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Kay Warren Reveals How God Redeemed Her "Miserable" Early Years of Marriage to Rick Warren

Leah Marieann Klett : Jun 14, 2017 : Gospel Herald

"A great marriage is the union of two great forgivers." -Rick Warren

(Los Angeles, CA)—[Gospel Herald] Kay Warren, wife of Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren, has opened up about the "miserable" early years of marriage and shared how God used their struggles and failures to "draw us closer to Him and to each other." (Photo: Rick and Kay Warren/via KayWarren.com)

"We didn't even make it to the end of our two-week honeymoon to British Columbia before we knew our relationship was in serious trouble," Kay recounted in a recent article published in Christianity Today. "We had been warned about five areas of potential conflict all couples have to deal with, and we immediately jumped into all five of them: sex, communication, money, children, and in-laws."

Married at just 21 after a few years of dating, both Rick and Kay were "young and inexperienced" and would argue about everything—and then argue about the argument.

"... our arguments began to layer resentment on top of resentment, it was a perfect setup for misery and disenchantment," she wrote. "What made it worse was that everyone considered us the perfect couple. When we returned from the honeymoon, already miserable and shocked at the depth of our unhappiness, we felt like we had nowhere to go with our wretched pain and marital failures."

Much of Kay's pain stemmed from sexual abuse she endured at the hands of a church janitor when she was just four or five years old. In an attempt to deal with the "confusion and internal struggle" she felt, she became addicted to pornography.

"I had told Rick about being molested as a little girl-he was the first person I ever told-but because I was so unemotional about it, he figured it wasn't that significant an incident to me and basically forgot about it," she wrote. "I kept my occasional ventures into pornography a complete secret. Between the effects of the unaddressed molestation, the resulting brokenness in my sexuality, and the off-and-on pornography fascination, it shouldn't have been a surprise that sex didn't work."

Nevertheless, the pair "limped through" their first year of marriage, and by the second year were living in "marital Hell." Their misery confused both of them, as they "loved Jesus with all our hearts and we're committed to the local church."

"The fact that we were miserable weighed on both of us like a giant boulder, but we didn't see any way out," Kay wrote "I think we hoped that one morning we would just wake up and find it was all a bad dream and that somehow all our problems would simply vanish. We wanted to honor the sacred wedding vows we had made before God and our loved ones, so divorce wasn't on our radar. But neither could we visualize living in such pain for the rest of our lives. We just didn't know what to do or how to create a healthy marriage out of the shattered pieces of conflict, disappointment, dysfunction, and resentment."

Eventually, Rick and Kay decided to seek out counseling, and soon began to experience...

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