The basics: My husband grew up in a Christian home, always in church, until they went to Africa for two and half years, where he went to British Boarding School. He didn’t know God then, only knew about Him. His parents were in the upper middle class economically.
I was not raised in church. My family was poor, especially after my dad had to retire from the the shipyard at age 47 due to emphysema. I knew very little about God. Never heard the gospel until I was 23 years old, thanks to my husband’s younger sister.
So we weren’t Christians when we got married (Christian means follower of Jesus Christ: it’s not a denomination or a religion; it’s a relationship with our Lord and Savior.).
I had a terrible temper and I had zero self-confidence. My husband joined the military to provide a living for our growing family. I was pregnant when we got married.
His first assignment was a weather cutter ship that stayed out to sea for thirty to forty days at a time. It would then come into port for seven days, two of which had to be spent aboard ship: 48 hours. I was young, clingy, naive, and I missed my husband.
I was a master at complaining and criticizing. But he was gone most of the time and didn’t hear much of it. We were okay. His next duty station was a small boat station and most of his friends were single guys. He didn’t want to spend much time with me and, since I had no driver’s license I had no way to go anywhere. I was stuck at home taking care of our son and babysitting other people’s kids. But we were sort of okay.
His re-enlistment bonus would have been a year of isolated duty in Alaska. He didn’t re-enlist. While he was waiting to be out-processed he sent our son and me home to his parents’ house to wait for him. He called every day, and they would give him a date when he could leave the base, then cancel it because the paperwork got lost. Meanwhile, my sister-in–law was working on me to “get saved.” I didn’t know what that meant but she took me to a Billy Graham movie and I saw my own attitudes and self-loathing in the main character’s life. An invitation was given at the end for people to come forward and ask Jesus to be their Lord and Savior. I did and I have never been sorry. Unfortunately, that was not the end of my troubles. I was sabotaging my marriage without knowing it.
A few days after I got saved I was really concerned for my husband. He was really getting depressed. I prayed that night before I went to bed and asked God to show me when my husband was coming home so I could have his favorite meal prepared. That night I dreamed I received a telegram that said my husband would be home on Friday. The telegram wasn’t signed but I knew who sent it. The next morning I asked my mother-in-law to stop by the grocery store and pick up the necessary ingredients for me to fix his favorite meal. She did. My husband walked in the door late that night. Our son was in bed; his parents were out at various meetings. I had him all to myself and his supper was ready.
He didn’t go to church with me at first, but I was always so excited to go to church, and so eager to go back, he was sure I had a boyfriend there. One Sunday he decided to go with me to see who it was. He got saved that day and we were baptized together the following Sunday. A young man in the church immediately approached my husband after the service and offered to have Bible study with us once a week. It was great except that my enthusiasm kept my husband from participating. I kept jumping in with questions. The men didn’t stop me and it never occurred to me that I was being self-centered and getting in the way of my husband’s learning.
He tried to get a job in the civilian world but nothing seemed to pan out. He was getting frustrated and left me for a while. I took our son and went home to my parents. I got a job during the Christmas season, praying all the while that God would bring my husband back to me. I was going to church and reading my Bible, learning a lot about God.
Part 2 Tomorrow.