We started dating when I was 19, and it was lust, not love, that drove me to persist when we had dramas with her family. Her parents were very strict but they allowed me to take her to church. I only went so I could spend more time with her. My persistence paid off. We got married 3 years after we first started dating.
What should have been a fairytale soon turned into a nightmare with lots of disappointments and regret.
I came from a traditional church background, but I didn’t understand how God expected me to treat a woman. I wanted to live my life my way. I knew just enough of the Bible to be dangerous. I knew that it said that the man is the head of the woman and she should obey him. I didn’t bother with the rest of the verse and regularly reminded my wife that she had to do what I said.
I started a new business just prior to us getting married. I told her once we were married she would have to stay home, and cook and clean and meet my needs. That lasted 2 weeks as we didn’t have enough money for groceries, so my wife worked 3 part-time jobs.
Eventually the business grew and my wife worked full-time in the business. This created friction between us because she didn’t like me yelling at her. I told her I was the boss and she would say, ‘But I am still your wife!’
After 12 years of marriage we had a son and I was working from dawn to dark 7 days a week. I was always on call so we rarely went on holidays. There were times when my wife was at the end of her rope and she took our son on a weekend away. I didn’t like that, so I bought her a spa bath so she had no reason to go. Even then, we argued about the temperature of the spa bath.
I had a few God-encounters in my life but I was not living a godly life. I stopped going to church early in our marriage. My son got to an age where he told his mother, ‘I don’t want to go to church – Dad doesn’t go.’
I made some decisions I’m not proud of, and I got to the point where I was continually racked with guilt. I decided to tell my wife. I gave my life to God first, and I actually meant it this time. God told me things would be okay but they would not be easy. The consequences of what I had done would cause a chain of events. It would take time and the grace of God for my wife to fully forgive me and trust me again. I had to woo her and earn her trust and respect.
It was a difficult 3 years. We renewed our wedding vows and I can honestly say that our marriage is better than it has ever been. Do we still argue? Yes, but God’s plan and purpose for our lives is far better than our own plans. He fixed what I had wrecked but it didn’t happen overnight. I learned love is a choice, not a fuzzy feeling. God took our brokenness and built something we never believed we would be involved with. He put the right people around us so we could help other people on the path of reconciliation.
I mistakenly thought that if I met all my husband’s needs and wants he would love me the way I wanted him to. When he stopped going to church his mother took me to a church meeting and I had a God-encounter. Early the next morning I turned on the TV. What I saw and heard was the beginning of what would change all our lives. My mother-in-law helped me through some really hard times. She mentored me in the Bible, gave me teaching tapes and books, and always prayed for us. When I started putting God first, things started changing for the better. I learned we cannot love our spouse the way we need to without God. The Bible is the blueprint for life.