Today marks 12 years Tracey and I have been married for the second time. Due to some pretty gnarly habits and fast paced lifestyle our first try at marriage went down in flames. Truth be told, I don’t know how anyone can stay married without Christ.
Looking back it seems we were both running from God and our upbringing. Tracey grew up attending church on a regular basis and so did I. It seems, like many others, by the time we reached “Adulthood” we thought we knew better than our parents so we hit the road to live life our way. Doesn’t the Bible tell us “All we like sheep have gone our own way”? The good news is God is all knowing, and if it wasn’t for us partying and frequenting bars we probably wouldn’t have met each other. Imagine that–two prodigals. We were both running the wrong way but that meant we were running the same direction.
Without going through all of the gory details let me just say we had been married for 5 years when it all collapsed. Tracey came to me one day, looked me in the eye and said, “Are you willing to make this relationship work?” Now just for a little clarification, let me say she had been attending church and attempting to get her life together for a while before this confrontation occurred. I, on the other hand, didn’t want anything to do with it, and I was deep into addiction and denial.
When she asked me about my willingness to make the relationship work all I heard was “Are you willing to straighten up?” At that point I wasn’t and said, “No”. That’s all she needed to hear so she packed some things and left. What was meant to be a two week separation, with the hope that I would come around, turned into a divorce. That’s when things really turned dark for me.
My destructive behavior became worse and worse, because without Tracey around it seemed I had no conscience at all. Of course that isn’t really true but it did make my bad choices a little easier to make. I no longer had to tip toe around her so the partying took over even more. For those of you that have been there you know that can’t last. At some point there comes a crash. People always want to know what did it. They say, “What was your bottom?” I can’t really say there was any one thing but rather a series of things. Tracey left, I could no longer function well enough to keep my employment, friends didn’t want to come near me because of my poisonous attitude, and I lost all hope of being able to manage my life.
Jumping ahead a bit I went through a treatment program for a year and half in order to kick drugs. Toward the end of that time I made the move to go to church in the hope that I could find meaning and direction in life. I had come to a stand still without a clue as to which way to turn.
In a short period of time of attending church and reading the Bible I was born again. One night during a revival meeting I asked Tracey if she wanted to pray about our relationship. She agreed, tentatively, so we prayed. As a young man I had said a prayer for salvation but apparently it hadn’t stuck. My prayer this night wasn’t for salvation, or at least I didn’t think it was. Basically I prayed “God you have to show her I mean business.” I had tried to prove to Tracey my life was changed but she kept me at a distance and rightfully so. Now I was handing it over to God. If she was going to trust me again it was going to take a miracle so I left it in God’s hands. Little did I know how much my life was going to change because of that prayer.
On the way home from church, in my car alone, I was born again. I had no idea what was happening to me at the time, but the Spirit of God came into my life in a tangible way. I had a sensation that moved from the bottom of my feet through my whole body to the top of my head. My heart started pounding, I laughed and cried and was clueless as to why, but deep inside of me it was as if God was telling me “I’ve got this” and he has ever since.
Tracey and I were subsequently remarried on July 31st 2001 after being divorced for two years. Neither one of us was looking to reestablish our relationship, but God had other plans. Let me back up a minute. It was a little while after being born again because Tracey had to be convinced so she devised a plan. I had opened my mouth at some point and told her “I’ll try anything you want”. She took me up on that by way of getting me to eat broccoli. I never liked broccoli, but I told her I would try it so after smothering it in cheese I gave it a whirl. Well, it was just as I suspected, and I haven’t had any since but that night Tracey became convinced I meant business.
We have been married now for 12 years and what an adventure it’s been. We are both involved in jail and prison ministry, teach a couples Sunday school class and lead a Bible study on Wednesday’s. We have truly become one as God intended. A big part of the reason is I decided at some point to be all in. Living as two independent people in a marriage can’t work.
God designed marriage to be two becoming one. The reason is because it is a picture of the union we have with him in the Spirit. The Bible tells us “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” When two people are really working as one in a marriage it is a light to the rest of the world. It is to the glory of God because I promise without him in the middle this wouldn’t work. I guess we’ve already proven that haven’t we? Without him life is grueling, but with him as our life it is a new adventure everyday.
Written by Louie