My husband and I are struggling.
It is so hard to admit, harder still to write.
The sentence looks so real on the page, yet it doesn’t even begin to tell the whole story. It minimizes, trivializes, diminishes the seriousness of our current position.
My husband has not been employed in any meaningful way for a very long time. He has been unsuccessful in changing this situation, and it has fallen to me, a stay-at-home mom, to cobble together an assortment of low paying jobs to keep us afloat. It’s not working. And to complicate things even more, the financial troubles spawned trust issues that led to intimacy issues that finally devolved into a scenario where we became little more than polite but distant roommates, uninterested in the details of each other’s lives.
This was a frightening and unacceptable situation for a couple who promised all-in, no holds barred, complete and total “’til death do us part” loyalty, fidelity and love. A couple who is raising two young children who deserve and need parents to model a healthy relationship, and who are committed and loving, not just to them, but to each other as well.
I have always been a woman of faith. And so I began to pray. I intentionally prayed for my husband. I knew I had no real power to change him. I had heard that people can only change themselves, and only if they really want to, and even then, success is not guaranteed.
Change is hard. Sometimes it’s impossible. For us.
But for God? Nothing is impossible. I prayed for my husband to find his way. For him to have the desire to embrace and accept the responsibility to provide for his family. For him to be kinder, more patient, slower to anger. For him to be humble if opportunities presented themselves. For him to understand that the status quo was no longer an option. To take action. To admit mistakes. To be brave. To be a man.
I had reached a point where I was losing my faith in my marriage. I didn’t trust my husband to be the man I had always believed him to be. I doubted his honesty, his integrity, his work ethic, and his commitment to me and our children. I felt deceived. There was no intimacy. Hugs became fewer and fewer. Good night kisses were forgotten. Even the hand-holding that once marked our nightly family walks was abandoned.
This was all me.
My husband wanted intimacy with me. He craved it and needed it. But I was hurt, and I was angry, and I kept my distance. And I prayed. I was dismayed when I saw no change. On the surface nothing was different. I was a woman praying for her husband, and it seemed God had no answer for me. Yet still I prayed.
And then one day, something happened. Something completely unexpected and unasked for. After weeks and months of distrust and disinterest I found myself desiring my husband. This hadn’t happened for a very long time. And the next day, I felt the same way. And the day after that. Suddenly my husband and I had regained the physical aspect of our marriage that had been missing for so long. I had lost the inhibition that came with not trusting him. I was able to give myself to him again. And I didn’t have to force myself. I didn’t have to lie to myself or compromise myself because God filled me with desire for my husband. All the time I feared God was not answering my prayers He was actually working behind the scenes to improve my marriage from the inside out, giving me what I didn’t even know I needed, what I hadn’t asked for, or what I didn’t realize I had been asking for.
My husband’s inability to provide for his family made him question his self-worth. It shook his confidence and made him hesitant to try. It made him doubt his role as a husband and father, made him doubt himself as a man. But now, using the most basic yet most intimate aspect of the marital relationship, God was rebuilding us. He answered my prayers in a way I never expected or even imagined. He gave me the tools to help my marriage succeed. When my husband felt valued and loved, respected and desired, everything else began to change. It strengthened him and fortified him. It gave him a sense of purpose and an assurance that he is more than capable, more than competent, every bit the man he needs to be, and that he is enough.
My husband is working again and he is working hard. We are not “there” yet and we have a long, long way to go, but we are working on it. Our struggles now are all from external forces, not issues we have created for ourselves. Instead of being divided, we stand together and we are stronger. We came back to each other. This is our comeback. Thank you, God.
Lonna Seibert is a museum professional and archaeologist currently working as a preschool teacher and chasing the dream of publishing River Farm, her first novel. She loves God, country and family, as well as polka dots, windy days, vintage kitchens, the great outdoors, and most anything made with basil. A wife and mother to two young children, she lives in northern Virginia and shares her writing here.s