Wooed Away From Home
About the Guest
The drift toward isolation in marriage is common to every marriage, whether you’re selling insurance in Indiana, serving in ministry, or working in Hollywood as an actor. Today, we’ll hear from Kirk Cameron and his wife, Chelsea, and we’ll find out how God drew them back together.
The drift toward isolation in marriage is common to every marriage.
Wooed Away From Home
Bob: When actor Kirk Cameron married his TV co-star Chelsea Noble, he promised what all husbands-to-be promise: to love, honor, cherish; forsaking all others as long as the two shall live.
Kirk (from audio recording): “I vowed I would never break her heart. I had even made a commitment that I, as an actor, would not even kiss another woman, let alone have an affair.
But I found myself, fifteen years later and six kids later, attracted to another woman.”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, March 17th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. Today, Kirk and Chelsea Cameron share some of the challenges that come with trying to make a Hollywood marriage work.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Thursday edition. I don’t know if you had a chance to come when we were on the Love Like You Mean It cruise back in February.
Dennis: Yes, I was there.
Bob: I knew you were on the cruise! But there was so much going on . . .
Dennis: Oh, no doubt.
Bob: . . . that you couldn’t get to everything. So I don’t know if you had the opportunity to come in - it was on Thursday afternoon - when Kirk and Chelsea Cameron shared with the crowd a little of their story and some of their marriage challenges that they’ve experienced. They were very transparent, and the crowd!
First of all, they just loved being able to be onboard the ship, be with the Camerons and with you and Barbara and with Crawford and Karen Lorritts and Tim and Joy Downs and all of the different musicians who were on board like Big Daddy Weave and Point of Grace . . .
Bob: . . . and Selah and the Annie Moses Band and Michael O’Brian. I mean, it was just a great event.
That particular Thursday afternoon, while we were spending the day at sea, we got together and had a chance to hear from Kirk and Chelsea and I know you got a chance to spend some time with them onboard the ship and get to know them a little better.
Dennis: I was very impressed with both Kirk and Chelsea. They are the real deal. They’ve got just a delightful family – six children – and in fact I was hoping to get to sneak some ice cream with them. It didn’t work out on the cruise.
I was impressed with Kirk, because here he is as an actor; and, yes, as he’s just mentioned, there are a lot of temptations for actors and actresses in Hollywood, but he has withstood the temptation and the test. I think he speaks with integrity and authority to people’s marriages today because he’s experienced temptations like all of us have in our lives.
Dennis: He’s a very good speaker, and together as a team, they are really a dynamic duo.
Bob: A lot of our listeners may remember that they met on the set of the sitcom which they both starred in back in the ‘80s called Growing Pains . . .
Dennis: Did you watch that by the way? Wasn’t it banned in your house?
Bob: I told Kirk and Chelsea that we didn’t let our kids watch it.
Bob: He said, “We don’t let our kids watch it either!”
Bob: But they met and they were both new believers. They had been Christians for about a year. They fell in love, they got engaged, and as the show ended they got married. Of course, a lot of our listeners also know that they both starred in the Left Behind series of movies. Kirk was in the movie Fireproof.
Actually, Chelsea was in the movie Fireproof, too. At the very end—the last scene—from a distance you think Kirk is kissing the woman who has been his wife in the movie, he’s not. He’s actually kissing his own wife. They flew her in for the final kiss.
So we thought it would be fun for our listeners to hear what they shared with the audience onboard the Love Like You Mean It cruise. I should just mention that a lot of the folks who were onboard with us have signed up for next year’s cruise as well.
Dennis: Yes, it’s over thirty percent full already and you know, this cruise really surprised Barbara and mean at how powerful a time of purposeful ministry it was in people’s lives. We had a woman who walked up to us just as we walked onto the boat, and she said, “Twenty-two years ago, my husband and I came to a Weekend to Remember ®marriage getaway. Our marriage was over. But we tore up our divorce papers and we’ve now been to the Weekend to Remember fifteen times. We’re here celebrating our 25th anniversary.”
There were a number of couples celebrating their 20th, 25th, 30th anniversary. Truthfully, Bob, I can’t think of a better way for two people to celebrate marriage and at the same time get better equipped to make their marriage go the distance than to attend a Love Like You Mean It cruise.
Bob: Renew their vows out under the stars in the middle of the Caribbean. . .
Dennis: It doesn’t get any better than that!
Bob: . . . at night. . .
Dennis: With little violins playing there.
Bob: That was sweet.
Well, we’re going to listen to Part One of what Kirk and Chelsea Cameron shared with those folks who joined us onboard the Love Like You Mean It cruise. Here is Kirk Cameron:
Kirk (from audio recording): “Well, Chelsea and I are so excited. This is a really special thing for us to be able to do together because we normally don’t go away like this or get to speak together.
Chelsea has a class at a church near our home where she teaches every week on the subjects of marriage and parenting from a biblical perspective, and I’m gone speaking at different churches on the same subject. Rarely do we have the chance to do this together. I think this is our second time.
Kirk: We’re here with our kids, and we’ve had a great time. This is really, really cool.
Let me say that I am very thankful that this is a FamilyLife Marriage cruise, and not just a regular cruise.
There are many reasons why, but the reason I was thinking of just now is that on a regular cruise I would be so tense just because I would be so tense. I would feel like I would be fighting the guys off of my wife, you know?
I know she’s beautiful, and if this was a regular cruise I would feel like I just constantly had to be with her and all nervous about this, letting them know that this is not a typical Hollywood couple, where this Hollywood actress is going to become available in 2-3 months.
You know, we’re not getting divorced. That’s not going to happen. I’m not planning on dying any time soon. If she leaves me, I’m going with her.
I feel much safer here!
We’ve been married for 19 years – it will be 20 years this summer. I know that’s something like ninety in Hollywood years! Hollywood has a horrible reputation with marriage. How many times do you hear of a couple who hangs in there and stays together?
It seems like every six months someone becomes available again to get remarried. It’s just tragedy after tragedy after tragedy. We realize that Hollywood, in many respects, is like a modern-day Sodom. It promotes divorce with so much of the filth and the sewage that it generates and pumps into marriages and families and homes of everyone else around the world. So it seems like a very unlikely place for two people to find one another, share a love for Jesus Christ, and make a marriage that will work and be strong and be healthy.
Before we get to sharing on marriage, I just want to acknowledge the fact that we are not the most qualified couple here to be sharing wisdom and advice to you. We are not the Raineys, or Crawford and his wife, or the others who have been here who have so much experience and from whom we can learn so much. But we do know what it’s like to be married for 19 years. We are two sinners who came together and said, “I do.”
We’ve had to work through a lot of things. We know the challenges of having six kids within the span of about eight years: no nannies; a full-time job that takes me out of town, sometimes overnight for days at a time; trying to juggle ministry and all that has become family life.
We also know that the same God Who designed the universe also designed marriage. We’ve gotten to know Him and His manual, and He speaks with authority on every subject including marriage and His advice trumps Oprah’s every time.
We feel that we can speak to you on marriage simply because God speaks with authority on the subject from His Word and He’s kind enough to make His Word understandable for simple people like us. He has a lot to say on the subject of marriage.
Chelsea: Kirk and I intentionally did move away from Hollywood. We thought it would be good for our marriage just to get away from the heart of all that, but we quickly learned that the problems had very little to do with location. There were those external things and then there was the real problem that came right with us out to the suburbs. That was what was inside of us. Things like selfishness and our pride and our stubbornness, and our downright refusal to look at what God says about things because we’re too busy thinking about how we feel about things.
Right from the start, Kirk and I come from very different backgrounds. I come from upstate New York; he comes from L.A., which is like the meeting of two planets. I grew up going to elementary school and high school and college, very middle-class, rooted family. His family is wonderful, but Kirk’s journey was different than mine.
Kirk: Yes, I was the spoiled, pampered L.A. actor.
Chelsea: He said that. He said it.
Kirk: I’ll admit it.
Chelsea: So, there were just a lot of differences in the way we viewed life and the way we viewed marriage.
Kirk: Let me interrupt here for just a second here. I’ve got to tell a story about the day that I realized that it was like the meeting of two planets. We were so different from one another. Chelsea’s very passionate. She speaks with her hands and she’s always very passionate in arguments. I used to think she was mad at me all the time. “Why are you so mad at me?”
Chelsea: It’s like the New York Italian and this Scottish boy.
Kirk: We can be feisty, too, but it’s different. I remember one time - we were in a condo. It was just after we had gotten married, and we lived in a condo. We were in the kitchen. I was sitting at the table with a friend, and Chelsea was at the sink putting away some dishes.
During this conversation, I heard this big crash right behind me. I got kind of startled and I jumped up out of my seat and I was looking at the situation trying to understand what happened. I was looking and in the sink, shattered into a million pieces, was one of our very expensive wedding crystal glasses.
It was just destroyed in the sink. I was looking at this, realizing what it was and what it cost, and I just said, “Honey, honey, you’ve got to be more careful.”
Kirk: Right? I mean . . . Wait, it gets better!
She looked at me, and she gave me that look that only a New York Italian can give. Right? She was sort of disciplining me with her eyes. Has your wife ever done that to you? She was looking at me, and while she looked me in the eyes, she went into the dishwasher, pulled out another one of our fine crystal glasses and she just dropped it in the sink.
(Laughter and applause)
It shattered into another million pieces!
Chelsea: Okay. . .
Kirk: I looked at this and I thought to myself, “Oh my gosh! What have I married?”
Kirk: This was right out of the chutes, just early on in the marriage, and I thought, “Oh man!”
Chelsea: We all know there are two sides to every story. That wasn’t exactly the tone that he used. It was a full scolding for a mistake. I had never been scolded for a mistake ever in my life – ever! Stuff was never important in my home. It was just not, if it was a mistake.
So, when he scolded me for making a mistake, I don’t know but it was as if something just overtook my body and I had to grab the other one. . . It was like the thing was more important than my feelings, and I thought, “Oh, what did I marry?” . . .
Chelsea: “ . . .because this is never going to work.” And that was just the beginning of some stories of how those differences caused a lot of conflict.
But the problem wasn’t Hollywood, the problem wasn’t location, the problem was our own pride. It was just that sense of “Don’t tell me what to do,” and “Don’t criticize me,” and “How dare you do that?” It was my focus on him and what he should be and what he promised he would be and what he’s not doing and what I think he should be. I started to learn that I could not change him.
No matter how hard you try, you cannot change another person. You cannot. Only God changes people. I remember praying through tears, “I don’t really know how to do this,” but I needed to stop praying for a new husband, and start asking God to change me so that I could give my husband a new me.
Kirk: When Chelsea and I first met, she was the sum total of my thoughts. Do you know that feeling of how the whole world just shrinks down to about “this big,” and that was all I could see. I was just as happy as could be. The world could have been falling apart around me, but it didn’t matter.
You know, the Berlin Wall comes down - “What wall? Chelsea is my world.” I was so singularly focused on her and life was great. I vowed in my heart that I would never, ever break her heart. I would never disappoint her intentionally. I had even made a commitment that I, as an actor, would not even kiss another woman, let alone have an affair.
But I found myself, fifteen years later and six kids later, attracted to another woman. She just drew me in. I felt that I was always respected by her. She would laugh at my jokes. I felt so important and like anything I said, no matter how I said it . . . I could do no wrong. But when I came home it was different.
So I began to neglect my wife and my kids for this over here that was working so well, and was so satisfying to me personally. I began to focus my time and my attention and my affections here rather than where they should have been.
She has a name, and her name is the church—ministry. I would travel around and speak at this church or that church, and I felt like I was a hero. You know? I felt like I could do no wrong, and I was hitting homeruns right and left. Yet, at home, my wife’s heart was being broken. Our trust and relationship was being damaged little by little because of these choices that I was making.
You know? The mistress can wear many faces. It doesn’t have to be the postman or the secretary. It can be a million other things that steal your heart and your affection away from your spouse. It can be your job, it can be sports, it can be a title, it can be a position, it can be your congregation, hobbies. You know, in Proverbs 5 is a whole chapter devoted to saying, “Stay away from the seductress. Her voice is sweet, her lips drip with honey, but her feet will take you down a path that leads to death and destruction and hell. Don’t fall for her.”
So I’d like to ask you to just think of who it is that’s wooing you away and splitting up your relationship with your spouse. Is it your friends? Is it your hobby? Is it your kids? Whatever it is, I want to encourage you to identify it and call it what God calls it.
No matter how good ministry can be, or harmless a hobby can be, or a hundred other good things, if they are putting a wedge between you and your wife or you and your husband in terms of time and attention and affection, you need to cut it out and put it in its proper place. Or, if it’s not legitimate, kill it and get rid of it and wage war against the enemy that seeks to destroy your togetherness and your oneness.”
(End of audio recording)
Bob: Well, we’ve been listening to Kirk and Chelsea Cameron from the recent FamilyLife Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. I was really struck by how transparent both of them were. I said to him afterwards, “In an industry where managing your image is a big deal, you guys were very honest.”
I appreciated their transparency.
Dennis: Yes, and they used that transparency to challenge all of us in the audience to really do what the Apostle Paul exhorts us to do in Ephesians, Chapter 5, beginning in verse 15: “Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time because the days are evil. So then, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Paul goes on to talking about being filled with the Spirit.
You know, Bob, I think couples have to be wise about the choices they make that really seek to protect their marriage, their family, and really their love for one another. And that’s what Kirk was talking about here.
Bob: Yes, and one of the choices I think couples need to make is the choice to get some time away regularly. I don’t know how often that works for you and I don’t know what “getaway” looks like for you, but I know for Mary Ann and me to have some time away together. . .
We got a chance to have some time, even though I was working when we were on the Love Like You Mean It cruise back last month, we were together. We had a full day where I didn’t have any responsibilities and we could just relax and rest and enjoy our time together. I would encourage couples, whether that’s a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway, or it’s a retreat that your church does, or you may want to join us next year in February – Valentine’s week – when we go on the second Love Like
You Mean It cruise.
Maybe you’re celebrating a special anniversary next year, or maybe it’s time for the two of you to get away and enjoy some relaxing time away together.
We’re going to be heading out of Miami next year on February 13th. We’ll cruise Valentine’s week. We’ve got Gary Thomas who’s going to join us, the author of the book Sacred Marriage. Voddie Baucham is going to be joining us as well. We’ve got Brandon Heath and Matthew West, and our friend Paul Overstreet who are going to be along providing some of the musical moments during the cruise, so it should be a great event and we wanted to encourage FamilyLife Today listeners to sign up now for a couple of reasons.
First of all, because we expect it will sell out. Secondly, because right now you can get a better selection from the cabins that are available onboard the ship. Third, you can start making monthly payments toward the cruise, and that way you spread out the cost of it over a longer period of time. And if you sign up right now, until April 8th, and you mention my name “BOB,” you can save $200 off your cabin. But you’ve got to get in touch with us before April 8th.
So, go to FamilyLifeToday.com. There’s a link there that you can click that will take you right to the website where you can get all your questions answered about the cruise, you can register online. Just remember to use my name “BOB” as the promo code when you sign up online.
Or you can always call 1-800-FL-TODAY and we can put you in touch with who you need to talk to so you can get lined up for the cruise.
Again, our toll free number is 1-800-FL-TODAY or go online at FamilyLifeToday.com and come on out and join us next year, Valentine’s week, for the second annual Love Like You Mean It cruise.
By the way, all this week we’ve had a number of our listeners who have been getting in touch with us to get the “Three Essentials for Every Married Woman” card that we have created that goes in your Bible or in your daily organizer, wherever you’d like to keep it. We’re offering these free. All you have to do is go online to request it at FamilyLifeToday.com or call 1-800-FL-TODAY and say I’d like the card for married women.
On the card, Barbara Rainey lays out priorities of being a woman of the Word, being a helper to your husband, and being a woman who changes the world. Again, you can request one of these cards online at FamilyLifeToday.com or call 1-800-FLTODAY and ask for the card for married women, and we’re happy to send it out to you when you contact us.
And we hope you’ll be back with us tomorrow. We’re going to hear Part Two of the message that Kirk and Chelsea Cameron shared with us last month on the Love Like You Mean It cruise. 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.
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