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A Marriage Made in Heaven
Claudette was about to leave her husband when she inadvertently tuned in to 100 Huntley Street. The next few minutes revolutionized her life and her marriage.

Like young lovers, Joseph and Claudette Pino are very much “in love,” even after 42 years of marriage. While being interviewed as guests on 100 Huntley Street, they tenderly hold hands, and every time they gaze into each other’s eyes, it’s with sweet adoration and mutual respect. Such marriages are a rarity today, especially considering society’s constantly shifting values and moral decline. However, the blissful union of this inseparable pair is, in actuality, a stark contrast to how it was about 30 years ago....

Joseph and Claudette renew their vows.

On hearing the dreaded sounds of footsteps approaching unsteadily toward the front walkway in the darkness of the night, Claudette was instantly stricken with terror and panic. Instinctively, she knew the faltering attempts to unlock the door were not that of a burglar, but the very man she pledged her vows to in holy matrimony. But instead of feeling safe and secure in the presence of the one who was supposed to cherish and protect her, there was only a paralyzing fear of reliving the hellish nightmare of violence and abuse.

“Joseph had a lot of anger and unforgiveness from way back in his past,” Claudette explains. “No matter how much I tried to love him, he could not accept it. Then he began drinking one night after another. Along with the heavy drinking were the curses, the swearing and the abuse – mental, verbal and physical.

"Don’t get me wrong, I was no saint either. Even though I didn’t drink, I started to strike back. The more he fought, the more I fought back. It got to the point where I couldn’t take it any more.”

Concerned for the well-being of their two daughters (then aged seven and nine), Claudette made up her mind to pack their belongings the following day in hopes of escaping the destructive cycle of alcoholism and abuse. Yet she was soon to realize that God’s ways are higher than her ways (see Isaiah 55:9), for He had a very different plan.

“The next morning,” she continues, “I turned on the TV thinking it would take my mind off what I was going to do. The only program I could get was 100 Huntley Street, which I considered a Protestant telecast. Being raised a Catholic, I was about to switch the channels for the third time when David Mainse announced, ‘This is my good friend, Father Bob MacDougall.’  God has a good sense of humour – I reasoned to myself that if a priest could listen, then I could listen!” 

What transpired during the next few minutes was to revolutionize Claudette’s life and even her marriage.

“The very first thing they talked about was how God gave His only begotten Son who died [on the cross] and paid for our sins. I remember listening to the salvation message when David all of a sudden spoke directly into the camera: ‘I have a question for you sitting in your chair at home. Are you about to do something you might regret?’ Father Bob then added, ‘If you acknowledge that you are a sinner and give Jesus a chance, He will give you peace and joy.’”

Claudette knew that God was speaking directly to her through the 100 Huntley Street program. She dropped to her knees and invited the living Saviour into her life. For two hours, she poured out her pain and pleaded to God for forgiveness and salvation. “But what do I do now?” Claudette petitioned in prayer. “I feel hatred toward him. I can’t stand the smell of the booze and the effects of his drinking.... Lord, let me see him with Your eyes.” God answered her heartfelt prayer. When Joseph came home that evening – drunk as usual – Claudette was no longer overcome with fear. Instead, she was filled with an intense love for him.

The change in her countenance bewildered Joseph. “I knew there was something different,” he adds. “So I asked her, ‘Why are you smiling like that? Is it a cult or something?’ When Claudette told me she accepted Jesus as her Saviour, it was something I couldn’t contend with.”

In the meantime, Claudette continued to intercede for him. While reading through the pages of the Bible that was given to her, she also began to incorporate the many promises of God into her prayers. As a result, the Lord began to touch Joseph’s heart.

“I knew my life was not right,” Joseph admits. “Then one Friday in 1978, I decided to tune to the 100 Huntley Street telecast myself. As I watched the program, I got on my knees and cried out, ‘Lord, if you are real, I want what my wife’s got – that joy.’ There and then, I gave my life over to Him and, to this day, it’s the best thing I have ever done!”

Gradually, over a period of time, Joseph’s drinking binges subsided and his attitude toward Claudette began to improve. “The Lord taught me how to be a better husband. He taught me to love my wife the same way He loves me. Our marriage is excellent today. I love Claudette more than anything in the world.”

Thanks to the role of 100 Huntley Street in both their lives, Joseph and Claudette are now able to experience the God-ordained union of marriage as it was originally intended to be – a taste of heaven on earth!

Karen Stowell is the publications editor for Crossroads Christian Communications.

Originally published in Crossroads Compass, July 2008.




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