Josh Bohman was dating two women at the same time. One of those women was Alison. In the beginning of 2014, Josh lied to Alison when he told her the other relationship was over. In April of that year, Alison found out she was pregnant. Josh continued the lie and withdrew emotionally from their relationship. In May, Alison found out that Josh was still cheating on her. Josh finally broke it off with his other girlfriend and proposed to Alison. "I told her I was a really crappy person and wanted the chance to make it right." Alison and Josh were married days later in a courthouse with just a few family members. Alison describes the day as being almost like any other. "We got married and then we went to Josh's softball game."
Alison and Josh's friends and family thought they were happy, but Josh and Alison were only beginning their struggle. They fought about everything, from the major trust issues down to the minute details of how to clean the house. Alison entered a deep depression. They tried counseling and gave up. Josh's old girlfriend started sending him messages. Alison describes, "We were in two different realities." Josh explains, "I still didn't want to admit that I had screwed up. Every time she brought it up to rehash I blocked it out or blew up. I wasn't there for her emotionally."
In November of 2014, Josh traveled with his father and brother to visit his uncle in Georgia as a last "getaway" before the baby was born. Josh's uncle is a Christ-Follower and he reached out to Josh. He invited Josh to start talking on the phone with him every Friday evening. They started going through the book Every Man's Marriage together. Up until this point in Josh's life, he was very closed off to any sort of belief system. Through these phone calls, however, Josh started to open up to the possibility of a relationship with Jesus. Josh started talking to Alison about what he was reading and started trying to implement the principles into his life. Eventually, Josh's aunt began the same mentorship process with Alison.
After the Bohman's daughter, Sawyer, was born, their marital strife intensified. Josh's uncle encouraged them to look into finding a church and suggested Apex. During their second visit to the gathering, Josh and Alison signed up to be connected to a house church. That same night, Josh got stuck in his driveway during a snowstorm. A random guy stopped to help dig his vehicle out and recognized the Apex welcome packet lying in the seat of the car. He told Josh he was a fellow Apexer. That neighbor dropped off a note later asking if Josh wanted to hang out. They hung out that night and shortly after started attending that neighbor's house church. With a laugh, Josh explained, "It was on point. It was my stupid fault my car was stuck that night, but God was clearly pursuing us."
Josh and Alison admit it was awkward at first. Neither of them had grown up going to church and had spent most of their lives very closed off to church communities. They left immediately after house church was over every week. Josh describes, " A lot of the content was going through the Bible and it seemed like everyone understood it and had things to talk about but us. Eventually, it became fun and we became friends with lots of people in our house church. That's when we started not just going but interacting." Josh and Alison began to be "all-in," attending quads and hosting house church at their place.
The true transformation began when Josh and Alison started having community and accountability in their life for the first time. They realized that other people had struggles too and that they could work through those struggles together. After being exposed to Jesus at the gathering, quad, and house church, and through the mentorship relationship's of Josh's aunt and uncle, they were changing "I just thought church was going to help us be nice to each other. Jesus is showing me all these holes I have within myself in every area of life. We've stopped fighting so much and started talking more. We forgive each other in humility and not just because the Bible says so. I'm changing in how to love my family and even myself, by mimicking His behaviors. I'm just trying to be more like Him. "
"I don't know how He did it," Josh replies when asked what he has noticed about Jesus throughout the journey. The confusion is palpable. How could God come to earth as a human being and live selflessly, die selflessly, and transform people to do the same? Yet. Here lies the proof. Two people who began a relationship built on dishonesty and selfishness have now become a family, sitting down to eat their pasta and breadsticks around their dining room table, telling their story, helping one another feed their one-year-old, and get her to bed after a long day, clearly working to love and trust one another.
"He's a really great Dad," Alison remarks. "She's a really great Mom." Josh adds, "We'd like to get married again under the current circumstances." Under the circumstance of knowing Christ.
Author: Jillian Vincent
Photographer: Sarah Maigur