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Grammy-award winning worship artist Chris Tomlin had a lot to celebrate in 2013: he started off the year with a number 1 debut on the Billboard 200 album chart with Burning Lights (sign up for our free e-newsletter for an opportunity to win a free copy of his album next week), launched the most successful tour of his career, and celebrated a three-year wedding anniversary with his wife, Lauren. They also recently added a daughter, Ashlyn, to their family. This week, he will return to Atlanta to lead worship at the 2014 Passion Conference in Atlanta (January 17-18).
He's committed to being a husband, father, and global worship leader, and is passionate about building the church across the globe. Here's what Tomlin had to say about the importance of balance between marriage, family, and time on the road.
You've been married to your wife for three years now—what's been the best part of marriage for you two?
My wife is really good at listening—she's taught me how to listen more and not try to talk so much. Especially in prayer, just being in a state of listening and being quiet—that's really been something I've grown in marriage. Like most people, time can just fly, and it's hard to pause and really listen. My wife's really good at praying, listening, and teaching me to listen in prayer and ask God, Okay, what do you want to say? What are the roadblocks in my life that are keeping me from really listening? Saying, I'm struggling here, what's causing this, what's in the way? In marriage, we're able to sharpen each other in that way.
My wife is also awesome because she's not into how all of my music produces out. She's got a good little gait of music—I'll play something for her and she'll be like, "Eh, it's okay," or I'll play her something else and she goes, "Oh my gosh, I really love that." She loves hearing songs in their bare form on piano, and she's always been really good about saying, "People are going to love that." It's fun to have someone to bounce things off of like that.
Have you found a balance between family life and touring on the road?
We're trying to figure it out. My wife and daughter came on the road for a week last fall during my tour. I love having them out, but it's hard for my wife, it's hard for me, and it's hard for my baby. She's not sleeping, she's not eating, she's supposed to be on a schedule, so that makes it harder, but we're figuring it out. I can't wait for my daughter to come out with me for like a weekend when she can chill on her own and not have to worry about when naptime is and all that, but I try to get home on my days off to be together. My daughter is two years old so she'll jam out to anything. It's more Dora the Explorer right now, but she loves dancing to "God's Great Dance Floor." That's one that she likes.
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Allison J. Althoff is Today's Christian Woman's online editor. Follow her on Twitter @ajalthoff.