After my first marriage ended in a severely unfortunate way, I had few hopes remaining in the institution… I had just suffered through 18 months of neglect, verbal abuse, denial, and threats. My brother had just gone through a rough divorce himself and experience and the world told me that happiness in marriage was a rare and lucky thing to happen upon, only meant for those people who didn’t have as much to learn in this life, and that didn’t have as far to grow in order to become a woman of God as I felt I did.
You could say that after this experience I was angry with marriage.
I grew up fantasizing about weddings, my husband coming home from work and helping me with the kids, summer backpacking trips, and adorable date-nights. I would write the last names of my latest crush next to my name to see how well they fit together, I would imagine every boy I dated as my husband and see what it would be like to share my life with them. But then, to discover this disappointing reality that my marriage had failed, and had failed in a disastrously devastating way that left me scarred, I was angry. To add insult to injury at the time, I was never a girl without admirers, and the attention given by my admirers more often than not was not welcomed-especially after the painful divorce-and left me even more bitter and angry. I would accept the dates because I felt like I owed it to them to give them a shot, but I would come home feeling empty, more determined than ever that I wasn’t going to get married again until I was older, or if ever, and my hope had been restored in the institution.
You know that saying, ‘when we make a plan God just laughs?’ He must have been laughing pretty good when I decided that, because not even a year after my divorce was finalized, he brought my current husband in to my life.
On the first date my husband took me on, I didn’t see the potential. I probably wouldn’t have agreed to a second date had I not experienced an unmistakable sign from the spirit that I needed to give him one. A week into dating, my husband was realizing in happiness what I started realizing in horror, that this relationship was meant to progress. I didn’t know how I felt about marriage yet, but I didn’t feel ready for it so soon, or even to combat my feelings of doubt so soon.
Our first major argument as a couple was over getting married. I wanted to continue dating, getting to know each other, maybe talk about marriage in a year or so. He was more interested in a much quicker affair, as in getting married that summer, just a few months away.
For two weeks, I had a storm of thoughts run through my head. Everything from continuing on with the argument, to ending the relationship, but I couldn’t see myself getting married that summer, I wasn’t ready. I loved him, I could see myself being with him forever, but marriage wasn’t a friend of mine, it was more like an intimidating mountain top I had attempted to summit before, and after an excruciating climb, the hardest of my life, where I had given all my efforts and blood, sweat, and tears, I had still fallen from it. My broken bones were still healing and I wasn’t anxious to attempt a re-summit.
Finally, I got myself to the temple. I knew in my heart what my husband was wanting was right, but how to let go of my fear and reinstate myself into the institute of marriage that had disappointed me so fully? I didn’t know.
Nothing but the witness I received in the temple from Heavenly Father that day would have persuaded me into giving marriage another shot just a year and a half after my first marriage ended, and after just 6 months of knowing my husband.
Even though I had a new conviction that I would follow God and say yes when my husband asked me to marry him after just 2 months of dating, I was still scared. I was sure about him, I was sure it was God’s will, but I wasn’t looking forward to all the hard and hurt that marriage naturally comes with. I still remembered how hard it was to climb the mountain, I still had a remembrance of all the injuries I had accumulated along the way. I stood there for a long time looking up at the summit and even as I took my first step up it’s slope, I was wishing all the while I could run away.
Little did I know…
It’s taken me experiencing a great marriage to get over my fears that a horrible marriage had given me. It’s taken me experiencing it for myself, to have the knowledge that happiness in marriage is the norm, not the exception. And that unhappiness in marriage is not the rule. My views on marriage have changed dramatically. After the failure of a first marriage, Satan had me doubting the entire institution and my ability to be successful in it. God had designed marriage, and yes the world has created flaws within it, but anything designed by God you can be sure is for our ultimate health and happiness. Marriage to my husband now has been the most beneficial, uplifting and worth while thing I have ever been apart of. I would not wish to have never known his companionship, his kindness, his strength and his help. He makes it easier to choose the right, easier to keep my covenants, easier to attend my meetings and sacrifice the things of the world for the things of God. And I am absolutely convinced that only marriage could do that for me.
I used my faith in God to get me to the alter the second time, and God has rewarded that faith. Though hard and imperfect, marriage to the man God intended for me has brought me more happiness, security, comfort and feelings of worth than I have ever felt in my life.
My first marriage tore me down, it broke my heart and my convictions. Satan knew I would never leave God, but he also knows I have trouble trusting once that trust is broken. However, if you trust God more than you trust yourself, He will never let you walk down a path of unhappiness. In every trial, there is a lesson, and every lesson brings us closer to God if we choose to let it. I could have closed myself off in misery and bitterness, the world would have understood why and I wouldn’t have had to open myself up again to that kind of pain. Instead though, I did myself the best kindness I ever could have. I opened myself up to God and He has paid my efforts back in blessings three times what I paid. Now, the climb to the summit isn’t a free climb with no belay. It’s a leisurely stroll through a sheltered path, and although we have inclines and switchbacks, I’m holding the hand of something who helps pull me along when my legs start to shake, and who helps lift me up when there’s a ledge I can’t quite reach.
I love my husband. I love my God. His mercy, and His forgiveness have been extreme in my life, but I am so grateful for every sacrifice I have made so far to keep Him in my life. The blessings have far outweighed the price.