“In sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse….” I’m speaking from experience when I say, until you live through these words you really don’t understand the magnitude of the words you are saying. Too many people turn around and walk away before they get to the other side of these words; the other side of 'for worse’ or ‘in sickness’ or ‘for poorer.’ As my mom has said, “So many people give up before they get to the good stuff.”
You might be thinking, “What does she know about marriage and hardships, she’s too young.” You are right; I like to think I’m still young.
I have been married for almost 8 years, and I had no idea what would lie ahead for Casey and I when I repeated my vows. I meant every word I said, but I was naive and thought we would just ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. Reality smacked us upside the head really quick. We were two completely different people, now living together and expected to stay together forever. WHOA! The first couple years were difficult. I’m not proud to say it, but we had a lot of screaming fights; a lot that ended in me crying and Casey leaving, but he always came back. We would apologize and move one, but the roots of our problems were never discussed or solved.
Now fast forward three years and we have a premature baby and I’m living in Little Rock almost full time. For four months we pretty much lived apart. Not only were we miles apart physically, but also as husband and wife. Bringing Averie home united us as a family. We worked very well together, but our lives were dedicated to this little miracle and once again we let things in our relationship slide.
Then just a little over a month later there we were thrown into this thing called grief and who knows how to do that?! He grieved his way and I grieved mine and let me tell you it looked completely different for each of us. On the outside, Casey remained calm, steady and seemed to move on so quickly. Me on the other hand, I was a basket case. It seemed he was always having to pick me up. After awhile that made me angry. “Why don’t you ever cry?!” “Do you not miss her?!” “I’m tired of being the one who’s always falling apart!” For a time we went to grief counseling, but we were just going through the motions. I don’t think we ever really allowed ourselves to dig in. I guess at the time we weren’t ready.
So we stopped talking about it and decided to have another baby. Having another baby was all I could think about. I had this hole in my heart and I needed to fill it. I felt so broken and empty. I was robbed of being a mother to my daughter and at the time the only thing I thought would remedy it was another child. This is bold I know, but that’s what our marriage began to revolve around. Another baby was all I wanted, nothing else mattered. I didn’t care about the other areas of our marriage that were suffering. I figured if we could just have another baby that would fix everything.
Six months go by and still no baby. Looking back now and seeing how everything unfolded I think, “Tressa you were so stupid!” God is so perfect in everything He does. As you read in the “Moving Forward By Moving Back” blog, I found out I was pregnant a few weeks after we moved back into our home and a week after what would have been Averie’s first birthday.
I know it’s hard to believe but having another baby did not fix our marital problems. Hmmm…
Asher did bring the joy back into our family. The three of us together, we were great! Casey was and still is the BEST father. Everything I ever wanted in a father for my children, Casey is and so much more, but the gap between Casey and I only became wider and wider. We were on this vicious cycle of fighting, apologizing, making up, and enjoying the calmness for awhile. Then our issues would rear their ugly heads and the cycle would begin again. I felt like I was suffocating!
I did not like who I had become to him and to myself. I felt that I had become everything I despised. The baggage we had accumulated was too heavy and too much to carry so I was ready to leave. I wanted to start over; have a clean slate. Had I done that, I would have carried that baggage right into the next relationship. This was an inside job! I was part of the problem! Casey and I both had deep rooted issues that we had ignored for years. My expectations for him had become so unrealistic. I created this mold that I wanted him to fit into and he was resisting and beginning to resent me.
We knew if we did not do something we would not make it.
The first thing we did was decide that we were in this. We were dedicated to doing the work and not only saving our marriage but making it all it should be.
We began seeing a Christian marriage counselor. One of the first things he identified was that our own personal relationships with Christ were lacking. We were missing that intimate and abiding relationship with Him. Over the next eight months a lot was revealed and there were times when I didn't see how it could ever get better but we stayed faithful. There were days of crying, days of talking it out, days of silence. Slowly, we began to see a difference in each other and our relationship. We began to see as we put God in His rightful place, He took care of everything else. I started to see Casey differently and he began to see a new me. We were falling in love all over again.
We remembered what it was like to be together. No longer did we struggle to find things to talk about. No longer was it awkward to kiss. No longer were we just roommates coexisting and raising a son. We were a husband and wife functioning the way God intended. (Ephesians 5:22-33) I looked at this man I had married and I had a new respect and love for him because he was loving and cherishing me as Christ commanded. We had an awakening. The blinders had been removed.
God without a doubt transformed our marriage. He healed and restored parts of us that had been so badly wounded.
This transformation roots from an abiding relationship with Christ. When we turned ourselves over to him, He immediately began to work and as we've continued to walk in this new relationship we have seen His hand on our lives like never before.
I love Casey Wayne Booth with every ounce of my being. I am so happy I get to share my life with him. Because of these storms we have endured our love and bond is only stronger. We can overcome anything with Christ and so can you.
Don't give up, get on your knees and surrender your life to Him. Allow your marriage to grow and get to the good stuff.