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Mercy Saved their Marriage

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By Marian Friedrichs

Scott and Lisa Nance of Omaha, Nebraska, have an assurance to suffering spouses: "We are each other's cross, but we are also each other's sanctification." This comes from painful lived experience.

Raised by his father, Scott says his childhood "paved the way for a disordered view of marriage." After he met and fell in love with Lisa in the spring of 1990, Scott entered married life without an understanding of "what the design of marriage was supposed to be in a family," he says.

For the first decade of their marriage, the Nances' relationship endured the stress of prolonged separations, as Scott's job as a baseball umpire required him to be away from home for six months out of every year. After the birth of their first child in 1993, Lisa lived much of her life as a single mother, caring for their daughter while working full-time. "I started to resent [Scott] for being gone so much ... when I needed him," Lisa recalls.

Although the couple's faith was "lukewarm at best" when they began their life together, in Scott's absences Lisa began "turning more and more to prayer and faith." Lisa's devotion to the Blessed Mother grew; she leaned increasingly on Divine Mercy and the intercession of St. Faustina, even before the Secretary and Apostle of Mercy was canonized. "I call [Faustina] my sister saint," Lisa says.

Scott began to resent Lisa's spiritual life. "I felt angry that my wife was more concerned with her faith than me," he admits. "I actually thought it was a competition between the Lord and myself for her attention."

Anger and bitterness grew on both sides, even after career changes enabled husband and wife to live together year-round. Lisa resigned herself to the death of her marriage and a future lived alone. She decided to research legal separation but discerned a message of encouragement from God to persevere in her marriage. She met with Scott, who agreed to work on their relationship. They prayed together to the Blessed Mother, and things seemed hopeful, but a terrible blow was in store for the couple.

Lisa discovered Scott had been unfaithful. When the full truth of the condition of their marriage broke upon them, Scott and Lisa passed through what they now think of as their "passion" as a couple. Lisa sobbed as never before, but amidst her anguish she felt the Lord's presence and the love He bears for His own sometimes disloyal Spouse, the Church. By the time all her tears had been shed, Lisa felt emptied of her anger and bitterness toward Scott. "Nothing but love poured forth," she says, "and that love has never left me."

As for Scott, "The feelings came all at once. Anger for what I had done, fear of the sin and punishment, shame for ... the action, and hopelessness for losing control and not being able to fix anything. Then ... I looked at my wife and ... realized who [she] was and the importance of our marriage."

Since that night, everything has changed for the Nances. They renewed their wedding vows and now call themselves "renewlyweds." They consecrated their family to the Divine Mercy and to Mary. "You can feel peace settling over the home," Lisa says. "Now when there are problems, we go straight to the Rosary and Chaplet."

Scott and Lisa want other couples to experience the same healing. They have founded a ministry called "Marriage Saved by Mercy," through which they hope to "tell people about the Lord's mercy and about the Sacrament of Marriage and how important it is." Individuals or parishes interested in contacting the Nances can visit the Marriage Saved by Mercy Facebook page.

Scott and Lisa want the world to know that marriage is a precious gift to all men and women from their loving Father. The Father's mercy, Scott says, "is unfathomable, and it opens up any heart ... We say we love our spouses, and you want the best for someone you love. The best is Heaven."

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