A marriage with strings attached

How a father-of-the-bride's conditions led to finding unconditional love

Werner is an associate compliance officer.

He said I could marry his daughter … on two conditions:

  1. That I commit to marriage with the understanding that marriage is only between one man and one woman
  2. That I attend church

As someone who is also attracted to men, I thought an open marriage was the way forward. And, as an atheist, I thought church had nothing to offer me. But, I did not want to lose the one person in my life that I cared for immensely and wanted to grow old with.

So I agreed. After our wedding at home in South Africa, we moved to London and started looking for a church. After numerous searches I agreed to settle in St Helen’s. I told Tamara after our first service, ‘I will never believe, but at least this is a nice history lesson’.

The next time we were there someone approached me and offered to help us look at the Bible more closely. He mentioned that he knew South Africa well and had been there to deliver talks on Christianity. My response was something like, ‘Oh, that’s good, but I’m not religious’. His response was, ‘I’m also not religious’. I didn’t expect that answer and immediately he had my attention. Tamara and I took him up on his offer to look at the Bible together.

After a few more visits to the church, and having the space to ask our questions of the Bible, history lessons became the truth. It is always difficult to pinpoint exactly where the light switch was turned on, but for me, it was a combination of understanding the truth about Jesus Christ in the Bible, and seeing it in the lives of the Christians I met. Christ’s love ‘shone through their faces’ and something drew me to them.

Today, I still struggle with the same temptations. Some days are easier than others, but the big difference this time is that the struggle is not in vain. It took me a long time to realise that the truth about Jesus sets you free.

I’m free from the pressure of having to live a perfect life, because Jesus lived it for me.
I’m free from ever having to face God’s anger at my sin, because Jesus faced it for me.
I’m free to live in a father-son relationship with my Creator forever.

And though living life his way can feel hard at times – indeed many of my friends think I’m mad for following Jesus – I know that it is worth it.

 
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