in sickness…and in health

Anyone who has been married knows that marriage can bring both great joy and tremendous heartbreak. Beyond the day-to-day challenges facing modern couples, the introduction of chronic, long-term, or terminal illness to a marriage is documented as one of the main reasons for marital discord and break-up. – Dr. David Guretzki

This is an issue that is very close to my heart and why I am exited about the upcoming seminar called “In Sickness and In Health“.

In 2010, my husband was in a motor vehicle accident.  A diffuse axonal injury and fat embolism syndrome left him with a severe traumatic brain injury. He was in the hospital for 76 days and unable to work for 8 months. Our marriage and young family took a hit that only God could help us survive.

The neuro-psychologist in charge of Andrew’s care told us that 90% of marriages that are impacted by a brain injury of this type end in divorce. That year alone, of his 28 patients, he told us that Andrew and I were the only couple still together.  He was compassionate and kind but I wondered if he was, in his own way, giving us a way out of the struggle and pain of what we were dealing with.

I desperately did not want to become a statistic.  But not becoming a statistic is not as easy as gritting your teeth and wishing it not be so. Our commitment to the vows we made to each other, “for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health” were tested beyond what we could bear.  And we very nearly didn’t make it.

But God…

I met Dr. Guretzki when I attended his Briercrest seminary course ‘Life in the Mess – A Theology of Forgiveness and Reconciliation”.  During our in-class discussions my own story came out and sparked a conversation about a seminar he had developed after his wife was diagnosed with MS.

I wept as I read through the seminar notes that Dr. Guretzki had sent to me to review.  There were biblical truths that I wished we had known that might have made things easier for my husband and I.  Still, there were other ideas and strategies mentioned that God had given us – even as we were unaware and in the heat of the battle – that made a positive impact; thus confirming in my heart that this particular seminar needed to be presented at CrossRoads for couples, leaders and pastors.

David says, “This eight-hour seminar will begin with a review of the biblical meaning of marriage—the covenant of love created by God between a man and woman. The seminar will then explore practically and theologically responsible ways in which spouses can honor God with their marriage even while seeking to understand and attend to the special needs that arise when one (or both) spouses are facing chronic and long-term physical and/or mental illness. The goal of the seminar is not to make something difficult easy—dealing with long-term illness is never easy—but to provide hope that even marriages that face serious health issues can not only survive, but glorify God and thrive.”

If you would like to find out more about this opportunity to build a biblical understanding of what it looks like to thrive in the midst of illness and marriage, please email or register  by clicking here.

Beyond the Seminar:
For those wishing to attend the seminar and earn subsequent seminary credit at Briercrest Seminary, Dr. Guretzki will make available an independent study course.  If you are interested in this option, please contact him directly at

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