What Went Wrong? How My Marriage Ended After 23 Years
Written by: Stephanie McNeal-Brown
Our marriage started out of a desire to break the cycle. He wanted to break the cycle of children growing up without a father present in the household. I wanted to break the cycle of a marriage wrecked by infidelity and unhappiness. We both wanted to create something new for ourselves that we never had.
We were both college graduates. Settled in our prospective careers and I was pregnant.
We’d planned to get married. Someday. However, the pregnancy hastened the date. I grew up in the Bible belt and was raised by a mother from the silent generation. That was the generation that was largely encouraged to conform with social norms so it was shameful to bring a child into the world ‘illegitimately’.
That ‘silent’ pressure was on me.
It’s the kind of external pressure that you feel when you’ve been conditioned to behave or expect how things should be.
It was a joint decision to marry and plus we definitely were in love. Despite that, I am fully persuaded that my husband was not totally ready to get married. I am sure that I was ill prepared. Nevertheless, we did want to honor God despite our failure to follow His Word.
Fast forward 23 years. Four babies, job losses, financial wreckage, business stalls, 2 Alzheimer’s diagnosis, parents death and a broken marriage.
In spite of that, did we really have to experience all the despair? What if, before we got married, we actually took some time to break the cycle before it unraveled our marriage? What if we did not hasten a marriage and actually fixed what was broken with the both of us? What if we actually had resources at the tip of our fingers and made a decision to take advantage of them instead of caving in to external and internal pressures to ‘do the right thing’? What if we broke the cycle?
Do you find yourself impatient and wanting to rush to get married?
Your situation may not be one of an unexpected pregnancy, but it could be:
- You (and you feel) everyone else hears your biological clock ticking
- To legally have sex before God
- All your friends are getting married and you’re feeling the pressure
- You’re always together so its cheaper to live together
- You want the attention and excitement of a wedding
- You think if you get married, you will solve all your problems
- You think that if you get married, then you’ll feel secure
- You fantasize about having a baby and a family
You may be having these thoughts and feelings, but be honest with yourself. Are you really ready for marriage? Do you know what the commitment level is like? Do you communicate in a healthy way? Do you know how to resolve conflict that is productive to building up instead of tearing down?
You are the decider of your life.
You have power. You have the power to choose. You have the power to say yes AND no!
Don’t make a decision because things are not playing out in your life they way they’re ‘supposed’ to or because of the expectation of others. Your life is your life and only you can live your life. God has a plan for YOUR LIFE. It’s your responsibility to seek Him. Discern His plan and follow it.
Need help? Join me and thousands of others on Married & Young’s FREE 4-day “Break The Cycle” Challenge starting on Monday, February 5. It is a safe place where we are breaking the cycles NOW so we don’t regret them later. Click HERE to sign up!