We Had to Get Married

Facing reality after our shotgun wedding
We Had to Get Married

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.

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May 25

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