Kay Warren is an evangelical leader, author, AIDS activist, and co-founder of Saddleback Church in Southern California. Along with her husband, Rick, Warren founded Saddleback in 1980 with just a single family to fill the pews. Today it has 120-acre campus, 22,000 weekly attendees, and has provided spiritual guidance and source material to over 400,000 ministers worldwide.
In 2002, Warren became "seriously disturbed" by the scope of the AIDS epidemic; she has since set up an AIDS ministry at Saddleback and spoken out about the disease around the world. Warren is the co-founder and co-director (with her husband) of The Global PEACE Fund, which fights poverty, disease, and illiteracy.
Warren has spoken to the United Nations Global Coalition on Women and AIDS. In 2006, Warren was among eight women honored for their humanitarian efforts at the CNN Inspire Summit. Warren is the author of Foundations Participant's Guide and Dangerous Surrender: What Happens When You Say Yes to God.
Question: How do you explain the divorce rate in the U.S.?
Warren: I think that too many people are expecting perfection. I think too many people are expecting that this other human being is gonna be able to perfectly meet all of their needs; is always gonna understand them; always be there for them. They’re not. And . . . and when we go at it from that aspect of looking for something that no other human being can give to us, of course you’re gonna be disappointed. I think there’s also . . . I don’t (19:50) know that we value promises as much maybe as even in my parents’ generation. When we said to each other . . . When we stood next to each other and made promises to each other, you know, 32 years ago, they were promises that we intended to keep come hell or high water. We were not . . . Divorce just wasn’t an option for us. I realize that that has to be true for both people. You know if one of us had only felt that way, then of course it would be easier to get a divorce. But I think when both people come into a relationship with the idea divorce is not an option . . . I am committed to you. I am making a vow . . . a vow, and I’m not gonna break it. And we’ll find a way to work this out. We’ve done marriage counseling. We’re not embarrassed or ashamed to talk about that. I would encourage anybody to get good marriage counseling. I would say surround yourself with friends who also value their marriage. If you hang out with people who don’t value their own marriage, or they don’t really see that marriage should be an all-your-life kind of a commitment, then you’re gonna be around people who aren’t encouraging . . . They’re not even working in their own marriage that way, and so they’re gonna be more likely to encourage you to go, “Oh he’s such a jerk. Dump him.” Or, “You know what? She’s not . . . she’s not meeting your needs. You should find somebody else.” When you have those kind of friends, it’s really hard to stay committed.” So I’d say go in with the idea that you’re gonna stay together for life. It’s a promise and a vow, and you’re gonna work it out. And that you surround yourself with people who also are very, very committed to their relationships.
Recorded on: 12/11/07