Summary: Men and women, this is what is important to God. This is what He cares about. He wants spouses to come in alongside one another and become teammates.


Opening Statement: Four-year-old Suzie had just been told the story of Snow White for the first time in her life. She could hardly wait to get home from nursery school to tell her mommy. With wide-eyed excitement, she retold the fairy tale to her mother that afternoon. After relating how Prince Charming had arrived on his beautiful white horse and kissed Snow White back to life, Suzie asked loudly: “And do you know what happened then?” “Yes,” said her mom, “they lived happily ever after.” “No,” responded Suzie, with a frown, “they got married.” Getting married and living happily ever after are not necessarily synonymous (Swindoll, Strike the Original…, 49).

Observation: Of all the photo albums accumulated by a family, the favorite has to be the wedding album. Dreamy little girls love to gaze at Mommy in her lacy, fairy-tale wedding dress. Boys like to laugh at Dad’s thick hair, sideburns, and purple velvet bow tie! In fact, if you looked at my wedding picture, you probably wouldn’t know me.

Quotations: While it is fun to look back on those times, it can also resurrect some painful experiences from our pasts. This is reflected in a couple of quotes: “Marriage is neither heaven nor hell; it is simply purgatory (A. Lincoln - known to have a very jealous wife).” "Marriage is not wrecked by a blowout but rather by a slow leak - continued negligence and inattention (J. Allan Petersen)."

Quotation: Writing about her own marriage, Erma Bombeck said that she never realized what a holding pattern she was in with her marriage until she says, “I tried to massage my husband’s neck and he said, ‘I’ll save you time. My billfold’s on the dresser.’ (Cope Book, 27).” I’d like to get you out of the holding pattern and into a great relationship.

Illustration: In his autobiography Sold Out, former Colorado football coach, Bill McCartney owned up to a lifetime of failings and foibles, especially in his marriage. "Tucked away in the folds of my life are countless episodes that coldly strip away the mystique and pretense of what some think of me," he writes. He calls himself a "highly flawed, ordinary man who has made it through only with the help of an extraordinary God."

Sold Out is presented as McCartney’s story, but the book also contains nine sections written by Lyndi. They provide a good window into McCartney’s spiritual journey, and they helped him write a book that was "closer to the truth," he says. Lyndi reveals the monumental price she paid as McCartney’s "trophy wife," a woman who for years stood on the sidelines while McCartney coached the University of Colorado’s football team to a national championship. They also help underscore what brought their never-great marriage to a crisis in 1993, when Lyndi says she found herself in "an emotional deep-freeze."

That year began in soap-opera fashion when, on New Year’s Day, Bill came clean to Lyndi about an affair he had had with another woman two decades earlier in their marriage. That confession, which the McCartneys chose not to put in the book but which was reported by the New York Times last fall, left Lyndi devastated. At the time, McCartney was at the pinnacle of his coaching career and riding high with PK involvements. In a manner typical of the way McCartney operated at the time, he confessed his adultery just moments before walking out the door to coach a Fiesta Bowl game.

In the months that followed, Lyndi’s emotional and physical health reached the breaking point. To cope, she rarely left the bedroom of their home in Boulder, Colorado. There she contemplated taking her own life. For more than seven months she vomited every day, losing 80 pounds. McCartney, busy with football and with managing the burgeoning Promise Keepers movement, remained oblivious.

While Lyndi had no intention of leaving her marriage, she says she began building "emotional siege walls" between herself and Bill. "The Lord was the only one I felt I could trust." Lyndi claims she wasn’t bothered by Bill’s lack of attention during their 30-year marriage "most of the time." And she stayed reasonably happy with her responsibilities as a mother of four "most of the time." But she also admits that they lived separate lives. As her husband soared to the pinnacle of his career, "I just felt like I was getting smaller and smaller and smaller," she recalls.

God used two events to turn McCartney around.

One was a PK rally where men were told to write down the number their wives would give their marriages if rating them on a scale of one to ten. He had to admit with embarrassment to the other men on the platform that Lyndi--the wife of the founder of Promise Keepers--would probably only give their marriage a six.

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