As a young bride, Jennifer Smith couldn’t wait to build her life with the man she adored. She dreamed of closeness, of being fully known and loved by her husband. But the first years of marriage were nothing like she’d imagined. Instead, they were marked by disappointment and pain. Trapped by fear and insecurity, and feeling totally alone, Jennifer cried out to God: What am I doing wrong? Why is this happening to us? It was as if a veil had descended between her and her husband, and between her and Godone that kept her from experiencing the fullness of love. How did Jennifer and her husband survive the painful times? What did they do when they were tempted to call it quits? How did God miraculously step in during the darkest hour to rescue and redeem them, tearing down the veil once and for all? The Unveiled Wife is a real-life love story; one couple’s refreshingly raw, transparent journey touching the deep places in a marriage that only God can reach. If you are feeling disappointment or even despair about your marriage, the heart-cry of this book is: You are not alone. Discover through Jennifer’s story how God can bring you through it all to a place of transformation.
|Publisher:||Tyndale House Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)|
Read an Excerpt
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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1. I Guess This Is the End, 1,
2. Scar Tissue, 5,
3. Is He the One?, 11,
4. "Officially" Dating, 19,
5. Hiding My Sin, 25,
6. Engaged, 29,
7. The Wedding, 35,
8. Trouble in Paradise, 41,
9. It's My Fault, 49,
10. Change of Scenery, 53,
11. A Trip to Africa, 61,
12. Embittered by Jealousy, 69,
13. Is Marriage a Mistake?, 75,
14. I'm Broken, 81,
15. Puffed Up, 85,
16. Escape Artists, 91,
17. Dark Days, 101,
18. The Blame Game, 107,
19. Fantasyland, 113,
20. Making Peace with My Past, 121,
21. Depriving My Husband, 131,
22. Inception, 137,
23. Transparency, 143,
24. Standing for Marriage, 151,
25. The Getaway, 157,
26. Unconditional Love, 163,
27. Our Miracle, 169,
28. Unveiled, 177,
29. Confronting the Heart Issues, 181,
30. God's Masterpiece, 195,
Appendix A: A True Love Story, 203,
Appendix B: A Word about Sex and True Intimacy, 211,
Appendix C: How the Environment May Affect You, 219,
Appendix D: The Unveiled Wife Blog, 225,
About the Author, 237,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Unveiled Wife is a story of a young couple who seemed to have almost everything going for them. They met in a home-style youth group, the love of God bloomed in both of their hearts, and they went overseas in ministry as newlyweds. Yet on the inside, when they went home at night, their marriage was miserable. There were times of happiness, sure, and delight that they were married. They saw God work around them and through them, they were committed to Him.... but still they were in trouble, and they knew it. When you reach the point where you can't go on like this anymore, what do you do? As Jennifer says, everyone enters marriage with some baggage- unmet expectations, imperfections, and insecurities. Some of these will be more pronounced than others depending on your past, your personality, and the lessons you've already learned. This book was a rather freeing read, because it says this- God's children still make messes. They still hurt each other, they still lose hope. And through all of this, God remains. Draws near, in fact. Transforms the hearts involved. This book speaks to a profound truth- you grow into grace and truth over time. And it's worth the effort and the struggle. Even without being the target audience, I came away with this: No relationship- even dealing with manipulation or unkindness and distrust- is too far gone if you have two partners fully intent on restoration. Chapter 29 "Dealing with Heart Issues" should be made into a booklet and added to every marriage-prep course. On second thought, let's just include this whole book as pre-wedding reading. It will provide vocabulary for expressing specific concerns that otherwise might never be addressed. It will require you to make space for the hard questions and the potential disappointments. And it will give encouragement as you try to meld your life with another person's. I thank Tyndale Momentum for my review copy.
This is one of those very powerful books that has the ability to change lives for the better. Smith's honesty and encouragement inspired me to take an honest look at my own failings and see where I can change. I love the layout of this book! Sometimes nonfiction books can be a little dry or readers can get so caught up in the story of the author that we don't look at ways to apply their knowledge to our own lives. However, Smith shares the story of her marriage in short, interesting chapters and then follows up with relevant questions at the end of the chapter to aid readers in looking at their own marriage relationship. While reading the book, I kept flipping back to the cover and thinking to myself, "But she looks so happy now!" It encouraged me to keep reading, even though it was difficult at times to imagine how the Smith's marriage survived. It is truly a testament to how diligently seeking God can heal a marriage. I've read several books that have been the result of the author first starting a blog and then it morphing into a book. A couple of them I have checked out the blog afterward and read some of the posts. This is the first book where I checked out the blog with the intention of following the blog and reading it on a regular basis. This is a really great book about marriage. I haven't enjoyed a book about deepening the marriage relationship so much since some of the Gary Chapman books. I can't give any higher compliment than that to Smith and her wonderful book. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.