Couple says God's healing avails for abusive marriages

by Dana Williamson, posted Thursday, January 15, 1998 (16 years ago)

ATOKA, Okla. (BP)--After 10 years of physical and

mental abuse, God healed the marriage of Susie and Paul

Luchsinger.

For the past three years, Susie Luchsinger, sister to

country entertainer Reba McEntire and winner of Entertainer

of the Year and Christian Country Artist of the Year awards

in Christian country music, has been living a marriage she

doesn't mind talking about. Susie and Paul, a rodeo rider,

now make nearly 100 public appearances a year, singing

gospel songs and telling others about how domestic violence

almost ruined their marriage.

The couple also tell their story in a recently released

book, "A Tender Road Home," published by the Southern

Baptist Sunday School Board's Broadman & Holman publishers.

Both Paul and Susie say their life is a lot more fun

since they experienced healing in their marriage.

"There is a lot more open communication," Susie said.

"We try to have fun even when we work."

Susie said when Paul was abusing her she wouldn't say

anything to him that might upset him. Now, however, she said

she's not afraid to speak her mind.

"I'm going to say what I want to say to him in a

spirit of love, but in truth, when I think he is doing wrong

or when he needs to do something about his moodiness," she

said.

Susie pointed out they now have the tools on how to

resolve conflicts and how to give criticism that they are

beginning to apply to their marriage.

"It took a long time because we were immature," she

said. "After three kids, we're just now learning to

communicate."

Paul said the family now prays together daily and

studies the Bible at least five times a week.

"I constantly have to remind myself I have to be under

the control of the Holy Spirit, because nothing I do outside

of the Holy Spirit is going to be pleasing to God," Paul

said.

The Luchsingers said they chronicled their story in a

book for several reasons.

"We did an interview with USA Today Weekend, and when

the story came out, it was about two inches long and the

title was 'Reba McEntire's Sister Abused,'" Paul said. "It

left you thinking the abuse was still going on today, and we

wanted to tell the rest of the story."

Susie said another reason was that during the O.J.

Simpson trial, Nicole Simpson's sister was telling the

nation that if abuse was going on, to get out and get a

divorce.

"We knew there was another side," Susie said. "God

changes situations and he heals people and he can heal their

marriages. We wanted to present a different side, an

alternative to divorce."

Paul and Susie advise couples living in an abusive

situation to get help.

"The abuser has to get to the point of recognizing he

has a problem," Paul said. "And the one who is being abused

has to understand they have a problem too. They are enabling

the abuser to do that to them."

Paul said they tell people not to consult with their

families about the domestic violence.

"They will be the last to forgive the abuser," he said.

"We recommend going to your church, but sadly very few

churches today are equipped to help in abuse cases."

If the church can't help, close friends would be the

next place to go, the Luchsingers said.

"Go to someone your husband or wife respects and tell

them in confidence," Paul advised. "All of a sudden, your

best friend knows you are beating on your wife."

Susie said a Christian counselor who is strong enough

in God's Word to be a good mediator also can be a source of

help.

"Paul and I advise dating couples not to get married

until they have had at least a few major disagreements in

their relationship," Susie noted. "It is important for a

couple to see how well they can resolve problems before they

say, 'I do.'

"I tell young women thinking about marriage, 'See your

man under pressure. Watch how he reacts. How does he treat

you? Notice how he treats his mama, because that's probably

how he is going to treat you. Look, too, at how his daddy

treats his mama, because that is how the man has learned to

regard a woman.'"

Susie said during the worst times of their marriage,

she never went for help.

"If I had mustered the courage to do so, I honestly

believe we could have avoided a lot of emotional hurt and

physical pain. Now when anyone tells me that they are in an

abusive situation, I tell them to seek professional help

immediately."

Susie said single women in an abusive relationship with

a man should get out of the situation.

"Run, don't walk," she urged. "Don't allow yourself to

be intimidated. If a man is beating on you, taunting you,

demeaning you or abusing you verbally or emotionally before

you are married, you can be sure that the abusiveness is an

ingrained facet of his personality."

The Luchsingers also encourage abusers, for their own

good and the good of those around them, to seek help.

"Call a Bible-believing pastor, a domestic violence

hotline, but please, do not ignore the problem," Susie said.

"It will not simply go away by itself. Most of all, call out

to Jesus Christ. His power is stronger than the power that

is being manifested in your anger and violence. He can set

you free."

The Luchsinger's book, "A Tender Road Home," can be

purchased in Baptist Book Stores, Lifeway Christian Stores

and other Christian bookstores.

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