I got married when I was 19 years old to a military man. We had met in college during our freshman year. I had been raised on Air Force bases my entire childhood and swore I would never marry anyone in the military. I met my husband, we fell in love, and he proposed……and enlisted. Go figure. I became a Christian 9 years later, when our daughter was almost 2 years old. I was a member of a church, on the Women’s Ministry Board, and taught Sunday school while we lived out west. I was clicking along pretty well until I had a conversation with a friend that shocked her to bits. It became apparent during that conversation that I did not believe Jesus was MY Savior (I totally believed he was everyone else’s) and she walked me through a sweet prayer. It was then that my faith walk began, in my kitchen on the phone with a friend, scared out of my ever lovin’ mind. “What NOW?” I think was my most profound thought.
I am blessed to be married to a good man, a man who is not antagonistic to my walk, but doesn’t want to be on one himself. It is tough to walk into a church as part of a couple, but enter in alone. Marriage sermons and classes are excruciatingly difficult as you look around and imagine that everyone else in that congregation has it perfect. (Logically, I know that they don’t. But my imagination tells me that they do.) The evil one can sow seeds of discontent in my situation as I start to think that “if only” my husband would become a Christian, every problem we have or have EVER had will magically right itself and we would ride off into the sunset blissfully happy. Anyone in a marriage with a believer? Let me know how that sunset thing is working.
Another pitfall of my particular situation is an unexpected one. My husband strives to be supportive. So supportive, in fact, that not too long ago I had filled up almost every evening with church activity while he stayed home. It was such an easy trap to fall into, and we drifted apart as a consequence. It wasn’t my fault, you see, because I was SO MUCH MORE SPIRITUAL. (Insert eye roll here). Ignoring my husband while making time for ministry work is not honoring, to God or to him.
One of the things that I have had to deal with on this journey is the fact that so many people will say well-meaning things. Things like, “I’m just sure that he will come to know the Lord, keep praying!” Well, I will keep praying, but I am not so sure that he will come to know the Lord. I hope he does. I pray he does. I BEG he does. But if he doesn’t, what does that mean for my walk? Do I wait to grow while waiting for him to catch up? Do I trash him to my friends because he is not “behaving” in the way that I would like him to? Absolutely not. My calling is to love this man with all that I have while I am on this earth. I am still to seek the blessing of the Lord while I am walking this road. While seeking the blessing of the Lord it is important, however, not to define which blessing the Lord may bestow. If I am seeking confirmation of my faith in the form of my husband’s conversion, what will happen to my faith if that does not happen?
Can I tell you that in the middle of this my God has been GOOD to me? He has shown me that I am loved. He has shown me that I need to make my marriage a priority, and church will not fall apart if I am not there. I have even learned that when my husband asks me to go out to breakfast on a Sunday morning, it is ok to go. I have learned that I am not alone. There are many women who walk into a church on a Sunday morning while loved ones are at home. We can be there for each other for support and to pray and cry together. We can lift up our husbands before the throne of grace of Almighty God when things seem hopeless. Continue to grow in your faith, dear friend. When you feel like you are all alone, remember that there are sisters out there to lift you up.
Dawn Russell is a wife of an Aspie, mom to a great kid, loud laugher, Jesus lover, bible study leader and sporadic blogger (working on it) at www.womendrawingnear.com. Contact Dawn at firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook at www.facebook.com/dawn.russell.718 or twitter at www.twitter.com/lets_draw_near.