In May of 2011, I made a life changing phone call. In absolute desperation, I needed a Hail Mary pass to save my marriage. My wife had informed me that she wanted out, in August of 2009. She was sick of who I had become. She was tired of my anger and bitterness. She had tolerated my abusive attitude long enough. She deserved a better life than I was giving her. She knew that my salvation was even questionable because of who I had become.
After searching for some kind of marriage retreat or intense form of counseling, I typed these words into a search engine. “God please save my marriage.” It took me to Joel and Kathy Davisson’s site, GodSaveMyMarrige.com.
Now, I hadn’t done the hours of research that some folks have done. I didn’t find all the negative garbage out there. There are a lot of loud mouth, arrogant people who have made it seem acceptable to bash them. Joel and Kathy have become easy targets for mean Christians. Mostly, men who were never serious about saving their family, mad because their pathetic attempt to stay married didn’t work out. Men who secretly want the submissive wife message to be left alone.
There’s also the small army of folks who believe differently, even though their marriage hasn’t been tested, yet. Their wives haven’t, yet, figured out that these men don’t love like Christ. Their wives haven’t been pushed as far as mine. These guys preach incessantly about what they think marriage is supposed to be, while their wives live in abuse and neglect. I hadn’t been infected with their hyper-religious witch hunting issues.
I just wanted to save my family and didn’t care what it cost or what anyone else thought.
Some of you guys are reading my stuff, desperately searching for that elusive happy marriage. Some of the ladies are reading, desperately searching for hope. Wanting to believe that a happy marriage is possible. Hanging onto the hope that their husband will listen. Hear this. If you are both honestly searching for truth, both sincerely desiring to please God in your marriage, both willing to change in whatever ways benefits your family the most… You will have it, eventually. If one of you is holding out for the marriage that benefits them the most, avoiding the scriptures that teach men to love like Christ did and rejecting truth… Well, you might get the marriage we had before.
That’s what it comes down to. How bad do you want it?
Someone explained what addiction is like, in very simple terms. If you are being held underwater, what do you want more than anything? Air. Even if it’s only been a few second, something inside of you panics at the thought you won’t have it when you need it. You freak out when you can’t have what you believe to be the most important thing.
Don’t be surprised if someone who is underwater isn’t listening while you explain your logic. They aren’t interested in the science or math explaining how long someone can survive. They just want air.
People who fail at diets, often do it because something in them panics, at the though of never having a doughnut again. People who fail in marriage often do it because something in them panics at the though of not being in control. Not being the center of attention. Not having that servant at their disposal. The similarities in a bad husband and a spoiled toddler are overwhelming. Even when facing divorce, we panic because our favorite toy is being taken away. Not because we have hurt someone so bad that they can’t live with us. Not with remorse, because of what we have become. Just more selfishness.
And, yes, I am placing the weight of the marriage on the husbands. Traditional counseling beats wives down with the submission message and tells men to be the head of their homes. It puts the men in control and reduces the wife to a servant. Then it blames her when the marriage fails. Sorry folks. That’s called a double standard. It’s hypocrisy and foolishness.
For me, it started like that. I panicked. My world was coming apart. My wife couldn’t take it anymore. I was oblivious to the fact that I had caused it all. At first, I was just a confused toddler who was about to lose that favorite toy. I was drowning and needed air. I was desperate to stop this thing from happening. I couldn’t lose my family.
After finding that website, I called the number. To my surprise, it was actually Joel who answered. Not a voicemail or an assistant. It was Joel himself. He asked a few questions, then he calmly explained why my wife wanted the divorce and what it would take to stop it. He kinda jumped on me, after I tried to argue. Everything he said made me upset. He essentially blamed me for the failed marriage. He insisted that I had to learn to be a good husband if I wanted to save my family. I broke it, I had to fix it.
My first reaction was to be upset with his logic. Blaming me for the divorce. Telling me that I didn’t understand my wife. Accusing me of initiating the divorce years earlier. Pointing out the ways I had hurt my wife. Informing me that I didn’t understand what it meant to love my wife at all. I was tempted to show off my utterly amazing, yet humble and teachable Christian faith, by screaming obscenities at him and smashing the phone.
But I didn’t. I had enough sense to shut up and listen. This guy has a great marriage. He has already been restored, and now teaches other men how to save their families. Maybe I should just listen. So I did.
It still didn’t sink in completely. I still didn’t get it it all. Somehow, I was still pretty sure she was just as much to blame. I didn’t see how hard she had worked to hold us together. I didn’t recognize that her motivation was about love and selflessness. I didn’t understand that she just wanted her family. I wanted it on my terms.
I knew we needed help. We had tried several local counselors. One of them was separated, but still teaching the same traditional stuff. One just told me whatever he had read from another book. Others just told me to pray for her to come to her senses. None had survived a seriously damaged marriage, and lived to tell about it. None could teach me to save my family from experience. Joel could. Kathy could. We needed to spend time with them.
I didn’t have the money for the trip. I couldn’t raise it. My dad knew how desperate I was. He loves my wife as much, maybe even more, than he loves me. He wanted us to stay together as bad as I did. He gave me the money for the trip. I am eternally grateful. He sponsored us and got us there.
Joel and Kathy host a five day marriage intensive in Palm Coast, Florida every month. I was expecting a typical marriage retreat. You know the type. Fun and games. Teaching time. Team building exercises. Teach the wife to pray and submit more. Teach the husband how to be nicer. Those things. Yeah. We already tried that. It didn’t work. That’s not what this is.
This is where desperate couples go to save their family. This is the Hail Mary. This is the boot camp to get your marriage ready to survive anything. This is where couples go, after the wife has reached that breaking point. She is ready for divorce. He doesn’t understand why. They need more than a band aid to fix their marriage.
I suppose any couple would benefit from it. The teachings are real. The stories are real. The miracles are real. But, the ones who go in with that desperation seem to be the ones who benefit the most. Not just to add to their immense theological library, but needing their family as bad as they would need air. This is where Christian husbands learn exactly what it means to love your wife like Christ loved the church. This is where you learn to become the man that your wife needs and desires. This is the real deal.
If you have reached the point where your wife wants a divorce, this is exactly what you need. If she cries, screams, hides or is just plain cold to you… Yeah. I am talking to you. If your marriage is anything but solid, go to an intensive.
If your marriage is perfect, consider sponsoring some couples who are struggling. Sow some seeds and save some families. For the sake of your own children and maybe others you know, we need to get folks to understand marriage. The next generation is learning about relationships from us. We need to lead and teach by example. We need to fix us, so we can help them.
Don’t see this as a sales pitch. I don’t get paid for sending people to them. I don’t really benefit in any way. I just owe it to them. I owe it to the people who read my stuff. This blog wouldn’t even exist without them. Everything that saved my family is available to you. That five day intensive made things happen that wouldn’t have, any other way. Don’t hesitate. Don’t risk losing your family. Don’t make your wife suffer or fall short of the life she deserves.
Break out the big guns and do this thing. Shoot down your own pride and save your family. Ignore the naysayers. Get over the arrogance. Think about her. Figure out what Ephesians 5:25 means. Fight for your wife. Be the man. Go to the intensive.
Here’s the link. Joel and Kathy Davisson’s five day marriage intensive.
You can contact Joel and Kathy Davisson directly at 386-206-3128