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Staying Together When You Feel Like Leaving (Part 2 of 2)

Air Date 02/17/2016

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Bill and Vicki Rose offer hope for troubled couples as they recount the severe problems their marriage faced, how they found faith in Jesus Christ and how God has restored and sustained their relationship. (Part 2 of 2)

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Episode Transcript



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Vicki Rose: And one morning they said, "Mommy, we need to pray for daddy to know Jesus." I thought, pray for him? I'd rather kill him, but I didn't say it. I said, "You know, you're right. we need to pray." And so, we started to pray and really that's where it happened, was through prayer.

End Excerpt

John Fuller: Well, last time on "Focus on the Family" we heard an amazing story from Bill and Vicki Rose. They had a very troubled marriage. They were separated for a number of years and you're going to hear how God restored them on today's "Focus" broadcast with our president, Jim Daly. Thanks for joining us. I'm John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, if folks missed last time, get the download. Get the CD, because it's really gonna set up for today and to recap it briefly and it won't do justice to the story, but our guests, Bill and Vicki Rose, they were married, but God was not a part of their life and they were living the high life in Manhattan and doing what people do. They were trying to succeed.

They described themselves as both Type A personalities and Vicki talked about that longing in her heart. She didn't know why she was leaning so hard on Bill to fill all the voids that were in her heart, but that's part of the process. And she described that very, very well. They both got into cocaine as they were separated. They both had affairs during that time.

I can't imagine anybody being more broken in that way and it's … it's a good thing because God used that brokenness to reach their hearts. And we're gonna talk about that aspect of their testimony today.


Jim: Bill and Vicki, welcome back.

Vicki: Thank you.

Bill: Thank you.

Vicki: It's great to be here.

Jim: We left off last time with the invitation that you had received to hear our own Don and Barbara Hodel speak at the Waldorf Astoria hotel there in New York. He was then Secretary of Interior and how his and Barbara's words compelled you to think about Christ and that is beautiful.

But I wanted to peel it back a little bit and just go back to some of those moments. You said last time that your heart wasn't ready at certain points, that your friends would say, "Read the Psalms," and you'd read 'em and it didn't connect with you.

And I have friends that have been in that spot and are today. They're not quite there yet. Talk about a moment or two where God began to pry open your heart, so you could hear His Word, and what made the difference?

Vicki: That's a great question. Billy and I, about two months before we separated, went on vacation to Hilton Head, South Carolina. It was in May, so it was beautiful weather and I remember sitting on a beach chair, looking out at the ocean. There were families all around, kids playing, and there I was by myself. Billy was in the hotel room, trying to detox himself from cocaine, and I just … I had … I just sat there sobbing, like I want to be one of those families where the kids and the parents are all playing together. I don't want to be this person sitting here by myself on the beach. My kids at home in New York with a babysitter, and my husband locked up in the hotel room, trying to get off drugs.

And I just felt the crushing weight of that, the emptiness, the fear of it. I was lonely and I didn't know what the answer was, and I had always sort of self-medicated almost with things, you know, shopping, marrying, a good … a great job, achieving … I was the First One Place's buyer and you know, dressing really well and all that. I … I walked out of Saks Fifth Avenue, where I worked every day with a shopping bag, 'cause we had a discount and so, I could, you know, buy something new every day. Billy used to say, I paid them to work there. (Laughter)

Jim: Yeah, right.

Vicki: Because I thought if I looked great, if I had the newest clothes that everything would be all right, but the more I did all of that, none of it worked and there was just this … this crushing emptiness.

Jim: Bill, all this is going on. You're back in that hotel room that Vicki's describing. Tell us about where you're at spiritually and emotionally. Vicki is awakening to the Lord, but you're tryin' to get off cocaine.

Bill: I'm … I'm just in a dark place. I'm in a dark place. I'm empty. I'm probably also in tears, and I have a hard time seeing my future.

Jim: So, desperate really.

Bill: Yes.

Jim: And Vicki, you turned to the Lord, as we talked about. You guys are separated. How did you come back together? What conversation did you have and what did it sound like when you said, "Hey, Bill, I know I'm … hey, Bill, we're Jewish, but guess what? I just accepted Jesus Christ," how did that conversation go?

Bill: Well, I'm gonna jump in on this one, because she invited me to dinner to … there's a place called … it's not there anymore, but it was a very … very famous place in New York called Elaine's. It's even in a Billy Joel song. And so, we went there, and Vicki tells me about her new-found faith. And she's all gung ho and she tells me that if I don't believe what she believes, I'm going to hell. My parents are goin' to hell. We're all perishing. We're ... we're...we're done.

And I'm thinking, honey, that's great, but you know, this is not the kind of God that I … I want to be, you know, part of. Mine's a little more benevolent. And what she was saying was not untrue; it was just the delivery—

Jim: Right.

Bill: --of … of the message, which was a little harsh, a little black and white. And …

Jim: It got your attention, though.

Bill: Well, it got my attention, but I thought … I really also thought it was fad that she was just gonna go … and that would go away.

Jim: So, what happened, Vicki? The next days, weeks, months, years? So you're opening your heart to the Lord. You made a profession of faith.

Vicki: I started—

Jim: And how do you sort things out?

Vicki: --I didn't; God did. (Laughter) That's the short answer, but after that dinner, my friend gave me a book called Leading Little Ones to God, and I started reading it to our children, Douglas and Courtney at breakfast.

Jim: And how old are they at this point?

Vicki: At this point, they were 4 and 6 about.

Jim: Okay.

Vicki: And one morning they said, "Mommy, we need to pray for Daddy to know Jesus." I thought, pray for him? Rather kill him. But I didn't say it. I said, "You know, you're right. We need to pray, and so, we started to pray, and really that's where—

Jim: Wow.

Vicki: --it happened, was through prayer. And God answered those prayers. Every morning at breakfast, Douglas and Courtney and I would pray for daddy to come to know Jesus. Every night when we'd tuck into bed, same thing. And I started asking that same prayer request at every Bible study. I called prayer hotlines. I don't know, you may have had one then, and I probably called it, and I just kept putting Bill Rose's for salvations name on anybody who would pray.

Bill: Vicki called me up and invited me to this luncheon. I think it was at the downtown athletic club, and she thought she had remembered that I had mentioned a guy named Bobby Richardson.

Now Bobby Richardson was my hero growing up. [He] was a second baseman on the Yankees. He led off. He wore No. 1, and he played for the Yankees. And I led off and I wore No. 1, and the only thing I did that he didn't do was, I was a switch hitter.

And [she] told me Bobby was gonna be speaking, would I be interested? And I said, "Sure." So, I went to hear Bobby speak, and he was very eloquent and he … we spoke after the luncheon, and he came back with me to the Sporting Club, which was the restaurant that I owned, and probably spent a good two hours there with me, sharing Christ with me. And, I still was not ready to accept Christ at that time, but he was planting seeds, and he prayed for me, and he gave me a lot of food for thought.

Jim: Right.And did you realize that, Vicki that, that conversation was going on?

Vicki: I did and I was praying.

Jim: Yeah.

Vicki: And a lot of people were praying and really more than anything, people say how … some people ask me, "How did you get him to believe?" I said, "I didn't; God did." Because, that's the truth. A person cannot change another person, but God can.

Jim: Yeah. Let's talk about your kids, because we haven't touched on that. You … your children seemed very in tune spiritually, to suggest that we pray for daddy. Mom, come on; let's do this.

Vicki: At age 4 and 6.

Jim: Yeah, talk about the impact of what they were feeling watching you. Did you talk about where you were at with them openly? Or was that still something …

Vicki: They were young.

Jim: Yeah.

Vicki: So, I mean, they knew we were separated.

Jim: Right.

Vicki: They … they asked questions, but when they … when … when Jesus Christ came into me and into our home, they followed suit.They both wanted that relationship as little children. And I remember with Courtney at age, I think she was 4 or 5, asking on the way. We … I picked her up from school one afternoon and we were walking home and she said, "Mommy, I want Jesus in my heart."

And we would, the three of us would go to church every Sunday. They would see me standing there with these tears streaming down my face, praising and praying. And that's what they wanted and … and they both have a strong faith today. They married strong believers. They're raising our four grandchildren in the Lord. This is … these are miracles. These are things that God has done, not that we did at all.

And … but I just … as I was thinking about this, the verse that comes to my mind is back in Malachi, where it says that God hates divorce. He talks about wanting marriage in that passage to stay for godly offspring. And I just see how God has made that happen in our family.

Jim: Well, talk about again, that reuniting and how God brought that together. How did you … what was the phone call like? Did you talk by phone and say, "Bill—

Vicki: No, so …

Jim: --let's make it happen?"

Vicki: -- after I came to know the Lord, I started reading my Bible at lunch at work and one day I read Matthew, chapter 6. "Do not worry about what you will eat or what you will wear. See how the lilies of the field are clothed," and so on. And it … and it ended up with, "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness."

And I thought, wow. Here I am at work every day. I wonder how much I'm really taking home and how … you know, how much it costs me to go to work, the nanny, the …and I —

Jim: Yeah.

Vicki: --it's the first time I had ever had that thought, like I was really driven, like I have to work. I have to do this. I have to do that. And so, I wrote out a list of what I … what it costs me to go to work—clothes, subway fare, you know, blah, blah, blah. And then I subtracted it and there wasn't that much. I was shocked.

And I thought, this passage is telling me to seek first God's kingdom and I'm not even home to raise my children to seek first God's kingdom. A nanny is, who doesn't even believe what I believe. And so, I just prayed. I looked out my window and I thought, how am I gonna keep doing this, selling ugly dresses? You know, making ugly dresses to sell to people who, you know, don't even care.

And I … I was offered a job at the Bible study, where the Bible study was and I asked them how much they would pay and they said, you know, minimum wage. I think it was $5 an hour back then. And I was making a corporate salary, but God had so changed my heart and to keep … to make a long story short, I accepted the job and left my job at Macy's and started working part-time at the ministry where the Bible study was held, so that I could be home full-time with the kids. I worked just during their school hours.

So, I was now working for the ministry that had held the dinner party and I started inviting Billy to these dinners.

Jim: Okay.

Vicki: And so, it was three years from the time I prayed to receive Christ till the time he did at … at one of these dinners.

Jim: Wow, that says a lot about your resilience, because in that kind of circumstance, a lot of spouses might give up. Three years is a long time to hope.

Vicki: Well, I'm so glad whereby … we were separated 4 ½ years at that point.

Jim: Right.

Vicki: So, I'm glad you brought that up, because we had done a lot of counseling and I know you talked about that at the very beginning of our first day and that's really what has helped us so much, wade through so many of our issues.

Jim: Let me ask you this question. When you look at marriage, you guys have been through the ringer. I mean, it's so obvious. Why is marriage so important to you? Now as believers, why is it important for the culture to see marriage in a different way, not like you're changing dresses, as you would say, Vicki. Why is marriage important?

Vicki: Marriage is meant to be a picture of Christ and the church, His bride, to… the covenant that God has. And so, when marriage is just … when they're … when Christian marriages end and the covenant is broken—(emotion)

Bill: Satan wins.

Vicki: --Satan wins.

Bill: Satan wins.

Jim: Ah. And it's important to do everything you can do...

Vicki: to do, and also, the other very important part of that is that, if in a marriage each of us turns to God, God can change each of us. God can work through the most difficult of circumstances, which He did in us. He brought about forgiveness in my heart. God did. So, when I needed to forgive and ask Billy for forgiveness for the things I had done, I started to pray long before Billy came home, that God would work that out in my heart – forgiveness. 'Cause it's a supernatural act, forgiveness. It has to … I had to be willing to forgive, but God had to make that happen in my heart and continues to in our marriage –

Jim: Yeah.

Vicki: --for both of us.

Bill: I even asked her … our kids to forgive me for what, you know, we put 'em through.

Jim: Oh, yeah. That had to be a … a special moment for you though as a father to say that. How did they respond?

Bill: They forgave.

Vicki: They were so thrilled. This was their prayer for us to be together. They used to say throughout their three years, "If Daddy comes to know Jesus, will he come home? Will we be back together as a family?" And my response was always, "We don't know. Our hope is in the Lord." And I love what Francis and Lisa Chan said, Marriage is great and it is… is meant to be a picture of Christ and His church. But Jesus is THE thing. Marriage is not the thing.

Jim: Right.

Vicki: So, for us, we still had so many issues and we still work through those, but Jesus is Who we strive towards, to be more like Him, for our lost world to know Him.

Jim: Well, it's well-said and everything flows from that--

Vicki: Right.

Jim: --as you now know.

Vicki: Right.

Jim: Bill, I did not hear, though that day, that moment where you said, "Jesus, come into my life."

Bill: It was at a … it was at a Christmas dinner that … at the DeMoss house, as well. And I heard a story that night that really touched my heart and that's when I checked the box and I prayed to receive Christ. And it was one thing I still have to take care of, because I was still addicted to coke. About three months later I checked myself into a rehab in New York, and I remember startin' to go through the horrendous withdrawals that had always prevented me from stopping. And I got down on my knees and started praying to a God I just accepted three months earlier. And the best way I can describe it is like it was an out-of-body experience. I knew immediately -- the withdrawal symptoms were lifted. And … and that I was … I was free and I mean, since then I never had a desire to do coke. (emotion)

Jim: Isn't that something? He just took that away from you—

Bill: Yeah.

Jim: --right then. And that's a powerful testimony.

Bill: I mean, it's a tough drug and it is … it is a very tough to get off, so it was … I mean, that was truly a miracle.

Jim: Yeah.

John: Well, we're obviously at a very emotional moment here for … for you, Bill and I know there are people that are tuning in and they're identifying with the pain that you experienced, perhaps not through a cocaine addiction and a separation and so many obvious mistakes in your life. But here at Focus on the Family, we want to be there for you if you're struggling. And we're a phone call away. Our number is800, the letter A and the word FAMILY; 800-232-6459.

And Bill and Vicki Rose are our guests today on "Focus" and Vicki's book is Every Reason to Leave: And Why We Chose to Stay Together. It's a God story of restoration and redemption. Bill, I think we'd be … Bill, I think it'd be best to be honest though, that while God took that cocaine addiction away, there were still a lot of hard steps in front of you, right? I mean, your life didn't suddenly become all rosey and wonderful.

Bill: No, there were, you know, there were many adjustments for two people that were living separately, that had to put our lives back together again.

John: When did He put that desire in your heart to consider that?

Bill: Well, I had considered it, sort of immediately afterwards, but I was living with one foot in each world. I was dating Vicki, and I was still dating other people, and there was a friend of ours, B.J. Weber basically, who one afternoon said, you know, "It's time for you to make a decision, so, that's when I … I moved back in. I think my mom died in December of '91 and I told Vicki a few days later I was coming back. And our son, who was … how old was Doug, 10 at the time?

Vicki: Nine, he was 9 .

Bill: [He] wrote a paper for school, "The Best Day Ever." And it was that he had come home and seen daddy's suitcases in the hallway. And so, you know, it's been a struggle. It's been not a struggle. We've had good times. We've had, you know, tough times. This last year has been a big battle, but we are persevering through it, and we continue to work. Marriage is a continuous effort to really make it work, but it's worth it. I mean, it is so worth it.

Jim: Yeah and you know, the culture needs to hear that. I mean, that's one of the biggest difficulties. People think that they can simply make a quick decision, try on a new coat, meaning a new spouse, and things will get better. But typically that's not what happens.

Bill: Well, typically they make the same mistakes—

Jim: Same mistakes.

Bill: --with a new spouse and it just happens. It's just … it's just history repeating itself.

Jim: Exactly right.

Vicki: But we each take ourselves into the … into the next relationship, or into any other relationship, and one of the keys in … in a healthy, good marriage is, each person has to keep growing, and—

Jim: Right.

Vicki: --growing in Christ.

Jim: When you look back now, after almost 40 years of being married, and all these ups and downs, again a tragic story, a beautiful story, I think when I hear your story, the thing that I'm so impressed with is your children, to be honest with you. I mean, they caught some things in those lessons that are impressive, the fact that they married strong believers and that they were committed to you, Bill, as their dad, that it made such an impact, that when your suitcases came, and they saw them, they knew their prayers had been answered. Your kids are quite a story in here, too.

Vicki: We are so grateful. Every morning Billy leads us in prayer before we go about our day and every morning we thank God for our kids. And now …

Bill: Our kids and our grand …

Vicki: …four grandchildren. (Laughter) Just so much fun.

Jim: All that happiness spewing out here, I see.

Vicki: And I …

Bill: I mean, we had two … our two children and … and the kids they married, I mean, they all four waited for marriage, which in this day and age is, you know, unheard of.

Jim: So, it's amazing, again, that the Lord took the, I mean, the ashes of what you guys lived and really restored them in your children's lives.

Vicki: And that's the key, is God did it.

Jim: Yeah.

Vicki: People say, what did you do with your children? And I said, you know, it's in spite of what we did—

Jim: Yeah.

Vicki: --that God brought them to Himself and … and gave them such a love for Himself. We were very honest with them. We didn't try to pretend everything was fine. I remember Billy telling them one day that he wished we had waited for marriage, you know, that, that was something we both regretted. So, we were very honest with our children about the mistakes we made, the things we wish we had done differently, that it was God that was, you know, the glue right in our … in our relationship, not anything about us, but all God. Really, it's all God.

Jim: When you look at marriage and the importance of it, as you described it, it's an image of Christ, but Christ is the core. I love the way you just said that. When I look at it, it is very simple. It feels like to me that marriage is about learning to be more like Him and there's no other relationship quite like marriage to do that--

Vicki: Right.

Jim: --because what you learn is, you have to give of yourself. You have to become more selfless, and that is a picture of Christ. That's what He's done for us. That's what He did 2,000 years ago, was to give Himself for us. And that, to me, is the core of marriage, and it's what makes it so difficult, because our human nature wants to be focused on us, and me. And what the Lord is saying, I think with marriage is, learn to be more like Me by laying your life down for your mate. And it's hard to do, when you don't like your spouse, isn't it?

Vicki: It is. Every day, it's a choice. Every day I have a choice to make, to be patient and kind, to let no unwholesome talk come out of my mouth. Every day I choose to ask Christ how to be more like Him in our relationship. It doesn't come naturally to me. I don't know if it does to other people, but—

Jim: I know; I don't think it does.

Vicki: --I don't think it does and it's … it is a choice every morning. Every morning I have to spend a long time with the Lord to get myself off the throne and put God, you know and remi … and I say out loud in my quiet time, "God, You are God; I am not. I am Your servant and empty of me today. Fill me with You, so that I can be kind and patient and compassionate and all the other things that I'm not.

Jim: If you two were doing marriage counseling, let's say right from this recording, you're gonna go to the Focus on the Family counseling department here and you're gonna get on the phones and you're gonna take calls from people. When that young coupled called who says, you know, "We've just been married a year. We're havin' all these difficulties," what would you say to them?

Vicki: Well, the first thing I'd say is I'm not a counselor. (Laughing) I'm just a married person. But for me, the most important first important thing in a marriage is for each person to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, to seek God first. 'Cause if each of us is doing that, then we're going to be forgiving. We're going to be compassionate and kind, patient, less selfish.

Jim: Right. Bill, you agree with that?

Bill: Yes, absolutely.

Jim: (Laughing) That's the core.

Bill: Absolutely.

Jim: Listen, you may be in that spot and we want to encourage you to call us here at Focus on the Family. If you don't know the Lord, that is the starting point. That's what you've been hearing from Vicki and Bill, that at ground zero, at that foundation level, is a relationship with Jesus Christ. We would love to point you in that direction.

And then from there, it's how do we work on our stuff and how do we get better at being in love with each other. And we, too, want to be there for you. In fact we have the Focus on the Family Marriage Institute and I'm tellin' you, if you're headed for divorce or you're heading for separation, this is the place to go and call us here at Focus and get more information and details on what you can do to go to that intensive counseling and really get your marriage on the right track. Bill and Vicki, this has been so good. You are going to help, through the Lord's kindness and patience with you, your story is gonna help many, many people turn in a better direction. Thanks for bein' with us.

Vicki: Thank you--

Bill: Thanks for havin' us.

Vicki: --very much, yeah.


John: Well we sure hope this conversation with Bill and Vicki Rose has helped you connect with your heart during these past couple of days. What a powerful story and Vicki has written about it in her book, Every Reason to Leave and Why We chose to Stay Together. That book will inspire you and maybe help turn your marriage around by giving you some new perspective and focus on what really matters. Ask for that and a CD of this program when you get in touch. And as we close, please consider an estimated 350 marriages are saved every day because of the work of Focus on the Family and, of course, God's grace in and through us. It's our privilege to be a part of what God is doing and to see Him using the work here to make a difference in the lives of so many struggling married couples today. I hope you'll partner with us in this mission to reclaim and restore marriages. You can do that by praying for us and by contributing generously to our financial needs. Make a gift of any amount today and we'll send this book to you by Vicki Rose as our way of saying thanks and providing some inspiration to you. Donate and request resources when you call 800-232-6459 or go on line and get our mobile app as well so you can listen on the go to these programs. You'll find those at . Our program was provided by Focus on the Family and on behalf of Jim Daly I'm John Fuller inviting you back tomorrow as we hear from Pastor Andy Stanley.


Andy Stanley: You know, every time we think we've got it figured out, something doesn't work out and we look around our circumstances and we say what's wrong with God and what's wrong with me. That's called circumstantial faith and it's always very fragile.

John: Encouragement for your faith next time as we once again help you and your family thrive.

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Vicki Rose

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Vicki Rose is a public speaker and Bible teacher who is passionate about encouraging Christians in their faith and ministering to women through her church. She and her husband, Bill, share an incredible testimony of God's restorative power in their marriage in the wake of problems that included drug abuse and infidelity. Vicki is author of the book Every Reason to Leave: And Why We Chose to Stay Together. Learn more about Vicki by visiting her website,


Bill Rose

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Bill Rose is a part owner of the New York Yankees and the founder-president of DRM Sports Management, a company representing professional baseball players. His wife, Vicki, is a public speaker and Bible teacher who is passionate about encouraging Christians in their faith and ministering to women through her church. Bill and Vicki share an incredible testimony of God's restorative power in their marriage in the wake of problems that included drug abuse and infidelity.