The word “real” has a new meaning to Aaron and Megan O’Rand. These high school sweethearts are now parents of three, serving their community, and running a new business while working day jobs. Today, they have a stronger-than-ever marriage, but they’ve explored some valleys along the way.
On Christmas Day of 2014, Aaron was getting message after message from people wishing him a “Merry Christmas.” He was busy working on Christmas gifts, so he asked Megan to respond to the texts when she read one that said, “miss you.” It was from someone she didn’t know, so she scrolled through and read the previous messages. Obviously, this was more than a casual friend.In the restaurant industry, he often worked long hours. His schedule had kept him from church and had isolated him from other friends in his life. As you might expect, he became very close with the people on his team. In this case, he had become too close to one of his female co-workers, and the relationship had become inappropriate.“My whole world came crashing down,” Megan said. She locked herself in the bathroom and spent much of the day crying. Aaron tried to reassure her that it had never become physical and was completely over, but the feeling of mistrust was overwhelming. “Every time he tried to hold my hand or put his hand on my back, it just felt...different.”
“I thought we were done.” Aaron recalled the emotions of that Christmas season and the days that followed. He didn’t see a clear path to saving his marriage, but he was determined to restore Megan’s trust. They had just started attending Cross City First Euless, and he immediately recruited a group of guys from his Connection Group who could hold him accountable. He gave Megan permission to check his phone as often as she wanted, and focused his attention on his relationship with God and with her.
But something had changed for Megan. The pain and doubt were very real. “I had to stop being naive,” she thought. For the first time, she saw Aaron differently. She often checked his phone to read the conversations he was having, wanting to be sure that he was being honest. Through it all, Aaron was consistently transparent, striving to hide nothing.
In spite of the hurt, Megan refused to give up. She knew that if they separated it would only get worse. Instead, she resolved to help. Megan chose to be a safe place where Aaron could safely talk about temptations and challenges. It took work and will-power at first, but as time passed, so did her doubt. They made a commitment to communicate openly with each other. The openness led to trust, and ultimately restoration.
By June of that same year, Megan was pregnant with their third child, and she knew they were going to be okay. The season completely changed Aaron’s approach to life. Today, his transparency and accountability have become a ministry. Every week he invites guys to a cookout. Guys show up with meat, and he puts his award-winning barbecue skills to work while they discuss God’s work in their lives and help each other stay strong.
Megan and Aaron are closer than ever as they continue to serve their community as Apartment Life Event Coordinators. The key to their restoration? They got real. “I had to be vulnerable,” Aaron said as he quoted Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” He chose to put a priority on his relationship with God, Megan, and godly people who could support him. It meant giving others access to his life—no matter how uncomfortable. In all of their relationships, they say “openness is everything.” Their honest communication with each other and their relationship with Christ has made all the difference.