Living in a difficult Christian marriage is an isolating experience, for a couple reasons. First, you feel like you’re the only person going through what you’re going through. Secondly, you feel that if you shared, no one would truly understand. And thirdly, there’s this little thing about being a Christian, in my experience, that led me to stuff the really bad things down, because I thought if I were “found out”, my building-the-Kingdom card would be taken away.
So in the midst of almost twenty years of pain, I learned to share just bits and pieces of my hard road. I didn’t think any one friend could handle it, or would believe, or would know what to do about it. And I didn’t want to be that woman who was only full of her own pain.
And one day she wrote me these words: “You would bless ANYONE with the way you choose to handle your marriage. I know you don’t do it perfectly every minute, but you are amazing! Most Christian women couldn’t do half as well in your relationship as you have. You are a godly example whether you feel like it or not.”
She saw my life was out of control. She knew my marriage was unraveling and frail and just barely hanging on. She knew I was messing up at every turn. And yet she spoke those words of life into my soul in a moment when I wanted to throw in every single towel.
And those words buoyed me up. They changed my perspective. She called out something in me that I was too blinded by my hurt to see, and that was this: that I was handling things better than I thought and that I still had something to offer.
We all have moments or even seasons in our lives when we cannot see what is true about ourselves. And we all have the ability to stop what we’re doing and look deeply into the eyes of a friend and speak words that can shift something in her soul, even if for just right then and there.
We all have experienced firsthand the devastation of a careless or intentionally cruel word. But we sometimes forget how a carefully chosen, kind word can bring absolute healing, or can pour courage into someone who is flailing, or can realign a self-misperception that has taken root.
Today, think of one hurting person in your life. And think of one kind sentence you can say or write or text. You will never, ever regret dispensing sweet words.
Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. –Proverbs 16:24
Elisabeth Klein Corcoran is the author of Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage and Unraveling: Hanging Onto Faith Through the End of a Christian Marriage, along with several other books. She speaks several times a month to women’s groups, and is a member of Redbud Writers’ Guild. She lives with her children in Illinois. Visit her online at http://www.elisabethcorcoran.com/difficult-marriage-divorce/ or https://www.facebook.com/ElisabethKleinCorcoran. She is the moderator of two private Facebook groups: one for women in difficult Christian marriages, and one for Christian women who are separated or divorced. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in joining. Elisabeth is a proud Member of Redbud Writer’s Guild and has been featured on Moody’s In the Market with Janet Parshall, This is the Day with Nancy Turner, and Midday Connection with Anita Lustrea.
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