The divorce papers were filed. The two children were adjusting to a rotating schedule, going between mother and father. Hearts were broken, relationships were mangled, and the end of Adrianne and Harry Day’s marriage seemed inevitable.
They had one more shot. A friend invited Adrianne and Harry to Outback America, a three-day marriage retreat where couples strive to build and restore relationships with the help of professional and spiritual leaders. The Days couldn’t afford to go—an all too familiar story was playing out in their home, with financial burdens playing a large role in their split—but the Outback America leaders granted them a scholarship.
They tried to keep their expectations low, but Adrianne and Harry went into the weekend knowing it was their last chance.
And it worked.
Adrianne and Harry came home from Outback America determined to fix their marriage.
Three Days in May
How does an entire marriage change over the course of a long weekend? What could have been said to undo years of pain?
“I don’t know if it was a miracle, or we were just at the right place to receive that kind of information and that kind of love,” Adrianne said. “I think it was watching others serve, watching others truly show God’s love [that] let us let down our guard and [showed us] how we can build and use that.”
Adrianne describes the lead speakers, David and Terri Sumlin, as “shockingly honest” in their testimonies, allowing the Days to see a couple who had been through hurt, infidelity and disregard for the other’s thoughts and feelings.
“You look at them, and you see this amazing couple, this God-loving, faithful couple,” Adrianne said. “Then, when they shared their story, you realized they had huge obstacles in their past, and they were still able to rekindle and rebuild and evolve their marriage. It gave you hope.”
Throughout the weekend, counselors also sought out Adrianne and Harry to offer them additional guidance. At one point, Adrianne even heard her husband pray for the first time in their 14-year marriage. She knew he was uncomfortable, but it helped knowing he was in an environment that was protected.
That same protected atmosphere let the couple discuss her husband assuming his place as the spiritual leader of the home. When the counselors pulled them aside, Harry stepped up and was able to openly discuss who he wanted to be and what his role should be.
Fifteen Years in June
Harry and Adrianne marked 15 years of marriage on June 22. As a nod to their rescued marriage, they decided to go back to Outback America and host a last-minute vow renewal on the grounds. They stood before 80 guests, most of whom were friends from the retreat who had banded together to pull off a last-minute wedding, and recited the same vows they wrote and said years earlier.
Some of their longtime friends didn’t understand the significance and missed the event, but those who experienced Outback America with the Days were there. Friends came in from out of town to spend days making flower arrangements. Others did hair and makeup. The Outback America team even provided the food.
Adrianne was a bride the first time when she was 21. The huge wedding she spent months planning back then turned into a show for spectators instead of a celebration of love. That didn’t happen this time. Adrianne and Harry were re-married in front of a wooden cross with their two children nearby. It was all about them this time.
There has been peace since the retreat and vow renewal, something Adrianne and Harry prayed for during that period of turmoil.
They joined a church and are in talks about leading groups with other struggling marriages. Adrianne isn’t as shocked when Harry grabs her hands to say the blessing. It’s a welcomed change.
Hearts weren’t broken in three days, and they won’t be fully mended in three days, but Adrianne said Outback America taught her it’s never too late.
“You can find healing,” Adrianne said. “You can find forgiveness.”