JACKSON, Tenn. – April 10, 2013– Ben Mandrell, senior pastor of Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson, and his wife Lynley offered tips on how Christians can find peace in relationships as part of the annual Crabtree Family Life chapel services April 3 and 5 at Union University.
“God has designed marriage in such a way that you get back what you put in,” Ben said in his Wednesday address. “It is the sowing and reaping principle which is also true, by the way, of all kinds of relationships. You have to invest in a relationship for it to be valuable.”
Marriage is discipleship, said Ben, who married Lynley 12 years ago. They have four children.
“And do you know what discipleship is? It is a process of death,” he said. “...In marriage we have an opportunity to wake up every day and endure some pain for someone. And I’m going to do it not out of obligation or duty, because it’s a choice.”
Each spring, the special chapel series features speakers talking about dating, marriage and family relationships. Students, faculty and staff left few seats open during the 2013 series.
The Wednesday crowd, however, lacked one important member who had attended every previous Crabtree lecture, since they began in 2000. Bennie Elizabeth Cole Crabtree died at age 86 on March 28, only four days before the 13th year of the series named for her.
Bennie Crabtree was preceded in death by her husband, T. T. Crabtree. Both were Union graduates who endowed the lecture series. Their daughter, Anna Beth Morgan, is director for Union’s Emma Waters Summar Library.
“Dr. Crabtree was a giant in Southern Baptist life and Mrs. Crabtree was an amazing lady,” Union President David Dockery said at the Wednesday chapel service. “We give thanks for the gift that the Crabtrees have left us in this lecture series.”
Lynley Mandrell joined Ben on the stage during the Friday chapel. The couple spoke conversationally, taking turns sharing advice and providing many recent examples — positive and negative — from their own marriage. The Mandrells also answered questions from students and faculty members following the Friday chapel service.
They encouraged students to listen to others fully before giving advice.
The couple also said every couple should consider what their family’s way of dealing with conflict was and whether or not it is helpful to continue in that approach.
“You were taught how to deal with hurt,” Ben said. “Parents create a natural wake for their children to follow in. It takes effort and skill to get outside the wake. This is good news for you, because you’re not doomed to respond to hurt the same way your parents did. You can change.”
Proactive communication between two people in a relationship — whether dating, engaged or married – will help couples move toward relational peace, Lynley said.
Video of both services is available at new.livestream.com/uu/chapel.
By Samantha Adams (’13)