If you've been following me long, you know I have fallen in love with Autumn MacArthur's stories ... and with her as I've gotten to know her some over the last year, too. Not only is she in the middle of co-authoring a series about romances starting later in life, her own did, too. But not the way you might have expected. She's here to tell us some of her story today in our Real Life Romance segment. Read on. You'll be blessed.
When Amy asked me if I would write a post for her Real Life Romance, series, my immediate response was to say "What romance?" Our love story is far from a happily-ever-after fairy tale romance! My husband, who is on the autistic spectrum, doesn’t do any of the hearts and flowers stuff I once longed for.
You know the saying, “Marry in haste, repent at leisure”? That exactly describes our relationship. Both never-married, both close to 40, we rushed into an engagement soon after meeting. Then I had doubts and tried to break up several times during our engagement. Even though I’d backslidden and was far away from God, every time, a nudge from Him sent me back. God kept reminding me that this was the man He’d chosen for me. And I knew that was true. I loved him with an irrational, soul-deep love.
My fiance told me about his physically disabling health condition. I could deal with that. He told me he had PTSD. I figured I could deal with that, too. But I only found out after we’d married that he’d been drinking heavily to pass as “normal” and to cover up severe anxiety, both at his job and with me. Our early marriage mostly consisted of arguing a lot, ugly and hurtful arguments, and then making up afterward.
Not blaming him for this. The arguments were equally as much my fault. My lack of understanding of his issues and why he couldn’t meet my needs in the way I wanted them met made things worse. Most of the time, I instigated or escalated the rows. All of the time, I held resentment toward him in my heart for not being the man I wanted.
Then one day, he announced he’d decided to stop drinking. Going cold turkey, he did. Married life would get easier when the drinking stopped, right?
Nope! Once he stopped drinking, things became worse. The mental health problems his drinking had disguised surfaced. He wasn’t able to work any more, so I became household breadwinner. How I resented that! And I let it show. God might have planned this husband for me, but he was not the man I wanted. Bitterness and anger ate away at my love. I didn’t feel loved, and I certainly didn’t feel loving.
Then God blessed me with a chronic illness. It took some time, for sure. At first, I just became more resentful. But God is patient, and He doesn’t give up on us. He used my illness to teach me so many lessons. To understand my husband’s health problems and his autism better. To stop trying to change him (okay, maybe that should be - to stop trying to change him quite so much!). To lean on God for my needs, not to keep complaining I didn’t have a husband I could lean on. To surrender the anger and resentment to Him. To see the ways my husband expresses his love for me every single day, in acts of service rather than romantic words, extravagant gifts, and bunches of flowers.
Most of all, to open my heart to God’s love for me, and let it fill all the holes where anger and resentment had lurked. Only then could I begin to love the way God loves us - unconditionally, abundantly, and truly. We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19 NIV)
Our marriage will never be an Instagrammable one. Doing the dishes and taking out the trash and collecting my meds from the pharmacy isn’t picture perfect pretty stuff. But it’s real and it’s solid and it’s deep, and it’s rooted in God. And that makes all the difference.
Autumn Macarthur is a USA Today bestselling author of clean Christian inspirational romances with a strong touch of faith. If you love happy-ever-afters, sweet romance, and Hallmark movies, chances are you’ll enjoy her stories! They show the power of God’s love to heal even the most damaged heart.
Originally from Sydney, Australia, she now lives in a small town not far from London, England, with her husband (aka The Cat Magnet), and way too many rescue cats for their tiny house! You can visit her at her website http://faithhopeandheartwarming.com and on Facebook as Autumn Macarthur. She’d love to hear from you!
Four sweet and clean Christian romances to warm your heart this holiday season! Snuggle up with these faith-filled stories of hope and love, celebrating the true meaning of Christmas. Visit London for a series of Christmas dates, experience New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh, fall in love all over again in lake-side Idaho, and discover home and healing in small-town Oregon, all within the pages of these complete and standalone romances. If you love Hallmark movies, Love Inspired Books, and happy-ever-afters, chances are the Together for Christmas collection will encourage, uplift, and inspire you!
Book 1: Believe in Me (Love in Store series)
When Nick Gallagher, the Hollywood actor playing the store's celebrity Santa challenges accountant Cara to a series of dates as a Christmas dare, can the Christmas-hating accountant overcome her painful past and rediscover love, joy and faith? A heartwarming reminder of the importance of believing in God's promises. Novel-length.
Book 2: A Model Bride (The Macleans series)
Christmas in London, New Year's Eve in Edinburgh, where next? Nothing in her Europe trip goes as Tiffany Gallagher planned, but when she meets wounded Scottish photo-journalist Mac while volunteering at a homeless shelter, she discovers God's purpose for her life is far more than she imagined! Novel length.
Book 3: Calm & Bright (Huckleberry Lake series)
Will Brad and Maddie let God use a Christmas together for the sake of their son to help them rediscover the love that led to their whirlwind romance, and overcome the issues that caused their divorce? Even Maddie's matchmaking grandmother and their adorable four year old might not be enough to help them reunite! Longer novella length.
Book 4: His Healing Touch (Sweetapple Falls)
Are some wounds too deep for love to heal? When grieving nurse Lainie Sullivan encounters Adam, a wounded warrior and her ex-patient, in a small Oregon town at Christmas, only trusting in God's goodness can heal both their wounds and free them to love. Short novel length - a revised and significantly extended version of the story previously published as Love's Healing Touch in the First Street Church Kindle Worlds. The new edition is available for the first time in this set.
Interested in reading more? Check it out here.
This is a place for me to share thoughts and ideas not just related to writing. Thoughts about what's going on in my life, about an idea I got that I thought shareworthy, or just a funny anecdote.