Good News - February 2022

COVER STORY 25 fEBRUARY 2022 Good News • South florida Edition AMarriage Restored Now married 16 years, Live the Life Board Members Scot and Danielle Seagrave have shared their past marital issues to guide couples in achieving a solid foundation to gain the reward of a stronger marriage. Scot is CEO of Credito Real USA, a finance company offering support for individuals who have below-average credit, and Danielle, having previously worked for several Wall Street firms and non-profits, now homeschools their four boys. In telling their story of redemption, Scot shared, “I cheated on my wife and my kids, was a full-blown narcisit, sex addict and world class liar who had multiple affairs… I am ashamed of the person I was, but we share our story to encourage others to come clean and take part in a Live the Life class like we did… We are living proof that no marriage is beyond repair.” It was during a period of separation in 2016 when Scot confessed everything to Danielle. Shortly later, Pastor Jerry Sander at Calvary Chapel Boca Raton encouraged them to attend a Hope Weekend marriage intensive. In describing a Hope Weekend, Danielle explained that you “do deep dives into all the trigger points that cause couples to fight, such as in laws, children, finances, etc. They teach you how to have a healthy argument. You’re able to talk about the things that you’re afraid of or what’s hurt you and a coach guides you through that. So you walk away feeling like you learned who you are really married to and you get to work through a lot of pain and hurt that’s built up.” The HOPE Weekend was a big part of the healing process for their marriage. However, through their involvement in helping other couples, Danielle said, “We have found that one of the massive barriers for couples in crisis when it comes to seeking help is SHAME. Specifically, when it comes to extramarital affairs, emotional affairs or pornography, Christians are so mortified and embarrassed by the behavior that they generally don’t seek critical help…and certainly not within the church.” But she affirmed, “All the Bible verses about being set free are true, if we could only be brave enough to admit our struggles and share one another's burdens! This is one of the things a HOPE weekend does for a couple. You learn you are not alone, and that we ALL carry so much hurt and shame and pain from what we’ve done or what’s been done to us. I can honestly say that there is likely nothing they have not seen and heard. It is so liberating to be surrounded and coached by a group of believers who pass no judgment on your sin and are truly there to help make you well.” Find a Hope Weekend at this. Are incarceration rates down? Is drug abuse down? Is poverty down? Is the need for foster care down? Has mental wellness increased? It doesn’t matter what your faith is if you can correlate that the wellness of the family impacts the community.” Building partnerships in the marketplace Live the Life South Florida is all about creating communities where marriages and families can thrive. Married for 39 years, Margaret and Scott Whiddon have served on the board of Live the Life since its inception in South Florida. “We know we’re making a difference, but we wanted more meaningful benchmarks we could share with the community to try and get the business community - in all industries - excited about the changes and what the possibility could be if there was more stability in people’s marriages,” said Scott Whiddon, former president and CEO of Causeway Lumber and a current real estate investor. Live the Life is looking to collaborate with businesses in both the private and public sectors, making theirAdventures in Marriage enrichment classes, HopeWeekend marriage intensives and marriage coaching available to a larger audience. “It would be a benefit I would offer through HR just like continuing education, tuition reimbursement or health insurance,” said Whiddon. “It’s really important that if somebody is struggling, they should have a place they can turn to.” Cotton agrees, “If you have a healthy employee, they’re going to be able to contribute and be more focused, and in the long run a health family makes for a better community.” However, he stressed, “We need people to come alongside and partner with us.” As a graduate of Stranahan High School in Fort Lauderdale, Cotton suggests local alumni could sponsor a Real Essentials class in their former middle school or high school. “It would be a great opportunity for a business to make a difference in that community.” Bringing the “Real Essentials” to youth Real Essentials is a prevention piece being offered by Live the Life in more than 30 Broward County public schools. It is comprised of middle and high school level courses teaching social emotional wellness and healthy relationship education skills facilitated by Live the Life in collaboration with partners in the Church and private sector. Since the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas tragedy, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has declared that every middle and high school student in Broward County public schools will receive a minimum of five hours of social and emotional learning, explained May, and Live the Life has responded to that need with their Real Essential classes. “We have hired Florida State University Center of Prevention Research to conduct a comparative study on the change of behavior and thinking for a student that only gets eight hours of education, because we do a minimum of eight hours, versus a student who gets 32 hours,” said May. “Right now, we give these (Real Essential classes) to the schools. We charge nothing for it, and we have nine public high schools that are asking for full semester classes.” In his experience with Live the Life, Whiddon said, “The most surprising thing I’ve learned is that by going to kids at a younger age, howmuch they get it, howmuch they understand through the exercises they do, and how they almost yearn for this because they are not really getting it in their home environment.” Here’s one of the things students learn. “It’s statistically proven that if students complete high school, which is a huge task, get a job, get married and have a baby - in that order - they have an 85%chance of staying out of poverty,” noted Cotton. “If you catch them young and make an impact in their life, it’s not something they’re likely to forget. That seed has been planted, and I like that aspect of what we’re doing,” Whiddon added. Scot & Danielle Seagrave Continued on Page 26