Your Love Story Isn’t Over Yet

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on October 10, 2013

I was chatting with a close friend on the phone the other day about the ways in which my marriage has blossomed in the past year or so. She knows about some of the struggles Dan and I have faced, and the demons with which we’ve wrestled.

“I wish I could write about the things I’ve seen and the ways that the love — not just romantic love, but true hardcore agape love — has grown between Dan and I.” I said. But many of the details are things I don’t feel comfortable sharing with the world at large. Many of our battles are unknown even to her.

“I just wish I could encourage all those couples slugging it out and slogging through, and who’ve resigned themselves to a life of the same, to not give up hope.”

Well, that I can do.

I don’t have any brilliant advice to give — other than to encourage you to cling steadfastly to hope — and I don’t have any terrible compelling stories to share — other than to tell you that through my own marriage I’ve seen God’s generosity and mercy at work firsthand — but I will say this:

Your marriage has as much potential as God has power.

Maybe things are darker than you ever could have imagined and you’re sitting there wondering whether you can endure another fifty years or so of this. Maybe you want to check out and take the next plane to Antigua.

Or maybe, like me, you’re completely smitten with your spouse and always have been, but simply weren’t prepared for the many small crosses of marriage. Maybe you’re wondering whether the minor (and sometimes not-so-minor) irritations and misunderstandings that dot your days will ever abate. Maybe a subtle but ever-present distance has grown between you and your husband. And maybe you’re missing all that wildly passionate love that once had the power to cover a multitude of sins.

About a year ago I wrote this:

Much has been written by women far wiser than I about how to fight fair. I think such exhortations are fantastic and should be implemented as much and as often as possible. What I’ve come to realize, though, is that until and unless God himself chooses to transform me and Dan (and the way we argue), no amount of advice is going to make a difference.

If we hit that red zone, all encouragements to take a step back, to breathe, and to view this process as a quest for truth fly out the window.

But you know, over time I’ve made peace with that. Sometimes you just have to accept the ugliness and patiently wait for God to redeem it.

Which, as you know, he always does.

That reflection about how God always redeems the ugliness? It was written in faith. At that point Dan and I were still very much at the mercy of the red zone.

I almost can’t believe I’m saying this, but it seems that might no longer be true. I think we’ve had maybe one noteworthy argument since then? And it didn’t even involve the shattering of champagne flutes. How about that?

The Divine Physician worked on us for a long time. He tested, challenged, and stretched us out of our comfort zones again and again and again.

By the grace of God alone we did make some progress. We became a little more humble, a touch more patient, and our trust in God grew bit by bit. But you know, saint-making is a lifelong process. Most of us don’t wake up one morning and realize that at long last we’re finally holy enough to be exemplary wives and husbands who only ever treat one another with kindness and perfect respect.

But do you know what can happen? God can gaze down from between a break in the clouds and see two fallen, undeserving people doing their best to make this whole marriage thing work. He can see them battling it out day after day, begging him for mercy and reprieve, and he — in all of his incomprehensible goodness — can say, “Yes.”

“Yes, I will infuse you with more love for one another than you ever could have imagined. Yes, I will tear down the silly walls that stand between you. And yes, you will have your happily ever after — though it may look a little different than your young, naive mind might once have imagined.”

Does this mean that we will never again experience marital growing pains? I highly doubt it. I’m sure God has more refinement in store for Dan and me. Perhaps our biggest challenges are yet to come. But some sort of crazy heavenly grace has rained down upon us and we are a different couple than we were even a year ago.

The best — albeit unsatisfactory — way I can think to describe it is that it felt like for the first decade or so of our marriage we were learning how to be a team. And maybe during the really tough games (read: seasons of life) we didn’t always like our teammate all that much. Maybe we passed the ball to them with just a little too much force in the hopes that it might sting a little when they caught it.

Slowly we started to figure out how to work together, though, and things seemed to chug along just a little more smoothly, day by day. We even started scoring the odd point here and there.

But then one day, it’s like God lifted the blinders from my eyes, and said, “See! Do you see this man? Aren’t you in awe of his skill? Of the way he carries this team? And protects you on the field? And doesn’t he look cute in his uniform?” (Not that the latter was news to me.)

So, you look, and at long last you see. And he sees. You see each other with all the love, charity, and affection that God always intended. (Or a good portion more of it anyway.) And you win at the championship game of love.

Sure, the game may have been rigged when God decided to ordain your victory. And yes, more challenging games are probably yet to be played. But when you have a teammate as amazing as yours? Bring it on, world. Bring it on. We’ve got this.

Maybe my somewhat flawed analogy doesn’t resonate with you at all. Perhaps you and your husband have been frolicking hand-in-hand through fields of dandelions from day one. But if you find yourself even the slightest bit demoralized by how very, very hard marriage can sometimes be, please don’t give up hope, sweet friends.

Your love story isn’t over yet.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Lizzie October 10, 2013 at 5:21 am

I’m not even married and this has moved me to tears! God willing, I will be married one day and I will remember your words – thank you for this wise and honest reflection. I will pray for your team!

Jennie October 10, 2013 at 7:45 am

I really love this. Your post came at a much needed time for me, thank you!

Casey October 10, 2013 at 8:02 am

In the eight years since our marriage, God has definitely helped me to grow in love and appreciation for my husband. It especially started when I started taking my faith more seriously. Once I became aware of and open to God’s mercy, I became in turn more able to be merciful to my husband. It became easier for me to forgive the big annoyances and frustrations, and to ignore the small ones. God also enabled me to really be aware of all of the ways I am pretty trying to my husband, and to be astounded and humbled by his patience with me and my faults. More often these days, I can appreciate that my husband is trying to help me to grow into a better person (although, I still have days where I resent the heck out of his prodding!).

Thanks for the encouragement not to give up hope, Hallie!
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Julie October 10, 2013 at 9:55 am

Thank you so much for this. I found it via Facebook and it really encouraged me!

Melody October 10, 2013 at 10:12 am

Beautiful. Spot on. For 17 years I’ve been learning and learning about authentic love in the heart of my home. Nothing is more painful. Nothing is sweeter.
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Jennifer H October 10, 2013 at 10:19 am

Thank you, Hallie. You always put things so beautifully! This post, I think, will always be relevant, but it was an especially great reminder for me today. My husband and I are in the throws of chaos currently. He’s in grad school full-time, working 2 part-time jobs and I’m working full-time. We have 3 young children and another one on the way. Some days, we feel like we’re barely surviving, and others, we are just in awe of the many blessings in our lives. Regardless, since this is not the first bump in the road we’ve had to endure in our short 7 year marriage, we went into this, knowing we’d have to work hard to keep our marriage strong. Thanks for the reminder, though. We need it. Your posts inspire and encourage and I love reading them.
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Christy October 10, 2013 at 10:35 am

So beautiful and encouraging. Thanks Hallie!
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Suzette October 10, 2013 at 11:23 am

Love the team analogy. Yes. Yes. We both recognize the struggle to become a team although its more acute (and annoying?) to me. Thanks Hallie! Always love the reflections and advice. At four years in I just feel like…will this let up already?!?!?!
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Agnes @ Restless Until I Rest in Thee October 10, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Aww, Hallie! This post is absolutely beautiful and oh how TRUE! I’m a newlywed of almost 2 months and we’re still high up in the love clouds (or what I call “post-marital bliss”….or simply honeymoon phase) but I know and I know and I know that tough times will come. LIFE will test us. God will test us…maybe even to the point where we think “this is unfixable….this cross is too hard” but I also know that as LONG as we both fight FOR each other and rely on the grace and mercy of God, we will get through anything and everything. So, I’m going into this marriage with the spirit of a soldier (…well, and a romantic lover as well, don’t get me wrong haha) because life sure will not be, as you say, running hand-in-hand through fields of dandelions…. It will be climbing mountains, being soaked by storms, and tripping and falling over rocks and stones! But with Christ, we can do this! <3
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Barbara October 10, 2013 at 12:58 pm

I may have once said, “I can’t wait for the struggles of marriage!” And when reminded of this said, “I didn’t mean THIS kind of struggle!”


A well. It makes for a great story, and I love stories.

Julie October 10, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Thank you, as always, for the encouragement, Hallie. Thank you for your good work to promote marriage and help married people to see how important it is to keep trying. And thanks especially for that phrase, “Your love story isn’t over yet.” I know I need to remember it!
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anna lisa October 10, 2013 at 3:16 pm

I’m so happy for you. Thanks be to God. What you wrote the other day about letting go of bad moods and disappointments–letting the one who loves you *love you* is such good advice.
Sometimes it takes a real effort–a total act of the will, but clinging to bad blood never works.
As always, I always recommend real prayer and blessings between spouses. It sounds so cliche to say “Communicate!!”–but unless we have the courage to bear our souls we are taking shelter in a form of pride.
The other thing is *touch*. When we are irritated or overstimulated by all the tugs and pulls on us by our children, we can foster a deadly martyr mentality and forget the many little (and big!) caresses that make the flame of love burn brighter. Sometimes we don’t even realize we are starving our husband. Remember that *he* comes first.
I can say with true honesty that I’ve never been more deeply in love with my spouse. I was so clueless ( a teen!) in the beginning, and made so many mistakes, but I never stopped praying for help and enlightenment. God always answers prayer, and dreams bigger dreams for us than we dare hope for.
We will celebrate 28 years in December.

Rosie October 10, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Thanks, this was very encouraging. A priest recently said to me in confession, “You’ve been married for 4 years? This is just the first chapter of your story. There could be fifty more. So don’t give up yet.”

Patty October 10, 2013 at 5:44 pm

SO beautiful and an hopeful…my husband and I have had some big battles to fight and address right from the beginning; but we are doing and sluggin through it together with God’s help! Thanks for your witness too:)

Patricia October 11, 2013 at 10:19 pm

This post really resonates with me. Thank you so very much for the encouragement. After 19 years of friendship and 8 years of marriage, my dear husband and I may very well just be getting to the best part…

Leticia Adams October 12, 2013 at 3:50 pm

I really really needed to read this. I have been feeling so beat up by the work that marriage is. I really felt so lonely in that this past week. This post made me cry. I almost lost hope, but God made me a fighter and losing hope just isn’t an option. Thank you for writing this.
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Erika Marie November 2, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Thank you for sharing this, Hallie. It’s so important to remember our marriages and this provides encouragement, especially for those going through the tougher patches. I hope you don’t mind if I shared it on my Food for Thought round up today.
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