Christian singer/songwriter couple Jeremy and Adrienne Camp readily admit that when they first met nearly two decades ago, they weren’t exactly each other’s ideal type.
“It wasn’t love at first sight when Jeremy and I met while on tour in 2002,” Adrienne told The Christian Post. “But when I look at how the Lord brought us together, I can’t imagine being married to anyone other than Jeremy. We both have strong personalities and have butted heads and had difficult conversations and conflict, but at the end of the day, I see how our strengths and weaknesses balance it out. Only God could’ve known that.”
“We think that we know what we need, but we don’t,” she added. “Jeremy has been such a gift to my life and personality. Scripture says to seek God’s Kingdom first. If we’re seeking God and letting Him satisfy us, He will bring the right person to us.”
The couple has what is perhaps one of the most famous love stories in the contemporary Christian music world. As dramatized in the recently-released film “I Still Believe,” they found love after Jeremy’s first wife, Melissa, died of cancer at age 23.
Now married for almost 17 years, the parents-of-three give an honest and vulnerable look into who they are in their new book, In Unison: The Unfinished Story of Jeremy and Adrienne Camp, where they show what their marriage is like as they try to follow God’s will in often unusual circumstances.
“We wanted to share our story as well as what God has taught us in marriage,” Jeremy Camp told CP. “We don’t think we’ve figured it all out; it’s not teaching everyone how perfect we are. But God laid it on our hearts to share the wisdom He’s given us over the years, from communication and how Scripture got us there, to prayers that got us through and practical things like, you can’t do marriage without Jesus.”
“When God gives you something and lays it on your heart, there’s fruit from that. It has to be led by the Holy Spirit. God’s hand was on this and He gave us the wisdom we needed,” he added.
In an exclusive interview with CP, Jeremy and Adrienne shared nine truths that have sustained their marriage over the years, buoyed by their love and shared Christian faith.
Honest and transparency
“I think one of the important things is honestly and transparency,” Adrienne said. “When we go through the motions and pretend it’s OK and sweep everything under the rug, we never move forward in our marriages. We need to be honest both with each other and with the Lord.
“There are times in marriage where the love might fade and you don’t have romantic feelings for each other. In those times, I’ve gotten on my knees and said, ‘Lord, I don’t’ feel like I love or like Jeremy but I want to love him well. Help me to forgive, soften my heart.’ So few of us walk in that unconditional love. God will give those things to us if we ask Him.”
“When we were first married, we said, ‘Don’t tell me ‘yes’ and ‘that’s fine’ if you actually don’t feel that way,” Jeremy said. “That’s so key, because if you actually meant ‘no,’ you will resent your spouse for doing what you didn’t want them to do — even though you said it was OK. This breeds dissension and distrust. Don’t expect the other person to read your mind.”
Dying to self
“It’s so common to hear the phrase, ‘They lived happily ever after’ when it comes to marriage, but that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Adrienne said. “Marriage is two imperfect people trying to navigate life together. We push each other’s buttons, we annoy each other. In essence, it’s one of the greatest tools the Lord uses to teach us to die to our flesh. Every day, you need to ask the Lord for unconditional love and renew that love on a daily basis. Real love is one that has gone through the test of time; it’s not an emotional high.”
Jeremy added: “One big lie culture tells us is that if our spouse isn’t fulfilling our dreams and is ‘holding us back’ from what we believe is our true calling, it’s OK to walk away. That’s a lie from the enemy. You need to ask the Lord to help you remain committed and die to yourself even when you’re tempted to walk away.”
“Many conflicts in marriage stem from wanting to change the other person,” Jeremy said. “That doesn’t work. We need to prayerfully ask, ‘What is it in me that needs to be changed?’ That takes humility, especially when you feel wronged. When you’re walking in humility, you are able to love your spouse even when the chemistry and feelings fade. Quit trying to change the other person and ask the Lord to instead change your heart.”
“When there’s conflict,” Adrienne added, “Ask yourself: Which one of us is being selfish? Chances are, it’s not one-sided. We have a really hard time walking in humility and admitting we’ve blown it. Pride breeds disunity. But we’re called to pick up our cross and die to self, and that means taming our tongue and asking for forgiveness even when it’s the last thing we want to do.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett