I grew up especially reading novels. In junior high school I read the novels of Qiong Yao, a popular romance novelist in the Chinese-speaking world, and my expectation for love was simple and beautiful, believing that love was everything in life.
At 15, I gradually learned that life is difficult and making money is not easy. So by the time I was studying at university, I did not dare date. Two years after working, relatives and friends began to match me with someone. However, at that time, I really did not want to date or get married, but just wanted to focus on my career.
Later, there was a colleague at work whom I had a crush on. I thought he was kind-hearted and handsome. But I knew his shortcomings that he only had a junior high school education and was not self-motivated in career. Despite this, I did not know why at the time I fancied him and missed him every time he was away for two hours. But I also knew that real life was difficult. Finally, my sense overcame my sensibility. (Later, this colleague broke the law because of money and so I was secretly grateful for my decision not to be involved in a relationship with him.)
From this, I reflected on Chapter 13 of 2 Samuel. In the story, Amnon loved the young and beautiful Tamar to the point of being so obsessed that "he made himself ill". But when he eventually got her, he "then hated her with intense hatred" and told his personal servant to "get this woman out of my sight and bolt the door after her".
How unreliable and unpredictable is love when it is driven by personal selfish feelings and the old-self! In fact, romantic love itself is also like straw and hay. The only marriage that is secure is the one founded on the rock of Jesus Christ.
In my twenties, although I had believed in the Lord since I was a child, I did not pursue my faith and did not read my Bible. Deciding to date someone would have depended primarily on how I felt plus whether he was kind or not. Later, my brother, who worked far away, told me that I must find a partner of the same faith: "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers".
Although I knew I should find a Christian, there were no young people in the churches in the remote villages and even throughout my county.
Later I learned that there was a devout woman in a county church, who had a son about the same age as me. There was someone who wanted to match us up. Her family was of a high social standing, rich and powerful. But she bluntly said to the matchmaker that her daughter-in-law would have to be of the same level as her family with a good career and a great appearance. Since my family is rural and poor, and I am plain looking, I was angry, and felt that even Christians were snobbish when hearing the words. So, regarding finding a Christian partner, I wavered. There was almost no difference between believers and non-believers - all operated by the standards of the world.
Later, I found a friend of mine to be quite fine. He said many times that he did not have a girlfriend and would like to date me. So I tried to get along with him for a few months. I found out that he had actually had a girlfriend for many years but did not marry her because they lived far apart geographically.
Can you marry someone who doesn't believe in the Lord? After a careful study of the Bible and sermons, I now realize that, first, for a man to believe in the Lord is an act of God, not an act man. To marry someone that does not believe in the Lord and then convert the other into believing in God is to think that one can by oneself turn the other into a Christian. Second, even if the other party later converts to Christ, the couple's marriage relationship will be very difficult prior to the non-Christian spouse's conversion. Third, if the other is not to be a Christian, it will weaken the Christian spouse's own spiritual life. This will result in having to carry more 'crosses'.
Before I knew it, I was in my late twenties. Because I wanted a Christian partner and refused many introductions from friends and family, they became desperate for me. In the countryside, if one did not marry at this age, one was already very much a "leftover girl."
Relatives began to "enlighten" me. I looked plain, not smart and my job is not a very "good" one. Even if I was in a public institution, the salary would not be attractive. My family is rural and parents are farmers so rich families' sons were hesistant to marry me. In the eyes of the world, I was afraid I really was unable to be married. So the attitude was to casually find a man to marry, regardless of whether he believed in the Lord or not. But I had faith in God and I was sure he would help me.
Some old classmates suggested that I could go to a Christian dating website. The world's sneering irony, I could bear. After all, they do not believe in the Lord. But what I couldn't bear was that my brothers and sisters in the church didn't understand me. One day a Christian woman who had been a believer for twenty or thirty years introduced me to a widowed brother, who had a permanent and stable job with a high wage, owned two houses, and was 40 years with a child in primary school, et. When I got home, I cried to God. "Am I to be treated this way by following the Bible's teachings? Is it wrong for me to wait on God? Lord, am I to be humiliated in the end?"
During this time, I visited a Christian dating website for some updated information, adding a few friends. One of them was a post-graduate from a 985 university in China. He later spoke to me by phone, ranting on about physicists, scientists at home and abroad, and their theoretical achievements. Although he talked about these matters, of which I had no idea and had not heard of because of my ten years of grass-roots work and life experience, I concluded that this was a simple and true-to-the-heart person.
A few months later he met my family who approved of him. He shared with us how he believed in the Lord, how he had relied on God to defend his thesis, and how he had relied on God to find his ideal job after graduation. In the end, my family was very happy to have approved the decision.
However, during our dating period, I also wanted to step back. Urban housing prices were too expensive for our salary. Even if I went with food for many years, I still could not afford to buy a house. I did not know when I would be able to make the initial payment for a flat as we are both from the countryside and our parents could not help out financially. At the time, he thought of me as a rural girl who was not fashionable enough, gray-faced, and not pretty. However God spoke to him, and in the end, we were married in church a year later.
After marriage, we both got better and better. He was physically weak before marriage and often suffered from insomnia. After getting married, with almost never taking any medicine, he lies down at eight o'clock and snores until dawn the next morning. I have also become more intelligent because of him, learning some scientific knowledge and improving my IQ.
Since we first were married, we go to church every Sunday and after the service go to the park. Although we are not rich, as long as we love each other, it is better than living in a luxurious house. We have been married for five years. And despite having quarrelled and cried over small things, I am also slowly learning how to rely on God to be more patient.
- Translated by Charlie Li