The day I learned my marriage wasn’t doing so great seemed really quite ordinary at first. And like anytime you discover an upsetting truth you’ve been ignoring—it was also pretty difficult. It was a typical Tuesday morning trying to juggle breakfast, signing school slips, and managing our family’s other regular chaos. My husband Jeff was handling it all with his usual good humor, teasing our daughter into fits of giggles and pretending to steal bites of toast from our son. I was tired and grumpy and trying to plan my day. I was also angry Jeff had forgotten to wash the dishes the night before and I wanted him to get the kids moving faster, not play around. My impatience kept building, and when our son’s toast hit the floor as he pulled it back from Jeff’s mock attempts to eat it, I snapped…
I yelled at everyone in the kitchen—including my spouse. I made the kids cry. In that moment, I felt so righteous in my anger that I didn’t even feel bad about their tears, or the crushed look on Jeff’s face. I don’t recall exactly what I said, but I do recall what my husband said to me in response, “Could you please stop talking to me like I am one of the kids? Why are you so angry at us all of the time?” He said it quietly. He didn’t even seem mad. If anything, he sounded sad. And he looked tired. Like a man who wasn’t sure what to do anymore.
I’d love to say my response was contrite. But it wasn’t. Instead, I got defensive and snapped, “Maybe if you didn’t act like a child, I would talk to you like an adult and I wouldn’t feel so fed up!” He didn’t say another word. Instead, he quietly kissed the kids, picked up his coat, and walked out the door without a word of goodbye. I was stunned. He had never done that in all our years of marriage. I managed to hold it together until I got to work. And then, once my office door closed behind me, I finally cried.
I didn’t know how I had become so frustrated and angry all the time. I loved my husband. I loved my kids! Life had just become so busy. I was so tired. Overwhelmed. And to make matters worse, my husband and I were growing further apart every day. Sometimes, I felt like we were roommates, not lovers. Very grumpy roommates. It made patience on rough days so hard. And Jeff was always so cheerful that I didn’t even realize that he was unhappy, too. For the first time in our marriage, I was scared. I didn’t know how to fix it, so I did the only thing I could. I turned to God and prayed for help to lift up my marriage.