In Spite of Me
By, a thankful and repentant wife
Note: I’ve chosen to write this story anonymously and change the names. Though I have my husband’s permission to share this in the hopes that it will touch someone’s heart, we don’t want to risk hurting anyone involved. We pray that God will bless your marriage.
When people hear that my husband Bill only came to know the Lord four years ago, after we’d spent eight years “unequally-yoked,” they often say things like, “Oh it must have been all your prayers that did it,” or “Your faithful witness probably drew him.”
At which point I laugh. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I’d wandered far from God when I met Bill. Far enough to have gotten pregnant as a teen. I was a single mom of three-year-old Amber and caught up in all the things of the world. Bill was a great guy, who accepted both of us into his life, and soon we were married.
When you grow up knowing the truth about God, I don’t think you can ever really forget it. I didn’t. When Amber was five, I got to thinking that I ought to bring her to church. Bill didn’t seem to mind, so I did. Though I thought it was for Amber that I was going, I soon found myself sitting in an old New England Baptist church, holding a Bible and missing my relationship with God. He welcomed me, His prodigal daughter, back with open arms. I rejoiced as the truth sank into my heart—He loved me just as I was. Married to an unbeliever, mother of a child born out of wedlock, having done all the things my youth pastor had warned against years ago. I found love and forgiveness at the foot of the cross, and went home full of joy.
But my husband wanted no part of it. “I’ll never have anything to do with that stuff,” he said. “I don’t want anybody pushing their beliefs on me.”
At church, sitting alone amidst a sea of happy couples, I felt like a girl with no date at the prom. I couldn’t attend the Sunday school class on marriage, had no hope of ever going to one of the marriage retreats the others got so worked up about. Worst of all, I was excluded from the social get-togethers where couples would get together for dinner or outings. It wasn’t all because people didn’t invite us. The few times Bill agreed to come to something, it was awkward. Ultimately he told me he just didn’t want to hang out with “those people.”
The more involved I got at church, the less I felt connected to Bill. I thought he didn’t care about the things that were most important to me. I considered the people in my church my family. Thought of them as the people who “got me.”
I began to overlook the fact that Bill was a really good husband. A hard worker who held a good full-time job and operated his own business on the side. A man who regularly called me beautiful, kissed me, said “I love you,” and asked if he could get me anything every time he went out. A man who, though he wasn’t interested in my God, respected my beliefs.
Instead, I focused on the spiritual void in our relationship, the way he took the Lord’s name in vain, the way he left me to bring our three daughters to church alone. Why should I have to be the one carrying diaper bags, getting everyone to their Sunday school classes, and sitting in the nursery with a crabby baby?
I threw myself completely into church. I sang in the choir, went to bible study, chaired a committee, worked in the library, and never missed a Sunday night service. The distance between Bill and I grew.
And then I began to ponder the most dangerous words: “If only.”
I sat on the velvet cushion of the old pew and sighed. If only I’d married a Christian man. My eyes drifted across the aisle and rested on a single man. If only I’d married someone like…him.
James says “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” and it’s true. I let those thoughts linger. The man I thought about was single, attractive, funny. He loved the Lord. We worked together in a church ministry, often laughing and chatting together. What a great couple we’d have made. I imagined him and I going to the marriage Sunday school class together, then off to one of those retreats.
Just as James predicted, my desire gave birth to sin, .......... Part 2 of this extraordinary story to conclude in two days……
For those of you waiting for the series of articles about children of unequal marriage, it is on the way. Forgive the delay…… life is getting in the way of my blogging again….. Go figure. Series will begin midweek.
Thank you for your support and encouragement! I love you! Lynn