Reggie & Kelley Steele: Keepin’ It 100% REAL (GT Connext)

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Looking for real talk about marriage—look no farther than Reggie & Kelley Steele. This dynamic duo from Phoenix, Az. pastors the thriving Kingdom in the Valley Christian Church. Here’s an excerpt from our recent conversation with this power-couple!

GT: You two have been married since March, 1993. How did you meet?

Kelley: Well, I met his mom while getting my hair done. She was so persistent, I thought her son must be really ugly (laughs). Eventually she gave me his number. I didn\’t call because I was trained that you don\’t call the guy. Then I ran into him again with my dad, who was a teacher at the same high school, but he didn\’t talk to me there because, you know, you can\’t run game with the teacher standing right there. About a year later, a friend of mine broke up with him. She gave me his number and I finally was brave enough to call. We met that day and have been together ever since. When I opened the door, he looked at me and said, “AHH you\’re my wife.”

Reggie: And that was over twenty-one years ago when we were still in high school!

GT: How long did you date before you got married?

Reggie: Two years and three months

GT: So, Reggie, you knew right off that she was the one?

Reggie: Yeah, and it went so far beyond her looks. She was a beautiful young lady, but there was more of a spiritual connection. I wasn\’t really living for God at the time, but I felt it even then. I felt in my spirit that this would be the one that would be able to complete and complement me.

GT: What did you guys do to prepare yourselves for marriage?

Kelley: We had a child (laughs)! We already had our son by the time we got married. We really just knew by this point. It just looked bad for him to be the pastor\’s son, with the baby.

Reggie: Really, it worked out. Romans 8:28 says. “All things work together for the good”. After we had our first son, we knew that we needed to make that decision. Here we are almost 22 years later with 5 kids.

Kelley: We share that because a lot of people that come to us for counsel say, we go married for the “wrong” reasons, or we don\’t love each other anymore. We always explain it as; we got married because we had a baby. Was it for the “right” reason? I don\’t know. Is there ever really a right reason?

GT: That\’s a great point to bring up. Everyone thinks that pastors live charmed and perfect lives. It\’s great to be free and honest enough to say it wasn’t all perfect. If you do get married under those circumstances, what kind of things do you have to be aware of? Do you have to go back then and redo some things?

Kelley: Now, I think we would encourage people to understand that when you are looking for in a spouse or a dating relationship to make sure that person can complete you. Make sure your not just looking for physical attraction, but also their mental capacity. You know, are they able to think?

[table id=27 /]Reggie: I always tell my church, you know what a certain woman brings to the bedroom but what does she bring to the table. Is she going to add value to you? I believe what Proverbs 18:22 says, “He that finds a wife, finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord.” A portion of your favor is connected to your good thing, your wife. Like the book of Genesis says, “For its not good for man to be alone.” At the end of the day, she is supposed to be able to help complement you. She should complete you as a man and be a resource.

We work together in ministry now but as teenagers we didn\’t all of see this. I saw it to a degree, because God always gives you a sneak preview of what He wants to do in you and through you. But I was in denial, because at the time, being 18, you\’re still doing you. Isaiah 40:30 says, “Young men will utterly fall”, so a typical 17 or 18 years old isn\’t focused—not on Jesus. But it\’s a blessing to see now, how God has flipped our script and now we\’re doing God, not us.

Kelley: We also tell couples, “Talk to somebody.” We were the couple, that although we weren\’t living for the Lord, we still went to church. We would walk in like everything was ok; we didn\’t know you could reach out for help. We were dealing with financial issues, relationship issues, just the whole package that comes with being married.

Now, we encourage our church members to talk to someone. Seek out counsel. You\’re not a failure if you\’re in a struggle or having problems. That\’s why we make it a point in our ministry to have “date night,” where we give an invitation on the last Friday of every month to encourage couples. We talk about real issues: how to argue the right way, compromise, etc.

We tell married people to stop making everything that doesn\’t go your way a crisis. We encourage people to go out on a date, because a lot of times when you get married you don\’t date anymore. That\’s part of the problem; you have to invest in your marriage and not just financially. We\’re very pro-family; love your wife, enjoy your husband, have fun together.

Reggie: One of the things we still do nineteen plus years later, I still date my wife. Every Friday, my kids know, that\’s Mom and Dad\’s time. I think that\’s where a lot of couple\’s miss it and end up with an unhealthy marriage or get divorced because of the quick relief. We were separated for two months, back when we were 19 and 20. There was such a relief that came with being separated. We no longer had to fight for our marriage to be healthy. You have to be willing to number one fight, and number two, put in 100% from both parties.

We always thought it was 50/50 until someone ministered to us that it has to be 100% from both parties in order for you to have a healthy marriage. That\’s when a light-bulb went off and I was like, “Ok, in order for me to have a healthy marriage I have to give 100%”. My mother always said, “If you\’re giving your wife frustration, you\’re going to get hell back, good measure, pressed down and shaken together!” That principle not only works with money, it works in every which way.

We are very transparent when talking to people because like Revelation says, “We are overcomers by the words of out testimony and the blood of the lamb.”

Check out more from the Steeles in the May/June 2012 issue of Gospel Today. You can also listen to or order their new CD, Overflow, here!