Let me start by telling you a story. Raymond was on his first marriage and only marriage. He was a bully and determined that his wife was not going to divorce him.  Now he was on the phone suggesting that if I had any influence over women and “was a man of God” as he put it, then “she needs to get her life together and understand that God had placed her in his life and he wanted it to stay that way.”  I refused to tell him if she had made an appointment.

He showed up a few hours before she did. After a short conversation, he was told that he needed an appointment. The police were called and he left the building before they arrived.

Mary was so pleasant. The heart she had was amazing. She called him during the session to inform him that she was not coming home, and had packed what she needed for a few weeks. His voice boomed as he yelled and demanded she come home right now. There was so much peace in her voice. She was shaking as she hung up the phone.

Her mom picked her up at her best friend’s house and they flew to Colorado for a few weeks.  Mary later returned to her friend’s house. She felt confident in her decision to move toward separation and divorce. Her friends and family supported her decision as Raymond never let her have time with friends or family.

Mary’s journey began a year earlier. Mary was barely sleeping, taking care of everything including details of his business that potentially were illegal. She stated she felt powerless and hopeless.

The reason this story is important here? Raymond showed up the two weeks later to “see what he could do.” The angry bully of a man cried so hard the third time we met that he openly admitted that he “didn’t know” he was that kind of man. The willingness of Raymond to see what she was experiencing was shocking to him. “I didn’t know” he stated.

Raymond, after Mary left, got drunk, was arrested and spent a week in jail. His best friend refused to bail him out. The grown children refused to talk to Raymond, and his best friend kept his distance. Raymond later admitted that he was so scared that Mary was not coming back, he begged God to show him what he needed to do to get Mary back in his life again. Raymond’s willingness to hear truth about himself too some time. He thanked me more than once for being patient with him. He also stated that “you have a way of making things make sense.”

When they both took responsibility for who they were in the relationship, the miracle happened. That was five years ago. They didn’t divorce. I see them every few months. Mary moved home after Raymond made some concessions. Raymond now attends an accountability group and journals several times a week. He reads a book a month on personal development or something about relationships. His dedication to learning has been endearing.

Marriages are two people. When they own their own behavior and practice healthy adult skills, life always changes. That is a challenge.

And that is the 6 Week Marriage Challenge.

Raymond and Mary completed the 6 Week Marriage Challenge weeks before Mary came to see me originally. In the Challenge Mary learned what a healthy relationship looked like, and began her individual coaching soon after. It was a year later when she had the strength to move out. They both encourage anyone to attend the 6 Week Marriage Challenge as it was the beginning of their change.

Marriages are a challenge.

Daniel Clark
Marriage Life and Relationship Coach