This is not what you might think and it is extremely personal and painful but I have a need to write. I might even keep it in the draft folder rather than publish it. If you do read this please understand that you may not agree with my moral and spiritual take on life.
Today I watched Christian TV. Not something I do often because I rarely seem to have the TV to myself. Without looking at the program list I began watching and I've been caught up with, by my own slackness or God, ... whatever, I want to write down some thoughts and that means a little history too. The program we are talking about was on marriage, the joy of long lasting marriage and tips on making it work. I have been married 45 years so you would think I would have some kind of handle on a happy/good marriage.
Before I write another word ... I love my husband dearly. TWJ Has many wonderful characteristics and I know he loves me and is faithful to me. He is also deeply flawed as most of us are. We met before I knew Jesus as my Saviour although I had some Church involvement. I carried the burden and shame of some serious sin including self-abortion which continued after we married when I found "the Pill" did not suit me and I was afraid of having more children. God changed my mind about the value of life, healed me of the things that led me into this sin and I discovered total forgiveness, freedom from shame and unconditional love.
The experience I have of/with God is very precious and no-one can shake my faith that God is a real person with all the attributes in the Bible and a personal interest in me. Amazing!
Having said that, I live with a broken heart. TWJ refuses to believe that it is worth turning his life over to Jesus. There are aspects of our family life and marriage which seem to be impossible to heal unless we become 'equally yoked' in a spiritual sense. This division is undermining our relationship. I have contemplated separation and decided that I've not come this far to give up now.
To rub salt and acid and any other painful thing you can imagine into this wound our children have very broken lives. I will not go into detail but imagine how you would feel if one of your sons had a motor-bike accident and became a paraplegic days before his 22nd birthday. That is not the end of G's story and the pain we feel for this son is nothing compared to the heartbreak we have experienced with each of our other children.
I became a 'born again' Christian in February 1974. Some of my readers were not even born then. We had been married nearly 11 years and had 3 children the fourth was born 18 months later. All this time I have loved walking with God. I have always been very serious about being the best mother and wife I could be. It was paramount before I became a Christian and more so after that moment. I also found a new love for my Bible and the Church. The desire to share this with TWJ is so intense it takes my breath away. There is a depth of longing nothing can touch. Somehow I balance this with continuing to agree that he must have the freedom to make his own choice.
But it leaves us with a huge gap in our lives. Communication is often shallow. How can we go deep when we have such different values? I accept that he doesn't understand why I think the way I do .... the clash between the spiritual man and the natural man is clangingly discordant. I also appreciate that because of this I am sometimes saved from being over-religious in my thinking and able to relate to the real world.
Because I was radically saved, the turn around in my heart was complete. It was like being turned upside down and all that I was and am, the good and the bad was shaken out so that God could restore to me what he found good and build on that. I know I have been at times obnoxious in my passion for God. I know TWJ feels that my faith has damaged our relationship because there are so many ways in which I am not the person he married. But I am more whole, more the real person I am meant to be than ever. I know he has been jealous, with good reason at times, of my involvement in the Church and my Christian friends. He has also made space for me to go to Church and be involved because he saw how much it meant to me.
None of this has satisfied the ache in my heart. Nothing has changed the basic root cause of my anguish and pain. TWJ's refusal to acknowledge Jesus as Lord. It seems like the cruelest form of rejection from someone I dearly love. The distress of continuing to walk 'unequally yoked' in a spiritual sense is separating us in ways that no family problem could. We are becoming further and further apart, living like good friends and flat mates rather than soul mates. I have done all I can to give our marriage a chance to be more rather than less. I listen to all the wonderful and truthful things Christian couples say who have been married for years and it hits me painfully. That's what finally got to me as I drank my last coffee before going to work.
Now it's almost time to go to work with this raw grief stirred up. Something I live with, know is there, do not deny, pray about, refuse to let spoil the good things of our life, although it is capable of paralysing me physically and emotionally. I will stop now as I have about 10 minutes to wash my face, clean my teeth and leave for work. I will put on a smile and hide my anguish and in a few minutes will face the world as though I have nothing to stop me from bubbling over with joy. God gives me this strength and this joy beyond my understanding.
Home from work and we continue our side by side marriage. I'm going to publish this post because it's the truth. Work, by the way, was fun. Lots of laughs. The town is abuzz with the annual Scallop Festival, a wine & food thing. http://www.scallopfestival.co.nz/
There are drunks everywhere and some are disgustingly drunk but most are here to have a great time with friends so there is lots of laughter and joking etc. This is the curtain-raiser for spring and eventually summer holidays at the beach. Yesterday the sun was warm enough to encourage people to swim although the sea is freezing and there was a bit of sun kissed skin around. Today was cold and showery but that didn't dampen people's spirits and I heard some great comments, people impressed by the organisation etc. No mean feat for a small community.
I love the joy but I long for WHOLE MARRIAGE. I know it is promised. I have carried in my heart for over 30 years a special dream. It gives me faith to believe that one day TWJ & I will walk in harmony together. I wish it would begin today. I hate the way I react to Christian programmes about marriage. I have never heard one that properly recognised the 'unequally yoked' and encouraged us to continue. Most Christian teaching and TV programmes about marriage sound like sentimental twaddle to those of us who live with non-Christian spouses. It feels a bit like the old traditional way of treating a woman who was being abused by her husband. If she plucked up enough courage to discuss it with a pastor, or anyone for that matter, she was told it was wrong to leave her marriage and she had to learn to live with it because the institute of marriage is greater than the happiness and well being of the participants.
I do have a Pastor who understand better than I do the pain we women in unequally yoked marriages endure. He has great compassion for us and saw my pain long before I was willing to admit to it even to myself. He also understands that I have chosen to continue in my marriage in spite of the pain, in faith, even though there is little reason to hope. In our small congregation are other women, all close friends of his wife, who are gifted in ministry, have a lot to offer the Church and are restricted in their freedom to follow their heart's desires because the greater call on their lives is to continue to be faithful in marriage.
My eating plan went out the window when I woke about 3 am and was still tossing and turning an hour later. I got up and made myself a hot drink and a sandwich filled with sultanas & almonds, then I made another. I had a couple more hours sleep before it was time to get up and had yoghurt for breakfast. TWJ starts work at 9 am on Saturdays so after dropping him off I stopped at the bakery to buy a slice for Mum and bought myself not one but two!!!!!!! pieces of chocolate heaven cake. My morning snack consisted of coffee with chocolate cake as did my lunch but I also ate a cheese sandwich ... not ordinary cheese but rich creamy brie. Before work came another cup of coffee with a large SuperMarket muffin. No wonder I wasn't very hungry when I got home. Just as well I had to work or I would have fallen into a sad old eating hole. Grief is a diet killer. Grrrrr! to those happy, smiling faces with their smug quotes, hand holding and sickly sweet eye contact, who gave little thought to those of us who are 'unequally yoked.' I know I'm not being fair .... who knows what terrors they have survived.
I apologise if you have been given more information than you wanted but to copy from some of my Blogging friends: This is my Blog and I can write what I like.
Thank God tomorrow is another day and guaranteed to be different. Blessings all.