The fight for our marriage

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I took this picture in church this morning (when I should have been listening to the prayer!) It absolutely melts my heart. Eric is the best of the best. I’m so thankful to be married to him… But our marriage has been severely tested since the accident…

I now understand why so many marriages crumble after tragedy – especially if the tragedy concerns your children. The grief is so heavy that it can take all of your energy just to get through the day. There is rarely emotional energy left over to connect with your spouse.

The problem is compounded by the fact that everyone grieves differently. Yes, I know most people go through the five stages of grief, but people go through the stages at different rates. The wife might be stuck in denial while the husband is in the anger phase. One spouse might get to acceptance quickly while the other stays in depression for years.

Meanwhile the marriage suffers because it just takes so much more effort than it used to – and who has that much energy? It’s definitely easier to give up than to fight to sustain the marriage.

But I married someone who refuses to give up. My grief after Anne’s accident was so thick at times that it would have been easy to give up, but Eric was committed to pursue me, and God gave us the grace to fight.

Now that we’ve been through our darkest days and come out on the other side together, I figured it was time to celebrate! So for Eric’s birthday, I gave him 12 pre-planned date nights* – one for each month of the next year. Every date is different. Some are extravagant and others are just simple nights at home – but every reservation has been pre-made and pre-paid, so we have no excuse… we must go!

Eric's birthday present

Eric’s birthday present

Our first date was last night. We went to the Atlanta Fish Market and then to the Aquarium. Eric said afterwards that it was rejuvenating, and that was my hope…. that as we take time to have fun together, this will give us energy to manage our little family – because parenting is harder now. Well… Everything is harder now. But that just makes life richer :)

Here’s to a great year, and the fight for a great marriage!

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*And by the way… I stole the “date-night” idea from a friend’s Pinterest Board. Here’s the original link :)

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15 thoughts on “The fight for our marriage

  1. Tina Simpson says:

    Wow! Very creative! I’ll need to tell you some time what my Dad did for my mom for their 20th anniversary (30 yrs ago)–very similar.

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  2. Lee Wallace says:

    I have had so many clients whose marriages failed as a result of the loss of a child. I know that the challenge is overwhelming; your explanation of why it is so hard was powerful, beautiful, and heart-wrenching, all at once.

    I am so grateful to God that he has sustained your marriage. In circumstances where the world says your marriage cannot survive, you were sustained by His strong hand. Here is to the fight for a great marriage, but to something even more that you already have — here is to a great marriage!

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  3. Reid Claire says:

    Kathryn,

    That is absolutely one of the best ideas I have ever heard of!!!! So glad your “August” date was so much fun. Love how you tied eat “fish” and see “fish” together!! Awesome.

    Claire

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  4. Lucel-Melody says:

    Happy Birthday, Eric,

    Kudos for continuing to love the Lord and your Family and for allowing your lives to be open-books to the world.

    Thank you for sticking with it when many would run (Many of my H&H families have been torn asunder, others like yours, have God as their super-glue when humanly it’s impossible to stick together, much less find ways to make it work).

    I have utmost respect for the zillion ways you and your family have fought to do old things in new ways; continued to Celebrate Life & God, right smack dab in the middle of the wretched feelings—never allowing THEM to rule, no matter how strong—

    May these special Birthday gifts, opened/unveiled each month, restore/renew/refresh your own soul, as well as doing these things and more, for your marriage and your home-life as well.

    May His Abundant Blessings continue to be apartment in each of your lives, and may your inner song and flame, burn ever brightly, in HIs name.

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  5. Kerry says:

    Aaron and I went through a loss almost 9 years ago and I remember it taking a huge toll on our marriage. And it was because of the different grieving processes. I believe doing regular date nights, as hard as it is, really is the best medicine. I also think you do have a wonderful husband as well as you are such a wonderful wonderful mom and wife:)

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  6. Johna (Creed) Lizdas says:

    Way to go Kathryn!! That was an amazing idea!! Many marriages face a lot of other things as well, and I am going to take note of this and try my best to do something similar for my marriage…thank you for the idea. Hope you have a wonderful year!

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  7. Love you so much and am so grateful that your family is our family. I, too, have a wonderful husband… and some of what is so wonderful about him, are qualities that you both share– strengths from your shared family: loyalty, strength of spirit, nobility of heart, a desire to learn and grow, a desire to grow into God. You both have roots down into a quiet strength that others can feel. That I trust. That God has tested and proved. —And you have this clever practicality that I am totally impressed by!! Love the date night gift!

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  8. ruth says:

    Thank you for reality sharing. Hugely praising God for the stickiness of your relationship, and the energy this year to invest fun pre-planned time together. I’m quite sure Eric loved this gift for its thoughtfulness!

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  9. Way to go girl! It takes a lot of work to coordinate/create twelve dates and speaks volumes to Eric. Exactly what marriages need. And thank you for sharing. You inspire others in so many ways.

    Colby and I lift you and your family up in prayer daily and this is one more wonderful evidence of God’s provision. Love you all !!!

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  10. Jane Smith says:

    Kathryn,

    Once again, your honesty is a ministering thing to us and it’s one of the things I love most about you! Thank you for sharing the journey…the sorrows and the joys…in such a real way. I love you…and I respect you and Eric even more than I already did.

    I love you and miss you!

    –Jane

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