Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Big Daddy and me

I think I have mentioned a time or two that our anniversary is coming up. Thursday, May 25th, Big Daddy and I will have been together for 24 years. 24!!! I cannot really comprehend being with someone that long. When other people talk about being married that long I always thing, "Wow, you guys must both be pretty awesome people to be able to live with each other and still like each other after all that time!" and yet, here I am, more in love with the man I married than I was the day I met him and acted like a total dork trying to get his attention.

Our relationship hasn't been perfect. Far from it. We have struggled through homelessness, infidelity, anger issues, sickness, the loss and death of loved ones, betrayal...PLUS the pressures of having 6 children, and learning to accept and even love the differences between us as we grow from teenage sweethearts into mature adults.

(unedited...watch your ears please)

When Big Daddy and I heard this song we both knew it was about us. not that Eminem had talked to either of us and written a song about the insanity that was our relationship, but that it described us, perfectly. We have a passion for each other that borders on obsessive. We both have explosive tempers, huge amounts of baggage and personal demons that we brought into our relationship. Whether or not we belong together has never been the question. Can we be sane apart...we both know the answer to that. Even after we came to the Lord, even after we were in ministry, even with all that God did in our lives to free us of our pasts and the pain there it was still like this, just like this.

A few years ago it all came to a head and I told him it was time for a divorce. We had done everything we could, but we weren't good for each other and that wasn't good for the kids. I was angry with God for not saving my marriage. Big daddy was angry with me for going back on my promise never to leave him. The kids suffered allot during that time. I got a job so that I could support us after he left. He totally went off the deep end acting like the biggest jerk ever. We live in a suburban community. Everyone knows every one's business. The kids had to deal with the rumors about us splitting up, the whispers about his behavior with other women, the pain of seeing their only stability begin to crumble around them.

I lost hope. I lost my mind. I ran to someone else who promised to treat me like a real man should. Fortunately he lived in Arizona at the time so I couldn't do anything incredibly stupid like sleep with him but that didn't stop me from using his sweet talk as an escape from all of the pain of losing Big Daddy. I was so deeply hurt I couldn't breathe when I thought about it; Big daddy didn't even fight. He didn't even try to keep us together. He didn't think he was worth my love and I didn't think I was worth his effort but I couldn't stay away. I told him that he was my dragon; my greatest obsession and my greatest pain. It was a mess.

Our oldest daughter suffered the most. She felt responsible to protect the other kids from our insanity. She tried to be there for me and support me, but I was such a mess and I was going in the wrong direction. Her support just made the guilt worse. I blocked her out, it broke her heart. She lost control and spiraled down a path that led her to run away. I don't blame her, I can't. She is a beautiful and fiercely loyal young woman who would do anything for her family, but her family was falling apart. Who she was didn't make sense anymore. She was lost, we had taken away the beacons in her life that held her safe and left her in the dark. She was only 16.

Big Daddy and I got back together about 6 months after we separated. It took another 2 years to begin to repair the damage. There were trust issues, bad habits, personal baggage that still had to be overcome. So many days we didn't think it was going to work but we love each other so much. There's so much passion and commitment to each other between us...we just couldn't let go.

God began to reveal the roots of the problems. he began to show us how to break free individually so that we could come together and be free as the One we were intended to be. I have no doubt that Big Daddy is my soul mate. The problem was that each of us carried burdens and mistrust, pain and fear deep in our souls. God had to clear it all out. He taught us to forgive ourselves, each other and those who had hurt us in our pasts. He did a mighty work in our lives. He overcame all that we had set between us and gave us back to each other as we were meant to be, whole, pure, in love. It really was a miracle. Our miracle.

Now, when I think of all that we have been through and where we are headed, I'm dumbstruck with awe. I'm so grateful to God for what He has done and is still doing. That is first and foremost. I am also grateful to Big daddy. He had to choose to be a better man. He had to choose to allow God to reach inside him and reveal any ugliness that he had been trying to hide and "deal with" on his own. He had to admit his defeat in order to gain the victory, and he did. That is no easy thing for a man to do. They need to feel strong and invincible. They need to be able to believe that they are good for us. It's their place, their hard wiring. Provider, protector and priest, that is who a man is called to be. When God held up that proverbial mirror in front of Big Daddy and showed him who he had become, that he wasn't who he was supposed to be but instead had become what he hated; angry, hurtful, inconsiderate, unfaithful, selfish, chauvinistic and even cruel...he could have denied it. He could have turned away and chosen to continue trying to "better" himself without any "interference" from God. But he chose a different path.

To me, Big daddy stood up to all of the shame and guilt he had heaped upon himself and rather than deflecting or denying it, he said "You're worth me taking responsibility for this, no matter how much it hurts. You're worth overcoming this, no matter how embarrassing it is. You're worth it to me and I'm going to prove it.". Nothing could have blessed me more.

Big Daddy used to tell me all the time "Tell me you love me." as if I didn't say it enough or he needed reassurance. Now, he asks me "Am I good for you?' He doesn't want to know just that he does things that make me happy. he wants to know that he has become the man in my life who is strong when I'm weak, who encourages me to be who I am, who ushers me into the presence of God when I'm hurting. He wants to know if he has become that man in my life who is my everything because he has earned the right to be so. After all this time, after so many years of explosions, pain, guilt and fear, amazingly, miraculously my answer is always "Yes."

Thank You God for the new life You gave to our marriage. Thank You Big daddy for not giving up. Thank you for being who you were meant to be in my life and the lives of our children. You are so good for me Big Daddy. I love you.

Until forever comes My Love.

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