Our Intensive Testimonies

Having just finished a Marriage Intensive this past weekend, I thought it would be fun to post the testimonies that we wrote to Joel and Kathy 3 years ago when we went to our Intensive (they actually still had them on their site!). It was fun to look back and see what our feelings about it were as I've been posting the testimonies of the couples who were just with us for the past several days.

So...enjoy! And don't forget to jump on over and read the most recent testimonies from the Intensive we just had (only have two up so far as we're on vacay and could only post the ones we received via email so check back next week for the others). If you're thinking of coming yourself, our next Marriage Intensive takes place in Anaheim, CA September 16 - 19. Perhaps we'll see you there!

Dear Joel and Kathy,

How can I begin to describe what your Intensive has meant to my marriage? My wife and I have been separated for about four months. In that time, my wife introduced me to your books and the scales began to come off of my eyes. It turns out that I was not Prince Charming - on the contrary, I have been quite the clueless husband who has fallen short of meeting my wife's needs.

Not only has your Intensive Weekend given me the knowledge and skills needed to be the man who God has meant for me to be by meeting my wife's needs - we are no longer separated! Praise the Lord! ~ Michael (and Annalea)

Dear Joel and Kathy,

When my husband and I separated for the THIRD time and I had filed for divorce, I began searching for something - ANYTHING - that would give me a reason as to why I had come to such desperate measures. Your web site, books, phone counsel, group calls and this Weekend Marriage Intensive have been like cooling water to my marriage.

After some "not so subtle" hints, my husband finally agreed to read your books. Then he began to listen to the weekly conference calls and be both knew that coming to an Intensive was a must for the beginning of true healing. We have both learned so much from your guidance, love, honesty and support. Because of these things, I now have a glimmer of the hope I've been so desperately searching for. Can this be real? Is it really possible to be treated like a queen? I've always known I was meant to be a "Royal" (smile) ~ Annalea (and Michael)


  1. How I fell off the marriage-restored wagon:

    I was going along for a couple weeks trying to meet my wife's needs, and I was actually enjoying serving her, whether she seemed to appreciate it or not. I met with her repeatedly to make commitments to a schedule of doing life her way. After these sessions, she said, "Just because you've said some really nice things doesn't mean anything has changed. I am not in a position to make a decision on anything right now." Then, a few weeks in, she told me she was going to stop making love to me. She said it was okay to make love when the marriage was doomed, but now that I was working on saving the marriage, it would be too intimate for her. That challenged me, but I tried to understand. A few days later, she yelled at me for asking if I could get my hair cut at a time that would make me get home at 6 p.m. instead of 5 p.m. on one of my four committed weeknights to stay home with the kids. She told me I was reneging on my commitment, that my promises were just lies. She staged this argument on literally the most devastating night of my life: my 17-year-old, N.(from my former marriage) had been committed to a psych ward for paranoia and suicidal ideation, and got attacked by a shizophrenic in the next bed. When I saw him he was such a bundle of spasms and tics I didn't even know him, and my heart was breaking for my beautiful son. I told my wife I just needed some understanding. I begged her, "If it doesn't have to do with helping N., I can't discuss it tonight."

    But she insisted we had to discuss how I'd betrayed her once more. The stepkids, who had been told by my wife repeatedly that I love N. the most, got into it, yelling "F--k N!" with her approval. I shook and prayed the entire night alone in my bed. (My wife sleeps on the couch because her back doesn't tolerate any other mattress--even the most expensive ones.)

    Last weekend, after rounds and rounds of emails outlining my commitments to her, I sent her an email lamenting that all the couple time in our marriage had been taken away over the years and asking if she envisioned restoring the couple time to our marriage in the future. She replied that my email was full of distortions and therefore she wasn't going to respond to it.

    Yesterday, I took a day off work to go with the kids to a 10 a.m. movie and then Del Taco for lunch. Afterward, my wife yelled at me for nearly two hours for not having the "passion" to plan something more with them until 3 p.m. (when she had to take them to a church activity).

    That was when I concluded that it is self-abuse to continue like this--that this whole ministry of giving total approval to one sinful partner over the other one (who is sincerely trying to repent) is dysfunctional, un-Biblical and sick.

    I look at other marriages in this ministry. I see self-satisfied little-girl wives ordering their naughty-boy husbands around, and then rewarding them with sex. None of it reminds me in the slightest of God's grace, mercy and love. It does remind me of someone else, though.

    I have not moved out. I'm postponing divorce like an alcoholic postpones the first drink. I know that trying to respond to my wife's actual needs is the right thing to do, whether we stay together or not. (How great it would be if we all did that--mutual submission!) I will continue to do my best a day at a time, know that my peace comes from God not her, and not buy into the scapegoating accusations that are so seductive to wives who don't wish to believe their own sinfulness plays an equal part. But I have a grave concern that this ministry is harming souls.

  2. Interesting comment I'll have to say.

    My wife and I went to an Intensive about 18 months ago and I can say the last 15 months have been the best in our marraige as a result. The first 3 months were very intense and excruciating for me as a man. But I have to admit, after 13 years of marriage, I was far from being any type of husband until the last 15 months. Those first 3 months were the birthing ground of me walking out what it really means to be a Christ-like husband in laying down my life for my husband.

    "Trying out" the principles that this ministry teaches (which are biblical, by the way) for a few weeks and throwing in the towel hoping your wife will change I think is probably the wost approach you can take. The whole point of the truths that are taught is to make you a better husband whether or not your wife changes. Remember, Christ died for us and laid down his life for us and that is the model we are to display to our wives. Clearly your response and comments above are reflective that there is still a lot of dying to do for your wife. I have a hunch that her response and reactions to you are probably connected to A LOT of frustration from the past from you giving it a "try" for a few weeks and trying to "make her change." She probably senses more of the same and this makes her even more frustrated.

    I want to challenge you that if you are truly committed to winning your wife's heart back, that you really take to heart what it means to love unconditionally in laying down your life for your wife in listening to her heart, not getting defensive, not listing the reasons why she's being unreasonable, apologizing even if you don't think it's necessary, etc, etc.

    I can tell you from experience that if you walk this process out, you will have a happy and satisfying marriage but you have to die first to your flesh, pride and ego.