I was two years old. My father decided the whole marriage and dad thing was too tough. So he took off. He was supposed to meet my mom to sign their tax return and never showed up for the appointment, or ever came home again. To say this left a mark would be an understatement, and yes, it still hurts. As I grew up, I decided I would be an amazing husband and father and would never do what he did to us.
Fast-forward 30 years later and I was a husband and father of young kids and it hit me: this is hard, but I am not giving up. My wife and I both come from broken families. Neither of us really knew what we were doing. We were just figuring it out as we went, hoping to not hurt each other too much in the process.We had some amazing years, and some really hard years, but about three years ago we decided that we wanted more than status quo. We wanted to, as Jon Foreman puts it, “Thrive, not just survive.”
We heard from a few of our friends about a marriage conference called Love After Marriage and my wife wanted to go (because she is much smarter than I), but I thought, “I don’t want to go to a touchy feely conference where I have to talk to other people about my mistakes and issues.” But I also knew that I wanted to have the marriage God designed for us, so we went.
We drove 11 hours to the conference location and we may or may not have argued for half of the drive. I was anxious about what it would be like and unsure how to communicate that, so instead I was grumpy. Day one of the conference I thought, I really don’t want to be here, and then He broke in. The Hound of Heaven poured Himself out all over us in ways that I wish I could describe. He began to heal us. To connect us in ways I did not think possible. We learned effective ways to communicate and reconcile and we experienced love, connectivity, forgiveness, acceptance, and ardor. By the end of the conference we did not want it to end. We witnessed a community full of people chasing after God as their marriages were being transformed.
We learned effective ways to communicate and reconcile and we experienced love, connectivity, forgiveness, acceptance, and ardor.
The transformation has continued. Yes, we still have disconnects, but we know how to reconnect much more easily. We know how to reconcile and how to move together in freedom with God. We are thriving.
My favorite part about Easter is that Jesus proves he has power over death. If your marriage is tired, sleeping, dying, or dead, please join Tara and me at the Love After Marriage three-and-a-half-day intensive here at BelPres, April 16-19. You don’t even have to drive 11 hours to do it.
For more information on the Love After Marriage workshop click HERE