By Paul and Lori Byerly
How do we, Paul and Lori, define ourselves? We are parents of adult children (one of each), grandparents of two (also one of each), husband and wife. We are non-denominational, home church minded but currently attending a local hybrid church. We are not overly political, conservative and Libertarian. We are ordained clergy, we both like Sci-Fi, and we enjoy a wide mix of music. We are Americans and Washingtonians, and both of mixed British and German heritages. For fifteen years, we owned a landscape company, and for 10 months, we were full-time caretakers for a dying parent.
Which of these things is important to us; what defines us in our own minds? When we asked one another this question years ago, we gave very much the same answers, with the most important items being identical: Paul sees himself as child of God and husband of Lori, while Lori sees herself as child of God and wife of Paul. It is not that all the other things we can call ourselves are unimportant, rather these two are foremost in how we define ourselves.
We have always had a great marriage, with one exception. Because of injuries and sin in our pasts, we came to marriage with many sexual problems, and in many areas those problems were like gasoline and fire when brought together - see Our (messy) History. It took us many years to get past those problems because we found very little help from Christian sources. Want marriage help? Sure! Want help with sex? Forget it! The church was not talking openly about sex back in the 1980's. We struggled through, just God and the two of us, and we made it, but it really should not have been so hard to find help. Because of this we are a lot like the former drug addict who wants nothing more than to help others who are as they once were. We want to help others get past the problems in their marriage, including sexual problems, and find ways to have the kind of full and satisfying marriage God intended us all to have.
Since 1997 we have been ministering on-line in one way or another. Because the need is so great, we have seen many people looking for help. More recently we have seen a growing number of Christians teaching that sex is good and important in a godly marriage.
We are truly blessed that The Marriage Bed "office" has gone from a 4-by-5 foot corner of a closet to taking over an entire room, and we are excited that is now becoming a full-time ministry. We thank God for the chance to be used by Him, and we thank all the many people who have helped in so many ways.
Image credits © Paul H. Byerly