For When You Think It Would Take a Miracle

This weekend, thousands of women around the world will watch a webcast about staying in community, in relationship even when it’s hard. When they do, they’ll hear me talk about how I chose to stay in my marriage last year, even when it was hard. Because you, my readers, are my friends, I didn’t want you to hear about that for the first time in a video. So I sat down last night to tell you all about it. As it turns out, it took me nearly 1,500 words to get to the point, and I’m still not sure it came out right. So if you’re wondering why am I telling you now and why is this post so long…that’s why.


Just a few years after I was married, I heard through the grapevine that a couple we knew disliked us. A lot. In fact, they said we were “miserable” to be around.

At the time I was insulted and infuriated. But in hindsight . . . I have to agree.

Have you heard people joke about their anniversaries? You know, saying, “I’ve been married for 12 years – happily married for 10. Hardee-har-har!”

I’ve always thought that was a tasteless joke, intended to hurt one’s spouse. But, I can honestly say that in little over a month, I’ll have been married for 14 years – happily married for one.

Maybe that’s unfair. We’ve certainly had happy moments since our wedding, and if you add them up I’m sure we could squeeze two years out of it. Still, that’s not a great ratio. Especially when I know just how unhappy those other years were.

I’ve probably mentioned that I got married at 20.
I’ve told you how unrealistic expectations complicate relationships unnecessarily.
I’ve talked about some of the effects of being a married single mom.
And I’ve shared that on last year’s anniversary, we started marriage counseling.

What I haven’t told you is that if we hadn’t gone to counseling, we probably wouldn’t be married today. Last spring I hit my limit – of forgiveness, of patience, of hope. After more than a dozen years of fighting for my marriage and my rights and my way to hang up the towels in the bathroom, I was finished.

And when you’ve hit the wall like that and THEN you’re disappointed or hurt o n e. m o r e. t i m e? Well, I crumbled.

I said things like, “I can’t do this anymore,” and “I don’t know why I bother,” and “I deserve better!” and, finally, “I’m going to leave.”

[If you’re wondering how you missed reading about this last year, you didn’t. I wrote about recipes and parenting and books and TV shows, but I didn’t write about this. I couldn’t. Some things you can’t talk about when you’re living it, and this was one of those things.]

So, I wanted to leave, to give up, to give in. I’d been fighting with Mark – and fighting for Mark – for half my life (if you count the years we dated, which I do, because we bickered and struggled and disregarded each other’s feelings during those years, too). It was too much. It was too hard. It was too . . . too.

Leaving isn’t a simple option, though, when you have a four-year-old daughter. And a house. And bills to pay and friends who don’t know and family gatherings to attend and cats to feed and lives that are entwined in the way that lives connected for 13+ years are.

Besides, I didn’t want to leave. Not really. But I didn’t think anything would change if I stayed. After all, it hadn’t so far. And, I thought, it probably wouldn’t now, either – no matter how much I wanted it and how much he promised it would.

No, I didn’t think anything would change. I didn’t think it could. I didn’t think WE could. I thought it would surely take a miracle to make this marriage work.

He didn’t ask me to stay. But he called a counselor and made an appointment. I didn’t go to the first appointment, but he did. That’s when I began to feel a tiny spark of hope. Maybe . . . this time . . . could it really . . . maybe . . .

I can’t tell you exactly when things began to change. I don’t have an 8-step plan for saving your marriage or making people do what you want or putting the pieces of your heart back together when it’s been shattered. Again.

I can tell you that realizing I shared responsibility for the miserable parts of our relationship was a game changer. It was. Learning to talk to each other in a totally different way played a big part, and so did remembering why we liked each other in the first place. And, of course, date nights are everyone’s go-to solution for a reason.

But, at least to an extent, those were things we’d tried (and tried and tried) before – including counseling. And it never made much of a difference. It definitely did not make a lasting difference.

And for the first several months after that anniversary counseling appointment, I was sure this time would be the same. He’d make promises, I would too, and we’d both tiptoe around each other until we got lazy and reverted back to our horrible selves. We’d try until it got hard again or we got our feelings hurt. And we’d be back where we began, a little more weary and singed around the edges of our smashed, barely-held-together hearts.

I just knew that we couldn’t fix this thing, that short of a real-life, God-given miracle, we were headed for more heartache.

Still, I’d promised to try and he kept going to counseling and trying to change and being kind when I tried changing, too. So we tried. For months we tried. And for a while, it really seemed like things were improving. Slowly, in small ways, things were getting better.

But then something happened.

Something happened, and I blew up. We yelled, and I cried, and we both said things that we’d said hundreds of times before. It was a huge fight, just like every other time.

Except . . . it wasn’t like every other time.
Even though the hot-button topic that started it was the same and the heated words were the same, my heart didn’t feel the same.

Sure, I was hurt and he was frustrated. But for once in our lives, we quickly asked, “How can we solve this problem together?” instead of pointing fingers and blame and more ugly words.

That was the day I realized that God had truly erased the hurts of our past.
That was the day I began to look at my marriage as the gift it’s been all along.
That was the day I realized that my marriage had been miraculously healed.

Now, don’t get me wrong. That wasn’t the day we had our last argument or started spontaneously dancing in the kitchen or making googly eyes across the dinner table.

But that was the day I understood, the day I truly believed that miracles can happen.

My marriage is still a work in progress. A redeemed marriage, yes, but also a marriage in recovery. We still have scars and struggles and, at times, short, selfish tempers. But it’s so different now. We are, for the first time since our newlywed days, on the same team. We are for each other, in every sense of the phrase.

When everything fell apart last spring, I thought my marriage was over. My heart was shattered, and I just knew there was not enough glue in the world to put it – to put us – back together. In a way, I was right. That old marriage – the one with two selfish people who bickered and repressed and ignored and seethed and snapped – is gone. I pray it’s gone forever. Because this new one? The one with two selfish people who problem solve and confess and forgive and extend arms and olive branches? It’s so good. And it is a miracle.


Are you in a season or situation that seems hopeless? I can’t promise you that anything will ever change or improve. I can’t, because I don’t know.

But what I do know is this: God loves you even when your circumstances seem stacked against you. And He is why we always have hope. We don’t have hope because of our own determination or strength or stick-to-it-ness; we don’t have hope because deep down, we believe that other person is good; we don’t have hope because things have to turn around at some point and there’s nowhere to go but up and my horoscope/fortune cookie/best friend said it would get better.

No, we have hope because our God loves us, and miracles do happen.


Have you ever needed a miracle?
Do you need one now?
Will you tell us about it, let us pray for your miracle?

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116 Comments For When You Think It Would Take a Miracle

  1. Derek June 26, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Thank you my beautiful wife and I are going thru this same struggle! She is not fighting for our marriage but I have not laid down. I am doing as much soul searching as needed I also have found a new relationship with God please keep us in your prayers. Thanks again for the added faith….

  2. Ann July 8, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    My husband divorced me in April 2014.Please pray for a marriage miracle for me.I`m 29 years old.Thank you & bless you

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect July 13, 2014 at 10:29 pm

      I’m so sorry, Ann. I’ll absolutely pray for a miracle in your life!

  3. Ginny September 10, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Please pray for a miracle for my marriage to be restored. Married lesss then five yrs with ththree small kids. Husband is filing for divorce :(

  4. Carrie April 9, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    Hello my marriage is falling apart and my husband just told me last night that he wants a divorce. Our marriage sounded a lot like Mary’s story except my husband lost his 18 year old son and I lost step- son that lived with us since he was 12. My husband since then blames me for things that aren’t my fault he treats my boys horribly and distances his self from me completely. For a month now he leaves for weekends and days and doesn’t tell me where he goes or what he does and who he is with. He tells me he is by himself and he is drinking a lot. He has hatred toward me and I haven’t done anything to him other than try to be there for him and his loss as we are all grieving. I have begged him to get help and counseling but he wants no part of it so I am at a loss and I still love him very much. I will have to say our relationship has been a crazy roller coaster from day one but we always worked it out somehow and then back again but this time he is done and I have lost him. Please pray for a miracle in Jesus name I don’t want to break my family any more than it has already been broken. I need a miracle before he files for a divorce.

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect April 9, 2015 at 7:47 pm

      Carrie, I’m so sorry to hear about your struggles. Thank you for sharing your heart with me. I’m praying for you today! And I’m a huge fan of counseling (it’s made a world of difference in my life), so here’s someone I recommend: She actually provides online counseling to clients all around the world. Praying for you…

      1. Carrie April 9, 2015 at 8:09 pm

        Thank You Mary your story was an inspiration to me to continue to fight for my marriage. Thank you for the prayers they are much needed!

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  6. Gary Backstrom June 9, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    At the end of this article it asked if I needed a miracle. I so desperately do
    I need my wife of 15 years to change her mind about leaving and separating
    I’m at the end of my rope. I will do anything for her but she thinks I can’t change certain things. I need any one that would be so moved to say a prayer to help us save what we have. Our beautiful family Please lord bring a miracle to this situation. Thank you

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect June 9, 2015 at 8:08 pm

      Gary, I’m so sorry to hear about your situation. Praying God will speak to both you and your wife, drawing you close to Himself and to each other. Praying for renewal in your relationship…

  7. Kate June 22, 2015 at 10:53 am

    So I need a miracle. After a few years of marriage we go through periods of good times but periods of bad. Right now it couldn’t be worse. My husband said to me that he feels that I have given up on us. Later that day I told him that there was a time a few months ago I briefly felt like giving up (I tried to explain that is was very brief and that now I believe we are worth working for and for our son). All he heard was I wanted out. He told me to leave and he didnt care (I know he was hurt and he was frustrated) He also said that I was trying to strong arm him to say that he cared. (I guess part of me thought he would say “no dont leave, I still want you). But that is not what happened. Instead I just ignited the resentment he has built torwards me. For some reason we get into arguments often in the car. I hate riding in the car now. We fight about directions, things we should have packed, how to entertain our son, how to stop him from crying. We fought the other day about where to go to eat. That bad part is the argument doesnt stay about directions, it turn into what can we say to prove the other person wrong and prove that our opinion is right. Sometimes it feels as though we try to break each other but have no way of building each other back. He said I expect perfection and that it is destroying our marriage. He is right. It is hard not to try and be perfect when a mistake results in being lectured and reprimanded, especially by my husband. (He thinks he is helping). He has voiced to me that he feels he has no say in raising our child. I listen to everything he says about our child. There have been times I haven’t followed through with exactly what he says. I get his frustration. (I feel if he has an opinion then I cant have a different opinion or It makes me argumentative) I get frustrated with him because I feel he tells me how to do things but he doesnt try them himself. (I am trying potty training, I am the one who transitioned his food, and bed). I have started to feel that it is my responsibility to keep our child quiet (he is two and almost impossible). He crys out for attention and it is my fault because I respond to his crying. If he cries in the car, my husband asks “what does he want, why is he crying, what can we do to stop the crying and whining”. I have tried games, toys, dvd, ipad, sitting with him in the bac, even scoulding him. All have worked for a little bit but aren’t 100%. Sometimes, he just wants out of the seat and I cant help the kid or heaven forbid I dont know what he wants. This built frustration in my husband and just last night our son was in the back seat trying to get my attention and just spoke louder until I said “what”. This went on and on about 10 minutes. My husband became frustrated and said he felt he could not say anything because it would have caused an argument and would just end up us wanting divorce. I dont want a divorce or to leave. I want to be with him and build back our intimacy. I have accepted in myself I have some control issues. I like things to go the way they are planned and it throws me off when they dont. It makes me anxious. I know that I have hurt my husband in many ways by not respecting his thoughts and feelings. I have apologized, I have prayed, I went to counseling. I dont know if going back would help.

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect June 25, 2015 at 9:33 am

      Praying for healing and redemption in your marriage, Kate! (And while I don’t know the answer to your marriage struggles, I will say that counseling has made all the difference in my relationship and heart.)

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  9. Ally July 25, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    Hi Mary
    I came across your article in what I like to think was a moment of God nudging me in the right direction. I have been praying for a miracle of my own lately.. hopeful as one can only be in a desperate situation. I knew it was at a point that only a miracle could turn it around. But more so lately, I feel foolish for believing that that miracle might be granted to me.. I feel more and more like my wishes and desires mean nothing to God, who am i to ever get such a thing as a miracle?

    I wanted to ask for everyones prayers also.. because im not too proud to ask for help at this point. Just for a miracle or a sign enough to know that what matters to me, matters to him too? That im not foolish for believing God might grant me this?


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