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The Pressure Cooker

Three years into my life in the Unification Church, a "matching" was called -- the procedure for selecting mates. All eligible brothers and sisters, as members of the Church are referred to, join together in a very large room with the guys on one side and the girls on the other, and Rev. Moon then walks around the room and pulls out people and puts them together. These couples then can go upstairs to sit and chat awhile and determine if they are willing to accept the arrangement.

As you can imagine, this takes a tremendous amount of faith. One has to believe truly that Rev. Moon is God's messenger and that God is actually selecting your mate for you.

There were thousands of us in the room all sitting on the floor when about half way through the day Rev. Moon asked if there were any sisters who would like to be married to a Japanese man. In my mind I told God that I was willing for that if it was His will, so I stood up.

For your information, I'm a Midwest American of German Catholic descent with blond hair. The moment of truth! All the Japanese brothers were asked to line up across from the 20 sisters who had volunteered. I knew that Rev. Moon was concentrating on my mate as he moved toward one brother. The voices in my head screamed, "NO, NOT THAT ONE! HE'S SO UGLY!" It was awful! Finally, I closed my eyes and gritted my teeth and repeated over and over, "Anything's OK, anything's OK, anything's OK." Well, that was the one.

When we went upstairs to sit and talk and as I sat across from him I had this overwhelming spiritual experience, "Wow, God really loves me. This is someone who will really take care of me." It lasted just a few moments. Then someone came to translate for us for as it turns out he had only been in the U.S. for a few days and could barely speak any English. I then learned the shocking news, to me anyway, that I was nearly five years older than he was. Inside I so wanted to know if he "liked me" or if this was just his duty. Oh well, it was wishful thinking. We both decided to accept.

The next day I realized he was different than I'd thought. Oh boy! He was an insensitive stiff rude jerk as far as I was concerned. A few days later we participated in the big wedding of 2,000 couples in Madison Square Garden. What a miserable day! We had to stand and wait long hours and we basically weren't talking to each other.

My husband worked as a security guard in the building where I lived for the next year. He rarely even acknowledged me daily as I passed him to go off to work (I was working to become a CPA). We hardly spoke with each other during that first year, and the next year, when he moved out of New York, was even worse. We didn't write or call. My life was one of despair.

In my mind and heart, I couldn't leave the church. Yet, how could I spend eternity with this man? I couldn't share my honest feelings with my family. When they met the man Rev. Moon had chosen for me, my dad came right out and said to me that if I marry that guy then I need to see a psychiatrist. I also beseeched my Japanese friends to help us, but the general feeling among those who knew both of us was that this relationship had no hope.

After four years of this I decided to make no further effort. I decided to go on to New York University and basically move to the edge of a life in the church. I knew what I was doing was very risky, but I was really desperate. I couldn't live a married life with a stranger just on faith. I told God that the pressure was so great that I needed to do something to relieve it so I could think properly and figure out what I wanted to do. During that semester, I walked and prayed late every night, trying to find God's will for my life. Near the end of the term I sent off a letter to my husband requesting a divorce. He agreed.

I then decided to take a semester off and study Japanese for six months in Tokyo. There, I learned a side of the people I hadn't seen before. Everyone was very curious about me and wanted to study me like an encyclopedia. I began to feel stressed by this and most of all I felt lonely. I learned a lot from this experience. Mainly I learned that many of the difficulties my husband and I were experiencing were stemming from his culture. We were not just two people trying to relate, but rather we were two extremely foreign worlds trying to relate.

Meanwhile, my husband (we were still married) had entered the church's seminary. The English teacher chose some very interesting materials for their practice -- about American women and about love. A few months into his school year I started to see some changes. He sort of took me out on dates. Then he started writing me all these love letters! I thought, " Is this the same guy?" Unfortunately, my heart was dead where he was concerned -- I'd been hurt too much.

About six years into this relationship, when we were both in New York again, we started to get together some on weekends, and I gradually grew to respect him. I agonized over the prospect of spending eternity with this man, but I also recalled that experience at the matching and wondered if God knew something about him that I didn't. I didn't want to let God down. I finally reached the decision that I would start our married life. My husband and I moved to Washington, DC, where I had accepted a position with a church organization.

Externally we rather smoothly set up our life but the internal side was a tremendous challenge. I recall putting things on the sofa next to me when I sat down to discourage him from sitting next to me. Being intimate was of course the most difficult. I made my own secret determination that I would not let myself get pregnant until if and when we broke through. I would not let children hold us together if we had not found love between us.

He was a kind and sacrificial man. My respect for him grew over the months. At about eight months into this life together I started to recognize some change in me. To sum it up, by the end of that first year, I was so madly in love with him that it was like I was crazy. He claims he had been in love with me all along so now it was mutual. It was so great! It took off like a rocket at that time and it still hasn't stopped!

This was probably the most extraordinary experience of all my life. The teachings about sacrificing one's life for a higher purpose and about true unconditional love came to life for me. I felt I had felt that kind of love from my husband. And because I had been willing to give up my life and my own happiness for the sake of God, He could shower me with all His love and blessings. I found a new expression of God's love in my husband.

In September of that next year we had our first child. Thirteen months later our second bundle of joy, this time a boy, was born. We celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary this year. The good now overshadows those miserable years so they've faded into the background. Our love continues to grow and grow and it's a love beyond my wildest dreams!





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