Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Weathering a Marital Depression

(It is difficult to write about such a painful time, but it occurred to me that sharing our story might help someone in a similar situation.)
Our first wedding--two clueless kids
How could our marriage have gone so wrong in just six years? Lack of money was a source of constant conflict. When our oldest son was born, he had colic and screamed for three months, and I must have had post-partum depression because I wasn't fit to live with. The hospital job seemed an answer to our prayers since it was a big career step for hubby and provided a good salary and benefits.

But in less than a year he was laid off in the worst possible way: He was made a scapegoat for a problem he'd tried for six months to remedy. It sent him into a deep, dark hole of depression. He quit going to church. He wasn't motivated to find a job. We spent all our meager savings. I tried to work, but our two-year-old son was feeling the effects of his parents' problems and was "kicked out" of three different daycares. I thought I was being supportive, but I had no idea how to help my husband. He didn't realize what he was saying, and didn't even recognize there was a huge problem. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to forgive him.

So I left him. I took our son and flew to another city to stay with friends. I had no intention of ending the relationship, but I realized it would take something drastic to fix it.

Within a few days my husband contacted a counselor and asked me to come back. I told him I would return to town, but I didn't think we should live together until we had made sufficient progress working out our problems. So he moved in with a friend, got a part-time job as a security guard with a hotel, and saw the counselor twice a week: once alone and once with me. Within a short time we were making great progress. We spent time together every day, really communicating, rebuilding our relationship. He returned to church, and we prayed together again.

After about three months we decided things had progressed enough that we could get back together, but we wanted to renew our marriage vows to make that commitment to God and one another.
Six years later, a little older, a lot wiser
I had lost so much weight from worry and stress that I was able to fit into my wedding dress again. A preacher friend "remarried" us in his living room with his wife and family as our only witnesses. They kept our son while we had a short second honeymoon to begin our new life together.

Twenty-nine years later we're so glad we didn't give up. By honoring our vows before God, we were able to weather that storm, and all the other ones since then to build a strong and happy marriage. And it truly has been "sweeter as the years go by."
Last December--35th anniversary

12 comments:

  1. I would have never thought you both ever had any issues. Since I met you I have always thought "What a strong wonderful family". Just reminds us that all are human and have trials in our lives that molds us into what God wants. I believe he is always "pruning" us. Thank you for sharing, in a way I needed this! Its a little tough here with one income, a potty training toddler and a newborn! Not alot of me or us time! Love you Mrs. Jones :) you can tell the Lord uses you. Xo -Tasha

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    1. Thanks, Tasha! It is so hard to see things clearly when you're in the middle of overwhelming struggles. But once you get to the "other side" you can better see how God uses those hard times and tragedies to bring us closer to Him. Enjoy every moment with those precious babies because the time will fly and they will grow up so quickly. And if you can, try to have a "date night" with your hubby as often as you can, even if it's just going for a walk and holding hands.... :) Love you, girl!

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  2. When you were going through that tough time I am sure it was hard to see that things could get any better. I am thankful for the example of both of you to do what it took to get through that time and honoring your vows before our great God.

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    1. Thank you, Nan. It was a very dark time. Thankfully God's light shone steadily to show us the way....

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  3. Wow. Thanks for sharing, and SO happy that you persevered and now have such a strong, happy relationship.

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    1. You are very welcome, Aunt B, and thanks! :)

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  4. What an important thing to share with others so we can see that quitting is not the answer. So many marriages end prematurely. Thank you for sharing. Diana

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    1. You're welcome, Diana. Yes, I wish it was possible to talk to every young couple before they throw away a marriage that can be saved. (I realize there are some that cannot be saved, but I believe many more could be turned around if the hurting individuals just realized there was a remedy....)

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  5. I am glad you worked it out! If we are honest, we all have a dark time in our marriage where we feel it may not work out as we hoped. The reward for 'sticking' it out, is that we get to the comfortable point of 'oh, yes, this IS what I was looking for!' Love you lots and I'm glad you shared.

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    1. Exactly, Suze! Glad you and Joel have made it to that comfortable place, too. :)

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  6. It took a lot of courage to re-visit this painful time and to expose yourself in the hope of helping others. You are a brave and wise woman and a great servant in His kingdom. I love, appreciate and admire you so much!

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  7. Aw, thanks, Nancy! I love you, too!

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