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Couple Finds No Freedom After Divorce

Four years into their marriage, Chris turned his back on God and his marriage to Stephanie. After their divorce, Stephanie continued to pray for him and their reconciliation. Read Transcript


I saw this cute boy in the corner playing guitar

and thought I'd like to get to know him.

NARRATOR: Chris and Stephanie, both Christians, met at church

and got to know each other on a youth missions trip.

We just quickly developed a really deep friendship

on that trip.

I think even three months in we were saying, I love you,

and talking about marriage.

NARRATOR: They married at 19 and 20 when they were in college,

but soon realized they had different ideas about marriage.

There were things that were going

on in my life at the same time that

really began to drive a wedge between Stephanie and I.

I came into our marriage with expectations of what

he was going to be like.

He was going to be home with me at dinner every night

and we would go out and do everything together.

I would sometimes not come home

till 2:00, 3:00 in the morning.

I started getting into drugs, and the parties, and alcohol,

and that whole life.

It affected the intimacy of our marriage.

I didn't feel-- there were times when I didn't feel emotionally

safe, I guess you could say.

NARRATOR: The alcohol and drug use continued,

but Chris had a deeper problem.

I never could pull myself to say I do not

believe that God exists.

It was always very deep questioning and maybe agnostic.

NARRATOR: As Chris drifted farther away

from Stephanie and his faith, he began

to have serious questions about God.

It began to seep down into my faith

and shook my belief if God was real at all.

I felt a lot of shame about that.

And so I think that the drugs were a way to self-medicate.

I had seen all through my life ways

that God had shown up and provided.

And so doubt was not something that I

was dealing with at the same time as he was.

NARRATOR: Chris was still leading worship

at their church, because he felt spiritually accountable

to the church and to his wife.

I felt afraid of what people would

think if they knew the truth.

I pushed God away because I didn't want the accountability.

I knew that what I was doing deep down was wrong,

but I needed the accountability to go away.

STEPHANIE (VOICEOVER): It would get heated

and it was never hey, let's look for a win-win together.

It was always-- there was always a win-lose.

NARRATOR: Four years after their wedding,

Chris filed for divorce.

CHRIS (VOICEOVER): I just sat her down

and I said, I don't believe in God anymore

and I don't want to be married anymore.

STEPHANIE (VOICEOVER): In that moment my life

as I knew it was completely ripped out from under me.

CHRIS (VOICEOVER): Divorce meant freedom and divorce

meant no more accountability.

STEPHANIE (VOICEOVER): I find so much security

in being able to be in control of my situations

and in those moments, that moment that it took him to say

he didn't want to be married anymore,

it was forced violently out of my hands.

NARRATOR: A month later, Stephanie

went on a women's retreat with a group from her church.

STEPHANIE (VOICEOVER): The theme was about finding joy

in the trials.

And so I was such a sponge for all the biblical passages

of ways that God is close to the brokenhearted and man, that

was such a breath of fresh air for me.

I was able to see, and read, and believe

the truth that it was worth it.

That God was doing something, that he was still there,

even though I'm in the midst of the most

painful period of my life.

NARRATOR: Meanwhile Stephanie, her friends, her church,

and Chris's mother were all praying for him as he

explored his new found freedom.

My prayers were obviously for restoration of our marriage,

but even more so his faith was in question and that's huge.

Even if our relationship was never restored again,

I wanted him to come back to the Lord.

I built walls around my own life

and created this wall of sin, and it all just caved in.

NARRATOR: Stephanie began to realize her own need

for change.

God showed me the sin.

It may not have been as outward as Chris's, but I

had sin that was just as ugly in my heart

that I brought into our marriage.

It was that pride.

It was the self-righteousness, I think the need

to control my life, his life.

These things that are just as sinful and ugly.

My rock-bottom was finally God I feel like pulling blinders

off of me to wake up in the morning and not see a brave man

who left it all.

But he showed me a terrified, selfish, scared boy.

God didn't find me through intellectual arguments,

he found me through my heart.

When I was at the end of myself, I began talking to God

and praying to Him again.

NARRATOR: Stephanie's prayers were answered when Chris

rededicated his life to Christ.

You can't unwind years of doubt overnight,

but through my pride being stripped away

I was able to see God more clearly

for the first time in my life.

STEPHANIE (VOICEOVER): And to see this authenticity

and transparency that I hadn't seen

and just a humble spirit, truly humble spirit.

And it got around to the whole well,

God's telling me that we should be together again.

And my response was not OK.

It was definitely not my first response.

As happy as I was to see him in the place he was in,

I needed the Lord to tell me that this

is what he wanted for us.

NARRATOR: A year after the divorce was final,

Chris asked Stephanie to marry him again.

She forgave him and they went through pastoral counseling

together.

It was obvious to Stephanie that Chris was a different man.

And I opened the door and he was on his knee

at the bottom of my steps.

So you're just ready, you're ready to start our lives

together again.

I saw Jesus in him in a way that I hadn't seen before.

As we got remarried, the new me

found freedom not in myself, but in Christ.

I think we are very purposeful about creating

an environment in our marriage that was safe

and a healthy space to be able to come to each other

with our issues, with our doubts, with our struggles,

and know that it was going to be met with grace,

and understanding, and love.

NARRATOR: Chris and Stephanie have been remarried since 2011.

They now have two children, Asher and Nora.

Day to day our marriage is different

because we are intentional about spending more time together

in honest communication.

STEPHANIE (VOICEOVER): We feel responsible with this story

and what God has brought us through to share

that to bring hope and hopefully healing to people that

are struggling to give them this picture, not of us,

but of how big God is and what He can do.

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