In which I apologise for yesterday’s post

My friends, I apologise for my post yesterday. I feel like it didn’t communicate my overall heart very well; it was smug, judgemental and a bit holier-than-thou. It bugged me all day long – I knew what i wanted to say but I knew I hadn’t said it well – but then I couldn’t sleep last night for feeling like I’d somehow written something that might bring you sorrow or shame and it was everything in me to stay in bed at 2 o’clock instead of coming here to write you this note. So now it’s the more respectable 6AM and since Ever is up, I can finally do what I should have done yesterday.

I never meant to cause you hurt. I never meant to act like I have it all figured out because, trust me, I am well aware of how much I have to learn. I write quickly; 20 minutes, 45 tops, when an idea hits. I just bang it out, publish it and walk away. That one yesterday could have used a few days to sit and simmer because I would have seen what a few of you might feel by reading it. Yes, I do believe – and have experienced – that marriage can make you both happy and holy but for some reason, my way of writing it out yesterday just seemed self-serving. Because I also believe in marriage counselling, in fighting for your relationship, in sticking with it when it hurts, in praying and standing and defending each other. The marriages that have weathered massive storms deserve honour and praise and celebration – I honour you, truly, but you wouldn’t know that from what I wrote.  Brian and I have been married for nearly 11 years, together for 13, and there is still a lot of life left for us ahead, a lot of unknowns, and I hesitate to give advice; I like to tell stories instead. But instead of yesterday’s being a story that built up, that makes us think about what is good, true, honourable, it was the story equivalent of “nanny-nanny-boo-boo” to every that doesn’t do it or feel it or experience it the way that I do.

I won’t delete it because I feel like that is dishonest but I will edit it to include a link to this apology.

Please accept my apology. I’ll try to do better next time. I am sorry.

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  • Suzin

    I just wanted to say that if God led it on your heart to apologize…if there was anything just gnawing at you to say sorry, that I am so thankful you responded to that…

    But I also wanted to affirm that post was uplifting and challenging and encouraging and yeah, at times hard to read when that is not the marriage you are in-I am one of those people who most often am clinging on with both hands, just trying to hold it together, just making it through this marriage thing-so yeah, it was a little hard to read….but  please hear this, if all I read are descriptions of hard marriages, then where is my inspiration? Where is my model? Where is my hope? Where is my conviction? 

    I am not taking away from the need you had to apologize…I just want you to know from someone who doesn’t have the easy marriage, someone who most days just aches for escape…..I still loved every word you wrote!!!!

  • Monique Vining

    I appreciate that Sarah.  I’ll admit, sometimes posts like the previous one are hard to read, because for many of us, who have been married  much longer than you, marriage has not always been a happy picnic in the park.  John and I have worked hard to make our marriage work.  I wouldn’t trade the unhappy times for anything, it’s made us better people and better spouses.  Hope you don’t mind my being honest.  I always enjoy your writing even if I don’t necessarily identify with it or agree. :-)

  • rayhollenbach

    There’s a paradox about what we do, publishing or speaking: “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise.” Proverbs 10:19.

    Mind you, I’m not even saying you transgressed, but pastors and writers alike must live within this tension. I have sometimes preached a sermon and received praise and encouragement from those who heard–only to have the Holy Spirit whisper, “You stepped over the line.” Strangely, the One who called us to these tasks knows and accepts our transgressions even as He holds us accountable. That’s real grace.

    And grace to you, Sarah.

  • Canita

    I appreciate this as well, Sarah.  I also had a hard time reading the post (wistful jealousy abounding!)–my marriage didn’t survive, despite the will and the want.  However, it has given me a ardent and fierce desire to work hard in all of my relationships, to be healthy and present and loving.  Relationships like your and Brian’s are such a gift and I love the opportunity to hear about your kind of love in your writing.  Much love to you.  I love to hear your truths.  :)   

  • elizabeth

    Yesterday’s post was still good, even if it wasn’t the right thing for everyone at all times. Scripture is the only thing that can be all things to all people. :) It really resonated for me – I knew exactly what you were saying. My husband and I are going on 7 years together and so far it has been so much easier than anyone told us it would be. Trials we have had – loss, disease, pain, and deep wounds – but the marriage itself has been beautiful. It has been togetherness.

    About a year into marriage I realized that my theology must be messed up, because I seriously thought my husband was nicer than God; I was closer to my husband than God. I have been revamping my understanding of God ever since. He’s been revealing what He’s really like, and I am falling ever more in love with God. Husband-Wife marriage and Christ-Church marriage are indeed mirrors. A good marriage is probably the only thing that could have convinced me my view of God was inaccurate. I was all about pain –> holiness before – and pain can produce holiness. But I was surprised by joy, surprised to find out that love and joy can also produce holiness…. So very grateful.

  • Jemelene

    My Sweet Sarah, you may have seen this in your head but yesterday I saw your heart. Your writing gave hope. So many women want to know that marriage CAN be like yours. Our path may include more rocks, valleys and thorny bushes but if we can just know that there is another side, there is hope.  We all need to know this: ” When we understand that we are loved by God, when we are secure in that, no conditions, the fists unclench and now here we are, able to love in all areas with that kind of abandon. No worth to earn here.”
    I, like you, do not find solace in marriage manuals but from the beauty you wrote both yesterday and today. That’s why I need to take a trip to Canada, so I can sit with you over coffee and eye to eye, hear your heart.

  • Melissa@Permission to Live

    Thanks Sarah. I wouldn’t say that our marriage has been horrible, my spouse is my best friend, and an amazing parent. But learning to love has sometimes  meant hours crying in each others arms. No ballroom performance here, we are still learning how to dance. 

  • Alicia

    Thank you for reaching depths with both posts.
    I’m inspired by your honesty here in writing & pictures.
    I admit there were moments after I read the first that woke me up in the night wondering..
    Our marriage is a redeeming love, one that has shown me how to live in this, All is Grace. The words spoken into our hearts and lived out in our daily home is true & passionate, private & yet full of openness. Because those many children we have are learning love, within their full years at home. Our friends ask how through all the years we are so peaceful and I want to write our story to share. In all this, please know that the eloquent way that you have shared the depths of a mirrored love has spoken volumes to many, just like myself.

  • Dayna

    In five years of marriage, my husband and I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death several times – including through the death of our firstborn baby and through a serious and chronic mental illness. What I appreciate about your post is that, indeed, there is something about our marriage that reflects my relationship with God.  Like Jacob wrestling with God in the dark, I hang on with all my might, groaning, wrestling, fiercely refusing to let go until God blesses me.  Because I believe that this groaning we do here, in our marriage, is not in vain, but is part of the groaning of all creation as we wait for our day of healing.  And then we will dance – we will dance more gracefully and lightly than we ever thought possible.  In this cycle of death and resurrection in our marriage there is indeed something of the story of God’s love.  Even in the darkest and most painful moments, the beauty of God’s story is there. 

  • Brittaney

    Sarah, when I read your post yesterday I started to respond with, Wow! Beautiful. One of my favorites yet. But I would have been the first commenter and I thought you always get so many compliments on your writing that you wouldn’t need my voice added on that one. Now I wish I had responded. Because I loved what you wrote.  You know the struggles I’ve been through, but I agreed with everything you said. You and Brian and your relationship is a real inspiration and it gives me hope that such relationships exist. Iam so pleased that you two are so happy together.

  • Micha @ Mama:Monk

    Sarah, I just want to say that I’m continually blessed by your honesty and your courage. It takes a lot of guts to ask forgiveness and I’m grateful for your willingness to hear and respond to God’s heart in this. I’m glad you’re my friend. (Even if it’s only on the internet.)

  • Tara

    I loved that original post … I totally identified with your thoughts … but having been married to an abusive person when I was very young and now being married to the most amazing partner a woman could hope for I understand how I would have felt reading this back when I was in that bad relationship that I had no control to make it be something beautiful.   I am amazed at your empathy and sensitivity toward the nudging of the spirit … so I am writing to tell you that I both loved the post and the note of apology afterward ….

  • Crystal Rowe

    I thought yesterday’s post was beautiful. Inspirational. It spoke many words from my own heart, and there wasn’t anything in it that to me seemed judgmental or holier-than-thou. I thought it was just raw emotion, plain and simple, and I admire you for posting it.

  • Sister love

    You have modeled a humble response to the conviction you felt … I do not have a perfect marriage, but was encouraged by your story in a way that moved my heart to say, “yes, Lord, your love looks something like that.” I was so surprised to see you apologize today, but I understand. Causing hurt was never in your heart, that is clear. All the love and acceptance you wrote about? It’s present for you right now, from God and us. Receive it, dear sister.

  • cjcris23

    Oh I loved yesterday’s post – I share it with a friend as “this is what I was trying to say an she says it so much better.”. I didn’t think it seemed smug of bragging or anything. I respect so much that you immediately apologise when it doesn’t sit well with yourself but I wanted to say that I thought it was beautiful and necessary. I think we do people a disservice when we say over and over “marriage is work” as though that’s the norm. If it is work, then people should get help with no shame. Otherwise I think people just stay in this miserable place of “Well it’s hard for everyone” and your post is hopeful and shows that it doesn’t have to be that way. That was my take anyway. I appreciate you!

  • Kathleen Quiring

    Honestly, I’m comforted that you felt compelled to write this, not because I thought an apology was needed (I was personally one of the readers who identified with yesterday’s post) but because I’ve been in this place, too. I’ve spent sleepless nights fretting about what I’ve published the day before, knowing that I’ve hurt someone with my words. Then I feel like the most horrible person in the world. It’s kind of comforting to discover that someone as gentle and poetic with her words as yourself can run into the same problem sometimes. Thanks for your honesty.

  • Cat

    I respect this!  What a way to love people well!

  • Janae Maslowski

    Thank you for this follow-up post. I was left unsettled after I read your post yesterday. I didn’t know how to say it, nor did I want to be negative in regards to that which you feel so strongly about. Blogs are strange, I feel as if I know you, but then again, I don’t, so what right do I have to disagree with you?I appreciate that you put your life on your blog, you have been an encouragement many times over. And as far as our relationship goes, via this wonderful, transparent, sacred blog of yours, I sincerely thank you for being who you are and putting it out there.  Janae

  • Lucy The Valiant

    I really loved yesterday’s post, though! I thought it was beautiful and it really resonated with me.

  • Shannon

    Sarah, your post yesterday didn’t communicate nanny-nanny-boo-boo to me at all. It made me think of my sweet husband, and I had to forward it to him to let him know that the way you spoke of your husband made me think of him, and that I appreciate the way he loves me so well… I’m sorry that it made you ache…but know that it was a picture of what beautiful love looks like, and that it gave me a great deal of hope. Something to read when the days are hard, as a reminder of the beautiful days. Thanks for sharing your heart!

  • Lisa_DiggingForMyrrh

    Dearest Sarah, I haven’t yet read yesterday’s post but I wanted to reply to today’s, because I have done exactly the same thing! I don’t blog, but I do write a lot of personal correspondence and sometimes I have to send the, “gee, I’m sorry, I blew it” e-mail. It isn’t easy to write sometimes, although the Holy  Spirit makes it easier as we cooperate. My dear friend, I know exactly how you feel! Please, if you’re still troubled, try not to beat yourself up over it any further. You are an amazingly courageous woman and I love you for sharing your life with us. It is even more awesome that you share your mistakes even though it is difficult, because then us other “mistakey-prone” people don’t feel quite so alone. Blessings to you, dear sister, and e-hugs!!

  • Diana Trautwein

    Ah, Sarah – this is so gracious of you. No, you were not smug or nanny-nanny-boo-boo. And your heart shone through. But I deeply appreciate your admission that even the best, most conflict-free marriages are still places where we can sometimes hurt one another, where we have to learn how to love like God loves. And that’s why I commented – I just wanted to say that this is an arena where both/and comes into play. Marriage is beautiful AND it is hard work, at times. I totally get the fatigue with comments ad nauseum about working, working, working at it. But then, I’ve been married a very long time, I’ve counseled a lot of women in marriages that are anything but life-giving. Some of those ended, some of those were redeemed and transformed, some of them still sit in that difficult in-between place. I did write this week about one of the most beautiful things I’ve experienced in my own marriage – but at 46 years and counting, it looks a lot different than what you’re experiencing 11 years in.  I LOVE your heart and I love your writing and I wouldn’t want to cause you a sleepless night for all the world. I am sorry that happened.

  • Musu

    I applaud you for this Sarah! I was up with you thinking about that post :) Your honesty both yesterday and today is what makes people respond to you.

  • Sarah Charles

    Sarah, no need to apologize for your post – I think you’re being waaaaay too hard on yourself.  You did not come across as smug, judgmental or holier-than-thou to me.  In fact, I found your post inspirational in that you are living the kind of marriage/relationship I long for.  Now I know it’s possible – worth waiting/searching for.  I think people settle and then envy those folks who don’t.  And I think you’re right – there’s no need for a manual when you really know you’re beloved – your cup runneth over….

  • Mary1912

    Thanks for this Sarah. I teared up when I read this apology….I think because the original post left me feeling kind of how you portrayed it here. Some did not see it that way but I did (ouch, I know).

    Thanks so much for this heartfelt apology. It really means more to me than you know.

  • Michael

    My first marriage was horrible. My marriage now has been great. I read no offence in what you wrote, but rather celebrated that you have not experienced what I did in my first marriage. Though as others have said, I appreciate that you are responding to what God’s Spirit may be saying to you.

  • Smoochagator

    Sarah, thank you for your apology. And thank you for the original post. Both are quite valuable. You see, for me, marriage IS hard. Right now it is, at least. I could write volumes about how my husband makes it hard, but in reality, I know that it’s hard for me because of me.  Because I expect my husband to be someone he’s not. Because I expect more of him than I do of myself, because I am often selfish and self-serving and thinking all the time, “What have YOU done for ME lately?” Basically, marriage is hard in the ways that being a believer is hard: sometimes (and in some seasons more than others) our fallenness makes it next to impossible to embrace grace and love fully. But being a believer is easy in ways that marriage is NOT easy: A God who is perfect and perfectly loving inspires us to rest in him. In marriage, we are called as imperfect beings to love another imperfect being perfectly, just as Christ loved us. That is a challenge – and doubly so when your spouse does not yet know Christ’s love – or actively rejects it.

    Right now, love for me looks like a little hard seed in cold earth. I forget, a lot, to water it or let any of my sunshine smile on it. I say that it needs to shape up and start earning my sunshine. Then I remember that I did nothing to earn the love that smiles on me every day, and that my soul is watered when I nurture the souls of others, especially my family. And I manage, again, to get over myself and I love a little better, a little more, every day. And I manage to do it (sometimes!) without expecting any applause or recognition or kindness in return. I manage to do it just because it’s the right and wonderful thing to do, and because it makes me glad.

    • Jillrosalie

      wow, it’s like you were in my house and in my head this last week!   Thank you for sharing!

  • sarah

    I didn’t read that post hearing smugness or anything . . .I am blessed to have a marriage like you described and have recently found out that God loves me as I am – no trying harder necessary. I think that if you felt led to apologize, then this will speak to someone somewhere. I write fast and think later, too. Keep it coming.

  • Guest

    I *was* a little discouraged after I read your post yesterday. I’m in a place right now where I often feel like I’m white knuckling it, with the Lord and occasionally in my marriage. I feel like I’m doin’ it wrong. I *want* it to be easy and lovely. So today’s (this) post made me tear up and smile. *Thank you*.

  • megan

    Sarah, reading you post today about doing church alone, and what your life looks like right now with his thesis work, made me appreciate what you wrote about your marriage even more. I read it as a beautiful open love letter to your husband, and could find nothing in it to apologize for.

    I agree with Suzin – if it was on your heart to apologize, it’s good you responded. But I, as a married woman, loved it. It made me get up and go give my hubby a big hug.

  • Robin (noteverstill)

    Sarah, you are one classy lady.

  • Jenn

    You are a beautiful lady – inside and out. That’s all there is too it!

    I write the same way – quickly when inspiration and opportunity strike together (which means that right now I don’t write much!) I loved your post yesterday and your apology today, and pretty much everything you write in this space! However… I too have experienced writer’s guilt, I guess that’s why I save everything as a draft now before I publish – in this particular season of my life I need to be very careful about what I say about certain this, the whole draft thing? it helps with my quick to speak urges. Hopefully one of these days I’ll figure out a draft folder for my spoken words – that would help too! :)

  • Sallie

    I related in many ways to your original post. I, too, am blessed to be in a happy, positive marriage.  That isn’t to say that we haven’t had hard times.  We have faced many difficulties in fifteen years. But overall we have been very blessed. It is funny you wrote this now because I also just wrote my reflections on fifteen years of marriage last week and it probably came across as self-serving to some.  That wasn’t my intent.  My intent was to praise God for the work He has done in our lives both before we ever met and since we have been married.

    I also wrote it to put forth in the blog world that there ARE happy marriages.  There ARE godly men who treat their wives well. Lately I have seen so many comments from single women who say they do not want to marry because of the authoritarian abuses they have seen, etc. They need to hear from women who have been blessed with good marriages and know that God can bless them as well.

    As a comparison, I would liken this to bloggers who go on and on about their incredible children, how much fun they have in their larger family, how great it is to have a tight knit family, how they can’t wait to have big homecomings at holidays, etc. We have an only child. It wasn’t our intention, but that is the way it worked out. I have to choose not to feel jealous or resentful that other women have these great big happy clans. I have one spirited child who takes all the energy I can give her every day and then it still isn’t enough! I will never have those happy clan gatherings that other women post about and, yes, sometimes it breaks my heart. But that is how God chose to bless them and not me.

    Now some might say this is comparing apples to oranges.  Maybe, a little.  But the truth of the matter is we all have areas of struggles. Some couples struggle relationally but have no financial or health problems.  Others have happy marriages but are deal with ongoing health issues and struggle every month to meet the bills.  Everyone has their problems. I can’t imagine going through what Sarah is going through right now with multiple little children and a husband who is never home. We are all struggling in different ways. But God is faithful to care for us right where we are without regard to what is going on in anyone else’s life.

  • Sandy

    Sweet Sarah,   Because I have “known” you for many years and seen your marriage in real life, I know that what you wrote about your marriage is deeply true.  You’ve been given deep grace with your wonderful soul mate.  And if the time ever comes where things are hard, that same  deep grace will get you through.

  • Kelly @ Love Well

    Sarah, I’m just catching up on some blog reading this afternoon and my heart is a little broken at this.

    I totally respect and honor your sensitivity to post it. I see the Holy Spirit’s fingerprints all over your heart. 

    But I feel like we criticized something that was beautiful and simple – like I told my three-year-old that her scribblings weren’t a very good representation of me. If we hurt you and your pure heart as you shared your joy, I am also sorry. You offered a glimpse of something holy, and that is beautiful.

  • L

    I am reading this set of posts in September

    eight months after I stopped gritting my teeth, and let go of a man who always made it known how much work it was to love me – it is a joy to know better exists