For us at Believe.com, and really Christians everywhere, our hearts are focused on how we can put Jesus front and center in our lives this year.
Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, producers of the The Bible: The Epic Miniseries, know a thing or two about putting God first. While they are beyond excited about the movie premiere of Son of God – a follow up to The Bible being released in theatres February 28 – they stay forever focused on Jesus as the real love in their marriage.
In a video last year, while promoting The Bible mini-series, Roma talks openly about the role faith plays in their relationship. “Faith is a major part of our marriage. We love each other. We love our faith. And we pray together.” Roma: “My father always said, ‘The family that prays together, stays together.’”
The dynamic duo are apparently spending a ton of time together as they ramp up the promotions for the movie release this Friday. They are not only doing speaking engagements throughout the country, they are buying out entire movie theatres to showcase their film. A little Hollywood, a little grassroots, and a whole lotta Jesus, the couple still took time from their hectic schedule to chat with us at Believe.com about the secret to their happy marriage of seven years.
How They Met and Work Together
“We both had shows on the same network, Touched by an Angel and Survivor and Touched by an Angel was the only show to beat Survivor,” recalls Burnett. “I was getting a haircut and Roma was getting a pedicure and our eyes met in the mirror… not once, not twice, but three times. We both inquired about who the other one was which led to a phone call and we just knew when we met, the same as it is today, that there was something special between us.”
“Everybody knows that we are so, so close and we’re happy to be outspoken about our faith and our marriage and our connection,” said Burnett. ”I think it’s encouraging for lots of people.”
Downey added, “My co-star from my Touched by an Angel days, Della Reese, encouraged me to pray that God would choose a partner for me. She (Reese) said, ‘Oftentimes, we say, ‘Oh God, help me find a husband.’ Don’t do that. Say, ‘God, please choose a husband for me and let me know him when he gets here.’”
“That’s an important part of the story,” explained Downey. “Because when I was having my pedicure with my feet in a bucket of water; which may not be the most romantic of situations to meet your future husband; I knew him. My prayer had been, ‘Let me know him when he gets here.’ And when I got caught looking, not once, not twice, but three times in the mirror, I knew it was him.”
Downey shared her thoughts on working together, “In the subsequent years, as we started our company together, LightWorkers Media, tired of cursing the darkness, we wanted to light a candle of faith and hope and love. We came together, I believe, for such a time as this. To get to do what we love together, to combine it with what we believe, and to get to do it with the person I love most of all, it’s really been a blessing for us.”
How They Keep Jesus Front and Center
When posed the question of how they keep Jesus front and center in their lives, Burnett responded, “It’s pretty easy when you happen to be working on a movie called Son of God. We’ve had the privilege of working and focusing on Him every day. It would be hard to believe that anyone, unless you’re in seminary or you’re a pastor, is speaking about Jesus more. So it’s very easy to keep Him front and center.”
“The hard thing will be when it’s over and the movie’s come out,” Burnett continued. ”It will take more work. It doesn’t just happen; you don’t get the feeling of the Holy Spirit by accident. You need to pray and you need to take time out of the distractions of a busy, electronic life. Those distractions can absolutely distract from Jesus. When your day suddenly is a blur, and you realize that you’re not connected again, you’ve got to remind yourself to connect. It doesn’t just happen. It’s the same story I’ve heard from pastors, you’ve got to work at it.”
Advice for Those in a Relationship
Downey had this to offer to those of you in a relationship, “I remember somebody teaching me that between stimulus and response, there’s a space. In order to have a healthy relationship, you need to, in consciousness and kindness, move into that space so that you don’t live your life in reaction and trigger getting mad at each other. I like to call that space a ‘space of grace.’ Oftentimes, Mark and I don’t always agree on everything but we have learned to disagree with respect and with love and with kindness. I think that’s critical in any relationship, to be kind to each other and sometimes that requires you to take a moment. And in that moment, you could pray, take a walk around the block, or whatever it is you need to do before you react unkindly in any way.”
How You Can Use Son of God
In closing, Burnett gave a shout out to the Believe community, “We appreciate you and hopefully you’ll go see Son of God (which opens on February 28). We’ve really been encouraged with how the faith community has rallied around this movie. We’ve seen churches use the movie in the right way which is encouraging the people in the congregation to come to the movie and bring someone with them who maybe doesn’t know Jesus, who maybe doesn’t go to church, and use the movie as a conversation starter.”
Burnett also had this to say in regards to planning your next date, “In terms of your relationship, it’s a great date! It’s a great date with Jesus on February 28.”