We’ve Been Faking It.

When news of Rachel and Dave Hollis’s divorce hit my news feed I literally had to stop what I was doing, go sit in another room, and read her words over and over. I was in SHOCK. I baffled my family with how sincerely this announcement shook me to my core and knocked the wind out of me for a good 30 minutes.

I am a Hollis company fan. I’ve read every one of Rachel and now Dave’s books, I’ve listened to hours of their podcast, I’m guilty of turning on one of their marriage counseling podcasts when Craig was around so I could pretend we were listening together. I’ve priced out tickets to their spend women’s weekend or Rise conference, I’ve cooked breakfast while listening to their morning live shows every day at 9 am. I took Rachel’s advice to heart and felt like I had a big sister offering advice and relating what I was going through as a young mom and through a few tough years of marriage. I have start today journals and I’ll try every day to move my body and drink half my weight in water.

if you follow the Hollis Co, you know what I’m talking about. If you have no idea what I typed in the above paragraph, I’ll summarize: I’m a hard core Rachel and Dave Hollis fan. But more than that, I totally bought into their marriage counseling podcast. I believed that if we worked hard enough, we too could have an exceptional marriage JUST LIKE Rachel and Dave. I planned the date nights, I took their advice on co dependency to heart and scheduled time apart, I did all of the things as Rachel would say.

But when things got hard in our marriage or life in general, when I turned to Rachel and Dave’s advice, I was told “choose joy” and “you’re not trying hard enough if you aren’t happy” and “you’ll never lose weight if you won’t commit to moving your body and drinking the water.” They also made me believe that if I was putting in the work and not getting results, I wasn’t and we weren’t trying hard enough. They made me feel inferior with their advice when I was struggling because look at them – they made it look so damn easy when obviously, they were struggling much worse than Craig and I ever have.

Because LOOK! Rachel and Dave our in the work and they made it happen and they have that exceptional marriage. YOU GUYS – that’s literally the tag line of their marriage counseling/advice podcast!!

So yes, I was SHOOK. I was upset and I know that I don’t have the right to be. I’m just some girl in Iowa, who I am I to be upset with some couple in Texas for ending their marriage?

But here’s what gets me: if I wasn’t perfectly happy, I wasn’t choosing joy. They told me I wasn’t trying hard enough. They told me to work harder at it and they weren’t.

YOU GUYS!! They SOLD OUT a marriage/couples conference for $1800 a ticket!! And then in their announcement they tell us they’ve been contemplating this for YEARS!?!

But I also get it. These pictures came up on my timeline tonight:

Would you believe that Craig and I were at such a tough spot in our marriage when these photos were taken? That we barely spoke to each other unless we were fighting? That Craig took off work in the middle of the day when I told him to meet me at the marriage counselors office or I was leaving?

That doesn’t make for good captions on pictures.

Truth bomb right? That was a rough summer and while we were both floundering with our own version of post partum depression and my undiagnosed anxiety and body dysmorphic disorder, we were trying extra hard to convince the world we were madly in love.

So I get it. I get that marriage is hard. Rachel and Dave’s announcement made me look deeply into how I was portraying myself online and made me question if I was duping my readers.

So while I’m still confused and feel as though my own parents told me they were getting a divorce, I get it and I know how it feels to magnify the good on social media and minimize the bad. I know how it feels to try twice as hard to prove that everything is perfect to make up for the fact that you’re in marriage counseling and wondering if you’ll make it to your 2 year anniversary while posting photos like this online:

That being said, thank you to my wonderful and goofy husband for letting me share this with the world. Thank you for working with the unmedicated version of Kalissa’s anxiety to get to where we are today almost celebrating 5 years of an imperfect marriage.

This is the very first time I’ve publicly admitted that Craig and I have been in marriage counseling and we can testify to how much counseling in general can improve a marriage. We haven’t gone together since that summer but I still continue to go to my own counselor and still feel it benefits our relationship greatly. If you’re struggling, know you aren’t alone.

I don’t claim to be an expert in the subject matter, but if your marriage feels hard, you’re right. It is hard. If you feel like you’re working extra hard to prove your marriage on social media, I’ve done that before too. If you feel like giving up, I’ve felt that before too. You aren’t alone and apparently, neither are Rachel and Dave.



  1. Debbie
    June 11, 2020 / 11:28 pm

    Thanks for being vulnerable and honest. Marriage is very hard work and I would question anyone who says differently. We will be married 40 years this summer. We have found great benefit from the perspective of a counsellor when things were especially tough. Things are not always fun and games that is for sure but we have honoured our vows through both good and bad and we love being together more than ever. I hope you can take the good you learned from this couple and let go of the duplicity on their part as it appears they were not living what they were talking.

  2. Colleen
    June 12, 2020 / 12:30 am

    Thank you.

  3. Carolyn
    June 12, 2020 / 1:43 am

    Marriage is work..and there are some awful times to get through but it does get easier. We promised each other “for the duration” and that has kept us pushing ahead. I mutter ” for better for worse and in sickness and in health” a lot and there are days those words get me through whatever is happening. Years ago I would have said our marriage was 60% good and 40% bad…now , after 40 years I would say most of the time 85 -90% good and moments of 100%…but it doesn’t come easy.. however it is worth the time and effort

  4. Sandie
    June 12, 2020 / 5:29 am

    I disagree with only one thing you’ve said in this blog post. Kalissa you do have every right to be upset. This is a couple who held their marriage up to the world as an example for others to aspire to. They LIED to you and all of their other followers and made them feel inferior and “less than” when they were being lied to. Those feelings of failure, and their hypocrisy could have, and very likely did, cause damage to relationships their listeners were trying to improve/save. I admire you and Craig for using this situation to acknowledge your struggles publicly. Sometimes just knowing that others are struggling can be the thing that inspires someone to work just a little harder to improve their own situation.

    • Terri in BC
      June 12, 2020 / 7:13 pm

      You are bang-on, Sandie! As I was reading your post, Kalissa, I became very angry that you were duped by these “guys” who made you feel inferior or that you were doing something wrong. You were deceived and some of the feelings you have now may be related to a sense of betrayal or trust. I’m glad you and Craig have been mature enough to seek counselling together, and that you continue to work on your anxiety issues. Marriage is a tough haul, especially when the kids are little like yours. Thanks for being so honest and brave about your life.

  5. Ellie
    June 12, 2020 / 12:49 pm

    Telling you to “choose joy “and “you’re not trying hard enough “are not helpful! Sometime people have a right to be unhappy. Marriage is a commitment and being true to that commitment is what matters. Sometimes an outside voice in the form of counseling is the best way to find solutions to problems. I’m happy that you and Craig have been mature enough to see that you needed some outside advice and were willing to make the changes needed to keep your commitment. Yes, you were lied to in the podcasts but now your eyes are open. Sometimes it isn’t nice to have reality intrude but knowing what is true and dealing with it will be best in the long run.

  6. Rebecca
    June 12, 2020 / 12:55 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story! I’m sorry this has shaken you. You do have every right to be upset. They built a business marketing something to their followers that not only were they not practicing but obviously knew it wasn’t working for them and they’ve profited immensely in numerous ways from it.

    I have sympathy for them and their family. I’m sure this is one of these hardest things they will go through.

    I stopped listening to her book (Girl Wash Your Face) when she talked about if a dream wasn’t working out you should stop trying and focus on something else because it wasn’t meant to be. I was literally in tears. All I could think about was “When did you stop? Why did God give me, or anyone a desire, for you to tell me to quit?”. I even asked that question (nicely of course) on her instagram and no one responded. I eventually finished the book but I never pursued more of her stuff after that. I wanted to like her but I couldn’t.

  7. Elle
    June 12, 2020 / 2:49 pm

    Telling you to “choose joy “and “you’re not trying hard enough “are not helpful! I 100% agree with Ellie (not because our names are similar 😉

    A good marriage takes a lot of devoted work, listening, trying, talking and sometimes….silence! It takes looking back at that commitment to each other at the ceremony, it takes looking back at why I loved you then, how have I changed, how have you changed, and can we love this version of us. I did a LOT of counseling and reading the first 10y we were married. Love isn’t always enough-daily life has to not be a total struggle. I recall days of “I love you but I don’t like you right now”). I am a total believer in outside well-trained guidance! Hubster never went but he did do the work I asked him to do with me. We both learned to talk talk talk everything through.

    Marrying young, I think, adds a big challenge. Growing up through our 20s is a huge world change. Add a marriage, and sprinkle in a child and then another ? Job changes? School? Your Dad died?Massive life changes. I admire young families that figure out how to stay together through it all. I remember my little sister saying “it would be easier just to do all this by myself with 2 kids”. She got some help as well, and they are now approaching 30y, 2 adult kids, and happy/in-love . Our 40th anniversary is in 9 days. I’m so happy we made it through growing up. We still have bumps but they are small bumps. And we talk talk talk….unless it’s a day we don’t feel like talking!

    Laughter is great medicine and I know you’ve got a good sense of humor-like your “boring normal day” post 😉 Sometimes laughter is the only way through frustration.

    Bless you, Craig and the children for working on this family being a happy family along with the love you have for one another.

    I hold you up in prayer.

  8. Joy
    June 12, 2020 / 3:16 pm

    I don’t know Rachel and Dave but it appears they’ve been living a lie for the sake of their business. So while they’ve been happy to tell everyone the “right” thing to do, they’ve been deceiving their followers.

    We have a family member who “knows everything” and says that since my husband and I say we seldom fight that we are lying as all couples fight. Yes we have disagreements and differences of opinion, but a full-fledged argument rarely happens. Why? Because we both have grown up and respect each other. We also consult one another before making any major purchases as our finances are a bit tight. As for the relative that says we are lying about our ability to get along, she never had a happy marriage and doesn’t understand that happy marriages actually exist.

    You and Craig are still young and will find that marriage has its ups and downs. The challenge is tackling those ups and downs together by being respectful, considerate and open with one another. If therapy helps you, then by all means continue.

  9. Kim LeMere
    June 12, 2020 / 3:59 pm

    I have never heard of this couple but I think they were deceiving there followers to save the business and how sad for them. Many of us who have been married a long time know that marriage takes work and there are lots of ups and downs and twist in making it last. I’m glad that you chose to get therapy and find the right way to move ahead for you both. No two marriages are the same and the struggles are different. There are times where I need to talk and there are times I need to listen and it takes practice to really hear the other person and to put them first. You are building a great foundation to make it the long haul, so glad that you chose to share the real life you are living. Lifting your family up with prayer.

  10. Connie
    June 12, 2020 / 5:03 pm

    I think that Dave and I “turned a corner” so to speak, when I started saying Thank You to everything he did. Yes it IS his responsibility to take the trash out too…and yes he COULD do the dishes once in a while…..and why was it always MY job to…..(fill in the blank). So one day I said Thank you when he did something (that I never got a Thank you for). And the next time he did something I said Thank you…and over time he, now says Thank you to me too. Something so small, has made a big difference . You two kids are a great couple…….marriage is WORK. Keep up the good work, I know you two can make it!!

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