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The Unveiled Wife
Embracing Intimacy with God and Your Husband
By Jennifer Smith, Ginger Kolbaba
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2015 Jennifer Smith
All rights reserved.
I Guess This Is the End
Sitting in our car's passenger seat, I pulled out my phone to check Facebook. No immediate or pending actions that required my attention, yet scrolling through status after status distracted me from reality. My husband, Aaron, and I made our way through the church parking lot, weaving in and out of congestion, searching for a parking spot. As soon as Aaron turned off the engine, we got out of the car and walked to the sanctuary, synchronized in motion. The morning air was cold, mirroring our emotion. We continued on autopilot, finding our seats just before the service began. Though he sat next to me, emotional isolation left me feeling alone. We didn't say much to each other; the weight of despair strangled my thoughts, my feelings, and apparently my speech. I felt as if I were wearing a neon sign that flashed "out of order," but no one seemed to notice.
I was dying inside, sick with regret over the way my marriage of almost four years was turning out. My breathing was shallow, a side effect of the anxiety that relentlessly pummeled my fragile spirit.
Is this it, God? I wondered. Is this really it?
My husband had been silent all morning. His eyes reflected pain and defeat. Bent forward with his elbows resting on his knees, it looked as if he were wasting away faster than I was.
Why is this happening to us?
I'd never seen my husband so disheartened, and I was clueless about how to respond to him. I wanted to comfort him and say, "Everything is going to be okay," but I felt like I would be lying. We were miles from hope, lost in a world we were not prepared for.
The grief welled up in tears that sat on the rims of my eyes. My husband's head hung low for most of the sermon. As the pastor spoke, I was distracted by negative thoughts. I was angry with God for letting us endure so much hardship, bombarded with familiar and convincing thoughts that I deserved better. I thought following God and being a good Christian guaranteed blessing. I didn't understand that all marriages encounter hardship. So when my marriage didn't meet my expectations, I questioned if I was "good" enough. Doubt stirred in my heart, making me feel inadequate as a Christian and as a wife.
I'm not cut out for this, I thought. As thought after negative thought continued, I turned my frustration toward my husband.
Pretend everything is fine! I cant stand seeing you like this ... seeing us like this.
I was convinced we would be discussing divorce over lunch.
I wondered how many other people sitting in church that day felt as if they were being buried alive—trapped beneath the weight of a growing pile of dirt. I was ready to make any kind of sacrifice just to survive, yet I wanted to die to escape the pain. I was completely worn out.
When we married, we were adamant that we would face life as a team, committed never to opting out through the "D" word. But already the battle was wearing us down. Unwanted circumstances aroused an unwanted desire for divorce. Contemplating the end of our relationship became an emphatic reality I could not ignore.
Seeing my husband slumped over in church, rotting in despair, made me cringe. In that moment I realized how my actions over the years had taken a toll on his life. I'd been so busy dwelling on my pain that I'd failed to consider how our marital issues were affecting my husband, how I was affecting my husband.
That morning as I sat in the church service, I knew this had to be the end of my selfish ways—it had to be or my marriage would die. God finally had my full attention. I knew that only He would have the power to transform me as a wife and heal my broken marriage.
I was humbled, and all I could do was surrender the wreck I'd helped cause. I looked at my husband and prayed, "Lord, please save us. I don't want to divorce this man. Lord, please help us!"
Behind the Veil
1. Unmet expectations became a catalyst for the bitterness growing in my heart toward my husband. I believed he should live up to the standard I held of him in my mind, and when he failed me in any area, discontentment over my whole marriage tainted my attitude. In what ways do your unmet expectations affect your attitude toward your husband? Toward God?
2. I thought that as a Christian I had to be perfect so that I wouldn't misrepresent God's gospel to others. Stepping into church and seeing how other people were seemingly so perfect only confirmed my conviction. I didn't want to be the Christian having marital problems, so I pretended my life was great. In reality, smiling on the outside while suffering on the inside never benefits His gospel; it only corrodes my soul. Have you suffered silently in church? If so, what motivated you to hide your pain from others?
3. With all my attention focused on my needs and what would fulfill me, I neglected to consider my husband's needs. I knew what was happening to me, but I figured my husband could never understand how deeply wounded I felt. In my hurt, I justified that my pain was more important than his. What are some reasons you might consider your pain or frustrations about marriage to be more important than your husband's?
4. "Unwanted circumstances aroused an unwanted desire for divorce." Have you ever contemplated divorce? If so, what unwanted circumstances motivated you to consider the end of your marriage?
Excerpted from The Unveiled Wife by Jennifer Smith, Ginger Kolbaba. Copyright © 2015 Jennifer Smith. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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