23 years ago my marriage was orchestrated and ordained by God before I had ever invited him into my life, let alone the marriage to my husband 3 years ago. I wrote our entire wedding ceremony myself. I carefully and intentionally excluded any reference to God in any way. At the time we got married we were dealing heroin and deep in our active addiction with heroin. We both were torn up from the floor up trying to deal with the stress around us. Little did either of us imagine, that just a short 30 days later I would get saved, endure detox, become clean, and Baptized. This lead my husband to do the same knowing I couldn’t live around it or with it in any way and stay clean.

I went to my sons for a 4 day weekend visit. My husband and I have always refused to allow ourselves to have the drugs around any of our children or grandchildren. Therefore I especially wouldn’t be so disrespectful as to take drugs to my sons own house. This meant I would end up going sick with no good excuse to tell him or my daughter in law. The first night staying I asked my son to speak to him. For the first time in my addiction history I told my son that I was a heroin addict. My children knew that something was off; there was something more going on with me than just my mental illnesses that they were well aware of my behaviors from. However, none of my family ever imagined that it would be a heroin addiction. I spent a couple of hours breaking down the whole story from start to finish.

On June 12th, 2015 I told him I was ready to ask for and get help. I also told him that I was ready to repent accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. We prayed together and my Christian life and Journey began! I spent the weekend there with my son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren detoxing.

This decision was completely spontaneous. After my son’s and my conversation is the first time I had said anything about getting clean to my husband. He was happy with my decision, but he knew that also meant I couldn’t come home continuing to exposed to it or watch him using and dealing it believing I could stay clean in that environment. As an active sign of support, my husband secretly tried getting clean that weekend at home alone. Though I love and cherish his attempt, I almost lost him. Due to his other medical issues, such as high blood pressure, as well as the way he went about getting clean, his blood pressure spiked so high into stroke range that he almost died. Thankfully, at that time he had a friend who was a retired paramedic. Our friend checked in on him every half hour, checking his vitals, and monitoring his condition since many husband refused to call an ambulance. Our roommate sat with him all day watching over him, like a guardian angel in my absence, so he could call the friend if his condition worsened.

Then, after my husband leaving his home town, family, friends, and everything he’s ever known, he came up to my sons with me in order to try detoxing again. For the second time, with me at his side watching over him, he almost died for the second time right before my eyes. This time we called an ambulance and he was rushed to the hospital for care. Mercy Hospital in Lorain Ohio was the first medical facility to treat both of us “worthless junkie trash” with any kind of respect or kindness. They monitored him for almost 8 hours before releasing him with a patch to help take the edge of the rest of the immediate withdrawals. Through this whole horrendous experience I laid hands on him and prayed over him. He cried out to Jesus in surrender asking for his forgiveness, accepted him as Lord and Savior, and prayed through the worst of it.

I’ve explained this whole story in detail to say this…God didn’t give up on us! He didn’t say, “You did this to yourself so suffer,” and turn His back on me or my husband! The Lord stood on His promises and showed us both true love, mercy, and grace. Therefore neither of us will turn our backs on the other and give up or walk away!

We both began attending church and worked diligently on our recovery. Our Christian journey began. Our Christian path are different. Due to those differences I was filled with so much fear and worry. Our Pastor gave me counsel and told me, “You may travel and different rates or have different understanding at this point. However, the Lord will guide you both and walk beside you. Until your husband grows enough in his relationship with the Lord to lead your family as a Christian husband and head of the household, you must stand in the gap. You must lead your family and him at this time, regardless of your discomfort in that role. Stay steadfast in prayer. Hold on tight to your faith in the Lord that he will bring you through this just as he brought you through everything else.”

1 Corinthians Chapter 7:10-17-

10 And unto the married I command, [yet] not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from [her] husband:
11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to [her] husband: and let not the husband put away [his] wife.
12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.
13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such [cases]: but God hath called us to peace.
16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save [thy] husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save [thy] wife?
17 But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.

God’s timing is perfect. Over the last 3 years together we’ve been through hell and back concerning things that had nothing to do with our active addiction. We faced the loss of his Grams, my Dad, my Mom, his mom’s stroke that led to permanent care in a nursing facility, multiple friends to overdoses, living in a home with no utilities at all, foreclosure, facing homelessness, and being estranged from most of our blood family including all 3 of my own children; all after us detoxing, getting clean together, and terrified of losing one another along the way like so many do.

As a non-believer I was married and divorced 3 times. Then engaged and within in months of our wedding day he left, with good reason. I was a very damaged and broken woman who hurt those closest to her. I spent almost 3 years single, by choice, to get my head straight and break the cycles I’d been living my whole life. The reverence, devotion, respect, and loyalty I have for my husband is a miracle of God’s hand. God gave me a man that taught me how to respect and honor myself. He taught me self worth to overcome all that I was brainwashed with. God prepared me to be a Christian wife even before I was a Christian.

1 Corinthians Chapter 7:10-11-

10 And unto the married I command, [yet] not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from [her] husband
11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to [her] husband: and let not the husband put away [his] wife.

People sometimes may wonder how we’ve made it this far or why neither of us haven’t given up on each other. I get it. Before God gave him to me 8 years ago, after 15 years of being lifelong friends and being secretly in love with each other, we’re not ever giving up on one another. God didn’t bring us together after a lifetime apart, bring us through heroin addiction, save us from OD’s, or ever give up on us…so why would we ever give up on one another? We struggle like any couple. We didn’t have good, healthy, Christian marriages as examples growing up. We’ve both been through abuse, multiple traumas, mental illnesses, death, and losses far more than monetary. We don’t always have good communication. We both revert into ourselves when the storms roll in and shut everyone out, including each other. We have constant doubts we battle. Dealing with mental illness compounds these issues causing a “fight or flight” mentality. When you’re too exhausted to fight another minute, let alone another day, you just want to run or escape. But God!!!

Matthew 19:6-

6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

We don’t believe that we can just live on love and the rest will just happen. There’s no question that marriage is hard work, respect, loyalty, and devotion; not just to one another, but to the vows me made. We live on God’s love. God’s grace. God’s mercy. We live in God’s Word. We live in God’s commandments for our marriage and vows. Before becoming a born again Christian I had no idea how to be a good companion, let alone a good wife. The world tells us there’s no manual for marriage. They’re dead wrong.

God’s word is the manual for life, in every aspect. God commands our lifelong commitment to our unity. Because I believe in God, I have to believe in his word. Because I believe in his word, I must strive every day to live it. It’s a constant process, we’re constantly falling short, but giving up is NOT an option. If you abide in God’s word investing it into your life, especially your marriage, God will carry you through even the darkest, worst of times. He will keep His promises. It’s in God’s will and in God’s time.