Marriage Retreats Pastor & Ministry Leader Retreats The Journey Marriage Intensives

Jeff & Tammy’s Story: Redemption for Their Marriage and Family

“WinShape Marriage changed the trajectory of our marriage and our thinking. The retreat we attended was a pivotal time in our lives where we could say, ‘Wow. We’re OK. We’re not broken. It’s going to be OK. We’re going to make it through this. We’re not alone,” says Tammy Mohler, who attended a WinShape Marriage Retreat in 2015 with her husband, Jeff. Eight years later, this is still how she reflects on her time at WinShape. 

Tammy and Jeff Mohler celebrated their 14th wedding anniversary on April 25, 2023, but their journey has not been one without struggles. The Mohlers are a blended family—both bringing children to the marriage.  

Between the two of them, Tammy and Jeff have four daughters. In 2015, after being married for six years, they were experiencing several challenges within their family dynamics. Specifically, Tammy was feeling divided, and Jeff was feeling frustrated because Tammy was in pain. Neither of them knew the best path forward, but they did know another broken marriage was not the answer. 

“We had been experiencing all the challenges that come with blending families, and we felt helpless. I felt so torn, like I had to choose between my children and husband. Those years were probably some of the hardest times of my life—I was dealing with guilt and shame and wondering how I should navigate the situation. This is when we were [heading to WinShape in 2015,]” says Tammy. 

The hour plus drive to WinShape to attend the Successful Stepfamilies Marriage Retreat was less than ideal for the Mohlers. According to Tammy, they fought all the way there, to the point they weren’t sure they were going to stay for the weekend.  

“Dinner was awful the first night because we weren’t talking to each other. But the next morning at breakfast, I literally felt something break. I remember the actual place I as standing in the dining hall when I felt the presence of God come over me. I imagine it was the Holy Spirit beginning His work in my heart,” says Tammy. “Eight years later, the memory is still very vivid and emotional—it brings tears to my eyes. In that moment, I surrendered. I let go and committed to allowing God to do what He wanted to do in me and in our marriage during the weekend.” 

Tammy and Jeff Mohler with their four daughters, two sons-in-law, and granddaughter.

One of the most impactful parts of the weekend for the Mohlers was meeting other couples navigating difficult journeys, too. It was reassuring to hear similar themes woven throughout other’s marriage stories. Tammy described what she learned with a few, key phrases: 

  • We weren’t broken. 
  • We weren’t doing things wrong, necessarily. 
  • We weren’t alone. 
  • It was normal for [Jeff] to feel like an outsider. It’s not uncommon for kids to reject the “new person to the tribe.” 
  • We weren’t the only ones. 
  • There was hope. 

After the retreat and allowing the content to truly speak to them and their situation, Tammy recalls there being a noticeable shift in their marriage and in their relationships with their children. For Jeff, he grew in compassion and empathy for the girls. He chose not to let everything affect him so personally, especially after hearing from other couples how their kids felt. He was also more understanding of the position Tammy was in, feeling like she had to delicately navigate the relationship between herself, her kids, and her husband. 

For Tammy, she chose (and truthfully, she’s still trying) not to take on all the responsibility for the relationship dynamics around her and the “seismic activity” happening, as she called it. 

“Marriage is hard anyway, but the blending families part…” says Tammy. “The Successful Stepfamilies Marriage Retreat helped us learn that we weren’t a unique case. Divorce is not in God’s design, so inevitably we would face challenges. There was something so comforting about knowing we weren’t the only ones. It was so life-changing for us, and I believe it really saved our marriage. 

Perhaps, the most life-altering and important choice Tammy and Jeff made after the retreat was to move forward in forgiveness. 

“You can imagine where we were at as far as conflict in our family. It took months, and in some cases, years, to repair relationships, but we decided to forgive. We decided we were going to do whatever we could to bridge gaps,” says Tammy. “I shifted my prayers—God, I pray you would return my girls’ hearts to me and restore broken relationships. It took time, but He began to do that.” 

On her path of forgiveness, Tammy also chose to forgive her ex-husband, Jim. In doing so, Tammy and Jeff opened up their home to Jim for special occasions, holidays, and celebrations such as graduations, birthdays, Christmas, and more. 

“[Jim and I] had three beautiful daughters together, and I didn’t want them to feel awkward if mom and dad were together for occasions and events. The three of us [Jeff, Jim, and I] had come to a place of surrender, forgiveness, letting go, and moving forward,” says Tammy. “I don’t think Jim and I could have hurt each other any more than two people could have hurt each other. Though we couldn’t go back and fix our broken marriage, reconciliation was a gift we gave our daughters.” 

Possibly the most powerful part of their story is that this beautiful story of redemption unfolded prior to Jim passing away from COVID in November of 2021.  

“I’m so grateful we were in [a healthy] place where we truly cared for each other. We experienced the joy of our first grandbaby together and so much more. That is redemption. That is how God can take something ugly and restore it and make it something beautiful,” says Tammy. “Our story is a powerful story of forgiveness, humility, and trusting in the sovereignty of God. 

Tammy and Jeff Mohler and Jim Perez with their daughters, sons-in-law, granddaughter, and Tammy’s stepdad. This is the last celebration where they were all together.

Jim Perez with his granddaughter.

Tammy spoke at Jim’s funeral. In his death, his ex-wife honored him in front of their daughters, granddaughter, friends and family.  

“I wanted to give God the glory for what He had done in our family even through the pain. I wanted to be a witness to what He can do if we will allow Him, if we choose humility. I do not want to glorify divorce, but I want to honor God [and His redemption in our story.] I will never regret choosing forgiveness,” says Tammy. 

When she reflects on her time at WinShape Retreat and the influential part it plays in her testimony, she describes the retreat grounds as “sacred, holy ground,” and she’s certainly not the first to use this phrase. Fast forward to 2023, the Mohlers felt drawn to return to the place that was so pivotal in their marriage story. 

“There’s something incredible about that place. The accommodations, the people, the surroundings—everything about it feels like the presence of God,” says Tammy. “I knew going this time would be different because I had eager anticipation—God would do something in our marriage and in our hearts because He had done it before.” 

When she called to register for a retreat though, they were nearly all full, so Tammy and Jeff were put on three waiting lists. She received an email the week before a retreat led by Ted Lowe called Us in Mind in April 2023 saying there was an opening. She committed to making the last-minute change of plans work, so they could attend. 

“Sometimes, God needs to get me away to humble me. When I read [the retreat description], I knew I was going to be able to identify [with the content], but the retreat had way more takeaways than I could have ever thought. The content was applicable and relatable, and the speaker was funny. I related to his real stories, and I felt like there were things I could put immediately into practice,” says Tammy. 

Like before, Tammy mentioned that a special part of their weekend experience was interacting with other couples. This time, she was drawn to the wide range of age diversity among the attendees. 

“It was so cool because there were older couples, married for 50 years, and there were younger couples, not even married one year,” says Tammy. 

Tammy and Jeff desire to have a marriage that glorifies God. After attending their second WinShape Marriage Retreat, they’ve committed to coming back more frequently and inviting others along the way.  

“Life gets in the way, but WinShape is the perfect place to refocus and reset our hearts,” says Tammy. 

Today, Tammy and Jeff celebrate 14 years of marriage. Their daughters are “grown,” and they have three grandchildren and one on the way. As a blended family, they’ve walked through painful trials, but they’ve also experienced beautiful and momentous celebrations with one another—high school and college graduations, weddings, and welcoming new life. They’re immensely grateful for the specific piece WinShape Marriage played in their story.  

Tammy and Jeff Mohler with two of their grandchildren.

“I’ve compared [Jim and I’s] story to a category 5 storm. Divorce, and everything that comes from it, is sad, overwhelming, and tragic,” says Tammy. “But I know one way God redeems is to use what we’ve gone through, and I hope our [blended family’s] story can encourage and bring hope to one person who’s struggling.”


WinShape Marriage Retreats are subject to change year over year. Our current list of experiences can always be found on the Upcoming Marriage Retreats page.