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Karissa King

I wanted to highlight an article written by Karissa King, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and professor of counseling and theology in Elk Grove, CA that has worked toward “helping people become” since 2006 and has practiced professionally since 2010. Both she and her husband are incredible leaders, teachers, and educated professionals with a tremendous anointing on their lives whom I consider at the forefront of the Pentecostal movement.

Below is the article from her website which she has given me permission to share on our blog.  If you don’t understand it the first time, read it again! The collective insights of those involved in this teaching is life-changing for marriages!


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I sat in our church’s Leadership Assembly meeting last night and my pastor, C. Myles Young, taught on a subject that applies to every marriage – yours and mine. Yes, he taught about trolls… Ha! Not really. There’s a lot more depth to it than that. It’s a concept that Dr. Nathaniel J. Wilson has integrated into his leadership courses for a couple decades and it goes a little something like this:

EXISTENCE: THE HERE-AND-NOW STATE OF BEING

  • This is what the marriage looks like as it stands at this very moment.
  • Sometimes it lacks quite a bit. It can look quite flawed, conflicted, and in chaos.

ESSENCE: THE IDEAL STATE OF BEING

  • The is what the marriage looks like when it is functioning the way it “ought” to – harmony, unity, and intimacy.
  • This is what God envisions for the marriage – it’s the “blueprint” of the project.

Bridge: the gap between what exists and what the marriage could be in its essential state. There are usually “trolls” of all sorts on this bridge that make the journey a bumpy one.

The problem with getting to the essential state of being is that it’s not as easy as just walking over the bridge. Healthy marriages don’t just happen – it takes intentionality. It takes fighting trolls sometimes!

We have two options in our approach to crossing the bridge:

  • Absencing: Putting a wall up, resisting, and avoiding the trolls
  • Presencing: Being action-oriented, intentional, and assertive in each decision as we cross the bridge and fight the trolls

While it may seem like a smoother ride, absencing does not actually bring us to the other side.

ABSENCING IS LIKE TAKING A STEP BACK TO THE STARTING POINT ON THE BRIDGE.

We must get across the bridge by presencing!

My pastor suggested four approaches that help us with “presencing”

Adapted from a book called “Theory U” by C. Otto Scharmer

  1. Habitual Awareness – Identify the patterns of the past… How do these patterns fit into the present?
  2. Egosystem Awareness – Are we wasting time on something that doesn’t really have to do with our marriage? Are we getting caught up with other people’s issues?
  3. Stakeholder Awareness – How will our decisions affect those involved (our children, our family)? We’re not alone. We’re connected.
  4. Ecosystem Awareness – What is being affected because of us? If our marriage weren’t here, what would happen? Are we making a difference in our community?

If you want change in your marriage, challenge yourself to answer these questions. Challenge yourself to the “presencing” approach, rather than the “absencing” approach.

BE ASSERTIVE. TAKE ACTION. FIGHT THE TROLLS.