Why We Love 2=1
We love 2=1 because of the leadership. Mike and Marilyn are compassionate visionaries and they have surrounded themselves with like-minded saints that use their gifting and talents to further God’s plan for marriages and families. Mike and Marilyn are establishers. They could have video-taped themselves teaching the classes and then sold the sets for $300 in Christian book stores or on the web and lived happily ever after. But they didn’t. They gave what God gave them to folks who are called to minister to marriages. They provided us, thousands and thousands of us worldwide, with the opportunity to use the gifts of ministry and teaching given to us by God. Mike and Marilyn gave us a vehicle to work in, that we may be empowered by the Holy Spirit, to do what He Himself ordained us to do.
Mike and Marilyn give of themselves, and teach us to do the same. They set the bar for service, for self sacrifice, and they set it high. Most of today’s 2=1 coaches have never heard M2 teach the lessons so we don’t know if we are teaching them their way or not. But we have heard them taught by Brent and Pam, Chris and Craig, Clarence and Bonnie, and countless others. And in all of the teachers we have heard the heart of Jesus. We never know which personal example, which part of a lesson, will impact the couples. Often the Holy Spirit prompts us to use life experiences that we have forgotten about, because He knows what He wants to say to the couples, and He uses us to say it. And when He does, we see God change the couples’ hearts, and ours too.
We love 2=1 because of the conventions, the gatherings of coaches and team leaders from around the world who are called to the same plow. Though able to speak only English, we are able to converse with couples from Fiji, Spain, Equador, Brazil, Portugal, Guatemala, Russia, Italy, France, the middle east, and all over the Carribbean. We speak to each other through the universal language of the Holy Spirit. We don’t catch every syllable, but we certainly catch the love in each other’s hearts.
We love 2=1 because of the couples, those who come to us after a week, a month, or even a lifetime of marriage who have suddenly realized that they have no idea what marriage is about. They are butchers, bakers, candlestick makers, and pastors. They are realtors, bus drivers, doctors and lawyers, policemen and firemen. They are builders and beggars. Our current group has one couple who married in 1951 and who now wish they had had this teaching in 1952. This couple spent 59 years going through the motions of marriage and family and not really understanding what God wanted and expected, and what He was so eager to give them (through their marriage). We have seen couples who’ve been married only a few weeks, take the class and then fall to their knees, praising God that they did not needlessly go years and years without knowing Him as the covenant creator in their marriages.
We love 2=1 because it is one huge family. When Spencer Greenlee, son of Team Leaders Brent and Pam Greenlee, died suddenly, 2 equal 1 arranged for the worldwide family to watch the funeral live. We have never met Spencer, and I am sure most of those attending via the web hadn’t either, but we do know and dearly love Brent and Pam, and it was somehow comforting to us to be with them in St Paul while sitting in our homes and offices around the world.
We love 2=1 because it is flexible. While the core values are permanent, other parts of the ministry are not. The MFL manual has had many many revisions and the ministry itself has had 4 different and distinct names. When God says that He will do a new thing, the leadership of 2=1 says “Yes, and Amen.” They listen to the leaders in the field and pray about what they hear. They are not afraid of others outside 2=1 giving them their advice and ideas, solicited and otherwise. And 2=1 is on the cutting edge of technology. If a computer or webcam or blog or social media site will enable them to do His work faster, better, and more efficiently, they jump on it, and then they teach other ministries to do the same.
We love 2 = 1 because it works to strengthen the local churches by strengthening families. 2=1 endeavors to enhance the local body of believers, not replace it. Its vision of a lighthouse on every block makes every local church stronger. Strong marriages and strong families make strong churches. The home is where you can laugh and cry and say dumb things without being laughed at and humiliated. It is where you can practice the gifts of the Spirit without ridicule. It is where the bride and groom meet in holy matrimony and where the kids establish their bedrock beliefs of faith, ethics, morals, and standards that guide them for a lifetime. It is where the parents cry out to God for the money to pay the rent, the courage to deny a child’s demand for $150 sneakers, and the wisdom to know “who started it.” Hopefully, it is where the kids can take mom and dad’s love and support for granted, where they can question their parent’s sanity (and vice versa), and where they know they are cherished. We love 2=1 because it seeks only to build up and enhance the family and the home and thus the local church.
Finally, we love 2 equal 1 because we see Jesus there. We see the fruit of this ministry. We see Him in Mike and Marilyn, Joe and Stephanie, Jason and Jesse, and in Lisa. And in all the other home office people we have known over the years. We see Jesus in Chris and Craig, Brent and Pam, Clarence and Bonnie, Ed and Linda, Dan and Marilyn, and so many more. But mostly we see Jesus in the couples taking these classes. There was the couple who, on their way to class, would stop the car and get in a fistfight. Jesus healed their home. There’s the couple who had already filed for divorce that took the class and now have a healthy home. Another couple lived like married singles, together yet apart, 49 years due to an affair he had in the 2nd year of their marriage. They now live as one-flesh. Yet another couple who once lived in chaos and strife because they blended several children from multiple marriages but now live in an oasis of love and peace, a peace due to the work of the Holy Spirit through the MLF and PFL classes. And then there’s the couple who were raised in the church but never got saved until they did the covenant homework in week one of the MFL course and who are now, years later, pillars in their local church. And the stories go on and on and on. One couple was sleeping in their car with their children. Jesus came in, drove the darkness out, and now that couple lives in a domicile of domestic delight. And on and on and on.
We love 2 equal 1 because we love Jesus. And we see Jesus in 2 equal 1.
Mark and Gayle