Thursday, April 3, 2014

Love Never Fails

Last month it had been two years.

Two years since our counselor told each of us, individually, that we should seek divorce. That there was no solution for us. There was no hope for our marriage. We wouldn't be able to make it work.

It felt dirty and wrong, the way the idea was planted in our minds by someone we trusted. But it also felt like... how did we end up here? Even the professional thinks we made a mistake in getting married!

It was two years ago that I sat dry heaving on our bathroom floor, because Levi said the D word. It makes me shake just thinking back to it. Someone of authority and trust, told us these things.

But what also happened two years ago, is that we decided, on the cold bathroom floor, that it wouldn't fail. We decided to believe the ULTIMATE authority and trustworthy counselor. We didn't care what some professional told us, we knew what the word of GOD has to say. And it's something much different.

"O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption." Psalm 130:7

Our love did not have to fail, because Christ had given us an unending supply of love. When we run out (and we would) we can turn to Christ and use the love he has given us to love others.

"We love because he first loved us." 1 John 4:19

Oddly, after having made the decision to take divorce off of the table, our marriage was not magically fixed. We had been in counseling for about 7 months, just long enough to stir up all of our sin and past hurts. Obviously, we weren't going back to that counselor. For a few months, we sort of just had breathing room. Things hit such an emotional peak, that we needed some time to just be. Over the summer we started listening to the Austin Stone's sermons on marriage. In December of 2012 we started to find biblical community. We also started back at counseling. This time, through the Austin Stone Counseling Center.

I think continuous counseling is one of the best decisions we've made in life. While yes, it went terribly wrong at first...I'm thankful that we didn't harden our hearts to the entire counseling world. We found the most incredible, christian counselor who constantly pointed us back to Jesus and back to the purpose of marriage. Spoiler alert: it's not for your happiness!

I was surprised to learn that.

We started reading the book Sacred Marriage, which helps give you a picture of what biblical marriage looks like. It turns out, marriage is supposed to be a picture of Christ's relationship with the church. I'm sure you've heard that statement before. But what does it mean?

It means, that Christ loves the church and will never forsake her. No matter how much the church hurts Jesus, he's not going anywhere. And marriage, oooh marriage, it's supposed to be a picture of THAT.

That is why marriage is such a weighty calling. It's not to be jumped into lightly. Honestly, we didn't know this before we got married. I just thought, hey I like this guy a lot and we have fun! I want to live with him! I want to travel together! I didn't think marriage would entail CONSTANTLY having to die to my own desires and ways I think things should be done.

Marriage is a lot. It's the hardest thing I've ever done. But it's also the only thing that has pushed me closer and closer to the Lord. It's a trial unlike any other.

Levi and I attended counseling weekly for almost an entire year. We stopped this past October 2013. I have to fight for my marriage The day that I let my guard down, the day I say I really don't want to try. That's when Satan gets his foothold. Altogether, in the past two years we have more often then not, been going to counseling!

If you think you can't afford counseling, don't let that stop you. They offer scholarships and discounted rates. Ask your community for help. Ask me for help! It's worth it to fight.

Just to be clear, our problems in marriage never came across as huge problems. There wasn't cheating, mistrust, lying, abuse, secrets. We suffered more from selfishness, from just being opposite people in every way you could be (except horror movies, we've both got that ;), from being immature in our faith, from thinking it should be easy, from thinking it shouldn't take this much work, from just...not liking each other. And to be clear, those problems are JUST as valid as adultery. They will eat away at your marriage JUST as sneakily as secrets.

We often had people in our life wondering why in the world we were in counseling? We are both nice people! We both love Jesus! Why did we need so much help? We didn't want to settle for just both being ok people. We want to know how to display God's love to others through our relationship. If we fight this hard for our love, how much more is God fighting for YOUR heart?

- Bethany


  1. This is so true and so similar to my story with my husband!

    1. I'm both sad and happy to hear that Taylor! :) I know first hand how hard it is, glad yall are fighting the good fight!

  2. You are such an amazing woman. You have always inspired me. Your faith is incredibly inspiring. Thank you for sharing this. It gave me a lot to think about.
    I have always held such love for you in my heart,