|*Names have been changed
I accepted Christ in 1995 and started to serve God fervently. Not long after, I fell in love with *Andy. He is a wonderful man but he did not know the Lord. Like many women, I thought I could have the best of both worlds. But I was wrong. I struggled to manage both my relationship with Andy and my walk with God, and before I knew it, I had stopped serving and was no longer attending church.
Eventually, Andy and I got married in 2000 and moved to Singapore. We started attending City Harvest Church and Andy even got baptized. I was overjoyed as I thought that I could finally serve God together with my husband.
However, I soon realized that outward actions without true repentance in our hearts cannot bring true and lasting change. Although Andy was physically attending church and even got baptized, he was not interested in the things of God.
I did not give up hope as I believe that God has brought us thus far and He will surely complete the good work that He had started. I continued to be faithful in the house of God and constantly prayed for a change in Andy’s heart towards God.
In 2006, Andy started to attend cell group meetings and church regularly. At that time, Susan Dunn was our cell group leader. Slowly but surely, I could sense that he was drawing closer to God.
But in 2008, I faced the greatest test in my marriage that caused me to surrender completely to God.
Andy was offered a promotion in his company and like most wives, I wanted my husband to be successful in his career and prosper financially so the family can have a good life. But I was insensitive to his needs and self-esteem and that lead to a major crisis.
At my urging, he took up the promotion and began his new role in 2009 but he was extremely unhappy and stressed out. The workload and mental stress was unbearable for him and soon, communication between Andy and I began to wane.
I tried to connect and communicate with him in whatever ways I could think of but he was under so much stress that he could not respond normally to me. And his moods would often swing between aggression and depression. Nothing I did seem to please him. His refusal to communicate or share his feelings made me angry and sad.
Our attempts to communicate lead to huge arguments and several times, resulted in physical aggression.
During one particularly bad fight, I was so overwhelmed that I ran out of the house and drove about aimlessly in the car. The physical wounds I bore stung but the wounds in my heart hurt even more.
I could not understand where or what had gone wrong and I was ready to end the marriage. I felt defeated and unjustified. I felt that God was punishing me for the mistake I made when I chose to marry Andy when he did not share the same faith as I did.
But something in me told me to hang on and gradually, I found my way back to God. On a Sunday, with my bags packed, I ended up in church as I had no way to go and in the presence of God, I surrendered completely to God. I decided I would bear the cross the way Christ did and trust God to open a way in my marriage.
I returned home that day and gave my two children a big hug. I could not afford to break up this family because of my unbelief. I chose to believe that God can and He will turn the situation around.
Emotionally drained and tired, I took up the courage to call my cell group leader, Teresa and shared with her the challenges I had been going through. She stood with me in prayer and advised us to seek medical help for Andy’s condition.
Andy had to quit his job to rest and recover. And I thank God that during the time that he was jobless, God continued to provide us for financially.
Even as Andy went through his journey of restoration, I had to go through my personal journey of healing through faith and grace from God.
The pent-up frustrations of taking care of Andy and the children started to take a toll on me and at one point in time, I felt that I was at the bottom of the pit. But my church leaders continued to encourage me and I choose to put my faith in God, trusting Him.
God healed me from all the guilt and bitterness I bore all these years and restored back to me my first love for Him. I began to seek God first above all things. My leaders taught me to pray constantly for Andy, to speak positively into his life and to submit and love even when I don’t feel like it. I even started to tithe on Andy’s behalf and this lead to a series of miracles.
Not long after, Andy found a job with a much better pay and environment and we could even go for a family holiday to Australia together. To me, this precious family bonding time was a beautiful gift from God.
Today, Andy’s battle with depression is over and through this challenging period, we have grown closer as a couple. We have learnt to communicate better and more importantly; we have chosen to honor God in our marriage and family. The journey is not over yet but I know that just as Christ laid His life for the church, and if I choose to pattern Christ in this manner in my marriage, anything is possible with God and to the one who believes.
Truly, as written in Joshua 24:15 “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”