Seven years and two babies into my marriage I was broken and saw no hope for a future with my husband and the family we had built without anger, fighting, yelling and frustration. In my mind I had tried everything I knew how to do to make my hurt and frustrations known to no avail, so I did the only thing that I knew to do and I went and talked with a divorce attorney. After doing this I went to my best friend Tracy and told her what I had done and that I was leaving, that I couldn’t live this life any longer. She was brutally honest with me and told me that I couldn’t quit, that she and her husband would be there for us and walk through whatever we needed to do to fix our marriage but that I could not quit. I agreed to wait because our church had a marriage retreat two months from then and that I would go with an open mind and heart, but that if God didn’t do a miracle then I was done. They met with us each week for the two months leading up to the retreat and helped us begin to process some of the hurt and garbage that had gone on over the last seven years. It was good, but didn’t fix all the hurt that had taken place.
I didn’t know what Angie wanted. I certainly didn’t want to talk to our friends about our relationship. I remember thinking “why can’t she just be happy.” I was frustrated with my work and our finances, and now she was throwing this in the mix. She didn’t tell me she was thinking about divorce. To be honest I really didn’t understand what the big deal was. Our relationship wasn’t a 10 but it was better than a lot of peoples. I reluctantly agreed to meet with our friends and go to the stupid retreat.
We went to the retreat and to be very honest I was very reluctant to be there, I knew what God could do and I hoped that he would do something in our lives but I really thought our marriage was beyond repair. I didn’t want to be divorced, I grew up in a divorced family and the last thing I wanted for my precious kids was for them to grow up in a broken home. Gary Thomas was the speaker at our retreat and he was speaking on his book Sacred Marriage. As we sat through the weekend God began changing my heart. As we listen to the speaker I was blown away by what I was hearing. My marriage isn’t designed to make me happy its designed to make me holy?!? I began to realize that the fairly tale version of marriage that I had been taught as a child was a lie. That my expectations of myself and my husband were unrealistic, unfair and frankly unholy. The most impactful statement that the speaker shared that I think of still to this day was that Brian was God’s son and would God be happy with the way his son was being treated. God used Gary Thomas to change my whole world view of marriage, what it is, why it existed and what its role is in my life.
I really felt that as the weekend approached we were good. Yah I knew she had been unhappy a couple months ago but that was behind us. I still didn’t want to go to the retreat. As I started listening God grabbed my attention. Gary talked about a lot of things including hard topics. I heard him describe my role as a Godly Husband. Boy had I been falling short. I realized just how self-centered I had been acting and what a recipe for disaster I was creating with my wife. The key moment though came when he talked about how I was treating God’s daughter. God’s daughter? I had a little girl who I loved more than anything. I couldn’t imagine watching some guy treat her like I was treating Angie.
We didn’t leave the retreat magically with our problems gone, but we did both leave willing to do whatever we needed to do to fix the issues we had. With a lot of hard work, counseling and some great friends God did do a miracle in our marriage. As I write this we have been married for 21 years and life is great! We of course still have our hard times as all people do, but we now have skills, resources, mentors and the ability to communicate through those times and come out quickly to the other side. God is good!
I just can’t imagine what life would be like without Angie. She is my soulmate. She is my partner and my best friend. We have a beautiful family. It is a great reminder to think how close we came to throwing in the towel. Quitting. I am so glad we didn’t! God has blessed our family so much. The training and insights we learned at our first marriage retreat literally saved our marriage. We are so grateful to all the people that helped us through that time and for the people who put that retreat together. We are honored to be able to help coordinate the upcoming retreat and we pray that you will be blessed as we were some fourteen years ago. God is good!
Sponsored by Salem Alliance and
Foothills Church of Stayton