November 15, 2016
Our first argument was about mustard.
Exactly this time in November many moons ago, my boyfriend and I fell in love. We had a long-distance relationship and were excited to plant roots together in the same city. While on our road trip from Mississippi to Sacramento I bought him a cheeseburger at a restaurant. Even though he mentioned he detested the taste of mustard once before, I forgot to request his meal without it.
When I realized my mistake, I started to remove the mustard with a napkin. While I seemed to successfully remove any trace of that condiment, the damage had been done. The mustard flavor had already soaked up pieces of the bun and the entire burger, per David, was unsalvageable. I felt bad. He was hungry, but wasn’t bothered by the situation like I was. I didn’t understand why he couldn’t just eat the darn burger.
What began as good intention, proceeded into a discussion about hurt feelings and unrealistic expectations. In David’s humorous gesture, he stopped the car, threw the burger on the ground, said a prayer for it to nourish the earth and heal our first fight.
We laughingly took a picture and promised we would always remember the lesson learned….Don’t take disagreements so seriously, remember one’s intention and don’t forget how much we loved each other.
Several years and several kids later, there would be fights bigger than burgers we would endure. Having a blended family, raising three rambunctious boys, working closely together and respecting our individual egos has not been an easy task. Time coupled with unsettled resentments would drift us apart, build up bitterness and fracture our focus on each other.
Like a house, a car or even a fit body – once achieved, it’s hard to upkeep. It takes monthly maintenance and daily gratitude to ensure it doesn’t break and stays in proper condition. Gone were our date nights, our evening talks, our daily walks or goodnight kisses. What started with endless nights talking about poetry, philosophies and life, changed into years of diapers, online distractions and a crowded bed of 5. We stopped seeking to understand, being quick to forgive and keeping each other a priority.
After years feeling disconnected, I finally broke this summer.
I had nothing left in me. Nothing. I filed legal separation. I removed all the pictures in the house. I notified family, warned the children and told all of you – because I was certain, I was done. I didn’t know what the future would bring, but I knew it had to be better than where I was in those months when I hid my hurt and barely hung on to hope.
I don’t know when it happened – but somewhere in between a marriage retreat, crying with friends and creating my war/praying room, something changed in me.
One day I decided to stop being a victim. I stopped replaying memories of painful moments. I stopped asking myself what he didn’t do for me, and started asking myself if I’ve done enough for him. After all, we both planted and watered the seed that bore the rotten fruit we were both now eating. Did I feel like my stomach was aching more than his in this meal? Absolutely. But I can’t speak for him. I can only tell you my story.
So, I made a choice. I woke up and said today I choose love. I couldn’t guarantee tomorrow or next week, but today I would make a choice to love him. After all, love is not given only when you want to give it, love is also given when you feel it’s most undeserving. It’s a daily decision – a commitment – to let go of the past and give all that you have.
Surprisingly, despite all the parts broken and beaten, somehow, I still had something left.
It all still hurts, but here I am.
I’m still fighting and writing my life story. As much as I wanted to turn the page, the chapter called “David and Maria” hasn’t ended yet. What started with mustard, manifested into marriage and a meaningful life filled with hills and valleys.
We all grow from small beginnings, just look at a mustard seed. As biblical parable describes, that tiny seed will grow to become a tree where birds will come and lodge in its branches. You would never know the strength of such a small seed, but with patience, forgiveness, faith, hope, love….
it will grow.
We took a picture of that cheeseburger on our roadtrip. I put it in our scrapbook to surprise him years later.
One of our stops during our roadtrip was Mount Rushmore!
I drew a lot while in the car. I don’t think we turned on the radio once?
Hi maria! Your posts are an inspiration to get fit because the day my man of God comes into my life, we get married and have children, I want to be health to carry them in my womb. I strongly do believe there must be years of being healthy ( inside and out) to maintain that lifestyle being pregnant and after that. So with that being said, I pray that through your testimony , God glorifies Himself in your life. From what I can see, many of those you have helped and inspired are now here ready to help you ! There is so much power in prayer in through unity. I pray for the restoration IN FULL of your marriage. I pray for you both to return to your first love ! Starting with God ! Continue interceding for your husband. The enemy cannot get a hold of him any longer, since he is the head of your house , continue to cover him. You hold power through the position of being his wive despite being “legally separated”. I know God will give you the Strategies on how to pray. I also strongly feel that God FIRST wants to mend you completly and that comes with surrender. Constant surrender. I pray for grace and a supernatural encounter with His love as you are in this season of your life! I pray all of this and life where there was death in the mighty name of Jesus ! God bless you maria
Maria, As a follower and reader, I and rooting and praying that you and David reconcile. The devil is a liar that comes to kill, steal and destroy. Division at its best, stealing all joy. I am rooting for u both for a reconciled marriage! Regardless of all hurts and faults, God is good and he heals. We have been forgiven when we don’t even deserve it.
I am married with kids as well. Once a upon, I was at the same crossroad. I refuse to be defeated and worked on myself. We can only change ourselves. I learned then that the grass is NOT green on the other side. But it is green where you water it. It changed my perspective on my marriage. I had so much work to do, to tend to on my marriage. I learned to speak his love language. (Book called: the 5 love languages) and he learned to speak mines. We date each other like when we first met, go on weekly/bi weekly date nights, put each other on a calendar and make time for intimacy & talks between the kids and all activities. Its been a long road but we are so much stronger than before. Still working and tending on my marriage cause it’s the most important thing to us above all else and will only get even better in time.
I pray for your marriage that it lasts and weathers through the storm. Because we are only on this earth for a short moment. Much love and prayers coming your way!
You give me hope. I’ve been following you for a couple of years now and was happy to know there are women out there that struggle like I do (with everything). My husband and I were going through a rocky time over the summer. I had a mental breakdown and I went to therapy. I am in a better place more or less. I realized I was focusing on the negatives and because of that I couldn’t move forward. I made a decision to treat my husband with kindness even if he wasn’t being kind and eventually our relationship would get better. Well its not perfect but it is way better than it was over the summer. When you announced you had separated from your husband I was very sad. For you, your kids, and your husband. Its not easy to see from the other’s point of view and I still struggle with this. If choosing love is the best choice for you, that’s awesome because that means you can still find something in him that you love. I am feeling the same. I chose love and yeah we still fight, I still get disappointed. But I found something in him that I want to fight to keep. So you give me hope. 🙂
Thank you for not giving up, Maria! I’ve been praying for you, after I saw your other post about calling it quit.
I would encourage you and David to attend a Weekend to Remember conference. See the Family Life website for their next conference and seek some additional information. I pray for healing in your marriage.
This is so awesome
Keep your chin up and keep loving….
I have been a follower of yours for years and love your work. I hope you ultimately do what is best for you. Thanks so much for sharing this piece, so many people don’t talk about how hard married life really is. And ITS SOOOO HARD! So here’s a big internet hug from me to you 🙂
Hoping and praying everything will be alright soon.❤️ Love always win.Hugs from Manila!XXX
Hi Maria! I love this post and all your posts about love. Ok, as a follower for a few years I really love ALL your posts. I love your candor and honesty about what you’re going through in your marriage. I feel exactly the same way in mine. Marriage really is tough and I praise you for your courage to say STOP when you needed time for yourself and to say START AGAIN when you felt that it was the right time. I hope to find the same courage as you. I also hope for the best for you and David whichever path you guys take.
Blessings to you and your family always!
Hi Maria! Keep fighting! About 7 years ago my husband told me he was no longer happy and wasn’t sure he wanted to be married anymore. We had 1 son at the time and I felt so depressed and lost. It was not the path I thought I would ever be on. He was in law school at the time and never home. I had a friend tell me to not give up. She said don’t kick him out because that gives him an easy out, but fight for our marriage and if he decided to leave we would find the best divorce attorney, get me full custody, and find me a new man. LOL! It was what I needed to hear. We got into counseling. We only went once though because the counselor made my husband angry. It was enough though to finally get him talking to me and start working through things. It was hard and took time. We have now been married 13 years and have added 2 more kids to our family. It isn’t perfect, but I look back and am so glad we went through all of that. Our marriage is stronger and sweeter than it would have been without that. We have been through some tough life stuff since and we have been able to draw together and be a team instead of pulling apart. I have seen you around the gym with your boys. As you fight for yourself and your marriage hold them close. God and my son are what helped me push through. Thinking of divorce for me meant another women would be in his life at some point and I wouldn’t get him all of the time. It crushed me and helped motivate me that I had to fight not just for me, but for him. Praying for you that no matter what path your journey takes you on you will find your peace and strength in the One who loves us the most!
As always, you are inspiring. After being a terrible and awful husband for a wife that tried and strived for years to be a great wife…. I finally woke up and have been making it up to her every since then, and I was a really, REALLY bad husband. So I know that it is possible. My wife jokes that she has been married to Prince Charming for 3 years (We’ve been married 10!)
DO. NOT. GIVE. UP.
GOD will reward your marriage and heal you both… I’m sure he has started already. I will be praying for both of you.
I loved this because I am newly married and have had trouble with having hope for good things because both my parents are on their 3rd marriages. I waited until 31 to be married and trusted God and met an amazing man of God who treats me very very well, but I am full of fear of tomorrow. I hope we can encourage each other to know that there is hope. There is a hope that can abide. There is a hope that is deeper than surface level. My hope is that you (and me) will not be afraid to show your hurt in healthy ways. My hope for you (and me) is that the love you feel for your husband will come from the Father, something supernatural, a gift for the both of you. My hope for you is that you will feel God’s love today, like hot water covering the soul. My hope for you is that you and your husband will find a breakthrough and I am praying that right now. Hope is fragile, hard to kill, but hard to revive once it has been lost. My prayer is for abiding hope in your soul. Thanks for your encouragement and your example of fitness. 😀
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