Hey friends! Today I have another story of a marriage restored by Christ. This one comes from a couple who has communicated with me more than a few times over the past couple of years. They are in agreement that it’s time to share their story, and the wife has sent it to me. They are not quite ready to share their names, but their story should bring hope to the hurting – and THAT is the important part. Every bit of it points to Jesus! It’s kind of a long story, but I’m sure you’ll be encouraged. Grab some coffee and read on! ~Jason
Pretend this is a movie you’re watching and here we are rewinding to the beginning. My life was one of a typical teenage girl, rebellious and looking to conquer the world, no matter the cost. I found myself in forbidden relationships, lost, scared and angry. Instead of focusing on school, I focused on seeking and so desperately desiring love. Little did I know what love truly was at that age; I had never experienced true love. Instead I experienced molestation, physical abuse and endless sexual encounters at an early age. Sex, alcohol and toxic relationships and the stage became my choice of drugs.
Many would argue it’s typical, who doesn’t go thru this. Yet, it took me nearly 15-20 years to finally understand that – no, this is not typical nor should it be normal. I was 15 and pregnant. Pregnant by a man twice my age and even stronger with his hands. I thought it was love. Days later my pregnancy was terminated with a mere $400.00 payment and no one had to know. Our love became one of hostility and rage. Finally a year or two later I found the next best toxic relationships and spiraled from there.
Soon after high school graduation, I decided it was time to leave the past in the past and move on to the city that never sleeps. I left my nest at 18 and found myself free at last. Free from all the hurt, anger, and pain. Free from all the memories and hate. I was finally able to start fresh, a new me. I continued my love for dancing and quickly found another outlet in one of the greatest cities in the world. Little did I know, I wasn’t free, instead I was still locked up in a cage dying to be set free.
In my early 20’s I began traveling the world, performing in some of the most amazing places, and that was my high. From the stage at the Copa Cabana to a stage in Oslo, Norway, I found myself lost in dance, able to pretend to be someone else for those 4 minutes on stage. Salsa became my life. Music was my refuge and the stage was my saving grace. Everything after that was my way of coping with all the pain I had so deeply hidden away somewhere within me. Friendships and relationships were never my strength. They just became part of the process. Some stayed while others left. Some made me laugh while others made me cry, yet none remained. Within all the mess of my life I found myself pregnant once again and hoping this time it would be different. Yet, very quickly I realized there was no way it would be, and so there I was sitting in that chair once again waiting for my name to be called. I remember the protesters outside chanting and yelling. I remember reading the signs they held up and seeing the looks on their faces. Finally, my name was called. I remember calling out of work sick just so I can terminate my pregnancy once again. I remember the many faces, the cold brisk air in the room, and how quickly it became evening. I was done and we headed home. I went to work the next day and remember the physical pain I felt but the truth could not be told, so I lied and lied and lied until it became my truth.
I was back in the studio training once again and quickly my pain became my strength. Time had passed, events occurred and an opportunity presented itself. Do you want to own your own dance studio? Here I was young, dumb, and naïve. I believed the lie, why wouldn’t I, it was sold so well. So here I was on my way to opening up my very own dance studio at the most expensive cost I would pay to date. It was perfect; it was everything I had always dreamed it to be. It was exactly what I wanted. The grand opening was something out of a movie. I was able to share this dream with the world. It aired on TV Channels across the globe. Me, myself and I were completely on top of the world, all while hurting and destroying lives along the way. Finally, as it would be, something much bigger than I decided enough was enough. Little by little I began to lose it all. Friends betrayed me, thousands of tears were shed, and words penetrated me like a knife. My dream was ripped apart from underneath me, my reputation destroyed. The pictures in the studio, the graffiti on the walls along with the murals that represented my dream, all gone within seconds. Taken, stolen and I was locked out for the first time of my very own dream. I began to fight a battle I was never meant to win, so I lost.
Wait, but let’s go back a few months before. One of the many toxic relationships I was in, he thought it would be different. He could somehow change me or be the one, so I let him in. I returned from a trip abroad and the next morning he proposed. I said yes because he was all I had left, so let’s go from one escape to the next, right? A month later, I was pregnant again. This time he wouldn’t let me terminate my pregnancy. Little did I know, this was the beginning of the end.
Going forward, I began to fight that battle remember? Well that battle was quickly lost and 3 months pregnant I decided it was time to give up and walk away from it all, start fresh. Try and hide and forget all of who I was, had done and lost. I had an escape and my escape became my baby. I still performed and traveled while pregnant. To be honest, being pregnant was one of the most amazing moments of my life. I became so in love with him, I would soon need that love to get me thru some of the most difficult moments of my life. Remember, I was engaged, well we got married that summer and two months later our son was born.
I found myself married to a stranger, raising a child with a stranger and still completely uncertain of what love was other than the love I felt for my son. My husband and I barely got along the first few years of our marriage. Yet, somehow on the outside we appeared to be mere perfection, untouchable and unbreakable. The perfect couple, all while dying on the inside and hating every single minute spent together. We hurt each other daily, it almost became habitual and expected. Our arguments were fueled with rage and resentment, hurt and disgust. We blamed each other for all that was wrong with our marriage; we pretended when we had to and began to dig the deepest hole for the future of our marriage. We found sympathy and solace in others all while still raising a child together and living a pretend idea of a marriage. Affair after affair became routine for the both of us. Our disgust fueled our heart and so from the heart to our mouths thereafter our actions. Was it always this bad you ask? No, in the beginning it was just like in the movies. He saved me from the ruins. He was my prince charming and I his project. See many people would probably tell you otherwise or describe their encounter as a beautiful one, but ours was far from beautiful. In fact, it was set up exactly for destruction. In the early years of our marriage we lost everything year after year. We lost our jobs time and time again. We found ourselves constantly broke and struggling financially. Fighting over money, sex and the constant you did and did not, the lies and deceit. We had no sense of love and respect for one another. We were quickly backed up on rent, constantly receiving eviction notices, and late payment warnings and bounced checks. We moved to a different apartment every year until finally we were evicted from one and all 3 of us ended up in my parents two bedroom apartment… Jobless, broke and defeated. Bankruptcy was our only solution and so it was… we filed for bankruptcy. One year later we finally decided enough was enough and tried to start new, we moved out into our own apartment once more, but little did we know how soon it would all coming crashing down. A few months later I heard the words “I don’t love you anymore.” My husband left me, unemployed and alone to fend for myself and our son. He left me for himself; he left me for another woman. Yet, he pretended that wasn’t the case. That Sunday a good friend of mine dragged me to church and for the first time in my life I finally had truly fallen in love with a man named Jesus. I remember holding her hand and thanking her for bringing me and changing my life.
See, I have always heard of Jesus but never had met him. I grew up Catholic and was forced to go to church on holidays, so there was truly never a real one on one encounter on my behalf. All I knew is that I felt true, unexplainable, selfless and merciful and forgiving love that Sunday morning, and I was never looking back. Once service was over I still had to go back to my life, except this time I was not alone. Jesus was with me and He promised me to hold my hand and love me like no man has ever loved me in my life, yes including my natural father. My father is a very cold hearted man; much of it is due to his abusive upbringing. My dad’s way of expressing love was via constant verbal and physical abuse. Love was definitely not something he was familiar with. So here I was finally feeling loved by a man I had never met or can see in the natural. But somehow I knew He was very real.
Seconds became minutes, minutes became hours, and hours became days and slowly but surely Jesus walked me thru our separation. My heart was hurting in ways I had never felt pain before. I anguished and felt betrayed, lost and alone all over again. My main concern was my son, but I knew God had him covered. During the time we were separated Jesus healed me from the inside out. He forgave me and so I forgave myself. He reminded me of all that I am and how loved I was regardless of my past. I was made new in his blood. I recall one morning writing in my journal everything I was giving up; I gave up my life to gain Him. I had to lose it all to gain truth and living water. My journey was not an easy one. That year I suffered tremendous pain and rejection but more importantly gained unexplainable peace and joy. I was surrounded by people who truly loved me and helped me understand and accept the love of our savior Jesus.
Soon thereafter, I came to a cross roads where I had to decide to forgive. Forgiveness had never been easy for me; in fact, it wasn’t part of my vocabulary. But I knew forgiveness had to take place in my heart in order for God to begin the work He had promised me. So I forgave my husband and although He abandoned me, loving him was more important to me now than it had ever been. Loving him in the ugliest of seasons when all I wanted to do was hate him was no easy task. Yet, God remained faithful and held my hand thru it all. He showed me how to love a man that was completely unlovable. The more my husband rejected me, the more I loved him. How you may ask… Well that’s an entire story on its own. For now understand if it wasn’t for that beautiful encounter that one Sunday morning with Jesus, the how would have never existed. See Jesus had always been in my life, He always stopped me when I got too far. I never understood why all these things happened to me, but the truth is we as humans have this thing called free will and that my friend is what led me to make some really crappy choices in life. I don’t blame God; instead I wish I would have allowed Him earlier in my life. But what was done was done and now it was time to walk a new path. His path, His plan, His will.
Months passed and the holidays neared. My husband and I entered the court room together and there went the judge’s order. We found ourselves separated and now in the middle of child support and alimony proceedings. He hated me now more than ever and I loved him just as much. Little did we know, God had a plan all along. Thanksgiving weekend neared and we found ourselves in each other’s presence, eating, talking and laughing, crying and confused. We built our Christmas tree together and soon thereafter he asked to return home. God gave me my Christmas miracle.
Now let’s pause for a second, many would say “aww” “wow” “how amazing”, blah blah blah. Well let me tell you how I felt! I felt scared, scared to go down this very scary unfamiliar road and love a man like I have never loved before. See God, had been working in his life all along, that’s a story he would have to tell you one day. For the first few months of his return, God showed us both what a godly marriage looks like, what it can be like, and taste like, smell like, and how it can survive all the seasons of life. God never promised us perfection, instead He promised us redemption. He promised us if we walked with Him hand and hand, anything and everything is possible. Little did I know God had to show me this for what was about to happen. Valentine’s Day weekend I would soon find out the entire truth. A truth I knew all along but had not heard it directly from my husband’s lips. The truth had been eating him inside and so he knew it was time to come clean in order to be set free and move forward. So he began to type away and told me everything, word for word. As I read every word he typed, my heart broke into tiny pieces all over again. It felt like I had literally lost him all over again. He stabbed me in the heart, where the original wound had healed. I cried out to Jesus as I trembled in sweat. I begged God to pick me up from the ruins, to pick me up from this broken dream. Why? Why would He allow my husband to come back just months before this revelation for all of this to once again fall apart. Yet, the truth remained the same. God promised me my marriage but He knew it would come with great trial. Looking back now, I understand why God gave me a taste for two months of what my marriage would be like. He needed me to hold onto to that memory as hard as I could because He knew my husband would have to reveal everything to me in order for us to truly be set free. Those two months of marital bliss and a lot of hand holding by Jesus and His constant truth is what kept me sane and kept me fighting for our marriage. Without that, you wouldn’t be reading my story today. “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…” Revelation 12:11
See what’s ironic is that we both cheated on each other time and time again throughout our entire marriage and even before marriage. Yet, why was his revelation so painful you may ask if I had also cheated? Well, it’s because it never truly hurts until it’s done to you, but not only done to you; when you find out the truth directly from your spouse. It’s almost like looking in the mirror for the first time. Many details were left out of the ins and outs of our marriage and separation, but you can probably imagine how much was done and how much had to be forgiven, yet, God made it all so very clear for us. So after forgiveness now came the work, but we were not alone. We were finally a cord of three strands. “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12
Our marriage is far from perfect. Years have passed since our redemption and so much forgiveness and healing has occurred it’s almost impossible to believe how much we have overcome. We have learned through the word how to truly love and respect one another. What it means to be husband and wife. What our union and promise to each other truly means and how sacred it is to us and to our son and his future children. See marriage is not what our culture tells us it is, actually that’s exactly why and how our marriage ended in shambles. So many marriages today are dying silently. Our culture and the world’s perspective on marriage are destroying our unions and our families. Our marriage was saved not because we changed but because God transformed our hearts, healed our wounds and forgave our transgressions.
This year we celebrate 10 years of marriage, redemption and truth; His truth. This life is not our own, it’s His and His alone. Two damaged strangers united, broken, and redeemed and reunited for a greater cause. The cause… the love of Jesus. Love will always win regardless of your story, redemption is on the horizon.
Lastly, I want to also acknowledge not only friends and family who were there in person to support us and our redemption but also the online friendships as well. Those online friendships, marital blogs of encouragement and triumph became a very big part of my fight. Story after story I read online via different social media platforms helped me to fight harder and to truly believe in God’s promise for our marriage. I read and followed so many stories of redemption and some with so much more to overcome that I knew and believed the same could be done in our story. Jason and Tiffani, thank you for sharing your story of redemption, but more importantly for giving our stories a place of freedom and expression. A place to share our lives and testimony with so many more lives and fellow marriages.
If this story has blessed you, PLEASE take a moment to leave a comment for the author below. I’m sure she’ll be watching and will respond as “WIFE’D” when she is able. Thank you for reading, and may your marriage be wrapped in the peace of Christ.