Couple Finds the Key to A Joyful Marriage

“I realized it was a problem when he would drink every single day. I was very controlling. I was very selfish. So I just figured I could fix him and make him what I want him to be. I told him I can fix this,” said Yolanda.

“And I remember to this day like this voice in my head saying good luck with that,” said Billy.

Billy and Yolanda Jackson were both Christians who each had gone through divorce. They began dating after they met in church.  

“I gave Yolanda my phone number and I said can you call me? We can go out to dinner. She said sure,” said Billy. “I was really attracted to his smile and his genuine spirit about himself,” said Yolanda. “Yolanda was a gift, a blessing, from God,” said Billy.

When they married, they became a blended family and looked forward to a new start in life.  But over the years, Billy’s addiction to alcohol stirred up argument after argument.  “Drinking began to be a little bit heavier for me when I got in the military. It was relaxing me, It was taking me away from a lot of reality I was going through. It was something I liked doing and I thought I could stop any time,” said Billy.

“He would tell me he’d stop; the next day I’ll find a bottle or he’ll be drinking. So he tried to hide it. I would find bottles under chairs, in the pantry, out in the garage. I would find them everywhere,” said Yolanda.

Billy always managed to sober up before Sunday, so they could attend church together. But Yolanda, the pastor’s daughter, was struggling to find peace.  “I was really good at putting on the church face but I felt like something was still missing. Four years, I went on this soul-searching journey. Help and hope and peace; That’s really what I was searching for. I went with a friend to a meditation retreat.  I went to breathing coaches. I just went through all of these ‘ohm’ experiences, especially being in the spa business. None of that really helped find who I was searching for.”

Overwhelmed and desperate, Yolanda realized she had neglected her relationship with God. Although she had prayed, she never took time to listen.  “I didn’t really trust God. I would go figure it out after I prayed. Call somebody, ask somebody, you know, just go and do it without waiting on Him,” said Yolanda.   She called her husband from work and told him she needed time alone. She checked-in at a bed and breakfast for the weekend to study the bible and pray with no interruptions. Then, in the presence of God, she surrendered everything.

“Those anger issues I had, the controlling issues I had…the stress. I had to prove myself to people. I had to turn that over to the Lord.  So I wrote that stuff down and I took all of those things that were on that sheet of paper and I tore those sheets of paper up in little bitty pieces, right, and I put it in the fireplace and I burned it. I burned all those sheets and that’s when I said I’m not going to pick it back up again. I was releasing all of these things. My heart was being mended back together and this may not make sense but I told God that I would stop dreaming, because when I would dream, I would try to control the outcome of that dream. I would try to tell God, This is how I want it. This is what I want to do. So the only way I knew how to turn it over to Him was to just say God, You take this,” said Yolanda.

After a couple days, Yolanda returned home.  “And she comes through the door, hugs me, says ‘hi,’ I had a great time. How are the kids? It was a Yolanda that I’d never seen before. In addition to not arguing, I saw a different shine in her,” said Billy.

Seeing the difference in Yolanda made Billy desire a better relationship with God. He committed to reading scripture each day.  “Wednesday, September 11th, 2013, It said Today I give you a choice between life and death, prosperity or adversity. God was like giving you the answer to a multiple choice because He says, choose life because I got something for you. Choose life. And I’ll tell you, the Scripture shocked me,” said Billy.

10 days later, he was involved in a motorcycle accident and critically injured. His doctors thought they would have to amputate his crushed leg.

“I remember waking up in the hospital. I remember screaming to the top of my lungs, ‘I choose life! I choose life! Whatever You want me to do, I choose life.’ And that was when God healed me,” said Billy.

Nearly two weeks later, Billy was released. Doctors were able to save his leg. Billy says God healed him in more ways than he expected.  “Instantly I lost weight. The craving for the alcohol was gone. He took that away from me. My blood pressure was high; it’s gone. And God, His presence was with me. All He needed was my answer. All I had to do was follow his direction,” said Billy.  

For six months, Billy recovered at home while his relationship with God and Yolanda, got stronger.  “Each day got better and better and better. We remembered what love was. We remembered the importance of love. And love is about serving each other and being there for each other, so that’s what we did for each other,” said Yolanda.

Billy and Yolanda keep God at the heart of their marriage. They say that’s the key to the joy and peace they share now.  They founded Live in Peace Ministries through which they counsel couples.  They also share their story and marriage advice in their book I Thee Wed: A Couple's Journey to a Godly Marriage.

“ Our marriage is dedicated, obedient and on fire. It’s on fire for what the Lord has us doing. We wake up every day just ready to go and help other couples get through what we’ve gone through,” said Billy.

“ When you really surrender to God and allow Him to lead your life, He will just really blow your mind in what He has in store for you. Now that we trust Him, He has blessed us beyond what we could imagine,” said Yolanda.

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