That our darkest moments together ended us—in that new beginning, second chance with each other kind of way—is the most awesome gift I’ve ever endured receiving.

A couple of years ago, while Erik and I were steeping in a swamp of heartache and healing, we meandered into a university cafeteria with our daughter during one of her college previews. A quarter-century prior, we’d first laid eyes on each other in the cafeteria of the college we both attended. The afternoon began to feel like home.

Along the winding road of long-term love, we let each other down.

Took each other for granted and behaved selfishly.

Forsook our vows and nudged God right out of our union.

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Though the marriage we’d originally made was busted and the two of us were tethered so slightly, traipsing around a college campus again together infused us with some of that magic dust that clouds the starry-eyed gaze of two people who don’t yet know how badly they’re going to hurt each other. How they’re going to risk everything dear over nothing special. How they’re going to come treacherously close to ensuring the demise of everything they’ll work so hard to build.

Nostalgia beguiled and beckoned that day, sat us down and reminded us of our hallowed history—coaxing easy smiles and soft doe eyes we locked on each other. Remembering our beginning in such a tangible way helped us recalibrate our love and lean into each other, into the renewed hope bubbling up between us.

There’s much that pulls at the seams of a marriage, plenty that weighs a partnership down, threatening its longevity.

But there’s much that reinforces a commitment to live and love, plenty that reinvigorates it, too. Much like the parable of the two wolves that live inside each of us and how they wage a war within. One wolf is evil and the other is good, the one that wins is the one we feed.

I don’t know your particular marriage story, but I know there’s hope for it—even through your biggest mistakes and deepest regrets.

That you’ve let each other down doesn’t obliterate all the times you lifted each other up. That you’ve lost your way together doesn’t mean you won’t find another. And as for your dormant desire, it’s absolutely possible for it to erupt again.

You built your marriage from nothing once, and you can do it again—bulletproof this time.

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You know now what you didn’t back then and knowledge is power. Use that power to feed the right wolf in each of you. To say no to what puts you in danger and yes to what fuels your faith in each other.

Feed your marriage, so that it wins.

Previously published on the author’s Facebook page

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Jodie Utter

Jodie Utter is a freelance writer & creator of the blog, Utter Imperfection. She calls the Pacific Northwest home and shares it with her husband and two children. As an awkward dancer who’s tired of making dinner and can’t stay awake past nine, she flings her life wide open and tells her stories to connect pain to pain and struggle to struggle in hopes others will feel less alone inside their own stories and more at home in their hearts, minds, and relationships. You can connect with her on her blog, Utter Imperfection and on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter.