Last winter, as the snow fell and life became barren, my marriage followed suit. I can't pinpoint what changed. Perhaps it came from years of issues we thought were resolved yet really stayed just below the surface, ready to jump back to the forefront whenever we got into a fight. Maybe it came as a result of the fact that I was working on a big project that demanded more of my time and energy. Maybe it was the seven-year itch I'd heard others warn me about. I can't say. All I know is that everything in our relationship changed and I didn't like it. More accurately, I didn't like my husband. I voiced my complaints. Loudly.
My closest friends knew everything my husband said or did that most affected me. Allen heard all about my heartache and disappointment. He began to feel hopeless and his level of confidence plummeted. As my finger wagged and triggered his insecurities, he retaliated, unconsciously trying to bring me down to where I took him. We began our dance on broken glass.
I wanted out. Desperately. Like a pilot in a downward spiral, I was ready to hit the ejector seat. Part of me wanted to fight for the love I had once cherished, yet a greater part wanted to protect what little was left of my breaking heart.
I fell into a pattern of survival, clinging to anything that would help support or sustain me through that trying time. I found solace by talking to friends, knowing they loved me and my husband enough to remain unbiased and pray for us as a couple rather than just listen to my side and tell me what they thought I wanted to hear. But my greatest source of comfort came from a passage of Scripture I'd long held on to: Psalm 91.
A friend compelled me to take its words to heart as she memorized them. I quietly followed suit as they offered relief and a promise I wouldn't find elsewhere. The words resonated with me at a deeper level than ever before. As I began committing them to memory, I found myself constantly stopping at verse 4: "He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection."
Ah, to be covered under the Almighty's feathers! I recalled a picture a friend showed me, a snowy mess inside a large bird's nest. She pointed out the mother eagle, buried under inches of snow, who remained unwavering in her determination to protect her unborn eaglets.
I craved to be covered by God's feathers, knowing he could shield me from the attacks I felt at the hand of my husband (who ironically felt attacked by me!). I celebrated that the verse said God's faithfulness would be my shield, rejoicing that his faithfulness wasn't determined by my actions of the day or the level of my devotion.
Adapted from TCW article "Surviving Marriage's Winters" By Stacy Voss.