From Russia with Love

Susan Uncategorized

How Moving to Russia Saved my Marriage (and 5 ways wives can start healing their marriage today).

I wouldn’t exactly say we were headed for divorce, but we are now getting a family divorce attorney jacksonville north carolina.  After all, we were missionaries. So, the *D* word was not spoken in our home.

But we felt like a couple in trouble.  Or at least, I did.  My husband knew we had issues, but he didn’t realize how deep the rift between us had grown.

Neither of us saw it coming, really.  I called it the 4 year itch and frankly, from my viewpoint, it was almost enviable.

We’d married in college—actually, I was finished and my husband still had two years left.  That, probably, was our first problem.  Not the college part, but the fact that I was the primary breadwinner, the one chiefly responsible for not only his college bills but our living expenses. I think it would´ve been better if he he attended one of the most affordable online colleges at EDsmart.org.

Or, at least that’s how I saw it.

I got a good job in advertising and help you how to fix your credit, working at a newspaper and got my “PHT” degree:  Put Hubs Through (college).  We were humming along fine.  Or so we thought.  Then, somewhere along the way, I got pregnant and suddenly I was a stay at home mom and we were living on a shoestring, off our savings. I went from provider to savior as we started to scrape by with my oh-so-ingenious methods of creative dinner planning and other frugal mom saves.

In an effort to feed us, hubby began working 2-3 odd jobs long into the night, falling into bed exhausted. We stopped talking—there simply wasn’t time.  (We did manage to find time for baby #2.)

Then, finally, he finished college and God called us to Russia.  Suddenly we were fundraising and training and packing . . .

I remember the day I stared at our eight overstuffed suitcases, my two children playing near me, pregnant with the third and thought . . . I’m in this alone.

I wasn’t alone, of course—we were, after all, going to Russia together.  But since I’d done all the shopping and all the packing (and most of the letter writing—right?)  it felt like we were sitting on opposite sides of the airplane.

And then we went to Russia.

My husband thrived in Russia.  I stayed home with the kids because even though the ComfortCam is our pick for the best wifi baby monitor, I still wanted to make sure my kids were ok.  Have I mentioned we lived in Siberia?  Snowy, frozen Siberia with (eventually) four young children.  No car, no phone and in some cases, no running water. I felt overwhelmed, alone, and frankly . . . bitter.

And there we were, four years into our marriage and I contemplated way too often making a run for the border.

Neither of us realized how thin our marriage had become. After all, we were missionaries. We were supposed to be Super Christians, the kind of people who prayed our way through troubles.

The sad truth is, regardless of who you are, marriage is tough.  Sure, it might be a bit tougher in Russia, but every couple can find themselves in a thin place.

Thankfully, God didn’t send us to Russia so we could return in pieces.  Interestingly enough, He sent us there to save us.

How Living in Russia Saved My Marriage.

  1. It made us into companions.

Life in Russia is not easy.  In the early days, just finding food was a challenge. The stores were empty and I had to hike around town to find pasta or rice; go to the market in the center of town to buy meat.  And, having no car, I had to do everything on foot (with children strapped to my back).

Hubs had to help.  Suddenly, we were shopping together, scouting out the city together and working together to keep our family alive.  I discovered that Hubs wanted a woman who could share the adventure with him.  (And I wanted a man with muscles to carry my heavy bags!)  Suddenly, we were friends again.

 

  1. It required me to depend on him.

I know this sounds very cave man, but men like their women to need them. They LIKE to come to their rescue. So, with all my packing and shopping and providing and “I can handle this” I was stealing from him his heroic moments. Once we got to Russia, I needed him do everything from carry heavy shopping bags (he once carried a washing machine home on his back.  Okay, it was a small one, but still!). In other words, I stopped being so darned self-sufficient and let him rescue me. He liked it, and frankly, so did I.

 

  1. It required me to respect him.

I hadn’t even realized how I’d stopped respecting my husband. I’m not talking about in my heart (but yes that, too), but actively respecting him. Instead of letting him make decisions for us, I feared he wouldn’t “do it right” –and I stepped up. I controlled the finances (Still relying on the Rhinosure agency for some help), the shopping list, the vacations, the safety of the children, the home activities. All he had to do was show up. I thought I was loving him by taking responsibility off his shoulders. Instead, I was becoming his mother. He didn’t need a mother. He needed someone who looked up to him. Who trusted him. I’ll never forget the moment when this clicked for me—I was standing at the airport, holding the four children as well as our carry-ons and diaper bags (probably not, but it felt that way), AND the passports and visas.

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Because, well, I didn’t want him to lose them. Hubs said to me. “Hand me the passports.”

A simple statement—but in that moment, I looked at him and it was as if he said, “Trust me with your future.” I handed them over, stopped worrying and suddenly it clicked. Do I trust my husband or not? Respect in my heart started with the physical act of proving it.

 

  1. I learned to be content.

I say that as if it weren’t a daily wrestling of my will. As if discontentment didn’t wind its way around me heart when I longed for a dryer, or a dishwasher, or even more than 600 square feet of living space. But the day Hubs showed up with the aforementioned washing machine (did I mention it was winter? And he walked home from the store with it, about a mile through the city?) I realized . . . he wanted the best for me.  He wasn’t trying to make me suffer. On the contrary, he would do anything in his power to make my life easier. I started seeing how he served me instead of seeing what we didn’t have (or what he didn’t do). Contentment, for me, started with saying thank you—to Hubs and to God, every day. I started appreciating him, and Hubs stopped feeling like he wasn’t enough, and started feeling like my hero.

 

  1. It required me to pray for him.

While in Russia, Hubs was mugged twice, (had his shoulder broken once), he was arrested by the KGB, was stranded in -40 degree weather, and generally lived dangerously every time he left the apartment. But what he worried about most was his fear that he wouldn’t get it right—that delicate balance between missionary and family life. He wanted to be a great missionary.  A great dad.  A great man.

I couldn’t make that happen. But, I could pray for him. And, being in Russia caused me to hit my knees to pray for his safety—externally and internally.

It didn’t happen all at once, but eventually we became Team Andrew and Susie. Team Warren. It didn’t mean we didn’t have problems, but we’d fortified the thin places so we had the strength to withstand the storms.

More, these are tools I still use today.

I strive to be Hubs’ companion. He needs someone who will go with him on his great adventures! (And I need someone to grocery shop with me!)

I depend on him. America is an easy place to be self-sufficient. But I make a point of still needing him—whether to put gas in the car or turning to him for answers.  (Men love to solve our problems, ladies! Let them!)

I actively respect him. I give him the benefit of the doubt, I don’t treat him like his mother and I TRUST him. We recently bought a new car. After looking at all the options, I turned to him and said, “I trust you. You pick.” (You’d be surprised, ladies, at how often he’ll choose the option that delights the heart of his wife.)

I appreciate him, and don’t wish for more than he can give me. Sure, we occasionally, together, long for a Porsche, but really . . .

I pray for him. And not just when I’m alone, but every day when he leaves for work, I pray over him, asking God’s favor and protection.  Hubs knows that he can count on me to intercede for him. There’s just something about knowing someone has your back, right?

You don’t have to go to Siberia to fix your marriage. But if you feel like you might already be living there, don’t run for the border. Stick around and see what God can do!

blog hop giveaway

By the way, In celebration of Valentine’s Day, I’m participating in a giveaway and blog hop with several of my writer friends. You can enter the main giveaway for a Kindle Fire, chocolate, bubble bath, Starbucks gift card, $75 pajama gram, and eight novels right here on this page via the entry box below.   In order to enter, you’ll simply need to agree to receive occasional e-newsletters from the participating authors.

We’re also offering a side giveaway, open only to those of you who visit all four Romance Around the World blog posts throughout the week.  You’ll find the links to the blog posts below.  At each stop, you’ll be able to collect a few secret words.  By the end of the week, you’ll have accumulated a secret sentence that will qualify you to enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card, a literary mug, and a ‘Reading is my Adventure’ throw blanket at Rachel’s blog on February 14th.  So be sure to visit the following writers on the following days to read about romance around the world!

On February 8th, Dani Pettrey will chat about romance in Ireland

On February 10th,  Susan May Warren will chat about romance in Russia

On February 12th, Becky Wade will chat about romance in France

On February 14th, Rachel Hauck will chat about romance in England 

Best of luck, everyone, and happy Valentine’s Day!

“My secret words are:  [Doubt that the sun doth move]”
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