The Ministry of Lisa Copen

Lisa Copen, Founder of Rest Ministries which serves the chronically ill, shares about mothering, illness, ministry and more.

Fireproof Movie is a Must-See Film for the Chronically Ill


Here is a scary statistic: approximately 75% of marriages, where at least one persona has a chronic illness, end in divorce. With only one in four couples being able to have both partners keep the sacred covenant of “in sickness and in health” what can you do to increase your chances of not just having a marriage that survives, but one that is also a joyful union?

I recently had the opportunity to preview the movie, “Fireproof,” in theaters September 26, 2008.

Actor Kirk Cameron plays a fire chief and a man who is well-respected by those in his community. But his marriage is nearing the end. It’s not because of an affair with another person, or some dramatic event that takes place; but rather because, day by day, both spouses take one another a little more for granted and move away from each other than toward each other. Both are searching for validation of their emotions and even simple appreciation.

Here are 8 reasons I believe every married couple who copes with chronic illness should see this movie:


  1. The dialogue is real, as if the writers were hiding behind the furniture of living rooms around the world and eves-dropping on actual conversations, arguments and threats. Let’s face it… real fights are most often about who has done the dishes. You won’t find the typical Hollywood lingo in this film like, “You had me at hello.”
  2. The burden of care-giving is addressed. The “wife” in the relationship has a mother who has recently had a stroke. The expense of the medical equipment she needs, like a wheelchair and a bed, is shown in this film, something nearly always overlooked in your typical movie. Though this situation may be dissimilar to yours, it’s helpful to see illness and its impact on a marriage acknowledged as a stressor in a marriage relationship.
  3. It will make you laugh. Just because the emotions run deep enough to bring on many tears in this movie, doesn’t mean you won’t find yourself laughing through those tears at times. Even if your marriage is “perfect” and you think you don’t need a boost, it’s a move night to share with your spouse just for fun. The firehouse crew is and the little things the actors do, where you see yourself, will bring smiles to your face.
  4. It tells both sides of the story. Whether you are the spouse who is trying to make your marriage work, or the one who just wants out, you’ll find many of your emotions and fears represented. Though the husband in this film is made out in some cases to have been the one with some “problems” the wife isn’t without room for improvement in how she treats her husband either. A surprise twist at the end will leave you with a reminder that no one is perfect, regardless of how they may appear to be.

  5. It’s packed with real life scenarios, including those of a fireman. This isn’t a cheap flick with a strong message, but a strong film that happens to have a solid message. If you love those “edge of your seat” movie scenes when you are eating popcorn as fast as you can get your hand to your mouth, you won’t be disappointed. If you’re a woman, you can rest easy that there is plenty of “guy stuff” in this movie that won’t make your man feel like he’s at a chick flick.
  6. Kirk Cameron yells. Okay, maybe not one of the top reasons to see this film, but watching him lose his temper and kick a trash can may just leave the men (or women) in the audience feeling like they aren’t being judged of silly behavior or lost tempers. Most of us have had a situation where we’ve wanted to please our spouse and their response made us want to go kick something, right?
  7. 08_lovedare It provides a tool to take along. The book “The Love Dare,” which the actor works through to win his wife’s heart back, may seem more like a way for the movie makers to make an extra buck. It’s not. In fact, all actors worked for free. The book is rather a way that you can take something tangible away from the film and literally start applying it to your own marriage. As my mom and I left the theater the guys beside us exchanged words. “I guess I have to go order my wife some flowers now… but it’s going to cost me a fortune!” “Hey, weren’t you listening. It doesn’t matter how much they cost.” The great thing is, if you’re on a budget, expensive flowers aren’t required; it’s the actions.

If I was a Christian counselor I would hand couples the DVD (when available) and tell them to go watch it together before our first appointment.


Kirk A nice plus is the “behind the scenes” honor that actor Kirk Cameron gives his wife by keeping his own promises: he vowed to her (despite being an actor) to never kiss another woman. So his wife was flown in for the kiss at the end of the film, where she stood in for the actress. He’s been married seventeen years, is the father of six children, and a strong believer in Christ who is not ashamed to proclaim it. That makes me want to listen up to what he has to say. He's made the rounds this week as the film is about to release, on the Today Show, Dr Phil (9/25/08) and many more and he has done well. Despite some over-eager or even rude (names not mentioned) interviewers, he has represented Christ well. He's come a long way from the posters on my little sister's wall!


Campfirefly And on a side note, you may be interested to know he founded a camp over twenty years ago, Camp Firefly, for chronically ill children and their families.  (Go, Kirk!)

As the founder of Rest Ministries which serves those who live with chronic illness, I firmly stand behind this movie as being one of the best to impact a marriage. It may be the two best hours you give your marriage since the day of your vows.





  Lisa C. wrote @

A great article from Kirk Cameron about the film, his faith, his kids and more.

  patrick wrote @

I just got back from watching Fireproof… the over all message was solid for sure; how great is it that such a different-flavored movie made it into the regular, big screen!

  Tammy wrote @

My husband I went out on date night to see “Fireproof” and we were NOT disappointed. My husband even cried, he is such a sensitive soul. Of course I did too! But it truly was a wonderful movie. I would like to place the movie ad on myspace and other websites I have. Is that ok? Please let me know, so I can help spread the word.

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