At the end of January my husband and I went away for a weekend on our own. As we drove on to the motorway for what should have been a one hour journey to the hotel, we joined a queue of stationary traffic on the slip road. It was early evening, but it was already pitch black, and the rain was falling heavily. We were due to have dinner at the hotel and I was already feeling irritated by the whole situation.
A friend had phoned me earlier in the day and had given me some good advice. I felt under pressure. We all know the stereotype of the ‘romantic getaway’. I knew that we weren’t going to have one of those. All the necessary elements were going to be there – lovely hotel, good food, beautiful countryside, time alone – but we were not two people who wanted to be together for a weekend. My friend told me just to accept it for what it was – a weekend without children to rest and eat and have space.
I took her advice and let the weekend be another of those turning towards each other moments. We ate and slept and walked and talked. We sat on the bed and read newspapers and books. We talked about big things. We realised how far apart we were from each other. We sat in a pub whilst the rain fell trying to get to know the strangers we had become to one another. We realised how many years together meant that we could spend a weekend in each other’s company and know how to treat each other with kindness even when the feelings that had brought us together didn’t seem to be there anymore, at least not on both sides.
I wrote in my journal:
‘I feel like some things are getting set aside. Like rocks to the side of the stream to let the water flow again. They’ll still be there and they may tumble back in. I’ll need to set them out once again.’
My daily readings were Psalm 51 v6 and Jeremiah 17v 5-10. The verse from the Psalms said: ‘Surely you desire truth in the inner parts you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.’
It must have been incredibly hard for my husband but I was really trying to have truth in the inner parts. I didn’t want to pretend to him, to God, to anyone. I was brutally honest about the feelings I did and didn’t have. I believed that it was only through absolute honesty that we could have any chance of restoration. I didn’t want to rebuild on pretence.
I also didn’t accept that because I was the one who had been involved with someone else that all that needed repaired was my responsibility. I can imagine that that is not comfortable for some people to read or hear but it was the truth. My husband knew that too. He fully accepted that he had not done all that he could to keep our marriage healthy. On our weekend away I told him that I felt like a scared wounded animal on a cliff who didn’t know whether it should trust the person calling it back from the edge. I wasn’t out on the edge because I was playing power games, or having a bad tempered flounce. I was hurt and I was frightened.
And that was when I read the Jeremiah verses:
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who depends on flesh for his strength,
and who turns away from the Lord…..
But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord
whose confidence is in him.”
I was very wary of trusting man, and here was God agreeing with me. He was telling me that it was a stupid idea – placing my confidence in other people. I’d done that and I’d been so, so let down and so, so hurt. He wanted me to place my confidence in Him. To come away from the cliff edge because the voice calling me was His and He was trustworthy.
I told God that I wanted to trust him, but I wasn’t really sure if I could. He needed to love me back into my marriage. And so He began to do just that.