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Not the Same-Old Group... or Marriage

This coming April, we will have been married 12 years. For a number of years, we held onto our friendship to get us through, that part of “us” that made us an “us” without special effort. In the last couple of years in particular, our relationship was barely surviving. Job loss, several moves, living with family, and even living in separate states for a short time brought new problems to light and highlighted several old ones. We found ourselves facing the same problems time after time...fighting through our same-old issues with the same-old dialogue we had always used. The same-old dialogue that never produced any long-term results.

We bought a house this year and once we had settled into it, we realized we had stopped trying... to dialogue, or to connect- the same-old issues had become bigger than our friendship we relied on to get us through the hard times. We had settled into the brokenness, and we weren’t even fighting it anymore. I began looking into legal separation, and I started making plans for how we would share our four kids and divide our expenses. I told Greg I felt that what made us “us” had died. I was tired of the same-old stuff and believed we would never come to understand each other or see those issues resolved. Eleven years of the same fights had worn us down.

Some friends of ours had gone through re|engage a few years ago and it had been a wonderful experience. When she encouraged me to sign-up I listened, although I was apprehensive. Would we be able to discuss the difficult things? Would people judge us for our issues? There were several couples who shared that their reason for coming was just preventative and I was most concerned we would end up being the only ones there with real issues. (How foolish I was!) I also worried that we would go right back to the same-old discussions about the same-old problems and end up at the same-old place. But we quickly learned there’s something different about re|engage.

I am still surprised by how healing it was to confess our pain and problems as a small group. Marriage is such a deeply personal part of our identity… laid bare. I think this dynamic is healing because being truly known and accepted is a desire of all our hearts.

About halfway through the classes, something just gave way. I guess if I had to name it, it would be hope. Hope that things really could be better, that the same-old issues could be resolved, that we might come to understand each other and not only regain the part of our relationship that had been lost, but build on parts that had never been there and should have been.

Additionally, we made connections with people in our small group that are truly amazing. In fact, as I write this, most of our re|engage small group just left our house. Re|engage ended a month ago, but tonight we had a dinner party and game night. The depth of re|engage produced friendships that remind us we are not alone in the journey, that marriage is difficult for everyone for different reasons, and there is hope and redemption in this ministry.

Re|engage helped bring “us” back to life and gave us the tools and the hope to change the same-old dialogue into something new and different. It gave us the ability to rediscover each other. We will celebrate our 12th anniversary with more joy than ever.

Rachel Ritter

1 comment (Add your own)

1. Heather wrote:
Oh Rachel! This is so inspiring! I know many women lose this hope in relationships too (and men) so I THANK you for your courage and willingness to share your marriage story with us! The message of HOPE still being possible for marriage is one that will never, ever, grow old. Happy (early) anniversary!

Wed, February 15, 2017 @ 11:42 AM

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