Trillia Newbell: A love story

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Monday, September 9th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Commentator Trillia Newbell now with thoughts on the twists and turns of love and how God redeems all of it.

TRILLIA NEWBELL, COMMENTATOR: Romantic comedies have a formula: girl meets boy, boy and girl have some strange and complicated confusion, boy and girl discover they are truly made for one another, then everything is bliss, marriage is inevitable, life is good. Or something like that.

RomComs often leave out the part that marriage is more like a lifetime of learning. Learning to enjoy and love and forgive and serve a person who will inevitably sin against you. 

RomComs leave out months of mourning the loss of a baby, dealing with illness, and late-night talks through tear-filled eyes. 

RomComs leave out the financial struggles, prayers for safety, conversations about children, and thoughts about the end of life. 

Oh, some romantic comedies may hit on a few of these things, but these movies are typically one-dimensional. They’re fairy tales that can’t encompass all that marriage entails. A lifetime of knowing and being known by another person doesn’t fit into two hours.

My husband Thern and I have lived what many may think is a bit of a fairytale. We love each other dearly, and we actually enjoy one another, too. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for our union.

But boy, do we have a story. I believe the rocky beginning of our love story has given us a deep foundation rooted in something greater than a fairytale. 

We started dating when I was incredibly young. I was 19—Thern was 25. I was ready to explore college life. He was ready for marriage. 

Both of us enjoyed our friendship and what became a romantic relationship—but it was not a good or healthy relationship. Neither of us were Christians.

My immaturity and desire to explore didn’t match his readiness to settle down. We tried engagement twice and broke it off each time. 

Heartbroken by sin, we parted ways. It seemed like the end.

Later, I went to a friend’s church and professed faith in Christ. My life was forever changed. 

I still loved Thern, but I knew that now we could never be together. Slowly, my heart for him changed from a desire to be with him romantically to a desire for him to know the Lord.

After a year of praying, I invited him to an evangelistic event. He came and became a Christian, too. 

But that didn’t mean we immediately got back together. In fact, Thern and I barely spoke to one another—even though we now attended the same church. 

It took a few years, but eventually God did bring us back together—and we married in the winter of 2006.

God was merciful to us, first reconciling each of us to Himself and then to one another. Our testimony is that God who is rich in mercy, because of the great love that he has for us, made us alive in Christ. 

We don’t have a RomCom marriage—but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. The scars make it more beautiful. God has taken all of the brokenness we experienced before marriage and redeemed it—for our good and His glory.  

For WORLD Radio, I’m Trillia Newbell.

(Photo/Creative Commons)

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