When my husband and I first met we came from completely different worlds. I was a new convert (maybe 2 months into this glorious faith), coming from a world of drugs, filth, and a life of sexual sin and abuse. He was raised in a Christian (not perfect) but still a home where God's word was final authority.
We met at Church and I was led to his worship team group to be a vocalist. I still remember when we met, it was a day the cities power went out and he was sitting in the dim room worshipping our God, he was singing an orginal song he wrote. Speaking of God first loving us. Little did I know that those lyrics would be the words that would hold our marriage together.
When I heard his voice and caught a small glimpse of him, there was this quietness that said, “This is the man I'm going to marry.” I hadn't even formally met him yet. Shortly after we met we exchanged phone numbers for for the purpose of me being a team member on the worship team in the childrens ministry. I remember when we would call me to set up times for practice, I'd find a reason to chat a little extra. Yes, very forward of me, I was not what you would call modest quiet woman yet. Afterall, I had just came from the world, and had no godly women influencing my life yet.
I was very forward and flirtatous as my old ways were there but tamed. He would respond very politely and was flattered but never led me on. Every Sunday our team would go out to eat after we played, well one Sunday, it was just he and I as the other members didnt attend that day. After church he asked me “so are you hungry wanna grab a bite to eat?” I was thrilled. Though it wasnt a date or anything, I certinely took it as he was interested in me. We went to eat and as we sat there very nervous he said, “Look over there again, and said, wow you have very pretty eyes”.
We talked on the phone the next few weeks and my fleshly desires were strong, I began to use those desires to make him want me. Yes, I caused this man to stumble, this godly man of 19 years. I am not proud and frankly I am very ashamed of my behavior. We fornicated and were both driven by lust and fleshly desires. It was destroying us. We stepped down from serving our church and went to talk with a Pastor and we seperated for a time and came together again in Holy Matrimony. We were driven by lust when we married. And, it was lust that nearly destroyed our marriage early on.
We had it rough we had it hard for so many years in our marriage. This man I married deserved better and everyone in his family warned him not to marry me, I was this broken woman with tons and tons of baggage and garbage. Yet he married me anyway. And, well it was Hell for us both. I was not a virtuous woman, infact I had no integrity, I would throw around the word divorce like it was no big deal, I would tell my husband I hated him and hated our marriage and hated being married to him. I complained about all he didn't do, and being a keeper of my home was the last thing on my mind.
There was no charity in me. All I cared about was prophecies, faith, serving in the church, but their was no love in me or in my marriage. While, my husband desperately tried to love me, I remained a bitter, drama of a woman. My communication, my conduct my very being was far from virtuous. All I cared about was being a Womans Ministry leader and him being a leader in the Mens Ministry.
I was not grounded in my faith and yet somehow God prepared to handle me. He loved me through it all. He never gave up. We have been married now for 13 years and, well, we have had to fight hard and strong to stay married. We are not alike at all and our relationship was founded upon lust. Lust, only lasts so long and gets you so far. It destroys you. Our marriage early on was hard we fought , we screamed, we punched holes in walls, we fell into various sins, and nearly divorced, meanwhile we went to Church battleing this daily. No one ever knew what was going on. I was very good at concealing the matter in front of people. In fear of “being judged”.
God began to work in us in me and as I yielded more in submission to Jesus, the gospel began to penetrate my soul and overflow in my marriage. We had to fight for every smile, we had to fight for every hug,we had to fight for every kiss, and we every conversation. We knew that if we wanted to stay married it would be a fight we would have to fight for the rest of our lives.
Here we are 13 years later and we still are contending for our marriage we are still fighting to stay close. You see the enemy prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour, and he is ruthless. We never gave up—my husband has loved me like I've never been loved, he has stayed by me when I wanted to kill myself and end my life, he stayed by me when I wanted to leave, and he still loves me.
He fights for me daily, with a hug, with a kiss, with a smile. We too as wives must contend for our men our marriage.
We must fight for a good marriage because great marriages dont just happen by accident. And for those who have a past like ours and have a rough start to their marriage. The fight will be even harder.
But with Christ all things are possible! I am so thankful now for the victory God has given to me, to know and understand what being Virtuous means. I think of the Proverbs 31 woman and Boy, did she contend. She fought to be a woman of virtue. It is not easy, its hard work. But Like the book “Living Virtuously says, The Proverbs 31 woman uses action words.”
We are either building our home or tearing it down. I tore mine down for many years. Now I daily contend and fight to live Virtuous in my marriage. I wish when I first was married that I had a Living Virtuous Book a guide on being a keeper of my home. Use this resource as you contend for your faith and for your marriages!
Contributing Writer for Keeper of the Homestead
Darlene's story is much like my story, a few different circumstances, but the same baggage, the same spirit was within me as I entered into my marriage when I was very young. Experience has shaped me and the Lord, through His amazing grace, has made beauty for all my ashes and a cup of oil for my mourning.
I know that many of you struggle, too. It is time to rise up and take back the years the Locusts stole because of our ignorance and your shame. We much trust in Christ and live victoriously--Live Virtuously.
If you have not yet considered reading my book, Living Virtuously, I did not write the book for any other reason than to help others overcome and become a Virtuous Woman, too. Many stories like Darlene's story, stories of of pity and baggage turned into loudest praises. It is possible—I am proof! You can have a glorious marriage and a joy filled life all the while you learn practical ways to keep your home. There is no reason not to take a step today to learn! My book, LIVING VIRTUOUSLY is still 25% off and you get a bonus pdf that I will email you a code to obtain if you preorder my book. Then you can start reading today! ~Erin Harrison