Saturday, December 16, 2017

Real Life of a Pastor’s Wife – The Vow

August 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Monthly Articles

My desire in sharing these personal real life stories with you is to hopefully help encourage or minister to those who can relate and need to know that pastors’ wives and leaders are ordinary people who have an extraordinary God. Apart from Him we can do nothing, but we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

I shared in my last article how I met my husband and in this article I will be sharing my testimony of how my husband and I had to sacrifice SEEING each other for six months before we were married to keep a vow that my husband made to the Lord.

Please keep in mind that this story was twelve years before my husband became a pastor. When Dan and I became engaged this was our first Christian relationship. We both were in relationships prior to meeting each other but because we both came from non-Christian backgrounds our dating situations before Christ were secular. Having secular relationships also means that our values and our choices were secular.

One of the decisions we made together as a new Christian couple was that we wanted to honor God in our relationship. We promised each other that no matter how close we became that we would NOT defile the wedding bed. We had a new life in Christ and we wanted to have a new relationship of purity in Christ as well.

Up until our engagement, we never went further than hugging and holding hands. When we would say goodbye to each other we gave each other a kiss on the cheek. We knew we had to set boundaries for ourselves because we were also aware that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

A few months after we became engaged our affections for each other grew. One night after a romantic dinner, we went back to my apartment and fell into temptation. We got so close to giving in to doing the one thing we promised God and each other we wouldn’t do: defile the wedding bed (having sex before we were married). As I said, we got so close, but God’s divine grace restrained us and we didn’t go through with it, thank God.

This deeply convicted us both and caused us to step back and evaluate the choices we were making and the boundaries we obviously were not keeping. After that night without my knowledge, Dan made a personal vow to God. He told God that if we ever came close to defiling the wedding bed, he would not see me until our wedding day to make sure we kept the promise we made to God and to each other.

Well, everything was going well for us so far; we tried to keep the boundaries and respect each other’s purity. This went well up until two months later when one night we let our guards down and fell into temptation again and once again God’s divine grace restrained us from defiling the wedding bed, thank God.

Dan reminded me of the vow he made to God that if we came close to defiling the wedding bed he would not see me at all until the day we married. I understood why he made the vow but could we really go through with it? What would people think? What does God think? These questions and thoughts ran through my mind.

We sought godly counsel from our pastors at church and some said we should honor the vow and others said it was more important that we saw each other to grow in our relationship with God and with each; believing that God’s grace was sufficient for us.

We felt both counsel was good and biblical, but in the end they let us decide. We both desired to please God, even if it meant sacrificing not seeing each other for six months. I would be lying if I said I was happy about it, but I respected his heart and also desired to honor God and our purity.

The pastors then approached me separately after we already stopped seeing each other and asked if I was in agreement with Dan because if I wasn’t I could choose to see him because the reality was I was part of this relationship and that I had a voice in this vow as well. Our situation was a difficult and unusual one and I applaud them for prayerfully supporting us through it.

My answer to them was that I feared God and who was I to discourage a young Christian man from keeping his vow to God, even for me? I really didn’t feel I had a choice in the matter. I also knew that if I chose to see him in spite of what Dan wanted; it may have affected his walk with God and possibly caused him to stumble or question his faith. I made up my mind that I was going to support Dan in spite of how I felt and what I wanted. I knew it was going to be hard not seeing him for six months but I had a peace about it that God was with us.

So for the next six months we didn’t see each other at all. We only talked on the phone and went to church at different times so we wouldn’t run into each other. We alternately took turns going to our weekly home fellowship and received great support from our leaders, family and friends. Keeping the vow was now a matter of faith and through it we saw God’s faithfulness.

By the way… our choosing to keep the vow was a witness to a number of people we knew and even people we didn’t know, but heard about the vow. There was only one way we could see each other and that was if we ran into each other by accident.

There were a few nights I dreamed that I ran into him at church. Guess what? It never happened. God was faithful to us and helped us to stay focused on Him by looking forward and keeping our eyes on the prize. I hope this story encourages young couples out there that it was worth the wait to remain pure before our wedding day.

We firmly believe that because we honored God with our relationship that God in turn blessed our relationship. To this day we are still best friends as well as husband and wife. We don’t claim to be perfect or have a perfect marriage but we still have God in the center and that is our greatest blessing.

During those six months I was so excited and waited in expectation for our wedding day to come. I couldn’t wait see Dan in the flesh, face-to-face. This excitement and hope caused me to think about how the body of Christ is waiting for that day we get to see Jesus face to face. Jesus also must be excited for His church, His bride to join Him in heaven for our great wedding feast. What a glorious occasion that will be.

On our wedding day we honored God by not defiling the wedding bed and God was glorified through it all. I hope this encourages you that when you choose to honor God with your whole heart and offer your body as a living sacrifice of purity to God. He, in turn, will bless you with His grace and power to accomplish His good work in you.

For the record I do not encourage anyone to make vows without prayerful consideration, but to let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no.” I also do not encourage couples to not see each other until they wed. This was an unusual circumstance.

If you are dating and have struggles in your relationship seek out godly counsel and personal accountability. God will bless your desire to honor Him. God is gracious and faithful and He will give you the strength you need to help you through any challenge that may come your way; when we choose to honor God he blesses us with His presence.

Filoiann Wiedenhoff, pastor’s wife, mother, pastoral counselor, bible teacher and columnist. You can visit her website at filoiannwiedenhoff.com.

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