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Marriage Reconciliation

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By Byron Ware

After two columns about depressing marriage statistics, I told my brother that I was holding out until I could write about an amazing couple with an even more amazing story. I am not saying my last two columns were not important. As a matter of fact Charles Osgood on his nation-wide CBS radio program “THE OSGOOD FILES” quoted these same statistics I wrote about, this morning as I was listening. The optimist in me just wants to write about something positive that is happening in marriages, for a change.

What all could your marriage withstand? Could your marriage survive a spouse with depression? How about a spouse with unresolved anger?

Here is an even tougher one: Could your marriage survive a divorce?

John and Kathy had been married before — as a matter of fact, they had both been in marriages to other spouses for over eleven years before they met. They were determined to make their marriage successful as they exchanged vows in May of 1984.

Kathy developed severe allergy problems that made it hard to breathe and live life in the ordinary ways. The medication prescribed caused sleeplessness which in turn led to depression (FYI — many allergy and sinus medications can lead to depression, be sure an ask your physician about the side effects of these medicines).

John became frustrated with Kathy’s depression, and because he couldn’t help her, his unresolved anger snowballed. While Kathy was depressed, she overspent and piled up debt. They entered a very destructive marriage cycle. In addition, there were the predictable blended family disagreements about the children from their previous marriages. The problems mounted until February 14, 1997. Kathy moved out while John was gone on business. Kathy was fearful of John’s anger.

During this time God, intervened into both of their lives. Because of the debt, Kathy had to take a second job. At that second job she found Christians who encouraged her. John searched for answers and help from mature Christians. He found a group of Christian men who met for breakfast in an accountability group. They shared their struggles and encouraged one another with direction from J.D., a mature Christian man whom I greatly respect. John also attended an amazing Wednesday night class at our church called “Marriage Reconciliation.” (I will write more about the “Marriage Reconciliation” class in next month’s column.)

Unfortunately, many look for help when it’s just too late.

In the “Marriage Reconciliation” class, they encouraged John to pray for protection for Kathy, and speak about her in a positive light. The leader had been divorced from his wife for three years, then had reconciled his marriage that he had so badly broken. What John and Kathy had found during this time is what so many of us need for our marriages. Not only does it “take a village to raise a child,” it takes a “village” of Christians to support our marriages. They had found Christians to encourage them, and share their successes and failures. Unfortunately, many look for help when it’s just too late, or worse yet, only from ungodly or non-godly sources.

In January of 1998, John called Kathy about income tax issues. Kathy was still resolved to the divorce, but this started a dialogue that continued for the next several months. On February 3, 1998, the divorce between John and Kathy was finalized. Eleven days later, Kathy went out on a date with John. Kathy said she just wanted to put an end to those bad years and the divorce did just that. More dates with John followed. Kathy agreed to go to a marriage seminar called HIS NEEDS HER NEEDS at our church. This is an interactive 8-week seminar for marriages, and Kathy said she shed a lot of tears. After the sixth week of the seminar, and much emotional healing, John and Kathy were remarried.

John and Kathy are now facilitators for the HIS NEEDS HER NEEDS program at our church. They work on the front lines of marriage reconciliation, and what an example! John says without a network of Christian friends, and the protection from other relationships, his marriage would just be another statistic. The devil is looking for more statistics. God is longing for more stories like John and Kathy’s.

Edited by Phil Ware and Paul Lee.
Copyright ©1996-98, Heartlight, Inc., 8332 Mesa Drive, Austin, TX 78759.

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HEARTLIGHT(R) Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.