I’m a big fan of Yogi Berra quotes. As a devout Boston Red Sox fan they about the only New York Yankees related matters that I appreciate but that’s a subject for another time. Yogi had a way of twisting the English language without even trying to do so in a comical way. One of my favorites is “oh nobody ever goes to that restaurant anymore – it’s always too crowded.” He is also credited with saying “it ain’t over till it’s over” and that is where I want to focus this week.
Far too many of us know the disappointment of ending a relationship we thought would last until “death do we part.” To be clear, I am innocent of the charge that I feel divorce is never warranted under any circumstances. I do not believe that for a moment. I also know that we should be very careful not to judge others who have gotten a divorce for often it was not of their choosing.
Having said all that, I do believe many couples call it quits in marriage simply because they have lost all hope that things can ever improve. I have been privileged to have twice attended a weekend program which totally convinced me that no matter how depressed a marriage may be “it might not be over until it’s over.”
The program to which I refer is called A New Beginning, and it is just as the name implies, a new start for a struggling couple to get on the path to joy and oneness. I must tell you there is a cost involved in attending the weekend, and it is heavily based on Biblical principles and Christian faith. I don’t know that participants have to be very religious or even attend church, but some belief in a “Higher Power” is certainly beneficial if not required.
My two weekends were quite similar in that on Friday morning the air in the room was thick with tension. I don’t remember seeing a lot of smiles or looks of hope on participant’s faces. Saturday morning was a bit more relaxed but still not what I would describe as cordial among the couples. That all changed by Sunday afternoon as the couples, by all appearances, had fallen passionately in love with each other in just that short time span. I remember sitting in the back of the room and wondering if these were really the same couples who started out on Friday.
While those results might be called miraculous, the program should not be. The participants gain a clear understanding of the mistakes they each made that brought them to divorce’s doorstep. They also learn new ways of interacting and connecting with each other far different from what they had been doing previously.
No one should ever assume that marriage is easy, or that success just comes naturally. It may seem to for some couples, but that is the exception rather than the rule. Marriage does not take work, but it does require some basic understandings and skills to help couples weather the inevitable storms that will come their way. If prepared for them, these storms can serve to strengthen their relationship and deepen their bond with each other. If ill prepared, as is often the case, these same storms can wreak great havoc and destruction.
Along with A New Beginning, I am familiar with three other marriage intensive programs which have a great track record for turning disappointing and hopeless marriages around and getting them back on the right track. I’ll be happy to share them with you if you or someone you know is in deep distress.
I also know of a local marriage coach who in 90 minutes can help couples understand five germs that have sickened their relationship and show them some simple-to-implement remedies.
I often tell couples who are contemplating divorce that they should view such as a last, not a first option. Especially when children are involved, couples who divorce are actually just trading one set of problems for a different, often more difficult and long-lasting set of problems. I’ll be working with a couple next week who have a total of 10+ marriages between them. I hope to help them realize some factors that might just make their present marriage their final one. Give me a call if you feel I can be of help to you.
Again, nobody ever said that marriage is easy, but the benefits of doing it right are well worth the investment of time and money to learn how to do it well.
Ron Price is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Four Corners Coalition for Marriage & Family, a 501-C-3 organization dedicated to strengthening and equipping marriages and families in the Four Corners Area. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 505 327-7870.