Whatever you think of them talking about their marriage on a podcast, Justin and Hailey have shared some important lessons, says Claire Musters
I was intrigued by the comments I saw on social media about Hailey and Justin Bieber appearing on the In Good Faith podcast, which is hosted by their pastors Chelsea and Judah Smith. Some wondered why on earth they would talk about the only part of their lives they could retain some semblance of privacy about, given that they are both in the public eye. Others retorted that they should be left alone and don’t deserve criticism.
Given that it is so early in their marriage, the cynic in me wondered what ‘expert’ advice they could offer, but, overall, I was impressed at the maturity and authenticity shown. Here are some of the valuable things they highlighted:
We need to talk more about marriage
Churches can be seen to be geared towards encouraging people to get married, but there is very little teaching on the nuts and bolts of how to maintain a healthy marriage. We need to be open and real about the difficulties and struggles – something Justin and Hailey were prepared to do in this podcast.
In my own marriage, part of the reason we struggled in silence for the first decade was because we looked around and thought all the marriages we saw were perfect, so we were too afraid to admit that we were having difficulties.
It’s important to know where your marriage is going
My husband Steve and I spend time with engaged couples, encouraging them to talk about their relationship vision and goals. It appears Justin and Hailey had long conversations about major life goals and decisions before their marriage, which is a very wise thing to do.
Too often we can start off with good intentions, but a few years down the road stop thinking about where our marriage is heading and let it simply drift, so we encourage couples to do yearly check-ups to see if things are still on track.
Marriages need input
Some of us become quite self-sufficient within our marriages, feeling that we have all we need, but that can be a real mistake. We need the fresh perspective, support and loving care of good friends. Churches can be a great place to find such friends, but they need to be people we totally trust. Justin and Hailey are very grateful for the community they have in their church, and for the close friendship they have with the Smiths. They talked about a third party being so useful when they were navigating times when each one felt they were in the right – but then discovered they were both wrong!
We need to keep working on ourselves as individuals
Justin was very open about his mental health struggles, and his need to seek help and healing for past trauma and emotional scars: “I committed to working on those things and getting healthy.” We don’t suddenly stop being responsible for ourselves when we marry. We are two less-than-perfect human beings coming together to do life with one another, but we need to allow the Holy Spirit to work on our individual hearts and minds.
Marriage is for the long haul
Hailey was very honest about how difficult she found the journey when Justin was working through his past issues. She spoke of how: “I’ve loved this person for a very long time and now would not be the time to give up on him…Imagine abandoning somebody in the middle of the worst time of their life…I was going to stick it out no matter what the outcome was going to be.”
Of course, there are times when staying with someone is not the right thing to do (in the case of abuse, for example), but too often we read of people jumping ship after a few years, when the relationship is not what they expected.
The bottom line is: marriage is hard work. We need to put in the time and effort required, be humble enough to reach out when we need help – and make opportunities for fun, because marriage is an incredible gift from God!
If you would like to read more on any of the points raised, Steve and I have written Grace-filled Marriage (Authentic). We have also created some free videos to facilitate discussion with trusted friends.