What If My Husband Never Changes?

Question: “What if our marriage never changes, what if the bad things he’s doing aren’t just a phase, like people keep telling me?”

There was a period of a few months when I lived in the most emotionally uncomfortable place I’d ever been. I had woken up fully to my reality: my marriage was hard and not getting better. But I had just asked for help with one final plea and the team of people that surrounded us (so grateful for them) needed to see what I was seeing for themselves. This meant, I had to keep living in this deep pain, knowingly, while they surveyed the situation…like, for months. It was one thing to live in when I didn’t realize it was as bad as it was, when I thought our normal was everyone’s normal, but to do so while being completely aware of the dysfunction was one of the most emotionally tenuous stretches of my life.

Thankfully, the people surrounding me knew what they were looking for: they were looking for heart change and behavior change, not just the right words, from both of us.  Most of my wisdom on this subject comes from Henry Cloud’s amazing book entitled Necessary Endings. This book gave me the tools to know what I should be looking for, along with the courage to hold on long enough for time to pass and truth to reveal itself.

“Look at the past behavior in some areas that count: promises, commitments, and responsibility, and then seeing what the track record has been. That is important because the best predictor of the future is the past. What he has done in the past will be what he does in the future, unless there has been some […]

That Time Someone Sent Me a Super Mean Message over Facebook

Recently, I received a message on my Facebook writer page that started off like this, “I’m sure you’re a nice person. And you’re probably fun to have around. But I have to confess that I dislike you very much.”

Why, thank you.

Obviously, I was intrigued. And I went on to read this cruel email that ripped me and my writing and my theology apart.  Nothing I haven’t already heard before, people.  So I deleted it.

(Okay, truth be told, I first sent it to two girlfriends to show them I must be still doing something right to get a message like that, and we had a laugh, and then moved on.)

But here’s the part that is most disturbing.  The sender was a woman who had asked to join one of my private Facebook groups; at least, I thought it was. But it turned out that the actual writer of the message was her husband.  Meaning, he had hacked into her Facebook account to write me a mean message.

Lovely.

So I think today’s blog is to the husbands and ex-husbands of the women in my groups, because I know some of you read my blog to see what your wife or ex-wife is “being fed”.  Now, before I get going, I know that there are three sides to every story: the husband’s perspective, the wife’s perspective, and then the Truth (aka God’s perspective). And I also know that I could be hearing sob stories that are totally overblown from time to time, and that a lot of humans tend to point the blame at their spouses without looking at and owning their parts.  I get it, I get it, I get it. But my target audience is women […]

By |June 29th, 2015|pain|4 Comments

My Five Favorite Things Right Now

Most of my favorite things aren’t actually things…they are people, experiences, this season, my adorable porch, the sunshine on my face. But then there are some actual things that I am just loving right now and I want to share them with you.

I start my morning, every morning, with two or three cups of tea.  My absolute favorite tea these days is Adagio. A friend of mine and I went to their store in Naperville and enjoyed a tea lesson and tasting and I’m convinced even more of tea’s benefits. You can find their great selection here.

While my tea steeps, I turn on some music. What’s currently on repeat in my CD player these days is Sandra McCracken’s take on the Psalms.  It’s lovely and the perfect way to start a morning.

One of my best friends, Sheli Massie, is a writer. Her voice is authentic and raw and brave.  If you think I tell the truth, you’ll love this girl.  She believes that when we embrace our brokenness, we can start to heal. Gotta love that. Check out her blog.

Social justice has been an important issue to me for several years now.  Another one of my best friends, Erika Solgos, is on the frontlines helping empower women out of poverty through Trades of Hope. The jewelry they sell, made by women whose lives are being transformed, is almost all I wear. Seriously. I love it so much.  You will too. Take a look at what they’ve got here. (And heck, host an online party and get some free stuff!)

Finally, StitchFix. Oh my lands. If one can fall in love with an online clothing company, then my husband should be a bit concerned.  I think […]

By |June 27th, 2015|wholeness|1 Comment

My Girls

One of my best friends is a writer. I love what she does with words and I love her heart and she loves me so very well, that I asked her to write something (and then read it) for my wedding.  This is what she said. Needless to say, tears flowed.  I’m beyond grateful for her friendship, and the love of the friends she is talking about here.  Thank you, sweet Sheli.

I’ve written this letter a thousand times in my head, for years now.  A letter filled with hope and prayers. A letter filled with pleas and petitions. What I never dreamed was that the letter would be read to more than one of you someday. That I would be standing at your wedding telling the story.

I, we.

We have all prayed that one day you would wake up with hope in your heart. That you would believe for the first time that the God who says He makes all things new really was doing that.

That you would see evidence of what redemption looks like before you saw Jesus face-to-face. We have prayed for years that you would go through your day and your heart would know what joy felt like again.

That you would believe for the first time that second chances were not just for everyone else but for you as well. We prayed that you would encounter a love so deep that you would know it was a gift that came only from the One who breathes life into you.

That when you lay your head down at night that you would still have a smile on your face from the laughter that filled your life that day. We prayed that you would […]

Top Ten Reasons I was Terrified to Date or Get Remarried: Debunked

Two summers ago, I wrote this little post about why I was so freaking scared to even consider dating or remarriage. Now that I’m on the other side of things, I thought it might be fun to revisit all my totally neurotic completely sound reasons and see what I think now. So here we go.

I’m shy.  Seriously.  Most people tell me that surprises them, but I totally am. Give me a book and my couch and I’m good to go.  Tell me I have to go to a party and I need to lie down first, ask the Holy Spirit to help me, and perhaps pop some Tums.  So not kidding.

I’m still shy. But I pushed through. I figured I had a couple options: stay on my couch and never meet anyone, when I had gotten to the point of really wanting to find a partner again, or get up off the couch and suck it up. It was worth it.

I don’t know where the unmarried forty-something Christian men are. My theory: already raptured.

They’re out there. They really are. Rapture hasn’t happened yet.

I’m pretty scared to try online dating.  Either because of the stigma or the potential stalking/murdering, one of the two.

I didn’t get stalked or murdered.  Okay, maybe a teeny bit stalked, but it turned out okay.  And I got over the stigma pretty quickly.  And it actually was fun.  And an adventure.  And, well, it totally worked.

My closet.  My closet currently fits all of my clothing.  If I were to get remarried, I’d probably have to move two seasons of my clothing to somewhere else in my house. You know, to share. And I like having all of my clothes in my closet. […]

My Favorite Kinds of Marriages

I have a few favorite kinds of marriages.

My first favorite is the long, first marriage. This is the one where two people met and fell in love when they were young, and they are still together many years later. And you can tell that life hasn’t always been easy but they stayed partners. And somewhere along the way you can’t really imagine them with anyone else but who they are with.  My aunt and uncle are like this.  They raised their children well.  They loved and served God together.  They are friends.  They enjoy being together.  It’s not been a piece of cake all the time, I’m sure, but through the ups and downs and all the times in between, they stayed together, they just kept choosing each other. And it’s a gift to their children and extended family and friends to see a lifelong commitment lived out in the day to day. I love lifetime marriages.

And then there’s my kind. Where one or both had first marriages that weren’t good and something happened and we both ended up no longer married and on our own.  Where I didn’t think I’d ever remarry, didn’t think I’d ever be a well-loved woman like I had dreamed of, and then one day, I found someone. And God is giving me and my sweet man a second chance. And it is possibly the loveliest and certainly the most surprising gift of my life, to get to do marriage right during the second half of my life.  It’s redemption playing out every day in my home and I breathe gratefulness in and out of me because I almost can’t believe it.  I love second-chance marriages.

But then there’s this […]

Willingly Walking into a Hard Marriage

I receive emails all the time asking to be placed into one of my private Facebook groups.  But I received one recently that stopped me in my tracks.  Because when I wrote back asking if she were living in a difficult marriage or if she were separated/divorced, she replied, “I’m getting married in three months so can I be in your difficult marriage group?”

Umm. 

I wrote her back and as gently as I could, I said, “May I ask why you are getting married if you already know it’s going to be so hard that you will need support?”

She wrote back several paragraphs, but it didn’t really matter for a couple reasons.

One, because this is her life and a person outside of herself will never be able to understand fully why she’s doing what she’s doing, which is what we can all say about everyone else and ourselves if you think about it.

And two, because I cannot judge. I read her email and was shocked by her request. But I shouldn’t have been shocked. How quickly we forget some of our own poor choices, no?

Because twenty some odd years ago, I had four years of crossroad choices in front of me, and I never took the out.  Because my first serious relationship was hard, hard, hard the whole time, and I stubbornly and insecurely and un-trusting-of-God-ly pushed through, knowing my marriage would be hard, but hoping marriage itself would somehow solve all our problems.  (It didn’t. Obviously.)

I was warned and I moved forward.  I had a feeling about it and I moved forward.  There were red flags (for both of us) and we moved forward.

(Side note: Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing for […]

Will God Show Up?

My almost-seventeen-year-old son came home tonight with the weight of the world on his shoulders, feeling blamed for something that couldn’t even remotely be considered his fault.  He’s being gaslighted, I’m afraid, and it makes me crazy to my core to watch it happen from the sidelines.

This mess we’re in, he said, is all my fault.

In my head, I was screaming, NO, IT’S NOT! IT’S _____ FAULT! AGAIN!

But that’s not what I said.  I used softer words and a softer-than-usual-for-me tone. And I reminded him all the ways all this didn’t add up, and all the ways it couldn’t possibly be his fault, and that even if it were, it was not the end of the world and I was not in a million years angry with him.

And then I prayed. I prayed for the guilt and anger to be released off of him. And I prayed for the truth to be revealed, because God can do that…because GOD knows the truth. And I prayed for wisdom, to know things we can’t know in our human strength, because God has done that for me…because God has been my truth-revealer time and time again.

To be honest, I don’t need God to show up.  Let me clarify: I’ve got twenty-nine years of God showing up in big and little ways.  But my son, he’s still kinda new at this, this having faith in something you can’t see.  He’s become this young man who knows right from wrong and stands up for it and it’s breathtaking for a mother to watch.

But he needs this.  He needs God to show up. He needs to see that when we ask for wisdom that what God’s word says is true […]

Limbo Living

As I type, my sweet husband is driving home from work.  Something I haven’t shared with the masses is that his transfer has not come through yet, his job is ninety minutes away, and he doesn’t always come home every night of the week (on those nights, he stays with his parents; sometimes I head out to see him, sometimes not).

This is just a part of life. And if this is one of our biggest problems, we can handle it for sure. In fact, it feels pretty much like when we were dating which I should be totally used to.

Which is a bit of the issue: in tiny places of my heart, it still feels like we’re just dating.

I know we are completely and utterly married, and on weekends, it totally feels like it.  But during the week, we can feel…sporadic.  And my heart is waiting for the time when he is working closer and coming home every day after work, spending every evening with me.

Okay, a caveat. You might be thinking, what’s two or three days?  Big deal. Or as one of my friends pointed out, this is what I used to joke about wanting: a husband who didn’t live with me.  Well, it’s a big deal in my mind for two reasons: one, we’re newlyweds; and two, when I used to joke about that, I never in a million years pictured finding a man who I loved being with so much, who loved me so well I never wanted him to leave my side.

So anyway, in the meantime, in this waiting time – where I wrongly find myself waiting to start our lives together – I am doing a few things.

I am […]

I’ve (Apparently) Lost Touch with You (A Post I Didn’t Want to Write but Felt I Should)

About three years ago, someone told me that what I was writing was wood and clay and not gold because I was writing from my pain. (I think that’s what’s called adding insult to injury.) Interestingly, I ended up building a ministry in the midst of my pain and have had many women tell me that it was because I was writing from my place of pain and because I was so authentic and raw that I was able to connect with them and resonate with them and actually help them.

Then recently I wrote about how good my new marriage is while pointing out the reality that life is still hard and even wonderful partnerships can’t make all the hard things just melt away, and therefore, finding a new man shouldn’t be the goal.

One reader responded this way:

“If this is the direction these blogposts are going to continue in I may need to unsubscribe. Elisabeth, you’re fast losing your connection with your base.”

I can’t win.

(I have deleted her comment so no one would try to write her, and she has since in fact unsubscribed from my blog.)

As a writer for almost fifteen years now, I know better than to let one negative comment sting. But it did. As in, breath left my body as if someone had punched me.  I also know better than to respond to one negative comment – and trust me, I have let hundreds go over the years – but I think she may not be the only one who is thinking what she’s thinking.  So, I have many, random, rambly thoughts to share with those of you who may share her view.

The direction these blogposts are going: If […]

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