Written by: Julia Cooper
“I can’t say I never considered divorce, I did… several times, but God checked my spirit every time.”
Ted and I married almost 40 years ago, and our marriage has always been difficult. I quickly discovered that Ted had some emotional issues. He was cold, stubborn, and insisted on everything being his way. Dishonesty came easily. He walked away from arguments or when I voiced an opposing view. When we had children, I took them to church alone. We were not on the same spiritual path. When I realized nothing I said or did helped, I prayed for him and dove into God’s Word for help and strength.
I saw God begin to work when Ted lost his 16 years long high-level job. In changing careers, we moved from NC to Memphis. He developed a drinking problem, a fact he largely kept from me because he was very high functioning. He was not emotionally or mentally present while we were raising two girls, and middle school for our youngest brought challenging issues in which I felt very alone. It was a difficult time for me, but throughout it, God was drawing me to Him and provided me with loving support and encouragement from Christian friends and my oldest daughter. At times, God filled me with utter joy and peace when outward circumstances dictated otherwise.
Finally, Ted’s health deteriorated, and God brought him to his knees and to the point of surrender, where he realized he needed help. This drew him to Jesus and resulted in a heart change. He gave his life to the Lord in February 2014. As a result, his life and attitude have been transformed, and he no longer wants to be that man but to please Jesus in all that he does. God’s word showed him that his sense of complete self-reliance was a deterrent to dependence on God. Ted agreed to marriage counseling, and we received much healing through Dr. Bill Bellican’s counseling and re|engage, a biblical 16-week program for reigniting marriages, offered here at Central Church. Ever since his spiritual rebirth, he is a new creation, and he has committed the last eight years to work on our marriage and his relationship with Christ. We are now truly partners and serve God together. He has also found his calling…helping others with their marriages and recovery.
I can’t say I never considered divorce, I did… several times, but God checked my spirit every time. I had no way of knowing, nor did I ever imagine, we would be on the same spiritual path or that our marriage would be where it is. I have seen the outcome of prayer, obedience, and trust in Jesus, not giving up but letting God work. God has shown His faithfulness to us, in that when we believe His Word and act on it, He does what seems impossible, but with Him, nothing is impossible! We both have had to adapt because we are committed to each other, and we realize that nothing on earth will be perfect. Our hope is in heaven. Our testimony is one thing we can leave behind, and we are blessed to have it for our own family and others. It is truly God’s story, and all glory belongs to Him!
If you would like additional resources on how to have a godly marriage, check out the links, videos, and other recommendations below.
For Better or For Worse
A Marriage Conference
Hebrews 13:4 says, “Let marriage be held in honor among all.” The Better or For Worse marriage conference will help you understand what it means to honor your spouse so that you can enjoy the better times and work through the worse times.
Sermon Part 1:
A Showoff Marriage
Sermon Part 2:
A Spirit-Partnered Marriage
Sermon Part 3:
A Hot Pursuit Marriage
Sermon Part 4:
A United Marriage