Marriage, Minefields, and Manhood

I first heard about this story from Steve Childers in his final talk at my first GCA National Church Planting Conference.  His message was entitled, “Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing.”  It’s the story about Robertson McQuilkin and his dear wife Muriel.  McQuilkin was the son of the founding president of Columbia International University, and as a young missionary couple, Robertson and Muriel spent 12 years in Japan before returning to the United States, at which time Robertson became the president of Columbia International University in 1968.

Although thoroughly enjoying his role as president at Columbia, McQuilkin resigned from his post in 1990 to care for his wife who had been battling Alzheimer’s Disease since the early 1980’s.  Someone happened to have a micro-cassette recorder in that meeting and recorded a portion of his resignation speech. Here is that recording of Robertson sharing about why he resigned.  This is a testimony of biblical manhood.

After watching that video, I stumbled upon a song and video by Andrew Peterson called “Dancing in the Minefields.”  I could not help but think of these two videos together as to what marriage is all about. One particular line Peterson sings, “I will walk with you in the shadowlands ’til the shadows disappear.”  That’s what McQuilkin did.  I hope they encourage you as much as they have me.

“It was harder than we ever dreamed, but I believe that’s what promise is for.” May God help us men lay down our lives for our wives!

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5 Comments on “Marriage, Minefields, and Manhood”


  1. McQuilken and his son were integral in my seminary education at Columbia Biblical Seminary. His legacy of loving his wife has ministered to every male student that has walked through the halls of CIU. It is fitting that a man, rich in theology and doctrine, and a builder of other men is widely known for the love that he had for his wife.

    You should check out the book about this called “A Promise Kept,” where he tells the story of his wife walking from home to his office at the seminary with bloody feet, trying to find him.

    I am forever grateful to Jesus for CIU, for the men that carry on McQuilken’s emphasis on cross-cultural training to make Jesus known.

  2. Sally Says:

    Thank you for posting the video of Robertson McQuilken. I’m watching my father walk that same path with my mother, and I, too, found that “Dancing in the Minefields” beautifully captures what marriage is really about — “when I forget my name, remind me.”


  3. Thank you so much for the McQuilkin testimony. I can’t think of a greater example of Eph 5:25 than this.


  4. […] In Sickness and in Health […]


  5. […] Timmy Brister: I first heard about this story from Steve Childers in his final talk at my first GCA National Church Planting Conference. His message was entitled, “Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing.” It’s the story about Robertson McQuilkin and his dear wife Muriel. McQuilkin was the son of the founding president of Columbia International University, and as a young missionary couple, Robertson and Muriel spent 12 years in Japan before returning to the United States, at which time Robertson became the president of Columbia International University in 1968. […]


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