I am excited to announce that Matt and I are officially back together. He moved in with me last weekend. I am so grateful that he chose to fight for me and we both chose to fight for our marriage. I honestly couldn’t imagine my life without him but I knew when I left that I also couldn’t do life with him like it was. It is one of the hardest decisions to make to leave Matt, I love him with all of my heart but I know now that sometimes it is the only way to find that love again.
Our separation probably hasn’t looked like a lot of others. Matt and I dated, the most you can in the middle of a government shutdown, and found each other again. We will be writing a book about our experience one day but right now we are figuring out our new normal. It is strange to have this house full of furniture and his things. One time when he was visiting here he said he would have to add some of “him” into the house if he got to move in and I’ve given him a little space for that. I called it “my house” the day he moved in when his friends were helping us and one of them told me I’d misspoken that it was “our” house. I told him it was mine until his name is added to the lease. I was teasing but kind of telling the truth, I like having my own space.
We started our beginning together again with a date night. There is a ministry in Edmond that a young couple run and they had some really fun ideas, we decided to try it out. First, there was a scavenger hunt where each station had us talk about memories in our relationship and take pictures together. What could be more perfect for a newly reunited couple than that? Then we learned some West Coast Swing dance and practiced until we figured it out. Lastly we had a romantic, candlelit dinner. It was actually the perfect way for us to begin! We had gotten kind of lazy about dating, I think most couples do. One of the most important parts of our marriage is having fun together. With the weight of all that happens in this world that tries to pull couples apart, if you don’t have fun together what is going to be the glue? Friendship and fun have been our glue. We travel a lot so that we get those things, but weekly fun is just as important and I think we have figured that out.
Matt and I both fought for our marriage. I was fighting for our marriage for over five years, asking God to heal things that I couldn’t even see at the time. I have figured out that the enemy works overtime on your spouse when you start praying over your marriage. I could see that Matt was almost over a hill that he had climbed, searching for truth and healing for a lot of things in his life. He could see he was almost there as well, but he couldn’t figure out how to get over that top. Once I left, he had enough quiet in his world so he could hear God talking. He realized that gratitude was a better path than the fear he was believing about who God is and who he is to God. He is learning that he is the beloved son of the King of Kings. He found his way over the top now thanks to his daily habits of reading the Bible and praying both alone and with me. God saved our marriage through both of us and now we are being kind to one another and those two daily habits made it happen. Thanks be to God for the Bible!
Life alone was hard. I assume life back together will be hard too, just in different ways. While I lived alone I got to make all of the decisions about my life without concern for what he might want. That was my first thought for nearly 30 years. Now that we are together, I am choosing to give up my own way for the betterment of our marriage. That is hard no matter what, selfishness is so much easier. God gave us marriage so that we could see what our relationship with Him is to look like and it isn’t only to make us happy. What about “giving up our own way” sounds like it will make us happy? My own discovery is that when I offer that to Matt, I find joy in seeing his desires being fulfilled. Many times we want the same thing, that is why I picked him in the first place, but other times I want my way and I may have to give that up. I’m okay with that, I’m better than okay with that.
I love Matt Ford. He is my best friend and he gets me better than anyone else I know. He chose me instead of staying in the place he was for himself, that speaks volumes for him. I don’t know that I know a better man alive today than him, even though I know he doesn’t believe that. Who he has proven himself to be since we separated tells me that his love for me is deep and everlasting. We will be stronger for what God has brought us through together and we will have empathy for couples that are in the same place. We both pray God uses us and our marriage to bring other couples to the place that giving up their own way is worth the sacrifice for the marriage because the glory that God will get in that is worth it.
“This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are untied into one. Since they are no longer two but one, let no man split apart what God has joined together.” Mark 10:7-9 NLT