June 5, 1999 I got married to Frank J. Erardi iV. We were happy and very much in love. We couldn’t wait to start building a wonderful life together. Frank and I hadn’t planned on getting pregnant for a few years so we could enjoy our time alone together. Less than six months into our marriage, we found out we were pregnant with our first child. God’s plan for us was obviously on a different timeline than what Frank and I had planned on. I had a tubal pregnancy and lost my first child. We were broken-hearted, but less than six months later we were pregnant again. Our daughter was born and we couldn’t have been happier. When our daughter was seven-months old, we found out we were pregnant again. Our son was born and now we were a family of four. Frank and I couldn’t believe we had already had two beautiful, healthy children just three years into our marriage.
I had complications having my son and nearly died. I also suffered from postpartum depression after having my daughter, so I was very emotionally unstable. I was working a full-time, very demanding sales job for a major pharmaceutical company and also trying to be a good wife to my husband. I list my priorities in this order because this is exactly where I went wrong in my marraige. I put my children first and being the best mom to them I could possibly be. I took the role of being a new mother very seriously. I put my demanding job second and my husband third. Whatever time I had left at the end of my crazy, exhausting day was what I gave to my husband. I was raised to always put God first in my life but during this time God was lost somewhere within this mix. I only took time to talk to God as a last resort and when I was desperate for His help and guidance. It’s no wonder Frank and I found ourselves facing divorce only six years into our marraige. We found ourselves exhausted, under-appreciated, confused and wondering what happend to the happy life we had planned on having together.
Frank and I made the most common mistake I see most marraiges making today. Married couples do not put their relationship above their children and jobs. Most importantly, most marriages today don’t include God, failing to realize God is the unity. To have a successful marriage it is crucial you pray together everyday and make time everyday to spend together as husband and wife. You may only have a few minutes some days, but words can be very powerful. You should tell your mate everyday how much you love them and appreciate them.
God calls us to put him first in our lives, our mate second, our children and family third and our jobs last. You cannot have a happy and fulfilling marriage unless this order is kept.
When my marraige was failing, my only priority was surviving. My relationship with God was the weakest it had been in my life and I prioritized my day according to what needed my attention moment to moment. I failed to remember the power of prayer and to walk and live by faith. If I would have given all my worries and disappointments to God, I would have never had a near divorce.
Through Gods love and Christian marriage counseling, I learned about the true power of forgiveness. I realized I was unhappy with myself the most. My husband was only a convenient and easy target I could blame all my frustrations on. I didn’t want my children to be raised in a broken home so I prayed for God to help me to learn how to love my husband again.
My emotional and physical attraction to my husband were completely gone during this time, so I chose to love my husband as God commanded me to do the day I married him. The day we became husband and wife I knew God saw us as “one flesh” from that day forward. I never knew how important and deep the meaning of “one flesh” was until I started to rebuild my marriage. Every decision I made from that point on had to be made with my husband and marriage in mind. Through prayer, it took me over a year to learn how to truly love my husband again. During this time I chose to love my husband and respect the vows I made to him before God. The Greek word for this kind of love is agape. This kind of love is unconditional no matter what. Agape love is based on choice not emotion. The moment I decided to choose to love my husband and fight for my marriage, even though I was no longer emotionally tied to or physically attracted to him, was the day God began to heal my broken heart.
I learned to forgive my husband and myself for all the hurtful things we had done to our marriage. The more I let go to God and the more I forgave, the more I realized I could truly learn to love my husband again. God worked a miracle in our lives and in our marriage. Today I truly understand the power of forgiveness and how important it is in marriage. I love my husband more than I ever imagined and I work hard everyday to keep my priorities in order.