Too Broken to Marry?
By Hannah Lewis
The first time I tried to get my now-husband to break up with me was less than a month into our dating relationship. Dating wasn’t easy for us. We were both mid-college, and still maturing. It was hard trying to know how vulnerable to be with someone else and I didn’t totally trust him. Most of all, I just felt too broken to be in a relationship. I struggle with anxiety and depression and have scars from past experiences. How could I, of all people, have a healthy relationship?
Nevertheless, at God’s encouragement I stayed with him. Periodically, I would try and sabotage the relationship by trying to get him to break up with me. He was not perfect, but still, why would he want me?
About two or three months before we got engaged, not long after I’d graduated college, I began to deal with years of suppressed emotions about my past experiences. I was a total mess, and didn’t feel like I could ever be alright. Still, my beloved stayed by my side.
Working through my issues continued throughout our engagement. I wasn’t sure what marriage would like for two people, one of who felt like she was so broken she would break anything she touched. I was scared about what sex would be like and about the complete emotional vulnerability marriage brings. My now-husband reassured me that he would do whatever I needed in order to feel safe. Once married, we could go as slow or as fast as I needed to.
As I dealt with my brokenness in light of my impending marriage, my mother and multiple other women told me something I found surprising: marriage can be healing. What did they mean?
Four or five weeks into our marriage, I found myself crying in my husband’s arms not sure if happiness or sadness were the emotions that applied. He held me as I told him the Mother Teresa quote that had echoed in my head: “I have found the paradox that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”
It had not been easy for us to love. We have had to push for it. My scars have stung and fears have tried to dominate me. But what I have realized since being married is that the more I push to love beyond the brokenness, even though I have to constantly stop and go because of my anxiety and pain, the more God begins to heal my heart by filling up the places I hurt with memories and feelings of joy instead. I see something new each day; I have learned what it means to have someone make me feel safe, it is becoming easier to experience joy and I am finding peace in trusting. I am still scarred, but I am finding that my scars are becoming less important as the love I experience, give, and receive grows.
It makes sense in a Christian marriage that this swap would occur because that is the story of the gospel: God making all things new. Jesus comes to a broken world not to take it back to before it became broken, but to redeem and transform it. So it goes in our lives. As He loves us and we love him, eventually our hearts heal. They remain scarred, but it no longer matters as much as His love does. Healing is immensely difficult and comes at a cost, but eventually the hurt is pushed out to be replaced by love.
We are all broken. Maybe you’re wounded by sexual abuse, the divorce of parents, pornography, messages about your body, past physical or emotional sin, damaging messages from the church or pop-culture that undervalued or overemphasized your sexuality as part of your identity, or something else. But if you are feeling too broken to get married, don’t. God is the ultimate Husband, the One who will always choose you as you are and if He has called you to get married, He is fully able to use that to help heal your heart. You are never too broken for Him.