Jim Daly Christian Blog and Commentary

The Ultimatum that Saved a Marriage

  • Jim Daly Jim Daly is president and chief executive officer of Focus on the Family, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families thrive.
  • 2014 Jun 06

His marriage was dead. It was past acrimony and fighting. Comedian Jeff Allen and his wife, Tami, where at a stage of apathy.

After years of his alcoholism and fits of rage, it got to the point where Tami always had her back to Jeff.

Finally, one night, Jeff and Tami were in bed when he tried to talk with her – except she refused to turn around.

“No, please,” she said.

“What’s the problem?” Jeff inquired.

“I… I can’t, Jeff.”

“You can’t look at me?”

“No,” Tami replied.

In ten years, Jeff and Tami had gone from “I do” to “I can’t look at you.”

How does that happen?

Jeff explained some of his story during a recent Focus broadcast (the second part airs today). His drinking and temper was hurting the family. In an extreme low moment, Jeff beat his 6-month-old son, who was only crying because he was hungry.

“Nothing as a man could have shamed me more than that,” Jeff remembers.

A life-giving ultimatum

A Christian friend of Jeff’s had given him a subscription of Bible study tapes. For a year, they had accumulated in the couple’s junk drawer.

By this point, Tami was leaving Jeff for a summer with the kids to spend time at her parents’. She needed to get away from Jeff – after all, he was no longer the man she had married.

Before she left, Tami gathered up the Bible study tapes and threw them on the floor. She said: “You either listen to these things or I’m throwing ‘em out.”

Jeff did listen to those tapes. And that’s what God used to start this couple on the long, seemingly impossible road to reconciliation.

Is there hope?

Where can someone go when their marriage is dead and it’s seems like they’ve exhausted all options?

If you’re in that place of martial devastation, I can assure you – there is hope.

Just like God breathed new life into the dry bones and they “lived and stood on their feet,” God can resuscitate a marriage that’s good as dead.

Yesterday I shared how Focus has been joined by a ministry that specializes in helping marriages in crisis. Now known as the Focus on the Family National Institute of Marriage, the retreat center carries out highly successful marriage intensives led by licensed marriage therapists. Couples stay on-site for multiple-day sessions so they can take full advantage of the most effective treatment model known the professional counseling world. It’s like an emergency room for couples in crisis.

The results are definitely extraordinary. Since 2003, more than 3,000 couples have stayed at the Branson Retreat Center. Follow-up research indicates that more than 84 percent of them are still married two years later! Not only that, but they’re doing much, much better.

A happy ending

Today, Jeff and Tami Allen can rejoice that God has carried out a miracle in their marriage.

“God has restored all… He’s restored everything,” says Jeff.

In the same way God has brought Jeff and Tami together, He can do the same in your marriage. And I believe God can work through Focus on the Family’s National Institute of Marriage to carry it out.

In fact, to qualify for our program, couples must answer “yes” to one simple but profound question:

“If God were to do a miracle in your marriage, would you accept it?”

If you want to learn more about Focus on the Family’s National Institute of Marriage, please visit http://www.focusonthefamily.com/national-institute-of-marriage or call 1-800-A-FAMILY. Couples in crisis can access immediate help by contacting NIM directly at 417-335-5882.

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Focus on the Family contributed to saving more than 140,000 marriages within the last year alone. Partner with our ministry and join Friends of Family to help us ensure that families have access to Christian counsel and Bible-based resources year-round.

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