in sickness & health {day 1}

realhardloveFeeling lots and lots of bitterness and anger right now. I tried to talk to Gabe about it and got nothing. I’m so ticked. I feel like we’ve moved beyond nurturing, caring wife to him totally using me. I need him to get off his a$$ and do something. I need him to prove he’s willing to do the hard work of getting better. I am so, so angry right now.

I hate that he’s up in our bed, and I can never go up there anymore. I hate that we’ve had to cancel all our plans. I hate that he makes me drive him everywhere and give him millions of massages and back scratches. I hate this. And I’m very, very angry at him. THIS SUCKS.

Hi there. Happy February! ^Happy Peek-Into-My-Journal-From-a-Year-Ago.^ Happy Little PG-Rated Snippet That’s Just the Tiniest Drop in the Bucket of Marriage Hell that was 2012.

Happy Day One of the Real. Hard. Love. series.

I didn’t mean to start off the series talking about myself, but the gal who was going to share her story first wasn’t quite ready. And since I’m all about flying by pants’ seats, here we go.

Fast-forward through a bunch more journal angst to March 2012:

I’m having a really, really hard time, Lord. A really hard time. And I feel like there’s nowhere I can turn. I’m so tired of this. Gabe is grouchy and moody and mean and I’m so sick of it. I wish I could just get away from it all. He’s making me so angry. He kept me up half the night, and now he gets to sleep, and I don’t, and I am so, so angry.

I can’t handle the girls fighting on top of all this Gabe crap. I’m about ready to fly off the handle. I’m sitting on the couch crying, angry. I want to do something really extreme. Like pile the girls in the car and drive away. I want to make him pay for what he’s doing to me. Lord, I need you.

Did I mention I was angry?

Forgive me if you’re new here and you’re 100% completely lost (thanks for reading all the way to this point–pretty impressive). My husband Gabe had a heart attack on October 29, 2011. At the end of January, 2012, he started having panic attacks. 2012 was one big long battle against anxiety and demons and depression and debt and anger (anger!) and despair. And lots and lots and lots of asking God, “WHERE ARE YOU, AND WHEN THE HELL IS THIS GOING TO BE OVER?!?!”

It still isn’t over. February 1, 2013. Still. Not. Over.

So, I blogged about my right now story at the end of last February. And I told a really cool 2-part story about some healing in April (part 1 & part 2). And it’s been a roller-coaster ever since, and it’s already after midnight, so I can’t possibly link to all of that.

Here’s the thing.

Love is messy. And it’s hard.

Life is messy. And it’s hard.

And one thing this year has taught me? That God can get glory through our messy hard. The kind of glory we can’t give him in the happy easy.

I’m not the same girl I was before all of this happened. Do I want her back? Not for a minute.

Do I like all the stuff I’ve been through?


Do I understand why it all happened/is still happening?



And how do I say this without sounding cliche and happy-wrap-up-the-struggle-with-a-bow-and-lesson-to-live-by?

My marriage is stronger. My relationship with God is deeper. My tolerance for pain is higher.

I’ve been sifted and pruned and sharpened, and there’s a whooooole lot of work to go, but I’m ready. Bring it.

There are a lot more layers to my testimony now. I’ve got street cred. I been through somethin’ and came out kickin’.

(I really need to work on my gangsta lingo.)

There’s a whole lot more to the story, and we’ll get to that in time. But let’s talk about you.

What are you going through right now that is REAL HARD?


26 thoughts on “in sickness & health {day 1}

  1. Pingback: week-end re-wind {day 3} | Marla Taviano

  2. kendal

    i never dreamed, when i was dating and planning a wedding, that MY marriage would require WORK. our hardest stuff was when i was having an affair with an eating disorder and was so so so mean to my husband. unfaithful, really. for some years. and then there was the year (or two?) that i believed he wasn’t working hard enough to provide for us. and i was so so so mean. and now? with some years and counseling and growth, we are good. but i’m not naive anymore to believe that we are on some sort of monorail….

  3. Rachelle

    Oh man, is it okay that I am afraid to post that at this moment life doesn’t seem so REAL HARD? Ask me again tommorow. m-k. Last week my son wrecked his pickup and if it hadn’t have been for divine protection, seriously, he probably wouldn’t be here. By the end of the week we had an insurance check for the same amount we paid for the pickup a year ago. It seems like God is busy answering before we ever ask.

    For me, this year is about looking back at God’s faithfulness and laying down my distorted perception of the future. I have spent Oh SO much time worrying. And over and over God has said, “Trust Me”. After going through a bunch of junk last year, and the year before that and…I find that trusting God is where I run more often because always He proves faithful.

  4. Sharon

    Don’t know how you are feeling now, but was relieved to read that this was from an old journal. When I first started reading, I was like, “Oh no!” I hope this year is much easier on your fam.

    I don’t suffer from anxiety, but my sister and best friend do. It is hard for me to understand things they can’t do. Both of them avoid driving on the highway as much as possible, my sister bowed out of going with me to try on wedding dresses minutes before our appointment. We also went to try on bridesmaids dresses on another occasion (for our brothers wedding) and she just couldn’t go into the store. She sat in the car while I got fitted for my dress. It seemed crazy to me. We’d already driven all the way to the bridal shop and surely it would only take minutes to get done what we needed to. And I was with her and I was driving. She wasn’t alone. She didn’t have to drive. I just did not (and still really don’t) get it. But, I feel for her. And, honestly, am so glad I don’t have to deal with that stuff myself. As in that I don’t suffer from anxiety.

  5. Amanda

    Excited for this series and thankful for your honesty throughout all of this. Only 2 years in and this is the hardest, craziest, god honoring journey ever! Thankful for you!

  6. Missy June

    Real. Hard. Love. Yep – real love always gets hard, I think.

    I really like the “Street Cred” quality. Yep, I’ve got that. Of course, I’ve always had struggles, but they were easily masked. Nothing shouts ‘Issues’ like becoming a single mother with three children. Nothing hides the labels or the insecurities of regjection, betrayal, etc. Street cred – it puts us out there where our true beliefs are exposed by our reactions to the difficulties of life.

    I look forward to reading more!

  7. Shannon

    I’m really thankful for your willingness as a couple to be honest about how hard physical stuff can be on the emotional and mental and spiritual part of your lives. For a few years I’ve had chronic pain which sometimes causes a lot of anxiety about going to bed, because it’s so hard to get comfy, and I’m angry at my body a lot of the time for the things I think it’s costing me. I can’t lie curled up on my side with my sweetie very easily, because of the pain, and I miss that so much. We’ve set adoption aside because of this stuff, and that makes me feel sad, although I’m also at peace about letting God hold onto the dreams He actually wants me to have, and I know He’s faithful and His plans are the right ones. I feel like I miss some of the fun things I want to do with my kids. And it’s exhausting, because of the not-getting-enough-sleep stuff. It IS hard on me, on my husband, on my family. And I don’t understand WHY God’s allowing this situation to continue, and I know He loves me and my family and He has a way to be glorified in this and through this. But I do feel like I am letting my family down and my husband down a lot of times. I feel like I vaguely remember who I REALLY am, and that this girl I am now is a little sliver of who I really am, and I miss some of that girl! I’ve been trying to be more intentional about injecting joy and sparkle in my life, and I’ve begun to be more honest in my own blog (thanks for modeling courage, Marla!) about how hard it is, and I am finding friends really resonate with that. Because everyone has some kind of hurt they carry. So praise the Lord for His faithfulness and for giving us community to come alongside us, and I pray we all step out of the hard places more like Jesus.

  8. Sharon Meekins

    I LOVE YOU! I think I’m going to be more honest when I journal! I try to make the bad look “good”. I’m going to let all my feelings hang out! You are so awesome! My prayer is that we can meet one day! 🙂

  9. Gabe

    God is good when we are not, that’s for sure. After all of the trash in the past year, I continue to remind myself that if our roles were reversed I am not sure I could have pushed through it. I believe I would have, but only because of the love of Jesus.

    Conny’s comment about “strong” men is a pretty interesting one. Like it’s sometimes hard as a woman to always be a caregiver, it was probably the hardest thing for me to watch my family suffer while I couldn’t be myself or push through things like normal. Our enemy is the source of weakness, chaos, and failure. I praise God for giving me that “strength” to lead back. Without him, marriages suffer due to lack of focus and purpose.

    May God get all of the glory through the transparency of our life together. Good stuff!

  10. Jen Hanson

    I love you! 🙂

    Real. Hard. Love. I won’t go into detail here, but I’m having to lean into a friendship that I so badly want to run away from because the stuff my friend is going through is messy and hurtful and disappointing and scary and sinful and I just want to get away from it. But my friend needs someone. And considering God keeps waking me up at night with her on my heart to pray for, I’m convinced that leaning into this friendship is the right thing to do. It’s hard and hurtful, but it’s Love. It’s Life.

    1. Rachelle

      Jen, I can relate.
      The hardest day for me was when my friend called and asked me to help her pick paint colors for her new place. The place she was moving to away from her husband after making a mess of her life. I went. I prayed all the way there and cried all the way home. It was hard leaning into my friend but she called me. What a gift, to be the person someone calls when there is no one else. Love. I have since had the priviledge to watch God tenderly transform her heart.

  11. Amy

    A week ago my husband developed Bells Palsy. He cannot move the muscles at all on half of his face. He can’t smile or blink. He has to manually close his eyelid over his eye to blink. Eating is more difficult. He is also in a lot of pain. It’s hard. It’s real. We have no idea if or when it will heal.

  12. Lisa Davis

    Past relationship demons that affect my marriage in a negative way. For me, that demon is my sexual past before Jimmy. I carry shame and guilt that affects my intimacy with my husband.

  13. Krysten

    I just love you to pieces, friend. Thank you for your raw honesty and willingness to share. Love is no joke. Even in the thick sludge, youre doing it right. Keep on.

  14. Gail

    I can feel your pain I too feel sorry for myself and wish to change my husband of 40 years when in my heart I know ONLY GOD can change him. When I finally give up and follow Gods lead I then feel happy and our marriage thrives. So my question ,why are we so carnal and fall back to wanting our way and not Gods way.? I know my husband does not think like I do yet I wish he did. A looking forward to what you all have to say.

  15. Keri

    My big thing? I have NO idea where we’ll be in a few months. None. And in my husband’s job he has zero support or encouragement. My battle is not getting freaked out and thinking that man will determine our future when I know no man is bigger than God. I do NOT want to move because I feel purposeful here. I do NOT want to start over. God’s will……it kinda scares me right now.

    1. Marla Taviano

      I don’t want you to move either, girl. I’m counting on you being a tiny plane ride away when I finally get to Cambodia. Love you much, and praying God will help us both trust him with an uncertain future. xoxoxoxo

  16. Conny

    My husband resigned his job, worked briefly as an independent contractor til he fell 20 ft and broke his leg … and instead of sitting in our bed, he sat on our love seat – for 3 months, 3 long months. At first, I was sympathetic – but then the surgeon said he was doing great and yet, he still sat on the couch. I wonder if we women expect our men to ALWAYS be “strong” … and at that point, mine just wasn’t. He had just resigned a ministry job he’d be in for 7 years, a job we sacrificed for and he loved, that God took away from him … for some reason we can’t understand. Now he is finally working, as a clerk at a hospital … not the job he wanted – but at least he is helping people (his goal in life). Yep, love is hard. messy. maddening. BUT awesome and incredible and wonderful. And most of all, GOD is awesome and incredible and wonderful.

  17. Stephanie

    First of all… big *hugs* to you. Daniel and I talk about you guys often. 🙂 Hope 2013 is a good year of continued growth for you.

    2011-2012 were extremely difficult years for us. Our relationship was tested even more than it had been before, but I believe we’re closer for it. We’re still going through some REAL HARD health stuff, but I believe we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 🙂

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