When I was eight, I got hit by a car while crossing a busy road (back in those days, kids could roam around on their own without supervision). I busted my lip, chipped my tooth, and fractured my ankle. Over a period of six weeks, my body healed itself, but it didn’t heal itself in nice clean lines. My lip has an uneven line of scar tissue where it healed. My chipped tooth remained jagged for most of my childhood. I haven’t gotten a good look at my ankle, but I’m certain that there is residual evidence of the trauma.
When I was fifteen, I got a weight bench for my birthday and set it up in my room. Anyone care to guess what the first thing is that a 15-year-old boy does with a weight bench? That’s right – “Hmm…I wonder how much I can max press?” Combine this curiosity with a general lack of wisdom, and I proceeded to push myself to my absolute limit without a spotter. Next thing I know, 120 pounds landed briefly on my face before adrenaline kicked in and pushed the entire thing up and off to the side. To this day, I still have a jagged scar just under the bridge of my nose.
Wounds heal, but they heal crooked.
In the fall of 2012, my marriage was crumbling. As it fell apart, I treated Tammy with little to no compassion. I was cold and distant. Worse yet, I said and even wrote things that cut to her core and broke her heart. Those words and my actions cannot be undone. But Tammy is gracious and loving and she was willing to give me the opportunity to make it up to her and for us to work as a team to rebuild our relationship. So that’s what we did in earnest throughout all of 2013 and that’s what we continue to do today.
The process of healing deep wounds of the heart is messy. There is no script and no timeline. As the wounds heal, you pass through cycles of hope and doubt, cycles of peace and conflict. There are cycles of anger, cycles of joy, and cycles of heartache. With each happy cycle, we have the opportunity to enjoy each other’s presence and create our new normal. And with each painful cycle, I have the opportunity to delicately cradle her heart in my arms, and mend one of the many cracks or tears that I created with my selfish words and actions.
I don’t know how long the healing process is going to be for us and that doesn’t bother me. I am thrilled that God has blessed me with an amazing wife and that I have a second chance to love her the way she deserves to be loved.
Whatever pain may exist in your marriage, take courage. While nothing that has been done can ever be undone, broken hearts and broken lives can be mended. The process isn’t clean, it isn’t easy, and it isn’t quick. Healing is messy and crooked. It’s takes time, energy, and mountains of patience. But keep pressing on because your marriage can overcome heartache. Your heart can heal. Your soulmate’s heart can heal. Your marriage can heal. Best of all, when you go on that journey of healing together, your bond grows stronger than it ever was before. Scar tissue isn’t pretty, but it is tough. Embrace the crooked journey and love each other like crazy.