You’re running late—as usual. You buckle the kids in their car seats and race off to do a long list of errands. The first errand on your list is a dentist appointment for your youngest. You glance at the clock on the dashboard and realize you’re further behind than you thought. So you decide to shift into hyper-mode in order to get to the dentist on time. And when you come to a four-way stop, you roll and rush on, hoping to beat the next person to the punch.
Suddenly, you feel a jolt that wasn’t from your morning coffee. Time seems to suspend as all you hear are the screeching of tires and the sounds of grinding metal. You’ve been t-boned by another driver who didn’t even see the stop sign—or you.
In an instant your life has changed.
Let’s just say that instead of going to the dentist with your youngest, you end up in the emergency room hovering next to a child that you can’t even recognize anymore. You sit there, beating yourself up with anger and guilt. You want desperately to exchange places with your precious child. And the helplessness of that moment is like nothing you’ve ever felt before.
Let’s say that your child survives, but has severe injuries that radically alter your family and your life from that day forward. This means that you and your husband no longer have any free time. Your entire life is about making sure that child is cared for and given every chance to overcome this handicap.
To make matters worse, your spouse secretly blames you for the accident. There’s a tone of resentment that pervades each encounter you have with him from here on out. But that’s not where it ends . . . you hate yourself for what you did in your haste. You are constantly bombarded with “what if’s” that rule and ruin your every waking moment.
This is just a story. But it is a story that reflects so much of our lives.
We make decisions every day that can send our marriages and families into crisis. And the ripple effect of what one decision creates for everyone becomes insurmountable.
Although this story was about the decision to run a stop sign, there are so many other stories. Sometimes it begins with the decision to turn to alcohol or porn or your attractive co-worker or food or whatever for the comfort you should find in legitimate sources such as; your friends, your church, your spouse, your God.
And what about the times your family is rocked by something outside of your decision-making power?
Marriages are torn apart by sickness, death, or tragic circumstances everyday and no one is to blame. These traumatic events bring a ripple effect of pain and consequences that often leave our marriages just as broken and messy as if we had set them into motion ourselves.
What am I saying by all of this? Simply that there are many ways that our marriages can become messy, and there are no simple answers for those caught in that destructive ripple effect. But I will be addressing some of these issues and how to take positive steps out of the chaos in future posts to come.
Some of the issues I will tackle in the days and months ahead are:
- How to deal with a spouse with sexual addictions
- How to handle a spouse with spending issues
- How to overcome the bitterness you feel toward a spouse who’s made destructive choices
- How to rebuild trust with a spouse who has been untrustworthy
- How to regain the love that was lost in the chaos
Please let me know if there are other topics you would like to see addressed.
One more final thought, please pray for a family in my church that experienced a traumatic circumstance just last night. A tornado ripped the roof off their house while they were sleeping. The wife/mother has severe cuts, but thankfully, no one else was injured. I didn’t know about their situation as I wrote this post, but feel compelled to ask you to pray for them as they recover from this painful situation.