For those who don’t know, can you share some of your story as a couple with us?
We were high school sweethearts and dated for three years. We got married at 19 years old and were completed unprepared. Even though we were believers we had no idea of how to be married. I was a terrible husband and was obsessed with work and golf.
When Karen challenged me on my distraction from her and our family I just got angry. Ultimately, one night after an ugly exchange over my golfing I told Karen to leave. That was the low point in our marriage. But it was also when the Lord began to break through my heart.
I know Karen had been praying for me. But I had also been seeking the Lord. When Karen ran into the bedroom crying after I told her to leave I sat in the living room in shock. I didn’t really want her to leave but I didn’t know what I would do if she stayed.
So sitting in the living room that night I asked the Holy Spirit to teach me how to be a husband. The instant I prayed that prayer it was like scales fell off of my eyes and I could see what a terrible husband I was. That is what began the healing in our marriage. It didn’t happen overnight – but it definitely started that night and over a process of weeks and months our marriage was totally healed. And that is where our marriage ministry comes from.
What is the top question that people ask you regarding marriage, and how do you answer it?
The most common question we get is from women asking how they can improve their marriages when their husband doesn’t want to work at it. We tell them about redemptive love. 1 Peter chapters 2 and 3 go into detail about how Jesus loved us when we were in our sins and how it redeemed us.
1 Peter chapter 3 specifically challenges husbands and wives to respond to problems in their marriages by redemptive behavior and not revenge. When we follow the example of Jesus one righteous spouse can turn a marriage around. So we encourage wives and husbands who are in difficult marriages to redeem their spouses according to the example of Jesus.
Why should couples work to discover the purpose for their marriage?
Bottom line – when you are happy in your marriage you are happy – and when you are unhappy in your marriage you are unhappy. It doesn’t matter how much money you have or how successful you are if you are in a bad marriage.
So it pays to work at your marriage. In fact, the only thing more important than your marriage is your personal relationship with Christ. And besides that, your marriage must come first. By prioritizing your marriage and seeking God together to find out why He put you together you will find His purpose and it will change your lives. It gives new meaning to everything and it bonds you together as a team accomplishing something important in life.
What is your advice to couples struggling to keep their relationship a priority after children?
Your marriage is more important than your children. Don’t make the tragic mistake of losing your marriage for your children. Even though your children are very important – they are a temporary assignment. But your marriage is for a lifetime. If you lose the priority of your marriage for your children then when your children leave home (and they will) you have lost your purpose for living and are left with a lifeless marriage.
Also, how are your children going to learn how to be married if you don’t show them how? If you give up your marriage for your children you are training them to do the same in their own marriages someday – thus setting them up for failure rather than success.
How should our approach to our marriages change over time? For example, a newlywed couple versus one that has been married 50 years.
Karen and I have been married for 43 years. Things are much different today than they were earlier in our marriage. But the things that are constant are our commitments to Christ, each other and our family.
Marriage requires constant adjustments in an atmosphere of total commitment. Seasons of life change, our children grow up, economic situations change, our health changes, our parents get old and die, and so on. But as things change there must be the unchanging foundation of commitment to God, each other and family.
With these three foundations we can face any changes and difficulties in life and still have a good marriage. None of us know what is going to happen tomorrow. But what we can know is we are committed to God and each other regardless of what happens.
You teach a lot about emotional health as related to relationships. Can you explain why that’s so important?
Your marriage simply cannot be better than your level of emotional health and that of your spouse. Love is an emotional commodity and our emotional health dictates to a large degree our ability to love our spouse and meet their needs.
The good news is our God is a Healer and our emotions can quickly be healed in the presence of His love and grace. I would encourage anyone needing emotional healing to go to 21DayJourney.com and take my 21 Day Inner Healing Journey. I specifically created it to help people heal and have better marriages and relationships.
What are some of the most important questions to ask while dating?
If you look up the subject of dating in the Bible you won’t find one single verse. That is because people in Bible times didn’t date – they courted. I call it intentional dating. The difference between typical dating that is practiced today and intentional dating (courting) is that intentional dating honors God, our parents, is non-sexual and is specifically for the purpose of finding out if we are compatible and want to move forward toward marriage.
So, in intentional dating it is all about getting know each other and who we really are. And it is about asking and answering every question related to who the person is we are dating. It is about seeing them in many different life situations and seeing how they respond to stress, how they treat others, how they treat their parents, how they view people who are different – disadvantaged – racially different – politically different – spiritually different.
But most important is to see in real life situations their commitment to Christ and their true character. Because once you are married many things change. But you can deal with anything if you are married to someone with good character who truly loves Jesus.
How would you encourage a reader today who is discouraged and losing hope of finding a spouse?
I would encourage them to pray and not lose heart. God cares more about us than we care about ourselves. And He is the one who made us for marriage and intimacy. He wants us to be fulfilled. As we pray, we also need to improve ourselves if there is something needing improvement.
This can include our relationship skills, getting healing from our past, improving our health and appearance, and so on. It also can include getting more involved socially in church and other places where potential godly mates could be found.
Do you believe that everyone should be married, or are some people called to be single?
The vast majority of people are designed and called to be married. But there are some people very content on remaining single. They are a special group who the Lord uses in special ways. The Apostle Paul is an example of someone who remained single and focused solely on his mission for Christ. So if someone is single and wants to remain in that state I would encourage them to be true to who God made them to be and not compare themselves with others or feel pressure to conform to make others happy.
What’s the best advice a single person could hear?
Trust God to bring you your future spouse and don’t respond out of fear.
Faith in God causes us to do the right things for the right reasons. If someone we like leaves us because we won’t compromise our faith or for other reasons we have the assurance that God is looking out for us and the right one will come along in God’s timing.
But when we are responding out of fear and insecurity it is the opposite. We fear if we don’t make others happy they will reject us and maybe we will end up alone. So we compromise who we really are and end up in unhappy and dysfunctional relationships. God never honors a fear based decision. He only honors faith. Put your faith in God and believe that He knows you, loves you and will work for your good as you wait on Him.
We are thrilled to show your program, “Marriage Today,” here on Daystar! What can people expect when they tune in?
You can expect to be educated and encouraged on marriage from a biblical perspective. We work hard to make our program easy and enjoyable to watch. We want it to be very gracious and non-judgmental because we have all made mistakes and all need a lot of grace.
MarriageToday with Jimmy & Karen Evans is an exciting program bringing a message of hope and encouragement to marriages and families. Each program contains vital information that develops, encourages, and strengthens family relationships. Clear and practical teaching from a biblical perspective is the foundation of the program’s content. Programs include teaching by Jimmy Evans and interviews with nationally recognized family experts like Gary Smalley, Joe White, Josh McDowell, Dennis Rainey, Ken Canfield, Joe McIlhaney, Jerry Johnston and others.
Watch Pastor Jimmy and Karen in “Marriage Today” weekdays at 6am ET and Sundays at 10am ET on Daystar!