The husband is the minister of a small, inner city church. In the short time he’s been there things have changed. Broken relationships have been healed. The church has become more inclusive. People are growing in their faith and inroads are being made into the local community.
He cannot burden this fragile church with his own pain. He does not fear their ignorant judgement, just their inability to cope. So he bottles it up behind a mask of activity, and it’s business as usual.
The young couple are with him for marriage preparation. He helps them to dig deeply into the joy and pain of marriage, the pitfalls and the ways to keep the relationship vibrant and alive. He doesn’t feel in the slightest bit hypocritical…he still passionately wants to make his own marriage work and he uses his own anonymous failures in an attempt to give the young couple the tools to survive and thrive in marriage.
Later, much later, when he has finally admitted that this relationship is beyond saving, the young couple say to him,
“Did it mean anything, was it real, all those things you taught us about marriage?”
He hopes they believe his affirmative reply…they have no idea just how much he meant every word.