A Hurting Couple Finds True Hope, with LeRoy & Kimberly WagnerCrying Out to God for Your Marriage
Leslie Basham: LeRoy Wagner identifies something that bothers a lot of husbands.
LeRoy Wagner: When they see their wives treating other men, like at church or in a public setting or friends, with far more respect and far more courtesy and far more deference than they’re receiving.
Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, September 13.
Marriages can enter a downward spiral. Kim and LeRoy Wagner experienced this early in marriage. Neither felt loved, and they acted out of hurt. Kim became more critical, and LeRoy more withdrawn.
Earlier in the week they told us about their struggles. They also described the process God used to heal and the closeness they now experience.
You can hear the entire story at ReviveOurHearts.com.
They’re back with Nancy offering practical advice on how you can find freedom and changed direction in your marriage.
LeRoy: It’s a real joy to be able to talk with couples about these things and point them to the Scripture and point them to the grace of God that’s sufficient, and be able to speak from experience that God is able; God is powerful; God is aware of what’s going on in your lives and in your marriage.
We tell them all the time, and we say it with great smiles and joy on our face, that we are enjoying the best time of our marriage, the greatest joy, and we know that the Lord has even more growth and joy in the journey.
It is a testimony to the truthfulness of God’s Word, to the power of the living God, the resurrected Christ, and it is a testimony to the work of the Holy Spirit in working through people like yourself, Nancy.
God is at work in people’s lives. I shudder to think that people are now where Kim and I were. I don’t want anybody to be in that place. I would just want everyone to know . . . I don’t know all the dark places of where everyone is or has been, but I know that we were in a very dark place. I was in a very hopeless place.
I know that God doesn’t love me any more than He loves anyone else. No matter where anyone is, no matter what they’re going through, no matter how hopeless, no matter how dark a place that it may be, our God is no respecter of persons.
He is able to redeem and to rescue and to transform marriages and to transform lives. I just desire for every marriage that is not at the place (it may not be at the place where we were) where the Lord desires it to be—to bring glory to God, where people are drawn to Christ through that marriage, through that husband and wife relationship, because the aroma of Christ is so pungent, and people can just see the Lord at work in their lives. I want everyone to experience that.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So the first step to head in that direction—because there is somebody listening right now who is where you all were, you’ve given them hope. What’s the first step they can take?
LeRoy: Someone that’s listening right now, hearing this broadcast, I would just encourage you to lift up your eyes to the Lord from where your help will come. He is faithful. All that He has promised, all that He has said He will do, He will do. But you need to cry out to Him. I think that’s the first step because it shows our humility, our neediness. It shows that we are looking to Him alone for help that only He can give. He will hear the cry of the broken heart. He will not refuse a broken and a contrite spirit.
So if God in His goodness and grace has allowed you to be broken, it is not so you will remain broken. It is so you will cry out to Him, and He will answer, and He does desire to come and rescue.
There may be a long period, like there was in our life, but it will not be without comfort along the way, encouragement, seeing God at work, the Holy Spirit coming alongside and helping as Jesus said that He would do.
It will involve repentance. It will involve humility and transparency before your wife or before your husband or before your children, and it may be before others who know you. God always blesses that type of humility before God, humility before others, and that desire to repent.
It’s so good to be able to just pray together, to be able to share our walk with the Lord together. When one of us is not doing so well, just to have the freedom to come alongside and just to pray and to encourage and to lift up, not to berate or knock down or feel like, “I’m going to be attacked or criticized.”
The real test of a Christian marriage is not what people see at church at 11 o’clock on Sunday morning or that you’re teaching Sunday school or that you’re trying to raise good kids and not little pagans. That’s not the test of what a real godly marriage is. The real test is: What is your spiritual life like when no one sees you as a couple but just the Lord?
It will be so much fun as you watch God bring joy and bring freedom and bring great victory in your lives.
Kim Wagner: Some of the ingredients that really have helped in our marriage to bring transformation is honest communication delivered in humility and forgiveness that is frequent, and not allowing the sun to go down on our wrath. In a way, sometimes women can use that as an excuse to argue about it all night long and keep their husband up. But what I mean is, as a wife, I’ve learned to let a lot of things go, just let it go.
I told a group of ladies recently, “I don’t say anything to my husband about the fact that he slurps his coffee in the morning. I’m just glad he wants to sit and drink coffee with me in the morning.”
One of the women said, “Well, I let my husband have it about that. I can’t stand to hear him slurping his coffee.”
I think that’s just maybe a humorous example of the so many things that we can let go. If we just let those things that are not issues that should be raised to the level of being dealt with, let it go.
LeRoy: One of the things that I think bothers Christian husbands is when they see their wives treating other men, like at church or in a public setting or with friends, with far more respect and far more courtesy and far more deference than they’re receiving. We should treat others, as you’ve said, Nancy, with respect—everyone, as a brother and a sister in Christ.
But it’s really difficult when the husband sees his wife responding to others as a Christian should and yet he’s wondering, “Why isn’t she responding to me, at least at that basic elementary level a Christian should treat another brother in Christ, or a sister in Christ?”
Kim: Speaking of how you treat another brother or sister, besides letting things go, to have a good marriage doesn’t mean that the wives are never to say anything if they disagree with the husband, or if they have concerns.
When we mentioned that I was very opinionated in our early marriage and how much damage that brought, that doesn’t mean that I don’t still communicate with LeRoy any concerns or differences, but it’s done in a way of humility and affirming him, to let him know, “I know that you’re going to make the right decision on this. Have you considered this?”
I frequently say, “This is how I view this, and I could be wrong, so I’m just going to leave it with you, and you can go to God, and I trust that He is going to direct you. However He directs you, it’s good with me because I trust your relationship with the Lord.”
Nancy: LeRoy, you’re smiling. Is that different than the way she used to communicate in the past?
LeRoy: Oh, most definitely. (laughter) God created her as a strong woman. That’s how God created her. There’s always weight in force that I felt behind what she was expressing to me. Now a lot of that was just my perception. Even as she began to change, it still took a while for my perception of what she was saying or what she meant, to change.
Nancy: So how is her communication different now? I know she still speaks.
LeRoy: Well, she is still very, very strong, and I’m so thankful for that. I admire her and thank God for her strength and how she speaks truth, but she does it in a very godly, very biblical way of saying, “Concerning this situation, as I’ve been praying, here is what I think, but you are responsible for that decision—whether it be a ministry decision or a family decision—and I’m going to leave that between you and the Lord. I have confidence in the Lord, and I have confidence in you to hear from the Lord.”
That frees me to be the man God called me to be. Also, now I know that even if I miss God, and sometimes men will just miss—not that they want to; not that there’s any evil intention—but they will make a mistake.
Nancy: Women, too.
LeRoy: And women, too. But even if I do, I do not fear a reprisal. I do not fear repercussions in our marriage, where at one point I was so paralyzed by that fear, I wouldn’t even make a decision because I knew that there would be repercussions, there would be consequences for that.
Now I have freedom to go to God, to pray, to lead, and even if it doesn’t turn out to be the decision that it should have been, if I fumble or drop the ball in some way, I know that she will say, “Well, you’re still my man, and we’ll trust the Lord.” I know that there will be encouragement.
It’s not that everything I do is right and she has to rubber stamp everything, but I think that’s the way that God designed it. There’s a freedom for her as a wife, freedom for godly women to release that to their husbands because there are some things that God is going to hold men accountable for that you precious godly wives are released from. Once you’ve expressed it in a godly, biblical way and given your input and your opinion and you’ve prayed about it, you can just release your husband and that decision to the Lord.
Kim: That even goes to if your husband is in sin. If your husband is in sin, you have the responsibility, according to Galatians 6:1-2 and according to Matthew 18, he’s your brother in Christ, and you have the responsibility to go to him, to confront him, but the way that confrontation should take place is after much prayer, seeking of the Lord, it should be done in humility, with the goal being him being reconciled to God—not out of anger; not out of self-righteousness. Your concern is for his unity with God, for him to be reconciled to God.
I’m sure there’s some women listening who know their husbands are in sin, and they may be fearful to approach their husband. I think that, for their husband’s sake, if they truly know their husband, if they truly love their husband, what I’ve done before is, I will write out my concerns.
If it’s an issue that I think rises to the level that it needs to be addressed—maybe it’s not a habitual lifelong sin; maybe it’s just you having a difference of opinion on a decision for your teenage child. I will go to the Lord, pray it out, write it out, and pray over that and the timing of either giving that to him or sharing it with him.
So many times when you write it out, it’s not going to be as emotional to have that discussion.
LeRoy: That’s the part of learning to dwell with your partner according to knowledge. However they will receive it best. That’s a part of praying through that. The Holy Spirit will honor your attempt to know your husband or to know your wife and attempt to do it in a godly way.
I know we’ve got to wrap up, and I’ll let you wrap up, of course, here, after all, you’re the host. But as men and women battle for control in their marriage and battle for territory—though they’re not consciously doing that, but that’s what they’re doing—it’s so much fun, and there’s so much joy when the freedom of Christ comes into the marriage, when the truth of Scripture lifts the marriage out of the place where the enemy has tried to drag it into. My greatest joy and my greatest thrill as a husband is for her, my precious wife, to be all that God has created and designed for her to be.
My greatest joy is to see how God is at work in her life and conversely, her greatest joy and greatest thrill is to see God at work in my life. That creates a great thrill for a marriage. Instead of the women being compartmentalized to this part of marriage, to the children; and the men being compartmentalized to the career or to ministry or whatever it might be.
God does not want us to be segregated in different areas of our lives. He has made us one that we might glorify Him. We can only bring Him the most glory that He so eminently deserves when there is that freedom, when there is that victory in our marriage.
When you’re honestly finding the most joy in how God is at work in your spouse, even more so, and you’re more concerned about that than you are about your own territory, him meeting your needs, her meeting your needs, there is great joy at the end of the struggle, if you’re in that struggle, if you respond to the Lord.
Nancy: I want to thank the Lord for what He has done. I’ve watched this journey and been privileged to see a lot of that transformation. This is the first time I’ve really heard the two of you tell it together. It’s a great joy to me. To think how the Lord is using both of you in other couples’ lives, and, Kim, ministering to women, and LeRoy, to the men that you’re impacting; to see how that life message, when you think back to those dark days, when you’re saying, “I don’t feel loved. I don’t love you. I don’t think I do,” those thoughts of, “Lord, just take me,” and to see that God is a redeeming God who is making all things new, not just for the happiness of your marriage, though that’s a joy to see, but for the glory of God and the sanctification of others as well.
I just want to thank the Lord, and also for us to pray for couples who are in that dark place right now, that God will give hope, as I know He has just from hearing your story. So let’s just pray.
Oh Lord, what an incredible thing it is to see before our eyes this day, and to have heard with our own ears the testimony of Your amazing grace. Thank You, Lord, that where sin did abound, grace did much more abound. Thank You that there are no hopeless or helpless cases with You.
When Kim and LeRoy were in their own worlds, competing and striving and controlling and retreating, while carrying on in ministry and wanting to serve You but not able to make this thing work in their marriage, You did not give up on them. You did not leave them to themselves. You did not leave them to figure this out on their own, but You were the hound of heaven. You pursued their hearts. You brought them into contact, exposure to the truth. You sent your Word and healed them.
Lord, thank You for giving them the gift of Your Holy Spirit who took those truths and applied them and brought conviction and then gave them the heart to respond and to say, “Yes, Lord.”
Thank You for the gift of repentance. Thank You for Your ability to take that which the Devil has meant for evil and to turn it to good.
Thank you for the strengths You have given to each of them individually and how even those were the things that, for a period of time drove them apart, those are now some of the strengths of their marriage and some of the very things You are using to give them joy and to make them effective in ministry.
So thank You, Lord, for redeeming these lives, for bringing hope, for renewing, for reviving these hearts and this marriage. Thank You for how You’re in the process of working as a result in the lives of their children and for others who are being impacted, even some who are sitting in this room who are growing in their marriages as a result of the ministry of Kim and LeRoy.
Lord, I pray Your protection and blessing over this couple. I pray for protection from the evil one, and I pray that the fruit of what You’ve done in their marriage will be multiplied many, many times over.
Lord, we join our hearts in lifting up those who are listening—husband or wife—who are in that very hard place. The details may look different, but there’s just a sense that, “There’s never going to be what we had hoped for, what it could have been.”
I just pray that those ingredients we’ve talked about—the repentance, the stepping into the light, the honest communication, the forgiveness, the coming to cherish one another and to trust You, to relinquish control, to come out of the cave, to deal with fear issues—that all these things that You have done in Kim and LeRoy’s lives, I pray that You will do in listeners’ lives.
Thank You for the reminder that it doesn’t happen overnight. It wasn’t all of a sudden they got there, and it’s not all of a sudden they got out of it. It’s been a process, and it’s still a journey—a good journey.
I pray for somebody who has given up hope, that You will just spark in them that sense that You can do this, that they don’t have to wait for their mate to be changed. They don’t have to wait for their mate to see the light. They can bow before You, one husband, one wife, alone if necessary initially, and just consecrate themselves and their hearts to You and take the pathway of humility and surrender.
Give them grace to do that, Lord, and I pray, as a result, that You would bring, in Your time and in Your way, deep, radical, thorough healing and transformation in many, many marriages. We won’t know until heaven how many there are and what all the stories were, but we look forward to hearing those stories.
I pray that You would redeem lives and marriages from destruction and that the enemy would be thwarted in his relentless attempts to take these marriages under. Oh God, bring about grace; bring about humility, and glorify Yourself even perhaps with women seated in this room today. Only You know the story, only You know where they really are. Things may look great from the outside looking in, but You know what’s really going on in the four walls of that home.
I pray that even as a result of what has been shared today, there would be a new brokenness, a new honesty, a new humility, new levels of repentance and contrition, and also, in the days to come, new freedom and fullness and fruitfulness in Christ.
Thank You, Lord Jesus. We bless You. We love You, and we ask that You be glorified as a result of what we’ve heard. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been praying for our marriages to give an accurate picture of Christ and the church.
At Revive Our Hearts we have watched the Lord use a booklet in powerful ways. It’s called, 30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband. We continually hear from listeners about the way God has used this booklet to breathe life into their marriages. Here’s Nancy with an example.
Nancy: We received a sweet email from a woman who decided to take the 30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge. She said:
I want you to know how much the Lord has done in my marriage thus far! My husband and I just spend six weeks alone on a vacation. I never thought I could be alone this long with him.
I was faithful to pray for him for thirty days and in the process Jesus changed our hearts! I can't explain the changes in us since it was through the working of the Holy Spirit.
No one we know thought we could ever spend this much time together let alone enjoy it. We couldn't even ride in a car together ten miles without fighting and now we've driven over 1,000 miles and actually enjoyed it!
I have received more emails like this than I can count. It makes me say, “Thank you, Lord.” God is using this booklet, 30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband, to literally transform marriages. We’d like to send one to you when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size. When you make a donation, we’ll also send you Kim Wagner’s book, Fierce Women: The Power of a Soft Warrior. Again, this is a powerful book, and I believe that God will use it in a great way in many, many lives.
Ask for these two resources: the booklet on encouraging your husbands, and the book, Fierce Women, by Kim Wagner, when you call with your donation. The number is 1-800-569-5959, or visit us online at ReviveOurHearts.com.
Leslie: A lot of women have written us in response to the story we’ve heard from Kim and LeRoy Wagner this week. Tomorrow, Kim responds to some of those questions, showing you practical steps to love your husband in tough situations. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.
Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.Offers available only during the broadcast of the radio series.
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|Restoring Broken Relationships||Sept. 14, 2012|
|Within Your Four Walls||Sept. 17, 2012|
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