Did I Marry The Right Person?

Shelly Foshee

One of the greatest struggles I had early on in my marriage was questioning myself about missing the mark. Did I marry the wrong person? When Gray and I got married, we were pregnant. We came from a pretty legalistic upbringing. The situation we found ourselves in was greatly frowned upon. So as confident as I was that I loved him, there was a lot of pressure for us to get married. “To do the right thing”, as we were told. This opened the door for the enemy to taunt me by thoughts and questions, bringing much doubt into our marriage. This was not a good starting point  for our lives together.

HOLY SPIRIT 

Without the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, there is no way that Gray and I would be married today. Being raised in a Chrisitan home, by parents that were not perfect, but loved God, pursued a relationship with Him and did their best to point me in that direction, I count myself blessed. I knew the importance of reading His word and turning to Him in prayer for all my needs. 

THE ENEMY

I met Gray when I was in eighth grade. We dated off and on throughout High school. I loved him with all the capacity that my heart and head had as a teenager. Having sex prior to marriage was never in my life plan. I was a “good girl”. Yet, I found myself in that very situation, and pregnant. The day I realized that I was pregnant is forever stamped on my heart. I felt so much shame (not of God - “you are a loser”, “you have ruined your life”), and guilt (of God - "I have sinned. I have stepped outside the bounds of God’s instructions for my life").

We quickly planned a wedding, which was beautiful by the way. Married life began after a long weekend honeymoon to a local beach. Back to work on Monday, I found myself quickly realizing that this was not what I had imagined. I worked a full time job and became more pregnant as the months passed. I remember talking to God, “What have I done? This is not fun, and I am miserable.” 

COVENANT

Coming from a heritage of non-divorce and from a religious legalistic background, divorce was not an option. What I first had to settle in my heart was what a covenant was. Marriage is a covenant. Knowing that God’s word often spoke of covenant, I went there for clarification. 

I found in Jeremiah 31:33 that God made a covenant with His people. I saw this repeated over and over again in the Old Testament (Jeremiah 31:31, Deuteronomy 7:9, Zechariah 9:11). The New Testament tells us that Jesus brought a new covenant in II Corinthians 3:6 and Hebrews 12:24. A word often used in place of covenant was promise (Galatians 3:14 & 29). As we read His word, we realize the seriousness of and the responsibility that comes with a covenant. A covenant is binding, as mentioned above it's a promise. God also tells us to be men and women of our word. To let our yes mean yes and our no mean no. (James 5:12). 

PRAYER

With this being established this in my heart, my conversations with God went like this: “Okay, so I am here God, in this marriage and it looks like according to your word, that I need to stay in it. Now what do I do? This just keeps getting worse and we can’t live like this.” 

What I did do was begin to pray for Gray. All my energy was focused on pointing out all his faults to God. Talking to God as if he did not know Gray, even though He created him! Of course I never brought up my shortcomings, yet these came to light soon, as the Holy Spirit began to reveal where I could change. Looking back now, some 35 or more years later, I realize that this is where a big shift took place. I began to look to God and the work of the Holy Spirit to bring life to the dead places of my marriage. To bring change where it was needed and to gently lead me down a path of repentance. I began to rely on God and not Gray, nor myself to make our marriage work. 

COMMUNITY

These prayers began to lead me to Godly, more mature women in the church. Women that were living like I wanted to live, looking like I wanted to look, and had marriages that I wanted. Women that were far ahead of me in their faith journey and in their marriages.

I joined a ladies Bible study group and during this time we read The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie O’Martian. When we finished the book, we were encouraged to write out a prayer for our husbands using scripture to pray over him. I knew this was part of my journey to be the wife God had called me to be. This prayer was about my husband, but the last paragraph I wrote, I asked God to not let me get in the way of any work that the Holy Spirit needed to do in Gray. I trusted God to mold me into the wife He had called me to be, the wife that Gray needed. 

HIS TURN

I prayed this prayer most days for over 10 years. I cannot express the work, the miracle, that I saw take place in front of my eyes. Anyone that knows Gray, could read that letter and would know that it was about him. God answered my every request. Gray became humble, he began to crave God’s word and became the most intentional father to our children. This has not been an easy journey. For a season, I felt like I was on a roller coaster. We would make some progress and then something would happen and it felt like we had regressed. None of this happened over night. The truth is, God is still working in Gray and He is still working in me. We just chose to partner with God for our marriage and as we did He showed up. 

BUT GOD

Forty years ago two kids, pregnant and in their twenties got married. In the world’s eyes they should have never made it, much less be happily married today. But God! They invited Christ into their marriage. Allowed Him to work in them as individuals. This couple became courageously obedient to the Holy Spirit in their lives, even when it was hard and didn’t make sense. By God’s grace, His mercy and faithfulness this couple reaps the benefits of a marriage that God made work!

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