PALM COAST -- A Palm Coast couple hopes to help others be "outrageously happily married," with an appearance on national TV this week.
Joel and Kathy Davisson are scheduled to appear at 7 a.m. Wednesday on "The Balancing Act" on the Lifetime Network. The two co-authored "The Man of Her Dreams, The Woman of His!" and "Livin' it and Lovin' it!" They also speak to people around the world and offer monthly workshops to small groups in Daytona Beach.
It's one of their first appearances on national TV. The Davissons were married in 1984 but Joel Davisson said he soon began to abuse his wife, thinking she was the problem. He cheated on Kathy Davisson in 1991. While they were attending a class about helping couples in abusive relationships in 1994, they both realized Joel Davisson was an abusive husband.
"It was horrible to wake up and say, 'I'm an abuser; I'm one of those guys,' " he said.
The two now say the key to a happy marriage is usually the man -- if he's a good husband, his wife will usually follow suit. The Davissons said they believe God hates divorce but doesn't want women to stay in abusive relationships, either.
"I don't tell ladies to just stay," Kathy Davisson said. "I tell the ladies, 'Require him to change and treat you right.' "
Women often feel validated when they read the Davissons' books or attend their workshops. Girls usually have a "Cinderella dream" of the man they want to marry and the Davissons help the husbands achieve that, Kathy Davisson said.
They were tested by the unexpected death of their 13-year-old daughter Shekinah Glory in 2008."We had to focus on our kids and pull together as a family," Kathy Davisson said.
The couple has three other children: Chris, 23; Jenifer, 22; and Josiah, 18.
The two also lead the Church of Champions, a small congregation that meets at their home on Sunday nights. The all-adult group often discusses marriage issues during the weekly meetings.
Kelley Matton, a friend of the Davissons, said reading the books helped make her good marriage a "wonderful marriage." The two "care passionately about marriages," Matton said. She was impressed at how the couple handled the loss of their daughter.
"When I saw them walk through that, there were no cracks for that tragedy to wedge them apart," said Matton, who lives in Palm Coast. "It blew me away how they walked through that together. They know it's possible for other couples, too."