Athletes in Action Director Corwin Anthony and his wife, Kim, talk candidly about some of the marital struggles they’ve faced since they’ve been together.
Athletes in Action Director Corwin Anthony and his wife, Kim, talk candidly about some of the marital struggles they’ve faced since they’ve been together.
Bob: Corwin Anthony was playing football in the National Football League when he proposed to his six-time all-American national gymnastics’ champion girlfriend Kim Hamilton. When the two became man and wife their success in athletics didn’t ensure success as husband and wife.
Corwin: You know, I assumed, because I was a good guy and I loved Jesus that I would be a great husband, but I didn’t take the time to begin to learn the basic principles of how to be a husband and how to be married.
Kim: And as a wife, I had watched my mother in a volatile relationship with my father just close up, and so that’s what I did. I just did the exact same thing when we would go at it for whatever reason. Instead of me trying to communicate my feelings I would just withdraw and not say anything at all.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, July 1st. Our host is the President of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. Corwin and Kim Anthony join us today to share candidly about some of the struggles they experienced in the early years of their marriage.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us. You know, couples who stand together at the altar gazing adoringly into one another’s eyes, in the back of their mind is this thought, “We’re not going to have any challenges or problems in our marriage because we love God, we love each other. It’s not like our friends or our parents.”
Dennis: Right, “We’ll be different.”
Bob: “We’ll just drift into marriage nirvana.” And then they wake up, sometimes the next day, sometimes the next week, next month, but ultimately, they wake up and go, “This is a little harder than I realized it was going to be.”
Dennis: Yes, let’s ask our guests on today’s broadcast, Corwin and Kim Anthony. Was that the way you guys…?
Corwin: No, we’ve never had any problems at all.
Dennis: No, that wasn’t the question. When you stood at the altar, before the pastor, did you think you would be different?
Corwin: Oh yes.
Dennis: I mean, Kim, you came from a tough family.
Dennis: What were you thinking?
Kim: I was thinking, “I hope that it will be different.” I desperately wanted it to be.
Dennis: Corwin and Kim give leadership to Athletes in Action Pro Ministry. They’re involved in the NFL, and Kim has written a book called Unfavorable Odds. We talked earlier about their relationship and kind of how it developed, and how Corwin popped the question and Kim said, “yes,” and you started out your marriage. How did you marriage start? Was it perfect from the very beginning like you said?
Corwin: Well, I literally told Kim, “I’m going to make you the happiest woman in the world.”
Kim: He did.
Corwin: The sad thing is I believed it.
Corwin: I really did. I was so confident of my love for her and I loved God. I had never seen a really good marriage. My parents were divorced growing up. I had this kind of, it was really kind of arrogant to be honest with you, feeling pretty good about, “Man, I’ve made some changes that most people my age never change from, so girl, you’re about to be impressed with this man.”
Dennis: I was watching her as you were saying that, and her shoulders would kind of squishing up a little bit and she was smiling…he really did say that?
Kim: He did!
Dennis: And you believed him?
Kim: I believed him. I mean, this is a man of integrity! This is a man who is after my own heart
and when he told me that, I thought, “Well, how could I say no? I have to say yes to this man! He’s going to make me the happiest woman in the world!”
Bob: Now, at this point, were you in the League? Were you playing ball?
Corwin: No, not yet, but it was pretty clear that I was going to be.
Bob: You were headed in that direction, and you’re out of college?
Bob: Are your gymnastics days over at this point.
Kim: My gymnastics days were over, yes.
Bob: And what were you imagining that life was going to be as Mrs. Corwin Anthony?
Kim: Well, because, again I didn’t see that marriage modeled, I don’t think I had the right perspective of marriage. I was, at the time, a stuntwoman in Hollywood. I thought that he would play football and I would be a stuntwoman and we would have this great life together but it didn’t quite work out like that.
Corwin: I ended up signing with the LA Rams, and I know I just dated myself…
Dennis: That was 1991?
Corwin: 1991, right after UCLA and the market for stunt people is in LA, so I’m thinking, “This is a God thing.”
Bob: “This is perfect.”
Corwin: Oh yes. So, now I ended up getting cut about a month into the season, and the Jets picked me up, and…
Bob: That’s all the way across the country, isn’t it?
Corwin: Yes, and I’d never been out of California before.
Corwin: It was awhole different world so that was really the first time we began to start seeing some tension in our relationship.
Bob: And you’re going to be living in New York which means what for the stuntwoman?
Kim: It means I’d be out of work.
Corwin: Yes. It was hard
Dennis: So what did you do?
Kim: Well, I performed with a group called Antigravity. They are a gymnastics dance group, and I did the Radio City Music Hall Easter Show. I did some professional dancing while I was there, and ironically, as I was performing at Radio City I was approached by the manager of the Rockettes and he invited me to join the Rockettes to be a part of their group. They were willing to teach me how to tap dance and everything and I was excited about that. So I’m thinking, “okay, I can’t be a stuntwoman in LA, but I can be a Rockette in New York!”
Corwin: I wasn’t too happy about that.
Kim: Well they just kick their legs up.
Dennis: But why were you not happy about that?
Corwin: Well, you know, I had this image of a Rockette, you know, the legs, and I’m thinking, “I don’t think I want my wife, you know…”
Bob: Yes, you don’t want…yes, “Those are my legs!”
Corwin: Nobody else gets to enjoy them.
Kim: Well, yes, as a girl, you don’t think about that stuff sometimes.
Corwin: But the transition from the Rams to New York was smooth for us because for Kim New York is a great market for…
Corwin: …her dancing and …
Corwin: …and she’s an artsy person. And so, I thought, “okay, New York is great!” Now, I re-sign with the Jets after that season and the Jets traded me to Green Bay. I found out on Monday morning at eight o’clock after I had a good game. It was the Hall of Fame game and I walked into the office and they said, “Corwin, we have just traded you to Green Bay.”
Now my first thought was not “Oh man! That’s messed up my career!” It was, “Oh no! My wife is going to be devastated!” So I called home right after I found out and before I could get a word out, she said, “Have you been traded to Green Bay?” I said, “How did you know?” She said, “Because Green Bay just called and said your plane leaves at 12 and don’t be late.” I said, “Yes, baby, come get me.”
So I’m in the parking lot praying and asking God to help me console this woman who’s going to be weeping and sobbing. She pulled up in the car and I’ll never forget it. She opened the door and walked towards me with a big smile on her face and when she got close up to me she put her arms around my neck and said, “Wow, what is God doing?”
Then, at that point, I fell apart. She totally didn’t stress about it. She didn’t cry or complain. She trusted that God had a plan even in this move to Green Bay knowing that it meant she would have to end her career yet again and move across the country with me.
Bob: Given the fact that neither of you had a really great marriage model to look at growing up, you’re dad had been in and out of the house and in and out of his marriage with your mom
Bob: …a couple of times. Your parents had divorced. You promised you’re going to make her the happiest woman on the face of the earth. When did it dawn on the two of you that marriage is a little harder than you thought?
Corwin: I’ll say our first year in marriage.
Kim: Yes. It didn’t take too long.
Corwin: Once we got married that’s when I was traded to Green Bay and then my career ended there. So it was a quick in and out of the NFL. Football is kind of like a bubble. You’re in a protective…it’s Disneyworld. It’s not the real world. Once we entered the real world and had to deal with real issues that is when we began to see the flaws in our lives. All the stuff in the past began to come up.
Boy, our fights would always end with me screaming and slamming the doors and driving away and parking somewhere in the parking lot by myself for two hours. We really didn’t know how to resolve conflict. We didn’t know anything about being married. I had assumed because I was a good guy and I loved Jesus that I would be a great husband but I didn’t take the time to begin to learn the basic principles of how to be a husband and how to be married.
Kim: And as a wife I had watched my mother in a volatile relationship with my father just close up and so that’s what I did. I just did the exact same thing when we would go at it for whatever reason. Instead of me trying to communicate my feelings I would just withdraw and not say anything at all.
Dennis: You undoubtedly had some old tapes that played in your heart about how a man treats a woman. When you saw him storm out of the house, peel out of the driveway, I mean, fear?
Kim: Yes, fear. That is the exact same thing my father used to do. I would sit there and listen to my parents argue and I wouldn’t hear silence until the door slammed, and I thought, “okay, he’s gone. Now it’s safe.”
And it was crazy that the same thing was actually playing out in our marriage. It was very difficult for us to deal with it, and it wasn’t until we attended a FamilyLife Conference that we were able to understand better how to communicate. It was just so eye-opening to be able to learn the principles that we should’ve learned probably before we got married.
Corwin: Yes, yes.
Bob: Did you attend the conference in that first year in Green Bay? Is that where you went?
Corwin: No, not in Green Bay, they don’t have much in Green Bay!
Dennis: Well we’ve got a great conference on Green Bay!
Bob: We’re up in Appleton!
Dennis: Oh yes!
Corwin: Oh yes, thanks a lot! About 20 years too late!
Dennis: No, we were there back then! We have some great stories of what God did to redeem some lives. There’s a couple there, Jim and Debi Godsey, who came to the conference and the way they describe it, they said if you had had their picture up on a tripod next to the podium as the poster kids for how not to do marriage that would have been them. What was the first year you guys went to the conference?
Corwin: Boy, our first year was probably in…
Kim: Was it in Peoria?
Corwin: I think it was in Peoria, Illinois.
Kim: We had several different aspects of it. Remember when we went to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl and we had a little mini conference with the chaplains up in Detroit.
Corwin: Yes, Dave and Ann Wilson.
Kim: Dave and Ann Wilson led that.
Corwin: They had their little mini FamilyLife deal. But we ended up going to three Weekend to Remember® conferences.
Bob: Well, before you got to the Weekend to Remember®, you got the tension you don’t know how to handle conflict, you’re not communicating well. Did either of you think “I don’t know if this will make it?” Did you think “maybe it would be better if we never had gotten married?”
Corwin: Yes. I’m a recovering control freak let me put it that way. I would not have labeled the way I treated Kim as controlling back then, but if you can picture a flower in the palm of your hand I was very protective in the way I thought I should protect Kim by covering her with my hand. I covered her but I also kept the light from coming to her and did not allow her to blossom because of my overprotection and my overbearing ways.
She actually went through and was diagnosed with depression, and one day, she came to me and said, “Corwin, the only reason that I’m still with you is because of my love for God.” She had lost all feelings for me, all romance, all emotions, and it was at that time that I began to really look at and consider the way I treated her. I didn’t know it was hurting her that deeply.
Dennis: So, you attended three of these Weekend to Remember® marriage conferences and you attended saying you didn’t know how to do marriage. What was your number one take away that you’ve had, Kim, and I’d like you to also answer it Corwin, but what did you learn there that made the difference?
Kim: The biggest thing for me was communication because I was not a communicator. I held in for so many years the sadness and the hurt that I felt in our marriage and until it just boiled over and it got to the point where I said, “You know what? The only reason I’m here is because of my love and commitment to God.”
So, at the conference, that was a big deal for me, to learn how to communicate, how to express my feelings, even when I don’t feel like it as opposed to shutting down. I believe that’s helped us, right?
Corwin: Yes, yes, very much.
Bob: “That’s helped, hasn’t it, honey?”
Corwin: Yes, and I was a guy who would chase her, you know, “Let’s talk! Talk now! Come on, what are you doing?” And she wouldn’t want to talk.
Kim: I just needed more time to process some things.
Bob: How about for you? Any big thoughts that were breakthroughs for you?
Corwin: Handling conflict. Not being afraid of conflict and seeing that conflict, sometimes, can be good. Well, it is good for a relationship when you handle it the right way and the results are enormous.
Dennis: Instead of controlling…
Corwin: Instead of controlling…
Dennis: …and taking your hand from being over the rosebud…
Dennis: You remove your hand and nourish it and cherish it, and allow the light to allow the rosebud to open up.
Corwin: Yes! When Kim was in the middle of her depression I remember praying, “God, how do I help her?” At that time I was trying to move away from this controlling guy. But I was praying, “God, what do I do to help my wife? She’s sad all the time.” And no one knew, but I knew, and I remember it was as if God spoke to my heart. He said, “Corwin, you need to treat her like the little girl she never got to be.”
We don’t have girls so I didn’t know. How does a father treat a girl? So I started guessing, “Well, he probably buys her ice cream and tells her her hair is pretty all the time, and so I started doing those things for Kim as an adult.
Now, we’re in ministry together during this time, and I remember hearing the radio broadcast, and the guy said, “You know, every morning, when I see my wife, I just tell her, I say, ‘Boy, my day can begin now.’” So, I started doing that, and the first time I said that, Kim looked at me with those eyes and said, “What book have you been reading?”
But you know what? I just kept pouring it on, remember, “Treat her like the little girl she never got to be.”
So I did that and I began ministering to her that way. I remember, after a season of really pouring it on her, she came out of the bedroom one morning, and I looked up, and I said, “Boy, my day can begin now!” All of a sudden a huge smile came across her face and she ran down the stairs and jumped into my lap just like a little girl.
That’s when God reminded me what He told me months ago, “Treat her like the little girl she never got to be.” So that’s where we are now. We’ve been through a lot. It’s been painful for both of us. Her depression led her to do some things that really hurt me as well, but God has got us in a really good place right now.
Dennis: I wish you could see Kim’s face right now. She’s transfixed on the man who’s helped her be the happiest woman on the planet. What did you learn, Kim about being a wife to Corwin?
Kim: The biggest thing I’ve learned about being a wife to Corwin is that I should be his biggest cheerleader. I should be the one who is encouraging him and believing in him. I haven’t always done that but it’s something I’ve been working on and definitely something that I enjoy.
Another thing is that I need to trust that God has put us together for a reason and that in those tough times when you feel like giving up, you feel like, “Well, I don’t know if this is going to work.” I have to remember that God doesn’t make mistakes. When I look back and I look at the book and our relationship and how God brought us back together, I see His hand, and it’s so very clear. I love you.
Corwin: And I love you, too.
Dennis: You really are articulating something that we attempt to teach from the scripture, of how when God brings two people together, it’s like Adam and Eve. The real Provider of the gift is God. He’s the one you need to look to whose judgment can be trusted. He knew what He was doing when He brought two very different, very selfish, very broken people together. Barbara and I talk about that a lot. We’ve been married now, coming up on, 38 years.
Dennis: The most often repeated phrase in the last five years of our marriage is, “Man! We are really different! We are really different!” But you know what? If you look past how those differences rub you the wrong way to the God who gave you the gift, then all of a sudden it’s a dynamic to your life you would never have had.
Corwin, I didn’t read the same book you did about “Boy, my day can begin now,” but one of the things I’ve been saying increasingly to Barbara for the past few years, “Wherever you go, you make things beautiful.”
Bob: Oh yes!
Kim: I like that!
Dennis: And I think the message for the guys is your assignment, if you’re married, is to make your wife like Christ: complete, holy, blameless. That’s your assignment. I want to thank you guys for being on our broadcast and sharing your story.
You’ve been very gracious to allow us to kind of peel back the veil and hear, really, how two people have hammered out a real relationship together. You’re making a big difference in pro athletes’ lives and their families and marriages and wives. I want to thank you for your ministry and I want to encourage you to keep going. It’s a very important ministry.
Bob: I think there are going to be a lot of folks—well, I know there are a lot of folks—who have benefited just from what you’ve shared here on FamilyLife Today this week. And those who have contacted us get a copy of Kim’s book. It’s called Unfavorable Odds, which, by the way, we have in our FamilyLifeToday Resource Center. You can go online at FamilyLifeToday.com for more information about getting a copy of Kim’s book. Again, it’s called Unfavorable Odds.
You can go to FamilyLifeToday.com for more information. You can also get information about the FamilyLife Weekend to Remember® marriage conference, and I know we don’t have any conferences going on until next fall, but it’s not too early to start figuring out when the conference is going to come to a city where you live.
Knock out that date on our calendar and go ahead and get registered for an upcoming FamilyLife Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway. Again, you can get the information at FamilyLifeToday.com, or call if you have any questions, 1-800-FL-TODAY is the number; 1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800 F as in “family” L as in “life” and then the word TODAY.
You know, a lot of families today are facing challenging times financially trying to figure out how to get the family budget to go farther than it has ever gone before. I know, as a ministry, we face that challenge, trying to get our expenses and our revenue to come together as a ministry, and in difficult financial times. That’s why we wanted to offer to our listeners a book called 99 Ways to Stretch Your Home Budget. We’d love to send this out to you as a free gift, especially if you are new to the ministry of FamilyLife.
Maybe you’ve never been to one of our events or gone on our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, you want to find out more about what God is doing through this ministry. We’d love to send you the book as a getting-to-know-you gift, and we think you will find it helpful as well as you seek to maximize your family budget. You can request a copy of the book simply by calling 1-800-FL-TODAY, 1-800 F as in “family” L as in “life” and then the word TODAY.
Ask for the book on stretching your home budget and let me just say we’re glad that you’re tuned in and listening to FamilyLife Today, and we hope to be able to provide additional help for your marriage and for your family in the months and years to come.
We hope you can be back with us tomorrow when we’re going to hear from a woman who, a number of years ago, faced really an unspeakable horror. She had a television program, she was married to a Congressman, and she was being stalked by a predator. She’ll share her story with us tomorrow. I hope you can be back for that.
I want to thank our engineer today Keith Lynch and our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our host Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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