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Ecclesiastes 4:12 – “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. But a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
First column of this 2018 year, I just had to start with the triple-braided cord that holds my sweet family together! We are not the triple-braided cord, we are merely the recipients of the strength it provides! On Thursday, March 22, 2018, my wife and I will be “THROWING DOWN,” celebrating ten years of marriage! I was warned by many of my married friends that it would fly by, but I had no idea how fast “fly by” was!
There’s no such thing as a “perfect marriage” anywhere on planet Earth. But there are hundreds of thousands of “cookie cutter” marriages, and ours is not one of them. Our marriage is more like a “crumb cake!” It’s pretty sturdy, it’s sweet, it takes quite a few things to make it and it requires a lot of patience. But no matter how great it looks, you’ll always find a few broken pieces.
I was approached by a lady when I was out who said she reads all of my articles on CaryCitizen. She also said, “I absolutely love your honesty and your style of writing. It’s just so easy to relate to. But how can you be so brutally honest about your life? I’d be so embarrassed and afraid of people judging me.”
My response!! “Thank you, I’m glad you enjoy the articles. And the reason I feel so free to share what I share is because I’m a firm believer that the victories that Jesus allows us to have are not ours to hold. Christ blesses us so that we can bless others.”
Amy and I don’t mind giving the Lord the glory for our marriage because if it wasn’t for Him, there would be no marriage. And when I say that, I mean there’s no way we would’ve made it this far. Before we got married, I kept telling myself that I had to divorce myself before I could marry her. There was a lot of past baggage that was never unpacked, sorted out or left behind. A boy needs to taught how to treat and love a woman. Who better to do that than his father, by how he treats his mother? But for me, “no father, no script.” The male voices I heard kept telling me, “the more women the better.”
Better is never good if the end result is a broken heart. This twisted way of dealing with women was the source of all of my insecurity, in every relationship I ever had. I used their advice to program myself to think that if there’s no physical, there’s no love. This mentality was exactly why I was never faithful in any relationship I ever had. So when the physical got missing, I made sure that the girl got missing. My understanding of love was nothing more than lust and “TRUE LOVE” can’t be established if lust is involved.
“TRUE LOVE” takes patience. Lust can’t function unless it’s impatient. Lust waits for nothing. It wants what it wants, when it wants it, how it wants it, and last I checked, no marriage can survive without “TONS” of patience. Amy came in with her own insecurities and selfish rules as well. Not to mention the environments we grew up in. She was a dairy farmer’s daughter, from a tiny little town in upstate N.Y., called Boonville. I’d say the name explains it all! And although she had a good childhood, tiny towns don’t exclude you from the pitfalls of life that we all have to face at some point.
Me, I grew up in Cary, which was a small town as well back then that I truly do miss. Unfortunately, I witnessed some violence, substance abuse and a few other things that ended up in my baggage that I kept for a while. My early childhood was so much fun because of my grandmother!! She was the glue and the glow of the family! We’re all a product of our environment, but none of us have to stay that way.
The things we pick up along the way, no matter how complicated, confusing or painful, can become a toxic place of comfort. These ingredients also lead us to extreme amounts of insecurity. The suffering caused leaves us damaged, and emotionally all over the place, and we begin to be architects of our own destruction. Every insecurity is measured, calculated and labeled in such a way that we feel like we’re trapped and can never get out. Getting out would mean exposing and dealing with our insecurities and hurt, which would also include us being who “WE” want to be, and not who “EVERYBODY” around us wants us to be. It would mean that we’d have to stand up, stand tall, stand for who we want to be and that could mean we’d have to stand alone.
We can get so lost in the ideas and opinions of the people around us, which can make them a life line for feeling good about who we are. Then we get married and add these toxic ingredients into this new life that we’ve never known. Every morning between the hours of 4:30 and 5:30 AM, Amy and I get up and have morning bible study. Are we always gung-ho about getting up that early? Absolutely not! But we are gung-ho about having a marriage and not an arrangement. We didn’t get married to just exist in a house as partners, we got married because existing without each other was not the will of God. God had a beautiful plan to use us, to better us! He knew that Amy was the only one qualified enough to take care of me, and to provide the “REAL LOVE” that I needed to be who He had ordained me to be.
My life experiences have taught me that we’re used by God to somehow bring about a necessary balance that neither one of us knew we needed. We are both a healthy supply of healing for each other. We do our very best, everyday, to put the Lord first through our bible time, prayer and honest conversations.
“Brutally Honest” conversations! There are no mincing words in this marriage!! I know Amy’s heart, she knows mine and we both understand the love we have for each other. And because of that, the conversations can only sting and not injure. We try not to take it personal, but sometimes we do. We’re long past the moments of “mad silence” that were once our way of dealing with disagreements. As the leader, not the slave driver or control freak, I understand that I have to be OK and at peace with not being undefeated. I don’t have to win the argument.
It’s a tough row to hoe some days, but we’ve just about got it down to a science, in spite of the reality of a glitch here and there. We don’t buy into that awful lie, “happy wife, happy life” crap. What’s the point in always making sure that the wife is in a good happy place all of the time? A marriage is “two” not one. A marriage is “100-100,” not “50-50.” On the wedding day, two lives are being changed forever, not one. Two people are learning how to live all over again, not one.
She’s the only woman I’ve ever been in love with. We are without a doubt the best thing to happen to each other. We’re also a constant work in progress. Some days we do marriage really well, and some days we do it really bad! But no matter what, we’re going to do it until we die! This thing is worth fighting for, so we both know that we “HAVE” to hand it over to the Lord daily! For the battle is not ours, it’s the Lord’s.
Amy, I love you to life!! For us there is no death! Here on earth, or in Heaven, you’ll always be my main ingredient!! #CRUMBCAKELOVE
Story and photos by Jimi Clemons.