As a little girl you dream about who you will marry. As a teenager you are told to pray about your future husband. As a college student you are supposed to meet guys at church or through mutual friends. Once you meet the guy, you get married, buy a house, have kids and go about life. Everything exactly how you imagined. All of the prayers answered. Living happily ever after with the dream guy, the answer to your prayers.
But what about the in-between? What about the seasons of waiting? What about when things don’t go according to the plan?
I had done all the things. As I grew up my dad would lay his hand on my head at night and would pray for not only me but also for my future husband. I wrote the list of qualities and characteristics I wanted in a husband and I stuck to the list hard. I didn’t date around and waste my time with guys I knew were bad for me. I didn’t text guys past ten o’clock at night. When I met Adam, he was more into me than I was into him, but he fit my list perfectly. I gave him a chance and he truly is the guy of my dreams. The man that my dad prayed for as he covered my in nightly prayers. I am over the moon grateful that the Lord gave me Adam.
But…all of a sudden as I have met, fallen in love, and married the man of all my daddy’s prayers, my life began to change in ways I never imagined. After just a few months of marriage I was over taken by anxiety that turned into depression. I would get up, teach a spin class at 6am, come home, do a devo, shower and get dressed and then fall right back to sleep by 10am. I would wake up just in time to cook lunch for Adam and then I would be too sick to leave the house. By the time 5pm rolled around I would get myself out of bed to make Adam dinner. Most days as he came home, I would be an emotional wreck or my eyes were filled with tears. Once again, I let another day go by where I accomplished nothing. I did nothing. I was nothing.
In the middle of it I had no clue what was happening. A year ago, I was living my best life as a super star student in college. Now I was married, my dreams had come true, yet I could not get myself to leave my bed. My stomach cramped. No matter what I ate my body seemed to hate me. I was wondering what I needed to do to change. Wondering if I would ever get back to the Colleen I was in college.
I finally took myself to the doctor. I knew something wasn’t right and I was scared. Not just for my own well-being but for my marriage. This Colleen was not who Adam fell in love with, this was not the wife I promised to be. The docs did quick blood work and found out my liver was lacking B-12. He put me on b-12 shots and was surprised I had made it this long without b-12 in my system. I was so relieved to know this was a part of my problem that was heading to be a part of my cure. Some b-12 and I would be feeling like myself sooner or later.
It did work! I was able to stay awake for a full day. I was able to work and start feeling good! I was able to be the wife I had always wanted to be for Adam. But the anxiety and depression did not completely vanish. I have still suffered nights where I could not get my brain to turn off. It would run and run in one thousand directions until I was in a full-blown anxiety attack. I have heard of super sad things happening to people we know and unable to shake extreme sadness.
As I am new to all these emotions myself, explaining them to Adam has never been easy. One night my anxiety attach was so bad that I slept in our guest bedroom to let Adam sleep. I was in such a deep mind game with myself that I had no clue how to bring it up to Adam. Nothing specifically was wrong. I knew all of Gods truths and promises. I knew how blessed and in control I was. But my mind was stuck on only the negative. It took me over 48 hours and Adam saying “lets go on a walk and talk” for me to open up to him. Honestly for me to open up with myself and let my heart and mind speak up.
With tears in my eyes as I type this, I still don’t understand these mind games that are going on in my head. All I know is that I am in control. And I can get more in control by seeking the many truths that the Lord as promised me. I have read books, listened to podcasts and opened up to dear friends. Most of all I have turned to Adam for support and cried to God for understanding. I am writing this because I know I am not the only new wife who has suffered some kind of mind game in marriage. I want to speak out to let someone know that it is okay. You are not alone. The world makes it too easy for wives to compare each other instead of standing together.
Our minds are incredible things. I have fallen in love with Dr. Caroline Leaf who takes the bible and pairs it with the science of our brain! She says, “whatever you think about grows…don’t focus on what you are going through- focus on what you are going to!” This quote is so true. The first six months of our marriage we were so blessed, but I put our marriage through a deep valley. Instead of being mad at myself for something I can no longer control, for time I can’t get back, I will choose to focus on how strong that season made our marriage! How that hard season of my life will help me understand what other wives are going through. And even a deeper understanding of how incredible God’s grace and protection is over my heart, mind, and soul.
Stress, anxiety, depression, are mind games of marriage that I’m fighting through every day. Making me stronger. Making Adam stronger. Strengthening our marriage and the future or our lives.
Thanks for letting me get deep and honest with you this week.
As always, keep your head up high and your words, thoughts and soul filled with love.
You’re unperfected but covered in grace of God- friend, Colleen Howard.