-as told by Cindy Wright
Every married couple has a love story they can tell describing how they met and eventually married because of the love they developed for each other, and we’re no different —except for God. We both know beyond a shadow of doubt that if it wasn’t for the grace of God our “love story” would have a very sad ending because we wouldn’t still be together.
We want to tell you “Our Love Story” hoping it will bring hope to those who need it and Godly inspiration of the miracles God can bring about to those who reach out to Him.
It all started in a small college community in Big Rapids, Michigan. Steve was a sophomore at (what was then called) Ferris State College and was a “disc-jockey” at a student run radio station. Late one evening in (October of 1969), he was on the air playing song requests for those who were listening. That’s where I (a freshman at the same college) came in. Having just come back to my room after a bad “blind date”, I turned on the radio and decided to call in a song request (feeling a bit sorry for the “guy on the radio” who by that time was begging for someone to call).
After telling Steve my song request we started a phone conversation which became the starting point for our personal love story. As I tell everyone —I fell in love with Steve’s voice before I ever even saw his face. That night we talked on the phone for several hours and then agreed to meet at the radio station the next day. From that moment on, a loving (although sometimes turbulent) connection was made that eventually led to marriage two and a half years later in March of 1972.
As in most “fairy tale” romances (which we thought ours was) the ending line goes, “And they all lived happily ever after.” It would be great if that were true in this case —but it wasn’t. Actually, our first year was pretty smooth sailing —a real honeymoon time. But after the birth of our first child the serious realities of life started to upset our peaceful home.
And when turbulent circumstances started to hit (like Steve being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and the upset that can bring with it), our relationship started to take on serious damage and sink into continual arguments and misunderstandings. Unbeknownst to everyone around us, our marriage became a continual battle ground, where we found ourselves unhappy and disillusioned with married life.
There are hundreds of reasons why our marital relationship suffered as it did. Immaturity, self-centeredness, unrealistic and unmet expectations on both of our parts —along with the reality that neither one of us even having a clue as to how to productively resolve conflict or communicate with each other in healthy ways —all played a part of what caused almost irreparable damage to our marital “union.”
Eventually, along with other negative communication missiles we threw at each other, we were using the “D” word (divorce) continually as explosive bombs against each other which put our marriage in serious jeopardy of being forever destroyed.
And then the time came when my dad was having back surgery in another part of the state and my mom asked me if I would come home for a short while to help care for my younger brothers and sister during his hospitalization. Neither Steve nor my mom (or anyone else) was aware of the fact that I saw this as a way to get away from Steve for a while to see what it would be like to live apart from him.
I took our then 15 month old son David back to my parents’ home and stayed to help my family out. After a short while, I decided to tell everyone that I wouldn’t be going home to Steve and would start looking for employment and a different place for David and me to live.
And that’s where we saw God coming into the picture. Jessie (my best friend all while growing up), found out I was in town and called and asked me to go out for coffee with her and “talk.” We did —and as we were talking, I could see a pleasant change in Jessie’s countenance —there was a peaceful way about her that I’d never seen in her before. Eventually, I told Jessie of my marital problems and of my plans to leave Steve. Jessie then started to share with me what was happening in her own life.
Jessie had recently become a “born-again” Christian and explained to me of the positive changes God was bringing about in her life-changing the way she perceived everything —especially the problems that came her way.
As Jessie was talking, it’s as if a huge blindfold fell off my eyes and I could see everything in my own life in an entirely different light than I’d ever seen any of it before. I didn’t understand much about this “born-again” relationship with Jesus Christ —but one thing I did know —I wanted whatever it was more than I’d ever wanted anything else in my life.
And so later that evening I prayed for God to change me as He had Jessie. I asked Him to forgive me for everything I’d ever done that was wrong and asked Jesus Christ to be my own personal Savior and the Lord of my life. That prayer, because of the miracles God alone can bring into being, started a whole chain of events (some of them pleasant, and some of them very difficult) that has entirely transformed in a positive way, the marital relationship that Steve and I now have with each other.
Jessie’s counsel at that point was to “go home to Steve and let God work in his heart also.” I was a bit concerned because even I didn’t understand what this spiritual change would bring about in our lives —how would I explain this to Steve? But somehow I just knew Jessie’s advice was sound.
So I went home and didn’t preach at Steve or even tell him of this “born-again” experience because I wanted to read the Bible and learn more about it myself. I just started living out the principles for loving as I was learning them —praying that someday I’d be able to explain to Steve what had come about in my own spiritual life, in a more intelligent manner.
It wasn’t long before Steve started to sense something positive was happening within my own heart toward him (and all of life in general) and he began to ask questions.
The following is what Steve says about this whole experience after I came home. Steve:
“I wasn’t aware, at the time, of what had transpired in Cindy’s life since she’d gone to her parent’s house. But, when she came home I knew, practically from the second she walked through the door, that something was different —very different, and I liked it. Her whole countenance —her attitudes and behavior towards me, had changed. It took me about two weeks of living with the “new” Cindy (okay, I can be slow —but I’m not stupid) before I sat her down and asked her what had happened-why was she so different than before she’d left.
After she shared her experience of asking Christ to personally come into her life to forgive her of all she’d done wrong and to change her heart, I knelt beside our bed and asked Jesus to come into my own heart and life as well.”
If this was a movie, the credits would have started rolling here as we would walk off hand-in-hand into the sunset as “The End” would appear on the screen, but the reality is —this was just the beginning. God, at this point, began to reveal to both of us what needed to be done to build a healthy, loving relationship with each other.
From that time on it has been a continual up-hill battle all the way, to repair what was broken, and to throw out the garbage we’d dragged (and sometimes still attempt to drag) into our marriage. It’s taken no less than sheer determination and perseverance to learn how to live in a loving, covenantal, God-honoring relationship with each other.
And though it’s been an extremely difficult process at times —it’s been worth every single effort we’ve ever had to put into it. God has truly, miraculously transformed our lives with each other.
And the work and the miracles never end because as with all married couples, there’s still “life to contend with” in the daily grind of living, that pulls at us in every direction. But by pro-actively, continually choosing to grow together as a marital team, reflecting the love of the Lord, dependent upon the Lord’s empowerment, life together at this stage of marriage is very good —VERY good indeed!
And this is our prayer for every married couple we come in contact with —that they will experience the deep, abiding love of Jesus Christ as we have, in and through their marriage, so it reaches out to others who are married so they will also want to experience the love of God… And the miracles will never end…
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!!