After experiencing sexually and emotionally abusive relationships, it seemed like my heart and mind were wired for skepticism and distrust. I kept most in my life at an arms length, revealing only the surface of my emotions and realities of my heart to even those I was closest to. I was comfortable in hiding. It was safe. But I was alone and at the core of my identity, I desired to give myself totally to someone. However, that required a step in the light and a vulnerability that absolutely terrified me (and at times still does).
My healing really began the day I began to share my total and authentic self in a completely platonic relationship that pointed me towards Christ. As my healing journey progressed I had a lot to learn about what it meant to give of oneself to another. I had to discover and rediscover what maintaining proper boundaries looked like in both non-platonic and platonic relationships. And there was a lot of trial and error. Thankfully, through it all, I had and still have the guidance of the Church.
I met my husband, Jordan, just a couple months after really beginning the process of healing. At the time I was not looking at my husband as a potential dating interest as I was discerning the possibility of marriage with another holy man. Because of this, I first got to know my husband as a friend and thus through an honest lens not blurred by feelings of attraction. In hindsight I can see this was an immense blessing. About a year after initially meeting Jordan, we both were in a position to be open to dating and that door between us was opened by what I believe to be the nudging of the Holy Spirit.
“He loves you so much.” friends repeatedly said to me. When I first heard this, there was a part of me always looking to disprove this claim. I wasn’t afraid of it being true but I was afraid of it being another lie.
From the very beginning of my dating relationship with my husband, his intentions were clear and out in the open. And this was completely anti-thesis to the abuse I had experienced. There was no hiding. While this was comforting, I quickly discovered it was also terrifying.
I had to learn how to live in integrity and trust Jordan with my honest feelings which required the thing I was worst at: vulnerability. I knew that if I wanted to authentically pursue a relationship with Jordan that was geared toward marriage I had to choose vulnerability. My love for Jordan ultimately led me to make this choice. But I came to this choice only after a lot of internal conflict and struggle. It was this conflict of feelings that made me realize my husband would sanctify me in marriage, because he was already doing so.
I can identify the exact moment in our relationship when I realized that I wanted to marry him. It was when I able to display my greatest weaknesses and emotional ugliness to Jordan that I knew a marriage to him would prepare for total union with Christ. Because he did not leave.
There I sat sobbing in the grass, letting this man see me and be present to my raw woundedness and hurt pride. I fought him at every effort he made to understand my hurt, but he remained present. This is exactly what I had experienced with Christ just months prior. I don’t really remember anything Jordan said that night. But I do remember the gift of his authentic presence and his unwillingness to abandon me when I tested his patience and trust. I recognized that I desired to overcome my brokenness out of love for him and Jordan was patient with me in my struggle to do so. That’s when I knew that this was the man who would get me to Heaven. I only hope that the love I’m able to give does the same for him.