“God wants to use you to make a difference in the world. He wants to work through you. What matters is not the duration of your life, but the donation of it. Not how long you lived, but how you lived.” –Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life
Did you know God has a unique purpose for you as a couple to make a difference in the world for Him? He wants to use ordinary couples to do extraordinary things.
As a couple, you can choose to live a comfortable life or you can choose to seek a life that offers hope, brings change, heals, encourages, empowers, teaches, comforts, and more. It doesn’t matter what you do, what matters is your faithfulness to follow God’s call upon your life and to make the most of the gifts and opportunities He gives you.
You may think, “We are too broken for God to use us for anything significant!” But this isn’t how God sees you or your relationship. God wants to use all things for good in our lives if we allow Him! That includes our mistakes and our failures.
God Redeems Our Broken Lives
You were created in His image, for a purpose, and that never changes. It may be you, both as an individual and a couple, are in need of healing from whatever is hurting your marriage, but God still has a special purpose for you both. He might actually be creating His purpose in you through your circumstances, and He is just waiting for you to be ready to fulfill that purpose!
Sometimes God creates His purpose for us literally out of the ashes of our lives! When we allow God to redeem our broken lives, our story can give hope to others who are struggling and still in the midst of that brokenness. Psalm 30:11-12 says, “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with you, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord, my God, I will give you thanks forever.” These verses came alive for me during a time when–due to painful circumstances I could not control–my life as I had always known it was gone.
Although we didn’t know each other at the time, my husband, Dave, experienced the same loss and had no idea of the future God had in mind for him. Neither of us imagined how God would redeem our individual lives and use that very devastation to eventually give us purpose as a couple.
Related: Hope After Porn–”Grasping for Air, Hungry for Grace”
When we look at the gifted couples who lead with us in our ministry called The Significant Marriage, we are in awe of the healing and redemption that took place in the lives of two of our couples whose marriages were saved through attending “A New Beginning.” One of those couples is Pamela and Larry; they work with The Significant Marriage in the Santa Barbara area and want you to hear their story because they know God gave them a miracle and to “speak” of it continues to make its power a reality.
New Beginnings Are Possible
After years of marriage, things began to crumble for them. As Larry says, “We knew God had put us together from the start. We did not know what kind of ministry He had planned for us. We anticipated He would utilize our current most predominant talents, but little did we know that His plan was for us to minister out of the most painful part of our yet to be experienced challenges.”
Thirteen years into their marriage, Larry had an affair which led him to leave Pamela, and they were separated for three years. Pamela never felt released from the marriage during this time, even though she knew she had Scriptural grounds to get a divorce, so she waited and prayed. One day right before their divorce would be final, Pamela told Larry she believed God wanted them to give their marriage one last chance to heal. She had just heard about “A New Beginning,” a turn-around weekend seminar for couples in crisis hosted by Family Dynamics Institute. The very next Friday, they sat in a room with 12 other couples in Sacramento, California, and we led them through the seminar.
Throughout the weekend, God changed Larry’s heart toward Pamela and gave him strength to “do the right thing” for his marriage. Larry chose to repent, and Pamela chose to forgive–both of which were difficult. They were ready to move on and see what God could do with them. In their words, “The loss we shared in our time apart was both devastating and a teaching tool of the Holy Spirit. As painful as it was to go through, our marriage is now so much stronger and remains vibrant as a result of having gone through the loss and then watching the Lord build from the ashes of failure a brilliant gem hardened by the fire.”
We remained in close contact with Pamela and Larry, mentoring them as they healed and diligently sought God’s plan for their marriage. With incredible joy we have watched them reclaim God’s purpose for them. As Larry says,
“God miraculously restored our marriage. As a result of this, we developed a passion to share with desperate couples the hope that God truly can restore any marriage no matter how hopeless it appears. There is no question God put us together for His purposes to be fulfilled in and through us. We kept searching for a way to minister together before the ‘fire,’ but nothing seemed to quite fit. I think we were still too selfish as individuals to work well as a team.
The experience of being apart and having lost all we were had a profound effect on both of us. Before the fire, we had thought Pam’s role was to support my public ministry. The experience of the fire taught us we were to minister together. His purpose for us was not that I would shine at her expense or she shine at my expense. The only way we were to shine was to combine our lights. Our collaborative efforts as a working couple have become so much more fruitful for the Lord than either of us ever were alone. We continue to grow together and understand more and more what ‘one flesh’ truly means–collaborative synergy. As Dynamic Marriage facilitators for Family Dynamics Institute, we have conducted many classes and watched as God’s mercy and grace restore and bless marriage after marriage. With The Significant Marriage, we have the opportunity to encourage couples that God wants to use their story to change lives! This truly has become our passion.”
No matter what your story is or what challenges you face right now as a couple, have the courage to do whatever it takes to be free to pursue the passions and vision God lays upon your hearts. He may even want to use your story to encourage others. God has a unique and special purpose for you, and He longs to see that purpose fulfilled through you!
Mary Gothi is the co-founder and director of The Significant Marriage. Mary is a psychotherapist with graduate degrees in counseling and clinical psychology. She has been counseling and teaching couples and families since 1978. She and her husband, Dave, have mentored couples and led marriage seminars and workshops across the US and overseas, including a workshop for couples in crisis through Family Dynamics Institute.
The above blog is an excerpt from the soon-to-be-published Living The Significant Marriage: Ordinary Couples Allowing God to do Extraordinary Things Through Them to Make a Difference in the World.
The articles here are great…….but you all should do a forum section that let’s people talk to each OTHER about our day to day struggles and that let’s us comment right away. I really don’t think the blog part is going to attract much. I was on one forum section that had 50K members but I was kicked off for being a Christian. I really wish ya’ll would consider such thing. I’ve been a moderator for a Christian forum but then the trolls took over and I left. I would be willing to help. I have used your product for almost 2 years but my husband STILL finds ways to do porn like other phones. We separated in the home for over a year and he’s had four relapses.
I really could use a forum where I could connect daily with other women who’ve been through this. I’ve been told at Celebrate Recovery by sex addict themselves and by my sponsor that the odds aren’t in my favor even with PB software. Porn is such a powerful drug. I have an introvert husband who won’t even communicate with me.
He didn’t even do anything to make me feel special for our 20th anniversary in May. Sure, we’re going away this weekend but it was MY idea. He has sexual and emotional anorexia and we still fight. I think our marriage at this point might be over. My oldest has a severe eating disorder b/c of his addiction and the fighting it caused. My youngest two teens don’t really have a relationship with him.
He doesn’t seem repentant and humble. He doesn’t go to Celebrate Recovery like he’s supposed to and get a sponsor. I frankly want a divorce.
I want my life back. I’ve decided to Let of him and his addiction and work on myself whether our marriage makes it or not.
But most women in my CR group are divorced b/c of porn. Sure some marriages make it, but not many.
Hi Anne, I agree a forum would be great. Maybe you and your CE friends could start one–I bet it would grow like crazy!
I’m sorry to hear that your husband is still having trouble connecting with you. I think men are socialized to be disconnected from their own emotions, which is why porn fills such a powerful place in their lives. It’s not just physical; it’s a way to escape emotional pain as well. And when they are disconnected from their own emotions, they won’t be able to connect with yours, either.
I’ve found John Gottman’s research on marriage and relationships to be so helpful. He’s all about what works, and of course it’s about much more than “not looking at porn.” The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work is a great read. And here’s an article about emotional trust that I wrote a while back, also based on Gottman’s ideas. Of course none of that good info can make your husband change, but it might help you as you think about what’s really necessary for life in a relationship. And I’ve found it’s really helpful to have good, solid research that helps express what’s missing in a marriage that isn’t working. If change it going to come, it’s good to know what’s wrong and where to go to work, if that’s an option.
Peace to you, Kay