Today, June 3rd, marks the 10th anniverary of what we call "The Great Experiment." Kelley and I had both come from broken homes. We asked ourselves, "what IF?" What if, two people courageously tried to live according to God's commandments? We both came from broken homes, so at least one spouse in these marriages did not. But, what if WE did? Could we even dare?
It seems kind of arrogant now, like we were the first to try to invite Christ in our marriage. But we did not want to end up like our parents (as much as we love them and are grateful for them). Although neither of us had a horrible childhood, we still wanted BETTER for our kids.
That decision, to try the Great Experiement, has made all the difference so far. We have so far to go, but looking back we've come so far. We had a kid get cancer and lose his eye, before that he had a broken leg and was in a body cast at the age of 18months. We went bankrupt. We had my family living in our house for the first month of marriage. I had my name and face in the Paper, making me out to be a racist, over a stupid e-mail I sent. (Do a google search on "Kevin S. Barberg" if you want to see for yourself). We moved, had four kids, switched religions, lost some freinds, had a few freinds die. I am sure there are a few stressors I am missing. Four kids....stress enough!
I've done things I have never thought possible. Kicked in doors. Thrown high chairs (no kids in them!). Had the police come to our door. We certainly struggled, but have not yet given up the "experiment."
It was this "experiement" that ultimately led us to Orthodoxy. I had role models, to show us that it can be done. We were taught the concept of asceticism, dieing to self. We were made to see that marriage is a form of martyrdom. We have the support network of our childrens' god-parents. We are nourished by the Eucharist and the Holy Mysteries (sacraments). We have a faith we are confident to raise our children in. We have learned that "struggle" is the norm of life, not the exception.
OK, we will probably have a fight tonight, and maybe we will be divorced by next year. But we have made ten years, by God's grace. And we both thank God for the gift of the Orthodox faith, which without, we know we would not have made it this far. Call us in another 40 years, and we'll let you know the final results. But so far so good.
Taste and see, the Lord is good.
Pray for us!