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Dear diary,

The first time I met Isimeme, I did not know I was going to marry him.

How could I have known on first sight, that this man towering above me with broad, well-defined shoulders and the distance of a stranger in his eyes would invade my world and turn it upside down through the simple but daring act of trying to merge my life with his?

They don’t tell you in romance movies or even in Christian relationship seminars, how much work it takes to be in a godly relationship. In romance movies, the boy meets the girl and there’s an instant connection. They act coy with each other for some scenes and then their bodies meet to signal the zenith of their romance. Sometimes they face obstacles but after the girl cries, the boy is ready to fight through anything to prove his love and it ends in a breathless kiss. Cue the credits. In Christian relationship seminars, some subjects are taboo – like the importance of purity and self control. It’s uncomfortable and we don’t want to cause discomfort so we move on to acceptable teachings on compatibility, love languages, having a financial plan and there’s much talk of finding your purpose as you wait for this mystery person who is supposed to be an addition to everything else you have already achieved.

Some of these from the seminars were definitely useful but why didn’t anyone tell me that it was just as important to guard the purity of my heart, not just that of my body? Why didn’t anyone tell me that The Lord would send me a person who needs to be loved into healing just as much as I do? Why didn’t anyone tell me that the trauma I thought I had hidden underneath layers of activities would be stripped away and my wounds exposed so The Lord could bind them up. Or that I would need to pray like I never have in my life because hell hates anything that reflects the image of God and this union has been designed to do just that. Why didn’t anyone tell me how holy and hard the road to marriage would be?

In the beginning, I felt confused because my relationship wasn’t picture perfect like those I saw on Instagram and I was a runner so I wanted to quit because I was dissatisfied and unhappy. Nothing this man did seemed to be good enough for me. All I could see were his flaws and I wanted to tear them away from his skin, then shape him into an image of myself so that I could read him like a book and understand how his mind worked. He was different, from another world with lips that spoke few words, eyes that saw everything I tried to hide, life experiences I knew nothing about and yet our souls had been cut from the same cloth.

The Lord said, “stay.”

Every time I would go to Him with tears running down my face after another heated conversation or discovery of human weakness. “Stay,” He would say but I wanted to hide when the discovery was of my own human weakness and I wanted to leave when the discovery was of his. I would retreat to the secret place, searching for answers as tears blurred my vision.

The past years of my life had been filled with hurt and pain from people who were supposed to protect me and so I thought God was doing the same thing to me – hurting me instead of protecting me by giving me someone who was just as human as I was. Heck, I even accused The Lord of it but He gently replied, “Ezinne, I am doing something. Stay in the secret place and stay out of the way. Isimeme loves you very much and he doesn’t want to hurt you. Encourage him. Show him that you love him too.”

So in obedience, I continued building a godly relationship by learning to admit when I am wrong, choosing vulnerability instead of reaching for fig leaves to cover myself with, forgiving when I’ve been wronged, asking for forgiveness when I have wronged him, by allowing myself to be humbled, making deep prayers and declarations and then slowly, I began to see it:

The way Isimeme’s eyes got soft when he looked at me, the way we laughed together, the ease that seeped into our relationship as our friendship grew and blossomed, my willingness to stay and fight and not give into flight. Light burst out of the chaos and with it, healing.

I know now without a shadow of doubt that God is wise and that when He tells us what to do, He knows what He’s saying – not only have I learnt so much, but I have over the years, found myself being purified in the fire. Father is still restoring, making all things new.

“There’s no relationship between human beings that is greater or more important than marriage. Marriage, next to our relationship to God, is the most profound relationship there is. And that is why, like knowing God Himself, coming to know and love your spouse is difficult and painful yet rewarding and wondrous.”

⁃ Tim Keller (The Meaning of Marriage)

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  1. Ezinne, I make sure I read this two times. The wisdom in this article is solving my doubting issue. And a friend of mine is also going to be blessed through this. Glory to God. A big thanks to Ezinne.

  2. This spoke to me today. I could just see myself in the way you felt at every stage🥺. Someone recommended that I read this blog post today and I am so glad I did. God bless you.

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