When Steve and Twyla first met, there were no sparks. They shared a fond friendship, but there were no sparks or heart-shaped arrows in the picture. Attraction beyond friendship didn’t cross their thoughts. But God kept them together until they changed their minds.
Steve and Twyla met at Bethel University, where they both majored in psychology. For two years they became acquainted with one another, spending time with mutual friends, sharing classes, and working together as lab partners. But even through all of this, there were still no notes of romantic electricity between them.
That changed in Steve’s senior year. A banquet was being held for the senior class, and Steve found himself without a date.
“I asked Twyla knowing that nothing would happen.” Steve recalls with a smile on his face.
They spent the evening at the banquet having a wonderful time together as friends. After the banquet ended, they found a gorgeous view – a railing that overlooked the dance floor. As they looked over the railing, their hands touched, and neither one of them pulled away. That’s when the sparks ignited and developed into a warm glow.
The Lees recently celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary. And what’s even more impressive than their many years of marriage is what they do with their experiences: they teach. They are now the professors of Marriage and Family Studies at the Focus Leadership Institute, a semester-long college program sponsored by the worldwide Christian organization, Focus on the Family.
Steve and Twyla teach a spectrum of topics including dating, marriage, Biblical perspectives on divorce, dealing with conflict, and common cultural misconceptions about love. With 30 years of experience in premarital counseling, marriage enrichment, and family life conferences, the Lees take everything they’ve learned about marriage and relationships and mentor younger generations.
One of the things the Lees emphasize in their classes is the importance of premarital counseling. Their own pastor didn’t feel a need for them to receive counseling – after all, they were psychology majors. But because they had skipped this step, they spent their first few years of marriage discovering what they should have discussed before they were married. In their classes, the Lees put a high emphasis on how important it is to take this step before getting married. They value it so much because of their own experience, their experience in working with couples, and all of the research that shows how important it is.
The Lees not only break the typical romantic worldview with their curriculum, but they also break the mold with their own love story. While the current generation is partial to the “love at first sight” theory, and are heavily partial to the custom of dating, Steve and Twyla show with their story that neither are necessary for a solid marriage. And it can be said by any of their students that Steve and Twyla Lee’s love is one to be admired. Everything from the way Steve compliments Twyla publicly, to the way Twyla laughs at Steve’s jokes, to the way they finish each others sentences while teaching shows their affections and their unity as a married couple. Their students can’t even separate their names – it doesn’t seem natural.
Although the world is partial to stories of a man and woman falling head over heels for each other as soon as they meet, not all great romances begin that way. A great romance can blossom from something as simple as a good friendship and an innocent touch on a railing overlooking the dance floor.