The Marriage You've Always Wanted by Tim & Julie Clinton. I recommend this book to every married couple even if you have a great marriage. We were married in 1997 and in August of 2009, we are celebrating our 12 year anniversary! This story is now updated in honor of our 12 amazing years together.
Daddy Reg and I met in his parents’ kitchen on June 10, 1993. That was the night my little brother died. I remember his eyes being so sad when he met me. I saw him often, as I would be over at his family’s house at least three times a week. I was then going through a brief period of insanity as I dated and was engaged to a horrible guy for about two weeks God so graciously and mercifully took him out of my life. Mario and I became close friends through all of the emotional turmoil of that summer. He was there with me every step of the way. In September of that year, John Paul Jackson spoke a prophetic word over me and said that God was sending me my spiritual mate. I then decided that I would always pray for my future husband. I prayed that God would be getting him ready for marriage and causing him to become a mature man of God. Daddy Reg and I started dating 8 months after we met, as I was watching him become the man who I was praying for.
I knew that I was going to marry him on December 24, 1993, that night I was sure he was “the one.” He proposed to me three years later on December 24, 1996. We decided that a small inexpensive wedding was the only way to go. We had a beautiful garden wedding in his parents’ backyard. Everything about it was perfect. Our pastor gave us an analogy of how we would be like these two steel hearts that a mutual friend had wielded together as one. Even though they were two they were also one. That is how I feel about our marriage every day.
We lived as DINKS (Double Income No Kids) with him working at Wal-Mart and me working at the preschool and church where we were attending. We would spend every spare moment together. We were learning how to be married. We had almost no surprises about each other though since we had been dating for so long, he knew all my habits and I knew his. In June of 1998, we decided that we were ready to start thinking about being parents. In July, I got pregnant. I loved being pregnant, and Mario loved me being pregnant. On April 3, 1999, we had our beautiful son, Little Man. We then had to learn how to live off one income and I had to learn how not to work. We were learning how to trust God for everything. We had an income that just covered rent, utilities, and some food, our car was pretty much dead and we had nothing saved up. We prayed for a pink slip to a car and God gave us a car that was reliable. God, as always, was faithful to provide all we needed and we were learning how to be a family.
We began managing an apartment complex when Little Man was just 2 months old to help ease the financial burden. Mario started a new job working at a gas station. What seemed like it would be less stress than Wal-Mart quickly escalated into a ton of stress as he started managing and working weird hours throughout the week and weekend and not having any time to spend with our growing family or me. Our relationship was a little strained as I got used to him being gone for two shifts at a time. I resolved that we were just not going to be able to spend a lot of time together and this was how it had to be. Then God surprised us with our little treasure, Princess K.
The first half of this pregnancy was hard because I did not think I was ready for another kid so soon. When I finally realized I had to be ready, the pregnancy was almost half over, then we were in bliss again and pregnancy was great but a little stressful this time with minor complications. Princess K was born just 16 months after Little Man. Princess K became sick right after she was born and by the time, she was 5 months old, she was losing weight and they told us that her body was eating away at her muscles. Spending every night up with her and constantly monitoring her and praying she was getting enough nutrition, really took a toll on both of us. Daddy Reg’s work schedule still kept him gone for most of the day and when he would be home, he would just want to sleep. The most time we spent together was when we were driving 2 hours to see one of several specialists for Princess K. We were physically spent, emotionally exhausted, and mentally drained. Our love life had come to an abrupt stop and we were becoming roommates for the period. We began leading a cell group, which meant spending more time together as a couple and that was good. We also started going through the marriage book as part of our leadership meeting and Daddy Reg and I were learning a lot about our marriage that at the time was not as high of priority to me as it should of been.
Having no sleep and being a nurse to Princess K left me with little energy left to be a mommy to Little Man. I held onto Daddy Reg though, vowing not to let go and keeping our common focus on getting Princess K healthy. After about 6 months she started to do better and she was sleeping for about three or four hours at a time and we could start building our relationship again. After she turned one, we started talking about trying for our third baby. Nine months later, Miss H was born. Our relationship grew, as I was pregnant. We both enjoy my pregnancies all the way until the end. It is so fun for us to expect a baby. Our little gift of grace and joy was born on the ninth anniversary of the day Daddy Reg and I first met. It is amazing how God times these things.
Getting too big for our tiny apartment meant praying for God to allow us to move. Our car was also dying and we were in desperate need of a larger car. It was time to pray again. We prayed for a better car and he gave us one. He then gave us a much smaller complex to manage with a bigger home. Daddy Reg’s work schedule however kept getting worse and the stress was making life unbearable. Our marriage was very strained. God was healing Princess K, she started sleeping all the way through the night, and we were taking her off her meds one by one in faith that God was healing her. In September of 2002 we took her off her last med, she was doing great. We were trying to learn how to be married all over again, but with the stress of Daddy Reg’s job, it was very difficult.
In January of 2004, Daddy Reg got a new job. Life quickly left the chaos realm and went into normalcy. He had a normal schedule, he was not stressed with work when he came home and he did not want to sleep all day. With all the kids sleeping through the night, we were learning how to be married, again.
After working at his new job for a year, it was evident that they were going to be letting people go and we started praying. Daddy Reg quit right when we got our income tax return and we lived off that trusting that God would provide him with a new job at the right time. We had 3 months of living off our income tax return only and the little bit that I got for apartment managing onsite when he got a new job at a grocery store. It paid less than any other job did since Wal Mart but it was steady and it was a job. During that time, we were learning how to work as a team in ways that we had not worked for a while. We were doing all sorts of stuff for the management of the property and we really were falling in love with each other all over again as we did events, training, and just working together. The kids were growing and we were learning every day what it means to be a parent, second-guessing everything, and fully relying on God to give us the wisdom to make the right choices. Difficult decisions were easy for us to agree on because we were constantly in prayer. Anytime we would start to question God’s faithfulness, he would be sure to jump right in and remind us how faithful he is. He is constantly bringing us closer together through every circumstance.
After trying for 2 years we got pregnant again. I really wanted to make sure that I could enjoy this pregnancy to the fullest and was happy when there were no complications. During the pregnancy, Daddy Reg decided it was time to apply for a new job with the city. It is his dream job. The application process was very long and drawn out and took several months. During this process, I even had to be interviewed while I was five months pregnant in the middle of move in/out season for the complex we managed. The interviewer was a little surprised to see how supportive of my husband I really am. I have learned over the years of being married that even though I am not a doormat, I am to support and help my husband in every decision he makes. I respect him and trust that if I pray for God to give him wisdom then God will. When Daddy Reg’s decisions do not make sense to me at first, in the end, they do. Moreover, I have never been regretful of the outcome. God is faithful to those he loves all we have to do is to trust and obey.
At this point, we had a small little Honda and we needed a mini van. We spent so much time together looking for a new van. We drove 4 hours to another city because there are supposed to be great deals down there but all we got were good times spent together and stresses that brought us closer together. When we stopped looking, God brought a mini van to us. We were able to afford it and the cost necessary to get it fixed and drivable. God is so faithful.
The day before I went in to have a c-section for our beautiful Little G, he got the call that he was hired for the job! I was so excited to see my husband finally get a job doing what he wanted to do for so long. As a wife, I support him one hundred percent in this job. That year proved to be one of many transitions. I was realizing how much I had started compromising my family time for my job managing. I had taken on more responsibilities and committing to a lot more. In addition, my position as an apartment manger was getting more complicated as the job description started changing and more was being added to my plate. I started being stressed all the time and not taking care of my husband as I should. I started praying, Daddy Reg was too, that God would take me out of the situation. That is just what he did. The complex was sold and my job dissolved. Praise God for answering prayer!
I began learning how to be just a wife and mommy with no career at all not even an at home career. It was so different for me because I have never wanted to be one who was looked at as a lazy mom who sat around all day. However, you can ask Daddy Reg, and he would say he got his wife back. I spent a year destressing and learning how to be a wife in new ways. I am learning continually about being my husband’s helpmeet and submitting to his authority over the home. And wow, sitting around all day doesn’t happen, what a disillusion I had about not working.
Daddy Reg lost his job a year and a half after he was hired. He spent about six months with no steady job. I learned so much about how faithful God really is. As Daddy Reg applied for position after position and went to just a handful of interviews it became really easy for us to focus on the situation at hand. I had to make a very conscience effort to focus only on the Creator of the universe who set my days before I was born. Trusting in God and not in what you see is a hard lesson that I have been walking every day. Daddy Reg and I spend as much time as we can with each other and realizing the good in the situation. He has been able to spend so much time hanging out with the kids going to the park and for walks. God is using this difficult time to strengthen our marriage and our family. God is so faithful in His plans for us. He has provided every step of the way and knows what is truly important.
Through my marriage I have learned (and am learning) so much about trusting in the Lord with all of my heart and not leaning on my own understanding. If I did, I am sure we would not be as close to each other as we are today. Every day I am learning more about praying for and supporting my husband in ways I couldn’t if everything was bliss. As a couple, we are learning to focus on the eternal and not on the immediate. We do so much together as a team including homeschool our kids. Over the course of the last twelve years we have learned what it means to be one. I am excited to see what God has in store for us next as we wait for God to turn the page in this story.