How Our Wilderness Experience Grew Our Marriage

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt all hope was gone? Where you felt God had left you? We have. My husband and I moved to Pennsylvania a few months after we got married. We lived in Pennsylvania for the first few years of our marriage. During that time, God had blessed us with two children and pretty decent jobs. We had a comfortable life (hanging with friends and shopping, of course). I had a so-so relationship with God. You know the kind where you get saved and that’s it. I wasn’t seeking Him for anything other than the title of being saved. My priorities were all wrong. Then one day, God told us to move to Columbia, South Carolina, a place where we knew no one and had never been outside from South of the Border. The only good thing was that it was close to my grandmother, who, at the time, lived in Georgia. So we moved to Columbia in September 1994.

When I think back to how our journey began in South Carolina, I get so emotional. We moved from a place of familiarity and security to a place of the unknown and concern. How can it be that God would take us from a place where we were growing and prospering to a place of lack and despair? That’s exactly what he did for us. We moved from Pennsylvania to South Carolina, initially embracing the opportunity and looking forward to the change and when things didn’t go so well, we questioned if the move was really a sign from God.

Our struggles began immediately. I can go down a list of things, but the first thing that stood out for us in this process was my husband’s employment situation. We were told that he wouldn’t have to worry about a job because the company that hired me immediately was looking for opportunities for him. So we were told that he should have a job in a few weeks at most. The job never came through. Knowing that he had to find something to help support the family, he took a job stocking groceries. Stocking groceries at night and putting in applications throughout the day was his normal routine. I saw the hurt and disappointment in his eyes as he tried hard to find a job that was sustainable enough to really support our family.

Seeing him in that state was hard as a wife. I couldn’t do anything. We moved to a place where we had no one to depend on. We had nothing. I remember crying every night for the first three months straight because I felt God left us. IT WAS SO HARD! He brought us to this strange land with no money and no hope. How? Why? WHAT DID WE DO TO DESERVE THIS? I’m not sure if you’ve ever been in a place where you had to wash your clothes at your grandmother’s house all the way in Georgia because you had no money or you had to ask your mother for money knowing you couldn’t pay her back or trying to provide food for your family when money was really hard to come by. It was difficult just to make ends meet. It was hard…REALLY HARD.

This struggle for us made us who we are today. After six months in that place, God said enough was enough, and he started showing us glimpses of his glory. That experience not only grew our marriage, but it gave us a point of reference about what God can do. Looking back, that was one of the hardest tests of our marriage and our sanity. I’m not saying that all of our problems ended because that wasn’t the case, but I am saying that God put something down on the inside of us during this experience, a stamina, a hope, a point of reference. He showed us that He was our source and that we should trust Him fully. Who knew after all of this that my prayer life would change? Who knew after all of this that my husband would give his life to God? Who knew after all of this that God would allow His blessings to run us down and overtake us? We didn’t, but we are grateful that we stayed and fought through together. Not once, did I use my words as weapons. Not once, did I give up on my husband or my marriage. Even though my faith had waivered in the beginning, I’m truly thankful to God for allowing our marriage to grow through this wilderness experience.

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