It was just me and my daughter, Malia, this past weekend. My wife, Rochelle, was off at our church’s annual women’s retreat. The women’s retreat must be much more fun than our men’s retreat. At the men’s retreat, guys so up late and leave early. At the women’s retreat, ladies show up early and stay late. What’s up with that?
This year, I spoke at the men’s retreat and Rochelle spoke at the women’s. I am so grateful to have a marriage in which we compliment each other so well and share many of the same gifts. At our house, you can tell who is going to speak somewhere and who is not. The person leaving is getting on the person staying’s nerves. It’s non-stop questioning: “How does this sound? What should I say hear? How do you think this will go over? Can you think of a story about…?”
Public speaking and preaching at our house is a family affair. When our daughter was a newborn, my in-laws visited every weekend so that I could have Saturday nights to go over the sermon again and again and so I could get some sleep. After those sermons, my late father-in-law–a former preacher himself–and I would break down the sermon like football coaches break down game tape. Poor Rochelle, by the time a sermon is heard in public, she’s heard it 20 times. And the same is true when she is speaking. But that’s the way we like it. Or at least that’s the way I like it.
I like that when I speak, I am not just approaching the text with my eyes, my experiences, my insights. I have Rochelle speaking alongside me. And I need her, several weeks ago I was speaking at a retreat for a large church in Dallas. For the second session, I had nothing! I asked Rochelle about it and from her words emanated the session. And if you were to ask those present about the retreat, they would probably tell you that the second session was the best. I hope that I am as much of a help to her as she has been to me.
We compliment each other and we challenge each other. I think that’s the way it is supposed to be when the “two become one.” We share the same passions, frustrations, loves, and hopes. That’s not to say that there are not places where we could not be more different, but it is to say that God has worked a miracle in our marriage. He has taken two people from two very different places, with different backgrounds, different experiences, different family styles, and even from different races and given them one voice!
I don’t think I could ask for more.