Nine years ago today I lost my life. I gave it up, gave it away. On January 20, 2001 I married Richard Wei Tjan Lim. How many times have I regretted that act? Literally screamed out loud my anger against God? Slumped in despair before pastors and counselors, my heart bleeding into a wad of kleenex?
I could sling a lot of mud right here but that wouldn't be appropriate. Nobody cheated or broke the law, nothing like that. Nobody drained the bank. No violence, no filth. I won't publicly post all the problems we faced, but I will tell you how I felt: Unloved. Deceived. Trapped.
And it all started nine years ago today. I cried on our honeymoon in Maui and slipped into the night for a walk on the beach to wrestle with my heart and my loneliness. By our first anniversary I had sunk into lasting depression. In the shadow of Aspen trees in a little yellow house on a quiet culdesac, I suffered the deepest wounds my heart had ever borne.
Eventually we did try counseling. (Talk isn't cheap, by the way.) When a seasoned marriage counselor told us that our situation was rather unique, I felt lost. No wonder our premarital workbook hadn't prepared us. No wonder marriage help books weren't helping at all. No wonder all that therapy did little to improve our love life.
My heart went numb for years blocking out feelings of rejection and isolation. We had three babies. We quit counseling. We smiled in public. I got over my depression and focused on the kids. As any couple does, we went through good times and bad times, but it seemed the bad always eclipsed the good and I always returned to regret when I allowed my heart a moment to breathe. I didn't do that too often. Without my faith in God, tenacity in honoring my marriage covenant, and my duty to the children, we might not still be together.
But I am so glad that we are! Last summer it all changed. One random day in August we went from our worst year together to beginning our best one. I wish I could understand what precipitated the shift but I have no idea. My husband's behavior simply changed. Drastically. It took a while for me to trust that it wouldn't be temporary, but things remain just as good five months later. Forgiveness flows, hope lives again. There is love and desire in his eyes when he looks at me, and I feel an intimacy we've never shared before. We talked about it just a few days ago and he couldn't figure it out either. In fact, he wasn't even aware of the depth of the revolution at the time – definitely not some great act of willpower to make things different. Believe me, we have been there and done that with less than satisfactory results.
Let's not figure it out then, let's just enjoy it! No I don't get butterflies in my stomach when Richard holds my hand. My heart doesn't race when I catch his eye and we aren't having some passionate honeymoon that we missed out on before. But we are finally a normal couple with normal challenges, and “normal” is a big step up. “Normal” feels wonderful! I can live with normal.
Today is my first truly Happy Anniversary!
Reynosa - Our hearts are full. Melody and I spent the six days between Christmas and New Year building a house for a single mom in Reynosa, Mexico. Brenda has four...
2 years ago