Claudine Phillips

How to rebuild your marriage

I’m in a season where nothing seems right. Do you see these perfect pictures in this post? They are not really us. I mean, they are physically us, but what these pictures convey are not the true us.  They are a “made up us” that I had in my mind 15 years ago when Shad and I got married. You know the dreamy house with a white picket fence, 3 kids, and married to my best friend kind of dreams?


At the time the pictures were taken, Shad and I were barely hanging on by a string. Although we had three children, we had already lost two children to heaven, our marriage was broken from years of self seeking behaviors, and we had sold our perfect little home in the town we grew up. The dream was over and we had a choice to make. Stay or split.  Shad and I committed to stop trying to make our marriage work and let God do the heavy lifting to save the US. We invited God into the US in our marriage. We call our marriage “The New Marriage”.   Although we learned alot from our choices in our “Old Marriage” we have buried her and find that we must re-bury her often since she tries to come back and confuse us all.


I met my husband when I was 16 and we married 11 {yes 11} years later.  It took me a while. I was fickle, unsure of myself, and had alot of wild oats to sew. So I thought at the time, at least. The truth was, I wasn’t perfect yet. I was striving, striving, striving. I was busy acquiring degrees, running marathons, and decorating my apartment. I was working and waiting for approval from people that would never give it to me. Shad was patient with me and waited. When I finally said yes in 1999,  I packed my bags of perfectionism and pride and carried them right to the center of our marriage.


For 13 years we fought. I reminded him often that he was never good enough when really it was me who never felt sufficient for anything or anyone. I don’t remember a time in my life that I ever felt suitable or adequate. Perfection rose up in me as a mask to cope with this feeling of lack. I would overachieve and over function so I could measure my worth in my efforts. On the outside, I looked like I had it together, but I was a wreck of a person inside and made choices before and after marriage that reflected my deep desire to be wanted, valued, and chosen.

Although I was introduced to Jesus at 15, I finally let my redeemer in at 27.  I saw my sin and received him as my Savior in my late 20’s, but it took 13 years to peel back the effects of abandonment and child abuse. I now see and experience his freedom in my life. Shad and I have been given a second chance. I still come to the marriage broken, but this time I know I am wanted, loved and chosen; regardless of the status of our relationship. I know this because I know my redeemer. We are committed and we are rebuilding for his glory.


The reason I blog my stories is to work out the perfectionism and pride that still lingers in me that was the cause of the near downfall of my marriage. The healing is coming and will most likely be a process. The perfectionist that still wants to have rights in my life would rather just flip a switch and be done with this already. She impatiently screams, “Place a stake in the ground, for crying out loud, and get over it!”

Looking directly in her eyes I say with the confidence and the grace only the Lord can give, “There is no room for you. There never was and never will be.”

Those lies are dead.

The truth is I am God’s masterpiece. He has created me new in Christ Jesus, so I can do the good things he planned for me long ago. He will give back what I lost to the swarming locusts; the cutting, destroying, and devouring locusts. I am reminded that it was He who sent this great destroying army against me so I could see what true dependence on Him is and that all that I am and that I do is to glorify him. {Ephesians 2:10 and Joel 2:25 paraphrased}

I long to know my God more intimately and seek him in all that I do.

I yearn to give back what he has given me; Freedom in Salvation.

I hunger to honor my God by honoring my marriage.


Although we have our US back, it doesn’t mean we don’t fight or disagree. The difference is we are given the chance every day to make new choices or recycle the old.  I don’t know about you, but I’ll keep the recycling to the plastics and paper goods and stick with the new and improved version of US.

Oh, and I can’t part without showing you unashamedly the REAL MESSED UP US. I think I am going to blow THIS ONE up and put it over the fireplace.


Thank you to my amazing friend and gifted photographer for capturing the beauty of US!

Picture Credit Brandy Potts at HeartWork

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