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Interview with Chip and Theresa - Our Journey with Jesus and Each Other

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
February 26, 2024 5:00 am

Interview with Chip and Theresa - Our Journey with Jesus and Each Other

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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February 26, 2024 5:00 am

Have you ever wondered how couples can stay committed to one another for decades? While also still genuinely enjoying each other’s company? In this program, we’ll hear how that’s absolutely possible through a heartwarming conversation between Chip and Theresa Ingram. They’ll look back at 45 years of marriage and share some helpful advice and wisdom that’s rooted in their unwavering vow to God and His Word.

Main Points
  • Introduction: Annie interviews her parents, Chip and Theresa Ingram, celebrating their long marriage.

  • Love and Friendship: Theresa and Chip talk about their love, friendship, and communication.

  • Challenges and Faith: They discuss tough times and how faith in Jesus helps them.

  • Theresa's Story and Chip’s Perspective: Theresa shares her past and how she came to faith in Christ before meeting Chip. And Chip discusses how Theresa’s faith caught his attention. 

  • Prayer and Faith: Both emphasize the importance of praying and trusting God.

  • Marriage Decision: Chip discusses seeking advice before marrying Theresa.

  • Encouragement: Annie encourages listeners to surrender their love relationship to God.


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About Chip Ingram

Chip Ingram’s passion is helping Christians really live like Christians. As a pastor, author, and teacher for more than three decades, Chip has helped believers around the world move from spiritual spectators to healthy, authentic disciples of Jesus by living out God’s truth in their lives and relationships in transformational ways.


About Living on the Edge

Living on the Edge exists to help Christians live like Christians. Established in 1995 as the radio ministry of pastor and author Chip Ingram, God has since grown it into a global discipleship ministry. Living on the Edge provides Biblical teaching and discipleship resources that challenge and equip spiritually hungry Christians all over the world to become mature disciples of Jesus.


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Someone recently asked me, I heard you've been married 45 years. What's your secret? Well, I don't think it's a big secret, but in today's broadcast, I've asked my wife to stop in, and my daughter's going to interview us, and we're going to do our best to tell you what we've learned.

Stick around. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. We are a discipleship-driven ministry on a mission to encourage Christians everywhere to live like Christians. I'm Dave Druey, and I'm really excited about this new series we're about to share with all of you. As Chip just teased, over the next three programs, he and his wife Teresa will sit down and talk about their marriage and pass along some advice, warnings, and wisdom from their 45 years of experience. They'll begin today by talking to their daughter Annie about how they met and unpack the tough lessons they learned in the early years of their relationship. So if you're ready, let's dive right into today's program, Our Journey with Jesus and Each Other. My name is Annie Iskanderian, and today I have the honor of interviewing two very special people in my life, Chip and Teresa Ingram.

I also happen to call them Dad and Mom. Thanks for joining us today. Great to be with you, Annie, and it's great to have you in studio, Teresa.

Yes, thanks. It's nice to be with my family today. I know, and today we are celebrating something very special. You guys recently celebrated 45 years of marriage.

That's pretty incredible. I just want to take a moment to say congratulations. Oh, yes. It's worth congratulations in our day. In our day and I think in our relationship because it's been both wonderful, but it hasn't been easy, has it? No.

Yeah, that's right. Well, today I thought it would be really special to take time for me as your daughter to reminisce on the years that have gone by in your marriage, things that I've observed, things that I wasn't there for and I have learned from, and have a real conversation about how has marriage played out for you? And so one of the first questions that I want to know is how is it that you two have stayed committed to each other for 45 years and still like each other? Well, I would say number one, I love him. I mean, I loved him 45 years ago when we got married and I love him just as much or more today.

So that's a big part of it. And he's what I call Ephesians 5, 25, husband. Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church.

He's been that kind of servant leader in our home and that's been just really positive for me. We're fully committed to each other. We don't let anything go very long until we address it with each other.

It doesn't mean we always finally agree on it. We may not, but at least we sit down and talk about what's bothering either one of us. And the last thing I was thinking about is that we're just best friends. We just like to do things together. We like to be together. We love to drink coffee together. We laugh a lot together. So yeah, I think we're best friends and that's really important. Yeah, it really is. And I think I'd just like to hang out with your mom. And we've had, you know, people have heard teaching over the years.

We've had tons of struggles and challenges about every area you can think of. But, you know, being on the same page and, you know, I think there's something to say. There's that level of commitment that's non-wavering. And there's also just that I like her. I love hanging out with your mom.

I like taking walks. I like she's hilarious at times. There's a side of her that a lot of people don't get to see that just kills me.

You know, it's just been wonderful and challenging, rich and deep and hard and all those things. But that's life. Yeah. Well, I think the sad part is that when many people hear you talk, we want that.

Sure. But many of us have observed just in our own lives that there's a lot of brokenness. And so why should we keep fighting for our marriages? And is there really hope? Yes, we have hope in Jesus.

It's not so much that all of us have hope in our marriages or to get married. But our hope is in Christ. And He tells us in His Word that He is our hope. He's our salvation. He's our help in time of need. He listens to our prayers. He cares about us.

He's with us every moment of every day. And so for me, I have just learned from going from a negative marriage early on in my life to a wonderful Christian marriage, that I can't depend on people to be my strength and my purpose in life. Only God can be that. I think what your mom just shared really is at the heart of it. When I think of all the ups and downs and struggles, the most attractive thing about your mom was she was sold out to the Lord.

And I was as best I could be. And I think we were both also sold out to, we are going to follow God's design when we feel like it, but especially when we don't. And so God made marriage. He has a role for the husband and the wife and a connection. And there's beauty and there's reward.

But it's very, very challenging. It means putting the other person's needs first. And we're all very, very selfish. And I don't think you can give your mate what they need apart from the supernatural grace of the Holy Spirit working in you. And I think what you said, Teresa, is early in our marriage, I think a lot of my hope was we're going to have this awesome, over-the-top, wonderful marriage. It was way too much in you. Like, some of those lies, like, you complete me. And now that I finally found the right one, it's going to be great.

And it took about three weeks for me to discover, wowee, you know, I have issues. And so I think that's a big part. But marriage isn't just about, are we satisfied or can we have children? Marriage is the metaphor that Jesus used for his church. There is a theological, there is a picture that God has ordained for all of life to say, as a man and woman, love one another.

Even imperfectly, it is a picture of Christ in his church. And so marriages are worth fighting for, not just whether I'm satisfied or fulfilled or whether it's going well or not well. In our lowest times, it was we made a covenant, and we're representing something way bigger than just Chip and Teresa's little world.

And keeping that in mind in the darkest times has been really, really important. And I think one of the things that would be really helpful today is to see that put on flesh, and that is you and Mom. Having your story, sharing some of the details in your journey, because today we're 45 years out onto the horizon, and that's a beautiful thing to see that sunset out there. But I would love to go back maybe 50 years or so, maybe a little bit less, and ask, Mom, would you share your story of what your life was like before you met Dad? And I know that you were married, previous to meeting him. I think it would be really helpful if we could get a clear picture of what your life was like before you met Christ and what that marriage was like. And then your journey, I think, as we can see the details and the journey of your story, that will really help us see how we can have a marriage like yours.

Yeah, good word. I didn't grow up in a Christian home. My parents would say they believed in God, but we didn't read the Bible, we didn't pray. We went to church, but we weren't involved in the church. My dad was away a lot, and he was very strict, and he just had all these rules that we had to abide by all the time, and so I felt like I had to be perfect, that I had to just make sure that I didn't do anything that would upset him, because he would discipline us over the littlest thing.

So after leaving home, I went to college. I started to date a young man that I was real infatuated with. I didn't realize that I wanted to be with him just because I wanted to be loved so much.

I wanted that security. I wanted to know that somebody wanted me because I've never really felt that way before. So we got married, and after about four years, he graduated from college. We had two little boys that were born.

They were twin boys that were born. And about maybe three months after our babies were born, I got a call from a friend, an acquaintance. I didn't know her very well. She called me one night and said, I just have to let you know that your husband is over here at our house with another woman.

And it was just a shock, because I couldn't believe anything like that would ever happen to me. And so that started that downward spiral. He finally came and packed his clothes and left. And so from then on, he was with her.

He never supported us financially. So I was on my own. I went back to work. And it was hard. It was really hard taking care of these two babies by myself and finding people to help me with them. And then I got to know a Christian man, John Conaway, who I worked with at Fairmont State College. And little by little, he began to ask me questions, and I would open up to him some when we were working. And I had never told anyone, none of my friends, I had never told anyone that my husband had left. No one knew what I was going through other than my family. And one day, I just couldn't hold it in anymore.

And I just started crying right there. And I thought, what am I doing? This is my job.

I don't want to lose my job. I don't know how you held it in that long. I did.

Well, I wanted to be professional. And he was so wonderful. He just started telling me about Jesus and how much God loved me and just over and over and over. And pretty soon, I got to the place where I wanted to know God. So one night, I went to church with John Conaway and his wife. They invited me to go to church with them.

And I went and went through this service, and nothing happened. I was expecting that God was going to show up. Afterwards, I went back out to get in the car, just feeling distraught, like, this isn't real. My sister was helping me get the boys in the car. And this elderly lady walked up to me in the parking lot, and I didn't know her. But she came over to my door, and she looked at me and she said, would you like to be saved tonight?

Wow. And I said, yes. People that were getting in their cars saw what was happening. We all went back into the church. We went up to the altar. We all got on our knees. They all got on their knees with me. And I prayed and accepted Christ. I didn't really know how to accept Christ, but I was, you know, I know. I believed. And so that's when my life started to turn around, and that's when I began to have hope for a new life, a better life.

I think that's really important to note that your hope was found in Jesus throughout your journey, that marriage, your marriage did not work, and not for any fault of your own, but you were put in a really hard situation. And I like that in your story. Jesus shows up, and he gives you hope for a new life, and that actually sets you up to meet Dad. So tell us a little bit about that. Well, I'll jump in here. I played basketball in college, and I'd been offered a job where I went to college to be like a student recruiter, and I thought, that's the same conference I played in these schools. And my grandmother lived in Fairmont.

I'll go up to the college and see if they'll hire me to be a student recruiter here. And I walked in, and, you know, this sounds almost Hallmark-ish, but I saw your mom. She had these really long blonde hair and this very light blue dress. And I remember just looking at her, and by this time I was committed. I will only date and marry a Christian. And I remember it in my mind. I said, Lord, I don't know if she's a Christian or not.

If not, please make her one. And so then, you know, I went in and did this little interview, and we were launching a ministry, and one thing led to another, and she came to some of the Bible studies and meetings, and I was so attracted. I tried not to show it very much, and apparently I did a great job because she thought I didn't even notice her. She didn't come back anymore, and I would wake up in the middle of the night with her face in my mind, and then I would look the next week and the next week and the next week and the next week, and it had to be about six weeks or so.

And finally, I mean, this is talk about no technology. When people came, we'd pass her on a clipboard, and you would write your name and a phone number, and I secretly went into the kitchen where Dave kept it hanging and went through all these pages. All I knew was her first name was Teresa, and I went back. I don't know how many weeks, and I found her name, and I found her number, and I gave her a call. And the story gets longer as I got to know the boys, and we took a year to get to know one another, but God worked it out. Mom, what did you think when you saw him for that very first time?

Okay, let me back up just even a little bit more. After I got divorced, I was a Christian. I was growing spiritually. I was learning to be in the Bible. I was learning to go to church and learning to pray.

That was one of the best things that I ever learned to do was to really pray and trust the Lord to answer my prayers. And I began to pray. I wanted the boys to have a dad.

I mean, as much as I wanted to have a husband, I wanted the boys to have a dad. And so I was praying that God would bring me a husband. And then all the girls in my office where I worked, they were all Christians, and everybody was praying that God would give me a husband. And as I was growing, I realized that God has given me so much. He has changed my life so much. And I was totally in love with the Lord that I thought, well, what can I do?

How can I serve Him? And the only thing that came to my mind was to be a pastor's wife. So I began praying that God would bring me a pastor for a husband. I don't think I've ever heard anyone say that before. Really?

Yeah. I didn't know I was going to be a pastor either. She prayed you into being a pastor.

She really did. I was going to go off to the mission field. So, you know, and I had never, like you said, I'd never met a Christian man. I mean, I hadn't been in community anywhere where there were Christian people. And when I was at work one day and Dad walked into the counter, you know, I was really attracted to him too. But what happened, I mean, God is amazing.

When God wants to do something, He can work any circumstances He wants to, to accomplish His will. And my friend Nancy, she came into my office one morning. She said, you know that guy that walked in here the other day? My husband's in his Bible study.

We should go. And so I went and sat in on this thing and it was wonderful. But Dad didn't pay any attention to me. It was like I wasn't even there. And so the next week I thought, I'm going to go back one more time. And this time I don't think Nancy went with me and I decided I was going to take the boys because I thought, if he's the one that God has brought here for me, he needs to know I have kids. And it was good, but still Dad didn't pay any attention to me. And so I went home that night and I remember putting the boys in bed.

This is so vivid to me. I sat there on my bed and I just cried out to God. And it was the first time I ever learned how to surrender something. I didn't know before that what it looked like to surrender. And I told the Lord, you know, this is Yours. I'm not going to try to make this happen anymore. If He's the one, You bring Him to me.

Yeah, I still thought He was. And that's what I did. I love your act of faith. I never went back. I didn't do anything. And I don't know, it might have been a month or maybe six weeks.

I don't know how long it was after that. He called me. Dad called me. And I was shocked. And he wanted to come over. And we just started a friendship, started a relationship.

That's really amazing. So that's how we ended up. And it took us a couple years to work through all the issues.

Dad thought he couldn't marry me because I was divorced. There's a lot there. There's a lot there. Did a lot of research on biblical and unbiblical divorces and counsel. And we were really just friends for a year.

And I just thought she was off limits. And it was really hard. I kept all my emotions behind any actions. He really did. All he ever did was pat me on the head. I got so frustrated with him because I had never been around a Christian man before.

Like, this is weird. And she played the guitar, and we would sing worship songs together and pray together. And I found myself praying, Lord, I think I'm really ready to get married. And the Lord said, well, what about Teresa? And I said, well, she's got two kids. Well, haven't you been praying that those kids would have a dad and she would have a husband for the last year or so? Yeah.

Well, do you think I could help you be that? God made it really clear, vividly clear, that she was the right one. And a year later, we got married. Yeah, you went from patting her on the head to opening the door and kissing her, right?

Yes. You don't forget these stories. This is what I remember as a childhood, you guys telling me how you met.

I'm in South America, and we're playing every Olympic team in every country in South America except Uruguay. And it was a resort, so I'm sitting on these big, huge boulders looking over the ocean, and there's all these couples. And I'm thinking, you know, Lord, I like being a teacher, I like being a coach.

I'm discipling these guys. But I'm ready to get married. And that's when the Lord whispered. And after I heard from him, I walked into the hotel, and I remember it was really fancy because they had their own stationery.

And I wrote a letter to your mom basically expressing some level of interest that, you know, hey, when I get back, I'd like to see you. But by the time I got to the last country, I was head over heels. I just couldn't wait to see her. And I still remember getting off the plane, getting in my little Volkswagen bug, and driving straight to her house and knocking on the door like at 11 p.m., totally out of character. I mean, I don't know if that's out of character. Well, at least it was. You were spontaneous. It was for him.

Yeah, at that point. To come to her house at 11 at night. And then, you know, little did she know, I was like, I went from this, you know, patting you on the head to saying, hey, I really want to explore this, and kissed her, and she looked at me like, oh, my gosh. And that started the beginning of a year of courtship that is a whole, many more times of talking that we will go into right now.

Absolutely. One of the things I observed from your story is the commitment to prayer and surrender. Both of you, you were praying for a wife in that journey that you took, and you prayed bold, specific prayers. It wasn't just a general, God, I want to get married.

God, help me. And I think there's something really significant about that. And I love your example, Mom. I longed for this in my own life, and I struggled even in my dating relationships prior to getting married, is truly surrendering your love life to God. I don't think many of us do that. And I think that is such an important principle, whether we're single, we're dating, or married. Because ultimately, in our marriages, we come across obstacles, and are we going to trust God and surrender to Him in our marriage, or are we going to try to drive it ourselves? And a lot of times, we just drive it off the cliff. And so I really appreciated that example.

And I would just add this. Of course, I was very physically attracted to your beautiful, beautiful mom, and on and on. But by that time, I think I was 23, 24, somewhere in there. And I dated pretty girls, and I'd come to, I really wanted a Christian. I thought that was God's will. But the most attractive thing was your mom's passion for Jesus.

She'd schedule dates with Jesus. I never heard anyone doing that, and get every guitar out and sing to him for a couple hours and pray. And I just saw this, no matter what, I'm going to do what he wants me to do, that literally, that's what I wanted more than anything else. And I would say that, I call it from my athletic days and my coaching days, you have certain players that have, I call it, a bottom line mentality. They're mentally tough.

It's fourth quarter, doesn't matter. We're going to do whatever we need to do. Your mom is as mentally tough or more than anyone I've ever played with. And it was, you know, no matter how hard it gets, we will figure out how to get through this. And it was that faith and that foundation, that's the kind of woman that I wanted to go through life with. And so, yeah, we, multiple times, for me it was, am I really willing to walk away from this if it's not God's will after I do my research on divorce and remarriage? When you're having tough decisions, it's interesting how you get very conflicting counsel and people who have an agenda for your life and you want to please people and all those kind of things.

And that was my struggle. And I really had to come to, what does the Bible say? And I'm going to stand before the judgment seat of Christ, and I'm going to make a decision. And when I looked at Scripture and got various counsel because of their background, it was very clear that I had biblical grounds to marry your mom, but a lot of people were going to be very upset with me.

Fortunately, my mother and father were very for it, and that was very encouraging. So, you know, I think it's that lordship. Lordship in dating, lordship in the days ahead, and that surrender, that bottom line, we're going to do this God's way when we feel like it, but most especially when we don't.

Absolutely. And as we close this time together, I just want to encourage those who are listening. If you haven't taken time to surrender to the Lord, the relationship you're in right now, whether you're single and you're dating or especially if you're not even married, this is the time to surrender your love relationship to God. If you're married right now, you're going through struggles, cry out to the Lord. He wants to meet you right where you are.

And when we follow him and we surrender to him, he shows us his path, and it's full of life and freedom and hope. Thank you for being with us today, Mom and Dad, a.k.a. Chip and Teresa Ingram. This is Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram, and you've been listening to the first part of our interview with Chip and Teresa Ingram as they share some insightful advice and wisdom from 45 years of marriage. For more information about this ministry or our many helpful resources, go to LivingOnTheEdge.org or call 888-333-6003.

That's 888-333-6003 or visit LivingOnTheEdge.org. Well, Chip's here in studio with me now, and Chip, it was so great to hear you and Teresa talk about your story. It was kind of eye-opening about the obstacles early on that you guys had to navigate. Now, for those listening who are going through similar difficulties, do you have a resource you'd point them to?

Absolutely, Dave. Actually, the very first series I ever taught, after we kind of got through all the storms and got some good rhythms, it was called Experiencing God's Dream for Your Marriage. I mean, the titles are like, Why is it so hard? And how do you communicate? And how do you resolve anger? And, you know, what are the four kind of habits that every couple needs to have? And it was basically working it out for 10 or 15 years together and then getting to the point where you realize everybody has all the problems that we have. They're not bad.

They're not wrong. They didn't marry the wrong person. And so that became then a small group resource. And so I would say we've got it in a study guide now that if you're going through a struggle right now, I've had so many people say, You know, I got that study guide, and there's that little code, and I watched it, and then I walked through the little workbook, and I just did that by myself because my mate doesn't want to grow or is not willing to go to a counselor, but that was very helpful. And then on the more, I would say more advanced side, I've had people say, You know, we don't have a bad marriage, but we sure wish it was deeper and better. And we got that series, Experiencing God's Dream for Your Marriage.

And we got with two or three other couples and say, Hey, why don't we get together, you know, once a week or once every other week? I can't tell you the emails and letters of people's marriages that have changed because they got some tools, they got some things out in the open, they encourage one another, and that's what we all want to do. You know, when we have marriages that are more and more what God wants them to be, here's the big deal. We are declaring God's great metaphor of Jesus and His church. Few things scream of the reality of Jesus Christ than marriages that are modeled the way He designed Him to be.

That's so true, Chip. Well, to learn more about the small group resources for Experiencing God's Dream for Your Marriage, go to LivingOnTheEdge.org or call us at 888-333-6003. And let me tell you, if you invest some time in this study, you'll be blown away by what you learn about marriage and what God has in store for you and your spouse. For complete details about Experiencing God's Dream for Your Marriage, small group, go to LivingOnTheEdge.org or call 888-333-6003.

App listeners, tap Special Offers. Well, just before we close, I quickly want to thank those of you who regularly give to Living on the Edge. You're making a big difference in helping Christians live like Christians. But if you're benefiting from our ministry and haven't started giving yet, let me encourage you to join the Living on the Edge team. You can do that by setting up a monthly donation at LivingOnTheEdge.org or by calling us at 888-333-6003. That's 888-333-6003 or visit LivingOnTheEdge.org. App listeners, tap Donate. And thanks for doing whatever the Lord leads you to do. Well, join us next time for Part 2 of our insightful interview with Chip and Teresa Ingram. Until then, I'm Dave Drouie, thanking you for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-26 05:16:41 / 2024-02-26 05:28:54 / 12

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