the PW behind the sex challenge

>> May 11, 2009

Has your church done the 30-day Sex Challenge? This challenge received national media attention when it was launched (and continues to create buzz when churches do it). Meet Susie Wirth, the PW who partnered with her husband, Paul (the lead pastor of Relevant Church in Florida) in this ministry to restore and renew marriage relationships. Their personal story will be a blessing to you and embarking on the Challenge will certainly enrich your marriage. If you've never heard of the Challenge, read on. It's all here.

In a nutshell, what is the 30-day Sex Challenge?

30daysexchallenge was the title of our message series for singles and married couples, it was also the challenge given to our congregants to abstain from sexual immorality for 30 days, if single, and for married couples to be intimate for 30 days. We gave our couples an assessment to complete, along with 30 days of questions that were intended to cultivate their relationship in all areas. The challenge comprised four major areas that the media intentionally left out. They are: spiritual oneness, emotional oneness, sexual oneness, and physical oneness. For anyone who truly listened to the messages and participated in the entire challenge, it was not exclusively about having sex for 30 days. Our motivation was and still is today, to help marriages to grow in all areas. We believe in order for significant growth to happen in relationships, that God must be the center. And each person needs to take on the responsibility to “work” on all areas of the relationship! With this in mind, most women admit that their husbands do not really enjoy “working” on their marital relationship. Therefore, the 30daysexchallenge, admittedly, is partially a bait and hook for our men to engage in the “work.”

How has this challenge spread across the country? In what ways have you seen God move couples to wholeness through the Challenge? What results are couples reporting?

God has used the challenge/our book, most recently in the lives of those who attend a large church in Granger Indiana, Granger Community Church. The church did a similar challenge/ marriage series, and they used our book as an accompanying study for the married couples. Just last Sunday we had a family visit our church from Granger. They traveled over 30 minutes just to come and meet us on Easter Sunday. The spread of our story is something that we have just left up to God. He knows which couples will be helped by reading and doing the work in our book, so as we leave it up to Him, we are confident and at peace.

When did you figure out that marriage ministry was your ministry?

I knew from the beginning of our marital restoration that God was not going to waste our hurts. Since we have experienced so much in our relationship, the good, the bad, and the ugly, God has used our lives to help couples around us for years. It is only now, that He has used our story, in book form to reach more couples than we could have ever imagined. I may not have two hours to sit across the table from a couple and counsel, yet with our story, I can simply hand them a copy and know that God will use it more effectively than I could communicate in a counseling session.

Were you nervous about sharing your private marriage struggle with friends, family, parishioners and the world?

I struggled significantly with sharing our story. At the time, our son did not know our past. He was nine last Summer. Although we never hid our story, we didn’t verbally share it all of the time. Dr Clarke, who read our book and endorsed it, recommended that we tell our son so that he would not be blind-sided in the future. After Paul spoke to him one afternoon while swimming in our pool, he simply looked at his daddy and asked two questions, “ Dad, why did you do that?” And “Are you going to do it again?” After I had the reassurance that our son understood what and why we were writing a book about our lives, I had little anxiety over the revelation. If we live in isolation or attempt to keep our lives hidden in some way or fashion, then I believe the enemy can cause fear or insecurity in us. I sometimes would wonder what “new” members of our church would think if they found out that Paul was unfaithful to me, even if it were over 11 years ago. The book has demolished all fears. I encourage new people to get our book. We have no fear that someone would try to accuse us of keeping our story hidden from our church body. It is out there, and God can fully use it to His glory.

What advice would you give pastoral couples who are struggling to stay connected and build strong marriages (life in the fishbowl…outsiders think you’re the perfect little family)?

I would tell other pastor’s wives that the “life in a fishbowl” thing is a plan from the enemy to keep us from sharing our inner most struggles with our church family. Since we have a special needs child, we truly could not live a “secret” life if we tried. She is so unpredictable and just livin' life with no regard to what other people think of her. She embarrasses us sometimes, but our church people either accept us for who we are, flaws and all, or they leave. I have never had anyone leave because we are transparent. I think being authentic is one of the greatest methods to reach this generation, yet we are too scared to share the Truth about ourselves that we miss it. People want genuineness in their leaders, not fakes.

Ladies, tomorrow we'll be giving away a copy of their book, 30daysexchallenge-A Journey To Intimacy. Stay tuned.

Do you have any questions for Susie about the 30-day Sex Challenge?


Indy May 12, 2009 at 7:50 AM  

How can I win the book?

Anonymous,  May 12, 2009 at 11:25 PM  

Laurry D. Manuel

Emmanuel Seventh-day Adventist Church in Hammond, Louisiana

I will take the 30-day Sex Challenge and journal about how it will transform my PH and me.

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