College of Ministry professors share words of wisdom from 40 years of marriage
Interview by Colleen Weimer
1) Please tell a little about your own love story.
We met at NU. We started out just building a friendship for several months. We took long walks together, talking about anything and everything.
We would walk through Watershed Park, but it was called the Clover Bowl back then and it was a great place to play Frisbee.
After several months, we started dating and ended our evenings together with prayer and sometimes Bible reading.
That helped us keep safe boundaries in our relationship. We graduated from NU in 1972 and were married that summer, entering home missions ministry in Alaska immediately.
We are each other’s best friend. Having that friendship relationship established a base that helped us in many lonely places of ministry – an Eskimo village that one can only fly into, starting a church in the interior of Alaska, and years in Indonesia. We have had many adventures together seeing new places, working with many different nationalities and ethnic groups. We have been married 40 years and never regretted a day.
2) What should you do when you’re single and still waiting on the right person God has for you?
Pray! A single person should pray and ask the LORD to prepare him/her for the partner the Lord has for him/her.
Ask the Lord to help you grow and change to be the person your future mate needs and pray the Lord also prepares your future mate for you. Don’t get impatient or desperate. It is better to be single than be with the wrong person or with a non-believer.
3) How do you know when you’ve met the right person?
That is really hard to say. If you have been praying for the right partner, and praying you are ready for that partner, when the right one comes along there will be a deep inner peace. For us, there were not any questions in our mind. We had established a great friendship and built a solid relationship with Christ as the foundation and we knew it was right and of course, we truly loved each other.
4) What does godly dating look like?
Godly dating should reflect Christ and His Word. It used to be people would ask WWJD (What would Jesus do?).
That should be our lifestyle. When we are with someone of the opposite sex, our actions should always exemplify Christ. Praying together and reading His word together is great preparation for a good marriage. Being open and honest with each other, living a life of integrity before each other are keys to building a good relationship.
5) What advice would you give to newlyweds?
Keeping Jesus in the center of your relationship from the beginning makes the main difference. Be humble and forgiving, always willing to admit you are not always right. Look at your marriage as a wonderful adventure together with your best friend. Be completely unselfish – giving 100% to your marriage. Don’t ever think, ‘I give 50% and my spouse gives 50%.’ One needs to come into marriage willing to give 100% to this special, God-ordained union!
6) What are the keys to a successful marriage that glorifies God?
• Always keep Christ and His Word as the center, which keeps a marriage going forward.
• Solve conflict that day; do not let anything negative hold over to another day.
• Be open, honest and trusting.
• Treat each other with respect and honor.
• Please each other with little things that are special to the other person.
• Intentionally do things together. This doesn’t mean you can’t have other friends, but make sure you have fun together.
• Purposely keep that “fire and passion” in your relationship.
• Encourage and build the self-esteem of your spouse.
• When children are a part of the marriage, still make sure you take special times together.
• Always respect and show appreciation for your spouse’s family.
7) What lessons have you learned from being married that you would like to pass along?
• As it relates to ministry or work never let it come between you and your spouse’s relationship.
• Continually discover and work with your mate’s love language.
• Don’t use “you never” or “you always” or “I told you so” or “see my idea was right.”
• Always lift up your spouse in front of others. We often heard friends saying negative about their spouse in front of a group. DON’T!
• We learned it is important to always be ready for change – change in ministry, in circumstances, income, in health, etc.
After serving at NU for five years as missionaries in residence and professors, Drs. Weldyn and Barbara Houger are returning to Asia this month.