Preparation (noun), the action or process of making ready or being made ready for use.

I know that you orchestrate everything (the things I see and the things I cannot see) to work together for my good because I love you and I have a purpose that you want me to fulfill. Romans 8:28 (paraphrased by me)


I married my college sweetheart with little preparation. We dated for only 2-1/2 months before he graduated but I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. After he graduated, we had a long distance relationship. He was stationed at Chanute AFB in Illinois and I left college, lived with my parents and worked in Michigan. We married a year after we met but had never been around each other for any length of time.

The day after our wedding we moved across the country to his next assignment in California. We were married for 2 months when he left for Vietnam and another long distance relationship began.

I barely knew the man I married. I was not a Christian and I was alone in a state clear across the country from any family or friends. This was the beginning of our life together.

What I remember about many of our early years together

Because our relationship has changed so much, it’s difficult for me to remember how terrible it was, but this is what I do remember:

  • I felt lonely, dominated and controlled.
  • I withdrew and didn’t express my feelings or needs.
  • I blamed Alan for our poor relationship
  • I did not take personal responsibility for my part in our poor relationship.
  • I harbored resentment and did not forgive.
  • I prayed that our relationship would be different but neither of us knew how to change it. That’s not to say we didn’t try.

Our first “marriage enrichment” experience was just after Alan returned from Vietnam. It was a communication class at a local college. I remember the instructor saying, “I teach this stuff and my own relationship is a mess” – which did little to bolster my own confidence in that program. We continued with so many classes, retreats, counselors and seminars that I could never remember all of them. But I do remember my silent questions: “Why can’t he change?” Why can’t I change?” “Am I going to spend the rest of my life like this?”

But, you see, we were in the midst of God’s preparation for what was to come.

  1. He was giving us an extraordinary compassion for couples who also experience despair about their relationship.
  2. He was teaching us a process for change. We struggled with the question: “Why aren’t we able to change after participating in so many marriage enrichment activities?” We received the insight that was to be the foundation of our ministry – change requires practical application and accountability.
  3. He was teaching us the importance of forgiveness in mending our relationship with each other but also with Him.

Our preparation led us to found the MarriageTeam ministry. What is your preparation leading you to do?

If you found this helpful, please share.

Autumn Ray