News Articles

Couple teaches others how to learn from their mistakes

RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP)–Six years ago Bill and Amy Chastain were watching their now 13-year marriage disintegrate around them. Today, they are hoping to teach other couples to learn from their mistakes.
“God radically renewed and changed our relationship and our lives,” Bill Chastain said while leading the seminar, Breaking through Barriers to Intimacy, during a Fall Festival of Marriage weekend Oct. 15-17 at Ridgecrest (N.C.), a LifeWay Conference Center.
“Satan’s great lie is that intimacy only means having a sexual relationship with someone,” he told couples who packed a Ridgecrest classroom. “Society, the media and the world tell us that.”
But God has a different idea, he added.
“He tells us that intimacy is the deepening relationship with someone, of gaining a better understanding of who they are and who he is. Intimacy is the process of moving deeper into a relationship.”
While the Chastains may have looked as though they had the perfect marriage, Amy Chastain said the couple was living a lie.
“We looked really good. We pretended well, even in front of our parents, our friends and our church,” she said.
But the couple was too busy putting up barriers and walls around their emotions to share the intimacy that makes a marriage work, she said.
It all finally came to a head after the realization they may have fallen out of love. It was “the lowest point of my life,” Bill said. “We didn’t want to live the lie anymore. So we made a conscious decision to make it work.”
Bill and Amy said they struggled with the reality that it’s “OK not to be perfect. It’s OK to hurt.”
“If our inside scars were visible on the outside, people would rush to help us,” Bill said. “But they don’t see the scars and we don’t tell them, so we suffer by ourselves.”
Some barriers to intimacy the Chastains mentioned during their seminar include:
— Control.
— Inability to express personal needs.
— Anger.
— Shifting the blame or responsibility.
— Living in the past.
— Fear of being intimate out of fear of being rejected.
— Selfishness.
— Betrayal of a confidence.
— Avoidance by using distractions such as TV, sports, etc.
— Putting on masks as if everything is all right when it’s not.
— Fear of honesty.
— Shame and guilt.
— Pride.
The Chastains suggested ways couples can begin breaking down barriers in their marriages. They include:
— Prayer. “Cry out to God and ask him for wisdom,” Amy said.
— Ask the tough questions of yourself and others, such as “What do you really see in me?” and “How can I please God in my life?”
— Communicate honestly with one another and others. “The only way for people to see into you is if you tell them what’s going on,” Bill said. “They’re not mind readers, and even if they want to help you, they can’t unless you let them.”
Amy said couples should look at the word intimacy as instruction.
“Perhaps we should see it as ‘into me see,'” she said.
Fall Festivals of Marriage are sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. “The Two Shall Be As One” is the theme of the 1999 conferences, which are scheduled through Nov. 21. Visit LifeWay’s Internet site at http://www.lifeway.com/discipleplus/fallfest.htm to register on-line.

    About the Author

  • Scott Ptak