Dan Juster

Tikkun Ministries International
"As you read this letter, Patty and I will have celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. We are passionately in love; more than ever before. Are we simply an anomaly, or is our marital happiness something that could be and should be normal?"

"We now find ourselves in such a depth of love and romance that we can hardly believe it and are in a state of wonder. I see my wife today as a beautiful, incredibly intelligent person who preaches, teaches, counsels, cooks, does our itinery and is hi-tech capable. And to think that I used to be critical of her!"

Cameron Diaz, the well known Hollywood actress, recently proclaimed that marriage was a dying institution. She advised that we ought to come up with new arrangements for relationships and raising children without requiring the commitment of marriage. Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist featured on Fox News Station, agreed and stated that the great majority of people are unhappy in their marriages. They should not be forced, in his view, to remain in such unhappiness.

As you read this letter, Patty and I will have celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. We are passionately in love; more than ever before. Are we simply an anomaly, or is our marital happiness something that could be and should be normal?

Patty and I did not always have such harmony together. We both were traumatized individuals, although in the days of our early marriage people did not talk about post-traumatic stress. In my case, I lost my father before I was nine years old. My mother mourned with great intensity for years. My brother was seven years older than I and soon left for college, while my sister, five years older, graduated from high school and worked as a secretary on Wall Street. Both had their own traumatic reaction to my father's death. I was very committed to Yeshua and had a very special experience that brought me into the Kingdom at 12 years old. I knew I had been called to the ministry, but as a 19-year-old philosophy major, I experienced something of a nervous breakdown and a dramatic loss of faith in God. Only the very loving care of Chaplain Welsh at Wheaton College enabled me to have hope and eventually, after a year of graduate school, come back to a strong faith in God and Yeshua again.

I was a senior in college when I met Patty, a freshman at Wheaton. We began a courtship, but I was a very demanding and difficult partner. The summer after our courtship began, Patty lost her brother and best friend in a car accident. That fall, her roommate and her grandfather died. Her father shut down emotionally, not knowing how to grieve. Patty was traumatized and did not believe that she could trust the ground on which she walked. There were times of terrible fear and feelings of unreality. Chaplain Welsh, who had had his own traumas as a young man, was a key to her recovery as well.

Early Days

When we entered marriage we were both self-centered in different ways. By the time we had been married for six months, I was destroying our relationship. I will never forget how one day after a big fight I was dramatically called to account by a supernatural word from God. The rebuke was profound. In no uncertain terms the Holy Spirit commanded me to provide an atmosphere of praise and appreciation for Patty. This was the proper atmosphere I was to nurture in order for her to grow. I repented deeply and we began to change. From that day in December 1971, our marriage improved. There was basic harmony, but not always. We still had to deal with selfishness, I think more on my part. We professed to be in the marriage for the sake of the other, but often sought our own fulfillment above the other.

When children came along, we had new conflicts. We had learned to get along reasonably well as husband and wife, but did not know how to relate together as father and mother. We had vastly different expectations. We sometimes had severe fights. Even though the times of peace became longer and longer I would still sometimes lose my temper, not realizing the roots of trauma and selfishness behind it. In response Patty would withdraw and despise me for losing control. Both of us were wounded, feeling that the other misjudged us. We learned to be good at repenting over the years and made a commitment to always work out our issues, never going to bed angry.

Further improvement came when we discovered inner healing and deliverance ministry. This was a great help. Only when I was in my mid-40s did I cry for the first time over my father's death. Patty also had significant healing ministry for phobias that started after the death of her brother.

What kept us together? Well, there was a basic love. However, the major thing was that both of us believed that marriage was an absolute commitment and that somehow, if we would let God work in us, He would transform us so that our marriage would grow more and more into the Ephesians 5 model. We now find ourselves in such a depth of love, compassion and romance that we can hardly believe it and are in a state of wonder. I see my wife today as a beautiful, incredibly intelligent person who preaches, teaches, counsels, cooks, does our itinerary, and is hi-tech capable. And to think I used to be critical of her!

We are just ordinary people who had much to overcome, but have achieved great joy in our marriage. We want to emphasize again that we credit God's grace, which enabled us to be willing to cooperate with His plans for us and gave us courage to press through to victory. Here are some keys that we hope can help others.

Keys to Success

1. We take it as an absolute rule that two people in a marriage, who are really committed to grow more and more into the likeness of Yeshua, will love each other more and more. We will see each other through God's eyes and with compassion

2. We are resolved to engage in a serious quest for unity on relational difficulties and unity on life patterns. This requires humility, even a humility that will seek help from wise counselors. God can use these people to bring healing to traumas, wrong responses from traumas and more. Patty and I have had much prayer ministry over the years.

3. As part of humility we did much repenting to each other and to our children when we blew it. When we lost our young son Samuel in a house fire at 12 years old, we could have chosen to be bitter and to let our pain drive each other away. There were so many "what ifs." We were severely tempted, but somehow God's grace came through and deepened our compassion for each other. A few years later when Patty had heart-valve repair surgery, I had to face the prospect of losing her. It was a real danger. To receive her back was an enormous gift. This renewed and deepened our love for one another and brought us to a level of mutual care and solicitude that I realize sometimes seems over the top.

Well, this is our story. We thank God that He has used us in many ways to help strengthen other marriages. We are so blessed that so many of the leaders in Tikkun, its ministries and congregations, are in good marriages. There have been only a few divorces in the 18 Tikkun congregations over the years!

Cameron Diaz is Wrong

So Cameron Diaz and Dr. Ablow are wrong. Marriage is not dying for those who have a biblical worldview and walk in the power of Yeshua! However, the world finds that they cannot do this. Neither can weak believers who are conformed to the world. But praise God, Messiah in us is the power for salvation in marriages. The great damage to children in a society of divorce is incalculable, but so is the great joy and benefit to children of good marriages who choose to duplicate those marriages in their own families. We still believe that a great marriage is one of the greatest gifts we can give to our children. Please pray that we may continue to walk in this grace and leave our children this wonderful inheritance.

By Daniel Juster
Dan Juster leads the overall ministry Tikkun International Donate to Tikkun International.
Let us know what you think - why not comment to this article. The authors of these articles are often involved in intense ministry and are thus unable to respond to most comments. As is normal with print and online magazines, Tikkun reserves the right to publish only those comments we feel are edifying in tone and content.
Name Display my name ?
Yes No
Email Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comments.
08:47 07Jul11 Henry Bronkhorst -
Congratulations and well done. May God Bless you and your marriage. The Devil is trying to destroy the Holy Covenant of marriage and as you see the devil is very succesful today. But we have our Faith in God and pray that Yeshua may come soon.

18:23 07Jul11 Amy Balch -
Thank you so much for this well thought out and beautifully written message ... I wish all couples, no matter the years married, could read this together! We are a dying breed in this upside down world!
I have just finished reading Patty's book, "Refined By Fire," and was tremendously blessed by all she shared and, moreso, her insight earned through the refining process! I have a saying, "never trust anyone who walks (the Christian life) without a limp! You both walk with a "limp", but a victorious one -- with grace, humility and honor!
I saw and heard Patty share her testimony, and her book, at Jewish Voice, not long ago ... too short an interview, but such a blessing! She deeply touched my heart!

18:27 07Jul11 Holly -
Thank you for your testimony! My husband and I have been married nearly eight years. We married at twenty, have four small children, and beat (by the grace of God alone) an 80-90% Army divorce rate. We are only beginning to taste the "getting better" part of marriage, but it's great, I'm married to an awesome guy, and I will remember you as a picture of where we are headed.

20:55 07Jul11 Lea Splane -
Thank you for sharing your story. I have known you for a long time, but never knew all of this. Marriage is a blessing with the person God provides.

22:18 07Jul11 Kay Bieber -
What an encouragement in the time of much upheaval. God's Word is true, and those who obey, are truly blessed. Just to hear the testimony of two who have stayed on the path all the way through the valley of the shadow of death, to the victory of Christ in you, the hope of glory is so thrilling.

01:38 08Jul11 Charity -
Thank you so much for sharing your story! What a blessing to hear of such a wonderful marriage. You stuck through the tough stuff together and it made you better. As a young married (3 years), it is so encouraging to hear such powerful testimony.

04:59 08Jul11 Philip Latham -
Thank you for such an honest report. On 11th July my wife and I celebrate 30 years of marriage and I know how important marriage is to God - which maybe is why the world tries so hard to condemn it! As an aside my wife and I are currently reading "Becoming the Beloved: The End Time Bride of Christ" by Mark Davidson - all about our being the Bride Yeshua will come back to!

11:31 08Jul11 Carole Wright -
Thank you both for being so transparent and gut-honest about what it takes to grow in the likeness and stature of our Messiah. What a gift He has give each of you in each other, for each other, in all times good and not so good. This is an inspirational testimony of things gone right, shaped by the Lord in His refining fire. What a blessing to hear how God has worked all things for good in your lives as you submitted in humility to Him through every test and trial. I pray that you have multiplied years of blessed matrimony and many more testimonies of Gods faithfulness to those who truly seek His face.'

02:17 09Jul11 David Wright -
A wonderful and encouraging testimony. Jennie and I have been married 43 years. We have been through trauma and heartbreak, much of this through my failings. We have needed healing and deliverance. It is only through the loving kindness of the LORD working in and through our lives that marriages can flourish. I thank God, and Jennie for all of the 43 years past and joyfully anticipate many many more.

09:42 09Jul11 John Ichura -
I am lost for words in which to explain the joy I felt after reading your edifying article. My marriage to my lovely wife is now 22 years old and blessed with 8 healthy children the eldest 21 years. We are 11 years into the Messianic faith with our church Hqrs in Jerusalem. I would wish that one day I will write such an article on attaining 40 yrs like you today.

08:19 14Jul11 Donna Diorio -
Very encouraging testimony, Dr. Dan. We never see people in leadership as having faced the common real life problems. Thanks for sharing yours - and mazal tov on your 40th!

10:29 14Jul11 Shoshana Mann -
Thanks for your candor. On July 11, my husband and I celebrated our 30th anniversary. We accepted the Lord on the same day about 3 years into our marriage. We couldn't have done it without Him. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

21:25 20Jul11 Stephen Coulter -
Thank you for such an honest, sincere testimony - so encouraging for a fresh look upon our marrages - only He can do a perfect work, we can only surrender each broken thing to the Master Creator and Craftsman to make or even remake the heart - and He does!

  -- Dr Juster replies: Indeed, without the grace of God and his motivation to commitment, it is impossible.

Also in this issue of the newsletter:
Eitan Shishkoff: The Least of These
Marty Shoub: Watching, Working and Waiting for Laborers
Asher Intrater: The Shavuot Pattern
Betty Intrater: Shavuot Diary