Wednesday, April 30, 2014
As I mentioned before, earlier this month I had my last 'related to Andrew' counseling session, 2.3333 years later. It was bittersweet. While I have definitely, and for a long time now, completely accepted that that marriage is over- sometimes it still hurts. And I sometimes still feel sorrow over the ways I failed Andrew in our marriage. These past few days, thanks to my 5 year journal, I was reminded of the day 2 years ago when I came home to find his bags packed and of the pain when he left. How thankful I am for a God who gave me the strength to carry on when I didn't know how I would be able to. And here I am with new hope and beautiful things on the horizon. Since Doug and I are seriously talking of a future together, we decided (with Stan) that it was an appropriate time to begin pre-engagement counseling. Stan said that we can continue to work on my fears of being 'unloveable' and 'do you really love me- and will you stay if you feel like you don't?' in the space of our pre-engagement counseling. He actually said that a 'single' person can't completely heal from that on their own; they need the context of a new relationship to be able to see and experience that trust. Stan reiterated again that God is my ultimate healer, but that Doug is a 'key' being used in the healing process. How amazing. It is amazing to me how much God loves me, and is so good to me. And it is amazing to me to feel so loved and accepted after feeling so rejected and thrown away. A lot of dreams and a part of my heart died with the death of my marriage- but God has mended my broken heart, and Doug is dreaming new dreams with me. We've had one session so far. We shared the things we love about each other, and Stan talked about marriage as a covenant relationship. A day after day after day forever commitment. Stan said that this is not a 're-do' marriage, but a real marriage between two people who choose forever. Stan actually said that Andrew's name is not allowed in our pre-engagement, because "he does not belong here". Stan said all of our future meetings might not be so 'lovey-dovey', we are going to get into the rawness and realness that is true marriage. But that's what I want. I had a chance to talk to my dad a week ago about Doug and I and how the future was looking, and I shared with him how excited I was that I feel like I found someone who will actually 'do marriage' with me as God intended (or as close as two flawed humans can get). Someone who will fight with me and choose to stay. My dad said he was happy for me, and I know Stan is. He was practically beaming with pride when we walked out that day and shaking Doug's hand and saying nice things about him. So many times Stan would tell me he knew someone great would find me one day, I would always say I didn't believe him, but I'm so happy he was right! Last month Doug bought us each this book I have been reading it, and although I am not a book highlighter, I have been highlighting sentences and thoughts that have stuck out to me. There is so much good stuff in this book. Today's chapter was "Loving the Stranger" with the theme that "we never know whom we marry, even if you think you do, just wait awhile and he or she will change. The problem is learning how to love and care for the stranger to whom you find yourself married". The chapter talks about something Jill would often talk about; how marriage is like a big mirror that you look in and see your true self reflected back to you. And it can be ugly. And scary. "Marriage shows you a realistic, unflattering picture of who you are and then takes you by the scruff of the neck and forces you to pay attention to it." The key is looking at yourself (and your spouse) truthfully, but with love, and to say "this is the real you, this is the real me, this is what God wants us to be, and this is what has got to go. And we've got to work together against it." The book likened marriage to a gem tumbler, "you put gems into the tumbler and they are brought into constructive, creative contact with each other. They knock the rough edges off of each other until each gem is smooth and beautiful. But if you don't put a special compound (God's grace) into the tumbler with the gems, the stones will either bounce off of one another without any effects or may crack and shatter each other." And the book talked about marriage having the power to show us the truth of who we are, "marriage has unique power to redeem our past and heal our self-image through love. And marriage has unique power to show us the grace of what God did for us in Jesus Christ." Because of the work of Jesus, we can say to a spouse who has hurt us: "I see your sin, but I can cover it with forgiveness, because Jesus saw my sin and covered it." The chapter ended with the author saying how he officiates at weddings and often wants to make a joke about how this is the best they'll ever look, but then says that isn't ultimately true. He says "if you and your spouse wield the power of truth and love with grace in each other's lives, and are committed to the adventure of spiritual companionship, to partner with God in the journey to the new creation; then, to the eye of God, as the years go by, you are making each other more and more beautiful, like a diamond being cut and polished and set." T. Keller (2011) How beautiful. I hope for that.