I met Pamela, 28, on her porch after a workout, droplets of sweat glistening on her tan collarbones. Her red dirt bike was collapsed besides the porch railing. She sipped a glass of water with ice. We got to talking about her husband of six years, Paul, who was currently on a military base stateside, preparing to leave for Afghanistan.
Today they are happily married. They bond over date nights, and enjoy traveling together. Next to the toilet in their bathroom is a stack of travel magazines, and on the wall above is a framed photo of their adventure with a moose in Yellowstone.
But four years ago they were on the brink of divorce.
When Paul returned from Basic Training, Pamela thought he was a different person—tougher, angrier. She wanted out. Paul begged Pamela to see a counselor. She was skeptical. “I was really pushing him away. He was trying to bring us back together,” Pamela says.
Paul found a marriage conference on the internet called, “Save my Marriage!”, a three day educational seminar featured on the TODAY Show and Good Morning America because of its 75 percent success rate.
Pamela didn’t want to go, but her mother cried to her over the phone, telling her in a heart to heart that she shouldn’t “throw away a relationship of love just because you’re being selfish.” Pamela’s parents divorced when she was little, and her mom’s tears told her that divorce is not an easy way out. So she went to the seminar.
While there, the couple “recommitted to each other.” They decided that “instead of trying to push each other away” they would listen to and respect one another. They also started going on weekly date nights, during which they “tried to relearn each other” and were surprised at how much fun they had in the process.
It wasn’t an instant change. But within a few months the couple fell back in love. Pamela now believes that you might not always feel in
love with the person—sometimes you might hate them—but you can still choose to love in a committed way. If you do that, she thinks you will most likely fall back in love.
“As long as you both put forth the effort to make the relationship work, it’ll work,” she says.
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