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Tag: Marriage

Love You More: An interview with Michael and Monica Watson, stars of “The 5 Love Languages” book trailer (Start Marriage Right)

If you popped over from Start Marriage Right, welcome! You might be interested in this post, about how and why I got involved with Start Marriage Right. Or this series, on planning my wedding. And most definitely my first-ever giveaway, which ends next Monday, Aug. 6.

When I asked my then-boyfriend Joel if he ever had heard of “The 5 Love Languages,” I think he eye-rolled me. When I asked what his love language was, though, he knew right away.

Love languages are the five ways people primarily give and receive love: through quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service and physical touch. Gary Chapman describes each in his book “The 5 Love Languages,” published 20 years ago. Since then, it’s been a perennial best-seller, spawning versions for children, applications for the workplace and more. And now, if you grew up in the church, the love languages now are pretty ubiquitous, maybe even eye roll-inducing. They’re like “stop, drop and roll,” only maybe cheesier.

For its milestone anniversary, “The 5 Love Languages” is back with a beachy new cover (much better than the hearts and filigrees on the decade-old copy on my bookshelf); additional resources that are hip with the kids like Chapman’s book “Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married,” the Love Language Challenge app, the Start Marriage Right website and the Staying Engaged email newsletter; its own song; and a three-minute video. That video stars songwriter Michael Watson of West Coast rock-pop band Above the Golden State and his real-life wife, Monica Watson, a model and actress and associate producer for Faceout Films, the Bend, Ore.-based production company behind the book trailer.

I interviewed Michael and Monica about how the song, the video and how the book still is relevant today. They, in turn, made me want to move to Bend, Ore., immediately.

P.S. My love language is gifts. Do with that what you will.

Start Marriage Right: So how do you decide what to take and what not to take, and how do you stay true to those boundaries you’ve set or that mission you’ve purposed in that environment?

Monica Watson: I think a lot of it is kind of what Michael and I have decided as a married couple what we stand for and what we want our mission to be. When we talk about projects that come in, when we’re trying to decide whether we say yes or no to them, or whether to take a gig or not take a gig, I think it all comes down to, “Does this line up with the mission God has for us?” I think that knowing that mission is really huge, so you can reflect that off the project: “Should I take this role or not?” “Should I take this gig or not?” There isn’t really an easy answer.

For the rest of the story, read Love You More: An interview with Michael and Monica Watson, stars of “The 5 Love Languages” book trailer (Start Marriage Right).

For more ideas on creating “your marriage mission” with your spouse, read this excellent article by my fellow Start Marriage Right writer Samuel Rainey.

Photo credit: Start Marriage Right, courtesy of Michael and Monica Watson. Squiggles divider by IROCKSOWHAT.


Pre Engagement Question #5 – Can you talk about marriage? (Guest Post on Devotional Diva)

If you popped over from Devotional Diva, welcome!

This past year, Renee Johnson Fisher and I have bonded, from halfway across the country, over writing for Start Marriage Right, getting married about six months apart and having conniptions over Debi Pearl’s book “Created To Be His Helpmeet.” So when she asked me to write a guest post for her blog, where you may know her best as the “Devotional Diva,” I jumped at the chance. When she asked me to write about pre-engagement questions, though, I thought I might have to jump ship. Joel and I didn’t ask a lot of questions pre-engagement, which you can read more about in the post.

Then my friend Shannon, with whom I also have bonded this past year over writing for Start Marriage Right, pointed me to this video by Francis Chan (embedded at the end of the post). And I’m pretty sure a light bulb visibly appeared over my head as I was listening to it: The most important questions weren’t the ones Joel and I hadn’t asked each other. It was the one we had asked ourselves — and God. It was, as Chan said whether we could “do this better, if you can please God better and reflect Him better … as a married person.”

If you read anything I ever have or ever will write about marriage, I hope it’s this post. Because this is what I want you to know: There’s something bigger. It’s not about you or him or the ring or the dress or wedding or your special and wonderful and incredible love story. It’s about God.

Our pastor asked my now-husband and I an important question at our first premarital counseling session.

“When did you first start to talk about marriage?”

And, we answered honestly, we really hadn’t talked about marriage in the two years we had dated until Joel gave me a ring.

Not unless you count the time he asked, hypothetically and completely without context, how many kids I wanted to have someday. Or the time he asked, generally, what kind of “jewelry” I liked.

Of course, we hadn’t talked about dating until after we had been friends more than a year and he snuck his hand across the couch to mine and said he thought we should go on a date. (I said I thought it was about time.)

This is not generally what pastors like to hear, I take it.

For the rest of the story, read Pre Engagement Question #5 – Can you talk about marriage? (Guest Post on Devotional Diva).

Read all posts in Renee Johnson Fisher’s “Pre Engagement Questions” series here. (Also, sign up for her email newsletter for a free download of her new eBook, also titled “Pre Engagement Questions.”)

Photo credit: Thrive Photography, Renee Johnson Fisher.

One in Christ: A profound mystery

Rachel Held Evans’ Week of Mutuality just so happened to fall during the week of the summer mission trip to White Earth Reservation with my nonprofit, Hope for the First Nations. Ironic, as this is a trip that started at a (Missouri Synod) Lutheran high school with a group of women the Anishinaabeg called ogitchidaquag, or “warrior women,” and later became a nonprofit organization after the school dropped it when no man stepped up to lead or sponsor it.

Since then, I haven’t given much thought to the egalitarian v. complementarian debate. (Definitions here [from Evans, an egalitarian] and here [from The Gospel Coalition, a complementarian perspective].) I went on to New York University, where I’m pretty sure even the dorm rooms were co-ed and this simply was not a thing that was debated.

Then I got married, and suddenly, the words became flesh. They weren’t just an abstract theology. They were something that had implications in my life and my relationships.

So I caught up this weekend on all Evans’ posts I had missed while on the reservation, despite my best efforts to catch a signal from the Northwoods air, waving my smartphone around in between serving, cleaning, playing, organizing and loving my Anishinaabe friends. (It’s OK — she went a-week-and-a-day, too.) And I asked my husband, who earned his degree in historical theology, his opinion.

Joel said something like, “Whatever you say, goes.” That way, he reasoned, we’re covered on both egalitarian and complementarian fronts. Which our friend Andy called the Greatest. Answer. EVER.

It kind of is. And I’m not sure my opinion is any more committal. This is mostly because until recently this was a thing for which I was unaware there were words, and, as a journalist, I’m not one to make a sweeping declaration of belief after only one week (and one day) of research, mostly from one side of a debate. But also because I agree with The Gospel Coalition Editor Joe Carter when he references John Piper:

“As John Piper has said, you don’t have to be a complementarian to be saved. But, he adds, when you start resorting to ‘the kind of gymnastics’ needed to find egalitarianism in Scripture, then ‘sooner or later you are going to get the gospel wrong.’”

And I think complementarians do just as much pommel horsing and balancing beaming and ribbon dancing to support their position. (Case in point: Ephesians 5:22-33. Where does it say anything about decision-making?)

Because while the Bible says:

“To the woman he said, ‘… Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you'” (Genesis 3:16). This suggests to me the male-female power struggle is a result of The Fall, not part of God’s design.

“(King Xerxes) sent dispatches to all parts of the kingdom, to each province in its own script and to each people in their own language, proclaiming that every man should be ruler over his own household, using his native tongue” (Esther 1:22). This proclamation comes not from God, but from King Xerxes, the guy who banishes his wife after she refuses to parade around in front of his friends, then sleeps with a huge harem of virgins to find a woman “better than she.”

“But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved” (1 Corinthians 11:5). We usually get stuck on the head covering part, but what’s that? Women are praying and prophesying in public in the early church? And that’s not the part St. Paul is upset about? Hmm.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). Boom. Roasted. Case closed, right?

It also says:

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). This suggests to me men and women each reflect something unique — complementary even? — about the image of God.

“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord” (Galatians 5:22). I have no problem with this. No Christian, either complementarian or egalitarian, should: While it specifically calls out wives in their relationships with their husbands (perhaps for good reason), it immediately follows St. Paul’s command, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Everybody, submit to everybody. No problem there.

“A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent” (1 Timothy 2:11-12). I am not sure yet how to reconcile this with St. Paul’s other writings, praising Junia as “outstanding among the apostles;” Priscilla, for her work explaining Scripture to Apollos; or Phoebe, a deacon. Or with pretty much anything Christ ever said or did.

“Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with yout of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7). Completely stumped on the “weaker vessel” thing.

Maybe that’s why St. Paul calls marriage, the closest of relationships between men and women, “a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:32).

And I have a great deal of reverence for the mysteries of God: How was Jesus both fully God and fully man? How is Communion both bread and wine and Jesus’ body and blood? How are the three persons of the Trinity different and the same? How are men and women, both created in God’s image, different and the same?

So did John Calvin. And Jonathan Edwards. And, for that matter, Mary, the mother of Christ.

Here’s one thing, though, that is no mystery, that Evans also has noted: We have to learn to love the Bible for what it is, not what we want it to be. That means the passages that don’t fit into our cultural context, either patriarchal or feminist, or our systematic theology, either complementarian or egalitarian. That means the passages that inconvenience us, either as men or women. And that may mean looking through the way Scripture traditionally has been interpreted to us to see the actual words on the page.

“All Scripture is God‑breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

…And maybe even woman.

Read all posts in Rachel Held Evans’ “One in Christ: A Week of Mutuality” series here.

Linking up with:

     Beholding Glory

I also would be linking up with Evans’ Mutuality 2012 Synchroblog, but, alas, I am a day or two too late. Read all those posts here.

Photo credit: Rachel Held Evans.

#McMillion Wedding: The cake

Joel and I have been married a year this month. It doesn’t feel like its been that long. At the same time, I can’t believe we’ve condensed everything that’s happened since into 365 days! Needless to say, I’ve been thinking about all those things, all those other things we’ve learned and the party that started it all. And while the marriage part is the most important, I thought I would share a little bit of the wedding part here this month.

Cake seems like a random place to end the series. But there’s no real good way to end a series about our wedding. Because a your wedding day isn’t the end of anything. It’s just the beginning of a marriage. And that’s something I’ll br writing a lot more about for Start Marriage Right.

Enjoy the wedding. Love the marriage.

The cake survived a year in the freezer, wrapped in plastic, snapped inside a Tupperware container; not to mention, the better part of a day at the bottom of my suitcase, in the belly of a plane flying halfway across the U.S. Surprisingly, it even tasted pretty good when we unwrapped it on our first anniversary last week in Las Vegas.

But then, Joel and I started with a pretty tasty cake.

Some people want a wedding cake that looks like their pet or their favorite sports team’s logo or, say, a bear and a fox paddling a surfboard. Others want something opulent, wrapped in a cascade of tulips or all tied up in a bow with fondant ribbon. We wanted something that tasted amazing — because, really, how often do you get really great food at a wedding? And because Joel actually can tell the difference between American buttercream frosting and European buttercream frosting.

The Ednerik Bakery crafted two different cakes, dense and moist and fudgey and to the exact percentage of dark-to-milk chocolate Joel had specified. One had a dark chocolate-citrus ganache made with Grand Marnier; the other, dark chocolate-cayenne. These were sheet cakes, mind you. Sheet cakes will save you a lot of money, and nobody knows the difference when they appear from the kitchen, already cut.

The cake we cut was small and simple, white on white in alternating paisley patterns that not only tied in my rings, but also the mismatched lace tiers on my dress. Two of the three tiers were dressed-up Rice Krispie treats, another trick to save money. All had a plastic rod that ran down the middle, holding it together. This might have been good to know before we sawed through it, with great difficulty and confusion, using a borrowed cake knife.

If you enjoyed this series, you can find a link to all our wedding photos and more information about the ceremony and reception on our wedding website. And then read all my posts for Start Marriage Right, or other marriage-related articles I’ve pinned on Pinterest, because, really, the plans you make for your life together, while not the most photogenic, are the most important!

Read all posts in the “#McMillion Wedding” series here.

Cake: Ednerik Bakery, St. Charles, Ills.

Linking up with:

Photo credit: All wedding photos by the incomparable Shauna Bittle. Squiggles divider by IROCKSOWHAT.

The Story of Ian & Larissa (Start Marriage Right)

If you popped over from Start Marriage Right, welcome! You might be interested in this post, about how and why I got involved with Start Marriage Right. Or this series on planning my wedding, which will continue all month.

Earlier this month, when Desiring God posted its now-viral video “The Story of Ian & Larissa,” I posted it here and asked what it meant. It took me a few days to gather my thoughts, “trembling with the glad responsibility” of writing about the video for Start Marriage Right. What could I possibly add?

One of the thoughts tumbling around in my brain appeared on Her.meneutics yesterday, better than I possibly could have expressed it; another, finally, in my post on Start Marriage right today.

By now, you’ve probably seen the video, the story of Ian & Larissa, of their “momentary marriage.”

The video was watched about 86,000 times Tuesday, May 8, when it was posted online by Desiring God, which shares resources from John Piper’s ministry. By the end of that week, it had been watched more than 442,000.

It starts no different than any other couple’s wedding highlights reel, except maybe for the bride’s exquisite taste: A sun-dappled outdoor ceremony, bridesmaids in flower-print dresses, finally, the bride herself in cowboy boots, nearly running down the aisle.

Then you see the groom, and you know this is no ordinary couple or wedding or marriage.

Ian Murphy suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident in September 2006 on his way to work outside Philadelphia. He and his then-girlfriend had planned to marry after they graduated college that December. Instead, Larissa wrote in a post on the Desiring God blog, they “waited four years and got married when he was sick and disabled and we were still grieving.”

Days after seeing the video, I still was trying to collect my thoughts. I watched it again. I posted it on Facebook. I “trembled with the glad responsibility” of sharing the story of Ian & Larissa with others, as Piper did. I asked them what it meant.

For the rest of the story, read The Story of Ian & Larissa (Start Marriage Right).

Linking up with: