Every time her phone buzzed, her heart leapt for joy. It was as if the electric currents ran through her entire body. The texting was constant. Sometimes chatting the entire day and into the night. She looked over at her husband, feeling nothing.
She put the phone down and sighed. Guilt washed over her. Then guilt gave way to frustration, and then anger. How many times has she begged him for emotional intimacy? How many times has she explained precisely how to connect with her and make her feel loved?
She glanced at her phone on the nightstand. As she closed her eyes, she repeated over and over, “He is just a friend. He’s in the friend zone. Just a friend. You are doing nothing wrong.”
After she opened her text messages, the word “love” flashes in front of her eyes. “Friends can love each other. We are doing nothing wrong.”
She sobs into her pillow, the shame and pain wracking her body and mind. He looks over at her, completely at a loss for what to do. “She’ll just text her friend, he will know how to comfort her, so why try?” He thinks.
His silence is read as uncaring, unloving, and the loneliness and despair cascades throughout her.
A few more texts from her friend, and she is able to calm down. He lets her know that no matter what, she will be ok. He prays for her and the prayers give her hope and strength.
Fast forward over the next few weeks – she is an emotional roller coaster. Words like “separation” and “divorce” are exchanged, but not seriously. She is afraid, angry, and then hopeful that maybe if she can’t find love from him then maybe it can be found with someone else.
The communication between her and her friend encompass the entire spectrum of love – from silly exchanges to exploring the possibility of a perfect match. She is confused – her heart never stopped loving her husband. But it grew so bruised from the loneliness, and this friend was so kind, so gentle, so near perfect.
Then she tried to block the friend entirely, to make the marriage work. But one bad night and his utter lack of empathy tore her heart to shreds and she feebly texted him again, seeking comfort.
It was a disaster. A tornado of emotions.
Then Marriage Encounter happened. She had never cried so much in one weekend. She went an entire day not able to eat because the tears made her throat dry and her stomach clenched. He was actually putting himself 110% into her heart. They both wanted to fight for them – because deep down those coals never died. They were always united at the core, they just needed to demolish the walls of pain that had sprouted.
So many people prayed for them too. And through that silent support, they gained the strength to keep fighting.
She is scared to give up the person that always comforted her unconditionally for someone that didn’t know how to. But she never wanted to lose her husband – she just needed to be understood. The fear is worth the chance of falling back in love with him, of feeling his strong arms wrap around her and hearing him comfort her and seeing him take care of her.
After reconciling and forgiving each other, it was as if she was recovering from a tremendous accident, and he was nurturing her wounds. Their hearts began to intertwine once again, and the pain was almost entirely disappeared. Hope filled her mind and she promised to figure out how to stop talking to her friend.
As time went on, they prayed together about it. She even told her friend about the weekend and he said he was happy for her – that all he ever wanted was for her to be happy. As her husband continued to work harder at the marriage, she began to chat with the friend less, worried about stirring up old feelings. Eventually, the friend backed away out of complete respect.
Love and marriage is messy and confusing and painful and amazing. It takes two people who are dedicated to the endurance-testing. Pain happens. People make huge mistakes. People do wrong things they should never do.
This husband and wife went through the fire and found beauty on the other side. There is hope.