After being married for four and a half years, Andy (who was a newly commissioned officer in the Marine Corps) and I finally decided to attend a Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway. At the time we were really struggling. We had a 2-year-old daughter and a baby on the way.
Andy’s parents had gone to a Weekend to Remember and had highly recommended it, as did the base chaplain. Although my husband was willing to attend the conference, he had told me that he had begun to lose faith in our marriage. He said that he was wondering about his options.
Andy reassured me that he still loved me and our daughter very much, but added that he was struggling with the thoughts of “what if.” He said that he knew in his heart that he would be miserable if he left me and our family, but his own demons continued to haunt him. Neither of us had ever dated anyone else before we were married, and he kept wondering if he had married the right person.
I felt there wasn’t much more we could do to save our marriage without help.
Attending the Weekend to Remember
Although I had never been very deep in my own spirituality, I longed for my husband to lead me spiritually. Andy is a history and sociology buff and has always had a profound interest in various religions. But for some reason he seemed most resistant when it came to getting personally involved spiritually.
As Friday night at the Weekend to Remember began, I did my best to stay open-minded but tensed every time God was being made part of the lesson. I was so afraid that my husband would reject this. I just hoped that he would stay open-minded, but in the back of my mind I knew better. We did our homework that night together but didn’t finish it.
Saturday morning was the most stressful. Andy was sitting slumped down, with his arms crossed. His expression was one of annoyance. By the time we separated to write our love letters (one of the Weekend to Remember projects) he said to me, “I don’t want to be here. I’m not comfortable here. I don’t want to do this.” I was crushed inside, but said nothing.
We both finished our letters, which were not even close to being full of love or romance, and I felt very depressed. We decided to break off on our own to discuss the letters and his rejection of the conference. We talked and I cried for almost two hours.
Although Andy and I didn’t resolve anything, we came to the conclusion that without him changing his outlook and saying “divorce is not an option” and deciding to work and fight for our marriage, we weren’t going to make it. He said he didn’t think he could do that.
So I asked him if he would be willing to do it for just the weekend. He looked me in the eyes and said, “Yes, I can do that.” I was still very scared for us in the long run, but decided to make the most of the weekend.
Saturday night was date night. Andy seemed to be a little better on our date, but overall I could tell it was still not right. At first he didn’t want to talk … didn’t want to look at me. He kept saying, “I don’t want to be here.”
We did finish our homework that night and both learned one new thing about each other regarding our sexual relationship. It was very enlightening and for the first time, I felt like I was getting somewhere and was able to do something to help improve our relationship.
Finally … hope
Sunday morning, after we packed up and were getting ready to leave our hotel room, I sat on the bed and gathered up the courage to ask him if he would pray with me. We had never prayed together … ever. I was nervous and scared, but he said “sure” so we held hands, and I said a two-sentence prayer for God to bless our marriage and each other. Andy hugged me. Although that was good, it felt somewhat staged. I feared he was a bit taken off guard and uncomfortable, as was I.
When we got to the conference, the men and women were immediately broken into separate groups for the husband and wife sessions. I truly enjoyed this the most. We met briefly and then headed back in the ballroom for the mom and dad sessions. After those sessions, I went to the conference resource center where I found him browsing through the books. We went to a little corner to review our homework.
What he said next blew me away. He closed his workbook and looked at me and said, “I don’t know how to say this.”
My thoughts were, Oh no … what now! I looked at him and encouragingly said, “Okay,” and right then and there, on the floor in the corner, my husband told me that he had decided to invite God into his heart … his life … and our marriage.
I was shocked and filled with joy! I couldn’t speak … so I smiled. He said for 25 years he had been without God and that “it’s not working” and he didn’t know how or where to really begin. He said that he wanted to be a great husband and father and feels like this is the way he needs to do it.
I was overjoyed. I started tearing up, trying not to make too much of a scene. I told him how wonderful it was to hear him say those words and that I wanted him to lead me and our daughter. We talked for a few more minutes, and I felt completely rejuvenated and filled with hope.
We went over our homework and what a difference in his answers that time! It was like he was filled with the Holy Spirit that morning! And amazingly, one of his final answers written down was a promise to say “divorce is not an option.”
We sat together the rest of the afternoon and this time, when God was brought into our lessons, I was filled with optimism and love and confidence that my husband and I would both be able to open our hearts to these words. I left that conference with a renewed sense of optimism and faith in our marriage and in our new journey together into God’s Word.
If all of our personal struggles and arguments led us to God through a Weekend to Remember, then it was all worth it.
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