Reports out today suggest Sylvester Stallone and his wife of 30 years, Jennifer Flavin, have called off their divorce.

“Let’s just say that it was a very tumultuous time,” he told The Sunday Times. “There was a reawakening of what was more valuable than anything, which is my love for my family. It takes precedence over my work and that was a hard lesson to learn.”

In filing for divorce from Stallone this past August, Jennifer Flavin said her husband was “engaged in the intentional dissipation, depletion and/or waste of marital assets which has had an adverse economic impact on the marital estate.”

That’s legalese for being a spendthrift. But based on the actor’s recent comments, the marital discord went far deeper than money. It always does.

“I was so career-oriented and now I go, ‘OK, I don’t have that much runway up ahead and I want to start asking them about their lives,'” Stallone has said.

It’s not the first time the 76-year-old actor was almost knocked out.

When Sylvester Stallone sat down in the early 1970s to write the original screenplay for Rocky, the struggling actor was inspired – but also broke.

It was March 24, 1975, and the New York native had just come from watching Chuck Wepner, nicknamed the “Bayonne Bleeder,” battle Muhammad Ali for fifteen rounds at the Richfield Coliseum in Richfield, Ohio. Though Ali would go on to beat the underdog Wepner, the scrappy New Jersey fighter knocked him down and nearly pulled off the upset.

Sylvester Stallone was so impressed with Wepner’s effort that it gave him an idea for a movie. Stallone would go on to write the script for what would become the Academy Award-winning “Rocky” in just three days. Pitching to producers, he was offered $360,000 – but only if he didn’t play the part of Rocky Balboa. He refused. He told Forbes:

“I thought, ‘You know what? You’ve got this poverty thing down. You really don’t need much to live on.’ I sort of figured it out. I was in no way used to the good life. So I knew in the back of my mind that if I sell this script. and it does very, very well, I’m going to jump off a building if I’m not in it. There’s no doubt in my mind. I’m going to be very, very upset. So this is one of those things, when you just roll the dice and fly by the proverbial seat of your pants and you just say, ‘I’ve got to try it. I’ve just got to do it. I may be totally wrong, and I’m going to take a lot of people down with me, but I just believe in it.’”

America loved “Rocky” because we love the story of the underdog. And we love it because we can relate to people undercutting, undermining, and underestimating us. Few of us will ever find ourselves in a boxing ring, but we all carry other burdens – and for many that includes difficult marriages.

It’s this deep need that moved Focus on the Family to begin and now expand Hope Restored, our marriage 911 ministry located in Branson, Mo., Grand Rapids, Mich., and Rome, Ga.

Each and every week, couples facing issues like the Stallones come to Hope Restored and receive biblically based, Christian counseling. They’re called “intensives” because the husbands and wives sit down with other wives and husbands for multiple, all-day conversations. Deep hurts and long-term issues are discussed.

Like Rocky in the boxing ring, many husbands and wives feel like the odds of success are long. And society often counts them out. They assume they’ll just be one more statistic of a marriage gone bad. It need not be.

Over 80% of couples who attend Hope Restored marriage intensives are still married two years later. It works!

As he approaches the final rounds of his life, Sylvester Stallone, who is a Christian, says his iconic role of Rocky is inextricably linked to his personal faith in Christ.

“The journey of Rocky was kind of like mine,” he told the Dove Foundation. “I was taught the faith and went as far as I could with it until one day I got out in the so-called real world. I was presented with temptation, and I lost my way and made a lot of bad choices. I felt the character of Rocky sort of did that too. He just didn’t have the right guidance. And then he was given an opportunity in the movie – like he was being chosen. Jesus was over him and he was going to be the fella that would live through the example of Christ. He’s very forgiving—there’s no bitterness in him. He always turns the other cheek. It’s like his whole life was about service. And I said, ‘Man, if I could take my story, my feelings, and put it into the body of a boxer—because no one cares about an actor so much—the boxing is symbolism of the constant fight, and the example of Christ,’ I thought, ‘this would be really interesting’ and that’s exactly what happened. It was like an unexpected gift, really.”

It’s good news that Sylvester Stallone and his wife have called off their divorce. If you or someone you know finds themselves up against the ropes in a difficult marriage – please reach out to us and see if Hope Restored might be a good option.

Photo from Shutterstock.