Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Story of Repentance



This is how I hope to explain
my first marriage to my children
(when they are old enough):

I was twenty-three.

The night I became engaged for the first time was really exciting. I wanted to be engaged, I wanted to get married and that night I really hoped those feelings would last. But when I woke up the next morning I felt like my soul had frozen over. I decided to pray and meditate about it, and when I did, all answers came from a very distinct, divine voice. We call it the Holy Ghost.

Do not do it.

The same voice whispered in the ears of my friends and family.

Do not do it.

They all said.

I could hear it all, I knew what they were saying was true, but there was a pride in me that could not be extinguished. The source of that pride was a deep insecurity about being wanted. I felt like I would never be loved by anyone ever again, this was my ONE CHANCE! At the risk of that, I decided to ignore the direct revelation sent to me from my Heavenly Father by the Holy Ghost.

I didn't understand this: the encompassing love of God.

I also decided to shorten the engagement to one month. For one month I could endure the pleadings, begging and flat out rejection of the people in my life. Or the loneliness of keeping pride in check. Not to mention the entire absence of my spiritual self. For one month I would carry on, plan a wedding and act as if I had all the confidence of a young bride.

One day while I was going about doing just that--planning a wedding dinner--my sister Page said, "You know we are here for you now, and you know we will be here for you when it ends." It was one of the most compassionate things anyone has ever said to me. Because at that point of course I knew it would end--my marriage--and yet I also knew I had to willingly walk into it for the sake of walking out of it.

All of these things are hard to explain. Unless you understand pride.

My mother helped me plan the wedding with all the energy she could muster. I was her second daughter to marry and I was given the same respect as Page and her wedding. Sometimes when I think about my mother driving me up to Salt Lake to pick out pricey, engraved wedding announcements and how her heart was breaking while we decided what font to use on my new last name, I want to cry. I pray I never have to go through that with my own daughter.

(Though I probably deserve it.)

On a very warm day in June I got married in the Provo Temple. I have explained before that as soon as it was official I felt as though someone had drained my entire body of blood. The room was tilting and I had a feeling of complete panic. I contemplating running out of the room.

It was this: the horrible consequence of disobedience.

But for the first time in a month I heard that divine voice--the Holy Ghost--again. It said to me,

You are going to be alright.

After the wedding luncheon I had this romantic idea of giving our guests rose petals to gracefully throw as we exited to our honeymoon car. I wanted everything to be over-glamorous to make up for how unglamorous everything really was (which is why I eloped the second time around, no need for anything but an official certificate, thanks). One of my brothers (I shall not out him) thought it would be funny to throw a fistful of crumbled petals directly at our faces, which made everyone else roar. At any other point in my life I would've laughed, but I remember feeling entirely devastated. I wanted to drop on the ground and sob.

I was married for nine months. Nine really horrible months. The details are not as important to me now, only that it was an unhealthy in almost all aspects where marriage should be healthy. After time spent praying, fasting, consulting with my bishop, my parents, and studying intently from the doctrine of my church, I knew I needed to repent. I needed to humble myself and ask for forgiveness, my health and happiness were at risk.

On one December morning while on my knees, I heard the Holy Ghost direct me again.

You can leave.

Which I did with the help of my petal-slinging brothers. There was no point in ignoring personal revelation anymore. I moved back in with my parents which had the odd feeling of being completely liberated. I was free. I knew what it felt like to walk hand-in-hand with God.

It felt like this: If no one ever wanted to marry me ever again, I would still have happiness beyond my imagination. I would always have a relationship with God. I would always be His daughter. I could always hear His council--I knew His voice. At that point, it was enough. Maybe even more than enough.

Of course, I knew that the voice could also have said, "You can work this marriage out" and I could've. The power of God has the ability to heal anything that is broken. It just wasn't what it said to me. It wasn't my plan.

My plan was this: one week later I met Christopher Erin Kendrick at a New Year's Eve party.

And at that point I knew I had been completely forgiven.




Today on dear c jane:
Good news! Toms shoes!




c jane's Guide to Provo:
Happy Birthday Stevie!

283 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 283 of 283
Kriss said...

Thanks so much for sharing your story! I brings many feelings to the surface. Everyone tried very hard to get me to change my mind as to who I was getting ready to marry. May I just say we have now been married nearly 33 years, have four children, nearly 11 grandchildren and have a wonderful marriage. I am thankful for following and listening to the spirit for me. My husband is the one who had been married before but did not have any children from that marriage. Our love grows stronger everyday which is wonderful. He is my best friend and I love to do everything with him and feel very lost and lonely when he is not around:)

Simply Barefoot said...

I am also divorced after a horrible (short) marriage.

The way I look at it is I would rather BE alone that WISH I was.

Your story gives me hope.

B. said...

Thank you for that CJane. My first marriage was the exact same, except I was 24 and it lasted 23 months. I knew it was a bad idea, but I couldn't back down for fear no one would ever ask again. Now I'm 30, and so far, no one else has asked. And you know what? That's okay.

Anonymous said...

Ask and you shall receive. :-)
Your last post about changing your last name left many of us with so many unanswered questions. Just when I thought you didn't care about us "anons" and our silly/ intrusive questions you go and do a post about your first marriage. You put it all out there for us and answered everything.

So you do love us.

And we love you!!!

This post was one of your best. It really touched me. I have FOUR daughters who will probably marry someday. I hope they will never have to go through divorce, but if they do I will be there to love and support them no matter what. Just like your Mom did for you.

Maddie said...

I loved this post. I barely missed having this same experience. I broke off the engagement and thought the marriage train had passed me by. Four months later I met my now husband. Obeying our Heavenly Father is ridiculously hard sometimes, but He always rewards us!

Lynne said...

Great post. Surely helpful & insightful to many who read it.

Vanessa said...

Thank you for this. I, too, was married to the wrong person. The circumstances were different, but I find such peace from God. And what you said couldn't be more true. God's got it all planned out.

And I'm so happy that you found true love. It gives me hope. Sometimes, I need hope. Thank you.

Jane said...

Dear CJane, I hope you didn't feel the need to "have" to explain yourself because of a few nasty Anonymous posters :(
It is/was non one else s business but yours.
Maybe they felt you were a hypocrite because of your religion? I do not understand your religion in full, so I have no idea, but I can say this to you, that is crap! - if they thought you a hypocrite, and i would love to sit down with them and tell them to their anonymous faces!
God (of any religion!!!!) Loves us and would never make someone be unhappy just for the sake of it.
That is why I get angry at ANY religion that the people who are in "power" of that religion use that religion to "bend the people to their will" that is all about CONTROL not about Love.
God is Love.
If you do not love your spouse you should not be made to stay with them.
I understand pride.
Sometimes it can be a good thing, and sometimes it can be not a good thing.
Its the fine line between that is tricky to work out.

May I ask as to the comments you made about your Mum and your sister ?
Did they know already he was not the man for you?

Thanks for Sharing, and I am glad you turned on comment moderation, but maybe, if that is too much work just stop people from posting as anonymous ?
xxx

Jen said...

Raw and open. Thanks for sharing.

*tif* said...

Wow. You are one brave woman! Thank you for sharing. I hope to be brave enough to tell my story...maybe. I had a similar story only mine has turned out very differently. I didn't marry someone who was abusive. I had some friends who questioned it because it was so fast. I don't know the entire reason I was told not to do it, or rather had the stupor of thought that some have mentioned. I was young and impulsive and proud, just like you said. I felt sick about it 10 seconds after I said yes. Yet, somehow we've worked through it. Somehow it's better than it ever was or could have been. Maybe I just wasn't ready and should have waited. Maybe I wasn't in love then. Maybe things would have gone more smoothly with someone else. But I'm more able to accept my past mistakes and move forward. And I know that's not always possible. I'm just glad it is in our situation. I'm glad I did fall in love with him even if it wasn't when it was supposed to happen. Hopefully someone besides us can learn and grow from it. But I appreciate more than anything your willingness to be plain and true about your experience. You are a gem!

Anonymous said...

To anonymous who wrote about being in an abusive marriage. Please remember you are never left alone. We all make mistakes everyday the only difference is your consequences have been greater. Please know that Heavenly Father loves you and wants you to come to Him and pray for help he wants to bless you. Your kids need a happy and healthy Mommy more than they need an abusive father. Please know that you are loved and you can be strong enough to take control of your life and your future. Whatever you decide I wish you luck it just broke my heart reading your comment. You know CJane is a perfect example she went against promptings she had had from the Holy Ghost only to fast and pray for months after to make the right decision. Don't give up, just remember Heavenly Father wants YOU to be happy!!!!Good luck!!!!!!

Mariah said...

You're so brave putting this out there. I had a little curiosity I'll admit about the 9 month marriage, but even if you would have answered my question it's the type of thing that you just don't ask about. I love the spiritual side of your story, which really IS the story. It's really strengthening. You're amazing.

thorney said...

Thank you so much for sharing this intensley personal part of your life. I too am divocred and now married to my best friend and the love of my life. To be so happy is the best.
--Mari

Anonymous said...

I know it's been said, but thank you for putting this out there. You don't know how many of us are or have been in the same boat. Frankly, neither did I, until I read some of the comments.

I am in *that* marriage right know. I tried to break of the relationship before we got married, numerous times. My coworkers, friends, and family were so perplexed when I said I was getting married. I guess I was, too. I never envisioned myself getting married, but it was that strange "What if nobody loves me?" fear that led me to it. I felt like I was already damaged goods after the relationship, so I went for it.

Our wedding day was the worst day of my life. Anything and everything that could've gone wrong that day, did. I look miserable in every picture. I wore a dress his mother made and felt like the most unnatractive creature, ever. It was the most painfully awkward wedding I've ever been to. Three years later, I still can't shake that feeling.

I haven't left yet. I know that it wouldn't be the end of the world, but that stupid fear keeps creeping in. I'm 25. I KNOW, realistically, that I'm not old, but I feel old already. I stay out of a sense of duty, out of an ugly comfort, because the thought of having to tell everyone I'm divorced just makes me feel like a failure. Sigh.

Maybe sometime soon I'll walk out and find happiness. It is so difficult to write that and understand how much I mean it.

Thank you for having the courage to do what I can't do yet.

Trish and Greg said...

To an earlier 'Anonymous' poster who said:

"Repent of what? Not following the spirit? Getting a divorce? I love the honestly and emotion of your story, but at the core of it, there is the message that your mistake of getting married is a sin?"

Dear Anonymous, it seems clear to me that Courtney's marriage was not the *sin*, but it was the *consequence* of the sin: PRIDE. As Courtney put it, "the source of the pride was the deep insecurity about being wanted", and she saw this as the ONE chance to be loved.

Everyone can relate to pride. In this re-telling, we hear Courtney explain that pride led her to agree to a marriage that she KNEW she should not enter into, for whatever reason.

Thank you for this post, Courtney. You have described a universal human dilemna: overcoming pride. What a powerful illustration and clear analysis you've presented.

Anonymous said...

Yes! Beautiful post. Cjane is BACK! At least in my book, to others she may have never left. I'm over my anger about the feminist post. I've thought a lot about this and cjane's contradictions (while sometimes frustrating) are universal. We're all just trying to sort it all out and it's a life long process.

I'm about the same age as cjane and I feel as though her contradictions are mine too. Maybe that's why I get so passionate about this blog, I can relate to her quest of self-identity and improvement. Love ya' cjane!

Anonymous said...

re: Anon

"I recognize your salvation came from your God -- but your legal freedom came from feminists."

Right on girl, very well put!

I hope you see the connection cjane and put some more thought into the feminist issue. Still I loved your post and your blog always brightens my day. Thank you.

Jenn Eats Nutritiously Now said...

I know your children will appreciate your respect in telling this. It's part of who you were, which made you who you are.

ForeverRhonda said...

Thank you for sharing that. I understand the elopement very much now.

Robert and Sherry Leal said...

I became quickly engaged at the age of 23, too. I had the same feeling of "this is wrong"...cold and empty. I had the same insecurities as you and forged on with some wedding plans. In my case, however, my fiance recognized it, too. He gently pulled back even though he had been the one to (sort of) rush me. I let myself be rushed, even though I knew it would never last. We broke up and that same night a wonderful young man asked me out. He became my husband, and it all felt so right from that point on. Thank you for helping me see what might have been if things had continued with my first engagement. My first engagement helped me have a basis for comparison when the right relationship came along, but I'm glad we broke up before it went too far. Without the first experience, I may have doubted my feelings not knowing what a good thing I had. Thank you, again.

gioia said...

Thank you for your openness.

mrs. olson said...

I totally appreciate hearing about your first marriage. I got married when I was 17 to a boy I knew I shouldn't have. I couldn't believe no one was stopping me! It lasted for 2.5 years but when we got divorced I was pregnant for the first time and we knew that but I knew I couldn't be a good mother and be married to him. When Noah (my son) was 5 months old I met my true love. He later adopted my son and now we're expecting our 3rd baby. Life can be funny but I know it was all for the best and I'm glad I had the experiences I had.

Dre + Drew - Southern Living - Georgia said...

I to walked the same path as you and so did my younger sister. I thank you for opening up and sharing this! It helped me see my story in a great perspective. I have always thought about how I would tell my own children about that poor choice.

thehaucks said...

That was phenomenal. Very powerful. If I ever face that situation with one of my 3 daughters, I want them to read that.
I think you are wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

Teren, Jaxson, and Teegan! said...

Sigh...a big sigh. I am going through a terrible divorce, and reading this post today was really motivational and makes me realize, that maybe I too, will be ok.

Anonymous said...

I am visiting my family in Utah right now and my beautiful sister-in-law had me read your article, "A Story of Repentance". You see, I came thisclose to getting married while I was down here last month. I was distinctly told by the Holy Ghost to run away from him one evening after he was telling me how I was just like his ex-wives (Yes, wives - red flag #1) and that I needed to be more submissive to him. I ran out of his appartment without even putting my shoes on.I had a peace as I was driving away from him. I felt happier driving away then I ever did driving to him. A few days later I went back to him eventhough Heavenly Father had given me His answer. I started to lose the spirit and was convincing myself that I could marry him and this was my ONE CHANCE. My family and friends didn't like him and were warning me...they've never done this before. I called off the wedding again and have nothing to do with him. I often wonder what my life would've been like if I went through with the marriage. I have a feeling after reading your experience, I now have an idea of how it would've been. I'd have been stifled and had angish of soul. I hope and pray for anyone reaidng this and if they have had that comfirmation to not marry that person, they will listen and not play with fire...cause you're likely to get burned.

Steve and Alli said...

I am so happy you shared this with us. I've always wondered what that was all about, etc... You know, the things people are scared to ask about for fear of prying, etc... I had a similar experience in my early days of YSA- although it never got to the temple. It was exhausting and scary, and I was and still am so grateful for that voice that helped me make the "unpopular" choice. I really admire your courage in sharing this story & hope someday to be able to share mine with my children in such a beautiful, eloquent manner.

merathon said...

beautiful post. thanks so much for writing it.

Karen said...

Honest question: what is the difference between 'God' and 'the Holy Ghost'?

Anonymous said...

Your children will be blessed to hear this story. I know I was.

Beth said...

That was beautiful.

Anonymous said...

"We are here for you now and we will be here for you when it ends".....
did you really consider those as kind words when they were spoken OR did pride make you feel hostile towards those words? When I'm in my prideful moods, the truth seems hostile. It is only after that I realize they were spoken in kindness.

PacPaliGoulds said...

I REMEMBER THOSE NINE MONTHS--WE WORKED AT THE SCHOOL- I MISSED MY FRIEND COURTNEY- GOOD TO HAVE YOU BACK!!

Anonymous said...

I hope you know what a wonderful representative you are of your faith! Same story for the same reasons at age 22 except that as a then-Catholic it took 5 years to overcome the feelings of shame, guilt and failure and to find the courage to divorce. I just celebrated my 30th anniversary and believe with all my heart that God wants us to be in a happy marriage. I so admire your religion and you!

Strawberry Cake said...

this is my first visit to your blog...this post made my heart heavy...I too was engaged in to a disasterous, but thankfully I listened to God before I married him. I hope this isn't insensitive but I was most intrigued by your Nutella header...I am a Nutell a freak! I will try and check back with you her is a post I did on Nutella on my blog http://luvstrawberrycake.blogspot.com/2010/01/confession.html

Anonymous said...

I would like to send you a personal message about this post, but I decided to just write anonymously. This post really hit me in the heart. I'm currently engaged, have been for over a year now. At first I was over joyed at our engagement, but slowly things started to unravel. I was more dedicated than he. I was trying to grow strong with God, he was weighing it all down. I just knew it was getting to be too much, in more ways than these. And so I called it off, I told him. And eventually my direct family. And I felt relieved. But I couldn't let him go. I loved him and was with him for 3.5 years. I couldn't imagine life without him. And so I tried to work it out with him. And my parents weren't thrilled. I ignored it. Things improved for a while. But again, things got worse. And so now I'm stuck at a point where I'm afraid of where this is going, whether it ends or works out... I'm afraid. And hearing your story almost felt like a little warning from God. To listen more carefully. I think it should end, but I haven't gotten the guts for it yet. But just hearing what you had to say really opened my mind to what I should probably do. Thanks so much Courtney for sharing your personal story. I love you for it.

Cortney said...

Do you think the culture of marrying young, and the emphasis on the importance of family and motherhood, leads many women to ignore these promptings of the spirit out of fear of not getting married? I mean, my roommate was Mormon, I dated a Mormon guy, I am still friends with many Mormons, and I don't think one of them got married older than 21...and my previous roommate actually had people asking her mom if "everything was ok" because she wasn't in a serious relationship/engaged...she was *20* at the time.

I'm glad that it worked out well for you, and kudos to your family for being so supportive, but do you think there may be a deeper problem within the culture of the Church- young marriages, short engagements, emphasis on starting families as soon as possible, etc? Lots of Young Women's activities are centered around marriage- getting pics taken in Mom's wedding dress, writing down attributes of a Godly husband, planning weddings, etc. That's a lot of cultural pressure to confront at such a young age.

Autumn Lynn said...

I appreciate this story. It is both a blessing and a wake up call since I broke off an engagement last summer. My parents were supportive of my decisions, but the confusion for me was so strong because I knew what I wanted and was ignoring what God wanted instead.

Thanks for being genuine and candid.

Hollie said...

Thank You for sharing your story with us. I can relate so much to it. I too was engaged to someone and I heard the voices everywhere telling me not to do it. I too had that pride issue and almost went through with it, until my ex-fiance left me a message two hours before our ceremony saying he wasn't coming. What a blessing that was. A month later, I eloped and married my husband of almost 11 years.

Shelby Lou said...

I know this is so off topic, but... I just saw you at my church building and I totally fan-girled. NO LIE.

Kthanksbye...

C├ęcy said...

I do have a question. I heard that in the LDS faith, the first person you marry, well you are married for eternity. So I wondered if you could exlain, did the church cancel your first marriage (because I think it would be aweful if you were to meet your ex in heaven and be married to him yet)? Or does it work differently than I Think?

Harlene said...

I don't know that I have ever left you a comment before, with so many I'm not sure how many you actually internalize, but thank you for sharing something so personal. I had a similar experience, although I broke off the engagement, and you articulated the feelings, the messages, the pride and the hope so well. Thank you.

I too hope I never have to endure with my daughter all that my parents did with me, but we'll see!

Anonymous said...

CJane, this could be my exact story, but I spent 2 1/2 horrible, long years. I heard almost the same message, "It will be alright." Amazing. But it made me the person I am today and luckily NOT the person I was then. Divorce is sometimes an incredible blessing.

La Yen said...

I just love you, that is all.

And to anonymous right above, we believe that God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three separate, distinct beings, rather than an all-in-one deity. The Holy Ghost is a comforter, guide, and a daily voice of the Lord. When we live according to God's commandments, we are able to receive personal revelation through the Holy Ghost--to learn God's will for us, as well as feel his love for us.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post and for making it beatiful and artful life is that way if you see it that way. I wish I could feel the peace that you feel. I know it is mine for the taking but still can not hold on to it.

Camille said...

Wow, I had no idea. But then again, many people who I have met in the past couple of years have said the same about me. We don't realize the background and history most people have gone through, which have served as experiences that have strengthened us and pssibly led us down the correct path - which obviously happened to you. Such a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing!

Sky said...

This is incredibly beautiful- thank you for sharing such a powerful and personal story. I read this aloud to my husband, to whom I am a second wife. Thought it might ring true. And he says thank you too.

Anonymous said...

Started reading your blog a year ago as well as your sisters. We share some things in common. Mission, first marriage for twelve months, had my first child at thirty with my husband who I have been married to for twenty years. Now my children are older and dating. I admire how your family supported you with your first marriage. I hope I can do the same for my kids if and when they decide to marry. As a mom I really want to protect my kids but I know some time I have to let go. Thanks for sharing.

brown eyed girl said...

Thankyou C Jane. The same thing happened to me. Although I called the wedding off 4 weeks before, all those terrible feelings of pride and dissapointment were still very real. After I called it off, my parents didnt talk to me for days. All I could do was pray and get loving advice from my stake president. Im grateful for a Heavenly Father that knows me and knows whats best for me because 9 months later I was married to my eternal companion in the Sydney Temple :)

Erin said...

To Cecy: When you are married in the temple, you make covenants with God and with your spouse. When you get divorced, your temple marriage is not canceled until you marry someone else in the temple.

The reason is that the blessings of a temple marriage extend beyond the relationship with your spouse, and the Church wants people to have that blessing in their life, even if they are no longer legally married to that person. I can't answer for Courtney's specific situation, but in most cases your first temple marriage is canceled when you get married to someone else in the temple.

And as you said, it would be horrible to run into someone in heaven and be married to them and not want to be. I don't know exactly how everything all works out, but I do know that God loves us and wants us to be happy. And I believe that means if you don't want to be with someone, you won't have to be. I hope that answered your question!

Anonymous said...

C., you may already know this song, but everytime I hear it on the radio, I picture you singing it to Chup. Love it...and you!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cTI0gEZ_gg



Tracie

The Rose Family said...

I'm glad that you've shared your experience. I went through something similar, but managed to let my mother convince me I'd be OK if I broke off the engagement. But the feelings of fear at never being wanted again sent me into another bad relationship immediately afterward. I also relate to the feeling that I was forgiven the moment I met my now husband. It was like reading in type everything that has been in my heart. thnks

Jen Olson Brown said...

Isn't it refreshing to know that no matter how hard we rebel against the great Creator, He still loves us and has provided a way back. So glad to know that your road brought you to us (the readers).

jessica said...

First time reader, my friend Jessica sent me to this post. You pretty much wrote my story, except I was 19 and I stayed for two years. That was 14 years ago. A lifetime ago really. I just barely told my nine and six year old that I was married and divorced before I met their daddy...who happens to be the love of my life.

I know the guilt, it's real. I know forgiveness, it's real. I wished I could have had someone who knew my pain during that time. It was very lonesome. I wondered so many times if there was ANYONE out there who had experineced my sort of trial...now I know.

I've thought about posting my story on my blog, but I'm not quite ready yet.

Thanks for sharing...I'm not sure if you read your 212th comment, but I hope you do.

Nicki said...

Oh! Oh! "The horrible consequences of disobedience"... brilliant, deep and TRUE. So happy I get to read your writing every week and have all these bells going off in my heart and mind about things that matter.

Elizabeth Preston Cisneros said...

Thank you so much for sharing this story. It is an intensely powerful testimony. I think this is an amazing idea for an ourtreach program.

eveready mom said...

I am the mother. I can see my daughter heading in this direction and I can't seem to plead enough to stop her. It's like watching an avalanche coming down on our family

Tina said...

Hey Courtney,

It took me two husbands before I found my wonderful number 3. Stuff happens! I am like you, I don't try to hide it. It's part of my past, in fact when I tell people about it, we always have a good laugh. They are always amazed that my hubby now is number 3. Hubby number 3 is my last.

Tina
Little Tots Big Ideas

URFAVE5 said...

You are so amazing! I love you and adore you and we've never met. Thank you for sharing such a personal and private part of your life. Just this last week a friend in my ward told me the story of her first marriage. It was quite a bit the same as yours. I was so touched by her stregnth and wisdom she had gained from her horrible experience. I am once again so touched by your stregnth and wisdom. I am so glad that you found your Chup and that he is everything and more than you ever hoped and dreamed of. You deserve every bit of it! Thanks for sharing your life with us everyday. You are a doll!

Marci Coombs said...

You are a brilliant writer. I have been following your blog for awhile now and could completely relate to this post. Thank u!

Autumn said...

So very interesting. Thanks for sharing and good for you for learning the lesson and sharing it to all of us. So glad you found your prince.

haley said...

good to know there is another young mormon girl out there that made the same mistake I did and lived to tell the tale...happier and healthier. Thanks for sharing, it gives me a good idea of how to explain my first marriage to my son someday. Pride.

The Farmer's Wife said...

Oh my gosh, I just had to respond to this. I, too, was in the same circumstance as you except that I didn't actually go through with the marriage. Instead, I emotionally pushed him away. He finally broke off our engagement - because I didn't have the courage to do it myself. You described to a "T" every emotion I felt during that time. Thank you for writing this. It really helped me to read it! I'm now happily married (for almost 11 years) and have two beautiful daughters. My life is wonderful by the grace of God.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, this is eerily similar to my engagement and marriage. Although I didn't find the way out like you did. And now four children and 19 years later, I don't see a way out at all. Instead I've made the best but have always wondered what if I would have listened to that screaming in my head "IT'S NOT TO LATE TO BACK OUT" as I'm sitting in the celestial room. I feel more that the marriage performed there was a prison sentance and I'm serving life.

A Musing Mom (Taylorclan6) said...

I am in the process of my own repentance. I don't know your circumstances but I do know mine.

In my own Gethsemane, late at night, I pleaded with Heavenly Father to tell me what to do. My soul screamed as I silently cried. I wanted release from such a painful marriage.

He told me to stay.

I argued with Him, of course, making my points of how I'd been wronged and how he had sinned. God didn't budge.

Eight years later I am still married to the man who caused me so much grief. I love him with all my heart. He is a very good man with a very good soul and a very good dad.

My search for the atonement in my life continues as I search for how He will heal me. How he can heal me with the pride I hug so fiercely of being the one wronged.

But you are right. He speaks to His children, makes promises, and when we are humbled, He heals.

I look forward to it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this. I thought it was a simple, beautiful story - one that can describe situations in many lives.Divorce is a difficult topic especially for a people with a belief in the finality- and eternal nature of marriage.

Motherboard said...

To say I understand would seem to others as though I were being trite, but my friend. I UNDERSTAND. The only difference? I called it off and went on a mission.

You are an amazing example to the YW you tutor.

Laur said...

Thank you for sharing, Courtney! I am a long-time reader and remember mentions of a previous marriage. I hoped you would talk about it eventually. :) I am right smack dab in the middle of a very similar story. I've found my Chup and can't wait for the day in the future when I can tell the story of my first marriage, surrounded beautifully by my friends and supportive family. Thank you, Courtney, for constant inspiration.

Kristi said...

Wow! I did the same thing! I remember the night before my wedding sobbing... knowing I was doing the wrong thing! But I had too much pride to walk away... but finally did... 9 months later!

mbbored said...

I dated the same man for 5 years, knowing, deep down, that we would not be together forever. That he was not emotionally healthy in a way that affected all parts of his life. But we were together, and I thought nobody else would want me, and at least he needed me. We planned a wedding, went through premarital counseling, were about to buy a house, when he looked me in the eye and said that he would never be happy with me. Which was true. Because he was not willing to provide his own happiness, and I am not capable of being the emotional stability of 2 people. The sad part is that my first reaction was "You didn't even let me have the big fancy party first?"

Now I am so grateful that I didn't have the big fancy party, or the legal and financial entanglements. It's been two years and I have not met that special man yet, sometimes I wonder if I ever will. But I've gone out and bought a house on my own, started a new career that satisfies my soul. I am so deeply myself, I am responsible for my happiness, but I so love spreading joy to others who will reflect it back to me.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to thank you so much. I have been married for 7 months now and...well... its just awful. I like you should've listend to my heart when I considered calling my wedding off three times durning my engagement. I've sat here for the past few months trying to figure out how to get out....I felt so horrible about the money and the time spent on the wedding I felt like I shouldn't leave....but like you...I feel like my health (mainly mentally) is suffering...so I wanted to say thank you...knowing it's "not just me".... it helps alot.

Post-it Note said...

I don't know why I would think I'm the only person who has ignored revelation straight out for no other reason than pride and loneliness. When I think back on it's like a thick thundercloud in my chest. I'm so glad it's over!

amanda said...

I know I'm late reading this, and I'm fine with that because tonight is the night, if any, that I needed this post. Thank you.

Megan said...

I love that story, I always love reading your candid and expressive posts! You know how to say things just right, which I can never do. My husband had a similar "first" marriage for about 4 months and lucky for me he repented too! ;)

melissa mae said...

Thats a great story, and one I can relate too. I did the same thing when I was BARELY 19. My marriage lasted a month. We separated after one month and were divorced after two months. I had the same feelings, my family reacted the same way. But 9 years later I am grateful it ended even though my heart was broken. I was truly blessed when only 3 days after he left, I felt completely healed. It was amazing. And now I am lucky to be married to the man of my dreams, 7 years this July. Here is to second chances! :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I know this was almost three months ago now, but I'm so glad I found it. It is such a good reminder that Heavenly Father knows best and has a plan for us. My situation is not with my marriage, but with children. I have three beautiful children, two of which took many months and years of trying, the other was a surprise. I know these children were meant to be in our family. I have struggled with whether we are supposed to have more children or not. I have prayed about it a lot and felt a couple times that our family is complete, yet I still yearn for another child. I have have come to find some peace with being happy with what I have, but at the same time I always wonder why I still have these feelings of wanting another child. Obviously I can't just get pregnant like that, so I figure if I was meant to have another child, Heavenly Father will send one.

Your post has helped me remember that I need to accept the answer that he has given me and not keep asking when I already know.

I know this post is off the topic of your original post, but maybe there is someone else that needs to hear this too.

Thank you for your courage!

Amy Caroline said...

I have to say that I think your blog has changed my life. Not that I can say I relate to this story, but I do relate to learning how to listen to the Spirit. Bless you and your beautiful family!!!

Heidi Ashworth said...

Wow--very inspiring!

James and Sarah Narramore said...

Thanks so much for posting this! I feel like this was written for me. I am going through a similar situation just three years and a baby later. It helps me to know that we can also get an answer to know if we need to leave if that be my case.

Aprilyn said...

Wow. This pretty much describes my life. The only difference is, I was stubborn enough to stay in that bad marriage for 6 1/2 yrs. When I finally had the courage to leave, it was SO DIFFICULT, but the Lord strengthened me and healed my broken heart. Living with a Dad I don't exactly get along with that well, and attempting to raise a 3 yr old boy while working and going to school was tough, but I made it through. Now I am also blissfully married, and my son has been adopted by my current husband.
Thanks for writing this. I never knew what it was that made me marry that guy, and stay in a bad marriage. Now I finally know.

Linds said...

Dear cjane,
Thank you. I so needed to hear this story and I didn't even know it til I'd read it. I'm on the other end of your story- I'm the 'second wife' of a most wonderful, worthy man. When we were engaged and trying to decide whether to wait for the cancellation or marry in the temple now (he then being sealed to both of us) and worry about a cancellation later, I was struggling. I loved him and I knew marrying him was exactly right. But my faith was weak. I struggled with the idea of him being sealed to me and another. I couldn't see with my limited, human eyes how it could work, eternally I mean. I forgot that my Heavenly Father knew me and loved me beyond what I can comprehend. I forgot that he would never forget me. And He didn't. My husband had applied for sealing clearance (the permission to be sealed again) with Church headquarters. When the expected letter came in the mail, I knew it would say we could be sealed and that eventually all the other stuff would come together and I felt peaceful. But that is not what the letter said. It said my husband had obtained a sealing cnacellation. A cancellation he did not apply for or ask for. It came unbidden. I learned, in those two short minutes, what infinite and eternal means. That day I saw a glimpse-however small- of Heavenly Father's unconditional love and mercy and its power was inscribed on my soul. I was blessed beyond what I had prayed and pleaded for, beyond what I even thought possible. Why? I don't know. I definitely wasn't deserving. But that's what unconditional means, doesn't it? Now, when life is difficult or my faith is weak, I look at the love inscribed on my soul and I remember. That He loves me enough to answer the deepest, most silent desires of my heart. That I know Him and He knows me. That His love is always enough to heal and to save. You're story is another reminder and I'm grateful for it. Thanks,
Lindsey

Bri said...

I came across your blog yesterday after being a longtime reader of your sister. I started reading your most recent post and kept reading back through your archives. When I read this post, I began to cry.
Today was supposed to be my wedding day - August 13. Three weeks ago, I ended my engagement after struggling with the same promptings of the Spirit. After weeks and weeks of the most desperate and sincere prayer, fasting and temple attendance, I wanted so badly to just push the feelings of anxiety and fear away and go through with it. I wanted to be married and my fiance was an incredible man (still is). But in the end, I wanted to listen and obey more. I came out of the temple three weeks ago knowing my life and his would be changed forever.
Although it's been tremendously painful, I know I made the right decision. I woke up the following morning feeling peaceful and rested for the first time in months. A huge weight had been lifted from my chest and I could breath again.
Although I don't know how or when, I know that I will be ok and that someday I will feel the joy and peace that I know I deserve.
Your post, on this day in particular, has been a profound tender mercy to me after a day of fighting back tears and swallowing my heartache. The Lord has a hand in all of our lives. He knows us. He loves us. He wants the best for us. And he is aware of us. So very aware.
Thank you so much for sharing your story.

Stacey said...

You are probably surprised that you are receiving a comment on a post from 9 months ago. I was married in the mesa temple three years ago and I am now going through a divorce. My soon-to-be ex sister in law told me about this post. My husband battled a pornography addiction our entire marriage and it eventually led him to be unfaithful to me. I KNEW marrying his was the right thing to do. I prayed for direction for 2 and half years of our marriage. I wanted to be happy but I wanted to be obedient to the Lord's will. I found out about my husband's affair the day after Christmas. I moved out and in with my parents. I still had doubts that leaving was the right thing to do. But last week, the Lord answered my prayers. Clearly and directly. I cannot deny what the Spirit whispered to me that night. The past three years were erased from my mind, I felt God's hand on my back and heard him say, "Well done, I am proud of you. It is time." Some people don't understand why God would give me a go ahead to end an eternal marriage, but I don't care. I FINALLY have peace and feel happier every day and I know that only comes with doing what Heavenly Father wants me to do. Although I know I have a long road ahead with the divorce and single motherhood, I am happy and I know He is proud of me. Knowing that makes it all worth it.

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