The kitchen linoleum was covered with rose petals and chicken noodle soup. Among that mess sat our marriage certificate, angrily shredded into little pieces.
I can't remember what triggered the argument that led me to throw my soup across the room, rip the rose petals, and tear into our year-old marriage certificate. That's because my husband, Brian, and I fought all the time. What I do remember is marking the calendar on days when we didn't fight . . . maybe once a week or month. In fact, the red roses that lay torn on the floor had been a truce from Brian the day before. But truces don't last long in a teenager's war.
Just the Beginning
It began innocently enough: Brian and I were two good Christian kids who met in our high school's jazz band. We started dating when I was 16 and he was 17. We continued dating after Brian went to a local college on an athletic scholarship. Brian had been the president of his church's youth group; I was an honor-roll student. At the time, my father was a church deacon and my mother a Bible study fellowship leader. Having attended church nearly all my life, I'd accepted Christ dozens of times for good measure, and I could recite the books of the Bible by heart. But I made the dangerous assumption that God was happy just to have me on his team. While I was sure there was a God, I found it a little hard to believe he cared about what I did on my dates.1