Once again I’m posting a marriage miracle story. This story is true and was written by someone who remembered how she and her husband almost lost hope in their marriage. Then God intervened. The names have been changed.
I pray that this story shared courageously by Pam can bring hope to you if you are in a dark place in your marriage. If you have already received your marriage miracle, please pass this story along to someone who needs a miracle.
If you have a marriage miracle you’d like to share with others, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can write out your own story, or tell me your story, and I will write it for you. My goal is to remind others that we serve a God who heals–even when circumstances seem impossible.
A God-Sent Weekend
“When we return to the states, I think we need a divorce,” my husband said one day.
We lived in a compound with other foreign expatriates in Tokyo, Japan. Our three children, ages five, seven, and ten, attended a Christian school run by missionaries. After thirteen years of marriage with no reason for divorce—no violence, no hanky-panky, no lies, no illness, no alcohol, no nothing—he wanted to quit. It’s not as if this announcement came out of the blue.
Stresses in our marriage had been building for years. There was no lack of money, no extramarital flings, no violent outbursts; we didn’t even argue much. My husband did his thing, and I cared for the children and house with a few forays into substitute teaching. We attended church as a family every Sunday and stopped at the local restaurant for Sunday brunch. But we were not happy. I resented having to stay home with the children, moving every year, and letting my college degree languish.
“Yes, when we get home, we’ll get a divorce,” I decided.
Then, God called.
“There’s a Christian Marriage Encounter scheduled three weeks from now,” a friend of ours said. “We’ll watch the kids if you two want to go. It’s not for troubled marriages; it’s to make a good marriage better.”
“I have an important meeting that day,” my husband said. “I’m not sure I can make it.”
“I think it’s important we go,” I responded.
“You go. If I can, I’ll show up.”
Standing at the bus station with couples excited about a weekend in the mountains, I waited, nervous he would not come.
“If he doesn’t come, then I’ll know there is no hope for our marriage,” I told the pastor.
“We need to go now,” the man in charge announced. “We cannot wait any longer.”
Crestfallen, my disappointment he had not come became resentment. It’s over, I thought.
Then, he walked in.
“The meeting ran late,” he said, “but I told them I had to leave. Hope this is worth it.”
We sat together in silence, watching the countryside, passing tiered levels of rice behind thatched homes, through forests and over hills, set below a cloudless blue sky. After an hour or two, we exited the bus onto a wooded clearing. The chilly mountain air sent us scurrying into the modern hotel-style retreat house where rooms were assigned and a schedule distributed.
“The first thing we must do,” the man in charge said, “is relinquish our timepieces. We want no distractions. No telephone calls. Time will have no meaning. There will be a talk about different topics; a question will be given, then we’ll adjourn to write your response in these notebooks, share and then discuss them with each other. After a while, a bell will ring, and we will reconvene for group discussion.”
Then he played, “We’ve Only Just Begun” by the Carpenters.
The questions, given one at a time with about 15 minutes between writing and then discussing before returning to the group, required some intense thought. Over the years, I’ve forgotten the questions, but not our responses to them and each other. We wrote but refused to speak. One question, in particular, sent me for a tailspin. “Why did you get married?” The easy answer was: “Because we were in love,” but that was not the truth. He married because I refused to live with him, and he wanted someone to cook and clean with benefits. I married because I was ready to settle down after a failed relationship.
The next question: “Were you in love when you married, and how has your love grown?” Our answer: We thought so, but not really, and it hasn’t.
Other thought-provoking questions about our responses to each other when different situations occurred continued over the weekend. We learned to talk about difficult situations, express our feelings without blame, and accept each other for the person we were rather than attempting to change the other. Of course, these precepts didn’t happen overnight. The prayers of our friends, the openness of this meeting, and our desire to change, helped us renew our wedding vows.
Break down the walls we have built around our marriage
as you tore down the walls of Jericho. Send your grace and
fill our marriage with compassion. Rid our hearts of the
resentment we built and replace it with love.
Without this God-sent weekend, the prayers of our friends, and our change of heart, we would never have celebrated our fifty-second wedding anniversary last year.
This is not the end of the tale. Over the years, difficulties, especially in communicating without blame, have sent us to counseling several times, but we agree that marriage is a life commitment. The only person we can change is ourselves.
Note: To find out more about Marriage Encounter weekends, go to this link: https://wwme.org/