How To Kill Your Wife’s Husband
“And the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh”
Today, August 23, 2016, is my twelve year wedding anniversary! TWELVE YEARS OF MARRIAGE! Take that marriage statistic keeper! As of today, my marriage is good, my family is getting stronger, and Jesus is the center of it all!…But it wasn’t always like this.
As most of you know, I talk about my addiction to alcohol and the negative effects it had on my family quite often. That part of my testimonial is a huge piece of my ministry. The devil wants me to hide it, God wants me to expose it. If I was not in recovery, I would hide it, but I’ve got nothing to be ashamed of because that is the Old version of myself. I’ll explain “Old version” shortly.
I want absolutely everyone to know that I never thought I could break this addiction–even as a Christian. I had just succumb to the “fact” that I drank. But that was a lie from hell because Christ set me free! What always started out as an innocent way to relax or have fun, was obliterating every part of my life–my marriage included.
I’ve now been sober over 25 months! BOO-YA! Take that devil, ya idiot!
As a result of this new freedom, I’m no longer shy to publicly talk about how Christ helped me overcome that stronghold. I got to this point by starting to care about what God thought of me, rather than what people thought of me. That wasn’t easy, but it was worth it! I’m not ashamed to say that I’m a Christian alcoholic in recovery, or that God didn’t bless me with an off-button when it comes to enjoying a couple beers like other people. And that’s okay.
I’m at peace with the fact that I can’t drink. And not just at peace, but I’ve actually let God use my past for my purpose! He wants to do the same for you! That deep, dark secret you’re keeping? God wants to shine a big spot-light on it, He wants to clean it up, and then He wants to have you purposefully talk about it. Why?…To help others who are struggling with the same things. YEP!
The Bible says that it’s the blood of Jesus and our testimonies that help us defeat the enemy! (See Revelation 12:11). SO SPEAK THAT OUT LOUD! This is how you fight back! This is how you win!
But one thing I’ve wanted to use for my ministry, but haven’t yet been able to, is my severely difficult marital problems. I’ve prayed and asked God to show me the time when it’s okay…today is that day.
So here we go. God bless this writing. I’m not ashamed.
My wife, Jennifer, and I met each other in 7th grade science class. She was one of the popular kids. She was (and still is) beautiful, sweet, and friendly–to everyone. Me, I was the shy, poor, new kid. At this time of my life, Dad had just been awarded final sole custody of us kids, and we had settled in a little town about an hour south of St. Louis, Missouri.
Let’s back up even further. My brothers, sister, and I had been wards of the state while Dad battled hard in the court system to get us back. Mom was on drugs and didn’t care about us kids at that time of her life. What’s worse than that, she didn’t want Dad to have us either, so she had accused him of some serious false allegations. Just thinking about it, the enemy tries to tick me off to this day. I gotta remind myself that the past is the past, and God used all of it for good.
I’ve forgiven Mom, she has expressed her sincere apologies, so there is no reason to get riled up. It’s over.
But what ensued during those dark years of my childhood was Mark, Luke, John, Faith, and I, all being split up into different foster homes and children’s shelters. It was a nightmare. The tear-soaked pillows in those places, I’m sure, still remain today, but by other kids dealing with the same heartbreaking situation. It was devastating.
I tell you about this because when you are in the custody of the state you go to whatever school they send you to at that time, based on whatever place, or “home,” you are staying at. So we kids were shipped around to many different schools.
This was extremely painful because once we finally got comfortable and made friends, we had to start all over again. The fear, anxiety, heart palpitations, and shaking, was near-crippling each time I was brought into a new school classroom, as the teacher said, “Class, this is our new student, Matt.”
You get picked on a lot, made fun of, and mostly rejected as the new kid. Nobody wants to be your friend. You are considered weird. And if someone does act nice to you, it’s not normal, and you almost don’t trust it. So I quickly learned to just be quiet, keep my head down, and mind my own business.
HOWEVER! In Mrs. Bates’ 7th grade science class, for some strange reason this beautiful, popular girl was genuinely very nice and respectful to me! Her name was Jennifer Meador. Come to find out, she was really like this. I had actually made a friend–a hottie–a nice hottie.
That was the only class I had with her, so each day I looked forward to sitting behind her and asking if I could borrow her pencil, or anything, just to talk to this beauty….and she talked back to me! This was huge!
Fast forward to a year after we graduated high school, Jennifer and I finally started dating. We had stayed friends all throughout our school years, but never “went out.” Since Central was the school that my brothers, sister, and I finally got to stay at permanently, I began to develop a confidence in myself, I gained friends, played basketball, got good grades, and overall my schooling experience at Park Hills was a very pleasant time of my life.
In the beginning, yes, middle school was difficult, but nobody messed with me in high school. We were all friends and it was fun. Central, Class of 1999, we all got along quite well. I have very fond memories of everyone from my graduating class.
Let’s fast forward even further, to August 2004, the month Jennifer and I got married! So young! So dumb! So in love! But most of all, we were so excited about the life we were about to begin together! WE HAD BIG PLANS!
When we got married we didn’t have any money. We didn’t even have enough to have an actual wedding, or even a cake. We just wanted to make it official so we went to the church privately and had our pastor marry us: Mr. and Mrs. Matthew McMillen was here.
Oh what a day! It was rainy with a dreary overcast, but we were so happy! “WE JUST GOT MARRIED!” “I’M YOUR HUSBAND!” “I’M YOUR WIFE!” “WHAT?!”...So giddy. I remember that day like it was yesterday. Both of us were 23 years old.
We moved into my father-in-law’s basement for a year so we could save up money. As my home security business began to grow, we moved out into a townhouse for another year, and then I built us a nice home in a very nice neighborhood. In August 2006, we moved into the house where we currently live at.
Here’s where things began to change.
Because we had a nice, big house, and a little money now, we started to entertain at our house quite often. So, I began to drink more frequently than normal, and it snowballed. I had also developed a terrible addiction to video games. I’m talking marathon sessions of 6-8 hours per day; sometimes not even crawling into bed with Jennifer until daylight.
God was blessing us, and we were ignoring Him.
We began to argue a lot, not communicate, and it almost felt as if we were not even married. She did her own thing, and I did mine. We had money now, so we pretty much did whatever we wanted to. We stopped going to church, I never read my Bible or had devotional time and I had actually become very afraid of God. I turned into a bad husband, and a bad dad. Arrogant. Selfish. Greedy. Full of pride, excuses, blame, rage, cursing tirades, and then self-pity.
But in the midst of all of this my business was booming, and publicly my life looked like it was something to be envied.
I kept hearing God say to me, “Pray.” I heard this all the time in my heart, but my life was so darned sinful that I was afraid to pray. I knew there was more to life than what it had come to, and my drinking in the midst of this had gotten out of control. I wanted to feel different, and the devil had me convinced that alcohol would do this for me.
I can remember actually arguing with myself, out loud, as I pulled up to the liquor store towards the end of my drinking, “NO! You are NOT going in there!” But I did it anyway. Once I got a few sips in me, that part of me, which was the Holy Spirit in me, was bound and gagged–“grieved” is what the Bible says (see Ephesians 4:30).
I was living a fake life. I needed a change. So one night I finally just prayed, “God, help me,” and I went to sleep. What He did was give me a dream that I went to hell…I’m not gonna talk about that, but I woke up screaming and sobbing…I slammed my face into the carpet and begged God to never show me that place again.
Jesus was calling me to a deeper purpose…
So I decided to just be a fun, drinking Christian. I would talk about God all the time with a beer in my hand. I’d post selfies with my Corona and barbecue on Saturday, and then on Sunday, I’d check-in at church on Facebook–usually hungover.
“Jesus turned water into wine!” was one of my best excuses. That lifestyle didn’t work either, as both the devil and Jesus were fighting to take control of my mindset. Christ had made it very clear that He didn’t want me drinking, not even one drop…So what came next was a few years of trying to stop drinking.
The secret was I couldn’t stop…but I could begin. Begin what? A new life in Christ! One that actually exuded His character through me! (I’m getting excited just typing that!).
And then one day, hungover, for what seemed like the millionth time, I began reading a Christian book by Joel Osteen called Every Day a Friday. I mean, who doesn’t love a Friday? This preacher wanted to teach me how to make every day of my life feel like a Friday! Sounds good to me!
So I began to read this book, and I couldn’t put it down. He wasn’t like other preachers, he was kind, and extremely humble–gentle even. I’ve never experienced that from a preacher before. I usually cringed and waited for them to beat me down. I know--without a doubt–God lead me to that book! It was just what I needed! Christ through Joel, set a brand-new fire inside me! Because of his teachings, I now had new goals to change for God, rather than drive myself nuts trying to earn anything from God. It felt great!
At that time of my life, the last thing I wanted to hear was how bad of a person I was–I ALREADY KNEW THAT! Joel began to tell me how good of a person I was, and that no matter how many times I failed, I could always start again…today…because of Jesus’ great love for me.
He taught me how much God loved me, despite…me.
I now wanted more than ever, to change everything! I now wanted to begin to seek out who Jesus is, on a very deep level! As a broken man, he planted the seed of God’s goodness in me. That was January 2011.
So here’s the part about killing my wife’s husband (from the title of this devotional). Old Matt’s incorrect mindset (based on 2 Corinthians 5:17, stating that the OLD has gone and the NEW has come), was starting to die off. As I sought to get to know Jesus better and better each day, I was learning new life skills from the Holy Spirit!
Jennifer didn’t understand this new version of me, who I call, New Matt. But little by little, day by day, month by month, I was allowing Jesus to renew the mind of the old version of myself–the weak part of my soul who the devil played like a puppet!
I was becoming New Matt!
I say this humbly, but I really liked this guy!
He handled his problems so much differently than Old Matt! He had a good attitude! He stopped blaming everything on everyone else! HE FELT HIS FEELINGS, AND BROUGHT THEM TO GOD FOR HOW TO HANDLE THEM! He took responsibility for his own actions! He forgave! He showed mercy!
…He had love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and most of all self-control! Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was organically growing fruit of the Spirit! (See Galatians 5).
The problem was, Jennifer didn’t know this person–yet. This was not the man she married. This was not the Matt McMillen she had known since 1993.
I had killed that guy. Dead.
Further, and I say this respectfully, Jennifer had some serious changes to make as well. Old Matt was extremely codependent. He allowed things to go on and on that he shouldn’t have, just to keep his marriage and fake reputation intact. Also, because of the blatantly sinful life he lived, he allowed a lot of totally unacceptable behavior to happen–after all, who is he to correct someone else?
New Matt however, would NOT allow things to stay as they were. He actually began to establish healthy boundaries that others must respect in his relationships, business practices, parenting, and in his marriage. I know it’s strange talking about myself in the third-person, but this is the best way I can describe this change.
Frankly, it just wasn’t in me any longer to overlook certain things. I tried. I even attempted to make excuses for Jennifer, giving it my best effort to cover up her actions with the love of Christ. But Jesus soon taught me that He was not an enabler, so I no longer had it in me to be one either.
“GOD, I LOVE JENNIFER SO MUCH, BUT I CAN’T LIVE LIKE THIS ANY LONGER!!!!”…It got bad. We decided that we should divorce and just move on with our lives separately. We were just too different. She didn’t know me any longer.
Because of me learning about my value in Christ, that I’m so loved He would actually die for me, as a sinner (see Romans 5:8), I, in turn, developed a backbone to be able to stand up to certain behaviors which were not okay. Only now, I was attempting to enforce these needed changes with love and respect–I didn’t throw fits any longer.
I had become humble and confident. This is possible through Christ! I stopped putting my identity in my marriage–which was something I could lose–and I started to put it solely in my relationship with Jesus! He was now the center of my life, and He no longer allowed me to sit idle when it came to how I was being treated.
And just in the nick of time, God saved my marriage! Not when I wanted Him to–despite my constant pleading–but when He was ready to! HE SAVED IT! JENNIFER AND I ARE NOW CLOSER THAN EVER!
But I must say this as well, Jennifer is new too. This wonderful woman in my life, she is not only absolutely stunning on the outside, but her soul now matches that as well! In the beginning, I pressured her way too much to seek Jesus like I was, and she rebelled because of that. I learned my lesson to not to try to do the work of the Holy Spirit, but instead, simply set the example for her and show Jennifer the good life in Christ.
God has taught me to just love her like Christ loves me, and that He’ll take care of reshaping her mindset. He’s blessed us both for that.
My wife is going to be reading this, so I want to say something to her directly:
Happy anniversary, baby. Look at how far we’ve come! We were just kids trying to play house in the beginning, but God has molded both of us into Christ’s image–and I know that He will continue to do so until we both go Home to be with Him. What a blessing. I thank God for you every day and for the protection He’s had on us and our family. I love you more than I can possibly express in typed words. Even though this is my gift, my most finely-crafted sentences would fall short in attempting to explain just how much you mean to me. I’m so glad we never gave up! I’m so glad we pushed through! I’m so glad God taught us both how to forgive like Jesus! I promise you that from this day forward, I will do my best, every single day, to show you how much I love you. I already know that I will fail at times, but I promise that I’ll never, ever, ever stop trying to make you understand, and feel, just how special you are to me. New Matt and New Jennifer are going to do amazing things together! I love you so much! Not just today, but always and forever!