Monday, February 14, 2011

When Valentine's Day Stinks

Pin It Now! This is a repost from last May, but I think it is inappropriately appropriate for Valentine's Day. Because for some married couples Valentine's Day stinks. I want to encourage you to love your spouse anyway. Respect your spouse anyway. Read on . . .
Warning: This is not a typical post from me. It's not light-hearted and funny and there are no Hollywood babes in it. But it is something that has been on my heart for months. And it needed an outlet. And since blogging is cheaper than therapy here you go . . .

I don't know about you but when I married my husband I made a lifelong commitment. I think I said something like "for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, in good breath and bad. . ." I have never been to a wedding where the bride and groom said, "I am so in love with you and I will stay married to you until those feelings fade or when you get on my nerves or when you look like this:"

And I never heard this at a wedding: "I will stay married to you until you bug me, don't fill my emotional tank, or my feelings of being "in love" with you go away. Then I will have an affair. I will tell you that there is nobody else. I will tell you I am just not in love with you anymore. I might even lie to myself and tell you I never was in love with you."

I am so sad (and a little ticked off) at marriages crumbling all around me. You are not meeting my needs so I am outta here! Shiloh and I are seeing this happen in at least one of our friends' marriages every year. I know men leave their wives, but in almost every case of people we know (thinking of six off the top of my head) it has been the women who are bailing out. Ditching their husbands, shutting out any girlfriends who would speak truth into them, and neglecting their children. All the while these women have deceived themselves into thinking they are putting their children first. Furthermore, some of these moms are acting as though they really miss their little ones when they are out out partying with their girlfriends. And some moms post those party pics on facebook along with a new, sexy profile pic. Meanwhile, Dad is devastated and so are the kids. Heartbreaking.

Don't get me wrong - marriage is hard work. I know that some of you are in cruddy places in your marriage and you feel alone, hurt, hopeless, frustrated. Some of you have been there for a long time. I know both the husband and the wife play a part in the marriage being rocky and vulnerable for an affair or divorce. But it is usually one person who decides to exit the marriage. If you are that person please don't give up! Don't quit. Do the work. Get counseling. Swallow your pride. Get on your knees. You might say I've done all that. Do it again and again. God is bigger than your marriage. There is hope and purpose even for the worst of marriages. But you have got to stick it out and surrender yourself to God. You cannot change your husband, but God can! (If you or your children are being abused-- that is a different story. Get out of that house! Seek counseling.)

You might be thinking,
Easy for you to say. What do you know little Lassie girl? You have a wonderful husband who throws triple surprises for you on your 34th birthday, gives you nutrient comments on your 10 year anniversary trip to the Penta Water Factory, and takes your kids on adventures all the time so you can have a break from the motherhood.

Yes, I do have a great husband and I totally dig him. However, I don't dig him the way I did when we were first dating/married--as clearly depicted in this photo.

I don't think about him all the time and wish he were with me every second (sorry Shi) the way I did back then. Those type of feelings do not last forever! I love him more deeply and in a different way than I did back then, but it is not the butterfly, crazy, don't-even-need- sleep, type love. And although we are in a good place in our marriage we still have days that are rough and we have our issues. Our marriage is not perfect.

And about five years ago I went through a two-year period where I really didn't like Shiloh. He bugged me a lot. I thought he was moody a lot. Didn't really enjoy spending time with him. What happened after two years? I don't know. I have my theories. Shiloh has his. (Including his theory that he was the same as he always has been. I beg to differ). But regardless of what caused the "I don't like you" we would have never seen the other side of that season if one of us jumped ship. Yes, that was a season that was often frustrating and unenjoyable. But it was aseason and we all go through them. Some of our seasons are longer than others, but that is when real, legitimate, Christlike loves surfaces. Love is commitment. Not adrenaline. Not hormones. Not infatuation. Not butterflies.

Women (and men), this has got to stop! There is sooooo much long-lasting, collateral damage when we leave our spouses! Always. Yes, there is grace for everyone. And if you are divorced there is grace and forgiveness and healing. But as I am sure you will attest to--there is also damage that cannot be undone. If you went through a divorce that you did not want, my heart hurts for you and God wants to put the pieces of your heart back together.

Before you going thinking, Yes, but... but what about this situation? You don't know my situation. Isn't it worse for the children if we stay together when we are always fighting? I don't have all the answers and I don't know your particular situation. And yes there are some situations that merit divorce. Your situation is between you and your Maker. But you might have a tough time pleading your case before Him-He created marriage and He's for it.

But Wendy! God wants me to be happy so . . .
Please show me that verse in the Bible because I can't find it.
I am not saying that God wants you to be miserable, but if you are a follower of Jesus then follow Him. Pursue Him first, not happiness. Following Him will bring you ultimate peace and joy, but the road to get there is not always easy. Sometimes obeying God is painful and unpleasant at the time. We don't always understand His ways, but He is God. (Isaiah 55:8-9) And God loves you so much. Seek Him.

Isaiah 26:3 "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you."

Go here for an awesome sermon on marriage by Pastor Chris Brown.
Here are my 3 favorite marriage books:
Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs
His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage by Willard F. Harley Jr.
For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men by Shaunti Feldhahn

Go here for Part 2 of this Series.

And if my husband is still reading this . . .
Happy Valentine's Day! I love you and am committed to you for life . . . even when you totally bug. Not saying you are buggin' right now, but you know what I mean. I love you, I love spending time with you, I love how you provide for our family, I love how you adore our children, I love your smile, I love when you take out the trash before it is overflowing. I love being Mrs. Hagen.
Pin It Now!


Vanessa said...

You rock.

KQ said...

It was good the first time. Just as good the second time. Looking forward to the third... You do rock! loving the pictures. You are aging well. love you!

Anonymous said...

As a new-ish reader this was a first time read for me....well put, and timely:)

Nolie said...

A wonderful post for Valentine's Day. Even as a reader who has been divorced. It was a bad one. He is now facing charges.

Kelly K. said...

Great post. My first time reading it and it was timely. I find myself thinking lately we don't have the same "love" we used to when we were first dating. Where did it go? Why can't we get it back? But reading this made me kind of don't get it back....the love just changes. and it was nice to hear you go through patches where you think I don't even like this guy. He is annoying the heck out of me. But I am in it for life too, and things aren't terrible...just different. I made a big effort today to tell my husband how much I love him in hidden love notes. We need to make that effort every once in a while despite reaching a comfort level that says we don't have to anymore. If this silly hallmark holiday helped me to slow down enough to do that today then it was worth it. Now if he could stop passing gas while I am trapped in the car with him we would be all set. :) Thanks as always for keeping it real!

the little dragonfly said...

Sooooo true! When Jason and I met we were given a copy of "the 5 love languages". It was the best advice anyone gave us. Finding out that different souls are fed in different ways allowed us to build a great foundation to our marriage and keep some of the biggest issues that arise at bay.
Happy Valentine's Day Mrs. Hagen!

grateful4babies said...

I wrote a post on "Love and Marriage" and then I told all my friends to check out yours. This was so great and should be required reading for pre-marital counseling.

TDM Wendy said...

Much More Than Mommy and KQ,
Thank you. Glad you enjoyed.
I am so sorry for what pain you have experienced.
Kelly K,
Keep lovin' on your sweet husband . . . cuz that gas thing is never gonna change. Trust me. "Cabin Flush!"
The Little Dragonfly,
I like that book.
Thank you.

Allison B said...

You have no idea how much I needed to read this...thanks so much for such an insightful and meaningful post (and for Parts 2 and 3). As a thank you, I just purchased 3 copies of Totally Desparate Mom on Amazon. :) Can't wait to read it and give the others as gifts! Thanks again for giving me a little more gas to keep this marriage truck going!

TDM Wendy said...

Thanks for sharing! Thanks for buying totally desperate mom. Hopefully that will give your motherhood truck somegas :)

Jessica Johnson said...

Preach it, girl! PREACH. IT. Loved this post. *Almost* more than Wednesdays... ;)

forever folding laundry said...

What a great post, Wendy!!
I agree with the person who commenting that this should be required reading for premarital counseling. There are a lot of people who need this message.


Sarah said...

Really really beautiful. I love your funny silly posts AND your serious ones. Thanks for keepin it real - from one happy and blessed wife and mommy to another. :)

mindfulmama said...

Im engaged. Im 28 and never even thought bout marriage before this. I have a 7y.o. girl and a 3y.o. boy. My daughter if from a previous relationship. The son is my fiance's. We have had a difficult relationship. He cheated on me. I forgave him and we moved on. Now we are planing on spending the rest of our lives together.
My parents are still married. But I look around me and am frightened. My sister's marriage failed because he was unfaithful. Alot of my friends have had 2 failed marriages.
I believe marriage is a lifetime commitment. That is why I have never been married before this. I wont marry unless I know my partner feels the same way I do. I have always given my all in a relationship and not had it returned. I believe it should be 50-50. There is always a way to work things out. Its just most people give up too easily.
Im thankful for yr blog. I feel as if Im not alone anymore. There are others who hold marriage with the up-most respect.