My first boyfriend was an arranged relationship orchestrated by my father. As you know, with some arrangements, you have no control over what goes on, which was the case with my relationship. We grew up together, but he seemed to have an advantage over me because he was much older than I was, and looking back, I could also see how he would revert back to what he was taught as a little boy when it came to dealing with life. I didn’t see him smile much and I can only remember a handful of times when he was visibly happy and pleasant to be around. The smallest little incident would ignite his explosive temper and it frightened me every time, because I never knew what he would do. All of the violent yelling and even throwing of objects at times, literally made me hate being around him. However, it seemed that no one else saw that side of him as his co-workers and friends sang the praises of how nice and friendly he was. He wasn’t very affectionate and rarely gave me hugs, kisses or told me he loved me. The times I would tell him “I love you,” his first response would be “What do you want?” so I just stopped telling him.
Early in our relationship I learned to fear him because his temper frightened me, which only intimidated me from going to him for anything, even if it was just to talk. My mother didn’t seem to help with the relationship either. In my eyes, she just let him do and say what he wanted, no matter how destructive the behavior. When I asked her what I should do, she told me to pray that God change him and soften his heart. So I prayed, and I prayed, and I prayed for years, and nothing changed. It actually seemed that his behavior got worst instead of better, and just thinking about it, I believe that’s when I stopped believing in prayer. I wanted my life to change so I did the only thing I knew to do…I left.
My first Husband
I was approaching my mid 20’s, living life, pursuing my dreams, happy and content with the flow of my life, and at the same time I felt like something was missing because love from a man was nonexistent in it. I closed my emotions, heart and mind off to being married because my first relationship was enough to make anyone believe marriage was an impossible myth. I didn’t really see the point in dating just to date. I have always believed the purpose of dating is to fulfill the goal of marriage, and I didn’t want that, and I also didn’t want to waste any man’s time, let alone my own. I thought I would be content with just casually dating at my leisure, but I wasn’t. My experience was that men thought it to be odd that I wasn’t in a relationship, and that since all I wanted to do was date casually then I must also want to have casual sex, which was never the case. I refused to be any man’s “friend with benefits.”
Then I met a man who looked good on paper, knew how to play the role, and the more I got to know him I realized there was something about him that gave me an uneasy but familiar feeling. After months of dating, and him in my ear about establishing a commitment, I decided to be in a relationship with him. Being with him was comforting to my soul. For the longest, I had no idea how I attracted this man to my life. He was the total opposite of whom I prayed for in a husband, so I couldn’t understand why I connected with him, and furthermore why I stayed. Then I began to realize he was my first boyfriend all over again…just in a new body with a different name. He mirrored his violent temper through his actions, emotional response to situations and constant yelling to express his feelings. He was just another unanswered prayer in my book, which seemed to follow the pattern of my life, so I went along with it. As the years passed, I noticed he was comfortable being a controlling monster, who enjoyed the fact that he was able to intimidate me with his actions, all while killing my self-esteem with his words in the process.
After a few years of dating, living together and then a baby, we decided to get married. I was tired of being the very “thing” I tried my hardest to avoid…being his unofficial wife. A few months into our marriage, I realized that official piece of paper that allowed me to change my last name, nor the vows we took before God and man mattered to him. I was so unhappy and my will to live my life like I had been with him, now as my husband and another baby, was leaving along with each day that passed. I felt like I knew what it was to be in hell right in my own home. There was no peace and the abuse was unbearable! As much as I tried to do what my mother had taught me as a child-pray, nothing changed and I couldn’t understand why God wasn’t answering my prayers to turn my marriage around, and to turn the man I married into the man I prayed for. I didn’t believe divorce was an option because I heard all my life how much God HATES divorce.
I was tired of being blatantly disrespected right in front of my face. I felt like a helpless fool being made to suffer for some reprehensible act that I never committed or even participated in. I was miserable and I was desperate. I even started having thoughts that would have put me in prison for the rest of my life or my grave prematurely, and it was at that moment I knew I needed help. I called my mother because she was my mother, and she was also married. So in my mind she had to know what I was going through, and therefore could offer me a bit of sound guidance as to what I needed to do to get my marriage on track, but most of all to get to my happy. I began to tell her what was going on, and as I was talking I could hear a broken little girl who needed love and a hug from her mommy. She was so fragile, lifeless and dying of a terminal illness that only love could heal.
With tears in her eyes and running down her cheeks the little girl in me asked my mom, “Doesn’t God love me and want me to be happy?” My mom paused for a moment, and said “Yes…He does!” and I said, “Well that’s why I’m leaving my marriage…”
My first Father
I remember asking God to forgive me because I didn’t want to be out of His perfect will for my life by leaving my marriage, and I didn’t want my life to be cursed because I decided to get a divorce. Even after years of consistent unbelief in the phenomenon that not only does God hear our prayers, but He also dispatches His ministering angels to answer them in His divine timing, I began praying daily. I figured I had to do something and if God could do something with the mustard seed of faith I was using, then I would know He really did love me. Piecing my life back together, trying to find myself, all while trying to be well for my children was a peaceful disaster I lived every day. It was during that time that I realized I had lost myself in my marriage trying to be my husband’s: ace, cook, girlfriend, puppet, woman, mistress, model, nanny, professional business woman, ride-or-die, mother and the perfect wife he demanded I be to make him happy. In turn, all I asked of him is that he be honest with me, love me unconditionally and respect me, and his actions showed me I wasn’t worth his time or attention. The daily effort I put into being all of his desires, still didn’t make him happy and later I learned it was because he wasn’t happy with himself.
I began seeking God daily. I needed a supernatural touch from God to heal me because I understood I was too broken to do it on my own. I began feeding my spirit everyday with affirmations and by reading the word of God. In return I was receiving healing, wisdom, knowledge and understanding concerning everything I was experiencing and living through. I remember reading Mark 10:9, “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” I knew in my heart God did not ordain my marriage because I chose to marry him without seeking God first. At the time, I justified my decision to marry by thinking God would be pleased that I wasn’t living “in sin” as boyfriend, girlfriend and a baby; we would be man, wife and family. I read Jeremiah 31:3, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” That scripture helped me to understand that God loved me very much despite getting a divorce. He did not hate me and my life was not cursed, but blessed. I read 3 John 1:2 and understood that “God was praying for me, that I prosper and be in good health, strong in spirit and that all goes well with my soul.” It brought so much joy to my heart to know that God wants me whole, happy, healed, well and prospering in the fullness of who He created me to be!
The finalization of my divorce seemed to take an eternity! I just needed to be free. I saw firsthand how those cliché sayings actually come to life, and how the very person who could tell me to “get the **expletive** out my house” every single day for a year, could miraculously want me back after I gave him exactly what he asked for. For a hot millisecond, I strongly considered his plea because I wanted to be a family, and I made a conscious decision to follow the path of healing my heart was on. I realized nothing had changed about him and if I went back to him, I would only be on an endless tour of hope fueled by a terminal dream, so I decided to proceed with the divorce. I can’t fully explain it in words…but the day my divorce was finalized, I knew I was free from the darkness of my past because my soul was no longer tied to the source of its ravaging pain.
As much as I tried to portray happiness on the outside, I knew I had failed when I was sitting at lunch with my sisterfriend one day, and as she was talking, she stopped in the middle of what she was saying, looked at me and said, “You’re happy now…” That moment profoundly showed me I was healing! I also knew there was so much more healing I needed. My path to healing helped me to realize the root of my attractions was buried in the heart of that little girl who just wanted to be happy and loved, and as long as I was harboring all of the hurt, pain and unforgiveness in my heart, I would never attract divine abundance to my life.
I knew I had to forgive my past and everyone in it, and I had to start with my first boyfriend and that’s exactly what I did. For once, I saw him as man who was once a little boy who endured a childhood of his own that taught him how to react and respond to life, and even me. I forgave him because God commands us all to “honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land…” (Exodus 20:12). Through forgiveness, I understood God is our first Father and how much He absolutely loves all of His children, including me!
God holds the father responsible for providing for his wife and children, not only physically, but also spiritually and emotionally as well. The children receive the consequences, negative and positive, of the father (parents), and several generations of his bloodline reap the seeds he has sown (Exodus 20:5-6). Every little girl, even the “father-less,” dates and marries her father. My heart is filled with so much joy every time I see a father taking his daughter on father/daughter dates, showing her how a man should treat her and loving her as God loves us all!
As a grown woman, with a career, life goals and children trying to rebuild her life after the death of my marriage, I still longed for unconditional love and protection from my father. My first boyfriend not only showed me, but taught me a man can only love you from his level of awareness, and for some men love equates to giving hurt and pain because that’s how they were “loved.” God did say, “We may ask anything in His name, and He would do it” (John 14:14) so I prayed for unconditional love from my father only to realize I had it already! “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters…” (2 Corinthians 6:18). That meant God is responsible for us, and He makes sure we have everything we need, including healing and our hearts’ desires.
I realized a part of me died when my divorce was finalized and I had to mourn that part of my life. I reverted back to believing marriage wasn’t for me, even though my healing heart yearned to be married to the man God has for me. When I became aware of the power of my thoughts, words and deeds I stopped saying “I didn’t want to be married again,” which really translated into I was scared to enter into another marriage just to discover I was married to my first boyfriend all over again. So I took a step of faith and let that fear go. I told God my heart’s desires because He promised to grant them in His divine timing. Furthermore, I understood “My maker is my husband-the Lord Almighty is his name…he is called the God of all the earth” (Isaiah 54:5), and if I focus my attention on being close to God’s heart, He will send the man who is seeking Him for me. I definitely co-sign to that promise!
On this day, I honor my earthly father and my heavenly father. I applaud every man who takes responsibility for his children. Your sacrifices, blood, sweat and tears; and your dedication to the focus of love in raising your children is greatly appreciated. I encourage you to continue striving for greatness as you lead, provide and guide your children while following in the footsteps of the greatest father of all, Father God. Don’t ever give up on life, your children or your responsibilities. Know that God is with you always. Your children need you, and the world needs you!
Happy Father’s Day!