Seeds of a Godly Marriage

with Jason Houser | May 11, 2011

Jason Houser might look like he’s had the perfect life as an award-winning music writer and worship leader, but he knows better. There was a time when he didn’t even know if his marriage was going to make it. Find out why - and how - it did, on “FamilyLife Today.”

Jason Houser might look like he’s had the perfect life as an award-winning music writer and worship leader, but he knows better. There was a time when he didn’t even know if his marriage was going to make it. Find out why - and how - it did, on “FamilyLife Today.”

Seeds of a Godly Marriage

With Jason Houser
|
May 11, 2011
| Download Transcript PDF

Bob:  Jason Houser remembers coming to the point in his marriage where, as a couple, they were in real trouble.

Jason:  You know, coming from a divorced home, I knew at the time, “Lord I can’t do this on my own, but I know I need to stay, and I promised my wife, and I promised I would be there for my kids.”  But we were both crying and I just left.  I said, “I may not come home tonight.  I just need freedom and I just need to be alone.”  That was definitely that moment, when I left the house and was driving away, and I cried out to the Lord and said, “Lord, you’ve got to bring me through this.”  I really cried out to the Lord, and he heard my cry.

Bob:  This is FamilyLifeToday for Wednesday, May 11th.  Our host is the President of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine.  We’ll talk to Jason Houser today about the spiritual realignment that took place in his life that made a big difference in his marriage.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today.  Thanks for joining us on the Wednesday edition.  One of the things we’ve learned in years of ministering to marriages and to families is that things can look a lot different from the curb than they wind up looking in the kitchen.  You know what I mean?

Dennis:  You’re talking about reality.

Bob:  I’m talking about the folks you’re going to church with, maybe even you.

Dennis:  There you go, who would never guess what’s taking place in private.

Bob:  It looks all polished and clean, but the reality is there’s some drama going on behind the scenes.  And oftentimes nobody knows about the drama until it’s too late. 

The reason I bring that us is because we’ve been talking this week with the pioneer who came up with the Seeds Family Worship project, and put Scripture to music and families all around the country are using this as a part of their family devotions or as they drive around in the car, kids listening to this.  You could get the idea, “Man, that must just be the perfect family to live in.”

Dennis:  I mean he sings, he writes songs.

Jason:  That’s right.

(laughing)

Dennis:  He and his wife, Heidi, have three children.  They live in Idaho Falls, Idaho.  Everything was perfect, right, Jason?

Jason:  I’m just saying, it’s a picture-perfect situation.

Bob:  But I happen to know there was a time in your marriage when the picture was not as perfect as it is today.

Jason:  That’s right.

Bob:  It’s a lot better today than it was, what was it, eleven years ago?

Jason:  Absolutely.  It was about ten years ago.  We were high school sweethearts, so we go way back.  We dated in high school.  It’s one of those situations, when I first met her – she’s a beautiful girl, we were at a party and I saw her, and I was like, “We need to go,”  and as cliché as it sounds, you guys, our first date was the Twin Falls County Fair.  (laughs)

Bob:  Oh, right.  Wow.

Dennis:  You were trying to impress her, weren’t you?

Jason:  Well, you know, only the best, honey.  She got a good idea of what she had to look forward to for the rest of her life.

(laughter)

But anyway, that was our first date.  We were just kids, and we dated through high school.  But then I had the big dream of music and moved to Nashville.  We tried to stay together for a season, but it just fell apart over time.  So then, over the college years she went to the University of Idaho, but we’d see each other, and we still had these feelings for each other.

Then there was a season when she was finishing school that she thought about coming to Nashville, and we were starting to get back together.  I was afraid to get married at that season, so I thought, “Well, moving to Nashville means I’ve got to get married.”  That was my immaturity.  So I blinked, unfortunately, and I said, “I don’t know.  I’m not sure about that.” 

So as a result, she was thinking about signing up for the Peace Corps, and so she signed up for the Peace Corps and she went across the world to the Fiji Islands.

Bob:  It was Nashville or the Peace Corps.  You blinked and she went to Fiji.

Jason:  Yeah, exactly.

Bob:  Wow.

Jason:  Poor decision on my part.  But I grew up a lot after I graduated from college and I was ready to get married before she left.  She was like, “You know, I’ve committed to do this.”  So, long story short, she served in the Peace Corps for a season, I flew over there and begged her to come home and marry me after a year, and she did, and we got married shortly thereafter.

But part of what happened is in the season of dating and breaking up and getting back together, we had hurt each other in different ways.  We were so happy to be back together, we just got married and we didn’t deal with the things that we should have talked about.  So what happened was, we brought those things into our marriage.

Over time, we just put those things in the closet, but then we realized in a season we were growing apart, and we signed up for a marriage class in our church.  We started going through this, but some of these things started coming up. 

Long story short, the Lord dealt with a lot of these things and the hurts from the past.  It was heartbreaking for both of us to go through that, but God redeemed the situation and brought our marriage through that and did amazing things.  After we recommitted to the Lord and really surrendered our marriage to the Lord, the next summer was when the beginning of the Seeds Family Worship Ministry was.

Bob:  Now you had become a Christian when you were 14 years old.

Jason:  Right.

Bob:  And did you stay firm and faithful in your walk with the Lord?

Jason:  I didn’t.  When I went away to college, when I moved to Nashville – and I encourage parents and kids – when you go away to college, get connected with a church.  Because I tried; I went to some churches and I didn’t get connected, and then I just started hanging out with some of the wrong friends.

You think you’re going to leave the path a little ways, and you go a lot further.  How sin deceives you.  So it took a long time for me to get back on the path.  Really, when we got to this marriage crisis situation that is when I really surrendered my life and my music and every bit of my life.

I said, “Lord, my great plan that I had, it didn’t turn out so hot.  Now I’ve got two kids that are dependent on me and I’ve got a wife, and I want to make this work but I can’t do it without you.”  And that was the amazing turnaround.  God was so faithful in what he did in us.

One of the blessings that we have now – because I also just had fear about having another child, and I decided “Yes, let’s have another child.”  Now we have our little girl, Abigail, and she’s such a joy in my life.  I see her just as a picture of God’s grace because we trusted the Lord through that difficult time that he’s blessed us with our family and our relationship.  Our relationship is better than it’s ever been.

Dennis:  What year did the crisis occur?  In what year of marriage?

Jason:  It was probably about year six or seven, because we got married in ’95, and that was 2001.

Dennis:  So you’d been married a while when you went through your crisis.

Jason:  Yes.

Dennis:  Do you remember a moment that was the darkest, filled with the most despair, and you thought, “Maybe this thing is over.”

Jason:  Dennis, there was one day.  After we had really unpacked everything and said, “We don’t want to have any secrets from each other anymore,” so we shared everything.  At that time we were both crying and I just left.  I said, “I may not come home tonight.  I just need freedom; I just need to be alone.” 

That was definitely that moment, when I left the house and was driving away.  Coming from a divorced home I was like, “Lord, I can’t do this on my own.  But I know I need to stay, and I promised my wife and I promised I’d be there for my kids.

I really cried out to the Lord, and he heard my cry, and he answered that prayer.  I did come home that night.  I came home and just said, “Lord, you’ve got to bring me through this.”

Dennis:  Was your point of anguish around your own failure as a husband and as a man in Heidi’s life?  Or was it the mess you were in at that moment, and you’d just been reduced where you just had no other place to look but cry out to him?

Jason:  Yes, I think it’s those things like I joke about, but you have this way you think your life is going to turn out.  And marriage is the great sanctifier.  You go into marriage, I think, thinking “What am I going to get out of this?  Here’s a beautiful woman, she loves me, we’re going to have a family, this is going to be awesome for me.” 

(laughs) 

You don’t think that outright, but in your heart you’re not thinking about what you’re going to give; you’re thinking about what you’re going to get.  God uses that to draw us closer to Christ.  So this was the humbling time, and it was one of those times I grew up. 

That was the point.  It’s not about you, and it’s not about your plan and maybe your dream; God has a plan for you, and there are people that depend on you.  Some people say musicians are immature.  I guess, 31, it’s about time, dude, for me to get on track, right?

Dennis:  Yes, but what had to happen in that moment as you were leaving, or after you came back, somewhere in there, forgiveness had to be asked for –

Jason:  Yes.

Dennis:  -- and forgiveness had to be expressed.  I, for one, think the Christian community really ought to be pretty skilled in both asking for forgiveness and granting forgiveness, because of what we’ve been forgiven for by God.

Jason:  Yes.

Dennis:  But I’m afraid we don’t know how to do this.

Bob:  Mm hmm.

Jason:  Yes.

Dennis:  What were the lessons you learned about forgiveness, both asking for it and granting it, with Heidi?

Jason:  Yes.  Well, the biggest lesson, Dennis, is Jesus is the Redeemer.  He redeems these situations, so when you ask forgiveness and when you humble yourself – and we both did that for each other. 

It was exactly like you’re saying.  You have to say the words, “Will you please forgive me for the ways that I’ve hurt you?”  And then you need to hear, “Yes, I forgive you.” As you guys know, they’re both equally important.  You have to be forgiven, and you do that in the marriage relationship, and then you repent to the Lord. 

I encourage people, when you’re struggling don’t hide, because people can come help you.  Your church can come alongside you, you can get counseling.  It is worth it.  You’re saying, “Is it worth going through this?”  Yes, it’s worth it.  God will bless that decision.

Bob:  Jason, I want to take you back to – you said at 14 you came to faith; during college you kind of faded spiritually.

Jason:  Yes.

Bob:  When you got married, if I had stepped into your home and kind of taken your spiritual temperature, what would you have been on the hot/cold scale?  Where would you have been?  Where would Heidi have been?  Did you start your marriage saying “The Lord’s going to be at the center of our life and our marriage and we’re going to do this for him?”

Jason:  We were Christians, and we went to church.  We definitely were.  I look back now, and I think we were believers, no question about that.

Bob:  So then the question is, there was a metamorphosis that happened at some point that took you from what I hear you describing as somewhat shallow water into the deep end spiritually.

Jason:  Yes.

Bob:  Describe the difference in what your marriage and family is like today, versus what it was like when you were Christians and going to church, but it was still kind of a shallow experience.

Jason:  Well, I think it’s so easy, because I’m a dreamer, I’m a visionary.  Like I say, I had my plan for life.  You’re in your 20s, you’re starting your family, you’re pursuing your dreams, so you’re moving in that direction.  And the Lord is part of your life, but he’s on the side, you know.  Or maybe like in the meal of life, he’s a side dish or a dessert. 

There’s no question in his Word, he demands to be the center of our lives.  “To love the Lord our God with heart, soul, mind and strength,” that’s the only place for the Lord.  So I think it was a convenient place for us, and we loved the Lord, but I think it was just the commitment level, of what does that really mean?  And so I’m so thankful for the crisis time.

Bob:  Uh huh.

Jason:  Because I think the great thing is, you go through those challenging times but you see God work, like God moved.  And then as God moved in us in that season, Heidi’s sister came and lived with us.  She was going through a difficult time, and she came to know the Lord.  We were a small part of that happening. 

You see how God is working.  God is drawing you this whole time, and of course, he loves us so much that his patience, his mercy, his grace.  Just like we love our children, it’s like “Oh, here they’ve fallen down again.” 

Dennis:  Yes.

Jason:  But he doesn’t sit there and go, “Look, you’ve fallen down again.”  He always, he wants what’s best for you.  But at the same time there are consequences for our sin that we have to deal with, and the forgiveness that we talked about, Dennis.  You have to go through that process.  There’s no easy way through that process, but it’s worth it.

Dennis:  Jason, we started FamilyLife in 1976, and honestly, I had no idea when we started it that we were going to intersect people’s lives at two of the most defining moments of all of human existence.  One is getting married . . .

Jason:  Right.

Dennis:  . . . and the other is having children.  Both of those can be spiritual wake-up calls.  What you said – you kind of said it under your breath as you scooted past it – as you told your story, you said you grew up at 31 years of age, and decided to step up and be a man at that point, and assumed the responsibility that comes with taking Heidi as your wife.

Jason:  Yes.

Dennis:  I think sometimes people look at their marriage being off in the ditch like Bob’s talking about, and you take a look at it and you go, “This is so terrible.”  Well, maybe it isn’t.  Maybe it’s the wakeup call, spiritually speaking, for you to finally get with it instead of playing church.

Jason:  Yes.

Dennis:  And as you said, and rightly so, treating Jesus Christ like a side dish rather than the feast.

Jason:  Yes, and the treasure that he is.

Dennis:  And to do marriage right, you have to make him the main thing.

Jason:  Yes.

Bob:  And you’re not aware of this, but Jason shared with us earlier as the team was together that he has just recently put music to the Shema from Deuteronomy 6, which describes what you just said about your marriage – that Jesus has to be loved with heart, soul, mind and strength, and be at the center of everything.

I think our listeners would really enjoy hearing how you have put those verses from Deuteronomy 6 to music.  This would be a great song for families to learn and to memorize and just to have it be the centerpiece of their family.  This is from the brand-new Seeds project, right?

Jason:  Yes.  Seeds of Character.

Bob:  It’s just been released, and if folks want more information about the CD, they can find it at FamilyLifeToday.com.  Let’s listen to Deuteronomy 6:

Teach us well, teach us well, teach us well, teach us well

(Verse)
Hear, O Israel
The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
You shall love the LORD your God
With all your heart and with all your soul
And with all your might

And these words that I command you today
Shall be upon your heart

(Chorus)
You shall teach them diligently, diligently
To your children, to your children
And shall talk of them when you sit in your house, sit in your house
And when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise
And when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise

Teach us well, teach us well, teach us well, teach us well

(Verse)
Hear, O Israel
The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
You shall love the LORD your God
With all your heart and with all your soul
And with all your might

And these words that I command you today
Shall be on your heart

(Chorus)
You shall teach them diligently, diligently
To your children, to your children
And shall talk of them when you sit in your house, sit in your house
And when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise
And when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise

(Chorus)
You shall teach them diligently, diligently
To your children, to your children
And shall talk of them when you sit in your house, sit in your house
And when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise
And when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise

 

Deuteronomy 6:4-7

 

Love the LORD with all your heart
With all your soul with all your might

Love the LORD with all your heart
With all your soul with all your might

Love the LORD with all your heart
With all your soul with all your might

Love the LORD with all your heart
With all your soul with all your might

Bob:  That is Deuteronomy chapter six from the brand-new Seeds of Character project from Seeds Family Worship.  That’s a great song.  That’s a great song.

Jason:  Thank you so much.

Dennis:  It really is a great song.  I just appreciate you using your gifts to the glory of God.  There are a lot of song writers today who use their gifts in other directions, shall we say.

Jason:  Yes.

Dennis:  You’ve proven you can write some songs for some of the great names in music, but you’re helping families win where it matters most, at home.  Jason, I appreciate you, and I’m glad you stepped up ten years ago.

Bob:  Mm hmm.

Jason:  Thank you so much, Dennis and Bob.  Thank you guys for just inviting us, for just sharing our ministry, and your encouragement today.  It’s been awesome.  Thank you.

Dennis:  Thank you.

Bob:  Again, if folks are interested in finding out about the Seeds Family Worship, hear some samples of that, or the Fighter Verse CDs that we’ve also talked about this week that have Scripture put to music, go to FamilyLifeToday.com and you can hear some samples from each of the projects.

You can order the CDs from us at FamilyLifeToday.com.  Or call 1-800-FLTODAY and order over the phone.  This is a great gift to give to your kids or your grandkids, and especially with summer coming and car trips coming, what better to listen to as a family than God’s Word put to music.

Go to FamilyLifeToday.com or call 1-800-FLTODAY and find out more about the Seeds Family Worship Project and about the Fighter Verse CDs. 

On the website you will also see a logo for the National Bible Bee.  In September there is going to be regional qualifying competition for this year’s Bible Bee.  In November the finals are being held in Nashville, Tennessee. 

Students will be competing for prize money.  For elementary students, the top prize is $25,000; for junior high students, it’s $50,000; for senior high students, it’s $100,000.  And whether you win the competition or not, for students and for families to be memorizing Scripture and to be studying the Bible together – that’s where the real win comes in. 

The folks at the Bible Bee would be happy to send you the materials that you need to get ready for the qualifying rounds.  Again, even if you don’t compete, the materials are a great way for families to be engaged together around God’s Word throughout the summer. 

So find out more.  Go to FamilyLifeToday.com, click on the link for the National Bible Bee, and you’ll get all the information that you need about the materials that are available and about the upcoming competition.

I know a lot of folks love this time of year.  I love this time of year when it starts to get warm and summer is on the way, and you’re making plans for what the family is going to do over the summer.

One of the things we’re trying to make plans for right now as a ministry is making sure that as we go through the summer we can take care of paying our bills, because for ministries like ours, the summer months tend to be months when folks aren’t donating as much as they do at other times of the year. 

So we had some friends of the ministry who came to us not long ago, and they said, “We realize that’s an issue for you guys.  We’d like to help out.  Here’s what we’d like to do.  We will offer to match every donation that you receive during the month of May, on a dollar-for-dollar basis, up to a total of $750,000.” 

Now that’s the largest matching gift that we’ve ever received outside of the month of December in the history of the ministry.  If we can match it, it will put us in great shape moving into the summer months.  But to do that, we need to hear from you.  We need you to go to FamilyLifeToday.com, or call 1-800-FLTODAY. 

Again, it’s FamilyLifeToday.com or 1-800-FLTODAY.  Make whatever donation you can make, $10 or $20 or $50 or $100 or $500 or $1000.  Every donation that we receive is going to be matched dollar for dollar.  Again, we’re trying to take full advantage of this $750,000 matching gift.  So we’re asking everybody to do something. 

In fact, there’s a thermometer on the website at FamilyLifeToday.com, if you want to keep track of how we’re doing as we press toward that $750,000 goal.  You can make a donation online at FamilyLifeToday.com, or you can call 1-800-FLTODAY.  We just want to say thanks in advance for whatever you are able to do.  We appreciate it, and we do hope to hear from you.

Now, tomorrow we’re going to talk to a mom and a daughter about some of the challenges that can happen in that mom/daughter relationship in adolescence and beyond adolescence.  We’ll hear from one mom and daughter about how they got past some of those issues.  I hope you can be here 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 back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas. 

Help for today.  Hope for tomorrow.

© Song: Teach Them

Artist: Seeds Family Worship

Album: Seeds of Character (p) 2011 Seeds Family Worship

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Fun, engaging conversations about what it takes to build stronger, healthier marriage and family relationships. Join hosts Dave and Ann Wilson with FamilyLife Today® veteran cohost Bob Lepine for new episodes every weekday.

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