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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Is It Ever Too Late For Your Marriage?

Sure. It's too late when one of you dies.

Otherwise, it's not. With a willingness to work - and change - it's literally never too late.

I'm going to break a loosely-held rule and talk about my own marriage.

In 2002, Barbara and I were married. In 2003, we were divorced.

The fault was mine. I had been ill when we married, and I was taking large doses of painkillers. The strain on Barbara was far beyond anything I could have imagined, and when I improved somewhat - and we had a support system to take care of me - she felt she could take a couple of weeks with her family in the Midwest (we lived in Texas).

I resented it bitterly, and when she returned midway through a road trip with her folks I was cold and distant. She had been looking forward to seeing me again, and when she found the new, horrible me - she collapsed. Her parents took her back home with them, to give her the chance to recover.

Under the influence of drugs, and a thoroughly nasty relative, I was convinced she was leaving me, and was further convinced to see a lawyer, who convinced me that if I filed for divorce first I would have the upper hand.

Thus I stabbed a caring, loving woman in the back.

There was a shred of decency left in my heart, though, because the next day, on going to work, I looked like death. A colleague took one look, bundled me into an elevator, and hustled me to his office, where he called his wife - who was a therapist.

And thus began a long, slow climb back to humanity.

I didn't abort the divorce. I don't know why - it might not have worked. But I also didn't do what one normally does. Barbara stayed on my savings and checking accounts, and I made sure she knew that she could use them freely. (I found out later that she wondered what kind of game I was playing...and then decided to trust my good intentions.)

And when I went in for a medical procedure that was likely to kill me, I chose her as my medical power of attorney.

We hadn't talked on the phone since I called for divorce, but on the day before the procedure I called her. Got voicemail, but I left a message that made it clear I was wrong, and that I was sorry.

She called back a few days later, when I was in recovery. She said she'd be there for me, but that there was no road back.

But there was. I stayed in touch, and stayed in therapy, and on April 18, 2004, she called me and said, "I think I want my husband back."

On June 24, 2004, we were remarried.

George Eliot once said that it's never too late to be the person you were meant to be.

And I believe, and hope you do, too, that it's never to late to have the marriage you were meant to have.

Please don't give up.

This post is linked to Wedded Wednesday, a compendium of really cool posts on marriage. If you click on the logo below, you'll be taken to www.messymarriage.com, which is the springboard to a wealth of information.


  1. What an inspiring story of love, grace and healing! Thank you, for sharing it with us, Andrew!

    I love the George Elliot quote. My children have often heard me tell them that it is never too late to start doing the right thing.

    It may, or may not, be too late to regain trust or avoid undesirable consequences, but it is never too late to start doing the right thing.

    1. Very true - and salvation can come with our last breath.

  2. I know it's a girl-thing to say, but you left me with tears in my eyes. Your redemptive marriage story, Andrew, is beautiful. I love that George Eliot quote also. Your story touched my heart, deeply. Thanks for sharing.

    1. The rebirth of the marriage was watered by tears, Jeanne. It's not a girl-thing at all. Any man who can't weep is a weakling, and is to be pitied.

  3. Andrew, how brave, kind, and generous you are to share your story. I suspect that there are many people who will read this and be given the hope to keep trying. My dear husband and I have been married since 1983. We are so grateful for how God's grace has brought us through each valley. The closeness we now have has been worth any of the trials we've gone through. There are so many lonely and broken people who have missed out on this precious gift. May they look to Him who is able--as you say--it's never too late with God.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

  4. Rocky, fascinating, challenging blessings our marriages are. Thank you for sharing this story. Barbara must be quite a woman.

  5. Thanks for sharing your story. I know it will give hope to many.