The singer opens up about a rough season in her relationship and shares a piece of advice for other couples going through hard times.
Posted in , Mar 31, 2016
It’s been three years since Christian artist Meredith Andrews has put out new music but her latest album Deeper may just be her most personal yet.
That’s because the two-time Dove Award winning singer was writing the record while in the trenches of one of the most difficult seasons of her eight-year marriage to husband Jacob Sooter. The pair, who have three children and teamed up to write songs for Deeper, found themselves at a crossroads in their relationship just one year ago.
Stress from adding two babies to their family, moving from their home base of Chicago to Nashville and the demands of Andrews’ music career had the couple questioning whether they would actually be able to make “happily ever after” work.
“There were days when I was like ‘I don’t even know who you are’ and he would say the same thing about me,” Andrews shares with Guideposts.org. “There was some brokenness and hurt in our past that we never really dealt with.”
They reached their breaking point just a few days before Valentine’s Day last year. Contemplating spending time apart and fresh from a fight that morning, Andrews received a call from her husband, asking her to meet him for a lunch date at Whole Foods. She was greeted with flowers and a proposition – a weekend getaway to reconnect as a family. Sooter had planned everything, booking a cabin in Tennessee and canceling her scheduled worship talk at a church in Chicago.
“He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, ‘I’m not going to lose my family,’” Andrews recalls. “He was like, ‘let’s just go away and remember why we are family and why we love each other.’ That was the turning point.”
Old wounds didn’t miraculously heal over night. Andrews says the couple had to unlearn how they treated each other in the past.
They leaned on friends and family for support, speaking with leaders in their church and eventually making the decision to go to counseling, something the singer admits they should’ve done much earlier.
“Going to counseling was just like hitting the reset button for us,” Andrews says.
She thinks it’s something every married couple should do, whether you’re going through a rough patch or not.
“The thing is, we waited until we were on life support to go to counseling. We should have gone to counseling when everything was fine,” she says. “Granted, the Lord used everything that we walked through but for anybody else, save yourself some heartache and just go to counseling as a preventative measure.”
She also wants couples to know that the idea of a “perfect marriage” is just another harmful image fed to us by the media.
“The picture we get from our culture is not a picture of real love,’ Andrews says. “It’s ‘infatuation’ or it’s ‘you make me happy’ when in reality, relationships are meant to make us holy. They pull out the best and the worst in us.”
She’s also learned that saying “no” is sometimes the best thing she can do for her family.
“I was wrestling with something inside of me that felt the need to say yes to everything,” Andrews says. “Whatever I’m giving my ‘yes’ to, I’m giving my ‘no’ to my family. The last three years especially the Lord has been showing me what it means to be healthy and be able to say ‘no’ when I need to say no so I that I can give my best yes, my sacred yes [to my family].”
Now happily on the other side, Andrews hopes Deeper can help other couples struggling with some of the same issues that once plagued her own marriage.
Every valley made me lift my eyes up/Every burden only made me stronger/Every sorrow only made Your joy go/Deeper and deeper, deeper, and deeper, are the lyrics to the title track she wrote with her husband, and a testament to the couple’s newfound strength.
“I believe these songs are gifts to us just to carry us through,” the singer says. “Just to get us a step further down the road and give us hope in the midst of those hard seasons.”