Never in my life had I been more grateful for jury duty.
The very next morning, after the “altercation” with my mother-in-law, I was placed on a panel for a drug possession trial. I half hoped I’d be selected, just to get away from my husband, and keep my insanity at bay. When the time came for me to answer questions, I told the D.A. my mother had dated a guy who turned out to be a crack addict, (truth!) so I’d probably not be the best candidate for impartiality. However, I said I felt sorry for the guy, and eagerly offered that he looked like a cross between Terry Bradshaw and Owen Wilson. Indignant, the defendant raised an eyebrow.
Needless to say, I was not selected as one of the twelve.
That night, I fought even more with my husband, and then told him, “I think I want a divorce.”
What am I saying? Do I really want a divorce? I asked myself. Who stays married anymore? And, if that, who is truly happy?
I turned to my Bible for answers. I kept writing down verses, holding onto them; clinging to God’s word.
2 Corinthians 10:5 – “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
God, take my thoughts, fear, anxiety, confusion, anger and hurt – I know these are all things You can heal.
Matthew 6:34- “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Every day has enough trouble of its own.”
You can say that again.
2 Corinthians 4:18 – “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen…”
You are the God who sees me.
Isaiah 30:18 – “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.”
Romans 8:28 – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose.”
Even this shipwreck of a marriage — this horrible struggle — can be worked for GOOD.
Psalm 42:11 – “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
Help me, God. I am a broken person.
Isaiah 12:2 – “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.”
I will TRUST.
We went back to marriage counseling, and it was good. We both agreed that our counselor was extremely diplomatic. We were able to express ourselves in a safe environment. I actually appreciated that our counselor called me out on my behavior. I was always looking for ways to better myself in the relationship as it stood, but I also wanted to be heard. I wanted my feelings to be valid. It felt like we were making progress; gaining ground.
After our shorter, 90-minute session, we went out to dinner, and then perused Borders. My husband loitered in the magazine section, while I marched straight upstairs to “Religion”. I wanted to purchase and devour the two books our counselor had just recommended.
One other person wandered aimlessly in the religion section. He was a 22-year old kid who, a month earlier, had discovered that his wife was cheating on him. He was still in shock, and practically vomited the whole story. I listened, gave him a few details of my own journey thus far, and then heard myself encouraging him to stick with it, to not give up. I even recommended a few books for him to read. He thanked me profusely, and bought the daily devotional book of which I had highly spoken.
It felt good to encourage him, but I also felt like a phony.
Whattaheck? I wrote. Why can I come across as a grounded person and help someone through the same trial I am enduring, yet be so crazy, myself?
A few days later, my husband made a familiar announcement. He was thinking of going to France and Australia. He would be gone for two weeks.
We met with some friends for dinner; friends who knew the depth of our struggle. They were extremely loving and encouraging. They really wanted us to stay together. Everyone did. My husband said he didn’t want to lose me, yet honestly expressed his desire to “have his cake, and eat it, too.”
We drove home, reflecting upon our dinner conversation, and the love and support of our good friends. We did not fight that evening. Yet I still felt uneasy.
I rose early the next morning.
Lord, I come to You this morning, extremely weary. Confused. Angry with the betrayal of my own thoughts and feelings. Frustrated at the mountainous task ahead of trying to stay married. I CANNOT DO IT, LORD. I AM TOO WEAK…help me to somehow be WISELY supportive. I need help trusting You, which is a silly, silly paradox. I need help, God, help…my heart is so heavy.
Later in the day —
I told him that I did not want him to go to France or Australia. He said that he would die (basically) if he couldn’t go. He does not see his life as categories: God, marriage, career, etc., but all in one. I don’t know how to respond. I said that I would support him by praying for him. I don’t know what else to do.
I just want Tuesday to come so that he will leave and I won’t be burdened with sadness anymore. He chooses self. He chooses escape. OK. How much longer do I stay with this person? God? Please? Really?
And then, my husband “woke up”.