WHEN LOVE BROKE THROUGH
by Tessie Guell
Alvin and Gloria Slaughter first met at a prayer meeting when they were
teenagers. Both had grown up in the church, but their relationship was
far from godly. By the time they were 21 they had two children outside
of marriage. "My entire relationship with Alvin caught me by surprise
because I was very naive," Gloria reflects. They stayed together--just
barely. Once Alvin took Gloria to a work-related function. The next day
Alvin's manager, a non-Christian, Alvin had been witnessing to, called
him into his office. "You painted this monster!" his manager
said. "But she is a really nice girl. You have two children with her,
but you say you don't want anything else to do with her. It sounds like
you want the cookies, but you don't want to pay for them." Then the
manager put in the dagger: "Don't tell me anything about your God
again. You are no Christian; you are a liar and a hypocrite." Alvin
remembers going to the rest room and crying like a baby. "I never
had anyone talk to me like that," he says. "I walked back to
my cubicle, called Gloria and asked her to marry me." Two weeks later
they married--and things got progressively worse. Their third child was
born, and Alvin recalls feeling overwhelmed; he was barely a child himself,
he says, trying to raise three kids. At one point the family's utilities
were turned off, and they were evicted from their apartment. "I felt
like a failure as a man," he admits. Returning home one day, his little
girl met him outside. "Daddy!" she said. "Mommy threw all
your clothes out!" He ran upstairs and found Gloria in the middle
of a nervous breakdown. "I hate you!" she yelled at him. They
split up. Alvin went to live with his parents, and Gloria and the kids
moved into a small basement apartment with her sister. "I would cry
all the time and go to sleep holding my Bible to my chest," Gloria
remembers. "I knew that this was not God's plan for me." Meanwhile,
Alvin fell apart. He stopped showing up for work and wore the same clothes
every day. "I truly hit rock bottom," he says. "I would
walk down the streets of Manhattan and yell at God: 'I have given You my
whole life, and You have done nothing for me!'" But God was not mad
at Alvin--and He was listening to Gloria's prayers. One day Alvin's sister
invited him to a concert at a church called Brooklyn tabernacle. "I
watched as people praised God, hands raised and tears rolling down their
faces, and I was touched," he remembers. Alvin got a job at a shoe
store and began communicating more regularly with Gloria and the kids.
There he got a telephone call from Ralph Byrd, a pastor at Brooklyn Tabernacle.
"Do you know a Gloria Slaughter?" he asked. Apparently, Gloria
had visited the church without knowing that Alvin was attending and had
filled out a first-time visitor card. Not long before, Alvin had also filled
out a card--and both cards ended up in the hands of the church to pray.
When they met, Alvin explained to the pastor all his reasons for not getting
back together with Gloria. "Do you believe that Jesus died on the
cross, was placed in a tomb and resurrected?" Byrd asked him. "Yes,
I do sir," Alvin answered. "Then how come you can't believe He
can restore your love for your wife?" Alvin was speechless. "I
knew he was right," he says. "Pastor Byrd talked to me that day
about love being a decision. I did not fully understand all that he told
me. But I knew that I had made an awful mess of my life, and following
his advice was one of my last chances at fixing the mess." The Slaughters
got back together and started going through counseling. Things were hard
at first. "I did not feel like I loved Gloria," Alvin admits.
"I kept asking God to change my heart, and the only answer I would
get was to continue obeying Him." "We had built our marriage
on a weak foundation, and now we had to build on God's foundation,"
Gloria explains. "That meant we had to put the past aside and start
all over again. It was hard, but we were committed to making it work."
Within a year, Alvin and Gloria realized a miracle had occurred--they had
fallen in love with each other all over again. Eventually Alvin started
sensing that God was calling him into full-time music ministry. His "big
break" took place when a pastor who heard Alvin sing at a wedding
reception asked him to sing at a pastors' conference. Overnight, Alvin
began receiving hundreds of invitations to sing, and Gloria had to quit
her job to assist him. Today, Alvin sings around the world and shares his
testimony. He has recorded three solo albums on the Integrity label: Champion
of Love, Revive Us Again and God Can. Having seen what God has done for
her marriage, Gloria is positive about what He can do for other troubled
relationships. "Remember, nothing is instant, nothing happens overnight,"
she says. "People give up too soon. It takes time to build a relationship.
In marriage you have to commit, and you can't give up."
Reprinted by permission, Charisma