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Faith Moving Forward

with Kim and Krickitt Carpenter | August 8, 2012

Kim loved his new bride. Even if she didn't love, or even remember, him. The car wreck they were in had left her with a severe brain injury, and she no longer remembered their courtship, wedding or marriage. Kim Carpenter, along with his wife, Krickitt, tell how, and why, they remained faithful to their marriage vows even when she no longer recognized him as her husband. Hear what they did to renew the love they once had, despite their difficult circumstances.

Kim loved his new bride. Even if she didn't love, or even remember, him. The car wreck they were in had left her with a severe brain injury, and she no longer remembered their courtship, wedding or marriage. Kim Carpenter, along with his wife, Krickitt, tell how, and why, they remained faithful to their marriage vows even when she no longer recognized him as her husband. Hear what they did to renew the love they once had, despite their difficult circumstances.

Faith Moving Forward

With Kim and Krickitt Carpenter
|
August 08, 2012
| Download Transcript PDF

Bob:  When a catastrophic car accident left Krickitt Carpenter with head trauma, she lost memory of her husband, of her marriage.  She found herself not interested in being Kim Carpenter’s wife.

Kim:  I had gotten to the point where I had given up.  I remember calling my brother, my older brother, and I said, “It is over.”  I said, “It’s just not going to work.  She doesn’t want me.  She doesn’t want anything to do with me.”  I told him, “I’m going to stay with her until she’s able to take care of herself and competent enough to tell me that she didn’t want me anymore.”

Bob:  This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, August 8th.  Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.  Kim and Krickitt Carpenter join us today to help us better understand the meaning of the phrase “for better or for worse”.  Stay tuned.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today.  Thanks for joining us on the Wednesday edition. 

Over the years, we’ve talked to a lot of couples who have been through some very difficult situations in their marriage.  In fact, I’m thinking of couples we talk to at the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway.  We’ve talked to a lot of couples there who have been in very difficult situations, circumstances.  There’s been a lot of hurt. 

There’s been a loss of hope; and yet, the time those couples have spent with us at the Weekend to Remember— in many cases, God has used that time to give them, not only a fresh sense of hope about their marriage, but also to give them some practical tools they can use to build a stronger, healthier marriage relationship. 

I mention that because, this week and next week, we have a special offer for FamilyLife Today listeners.  If you sign up to attend one of our upcoming Weekend to Remember marriage getaways—if you sign up this week or next week and you identify yourself as a FamilyLife Today listener—you can take advantage of what is the lowest rate we offer throughout the year.  It’s good for a limited time only.

Register online at FamilyLifeToday.com, or call 1-800-FL-TODAY.  If you do it before next Sunday, and you let us know that you’re a FamilyLife Today listener, you will save 35 percent off the regular registration fee.  What you have to do—if you go to FamilyLifeToday.com, you can find out when one of these events is happening in a city near where you live.  You can fill out the online registration form.  As you do that, when you come to the promo code box, just remember to type in my name—type in “BOB”.  You’ll automatically qualify for this special offer. 

Or call 1-800-FL-TODAY.  We can answer any questions you might have about the Weekend to Remember.  We can get you signed up over the phone.  Just make sure you mention that you listen to FamilyLife Today;or tell them, “Bob sent me,” so that you will qualify for this offer.  Again, it’s only good this week and next week.  We need to hear from you quickly if you want to take advantage of this. 

I should mention that most of the couples who are coming to the Weekend to Remember are coming with a good marriage.  They’re coming because they want to make sure their marriage continues to be a good marriage.  They want to strengthen it and build into it; but over the years, as I said, we’ve heard a number of very compelling stories.

 

Dennis:  And this story that we’ve been looking at with Kim and Krickitt Carpenter is also compelling.  Kim, Krickitt, welcome back.

Kim:  Thanks.  Thanks again for having us.

Krickitt:  Thank you.

Dennis:  Thanks for sharing your story.  You guys are in Farmington, New Mexico.  Kim, I don’t think we’ve shared your position.  You guys have two children.  You are the Deputy CEO for San Juan County; right?

Kim:  Actually, I was just hired as the CEO of San Juan County.

Krickitt:  He’s the big wig.

Dennis:  So you’re now in charge of the entire county?

Kim:  Correct.

Dennis:   So, if I go there and the Sheriff catches me speeding—

Bob:  You better not be speeding if you go through there, because Mr. Carpenter’s not going to help you out.  [Laughter]

Kim:  Rainey, I will tell you this.  If you come through there and you get busted speeding, I will make sure you have a room at the inn on Andrea Drive.  [Laughter]

Bob:  That’s the jail.

Kim:  And I’ll come get you.

Krickitt:  That is the jail, mm hmm.

Kim:  I’ll tell them, “Hey, if that guy Dennis Rainey comes through here, I don’t care what you’ve got to arrest him under.  Just do it and send him to Andrea Drive.  I’ll come get him out.”

Dennis:  Well, you never know when I may show up.  You guys have written a book called The Vow.  It’s your story—actually, a true story that inspired a movie by the same name.  

Bob:  Yes, the movie came out Valentine’s week this year.  It’s a Hollywood-ized version.  In fact, I like to tell people that the book and your story are really more powerful than the movie because you met over the phone.  You got to know each other over the phone.  When you met, it wasn’t long after you met before the proposal, and not long after the proposal before the wedding.  Then, just a few weeks before Thanksgiving in 1993, you were in a car wreck that—well, by the grace of God, you’re still alive.

Kim:  Absolutely.

Bob:  But as a consequence of that car wreck, Krickitt, you lost 22 months of memory from your senior year in college until about four months after the accident.  It’s a blank slate for you; right?

Krickitt:  Right.  About a year-and-a-half prior to the car accident till the four months after is completely wiped out.

Bob:  And that includes meeting Kim.

Krickitt:  Mm hmm.  Dating him and marrying him.

Bob:  And—

Dennis:  —beginning your marriage to him.

Krickitt:  That’s right.  Ten weeks after our marriage, doing our marriage vows, is when the car accident happened.

Dennis:  Do you kind of think it’s interesting that that was what was erased?  I mean, it’s almost like it stopped here.  It obviously started up again when you regained your consciousness after rehab.  What are your thoughts about that?

Krickitt:  It is interesting that I lost all that memory of meeting, dating, and marrying him—like, “Maybe, Lord, I could have just lost a couple months before?”  But no, I lost a year-and-a-half.  I guess there’s a reason I was supposed to—

Dennis:  You lost all of it.

Krickitt:  Right.  And pretty much anyone I had met in that time period is wiped out.

Bob:  And so as you’ve gone through rehab and you’re starting to learn things, one of the things you learn is you’re married.  You’ve seen the wedding video.  The girl looks like you.  Your family says, “This is your husband.”  You go, “I guess it must be.”  You have no feelings for your husband, at this point.

Krickitt:  Right.  You know—it was interesting.  It was like living with a stranger because I didn’t know who he was.  I tried to step back into this life that I had been living.  I wanted to do what was right.  I wanted to do what I was supposed to be doing, but I was so confused.  I didn’t know what that was.  I even went back to the same job that I had, prior to the car accident; but I didn’t know how to do that job because it was wiped out, as well.

Dennis:  You know, usually two people get married because they’re attracted to each other.  At some level, there’s an attraction.

Krickitt:  Yes.

Dennis:  So were you attracted at that point?

Krickitt:  No, I didn’t particularly care for him much after the car accident.  Sorry, Honey!

Dennis:  You didn’t?  Because?

Krickitt:  Well, I didn’t know who he was!  Once they told me that I was married to him, I did not have any feelings for him.  I didn’t have any memory of falling in love with him.  I didn’t know anything about him!

Bob:  But he’s a nice enough guy, I mean.

Krickitt:  He was a nice guy and I figured, “You know what?  I married him before.”  I mean, I married him.  I knew I wouldn’t marry someone and give my life to someone who I didn’t love dearly and who wasn’t a remarkable individual.  In my mind, I just figured I had to get to know this guy again that I married.  I knew nothing about him; but I believed, in my heart, he must have been a fabulous guy if I married him.

Bob:  Kim, this had to be really hard.  I’m just putting myself in your place because you’re in love with her.  You still have all of the feelings and all of the memories, and she’s just not responding at all.  That’s pretty depressing.

Kim:  It was quite a ride.  Things were painful because, at some points, it was, in her dazed, dull-eye look, it was, “Hi, Honey;” but then, later on, it was, “I don’t—you go back to where you came from.  I don’t know you.”  It was just the up and down roller coaster ride.  I can remember when I sat down with Krickitt’s parents one day.  They said, “You’ve got to get your life back.  We think you should go back and coach baseball.” 

I thought, “I know, in the back of my mind, it will probably help me a little bit,” because it would take a toll every day.  Every day she had something mean to say.  You know, other times she was just—she’ll just go with it and go along.  But that part of our relationship was really, really hard.

Bob:  I hope—I don’t think Mary Ann would mind me saying this, but she’s had days when she’s been a little up and down moody-wise; right—a little hormonal; right?  There are days when I will say, “That’s probably the hormones talking;” but even when you say that—

Kim:  It still hurts.

Bob:  It does!

Kim:  It does.  It very much does.  And you know, I so looked forward to seeing Krickitt.  Every time I would arrive, when I’d been away—I didn’t want to be away—but I have to tell you, the greetings that I would receive at the airport were like hugging cardboard. There was no feeling.  She could have cared less if I left to go back to Albuquerque.  I think if she had any way to rationalize at all, she might have asked her mom, “Why are we coming here to pick him up and why are we taking him back?”

Dennis:  When you say, “...any way to rationalize at all,” are you saying, because of the mental rehab, she wasn’t able to think?

Kim:  Yes.  No, no, she couldn’t think clearly.  She had no way of rationalizing what she was going through.  Everything was just such in a disoriented state.  I used to call her every night, and she wouldn’t have much to say.  She would usually be tired.  I think one of the biggest turning points—I had gotten to the point where I had given up.  I remember calling my brother, my older brother.  I said, “It’s over.”  He said—

Dennis:  This was after how long?

Kim:  This was probably five months in.  I said, “It’s just not going to work.  She doesn’t want me.  She doesn’t want anything to do with me.”  I told him, I said, “I’m going to stay with her until she’s able to take care of herself and competent enough to tell me that she didn’t want me anymore; but until then, I will stay with her.”  I dealt with that.  It was in many ways a feeling of grieving, but one day—

Dennis:  Even now, as you’re telling the story—

Kim:  It hurts.

Dennis:  —your eyes are filling with tears because it represented the death of your marriage; right?

Kim:  It did.  She would have never married a man that would have walked.  Her soul wouldn’t have let her let that happen.  The only way it was really going to change is if she would competently look at me in the face and tell me, and I would love her enough to let her go.

But I think I get emotional, even today, because, in many ways, I think about that and I get emotional knowing that if I would have given up—because there was a time I almost took the easy road out—then God just—I know it was God that sent me the message, “Don’t do it.”  Now, I look at our little kids.  If I would have done the easy way out, they would not have had a chance at life.  Even today, they are a constant reminder to me that—they’re the blessings of our vow.

Bob:  You shared with us, that at the time of the accident, you heard that 80 plus percent of those who experience a traumatic brain injury, the marriage is over.  It ends.  You can understand.  I’m just thinking of the number of people who have said to me, “I’m in a loveless marriage.  I just can’t go on in this loveless marriage.”  That’s what you were in.

Krickitt:  Very much so.

Bob:  You probably didn’t care whether he stayed or not.

Krickitt:  Right, because I didn’t—

Bob:  You didn’t know him—

Krickitt:  I couldn’t comprehend that or understand that at the time; but you know, we made a vow, before God, “...in good times and bad, sickness, and health”.  It still boils down to the same thing.  No, I didn’t think the bad was going to come, or the sickness was going to come, especially ten weeks after we got married; but it did!  That’s what happened to us; but there was a point, early on, where I kind of felt like I was stuck in the marriage because I had made a promise to him.  I had to do what I said I would do.

Bob:  Whether you like it or not.

Krickitt:  Whether I like it or not, so—

Bob:  You don’t have to be happy about it.  You can still be miserable, and be mean to him, and all of that.  That’s what you were doing.

Krickitt:  Right.  I don’t remember those four months of my behavior during that because of the post-traumatic amnesia.  However, when I realized, “You know what?  I was going to stay in this marriage.  We can either live miserably together; or we can make it work and try to make the best of it, with what we have.”

Bob:  When did you start to become attracted to him again?

Krickitt:  Once we discovered that the memory of meeting, dating, and marrying my husband was wiped out, that’s really when our marriage began again.  I was able to somewhat look at him as my husband, and he looked at me as his wife.  Although it was still somewhat father/daughter-ish at that time, that was the reason that we decided to do a second wedding—so that he would look at me as his wife, and I would be able to view him as my husband, as the man I gave my hand to in marriage.

When the counselor suggested, “Why don’t you date again and do things together?” that is what we did.  I got to know the man that I married.  I liked what I saw in him.  I liked the qualities about him, and I began to love him.  My love grew for him—not in a fluffy, pitter-patter, falling-in-love kind of love—but just in a strong, secure—you know, a true love.

Kim:  One of the biggest things is that one day—I used to call every night.  One night, at my lowest point, I didn’t call.  The phone rang, probably about 8:30 at night.  It was her mom.  I said, “Is everything okay?”  She said, “Yes.  There’s somebody here that wants to talk to you.”  She got on the phone and she said, “Hi.  I gotta go now.  Bye.”  But that was a message from God because I knew right then, “We’re going to make it.”  She wanted to do this.  Just those little words of hope completely—I felt like I had just eaten spinach and I was Popeye.  [Laughter]  It really invigorated my—I didn’t sleep that whole night.

Krickitt:  Sorry.

Dennis:  Here’s my question for you, Krickitt.  What did he do to win your heart and your soul?

Krickitt:  I think he showed me his heart, and his kindness, and his goodness, and truly what he was made of.  He showed that to me, and expressed that to me, and reflected that with me in his actions.  He’s always been a flower-kind of guy, but he did that kind of re-courting again—flowers and asking me out.  He asked me to marry him again.  My love grew in a deep—in a deep love way.

Bob:  One of the things that we ask couples to do at the end of our Weekend to Remember marriage getaways is to stand, and to face one another, and re-up, reconfirm their marriage vows.  For many of them, it’s a lot more meaningful, at that moment, than it was the first time they said them because they understand the significance of the words they are saying.  Have you ever done a vow renewal?

Kim:  At one of your conferences.  [Laughter]

Bob:  Well, that’s a good place to do it.

Kim:  Yes.

Dennis:  In that vein, here’s the question for you, Krickitt.  Since you don’t have the memory of meeting him for the first time—and Bob has heard me ask this question numerous times to guests—but this is appropriate to ask you, “If you could only keep one memory of Kim, what memory would you keep and why?”

Krickitt:  You know, I think I would keep the memory of when we married the second time because it meant so much, at that point, that my husband—this man that I had married—had stuck by me through everything, through thick and thin.  He was there, he was committed, and he made a promise that he was willing to keep, even though I acted ridiculous because of my injuries.  But he was willing to fight to the very end, whether he liked the situation he was in or not.  He gave it his all and he was committed.  He endured and he persevered through very, very, very difficult times that most individuals would never give of themselves.

Bob:  He had “for worse”—

Krickitt:  He did.

Bob:  —not just “for better and for worse” —he had “for worse”.

Krickitt:  He did.  I mean, his situation that he was in, if you had to pick a seat to sit in, his was much more difficult than mine.  I really think the second wedding and making our vows again was just very, very special.

Kim:  She’s a gutsy girl.  I don’t know what I would have done if I wanted to try to draw back.  We tell people now, when we speak, we both had a choice.  I don’t know what I would have done in her situation.  Would I have spent my life dwelling on what I lost, or would I have the courage just to never look back?  That’s what I admire the most about her.

Dennis:  And as you guys have shared your story, this passage keeps coming back, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Kim:  Amen.

Dennis:  “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  Love is good.  Love is a commitment and love is good.

Krickitt:  Love is good.

Dennis:  I know you’ve done a lot of interviews.  Thanks for coming here and being on FamilyLife Today, and thank you for going around the country and being champions and heroes of the vow—the vow—think about it for a moment.  You are just doing your duty, but you know what?  That’s the stuff of heroes, of courageous men and women.

Bob:  I have to say, again, for those who have seen the movie, the book tells a better story, a true story, and a story that is more compelling.  We’ve got copies of Kim and Krickitt’s book in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center.  Go online at FamilyLifeToday.com for more information about how to get a copy of the book, The Vow.  Again, the website is FamilyLifeToday.com; or call, toll-free, at 1-800-FL-TODAY.  Ask how you can get a copy of Kim and Krickitt’s book, The Vow.

And when you get in touch with us, don’t forget—we have a special offer, this week and next week, for FamilyLife Today listeners.  If you’d like to attend one of our upcoming Weekend to Remember marriage getaways this fall, and you’d like to save 35 percent off the regular registration fee, we need to hear from you this week and next week.  We need to know you’re a FamilyLife Today listener.  Go to FamilyLifeToday.com for details on how you can qualify for that special offer; or call, toll-free, at 1-800-FL-TODAY and sign up for a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway. 

And then for those of you who are regular listeners to FamilyLife Today, maybe you’ve been listening for a while and, for whatever reason, you’ve just not gotten in touch with us—here’s what we’re asking you to consider doing during the month of August.  We’d like you to consider making a first-time donation to support FamilyLife Today

If you’ve never made a donation and you make a donation this month, we’d like to send you, as a thank-you gift, the DVD of the new movie, October Baby.  The DVD has not yet been released, but we have some pre-release copies.  We’d love to send you a copy as our way of saying, “Thank you for your support.”

If your donation this month is $100 or more, we’d like to say, “Thank you,” by sending you a certificate so that you and your spouse can attend a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway as our guests; or you can pass that certificate along to someone else who you know—maybe it’s one of your children or a friend—somebody else you know.  Again, this is for those of you who have never made a donation to support FamilyLife Today and you’re ready to do that this month. 

With any donation, we’ll send you a copy of the October Baby DVD.  If your donation is $100 or more, we’ll send you a certificate for a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway.  We just want to say, “Thanks,” in advance, for your support.  We appreciate you listening, and we’re glad that you’ve gotten in touch with us.

Now, tomorrow, we want to encourage you to be back with us.  We’re going to hear a powerful message about the importance of the legacy you leave.  We’ll hear a message from Dr. Crawford Loritts tomorrow.  I hope you can be with us for that.

I want to thank our engineer today—his name is Keith Lynch—and our entire broadcast production team.  On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine.  We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas. 

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