We’re inspired by love stories because of their happy endings. But, more often than not, before the “happily ever after,” fairy tale couples usually have to travel a lot of hard road.
That was certainly the case with Irene and Domingo Garcia. In fact, the beginning of their story was characterized by so much brokenness and conflict it was unlikely they could have ever had a happy ending.
Irene was 13 when she first met Domingo, a 16-year-old, street-wise tough guy who was already an alcoholic. Domingo had rejected God at age 10 and was in juvenile hall by the age of 11. When he got out, even though he wasn’t yet a teenager, he was on his own and had to support himself.
Deep in her heart, Irene knew Domingo wasn’t the kind of boy she should associate with, but she didn’t listen to the inner voice telling her to avoid him or the advice of her dad who urged her to stay away.
Soon, he was sneaking into her bedroom window at night, and by age 15, Irene was pregnant. To Domingo’s credit, he didn’t run. He told Irene, “It’ll be okay. I’m going to marry you, and I will take care of you and my baby.”
But that noble gesture was only a rare moment of character for Domingo. He began physically abusing Irene on their wedding day.
Years into their marriage, after Domingo’s continued abuse and womanizing, Irene had had enough and was looking into divorce. There was no hope for their marriage.
But when a man and a woman submit themselves to God, the impossible becomes possible.
At about the same time Irene began meeting with a Christian woman for a Bible study, Domingo got arrested for drunk driving. While in jail, he pledged his life to God if He would deliver him from alcohol and restore his family.
Against all logic, Irene believed God wanted to bring healing to her marriage even though it seemed beyond repair.
But, miraculously, God gave Irene a new husband, only He did it His way. The Lord created a new heart in Domingo and made him into a new man. He did the same for Irene. Together, they became new creatures in Christ, and He became the center of their relationship.
But their transformation doesn’t end there. They have an amazing testimony, and you’ll hear their full story on yesterday’s and today’s broadcast. Irene and Domingo joined us in our studio to share how God reached into their hearts and replaced the ugliness there with His goodness.
Before you listen to the program, if you’re a wife or a girlfriend who’s being abused, I urge you to seek out safety first and foremost. Call a friend or family member. If they’re not available, reach out to us here at Focus on the Family and let us provide whatever help we can and guide you to additional resources. The number here is 855-771-HELP (4357).
Also, as I’ve mentioned before, situations like Irene and Domingo’s are why we brought the National Institute of Marriage (NIM) under the umbrella of Focus on the Family, to provide couples with the wisdom and healing they need to rescue their marriage.
So if you’re feeling hopeless and are contemplating divorce – even if you’ve already filed the paperwork – I encourage you to reconsider. With guidance from our team of experts, God can intervene and transform your marriage in ways that may seem impossible to you right now.
Give our National Institute of Marriage a call at 1-866-875-2915 or visit online at nationalmarriage.com.
In the meantime, tune in today for the second part of the broadcast, “Allowing God to Heal My Messy Marriage,” on your local radio station. And don’t forget to listen to part one anytime online or via our free, downloadable mobile phone app.