I was born in New York in 1970. My hard working father owned his own business which allowed my mother to stay home and take care of my sister and me. We had a nice home just outside of New York City, but my parent’s passion was horses, and since property taxes were so high in New York, they decided to move. So in 1979 at the age of 8, I moved onto a 124 acre farm in Delaware. My father continued to work in New York during the week, coming home only on weekends. While my parents believed moving was a good idea and they did the best they could to provide for us, moving had caused significant problems in their relationship. With dad gone all week this left my mother to run the farm and do all the parenting. When my father came home they argued all the time. By the time my father semi-retired and was home during the week it as too late for their marriage. While they remained married it was cold and distant. My parents probably never imagined that their disaster of a marriage would have significant negative consequences for my sister and me. As I got older my goal was to move off the farm and far away from my family life.
I was born in Massachusetts in January, 1971. Born into a military family, we traveled often. I learned that there was no point to forming friendships because either my friend's family or my family would be called to serve somewhere else (this was before email, texting and Facetime) . Frequent moves, as well as the demands of military life also took its toll on my parents. They eventually divorced when I was in 3rd grade. When my mom remarried, she and my step-father had high hopes of creating a new family. These dreams fell short when the reality of a blended family proved to be much more challenging than what either of them imagined. We continued to move from place to place, trying to make life work, until eventually my step-father re-enlisted in the Air Force, and we moved to Delaware. I entered a brand new high school where everyone knew everyone….except me. All of these life changes left me feeling lost and empty.
We began attending the University of Delaware in 1991 where Terri and I eventually met. After dating for five years we thought the next logical step was to get married. So, in the most unromantic move ever, while stopped at a traffic light I proposed! After she recovered from the shock of my question she said “yes” and we were married in 1994. We both worked really hard and together we were able to buy our first home. We were the first couple in our group of friends to get married and to buy home. We in fact were the envy of most of our friends. We had what most of our friends and family considered the “perfect” marriage. We did things together like going on trips around the country, but also did many things apart. Terri would go on shopping trips with friends and come home with bags of antiques. I would go on cycling trips with my friends. While we hardly ever fought we did notice things were not the same, but we didn’t think there was a problem. I give people the example of termites eating away at the foundation of your home. Sure everything looks fine from the outside but then one day your house collapses and you never saw it coming. Instead of husband and wife, we were becoming more like roommates. We didn’t realize it but our marriage was slowly disintegrating.
We tried our usual fixes. Trips and expensive purchases were just not filling the void. To breathe life into our marriage, we decided what our marriage needed was a baby. It was the next “logical” step and soon after we decided to have a baby Terri became pregnant with our first child. This did breathe life into our relationship as we anxiously began to prepare our lives for the baby. Our excitement quickly turned to sorrow during the first ultrasound. We saw the baby on the monitor but found it had no heart-beat. We both were devastated. Then we did what we always did when confronted with crisis, we looked for a distraction. In this case we bought a motorcycle, and took a trip to the Bahamas.
As soon as we returned from the Bahamas we knew the band-aide solutions were not going to fix the problems our marriage was enduring. Instead of seeking help, we continued to try to find the quick fix solutions to our problems that in the moment made us feel better and ignore the crisis our marriage was facing. Nothing was helping our relationship and it quickly went into tailspin. All those years of neglecting the foundation of our relationship were now apparent. With same nonchalant attitude that I proposed to my wife with, I had that same attitude when I told her I wanted a divorce. We sold the house, I moved to Colorado and she moved to California. In the spring of 2001 we were officially divorced. Tragically when our marriage began to fail we noticed other marriages in our group of friends were failing as well. They would say things like, “If your marriage failed what hope do we have?” It was a very dark and disturbing time in our lives.
Most people would believe that this is where the story ends. Ironically this is where the story takes an interesting turn. During our time apart, we were both brought face-to-face with the life changing dilemma of is there a God or not. While our timelines, experiences and perspectives were very different the end result was not. We both became Christians and made the decision to follow Christ as our Lord and Savior. In obedience to Him, we remarried in September of 2003. We have been remarried now for over 17 years and each year gets better and better.
It has been a, long, difficult journey as we faced many challenges ahead of us. Raising a blended family (I now have a total of four children, two girls and two boys), employment and financial problems, the loss of a business and home in the recession of 2008, as well as many emotional wounds to work through were just some of the obstacles we faced. I would say that the emotional consequences of the divorce have been the most challenging of all and while it has not been an easy row to hoe, it has produced a plentiful crop. In the past it was our foundation that was falling apart. Now while the house may look somewhat weathered and worn our foundation has never been stronger. While we do our best to protect ourselves from unnecessary trials we know that when they come we can withstand any storm that may come our way.
The early years of rebuilding our marriage were the hardest. We could have used help. Unfortunately we did not get the assistance we desperately needed that would have eased our burden.
This leads me to why I decided to become an LMFT, and Terri a Christian counselor. Our is to help other couples and individuals get the help they need to have successful relationships. Having a strong relationship with Lord has made all the difference in our relationship to one another, which has made all the difference to the relationship we have with our children and our overall quality of life. We have more joy and contentment than we ever thought imaginable. We owe it all to our relationship to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our hope is that by integrating our Christian faith with what we have learned as an LMFT and lay counselor, we can help ease the burden of others who are facing trials and challenges of their own. We believe this is what we have been called to do and will continue to do until God calls us home to be with Him.