Tiger Take-Off




Sharing Lessons Learned in Marriage: Valentine’s Day Chapel Service at Campbellsville University

Christian Naylor, left, a 2018 and 2022 CU graduate, said he is constantly trying to learn how he can better know his wife, Gabrielle, right.
Photos/Emily Roberts

By Simon Baker, student news writer, Office of Marketing and Communications

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – A recent Valentine’s Day chapel at Campbellsville University featured a panel discussion on relationships.

The panel discussed joys, struggles, ups and downs and lessons they have learned in marriage to better advise students on what to look for and the “red flags” to avoid.

Dr. Scott Wigginton, who hosted the panel, is professor of pastoral ministries and counseling and MMFT Main Campus Liaison at Campbellsville University.

The panel consisted of Dr. Joe and Suzanne Hopkins, president and first lady at Campbellsville University; Chapman Bean, a 2018 CU graduate, and his wife, Gentry; Christian Naylor, a 2018 and 2022 CU graduate, and his wife, Gabrielle; and Lamar and Trenae Payne, a first-year success coach at CU.

The four couples spoke about skills they have had to develop since being together.

Christian Naylor said he tried to get to better know his wife, Gabrielle, and to talk about issues.

“I’m constantly trying to learn how I can know Gabrielle better because it’s a constant process, and as you get older, things change, and maybe mindsets change,” Naylor said. “One of those areas is communication. It is crucial because at any stage of your life, whether it’s dating or first getting to know each other, you want to be able to communicate ideas to each other.”

Naylor’s wife, Gabrielle, told students to “pray for God to guard your heart.”

When she met Christian, Gabrielle said, “I did have that peace where I knew God was guarding my heart until the right time.”

Dr. Hopkins also shared a core value of his and Suzanne’s marriage: Prayer.

“We’ve stuck by this rule for 32 years, and that is, that we’re not going to go to bed angry, and we’re going to pray together at the end,” he noted. “We’ve stayed up an hour later so that we could get to that place where we could go to bed not angry, and we could pray together.”

Suzanne pointed out that the core lessons she learned from her parents were communication and patience. She has held onto these lessons and used them in her own marriage.

Trenae Payne, right, said it is important to have compromise in a relationship. Her husband, Lamar Payne, added a key value in any relationship is listening.

“Something that Joe and I try to do is communicate about things that are difficult to communicate, and we may need to have a certain place where those are communicated,” she explained. “It’s so good when you get that in your home. We learned a lot of skills from our parents and how they communicated.

“My parents communicated really well.”

Chapman Bean, left, said an important lesson he has learned to pray for God to guard his heart against, and he’s also prayed he can communicate to his wife, Gentry, in a way that’s healthy and Godly.

Gentry Bean shared that she and Chapman both equally “wanted to build a family that loved Jesus.”

“We wanted to raise kids that love Jesus, and that was our goal,” she stated.

Chapman added a lesson he has had to learn and pray about is that God would guard his heart against anger and to communicate better.

Chapman said he often prays for God to guard his heart against anger, and he also prays he can communicate to Gentry in a way that’s healthy and Godly.

Trenae Payne, speaking on desires and compromises within a relationship, stated, “I want to build a life, so I’m going to  put my selfishness and my desires aside for this person and in essence, I think it grows us to be more like Jesus.”

Lamar Payne added a key value in any relationship is listening.

“You may not have a response, but just that moment, you stopped what you were doing, and you actually listened,” he said. “That means a lot to your significant other. You don’t know how much your significant other appreciates when, later on down the line, you bring up something that they mentioned to you a while ago.

CU President Dr. Joseph Hopkins, left, emphasized the importance of prayer and not going to bed angry. Suzanne, Dr. Hopkins’ wife, noted she and Dr. Hopkins emphasized communication, even about difficult topics.

“That shows that you were listening. That shows that you cared and that you actually love them.”

Wigginton closed the panel by showing a picture of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Wigginton explained the tower leans because it stands on marshy and soft ground.

“When you build something on marshy grounds, it leans,” Wigginton explained. “Now, they’ve kept that tower leaning because it’s to their advantage to keep the tourists coming, but it’s not to our advantage to build a relationship that leans. Our hope today is to give you some things to build a strong foundation so that your relationship doesn’t lean.

“Now, if you build a relationship that leans, it can be fixed, but what they learned is that it’s way more expensive to try to fix something than to build it right in the first place.”

Chapel is designed to provide opportunities for corporate worship and exposure through a variety of informative speakers and presentations.

Chapels can be viewed on YouTube by searching “Campbellsville University Chapel Playlist.”

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university that offers over 100 programs including doctoral, master, bachelor, associate and certificate programs. The website for complete information is www.campbellsville.edu.

Dr. Scott Wigginton, who led the panel discussion, told the audience at chapel that he hoped they learned lessons to build a strong foundation for their relationships.