Seven Years In

Sometimes I crumble on the bedroom floor in tears. {What else would a bedroom floor be good for?}

The weight of whatever we’ve been talking about is too heavy to bear inside without letting it leak out through my eyes.

It’s when “I’m tired” turns into “You don’t get it. You don’t understand me like I thought you did. Like I need you to.”

And that’s when I simply don’t care any longer. I don’t care that as soon as I allow my lids to spill up and over and my eyes burn hot that that might just be the end of the “discussion.” That my tears might just be too much for him to handle on a Thursday evening.

And that it might seal my fate.

My sinuses fill and I sit with one leg hanging off the bed. He’s turned his back and he’s muttered something under his breath. On a night when I’m feeling feisty I’d shoot back at him.

“What did you SAY?” might have been my battle cry on a different night. A question meant to needle and slash cuts through a beloved friend.

But instead I’ve lost the motivation to hurt or to fight. To land square in the middle of pain for any longer. So I confess.

“I haven’t been sleeping. I mean I go to sleep but then I wake up early in the morning with intense anxiety. My heart races and I can’t seem to get my thoughts to stop. I think I’m worried and scared.”

The truth changes a heart when a heart is ready to listen. It even changes mine as I speak it aloud and I realize how much I really need him. “Why didn’t you tell me about this?” he asks.

And everything is different.

Apologies, kindness, memory. It all flows from a friendship and partnership that has deepened and matured for nearly fifteen years.

The difference between THEN and NOW is that we get to the heart of it quicker. We don’t talk about the sarcasm or the lost camera lens caps or the why-can’t-you-be-on-time as much and we head straight to what might be the heart of the matter.

Fatigue.

Lack of intentional love.

Listening.

Loss of identity.

Fear.

There is no perfection in either of us, except for that that we’ve allowed God to overtake.  Seven years in we are still struggling every day to act and speak in love, to listen without personal prejudice and to put the other first. Most days we fail in miserable ways, we climb into bed at night without having touched once during the last day, and we might even turn over to fall asleep and forget to kiss.

It happens. Only to us? I don’t think so.

We’ve been married for 14 and a half years, but I feel like things just begun seven years ago.

Seven years in we are flawed, but in love. We still hurt one another from time to time, but we are still fighting for each other. Seven years in we don’t know what the future holds but we know it ends with each other.

What have you learned in the last seven years about marriage or relationships?

To read our story, click here.

Comments

  1. says

    We stay vigilant at our task, and tired piles up on us. We press hard and after a while, weariness sets in.
    Weariness and well doing can creep upon us as couples. We see little success of the goals we want to accomplish and waiting on answers to come. It makes us feel we are entitled to be discouraged. “After all, I’ve been with him/her a long time.” We get enamored with our dilemma. What happened to sitting down and working out why love is not shown or doing something to prove to us that our love is getting so strong or so weak with him? Quit when the pressure comes? Of course you can, but you should not! Stopping would be a tremendous mistake. There’s a lot at stake. Love overpowers any argument or anger at each other. In the long run, it is what we have learned….love works…always go back to pure love!!

  2. says

    Sarah,
    This is such a great post and well said.
    We hav been married nine years…knowing each other since 14.Adn let me say the first 2 years were TUMULTOUS. no other word.
    But what has channged since then? We both are broken,we have cracks..therefore God’s love can get through much,much faster.
    And when God’s love is there..there is humility and the ability to say “sorry” when I don’t want to, to compromise,to forgive, and move forward.
    So, I guess you could say that by God chisleing us one piece at a time He has actually inified us…His love can do wonders.
    Great post.

  3. says

    sarah, my heart resonated so much with this post. my husband & i have been married five years. just the other night, my own leg dangled off the bed as i confessed [through a whole lot of snotty nosed sniffs & tears] that God had revealed to me a fear of intimacy – even with him, my husband. the reasons for this fear are legitimate, stemming from childhood abuse i’ve just now begun to deal with and accept as part of my past. but. it was a turning point for us – a place where i can look back and see where i first started to confess instead of retreat. thank you for sharing this – in a season where i feel more clumsy than steadfast with my love, it reminds me that as long as i continue to leave everything at the cross – as long as i continue to share my heart with my love – it doesn’t matter what happens because in the end, we’ll still have each other. looking forward to what the next seven years holds…

  4. says

    Oh my goodness, Sarah – did you plant a camera in *my house* to capture my behavior, and my husband’s? The words we speak…

    Yet, we share the same…the imperfections are there, the hurt is still there…and yet the time, the growth that happens through time, more quickly gets us to the heart. Confession of feelings invites another in, and Grace blooms where bitterness once stood hovering over head.

    It’s God’s molding of the relationship and how He can use every.single.bit of us, even the yuckiness, to reach others and to show His love.

  5. says

    I am not married but when I do, I want to reflect on your words Sarah. I believe that you are an inspiration sent by God to help others struggling with big or mundane issues of life. So whenever you feel like giving up under the weight of the cross, just remember that Jesus too tired. So take a deep breath, let the tears flow out, then rise up from the bedroom floor and carry on with the work you’ve been inspired to do. God will bless you and guide you and your husband towards his will, no one said it is going to be easy- but you will be ok.

    Thanks again for your wonderful, heart-warming and enriching stories. By sharing your life you help others find their purpose and place in this world.

    Juju,
    Kenya

  6. k says

    I’ve learned that our time on this planet is VERY short…and I’m not going to waste my time nit-picking about inconsequential issues! I’m 50 yrs old and people my age are dying of heart attacks, cancer, strokes!! I ask God every day to give me His grace, His patience, His love…to love my husband totally, completely, unconditionally. Do we each have issues and baggage? You bet!! But with God’s help we can live out our lives together….throwing caution to the wind…loving each other fully! Thanks for your words and transparency…it’s refreshing!! :-)

  7. says

    My marriage is so broken on so many levels. It shouldn’t still be intact . . .but it is. So I’ve learned to be thankful more for it, as bad as it may seem some days. . .thankful that I have what I have and that God is working in it still.
    God bless you and all that you have that is His!

  8. Debbie says

    I have learned that in 21 years of love and marriage that sometimes I just don’t like my husband. Sometimes I am not even sure I love him at that moment in time. Then we go around the next curve and I know that I could not live without him. Yes, he may bug me and be weird but he is my weirdo and most of the time the “bugs” are okay.

    I have learned in the past 7 years not to obsess when things are BAD and keep looking forward to when they will be good again – because they will. We are also friends and sometimes the friends have to keep the marriage going when the lovers are missing. I have also learned that the traits that drive me crazy about my husband are also part of the things that attracted me to him in the first place.

    Know you are not alone – married folks have been going through this since the beginning of time. They just didn’t always have the time to think about it – we have that luxury/curse.

    You are wonderful!!!

    Deb

  9. j says

    Right now my heart is hurting for two very close friends of mine whose already-shaky marriage was just further rocked by an accusation of infidelity. In this moment, things seem pretty bleak for them. But reading your story gives me hope.
    One of them has already read your story, and the other one has been sent the link but I don’t know whether or not they clicked it.
    My hope and prayer for them is that 7 years from now they will have their own story of reconciliation.

  10. Chantel says

    Seven years ago… I was 18 years old and had no practical experience in love or romance. I was just opening those pages, and I meant to do it right, meant to keep God in the middle…and I tried, but I made mistakes. I sometimes tried os hard to do my thing in His way…and that just doesn’t work. And three years later, I found myself with heart broken and a spirit so wounded I never thought it would get better.

    But it did. And I learned so much. SO MUCH about what matters and what doesn’t and about truly letting Him do what He knows is best with out my “help”.

    But more than anything I learned about the goodness of God, about forgiveness, about how He can turn anything…no matter how broken and marred into something beautiful if we’ll let Him. And that is what I carry in my heart: the beauty that He created out of the broken pieces of my dreams and my heart.

    I’ve not been married for quite two years, and about marriage I know there is so much to learn, but each and every day I thank God for letting me marry my best friend…His choice, the one He knew I needed. And for all the times that self is crossed, I think of this and I know that all the happiness, and love and joy we share together are worth more than the slight irritation of the moment, and..yes, I need him, to help me to realize how very much I need to grow.

  11. says

    Oh, it’s SO true – when we lower our guard and admit we’re hurting, we need someone, it frees that person to meet us and our needs. The light of truth makes it so much easier to bear the darkness that resides in each of us.

    I’m so thankful you found comfort in your husband. I imagine he was blessed to minister to your needs.

  12. says

    wow. this one hit me right in the heart. i’ve been there, heck, i AM there.

    Fatigue.

    Lack of intentional love.

    Listening.

    Loss of identity.

    Fear.

    it’s hard sometimes to let HIM pick me up and hold me long enough so that i can truly communicate my broken heart to {him}. marriage is such a beautiful struggle, and such a harbor for growth and stretching.

    i pray that my brokenness would allow for God’s restoration and wholeness, so often in the arms of my husband.

    thanks for writing this post today, and reminding me of the only place my perfection lies- in Him.

  13. says

    I’ve learned so much over the last seven years, it’s almost too much to mention here…I’ve learned so much over just the last seven months! Today my husband and I have been married seven months! I know we have so much still to learn, and it will be hard, and we will be broken, but God can make us something beautiful!

  14. says

    our marriage has been to hell and back…we have been married 13 years on valentine’s day…and we did it backwards…started in sin…so we have been together longer..our first son was almost two when we got married and boy did we do it wrong….our relationship was sooo unhealthy and in some aspects can still be, but we have come sooooo far thanks to the Lord…and in this time we are at the place where we look at ouselves before we look at the other and point fingers…we try to do for eachother more than we do for ourselves…but it’s a tough road that has such an awesome payoff…but we do still struggle..and often fail…but to know the love we didn’t know the first 10 years of our marriage is amazing…wouldn’t be anywhere with out God…I pray that He continues to work in our marriage…

    • Sarah Markley says

      christy, you are proof that God redeems and reconciles. its beautiful. thank you so much for sharing some of your story here.

  15. says

    I absolutely love how honest you are in your writing. I tend to forget how closed off people are… when when I’m reminded I’m thankful for people like you who keep things real. So thank you for that. :)

    To answer the question… the last seven years have been years of healing. We’ve been married for 12 years and good half of those years were just a mess and were at a serious breaking point. I’ve learned to not always live in the moment – because if that were the case we wouldn’t be here (happy) today. There really is hope in situations that I see as hopeless. That is HUGE! To me, anyway. ;)

    • Sarah Markley says

      there is always hope. that’s the beauty of this life. and i too forget how closed off people are. thank you for your comment josie. =)

  16. Samantha says

    This is powerful to me. 9 months ago my husband cheated after 6 years of marriage and us completly forgetting what we used to be to each other. I stayed and each day is up and down. We realized last week that we are starting to learn to fight, we get past the blame game and are getting to the point. Honestly one of our best tactics has been fighting thru text. you get your poing across without getting too caught up in the stuff that doesn’t really matter.
    Thank you for your story. It simply makes me know I am not the only one.

    • Sarah Markley says

      Samantha,

      thank you so much for sharing this. i’m so sorry for what has happened. I agree – sometimes fighting through something (and not letting it go) is so much better than not dealing with it.

      thank you so much for your comment.

  17. Heather says

    Sarah-I haven’t commented in a while, but it is not because I am not reading. I am a regular morning reader. And I love my inbox with your posts! My husband and I have been married for 11 years and we are very different. That’s why we are good for each other. He is all gas and I am mostly brake. Together we can drive safe and get places. Lately, we have learned and practiced to just say it. He comes from a long line of manipulation, guilt, and hidden agendas. So I have told him, if I say it, I mean it. There is no hidden agenda. Marriage is hard enough to make healthy. So we take out all extra mind games. And this is not to be confused with BRUTAL truth. We can communicate with love and honesty. Leave the sarcasm, emotional digs, and cheap shots at the door.

  18. says

    we have been married for 7 years. the first year was VERY hard as we were learning to communicate our needs. Then, year 3 was extremely hard when we moved to Mexico.

    We are at a great place right now in our relationship and I think its due to constant communication, including LOTS of gratitude and affirmation to one another.

  19. Candy says

    We are approaching the 9 year of marriage mark and the 3 1/2 year past infidelity mark. I have learned (just within the last 6 months) that the only person I can control is me. I have found security in Jesus that now I am completely able to say, I would rather have a husband who is completely committed with no strings attached, rather than a man I have manipulated and controlled to stay. Since I have chosen to deal with my fear of being alone and raising kids by myself, I have discovered a husband who is here by choice and loving me for me.

  20. says

    Dang, you guys do not look old enough to have been married 14 years. Congrats!

    “The truth changes the heart when the heart is ready to listen.” Preach it, girl. Wow, that was like a left-hook to the kisser.

    Prayers for you, and this community.

  21. says

    your words today remind me, we aren’t alone.

    18 years of marriage. into our 3rd year of putting it back together after falling apart, and we are reminded as of late that we still have so far to go.

    this process is so wearisome, sarah!

    but, there’s glorious hope. and we have learned so much.

    so, no. it doesn’t just happen to the two of you.

    thanks for this reminder.

  22. says

    Sarah,
    Thank you for your words, your heart. They have touched my heart in many ways. Blessings to you and your family. I enjoy coming to your community and reading the journey.

    Blessings,
    Nicole
    “Cole”

  23. says

    i love you two amazing people…

    i love your honest, open description of the love that Jesus has planted in your hearts for Him & for one another…right along with the struggles this love faces to satay alive!

    Jesus WANTS this love of yours to grow so vigorously that it envelopes your entire lives!

    SO…what have i learned about marriage? relationships??

    most recently, i have learned how selfish i truly am…

    i do indeed “love” my bride (your mom), but sometimes still i find myself sliding into the “me first” thing with this dearest of friends & most faithful companion…

    sometimes i say, “i love you” to her…yet i really DON’T mean what Paul said when he said, “husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” to my shame, too often i have something LESS in mind.

    it is times like these that help me realize that fondness, effort & desire can only go so far…and that Paul is NOT just calling on us husbands to “try harder”…although trying harder is something we ALL should do…

    even more importantly i think, Paul is telling us that this kind of husband-love is a product of being filled with the Spirit of God!

    (check the context in Ephesians 5:18-20…the final sign of Spirit-filling & the “topic phrase” of the entire “Ephesians 5&6 family passage” is: “submitting to one another our of reverence of Christ”)

    yes, love DOES involve effort & trying harder…

    BUT…this self-sacrificing kind of love is a result of what God wants for EACH of us…

    He desires that we enter a partnership with Him that is SO tight, that His Spirit is our closest companion & non-ignorable guide in each of the love-opportunities we come to each day!

    in all of its forms, love is the living God’s breath in our hearts, His very Own Presence…if we allow Him room, Jesus’ love will overwhelm us & remake us entirely in His image…

    i love you SO much & thank you for teaching me important love-lessons today!

    dad

  24. says

    I love your honesty . . . so many christians in todays world walk around wearing masks of fake smiles and put up an image that implies everything is perfect.

    The reality is that there is no such thing as a perfect marriage.

    Everyone struggles.

    My husband and I have those days as well where life consumes us with a long to do list and we end up going a whole day without sharing a kiss.

    We try to not let that happen too often and make the effort to reconnect at the end of each day which always pays off.

    We are going on to 8 years marriage and there have been HARD times and absolutely AMAZING times.

    Through it all we have learned the meaning of loving unconditionally, we have learned to speak life into one another, and that we are beyond words in love with each other.

    Marriage is like a mirror to show us who we really are so that we can examine ourselves and aspire to walk in holiness.

  25. Butterfly says

    I honestly admire you and your husband. For the plain fact that neither one of you gave up on your marriage, your relationship, your friendship and your love for the Lord. In the past seven years, more like the past 3 years; I have learned that love is not binding. Love can heal but also it can bring lots and lots of pain. Of course this is only from my perspective. 3 years ago, my husband of almost 8 years woke up one morning and told me that he did not love me anymore. With much prayer and pain I gave in to the divorce. In hopes that maybe he would return. He never did. He married another. No affair was done at least physically that I am aware of. As of now, I am a single mom of a lively 6 year old boy. I am still hanging on by a thread sadly every single day since then. I also crumble A Lot on the floor with my tired eyes filled with tears. I go thru bouts of anger, sadness, jealousy, & so much more, but don’t really show it, after so much time I do not think that my loved ones want to continue to hear my heartaches. Through this I have learned that in marriage that one can not be selfish, communication is important, that even the little things count to your significant other, and that putting the Lord first should bring most of the walls down.

  26. says

    8 and 1/2 years in we’ve learned the same:
    Love is a daily decision, and often times it’s work.
    We fail at sharing and touching and kissing, sometimes.
    We fail to care more for the other at times.
    but…
    We know we love each other, deeply.
    We know that at the end of the day we want and are best friends.
    We know that each is honest about everything…no lies, no secrets, ever.

    Each day we genuinely choose one another…because we want to.

    We’ve been together 22 years in 8 days from now…but the marriage began 8 and 1/2 years ago; when we and God entered into covenant.
    We don’t know God’s plans, but we know he has them…and that we move in and toward those plans today…and everyday together!
    Life is Good and God is Great!

    Great post love…made my day <3

  27. says

    Eleven years married, but it all happened three years ago. We walked a hard road together……together, hmmmm so glad I made that choice. And now we have emotional, spiritual, and physical intimacy unlike anything I could have ever dreamed of.

    What an over-the-top post! Thank you!

  28. Sharon O says

    It is hard work and it takes alot of time and effort to make it work. We have made it 37 years and we still like each other :o) the journey continues and we work together towards a great purpose. To see our children bring their children up in the ways and love of the Lord. Hopefully our example is a good thing.

  29. says

    Seven years ago our world collapsed. Both of us had affairs, we almost lost our marriage. We are on our 14th year of marriage as well…there are hard days. And yet God has a way of redeeming, His love is steadfast.
    Thank you Sarah.

  30. Kaycee says

    This is such a beautiful post in so many ways. Thanks for sharing your heart and story with an intimacy that touches me.

    My husband and I will have been married for 7 years this coming June. I have learned that I cannot expect to change him. He can choose to change, but that is not always the answer either. I love him and make the choice daily to work on our marriage, our love, our life. We have to support each other and over time we have learned how to communicate with each other. Most of the time. :)

    And I so agree that the truth can change a heart. Can open your ears to listen with gentleness and caring. And love. To support. To help. Truth is so important, and goes hand-in-hand with trust.

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