Romantic comedies have a formula: girl meets boy, boy and girl have some strange and complicated confusion, boy and girl discover they are truly made for one another, then everything is bliss, marriage is inevitable, life is good. Or something like that.
Romantic comedies often leave out the part that marriage is more like a lifetime of learning to enjoy and love and forgive and serve a person who will inevitably sin against you. Romantic comedies leave out months of mourning the loss of a baby or dealing with illness or late night talks through tear-filled eyes. Romantic comedies leave out the restless nights, financial struggles, prayers for safety, conversations about children, and thoughts about the end of life. Oh, some romantic comedies may hit on a few of these things, but these movies are typically one-dimensional, fairy tales and can’t encompass all that marriage entails through a lifetime of knowing and being known by another person.
My husband, Thern, and I have lived what many may think is a bit of a fairytale. We love each other dearly, and we actually enjoy one another too. Though we are far from perfect, we really are happy. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank the Lord for this union and covenant of marriage
On December 6 Thern and I will celebrate 14 years of marriage. We anticipate that this 15th year will be filled with the same joys and sorrows that each year so far has brought. But we once again anticipate the faithfulness of God. Today, I wanted to share a small taste of our testimony—a testimony of God’s grace and faithfulness.
Thern and I started dating when I was incredibly young. I was 19 years old when we first began to show interest in one another. Thern was 25 and basically ready for marriage. I was ready to explore college life. Neither of us were Christians, but both of us enjoyed our friendship and what became a romantic relationship—except it was not a good or healthy relationship. My immaturity and desire to explore didn’t match his readiness for marriage. We tried twice at engagement and broke it off twice. Both heartbroken by sin and what seemed like the end, we parted ways.
After that second engagement to Thern ended, I went to a friend’s church, heard the gospel for what might have been the twentieth time, and submitted my life to the Lord. My life was forever changed. I still loved Thern, but I knew that now we could never be together. After awhile, my heart for Thern changed from a desire to be with him romantically to a desire for him to know the Lord. So, after a year of praying and waiting, I invited him to an event.
To make a long story short, Thern came to the event. After meeting with a now-dear friend, Thern, too, became a Christian. But that didn’t mean we immediately got back together. In fact, Thern and I barely spoke to one another, even though we now attended the same church. Many wouldn’t have even known that we had once been engaged (twice!). Thern was active in the singles ministry, and I was working for the church doing campus ministry. We kept our distance for the most part, enjoying a chat from time to time.
Finally, after another year, Thern asked me if I’d be interested in a courtship. (“Courtship” was what we were doing back then in certain Christian circles.) I said I was not interested at the time because I wanted to concentrate of serving the college ministry. I knew that I wanted to spend that year focused on ministry. Of course I spent that year worried that Thern might find someone else—so much for concentrating!
The year passed, and I anxiously waited to see if Thern might still be interested in me. He was! By then I knew that I wanted to be his—forever, if he’d have me. We were married six months later.
Grace Upon Grace
God was merciful to us, first reconciling each of us to Himself and then to one another. Our testimony is that God who is rich in mercy, because of the great love that he has for us, made us alive in Christ. By his grace we have been saved. We recognize God’s sovereign wisdom in all the brokenness we experienced prior to our marriage. We also believe that those obstacles that kept us from getting together at first were actually a blessing, that God was likely protecting us from what might have been a miserable and hard marriage. God is so good!
And we believe it’s a bit of icing on the cake that we are in an interracial marriage. In many ways God allows us to testify about his ability to bring together people from every tribe, tongue, and nation every single day. Again, our God is so good!
Thern and I have experienced more happy and wonderful days than sad, but to say we haven’t had terribly sad days would be a lie. Oh, how grateful I am that neither of us has to put on a mask, pretend we have it all together, or fake our way through this life. God has used the counsel of others and the local church as a means of protecting and caring for our marriage. Thern and I know that every trial and sorrow and struggle that we’ve experienced only points back to the awesome sustaining grace of our Father. We can honestly say that we love one another more today than we did yesterday. This is only because of the grace and mercy of our God.
So, thank you for reading our testimony and celebrating with us! We are thankful for these past 14 years together. God has been faithful! We don’t have a RomCom marriage—and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.