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A Transformed Marriage | Tim & Kathy Bush

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
April 20, 2024 1:00 am

A Transformed Marriage | Tim & Kathy Bush

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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April 20, 2024 1:00 am

Tim and Kathy had a rocky marriage, full of struggle and conflict and even infidelity. On this Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, hear what happened to Tim and Kathy that transformed their marriage and their lives. If you’re going through a difficult marriage, if there are dark secrets that you’ve kept from each other, hear about the healing and hope available to you on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman.

Featured resource: Sex on the First Date: A Story of a Broken Beginning to a Radically Transformed Marriage

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I needed to tell Kath about all my infidelities.

I had to either surrender or continue, which meant to me death. Tim wasn't making me happy, so I was looking for that in another man. On both sides, we were completely selfish, because it was all about how we were feeling, and that's what we were doing. Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Today you're going to meet Tim and Kathy. They had a broken marriage because their lives were broken. They'll share the raw, unfiltered account of their marriage today, and show you some of the pain and despair they went through, and the healing they eventually found. And as you listen today, we think you're going to find help and hope if you are struggling in your marriage right now. A featured resource at buildingrelationships.us is Tim and Kathy Bush's book, Sex on the First Date.

Now you're going to find out why they called it that straight ahead. Just go to buildingrelationships.us. Gary, you have seen a lot of desperate marriages through the years you've written about that topic, and I think today's program is going to give some real hope for couples who might be on the brink of calling it quits. You know, Chris, I'm excited about our program today, because you're exactly right. There are lots of folks out there that are struggling in their marriage. They don't see how they could possibly make it better, and I think our conversation today is going to help them, and I know the book we're discussing is going to help them.

Well, let's meet our guests. Tim and Kathy Bush have been married since 1982. They have three children, three in-law children, eight grandchildren. They are affiliate staff members of Family Life and are the founders of War Room Ministries.

Tim has retired from 35 years in the automobile business. He's an entrepreneur in real estate and business development. Kathy's been a homemaker and an esthetician who studied at Euro Institute of Skincare and is retired from running her own spa and skincare business. Our featured resource is their book, full title, Sex on the First Date, a story of a broken beginning to a radically transformed marriage.

Find out more about it at buildingrelationships.us. Well, Tim and Kathy, welcome to Building Relationships. Thank you for having us.

Yes, Gary, thanks for having us. Well, the first question is about the title, okay? Let's clear that up, Kathy. You're not suggesting people should have sex on the first date night. Yes, absolutely not.

We are not suggesting that. And if you go straight to the subtitle, which says a story of a broken beginning to a radically transformed marriage, a broken beginning was the sex on the first date. That's what happened when Tim and I had our first date. And that was the wrong way to do things.

We would never suggest that people have sex on the first date. We kept that title because that's what happened in our relationship. And we want people to read the book. We want them to wonder what that's about. And so that's why we gave it the name.

Yeah. Now, I want to jump into the heart of your story. In the opening chapter, Tim, you had been married 25 years when you heard your wife on the phone with another man.

What did you hear and how did that affect you? Well, we'd been together that morning, meaning we'd been together intimately. And I felt like we were in just a really good place when I walked back in the house to give her a kiss goodbye and I heard these soft tones from her voice and realized it wasn't from talking to her mom or her sister, it was another man. And I heard her saying, our marriage is not good. How about yours? I was just in awe.

I couldn't believe it because I thought it was good and I thought it was growing. And I really thought at that point, I needed to get out of the marriage because there's a lot of things that I'd done in our marriage at that point that I was not going to tell Kath. I'd had advice from somebody I really respected not to tell those things.

You take those things to the grave. And so I was not going to tell Kath anything other than what I've already told her. And I just thought the only way out of it was just to get a reset and start over and started to think about that. And so I was really to the point where I thought God was getting back at me for the things that I had done. And this was his way of getting back at me. And so that's kind of what I thought at that 25 year mark in our marriage.

Yeah. Kathy, explain that phone call. What was going on inside of you? Well, you know, when Kim said that we had just been together intimately, I would say we had come together.

I had just gotten home from nine months at aesthetic school. Infidelity had happened at that school that I had kind of shared with Kim. This was a constant pattern that was going on in our marriage. And I really felt that things were not going to change and I would have a boyfriend once in a while. And I thought about an old boyfriend and I picked up the phone and called because I just didn't feel like Tim and I were going to have a good marriage.

And I just randomly just thought of this guy and thought I'd check on him and see how he was doing. And that's, I was really not feeling the same thing as Tim was feeling. He says we were intimate and I felt like it was just sex at that point. So Tim, what, uh, what kept you, you said you were at the point where you just felt like, you know, the divorce was the way out. What kept you from actually getting a divorce at that point? Well, Kath told me at that point, uh, cause this is really one of the few times I was okay with thinking about a divorce was the only option. And Kath literally just, she begged me, let's try anything. And I've got this counselor in mind and that our daughter had gone to a husband and wife and she goes, I'll make the appointments.

Please do this with me. I, you know, I was willing to do it. And so I think that it was just her literally at that point at 25 years where I was ready to give up and her not wanting to, I was intrigued by just giving it one more shot. So Kathy, what gave you that sense that you didn't want to give up? I think that Tim and I really sat down at that moment. We had gotten to a place where all of our kids were out of the house. We knew that we had really been abusing our marriage with what both of us were doing.

The little I knew about what Tim had been doing and my pattern. And we said, we really, and I said, let's figure out how to be married, how to be able to be faithful, how to have a good marriage. And I will commit to intensive counseling. And I think that's what got Tim that he really saw that I was serious. And I think we were at a crossroads that we were like, let's do this right or let's get a divorce.

You know, it's time for us to look at, truly look at our marriage and not be staying here because the kids are here because all of our kids at this point were out of the house. So it was just, it was a crossroads. So was it the counseling experience that kind of turned the corner for you?

Things you picked up and learned in that experience? Well, I believe it was the start. I believe it was, it was really a lifeline to our marriage because there was a lot of alcohol in our marriage and we continued. So we committed to these counselors. We were in counseling. I would see the wife, Tim would see the husband and we would come together and the continual. And so I felt like we were working through things.

I was completely honest through counseling. I figured Tim was doing the same, but a couple of years later I found out he had not been completely honest because he felt like he couldn't share those things or he would lose me. But what the biggest thing was our counselors kept saying, you guys have a problem with alcohol, you have a drinking problem, but we were not willing to give that up. So we would go to the counselors.

They'd kind of glue us back together for the week and kind of go and, and, and do some of the same things we were doing. So we weren't really changing our behavior, but they were keeping us together because we had not met Jesus out this time. That was, we, that was not, not there.

We weren't there yet. We'd had many counselors before that, Gary too, but they were the wrong ones. I mean, there was, there was just the, until we went to these Christian counselors that really had a different interest in just getting us back together and working through some things, they had a more of an eternal interest.

And until we had that, we just didn't really have anything to build our foundation on. Tim, talk with us about the family you grew up in and how that affected you. What concept did you have of what it meant to be a man? Well, what, what it meant to be a man, the way I was raised, you know, because I had, my mom had nine marriages and my dad had five and then they gave me up for adoption to my grandparents at age 12.

When my grandpa was really in that really me part of me becoming a man in my teen years, he told me flat out, you know, women are attracted to success and making money and you need to work hard and be successful. And that was really the, the big thing for me that I knew. And he, he wanted me to sow my wild oats, have sex with lots of women. And his words exactly were, someday you're going to be married to somebody like your grandma the rest of your life. And you want to make sure and take care of all those things now.

Cause that, that, you know, just basically saying I'm going to be stuck and that's how he explained. So I thought that was all about being a man, being a success, having properties, having, having nice cars, having money. I just thought that was, that was this, that was the key to being a man. Did those things impress you, Kathy? Oh yes. And that's really what attracted me to Tim was that I felt, I felt like he was really the first man I dated. He, because I knew he had a home and he had cars and he had a job. And I was really attracted to that because I was at the point in my life where my future was I was going to get married and I needed to find a husband.

And so that was, that was my attraction to Tim. Yes. Yeah.

Yeah. So you got pregnant, Kathy, and you married Tim and dropped out of high school at the age of 18. Take us back to that time in your life. And, and what would you say speaking back to that 18 year old Kathy?

Yeah, I wish I was part of that. I wish I could redo again. You know, my first response was how, how can I have a baby? I feel like a child myself, like I had not grown up myself and I did not like school at all. Like the minute I found out I was pregnant, it was really my ticket out of school. I was so shy. I had the hardest time being around people. I had a low self confidence. And so when I became pregnant, it was like, okay, now I can drop out of school.

That was the first thing that I thought about. And my mom had actually dropped out of school too. And so I think because she dropped out of school, it made it okay for me to do it.

I really didn't think that my parents would have a problem with that. And if I could go back and talk to myself as that 18 year old, I would have said, you need to at least, you know, if you're pregnant, you need to finish school. You need to stay in school.

But there was not one thought of me that thought that I should do that. And I will tell you that was, that was one of my biggest regrets was that I did drop out of school. But where I was at right there, I just, I wanted out of school. And I thought this was my ticket out of school. And I did tell Tim, later in life, I said, you know, with our children, we, they're not going to drop out of high school, like this is going to be a big thing that we need to get our kids at least through high school, because I regretted that. I did end up going back and getting my GED. And I actually did it with my mom. We did that together. When you got pregnant at 18, did you think of abortion at that time or not?

I didn't really think about it. And I know that's because my parents, my parents told me right away when I, after I found out I was pregnant, they told me that I had choices. And they said that I didn't have to marry Tim if I, if I didn't feel good about doing that, that I could stay home and they would help me raise this baby. And, but they said, one of your choices is not an abortion.

And I'm really thankful. And I don't really even think at that time that my mind went there because I felt like Tim and I would, would be able to get married and we'd be able to raise this child together. So I didn't think, I didn't think about abortion.

No, but it, but I'm really glad that I had parents that guided me away from that. And Gary for me, in that same deal, Kath, when she told me she was pregnant, I had got a girl pregnant in my promiscuity at 16 and actually paid for an abortion. And for some reason when she said that, I knew I wanted that kid to have a last name. We didn't have ultrasounds back then, boy or girl, but I knew that kid needed my last name. And I didn't know till decades later how that abortion was going to affect me, but it definitely did later, but not then.

But I knew just something in me saying that kid's got to have my last name. Well, in the course of your married life, both of you had affairs. Tim, how did you deal with Kathy's infidelity? Well, I was not a good person. I persecuted her for it and, and made her just really, really knocked her down.

How could you do this with all the things I do for you? Even though I did it, I knew a lot of guys that did what I did and, and I just didn't think women were supposed to do that and didn't see it in the modeling marriages that I, above me, I didn't see that. The men were more the ones that did it. But I can tell you, that's, I made her pay. I made her pay heavy and it was not, not good what I did.

And I'm really remorseful for it. Kathy, how did you deal with, with Tim's infidelity? When I found out about the first two that, you know, that, that he told me about those before we became Christians and I, it was different. It was way different for me than the way he, he treated me in it. I, I believe, and I don't think it's because I had had affairs that it was like we were even.

I don't feel like it was anything like that. My thoughts with Tim was I wanted to work this out. I wanted to get, get us help and figure out why these, these things were happening because I knew that there was definitely avoiding our marriage.

There was, there was something missing. And for me with my infidelity, I was looking for love in different places. I was looking for someone, Tim wasn't making me happy, so I was looking for that in another man. And on both sides we were completely selfish because it was all about how we were feeling and that's what we were doing. And so I always wanted to get help and I didn't really think, you know, when Tim had, when the affairs came out that he told me, I didn't think about divorce at those times. I really wanted us to get help and make this marriage good. And I think that was the constant pattern in our marriage is we did want it to be better. We want it, we seeked that help, but we weren't seeking it in the right places. We weren't getting the right counselors and we were trying all different kinds of things, but it wasn't, it wasn't what we needed at that time. And I asked you to, what was the low point as you, and don't listen to the other one's answer, but for you, what was the low point in your marriage?

Was it the same point? Kathy, you first. The low point was when Tim, that time at 25, at the 25 year mark that Tim caught me on the phone and I knew at that time that I really wanted the marriage to work. And for the first time I felt like Tim didn't want to. And so I think for me that was the ultimate low point of our marriage.

Tim? Chris, what a great question, because it was really at a different time. Mine was more, I believe at the 27 year mark, after those deaths in my family and the Lord bringing me to my knees and the anxiety and the depression and the thoughts of suicide, all those things was my absolute low point. And then the counselor telling me I needed to tell Kath about all my infidelities, even after we'd been in counseling for two years and I had not, that was the absolute low point because I just knew for sure I would lose her. But he told me flat out, if you don't tell her, I believe you're going to lose yourself.

You're going to die. And that was the absolute low point for me. I had to either surrender or continue, which meant to me death in the way I looked at it then. Interesting that Tim's lowest point was actually the start of really good for me. I felt like for the first time that we got everything out in the open and we could start healing our marriage. So it was actually a turning point for good for me where it was absolute rock bottom for him. Gary, as a counselor, have you seen that in other marriages too, when they finally are honest about life, that change can happen?

Yeah, I think so. I think because it tends to build trust. They're telling me the truth now, which I always wanted to hear, but now I'm hearing it. And especially if you do have a desire to work on the marriage, continue working on the marriage, that certainly can be a turning point. So what began to give you, either of you, or one of you, hope to begin to turn things around?

Well, like I said, it was really when Tim was completely honest, when he finally told me everything. And for the first time, I felt like there was nothing between us. And that was where I finally saw that we can work this out. We can start growing.

We can heal from this. It was the complete, everything was out of the dark into the light. And then what really started to give me hope, Gary was a family member, a very close family member, came to the house and recommended that Kath might consider leaving me because I'd been controlling manipulative our whole marriage. And there were still some assets left and this would be a good time for her to get out and restart her life. And Kath came up to the bedroom and told me, this is 11 o'clock in the morning, and I'm still in the bedroom, which is not like me because I'm an 18 hour a day working guy. And I was just so sick and so down.

And so pathetic, actually, in every way. And Kath came upstairs and said, I want you to know, I know everything now. And if we lose everything, I'm still sticking to this marriage. I'm going to be here no matter what. And I want you, looking back at that, I look at that's the first time I ever saw Jesus was through my wife. And that unconditional love I didn't deserve. It literally started to make me feel this love that I just didn't even, I'd never felt before. And I wasn't willing to even receive. So that was the start of hope.

Yeah. Kathy, what gave you that sense of, I'm staying in this marriage no matter what? When I saw what was happening in my husband from going from that controlling man to, he had been suffering anxiety and depression.

And when I look back at it now, it's so clear to me that God was just stripping everything away from him. And I really, for the first time, really stepped up in our marriage. And I had to really care for Tim. I had to talk to our kids about the state of mind he was in. And we had been in a role of our marriage a lot where Tim was, between the controlling, I kind of would feel like he was more of a parent to me. I was not a partner. And I started to feel like that partner and that I mattered and that he needed me. And to watch him losing that control was attractive to me. It was like, okay, I have a place here.

I can help. And I didn't, you know, when he shared everything that had happened, I did not think for a minute that I was going to leave him. And when I was advised that it was a good time, and I thought, no, this is a place where we can start making this marriage better.

But we still didn't know exactly how that was going to happen at that point. But I just felt the hope there. At what juncture, Kathy, did a relationship with God or the whole spiritual aspect of life sort of kick in for you? When we went on a trip to Mexico, Tim had a really good friend. He actually went and asked him to get him some more drugs for his anxiety. And his friend said to him, have you considered reading the Bible? And Tim said, at this point, Tim had actually gone and bought a Bible and he was like speed reading through the Bible with a drink in one hand and the Bible in the other.

And I was watching him do that. Well, his friend, and he told his friend, I'm reading the Bible and I'm not getting anything out of it. And Bob told him, Tim, why don't you slow down?

Why don't you start in Proverbs and start reading a chapter a day? And so when we got home from that trip, Tim, a couple weeks later, came to me and told me what Bob said. And he looked at me and said, would you consider reading the Bible with me?

And I have to say that that was like the sexiest thing that my husband had ever done. There was something in me that felt like this was a godly way that he was leading me and I was hungry for that. And of course I said, yes, I would read the Bible with you. And we started reading in Proverbs a chapter a day and things I felt like right away. And at this point, too, we had slowed down in our drinking.

Drinking wasn't a big part of our life at that point. And we're reading the Bible and God's Word is starting to come alive and we're looking at each other like we can't believe this is in the Bible. Now, to this point, we had been in and out of church at a church where it really wasn't encouraged to read the Bible. They were reading the first and second lesson in the gospel.

There was no relationship with Christ at this point. We were exposed to God's Word, but not in a way that we were ever reading it. This was completely different to us.

And that's when I remember thinking like that was the favorite. My favorite part of the day was when Tim and I would sit down and read the Bible and we started reading the Bible and things started changing. Our marriage started changing. Our communication started changing and we started getting hungry for God's Word. So that was really the start of the spiritual part of our marriage. Our program is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. You can find more simple ways to strengthen your relationships at buildingrelationships.us. Our featured resource today is the book by Tim and Kathy Bush titled Sex on the First Date. It's a story of a radically transformed marriage.

Find out more at buildingrelationships.us. Tim, before we took our break, Kathy was telling us about the power of the two of you reading the Scriptures together. I think you started reading the Scriptures because of a friend's word to you and challenge to you to do that. What do you think motivated you at that juncture to begin to start reading the Bible yourself? Well my friend was a good friend, but no one was going to tell me what to do at that point. I just said I would think about it. It took me a couple of weeks of thinking about it. Then when I asked Kath if she would do it, we also started what I would call a little bit of a weight loss thing.

Part of that deal, and also a healthy thing, was a 28-day cleanse with no alcohol. I want you to know my friend told me to read the Proverbs. I didn't even know if that was in the New Testament or the Old Testament at that point. I did not know.

I didn't know anything about it. But when Kath said yes and we weren't drinking, things started to happen. The pastor that took my brother through his death the year prior actually died February 28th, so a little over a month after that, maybe two. He took me through grief counseling one-on-one. Around the fourth week, he came to me and he said, Tim, I've never had this conversation in 40 years of pastoring with another person.

I think it's from the Lord. You need to go find yourself a Jesus-loving, Bible-teaching church because the Lord's got a calling on your life. It's a huge calling and it's not here. I didn't know what a calling was, but I told him, okay. So I went home and asked my church girl wife what a calling was.

She didn't know either, but she did say she was in. So that was kind of that journey. It went really fast. Everything kind of went fast, but Kath was really into reading God's Word with me, like she said, but also there was more change that had to happen and part of it was leaving the church that we'd been in for really 17 years or, well, a long time at that point. And we'd been going to church 1.3 times a month for many, many years and said we were churchgoers, but we were definitely not walking with the Lord.

Yeah, yeah. As God began to work in both of your hearts and healing began to take place, were your family, extended family, friends and others that you began to share something about this and your faith, were they very supportive of you or not? I think probably at the start they were when we were going to church and looking for churches. In fact, our kids, some of them were going a little bit with us and all that stuff, but after transformation, which was later in 2009 and we went all in for Jesus, there was a lot of pushback from a lot of people. They actually thought we were weird and even created our own religion in some cases. We were drastically changed, completely transformed in every way to where we were just all in and everything we did, including our businesses, everything was pointed towards the Lord after that. So we had a lot of pushback. And you know, Gary, the funny thing about that is we were complete fire hoses to everybody. We wanted everybody to have what we had.

And our son-in-law says to us, it was like after mom and dad were saved, every birthday, every Christmas, it was like, you get a Bible, you get a Bible, you get a Bible, you get a Bible. It was like, we wanted everybody to have what we had. So yes, our kids have seen us make so many changes and they would see us start something, you know, some program or some conference or something, and then we'd be all in and it would fizzle out. So they were watching us thinking this was the same thing.

This was going to be something that we were really into and they were waiting for it to fizzle out. So we were definitely being watched. I was going to ask Tim how your kids responded when they began to see these changes in you. What ages were they? Well, they were all in their 20s.

When this all happened, they were all in their 20s at all different levels. So there was a lot of, we missed a lot. I mean, we took them to Sunday school and confirmation and stuff like that. But that was all Sunday.

That was not the other six and a half days a week. I also took them partying and stuff like that. So seeing their dad and mom different was, there was a lot of forgiveness. I had to ask for a lot of things and a lot of things we did in the past. We had, we had spouses involved in too. We had to ask for forgiveness for some of that stuff too. So Kathy, your daughter, Tricia, wrote a really beautiful letter to the two of you.

Talk about what she said and what that means to you. Yeah, that letter, she actually presented it to us. Tim, do you remember the year? I want to say it was around 2016 or 2017, but it was actually right after, the year after I gave my mom and dad theirs. So we modeled that. Then the very next year she gave it to us. So I think that would have been 2018.

Yeah. And she wrote the letter to her radically transformed parents. We have that framed in our home actually in Coeur d'Alene for everybody to see. And it meant the world to Tim and I. We both cried when we read it, but to see that she sees the difference of the people that we used to be and sees who we are now. It's just a, yeah, it's a treasure.

It's a lifelong treasure. And we actually printed that out and it's in our book. We put it in our book for people to see because we are radically transformed.

That's wonderful. You may or may not want to share this, but what is the quality of your children's marriages now having observed the changes in you? I think in the videos, in the call out boxes, in the book, the kids are involved in this book all over the place. They shared what happened during all the stuff prior to salvation and then afterwards as well. And one of the things that TJ really sticks with me, he said, and it's one of the last videos, it's called Serving a Legacy. And he says, I believe that my mom and dad, the choices they made stop generational sin in this family and by the choices they made. And for when you realize that you're doing something, putting a stake in the ground for generations yet to come, and maybe generations you don't even know or will never meet, that's pretty huge. And for your kids to see that after they saw the old life, it literally makes me weak just thinking about it.

It's pretty powerful. I hope that our listeners who grew up in homes where they had a negative model of marriage that has impacted them because the negative part can continue for generations too. But it doesn't have to continue. There's always a place where a generation can change those things if they turn to God.

So that's a powerful reality. I think it would be good, Gary, to hear a little bit of that letter from Tricia. Here is Andrea reading that from the book Sex on the First Date. She writes, 36 years ago, two parents were faced with a choice when the unexpected presented itself to them. I thank you both for embracing the unknown and taking a leap of faith and choosing each other and choosing me. When I was young, I know you both did your best with what you had.

And at that time you were attempting things on your own, not even aware of what you were missing or that there was even another way. When I was adult, you both found what you had been searching for and missing for so many years. That something was Jesus and oh boy, did he change you both. Watching how the Lord has transformed you both has been incredible and a privilege to get to witness. Dad, you've been my dad for 36 years, but these past nine plus years have been the best. I know that we've had some growing pains during that time, but I will take all of it to get where we are today. You're a true example of what it is to be a good husband, father, papa, leader and friend. Mom, I truly love what our relationship has become.

It took some trials and work to get here, but that was all worth it to arrive where we are. I love how you support me, speak truth into my life, pray for me the way you love my husband and encourage and support our marriage and for your gift of time. Whether we're talking on the phone, which we do a lot, spending time visiting and drinking coffee, shopping together, just being together. I value our relationship. You tell me the truth when I need to hear it and you encourage me. I wanted to write this to both of you together because you go together so well.

I am who I am because of my heavenly father, but also because of my two radically transformed parents. I love you both. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Love your daughter, Tricia. Again, that's an excerpt from the book by Tim and Kathy Bush, Sex on the First Date. Go to buildingrelationships.us. You'll see the book link right there and maybe that letter by their daughter, Tricia, will give you some encouragement about what your marriage might become.

Again, go to buildingrelationships.us. Tim and Kathy, at one point, the two of you went on a marriage conference cruise together. What was it like to do that when your marriage was healthy, if not in crisis?

What was that like? I would say it was incredible because we had done so many things before that. So this was after we surrendered our life to Christ and we were really beginning to thrive in our marriage. It was so different than the counseling that we had done so many years searching for answers, how to do our marriage right, how to rely on each other to do it. But once we put Christ in the center going on this cruise – it was a Christian marriage cruise – and receiving tools with Christ to put into your marriage was different.

When you're open to that and you've surrendered your life to Christ, everything is different when you're hearing those things. So it was incredible. And this cruise, actually, when we went on it, we knew absolutely nobody on the cruise ship. So that was really special, too, because we actually got to really be with each other and just soak everything in. I think we've been on that cruise many, many times.

I think that was my absolute favorite one. Yeah, and for me, Gary, when I look back at that – and I say this in the book, too – I went to that cruise as a prisoner. I did not want to go. Being in a 264-square-foot room for seven days was not my favorite. I didn't want to do it.

But literally, starting for the very first day, the Lord brought different people in our life, including Dennis and Barbara and Dave and Anne and just so many others that impacted our life all week long. And we were one of the last ones to get off. I did not want to get off. And Dennis spoke on the last week, and he said, the bubble's going to pop and be weary of that when you leave. And we were in a bubble. It was such an amazing spiritual bubble. I'll never forget it.

So going in as a prisoner and leaving, not wanting to leave, what an amazing transformation even in that. Yeah, that's great. Now, I know that since then, the two of you have shared your story and what God has done in your life in marriage conferences with Family Life, where you've told your story. What kind of responses have you received when people hear what you went through and how God literally transformed your marriage? We hear so many positive responses. We hear the hope that people have when they hear what we've gone through and what God did in our marriage.

And it makes it really possible for people to have that hope. And we hear time and time again that these kind of stories aren't heard very often. When we first started doing our marriage conferences in the church that we were at, we heard a lot of the time that they don't hear people share their stories like that without shame. And we even have been asked, how can you share those kind of things? But the thing is, is that we tell people we're new creations. And those people that we're sharing about are gone.

They're dead. And we can share those stories so that people will start sharing the things that they need to share in their marriage. Because ultimately, if you're keeping things in the dark in a marriage, you're not going to have healing. You're not going to have a thriving marriage. And our purpose of sharing is so that marriages will get those secrets out. Because I think there's so many marriages that they make, like for us, there was bits and pieces that Tim would tell me along the way. But until we could completely share everything, God is not going to heal your marriage completely.

You have to get those things out of the dark. So we get a lot of a lot of positive feedback. That's why we continue to share. Because we want and we share in a sense that God gets the glory. We did not glorify our sin. We want God to get the glory and what he's done in us and what he's doing through us now. Tim, talk to the person who's listening who feels alone in their marriage and may even be considering divorce themselves.

What would you want to say to them? Well, I would say look at yourself first in your marriage and work on yourself to be better. God hates divorce. We know that. And he wants you to stay married.

And there's so many tools out there. There's so many reasons to stay. If you think about the covenant you made when you got married with God and your wife, she's a reason, but also he's a reason.

He's a bigger reason. God is the God of the universe and he can heal your marriage. But most of all, I think from the guy's standpoint, I would tell guys to look in the mirror and see what you can do. Even if you think your wife's totally at fault in what's going on, could you even own 10% and work on that 10% to be a better man? And I believe if guys would do that and not try to blame shift on their spouse and say it's all her fault and just take ownership of what they have in it, I believe they work on themselves. I believe there could be transformation and their marriages could be restored. Kathy, what would you say to that question or to that couple who were really thinking there's no hope? Well, I would say there's hope in Jesus Christ. And that's where it came for from us because everything else that you're trying to do in your marriage is not going to last, but putting Christ in your marriage is going to last. And like Tim said, working on yourself, working on your personal relationship with Christ. I had nobody telling me that as we were going through the years of marriage.

My advice was more from the world that you need to find yourself, you need to be happy. It's not about our happiness. Marriage is a sacrifice and it's putting the other person first. But you're not going to know that until you develop that relationship with Christ. And until we knew that, until we knew what God said about how He designed us to be a wife or a husband, what He says about that, if we're looking at what the world's saying about marriage, that's when divorce is going to happen. But if we're looking about what God says about marriage, that's where the hope is. And God loves marriage. But we also know Satan does not like marriage and we have a target on our back. And that's the thing with Tim and I, the more we can be aware of that and realize that we are gifts from God and we are not each other's enemy, that God's plan is marriage. It's a good marriage. And we're gifts to each other and that's what we've got to work on. We've got to work on being the gift to each other and make sure that the other one feels that gift. Feels like they are a gift.

Exactly. Early in your marriage, you wrote that Tim was a very controlling husband. I know that a lot of wives can identify with that. How did that eventually change? Kathy, as you look back on it, what do you think?

How did that happen? Well, that was the work of God and my husband. That really wasn't really anything I did. I know, looking back, there's things I could have done throughout the process, but when God says that He opposes the proud and He humbles the proud, that's exactly what He did to my husband. I think for women who are living in a controlling marriage, I think that there's ways to handle that. There's ways to tell your husband that you don't deserve to be treated that way.

You're not going to, you know, there's boundaries that you can put up that I didn't know about. I think because I was 18 when we got married and I went straight from my parents to my husband, I missed a lot of growth. So I didn't really know how to handle that. I kind of sat in that position of being controlled and kind of let my husband do that because I didn't know any better. But I definitely think as a wife, there's ways to handle that.

You need to speak up and you need to do it in a loving way. And if you need a third party, if you need help, but working on your relationship with Christ and really realizing your worth. I mean, I didn't realize I was a daughter of the King. I didn't realize that in my marriage I was a partner.

I didn't know those things, so I allowed that controlling to go on. But once God humbled my husband, took the control away from him, that was the big shift in the marriage. What motivated you, Tim, to begin to see that in yourself and with God's help make changes?

Well, ultimately it says in the Bible, and I'm not going to tell you how many times Gary, but I'm guessing at least three times that every knee will bow. When God took me to my knees and I couldn't get up, to me at that point I either had a choice, since every knee will bow, to either get up and serve him and serve my wife and quit being my own God. That was a huge turning point for me because I either had to choose obedience and surrender or he was going to take me out. I really felt like that. I felt like I was done. I felt like I had nothing to give at all. In fact, to the point of suicide, which I talk about in the book, I was thinking I was going to manipulate things one last time. I'm really thankful that didn't happen, obviously, but that's how down and dark I got. So I realized that I had to make some changes and I had to be help outside of myself. I couldn't do it on my own, and that was the Lord Jesus Christ.

I know that there are some listeners today who are hearing this who are getting near the end of the road like that, and I hope God will use our time here and also the book to touch people and know that at that moment there is hope if we turn to God. Now, I have one more question before we have to close our time together. In the book you talk about investing in your marriage. What are some practical ways that couples can invest in their marriage? I can tell you for Kath and I, there are some things that are very, very easy and we model that. We even talk about it in the book. We find Christian couples that have been Christians for many, many years don't do this either because they just don't know how, and we model it and we do it in our marriage conferences too. We model it that way and make it so easy. But first off, being in God's Word every day, that's really easy.

Whether you do it together or encourage each other to do it apart and then praying together every day, every day that's possible. Those things, and then finding something where you actually don't go to Kabul, or I'm just using that as an example, or Europe. Those are all great places to go. Find something where you can actually invest in your marriage like you do in your 401k, your house, your car, your kid's education. Find something where you can actually make an investment and do it often. Don't do it one time and don't do it again for five years. We've met married couples that have been married 40 years and never been to a marriage event.

Never been to a conference. And they're so glad they did. They wonder why they waited.

Because there's tools. Like our book, we say it's good for a very broken marriage up to a thriving marriage. There's tools for a thriving marriage in our book that could even be thriving to another level. So that's an investment. And you're investing in the future too.

I hope I didn't lose that. I want to make sure you're also investing in the generations that follow you. I've said that before, but it's just so clear to me that that investment is important in your kids and grandkids and generations beyond. Kathy, does anything else come to your mind in terms of practical things that a couple can do to invest in their marriage? I think Tim really said what I would have said, because that's what we have these in the book.

They're called stakes in the ground. And they're non-negotiables for us. And Tim and I want to have a thriving marriage, and we know what it takes to have a thriving marriage. We don't want our relationship with Christ to be on fire still.

We don't want to be lukewarm. We want to thrive. So being in God's Word every day is a must for us. And we know that we have so many things coming at us in this world, but we need to stay grounded on Christ.

And being in His Word, praying together, hearing each other's hearts through prayer is really important. And then we have boundaries in our marriage as far as being with the opposite sex, you know, not going and having coffee with the opposite sex. And we just have really set boundaries for how we're living our life and how we're doing our marriage.

And we never want to go back to where we're at. And Gary, one little quick addition. We have a granddaughter that's five years old. She's almost six now, but when she was in the video, she said, when I grew up, it's called the marriage video, what they look at as our grandkids, what marriage looks like. And it's only three minutes, but they literally say, she says, I want to drink coffee with my husband, as one of the things she wants to do. Well, she sees Kath and I as her grandparents drinking coffee in the morning and reading the Bible and praying together because we do it, whether the grandkids are here or not, we invite them to do it. We don't make them do it, but we invite them to do it with us.

So that model is just so important for them to see that because who's going to teach them? Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Well, I want to thank you for being with us today on Building Relationships and for investing time and energy to put this book together because I really believe your story and what God has done in your life is going to help many, many other couples. So thanks again for being with us and may God continue to guide you as you seek to enrich the lives of other couples. Thank you so much.

So much, Gary. Once again, the title of Tim and Kathy Bush's book is Sex on the First Date, a Story of a Broken Beginning to a Radically Transformed Marriage. We have a link to the website Building Relationships.us. Again, just go to buildingrelationships.us. And next week, we're going to Music City for a celebration. Well, that's right. We'll go on location to Nashville as we celebrate 30 years of "The 5 Love Languages" . Don't miss it. Our thanks to Janice Backing and Steve Wick for their work behind the scenes. Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman is a production of Moody Radio in association with Moody Publishers, a ministry of Moody Bible Institute. Thanks for listening.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-20 02:09:58 / 2024-04-20 02:29:24 / 19

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