Aaron and Amy have been married for 26 years. They have six children. Their youngest son, ten-year-old Noah, has Down syndrome. Noah thrives on structure, routine, and consistency, and struggles with transitions.
The past two years have posed steep challenges for Aaron, Amy, and their children.
For years, the family had been firmly rooted in a local church in their hometown in Maine. They had a strong network of friends and steady support from community services.
When jobs dried up in their town, Aaron and Amy made the difficult decision to move to New Hampshire. But before they could settle and connect in their new community, the COVID pandemic struck. Pandemic-induced lockdowns deepened the family’s isolation as they struggled to adapt to their new home.
Noah suffered particularly acute stress, which heightened tensions between his siblings and parents.
Amy recalls the extent of her social life when lockdowns began—trips to the dump and the grocery store. The whole family ached for their beloved church community back in Maine. Amid the strain, cracks formed in Aaron and Amy’s relationship.
Thankfully things began to change when a new friend at church in New Hampshire invited Amy to a Joni and Friends virtual care group for moms. Next, the whole family participated in a Family Retreat at Home where Noah made friends, even through the computer screen.
Amy recalls being overwhelmed by the connection she felt to the Joni and Friends family.
Beyond the personal encouragement from the local volunteer who supported them throughout the week, she could not believe how great a network she now belonged to—a community of believers who all understood what it’s like to live with disability.
While the family was encouraged by Family Retreat, Aaron and Amy were still raw and ragged after months of isolation and non-stop caregiving. When in-person events were finally safe again, they attended a Joni and Friends Marriage Getaway.
“We would be divorced five times over without the Lord.”
At Marriage Getaway, the Lord provided exactly what Aaron and Amy needed to bolster their relationship.
They participated in biblically rooted couples’ coaching and received mentorship from a local pastor and his wife. The couples still keep in touch today, and Amy and Aaron continue to build on what they learned at Marriage Getaway.
Months after Marriage Getaway, the Lord steered Aaron, Amy, and their family back to Maine. Even restored to familiar community, and embedded in the New England | Joni and Friends, Aaron and Amy continue to face challenges. Aaron travels three days a week for his job. Amy gets little respite most days. And yet, the whole family has seen God’s faithfulness through their hardships. Reunited with their church family, they share their gifts and worship with gratitude, trusting God to guide them on the road ahead, just as he has done so far.
Now Aaron and Amy are sharing what they learned at Marriage Getaway with their newly engaged son:
“In a Godly marriage, Jesus is the glue. If you honor that, you’ll be blessed by it.”
Marriage Getaway allows couples like Amy and Aaron to take a step away from the daily routines and challenges of raising a child impacted by disability. Marriage Getaway restores and saves marriages as couples get the opportunity to focus on Jesus and one another.