Married and Alone: Why I’m Still Choosing to Celebrate My Anniversary

ringsbibleblogI’m celebrating my 40th wedding anniversary today. There is no milestone anniversary party planned. I won’t be looking out the window watching for the local florist to arrive with a bouquet of yellow roses. I won’t be waiting in anticipation to see if my husband got me a romantic card or special gift to celebrate our years together.

I will celebrate my anniversary alone.

What a difference a decade makes. I will never forget our 30th wedding anniversary. I was going about my daily routine when I heard a knock at the door. I opened the door to find the local florist delivering 31 beautifully arranged roses. There were 30 yellow roses and a single white rose. My husband had ordered a yellow rose for each year we were married and a white rose to represent our future together.

I was delighted, and our future seemed so promising that day. We had made it 30 years, and I assumed we would stay together until death took one of us.

I never imagined my husband would leave a few years later and move to another state to begin his life with another woman. There was no goodbye. No sitting down and telling me what was wrong. No warning. He just left one day, changed his cell phone number,  and never came home.  Suddenly,  my husband was gone. My four children’s father was out of their life, and the grandchildren no longer had a pap who played with them on Sunday afternoons.

That was 5 years and 7 months ago. We are still married. He filed for divorce a few years ago, but due to a glitch in the court system, the divorce hearing was postponed. It was rescheduled for a later date. A few weeks prior to the date, I received a text from my husband saying he canceled the divorce and was going to think about things. Strangely, I received papers from the attorney and the court stating we had reconciled, even though we hadn’t.

A lot has happened since then, but I won’t go into specific details.  We talk on a regular basis. My husband has helped me out financially many times, and he put me back on his health insurance at work.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m continuing to leave it in God’s hands. I’ve been told by many people that I’m crazy for putting up with my husband. I’ve been told I should file for divorce. I’ve been told I should date and that I deserve someone better than my husband.

I hear from Christians that God wants me to be happy, and God doesn’t want me to remain in this marriage. I’ve been told I have biblical reasons for divorce. I’ve been told God has someone special out there waiting for me.

However, I strongly feel God is leading me to trust him and continue to live my life as a Christian wife. I’ve never felt led to pursue the divorce.  I’m not buying into the God- wants-nothing-but-my-happiness line. God wants me to be obedient to his word and his truth more than he wants my happiness.

I’ve continued to live as a married Christian woman after my husband left, and I will continue to do so.  I don’t have to answer to God for what my husband is doing. I only have to answer to God for my own actions. I would rather be right with God, and dealing  with the loneliness and pain of a broken marriage, than be living a life of sin and separated from God.

I am choosing to honor God and  my marriage vows, even though my husband is not. I must pray for his salvation and pray he gets his life right with God before it’s too late.

Think about it. If your spouse was diagnosed with a horrible disease would you turn your back on them? Sin is a horrible disease that is capable of sentencing one to eternal hell and separation from God. We need to pray for our spouse’s salvation when they fall into sinful living.

Being right with God, and knowing where we are going when we leave this world, is more important than the state of our marriage.   I’m sure the people who recently lost their lives in the terror attacks on Paris never imagined their life would end that night. Death often comes suddenly and without warning.

After reading about my marriage issues, I’m sure you probably wonder why I would choose to celebrate a broken marriage on my 40th anniversary. The answer is easy. I’m choosing to focus on the positive stuff rather than only seeing the negative.

I’m celebrating because:

  • God joined me and my husband together in a covenant marriage for a reason.
  • God allowed me to experience love, marriage, and intimacy.  I got to experience what it was like to walk down the aisle and marry the man I love.
  • I got to experience life as a military wife.
  • I got to experience the sense of pride a military wife feels when she sees her husband in his uniform.
  • I got to experience the agony of being separated while my husband was deployed and the excitement of finding a letter in the mailbox to brighten my day. I still have every love letter and card he sent me.
  • I got to experience the joy of my husband returning home from those deployments safe and sound.
  • Because of our life together, four amazing children were brought into this world. I will never forget seeing them for the first time and the thrill of a newborn baby being placed in my arms.
  • I had the privilege of being a stay-at-home mother for my four children. I never missed a first smile, first step, or first word.
  • I now have five precious grandchildren to love as a result of that trip down the aisle 40 years ago.
  • Our legacy of love will continue to grow, through our children and grandchildren, long after we depart this world-all because we walked down that aisle 40 years ago.

What does it look like to celebrate an anniversary alone? For me it means taking a trip down memory lane. I will order take-out for dinner and look back at the cards and letters from years gone by. I will look at photos of the children and grandchildren and thank God for the incredible blessing they have been in my life.

I will spend some extra time in prayer for my husband. I will spend some extra time thanking God for the wonderful gift of marriage that he allowed me to experience.

But most of all, I will thank God for his amazing grace and for giving me the strength to continue walking this difficult journey as a married woman living alone.

Today, I am choosing to rejoice and celebrate. I am choosing to be thankful for the incredible blessings God has brought into my life since I was a starry-eyed young girl walking down the aisle 40 years ago.

Rejoice always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (I Thessalonians 5: 16-18)

6 thoughts on “Married and Alone: Why I’m Still Choosing to Celebrate My Anniversary

  1. Hi Joni,
    I only now came on to your 40th anniversary post. And I might add that it is very well written.
    You are so right about a lot of things. It does take a lot of patience in this thing called life. It’s especially hard when one of the team doesn’t believe in reconciling or seeking understanding, and just picking up and keeping on going.It
    takes faith to do that and some just don’t feel that way, they ‘think’ they have the right to make that choice.
    We just came through the Hebrew 50th Jubilee year and that is the year when the Father wanted all debts, and all hurts forgiven. Lands put back into the original owner’s family etc. Think how he feels about other things? Sometimes it happens for the good for everyone involved. And after we do go through something like this, we are wiser and more blessed than ever.It sounds to me like you are waiting for a miracle and to not wait for it means you have no belief or faith. If that is it-then may the Father be with you.
    I think about how Butch must feel, he must be going through his own mental battles. But, speaking for myself, if he would ever decide to make things right, I totally would understand. I’d be there with a big hug.
    So Joni, “Happy Anniversary” Love, Aunt Velma

    1. Velma, Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. They mean a lot much to me! Very few people understand my situation. They think I should just move on. I honestly don’t have any desire to move on and start a new life. I’ve found peace and contentment in my life and with my faith in God. The journey is not easy. I have my good and bad days, but even in the midst of the storm, I have been very blessed. Thanks again, Velma! I hope things are going well for you and your family.

  2. I am so glad I read this article, I.Am going thru the same situation, celebrating my 25 wedding anniversary alone, husband haven’t spend one night at home in 3 months, want give me a explanation, want talk to me, so tired of crying, every day in night . Don’t know what happened, was such a good father&and husband, I will continue to pray. That’s all I can do .. glad to know I am not alone..

    1. Faye, I have added you and your husband to my prayer list. I’m sorry you are going through this, and I understand your pain. Draw near to the Lord. A passage of scripture that helped me when my husband left was Isaiah 54: 5.

      For your Maker is your husband-the Lord Almighty is his name-the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.

      Continue to pray for your husband. I have no regrets about honoring my marriage vows even though my husband didn’t. It was never easy, but God provided for me in numerous ways. Things did not turn out like I hoped they would, but I feel peace knowing I did everything I could to heal our marriage. My husband fell into sin, but that does not take away from the good years we had and the wonderful children and grandchildren we were blessed with. We live in a sinful and fallen world, and sadly the enemy is wrecking havoc on marriages and families. More than ever, we need to stay strong in our faith and walk closely with the Lord. God will bless our obedience. God will never leave you, Faye. The heartache and loneliness is devastating when a spouse walks away, but I’ve seen God heal marriages. I am here for you if you ever need to talk. {{{Hugs to you}}}

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