Paul & Judy Rousseau: A Marriage Worth Saving
By Renelle Richardson
The 700 Club
CBN.com -“I told my wife that I didn’t love her anymore,” says Paul Rousseau.
“I really believed it was more comfortable for me to be in denial and pretend he hadn’t said it than to really let those words sink in,” remembers Paul’s wife Judy.
For years Judy pretended their marriage was ok. Paul and Judy Rousseau were high school sweethearts and married young. They started a family but felt something was missing. Judy thought going to church, would fill the void.
“Church to me was doing good things, singing in the choir, working at the church suppers, doing nice things for old people,” recalls Judy. “Sitting there counting the minutes until the service was over.”
Years earlier, when Judy watched a film depicting the crucifixion of Jesus, something changed.
“I said, ‘oh God, Jesus died for me and I give You my life,’” remembers Judy. “’You can take it, do with me whatever You want.’ Paul had called from work. And I answered the phone and he said, ‘what’s wrong with you?’ And I said, ‘it’s Jesus, He died for me. And I just gave Him my life.’”
Paul was less than thrilled. In fact as the weeks went on, he became resentful of the new Judy. “There was a big change in Judy,” says Paul. “Being a new Christian, she was going to a lot of meetings. I felt a bit of neglect on my, you know, selfishness on my part. She was busier, busier, and less time spent, being in a marriage.
“I always felt for some reason that God was more pleased when I did things for other people down the street or strangers than when I did the necessary things for my family,” says Judy.
Paul felt like he had been kicked to the curb. “I would take off on my motorcycle,” remembers Paul. “I probably wouldn’t come back for a couple of days.”
But that’s not all. Paul sought comfort in a relationship with his young, beautiful secretary. “She was attractive, she was pleasant to talk to,” remembers Paul. “But it made me feel, you know, that she cared.”
Meanwhile, Judy worked full time and raised their four kids. “I got angry,” says Judy. “It was more comfortable for me to get angry at the other woman.”
Paul’s affair continued for several months. And Judy pressed on with church work. Eventually Paul moved out and the Rousseau’s filed for divorce. “There was just a lot of relief because there had just been so much stress in our home,” says Judy.
The divorce proceedings were held up for several weeks in the lawyer’s office. When Judy finally asked her lawyer what was taking so long, the response stunned her. Judy remembers the call. “She said, ‘Judy, I need to be honest with you. I need to tell you that I walk with God, and because I walk with God, I cannot take your case. I will not be party to burying something that is not dead. I believe if you will be patient, your marriage will be okay.’”
Judy began to wonder if her marriage be saved? “I was just in absolute misery,” says Judy. “It felt like there was a black cloud over my head. I really had no peace about getting a divorce. Suddenly all that confusion, all that despair, all that not knowing what to do, was reduced to a mission. I was going to pray for this marriage.”
Judy’s first thought was that God would instantly change Paul, but He didn’t. Instead, He showed Judy the changes that she needed to make. “God pointed to me and showed me that the things that I was offering my husband and labeling ‘love’ was nothing but a bunch of conditional terms, ‘I’ll do this if you’ll do that. And I did so much of this, so you need to love me,’” remembers Judy. “But God’s love is nothing like that. And during those 3 1/2 years, I was to come to learn that love is not so much in the receiving, but it’s in the giving.”
She prayed for Paul at least two hours a day, searched her Bible and underlined the promises of God. Unbeknownst to her, Paul had ended his affair and was grappling with his own relationship with God. He expressed his thoughts to Judy in a letter. “I felt that something changed within me,” says Paul. “Then I had to ask the forgiveness of my wife and my children. I felt with God through His power, He would get me through that.”
“People would say, ‘well, how can you trust your husband now that he’s done this,’” remembers Judy. “So somehow, even with the midst of the pain God gave me that sense of, it’s all good. It’s all going to be okay.”
“She was different,” says Paul. “We became friends again first, and then our marriage was just rebuilt from that.”
For time first time in their twenty-four-year marriage, Paul and Judy attended church together. Paul’s newfound faith in God made him a different person. “I started getting involved with Scripture,” says Paul. “I started going back to church. And realizing how much Christ loved me and forgave me. And that was the huge thing. When God forgives you, it’s the real deal.”
Judy changed also, as she learned God’s priorities for her as a wife.
“I did make some changes by being much more available,” says Judy. “And even today, he still has to remind me to sit down. And just take the time to enjoy the simple little things.”
The Rousseau’s renewed their vows on their 30th anniversary. They celebrated this milestone and shared their full testimony with friends and family. “I would always tell people that it’s not on my own,” says Paul. “It’s Him that’s making that change within me.”
“To someone whose marriage is falling apart, there’s a loneliness,” says Paul, “You don’t know where to turn, the only source is Christ.”
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