Category Archives: a marriage journey

Danny and Me – The Tape

This post is about me. Just me.

Not Danny – Why? Because I can’t begin to speak for him. Hmmm. Maybe I’ll ask him to write a “guest blog” for me sometime soon….great idea!

As Danny and I continued to struggle, my mind began to wonder if I’d married the wrong man. I mean, what if I’d missed it? We’d gotten so much help at our church, yet things were still wrong. What if I made a mistake? What if I should’ve waited, rather than getting married so quickly? What if I missed Mr. Right?? And what if I got Mr. Wrong?? Then what?

We were both so frustrated with each other. I began to rehearse our arguments – after all, they always boiled down to the same thing. I could’ve written a script.  It was as if I had a VCR tape (I know, I know. I wish I could say DVD, but folks, it was a VCR!!) playing over and over in my head. A video tape that played each fight. When I laid my head down at night, it was as if that tape was automatically pushed into the player. And I could.not.turn.it.off. I couldn’t do it. It played over and over all night. Most every night.

I not only reviewed every harsh word that was spoken, but also the emotions involved. I was dying inside and we were climbing right back into that hamster wheel. I felt so hopeless and of course, we continued to fight – providing more “tapes for my player”. Soon I dreaded coming home from work. I would drive into the driveway, push the garage door opener and if Danny was already home, my heart would sink. When I went out of town to a conference, retreat, or girls weekend I wouldn’t want to come home. I hated my feelings but couldn’t seem to get them to change.It’s so hard not to rehearse hurts, traumas, injustices done to us. Sometimes it can seem impossible to turn off that video tape. Before long, there is such a case built up that freedom is seemingly out of the question. A dear friend of mine used to call it “the crazies”. I felt like I was hopelessly trapped with no way out.

Those tapes don’t play in my head anymore. I don’t run in the wheel, or at least not long! I broke that cycle. There truly is hope, always.  Trust me when I say that whatever it is that you cannot seem to shake – there is victory. You can stop the cycle, no matter what the other person does. Watch for my next post! I pray that with each piece of our story, you’re encouraged to face your own crazies and take ‘em down.

Danny and Me – Trying to Pull it Together

So, in my last post I talked about Danny and I going to a marriage focused church. Well, soon after we started going there I got a job as the counseling secretary – at the same church! Oh my. It was quite an adjustment after being a stay-at-home momma for 18 years!! It was hard on all of us. But our youngest two kids were in high school and they started attending school at the same church. So that made momma pretty happy! Our oldest left for college shortly after I began work, which made momma pretty sad :(. Such is life.

Maybe because of the extra stress of me getting a job, Danny and I began to fight more. I told my boss, who was the counseling pastor, and she “made” us come in. She and her husband worked with us for several years and we made tremendous improvement! Remember that hamster wheel? Well we began to throw some kinks in the wheel you might say.

In addition to the loving counsel we received, we also received amazing teaching on marriage at seminars, in church, through books, tapes, CD’s. Danny and I even appeared on a marriage television show and also some resource tapes that were listened to and viewed by thousands of people.

The wheel was getting rusty!

Being on staff at a church can be a very great experience, especially when you are going through tough times. Danny and I both were surrounded by supportive friends, great teaching and preaching, and amazing opportunities for growth. We took advantage of them all. I will be forever grateful for that season. It was just what we needed.

We made huge strides in our marriage. We knew the importance of spending time together discussing our future together, dealing with issues between us, raising our children together. But something in our relationship still wasn’t right. There was a problem down deep that we couldn’t even identify much less take care of.

It was as if we were becoming closer all the while drifting further apart. I can’t even put it into words. It created such frustration in both of us. We were trying soooo hard.

Was it God that wasn’t coming through for us? We’d certainly asked him enough.

Sometimes there is something that is stuck. There’s a kink that’s particular to your situation, your marriage, your emotional journey. We were stuck and it was hugely frustrating.

Danny and Me – The Confusing Years

Danny and I got married when I was 20 and he was a month away from turning 22. We married in the church I’d grown up in. Our pastor met with us for a premarriage appointment and told us that there were three very important things to remember as we started our lives together: Find a church and go to it, get on a budget and stick with it, and if any little old lady ever tells us sex isn’t important – well, he’d like to push her down the stairs and tell the Lord she tripped! We laughed together on that one!

We went to church always. Actually it was a rare Sunday that we weren’t in church. We heard great biblical teaching and loved the Lord with all our heart.

We committed to each other and to God that we would stay married, for better or worse, for the rest of our lives. I can remember many times during the hardest years wishing I hadn’t promised God I’d stay married. Now I’m so very thankful we made that commitment.

I can remember feeling very desperate and alone, like no one would understand our problems. In fact, I remember feeling like no one else had any problems! After one particularly hurtful fight I wanted desperately to talk to someone and I couldn’t think of one person in my church to call. This was a church I was born and raised in, yet no one had marriage problems. Well, of course that wasn’t true – but it was what I thought.

We really didn’t fight very often, probably 2-3 times a year. But, boy, those three were whoppers. We never got physical with each other (except in our hearts!!!) but we were pretty mean with our words.  I have always been thankful we didn’t threaten divorce, ever. I’m not sure why we didn’t, but I’m thankful.

We developed this “system” of communicating that resembled a hamster wheel. We ran around and around it never getting anywhere. It was frustrating, felt hopeless and was exhausting. As the years went by, our fights got more and more frequent.

I don’t know if any of you have ever experienced the hamster wheel, but if you have you understand. It’s maddening. The only way to stop the wheel from turning was to get off. I think we each thought that if we ran harder our way, the other person would surely wise up and start running with us.

When we’d been married about 15 years or so, we felt the Lord leading us to another church. I don’t think we even realized it at the time, but that church turned out to be very marriage focused.

Coincidence?? I think not.

The hamster wheel was fixing to get a little squeeky……

Danny and Me – The Problem

Have you ever tried so hard, to do the right thing, the right way, doing your very best, but for some reason it just doesn’t work for you??

That’s where Danny and I found ourselves, many times, during the first 32 years or so of our marriage. Those years weren’t all bad – by a long shot. We met in December of 1975, started dating, got engaged on Valentine’s Day (yes, only SIX weeks later!), and got married in July of 1976. We had all three of our children by the time I was 25 years old, so to say we started off full force would be an understatement! Danny was building huge homes in the mountains of Colorado and we were loving life. He was very fulfilled with his work and I was completely overwhelmed with the love of motherhood! My dreams, and his, were reality.

We had our ups and downs, but mostly we stuck to our roles as husband and wife, or at least what we thought they were. Danny went out and made a living while I stayed home and took care of the children and home.

I remember hearing about the need for us to nurture our relationship along the way, that someday the kids would be gone and it would be just the two of us. Honestly, we only had a year of “just the two of us” before Jennifer was born, so it was a bit weird to think of what it would be like to be alone again. Adding to the mix was the fact that we really didn’t know each other well when we got married in the first place! And of course I never thought we would have problems we couldn’t work through, or ignore. I didn’t think “it” would happen to me.

But I was wrong. Our “issues” surfaced seldom at first, easy to overlook. The severity of our problems creeped up on us – slowly but surely.

My parents didn’t fight, ever. They worked things out between them and they seemed to love and relate well together. I mean, I knew when there were small frustrations, but they were minor and quickly overwith. I remember calling my daddy sometime early in our marriage and telling him I wanted to come home. He very sweetly, through tears, told me I was home. I knew he was right but marriage is flat out hard sometimes! It can be tempting to run back to the security and wisdom of daddy.

As the years went on, I got more and more frustrated for different reasons. I remember Danny and I trying to talk about them but we seemed to rarely come to any resolve, at least not a resolve that satisfied me. I began to review our arguments over and over again in my head, you know like instant replay. Can you relate?

I’d read in the Bible and heard teachings about a wife being submitted to her husband. But usually my attempts ended up in me shutting down out of frustration and anger. I thought I understood and was trying very hard to trust God with the outcome and with changing my situation. There were so many things that were warped in my mind, and in Danny’s, but God can work even through our misguided attempts when our goal is to hear and follow him. It’s his pleasure to come alongside us anytime, but a delight when we’re trying hard. He did not disappoint!

But as he often does, he did not choose to change things the way I wanted him to . . . .

My plan is to post for a few weeks about our marriage, our struggles, our victories, and the miracle of God’s ways. I think it may encourage some of you. I’m also frankly very proud of me and Danny. We’ve accomplished what seemed impossible and I can’t wait to share it with you. Believe me, we had help and we hated much of the process but we did it and for us it was very worth the fight.

Stay tuned and I know our story will encourage you! Turns out, running home to “Daddy” really can provide the security and wisdom we need!!!