Together With Family


Flourishing in a Level Five Marriage

What level of “oneness” are you working toward in your marriage?

This is the critical question for all couples, especially if you’re in ministry together, say Larry and Deb Walkemeyer, co-pastors of Light & Life Fellowship in Long Beach, California.

In their new book, the Walkemeyers springboard from Exponential’s framework of five levels of church multiplication and reflect on their 40 years of marriage—as well as their experience counseling and working with couples—to identify five levels of marriages and their distinct characteristics. They believe (and have seen firsthand) that any marriage can travel from its current level to a Level 5 “Communion” marriage.

“We’re the first to say the journey isn’t easy—far from it,” they write. “A Level 5 marriage requires each of you to learn, grow, and rely on the Holy Spirit.”

This is not a traditional “how-to” marriage book. The Walkemeyers move beyond marriage skills and principles to get to the root of marriage problems and potential—examining what they call five vital “heart habits.” Over the years, they have learned that if the Holy Spirit does not transform the hearts of a husband and wife, skills produce little lasting effect. Throughout Together with Family, Larry and Deb offer practical examples and real-life stories of what it looks like to venture beyond theory and actually practice these habits in your life and marriage.

A Level 5 marriage lays the foundation for Level 5 hero-making leaders who plant and multiply Level 5 churches. Larry and Deb have discovered that the health of a pastor’s/leader’s marriage nearly always reveals the health of their soul, which in turn, impacts the health of their church or ministry.

“A healthy Level 5 marriage multiplies into other healthy marriages that learn from it,” they write, “positioning you for what God longs to do in and through you and your church.”

Key takeaways

  • Specific counsel and practical handles for ministry marriages from a seasoned couple in both marriage and ministry
  • Profiles of five marriage levels and their distinct characteristics
  • Assessment to determine your current marriage level and where you want to be
  • Five vital heart habits and how they practically play out at each of the five levels
  • Helpful end-of-chapter assessments you can take together or individually to determine your current level of commitment in each heart habit
  • Fresh insights on biblical examples of marriages/unions
  • Real-life examples of marriages at every level
Larry Walkemeyer

Larry Walkemeyer serves as Strategic Catalyst for Multiplication for Free Methodist USA to encourage the multiplication of disciples, leaders, and churches nationally. He is also Global Pastor for Light & Life Church, a multiplying, multi-ethnic church he and his wife Deb have led for the past thirty years. Larry also is Director of Equipping and Spiritual Engagement for Exponential. He holds a Doctor of Ministry and has authored several books.

Larry and Dr. Deb Walkemeyer have been married since 1978 and they write and speak frequently on marriage. They have two adult daughters. Larry enjoys snow skiing, waterskiing, biking, mission trips and long walks on the beach.

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Deb Walkemeyer
Deb Walkemeyer serves as Co-Pastor of Light & Life Christian Fellowship in Long Beach, CA - a large multi-ethnic urban church that has focused on planting churches locally and globally. She also leads the Light & Life Community Center that is assisting in transforming the neighborhood through various initiatives. As a Master Gardener she pioneered the first Community Garden in Compton, CA where she grows vegetables alongside gang members and prostitutes. As a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Deb has helped many individuals and couples in ministry. She also serves as a regional leader within her denomination. Deb holds a Doctorate in Church Leadership from Fuller Seminary and was recently recognized as one of their outstanding graduates for her years of leadership work in diverse arenas.
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