Jeremy and Julie Griffin’s marriage came to a breaking point shortly after their first child was born. They had been married for two years, and due to the crash in the economy, Jeremy was forced to suddenly lay down his career as an architect and pick up the role as a stay-at-home dad.
“It was a lot of change really fast…we kind of just got sucked into the everyday grind of everything, and we were still learning how to be married,” recalls Julie.
At the end of their rope and not sure where to turn, the Griffins began throwing out the idea of divorce, agreeing that their marriage simply wasn’t going to work.
“It’s not like things were bad, they just weren’t great…we just kind of fell apart,” says Julie.
That’s when Jeremy received a phone call from a close friend challenging him to stand up in his marriage and do what Christ had called him to do – to love his wife as Christ has loved the church (Eph. 5:25).
“That’s when I decided I’m not going to do this half way. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure this works,” says Jeremy.
"I’m not going to do this half way. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure this works..."
The Weekend That Changed Everything
Jeremy had seen some information about WinShape Marriage retreats and asked Julie if she would be interested in going to one. After some convincing, she reluctantly said yes. The two were soon on their way to the next scheduled retreat, Courageous Hearts.
“As you drive up [to WinShape Retreat], you just kind of let out this sigh like everything else is just melted away. It’s just beautiful. You know that God is at work there,” says Julie.
Over the course of three days spent in a sequestered environment, combined with introspective learning exercises, Jeremy and Julie were able to begin peeling back the layers of hurt and get to the source of their problems.
“We forgot that we were friends first, too, and that we just used to play together. That’s what really brought us together…us just hanging out and playing together,” remembers Julie.
Jeremy and Julie realized that they didn’t know what words to use to describe what was going on in their marriage, and what they weren’t saying was causing a wall between them. Once they were able to actually have the needed conversations and uncover what was going on beneath the surface, everything else opened up.
It was the hope they had been searching for.
Upon leaving that initial WinShape Marriage retreat, Jeremy and Julie both said they couldn’t imagine it just being a one-time thing. From that moment on, they decided it was something they needed to do for their marriage on a regular basis.
A Marriage Ministry of Their Own
Fast forward a few months. Julie was on a run, reflecting on the healing and change that had taken place in her and Jeremy’s marriage, when God laid the idea of a marriage ministry on her heart. She shared the idea with Jeremy, and it wasn’t long before Marriages in Action began.
Marriages in Action’s purpose is to provide accountability, encouragement, and opportunities for growth for Christian couples. A few times throughout the year, they host crazy date nights to give couples a chance to do something out of the ordinary with each other. In addition to these events, they take an annual trip to a WinShape Marriage retreat. Since 2013, Jeremy and Julie have taken approximately 45 couples to experience WinShape.
“More than one time, we’ve seen marriages transform,” says Jeremy. “It’s amazing. Couples come to us and say, ‘That’s the first time we’ve laughed together in forever.’ We just love showing them you can still have fun together even if you’re going through hard times.”
The Birth of a New Child…and a New Company
After their second child was born, Jeremy and Julie decided they wanted to jumpstart their careers as architects – this time, together. It wasn’t until they were discussing this idea with their marriage counselor that they landed on the perfect name for their new company, Hazel and Grey Architects.
Hazel and Grey not only describes the couple’s eye colors, but it’s also a nod to how they use their different perspectives and personalities to work together. What started as a side business is now a full-time career for the Griffins, meaning the two now spend almost all of their time together – something they could have never imagined before their marriage was transformed.
Jeremy and Julie’s journey to a healthy and whole marriage didn’t happen overnight, but the initial investment in their relationship with WinShape Marriage and the work they’ve put in over the years has been worth it. They both agree, “it’s been exciting, terrifying, (and) it’s been great!”