Today’s guest post is from Pearl.
Pearl’s focus is restoring waning female libido and sexual intimacy in marriage because of her own challenges in this area. The grittiness of life (parenting children with learning differences and navigating the genepool of mental illness) has also shaped Pearl. Her luster comes from the HOPE she’s received from the beloved Word of God. She wishes to share HOPE with her beautiful readers to help them redeem their low-libido. You can find Pearl in the OysterBed (www.oysterbed7.com).
Redeemed by 5:21, Grace and Nakedness.
~ Pearl (& Mr. Muscle approved)
Within the first two weeks of marriage, my handsome, young husband made a wise statement that we would return to again and again. He invoked the 5:21 rule, “I want our marriage to always be based upon respect and communication.”
Not long after, he pointed to Ephesians 5:21, and told me this was the verse he had been referring to. “Submit to each other out of reverence for Christ”.
The 5:21 rule is the rudder by which the ship of our marriage steers. Our ‘forever’ mindset is the keel.
In the beginning, still in college, the world was our oyster. By year 3, we had brought three sons home (twins and a spare). We traveled the road of life, hitting a few potholes. I was blessed to be able to stay home with our children until returning to part-time work when they became school-aged. Around the 16th year of our marriage, the convergence of three smaller squalls created the perfect storm. It was a gradual crescendo, as most problems in life are.
Our oldest son had shown signs of emotional extremes early on. It was prior to the internet revolution. I had limited means to find resources. I read what books I could. We found a child psychiatrist. But, the signs were only borderline; Impulse control, emotional swings, memory problems. We chose the path of least resistance labeling it ADHD. At his 15th year, we had full blown crisis and suicidal tendencies. A neuropsychologist determined he had been misdiagnosed and was suffering from atypical clinical depression. Atypical presents itself with anger instead of sadness. Add atypical depression into the mix of normal teen emotional volatility…let’s just say life was really calm at our house (sarcasm).
While all this is happening, my husband is providing well for us, but on the road constantly for business. I was a single parent most weekdays. We did not have the tools to stay emotionally bonded. We were independent personalities to begin with. Separation didn’t bother us, or so we thought. Fortunately, things started to unravel. “Fortunately?” you say. Yes, fortunately, because we were able to catch things before the maelstrom could totally destroy us.
Because of decisions made outside of God’s guidelines, we were a hurting family. I was medicating through alcohol and food. My husband was medicating through pornography and strip clubs. We were a mess.
It was at this point I realized, “This is how divorce happens.”
But, we still held fast onto our commitment to God, each other and forever. Our belief never faltered, just everything else. We were in misery and wanted relief.
Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit,” became our solace scripture. Both of our personal relationships with the Lord took on a new intimate dimension. He was the only thing keeping us afloat.
We sought out counselors. Of the three, only our sons’ proved to be the best fit. We kept searching for the right dry-dock to repair the wrecked ship of our marriage.
I knew my fun, carefree husband was locked inside of himself. I didn’t want to change my husband’s core, I just wanted to reconnect with him. I didn’t know how to regain our passion and zest for each other.
For about a year, I cried out to the Lord for HELP! The unwavering Lord never disappoints, in due time, when your will is aligned with His. We wished to strengthen our marriage against the strongholds of this world. A minister brought the Dynamic Marriage Class into our life. We learned many practical tools to help mend our broken hearts.
Grace was extended to us by our Lord. Grace emerged from both of our hearts toward each other. “….forgive as the Lord forgave you,” Col. 3:13. God gave us tools that were successful beyond what we had hoped.
Our marriage was forever changed. We entered Phase 2 of our life together.
Nakedness, emotional and physical, is the electricity that keeps our ship aglow and humming in Phase 2. My husband, Mr. Muscle, has a great physical need and I finally understood it. I have a great emotional need, he finally understood that. He opened up his heart and let me see his emotions. I allowed myself to get steamy in the bedroom. We understand even more fully, Ephesians 5:21. God used our most vulnerable, corrupt and hurting season to mold us into Christ’s likeness.
Phase 2 is a pleasure, but not perfect. Thankfully, we now have tools to work through occasional conflict.
If your marriage is experiencing a maelstrom, it doesn’t have to sink your ship. There is a choice involved. It’s a choice to allow your marriage to be redeemed, to look to the Lord and say, “I’ll do whatever it takes, most of all changing MYSELF,” to heal a marriage. That choice is important, but the follow-through is paramount. You have to take the steps, put into action, the healing treatment the Lord prescribes for your marriage.
We are so thankful for Ephesians 5:21, Grace and Nakedness.
Thanks for reading, would you consider leaving us a comment about Pearl’s story? And if you would like, let us know what you think about our idea of sharing Stories of Redeemed Marriages.