When we thought everything was supposed to be getting better, everything went wrong.
We scrambled to fix and mend and find explanations, but nothing was working and our love was dying. Like flower petals that turn inward, shrivel and eventually collapse because the root has died.
Our roots had died, and our marriage was showing pre-signs of impending doom. We were watching marriages in close proximity to us crumble.
But we recognized it early enough. We stood before each other and realized sometimes the only way to save a marriage is to save ourselves first.
For some reason we have people who ask us advice on marriage. (#LEASTQUALIFIED people ever BTW. We did NOT do things the traditional way. Or the Biblical way. Or really any way anyone wanted us to do it.)
Every time we are asked, I hear my husband say, “You can’t have a healthy marriage with an unhealthy person.”
Self care isn’t some hipster, millennial invented, first world privilege. Self care isn’t latte’s, painting your nails, binge watching, or being addicted to work outs. No. That’s self worship.
Self care getting dirty. It means digging in. Going to counseling. Facing your deepest darkest inner demons. It means putting your phone down. It means having the hard conversations. It means going to support groups. It means going to rehab. It means going to parenting classes. It means getting your body healthy. (Which yes… might mean working out.) It might mean walking away. Self care looks like processing trauma and abuse. It might mean selling your house and giving up toys you immerse your self in to avoid the darkness.
I lost this man once because I was unhealthy. Chronically unhealthy. I did not know then what Trauma Brain was. Or understand Complex PTSD or Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I was still hiding my sexual abuse. I didn’t know what the heck an Enneagram was or the Myers Briggs. I did not know Christianity was NOT a list of does and don’t’s and judgement.
I won’t tell you my husband’s struggles because they are not mine to tell.
But I will tell you that “they” were right.
You never stop learning about your spouse, and your love only gets deeper and deeper as time goes on.
But it only happens when you get yourself healthy.
When you truly can stand before your spouse and say, “This is me. Mud covered and all.”
The Bible talks a lot about “being known.”
The word known in the Bible goes beyond just knowing a person’s likes or dislikes. It goes beyond just sex.
Knowing refers to seeing someone truly as they are and loving without any other reason except they are a human who needs to be loved. God can see us wholly before we were even crafted in our mother’s womb.
But in a marriage it takes time. It takes self care. It takes standing naked before each other both emotionally and literally and knowing.
I will not lose this man again because of my own unhealth.
He will not lose me.
He is my lobster.
The Gilbert to my Anne.