I recently asked my trusted women friends who are married some questions about their relationships, past and present. I don’t pretend to know everything, and there’s nothing helpless about asking for help.
Woman No. 2 has these great gems to share:
1. What does being Christian mean to you?
It means giving up my life to serve and honor the one who has created us. It means standing out from the crowd and standing firm on what God requires of us. It means to praise God for the things that are good and bad in my life and strive to run the race that is set out for me.
2. Were you both Christian when you were married? How did that affect the choices you made in your relationship, both before and after the wedding?
Yes we both were Christians when we got married. We both had a tough path, my husband being divorced with a child and myself having a child out of wedlock. It is funny, when I came to the Lord, I was pregnant with my first child. I started praying for a Christian man to come into our lives. I marked that date in my Bible. I showed my husband, and that was the month he rededicated his life to Christ. I am not going to say it was easy courting and being engaged, we had our ups and downs dealing with our past relationships that we both brought into our plans of being married. But we put God first and stayed the course. As hard as it was, we both gave ourselves to each other on our wedding night.
I praise God for my child out of wedlock. She is a huge blessing to me. If it weren’t for getting pregnant, I probably would have taken a different path. God knew before I did the plans for my life. I do regret NOT saving myself for my husband. After being married, it was tough. Trying to adjust to being married, giving up myself and being a strong woman, and having a blended family; all took its toll on our marriage. I cannot tell how many times divorce/separation came into out fights. But with perseverance and the love for God and His promise that we can do all things through Him, we fought hard to save our marriage and have something different than from where we have been for our kids.
3. How long have you been married?
This year will be 13 years for us.
4. Did you know right away that he was “the one” for you, or did that feeling grow? Go ahead and explain in detail, if you care to share.
I knew my husband for many years as an acquaintance. I was asked to go to a singles Christian dinner and that is when we met as friends and we talked for awhile. He wanted to take me out, but at that time I was just getting my Christian life on the right track and was very content with being a single mom, with no worries. The pursuit was a month long. By the time I went out to dinner with him I knew I was going to marry him. God just laid it heavy on my heart that he was the one. I came home that night and started planning my wedding. We were engaged three months later and six months after we were married. I do not know why God planned it that way, for us to marry so quickly. It was a pure struggle, but as time goes on we have become best friends and are still getting to know each other quite well.
5. What is your favorite story about your relationship?
I think I would have to say that up until we actually MET as adults, I really did not care for him. He detailed my mom’s car when I was 17, he worked as an EMT, and he was my instructor for an EMT class I took in the early nineties. I had preconceived thoughts of him being a typical fireman with an ego at large and women flocking to his doorsteps. When I saw him at church ushering, I was not a Christian at that time. I was pretty upset that the church would let HIM do the ushering. ACK!, so I had a huge misconception of this man. I think that is why I had him chase me for a month before I dated him.
6. What struggles/situations did you go through before you met your husband, that significantly impacted your relationship with him?
Being raised with a strong single mother, she gave me the wisdom and advice of letting no man tell me what to do, to think, or how to provide. It created in me a strong stand on what I believed was true. I did not know my place as a Christian wife, and I did not know how to act as a Christian wife. This was a huge struggle for me and created many conflicts within our marriage. It took me years to find out that I was not the number one person that I needed to look out for, it is my husband’s needs that are more important. I was created to be his helper, not hinderer.
Failure was a huge impact on me. Because of many relationships I was in prior to being pregnant with my first child, it all created a war within me. Having divorced parents and a newly divorced step-mom and dad (married 24 years), I felt I was not good enough for a great marriage. The lack of feeling loved, failure of family and a dad that I didn’t have a great relationship with… I felt like marriage needed to be all about me. We have grown to understand my past as well and my husband’s past, which was not grand as well, and overcome many obstacles. We have vowed to break this ugly cycle for our children.
7. What struggles are you going through, that you are willing to share, and how did you overcome them? If it’s a current struggle, how are you dealing/coping with it?
Our biggest struggle now is that we tend to live separate lives. His work schedule takes him away from the home 80% of his time for about 8 months of the year. We have to constantly meet in the middle or we have trouble communicating. Our biggest downfall is our communication; even from the time of getting married. We still have our moments, but I love him and am very committed to him. We are still in the process of just stopping and listening to each other. That is the key, I think we all do this.
8. Do you have children? If yes, how do you balance being a parent with being a spouse?
Yes, we have 5 children. My husband and I each brought a child into our marriage, and he adopted mine when she was 5. I live for my children, I am a homeschool mom and with my husband’s schedule, I tend to put them first. I have to mentally prepare my transition for my husband to come home after being gone for 2-3 days at a time, to ensure that I give him that quality time. Yes, this is a struggle for me. The days that he is gone, I need to be everything to my kids: mom, discipliner, bill keeper, maintenance woman…this is where the independent side of me comes out, and it is hard to give up wearing the pants when he gets home.
9. How many prior relationships did each of you have before finding each other? What have those past relationships taught you?
We both had our fair share of unhealthy relationships. As I look back, they were all little mini divorces that have created much of the baggage we carry today. It has taught me to teach my children, that God loves them much more than any boy will. Only HE can bring the right person into their life who will be a blessing to their future. I do not want my kids to struggle finding themselves in a relationship. I want them to find themselves in God, and trust God with their future spouse.
10. What is the one thing that you hope the world at large notices about your marriage?
I hope that people see two committed people, who have placed God above their own needs. If we did not walk in Christ we probably would have been divorced a long time ago. God is good and any marriage can change if your have that will and faith, but both have to put in the effort. We are not perfect and we do not have the perfect marriage as people see it. We struggle on a daily basis, but we are out to run this race and not stop until it is complete in the eyes of our Lord!
11. How have your views on relationships changed from the time you were a teenager, young adult, in past relationships, to now?
Wow, as a teenager I was rebellious, a partier, and so that goes with promiscuity. As I became a young adult, I craved that longing relationship but could not find that peace. It was about that time I became pregnant. After finding my husband and getting married, I look at how my life turned around. I am in awe of what God can do. I am much more committed, I do not long for the next best thing, I am content. I am not a wanderer like I was back then. My relationships with friends and family have importance, value, and depth now. I want the solidity for myself and for my family.
12. ESSAY TIME: Write your heart out about anything and everything you want to say. What advice do you want to give to others about dating? Maintaining your Christian beliefs? Being a parent? Raising your children?
All I can say to that is get yourself right with the Lord. Be in HIS word everyday, pray often, and let God lead you to that peace of all understanding. Dating is for secular people, courting is for Christians. We were created for a purpose and that purpose it to praise Him in all His Glory. So why wouldn’t He bring us that right person for our needs and to bring Glory to Him. I see my marriage and a way to bring Glory to God, because of our struggle. Each day brings more insight on how to make things better and how to deal with things on a more peaceful level. Dating brings much heartache, because you will come across a lot of roadblocks. Courting on the other hand, is that you are friends first, no “label” on your friendship and nothing more, you find out about the person before emotions run and you make commitments. Courting has a purpose towards marriage, dating is just a “live for now” mentality. Be smart; know what you are looking for, and do not compromise. My husband always said when we started courting that Faith, Fact, and Feelings needs to be in this order. If you put your feelings before your Faith and fact than you are headed for trouble. We need to maintain our daily time with God. If we don’t Satan creeps in and plans to destroy our home and once he get to me and my husband, he gets to our kids. Being a Christian is hard. You have to do the right thing, you have to follow Gods plans for you. We will only reap those blessings if we do. I have realized that being a parent isn’t being a mom, but being my husband’s wife first. I tend to forget that, but I am after all his, and his I will be, when all the kids are gone. We make our mistakes in our children’s lives, we had examples that didn’t exemplify a Christian home. We do our best not to follow in the footsteps of a cycle that is now broken. We do have that promise that our generations after us will be Glorifying to God, because of the road we have come from, and the road we are taking.