The Greatest Lesson from “Marriage Beyond the Vows” Seminar

shutterstock_119165203I stumbled across the radio program, “Marriage Beyond the Vows”, in 2013. I wasn’t looking for that particular radio program. It was simply in the way of me getting to the station I really wanted: NPR on WHYY FM 90.9. After a quick listen to “Marriage Beyond the Vows” with Host Pastor Marcos Mercado I moved on thinking, “Let other people figure out their marital woes. Mine are over!” And on I went to listen to NPR’s “Morning Edition.”

Fast -forward to Wednesday, 2016, three years after my divorce. While driving my youngest to school, I turned the radio to my favorite program, “The Tom Joyner Morning Show.” “Marriage Beyond the Vows” was advertising their upcoming Relationship Seminar, inviting the listeners to come to the free event. It was Pastor Marcos Mercado…again…in my way of getting to the program I really wanted to hear.

Then, a thought flashed across my mind, “Hmmm…I think this upcoming Relationship Seminar needs some agitation! How about the voice of the divorced community share lessons to awaken the married community.” Having never listened to “Marriage Beyond the Vows”, I just assumed the focus was always on the married and not on the divorced. Boldly, I sent a personal message to the program via their Facebook page. I expected to be ignored or scolded (sometimes divorce leaves you a bit overly sensitive). I was surprised to receive an immediate and welcoming response.

Me: Hello and thank you for the work you do to keep marriages together. Have you done a show where those who have gone through divorce share the lessons learned that can keep marriages together AND happy (just because a marriage is together does not mean it’s happy)? I would be happy to brainstorm this idea with you. Although I am divorced twice, I have learned several lessons that had I known then, I might still be married. One lesson is: “conflict is misunderstood difference”, and “a woman who gives up taking care of herself also gives up a man who is attracted to her”. Hope to hear from you.

Response: Hi Pamela – great ideas. Will you be attending the event this Sat?

Me: I heard about it this AM on radio and came up with idea. I’m thinking about it…

Response: Pamela, I just watched what you shared on Dr Oz and I loved what you had to say. If it works out let’s do this. Let’s see if we can still get you to showcase your company at the event. You will have to contact Nia Moses from our promotions dept and fill out the request form (attached). Slots are very limited. 

I had no idea from whom I was receiving such a response until the responder listed his email address. It was Pastor Marcos! Arrangements were made and three days later, I was at the Relationship Seminar with a table and chairs to display my services.

But, I was in a panic the days before the seminar.

  1. What, if anything, do I say to people in marriages? I’ve torn through two of them along with two divorces. I was afraid no one would want to hear from me.
  2. My coaching business is for women ONLY (not men!) who have gone through divorce. As a resilience coach, I help these women get their life back. I was afraid people were gonna avoid my table like the plague.

I put together a not-too-professional presentation: a simple banner with glue stick, hand-cut some business cards that didn’t even have my name on them (I had to write on them), and a used tablecloth that was really a window curtain.  I waited for people to pass by my table looking the other way.

your-resilience-coachI waited for people to pass by my table looking the other way.

But they didn’t. They came to my table with great curiosity for three items I displayed:

  1. My book, Muddy High Heels: 14 Lessons Learned from My Breakdown, Breakup & Breakthrough
  2. My webinar, “10 Relationship Pitfalls & How to Avoid Them
  3. My laser, on the spot coaching service as “Your Resilience Coach

your-bookThe laser, on the spot coaching from my perspective as a woman who has been divorced, awakened me to a hunger in people who are married. That hunger is to know how to stop making the same mistakes over and over; how to let go of a relationship that isn’t working; and how to honor the current relationship so it can grow. I’m familiar with the hunger in women who are divorced and feel totally comfortable sharing my perspective, for sure. Yet, being able to touch the hearts and minds of those still married surprised me.

my-book-guyFrom my experience being married and divorced twice, I understood every point on the spectrum of the stages of a relationship. No one cared that I had had two marriages and two divorces. They cared that I had learned valuable lessons that, if adopted, can save years of heartache and sadness, can save their marriages, and can improve upon what is already working.

The invitation by Pastor Marcos to vend at this event was unexpected. But it pushed me out of my comfort zone – you know, that place where true growth happens – in order to recognize a new dimension to my calling as a coach, speaker and author. That calling is to men who are hurting in their relationships with women. Many men stopped by the table to openly share their stories, their pain, and their mistakes. I listened with intuitiveness and offered feedback that seemed to register with them. Men…the very group I wanted to throw under the bus…showed me that they want and need healing. I can no longer ignore this group as I have wanted to in the past.

I offered a lot of great lessons to others at this Relationship Seminar. I also learned that divorce brings wisdom that married people want to hear. Perhaps the greatest lesson was the one I learned from those who honored me with their conversation: we all want the same things in relationships – to love and to be loved; to forgive and to be forgiven; to heal and to bring about healing; to be known and to know another intimately and profoundly.

And, it doesn’t matter if those wearing pants or a skirt desire these things.

Thanks, Pastor Marcos!

Written by:Pamela Elaine Nichols

Pamela Elaine Nichols

Your Resilience Coach

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