Vanessa and Trey Milner were heading full speed ahead for divorce. Vanessa turned to the Lord for guidance, but instead of heeding the voice of the Lord she allowed her feelings to be her guide. Find out how obedience became the path that brought restoration to their family and transformed their broken marriage into ‘they lived happily ever after’.
I would like to say up front that there are always 2 sides to every story and very rarely is one person ever to blame for the all the problems in a relationship. During the time that these events were happening many mistakes were made on both sides and our whole family suffered for it, but this blog will cover my part of the blame in what happened. This is what God revealed to me about myself. My husband’s side is his story to tell; all I can do is take responsibility for my side of the street.
As Summer 2014 was coming to an end, all was not well in the Milner household. The battle lines had been drawn and everybody was losing. It was nothing new. We were fighting the same old fights that we had been fighting since we had gotten married a little over a year ago at the time. If I am transparent, a lot of the problem initially was me. Two of my biggest character defects are being very emotional needy and insecure andthe combination of these 2 faults brings out a massive need for constant reassurance of love and approval. The combination of these faults also brings another ugly issue to the surface “people-pleasing”….going above and beyond to try to make someone happy in an attempt to get that reassurance and approval mentioned above.
The problems always started the same. He didn’t pay enough attention to me. He didn’t ever want to help me with the kids. He worked A LOT and when he was there he would be trying to catch up on his rest,but all I could see was him spending his only time at home sleeping. When I could get him out the house to go somewhere as a family, he usually ended complaining and grouchy the whole time. He stayed up late watching TV and many nights fell asleep on the couch and slept there all night. And on and on and on so many little things that made me feel like he didn’t care about my feelings because ultimately he didn’t really love me. I don’t remember exactly when I came to the conclusion that he really just didn’t love me, but from that point my attitude changed drastically.
I was already hard to live with because I spent most of my waking hours trying to figure out why he didn’t love me so I could think of ways to win his love and being devastated when nothing changed. When I got the idea in my head that he didn’t love and I couldn’t change it, I got very angry and I felt very betrayed that he had fooled me into believing he cared. I kept those feelings of anger bottled up inside all the time, bitterness boiled inside of me constantly and it poisoned my thoughts and feelings. I became more moody and paranoid than usual. My housekeeping skills are nothing to brag about even on a good day, but I pretty much gave up all together. I did just what had to be done and wished that he would say something about what I needed to do.
It was some time after the first of the year 2015 that I went to God in prayer, broken and full of self-pity, not really looking for a solution just wanting to unload all my hurt over how my husband made me feel like I didn’t matter…but God had something to say.
He told me that :
My husband did love me that I was the one who was making myself miserable, that I was responsible for my unhappiness.
I was floored. I started to cry and asked God if Trey loved me then why didn’t he treat me like he loved me. I told God that what he was saying didn’t make sense…that the way my husband treated me was not the way you should treat someone when you love them.
And then God laid this revelation on me: I had to stop expecting Trey to love me on my terms. That it was not fair for me to expect him to love me exactly the way I wanted him to. Trey could only be who he was and that I was setting him up for failure, that if this marriage was ever going to work that I was going to have realize that by criticizing Trey all the time for not loving me the right way that I was in essence telling him his love was not good enough and he wanted to be loved and respected for who he was just like me. Then God told me that if I would just take his word that my husband did love me and then react to that truth by loving him every day for just who he was then my love, respect, and approval of him as my husband would help him be a kinder more considerate husband. All I had to do is give the love I wanted without expecting it in return and eventually it would be returned naturally and from the heart.
In that moment I had hope. I had a plan of action. I would obey God and my marriage would be better than ever. Only one HUGE problem, I had not dealt with all the bitterness on the inside. I was happy to push it a little deeper and put on a mask and give it my best super wife impression, but with all that bitterness still inside I could only keep my outbursts in for a week or 2 at a time and then I would explode and be ugly and we would be back to square one.
By the time May rolled around and I found out he had been drinking behind my back, I was ready to do anything that might give me a moment of relief from all the hurt that was bubbling so close to the surface all the time so I threw away 3 years of sobriety and we started drinking together. Of course, the drinking only made it harder to tuck my “crazy” in….so now to add to the bitterness, I have guilt over throwing away 3 years of sobriety and turning my back on God. I have fear…fear that while drinking that something bad is going to happen to one of the kids or that I will do something stupid and that I may lose the kids. I worry all the time that my husband is sleeping with other women. If I thought things were bad before, I had no idea how much worse they were going to get.
And things did go from bad to worse. In July, I quit drinking again and in August, after repeated attempts to get Trey to sober up I packed my bags and took the kids and moved out……as a victim. Poor Vanessa whose husband didn’t love her and ignored her all the time….and now was getting drunk every night sleeping with whoever. If all that was true I should have felt relief that I didn’t have to live like that anymore, but the truth was I felt sick inside because I knew that I had the solution all along, but I couldn’t control my emotions long enough to save my family.
At that point, God told me that I could no longer fix this that it would have to run its course and that it would take time, but if I could wait patiently and stay out of his way that I would see my family restored eventually. I tried so hard this time to obey and leave Trey alone, but I kept letting my feelings draw me back in. Whether it was bickering or he was sending late night random “I miss you” stuff I would eventually give in and respond. All of the back and forth was not good for me. It kept my heart in turmoil all the time, anxious over what the future held for me and my family. Until I broke, got drunk in the middle of the day and headed to Trey’s to have it out. It was a nightmare and a half. I knew then that even though I could quit drinking again the next day that unless I removed myself from my current situation I would be unable to obey God and leave my husband in his able hands. It was one of the hardest things I ever did, returning to the faith based rehab where I originally met my Savior to reconnect to God while vowing to let my husband go in the hopes that God would bring him back to me.
Almost 3 months from the time I removed myself from his life, my husband decided to go get help and the rest is history in the making however; when I finally did what God told me and was able to sit down with God in that safe place and trace my steps back to how I got there I was wrecked at how that one act of disobedience had almost cost me my family. I had the answer to my problems and yet I couldn’t push past my own feelings to receive the marriage I wanted. I wanted an amazing marriage and love, but I didn’t want to step outside my comfort zone to get it.
But I did what God told me and waited patiently and now I have had a chance to make it right. And I bet you already know the ending. God was absolutely, positively right….as always. I devoted myself to loving my husband better than ever before, to submit to his authority as best I can, to show him that I love him unconditionally. And it turns out that : *drum roll please* He does love me. He really, really loves me and every day he shows me a little more without any pouting or begging for attention. I can feel the love when he looks at me and when he holds me close late at night. He goes out of his way to express his love for me in so many ways. He compromises more and is more considerate of my feelings. He surprises me at times with gestures of appreciation for all I do when before all I ever felt was that the weight of expectation and entitlement. I am so thankful that God allowed us another chance to get it right.
Finally, I know now that home is not a place, but it is wherever this family is together. I have hope, real hope, that we are going to be ok.
Not because of me or my husband because we are both imperfect people but because we are loved by a faithful, loving God who always knows what is best for his people.
Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. — Proverbs 14:1