After dating throughout college, Nick and Brooke Westbrook got married soon after graduating. With their community and church surrounding them, Nick says their marriage looked “picture perfect” on the outside.
But as years went by, life got busier and heavier. Brooke began to notice that Nick’s attention was no longer on her.
Nick felt it, too.
“I began to dive myself into anything I could get my hands on to kind of fill that void as we began to grow farther apart,” Nick says.
After years of distance, Brooke decided it was time for her and their two girls to leave.
Following the separation, Brooke learned about WinShape Marriage intensives. Nick was all in, desperate to get back his marriage and children.
The drive to WinShape Retreat, where the intensive was held, held distance in more ways than one.
“Brooke was as far away from me as she could get in that truck,” Nick remembers.
But the minute they drove onto campus, something changed.
“I felt the presence of God from the second that we drove up on that campus,” Brooke says.
Even still, neither had much hope for what would come of their experience.
Again, a shift came as they settled into their room and began to see the collection of stories written on the closet walls – testimonials of marriages that were saved and restored in that place.
“I just remember falling down to my knees in awe of what God had done in their lives and what He would in our lives and in our marriage,” Brooke says.
Nick and Brooke say that first day reintroduced a connection to each other as they listened to the other share what was on their heart. As both talked about the wounds they had carried – wounds from their childhood and from each other – a heart shift started to unfold.
“I felt the presence of God from the second that we drove up on that campus.”
“This sweet girl that had trusted her heart to me, I had wounded so badly,” Nick says.
An even more trying moment for Nick was having to share things with Brooke he hadn’t up until then.
“I remember thinking, ‘If I confess all of this, it’s over,’” Nick said.
Nick’s counselor was quick to point him back to truth: “If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship of one another, and the blood of Jesus, His son, cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)
“I remember distinctly thinking, ‘If my faith is real, then I have to confess what Jesus has forgiven me for,’” Nick says.
In a conversation that Nick says was marked by “incredible, redemptive compassion,” Brooke offered forgiveness for everything.
In that moment, Nick and Brooke found freedom to do what they had longed to do for so long – confess, show each other their weaknesses and find redemption in the process.
Following the intensive, Nick and Brooke went home radically changed and reconciled. Nick moved back in to their house that Sunday.
“It truly transformed our entire life,” Nick says. “You read these redemptive stories throughout [the Bible] that almost seem unreal…I’m sitting here on the other side of this, and we were headed for a statistic very quickly. And now we get to be the ones who share our redemptive story.”
Today, Nick and Brooke are using their journey to speak into the lives of other couples who are walking the same road.
Brooke’s advice? “Don’t try to carry this burden by yourself. God is capable of miracles beyond what you can fathom.”
For Nick, it’s the question WinShape Marriage asked him – one that changed everything:
“If God Himself, the creator of the universe, wanted to do a miracle in your marriage, would you let Him?”