We recently had the privilege of meeting a Major League Baseball pitcher, best-selling author, and Emmy award-winning Atlanta Braves broadcaster for Fox Sports South. We got to visit with Paul Byrd and his wife, Kym at their farm, The Byrdhouse Ministries, and interview them on The Marriage Adventure podcast. In a profession that has a divorce rate of 82%, we were curious how a marriage could not only survive, but also thrive after 25 years of marriage through 52 moves over 19 years in the Major Leagues. As complex as their answer was, it boiled down to basically two things, fellowship with Jesus and a lot of hard work!
We believe that’s the key to almost any marriage. When we set out on our Marriage Adventure, we choose a travel companion we think we can enjoy the beautiful views with, weather every storm with, and finish the race with. But life typically throws us curveballs, and it takes a toll on our marriage. Too often, we’ve placed expectations on our spouse to make us happy or complete us and then find ourselves disappointed or disillusioned when we’re still empty. Our spouse can merely provide circumstantial happiness, but fellowship with Christ offers something far greater. Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” – John 15:11
Paul Byrd offered tremendous insight into this concept. “When we look for a person or a profession or baseball to fill the God-shaped hole that only God is designed to fill, it just won’t work. Everything else falls short. It’s easy to look to our spouse to give us a feeling of completeness or satisfaction.” But it won’t last because our spouse wasn’t designed to be our God. They can’t handle that kind of pressure. Lasting joy can only be found through an actual life-changing relationship in which we experience intimate fellowship with our Creator. This is what fuels us to press on when marriage gets tough. My strength will eventually run dry. I can only throw so many strikes across the plate before my arm gives out, and the whole game falls apart. Making time to spend in prayer, Bible study, and worship fills us up so we can keep pouring out to our spouse.
Like pitching, marriage doesn’t just come naturally. It takes dedication. A successful pitcher spends years adjusting his mechanics and honing his craft. His movement may not look like anybody else’s, but once he finds what works for him, his success comes through repetition. We have to follow the path God has for our uniquely designed marriage relationship. It takes years of trial and error and a lot of hard work to find the mechanics that eventually yield a winning relationship.
Staying connected to Jesus, talking with Him, relying on Him, and leaning into Him fills me up and allows me to love my spouse in a way that I’m not capable of. Staying plugged into a relationship with our Creator and marriage Coach, following His lead, and committing to the process, gives us a much better shot at having a winning marriage.
Enjoying the Adventure,
Daniel & Bonnie