How Our Marriage Got Turned Around

By Christine Daniel

We married in church, because that was ‘the thing to do’ and it was a happy wedding day. But marriage turned out to be much harder than we could have imagined.

Three months in, Mark announced: “I’m not sure I want to be married and I’m not sure I want to be married to you.”

Mark was wrestling with frustration and disappointments; I was devastated by the rejection. We did stay married, sweeping our issues under the proverbial carpet, but we were drifting apart.

We muddled along for about seven years and then a baby brought joy but also further challenges.

We went to see our local vicar to discuss Christening. He asked some searching questions about our faith perspectives. We said that we couldn’t say the words: ‘we turn to Christ’ because we’d be lying. The vicar offered to do a blessing and challenged us to find answers to the questions we had raised about Jesus. Mark accelerated towards the door, but I was curious and accepted the booklets he gave us.

I read the booklets, then the whole of the New Testament and one night I said a prayer: “Jesus, if you’re real, please come into my life.” They were more than fumbling words under a duvet; this was an inner turning of the heart to God. I had a deep sense of God’s love for me and that bubbled up with joy.

Mark noticed the difference straight away: “she was much nicer and more loving, and it didn’t wear off!” He explored Christianity for himself and six months later decided that it made more sense to have a faith in Jesus than not.

We were invited to join a small group looking at what the Bible says about marriage. This was deeply outside of our comfort zone but we went along because we liked the couple leading the group. Over the course of the next year our marriage was transformed. I was released from bitterness, as I was able to forgive Mark for all the years of hurt. We found a deeper love, new joy and purpose for our marriage.

Over the years God has continued to work deeply in us as individuals and in our relationship. Mark is my best friend and the person I trust the most, I know that he has my best at heart. His anger is more under control and there is a gentleness that wasn’t there in the early days. He’s wise and I respect that.

Mark tells me that he saw treasure in me when we first met, but it was: “like a ruby covered in dirt and these days the ruby sparkles!” I’m becoming the person, and marriage partner, God always intended me to be.

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