Matt Hammit was the lead singer of the Christian rock band Sanctus Real for 20 years. In the early years of the band, performing at a music festival, he noticed a beautiful girl in overalls dancing like no one was watching. The next day, at another worship event over three hours away, he saw her again.
Her name was Sarah. Raised in a Christian home, she became a “party girl” in college. When she saw Matt onstage at the music festival leading worship, she felt drawn to him and prayed, “God, I’ll quit drinking if you let me marry that guy.” They began dating and quickly fell in love.
From their first big fight – literally 20 seconds after they left their wedding reception – they realized that marriage might be more difficult than they first thought.
Two years later, Matt was still struggling to balance time at home with his touring schedule. Sarah became pregnant with their third child. At their 19-week ultrasound, the baby was diagnosed with a rare congenital heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). The left side of the baby’s heart wasn’t working. Of babies born with HLHS, 30%-50% don’t live to age five. The doctor suggested Matt and Sarah terminate the pregnancy, but they refused. They named the baby Bowen, which means “small, victorious one.”
Bowen had open heart surgery at five days old and nearly died. With Sanctus Real’s popularity continuing to rise and Bowen’s medical bills reaching half a million dollars, Matt headed out on tour again, burying his grief beneath back-to-back, forty-city arena tours. Longing for someone he could lean on, Matt developed an inappropriate relationship with the band’s new manager.
In the throes of depression, Matt lay awake at night, crying out to God. After deep struggle, Matt finally released all of his grief and anxiety to God and felt hope for the first time in a long time.
It took a lot of work to rebuild trust with Sarah. They would make progress, then something would trigger hurt feelings, and they’d have to start all over again. Yet, they stayed together and fought through their struggles, through their personality clashes and work issues, and through the challenges of a close-call affair and of raising a child with a critical illness. They fought for their relationship.
How did they do it?
Matt and Sarah Hammit are our guests on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Discovering the Secrets of a Happy Marriage” to share how difficult it was to stay together, but how leaning into Jesus’ grace and forgiveness gave them the hope to fight for their marriage, no matter what.
If you’re facing struggle in your marriage, I encourage you to contact one of our caring Christian counselors here on staff. It would be their privilege to offer you a free consultation. Call us, leave your name and number, and they’ll get back with you just as soon as possible. The number during business hours is 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).
I also want to remind you about Hope Restored. If you’re on the brink of divorce, these marriage intensives can go a long way toward facilitating healing between you and your spouse and bringing restoration to your relationship. The intensives take place in three locations: Branson, MO; Greenville, MI; and the WinShape Retreat Center in Rome, GA. The number for Hope Restored is 1-866-875-2915, or visit online.
While you’re here online, why not take a few moments to try our free Marriage Assessment online tool? It will help you quickly determine what’s working well in your relationship and identify areas where you may need some improvement.
Matt Hammitt chronicles his journey through music and his own struggles in his book Lead Me: Finding Courage to Fight for Your Marriage, Children, and Faith is available for a gift of any amount on our website. Or give us a call at 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).