Resilience in marriage
47—Enough For a Testimony
How good is God!
We have been married for 47 years! Just to say that is a testimony in itself. It is to me. A testimony to God’s goodness and grace. A testimony to our willingness not only to submit to God but secondarily to each other.
One of the main concepts that has kept us together is that failure was never an option for us. Divorce was not an option. With this in mind, whenever we met a hurdle, whenever we hit a wall, the energy was put into how we would get over the challenge.
Our 47 years of marriage were not always a smooth, straight, or untroubled road. But they have been rewarding and growth-producing. I am a better person because of the journey. I sincerely believe that God used our marriage to help rid us of the blighting plague of selfishness that troubles humanity. Now that I can look back, I chuckle at the childish and often selfish thinking that threatened to crash our relationship.
A single example: I remember being shut out of our bedroom many a night because I stayed downstairs too late looking at some interesting television program. I could have taken the position that I was the man in the house and insist the door be opened; or break it down. That would have escalated the situation and made reconciliation more difficult. What I did instead was calmly go to another room to sleep. Later in the night I would try again and find the door unlocked. Furthermore, the next morning I would smile as I told the story of how I was shut out.
With time we both compromised: I recognized that my wife’s idea of marriage was that we both go to bed together each night except when it could not be helped. She on the other hand began to understand that my not coming to bed when she was ready to sleep was not an indication of lack of love. By compromising on the issue, we found that it ceased to be a source of disagreement. As Amos states: agreement is the basis of walking together (Amos 3:3).
Hamilton Williams lives with his wife, Julie, in Phoenix, Arizona, where he pastors the Beacon Light Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Our Decade Of Trust
God helps us help each other.
Thirteen years ago we both were going though difficulties. As fate—or faith—would have it, we crossed paths and developed a friendship that grew into our love story. We later learned that both of us were earnestly praying to God for a breakthrough in our struggles. Since that time God has used us to help each other navigate through many difficulties we have faced along the way.
During our time together we have proven God’s faithfulness in diverse ways. We recall the time we were struggling to cope with the psychological and financial impact of having to experience two surgeries in one year. We made a decision to honor God and prove His faithfulness by returning our faithful tithe and offering. At the end of one specific month we found ourselves not having enough to make it to the next paycheck. We prayed and encouraged each other, but still, being parents with a newborn baby, we were very worried.
We decided to get the essential baby items with the little we had, and continued to pray for a breakthrough. We knew that our only source of income was to come on payday, and as such we waited on God. A few days into this grueling ordeal, we decided to do housecleaning on the weekend. While going though one of the top compartments of our dresser, an envelope was discovered. In it we were so shocked to find an amount of money carefully stored away. We immediately turned to God to give Him thanks, for it was indeed a miracle! We made it to the next month without having to ask anyone for assistance because our God provided in the most amazing way. We later found out that this was part of our savings that we had somehow lost track of, but God was using this to remind us to always be faithful.
From this experience we have learned to trust God even when we have nothing and cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. We have faced many challenging situations during our years of marriage, but we have proved time and again that if we remain faithful to God, everything else falls into its rightful place.
Marvin Samaroo is an elder of the Family Fest Fellowship Seventh-day Adventist Church, East Coast Demerara, Guyana, where he and his wife, Catherine, are members.
20 years of joy and pain
My husband and I have been for one another a listening ear, fighting each other’s battles, laughing together, and walking alongside each other for more than 20 years. Our desire to spend the rest of our lives together pursuing our dreams motivated us to marry very young and leave our home country.
In our journey through different countries, our faith, love, and fidelity were tested to their limits. Working in agriculture, cleaning cemeteries and homes, being thrown out of a kibbutz while living in Israel for refusing to work with cigarettes and alcohol, was just a preparation for what was yet to come.
When we found out that Danielle was pregnant, it was time to move on and leave Israel. We were so excited to finally go to England, where my husband could immerse himself in his graduate studies in theology. Despite financial struggles, things seemed to be working out well for us, when our life was suddenly torn apart as we held our stillborn baby girl in our arms.
The pain was unbearable. In my urge to prove that I was coping well with grief, I denied my emotions and blamed myself for my lack of faith. The outcome of such a disruptive experience caused amnesia, which later led to severe depression and suicide attempts.
My husband kept trying to juggle work, study, and caring for my safety. A friend offered what he thought to be a reasonable bit of advice: “Why don’t you send Dane back to her parents?”
What a tempting solution! In the midst of our sadness and confusion my husband decided to be faithful to his commitment and care for me even when I was incapable of coping as his wife. With patience, love, professional care, and divine intervention, we worked through that experience and saw a bright future ahead of us.
God blessed us with three handsome and healthy boys. But the trials came again: Danielle, a fit, active, homeschooling mom, was reduced to a wheelchair by Lyme disease which obliged Theo to be caregiver and advocate. In spite of these challenges we kept looking back to significant milestones, and trusted that the Lord would fight again on our behalf.
We fight our battles every day with love, faith, and trust, looking forward to the day of “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21:1), where such painful experiences will be no more.
Danielle and Theo Rios currently live and study at the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies in the Philippines, and are proud parents of three boys: William, Raphael, and Benjamin.