Sunday, April 11, 2010

My Marriage Story...To Russ, With Love


 I have debated what to write on this, my marriage anniversary post. I love Russ so much. I am married to the perfect man for me, and he treats me like a queen. I could tell you all of the wonderful things about our life together, and there are many of them, but for some reason, I feel like I should share our “story” as it was, because there may be someone out there that needs to hear it.

We were married 24 years ago, on April 12, 1986 at The Silver Bells Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas. It was my husband’s 2nd marriage, and my first and only one. We had met 2 years before, at work, and I fell hard for him.  After dating for 2 years, I should’ve known better (yes, I really wrote that) but I agreed to marry this handsome but troubled young man.

My parents were opposed to the marriage. They could see what I refused to. They could see the heartache down the road. I was in love, and there was no way I would change my mind. It almost proved my undoing. I would venture to tell you now, that I made this choice, consciously, although naively too.

Within the first year of our marriage, I came to realize that Russ had an addiction problem. I was very “Nancy Reagan” about it, and I don’t mean that derogatively, but my attitude was to “just say no”.  I was unaware of the power of addiction.

Our first son was born in  Feb. of 1988. We had just separated when I found out I was pregnant with him. Of course, I wanted to make it work, and so did Russ, so he made promises and we got back together. He later told me that he stayed sober until Ryan was born. They call it “white knuckling”, which means you're doing without drugs with clinched fists. He also told me that the night our son was born, he went  home from the hospital and got high.

Six months later, we separated again. After a short period of time, Russ agreed to go into drug rehab. It was while he was there that I learned so much more about the power of addiction. My heart ached for the parents of the young adults in the program. I realized, that as a spouse, I could walk away, but as a parent, you could never walk away.

We got back together, and almost before we knew it, I was pregnant with our 2nd son.  Around the same time, I found out my husband was using again. He said he would stop, and I wanted to believe it was just a “slip” as they say, so we stayed together.  We decided to move to the desert, to get away from his friends who were using, and start anew.

I started attending a church that had a program for the families of friends or family members in recovery, and it was such a great help to me. Russ, was commuting, as he needed to keep his job and the insurance we had.  We weren’t together all of the time, and I was beginning to worry.  Our son was born in July of 89, and 2 months later, realizing that he was indeed using again, we separated once more.

I was raised in a Christian home, and had accepted Christ as a child. I had attended church all of my life. I had been wayward though, my marriage was proof of that. Now, here I was in a new town, with two young children, and few friends. My parents, who had retired to this area a few years before, were wonderful, but I didn’t want to depend on them for everything. It was during this time that I finally began to rely on God.

That’s why this isn’t a sad story. God began to work in my life, as Russ continued his downward spiral. His drug addiction was severe. The worst kind. You name it, he was using it. My biggest fear became the fact that I might someday have to tell my boys that their dad had died of a drug overdose.

God started teaching me things. One of the things he taught me was that I was arrogant, that I thought my sins were “less than” my husbands sins because mine were less obvious. I mean, he’d left his family, he was the addict. I was taking care of our children and keeping things together. God doesn't view things quite the way we do though. It was during this time that God began teaching me that in His eyes, my sins were the same as my husband’s and that I had nailed Christ to that cross just as much as Russ had.  God began to change my heart and I begin to forgive Russ. I began to believe that God could work this for good, although I had no idea how. And work He did.

It was nearly Christmas, and Russ called me to say that he was coming to visit and bring me money. I told him that I knew that God would not let him continue to live this way. There were 3 things that could happen. 1) He would turn his life around, 2) He would end up in jail, or 3) He would die of an overdose. That was it, those were the only options. He muttered something and then hung up.

Right then and there, I got down on my knees and said “God, have at him. Do whatever it takes to bring him to his knees…but please, spare his life.” This last part was selfish. I didn’t really think that we would get back together, but I still didn’t want my boys to live with the stigma of their father dying of an overdose. I also still loved Russ.

That night, I got a phone call. It was from Russ, and he was in jail. Sometimes God works quickly. He wasn’t just in jail for the night though. Because it was holiday time, he would have to spend both Christmas and New Year’s there (unless someone bailed him out) because they weren’t conducting court during that time. I fully believe God spared my husband’s life that night. If you had seen the way he looked at that time, you would know that he was at death’s door. Since no one was bailing him out, he had to stay.

While in jail, he had nothing to do, and started attending church services. Yes, they had them there for the men, twice a day in fact. He made a decision to commit his life to God. He didn’t get out until after the first of the year, and shortly afterward, we got back together. God orchestrated this, but I can tell you that it wasn’t easy. Sobriety wasn’t easy for him and trust wasn’t easy for me. Addiction manifests itself in many different ways, and forgiveness is not a "one-time" thing, especially in a marriage. We had some very difficult years after that, struggling in our marriage, but God prevailed, and we've had quite a few good years now :)

That's why this is Our Love Story, and if you or anyone you know is going through something similar, I want you to know there is hope. My husband did struggle with the problems of addiction, but his is still a success story. Success brought about by a great and glorious God who changes lives. He is the best husband I could ask for, he loves me dearly, and is a wonderful father to our children. Russ loves the Lord with all his heart now, and is teaching our children to do the same. I cannot imagine my life without him. My parents also adore him too! Of course, there is much of the story I'm not sharing here. The pain of loving an addict and all that goes with it is NOT something I'd want anyone else to experience, but please know that Jesus can prevail and change even the worse situations we can imagine into blessings for His glory!

 We had decided to celebrate our anniversary today, since Russ has to work tomorrow. This morning I woke to find these:

                                                  Yes, I know I'm loved :-)

We went out to dinner at  Red Lobster. Ten years ago we went there for our 14th anniversary. I’d just had an ultrasound a few hours before, and we found out we were expecting twins. Our youngest two children. We’ve had 6 together and they’re all blessings to us. My husband also has an older son from his first marriage. A wonderful young man with a beautiful family of his own now. This is not the story of an addict. This is the story of God and the beautiful things He does.

If you’ve stayed with me until the end of this long post, thank you for reading. If you know anyone in similar circumstances, be encouraged. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Russ shares his story with anyone who needs help, and he encouraged me when I wanted to share it here.

I am so thankful for the wonderful man I’m married to, and to God for the blessings He gives …in spite of me.

I love you RussMyHoney :)

Blessings,
Marcia

65 comments:

Le Chateau des fleurs said...

Happy Anniversary!!!
God does help us, lessons and guide us. We all make mistakes but it's ok. He still loves us and there is hope. Your story is full of hope, love and long suffering. You deserve a great marriage because you are a loving and wonderful person. Hugs to you and your family :)
Frenchy

Cathrines Kreative Hjørne said...

Dear Marcia and Russ,
thank you so much for sharing this story of love and hope with all of us! When I read the beginning of it, I was thinking that it's no way this could have a happy ending! It was a start for a tragedy... But it did not turn out that way, and I'm so happy for you and your children that your life turned around like it did! You both stands out as a very good examples, I think, that it is possible indeed to put things behind you and still live a very good life! To be honest I'm not a believer (it has been difficult to tell you Marcia!), but still I believe in the good in people, and also that a believe can help others to a better life, or to overcome problems. This is such a great story, and I'm so happy for you all! First of all I'm happy for the 2 of you, and then for your children, that need a healthy mum and dad! I wish you a great day, and sends you my love!

Hugs, Cathrine :-)

My name is PJ. said...

Happy Anniversary, Marcia and Russ! Twenty-four years is quite a landmark; nobody gets there without them being hard-earned.

Russ, I am incredibly proud of your triumph over such adversity. Addiction is an evil, destructive thief - surely Satan doing some of his darkest work. Thank you for allowing Marcia to share such a private story.

Marcia, You are a pillar of strength, but more than that, you're a teacher. Today you reminded me that my sins are no less than anyone else's. That can be a tough pill to swallow.

I marvel that you guys made it through the muck and mire; but I understand the source of strength in your partnership better now. He alone can work these miracles.

God bless you both. Here's to the next 24!

Kammy said...

You are blessed and I do think that sometimes God gives us speedbumps to give us smoother roads ahead. The things you work through makes you stronger. My hubby and I have been married 25 years and we have had our share too. Our marriage is stronger because of it..
Hugs and Happy Anniversary !
Kammy

Melanie said...

What a great post!

I am sure it's going to help someone out there.

Isn't is amazing how God can take any situation and make something good come from it if we'll give it to Him? That's the hard part because we like to do things ourselves and in our own power, but sometimes it's beyond our strength and control.

I'm so glad God brought you through it all!

Have a wonderful anniversary and a great week. :)

Kelli said...

Wow. What a difficult but beautiful story. You are indeed blessed. How fortunate Russ was to have had you pulling for him. Happy anniversary to both of you! May you have many, many more! :)

katie said...

Absolute proof of how great our God is.
Marcia and Russ how wonderful that you both hung in there and gave God the time to work. I know your children are blessed by your actions.

Happy Anniversary to you.

Becky K. said...

You have me in tears. How thankful I am for your willingness to share.
God is beautifully shown through your story.

We have a very dear friend who ministers in prisons. We miss him on the Sundays he is there but pray that God is using Denny in the same way HE used someone in your husband's life.

Beautiful Post.
Well written!

Becky K.

Always Nesting said...

What an amazing love story. Love not just between you and Russ, but God's love for you, You have a powerful story and you have touched my heart with your honesty. Happy Anniversary.

Christine said...

I have tears in my eyes for you both and for the wonderful life changing, giving power of our God!
What a story of triumph.
Wishing you both many more years of happiness and God's richest blessings!
Christine
PS - so glad everything arrived so quickly - enjoy!

Nancy said...

Wow, what a love story. The most important love being that of God's. This is just amazing and beautiful and thank God for what He has done in your lives!!

Happy and Blessed Anniversary!

Nancy

Sheila said...

God is so good! All those prayers were heard....and just waiting for God's timing.....a reminder to never quit praying for those who are struggling and seem destined for the pit. And how much more sweeter these years are because of it.

Carol said...

Thank you for sharing your heart with us today! Amazing story! Enjoy celebrating you anniversary.

Blessings,
Carol

Kimberly said...

God has blessed you. Your post spoke volumes, the section of how God convicted you, reminding you of your sins- it's easy to point out the sins in others, but so difficult to realize our own sins. Thank you for sharing your story.

T's Daily Treasures said...

Dear Marcia, what a wonderful post. Such a lovely story of heartache, addiction and overcoming. We believe, we trust and God answers. You have a beautiful family! You are dedicatea and loving! God gave you what you needed and you have prevailed, succeeded and risen above. Many blessings, so much to be grateful for. God Bless you immensely and abundantly, always .. Tammy

LLJ said...

Happy Anniversary!
Thank you for sharing your true love story.
I thank God for what he has done!
Leanne
ps - enjoy those beautiful roses!

Julie Harward said...

You are an amazing woman...to hold on through all of that while holding on to the children. God was good to your husband in bringing him through it too. Thanks for sharing such a personal truth, I love you for that! God bless you both...may you have all the years ahead to enjoy life and each other and your beautiful children. God is real..he does take care of us if we let him...Families are Forever! :D

Shelley said...

To God be the glory....a wonderful testimony of God's grace and saving power....thanks so much for sharing this...blessings

Libby said...

Hope you had a joyous celebration!

haflingerhorses said...

Hi Marcia,
This is a powerful story - not just of answered prayer, but of a wife that "prayed through". Your story is not just for someone married to one with a drug addiction, but to everyone with any problem God answers prayers and He loves those that are willing to pray and not give up.

Thank you for your sweet words you left me. Your words were a gift from Him to encourage me.
Antoinette

~Carrie from Cottage Cozy~ said...

Happy, happy Anniversary, Marcia. What a story of the power of God when we let him in the door. My husband and I were married in Las Vegas too and I can remember the day when we found out we were having our twins. We have a lot in common...most of all...our love for the Lord!

Thank you for your candidness in sharing your testimony with us!

~happy celebration to you both~

Beverly said...

You have to know that I am crying right now. Happy tears, for yours is a story with a happy ending. I am so glad that you told this story. There will be someone out there that it will touch, who needs to hear it.
Congratulations to the two of you. You are testimony to what God can do and such a good example for your kids.
Love and God's Blessings to your family.

Amy said...

What an amazing testimony for you both!

Janean said...

marcia, i read your post a few hours ago and didn't realize I forgot to leave a comment!

thank you and your hubby for being transparent and letting God's grace shine through. I'm sure it will help many people and give them hope!!!!

...maybe it will *speak* to a woman about to make the love-is-blind mistake too. not all stories end as well as yours.

Susan B said...

Dear Marcia,
Happy Anniversary to you and Russ! !Thank you so much for sharing your story...it's a wonderful testimony of how our God can transform lives. I wish the very best to both of you. God bless you...

Amy Kinser said...

What an amazing story of God's faithfulness, love and mercy. Thanks for sharing your heart.

Happy Anniversary.

Kristin Joy said...

Thank you, Mrs. Murphey, for posting your story. It is always encouraging to read the stories of the great women of the faith that have gone before us. However, sometimes you don't have to look too far or for too long to find a hero today. Thank you for sharing.

Kristin Vaughan
(aka Ryan and Randy's friend from CBU)

Gloria McQueen Stockstill said...

Marcia, I cried almost all the way through this. I am so thankful God has blessed you and Russ. I love you both!

Gloria

Jeni said...

This was just so moving! God is SO good all the time!!! God is proud that you're sharing your story so others can learn something! thanks!

Carrie of Farming On Faith said...

Oh yes~we serve an amazing God. Our Pastor has a story much like your husbands. He too~is a testimony of a powerful God!
Thanks for sharing your story!
God is good!

Laura said...

What a sweet post and a wonderful testimony! Thanks for sharing from your heart.

I just found your blog today. And I'm glad I did.

Come on over for some mom inspiration and encouragement.

Mimi Sue said...

Happy Anniversary to you both! Thank you for that wonderful love story. We have a son that has suffered from addictions and it is very hard as a parent to watch. But thanks to lots of prayers and rehab he is doing well. He's married, has a job, and they're buying their first home. Miracles happen everyday as you most certainly know! Blessings to you! Mimi

outdoor.mom said...

what a powerful testimony! thanks for sharing it :-) God is Good and He is still in the business of miracles. Thank God your kids get to have a Godly Daddy now :-)

Claudia said...

I've heard your story several times, but God's goodness and mercy still amaze me. I'd also forgotten that this happened just before we met. I feel blessed for raising our kids together and for the friendship we've shared these past 20 years.

koralee said...

Thank you for this lovely story...God is good! Happy Anniversary. xoxo

Natacha said...

Hello Marcia, what a beautiful, amazing story! I have read it 3 times and have tears in my eyes. What a warm, loving family you have.

Shelley said...

This is an amazing story of god's love and hope! So wonderful of you to share this. You are right about how it's easier for a spouse to walk away than a parent. (My brother is a heroin addict and our family prays every day that he will let god into his life.) Happy Anniversary and god bless your family!

Mandy in Mayberry said...

Happy belated anniversary!

What a powerful and amazing story. I'm sure someone needed to read this at this exact time or you wouldn't have felt led to write it!

Blessings to your beautiful family!

Jenny said...

What a beautiful story! Have a Happy Anniversary!

BailiwickStudio said...

Oh Marcia. I didn't know ALL of that! Our Lord is so great, and yours is truly a love story between you, Russ and God. Your six beautiful children are the icing on the cake!

Happy Anniversary to you both!
xo Jill

Brenda said...

What wonderful love stories -- both yours and your husband's, and yours and God's. Your family is indeed truly blessed!

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and bringing me to yours. I've read a few of your posts and look forward to reading more. You have such a gift for writing and you tell meaningful stories.

Storybook Woods said...

Oh my what a powerful testimony and it sooo spoke to my heart. My father is an alcoholic and I had the Lord my whole childhood but still it was a hard childhood. Your story brings hope to many I am sure. Thank you for sharing. Clarice

red ticking said...

GOD IS SOOOOO GOOD. ALL THE TIME.
congratulations on being so faithful... through all of this and i wish you a lifetime of happiness and many more blessings...
xoxo pam

Camille said...

Dear Marcia ~

How beautiful that the LORD has done all these things in your family! What a blessing that you are sharing your story here. May the LORD use it for HIS glory!

Happy Anniversary!
Blessings,
Camille

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Amazing story Marcia! First, Happy Anniversary. You are very brave and honest to have shared this with us. I am sure someone will reach out because of reading your powerful story. Russ is a very lucky man to have you!
Hugs, Cindy

Walking on Sunshine... said...

What a beautiful love story. Thank you for sharing it. What a beautiful testimony to how God can truly change a life around and make your marriage what it is today. I'm in tears reading this. I hope you had a wonderful day!

Regan Family Farm said...

Thank you for sharing your testimony~ it is so important for our children to know the truth, and to see the healing that has taken place in your lives...may God continue to bless you richly!
Kathy

patchworkmommy said...

What a God testimony! Your family is beautiful! Thank you very much for opening up your past.

Warmly,
Tina

Colleen said...

Beautiful witness. Thank you!

Tammy ~ Country Girl at Home ~ said...

Marcia,

What a testimony to what faith in God can do....he really moved mountains! And look God made something so beautiful of what could of have been such a bad ending....what a beautiful marriage and family you have. God is so good! I'm so glad you shared giving God the glory he so deserves!

Hugs to you!
Tammy

Ceekay- Thinkin of Home said...

What a wonderful love story and testimony for both of you. Praise the Lord. Happy Anniversary and blessings for many, many more!

Angela said...

This brought tears to my eyes...God IS so good....sigh....I understand exactly what your husband was dealing with, for not only has my husband dealt with similar issues, but I too, in a greater capacity than my husband. So that made two dysfunctional addictied people brought together..but oh how amazing and marvelous our Father God is...

Thank you for being so honest and sharing your story of hope, of freedom, of restoration, or renewal and forgiveness...God is all over your marriage and this story...((hugs))

Cinnamon said...

That was really beautiful. Such a wonderful reminder that God does work even when it seems quite the opposite. God's work aren't always visible to us are they? Ugh I could relate! Not to drugs but thinking "things" will never change.

But what a beautiful change God brought, not only in your husband but in you too. That God showed you a sin is a sin. A timely reminder for me.

Thank you for sharing, really, it did take courage and it blessed so many~

~Cinnamon

Karen said...

Isnt it amazing when the world tells us to move on,, and just head to the lawyers office,, but God has the ability to save us, and our familys if we just turn it over to him.

Thanks for the link, I will check it out as well..
Have a blessed day my friend,, talk to ya again real soon

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Thank you for posting and letting me read!!! It so goes with my Bravo God post on our 30th anniversary. Our story isn't the same, but God's restoration and redemptive store is.
Me learning to forgive is our story...I was too judgmental!
This is an encouragement to all parents...home schooler are not, because we aren't promised anything...we have walked through children not choosing right...and again believed God.
I could go on an on on what an awesome testimony this is!!!
You have looked at the odds of success and God has seen you through!!! Bravo God!!!!!

friskysuezq said...

Dearest Marcia,
I've said it before and I'm saying it again; I love how you write and you should look into doing it professionally!!

Needless to say I also loved this story, lived it with you guys, well in and out of it anyway, and absolutely am grateful beyond words at the great and mighty works of our beloved God and Savior Jesus Christ- Hallelujah!!

I realize this is many months after the fact, as it was April when you posted this, but I had to click the link/your link Ryan posted on his FB as it seemed it might be one I hadn't seen before... sure glad I did :)

My love to all of you,
Aunt Susie

Valerie@chateaualamode.typepad.com said...

Hi Marcia, what a beautiful story. I love it! Thank God He's so much bigger than anything we could ever go through here on earth. Your story is a testament to His amazing grace and power.

Bombchell said...

wow what a hard and beautiful story. Im sure it took a lot to write, and i hope your story can help someone else. God is really great. I wish you and your family many more happy years.

Mrs.Rabe said...

I have read this story before but I guess I didn't comment!

It is a beautiful story of how God works and changes us. Praise Him!

Deanna

Carol said...

I happened to stop by from "Pleasures of Homemaking" and saw the read roses and wanted to read your love story. What a beautiful story it is. Wow, what you had to endure in faithfulness lead to a most beautiful relationship. And even more than that, God got your husband's heart and Russ gets to spend eternity with Christ.

Blessings to you,
Carol

Tea Party Princess said...

This family is the most amazing family you could ever meet and we are blessed to be their neighbor and friend. Happy Happy Anniversary and many many more....

Tea Party Princess said...

This is the most amazing family you could ever meet. We are blessed to be their neighbor and friends.. Truly wonderful, caring, special people. Happy Happy Anniversary Marcia and Russ and many many more....

Ma said...

What a great testimony. Our God works wonders!

Brandi said...

Happy Anniversary Marcia and Russ! I am so happy your story has a happy ending. Thank you for reminding me to be more forgiving. You are such a caring person Marcia. I can imagine how much your husband and family think of you. I am so glad to call you my friend!

SHERRY HART said...

That was a beautiful story and I am glad it had a happy ending...there is addiction in my family also....so glad you guys made it!