December 29, 2009

Emerson Is Headed to Iraq

Because I am headed to Iraq sometime after the New Year, I found this recent email a blessing to read and a fitting reminder about my short-term mission to serve men and women in uniform related to their relationships.

"I felt led to write this to you today because as I was moving around on Facebook, I saw that you were going to be in Iraq. My husband is currently deployed there and my prayer is that he can go to your conference while you are there.

"I had heard some good things about your book so I bought it. Unfortunately I bought it with the wrong intentions. I bought it to fix my husband, again. I had been buying books for years to try and get things better in our marriage. We have had an ok marriage but there were some BIG trouble spots and I was very concerned. The problem, I was VERY sure, was his fault since I thought I was doing what I needed to as a good, Godly wife (pride UGH!). Well a year went by without the book or the study guide cracked open by either of us. Orders came, he left for Iraq. We were having some difficult patches with him being gone, go figure, and I saw a copy of Love and Respect in a used book store. I didn't want to send him the copy I had bought new 'cause Heaven knows not everything comes back from over there in the way it left :-)! At the time we were having an argument and I thought... 'he needs this book!' I sent it off and didn't think another thing about it.

"I couldn't sleep a few weeks later and opened my nightstand drawer to get something to read and there was your book. I figured why not and honestly thought it would give me more ammo to show him what he was doing wrong. Oh my word! I got through the first couple of pages before God broke my heart! I spent most of that night and following morning reading, seeing my life on those pages, weeping that God and my husband would find a way to forgive me. The next morning my husband was due to call me on Skype. I asked him if he had read the book I sent and he got that 'look' on his face. The same look he always got when I asked him to read a book, listen to a recording, watch a program: it was sort of a 'guilty/not again' look. I told him he was welcome to read it 'if' he wanted to. I told him how I came to reading it and proceeded to apologize, tell him how much I respected him and how, with God's help, I would be better for him, the wife he deserved. He didn’t know what to say except that it was ok and to please stop crying (it breaks his heart when I cry).

"I have started learning about the things he likes and cares about so we have something to talk about. He does love football and has missed all of the season since he has been overseas. I told him one day that I came home from church and watched his favorite team play. It was sort of funny to watch my husband's jaw drop! That would have never happened before.

"Another 'respect' moment was when my daughter said something her dad told her. My first inclination was to say 'he's crazy' or something to show that I didn't believe him, but I stopped. I thought about it and then HONESTLY answered he was right. My first thought had been to negate what he had said! That broke me again. It is really hard to show respect to someone when they aren't home for months and months but this was a perfect opportunity! I told my girls that if anyone would know it would be him…Before I would've cut down what he said…What a difference a respectful heart makes.

"I know things won't be perfect when he comes home but they will be so much better. The quote that comes to mind is 'when I knew better I did better' and I can assure you that I will. In my quest to 'fix' a good man I fixed myself… My life, the way I think, the way I view my husband has changed… Thank God for breaking and healing my heart. I have heard about 'respect' before but never in the way you put it. I will be giving this book to each of my daughters as they get married and I recommend it to EVERY wife I know. It is life changing! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!"

Pray that I can serve the men and women in Iraq who attend the 3 hour conference. That they come without a spouse creates a challenge but the information is helpful enough to explain their own behavior and help them decode the good will of their spouses. This wife gained great wisdom on her own and when she applied the truths, her husband responded favorably! I believe the same can happen to those in Iraq, especially because technology like Skype has allowed for instant, and even face to face, communication between men and women, so applications can come immediately!


joellen said...

That's such an inspiring testimony. We'll be praying for you as you minister to those in Iraq. Thanks for your service!

Anonymous said...

This is all new to me. My business partner gave me a copy of the book. My wife and I started reading it together. We were like a couple of bucking broncos. But, every good rider gets control of his horse. We were broken.

That was just last week. We have seen some light at the end-of-the-tunnel and are at this moment riding the crazy cycle.

My 20 yr old daughter picked it up and as she put it, "Stole it" for a time. She read through it very fast. She is in a relationship with a wonderful man and they broke up. Now they are on the mends. She told my son about it. He is in the Air Force. He immediately bought a copy for him and one for his girlfriend, Julie, who is also my daughter's room-mate. I cannot wait to see how this all turns out.

Please pray for my wife and I. We are so struggling right now. I know that the deceiver wants our marriage. God is about to do some great things with our business. So, why wouldn't we be attacked right now.

Thank you for your openness and blessings. I will be praying for you as you go to minister in Iraq.

Rick G

Anonymous said...

Emerson and Sarah,
I praise God for the opportunity for you to go and meet with deployed soldiers. It is such a HUGE need right now! I am an Army wife of 14 years....military families need to hear the truth. Our lifestyle lends itself to a lot of poor communication....and the enemy loves that. I have just started reading your book b/c I am leading it as a women's bible study in Naples, Italy. I will pray for the anointing of God to be on your trip and for the "good news" to continue to spread about your teachings. Thank you for your ministry and for living out the plans that God has for you two right now. To Him be the glory!!
Denise Keeter

Jennifer Bingham said...

I have been reading this book and wow it's been such an eye opening experience. I mailed my husband the book too, he is currently in Iraq.
I pray that he will read it and have a deep understanding of our wrongs.
At the moment we are separated and he seems very unwilling to try to work on our marriage. He says he is happier now than he has ever been and that he is finally himself and feels so free.
It's a hard thing for me to accept, but I can now see why because your book has shown me the things I have done to harm him.
There were times I publically humiliated my husband. (to his family, to his co-workers, his command) It breaks my heart to know and feel the damage I have done to this man. I treated him disrespectfully and was an unloving person all around to him. He didn't deserve that at all. I want to show him how much this has changed me but we don't even live in the same state anymore. He is in Iraq for a year and he keeps saying he doesn't want to hear about how much I love and miss him or how sorry I am. He says it's over and time to move on.
I really pray he will be able to attend your conference or whatever you are doing over in Iraq.

Anonymous said...

The scripture is not to be taken out of context - even Matt 5:33 -- women are not required to equally respect in comparison as to the way men are to agape-love.

The husband is told FIVE (5) times in the scripture to agape-love his wife -- he is able to find out what that means by living with understanding with her, and will fill her heart with love and respect for him. is a great resource to find out the difference. Men also grow up during the course of agape-loving their own wife, laying down their life for her, cherishing and honoring her, and allowing her to be a true "help" meet by pointing out to him when he is not loving.
It is a win-win if the husband will agape-love his wife.

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