Traditional marriage vows say, “For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health.”
When Jean and I got married, we assumed that life would mostly be “better, richer, and healthier.” While life with each other has been wonderful, we’ve encountered challenges along the way.
That should come as no surprise. Every marriage passes through some kind of relational storm: in-law issues, financial conflict, baggage from the past. The possibilities are endless.
Which means how a couple chooses to navigate those difficulties reveals a lot about the long-term stability of their marriage. Tragically, too many couples give up when a storm sweeps in. They’d rather walk away from each other instead of fighting to save their relationship.
That’s why I’ve invited Jeff and Sarah Walton to join us on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Staying Married Through the Storms of Life.” They have a remarkable story about how God’s grace is empowering them to remain committed to each other through heart-breaking troubles that have nearly overwhelmed their marriage and family.
Over the 20 years since the Waltons first married, they have endured plenty of “worse,” “poorer,” and “sickness”:
- Jeff and Sarah’s son, Ben, was hospitalized with a severe fever when he was 7 weeks old. Over time this developed into life-altering neurological challenges that left the Waltons with large bills and a stressful home life.
- Sarah suffers from a degenerative ankle injury that has required 5 surgeries and left her immobile for months at a time, leaving her feeling stress, guilt, and bitterness.
- In 2015, a group of doctors connected Sarah’s many symptoms to untreated Lyme disease.
- Jeff’s 24/7 on-call job created a huge strain at home, often leaving Sarah alone with their special needs son and other young children. After 9 years, Jeff left that job and lost nearly half of his income. Jeff has struggled with unemployment off and on ever since.
When a married couple has no guarantee that circumstances will improve, they face the ultimate test: choosing to close off from each other or lean into His grace for the strength to love each other beyond human capability.
The Waltons have found new life in Him, and I know you’ll be challenged and inspired by their story. Listen on your local radio station, online, on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or take us with you on our free phone app.
Their book Together Through the Storms: Biblical Encouragement for Your Marriage When Life Hurts is available for a gift of any amount. For more information, visit our website.
Before I close, I 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.