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Who am I again? Benjamin & Kirsten Watson

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
January 9, 2023 4:15 am

Who am I again? Benjamin & Kirsten Watson

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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January 9, 2023 4:15 am

Kirsten Watson and NFL Super Bowl champ Benjamin Watson know well the scrabble for identity apart from connections, accomplishments, and best-laid plans.

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Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

So before we get started today, I got a question for you.

Best thing about the family life weekend to remember getaway? I think the best thing is we seldom take time to evaluate our marriages or even to think, God, what do you have to say about our marriage? It's hard to pull away. And in a culture that we're so busy and bombarded, even with our devices in our hands, it's a time just to kind of analyze how are we doing? Yeah, and all the things we put energy into. You think about it. We say our marriage is, if not the most important thing, it is definitely top three.

Jesus hopefully is number one, but it's one of the most important things we'll ever do in our life. And it's hard. And so few of us ever put energy into it. It's like, yeah, my body matters. I'm never going to work out.

I'm not going to eat right. Of course you're going to eat right and work out. And the same thing's true about a marriage.

Like, when are we going to put time in to say we got to really work on this relationship? So all that to say, you can right now get a half-off registration to go to the weekend, remember? And you can go to anyone you want in your own city, in another city, a destination, whatever you want. Go online right now to, sign up, maybe even surprise your spouse if you want. Ooh, that's a good idea. Man, sign up. I can make you a promise. And you know what I'm going to say. This will transform your marriage.

It will be better as a result of getting there and letting God do His work in your marriage at the weekend, remember? So do it now. Sign up. There was one guy, a guy named David Patton. He was in a locker next to me in New England. He was a veteran player, so I looked up to him. His family wasn't with him in New England.

They were in South Carolina. But he would always talk about his wife, talk about his kids. I get engaged my rookie year, and I remember God placed me next to DP so that I would have a veteran player that was actually speaking positivity into the decision that I was making that I was very scared to make. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Ann Wilson. And I'm Dave Wilson, and you can find us at or on the Family Life app.

This is Family Life Today. OK, do you remember the first time we met Ben and Kirsten Watson at PAO at the NFL Christian Conference? Do you remember?

We remember the first time we met you guys. I just remember this lady up on stage chopping leaves off of a plant. And I was like, was this is this stage? I mean, did she really just go to Home Depot and get this plant and get these sheers? What a great illustration. But this is like, really? And I always remember it.

I think that probably was the first time. I mean, Dave, you were important, too, but I really just remember that plant. That poor plant.

Hey, we all know Ann is the superstar. I just, you know, I follow her around. And you know what I do, Ben? I go buy the plants at Home Depot.

That's what I do. Everyone is important. You know what I remember is I knew you guys and I kind of had you on this pedestal and I was super excited to get to meet you because some people said that you were there. And then when I was going to do that plant illustration, I don't know if you remember this, Ben, but I used your name in it as a comparison.

Like everybody wishes their husband was like Ben Watson. I do remember that. That was not the first time. That wasn't the first time we met you. Well, that wasn't the first time that we met y'all or we saw you guys on stage. But I do specifically remember you using my name in one of the illustrations.

And I'm not going to lie, like the pride in me was like, man, my name got mentioned on stage. That's crazy, because the first time, Benjamin, we saw that and I mean, I think that was a huge turn in our marriage for me. And I always tell you this story the first time that we saw you do that. And I was like, I am a brewer and I am chopping off leaves. And I remember thinking, I don't want to do that anymore.

So every single time you do it, it brings me back to like, that was just such a great visualization for someone who learns that way. It was just awesome because I was like, I got to find a different way to boo. No, you're not supposed to boo. No, I'm kidding.

I mean, I'm not supposed to boo. And then right back we had my branches grow since we met y'all. I guess we should even explain. Well, I would just say this. If you're a listener and you don't know what they're talking about, we'll post it in the show notes. You can go click on that link and watch Ann do her visual how often she was chopping my flaws.

You know, seeing weaknesses and calling them out and how that sort of destroys a guy. Anyway, there's no one who can do it like Ann Wilson. And it's awesome.

And everywhere we go around the country, we have to bring plants on stage and do that. But now we just show the video so you can watch that video and know what they're talking about. But let me introduce. We've got Benjamin and Kirsten Watson, a 16 year NFL player, veteran couple with seven. Did I say seven?

Seven children. Kirsten has just released a book, which is awesome. I love your title. Sis, take a breath.

Encouragement for the woman who's trying to live and love well, but secretly just wants to take a nap. What a perfect title. You guys, welcome to family life today. We haven't had you on before. And it's great to have you with us. Thanks for having us. We're excited. Like I said, we see you once a year. And so this feels really natural.

It feels good. Let's jump into your story. I think our listeners would love to hear how did you guys meet? How did you fall in love? Give us a little background. Well, I'll start off and get my version first, because my version is usually correct.

Or so we say is correct. We actually met at University of Georgia. We both went to school there. I transferred over after my freshman season at Duke University and we actually met for the first time in FCA, Fellowship of Christian Athletes. But I saw Kirsten for the first time at the beginning of the school year. Why are you laughing?

Because I love when you tell the story. There's like kind of a block party. Everybody gets to know everybody, you know, kind of jump off the school year, make you excited about going to school.

That sort of thing and see all you know, all the new people. And as I recall, I saw her at the student center, in front of the student center, all these other students. And, you know, it was almost like, have you ever seen you remember the movie E.T.? Oh, yeah.

Yes. And like the light shines down on E.T. I felt like there was a light shining on Kirsten amongst all these other people. She had on these red pants, white, crisp shirt.

She looked like this perfect combination of sexy and classy. And I was like, all right, Lord, maybe this is why you brought me to University of Georgia. You didn't talk to her?

No. I'm still I'm still trying to reconcile exactly why I didn't know what happened there. But I ended up meeting her later on in FCA. I don't know that story. That's why it's funny.

So he could be totally. I'm thinking that's a truthful story. I like the light thing. That just came to me. Do you remember your red pants?

I do. And because it always I'm like, you have to like say why I was wearing it. Georgia is black and red. So I was in school colors. You don't just pop out in some red pants. That sounds super. I don't know.

Super what? What's wrong with the color red? I don't know. Don't be discriminated against the color red. You wear red pants because you go to Georgia. That's why.

I mean, Jesus' blood was red and that's a good thing. We met at FCA. So that's good. And he got up. We were talking about having dating, a dating relationship that was godly. And Benjamin stood up and he said, well, my dad said, in order for you to have a good relationship, you have to be on one side. The girls on the other side and God's in the middle. And you're going up the triangle sides.

And the closer you get to God, the closer you will get to the person that you're dating or married. And so I remember thinking, leaning over to my friend Michelle Tyree. I said, what is his name again? And that was my first time recognizing Benjamin. She recognized me for some spiritual thing. I said, I recognize her because she looked good.

She said to Michelle, he's wearing red pants. It's made in heaven. Well, but you both came from a Christian background and homes that were following Jesus. I was raised Catholic in the Catholic Church and went to a Christian school.

And so I was saved in seventh grade. So I was trying to reconcile that growing up, like the differences and what that meant. But the understanding of the gospel and who Jesus was, was always something that was definitely taught and talked about throughout my upbringing.

Yeah. And my parents both were believers way before I was born. So I was definitely raised in a home that taught us right from wrong. We were in church multiple times a week. My father was an assistant pastor.

He's actually a full-time pastor now. And so we were both raised in church. So we definitely had that background. I mean, it's kind of crazy that we met in FCA, because growing up, our family vacations were FCA camps. I mean, I remember being a little kid, like kind of like the little FCA mascot and going to these camps across the country because my dad would be like the platform speaker for the week. And so that's kind of how we grew up in the summertime.

Yeah. And it's even crazier because I didn't start to know about FCA until I was in high school and then was president my senior year in high school. And then when I went to Georgia, I didn't play sports. And so at Georgia, FCA is strictly for the athletes.

And so there was no way I was stepping into that room and not being an athlete. And then the summer after my freshman year, I was asked to come on as a preferred walk-on for the softball team. And I remember getting in the car after meeting the coach with my parents and saying, I can finally go back to FCA. And so FCA was important to me after skipping that year at Georgia. But that was like the biggest thing to me, not knowing Benjamin, obviously, but I get to reconnect in this club that meant so much to me through high school. So it's kind of crazy that we met there and that the only reason I would have met him is because the one year that I played softball at Georgia.

That's amazing. So did you guys start dating right away? I mean, Benjamin, did you go, hey, I got to ask that red pants girl out. I mean, what happened? Well, I would have, but she was dating some clown.

Oh, stop. He was dating someone else too. We were both dating people. Yeah, we were both dating. We were.

My situation was long distance and my parents didn't really feel that great about the situation. I guess I'll just leave it there. But Kirsten, however, was actually dating somebody like on campus that I would see and just shake my head. Oh, stop it.

What are you doing? So we didn't date immediately, but then through a series of events, we ended up breaking up. I did take her on a date, though, Dave. While she was still with the other guy?

No, no, no, no, no, no. I would have and I could have because I wasn't scared of this child. Oh, listen. Hey, Benjamin, you don't know this, but I got in a fight with Ann's boyfriend when we started dating. You did not.

In her driveway. No, you did not. We ended up playing in the NFL, too. But, you know, I took him. Why are you taking her on a date? The first day we went somewhere really nice. It had all the food options possible. It was called Snelling Dining Hall on campus. And I told her she could get whatever she wanted. It was on my meal plan. It was on my meal plan. I made that up. It was on her meal plan.

Yeah. So that was our first date. And then we actually officially started dating probably our junior year. Our junior year. We were spending a lot of time together, but we weren't really officially dating. And so I think we got it's like going into the second semester of our junior year. We're like, wait, what are we doing? Are we going to just still be friends?

Are we going to make this official and date? And I think that was what was crazy. Because I remember the conversation. I remember where we were. I remember us deciding that we were going to officially date. And then we called our parents. I was like, what is wrong with us? We were like signing a contract or something like that.

It was crazy. But yeah, we told them because it was like it doesn't make sense to get into something serious going into our senior year of college. So we could just stay friends and still hang out or decide that we were going to be in a relationship. And so I don't know from the beginning, I feel like it was just very intentional. Without looking back, I don't really think we were trying to be, but it just was at that moment. That was Christ. Was he the sinner? Was it a different type of dating relationship?

Or did that come later? I would say that it was that from the beginning, because even before we were dating and then definitely as we were dating, we were doing a lot of community service at this one particular church where we would take the boys and the girls once a week and just talk to them about life, talk to them about abstinence, talk to them about dating, talk to them about, you know, have fun with them, answer their questions. So from the very beginning, we were trying to live a life that would be acceptable in God's eyes. And I think that that made all the difference because a lot of people, a lot of younger people without we're looking up to our dating relationship and we're also the oldest in our families. So he had five other brothers and sisters that were looking up to him.

I have a brother who is younger. And so we always felt that I mean, we were going to church together, we were doing a lot of things. And for us, it was just really important that what we were doing on the outside is what was actually happening on the inside. So, yes, a lot of that was just according to how God would have it. And there was a lot of people around us that were helping to make sure we stayed in check, if that makes sense. And were you guys talking about the future and the possibility of getting married and the NFL?

What did that look like? I really think at one point very early on, I would say I felt like Kirsten was going to be my wife. Now, that was a scary thing to think. And I think I actually uttered those words maybe once and she probably looked at me like I was crazy. But I did have this this feeling, I think partially because, you know, when you're in your 20s, early 20s, you start thinking about the possibility of marriage. Many people advise you, OK, if you're going to do this thing and think about marriage, how about just make a checklist about the things that you want and don't want? You know, where is God leading you?

And so that way you don't get distracted by the nonsense. And I felt like Kirsten lined up literally with everything that I had been thinking about. When I transferred, moving over to Georgia and just started getting to a stage where it's like, OK, am I just going to date or am I looking for somebody who could quite possibly be a spouse? And so when I met her and we started getting to know each other, I really felt like like that was going to be it.

Now, we didn't really talk about that that often. I think that for both of us, we had aspirations. You know, Kirsten ended up we ended up graduating in 2003, sat beside each other in graduation. Kirsten ended up going to work in corporate America for a year. And, you know, she had her goals of getting the corner office and being very business oriented, business minded.

That's what she always wanted to do. I ended up getting drafted and going to New England. So we were separate for, you know, a year plus. But I think our conversations were kind of like she said, at some point it was after we graduated, it became, OK, are we going to take the next step and get married or are we going to just break up because this long distance thing doesn't make any sense? And I got a lot of stuff I could be doing. Yeah.

I'm waiting for you. Well, not even that, but it's just I think we realize our lives could go in a very different direction. I moved to L.A. and I was working out there and he was training for the combine. And it was just we were going very separate directions naturally. And so to keep that together, I mean, I don't think anyone's been in a long distance relationship, but that takes extra work. And then we were arguing and we were long distance.

I was like, this does not even make any sense. Like, what are we doing? Because I would gladly like to go and do my thing and you can do your thing. We talked about marriage, but we're like, we have to make a decision. Like, what are we going to do? And I think that's how the conversation doesn't sound romantic at all. But the romantic thing about it, I think, was that I think we both knew the importance of marriage. We both understood the power of a relationship. We understood. We understand in a much better way now. But even at that point, I think we understood how God created marriage and its purpose and how there is so much kingdom, kingdom advancement and kingdom power that comes from a couple that is aligned for his purposes.

And I think we also understood that, you know, there's going to be so many attacks that come against a marriage. There'll be so many excuses. I'm not ready. She's not ready. I want to go do this. I want to do that.

Is there somebody else that's better? I mean, there's always going to be these things that Satan would throw at us. And I think that we both realized that we realized that we had something that could be very, very special, but it was going to take a surrendering to what God had for us to do. Got a really impressed upon me that that this was my wife. Either I was infatuated with lust at the time and wasn't hearing him correctly or he changed his mind. And I know he didn't change his mind. And so it was following through with what I felt from the very beginning.

And that's scary. So you guys, you end up getting married. Were you married before your rookie year or after?

Yes. So I got drafted. I go to rookie mini camp.

No, no. How crazy that is in New England. It was 50 something degrees. I'm graduating from University of Georgia.

I never been further north than Washington, D.C. And I end up in May at rookie mini camp in Boston while Foxborough. And I can see my breath. I'm totally I'm flabbergasted.

I do not understand what is happening. So after that off season, Kirsten was actually living in L.A. at the time and I flew out to L.A. We got engaged. We were engaged my entire rookie year. Then we got married after my rookie year in July of that year. And, you know, I've always wanted to ask somebody because, you know, being with the Detroit Lions for 33 seasons, we never got to a Super Bowl. I actually went to one at Ford Field, the Steelers and Seahawks, but I've never been there. You I mean, your rookie year, you go to the Super Bowl and win it. You know, tell me, was it everything you thought it'd be? No, it was a couple of things. Well, I did think that that was just a norm.

I thought that, well, I mean, you just go to the NFL and you're supposed to go to Super Bowl. I found out that that wasn't the case, especially later in my career. But that was a difficult year because I tore my ACL early in my rookie season. I missed most of that year. I was rehabbing. There were 84 inches of snow in Boston.

I never seen more than maybe eight centimeters of snow. It's a difficult place to play and to be, especially for a rookie. Kirsten was on the other side of the country. We get to the Super Bowl and it's really great that we go to the Super Bowl, but I couldn't play. And I had a horrible attitude and I was a jerk.

Kirsten's over here nodding her head. I was a jerk to everybody who was there to support me, even though she came, my family came. So it was a very tough time for me, even though it was great to be a part of a Super Bowl team. You know, it's interesting when you say that, because you know this better than anybody. So many people outside the NFL think it's all great. You know, the money, the fame.

It's just awesome. They don't understand. Yeah, you went to the Super Bowl and you were watching your ACL. I mean, it's often a very difficult life to live that people don't understand, that there's normal people living a normal life with real struggles and real pain. And the money in the flash does not take all that away, right? And I think you realize, even looking back, you make a great point. You know, many people don't realize that. I think that could go for any occupation, but especially when it comes to something like the NFL. That these are men and the women that are connected to them, their spouses, girlfriends, their families that are going through emotional roller coasters and money, fame.

All it does is exacerbate issues that are already there. But one thing I can say is that it also shows you who is truly in your corner. And as I look back at that rookie year, who was there and it was Kirsten, who was my fiance at the time, and it was my family. And so you realize that those are the people that you can lean on at any point.

I think, too, Kirsten, here you are. You're in L.A. living the dream life that you thought you would pursue your whole life. And then you leave all of that to follow Ben to a whole different lifestyle. And now you're known as so-and-so's wife. Because I worked with the Lions Wives for 35 years, they are some of the most gifted, talented, incredible women who have dreams and educations and training.

And often they leave all of that to follow their men. What was that like for you? It was really tough. I didn't realize how prideful I was and how my identity had been tied up for so long and what I had accomplished or thought I would accomplish in the future. And so I tried to stay with the corporation in Boston so that way I could keep my job, but there was nothing there that transferred over that was equivalent. And so I had to quit.

And so it was like my first job out of college, I just felt successful. And then to have to leave that, there was a little seed of bitterness that tried to be nestled into what was gonna be fertile ground for our marriage because we were moving away from our family, a place that we had never been, either one of us even visited. And so then it was just really challenging. And I think, like you said, I think a lot of women go through that when they feel as though they're gonna go a particular way. And the Lord says, like, no, you're gonna follow him.

And you kind of alluded to it. It's like everyone around you is like, it must be so awesome to be married to Benjamin. I'm like, really? Like it's the same as married to your husband. Does he do, you know, like, let me tell you how awesome it is. Stop it.

So I'm just so light that everybody assumes how awesome it is. And it was just really tough to be away from everything you knew. I knew no one. So Benjamin had been there a year.

So he had friends and people that he knew. And then I just come and now I know no one. And so having to start over and then not working, it's like you've taken everything that was my identity away. And now my new quote unquote identity, which I know it's not now, but then it's like my new identity is Mrs. Watson. Yeah. Not even that. It was Ben's wife.

It didn't even have the Mrs. It was just, and so I was like, good Lord, you have just stripped everything. And so that, it was a process that of learning my true identity.

And that took a while. And it's just amazing how when you do surrender finally, and that took, that was not overnight by any means, but it's just learning that it can't be in Benjamin. My identity can't be in my work. It has to be in something that is true, that is steadfast, that is a firm foundation.

And that does not mean anything that I can see, touch, feel here on this earth. And so that started the process of being stripped away and having to be rebuilt like all 20, we were 24. Twenty-four years of what I had thought was important and realizing that it really wasn't as important as I thought it was. How did you guys discover your identity? Because I'm sure it's the same thing for you, Benjamin. Both husband and wife have their identity often in what we're doing and success in that area.

So it wasn't just Kirsten, it's both of you have to find, is Christ really my foundation, my identity? Especially when football's over. Yeah, I mean, you're living that now.

And whether you're winning in New England or losing in Cleveland, it's like, is that my identity? So how did you two find that and how did that impact your marriage? Well, I think that kind of going back to that whole marriage conversation we had about kind of the fears of getting married. And when we got married, a side note, there was one guy, a guy named David Patton. You probably know him. He was a wide receiver.

He passed away a couple of years ago. And he was in a locker next to me in New England. And I didn't know him personally. He was a veteran player, much older than me, so I looked up to him. His family wasn't with him in New England.

They were in South Carolina. But he would always talk about his wife. He would talk about his wife, talk about his kids. His wife would send him flowers. He was in his wife's flowers.

They had at least outwardly this positive relationship when it came to marriage. I get engaged my rookie year, and literally to a man, everybody was like, what are you doing? You just got to the NFL. Are you serious? You get married? Bro, really?

What? And I remember God placed me next to DP, Chief, what they call him, so that I would have a veteran player that was actually speaking positivity into the decision that I was making that I was very scared to make. And so then fast forward a few years later, you talk about identity.

I believe it's Gary Thomas writes the book Sacred Marriage, talking about marriage is made not necessarily to make you happy, but to make you holy. And I think that I would not have realized my identity in what I professed it to be, which is in Christ, if it had not been for my wife. So if it had not been for Kirsten realizing the perfectionism that was within me and how I struggled tremendously with the successes and failures of daily practice, as well as weekly games, how I was kind of on a roller coaster, how I would act differently if things were going poorly.

She was the one who actually said, you need to go get some help. And I had to go get some clinical help for the perfectionism and the borderline depression that I was dealing with. And it's amazing how God uses a spouse. And that's why God created marriage as a help meet so that together we can become this reflection of him. Those things wouldn't have happened if I wouldn't have committed to following his plan and engaging in marriage specifically with Kirsten. So that was part of my realizing my identity, to answer your question was going through a process of releasing some of that performance related value system that I had. Even though I was a believer, even though I talked about God's grace, I still struggle with that and I still struggle with that to this day, but I can identify it.

And I think that, well, I know that the reason why was because of her pushing me and also having someone who sees my value and speaks life into my value outside of my performance. You're listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with Kirsten and Benjamin Watson on Family Life Today. Ann's going to share what it is they love about the Watsons in just a minute. But first, Kirsten has written a book called Sis, Take a Breath, encouragement for the woman who's trying to live and love well, but secretly just wants to take a nap. You can get a copy at or by calling 800-358-6329.

That's 800 F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. I don't know about you, but after the holidays, I'm tired. Tired of all the commotion, tired of hosting, and really just tired of using my emotional energy on pretty much anything, which often leads me to not being the very best for my wife. So what if this year, instead of allowing January to be a post-burnout from the holidays, it could be a time to focus on refreshing your marriage?

Well, you've probably heard of Family Life's weekend to remember marriage getaways, and we can genuinely say there is nothing more important you can do for your marriage than taking time away with your spouse to reset and refresh your relationship. And here's the great news. Right now, all the getaways are half off. That's now through Monday, January 23rd.

You can head over to, click on the weekend to remember link, and register today for half off. Okay, here's Anne with what the Wilsons love the most about the Watsons. This just confirms why we have always loved you guys.

I'm not kidding. You are always pointing back to Jesus, always pointing back to what makes the difference in our marriage, in our career, in our lives. It is Jesus and what He's done, and just your surrender. You're both incredibly surrendered, and I know that's like a daily kind of thing you have to do, but that's inspiring of just your picture of marriage and even your need for one another. And tomorrow on Family Life Today, Dave and Anne are joined again with Kirsten and Benjamin Watson, where the story continues with a major plot twist, having triplets.

Wow. On behalf of Dave and Anne Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry, helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-09 09:21:06 / 2023-01-09 09:34:28 / 13

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