About Ryan & Selena Frederick
We’ve got an awesome interview ready for you because Ted talked to Ryan and Selena Frederick, the founders of Fierce Marriage. Fierce Marriage is an online marriage platform., which includes a blog, a podcast, social media channels, and several books written by Ryan and Selena.
They’ve been married for over 15 years and live in Tacoma, Wa., with their two daughters. Let’s dive into Ted’s interview with Ryan and Selena.
How did you first meet?
Ryan: I remember it so clearly—the first time I saw Selena was in 8th grade. My mom was an educator and was interviewing at a Christian school. I went along to her interview and walked into the gym and saw Selena and my stomach dropped. I went to the school and didn’t talk to her for a year.
We became friends and then it turned in a romance. The summer after our sophomore year, we started dating and dated for four years. We got married pretty young—20 and 21. In hindsight, it was young, but I couldn’t wait any longer.
What were the first surprises once you got married?
Ryan: As a young Christian guy in that generation of “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”, I’m thinking sex was going to be everything I want and more. But you get married and your expectation has to adjust. That was the biggest reality check for me.
Selena: It’s learning to manage those expectations as a wife. But you can’t uphold all those things and carry it all. And that’s OK. We were learning to do this together, so we had to grow in our intimacy. It’s gotten better with time.
Ryan: I would say to the young couple listening that it’s just the beginning of a long adventure of learning to love each other.
What were the marriages like in your families?
Selena: I came from a divorced home. My parents divorced when I was about eight. So I didn’t really know what a marriage looked like. I heard the arguing and messes of my parents and saw the high and low but not the in-between.
Ryan: My parents have been together my whole life. They’re amazing, but not necessarily healthy in every season. My dad had two ultimatums for me growing up—no tattoos and don’t have sex before you get married. So marriage has always had a level of importance in my own mind.
Selena: I grew up in the church and it was monumental to my growth and view of marriage. I knew once I got married I wouldn’t consider a divorce.
What made you want to pour into marriages?
Ryan: I would call it a quarter life crisis. About 7 years ago, I was working with our web development company—designing and writing code myself. We launched the business 10 years ago and had gotten these clients that I thought would be the Holy Grail. I thought we were living the dream but I was working long hours and hated it.
I started wondering why I was doing it. I was OK at it, but not great at it. I started asking God what He had for us and we wanted to do it God’s way. I had also done a lot of work with publishers and started wondering what if we started a marriage ministry. We had also seen a lot of our friends go through their first five or seven years of marriage and divorce. We started asking why ours was working and we wanted to be together still.
As clear as day, it was just Jesus. There’s no other reason we’re together. But knowing Christ and how we’re loved in Him is why we’re still together. We realized there’s something to be said in this space. We don’t know it all, but what we do know we’ll share openly and transparently. I spent a month or so building out the plan and we launched a few months later.
Why do you think some of your friends were getting divorced?
There’s a lot going on before marriage that could be brought in as baggage. If you’ve had other sexual partners and Christ hasn’t helped you walk through that, for example.
The theme is the softness of heart and respect for each other that comes from wanting to hear God’s word and bend my will to it. It’s why we say it always comes back to Jesus. I don’t know how to make sense of love outside of Chris. When I look at Him it all becomes clear and the standard.
Christ empowers us to be able to love each other and have the hard conversations in the marriage covenant. If we’re not able to really walk through things from pre-marriage with Christ, it’s hard to continue walking together. We build walls and don’t want to be vulnerable.
What do you say to someone listening who isn’t a believer and is hearing things like ‘covenant’ and ‘Jesus is Lord’?
For someone who doesn’t know what it means to love Jesus, it’s the grace of God that you’re listening to this. This is an opportunity to start that journey. Whether you call yourself a Christian or not, we don’t assume you know what it means to experience the true Gospel. We do them a disservice if we don’t at least create a framework where they can start getting answers to their questions.
In our book we released this last April, we spent a whole chapter on Gospel, Love and Covenant. We found that couples who understand truth about love and covenant will always have the behavior they want. But if we just try to give them tips for the behavior, that’s just behavior modification. At the core of it, our mission is to point people to Christ.
What differences do you see in millennial marriages?
The biggest thing we always say is: step one is to not assume what people believe or their worldview. Step two is to not be afraid to point them to Jesus. People want a relationship that lasts for life and is transparent. And we know how to get that and it’s Jesus.
What are the things you hear millennials are struggling with?
One of them would be finding true community where you’re known and knowing others. Having those people you can do life with and be transparent is so important.
The second is to understand longevity and stability with a true long-term vision in mind. It allows you to table issues and rely on your covenant. Let love mature.
The third one is our generation can tend to get scared of conflict. It’s why we want to live on Instagram. It’s mainly because we haven’t been taught how to resolve conflict so we walk away from it.
Talk about being married and working together. How do you make that work?
Selena: We’ve become a pretty good team. Ryan handles a lot of the day-to-day work of keeping Fierce Marriage running. I handle our children and the day-to-day home life, but we’re both trying to bring Jesus into these situations.
Ryan: It’s understanding that we’re a team even though she’s not on a laptop next to me. It’s learning generosity and to be generous with your appreciation. Me working from home has been another transition for us. Bt seeing it as an opportunity to really serve each other. I’ll come down and relieve her if the kids are acting up.
Your one simple thing for this week:
Ryan: Fight naked—literally and figuratively. It’s hard to get mad when someone is disrobing and figuratively don’t go into a fight with your armor on, stay vulnerable.
Selena: Find an adventure you’ve been wanting to do and do it together. It doesn’t have to be big; it could be finding a park or a new trail.
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