With radio hits such as "More," and "Only Grace," Matthew West established himself as a prominent Contemporary Christian music artist. Yet he'll tell you his success would have been impossible without his wife, Emily, who while they were still dating, supported him through potentially career-ending injury that severed an artery in his arm. MP talked with Matthew and Emily about what they've learned about marriage and each other.
You'd just begun dating when Matthew had his accident. How did that affect your relationship?
Matthew: Our friendship really blossomed. We skipped past all the trying to impress each other—she saw me at my worst. I'd had all these complications and at first the surgeons thought I might never play guitar again. My life was completely up in the air. But Emily never left my side. I knew then that I wanted to marry her.
Emily: It was a scary time. I knew Matthew might lose his dream.
What's one thing about your marriage that surprised you?
Emily: I had several married friends who warned me that after living by myself it was going to be a difficult transition. That you're not used to living with someone else and doing what they want to do, watching sports, whatever. So I was prepared for it to be hard. But after a few months I told Matthew, "This is easy." He's a good roommate.
Matthew: I never realized how thankful I'd be that Emily works in my field and understands its demands. It's not a nine-to-five job—every day is different. It helps that Emily understands fully those demands and what I'm going through.
What's the most important marriage lesson you've learned?
Emily: When we got married, Matthew's dad encouraged us to pray together. Praying before a meal is obvious, but we pray together before we walk out the door each morning and at night we talk about what we need to pray for. Matthew calls from the road to say, "I'm having a bad day" or "Pray for this meeting." If we have an argument, we pray that we'll like each other again in the morning.
Matthew: In my devotions, I've been challenged to listen to God. And that has also impacted my marriage. So I find myself trying harder to listen effectively to Emily—not to be checking my e-mail, watching ESPN, or doing other things. I think if we all shut it down and spend time listening to each other, we might be surprised what we learn and how much closer we become.
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