I can recall vividly the day I first thought about leaving my husband.
It was an evening in early February of 2014. The kids had just gone to bed and I was straightening up the living room. I stood in front of the fireplace totally frustrated that things had not gone the way I imagined. I didn’t feel like my husband was the same man I fell in love with nearly 20 years ago.
And I allowed my mind to wander for a moment.
I was so tired of it all. Disgusted. Defeated. Desperate.
Would it really be that bad if I were to walk away?
In just that short amount of time, I got sick to my stomach. In 15 years of marriage, I had never considered leaving, nor did I ever intend to. I have always been passionate about couples sticking to their vows and staying married. And I am not a quitter.
How was it possible I could reach such a low point that I was ready to throw in the towel? I never believed I could go that far.
While I was appalled that I let my mind go that direction and wish I had never gone there, the reality is, that was how I felt in the moment. But I refused to entertain the notion for more than a couple minutes because I knew how dangerous that line of thinking can be. One thought leads to another, which leads to another, which leads to another. It’s progressive, which is why Scripture tells us to capture our thoughts and refuse to entertain all reasoning that doesn’t align with God’s word (2 Cor 10:5).
That’s how we beat this stuff. The battle is in our mind. But the battle can be quite bloody at times, viscous and relentless. It’s exhausting trying to stick to God’s truth when all your feelings tell you something different.
I’d like to say I never considered leaving again, but it’s not true. Only a couple weeks ago I reached another incredibly low point, and I wanted desperately to ask God to release me from my wedding vows. And Tim has thought about it multiple times as well. A month ago he actually planned to come home and tell me he was done. It’s probably due to the grace of God that he held his tongue.
What we consistently dwell on and entertain in our mind must be God’s view of marriage, not ours. We have to remember that God’s plan is for spouses to stay together, die to self, and choose to love each unconditionally. Thinking about leaving, pondering how much better we suspect life would be, only adds to the division between the couple. And such thoughts do not please God.
We can’t be the only couple who has struggled with the temptation to quit. It’s hard to admit it publicly, but I want to encourage you that you’re not alone in the struggle. Some days it might feel impossible, but we have to intentionally think about good things (Phil 4:8) and refuse let our minds wander toward separation – no matter what happens, no matter how we feel.
So to combat the temptation to quit, the other day I wrote a list of reasons why I am staying:
1) He’s the only man I’ve ever loved. Not many people can say they’ve only loved one person, and I think it’s pretty cool.
2) Together, we have overcome so much already. Many people didn’t support us when we married and thought we’d never make it this far.
3) We have too many good memories. When you remember the good times that still make you smile, your problems don’t seem quite as big.
4) We created two beautiful human beings together. Our children are our legacy – do we really want to mess up their lives by separating?
5) What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. While some days it’s hard to hope, the truth is that when you persevere in any struggle, you always become a better person.
What about you? Is there something you do that combats the urge to leave your spouse?
©Jen Cudmore 2015, All Rights Reserved
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