Dave and Ann Wilson on Their New Book ‘Vertical Marriage: The One Secret That Will Change Your Marriage’

Ed: On your 10-year wedding anniversary, you two felt very differently about your marriage. Dave, you thought your relationship couldn’t get any better, and Ann, you were hanging on for dear life and told Dave you had lost your feelings for him. Can you share a little bit about that night and how it changed your relationship?

Dave: Our 10-year anniversary was a chance to celebrate our love and life away from the kids and the pressures of ministry. I was crazy busy trying to start our new church, as well as leading the Detroit Lions ministry as the team chaplain. I was never home. Ann was leading the home all by herself and overwhelmed with raising two very busy toddlers.

When she told me that she had lost her feelings for me, I knew that I had to find out why and how. As she shared her heart about moving from bitterness to numbness, I felt a strong nudge—probably more like a shove—from the Holy Spirit, that said, “Shut up and listen.”

Ed: Dave, what made you respond with prayer rather than reaching for your planner to persuade Ann that she was wrong?

Dave: I actually was about to pull out my daily planner to prove that I was home more than Ann thought when I sensed God saying to zip my lip and just let her talk. As I listened, I heard God say one more thing: “Repent.”

I knew that God was revealing to me that my relationship with Jesus had become lukewarm. I was so busy doing ministry for God that I had left God behind. God was saying that our horizontal marriage would never be what we wanted it to be unless I put Jesus back in first place.

So I got on my knees right there in the front seat of our Honda Accord and put Jesus back in control of my life. Ann did the same, and it was the start of a new marriage for us.

Ed: You write that the secret to marriage is to go vertical. What does that mean?

Dave: Most of us go into marriage with the hope that this marriage and our spouse will bring us the happiness that we long to find. At some point, we are let down by our spouse because he or she doesn’t deliver the joy that we thought we would discover. Many conclude that they married the wrong person. We believe that they are actually looking in the wrong place. No person or thing on this planet can bring us the happiness that we desperately want.

C.S. Lewis said, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

Only when we “go vertical” and connect in a relationship with God through Jesus will we find the true joy that we are looking for. As he fills us up, we come back to our marriage not as a taker who demands that our spouse make us happy, but as a giver and a servant who has true joy from the only One who can truly give it to us… Jesus.

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Source: Christianity Today