The Divorce Which Saved a Marriage
By Audra Smith Haney
The 700 Club
CBN.com - Herman and April Moncrief were high school sweethearts. After ten years of dating, they said, ‘I do.’ Both were Christians and had high expectations for their marriage.
April was living the dream. “Our dating life was such a fairy tale. I thought it was going to be this beautiful 50 year event.”
Herman says early on, the marriage was great. “The first, I would say four or five years, man, it was just like it was still like we were on courtship, we were still dating.”
Five years into their marriage, April was ready for kids. But Herman was reluctant. When they did get pregnant, they were shocked to find out they were having twins.
April had an appointment with her doctor. “And I remember the doctor saying, ‘I see two heartbeats.’ And normally people would be excited. And I was, but I called him at work to tell him and it was silent over – he was totally silent. ‘Cause we're planners. It really just threw us for a loop. We planned the pregnancy, but we didn't plan two babies.”
Their children Asia and Bryce were born in March of 2005. Immediately, the pressure of being new parents created tension.
April saw a change. “I was momma. He was daddy. Those were our roles; not wife, not husband.
“We kinda forgot about each other,” Herman says. “And so we just focused on the children.”
Herman found his escape through work. “Usually if things are not going right or if I just want to get away, you know, there was always something to do, so I'd just go to work. And in those days I was probably working seven days. You know, so I'd work Saturdays. I'd work Sunday afternoons.”
Resentful of Herman’s work schedule, April lashed out verbally and fought for control in the marriage. “As soon as he hit the door I was like, ‘Get a baby. I'm tired. I need help. I need this.’ I wouldn't let him rest. He couldn't relax. So, our household at the time was really just - it was like walking on eggshells for both of us.”
Herman continues, “We were not talking or we were bickering. It was like those two extremes. That was really it. At a certain point I became one of those guys that was really numb, so whatever you say it didn't matter. Most of the time I wasn’t even listening.”
April repeatedly threatened Herman with divorce. “But I think part of me probably did want the divorce, but I didn't. And in my heart of hearts, I didn't. I kinda wanted him to scare him into, you know, the ultimatum. After the fiftieth time, I was just really trying to get his attention.”
Herman eventually reached his breaking point.“You know, consistently, you know, twice a week, three times a week, you know, ‘I want a divorce, I want out. I'm tired. I want a divorce.’ I was just to the point where, you know, ‘Hey, this is what you want? This is what I'm going to give you.’”
April had a new problem. “Not for one second I didn't think that we would end up divorced. I should have, but not for one second did I think so. When he said, ‘Okay, I'll give you what you want. I'm done.’ The pride in me was like, ‘Fine.’ But inside I was screaming like, ‘Noooo, I don't want this.’"
Herman knew he should have asked God. “I didn't take the time to really pray about it. I didn't take the time to, consult God and understand what's His role in this whole situation. And I was just like, ‘Nope, I'm not doing any counseling. I'm not talking to anybody. I'm just signing.’"
In 2006, the divorce was final. Reality hit for Herman when April moved two hours away to be closer to family. “That's when I felt a huge sense of loss. When you're basically in a place of solitude and you've got a lot of time to think, and there’s no one around but you, you have a lot of time to think and you had a lot of time to pray and then you get a level of clarity I think that's unmatched.”
April was in anguish. “I remember specifically stuffing covers or sheets underneath their door because I would go into my room and cry so loud. I cried in that house probably for the first month.”
Herman drove to see the children almost every weekend and during his visits, Herman and April spent time alone again. April was more settled. “The kids were away, I knew they were safe. They were with my parents. I didn't worry about them, so now I could focus on this, and he could focus on me. And so we started to kinda rekindle the magic that was – that was gone when the babies came out.”
Herman says, “I don’t think I ever stopped loving her. I can say that honestly. So that's when I really said, ‘Okay, Lord, what do You want? What do You – what do I need to do here? What do You want me to do?’"
After almost nine months, Herman and April decided to give their marriage a second chance. They saw a Christian counselor and prayed together regularly.
“It was a tough road back,” says Herman. “ecause we both had to basically humble ourselves. It was very candid. It was very open. It was very healing.”
Herman and April completed their counseling just a month before their original anniversary date. So, on October 6, 2007 they remarried.
April has a message. “But I will tell people that second time was just the most magnificent thing ever because God was truly there. Like Jesus was – I felt it. We felt it.”
Herman describes it. “To stand up there and be able to, you know, once again recite your vows in front of – in front of the Lord and in front of the people that we care the most about. It was a moving experience to go from such a dark place to such a place of joy and jubilation.”
Today, the Moncrieffs want other couples to know the hope they found in their darkest hour. April says, “Like you can't go through what we've been through and not acknowledge Him, that He healed and restored. Jesus did a miraculous thing for us and He can do it for anybody.
Herman offers this encouragement: “Stop trying to change it yourself. I would say, ‘Have some faith in Jesus Christ. Take the time to commune with Him. Take the time to commune together in Christ with your mate and pray, and pray without ceasing. He will move it. He will change it. I mean, if you believe and you have faith, He will.”
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