Draw Me a Map that Leads Me Back to you: I Married the Perfect Man and found out he wasn't and then that he was

This is the first post in a series called "Draw me a map that leads me back to you." Yes, the title is inspired by country song "Draw me a Map". 

This series will be about marriage.  I've been married to my wonderful husband for almost 11 years now and we are a beautiful place in our marriage.  However, we had about a two year season that was very tough, difficult and long.  As I've been in conversation with other women about their marriages, I've realized that some of the negative thought patterns that led my marriage off-track also exist in their marriages.  I want to share pieces of my story because I know that the thought patterns and lies I believed almost destroyed the beauty of my marriage and I know that it is worth fighting for what is right and true.  I'm praying that pieces of my story will provide hope and inspiration one may need to keep fighting for beauty and deep love in your own marriage.

I married the perfect man, found out he wasn't perfect, and then that he was:

My husband and I are high school sweethearts (actually 8th grade sweethearts).  We dated for 8 years before we got married.  As you can imagine, we were thrilled to finally get married and let the fun times begin!  Since we started dating so young we were only 22 when we got married.  All throughout our relationship we always heard, "You will never make it."  "People change when they get older."  "This is young love; it will never last."  While I understand the intentions of these statements and I  understand the rarity of a relationships like ours, those words ended up planting seeds of doubt in my heart that eventually started to sprout.

The first seven years of our marriage were beautiful and exciting.  I realized that I had married the perfect man.  We enjoyed being able to experience the full measures of our love and it brought two precious children into the world.  Then real life began to set in: sleepless nights, work, stress, anger and religion.

I had the opportunity to be a stay-at home mom and one of the beauties that blossomed from that place was a ministry to women.  I began investing fully in ministry and opportunity after opportunity began to open up.  I began saying yes to all of them.  God made many phenomenal changes in my understanding of what it means to be a follower of Christ.  I also began seeing how God brought freedom to other people's hearts through speaking truth.  As I was seeing freedom all around me, there was one place where freedom was quickly disappearing and that was in the heart of my husband.

You can imagine my frustration, as I am falling more and more in love with God and His freedom, I am watching my husband struggle in his faith.  I didn't know how to stop it or reverse it. I knew how to pray for others but I didn't know how to pray for him and frankly I didn't want to pray for him.  In my mind I thought he should know better.  When we said our vows, I had married a Christian, we were going to raise our children up in the Lord.  A husband with a growing temper and who doesn't know what he believes - this is not what I had signed up for when I said my vows and so I began to detach my heart from our marriage.

Remember those seeds I discussed above?  Comments like, "You'll never make it,"  "People change when they get older?"  They began to find fertile soil in my heart.  I began to make agreements with those little seeds.  "Everyone was right, I was too young to know how to pick a man worthy of marrying.  We had not experienced enough life to see each other's true colors.  I should of held out longer."  I began to imagine the "better life" that God had actually "willed" for me.  "I should have married a pastor, I would make a perfect pastor's wife.  Imagine what a great strength I would be for the kingdom, if I had just taken the time to wait for someone better."  I call this first lie, "the fantasy mind" and I have come to realize that this is a very dangerous place to live.  The life in my mind, without the man that I had married,  I thought was oh, so much better.

Secondly, I started a "holier than thou" mindset.  Because he was struggling with loving God, I thought I would show him how it should be done and I left him in the dust.  I began attending all the prayer meetings at church, doing all the ministry that I could.  I felt "good" because at least one person in our family would be "living the way we should."  I suppose from a reader's perspective it is easy to see how my husband would continue to be drawn away from the Lord, instead of to the Lord as I left him in the dust to struggle with his doubts.  I had no tolerance for where he was at; I wanted him to be the "spiritual leader" of our home but I had no hope that he could ever be that person, and so I took over.

A third mistake I made was letting my husband's negative characterstic, which happened to be a temper, define him.  Our household began walking on eggshells to try and prevent his temper from going off, but all without fail.  It didn't matter how neat I tried to make the house, how well I planned dinner, etc.  It was never enough to "please" him.  So in my mind he was no longer my lover or my friend, he soon became defined as an angry jerk.

All these things played into the unraveling of my heart.  As I withdrew my heart, he wanted it all the more desperately and the more he wanted it, the farther I took it from him.  We are not in any of those places anymore.  The fact that we are together and he has my heart more than he has ever had it before, is a testament of the grace of God and the reality that He works in our lives in real and lasting ways.  The next posts will look a little more closely at the mistakes that I made and the ways we were redeemed from our mess.

In conclusion,though, I can say without any doubt that although my husband is an imperfect person I know that I have married the perfect man for me. 

In Christ,

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  1. Thank you for sharing such an honest and real story of redemption in your marriage. I'm always reminded to control my thoughts or they will begin to control and dictate every aspect of my life! I look forward to reading your series!

    Blessings on your beautiful marriage!

  2. Amanda KleoppelApril 03, 2012

    It is so true that sometimes we fill our lives with 'church' stuff to let our husbands see that we are still walking with God and they need to be doing the same, but that isn't always what they need.  such a hard lesson to learn!


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