When the Fizzle of My Marriage Fell Flat
Written by Nicole Collier
John 15: 12
This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.
There is not a specific time I remember it happening. I honestly think it was a culmination of multiple things. I was unemployed, we had a four year old, and a newborn. In addition, I had just lost my daddy and was dealing with postpartum depression. Somewhere along the way we were losing ourselves, and had turned into roommates more than a married couple. At the time we were chasing toddlers, wiping bottoms, cleaning spit-up, and making sure basic needs of another person who cannot communicate were met. You could be like us, who right now, are battling the half kid/ half teen hybrid who like to talk back, know everything, and smell funny.
Have you ever found yourself in a familiar place? You’re not sure how it came to be, but you are here. Now what? Now, I would lovingly tell you to straighten your shoulders, stand tall, put on some red lipstick and FIGHT! Ladies, we are about to go into battle! We are going to fight for our marriages and for our relationships.
I want to enlighten you to the best advice I ever received. It was completely opposite of how I felt, and what I thought was the right thing to do. It worked, though. The advice was this: Put your spouse before your children. Over time I had fallen into the trap…the trap of our children coming in front of my husband. In the beginning, he was the one whom my heart longed for, but when the little pitter patter of feet came along, my heart more often than not, longed for quietness in the house. Quality time for him would always have to wait until the next day, as I was too exhausted, but the cycle continued to where he never received time for him.
At the end of the day, or even in the middle of it, the last thing we are thinking of is giving attention to our partner. I get it. I was there for the longest time, and still tend to drift there under stress, however, when we put the needs of our relationship first, our children are better for it. When we love each other as God loves us, we are living out the greatest commandment.
Plan that date night! Do not let anything stop you from time alone together. It does not have to be elaborate. One of our most favorite things is grabbing a quick bite to eat and then heading to Walmart. Seriously. Slow dance in your living room after the kids have gone to bed. It may be awkward at first. Let the butterflies fill your heart again as it did in the beginning.
Lighting the fuse of passion wasn’t the easiest. It sometimes felt almost like we were learning about each other all over again, and in a sense we were. Over the course, of almost a decade together at the time, we had changed. What I realized in the end was that he truly was made for me by God. He was not my soul mate, but the perfect balance of structure and steadiness that offset my “messy and crazy.” We actually complimented one another. His weaknesses were my strengths and mine were his and we were each other’s helpers. We began to serve one another, one of the things we are called to do. I had to learn to lay myself down, and put him first. When we did this collectively, we found our marriage had become a place of safety for the other, a place of rest, and of love.
If you are in the place I was six years ago, I encourage you to be vulnerable. Discover the one you fell so deeply in love with, the one you made a covenant with. Know that it will not be easy, but nothing that is worth having truly ever comes easy. Trust that God can restore, heal and bring love back to any marriage and restoration is possible! We are proof!
Nicole Collier grew up in Montgomery, AL. She now lives in Shelby County with her husband, Matthew, and 2 boys, Ethan and Russell. She is a lover of all things creative, including photography and music. She and her family are involved with The Just People Project non-profit ministry serving the homeless throughout the city of Birmingham.