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How does one get over a failed marriage to find love again? Or the death of a loved one? Universal magazine caught up with Maria and Jimmy who shared with us their love story and how they found each other through a simple letter to God…
Jimmy: I was a selfish man who drove my ex-wife away. I was greedy and treated her terribly. When she asked me for money I would leave her whatever I wanted to give. I didn’t listen to her and showed her no respect. In return for all the mistreatment over the years, she left me. Now I was lonely and had no one at all.
My failed marriage led me to develop an alcohol and drug dependency that affected me for years. I also wasted my money away on gambling. I was honestly depressed and my love life was the last thing on my agenda. I was terrified of starting a relationship because I truly believed that it would never work out and that it would always be the same old story. I was alone for many years until I came to the UCKG HelpCentre. Even after receiving help to finally quit my addictions, I still couldn’t bring myself to face the issues regarding my love life.
I was invited to attend the Love Therapy on Saturdays on many occasions, but I was far from interested. I just couldn’t bring myself to think about my love life yet.
One Saturday evening, I was at the Rainbow Theatre and went in out of curiosity – what was meant to be ‘just passing through’ turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made. The Love Therapy meeting was nothing at all like I’d imagined. It was simple, smart and practical! What stood out to me was the way they broke down what I needed to look for in a partner for life. I’d never heard it like this before. But what instigated the change in my love life was the message on how I could change myself and prepare my heart and mind for marriage.
With each month that passed by, my fears became smaller until a year later they had vanished altogether. With that out of the way, I was now ready to move forward. When the Campaign of Israel at Jacob’s Well (exclusively for the love life) came around, I grabbed the opportunity to take part in it. Little did I know that my future wife was doing the same thing…
Maria: I was engaged to the man of my dreams and was very much in love. I couldn’t wait to spend the rest of my life with my fiancé. But then, disaster struck when he died. I felt like my whole world had collapsed. He was my everything. I became like the living dead – walking around in a daze not knowing what to do. I didn’t know how to be without him. I just didn’t want to live anymore; it was like he took my heart with him when he died.
I made myself the unmarried ‘black sheep’ in my family, and stayed that way for 11 years until I came to UCKG HelpCentre. I was still young, but I didn’t realise that I was using my grief as a shield. A part of me was afraid of loving someone, only to lose them again. I didn’t want to be this way anymore, but I first needed help to work through my grief.
The first person I allowed into my heart was God – I needed Him to heal me from within. The messages encouraged me to look to the living and I did. I gave myself time. Months and years passed by until my time had finally come. It was also during the Campaign of Israel at Jacob’s Well. This was my opportunity also. I sacrificed two years worth of my savings; I sold my clothes and shoes in the market to build up my sacrifice. This was the way I found to call God’s attention to my dream.
I imagined the kind of husband I wanted, so I wrote it all down in a letter. I made a copy of the letter and sealed it, vowing not to open the envelope until the day I tied the knot. I would pray holding the letter almost every day for more than a year while still attending the Love Therapy meetings. Jimmy and I were attending the same branch and took part in the same Campaign but we had barely noticed each other. I had no clue that he had done the exact same thing…
Jimmy: I wrote a letter addressed to God, detailing exactly what I wanted in my future wife. It described the kind of qualities I wanted her to have. I had already imagined what I wanted in a wife. I sacrificed one- month’s wages and I sold my car. I dedicated more time in the church, fasted and prayed in the middle of the night. It wasn’t easy, as I had to now walk to places. My car was my form of transport.
Even though I had seen Maria in the HelpCentre for many years, I had never been attracted to her. But on a particular Sunday afternoon, I approached her…
Maria: I still remember the day I met Jimmy. It was outside the UCKG HelpCentre and he asked me, “Why do you cut your hair short like a man?” Any other woman would have immediately been offended, but I reacted in a way that I never imagined. I laughed…
Jimmy: Maria’s reaction alone was enough to catch my attention. I knew that no other woman would usually respond to my outright question with a laugh, but I saw something different in Maria. We talked for a little while during which time I noticed an ultimate humbleness in her. This fascinated me and I immediately asked her on a date, which she accepted…
Maria: We dated for two years before Jimmy proposed to me. On our wedding day, I opened a copy of the letter that I had sent to the ‘Jacob’s Well’ and I noticed that God had not only honoured my faith, but had given me something extraordinary. Jimmy matched all the characteristics of the type of husband I had described in my letter…
Jimmy: The most important aspects of our marriage are communication; to know what each other is thinking or going through all the time; humbleness to recognise our mistakes when we are wrong and put them right and respect and care for each other. I can truly say that my wife is my best friend. I am so fond of her and she is so humble and understanding. I trust her very much. Our marriage is an extraordinary gift from God. She was depressed and I was a drunk, drug-taking gambler. Love was the last thing on our minds, but today we are inseparable. The extraordinary dream we had became a reality in our lives.
Jimmy and Maria Sowunmi