I nodded in agreement as I listened to our Pastor speak of disillusionment. This was a lesson I’d already learned the hard way.
For years I avoided thinking about what had happened. It was a big secret that I never intended on sharing. However, God has other plans; part of healing is to reveal the truth. (James 5:16 , Ephesians 5:8-13)
What is Disillusionment?
Disillusionment is a feeling of disappointment that results from the discovery that something is not as good as one believed it to be. This was how I felt about marriage 13 years ago.
For the most part Andrew and I have been great together. Yes, we’ve had our occasional loud disagreements, but they’ve always been few and far between. Conflict wasn’t our problem.
When Did Things Become Disappointing?
I really had to think about this question. Disillusionment doesn’t happen overnight; it builds over time.
Our journey together hasn’t been easy. We encountered our first landmine early in our marriage when Andrew started missing a lot of work due to illness. Because of this we experienced financial difficulties as Andrew went from job to job. (Some of these jobs weren’t lost due to his health problems; he was laid off from one job, had a nervous breakdown, and was even unfairly released from his job by a Christian company.)
Related Post: The Prayer We Should Constantly Pray for Our Marriage
We encountered our second landmine (also early in our marriage) when we learned that we were unable to have a family of our own. However, we made it past these hazards. What mattered most was that we faced these things together. This was the promise after all: for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.
A Fork in the Road
Eventually unemployment forced us to apply for government assistance. While applying for that assistance, Andrew’s aunt offered us a small ceramics business. With Andrew’s health causing job instability, we were certain that God was leading us in the direction of this new opportunity.
Things Don’t Always Go as You Hope They Will
When God opens that gate, He’ll likely take you the long way, but His reasons for taking us through the wilderness are in our best interest. (Exodus 13:17-18)
We were never able to bring in enough money to fully support ourselves, so Andrew applied for disability assistance. Unfortunately, his application was rejected and we went through several appeals, including a tribunal (spanning many years) only to be denied assistance once again. Thankfully, we received help from Andrew’s parents. One way or another, God supplies in our wilderness. (Dueteronomy 29:5)
I Didn’t Realize Two People Could Occupy the Same Dwelling and End Up Miles Apart.
At some point I began growing more and more unhappy and disappointed. As Andrew’s health worsened, I took on more of the workload. I felt like Cinderella as I sat in my clay dust day after day. This wasn’t the fairytale that I’d imagined.
Our home based ceramics business, combined with Andrew’s health problems kept us very homebound. Even in our downtime we became tethered to home. (In order to dry our greenware in time to meet our monthly orders, we ran a space heater in the workroom. For safety reasons this couldn’t be left unattended.)
God Supplies Community in Our Isolation
I was never big on computer games, but when I learned that you could interact with the players I found this really interesting. Eventually I gave up on games and started networking on a Christian website instead. It was people that I was interested in. I met some wonderful people and discovered that I really enjoyed writing to encourage and build others up. I was growing in faith, but I began struggling with life.
At the same time, Andrew ministered to his gaming community, even taking three boys under his wing whose father had abandoned them. Because Andrew became such an influential part of their life they asked if they could call him dad. (We’re still a part of these young men’s lives today.)
Disillusionment can Lead to Division
I didn’t just feel like Cinderella, I began to feel like Rapunzel as well. (I felt locked away in my tower: our third story apartment.) While I tried to express these feelings to Andrew he wasn’t hearing me, or he just didn’t know what to do with how I felt.
The biggest problem in our relationship, however, was that we ended up spending too much time apart, even together in our apartment.
My Health was Changing as well.
I was depressed, but I didn’t realize that I was depressed. I also started experiencing some anxiety. Later I would be diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease, gluten sensitivity, and Seasonal Affective Disorder. (All of which contribute to depression.)
Disillusionment Can Lead to Blame
Too many marriages are ripped apart by one, or both, spouses becoming disillusioned and putting the blame on the other spouse. In my mind, Andrew was neither hearing me, nor rescuing me, so I was growing frustrated and resentful.
The next chapter of our story lead into temptation. I hope you’ll find some time to read the rest of this story on my blog.
By the Grace of God
Our story’s true prince charming was our Prince of Peace: Jesus. We we’re truly blessed to make it through this minefield in our marriage with God’s guidance. Too many marriages today end in divorce, but divorce was only ever permitted by Moses because of the hardness of people’s hearts. Jesus taught that the two become one flesh and not to allow anyone to separate what God has joined together. (Mark 10:4-9)
“When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.” —Mark 10:10-12
Andrew came across the song below years after our storm. We we’re also married young and had our critics who felt that we’d never last. However, God holds us to our vows, so as Jonah stated it, what I have vowed I will make good (Jonah 2:9).
If you are navigating a minefield in your marriage right now, bring it in to the light. Put God first, trust His Word, and lean on the Truth. His Word is the light unto our feet that leads us each step of the way and out of the minefield into His light.
“And we’re dancing in the minefields
We’re sailing in the storms
This is harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise is for
That’s what the promise is for”