Ever forget how far you’ve come and what your marriage used to be?
Driving past a park a few weeks back made us recall some really desperate times early on in our marriage. The Anxiety and Depression years!! Yes! you read that right…years! Ugh! NOT FUN!!! We look back and know for certain that we only made it thru by trusting the Lord…just one step at a time. I was working a very stressful job while Allen was going to school full-time (in addition to working part-time). We knew it was what we had to do to make things work and reach our goal of me staying home after we had kids, but it wasn’t easy at all. It meant a lot of hours of not seeing each other or getting to spend a lot of time together. It also meant (or we thought it did) Carol sticking with her well-paying but high-stress job in order to make ends meet and save a little. This is the hard part we’re about to share. Even though anxiety and depression are very common, it’s always hard to talk about it. Allen would pick me up from work every Wednesday and we were to head to church to eat dinner and both work (in the children’s program - separately…not the brightest idea, but that’s for another marraige mondays post). I taught the 1st and 2nd grade girls missions program and even though it was one of the highlights of my week (I loved those little girls dearly!), it really was more than I could handle at the time (but I wasn’t aware of that). So, instead of heading to church to enjoy a nice dinner with our church family, Allen would pull over at a park and I would literally just cry for an hour or so (as I processed my stressful day with him), and then I would dry my eyes, fix my makeup, paint my Jesus smile on and go to church and teach little girls! Oh my goodness! If I had only known that wasn’t my only option. But God used that mess (as he always does).
Allen was so very patient with me through it all though. He would just listen to me, encourage me, remind me of his love, pray for me and just be there for me. He never minimized it, expressed irritation with me, told me I was crazy (ha-ha), or treated me as less of a person because of it. This man deserves a medal, yall! We really didn’t know where to reach out for help either because when you are going through anxiety and depression, your brain is not firing on all cylinders and you are not at all logical! I unfortunately believed the lie that I was very messed up and couldn’t tell anyone (especially not a church member), because they would think I’m not truly a Christian (UGH! I won’t even go into the reasons I believed that, but it was deeply rooted in a legalistic background). Anyhow, I did eventually begin to receive healing through a job change and medication, which did indeed make a huge difference for a little while (although side-effects from it presented new challenges). All that to say, that was a very dark time in our marriage and we really couldn’t see very far ahead at all. We couldn’t see past the dark moments we felt stuck in…but God certainly could. He had great plans for us all along and we just had to take it one moment at a time and trust in Him and hang on to each other through it all.
Now for the remembering part! So as we drove past that park the other day where we used to get through that dark time together, we were reminded of all God has brought us through and how we have gotten where we are today! So just wanted to share a few tips on what and how to REMEMBER!!! Remembering sometimes propels you forward by reminding you that if you can get through the challenges of the past, then you can certainly overcome the current and future challenges. It give you hope that everything will be okay and challenges you to not give up in the tough moments.
So here it goes!
WHAT TO REMEMBER:
*Remember when you fell in love
*Remember what you love about each other
*Remember what drew you to each other
*Reminisce of 1st dates… or when you 1st met… or when you 1st realized he/she was “The One”
*Remember the tough times especially…the times you thought you would never make it through…but Remind yourself where you are now and that when tough times come again (if you’re not already in the middle of them), that your marriage will survive them…because Together - You are Stronger!
HOW TO REMEMBER:
*Revisit a meaningful place - a place you have been before that was important to your relationship (such as the park I mentioned in the story above)
* Cheirsh old photos/videos together
*Rewatch your wedding video (if you have one - even if it’s just part of it on a phone. We have one …on VHS yall!!! Ha-ha. But it’s so special to us!)
*Read old letters together that you shared with each other when you were dating or early on in your marriage. (You will probably laugh at your "younger you” but it’s sure to spark a few flames. Hee-hee)
*Write new letters to each other describing what made you 1st love your spouse & what you love about them now
*Recreate your 1st date (or the date you got engaged or another special date)
So there it is! You get the idea and you are bound to think of so many more on your own but this list will get you started. We would love to hear from you if you get a minute to leave a comment below and either let us know how you remember together or even leave some encouragement for us. Hee-hee. After all, we could ALL use some marriage encouragement. It’s not easy to keep our marriages strong, but…it’s so worth it!
Don’t forget to remember!
Allen & Carol