“If you aren’t moving forward, you are moving backward.” 

The words of a good friend echoed in my head as I sipped coffee and took in their advice. I heard their word as the gospel truth and challenged myself.  With my wedding mere weeks away, I was determined to start off on the right foot. 

My marriage would NOT move backwards, I would see to it that we were always growing and improving with no chances of getting stale. 

Did you laugh? I giggled just typing that out.  It’s a laugh now.  Now that my husband is on the other side of the world, with horrible communication, and no real end in sight.  Guess what!? We certainly aren’t moving forward in our marriage, which means… we must be moving backwards, right? 

I felt my heart tighten at the very thought, I felt sick to my stomach.  NO!!!! This wasn’t supposed to happen.  We did everything right.  We should be moving forward, I want to grow with him, learn with him, BE with him! 

Angry and very hurt, I fussed on this subject for almost a week before I sat down with my mom and poured out my heart to her.  How terrified I was that my marriage couldn’t grow, it couldn’t progress and prosper where we are right now.  That’s all I wanted, as a wife, I craved to be progressing in life with my husband.  She listened, patient with me as always, and gave her advice when I asked for it. 

“Every marriage will have a time where it isn’t intentionally moving forward, it’s just existing.  I don’t think that’s a bad thing, unless it lasts a while, if it’s been a year and you find you haven’t done anything to grow yourself or your relationship, that's not healthy.  But in your case, I think being able to hold your marriage in this stillness is something to be proud of.  You aren’t moving backwards, you aren’t moving forwards because you can’t right now, but you are still maintaining it and that’s a good thing. That’s all you can do right now.” 

Woah.

Later that week I met with two of my closest friends, Heather and Chelsea.  I cried in their living room over my disheartening realization.  They prayed over me and agreed that staying where I’m at is not a failure but a good thing, 

I pictured myself riding a bike up a slight incline, if I put in work and peddled, the bike would move forward.  If I picked up my feet and let it go with the road, I would go backwards (and crash).  But… what if I put my feet down and held it there? I wouldn’t move, but I wouldn’t fall over either. 

The tension in my heart eased.  I realized I can grow as an individual, I can grow as a wife, I can grow in my relationship with Jesus, I can grow in love, I can still improve.  I may not be working through these things and growing alongside my husband, because that’s impossible right now, but I can still learn and be OK with the fact that our feet are planted, our bike isn’t rolling high speed down a cliff, and I can breathe in the peace of God. 
-Carlee

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