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Taking Courageous Steps to Save Your Marriage (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Cross Radio
May 16, 2022 6:00 am

Taking Courageous Steps to Save Your Marriage (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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May 16, 2022 6:00 am

Ann White’s marriage was in desperate trouble, but she was terrified to let anyone know. She discusses how God helped her to break through dysfunctional patterns and finally ask for help. Hear this courageous story about a marriage restored. (Part 1 of 2)

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I just remember breaking down completely and just begging no clue what to do. I don't know where to go where to turn. What do help me can hear the desperation in her voice. Their marriage was in fact it was one of worst scenarios that the counselor had ever seen, and yet God helped her husband to work through their brokenness and to find healing to hear about that today on Focus on the Family. Thanks for joining us I'm John Fuller and her host spoke as president and author Jim John and wife is an author or speaker a Bible teacher Christian talk show host, and the CEO of courage for life. She helps others out of painful experiences in marriage, and I think that's one of the best teachers someone who's gone through the valley and come out the other side of it. Through God's strength and she's written a great book called courage for life, which offers steps to finding courage to face our fears and be vulnerable and real with others and struggled with being open with others for decades, hiding emotionally and now she shares hope and strength in Christ and and her husband Mike met in high school and married for number of years they have two adult sons. The conversation with hand light on focus. This is really hard to do when you do it with such grace, but to talk about the most painful areas of who you are in your relationship with your husband with the Lord.

It's got very difficult. Have you found that to be helpful to others. Is that why you do it absolutely. Why is because it is helpful for others. Many of us walk through life failed to the possibilities because we're hiding what's really holding us back. Fear comes into play and just keeps it stripped up all the time and I know from myself for 40 years. I just kept it under the radar and pretended that everything was okay.

There was a difficulty in my marriage.

I hit it and I think everybody tends to do that people would think to some extent. I think everyone does it. If were honest and is there things that you don't like out there you know it is not theirs probably negative things that you shouldn't hide obviously more behavior, sinful behavior. Those things but there's also courtesies that you would know when you feel irritated the right thing to do is to kind of bury that I would think there is a healthy bearing is there not there absolutely is nothing to say that because I think we need to be transparent with our spouses and family members love one's friends. We need to come out and speak truth in love, tell everything in us that goes for like what you said, you know, if we're agitated and we just need an amendment to calm down and gather ourselves back together or if were talking to a close friend, nurse, or someone who's come up to us and said, you know, tell me what you've been doing your life and you know how that might help me get through what I'm going through you to tell all the details right is important thing is that people understand where fellow strugglers where the body of Christ and renders together. We don't have to be alone will have to walk these difficult journeys by ourselves. When I heard John talking about in the open, there your marriage what the counselor said is one of the worst marriages he'd ever seen.

That's kind of jaw-dropping well, so what was going wrong that a counselor would say that will paint a picture of your early marriage what was happening correct. He did say that and what that what he actually said was I not seen a marriage inasmuch difficulty as what you guys are messed as big a mess is what you guys are in that's ever made it to. He'd seen many difficult marriages that the majority of them had broken apart and split that right there is the confidence people should have and what you're about to show so let's get into it. Where were each of you in your walk with Christ when you got married in your early years of marriage where it where was God in your foundation so we both grew up going to church occasionally has been gripped Church of God. I grew up on the Methodist Church that we would tell occasionally. My parents were Christians. I believe that was a Christian that I might be in church once a month and didn't have a clue what God's word said didn't know other than to take my Bible to church with me on Sunday and listen to what the pastor had to say and and bring it back home and set it back on the shelf that's basically all I knew about God and his word. I believe in Christ believed he was real. That was the extent of it. So I is a dangerous place to be. That's where I was and said there was no life change in my life because as a kid, I simply believe as a Christian I believe that I have my ticket into heaven, and that's all I needed. And yet, go ahead and just live life as it comes at you. My husband was going to church as well, thought he was a Christian and you know his mom would take him occasionally, but we both know that 14 and 17 when we met. We are both very broken. We came from very broken homes with very broken relationships within our homes so that obviously impeded our ability to have a healthy ship, even in high school.

What would people on the outside looking at your marriage. How would they have described that marriage that your living from the outside looking in. We hit it very well and that was part of our probably some of the wars of people you think and Oprah show me what would people have said about in Mike's marriage. They thought we had the perfect marriage family had it all together. Husband started a business at 19 years old, knocking on doors selling insurance became very successful and so we had two children.

Everyone was healthy, had a nice home. Everything looked great on the outside and we got really good at hiding it, but that's what we grew up learning that you not to show your weaknesses you not to show that you're struggling will take us back to that your family of origin. Scripture talks about how the sins of the father are visited upon for generations and when you think about that. It sounds almost not understandable, but the practical application.

That is, the things we learn as children through our parents and grandparents. We take them forward. Describe how you took the sins of your fathers and mothers before you into your marriage. What was your childhood like when I was born I was the baby I was some. My parents had both had prior families before they divorced their spouses and married and then had me so I was the product of the typical at that time Modern Family to his, hers and there's an is hers and there's yeah so start out that my father accepted my two brothers my mom's two boys and the first few years. I remember mom telling me that things were really good, but by the time I came along. My dad didn't accept my brothers and said there was a lot of verbal abuse a lot of emotional abuse of just making them sit at the other table not been able to have dinner with us. My dad had lost a son is there's a lot that goes behind us and my dad's brokenness and my dad grew up the baby of nine in inner-city Charlotte with an alcoholic father that beat him things that I learned much later on in life is a matter fact didn't really learn until I started writing this book, and doing more research really in my family that usually what you find there is a history you don't propel somebody in those bad directions right came successful just simply out of a drive that he was going to make it regardless and said he was a fighter, strong personality, dealt with a lot of insecurities a lot of anger and so his first wife that he married, he lost their first son at two years old and said it was that compounded this hurt on top but they are so went he and mother married he took in her two sons as his own.

Initially, but I don't know if it was out of guilt or what the issue became. He decided that he couldn't raise another man's child right and so that attitude kind of carried itself throughout my brothers lives felt rejected absolutely rejected and they had their biological father, who love them dearly and they would go and see him but they were growing up in a home with a man who rejected them really tough.

How did that impact you. You talk about the anger did you bring anger in your marriage is a part of it. Absolutely I did I would have that manifested so well tested itself because I grew feeling isolated from my brothers and I grew up watching my brothers be disrespected, rejected and mistreated and I became very angry with my father and yet I carried that anger into my relationship but I learned to staff that anger. That's when I saw my mom do what is it look like I tend to become just out there is drunk talk about stuffing anger. I think I understand that but describe it for me more deeply what what is it look like Peter for me. It was an internal processing. So if I was ever hurt, disappointed, angry, whatever. I simply would just deal with it internally and allow it to continue to build up well thought conversation you have when somebody would roam you that anger would float what so your husband Mike said something or did something irritated you. What was the conversation you would have in your head could question the conversation. I think I would have in my head when I would be hurt or angry would simply be.

I've got to deal with this.

I've got to find a way to get through this stuff to process it and I would think to myself, you know you can do this and that got took place in my life.

At one point where I might even deny that things happened. So if Mike and I had a terrible fight or we had difficulty in our marriage.

Oh, we ran into a situation where we had hurt one another in some manner have way. I might even say you know what, I can't deal with that pain so I'm just going to deny that it happened because I want my marriage to continue if I want my family to stay together. I need to just pretend that everything's okay and just go on just put it behind me and just pretend it never happened and go on and I became really good at that. But what happens is that just continues to build up doesn't going to desire, you know inside you feel like you're building this big wall of protection and you putting those bricks up to where no heart pain.

Nothing can penetrate you and you just move forward and go forward and say you can handle anything. How many years of wall building, did you go through before God started to Terry Waldo 25 to 25 years of marriage and then what was the precipice.

What did the Lord use between you and marked us to get a hold of you to say this is unhealthy. You gotta change. And it happened to both of you the same time or was it your first remark. First, what happened to me in 2012 this kind when the dam broke and it was a out eight years prior to that been working on me since about 1999 and I talk about that them in the book carts for life. I can go back and tell that journey of where that part began and God began to woo me in as he does and as we go through difficult times we stuff those hurts and we have no one else to turn to her. We feel that we have no one else to turn to. We obviously turn to God, but what it did for me, which is a thing is drew me closer into him, drew me closer into personal relationship with him is about eight years prior to the dam breaking to that crisis moment where everything kind of fell apart. God drew me to his word. I remember in 2004 we had just moved to a new town about an hour and 1/2 away from our church and I had been really involved in our church there in Woodstock, Georgia, and have been really a lot of benefits from being involved in church. I was helpless. What is it may not be for you to be quiet now.

I think it was just it would make me feel good. So the more I would be at church the better I felt no more whole. I felt the closer to God. I felt so when we moved about two hours. About an hour and 1/2 to 2 hours away from our home church. I really question God and I said, Lord, why did you take me here. I was drawn closer to you.

I was getting fed and I remember the Lord saying to me specifically. I don't want to be fed at church I want to feed you personally and I didn't know what that meant I didn't know what it look like, but shortly after that it was within a month or two that we were living in Rome, Georgia, and we were just maybe 45 minutes from Chattanooga and I had someone tell me about preset ministries and I went to women's conference there and learned that Kay Arthur was still doing pilot studies during the week on Tuesdays and that you could go and she'd give you the workbooks to work their particular book of the Bible.

So in 2005 I started going on Tuesdays and I could not get enough and it changed my life. God began to feed me like he said he would and so I learned I could do that and that's what led me to the point in 2012. I think I got me to that point where he said you can no longer live like this, you can no longer hide your pain, your sin, your brokenness, all of the difficulties all the all the stuff all the hurt from childhood, you can't go any further with that it's time for you to come out in the open and get this dealt with white as our guest today on Focus on the Family hostess Jim Daly on John Fuller and you can find out more of Anne's story and some great encouragement in her book courage for life subtitle is Discover a life full of confidence, hope and opportunity. We got the book and a CD of our conversation today, stop by the show notes for all the bills and when you look back on that is not that long ago actually that surrender to God what you're going through and I figure many churches are great churches that are referred in this church is really through precepts so the church plays a critical function as well. Actually what I want to concert more with you and Mike and were you were was he what was his attitude seeing you move more closely into God's orbit reading the word reading the prophets we having discussions about it was Mike intrigued her was like what is happened to my wife.

I think Mike is always love the Lord. We both love the Lord. We just didn't know where we were and I can't speak for him, certainly, but what I can say what I observed was he was busy growing a business very successful business pressures he had a lot of those pressures and so while he love the Lord he would go to church with me on Sunday mornings I was growing deeper and closer to the Lord and I think it would put a little pressure on him probably made him feel a little know the right word outside.

Maybe Sam allows the work. I could understand that they in fact you went to Israel.

I think that was the trip that surrender actually occurred set that up for some and speak to the environment what your micro dealing with the phone calls you having and how God views that separation time you being in Israel think with your son with our with her oldest son. Yet, what was what have the time, so that's actually how the book courage for life starts out I start out with that crisis in Israel because I had gotten there. I think right before we left the night before I left for Israel with this trip, church trip in there about 40 other church members, we headed to Israel the night before Mike and I were in a typical argument because artist our relationship, not simply because of him, not simply because of me simply because of our brokenness and what we were doing to each other. It was a dual you and I we were both responsible for allowing our marriage deteriorate and we were arguing and we both knew that our marriage was on life support and we both knew that divorce was in our future. So as I left for Israel with my eldest son who knew very little about what was going on in our life because we've hidden it from our kids as much as we'd hidden it from everyone else left with a pastor and his wife, my son, and 40 other church members. We get to Israel and after our first day we come back that evening and as I talk about in the book. I came back Blake was on the phone with Mike and non-Blake is he intuitively would have done, and did said hey dad, you want to talk to mom and of course that puts Mike and I both on the spot, you know, we had been arguing and probably needed that break from one another but I got on the phone with Mike. Blake went back to his room to take shower and we proceeded to continue to disagree and talk about what we were going to do about the mess of our relationship and really how we were going to amicably divorce and what stop that from happening when the couples at that point.

In fact, you know, one of things John that we have this hope restored, which is in intensive marriage counseling experience for people with an 81% post to your success rate and this is one of those things that many of the people ago have actually signed the divorce papers and this is a critical point because some listening right now might be there and that they just have the conversation.

They may not be in Israel other than maybe at work, and one at home and there.

At this point were there saying okay how are you amicably in the slide as believers yes and that's not the will of God's heart for their relationship. How does a person pull back what happened in your life as an example, a witness to the others listening who might be at that same point when you know Jim, I think we often try to control our situations and I know I didn't know Mike is very strong personality and if very successful man analyzing portal like we we had no problem controlling many situations in our lives, we try to control a marriage but we knew at that point I knew at that point I could no longer control the situation had no control. I couldn't say that I couldn't do anything in my power to save it or to allow it to dissolve. Amicably, I mean had no clue what to ask you this was that in hindsight. In that moment, could you see that was a good thing or did you feel it was a bad thing that you couldn't control your marriage and of course at the moment I thought was a bad thing.

You know, I thought that I can control anything and there's a God thing. But it was a God thing. God allowed me to get to the end of myself to where I couldn't control anything anymore, so Mike and I actually ended up hanging up. I don't who wound up first cousin friendly. It wasn't a friendly, into that phone call. When I was in Israel and I remember just sitting there on the edge of my bed. Blake had an adjoining room to use evidence other ramp and I just remember breaking down completely and just begging God. I remember being facedown on the floor and similar no clue what to do. I don't know where to go where to turn.

What do help me and I think that's the sad thing sometimes we wait until it's so bad before we turn to the Lord and say God tell me what to do with so true in and for those that are experiencing desperation. That's were really what you're describing.

The Lord is there everything in the matter of recognizing it and turning toward him. You wrote a note though, I would say reading the book, your first step was the vulnerability stuff to share with somebody who was that somebody and was it during the Israel trip absolutely was said that very moment when my face was on the floor and I was asking God what to do. He immediately gave me the answer. He immediately I knew immediately what I was supposed to do.

I felt the Lord speak to my spirit and tell me to write down the reality of our situation on a piece hotel letterhead and take it to my pastor and his wife in there, they would've seniors or together couple but your description before for 15 years. We were right still great friends with them obviously but for 15 years prior to that moment we been great friends traveled internationally with them traveled many times spent vacations with them. They had no clue you while you were good managers of the pain we were really so how did you get the note to the pastor and his wife, and what would you do that took the courage affect your book courage for life is exactly the beginning where it all started describe for us. So in that moment I wrote on the front and back of this letterhead and just really just told them, where we were a marriage is on life support and I knew if I didn't deliver that letter. If I wait until the morning when we be getting back together is a great I wouldn't give it to them. I knew I would check in out so I called their hotel room and Janet my pastor's wife answered the phone dear friend of mine and I said are you in your room, and she said yeah and I said I need to bring you something I'll be right there.

So I walked out of that room with a note in my hand scared. Scared to death, and anything that at 46 years old in a 47, 48 years old. I was scared to death. I was trembling to tell someone the reality of my brokenness in my situation well for the first time. It sounds like you're doing something against your nature. Yes, now you truly are learned as a little girl what you learn as a young wife bearing and hiding in the Lord's pulling you out of the weeds saying okay take this step. Marvelous to hear how God would you into the loving wife. He gave me the courage to be able to get that note into their hands and talk about in the book I talk about that moment. As I handed that note to her in the elevator door opens up like 20 feet away and I hear the bell and then out of the elevator comes my pastor and his two grandkids that they brought on the trip with them and their holding ice cream and sing and I'm like no I just need to give you this note, and I just want to ask you to pray for Mike and I love you guys all seal tomorrow and then I was out of there still an amazing stuff occurs with the Lord used. Obviously it cracked your heart open, absolutely. That's the key thing you know, again, for people listening.

Hopefully we all go through that experience. Were we have to do something that takes us out of our comfort zone. What I mean by the comfort zones. The cover-up zone might be the vulnerability in your marriage. Were you done something you need to share with your spouse in what is amazing with that hopefully doesn't always work out that way but that vulnerability and so develop an even greater trust and a platform for that relationship to be stronger than it's ever been, and is an and it has been in it is and I was very fortunate, you know, I could have been the only person to take that step of courage in my marriage. We knew we couldn't go any further. It was literally going to be over if we didn't do something that I remember coming back to the room and in a short time after that Lang might now that I just uncovered our brokenness to two of our very best friends and we are out of time so I need to quickly hear that Mike's response three words, what would be in three words. At first he was not happy, but God worked on his heart and he is a man of courage, came forward and said let's get help. Together, let's get help through words and you have a wonderful story or powerful story word in the middle of let's continue the discussion next time and I want to talk about the steps that you offered others that can begin their healing journey in your wonderful book courage for life and will do that if you can make a gift of focus of any amount will send you Anne's book is our way of saying thank you. If you can't afford it work. We want your marriage to thrive. So get a hold of us will get it in your hands.

Others I'm sure you cover the expense of doing that of the bottom line is we're in this together on behalf of the Lord Jesus Christ to help marriages thrive in and I so appreciate you. Mike's story and how it's unfolding. Let's come back and continue the story we absolutely can't thank you for having me get a hold of us here at focus.

If you'd like a copy of Anne's book courage for life. If you can please make a generous donation as Jim said to Focus on the Family so we can continue our efforts through these broadcasts and bruise resources and hope restored the marriage intensive.

Jim noted a few minutes ago. That's an incredible opportunity. By the way for couples to see God work and rebuild the relationship. We do need your partnership to continue hope restored another outreach and so please donate. As you can call 800 K in word for or stop by the office of the world's behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team.

Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we want to help you family thrive.

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