I never thought an eye roll would save our marriage.
After dating long-distance for two and a half years, Brad and I were finally in the same place and got engaged shortly after. We began invitation lists, marriage preparation, booked Churches, reception halls, etc. and absolutely couldn’t wait.
Then, right in the middle of all that joy, suffering came in like a wrecking ball.
Not a month later, he sped to the hospital to find me in critical condition in the Emergency Room surgical area. The nurse told him rather bluntly that I had been in a terrible car accident, had been life-flighted from the scene, and that I may die.
Of all the outcomes and scenarios that played out in his head during the drive, dying hadn’t entered his mind.
Before allowing him into my room, the doctor warned him that I was not likely to respond and that it would not be a pretty image. When he first saw me lying on the bed, he expected to recognize me. He didn’t.
After he made his way to my bed, he held my left hand which, he noticed, they had removed the engagement ring from. He told me he loved me and many people were praying for me, and then he felt me squeeze his hand.
Getting that hand squeeze meant everything to him.
It meant I knew who he was, it meant I was able to, in a basic way, communicate and let him know that while he was there for me, I was there with him.
It meant I was still his fiancé.
The doctors interrupted and let him know they were giving me a ‘cocktail’ of drugs to help with the pain. Brad joked that he was jealous and wouldn’t mind a cocktail himself. He swears in that moment I rolled my eyes at him.
Getting that eye roll assured him I was still the sassy girl he fell in love with.
It was his moment of hope.
While the day was tragic and scary, in that moment he had faith that I, that we, would get through whatever was to come my way.
“We were afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” -2 Corinthians 4:8 – 9
If your relationship is feeling particularly afflicted, crushed, or struck down today, find your moment of hope.
It doesn’t have to be as dramatic as an ICU eye roll (clearly a bad habit I need to take to prayer). It can be laughing with a good friend like you used to, seeing your spouse live one of the traits that drew you to them, having your mom swoop in and help in a way that makes you feel protected.
No matter how suffocatingly dark the moment, hope and love are always possible.
Don’t forget the person they are.
Don’t forget the relationship you had.
Find your moment of hope.
Tomorrow we are celebrating our eighth wedding anniversary. We are celebrating the day that, exactly one year later, we recited our vows and as I repeated “In Sickness and In Health”, my lip quivered and I near lost it. Because of that moment of hope, because of Brad’s unwavering faithfulness, we had made it.
Three babies, two graduate degrees, and four moves later, as life continues to get more beautifully complicated, I have found a continued call, a renewed purpose, to more actively find these moments. In my girl’s giggling and playing together, in Brad taking them out when a headache is particularly out of control, in turning off the phones, exploring and laughing on a date night.
There is always a way to see the goodness in a person, we just have to look for it.
When we look for these moments and remember who they are, who we were, we give life to our relationships. The more often we remember, the more alive they become. The more power they have.
As I celebrate my anniversary with this absolute stud of a man this week, I would love to hear your moments of hope. What #momentofhope has reminded, is reminding, you of an awesome relationship in your life?