The Long Answer, Part 1
Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012
“Do you have a good marriage now?” It’s a question I hear frequently. I take a deep breath and try to explain, the long way.
I’ve known Jason for 17 years now. We dated for five and have been married for 12. Our relationship, our marriage was a fraud for the first eight years. So that leaves nine. I’m able to break up the last nine into thirds.
For the first three years of our recovery, I was living day to day. It was a sweet time for God and I. My heart sat on the table. My emotions were unpredictable. I joked with Jason that we really should have purchased stock in Kimberly-Clark or Kleenex brand. We didn’t have children and spent many nights sitting on the couch, hashing it out. Significant things happened during those three years. Me realizing that I needed to remove Jason from my pedestal and replace him with God. And that bled into believing I would be okay no matter the outcome, because God was soverign and in control. Forgiveness. A miscarriage. Deciding to stay. Seeds of Trust being planted. It was a lot and by the end of the third year, I was emotionally spent.
We moved to another state. And it was the perfect time for me to retreat. I wanted a break from it all. I wanted to be Shelley, not Shelley the girl whose husband cheated on her. So I took a break. It lasted too long. It lasted three years. Jason was in school. I worked full-time. I trained for triathlons.
About three years ago, I realized that I wasn’t in a healthy place. Jason had continued to move forward with his personal growth both spiritually and emotionally. And I felt behind. He would gently nudge me but I resisted. And I eventually came to a place where I realized that I was holding everyone at arm’s length. I only trusted myself. I only leaned on myself. And worst of all, the God whom carried me through those first three years or our recovery, I had pushed him away, too. I remember thinking…I’m not going to pray, I don’t trust You. If You allowed something like this to happen to me, who knows what else you would allow to happen.
I felt God pressing on my heart. He wouldn’t give up on me. I was lying in bed and knew what I needed to do, but I was scared. Jason was sleeping peacefully next to me. I rolled away from him and cried out to God. I told him I needed him in my life. I didn’t trust Him, but I would choose to try again. It was so simple yet it was one of the most impactful decisions I’ve ever made. Really, it was my rededication to Christ.
And that’s when things started to change. And it started with a cry and a prayer on a crisp fall night on 5th Avenue.