The Hardest Thing

As I drove alone on Wednesday morning toward the Starbucks in downtown Franklin I noticed in my rearview mirror a couple in a minivan behind me. I obviously couldn’t hear a word that was spoken, but it was plain to see that they were deep in the throes of their own private war. There were bursts of conversation – she was doing most of the talking, a lot of it with her hands – followed by long silences and empty stares out of opposite windows. It’s amazing how far apart two people can seem in such a small and confined space. Back when I was still single, it seemed like everyone I knew who was married would proudly declare, “marriage is the BEST thing you’ll ever do in your life…[long pause]…and also the hardest thing.”  The same was often said about having kids or certain career pursuits or any number of “life adventures” but the “also the hardest thing” always seemed to be saved for last, almost like an afterthought…or maybe a secret. Both parts of that statement have proven themselves true over the seven years that Roshare and I have been married, but some days it seems that the “afterthought” is the only thought. Roshare and I had a hard day on Tuesday. We had one of those arguments that in the craziness of the day followed us from the living room into the car – we too felt that same profound distance in a similarly small and confined space. I wonder now if maybe someone caught a glimpse of our battle in their rearview mirror. We were having the same kind of argument – lots of silence, never all that heated, but loaded with innuendo from things gone unnoticed, or at least unspoken, for too long. One of our mantras in marriage has always been to keep everything “on the table,” painful as it may be, so that the hidden doesn’t have his chance to silently build and fester into secret and suddenly exposed resentment. Needless to say, there are always those certain things that slip through the cracks, and, long story short, there was just more to be said that day than our busy-ness would allow.  She dropped me in Nashville to pick up a car and we set off on our diverging paths of parenthood and errands and work. By the time I saw her again that night she was fast asleep, exhausted from a long day and a late night class. I know it’s often declared that you shouldn’t go to sleep with things unresolved, and though Roshare and I subscribe to that notion for the most part we’ve also found that exhaustion can all too often cloud even the healthiest attempts at resolution. That said, we slept on it. And we both woke up Wednesday morning with clearer vision, a fresh bit of discernment, and genuinely contrite hearts. So as I walked out the door to leave for the next five days, fresh on the heels of sweet and sincere apology, we both understood quite clearly that though there was still much more to unpack emotionally and relationally we were indeed on the same team again. It’s odd to me, though at this point I suppose it shouldn’t be, that timing has everything to do with everything in relationship. It’s not just how something is said but when it’s said. And as timing always seems to go with a travelling occupation, there is often so much left to be sorted out the very moment that the bus or the car or the airplane is leaving town again. And so I drove, alone, toward the Starbucks in downtown Franklin, the minivan behind me fully engaged in their own version of “the hardest thing,” and it occurred to me that uncovering the depth of knowing someone, truly knowing them, is a never ending thing. How beautiful. Seven years in with my beautiful wife, and still uncovering.  ONLY seven years in, and despite the awkward and desperately painful turns that are inherent in the very nature of what it means to be exposed and uncovered, I pray, Lord Jesus, for seventy more. Thank you Jesus that I know my wife more deeply today than I did on Tuesday – that I love my wife more deeply. What a gift we have been given.

66 Responses

  • Sara wrote on February 19, 2010

    Great thoughts here, thank you for sharing :)

  • Spencer Barfuss wrote on February 19, 2010

    Great perspective, Bebo. I'm finding the same thing out about my wife. Amazing how each person brings the struggles of the flesh into marriage, past experiences (whether good or negative), unrealistic expectations... and yet, God continues to show that His power is made perfect in our weakness. So many of us I'm sure would love to say that our marriages are just great all the time. But then we'd never come to know each other (like you were saying...) more deeply if we never wrestled with the very things that caused us to be separated from God in the first place. And if our sin was enough to separate us from God so that God desired for us to be reconciled again with Him through Jesus, how much more our sin in each of us should compel us to be like God (and make right the relationship...) so that we pursue that daily reconciliation with our wives/husbands. Thanks again for sharing, Bebo. I could use some Wilderness Ranch right about now...

  • Jake Sciacchitano wrote on February 19, 2010

    amen! Hearing you say this reminds me of a difficult decision I have to make in the next couple of months. However, I'm looking forward to seeing you play this Saturday at Kentwood!!! Your music makes moves me! JakE

  • Jake Sciacchitano wrote on February 19, 2010

    **Your music moves me =)

  • Janie wrote on February 19, 2010

    Wow! true and inspiring, thanks for sharing!

  • uberVU - social comments wrote on February 19, 2010

    Social comments and analytics for this post... This post was mentioned on Twitter by bebonorman: new blog up -

  • Mwindula Mbewe wrote on February 19, 2010

    Thanks for being honest and showing that you're, just like the rest of us, human. Its encouraging. God bless you and your family, Bebo!

  • Jake Sciacchitano wrote on February 21, 2010

    Hey Bebo! This is Jake Sciacchitano from last night's concert! I'm really so thankful that my friend Stacie set all that up. It's great to finally meet you and hear a little bit about your life! oh and you probably don't know this, but you played my two favorite songs "The Hammer Holds" and "I Am Nothing Without You". I've actually played both as teaching supplements, so I loved to hear you sing them in person! One Love, JakE

  • Bebo wrote on February 26, 2010

    thanks Jake! great meeting you too my friend. Hoping to go check out your music shortly! Bebo

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