Our family is currently renovating house number 16 in our 22 years of marriage! Doesn’t it make you tired just reading that? Renovating a house feels like an endurance race, right? We've joked about being the budget version of Chip and Joanna Gaines. Truth is, those projects sustain our family as I serve as a pastor. But let me tell you, the struggle of renovation is real—so much like the work of renewing a marriage.
Our own journey pushed us to renovate our relationship. It was a night shrouded in darkness when my confession of an affair left our marriage in ruins. Trust shattered, hope seemed lost. But looking back after 16 years, that devastation became the groundwork for something incredible. We knew we had to rebuild if we were to stay together. In moments of raw pain, I bared my fears to my husband, Josh, confessing that the love we once had felt lost. And in that vulnerable moment, Josh urged us to discover a new, deeper kind of love.
Those raw, painful moments formed the cornerstone of our new journey. As I delved into self-reflection, I realized I’d indulged in self-love over sacrificial love. It took immense courage to identify the areas needing attention and share them with Josh. But as we took these steps, we found Jesus walking beside us, showing us how to navigate through it all. Slowly, we learned that the path of love often involves personal sacrifice and allowing the Holy Spirit to transform us.
We know the allure of starting anew with someone else; renovation seems exhausting and daunting. But the truth is, unresolved issues in a relationship follow you wherever you go. From our own journey, we discovered that the marriage of our dreams could manifest—a completely revitalized union with the same person. Choosing endurance over an easy exit ended up giving us a testimony we now share to offer others truth and unwavering hope.
And this hope is what we wish to extend to you! Amid life’s hurdles, doubts can loom large, shaking the very foundation of your relationship. The question—“Wouldn’t it be easier with someone else?”—reflects uncertainties within marriage that we’ve faced ourselves.
In our book, “New Marriage, Same Couple,” we pour out our personal principles. We aim for others to resonate with our journey, recognizing marriage’s highs and lows. These STAY principles—Start with Me, Take Quitting off the Table, Allow others to be a part of your story, and Yield to Vision—form the blueprint for rebuilding and growth.
Each section of the book is grounded in these principles. They’re not just concepts; they’re immediate actions leading to transformation:
- Self-reflection to identify the stress points in your marriage is the starting point;
- Then, commit—no quitting allowed;
- Seeking support from trusted sources, friends, mentors, or professionals is vital, and;
- Revisiting your shared vision for the marriage becomes the guiding light.
Applying these principles immediately initiates a transformative process. Endurance isn’t about stagnation; it’s about embracing the potential for a renewed, deeper, and more resilient relationship with your partner. As you embark on this journey, let these principles guide you toward steps fostering growth, healing, and renewed hope within your marriage. The marriage of your dreams is within reach, regardless of the circumstances. With these steps, watch mountains move and witness a miracle marriage in motion!
Moreover, implementing these principles takes dedication and consistent effort. It’s not a quick fix but a gradual process. For instance, starting with self-reflection involved journaling, regular introspection, and discussions with Josh. Understanding our individual contributions to the challenges allowed us to address them together more effectively. It was a journey of rediscovering ourselves and relearning how to communicate openly and honestly.
Removing the option of quitting was a daily commitment. There were tough days when the urge to walk away seemed overwhelming. However, we continuously reminded ourselves of the commitment to endure through the storms together. This mindset shift fostered resilience and strengthened our bond.
Seeking counsel and allowing others to be part of our story was transformative.
Initially, opening up about our struggles felt daunting. But the support and guidance we received from a counselor and close friends helped us gain perspective, navigate conflicts, and grow individually and as a couple.
Revisiting our shared vision was both challenging and invigorating. It required deep conversations and aligning our aspirations for the future. Our vision evolved over time, adapting to our changing circumstances and personal growth. It became the compass guiding our decisions and actions.
Throughout this process, we discovered that enduring through challenges isn't about merely surviving but thriving together. It’s about finding strength in vulnerability, cultivating resilience, and fostering a deeper connection. This journey has transformed not just our marriage but also our individual selves, allowing us to emerge stronger and more unified.
Our hope in sharing these experiences and principles in “New Marriage, Same Couple” is to provide a roadmap for couples undergoing similar struggles. A roadmap that leads not just to resolution but to a reinvigorated, thriving marriage. Because even amidst the ruins, there’s immense potential for a beautiful reconstruction—a union stronger, deeper, and more vibrant than ever before.