by Altagracia Cruz / Maranatha Hispanic Church
“On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you grade our marriage?” That was the question my husband asked me on our return from a marriage commitment retreat at Camp Au Sable. “Nine,” I quickly responded. And then the thought hit me, “Praise the Lord!” It hadn’t always been like that.
We were married in the Dominican Republic in 1990. We were very young and soon after we moved to the states and found ourselves far removed from family and friends. We were also immersed in a new culture, which initially was shocking, not to mention the language barrier, and having just been married.
In the beginning we used to argue a lot. We both had our insecurities, control issues, and feelings of hopelessness. At times my husband didn't want to return to our home from work, and I didn't want him home either. Thoughts of divorce were mentioned frequently in our arguments, and our relationship with God was also very poor.
You see, my parents were divorced when my mom was pregnant with me; and even though my husband was raised in a more stable family, both his parents worked long hours. In essence, he was raised by both a nanny and his older sister.
Consequently, both of us had no idea what an ideal marriage looked like! But praise God He had the answers.
God brought us to Michigan and while living in a friend’s house, an older couple came to give them Bible studies so we ended up joining the group. Initially, we joined just to be polite. That was the first time we met a seventh-day Adventist, and praise the Lord that we did!
A few months later we moved to our own apartment. We were really struggling and barely surviving. After six years of marriage, I became pregnant, and tragically three months later lost the baby. That was devastating. How could a good God allow such thing? We were trying to do everything the right way, and then this?
I fell into deep depression. The nurse that had assisted me asked if I had any family, and I stated that I only had my husband who was gone most of the time with work and some friends.
The following Saturday she and another lady came to visit and invited me to their church where a lot of Dominicans attended. She volunteered to pick me up the following Saturday. I was so lonely because my husband worked Saturdays. I agreed to go, and ended up loving it!
People were very nice. We ended up having more Bible studies with the couple we met at our friend’s house. Eventually we were both baptized at the Maranatha Spanish Church.
Some time after, they invited us to attend a marriage retreat in Spanish, our first ever. Everything was so new to us. We were like sponges sucking up all the new information. It dawned on us that we didn't know anything about marriage! We ended up going every year and things kept improving little by little. We made a promise to each other that we were going to keep investing in our marriage, and that divorce would no longer be an option for us. We saw that with God all things were possible.
We ended up having two children after dealing with two more miscarriages, and by the grace of God we're still married after 28 years. We're not a perfect marriage, but one that desires to reach heaven together.
We attend the marriage retreats twice a year, and our passion is to encourage other couples to invest in their marriage.
If God can work a miracle in our marriage, He can surely do the same to yours!