“It’s not too late, Tina. You feel like it is but you wouldn’t be sitting here if it was.”
Tina stared ahead, stone still, listening to her husband but finding nothing with which to reply. She didn’t believe it too late. She had no intention of leaving the marriage. She was just… in a place right now. She stood from their porch swing and walked inside without so much as a look back, leaving Ian shifting in his seat, helpless. He was at a loss.
Tina sprawled out alone in their bed, unable to sleep, but safer somehow praying in the dark and away from her husband’s probing. She hoped time hadn’t gotten away from her, that it wasn’t really too late. She’d thought all along that she was fine with the nature of how things were. If she wasn’t happy with the framework of their marriage, she was at least content.
Ten years, they’d been married. A decade. An era of sorts. They’d weathered the seven year itch and had settled into something satisfactory, comfortable even but now she realized that they’d both grown too comfortable in their own skin. Their oneness had died.
She was almost thirty-two and she still missed her twenties. Not for the obvious reasons having to do with youth and beauty. No, her twenties had required much of her and she had grown up quickly. Wed at twenty-one, she’d begun immediately to make a home and babies. Four babies in ten years. And she’d poured her soul into it all, striving to be the Proverbs 31 wife she believed in. And she’d been fulfilled by it, solely.
But this was an age past. Not that she was finished with rearing children. Heavens no. In many ways, she’d just begun but in so many other ways, she thought, pulling the covers closer to her face, much had settled down. And with declined busyness, less distraction and frenzy, but more kids and thus less date nights, she’d become dry. Yes, their marriage was perishing in a desert of her own making.
Ian worked such long hours these days and Tina had found herself unexpectedly capable of doing without him. As her children had grown so had she. She was no longer the needy girl she’d been when Ian had asked her to marry him. And because he was less available and their time together now limited she’d found within herself a strength she hadn’t known she possessed. A silent strength. The nagging she’d done of her husband as a young wife had ceased as she’d matured but so had any expectations. She’d retreated inward, calling upon God to fill her where she believed Ian unable. But had she abandoned her husband? She knew she hadn’t been punishing him when she’d slowly begun to back away. In fact, she thought it was respect she was granting. He was tired at the end of the day and still he tried. He really did. That’s why he grasped so now. Why he suddenly was noticing her silence, she wasn’t sure.
She ached now, thinking of his confusion, and she wanted so to assure him that they were fine. She knew they would be but these times of late, when she’d tried to express what she’d been holding in so long, her mouth would keep shut, dry. Her throat was dry, wordless and even her eyes too long dry now. How long had it been since she’d cried? Had she stopped caring?
Tina didn’t know where to begin, how far back to go, how to explain what had happened without placing blame where none belonged.
She sat up in bed. This was not what God intended for her marriage. She was certain, this. The three stranded cord. God at center. This was the intimacy she knew God desired but how now to bring him back when she’d so long left him in her heart?
A new era must begin. She’d have to sort through and then choke through all the words she’d been keeping in. “Oh, God, give me words,” she prayed as she left the room, the room where lay their marriage bed. She’d invite him in tonight.
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