Interviews With Wives: Kelly Fjestad

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Today we begin a series where I will feature interviews with Wise Wives to share encouragement, struggles, and wisdom. Oh, what we will learn!

Our first featured wife is Kelly Fjestad! Join me as we listen to Kelly’s heart…

What difficulties have you faced as a wife?

We were babies when we got married: I was 21 and he was 19. We grew up together. We started having babies almost right away. Brad worked hard to provide for his family so I could stay home with the kids. I appreciated being able to stay home, but money was tight. Like super tight. He worked long hours and work came first for many years. I struggled with feeling alone. There was a period of several years where Brad’s main focus was on fulfilling his professional dreams. He made some choices that caused me to feel like my feelings and opinions didn’t matter. In fact, at one point he came out and told me that the farm was more important than I was. These were difficult years. I felt betrayed, hurt, broken, and lonely. The financial stress on top of the emotional stress was extremely overwhelming. It was a long process, but God has worked mightily in our lives in this area. Brad now has a healthy balance between work and family. I feel valued and important.

I also deeply struggled to understand what it means to be a Christian wife and mom. I have a strong personality. I know what I want. I am smart and gifted in a lot of areas. However, I spent several years under heavy submission teachings. This was VERY hard on our marriage. I was trying so hard to be what I thought a good, Christian wife was supposed to be, but inside I was miserable. I had lost who God created me to be. I allowed myself to be put into situations that I hated and ended up living a life that pushed me into depression. My husband was not happy either. He married me because I had opinions and ideas, and now I was trying to “submit” and just follow his lead. Thankfully, I have been set free from some wrong thinking. I have learned to value who God created me to be and as a result my marriage is much stronger. 

I have also struggled with the relationship between my husband and my parents. It was (and still is) a struggle to define what those relationships need to look like after marriage. How do I honor my parents and honor my husband? How do I put him first when he is wrong and my mom is right? How do I show both my husband and my mom how much I value them and love them without hurting my relationship with the other one? Talk about difficulties! So many of our struggles have come because of dynamics with other family members- on both sides.

How do you or did you struggle with intimacy?

I have always made intimacy a priority. Like most couples, it’s definitely on his radar more than it is on mine. It is more work for me to get in the mood than for him to, so I have to be intentional about it. But, it is always worth the effort! Practically, I make it a point to try not to go more than two nights without being intimate. Of course, this doesn’t happen all the time, but it is a good goal that I make most of the time. I think we are both very happy with this part of our relationship. I heard a sermon once that what you are thinking about is what your heart will be drawn towards. This is why pornography is so damaging to relationships. But if you are thinking about your spouse, your heart will be drawn to your spouse. I know that if I make intimacy a priority, Brad’s heart will be drawn towards me. And it has been!

Has communication been difficult in your marriage?

Communication has been a struggle. I thought that because we talked to each other a lot that we communicated well, but it turns out that is not true. There is a big difference between talking and communicating! I found that he would tell me about his day or about a topic, but he wasn’t telling me how he FELT about his day or about the topic. I would assume I knew how he felt based on what he said, but often I would assume wrong. I would assume how I would feel in that situation, but I didn’t really know how he felt. Often I was making decisions based on how I assumed he felt, but really I was reading the situation wrong and as a result making choices that often caused more conflict.

Have you found wisdom in this area of communication?

I have learned to listen more. I have learned to tell him exactly how I am feeling instead of assuming that he knows. I have learned to pause when I am getting frustrated and re-ask the question. A lot of times our conflict was due to poor communication rather than actual disagreements. I will repeat what I think I heard him say and ask if I am understanding correctly.

What do you wish wives knew today?

My advice to wives is always “Forgive!” Forgive often. Forgive completely. Forgive even when he doesn’t apologize. Forgive. I wish wives knew that a good marriage is hard work, but it is SO worth it! It’s easy to look at other couples and think they have it all together. It is easy to wish your spouse was more like this or less like that, but the truth is, they are just who God created them to be. We cannot change people. That is God’s job. Our job is to love them and pray for them. I wish I could tell wives to spend less time trying to change their spouse and more time enjoying them. Life is short. Enjoy it! Laugh together. Do crazy things. Take a much needed break together – whatever that looks like. Focus on the good things. Focus on the things you love about your spouse and the things that annoy you or concern you will fade into the background. Maybe he does have some terrible qualities, but don’t focus on those!

If you could look back at yourself on your wedding day, what do you wish you would’ve known?

I wish I would have known how God uses struggles in our lives to grow and mature us. So many times when I have been frustrated with Brad, it was because I needed to change. It is so easy to look at the person who is annoying us or hurting us and blame them. But the truth is, it is often

revealing something in our hearts that we need to change. I wish I would have known that sooner. The only person we can change is ourselves.

 

What is something you heard from Kelly that spoke to your heart? 

 

Kelly Fjestad is 36 years old and has been married to her husband Brad for 16 years. Besides being a full-time mom of five, she is the Spiritual Formation Pastor and Youth Pastor at 7 City Church in Fort Worth, TX. she enjoys spending time with her family, watching movies, running, and connecting with people. She loves to speak, teach, or preach. Her ministry is found over at kellyjoy.org where you can also find her Bible study called “Paused: Protecting Your Faith When God Says Wait.” You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/Paused-Protecting-Your-Faith-When/dp/1514333708/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1489365075&sr=8-1&keywords=paused%3A+when.

Kelly

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