Brad and Cindy* had been married for less than three years, but something was very wrong with their relationship. Brad had not been himself and Cindy suspected that he was involved with another woman.
They appeared to be headed for divorce. But after some relatives learned about the Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway, they challenged Brad and Cindy to attend. “Will you please just give this weekend a chance and then make your decision?” they asked. “What’s three days when what you’re about to do will change your whole life?” They even offered to take care of Brad and Cindy’s young daughter, Chloe.
Brad and Cindy (who asked to remain anonymous for this interview) reluctantly agreed.
Cindy: When Brad and I went to our first Weekend to Remember, we arrived in separate cars. I don’t remember who the speakers were, but I recall one of them saying there had been a time when he prayed his wife would die. “And then,” he said, “she almost hemorrhaged to death when she delivered our third baby, and I found myself on the floor praying that God would save her life.” I will never forget that because I was at the place where I didn’t want to divorce Brad, but I wanted him to die. As I heard that man share, I had a glimmer of hope. Could God do something like that for me?
Brad: At the time I was involved in an adulterous affair. I didn’t want to give that up. I went to the conference to appease Cindy. It was just one last thing to do before I left her. I had no intention of getting anything out of it. As the speakers shared, God began to deal with me and I felt a lot of pressure. I didn’t want to hear what God was saying. I wanted my own way. When the speaker asked us to write a love letter to our spouse, I just couldn’t do it. My plan was to eventually marry another woman. When Cindy read her love letter to me, I felt so bad. How could she love me? I didn’t love her. All I could say was, “I don’t think that I can make this work. I want a divorce.”
Cindy: God had so prepared my heart for those words. He had been teaching me for months how to love my husband unconditionally. He reminded me during the Weekend to Remember that He was using me to teach Brad that the cross is about unconditional forgiveness.
I came from a divorced home and I was raised by my dad. I remember thinking, I do not want Chloe to grow up in a home where she doesn’t have a mother and a daddy. I would just rock her at night and say, “God, I’m praying this for Chloe. Put Brad and me back together for her.”
Brad: My heart had become cold to God’s ways. But because they used humor throughout the conference, I had to try harder and harder to fight against what the speakers were saying. On the last day, the speaker asked his dad to stand up. As I watched this man honor his father, it just got to me. I thought of my daughter, who was a little over a year old at the time. Tears came to my eyes. I realized what I was doing to her and just couldn’t stay at the conference any longer. I had to get away. So I left the conference. I wanted to get as far away from it as I could. I was not ready to do life God’s way.
Cindy: Brad was already at the house when I arrived there with Chloe. He seemed unchanged by the conference.
An older lady had been mentoring me through this whole thing. Her advice was, “Do not seek out what is going on right now. God knows, and just try to allow God to give you as much information as He knows you can handle.” Instead of praying that Brad would fall back in love with me, I started praying that he would fall in love with God. Then I started praying for myself—that I would have hope.
Brad: Things continued to be tense between Cindy and me … and between me and God. It had gotten to a point where God kind of put me in a corner and said, “You’ve got to choose.” About three weeks after the conference, I made my choice. While Cindy and Chloe were at church one Sunday, I packed my things. I left Cindy a note and said that I would not be back.
As I walked out of the house that morning, I thought my decision would give me peace. Instead, within hours God showed me the path that I was going down. It was as though He said, “Okay, this is what you’re going to give up, and it’s not all going to be roses. Leaving Cindy and Chloe isn’t going to be everything you think it will be.” That Sunday night I just knew I couldn’t go through with the divorce.
Cindy: On Monday morning I walked outside and Brad was standing there. He said, “Can we talk?”
“I really have nothing to talk to you about,” I said.
“I just need to talk with you.” So we went into the bedroom and sat down on the floor.
“Can we pray?” he said. I was so shocked.
“Oh, God, just help me trust You,” Brad said. Then he started bawling and told me everything—how the affair started, and what they had planned. He said he wanted his family back and how sorry he was. I didn’t say a lot because I knew he was hurting so much. My mind was on him. I had been in that place before—I had rebelled and had been in sin and realized, “I want God back in my life.” I told him he couldn’t go back to work, because the affair was with a woman from work.
“I know,” he said. “I’ve already called my boss and said I want to quit.”
Brad: Cindy loved me through this, and showed me how much God loves me. Because she could forgive me, I knew that God could forgive me. After I confessed to Cindy, I talked with my mom. She gave me the name of an assistant pastor at her church, and I met with him that day. He counseled with Cindy and me for several weeks and gave us some good guidelines.
Cindy and I joined the church where I had grown up. We immersed ourselves in the Bible and prayer, and we also fasted. I got around a few older men at church who were really on fire for God. I shared with them what Cindy and I had gone through and started praying with them. Over the next year, I began to win Cindy’s love and trust back. We reconnected spiritually. I learned to appreciate her again.
Cindy: About a year after Brad and I reconciled, we went to another Weekend to Remember conference. We wanted to go back and listen and make a commitment to apply the material to our marriage.
Brad: Cindy and I have now attended four conferences. There’s a part where you look at each other and say, “You’re not my enemy.” At that first conference I couldn’t say it because Cindy was my enemy. This year we looked at each other and said, “You’re not my enemy.” It’s amazing how far we’ve come in six years.
I love everything about the conference. In fact, Cindy and I have been group coordinators for the past two years and have brought about 30 people with us. I think everybody we have brought has literally come back and told us, “Thank you for inviting us.”
Cindy: When we first came to the conference, we were struggling in our marriage and God used it as a tool to bring us back together. We want to see other couples benefit from it as well.
At our first Weekend to Remember, a couple stood up and said, “We came with divorce papers at our first conference and were holding hands at the next one.” I thought, Is that possible? Could that really happen to us? And it did.
*Brad and Cindy are not the real names of this couple.