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When Marriage Fails But You Don’t

August 15, 2014

I woke up this morning, insanely early, and all I could think about was you, my friend, and how crazy I am about you.

you are amazing

Three games of spider solitaire and a cotton-headed stroll through my FB feed didn’t put a dent in the buzz in my heart and mind so, I’m here, on my couch in the wee hours, 7:37AM (don’t judge me), my coffee is steaming companionably in the Krispy Kreme mug while I try to find the words.

Nearly 12 years ago, Brian and I stood on at a crossroads.  “Should I stay or should I go now?” became more than just a weird song from the 80’s.  The clash was real. folks, didyouseewhatididthere?

Incredibly, instead of us ripping our little family apart, God somehow made this home, these hearts, brand new and stronger.  I don’t deserve that grace, I don’t deserve this home, this man, these kids, this life.

The gratitude I feel nearly every day for the brilliance and blessing of life is always overwhelming and sometimes embarrassing.

We will celebrate 20 years this next month.  That’s more than half of my life with him.


But this isn’t a “My Marriage Is Awesome” post, this is about you and why you take my breath away and make me stronger and more aware of God’s grace and unfailing love.

This is about your shattered home, broken family, whispered pain…  You imagined growing old and gray together, taking the grandkids for a week, travels and Finally Time For Us.  Instead, you’re buying basic furniture on Craigslist because, at this age, with children broken and wild-eyed, this is what starting over looks like.

Both of you.  Separately.  Alone.

firehands.jpgMaybe you are escaping abuse.  Maybe you are reeling from unfaithfulness.  Maybe he/she disappeared from the life at home before resurfacing, having deciding you weren’t worth it anymore.

I grew up in a world where divorce was Evil and those whose marriages broke were compartmentalized as damaged good.  Unwelcome in our society and churches, they were barred from leadership while being social and spiritual pariah.  Too many left our world and our sanctuaries and disappeared from our lives.

I didn’t know then why marriages failed.  I don’t always know why now.

Maybe you both just gave up when the sharpening became too hard and the restoration was more weight than you could bear.

I don’t have a checklist or Wikipedia for all the whys and I don’t need to, my friend.

I’m not looking for a justification or an explanation. You don’t answer to me and I can’t mend this broken-ness.  You know Who can help you, heal you, restore you, and you press hard and wild into God’s arms.

I’ve seen some turn desperate and angry for a season.  That’s ok.  It’s a desperate and angry thing forced onto you and I applaud you for looking at the Jabberwocky and not backing down.

While the days and weeks and months turn into years, you stand back up, brush yourself off, gather the nearest and dearest close and live again.

Because you are a survivor.

Some of you reconciled with that broken covenant and new love came up out of the wildfire’s devastation like pine barrens and goldenrod.   Beauty once nearly extinct needed a fire to reclaim a right to exist.

You give me hope.

yellow flowers

The harshest reality I could imagine is having the fabric of hearts ripped to pieces and jerked from hands held out to connect and caress.   The deepest wound I fear is being alone, without these three humans who share my world and with whom I find a great deal of security and identity, purpose and vision.

But you survived it.   Many of you even thrived!!!  You found new homes, new careers, some found new love, and I have witnessed simplicity and an authenticity of being shining from eyes and souls tempered by pain.  To have experienced such deep loss, and yet lived, is a triumph.

Sure, you may have a few more gray hairs and your voice is hoarse from those long, long talks with God about the nature of love. Introspection can take all your effort as you examine and evaluate years, often decades, spent with someone who quit doing the work of marriage.  It’s left an indelible mark but you aren’t worried about being Well Put Together anymore.   Living moment by moment, in an Indescribable Now, letting go of the façade of normal to become genuinely, exquisitely, refined by both pain and overcoming, you deserve to stand proud and redeemed.

Frankly, you inspire me.





  • Shelda

    Oh dear cousin-friend….once again you bring me to tears in such a real and honest way. You speak to my heart always. I love you and thank you.

  • Heidi…you have touched the deep brokenness of my soul….having to leave the love if my life for 29 years after Satan got a hold of him and morphed him into an unrecognizable person, daily causing us unbearable pain has been the most difficult obedience to God I have been asked to endure. The harsh, fiery darts that have been shot at my children. me…from those we loved, looked up to, thought cared for us…have been brutal attacks that will leave my precious children scarred forever. I struggle not to see myself as wearing a black veil of shame. I married a God loving, pastor. He became an atheist and…well…it completely changed who he was. It is “NOT SUPPOSED TO BE THIS WAY” is my cry as I try to bring some semblance of normalcy to my kids as we all suffer broken hearts. Please church and friends….don’t ignore us…just ask us how we are? That’s all we ask…otherwise, after 9 months of the silent treatment, in our humanness, we see more rejection. Thank you Heidi….hope in the midst of this failed love.

    • Heidi Stone

      I love you, Kerry. Thanks for being real!

  • Mindy

    Heidi so much if this I could relate to. Mostly without God I could not have gotten up out if despair and rebuilt my life. It’s not final yet but it will be and I’m resigned to it. Actually praying for the finalization so I can get closure. I still pray daily for him and his salvation . God is so good and without all this I might not know that today. That alone makes it worth it.

    • Heidi Stone

      God is good. It’s been amazing seeing how you’ve grown in your faith.

  • Shelda

    Loving the comments here as inspiration and comfort in comradery.
    Thanks Heidi for opening this forum of thought and sharing 🙂

    • Heidi Stone

      You are welcome, friends. It’s safe here

  • Nathan McCranie

    God’s Grace only gives to us…. We are all broken

    • Heidi Stone

      “God’s Grace only gives to us…” Love that sentiment so much. Bless you!