Steve and Terry Hayes: Marriage Do-Over
By Jewel Graham and Rob Hull
The 700 Club
Steve and Terry Hayes married young.
"I had just turned 17," Terry said. "It wasn’t a good marriage. We took advantage [of each other]. We didn’t respect each other and we did a lot of wrong things. We both drank; both drank a lot. And when I drank, I drank until I couldn’t drink anymore."
"I got into drugs," Steve said. "It started out small. You know, you do crank or crystal meth - it’s something stupid, you do it. You do it once and it keeps calling you back."
Drugs and alcohol were not the Hayes’ only problems.
"Steve and I never had any friends together. We had separate lives," Terry said. "We lived in the same house, but we both went our own separate ways."
"We stopped communicating, talking," Steve said. "It just seemed to me like we were nowhere close to the same page anymore."
Steve and Terry remained miserably married for 30 years. In 2003, Terry hit her breaking point.
"After 30 years, I decided I couldn’t stand it anymore," she said. "Things weren’t going to change. They were always going to be the same way so it was just time for me to leave. So, I did."
Even after the divorce was final, the two kept in touch for the sake of their grown son. But soon, Terry and Steve were dating other people. At her cousin’s funeral, Terry started to realize something was missing in her life.
"The preacher preached his service, and one little line he said, 'it doesn’t matter how many good deeds you do in your life, how many people you help across the street, if you haven’t been saved you won’t go to heaven.' And that weighed on my mind more than anything," Terry said. "God was not ever a part of my life. I thought God was something that was for everybody else. I didn’t know how to reach out. I didn’t know how to get Him into my life. I knew that something was missing, but I didn’t know how to get it and I didn’t know where to go to get it."
Three years later, Terry’s friends persuaded her to join them on a mission to the gulf coast. They were going to restore houses, something Terry loved to do. On the last night, she sat in a church service by the lake.
"Pastor Brown did the invitational and he said, 'anybody that wants to be saved, just come on up right now. The Lord’s ready.' I sat there, and all of a sudden God said to me, 'I got you here - the perfect place. This is it. It’s your turn. Come on home.' I went up front and somebody came up with me. They said, 'all you have to do is repeat the good confession that Jesus is Christ, my Lord and Savior.' And I did that and when I did that it was physical. He came into my heart. It shook me. My heart opened up. It was on fire. It was just bright. It was white. It was clean. It was light. It was awesome. And from that day forward, my life was changed."
Terry began praying for a Godly man; a man to love and marry and grow old with.
"My life was changed," Terry said. "I wanted somebody to share it with, to spend the rest of my life with - a good Christian man to go to church and believe the same things I believe."
Terry shared the news of her baptism with Steve, who noticed an immediate change in her. Steve started attending church with her.
"He saw changes in me and I think he wanted part of that change," Terry said.
"I looked forward to going to church," Steve said.
Steve was baptized at their church six months later.
"To see him baptized, it was an awesome thing," Terry said, "because I knew the feeling I got when I was baptized: the cleanliness, the forgiveness, the warmth and the love and acceptance. I wanted him to have that, and to see the change come over him, to see him walk away from that. It’s just, it’s awesome. God can do anything."
Including answer Terry’s prayer for a Godly husband.
"I wasn’t sure we could get along," Steve said, "but I had seen, going to church with her, she’s got something going here, something special. I want to be a part of that."
"He cleaned Steve up and He sent Steve back to me," Terry said. "And this is my do-over; I get to do it again."
After five years, Steve and Terry were married again, on October 4th, 2008.
"It was fantastic. The best part of the wedding, besides us getting married, was my whole family was there," Terry said. "Everybody saw, everybody sees the change. And everybody knows that this time this is the next 30 years."
"When I first saw her walking down, it just blew me away," Steve said. "It was like for the first time. All the air left me; it was a great feeling."
"Our marriage this time is different because now I’ve got a friend," Terry said. "Steve wants to be my friend. He wants to be around me. He’s not always looking to go some place else. We’re on the same path this time. God plays a very large role in our lives now. We go to church and we talk about the Bible. God is everything. God is acceptance. God is love and peace and He’s everything you’ve ever wanted in life. There’s no need to look any place else. God is what you need. Everybody needs Him."
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