The Bunses: Once Upon a Broken Marriage
By Ken Hulme
The 700 Club
When they married 17 years ago, Christian and Colleen Bunse of Cincinnati, Ohio, had no idea how to make their marriage work. Both knew what they wanted, but neither got what they expected. So, like many couples, they tried to “fix” each other.
"I really felt like the husband was supposed to be caring and loving and romantic," Colleen said.
When Christian wasn’t able to meet those expectations and Colleen couldn’t change him, she grew angry and withdrawn. Meanwhile, Christian had his own list of unmet expectations.
"What I wanted in a wife was somebody who, when I got home had a meal prepared; somebody who had the house cleaned," Christian said.
Over the years the fights grew more intense.
"I had no idea how to fix what was going wrong in the relationship, how to make it different, how to make the fights and the arguments stop," Colleen said. "Everything I tried wasn’t working. Everything I tried made it worse."
And Christian and Colleen did a good job of hiding their broken relationship, even from the people who knew them best.
"From the outside our marriage looked like the perfect marriage," Colleen said. "We kept it a secret; we didn’t tell anyone."
As the fighting continued, Christian frequently suggested they get a divorce or simply stayed at work as much as possible.
"I would work until 2:00 a.m.," Christian said. "I would get two hours of sleep and get back up and do it again."
But work wasn’t Christian’s only escape.
"I’m in sales," he said. "We would have to entertain clients at topless bars."
"I found out that Christian was at topless bars and pornography," Colleen said. "I knew in my heart that I wasn’t the wife that I was supposed to be. And I knew as hard as it was for me to accept, that I was part of the reason for that. But, it hurt down to the core, because he’s supposed to be loving me."
After five years of conflicts and unmet expectations, one day a friend invited Christian to go to a Promise Keepers Conference.
"And I remember that they asked me; they said, ‘if there’s anyone out there that wants to come to accept Jesus, that they need to come down,’" Christian said. "And I went down. And somebody came up to me and they said, 'do you want to accept Jesus?' And I said, 'yes, I would like to accept Jesus.'"
In spite of Christian’s new faith, things were slow to change at home. The couple agreed to meet with a pastor for counseling.
"The pastor kept talking about having a relationship with Jesus," Colleen said. "He kept asking me, 'Are you a Christian? Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?' And I would say, 'I’m a Christian,' but had no idea what he was talking about."
After only one meeting, Colleen got into her car and started driving and was tempted to keep driving and never come home. But when she pulled up to a crossroad, she found herself crying out to God for help.
"That day, when I was in the car and I finally said those words, 'Jesus save me.' When I felt that peace, and I believe it was the love of God; it was a peace like I had never felt before," Colleen said. "It was a comfort, and I felt like it was God’s love just totally enveloping me, just telling me that everything was going to be OK. I just remember thinking, 'it was that easy?' You know, 'it was there all along?' And, 'why didn’t somebody tell me earlier?' And I knew, I can’t explain it, but I just had a hope inside me. I just knew that everything was going to be OK."
And for the first time in their marriage, Christian and Colleen found the answer that they had been looking for all along.
"The answer that I found was that I needed Jesus," Christian said. "That I couldn’t do it on my own."
And that relationship with Jesus is the foundation of their new relationship with one another and with their children.
"God has given us such a renewed love in our relationship. He has mended every wound," Colleen said.
"I’ve just gotten on my knees and told her how much I love her," Christian said. "I’ve told her that I’m sorry for all the things I did. I’ve told her that I can be that man that God wants me to be - that’s going to take care of you, and hug you, and love you. We would not be here today except for the fact that we accepted Jesus."
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