When someone walks out of a marriage they have been considering it for a while. Nothing you can do or say can change the fact that your spouse wants out. But, if you are going to survive the crisis, and come out okay on the other side (whether it is reconciliation or divorce) a few things must happen quickly.

We know what it’s like on both sides. Not only from our personal separation and reconciliation, but from others we’ve walked alongside with for nearly 20 years.

Here are 5 things to do as timely as you can.

1. Get 3-5 people of the same gender to pray with and for you.

Even if you don’t attend church or don’t believe prayer works, this is a supernatural truth that works. God will use others when you are too broken to trust Him.

2. Tell your spouse that you will respect their space.

When a spouse walks out of a marriage, they don’t expect you to behave in an adult manner. In fact, that may very well be the reason he or she left. So, the worse thing you can do is to chase after them. Instead, surprise your spouse by saying something like, “Look, I know we have had some problems and you were unhappy, or you wouldn’t be considering separation or divorce. But, I want you to know that I will respect your desire to have some space from me, and I will be working on finding out what I can do differently in order to try to save our marriage.”

3. Ask your extended family what they have seen regarding your marriage relationship.

We all know that it’s easy to be blinded by our own faults and sins. The best way to win your spouse back and save your family is to practice the Matthew 7:3-5 principle: Get the log out of your own eye before you help your spouse get the speck out of theirs (our translation, read it for yourselves in whatever translation you prefer). Most family members will be happy to tell you what they have seen, as long as you approach the topic with respect and humility.

4. Avoid hiding behind substance abuse of any kind.

Sure, you’re hurting. That’s to be expected. But, if every time we hurt we run to alcohol, drugs, or even excessive eating, we will never win the respect of our spouse or others, and we will end up in divorce. Worse, when you remarry (yes, more than likely you will) you will bring the same problems into a new relationship. Instead, get well now, and learn to get the help you need before you reconcile with your spouse or find a new one.

5. Change your “M O”

Whatever you’ve been doing hasn’t worked. Your spouse wouldn’t have walked out if you didn’t have at least some part in it. We aren’t saying that sometimes a wife or husband just falls for someone new even when their spouse is really great. That does happen. But seldom is the spouse they left for a new one completely innocent.

If you can honestly say that you have been a perfect mate, and your friends and family all say that too, then it could be your spouse has mental illness or is just a jerk. But, if God convicts you of some wrongdoing and you see areas you need to change–do it. Don’t waste time. Get busy and make all the changes you need to. After all, if you have children they need to see at least one parent be an adult and willing to make important changes when necessary.


Would you like prayer or some resources? Get in touch: joeandmichelle@marriage911godsway.com or marriage911godsway@gmail.com

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather


Post navigation


What is your first response when someone you know shares their marriage could use help? Let it be Marriage 911. Our next 11-week class starts Tuesday, September 3, 2013. To register, email us:


Cost is $25.00 per person and includes resources.

Location: Modesto Free Methodist Church, corner of Rose and Briggsmore, Modesto, CA 95355

Time: 6:30-8:15 p.m. weekly, each Tuesday beginning September 3.


jandmEver since I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with cemeteries, funeral planning, heaven, and even doing hair on people after they die. I know this isn’t for everyone. But, the idea of going from this body to another and living life eternally with the Lord has not been something I’ve feared. I’m not saying that I don’t mourn the loss of my dad, grandmother, and other loved ones who have gone on before me. I hate that part.

Recently I attended a funeral of a dear friend whose son had died unexpectedly, and she and I had a good talk afterwards. We both agreed that planning and paying for our own funerals was something that we could do to make it easier on those we left behind. We agreed that the emotions, financial hardship, decisions and being pressed for time takes a toll on everyone. Obviously, young people don’t normally plan and pay for their own funerals. But, for my friend and I, it was a logical thing to discuss.

So, for the past month, I’ve hounded Joe about finding time for us to plan his funeral and choose our final “resting places”. (Need I say, I had already paid for and planned mine several years ago?) Well, he really isn’t that interested, but he’s been a good sport. I was able to pin him down on a few things, and he did agree that the cemetery I had chosen for me would suffice for him as well. He also gave me the green light to set up a plan for him.

Well, it’s all done, and I must say, there is a sense of relief to know that our children won’t have to make those hard decisions for either of us now. But, this ordeal was a good reminder that planning your own funeral isn’t for everyone.

What do you think? Would you want to plan your own funeral, or maybe you already have.

Michelle Williams



little girls fighting

“Say you’re sorry now!” I recently heard a mom demand of her child. The little girl apologized to her sister, but I could tell by her expression that she didn’t mean it. The encounter reminded me of what Joe and I teach in our classes about asking for forgiveness, especially in marriage.

We know from past mistakes and from working with others that false apologies only  make matters worse in the long run.

Here are 3 questions we ask

1. Am I Saying “I’m Sorry Just to Feel Better?”

Have you ever apologized to end an argument just because you had plans and didn’t want them to be thwarted by an uncomfortable atmosphere? I have. In fact, it seemed the unselfish thing to do at the time. I reasoned that it was just easier to agree that the misunderstanding was all my fault so we could get on with having fun.

Instead, be honest. Asking to put things on hold in order to discuss later, or a gentle touch and look can usually defuse the situation. Be adult, but don’t lie with a false apology.

2. Am I Getting in the Way of God?

Oftentimes God uses the emotional pain of an argument with someone we love to show us a blind spot that we need to change. If you apologize to someone too quickly you may be interfering with what God wants to show you and those involved. In Proverbs we are warned to not rescue an angry person, or we will have to keep doing it (Proverbs 19:19).

Instead, be patient. There’s nothing more difficult than watching those we love hurt, knowing that a simple “I’m sorry” will fix it. But the fix is only temporary unless there is true repentance. Pray for the person and be loving and understanding while waiting, but don’t rush the process by saying “I’m sorry” so they will feel better.

3. Do I Want Something in Return?

Asking for forgiveness when you have wronged someone is a beautiful thing. Repentance is what draws us to God’s grace. But, if we only came to God for what He could do for us, it’s not true repentance. The same is true in relationships. How many times have you been sorry, asked for forgiveness, and been treated harshly in return? Probably more than you want.

Instead, forgive without expectations. If you have wronged someone, repented,  and said “I’m sorry”, you have done a good thing in God’s eyes. That’s what matters.

Do you apologize too often? Are you always the one to say “I’m sorry”? Do you ever apologize and not mean it? We’d love to hear from you.

Michelle Williams



ARE YOU BORED IN YOUR MARRIAGE? Half of all married couples are.

boredom Businessman watching television

Let’s face it, even when couples are happy, marriage can be a challenge. If you’re like most couples, you’ve had days or even weeks that have been filled with every emotion under the sun. That’s to be expected. But, if you consider your marriage “boring”, that’s a warning sign. With the divorce rate a high as it is, it stands to reason that a spouse who is bored is more likely to make bad choices than one who considers his/her marriage exciting.

We know because we were there once. Thankfully we were able to work out our problems and stay married. But that doesn’t mean we still don’t have to guard our marriage and do things to keep our marriage from becoming boring again.

Sure it takes energy and planning, but it’s worth it to be able to enjoy and even save our marriage. Since we have a ministry helping couples in crisis to reconcile, we have created a workbook with tools that we used when our own marriage was in crisis.

Here are 5 things we recommend to get a boring marriage back on track.


Make a list of 10-15 things that you enjoy doing alone or with your spouse that are not immoral, illegal, or too expensive. From your list, choose at least two things that you will incorporate into your week. For instance; fishing, going for walks, attending a Bible study, renting old movies, playing games, having lunch or dinner  with friends, window shopping, yard sales, or going for coffee before work. Get creative and think of some things.

When you spend time doing things you enjoy you are self-nurturing and will avoid becoming too needy or restless.


Getting new ideas and learning new things will make your conversations and time together more exciting. Last year I took a couple of computer classes and Joe started making some yard art for sale. In the evenings we had new things to share. If there is something you both want to learn take the class together. Don’t waste God’s gift of a brain that is meant to keep learning.


Don’t panic. You don’t have to get extreme about this, but at least take a look at a hair and/or fashion magazine that is geared for your age and gender and consider trying something new. I do hair part-time and I often have couples come in together for a new look. It’s fun to watch them get excited and take photos of their experience.


This doesn’t have to be an expensive vacation. You can take a drive or try a new restaurant. Last year we took a day trip to San Francisco and made ourselves use the trolley instead of our car. It was challenging to say the least. (I reminded him all day that we were keeping our marriage exciting.)


Maybe your spouse wouldn’t like being taken from his job, blindfolded and driven to a hotel two hours away. Yes, I tried that with Joe and he hated it. My “romantic” surprise ended in an argument and I learned my lesson. The key to this tool is to surprise your spouse with something the two of you have already discussed at some point. Spend time discussing favorite places, movies, foods and things to do. Then rearrange your schedule to make it happen.


Life itself can be boring if you aren’t purposed to make it exciting, and it’s the same for marriage. Don’t waste a moment sitting and sulking. Do whatever it takes to enjoy the life that God gave you.

Share your comments. We’d love hear from you. If you live in the Modesto area we are starting our 11-week Marriage 911 class on September 3rd.

Joe and Michelle

Follow us:

Twitter: www.twitter.com/marriage_911 , www.facebook.com/marriagehelpnow



Did you know that your hair stylist is the only professional you see regularly who is allowed to run their fingers through your hair, share life stories with you, and stand in that physical space only reserved for family members or intimate friends? Other professionals–even those in the healthcare industry–would be considered crossing the line if they placed their hands on you and discussed the joys and struggles of life during  each appointment.

I’ve been a stylist for over 40 years and worked in New York, Alaska, Oregon and California.  Early on I realized that the profession I’d chosen provided an opportunity to learn a lot about people because of the physical touch associated with the service I provided. Over the years I have shared births, deaths, marriages, divorces and even church splits with clients.

You and your stylist have a unique way of helping each other grow emotionally. With each visit you are putting your trust in her/his hands and allowing your physical appearance to be altered. Regardless of the outcome, your time with each other is like no other experience. Your accountant, dentist, exercise trainer, pastor or teachers don’t comb your hair and help you create your public image the way your hairdresser does.

The saying, “Only your hairdresser knows for sure” was coined because of the relationship that stems from a client-stylist trust. This is why you will often share things with your stylist that you wouldn’t feel comfortable talking about with people you see every day.

Recently a client shared how difficult it was for her to walk alongside her best friend who had been diagnosed with cancer. I’ve learned that most clients feel better just being able to talk. In a way we are like bartenders and therapists. At the end of our time together she smiled and said, “And we think we come to get our hair done.”

Of course there are horror stories about bad hair cuts and stylists who are flakey and don’t listen. But, based on what I’ve seen in all my years and experience, most stylists truly love people and do their best to make clients feel good on the inside while creating beauty on the outside.

What about you and your stylist? If you have a funny or meaningful example of your relationship with him/her, I’d love to hear it.

Maybe you do your own hair. Not a problem. You can still drop in a hair salon or barber shop once in a while and get the experience of having someone shampoo and comb your hair while you talk about life. After all, it’s not about your hair anyway.

Michelle, at Genesis One Hair Salon in Modesto, CA.