Happily Married: The Power of Obeying Christ

Now: Happily Married

Mike and Jacque have an amazing love story.  It is full of adventure, foolishness, sin and the hard work of forgiveness.  Theirs is a story that should be heard, not because their character is so ideal that we should all aspire to it.  Rather, their story needs to be heard because they chose obedience to Christ, and following his radical ways led them from a broken marriage to being happily married.

Blossoming Romance

They met in high school in Milwaukee, and similar to many stories I have heard before: she was not interested in him.  In the later years of high school Mike was playing football and Jacque was a cheerleader.  They had some good times, but Jacque made it clear she was not interested in marriage.  As their relationship grew, she changed her mind.  They decided once Mike completed basic training for the army, they would get married.

While Mike was in basic training, Jacque attend a Billy Graham rally and began her relationship with Christ.  Looking back, she realizes that she did not get grounded in the word, and if she had been grounded in her faith she should have broken it off with Mike.  When he returned they got married, and after about a year their first child arrived..

Three Hard Years

Carrying some painful baggage from his childhood – he was abandoned by his parents- his issues began to surface in their marriage.  Mike says they both had unmet expectations, and something as little as breakfast fueled their issues.  “I was smoking, drinking and acting a fool.”  Jacque says they had about 3 very hard years, Mike was verbally abusive and angry.  At some point during these rough years, Mike went outside the marriage and had an affair.

In those days, Mike said it was easy to draw Jacque into an argument.  He knew what buttons to push, and he did.  Something changed in Jacque though, she made the life-changing commitment to Christ.  This time, she was following no matter what.  She was determined to stay in the word and follow Christ.  If Mike took the car keys on a Sunday morning, she’d hop on a bus with the kids and go anyway.

Obedience Changes Everything

Now, instead of being drawn in to arguments, Jacque would say, “Mike, I love you and I’m not going to fight with you.”  While everyone around thought Jacque was crazy, she chose to stay in the marriage.  Even though people told her she had her out – his affair- she decided to forgive.

Jacque says the Lord showed her what forgiveness was: it was to love him as if he’d never sinned against her.  She says that she prayed a lot, prayer became her life support.  Prayer allowed her to walk out in faith, to keep her mouth shut at the right times, instead of walking in the flesh.

Jacque’s behavior began to change Mike’s heart not too much time passed before he came to Christ as well.  Now, their lives didn’t suddenly become perfect.  Raising children, working and living life is messy business.  Here they are though, 37 years of marriage under their belt, and you’d never guess they’d seen such dark days. “I can’t fathom the person I would be if I had left.”, Jacque says.  She brings up a point that I’d never considered, even if she had chosen to leave the marriage, the Lord still would have required her to forgive Mike.

Jacque’s Advice

I asked her how she would advise a believing spouse in a tough marriage with an unbelieving spouse.  She says, “you have to go into the word.”  Wise advice from someone who was advised by Christians to leave her husband.  Her story is a testament to the fact that you really can draw them to the Lord by your life.  Another beautiful point she makes, “ask yourself how you would want to be treated if the roles were reversed.”

Mike makes a powerful point

Mike points out that divorce rarely solves problems.  The problems that led to the brokenness still exist, and now they have to be worked out in court, in custody battles and through the lives of children that you still have to raise together for years to come.

I asked them to share resources they have found helpful, atop their list are

Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

His Needs, Her Needs: Building and Affair-Proof Marriage by Willard F. Harley, Jr.

7 Desires of Every Heart: Looking Past What Separates us to Learn What Connects Us by Mark and Debbie Laaser

4 Tips for staying Happily Married

Mike says these steps have been a great resource, ones they used heavily during the early days of their walk into restoration.

  1. Be Vulnerable: admit that you’ve been hurt.

  2. Be Honest: discover how the hurt occurred.

  3. Empty: get rid of the offense, forgive each other.

  4. Unify: come together as a team.

As I look at this list, I can see how easy it would be to just do 1 or 2 of these items and think you’ve done your due diligence, but to walk through all four of these steps honestly and humbly is where you’ll really see results.  I admit it’s easy-ish for me to be vulnerable about being hurt, but to honestly asses why something hurt me: that is not so easy.  Emptying is hard too, but without that step of forgiveness unifying is really a false attempt.  We can’t hang on to offenses and have a unified relationship.

Marriage is messy business, marriage holds up a mirror to each of us and reveals our imperfections.  Mike and Jacque’s story is such a beautiful tale of God’s redeeming love.  I’m so thankful that Jacque chose radical obedience to Christ, it transformed Mike, it restored their marriage and changed their family tree.  I’m thankful they allowed me to share their story, I pray it inspires you to seek Christ as you walk through life, and honor him in all your ways.


Mike & Jacque at their daughter’s wedding.


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