After 50 years of marriage and a combined 81 years of sobriety, Bill and Suzanne have seen all that life has to offer. Alcoholism, the loss of a child, and Bill’s trauma from Vietnam almost shipwrecked their marriage and lives. In the midst of separation while on a trip with their kids, God sent a helicopter to change Suzanne’s heart.
“We decided to go through with a trip with our kids even though we were in the midst of a separation, and I prayed to Jesus, ‘I can’t be in this marriage, I can’t be out of this marriage, what is the answer here?'”
“We were at the Paul Bunyan amusement park amusement park and we were sitting at a table. I was caught up in how terrible I was feeling, and a helicopter flew overhead. Bill just bolted up out of his chair. I had seen him do that a hundred times, but this time, in the context of a hundred other people, it was the answer to my prayer.”
“I’d been looking for somebody to make me feel good and give me what I thought I was entitled to, and here was this man who was still really wounded and suffering as a result of the war, and that changed my attitude. I’d say grace came to me and I made my amends that night and we never really had any ideas of separation after that. Our marriage really came together.”
Bill looks at this moment as a pivotal point in their marriage.
How empathy saved a marriage
“The most significant moment ever was when she held my hands and said, ‘I’m so sorry that I wasn’t there for you, and I haven’t been there for you with your suffering over Vietnam.’ I almost went limp. It was such a moment that it’s almost unexplainable how glorious that was because I was haunted by (Vietnam).”