Saturday, September 27, 2008


*If you are participating in the YES to GOD Tuesday study of "Behind Those Eyes", please read yesterday's post just for you.

Now don't try to do the math on this if you know the ages of our kids, but this past summer Gene and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary. Well, actually if you call a celebration sitting a prodigal daughter down with the news that her car is being confiscated then dealing with much drama afterward then Gene and I partied hard. Truth be told, we looked at each other at some point in the evening and said, "oh yah, happy anniversary". Seriously, there was no flowers, cards, special dinner and probably not even hugs or kisses that night and sadly, we were okay with that.

I don't ever want to overlook that day again. Gene has to be my first priority, under God, and I have to be his, underneath God. We need to put each other first and never take advantage of one another. Sounds good doesn't it?

Today we attended a wedding. I wanted to grab the bride and pull her aside as her and her groom ran through the bubbles to the limo and say "Sweetheart, always make him your #1 human priority. Even above any kids you may have. Don't lose the love you have for him today." But I didn't, instead I blew my bubbles like everyone else did and wished them well.

Over the years we have endured some great stuff, some hard stuff, some sad moments and some joyous times. We have forgiven right away and other times chosen to give the silent treatment to each other. We have resolved differences while the sun beat down upon us and we've also let the sun go down on our anger not just one day but a few days in a row. We have been supportive of one another and at other times looked at the other person like they're crazy. We have imagined forever with each other and at times wanted to walk out the door and never return.

We have been prideful thinking that we can manage without God as the center of our relationship. We were wrong. Damage was done and hearts were shattered. God was invited back in and mercy was granted while grace was given. We love each other deeply, but in a marriage that is not enough. Gene and I would both tell you that God has got to be the center, the focus in a relationship to make it work. Without Him we would be living separately and not share the same last name anymore.

On the verge of giving up God restored. He has healed. Last night I saw the movie Fireproof. It was amazing. Gene couldn't go because of his back, but encouraged me to go with my sister. Many emotions ran through us as we sat for 2 hours totally captured with the big screen.

Don't worry, I'm not going to tell you anything about the movie, you must go see it though. Lysa TerKeurst had recommended on her blog after a preview of the movie a few months ago that even single and married people should go and I agree.

Marriage. It's so tough. My heart aches for my bloggy friend Paula (Sweet Pea) who longs for reconciliation with her ex-husband and my sister Michelle who begs God to bring the husband He has for her into her life especially when the loneliness that surrounds her at night gets too much to bare.

Then there's me. A Mrs. of a man she sometimes can't stand. A wife who refuses to be her husbands helper and picks fights over the petty things. One who has left behind the days of gazing at her wedding ring he picked out for her finger only. One who has told her man too many times to count, "I don't want to do this anymore".

Last night as I sat in the dark theater with tears streaming down my face as I thought, "I love my guy and no matter what I want to make this work". I honestly can say that I don't ever want to know what life is like without Gene Chealey in it.

Marriage is probably the toughest thing I have ever done and by the time I get it down we'll probably be sitting in a retirement home not knowing who we are from the Alzheimer's that has invaded our minds.

Marriage is probably the best thing I've ever done too. It's definitely a challenge and Gene never knows what he will wake up next to. I feel like I either grow from what I learn about how to be a Godly wife or I go backwards 10 steps when I don't apply what I learn. Thank God He is so full of mercy and has blessed me with a man of never ending patience.

Then there are the pressures that couples face. I honestly don't see how couples do it when they don't invite God into their marriage.

Just last night Gene told me that he found out that we may have 6 months of no paychecks from Pfizer. All because he has to switch from short term disability to long term. We will find out for sure on Monday morning. That's a little bit of pressure I'd say.
Now what's a girl to do with my little thirteen hundred dollar contribution I make a month?
Blame him?
Leave him?
Make it harder on him?
How about turning to my family and friends and asking for prayer.
Or reviewing my notes from the two book studies by Lysa TerKeurst that I've done since March of "What Happens When Women Say Yes to God" and "What Happens When Women Walk in Faith".
Or perhaps read my Bible and take God at His own Word?

Marriage. Singleness. Both tough. Both must have God at the center of their lives. Whether you are a wife or you want to become a wife, may we learn to place God in the center of our life and then no matter what, keep Him there.

I don't know what happens to women that say yes to God and choose to walk in faith, but you know what?

I'm about to find out!

~Many Blessings~


Paula said...

Hi lovely Lelia,

I have tears in my eyes as I read this post. I so much want to be the wife of my sweetie but that is impossible to do at this point in time. I pray that through some miracle God will bring us together, but until that day I will pray.

God must be the centre of any relationship - man/woman, parent/child, whatever it may be. My sweetie may not be my husband, but he is my focus next to my Lord, and alongside my daughter.

Having been married and divorced, my advice to all friends who get married is to not look at their wedding day as the be-all and end-all of the journey. It is just a celebration of two people coming together as one. The hard work starts afterwards when two people have to learn how to co-habit, put up with idiocyncrasies of all sorts, forge a life together, and in the middle of it all, still get on with each other!

If I could turn back the clock I would so I might now be with my sweetie, but I can't and God has a reason for that. I am glad, however, that I now know all that I do, and can make sure that the next time is the last time!

Have a great Saturday night and Sunday. Love you, Paula :-) xo

Tammy R said...

I now what your going through and all those mixed emotions you are dealing with.

I was married for 10 years when I divorced and my son who was 4 watched his dad drive away.I will never forget as Ryan crawled up on my lap later that evening and said "Mommy, don't worry I'll take care of you."

Well,I married again,8 mos. later and no I wasn't having affair,not that time anyways.After 12 years,one abortion and a daughter who was born two years have my choice,we were miserable!

But God got a hold of me and reminded me of how my son's heart was broken. I had to make this work,I had to do what God called me to do and stop trying to change my husband...He would do that.

There is so much I could share but for know I will tell you I'm been happily for 21 years and our daughter never has to worry about mom and dad.

HisPrincess said...

This post really spoke to me...

I'm not sure where to start. Kym went to golf today completely unaware that I was so angry with him. He has no clue how his abrupt manner, and bossiness hurt me and make me feel undervalued. And I have no clue how to tell him. I'm growing tired of forgiving someone who doesn't even know they've wronged, or doesn't even believe in forgiveness in the biblical sense. I just get so dejected somedays. I have no intention of walking away, but at the moment I don't want to be here either.

Jean said...

Sometimes it's rough.. but I know the one that can get anyone through it!!
Lelia, there should not be a gap between short term and long term disability. The short term does not count as earned income while you're applying for long term. If they're trying to make him go without income while applying for SSD, they're cheating him..I had short term all the way PAST the date I started long term! It doesn't count! You can't have any EARNED income.. can't work for it, in other words.. don't let them cut him off, if he's applying for social security disability. Email me, if you want to ask questions or talk about it! Or it may be a different thing altogether, and I don't know! But there should NEVER be a time when you can't get short or long-term disability payments.. that's the whole point of them.. someone just doesn't understand..(maybe me, but I don't think so)

Naomi said...

Lelia - As I read your post, I'm thinking, this Girl, with her honesty and her convictions has been the best thing that's happened to me regarding friendship and personal accountability in a very long time. I felt very led to your blog back in April and I look forward to your revelations and insights each time I visit. And this read has been no exception... HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! Ten years next year!!!! Start planning your celebrations with your Angel Man now...

I don't know if I can watch that movie in a public theatre... I have cried just watching the preview... But, my Husband and I both neeeeeeeeeeed to see it... we have a movie coupon that we haven't used and I think I now know why... I will have to take the box of Kleenex!!!

In one of my posts, I've mentioned that my Husband has PTSD - such a hard thing to live with both for the sufferer and family members. I've asked him to leave twice so he can work out 'things' etc, but I won't ever do that again... for better or worse it is for me now. I'm a grown-up, I've made a committment, and I will remain committed. I wake every day KNOWING God is my strength, and with Him I can do all things!!! Doesn't mean it's easy, doesn't mean I don't think and say similar things as you - I do - but I am where my Father says I should be, and I will remain obedient...

Not everyone can, or should stay together. But, as you say, God HAS to be Number 1 if you remain committed - He is the only way. I thank God that you know this and you're preaching it...

I've learnt that sweet-talk gets you everywhere, and I don't mean that in the flirty, manipulative sense (!!!), but, as a wife, who does not want combat in my home, I work very hard to say what I need to say in love, and I seek my husband's forgiveness when I don't. That doesn't mean I'm not firm in my convictions, or that I'm a sap, it just means plain and simply that I don't want no more trouble, for either of us or our boys!!!

Congratulations, again, on your 9 years together! May God continue to bless the Chealeys' with opportunites to reaffirm each other in marriage, and may you both make each other's dreams come true, with our Almighty 'Dream Keeper' ("desires of the heart", and all that!!!). Loads of love to you... Naomi

Joyfulsister said...

What a wonderful post and it comes from a heart of realness and honesty. I know many will be able to relate with this post. I have been with hubby for 32years and God, respect for each other, forgiveness, and prayer have played a big part of what has made us tough, our mistakes have made the wiser. Lelia, you are a blessing..

Hugz Lorie

Amy said...

I hear so much of my own story in yours, Lelia.
Marriage is definitely a tough journey, but it is a journey that is well worth making.
I have read and reread a book by Debi Pearl called "Created to be His Helpmeet." It was life (and marriage) changing for me and Shannon. (I will be doing a post on it in the near future.)
Each and every day, I have to get up and make the decision to be the best partner and friend that I can be to Shannon. Many days, I fail so miserably, but with God's help, some days, I actually get it right.:) Each day is a new beginning. A new choice to make.

Shannon and I each have a little card stuck in the corners of our bathroom mirror...The cards both say, "I want to wake up each day and say, 'Lord, how can I bless my spouse today?'"

It's a nice reminder, because unfortunately it is so easy to forget our spouses needs, because we are so consumed with our own needs and the needs of our kids.

Thanks for the movie recommendation; I definitely want to go see that with Shannon.

Thanks for sharing your heart so honestly, Lelia. To God be the glory!

God Bless,

rusty'swife said...


Happy Anniversary!!! May God bless your marriage, and may He use all of the times in your marriage both easy and rough to minister to others. May He raise both of you up each morning and cause you to fall in love all over again. But most of all may God be the center around which your marriage revolves.


Yolanda said...


Gene Chealey is the man for you.

Bill Rogers is the man for me.

And above them is God and below them is the rest of the world.



Sheryl said...

Great post, great words. I've been wanting to see the movie since I first heard of it. Obviously I cannot go to a theatre because of my illness. But that may be a good thing so that I can rent it later and have that ugly cry at home. Unless a miracle happens my marriage will be over by the end of the year. I loved him as best I could. God is not through with him, I know that. So grateful we serve a sovereign God and He is not surprised.

Thank you for your honesty. The things that usually bring the most blessing are those that have caused some pain & stress. Good for you to put your man first!


Runner Mom said...

Lelia, you precious thing! First of all, Happy Anniversary!!!!!!!! You two can celebrate later when he's feeling better :).

You have touched the hearts of so many women out there. Their responses just made my heart grow more tender. Your sincerity and honesty are such blessings from God. And you love Him enough to share that in your blog. Continue to ask God each day to help you love Gene as much as He does.

Today at church, one of our members dressed in his firefighter uniform that he wears daily at work. He spoke promoting the movie, marriage and faith. His testimony had the tears streaming down my face. We showed the clip from the movie afterwards--it looks awesome. When my hubby gets back into town, I'm planning us a date night!!

Love you!

Sita said...

Hey Lelia,
Do so love and appreciate you..
Love, Sita
P.S. happy Anniversary!

LynnSC said...

Wow! What a great post. I have written and rewritten this at least 10 times....

God is certainly the glue that has held this marriage together. Him alone.

I can't wait to go see this movie. I would like to think that it would be something that me and my honey can go do together... but even if I just get to go with some of my girlfriends.... I believe that God will do enough work in my heart for the both of us.

Speaking of ugly... I think that Dallas just lost... is your house as ugly as mine right now?? I know that you have said that you husband is a Dallas fan. I think that I may just tiptoe out the door and go to the movies now. LOL!

Have a great week.

Amy L Brooke said...

Still praying that God will give you wisdom and open up Alyssa's heart. I will call soon....

nothingcanseparateme said...

Happy Anniversary friend!

My husband and I saw the movie last night--EXCELLENT!!! I strongly suggest taking a box of kleenex with and may be even a few aspirin beforehand. It was filled with action, humor and heart touching reality.

My husband is a truck driver and has been our whole married life. I never know when he will be home so in many ways the house and kids and everything falls back on me. Needless to say, I have become VERY independent. And VERY resentful at times! It is putting a strain on our marriage and I need to get over it and turn my anger and resentment over to God. This movie really showed me how I have not put him first (after God)but how the kids have taken over that position. I am going to work on that and pray over it and ask for the Lord's guidance!

The husband/wife relationship was heart-wrenching but how about when Caleb went to his Mom and asked for forgiveness for how he had treated her?????? HELLOOO!!! I was BAWLING!!!!

Praying for you and Gene and the financial problems. We are also feeling the stretch and not knowing how it all will turn out. It is so good to know that God is in control cause I can not fix this situation!!

Love ya

Paula (SweetPea) said...

What to say, sweet Lelia. Thank you for sharing your heart. Thank you for being real and admitting coming close to calling it quits. And praise be to Jesus that you never did nor will. I only wish that my beloved could understand the permenancy and how very, very honorable it is to stay committed regardless and especially at that point of being on the edge of giving up. It is at that pivotal that many couples just jump right over the cliff. If only, if only, we would see the gravity of such a decision to jump. Through this past 15 months I have come to see the extreme importance of marriage no matter what. Even through infidelity and remarriage of another, I still see hope of these marriages. I still see this hope because I have a God bigger than any divorce, bigger than any remarriage, bigger than any adultery. BIG, BIG, BIG.

Thank you for sharing my journey with me and for bearing my pain. God tells us to bear with each other. Please continue to pray for my beloved and God's will in my marriage. Also for this blessed house to be sold!!! :-)
Much love 2 u,

Toni R. said...

Have you seen the resources for marriage based on this film? My husband and I have the Love Dare book used in the movie, as well as a "Couple's Kit" which is a bible study couples can do together at home or with a group (it has a DVD with clips from the movie and everything.) Both are outstanding, and they really offered us a chance to talk about our marriage. Some we didn't know we had, and some weren't easy to talk about, but using these tools has probably been the best thing we've done for our marriage this year. I found them at Hope this helps. Bless you and your marriage; don't stop the posts!