Jim & Barbara Grunseth - authors of Home to Home: Passing On Five Cornerstones of Christian Marriage talk about their heart for marriage ministry and share some fascinating stories of how their book has changed lives.
Q. What experience or process led you to write Home to Home?
Jim& Barbara- We saw so many engaged couples receiving inadequate coaching and training for their marriages. We also saw so many married couples not just struggling in their relationships but also slipping further and further into isolation. We’d had it with the epidemic of divorce! We wrote Home to Home so that couples, pastors, and home based small groups would have a very simple, concise, and affordable tool to:
➢ Build healthy, encouraging, accountable relationships.
➢ Instill 5 solid biblical Cornerstones so that marriages don’t just “go the distance” but flourish in oneness and purpose.
➢ We wanted couples to not just break out of isolation patterns, but to build life long friendships with other couples.
➢ We took the Lord’s Great Commission Command to “Go and make disciples of all nations” seriously. Couples who disciple or mentor other couples are passing on what has been entrusted to them. 2Timothy 2:2
Q. What do readers tell you that they’ve gotten out of reading the book?
Jim & Barbara- 95% of all the couples that we personally know who have completed the Home to Home 6 lesson process are still married and their hearts and homes are fixed on Christ. That statement speaks for itself. Couples have told us and written to us stating that they have never seen such simple, yet clear coaching principles based on eternal truth regarding their marriage. They also loved the encouraging, gracious friendships that were formed. They know that after going through Home to Home with just one couple or, say, 5 couples, they have friends they can call on or go to when life gets difficult and discouraging. They are so glad to know and understand such things as God’s amazing, unconditional love for them, God’s calling on their marriage, and His mission specifically designed for them. They have told us they now have a unified vision for why they are married. Most couples today have no idea why they are married.
Q. Any dramatic before-and-after couple stories from your years of counseling and/or using this book?
Jim & Barbara- Roughly 12 years ago, we began mentoring a young couple, Dan and Michelle, from our church. They had placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ a short time earlier. We grounded them in the Christian faith and went through Home to Home taking turns meeting at each others homes once a week for about a year. The trust between us became strong and our encouraging friendship, we know, will last a lifetime! They not only passed on the five Cornerstones of Christian marriage to another couple but He became the youngest Elder in our church. They took “be fruitful and multiply” seriously. They now have seven children!
Barbara- We had the great privilege of leading a small group of young married couples for 10 wonderful years. Occasionally one couple would move but then God would bring another couple in to replace them. We studied many topics but mostly we stuck to “keeping each other’s marriages” strong in the Lord and His Word. We went through Home to Home together. We learned and practiced what it meant to “look out for one another”. We were not so much the leaders but more simply hosts who helped “to keep the hockey puck in play” in terms of keeping open and honest discussion going. We modeled for them vulnerability and imperfection. We told them to never “get perfect” on us for if they did, we wouldn’t be able to relate to them. These 6 couples now have children of their own. We are friends with them for life.
Jim- We had one couple whose marital relationship was, by all human standards, dead. Karen’s sisters were all divorced. Her rebellious adult daughter begged her to “dump the drunk!” Tom was a slobbering alcoholic who tried many rehab programs but he always fell off the wagon and got drunk. Karen was in the process of leaving him when they came to see us. We earned their trust and began to deal with their “heart” issues. We helped them go to Jesus and His Word for help. Over time and with much immersion in God’s Word, they began to experience:
➢ Healing from their emotional wounds
➢ Grace and forgiveness from the Lord
➢ And the expression of mercy and compassion toward each other.
During one session, Tom broke down and cried. Amazingly, his formerly estranged and fed up wife gently reached up with her hand and tenderly wiped away his tears. In all my 30 years of ministry, I have never seen something of the Lord so beautiful! He is sober and they are serving back in their church. They are in love again!
Jim & Barbara- We trained one pastor, his wife, and 5 kids with Home to Home. He had fallen due to adultery. He stepped down from the pastorate. Through Home to Home and the accompanying Scriptures, God restored their marriage and family.
Jim & Barbara- We mentored Ross and Cindy with Home to Home and they passed these 5 Cornerstones on to another couple. He is a business owner who is led of the Lord and is now planting a new church. He is the new head pastor!
Q. What about Home to Home facilitates the “passing on” of the five Cornerstones? How transferable are each?
Jim & Barbara- The idea of Home to Home is simple. It is where 2 or more couples, engaged, or married meet together for at least 6 gatherings in one or more homes to build each other up, to laugh, to listen, to eat, to share from the heart God’s sure hope and plan for their marriage. Yes, one couple is usually the Host and the other couple(s) is/are the Guest(s). The guest couples are coached to eventually pass what they have learned on to other couples either one couple at a time or in a small group. The material is easy to use. Each person has their spiral bound book and it is designed to the guest couples know they are being groomed to become Host couples. There are specific Host Guidelines at the back.
Each of the 5 Cornerstones are fully transferable. They are passed on and entrusted to other couples much like the baton is passed carefully in a relay running race.
Q. Give three examples of real-life couples who’ve improved their marriages or have successfully mentored other couples using Home to Home.
Darla and Bill were mentored with Home to Home. They came to us at each other’s throats arguing and accusing each other. They were battling financial, physical and emotional struggles. The deep friendship that formed and God’s loving principles for their lives and marriage helped them to gain higher ground. They are doing well today.
Mark and Sandy were lay leaders in their church. Mark began having an affair with another lady. It looked like he was going to “bolt”…dump his wife and son and run off with his new flame. Through many difficult mentoring sessions, we took them through Home to Home. The pastors and others also helped. Mark finally repented of his sin and his wife forgave him. They are now serving in the church again in faithfulness.
Don and Anissa work for a Christian organization. She was sexually abused as a child and struggled also with a bi-polar type emotional disorder. We befriended them and fully excepted them with the grace and the mercy that only the Lord can give. In going through Home to Home, they caught the vision for how their marriage is really God’s smallest battle formation to advance the causes of Christ. I believe they began to pass Home to Home on to another couple. They are both doing well.
Authors and Books
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