A Marriage Revolution
About the Guest
Though madly in love, marriage didn't bring the happiness they longed for. Hans and Star Molegraaf tell how their marriage fell apart nearly as quickly as their red-hot romance had started. After separating, Hans tells how he began to come face-to-face with his anger issues, but Star admits she had already found someone else. Hear how God led them back to one another and miraculously renovated their marriage.
Hans and Star MolegraafHans and Star Molegraaf have a powerful testimony of God’s ability to revive a dead marriage. They served with FamilyLife for four years and now provide resources, events, and counseling to married couples through their own marriage ministry, Marriage Revolution. They and their six children live near Houston, Texas. www.MarriageRevolution.org
Hans and Star Molegraaf tell how their marriage fell apart nearly as quickly as their romance had started. But God led them back to one another and miraculously renovated their marriage.
A Marriage Revolution
Bob: Star Molegraaf remembers sitting across from a marriage counselor, who wanted to talk with her about the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Star: He looked at me again, real intently in the eye; and he said, “Do you believe that God took that dead man out of the grave, raised Him to life so that He could save you?” I said: “Yes. I believe that.”
Bob: She didn’t get the connection between His resurrection and her marriage until he asked her this question.
Star: He said, “You think God can take a dead man—raise Him to life again to save you—but you don’t think that same God can heal your marriage?” It was my moment.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, September 25th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife® Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. Star Molegraaf shares with us today her resurrection moment—
—tells us about the resurrection of her marriage. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. All this month, we are urging our listeners to join with us and to pray each day, together, as a couple. We’ve been sending out prayer prompts each day as a part of our 30-Day Oneness Prayer Challenge. Here, on Day 25, the 25th of September, our prayer subject for the day is: “Keeping God’s Purpose at the Center of Your Marriage.” We’re encouraging husbands to pray that God will keep His purpose at the center of your relationship / that you will always seek to demonstrate His love through your marriage—
—and encouraging wives to pray that you will continue to grow in your spiritual lives, both individually and together, and in your respective roles, as husband or wife.
I know some of you were not with us when we started this prayer challenge, back at the beginning of September; but I want you to know you can sign up and start the journey on your own, today, if you’d like. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click the link in the upper left-hand corner of the screen that says, “GO DEEPER.” Look for information about the 30-Day Oneness Prayer Challenge. We can get you started; and you can start praying together, as a couple, and just continue for the next 30 days. Take the challenge, and pray together every day for 30 days. See if that doesn’t have a profound impact in your marriage relationship.
Now, the couple we have been talking to this week—this is one of those couples Dennis, where, if you were to look at their circumstances, you would say that—
Dennis: “Humanly speaking,
Bob: “—this is one of those—
Dennis: “—this is close to hopeless,”—but I know, because I’ve seen God do it too many times—He overcame death with His Son, Jesus Christ. If He can defeat death, He can defeat any problem you and I are facing. Hans and Star Molegraaf join us on FamilyLife Today. Hans, Star, welcome back to the broadcast.
Hans: Thanks for having us.
Star: Thank you.
Dennis: You shared earlier just how your dating relationship started around alcohol, partying, having fun. It was kind of love at first sight—with the enhancement of the alcohol. [Laughter] You started pursuing her; and 18 months later, found out she was pregnant—a couple of months later, got married. Started out your marriage; and then only a few months into your marriage—how long—12/18 months into your marriage?
Hans: Twelve months.
Star: Twelve months; yes.
Dennis: Star, you had an affair. Hans, you were really abusing her physically, emotionally, verbally.
For all practical purposes, your relationship was without hope. Your bags were packed, and you [Star] were ready to leave when you [Hans] came home from a business trip.
Bob: In fact, you did leave that day when he showed up; didn’t you?
Star: I did leave. I left, and I went to live with my mom. I took our two-year-old daughter, at the time, to live with me. Hans left to go live with his parents.
Bob: Were you thinking, “This is over now”?
Hans: I knew there was little hope. I was really kicking myself for not doing anything prior to this point. One of the things that happened is—whenever I went to go move in with my parents, I just expected them to graciously receive me in. Although they did, it was on one condition—they said, “If you are going to live in our house, we want you to go to marriage counseling.”
I remember telling my dad: “Dad, you don’t understand. Star doesn’t want anything to do with me. She is just not going to go.” He said: “No. You don’t understand. I want you to go by yourself.”
Within a couple of weeks, after me being in my parents’ house, I found myself sitting, face to face, with the marriage counselor.
Bob: What was that first session like?
Hans: First of all, I didn’t want to go. I was a little reluctant to even be there. I know I had a chip on my shoulder—I was really mad at Star, at this point—she had left. Again, I was starting to put two and two together with her having the suspected affair.
What I remember about that counseling session is telling him everything that Star was doing: “Well, Star is doing this. Star doesn’t respect me.” All of this negative stuff about Star. After I got done explaining to him everything that Star had been doing, I remember him immediately responding back with God’s Word. He read to me Philippians 2. He explained to me the idea behind Philippians 2 and how Jesus Christ came to this earth. He deserved everything—He deserved for people to worship Him / He deserved for people to bow down to Him—He deserved everything.
He had all of these biblical rights.
In my mind, one of my hot buttons with Star is that she didn’t respect me. I remember saying to Carl, which is our marriage counselor’s name, at the time: “Doesn’t the Bible say somewhere that Star should respect me? I mean, I need to be respected. That is one of my biggest needs.”
When he responded with Jesus’ attitude—as He had all these biblical rights—again, He came and He deserved to be served. Yet, He chose the attitude of a servant. He served the people that He interacted with. At the beginning—I think it is in Philippians , verse 5—it says we are to be imitators of Christ Jesus. When I compared my life with how Christ Jesus lived His life, my sin was exposed.
I have done a lot of thinking about that moment and exactly what happened—there was some type of spiritual transformation that happened in that moment. Although I can’t exactly put words to what happened, I know that change took place.
The change that took place was that I went in there, pointing my finger at Star; and I went out of there, broken at how I had contributed to our issues in our marriage.
Bob: Star, you are still involved with this other guy. Did you even know he [Hans] was going to marriage counseling?
Star: I did. I knew that he was going to counseling. In fact, I used to think he was turning into a holy freak. I thought: “Man! He is really getting extreme on this stuff.” However, there was a side of me that was very drawn to who he was becoming. He was becoming the man that I always dreamed he would be, but there was such severe brokenness in our relationship that I wasn’t certain I could ever have an intimate relationship with him again.
Bob: How were things with your new boyfriend?
Star: I was loving this life—I was having a good time. I was hanging with my girlfriends. I was dating this other guy and really had no intentions on repairing our marriage. In fact, if I had the money, we already would have been divorced.
He was not going to give me a divorce, and I did not have the money to pay for it.
Bob: How did you even get pulled back in to any dialogue with Hans? You’ve got this other guy, who is treating you nice, and you are ready to check out. How did you get roped back in?
Star: We had our daughter. We had to communicate when we had to—you know, when Hans had her for the weekends. I hated that I looked like the bad guy. I hated—because I kept all of our secrets. People didn’t know—not very many anyway—what really went on in our marriage. Now, here we are separated. Hans is going to counseling, and he is turning into this great guy. I am, on the other side, feeling like I am wearing the Scarlet Letter. I wanted people to know who he was.
Hans had an anger issue, but I knew how to push every button that he had. He said before—that he felt I could run circles around him in conversations. I grew up in a home where you made sure that you weren’t wrong.
I knew how to make sure I was always right. He couldn’t ever win—I would do that. I would push those same buttons because I thought: “This change is not real. It will be just like every other change, and it won’t last.” I pushed every button Hans had, wanting him to respond the way that he was. I think I wanted it to justify what I was doing.
Bob: You wanted him to re-explode / to get angry again—
Star: I did.
Bob: —to lash out at you / maybe even shake you again.
Star: Absolutely; absolutely. I wantedeveryone to see he had not changed: “This is the same. Star is right. Move on and be done.” I would do this—we would get into these fights. Really, I think I would just fight with myself because, truly, he was not the same. Something was happening, and he just did not respond. I can remember throwing everything he had ever done into his face: “You did this,” and “You did this,” and “How can we ever have a marriage?” He would just say, “I know. I know—and I am so sorry.”
Dennis: Did that ever break your heart?
Star: It did!
Dennis: I mean, slowly but surely melt the calloused heart that you had?
Star: It did. To see him changing and to see the truth that he really was sorry. He would say to me: “Star, I want us to have something different. I want it to be different.”
For me, the part that I couldn’t get over was, “I just can’t stand him!” I couldn’t ever think about us even kissing again. In my mind, I’m going: “Okay, now that he is this guy that everyone loves, how do I love him again? How do we ever have a marriage relationship again?”—very shortly after that was when I went to my first counseling session.
Bob: How did that happen?
Star: I did. I ended up going to the same counselor that Hans went to. My motive was a little different. I went because I was so sick of people’s “accountability.” I thought: “You know what? I am going to go to this stinking counselor.
“I am going to say that I went. I am going to check off the list. I am going to go to two or three sessions, at the most.” All of my friends knew that this was what I was going to do. “Then, I am going to be done—and I am going to be able to walk. I can justify that: ‘You know what? Too little, too late—it just didn’t work.’”
I did. I went to my first session. It was just the counselor and I in the room—Hans wasn’t there. I just vented. I vented to him everything that Hans had ever done to me and just every reason why there was no way this could work. I thanked him for what he was doing with Hans. I said: “You know—it is great!—he is a new guy; but you know what?—too little, too late. My heart has been broken, and I cannot be in a marriage where I am miserable.” My logic was, “Certainly God would not want me in a marriage where I was miserable.”
He just listened. He kind of let me vent. There was a point in the session where he just looked me in the eye, very intently; and he said, “Star, I need to ask you something.” I said: “Okay. What?” He said, “I need to ask you if you believe that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead.”
To which I said: “Yes! I believe that.”
He shook his head. He looked at me, again, real intently in the eye—and he said: “You don’t hear what I am asking you. Do you believe it? Do you believe that God took that dead man out of the grave, raised Him to life so that He could save you?” I said, “Yes! I believe that.” He said, “You think God can take a dead man, raise Him to life again to save you, but you don’t think that same God can heal your marriage?”
It was my moment—like something came on that wasn’t on before. Part of my heart was opened up in a way that it had never been opened up before. I remember wondering: “What if God could do it? What if He could give us what we had always wanted? What if He could give me what I had always wanted in our marriage?”
I turned to God just a teeny bit. I watched Him begin to unfold things in our life that I am certain we had never experienced.
Star: Life change. I think, for the first time, we really began to love each other.
Star: I watched Hans forgive me. I told everyone that I knew that I would take my secret to the grave. If they every ratted me out, I would deny it and call them a liar. I said I would never confess it—no matter what, even after we were back together.
I can remember we were just connecting. The hardest thing for me was to ever imagine us being close together, as a couple—any intimacy whatsoever—even to hold hands. To see that desire come back, to actually long for him, I knew that had to be God. I knew there was no way that I could muster that on my own—I tried. I had tried while we were separated.
I would test it because I wanted it to be there; but it just wasn’t there—not until I let God into the equation.
When I finally confessed to him—when I knew that we could not move forward if he didn’t know—I can remember telling God: “Okay, God. If he asks, I’m going to tell him.” I can remember the night that he asked me—he said really gently: “Star, I just need to know. I need to know.” I can remember thinking, “We cannot have any secrets.” I told him.
Hans was such an angry man before—he was so jealous and so angry. He just didn’t even respond the same. He was so forgiving, in that moment. That was something our relationship had never experienced.
Dennis: Why did you forgive her?
Hans: Because I realized that she is responsible for her actions; but in my mind, I really saw it as my fault.
I had seen the way that I had treated her the first 18 months of our marriage, and I didn’t blame her for having an affair. I was not a loveable man.
Again, bringing it back to my relationship with the Lord—how can I not? How could I have not forgiven her? How could I not give that same forgiveness away?
Dennis: How did you express that forgiveness?
Hans: Accepting responsibility for my part of the role and letting her know that I loved her—letting her know that I forgave her—embracing her. Dennis, I can’t explain it. I get asked that question so many times: “How did you do it, Hans? How did you do it?” The only thing I can say is relating it back to Star’s moment in counseling. The same God that raised Jesus Christ from the dead did a miracle in my heart. My miracle was the ability to forgive her.
Dennis: Did you ever throw that affair back at her—
Dennis: —since then?
Hans: Never—never. I am here to say that I cannot say, “Never,” about a lot of things; but in that instance, I have never thrown it back in her face. Have I gotten sad, have I been brought back to tears, have I been hurt deeply as I share about the experience with other people?—absolutely. I almost look at it as we were—it was a team sin—she was not a 100 percent responsible for her going off to have the affair / I was a messed-up individual, those first 18 months of my marriage.
Bob: You guys eventually got directed to a Weekend to Remember®. This was not long after you had gotten back together; was it?
Hans: Yes. Shortly after we got back together, we were on-fire for the Lord / on-fire for each other.
We couldn’t wait to get our hands on anything that had the word, “Jesus,” on it / that had “God” on it—that had “marriage.” When the Weekend to Remember was advertised at our church, it was a no-brainer—we immediately signed up. We went to the conference. It was at the Greenspoint Wyndham. It was an incredible experience.
For us, it was a little bit different. We were going through counseling, at the time; and we were learning all of these biblical principles for how to do marriage. When we were at the conference, a lot of what we were hearing was not necessarily new things to us—it was just reiterating what we had already learned in counseling.
Star: It totally blew me away that God really had a plan for our marriage—that we could do it His way and that it could work. I didn’t just have to survive. I didn’t just have to stay with this man because it was the right thing to do—but that we could have something beautiful. For me, I couldn’t get enough of it.
Quite honestly, we were watching a lot of our friends around us. When we all got married—there were five of us from high school who were close friends.
Today, we are the only ones who are still married. At that time, I was watching all of my friends around me go through things that we had gone through. In my mind—I am at this conference—and I am thinking, “They just don’t know / I just didn’t know.” I can remember thinking, “I don’t want anyone I know to not know.”
Dennis: Hearing your story drives me back to a passage that I have shared, maybe a hundred times since 1992, when we started FamilyLife Today. It is Ephesians,
Chapter 4, verse 32, “Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you.” That really is what happened here. You both forgave each other as Christ had forgiven you.
The result of that was a transformation—a new beginning.
There are people listening, right now, who do not believe that it could happen to them. The reality is this book, the Bible, and the promises of Scripture are really there for you to believe, just like that counselor asked you, Star: “Do you really believe that Jesus Christ died on a cross for you and was raised from the dead? Do you really believe that was for you?” You did. You embraced it. That was the beginning of the transformation. It wasn’t playing church / it wasn’t a bunch of religious duties—it was two broken people, ultimately, surrendering to Christ. Now, your marriage—how many years later?—fifteen years later?
Star: Sixteen years.
Hans: Yes, sixteen—just turned sixteen years.
Dennis: It is really a remarkable statement of God’s grace, and you have left FamilyLife staff to go do what?
Hans: [Laughter] We are really excited. We are starting our own marriage ministry, Marriage Revolution.
We want to give away what we have received. We know there are lots of couples, right now, who are going through the same thing that we went through, fifteen years ago. We just want to share our story / we want to share God’s Word—we want to share God’s plan for marriage with as many couples as we can. For us, what that looks like is sitting across a table from a couple and doing it, couple to couple. We can’t wait to start that ministry. We are excited.
Dennis: I think it is beautiful.
Dennis: I think you guys are terrific. I look forward to hearing how God uses you in the years ahead.
Bob: You’re going to be sharing with a lot of couples up here in a few weeks because Hans and Star are going to be joining us in Lynchburg, Virginia, at Thomas Road Baptist Church, where we are hosting a one-day event for couples called I Still Do®.Not only are you going to be sharing with a lot of couples who are there that day, but this event is being simulcast to hundreds of churches all around the country.
There are going to be a lot of folks who are going to hear about the help and the hope that you found in the gospel as they come and join with us at I Still Do on Saturday, October 17th. If you’re in the Lynchburg area, come be with us live. If you’re not, your church can be a host site for this simulcast. You can find out more when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click the link in the upper left-hand corner of the screen that says, “GO DEEPER.” Look for information about I Still Do.
Alistair Begg will be joining us that day / Alex Kendrick will be with us—Crawford and Karen Loritts / Dennis and Barbara Rainey. We’ve got a big day planned. We would love to have you be part of I Still Do. Host this event in your church on October 17th. Get more information when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click the link in the upper left-hand corner of the screen that says, “GO DEEPER.” Or call us if you have any questions at 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”
Hans and Star are also featured in The Art of Marriage® video event that we put together for couples that can be hosted anytime. It’s a Friday night/Saturday marriage conference for your community or for your church. You can host this—it’s easy to do. There is great Bible teaching, powerful stories, and a lot of engagement with couples. We’ve had thousands of churches host an Art of Marriage event. We’d love to have you sign up and host one of these events in your community as well. Again, find out more when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click the link in the upper left-hand corner of the screen that says, “GO DEEPER.” Look for information about The Art of Marriage or call 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY,”—1-800-358-6329.
Now, as we wrap up this week, I want to say, “Thank you,” to those of you who have made this week possible—
—those of you who are Legacy Partners, and support the ministry of FamilyLife Today with a donation each month, and those of you who will occasionally stop by our website, or give us a call, or mail in a donation to support this ministry. We are listener-supported.
If you are able to help with a donation today, we would love to send you a thank-you gift—it’s our 2016 calendar / it’s the FamilyLife calendar that’s all about prayer. It’ll give you suggestions on things to pray for each month, as a family. The calendar actually starts in October of 2015. As soon as you get it, you can hang it up and start using it. Again, it’s our gift to you when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link in the upper right-hand corner of the screen that says, “I Care,”—make an online donation. Or call 1-800-FL-TODAY and make a donation over the phone. Or you can mail your donation to FamilyLife Today at PO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR; and our zip code is 72223.
With that, we hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together in church this weekend. I hope you can join us back on Monday—Francis and Lisa Chan are going to be here. We’re going to talk about their new book on marriage. It’s a great book—it’s called You and Me Forever. Hope you can join us for our conversation with the Chans.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey; I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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