3 Lessons and 2 Tips is a series of interviews in which some of my favorite people (and probably some of yours) share three lessons they’ve learned by being married, plus two tips for single people.
This edition features Chris Mueller, a youth minister and speaker from Murrieta, Calif., whose dynamic talks communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a way that resonates with teen and adult audiences.
Chris is a regular contributor to the Great Adventure Bible Study blog (Ascension Press), a member of the Steubenville Youth Conferences speaking team, and the president and founder of 242Revolution Ministries. He is gracious today to share lessons and tips with us:
AS: How did you meet your wife?
CM: I met my bride at a catholic young adult dance. I don’t know whether to say that with shame or with pride, but it is the truth.
The dance was an interesting event. I was there with a group of youth ministry friends and she was with her sister’s Newman Club. Neither one of us was looking to meet someone that night. We had both just broken off relationships about a week prior. Her sister knew my buddy. Twelve years and five kids later, I guess you could say we are a rebound relationship gone terribly right.
AS: When did you get married?
CM: We got married two days shy of a year after we met, on Valentine’s Day. We dated for six months and were engaged about six months. I know that might sound crazy, but we both knew this was where God was leading us. Christina and I try to live by this rule: “Once you know God’s will for your life, what is the point in waiting?”
AS: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in marriage?
CM: I am a better spouse when I pray, and prayer does not happen by accident. Life is busy. I head a large parish ministry and a nonprofit organization, and I travel as a speaker. It is easy just to cram the Lord into our lives. That’s not good. I have to be intentional about my relationship with the Lord.
So, I get up early and I try to spend at least thirty minutes in prayer before the day starts. This is my one-on-one time with the Lord. When I do this, I am better prepared for what comes. I spend less time reacting and more time acting in faith. When I draw my strength from the Lord, I can to bring that strength to my family.
AS: And a second lesson?
CM: Slow down. I have had to really work very hard to remember that the schedule is not the most important part of a marriage. No one is giving out prizes for making good time on a family road trip. The journey is the destination. Relax, make a plan, and let God work. Getting there early is not as important as getting there whole.
AS: And a third lesson?
CM: Drink water and don’t eat garbage. My wife has so much energy. It is not an accident. She takes really good care of herself. She has made a convert out of me. When I eat clean and drink enough water, I feel better. I have more energy. When I am on the road, and just grabbing meals in airports, or eating fast food, I feel gross. Yes, I still eat fast food, and I love junk food, but moderation makes a big difference. Also, I drink about three liters of water a day. I am a better spouse when I feel good physically.
AS: What’s one tip you’ve got for single readers?
CM: Relax. Stop watching yourself from the outside and just live. Don’t listen to the negative inner monologue. Stop worrying about “being the person that you want to meet.” Just accept that God made you wonderfully, and live from that.
You are a beloved child of the living God. You should have a little swagger because of that. You should have a confidence in who you are in Christ. I am going to beat this to death a little. You are a revelation of God. A specific, unique, revelation of His glory. If you do not live that out, the world misses a lesson that God wanted to share through you.
AS: And a second tip for singles?
CM: Take care of yourself physically and spiritually. We are not spirits trapped in bodies. We are spiritual and physical. Spiritual health affects physical health, and vice versa. If you are not physically healthy, it becomes an avenue for spiritual attack. If you are suffering spiritually, it will lead you to make poor decisions physically.
Too many people let the voice of defeat (spiritual attack) keep them taking control of their physical and spiritual health. They get depressed and that compounds over time. I have witnessed this over and over. Does that mean everyone needs to be a waif, or muscle bound beefcake? No, but if you feel good physically, it is going to cut off an avenue the devil will try to use to bring you down. If you are praying daily, inviting God to heal your woundedness, and making a conscious effort to take care of yourself physically, you generally are going to be in a better place.