Finding Ourselves Together

SHARED BY VALERIE PROVINE

Forgetting the Heartbreak

Years ago, my girlfriend Debra called me, wanting to go out partying. I agreed, but reluctantly, because I was trying to get over a heartbreak. This heartbreak was from a guy I worked with. We had dated for about a year or so. He’s what we call a player.

Unknown to me at the time, he would go out with as many ladies as his time permitted. He even snuck around with a coworker, Vanessa, who worked right next to me. We would have long conversations about family and what was going on in our lives. I even gave her rides occasionally. So how did I find out about his lies? Vanessa’s friend told me. She said she didn’t like how Vanessa would pretend to be my friend and then sneak out with my guy. I confronted him at work. He could not lie—the truth was all over them both. Vanessa saw what was going on, and she high-tailed it out of there.

So Debra felt it would be a good idea to get me out of the house. I got dressed, even though I was not feeling sociable. I still wanted to look nice, so I put on my miniskirt with boots. We arrived at a party that was standing room only, so I decided I would stand near the dance floor to watch. From my side view, I could see someone checking me out. I was thinking, "Whatever . . ."

He tapped me on my shoulder and asked me if I wanted to dance. I agreed without turning to see who he was. I walked straight to the dance floor, and as I turned to dance, I said to myself, "He’s fine." I was still trying to show no emotions, playing it cool. We danced to a few songs, and he was very smooth—on his feet and in his conversation. He said, "Let’s go find some seats, so we can talk." We talked the rest of the night, exchanged numbers, and he brought me a rose before walking me and Debra to our car.

Yes, I forgot about Debra and the heartbreak that night.

On Again, Off Again

Days went by with no phone call from Joseph, the man from the dance floor. I thought, "Well, I guess he’s not going to call." And that’s what I believed. I didn’t want to seem desperate, so I couldn’t call. But after several days, he did call. He said he had dropped the piece of paper with my phone number, so he drove back to where he had parked his car the night of the party and found the paper.

When we started to date, everything was not perfect. We had more breakups than we had time together. Even though the times we had together were great, we found ourselves not speaking. Joseph also liked the ladies. 

But we always found ourselves back with each other. Eventually, I decided this on-and-off relationship had to stop. After the last breakup, I was convinced: This is it for me. I’m through. No more.

Learning to Heal

I started attending church and became very involved. I also became a praise dancer. Joseph and I would talk occasionally. He would ask me out, and I would decline. But then he asked if we could just hang out, and I said yes. I invited him to church, and he agreed. During our breakup, I always prayed for him to understand where I was in my life and for him to know the Lord, as well. When he attended church that Sunday with me, I danced with the praise dancers. He was amazed and filled with emotions—and thus joined the church. 

We prayed and attended church together. We dated for two straight years. One day as we were headed out after the church service, Joseph stopped and got on his knee. I asked, "What’s wrong with you?!" as he reached toward his suit jacket pocket. I thought he was having a heart attack because of the placement of his hand near his heart. He pulled out a ring. (I was more relieved that he wasn’t having a heart attack than I was happy for the ring.) I gave him a good smack on the arm and said, "Don’t scare me like that!"

We got married on New Year’s Day in 1997. Things have not been picture perfect in our marriage. We've had hard times—especially in our finances. I felt it was his duty to fix things, and when it wasn’t fixed according to my schedule, I became resentful and disappointed. I said harmful words to Joseph that could have destroyed him as a man. At some points I didn’t care if the marriage survived.

But I came to realize that finances weren’t the problem; I was the problem. I had unresolved issues from past relationships that were causing me to be so angry with Joseph. I needed healing from the letdowns and disappointments of past hurts. I had to forgive all the pain, shame, and disappointment that I had experienced. That’s when I began to appreciate Joseph and to value his greatness more than his weakness. It was my pain that was stopping my happiness.

We have been married for twenty years now, we have a wonderful son who’s eighteen years old, and we are determined to stay faithful. And with God, we will.

 
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