I Didn’t Want a Divorce, But Could We Last?

Written by Jocelyn Ratzlaff

I did not want to be another divorce statistic, but the numbers were not in our favor.

My husband Rudy is a bus driver and I work in dentistry – both careers that rank high in divorce statistics. We have a severely handicapped son. We struggled financially. My husband has been fighting depression for most of his life. My life and my marriage were in overdrive and I wanted out.

It all started with the birth of our first son, David.

We had planned to have a baby when Rudy finished university. Like most parents to be we prayed and prayed for a healthy child. Our healthy baby arrived. Two and a half months later our beautiful baby boy suffered a high fever from his first vaccination and just kept screaming. No one could help us. We were on our own as our child screamed day and night.

We kept going to doctors, but there was no medical label to put on him. Tests were ordered, then more tests, but we didn’t get any answers. The best they could come up with was, “oh, he’ll be fine.” It made me want to scream. Something was obviously very wrong, why wasn’t anyone helping my son? I felt so guilty. I felt like I had done something wrong and it was my fault he wasn’t developing the way he should. Mother’s Day was harder to face every year.

Our lives reduced to just taking care of David.

I stopped going to college. Our health suffered and the depression Rudy had fought before came back stronger than ever. He was suicidal. I was scared and tired and bitter. Neither of us wanted any more children. Secretly I wondered what it would be like to have a child ‘just like the other kids’ and I felt guilty about that too.

Four years later, in spite of birth control, I got pregnant. It was a stressful pregnancy. Rudy was angry and I could feel the unrest of my unborn child. We had a son and named him Richard. I honestly don’t remember much about the first years of his life — good thing I took pictures. My life was just survival. There was no energy for anything more. With all the responsibilities and sleepless nights of having a newborn in the house, we still had David to take care of. And David cried a lot.

There was no escape from the crying.

We would take turns walking and rocking him, feeding him, whatever it took to get our child to rest and relieve his pain. We put in countless all-nighters trying to help this child. I started walking a lot. It was my one chance at peace and quiet and sanity and I started to feel better.

Then along came baby number three. Richard was only 2 ½ years old and our lives were in over drive. We expected another boy, but this time it was a girl. All of the stresses of a newborn came back and now there were three children to take care of. Ours was not a calm house. Rudy was still struggling with depression and anger. I wanted to just walk away but I wasn’t ready to give up on my marriage completely. When I got married I promised forever and that still meant something. I still wanted this marriage to work, so I prayed and prayed and waited.

I started to see where God had answered my prayers.

David is alive, not dead. He cannot speak, he cannot move his arms or his legs but he is part of this family. He will let you know that you are loved and accepted. You can feel good just sitting beside him. It still amazes me to see my kids together. SharaLynn loves to take care of David. Richard told David one day that there would be no bibs or wheelchairs in heaven. This past spring Rudy made some major changes in his life and our life as a family is changing for the better.

God did answer my prayers. I decided to stay with my family and so I am here to see the changes. I have learned to never stop praying. Even when it hurts. Just as I wanted to do anything I could to help David when he cried, so God is there to help us when we cry. Circumstances were against Rudy and I staying together, but God was for us. It wasn’t easy and it still isn’t easy, but God continues to carry us through. I am not another divorce statistic. I am a happily married woman and the mother of three. I have learned the value of prayer and with God in my life I have hope for the future.

Take a look at your life. How would you describe it? Contented? Rushed? Exciting? Stressful? Moving forward? Holding back? For many of us it’s all of the above at times. There are things we dream of doing one day, there are things we wish we could forget. In the Bible, it says that Jesus came to make all things new. What would your life look like if you could start over with a clean slate?

Living with hope

If you are looking for peace, there is a way to balance your life. No one can be perfect, or have a perfect life. But every one of us has the opportunity to experience perfect grace through a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.

Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? You can pray it right now, and Jesus Christ will come into your life, just as He promised.

Is this the life for you?

If you invited Christ into your life, thank God often that He is in your life, that He will never leave you and that you have eternal life. As you learn more about your relationship with God, and how much He loves you, you’ll experience life to the fullest.

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30 Responses to “I Didn’t Want a Divorce, But Could We Last?”

  • Chris says:

    ted Evans…i regret to hear of your situation. having gone through a divorce myself, i can tell you there is life out on the other side through faith in christ. i am including some possible church options below so that you can find some true Christian fellowship. surely in san diego not all christians are hypocrites like the ones you mentioned. please let me know if any of the churches below help you to find the spiritual support you need through jesus and his body…..

    Existence Church
    3 Google reviews

    · Google+ page

    7686 Miramar Rd
    San Diego, CA, United States
    +1 858-831-7899

    The Door Christian Center
    2 Google reviews

    · Google+ page

    8333 Clairemont Mesa Blvd Suite #100
    San Diego, CA, United States
    +1 619-436-7744

    The Rock Church

    86 Google reviews

    · Google+ page

    2277 Rosecrans St
    San Diego, CA, United States
    +1 619-226-7625

    Canvas Church – Non-Denominational Christian Church in …


    Canvas Church is a non-denominational christian church in San Diego California. Canvas is all about discovering Jesus and living in your purpose.

    Mission Valley Christian Fellowship: a Bible-based Christian …


    Mission Valley Christian Fellowship is a Bible-based Christian church lead by Pastor Leo Giovinetti … 5155 Waring Rd San Diego, CA 92120 – 619-683-7729

    Newbreak Church – San Diego, CA


    Welcome to Newbreak Church in San Diego! Come as you … 10791 Tierrasanta Blvd., San Diego, CA 92124 … Pinecrest Christian Conference Center. Jul. 28 …

    Shadow Mountain Community Church – San Diego, CA


    Shadow Mountain Community Church is an evangelical church pastored by Dr. David Jeremiah and is located in El Cajon, California, San Diego County.

    Grace San Diego Church: Home


    A non-denomination church in the North Park area of San Diego.

    C3 Church San Diego – CONNECT • GROW • SERVE • LEAD


    A central, christian church that walks in the power of prayer, activates miracles through faith, and believes in the Holy

  • Ted Evans says:

    Does not God hate divorce? Malachi 2:16. Alot of Bible commentators text the he does. And God does not cheange.

  • Ted Evans says:

    Hello, I have been divorced for about 1.5 years, have sinned greatly before the true and living God. HAve been unable to see my two kids through the unfamily court here in San Diego. I have a 15 year old daughter who has been legally kidnapped through the “child protective sevices, and the unfamily court’ for reasons they will not state other than me hearing that I need a court order ot see my own God given daughter. Other than that I have been kicked out of two major churches here in San Diego. I have texted my old pastor and he refuses to text back. I am concinced that life is hard then we all die. I have been researching on what God is actually doing in this modern day, and I am somewhat convinced He has abandoned the USA and focusing on Israel, His people (5/6 of the Bible is about Israel) even though in 1 Tim 2 4-7 and I am just a Galations 6:3 guy. I really do not know if God is blessing as this statement is mentioned only 35 times in the Bible… mostly in the OT. I get calls all the time from voiceless collectors on my cell phone trying to get money out of my wallet after the two yrs of garnishments from the unfamily court, I have been spending the few thousand dollars I have in the my checking to keep the lawyers and judges paws off my checking account. I am bitter just like Naomi. I can hardly see. I do keep the serenity prayer in my cubicle at work. Where are the Christians in San Diego?

  • Chris says:

    Kim De Nysschen…sorry to hear of your struggles. marriages can have their rough places but i have learned that jesus grace will always be enough. 2 cor 12.9 to 10. if jesus changed the hardened heart of saul and turned him into the beloved apostle paul, we know that is in the bible to give us hope for our situations also. be sure you have a chrisitan church and pastor to pray with you. if you dont, let me know i can check on one for you. the Christian family in the earth is our guarantee that we never have to be alone. online churches are also available…lifechurch.tv, glorystone.tv. i pray jesus comfort you today in knowing he is with you and your children and we pray that 1 corinthians 7.14 be applied to your husband so he too can come to christ and repent. blessings!

  • Kim De Nysschen says:

    Your story is mine, i only hope it will work out as yours has. I have some3 healthy kids and one severely disabled son. My husband has shut me out and says he can’t be part of my life but still stays. I carry on working hard with them all still, loving them and praying for god to open his eyes. This life was for us to share, not for him and him alone. I have many people in my life but feel so alone.
    Waiting for my miracle with all my heart and faith

  • Kathryn Kathryn says:

    Hi John,
    Thanks for being supportive for these (mostly) women who have written in about their deep sadness and struggles caused by having children with severe difficulties of one type or another. One thing that has really struck me as I read through the article and then various comments, practically everyone mentioned that it was there faith in God that gets them through. I have the greatest admiration for each and everyone of these mums (and some dads too) who have held on in the face of severe trials. May God continue to bless you all and give you the strength and loving friendships you need in the difficult moments which are a constant theme in your care of your needy, beloved children. I am truly humbled by your devotion and faith and thank you so much for sharing.

  • John says:

    Jocelyn I understand and know some of your struggles. My older sister is mentally challenged and my parents (married 40 years) had lots of ups and downs. It is a diffxult road but with God front and center you can survive. My prayers and thoughts go out to you and your family.

  • Elkay says:

    Miriam, you are surely doing the best thing just now, to “work on things” that may have contributed to past marriage problems so that if/when you re-marry again, yours will be a better marriage. I somewhat hesitate to pass this on, but my Pastor’s wife left him before he became a minister and he went through quite a struggle dating before marrying his wife of almost 30 years now. He wrote a “dating/marriage” manual for others and in it he made two points he still takes seriously:

    1. You are not really ready for marriage until you can well live single. (Reason: you best get married for the benefit of your mate, not for your own benefit.)

    2. It is better to be unhappy and single than to be unhappy and married. (Probably not everyone will agree with this but I think experience proves it true.)

    And yes, you should believe that God has been and still is “with you” because we have the promise “that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Phil 1:6)

  • Miriam Pia says:

    Well, I am proud of you all for carrying on despite the challenges and am glad that you have continued with your spiritual life as all this goes on. God is always there and here for us in good times and bad times but sometimes our need is more or we perhaps get overconfident when our lives are going smoothly.

    What follows is sort of a sick joke and sort of plea for your compassion but not so much that you have to hold my hand as I sob on your sofa. I have handled the being a divorce statistic to balance out your staying married. Like perhaps all of you, I was spiritually active long before I tried marrying. I was an adult ‘survivor’ of early childhood divorce as a toddler. I first married at age 23, but by age 25 – despite my intense resistance, my husband divorced me. At age 29 I married the man I had a surprise to us both baby with at age 27 and he forced through our divorce paperwork when we were both 31…but luckily we managed to keep a household together with our child for 9 years although we were only married to each other for the 4 in the middle….on it went and at age 37 another man divorced me. I knew that some of my behavior had contributed to our problems but ultimately I felt I did not control my husband and he just decided to divorce me. I have not remarried again since (yet?!) but have worked on the parts I thought maybe I can work on with God while this single. God was with me that whole time. At least, I believe He was.

  • Shelley says:

    Thank you for your comments, may the Lord bless you.

  • odocha ojinika says:

    GOD bless you Jocelyn,your home would continue to reign in peace

    i decree and declare healing to David, whatever God hasn’t planted in his life is uprooted this minute in Jesus name Amen

  • Lebogang says:

    I have read all these comments and my heart was broken. I wept with all the women who have shared their stories. But inside a light of joy was awoken. To see the strength that the good Lord has given all of you is trully amazing. To see the hope and faith that you women have is phenomenal. To see the love that you have for God under all these difficult circimstances is truly amazing. Through all the personal traumas you have gone through, you still remain a blessing, to your children and to starngers who read your stories. You ladies are trully amazing and are the real jewels in His crown.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Jae, I am so sorry that your marriage has become such a painful relationship. It is good to know that God is with us and can comfort and guide us in these difficult times. In what ways have you felt God’s presence and guiding in your life? What do you think God is calling you to do in the middle of the hurt and conflict? How has all this turmoil impacted your husband’s relationship with God?

    Heavenly Father, I pray for these children of Yours and ask that You would help break down the walls that have built up between them and heal their love for each other. I pray that Jae would clearly hear Your voice and have the courage to obey Your direction. I pray that her husband would respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit over his hurtful words and allow You to make lasting changes in his life. Guard Jae’s daughter from the trauma of another broken marriage and use this time in her life to solidify her commitment to follow You. In Jesus’ name amen.

  • Jae says:

    This is an old posting but was helpful for me to read just the same. I’ve been thinking of leaving my husband. We were separated last summer for 3 months and it was WONDERFUL. He made many changes but seems many were short term and we are back where we were before AND I am financally trapped – no $ and my 25 year old disabled daughter is living with us…. so much stuff to deal with…overwhelming often but I know in my heart that God is there…I just feel very alone and the things my husband says to me are hurtful. This is my 3rd marriage and I was so hoping it would be a good one and set a good example for my daughter. I did everything right in our courtship and we wanted to marry so we could serve the Lord together….much has happened the 11 years we have been married..I’d like to just crawl in a hole sometimes but I won’t cause too many people love me …..this is my life, not what I wanted and I feel guilty, angry and sad all at the same time.

  • Aimee says:

    I totally understand where you ladies are coming from..I have a teenage son with special needs who is a day to day constant challenge. My first marriage fell apart due to the stress of it and my husband became very abusive so I left..I worked thru my feelings on it and did get remarried but my marriage is again in the middle of cauos due to issues that my husband has and due to the fact that he can not cope with my son. Child and Welfare was involved in our lives due to my husband’s issues and she asked me how did I find the strength to deal with all the stress..The best answer I could give her is that I take one day at a time knowing that God will give me strength and wisdom for each day..It has taken me 14 years to daily build on to my faith and strength thru it all, but if it was not for God walking beside me each step of the way I just could not handle it all. So rely on God..He will give you what you need for each day when you need it. Life may not be perfect as mine is not but even when you can’t feel God He is there..With God you can get thru anything as I have with abusive parents, abusive foster parents, rape, miscarriage, special needs child, domestic violence, divorce, and massive health issues as I have now…Just trust and wait on God an he will be there

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Winona, have you been able to access any help through women’s shelters? You can find out more at http://www.shelternet.ca in Canada or thehotline.org in the States. You may be able to access other resources through these agencies as well.

    Lord God, I pray for Winona as she tries to recover from her husband’s rejection. I pray that you would protect her and her boys. In Jesus’ name amen.

  • winona says:

    i thank God everyday that i have my boys. they have been with me through this nightmare with my husband. their support has been a God send. my husband has now changed the locks and left me homeless and moneyless. i have gone to welfare and they are supporting me right now. we are so luckey to have such a program. my neighbours have taken me in and given me a home.i am slowly recovering from all this shock and i realize now that i am away from my husband just how afraid i was when with him. i know now that God got me out of the house to keep me alive and he has made sure that i can’t go back at least for now. i don’t know what God has instore for my relationship with my husband in the future but i am safe now

  • Doris Beck Doris says:

    Cee you do understand and that is awesome that you took the time to encourage Denise in a way that others of us couldn’t begin to. Denise we do have online mentors here who would love to walk this journey with you. if you are interested just go to this page and someone will be in touch with you. http://powertochange.com/discover/talk-to-a-mentor/

  • Cee says:

    Denise I am sorry for your loss. I may not be in your situation but I understand. I received the physicians report confirming my son’s autism just days after I had a miscarriage. Life is hard, but God is good. That is more than a song or a cliche’. It is the absolute truth. I pray that inspite of your struggles you count it all joy knowing that the testing of your faith will increase your strength in the Lord.

  • denise says:

    be thankful you have all your kids my son was severly autistic I lost a baby girl and my life’s been a nitemare

  • Doris Beck Doris says:

    Winona, I cannot even begin to imagine what you are going through. Raising children is a challenge at the best of times and so much more so when there are special needs. I agree with what you said that God’s idea wasn’t for you to raise your children and then to have your marriage be over. My prayer for you is that your husband will realize that he is headed the wrong direction and that you will in fact make it through. We do have online mentors here at Power to Change that would love to correspond privately with you. Just click on the ‘Talk to a Mentor’ link on the top right corner of this page if you are interested.

  • winona says:

    i to know the trials of sick kids. we have 4 boys and the two youngest have special needs. one is a diabetic and the other has lupus. they tell you at children’s hospital that the divorce rate in families with sick kids is 90%
    i never thought we’d be a statistic however here we are. my husban of 23 years is having an affair. he has compromised all his beliefs and is definatly not happy. i pray that he will find his way back to us as i believe that god choose us to care for these children. idon’t think gods idea was for us to raise them and when the last child left that’s it marriage over. thanks for the inspiration. it’s nice to know that there are other people that have similar experiances and they make it through.

  • Julie says:

    God bless you and may he continue to build a loving household for you.

  • Kari says:


  • Kari says:

    Thank you for this Wonderfull!!!!!!!! story. It really hit home for my hudband and I. We do understand what this story is all about by being young, married, parents, and a student. This really did inspire me and I honestly thank you for that. God lead us to this posting at such a PERFECT time….

  • Linda says:

    You have shown a wonderful message and a great faith to our Lord Jesus Christ to a woman like me. I am a widow with two sons and still in faith to God. Still wanted to be more richer in faith. Thank you for your inspiring testimony.

  • Cee says:

    Thank you Natasha for your words of encouragement. I appreciate them. And you are exactly correct. Prayer does change things; especially our hearts. May God richly bless you.

  • Natasha says:

    My prayers and best wishes for the both of you and your entire families. I also will pray for patience for the two of you and both of your spouses, because in a situation like that patience is a key. May the Good Lord give strength, make you strong, and stand with you both and families against all odds. God blessed everyone and keep on praying (prayers changes things).

  • cfast says:

    Cee, I am sorry to hear that you are struggling with your husband. At Power to Change, we have mentors who love to talk to people. They answer your questions privately in an email and then you can just email her back if you’d like to keep talking. It’s a free and private. All of our mentors are screened so it’s safe and easy to use. If you are interested in talking with someone, click here.

  • Cee says:

    I feel like this story is my own. About 4 years ago my life was reduced to medical evaluations and therapy appointments. I had to give up my job and return home fulltime in order to provide and coordinate care for one of my sons. He has autism. We began realizing during his infancy that he was different but we were never sure of what. But as the days, weeks, and months unfolded it became crystal clear that his issues would require more than I often felt I had to give. My husband does some of the same things as the authors did. He often shuts down and shuts me out. It is taking him longer to accept our son’s diagnosis and become actively involved in our day to day life. We also have an older son who feels the strain. I can concur with the author. I don’t want to be another divorce statistic but keeping things balanced is a daily battle.

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