Former Baseball Star Darryl Strawberry Speaks Out About His Miserable Marriage
THE BASEBALL PRO
Darryl was the middle of five children born to Monica and “Big Hank” Strawberry. “Big Hank” was one of the best softball players in Los Angeles but also had an affinity for drinking, gambling, abuse, and carousing with other women. His father passed down his baseball skills but unfortunately he also passed down his struggles. Darryl was a natural athlete. The New York Mets took notice, and drafted him as the number one overall pick in the 1980 amateur draft. That year he slugged 26 homers and was named the league’s Rookie of the Year 1983. Off the field life was one big frat party. The Mets drank to celebrate winning, and drank when times were rough. They took amphetamines “like mints” to perk them up, and other drugs just for fun. His wild life affected his relationships too, bringing about two divorces during his baseball career. In 1992, a relative of his suggested he go to a Morris Cerullo convention, and that day Darryl got saved. Darryl hoped it would mark the end of his problems, but that wasn’t the case. Darryl struggled to win his battle over drugs and alcohol over the next 11 years.
DARRYL & TRACY
Darryl met Tracy at a Narcotics Anonymous convention in 2003. They were both divorced twice, unemployed, battling addiction, and fighting for sobriety. Darryl had millions of dollars of debt, legal problems, and addictions to drugs and women. Tracy was just recovering from addiction to drugs and alcohol and had avoided an intense custody battle by signing over the custody of her children, and was trying to find the will to live. Broken as they were, they fell in love and survived three years of dating and got married in 2006. They admit that they have, “made every possible mistake you can make in a marriage.” However, they worked through their issues and were able to forgive each other and turn their relationship into a success. They believe that if they their marriage can be salvaged that no relationship is too far-gone for God.
HEALING YOUR MARRIAGE
Darryl and Tracy reveal how there are two different aspects of dealing with marital brokenness. First, there is dealing with “Me,” which challenges people to become more self-aware of their individual brokenness and how it affects their marriage. Darryl and Tracy reveal that one of the largest issues with individual brokenness is that people are caught up in the misconceptions of how culture defines love and not through how God defines it. They say, “Love is grounded in God and evidenced through following Jesus.” Love needs to be redefined and that cannot be fully understood or enacted without relationship with God. They encourage couples to view marriage through God’s eyes and not cultures by keeping God first in your life. Darryl and Tracy also point out how an unhealed heart can be dangerous.
They poignantly say, “An unhealed heart desperately searches for relief, happiness, wholeness, and healing in a person, place or thing instead of through its Creator and Healer, Jesus Christ. It falls for the lie that falling in love is the cure; in reality, it damages the love you so desperately desire.” They emphasize the importance of working on yourself and not focusing on fixing your spouse. Five keys that helped Darryl and Tracy find healing and freedom are; Taking ownership of your life and actions, placing your life in the hands of God, recognizing and ending cycles of sin, changing your environment and influences, and developing your character. They also point out the importance of forgiving yourself and others and how that is the catalyst for healing. Tracy also takes the time to target the spouse-in-waiting. The husband or wife who is waiting for their companion to get their act together. She lays down some principles for how to deal with situations such as protecting yourself, planning ahead, forgiveness, and drawing clear boundaries.
The other aspect of dealing with marital brokenness is the “We,” which deals with marital brokenness caused by both people in the relationship. The first point that Darryl and Tracy deal with is the object of trust or as they define it, “consistency over time.” Trust has to be built up together and that takes time to do and will not happen overnight. Tracy also reveals how trust and forgiveness are two different things. Forgiveness is releasing the person from your judgment but not necessarily forgetting what they have done. Many times people break our trust and stronger boundaries need to be implemented. They give four steps for becoming more trustworthy; Releasing yourself into the hands of God, recognizing your need for change, set up safeguards, and finally Repetition of doing the right thing. Darryl poignantly says, “What ever the offense is, you must go deeper than the offense itself. Get down to the why.” They firmly believe that dealing with the issue at the root is the most effective way to bringing about healing. Darryl and Tracy also highlight how marriage requires both participants to be selfless in order to have a healthy relationship. They say, “God designed marriage to be a selfless union. It’s not about you—finding your soul mate, making you feel good, having your needs met. It’s about having your mate in mind.” They reveal how if both parties are serving each other it fosters love and both person’s needs are met. Becoming mindful of your speech, actions, listening, and the environment are just a couple different ways to live more selfless and encourage intimacy in your marriage.
Darryl and Tracy also take the liberty to tackle the risky subject of temptation and how it can destroy your marriage. Darryl reveals how temptation entices us but doesn’t deliver what appears like it will. He also believes that until cycles of sin are dealt with in each person’s life that it will continually cause marital problems and destroy trust. They provide principles for how to avoid temptation such as; guarding your senses, running from sin, knowing the bible, and choosing your way of escape. All of these different principles will help couples guide their way into a more satisfying and healthy marriage.