One great thing about life is that many people have “already done it” and have experience we can learn from. In this series I’ve asked people about key lessons they’ve learned. I hope it helps you have an even better marriage.
A really short interview with Reinhard and Debi Hirtler
Chris Goodchild: How did the two of you meet and when did you get married?
Reinhard Hirtler: We met in 1983 at the IBTI in England, on the 2nd of February. I knew immediately that we were to get married. Debi knew a few months later. We married in October 1986.
CG: Your paths met in England, but neither of you are English. How did that come about?
Debi Hirtler: I grew up in America and joined the US Air Force when I was 19. I went to Great Britain when I was 22; that’s when I became a Christian and three years after that I went to Bible school.
RH: I was brought up in Austria. I became a Christian just before I turned seven; I loved Jesus and wanted to serve him. I finished school after nine years and became an apprentice salesman but felt the call to serve God. When I was 16 I began to preach, then aged 20 I went to Bible School in England.
CG: What have you been doing since that time?
RH: I’ve been planting churches and teaching and preaching in churches across the world. In recent years I have also been writing books.
DH: For many years I was a housewife, living in Austria. When we moved to America, I worked for Morning Star Ministries accounting department, then in the warehouse and ended up being the church secretary. Now we’re permanent missionaries in Brazil.
CG: What are the greatest challenges you’ve faced in your married life?
RH: In the beginning of our marriage we had no money and could not find a job. At times we’d be in the freezing house, not able to heat it. Not being able to provide for my wife and two little children, and seeing them barely survive, just trusting God to keep us alive. Then, letting go of pretty much everything that we had accumulated as we moved continents. I would have been happy to get rid of everything, but it was hard to watch Debi struggle through letting go of precious things and memories…
DH: We are the absolute opposite in everything, like night and day. We had to learn to make healthy compromises for the better of each other. Considering the other better than ourselves.
CG: What is the most important lesson that you’ve learned about being married?
RH: The most important lesson I’ve learned is that marriage is a picture of Jesus Christ and the church. Jesus passionately loves the church and wants to be eternally united with her. So marriage is not about me, it’s all about a bigger purpose in life and I need to love Debi like Jesus loves his church.
DH: When you’re young and you first get married you think, “It’s about me; how can he make me happy and what’s he going to do for me.” It’s not about that, it’s about me living for him and trying to make him happy.
We also had a deal from the beginning; to keep ourselves fit and attractive for each other. We don’t want to have unnecessary temptations, to be looking to other people because we’re fat and dumpy or whatever!
CG: You’ve recently had some big changes in your life, could you tell us a little about that?
DH: Yes, in moving to to Brazil, God led us to work with street children which we had no idea about before we arrived. It’s been a little bit challenging and it’s totally changed what we’re doing; it’s thrown us together. Before we were doing separate things, but here we’re working together.
You can find out about Reinhard’s books and read sample chapters at PowerToForgive.com (only US readers are able to buy there). UK readers can buy The Power to Forgive on Kindle here, other countries visit your local Amazon site.
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