How God Transformed My Marriage

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Don and I were married in 1988. He is a quiet, private person, and by his own admission, was very comfortable living behind a wall. We drifted apart emotionally pretty quickly, and then rode out the first several years in a very superficial relationship. We went to church, had a couple kids, and looked pretty good on the outside. Remember….I’m good at doing that! And I found myself falling back into some old “mask-wearing” patterns of behavior.

I was continuing to learn new things in my walk with God, but Don just didn’t seem too interested. He did go to church regularly,  and was even in leadership, but if I tried to talk to him at home about spiritual things, he’d shut down. I was a little concerned, but mostly just frustrated. I went through what alot of women go through…that time of trying to be the Holy Spirit to your husband, then learning it won’t work, then learning to keep the mouth shut and wait on God.

During the next several years, we had a couple more kids (!) and continued to look pretty normal on the outside, but in reality, we were struggling with some major conflicts and issues in our marriage.  Don grew colder and colder spiritually. He morphed into a man I almost didn’t recognize. He became intensely controlling, jealous, angry, and suspicious.  A very few of my close friends knew how bad it was, but most people didn’t. He refused to go to counseling, and threatened to leave me if I went without him. 

During this time, though, God graciously gave me a mentor and close friend who constantly helped me see things spiritually. She met with me weekly, and held me accountable. We wrote out prayer cards (based on the book The Power of a Praying Wife), did Bible studies, and discussed what a godly response to this would look like. Most importantly, she taught me how to love with Christ’s love, an unconditional love that wasn’t based on my feelings or on Don’s behavior. God taught me some amazing things during those dark years.

But gradually,  it kept getting worse. His anger issues began to affect the kids, and his jealous, controlling behavior intensified to a really unhealthy point. I was actually afraid of him. He had never hurt me physically, but his behavior was so bizarre that I was afraid he was nearing a breakdown. In the spring of ’06 it came to a head. I knew it was time to insist on getting help. I was at my friend’s house who had been my spiritual mentor, and after much prayer, I told Don I wouldn’t be coming home…but I would meet him in a counselor’s office. I fully expected him to explode in anger, but instead he broke. He made an appointment with a counselor and we went. His brokenness shocked me. He cried alot, was very sorry, and begged me to forgive him. We went through a couple months of counseling, worked through some deep issues, and I watched the walls slowly come down.

At first, the walls that came down were just the ones he had built between us. He still had the walls up with God. We had alot of deep, spiritual conversations and I saw a curiosity in spiritual things that I’d never seen before. He started reading his Bible. He asked questions. Then one Saturday night we were up talking til 3 in the morning. I mentioned my prayer cards, and he didn’t know what I was talking about, so I showed him. They were 3×5 cards where I had written out my specific prayers for him. He read them, and started crying. We had a really sweet conversation about it all, and the next morning we went to church. The sermon was on “Surrender” and as we sat in the service, he was grasping my hand so tightly that it hurt! And as soon as the preacher prayed, even before the music began, he pulled my hand and we went down to pray together. It was a pretty amazing experience! 

Since then, I’ve seen such incredible evidence of the Spirit of God in his life. He is like a completely different person. He has a sensitivity now that he never had before. He has a thirst for God’s Word, he can actually SEE spiritual things, and he even apologizes!! haha! that was something he didn’t know how to do before! When he gives his testimony (which is often, and always amazes me!) he jokingly says that before, he was always right, never wrong…and now he’s wrong most of the time!! It sounds funny, but actually, that humility is another evidence of the Spirit of God in him.  It’s been so amazing to witness! We are living in a completely different relationship now, and I sometimes wonder where my husband is, and who this new man is!! He really is a new creation!!  It’s been 3 years now, and we are still standing in awe of the miraculous way God stepped in and displayed His power in Don’s life and in our marriage.

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12 Responses to “How God Transformed My Marriage”

  1. Wanda Smith Says:

    I actually cried as I read this, Charity, and am excited to see the hand of God in your life as to the way he worked in your relationship. We serve a great, big, wonderful God!

  2. Phyllis Says:

    This reminds me of the song “Stained Glass Masquerade” By Casting Crowns. Being open about our faults and struggles is so freeing.

  3. Judy Says:

    Charity, thank you for sharing so openly. You’ve obviously been led to write publicly to show others how awesome and life-changing God can be. To be vunerable about whats on the inside- what others can’t see will change lives. let your faith and love for God continue to grow. love ya girl

  4. Dana Says:

    Can you imagine having a marriage where Christ wasn’t there? How do the unsaved survive? Marriage is hard no matter who we are but with God all things are possible!!! I think you guys have seen in your early years what some marriages never see or understand. God is so gracious when we allow it. We girls are sooooo hard headed and try to fix things our way instead of waiting on God. You have been faithful and you were rewarded. Doesn’t it make life so much sweeter?

  5. Debbie Fisher Says:

    Charity this is an amazing story of having Christ in your marriage. I was very moved, when I read it. Thankyou to you and Don for setting an example to the rest of us.

  6. Meredith Says:

    For those of us who struggle with it, those mask wearing behaviors are the default option unless there is a conscious effort to remove the mask. I came face to face with my own mask in January when I was at Liberty. Through a certain course of events (no doubt directed by God), I was introduced to a sermon by John Lynch and his book TrueFaced. It absolutely exposed me to myself in a way I had never seen before.
    Thanks for sharing your story! It’s so exciting that God does honor the prayers of the faithful when we humble ourselves enough to GET OUT OF HIS WAY!

  7. Charity Says:

    Wow, thanks everyone, for commenting and sharing your thoughts. So many good things mentioned here…getting out of God’s way, getting over our own hard-headedness, the difficulties we face in marriage and our desperate need for God, taking off the masks, being vulnerable, “stained glass masquerade” (LOVE that song!!)…thanks for mentioning the book, Meredith. Think I’ll add that to my list of books I want to read! Please keep the comments coming. I love to hear your thoughts!!

  8. Dee Hall Says:

    Charity,
    I have some extra minutes here in Boston and read your blog. What you have shared has shown great courage . It has also been such a testimony to many. We are so happy to have your family as neighbors and will pray for you as your live your lives for His glory. God is so good!
    love and prayers,
    Dee

  9. Regina Says:

    Thinking back…God is so good!!

    Love you lots!

    Regina

  10. Charity Says:

    Thanks, Dee…what a gift it’s been to have such wonderful, godly neighbors!! We love you guys! =)

    And Regina…have I thanked you lately for the part you played?? I’m sitting here in tears now, as I think back on that scary day when God led me to take that stand, and the support and security that you and Dan offered us. I’m not sure how it would’ve turned out if you two hadn’t been there for us. So let me thank you here, publicly, for letting us lean so heavily on you, for walking through those dark days with us, and for allowing God to use you in our lives. You are an amazing friend!!!

  11. Carol Anne Says:

    Good grief! I did not know we share our year of emancipation too! When we talked about the commonalities in our marriages, it just didn’t hit me that the year we re-married was the very year you and Don were going through the same sort of metamorphosis. I so wish we were not moving…Jeff and Don could totally relate. We could have had a double re-wedding…LOL. We really DO need to do lunch!

  12. Charity Says:

    hahahaha! Double Re-wedding!! wouldn’t that have been fun?!? It’s amazing enough that we went through such similar circumstances and really weird that it was around the same time! and THEN that God allowed our paths to cross like they have. Wonder what it all means…hmmm….well, it’ll make for a good lunch conversation, at least. And who knows…maybe one day God will show us what He was up to with all those similarities!

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