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Hope for Every Marriage (Part 2 of 2)

Hope for Every Marriage (Part 2 of 2)

Jeff and Cheryl Scruggs describe their marriage journey of infidelity, divorce and restoration, and encourage other couples not to give up on redeeming their relationship. (Part 2 of 2)
Original Air Date: November 27, 2012

John Fuller: Well, she was having an affair and pursued divorce, but said that the day the judge granted her divorce request was the worst day in her life. This is Focus on the Family, and you’re going to hear an incredible story of God’s restoration in more than one life, as Jeff and Cheryl Scruggs share with us today. They’re the founders of Hope Marriage Matters Ministry, in Plano, Texas, and authors of the book, I Do Again. And your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, it is always a pleasure to bring hope into someone’s life. I mean, as Christians, it- it’s really a- a wonderful thing to be able to, uh, share the hope of Christ with people, and to see their lives come back together. And that’s what we’re going to be talking about today. If you missed last time, you really need to go download it, or order it through Focus on the Family. What an incredible story. Jeff and Cheryl Scruggs, um, they were married for about 10 years, ended up divorcing because Cheryl was having an affair, and, uh, they lived separately for seven years, divorced. And then God began to work in their hearts during that seven years, and rekindling the romance, the relationship, and what it meant to be committed for life, uh, in a marriage. And it is powerful, and I want to welcome back Jeff and Cheryl to Focus on the Family.

Cheryl Scruggs: Thanks, John.

Jeff Scruggs: Thanks for having us back.

Cheryl: It’s good to be here.

Jim: Great to have ya. Uh, last time, again Cheryl, I’ll start where I left off. I just, again, want to, for both of you, just want to say thank you for your vulnerability. In the Christian community, the mistake we make is trying to project some kind of perfection.

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

John: Right.

Jim: And people that are living what you lived don’t know where to connect, because we’re saying, “Hey, you just, you know, you accept the Lord, and you live happily ever after.” Uh, that’s not always the case.

Jeff: Right.

Jim: And God definitely wants that life for us. And I’m reminded of John 10:10, that the thief comes to kill, steal, and destroy, but He came that we might have life, and life more abundantly…

Cheryl: That’s right.

Jim: … of course, talking about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jeff: That’s right.

Jim: You live a testimony now that fulfills that scripture, because your marriage was dead…

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jeff: Right.

Jim: … and the Lord breathed life back into it.

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jim: So let’s pick up from that point. Uh, if- again, if you didn’t hear it, you gotta go listen to it-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … because it was dramatic. As Cheryl said last time, it was like living a soap opera.

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jeff: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Uh, Jeff, you put the pieces together. Uh, Cheryl was never able to really tell you that she was having an affair…

Jeff: Right.

Jim: … but after the divorce, you went to pick up your daughters, and you saw the man, you knew the man…

Jeff: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … and put two and two together.

Jeff: Right.

Jim: You talked about feeling that anger, at the end of the last program. We need to talk about that, ’cause men in this situation, there’s a lot of testosterone that goes on-

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jeff: Right.

Jim: … at that moment. You want to throttle…

Jeff: Yes.

Jim: … some people.

Jeff: Yes.

Jim: Talk about what you were feeling and how you dealt with it.

Jeff: Mm-hmm. I was so angry, for a couple of years really, and I didn’t deal with it very well, to be honest with you. But, at the same time, I knew the girls didn’t want this divorce.

Jim: Mm.

Jeff: So my motivation was to make things as easy for them, or as healthy as they could be, given the situation. So when I would have the girls, I tried to be as positive and upbeat as I could be. I never spoke badly about their mom in front of them. But when I-

Jim: At the point of divorce, how old are your girls, twin girls?

Jeff: They’re four years old at that point.

Jim: Four years old when the divorce is final.

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jeff: Four years old, yes.

Jim: Okay.

Jeff: You know it’s- it’s just so sad when I think- even today when I think back on it, about their little lives and just how crushed they were ’cause they… Every night when we put ’em to bed, when I put ’em to bed, they were- it would just, you know, they would spill their guts to me, and just…

Jim: Cry.

Jeff: Yeah. And they would cry every night, you know, and it’s, like, Lauren typically would-

Cheryl: When you had ’em.

Jeff: When I had them, yeah.

Cheryl: (laughs)

Jeff: And Lauren- typically Lauren would want her mom, and, uh, you know, it was just so sad, and a- a lot of times if I couldn’t console them, you know, I’d call Cheryl and she would come over and, you know, talk to ’em, or rub their back until they fell asleep. Or, if it was really bad, just take one of ’em home with her. But it never felt settled, it was always fractured. I was angry, I felt like I was on a rollercoaster. When I had the girls I was on a high, and when I didn’t have ’em I was on a low-

Jim: Mm.

Jeff: … and probably, looking back, I was probably depressed-

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

John: Who- who were you angry at?

Jeff: … and didn’t realize. Uh, I was mostly angry at Cheryl and, um, and you know, to be honest with ya, I was angry at- at God, too. I was, like, how could He let this happen to my family? Of course I was- looking back, I see how selfish that was.

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Well talk about that-

Cheryl: Yeah.

Jim: … because that’s a common statement-

Jeff: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … that people make, uh, but when you really reflect on it, I’m sure God’s saying, “Hey, uh, in reality, I didn’t do this.”

Jeff: Right.

Jim: You’ve done it.

Jeff: Well exactly. And I made it all about me.

Jim: Mm.

Jeff: You know, that I’m this good guy. I haven’t done anything wrong, you know.

Cheryl: (laughs)

Jeff: I haven’t done anything wrong. Of cour- of course not. In fact, at that point I wasn’t owning- h- having any ownership in it.

Jim: Mm.

Jeff: I was blaming the whole thing on Cheryl.

Cheryl: Mm.

Jeff: And, you know, looking back now on what the Lord started to show me, was I had a lot to do with it, and it wasn’t so much what I did, it was more what I didn’t do.

Jim: Mm.

Jeff: And so, it was the sin of omission, you know, and- and really that I never loved her like God calls us to love our wives. And, you know, and when I read 1st Peter 3:7 now, it just convicts me, because I know-

Jim: Yeah, what- what is the verse?

Jeff: Well, you know, it’s to, you know, we’re to treat our wives as the weaker vessel, and I never treated her as the weaker vessel. And, you know, it- as- like a piece of porcelain, like protecting her, covering her. I never did that, in fact. And then it, uh, goes on and it’s co-heirs of the grace of life, and you know, and I never treated her as a co-heir or as a equal, you know. I always looked at her as, like, I knew the part where she was supposed to submit to me, I got that, right, but I wasn’t submitting to the Lord. So how c- how does that work if I’m not submitting to the Lord, and I’m the spiritual leader of the family? So God started revealing this- this to me in so many different ways. And so eventually, you know, I was still helping with the high school youth at the church. Probably two years after that they asked me to teach the boys a Wednesday night Bible study, and they wanted me to use the book by Kent Hughes called The Disciplines of a Godly Man.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Jeff: And I would tell these high school boys, you know, “You need to do as Kent says in the book, not as I did,” and I would use the mistakes I made in my marriage as an example to these high school boys. And- and I also told ’em, “I’m learning this three days ahead of you, and that’s because I’m preparing the lesson on Sunday night, delivering to you on Wednesday. So, you’re fr- anywhere from 14 to 17,” and I’m 34 at that point. “I- I’m learning with you.”

Jim: Mm.

Jeff: And the reality was, God was just really starting to show me how I didn’t treat Cheryl, and how I wasn’t the spiritual leader, and that, um, you know, I didn’t love her like Christ loved the church.

Jim: You know, there’s something unique that’s coming out in your story, and- and I- I don’t know that a lot of people experience this in the circumstances that you faced. I mean, you’re- Cheryl, you’re having an affair, you end up divorcing, you’re two to three years after the divorce. There seems to be an incredible, um, sense of humility in it though.

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jim: It- it’s like you know what’s happening, your heart is broken…

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … the tether between you is still there even though it’s a… Like, the visual I have is a- a rope with all the threads torn except one.

Jeff: Mm-hmm.

Cheryl: Mm.

Jim: There was just something still hanging on-

Jeff: It’s a great visual.

Jim: … between you.

Cheryl: There was. You know, that’s-

Jim: What was that?

Cheryl: Wow. That’s- that’s great. Um, I never (laughs)- I never thought about…

Jim: Mm.

Cheryl: … the humility factor. Wow. That’s interesting.

Jim: It does take humility to stay connected…

Cheryl: Yeah. Boy.

Jim: … ’cause that anger could have overwhelmed either of you.

Cheryl: Yeah.

Jeff: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And that’s what a lot of couples deal with.

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jeff: Right.

Jim: It’s just done. It’s over.

Cheryl: Right. And I had-

Jim: Cheryl, what you did, boom.

Cheryl: Well, and I had lived, you know, starting in year two or so, um, I did start getting angry, but it never showed. I mean, I’m the typical type A, you know, perfectionist, had a great spirit, you know, just smile on my face, outwardly loving my husband, uh, dying on the inside. That’s how I would’ve described myself. You know, Jeff and I had an incredible working relationship with the girls. Um, we lived five minutes from each other…

Jim: Mm.

Cheryl: … we didn’t have the normal visitation. We- we did have a schedule, but, you know, Jeff wanted the girls two nights overnight during the week so he could take ’em to school, and we agreed on all of that. He never came to the door mad at me, we never put the kids on the sidewalk.

Jim: Mm.

Cheryl: Uh, we walked in each other’s homes, you know, mostly right in the front foyer, but not, you know, walking around the house and things like that. But, uh, we did have a good relationship there. But my heart, even though I now was free to pursue this r- other relationship, my heart was still with Jeff. And so when you talk about that one little strand…

Jim: Mm.

Cheryl: … it was the covenant that we made with God, is that- is really what that was, which we at that point, w- we weren’t pursuing, or I don’t even know really anything about that. Um, at this point, you know, three months after we divorce, I finally come to know the Lord, and for me it was like a Damascus road experience for me.

John: Mm.

Jim: Mm.

Cheryl: It really was. I was 33, and my eyes were completely opened. I was so hungry for the Lord. I was reading everything I could get my hands on on marriage, I couldn’t stay out of the Word. I had my home set up where I had a little chair and a little light, and I’d wake up every morning at five o’clock in the morning. I didn’t even know how to read the Bible, and these girlfriends of mine that I talked about, um…

Jim: (laughs)

Cheryl: … uh, that- that were loving on me, um, said, “Here’s what you (laughs)… Here’s what you need to do. Just, you know, get up in the morning, or it doesn’t have to be morning, but whenever, time to spend with the Lord. And get your Bible out, have a- a journal or something, and start writing your prayers.” And that’s what I started to do, every day at five o’clock. I couldn’t wait to get up at five o’clock. And one day I’m sitting there… and this is about two or three months after I came to know Jesus. It was right after Christmas actually… and on my paper was, “Pursue reconciliation of your marriage.”

Jim: That was written in your journal?

Cheryl: Yes. And I looked at those words, and I shut my journal, and I’m like, “There is no way.”

Jim: Mm.

Cheryl: I’m in love with someone else, I’ll never consider that, and that’s where the anger was for me, at that point, because I was so mad at Jeff that, you know, he didn’t do what he was supposed to do, I guess, you know. That’s the way I saw it.

Jim: Well, what- what do you expect him to do? What did you want him to do?

Cheryl: Well just, you know, he was supposed to read my mind (laughs).

Jeff: Well, yeah.

Jim: I- I asked that question for that reason. You know, I think a lot of women, a lot of wives, are frustrated with their husbands…

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … because we find that very hard to do.

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jim: (laughs).

Cheryl: Yeah.

Jim: Much to your chagrin.

Cheryl: Right.

Jim: But, um, y- how did you manage that? What’s the next turn? Where do you and Jeff take that broken strand around that-

Cheryl: Yeah.

Jim: … single solid strand, and how do you tie that together-

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … and what was it?

Cheryl: Well, the next day… I kept waking up every day, and that was the- the topic. Pursue reconciliation, pursue reconciliation. And finally I- I was, um, invited to a Tommy Nelson study, The Song of Solomon.

John: Right.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Cheryl: Tommy did it live back then. It was in 1993, January of ’93, and I sat with 1,000 other people, and I had no idea what the Song of Solomon was (laughs).

Jeff: (laughs) She-

Cheryl: Didn’t know where to find it in my Bible.

Jeff: She thought it was a rock group.

Cheryl: (laughter) And I sat there with my mouth dropped open for six weeks.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Cheryl: And I thought, I had no idea that God had a plan for marriage, uh, that He had a plan for dating, He had a plan for us, and what I realized, because now I was in tune with the Spirit of God, that that- the Lord was sharing with me that here’s another marker for you, for you to pursue reconciliation. And it was a turning point for me.

Jim: Mm.

Cheryl: So at that point I- I, um, I went to Jeff, and I communicated to him that I felt like… I- I told him I had become a Christian, and he kind of shook his head like, “Whatever.” And-

Jim: And you’re doing the Bible study at your church at this time.

Jeff: Mm-hmm.

Cheryl: Yeah.

Jeff: Yeah, so.

Cheryl: And he- and-

Jeff: I didn’t believe her when she said it.

Jim: Yeah.

Jeff: I’m like, “Okay, I’ve been fighting for this marriage for all these years, and then three months after the divorce she comes to know the Lord?” I’m- you know, I- it was just too coincidental for me. I didn’t believe her.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Cheryl: Mm.

Jim: Okay.

Cheryl: So I to- I told him, I said I felt like I, you know, I’m learning the Bible, I’m learning about marriage, so God’s intentions, and we did it all wrong, and I really feel like God is leading us to restore the marriage, and- and really try to work on putting it back together.

Jim: Okay, Jeff, I gotta ask. I mean at that moment, what are you thinking?

Jeff: I’m thinking she’s crazy.

Jim: There’s no way?

Jeff: Yeah. And I’m so prideful, I’m just like, “No.” You know, I’m still angry, I’m still dealing with that anger I have and, um, I’m just looking at her like, “You’re crazy.” Yeah.

Cheryl: Well, he said, “I’ll never reconcile with you, ever.”

Jeff: Mm.

Cheryl: “Don’t ever talk to me about it.”

Jeff: Never, never.

Cheryl: Never say never (laughter).

Jim: That’s amazing, though.

Jeff: Yeah.

Jim: So what, I mean, what was the catalyst then? If your hearts are… You know, you’re reaching out…

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … you’re trying…

Cheryl: Right.

Jim: … Jeff’s rebuffing that effort.

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jim: W- what took place that opened your heart, Jeff? I mean, what- how did you say, “Okay, I’ll try?”

Jeff: Well I think it was- it was definitely a combination of things. One, it was that Bible study that I was, uh, teaching the young men at church. But then one night, I was just laying in bed, and I didn’t have the girls that night, and typically when I didn’t, many nights I would just lay there on my bed and I’m really just crying. Looking at the ceiling and just crying, just like, you know, how did it get here? And I would just, like, toss and turn. And I opened my Bible and I was reading Proverbs. You know, it was interesting, it was probably on the third, ’cause somebody said, “Hey, there’s 31 Proverbs…

Jim: Right, which we’ve all done (laughs).

Jeff: … you know, and yeah, right. And so I turned- I was reading in Proverbs, and I came across Proverbs 3:5 and 6, which was a verse I memorized in Vacation Bible School back at my, uh, Baptist Church in my hometown. And the verse said, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight.” And I’m reading that verse, and I’m feeling like- really like I’m wrestling with the Lord, and He’s showing me, “Jeff, you’ve been leaning on your own understanding,” and for at that point, 36 years.

Jim: Mm.

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jeff: “It’s time to trust Me.” And I really feel like that was the pivotal time in my life, ’cause I’m like, “I- I get it. I get. I really have been doing things my way.” And- and another friend had told me, “You’ve become this… You used to be one of the most positive people I knew, and you’ve become this angry guy.”

Jim: Mm.

Jeff: And- and I didn’t wanna be that guy either. And so I really, it felt like the Lord was just showing me, “Jeff, it’s time to do it My way.” And so that was the pivotal night for me.

Jim: Now, for both of you though, I mean it took some time, because you’re- you were separated and divorced for about seven years.

Jeff: Right.

Jim: So it didn’t- it didn’t just happen overnight-

Jeff: No.

Jim: … it- it was a process.

Cheryl: It was a process.

Jim: What happened during that period of time? How did you, uh-

Cheryl: Yeah.

Jim: … I mean you were three months into it…

Cheryl: Right. Well-

Jim: … into your divorce, and you got six more years now, separated…

Cheryl: (laughs) Six and a half years, yes.

Jim: What… I mean, uh, what was that journey all about? What happened?

Cheryl: Yeah. You know, I- I left Jeff’s house that day after sharing my heart with him- with him probably for the first time…

Jim: Mm.

Cheryl: … on a deep level. And I had my tail between my legs, got in my car, and I thought, “I guess that wasn’t God.” So I got back to my home, five minutes away, and I just sat with the Lord. I’m like, “God,” you know, “I guess it wasn’t You, and I’m- I really don’t understand all that You do yet. I’m- I’m getting (laughs)… I’m so new,” uh, and so it was very clear that, um, God laid on my heart, “Just continue in this journey. Don’t give up on this.” And so, um, literally, I was in the process of breaking off the other relationship, um, and it- literally the Lord laid on my heart just to continue to love Jeff like I was supposed to in the first marriage, ’cause that’s what I was learning now, even though we weren’t in the same home. So I- I did my best to do that. I know I didn’t do that very well sometimes because I was so anxious about that we had, you know, made so many mistakes, and I just wanted a second chance, and… And so finally, uh, five years in, I had been in- inviting Jeff over for dinner for about a year, and he turned me down every time for a year.

Jim: Mm.

Cheryl: And, uh, one day, uh, he said, “Yes,” (laughs), “I’ll come over.”

Jim: Well, hang on-

Jeff: She cooked a feast that day.

Cheryl: And that was five years into the divorce.

Jim: Why did you say yes after all that time? What in you made you say yes?

Jeff: Oh, I think it was just that, you know, that- that the Lord had been softening my heart…

Jim: Mm.

Jeff: … and that just, you know, I wouldn’t- I was getting to the place where I could start to look at her and not feel that anger anymore, and-

Jim: In fact, Cheryl, I- I was going to say you wrote in your book about a letter of reconciliation that you’d written Jeff.

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I’ve got an excerpt of that.

Cheryl: Oh, cool.

Jim: And it’d be great if you could read that for us, because my guess would be, Jeff, this certainly helped soften your heart.

Cheryl: “You know, Jeff, believe it or not, I pray for us every day. I pray for our situation and ask God to show me what He wants from my life. I do not have peace with what has happened to us. It just isn’t settled in my heart and mind. My heart is still so much with you. I know you may not wanna hear this, as you appear to have gotten on with your life, and appear to be happy. There are times when I really miss you…

Jim: Mm. It’s okay.

Cheryl: Yep. “I’m sorry for being selfish (sobs) with you (sniffs), and trying to solve everything on my own. Jeff, I’ve always loved you, and probably always will.”

Jim: Mm.

Cheryl: “Jeff, you may think differently, but I always loved you.”

Jim: Mm. I appreciate the tenderness in which you’re reading that. M- most of us listening are crying with you…

Cheryl: It’s tough.

Jim: … ’cause it’s such- such a heartfelt note.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: What did that do for you, Jeff?

Jeff: You know, at- at the moment, I was just so full of pride that, you know, I basically (laughs), you know, I- I just, I had no emotional response to it, and I’m not sure exactly what I said to her, but I, you know, I didn’t let her think that I- that it touched me in any way. But what happened was, I kept the letter, and I put it in the…

Jim: So it meant something to you.

Jeff: Yeah. I put it in the nightstand beside my bed, and I probably read it 12 times over the next several months.

Jim: Mm.

Jeff: And it was just another way that God- it was just one of the many things that the Lord was using to soften my heart and show me that, you know, this could happen. This could really work.

Jim: So that was the first time you thought it’s possible?

Jeff: Yeah, there was just so many things that happened, but that was one of the catalysts, yes. Absolutely.

John: And Cheryl, it takes, um… and Jim referenced this earlier… it takes a great deal of humility…

Cheryl: Mm.

John: … to get to a point, um, a- as you were writing in that excerpt, that you had failed…

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

John: … and that you were the driver behind the divorce.

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

John: Um, all these years later, uh, is there still a sting there…

Cheryl: Oh…

John: … uh, of the pain?

Cheryl: … yeah.

John: It- I- I would imagine the humility is- is not something that you grab for, but the Lord kind of pushed onto you?

Cheryl: Mm-hmm. I mean, I’m thankful that the Lord humbled me (laughs). Um, I don’t know what I would do without that at this point. Um, yeah. You know, it’s really interesting. We share our story, uh, to a lot of churches across the country, um, different venues and- and all of that, and I still, at times, during the testimony, there are certain points that I cry every time, and I think, “Okay, this time (laughs) I’m not gonna cry,” but the Lord just continually reminds me of where He’s pulled me, you know, what he pulled me out of, uh, and what He can do, and how, um, He can redeem anything.

John: Mm.

Cheryl: And there’s hope no matter what (laughs), and He’s in control, and we’ve got to lean on Him. Um-

Jim: You know, when I, uh, hear the story and see the tears, and see where you’re at today, what strikes me is that, especially here in America, w- with our children, and with our marriages, we- we want this pristineness, yet God teaches us so much in the valleys.

Cheryl: Mm.

Jeff: Mm.

Jim: I can only imagine… I’d like you to respond to this… but I bet the depth of your relationship today, with all of the vulnerability, with all of the pain that you’ve gone through, is more of a mountaintop than you had before?

Cheryl: (laughs)

Jim: And something beautiful is in that…

Jeff: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … and, you know, I think God smiles-

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … with that. It’s not about living falsely-

Cheryl: Right.

Jim: … living a false mountaintop. God wants you to go through the valleys so character is developed, hope is developed…

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … love is developed. And I would think, when you look back on it, even with all the pain, would you do it differently?

Cheryl: (laughs) Well, you know-

Jeff: Certain aspects of it, probably.

Cheryl: I guess you would say you would do it differently-

Jim: But-

Cheryl: … uh, but honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing, you know.

Jim: Mm.

Cheryl: I wouldn’t change a thing. I- I do wanna, when I get before the Lord, um, when, you know, when we go to Heaven and all that, I can’t wait to ask Jesus why it took seven years (laughter), but-

John: There’s perfection in that from what I understand.

Cheryl: Yeah (laughs).

Jeff: It’s called being married to a stubborn husband.

Cheryl: Yeah, but-

Jeff: You know, it’s pride. You know, I was a prideful man, and it took me a long time to admit that, and admit that I actually had played a role in it, and there was something I could about putting it back together. And you know, so it’s not a story that I would choose for us, but we’ve learned so much through it-

Cheryl: Mm.

Jeff: … and our rel… First of all, our relationship with the Lord, we know now, is the most important relationship in our life…

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jeff: … and second to that is our relationship with each other, and we have such deep conversations now. Uh, we talk about just about everything, and so probably really wouldn’t trade it.

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And I can feel that, and hear that in-

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … in the dialogue today.

Cheryl: Well, I was just gonna say that, you know, the seven years is, uh, I do kind of joke about that a little, but honestly, when I look at the- the- all that God was teaching us year after year after year, um, the seven years, there was a reason for all of it.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Cheryl: Because if we were to remarry three years in, you know, God was teaching each one of us something each one of those different years. So, it was the perfect time.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Cheryl: God’s perfect timing.

Jim: Yes. And- and you know, we have, uh, these last two days, we’ve concentrated on your relationship, rightfully so. Uh, we talked last time about the age of your daughters when this all started, about four-years-old. They’ve ridden this journey with you, and we haven’t come back to talk about them. How are they doing?

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jeff: Where the girls are now, is that they have seen the Lord look power- work powerfully in our family’s lives.

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jeff: Yeah.

Jim: It has to be- it’s such a foundation for them.

Jeff: Right. And even their teachers would tell me that, you know, “Your girls pray for y’all’s marriage. They pray for you and your wife.”

Jim: Wow.

Jeff: And they would tell me that, and that was so humbling.

Jim: But how- what an incredible thing to strengthen their faith-

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … because their prayers were answered.

Jeff: Mm-hmm.

Cheryl: Right. And they, you know, they actually wrote a- a chapter in the book, uh, which is, you know, I cry every time I read it. But what’s interesting is, you know, they’re twins, and, you know, the- the foundation that they have going into marriage is so strong because they’ve seen, you know, what God’s done in- in Jeff and my marriage, and then also the hundreds of couples that have come across our path…

Jim: Right.

Cheryl: … and they- they just don’t take it for granted because, you know, as you were asking earlier, you know, one of the things that Jeff and I don’t do any more is take our marriage for granted.

Jim: Right, right.

Cheryl: And we didn’t have the right focus, and that’s what we were missing, is the right focus.

Jim: Yeah.

Cheryl: We thought it was each other, and when our focus is on the Lord and not each other, that’s when we have the strength to love each other and we’re free to love well.

Jim: A- and Cheryl, a- as you’re saying that, uh, those of us in the Christian community… Um, you know what? There are struggles there, and when we claim Christ, people watch.

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jeff: That’s right.

Jim: And, uh, you’ve done such a wonderful job, uh, even with all the brokenness, coming back around and making that fundamental commitment to the Lord. That’s what I heard you the last couple of days say…

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … that it started with your relationship with Christ.

Cheryl: Aha.

Jeff: Amen.

Jim: And that’s what you built it on, and once that foundation was set, you got things together.

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jeff: Right.

Jim: The- the crooked things became straight…

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jim: …. and now you are in a relationship, married twice…

Jeff: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … and loving each other, and your girls are watching that. And guess what? The rest of the world’s watching, too.

Cheryl: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And you’ve done it so beautifully, and I just want to, again, say thank you.

Cheryl: Thanks.

Jeff: Thank you.

Cheryl: Thanks.

Jeff: We- and we give that, all that credit to the Lord. Really, it wasn’t anything we did, it was more just letting the Lord work in our hearts.

Jim: Mm.

Cheryl: Well I think what’s important to note is that, you know, Jeff and I don’t have a perfect marriage. Everyone thinks we have a perfect marriage because of everything we’ve been through (laughs), and the truth of the matter is we’re a sinner married to a sinner.

Jeff: Right.

Cheryl: And so, the difference between our first marriage and our second marriage is we go to Christ now.

Jim: Yes.

Cheryl: And that’s the difference. Um-

Jim: It is the difference. Well, again, I just want to say thank you so much for being with us and, uh, and for being so vulnerable. I love it, and I know many, many marriages will be touched because of what you’ve shared with us. Thank you.

Jeff: Thank you.

John: This has been such an inspirational story with Jeff and Cheryl Scruggs on Focus on the Family. And their testimony is captured in their book, I Do Again. We do, uh, suggest that if you’re struggling in your marriage, uh, or you know somebody who is, get a copy of this book. Share it. Um, our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, 800-232-6459. And when you support this ministry with a monthly gift to help us strengthen marriages in a time when more marriages than ever are under attack, we’ll thank you for that sustaining gift by sending a copy of Jeff and Cheryl’s book, I Do Again. It might be that you’re not in a position to make a monthly commitment, then we’ll encourage you to make a one-time donation, of any amount today. We’ll still be happy to send you that book. And thanks in advance for helping us do ministry together.

Jim: John, we’ve heard such an uplifting story the past couple of days, and I know there are those who have been thinking about their own relationship, and that brokenness. Uh, first of all, that’s okay. Recognizing that brokenness is a good thing. And maybe you haven’t been through a divorce, but you’re concerned that things are falling apart and heading in that direction. Let us help you through our intensive counseling program called Hope Restored. Uh, you’re there for several days in a nice setting in Missouri, Michigan or Georgia, working through the weak areas of your marriage. And here’s the best part; four out of five couples who have been to Hope Restored are still together and doing better two years after the counseling experience. We’re so encouraged by what God is doing through this effort, and if you need help we highly recommend it. Let us be there for you.

John: Yeah, and like Cheryl said, there’s no perfect marriage. If you’re really hurting, reach out, as Jim said. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, 800-232-6459. You can also learn more at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Well coming up next time on this Focus on the Family broadcast, we’ll have help for stay-at-home moms.

Preview:

Jen Babakhan: I just continued to try to find the loophole in God’s plan. I just kept trying to find, okay, can I work from home? Can I work part-time? I kept trying to find all of these different ways to hang on to that identity, um, that I had misplaced, you know, my true worth in, uh, for so long.

Today's Guests

I Do Again: How We Found a Second Chance at Our Marriage – And You Can Too

Receive Cheryl and Jeff Scruggs' book I Do Again for your donation of any amount! Plus, receive member-exclusive benefits when you make a recurring gift today. Your monthly support helps families thrive.

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