We are officially a Mr. and Mrs. I feel AMAZING – happy – energized – filled with peace and excitement as we continue on this journey of life as husband and wife.
I’ve decided to share my emotional breakdown leading up to our wedding in hopes that one day someone facing a similar struggle reads this and finds hope.
About 2-3 weeks before the wedding I felt mentally fried. Stress was at an all-time high and I was a complete nervous wreck. I was overwhelmed, excited, anxious, curious, and filled with many emotions. In my posts, I shared about moments where Orlando and I struggled to be a team and focus on things that needed to be addressed. We were at each other’s throats in what should’ve been the best moments leading up to our wedding day.
One day I was certain getting married was the best decision, the next moment I’d be confused; not confused about my love for him – because my heart cannot envision another companion – but confused about how we were going to make it. I caved, shutdown, and maintained a pessimistic attitude while my husband carried the weight for both of us and resolved the final details regarding the wedding.
I tried to get him to focus on the issue at hand, show him that there might not be a wedding to plan if the problem – which I considered to be detrimental to our relationship – was not resolved immediately. I questioned everything. My questioning led me to doubt our ability to survive in the long run as a solid team. My inability to make sense of our fights, or more importantly rapidly resolve them and make peace, made me run further from him. My mind was fixated on our problems rather than remembering all the reasons why we accepted this lifelong commitment. Marriage is a big deal! I was focused on making sure that all of our Xs were crossed off the list to make sure we were ready.
I quit at our first big roadblock. I shut down!
As I share this I feel both shame and pride. I’m ashamed that I wasn’t stronger, that I was quick to doubt the team we’ve grown to be, and the relationship we’ve built these past 4 years. He and I have overcome greater obstacles. We believe in a limitless God, normally I turn to my faith and trust that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. In this case, I was relentless, I needed to prove that our communication differences made us unfit for marriage if we didn’t tackle them immediately. I didn’t plunge into prayer to calm the storm as I normally do and needed. While I’m ashamed of my little meltdown, I’m also proud and appreciative of how unshaken Orlando was by my emotional distress. He believed even when I didn’t. He carried us through. I didn’t acknowledge his gesture or appreciate the act while it was happening, quite honestly I thought he was a bit unwise, but as his wife reflecting on those moments I look up to heaven and thank God for the loving man I married who wasn’t fazed by my fear. During those stressful moments the words we used to communicate may not have been the best, they were at times extremely unloving. We were trying to quickly fix the problem but we expressed ourselves and approached each other incorrectly. His belief in us, his continued efforts to make this marriage happen, shouted love – I couldn’t appreciate it at the moment.
Our communication struggle kept me in a funk. I tend to be hypersensitive which doesn’t help when another person is passionate while expressing their frustrations. It’s not so much the problem that shakes me – it’s the delivery and presentation of the problem that mentally blocks me. You can tell me something and I’ll try my best to listen and process your perspective with an open mind, but if you shout at me or come at me with agitation, I’ll block you out and shut down. In solitude, in moments like this one where I can sit and process my thoughts, all problems seem easy to resolve. I understand what I’m doing wrong (or I think I do). I come up with ideas to fix the issues and believe that in an easy 1, 2, 3 step process I can fix it. However, I’m forgetting an important piece, the OTHER side; the other person’s perspective, the other person’s emotional needs, and the other person’s personality.
We were two people with a deep love for one another, unfortunately, at that moment our love was overshadowed by our communication struggles. It was easy to sit and talk about anything when we started dating. Obviously, we filtered ourselves, presenting our best side in hopes that we would enamor the other. When our communication shuts down I reminisce on those times and use those memories to make a case that will prove that we need to fix things ASAP. Silly me! This is only the beginning of the lifelong task of learning to communicate effectively, this communication struggle is normal, and change is a part of life – it doesn’t mean something is going bad. Rather than going with the flow and remaining calm, I used my awareness of the struggle to pressure myself into finding an instant solution. I needed assurance that we would be immune from this issue in the future. I needed to plan ahead and safeguard our marriage. I was trying to corner Orlando into fixing the problem. I would not be silent, if there’s a problem then clearly it must be addressed immediately! I must speak up, I must fight back, and I must force Orlando to reason with me.Not quite.
I thank God we didn’t quit or further our pain. Marrying Orlando is the best decision I’ve made. We aren’t perfect, we are two sinners struggling to overcome our sinful behavior. Regardless of how hard we try to avoid our sin, the reality is our actions won’t always echo our faith or love as it should. Granted, we try our hardest to learn from our mistakes, but we may not always get it right the first time. Truth be told, we might hurt each other throughout this learning process. It doesn’t make us fake or hypocrites as we sometimes tell ourselves, it makes us human. We have an opportunity for growth if we open ourselves to the lesson. Growth is gradual not overnight. I need to give Orlando and myself a break. Sometimes I hold us to an extremely high standard because we are of faith, but this is unrealistic because we aren’t perfect. It also keeps me focused on the sin, holding me back, rather than healing and looking towards the future with hope in God’s grace that I will be enlightened to why I do what I do. I tend to forget about my humanness, I want perfection. Contrary to what I believed then, our communication struggle was not something that we couldn’t overcome at a later time, nor was it something that indicated we weren’t suited for marriage (thank you, God!). When all is said and done it’s the two of us until the end. I sought Godly counsel because I believed we were at the end of our rope. I urge you to do the same if you are at a crossroad and need to make a big decision, regardless of what area of your life will be affected by it, even if you seek help alone.
Be cautious of the advice you receive from friends. It’s easy to suggest that a rash decision be made when you’re an outsider and don’t have to live with the aftermath of a decision.
We don’t always receive the best of advice from others. People don’t always have the best of intentions, maybe they don’t have the same love in the heart for the other person that will make us fight a little longer to save our relationship, maybe the lens through which they see life aren’t the best set, nor are they in our shoes living the moment. It’s easy to tell someone to dust themselves off when the going gets tough, but before doing so pause and process things. Take your time when making a final decision. If it’s the best decision then it will also be the best decision tomorrow, at the end of the week, or at the end of the month, what’s the rush? Better to be safe than sorry. Envision your life after finalizing your decision and ask yourself if it’s worth the risk to quit instead of trying harder to save what you have. If you’re able to, fertilize and take care of your blessing. You have the ability to make your grass greener, take into consideration that you may face greater struggles on the other side of the fence. The possible outcomes are endless, don’t jump to negativity as I did. It’s important to demand more for ourselves, but it’s also important to be humble, remain in love, accept our imperfections, give ourselves room to be human, and focus on the beauty that exists in what we have. Beautiful transformations can result from our difficulties. I didn’t treasure our bond and our faith in those stressful moments. I didn’t fertilize my garden. I wasn’t willing to remove the weeds and help the flowers of our garden bloom. I only saw the beauty of the garden, I omitted the tending required to help it get there.
Had Orly not been as strong as he was I may have lost or hurt the man I love because of fear. Don’t quit! Don’t allow the hard times to make you lose sight of the bigger picture. Struggles and conflict can be positive if in the long run we grow and rise because of their lessons.
Thankfully through Godly intervention we found a middle ground and made it to that blessed day. In the winter we have to fight against the discouragement we are filled within the cold season. Spring and summer are just around the corner, perhaps winter is a good time to pause, reflect, and do nothing as we wait for the moment where the beauty of what we have will bloom again.
I’m grateful for my husband’s love and devotion. I’m grateful my heart didn’t quit. I’m grateful for God’s transformation in our season of winter.
I am grateful.