Surprised by Redemption
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A news reporter once asked Joyce Rumsfeld how she and her husband Donald, former Secretary of Defense, kept their marriage of nearly 60 years together. She replied without hesitation, "He travels a lot." Her response might elicit a smile, but I imagine there's more truth in it than fiction. Staying together through tough times such as leading through war in Iraq, 10 relocations in 12 years, and rearing children largely alone, requires strength, commitment, and the grace of God. For some couples, like the Rumsfelds, trying circumstances actually transform their marriages to a level of good they never expected.
I remember speaking with an old friend after we'd been apart for many years due to various changes in our lives. The last I'd heard, she and her husband were on the verge of separation. But then something occurred in her life that prompted her to take one simple step before giving up. She began praying for her husband—not that he would change or be more loving or a better listener, but that God would bless him right where he was. And she asked the Lord to take away her harsh judgments about him. Over time and with the support of other praying wives, my friend's marriage was healed. Her husband didn't suddenly become someone new. He was the same man he'd always been, but she saw him differently and began to love him as he was. Some might consider this a miracle. She says, "No, it was my deal with God—to pray for my husband and to accept and be happy with whatever results the Lord gave me." She paused and smiled. "And I am."
I spoke with other women and men too, about their marriages and how God used the unlikely situations in their lives to transform their relationships. Here are their stories.
Alcoholism Led to Renewal
"Hello. I'm Heidi, a recovering alcoholic. That was my problem—our problem—right there," said Heidi. "But it has brought me closer to my husband in the last 2,912 days of sober living than ever before."
How does Heidi know this precise number? Because her husband writes on a little slip of paper the number of each new day that Heidi remains sober. She carries the paper in her pocket as a reminder to stay grateful for the day—and to live it without drinking. "Dick has done this for me since the very first day of my sobriety," she said, "when I surrendered my life back to God and stopped drinking. It is a joint effort and I am accountable to myself, to my husband, and to my God."
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