By LESLIE LUDY
MY TWENTY-YEAR REFLECTION ON LIFE WITH ERIC LUDY
We may look like a youngish couple, but believe it or not, Eric and I are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary!
This incredible fact causes me to shake my head in amazement. It doesn’t seem possible that a full twenty years has gone by since that beautiful December day when we became “Mr. and Mrs. Eric Ludy.” But at the same time, it’s hard to remember what life was like before I walked down the aisle. This man named Eric Ludy has become so much a part of my existence that I honestly have a hard time recounting what it was like not living life by his side.
With our twentieth anniversary around the bend, I thought that the most fitting gift I could give to Eric would be to express my love and appreciation for him in a unique way, and I’d like to invite you along for the journey as I do! Why? Because after twenty years of teaching and writing on godly relationships, many people wonder what our marriage relationship is really like. Do the authors of When God Writes Your Love Story still have the fairy tale romance that they once did? Is their marriage still strong? Or will Eric Ludy be the next Christian leader to be exposed as being unfaithful to his wife?
I can understand these questions. Christian leaders today often have dynamic public ministries but conceal rocky, troubled marriages behind the scenes. In this past year, Eric has received more than one email saying, “I’ve been so impacted by your message and your example. But with all the leaders that have fallen, how do I know for sure that you are the real deal? Who is the real Eric Ludy? Is he really living out the kind of faithfulness, honor, and integrity that his messages portray? Or is he a fraud?”
It doesn’t help that a handful of naysayers who dislike Eric’s doctrinal positions and/or strong stands for truth in certain areas have attempted to bash not only his beliefs, but also his character, accusing him of being everything from a cult-leader to a right-winged religious kook. These, of course, are nothing more than ignorant pot-shots made by people who don’t really know my husband at all and can only speculate from a distance about what kind of man he is.
Why not hear from someone truly credible — someone who knows Eric Ludy more intimately than anyone else on the planet? That person would be me — the one who has shared each detail of his life for twenty years. I know the man I married quite well, and I would like to take this opportunity to share with you what kind of person he really is.
Oh, and just for the record, those who know me can testify to the fact that I am not a mousy, mindless woman who automatically agrees with everything her husband says or does. I have a mind of my own, and I know how to speak it — sometimes more bluntly than I probably should. This is another reason that I am uniquely able to speak credibly on the subject at hand. My opinions are not borrowed; they are fully, completely, and passionately my own.
With all that is at stake in Christianity today, I know that my answering the questions “Who is the real Eric Ludy?” and “What is your marriage really like?” isn’t something that should be done flippantly. So rather than spewing out a quick and easy response, let me give you a little peek into our marriage over the past twenty years and share some personal insight into the man that I have lived with for over half of my life.
If you are curious to find out how our God-written love story has unfolded after twenty years together, and what it is like to be married to a man like Eric Ludy, I think you’ll find this an interesting read. Also, as you read you’ll find some edifying tidbits along the way that you can apply to your own life — whether married or single.
THE MAN I MARRIED: REFLECTION #1
Eric is my Loyal Companion
From the very beginning of our marriage, Eric and I chose not to live like so many other couples who shared a mailbox but didn’t really share the daily moments of life. Rather, we launched our marriage as true companions, functioning as a team in everything that we did. For the majority of our twenty-years together, we have risen at the same time every morning, gone to bed at the same time every night, worked side-by-side for most of the day, and shared nearly every detail of our days as one life instead of two separate ones. We start each day with a unified purpose. We end the day with a shared vision.
Eric has never had his “man cave escapes” — you know, those areas of a husband’s life that he keeps his wife out of so that he can “let loose and enjoy his vices” for a while without his wife there to nag him about it.
And I’ve never had my “girls-only retreats” — you know, those areas of a wife’s life and emotions that she keeps her man out of, running to girlfriends or sisters for empathy instead of to her husband.
Instead, we share everything with each other. Outside of our relationship with Christ, we go to each other for advice, empathy, comfort, and perspective. We don’t have areas of our lives that have “private — keep out” signs hanging over them. We don’t keep secrets from each other. We don’t have our own personal “me time” where we try to get away from our spouse for a period of time so we can focus on ourselves.
This is not to say that we don’t respect each other’s personal space or that we never spend time apart. But we live our life together as one — not just as two separate individuals sharing the same last name.
I almost always know exactly where Eric is each moment of the day and night because we make decisions together about how each of us will spend our time and keep in close contact throughout the day.
Even with our busy lives, we are available to each other. Eric will always answer the phone when I call, no matter what he’s in the middle of. If I need him urgently, he will drop what he is doing and be there. There is strong accountability between us simply because we are very involved in each other’s daily schedules — and we have been for twenty years. This has nothing to do with control or paranoia; rather, it is because we have chosen to do life together.
Eric Ludy is my truest companion and teammate in life. And because of this, I trust him implicitly. He guards the things I entrust to him. He doesn’t have a group of buddies that he jokes with about the woes of marriage or the ridiculous quirks of his wife. He has my back at all times. He is a safe depository for me to share my most intimate fears, hopes, dreams, and struggles. In twenty years of marriage, I haven’t turned to others for empathy or intimate counsel. Why would I when I have the truest, most loyal companion I could ever ask for by my side?
Another reason I trust Eric implicitly is because he shares everything with me. He doesn’t have those private, secret areas of life that many men keep hidden from their wives. He doesn’t withhold his struggles, fears, hopes, or spiritual battles from me. I know exactly where he is at and what he is processing. There are no “question marks” lingering in my mind about what is truly going on inside of him. He is open, honest, and completely transparent with me about what he is thinking and feeling. He takes time to share with me the things that he is grappling with or the ideas that he is pondering. He never pushes me away. If he’s struggling with something, he doesn’t brood, sulk, or go silent. He is always ready and eager to talk, debrief, and process with me. And most of all, he is always eager to pray with me about it.
Throughout these twenty years, prayer has been the number one activity that has strengthened our companionship and deepened our intimacy with each other. We have learned that instead of arguing about or brainstorming a human solution to every issue that comes up, it is always best to lay our cares at Jesus’ feet.
When you have wrestled together in unified prayer with someone the way that I have with Eric, you come to know them in a way beyond what any human interaction could ever accomplish. When Eric and I pray together, it is not a formal, stiff, obligatory exercise. Rather, we are coming before the throne room of grace and pouring out our hearts to our loving Father. We cry tears of anguish, we sing songs of joy, and we lay our requests before God with faith and perseverance. We lay our souls bare before our Lord. We pour out our hearts to Him.
The more we pray together, the more unified we become. And because we bring our cares to the feet of Jesus together, we have come to know each other’s hearts extremely well.
No one would ever be able to convince me that Eric Ludy is an unfeeling, uncaring, unloving, controlling man. Not only do I see the opposite of those qualities in every aspect of his daily life, I also witness his tender, humble, surrendered heart towards God and his genuine love and concern for human souls each time we wrestle together in prayer.
Principles for Cultivating Unity:
There may be some reading this who might think, “I would love to build that kind of companionship with my spouse, but it seems impossible with the way things are in my marriage.” Humanly speaking, it may well be impossible. But with God, nothing is impossible. If you aren’t sure where or how to begin, start with a first step. Prayer is always a great first step. Even if you and your spouse feel awkward praying together, begin slowly and work your way up to more. It might only be a few minutes at first, but the more you practice unified prayer, the easier it will become. And if your spouse is reluctant to pray with you, start by privately praying that God will change his or her heart. Don’t nag, complain, or pressure your spouse to change. Rather, gently appeal to your spouse and be willing to start small, allowing God to accomplish the miracle of unity and wrestling prayer in your marriage. If you and your spouse are in need of a vision for what true prayer can look like, consider reading Wrestling Prayer together and allowing it to ignite a spiritual passion within you. Some other great books are Revival Praying by Leonard Ravenhill and The Complete Works on Prayer by E.M. Bounds.
To be continued. . .