Life as they knew it changed in a moment. The diagnosis was grim…the grapefruit-sized tumor growing behind her sternum was malignant. She had cancer. The doctors’ next pronouncement was devastating. She needed radical surgery that would leave her greatly disfigured, and she would still have less than 3 months to live.
How could this be? She was only 40, with 3 teenagers and a wonderful husband.Their new ministry to couples was just getting off the ground. Hadn’t God called them to begin this ministry? The clear answer, years later, is a resounding yes! God intervened and Bette lived.
Now Harold & Bette Gillogly travel around the nation speaking at conferences and retreats, encouraging couples to lay a strong foundation for their marriage. They speak from experience. Their fight against cancer was a proving ground for the principles they teach. Many marriages fail when faced with this kind of trial, but their Anchor held.Their story and the principles they teach have touched lives from coast to coast.
Bette says, “Our struggle against cancer gives us credibility with those who are struggling with serious issues. If God can heal me, He can heal any marriage. And for couples who are ‘coasting,’ it provides a powerful incentive to prepare for possible storms ahead.”
Harold & Bette saw that marriages in the church were in just as much trouble as those outside the church, and divorce was on the rise. They knew the secret to preserving families was, first of all, to create a strong marital bond, and they had a deep desire to reach out to couples in a way that would strengthen their marriage and family.Their pastor encouraged them to pursue their passion for families, and the first GTO (Growing Toward Oneness) Marriage Retreat was held in October 1983, in San Diego, California. They now live near Nashville, Tennessee. Their 3 children are each married, with children of their own. In fact, they are grandparents of 9 and eager to show their pictures! Just ask.
Harold & Bette share their message in a practical, down to earth way. Using poignant life stories, humorous cartoons, and down right hilarious anecdotes, they encourage and challenge their listeners with practical tools that address everyday issues. Whether you’re newlyweds or ‘veterans,’ if your marriage description is ‘happy as a clam’ or ‘war of the roses,’ the principles Harold & Bette teach provide hope and help for everyone.
Harold likes to compare their ministry to a car tune-up. He says, “A new car comes off the production line in (hopefully) excellent condition. But the wear and tear of daily use requires regularly scheduled maintenance, or things stop working. Neglect the car long enough and you’ll have a breakdown.”
“The same is true with marriage. A bride and groom emerge from their wedding all starry-eyed with happy-ever-after dreams. But the wear and tear of daily life begins to create small cracks in their relationship. Without regularly scheduled maintenance, the cracks become rifts. If they neglect things too long, they’re bound to have a marriage breakdown. Our conferences are like a Marriage Tune-Up. We provide the tools to help you heal the cracks and rifts, so you can recapture your first love and avoid ever having a break-down.”