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By Photo courtesy of Kirk Cameron
BY STEFANI DIAS Californian assistant lifestyles editor firstname.lastname@example.org
For a man touring the country with an event designed to strengthen marriages, missing Valentine's Day might seem like a misstep. But not for Kirk Cameron, who's bringing his Love Worth Fighting For to the West Coast for the first time.
The actor and Christian activist will be in Oceanside on the big day and Bakersfield the next for the speaking engagements, but he said that he and wife Chelsea make their holidays when they can.
Love Worth Fighting For
What: Marriage event featuring Kirk Cameron and Warren Barfield
When: Noon to 3:30 p.m. (6 to 9:30 p.m. session sold out) Feb. 15
Where: Canyon Hills Assembly of God, 7001 Auburn St.
Admission: $22.50; $20 for groups of 10 or more
Information: 871-1150 or canyonhills.com
'The Love Dare'
A cornerstone of the event is lessons instilled in "The Love Dare," a book that features a 40-day plan to strengthen a relationship; the book will be available for sale at the Feb. 15 event.
A look at the first three dares:
Love is patient
Although love is communicated in a number of ways, our words often reflect the condition of our heart. For the next day, resolve to demonstrate patience and to say nothing negative to your spouse at all. If the temptation arises, choose not to say anything. It's better to hold your tongue than to say something you'll regret.
Love is kind
In addition to saying nothing negative to your spouse again today, do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness.
Love is not selfish
Whatever you put your time, energy, and money into will become more important to you. It's hard to care for something you are not investing in. Along with restraining from negative comments, buy your spouse something that says, "I was thinking of you today."
Source: "The Love Dare" by Alex and Stephen Kendrick
ABOUT THAT GRAMMYS POST
Kirk Cameron, never shy about expressing his conservative views, made headlines recently for a Facebook post about the same-sex marriages performed on the recent telecast of the Grammy Awards, referring to the segment as an "assault on the traditional family." After sparking a firestorm of comments, the activist quickly removed the post and explained to The Californian why he did so:
"The comments that were coming from people that disagreed with my views on sexuality were so nasty and vulgar, so lewd and hateful, that I didn't want my Facebook filled with such pollution and I didn't want people who are faithful followers to have to deal with that awful language. ... My goal is to promote and celebrate the things that I think are true and good and beautiful, not spend time to give people a platform."
Cameron did note some replies were not riddled with curse words and that he welcomes that sort of discussion. "I warmly embrace thoughtful discourse. That's (freedom of expression) one of the joys of living in America."
"We celebrate on any day for Mother's Day, Valentine's ... The best thing ever would be to have a night alone with my wife. We have six children. My favorite thing is quality time with my wife. It doesn't matter where."
Although Cameron will be celebrating later, he encourages couples to make the event at Canyon Hills Assembly of God part of their Valentine's weekend.
"This is a date night for you and your spouse. To have three hours away from distraction to focus on the most important relationship on the planet."
In its fifth year, the faith-based Love Worth Fighting For is inspired by the 2008 film "Fireproof," which follows a couple facing divorce until the husband (played by Cameron) begins a 40-day "Love Dare" to renew his relationship.
The film and related Christian devotional book, "The Love Dare," are what first sparked interest at Canyon Hills, according to Executive Pastor Steve Vinson.
"Our church had rented out an auditorium here in town (at Reading Cinemas) and we filled it to capacity. We had the next eight weeks of 'Fireproof' sessions."
Vinson said when he learned about the tour based on the film, he made contact in hopes of arranging a Bakersfield stop.
"I contacted the rep for Cameron and I had heard that they had never done one on the West Coast. I said, 'We'd like to be the one you can build the West Coast tour around.'"
Local response has been so good that the evening event sold out and a matinee has been added.
As to what attendees should expect, Cameron focused on the fun.
"People should expect first of all to have a great time. If you see a guy who looks like Mike Seaver, you're at the right place," he said, joking about his best-known role on the 1980s ABC sitcom "Growing Pains."
Cameron teams with singer/songwriter Warren Barfield, who wrote the theme to "Fireproof," for the session.
"He'll be singing songs, sharing personal stories about his marriage, the inspiration for the theme song," Cameron said of the musician.
"It's a time to sing together, laugh together, and pray together and learn these deep lessons on the subject of marriage.
"Marriage is a school that God designed to put us in and change us to become the people we were meant to be. Often the lessons can be difficult and painful. That is precisely how we will grow."
The event couldn't come at a better time, Vinson said.
"The need is there. Marriages are under more pressure than ever before. It's better to be proactive than reactive. It's a healing choice. Rather than waiting until there is a problem to go investing in a marriage now."
The pastor, who has been married for nearly 26 years ("hard to believe; it seems like a day"), took that proactive step with the 40-day "Love Dare," which he said was a success.
"The average year people divorce is year seven. But, in reality, even longtime marriages go through that plateau process. Our goal is to help people continue to grow in intimacy. Not just two people being together but a vibrant relationship."
Vinson said he expects about 20 percent of audience members will be single, which Cameron welcomes by reiterating that the event is not just for married couples.
"Come if you're single, come if you're married," Cameron said. "We have lots of people who come who were once married, people who are hoping to be married some day."
With the event just over a week away, Vinson said this is the perfect opportunity for husbands to earn some brownie points.
"A lot of guys are looking for 'What am I going to do for Valentine's Day?' They start thinking about it the day before. This is better than roses."