Article written by Vikki Ledbetter
Wrecked by depression and doubt. Restored by a steadfast Savior.
That’s part of Jordan and Marah Wood’s story after depression and unmet emotional needs had them considering separation.
The pair met at Tennessee Temple University in 2010. Their romance started like most, with starry eyes.
“We went through that typical ‘honeymoon phase’ the first year,” Marah said. “That didn’t last forever. But we grew as a couple and learned a lot in our first years together.”
Three years into dating, they “tied the knot” with Biblically-informed counseling and expectations. It went well — at first. But when Marah started to struggle with very real, very crippling depression, it deeply and covertly affected their marriage.
“I was angry with God, distant, and focused on just trying to get through each day,” Marah shared. “I contemplated suicide, and Jordan was the one thing that kept me from acting on it.”
It was at that time when the former Pastor of Brainerd Baptist and his wife worked to connect Marah to a local counselor.
“Looking back now, I see how God provided for us through the Church, meeting our physical needs despite my resentment and distance from the Church,” she said.
But the struggle remained, and meanwhile Jordan began to feel distant and alone, as if he were married to a person he didn’t know.
“We thought we’d go through some problems – financial burdens as a young couple maybe, but we didn’t prepare ourselves for these problems,” he said.
Marah struggling with depression. Jordan feeling isolated. These were the conditions that resulted in what the couple calls a “perfect storm,” when one of Marah’s friends started to spend a lot of time with them and Jordan started to feel connected to her.
It was again during this time when they said God provided for them, this time by way of friends Jordan could confide in.
“Our friends have become safety nets for us,” Jordan said. “We grew up through college together, got married around the same times, go to the same Life Group.”
While Jordan found encouragement from his friends, Marah did not know about his feelings. That’s until one night when she suddenly realized what was happening while hanging out with a group of friends.
Remember that storm? Marah was understandably upset – about the attraction Jordan was dealing with, of course, but also because she was just now finding out about it. Even with hurt feelings, though, she and Jordan decided to go to counseling, this time together.
“It was hard going through depression and everything else and then THIS added to it,” Marah said. “I was able to work through some of my feelings with our counselor, and Jordan joined in on a couple of sessions as well.”
The counseling, they said, was a life-saver. During a time when emotions could spiral into long-term decisions, they were instead able to work through deeper-seeded issues and look at their struggles from a Biblical perspective.
And thinking back, they are thankful it happened the way it did and continue to reflect on God’s provision.
“I wouldn’t change it,” Marah said. “I can see how God was loving us unconditionally, providing for us and helping us know more about Him, and now we’re closer than ever.”
It’s not always easy to see how God might be working, but through this trial, Marah was drawn back to the Lord and to joy.
“I’d been putting Jordan and other things on a pedestal, above God,” she explained. “And I realized that if I kept doing that, there was no way I’d ever truly experience joy.”
She read from day 9 of the Advent devotional, the time when she said it really hit her and that she recognized God’s provision once more, by leading Pastor Micah to our church and to this study.
“Joy is not found in the circumstances of your life. Circumstances can change, health can fade, the economy can fall apart, and jobs can be lost. If your joy is found in these things, it can fade or fall apart. The joy that the coming of Jesus brought to this world is deeper than that.”
The couple’s relationship has been renewed, and they are now working to together prioritize the Lord and live daily with joy from an unrelenting Savior. They are thankful for God’s provision of His Church, His People and their pastor. And they hope other young couples can learn from their story and have courage to look for God’s provision through the sometimes-rough waters of marriage.
For more stories like this one, visit the Brainerd Baptist blog.