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Chris and Sarah Sligh

Season 6 American Idol finalist talks about keeping it real in marriage.

If you watched season six of American Idol, you probably remember Chris Sligh, the wisecracking contestant who gave judge Simon Cowell a run for his money. Though he didn't win (Chris placed 10th), he participated in 2007's Idol tour, is an Idol commentator for Entertainment Weekly online, and has just released his second album, Running Back to You. MP talked with Chris and Sarah, his wife of five years, about the impact American Idol has had on their marriage.

Was trying out for American Idol a joint decision?

Chris: It was my third time to try out—the first two years I didn't make it past the first round. So Sarah wasn't exactly supportive in the beginning. But once I made it to [judges] Randy, Paula, and Simon, she jumped on board.

Sarah: At first I was like, "Aw, don't do that." There had been so many ups and downs in Chris's career that it was really difficult to get onboard unless I felt it was actually going somewhere. I hated getting my hopes—and his—dashed. But I did think it would be a great jumping off point for his career.

During the competition, Chris, you spent weeks away from Sarah. How did you stay connected?

Chris: When I knew I was going to Hollywood, I started researching on the internet and talking to contestants who had made the top 24. So Sarah and I were able to discuss what was going to happen, the whole process. The most difficult time was during the early stages when we were separated for about five weeks. We were on opposite coasts, and the time difference was rough, but we made it work. We sent each other e-mails and notes and would text each other.

Sarah: We learned early on what our limitations were for being apart. We decided that two weeks was the maximum length we could go without starting to feel disconnected from each other. So we set the boundary that we'd get together at least that often, even while Chris was on the summer tour. During those visits he'd disconnect from everybody else and just focus on us.

How has your faith made a difference in your marriage?

Sarah: It's important to be of the same mindset, so you always have that faith to draw on when things get tough. It's our strength, our guide in life.

Chris: Sarah and I have had our rough times—the term "starving artist" comes to mind—when we lived paycheck to paycheck. That's hard on any relationship. There were times that if God hadn't been in our marriage,

I think both of us would have quit. But we trusted God was correct when he said one man and one woman for life. And we believe that if God was in our marriage to begin with, he'll be in it for the whole thing. That's definitely kept us together and our marriage healthy.

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Commitment; Marriage; Relationships
Today's Christian Woman, Summer, 2008
Posted September 12, 2008

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