MAG 01: God's Purpose For Your Marriage - Interview w/ Cody + Stacy Mehan
Summary: Quote From Marriage After God Chapter 1: God’s purpose for marriage “Marriage is and always will be an earthly symbol of a heavenly truth.” -- Cody and Stacy are not only some of our closest friends they also attended our Marriage After God Gathering, which that gathering became a catalyst in us writing the Marriage After God Book! -- Dear Lord, Thank you for marriage and thank you for creating it with intentionality and with purpose. May we walk humbly with each other as we choose to actively fulfill this purpose. May we be husbands and wives who know confidently how you are using marriage to reflect your perfect love to this lost world. Mature us, o Lord, and use us to encourage growth in each other so that we continue to be more and more fruitful. We pray others would see the fruit of Your Spirit in our lives. May our obedience to live out all that you have commanded impacts our marriage, impacts our families and impacts this world in an extraordinary way. May we be faithful servants who build your kingdom and not our own. May we say yes to you to participate in all of the wonderful opportunities you invite us to do for you. Give us courage and fill our heart with strength as we chase boldly after you, together. In Jesus’ name, amen! READ: [Aaron] Hey, we're Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God. [Jennifer] Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage. [Aaron] And today we're going to be in part one of the Marriage After God series. And we're gonna be talking with Cody and Stacy Mehan about God's purpose for our marriage. Welcome to the Marriage After God podcast where we believe that marriage was meant for more than just happily ever after. [Jennifer] I'm Jennifer, also known as Unveiled Wife. [Aaron] And I'm Aaron, also known as Husband Revolution. [Jennifer] We have been married for over a decade. [Aaron] And so far, we have four young children. [Jennifer] We have been doing marriage ministry online for over seven years through blogging and social media. [Aaron] With the desire to inspire couples to keep God at the center of their marriage, encouraging them to walk in faith every day. [Jennifer] We believe that Christian marriage should be an extraordinary one, full of life. [Aaron] Love. [Jennifer] And power. [Aaron] That can only be found by chasing after God. [Jennifer] Together. [Aaron] Thank you for joining us in this journey as we chase boldly after God's will for our life together. [Jennifer] This is Marriage After God. [Aaron] Thank you so much for joining us on the first episode in this series. There's gonna be 16 episodes. We have 16 interviews coming your way. They're all powerful, they're all amazing, and we're excited for that. But we want to invite you to take a moment, if you have not already and leave a review. The reviews are how our podcast gets seen by new people. And so if you've enjoyed this podcast and you're excited about the upcoming interviews we have coming your way in the series, please leave a review, leave a star rating, and we'd really appreciate that. [Jennifer] Another way you can support this podcast is by shopping on our online store, shop.marriageaftergod.com. And we just want to take a minute to highlight our newest book, Marriage After God. That's what this entire series on the podcast is based off of. And if you hear anything today or throughout the rest of the series that encourages you or inspires you, you're gonna want to get this book. So, go to shop.marriageaftergod.com and get more information on Marriage After God and order today. [Aaron] So, today on the first episode in our 16-week Marriage After God series, we are interviewing some of our best friends. Cody and Stacy Mehan, welcome to the show. [Stacy] Woo-hoo. [Cody] Hi, thanks for having us. We're super excited to be here. [Aaron] And you guys are super nervous, and that's OK. [Cody] We are. [Stacy] What are you even talking about? I'm not nervous at all. [Cody] We're slightly nervous really excited to be here, but yes we are nervous. [Aaron] Yeah and that's OK. It's good to be nervous, but don't be nervous. It's gonna be a fun conversation. And why don't you take a second before we get into the icebreaker question and just let us know how was the journey of you guys figuring out how you were gonna answer the questions, for this episode, 'cause you're nervous. [Cody] Great question, there's the icebreaker question right there. [Stacy] That's a good icebreaker. [Cody] Yeah, so. [Stacy] It was amazing! [Cody] Awesome, yeah so we were actually-- [Stacy] Super simple. [Cody] It wasn't simple. We prayed, got the questions out, got our bibles out, and we're really excited actually to walk through the, just to walk through and answer them together just so that we would be less nervous than we are and more prepared probably than we are. And it actually ended in conflict. [Aaron] Yeah it wasn't like a fun conversation. [Cody] It wasn't, no, we typically don't argue like this, but we argued through our responses disagreeing with each other. [Stacy] Because I was right. [Cody] And I was right. [Stacy] And so was Cody. [Cody] And so we were both right-- [Jennifer] You guys are so relatable, right off the bat everyone listening is going, Yup. [Stacy] Yeah. [Cody] So we went to bed, we woke up this morning, we prayed, and we actually that's really, we just prayed. We just asked God to forgive us. And we asked each other for forgiveness, and it was good. And so we actually got through the questions, probably not enough but we're excited that we're through it. [Aaron] It's OK the more candid, the better. But it's cool to know that the people listening are gonna be like, oh, they also fight. [Cody] We're normal [Aaron] And argue about spiritual things. [Stacy] Just a little bit. [Jennifer] I do love your guys' response to that conflict though right away you just decided, nope we're gonna pray about this and submit it back to the Lord. And I feel like that's key and I think that a marriage after God has that quality about them, so we're already encouraging people. [Stacy] Yeah, totally. [Aaron] So before we get going, why don't you introduce who you are, how long you've been married, kids, work, and how you know us. [Jennifer] And how many children you have. [Cody] Yeah I'll start. So again, Cody and Stacy, we have been married for fifth, 10 years, going on 10 years. [Stacy] 15. [Aaron] Were you gonna say 15 years? [Cody] I always say-- [Stacy] Almost 10 years. [Cody] 15 or 20 cause it's funny and she corrects me. So we've been married almost 10 years. We have three children, we are expecting one in, [Stacy] One in the oven, May. [Cody] March? April, May, this is perfect. [Stacy] March, May. [Cody] In May. [Stacy] April, tomorrow. [Cody] Yeah, it was just really exciting. And so yeah, married 10 years. We have three kids, one on the way, what else did you ask? [Jennifer] What do you for work? [Cody] What do we do for work? Yeah, it's really exciting. So our journey is amazing, we'll probably get into more of that. But as of this year I started a home building company and build custom houses which is really fun. And my lovely wife, I'll let you-- [Stacy] Which has actually been a dream of ours for our entire marriage. [Cody] Yeah, it's our dream that I'm doing and we're going to do it together. [Stacy] End up doing it together. And right now I am running a Young Living business and it is pretty awesome, super fun. [Aaron] Thriving? [Cody] It is thriving and awesome. [Stacy] It's thriving and I'm also obviously a mommy and a wife, taking care of our home. So I have lots of jobs. [Jennifer] Awesome. [Stacy] Just a couple. [Cody] Yeah, that's us. [Aaron] Awesome, and how did we meet? How did you guys meet us, 'cause this is a funny story. [Cody] Yeah this is a good story. You should tell this story. [Stacy] OK, so Rowan our first baby was six weeks old and we were walking downtown, just on a walk with another couple. And I saw this girl who I totally recognized but I could not figure out where I recognized her from. I'm like is she on TV? And we don't really watch a ton of TV so I couldn't figure it out. I'm like I know I've seen her somewhere, Babe, do you know her, who is that person? [Cody] So she, yeah, she points over to this couple. And multiple times says hey, I know them, hey, I know them, hey, I know them, and-- [Stacy] Eventually I figured it out. And I'd been doing this, [Cody] No what you did, what I did was I was like, Babe, go talk to her. [Stacy] Oh yeah, yeah. [Cody] That's what I said, right? I said go ask her how you know her. And you did and Jen's like, oh yeah, I-- [Stacy] I was like are you the Unveiled Wife? [Cody] Yeah it was really funny. [Stacy] She's like, yeah? So I was doing her first Devotional Wife After God and she had done YouTube videos for it. So I recognized her face, obviously. [Cody] And so she used to ask me weekly to go out of my office to watch these videos. And so then I would go into the living room and I'd listen so I knew Jen's voice. [Jennifer] Yeah, yeah. [Cody] Before I knew her face from the YouTube, yeah. [Jennifer] Well we're so grateful that you guys stopped us that day. And we had just moved to central Oregon and I thought we were moving to this small town. I didn't think anyone would know us or recognize us or anything like that. [Aaron] It didn't happen very often. [Jennifer] No. [Aaron] Like, rarely did someone recognize us back then. [Jennifer] So we were down in Drake Park and we were with The Partridges, Dale and Veronica at the time they had just moved up here too. And it was just a beautiful day, I remember. And you came up and your smile, everything about you is so memorable and we kicked it off. We were like friends immediately. [Aaron] The next night actually it was that day we got to know each other, then the next night we went to Dale and Veronica's for dinner. [Jennifer] Yeah, burgers. [Cody] And then hung out with you guys, yeah the Spees were there. [Aaron] So we should actually thank Dale and Veronica 'cause of their-- [Stacy] Thank you, Partridges. [Aaron] Consistency of, hey, let's just go hang out tonight. [Cody] And come over. [Stacy] They're so good at that, yeah. [Aaron] Well we are happy, we've been friends ever since. Like, good friends, like best friends. [Cody] Since that day, yeah. [Aaron] And so it was-- [Stacy] We like you guys. [Aaron] You were the first people we thought of when wanting to launch this Marriage After God series. We were like let's interview our best friends. [Cody] That's awesome. [Aaron] And so we're excited to talk to you guys. And we're excited to get into the heavy lifting questions, but let's do this first icebreaker question. Describe your favorite date night meal and dessert. [Cody] Do you wanna start? You want me to start? [Stacy] I don't know, you go ahead. [Cody] So, I would say our favorite date night is maybe long and we have time, like it's not a, typically when we're dreaming of our favorite date night, it's not a one-stop shop to get dinner. We like to go, like everything we do we get a coffee first, right? [Stacy] Yeah, start with coffee. [Cody] Afford the time. [Aaron] There's a process. [Cody] There's a process, right, we get a coffee, and then often we actually don't know where we're gonna go so we'll drive through downtown, circle-- [Jennifer] Look for the best spot. [Cody] Yeah, we talk about and then we go somewhere and-- [Stacy] It usually ends up-- [Cody] Pretty organic. [Stacy] Progressive. [Cody] Progressive, yeah, coffee-- [Stacy] Which I really like. [Cody] Dinner, I always order what I want. She typically doesn't like her meal and then-- [Stacy] Well because I like to try things-- [Cody] Will eat mine. [Stacy] I like to try new things and you're-- [Aaron] That sounds a lot like Jennifer. [Stacy] Super safe with meals-- [Cody] Yeah I'm really safe, I always go with what I know. [Stacy] You get what you know. [Cody] Or, or, actually I tell the waitress at least half the time [Stacy] Surprise me. [Cody] Yup, surprise me and it's always good. [Jennifer] Aaron does that kinda stuff. [Cody] Yeah, I love it. [Jennifer] That'd make me nervous. [Stacy] I'll do the surprise but whenever I get the surprise I never like it. But I like what Cody gets. [Jennifer] Instead of surprises I'd rather just order two or three things that I know I'm gonna like and try 'em all. [Aaron] Yeah try 'em all. She'll order something and she'll be like, Are you gonna get this one thing? I'm like, no, I was planning to get this. She's like, could you get this other thing so I can taste it? [Stacy] Yeah so we can actually try all of them. That's why it's good to go to dinner with-- [Cody] And then you get it and you like it, yeah. [Stacy] Yeah, that's why it's good to go to dinner with another couple. So you have four meals to choose from. [Cody] Yeah that's good, double date. [Aaron] Invitation accepted. [Stacy] So I don't think it necessarily matters what the food is but it's more like the company. [Aaron] And the experience. [Cody] Yeah, so progressive, does that answer all the questions? Yup, it was good. [Cody] OK, good. [Aaron] OK so Jennifer, why don't you read the quote that is just gonna kick off this section? From chapter one of the book Marriage After God. [Jennifer] Marriage is and always will be an earthly symbol of a heavenly truth. [Aaron] Which is the whole focus of this first chapter which is called God's Purpose for Marriage. And we were gonna talk about this today. We're not gonna come to the full conclusion on it. The goal is like hey, let's navigate this idea of the purpose that God has for our marriage. In this world, with each other. And so we're gonna just get in some questions with you guys. [Jennifer] Yeah so I thought it'd be fun to start with the opening chapter, what we open with in this chapter. Which is the gathering, the Marriage After God gathering, which you guys got to be a part of. [Cody] We did, yeah [Stacy] So fun. [Jennifer] You guys came to, so, what was going through your mind when you were sitting there as that guy-- [Aaron] Well real quick lemme give just a little bit of background on what the gathering is. In case the listeners aren't sure what that is. This book Marriage After God came out of a retreat-style event that Jennifer and I did several years ago, a few years ago. Where we got 12, 13 couples together and we went through all of these ideas of what God wants to do in our marriages and through our marriages. And Cody and Stacy were one of the couples. So just to give a little background so now you guys can answer Jennifer's question. [Cody] Yeah, do you wanna start there or you want me to? [Stacy] Well first if I can just say I love that you guys use the term gathering over some other terms that you could-- [Aaron] Retreat or conference. [Stacy] Or vacation, because it was intimate. I love that word because it is intimate when you have a gathering at your house. It makes way for intimate conversations, you get to know each other on a whole nother level. So I really loved that. What were we thinking when we got there? Let's go, let's learn something. [Cody] Yeah it was really, it was beautiful there. So the setting, have you described the setting? [Stacy] Go ahead. [Cody] Yeah so the setting is along the Metolius River here in Oregon. And it's just out in the middle of nowhere, it's quiet there's beautiful mountains. There's this amazing green pasture which I don't describe as good as Jen did in the first chapter of the book there. By the way I paused on that last night and thought about how creative your mind is when I read that. [Jennifer] Oh, cool. [Cody] But it was absolutely beautiful and just peaceful and there was how many, 12 couples? We all sat in this big room we got coffee or tea and we sat down. And I think what was really impactful for everybody there was that immediately, we had a manual, we said hi, we got to know each other, we introduced ourselves, but we opened the Bible. And we started with scripture, we started with prayer and then immediately just dove into our really healthy, heavy dose of scripture. And how it-- [Aaron] Do you remember what we read? [Stacy] Like we... [Cody] I don't. [Aaron] The first thing I read, wasn't it John 17? [Cody] Is that what it was? I think that rings a bell. [Aaron] Just talking about unity and being one with Christ, one with God, one with each other. [Stacy] Yeah. [Cody] Yeah, and I think the first night was foundation, was the foundation on the word of God, yeah. So it was a really, just kind of to answer that question, it was really awesome opportunity to get together with couples and it was intimate, and it was a gathering, and it was deep, and it was intentional. [Jennifer] Did you guys walk away from that event with anything on your minds? [Stacy] Oh yeah, totally. I think we left super excited. Well first, when you go anywhere and you have children and you have that opportunity to just be together and to dream together, which is something that we love to do. To dream together, to get in the word and just come back to that foundation and remember you know, God's purpose for our marriage. We walked away with ideas, excitement, ready to pursue what the Lord had for us. [Cody] Yeah. Yeah, I mean I think that was the big thing for us. We were walking in biblical community and spending time in the word and have ultimately a pretty good marriage with lots of things we work through. But the event really ignited what God could do, and wants to do, and desires to do in and through our marriage for His kingdom. So we left there with I would say kingdom-minded dreams. And then maybe a new way that we hadn't before. [Aaron] So do you feel like 'cause we're talking about God's purpose for marriages, what the first chapter's about, the idea's to open up the minds and the hearts of believers and say there's a way that you might not be thinking or seeing your marriage and it's a big picture. Did you come to the retreat with an idea that God had a purpose for your marriage? Or did that happen at the retreat? Did you leave with that idea? [Cody] Yeah, we definitely knew that God had purpose for our marriage. And we believe that and we're living it. I think that what the retreat did was offered an opportunity to think clearly and to really put on paper, and we gotta pray through it and read scripture through it. But just the opportunity to really think about God, what could you do through us? What are our strengths, what are our spiritual gifts, how are we gifted, how are we talented, and how, ultimately, can that be used for your kingdom? And you know, the more that we walk through these types of learnings like the retreat, we understand that we're really dynamic and we're a really good team and we really work well together. And oftentimes like today, like this morning, and last night we know that that's where the devil tries to kill and destroy our marriage. And so, we have to really protect that with prayer. [Stacy] Yeah, put on our armor. [Cody] Yeah, so we knew we had purpose in our marriage and it definitely ignited that and we're on the trajectory now, I would say. And that was definitely a course-changer for us. [Aaron] Awesome, and we've definitely seen the changes in your life and just the laser-focus of what's God doin', let's chase after that in our life. [Jennifer] So I just want to make a mention for those listening right now that, you've described this gathering that you guys got to be a part of and we still have so many great memories from that. But they might be sitting there going, well I wanna go, I wanna go do this thing. But that's, I wanna tell them, that's the reason we wrote Marriage After God. Because we knew we had to get this experience and the information that we covered and everything into a format that everyone could be a part of and everyone could read. [Aaron] And the book's much more concise and much more extensive in just this idea of what God wants to do with us and having a marriage after God. And so the event was a sleep of faith for us. Which we talk about in the book. And God took that yes, that we said to him, we said, yes, OK, we'll do this. That's scary, we've never done an event before. And then it was almost like God's like, OK, now that you did all the work, turn it into a book so other people can have it. 'Cause people've asked us about doing it and the amount of people that would like to do, we can't do it. We could, I guess. [Jennifer] Maybe in the future. [Aaron] But this book is just a way to get it in everyone's hands. So, you know you guys apparently already felt, had a feeling that God had a purpose for your marriage whether you knew what it was or not, just the backs of your minds and in your hearts. You're like OK, God can use our marriage, yeah he wants to do something. And then, going to this gathering kind of highlighted what it was and gave you a foundation to look at when chasing after God and this purpose. Do you think every marriage has a purpose in Christ? Like God has something for every marriage? [Jennifer] And is it the same for everyone, or is it different for everyone? [Stacy] Yeah, definitely believe that God has a purpose for every single marriage. I think that the journey and the path is gonna look different for every couple, 'cause we're not all created with the same qualities and giftings and all of that good stuff. But we all definitely have a purpose, it just looks different. [Aaron] That's awesome. [Cody] And I just have to second the yes. Yes, yes, yes God has a purpose for every Christian marriage, yes. And I think that to expand on what you said, the beauty in God creating us all differently and beautiful and in His image and giving us different spiritual gifts in the body of Christ that we're operating in is that our marriages do look different, you know? Stacy and I might have a different ministry than you do, but God definitely has a purpose in using the gifts and talents that he's given us. And the life that he's given us, and the kids that he's given us, and the parents, and just the walk of life that we have. We're all so different and that's just what makes the body of Christ beautiful that we get a tribute in different ways. [Stacy] Yeah, and there is such beauty when we're walking and the way that God has created us individually and our strengths and the things that we're weak in. For example, if I tried to walk in Jen's strength in writing, in our marriage that would create a lot of conflict. You'd try to support me in something that is not necessarily a gift of mine but I think there is such beauty in walking in our giftings and the way that God has truly created us. And I think that purpose plays out through those giftings. [Jennifer] So can you guys just take a minute to share how you guys work together as a team in your marriage to do ministry? Like what does ministry look like in your lives today? [Cody] Yeah, so ministry in our life today is I would say multi-faceted. We have kids, we have three kids and that's a big part of what we do is child rear and train them up in the way they should go and to follow the Lord. And so I think that a lot of our ministry is probably involved in that. In being with other parents and other kids and in our home and investing in our children. We're also outside of the house a lot. We have a lot of outside relationships with our businesses and being salt, being light, being an example of who Christ is through the way that we interact, and the way that we love, and the way that we give and elevate people higher than ourself. And so together in our marriage, I think that just the unity that we have in doing life together is probably the biggest part. Also we're an active part of our church. And we're an active part of that body and we give in many different ways there and serve there. [Stacy] And I think with that comes the clear mind of what the ministry is that way we're able to support each other. And what we need to do, and what we desire to do, and how we desire to minister to other couples or moms or dads. [Cody] Yeah, and we have other direct types of discipleship that we do just individually. Like I meet with guys weekly. I have a mentor that I meet with every week, I also have a younger man that I meet with and of course all the other men that I'm walking with spiritually. [Jennifer] That's awesome. And you know you had mentioned, Stacy, earlier about how if you had my gifting, Cody wouldn't be able to support you in that because it's not your gifting. So I love that you brought that up because something that I've seen in you, and you know this about yourself, but you're very good at hosting and being hospitable, and your love for people is so welcoming and inviting and, I mean even from that first week that we met you guys, you invited us to your house and you cooked this amazing meal, I still remember it. [Stacy] Oh that was good. [Cody] That was the meal I cut my finger off. [Jennifer] Yes Cody almost cut his finger off. [Cody] On the cheese slicer. [Jennifer] But after all these years-- [Aaron] How do you guys remember all that stuff? I'm trying to think of, I don't remember what we ate. What was it? [Jennifer] So I just want to encourage you guys that over the years that we both, Aaron and I have seen this play out in your marriage time and time again where you do have strengths and giftings and you do support each other well in them and a big part of your guys' ministry as a couple is just loving on those moms and dads, loving on other couples, and feeding them, not just good food, but feeding them the hope of Christ and what God's doing in your lives and talking about, hey what are you learning about? What's God been teaching you? And you're so good at that and I just wanted to highlight that because it's powerful. [Stacy] Thank you. [Cody] Yeah, thank you. [Aaron] So we were talking earlier about you guys knowing you had a purpose but not knowing what it was. But then also leaving the gathering that we hosted, the Marriage After God gathering with more focus and saying this isn't as ambiguous as we thought, God has a ministry for us, He has a mission for us, He has a purpose for our marriage not just for the world but also for our own benefit. How has recognizing that God's purposed your marriage for something more than just happily ever after, which is a phrase that we use in the book, how has that motivated you guys? How has it benefited your marriage just recognizing that there's a purpose? 'Cause you said earlier, Stacy, that when you know what the ministry is then you can work together toward it and help each other. So how have you seen benefits that recognizing, oh, we have a purpose, so how are we gonna walk in that? [Stacy] Yeah, well knowing and recognizing that you have a purpose is like having vision. [Cody] Yeah I was just gonna say that. [Stacy] Without vision people parish, so now walking away from that, we have a vision, we recognize what our purpose is. And even if we don't recognize the finite details of where we're going or what we're doing, we have this grand vision. And so I think it's enabled us to support each other better. It's impacted our marriage quite heavily because rather than working as individuals like we were I think before, it ended up working against each other in a lot of ways, we were able to come together and be unified with one purpose in mind and walk forward together, supporting each other and... [Cody] Yeah, yeah, no, that was great. And I would just agree with everything you just said and that in unity and our marriage and pursuing God together, the change was getting out of the weeds. And I think that We were really stuck in what was happening in our life, finances, bills, debt, jobs. [Stacy] What do we want to do with our lives. What jobs here? [Cody] All the things of life and the worries of the world and, when you can get above that and rise above that and understand that our purpose in our life is absolutely none of those things, those are just details, it really clears a path. I always say, I have to get out of the weeds or above the fog. And when we can have a vision in our marriage and really understand what God has called us to for his purposes, it makes the little details, the weeds, the fog, you just grunt through it because together, as a team, you understand that together you're going somewhere. And it's just the work in between to get there. And before, the day-to-day was the work and it was hard to see the vision and we didn't have a-- [Aaron] There was no end to the means, yeah. [Stacy] Right. [Cody] Yeah, It was what are we gonna do tomorrow? I dunno, you know, what about next week, I dunno. How are we gonna pay that off, who knows. And with biblical vision, then, of course when you submit to scripture, then the details of marriage and submission in marriage, and kids, and finances, those details just get worked out. [Stacy] Yeah, I think a lot of it for us as individuals too and I feel like lot of people can relate to this is taking ourselves out of the picture and not being so focused on our own needs and our own personal fleshly desires but... [Cody] But elevating each other. [Stacy] Yes, exactly. And being obedient and submissive to scripture and-- [Cody] Each other. [Stacy] Each other. [Cody] And Christ, yeah. [Aaron] Yeah, and when I think of purpose, it's like it's the end. Having the end in mind, having the goal in mind, having the purpose in mind, the direction, the plan, right? Helps, you were talking about the details, like all these things it used to be, we focused on the day-to-day and all these internal, our eyes were always looking inside the marriage. When you're fighting, when you're struggling, when you have marriage issues, when you have sin issues, when you're just going paycheck-to-paycheck. All of these things that keep our eyes inward. [Cody] Yeah, yeah. [Aaron] And what you're saying is once you recognized that the purpose is not inward, the purpose is heavenly, it's outwardly. The scripture that talks about seek the things that are above, it draws you out. Like instead of looking inward and you're not going anywhere and you even said when we were chasing our own things it was actually working against us, it's almost like the moment you have the goal in mind, not that just the details work themselves out, but also all the details work themselves in a way that make the end in mind the direction. So you're like oh, let's just change how we're treating each other because this isn't gonna address the direction we're going. Hey, let's just change how we're looking at our work because it's getting in the way of the direction we're going. And so everything just starts. Think about like electrons and when you put electric current through it it turns 'em all the same direction, right, like a magnet. And you just start all going the same direction and now as a team with that one purpose in mind, that one goal in mind you're just... and I'm just describing all the stuff for the listeners to recognize that if we don't recognize that God has a purpose for our marriage, if we don't recognize that there's an end in mind, then the means become the end and there is no direction. [Cody] That's right. [Aaron] We're just floating, we're just wandering, we're just drifting and we're just gonna go into chaos. But sounds like you guys were there and then boom, had this point of view, direction to look at and now you're starting to chase that and we've seen it. [Cody] Yeah, we're growing through that. [Jennifer] And I'd just like to mention that it's not like all those circumstances you know, having children, you mentioned debt, and finances and all of these things that you previously were really heavily focused on, it's not like all of a sudden you made a choice and all of of a sudden, those things disappear, or you used the term, I had to rise above it. You still have to navigate all of those things but-- [Aaron] You navigate 'em differently. [Jennifer] You navigate 'em differently and you navigate 'em according to what God wants in the direction and not just your own. [Cody] Yeah. [Stacy] Right, and I really like something that Aaron said, I'm probably not gonna say it exactly how you said it but you were just talking about the kind of perspective change in making it heavenly focused. And I know me as a person, when I see a change that needs to happen, what I wanna do is jump out of it completely. Like, I wanted Cody to quit his job and I wanted to move cities and jump ship and start fresh. [Cody] Start over. [Stacy] Totally. And I recognize that's not the answer a majority of the time, maybe that is the answer sometimes for some people, but it wasn't the answer for us. We had to walk through the muddy waters. And that was really, really good for our marriage. We've learned so much walking through those muddy waters and jumping ship wasn't gonna fix anything, but changing our perspective and having a heavenly perspective is what helped us to continue to move forward. [Cody] To say as to God, yeah. I mean yeah, that's why we have Uriah, right? And Islie and, the baby in your belly. [Stacy] Baby on the way. [Cody] Yeah, it's because we said yes to God, because you didn't want to have more kids. And part of our, a really pivotal part of our story was I went to a bible study with the fellowship that I'm currently at and it was incredibly pointed at sin and changing that day, that moment, that hour and leaving we prayed as men and we left that room a changed person. And I went home to my wife that night and I was encouraged by the other men. And I was gonna be held accountable to go and confess my sin to my wife, and I did. And God used that yes, to walk away and turn from my sin and confess it to my wife and repent. And ask for forgiveness. And through that, softened her heart for more children, and that's when we got pregnant with our second, Uriah. [Stacy] I feel like it might be actually really encouraging to our listeners if you share what that sin is and just explain to them because that is what softened my heart. [Cody] Yeah, so that Bible study we talked about sexual sin and lust and, specifically, pornography. And that was the confession that, as men, we were walking through. And so that was the confession that I had to make to Stacy that night that, if and when and how I had dabbled in that and to ask for forgiveness to change and I did. And God used that, and we got pregnant with Uriah that day, in fact, or whatever, the next couple days, however that works out, and so. [Aaron] Details. [Cody] Details. [Stacy] TMI. [Cody] And so praise the Lord for that, that was really awesome. [Stacy] And you know what's crazy is that I literally, after Rowan, did not want to have children for a good five years. I watched other parents around me who had big age gaps between their children, and I'm like that looks really nice, that looks so easy. They can still go to the gym, they can go to coffee shops when they want to. This selfish part of me really wanted that, I loved that idea. So Cody and I were very much against each other in our desire for more children and when that was gonna happen. And Cody coming to me and confessing one, his sin but also saying, babe, I have this strong desire for more children, like right away, and I don't see a reason that we need to be waiting. I had the opportunity to submit to my husband and ultimately, submit to the Lord in that. And I chose to and it was so beautiful, and now we have four babies. [Cody] Yeah, four on the way. [Jennifer] What a great testimony of what unconditional love can look like in a marriage. [Aaron] And when, again going back to the purpose conversation, the only, not the only, but one of the reasons you were able to walk in freedom from that sin, which we just did a podcast together about this, and we, Cody, you and I have the same story on how God got a hold of our hearts and showed us that we can walk in the freedom that he's already given us on the cross, but recognizing the purpose. That it's not just you going to your wife to avoid the shaming guilt you feel, like get that fixed. Like, here, my shame and my guilt I feel I wanna get that fixed so can you forgive me? 'Cause I feel shameful. No, it was, this is keeping me from having a fruitful and powerful ministry with my wife. [Cody] Yeah. [Aaron] And this is keeping me from having a fruitful and powerful and close relationship with God. Therefore, I'm going to go and repent. Because I don't want to be that man anymore, I want to be the man that God has made me to be. [Cody] That's right. [Aaron] And so having the purpose in mind, it draws out of us and draws us in the direction that God wants us and that's purity and to holiness and into authority and power to do the things that he has for us to do. [Jennifer] And I feel like I have to highlight for the wife, Stacy, because you knew the purpose, you could then hear that confession and you had a choice to make, and it sounds like you chose reconciliation and then, even on top of that, submission to a desire that your husband had for more children. And I just, again, wanna say this is so beautiful to know that a husband and wife can walk faithfully even amidst the muddy waters like you mentioned earlier. Walk faithfully to what God has called us to do, driven by this purpose that he has for marriage. [Aaron] And at the end of the day, the purpose is that we love God and we want to please Him and Him only, but in doing that, in chasing our Father we go where he's going, right? And that's the end game is what is God doing? What's His mission in this world? What's He already been doing since before time began, right? And we're told in the Bible that we're now ministers of reconciliation in this world and you guys got to practice that in your own marriage. [Stacy] Yeah, that's so beautiful. [Aaron] Right? And then what happens is walking in that holiness and that purity and no longer just jumping right back in the mud all the time and always being right there. Going back to that idea of we're always focused in word oh, well we're back in that sin again. Oh, we're all back in that sin again. And never moving forward, it's just there and that's exactly where the enemy wants us is-- [Jennifer] Ineffective. [Aaron] Ineffective, which we're gonna talk about in a later-- [Jennifer] Next episode. [Aaron] Oh, it's next episode. But recognizing that He has a purpose, recognizing that He wants a close relationship with us, that He wants us to walk in purity and all of those truths make it easier. Now, it doesn't mean it's easy but it makes it easier for us to do the things that he's called us to, obedience. Which is confession and walking in righteousness and ministering to the lost and loving your brothers and sisters in Christ. And we've seen you do all of these things in your life. and I didn't know you before, before we met you of course, because I haven't met you yet. [Cody] Traveling to Damascus Road-But I-- [Stacy] You didn't follow us on social media? [Aaron] But I know you, seeing from where you were to where you guys are today, we can see how your guys' pursuit of God and your chasing after him and your desire to want what He desires has changed you in your marriage has changed you in your relationship with your friends, is making you guys awesome parents. [Jennifer] Can you guys just share what do you guys feel has had the biggest impact in your life as you've chased after God? [Stacy] Oh, it's easy. [Jennifer] When you think about the growth-- [Aaron] She's got the answer, there you go. [Cody] I'm so happy for you to go. [Stacy] Oh no, we just talked about this. A biblical community, that has been-- [Cody] Oh yeah. [Stacy] The biggest I think factor for us is just having people walking alongside of us, encouraging us, holding us accountable, and-- [Cody] To scripture. [Stacy] To scripture, yes exactly. Not to what you think and think is the right way or a good way because you read this book or that book but because that's what scripture says. [Aaron] And I would agree. Close, true biblical Christian fellowship has been pivotal-- [Jennifer] Pivotal. [Aaron] In our walks with Christ. [Cody] Yeah. [Aaron] So yeah, that's, we agree. [Stacy] Sweet. [Cody] Agreed. [Aaron] So, I love that you brought up Christian fellowship and we're talking about purpose for marriage and one of the things that we draw out in the book is the picture that marriage is, the reason God gave us marriage. And you guys know this biblically, what is the bride represent? [Cody] The body of Christ, the Church. [Aaron] It represents the Church. And he calls the bride he says that he's returning for a white bride, a clean bride-- [Stacy] Pure. [Aaron] A pure bride. [Jennifer] Just like any bride listening right now is thinking yeah, I know what that took. [Aaron] Yeah, and so, but what's awesome, the community aspect, in our marriage, the wife, represents the Church and the husband represents Christ, where a picture of that to the world. So walking in close Christian fellowship, which again is something we're gonna talk about on a later episode. [Cody] Yeah, that one'll be good. [Aaron] And it's just so beautiful seeing it played out on the microscale in our marriage but then seeing it applied in the local fellowship, the body of Christ. And then globally as a church. Like this is why we're doing this podcast, this is why we wrote this book. Our hope is to encourage the whole body of Christ to recognize that we are the bride of Christ. That our unity and our oneness with Christ is vital and it's required, and it's our gift. It's our gift that we are apart of the body of Christ. We are the bride of Christ, he's returning for us and again, it just excites us that we get to participate in that, and we get to benefit from it. We get to be the beneficiaries of obedience. And in walking and being part of the body. So, I 100 percent agree that close Christian fellowship is just, it's another way that we minister to the world 'cause that get to see our unity. And it changes us and it grows us and we benefit from it. So, Amen. [Cody] Amen [Jennifer] So, while you guys are on the podcast, is there anything that is on your hearts right now that you think husbands and wives need to hear, something you want to encourage them with? [Cody] Yeah, absolutely. I would say that if you haven't caught this through the podcast and the things that we've shared today, it's humility, probably and just submission to, first of all the scripture in Christ and then, secondly, to each other. And to elevate your spouse always above yourself. And in all of our marriage battles and victories, the victory comes through submission and through humility, and through repentance. And so, I think no matter where you're at in your marriage, whether you're married for one year or 10 years like we're about to be, that's a battle that doesn't end and it has to continue through your entire marriage. But just continued submission to each other, continued heartfelt passion just to elevate your spouse above herself and to care for their needs and to care for their desires, and to care for their heart, just like Ephesians 5:22 through 30 describes. And so for us, that's been pivotal even today. Literally today, we talked about that Scripture as we prayed together this morning when we walked through what we talked about. And so, yeah, so submitting to each other and to Christ. [Aaron] So the last question we're gonna ask, and it's gonna be the question we're gonna ask every person we interview, and there's no wrong answer, in your own words, what is a marriage after God? [Stacy] Yeah, good question. I would say that a marriage after God is obedience, submitting to God's Word and Cody just did a really great job explaining that a minute ago from Ephesians 5:22 through 33, or 30? Yes, marriage after God is obedient, it's submissive to His word. [Jennifer] I love that and in order for us to be obedient, we have to know the word, we have to be in the word. So that would be an encouragement for everyone listening today, and just a reminder for us because we all need it, we all need to be reminded and hopefully were in it daily, and chasing after God by knowing him, by knowing his word, yeah. [Aaron] So Cody, Stacy we love you guys. We thank you for being our guinea pigs and starting out this series with us. We appreciate your your honesty, and my prayer is that your story, your testimony, your faithfulness is ministering right now to those listening. And I believe it is. And so, what we're gonna do is we're just gonna close in prayer, so join me. [Cody] Cool. [Aaron] Dear Lord thank you for marriage and thank you for creating it with intentionality and with purpose. May we walk humbly with each other as we choose to actively fulfill this purpose. May we be husbands and wives who know confidently how you are using marriage to reflect your perfect love to this lost world. Mature us O Lord and use us to encourage growth in each other so that we continue to be more and more fruitful. We pray others would see the fruit of your spirit in our lives. May our obedience to live out all that you have commanded impacts our marriage, impacts our families and impacts the world in an extraordinary way. May we be faithful servants who build your kingdom and not our own. May we say yes to you to participate in all the wonderful opportunities you invite us to do for you. Give us courage and fill our heart with strength as we chase boldly after you together. In Jesus name Amen. [Jennifer] Amen. [Cody] Amen. [Aaron] All right, so thank you everyone for listening to this week's episode, to the first episode in our Marriage After God series. We want to invite you please, please go pick up a book today, marriagaeftergod.com. My wife and I wrote this for you, and all these interviews we're gonna be doing over the next 15 weeks are about the book. And the whole purpose is to encourage you in your faith and in your marriage and the purpose God has for you. So we look forward to having you next week. Did you enjoy today's show? Find many more encouraging stories and resources at arriageaftergod.com. And let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.