Val Clover had accepted that her husband, Jason, was an angry man. She learned to walk on eggshells to not entice him to anger and to fight back when his anger erupted. Her selfishness fueled her defensiveness igniting an anger in herself. This became her normal. Her marriage resembled roommates who didn’t get along and her son had a front row seat to the dysfunction.
Jason’s prior deployments with 1st Marine Corps Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion in 2005 and 2007 to Iraq, 3rd Trax Battalion in 2011 to Afghanistan, and 9th Communications Battalion to Oman and the Philippines in 2015 meant that the couple had spent quite some time apart. When he came home and they had to live as husband and wife things crumbled. They just weren’t equipped.
Then in 2014 Val’s husband went to a Mighty Oaks Warriors Men’s Program and everything changed.
“I got a whole new husband!” Val marveled. “Literally, the man I dropped off for the Program and picked up a week later were two different people.”
Val’s husband Jason came home ready to make changes in himself and his marriage. He was set on being the man that God had designed him to be. He was determined to lead his family and take care of his wife and son just as he had done for the men he served with. He got his fight back but was now fighting for his family not against them.
Val admits, “I’m not proud of this but I couldn’t accept it. I couldn’t believe it would last. I was used to our normal of fighting and selfishness.”
Val continued in that path of selfishness and hopelessness, antagonizing Jason as he tried to implement the new tools he had learned at Mighty Oaks. She would go “toe to toe” with him reminding him of his past mistakes and asking him where was this “good” Jason 5 years ago, 8 years ago. She would ask him why he was trying to be a good husband now when he should have started long ago. She pushed every button she knew to push to get the old Jason to reveal himself but he wouldn’t react in anger.
Val remembers that time thoughtfully, “Mighty Oaks showed my husband to be MY husband.”
Mighty Oaks Warriors had prepared Jason for this. They told him that when he went home that the new tools he had learned and the reconciliation he had made with his past was not experienced by his wife. They taught him how to fight through this process with understanding and love and gave him the tools he would need for a successful transition in his marriage. Most importantly they offered a Mighty Oaks Program for women.
Jason encouraged Val to attend a Mighty Oaks Warrior Women’s Program and finally, months later, she did. Once Val attended she realized how badly she needed to go.
In her first day at Mighty Oaks Warrior Program week long intensive Val remembers feeling too broken to be there as she thought about her past and how much her and Jason had gone through. Kathy Robichaux told her that she was there because her life was broken just like everyone else that had attended. This helped Val realize that this was a safe place to heal. Not only did she find women she could relate to, and bond with. but she was led by people who had experienced the same things she had. These women gave her the hope of possibility. She finally felt understood and not alone.
Val is still amazed at the amount of growth and healing she got done in that one week. “I went in thinking I was fine and knew it all. I was completely humbled. Mighty Oaks changed me for the rest of my life. I now understood the new Jason and was able to become a new me.”
Mighty Oaks Programs gave Jason and Val a healthy marriage. Before Mighty Oaks they had been married for 8 years. She admits that for those first 8 years they did it all wrong. Their relationship was damaged as they looked out for their selves and not each other. Now married 10 years, she is finally proud of her marriage. She attributes that to Mighty Oaks and to making a choice to give their lives to Jesus. “We made a choice to stop living selfishly,” Val says.
Their commitment to Christ and the tools from Mighty Oaks has redeemed and restored the Clover’s lives. They have been able to sustain the changes they were on fire to make in the beginning by pulling out the tools Mighty Oaks has given them. They were taught to not isolate, to talk through problems, to not shut down to each other but to come together through trials. Their son has also had a front row seat to this redemption.
Val explains, “Our son didn’t witness a good marriage until he was seven. He didn’t see love between a husband and wife, he saw screaming and fighting. Brokenness was all he knew. But God has also given him a front row seat to absolute restoration. He now has an example of a husband and wife that I am so proud of. I am so proud of my husband and the father he has become. I am so glad my son has that to look up to and to want to become.”
Jason is now home for 3 years as a Combat Instructor. Leading in serving our country, leading his family and leading in ministry. He is also part of a Ministry that ministers to recruits in boot camp. On Sundays, he goes out and meets with a group of recruits, shares the word with them and encourages them that they can still be a Marine and a Christian and live a Christian lifestyle.
Jason is currently on duty but he wanted you to hear from his wife and son about the difference Mighty Oaks has made in their life.