Seen by God in the Loneliness of Marriage

She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” (Genesis 16:13 ESV)

Life changes I hadn’t seen coming knocked the wind out of me, and I’m short of breath, trying to make sense of the misunderstandings and buried resentments, straining to imagine a future where things don’t hurt so much between my husband and me.

The changes have exposed the complicated knots that have formed over the course of our marriage from the lack of clear communication and intentional efforts to know one another, and I stand in a sea of bitterness and rage, anger and unforgiveness, resentment and a faltering faith that things will get better.

I wonder how two people so different from each other can make it work. How do we find a way through the tangle of differences that personality, family background, communication style, and love languages create?

I’m desperate to be known, to be heard, to have the burden shared, but I know it’s not easy for others to enter into pain. I see the discomfort on my friends’ faces when I open the door to my unending crisis and see them looking around at the mess, not sure what to say. They try to offer suggestions for why it might be. They ask pertinent and helpful—though tiring—questions. They try to comfort me with “at least” statements, wanting to tether me to the silver lining, but instead of feeling known, I feel even more unseen, nearly invisible.

The unresolved tensions in my life are too heavy to bear, so I close the door to my mess, letting my friends off the hook and comforting them by saying that things will get better for me.

The vulnerability hangover and the weight of holding everyone else’s discomfort make me want to hide in a little corner and curl up like a child. I pull a blanket of silence around me, and in this quiet place I wrestle with God, with the gospel, with what it means to love and die in this commitment of marriage. I cry out and beg, “Do You see me, God?” and I get wrecked by His gentle response of love, by His holding me like no one else can.

I wish the years of hurt could be touched and healed by God with the zap of a lightning bolt. I wish I could labor through the pain with an epidural and come to a place of relief as quickly as others would like me to, as quickly as I would like to. But is resurrection even possible when what needs to die hasn’t finished dying yet?

Like the browning and falling of leaves in autumn, there’s a process to the dying, and it will not be rushed. Everything that has been in our marriage is being put through the fire, and what needs to die must die for new life to eventually be brought forth.

And is this not the way of Christ? Dying is part of life in Him. It was the way He chose to bridge the gap between us, the way He chose to love us.

He understands this way of death and the process of becoming, and He does not need the mess to be cleaned up before He will sit with us. Instead, He walks with us in the dark, guiding us to the light of hope, and He assures us along the way, “I see you, I know you, and I love you.”

Prayer:

God, even when it seems that no one can or wants to understand my pain, You already know. You have been in that dark place before. You understand the wait, the longing, and the breakthrough that new life can bring, so I pray the same for this hard place in marriage when things feel hopeless and so lonely. Be with me, and I pray for the strength to keep going. Amen.

This is an excerpt from Take Heart: 100 Devotions to Seeing God When Life’s Not Okay by (in)courage  - a devotional book now available on DaySpring.com. Learn more about this book, or shop other books & devotionals from DaySpring.