Have you ever wondered if you married the wrong man? Maybe you’re convinced of it. Perhaps you can pinpoint the very moment when you chose to go against your best judgment.

Or possibly you thought he was the perfect person to spend your life with, but he’s changed, turned into something else entirely. He doesn’t treat you well. You feel unloved and unappreciated.

Women want to be loved and understood. Valued. It’s painful when our husbands don’t fulfill this very basic need. Believe me, I know.

Like most young girls, I dreamed of a charming prince who would scour the kingdom in search of his one true love—me. But that’s not how things turned out. If you’ve read the About Us page, you know my first marriage (my husband passed in 2009) didn’t get off to a very good start. I was pregnant. Bill and I were as different as two people could be. He was much older than I. He was from the deep where South where barefoot and pregnant was the ideal state of womanhood, and I was from the Northwest. That’s almost like two different countries when it comes to culture.

You could say we had a few strikes against us from the beginning. He often said our marriage was not 50/50. It was 100/0. And I don’t think it’s hard to figure out who was on the negative side of the equation.

In forty years, I never received an anniversary card.

Not even an acknowledgment of the occasion. This was borne out of my husband’s shame—he didn’t want people to do the math, but it was a deep wound in my heart. One of many.

Bill was a paradox. He was very much the authoritarian, but he loved God in a way that few men do. I believe his understanding of marriage was skewed by his upbringing and the culture he lived in. But he was a good pastor who loved his flock. And eventually, he came to love me deeply, although he never quite mastered the art of showing it.

But in spite of the fact that my marriage began in a sinful situation, and my husband didn’t treat me like a man should treat his wife. I know it was God’s will that I be married to Bill for forty years. God’s will is not always a pretty place.

It’s not always a place where everything is perfect and beautiful. Sometimes God’s will is a place of suffering for a time.

Have you ever noticed how many T.V. commercials tell us we “deserve” their product?

It’s everywhere. You deserve our latest gadget, even if you have to break your budget to get it! Well, they don’t usually mention the budget. They want you to forget that part.

Marketers don’t choose their words randomly. There’s a science behind it. Really. They choose words to appeal to our selfish human nature. Unfortunately, this flawed thinking has worked its way into our Christian culture as well.

Doesn’t every Christian woman deserve a happy marriage? Isn’t that a promise somewhere in the Bible?

Unfortunately, I’ve looked and looked for that scripture, and I just can’t find it. If you find it, please let me know. I think many women (and men) consider happiness their primary goal in marriage. But I don’t believe our marital happiness is God’s primary goal; His will for us is so much greater than that.

I wanted an idyllic marriage with a loving husband who adored me, but that wasn’t God’s plan for my life at that time. The love my husband failed to give me caused me to seek God, and to get to know Him better.

It doesn’t matter how wonderful your husband is—and my husband of the last six years is a wonderful, kind man who treats me like a princess—no man can completely fill that inner longing for love. Only God can do that.

In Ephesians 1:4, the Bible says, “Even as in His love He chose us, actually picked us out for Himself as His own in Christ before the foundation of the world . . .” Amplified (emphasis mine)

I want you to picture this: God is about to open His mouth and, with nothing but His words, create the world and all therein. But He stops. You don’t exist yet, but He sees you in His mind’s eye. He says, “That one is mine. I choose her.”

Of course, we must believe and follow Christ, but we can only do that because God draws us and grants us repentance. John 6:44 Even the ability to repent is a gift from God.

What an amazing thing. God set His heart on you! He pursued you! He chose you before you ever existed! Before you did anything—right or wrong, God chose you to be His own. You didn’t earn it. This is true love, and when you come to understand it, it sets you free from dependency on any human to fulfill your inner longing for love.

Maybe you’ve already acted on your belief that you married the wrong man.

Perhaps some of you are in your second or third marriage. Maybe even more. The Samaritan woman had been married five times and was living with someone who wasn’t her husband at the time she met Jesus at the well. John 4:7-42

She was at the well in the middle of the day to avoid knowing looks and ridicule. She had been rejected by her neighbors, but Jesus sought her out, and she was instrumental in bringing her whole town to Christ. Her past didn’t keep God from using her in a great way.

Maybe you gave up too easily, and you wish you had made a different decision. Maybe your husband was abusive and you took more than anyone could have expected, but you were just too tired to take any more. We understand. We really do.

Jesus knew what you were going to do before you did it, and He still had a plan for your life.

Psalm 139:16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them.

God has a book. And before we were even born, He wrote all the days of our lives down. Those days included our choices—good and bad. God isn’t taken unaware by our actions. He isn’t surprised or shocked. He has a plan that includes the ups and downs, ins and outs of our lives.

So, even if your marriage isn’t in a good place, God is working out some kind of purpose in it.

God works out our failures and turns them into victories. He works out our pain and turns it into peace. He even works out our sin and turns it into righteousness.

So I ask you this, dear friend. If it is at all possible, hang on. Those were the words spoken to me by a pastor when I called him in tears, telling him I was going to divorce my husband because I just couldn’t take it anymore. Hang on to Jesus. Ask Him to help you. He loves you more than you could ever imagine.

Now Rebecca’s got something important to share with you. I know it will bless you. She’s an overcomer extraordinaire.

Rebecca 

Today, April 10th is a date I’ll never forget. My dad passed away on April 10th, ten years ago. Wow! It seems like yesterday.

My mom and I worry a bit that people who knew my dad will have a hard time with some of the raw truth we write on this blog. Our lives don’t paint a perfect, pretty picture. Most people’s don’t, but few are willing to talk about it.

If you keep reading, you’ll see that we aren’t trying to be negative—we’re trying to be truthful. It’s actually really hard for me to write about these matters because I love my dad and don’t want others to think he was a bad man—because he wasn’t. He was a very good man.

Our goal is that our readers who feel hopeless will find hope in our family’s story.

I think I was in my late teens when I first noticed my parents didn’t celebrate their anniversary. If my memory serves me right, someone questioned it. My dad gave a hasty, hushed answer, and changed the subject immediately.

Our family bottled many emotions because of shame, and there were lots of skeletons hiding in our closets. We kids would have loved to have watched our parents dance on their special anniversaries, but we missed out on all of that.

As a rebellious teenager, I was pretty much convinced that my mom had married the wrong man, and that she should leave him immediately because her marriage wasn’t anything like the trashy love novels I snuck in my backpack at the library to read by flashlight late at night. No wonder my eyes are so bad!

In fact, sometimes I was angry with her for not leaving.

I would say, “I’ll never put up with the things you put up with, Mom. Hell no!” (Insert big fat eye roll here) Ha-ha! I had no clue what I would put up with, or what marriage was even about. YET!

I do want to add that my father was never physically abusive, If you’re in a physically abusive relationship where your spouse is not willing to get the help needed for change, you should protect yourself and leave to a safe place. I will never tell you to persevere by staying in a place of danger.

I will tell you, however, that I personally know many marriages in which there was physical and/or emotional abuse that have not only survived but thrived because they pursued the help they needed.
So you can get a better understanding of my dad, I want to explain that, as a child, he didn’t have an example of a good marriage to follow.

His dad left him as a little boy. He had mostly dominating females in his life—which is why I think he subconsciously tried to dominate every female he knew.

He found and followed Jesus as a young man and even though he loved Him so much and was such an awesome pastor/missionary in many ways, he allowed shame to keep him bound up in legalism which subsequently left little room for grace and mercy in his marriage and parenting.

My dad was very talented. He sang, played guitar, and for a hillbilly who had an eighth-grade education, he knew the Word of God very well. He loved our church family and went out of his way to nurture each one of them. His love for Mexico and the disadvantaged was deep and true and many people there are forever changed because of his acts of kindness.

There have probably been thousands of people brought to Christ because of my parents’ ministry and because of those in their church that took what they learned and paid it forward to others.

So what if my mom had decided she didn’t “deserve” this unfulfilling marriage?

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened to that ministry if my mom would’ve listened to her children or her own desires and divorced my father.

What would’ve happened to us kids in our walk with God?

Well, I think God would’ve been smart enough to figure it out. When we love Him, He works everything out for some type of good, even if we don’t know what that looks like yet. But I’m grateful she chose to stay married. It’s helped me to stick it out when things get tough in my own marriage.

I can say with assurance that my mom is the wisest, godliest woman I’ve ever personally known. I’m not saying she was perfect in how she responded to my dad. But she chose to look beyond her “dream marriage” and to not only stay with him but to love him.

Through many hard years of her husband dominating and demeaning her, she found rest, contentment, and true love in Jesus. That love was so fulfilling it overflowed to others including my dad. And even though it took some time, he couldn’t resist loving her because the love of Jesus is irresistible.

So how did seeing all of this affect me and my siblings? Did we end up hating our dad? Or hating God, as many preacher’s kids do?

No.

After many years of seeing dashed dreams, no anniversary cards or romantic trips, no stolen kisses to make us kids blush, we all—every single family member—gathered around Dad’s bed when he was dying and sang his favorite songs, read the Word of God to him, held his age-spotted hands, (my sister Sara is seen holding his hand here) wet his dry mouth with a sponge, and told him how much we loved him. Not because he was a perfect daddy, but because every single one of us had found the perfect redemptive love of Jesus.

My parents didn’t have an ideal marriage, but they stayed together and worked on it, and ALL of their kids have a relationship with Jesus now.

I’d chalk that up to this scripture.

James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

So the testing of my mother’s faith produced perseverance, which produced spiritual maturity, which made her life complete even in a troubled marriage. THAT is how God works things for good.

So I’ll end this anniversary post by saying this. I’m glad my mom persevered. It made her a stronger woman. It made me and my sister stronger women. It’s making my daughters and nieces stronger women. I have a feeling that my mom married the right man. In fact, I’m sure of it.

Happy Heaven Anniversary Dad! I thank you for my morbid sense of humor and my love for Jesus and people. I love you and miss you and I’ll see you again.

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