Earlier this year, I wrote an article for The Family Room called “She Hated Her Husband.” It was about Brian and Julie Moreau’s disintegrating relationship and the key role that a Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway played in saving their marriage. A skeptical reader posted this comment below the article: “If this story is really true maybe you should tell the part of how long and hard the road to recovery from the brink of divorce was.”
I can understand why the reader wondered if Brian and Julie’s story was fiction. It does seem like a fairytale. How likely is it for a woman who tells her husband over and over, “I hate you,” to later say that he is God’s gift to her?
“Impossible,” you say? Yes — apart from God.
Brian and Julie are indeed real people. When they attended a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway, they both made decisions to receive Jesus Christ as the Lord of their lives and the Savior for their sins. Having Christ at the center of their marriage is what changed their home so dramatically. He turned an impossible, hopeless marriage into something brand new. In fact, their relationship is now a beacon of light for other couples whose marriages are hurting.
“She Hated Her Husband” did not devote much space to the actual rebuilding of the Moreaus’ relationship after the marriage getaway, but many of our stories do. Tom and Maureen Santacroce, for example, were headed for divorce after 34 years of marriage. They attended a Weekend to Remember as a late effort to reconcile. Although they enjoyed it, they had a heated argument right after the conference that left them in despair.
To make a long story short (you may want to read what the divorce court judge told them), the Santacroces recalled the words of a FamilyLife representative at the getaway: “You are going to need someone to help you piece this thing back together.”
Tom and Maureen took that advice and got the counseling they needed. Today they are encouraging other couples as FamilyLife volunteers.
Or take Tom and Anna Flippin. Anna just wouldn't give up on her husband, even when he was unfaithful.
After two and a half years of counseling, Tom agreed to go to a Weekend to Remember. At the end of the marriage getaway, Tom told Anna that he had enjoyed it, “except for the God stuff.” It took years for Tom to come to Christ, but the Flippins ended up making their marriage work.
The changes made in these marriages were not caused by FamilyLife. They were the result of husbands and wives realizing they could not make their marriage work on their own. The Moreaus, Santacroces, and Flippins turned their lives and their marriages over to God, accepted His help, and decided to follow His blueprints for their homes.
Brian and Julie’s marriage changed quickly because they individually vowed to make Jesus Christ the center of their relationship. It took months for the Santacroces, and years for the Flippins, to have truly healthy marriages. But each of these couples had one thing in common: They did not give up.
I never grow tired of writing about changed lives. Each new story reminds me that absolutely “Nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37)!
Click here for a list of remarkable stories about how God has changed lives and saved marriages and families.
This article originally appeared in the October 11, 2010 issue of Marriage Memo, a weekly e-newsletter. To subscribe free to Marriage Memo and other FamilyLife e-newsletters, click here. For the Marriage Memo archives, click here.
Author Abigail Dodds, a wife and mother to five, talks about the way men and women are inherently different from one another. It's easy to generalize male and female characteristics, but we must be careful. Dodds admits she doesn't really fit the mold of a woman with a gentle and quiet spirit. The gifts of the Spirit, she reminds us—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—can be exhibited by all believers, regardless of gender.All Sermons by Dave and Ann Wilson with cohost Bob Lepine