He and his wife, Diann, are leading a program to help those undergoing separation or divorce, recent or not, with a support group called DivorceCare.
The free, faith-based, nondenominational 13-week video series begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 26, at Sequim Community Church, 1000 N. Fifth Ave.
Eckler, who participated in and helped with the program for four years in Connecticut before moving to this area five years ago, said there aren’t many resources for divorced people here.
“I wish I had somewhere to go when I was first divorced,” he said.
Diann Eckler said people typically don’t process a marital split in a healthy and thorough way.
“We end up taking baggage with us into future relationships as well as our lives in general,” she said.
The series features 40-minute videos, each with commentary from more than 30 divorce counselors and on a variety of topics. A discussion follows each video, with guided workbooks to fill out.
Eckler said all weeks are fulfilling and people can come for different sessions, but they’ll get more out of it by experiencing the whole series.
The Rev. Rick Dietzman leads one session that applies the Bible to dealing with divorce. Eckler said the biblical aspect is present in the series but not invasive.
“It’s not just for Christians, it’s for anybody,” he said. “As I see it, it’s the lowest point of their lives.”
Eckler has been divorced three times and Diann Eckler once.
“In a way I can relate to these people,” Eckler said.
“In all the different scenarios, it’s allowed me to have a fuller understanding of divorces. God doesn’t hold a record of our rights and wrongs. I know he’s using my experiences and pain I’ve been through for good.”
Diann said she didn’t deal with her divorce well and resorted to drugs and alcohol to numb her pain.
“I wish I had known about and joined a group when I was going through my divorce,” she said. “Perhaps it would have prevented me from making some seriously bad choices and causing myself and the people around me more trouble.”
The couple feels going through a group process is healing and it’s best to do it now.
“It can be harder for someone who has been divorced for a long time because some things are buried,” Eckler said.
“The sooner the better. It’s easier when it’s raw and fresh opposed to when you don’t think about it. From what I’ve seen, there are people stuck and living in anger. It’s not healthy.”
Diann said both men and women can benefit from the series if they simply come, participate and do their homework.
“You get out of it what you put in,” she said.
“If you want to move forward in a positive way, support, healing and growth is available through the DivorceCare program.”
“It’s their choice if they want to grow or not,” Eckler said. “I want people all to experience life after divorce.”
He hopes to continue DivorceCare year-round if enough people attend.
Reach Matthew Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.