Surviving to Thriving

What happens when a couple lets God restore their marriage? Their entire lives are changed.

January 13, 2021

Two children. Triplets on the way. A move across the country. Unmet expectations. These were the factors threatening Luke and Katie’s marriage.

“Our marriage was in a very difficult spot,” Katie says, an attendee at Grace Church Chaska. “Our marriage was surviving, but we were not thriving.”

“I was willing to try anything to improve our marriage,” Luke says. “The stress of moving across the country with two small children was catching up with us.”

They’re not alone — today, in the United States, around 40% of marriages end in divorce. “We know there are a lot of broken marriages in our world today because we see the devastating consequences,” Travis Armstrong, Director of Family Ministries, says. “However, we want to see a different story play out here at Grace.”

Enter re|engage, a 16-week experience for couples designed to strengthen marriages. “The heart of re|engage is to provide a safe place where couples can reconnect, reignite, or even resurrect their marriages through the Gospel of God’s grace,” Travis explains. He and his wife, Stephanie, lead re|engage. They desire to see broken marriages restored and culture impacted by God-glorifying marriages.

This was exactly what Luke and Katie were looking for. “Re|engage came along at just the right time,” Luke says. The two realized that to strengthen their marriage, they first needed to let God do the work — specifically in their own hearts before looking at each other.

“Re|engage really taught me that I can't make changes in my spouse,” Luke says. “The only person that I can change is me. When you focus on yourself and not your partner, you are able to realize the things that you can change to improve your marriage. It will change your life radically.”

Katie echoes that. “The main concept that we still keep today is to work on yourself, and trust that God will be working on your spouse,” she says. “You will see how things slowly start to change in your life — in your marriage — when you let God begin the work in your hearts.”

Through readings, teaching, testimonies, and breakout groups, couples of all seasons of marriage come together to share struggles, hopes, and how God is working in their relationship. There, Luke and Katie found community and teammates.

“It's so important to let the other couples in so that you can be prayed for and encouraged,” Katie says. “It will make all the difference in your experience with re|engage.”

Above all of this, however, Luke and Katie found life-changing truth.

“Every marriage has one thing in common: sin,” Katie says. “ It is our sin that places a wedge between the person we love most in this world. It is our sin that prevents us from enjoying our best marriage. That is why we need God front and center in our marriage.”

Five years later, Luke and Katie’s marriage has switched from surviving to thriving. Now a family of seven, the effects of how God worked in their marriage through re|engage is still in full effect. And they don’t want to keep that good news to themselves.

“Please consider taking this class, no matter where your marriage is at,” Luke encourages. "Without it, I'm not sure where our marriage would be today.”

“What I love about re|engage is that it is not about pointing fingers and making a person feel guilty,” Katie explains. “It's more about allowing God to break down the barriers that we had put up between each other. Our hearts were forever changed toward God and toward each other.”

Travis echoes their sentiments. “I would encourage couples by saying re|engage is not first and foremost a class, but an experience,” he says. “It’s experiencing the power of God to transform a life and marriage when there’s a willingness to bring our lives under the authority of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit.”

Luke and Katie are just one example of God’s redemptive power in restoring relationships. That power is on full display in an experience like re|engage — marriages are redeemed, families are strengthened, and God is glorified. That’s a pretty powerful package.

“You won't regret it,” Luke promises.