“But it’s just a lunch!”
“No Christy, it isn’t. It’s the beginning of the end of your marriage.”
“I thought you’d be happy for me. I really need some distraction. It’s so tense at home.”
“I know it is, honey. But trying to feel better by going out with another man won’t solve anything.”
The young women sauntered around the park, which offered a welcome change from their stuffy office. Sarah heard Christy take a deep breath. The fresh air seemed to instigate her friend’s agitation.
“You don’t know what I have to go through every day. When Harry comes home, he barely greets me. He slumps on the couch, switches on the TV, and waits for his dinner. As if I haven’t worked all day too!”
“Christy, you know that he’s having a tough time at work, with all these layoffs. He’s probably about to collapse under the weight of the mortgage. Maybe he’s depressed, but I’m sure he loves you.”
“Well, I don’t feel it. I wonder if he even sees me.” She kicked at a stone. “Unlike your and Brad’s, our marital ship doesn’t sail tranquil waters. We’re navigating stormy weather and sometimes I feel we’re on the brink of sinking.”
“Maybe you should ask for help to get through this storm.”
“You’re not talking about going to church, are you?”
Sarah hesitated. “Well, it isn’t really joining a church I’m thinking of. But there’s this course which…”
“No. I won’t go to any church. Listen Sarah, I appreciate your friendship, but I don’t share your beliefs. Please respect that.”
Sarah looked at her friend and noticed her clenched jaws. Jesus, help me to find the right words to open Christy’s heart, so that You will have the opportunity to restore her marriage.
Then she heard a whisper of God. Tell her about how I helped you through your hard time.
Thank You, Lord.
As they strolled among lush greenery, the spring sun brightened their path.
“Shall we sit here?” Sarah pointed at a bench under a massive oak tree. “I’d like to tell you something.”
Visibly irritated, Christy checked her watch. “Okay. I guess we have some time before going back to work.”
Sarah’s voice wavered, but she was determined to obey God. “I never talk about it, because it isn’t relevant anymore. Anyway, our marriage wasn’t always as good as it is now. About five years ago, Brad betrayed me.”
Christy gasped. “What? Brad? The superstar husband?”
“Yes, my Brad had a relationship with another woman.” Although Sarah had forgiven him, she remembered the pain. She swallowed. “It was very difficult.”
“What did you do?”
“At first, I wanted to leave him. I felt so hurt, so humiliated. But Brad said he still loved me and asked me to forgive him.”
“I had a friend who told me about this marriage course. Brad wanted so much to try it, so at the end I agreed. God did the rest.”
“What do you mean, ‘God did the rest’? Brad betrayed you, not God!”
Sarah realized that their lunch break wouldn’t be long enough to explain everything, so she just said, “Jesus helped me to forgive Brad and began to heal my heart. And we learned to love each other all over again.”
She saw that Christy looked puzzled, so she continued, “A marriage is like a garden; if we want it to flourish and be fruitful, we need to tend it carefully. We must water, nourish, and sometimes prune the plants we want to grow. At the same time, we need to uproot the weeds that harm the garden. Although it wasn’t my fault Brad had an affair, the course helped me to see that I had forsaken my husband in other ways.”
Christy stared straight ahead. Sarah knew she had touched a chord.
“I care about you, Christy. Try it. Harry—your marriage—is worth it.”
A ray of sun penetrated the tree crown and caressed Christy’s face. She sighed.
“Okay Sarah, you win. I’ll cancel the lunch and talk with Harry about the course.”
The young women looked at each other, a little uneasily, and smiled. Then Christy reached out to hug Sarah. “My bestie.”
A bird in a bush nearby started singing.
To know more about the marriage course described in this story, follow this link http://www.relationshipcentral.org/marriage-course