"Reality set in after our honeymoon," says Maria Purcell. "I had been a single mom for years and had worked hard raising my girls all alone. Now, I wanted to be 'queen of the house' and wanted my husband Derrick to do life my way while pampering and spoiling me."
On the other side, Derrick was suffering from "king of the house syndrome." After being single for 33 years, he was ready to be served and didn't feel he was getting the respect he deserved at home. As Maria and Derrick dug in their heels, both admittedly bound by selfishness and stubbornness, their marriage continued to suffer.
"We didn't recognize God in our marriage but pretended it was perfect when we were in front of our friends at church," Maria says. "We lived more as roommates and didn't know how to compromise.
"We've Learned to Do Marriage God's Way"
After four years of an unhealthy and struggle-filled marriage, Maria heard a radio ad for a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway. She and Derrick agreed they should give it a try--each convinced that the other would learn the error of their ways. But the conference was a huge eye-opener for both of them.
"We had been living a lie for so long, pretending we were happily married," Maria says. "At the conference, we learned we were each other's gift from God and that the Lord needed to be at the center of our relationship. We started getting excited about our future."
In fact, the Purcells were so excited about what they were learning that they didn't want to keep it to themselves. In 2007, they started up their first couples group. Today Derrick and Maria serve as our Weekend to Remember directors for the Maryland and Delaware areas, where they are committed to helping marriages grow strong.