“I’m sorry: I’m a little mad,” said a man to Greg and Julie in a marriage coaching session.
Concerned, Julie asked “Why?” She found out that the man and his wife had been going to marriage counseling for eighteen years and he felt ripped off. The man responded:
“In three sessions, we’ve learned more about life, more about our marriage, and more about our faith than in all those eighteen years of counseling. I hope you don’t take offense about it, but what you have to offer is simple.”
Greg and Julie, authors of Marriage 911: How God Saved Our Marriage, share that the solution to a broken or breaking marriage is simple because God is simple. Julie says, “putting God first is the one thing everyone who comes to us needs. These couples all have different stories. They’ve all done different things. They all come from different backgrounds. And they all need the grace of God to get their marriages out of the trouble they’re in.” In Marriage 911: How God Saved Our Marriage, now available on FORMED On Demand, Greg and Julie Alexander share their story, a journey that they thought was over when they spoke with a priest to ask for a divorce. Instead, they were lovingly challenged by that priest to explore what they had simply overlooked: God’s plan for marriage. Simply put, God desires us to have happy and fulfilling marriages.
What began for Greg and Julie after that conversation with a priest was a new journey of healing to rediscover God’s beautiful plan for marriage. Throughout this journey they have learned that to truly love one another and follow God’s plan for marriage is difficult and takes hard work. More importantly they have learned that when relying on God’s grace there is always hope because He can work miracles. Currently they run an apostolate, The Alexander House, to coach couples who are struggling in their marriage. These are the three questions they ask before agreeing to meet with the couples:
Is this marriage relationship something you want, and is it something you’re willing to work on, and will you do the things we prescribe for you to do?
Do you have the faith that Jesus Christ has the ability and the power to redeem your marriage and restore it to where it needs to be?
Do you give God permission to come into your life and redeem it?
Regarding the first question Julie says, “If both husband and wife don’t say yes, then we don’t work with them. We tell them it would be a waste of our time and their time if they’re not serious in going through this.”
Many couples are serious. They still believe that buried under a story that hasn’t been the happily ever after they imagined is something worth working to save.
These couples in our parishes and communities share a similar story to Julie and Greg: they have never fully encountered God’s plan for marriage. We cannot leave them struggling and frustrated like the man who told Julie he was mad.
They may be struggling to hold onto their marriage by their own strength, but we are called to remind them there is a stronger hope even when things seem impossible. This book may well be a much-needed lifeline. As a FORMED leader, you can share Greg and Julie’s story of how their marriage was saved by our Lifeline, God, who says, “behold I am making all things new” (Rev 21:5).
Greg and Julie were our guests on the FORMED Leader Webinar Using FORMED to Strengthen Marriage.
Hear more of Greg and Julie’s story and get practical tips for how to strengthen the marriages of the couples in your parish using resources available on FORMED.