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Overcoming the Past to Salvage a Marriage

Prison made Dave a hard man. Unable to process his pain, he lashed out at his family. In a desperate search for answers, his wife turned to church. Read Transcript

(solemn music)

- [Narrator] When Daveand Lisa Richards married,

they had at least one thing in common,

a painful, difficult childhood.

Dave was eight when hisphysically abusive mother

gave up custody, landinghim in the Oregon state

foster care system.

- I really felt betrayed and I felt alone,

'cause I knew I had nobody.

You live as a guest inother people's homes.

Part of the household, butnot part of the family.

The way I was looking atmyself, or starting to,

I wasn't worth anything.

- [Narrator] Afteraging out of the system,

Dave began a life of drugs and crime.

At 22, he was arrested for armed robbery

and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

- It destroys your humanity.

It's a hate factory.

It's a place full of anger,depression, oppression.

You name it, just abouteverything negative,

you can find it there.

- [Narrator] When he was released in 1995,

he was ready to leave his past behind.

He got a job and, in time, met Lisa.

- She was kind, she wasa genuinely nice person,

and I knew that's what I wanted,

was somebody that I could be around

who had those kind of attributes,

who possessed the things that I didn't.

- [Narrator] Lisa had apainful past of her own.

Several times as a young girl,

she was sexually abused by a neighbor.

- I felt like I was pretty much nobody.

I didn't have much self-esteem at all.

I felt like I was uglyand I didn't matter.

- [Narrator] Despite herChristian upbringing,

she was promiscuous and got pregnant

with her first daughter at 18.

Still unmarried at 27,she had a second daughter

and desperately wanted a husband.

- [Lisa] If you're not married,you're not worth anything.

A man, a woman, andchildren, that's a family.

If I could just get that,everything would be okay.

- [Narrator] Then she metDave and eight months later,

the two married.

- I was, like, almostbreathing that sigh of relief,

thinking okay, here itis, we're gonna be good,

we're gonna have a house, we'regonna have a picket fence,

we're gonna have, you know,maybe have another baby,

you know, all that stuff.

- It brought me a senseof peace and belonging.

Somebody loves me.

Somebody actually wantsto be part of my life

and has opened their heart and allowed me

to be a part of theirs.

Call me daddy.

- [Narrator] Shortly into the marriage,

Dave decided to look for his real mother.

In doing so, he needed acopy of his birth certificate

from the state of Oregon,but they found no record

of his birth.

- I was now put in this position to where

I don't really know who I am.

I don't know when I wasborn, where I was born.

I don't know anything.

So everything that Ibelieved to this point

has been wiped out.

- [Narrator] The onlyway Dave knew how to cope

was to drink.

- It numbs you, makes you forget.

You can put it away for a while.

But, unfortunately, as you keepdrinking, you need it more.

And so that took over my life.

- [Narrator] As his drinking got worse,

he started verbally abusing Lisa.

He failed several attempts at rehab,

even though he saw what itwas doing to his family.

- It was hard to look in Lisa'seyes and feel any kind of

self-respect or worth,'cause I knew in my heart

that I betrayed them and I blew it.

- [Narrator] When Davestarted using drugs,

Lisa moved out and, again,Dave was on his own.

- That spiraled everything downhill.

I got to the point whereI could no longer cope.

Lisa and I were completely separated now

and I lost the will to live.

(slow dramatic music)

- [Narrator] So one night in 2003,

Dave committed armed robbery.

Instead of fleeing from the police,

he got into a standoff with them.

- That night was aboutcommitting suicide by police.

So it wasn't my intention to go to prison.

It was my intention to die.

- [Narrator] Using nonlethal force,

police were able todisarm and apprehend Dave.

Sentenced to seven years in prison,

he wanted nothing more thanto get his family back.

- If it's ever gonna happen,I'm gonna have to do something.

I have to take a step.

(uplifting music)

- [Narrator] Dave started attending

an anger management group,led by a Christian volunteer.

He learned that to overcome his past

and salvage his marriage, heneeded a relationship with God.

- I just said, "You know what?

"Alright God, we'll do it your way.

"My way has obviouslyfailed, look where I am.

"So I don't wanna do it myway anymore, let's try yours."

I accepted Jesus Christ there

and he gave me peace of my heart.

He let me know, "I got ya.

"I got this, just trustin me, I got this."

- [Narrator] Meanwhile, Lisa had started

going back to church hopingto find answers for herself.

- [Lisa] I just hadbeen so numb for so long

and not willing to admit defeat.

- [Narrator] So one day, in church,

Lisa rededicated her life to Jesus Christ.

- I finally just said,"Okay God, it's all yours."

It was almost like armsbeing wrapped around me,

you know, and just beingthere and just saying,

"You can come back anytime."

I realized that nobody can take my worth,

because I'm worthwhile in him.

- [Narrator] Soon, Lisastarted visiting Dave in prison

and, with God at thecenter of their lives,

they began working toheal their relationship.

- I was trusting that Godwas making the right moves.

This is what he wanted,that he was showing me

that he was willing torestore our marriage.

- He had really given his life over to God

and he was determined to change.

He wanted to be better,he wanted to be a new man.

- [Narrator] Dave was released in 2010

and went home to what would be a happy,

thriving marriage built on God's love.

- When you walk with God,your walk is made easier

because you know he's there,

you know that he's standing with you

no matter what you gothrough, he's right there.

And as long as you keepyour eyes towards him

and you have that faith,you still get through it.

♪ Give me love ♪

♪ Give me love ♪

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