Marriage can be excruciatingly tough, and there were seasons when I wondered if I should call it quits and get a divorce. Today, my husband Scott and I have a strong marriage and a united sense of purpose—but it wasn't always this way.
I met my husband, Scott, when I was 23 and he was 21. He was a believer and he introduced me to Jesus. We dated seven years and thought we knew each other well when we married in June 2001. But in reality? We didn't.
Sure we knew each other's quirks, likes, and dislikes, but we had no clue on how to do this thing called marriage. I came to my husband with loads of luggage and, although he was aware of the pain in my past, we hadn't truly considered how it would impact our marriage.
I was also pretty ignorant about the spiritual aspect of marriage. I didn't really know what it meant to make a lifelong commitment. Because I didn't know what God intended for the covenant of marriage, I couldn't fully comprehend the vows I was making to my husband and to God. As a result, I entered into marriage with unclear and unrealistic expectations, and I was blindsided by what marriage demanded.
Our first year of marriage was extremely difficult. Scott had saved himself sexually for marriage while I had not. Sexual intimacy was a problem for us right off the bat; I still carried a lot of guilt and shame related to the sexual sins in my past. I felt like sex was dirty even after I was married, and I wasn't able to give myself fully to my husband.
Yet, even in the midst of these struggles, God was at work in my life. Over time, layer by deep layer, God began to heal me from the scars inflicted by past sexual encounters. I was finally able to believe that being sexually intimate with my husband is not only right but is honoring to God. My spiritual life also began to change. A few months prior to the wedding I had encountered God in a very real way during a weekend retreat. Completely overwhelmed by his presence and love for me, I began to seek God more each day. I prayed to desire more of God, fearful I might lose the real life experience I had with him. And so I began to grow.
But while I was growing in my faith, it seemed to me that Scott was not growing alongside of me. I knew he loved God, but that didn't seem to be enough for me. He had been kind, gentle, giving, and loving since we first met, but I desired more from him. I wanted my husband to be everything I needed him to be—and, of course, exactly when I needed him to be those things. I expected him to fulfill all my emotional and spiritual needs even while I doubted his desire and ability to provide them. I didn't realize that what I wanted from him only God can provide.