Hello, and thanks for the response!
Wow, I'm not sure y'all would want to hear the whole nine yards.......
But I'll try to give an overview.
1st of all, yes we've both read both books, along with Paul Hegstrom's books and Ken Nair"s; both were eye opening.
We both come from a very traditional church background which can be both good and bad, (depending on what was truly Biblical and what was merely cultural, as we all know.)
In the beginning of our relationship and the first few years of marriage, we both had a sincere love for God and desire to live for him. In spite of some erroneous teachings and growing pains, the church we were a part of truly was like family, the leadership was seeking God, and we were growing together in love. Unfortunately, the seemingly inevitable happened and we went through some "church junk". I suppose because churches are made up of human beings. We're supposed to be regenerated but well, suffice it to say that hubby never really got over it, never was completely healed from that heartbreaking experience. His spiritual and moral life started to decline from then on. The rest of our life together as a family seems to have been poisoned by his bitterness and anger. Most people never see it, but it's been dumped on our family in a variety of underhanded ways.
At first, I had the typical response of, "It must be my fault!":.......& thus began a whole "library" of self help books for women on how to "fix" our marriages. Unfortunately, the women's ministry in our church at that time was flooded with them. Interestingly, I don't recall anyone there that had the kind of marriage I would want. Mostly women who had resigned themselves to a life of lower expectations of their husbands and that had somehow found renewed vigor from the current popular method of holding it all together by submitting more perfectly and becoming the perfect "helpmeet", continuing to "validate" their husbands. (My, that sounds so dysfunctional to me now, lol!) So yes....been there, done that!
I realized later, after reading both of Paul Hegstrom's books and also both of Joel & Kathy's that arrestedness is likely the reason for my husband's response. (or lack thereof!!) He basically withdrew into his own world and locked everyone else out. Although we didn't understand the proper terminology years ago, what is interesting to me is that the Holy Spirit did make us aware of some of those "tendencies" from time to time, and we dealt with them either at an altar praying with some of our church family, or together at home, and we were growing in grace.....till more "junk" started happening. It definitely seems like it's been a pattern for us, and it distresses me. We've been in three other churches since the 1st one years ago, and it always seems like something happening at church is always what trips my husband up.
We even did some "traditional" counseling with a couple different counselors, and it would always come up. Finally during one session I remember our counselor turning to him and saying, "Jesus never did anything bad to you! Why are you "punishing" him?" And yes, often it was touch and go with those counselors as well. He never hung in there long enough to make lasting progress.
I've had my own journey during these difficult years, and yes, I feel like I've grown up, and gotten closer to Jesus, realizing that I am complete and whole in him. No, I don't need a man to "complete" me! Jesus is my everything, and if my husband ends up leaving, it's ok. I don't really need all that dysfunction. Having aging parents with health issues, I've spent quite a lot of time away in the last year, and with it came that realization. It felt incredibly freeing to me. Separating really doesn't seem like the worst thing in the world anymore. We as a family basically lost him years ago already, as far as relationships go.
However....as a child of God, I know he would want to heal our marriage and family. Our children have deep hurts, and I know I do as well. Most important of all, he is not fulfilling the destiny God has for him, and neither is our family. (I know God's grace can cover the rest of us and we could go on without him. but it wouldn't be ultimately what we were called to.)
I told him he needs to decide what he's going to do. Either seriously work on our relationship by going to an Intensive........or we separate. ;
He actually called about possible Intensive dates, but with his track record, that doesn't mean he'll follow through with anything. I believe he knows he needs to get in a discipleship program that offers some accountability. (At least, he said so) It's just that what he needs the most is also his greatest fear, and with a Passive Aggressive personality,.... well, I think we all know it could end up anywhere. I just felt like that was the approach to take, to just get him there once and let Jesus and Joel deal with him,.....??
Your idea about just listening in by myself sounds like a good one; maybe I'll try that. The women's call sounds inviting.
Sorry this was such a long ramble!!