This will not end well.

We met in a bar after midnight.

We met in a bar after midnight just a few short weeks after my husband of nearly four years left me for the sixteen-year-old who would become his second wife.

The 1980s world around me pounded a steady drumbeat: this will not end well.

I was surrounded – a society of selfishness and greed, the pessimistic authors of articles on relationships, the twisted statistic that 50% of marriages end in divorce, and the people who’d known me from birth fully believing and saying aloud: this relationship will not withstand the test of time.

Decades later I am in a neighborhood park, seated in the front row – me, the widow – surrounded by family and friends, all the people dearest to me, except one – the man we are celebrating, the man God designed for me.

My sister-in law is standing on the grass facing me and other mourners. She is holding a microphone, giving an impromptu eulogy in lieu of the one prepared by another sibling – a brother delayed by heavy traffic.

I am coaching her to reveal the details, the bar… after midnight … to tell the story with transparency, without shame. The cloud of witnesses, our fellow mourners, includes a strong showing of people from church. There will be no condemnation. The story is known. My husband stood in front of them one Christmas Eve, not all that long ago, as we explored the birth of Jesus from Joseph’s prospective. My husband told our church as he looked at me: I loved her first.

In the warmth of a fading summer day so filled with sadness, my sister-in-law and I stand outside the apartment door, in a backyard filled with family. She shares with me the words my heart needs to hear:

he called us that summer, saying he’d met a great girl, then shared with us another joy – the kids.

Yes, I knew. And, yes, I needed to know again. My wounded heart had never quite relaxed into trusting that I was worthy of his love.

Nearly a hundred days have dawned then faded away since my husband’s unexpected death.

A week ago a disturbing realization crept up on me: even the strong and good marriages around me will not end well.

In a broken world, even as we live out our wedding vows, it will be death that parts us.

renee wurzerFounder of Whispered Hopes ministry, Renee Wurzer describes herself as a flawed, human and fragile encourager, a woman seeking to inspire others with courage and hope in Christ. A recent widow, her joy here on earth is her grandchildren, daughter, son, daughter-in-law and future son-in-law. She finds hope in walking with her faith community; editing for self-publishing authors, and writing her own blog. Learn more about Whispered Hopes here.