This is the story of a friend, C, and her husband, T. Restoration made possible by grace, grit, and God! I am grateful for the opportunity to share it with you!
C: T and I were married at 23. We had been high school sweethearts and although there were a couple breaks we always knew we were meant to be together. We had very different upbringings, the things we were taught in childhood caught up with us and these beliefs did not work anymore. We slowly came apart.
T: I never realized how much pain I was carrying inside me from my childhood, and how my refusal to address my childhood issues was carrying over into my marriage. I lived my life knowing “I” was the one who was in control and only “I” knew what was best. I never realized how selfish I was as an individual.
C: I reached a point where I was miserable, I didn’t love my husband nor did I want to, it was just time to end the marriage, I couldn’t possibly imagine this being saved. We were married 21 years when we came to the conclusion that the marriage was probably over. Many friends and family agreed and there was much support if we wanted to divorce “It happens all the time” they said. We agreed we needed to separate immediately before any more damage to the family could be done. I had always prayed and God was a significant force in my life but I had trouble putting Him first. T had been a strong Christian when we were young but slowly turned away, feeling he was unworthy.
T: I was taught as a young boy about God and being born again. I knew the meaning of being a Christian, what I never learned or realized what was missing was how much God loves me as an individual. Even more important, I never learned the meaning of forgiveness. I ran from God for many years because I was ashamed. I was a total mess the first six months of separation. My world around me collapsed. This was the first time that I realized that “I” was not in control. My marriage felt over, my life was spiraling downward and I knew I needed outside help. I had isolated myself from society. I started to see a counselor who suggested church as a source to meet people. I decided to try Christ Fellowship. I remember that Saturday night like it was yesterday. God spoke to me that night, he opened up doors in my heart that I never knew were closed and locked away so tight. I changed as an individual and more importantly as a man that night. There was a desire for God to be in my life from that point moving forward.
C: During the second year of separation, T had begun attending the south campus of Christ fellowship, while I began attending the North campus of Christ Fellowship. We remained friends throughout the separation, but there was no intimacy or closeness. Several times one or the other would finally make a decision to go through with the divorce, but every time for some unknown reason neither of us could ever follow through.
T: I went through the divorce care class at the church. I wanted to know what God really thought about divorce, plus I wanted to find companionship within the church.
C: We did make efforts to reconcile but each time it was disastrous. The children were in their late teens and we kept lines of communication open with them. Actually T’s relationship with them really improved.
T: This was so odd – It couldn’t be God’s will for us to be apart, but we seemed to be better now.
C: T and I were each in counseling,
T: My insurance at work changed and I was forced to find a new counselor since my existing was accepting the new insurance. I found myself a wonderful Christian counselor who mentors me still. What a blessing from God how an insurance change could bring me closer to Him.
C: We cleaned up our act in the partying area and we each became more whole and mature. I began an active program of recovery and healing. This is the first time we were on the same page when it came to God. Before, he would try to teach me and I wouldn’t listen or I began attending church and he wouldn’t come along. Looking back I remember about 8 yrs ago going to church and praying regularly for God to wake T up. I remember distinctly every day “Dear Father, please bring him back to you. I am afraid for him that he will not be saved. WHATEVER IT TAKES, IF YOU WANT TO TAKE SOMETHING FROM ME, PLEASE JUST SAVE HIM!! “(Writing this made me remember that desperate prayer I prayed every night). That seems like a lifetime away and it is amazing, looking back, that all my prayers were answered.
T: At this point we are both saved and actively attending church, but still better at being friends than anything else. We didn’t know what to pray for so we just prayed for His will to be done for us; we prayed for each other, we prayed for knowledge and clarity and for our family. Around the same time we both decided to just hand over the marriage to God, wondering how we could possibly move forward as we had been separated for over 2 years,
C: T asked me to take the sacred marriage class with him, just to “see what it was about, maybe get some ideas”. I will never forget the first night, I was so excited. I told T we should offer to facilitate the class because we have so much to offer and he laughed and thought maybe it was wiser for us to get back together first. We did. We decided to stop “trying” to make it work and relax. We just enjoyed each other’s company and remained open and honest. This is the first time God came first for BOTH of us. We had to really work on open honest communication, ask questions and slow things down to talk about everything. This can be difficult because you assume the person is going to react in the same old way, or you assume you know what the other is thinking… all of that behavior had to be against the law. Almost three years after we separated, through the power of honest prayer and obedience we got back together. It became clear to us that it was Gods will for us to be together so I stopped behaving as if I had this big decision to make. I started to wake up every day and just list in my head all the things I’m grateful for including T and about him. I started to pay attention to all the things I appreciated about him. Every time old thoughts would creep in I would tell T and then change my thoughts immediately. He needed to slow down and tell me what he was feeling and thinking. He had to become a little more aware of what I was doing and how I was behaving.
T: This was a big step for C and I, we now were being put in a position to “walk our talk” Did we really trust God that much, after all we were just children in our faith. I guess it really helps to have faith like a child, because we did trust the Lord and we did show our faith. There were many difficult conversations we were having but we were not alone. We were praying and keeping God present in our talks. He was part of our conversations and was helping us through times we wouldn’t have gotten thru by ourselves.
C: God performed a miracle and we will be forever grateful. T and I realized we can’t do it but God can!! We take the time, now, for open honest communication regularly. We don’t face each other and judge; we stand together and face God. We both understand clearly that God comes first and we both need time for prayer every day. Honestly? I began reading the bible looking for loopholes to justify a divorce and instead learned how to be a better wife and mother. I am still so very amazed when I look back and see all the work and little things that had to happen exactly the way they did for us to be here and in love today. I knew it was God’s plan to save the marriage and maybe things would be better for everyone if we could reconcile but I had no idea how true and how much better it is. Sometimes when all four of us are sitting around laughing about something or being goofy I just thank God so much, we came so close to not having this and there is NOTHING better than that time we spend all together. We laugh so much over the things we’ve learned about ourselves. I still can’t believe I actually thought T was the problem in the marriage, “if he would just do this or that…” We are grateful that what God wants for us is exactly what is best for us but we have to allow this shift to occur. Our love is deep, strong, and clear. Our marriage is so much more than we could have ever hoped for and our family is healthier than it has ever been no doubt through the power of prayer and the graceful hand of God.