Alumni Testimonials updated 2/5/16
The following are unsolicited Marriage Counseling testimonials from the couples who have attended the counseling programs at the National Institute of Marriage. We hope that reading their stories might provide you with some hope for your situation or encourage you as you help others navigate difficult times in their marriage. Some testimonies have been edited to remove the identity of the person to protect their confidentiality.
Thank the Lord that there was a cancellation for us to be able to attend or we would not be together today. “
My husband & I attended a 4-Day Intensive in 2001, and I just wanted to report that the Intensive Counseling was the beginning of a miracle from God. He started the work then, but it took more than 10 years to receive full favor. We KNOW God saved our marriage. We now chuckle at the phrase we learned in the Intensive, “And how does that make you feel?” However, when asking that question in sincerity, it opens up the safety factor for each couple to share with the other. Thank the Lord that there was a cancellation for us to be able to attend or we would not be together today. Anyway, I just wanted to give a Praise Report on 14 years later… We love each other more than ever, we care about each other, we respect each other and our lives have become balanced. Together we work toward our common goals and are excited about spending the rest of our lives with each other doing things we love doing. I will always say our marriage is a work in progress as we work on it every day. All Glory is given to Jesus for His restoration of our marriage! Blessings to you as you lead other couples to their own Marriage restoration through the Couples Intensives! ~Intensive Participant~
What a huge blessing this 4-day intensive has been – a much needed “turn in the road” to healing and hope for our broken, toxic 25 year marriage. The experience of going through this intensive with the four other couples has been so helpful. It is so true that so much is learned from listening to others and hearing their issues addressed. God knit us together with our common and different struggles, all of us needing to apply the tools we received to experience help and victory.
We are so glad we came here. Hold on through the first couple of days and let Him show you that there is hope for you and your marriage and future. ~Intensive Participant~
It has been four years since our intensive in 2011. Though we have our moments we are still going strong. It seems like almost every day we encounter things that want to push Jesus out of our top spot and boy is it a struggle with a busy schedule like ours. Kids, work, bills, media, life! But we always feel our strongest at the end of the year. This year we feel a little stronger. Our blessings have been overflowing so we decided to donate our strongest contribution yet. We know it’s not much but our cup runneth over and we credit a lot to everyone there. Please say a big hello and give a hug to Mark Pyatt and to our counselor Dr. Brett Sparks. All we can say is THANK YOU and we hope our gift helps. ~Intensive Participant~
We came to the Intensive and it was raining and storming like our marriage. We were on the brink of divorce. I had moved out about a month prior to attending. I went to church that Sunday and it was all about forgiveness. My wife showed up at my place and asked for forgiveness and told me that she forgave me and asked me to attend NIM. I was very worried about being judged and embarrassed. On the phone during registration I was asked if I would accept a miracle from God and I thought that was a strange question. Being a guy I thought they would “fix” my wife. Wow, what a miracle! They fixed me and my wife and taught us to take care of ourselves. I look at everything in a whole new light. What a great place NIM is. We plan on coming back for some tune ups. This is one of the single best things that has happened to me in my life. ~Intensive Participant~
When we arrived at NIM we had been separated for 2 ½ months. We were both angry and had been hanging on for 31 ½ years in a toxic marriage. We had been operating as enemies with co-dependent and love addict/love avoidant issues. We both love the Lord and wanted our marriage to work, but just couldn’t figure it out on our own. We had been to four different marriage counselors on and off over 15 years. My husband had told me that he “would give” NIM 100% effort, but that he had little hope and that if God didn’t do something big it would be time for “formal separation”. I am thrilled to say that we both have hope and now have some great tools to start operating in a “safe place” with each other. We are excited to move our communication to a “heart” level, really listening to each other with a “no loser” policy in decision making. God bless you all. ~Alumnus~
What a tremendous blessing our time at NIM was! We are both working to implement the changes every day, and I will say that my husband has really been incredibly intentional, and it shows! I told him this past weekend that he is the man I married again! He is just renewed, and it’s wonderful. I am still healing from a long and hurtful time in our marriage, but every day I’m pushing to put “truer truth” back into my heart, and although it’s a challenge, it’s empowering. Satan has been very actively pursuing us for sure, but we expected it and recognize it. NIM has truly been a game changer for us, and I feel like we are “unstuck” and on a new road together. ~Alumnus~
We have no words to describe how amazing and wonderful our experience at NIM was. As an individual you experience how to take care of you and get in touch with who God created you to be. All expectations fall off and you open your heart for a miracle. We found our therapists to be the best counselors we have ever been to. The cottage experience was very warming and inviting and definitely assists in relieving stress to help you focus on the work that you do at NIM. My wife and I have renewed hope and many tools to excel and accelerate us forward to newer and closer places where deeper fellowship, communication, intimacy and growth can happen. We encourage every person, no matter where you are in your walk with God, no matter how messed up you perceive your marriage to be, if you and your spouse can focus on just the individual then the relationship will fall into place while at NIM. Let God do the miracle you came to find at NIM.
We left our pain there. We left our past there. We left together knowing ourselves deeper than we could have imagined. We have hope, we have love and we have Jesus. ~Alumnus~
Before arriving to NIM and upon our arrival we didn’t think it was going to happen. My expectations were low and my husbands were high. On the first day it switched for the both of us. Thanks to the Lord and His grace we were able to stay and overcome the lies that were hindering our spirits and marriage. NIM…I am so grateful that your ministry is here and your staff is filled with love. Our marriage is saved through God using your ministry. We love NIM and everyone in it. ~Alumnus~
Words cannot begin to describe NIM and what I was exposed to. I came by myself to a Spouses Intensive with the understanding of how much damage I was responsible for in my marriage. Was this the right place for me? The answer was YES! With the help of my therapist I came to fully realize the how and the whys, as well as what I was missing. Can I undo the past, NO! But after leaving NIM I can fully address my issues by taking care of my heart, letting God in 110% and then letting His love pour out through me. Do I know what my future holds with my wife…NO! Am I scared…Yes, but I trust in the Lord and that is all I need. The miracle is out there and I am standing on that. ~Alumnus~
When asked during the registration process if we were willing for God to do a miracle in our marriage I said yes, but in the back of my mind I did not believe it could or would happen. Too many hurtful and painful things had been said and done to have any kind of restoration in our marriage. But God is so much bigger than my fears! Through the 4-day Intensive God broke down the walls I had built between my husband and I and also the walls I had put between HIM and me. The REconnection in both relationships has been freeing. I’m more hopeful for the first time in 30 years that we are equipped and fully capable to handle anything that comes our way. Thank you NIM! ~Alumni Couple~
I wanted to pass along my sincere gratitude to everyone at NIM for our recent intensive. Please share this email with everyone there, especially to our counselors. The National Marriage Institute was just what we needed. Going in, I had no expectations. Coming out, it is exactly the type of help we have been searching for over 39 years. Over the course of our marriage, we have sought help many times in hopes of finding healing and advice. All of the counselors prior to NIM fell short of meeting any of our expectations and in some cases advocated divorce over reconciliation.
NIM has provided the Biblically based counseling, as well as sound advice, that specifically touched us spiritually and emotionally. Until now, no one has ever given us the tools to deal with our personality differences, fears, emotions and how we react with one another. What we came away with is a blessing from God. Our marriage intensive has renewed our love and passion for one another and given us hope for many more years together.
Prior to going into the marriage intensive, NIM asked us if we would accept a miracle in our marriage, we said ABSOLUTELY. Once again, our faithful God had delivered another miracle in our lives.
I would recommend NIM to anyone. The counselors and staff are fantastic. The facilities are “five star” and everyone at NIM made us feel welcome and safe. As they say in the Ozarks, Ya’ll are incredible! God Bless you all.
We can’t wait to see you all again. ~Alumni Couple~
“The food, the counseling, the safety, the other couples’ stories—it was all so beautifully interwoven to make for a truly healing time away. We will be celebrating 3 years of restoration and healing and we continue to reflect on our time at NIM on a regular basis.” ~Alumni couple~
We read it all and we tried it all…(counseling books that is) and nothing seemed to work. We came here as a last ditch effort. The divorce papers were already filled out, the parenting and financial plans had already been agreed upon. I came here only to be able to say that I had tried everything before calling it quits. We found success at NIM. Up until now we were working on a 2D plane. The experience brought it to 4D, like a Disney ride with sights, smells and sounds. It was no longer just words on a page, but now alive like a musical. It was weird, but I could now see the book come to life. It made all the difference. We both wanted the same things all along, but we were just on a parallel track. Now we’re on the same train. I can’t be more thankful for this experience. ~Alumnus~
I came to the Intensive knowing we were at a crossroads in our marriage. We had been separated for over a year and thought divorce was the only option until I heard of this wonderful place. A small spark of hope emerged. We left reunited and our resolve to stay married has been rekindled. We know all of our problems haven’t been solved and we still have a lot of healing to do, but now we have the tools to handle the inevitable conflicts that arise. We can’t wait to apply these principles with our teenage children as well. Never give up hope? God is on your side! ~Alumnus~
We have been on cloud 10 since we got back from the Intensive. We both came back enriched and strengthened in ways we were not expecting! We can’t begin to tell you how much it meant to attend the National Institute of Marriage Intensive! We were so blessed and humbled in so many ways. Before we left for the intensive, I felt like I was alone on my marriage team and it feels so refreshing to now have my husband on my team and we are working together. I truly saw my husband’s heart softened while at the Intensive and it has just continued to ever since we got back. My heart grew wider in learning what it means to trust God deeper and not be about the “fixer mentality” that we women sometimes like to be about with our husbands. I have also been soaking in the truths that marriage is about three journeys. One is with yourself, one is with God and one is with your mate. I have never looked at marriage that way.
Before we came, we were separated. We have been building off the win/win model in moving forward, which is what our therapist taught while we were there. We will be coming back together for good at the end of this month. We are both so excited and ready to embrace a new season, and a new change in our marriage. We have continued to make huge steps of change already since we have been back and it has brought so much life back into our relationship.
We will be doing our follow up this Thursday and look forward to it. We ask that you continue to be in prayer as we move forward. That we would continue strong in intentionality in these powerful truths we have learned from the intensive. Thanks so much again for everything! ~Alumni Couple~
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! At the risk of sounding clichéd, thank you for using your gifts to help God’s people find their way through the wilderness and to the promised land! I was tempted to write you shortly after arriving home but decided to wait a little while so that my mind might have time to digest what I experienced. But even after being thrust back into the vortex of “reality” and the adrenal glands have slid back into remission, I must tell you that our experience at NIM was a life-changing event. I don’t mean to imply that our problems have vanished…. I am saying we now see them differently – In ways I never could have imagined.
I reckon many people who leave NIM share a similar experience… But this is my life. That was my experience and you were my guide. Like many people, I’m sure; I came into Monday morning filled with reservation, trepidation and anxiety. I couldn’t imagine sitting in that room for 4 days engaged in that manor. But by the time Thursday afternoon came, I found myself longing for more. Although there were times when things seemed to move slowly (as perceived by this adrenaline junkie?), the reality is, that was part of the magic of the formula that made my experience so profoundly successful.
So what happened? Actually that is something I have been asking myself since I arrived in Branson! If you had asked me on Friday, I would have told you it felt like I had been blindsided by a freight train (filled with Bibles & Marriage books, of course)! But seriously, I was able to see the stripping away of debilitating exteriors and saw the souls of my contemporaries. I witnessed deep hurt and fear shrouded in ego (including my own) being replaced with vulnerability, security and the love of Jesus. I watched people – perhaps for the first time ever – communicate real & meaningful dialogue. I found myself caring deeply about the people in that room – wanting so desperately for them to succeed and then realizing it was me I was seeing in those people. My wife and I were talking about it and in hind sight; it seemed to us that this might be how God sees us… He sees our souls. He sees the “real” us. And He wants desperately for me to succeed.
But there was more. A few days ago, I listened to a talk by Ravi Zacharias in which he referenced something written by C.S. Lewis. He [Zacharias] called it a “longing for the longing”. Lewis writes: “ If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”. On day one of our journey, you put that into perspective when you talked about the fall… The next thing that came was the blame and the shame! We have been trying to restore what we broke ever since. And I have failed miserably. It seems to me that the best we can do is see glimpses of it… evidence that what we long for really exists… and we want it desperately. In Branson, MO, in a quiet room under the Chapel in a shroud of gray skies, sleet and cold, damp air, you helped me see that in my marriage and in my relationship with others. The practical steps developed in the NIM curriculum are brilliant. The way you implemented them was genius and the result was other-worldly. You helped me experience a part of what God created me for and for that I am so grateful. Is it any wonder I now find myself longing for more of it???
Well, we got home late on Friday and I was back in the Fire House Saturday morning (back into the lion’s den). One of my colleagues asked me “how much did that cost?” When I told him, sadly, his response was “no marriage is worth that much”… My response (mostly internal) was au contraire. As far as I am concerned, our time at NIM was the best investment we’ve made to date. No dollar figure could ever match the value we received. My wife and I witnessed a miracle last week. We are living a miracle today. BTW, each of the other couples have had similar experiences as well (we’ve been in touch). So for that Brett, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for dedicating your life to helping people create a safe place to be open in a way which creates intimacy. But, as you so eloquently put it, not just for the sake of intimacy, but intimacy for a purpose… intimacy that glorifies God! Praise Jesus from whom all blessings flow!!!
Merry Christmas ~Alumnus~
It’s been a year since we came to our intensive this month!!! So hard to believe it has been that long but what a great year we have had!! We really learned how to talk to each other and recognize when we had pushed buttons and needed a time out! My husband has told several that this is something worth every penny it cost to come. We were very blessed in that his company sponsored our expense. It has truly changed our lives and we are forever grateful!! We were able to take away so much and we also still have our post it posters in our bedroom. I know I find myself being reminded of what I need to do even for self care when I see those on the wall. Love this program and the people who run it!!! Most amazing place on Earth!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all that you do!!!! ~Alumni Couple~
The 4-day intensive we attended certainly gave us an invaluable toolbox. Whatever we had to cross, all the heartache, and the hopelessness seemed “worth-it” in order to be broken down to the bottom – we were able to rebuild a solid foundation that can now withstand a hurricane. It’s helped tremendously to get priorities in order and lose the allure of worldly things. The tools have not only been a major success in our marriage but also in all relationships whether it’s family, friends, or work related. ~Alumni Couple~
I just wanted to give you an update! My husband and I attended a four day intensive in November 2010. We will be renewing our vows Saturday November 22nd for our ten year anniversary. We were in a very dark valley when we came to the intensive and hopeless. We left equipped with tools that we could really use and a renewed hope and awareness of God’s plan for our marriage. Over the last year we have had the pleasure of being marriage mentors and are seeing God use our struggles and victories in a mighty way! We want to say a big thank you to NIM for your incredible ministry and for allowing God to work through you.
It made a real difference in our lives and we no longer struggle to communicate and we are on the same team. Glory to God!! ~Alumni Couple~
This was to be the last ditch effort in using “counseling” to help our relationship. In nearly 30 years we have seen 8 or 9 therapists and 3-4 pastors for too many sessions to count. Nothing appeared to work. We have been together 42 years and will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary in 3 months. I came into the Intensive cynical at best and hopeless at the very worst. I have 10 new friends that literally helped me take a shriveled heart to one that is full. More importantly, I learned how to care for myself so it never gets shriveled up again. God gave us the right therapist, who had the unique gift of speaking to strong men and tender women. I have never seen anything like it in the past. She helped us diagnose and then finally, as never provided before, gave us tools to use to keep us moving positively forward. We leave here with more hope than ever before and with the continued influence of the Heavenly Father, a marriage that leaves a legacy for our children, grandchildren and all who come after. To all the NIM Staff: You have been instruments of the Most High God. You serve and create an environment that is like no other, one that allows the Holy Spirit to move! You are very special people and we thank you from the “DEPTH’S” of our hearts! ~Alumni Couple~
Thank you for not making it easy and giving us simple cliché words. It was truly intense and was exactly what was needed. The tools have gone deeper than anything I have previously experienced…to the core of me! ~Alumni Couple ~
I came to the Intensive to just get through it and after the first day I knew I was going to learn so much about myself and be able to help my marriage. We really had to make some sacrifices to do this and wondered if we could really afford it. I’m so glad we made this a priority.
My husband and I truly received a miracle at NIM. WE were doing everything wrong in our relationship, mainly lack of the right type of communication and true intimacy. You gave us the tools to be able to do that right. Our overall experience was beyond our expectations. We learned that there is hope when all hope was lost. Our relationship has been forever changed. ~Alumni Couple~
From our clean room to the immaculate facility and lawn, to the extra care on my gluten free food, to the prayers, the conversation, the love and care we felt at NIM is unparallel to anywhere we’ve been in a really long time. The 4-day Marriage Intensive literally changed our lives, marriage and legacy. We are beyond grateful and are attempting to express just how blessed we were by all of you! We are so excited about your Focus on the Family partnership. We’ve visited them twice and have followed them for years. We’d love to come back and serve alongside you in the future. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts. We are beyond grateful for you all! ~Alumni Couple~
My wife and I attended NIM twice. The first was last July after I told her I wanted a divorce. We came here for a week long Intensive, and it was not easy. I did not want to come or even really be around my wife. As I look back now I am extremely grateful towards my wife and God for helping me. After we left NIM last year I still moved forward with my plans to divorce and I moved out. I was only out of the house for a short time before I came home, but I continued to be dishonest and hurtful to my wife. I finally started to listen to God, let go of my anger and fear, and allow Him to work in me. That is when I remembered all that I learned at NIM. I started to realize that it was not my wife’s responsibility to control how I feel, that was mine to own. I asked her to come back to NIM with me so we could reconnect. She agreed and we traveled 2 days to return for a weekend retreat. That weekend was filled with both pain and joy, but more so joy. We have started to have Heart Talks again, and I love opening up to my wife. We will continue to practice what we have learned to get better at communicating. Everyone at NIM is excellent at what they do, from our counselor to all the staff. Thank you NIM for helping me reconnect with my wife and teach me to allow God in to give me strength. ~Alumni Couple~
These last 4 days have brought me closer to God and for that I am forever grateful. The leaders and safe environment allowed me to share my heart. I love my husband in a far deeper way. There is no amount of money too great in order to experience what we experienced in four days. The surroundings were beautiful and so comfortable. The counselors were the BEST, AND God’s presence was with us all of the time! ~Alumnus~
I don’t know if you will remember my wife and I, but we attended the 1st day of an intensive with other couples on Nov. 7, 2005, but due to an emergency had to leave to return home at midnight for emergency hand surgery for our daughter. We then returned to Branson in Feb. 2006 to complete the intensive. How we stayed together for those few months after laying all our hurts and feelings on the table amazed the both of us. However, after completing the intensive in Feb. 2006 a new life of very deep love and respect began for us. How I wish now we would have found you years earlier. We renewed our wedding vows on April 22, 2006. I cannot say that all of our problems just “poof” went away but they were certainly much easier to deal with knowing each others buttons and taking responsibility for our own feelings and actions. A little bit of true love, respect and understanding for your spouse will make all the difference in your relationship. We were blessed with your message. However, we had at that time, no idea what God was really preparing us for. It was at that Feb. 2006 intensive that my wife began to pass traces of blood, so when we returned home she made an appointment with the Dr. At first they assumed minor difficulties, only to find Nov. 7, 2006 stage 4 colon cancer. She fought a very long and diligent battle, her body simply couldn’t battle any longer. My beautiful wife passed this life 9-21-09. She was a very special and wonderful person with a passion for God, his children and their relationships. Without a doubt my soul mate. There are no words that I can say to explain what you have given our family. Thank you all involved. ~Alumnus~
We just wanted to check in and give you an update on how we are doing. First off, THANK YOU, although thanks just doesn’t seem to capture what we feel in our hearts. We came to the intensive in about the lowest place we could be not just in our marriage but in our lives. (We were ministry leaders in the Family Ministry at our church for years, teaching the pre wed and marriage classes but our own marriage was barely holding on.) My husband signed us up and I came along with no real expectations of things getting better or of even really being helped by the intensive. Honestly, I felt hopeless about life as a whole at that point. My husband was excited because we were given a scholarship to attend the intensive (Praise God), and the funds for the trip literally came out of the blue. (We received a check from our insurance company that we did not know was coming. The amount was everything we needed for the plane tickets and travel expenses) I was not hopeful, but I agreed to come.
The pre-packet that was sent for us to fill out before we came to the intensive asked, “Can we believe God for a miracle in our marriage”. That question struck me for some reason and I began to realize that a miracle was what I needed but was unsure that there was one for “me”. From the moment we stepped through the doors at NIM, we were greeted with an overwhelming sense of love. Although we were barely on speaking terms, I remember saying to my husband, “It feels safe here”. Sitting in the room I was unsure of what to expect and fearful of the outcome. I literally had a headache from the first session to the last! I thought that the focus of the intensive would be on “fixing” our marriage, my husband and myself, but we came out of the intensive with so much more! Your explaining that we are not broken and don’t need a fix was eye opening. There were times I was mad, confused, and afraid of what was to come but as I listened to the other couples sharing, my heart began to soften. We were confronted with truth not only about the Bible, but the truth about ourselves. Although my husband says that he almost left, he says he was grateful to be confronted because it freed him and I’m also glad he stuck it out too! We learned the fear dance, and marriage models and self care and it totally messed with what we had been taught by our families and the church. But guess what…it worked! We got out miracle!
Since August we have grown so much in our individual journeys and our marriage! We read the DNA for Couples and have begun reading “Waking The Dead” (Eldredge) that was referenced in the book. We have been blown away by what God is doing in our lives and are being transformed daily. When we came back from the intensive, we met with our ministry Pastors and could not stop talking about how powerful NIM was! They had attended the previous week in Rome, so we all were eager to discuss the truths we learned in the intensive. My husband and I have even taken what we have learned internationally. We have recommended NIM and some have even begun reading the book! We are seeing God move in such great ways! My husband is continuing his studies in Christian Counseling, and I am going to begin classes in life coaching soon. We would also like to take the training you all offer the next time it comes up. We have a desire to share with others what God has gifted us with and NIM was a springboard to get us in the right direction. We no longer feel like what we are teaching isn’t working for us because we are walking it out for ourselves daily. My husband describes life now as “being alive” and I agree wholeheartedly!
We just want to say THANK YOU to NIM’s staff that had a hand in “Our Miracle”! We were “loved on” from the first call to the last. We look forward to attending a Marriage Enrichment this year and are committing to making a donation monthly to NIM. ~Alumni couple~
My husband and I came to NIM knowing there was nothing else we could do for our marriage and we left with the best gift you could imagine…tools, that if used correctly will help us to have a successful, loving marriage. Just having these tools gives me so much hope that I am now excited about the future of us, whereas, before there was no excitement. I can honestly say that NIM is one of the greatest places I have ever been, and actually probably the best. NIM was amazing! Our counselor was so great. Every kind person who shook our hand just made me feel so happy to have made the decision to come. I also have to thank my husband for first bringing up the idea. It is amazing what you can learn in a few days. Thank you NIM! ~Alumni Couple~
When my husband and I attended your Marriage Intensive retreat we had been separated for almost 11 months. Our marriage counselor recommended it to us. We had no idea what we were in for. The counselors were amazing! The staff was amazing! It was just what we needed. My husband was the one who left me – he wanted to get back together but was having a hard time “getting there.” Since I can only speak for myself, the main point that “hit me hard,” was that I am responsible for my own happiness. For 12 years, I had been handing my husband my heart and asking him to tend to it – to make me happy. The counselors made it so clear that I and ONLY I am responsible for this! Wow! When that light bulb went off, it hit me hard! My husband just wants the fun, happy, great girl he fell in love with – not the bitter, angry wife I had (for whatever reason) turned into! I feel like we are both tending our own gardens (he always has), and we are working on tearing down the walls to replace them with the picket fence that is much more productive and desirable. We identified our fear cycles and I believe we are both working at “intercepting” them before they spin out of control, or even begin! We have been living back under the same roof with our three young children for almost 2 months now. We are finding the new “normal” and enjoying our fresh start! Not many couples hang in there for a second chance. I thank God, NIM, our counselor, and, frankly, our commitment and hard work! We are a true testament that anyone can save their marriage. They just have to have the desire and the right tools to do so. “Mountains melt like wax before the Lord!!!”
P.S. I have recommended this program to several friends/friends of friends – no one should be granted a divorce until after they attend this program!!! ~Alumni Couple~
I can’t begin to thank you enough for what you did for us this past weekend during the retreat. Honestly, the way we were able to connect and share on our drive home equated to about 7 hours of heart talk. We even pulled out the book and shared things we’d written, sought some reminders for techniques, and were able to move into work talk and come up with a “no losers” solution to a problem that has been too touchy a topic for us to safely discuss.We are both committed to continuing to learn and grow as a couple who strives to understand and be understood. For me, the entire experience has brought a sense of peace that comes only from God and my husband shared a similar sentiment. I realize it’s just the day after the retreat and you may often get couples who are excited about what they’ve experienced, but I can honestly say both of us recognize the reward that comes from the effort of heart talk. That rewarding experience has changed us and will forever drive how we move (or don’t move) as a united team. Thank you for sharing of yourself and for creating such a safe, warm environment in which we could begin to learn how to really connect as a couple on a deep, meaningful level. ~Retreat Participant~
Thank you so much. Our 3 day intensive was just what we needed to stop doing the same thing over and over building on insanity, but to implement a new strategy toward oneness! First recognizing how the evil one had been preying on my husbands mind for over 30 years with lies that were destructive to him that affected all relationships especially those he lives with! I too came away with a sense of peace and rest that I can experience that is not dependent on my spouse or my circumstances. I highly endorse the intensive and have enjoyed reading the DNA of Relationships as a great supplement to the program.
Please tell our therapist how much my husband and I were blessed to be in his hands. I often reflect on his gentle manner and so desire to implement that care, concern and gentleness in relating to people especially my husband. Please tell him how thankful we were to be under his care during our time at NIM.
Please tell our host couple, Jim, that we have shared his quote “what you don’t uncover, the blood cannot cover” a number of times! It has been profound in allowing the dark to get exposed.
We are Progressing to healing and are making big strides to wholeness while at the same time know that it will be a process.
To God be the glory for the great things He has done and great things He has yet to do! ~Alumni Couple~
I would like to tell you that the intensive has been one of the best experiences that I have ever had. At first, I was not sure that anything could have helped me in dealing with the rage that I had bottled up inside of me due to the death of my son in 2009. One of my biggest hurts was that I had not heard my Fathers voice since my son’s death and I started feeling that it was something that I had done wrong. I could not understand why this had happened to me and I felt that God was the only one that could bare the brunt of this anger. I thought that I had been managing it but all I had been doing is pushing it down deeper and I had reached a point that it was affecting those around me. I had not realized how I was hurting this Angel (my wife) that God had sent me or how I was going to stop it. I honestly feel that this intensive has saved not only my marriage but my sanity too.
On our first day I started to see that we (the other 8 people) were there because of different reasons but we had the same kind of hurt. We all felt misunderstood and we all know that we had a problem that was going to destroy us if we did not get control of it. Our counselors did an amazing job in listening to all of us and there was never a time that we felt like we were judged on what we said or done. By the end of the first day I still was not sure how this was going to turn out. By Wednesday we were shown the “buttons” that were getting pushed and how to identify when they are pushed, first in ourselves, then in our spouses. I did not get a lot of sleep that night. We had been given a lot of information but I was not sure how to put it all together. On the last day there I had a setback, or at least I thought it was. My wife was talking and I began to feel my buttons getting pushed. I felt it emotionally and physically building up but I did not catch it quick enough and I exploded. I called a time out and left the room. I quickly began going through the steps that our counselors had laid out for us and within just a few minutes I returned to the room. This normally would have taken me several hours to calm down enough to return to our conversation. It was at that point that I realized that this was going to work. I was in control of my emotions not the other way around. This sense of empowerment was so real and refreshing it opened up so many other doors. That night for the first time in almost 5 years I stopped yelling at God and started really praying. I opened my Bible and He spoke to me.
Psalms-40 He has heard my cries, lifted me out of a pit and placed and new song in my heart.
This is all I wanted to hear. Just to know that my Father has heard me and still loves me. At that point the hurt was lifted from my heart. This anger that was in me is gone. I now look around and see all that God has given me. I may have lost my son but I have gained a new family and 6 more kids. One can never replace the other but death is a part of life and it is not for me to question why things happen, only to love and to care for what I have been given. Thank you for your help in seeing this. ~Alumni Couple~
It is difficult to put into words how the people at NIM and the place of NIM have impacted us. We went so broken, so hurt, so confused and longing for direction and answers. Thank you is not adequate to express our hearts gratitude to all of your staff. Every meal was wonderful and every staff member was attentive to our needs emotionally and physically. The accommodations and solitude were just what we needed as well. Most of all we are so grateful for our counselors. The Lord used and spoke through the both of them to open our eyes to so many things. We have learned about ourselves individually and about our marriage that will impact every aspect and relationship in our lives. How do you say thank you for that?? We are forever changed!! God bless this ministry and every person who is a part of it. I pray that every couple who comes to NIM has a life changing event that the Lord wants to do in them. ~Alumni Couple~
Wow…just….Wow! After 10 years of knowing each other and almost 7 years of struggling in our marriage, we are finally on the road to freedom. We really had no other option than some sort of major intervention that could salvage the broken pieces of our lives, so that’s why we came to NIM. I had no clue what to expect. I thought it would be a lot of “well he did this and she did that” but it wasn’t! Our therapist lovingly guided us through the toolbox and showed us how we are made to operate as a machine. While at NIM we saw many ups and downs. I won’t sugar coat it – after our first day I slept on the couch because we couldn’t be near each other. But the second day I can honestly say for the first time in my life I witnessed a miracle. I am finally able to see and feel the hurt that has been in my marriage and its’ something terrifyingly indescribable. I am able to actually LISTEN to my wife for once and the progress towards restoration is astounding. She and I both realized things we never knew about ourselves and through the grace of God we have planted one foot on the road to recovery. It’s a long road, with lots of twists and turns, but I know where it leads now and we have the tools to get us to the end. Thank you to everyone at NIM. The love and care that was shown is so evident in every little detail of your place. Thank you NIM! ~Alumni Couple~
Forever changed and tremendously grateful for the tools given to change a stormy relationship into a peaceful calm. Twenty-one years of marriage, counselors, retreats and so many other things that we tried to move forward that all seemed to have never made a difference. What a gift God gave us at NIM in a safe environment with counselors and staff that are totally walking in a close relationship with Christ. Miracles really happen! The food was marvelous, the staff warm, friendly and accommodating. Our counselors were a gift; we could have never imagined the impact. Our host couple was the consummate hosts and we loved their warmth and hospitality. Thank you NIM for the vision and carrying out the plan for this wonderful place. ~Alumni Couple~
The experience at NIM has been like no other. Going to NIM was tough because we felt little hope and figured that we had talked to so many counselors, read books, and went to seminars and church and nothing helped. Divorce was on the table, hate was in the air and resentment was pushing us in bad directions. Being at NIM’s group Intensive was worth every dollar. We learned the exact, unique but easy tools to use every day in many, if not every, situation. We felt extremely cared for, listened to and loved on. What a great staff you have at NIM. Our experience exceeded our expectations and we are forever grateful to have our marriage back. ~Alumni Couple~
What a blessing the Intensive program was for us. I’m so happy NIM was part of our salvation as a couple. Being in the line of divorce is hard and painful, but God allowed it to happen for a reason and that is to be able to learn how to take care of ourselves so we can take care of our marriage with God as our guide. I can’t thank enough the couple that invested and put faith in your property and us. Our best way to thank them is to be a testimony of God’s infinite love. We are going to keep fighting for our marriage but this time the right way! ~Alumni Couple~
Our story seemed hopeless and messy and lonely. As a husband I had destroyed my best friend and betrayed our marriage. We were told how NIM was a helpful place for hurting people, but coming in we knew we were going to be the worst marriage in the group. To our surprise we weren’t so odd. We were normal!!!! This wasn’t a good feeling because we realized that everyone is hurting. Our experience at NIM has changed our marriage in amazing ways. There is hope! We are not alone! In fact, we made new friends in our group that will last forever. More importantly; however, we each found our best friend again. ~Alumni Couple~
What a special place NIM is. We had no idea what to expect when we signed up to come. We leave with so much hope and possibility – something six days ago neither of us had. Our counselors led us through a process that was more about ourselves personally than anything else and we learned tools that will help us to become whole individuals so that we can come together for a healthy and truly intimate relationship. I look back and see how God’s hand worked to bring us here, and there are no words to express how grateful I am we came. We are starting over, laying a new foundation of friendship and learning to let go and wholly trust God for our future. We don’t want to settle, we don’t want easy, and now we can see hope on the horizon. We have been truly blessed by your ministry. ~Alumni Couple~
It has been a blessing to return to NIM to continue to work on our marriage journey. We have gained so much insight into ourselves and what God wants for us and our marriage. This is our second visit here and our experiences have been life changing. God is truly at work through this wonderful staff. We are so grateful for our therapist, the host couple, and all the kind and loving people affiliated with NIM. Also, it is so incredibly peaceful and the accommodations and meals are terrific. ~Alumni Couple~
Tell our counselors that we are doing better than ever, reviewing and going through workbook. Thanks to you guys, we are becoming a happy couple for the first time in almost 22 years. Our entire 5 couple group has formed a private Facebook group where we encourage each other daily. You guys have blessed us beyond measure. ~Alumni Couple~
Thank you and the whole team for our time at NIM. I can’t begin to tell you the progress that we made. For the first time in years (no kidding, years), there is hope here. Your entire team was nothing less than FABULOUS! It’s so great to see people who are clearly working within their area of calling. Each loved on us and blessed us in their very best way. We felt so very cared for. We especially appreciate all the prayer that we KNOW happened before our arrival. Progress was made and groundwork was laid well before we even got there. All making our time there that much more effective. There just isn’t enough good feeling words in my vocabulary to express it all. Please accept this very small expression of our thanks and pass it forward to your whole team. ~Alumni Couple~
A day does not go by that I don’t think about the time spent at NIM. Every day I try to learn more about myself from the NIM program’s prospective. It is a different way to live life and I have a lot more confidence because it rings so true to anyone. I’ve even helped people in the field by explaining a small portion of the fear cycle to them. God has blessed my wife and I by bringing us to NIM and there will be many lives changed for the better because of it! I am excited to see what tomorrow brings. ~Alumni Couple~
Ok it is 3:05 am, all the little ones are tucked in and I have a second to respond back. One reason I have not responded sooner is that I am still pinching myself to make sure this is all real. I will start by saying I was the one that asked my husband to go to NIM because I wanted a break from life. I really did not think anything would help my marriage; in fact I was under the belief that God did not intend for us all to be happy and I was just one of the unlucky ones. I tried several times to get my husband to cancel, I was even “broadcasting” to a friend as I was packing. Not only did I feel there was no hope for my marriage, that this is how God “wanted” my life to be, but I also realized after returning home that my identity was very much tied to a bad marriage. After all, everyone around me has a fairly bad marriage and what do women do? We “husband bash” over a bottle of wine one Friday a month.
When we arrived I will admit I was still grumbling, saw the journal by the bed thumbed through it and even that made me angry. I wanted to “want to have a good marriage”; I just didn’t want to have a good marriage. Obviously it did not take long. It was day one, talking about “triggers” that it all became clear. It was that one activity that I was able to look back over my life and understand so much. I can’t really put into words what happened to my husband and I at this Intensive. I’m excited about everything, this is my new normal! When we did our follow-up coaching she said I was looking at the world through new glasses and that really is the best way to describe it. My husband and I have been on different teams butting heads since we met. The idea that we are on the same team is such an eye opener and new way of thinking. We have used the win/win a couple times since returning home, I have found myself doing things so my husband won’t have to, not because I have to, and agonizingly listening to his work stories because he wants to tell me about his day (LOL). I find listening to him is not that hard anymore.
I cannot believe that for 41 years I never knew what love looked like. I knew it was not a “feeling” but had nothing to base “love” on. People always say God loves us so much He sent his Son to die for us. Or Jesus loves us so much He died for us. I knew that but, I never understood that.
I have set boundaries for myself, and I have stuck to those boundaries. I have to say I have set my mother in a tailspin (she is NOT part of our team), but taking care of myself means not micromanaging everyone else. That takes a lot of stress off a person. My kids cannot believe the change in me and even they are working as part of the team (most of the time LOL they are still kids).
I am still trying to figure a few things out in my head, why things happened the way they did. I sometimes feel like I was the “sacrifice” in our marriage now left holding the baggage of emotions, fear, and guilt. However; knowing the care cycle, my husband is able to help me through these feelings. I know when we discuss the past years events I trigger so many things in him but we invite each other to work the care cycle and help each other comprehend. I think we even had to stop one care cycle to start another one and then come back. HEHE!! The important thing is that I felt safe enough to go to him with this, NOT someone else who is NOT on our team.
I know you probably think I am rambling. I am just so excited for what God has done. NEVER in my wildest dreams did I think I could be at this place in my life. I know it is not over, there is still work to be done and there will be ups and downs, highs and lows. NIM is a blessing that is hard to describe. I did not know what a miracle looked like. Yes I believe in miracles, but for other people. This time it was for me, and my marriage!!!! God did truly work a miracle and all of you were there to facilitate it. Thank you to all. Please know how you are all blessing marriages and people.
Oh and I did make it through a PMS with no major incidents. I did the care cycle, kept praying “God let me see my husband through Your eyes” and all was good!!!!! Stopping the lies in my head when they start is now 80% good 20% bad. My goal is 90/10.
Please feel free to share this letter with our therapists. I want them to also know the work they are doing is a blessing!!! ~Alumni Couple~
Thank you for providing such an amazing place to learn and heal. The staff has been incredible and the things we have learned about ourselves and each other have been things we’ve neglected throughout our relationship. We appreciate your ministry and pray it affects other people’s lives like it has ours. The tools are powerful and have the ability to change everything! ~Alumni Couple~
Words could not express the appreciation that we feel towards you. We have been blessed from the first phone call to the wonderful service and care you all have shown to us. Your service has not been in vain – we have the tools to grow and strengthen our marriage now. Your dedication will reach farther than you know. You have been Jesus’ hands and feet! Thank you for being obedient to the call. We love you all!!!!!! ~Alumni Couple~
My wife and I attended the National Institute of Marriage this past week and it really touched my soul. I really came to the realization that I wasn’t allowing Christ fully into our marriage and I wasn’t allowing Christ fully into me. This place is amazing and it not only gives hope to the hopeless but it also gives you tools so that you can have that really enjoyable life long marriage that you dream about. Not everybody is a perfect fit right away even though their hearts long for it. Sometimes we carry baggage into a marriage that needs to be sort out. I encourage any newlywed couple, engaged couple, or a couple that has been married for some time and are having divorce leading problems to seek out the National Institute of Marriage for either pre-marital counseling, enrichment counseling, or intensive marital counseling. I can say that over this past week my faith has been renewed, my love for my wife has been renewed, and my purpose in life has been renewed. ~Alumni Couple~*If you are looking for a solution to marital strife, this is the place. There are 3 different areas to review – and in all areas NIM is incredible. The most important is the area of helping couples through their marriage issues. The approach is simple. They learn about you, help you to identify the things that set each of you off (buttons), identify why those are important, and then talk about your wants and reactions. They pull in your past, but then help you understand that you are responsible, and that your past has given you uniqueness, but it doesn’t dictate who you are. They give you tools to breaking the cycle of reaction/push/reaction/push. While this may sound trite, it gives great insight and a serious approach to problem solving. Is it complicated? Not a bit of it. Is it easy to implement? Unfortunately, it can be tough at first. Is it important? Absolutely! Next, the grounds and accommodations are gorgeous. Also, there are no TV’s. Talk about a place to have peace and quiet. Don’t disregard the importance of this. Basically, it is calming, even if you don’t realize it. Finally, the food is crazy amazing. While you are in session there are 2 or more cooks making something special just for you. It is their ministry to serve you and you can tell. They are more than kind, they are loving. If you are having serious issues, then you need to splurge and use this program. It can work, and they will give you a chance to heal and learn. ~Alumni Couple~
Dear NIM Staff, I am very appreciative of your ministry and the difference you are making in marriages. I referred a friend of mine to your Marriage Intensive at Winshape who was 99.9% certain that he and his wife were going to divorce. They agreed to attend only so they could look into the eyes of their children and grand children and be able to tell them that they had tried everything. My friend reports that the experience was like salvation and that their marriage was not only transformed but they are helping other couples who are struggling in their marriage. ~Counselor~
Thank you for providing such an amazing place to learn. The staff has been incredible and the things we have learned about ourselves and each other have been things we’ve neglected throughout our relationship. We appreciate your ministry and pray it affects other people’s lives. The tools are powerful and have the ability to change everything. ~Alumni~
Words cannot express what an amazing experience NIM was. We came hoping for healing and restoration of our marriage. Not only has that process begun but we also have begun the journey towards personal healing and restoration. We have been given awesome tools to move forward with as well. The serenity of the location and coziness of the cottages were perfect! Food was amazing! Everyone made us feel so loved and cared for! We just want to bring our kids up and stay. We made such close bonds with the others in our group…who knew you could grow so close to a group of strangers in 1 week? I truly believe these will be lifetime friendships. I am so thankful to my Father for bringing us to NIM and for His work in our lives. ~Alumni~
We thank God for NIM and that He led us to you. We were both at the end of our ropes before attending. After going through our intensive, we feel that there is a lot of hope now and for our future. We are excited for what God has for us and our family. We thank God for your counselors. We feel like God especially placed ours with us, he was the perfect fit for us and our situation. The accommodations and staff were all wonderful and made us feel so relaxed and able to concentrate on our marriage. We want to thank everyone for all that they have done for us. Thank you NIM. ~Alumni~
Thank you NIM for being His hands and feet. From the very first phone call to my departure, I felt the love of Jesus. Every single staff member made an impact on my time with you. If one of them had been missing, my experience would not have been the same. God is trustworthy. It won’t be easy, but I will trust Him one day at a time with the tools and knowledge I have learned this week. I now know the value of my spouse more fully….his wants, his fears and his reactions. With the Lord’s help, we have hope for our future and our children’s future. ~Alumni~
To those that will come behind us, be prepared to have a life-changing experience. I came to NIM broken because my 36 year marriage was in jeopardy, and my anger was evident. But, through the tools learned and hearing others stories I began to heal. The quiet setting and beautiful location and pampering given by the staff allowed us to focus only on ourselves and aided in healing. The only complaint: the food. It was so AWESOME that I know I gained weight! No matter how or why you go to NIM, let NIM and the Lord nurture, feed and give you new strength and hope. So thankful to the program!!!! ~Alumni~
I came here lost, desperate and lacking hope. I am leaving here found and with a heart full of hope! This has renewed my faith in God! It has helped me to find me again, but with a new calmness and strength I never knew I had. The staff was amazing and attentive from the moment we entered the driveway. Thank you for making our time with you feel like a home away from home. Not only am I taking away new tools and skills, but I am taking with me a little bit of everyone who was in our intensive that touched me in different, but amazing ways. We are so thankful to have found this place. Thank you, thank you, thank you! ~Alumni~
God is good…all the time! I believed that with my brain, but honestly, my heart had trouble believing it. Thank you God for the dear people involved in this ministry. When we arrived I had so much hope for our marriage, my husband had so much doubt. I thought we came here to save our marriage…what we leave here with has saved our lives. It won’t be easy, but now we have tools and awareness and a much better chance at success (by the way, we have been married for 16 years). What we experienced here was an encounter with God, and revelation that we never expected. If you are thinking of coming, be honest, open yourself up to your spouse and the counselors and be willing to accept God’s love and grace. Before arriving we were asked, “If God were to work a miracle in your marriage, would you be willing to receive that miracle?” Thank you Lord, for our miracle!!!!! God is good…All The Time! ~Alumni~
Please accept this gift on behalf of my husband and myself. This was my down payment for a lawyer to process my divorce. I would consider it a blessing if you would use this as you prayerfully see fit for NIM. I thank God everyday that I didn’t need it! We are so grateful to NIM. Please know that you are in my prayers. I praise God that He is able to do such wonderful things through this ministry. ~Alumni~
We cannot begin to express the extreme comfort the entire staff at NIM has provided two very hurt people. Your love and support has given us both hope to heal a broken marriage. We look forward to a life together filled with love. We miss our cottage, especially since it was where we could finally be at peace and talk to one another. Thank you to your entire staff. We will see you all when we come back for your less “intensive” enrichment retreats. ~Alumni~
I don’t know if you will remember my wife and I, but we attended the 1st day of an intensive with other couples in Nov. 2005 then had to leave abruptly to return, at midnight, to our home town for an emergency hand surgery for our daughter. We then returned to Branson in Feb. 2006 to complete the intensive. How we stayed together for those few months after laying all our hurts and feelings on the table amazed the both of us. However, after completing the intensive in Feb. 2006 a new life of very deep love and respect began for us. How I wish now we would have found you years earlier. We renewed our wedding vows on April 22, 2006. I cannot say that all of our problems just “poof” went away but they were certainly much easier to deal with knowing each others buttons and taking responsibility for our own feelings and actions. A little bit of true love, respect and understanding for your spouse will make all the difference in your relationship. We were blessed with your message. However, we had at that time, no idea what God was really preparing us for. It was at that Feb. 2006 intensive that my wife began to pass traces of blood, so when we returned home she made an appointment with the Dr. At first they assumed minor difficulties, only to find Nov. 7, 2006 stage 4 colon cancer. My wife fought a very long and diligent battle, her body simply couldn’t battle any longer. My beautiful, precious wife passed this life 9-21-09. She was a very special and wonderful person with a passion for God, His children and their relationships… without a doubt my soul mate. NIM, there are no words that I can say to explain what you have given our family. Thank you for all you do. ~Alumni~
First, I want to thank and praise you for the fabulous experience my wife and I had at your Couple’s Intensive in Branson. The work you do, and allow God to do through you, is truly amazing. Every detail of our experience was first class, from gathering information off of the website, to the registration process, to the warm greeting we received upon arrival, to the cozy lodging, to the great food, and of course the truly blessed counseling we received. Second, I want you to know that you can count us as another success story. On the 6 hour drive home, my wife and I were at first quiet and, frankly, emotionally drained. As we began to recharge and talk, our mutual enthusiasm for what we had just experienced poured out. Before we arrived home, my wife reached over, took a hold of my hand, looked me in the eyes, and said, “We are going to be alright.” And alright we are…we have subsequently dismissed the divorce proceedings that were looming between us and have enjoyed the most blissful 3 weeks together (not perfect, but close) since we met. Moreover, we know we now have the tools to handle any situation that we may encounter, and that confidence makes all the difference. Again, we want to communicate our sincere thanks to everyone at NIM. ~Alumni~
We attended the four day marriage intensive in 2003 in Branson. We were two weeks from the divorce being final and this was our last effort at reconciliation. I went expecting a miracle, because that was what it was going to take. This was our fourth and final separation, if the divorce went through that was it, the end! We had been married seventeen years and had been through 7 months of weekly couples and individual secular counseling and had even separated twice during the counseling! This was definitely our last effort.Well, we not only received our miracle but our marriage since then has been the best it has EVER been. We have been truly blessed and thank God every day for it. The therapists were more like our friends, when we cried, they cried. When family and friends would ask us what happened that could turn things around so drastically, we couldn’t even answer them. Isn’t that how miracles happen? They are unexplained miracles of God. God bless your organization! Now how about bringing your intensives to the West Coast? ~Alumni~
Just a note to tell you how the Intensive Program has changed our marriage. We are both so happy now that we have learned the skills to get out of our “fear cycle”. And what a joyous thing it is not to be arguing over trivial things all of the time. Doing the “fear cycle” takes so much time and energy and makes marriage something that you feel is just too much trouble to participate in. The techniques we were taught in just 4 days were truly remarkable and marriage saving. We now have the marriage that we both have always wanted, but just didn’t know how to achieve. Everyone on your team is just so caring and pleasant, it was just a wonderful experience in every way, and the food was excellent! We really appreciated your whole staff so much. We are telling everyone what a fantastic life changing experience it was. May God bless you abundantly as you carry on this extremely important work! ~Alumni~
Thank you so much for your sacrifice to pray for clients of NIM! That has included my husband and I. We returned from Branson just last Saturday, two weeks ago. How God has changed our hearts toward each other. We are finding ourselves more in love with each other than ever before. Together we so look forward to seeing how God plans to change and orchestrate our lives as we finish the last decades of our time here on earth, we’re both in our sixties, nearly seventies! We’re so thankful for the help we received at NIM, making this dream come true after 17 years of a very difficult marriage! ~Alumni~
It is hard to believe that it is approaching two years since our marriage crisis and eventful Intensive took place. It has been an amazing time since our time with you all. It became clear that the intensive was a new beginning, but the work (hard at times) continues. And so it has, as the books, studies and conversations continue to happen. So… thank you for what you did for us and what you do for others. Please use this gift as you see fit. ~Alumni~
My husband reminded me this morning it was just two weeks ago we started our session with you. We can hardly believe it was that recent though we’re regularly still amazed we’ve been able to overcome our monumental problems over way too many years with your help and the wonderful program of the National Institute! We probably talk about something you said several times a day and want to say we’re “singing your praises”. We’re half way into the book on the DNA for couples and laughing and crying. Thank you so much for your godly insight and willingness to go through the difficulty with us! There’s no question in our minds we never want to let things go so long without good counsel, and we actually doubt we’ll ever get to anywhere close to the problem we had. You taught us much about how to handle any disagreements.
Needless to say, we’re in the honeymoon phase (so much better than our honeymoon!) still and enjoy spending as much time as possible with each other.We often wonder how we could have been so blinded to allow such stress when we actually enjoy one another very much!
We realized after sending out the email to our kids about how much we’d been helped at the institute that our message didn’t really convey what we wanted to say to them – not convincing enough that we truly were on a new page. So, my husband called all of them after we came home and explained more personally to each one. (His comfort level in communicating about our issues far exceeds what I thought he was capable of and extends to other family members) We have much to be grateful for!! Thank you again! ~Alumni, married 34 yrs~
I hope this finds you well. I have been meaning to write this to you for some time, but tax season seems to keep getting in my way. My wife and I wanted to share with you something we were told recently. You may remember that last November we put on a Saturday morning marriage mini-conference at our church to which you and your team so graciously provided us material. For 3 hours we taught the prinicples we learned from you. Almost 60 were in attendance, and we got great feedback. But here’s the cool part. A few weeks ago, we were told something that really blessed us. One of the couples there had been married less than a year. We didn’t know it at the time, but they were already having
problems, and in fact we know now that they were basically separated. She came to us a few weeks ago to thank us. She related all this to us and how bad it had gotten, but then said “y’all saved our marriage”! I’m still blown away by that statement. She went on to say they have the fear cycle posted on their refrigerator, and when things come up, the both go to it & remind themselves of where they are in the cycle, which helps them get out of it. Anyway, I just had to share that with you. I hope it blesses you like it has us! Thanks, my friend, for all you and your team there at NIM do! ~Alumni~
Wow! It is difficult to put into words how NIM has impacted us. We came so broken, so hurt, so confused, and longing for direction and answers. Thank you is not adequate to express our hearts and gratitude to the staff at NIM. Every meal was wonderful, and every staff member was attentive to our needs emotionally and physically. The accommodations and solitude were just what we needed as well. But most of all, I am so grateful for the counselors we had. The Lord used both and spoke through them to open our eyes to so many things. We have learned about ourselves individually and about our marriage that will impact every aspect and relationship in our lives. How do you say thank you for that? We are forever changed! God bless the National Institute of Marriage and every person who is a part of it. ~Alumni~
A year ago this week my husband and I attended a four day Intensive at NIM. It was a time of healing and new direction for us as a couple. This past year has been difficult at best as we struggle to be who we need to be individually and as a couple, but we both remain committed to growth and to each other. This year, on the first day of spring, we were reminded that there are always new beginnings as we welcomed our baby into our family in a beautiful and very healing birth. We thank NIM for keeping our marriage going, and praise God for this sweet little life He blessed us with. ~Alumni~
You all have given us the right tools to make this work. Two days back, we were tested to the max! We were able to STOP the spinout and take steps to get under control. The tools we learned are awesome! The week we were at NIM was unbelievable as I learned a lot about myself and why I do what I do. In learning that I am able to work on myself to make this be a happy and fulfilling marriage for my wife and I. I know it is continued work for the both of us but the last two weeks have been great. ~Alumni~
Having read many of the testimonies before coming, it was encouraging, yet difficult to understand what we were about to experience. From the other couples in our group intensive, the host couple, the hospitality team, our counselors and office staff at NIM, we felt the love and care while we found what we needed to find our peace and love for each other again. It was an amazing experience and one that will live in our hearts forever. To whoever is reading this, I’m grateful you have chosen to come. I pray for your miracle. ~Alumni~
Wow! We came to NIM wanting and anticipating a “miracle” but not knowing what that would look or feel like! After six miraculous days of loving, coaching, and guidance from our therapists, we have caught a glimpse of our multi-faceted miracle. Only He could have provided the exact counselors to fit our complex situation. WE stand amazed and incredibly humbled. We realize we are not at the end of an intensive; we are at the beginning of a journey. Only now….we have a well packed, fully stocked tool box. The tools we have acquired while at NIM have equipped us with new behaviors to help make the next 23 years the intimate, loving, fulfilled relationship we both long for. Thank you NIM. ~Alumni~
My wife filed for divorce in Sept. 2012. In October she agreed to attend an Intensive at NIM, and all the logistics worked out for us to attend, God is so good. While at NIM my wife told me she felt my unconditional love for her. She has hope to restore our marriage. There is a long road ahead of us, but God has provided so much in so little time. NIM has provided us with the tools to be able to engage one another to an environment that facilitates God’s presence. The staff was truly amazing. They were caring, loving, kind and non-judgmental. They knew we were in a bad spot and just wanted to help and serve. The program was spot on! My wife and I are already talking about when we can come back to refresh. ~Alumni~
What a safe, beautiful spot to land! The Lord’s hand is surely blessing all who engage themselves in the programs offered at NIM. Each and every team member has a huge heart to serve those hurting in their marriages. We’ve been so blessed to attend a 6 day Intensive – it halted the divorce process and we returned again to tweak our “heart talk” communication skills during a weekend retreat. We are planning a third visit in the near future. These programs are the “real deal”! Our heartfelt thanks to everyone for providing these opportunities to strengthen our relationships – not only in marriages but our families and all we come in contact with. This knowledge is powerful!!!!! Now we are working on the next 33 years of marriage. Always remember that it’s never too late to roll up your sleeves and to work on yourselves. ~Alumni~
There are no words to describe the impact our week at NIM has made on our marriage. From the moment we arrived we felt loved and cared for. It’s as if God designed and planned NIM, knowing we would receive health and healing here. The wisdom imparted to us through our therapists, the healing words that were spoken, the caring smiles, the warm hugs, God knew exactly what we needed. We will never forget the new beginning we received at NIM. ~Alumni~
We received this trip as a gift from people that care a lot about us. We didn’t know what to expect and didn’t know if this was for us. We stayed open to a miracle and allowed everything to reach our hearts. This turned out to be an amazing experience. We feel truly blessed to learn concepts and tools to help our young marriage continue to grow, to allow us to understand each other more. It’s a great feeling to experience growth in our relationship at an unexpected moment. As far as the staff and environment are concerned, a better place or team couldn’t have been available. The hospitality team is amazing, and this property is touched by God everyday. This has been a beautiful experience and we hope and pray that everyone that passes through this program has the same opportunity to experience it. ~Alumni~
Both my husband and I feel so grateful for the chance to have come to NIM. We both agree that had we chosen the marriage type counseling available in our hometown, we would have lost our window of openness. We came doubting the effectiveness of counseling on the whole, but NIM was so dynamic in its teaching and interactive qualities not found elsewhere. Our daughter and son-in-law’s experience at a group Intensive at NIM so changed their lives (continuing into 4-5 yrs now) that it was the only place I wanted to go. We were not disappointed! Though what we do with it will make a big difference, the foundations laid have opened new understandings and practices that have already changed our thinking and approaches to life’s relationships, to our self awareness and towards each other in ways that open us up for growth now. We attended with tremendous trouble, and very little hope. God put together the personalities and problems, counselors and staff to bring us all out in safety and to bond us together in love, as couples and friends (the group). Our love and gratitude to all who served us with such heart, care and love. ~Alumni Couple~
Bundles of gratitude and gratefulness to NIM for empowering us to do what we could not do on our own—get beyond the barrier walls of pain and find each other again! We had “mummified” each other with labels from every disappointment over our 20 years that left us afraid of one another. Now that all that has been stripped away with truth, we can now move forward in life as a team rather than adversaries. What a way to celebrate our 20 year anniversary!!!!!! There could not have been a material gift that could have meant or done so much. ~Alumni Couple~
What a blessing NIM has been to us.
We came there as two broken people and left as a couple with a renewed sense of hope.We now have the direction, tools and road map we need to productively work through our damage and heal. This would not have been possible if it weren’t for the love and hospitality of the entire NIM team. It was the passion, love and concern that made the whole experience possible. We are blessed to be a part of your family. ~Alumni Couple~
This is the greatest marriage ministry in the United States. We’ve attended many events in many places but none of them compare to this. NIM therapists have a style that seems to connect to all people at all levels. God definitely has his hand on this ministry. Thanks NIM for the best anniversary experience EVER! ~Alumni Couple~
Words cannot even begin to express our gratefulness to NIM. We are incredibly thankful to God for the work He is doing through the people at NIM. When we arrived, we were so broken and hopeless, realizing this was probably our last hope. God, being the gentle savior that He is, met us right in our despair and brought healing, truth and hope to us at just the right time. We know we have a lot of work ahead of us, but we have been equipped with new truth and tools to help us manage ourselves individually and as a couple. May God continue to pour out His blessing onto this ministry. ~Alumni Couple~
My life mate came clean of an affair 10 years ago. I lose my breath every time I think it or say it out loud. Our 4-day at NIM was tremendous! It taught me about self care, opening my heart to God to take away all the lies I have believed. It has taught me how to wholeheartedly communicate better and how to find a win/win for us. We really believe in the no loser’s policy. I believe with God, grace, love and connection we will live out “What the enemy meant to destroy, God will use for good”. Thank you everyone at NIM! ~Alumnus~
We came here as two people with a lot of hurt and a tiny amount of hope. The staff and therapists were God directed and always kept their faith at the forefront of the experience. The tools for communication, if applied, will positively impact our relationships with our loved ones forever. We were so skeptical that we would learn anything that would impact our marriage, but the “mustard seed of faith” gained afterwards was enough to inspire the both of us. We look forward to improving our personal lives by acknowledging the one concept of “The only person we can control is ourselves and the wholeness in relationships is completed by Jesus”. We are dedicated to being the best parents both individually and together to ensure that the legacy we bestow on our children is a Christ focused journey. ~Alumni Couple~
The week we spent at NIM was fuller than I could have imagined. The first two days were very painful as we both had so much baggage to release that neither of us realized the extent of what we were carrying. I remember thinking on the morning of the third day that we were going to run out of time before we got anywhere meaningful, but after the four days we received tools that we had never heard before that have been instrumental in turning our marriage around. The biggest thing I felt at NIM was tremendous safety to open up and share in a loving, non-judgmental environment. May God continue to move and work here. ~Alumni Couple~
Well, ONE YEAR ago tomorrow we left for NIM. We really wanted you to know a couple things. First, we are doing very well. Neither of us could have ever imagined our marriage could be this healthy and strong after 26 years. We can both remember you asking questions about being open to a miracle and if we wanted a marriage stronger than we could imagine. Although we both answered yes, in the backs of our minds, we really just wanted some peace and to live in harmony. We didn’t truly expect this, which far exceeds just living in peace! After leaving there, we knew we were in a good place from a relational viewpoint, but both had some doubts of how long things could last. Would we slip backwards? Or just stop growing? Neither happened. We just continue to grow personally and together. To this day, our large posters that Bob wrote on still hang on our bedroom walls. Our bedroom will not likely make the cover of Good Housekeeping for our decor, but those posters continually remind us of what we learned while at NIM. Secondly, we still talk about NIM routinely to this day. We talk to each other about the experience, as well as to others. Our own ministry is looking at a residential center. As we discuss this possibility, we continually tell our team about the servants’ hearts we experienced at NIM. That attitude made such a difference. We had such a wonderful time there. It was so, so peaceful. My wife likely describes it best. She was telling a friend about it not long ago and said “we could feel the presence of God when we walked in the door”. That likely says it all. If we were somehow given an infinite amount of money, we would send all of our married friends to NIM, just so they can have the same experience and marriage. In fact, we even talked about making up some problems, calling you back and coming again!!! (just kidding). Anyway, wanted you all to know that we think of everyone often, we talk about you all frequently. You made such a huge impact on our lives and marriage. There is no way we can ever thank you enough. Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and please have a great New Year. ~Alumni Couple~
Just in case you are wondering why we love receiving Christmas cards, here is one we just received this morning along with a picture of the two most adorable kids…… Dear Friends at NIM, We wanted to send a note and a Christmas card to wish you a Merry Christmas and to let you know that since our visit in 2011 we are going strong. As you can see on the card we have two beautiful children and without your help and prayers we probably would not be able to share with you that we are expecting our third child in June of 2013! Going to Branson was a blessing and honestly one of our favorite times together. May God be with each of you and bless you this joyous Christmas. ~Alumni Couple~
When we arrived at the NIM, our marriage had been shattered with years of arguments, hateful words, and pent up anger. I loved my husband but we could not seem to make it through the day without blowing up at each other. I chose to reach out for help when my husband approached me and asked for a divorce. I never realized it had gotten that serious. In my heart, I thought we argued but that at the end of the day, we loved each other. When we arrived at the NIM, he was determined to continue with his plans towards a divorce. While we attended our week of counseling, we made several breakthroughs, and learned to talk to each other for the first time in our 10 year marriage. Although we had made progress through our intensive, he did not change his mind. When we arrived home, he packed his bags and moved out. I chose to fight for our relationship by praying for us each and every day. I chose not to react to the hurt I was feeling, even when it was evident that he had chosen to leave for another woman. We continued to have “Heart Talks” throughout the separation and I continued to follow what God had told me in the intensive “Be Still”. After several months of separation, he asked if he could come back home. That afternoon, he moved back in and we sat down for a “Heart Talk” to disclose everything. I learned that the “other woman” was my best friend of twenty years, and learned the real reasons behind our separation. What drove him away was the fear that I had been lying to him for years about the details of an affair I had towards the beginning of our marriage. He was right; I hid those details and buried them deep within me to spare him hurt. In my mind, I thought it was best to spare his feelings and to soften the blow to his heart. I see now, that by sparing him those details, I created years of mistrust. My heart was broken, and every “fear button” you could imagine was pushed, but the skills I learned at the NIM taught me how to react and respond the right way. I chose to forgive my husband for the pain he caused, for the affair, and for leaving. I pray that time will heal his heart, and that one day he’ll be able to forgive me as well. He states that what brought him home was the change he had seen in our ability to communicate with each other and the skills we had learned at the NIM. We are closer now, than we ever have been. We communicate our feelings and our fears- and have become true friends to each other. It may take time for us to learn to trust each other with our hearts fully, but we are well on our way to recovery. We are excited for this new opportunity with one another and its endless possibilities. I wish I would have found the NIM years ago, it would have saved us so much hurt. Its lessons and support brought me through the darkest time of my life. I am eternally grateful to each of our counselors, the couples who went through the intensive with us, and the entire staff for their generous hospitality. ~Alumni Couple~
I find it difficult to put into words what I experienced at NIM. We arrived Sunday night feeling very unsure about our future. We were quickly put at ease by two of the most kind, caring, and loving people that I have met, CB and Arlene, your host couple. They were a very calming presence in the midst of difficult situations. Looking back on our experience, God has made it evident to me that He is in complete control and He only wants the best for me. Our experience didn’t go as we planned, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. God blessed my husband and I with two of the most gifted, talented, caring, compassionate, and loving counselors. The way they helped me to discover my worth is truly amazing. They took however long we needed to work through our issues and never made us feel judged or wrong. I have learned to focus on me and to allow myself to be responsible for my own heart. The tools and techniques that were taught to us will forever change my life. I do have to take note of the truly amazing hospitality staff here at NIM. Day after day, meal after meal, they continued to impress. The care and love each of them took was very evident to us during our stay here. Thank you! The passion to help couples and change the future is so evident to me in this place. In closing, I encourage each couple that comes to take full advantage of each minute you are given here. Open your heart and open your mind to what God has for you here. There is nothing He can’t heal, there is nothing He can’t restore, and there is nothing that He can’t make new! Please remember that God does not want you to be miserable. He wants you to have a full, rewarding, amazing and abundant life with your spouse! Thank you NIM for all you have done and all you will do. We left with hope and clarity of our future. ~Alumni Couple~
It was one year ago last week that my wife and I attended a NIM intensive in Branson. Not one day has gone by in the last year that I have not thought of all that I learned in Branson. I can promise you our story was as jacked up as it gets. I am so thankful to say that our marriage today is better than it has been in the previous 20 years. I truly have found a new love for my wife that frankly I did not think was possible. I guess what made me think of you tonight is I have a dear friend going to your intensive in Rome next week at my recommendation. Like me, he is very skeptical of what this week can provide. I have strong faith however that God is going to do nothing short of miraculous things in his life through the work that will occur at the Intensive. I am writing to say thank you. I cannot express in words my gratitude for what you allowed God to do through you in our lives. My wife and I have finally achieved a level of healing where we are whole enough to offer ourselves to you as a testament to what you do. Like many people in this economy our finances have been hurt, but I am such a believer in what you teach. I literally use your ideas almost every day in my law practice with my clients who themselves are in deep distress, not to mention in my home both in my marriage and with my 14 year old daughter. Three weeks after we left Branson, we moved into a wonderful home in a beautiful unique setting. We set out on a complicated renovation project that consumed most of 2011. The concepts of “win win” became very real for us almost daily as we confronted literally 1000’s of decisions. Challenges of creating safety and self care became truly a part of our daily existence out of necessity. I don’t really recommend taking the concepts of NIM and applying them with “baptism by fire,” but it worked for us. All this to say, we are your biggest fans. As a professional, I am a big believer in leaving the counseling to the professionals. But also as a professional, I know the importance of leveraging the support of former clients. If there is ANYTHING we can ever do to help you, please do not hesitate to ask. Please know you and your organization are in our thoughts and prayers. ~Alumni Couple~
My wife and I recently attended a Marriage Intensive at the NIM in Branson, Mo.I went in with low expectations and came away with a renewed hope for many years together as the team God intended us to be. We had drifted apart in many ways over the 36 years of marriage. Who would have thought that in 5 days we could come so far to recovering and healing. We are not naive, we know there are challenges to come, but together and with God we can do it. If you are thinking about going to an intensive or marriage retreat with NIM, I highly recommend it. We love you all and look forward to seeing you all again under better circumstances. May God continue to bless this wonderful ministry and all involved. ~Alumni Couple~
Just woke up thankful this morning as I do many mornings. Just wanted to send a note and say “Thank You” again for all you all did for us and our marriage. The scripture says “with God all things are possible.” The day we arrived at NIM for our Intensive, I wasn’t sure what the outcome would be. I knew what I was believing God for, I just wasn’t sure what would happen. My faith was weak and my spirit was tired. Today we are doing WONDERFUL! I’m so thankful for Gods strength when we are tired and weak. He always shows up on time and at the right time. We love all of you at NIM and Thank God for you daily. Everyone of you are a blessing to our family and many more. When you feel like you’re not sure you can help anyone else or you’re tired and not sure where it will come from, pull this email up and know that God is at work mightily in each of you and you are a great blessing to the Kingdom. Please tell everyone hello for us. Feel free to share my email and address with whomever! (you know who I would mean) Have a blessed day. We will come see you all soon. God bless! ~Alumni Couple~
All testimonies featured are unsolicited from National Institute of Marriage (NIM) alumni couples that have attended a Christian marriage intensive counseling program at either the Branson Retreat Center located in Branson Missouri or the Winshape Retreat Center in Rome Georgia. For more information about our Christian marriage intensive counseling programs or marriage retreats please contact us at 417.335.5882 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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