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Married Couple Lives as Roommates

“The bell was ringing for the first day of school and here at the last moment she comes sweeping through the door in all of her glory and I couldn't help but notice her. There was just a life about her. She exuded joy, confidence, and beauty,” said LeRoy Wagner.

It was love at first sight when LeRoy met Kimberly at Bible college. He fell in love with her joyful enthusiasm and she fell in love with his quiet strength. Soon they were engaged.

“I really went into marriage thinking this was just going to be a great 50 year date. I just thought, Oh wow!  Now we get to be together all the time and it's just going to be so fun," said Kimberly.  

But the fun ended three days into their honeymoon, after a long drive to the mountains. Kim settled in for a night of romance.  “He falls asleep on me. I mean, we had barely hit the bed and he falls asleep,” she said.

“I was awakened by her cries. I didn't really think it was that big a deal. And so I thought, She'll get over that,” said LeRoy.

“And I'm like shocked like, "Why doesn't that devastate you that I’m letting you know how you hurt me?" said Kim.

That pattern continued through the early years of their marriage. When expectations were met with disappointment, Kim would express strong emotion and LeRoy would dismiss her or withdraw. What first attracted them to each other was now driving a wedge between them.  “I loved Leroy but at the same time, I could be so repulsed by him.  I could be so upset with him and disappointed.  I just saw being a helper to Leroy as helping him do things in a better way.  I kept wanting him to just, you know, stand up and be a man,” said Kim.   LeRoy said, “I was raised to not be emotional. It made me feel like that I could never measure up. It brought out, to me, what I've always feared, and that was not being able to do what I knew that I should do as a man. And so instead of having the tools to handle that, I would just shut down. And so the further that I would retreat into sullenness or passivity or into a cave, the more intense that she would become.”

Kim gave birth to a daughter, but five years into their marriage, they reached a breaking point.  Kim said, “I still remember the intersection where we were sitting in the car when he looked over at me and – and I'd been pressuring him – he looked over and he just admitted…”

“Evidently I've not been able to love you like I should. You've made that perfectly clear.  I don't know how to do that, and so I guess I don't love you,"  said LeRoy.   

“I was devastated, and yet I wasn't that surprised,” said Kim.

LeRoy and Kim didn’t believe in divorce. Their son was born a few years later, but then they lived as roommates for the next 8 years while raising their children. Kim could no longer endure the pain and went away to a cabin to read the bible and pray about her marriage.  

“And God used scriptures to take me on a journey of revisiting my life and convicting me where I had harmed LeRoy, where I had been intimidating, and cruel at times.  I began writing out instance after instance that God brought to mind,” said Kim.

Kim then asked LeRoy to join her at the cabin.

“When she called me to come and wanted to share with me what the Lord had spoken to her about, I was so dead emotionally that I didn't really have any response at all,” said LeRoy.

“That was okay, because God had done such a deep work in me.  I wasn't obeying God in how I treated my husband, to get my husband to treat me a certain way.  I was focused on loving him more than I was getting love from Leroy,” said Kim.

Kim had changed but their marriage stayed the same.  Two years after Kim’s time away, LeRoy went on a retreat of his own, to ask God to examine his heart.   

“And God very strongly dealt with me and took me back to the earliest moments of my memory as a boy.  Fear had been in control of my life. I was afraid of not fulfilling my responsibilities.  I was afraid of failing those who looked to me and so this had greatly impacted my marriage relationship with Kimberly.  I apologized to her and I said, ‘So much of my interaction with you and so much of my hurt and pain has not been because of the way you've been, it's been because of where I had been long before I met you. That began our walk together as broken, humble, repentant, but also hopeful that God was at work in our marriage and began that process of restoration,” said LeRoy.

LeRoy and Kim began living as husband and wife again. That was in 1999, and today their marriage is stronger than ever. Together they counsel other couples with the hope they’ve been given, by the God of second chances.

“He's restored our marriage.  It is a happy marriage.  It's a blessed marriage.  It's a fun marriage. When I look back and I see what I would have missed had I checked out.  If I had divorced, I shudder to think of all of the blessings, of all that God had in store, if I would have walked away, if I would have stopped short of enduring and persevering and trusting him,” said LeRoy.

“My husband is my best friend. He's who I would want to hang out with more than anyone else. I admire him and I adore him.  I could have never imagined how good it could be,” said Kim.

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