Emily Thomes is a wife and speaker. Prior to meeting Benjamin “Ben” Thomes, Emily would mock Christians, dabble with drugs and lived a life of promiscuity. She was also a staunch lesbian and would use male washrooms. In 2014, Thomes started to attend her aunt’s Bible studies. Emily was never pressured to change her lifestyle but was personally convicted after learning about the different attributes of God and reading Scripture. Thomes decided she need to change her life and left the lesbian lifestyle and drugs. A couple of years after getting saved, Emily met the love of her life, Ben. In this interview, Thomes goes in-depth to discuss single – hood, marriage and tragedy. In the midst of it all, Thomes sought to keep Christ in the center.
Habiba Abudu (HA) : The life you live now is a stark contrast to your life a couple of years ago. Can you discuss the change that occurred in your life?
Emily Thomes (ET) : In short, God saved me. I was granted to see myself as a wretched sinner in need of a new heart and a new life and He gave me that. My life had been marked by various sin : practicing homosexuality, smoking marijuana, and drunkenness to name a few. Today, it’s marked by imperfect but sincere obedience, by His grace.
HA : Did you ever deal with loneliness when your were single ?
ET : I did. He used that season to glorify Himself all the more. He showed Himself sufficient for me when I didn’t have a significant other.
HA : In your season of singleness, how did you prepare to be a wife ?
ET : I spent time with married women, usually wives who were also moms, and learned from them.
HA : You met Ben via Facebook ? How did you navigate a long distance relationship ?
ET : I did ! His mom introduced us actually. We weren’t long distance for long. The first few months, we started each day with a phone call where he’d read the devotional book Morning and Evening, by Charles Spurgeon with me. We’d also text and FaceTime each other throughout the day. We both desired marriage in one another, so he moved to North East Texas pretty quickly.
HA : Was it awkward sharing your past with Ben ?
ET : Thanks to Facebook, I actually didn’t have to tell him much about it. Once we became friends on Facebook, Ben came across my testimony video. We discussed it, and to my surprise Ben never once made me feel like the greater sinner, though our pre-conversion lives were nearly opposite. Ben understood his own depravity and need for grace. That caused Ben to see us as equal recipients of His grace. It made conversation with Ben easy and safe for me.
HA : What has your first year of marriage taught you ?
ET : Marriage has taught me that although I’ve been made new, I’m still often plagued with fallen flesh and a desire to have my own way and not the Lord’s. This is also true for Ben. As wise as I had believed I’d become and as perfect, dreamy and intelligent my husband is, we’re both still in need of grace daily. The Lord has humbled us both and we needed it. He’s given us a partner to walk the gospel out with and for that I’m forever grateful. I pray that in the coming years we grow in our love, patience, wisdom and trust God to continue the good work that He started in us.
HA : Last year, you shared the tragic news of suffering a miscarriage. How did Ben and yourself handle this difficult period of your life ?
ET : Ben was incredible. He was devastated, when I first contacted him at work to tell him I was going to the hospital. He wept and expressed sorrow for our child and me. By the time he got to my side, he had put aside his own grieving and gave me the floor to hurt for the next few weeks while he patiently loved and served me. I saw two sides of Ben : a dad who was mourning the loss of a child and a husband willing to put his feelings on the ” back burner ” for some of my darkest moments. He provided a shoulder to lean on and comfort. I loved him even more because of the miscarriage.
HA : Finally, what advice would you share with those aspiring to be married ?
ET : To those desiring marriage, knowing the spiritual condition of the person you’re considering is the highest priority. I don’t say this because I learned the hard way. It’s something I believe Ben and I did rightly. Before we allowed ourselves to develop incredibly strong feelings for one another, we discussed doctrine, theology and the fruit in our lives. We talked about literally every topic we could think of for weeks. Once I was convinced that Ben could lead me spiritually and Ben was convinced that I love the Lord and was seeking to honor Him, did we move beyond that. Romantic feelings alone cannot be what a relationship is based on.
Desiring God has an article called “When the Not-Yet Married Meet.” In it, the author says, “Intimacy is safest in the context of marriage, and marriage is safest in the context of clarity.” That’s the best advice that I could give to a couple considering marriage. Take the time to investigate the other person before your heart jumps in and distorts what you’re seeing. Once you know that person is someone that you desire to marry and that, most importantly, the marriage would honor God, go for it.
Marriage is a wonderful and godly commitment. Being married is challenging, sanctifying and beautiful because He created it for man. Paul encouraged marriage for those that desire it. Ben and I were married within six months of knowing each, (Ben was 20 and Emily was 24 when they got married). While neither of us are perfectly mature or holy, we wouldn’t be in ten more years either, especially as single people. Marriage has been the sharpest tool that he Lord’s given me for growth yet.