Many of us become frustrated with finding a partner. Many of us who are believers feel as though God is holding out on us. We watch everyone around us “find love.” But there is so much to be discovered in preparation to do life with someone. The biggest key to having a successful marriage is depending solely on the Lord. Jimmy Evans is one of the GOAT’s when it comes to being an authority on Christ-centered marriages.
Check this video out!
Morgan has a podcast!Read More
We talk a lot about how love heals us, how our spouses are healing agents for us. Here's a more in depth look into Kel (Gunner) and his experience as being loved into wholeness. We pray you enjoy and benefit from the transparency. It isn't the easiest thing, but it is certainly rewarding.
Leave us a comment and let us know how love has healed you!
"Because relationships are consequential, they should not be treated casually."
- Dr. Dharius Daniels
It's so important we understand that our relationships can literally change the course of our lives. Who you choose to link up with can determine so much about your future. Our decisions are PARAMOUNT. Be careful with yourself. Be sure the people you're handing your heart to have clean hands. People's intentions are evident in their actions and attitudes. Pay attention.
Here's a really great sermon on this very subject. Enjoy it, and let us know what you think!
God has brought us really low. Every position in our lives is a humble one. We serve people. Oftentimes, with little to no return. It can be really hurtful. To thrust your all into ministry, into a vision, into a business venture, into people, and be left feeling depleted and taken advantage of.
We are most times left wondering when our turn will come. Will we always be the underdog? Will we always be underestimated and underappreciated? Will we always feel this way? Will we always have less than enough? Are we doing something wrong? Do we need to fix something? Have we missed something? Why so much lack, so much pain, so much sacrifice?
What these kinds of circumstances lead you to is a beautiful resolve to:
- Lean on God solely for sustenance, approval, love, and reward. We normally have unrealistic expectations for ourselves, others, and the world around us
- Trust the process even when you don't understand
- Let the people in your life who are a blessing to you know that they are valued because you know firsthand what it feels like to be under-valued
You're probably wondering where all of this is coming from. There is no semblance of struggle on our faces, or wardrobe, or social media accounts. The outside lens can be a double-edged sword sometimes. We need your prayers just as much as you need ours.
There are lulls in posting because we are real people with real lives and real struggles. Wrapping our lives around the Savior means being inconvenienced. It means making time to re-boot before you present yourself to the world. It means we care a whole lot about what we produce and are prayerful about our content.
So that's what we've done. We're experiencing loss, walking through disappointment, trying to nurse newborn dreams and foster better relationships all while aiming toward Dave Ramsey's Step 1. Trying to get over being slaves to our bodies, our emotions, our flesh and come under the submission of Jesus.
IT IS A STRUGGLE.
Our marriage is a testament of how whatever is founded on the Rock of Ages, will NOT fail. We remain so deeply in love even in the face of trials. We have one another. I think that's one of the sweetest things about following Christ; always having Him. We only have one another in the confines of marriage for a short period of time since there is no marriage in Heaven. But we have God, our Abba, for eternity. He wants us to always know He's near, to press through adversity fearlessly because we know our Redeemer is alive.
Together is better.
So, we're saying all this to say, thank you for your readership. Thank you for your support and prayers. Thank you for the way you love us. If you are in a similar space, if God has brought you low, if you've submitted all you have to Him and still feel empty, we are praying for you. But more importantly we want you to know, you are NOT alone. The Father, the one who planned all this and knew you before you even in your mother's womb, wants to walk you through all of this! He loves you!
What this means for your relationships
The nature of your relationships will automatically improve when you have a resolve to please and honor God with your life. When you want to lay yourself down, take up your cross and walk. (Luke 9:23)When you want to follow Him more than you want comfort, or accolades, or money, or recognition, or romance. When we truly behold Him in all His splendor, looking back is the furthest thing from our minds.
If you're needing extra encouragement and hope, consider fasting and devoting yourself to scripture and prayer. It helps so much, and truly gets you re-focused. There was a prophetic word released last week that really blessed us and we'd like to share it with you as well. Click here to read.
We love you,
Kel + Morgan
Sowing Into Good Ground
If you've been blessed in any way by our ministry and would like to sow into it. Please feel free to do just that! We appreciate your generosity and faith in the vision God has given us to advance His kingdom in mighty ways. Click here to give.
Being a wife has it's unique challenges for every woman. Here are some of the ways Morgan has had to die to herself in marriage.
No one can prepare you for marriage. The sacrifices you make in the name of your covenant are unmatched but extremely rewarding. Here's Kel's side of what it looks like to die to yourself in marriage.
Marriage is about the team. Check out this video by Morgan shedding light on the importance of unity in relationships.Read More
When I was in college, I was in a car accident. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was at a four-way stop. I misjudged how fast the oncoming traffic was approaching and attempted to just book it across the street. That split second, irrational decision born out of sheer impatience cost me big time. I was hit by an oncoming truck and slammed into another truck.
I was at fault because I failed to yield. When you’re at fault you have to pay up. Ever since that moment, I’ve been extremely cautious at four-way stops. I’ll sit there all day to ensure safe passage to the other side. I’ve become hyper-vigilant. In the same way, this car accident shaped the way I drive, the Lord has taught me some hard lessons in relationships as well when it comes to yielding.
You’re Not as Right as You Think You Are
Admission of fault does not mean you are weak. On the contrary! It takes a great amount of courage and humility to admit when you’ve wronged someone. You never get a prize for being right in a relationship. No golden stars, no kudos, no pats on the back. What you will always be rewarded for, in one way or another, is grace and poise. Furthermore, and probably most importantly, God is the only just judge. He ultimately decides WHAT is right or wrong, not who. He’s concerned with you being loving and forgiving, not you proving your point.
Yielding most times looks like covering others with love, not giving in to negative emotions or thoughts. It is so easy to rehearse anger, hatred, and contempt in our hearts and minds. Before we know it, we’re ready to divorce our spouse for them not washing the dishes last month. Instead of planting seeds of disappointment, believe the best about one another and expect the best.
God Will Not Be Mocked
One of my favorite scriptures comes from Galatians 6:7: “Don't be misled--you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.”
In other words, don’t be foolish enough to believe you can sow bitterness in a relationship and reap goodness and sweetness. It’s also important to remember, if you are mindful enough to remain peaceful and generous even if it isn’t reciprocated by the other person, God will still honor you. It is a mockery to think a just, good God wouldn’t allow you to reap goodness after sowing it. You’re never at a loss when you pursue and act on His word. Take some time to read James 1:22-25. I recently heard a quote that really impacted me. "Nothing is wasted when you've covered it in prayer." There are so many scriptures admonishing us to choose love and to pray without ceasing. You can rest assured no matter what the situation looks like, when you take it to the throne room, you can leave it there and go on about your life because no one can change a situation like our Lord and Savior! It also always encourages me that Jesus sits at the right hand of God, making petitions for us constantly. The ultimate prayer warrior has endured all struggles and did not succumb to them, but overcome them! Who better to cover us in prayer? Read Romans 8:34!
We often take our spouses for granted. We throw our weight around because we are certainly certain they’ll never leave. Friends, that is such a wicked approach to holy matrimony and the sacred covenant of marriage. I’m reminded of this scripture when I think about taking others for granted.
“…Should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forget that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death?”
- Romans 6:1-3
I’ve said it before, but when you get married, you die to yourself a little more than you did when you chose Christ. It is a hands-on experience of humility and the battling of one’s flesh in order to become one flesh. We put up with a lot from our spouses, oftentimes, because of how much we love them. But loved people, love people, and forgiven people forgive people.
Fill in the Blanks
One of the very best exercises I think any Christian can do to gain perspective and humility is replacing the word love with your name in the love chapter of the Bible (1 Corinthians 13). Make the necessary adjustments and repent, we all have growing to do.
I also think it’s a healthy practice to humble yourself verbally to your spouse, even if you don’t think you’ve done anything wrong, just cover all bases and apologize for anything you may have done to hurt, offend, or make them feel anything other than loved. That’s a great deposit in the love tank, and godliness profits in all things.
Stay close to Him,
Courting, dating, just getting to know someone these days is hard. Sharing yourself with someone with hopes of acceptance can be challenging. Love is the greatest need. We thrive when we are loved. We long for relationship, for connection, even for reverence. Everyone wants to know they are valued. We believe dating with purpose is the smartest way to engage in a God-honoring relationship that ultimately leads to a beautiful covenant.
Here are just a couple tips we have for those who are looking, dating, wishing and hoping for love.
This is the most important aspect of any relationship. Believe God for His very best for you. He is going to show you things about your personality in your singleness. Please pay attention and make the necessary adjustments. He's not trying to hurt you, He wants you to avoid future potholes. Be patient with yourself and patient with God. Don't be thirsty. It will come, and when it does, you want to be ready. Pray for the kind of spouse you desire. Pray for him or her daily, sow seeds before you even meet them. It will pay off.
2. Seek Wise Counsel
Have people around you who you feel safe with. Who will hold you accountable and celebrate your strengths. They need to know your character, they need to be discerning and they need to care more about your soul than you being in a romantic relationship. These people should edify you, challenge you, console you and vet (in love) your love interests.
3. Be Open
Often times God will send you someone you LEAST expect. I do believe you should be attracted to the person you are pursuing. But I've experienced God change the way I see someone through revelation and me yielding my will. He can open your eyes like no other so don't write anyone off without first consulting the Holy Spirit.
4. Be Holy
Stay out of the club, stop watching porn, stop objectifying the opposite sex, end all fruitless relationships, abstain from sexual activity, fast frequently, spend quality time with your loved ones. God wants to heal your heart from family traumas and wrong thinking patterns, the way you relate to your family WILL impact how you interact with your spouse. Please don't think if you do not practice sexual purity now that it won't negatively affect your sexual intimacy in marriage you are so sadly mistaken. Get right, friend. Ladies, let him pursue you, let him work for you, let him earn you. When you play by God's rules, you win.
5. Go to Therapy
It is never too early or too late to go to therapy. It is life changing. You need it for yourself and I'd advise going with your partner if the two of you are dating with purpose (dating with the intent of marriage). If you are a believer, please go to a Christian therapist. Contact us if you'd like information on local therapists we trust.
6. Steward Your Singleness
Listen, once you get married, there's no more you. It's US. Take this time to nurture your hobbies, to get fit, nurture your friendships (you won't get this time back), develop intimacy with the Father, travel, be the total person. Once you get married these things don't stop, but if you develop the practice of taking care of yourself now, it doesn't become a burden in marriage. It is very easy to make your spouse your idol, if you have a healthy relationship with yourself, the margin for error in this area is greatly decreased. Enjoy this time of only having yourself to worry about! It's a blessing.
7. Set Boundaries
This is one of the most important aspects of dating. You and your partner MUST set boundaries and be on the same page as far as your convictions are concerned. Make those boundaries and share them with your accountability partners. If any of your practices infringe on your relationship with God, with your righteousness, with your ability to witness, cut it out of your life. It may seem harmless, but it's the small foxes that spoil the vine. This is also why wise counsel is important, especially from married couples you trust. Ask them questions, they have experience and perspective.
8. Don't Worry
It is so easy to be consumed with finances, doubts, questions. These are all normal emotions. Marriage is a huge decision. Even dating someone and being emotionally invested is A LOT. If you are being led by God, that's all the insurance you need. His word is all you need to stand on. If He tells you to go, take the step, by the ring, take care of your debt, move out of your house, whatever! Just be obedient to Him. When we got married we had about $300 to our name and tons of debt. God will work it out when He's ordained it.
9. Get Rid of Baggage
There will be red flags if the person you're dating isn't right for you. If you're led by the Holy Spirit you will catch them and have the strength to walk away. Sometimes though, the person you're dating will exemplify characteristics or habits that are triggers for you. Maybe you've had emotional trauma or are projecting animosity from past relationships on the current one. You need discernment to get through this. You need to let go of failed relationships and unhealthy perspectives. Do not let your emotions become your God. You need wisdom for this.
10. Cultivate Intimacy
Treasure one another. Intimacy begins with the heart, not with the flesh. Read your bibles together, worship together, serve together, pray together, fast together, spend time discussing goals and dreams with one another. There is this misconception that once you get married your life will stop, your fun will end. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your spouse should inspire you and spur you into action when it comes to following your purpose. They should help you achieve greatness, be your best friend, your loudest cheerleader, your confidant, they should partner with you in giving God glory.
Anzeo and Lauren David are our dear friends and one of our favorite couples of all time! Anzeo is an impeccable singer/songwriter, visual artist, worship pastor, father, and husband. His fantastic and equally talented wife Lauren is a creative, blogger, people lover, wife and mother. The David's share a mutual affinity for Chipotle, Jesus, shoes and their sweet son, Asher, who they lovingly refer to as Cub. We are intrigued by the David's because they continue to be a picture of the grace of God. They are young go-getters who are still remain grounded. They seriously are some of the sweetest most giving people we know, and they like, really love one another. Their union serves as not only a stride toward racial reconciliation but also a look into the redemptive power of the Father. It is possible to love without limit, it is possible to love without agenda, it is possible to love without fear of the opinions of others, it is possible to love sacrificially and completely. The David's are evidence of that.
What about your spouse makes you a better person and why?
Lauren: I think Anzeo, from the beginning of our relationship, has made me a better communicator. I was very passive aggressive. In my household, we kind of held our emotions down. I was not good with confrontation or communication. So, he’s definitely developed that in me. I would push stuff down for years and then just explode. And now, immediately if something is wrong I speak up. Our communication is so much better. It’s strengthened me.
Anzeo: I’m not gonna cry. I have to start from the beginning. God made me a sensitive person. Sensitive to people, I’ve always had a heart for the broken hearted, I’ve always wanted to be a friend to the friendless. But growing up in the culture I grew up in, that’s not cool. So, I lost myself trying to become someone I wasn’t. Being married to Lauren has taught me how to be vulnerable again, how to be sensitive again. It’s not about being cool, it's about being in the moment, whatever the moment calls for. If the moment calls for me to be like, “hey, I’m sorry.” Finding that person God made me to be, the person I lost trying to become someone else.
What has been the hardest challenge in your marriage?
Lauren: Becoming a stronger woman, becoming stronger within myself and not relying on him for everything has been the hardest. I’m gonna cry. If you don’t have a strong foundation in God then you expect your spouse to provide everything for you. So, I’ve realized the more I invest in myself and my relationship with God, the better our relationship is. I’m super sensitive, so I can get easily offended or take things personally. So knowing myself and God more makes me stronger and I’m able to treat him as my spouse and not my everything. That can be draining on both of us.
Morgan: The temptation is so real to do that. Especially when you’re so in love.
Lauren: Right, but it's like idolizing the person.
Anzeo: Being married shows you how selfish you can be initially. It puts a mirror in front of you. I treat everyone like they’re my best friend. I’m always trying to make the mood better. But in doing that, I make those people feel important. So for me, the hardest thing is to find the balance between befriending me and keeping Babe number one. That’s the hardest thing for me because I’m an extrovert. I treat everyone the same but I have to place her above everyone else. So I have to figure out, how I operate in what I know God has called me to do but still make my queen separate from everyone else. It’s been a journey, a learning, and a growing process. It’s taken some maturity on my part. Some things I just have to say no to. Because if it interferes with number one, God is not going to be pleased.
Kel: One of the hardest things to do in relationships is establishing boundaries. Knowing which boundaries are good and which ones are overkill.
Morgan: I am a naturally flirtatious person. I didn’t fully recognize that about myself until we got married. I had mistaken being flirty for being charming or personable. So, people would try to flirt back with me and I’d just be like, wait a minute! Marriage is about mindfulness. So if I’m not mindful of the interactions I have and the relationships I foster and how I foster those relationships, it's reckless. Not only am I causing my husband pain, but myself pain. And that’s something I thought was just a part of my personality. Marriage challenges who you thought you were.
Anzeo: Yeah, and in that, I’ve learned to trust her more, and that’s hard for me because I think I have discernment on 100. Some things slip through the cracks!
How does being married impact your creative process?
Lauren: I think we work really creatively well together. Like with photoshoots. I love being at all his gigs and photoshoots. Framing his clients and helping him out. We’re passionate about similar things, film, cinematography, and photography. We’re able to have discussions. Even though we might be working on different things we’re still passionate about the same things.
Anzeo: I feel like 2018 is going to be a year that she expands on her God-given gifts and me nurturing and bringing it out. Less about me and more about her. All these years she’s been my cheerleader, but these next couple years will be about her.
In what ways has being a blended family strengthened your marriage?
Anzeo: This is how I knew she was the one. I was previously married and had 3 kids out of that marriage. In some of our initial conversations - this is how I knew she was the one because no girlfriend to that date had said anything even remotely close to what she told me. She said, if we get married I want to get house and I want it to have 5 or 6 bedrooms so when the kids come over they’ll have a place and they won’t have to be in the same room. I want them to have their own room. A lightbulb went off. This is what I need to be looking for. She treats those kids like their her own. My daughters love Lauren, more than me. They probably talk to her more than they talk to me. Especially now because they’re 13 and 17. I always wanted to have a girl my daughters would love and like.
Lauren: It was really important to me too. I didn’t want to force anything. I told them to treat me as their big sister. I’m not here to replace anyone. You have a mom, I just want to be in your life. I didn’t want to just pop up in their lives. I wanted it to be natural.
Anzeo: She has the kind of character I want my daughters to emulate. I know a lot of people who don’t have our story. It hasn’t been without its challenges but we’ve been blessed. I can tell God is in this thing and we’re supposed to be together. Teamwork.
Morgan: For the record, I always knew ya’ll would work out. Because I could tell you guys were a team and it didn’t matter what was happening I could just see that you both were brave.
Lauren: We were just in love and wanted to be together.
What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to a newlywed?
Anzeo: Newlyweds, be honest with yourself before you get married. Know where you are, before you get married. Present who you are before you get married. Because they’re going to find out. You’ll be living with this person every day. Be honest with yourself and where and who you are. Be honest with that person so they can make a decision of whether they can deal with it. It’s okay to not be ready yet. No one is ever really ready to be married, but there are some things you have to address. List the important decisions and decide if you need counseling, or get in the word more? I know I can bear this burden. There are some things she could deal with no one else could. God sent her to me. Be transparent and allow that person to grow with the real you. No representative needed.
Kel: I think people like to sabotage other people’s relationships. When Morgan and I first got together a lot of people didn’t think we should be together.
Anzeo: That’s so crazy because I thought the exact opposite. I thought ya’ll were perfect for one another. The perfect balance for one another. They’re both strong-willed people that are gonna figure it out!
Kel: And that’s how marriage is! Figuring it out.
Lauren: My advice is to take time for yourselves to develop as a family. You two are literally one now. If your foot steps one way, it is as if your spouse’s foot is being taken that way as well. Don’t allow people in your life to determine what your marriage should look like. This is your own journey. Put boundaries around the whole marriage. Stand up for each other always. Protect your hearts from outsiders and allow God to show you your mate and accept them, flaws and all. If you are able to accept each other’s shortcomings and continually choose to live out grace, it will ultimately create a love in you that is the closest thing to how Jesus loves. It has the potential to be the most powerful kind of love. Oh yeah, and have a lot of sex and have a lot of fun. Always keep your intimate time prioritized. When your intimacy is strong, minor problems stay minor.
We truly believe intimacy begins with treasuring your beloved. Our intimacy and quiet times with the Father are a picture of our trust in Him and His deep, unwavering love for us. He cherishes us, we cherish Him. It is so sweet to sit in the presence of God and ponder on all the reasons why we love Him.
This same practice of remembrance, mindfulness, and intentionality goes a very long way. Our dear friends Chasitie and Courtney Lindsay have been married for 7 years and have a gorgeous 2-year-old. They are both entrepreneurs. Needless to say, they have to put an effort forth to maintain intimacy and deep connection with one another. They cannot allow their schedules or other roles to get the best of them. The most important job title they have is spouse. Here's how they responded to the question of what they value most about one another:
We believe one of the functions of our marriage is to give a picture of what the biblical intent for submission looks like, practically. There are so many misconceptions about what it means to yield and the importance of roles within the marriage. I think one thing should be very clear: as Christians my husband and I are monotheistic. This means we worship ONE GOD. Not one another, not our pride, not our emotions, but JESUS CHRIST. He is the head of our home. We both submit to God's authority chiefly. Secondly, we submit to one another within the confines of our unique roles given by God. Our roles compliment our nature but still must be honed. We all have the innate desire to have power. In essence, it's a good, innocent thing. When coupled with sin, it is extremely detrimental. I think this video is a perfect picture of the will of God when it comes to submission within the marriage. Jackie Hill-Perry will always have a special place in my heart because our stories are similar and I love how she uses her voice to make such an impact. The Perry's are eloquent and wise, so please enjoy this video and feel free to leave any feedback!
One thing we've learned in our marriage in to remain submitted to God. In doing so, it's so much easier to submit to one another. We are one team with one goal. When we lose sight of that, we give the enemy a welcome into our lives, into our home. The enemy belongs in hell, not in your relationships! It's important to value God's way. He longs for us to have peace. He longs for us to work together, on one accord.
When we think about couples we admire, marriages we see and want model, The Ewing's are at the top of our list. These high school sweethearts pastor The Fellowship of Love Church and are two rays of sunshine. They are committed to God, one another, and to leading their family with integrity. I haven't met another couple with the amount of sincerity and spiritual fortitude and we feel so fortunate to serve under their leadership and call them family. The pair will celebrate 13 years of marriage next month and they make it so look good. We interviewed them because their story is inspirational and unique just like their perspectives. What we love the most about them is their willingness to learn. They're flexible. That attribute alone makes for a really solid marriage and a great friendship.
What do you love most about one another?
Kandice: One of the things I love most about Lorenzo is that he is very sweet. He’s sensitive. When I say sensitive and sweet I mean he’s very perceptive. I’ll think I’m fine and he’ll ask what’s wrong, he can detect. It’s really nice.
Lorenzo: What I like about my girlfriend and wife is she’s the biggest giver in the world, she’s always giving and always thoughtful. Sometimes it makes me think I’m not a big enough giver. Because she’s thoughtful. She’ll never come home without getting me something to eat. I love her for being the giver she is.
What is the hardest challenge you’ve had to overcome in your marriage?
Both: Blended family.
Lorenzo: It’s been the biggest challenge, but it’s also been the biggest opportunity. It brings us closer together, it’s a great conversation piece, we talk the most passionately about it.
Kandice: Hours and hours and hours.
Lorenzo: Yeah, which is good and bad because we can harp on it. But I believe it’s part of our ministry to help other individuals.
Kandice: It’s broken us. And taught us, although you always kind of know you’re not in control. It’s taught us how to pray and continue to follow the Lord in what we say, how we act, how we respond. It’s made us hyper-aware of what we want the house to feel and look like in terms of how we embrace and celebrate one another. There’s been a lot of blessing in it.
Lorenzo: There have been a lot of victories. I think one of the biggest challenges is learning how to lay a foundation for your kids. But depending on what your setting is on weekends, it may be totally annihilated and the kids come home and you have to start all over again. It makes you feel helpless especially when you’re working hard and you see progress in your kids.
Kandice: We have fun but we never want to encourage them to be reckless or careless or insensitive.
How has your marriage strengthened your relationship with God?
Lorenzo: You have to work at it. You have to learn how to be more creative.
Kandice: And sacrificial, and I think you have to know what God says about your role. What does God tell me about being a wife? What’s going on in my heart? Because it’s not always him. Admitting that and apologizing and owning it is important.
Lorenzo: I’m really afraid that if I mishandle what God has entrusted to me, that I won’t be heard. The bible says to deal with your wife according to understanding. There’s a science to it. You can’t deal with her any kind of way. You have to study how to attend to your wife. She’s a special case. And every husband should say that about his wife. Not in a bad way but she has to be treated according to her type. I'm learning to be sensitive to her ways because I don’t want my prayers to be hindered. One of the worst things you can do is position yourself where your prayers can’t be heard. Life is already hard enough.
Morgan: One of the things Mitch and Gunner exists to do is shatter misconceptions about what marriage really is. We don’t say “Christian marriage” because marriage in itself is Christian. It’s a construct created by God, modeled by Christ and the church. It’s sacred, and God created it to be. The rules that apply are God’s rules. I think not knowing that causes marriages to fail. Because we come into a covenant under God but forget that it’s for God. We must play by his rules. The blessings don’t come, the understanding, the joy, the peace, don’t come if your marriage doesn’t honor God. I don’t understand how people live in the same household, share names, have children, wear rings and don’t have Christ as the cornerstone. There are these little foxes that come in the form of arguments or disagreements or bad days when God wants to give us a picture of what Christ loving the church really looks like and how beautiful his bride is. It’s not a fly-by-night decision we’ve made, it’s not something we did on a whim. It’s not something we don’t maintain and think, ‘Oh, it’ll just work itself out.'” We have to work it. It doesn’t work unless you work it. I think coming into a marriage believing it’ll heal itself, or 'once I take this man’s last name, all my issues with lust or frustration or low-self esteem will dissipate because I’ll have someone to love me,' is unrealistic. That said,
What advice would you give a newlywed or someone who’s engaged and really thinking about what their marriage should look like?
Lorenzo: You said something profound. We have to play by God’s rules. Everyone wants to have the benefits of a God-ordained marriage but won’t play by the rules of what God intended marriage to be. It’s almost like being on the football field, in a basketball uniform. You have to value God’s institution. Who are we to try to finagle that relationship, those rules, those guidelines he wants us to follow? What was the question? (laughter) Yes, you have to fall in love with your friend. And if you happen to marry your lover, tell all your other friends, for a season, you’re establishing a friendship. That goes a long way. God [also] has to govern that relationship. If we’re mad at one another the first place we go is to God. If we're mad, we’ll pray and seek God’s advice. That helps to solve a lot of our issues.
Kandice: I think you have to feel safe. You want to know you’re taken care of, you’re thought of and that you can trust them. He can see different sides of you and still be able to handle it and not hold it against you or over your heard. But to understand we go through seasons. Knowing we have one another’s backs. I agree with the friendship too. We’ve been friends forever and I’ve always loved him. He’s always been respectful. Even when we were sixteen. My family loved him. Even when we were silly. He never got out of control or was someone I had to wonder if he might say the wrong thing. He was always friendly. The way he is now is the way he was when we were young. It’s his character. He’s likable.
Lorenzo: From a man’s perspective, I’d say always try to take the high road. Even if there’s not a high road, make one. Keeping peace in your home is one of the most precious things you could have. You want your home to be a place of peace. In my home, we value peace. I like coming home. You want to marry someone you can come home to. You don’t want to get off at 5 and drive around for 3 hours because you don’t want to see your wife. Don’t play the blame game. Sometimes it’s you.
Kandice: I’d also say to listen to the advice of people you love. You may have a couple people who pick up things in the other person and you want to listen. Sometimes they’re right, so be honest with yourself. I know sometimes as women, we’ve dated a man for so long and they finally begin to act right. He’s finally matured. You start to make concessions and you know something is not right, but you choose to ignore it. Give it 6 months, pray and see what God says.
Lorenzo: I’ve been listening to a pastor and he said, “what you don’t groom, grows.” You have to get some advice, counseling, some kind of help to help you groom. If not, it’ll grow out of control.
Why did you marry your spouse?
Kandice: I married Lorenzo because I knew I could trust him. I wanted to marry someone I respected and someone who could lead me. I didn’t know what it would look like but I wanted someone to lead because my father led us. I saw a good example of a father who was committed to his wife, his family, and worked really hard but also knew how to have fun. My mother never had to wonder if he would come home. He kept his word. I don’t like the up and down and not knowing who I’m with. He was strong in so many areas, I knew he could lead a church or a lawn mowing company. I knew he would keep his word. Even when I get upset with him, I still respect him. I never think about leaving him.
Lorenzo: I think that’s why I married her. She fits the mold. Everything I was looking for she was that. I needed support, a potential mother and a woman who had values and morals. In you, I found all that. And we had history. My life was so crazy because I was going through tumultuous times and I wasn’t ever going back in the direction I had come from. You know what you don’t want to ever happen again. I knew I didn’t want to go that route again. God has done so many phenomenal things as a result of me choosing a spouse by God’s criteria. People get these ideas from the world and have a belief of what the ideal man or woman is but it’s not until you wear a pair of shoes too small that you realize you never want to do that again. I think I picked the right fit. Enough room to grow into, you don’t want anything too snug or too big.
Morgan: We talk a lot about how your spouse acts as a healing agent throughout your relationship. For Kel and I, there were so many things we were walking through when we first met that just being in one another’s company assuaged. I think that’s the spirit of God, you can’t have peace without the Holy Spirit, so when the spirit comes and ministers there’s nothing like it. I’ve experienced ministering angels. I really feel like Kel is my angel.
How has your marriage healed pain or a hurt in your heart?
Lorenzo: One of the major, most important ways my wife has healed my heart is her consistency in who she is. She’s very considerate. There aren’t many inconsistencies in her love and care for me. It healed a lot of damage and hurt I had gone through in my previous relationship. I know if I come home, she’ll be home. I never have to wait up, that consistency has been important to me. I needed that more than anything.
Kandice: Recently our son had college visits. And I wasn’t able to go and it did something to me. I cried like a baby. I was sensitive at work. It healed me because Lorenzo felt so bad and kept letting me know how everything was going. It wasn’t the first time he had ever felt my pain. But it was different this time. On one hand, I cried because God told me, 'the reality is that you’re not their mother.' And to have that sink in and even be able to say it now! I was broken for that but the healing came because Lorenzo was tending to it by being apologetic and fighting for me and he was constantly in contact with me. He reiterated I was valuable. He had written me notes and left them all over the house for me to find. It healed me. It helps me even now. I know: there’s only so much you can do, just relax. It healed that part of me. I was hurting but I was healing.
Kel: There are so many things in this world that make you feel like you’re not valued. I believe it’s the role of a spouse to, no matter what this world says, affirm the other person’s value. You are valuable, this is what God says you are. I think every time your spouse reaffirms your value it’ll always heal a part of you. You’re going to wake up one day and your spouse will say something affirming and something is going to get healed that you didn’t even know was broken. It’s a constant replenishing.
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The Designer's Intent
There are so many myths, misconceptions, and poor representations of what marriage should truly look like and how it was created to function. The weight of every relationship, romantic or otherwise, is measured by how much glory it gives to the Father.
A creation is at it's optimum when it doesn't deviate one iota from the designer's intent.
The construct of marriage is a representation of Christ and His bride. It is not man-made, although man-manipulated. We will not speak to what people have made marriage to be, we will speak to what God designed it to be. Some people seem to automatically take offense to statements like those. We want our readers and supporters to know that we love and accept ALL, but love doesn't mean approval or agreeance. Love is acceptance, an outpour of care and tenderness. Love also sharpens. The only caveat is this: you have to be willing to accept it.
Fill in the Blanks
Truth doesn't hinge on our belief system. It is invariable, it is absolute. So despite what our experiences and emotions may tell us, the Truth cannot lie. I took a fiction writing class in college. It taught me so much about form. I also had the chance to read from writers who truly impacted me. The most inspiring memory I have was learning about the gray area between fiction and non-fiction. It's funny how you can never truly remember exactly how a thing happened. There are some details you can't forget, they are etched in your mind, and others you fill in. You can't help but fill in the blanks. You have to fill in the blanks to make the story work.
Our emotions lie to us sometimes and so do our experiences. Sometimes they work in tandem to derail us. Vain imaginations are at the root of every case of adultery, every lie we perpetuate, every fit of rage, every suicidal thought.
The Bible speaks to those vain imaginations in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
I love the Message translation:
“The world is unprincipled. It’ a dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way-never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.”
Unrealistic expectations and an improper or impractical view of marriage only set our hearts up to be torn apart. This verse is a great reference point for how to combat the lies that try to force themselves into the position of truth. First, we know though we are flesh, we don’t walk according to our desires or our emotions. The eyes and ears we have must be tuned into Heaven's frequency. We become stronger and stronger in battle the more we cast down lies and exalt the truth.
Guard your heart and mind. Speak life. Know God. Let Christ rule.
This may sound really churchy. But it’s practical: Don’t repeat or think about what you know God isn’t saying, what you know isn’t in his word.
What Kel and I hope to accomplish through Mitch and Gunner is to simply impact and empower people to build and sustain meaningful relationships. Which is impossible without the help and guidance of The Holy Spirit. We may convince ourselves we’re alright, but truly, apart from Him, we can do nothing. All of it is worthless without Him.
A Common Denominator
We’ve found the common denominator in relationships failing or not reaching their greatest potential is the perpetuation of vain imaginations (lie, falsehood, preconceived notions, unrealistic expectations) and painful past experiences.
We’d like to encourage you to forget what isn’t profitable for you and remember the goodness of God and rejoice in being alive! Let your gratitude push you into the arms of the Father and out of the prison of your negative emotions. Yes, it will be challenging and uncomfortable, but the fruit, the crown, the eternal gift is all worth it! We’ll walk through these topics in more detail in the coming months and are so thankful to have you along for the ride!