Restoring Hope to Your Marriage – Ron and Opal Erickson

then God would say just love him just loving just be kind making some cookies pickings him to work have him over for good meal things like that of just so in love welcome to the focus on the family broadcast helping families thrive you know John here focus on the family we love stories of hope I mean that’s what it’s all about Redemption and the Christian life is that story where people are struggling they don’t know their purpose they don’t know what’s happening why things are going wrong they encounter Christ through a friend through a church through whatever means and their life begins to make more sense and they begin hopefully to change and that’s the key that sanctification process romans 5 tells us we rejoice in our sufferings knowing that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character and character produces hope and hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who’s been given to us man I love that I mean that is power packed and it sums up the story we’re gonna hear today yeah Ron and opal Erickson have walked through the fires of that kind of suffering you describe there’s been moments of failed marriage rejection adultery but God has done a remarkable work and we are so pleased to share that with our listeners today Ron is an accomplished steel guitarist and opal sings as they minister to seniors across the country and they’ve been singing together for over 40 years now they happened to be a host couple for our hope restored marriage intensives and that of course Jim is for couples on the brink of separation or divorce I’m so excited about that program and you get to see it right up close and we so appreciate that but couples are on the brink of divorce many of them and this is their last hope and we have an 81 percent post to your success right we just read that statistic and I’m pleased with that that is a great success rate I want to say to Ron and opal welcome to focus on the family thank you you do work with hope restored what kinds of things do people say do couples say when they come to the program what brings them there fear frustration anxiety they do they have an intensive program five days as you know and I look at it as couples that are in intensive care for survival for their marriage they this is the last hope for many of them yeah now you’ve been there I mean that’s what makes your story so compelling it’s almost your pain became your passion and that’s I’m sure why you’re involved with hope restored let’s start from the beginning how did you two meet I was in the Air Force at the time and I was stationed at one Robins Georgia which was about 15 miles from Macon and I was playing banjo at Shakey’s Pizza ragtime Dixieland music four nights a week and she came in there as a patron with another airman friend of mine as a date and I I saw her walk in the door and I made an attempt to meet her and that was a bold move by the way what what were you thinking when this brave young I was frustrated very frustrated that I had this date with this guy I had befriended him and had helped him out in a tough situation when he was moneyless and so he wanted to just do something kind for me and he wanted to take me to meet his friends that played at Shakey’s and so I was so aggravated all day at work I just kept saying why did I agree to this anyway I called a friend of mine from church and I said would you and your brother go with us to shake these to me because I just need some help here and so my hover yeah she was my age he was this guy’s age of young airman and so anyway we did that and when I saw one that was kind of I like that and I like a musician and I can sing so anyway it went pretty good from a faith perspective where were you coming from were you Christians when you met and was the Lord the central part of your relationship I came to know Christ at a very young age I mean I don’t even remember my age actually but like probably six or seven something like that so he was a very integral part of my life always just my friend and my mother was a wonderful Christian and so she was my example my dad was not a believer at that time and didn’t come to know the Lord until right later in life and I was raised in a Christian family in a Christian Church but it was the kind of church that never offered an opportunity to make a decision it was New Year’s Eve 1971 after playing at Shakey’s that night I went home by myself as a single airman and I turned the TV on and I was watching a program and and one of the Grand Ole Opry stars Connie Smith was performing and I thought this was a country music special turned out to be a wreck some barred ministry show okay and that she shared her testimony and it was that evening that I committed myself to Christ why not for salvation and and I also prayed that evening that God would send me a godly wife yeah because I I was tired of being alone and being single and I wanted the right woman yeah and that’s everybody’s desire you know I’m thoughtful of that because you look at television ministry look at radio ministry you know so many people even write focus about getting to know Christ through the program and making a commitment to Christ to their program it’s a wonderful and very rewarding feeling that we all get to participate in something like that and we don’t know their stories they may not be public figures but the Lord knows and if you’re in that spot oh my goodness that’s job one for us is to make sure we introduce you to Christ take us through that early part of marriage first 19 years you’re sailing along it sounds like were there difficulties were you experiencing kind of that flesh you know the anger and other things at some marriages face I found out early on that neither one of us were quite what we expected because we got married within 90 days of meeting and I think that’s probably true with most couples we really don’t know each other until we’re married you might court three or four years and not know each other really well too so but that was one of the one of the cracks in your relationship it sounds like well it was and I thought that perhaps she has a commercial voice and she’s a excellent singer and performer and I always had dreams and aspirations of being a musician and and full-time entertainment and when opportunities would come along in our life for that to happen she declined and that hurt me and it hurt my expectations and aspirations for a career with both of us but I found out you know later in life that was not God’s plan that was my plan right and that caused bitterness and resentment to to come into my life because there were unmet expectations not only in that arena but in in other areas of life as we all have but I didn’t feel comfortable confronting those I thought well I’m just wrong and I can’t force my my aspirations on her yeah ople how are you feeling about that you’re feeling a bit of tension there and disappointment at times yes I’m actually the opportunities that came our way you know one probably would have taken us to Nashville that was with us being kind of a country southern gospel background but I just I just couldn’t do that because I could not see myself playing in bars that just was not appealing to me whatsoever right and so so that was a turndown and then there was a couple of other opportunities that I just wasn’t ready to take a baby on the road for something like you know to be traveling all the time and so you’re the prudent one the wise one saying well this isn’t really the future and I just didn’t feel like that was what the Lord wanted our marriage our life at that time so the years go by and you’re doing marriage you’re doing parenting you’re making a living eventually you sought out counseling what what prompted that what situation were you in what was the environment like well we had we had lived our life serving God and we raised our two daughters in the church and we’re active with the youth groups and and I played music in the church and we sang with the praise and worship team we did all the right things and we were very sincere about it but still there was an underlying tension that hadn’t been addressed and we went to counseling with actually with Gary Smalley after I moved out of the house this was in 1998 right and I had moved out and I had I got involved with an employee of ours and you know it seemed on the surface that she understood me and could meet my needs and and I was able to be a father figure or mentor to her and help her so it was crazy but it’s all a life of deception and we went to visit with Gary Smalley and the first visit that we had with him I had to stop seeing the other person of course that was what he said right and I did I wasn’t willing to do that I didn’t want to go back to where I was in the relationship with my wife I wanted out of it I wanted to seek a divorce but I knew that I had no spiritual grounds for it she had done nothing that would allow me to seek a divorce that God would approve of Ron let me ask you this I mean honestly now you’ve passed that as many years ago and opal we’re gonna get to you and get your perspective on this because women right now are screaming at the radio and why did you stay with and hang on everybody because God’s heart is big enough to absorb our sins but Ron I really I do want to ask you was it selfishness was it pride when you look back at the sins that we commit in our own flesh that works against God’s best for us now that you have retrospective what do you think it was working in your heart why the deception why’d the fog is it wrapped in pride or selfishness it was about me I wanted my needs met I wanted myself to be happy again you’re speaking to some spouse that is going that’s my husband that’s my wife or the that’s me that’s right I think pride has a lot to do with it and having your own needs met it it’s a greed kind of thing I wasn’t too concerned about meeting her needs I didn’t feel like she had any I thought I met all of the needs in her life but she wasn’t meeting mine and it was more than just the career opportunities but but that can be anything in anybody’s life right it’s that money monster thing it is yeah opal tell us what you’re feeling what you’re going through and these things are not instantaneous these situations often take months years to develop so it’s not probably a surprise to you what ron was going through but describe where you were at what things had done quite well for us until right about my think Ron we had turned up 35 35 36 years old and he went through a midlife crisis at that point and so that was the beginning of a troublesome time in 1997 when this really kind of blew up again started it was just it was a replay of that midlife crisis thing and so he just kind of lost his way and he just was he was just an unhappy person but early on I mean I I knew the things were troubled and I was just seeking God what’s wrong he shut down at this point he wouldn’t really communicate with me at all and so I just really spent time in them with the Lord praying fasting and seeking Him and his will and in Revelation of what’s going on here and so anyway God did reveal to me the affair and that was a shocker and then like Ron said he had moved out and I I just it’s like Lord you’ve just you know you’ve got to help me with this because I don’t know what I’m doing I don’t know what to do I was scared to death and hated what was happening but early in that first month within that first month that he moved out God spoke so plainly to my heart and said stand and believe for your marriage stand and believe and and believe good words and in in just a discovery mode of what was happening with him the Lord had me go to Hosea and to the prodigal story and to really read that again and I walk it and to walk it and it was okay Lord all I’m hearing right now is love him but let him go what does that really mean Lord well then a few months later they let go happened because he left moved out yeah and though he had moved out we still own their own business together so we work together every day oh my goodness so it was like he left me every evening yeah again right God said to stand and he’s the scripture he gave me was Hebrews 10:35 and 36 this cast not away that confidence for it has great reward where you have need of endurance but after you have done the little god you shall receive the promise and that was a word to my heart oh boy I need to ask you though to help the person who’s listening again the husband or the wife that maybe their spouse has been unfaithful whatever it might have been when you say Hebrews 10 there and you’re giving us that scripture when you’ve done everything that God has asked you to do in essence describe what that is because how did you a know what it was that God wanted you to do and then be how did you do that with a heart of kindness when it’s easy for our flesh to rear up and say I have every right to walk out of this even God gives me the right to walk out of this right now his heart is not for that but he said in this kind of situation this is the one instance where I can leave you and God will support me in that how did you fight that temptation how did you know what was the right will of God to do well I had seen what divorce had done in my siblings and so in my family and my heart was I didn’t ever want to go down that path because I believe God’s Word says that God hates divorce this is what I love about that he doesn’t hate divorce people but he hates what divorce does to people why is that do you think from a spiritual standpoint I I think it’s because it separates the divine nature of God in us as male and female in marriage as the model of what God intended for us to be complete and so it shatters that it grieves his heart and it has such a ripple effect like an earthquake and it just goes on through generations and to you know to family to friends and it affects so many people so my heart was to just they true to God and and just trust him with the word that he had given me it I have to tell you it was not easy and I could not in fact my brother-in-law said to me later after we’d gotten back together he said opal I could have never done what you did and I said do you know what I could have never done what I did except through the grace of God but there would be days when I wanted to go bash out his windshield and slit his tires and I mean you know really flesh was there and those really easy those yes anywhere but then God would say just love him just loving just be kind making some cookies pickings him to work have him over for a good meal things like that of just sowing love that’s where I learned a new lesson about what God’s love really is mmm it isn’t just loving your neighbor I thought I could do that pretty good but I had to learn to really love my husband in a new way there’s no expectations that’s what it means not expecting anything because I was getting nothing by all human signs your prayers were not being answered as Rhonda divorce right it was 18 months your patience partner trying to get away so what was that moment when Ron did you say okay I’m hearing God’s voice in my own heart I mean opals hurt hearing the Lord in her heart I mean bacon cookies for you was no easy matter and so what started that process for you to say I am the man I think I want to interrupt there just a little bit because I think it’s what God did in me that generated what happened with him that’s often how it is yes because you know I was hearing all these voices that you mentioned before you know get rid of the bomb just just get rid of him and go on with your life and you know it’s okay with God and just do that but that wasn’t what my heart was and so I didn’t listen to those voices but after 13 months Ron filed for divorce and he started going downhill even worse from there I saw him literally destroying himself just almost like dying before my eyes and so I just was in prayer again Lord what do I do and he spoke this word into my heart exile and I said Lord what are you really saying to me through that so I went to the dictionary and I looked it up and it says removing one’s self from their own homeland or country by force or by their own will and I said Lord are you telling me that it’s time for me to leave here to get out of Dodge hmm get out of Branson and I said if so I need to know I need to have a real strong confirmation that night on TV there was a evangelist preaching never had heard before and he spoke on Exile had never heard a message before or since on Exile and I said okay god I get it so we’re in the process of selling a home we got that taken care of and I left and went didn’t move but we closed on the house and all that and I left Ron and I told him I said left work you know walked away from the job and I said I have to go and get well I said I am a mental and physical emotional wreck and I said I don’t want to hear from you outside of a death in the family cuz I needed to just get that out of my mind and just go get well and so I went to South Carolina stay with my sister to do just that yeah and it was there where I really met my good cemani when you look back on that that tenderness from the Lord really I mean and I so many people say hey you know I’ve never had that experience but it often happens that way were you get a word and it may be just a word exile and then boom the Lord fills in the blanks through those around you do you think you would have successfully and what I mean by that is emotionally in a healthy way come back together if you didn’t have that time at your sisters I have my doubts I really I’m not sure that could have been the final nail of separation really what I’m hearing but it was a way to actually begin reconciliation so yeah because when when I left I before I met with you know my gasps emanate was Lord if it could be your will let this cup of divorce pass from me nevertheless not my will but your will be done that’s a powerful I became willing to accept because I knew that he has his own free will and that God would not violate his will he had to come to God by his choice Ron okay so she’s now moving to the east with her sister to get some space between you how is God dealing with your heart well though God’s Word says that the enemy comes to steal kill and destroy and he stole my soul my mind my will and my emotions were depleted and I had lost everything in every arena of life after 18 months we sold the business we sold our home my relationship with our children was dwindling it was spiraling down I had lost my my ability to reason to think so I got to the point where I realized that I was really out of control of my own life I had no control over any arena of my life I was alone bought a new 5th wheel travel trailer so I could have some equity out of the marriage get that fifth wheel right and I wasn’t going to pay rent so I just owned my own little place and I’m at a campground in in Branson Missouri where we lived and I got on my knees before God and I said God I’m out of control and I knew the only way I could survive was to give God control of my life and mean it and I didn’t know what that really meant at the time I said God I’m out of control and I need you to take control because I’m I still need to survive but in that context then what were the steps you felt the Lord saying this is what you do this is what I’ll do but this is what you got to do so God had to meet me at the very bottom at the simplest level yeah he said go to bed get some rest for your body when you awaken in the morning go back to your office we’d sold our business but we hadn’t closed on the deal so we were still running the business he said just know this that whenever the telephone rings whoever’s on the other end of that conversation I’m in control of your life Wow if you go to Walmart whatever checkout line you get in whatever parking space you have I’m orchestrating your life I’m in control I’m calling the shots I said God I can deal with that thank you and it wasn’t long after that until opal came back to Missouri she moved in with me and God started the restoration process in our life opal did you see a change in Ron where you was it palpable was it something you could I had been praying that God would let me know that God was working on Ron see I hadn’t talked to anybody no family nobody and so when I got back home that day my sister said opal she said your father-in-law called today and I said really and she said yes she said and he left you a message and he said to tell you that all he’s hearing from Ron is that he wants his opal back that’s like wow so that was my first clue that God wasn’t doing something so it was just another week or two maybe I don’t remember but after that that Ron called me and he and he told me about you know having this experience and and so I could hear some changes and and a little bit of hope and so it just kind of started to grow from there we started spending some time on the telephone and and my plan was to go back and just gradually try to put this thing back together but that wasn’t what God did so he put it on the fast track he did and how many years ago was that now I mean for the skeptic listening how long has it been since 99 18 years yeah I mean so you guys have lived it you guys are through the mess we’ve got to end with the advice for others what is the hope what do people that are struggling have to take away from our discussion today to say okay if Ron and Opel can do that we can do this well we made a decision that we wanted to really seek God for what was to take place next in our life because here we are we’re living in a fifth wheel you know and I’m well yeah new truck and we were homeless and jobs but yeah we had no home we had no business we had you know we were free so what he went was out of our lives hmm so we prayed that God would give us divine appointments and boy did he and I want to inject this for all the parents and grandparents and siblings and friends that are praying it was 18 months but my dad kept coming by my office every day and he would say I’ll be so glad when God restores your marriage and I thought you crazy old man ain’t gonna happen I’m in control and you can pray all you want but it’s not gonna happen well guess what it happened God restored it because his forgiveness is overwhelming His grace is sufficient and His mercy our new every day or every day there’s no better place to end than that I mean and in that everybody’s story is going to be different the core that I want people to hear from your story though is that there’s hope there’s hope in Christ and no matter how depleted your marriage appears if you believe God can work a miracle in your marriage then there is that hope and that’s what you represent I so appreciate what you do now with hope restored the intensive counseling effort it focused on the family there in Branson if you are a couple who is in that spot where you are struggling you don’t know that you can make it through today this week this month this is a program for you it’s brutal it’s like you said in the beginning it’s it’s spiritual boot camp it’s marriage boot camp and you get down to some very core things and I’m hearing out of your testimony that God kind of reordered the way you treat each other the way you communicate with each other the way you love each other and most importantly Ron in your case the way you decided it’s not about you it’s right and that’s what all of us Christians have to conclude at some point that maybe it’s about those around us that we need to be you know most attentive to and I think when we do that God is pleased so thank you for being with us thank you for your great story in God and what he has done in your life it’s been great to hear it from you thank you thank you thank you for having us hey I’m John fuller and thanks for watching get more info about focus over here and more from our guests over there and be sure to subscribe to our channel as well

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  1. only my .02, but today a Marriage is not between a man, a woman and God, but a man and the state, it is a contractual trap to be avoided at all costs. Just saying 37 years into a life sentence paying the price of conformation…. so buyer beware, hang on to God, be single and celibate is your best shot.

  2. I met these folks while I was there. They are two of the most wonderful people! God really did a miracle in their lives. Such a godly example of loving your spouse no matter what.

  3. I agree on everything you have said and I have same kind of video like "Restore Hope For My Marriage" on my channel but with different aspect, have a look on mine too. I’m sure you will like that. Here's the link ( Thanks! 🙂

  4. How loving and forgiving were young to each other after the termoil. Great example for all marriages. God Bless your marriage. 🙏🙏

  5. Our family just loves focus on the Family. So genuine and desiring to be a blessing to families. These guys are real.we appreciate you guys Jim Daly and John .God bless

  6. Thank you for sharing your story, I am standing for my marriage and I am believing God for a miracle. My husband is not a believer but I stand on His word, nothing is impossible for God. Blessings to you both and Focus on the Family.

  7. Right now I am going through a similar thing with my wife. Pray for me and my family. I will trust and obey God all the way🙏🏿. These 2 people are so humble in each other the give the sense of oneness. God will continue to bless you two.

  8. I’ve watched this video over and over this past year……gives me such hope in Jesus to restore my husband, my marriage, and my family! Thank you Ron and Opal for sharing!

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