My husband, Dan and I met in college. His religious background was Catholic. I had had a close relationship with Christ since I was about 12 but really left the narrow path when I got into high school and college. At about 17, I started in on the whole partying scene. Dan and I dated almost two years in college and during that time I was pretty open about my faith (but was obviously NOT living it). He was very accepting of my Christianity and even saw that his own past faithwalk in the Catholic church was "hypocritical". (and here I was living as a total hypocrite myself)
I got pregnant at the end of Dans graduating year. He kind of distanced himself from me then. He even asked me about an abortion. I was adamant about keeping the baby and was hurt that he didn't care that much about it. My Dad came up before the end of school and went through the Four Spiritual Laws with him. Ha Ha! Don't ever believe that just because someone goes through the four spiritual laws that they actually surrender to the Lord. I was naive back then about Christianity and thought that he would make a miraculous change soon. He never really wanted to surrender to the Lord- he just did it because he felt obligated to- my Dad was right there.
After he graduated he went to his Dad's near Chicago, I went back home in Indiana and I didn't hear from him again for many months. I tried to accept the fact that I had to go it alone. My parents wanted me to give the baby up (they thought they would have to be responsible). I was determined to do whatever it took to raise her even if I had to have two jobs. Luckily I was in counseling with our familys pastor. He was so supportive. He had to talk to my parents a few times to get them to back off. (I was almost 21- I guess they felt like I was still 16)
One day at work I got a call from Dan. I was about 8 months pregnant by then. He wanted to come down and talk. He said he wanted to get back together. At first I said no, but then I thought it was only fair to the baby to give her a chance to have both parents if possible. I really thought he wouldn't change. He swore that he would do anything- go to counseling, etc... and he wanted to get married. He said he had thought about it all summer (while he was just basking in the sun on his Dad's boat- and I was working my behind off and pregnant) and he felt guilty and wanted to do the right thing. I was really hurt by him just leaving me like that (plus he had an affair right before I found out I was pregnant) I didn't trust him at all but I wanted to do the right thing for the baby too.
We went to my Pastor for counseling and we all agreed that we wanted the best for the baby (to be raised in a Christian home, both parents, etc...) So, we got married 2 weeks before Arielle was born. It was all down hill for the next 5 years!
During my pregnancy I was so close to the Lord because He was all I had. It really straightened my life out at that time. But after she was born and I was married, I was very "wishy washy" with my faith. Again , I wasn't living what I believed. I tried here and there, but because of being hurt by Dan, not trusting him, and his lust problems (always staring at other girls, pornography, etc...) I continued to compromise a lot with drinking, partying on occasion and trying to retain a sexy image for Dan.
Dan still wanted to do his own thing. He wanted to be able to go where he wanted- when he wanted, and go here and there, out with friends. I wanted so bad to be a really good family. We ended up seperating for almost a year. During this time he got a job in Cinci. He had the perfect life for awhile . He would have his own life during the week in Cinci.(who knows what he was doing!) and then come to my place to see Arielle and I on the weekends. I finally said he had to make a choice.
All the while we were seperated, I was in counseling with a Christian counselor. Everyone thought I should just divorce Dan because I was still young (22) and had the rest of my life to go. My parents thought this and finally the counselor said so too. But I always kept thinking that if I could just hang in there a little longer and do the right thing- that maybe God would reward that. I have what is called "a healthy fear of the Lord". I didn't want to live with the consequences of a divorce- especially because of Arielle. I just kept thinking that I really knew God wanted us to be a family.
When I gave Dan an ultimatum, the next week he came back and said that he wanted us to move to Cinci with him. I was hesitant because I didn't want to move all the way there and then have to come back. But we did. One of the best things we ever did was move away from everyone (family, friends). All we had was each other and God. For the next few years we had our major problems (I almost left him a couple of times). He still had problems with major selfishness, lust, etc... and I was still trying to be a "good Christian girl" most of the time but still retain a "sexy" image for Dan. It was awful. Once he turned 28, he matured quite a bit. He was taking his relationship with the Lord more seriously. We both knew that only our relationship with the Lord and our convictions are what kept us together. We went to church off and on. But, still, adultery took place during our marriage. (Both of us at different times). Talk about overcoming obstacles!
Over the years of lukewarm faith and lukewarm marriage, I knew the Lord was calling me for more- I didnt know what. I knew I felt especially close to the Lord the times when I was pregnant- my body and my life were really not my own. Talk about surrender- this is one of the ways the Lord taught me about surrender. I used to tell Dan and my parents that "something is coming, something is happening with me". I didn't know what it could be. I didn't know there was any more to Christianity than what everybody else around us was doing. Why were we still living this way, why were we not overcoming sin if we were Christians? Why did we keep going back to the same old sins and same old ways?
I was somehow realizing that you couldn't just live your life the way you wanted to even though you were "saved" and think it's ok. The Lord was convicting me and speaking to me about repentance, about not being a hypocrite -like I saw with my parents and so many other Christians. (just ask Jesus in your heart, read the bible and go to church- then you'll be fine.)
Luckily, the Lord knew what He was doing with Dan and I. Dan and I have grown so much spiritually and he has turned out to be the best support I have. He has totally been healed from pornography, lust, etc...- which He did on his own with just the Lord's help- no counseling. He just kept giving himself over to the Lord. In the last 6 years, I can honestly say that he is the most honest, just, loyal, man- who has the most integrity. He is an amazing father and loves his kids (would like another). I am so blessed to have him now. He is what I would call a New Man.
The Lord has taken our situation- and I believe- because we tried to make the right decisions based on what we thought the Lord would want (even though we were living in sin sometimes) and we hung in there with faith (stayed together) - that if we did the right thing the Lord would honor that at some point- and He has!!!!
Today, we are so very happily married (14 yrs.) with 3 beautiful children. Our kids love the Lord. We have been through so much as a couple. I am actually grateful for everything weve gone through because now I know that with God- anything is possible. I also am convinced that if you are obedient- you will see rewards. It may take awhile- but its so worth it!
If you'd like to see my family now: http://www.moreofhim.net/family.html
In His love, Chanin