Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

    Things have been quiet on the TMOR blog lately. Hannah and I have been so incredibly busy with our college classes and everything else we juggle (work, kids, ministry) but we want to keep sharing our story and the hope we have in our marriage. We should be picking up steam as the semester draws to a close. Whew.
    For my birthday, Hannah took me to see the film Interstellar because I am a huge space nerd. Don't worry -- this isn't a post about space or intergalactic travel, I'll spare you this time. This is a plea to keep fighting. I'll show you how these two things are related.

   In the film, Earth is dying, and humanity has been granted one last extraordinary chance for survival. A wormhole has opened in space and a crew of voyagers are sent to another galaxy to find a new home for the human race. It's a long shot, for sure, and the characters admit this. It's almost a suicide mission. Nearly every moment of their journey is filled with extreme danger, but this is the chance they take.
       The lead character in this film, Coop (played by Matthew McConaughey) has to leave his two young children behind for this life-risking adventure. It's not for his own benefit, though -- he's informed that, unless something is done, his children will be the last survivors on Earth. After them, it's over. Humanity will conclude. The curtain will close and they will have no hope for a future.
    For those of you who have children, think about that. How far would you go if you knew your kids didn't have hope for a future? What would you do to afford them the chance to live, love, and have children of their own? Universally we all feel compelled to act in this scenario, but sadly, so many couples refuse to fight like that for their own marriages. We will fight for our children but not for our spouse -- why is that?
    Through the course of the film, a famous poem is recited several times. This poem is called "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night"  by Dylan Thomas, allegedly written as the poet's father lay on his deathbed. It is a command to keep living, to keep fighting. Do not succumb; do not surrender. Here are the most famous lines:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

   If your marriage has seen the grisly aftermath of an affair, this needs to become your anthem. In this poem, the writer implores a dying man to "rage against the dying of the light". In other words, don't just die. Fight, scrape, and claw your way back as best you can. Do not let your marriage just slip through your fingers, even if it's wounded.
    To the person who's strayed: don't take the easy route. It is the coward's path to allow your spouse to leave without begging, pleading, and repenting on your knees. Sure, it's easy to just let them walk out. It's less uncomfortable than having to go over the details and face your crimes, but it's cowardice.  If you had the guts to cheat, have the guts to stay and work it out.
   To the person who's been wronged: if you can find the strength within you, muster up all you have to stand firm for your marriage. There will be days when all you can do is simply stay, and if that's all you can manifest within you, that's progress. You can beat this. Do not go gentle into the cold night of divorce and misery. Do not go gentle into defeat and disrepair.
   Interstellar is a space movie, sure. But more importantly, it's a movie about the persevering spirit within every human. As Coop says, "we will find a way. We always have." You can make the journey to recovery, one step at a time. It is a road filled with setbacks and frustration, but it is also paved with redemption and love. Rage against the dying of your marriage. Stay up late with your spouse to talk things over. Change jobs. See a marriage counselor. Move. Do whatever you have to do. You haven't come this far to simply walk away.
   I really feel like someone needs to see this. Someone is on the ropes of the rebuilding process, and they want to just throw in the towel. Don't.  This is your reminder that the fight is hard, but the struggle is worth it. You have no idea what you're capable of -- keep pressing forward. Go further. You can thrive beyond this temporary misery.


  1. Rage against the dying of your marriage. Thanks for sharing, Ray. This is the best advice you can give anyone in a failing marriage. It hurts, it's scary, but if you don't fight for it, you end up with more pain and more heartbreak. My husband and I got into marriage counseling immediately, recovery groups, and moved to a new city; we changed everything to beat the affair and our marriage is so strong and so much healthier for our choices. The memory of the affair still hurts, but we let the pain spur us toward choosing to love each other better rather than letting it eat away at us. Thanks again for sharing!

  2. Vicki Mosley GregoryDecember 16, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    So thankful for your posts, Ray and Hannah! My husband and I are also on the road to recovery and you are right, it is possible and so very worth the fight. God's been healing us for over a year now, and our 20-year marriage is better than it ever has been.

    You are both so very encouraging and there are so many hurt and broken couples out there. Keep posting as much as you can with your busy lives!

    I am thinking a date night to see Interstellar this weekend would be a good thing!

    Merry Christmas!

  3. I needed to read this tonight. It has been almost a year since I found out that my husband has/had been viewing porn for nearly all of our 13+years. although it wasn't a physical affair, it still has hurt me deeply and has affected our marriage. We have 2 young boys and I came very close to walking out on our marriage. He shuts down anytime I ask to talk. I feel like we are more like 2 room mates living together rather than husband/wife. I feel so alone.....