From Infatuation to Brokenness
About the Guest
Sparks flew the night they met. Hans and Star Molegraaf reminisce about their whirlwind courtship and their party lifestyle that led them away from the Lord and into each other's arms.
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
Sparks flew the night they met. Hans and Star Molegraaf reminisce about their whirlwind courtship and their partying lifestyle that lead them away from the Lord and into each other’s arms.
From Infatuation to Brokenness
Bob: A marriage can be a challenge for even the healthiest of couples; but couples, who start off their marriage with some significant sinful patterns already in place, can face some major challenges as they move forward. That was the case for Hans and Star Molegraaf.
Star: We had huge dysfunction in our dating relationship. In fact, when we told some of our friends that we were getting married, I mean, it was almost comical to them that we were going to do this. They could clearly see that we were starting out at a negative—the alcohol, the yelling, the screaming, the fighting. There was already physical abuse in our relationship and, quite honestly, I was afraid.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, September 24th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’re going to spend time today with a couple that was almost a statistic—almost. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Thursday edition. This is Day 24 of FamilyLife’s month-long Oneness Prayer Challenge. A lot of you have spent the last 24 days with us, praying every day, together, as a couple. Some of you have already let us know that you missed a couple of days—that’s okay. It’s encouraging to hear back from you about how God is using this experiment in your marriage. Today, we’re encouraging you to pray about the fact that love is, ultimately, a choice. Pray with one another that you can choose to love one another every day, regardless of the circumstances, and to pray that you will choose what is best for you, as a couple, rather than fighting for your own personal agenda in marriage.
Now, I know some of you are just now hearing about the 30-day prayer challenge. If you’d like to join us for the rest of September or if you’d like to start the challenge fresh, with you and your spouse, you can sign up to receive prayer prompts each day. Just 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 will send you these prayer prompts each day via text message or via email; or you can get them through the My FamilyLife app. Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click the “GO DEEPER” button in order to sign up to take part in the 30-Day Oneness Prayer Challenge for husbands and wives.
We’re going to be talking to a couple today that—back when they got started in their marriage—prayer was not a foundation of their relationship.
In fact, if you think about this, Dennis, every couple has got a story. You can work, side by side, with someone—you can work for years—and not know that there’s a story hidden in that person.
Dennis: And we did. [Laughter] We worked with this couple for over three-and-a-half years. Here’s the quote that I love from our guest—let me just introduce them—Hans and Star Molegraaf join us on FamilyLife Today. Hans/ Star, welcome to the broadcast, formally, after working here for three-and-a-half years. [Laughter]
Here’s what Hans admitted—he said, “Star and I didn’t know anything about marriage when we got started 17 years ago.”
Dennis: Did you really say that?
Hans: I really said it.
Dennis: Proverbs 24:3-4: “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established, and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.”
Now, that’s true—that wisdom does build a house and it can be filled with pleasant things—but you can flip those words around: “Foolishness can create a lot of chaos”; can’t it?
Hans: Right; yes.
Dennis: Let’s go back all the way to when your marriage started.
Dennis: In fact, when you dated. Do you remember, Star, the first time you saw him?
Star: I do. We were at a high school party. I was 19 and had just graduated high school. It was the summer after I graduated. Hans had been off away at his first year at college and come home. I had actually dated a boy all through high school and had met Hans earlier than this party but was very involved in this other relationship. My girlfriends had said, “Oh, if you ever break up, Hans is very interested.” [Laughter] So I knew that he was going to be at this party because I was single at the time and had heard that he was going to be there and that he was interested.
Dennis: Had you slipped some notes to her friends, Hans?
Hans: No real notes to her friends but it was kind of a deal where, when I first saw her that night at that party, my eyes got about this big. I knew, right then, that I wanted to get with Star that night.
Dennis: And so you asked her out on the spot?
Hans: Well, not on the spot; but as the night went on, I meandered my way over to talk to her and gain my confidence throughout the night. We ended up talking, and we ended up spending a lot of time together that night.
Bob: So, if you turned on the charm—how did he turn on the charm? What was the Hans charm like, Star?
Star: Unfortunately, our charm was alcohol.
Bob: Oh, really?
Star: We were—yes.
Hans: My charm was alcohol.
Star: Yes. We were drinkers and partiers. It was your typical high school/college party—I’m sure there were kegs that were there, and there was drinking that was going on.
Dennis: Underage, I guess?
Star: Underage, absolutely—this was just our way of life. This was what we did on the weekends.
Bob: So, the cute boy, who comes over, and you’ve had a few things to drink—he’s a little cuter because you’ve had a few things to drink; right?
Star: [Laughing] Right, right!
Bob: And you guys wind up talking and liking each other. Then, from there, did you say: “Well, what about next week or tomorrow night?” or “You want to get together?”
Hans: Well, you know what? I said my confidence increased throughout the night and, as I drank more, that’s where I got my confidence. So, actually, when I woke up the next morning, I was scared because I knew that I really liked Star; but I knew that I didn’t have the courage myself to go talk to her and sustain this relationship.
I was really scared, but I decided—I had done this over and over again. I said to myself, “This time, I’m not going to let this one get away.” So I did ask her out on a date, and we ended up going out on a date—I think it was two or three days after we had first gotten together.
Dennis: Where did you go, Star?
Star: We went to—what was the name of that place?
Hans: Malibu Grand Prix or something—
Bob: Oh, yes! I’ve been there!
Hans: —or something Celebration Station.
Bob: Yes, did you play video games?
Star: Yes, we rode go-karts.
Hans: We rode go-karts. That was our activity of choice.
Star: I thought, “This guy does not like me at all!”
Hans: We didn’t interact that much, and then we went back to her house or somebody else’s house. I remember us watching a movie, which is always the safe date—not a whole lot of interaction had to take place. I remember watching the movie. It was—do you remember the name of the movie?
Star: I don’t.
Hans: Yes, we watched the movie. At the end of the night, I went home. But here’s what happened—a couple of days after that date, she went out of town for about a week. I got to spend a week without her. I knew the time that I had spent with her—I really liked the person that she was. I obviously liked the way that she looked; but when she was gone during that week, I really had to wrestle through because this was a pattern in my life. I had gone through girl after girl—really short relationships.
I had to make the decision, “Do I want to pursue this or do I want to give up?” I made a decision that I wasn’t going to give up. So shortly after she got back from her little vacation—I’ll never forget sitting in the driveway, in my little blue truck. I looked at her, right in the eyes, and I told her I was serious about her.
Something about that moment just gave me the confidence. I should say this—something about her response gave me the confidence to continue on and gave me more confidence to be myself around her. That’s when really our relationship started.
Dennis: I mean, here we are on the third date?
Dennis: And we’re having a DTR? [Laughter]
Star: We are.
Dennis: Define the relationship? What’d you think about that, Star?
Star: Well, I was interested! I just thought we were going to date, and we were going to have fun, and I was excited. I really liked him. I was very attracted to him and very drawn to him—I was excited!
Dennis: Okay, so we all know, now, you got married on the fourth date. [Laughter] I mean, how long before you got engaged?
Hans: Well, it took about 18 months. Our whole dating relationship was a little crazy. We were having sex before we got married. Alcohol and sex were really a foundational part of our relationship. I wouldn’t even say we were really in love. I just think we were having fun together—we were more infatuated with each other.
Bob: So, how did you decide to finally pop the question and say, “We ought to get married”?
Hans: [Laughing] Well, my popping the question was a little interesting. Unfortunately, it was over a little white stick with a plus and a minus sign.
Dennis: It showed up she was pregnant?
Hans: It showed up that she was pregnant.
Star: I was very panicked. I was totally oblivious to the fact that this could happen to me—and completely unaware / completely irresponsible. I can remember a friend saying to me, “What if you’re pregnant?” because I was so tired and experiencing just some other symptoms. I thought, “Oh my goodness, could I be pregnant?!” I knew, immediately, after she said that, I was, in fact, pregnant. Hans and I were living together—I mean, I was in his apartment. I had a dorm room that I think I spent three nights in the whole time we were away at school.
I was at his apartment when he came home from work. I can remember being in a panic and saying: “We have to go now! I have to get a pregnancy test now!” We went to get this test, and we came home. I can remember going into the bathroom. He was like, “Okay, you go to the bathroom on it, and then, you get out and let me look at it.” Don’t ask me why we did this, but this is what we did.
So I did. I got out, and he’s in the bathroom; and he’s in there for a long time. I’m going: “That thing said it’s only going to take like two minutes. What does it say?!” And he’s got the door locked.
Hans: I was already starting to control. [Laughter] What I was thinking, when I was in the bathroom—it came up, immediately, that she was pregnant. So, in my mind, when I saw the positive sign on that pregnancy test, I knew that I needed to go get a job—I knew that I needed to get a job with benefits. I knew that I needed to get ready to start my family, and I knew the time was now.
Dennis: And you were how old, at the time?
Hans: Twenty—I was twenty, at the time.
Dennis: And you were nineteen?
Star: I was nineteen.
Bob: And so, here you are, pregnant. You knew you needed to get a job. Did you also know, “I need to get married”?
Hans: Yes. We immediately started talking about our wedding. I was immediately starting to think about who was going to be my best man. We found out in November of ’93, and we got married in January of ’94.
Bob: Now, this is a big step for a couple to take—to get married.
Bob: Star, was there anything in the back of your mind, going, “I wonder if I really ought to marry this guy?”
Star: Yes, there were a lot of flags for me. We had huge dysfunction in our dating relationship. In fact, when we told some of our friends that we were getting married—I mean, they literally chuckled: “Really? I mean, you guys are going to get married?” because they could see that we were starting out at a negative. Quite honestly, I was afraid—I mean, I thought there were no choices.
Dennis: Well, sure there were!
Star: Not in my mind.
Dennis: Not in your mind?
Star: Not in my mind. In my mind, I could not do this alone. I was not going to give this baby away, and abortion was not an issue. So we were going to have this baby.
Dennis: And I have to ask you, “Why was abortion not a true option for you?”
Star: Even though I did not come from a Christian home, my mom—we had morals. My mom was very moral with a lot of stuff that was just wrong. That was something I grew up being told was wrong. From the time that—as long as I can remember—that was not something that was okay—it was a life.
It was recognized as a life in my heart. There was no way that I was going to have an abortion.
I was very, very fearful; but I guess somewhere inside of me—I hoped that we would be different. I watched my mom go through divorce—I watched brokenness. I can remember my whole childhood, thinking: “I will never live this way. My life will never look like this.” With the route that we were on, there’s no reason that my life shouldn’t have been just as bad, if not worse.
Dennis: Yes, that’s what I’m wondering. Despite your fear, despite your background, and everything that was going on in you—your friends telling you / laughing at you, talking about getting married—you still headed straight into the storm.
Dennis: Why? Did you love him?
Star: As much as I knew how to love, at that point, I loved him. I don’t know that we really, at that time, had experienced true love. I did not know the Lord, but I just hoped that we could make it.
Dennis: So did marriage make any difference in your relationship?
I mean, the natural question that Bob and I ask, at some point in our conversations with couples, is: “When did you know your relationship was in crisis or in trouble?” It sounds to me like you started your relationship in crisis.
Hans: We did start our relationship in crisis—but, you know, when I found out that she was pregnant—I went into performance mode. I had watched a family do the right things, growing up, so I knew what we needed to do. I did end up getting a job. I did end up going to church every single Sunday. We did get an apartment. I provided for the family. I did all the right things.
Dennis: Did you drop out of college?
Hans: I did. I had to work, full-time. We both had to get jobs.
Bob: I’m just sitting here, imagining your wedding day—what you had dreamed of since you were a little girl, Star—the day you would get married and you would become someone’s wife. Now, here you are, getting married because you’re pregnant to somebody you’re scared of, at some point, wondering, “Is this going to work?” Were you standing at the altar, going, “What am I doing?” or were you there, going, “Okay, this will work”?
Star: I was there saying, “Okay, this is going to work.”
Bob: So, how long after you were married when you started to go, “I don’t know if this going to work”?
Star: Probably within a year. You can kind of coast through the first year with your jobs and your busyness; and we had a new baby. I had no idea that I would fall in love with Kylie like I did. I was very selfish, and I didn’t really know what I was going to do with a baby. But I just loved—we loved—being a mom and dad to her. That euphoria kind of coasted us through for a little bit. We still had a lot of dysfunction going on, but we just kept pressing through. Then, after about a year, it started to click to me that things were not getting better—they were getting worse.
Star: I began to beg Hans to go to counseling. I knew that, if we didn’t get outside help, we weren’t going to make it.
Bob: And when you say things were getting worse, how was that manifesting itself?
Hans: I would have anger fits.
I didn’t know how to deal with a lot of the emotion I was experiencing. We had good days, and we fought about the normal things—about finances, about how to raise Kylie, and just different things—but what was unique about our arguments is that I couldn’t win the arguments. Star’s a really good talker. I could not work my way, conversationally, around her. I just remember my head spinning and not knowing how to work through these arguments. The only thing that I knew how to do was to yell and scream.
Dennis: Did you hit her?
Hans: I would grab Star out of frustration and shake her. I remember one of the times, when it got to the worst, when we were in Houston in our first house. We had gotten into an argument—I don’t know what it was about. I grabbed her, and I threw her down on the bed. I remember thinking to myself—I kind of got a picture of what that looked like from a third party—and I was disgusted.
And this happened—this happened all the time. After it would happen, I’d be broken. I’d be on my knees, asking her / begging her to forgive me. I’d swear to myself / I’d swear to her: “I’m going to get better. I’m going to do the right things.”
Dennis: Did you ever call the police, Star?
Star: I don’t think so. I don’t think I ever called the police—I just used to leave. I would leave.
Dennis: What did that do to you, emotionally, to have him so forcefully grab your shoulders, and shake you, and throw you down?
Star: Well, I grew up in a home where I watched my stepdad do this to my mom—and it was far worse. So my fears that I was going to become her—that my marriage was going to look like hers did—it was happening. My worst fear was coming true. It was happening right before my eyes. I felt like it was moving so fast that there was really nothing I could do to stop it.
Bob: You finally decided: “I’m going to take some action. I’m taking the baby and I’m going.”
Star: I did. After I realized that we weren’t going to get help—that we weren’t going to go to counseling and that it wasn’t going to change—I had a spirit and an attitude of being done. I went out, one night, with a bunch of my girlfriends—Hans was out of town/ was gone for a week. We went out all the time. We were in church on Sundays. We had joined a church, and they had really wrapped their arms around us. They were really caring for us—they gave us a baby shower / they gave us a wedding shower—and really loved on us. There were no young couples in the church.
All of our friends were our same friends from high school and college. We would go out together on the weekends. Then, we would go out separate—where he would go out with just guys and I would go with just girls. I was confronted, one night, when I was out—actually, I think this was a night when we were together—by another man, who was very persistent and very attractive, in my mind.
It wasn’t long after that that I became involved in an affair.
So much so, that I was willing to leave my marriage for this man. If it wasn’t going to be him, it was going to be someone like him, in my mind. In my mind, we were so miserable—everything had died. We were hardly friends, and I couldn’t ever imagine us being intimate again. I couldn’t ever imagine us having a relationship where I could spend the rest of my life with him. So I became very involved in this relationship. Hans was gone for the week. When he returned home, he returned home to me, with my bags packed, leaving—taking our baby to go live with my mom.
Dennis: When you walked in the house, saw those bags, and saw the look on your wife’s face, what did you think?
Hans: I knew she was serious. She had told me—she had been asking me, for several months / begging us to go to counseling. I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. I just wanted to do everything on my own—I didn’t want and wasn’t willing to let anybody else in to help me with some of the issues that we were having.
And it really got my attention—it really got my attention.
Dennis: As you guys are talking, my mind is reflecting on a woman that I talked to, who had lost all hope in her marriage. And quite honestly, apart from an act of God, reaching down and healing her marriage and healing your marriage—you guys were on a trail destined for a continuation of an affair; divorce; maybe remarriage; you know, going your own separate ways.
As I talked with the young woman about her marriage and prayed with her, this is where the gospel, that the Scriptures present, is either the truth or it isn’t the truth.
God is either the Redeemer or He’s not / He isn’t able to redeem. I know that He doesn’t redeem every situation because He didn’t make us to be robots. We’re going to hear, a bit later, your story of how He got your attention, Hans, and yours, Star, and how He ultimately brought healing, grace, forgiveness, and redemption—it really is a great story.
But I want to just speak to the person, who’s out there, listening to you. They’re raising their hands, saying: “That’s us. I’ve lost hope. I’m bitter. I’m hurt and I want out.” I would just say: “Get on your knees and ask God to heal, redeem, and restore. He is able, but it’s going to come at a cost. That cost is your surrender to Jesus Christ and the Bible.”
We have not mentioned this yet; but you guys are going to be joining us next month in Lynchburg, Virginia, where we are hosting our I Still Do® one-day event for marriages. It’s going to be live at the Thomas Road Baptist Church on Saturday, October 17th. Along with Hans and Star, Alistair Begg is going to be with us; Crawford and Karen Loritts; Alex Kendrick will be joining us. Of course, Dennis and Barbara Rainey are going to be there as well.
We’ve got a big day planned. If you live in the Lynchburg area, you ought to plan to join us, live, at Thomas Road Baptist Church for this event. If you don’t live in the area, you can still join us because this event is being simulcast in hundreds of churches all around the country. If you’re not yet signed up for the live I Still Do simulcast on Saturday, October 17th, you can still sign up. 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, the one-day event that we’re going to be hosting on October 17th.
I should also mention that we feature Hans and Star’s story in our Art of Marriage® video event. There have been thousands of churches that have hosted one of these Friday night/Saturday events for couples. It’s a marriage retreat that you can host in your local church. It’s easy to do. There are powerful stories, great Bible teachers, and it will have a dramatic impact on the couples in your community and the couples in your church.
If you have any questions about I Still Do or about The Art of Marriage, and you’d like to get in touch with us by phone, our number is 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY”—1-800-FL-TODAY.
You know, our goal, here at FamilyLife, is to provide help so that your marriage and your family can be aligned with God’s purposes for marriage and family.
We’re grateful for those of you who support the work that we’re doing, here at FamilyLife, with your donations. We’re grateful for our Legacy Partners, who make monthly donations, and for those of you who will, from time to time, get in touch and say, “Keep going,” with your financial support.
Right now, if you’re able to make a donation to help support this ministry, we’d love to send you, as a thank-you gift, a 2016 calendar. It’s the FamilyLife calendar for next year. It actually starts with October of 2015. So you can put it up right away when you receive your calendar. Again, it’s our thank-you gift when you make a donation today. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click the link in the upper right-hand corner of the screen that says, “I Care,”—you can make an online donation. Or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY—make your donation over the phone. Or you can mail your donation and request the calendar when you write to FamilyLife Today atPO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR. Our zip code is 72223.
Now, tomorrow, we’re going to hear about a conversation that Star Molegraaf had with a marriage counselor—and the question that he asked her that—for the first time, caused her to think that maybe there was hope for her marriage. We’ll hear that story tomorrow as we continue our conversation with Hans and Star Molegraaf. I hope you be back for that.
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 next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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