You know that persistent, gut feeling when you’re being led (or maybe pushed) by god to do something?
It’s been stewing within me for weeks and I can’t contain it anymore.
I have to share.
Why is it so hard to be vulnerable, anyway? To be raw— to admit that we’re not perfect people.
I’m not saying we should all air our dirty laundry at inappropriate times— but damn, couldn’t we all admit that we all do struggle at times?!
I’ll admit it. I’ve been struggling.
Emotionally, in my marriage, at home, keeping up with work—I piled more and more responsibilities on myself & stretched myself thinner & thinner, until I lost sight of my values & how to prioritize those values.
I’m a Christian.
I’m a wife.
I’m a mother.
I’m a daughter, a great granddaughter, a best friend, a sister.
I’m an entrepreneur.
I’m an artist.
I’m a writer.
I’m a mentor.
I’m a cheerleader.
I’m a work at home mom.
I’m a chef, a teacher, a nurse—I’m the encourager, & the listening ear for my children.
I’m a book worm.
I’m a breastfeeding advocate, & passionate about spreading awareness about birthing without fear.
I’m a nature lover.
I’m a dreamer.
I’m a lot of things…… and I started to drown in seeing only the hard & negative parts of it all. I lost sight of Jesus & of the big picture there for a little while.
I felt engulfed in fear based emotions… anger, grief, hopelessness, bitterness, depression… but the FEAR.
The feeling of fear in every aspect of my life was soul crushing & breath taking. It was most present in my marriage, but there in every part of my life.
Afraid of failing. Afraid of being hurt. Afraid of the unknown. Afraid of not being good enough. Afraid of being lied to. Afraid of not being valued or appreciated Afraid of being laughed at. Afraid of being manipulated. Afraid of being judged.
It went on and on.
My marriage was struggling bigtime.
Trying to communicate with my husband was like stepping into battle in an active war zone.
We weren’t talking to each other— we were talking or yelling AT each other (in a hateful tone)
We weren’t really hearing to what the other person was saying— we were too busy plotting our own rebuttal/next remark — we were responding out of anger and pride & fear
We both felt like we were walking on egg shells anytime we were around each other.
I was hurt. He was hurt. We were both projecting our own misery on one another and when we started fighting it wouldn’t end for HOURS.
Neither of us were quick to set aside our pride to respond out of love & to try & derail the shitshow we were writing—instead, we stood our grounds,trying our best to PROVE our own point after point while shutting the other person down, we constantly interrupted each other, whoever was loudest basically had the floor.
We said and yelled terrible things we can never take back. We did so much damage. It was a dark place.
When we would fight and neither of us were thinking rationally, we would go round and round until one of us felt completely drained and could not fight anymore. It would drag on for hours and hours. It sucks. I hated it. I know he hated it.
Why am I telling you all of this?
Because our story does not end there, in that dark place.
God is saving our marriage.
We are changing.
We are bettering our communication skills.
We are working so hard to bring healing to our marriage.
There is hope for us.
Marriage is hard. And for any struggling couples out there reading this— I want you all to know that a lifeline exists.
There’s a worldwide marriage help program called Retrouvaille that I found out about in November 2017, & it’s been so incredibly eye opening & helpful for us. Seriously.
It’s not a quick fix.
There are no quick fixes.
Retrouvaille starts with a weekend get away (for lack of a better word) that is focused on learning how to better communicate & understand each others feelings. By definition, Retrouvaille means “rediscovery”.
“Get Away” does not mean it is a leisure weekend. In fact it’s a weekend full of hard work—couples who go to Retrouvaille want to find healing and rebuild their marriages, & I’m sure it’s obvious— that’s not an easy task; it takes time, vulnerability, honesty, openness, hard work, dedication, & commitment.
Our experience thus far has been so enlightening.
It’s like god reached down from heaven, picked my husband and I up, & set our paths straight again, walking along side each other together hand in hand.
That’s beautiful imagery in my opinion— but the reality is, working on our marriage has not been easy.
There are moments of *stomach uneasy, palms drenched in sweat* nervousness, there are tears, there is pain, there is hesitation & sometimes the fear tries to take over.
But god. God is right there with us, comforting us, bringing us peace, guiding us back to him which in turn brings us together, hand in hand, on the path god has picked just for us.
We are being vulnerable with each-other. We are sharing our feelings.
We are making sure we understand each others feelings.
We are responding out of love, more often than not.
We are listening to one another— we are doing our best to not interrupt each-other, too.
We are working on ourselves, so we can each bring our best versions of ourselves to one another.
After the initial first weekend (you get there Friday evening & leave Sunday evening), there are 12 post sessions.
In some communities (like Tulsa), the post sessions are done 2 at a time, 2 hours for each post— so we go to 6 post sessions total for 4 hours at a time.
They are once a week following the initial weekend, then we get to attend monthly C.O.R.E. Meetings for continued support if we want!
My husband and I (like many couples I’m sure) have wanted to better our communication & our relationship over all for quite some time now, & thinking that we couldn’t afford marriage counseling prevented us from taking the next step for a long time.
There was some serious baggage we needed to unpack and work through together, & suppressing feelings wasn’t doing either of us any good.
Then I heard about Retrouvaille!
They won’t turn couples away for lack of funds.
They let you know the full cost of the weekend on Sunday(after you’ve completed the weekend), & they give you the opportunity to donate what you CAN and what you feel led to.
We just attended our 4th post session this past Sunday (of 6 total).
Right before I pulled up this draft (that I started finally writing on Saturday), we spent alone time together after putting the boys to sleep (unplugged with no distractions).
We exchanged short letters to one another (that we write earlier in the day).
We do this every single day now.
We love the time that we carve out everyday for each other. It connects us, brings us closer together, & gives us time to really listen to eachother & understand one another’s feelings.
It’s not easy to make happen.
In fact, there are distractions all around us. We are so blessed to have full schedules day to day–doing work we enjoy, spending real quality time with our kids & family, cooking, cleaning, hobbies, obligations–the list goes on & on.
We have little boys; a 3 year old & 8 month old 😍
We have two very cuddly demanding attention hogging dogs 😂
I work from home.
Kyle works 8-12 hours any given day & 5-6 days a week any given week.
Some days, by the time Kyle gets home it’s dinner time shortly (or immediately), then it’s time for kyzer to relax for 15-30 minutes before bed, then time to brush teeth & read a million books & get water & put both boys to sleep & honestly doing those routines leave me feeling completely touched out and drained around 10pm.
But my exhaustion is not more important than my marriage. Nothing is more important than our marriage. We are making time for each-other, because we value that time together & know it’s SO important for our connection & relationship over all.
I had a lot of negative emotions toward my husband in the months leading up to Retrouvaille, to be honest. I was resentful and hurt and angry and bitchy and he was hurt and angry and exhausted & resentful.
It was a really hard, dark time.
But god. God heard my pleads for guidance. I got everything I was hoping to get out of that initial weekend and SO SO much more.
I am forever grateful for the Retrouvaille program, & for the brave couples who lead/present at each session.
It has truly been an immense blessing to my marriage.
If you want more information on Retrouvaille, you can get details on upcoming weekends near you at
If you have questions specifically for me, please message me on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/torilenard (or search Tori Alysha Williams)