Love Renewed: Mike and Pam Calvert
About the Guest
The early years of their marriage were sweet. Almost picture perfect. But as children arrived, and life became more predictable, Mike began to pay a little less attention to Pam and a little more attention to her friends. When Pam voiced her concern, Mike ignored her, causing a rift in their once ideal marriage. Mike and Pam take us back to the day when Pam's frustration over Mike's behavior escalated to the boiling point and she let him know that things had to change. And they did, but not for the better. Mike moved out for good. Find out how God brought this couple together again.
Find out how God brought this couple together again.
Love Renewed: Mike and Pam Calvert
Bob: Mike and Pam Calvert had been divorced for almost a decade when one day Mike got a call from his, now, 23-year-old daughter—a daughter who hadn’t wanted to talk to her daddy for years. She asked if she could come by and see him.
Mike: She came on the porch. I opened the door, and we made small talk. So, we sat down on the couch; and she said, “Dad, the reason I’m here,” she said, “Is there ever a chance that you and Mom could put our family back together?” And I kind of looked at her. I said, “Well, that’s kind of hard to do. There is a lot of water under the bridge. I’m in the process of moving to Colorado; and besides that, Mom’s got another guy in her life. It’s kind of hard for us to put the family back together.”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, September 11th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. Mike Calvert thought there was no way his family could be a family again; but as we’ll hear today, with God, all things are possible.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Wednesday edition. We get a chance today to hear the kind of stories we love to hear.
Dennis: I love to hear great stories of redemption; and we’re about to hear one from a couple who live in Indianapolis, Indiana, Mike and Pam Calvert. Bob, you had a chance to interview them in front of our staff. And this is a great story of how God transformed a couple as a result of the Weekend to Remember® and turned them into spiritual multipliers.
Bob: I think listeners are going to hear in Mike and Pam’s story how conflict can escalate to a point where it really gets out of hand; and before you know it, damage is done to a marriage relationship when neither of you are really intending for that to happen. Let’s listen together. Here’s the conversation I had not long ago with Mike and Pam Calvert:
Bob: When people ask you, “How long have you and Mike been married,” how do you answer that?
Pam: “Which time?” (Laughter)
Bob: Is that what you say?
Pam: Most of the time that’s how we answer.
Bob: So, they kind of pull back, I’m sure, when you say that.
Bob: Mike, tell us, first of all, how you and Pam met.
Mike: We were childhood sweethearts, and we did attend the same high school for a brief period of time. I graduated. Then, I moved to Florida to help my brother pioneer a church and a Christian school. At the same time, her parents moved to Florida also because of his health. So, Pam and I got to continue our dating; and we got married in Florida.
Bob: And how old was Pam when you married her?
Mike: She was 17.
Bob: You were still in high school?
Bob: So, like, you had a wedding on a Saturday and class on Monday? How did that work?
Pam: I think they gave us a few days off.
Bob: But you went back to high school as a married woman.
Pam: I did. I was taking half-day classes and doing student teaching in the afternoons.
Bob: What kind of work were you doing?
Mike: I was working in the Christian school and the church doing different types of ministry.
Bob: And you were a couple of years older. You were—what?—20 years old.
Mike: I was 19.
Bob: You were 19; Pam’s 17. And marriage, at first, was pretty easy?
Mike: It was. It was good.
Bob: How long before you became a momma?
Pam: A year and a half.
Bob: So, early years in your marriage, it’s—Pam, it was pretty much—I think you had described it as kind of the idyllic, white picket fence family thing, right?
Bob: When did it start to turn bad?
Pam: We had been married 14 years. We were going to a little church in Brown County, Indiana; and we were youth leaders. And there were some problems started, then, with Mike noticing some of my friends.
Bob: So, you were coming to him and saying, “I think you are paying attention to somebody you shouldn’t be paying attention to?”
Bob: What was going on, Mike?
Mike: Basically, I’m a jolly person. I like to laugh, cut up, tell jokes; and I found an audience that could laugh at my jokes. Pam had heard them. She quit laughing. So, I began to cater to those that would laugh and would show interest in my jokes. When she approached me with that, I responded by saying, “You’re silly. I come home to you every night. I bring my paycheck home to you every night. Don’t worry about it.”
But during that time, I also was slacking up on my Bible reading, my praying—had been in ministry and doing ministry for a long time and I knew how to be a Christian. I knew how to walk the Christian walk. So I neglected the things that I needed to be doing. Satan is a master at deception, and he will take good things, innocent things, and blow them out of proportion and cause them for harm if you’re not ready for it. And that’s what happened.
Bob: You were sensitive to it at the time. Were you thinking, “Am I just being silly,” or were you really aware of the danger that was going on here?
Pam: When it first started, I looked at myself and wondered if I was just seeing too much. But this went on for quite a long period of time, and I just saw it getting deeper and deeper and getting more involved all the time.
Bob: Mike, you came home one day; and out on the back porch—was it back porch or front porch?
Mike: Back porch.
Bob: Back porch was a bunch of your stuff.
Mike: My clothes, my hunting equipment, and my musical instruments were all sitting outside.
Bob: So, putting all of his stuff out on the back porch and changing the locks, were you just trying to get his attention?
Pam: Yes. I thought maybe I could get him to realize what was going on and that we needed to really address it and be serious about it.
Bob: What did you do, Mike?
Mike: I took it as serious, and I knocked on the door. She answered the door and wanted to talk. She basically said, “Unless you are willing to change and look at this seriously, there is no reason to talk.” I loaded my stuff in the truck, and I left.
Bob: Wow! So, this was not the wake-up call she hoped it would be?
Mike: It wasn’t.
Bob: When did this separation move from separation to this is the death of a marriage?
Mike: It was almost a year. We stayed separated. Pam filed for a legal separation for protection of making sure the bills were paid and those kinds of things. I acquired an attorney to interpret that for me. He told me that that was the same as a legal divorce; that it was just that we were legally married. I was still roped into all the child support payments and everything else. He said, “You might as well get a divorce.”
Bob: This is not where you were hoping things would go when you put stuff out on the back porch?
Pam: Absolutely not.
Bob: But when they started going this direction, what was happening in your heart?
Pam: I was very broken-hearted. Then I guess the bitterness set in.
Bob: Pam, how long after the divorce before you started attracting the attention of other men?
Pam: Probably about six months.
Bob: You fell pretty quick, pretty hard for somebody?
Pam: Yes. I don’t know so much that it was “fell pretty hard” or I was still bitter and angry. So, I guess it was somebody—you know somebody to help support, somebody just to be with.
Bob: A rebound, we’d say?
Bob: Mike, you’d been in ministry for 14 years. You’re not in ministry at this point, are you?
Mike: No, I am not. I had stepped down off the platform from my music ministry.
Bob: And what are you doing?
Mike: Working in construction. I buried myself in work. I basically became a workaholic and tried to satisfy my desires of happiness in life by building a new house, a boat, new truck—those kinds of things.
Bob: So, were you guys talking every six months or anything during the divorce? Was it a complete separation? Were you seeing the kids at all?
Mike: I was granted child visitation rights as most divorces do; but my children didn’t want anything to do with me. They didn’t want anything to do with a dad that had taught them to be a Christian and do things Christ-like and, then, see their dad turn around and be just the opposite.
So, when I would go for that weekly child visitation—every other week child visitation—they would basically get up off the couch, go to their bedrooms, shut the door; and I would sit the remaining time in the living room by myself. That went on for a long time.
Bob: At some point, you just quit going over to the house, don’t you?
Mike: I wanted them to love me. I wanted to be their dad. I wanted to be their leader, their role model. Although I was being the wrong role model, I still wanted that position in their lives.
Bob: Would you say, Pam, that—of course, you are remarried at this point—feelings for Mike completely dead? Still anger and bitterness toward him?
Bob: Did you have any feelings for Pam?
Mike: I did. There were times when I would lay in bed at night and think back—and I cried; but when morning came, it was a new day, a new challenge. The bright lights of the city would captivate me again.
Bob: Your daughter, who had always gone back to the bedroom and hadn’t wanted to talk to you, called you out of the blue one day, right?
Mike: She did. I had made preparations to move out of state and start a new life in Colorado; and on a Saturday morning, my phone rang when I was not supposed to be home. My phone rang, and it was my daughter. She was crying, and she said, “I need to talk to you, Dad.” She said, “Can I come see you?” Well, obviously, I said, “Yes.”
Bob: She hung up and, then, had to call you right back.
Mike: She did. We hung up the phone, I sat up in bed, and I thought, “Wow! What was that about?” Immediately, the phone rang; and she said, “Dad, where do you live?” Well, the funny part is I only lived about a mile and a half from her and had been for the nine plus years that Pam and I were divorced. She didn’t know where I lived.
Bob: When she came to the house, tell me about the conversation that took place.
Mike: She came on the porch. I opened the door, and we made small talk. During those years, I had had a granddaughter that was born that I hadn’t got to see. So, I asked questions about my granddaughter, and we made a little small talk. So, we sat down on the couch; and she said, “Dad, the reason I’m here”—she said, “Is there ever a chance that you and Mom could put our family back together?”
And I kind of looked at her and I said, “Well, that’s kind of hard to do. There is a lot of water under the bridge. I’m in the process of moving into Colorado.” Immediately, God spoke to me and said, “No, you’re not.” And I said, “Besides that, Mom’s got another guy in her life and she’s married and it’s kind of hard for us to put the family back together.”
I need to preface this by saying that two weeks prior to that I had visited that little, country church that we were youth directors at many years ago just to tell everybody goodbye, that I was moving. And at the end of that church service, I found myself at the altar bawling and squalling. I cried, and I prayed. I left that service feeling restored. My communication with the Lord had been restored.
So, the next couple of weeks progressing up to moving kind of deteriorated; and then, that’s when my daughter came and we had the conversation.
Bob: So, there had been a spiritual re-awakening, kind of a turning point, in your life. Here your daughter comes over and says, “Could we put the family together?” And you say, “Well, there is this problem, and that is Mom is remarried.”
Bob: And what did she say?
Mike: She looked at me; and she said, “Dad, you don’t know what’s going on, do you?” And I said, “No. What do you mean?” She said, “Dad, Mom’s not happy; and she’s in the process of this divorce.” She said, “It’s—Mom’s going to be available for you to talk to soon if you find at all interested—available in your timeframe if you could work that in.”
Bob: Did you have any idea that your daughter was having this conversation with—
Pam: I would have been very upset if I knew what she was doing.
Bob: Mike, after your daughter left, what were you thinking?
Mike: I remember closing the door and walking back to my sofa and sitting down—and I had heard of this happening in other stories in my lifetime but it had never happened to me until that day—but I reached over to the coffee table there, and I just randomly flipped open the Bible. The pages that it opened to, I just kind of leaned over and looked down. I remember saying, “Wow! God, what’s happening?”
And my eyes focused down to these Scriptures that I had randomly opened to; and the Scripture was Joel, chapter 2, verse 25. The verse says, “I will restore the years that the locust and the canker worm have taken away.” I had another bawling match and squalling session with the Lord right there in the living room. I remember about an hour later after getting up from crying and praying, reading the rest of the chapter. And it was all about rending your heart, not your garments, living fully—100 percent—for the Lord.
Of course, that was in talking about God’s people back then in the Old Testament; but the Lord was telling me, “If you’ll live for me like you promised me two weeks ago at that altar at that little, bitty church, I will restore the years that you’ve lost in your marriage and your family.”
Soon after that, we made a time to sit and talk. After a little bit, I asked her about putting the home back together and marriage back together. She said, “Well, first of all, I don’t know if I want to put the marriage back together.” Then, she said, “Secondly, there’s been a lot that’s happened;” and she said, “Where would we even start?”
I said, “Well, I don’t know what it is or who it is; but I heard on the radio just a few minutes ago about an organization called FamilyLife and about broken homes and marriages. Would you like for me to check it out?” She said, “Well, it won’t hurt because it can’t get any worse than it is.”
Mike: So, I checked it out.
Bob: Pam, do you remember the Weekend to Remember, going the first time?
Pam: I do.
Bob: What do you remember?
Pam: Probably the most—or the biggest impact was the love letter. Mike pretty much bared his soul in it; and I could see that there was a change—that he had been broken and that God was working with him.
Bob: What do you remember about the weekend?
Mike: I remember writing the love letter; and I remember the awesome work that I felt the Lord doing, not only a few months before that at that altar, but I remember what happened to me at that Weekend to Remember—having a plan to put the pieces back together, knowing where to start.
Even being raised in a Christian home—my dad was a pastor—and in ministry all those years, I had never heard God’s design and plan for marriage like I heard that weekend.
It ministered to me so much that when I wrote that love letter, it took several pages to get all that in. And we still have that, and we still pull it out once in a while.
Bob: Pam, how long after that love letter before he said, “Let’s do it,” and you said, “Okay?”
Pam: Probably six months.
Bob: Over that six-month period, what was God doing in your relationship and what was He doing in your heart?
Pam: Things were really, really good. We started dating again and doing some things with the kids. There were still times that we still had to work through things. There were still times that I had to work on trust. There were nights that we sat up and cried and prayed all night.
Bob: So, tell me about the re-wedding.
Mike: Her dad came to me and said—he said, “Boy”—he said, “I don’t want to do this again.”
And we had a good talk, but I had asked my brother to do the marriage ceremony again because he did it initially. We had some special friends there, and our son and daughter were there. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. The vows that we redid had double meaning and more meaning. They did the first time but it just meant more the second time especially after all the tools and resources we had utilized in our lives during that six-month period. It just meant more.
Bob: You’re now husband and wife again; and you’ve been remarried now for how many years?
Mike: Almost 13 now.
Bob: Tell everybody what you do today.
Mike: We help others that are struggling in their marriages before, during, and after their problems to let them know that there is hope. When they say, “You don’t understand where we’ve been,” I smile and listen. Then, I say, “Let me tell you about a couple that I know and where they’ve been.”
Bob: And you help put on Weekend to Remember marriage getaways. When we host those in cities, you’re a part of the team that helps put that together. Both of you are doing that. Have you hosted an Art of Marriage® event as well?
Mike: We’ve done—I think we’ve done six.
Bob: Six of them? Do you share your story as part of The Art of Marriage weekend?
Mike: We do parts of it in the breaks; and at break time, we ask anybody who wants to know more about some of those different situations—we will share.
Bob: Well, the reason I ask that is because I—we’ve all got stories of our marriage. Some more dramatic, some less dramatic; but we’ve all—there’s a context for everything.
But there’s power in sharing a testimony of God doing a work in a marriage. I think people can sit and listen to the videos or be at a live event and they can get good help and helpful principles; but when they see two real people saying, “Look, here’s the mess we went through and here’s where God has brought us”—Joel 2, God has kept His promise there, hasn’t He?
Mike: He has.
Bob: He has restored years that the locust ate.
Mike: He has. We look back now. We call it the dark ages. It is almost as if it didn’t happen. I mean it was just a vapor in—although when we do stop and take time or are sharing with another couple, there are some sad times; but in all the tears that we still shed about that, there is a thankfulness and happiness that goes along with it that we’re able to say that we are victorious and we’ve made it.
Bob: Would you thank these guys for sharing their story with us?
Bob: Well, again, we’ve been listening to a conversation that we had with Mike and Pam Calvert who are on staff with FamilyLife Today. Talk about a turnaround in a marriage relationship.
Dennis: I’m telling you I never—I never grow tired of hearing great stories of redemption. Who would have given their remarriage a chance after being divorced? And there are a whole lot of couples listening to this broadcast right now who are not anywhere near a precipice of where Mike and Pam were; but you know what? You just need to do something for your marriage. You need to invest. You need to put some money in the bank for your family.
Mike’s daughter at the age of 22, 23 calling her daddy and saying, “Dad, is there any chance we can be a family again?” Why would you want to go anywhere near the edge of forfeiting your family for the pleasures of sin? Get to a Weekend to Remember and strengthen the most important, human relationship you have on this planet, with your spouse.
Bob: Yes. We are trying to do all we can this week to make it as easy for folks to come to a Weekend to Remember as possible. In fact, this week, you sign up before Sunday night, you pay full price for your registration, and your spouse comes at no additional cost. So, it’s a buy one, get one free offer. It expires this Sunday night. So, let us hear from you right now. Let us know that you would like to attend an upcoming Weekend to Remember marriage getaway.
All you have to do is go to FamilyLifeToday.com; click the link for the Weekend to Remember. All the information you need is available there. You can register online. If you do register online, identify yourself as a FamilyLife Today listener by typing my name—type “BOB” in the promotion code box. That way, you qualify for the special offer.
Or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. We can get you registered over the phone. Just mention that you listen to FamilyLife Today, and you’ll be eligible for that special offer. It expires this weekend. So, again, let us hear from you right now. Let us know that you’d like to attend a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway.
And if you have attended a Weekend to Remember or if there is not one near where you live and you’d like to do something to help your marriage and help other marriages as well, here’s what we’d like to encourage you to do: You’ve heard us talk about The Art of Marriage™ video event that’s been hosted in thousands of locations all across the country. You could host one of those events in your community this fall.
Or you could gather together with four other couples—so, it’s you and four other couples. You get together. You have a potluck meal. Then, you start going through The Art of Marriage small group material that we’ve put together—six video sessions. There is a workbook that goes along with it for each person. And if you will agree to take four other couples through the material this fall and go ahead and get workbooks for them, we’ll send you the DVDs for free.
Now, the way we do that is we send you the starter kit for the cost of the workbooks. It’s like getting the DVDs for free. So, you get ten workbooks and the DVDs in the starter kit; but the cost is basically just the cost of the workbooks. That offer is available this week only. So, go to FamilyLifeToday.com if you’d like to take advantage of that special offer.
And just think about that. It’d be a great way to get to know four other couples this fall, spend some time together, invest in their marriage, invest in your marriage. Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com for more information on this special offer; or call 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY”. And we’ll make arrangements to get the kit you need sent out to you.
Now, tomorrow, we’ll hear from another couple whose marriage got off in the ditch and almost came to an end. We’ll meet Bob and Audrey Meisner tomorrow and hear their story of how God did a turnaround in their marriage. I hope you can be back with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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