There are a hundred different ways to destroy a marriage. It is far easier to end a marriage than it is to recommit when you suddenly realize that the person who shares your bed has slowly become a stranger to you; a slowly dying marriage can be like a leaking air mattress that is undetectable until you wake up cold and flat on the floor.
Last fall, Kirk and I had nearly dripped our reservoir dry. As I visited my parents with the kids for nearly two weeks that October, I pondered which path would be easier and realized with marriage there is no easy path, so I returned home.
The easiest day of a marriage is the first. Every day following is intentional hard work, gratifying work, but hard just the same.
When I returned to OKC that chilly fall night in early November, I wasn't sure how to fix all the damage we had created within those four walls. So we started with words.
Words have the power to destroy, but they also have the power to sustain and grow a marriage. And so we began to choose our words carefully, choosing words to engender new trust, words that bloomed into a vision of a new marriage and path together.
Seven years in, and we started over completely. At first, our conversations were stiff with obligation. But our continued efforts yielded new growth, like tiny buds in spring that begin to bloom imperceptibly.
So what were those words that saved our marriage?
It was a narrative that we told ourselves nearly ever day, even when we didn't believe it, even when it seemed like our lives would never change. And this is what we said and slowly we began to believe:
We will always be honest with one another even if it hurts. I will learn to love you for exactly who you are if you will do the same for me. Your dreams are as important to me as mine are, and I will do everything in my power to support and encourage you. I will not allow our lives and marriage to stagnate, but to work hard everyday to craft a beautiful and true life with you.
And from there, we began to dream again. Dream of moving cross-country to the beach, dream of buying a travel trailer to see the country, and dreaming of leaving jobs we don't love to pursue lives that make our souls sing.
And we're doing it. One year later and our marriage isn't perfect, but it is real and it is us. I believe that if we can dig ourselves out of the pit of nearly no return, then anyone can. This isn't hopeful optimism, but the beautiful truth. Hear me out:
The simple truth is that our words have incredible, life-changing power.
Even if it feels like your marriage is over or that your marriage is perfect. Begin speaking that narrative to one another, in your words and in your thoughts. And then you will see miraculous things begin to happen.
How can you use your words, thoughts, and actions to intentionally support and grow your marriage?