Why I Decided to Choose My Husband All Over Again
The dream of writing our story really began in 1996 when I was a guest on Elisabeth Elliot’s radio program. We became acquainted as I was a listener, and we began a writing correspondence. She invited me to come on the program. Afterward, she replied, “You need to write a book. You have a platform I don’t have. Everyone is always saying to me, ‘But you’re Elisabeth Elliot, and you grew up with so many advantages.’ Juana, write a book telling all you have told on the program these last three days, and include all those stories. “ If it had been anyone else, I might have dispensed the idea. But Elisabeth Elliot was a mentor to me, and let’s say it was like E.F. Hutton speaking when she spoke. I was busy raising three young children and had no idea that my number four would be born totally blind one year later.
More than a decade after that conversation, I typed my first words. Five years later, my first copies of the book arrived. Choosing Him All Over Again: A Story of Romance and Redemption (Ambassador International) will be released Jan. 5, 2015.
Choosing Him All Over Again (first entitled, Don’t Dump Him, as suggested by Elisabeth—a title my husband never liked—but later changed before publication to the current title) is the story of how God saved our marriage from near divorce, along with much practical teaching on faith and marriage.
I chose to tell our story, which takes 15 of the 20 chapters in the book, in a narrative form. It reads more like a novel. I also included 11 checkpoints to refresh any marriage, nine guidelines for those facing separation or divorce, and a special word to women married to unbelievers or Christian men not acting as Christians should.
So what really happened in our story? I left my husband after two years of marriage, totally disillusioned with marriage. I had no idea in my 20s that there was any difference with men and women, and I felt our differences were insurmountable. He was not like me! “Me” became the focus of everything I did after I left my husband as I searched for what I felt was missing in our marriage: a new husband!
It was only after I met Christ after my quest began in earnest to find “Mr. Right,” (too long of a story to tell—that’s why I wrote the book—plus I must save some surprises, and believe you me, there are many twists and turns!) that I realized that I was looking to my husband to meet my needs. No person can do that! Only God can meet our needs. Where did I get the notion that my husband was supposed to meet all of my needs?
I also had felt he was the one who needed to change. Once God got a hold of me, I realized that I needed to change. I was more concerned about being understood and being heard, rather than seeking to understand and to listen.
Through the influence of Godly people who were committed Christians who were new in my life, I began to discover the ways of God. How different they were from my ways! And what about my thinking that men and women were just alike, so I must have married the wrong person, because we were so different? I learned that men and women are vastly different, designed by God to complement each other.
But be married to him? Why not have someone new? Why not start fresh with someone who also shared Christianity? After all, my husband made no claim to be a Christian, and now I had become a Christian!
My journey was just beginning. I realized I was a sinner and that Christ came and died for my sins. I received Him as my Savior. I desired to be my husband’s wife again, and I met with him and told him so. But the tables were now turned—he no longer wanted to be married to me.
Months had gone by since I had even seen him. He had moved on with his life and found a measure of happiness after the pain and agony I had caused him after leaving him by way of a note.
The roller coaster was just beginning. The ride lasted over another year.
I was learning to wait on God. I was not waiting on my husband; I was waiting on God. That is vastly different. I was learning to trust God with every detail of my life, and that included my husband, who no longer wanted to be married to me. I was actively waiting to see what God was going to do with my marriage.
Is there hope for women in troubled marriages? You bet there is. It’s found in the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ—the power that can change lives and marriages.
Mikels speaks to women’s groups and churches with her story and seminar on order, home life, and time management for busy Christian mothers. Formerly a national account manager with Xerox Corporation, she left the work force to be a stay-at-home mom and homeschooled her children. Mikels, her husband, Terry, and their four children live in Raleigh, N.C.