Louie and Shelley Giglio share marital advice after 37 years of marriage

Pastor Louie Giglio of Passion City Church in Atlanta, Georgia, and his wife, Shelley, who celebrated 40 years together, speak on a podcast with Sadie Robertson Huff on Aug. 23, 2023.
Pastor Louie Giglio of Passion City Church in Atlanta, Georgia, and his wife, Shelley, who celebrated 40 years together, speak on a podcast with Sadie Robertson Huff on Aug. 23, 2023. | Screengrab: YouTube/Sadie Robertson Huff

Passion City Church Pastor Louie Giglio and his wife, Shelley, who celebrated 37 years of marriage earlier this month, offered advice on having a long-lasting godly marital union during their recent appearance on Sadie Robertson Huff's podcast.   

On an episode of the "Whoa That's Good" podcast last week, Louie Giglio, who started what is now Passion City Church along with his wife in 2009, said he believes that marrying "the right person" is the biggest step anyone can make towards a lasting marriage. 

"A lot of times people are already down the road going 'hey, we need some help. We need some marriage advice. Can you give us some good advice?' And it's like, you married the wrong person, so it's going to be hard for me to give you advice at this point," Louie Giglio said.  

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"I know that sounds fatal. But just make sure that you're listening to God, that you are listening to your family, that you're listening to the circle of spiritual influencers around you, and you're listening to the people who love you enough to tell you the truth. And that's going to help you make a decision to marry the right person." 

The Giglios agreed that they "married complete opposites" in each other, with Louie Giglio saying that "somehow, the beauty of our different strengths has really allowed us to have an incredible life together."

"I always say to people, you know, 'I'm a good starter. Shelley is a phenomenal finisher. I'm an idea guy. Shelley is a let's-figure-out-how-to-get-it-done-person,'" the 65-year-old pastor said.

"Without her, I would have just been sitting on a big pile of great ideas all my life. And I think without me, she might not have gone on quite as many roller coaster rides."

Shelley Giglio said it's vital for married couples to see the differences between one another as complementary instead rather than competition, saying, "There's usually a middle ground."

"There's somewhere where God really longs for us to live, and it's not necessarily our way and our timing and the way we want it. And it's actually something more toward the center of the both of us," she said.  

"And I think, for us, we've done a good job trying not to be so determined and set in our own ways that we missed the opportunity to live in the better way. So, that's a lifelong goal. We'll be working at it forever, but it has definitely made a big difference."

Louie Giglio said it's hard to believe he and his wife have been together for four decades —37 years of marriage and three years of dating. 

"It's 40 years of life together, and that's a marker. I'm telling you. Forty is an important number in the economy of the kingdom. And to think that we've been dating/married for four decades. Wow. I had to go back and check how old I was to make sure that was possible," he joked. 

Shelley Giglio shared that it's important when considering a potential spouse that Christians make sure they align themselves with someone who is also devoted to Jesus Christ. 

"It makes total sense because you don't want to be in a covenant with somebody who's pulling in the other direction from where you really feel like your life is headed," Shelley Giglio said.  

"For us, we did love each other, and we were very attracted to each other, and we knew we wanted to spend our lives together. But we really, really, really wanted Jesus, both of us, as the priority. And as a result, I think the relationship between us could move together in alignment toward God." 

Shelley Giglio said that she and her husband were in a similar place in their relationships with God, adding that "we just knew together that we were going to make a move toward God."

"And it's been true ever since; that's our highest value. Still, 37 years in, that's what we care about most. He's the person we love the most, still," Shelley Giglio said. 

"I love Louie more every day, literally every day. I love him more, but I will never love him like I love Jesus. And He knows that, and he's good with it. And I think that kind of makes the difference in what our relationship feels like." 

Louie Giglio said, "purpose is the key to successful marriage," emphasizing that "it can't be 'her purpose,' and 'his purpose,' or 'my purpose,' and 'your purpose.'"

"At some point, there has to be 'our purpose.' And lots of different things can fold into that: different career moves, jobs, seasons, family can fold into that," Louie Giglio said. 

"What is your purpose? Why are you getting married? And if it isn't, because the two of us can more powerfully make the name of Jesus known, together, than the two of us separate, then, [I'm] not really sure." 

To listeners struggling to find a godly partner to marry, Shelley Giglio advises they fall in love with Jesus first, and then the person will be more likely to come into their lives. 

"A lot of times, people are looking for what they think they want, but they're not actually looking for the person that they need the most, which is Jesus. And I laugh when people say to me in relationships, 'Well, you know, I didn't meet the person I was going to marry until I really fell in love with Jesus.' And I'm like, 'doesn't that make sense, though?'" Shelley Giglio said.   

Louie Giglio added that while "having plans is awesome," it is "very rare that you see God give us chapters and chapters of our life story at one time."

However, he noted, "God gives us a promise that He's going to be in every page of our story."

Nicole Alcindor is a reporter for The Christian Post. 

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