I don’t know why I’m surprised, but I am, kind of. I shouldn’t be. He is so good. So, so, so good!
God has been so faithful to me. To me! He told me to wait. He told me to be patient. To be still. To be quiet, and I did. I was. And He was faithful.
It was 9 weeks last Friday that my husband walked out. 9 weeks of not knowing. 9 weeks of wondering. Defending. Loving. 9 weeks of trying to hold it together best I could.
I have spent the last 9 weeks in an array of emotions. And even that is an understatement.
I was angry. I was hurt. I was sad. I was relieved. I was happy. I was empowered. I would dance between the high’s and the low’s every single day. I didn’t know what was going to happen, but He did.
Friends would console me, but I would proclaim, ‘It’s not over. He hasn’t said it was over.’
Immediately, I got the praise. “Lauren, you’re so strong. Lauren, I don’t know how you’re doing it. Lauren, I would have left by now.”
As I have said this whole time, it was never me. I had become my weakest. I didn’t have the strength to make decisions. I could barely get out of bed most days. It was always Him.
Honestly? The best thing my husband could have done for me was to walk out. I know that might sound weird to most of you, but after living this experience, I can say with certainty that it was the best thing for me. For us.
But that was before.
After 9 weeks, he’s finally home.
So what next? Because we would be silly to pretend like nothing happened. We would be silly to think that it could just go back to the way it was. Now what?
Well, we’re dating. Yep. Dating.
Yes, I know we’ve been together for almost 10 years. Yes I know that we will be celebrating 5 years of marriage later this year, but things have changed and so we need to reintroduce ourselves to each other.
So, we’re dating.
I don’t think we’re in a rush. I think we are taking it day by day, learning what we can about each other all over again. Learning about who we’ve become over the last 9 weeks. Over the last 10 years.
Like, now my husband, er, boyfriend, loves to watch baseball. I had no idea. Do I love baseball? No friggin’ way, but when you’re dating, you learn to do things that they like to do, not for any other reason, but because you like them, and you like spending time with them. So, I’m watching baseball.
We’re taking it slow. I’m sure we have a lot of people who are expecting us to fail. The many “I told you so-er’s” But finally, we are on the same page. We know what we want. We know what’s important. And we realize we’re worth it. This marriage is worth it. This family is worth it. And those two kids are worth it.
What I have learned most throughout this entire process is that marriage, on it’s own, is hard. Like really, really, really hard. Two people, two separate lives becoming one, is hard.
But He gave me people to look up too. It turns out that I’m not the only one who realizes just how hard marriage is. People have come out of nowhere to comfort and console me. I actually had someone google search ‘Beautycounter and Psoriasis’ which led them to my blog, which led them to my ‘Faith’ section, which led them to reach out to me and let me know that they were praying, which led me to share with them to pray specifically for my marriage, which led them to share with me about their own separation and struggle with marriage that had taken place just a few months earlier. I don’t believe in coincidences at all.
“I have been there.” They say.
Even throughout this I have found new friends, old friends, and now my best friend. In a period of my life where the enemy wanted me to feel unwanted, unloved, not good enough, He made sure that wasn’t the case.
Through texts, phone calls, conversations at the pool, conversations over a glass of wine, I knew I was none of those things. I let Him define me. And while I was certainly not perfect and I do realize that it takes two people to make up a marriage, and it takes two people to either make that marriage good or make that marriage bad, He made sure that I knew just how loved I was.
For so long, I hid. I hid behind my husband’s faults and weaknesses. And once he walked out, I stopped hiding. I had to. I came face to face with my fears, my regrets, my weaknesses. I came face to face with who I was and who I wanted to be.
I am grateful for a God who forgives. A God who doesn’t see any of my flaws. A God who sees His perfect daughter. I see myself like that now. I still struggle. I’m still broken, but I try not to see the pieces, yet I focus on the glue, the tape, the string that holds me together. He did that for me.
He has given us another chance. A chance to do this right. He knew what I needed. He knew that if we had been in NC and our marriage continued the way it was, I would left. I would have left and I never would have looked back. He knew.
The first few days after Justin left I didn’t know what to pray for. I cried for days, sobbed uncontrollably. All I could do was beg God to give me another chance and allow me to be the wife He wanted me to be.
And so now we’re dating.