Confessions from Lockdown

“COVID ended our marriage” is a phrase you don’t have to look too hard to find. Whether it was the stress or the way a 24/7 relationship highlighted problems and surfaced old hurts, many couples didn’t make it through 2020 intact.

In this season of confusion, FamilyLife provided help and hope to nearly 32,000 people through free online marriage events and webinars. Couples from 35 countries received biblical teaching that strengthened — and in some cases, saved — their relationships.

Trevor and Janelle* didn’t begin 2020 with much hope. Several months earlier, Trevor disclosed that he had been having an affair.

“We separated and it felt like our marriage was over,” says Janelle. “I was unsure of how to even take the first step toward reconciliation and healing.”

For the first half of their 17-year-marriage, Trevor and Janelle had been very connected to their church, but when they moved to a different city for work and as their two kids grew into teenagers, they drifted from Christian community and from each other.

Shortly after Trevor’s infidelity came to light, Janelle ran into old friends who happened to be FamilyLife staff members, and she asked for prayer and support. “I was paralyzed by shock and grief,” she says. “But they both encouraged me to press into forgiveness and gave me the tools to start.”

Trevor and Janelle began intensive marital counselling and committed to putting God at the centre of their marriage.

“We were hoping to attend a FamilyLife Weekend Getaway when COVID struck. Then we learned about the FamilyLife webinars and knew that this was a gift to us when we needed it most,” says Trevor.

Watching the FamilyLife webinar series and the online Together for Good weekend conference allowed Trevor and Janelle to intentionally examine how they communicate, manage conflict, and show love to one another.

“We wouldn’t allow ourselves to withdraw or avoid conversations that opened wounds, rather — and often through tears — we pushed through and it brought us closer” says Janelle. “The webinars are a big reason our marriage is going to survive and thrive. They helped us identify problems we didn’t even know about and taught us how to communicate the truth gently.”

As much as COVID restrictions would allow, Trevor and Janelle started dating again. They invested in their day-to-day relationship by doing small things together — running errands, going to bed at the same time, and finding new hobbies they both enjoyed. To focus their hearts and minds on God, they started praying together at the start of every day and again before they closed their eyes at night.

Most importantly, they recognized their shared humanity as inherently flawed, yet infinitely valued children of God. Through honesty, repentance, and forgiveness, Trevor and Janelle are allowing God to do something new in their marriage.

“We have let go of the futile desire to edit the past, and instead focus on the present and future. We long for our marriage to one day reflect that God is the master of restoring brokenness. We have not arrived, but we’re so thankful for progress and for restored hope,” says Janelle.

Seeking help from professionals and a group of trusted Christian couples has also provided them with support and accountability. With new boundaries and priorities, Trevor and Janelle are on a path toward healing, together.

“There is hope. Believe it even in the midst of darkness. It gives you the bravery to try and the courage to take steps forward,” urges Janelle.

“We cannot change or forget the past, but we can be confident in Jesus’ power to bring a beautiful future out of our ashes.”

*Names have been changed for privacy.

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