The earliest memory I have of a wedding was when I was six. I was the flower girl in my Uncle’s wedding. I remember staring at my new aunt with wide-eyed wonderment as she walked down the aisle adorned in white lace and pearls. She was beautiful, and it was at that moment that I knew that one day I wanted to be just like her—beautiful and in love. As a teenager, I spent countless hours fantacizing about my wedding day, and dreaming of how wonderful it would be to someday have a wonderful husband, beautiful children, and yes the perfect house with a white picket fence. At the age of twenty-one, it seemed that my wish was coming true. That summer I married my boyfriend of two years, and this time I was the one walking down the aisle adorned in white lace and pearls. At our wedding reception, several people expressed to me and my new husband that everything that day had been perfect — sacred even. After all, my husband and I were both virgins on our wedding day. It seemed that we would have a perfect marriage and wonderful life together because everything had started perfectly. I have never been more wrong in my life. You see, I had it all planned. We would purchase our first home after 2 years of marriage, give birth to our first child after 3 years of marriage, and everything would flow perfectly thereafter.
After being married for two years, we purchased our first home. Check. Six months later, we found out that I was expecting. Check. However, when I was on the downhill stretch of my first trimester we lost our child. That was not supposed to happen. That was not a part of my happily ever after plan. For several months after the miscarriage, I suffered from depression and regret. It seemed that all of my girlfriends were either pregnant or had just given birth. I struggled with jealousy and envy. I begged and pleaded with God to allow me to become pregnant again. Six months later, God answered my prayer, and I became pregnant again. I was overjoyed, and when I gave birth to our daughter, I felt that happily ever after had finally begun. But when a severe case of jaundice threatened to plague our daughter with brain damage, my joy once again departed. Why was God toying with my emotions? After a week in an incubator, and many earnest prayers offered up to God, we were able to bring Cierra home, perfectly healthy. Praise God! I had everything I had always wanted. A husband, a beautiful healthy baby girl, our own house—from the outside looking in, things probably looked almost perfect. But they were far from it.
I soon began looking at the freedom that my single friends had with envy. They could go and come as they pleased. They didn’t have to pick up their husband’s dirty socks, or worse they didn’t have a man telling them they needed to do the dreaded “s” word—submit! How could I submit to someone whose faults were so obvious? Moreover, why weren’t so many of my husbands faults visible during our courtship? Had I been too starry-eyed to notice? After six years of marriage, I didn’t know who had changed more—my husband or me. Life suddenly felt “Cluster Phobic” and I wanted out. I felt that having gotten married so young I missed my chance at freedom. After all, I had gone from my father’s house to my husband’s house and never had a chance to experience life on my own. I was bored with life and bored with my husband. My husband didn’t tell me he loved me as much as he did in the beginning. We didn’t date as much, and romance seemed like a distant tradition. My husband didn’t read the Bible as much as he did when we first met. He was not the compassionate loving man I had fallen in love with. He was a different person and it scared me. I was also a different person, and that scared him. Going to church was a chore, and my quiet time with God was nonexistent. And then when it seemed like things couldn’t get worse, my husband lost his job. Now on top of everything else, we had money problems, which drew us farther apart. How could something that began so perfect feel so horrible?
I was so depressed. My car was repossessed and we nearly lost our house. Why God? Why?! I followed all the rules. I did everything right. So why was I experiencing so much turmoil? It did not seem fair. My husband and I were living in our home like roommates. We slept in separate bedrooms and only communicated when necessary. I hated being at home, and avoided it like the plague. In the midst of our marital woes, one of my closest family members got engaged and asked me to be her matron of honor. I did not watch my cousin coming down the aisle with the joy and excitement that I once felt whenever I attended a wedding. Instead, I fought back tears of regret, thinking that perhaps as perfect as my marriage once seemed, maybe I had made a tragic mistake. My single friends would often agonize about being lonely and growing old without the prospects of a big family or grandchildren. But I envied the peace that they had. Their homes were their fortresses; their place to relax and rest after a long day. But my home had turned into Satan’s battlefield—anything but a fortress. One night my husband attempted to make peace in our home, but I was so bitter I wouldn’t respond to him. The next thing I knew our pastor was ringing our doorbell at eleven o’clock at night. “What’s he doing here?!” I exclaimed to my husband. And I will never forget Karl’s response. “I want my wife back! I want us back, and if having the pastor come over here and pray for us, will help that happen, than so be it!”
There were many prayers that night—lots of tears too. But in the end Karl and I decided that we loved each other and that we wanted our marriage to glorify God once again. We had a long road of healing ahead of us, but now four years later I can say that I love my husband more than I do ever thought possible. This year we will celebrate ten years of marriage and I kind of wish we would have bypassed all of the pomp and circumstance of our wedding ten years ago, and had an elegant ceremony this year. Now it means so much more to me than it did then. And through it all God taught me a valuable lesson. The first lesson was that I deserve nothing but Hell. God’s blessings are not based on merit. The second lesson I learned is that happiness and joy does not come from a husband, or a family, a career or a dream house. Happiness and joy comes from God alone. You see, all of the above can change. That “perfect” Godly husband can stray away from God and become someone you never thought you’d see in your house, let alone your bed. Family can hurt you or turn on you. You can lose your “dream career” or suddenly become bored with it. And that dream house will only keep you happy for so long, until you notice something bigger and better. Than you’ll be feeling discontent once again. That’s why it’s so important to rely on God and Him ONLY to fill our lives with joy and happiness. I have never been happier with my life, but it is ONLY because of Jesus! He truly is the center of my joy, and without Him I would NOT be able to enjoy anything!
If you have never experienced this joy than I encourage you to read Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23 and Romans 10:9, 10. The first thing you must do is realize that you are a sinner in need of saving. Then you must surrender your life to Jesus Christ, and rely on Him to fill you with joy. I guarantee you will NOT be disappointed! Or maybe you are reading this and have already asked Christ into your life—yet you have overwhelming feelings of unhappiness or despair. I encourage you to get as close to your Savior as possible. Begin and end each day the same way—with Jesus. Read Christ’s love letter to us as much as possible. His Word brings healing like nothing else. Talk to God and let Him know what you are feeling. Be honest with Him. He knows it anyway. If you’re single, please know that you cannot find happiness in a husband. Only God can bring true happiness. Make your goal to get as close to God as possible. You will soon be filled with joy and contentment, because no one will ever be as good to you as God. If you’re married and feeling miserable in your marriage, rely on God to bring you happiness and pray that God will restore your marriage. Ask God to enable you to love your husband unconditionally and to bless him even if you feel he doesn’t deserve it. Or you may be in a marriage that you know is beyond repair or has already ended. Again I say, rely on God to bring you contentment. He is a lover like no other, and is waiting to show you how much He loves you. He can and will—if you let him. Amos 5:8; Jeremiah 29:11.