Marriage Monday: An end and a beginning

Last Friday was a graduation for Mark and I.  It was the last regular marriage counseling session from our very hard 18 months.

For 18 months one or both of us has had a counseling appointment nearly every Friday at 9 a.m.  Not only that, but the counselor we chose to see was in Peoria, IL which is a 1 hour drive from our home in Bloomington, IL.  That made it a three hour a week commitment for 18 months.

Was it worth it?  Absolutely.

Was it easy? Not at all.

Things got worse before they got better. Hearts were hard. Hearts were soft. Anger was sorted through. Pain from the past was dealt with. Hurts that had never been healed were opened back up so they could heal properly.  Forgiveness was requested. Forgiveness granted. Compassion increased. Self-centeredness decreased.

One year ago last weekend was when Mark left. The separation lasted three months. In May, he returned home and recommitted to our marriage and family.  We chose to reframe the weekend that he left with a two-day getaway for just the two of us.  It was relaxing, restorative, and just what we needed.

Our final counseling appointment on Friday was the icing on the cake.  Will we likely sit in Dr. Hamon’s office again?  Maybe.  He said to call as needed.  We know the value of seeking wisdom when issues keep raising their ugly head. If that happens again and we can’t seem to work through it on our own, we will give him a call to help us figure out where we’re stuck.

We’ve both learned a lot about ourselves and each other. We will share many of those lessons in the weeks/months to come.

Today we’re celebrating the end of one season and the beginning of another.

God is the Redeemer…or as a friend of mine says…the ReDreamer.


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16 thoughts on “Marriage Monday: An end and a beginning

  1. Amen!!!!! What a great redemption story!!! My husband and I are currently in the storm, but “through the worst of it” according to our counselor (who is also an hour away from home) It is a comittment to seek help when your marriage is “stuck” and brings up unexpected hills, but in Proverbs it says “a wise man seeks counsel” I have a new passion to help other women/marriages with the same wounds and give them hope that with God it WILL work!! Last year while attending Hearts, I remember feeling for you as you shared your valley…..not knowing I was about to enter one myself in my marriage…..but God knew, and HE is bigger than all of it!!! Thank you for being so open & authentic !!!!!!! :,) can’t wait for this years conference!!

  2. I just want you to know that your openness and honesty through this very difficult time has been refreshing and inspiring. I pray God will bless your marriage and your ministry.

  3. Hi Jill,

    That is wonderful news and I’m rejoicing with you both. Thank you for being so honest and transparent with all of us. My husband and I have been to counselling in years past (we will be celebrating our 27th wedding anniversary this year with a one night get away in April exactly on our anniversary as it works out 🙂 ) and definitely see the value in it. Your blogs have definitely encouraged me to work harder and ask God’s help in changing me to make our marriage better.

    I’m also encouraged that your counselling did have an ending point. My daughter is not receiving marriage counsellling, but counselling for anxiety and knowing that there will be an end to the counselling and healing is good. I suspect, this is something that she will have to cope with for the rest of her life. Also, she is in a serious dating relationship right now and I think it’s good that she and her boyfriend will see the benefits of counselling so that if they should get married (and I certainly hope it turns out that way 🙂 )they will not think of it as a bad thing should they need it in the future.

  4. Jill,
    Thank you so much for sharing. I know it must be difficult to share such private issues with the public. But, it gives others (me) such hope, inspiration, and guidance. It is frustrating to have been married 20+ years and keep having the same core issues rear their head in different situations over and over. And, to wonder, can I keep doing this, can I keep forgiving, can I keep listening to words of promise and change over and over…. wondering if things will really ever change, and how can I change to help facilitate a stronger, healthier marriage. Thank you for inspiration and your hope for the future.

  5. Nothing about living in a fishbowl is easy, yet you do it with grace. Your transparency touches more lives than you may ever know. Thank you for that. Most importantly … well done and congratulations! May God go before you and behind you in this new season.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this. I appreciate your transparency and know God is going to use this time for His glory. I can’t wait to see how many lives are touched from this testimony. God bless and I’ll see you next month at the conference! My friend, Krystal and I are traveling from Colorado and are looking forward to it all!

  7. Thank you for being so open and sharing your life with us Jill. Blessings to you both as you continue on your journey together.

  8. Jill,
    I enjoyed you so much on the conference call last night. I didn’t know who you were until last night. I am so glad to know you now. I was blown away when I read this blog post. I have been ready to give up on my marriage for about 2 years now. Something very devastating happened and I just didn’t know how to forgive. I am still not sure I have forgiven. Every time I tried to leave, I know it was God who stopped me. I went to counseling for a while alone but I didn’t feel that it helped because my husband needed to be there too. If I am the only one working, then it seemed pointless. My husband went with me twice, but just said all the right things and was the same when we left as he was before. I have this amazing Christian friend who has helped me in so many ways and I am very thankful to God for putting her in my life. I am in a much better place today, than I have been in a while, but I wanted to know if you had any advice for me about what you should do, when your husband won’t go to counseling? (however, right now we don’t have the money to go to counseling anyway) Are there other options besides counseling? I think my husband just wants things to go back the way they were and act like nothing ever happened. What you said last night about loving your husband anyway, even when he was unlovable, really touched me. That is the hardest thing to do, but I have been trying lately. My biggest obstacle is when I am loving him, I keep expecting things in return and never get it. I am trying to keep my focus on God and know that whatever I do, I should be doing to honor God. Thank you for a great conference call and an amazing blog post. I have hope and know I just need to focus on God. May God continue to bless your ministry.

    • Robin, I’m so glad you were on the conference call and we could connect. It is helpful to seek counseling/get help even if your spouse doesn’t because if one person changes in the marriage, the marriage will change!