Fresh from the release of I Still Believe, a movie about his earlier life, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Jeremy Camp and his wife Adrienne share the story of their 16-year marriage in a new book (with Amanda Hope Hailey), In Unison: The Unfinished Story of Jeremy and Adrienne Camp. The new release serves as a guide for couples seeking to make Christ the center of their marriage.
Filled with practical advice to help people deal with conflict, managing money, and working through grief, In Unison demonstrates how love can be found in the least likely places and that true beauty can be found in sharing life together through God’s bountiful grace.
I recently socially distanced myself from Jeremy and Adrienne via the safety of a phone conversation. In it, we discussed how they are making it through the COVID-19 pandemic, advice they have for people who feel their marriage is broken and beyond repair, and the wisdom they have acquired in many years of marriage.
First off, how are you both making it through this Coronavirus pandemic ordeal?
Jeremy Camp: Honestly. It’s not been terrible. With our house, we have enough space. You can go outside and be in the sun. Where we live it has been great. It’s been 75 degrees and sunny every day. That part of it has been fine. The kids are missing their friends a little bit. My tour got canceled and so that’s been tough. But then I’ve been sitting at home and trying to write songs and play a lot more, which has been nice. It’s been a long time since I just sat and just played and sang (without an audience). It’s been kind of an interesting time.
Adrienne Camp: Yeah, it’s definitely very different. You feel stuck a lot of the time. One of the dynamics we didn’t really have to worry about getting used to was that we are homeschoolers already. That part of it, the kids are already used to. But not being able to go to church and not be able to see friends and interact just makes you feel a bit weird after a while.
So, I Still Believe came out on Friday, March 13. The movie was a huge hit opening weekend, finishing number two at the box office. And then movie theaters shut down everywhere. Fortunately, it’s now out On Demand and coming to home video in early May. I’ve got to believe you may have been a little disappointed by this. Your thoughts?
Jeremy Camp: Yeah. I felt so down, and it took me a while to come out of it. I kind of walked around in a fog and a haze for a little bit. I woke up one morning, picked my guitar up and God gave me a song. It’s called “Whatever May Come”. I decided to post it on Facebook and have my wife sing with me. God has used that song in a pretty radical way just on Facebook. It’s not been easy, but I’m seeing now that I’m having to live out what the movie says, “Even when I cannot see, I still believe.” And you know, I’m still going to trust how God’s going to use this because it was turning out to be a really big movie.
Now we’re just kind of sitting here going, ‘I hope people want to watch it at home.’ But I’m looking and thinking, ‘Wow, Lord, how amazing are You during this hard time when everyone’s going through suffering, fear and anxiety and here’s a story of hope in the midst of that. It’s a movie that everybody can watch at home while they’re quarantined.’
And so, there was just a point when I said, ‘Okay, God, I’m sorry for not trusting You because I believe that you’re going to allow people that would never go to the theater to see it.’ I believe that He’s going to use this in a greater, a deeper way than He would have in a theater to be honest.
Jeremy Camp: I think with everything happening with the movie and that the story would continue, which would be Adrienne and my story, we really felt like God laid in our heart to write a marriage book. It’s not like we sat there one day and went, ‘You know what? I think a great idea is that we write a marriage book because we have a perfect marriage.’ It wasn’t that at all. It was more of we have been married for 16 years, we have three kids and we feel like God has taught us a lot. We were very transparent and very open in this book. We weren’t candy-coating anything and shared a lot of different scenarios that people deal with in marriage because of what we dealt with. We point people to Scripture, we point people to prayer, and literally say that you cannot do life and marriage without Jesus. We just felt like this generation and what we’re able to be able to speak into, we want to give a tool that’s available. It’s available for married couples that are going through hardships or that are doing great but need more tools to continue to do great and learn how to deal with those conflicts that will come.
Adrienne Camp: Like Jeremy says, by no means do we think we have it all together. It was one of those things that I feel like in our day and age to be married 16 years and actually still enjoy each other’s company and wanting to be together is something worth talking about. It was just one of those things where we just want to share pieces of our story. We’re being vulnerable because we believe that no one is alone in their struggles. Oftentimes, I think the enemy wants to make you feel like you’re alone. You must be the only couple to struggle with this. And really when you get transparent and start talking to other people, you realize, ‘Oh, you guys are going through this as well? How did you get through it?’ As we’ve walked life with each other and even as people and inviting them into our lives, we just wanted to put it into book form to give other people tools and just encourage and to tell people, ‘Hey, no matter what, don’t give up. You know, it’s worth the fight.’
Your book is built around personal experiences that you have had. As the parents of three, could you share a bit of the wisdom you have picked up about marriage and parenting?
Jeremy Camp: It’s critically important to be very honest. We’ve created a culture in our home to say, when we ask you how you’re doing or how’s your heart, we actually want to know. Tell me the heart things. I want to hear about whether I have done anything that you need to talk to me about. I think that has created a culture of transparency and communication that has been so key in our marriage and our parenting.
Adrienne Camp: There’s that saying that says to keep short accounts. What it basically means is to not get into a massive amount of debt, essentially with each other. What I mean by that is not letting anything grow in your heart for a length of time to where you end up becoming so hard-hearted towards each other. (It’s the same) with your kids too. Sometimes we can have major, headbutts with our kids as well so we need to keep short accounts with each other and our relationship with the Lord. I think if we’re constantly opening our hearts to the Lord and saying, ‘God, search me and know me, see if there’s offensive things in me and let me get rid of those things.’ And as long as we’re keeping short accounts in our relationship with the Lord and with each other, and it doesn’t mean the trials aren’t going to come, and it doesn’t mean that conflict isn’t going to come, but there’s a resolve and a commitment to working through those things together. For our family that has been huge.
A lot of people find themselves in situations where they feel like their marriage is broken and beyond repair. What advice do you have for them?
Jeremy Camp: God is the God of the impossible. I think that we have to understand who God is, that He can take any broken situation, mend it and repair it. You have to go back to our lives and how you’ve seen God take some of the most wretched things and heal hearts. And so even individually, you see that. If He can do that individually, He can change a person’s heart or change a marriage that has been radically damaged. And I think a key is that when people feel like it’s beyond repair is understanding who God is and the power of who He is. And I think it’s important to go to counseling. Even if it is just with friends. Some people don’t like to go to counselors, but it can be so huge.
Adrienne Camp: We need to remember, oftentimes in marriage we make such a big mistake of waiting for our spouses to change and expecting that the fruit in the relationship, in the marriage is going to come when they change. Oftentimes, we hurt each other so deeply. And really what we need to do is to get on our faces and our knees before the Lord and ask Him to be everything that we need. And so when you’re in that place where you feel such an immense amount of pain and hurt, unforgiveness or pride, or just this massive barrier that you’ve got to go to God and not wait on your spouse or the circumstance to change in order to bring their change into your heart. Only God can do the supernatural work. And He says, if we ask him for wisdom, He will give it to us without finding fault. He will give us supernatural love and forgiveness for one another. But we have to make the effort to go to Him.
I like the structure of this book. Very informal and personal. It’s sort of a scrapbook of God’s providence in your relationship. Was it your intention to structure the book this way?
Adrienne Camp: Yes, absolutely. Being a reader, I don’t know why but whenever I think about writing a book, my heart is always for the person who isn’t a reader. We wanted to style it kind of like a magazine, to have articles, to keep it fun and kind of colorful, and to keep people engaged. We value the content so much that we wanted to get that into people’s hands. We wanted it to be something that was very visually exciting to look at. And so, it’s filled with pictures of us, never before seen pictures. We just want to keep people engaged. It’s got tons of Scripture in it, lots of advice, and quotes from other people that we have learned things from. There are prayers you can do together. And like you said, its kind of has a scrapbook sort of magazine style to it. We think it is something people would want to go back to.
After people have read, In Unison, what would you like to see your readers get out of the experience? What is your greatest hope for the book?
Jeremy Camp: Honestly, I think one of the big lessons in the book is realizing that only Christ can fulfill all your needs. When you’re looking to the other person to fulfill those needs, that’s where conflict arises. Because it’s not a thing where you get married and go, wow, you complete me. That’s not actually true. Christ is the only one that completes us. I think one of the key things in this book is going, I find my fulfillment in Jesus and when I find my fulfillment in Jesus, I can actually better love my spouse. To me, one of the keys in this book is to go, God, you are supplier of my needs. I’m not going to look to my spouse to supply things that only You can supply.