Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Trying to Fill the Emptiness

Leslie Basham: Vicki Rose grew up knowing something was missing in her life. In her early twenties she came up with a plan to fill that sense of emptiness.

Vicki Rose: I thought if I got married that the hurts from childhood, the emptiness I had that I was feeling, that it would just all go away, that everything would be okay. So I was really focused on getting married.

Leslie: So when she got engaged she was desperate to follow through with the wedding even though she told a friend:

Vicki: I'm just not sure this is really going to work. But I just want to get married. If it doesn't work, we'll just get a divorce.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Adorned, for Monday, March 4, 2019.

From all appearances, Vicki Rose had it all—a successful job, nice clothes, access to New York City social elites. But inside, she knew she was empty. This week Nancy will take us deeper into her moving story.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Well, one of our guests today, Vicki Rose, is no stranger to Revive Our Hearts. We've had the privilege of having her on the broadcast a number of times in the past. You've listened to her testimony, her story of how God took a hopelessly derailed marriage and did an amazing restoration work that only God can do. I know that many marriages have been impacted by hearing that story.

But today, we get to have not just Vicki in the studio, but her husband, Bill Rose. And Bill and Vicki, thank you so much for stopping by en route to a speaking engagement where you're going to be sharing your testimony. Thanks for stopping by our home base in southwest Michigan to be with us in the studio today. Welcome to Revive Our Hearts.

Bill Rose: Thank you. Pleasure to be here.

Vicki: Thank you. It's great to be here and see you and your home offices and see Revive Our Hearts

Nancy: Yes, we've been friends for a long time. In fact, our lives, as you'll hear on today's broadcast intertwine in some ways that go back decades or more—and we'll tell more about that. We were sitting at dinner last night and laughing together with another couple about the differences between husbands and wives and how so often it seems like opposites attract. 

You all were talking about some of the differences between you. I started wondering what did you have in common? You were saying that morning starts for you about what time?

Bill: About eleven o'clock.

Nancy: So you're a late night guy.

Bill: I am.

Nancy: And Vicki, how are you wired?

Vicki: I love to be up early. The earlier the better. I like to be up when it's still dark. I love to have time with the Lord when nobody else is moving in the house.

Bill: Once in a while she does me a favor and stays up till 11:30 and watches TV with me—"Baseball Tonight" or something. And I keep showing her these highlights over and over again.

Nancy: So you're into baseball. You just let that out of the bag. You have a big sports background. Vicki, is your background big in sports?

Vicki: I had never been to a baseball game when I first met Billy. In 1975 when we met, I had not been to one baseball game. That first summer that we dated, I went to seventy Yankee home games.

Nancy: Now, why the Yankees?

Bill: I've been a limited partner in the Yankees since 1976. 

Nancy: You have an allegiance there.

Bill: There's an allegiance and all sorts of stuff towards the Yankees.

Nancy: And so, Vicki, you got baptized by immersion into the baseball world.

Vicki: Oh, I did, but I went willingly, really.

Bill: She went because she wanted to get married.

Vicki: That's true.

Nancy: It worked.

Vicki: It worked. It is true, and it worked.

Nancy: But you were so different, and you are so different. What are some of the other differences you've found in your now thirty-five years of marriage?

Vicki: Well, I love to see theatre and do cultural things.

Bill: I think watching ESPN and "Baseball Tonight" and going to games is totally cultural.

Vicki: And, Nancy, I love the house quiet when I'm home alone—no TV, maybe praise music playing, classical music but definitely quiet. I like quiet.

Nancy: Okay, you and I could do well together.

Vicki: Yes.

Bill: Well, that's great. But we just bought a new apartment in New York and totally renovated the place. It's not that big, but now there are nine TVs in this three bedroom apartment. There are two in bathrooms actually. A pitch, a putt, a pass, or a punt is not missed in my house.

Nancy: So, it's not all quiet then?

Bill: No.

Vicki: In fact, when Billy's away, I don't even know how to work half the TV stuff. I also I really like to plan in advance. I like to know what's coming down the road, look at our calendar, make plans.

Bill: If there are some guys listening to this, I got to tell you, you know that the best plans, the best opportunities, the best invites are coming at the last minute. So why would you want to make a plan in advance when you'd have to break it anyway. It makes no sense at all.

Nancy: So you're not so much into the order structure thing.

Bill: No, actually, which is one great reason why I'm married to Vicki, because she does put a little order into my life, as much as I resist it.

Nancy: And does he bring a little spontaneity to your life?

Vicki: Definitely! When we were first dating, I had cooked an entire dinner, and we got a phone call to go out to dinner, and I said, "Okay." I took everything out of the oven and stuck it on top of the stove. And out we went. I did that one time, back in 1975 or 1976, and Billy still reminds me to this day when he wants to do things, he says, "I married you. Look what you did then."

Bill: It hasn't happened since.

Nancy: But you were dating then.

Vicki: Exactly. Thank you.

Bill: Well, there's no excuse for that.

Nancy: Okay, now. Vicki, I know that you're like other women that often at the end of the day you want to sit and kind of talk about your day. Are you that kind of woman?

Vicki: Yes. It's very important to me. I need to talk to Billy, tell him what's gone on in the day to day process. It also makes me feel close that I can share what I've done or what we've done or how it's affected me. I want to know how its affected him. How does he feel about it?

Nancy: So kind of the rehash of the day.

Vicki: Yes.

Nancy: And how does it affect you guys?

Bill: Well, first of all, sweetheart, I always feel close to you. But I see no reason to talk about the stuff that we just lived through. It makes no sense at all. I mean, let's just move on. We've lived through the day; we've gone through it. Why do we need to discuss it?

Nancy: So you came into marriage with some big differences. Just the fact marriage is a man and a woman, there is already huge differences. And then you two had even more differences maybe than most. But not only that, you had a lot of baggage that you brought with you to the marriage. When you got married, neither of you knew the Lord, and you both are from a Jewish background.

I want to just unfold a bit about where you both came from and your journey, not only in your marriage but also in your walk with the Lord. And Vicki, I've known you better than Bill for a lot of years. I've heard you talk about how you were trying to fill empty places in your life, even starting probably as a teenager. What did that look like for you?

Vicki: Well, Nancy, I grew up in New York City. My mom was a stay-at-home mom. She had some major rage issues. My dad worked all the time and loved what he did. I think even starting when I was very young, I felt like I was a burden to them. I was always trying to fit in, trying to not, as my mother said, "Don't rock the boat." And so that was part of it.

As I went off into high school, my mom became sick and died one week before high school graduation. So there was an emptiness there. And Dad said when she died, "We're just going to go on with life as it is. Don't cry at her funeral." He said, "Don't cry. We're going to show everyone how strong we are."

So growing up I had learned to bury my feelings, really. I couldn't even tell you, "I'm sad." I mean, yes I was sad when my mom died, but I didn't know how to identify what I was feeling and be okay with that because it wasn't okay in my family to be sad, to cry, to be down. It just wasn't. So I learned to just keep going, and then that starts to build an emptiness. It definitely does.

So when I went to college without a mom, I felt a little lost, and there definitely was a growing emptiness. In New York City, have more, do more, buy more, is kind of the modus operandi there. I'm sure it's not just New York. If I shopped, if I had nice clothes, if I had enough shoes in the closet and I looked great or looked "in fashion" . . . I went into the fashion business. All of that tried to bury an emptiness that was growing.

Nancy: And Bill, your background, also Jewish. Were you all practicing religious Jews? What did that look like for you?

Bill: The only time that I can really remember going to temple was . . . Back then the World Series used to take place in September during the High Holy Days. My dad wanted to take me to a World Series game. The Yankees were playing the Cardinals actually. So he had to take me out of school to do it.

My mother said, "The only way that you can do that is if you take him to temple in the morning. And then you can go." So we went to temple in the morning, went to the ball game in the afternoon, and that's really my only recollection of going to temple.

I knew I was Jewish. To me it was more of a cultural thing and a heritage than it was a religion. The school I went to in New York City was called Trinity. It was a private school. We had chapel every morning, and there were plenty of Jewish kids at Trinity. Maybe more than not, that was really my upbringing.

Nancy: So what were the driving motivations in your life as you look at your young adult years? What were you after? What were you pursuing? What mattered to you?

Bill: I wanted to be a professional baseball player. I got pretty good. My hero growing up was a guy named Bobby Richardson. He was second baseman of the Yankees. I really wanted to play second base for the Yankees. I taught myself to switch hit between my sophomore and junior years in high school. I went to a prep school in Connecticut and was recruited heavily.

I was captain my senior year, was recruited heavily by a major baseball school on the west coast. We went out there to play their varsity team, and our team had five hits. I had four of them—two of them left-handed, two right-handed. I was offered. I got given a different date every night up there.

A guy brought a car up. I said, "I don't have a license."

He said, "Don't worry about it. Here's your license."

And so that was what recruiting was like back in the 70s. Then I tore everything in my knee halfway through my senior year, so my baseball career was kind of shot.

Nancy: So what was next for you?

Bill: After that, I graduated from high school. I went to college, not the one that recruited me because they had no more interest in me after my knee was done. Then I went to work for my dad who was in the textile business after college. It certainly wasn't what I wanted to do. But the trips to Europe to buy the fabrics were nice.

Nancy: So I know both of you ended up in a partying lifestyle. When did that start for you, Bill?

Bill: It started for me really in college. My sophomore year two of my really good friends and I moved into a condominium complex. As a matter of fact, we were the only college kids in this whole condominium complex.

We ended up having the best parties on campus about three days a week. There was pot, there was hash, there were Quaaludes. But it was really pretty much at the time under control. I actually went to class most of the time, more than my other two roommates did, I promise you that.

So anyway, I graduated from college and started to work for my dad, and I was still dabbling in some drugs. And every time a major issue hit, I would start doing some coke.

Nancy: A major issue as in this was a way of escape?

Bill: I don't know. It was a way to build up my confidence and make me a little tougher and get me through stuff. I guess I was still really upset about the whole knee issue and not being able to do what I wanted to do with baseball. That took a really long time to get over because that was a crushing blow. I mean that really was my life dream. I know I dated a ton in college, and then I met Vicki in 1975.

Nancy: Okay. How did you meet?

Bill: Vicki's parents had moved into my parent's building.

Vicki: My dad had remarried after my mom died, and we had moved into an apartment building that Bill had grown up in with his family. I was still in college when we moved into the building.

Nancy: So who saw whom first?

Bill: I saw her walk out of the building. I was with a friend of mine who had gone to Boston University. He said, "I think her name is Vicki Gage." I recognized the last name because my mom knew this other person, Sue Gage. And I said to my mom, "Find out if she is related." It turned out they were. She was her niece. But Sue said, "She's going out with some hippie guy from the village. Don't even bother."

Vicki: Thanks, honey.

Bill: Well it was true.

Nancy: So you didn't meet at that point.

Vicki: I hadn't even seen him. No. I received a phone call from my Aunt Sue saying there was a nice young fellow in my new building that was interested in taking me out. And I said, "Thank you very much, but I'm seeing someone right now." And then a year later, after I had graduated from college, I broke up with this boyfriend.

Bill: He wasn't nice.

Vicki: I called Aunt Sue, and I said, "If that guy from my building is still interested, I'm available."

Nancy: And Aunt Sue called . . .

Bill: She called my mom, and she told me. So I called Vicki and invited her out for a date. She accepted, and then about an hour later she calls back and tells me she forgot that she was having her foot operated on.

Vicki: True story.

Bill: And I thought to myself, That is the most lame excuse that I've ever heard in my whole life. I mean, who forgets they're having their foot operated on.

Vicki: It was a toe surgery, and I did completely forget because I was so excited that you had called to ask me out.

Bill: That I understand!

Nancy: So the date got postponed?

Bill: And I still wasn't sure, so I gave the doormen like ten bucks each to make sure when she came back she actually was on crutches, because I wanted to know the truth. Fortunately for her, she was. Then when she was recuperating, I would call and ask how she was and all that.

Vicki: It turned out to be more of a surgery than I thought it would. I was in a lot of discomfort and pain, and Billy called all week long. I missed a week of work, and he called frequently. That was really huge for me because I was at a place in my life . . . I had just graduated from college. My dad had remarried. My stepmother had three children, and I really felt like I didn't belong any place anymore.

My family wasn't my family as I had known it, and I really had no place that felt like home. When Billy started calling to see how I felt, this was something that was meeting a deep need that I had.

Nancy: What was your first date?

Vicki: Billy took me to a beautiful restaurant and dancing club in New York called Le Club. It had music. It was a beautiful place.

Nancy: So it wasn't a baseball game?

Vicki: No. The second date we went to a hockey game. Then he took me to another famous restaurant in New York called The 21 Club after the hockey game. I had never been to a hockey game, either.

Bill: Great seats, though.

Vicki: Great seats at the hockey game. Great seats at the restaurant. And I'll never live this down . . . I looked at the menu, it was late at night. I had always been taught by my parents that you ordered the least expensive thing on the menu when you go out to dinner with other people.

Bill: She obviously didn't pay attention.

Vicki: I think I ordered the most expensive thing on the menu that night. But that was our second date. Then I think the next day I received a dozen long-stemmed red roses.

I don't know if I consciously thought this, but I thought if I got married that the hurts from childhood, the emptiness that I had that I was feeling, that it would just all go away, that everything would be okay. So I was really focused on getting married.

Nancy: During that, was it a year or so before you got married?

Vicki: It was a year and a quarter from the time we met in November of 1975 till we were married in February of 1977.

Bill: I proposed to her right before a baseball game.

Nancy: Oh, tell us.

Bill: I don't really remember much.

Vicki: Which is true.

Bill: But I know it was before a baseball game.

Vicki: It was before a Red Sox game.

Bill: Was there a Cracker Jack box or something?

Vicki: No, no, no. It was just a very basic, "Will you marry me?" with a ring.

Bill: And we went to a ball game to celebrate.

Nancy: So nothing big and romantic.

Vicki: Well, not in my eyes, not from my perspective.

Nancy: Just so he asked it, right?

Vicki: Right.

Bill: I thought it was huge.

Nancy: So during that year and a quarter before you got married (because as the story is going to unfold, your marriage in those early years was very rocky) was there anything in that dating period that should have been a clue that this was not going to be an easy road or relationship? Or was everything just smooth during that year.

Bill: I thought it was fairly smooth during that year. I mean, anybody that could cook a whole dinner and then just blow it off because Steinberger calls and wants to go to dinner . . . I thought she was spontaneous. Man was I fooled!

Vicki: And for me, at that point in my life, I loved to go ice skating. On the weekends I loved to go do things, go walk, window shop, go shopping, and Billy loved to watch sports all weekend. That was a big issue for me. But I, at that point, was just willing to give up anything that was important to me because first of all I was falling in love with Billy. And second of all, I wanted the relationship to work.

I started a behavior then that I think I learned growing up which is if I don't have to do it, it's not important. I'll do whatever it takes to make you happy. It doesn't matter if I'm getting to do what I want. So it's known as co-dependence.

Nancy: So that pattern, as you look back, you can see that.

Vicki: I can definitely see that. I can definitely see that that was not a healthy pattern for me or our marriage, because Billy really didn't know that that was necessarily going on.

Bill: Occasionally after we got married, she would explode and tell me, "I give and give and give, and I can't give anymore." And I'm like, "What are you talking about?"

Nancy: Because you had no clue.

Bill: I had no clue.

Vicki: And I was afraid to communicate my feelings because I had grown up in a home where you just didn't.

Nancy: So it wasn't really an honest relationship.

Vicki: Correct. That's very true.

Nancy: So you get married, and when is the first clue to either one of you that this isn't all that you'd hoped or thought it might be? Who realized that first?

Bill: I'm on the airplane right after we got married. We had the wedding at your parent's apartment? 

Nancy: Now wait a minute. You had to ask her?

Bill: Well, I wasn't sure. It was over thirty-five years ago, Nancy.

Nancy: You've slept since then, right?

Bill: Well, I was doing a lot of drugs back there, so I've got an excuse.

Vicki: I really wasn't aware that much that there were drugs going on before we were married. It was the 70s, so I had seen drugs in my dorm in college. I hadn't really done drugs myself.

Bill: I mean, I was friendly with the people from Studio 54 and from Xenon. We would go to their private rooms. There were so many, I'm not going to name them, so many famous actors and athletes that we were up there with doing lines of coke with. It was common.

Vicki: This was after we were married.

Bill: Right. But pretty close right after. It was back in the late 70s. It was the thing to do. It was "cool."

Nancy: And you were doing it together?

Vicki: Yes. We were.

Nancy: So, disappointment, let's go back to that. For you, Vicki, didn't that even begin a bit for you on your honeymoon?

Bill: Well, wait. Before you even go there . . . So we get married, and we have a plane that night after the ceremony to fly to LA and then spend the night in LA and drive to Palm Springs. We're on the plane going to LA and Vicki's asleep, taking a little snooze, and I sort of looked over at her and I thought to myself, What the heck did I just do? I mean, I was twenty-four, and I'm thinking, I can't believe I just got married.

Nancy: You're probably not the first person to ever have that thought.

Bill: No. It was also, Well, if it doesn't work, I'll get a divorce—not a big deal.

Nancy: So that was in your mind already.

Bill: Oh yes, absolutely. And I think Vicki will now share pretty much the same thing.

Vicki: We were engaged, I think it was in August before we were married. We went for two weeks with Billy's parents to Italy right after we were engaged.

Bill: I was a good date.

Vicki: We borrowed luggage from a friend of mine, one of my closest friends, and I remember saying, "I'm just not sure this is really going to work, but I just want to get married. And if it doesn't work, we'll just get a divorce."

Nancy: Was divorce just so much part of the culture? Neither of your parents divorced?

Vicki: A part of the culture, yes. Neither of our parents, my father was married to my mother for thirty-two years when she died. My father was married to my step-mother for twenty years, and Billy's parents were married for a long time. There was no divorce in our family, but it was very cultural, very of our generation.

Bill: I walked into my mom's room the morning of our wedding and said, "I can't do this." And she kind of talked me off the ledge.

Nancy: What a way to start a marriage. Bill and Vicki Rose have been talking about the weeks leading up to their wedding. They were both empty. They both were searching for meaning apart from Jesus, and they were about to start living life together.

As the story unfolds this week, you'll hear about addictions to cocaine and to shopping. You'll hear about a marriage that seemed impossible to heal, but even more important, you'll hear about God's power to change lives and relationships. So be sure to keep listening all this week.

Now we don’t want to give away the whole plot to this week’s story. But I will say God has drawn Bill and Vicki to Himself and is continuing to help them and their marriage grow in Christ. And I’m so grateful that He is using Revive Our Hearts as part of their growth. They both have benefitted so much from Revive Our Hearts that they regularly, joyfully give to make the ministry possible. And Vicki says you’ll be blessed by supporting the ministry, too.

Vicki: I would love to encourage you, if you have never given to Revive Our Hearts that in giving there's a joy of partnering with a ministry that reaches so many women worldwide. Not just in the United States, but in Russia. I was there last year for a conference, and women there are listening to Revive Our Hearts and in the Dominican Republic and all across the United States.

Nancy: This month we are asking the Lord to raise up many more listeners like Vicki and Bill. Those who believe in the ministry of Revive Our Hearts and want to partner with us to call women to greater freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.

If the Lord has used Revive Our Hearts in your life or your home or in the lives of those close to you, would you consider taking a next step in supporting the ministry at a deeper level? You can do that by joining our Monthly Partner team. This a group of listeners, like Bill and Vicki Rose, who commit to pray for Revive Our Hearts. They share the ministry with others. And they give at least $30 a month to help make the ministry possible. Again, here’s Vicki.

Vicki: I would just encourage you to be a partner because when you partner with Revive Our Hearts, you're partnering with God's Word going forth into all the world, part of the Great Commission.

Nancy: This month we’re asking the Lord to provide hundreds of new Monthly Partners. Perhaps you are part of the answer to that prayer. When you join the team this month . . . Well, this is pretty crazy but listen to this amazing welcome package. In fact, this list is so long, Leslie can you help me?

Leslie: I’d be happy to.

Nancy: When you sign up as a new Monthly Partner this month, you’ll get my book Adorned.

Leslie: And Nancy’s book Lies Women Believe.

Nancy: And all the messages from the True Woman '18 conference on CD.

Leslie: It keeps coming. You’ll also get the True Woman Manifesto booklet with a 30-day challenge.

Nancy: And a set of Seeking Him Scripture Memory Cards.

Leslie: But the regular benefits of being a Monthly Partner are also amazing.

Nancy: That’s right. Monthly Partners can attend one Revive Our Hearts conference at no charge each year. That means when you sign up as a partner here in March, you can request a registration to the Revive '19 conference coming in September. And partners also get a devotional booklet that we've prepared just for our partners, each month. I know that was a long list, and I hope you’ll read all the details about our welcome package when you become a Monthly Partner, at ReviveOurHearts.com.

And I truly hope you’ll pray about becoming one of our Monthly Partners. This team provides steady support that’s crucial to a ministry like ours as other donations go up and down at times through the year. In a world that seems to grow darker by the day, I am more excited than ever to call women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.

But we need your help. Get all the details on joining the Monthly Partner team at ReviveOurHearts.com, or call 1–800–569–5959. Thank you so much for your prayers, your support, and your encouragement, as this ministry reaches the hearts of women around the world.

Leslie: Tomorrow we'll pick back up on Bill and Vicki's story. We'll hear how Bill started a restaurant. It was filled with rich and famous people every night and seemed like a big success. But this made Vicki's problem seem even worse. Find out why when we're back tomorrow for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants you to find meaning to life in Jesus. It's an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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