We've had a typical morning for us... coffee club a few minutes before the kids wake up, car line in our most fancy clothes (duds and my cozy robe), and dishing the day's agenda in the kitchen before we open our laptops and get to work. Him at the kitchen table and me on the living room floor with the baby, with my computer wedged as far back as the couch will allow to keep the keys away from his slobbery little fingers.
Today I'm regrouping after a horrible night's sleep (I see you, teething) and resetting my mind. Because once or twice a semester we get to share our story with a group of couples committed to growing their marriages through a program called ReEngage, and tonight's the night. All ages, all stages; some are the most fulfilled they’ve ever been and some are there as a last-ditch effort to save their relationship.
We’ve been in both those places.
Our marriage story is hard to tell but it’s important to share. It’s good for us to remember where we came from and where we still want to go. And in the version we share at ReEngage, there is no black and white filter. We share the whole technicolor version. No edits. No cuts. The whole true marriage story, from happy newlyweds to stress, finances, an affair, #btp, renewing our vows, starting over, and how each of our miracle children shaped and impacted our marriage along the way.
The ugly parts of the story are still cringy for me, and saying them into a microphone puts me so far out of my comfort zone I have to pretend nobody's there. That's saying a lot for someone who puts her whole life out on the internet on a daily basis. But we don't sugar coat anything. We call it was it was, and describe in vivid detail how we got there, what happened, and how we came through it (by the grace of God).
It was a bloody battle but the outcome was worth it. We’re different people now and the understanding/respect/love we cultivated is more than I ever dreamed for. (It’s still really hard sometimes... marriage is hard because we’re all hopelessly humanly flawed. I’m grateful for all we learned. It helps us when old wounds and patterns come haunting.)
If you’re even a little curious about our story or ReEngage itself, come sneak in the back tonight and check it out. You’ll at least hear a story that will make you feel a little better about your own life and choices. 😂 6:30 PM at The Woodlands United Methodist Church, in the Harvest worship space. If your spouse won't come, it doesn't matter - Jack and I each attended alone on separate occasions before we could agree to go together.
Healthy people get help. I admire anyone willing to work on themselves and work on their marriage. It’s not easy, and it takes time, but it’s totally worth it. If your marriage is in great shape, it’s the perfect way to connect and deepen your love. (It's a built-in date night and free child care every Tuesday!) . And if you’re at that call-it-quits point, I promise this program is worth the try. At the very least, at the end, you’ll know you gave it all you had.
If you’re not local, I bet there’s a ReEngage happening in your neck of the woods. And if not, search for a program that helps you connect with your spouse, whether it’s a weekend intensive, a great counselor to help you work through some tricky topics, or a group of friends that will hold you accountable and encourage you as a couple. Nobody gets through it alone.
You are the only one responsible for your one amazing life. Your most important relationship is deserving of every ounce of loving care and attention you invest in it. Your marriage story will be full of lots of bumps and cliff's edges. And if it haven't seen them yet, I promise they'll surprise you when you least expect it.
Send up a little prayer today, if you're so inclined... that the marriage story we share tonight will be a light and a blessing to each person and couple listening. And while you're at it, pray for your marriage too. You're meant for a union that has lasting impact for good.
Jessica is a writer, musician, entrepreneur, wife, and mom. Jessica's mission is to write "real" - shining light into the dark places of the tough stuff we all experience. She and her husband Jack live in Houston, Texas and have weathered the storms of grief, infant loss, adoption, and a marriage that almost fell apart. Jessica and Jack have 4 children, LJ in heaven, Grace, Jackson, and brand new baby Elisha.