Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Second Time

Today I have been doing a lot of reflecting.  It seems that the further I step into my future the more I understand my past.  As many of you know I was widowed a year and a half ago. I was in the midst of marriage hell.  I married a man, whom I loved dearly, and who loved me, but he was sick. He had personal issues that were beyond repair.  Those personal issues showed up early in our marriage and the longer we were together, the deeper the issues became.  Initially they ate away at the level of interaction, communication and closeness we had.  Then it ate away at our marriage, then our finances, our security, and finally our entire life.  His issues were destroying him, which ultimately was destroying my life.  I was a casualty of his self destruction.

In the past 18 months I have been spending time healing.  I have been praying. I have been crying. I have been discovering who I am. And I've been hoping! I have hoped that someday I would meet a man who will love me the way I long to be loved.  I hoped that I would find a man who would receive the overwhelming love I long to feel for another.  I hoped that my son would receive from God the promise He gave, a new daddy to raise him.  Friends, that day is here! I met an amazing man, and soon we are going to be married!

When I am with him, everything just fits.  It flows. Its natural.  My son and I find comfort in being part of a family that loves and respects each other.  I have realized the fullness of our lives is not in what we have, but who we have to share it with.  God has blessed us! I have felt emptiness and despair.  I have felt a longing to be loved. I have felt rejection. I have longed to give myself to someone and have them receive it with open arms!  God has answered my hopes, He has answered my prayers.  He has shown me that He does take us from glory to glory, and that the latter will be better than the first.  

Since our engagement, I've been reflecting on my love for my fiancé.  Throughout this whole process of growing in love together, I've been comparing.  It feels so different than when I dated and married my late husband.  I am sure no one wants to be compared in such a way, but in all honesty its completely normal and totally unavoidable! We are going to compare.  And the good news is, the more I compare the more my fiancé comes out on top.  I become increasingly aware of the healthy nature, and maturity of our relationship and love.  Its a completely different creature than my past relationship.

I wish I could find the words to express this difference.  Perhaps the best I can say is this love is deep, like the deep love you feel when you have been married for a while.  When I married the first time I didn't really know my husband.  He never really let me know him. He had a wall.  It was bigger than the Berlin Wall, and longer than the Great Wall of China, and it was impenetrable.   He would say to me time and time again that he didn't want to let me in because he was afraid for me to see the real him.  Ironic isn't it? I experienced the worst times of his life, and my love didn't shake.  But still he felt this need to hide behind the wall.  The wall was there when we met, there when we married and there in his final days. It never came down. 

As I think back on our dating days I think about the great effort he made to woo me.  He showered me with roses, and gifts.  He made every effort to be the perfect man.  As my good friend described it, "I had never seen anyone pursue like that."  And all the attention captured me.  He "won" me.  And I fell into what I thought was love.  I'm not saying I didn't ever love him.  With time, I grew into that deep level of love that is what God designed for us to experience.  But that initial love I felt, wasn't deep.  It was surface.  It took time for me to really love him because I had to first experience him.  

Today I realized he pursued in me that way because he couldn't just be himself.  He didn't want to let me fall in love with who he was because he didn't love himself, and feared if I saw the real man I wouldn't love him either.  So he did all the right things externally, a form of smoke and mirrors to place my attention on his actions and how I felt, instead of discovering the man he was.  He said the right things.  He bought me all the gifts.  He put a dozen roses on my car while I was at work.  The whole time I didn't realize the surface level of our relationship, and the wall which I was soon to encounter.

Its odd to be reflecting on my first relationship so much during these exciting days of engagement.  It seems random to be gaining more understanding about the past I am so far away from.  But it is my past which brought me to this place, on the edge of my glorious future.  And by looking back I am only able to hold on tighter to my future.  I realize the depth of love I feel this time is deeper because there are no smoke and mirrors.  My finance isn't saying and doing all the right things to win me over.  He is real.  He is himself 24/7.  He exposes who he really is: the good and the bad.  This time when I fell in love, I fell in love with a man, vulnerable, unguarded and willing to give himself to me completely.  


  1. Jennifer, I am so very happy for you and your son and hope that sometime soon you will post pictures for all of us to see. May you have the kind of love that I experienced for 36 years, 4 months, and 10 days - a love that was enduring, committed, unconditional and a love that cared more about my happiness than his own. When you have that kind of love, it is so easily reciprocated.

    1. Thank you Candy. I believe that God wants every one of his children to have the love and marriage that you shared with your late husband, and I am so grateful to him for giving me a second chance at it, and so young too! As always thanks for you encouragement. :)

  2. Congratulations! I have been so encouraged by the number of widows I've become somewhat acquainted with in the last couple of years who are engaged or newly married. God is so good, and I hope and pray that He will bless my daughter and me with a wonderful man, too.

    Enjoy every minute of your new found happiness. :)