We talked with Jimmy Evans, author and founder of MarriageToday, about his goal of preserving marriages and his new book, Lifelong Love Affair: How to Have a Passionate and Deeply Rewarding Marriage.
Vyrso Voice: What was your favorite part of writing Lifelong Love Affair?
Jimmy Evans: I love the feeling of sharing what God has done in our marriage with others. Karen and I are now in our 40th year of marriage. We’ve had the blessing of helping thousands of couples and have a lot of experiences from that to share with others. There were many important truths and principles I share in counseling and seminars that I have never written about until Lifelong Love Affair. I love the opportunity to put them in writing knowing they are going to encourage and bless others.
Vyrso Voice: What sets it apart from some of your other works?
Jimmy Evans: Lifelong Love Affair is a book that embodies some of the most important principles the Lord has taught us over the years. One of the most crucial practices I share in Lifelong Love Affair is the importance of vision in marriage and how to have a vision retreat. This truth transformed our marriage. We have taught it to couples all over the world and without exception every couple who does it sees the same results.
Vyrso Voice: Why do so many marriages limp along with the same struggles year after year?
Jimmy Evans: There are a couple of reasons. The first is that we stop prioritizing our marriage and give attention to other areas. The result is an anemic relationship lacking the proper priority and energy.
The other reason is wrong expectations. For some reason, we think that when we get married we should thrive in soul-mate heaven without working at it. Marriage requires constant work and investment. It is how we fell in love and how we stay in love after getting married.
Karen and I were high-school sweethearts. We were deeply in love until I knew I had her. Once that happened, I became lazy and took her for granted. That’s when we were on the brink of divorce. Thankfully, we turned to the Lord, and He saved our marriage.
What we learned then, which still affects our marriage almost 40 years later, is that our marriage must stay first in priority, and we must work at meeting each other’s needs. We ditched the soul-mate myth years ago—the belief that if you marry the right person, marriage works effortlessly.
Every marriage requires attention and cultivation. Without it, your marriage will limp along without the passion and intimacy you desire.
Vyrso Voice: Do you have a particularly meaningful story of a couple touched by MarriageToday that you’d be willing to share with us?
Jimmy Evans: One couple, Nathan and Julia Tyndall, thought they’d have a fairy-tale marriage, full of romance and happiness like the love stories. But three years later, they were fighting and arguing constantly. Julia had become demanding and selfish. In turn, Nathan insisted that she change to meet his needs. Neither of them would budge, and finally Nathan moved out.
On the day Julia printed out the divorce papers, she happened to turn on the television and saw a listing for MarriageToday. She turned on the program while she did the dishes—40 marriage-ending sheets of paper awaiting her signature on the table just a few feet away—and heard me say that God can restore and heal any marriage. “It was as if Jimmy was speaking straight to me,” she said. “I put the divorce papers in the recycling bin.”
That night, she asked God to change her heart, to transform her actions and expectations about their marriage. “Things started to change,” she says. “God began to use me to bring healing back into the marriage.”
Today, Nathan and Julia are back together and their marriage is thriving, thanks to MarriageToday. “God used this show to start the process of saving our marriage,” Nathan says. “We are living proof that God can take anything and make it new again.”
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Would you like to transform your marriage by attending a MarriageToday event? Register now for the Lifelong Love Affair Seminar & Simulcast February 8–9, 2013. Watch the simulcast with your spouse, or make an event of it with your small group or church. If you’re near Southlake, TX, register to attend the event at Gateway Church. Let MarriageToday help strengthen your relationship. Register now.