My marriage was always hard. Our relationship was challenging right from the beginning. We fought. A lot. I always chalked it up to the fact that we were a cross-cultural couple. And we pioneered a ministry together from the ground up. And we worked side-by-side every single day.
It was harder than I ever imagined it would be.
While I'm learning to only own what's mine to own, I just need you to know: I have plenty to own.
I can be extremely impatient and easily frustrated. I made Niel feel small with my critical words. I could be downright mean at times.
I didn't communicate well. I see-sawed between bottling up and exploding. I didn't always let him into the deepest parts of my heart. I didn't often share my most honest thoughts.
I see now that I was seeking to find my happiness and value in my husband, instead of in God. And that contributed largely to the downward spiral of problems in our relationship.
The breakdown of my marriage extends further, deeper, than Niel's affair. I grew lazy, complacent, and selfish, and stopped putting in the effort my marriage needed and deserved. The effort my husband deserved.
Staring my sin in the face wrecked me. It left me broken before the Lord, desperate for His forgiveness and grace. It also left me broken before my husband. I wept in repentance as I apologized to him. Repeatedly.
I believed that despite all our failures, our marriage was still worth saving. It would take a lot of work, but so does anything we're passionate about. I knew restoration was possible and completely worth the effort. My heart broke when Niel disagreed.
As I began picking up the pieces of my life, I became more determined than ever to be open and teachable. I desire to live from a repentant heart. I want to be quick to see and own my sinfulness. And I'm committed to learn new ways of responding. New ways of living.
My beliefs determine my thoughts which impact my actions. So I'm starting at the beginning to change my foundational beliefs. My thinking and my actions will eventually follow.
It's a slow-going, lifelong journey.
But one I know is so worth it.
Because, I'm beginning to see, I'm worth it.