What God Joined Together
Stephen Jones’ Story
There was one point I felt like I couldn't do anything right.
I really wanted to be a great dad. I really wanted to be a great husband. And when it really wasn't working, I just wanted to push it all away.
My default was to find comfort in other places. A lot of the time I would work until 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. and go to a bar until midnight or 1 a.m. until everyone was asleep. It made things worse. But it seemed good in the moment.
Everybody was telling her to leave me. But Anna wasn't OK with that
Anna and I had very different ideas of marriage. Her idea of what I should be as a husband was not mine. The more I wasn't fulfilling the role, the harder she pushed. It was a constant battle.
We never really were prepared for marriage. When we met, we were both in the party scene, and when Anna got pregnant, that forced us to get serious quick. I was trying to do the right thing by moving in together. Problems were already obvious when we got married a few years later, but for some reason we thought marriage would solve anything.
I just didn't want to mess things up a second time: I already had a son from a long relationship from high school that had ended abruptly.
But messing up was what was happening. In the middle of our difficulties, I turned to a co-worker and had an affair. At this point I was almost trying to get Anna to leave me. "I can play the victim card," I thought. "It won't be my fault."
A New Turn
Anna figured out that I had been unfaithful, and everybody was telling her to leave me. But Anna wasn't OK with that.
Instead, she approached an old high-school friend of hers who attended NewSpring, seeking Biblical counsel and wisdom to fix our marriage. Anna had met Jesus at an early age but had walked away and now saw the need to come back.
She began to be involved in her friend's Bible study, and eventually that led us to joining her friend's small group and attending NewSpring together.
Anna completely changed. She quit trying to change me and started changing herself. I could see Anna putting in real effort, and that made me want to give it a shot. We started going to a counselor. And in the group, I was starting to see examples of couples who had problems but were willing to work on them.
But I still was stuck in the cycle of preferring to hang out in bars with my friends.
The breakthrough came one Sunday at NewSpring, about a year after we first started attending. Something felt just a little bit different from the beginning. When Pastor Perry gave the invitation to receive Jesus, I started praying, and in my head everything went silent. Instead of just listening, I was praying for Jesus to come into my life and take complete control, and I really meant it.
Instantly, I saw who I was, what I was doing, how it was wrong -- and how it all needed to change. Either I was going to follow Christ or just let things fall apart. I knew everything had been forgiven, and we could start fresh as a couple. From that day on, I never went back to the bar lifestyle. My desire for it was completely gone.
All Because of Jesus
We have a great relationship now. We have passion and desire for one another, and we enjoy spending time together. People say, "you're made for each other" -- and I can't imagine being with anyone else.
We don't always see eye to eye, but with both of us pursuing Jesus, she understands her role as a wife, and I know I have a role as a husband. Instead of disagreeing and standing firm, we work through it with Jesus.
I am completely convinced that if it wasn't for Jesus stepping in, our marriage would have ended. It is 100 percent because of Jesus that I can be a better father, with kids that look up to me and want to spend time with me, and a marriage that grows together. There's no way we would have made it without Him.