“Just a week before the I Still Do™ event,” she said, “I used the ‘D word’ against my husband in front of our daughters.”

The “D word” is “divorce.” And that’s a word that children don’t like to hear from the lips of their parents.

“My 9-year-old broke down and cried, exclaiming ‘What’s happening?’ She could not understand where all this horrible fighting had come from. Her heart was broken—and I broke it.”

Despite the tension in their marriage—or perhaps because of it—she and her husband were among the 4,000 in attendance at I Still Do in Chicago on August 2, 2014. After a day of practical and biblical messages about commitment, reconciliation, and fulfilling your marriage vows, she felt her marriage was on a new track. “Coming here changed the course of things,” she said, “and let me see where I need to start. First with Christ.”

Anyone who follows FamilyLife knows that we often encourage couples to attend marriage events like I Still Do, the Weekend to Remember®, or The Art of Marriage® video series. But for us it’s not about filling seats.  It’s about changing marriages by changing people—showing them how to walk with God. The value of events like these is they help couples get away from their normal lives—even for a day—to focus on their relationship. The experience gives them a fresh perspective of their spouse, their vows, and their need for Christ. And with many, it gives them the courage to reconcile and recommit.

That’s what you see in the comments from an event like I Still Do in Chicago:

We were thinking of separating before this event, but a friend bought us tickets for us to attend. The event changed everything. We are now looking at making our marriage stronger.

We came in arguing our way to the event. Now, we want to keep the fire burning. This helped us to remember our promise to each other.

You did open heart surgery on my stony heart!

I have seen the man I fell in love with, the man I thought was gone. The man that I had destroyed. I realize that now. He is not gone and he won’t be “missing” ever again! I love him today and forever.

For 29 years, I have called myself a Christian, but today my head knowledge and belief finally flooded my heart. I feel free to stop striving and controlling and just love God and love people. My husband first and my kids second.

Before I Still Do I was having a hard time forgiving my husband for something that nearly ruined our marriage. Now, I’m excited for our marriage journey to begin! I’ve taken the first step towards forgiveness and feel so much closer to God. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

I was already giving up, but this event gave us hope (and hope in Christ!)

Hearing my husband say he forgives me is still overwhelming me.

Better than the day I got married!

It is good to be with others who feel the same way we do—that marriage matters. It’s like an injection infusing our veins, giving us renewed hope. Thank you and God bless you! The renewing of our vows was wonderful!

Already filed for divorce. I really don’t know yet. We just want God’s will. She said vows she said she wouldn’t say. So that is a step. Pray for us.

I cried almost every minute because the messages from speakers, actors, comedians and worship singer touched my heart. Only problem was I left Kleenex in the car!

Husband is 80, I am 72 and he has a cognitive brain disease that can lead to Alzheimer’s and today is actually our 28th anniversary. We wanted to recommit to our love for each other now and in our unknown future. Thank you!

All these comments came from evaluations at the event.  But many people also tweeted about I Still Do:

I love love love reconciliation.

Woke up this morning & realized I renewed my vows last night! God keep making me a better leader.

So what is the secret to a happy marriage or joyful relationship? The secret is one key ingredient—Jesus!

When was the last time you made a big investment in your marriage? Whether your relationship is strong, weak, or somewhere in between, one thing is true: Every marriage needs renewal and refreshment.  Perhaps it’s time for you to pull away from your daily routine and attend a marriage event.

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