Chip & Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” Share their Testimony and Encouraging Journey
As home renovation and flipping houses is become more of a craze, more and more people are becoming aware of Chip & Joanna Gaines, known for their hilarious antics and beautiful creations on HGTV’s “Fixer Upper”. It doesn’t take long to realize that Chip is the one known for his hilarious antics, and Joanna is known for her amazing design creativity. As their personalities couldn’t be any further apart, when they recently shared how they met, their stories were just as opposite. From a comfy couch, they share how they came to meet each other.
When they met in 2001, they were married two years later. As Joanna shares, “you know, I think it’s funny because we were polar opposites.” Chip adds that their differences were not just their personalities, but how they were raised. As Chip explains how his parents allowed extensive freedoms for hours on end, Joanna’s childhood was nothing comparable. “Her parents were like, ‘go out in the back yard, but only as long as you have bubble tape completely around your head, neck, and vital organs’, and obviously so, when that all came together…” Granted, they may have had different upbringings, both were raised in the church by their Christian parents. As they both tell their side of the story, they remember the other one liking them far more than they did.
After bantering back and forth of how they ‘didn’t meet’, Joanna wraps it up in a short-short version. ‘and from the beginning, I think it was a fun, kind of a rollercoaster. I was a safe, kind of over-protective child, and Chip was this rowdy kind of risky guy…’ Over the years, they have learned so much about how different their personalities are and how to make it all work. It was this one nugget of wisdom that Chip would go back and give advice to himself if he could. “If I could go back in time and tell myself some piece of advice that would help our marriage, it was just the idea, that when I learned how to embrace Joanna for who she is, and really support her all the way, I feel that was really a lightbulb moment for me, and my relationship with her.” It was in this reality of understanding of who she was, that Chip learned the reality of unconditional love for Joanna. “As I really enveloped this concept of “I’m going to love her, and support her, and fight for her, regardless, I feel like that opened your heart to reciprocate.” It is exciting to see a couple so enthusiastically in love with one another, while they are both following the Lord as believers.
When Chip & Joanna shared their stories for I Am Second, they commented further on just how different their personalities are. As Chip describes, “Joanna is like the purest, most stable person I’ve ever met.” By her own words, Joanna continues, “I like safety. I like knowing what’s coming. I don’t want to be surprised…he always jokes that I’m the guy in the relationship, cause when he wants to talk and dig, I don’t want to talk. I just want to eat my fries.” Now, on the flip side, Chip comes from the opposite end of the spectrum. “Fear and failure doesn’t even cross his mind, he doesn’t even let that go through one ear and out the other.”Chip continues to describe his own personality; “The little voice in your ear that talks when your being quiet, my little voice tells me how handsome I am, tells me how funny I am, tells me how rich I’m going to be.”
It was these differences in personalities that really caused them to be who they are today. As Joanna explains, “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. You pushed me out of my comfort zone.” As Chip brought out the best in Joanna, he shares that she has done the same for him. “I think that is one of the reasons I love her like I do. I mean, I feel like she knows me in a way that has caused me to stop acting, you know. I feel like I’ve really been an actor, I’ve been a character my whole life. I’ve always tried to prove something to someone.” It was when Chip met Joanna that all of this stopped. “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.”
It was in Chip’s exposure to Joanna’s personality that he learned more about who God is. “I have learned so much about order, and structure, and processes through my wife, and God is all of those things to me now.” As Chip is more of the wild, and spontaneous character, these are the traits that Chip always saw in God. “But, at the beginning, God was just chaotic to me. He was wild. He was untamed, He was unruly, and I liked that.”
Joanna continues to express how she has experienced her greatest joy because of Chip’s encouragement in her life, to get the ideas that are in her head, out into reality. “I was made for a reason. I need to let, whatever God has created me for, that needs to be known. I don’t need to stay hidden.” Joanna continues to share how her walk with the Lord has changed. ‘My walk with God, when I was little, all the way up until like my 20’s was always, ‘if you play by the rules you’ll be blessed, but then I met Chip, and I feel now it’s like, ‘when you take a step out in faith, when it makes absolutely no sense, I think that is where the greater reward is. There’s no telling where that will take you.’
When Chip and Joanna spoke at the 2016 Sunbelt Builders Show, they shared more about the moment that Chip and Joanna met at her father’s Firestone store. While at Baylor University, Joanna had majored in Broadcast Journalism, and Chip found himself in Real Estate shortly after graduating. “When I met Chip, he was just an interesting guy. He was such a risk taker. Everything he looked at, whether it be a home, or an automobile, it was an investment. He thought, ‘hey this is undervalued, we’ll put some value in it and sell it for this’”. As Chip began showing Joanna the various projects he was working on, she didn’t have the best first impression. “I thought the guy was a freak because the things he would buy, I’d look at it and go, ’what’s wrong with you?’ He scared my parents. He scared my friends.” But, it didn’t take long for Joanna to see past this first impression. “Through it all, I started realizing, he’s got some really good instincts, and when you can see past the obvious, there’s actually a lot of potential.”
As Chip pushed Joanna more into her lifelong dream of owning her own business, they decided to stay at one of Chip’s investment properties immediately after their honeymoon. Needless to say, it didn’t go so well. They decided not to spend the night in this nightmarish situation, they resorted to their parent’s RV. After surviving their first year of marriage, they stay focused on renovating their first house. It was in this house that they experienced their first big fight. In the midst of this fight, they were suddenly faced with the reality of just how different they were raised. Joanna was holding a bucket of white primer that she suddenly slammed on the ground, which promptly responded by completely covering Joanna, from head to toe.
As they were working their first renovation, and establishing their business property, Joanna had a revelation. “And for me, it was one of those things that I just felt like, this is kind of my training ground.” While Joanna was in entirely new ground, Chip was supporting her every step of the way. They decided to focus more on Chip’s real estate company at the time, Trinity Properties, and less on the design side that Joanna had inside of her. “In about 2006-2007, we decided what if we merged the idea of Magnolia and its design elements with Chip’s construction and real estate expertise, and that’s where we came up with Magnolia Homes.” It was when they came together with their differing personalities that they found how they complemented each other. “What we had to realize early on, was I had my strengths with the numbers, staying on budget, you know the more boring stuff, and Chip was really good at the vision, the big picture.” She continues, “early on we had to really define this is what I do, this is what Chip does, so that we could work well together, and I feel like that is something we always kind of have to go back to anytime we feel that we’re a little off track.”
Chip points out how their development of these beginning days in the business came before they had their first baby. Although their children came years later, Chip highlights how many small business owners can empathize with this reality that their business has the sense of feeling like another child in the family. When the economy suffered in 2008, they realized they needed some creative ideas to keep the income coming. This developed into the new realm of renovating homes for clients. As they continued this journey, one of their projects was eventually seen and recognized by HGTV. The beginning days of this opportunity was nothing that is seen today.
As Chip and Joanna go back and forth, sharing how they nearly lost the opportunity to have a show based on their everyday business realities, and Chip ‘sweating’ and ‘flinching’ when surrounded by camera crews, they give so much inspiration and hope to those seeking to build their dreams into their own reality. You can be encouraged and enjoy heartfelt laughter as you see the full interviews and conversation with Chip and Joanna of how their lives were changed when they met one another, how their business and creative ideas evolved to what many now know today, and so much more. Also shared in this segment: Firestone, I Am Second, home renovations, Fixer Upper, HGTV, Chip Gaines, Joanna Gaines, Chip and Joanna Gaines, Magnolia Homes, Magnolia Realty, Magnolia Market, Magnolia Villas, Magnolia Flour, Magnolia Houses, and Magnolia Farms, encouragement, hope, personalities, and humor. Greg and Steve shared in this segment.
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