Our story is a story of love, struggle, heartache, and God’s redeeming grace and mercy. Looking back over the story of our lives, there have been many important lessons and turning points to help us get to where we are now. But we know full well that without the Lord’s help, there is no way Janet and I would be together today and enjoying this wonderful marriage together.
We often try to summarize our story by saying we were near divorce four times in our first nineteen years of marriage. Then one time a lady in one of our marriage classes ask the question, “when you say four times near divorce, what exactly does that mean?” And it was then that we started to realize that we have to be a little clearer about what four times near divorce means.
So what we are saying is this, there were four major events in our marriage where we were clearly on our way to divorce. Although each event was unique in its own way they all had a few things in common.
1) To start with, each time it was Janet who reached an end of putting up with the marriage we were struggling with and she made up her mind that she wanted a divorce. Our marriage was difficult right from the start. We were often struggling financially and the pressures of just trying to work and pay bills would often become more than we could bear, especially for me.
Then as our children got older we were often at odds with each other over the way we were raising them. We were both stubborn and unskilled in how to communicate without yelling and losing our tempers. And after a while, the hostility in our home become more than she could bear.
She never really wanted our marriage to end in divorce, but she was also determined not to stay miserable for the rest of her life the way she watched her grandparents live in their marriage. Also, for the longest time, she struggled with issues from her childhood, including sexual abuse, early childhood abandonment, and dysfunctional role models. All she knew was she wanted a better life, she wanted to feel safe and to feel loved.
3) And then somehow through my deep desire to be married for life, each time I would end up fighting to save our marriage. Every time we went through one of these events, I learned some things about what not to do during our separation, especially including the way I handle the first time.
Then over the course of time and going through these events I learned how to fight for our marriage the way God wanted me to. I also learned some valuable lessons on how to truly love my wife the way Christ loves the church. And I learned valuable lessons about forgiveness, empathy, and hope.
Then as all of those lessons come together that fourth and final time, we began to see just how amazing God’s love and grace really is. Just when we thought we had reached the end of possibility, the Lord showed up and let us know there is nothing impossible for Him.
We had reached our end, after nineteen years of marriage and on the brink of divorce for the fourth time, I reasoned to myself that there was no chance to put this marriage back together. But the one thing the Lord would not let me let go of was hope. Hope was what Janet had given up on, but as the Lord worked healing into her life, hope began to come alive again for her.
Then with nothing but prayer and hope, we went through a year and a half journey of uncertainty. There were times we were breaking up and then there were times she was willing to give us a chance. Then finally, after those 18 months, she knew without a doubt that she wanted us to stay together. In the process of it all, we discovered while I thought I was fighting to save our marriage, together we were actually rebuilding it. And unlike the first three times we came close to divorce, this time our marriage was built the way God had intended it to be all along.
We have now been married for more than thirty-five years and have been able to enjoy a good marriage. A marriage that keeps growing into what God had always wanted us to have. His design is for two people to come together and become one. The lessons we learn through the difficult process the Lord brought us through have become the foundation for everything we believe.
Now we are very humbled to be able to serve the Lord in such a way that we can help other couples follow the Lord on their own personal journey toward healing and oneness. It is our conviction that marriage is a very high priority in the sight of God and that even the most impossible situation can become possible with His help.
For more of our story check out these posts.
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