The 700 Club with Pat Robertson

Marriage restoration

Funny How God Can Change a Marriage

By Robert Hull
The 700 Club

CBN.comJeff and Tami Allen need only a few words to sum up the early years of their marriage.

“We had done everything wrong. If there was a way to do it right, we did it wrong every time,” Tami said.

Jeff was a traveling stand up comic and Tami was a waitress in a comedy club when they first met.

“He had sworn off waitresses the week before he came to town and he met me,” Tami said.

“Gives you an idea what kind of discipline I have,” Jeff said.

A handful of dates later, Tami was pregnant. They entered  marriage full of hope and expectations.

“All I knew was that I couldn’t hold my parent’s marriage up as an example of what a good marriage would be, so the only example of what a good marriage would be is what I saw on television,” Tami said. “When it didn’t go that way, of course, it was a big disappointment.”

“People at our wedding were seriously, I’m not joking, placing bets as to how long it would last,” Jeff said.

“People ask us what attracted us to each other; maybe it was mutual self-loathing,” Tami said. “We didn’t like ourselves, so how could we like each other? We weren’t the type of couple you’d have over for a friendly night of Scruples.”

Jeff and Tami moved their new family to Phoenix, Ariz., far away from Tami’s parents. Jeff continued to travel with his comedy career as much as 250 days a year. When he was home, he was not the loving husband Tami had always hoped for.

“He would come home from the airport and he’d immediately go to the bills,” Tami said. “And he’d go through the roof, just screaming, screaming, screaming and belittling me. I know in his heart, I know today, that he loved us and he loved the kids the best that he could; but it wasn’t very good.”

Jeff’s excessive drinking and explosive anger drove their marriage to the brink of divorce and Tami into the arms of another man.

“There was a point that I did the absolute unmentionable,” Tami said. “I had an affair. I just wanted somebody to like me. I wanted somebody to tell me that I was pretty, to sit near me, or not have mean things to say.”

It wasn’t long before Jeff found out about the affair.

“I just wanted to tell her, ‘I love you. Sorry,’” Jeff said. “How does it get here? How do you go from the hope, and the expectations and all that stuff to here?”

With their marriage still in ruins, Tami took the kids to her parents’ home for the summer. Jeff was not invited. Left alone to reflect on his broken marriage, Jeff turned his life over to Jesus Christ.

“When I came home, that’s when he announced that he was a born again Christian,” Tami said. “That’s when I turned to him and said, ‘what does that mean? I don’t know what that is.’”

Jeff was a changed man. His explosive temper cooled and his verbal abuse of Tami stopped. He became a loving husband and father.

Yet, as their marriage gained strength, they were hit with another blow. Tami was diagnosed with cancer. One night as she went with Jeff to a Gaither concert, Tami met God for herself. 

“They laid hands on me and started praying for me,” Tami said. “It was like the presence of Jesus, God was there. It sounds silly to say that, but I felt Him. And when we got back to the room I said to Jeff, ‘I know this sounds weird, but I know I’m going to be OK.’ I know I was healed, and at that point in my heart, my heart was captured.”

“We held each other and just praised God; praised God,” Jeff said.

Tami’s salvation and healing brought the couple even closer.

“Everything we’ve been through, everything, there is no earthly reason why we’re still married,” Jeff said. “It is a divine intervention into two people’s lives.

“We’re just not the same people; we’re not the same people,” Tami said. “There’s light in his heart; there’s light in my heart. We’re not self-loathing everyday, like we were. We know that God loves us and we know that Jesus died for all the horrible things that I did. I know He did; I know He did.”

"So, when I read about love and grace and forgiveness, I had a wife who showed me love, grace and forgiveness," Jeff said. "It still boggles my mind and I thank God. I thank God for intervening in my life and showing me what love, grace and forgiveness looks like."

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