We kept on “keeping on” until we just couldn’t anymore.

Our 28th wedding anniversary was anything but happy. The challenges of married life crept up on us and clouded over all of the romantic feelings we once felt. Mark felt discontent more than I did, but I definitely felt the distance in our relationship.

That distance grew into a deep valley of despair, disillusionment, and ultimately, infidelity and Mark’s decision to pursue divorce. Things were dark and many days felt hopeless. It was that way for a year. A very long year.

If you’re in a dark place in your marriage, we understand. If you know someone who’s in a dark place in their marriage, they need to know they’re not alone.

When Mark recommitted to our marriage, I found that the first step to coming back from the valley was to recognize that I was responsible, with God’s help, for climbing out of it. Realizing you’re responsible for the climb out may be tough to hear because the slide into the valley is a lot easier than the climb out of it.

But, once you accept that this is the work that needs to be done, you can move forward from the stress of ignoring what you know needs to happen. This frees up your mind, giving it space to figure out how to begin to address the problems. 

And the answer for how to fix the problem, to start the climb out of the valley, is love. Of course that sounds simple, but love really is the answer.

The Power of Love

Want to take a baby step in the right direction? Take some time to read 1 Corinthians 13 and begin to apply the lessons of those verses to your marriage. Let me give you an example. Verse 4 starts, “Love is patient, love is kind.”

What could you do to be more patient and kind with your spouse, even when they are being annoying or frustrating?

These kinds of honest reflections are how we began to really love each other again and started taking steps out of the valley.

Mark and I sought out help while we were in the valley. In fact, we went to “school” on marriage and ultimately found the healing we needed–reading books and seeking counseling led to some long overdue conversations. We also found that when you’re in a valley, there is value in stepping away from everyday life and focusing solely on your marriage. This is when intentionality and investment is most crucial.

So, out of our own marriage pain, our healing work, and the hundreds of requests we receive from couples looking for help for their marriage, we committed to offering hope and help to other couples in a way we wished we’d had when we were in the valley.

That’s how our “Hope Renewed” Intensive Retreat was created.

It works like this…

You come to our home in Normal, IL for a powerful three-day retreat where you share your story with us. We only host one couple each weekend so you get our full attention. 

From there, we design a weekend that is unique to you & your marriage – one that focuses on collaboration, communication, healing, and resolving the problems you deal with everyday in your relationship.

When you leave, we continue working with you in a proven aftercare program to keep helping you create the marriage you long for. We know that continued coaching is key for breaking out of old relating patterns and establishing new ones that will help your marriage go the distance. 

This focused time away and it’s five-month follow-up coaching is the most powerful way we can help move a marriage from hurtful to hopeful. It’s the fastest way out of the valley.

If marriage is hard, let us help you with the climb.

If marriage isn’t hard for you, but you know someone who’s in crisis, maybe you could let them know there’s help available to move them out of the valley they’re in.

And if you’re in a good place and want to stay there, we also have couples do our Hope Renewed Intensive Retreat to invest in their marriage, uncover unknown landmines, and strengthen the good place they’re in.

Click here for all the “Hope Renewed” Intensive Retreat details.

In the meantime, how can we pray for you or someone you know?

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