Our StoryWe “met” on October 23, 2006 at Angelo State University at an on-campus college ministry event that Howell was MC-ing. Our first encounter, though brief, made an important impression on Howell who knew immediately he wanted to pursue Laura. But, although Howell had the microphone all evening, Laura doesn’t remember seeing him or meeting him. (Oops!)
Through a series of platonic “hang outs” with mutual friends, Laura finally caught on that the “hang outs” were planned for her! And a few weeks later, we went on our first date. Nearly two years later—and after a trying year of long-distance dating—we were married in 2008.
On the surface, we’re just an ordinary couple, perhaps appearing no different than any other married couple. We’re nothing special, on the outside. We’re not pastors. We’ve not gone to seminary. We go to work, we fix dinner, we clean house and do laundry—just like any other ordinary couple. And we’re still far from perfect. But in the last almost ten years, we’ve taken some important steps toward making our marriage extraordinary. We’ve allowed God to heal us, individually, of the deepest hurts from our past because, let’s face it, we’ve all got issues in our life. Whether you’re married or not, whether you grew up in a good home or not, whether you were deeply wounded in your dating years or not, it doesn’t matter! We’ve all got issues of rejection, expectations, hurts, wounds, unforgiveness, and bitterness. When we began to see our need for God to intervene and to supernaturally heal the deepest parts of us, we also began to experience his fullness in joining our hearts as one.
So, we won’t pretend to be perfect. We still, humbly, grow through every trial we face. But we also believe God has supernaturally blessed us with an extraordinary marriage, with extraordinary “nuggets” of wisdom for our lives and for our marriage, and we’d be selfish not to share what we’ve learned. Some lessons are easier learned than others; most lessons are easier “known” than practiced. But, by the grace of God, He transformed our marriage from ordinary to extraordinary.
We believe that God intends for our marriages to be more than ordinary, beyond the mundane and the mediocre. God desires fullness of life in every area, but especially in our marriages. We’ve heard that “two is better than one,” but unfortunately, our marriages are failing left and right.
We believe there’s one culprit to blame. No, it isn’t your husband who, no matter how many times you’ve told him, never remembers to take out the trash. And no, it isn’t your wife, who insists that you tell her which color works, so she can choose the opposite one. The culprit is selfishness. In another sense, it’s our flesh.
Every time we create false expectations for our spouse, every time we keep score for past mistakes, we are chipping away at the foundation of marriage. And then, we’re surprised when it crumbles over a simple argument, like folding the towels (incorrectly) or leaving a dish in the sink. The root of any argument is simple: person A didn’t perform the way person B expected him or her to perform. Sometimes, the degree of hurt or anger varies based on the force of the formula—based on the importance of “his expectation” or “her way.”
The problem is not that we hurt each other. In fact, this is inevitable. The problem is how we deal with broken expectation, disappointments, and hurt. The problem is how we communicate those feelings to one another. And the problem, especially, is how we resolve the issue altogether. Too often the result is Divorce. Separation. Or Ambivalence. But when we learn to communicate effectively. And especially, when we learn to forgive, to let go, and to move forward, our marriages move from ordinary to extraordinary.
We hope that you’ll be encouraged by the lessons we’ve learned and continue to learn. We hope that you’ll put into practice the wisdom that we’ve been given. And we pray, above all, that your marriage will be transformed from ordinary to extraordinary.