Twenty-six years of a blissful and joy-filled marriage; a unity borne out of love of the Father, enraptured by two people who choose to honor the Lord as well as each other. This will be the legacy I have for my children and any one who may ask. It has been an endearing journey but well worth the effort, the laughter and the tears.

When my husband and I met, we were both divorced and wanting friendship. We were not necessarily lonely, but good company would not hurt either. We dated for a solid two years and tied the knot with our church and family in attendance. They watched proudly as two people became one!

As we began our life together, I could not help but remember my own request to God for a good husband. I was tired of playing the “dating” game. I was getting too old for surprises and the old “guess who I really am” game. One day, I decided to write down what I wanted in a mate. My heart had been broken, stepped on and crushed and I wanted to share my life with someone who would not use me or abuse me.

I wrote out a two-column list. I carefully thought about what I wanted in a mate and wrote it down. For a while, I looked at the list and the Holy Spirit began to share with me the best qualities of a husband:

One he had to love the Lord and active in service. He could not be a sports fanatic, better yet he could not really like sports all that much. I even discussed what I wanted him to look like! The Holy Spirit filled my heart with the desires of the Father (see Psalm 37:4).

Keep in mind, I wasn’t just thinking of my husband and what I wanted. The Lord began to change my heart too. He began to prepare me to be a wife. I admit, a lot of deliverance and healing had to come forth in order for my heart to change and become pliable, for the Lord.

In the beginning, I wrote the list because of what I wanted in a spouse but God changed the desires to reflect His perfect desires for our life together, which included our kids. I never thought I would meet a man of God who truly loved the Lord and served Him with all his heart.

Now the flip side of this is – MARRIAGE IS WORK! I don’t care how smart, cute and fine he is, you two are going to have to work it out! Thankfully, the Lord was in our marriage. We survived the death of a son and almost lost each other; severe heartache, financial woes and the list goes on. Yet and still, we stood together and not against each other. We made up our minds that we would not talk the “D” word because too many of our family members, as we as ourselves, had ended up in the divorce lane.

It was not pleasant or pretty. It destroys lives, causes grief, pain that is unexplainable and let’s not mention the all-time favorite, fear comes in to wreck what is already torn to pieces. Early on, we decided we would fight together for each other. We do not always agree, but it makes a difference when the house is not divided because if we were, we would not be able to stand!

The best quality in a spouse is that they love God first. It is very evident in their talk and their walk. They are not ashamed to show that they love Jesus no matter where you all may be. It is important that “fruit” is visible (Matthew 7:15-20).

Galatians 5:22 speaks of fruit of the spirit. Does your potential soul-mate exhibit these signs? Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness and faithfulness? I do believe that God can change the heart of any person, but is that person willing to be changed?

There is so much that is presented to our senses, that if we focus on what is literally attracting our senses, we may lose our minds!

Pornography, a billion-dollar business is “affecting 5-8% of adults; people addicted spend 11-12 hours per week viewing porn; many conditions co-occur with porn such as, addiction, anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders.” (www.therecoveryvillage.com).

Yes, this will affect any relationship; it takes away what God intended to be beautiful between a husband and wife. There is recovery starting with admitting there is a problem; repent, that is to turn completely away from porn or any issue that you struggle with. This is then followed by forgiveness of oneself, then asking forgiveness of the spouse/family. It is also wise to seek wise counsel/therapy. Change what you view and change your life.

Set the example for your kids to follow. Believe it or not they see and hear just about everything you do! It’s amazing how my kids remind me of things that I do not remember saying or doing, but they find it absolutely hilarious! Set the example by being there for your kids and really listen. I admit, I was not the best listener, but I did know how to ask for forgiveness.

You will never be the perfect Mother or Father, but be the best parent you can be. Set the best Godly example that you can by praying with and for your kids. (Kids will always be your babies even when they are 50 years old).

Be the loving husband and wife, truly like each other and love the Lord. Pray together, talk to your kids, teach them the Word of God and follow hard after Jesus. Your kids will see you fall down, it is what you do when you get up that they remember.  Once our family was on our way inside of a restaurant, I had a pair of red palazzo pants on and my foot got caught in the hem of the pants and I went down. As I was going towards the door of the restaurant, however the funny thing is I did not feel any pain when I hit the cement! I literally bounced back up with a little help from my son, as my kids laughed themselves into hysteria!

I laughed, especially when I looked to my right and this older gentleman was standing there with his mouth open, in total surprise! Laugh together! Enjoy the funny things in life together. Some moments will not be as joyous, like nodding off to sleep on the couch and your kids are laughing at you as you sleep! But that’s another story.

In closing, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4)

Operate in the fruit of the Spirit, seek the Lord first (Matthew 6:33), and give the Lord all you’ve got. He is worth it and so are you.

In His Service,

Davina Stallworth

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