My Marriage Was a Mistake

Every marriage hits rough patches. In those moments, there is a tendency to look back on events that seem to be a fork in the road.

In our ten years of marriage, I have one memory that haunts me; a moment in time that I recall when the bumps seems more jolting than normal.

Sitting on a deserted beach in Cancun, Mexico, I defiantly said no to God. Josh and I had been dating for only a couple of months, but my 17-year-old heart had been waiting for those couple of months for over two years.

And yet God was telling me to let Josh go. I wouldn’t even allow my brain to delve into what that would mean. My answer was, “Please God, don’t ask that of me.”

I returned home a week later, said nothing to Josh about the conversation, and three years later we were married.

Over the past decade, I have wondered why God would ask that of me and then allow me to marry Josh. With the history of broken marriages in my family, there was a lot of prayer leading up to our wedding day. I did not want to continue the cycle of divorce, and getting married at 20-years-old required that I was 100% certain this was God’s plan for me.

It was.

So what was God’s plan in January 1998 when He told me to let Josh go? I’ll never know, because I refused out of fear.

Recently, I told Josh about that conversation. It was only then that he revealed to me a similar conversation He’d had with God in 1999.

We were freshman in bible college, and attending fall retreat. In our mountain top camp, there were ample opportunities for quiet moments with God. During one of those moments Josh felt that God told him to break up with me. We were coming up on our two-year anniversary, and Josh (like me) said no to God. He never told anyone about that conversation, but {like me} he had returned to it in difficult times during our marriage.

So, was our marriage a mistake? Are we outside of God’s will?

No.

I believe that God wanted Josh and I to have time apart, to develop our characters and spiritual walks without being dependent on one another. We have known each other since we were 15-years-old, and we started dating at 17. In order for us to have a healthy relationship, we needed to know that we could stand on our own (obviously something we were unsure of, since both of us refused to obey God when He asked us to leave each other).

Before we were married, God separated Josh and I for 5 months. The day after our engagement, Josh returned to college in Southern California, while I remained in Washington state. It was hard, and it was good for us. At the time, I knew it was because I had refused to be away from Josh when I was 17.

I’ll never know how my relationship with Josh would be different if he or I had obeyed God. The one thing I do know is that we would still have gotten married. Without a shadow of doubt, I know that my marriage was God’s will for us, not a mistake.

Unfortunately there are people who allow those doubts and past moments to dictate their present decisions. Rain on your wedding day, losing your diamond from your engagement ring (or the ring itself), mishaps and struggles do not mean that you married the wrong person. Additionally, once you are married, that becomes God’s will for your life.

Today’s culture tells us that if we’re unhappy in our marriage, or faced with difficult times, we should cut our loses and move on. God says that we are to respect our husbands and love our wives; to stay committed to the marriage covenant we made. Everyone has a moment they can say was a sign from God that their marriage was a mistake.

For Josh and I, to have ever given in to that lie would have been the true mistake.

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41 thoughts on “My Marriage Was a Mistake

  1. That is a very touching love story… So you and Josh could be soulmates… The positive feeling becomes stronger than the negative and the upset of balance, temporarily meddles with your decision making…
    But God did ask Abraham to kill his only son… A test of faith… Probably yours was a test of love… But what happened, happened for a reason and could have not happened any other way, hence it happened the way it did…

    • Lloyd, I believe it was a test of faith…one I obviously didn’t trust God in, but His will still prevailed in our time of separation later in our relationship. I love how patient He is with us!

  2. Good word Melissa. And a hard one to write I am sure. It is never easy admitting disobedience, but isn’t it funny (not haha funny) how God would separate you anyway? Cement in your hearts that you are right for each other? Your commitment is strong now and that is a good thing. i sometimes wonder if hearing God’s voice is a lot like hearing our own and wondering if it is Him or not. Know what I mean? What if that voice you were hearing to give each other up was the enemy trying to destroy what he knew would give God glory? just thinking out loud. Glad you two have found love and commitment.

    • You know Bill, in a way I feel like I’m exorcising a demon by getting this out there. I had the realization the other day that confession to one another isn’t because we have authority over each other and need someone other than God to forgive our sins. When we confess our deep, dark secrets to one another we come to see that they’re not as deep and dark as our mind (and the enemy) would have us believe and that we’re not alone in them. When we bring those areas that are hidden inside of us out to the light, the love of Jesus shines on them and we realize that even of this we are forgiven. By keeping it hidden inside of me I allowed it to have power over me. When Josh told me his story I saw the connection between those moments and our time apart even more clearly. It released us both from being able to look at that time and wonder, “Why?”

    • Thanks, Dustin. Like I said to Bill, I feel like it’s releasing something from myself in sharing it with others. I had never told Josh about that moment because I lived in fear, even once married, that I had ruined something for us by not being obedient. Bringing it in to the light was like shining a flashlight under the bed to reveal that the boogie man is just an old shoe. :)

  3. “Once you are married, that becomes God’s will for your life.” Amen. No need to wonder after the knot has been tied. Thanks for sharing this part of your story with us!

  4. How much agony goes into thinking “is this the one? is this the one?” Amen indeed that who ever you choose, God makes that “the one”.

    Marriage works best however if both man and woman realize that God Himself is “The One”

    great post Melissa

    • Oh man! That was THE QUESTION at my bible college. I love what you said about God Himself being the One. So much truth there! Thanks for adding that, Karin! :)

  5. Wow. What a fantastically honest post. Thanks for that. I, too, married the guy I’d known in my youth group from the age of 12. We started dating when I was 17, were engaged at 18 and married at 20. I look back over the years at all the mistakes I’ve made and realise I went into marriage with a fairytale picture of it – the reality is so so different! Almost 18 years on we are still together, but we have been through so many difficulties that I think have often stemmed from my naivety. Nowadays we are involved in marriage prep for couples – something we never had together – as we know that however much ‘in love’ people think they are, marriage will test them to the limit! (And build them, stretch them and make them into the people God intended too! ;) )

    • Funnily enough, Claire, I think that people who go into marriage at whatever age have a somewhat fairy tale picture of it. Marriage is difficult. Period. The hardest part about getting married young is how much you each change over the years. One of the main pieces of advice Josh and I give to young married/engaged couples is, “Let them change.” The person Josh is today is not the person I married 10 years ago; I loved who he was then and I love who he is now and I will love who he is ten years from now. :) How fabulous that you are involved in marriage prep, helping other young couples to receive the support and encouragement that you were missing!

  6. Wow, what a wonderfully honest post. Thank you for sharing more about your life and your story!

  7. Melissa…this resonates with me so strongly. In my life (and marriage), there have been many times where I’ve tried to pinpoint “why” something has happened. Is it a consequence of my disobedience to God? Is He punishing me for my sins? Surely I deserve this lot in life because I am not perfect. In the past year, He has revealed to me that I have been carrying around a lot of guilt in my heart. It’s like I’m constantly looking over my shoulder wondering if the consequences of my sin are going to come crumbling down upon me-all the things over all the years that I should have never done. But, He’s shown me that not only does He offer me forgiveness, but He removes my guilt and shame. And, while there may still be natural consequences to my sin, He doesn’t leave me. Someone told me that for unbelievers, the results of sin are consequences. For those who trust in Him, it’s discipline. He is able to use the results as a disciplinary tool, to make me more like Him, to refine me more and more into His likeness. It isn’t in vain and it isn’t useless. And, most importantly, He has redeemed me from my sin so that it no longer has a hold on me.

    • “…for unbelievers, the result of sin are consequences. For those who trust in Him, it’s discipline.”

      I love that, Keri! Thanks for adding that. :)

  8. This is the best post you’ve ever written. As in submit this thing to magazines for publication good.

    Seriously.

    Get this out beyond the borders of this blog.

  9. Transparent words, Melissa! You’re so right about people misinterpreting struggles as an excuse to flee something that God is using as a point of growth.

  10. I’ve had this open since early this morning, trying to think of something to say. The only thing that comes to mind is a recurring conversation I had with God long before I met my husband, one about addiction and salt-and-vinegar potato chips. He very, very clearly asked me if I would give up the chips for Him. Some days I said yes, some days I said no. But it was an open thing, and He didn’t press the issue. Then I married my guy, and behold, he is deathly allergic to potatoes.

    There are things God knows that we don’t know, and sometimes “will you let them go” simply means letting the other be His, letting Him have His way. I totally, firmly believe that He doesn’t have a plan B based on whether we obey Him or not. The course of our lives and the center of His will always, always draw us into relationship with Him.

    One of the things that Pete and I have been learning in our own very rough patch lately is that we are each His – we do not belong only to each other. Here is the grace for marriage, that we become one flesh, that our hearts are one in Him, and we learn to submit to each other in love as complete individuals. I don’t really understand it all yet, but it’s more than staying committed to marriage. It’s a choice to be His, and to let the other be His, and to trust His heart for you.

    Just rambling here, I guess. Your post has me thinking. :-)

    • So, I’ve been reading your comment over all afternoon, there’s so much to think about here, Kelly. :)

      “there are things God knows that we don’t know, and sometimes ‘will you let them go’ simply means letting the other be His, letting Him have His way.”

      That really resonated with me, and I think that is exactly what God was asking of Josh and I individually. It took time apart before our marriage, and also some struggles in those first few years, for us to understand that we were not meant to complete each other and we were not responsible for one another.

      I have been praying for you in this season, and I will continue to. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here!

  11. Even though I’m not married yet, I have definitely doubted decisions I’ve made in my life. Doubt is the killer of joy.
    Thank you for being so honest and sharing.

    • “Doubt is the killer of joy.”

      Wow, Katie! So true. I have been experiencing that with our latest decision to move. Second-guessing what you hear from God is a hard habit to break, but as I continue to take risks and move forward in His will I find it grows easier to trust Him in all situations. :)

  12. Wow how I needed to read this today: “Additionally, once you are married, that becomes God’s will for your life”

    For so many reasons. Probably because not a week goes by where I’m not wondering “Did I really hear God right? This CANT be where God has asked me to be at this moment, with a husband who is not walking with the Lord in any way. I must have heard wrong.” And yet even in that doubt, there are so many wonderful things in my marriage and about my husband that I think I’m crazy for thinking that way.

    In the last year, I have almost walked out so many times because in so many areas John and I are just so broken. I know that he has almost walked out too. I’m having such a hard time reconciling that God would allow me to get married and then have things go so horribly wrong in so many areas – communication, spirituality, intimacy, occupationally for John, literally there is not an area of our lives that has not been touched and marred by some difficulty.

    The hope I have is that despite all the pain and struggle, John is a GOOD man. Like at the end of the day I know he is loyal, and has a tender heart, and is good to me. The doubt I struggle with is, after so many years of waiting, did I jump in too fast? Was this God’s best for me? Was it God’s best for John? And always the question – how do we get to a place of healthiness and bondedness rather than stay as two roommates in the same house?

    Girl – your posts of late – WOWZA. On so many levels – you are so going to a new place in your writing :)

    • Jenny, I had no idea. Thank you for sharing your story here! Whenever I wear my necklace from you I think of you, and didn’t really know why. Now I will remember to pray for you each time! Stay strong, friend, and I believe that God will bring you individually and as a couple to that place of healthiness and bondedness in your relationship with each other and Him.

  13. Oh man, being divorced, these are the kinds of conversations I had with myself unto no end. It almost drove me crazy. Did I step out of God’s will and make this decision? Is that why she is divorcing me? Was it Your will that I go through this so I can be who I am today?

    The whole “God’s perfect will” deal can drive you absolutely insane if you let it. Thankfully God gave me reassurance and I now understand choices and consequences.

    • Those are such tough questions, Tony. I wouldn’t even begin to know how to answer them. I can’t imagine what you must have wrestled with in that situation. It just makes me even happier for you and Katie! :)

  14. i love this melissa. . .such a great reminder and so poignant. i think we often look for any excuse {even create excuses} we can we want to justify our actions/feelings/sin.

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