Introducing Jim Burns and How Course Corrections Changed My Marriage
Introducing Jim Burns and How
Course Corrections Changed My Marriage
I want to introduce a good friend of mine - Dr. Jim Burns - founder of the HomeWord youth and family international ministry. Jim is a celebrated and renowned author, speaker, advocate for strong family values, a truly gifted connector and communicator with adolescents, and an inspirational father, husband, friend, and mentor.
I think that part of why Jim and I connect so strongly - is because of how aligned our vision and values are in wanting to help families to grow and flourish. If you aren’t familiar with HomeWord and the transformational information/content they provide - I strongly encourage you to check out their impressive library of resources at HomeWord.com.
For the purpose of this week’s message - I want to highlight a particular theme that Jim and Doug Fields (if you haven’t experienced Doug - please check him out and be prepared to be inspired and laugh a lot!) discuss in their recent book - The First Few Years of Marriage: 7 Ways to Build a Foundation that Lasts.
In this book they talk about establishing a course or direction for your marriage (like being happily married for 50+ years) - but then emphasize the necessity of being ready and willing to “course correct” throughout the journey of marriage. For those of you that may not be experienced captains or pilots - this term refers to the need to continually make little (or big) navigational corrections when your marriage/boat/plane start drifting off course of their intended destination/target.
I absolutely love this concept and the practical implications that you can attach to it (when you are drifting out of alignment with your life or marriage values - the consequences can seem subtle at first - but if you don’t put in the work to course correct - you can very quickly find your life and marriage at a very painful and unnecessary crossroads)
Course Correcting My Way to a Better Marriage
In my marriage with my amazing wife, Abby, we have had to make a series of minor course corrections - and on a few occasions - some pretty significant course corrections. I want to address two examples of course corrections that we have made - to illustrate the significance of this concept.
Course Correcting Through Adversity and Pain
The first was the byproduct of a very painful experience that Abby and I went through as we were attempting to have our first child. At about 21/22 weeks of our first pregnancy - Abby went into pre-term labor - and unfortunately we had what is known as a still birth. This wasn’t an outcome we were prepared for - and quite frankly - we were ill equipped to handle the emotional impact this experience had on us.
So, out of adversity - and/or necessity - we started working with a counselor to help us heal and make sure that we were communicating and growing through our pain. Although the circumstances that precipitated this course correction were devastating- I’m confident in saying that if we hadn’t put in the work to grow and course correct through this experience - it very well could have set both of us off in very divergent courses.
Course Correcting Undesirable Patterns
This course correction was set in motion due to a pattern of (mis)communication we had established . For the sake of brevity - I will just say that our arguments were not always productive or constructive and would leave us feeling divided - as opposed to the loving and supportive partners we desired to be.
In my attempt to focus on my contribution to this dynamic - I believed that I needed to learn how to pause before responding - and to be more mindful in how I was interacting with Abby. I’m certainly not perfect with this - but, I’m happy to say that over the past 9 (we’ve been married for 10+ years) years or so - I have learned to not impulsively respond in a defensive or guarded manner - which has helped me to hear what Abby actually needs from me (please don’t tell her I said this - but, as I became a better listener - I discovered that she’s usually right!).
Now our discussions may be uncomfortable at times - but they tend to lead to growth (eventually!) - and if there is a transgression between us - it tends to be minor and much easier to forgive - thereby making our course corrections more efficient and efficacious.
I hope these examples are helpful - and provide some validity to the types of events and patterns that can occur that require the course corrections that Jim and Doug uncover in their book (this book truly is exceptional - and provides an outstanding framework to establish a healthy, dynamic, and thriving marriage).
Finally - thank you Jim and Doug for writing this book - and for the exemplary work you do in promoting strong value based marriages and families. I hope that this message helps you course correct your way to an extraordinary life and marriage!