Thanks to Kelly Breaux, Co-Founder of Red Bird Ministries (www.redbird.love) and author of “Hiding in the Upper Room,” for this guest blog about marriage and grieving. We met while recording a podcast, which you can listen to here:
Can My Marriage Really Survive THIS?!
When we entered into the covenant of marriage in 2002, I said those words “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health,” in front of friends, family, and God. But I think at the time I said “yes”, as most of us do, with the idea that good times would outweigh the suffering. In my mind, as naïve as they come, I thought if I loved God that He would bless me and suffering wasn’t for God’s people. Honestly my idea of life was that bad things didn’t happen to good people.
I had no idea 3 short years later, we would be making life or death decisions for our twins as our son died, and our daughter was left fighting for her life.
For a moment in time, I thought the answer to this question was “no.” How can a marriage survive this incredible heartache?
When I was knee deep into the darkness, all I wanted to do was tap out and run. The weight of this cross was so heavy. It seemed like I was drowning, and the very thing that was pulling me down was the person that I loved dearly. Ryan didn’t understand what was happening to me.
What I perceived was that Ryan was silent in his grief, and he wasn’t communicating with me. This left me feeling so alone, and I felt emotionally abandoned by his lack of effort to communicate how he was feeling. Everything that I was experiencing on the inside was on high heat, and it didn’t take much for me to boil over. So arguments came easily to us.
And because he wasn’t emoting his grief, I felt like I was going crazy. How could he go to work and continue on while I was at home barely able to get out of bed and dress my 8-month old daughter.
After a while, I started hiding the way that I truly felt out of shame and embarrassment. Most days I managed to push my grief way down inside my heart so that I could just survive that day, and it worked for a while. I wore masks to protect others from the heaviness of child loss, and also from myself so that I wouldn’t get those questions of “Are you okay?” But what I really was doing was pushing everyone that I loved away and out of my heart. I really thought that I could handle it on my own.
What I’ve learned through the years is that is not true. I couldn’t do it alone and I never was made to do it alone. I had to put God at the center of my life and at the center of our marriage. A deep burning desire filled me up during this time and I now know that it was the Holy Spirit.
This supernatural wisdom came to me with the knowledge that total restoration included grieving with my husband. What our love created; our love had to heal. It wasn’t until I made a conscious effort to restore my heart back to the Lord’s and learn how to love Ryan for who he was and not for what he did for me; that is when things really started to change.
We made a commitment to each other to communicate about our feelings. We started having conversations about the twins and sharing things that were troubling our hearts. We began to pray together as a family every night; and went back to Church. We kept bringing our grief, our worry, our fear, all of the pain inside of our hearts to the foot of the Cross; and God restored us. He put us back together piece by piece.
When you suffer together as a couple, it creates intimacy. It was our suffering that brought us together even closer than before and I felt like we were finally journeying through loss together as a couple.
If you have experienced the loss of a child, the answer is “yes”. Your love, and your marriage can survive the loss of a child. It’s not easy and it takes work, hard work. Protecting and keeping the covenant of our marriage sacred, is the most beautiful, life giving vocation that I am honored to accept.
Jesus says in John 15:13, my favorite scripture, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” For the rest of my life, I lay down my life for Jesus, and my family. The suffering doesn’t end, but Jesus has restored my heart back to grace, and has given me the strength to endure the journey of child loss.
~ by Kelly Breaux
Author of “Hiding in the Upper Room” (can now be purchased here!)