I met my husband when I was at a low point in my life. My career was hanging in the air, socially I felt inept and spiritually--well, that part of my life was nonexistent. After a short courtship we married-- he proposed after I told him I was pregnant and it was probably the most unromantic proposal in the world. So, it was not surprising after almost four years of a turbulent marriage we both wanted to call it a day. I grew up in the church and I always had dreamt that if I ever got married I would defy the relationship of my parents and others around me and make mine work.
I was devastated that our relationship was going to end. I sought refuge through Christian friends with whom I had always remained in contact (it helped that they never judged me for what I went through). I explained to my husband that I needed time out and that we would talk after my weekend away. That weekend was the turning point for me.
My girlfriends gathered around me and prayed for my family. I prayed and asked God into my heart. I had no energy to do things on my own. I wanted God to take over. It was during this time my friend gave me a copy of the book The Power of a Praying Wife.
I was thankful that I now had a tool to use to pray for my husband. I set out to ask God to change my husband who was in need of forgiveness and transformation. As far as I was concerned, my husband was the reason our family was disintegrating, and I was determined I was going to be the one to ask God to help this man change.
As I entered the process of prayer and began to journal that process, God revealed to me the mistakes I had made in our relationship and showed me how I should and could change. God melted my heart and made me realise I was just as guilty as my husband, if not more.
We were both responsible for the climate in our household. I knew without wholehearted forgiveness we were not going to get anywhere. I had always been an advocate for forgiveness. Now I was confronted with what seemed like my greatest challenge. I was reminded through Scripture that I shouldn't expect forgiveness if I couldn't do the same for others.
But I also started journalling my prayers because I wanted to be accountable for the amount of time I spent with my Saviour and also because I wanted to keep track of the prayers God answered. It was amazing to see that God not only answered prayers I uttered, but answered prayers I was about to pray.
Through the journalling process I realised God had changed me. Those who know me will attest to the fact that I am strong willed, bad tempered and can make cutting remarks. God showed how I must change in order to save our marriage.
At times I get weary, but God always senses this and will send encouragement via a friend, email or my child to say, "Hey, I know what you are going through--your prayers and work for Me will not be in vain."
My marriage is far from perfect. We are still working at it. We have struggled through postnatal depression, poverty and infidelity. Although these obstacles made things difficult, they have also made our relationship more open, honest and stronger. I still pray that one day we will worship as a family. To serve God as a family unit is what I long for. For all of you who struggle with an "unevenly yoked" relationship, believe me when I say God knows our pain and will answer our prayers.
Listen to me! You can pray for anything, and if you believe, you will have it. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too. Mark 11:24, 25.
–Angie Gibson-Elia is a high school English teacher who lives in Auckland, New Zealand.
This story is used with permission from Signs Publishing Company. More of these stories can be found in these collections: Ordinary People—Extraordinary God, Ordinary People—Faithful God, and Ordinary People—Generous God