When Chip Gaines first met his wife, Joanna, he says she was a “wallflower” and “almost awkward.” But now that the couple has been married for several years, Chip sees how God has used Joanna to clarify his view of him.
The feeling is mutual, albeit expressed very differently. Joanna says, “I think God brought me Chip to show me what it’s like to follow Christ. A lot of things are going to push you to a place of discomfort or freaking out.”
“If I didn’t have Chip Gaines in my life, I’d still be dreaming in my head, but not acting out on any of that, not living it out,” Joanna says, speaking of the way Chip pushes her to try new things and not worry so much about playing it safe. In the video, she turns to him and says, “You push me out of my comfort zone.”
Chip describes Joanna “blossom[ing] in a way that was really fascinating to watch,” after she met him.
On the opposite end of the personality spectrum, though, is Chip. Joanna says, “If you give Chip a boundary, he’s going to break that boundary. If you give him a rule, he’s not going to follow it, and if you tell him he can’t go past this line, he’ll just tow over it.” Instead of scaring her, though, this is one of the things Joanna loves most about her husband.
“Fear and failure doesn’t even cross his mind,” she says. Chip’s personality caused Joanna to think there was something amiss in her faith in God. “My walk with God when I was little and up to my twenties was always ‘if you play by the rules, you’ll be blessed.’” But after meeting Chip, she’s learned “when you take a step out in faith (when it makes absolutely no sense), I think that’s where the greater reward is.”
Chip, on the other hand, grew up with a very different view of God. “I’ve learned so much about order and structure and processes through my wife. And God is all of those things to me, now. But at the beginning, God was just chaotic to me. He was wild. He was untamed. He was unruly,” Chip says.
“Joanna is the purest, most stable person I’ve ever met.” For someone who describes himself as always acting, Joanna has been a stabilizing force in Chip’s life. “I feel like she knows me in a way that has caused me to stop acting…When I caught her, I finally felt content for the first time in my life. I felt like I could be exactly who I was.”
Perhaps this give and take relationship, this balancing act that seems to be an integral part of the couple’s life, is why the show documenting the couple’s home improvement business has such a large following. In its most recent season, Fixer Upper drew 25 million viewers.
With all the negative portrayals of marriage and romantic relationships on television, Chip and Joanna’s relationship feels like a breath of fresh air. The best part is that it’s real and it draws its inspiration from the nature of God. Chip and Joanna recently released a bestselling book, The Magnolia Story.