asked the question, she looked me directly in the eyes and I knew the answer with out her even saying a word.
“Oh, you know, it’s hard sometimes. Marriage just has it’s ups and downs. Lots more downs lately than ups, but that’s normal I guess. I don’t know, I really don’t want to talk about it.”
Can I just ask a question?
Why don’t we want to talk about it???
I’m not sure if it’s the fact that we are so stuck that marriages are private between a husband and a wife or if we live in a society that screams independence and looks down on reaching out for help, but why on earth can’t we talk about it? I’m not talking about sitting around a table with your girl friends and gossiping about your husband over margaritas (please don’t be confused, I’m not bashing margaritas, I love margaritas; just not margaritas and husband bashing together), but sitting down with a close friend, mentors or other couples you trust and open your heart to what’s really going on in our marriages. Like the nitty gritty little stuff that has lead to bigger, more heart wrenching stuff; the stuff that shouldn’t be there that’s crippling our marriages.
Can I ask another question? And this one is really bold…
Where is your marriage at?
I can’t tell you how many things that I have talked with my girl friends about, and even some I have experienced in my own marriage, that none of us wanted to talk about. But somehow, we managed to get the honest words out in the open and talk about and pray through some really big things that were negatively affecting our marriages.
“My husband and I don’t talk at all.”
“We do nothing but fight.”
“I don’t even remember the last time we had sex.”
“My husband really struggles with porn.”
“I feel like we are disconnected since having kids.”
“You can’t imagine the things my husband says to me.”
“I have a few drinks just so I don’t have to talk to him at night.”
“My husband doesn’t make me feel valuable.”
“We are getting divorced.”
“I just feel really alone.”
“We just seem too busy for each other.”
Friends, we are all dealing with huge things in our marriages; stuff that’s killing us. And it’s so hard to admit it. But we can not be ashamed when we need to ask for help, for prayer, for guidance and for encouragement. We weren’t meant to navigate through this life alone, and it breaks my heart that so many people are doing just that. So many times I have heard that marriages are private and that our problems shouldn’t be discussed. But when the problem is bigger than the two of you and one or both of you have come to a dead end….it’s time to reach out. It’s time to fight for your marriage and take a stand against the fear and shame that comes with asking for help. It’s time to come alongside your friends who are struggling and speak truth and love into their lives. And it’s time to remember that God can use your messy, painful, hard marriage to bring more glory to Him than you ever thought possible. But you can’t do it alone.
Reach for hope.
Your marriage is worth it.