This month’s “What’s Your Secret” comes from an anonymous fellow blogger who goes by Pearl. I’m so appreciative of her openness and vulnerability to write the tough stuff. My hope is that her amazing story will make an impact on many marriages to come! Thank you, Pearl!
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.
Returning to our married student housing apartment one afternoon, he looked at me and profoundly said, “I want our marriage to always be based upon respect and communication.” He didn’t mean that he wanted me to always respect and communicate to him. He meant a RECIPROCAL arrangement. He wasn’t going to Lord over me, nor was I going to be the nagging woman.
Not long after, he pointed to Ephesians 5:21, “Submit to each other out of reverence for Christ,” and told me that was the verse he was talking about.
The 5:21 Rule is the foundation by which the ship of our marriage was built. We have weathered a few squalls of conflict and one hurricane of crisis. In good times and bad, we have always shared our deep committed faith in the Lord. We have the ‘forever’ mindset.
Through the years we have been in Bible classes where much is made of Eph. 5:22-25 in regards to the husband/wife relationship. We feel, if you are doing 5:21 right, 22-25 are already in line. (We realize not everyone feels this way.) He and I both look to the Lord first and foremost.
The world was our oyster in the beginning. Within the first three years, we brought three little ‘he-urchins’ 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. When they became school aged, I went back to work part-time. 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 mental issues 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 extremes, memory problems. We chose the path of least resistance and labeled it ADHD. At his 15th year, we had a full blown drug problem and suicidal tendencies. Testing with a neuropsychologist, it was 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 on the road constantly for business. For several years leading up to this, I had been the 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. My husband was medicating through pornography and strip clubs. I was medicating through food and alcohol. Our son was medicating with illegal substances. 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 spiritual oneness and belief never faltered, just everything else. We were in misery and wanted relief.
Our first step was to find counselors. Of the three, only our sons’ proved to be the best fit. OF COURSE, we were delving into the word and praying. Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit,” became my solace scripture. My husband reminded me of this scripture by sending me a KLOVE email in the midst of our turmoil.
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.
All married couples are going to experience a maelstrom or two. It’s a choice to look to the Lord and say, “I’ll do whatever it takes, most of all changing MYSELF,” to heal a marriage.
Now, nearing our 26th Anniversary, we have a deep seated joy. My joy is to have regained my light-hearted husband while knowing (and sometimes helping) the inner man, his struggles/strengths. His joy is seeing our three sons, now young men, seek and love God. He also says that seeing my love of service makes him proud. We have fun together. We continue to grow in the Lord together. PRAISE GOD that He isn’t through with either one of us, yet!!
We are so thankful for The 521 Rule, Grace and Nakedness.
The grittiness of life has helped shape Pearl. Her luster comes from layers of experience and HOPE from the beloved Word of God. Pearl has parented children with learning issues, has navigated the genepool of mental illness, and has dealt with marital conflict and sexual fulfillment issues. Pearl focuses on sexual intimacy and restoring waning female libido. She wishes to share HOPE with her beautiful readers to help them understand their men, marriage and sex. Swim on over to the oysterbed (www.oysterbed7.com) where the water is fine!