This is the brief version of what God did in our marriage. It was written the month of our 5-year anniversary (November 2006). The time period it spans is from summer 1999 to spring 2005.
My relationship with my husband got started completely the wrong way. We first met when he was my student. He was married but separated and we were both in backsliding mode and both promiscuous. We ended up in a short-lived affair. After which I ended up in another ungodly relationship heading further and further away from God’s plan for me.
If this is not the man…
Fast-forward nearly two years, and I reached a breaking point. I prayed and I said to God, “Lord, if this is not the man you have for me – I just pray You would take him from me. I cannot imagine my life without him, but I trust that You will get me through it and I just ask that You’d bring the man You have for me into my life.” Less than two months later the man I was living with left me.
Dating Allen the 2nd Time
I started going back to church and one night at church I heard the Lord say, “call Allen.” So I did. When Allen and I started dating, we did not date the “right” way at all. He virtually moved in with me only going home on the weekends his kids came to stay with him. We would sleep together and then pray for God to forgive us – it was crazy. We were both a mess, but it appeared we were moving towards Him – sort of.
We were married five months later and it didn’t take me long to realize we were not both moving towards God at the same pace – Allen continued drinking and it was not pretty. For a while, I held back in my relationship with God because I didn’t want to get too “church-ie” and offend him. The Lord convicted me that I was only responsible for my own walk – and that Allen not being right with God was not an excuse for me to not be right. So I began to pursue God more and He began to heal some things in my heart.
During this period, things with my husband got worse. He struggled with porn and was drinking more and more – he would say and do really hurtful things when he was drunk – it was really difficult. I knew he had a lot of past hurts – and so for the first year and a half I tried to fix him, but it only got worse. I’m embarrassed to say I spent more time trying to psychoanalyze him than praying for him.
Finally, I got on my face before God. I knew He had put us together, but I was miserable. Broken I cried out to God; I told Him I didn’t know what to do with my marriage – I couldn’t fix it and I threw my marriage at His feet. What God said next caught me off guard – He told me to “shut up and pray.” So, I asked Him to teach me how to be a prayer warrior for my husband, which He did (within a week He had people gift me 2 books, Power of a Praying Wife and Intercessory Prayer).
Almost harder than the “pray” was the “shut up” – I’m sure you all know how hard it is not to put your two cents in – especially when someone is totally messing up. But through prayer, God was helping me to hold my tongue and trust Him.
One night when Allen was drunk in a bar, the Lord sent a prophetess to the bar to give him a word. It was powerful and it shook him, but even more than that it rocked my world because I got that God didn’t need me to say anything, He was perfectly capable of sending anyone anywhere to tell him anything! It invigorated my faith and I began to realize how big God really is.
I started a women’s prayer group, where we gathered weekly to pray for our marriages, husbands and families. I staked myself to other women believers. Then God began drawing me deeper into Him. He gave me promises of what my husband and marriage would be like. I spent a lot of time in worship mixed with prayer – especially songs that declared my trust in Him because the situation didn’t look good. I began fasting weekly for my marriage and my husband.
In the natural things would sometimes appear to get better and then they’d get worse, and worse and worse. I asked God to show me Allen as He saw him – and He began to. I began to be able to separate the amazing man that God had created with a call and a purpose from the behavior caused by past wounds and demonic influence. It enabled me to love the man but hate and fight against the enemy controlling him. I was in full battle mode. I was fighting for my husband – it was between the enemy and me and I had God on my side. And I was not going to back down and I was not going to lose.
After nearly two years came the hardest part of this trial – my Christian friends lost hope and began to encourage me to divorce Allen. One by one, all the people who I had staked myself to and who had been my support system turned. And the Lord told me to choose – who would I believe? The promises He’d given me? Or the counsel of friends.
I was reminded of Job’s friends – well meaning, but wrong. I chose to dare to believe that God was a big enough God to do what He said he was going to do – even though everything in the natural said I was crazy. It was a lonely period, but gratefully, not too long thereafter he hit bottom.
One night the police called me to retrieve my husband. He was the worst I’d ever seen him. I was in full battle mode, laying hands on him and praying over him while he was passed out, declaring the promises of God over him. The next morning I continued to press in and pray for breakthrough and it came. If God had not had me living in a place of continual forgiveness and hope – I would have missed it.
I told him he needed to get deliverance – that regardless of his best intentions, the enemy is stronger than him – than any of us – if he didn’t learn and use the authority God had given him as a believer he would continue over and over in the same patterns. He had to chose and fight for his own freedom. And he did.
The next day, Allen had his first fast. The whole day he fell under heavier and heavier conviction that there were things he needed to come clean with me on. That night he couldn’t sleep – he’d made choices trying to destroy a marriage he hadn’t cared about and was terrified to come clean because now he didn’t want to lose the marriage – but he knew he had to be honest. At 5 am he told God he was ready to tell me, but pointed out to Him that I was still asleep. God promptly woke me.
Allen told me he needed to talk to me, he said his “soul was being tortured” – the minute he spoke the words – a tidal wave of peace came down over me. I told him I forgave him – I knew he wasn’t the same man he’d been three days earlier and that no matter what it was – I forgave him. He needed to tell me and so I let him. I listened as he spoke and then told him again – “I forgive you and I love you.” He told me later that it was like I represented Jesus to him at that moment – it was unthinkable to him that I could forgive him.
Allen was baptized in the Holy Spirit a few days later and God has done some amazing things in our relationship since then. He has continued to draw and heal it.
At the time of adding this part of my testimony to this site it’s been two and a half years since my husband rededicated his life to the Lord. Most of the people we know can’t even imagine that he was ever like this because the Lord has so restored and renewed him. It moves me to tears to see how much my husband loves the Lord now and how relentless his pursuit of Him is.
- What was amazing to me was that as I trusted my heart with God – He protected it.
- I was able to maintain true joy through things that don’t make you happy! It was the supernatural peace God tells us He will give us when we seek Him. It was amazing.
- And that God is faithful and powerful – He will do what He’s said He’s going to do.
- And He is using it for good – already I’ve been privileged to see two marriages saved as a direct result of the testimony He wrote in our lives.
So to end, I just want to encourage you in 3 things:
- pray for your spouse – because it works and it’s powerful,
- trust your heart with God – it’s the only place it’s safe,
- and finally believe that God is a big God – He can make a way when there appears to be no way, He is faithful.
Update: 23 November 2016
15 years and going strong! 🙂
Update: 2 March 2018
I recorded a voice note of encouragement to a wife who was blessed by this testimony and afterward I realized others might be blessed by it too. I share it on my blog at Marital Encouragement if you’d like to listen.
Update: 10 April 2019
I’ve just shared what amounts to “part two” of our marriage testimony: Learning and Loving Our Spouse (Resetting Expectations).