I remember hearing the Holy Spirit say, “Go home.”
Our story starts with the words, “I want a divorce.” We were in ministry, teaching Marriage on the Rock to couples at the US Air Force Chapel, and suddenly, we spoke these words. Looking back, it wasn’t a single catastrophic event that didn’t bring us to that point. Lots of little things led us to just wanting to be done.
Matt recognized a big communication barrier in the marriage that he didn’t see changing, while I (Kristina) lost hope for a better future. Eventually, I recognized the brokenness of our marriage and reached out to a trusted pastor and his wife. I admitted to them that divorce wasn’t an option, so they asked me to consider what I’d do if we were to get a divorce. Through prayer, I realized that I couldn’t imagine life without Matt, but I also knew I couldn’t control Matt’s decisions.
Balancing Military Work Life
At that moment, God revealed the Bible’s account of Abraham to me in a new way. The story wasn’t merely about faith, but it was also about being obedient. Abraham understood that God could either raise Isaac from the dead or provide another sacrifice. I remember saying, “OK, Father, if this is going to change, then I’m asking You to change me. I’m trusting that You can raise this marriage from the dead or provide another sacrifice.”
We tried a constructive separation, but everything seemed to get worse. Committed to still making our marriage work, I came across the mediation services offered by XO. These mediators were God’s vessels to change my heart. I learned I needed to take responsibility for myself and didn’t need to try to be the Holy Spirit for Matt. If Matt were going to recommit to our marriage, then it wouldn’t be because of anything I did. God would have to do it.
When Matt told me he was filing for divorce, I asked prayer warriors I knew to fast and pray for us for three days. And on the last hour of the third day, I received a text from Matt: I want to move forward. I know we have a lot of work to do individually and collectively, but I’m willing to do that. Real change began to happen.
Although it was a strange sensation, I (Matt) could feel someone praying for me. I remember hearing the Holy Spirit say, “Go home.” I told Kristina, “I don’t know what we’re going to do, but I feel like this is what God has for us.”
Looking back, we can see that a lot of opportunities came from our experience. Serving as a chaplain in the US Air Force, I not only had to be able to communicate well but also with intention and truth. This experience equipped me to do that. I’ve seen that most military marriages don’t survive. How could I connect on a real level without that near-death experience in my own marriage? Now, I can explain that there’s nothing a couple can’t work through and nothing God can’t heal.
Ninety percent counseling as a chaplain in the military boils down to a priority issue. It is easy to lose focus on our relationships because the mission is so important. What should be your top three priorities? God, your spouse, and your kids. Without that, sin starts creeping in; issues start to happen, and nothing that else will work. Priorities are necessary for healing and saving a marriage.