What If?

Rare Faith is not just for paying bills. It’s also for healing relationships.

My friend Christine got divorced and then later remarried the same man.

This is her true story…


 

By Christine Marie Jones

For those of you who may be struggling in your marriage, I’d like to share some of my mistakes, so you don’t have to make the same.

My husband and I were married in 1973. Early on in our marriage we seemed to spend most of our time worried about finances. We had both agreed that I would stay home with the kids, and he would work. And that is what we did. After about three years of marriage, it became clear that one income wasn’t enough to keep our family going. I ended up working two jobs while rearing our sons trying to create the best life for them as I could. My husband and I never seemed to agree on what was important to provide for our family. I felt frustrated over his lack of motivation to improve our financial life. The more frustrated I felt, the harder I worked. And slowly over the years, feeling burned out and completely exhausted, my frustration turned to resentment which eventually led to anger.

Being angry was not a feeling that I was comfortable with. I realize now that what I was doing, was pushing it down and calling it something other than what it was.

A few years into our marriage I started to follow successful people like Anthony Robbins and Jack Canfield. The more I studied, the more hopeful I felt about the future. I realized there was more to life than to be sick with financial worry. Through my study of success, I learned about vision and belief. I was so excited about this new way of looking at things that I applied it to losing the weight that I had been struggling with for years. After two years of applying what I had learned, I lost one hundred pounds and kept it off (give or take that annoying 6 pounds that I gain and lose depending on how much stress I let seep in). This really motivated me to set some goals for a better financial life and I was (heck) bent to make them happen. As I look back, I now realize this was the beginning of the deterioration of my marriage.

I tried so hard to inspire my husband to share in the vision I had for our life. They were righteous desires. Why wouldn’t he want to join me? I just didn’t get it! The more I talked about these things, the more I dragged him to meetings and worked to make these things a reality, the more he dug his heels in the ground and the more distant he became. Yes, he would occasionally go with me to a meeting, but I could feel the resistance and that only served to make me angrier.

As the years went by, the distance between us became so wide and I became increasingly depressed (of course he was depressed also, but I didn’t see it as that at the time) that after 26 years I made the heart-breaking decision to leave. Yes, Temple marriage and all. There were other factors that played a part in this decision, but what I realize now, and this is huge, is that during this time my underlying anger kept me from feeling the Spirit.

Anger is a sneaky enemy. When it’s running under the radar it’s hard to feel the spirit. And as we know if you don’t have that, you’re flying alone. “Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men (or women) with anger…” (3 Nephi, 11:30) And oh, I’m sorry to say, I allowed my heart to stir. And then add in people around you that are ready to jump on your side of the fence, and you have a prescription for relationship failure.

If you knew us, you would never think there was anger in the mix. We didn’t exchange insults and we rarely argued. We held to this even after our breakup. The divorce was hard on our kids, even though they were older. And no matter how hard I tried to pack it all in a nice little box, they suffered. It was a heartbreaking time for all of us, but we had talked ourselves into feeling it was the right thing to do. We were just way too different. It became too exhausting to keep on trying. We would be happier if we were apart. Or so we thought…

For many years I ran a very successful Bowen therapy practice. Many of my clients were like family. Over the years, sadly, I witnessed many of them having marital issues. I could see the signs far before they did. And because they trusted me, I had a front row seat to both sides of the story of their relationship. It was so insightful to hear what they shared. In my opinion there was no good or bad person within these couples. Rather they were having huge misunderstandings. You would think they were in a completely different relationship by what they shared. I was seeing Satan at his finest. Within each story shared, was a snapshot of what happened in my marriage. I learned much from my precious clients.

Now, fast forward eleven years from our divorce. It would take days for me to write all that happened during that time. We both grew, a lot. To me it felt like endless growing pains. Since we had stayed friends (we worked at this), we visited each other from time to time. One day he asked if he could talk privately with me. This request made me feel a bit uncomfortable, but I agreed.

We walked along a path near his home where he thoughtfully asked me if I would be willing to come back to him. He wanted to remarry me….my heart stopped! I must admit, at first, I wanted to run the other direction. Our former married life passed before me. The good, the bad and the ugly. All in a matter of seconds. But I felt he was sincere. I cared about him; he was the father of my children. But I had stopped having any feelings of true love for him long ago. Or so I thought…

But something impressed upon me (we know who that was), that I needed to go to the Temple and pray about this monumental ask. Really, it was by the grace of God that I felt willing to do it.

I told him that I would need a few days to ponder this and that I would fast and take it to the Temple. So, I did. I felt resistant and just plain afraid, but I was also humble. As I sat in the Celestial room praying for guidance, these words came to me, “trust him.”

What? All I could think was, what exactly does that mean?

But in that very same moment, I felt peace wash over me. I walked out of the Temple that day, with a completely different feeling than I walked in with. I had a complete change of heart. Honestly, if you would have told me this would happen, I would not have believed you. Not for a second.

I told him yes, with the understanding that I would need time to get my feet solidly on the ground. Our kids, now adults with kids of their own were happy when we shared our news. However, as our youngest responded with “I don’t know how I feel about this-you two are so different-and I don’t want to go through that again,” it reminded me of just how painful our breakup was for our entire family.

As I’ve pondered those words “trust him,” that I heard in the Temple that day, I have come to realize how much of a control freak I was in our marriage. I really didn’t trust him. This, in part, was why I worked so hard to make up the difference in many areas of our life together. I felt like the Lone Ranger, and I didn’t even have Tonto.

So where was the Lord through all of this? I was praying. What happened? He was there, I just couldn’t hear the whisperings of the Holy Spirit clearly. Why? Like I mentioned earlier it was my anger and resentment that got in the way.

How could I get a clear message when I was running an anger program under the radar?

I couldn’t acknowledge my feelings because they didn’t feel acceptable to me. And worse yet, I felt justified in what I was feeling. You can’t change something you don’t acknowledge. I held judgment around being angry. So, I was in denial. All the while getting more and more desensitized to the Spirit I so desperately needed to be listening too.

We were remarried in 2009.

It isn’t easy to keep a remarriage going strong with the same spouse. The original problems that existed before, tend to surface. If you don’t plan for this, you have a good chance to end up in crisis again. It was this past year that we faced our biggest issue this time around. If left unchecked could have led our marriage down another dangerous path.

My husband retired and we moved to another state. Because I work remotely now, I’m home. With him retired and some loss from his business due to Covid, finances started feeling strangely familiar. I found myself getting irritated often. He was cranky too. Retirement seems to come with its own bag of feelings.

I started to pray fervently for help to let go of the anger towards my husband that was creeping back in. I am so grateful to the Lord for answering my prayers. Over time, I felt my attitude shift for the better.
There is something Leslie would say that took me a while to understand. But now I think I get it.
“You can’t break a law; You can only break yourself against it.”

I would like to share with you how I learned that instead of using the wonderful “laws of our being” (as James Allen so wonderfully puts it in, As a Man Thinketh) for our benefit, I was breaking myself against them.

Let me start with one of the ways I feel I broke myself against the law of relativity:

I feel I did this by comparing my marriage to those I saw around me that seemed to be enjoying working together on their goals and reaping the benefits. The ones that were taking vacations that I and my family weren’t. The couples that didn’t seem to worry about finances. What if I had known to “pray to see things differently,” like Leslie mentions in her book Hidden Treasures. What if I stopped to think to be grateful that I didn’t have a marriage like the neighbor down the street had? Where your focus goes, energy flows. If my focus was on being grateful for what I had, in contrast to what my neighbor was living through in her relationship (even though I felt badly for her), I would have had a different perspective other than only seeing what I lacked.
Focusing on what I lacked didn’t create a positive feeling. It just made me feel worse. How does this serve me or my family? It doesn’t help me maintain faithful thoughts. It doesn’t help me stay in a grateful place. I now work on seeking peace in my present circumstances. I strive to feel grateful for everything, even the hard stuff. For I’ve learned through the scriptures that the Lord can turn them for good.

Here is where I broke myself against the law of cause and effect:

For example, when I made an extra effort to bring my husband and I closer like spending hours making all his favorite dishes for dinner, and he didn’t seem to notice, I felt upset. I feel I broke myself against this law for allowing myself to get so worked up and resentful over disappointed expectations. What if I used this law to realize that first Heavenly Father knew the effort I made, and where my heart was when I made it. Yes, I may have felt ignored, but I could have rested in the belief that it’s better to focus on what I could give. Good things don’t always come back when we expect them to, but they will come back. When my focus remains here, I can stay in a positive vibration. Which brings me to the next law I feel I broke, the law of vibration.

I realize now, that while carrying around that unprocessed anger, I was radiating a low, negative energy. I put a lot of emotion in that kind of energy. Who would want to be around that? How could I create the relationship I dreamed of with my husband from that place? I wasn’t aware of my vibration. Especially what affect it had on why I stayed stuck in a painful relationship. I cringe when I think of how this affected my kids. What if I would have paid attention to my thoughts? What if I kept thoughts that were in harmony with the marriage I wanted so much? How many years of pain could I have avoided?

Now, I am totally aware that there still would have been tough times, it’s part of life. But I could have given those times a different meaning than the negative ones I was giving them. I realize that my husband had his agency, and I had no control over that. I also realize that I wouldn’t have wanted to be the limiting factor in our situation. Despite the choices my husband could have made, the person that I had the opportunity to become was based on my own.

This has always been one of my favorite scriptures. I now see so much more in Paul’s words:

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8)

What if I had consistently followed Paul’s counsel, and focused on these things?

I feel I also broke myself against the law of gestation:

How? By not realizing that the efforts I was making to improve our relationship when it was so fragile, needed time to blossom. When I was in a place of impatience and fear, I was not trusting. Where was my faith? And what if I would have honored the law of rhythm, and believed that better times were coming?

What if I understood the law of polarity?

Even though things seemed so hopeless no matter how very bleak it seemed, I could have held on to the belief that eventually life would be as great as it was bleak! I would have been watching for the good, instead of expecting the worst.

With the law of relativity, focusing on what I lacked didn’t create a positive feeling.

It just made me feel worse. How does this serve me or my family? It doesn’t help me maintain faithful thoughts. It doesn’t help me stay in a grateful place. I now feel grateful for everything, even the hard stuff. The scriptures tell us that for those who love God, all things work together for good. What peace this brings to my heart when I start to feel down.

When serving my husband, or anyone else for that matter I don’t do it with an expectation (this doesn’t mean that I don’t get disappointed at times). But when I stay in this place, I feel peace, and I show up the kind person I want to be.

Now, with the skills I’ve developed I’ve learned to manage my thoughts better. I have more awareness of when I’m starting down the rabbit hole of negativity. I can turn it around by putting my focus on how I want to feel. When I do this and not allow myself to go on auto pilot with my past way of thinking, I am in a much higher vibration. I love being in this place. It took me a long while to get here. With a lot of practice.
I’ve struggled with guilt for living so long breaking the laws. But staying in that place isn’t helpful. After all, I wasn’t aware that what I was doing was creating the undesirable results I was getting.

To stay on track, I go to Hidden Treasures and reread my highlighted sections. I go to the Rare Faith site and read something that inspires me. I put in one of Leslie’s CD’s, I lie down and make myself dream my best dreams. I check in with myself to stay clear on what I desire. In this context, a loving relationship. I practice daily repentance, and most of all, I PRAY!

It’s been twelve years now since we remarried. We have a private little joke between us that dating sites like eHarmony would have never matched us. It takes work to stay together. But, with the help of the Lord, and as I work to stay out of unprocessed anger so that I can hear his promptings, I have found a deeper more abiding love for my husband. When my anger lifted, he was more able to see the places he needed to grow. I got out of the way so that God could work through him.

I feel very blessed that I got the opportunity to try again. But, unfortunately, sometimes a marriage needs to end. And if we couldn’t have saved ours, I would still be so grateful to learn what I did, so that with God’s help I could come away a better person in the end.

I would like to share here that I am eternally grateful to Leslie, she has been such an influence for good in my life in so many ways. I am also eternally grateful to Trevan and Cari. What I have learned from these three amazing people, their personal stories they were willing to share, and the example they set, has been life-changing for me and my family.

I am also grateful to my husband for being so willing to have me share our very private story.

Like I mentioned earlier, as my husband and I were struggling financially, I started studying success. I learned a lot during those times, and it helped me move forward with things that I would not have accomplished otherwise. But there were some things I just didn’t get. It was when I found Leslie’s book, Hidden Treasures that it all started making sense. I could finally see the missing pieces.

Now, with Leslie’s programs I have a system to follow that helps me to internalize that there are laws of success to live by. I can either use them for good or break myself against them. It took a while to heal the bruises I got while breaking myself against the laws. But using what I now know helps me in every area in my life, including keeping my marriage in a happier place.

And this is an answer to a very humble prayer.

Christine Marie


 

Fun update: Leslie here. After I created this post and sent Christine the link to her story, she said:

Me again, one more quick thing. The picture you put with my story, was so perfect. The day after our 2nd wedding we went to Monterey. Larry drew a heart in the sand that looked so much like the picture you chose. What are the odds. I just had to share.

Leslie Householder
Latest posts by Leslie Householder (see all)

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Kim

    Thank you for sharing this thoughtful story.

  2. Mishelle

    I just learned from Brene Brown in the book Atlas of the Heart that the emotion of resentment isn’t in the same emotional family as anger, it is in the emotional family of envy. I believe that can shed more light into this story. Brene also defines the differences of envy and jealousy, what envy really is and how it relates to resentment. Many of us have misinterpreted it. She also has an HBO Max series on the book.

  3. Tracy LaVelle

    Love this!!!

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