Story #6- “For Better, For Worse” – Vince & Melissa Parker

Today, we are so excited to share part of Vince and Melissa’s story with you. They have been married for 11 years and have such wisdom to share today:

When we said, “for better, for worse”, we had no idea how those four words were going to play out in our marriage. That’s because you can easily prepare for the better. But how can you have any idea what the worse is going to look like? We have had many seasons of both. But we agree that we hit the ground running pretty hard on day 3 of our marriage when during a heated argument, Vince said the word divorce. This is where the lesson of doing life with others comes into play. It was on that day that we vowed to surround ourselves with other couples that would show up for us.To this day we have chosen people that we can show our ugly, raw, unrated selves to. People that will hold us accountable, root for us, pray for us and love us. Find your people and hold them close. 

Speaking of those many seasons, we have had more tough ones than most. Let’s just start with the fact that we are a blended family. Our daughter was adopted by Vince when she was 8 years old. Her bio-dad was in her life until she was 6 and that was not a healthy involvement to say the least. If you know our family, you know how strong the relationship Vince and Adriana have is. Their bond did not just happen overnight. It was nurtured. It was fought for, rather intensely at times. It was prayed for. And many times, it was mama praying in the middle of their intense battles while trying to referee at the same time. The fact is, blended families are hard. And it’s easy to enter into one thinking things like, “oh, that will never be a problem WE have”. Truth and Grace. Those are two things that have helped us grow into the strong family we are today. Vince learned so well how to speak truth with love while also giving grace. Adriana found her voice and has learned how to communicate her feelings and ask questions instead of shutting down. And mama has learned to stay out of it and let them work it out. Well, she’s still working on that last one. 

Infertility. That is one scary word. For us, it came with a much bigger bang than it typically does. After seven years of trying to conceive, fertility tests and various procedures, we were not only unable to conceive but, one of these tests led us to a truth that was heart shattering. Not only have we not been able to conceive to this day, we also found out that a child whose life we had been a part of from birth to 14 was not actually Vince’s child. Vince was at a loss for words. Melissa was furious. Adriana was concerned about her daddy’s heart and confused all at the same time. There are many factors and details that are part of that whole story we will have to save for another day. It was through this ordeal that it became clear why infertility can end a marriage.  But because we had been so intentional with the health of our marriage before this cloud showed up, we navigated it well. It wasn’t easy by any means and it is still an emotional subject. God first. Spouse second.This means putting your spouse BEFORE your kids, present, future, or desired babies. Here’s the deal; your kids will grow up and move away. Your spouse is supposed to be forever. We don’t have to like or agree with God’s plan for us. We just need to trust it, even when it hurts.

Asking for help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We made the decision to see a counselor and it made all the difference! We had been up and down dealing with blended family stuff. There were a lot of arguments, gallons of tears, hurt feelings and hearts and even going to bed angry at times. It wasn’t a constant state we were in, but it happened enough that we knew we had to do something. Here is the key realization though; while our arguments were primarily about the kids, we knew the kids weren’t the root. The root was a lack of communication. We had to learn how to communicate and how to not take things so personally, Melissa raises her hand on that last part saying “Guilty!”. Even our 16-year-old daughter, who has had her share of counseling says, “everybody needs somebody”. Even if it’s just another couple you trust that has lived life and can give you sound advice while also pointing you to Jesus, find somebody. But don’t be afraid to pay someone so you can sit on their couch and be told all the ways you need to focus on changing yourself instead of your spouse. Yeah, I said that. And it wasn’t fun for me to hear myself. But it sure has made a difference in how we handle each other’s feelings and our own. Communication is VITAL.We learned to take a moment to compose our thoughts, examine our feelings about the issue (i.e. was the intention to hurt my feelings or is that just how I’m receiving it?), and then communicate to one another in a productive and loving manner. 

Always point each other to Jesus. With your thoughts, your words and your actions.

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