To Cherish, not Crash and Burn | Guest Post by Shannon Milholland

To Cherish, not Crash and Burn…Til Death Do Us Part
What I Learned About Marriage From 9/11
by Shannon Milholland

Psalm 103:1-5 Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (NIV)

September 11, 2001 was a day hope was born from tragedy. You could tell me exactly where you were that morning. While you were huddled around televisions at home, in shopping malls and at work, I was in an airplane headed from Atlanta to Chicago. We all know now that a total of four airplanes were hijacked that morning. If you remember back, though, you might recall that originally as many as 20 planes were being reported on CNN as unaccounted for and possibly taken over by terrorists. Mine was one of the planes.

We landed in O’Hare to the deafening sound of silence. Sobs echoed through the halls, passengers meandered dazed. Most walked quickly but silently to find the first possible route out of the airport. As the enormity of the attack fell on my ears and drifted to my heart, a seed of hope was birthed.

I knew something was wrong with my marriage. I had been married eight years but my marriage lacked the intensity of a love relationship. From day one, we were little more than roommates. In the haze of grief, I felt hope–hope that I would return to a spouse awakened to love by the reality he could have lost his spouse.

It took me parts of two days to drive from Chicago to Chattanooga where I lived at that time with my husband and our two young daughters, 3 and 6. As I drove I daydreamed about my arrival to hugs, kisses and words of love and affirmation. My greeting was an emotionless recounting of the previous night’s Discovery Channel viewing.

It came as no surprise to me when my husband and I filed for divorce six months later. My marriage crashed and burned, but I know now it didn’t have to. Since then, I’ve learned three ways to crash-proof my marriage:

Fend Off Terrorists

One major terrorist plagued my marriage–perfection. I demanded perfection of myself to the point of never duplicating the same meal twice in the first year of my marriage. I was certain a perfectly appointed home, filled with perfect children would save my marriage. Instead my perfection sent my marriage into the pits. God can redeem any marriage from the pit when perfection is shattered.

Fight for Freedom

Bitterness held my marriage hostage. I listed my husband’s “sins” and secretly dwelt on them in my heart. Forgiveness sets yourself and your spouse free.

Ground Your Faith

My husband and I attended church three times a week. I knew every answer to the Sunday School questions. I knew about God but I didn’t allow Him to transform my life. If I had grounded my marriage on a foundation of faith, it might have survived.  I’ve since learned to apply God’s word in a real and practical way to my everyday life circumstances. With my marriage grounded on faith, God heals what hurts.

I look back to the first 9/11 as the beginning of the end of marriage. That marriage ended in divorce. Today is a new 9/11 and I am in a new marriage. This time, I will fend off terrorists, fight for freedom and ground my faith. This marriage is a Psalm 103 marriage filled with healing, forgiveness, redemption, satisfaction and the excitement of youth. Hope born from tragedy.

What terrorist threatens your marriage? What strategies do you use to fight it off?


Shannon is the author of Jesus & My Orange Juice, a fresh-squeezed oasis for ordinary life. She finds joy among miles of carpools and piles of laundry and delights in leading others to this place of contentment in life. Join the conversation at Jesus & My Orange Juice where God shows up in her everyday life.

Shannon is Social Media Director for Southern WritersMagazine. She writes articles both for their magazine and blog about blogging and building a platform as an author. Southern Writers exists to nurture and encourage writers and fits perfectly with Shannon’s uplifting personality.

When not writing, you can find Shannon speaking to audiences with a message of hope and encouragement. Straight forward about her own struggles, Shannon is a compassionate advocate fighting for victory in the lives of her audience. Read more at shannonmilholland.com.
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Note from Michelle~~Thank you to Shannon for guest posting today.  When I first read her post, I got chills.  I think she and her message fit perfectly with my usual Scripture Sunday posts and I am very happy to have her here!  You can visit her, by clicking any of the links above in her bio.

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