I am four. I am standing on the very tip-top of the toilet, hands and faced pressed into the glass window. Tears are streaming down my face. I am not a pretty sight. But I do not care. I am screaming at the blue and yellow truck that is carrying my daddy away from me. He cannot hear me. He does not stop. The truck is gone now. My dad is gone.
As a child, I was embarrassed by my parent’s divorce. Divorce, at that time, wasn’t exactly common. And I didn’t exactly like admitting to myself or anyone else that my Dad decided one day to leave. Well, I guess it didn’t happen all at once, it was more of a behind the scenes thing that no one was aware of, but to a four-year-old that can hardly wait for Christmas or birthday parties, everything is all at once.
I have carried this memory with me for as long as I can remember. Years went by when I thought that this memory was simply a jumbled blur of childish thoughts. And other years went by when all I could feel was anger. Now, I realize this is a memory that shapes who I am. I want it to shape me for the better.
I have been married for 11.5 years. Each year, without meaning to, I find myself silently counting towards the 15 year mark. That’s when my parents got divorced—after 15 years of marriage. As my husband and I inch closer and closer to our crystal anniversary, I wonder how my history will play itself out. I wonder what my marriage means to me. Will I allow myself to be unaware of what’s behind the scenes? Will I allow myself to be surprised by something that happens all at once? Or will I be in charge of the road that leads to eternity?
When I began to write for this blog, I felt like an imposter. Sure, I can do some research on marital topics, throw some words and some quotes together and make it sound like I know what I am talking about. But here is the truth. I don’t want to feel like an imposter. I want to write about something that I know.
And I know this:
My experience with my parents’ divorce and how it has affected my own marriage keeps returning to my thoughts. Their divorce has affected how I view myself as a person, a wife, and a mom. But mostly as a wife.
And I am not alone. I know that there are others out there that have suffered too. Yes, the experiences all vary, but the emotional scars are real. And they weigh on us, and they hold us back.
I want to write about my journey to strengthen myself as a wife, and to shed my insecurities and my emotional doubts. I want to write about how I am going to rely on my Savior to help me heal my heart, and to strengthen the one thing I can take with me into eternity—my temple sealing.
The sealing ordinance, in which husbands and wives are sealed to each other and children are sealed to their parents in eternal families. This means that if we are faithful to our covenants, our family relationships will continue for eternity. (What Happens in Temples?)
In the past, I will admit that I felt my marriage would be fine if I did the basics—monthly date, raise the kids, divide up the chores, snuggle on the couch watching a movie, etc. But when life hits the skids and trials come, the basics just don’t stretch that far. I want a future. And I want my husband to be in that future with me.
Statistics show that children of divorce are more likely to get divorced on their own. Unfortunately, reality bites. But it doesn’t have to leave a scar.
The sanctity of marriage and families is taught repeatedly in the scriptures. It has been reaffirmed by modern prophets and apostles. Despite the truths taught about the sanctity of marriage, divorce has become commonplace in the world. Because the family is central to Heavenly Father’s plan for His children, Satan seeks to destroy marriages and families. Because of the poor choices and selfishness of one or both marriage partners, marriages sometimes end in contention, separation, and divorce.
If, instead of resorting to divorce, each individual will seek the comfort and well-being of his or her spouse, couples will grow in love and unity. The gospel of Jesus Christ—including repentance, forgiveness, integrity, and love—provides the remedy for conflict in marriage. (Divorce)
I am 32. I am sitting in front of my computer, and I am crafting a different memory. Now I am ready. I am ready to embark on a journey, from here to eternity. This is my project, to make Heavenly Father’s eternal plan my own, to seek the comfort and well-being of my spouse, and to grow in love and unity as a couple. And I will do this by relying on the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Please join me.
Jessica Clark is a wife, mom, writer, runner, knitter, and proud Canadian. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Anthropology, and has been a student of people and cultures ever since. Right now she is busy studying the behavior and cultures of the people of Texas.