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Three Questions for Randy and Anita Roberts
By Tim Cross

What specifically have you done in your marriage to keep it alive and growing?

 1. We are both deeply involved in the ministry of the church. The church has been our lives, we are both very engaged there. Prayer has been a huge part. When you pray for each other –your spouse, God works in your heart – this has been life changing.

 2. We do a lot of walking together. We do much of our talking and praying while we are walking.

 3. We have been blessed to be able to travel a lot together and that has given us time to get away.  (Anita worked in the travel industry)
4. When the children were younger and we were not able to go on long walks together, we tried hard to have a date night. It is very hard, but we just had to intentially make that a priority. We would trade off providing childcare with other couples, as well as at times hire a childcare provider.

What parenting tips do you have for pastoral families?

1. Make sure your kids know they are loved! Love covers a multitude of mistakes.

2. We never put pressure on our kids to attend all the programs at the church. We let them choose which programs they wanted to attend – we allowed them the freedom to choose their level of involvement and made sure they knew they didn't have to be involved. As a result they ended up choosing to be very involved.
3. We did whatever was necessary to encourage our kids to develop a love for learning – whether that be a love for reading or a more hands on learning style.
4. We accepted the fact that we would never be perfect parents, but rather embraced the idea that one of our primary roles as parents is to be memory makers. So our goal has been to make sure our kids had more good memories than bad. If they start life with a bank of good memories, they start off on a very good footing. Once they leave for college they come back home recounting their good memories and eager to be home again!

What would you say to that hurting couple? Perhaps the pain is from their congregation, maybe their kids, or their own marriage, what is your message to the hurting couple?

Get help! You have got to find someone who is safe to talk with, whether that is another pastor, perhaps someone from another conference, or a counselor. You have got to be able to honestly tell someone exactly what is going on that is hurting so bad. God ministers healing through the process of transparently sharing with someone the pain you are experiencing and getting the help you need.
Tim Cross is the family ministries pastor for the Collegedale, Tennessee church. Randy and Anita Roberts pastor the Loma Linda University Church