Can We Be Grateful in the Face of a Tragedy?

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Would you respond like this daughter?

"Dear Dr. Eggerichs,

My mother and father always had a good marriage. They were best friends and spent almost all of their time together.  For as long as I can remember, dad chose to be with his family rather than anyone else.

But like most couples, mom and dad also had their share of arguments. My father checked your book out of the library several weeks ago. He began applying to his marriage with my mom the principles set forth in Scripture and expounded on in your book. Mom called one day and told me how dad had been reading your book and that he had been so sweet to her lately.

I had lunch with my parents on Thursday, November 3.  While mom was in the bathroom, dad told me about your book and how he had been trying to change his behavior accordingly. He said it was amazing how well he and mom had been getting along since then. He said they hadn't had an argument in a week. He was absolutely giddy about it. It was so cute. He even went out and bought another copy of your book that day.

On November 5, he was hit by a car while walking to a [college] football game and suffered severe brain injuries. He died a few hours later.

I am so grateful that God lead my dad to your book so that he and mom could enjoy each other to the fullest during those last couple of weeks together. After his death, mom was so worried that she hadn’t reciprocated when dad had been trying so hard.  I assured her that, based on my conversation with him that day, she had. Dad would have been 70 years old on Thanksgiving Day. We all loved him so much and are grieving this great loss. He was an unselfish man who would do anything for his family. He was a retired Navy pilot who had served his country honorably for 21 years. He was strong and healthy and should have had many more years on this earth with mom and the rest of us. We miss him more than words could ever say. We are trying so hard to make sense of this tragedy and have failed to find any answers.  

All I knew was that I had to do what I could to make something--anything--good come from this. So, I asked mom if I could have the book.

I'm about halfway through it and I am absolutely ashamed of the way I have been treating my husband for the last several years. I never realized how my constant criticisms were affecting him, nor did I realize how desperately he needed me sexually. I have tried just since Sunday to try and show him respect (which is really not very hard, because I do respect him) and to be more available from a sexual standpoint. The changes in him have been quite remarkable and I feel closer to him than I have in years. I think this would make my dad very happy.

I would just like to add one more thing. Please let the couples you counsel know how precious every moment with their spouse is and how they should try to waste as little time as possible on the Crazy Cycle. I know my mom would have given anything for her and dad to have had many more years to practice what dad had learned about the Scriptures from your book. If even one couple hears mom’s and dad's story, and are thereby convinced to give the Love and Respect message a try, I know it would make dad happy and would mean something good had come from all this.

Finally, thank you for writing the book and helping mom and dad as well as my husband and I.  I am extremely grateful."

From this daughter and wife we are reminded of several things that I wish to ask you.

  1. Death is inevitable and if it comes to our spouse, will we have regrets about how we lived with them?

  2. In the midst of tragedy, if tragedy were to come, would we look for the things about which to be grateful or would we prefer to curse God?

  3. In experiencing firsthand what we just read above, would we respond to our spouse like this daughter did to her husband? Would we gain wisdom from the suffering and become a more loving and respectful person, or the opposite?

-Emerson