Marriage: Its Worth Fighting For
This post is not directed at any one person or situation. It’s a topic that’s been heavily laid on my heart lately. Be it the Sacred Marriage study or other reasons, I need to write this post. And before anyone tries to second-guess my motives or my intentions, I only put this out there for myself and because of my need to write it.
My sisters and I have alluded to the fact that Allison’s battle with anorexia saved our family. And it did. In every way possible, Allison’s disease forced our family to take drastic steps to fix some major dysfunction.
Allison’s disease was the result of several different reasons, pieces of a puzzle. Our great-grandmother had died, years of having a hard time making friends, eating lunches and playing alone at school, and our family life. In a household where she couldn’t control circumstances, fights, emotions, or her environment, she turned her need to control something… anything… inward. From the time I was 12 years old, until we were forced to family counseling when I was 20 year old, it as a hard home life. The details aren’t necessary, I don’t need to explain every fight or words that were said, or some of the memories we still have. That’s not the point of this post.
The summer of 1999 was a breaking point for our family. Allison’s eating disorder had been around for a year at this point, we were all living separately. Never in our eight years of tumultuous family life had any of us felt as alone and isolated from each other as we did during that summer. It truly was the closest thing to hell on earth. It was “make it or break it” time.
We’ve mentioned a family week that takes place for everyone at Remuda Ranch, another prerequisite to bring Alli home. It was during that week that walls were torn down, emotions and hurt laid bare before each other, and raw honesty was shared within our family. It was one of the hardest things we’ve ever done… and the first step towards healing. Not just for Allison. But for all of us.
Its been mentioned that some may be envious of how close our relationship is as sisters. And we are close, sometimes unhealthily close. They’re my best friends. This, my friends, is the result of facing the fire together and coming out stronger. (Hang in there, I’m bringing it back to marriage in minute.) When you go through an experience like that together, you can’t help but become stronger and closer on the other side. Its like when 2 strangers go through a horrific experience together, like 9-11 or a plane crash. A bond is formed when facing dire circumstances, because you survived TOGETHER.
This is marriage, folks. Its not all romance and flowers, it ebbs and flows. And even when its at its worst, fighting for your marriage IS WORTH IT. You must have the bad to appreciate the good! If you can face the worst thing together, just imagine how strong you’re going to be on the other side. If you never know bad, how can you appreciate the sweetness of the good?!
Watching Allison go through her eating disorder, experiencing the absolute pit with my family, was one of the hardest experiences of my life. Its an experience I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. But… if we hadn’t gone through it, I can only imagine where my family would be today. If it took THAT to fix my family, to make my sisters and I as close as we are, then it was worth it.
About a year after we started family counseling, my parents called all four of us girls together. They had this huge piece of paper, folded up like a scroll. As they unfurled it, they discussed all that had happened during those last two years. They apologized for the mistakes they made, what they’ve learned as a couple, and told us they were ready for a new chapter in our family.
The paper was a marriage covenant. And there, before the four of us girls, they pledged their vows to do it better. Dad signed under the Husband side, Mom under the Wife said, and the four of us signed as witnesses. It still hangs over their bed to this day.
8 years. It was a long, hard 8 years. But they fought for their marriage and gave us a new legacy.
I’m so glad they did.