When I was in Denmark this last time, I had the tremendous privilege of photographing Niels and Lone together at Christansborg slot in Copenhagen. I intentionally left a little bit of space open to see if a shoot or two came up that I really wanted to do while there and, sure enough, that extra space allowed for me to photograph this amazing couple. I could tell you their story in my words, but the best way to hear it is straight from Niels. For those of you out there who are hoping and praying for your marriage to shift or be restored, I pray the story below gives you hope when it sometimes feels lost.
“After several years of difficulties in our marriage, Lone decided to move out. This was the first time that I really woke up and saw the seriousness of our difficulties in our marriage. I immediately started searching the Internet for topics about broken marriages. I came across a website called 2equal1 and found a phone number to call and speak with someone. I spoke to a woman who told me that I couldn’t save my marriage, but that Jesus could. I began to seek God every morning and at first, it was mostly a desperate cry to save my marriage, but slowly it became more and more of a deep longing for more of the Holy Spirit and His power in my life. Lone took the situation very seriously, so she waited a year before she decided to be divorced. But the longer time went by, the clearer it was that we would never ever be reunited.
I spoke to people from our church regularly, and they all said I could not force Lone and that there would probably be a new woman for me. This made me angry when we boldly put our hands on people who are dying of cancer and pray for them to be healed. When it comes to marriage, I found out that faith wasn’t that big. It was as though our faith does not extend as far as restoration of marriages. I experienced, every day, that God developed a greater and greater faith in my heart that our marriage would someday be restored. This, despite Lone being very clear that we would never be together again.
In the beginning, my prayers of restoration were selfish. It was about getting Lone back because I felt sorry for myself, and because it was so hard to live without Lone. God told me that my focus should change to be prayer after His heart. I had to focus on Lone doing good, praying for her, bless her, praying for God’s will about our marriage. During this time, I experienced more and more of God. I had cried to God to experience more of his power every day, and one day He spoke to me to go to Venezuela and help pray for people. This was the start of an exciting life, allowing me to see the power of God healing many of those I prayed for. Through all this, I think God shaped and formed me and made me ready to be the man Lone deserved
After 2 years and 8 months I was told that I should visualize what I believed in. I started writing a speech to Lone, one that I would read to her the day we got married again. I wrote a guest list for our celebration party. I put pictures of Lone on my phone and iPad. I thanked Jesus every day for my marriage and for my wife. After a very short time, I felt like God spoke to me and told me to bake a cake for Lone – a thought I would never get from myself! I knew Lone would feel like it was exceeding her limits and that she would let me know that she did not want me to do something like that. But when God speaks, we must act.
Lone was so happy about cake and it touched something deep in her heart.
A few days later, I realized very clearly that I should invite her on a date. A couple of times before this, I had invited Lone for a cup of coffee, but she rejected every invitation. This time she wrote back that she would like to go out with me. We met up for our date on September 10, 2016. The next day she called me and asked if we could go for a walk together. We spent that entire day together and felt like something new was happening where our love grew day by day. We decided to start our new relationship by going to intensive therapy to take what God had restored very seriously.
We spent our time together almost every day from then on, and on May 26, 2017 we got married again married. We chose this day because it was the anniversary of our first wedding.
When I look back, I can see that every time someone told me that I “suddenly would meet the real love and that I would think I had never thought it might be so amazing”, I thought I will not going to experience that, because I desperately wanted to have Lone back. Now I can look back and see that God did not just give me Lone back but I got a wife who overwhelms me with love and care that I have never experienced before and which I did not think was possible.
When God does something, He does it well!
Testing and trials creates endurance, endurance creates character. When the Bible talks that we must be enduring in prayer, I think there is a deep secret that God wants to see in our character and our heart. I have been reading this passage from the Bible every day-
1 John 5: 14-15: This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
Unfortunately, there are so many who are not willing or unable to fight for their marriage. Often of selfish reasons. They seek love elsewhere because it hurts to be alone and not have one who loves them. But if we pray after God’s heart and in endurance, He will give us what we ask for. I prayed for 2 years and 9 months before God answered my prayer, but the restoration we have experienced is worth it. Although we can still face challenges, we believe with all our hearts that there is no marriage that is impossible to restore. But we need to humble ourselves. We must see that behind reaction patterns there is always a desire to feel that we are loved, valuable and precious. If we manage to lay our own selfish needs aside and see each other’s needs, love will grow and we know that God is pleased with such humility.
I am so deeply grateful to my Father in heaven that He loves me so much that my prayer matters to Him. I am so grateful that what is impossible for man, it is possible for God. All honor to Jesus for the restoration of my marriage!