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‘I Fiercely Love My Wife’: For King & Country’s Luke Smallbone Opens Up About Marriage

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Luke Smallbone, one half of the Grammy-winning Christian duo For King & Country, is no stranger to struggle. The difficulties he and his wife have endured have proven to be blessings in their lives.

“I fiercely love my wife,” Smallbone told CBN News. “And a lot of that has to do with the fact that we’ve actually been through some things. We actually lived out or vows in our 20s. Not many people are saying, ‘Hey, I’ve lived out my vows in my 20s.’ They usually think that’s gonna take place in their 60s and 80s.”

“But for us,” he continued, “living out those things has given our relationship the ability to look back and say, ‘Hey, if we went through this, why can’t we go through that?’ And I think that’s been nothing but a good thing for us.”

Listen to them on the latest episode of “Quick Start”

Smallbone’s wife, Courtney, has opened up to CBN News in the past about her intense fight with crippling anxiety and drug addiction brought on, respectively, by a rare disease diagnosis and severe morning sickness during her second pregnancy.

Thanks to her husband’s support and the Lord’s faithfulness in her life, Courtney has found healing and freedom from her addiction.

Reflecting back, Smallbone sees how God has used painful things — like the potential loss of their son — to speak to him and his wife.

“When pain comes, allow that to be an opportunity for change,” he said, sharing a lesson God has taught him over the years. “[I]f something catastrophic happened and I lose my marbles, it probably says something about me. It probably has less to do with the circumstance.”

Avoiding pain and suffering is a natural human instinct. And in Western culture, one of the ways people often try to numb or distract themselves from difficulty is by filling their calendars with things — events to busy their bodies and minds.

Over the years, though, Smallbone said he’s realized dealing with tough relational issues, rather than running from them, has proven to have the power to deepen the bond he has with Courtney.

“What I realized about being in a family, in a marriage, is, when resolved conflict takes place, it breeds a stronger relationship, it breeds a stronger friendship,” he reflected.

The “Burn the Ships” singer-songwriter gained some of that wisdom as a result of a near-tragedy in 2018, when his and his wife’s then-2-month-old son almost died of what doctors deemed a Sudden Infant Death Syndrome incident.

“It’s still one of the things, when I think back, I can get a little emotional,” he said. “We found him certainly not conscious getting up from a nap, blood coming out of his nose.”

The Smallbones rushed their little boy to the hospital and medical personnel worked to stabilize him and ultimately classified the condition as a near-SIDS accident, which meant they didn’t truly know what caused the ordeal.

“A little while after that, my sister [Rebecca St. James] called me and said, ‘Luke, you’ve had your fair share of trials at this point. What do you do with this one?’ And that question really lingered with me,” Smallbone recalled. “I said back to her, ‘Bec, I feel like God allows these things to happen because, in the process of the story, it reflects His faithfulness in my life. And it’s my job to tell that story.’”

Struggles like that — the potential loss of a child, the suffering his wife endured, her battle with addiction — have been fodder for the songs that now minister to those who listen to For King & Country.

Smallbone sees himself as a storyteller, using words and song to point people to the Gospel.

“I’ve written songs about … nearly every struggle I’ve had in my life,” the singer said. “I feel like God’s given me those stories and I’m trying to shepherd those stories, steward those stories because I think that, if storytelling was good enough for Jesus, it’s probably gonna be pretty good for us.”

“At the end of the day, I feel like He’s given me these stories to share with people,” he added. “He can have all my stories, and I’m gonna do my best to tell those stories in a way that hopefully impacts another, and, hopefully, someone will hear a song and they’ll say, ‘Maybe I’m not alone. Maybe there is someone out there that’s just like me.’ … And, in [the] inverse, it makes me feel less lonely, because I know there’s someone else resonating with the things I’ve walked through.”



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