Christian’s Experience: My Wife and I Went From a Cold War to Harmony (Part 1)
When I was young, my mom and dad often argued, and my mom frequently suffered beatings and abuse at the hands of my dad. She carried so much rancor in her heart that she died quite young. Thereafter I promised myself: When I grow up and start a family, I will be good to my wife and create a happy and peaceful family. I would not repeat the failures of my mother and father’s marriage.
In 1995, I was the department director for installation engineering at a restaurant. At first, all I could think about was being an entrepreneur and making money and that I just needed to find a wife who was wise and kind so we could live happily together and that would be enough. But after a while, my work required that I go out often with other department leaders to restaurants, foot spa inn, karaoke parlors, hotels and other entertainment venues. During that time they would often say things like, “Have a wife and mistresses too!” or “‘Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.” or “We only live for decades, so live it up while you’re young” or “This is how men are. Who doesn’t want to eat, drink, and be merry!?” or “Our nation is promoting rapid economic growth and spurring all sorts of entertainment businesses, so we should respond enthusiastically. As Chinese citizens, we would be letting the government down if we didn’t do our part in living the nightlife!” Their influence started to rub off on me and, over time, I began to follow them in their nightlife pursuits and started to think of it as enjoyable.
In late 2000 I got married. At the very beginning there wasn’t a deep emotional connection between me and my wife, but we got along well and understood one another. However, due to the social events for my work and the complicated personal relationships I had to maintain, I still kept the party going just like before. I lived a hedonistic life and stumbled home late every night. After two years of this, my wife finally figured out that my coming home late wasn’t because I was working so hard, but because I was out carousing; that’s when she became cold with me. We each did our own thing, never speaking with one another and never showing understanding or consideration for one another. We became estranged from one another. When I saw how awkward our relationship had become, I was worried that my marriage was broken. I hardly slept. In hopes of getting through this impasse, I asked my friends for help. One of them said, “Your guy friends are a part of you, just like your hands and feet, but women are nothing more than clothing; don’t worry too much about them. Just keep her in check and you’ll be fine.” I thought what my friend said was reasonable as I listened, so I thought I should teach my wife a lesson. I needed to establish my authority over her and get her to submit to me. That way she would never dare cast a dirty look my way ever again. So, I went and did what my friend had said. When I got home I didn’t lift a finger to help and I made my wife wait on me hand and foot. She served me food she had made, which I ate, and then I shouted at her to give me another helping. I acted as high and mighty as I could. I even made my wife track every single living expenditure for the month and I refused to give her another nickel until after I reviewed it. After some time had passed, I found that not only had I failed to establish my authority, but our relationship became even more estranged. When I saw that this method didn’t work, I tried to have a heart-to-heart talk with my wife. But before I could get two words out she laid into me to settle old scores telling me that I did nothing but go out carousing and never brought money home, etc., and we started arguing and ended up parting on bad terms. I felt racked with pain and sadness every time after we argued. If a husband and wife don’t share a common language, then being in a family together is like living with an enemy. You try to get out a few words but that just starts an argument! Those were painful days to get through. Divorce almost seemed a better alternative than going on like that and prolonging the agony. Nonetheless, I didn’t want to air my dirty laundry for all to see, so for the sake of my own self-respect and for my children—but mostly for the pursuit of the dream of a happy family I always wanted—I stayed in my bad marriage. Besides, it was me who was in the wrong in the first place, so I should be the one to fix it, right?!
After my friends found out about how much misery I was in, they recommended I read up on emotions and marriage so that I could emotionally connect better with my wife and children. I then started taking the time to go with my wife and two children to the bookstore, the zoo, or to the mall, and I started giving my wife money to buy things for her side of the family. I went out with my friends less and less…. I thought to myself that this was how I would save my broken marriage. However, my wife was still unhappy and cold toward me, and I couldn’t do anything about it. I asked a good friend to come talk to my wife to try and straighten things out, but my friend was at a loss and just told me: “These things take time.”
Not long after, I started an installation company and brought in my brother-in-law to learn the ropes. I thought: Here I am, a man of status and a good earner. That should be enough to satisfy my wife’s vanity, plus I’m looking out for her younger brother; this ought to fix our relationship right up. However, we still fought often, which I did not expect. My wife even brought up my shortcomings in front of my employees, saying that I didn’t take good care of my family…. I couldn’t take this arguing anymore, so I was going to leave some money behind and take off for another construction site. When I confronted my wife about leaving, she looked bewildered and I just felt awful. I just couldn’t understand it. They always say that a husband and wife shouldn’t fret about yesterday’s troubles, but why was there so much terrible animosity between us? Why did we argue or give one another the cold shoulder every time we looked at each other? How did we make things so painful for each other and put our home in such disarray? We lived this way for four or five years; was there really nothing we could do to fix our relationship? Because our relationship as husband and wife worsened by the day and my pressures at work mounted, I couldn’t eat or sleep. I was exhausted. New wrinkles drew deep lines on my forehead, and I, once a large man, had shrunk to 143 lbs. Sometimes things would come to a boil and I’d wish for death to come and save me from my life of turmoil…. But then I’d think of my two lovely children and I couldn’t bear to throw that all away. And thus I dwelled in a life of suffering that knew no end.
When people have reached their limit, that’s when God begins! In March of 2008, I had the fortune to receive Almighty God’s salvation of the last days. After coming to The Church of Almighty God, I often read God’s word and started being active in the church life. I listened to brothers and sisters fellowship about the truth and the experiences they shared and thereby unwittingly came to understand some truths about family, marriage, and I came to a new understanding about the fate of mankind. The anxiety and stress weighing on my mind was greatly reduced. I began to experience a happiness I had never felt before and my whole body felt more relaxed and at ease. During one congregation I opened up and fellowshiped about the pain and confusion of the last few years, and the brothers and sisters read the following passage of God’s word to me: “Since the creation of the world I have begun to predestine and select this group of people, namely, you today. Your temperament, caliber, appearance, stature, family in which you were born, your job and your marriage, the entirety of you, even the color of your hair and your skin, and the time of your birth were all arranged by My hands. Even the things you do and the people you meet every single day are arranged by My hands, not to mention the fact that bringing you into My presence today is actually My arrangement. Do not throw yourself into disorder; you should proceed calmly” (The Word Appears in the Flesh). Through God’s word I came to understand: It turns out that God has predetermined the course and trajectory of our lives. My family, my marriage, my wife, and my children were given to me by God’s arrangement and as a being of creation, I should accept and submit to God’s ruling plan. Furthermore, the path my marriage had taken up to today was my own doing, but my trying to escape the pain of my family and marriage through divorce or thoughts of suicide. Wasn’t that just trying to escape from God’s ruling plan by applying mankind’s solutions to problems? I had been so foolish. What would happen in my marriage in the end is all in God’s hands and I need to entrust all of my family affairs to God and let God be in charge of the plan. After understanding God’s intentions I felt so much relief; the pressure and pain that had been in my heart was greatly reduced.
One day, I saw these words of God: “Born into such a filthy land, man has been severely blighted by society, he has been influenced by feudal ethics, and he has been taught at ‘institutes of higher learning.’ The backward thinking, corrupt morality, mean view on life, despicable philosophy, utterly worthless existence, and depraved lifestyle and customs—all of these things have severely intruded upon man’s heart, and severely undermined and attacked his conscience. As a result, man is ever more distant from God, and ever more opposed to Him. Man’s disposition becomes more vicious by the day, and there is not a single person who will willingly give up anything for God, not a single person who will willingly obey God, nor, moreover, a single person who will willingly seek the appearance of God. Instead, under the domain of Satan, man does nothing but pursue pleasure, giving himself over to the corruption of the flesh in the land of mud” (“To Have an Unchanged Disposition Is to Be in Enmity to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). The word of Almighty God lays bare the source of mankind’s pain, and it turns out the source of all my pain was Satan’s corruption. I had been under Satan’s domain and affected by the influences of evil social trends. I had been living under evil, satanic views that said to “have a wife and mistresses too.” In my enjoyment of hedonistic pleasures, I had fallen into Satan’s trap and corrupted to the point where I didn’t even seem like a real person at all. I thought back to when I had first become enticed to fall under evil social trends under the guise of having a social life, and how my debauchery and carousing had brought unending conflict between me and my wife such that we were estranged from one another. Later, in order to improve the relationship that my wife and I had, I sought out the “kind advice” of a friend who told me: “Your guy friends are a part of you, just like your hands and feet, but women are nothing more than clothing, just keep her in check and you’ll be fine.” These were nothing more than a shocking display of chauvinism with his talk of “keeping her in check.” Not only was it ineffective, it made things worse. Because I tried to handle things with these satanic views, my family life was on the verge of falling to pieces and I was physically and mentally exhausted. I had been in pain beyond description and my thoughts had even drifted to suicide. But now, I see clearly. Satan was just using these methods to trap and corrupt me, destroy my marriage and family, and make me live a life of evil and misery. Satan’s evil goal was to devour me; Satan really is full of treachery and malice!
Once I saw through Satan’s tricks, I resolved to completely abandon those evil and satanic thoughts and to conduct myself by God’s word. I also wanted to bring the gospel to my wife as soon as possible so that she too could gain God’s salvation.