FRIDAY FEATURE COUPLE ~ KIMERAN & JACK JOHNSON
We met Kimeran & Jack through the Fall 2017 Thrive (8 week) small group we lead twice a year. The first couple meetings it was only Kimeran and to say she was disappointed Jack wasn’t with her is an understatement. You could tell there was tension in their marriage simply by the way they talked about each other and their body language when Jack was there.
Two thirds of the way through the course, Russ started asking them some personal questions. I was starting to get uncomfortable for Kimeran & Jack but they stayed in the conversation with Russ. It was as if Kimeran & Jack were the only couple in the room when they courageously struggled to answer Russ’ questions. Russ helped them connect some dots to family of origin behavior that was impacting their marriage. This led them to look at their marriage in a different light.
Fast forward several months, Kimeran & Jack surprised us by joining our Spring 2018 group. They felt like they had missed the first 1/2 of group the previous Fall because of where they were emotionally with each other and wanted to get the most out of the course the second time around. It was incredible to see the transformation in their marriage. They overcame a mountain of an issue using the tools Thrive teaches and became reconnected even stronger as a couple.
We’re so excited about you getting to know this sweet God honoring couple! Best part of Thrive is gaining new friends for life!!
Q: How did you meet each other?
A: Kimeran’s college roommate was dating Jack’s best friend from High School. We met at a birthday party.
Q: How did your husband propose?
A: This is a funny story. I was living in Mobile, AL at the time and drove up to Atlanta where Jack was living for the weekend. It was a few weeks before Christmas and it was really cold. Jack had told me we were going to the NC mountains so I packed all warm, cozy mountain clothes.
When we got up that morning to leave he said pack a suitcase, not a bag, because we were flying. What?!?! He told me we were going to Las Vegas. Then we get to the airport and he says we’re flying AirTran and there’s no flight to Vegas showing on the board I’m staring at.
Then he finally tells me “who goes to Las Vegas for Christmas?? We’re going to New York City!” Oh my! I was totally unprepared…..all the wrong clothes. But we went to NYC and had a great time. He was planning to propose in front of the tree in Rockefeller Plaza but it was SO crowded. Apparently he panicked and ended up proposing in a courtyard outside the restaurant we went to. That was just the beginning of Jack’s wild and crazy adventures.
Q: How long have you been married?
A: 15 years
Q: Did you go through the Thrive curriculum? If so, describe your experience.
A: Yes, we did! At the beginning Thrive was a huge challenge for us. But now – after going through it 2 times – it was life-changing for both of us as individuals and as a couple. When we started it was at a really tough time in our marriage and was somewhat of a grasp for hope. Jack really didn’t want to go. After we went the first few times, we started to disconnect. When he started back the second time he went with a more open mind and open heart. I really think going through it once a year would be great for our marriage!
Q: What was one thing that surprised you after you were married?
A: How different we are. We’re really very opposite.
I’m a realist, Jack’s the ultimate optimist. I’m very much a planner and think things all the way through. Jack is much more relaxed and lives in the moment. At our 13 year mark we faced some real challenges that mostly came from these differences. We’ve spent 2 years working through it and learning to appreciate each other’s qualities and how to use them for the best in our marriage.
Q: What are you both really excited about?
A: That we made it through a time in our marriage we really didn’t think we’d make it through. We’re together, connected more than ever and are excited about our future together and raising our 2 kids together as a team.
Q: What’s one piece of advice you would share with someone before getting married?
A: Learn about each others differences and talk about how you might handle situations that come up in marriage. There will be differences – so better to talk through things like that before you’re in a tough challenge than in the middle of it.
Know where each other stands in their faith journey. What we realized is that God is the only way to get through the toughest challenge you didn’t think you could get through.
Kimeran: I always heard people talk about the marriage triangle with God, husband and wife. I got it but never really understood it. I fully get it now.
Q: Name a couple who inspires you?
A: Russ & Danielle West – not because they are perfect or their marriage is perfect but they are intentional and work everyday to make their marriage strong and grow.
Q: What was the happiest period of your marriage and what are the reasons you think so?
A: Now. It’s not necessarily the easiest time in our marriage, there were much easier times early on that we didn’t even appreciate. But now it’s real and has depth. God is in our marriage now and wasn’t before.
We’re both on separate faith journeys and now on one together, too. We know that with God we could get through anything together.
Danielle: At Jack’s baptism April 22 of this year, I sat with Kimeran and family. Their sweet daughter Ireland asked Jack before he got baptized, “When are you getting washed, Daddy?” haha
Q: What do you see in the character of Christ that you most wish were in you as well?
A: Kimeran – patience, grace, unconditional love
Q: Can you honestly say, “I love you my husband/wife as is, without requiring anything to change?” Do you ever waver on that?
A: Kimeran; Yes, but I’m challenged by it often. I am focusing on the good things and not the bad things.
Jack: Yes, i’ve learned to love Kimeran for who she is and not the ideal wife i’m trying to create.
Q: Do you see him/her growing more godly as the years go on? How are you measuring that?
A: Kimeran: YES! I didn’t see God in Jack’s life before. When we faced hard times we didn’t have anything to ground us and get us through it. Everything was “on us”. Now, not only does Jack know God, he’s seeking Him, making new friends based on people who know/love God, he’s leading a men’s group and loving it. He talks about God, prays with our family.
Jack: Yes, I’ve seen Kimeran’s faith grow over the last few years. A lot around her faith in the future and less fear of what’s ahead. More comfortable falling into the Grace of God.
Q: How happy are you with our praying as a couple? Is there something to be done to make things better?
A: Happy that we actually pray together now and it feels good, not awkward. When we pray together we connect more, do life together not on our own and are better parents. We just want to pray together more and be consistent doing it.
Q: What is the biggest mistake you have made in the marriage? Why?
A: Kimeran: Judging Jack – I know that I’m not worthy to be his judge and I’m no better than him, but I’ve judged him and compared us
Jack: Projecting my feelings onto Kimeran, not having empathy towards her or her feelings.
Q: Do you think your children and friends see your marriage as beautiful? Why or why not?
A: Not sure. It’s tough for us to even say it’s beautiful yet. This is something we want to keep working on. There’s still selfishness in our marriage, there’s still judgement, pride and ego. But now we’re recognizing these things and individually working on them vs. harboring anger or resentment towards each other.
Q: Do you focus too much attention or not enough attention on your children?
A: We focus a lot of our attention on our children but not at the cost of our relationship with each other. We do almost everything together as a family so we’re parenting together a lot. We’ve been focusing on bringing God into our marriage the past few years now we want to really intentionally focus on bringing God into our family and teaching our kids about Christ’s love and forgiveness.
Q: Are you happy with the way you are involved with other believers?
A: Yes, most of our friends and people we’re involved with are believers but we don’t necessarily make that the center of our friendships.
Q: What do you most wish you both could do in the future to make an impact on our world for Christ?
A: Kimeran: We have an inspiring story of overcoming a challenge in our marriage that would have taken a lot of couples down. My prayer is that God shows me how to share that story to help other people. I thought this would come naturally but it’s not easy. It’s one of those things that’s hard for people to relate to unless they’ve been through it. I want to use our story to encourage people that with God they can get through anything!!!
Jack: Share our marriage story and my personal story of how God’s grace and love can heal you and help you overcome the hardest of times.