About Scott Kedersha
To talk about the importance of starting marriage well, Ted got an interview with Scott Kedersha, the director of Marriage Ministry at Watermark Church in Dallas, Texas. Scott has recently written a book called Ready or Knot, which is specifically for engaged and newlywed couples—they’ll talk about it more during the episode.
Scott and his wife Kristen have been married for 17 years and live in Dallas with their four sons. Now sit back and enjoy this interview with Ted and Scott Kedersha.
Tell us a little about you and your family.
I have been married to Kristen for 17 years and we have four boys—twins who are teenagers, a 12 year old, and 10 year old. We live in Dallas and I work at a church called Watermark as a marriage pastor. I work with everyone along the relational spectrum and it forces me to work hard on my own marriage.
How did you meet your wife?
Kristen was one of my instructors in grad school. It was love at first sight for me, but took her four years. She comes from a military family with parents who are still married. My dad died when I was six years old. My mom remarried, so I have one brother and a few step-siblings. My step-dad just passed away almost two years ago now.
We came from very different families. She is the stable, steady one. I’m the drama queen—up and down, more emotional. We just don’t like the gender stereotypes, because we break almost all of them. We have very different personalities but love being married to each other.
Has that always been the case?
We’re really fortunate. Kristen is as laid back as they come and handles a house with four boys really well. We just like each other a lot. It hasn’t been easy—our toughest season was when the twins were born. No money, no sleep. But for the most part we’ve done really well. Being low maintenance doesn’t come naturally; we do work hard to get our marriage to a place where we enjoy being together.
What are some little things you’ve done recently to improve your marriage?
We have twins in high school and one of them runs cross-country. He has to get up at 5:45am to be at the school by 6:15am. One of us has to get up early to wake him and get him to school. We both race to the opportunity to do that to better serve one another.
What are the tensions people don’t see coming when preparing for marriage?
There’s been a little bit of a shift. We used to have to tell people that marriage is hard, but somewhere over the last 12 years, we don’t have to convince people of that anymore. They’ve grown up in broken homes, so I don’t have to convince them—they know marriage is hard.
We need to convince them that marriage is amazing. Apart from my relationship with Jesus, my relationship with Kristen is the best thing in my world. People are hungry—they can Google and find information, but they want to be in this thing together. We want people to see that marriage is fun and relationships are fun. It doesn’t have to be a stuffy class. We provide an experience for couples where they can understand they’re struggling with the same things.
What are some of the things that distinguishes a successful marriage?
Our church surveyed over 400 leaders over the years to see characteristics of couples who do marriage well. A few things came out. They’re open in their relationship, honest, transparent, teachable, and humble. We try to tell real stories about disagreements we had 25 minutes ago.
What would you say to a couple who is thinking about getting married?
First, the marriage relationship is unique. While you’re dating, you can break up, move, switch jobs. But marriage is designed as a unique relationship. Before you enter in, you need to know what you’re committing to.
I tell couples that life is better when you’re with others. When you look over time, you see God work in the context of community. Marriage is worth fighting for—it’s a relationship that affects more than just one man and one woman but the community around you. There’s generational impact. So what’re you going to do with this relationship?
What’re some other things that people can do to help their marriage?
In the newlywed period, it’s so fun and exciting. We’ll see couples decide to go buy a house, and they’ll make the decision on their own. The lender tells them to max out what they buy and they come into marriage with college and car debt.
They make this big decision and don’t process with others. But I would say to process decisions with others. If you’re friends with someone making a big decision, help them with that. Friends don’t let friends make decisions on their own.
How does co-habitation impact marriage?
Studies show 60-80% of couples live together before they’re married. It’s so normal and everyone (parents, friends) is telling them to move in together. But what it often does is build up the idea that they can be together and enjoy the benefits of marriage with no commitment.
As soon as things get difficult, they want to run away and be with the next person. It gives them the idea that once things are hard they can get out. It’s not the stable foundation you want in your relationship. It becomes all about me. Marriage calls us to the opposite. Selfishness gets in the way and causes fights and quarrels among us.
How has your work with marriages impacted your community?
When I started in this job in 2006, my boss pulled me aside and asked what if we set an audacious goal to help marriage in Dallas. We wanted 10% of all couples who got married in our county to go through our pre-marital ministry.
Our big goal was to reach 1,400 couples and do everything we could to prepare them for marriage. We thought if we could change the marriage relationships, it’d change everything. Every year, we’ve chipped away. This year we’ll have over 1,000 couples go through the ministry and more than half of them don’t go to our church.
How can a couple build a solid foundation in their marriage?
If you look at Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talks about all these big topics. Then he gets to the end and says you have two choices with what I’ve given you: you either build your house on the rock or on the sand. Trials are going to come and we get to help couples build it right. I would encourage every couple to be building their home on the right, solid foundation.
Your one simple thing for this week
For the pre-marital couple, go into marriage asking how you can put the needs of your spouse before your own.
For the rest of couples, we all have things we hate to do around the house. Ask your spouse what they hate to do and then you do it.
Thanks for joining us for the Married People Podcast. We hope you’ll subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and leave a review – they help us make the podcast better. We want to hear from you. Share with us on Facebook, Instagram or our site. If you want more resources, check out Your Best Us.
If you want more from Scott, you can check out his book Ready or Knot, available for pre-order.
At Married People, we want to help make marriage real, fun, and simple. Because when your marriage is better, everything is better. We do that with weekly blog posts, podcast episodes, ebooks, and other awesome resources for couples everywhere.
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