I see so many letters and e-mails like this, and yet I never grow tired of them:
"My wife and I have been having several struggles including her affair earlier this year," one husband wrote, "but I was the one pursuing her. She said she still wanted to be married to me after I forgave her, but she wasn't putting any effort into our relationship."
His pastor encouraged them to attend a Weekend to Remember®, FamilyLife's three-day getaway for couples, so he signed up. But he was skeptical. "It seemed like a waste of time and money. How could God change her heart in a weekend?"
During the first night of the conference there was no connection between them. "The next morning I prayed that God would open my heart and my wife's and allow His Word along with the instructors whom He had chosen for the deliverance to give us something, anything to reconnect to put fire and excitement back into our marriage." And that afternoon His prayer was answered—God somehow cut through the hurt and the pain and the hardness and touched their hearts. "God gave me a new outlook and excitement for the future of our marriage, and He opened my wife's heart!"
During a couple's project they wrote love letters to each other, and he was amazed to see what she wrote. "She hadn't told me she loved me in over four months! I saw a miraculous change in our marriage. We actually reconnected, and I can't wait to see what God has in store for us … I cannot change the past and it will take a lot of time for my pain and my wife's pain to heal, but I know our future will be strengthened into oneness of heart with God as the lifeblood."
As we celebrate Easter this week, I am struck by the fact that Jesus Christ died and was resurrected so that we could be reconciled to God and see a resurrection in our own lives as well. As 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 tells us, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ …"
I've seen this resurrection in my own life—I'm not the same person that I was before I received Christ as my Lord and Savior. And I've seen this resurrection in the stories I read of married couples who have seen their marriages made new by the power of Christ.
We often see these stories emerge from the Weekend to Remember marriage getaways. For many couples, this is the first time they've gotten away together in years, and the first time they've focused so long on God's design for their marriages. The results can be dramatic.
Another husband wrote us recently to say that the Weekend to Remember saved his marriage. "My wife and I had been becoming more and more isolated over the last four years and we were at the end, with virtually no hope of saving our marriage or at least no hope of living happily together in the same household," he wrote.
"Something told me that this conference was our last shot. On the way, my wife and I fought so terribly I didn't even think we would make it. … I remember the speaker said, 'God loves your marriage and Satan hates it.' I believe that Satan was trying to keep us from even reaching the seminar.
"To make a long story short, by lunch time on Saturday, my wife and I asked each other for forgiveness and have dedicated ourselves to seeking oneness with each other and to creating a Christian legacy in our three children … The transformation in my wife is unbelievable—God really spoke to her. I hope that my transformation is worthy of my wife."
Over the next few days, consider that Christ was raised from the dead so that we might experience new life. I love the apostle Paul's words in Ephesians 1:18-19, where he prays that the eyes of our hearts would be enlightened, that we would know the hope of His calling, and experience the "surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe."
The same power that raised Christ from the dead is available to us. It can make us new, and it can resurrect any relationship that seems hopeless.
FamilyLife has resources that can enable you to help others whose marriages need to be resurrected. Host The Art of Marriage® in your church, neighborhood, or community.
This article originally appeared in Marriage Memo, a weekly e-newsletter.
Copyright © 2008 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.
Whether you’re bowled over by cancer, chronic pain, or other blinding forms of suffering, even the next step can feel bleak. But the experience of Covenant College professor Kelly Kapic and his wife Tabitha has filled them with unspeakable hope and nearness to the God who suffers alongside us. Don’t miss this broadcast with the author of Embodied Hope: A Theological Meditation on Pain and Suffering, one of Christianity Today’s books of the year.