Jack and Diane (not their real names) were a week away from finalizing their divorce. As their kids and close-knit community waited in anguish, their two closest friends, Bob and Amy, armed only with 12 cans of Bud Light, decided to fight for them. And it worked. Today Jack and Diane are happier than ever. Here’s how they did it…
After finishing a marriage program at their church, Bob and Amy approached me: “We loved your message. But we need a way to get it to our dear friends, Jack and Diane. Their marriage is ending and we are devastated. What can we do?”
“What do they drink?” I asked.
“Bud Light,” Bob said.
“Well then, let’s get to work!” I said.
So, over the next ten minutes the three of us quickly designed “Operation Bud Light”. After a quick stop at the party store Bob and Amy were at Jack and Diane’s front door…
Two months later, as I greeted the newest patients in my waiting room I knew something wasn’t normal; they were giggling, kissing and touching each other like high school sweethearts. (This is not typical for couples who come for therapy!)
“How can I help you?” I asked.
“We are here to thank you,” they said. “Two months ago we were days away from finalizing our divorce when our doorbell rang at 10:30 PM. Our dear friends, Bob and Amy, were waiting for us on the porch with a 12-pack of Bud Light. For more than three hours we talked, laughed, cried, and learned how much they loved us and our family. Two weeks later they babysat our kids and we were on the marriage weekend workshop that you recommended. We still can’t believe how close we came to blowing up our family.”
Here’s what I learned about rescuing hurting marriages from Bob and Amy’s “Operation Bud Light”:
1. Do something bold and loving. Too often we fear saying the wrong thing…so we stay silent. Bob and Amy showed me that we have more power than we imagine.
2. Offer specific, constructive options. When Jack and Diane agreed to give their marriage one last shot, Bob and Amy suggested an upcoming “Imago” marriage workshop and it helped to save their marriage. Retrouvaille weekends and Resurrecting Love weekends are similarly transformative.
3. Offer to help. Bob and Amy’s offer to babysit made the weekend possible.
Watching those close to us struggle in their marriages is difficult. But we do not need to stay paralyzed. Following Bob and Amy’s lead, we can help to rescue struggling marriages with a little bold, loving and constructive action.
And sometimes a 12-pack of Bud Light!