From Sue of "Eric and Sue" one year after their Weekend Marriage Intensive! - and a couple months after enjoying the "Intimate Moments with Joel and Kathy" Cruise!
For twenty years, before I found The Man of Her Dreams, the Woman of His, I spent nights in bed with my back turned toward my husband. I would often be, crying to God, begging that I would learn to love my husband, that I would be released from bitterness and that I could be a normal loving wife.
I thought that I had married for wrong and selfish reasons and believed that I was getting what I deserved; all I wanted was to be pleasing to God by being a good Christian wife.
I prayed that I would become stronger with a softer more loving and patient heart. After all, my husband, I thought, was a Christian man. He went to church every week, taught Sunday School and served as an elder. Most of the time, he worked to support the family. I thought then that those things meant he must be a good husband.
I had low expectations. Society and our culture helped nurture the concept that I couldn't expect much from a guy. Christian culture further encouraged me to forgive and persevere.
I made excuses for his lack of communication, his isolation, neglect, helplessness, narcissism, jealousy, stinginess, ugliness, resentment and self gratification. I thought it was all normal guy behavior.
When Eric and I had been married nearly fifteen years, my outlook began to change. Unexpected tragedies happened in my family and I had to face God in ways that I never had before.
My vulnerability sent me on a deeper journey toward knowing Christ. As I began to know Christ more deeply, I came to the surprising realization that Eric, although verbal in church about his strong faith in God, was not actually a believer. He told me so.
Then I had to wrap my head around the fact that my husband was a liar and a pretender. Hard to believe I had been married to him that long before I realized his depravity.
It was still four years after that before I discovered Joel and Kathy and their ministry. I still didn't comprehend the full extent of Eric's sinfulness.
All I knew for sure was that I was miserable and that I felt trapped. Divorce was out of the question for me. I felt strongly that it was my burden to bear.
I thought divorce would be a sin of selfishness and I didn't want to hurt my family by bringing our problems into the open.
I also didn't understand the depths of God's love for us and how grieved God himself was about Eric's sin and my sorrow. I continued to pray for my own strength to endure. Little did I know that first I had to become weak and helpless and that God's plan was to bring my husband to his knees in repentance and grow him to be Christ-like in his love for me.
I had no idea that God would miraculously answer my prayer by transforming Eric into someone I can love, instead of transforming me into someone who could love Eric.
The first jolt of the answer to my prayer came one evening when I was researching on the internet about how to deal with passive-aggressive guys. A homeschool forum friend posted a link to "God Save my Marriage" with the question, "What about mutual submission?"
It's hard to believe now, but on that evening "mutual submission" was a totally new idea to me, although it's been there in Scripture all along. I clicked on the link and out poured blessing.