Without the help of Strong Marriages, we would be divorced and forgiveness would not be on our hearts.
The honeymoon didn’t last long for these newlyweds.
Like many young couples do today, Matt and Amber met and married within a month. The emotional highs and lows associated with the early months of their marriage seemed like a roller coaster ride at Six Flags. While they wouldn’t recommend most of their experiences to other couples, they would recommend marriage mentoring. According to them, that’s the main reason they are married today.
Between the pressures of a looming military deployment and family medical issues, the young couple felt they needed to marry as quickly as possible. So they exchanged their vows before a justice of the peace. Then, when the opportunity arose, they attended pre-marriage classes at their church. This helped prepare them a little for what lay ahead, but frankly they were in the “Sunshine and Rainbows” stage of marriage, where things like not changing the TP roll and “forgetting” to fold and put away the laundry were cute and easily overlooked.
It was Matt’s parents who suggested they get involved with mentoring, especially since they had known each other for only six months before his deployment to Afghanistan. Within a few short weeks, Matt and Amber were paired with a mentor couple that had eloped at a very young age. They helped Matt and Amber handle things like the frustrations their families felt over not being present at the wedding and how to argue more fairly. Their mentors also helped them realize the importance of doing their finances God’s way.
During Matt’s deployment a series of events took place that, by the world’s standards, should have ended their marriage. Amber confessed that she began spending lots of money, which soon led to her falling into a depression. She quit her job and stopped talking to friends. Even worse, she withdrew and stopped relying on family. Matt and Amber found themselves constantly arguing via Skype and Google chat, so they eventually decided to stop talking altogether. Amber put it this way, “I needed time away from communicating with Matt so I could focus on communicating with God.”
She went on to say, “Add deployment to the immaturity of two young selfish people and divorce seems to be the only option. Our families were torn apart over all that was going on. But our mentors prayed for us the whole time and eventually set up a software/accountability system that made a huge difference.” In the process, Amber’s mentor called and checked up on her two to three times per week.
When Matt returned they started over with marriage and with mentoring. They learned that a strong foundation built on Christ would make it possible for their marriage to weather every storm, no matter how bad things get. Their mentors challenged them to find one Scripture that they both would hold onto when things got really tough or they felt discouraged. They thought about the challenge separately and through God’s amazing love, came up with the same verse!
For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Strong Marriages helped Matt and Amber discover the importance of having someone walk along side them in both good and bad times. As their mentors put it, “you are a work in progress until you walk through the gates of heaven.” Marriage mentors are authentic. They share stories about overcoming their own struggles and how they learned to bring joy back into a marriage. Matt and Amber even commented that during one of their mentoring sessions, they found themselves laughing together for the first time in a year. Through a willingness to learn and hard work, now Matt and Amber look for opportunities to surprise each other with a kind word, a thoughtful gift, a sweet act of service, or a 60-second hug.
Matt and Amber summed up their story in these words, “Without the help of Strong Marriages, we would be divorced and forgiveness would not be on our hearts.”
Because of the caring hearts of parents, a mentor couple willing to share their life experiences and a ministry dedicated to building godly strong marriages for generations, Matt and Amber’s two beautiful daughters are experiencing life with dad and mom as a family. All of this is made possible because people invest financially in Strong Marriages. Would you help minister to many more couples like Matt and Amber ? Your financial investment enables us to continue providing marriage and mentoring resources to our partnering organizations at a discounted rate.