My Conversion Story and How Our Marriage was Healed

Have you ever gone through bumps in your marriage?  Do you know how normal you are, even if the bumps are much more like mountains?

You don’t hear about the ones who make it…

Normally we only hear about marriages that didn’t make it, but rarely do you know when someone went through a funk and got through it.  We told VERY few people when we went through our struggles because we didn’t want to be under the microscope when we were with family or friends.  I had just a couple of close friends and one family member who knew as it was happening, and I don’t think Kent told a soul.  Now we’re totally open about it with anyone who would like to listen because we want to help others who need to know that funks are normal and you won’t always hurt so much.  There is light not so far down the road, maybe just around the next bend.  God can do the impossible, don’t doubt it for a second.  I’ve seen it over and over again and it happened with us.

Here’s what happened in our lives about 14 years ago now…

When our oldest son was 2 years old, Kent and I were so madly in love with him that we focused more energy on him instead of on each other. At the same time, Kent’s job was very stressful and when he’d come home tired, weary and ornery, instead of giving him some empathy and not taking it personal (not easy to do), I would return every jab with venom.  (No one was going to treat me that way!)

Soon this spiraled down into both of us not feeling “in love” with each other anymore. We were in different places though. I felt that it would pass, and knew I’d never want to separate our family and turn our son’s life upside-down. We were BOTH so close to him, I couldn’t imagine either one of us only getting to be with him part-time.

Kent, however, wasn’t so sure. At the time he bought into what society said, “Kids are resilient, they’ll come out just fine…” (He knows how wrong that is now.) He was thinking about leaving but never actually voiced it… I just knew.  I could feel it.

About this same time, as our lives were spinning out of control and I was crying myself to sleep into my pillow most nights, I happened to talk to my Aunt Karen…

She had been through a very painful divorce years earlier and this brought her to her knees, crying out to God. She now lives her life trying to bring others to the peace she feels knowing Jesus as the Best Friend who will never leave us. She cried with me and prayed with me and told me that He wanted our marriage healed even more than I did. She pointed me to some good books (including the Bible of course!) that taught me how to be a better wife, to be more selfless, to be the person Kent needed (even when I didn’t feel like it), and how to close my mouth more and pray!  It was truly a sacrifice, because someone who is often snapping your head off or very cold acting isn’t exactly easy to treat with kindness and empathy, but for our son’s sake I kept with it.

The turning point

Things certainly didn’t get better overnight between us, and I wasn’t convinced they would improve – the doubts and fear about where our lives would end up could be all-consuming at times.  I’ll never forget sitting on our living room couch once, with our son playing nearby, and tears running down my cheeks.  I calmly said, “If you really want to leave, just go and be done with it.”  Kent said, “But I’m afraid I’ll go and then find out that my problem wasn’t ‘us’ – you’ve been great lately.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me, something is missing.”  I said, “I know what’s missing, Kent.”  He knew what (Who) I meant.  We were going to church at the time, but he didn’t have a strong connection with God yet.

I believe that just getting things out into the open like that, into the light, and me letting go was our turning point.  You MUST read “Love Must Be Tough” by Dr. James Dobson.  When someone feels trapped, human nature wants to get away.  Not always, but often, when the door is opened wide and they are free to go, they begin to wonder if that’s really what they want.  They may even begin to fear losing what they have, if you play it right.  It may sound immature to ‘play games’ a little, but if you are wise, you’ll realize that even the best of us are still humans who don’t want what comes too easily to us, or who will go after what we perceive that we “can’t” have.  In a solid, healthy marriage none of this is necessary, but if you want to make it through a bad spot, you’ve got to know this.  First make the sacrifices to be the spouse you know that you need to be, and then think about what I’ve explained here.

After that day something changed in him.  I kept playing it cool, and praying my guts out, but it wasn’t long and Kent was reading his Bible, too, and he got to know another Christian guy named Dave, who showed him what it looked like to be a real man in love with the Lord. One day soon after, he told me he quit his job and had no prospects for another. Believe it or not, I was thrilled! The job was way too stressful and he worked too many hours, so I knew this was a great move for our family. Within a week he had a better paying, less stressful job, and with regular hours. I was thanking God like crazy for how He was moving in all of this!

Soon things slowly began to heal between us. We got more involved in our church, and found friends that we are still very close to today. We went deeper and had discussions about things that didn’t make sense to us, and we searched out the Truth together. It’s difficult to explain how “right” and good and deep the connections are in your marriage when you grow together in faith with each other, and with other Christian friends – it truly is “the abundant life” that Jesus promises when we follow Him.  We are blessed with close families on both sides, a lot of good friends, with Jesus as our very best friend, of course, but here on earth, we really are each other’s best friend.

How different life would be had we given up…

That was 14 years ago! We have 4 kids now, and all of that seems like a lifetime ago. I often think of how different life would be had we done what society said was “OK” and gave up when it was difficult. It was the worst thing I’ve ever gone through, yet now I’m thankful it all happened, because it’s what brought me to really fall in love with Jesus.  What’s neat is how He then used the muck we went through to help others – over the years other couples have come into our lives that we’ve had the chance to try and help through their own tough times and lead them closer to Him.

We feel so thankful that He brought us back.

  • Read Kent’s much shorter version of this story.  (Scroll down toward the bottom.)
  • Is your marriage in a bad spot? Don’t believe these lies.
  • Helpful Marriage/Sex Books– That link has a list of books by Michelle Weiner-Davis.  I’ve only read her book, “Divorce Busting”, and while it isn’t Christian-based, it still made great sense and helped me a lot when Kent & I were having marriage trouble.  Also, scroll down at that link to see other books she’s written called, “The Sex-Starved Marriage” and “The Sex-Starved Wife”, both books that I think will help commenters at my post about Passion in Marriage.
  • The first thing to do if your marriage is feeling rotten: rent this Fireproof movie.  All the answers are there.
  • Good News About Sex and Marriage: Answers to Your Honest Questions About Catholic Teaching by Christopher West – another book that explains very well what the Catholic Church really teaches on often misunderstood topics.
  • Remember that the estrogens from our diet (drink healthy milk without hormones and find a local source of healthy meat without hormones), along with estrogens in our environment (such as in the unsafe types of water bottles) can all lead to low libido!
  • Read how a diet without enough healthy fats can also contribute to low sex drive.
  • Stressed out? Health & Nutrition not high on the priority list right now?
  • Read about my “food conversion” story (I used to sneak even more chocolate than I do now.)
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  1. karen says

    Hello there. I just came across you blog as i was checking out the Healing Foods Carnival (i think it is called?). I read your story of conversion and what God did in you marriage. Thank you for posting that. It is such an encouragement to me as my husband and i are going through what feels like a uphill battle good then bad again for 5 years. I have many times wanted to give up, so has he. Jesus has been my only strength, even as he is in this day. I am sad. i never imagined my marriage being so anger-filled and strife-filled. I really was encouraged though to read your testimony. God bless you and your family.

  2. Kelly the Kitchen Kop says

    Karen, I’m so thankful that you felt at least a little better after reading my testimony. I pray it gave you HOPE.

    Did you see this post I put up recently?

    If you haven’t seen that movie, PLEASE rent it and watch it with your husband.

    What about counseling? Have you tried it? It is very important to find a *good* Christian counselor to help you.

    Also, please feel free to email me if you need someone to listen. My address is in this post:

    I’ll say a prayer for you!

  3. Shawna says

    Hi. I’m so glad I found your story. I have been searching for any story that would have a happy ending re: broken marriages. They aren’t easy to find. I’m happy that God healed your marriage. I’m going through a very rough time in my marriage now. I needed some inspiration. I’m hurting so badly at the moment, I can’t even explain the situation. I’ve bought Christian books on marriage, read many stories, asked for prayer all over the Internet, prayed almost constantly, but still feel great pain and lonliness. I’m not giving up. I’ll keep on going, I will believe that God will save and restore my marriage, just as He did yours. Thanks again for sharing.

    • says

      I will be praying with you! Hang in there, it won’t always be this bad, even though that’s our greatest fear. Email me privately if you need someone to “talk” to.

      • Erica says

        My husband and I went through a very rough patch when out oldest was about one. I talked him into going to Marriage Encounter, sponsored by the Catholic Church but welcoming to all faiths. It was the turning point in our marriage and I highly recommend it. After that weekend we joined a “love circle” and started put God back into our marriage. We celebrate ten years this week and we our both happy and grateful. Marriage Encounter has helped salvage many marriages and I recommend it to anyone who needs help, they are available all ver the country and are low to no cost.

        • says


          Kent and I went on a Marriage Encounter weekend, too. Not in the midst of this trial in our marriage, but later, and we thought it was really good, especially for those who struggle with communicating.


  4. says

    Kelly, kudos for this post. I know transparency can be challenging, especially in such a public format. Thanks for giving God the glory!

    Shawna, your marriage sounds a lot like mine. Keep persevering. Sometimes that’s the hardest thing. It often seems like God’s timetable is not fast enough, but we have to trust that He knows what He is doing. Sometimes I have a lot more to do with the problems than I’m willing to admit. Lately I’ve been better at “letting go and letting God” and it really has made a difference. Things really can get better even when we can’t see how that is possible. We recently came across a pair of books recommended by Focus on the Family by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn called For Women Only and For Men Only and For Men Only ( and that have really helped us. These books have made more of an impact than any other marriage material we’ve tried. We really do love each other, but sometimes we have a very hard time connecting. Those books teach you how to connect with each other. You can make it! :) I’ll be praying for you!

  5. Elizabeth says

    So happy for this story! There are hard times in marraiges. My husband and I had struggles too, but we knew God wanted us to be together and not to give up like the world teaches us to do. We made it through our tough times only because God was there for us…and we knew He was the ultimate Healer…and He didn’t want us to give up. So thankful for our Lord…He does Amazing things. So happy for you and your family….that you clung tight to God and what He wanted for you and your family:)
    Blessings to you all,

  6. Erica says

    Kelly, those notes left by your son next to the individual drinks made me cry. That is so precious and amazing! I can only imagine how proud you are and speaks to what a good mom you are!

  7. Caitlin says

    Alex and I have been together for 15 years this year. We’re babies, yes… But have had to do A LOT of growing up together. I am grateful God helped us grow together when we could have just fallen apart. Faith, hope, humility, service, love. One must look to love their spouse and be loved by them. Where we cannot, God can!


  1. […] have always LOVED Focus on the Family ministries.  They were a huge part in healing our marriage over 20 years ago now (follow that link for the story) and they’re still who I call when I need the perfect […]

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