The Chris and Lauren Tomlin Valentine's Day Interview

The Chris and Lauren Tomlin Valentine's Day Interview

Today, Chris Tomlin and his wife, Lauren, both sit down with us on Valentine’s Day to reflect on 13 years of marriage!



View this video with Chris Tomlin, and other interviews with JOY FM artists videos on the JOY FM YouTube Channel.


Transcript

Sandi:

Chris, last time you were here, there was a work-related reason you were here. Lauren, we were at a movie theater, I think. Wasn’t there like a national-

Lauren Tomlin:

Yeah.

Chris Tomlin:

Yeah, a night of worship.

Sandi:

Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Chris Tomlin:

Yeah, Worship Night in America. We did a movie screening across the country.

Sandi:

All I remember was that we were at the movie theater the night before, and I don’t know whose idea it was, but for Lauren to agree to come in and do an interview because how often do you join Chris on interviews, Lauren?

Lauren Tomlin:

I never join him so this-

Chris Tomlin:

This would be the second time.

Nick:

Wow.

Lauren Tomlin:

You guys are just that creative to get us together for this.

Chris Tomlin:

The second time. Here we go.

Nick:

Well, we really appreciate it. We’re glad we didn’t scare you off the first time, so thanks for-

Chris Tomlin:

No, it was so good. Get Lauren going and you just don’t need me anymore. That’s what I learned from that first interview. It’s like, man, that’s great. Just get her talking and I’ll just move out of the way. I’ll just keep playing songs. Let her do the interviews from now on. That’d be amazing.

Sandi:

Well, we may not remember how long ago that was, but here’s a softball. How long have you guys been married and how long did you guys date before that? I know you guys know the answer to those.

Chris Tomlin:

Well, we’ve been married 13 years and we dated-

Lauren Tomlin:

A year.

Chris Tomlin:

I don’t know if you’d call it dating, but we dated for about a year. I think that was one of our … I met Lauren when I moved to Atlanta. Everybody was like, “You got to …” A friend of mine was there for two weeks, been in Atlanta for two weeks. I live in Nashville now, but I’d been in Atlanta for two weeks and a friend of mine was saying, “Hey, I got this girl. You need to meet her. She’s single. She doesn’t stay single long.” I’ll never forget that sentence. “But she’s single right now. You need to go with her.” We went on a double date a couple weeks after that and started dating, I would say. Then-

Lauren Tomlin:

While he’s touring. That’s-

Chris Tomlin:

I was a normal dude. I was a normal guy and so I was not committing. I was being a guy and not being like, “Okay, moving this along relationship.” Lauren, she’s just not having that. Short story, she broke it off with me. I was like, “Oh, my gosh.” Took us a while to figure it out and took me a while to figure it out. But thankfully God brought us back together. That was all about a year before getting married, so you can imagine we’d only really known each other a year and-

Lauren Tomlin:

We did not know each other.

Chris Tomlin:

We did not know each other.

Lauren Tomlin:

Let’s just be real.

Sandi:

Let’s be honest, yeah.

Chris Tomlin:

I’ve been single a long time. It took me a long time to find Lauren and get married. I had that whole life of touring. I had years of touring under my belt, so life my way. Then-

Lauren Tomlin:

It was a collision of sorts.

Chris Tomlin:

Collision of sorts.

Lauren Tomlin:

That’s putting it mildly.

Chris Tomlin:

Yeah, we dove in the deep end year one.

Lauren Tomlin:

Got pregnant a month in.

Chris Tomlin:

Got pregnant a month in, so we had a baby before our first anniversary.

Nick:

Wow.

Chris Tomlin:

That was fun.

Sandi:

Another collision.

Chris Tomlin:

Yeah.

Nick:

That’ll change things.

Chris Tomlin:

Just everything in life changed in that year. But here we are, 13 years and going strong. Yeah, it’s been amazing. It’s been an amazing journey and so grateful for all of it.

Nick:

Well, let’s rewind 13 years to that first date. When you guys first walk in on this double date and you set eyes upon each other for the first time, what was your-

Lauren Tomlin:

He don’t like this.

Nick:

What was your impression, first impression, or by the end of the night if not the very first?

Chris Tomlin:

Yeah, for me, the first … This was a big deal for me because I went on this date sight unseen. Let’s just say that. I was a-

Lauren Tomlin:

See, I’ve never heard this.

Chris Tomlin:

Completely blind date. I had no idea what she looked like. That’s not normal for me. I like to have all my information out before I make my decisions. My friend said, “Just trust me.” I remember I went to pick her up and she walked out and I was like, “Oh, my gosh. This girl is gorgeous.” I was already just like, “Oh, wow,” because Lauren doesn’t do any social media and anything like that, never has. But she had a Facebook page, so I was trying to figure that out. Her picture on her Facebook page-

Lauren Tomlin:

I didn’t know any of this.

Chris Tomlin:

Her picture on her Facebook page back then was the back of her hair, she’s looking at flowers, the back of her head. That was her picture. I had no idea what she looked like. I couldn’t even do any kind of recon.

Nick:

I hope you’re still friends with this guy because he did you right.

Chris Tomlin:

He did me so right. She’s so beautiful and she was just stunning that night.

Sandi:

Lauren-

Chris Tomlin:

That was my first impression, it’s like, “Wow.”

Lauren Tomlin:

The funny thing about the date, and then he loves this story.

Chris Tomlin:

I hate this story.

Lauren Tomlin:

He hates this story. Literally, we’re at this great restaurant in Atlanta and literally he talks to the couple the entire time-

Chris Tomlin:

It was a double date, it’s a double date.

Lauren Tomlin:

… and does not look at me at all.

Nick:

No.

Lauren Tomlin:

Does not direct anything to me at all. Afterwards, I called my mom. I was like, “I don’t understand how somebody who sings to hundreds and thousands of people can’t engage a conversation at this table and be interesting because …” Then I went out to California for makeup school. Then he was, of course, on a tour and we started talking on the phone. That’s when I really was like, “Wow, this guy’s a lot of fun,” because he was like … I expected him to be more serious. You think of worship leader and you think stoic, perfect, all those labels that he has to fight against. He had just such this humor and he was recalling some of Michael BublĂ©’s jokes from his tour.

Sandi:

Ah.

Lauren Tomlin:

I was like, “This guy’s really fun.” It was a slam dunk after that.

Sandi:

All right. That was first date. I don’t know that you ever disclosed this or not either. Who said, “I love you,” first?

Chris Tomlin:

Ooh.

Lauren Tomlin:

That was you.

Chris Tomlin:

Definitely me. Yeah, that was me. I’ve never-

Lauren Tomlin:

When we probably got back together.

Chris Tomlin:

Yeah, absolutely when we got back together, because it was like … I hadn’t said, obviously, that. That caused the breakup, of course. We finally got back together. I knew that once we … I had tried and tried and tried to get back to this girl. She was setting her sights on other things. She was moving on. She had moved on. But God worked it out in an amazing way. There was an opportunity to step back in and I got to do that. I knew that there was no messing around at that point. There was no, “Oh, let’s date again.” There was no … If we’re coming back together after all I’ve tried to do, this is the real thing. This is committing, this is I am stepping forward. I had all that time without her to realize, “Oh, my gosh. If I could just get her back, then I’m not losing her again.” That was an easy one after that.

Nick:

All right. We’ve recapped your first date. Fast-forward 13 years, life, kids. What’s date night look like for you guys now?

Lauren Tomlin:

BrickTop’s.

Chris Tomlin:

Yeah. We go to this little restaurant called BrickTop’s in-

Lauren Tomlin:

It’s like a Houston more or less.

Chris Tomlin:

Well, yeah, it’s just a nice little restaurant.

Lauren Tomlin:

Lower lighting, it’s warmer, in tone.

Chris Tomlin:

That’s what we get to do. That’s what we do.

Lauren Tomlin:

We love it.

Chris Tomlin:

We got one spot.

Nick:

Yeah? That’s all right.

Chris Tomlin:

We go to that and that’s our thing. It doesn’t come often enough.

Nick:

It makes it easy when you have a go-to.

Sandi:

Yeah. Yeah.

Chris Tomlin:

Here’s for me, though, I like date lunch better than date night.

Lauren Tomlin:

Which is surprising.

Chris Tomlin:

I just like it better. I’m better. By the end of the day, I’m done.

Nick:

Yeah.

Sandi:

Yeah, yeah.

Chris Tomlin:

My mind’s done.

Nick:

That’s fair.

Chris Tomlin:

I’m fried. But at lunch, I’m ready to go.

Sandi:

Next question, then. Is there something, Lauren, that Chris says, does, a look in his eye, that you’re like, “I feel the love,” you know, in that moment, that you know you’re loved by him?

Lauren Tomlin:

Okay, this is a great question. Something he always does for me that probably feels like something small, but it is significant because so much of my life, our girls’ life, is we celebrate and we come around what he does with touring. Our life is oriented around the schedule. But one way that he really sacrifices in a sweet way is I have a small group that comes over to my house every other week. During the winter, he always lights all the candles, makes a fire for the room. It’s just so sweet because it’s obviously for me, but it’s also him stepping around what I do with this group. I’ve never asked for it. I’ve never said to him, “You don’t celebrate me,” and then he had to strive for it. He just naturally does it and it’s just so sweet.

Chris Tomlin:

Awe, that’s-

Sandi:

That is really cool.

Lauren Tomlin:

He’s the ambiance guy.

Chris Tomlin:

Yeah.

Lauren Tomlin:

It’s music, candles. He always says that I blow out the room with bright lights, so he’s always dimming-

Chris Tomlin:

Lauren would turn the lights on in a hospital room, like we’re having surgery in our living room. Let’s dim the lights a little bit.

Lauren Tomlin:

Right?

Chris Tomlin:

Let’s get a fire going.

Nick:

Well, Chris, what about you? What’s something, a small thing that Lauren does that makes you feel loved?

Chris Tomlin:

This is such an everyday thing, but it’s the everyday things, right? That’s what you’re talking about.

Nick:

Yeah.

Chris Tomlin:

That’s Valentine’s Day so this is about everyday love. It’s home cooking. She is so good at it. She didn’t have to do it. We got three girls, young, pulling on her, all the things as a mom, and yet she really takes the time to do something … Dinner is always really great. It’s always, she puts her heart into it, creative. She’s not just throwing chicken strips in the fryer or just putting in a-

Lauren Tomlin:

Well, when you leave we do that.

Chris Tomlin:

Yeah. When I’m home, she really goes out of her way to make really great food. That’s just what I really appreciate. It feels warm, feels homey, it feels like it should. I’m always grateful for that. You feel loved that way.

Sandi:

Is there something that Lauren does or that Chris does that you’re like, “I love you, I just do not get that.” Something they’re into, something that makes them light up and you’re like, “I don’t get it.”

Chris Tomlin:

Yeah, yeah. Oh, gosh, yes. Makeup. The amount of makeup that is on … I know, I understand that ladies like makeup, that’s great, but this is a different deal. This is a whole different thing. I would have this little section over here of the sink and it’s just like, there’s so much color, there’s so many things I don’t even understand. I don’t even know what they are. When we go on a trip, guess what? We have to take three bags because in one of them is just-

Lauren Tomlin:

No, it’s not. It is not.

Chris Tomlin:

It’s just makeup. It’s just makeup. I was like, “Wow, let’s just look. Can we simplify this?” She’s like, “No, no, no. This is what I do. This is what I love.” I was like, “Okay.”

Sandi:

Lauren?

Lauren Tomlin:

I love color. I love color. It’s my creative outlet, but it is slightly messy. That is the truth.

Chris Tomlin:

Slightly.

Lauren Tomlin:

Slightly.

Sandi:

Something for him that you just don’t get? Yeah.

Lauren Tomlin:

Yeah. For Chris, he puts on a Carhartt jacket and he goes into the woods and calls Felix, who is our landscaper. They strategize on how to clear the woods. We have forests behind our house. When Elle was born, there was just a lot of stress in that. It was timing, it was such a surprise, she had some health issues with a tongue tie. During that time, I couldn’t understand why our tabs to Felix were just astronomical during that season. But what Chris was doing was he would go out in the woods and clear the trees with Felix. He would literally traipse out in the woods every day to visit with Felix.

Chris Tomlin:

Yeah.

Lauren Tomlin:

I think it was just a sense of nature and all of that, but it was a funny season.

Chris Tomlin:

During the stressful time, she’s like, “Have you ever noticed someone when it’s really stressful, you go out and-“

Lauren Tomlin:

Take down trees.

Chris Tomlin:

“… start tearing trees down?” I didn’t really put it together, but guess I do.

Sandi:

That’s fun.

Nick:
At the beginning of this conversation, you guys mentioned really by the time you got married, you didn’t really know each other like you do now. What’s the best surprise you’ve uncovered about each other?

Chris Tomlin:
That’s a great question. Wow. My surprise from Lauren is how intentional she is with people. That’s probably the biggest gift that she has been. I can’t tell you how many times. She has a really gift of prayer. Obviously I didn’t know that she had this gift of prayer when we were dating, that she really hears from God in a special way and gets words from God for people. She shares that with people.

I can’t tell you how many times I’m in a conversation with someone and they go, “Your wife texted me and it was right on time with this thing and she had this thing for me and just came out of the blue. I hadn’t texted her, she’s texted me out of something and God gave her something for me and it was the perfect thing.” I’ve had that so many times. She sees people in a really great way. She’s very into … For me, my life has been about singing in front of lots of people. I see lots of people and I enjoy that. She’s so the one-on-one. She’s so just the individual person, seeing that need and seeing people in a great way. That’s definitely a gift that I’ve seen that I didn’t know obviously when I first met her.

Lauren Tomlin:

For Chris, this is an easy answer, but just how present he is. You don’t really realize all the demands when someone is on the road and more in a public space. There definitely is perception and people pulling. There’s opportunities, so many amazing experiences and people who want to take him here or do that. One of the things that just surprises me over and over again is how much he chooses us. I have to kick him out the door. Literally, “Hey …” This weekend there’s a guys’ gathering, skiing. He’s like, “I just don’t know if I should be …” I’m like, “No, you’re going. You need to do this.” That’s something I cherish. I’ve never anticipated he would be that engaged and present at home. Not out of obligation, but a want to.

Nick:

You know if he didn’t go on that trip that he’d be out with Felix in the woods again.

Lauren Tomlin:

Touché. That was so good.

Nick:

It’s easier and cheaper to just let him go ski.

Chris Tomlin:

Just go to that trip.

Lauren Tomlin:

I love that. That’s so good, Nick.

Chris Tomlin:

We don’t have any more trees left.

Lauren Tomlin:

Exactly.

Sandi:

Is there a bucket list that you guys have, bucket list dreams for each other, for your family? Yeah. What comes to mind when you think about that? You guys see the world, you have amazing opportunities, but is there anything that you would just pray, whether it’s bucket list or a dream or a desire, a God desire, what would that be?

Lauren Tomlin:

For me, it would be so much fun to go back to where we got married in Kona. In Hawaii, there was this little point that sat out along a jetty of rocks. We had plans to go see it in 2020, but COVID happened, all travel got shut down, and then we got pregnant with our surprise third child, Elle. That put a pause to all of that because that’s a pretty big trip, just timing and packing up everyone, a toddler in tow. But one of these days we would love to-

Chris Tomlin:

That would be definite-

Lauren Tomlin:

Get the two of us to get out.

Chris Tomlin:

That’d be a bucket list trip for sure, to do that one day again. I think just as far as dreams and prayers, it’s for Lauren and I both would say for our girls just to continue to know who they are. That’s everything, at end of the day. I keep learning that. At the end of the day, all you got is your family and those right there close. Everything comes and goes in this life, but this, the core of your family, is what’s so precious. For me, I’m always praying for them. I have a dream for them to … They’re amazing girls, but to continue to know who they are.

We’ve been talking about a verse for our family for this year, asking the girls what verse in the scripture do you want to claim this year or hold onto this year? It’s been beautiful to see that. One of the verses that God brought us to is in Proverbs 22:1, it says that a good name is to be treasured above all riches. I was telling the girls about, “At the end of the day, all you have is your name. You can have all the things in the world, but when people say Ashlyn and they say Madison or they say Elle, when they say your name, what do they think about? What does that mean? What comes to mind? That’s the most important thing. The Bible says that’s something that be more treasured than anything.” Them walking in that and knowing who they are, as a dad, would definitely be the ultimate bucket list that they’re confident in who they are.

Sandi:

Well, when I think of Chris and Lauren Tomlin, the things that come to mind, Chris, I have seen you in concert a bunch of times. But when I think of your name, I think of a couple of things. You telling that story of you by a tree when you were young and God calling you to something you weren’t yet chasing.

Chris Tomlin:

Hmm.

Sandi:

Right?

Chris Tomlin:

Yes.

Sandi:

I think of that heart. The reason you can lead the masses in worship is because He’s captured your heart when you were a kid. That’s why you sing and why you worship. I think of that when I think of you. Then I think of you guys in studio together, Lauren, and him surprising you with a song and you crying. I think of now, this will be part of what I think of you guys, collision into team family. Right?

Lauren Tomlin:

Yeah.

Sandi:

You guys are for each other. You guys understand each other, who has God called you to be. I don’t know. I can’t tell you how many songs of yours we’ve played, Chris, or how many times I’ve seen you in. But man, I just am so thankful for who you are, how you love your wife, how we get a glimpse into that today. Man, as you said, that’s the good stuff. That’s what’s going to outlive us. That’s what’s going to matter and count. To get a glimpse at this close of a level, which I know most of our listeners don’t, it means so much.

Lauren Tomlin:

Awe, thank you.

Sandi:

Love you guys and your family.

Lauren Tomlin:

You made me tear up again.

Nick:

On a day that’s focused on love, Sandy said it best, but we love you guys, truly. The morning of you guys in studio is one of our highlights of being on air together. I so appreciate this time together today.

Chris Tomlin:

Thank you, Nick.

Lauren Tomlin:

We love you-

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