Keep Doing “I Do”: Twelve things I’ve Learned in 30 Years of Marriage


This June marks thirty years since Pam and I exchanged our vows at Memorial Baptist Church in Parkston, SD.  Over the years we have moved a dozen times, changed careers, suffered two miscarriages, endured two master’s degrees and several military separations, celebrated the birth of eight children, paid a lot of bills, bought a lot of groceries, worn out several washing machines, had more than a few conflicts, walked a lot of miles, and enjoyed some wonderful times together.

June is the month when many people choose to say “I do.”  I am glad they do, but I am afraid that some of the unrealistic expectations of how life ever after is supposed to go lead to disillusionment and giving up on the promises.  It is tempting to remember “for better” but forget about “or for worse.” I am grateful for a wife who has loved me through both and is still learning and growing with me. Here’s my list of twelve things I’ve learned throughout our married years, some from experience and some from others. I hope these might give you a realistic perspective on God’s good gift of marriage and help you to keep doing “I do.”    

  1. Stay committed to Christ and to a church body together. When we have had difficulties in our relationship the Holy Spirit has used worship and communion in particular to drive us to apologies and renewed efforts to work things out. We have learned insights and been encouraged by good models within the church.

  2. Sharing meals together is good. Pam is a good cook and a fun person to be with.

  3. Don’t reorganize Pam’s kitchen! Every person needs to communicate, understand and respect healthy boundaries.

  4. Comparing your marriage to other marriages is not fair or helpful. We see others at their best and we see each other at our worst. This makes comparison dangerous. Some of the marriages that I compared ours to have gone through divorce. It is fair to look for good things you want to emulate in other couples, but don’t wish you had their marriage. Enjoy and develop the marriage you have.

  5. Expectations may need to be adjusted to be more realistic. One time after a lunch argument about how orderly the house should be with little children, Pam said my expectations were too high and always going higher. I went back to the office and wrote out all my baseline expectations. I wanted proof that they weren’t going up; they were staying the same. Every once in a while I run across that document and I think, “Whoa! What were you thinking!” I know that Pam has had to adjust her expectations too. 

  6. Playful competition can be fun, but too much competition can kill the fun. That lesson was learned in the last game of checkers I played with Pam, over 28 years ago.

  7. Avoid talking down your wife or husband’s family. Every one sometimes has some conflicts or disappointments with their family, but if you put down a person’s family you put them down too.  

  8. Kids are awesome.  Enjoy them together, but don’t let them steal all your couple time away.  Walks together have worked well for us. You have to find time to process life together and your relationship: the good, the bad, and the ugly.  

  9. Money is an essential, recurring topic of conversation, but seldom a romantic one. However, avoiding these talks will undermine your relationship and your finances. Nothing brings out the different values two people hold than a discussion about how they have spent or how they should spend their money.

  10. Every couple has conflicts, and some are difficult to resolve. Four things that come naturally to us when we are in conflict must be resisted (based on University of Denver research on why marriages fail):

  1. Withdrawal – Checking out mentally or physically before a conflict is talked out and worked out.

  2. Escalation – Talking louder and faster with high stakes attacks instead of listening to understand and try to work out a compromise.

  3. Negative Interpretation –Imagining bad intent behind everything your husband or wife does. How can a person ever win your favor, or love ever grow, while such thought patterns are prevalent?

  4. Invalidation – Saying, or expressing without saying a word, that your husband or wife is unworthy of your respect.

  1. Just because you aren’t having arguments, doesn’t mean everyone is satisfied. Conversations about your different expectations for intimacy and affection may feel a bit awkward but are necessary and helpful.

  2. Like all of life, marriage has seasons. Seasons of busyness, of separation, of little ones, and of older ones bring changes to your relationship. Each season has its blessings and challenges.


Blessings - Pastor Harrison


Names, names, & more names!

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It’s exciting to finally be here at SRBC. My first couple of weeks in this community have been anything but dull. I mean with the great food, conversations, oh yeah, and a bomb threat on a local McDonald’s. This place really does need Jesus… All jokes aside one of the fun and challenging things about being in a new place is being bombarded by names, names, & more names. I honestly do enjoy the challenge and it’s weird the names I’m able to remember and the ones that are hard. From weird spellings with even weirder pronunciations to “normal” names with weird spellings to just “normal” names, it’s all a great challenge. Names are important, they carry weight and meaning. Even if we don’t know the language of origin, our names fundamentally mean us: all our memories, personality quirks, and dreams for the future. When people get names wrong it’s disappointing. If you’re anything like my mom, you don’t throw away empty plastic containers; be they for cool whip or cottage cheese. Imagine my surprise when I opened the cool whip container and found baked beans, that’s not what my leftover Thanksgiving pie needed. When the name doesn’t match reality, there’s a creditability issue.

As Christians we have all sorts of names we go by; child of God, friend of Jesus, beloved... etc. Christian can mean a lot of things, but ultimately it means little Christ. We can obviously never be Christ, but at the least shouldn’t our love look a little like Christ’s, shouldn’t our connection to the Father look a little like Christ’s, and shouldn’t our lives look a little like Christ’s? Recently, I’ve been challenged by this question: if someone got to live your spiritual life for 24 hours would they want to give it back? Would they be so encouraged by your spiritual life that they’d want to keep it as their own? Names are not random and meaningless, whether they’re on your birth certificate, your leftovers in the fridge or written on your soul by God. The real question is: does the name and reality match, Christian?


Blessings - Vince Derr

connections pastor


On Mission in Colorado

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We have a great mission team assembled for this summer! We will be heading to Colorado Springs, CO to partner with Next Step Ministries by serving and blessing the under resourced in that city. We will be gone from July 27th – August 4th. I’m always amazed at the unique team that God puts together to accomplish ministry in locations outside of our communities. I’m so excited to be working alongside this great team who will bring their gifts, personalities, and faith to bless others. This will be our first mission trip solely dedicated to blessing others through construction projects! Here’s our team of soon to be handy helpers! 

Alivia Hoodjer Nick Ackerman Jillian Simon

Ethan Anderson Ella McGrath Natalie Lippert

Chaylie Lippert Zach Mullins Hannah Homeyer

Morgan Roelfs Kienzle Hoodjer Haleigh Homeyer

Carrie Simon Jenny Anderson Bryce Roskens

Some Background Information on the city we’ll be serving: 

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The beauty and assets of Colorado Springs are clear. The second largest city in Colorado is a thriving economic town with a backdrop of Pikes Peak, one of the nation’s most beautiful mountain ranges on the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains. The Springs is home to the United States Olympic committee and was even ranked as high as the 5th best city to live in recent years. However, amongst this beautiful city are individuals struggling with poverty, homelessness and a lack of hope. The United Way reports that over the last three years, nearly every statistic on homelessness in the Springs has been on the rise. Last year alone, figures representing individuals in a state of homelessness was up nearly 6% with youth homelessness up 7%. Homelessness is just one symptom of poverty in the community and in the shadows of a great town many others are struggling with day-to-day living.

The good news: there are many active churches and community organizations within Colorado Springs. Next Step is excited to continue in partnership with Colorado Springs, with a vision to come alongside the local church and community organizations to meet families where they are at. Our teams will participate in building projects for families in transitional housing, outreach events in the community, tangible service projects to meet the food and shelter needs of individuals living in states of at-risk homelessness or homelessness and many opportunities to share the Gospel to families that find themselves in hard times. It is our desire to support, dignify and encourage sustainable growth in this great city. 

-Next Step Ministries

Room for 1 more?

Next Step Ministries believes in the idea that sometimes God can work last minute in a student’s life. They make it possible to bring one extra student along who might be feeling this tug. I believe this could be a cool opportunity for someone. We have had multiple mission trips in the past where someone filled in for someone last minute because of something that came up and those opportunities have been quite powerful for the student. If you have a child or know of a student who might be our “1 more,” please talk to me. 

Prayer Meeting Send Off

Our biggest need as a church is for you to partner with us in prayer. Please pray over this team by name in the next couple of months and the potential people that we’ll have the chance to interact with in Colorado. And we’d love for you to join us for a prayer gathering mission trip send off on Wednesday night, July 24th at the Roskens’ House in Eldora (9 Eastwood Drive). We’ll pray together for our team and then enjoy some root beer floats after that! 

Thanks for caring about the youth of our church and your willingness to be a sending church! 


 Blessings - Pastor Bryce



New VBS Director

Hello everyone! 

I am Michelle Kennedy, and for those who don’t already know me, I am a stay-at-home mother to our 3 children: Reese (5), Ryan (3), and Raven (18 months) and I am happily married to JR. This is our first full year here at Steamboat Rock Baptist Church, but we fell so in love with the facility and the people and their love for the church, that it inspired us to get involved! Throughout our time here we’ve found numerous ways to get involved and have to come really enjoy meeting many of the families and members here! With that being said, the position for VBS Director was brought to my attention and I dove in head first as soon as I could! I remember our second month attending SRBC was during VBS and it instantly brought me back to my days as a young, Baptist church-goer and how much I LOVED VBS week! The decorations, the music, the laughter, the stories about God, all of it was so inspiring and brought many of my friends into the church for the first time! 

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Enough about me! What about you? How can we get you involved? We need help during VBS week and we know YOU are the perfect addition to our crew! Applications include: smiles, positive and loving attitudes towards yourself and others, an unconditional love for God, and the ability to serve others, (also the ability to pass a background check for those over 18 years of age.)  If you can handle those things, we want you on our team! We are in need of a Crafts Station Leader, crew leaders, safety monitors, nursery care givers, preschool leaders and more! Find the perfect spot for you! We know that there’s many of us who have talents that can build our program and we want to help you to utilize them! 

Contact me for any questions at or 319-239-4207 or go online to our VBS link and sign up to help us out! We can’t wait for a great week of singing, dancing, playing, and celebrating our great God!


God Bless - Michelle Kennedy

Children's Ministry