In 2005, I attended an ILI International Conference in Singapore. I was in my mid-forties and established in my profession as an architect at my own firm. I have three lovely daughters, a very devoted wife, and I was the associate lay leader for my church. On the outside, everything looked fine, but on the inside... I was not well.
I knew deep inside, my relationship with God had become dry and routine, and my relationship with my wife was stressed and unexciting. I knew if I carried on like that, I would be one of the biggest hypocrites and cause many of my brothers and sisters to stumble. So, I attended the ILI conference without even really knowing what it was, and I was captivated by the Core Value of Intimacy with God.
During the conference, we were asked to take a vow of silence. For 24 hours, we spoke to no one, watched no television, and had no headphones. I began praying, but after an hour or so, my words began to run out, and the silence was a real struggle. Before, when I prayed, I talked and God listened, but I never really listened to Him.
As I sat in silence, many of the dark and difficult moments of my past began to surface. Things I had suppressed and forgotten began to rise to my attention once again. The bad moments, the ugly parts of my past, the bitterness and hatred all started to come out bit-by-bit, and it brought me to tears.
When my tears ran out, I looked up and said, "God, that's it. I don't know what to do next." It was very awkward for a long time, and I kept looking at my watch, hoping the 24 hours of silence were almost up. But it was then that God spoke.
He spoke in a gentle whisper, not in my ears, but in my heart. I knew it was from God, because a sheep hears the Shepherd. That moment changed my life.
I began to understand what a relationship with my Maker meant. From then on, things looked different. My quiet times with God gradually became longer and longer, sweeter and sweeter, and my wife noticed a change in me. She would begin to tell the women in our church, "After ILI, my husband is a better husband," so many women started signing their husbands up for ILI conferences!
When God restores our relationship with Him, He also heals the relationship with the most important person on earth, our spouse.
God restored the intimacy between me and my wife, and soon after, excitement and desire came rushing back into our marriage. We have now been married 36 years. It is still very good, and I thank God for that.