June 23, 2020
Joel and Victoria Osteen have been inspiring others with their faith, and through their love for each other for over 33 years.
Televangelists Victoria and Joel Osteen married in 1987, and have been inspiring their congregation with their love and their unswerving faith ever since.
The couple share a vocation for ministry, and both come from profoundly devout families, active in their communities, in fact, Joel's father was Pastor John Osteen, the founder of the Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas.
Victoria has revealed that even the most perfect-seeming marriage takes work
JOEL OSTEEN MEETS VICTORIA ILOFF
In 1985, Joel Osteen walked into a jewelry shop to buy a battery for his watch and met his fate in the shape of Victoria Iloff, who was working behind the counter in her mother's jewelry store.
Victoria was studying psychology at the University of Houston, but within two years she dropped out to marry Joel, and the seeds of her vocation for the ministry blossomed.
THE SEEDS OF MINISTRY
Victoria's mother Georgine Iloff had taught Sunday school, and her father, Donald, a mathematician involved in the Saturn rocket project working for NASA, was a deacon at their church. Faith had always been a part of her life, and now, as John Osteen's daughter-in-law, Victoria was witnessing it at close quarters.
Joel, the son of a charismatic pastor, was reluctant to take up a ministry, and would reluctant agree to give his first sermon in on January 17, 1999, at his father's urging. Only six days later, on January 23, John Osteen passed away, the victim of a fulminating heart attack.
TAKING UP THE LEGACY
At the time of John Osteen's death, the couple had already welcomed their son Jonathan in 1995, and their daughter Alexandra was two months old. Joel took up his father's legacy, and the leadership of the Lakewood Church, with Victoria by his side. Joel credits his wife with inspiring him and revealed:
"I wouldn't be half who I am today without Victoria. I mean, she has pushed me in a good sense and told me I can do things."
Four years after John Osteen's death, Victoria founded the Lakewood Church Women’s Ministry and became a co-pastor to the congregation. Together, the couple expanded their ministry, which today reaches millions of people. Joel said:
"She'll reach people that I never could reach and, you know, the Scripture even talks about, two are better than one."
INSPIRING LOVE AND FAITH
The devout couple have expanded their work through the written word, and are both best-selling authors. Victoria published her first book "Love Your Life: Living Happy, Healthy, and Whole," in which she shared her own outlook on life. She advised:
“Get in the habit of speaking positive, faith-filled words over your life, because a healthy self-image is one of the greatest assets you can have."
THE IMPERFECT MARRIAGE
A life full of positive, faith-filled words is a perfect description of Victoria and Joel's life together, and their work. Nevertheless, Victoria has revealed that even the most perfect-seeming marriage takes work. She wrote:
“In order to have a great marriage, we had to make some decisions early on. We had to learn to adapt to one another. We had to be willing to change."
Victoria confessed that neither she nor Joel consider themselves perfect, nor is their marriage or their love built on the illusion of their partner's perfection. She said:
"We don’t wake up in the morning and say, ‘Today, if you do everything right, I’ll love you.' (...) we had to make the choice daily to build our home on unconditional love.”
Joel and Victoria have instilled their faith and raised their own children in that unconditional love. Both Alexandra and Jonathan, 21, and 25 respectively, are gifted singers and musicians and deeply committed to serving their parent's congregation at the Lakewood Church.
Jonathan, who is also a preacher at Lakewood, is a graduate of the University of Texas, sings with his sister Alexandra, who recently graduated from the University of Texas, in the ministry. Jonathan is expected to follow in his father's footsteps one day, much as Joel followed in his own father's -- passing the torch of love and faith to the next generation.