As I began to proof read everything, I thought I would share the worship song I’m listening to right now: Feel free to play it as you read through what I’m sharing with you!
This is going to be long, so I’ll just apologize right now. I shared it on my personal Facebook page a little while ago, but from some private messages I received, I decided that maybe I should be sharing this a little more publicly, as scary as it feels to do!
I’ll also add that I am by no means a leader in a church, or a counselor… this is solely based off of my personal self, or things I’ve taken in. Take what I share, and dwell on it yourself to decide what it means to you. It’s taken me a lot of personal time and prayer to get to where I am now. I’m talking 3+ solid years of nothing but prayer and worship music a few times a day.
These New York City photos have been included because of the spontaneous, God lead, road trip I took with my son about 2 weeks ago now. I knew what I needed to do, but I didn’t know how I was going to do it, so I felt that I needed to take this road trip to truly clear my mind and guide me to where I needed to go.
God totally blessed me the entire trip, from where I stayed, to the random people I met along the way. I’m so glad I took the leap of faith to travel all the way to Maine with my munchkin for this!
I rarely share truly personal based things on social media because well, 1.) it’s just social media and 2.) I’m a business owner, a wedding photographer at that, a lover of weddings and marriage (of all ironic things to be) when started right, and worked on in the right manner, with the right hearts.
But it’s mostly because people just don’t really need to know about my personal life every other day, or week, or month. Not on full blast at least. I don’t need that kind of personal validation from others through my own life events. And I don’t really mind if some people think I can’t make up my mind about things, because I’m not sharing my whole life story with very many people at all.
However, I feel like this just needs to be shared, maybe someone needs to hear it.
I’ve spent about the last week diving in, not only being honest with myself, but finally being honest with God too.
I’ve been doing nothing but praying for months now, whether it be with the church, or with people in my little prayer circle.
But here’s the conclusion I’ve come across through videos, prayer, and reading:
The Church has really started to idolize marriage.
There. I said it. We all tend to place marriage above so many other things.
So much so that nearly worst of worst situations can arise, and we’re told that we should just keep praying over it. That people can change. That if we forgive and allow them to grow sometimes with space, that the marriage can be saved. That if only we pray harder. If only we just reconcile.
We idolize it so much that even the offended in the relationship feels guilty for choosing their own sanity over keeping a marriage going. That they feel like the one tearing a family apart. That they feel the guilt for not wanting to pray for a saved marriage, for not being willing to allow for more chances. That they feel like less of a good person for “giving up” on their marriage. That they should have kept fighting harder or longer, prayed differently.
We’re told that marriages can be, and will be, saved because we have a great Father, and He loves marriages. He hates divorce. We should save our marriage at all costs. Our marriage can be saved. Give it time and our marriage will be healed.
But at what cost?
Sure, the marriage can be saved. Sure. But what will it do to the people or person involved? At what cost to the foundation or lack there of? At what cost to the trust, or willingness to come back from a hardened heart? At what cost of a completely loveless marriage? At what cost to the sanity of those involved, to the future of the children and what they’ll be brought up in?
Of course God can fix all things for the greater good. I don’t doubt that, but there is also free will, so of course He CAN, but not if the person isn’t honest to heart and willing.
How many years do you have to devote yourself to prayer over a person before you can leave without coming out as the selfish spouse, the one that didn’t wait long enough, the one that should have prayed harder?
At what point can people admit that marriage isn’t the most important thing to hold onto? That maybe a life is more important than holding onto the “some day things will change” mindset. That more people in the church need to look at the heart of both people involved, not just the idea of the marriage and it’s saving grace. That more people should dig deeper into the actual motives of both people.
The thing is, the Bible doesn’t tell us to keep going back. God tells us that we need to be wise, to guard our hearts. We aren’t meant to forgive and immediately start trust / reconciliation… not even God does that.
He loves all, but He doesn’t trust all. He doesn’t reconcile with all either, so why are we forcing it upon our own selves?
God doesn’t just allow for “I’m sorry. I messed up,” then act like everything is good and gravy now. He requires a consistent change in heart before He is willing to trust and reconcile with us, He requires true conviction from us.
So, why aren’t we truly following in those steps as well? Whether in marriage or in every day relationships. Why are we choosing to only follow bits and pieces of what God does for us, and then feel terrible for not doing exactly what God does to us?
What will it take for us to truly dig deeper into those that we love, to question them about their why for staying? To remind them that they’re no less of a person for saying enough is enough? That even if a person has changed, it’s okay to say you still don’t want them back. That it’s okay to forgive and reconcile, but still go your separate ways…
It’s taken me 3 years of marriage, with a year and a half of it separated, and a few months in “reconciliation” to finally admit to myself that I don’t want a saved marriage, to admit it to God in prayer. To say I know He could fix it, but I don’t want it fixed. That I don’t want to see where this leads in 5 years. In 10 years. That I don’t want to grow old with this person. That I don’t even want to live a fake life of acting like I love said person as an actual spouse, not just how I love every person that I meet. That I am not selfish for making this decision. That I have every right to choose this path.
But the sad thing is, some people aren’t able to feel this way until much longer than 3 years later. Some people try and try for years, some even decades. Some people try so hard that at the end they become too cut off to ever have a healthy relationship again. So cut off that they no longer even care that they’re in a bad marriage.
They try so hard that they lose sight of the idea of a truly healthy relationship. They forget or smear the line of the true difference between a healthy marriage and a bad marriage. They tell themselves, “oh.. it’s not that bad. He has some good traits. We have history. He isn’t terrible all the time. He’s a good parent. I can wait this out a bit longer. I can stay a little longer for the kids. It could be so much worse. I’ll just focus on myself through this time.” (Could all be replaced with “she” too!)
But is that really the way we want to spend the rest of our lives? In this “could be worse” mentality? Knowing that God has a plan for us to prosper, not to harm us. We are the ones that choose to stay in the harmful, because we still have free will.
While God doesn’t like divorce, I urge people to truly read into the actual scripture that this references.
And while God tells us to forgive, it isn’t for that person, it’s for us and God. It doesn’t mean we have to stay because we forgive.
Because of our free will, it is up to us to decide to remove evil from our lives and let God take care of them on His own terms.
We aren’t meant to be the savior for those that are unhealthy for us. To think that thought just belittles how huge God is, and how perfect His timing is for everyone.
So for all of you, stop praying for the marriage to be saved if it isn’t truly in your heart. Don’t let other’s ideas of where you should be in your life dictate where you head. Focus on your intuition, and pray for direction along the way.
Remember that even the church is full of imperfect people, and their advice may not always be what you are needing.
Don’t just stay to stay. Because God has the exact person for you waiting, His best for you. The person that will help you grow. The person that helps you move through life, and through your faith. It isn’t someone that just leaves you in a constant state of confusion or depression. It’s someone that will better you regularly, even in both of your imperfect traits.
I’ve decided that I’m going to be sharing some guidelines for my single ladies, or my ladies that just aren’t married yet. It can also be geared towards the men out there as well, but seeing as I’m a woman, it’s easier to direct it towards the ladies in general.
It’ll be based off of my own personal journey, as well as from books I’ve read, counseling sessions I’ve attended, or videos I’ve watched.
I want to make sure that we really focus on the type of characteristics we want in our future husband, and that we don’t compromise, even if it feels like it’s never going to happen. That we place our focus not so much on finding this person, but on being this person for them. I’ll also share different videos I’ve liked, or books I’ve found to be beneficial.
I obviously didn’t really stick to my original plan the first time around, but I’ve promised myself since the day I was married, that I wouldn’t do that again.
I hope you’ll continue to follow through this series if you feel that it’ll pertain to you or someone you know! I’ll also share pretty photos throughout to keep your attention! 😉
If this particular blog post spoke to you, here are some of the resources I was going through this week that brought me to these revelations: