I was 22 when I met my husband through an online dating website. He was cute in his profile so I took a chance and messaged him. After texting for a few weeks, we finally met for coffee. Clay was fun, easy to talk to and a true southern gentleman. We had conversations about our families, faith, values and friends. I felt as though he had the whole package and after a couple months of going on dates, I knew he was the one. We shared similar interests, both grew up in the church and it seemed as though he ticked off every checklist I had for my future husband. Our relationship was smooth and didn’t seem to come with any baggage. We were on the fast track to bliss with no foreseeable bumps in the road.
But one night as we played 20 questions on my couch, our conversation turned personal and we began talking about our past. “I’m a virgin,” I disclosed, proud of my status yet uncomfortably awaiting his response, unsure if he would be happy and what his answer to the same question would be. My nerves grew impatient until he at last dropped the bomb, he was not. At first I was apprehensive and that apprehension quickly turned into deep disappointment. I was curious about his number but was scared to ask the question, so I left it at that pretending it didn’t bother me, while in reality a million questions ran wildly through my mind. Questions of curiosity such as who were they, why them and questioning his values about premarital sex. My thoughts took me tumbling down a rabbit hole I hadn’t intended on traveling and soon all of my thoughts were focused on that one topic. It didn’t take long for those poisonous thoughts to grow and seep into my everyday. Even the smallest thing would trigger questions about our conversation and that poison began to create resentment. I had waited my whole life to be with the man I marry, if Clay was that man, then why didn’t I deserve that same gift?
I felt cheated. How could he? Why was I, his future wife, not at the forefront of his mind when he was dating these other people? Resentment slowly morphed into disgust and there was a battle raging within me. The enemy had found his hook and he was tugging hard on it. Shortly thereafter, it began to reflect in our relationship. We were on the brink of breaking up and I had no understanding of how to stop it. However, I knew something in me wasn’t right, so one day I sat in my kitchen and called out to God with tears in my eyes. “Take this from me,” I pleaded. I didn’t want this suffocating weight on me anymore. It didn’t belong there, it wasn’t mine and as Clay had pointed out to me it wasn’t his anymore either. He had already asked for forgiveness long ago. Quickly I realized this wedge that I attributed to the discrepancy of our pasts was merely my own selfishness and harbored feelings toward moments in time that had nothing to do with me.
When this realization sank in, my former feelings of disgust, resentment, disappointment and apprehension melted leaving a thick residue of incredible shame. Shame for placing myself on a pedestal, for holding things against him that happened years before we met. Shame for making myself greater than God and turning Clay’s past into something unforgivable. If he had made amends and asked for God’s forgiveness, who was I to continue to hold it against him? I sat in my kitchen and once again called out to God with tears streaming down my face, but this time to come at His feet and admit my own sin.
How wrong I had been to believe that Clay was the one committing acts of sin against me when I was neglecting the log in my own eye. With my former burden gone and shame on my heart I came to Clay asking for his forgiveness for the way I judged him and treated him so wrongly. The chains that bound me to anger were uncuffed, the heavy burden I had placed on myself was gone and the wedge that had formed between us disappeared. We’ve now been married for over two years and I am so thankful that God allowed me to let go of Clay’s past, learn through that hurt and grow in our relationship. It has allowed me to realize that I am not God, I am not perfect and our life together is renewed in Christ alone.