Actor Jim Caviezel has portrayed a variety of roles, from the Count of Monte Cristo to Jesus in The Passion of the Christ. In his current project he gives voice to Jesus once again in The Word of Promise, an audio presentation of the New Testament. Closest to Jim's heart, however, are his roles as husband to Kerri, his wife of 11 years, and father to their two children, Bo and LeLe, adopted from China. MP talked with Jim and Kerri about the impact fame, faith, and parenting have had on their marriage.
How are you most alike?
Kerri: We try to laugh when other people might get angry. For example, we were driving to a basketball game, running late thanks to me, and Jim was trying to make up time by driving quickly. The car in front of us hit someone, and because Jim was following closely, we hit them. I told Jim, "This happened because you were tailing him." And he got defensive and said, "If you hadn't been late, I wouldn't have been doing that." It could have turned into a bad argument.
Jim: I ended up saying, "Let's just pretend someone broke into the car and stole $500, because that's what this will end up costing us. Let's go on and enjoy our night." We laughed about it and eventually made it to the game.
How do you cope with the stresses that fame puts on your marriage?
Kerri: First, you don't believe the crazy things that show up in magazines. We try our best to protect our family from that, but it's a situation we don't have control over. We can only be responsible for how we react to it. I just try to keep smiling when people ask questions about the Count of Monte Cristo instead of Jim. I'll put it back in perspective by saying, "The Count of Monte Cristo doesn't take out my garbage."
Jim: Jesus does. [laughs]
You have two adopted children. How has that impacted you?
Jim: When a lot of the babies arrive at the [Chinese] orphanages, they die. The ones who survive really want to live. I think about how our kids were abandoned because they had serious health problems, and they survived on top of that. Things happen for a reason, and you can either use them as an excuse to fail or you can overcome.
Kerri: You hear yourself through your kids. It brought home things we needed to work on. For example, I can say something funny that comes off sarcastically. My son repeats everything we say. He'd been daydreaming, and I'd said, "Earth to Bo, Earth to Bo, are you there?" One day he was repeating that back to me, and it sounded really harsh. I thought, I need to change my tone.
What difference has your faith made in your marriage?
Jim: I look at it like this—if I'm going to play football, I want the best coach so I can be the best. And as I've looked at my marriage, I can say, "My faith is the best and only thing that's going to get me through this."
Kerri: There are so many highs and lows—that's a part of life. Our faith is what helps us handle that, because we are different and we look at things very differently. The Holy Spirit gives us grace to handle the tough situations.
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