AlongTheWay

“The Unperfect Marriage” - Phillip & Darlena Fields AlongTheWay 89

March 22, 2021 John Matarazzo / Phillip & Darlena Fields Season 1 Episode 89
AlongTheWay
“The Unperfect Marriage” - Phillip & Darlena Fields AlongTheWay 89
Show Notes Transcript

When Phillip and Darlena Fields started their relationship everything looked perfect but their Perfect life was shattered after difficult setbacks. Phillip faced a life-threatening illness and Darlena had her own struggles to face. 

In this conversation, you will hear their journey of how they broke free from their prison of the fantasy of perfection.

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Phillip Fields:

I wanted a Mary Poppins who would make my life happy. I wanted her to be happy. I wanted her to make everybody else happy. I wanted her to make me happy. I wanted to bubbly personality who's always happy. And then but I wanted her to look like a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader, the Dallas Cowboy. Because I thought, someday I'm gonna go play for them because I played football. You know, that's part of the fantasy too. I'm going to be this great big football player and I'm gonna find my cheerleader who has the personality of Mary Poppins. No, no small order there

John Matarazzo:

Welcome to along the way. I'm john better so your hosted fellow traveler, thank you for joining me along my way is to try to become more like Jesus. Every day. When Philip and Darlene Enfield started their relationship. Everything looked perfect, but their perfect life was shattered. After difficult setbacks, Philip faced a life threatening illness and our Lena had our own struggles to face in this conversation, you'll hear their journey of how they broke free from their prison of the fantasy of perfection. I'll get to that conversation in just a moment. But as always, I want to thank you for listening to along the way. I hope that you like what you hear and you subscribe, please rate and review along the way on Apple podcasts or wherever you're listening. All of my socials and contact links are in my show notes. And you can check out all of my episodes and join my email list and my website along the way dot media, I would love to hear from you. I also have a Patreon page if you want to help me to continue to put up these along the way episodes. If you'd like to become a Patreon supporter, simply go to patreon.com slash along the way and select the level. The link to become a supporter is in my show notes. And now here is my along the way conversation with Philip and Darlene fields. Phil and Darlene fields, it's great to have you guys along the way. They are the authors of the unperfect marriage, the liberation for couples trapped in the fantasy of perfection. They also have a website, Be courageous coaching.com that's all one word, Be courageous coaching.com. And you can see all the stuff that they're doing. But it's great to have you guys with us on along the way.

Phillip Fields:

Yeah,

Darlena Fields:

thanks.

Phillip Fields:

Glad to be here.

John Matarazzo:

I always like having the opportunity to talk with people that are married, and they have a call towards married people and helping with that because I'm not married at this point in my life. But that is something that I have a desire for the whole premise of this podcast. And these conversations that I have is to learn from other people's experience and to see how God has brought them through the journey in in their life along the way, and how I can learn from their ups and downs and your ups and downs. So that I hopefully don't make those same mistakes, and I can move forward with that. So Phil, and Darlene, uh, thank you guys for being here. And I'm gonna ask you if you would share part of your story and how God has brought you to where you are today and kind of where you started, how you guys met and how you decided that you want to talk about marriage relationships and coaching. So it's kind of a long, long setup, but just let you guys go.

Darlena Fields:

I will talk about the wanting to know how we met. Right? That's my favorite story.

John Matarazzo:

Yeah, yeah.

Darlena Fields:

So we did go to college together at or Roberts University. And I attended the church were fill up with a pastor on staff is a youth pastor. And me and my girlfriend's would go to church together on Sundays and one of my girlfriends had a crush on. Every Sunday I got to hear her go on and on about his hot white suit, or whatever we happen to be wearing this Monday. And then we both ended up going to the same graduate school as well to get our masters in counseling Regent University and I saw him my first week of school and I saw him do it that will take wait. You saw him do a double take. I saw him do a double take that me first weekend school and I might call their staff pastor Phil guy. That's what he was called back then. And time went on and I ended up going to work for student services on campus. One of my three jobs trying to work my way through graduate school. And there was a church matching scholarship so people would stand in support checks that would have to call him to come pick them up and he would never come in when I was working. I got kind of forthright. I said I want you to come in this day at this time because I want to talk to you and so he did. He obey though it was funny in the moment he walked in my my office, our eyes connected and I I felt like that all time stopped and love song started playing in the background and it was when everything was slow mo and I had not believed in love at first sight into that point. But then I was sold on it after that because it was definitely a love at first sight connection and one of the cool things about it was that I had been engaged prior to meeting Philip or us getting together. And it was really devastating for me and I gave a year of my life to the Lord. And this is something good to share. I'm sharing this because I know this is other people are gonna hear this besides just married couples, I gave a year of my life to the Lord. And I just wanted to devote myself to him to get to know, be in relationship with Him. And the day that Philip walked into my and I committed to him that day during this year, but the day Philip walked in the office was the day my year was that. So it was I don't think that was coincidence.

John Matarazzo:

No, no, that's a god.

Darlena Fields:

Yeah, it was a God thing. And our first date, I heard the Lord told me that this was my soulmate. And it was quite a moment. I won't go into details, but I didn't let him know at the time. But obviously, he saw that part of the same thing because he, we were engaged three months later. We were older when we met, okay, we're in our mid 20s. We've been around the block enough to know that we were made for each other, and God was telling us to get married. So that's a little snippet of how we met.

John Matarazzo:

That's pretty cool. So tell me about that double take Phil. She caught you with the double take what was going on in your mind at that point.

Phillip Fields:

So all men are given to the doubletake. Now you practice it, you know, and so you try to be subtle, but there are occasions when a creature walks before you that you must see more than one. And so nice. She went by me and a cute little skirt. And, you know, in that moment, I was observing God's goodness. And so she caught me, she caught me, I she was going down a little set of stairs, and I looked to my left and saw her and there she was, and I thought I didn't see as much as I wanted to. So I looked again, and she called me. And to this day, I am accustomed to those doubletake,

John Matarazzo:

Very good

Phillip Fields:

Yeah,

John Matarazzo:

that is a good description of a double take. So she said, Are you had opportunities to come into the office where she was? But you just weren't coming there at that same time? Yeah. What was going on? What were you dragging your feet?

Phillip Fields:

Well, you know, as a man, a lot of times, we're a little dense, you know, don't get we don't get the personal message. And I certainly didn't connect the voice to the skirt. I would have gone blazing across the, to the office. But I didn't put those two together. So just being the dense guy that you know, was not worried about details. And whoever This is, it's bugging me, because back then we don't text them have all this stuff going on? Sure. You know, it was phone calls. And so it was on the answering machine. And yeah, I'll get to it. And that's what it was. It wasn't anything. Okay. It wasn't this. It wasn't that you were just sheepish or timid. You just didn't know who it was. I definitely was shy. There's no doubt about that. Even even the doubletake kind of embarrassed me, but, you know, I just was really slow to move. And so her aggressiveness. When she called that day, I thought, Well, okay, you know, this girl, maybe she's knows me from somewhere, and something would just be friends, whatever. But the moment I saw her, I was like, oh, there's the skirt.

Darlena Fields:

That's her!

John Matarazzo:

So Darlene, you said that you were at ORU at the same time. Did you guys interact at all there?

Darlena Fields:

No, he didn't. I was but I knew who he was. Yeah, well, he also we also attended a very large charismatic church. And so back in the day, you know, the pastors kind of paraded in after worship started and it was quite a well known pastor said a security guard. It was quite a, you know, quite a show. And then they seemed like it was like six or eight foot above the people. So you had to look up at them. And he's all the pastor soundstage. So that was how I remembered him. Was that, okay? Pastor Phil, a roommate had a crush on him. I think they ended up going out a time or two, but that was my memory of him. And so I was just really just wanting just knew that he was Oh, are you alumni and me and my girlfriends had lots of get togethers and wanted to invite the over you alumni. And so it was a friend thing at first until that, that walk into the office and love is a many splendored thing is playing in the background.

John Matarazzo:

Oh, that's great. So you guys were engaged three months later. So how did that move so fast? Because that's even in the Christian college university scene. That's, that's pretty fast.

Phillip Fields:

Well, I think we were both ready for it. I was 28. She was 27. You know, and so I think that both of us had this decided that the next one should be it. And I think there was some maturity in that we were ready. We weren't really interested in dating anymore. And, you know, we wanted to have a serious relationship. And I think that both of us spiritually were right. You know, we were praying into, you know, our purpose in life and things like that. And there was a congruence when we talked and, and so, you know, I'm the man of action, when I determine, you know, I'm going to go after something I typically do. And in this case, it was her and so I, I actually have a funny story. I made this long back in the day, I didn't have a really good car, and her parents lived in Texas. And so she'd gone home over Thanksgiving break. And I was like, I'm going to go there and ask her father, if I can marry Well, I have a car that can make it the Texas Greyhound bus. And so from Virginia Beach to Texas was a 28 hour ride. Wow. And they stopped in every little town on the way the bus would get up to about 55. And it would be accelerate, and we pull into another. So I was dead dog tired, fell into.

Darlena Fields:

Yeah, he fell on the floor. He rolled off the backseat of my mom's van in the floor that asleep. After he picked him up from the bed, nice to meet you I want to jump in and say that, yeah, yes. Oh, that was true that felt this sad about us deciding that we were that to marry one another. But when you're believers, you're really looking for a word from the Lord. Absolutely. You know, the world does uses deductive reasoning to select a mate in some instances, but as believers, we need to be looking for the voice of God to have his rubber stamp on it. And the Lord spoke to me on the way to our first date. And I heard him, say, in my spirit, this is the man that I've chosen to be your soulmate. Okay, and he heard a similar thing. And so that's what caused us to move forward, because we heard God say, this is the one I chosen for you. Right. And I, we can't say that we'd ever heard that before with any with any of our other relationships, other relationships was mainly based on feelings, and the checklist, you know, because we all have, most of us have checklists for our mate, which drops that fantasy to build, you know, but it was the voice of the Lord. And we needed that. Because we, we went back to that to all our hard times. And I'll be honest, and say that there were times that if I didn't, if I wasn't confident that I heard the voice of God say that this was to be my husband, I don't know that I would have stayed in in many occasions. And so God knew we needed to hear that, because he knew hard times were ahead, and he knew we were going to need that assurance that we didn't make a mistake.

John Matarazzo:

Yeah. Let's, let's talk about that for a little bit. And both of you guys can can talk about this. How is it that you know that you're hearing God? What is your relationship with God look like in your life? So that you know that whenever God speaks, that it's actually God and not just an imagination?

Phillip Fields:

Well, I think that the easy answer, the simple answer is that there's an inner witness within you, it's still small voice, not an audible voice. I've never heard the audible voice of God, it's a, it's something that bubbles up, you know, when I'm listening, when I'm quiet, and sometimes when I'm not, I mean, I could be busy and I, but there is a, there's a level of truth in it that I know didn't come from me. It's kind of like what Jesus said to Peter, hey, you didn't get that from yourself. You got that from, from God, the Father revealed that to you. And so I think that we, in our spirit, man, that's where we hear, you know, and it's in that inner voice. And that's where the peace comes typically. And the truth for me, gives me a sense of confidence that God is with me and I have some direction, right? Ultimately, you have to test it, you know, and I think that everything that we hear from God is to be tested. And so I think the easiest way is, you know, to look at others and say, you know, what are you hearing? And what is the word of God say, you know, and so, but I really feel like that this is how God directs us a lot of times, especially when it comes to these really big decisions, you know, and so, we look at, we look at the principles of marriage, and we understand that it's, it's what God wants for us. But that inner witness that we need, that comes when we yield. Yeah. And, and we listen, and then sometimes we have to wait, because maybe you don't answer right away. You know, I mean, maybe Maybe it comes after weeks or months of listening. Yeah, and so it can It can be a little challenging. And when your emotions get in the way things can get cloudy.

John Matarazzo:

Darlena, if you could explain to me about what it's like when you hear the voice of the Lord,

Darlena Fields:

well, I'm gonna start by saying it requires a level of trust. You invite Jesus to be Lord of your life. You're inviting him into a deep place and inviting him to be for you to be dependent on him. Like when you say yes to Him, you're saying, Yes, I'm going to be dependent on you. And you would not say that to somebody you didn't trust, you know, you wouldn't make that kind of commitment to a God that you didn't trust. And so I've always had a deep trust in the Lord. And so you have to have the confidence. And it says in the word that he's our father, and we're his sons and daughters, and that he's a good good father, and he has good for us. And so, I've just always had that deep trust. And what I hear him talk to me is usually an i statement, you know, like, I love you, you are my daughter, like in first person. And I heard him say, and fill up his car that night on the way to our day, you know, this is the soulmate that I've chosen for you. And so that's not your, you know, your own words in your head. And, you know, yes, I hear people say, Well, how do you know it's not the enemy? The distinction is, and he get He's given us spiritual discernment. It's one of the nine gifts of the Spirit to know how to discern good and evil, you know, and that doesn't sound like the voice of the enemy.Enemy doesn't sound loving.

John Matarazzo:

No, it doesn't

Darlena Fields:

and doesn't sound like a good father. And so that's where I'm going to land and hearing the voice of God is that first you have to have that trust and know that if he says, He loves you, and he says, he's gonna guide you, then he says, then he's going to give you guidance, in the way that you hear it. You know, we have spiritual senses, so we can see and hear and feel in the spirit. And so that's how I engage with God as the my spirit, just like Philip said, and so it's not an audible voice per se, like you. But it's gonna be something that you get internally. And trust that it's that it's God and not and not just, you are making things up. And so you have one that comes with discernment. And that's something that you can ask to have is the gift of discernment, the words that you can ask for any gift, and they'll give it to you.

John Matarazzo:

That's good. I think one of the things that you guys have kind of alluded to is that this wasn't the first time that you were hearing God speak. No, because this is a big decision that you're going to who you're gonna spend the rest of your life with. But you guys have already developed that relationship with the Lord.

Darlena Fields:

Yeah,

John Matarazzo:

you've learned to hear his voice so that whenever you did hear God speak in such a big issue, you knew that it was God, and you had that confidence so that whenever you had those rough seasons in life, you could always go back to say, I know that this is what God has said. And I know in my life, that's been very good for me to know, the things that God has said, because there's times where I've tried to add on to the things that I've believed that God said, and those are the times that get me in trouble. But having that relationship with the Lord, that You guys were talking about that you know, his voice, and Jesus says that my sheep know My voice, and they will not turn to another. Yeah, that's great that you guys have cultivated that leading up to that big decision. So you fell out of the the minivan or the backseat of the minivan. So how did that, you know, asking asking her father for her hand in marriage, how did that go?

Darlena Fields:

My mom, I felt like oh, bless his heart, since he drove all this way and fell out and fell out passed out in the backseat of my band, I surely I should let my daughter marry him.

Phillip Fields:

You know, I think it was better than I expected. You know, at that point, at that age, in my life, I was nervous, very anxious, very, you know, very humble in the moment. And I knew that that was the right thing to do. And so I was also having to look for a moment when I could talk to the two of them. And, you know, not have her around because they didn't know what I was there for. Right? They may have thought I was there just to visit and beat the family or something. And so I called them alone for a moment. And I looked at them and I looked at her father and I said, Hey, I really want to marry your daughter. Do I have your permission to marry her and he was super gracious or dad is such a sweet man. And he just he said I'd be honored for you to be my son in law. And so we were all kind of hugging you and all that kind of stuff. It was sweet. Yeah, so it really really well.

John Matarazzo:

Was that your first interaction with them?

Phillip Fields:

Totally. There's the first time I've ever met. Oh, and so

John Matarazzo:

that takes guts right there, man.

Phillip Fields:

Yeah. No, I'm either gonna get a shot. Another long bus ride back to January. Or, you know, I'm gonna get a little favor here and maybe find a better path back to the beach. But yeah, it went, like I said it went better than I could expect. And that really was wasn't around them very long, but they're very warm people. So it was it was nice.

John Matarazzo:

That's great. So how long from the engagement until you guys actually got married?

Phillip Fields:

Nine months, nine months, six months from the engagement It was so

Darlena Fields:

before marriage was nine months, well, we knew we wanted to get married. So we're both counseling, students getting our master's in counseling. So we're counseling with a high priority. And so Philip instigated us getting pre engagement counseling. Has anyone ever heard of that pre engagement, counseling, engagement counseling? And then he popped the question, and then we went back for premarital counseling. So we had double duty before we got married. Not that it helps at all. No, and it did help. It did. I can't imagine how thing how worse things would have been had we not done that laying that groundwork.

John Matarazzo:

Yeah, the topic of your book is the unperfect marriage, liberation for couples trapped in the fantasy of perfection. And I want to talk about that. Because in this day and age, you know, we're inundated with social media and Instagram. And people use filters on their pictures, and they're only posting the ones that are the highlights from their days. I've had a lot of friends get married. And I see a lot of people focus on the wedding day, but not the marriage. They focus more on that day. And it's like now that's the first day of the next 5060 years until death does you part, how did the preconceived ideas that you had going into marriage? How did those kind of break apart and get

Phillip Fields:

I think the easiest way to say it is is that reconstructed? we didn't know we had,

John Matarazzo:

yeah, okay.

Phillip Fields:

We really thought that we had done our homework that we were prepared, that we and understanding we knew we were coming from dysfunctional families. My dad was an alcoholic and very abusive. And she came from a very a meshed and dysfunctional family, there was lots of violence and challenges. And so neither one of us, although her parents had become Christians, and worked out a lot of stuff in their life. They still had a lot of dysfunction in their marriage. And so neither one of us had good role models and that sense. But we both had decided that, you know, in our in our Christian growth and in our understanding of ourselves and everything, we were ready, we really thought we were ready. And so we were blind to the whole issue of how fantasy was driving us. And and so I really think that that's the case for most people. I mean, in writing the book, I realized I had this experience where, you know, I went back and I actually saw the day that that fantasy began, you know, and it's amazing how that kind of stuff like the light bulb comes on. But typically, it doesn't come on until, you know, stress and problems and disconnection and arguments and all that stuff starts to come up. Yeah. So can you tell me about that, realizing that when that fantasy began, could you break that down for me because as a single guy, looking for a spouse, I want to kind of learn from some of the paths that you've that you've taken, sir. So for me, it began, my parents would get into these really ugly arguments, and my dad was very domineering. And so he would get abusive and hurt my mom and my two brothers who were older would try to fix the situation. And I would run because I was scared. I was a little boy. And I went out the back door, you know, 9, 10 years old crying, kind of ran down the street, to a friend's house seeking stylists, and, you know, rolled up on this split level home and there's my friend and his family, sitting with TV dinners watching Disney. And I'm crying. And I'm thinking to myself, someday, I want to have what my friend has. And I just didn't realize how that kind of almost turned into an inner vow. Like I'm gonna, I'm gonna do this. I'm gonna make it work. And so that was Yeah, that was where it all began. It began with just that little snapshot, you know,

John Matarazzo:

so your, your fantasy for a marriage was Disney Channel and TV dinners.

Darlena Fields:

Had I only known 20 plus years later, I thought that Disney movies and TV dinners, but I made him happy.

Phillip Fields:

Well, it really it was it was so this is this is kind of how the fantasy really goes is. Yeah, I wanted a Mary Poppins who would make my life Happy, I wanted her to be happy. I wanted her to make everybody else happy. I wanted her to make me happy. I wanted to bubbly personality, who was always happy. And then but I wanted her to look like a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader, the Dallas Cowboy. Because I thought, someday I'm going to go play for them because I played football, you know, that's part of the fantasy to I'm going to be this great big, great player. And I'm gonna find my cheerleader who has the personality of Mary Poppins. No, no small order there. No, no, that's happened to be me. I met this little girl from Texas who had a bubbly personality, and I did the double take. So you kind of figure I figured it all out.

John Matarazzo:

It definitely seems like those boxes that were being checked for you, man.

Phillip Fields:

And I didn't even realize I didn't even put all that together. I mean, literally, in my choosing her didn't put all that together. But it took us years to unpack all that. Right. So just want you to, there was no says, you know, hey, what are your fantasy for me?

John Matarazzo:

I gotcha. I gotcha. So Darlena, what was your idea of what your marriage was gonna look like?

Darlena Fields:

Well, I want to say this first. It's something that popped into my head, because you initially asked the question, how do you how does the fantasy begin? Yeah, I'm going to speak on behalf of what I feel like believers can get stuck in. And because we went to a Christian university, this is something we heard all the time as that, oh, he's a Christian. He's so cute. We pray together. And we have devotions together, and in their mind that that must mean that we should be together. You know, and no, that's not. That doesn't mean you're supposed to be together because he's a Christian, you're a Christian, you read your Bible, he read your Bible, and y'all pray together at the end of your day, does not mean that that's what God meant for you to be together, there's, you know, look for the voice of God, not for the little googoo feelings that you get, because that you finally found a Christian, a good look and Christian guy that actually prays with you. That's not the criteria. But we can get stuck in that. But to answer your question about how my fantasy started to develop, I just like Philip grew up in a very dysfunctional home. And I used fantasy to check out as a coping skill to deal with my violent environment that I grew up in. And so I had a lot of fantasy going on, I fantasize what it was like to not live in my family, what it'd be like to live in a happy home, just like fill up. And I was a part of a wealthy family and a very wealthy friend group, like I hung out with the high society, kids in our town or country town as high society as you can get in a small country, Texas town. But what I didn't get to be a part of was the Country Club life is my family owned their own business. And so while they worked, I had to be the babysitter. But I was always stuck at home, why my friends were at the country club. And it was daunting, it's like torture us for me to know that all my friends were out having fun, and I was stuck at home and, and I began to develop FOMO back then the fear of missing out. And I remember this one particular day, when I made an inner vow, one of my friends called me from the Country Club, I could hear laughter in the background. And she invited me out to have fun with them. And I had to tell her that I couldn't go. And she was like, you know, did the Oh, you know, like really drawn out like, but why we're having so much fun. And my heart just sank in that moment. And I felt so many emotions. I felt anger, I felt resentment for about my life, but also felt shame, because I couldn't be normal. And, and I didn't, I couldn't have the life I wanted. And I felt so trapped and imprisoned in my life. And I made this inner vow that I was going to have that Country Club life someday. And so attached with that is that I'm going to marry a man that can give me that Country Club. Why? And so my fantasy began then. And of course, because I grew up in Texas. I grew up rodeo in and going to the horse races. I loved cowboys. And so my fantasy guy was going to be, you know, a good old Southern boy and Wranglers and boots, and make enough money that we can have a country club life. So that's how mine started. I didn't unpack that, you know, until later on, and realize what I've put him through though.

John Matarazzo:

So what was the catalyst that helps you guys realize that what you went into marriage thinking this was going to be and you're realizing that this isn't that what did you what finally happened that you said okay, We need to actually unpack this and kind of get counseling for this ourselves.

Phillip Fields:

Well, I think that it was developmental. Right. So it didn't happen with one event. And then we got counseling and marriage was all better. It's been a different life stages, you know, changes that needed to happen. And I was some things that have happened over the years. And, you know, different levels of maturity and all of that. But the, I think the easiest thing to say is that, for me, it started when my job at the mega church crashed. And, and I realized that, you know, the lane that I was running in was this performance lane. And, you know, we were growing this massive church, and we were going around the world doing ministry, and all this amazing stuff was happening. And then one day, our senior leader came in and, you know, basically took a left turn in his faith, and sent me in a tailspin. And at the time, married with three girls, and I'm like, goodness, no, there goes my dream job. And so out of all that I burned out eventually got physically sick. And my thought was, is Wait a minute, I did what they told me to do. I went to the right school, married the right girl, and I went to work for the right church. How did I end up here? And so I'm burned out. I don't have a job. I worked for a church that became a cult. You know, now, what are we going to do? No one wants to even talk to me about, you know, working at their church. And so I felt exiled. Oh, wow. And it was, you know, I didn't change my faith. Right, right. You know, I didn't you're associated with that. Yeah, I didn't say the Bible wasn't in there. I didn't say that. There are many ways to God, I didn't say all those things that were being said. And so it was, it was devastating. And so in those days, you know, he just didn't, you didn't have the connections and network that a lot of people have nowadays. And so, I mean, we were on the back side of the desert. And, and that led to burnout, and actual physical sickness, almost dying. And so then, at that point, we were really blaming each other for the spiral, and the, you know, just the depression and heaviness that was on our life.

John Matarazzo:

Darlena, tell me about your side of that.

Darlena Fields:

Well, for me, that was definitely created a

Phillip Fields:

Well, I think that over time, it looked like shift, you know, him, almost losing Philip. But the flip side us trying to change each other, you know, we realized we were in of the story is that he did get healed, amen. And while he was laying on our couch, looking like he was going to die, trouble. And so the, you know, the struggle was is that, hey, because the doctors couldn't do anything for him, I was struggling with suicidal depression. So the way I say it is that he was dying, and I wanted to die. And you know, I'm just gonna go back to God, you know, but God's story that there you're making me feel inadequate, hey, you're making was divine intervention, is we discovered a program that we me feel mad. Hey, you know, and so we were we were in that were able to go to where Philip got healed, and I got healed. And it just flipped our lives upside down. And it caused us to cycle. And then we realized that wasn't working. And this big really re evaluate what mattered. When you're facing death that does something to you, you know, you start to ask yourself, you know, what really matters in life? And does all revelation came to me because Darlene has struggled with rage. this desire for our country, club life and all the things does it really matter? And so we really changed a lot, the deep And so the rage was obviously a problem. I thought it was the down in our soul, our values and in our relationship changed. And so that was a very pivotal time. And things were good for several only problem we had, I thought her anger issues were the only years. So we rolled in this, this, this new place that we were in, and then we moved to a community. That was very high problem and I thought that you'll be more mature in your performance. And we began to fall prey to the performing and walk with God and do your part, then we'll have a great the perfecting, and the pleasing, again, trying to build relationships and this stablish ourselves in this new community, then that's when I had my crash and burn. I felt like I went marriage. But until you stop being angry all the time, we're through this really hard three years that I call that dark never going to have a great marriage. And so all the way night of the soul. And it was my coming out of that and finding my way back to God because I felt like I was disconnected across the country to the best counselor I could find paid from him. And I didn't feel him anymore. But God always has a rescue ship for us. You know, he always has options he always has through the nose for this counselor. And I'm sitting there solutions. And they're always so great. And so he did set a rescue boat for me and my really dark time and as well as coming with him and several other couples. And I look at him and I out of that. But I had this recognition that what what was I tell her, tell him about all her rage issues. And I'm thinking to was struggling with was exhaustion from hiding in shame, hiding all that was wrong in our marriage. All that was wrong with me all that was wrong with our kids. And as I began to try myself, he's going to zero in on her and again to fix her, you and work my way out of that, the shame of everything not lining up, according to fantasy is that when I had that revelation like, know, right there. And you know, and so he looks at me, and he Oh my gosh, look what we've been doing. We've been holding these fantasies up against each other. And when you do that to your says, When your wife is angry? What kind of man Do you want to spouse, they are never going to measure up. They're never going to please you. And I had came to this place where I believe that be? I was like, Hey, you didn't hear. He didn't get it. You was just a disappointment to fill up. Because I didn't measure up to his fantasy, I wasn't Mary Poppins, I wasn't a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader. I wasn't Mother Teresa know, she has a rage problem. She's little, but she has a real spiritually. And so I felt like a disappointment and you, you fall prey to a lot of lies. And when you start to believe these big problem. And he said, Look, he said until you see that you things, and so it was working my way out of those lies, and us beginning to work really hard on getting that place back of contentment, again, was then we had the revelation about the have a choice on how you react, you're going to lay in this fantasy and the Lord really started to help us to unravel all of that and realize what we've been doing to each other flow, you're going to stay in this place of being a victim the all these years. And I really had to go to repent to fill up and say, I'm sorry that I haven't seen you in our marriage, because I've been too busy looking at a fantasy that I rest of your life. Lisa, do you know why she gets angry? I said, wanted to live up to. And so when that fantasy fell, we like we lowered a fantasy, we were able to really see each other Absolutely. She's a little, she's strong and she loves to be for who we really were, when you can do that, then you can allow your spouse to be who they were meant to be, and love them for in control. And until she's in control, she's going to beat you who they really are, and not love them with expect tions. Yes.

John Matarazzo:

So how did you guys walk through that process? What did that? What did that kind of look like? down with their tongue. And I was that adamant about it. And he looked at her and he said, hey, why do you struggle with anger? And she said, Of course, I'm overwhelmed. And so yeah, we have four kids. He travels a lot doing ministry and stuff. And I just get overwhelmed. And he comes in. And he asked the same question every time. What are you doing? And I feel like, I can never get it right. I never measure up. Yeah. And so he began to empower me and help me to see how I could be a part of the solution, because that's what I wanted to be. And I could empathize with the fact that my wife is overwhelmed and not trying to control me. But for years, I believe that that's what all that was about. And so what I came to realize was as my struggle was no less impactful than hers. She may have had rage, but I would withdraw and punish her was silence for three days at a time. And so, you know, we hadn't this way that we would dance and this fear and anger. And so we we started taking a look at ourselves. That's when the freedom came. It wasn't, hey, you fix yourself and hey, let's read all these books about communication and blah, blah, blah. It was no. Why do I have this reaction? Where's it coming from? Well, I know where it came from. I did the same thing. When my dad raged, I pulled away Cuz like, you're not getting me, you're not going to control me, I'm out. And so that very same thing. So when that when I allow the Lord to heal that, then I could actually be present and be supportive of her. that's real y good. So thank the Lord th t your marriage was was save , even though it was that loo s like it was really rocky at th t poin

Darlena Fields:

Yes,

John Matarazzo:

thank the Lord, that you're now at a place where you're coaching and mentoring and counseling other people, I want to hear a little bit about Be courageous coaching, and how God is using you with that ministry?

Darlena Fields:

Well, we have a really powerful connection with the story of Joshua, in the children of Israel crossing the Jordan, so many times and in the book of Joshua says, To Be strong and courageous. And that is so much a part of who we are, we realize that one of our superpowers is being brave, and doing brave things, part of our purpose is to ignite that same kind of courage and other people to be brave and do brave things for the point of becoming the person that you were born to be. And, and to make your marriage, what it was meant to be. Because we're not going to blow smoke and say, all this was easy for us. I mean, we read the book that you will see that it was hard. But it's when you say, you, you put on your brave, man, you say yes to the hard, right. That's where you are able to reach deep down in your soul and find the things that are keeping you stuck, keeping you in ruts in your mind. And that was the hard work, you have to do the hard work, and the hard work. And that's and be willing to have the courage to, as Bernie Brown says, you know, Trump, you know, walk through their trucks to the swamp land of your soul, is there's no easy way around it. And if I, and that's what we said yes to, that's why we're still together. Because we said yes to the hard, we didn't run from the discomfort, because that's where people draw a line in the sand a lot of times and say we're done with this relationship, when it comes to dealing with our own hearts. It's easy to blame your spouse, what's not easy is to deal with your own ugly, and to deal with what it's what the bad things and the wrong things and the inappropriate behavior that you're bringing into the relationship. Right. And it was when he discovered that his pulling away, and was just as unhealthy as my coming at was, and that he had issues to work on as well. It freed me up from feeling like that I was the problem and carrying that burden, to really work on myself in a healthy way. And it was at that point we we both began to work on our own heart as when things changed for us.

Phillip Fields:

Well, I think that if we speak specifically to what we do as a ministry, it's we realized that there are a number of levels of what you have to offer people. And so we do the bigger events where we, you know, put out information and talk about processes and stuff like that. But a lot of times what we're focused on is the deeper things. Yeah. All right. So we're trying to go after the deeper things our heart's desire is transformation, because that's what's liberated us. We want to know how to get liberated, it's by being transformed. And so transformation is an inside out change. It's healing those things that are triggers. It's healing those things and those beliefs that we carry from our childhood into relationships. And as those things are healed, it changes everything. And so sometimes some couples come and see me personally for one or two days, and I spend two days with them, and we unpack it all. We walk it all through and there's a great deal of healing and then we walk with them for a season as they work it out. Sometimes we do it in a weekend or we have a perfect marriage weekend and we work with couples on that level, you know, and then a lot of times we're doing this kind of thing where we're just kind of scattering seeds and telling people our story. And, and I feel like you have to have some of all of it in order to help people and and so we we believe in that. But we also know that information only falls short. Yeah, Yes, for sure. There's got to be process and process involves intimate, small group. Relationship stuff and work where couples are given a chance to process. I don't want to look at a couple and say, I see this fear cycle in your life and not help them process that. Yes, they walk out of there like tormented by it. Right? Now I see I have this problem. What do I do? You know, it's like saying, hey, yeah, you got cancer, hope it works out for you, you know?

John Matarazzo:

Oh, wow. Yeah. You know, that would be very scary.

Phillip Fields:

Yeah, yeah. So we, we don't just kind of unpack stuff with people, we unpack and do the work, and help them heal it. And then we walk with them, as they walk it out.

Darlena Fields:

We help them take action. You know, when you go to a seminar, or marriage conference, and you get a bunch of knowledge, you know, you've been handed the grocery cart full of stuff, but you got to go home and then use and we give people time to practice. And to use the tools. In my point wasn't what I just said was that we do have degrees in counseling, we do have lots of coach training. But we feel like what makes us effective, is what we've been through. We don't ask people to do anything that we haven't done ourselves, because we've done the hard work and the hard work. And we help people do the brave things that are required to get on the other side of the mask on the other side of their pain other side of their past, and to have the marriage that God intended and be the person that God intended. And so then we've done it all all ourself. And that's what I feel like makes us different. Yeah, and, and more and very effective. Because we're not giving people book knowledge. We're not just teaching communication skills. And this is what we learned from school. We're giving people real stuff that we have done and overcome, and brought us through a very hellish marriage, on the other side. And that's how we wrote the book. Because like we live to tell about it, yeah. Tell about it, then let's use it to help other people.

John Matarazzo:

Absolutely. I mean, if you can use your tests as a testimony to help other people, that's wonderful. That's what I believe God wants us to do, rather than just kind of locking those experiences away. And keeping that wisdom and knowledge that we've gained just for ourselves, you put a lot of yourselves into this book. I like how both of you guys have written it in your own voices. And as you read it, you can kind of see, okay, Phil is writing this part. Darlene is writing this and you have your own, you have your own voice in there. And that's, that's great. So one of the questions that I love asking people, listeners, if you're going through their book, The unperfect marriage, they're going to talk about probably one of these stories that I'm going to ask about right now. But what has happened in your life that showed you that Jesus was actually right there with you, but you felt like you were alone. And you didn't realize that he was actually right there with you until you look back?

Phillip Fields:

Yeah, so I'll never forget. I was so sick, that I could only sleep two hours a night. And I lived with a temperature of 102 degrees all the time. And so my body was just full of pain. And I was in this place. And I really, I can't say that I had faith. I can't say that. I responded well to that in a lot of ways. I just gave up. And I thought to myself, I'm going to die. My daughters are going to be fatherless, my wife is going to be widowed. And I don't have faith. I don't have what it takes to make it through this moment. And I will never forget this coming to me when I was showering to go see another doctor. He said, I'm going to heal you. But I need you to get real with me. And, and it was like this, because at that point I wouldn't have. There's no way that would have came out of my mouth or been floating around in my head. I was in so much pain, I just literally wanted to stop hurting. And so it was the seed of hope. You know, hope feels favorite sees. I couldn't see Yeah. And at that moment, that little voice gave me this feeling that there could be hope that there could be another outcome. And that's he really was the beginning of my own personal transformation and certainly my own physical healing. And and when I look back at that, I know that that was a divine act of God, to speak to me and to begin that healing process and to give me that seed of hope. And nine months later, I was healed. I was I can't say that it happened in sort of One thing, but there were many things that God asked me to do. And a bunch of that was about forgiving people and letting you know, things that I had built up in my own heart. And, and probably the biggest one was my own disappointment myself, you know, so it was cool. I mean, that led to a whole new level of freedom in my life. Yeah, absolutely. Now, if you could go back in time, and speak to yourself, a younger version of yourself, and give yourself some advice, with the wisdom and knowledge that you have now, what's going on your life? And what would you? What would the advice be? I think the advice I would give my younger self is Wait, learn to wait, learn to be present in what you have, whether it's your children, your marriage, you know, the relationships that God has put in your life, but learn to wait and waiting by not necessarily like doing nothing and waiting for something to happen. But enjoy that season of your life, because God is using all of this to build who you need to be, you know, and so I had this impatience, I was gonna save the world before supper, you know, I was gonna be, you know, making history. And so I was always about the big thing, we had to do something big, we had to be making a big splash. And I realized, I have a big heart, which I didn't, you know, that's really what fueled a lot, I had lots of passion. But thank God, I didn't marry a big woman. But you know, it just, it's just that thing that you, you realize about yourself, and you look back, and it didn't have to be the big moment. It wasn't the big moments. It was those moments when, you know, you're holding your daughter on your lap, and she's enjoying you and you're enjoying her, or, you know, you kiss your wife for no reason. You know, or you say something to a stranger that empowers now, for a day, you know, it's like, that's living, that's living cuz you're there, you're enjoying it, you're taking it in, and you're not going to build this great big future for those great big thing that you think you're called.

John Matarazzo:

That's something I struggle with all the time is being patient in the moment, because I do have a vision and dreams that I want to achieve. So that I appreciate that reminder. Oh, no, that's what you would tell your younger self. But that ministers to me right now. I've got I've got goals and things that I'm trying to do and checklists and things like that. But being present in that moment, and allowing God to use you in that moment is really important.

Phillip Fields:

Yeah. And,

John Matarazzo:

Darlena, what about you were were when you look back at your life, do you see Jesus that you didn't see at that moment?

Darlena Fields:

Well, I know that Jesus was with me, even though I couldn't feel him during those dark years, making something really phenomenal began to happen is that I started finding dimes everywhere in crazy places, and I got to open the dryer and there'd be one, I'd open the car. And there's one in the parking lot. And literally crazy things like there was a dime on the table in the morning where there wasn't a dime before. And I started to really ask, you know, like, What is all this dime finding, and I would start to look up the number 10. And, and it meant full circle and the number of perfection, which is interesting, the color book than perfect. I started to realize it, those were signs from the Lord that you don't feel me but I'm with you, and I have a plan. I have a plan to take you full circle because I started to have spiritual meaning to me. And then I got to this really hard place repple I can't go on until you change something in me. I can't live like this. And I heard his voice again, for the first time in a really long time. As strong as I did in the car that night where they know the Lord told me that Philip was to be my husband. I heard the Holy Spirit say on the inside of me that I'm going to refresh you renew you and reposition you in ministry. But I need you to obey the next step. And what he asked me to do was something I didn't want to do, but I obeyed. And obeying the Lord is so key. When you're wanting to transform your heart and when you're wanting to change, his obedience is better than sacrifice and it's obeying the things that that didn't want to do that had so much victory on the other side of it. And what I said yes to led me to this whole year of just encountering the love of God like I've never known before, that really helped unravel me and all that I had wrapped up in my belief about What I wanted out of marriage, what I wanted out of life, what I wanted out of my children. And at the end of it all was a revelation of the fantasy that I had been allowing this fantasy of a life that I wanted to drive me, drive my marriage drive me personally drive my children. And fantasy is not anything that can ever come to pass, it can only happen in the movies and in pictures. And I, when I turned that fantasy over to the Lord and asked him to help me dream, and sort of fantasize, and to really move into his dreams, for me is when everything began to change. And I can, and I saw the hand of God during those dark years. And without a shadow of a doubt, I knew it was him like he will carry you. Everybody's heard this that problem, the footprint story, you know, you know that there was not no longer two sets of footprints is when he was carrying you. And he literally does, he carries you through the hard times. And he always has a rescue plan.

John Matarazzo:

Darlene, if you could go back and talk to your younger self, what advice would you give,

Darlena Fields:

I would say something similar to what Philip said. And it was not not be driven by the goal by the fantasy by the dream so hard and fast, that you don't experience the middle that you don't experience. What happens from the A to Z and that you don't have that you don't get so focused on driving for that dream, that you miss those ordinary moments, I fill up that emotional when you're when you could sit with your children in the floor and play with them. Instead, you're choosing to get tasks done. You know, because at the end of your life, that's what matters, those ordinary moments, because that's when we connect with our humaneness. It's in the hard times where we you know, we sit on the floor in our pajamas and look at each other. And, you know, without performance without perfection without expectation and truly Connect. That's what I would say is to be intentional about experiencing the journey and not missing the moments that matter. That may seem really ordinary and mundane. Because we live in a society this chases after the extraordinary that chases after stardom, and chases after success. And chasing after those things, you can miss the ordinary. And it's the end of your life. The ordinary moments is what matter those because those ordinary moments is where you build deep connection and true relationship. You can't take anything else with you. And when you when you leave this earth, that's what people are going to remember about you is how connected that you were, and the beauty of your life. Not that you were driven for perfection and run after fantasy.

John Matarazzo:

Could I ask you guys a favor? Could you please pray for myself and for anybody that's listening, that we wouldn't be caught in that fantasy. But we would really receive God's dream. So much of what we're talking about right now. And over this last almost hour is that a lot of the issues that we have is because of these preconceived ideas that we build up, whether it be our marriage, or our job situation, whatever that might be. And we've chased after this fantasy. Would you guys please pray right now that we would go from that fantasy world? Oh, yes to God's dream for our lives.

Phillip Fields:

Yeah, Lord. So we we asked him the name of Jesus, that you would minister to everybody who's listening. Help them, Lord, to let go with a fantasy or to help them to recognize the fantasy helps them to see it and help them to let go of it. Lord, I pray that those wounds that the thing that they missed out on in childhood and different experiences in their life, Lord, I pray that the thing that they missed out on would not drive them in desperation, I pray Father, that you would help them to see that their lack is not the foundation to build on. Help them to discern that, that you are with them, and that their security and their significance comes primarily from you. And so Lord, I pray that their hearts would be filled with knowing that they are your sons and daughters that they are loved, that they are accepted and they're they're fully embraced for who they are and and i I pray that there would just be a freedom from fantasy. And there would be this exchange, this exchange and a true move of your your spirit in their life, but there'd be a true movement. And that they would find the desires of their heart that you put there, in Jesus name.

Darlena Fields:

Father, God, I just close that by by praying that, that the listeners would see and hear that, that there is so much more to life than being driven by perfection and performance to, to have that the American dream that we get told that we can have, if we do all the right things can have their white picket fence and the house and the cars and all the things. But Father, what, there's so much more, and there's so much more to having a life of purpose by that they would chase after purpose rather than perfection. Because it's when we discover our purpose here on Earth, our purpose for our marriage, our purpose for ourselves and our families, that we can settle in to the fact that we were born for a reason we were put on the earth for a reason it was not to run after perfection, but it's to instead run with a baton, that you handed us for the goal of the prize of the high calling of God. That's what matters. Everything else in life is a distraction, that our goal is to run after purpose were put on the earth to run after the prize. And that's destiny and purpose, and a call in the call of God in our life. And it's in that, that you will find the connection, that you will find your dream that you will find the love that you long for and that you were intended to have as sons and daughters of God. In Jesus name.

John Matarazzo:

Amen. Thank you guys. I really appreciate that. I've enjoyed just getting a glimpse into your journey along your way. And if you want to find out more information about Philip and berlina fields, you can go to be courageous coaching.com and you can find links for their book, The unperfect marriage there. I am grateful that you guys have allowed me to join you along your way.

Phillip Fields:

Thank you.

Darlena Fields:

Thanks, john.

John Matarazzo:

I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Philip and arlena. If you want to know more about them and how to get their book, I'll be providing their info in the show notes, including a link to watch their interview on my TV show real life. Thank you for listening to along the way. If you've enjoyed joining me along my way, please share this with a friend who you think will be encouraged by this podcast. Also, please rate and review along the way on iTunes. That helps more people discover along the way. And subscribe to this podcast wherever you're listening. You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram and at my website along the way dot media. I hope that you've enjoyed this part of my journey and may you realize when Jesus is walking with you along your way. Along the way is honored to be part of the charisma Podcast Network. You can find tons of spirit filled content from the vast catalogue of podcasts including my Monday through Friday news stories for the charisma news podcast. go to CBN shows.com to see the full list and latest episodes.