Jennifer is our oldest daughter. She lives with her husband Aaron near Glen Rose, Texas. They are resident parents at Happy Hill Farm Academy. Their three children, Charis, Tate, and Simon are the delights of our lives! I asked her to write a guest post on my blog with her perspective on the marriage journey that Danny and I have made. Here is her response:
As a little girl, I remember thinking that my family was perfect. My mom and dad told us that they would never get a divorce, and I held onto that promise. I wanted to believe, like any child, that my parents had a perfect marriage. When they would fight, Sarah, Josh, and I would huddle together in our rooms and remind each other that they had PROMISED! I am still shocked to think how close to divorce my parents came. Even as an adult, I imagine how betrayed I would feel if they hadn’t chosen to stay together.
I’m the kid who flew farthest from the nest, I guess. Since I live out-of-town, the intensity of Mom and Dad’s marriage problems wasn’t as evident to me. However, coming to visit gave me a unique perspective on the changes that their relationship was undergoing. Mom talked to Dad, and about him, with love in her voice – not exasperation. She trusted him. She enjoyed being with him. Dad was relaxed and fun. He engaged with others and watched for ways to help. He laughed. My mom laughed with him!
My mom is a fighter. She refused to accept the lie that her marriage couldn’t be any better. She honestly acknowledged the problems in the relationship and went to work. Mom was proactive, knowing that a truly healthy relationship was worth far more than a false, fragile peace. I love my mom’s faith in the Lord. She knew His promises were better than what she was experiencing, and she wouldn’t be satisfied with less than His best for her and my dad.
Dad is a fighter, too. A brave fighter. At the advice of their marriage counselor, my dad agreed to journal his thought processes for 90 days. The counselor guaranteed results for my dad simply based on this exercise. Every day, Dad wrote down all of his negative thoughts and emotions. He was honest with himself about how he usually responded to a situation based on his emotions. He then reminded himself of the truth and determined how he would behave based on truth, rather than on his feelings. Dad read me some of his journal entries. I was amazed at how he could take himself from an irrational, unhealthy thought pattern to a truth-centered and Godly response. Dad gave himself whole-heartedly to this project. He never missed a day. (Check his phone – he’ll show you!) To my knowledge, he continues his daily journal even now.
Personally, I like for things to happen quickly and easily. It would be nice to outgrow problems and struggles – to finally just “get it together.” Because of Mom and Dad, I see the power of brutal honesty. I am challenged to admit that I have issues, and they are going to require work. And time. Maybe lots of time. The One who walks (not runs) with me through the valley of the shadow of death is the same One who promises me a future and a hope. Mom and Dad have walked – and crawled – to victory. Simply put, because of Mom and Dad, I see that the journey IS WORTH IT!