Two decades ago my husband and I ran a pretty successful martial arts and fitness center in Honolulu, Hawaii. At the peak of our business, we had nearly 500 students with two different locations. One of the highlights for me was being able to share my faith with students openly and freely. We didn’t use a script — our faith was as natural for us as teaching was.

There was a season when we were enrolling handfuls of people into the school daily. One night after a class, I enrolled a young man and woman. Looking at their paperwork, they noted that they wanted to join as a married couple. I asked them if they were married because I noticed they had different last names. They looked at each other and then to me and replied, “No.” Following their answer, I let them know I couldn’t give them the “couples” rate. However, they acknowledged that and both signed up anyways as individuals. I’m not sure of the conversation they had when they left, but I do remember that they got married and then joined as a married couple not long after.

We were not there to police them or anyone that came into our schools. In fact, my husband, knowing the power of “free memberships”, was always creative and offered them to young women caught up in prostitution. We even had pimps come in to take classes. We loved having people of all walks of life join us. After a challenging workout, we would end the class with a cool down stretch and a scripture verse. Our hearts were for people, didn’t matter what religion, ethnicity and/or belief — we simply loved them where they were.

Looking back, we saw so many people come to Jesus. Even though we are no longer teaching martial arts or fitness kickboxing, our hearts are the same for people. We still share our faith with people, speak the truth in love and desire to see people come to know the King of Kings, The Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.

To us, marriage has always been a sacred institution between a man and woman. No matter how our culture tries to define it or redefine it, that will not change how we see marriage or how God designed marriage to be. We will continue to stand up for what marriage is and most likely hurt some feelings, especially in today’s society. But that’s ok. If hurting peoples feelings brings them to the truth, then we are guilty.

Happy to be celebrating 30 years with my man!

Eileen Marx