Samantha Wiraatmaja »

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The Story of Us: Prologue

Alex & I love how God wrote our love story. We’ve shared that story to many, and have been asked to share our wedding vows to youths learning about God-centered relationships. But I’ve struggled with writing about it because it is so very personal + sacred to me. Also, every time I’ve sat down to write this story, our marriage has come under attack and I’ve given up. It’s been almost a year since Alex and I got married, and God is challenging me to do it this year – let His work in our lives be a light to others. Because it’s not just about how God wrote our love story; it’s about how God came into the lives of two broken people and wrote something beautiful out of that mess… and how we get to live the story He’s still writing. So this is our story, the story of us.

(Note: Today’s story, in particular, is shared with the consent & support of Alex. We want to be as honest as we possibly can so that His strength can be seen in our weakness, whilst covering each other with lots of grace. Everything shared here is done from love, in honor, and with all the respect that we have for each other.)

~

Before I tell the story of how God brought us together, I want to start with a different story. One that is darker and a little sad, but more beautiful. A slightly less magical story but filled nonetheless with the rays of His glory. Without this story, telling of how God wrote our love story is just an empty promise of fluffy fairytale spirituality.

Because real love stories don’t end on the wedding day. We don’t belong to such short-lived tales that end with vague hazy promises of happily ever after. We belong in the halls of great men & women who found something worth fighting for and gave their lives for it. Stories filled with a little less fairy dust and a little more blood and tears. Stories that echo through the ages. Because God doesn’t just write great falling-in-love stories; He writes kick-ass, staying-in-love, submission-with-an-attitude, powerhouse-marriage stories too.

I want to tell you the story of what happened after we said “I do.”

It broke my heart. Marriage broke me into so many pieces there was no way I could be put together again.

I can only remember one promise that I’ve held onto growing up – one day, I’d meet a man who would see me for who I was and love me wholeheartedly for it.

I hid that promise in my heart for years, waiting and saving myself for that one man who’d see and cherish who I was – spirit, soul, and body. I resolved to give my heart & deepest parts of my soul only to this man, if he be found, or none at all.

I cherished this promise in my heart as the single most priceless treasure.

When God brought Alex & I together, it involved so much of the divine – dreams, visions, prophecies, that led us to each other – that I knew without a doubt this was the man I’d been waiting for all my life.

I also believed that he was God’s fulfillment of the promise I’d held onto for so long.

Then he began breaking my heart… and wouldn’t stop. Each wound tore a little deeper into that precious promise I’d kept wrapped so carefully in the innermost chambers of my heart.

He’d flirt with other women, sometimes while I was right beside him. He yelled at me for being hurt by it. He watched pornography with the intention to hurt & punish me.

He occasionally told me that he wished I was someone else. He wished I had this woman’s body, or that woman’s personality. He told me that he wished I was another woman as she’d do a better job of impressing his family than I was doing.

Each time left my self-esteem and dignity in pieces. I lived in the wreckage, unable to come to terms with the fact that “the one” promised by God was also the one tearing that long-cherished promise to shreds.

This man had been given access to parts of my soul that no one else knew, and with every betrayal he told me that who I was was simply not good enough.

And I turned on him with a vengeance.

I threw things (like his laptop. right out the window). I punched him, (everywhere I could except his face. because, ouch). We threw hurtful words intended to devastate the other.

And I allowed bitterness to harden my heart, turning me into someone (cruel, violent) I could no longer recognize. I relished the darkness and the pain, perversely believing that it was what I deserved.

We lived apart for awhile, and then we lived for months like strangers sharing a bed. I cried myself to sleep night after night, the coldness & distance between us made even more unbearable within the confines of the bedroom.

I wanted him to say something, do something – I so desperately wanted him to fight for me.

But he wouldn’t, couldn’t. He was as hurt, scared, and helpless as I was. He wasn’t trying to hurt me. Most times he was sweet, tender, loving. He loved me and he loved God. It distressed him to see me so broken by his actions. But he couldn’t help it, and the way I behaved in return only made matters worse. You see, we bring the baggage of our family heritage into our marriages – addictions, patterns of communication, models of the marriage covenant, and plenty of childhood issues. And unless we intentionally decide to cultivate a new heritage in Christ, we’re just repeating the harmful patterns we’ve grown up with.

We were both drowning, clawing at each other in a desperate attempt to stay afloat, not realizing that we were only pulling each other further down into the cold darkness.

But paradoxically, it was when we reached the end of our rope that we found salvation.

I hit that lowest point when I realized that Alex might never change. He might keep doing things to hurt me and not care. He might never respond in the way I wanted him to, comforting me and taking responsibility for this actions.

All those things might never change, but what could change was me. I didn’t have to keep living in darkness and pain.

The Lord began to speak to me a message of deep comfort that began to heal my heart. He showed me that I didn’t have to wait for Alex to comfort me for the hurt he’d caused, or even to acknowledge the things he’d done.

Because ever since Eve, every woman longs for her husband to rise up. To fight – for her, their marriage, and most of all, her heart.

And unless we run to God every single day with our vulnerable hearts, we end up taking matters into our own hands. Just like Eve did.

We need to come every day to our Father’s throne. Fall down at His feet, throwing down every pain and shattered dream. There, healing waters flow to cleanse & heal our hearts. There, we feel His love wrap around the places in our souls that have gone without love for so long.

Because this is the truth that set me free: We can count all our grievances, name them one by one. And chances are, every single one of them are valid. But there is no freedom there. We will go round in circles, waiting for him to make amends. Or we can be free right here and now, regardless of where he is or what he does.

Not that we don’t try to make things right. We do what we need to (keeping our hearts pure, responding in a godly manner to our husbands) and then we need to let God be God, and let the man be the man. The man must have space to rise up, and for God to work with him, without the woman rushing in to do everything for him (we’re not doing him any favors when we do).

While the Lord was restoring me, He was doing the same with Alex. We stopped trying to get the other to fill the empty places in our hearts and found that it was God, not man, that completes us. And in doing so, we began to find all the things we’d thought would be lost to us forever – love, laughter, and a tenderness between two comrades who’ve witnessed the horrors of war together and survived.

Through the period of healing & strengthening, the Lord began to speak to me about promises.

He opened His Word to me in a new way and asked me this: Was I willing to let God’s promise in my life die?

That precious, precious promise I’d been holding onto since I was a little girl – would I let it fall to the ground and die? Because fruit only comes when a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies (John 12:24), and out of it will grow much fruit that will bless others.

Through the story of Abraham’s testing (Genesis 22), the Lord showed me this: When the promise that I’ve held on to for so long has to be sacrificed is when it is revealed that the greatest reward is the Lord.

The day I said “Yes” to Him and let that promise go is the day my heart was set free. A gust of fresh air blew into my soul and all the pain and darkness began to be washed away.

I found so much freedom in saying, “Yes Lord, I give up my right for a man who loves me perfectly. I lay it as a sacrifice, and I trust that you will provide.”

I didn’t realize till then how tiring it had been to hold on so tightly to that promise, always afraid that it might get lost or broken. And in leaving it all behind, I found incredible freedom that I could abandon my interests because someone else was looking after me.

And what of our marriage? Well, I am happy to say that all the smashing of computers (me), punching (me), and screaming (me again) has stopped…. as has the flirting and pornography.

He has turned our mourning to dancing, our sorrow into joy, our despair to hope. He took zealous idealism and tested it in the fire so that conviction-filled reality emerged that was worth much more than gold.

Are we still on the road to recovery? Oh yes, definitely. I think we’ll be on that journey for the rest of our lives.

But do we find joy in the journey? You bet. God doesn’t stop writing our love stories after we say “I do” – in fact He’s only just getting started.

Marriage broke my heart.

It broke my heart of stone. So God could build a new heart in me. A heart of flesh. (read: Ezekiel 36:26)

Because a God-written love story is not all perfect fluff and fairy dust. It looks more like the cross – messy, painful, blood everywhere. But God covers it. And we slowly work our way back to the perfect harmony of Eden, just as God intended marriage to be.

 

  • Kristin CMay 15, 2015 - 7:45 pm

    This is a beautiful post! Very, very insigtful 🙂
    I do have one question, though. What do you mean by “letting go of God’s promise”? God always keeps his promises. So I guess I just wonder what exactly you meant by letting God’s promise die.
    Do you mean surrendering it to Him and saying “Lord have your way!”, or did you mean something else? I guess I just wasn’t sure what you meant in that small part, but I definitely agree that we must love and serve God, the ultimate reward, not the gifts that He gives us.
    Thanks so much for sharing. This is beautiful!

    Kristin // thepeculiartreasureblog.comReplyCancel

  • Anna | SheisJoyfulMay 15, 2015 - 9:04 pm

    wow this story is beautiful. i love seeing how the Lord works & teaches us through pain & suffering. what healing!ReplyCancel

  • BrittanyMay 15, 2015 - 9:08 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story..very brave. It will be an inspiration to others, for sure.ReplyCancel

  • AshleyMay 15, 2015 - 10:53 pm

    Wow. So much wow. Thank you for sharing this story.ReplyCancel

  • AmandaMay 15, 2015 - 11:13 pm

    Wow! Thank you for sharing your story!ReplyCancel

  • Amy IrvinMay 16, 2015 - 12:02 am

    Wow, I couldn’t have written it better lol… But I like how you compared giving up dreams of a perfect marriage to Abraham being willing to sacrifice his son for God. This is so real. Thank you for the great insight. God bless you!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer DeFratesMay 16, 2015 - 12:24 am

    So difficult to talk about, but I think marriage’s reality is so different than the image we see portrayed even in faith based media. We aren’t prepared for the hard work of loving an imperfect human being. I am learning to lean on God, not my husband, daily. My husband is a non-believer and I don’t know if that will ever change, but I don’t have to be a slave to his sin if I have freedom in Christ. There are days I get tired of the sacrifices and selfishness prevails, but lots of prayers and growth in my life gives me hope for the future.ReplyCancel

  • JenMay 16, 2015 - 12:33 am

    Wow, thanks for sharing! What a rough year you’ve had! I’m so thankful that in the four years I’ve been married, marriage has not broken my heart and my husband has never done anything to hurt me. Looks like things are picking up, hopefully that continues!ReplyCancel

  • Coupon Gal (Andi)May 16, 2015 - 1:16 am

    His ways are always higher than our ways – and if we give it all to Him – 😀ReplyCancel

  • Chris CarterMay 16, 2015 - 4:04 am

    Oh my gosh what an incredible testimony this story is to God’s transformative love!! I am so sorry you had to suffer through those early seasons of what sounds like terrible awful pain!! But you have such an amazing hope to offer to many, through this experience!!

    LOVE—> “Because a God-written love story is not all perfect fluff and fairy dust. It looks more like the cross – messy, painful, blood everywhere. But God covers it. And we slowly work our way back to the perfect harmony of Eden, just as God intended marriage to be.”ReplyCancel

  • Jeanie ShawMay 16, 2015 - 4:07 am

    Thanks for sharing such a powerful and vulnerable story. God’s power to heal certainly is like none other.ReplyCancel

  • Heather SerraMay 16, 2015 - 4:23 am

    This was very touching. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m so glad God brought you two back together. <3ReplyCancel

  • Lauryn HockMay 16, 2015 - 4:31 am

    This is beautiful and such a positive outlook. Thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Sam @ PancakeWarriorsMay 16, 2015 - 6:10 am

    Sounds like you were in a very hurt place. I”m glad you found the clarity you needed to work through these issues. I hope you are truly happy!!ReplyCancel

  • jannMay 16, 2015 - 6:58 am

    Wow so tough and yet so tenderReplyCancel

  • New England Momma - ChristineMay 16, 2015 - 9:54 am

    Beautifully written. Thank you for opening up your soul for us all to see. I admire your courage and strength.ReplyCancel

  • BritonMay 16, 2015 - 12:44 pm

    Wow. I’m glad that you are finding healing and are able to move forward and forgive each other 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Do you think that maybe that ‘promise’ you had to let go of was a promise you made to yourself hoping it was God’s will? I don’t know exactly how it went but I know there have been times when God wanted me to let go of something that was my god so that He could be MY GOD. Does that make sense? I am so excited for your honesty in this post and that you are both on the road to recovery WITH Christ. Because we can’t do it on our own without Him. <3 It is so sad how many men (and women) are addicted to porn because it is so rampant and because God has given us a desire for sex. The devil loves to use what God gives us and distort it into sin. Even many pastors suffer with this addiction. That is why I am so glad you brought it up. Thank Alex for me for allowing you to share it. I am adding your marriage to my prayer wall. I am not a saint and I hope I didn't make it sound that way. I am a sinner saved by grace and in 21 days I'll be married 20 years because of Jesus. <3 I love my husband now more than ever. God Bless!ReplyCancel

  • Raquel C.May 16, 2015 - 10:49 pm

    This is such a beautiful story of God’s blessings on your marriage. Marriage is hard, but it is so worth it if you find the right person.ReplyCancel

  • HuiminMay 17, 2015 - 9:32 am

    Hey Sam remember I bumped into you a kino awhile back. Would be nice to have coffee some time. Haven’t spoken to you since poly days 🙂 otherwise, I’m happy for you that life is working out. Take care ReplyCancel

  • Liz JoinerMay 18, 2015 - 2:38 am

    Wow is all I can, you have incredible faith, I would have found that very hard to be with, but I’m so glad that you two have worked it out together with God.

    liz @ sundays with sophie ReplyCancel

  • LoriMay 18, 2015 - 9:37 am

    What a beautiful, honest post. Thank you for sharing your heart so others can learn from your experience.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousMay 18, 2015 - 12:34 pm

    Thank you Samantha for your real and beautiful sharing! I’m blessed and encouraged so much by your sharing 🙂ReplyCancel

  • GlenMay 18, 2015 - 3:33 pm

    Thanks for sharing Alex and Sam! Love you guys. (;ReplyCancel

  • KCMay 19, 2015 - 6:51 am

    Thank you for being so open and honest, that is how you will help people the most. This post is so encouraging to others who are going through similar experiences or are just struggling with marriage right now.ReplyCancel

  • AchamaMay 19, 2015 - 10:37 pm

    You are so entirely brave and courageous to share this, and as I know you’ll probably say it’s the Grace of the Lord I dare not argue with such truth. Thank you again for sharing this, it reminds me so much of my own journey with my husband and one day I’ll share the journey with others but just to encourage you by saying we have been together 16 years now and he is not the same person I met. It took work on both of our sides and still does as neither of us are perfect but our relationship is so much more than what I could have dreamnt of or thought I wanted when i first met him at the age of 18..ReplyCancel

  • AchamaMay 19, 2015 - 10:38 pm

    You are so entirely brave and courageous to share this, and as I know you’ll probably say it’s the Grace of the Lord I dare not argue with such truth. Thank you again for sharing this, it reminds me so much of my own journey with my husband and one day I’ll share the journey with others but just to encourage you by saying we have been together 16 years now and he is not the same person I met. It took work on both of our sides and still does as neither of us are perfect but our relationship is so much more than what I could have dreamnt of or thought I wanted when i first met him at the age of 18.ReplyCancel

  • AndiMay 20, 2015 - 4:51 pm

    what a beautiful story of God’s healing – and of His faithfulness in ALL thingsReplyCancel

  • Gina BMay 20, 2015 - 11:03 pm

    Thanks for having the courage to share this! I think it took a lot of guts. We all come into marriage so broken. My husband and I were not believers, and now he is not a believer – and that’s a huge challenge, but we’re hanging in there with God’s grace 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Lovely post! This sentence moved me…”Because ever since Eve, every woman longs for her husband to rise up. To fight – for her, their marriage, and most of all, her heart.” It’s true. So true.ReplyCancel

  • Maria HassMay 21, 2015 - 12:14 pm

    Wow! What a testimony! Lord bless you both! Thank you for sharing!!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah AnnJune 10, 2015 - 9:06 am

    What an inspirational post! I love the concept of giving God the first fruit, and not just the leftovers. It’s so important to balance priorities and remember how much God is in control!ReplyCancel

  • CarolynOctober 18, 2015 - 8:08 pm

    This is a beautiful story and such a reminder that God is greater than even the best intentionsReplyCancel

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