Simon Hi, my name is Simon Saugier and this is my beautiful wife Katrina. We’ve been married for...how long...17 years? Yup, in 2001 so that's easy math. Uh, and we have 3 kids – our daughter Carsen is 12, our son Canon on the left there is 10, and our son Case is 7 years old. And every year on the first day of school, we have them take a picture holding last year's picture from the first day of school so if you look really close it's like a time machine.
Like I said, we got married 17 years ago. I think we have a picture - look at that. She looks the same, I look like a child!
I grew up in a family with both parents and four siblings. We all loved each other and never had a lot of drama that I remember. Our parents raised us up in the faith and we regularly read the bible and discussed it as a family. But when it came to dating, I didn't really have a clue. I bought the lies that Hollywood tells you about how you “just know” when it is “true love”. And since I only dated 2 girls before Katrina, I never gained the experience that would teach me that's not true. This led me to over commit way too quickly in dating relationships, and not seek a friendship first. I also sought personal validation through someone liking me, which always led to massive unmet expectations and disappointment.
Katrina I grew up with both of my parents and one older brother, but my family was not close. I had a volatile relationship with my mom through high school and my dad just sat back and watched the family life happen around him as he worked many hours and became a world-famous economist – he truly cared about me, but rarely showed emotion and never told me he loved me or showed me affection. Thankfully, our merciful Lord found me amidst the internal and external chaos that ruled my life, and during my senior year of high school, I realized I was a sinner and accepted Christ into my life. However, I desperately needed guidance and discipleship to stay on the right path, but both of my parents are atheists, so I did not get support or encouragement at home and had a hard time making wise choices. My dating life was pretty pathetic; I had one boyfriend after another from 14 to 18 years old. Sadly, not a single of them was a believer, and I derived all of my self-worth from my relationships.
When I first met Simon, spiritually, I was in a more solid place, and we were both leading a bible study at our church during our sophomore year of college. Simon asked me out after a football game one Saturday night by saying “I like you, and I think you like me, is this true?” I responded “yes…” and then Simon said “what do you want to do about it?” (so romantic). Simon then vowed to love God first and me second (let me remind you that we had only known each other for three weeks). I was completely weirded out and could not believe he had used the L word so soon. This was my first time to ever date a guy who loved God, so I just assumed this is what your average DTR looked like.
Simon Our relationship was always dramatic and rocky; the drama started because I realized that I did not really want to date anyone seriously, I just wanted to do whatever I wanted to do. This self-centered & self-serving attitude often played out as my heart overflowed into my speech. I would look for some reason I was unsatisfied in the relationship and being unwilling or unable to realize it was a problem with me, I would inevitably find some flaw in Katrina to pick at. My careless and critical words caused deep wounds in Katrina’s heart, and many times took us to the brink of breaking up. But neither of us wanted to see the relationship fail, so we would patch it up and keep going. But the damage was building up.
Katrina Even though I was a believer now, I still struggled with finding my significance in whom I was dating. As a result, I never broke up with Simon despite the fact that he treated me terribly. He definitely wasn’t my “prince charming” that I thought I deserved. It was crushing to my pride, so I vowed to change his opinion of me instead of ending an unhealthy relationship.
Simon To try and mend all the hurt I had caused her, I would tell Katrina that I felt much more strongly for her than I did. I would tell her that I loved her, that I wanted to spend our future together, etc. I really liked her reaction, so I got myself stuck in a trap of always “upping the ante” with everything I told her, just to get her to fawn over me again. Eventually, this led to us getting engaged.
Katrina Our engagement was a nightmare. We got engaged after 8 months of dating, and Simon immediately got cold feet. Suddenly I felt like he wanted nothing to do with me. I planned the entire wedding by myself. Anything I tried to get him involved in would turn into a major argument. However, I felt like breaking off the engagement would be embarrassing, and in the back of my mind, I felt like we were together for a purpose, as strange as that may seem. So I stuck with him, even though I knew he did not want to get married. He even tried to postpone the wedding, but I told him, “You either marry me when you said you would, or we don’t get married at all.”
Simon On December 29th, 2001, we were married. I was 20 and she was 21. It was the middle of our junior year at Texas A&M. As we drove away from the reception, I saw tears running down Katrina’s cheeks. In an oddly compassionate way, I reached over and said, “I know.” And I did know: she did not want to be married to me.
Katrina When we got back from the honeymoon, I realized that my old life was gone. I was no longer living in my big apartment with my best girlfriends. I was living in a tiny dump of an apartment with a guy that I didn’t really like. We had no community. All of our old friends were still single. We had no one to talk to about our struggles. And so we suffered in isolation. I sought to ease the pain through the excitement of chatting with an old boyfriend online. It never turned into anything physical, but it was definitely inappropriate. Even though we loved the Lord, there was no spiritual oneness in our marriage. There were some good days when we would have fun going to get donuts on a Saturday morning or go to the bookstore. But mostly we continued to disappoint each other through each of our unmet expectations. I remember sitting on the floor of our apartment, kicking the door and screaming, “I wish we could get a divorce!”
During the entirety of our relationship, we both knew Jesus. Honestly, it protected us from things getting much, much worse. But we had no spiritual oneness, and we were not seeking Him together as a couple. We were both operating from a self-centered perspective.
Simon After 6 months of a miserable marriage, I was about at the end of my rope. I remember I was sitting at my desk, trying to think up some way to manipulate Katrina into loving me the way I wanted to be loved, when I realized how messed up I was acting. I think God let me step back and take an objective look at myself. I realized that if someone were treating me the way I was treating Katrina, I would definitely not want to be close to that person at all. After I realized that, God just kept peeling back the onion. I realized that all of my efforts to make Katrina do what I wanted her to do were completely selfish and completely fruitless. I realized that I was pushing her away and destroying my marriage. God just broke me. I said to Him, “I’m done doing things my way. It’s completely ineffective anyway. I’ll do whatever You want me to do. I have nothing to lose.”
Katrina After we moved to Dallas, I confessed to Simon that I didn’t think that we were “meant to be together”, that he was not my “prince charming”. He said to me that we WERE meant to be together, because we were married, and God’s plan for us was to stay together because He hates divorce. After that, I realized that I had not been “all in” this whole time. I had been focusing on my unmet expectations and not on being the wife that God wanted me to be. I wanted to be happy instead of to be made holy. I made a commitment that day to work hard at loving Simon.
Simon After God showed me how selfish I was being, He started to show me what it meant to trust in Him. I’d like to share Philippians 2:3-4. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
I no longer tried to use words to manipulate Katrina, but instead tried to use them to build her up. I no longer sought just to win fights, but to seek unity through conflict resolution. I began to ignore the hurtful comments she made for the sake of hearing the hurt in her heart.
Katrina God gave me a heart to follow Simon and support him and a desire to have a strong marriage. He matured me. It’s not about being right and winning, it is about having peace. It is about striving to meet my spouse’s needs. He just gave me the right perspective on my responsibilities as a wife, and the weight of those responsibilities in front of a watching world.
Since we’ve been in Dallas, we’ve plugged into Watermark and surrounded ourselves with a community of believers who are all seeking to have stronger relationships with the Lord and stronger marriages. We can’t hide our bad behavior in isolation anymore. We have confidence in knowing that we can’t get too far “off track” without someone noticing that we’re not doing well and calling us out. And we are constantly learning from other couples as they love each other well and work through the same issues that we are working through. God has given us such a passion for His power in marriage that now Simon and I are leading Foundation Groups of newly married couples here at Watermark, where we get the opportunity to pour into young married couples and help them get a good start and hopefully avoid some of the pain we suffered through living in isolation for the first few years of our marriage.
Simon Here are three ways that Katrina would say I have changed in our marriage:
I used to be offended if Katrina poked fun at me, laughed at something that happened to me (like if I put the milk on the fridge instead of IN the fridge...or if I fell of the treadmill at the gym (true story))...but now I laugh too...we laugh with each other, we have so much more fun together. We have inside jokes, we do not take life so seriously
I used to let Katrina handle hurt by herself (our miscarriage...when she thought she was miscarrying our second child...) but now I encourage her to express her fears, I pray for her daily, and I know what is going on in her world (I make it my concern)
I used to only care about sex - how to get it, when I could get it, how many times I could get it...do you get the picture? I did not care about HER. And by no means do we have sex all figured out, but we are striving toward a sex life that is focused on loving the other person FIRST, not getting our own needs met.
Katrina I used to struggle with admiring and respecting Simon, now I try to let him know how much I love him, appreciate his hard work for our family, publicly praise him so that there is no question in his mind that I am thankful he is mine
I used to be very frustrated by Simon's lack of follow through/leadership, but now we have become a team. I like to fill in the gaps...if time management is his problem then I will help keep him on track. I like to think that I am his executive assistant...my spiritual gifts equip him to lead our family really well.
Simon I love that I don’t have to “have all the answers” for how to make my marriage work. All I have to do is read God’s word and do what it says and He will take over from there. I’d like to share Matthew 6:33-34 with you. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Do not worry about tomorrow, for it will have its own worries. When your marriage seems overwhelming and hopeless, just take it one day and one decision at a time. Choose to trust God step by step.