I’m not sure I need to say this any more, but I was single for a long time. I got married for the first time at age 39. This gave me a lot of time to be alone whenever I wanted to and to do whatever I wanted to do. I didn’t answer to anyone or for anyone. If I wanted to come home, take off all my clothes and rock out to death metal, I could. I suppose technically I still could but I’m pretty sure I would traumatize everyone in my house.
One thing that all single people have in common is their strength. You become really resilient – and a touch resistant – in the face of everything. You have to be. You have to face everything alone. You learn to fight the good fight and keep your wits about you.
That is until you come home and the house is empty and you walk into your room and throw yourself on the bed and bawl your eyes out for a good ten minutes and then go to the fridge and eat ice cream. And then it’s all good.
Now that I’m not alone when I get home, it’s a different ballgame altogether. You come home and have a whole new set of things to think about. And trying to hide is not an option. No one can hide for very long.
Within a few weeks of being married, I felt overwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong. I love my husband more than I have ever loved anyone in my entire life. I know without a doubt for a single millisecond that I made the best decision I have ever made by marrying him and I know that we are meant to be together for all time and I cannot and will not imagine my life without him. Now that we are together, it is everything I thought it would be – marrying your best friend, your soulmate, the one person on earth who will always love you, fight for you, hold you, encourage you, pick you up when you fall, forgive you when you fail, and come what may will climb into bed with you at the end of the day with nothing to hide. It is what we promised each other, it is what we will fight to do with our every breath for the rest of our lives and into eternity.
That said, life can get tricky. The reality of all that needs to be done day in and day out, the seemingly endless tasks of living, starts to crowd out the butterflies that were once floating around. The sweet kisses and magical moments seem to happen less frequently. And by that I mean not every other minute.
And you can’t hide your sadness, your frustrations, your rough days any more. There’s no where to go. Just a look at your face screams volumes, if your spouse is paying any attention at all. You both feel it. And where you once were strong and resilient to the public view, you now have someone on the inside who gets to see you crumble into pieces.
And it’s jarring. It’s unsettling. It isn’t what I planned on. I don’t want anyone to know that I can’t handle everything that’s thrown at me! I don’t want someone to think I’m weak and incapable. I don’t want him to know I have an Achilles heel, the kind that stretches across my entire heart at times. I’m supposed to be fierce! I’m a survivor! I am woman hear me roar! I am the warrior. Bang Bang! And all that jazz.
Truth is that I fall apart. No one is made to handle it all. We just aren’t. We are frail and have our limitations. Whoever said that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle is a wretched liar and needs to stop making inspirational plaques. Truth is we can handle so very little.
Being single made me rely on one person alone. Myself. And it got easy to believe I could. I was lulled into this understanding that I didn’t NEEEED any one, especially any man (insert slight contempt here), and that only I called the shots for myself.
But fast forward to the realization I had to bridge the gap in my understanding between being SELF-reliant and being GOD-reliant. I had to be undone, my self-righteousness had to be broken, my life had to change from being self-centered and my heart had to make room for others. And it wasn’t until then that I was ready to marry, to be a step-mom and a mom, to be any good to anyone including myself.
The Apostle Paul in his book to the church in Corinth wasn’t just throwing around hyperbole when he said, in my weakness I am strong. Because it isn’t until you recognize and admit that you CANNOT do something, that you are indeed able to do the impossible – that you are given the strength to rise above yourself and your limitations on the limitless grace of an all mighty God who can do more than we could ever think possible. It is His doing that makes us able to hold our tongue when we just want to lash out. It is His patience that keeps us from having a temper tantrum. It is His goodness that reminds us how far we’ve come and to keep us from despair. It is His gracious love that carries through the dark night, repairs our armor, puts the sword back in our hands, and sends us out again. And never alone.
And yeah, this is me… just the other day…