FOTF-Logo-Stretch-Color.png
Search

Focus on the Family Broadcast

Creating a Shared Vision for Your Marriage (Part 1 of 2)

Creating a Shared Vision for Your Marriage (Part 1 of 2)

Pastor Sean and Lanette Reed describe their marital journey and God’s faithfulness. Although many wondered if their relationship would survive, the Reeds were proactive about creating a long-term plan and a godly legacy for future generations of their family. (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: March 26, 2024

Man #1: So we’re parents of two under two and we’re just looking forward to, uh, having some time alone together to work on our marriage and- and enjoy each other some more.

Woman #1: We hope to grow my husband’s business enough that we can provide jobs for the people around us and that we can work there together.

Man #2: We currently have two teenage daughters and with school and work, everything is just busy. So, hopefully in the future, we’ll have some time to slow down.

Man #3: My wife and I are older and, as I look forward to the future, I just think about our friendship and how we can foster that together.

John Fuller: Well, how about you? What dreams do you have about your marriage? What’s your five- to 10-year plan for the future? Today, on Focus on the Family with Jim Daly, we’ll be hearing from one couple who faced a lot of obstacles early on in their relationship. But, with careful planning and intentionality and a Godly commitment to each other, they’re still happily married today. Your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, I wonder how many husbands and wives have a long-term plan for their marriage. I don’t think Jean and I did. I mean, we had the commitment, obviously, but we weren’t putting five- and 10-year plans together.

John: No.

Jim: That’s sound exhausting (laughs).

John: No. We- we got married and thought, you know, “Until the end.” Yeah.

Jim: Well, and… I think most couples don’t tend to think that way and we’re simply trying to do life: manage our careers, uh, pursue God and what he wants for us, raise a family, pay the bills and so on. But it’s intriguing to think about what God has planned for your relationship. He’s written in his heart, at least, what he thinks about you and where you’re gonna go, how he wants you to live and love one another, where he wants you to serve together, the legacy he wants you to leave behind for future generations, such as your children. Uh, that was the impetus behind a conversation I recorded with Pastor Sean Reed and his wife, Lanette. And, as you indicated, John, their marriage journey was a little convoluted at first.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And it allows all of us to start there because, uh, it was tough for them so we can identify with it. And from the outside looking in, you might’ve wondered if they were going to survive, if their marriage would make it. But God had a plan for the Reeds and they, uh, tapped into that plan and I believe they have a lot of good insights and encouragement for all of us who want to have committed and meaningful marriages.

John: Yeah, and this, uh, conversation was recorded before a live audience at the Broadmoor Hotel here in Colorado and, Jim, you hosted a marriage conference for couples. Somehow I missed out on all the fun.

Jim: Yeah, you need to get the memo!

John: Uh, the Reeds have been our guests before. Sean serves as the teaching pastor at Opendoor Church in North Carolina and Lanette is part of the leadership team at XO Marriage. Together, they’ve written a book called Marriage in Transition: Creating Connection Through Uncontrollable Change. Learn more about our guests and the book when you stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And here’s how the conversation with Sean and Lanette Reed began on today’s episode of Focus on the Family with Jim Daly.

Jim: Sean, let me start with you, um, your love story, uh, uh, uh, you and I have so many things in common in terms of single parent childhood-

Sean Reed: Yeah.

Jim: And difficulty growing up and things like that. Speak to even the dream of having a family. Like, when you were growing up, were you going, “I can’t wait to get married and mess this up like my mom and dad.”

Sean: Yeah, exactly. You know, i- it’s really interesting that we’re going back to the past. I did something recently… Um, Lanette and I, we just celebrated 25 years.

Jim: That’s great! Yay!

Sean: Um… Yeah.

Lanette Reed: We still like one another.

Sean: And so-

Jim: And you still like one another?

Lanette: We still like one another.

Sean: Uh, we do. And so, what we did, we did a vow renewal and before we did it… So, our kids were the wedding party and before we did it, um, I actually wrote out my story from the very beginning, as far back as I can remember, and then I read it off to my kids. Like, every detail.

Jim: That’s fantastic.

Sean: All the juicy details. Everything that happened. Um, and one of the things, when we went back, it was amazing to see, like, my family, my father and mother, they were never married. Uh, great people. I love my parents. They separated when I was about five and when they separated, I ended up living with my mom for the majority of the years. There were a couple of stints when I was being a knucklehead, you know? And all of a sudden I was getting bad grades in school and my mom said, “You’re gonna live with your dad.” And so, you know-

Jim: Dad’s gonna straighten you out.

Sean: Yeah.

Jim: Yeah.

Sean: And he did. You know? (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Sean: You know, uh, amazingly enough, uh, just his authority, his presence, you know, the power of a father, uh, just his look was enough to set me straight.

Jim: Wow.

Sean: I think in my whole life, Dad only, you know, put a belt to my butt, you know, three times.

Jim: (laughs)

Sean: That was all it took, you know?

Lanette: (laughs)

Jim: Yeah. That means you’re very bright. (laughs)

Sean: You know? Yeah, yeah. I was the youngest of five at that time-

Jim: Yeah, yeah.

Sean: So, it was, like, “I saw this one get beat, that one get beat, this one… I’m not doing it.” You know?

Jim: Yeah.

Sean: So, um, all that being said, um, when I moved back in with my mom, after a while I began to see the disintegration, basically, of relationships around my uncles, aunts, my brothers and sisters. Um, none of them were married.

Jim: Hmm.

Sean: And so, we didn’t have… I didn’t have an example of what it looked like to say, “This is a godly marriage. This is what a great husband, you know, should do.” Um, what I learned was what I was missing.

Jim: Hmm.

Sean: And so it was not necessarily what was done to me, it was the absence of things that should’ve been given to me.

Jim: Yeah.

Sean: And so I learned from absence. And so, a lot of what I desire to give was something that I wished that I’d had in a two-parent home, in a loving, nurturing environment, in a safe place. So my lingo will be this, I- I grew up in the Hood in St. Louis. If y’all don’t know what the Hood is… (laughs) It’s the ghetto (laughs).

Lanette: (laughs)

Sean: And so, and so we had some rough growing up. Gangs, you know-

Jim: And St. Louis at that time, was one of the worst in the country, if I recall.

Sean: Oh man, it was rough. Yeah.

Lanette: Yeah.

Jim: Yeah.

Sean: You know, gangs went nuts, um, you know-

Jim: I mean, I was in Compton and I thought, “At least I’m not in St. Louis.”

Sean: (laughs)

Lanette: (laughs)

Sean: You know, we- we were, we were, we were trying to be, okay? We were trying to make our mark, man, so-

Lanette: Apparently, there was a competition.

Sean: Yeah, absolutely. So a lot of people, I mean, literally, there were, you know, people getting killed all around us. A lot of gangs, everything, you know?

Jim: Yeah.

Sean: All the things. So, all of a sudden, one of my cousins, uh, reaches out to me and says, “I want you to sing, you know, in a choir.” And I’m like, “Okay.” I sing in choirs for girls, so I’m a singer but I went to choir practice for the girls. I didn’t go for Jesus, it- it had nothing to do-

Jim: Your honesty is breathtaking.

Sean: Yeah, I- I appreciate it. I mean, I didn’t know him. I didn’t know God, I- I… You know, we had visited church but I didn’t really grow up, you know, studying the bible and all this other stuff. So, it’s like God is pulling me in with music. And I get there and I’m sitting in the choir stand and all of a sudden this song, I can’t remember the song, but the words got me. So, I’m sitting there in the top of the choir stands, because I sat in the back because that’s where you… the goofy people sit. So, so I’m sitting in the back and I’m clowning out and all of a sudden, we’re in the middle of a rehearsal and I get so convicted by the song. And it blew my mind. So, I go down to the front afterwards, because I’m trying not to cry in the choir practice.

Lanette: In front of the girls.

Sean: In front of the girls.

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: Abso-… or the guys. I mean, it was… It’s not a good look, you know? I’m- I’m a man, you know? And so, you know I can’t be crying in the choir practice. So I go down to the Choir Director, who was the pastor. Long story short, he tells me, he’s like, “Hey, you should read the bible.” I’m like, “Where do I start?” He’s, like, “Just go home and read the bible.” I was, like, “Okay.” So I go home and I’m looking for a bible. We have one of the bibles placed by the Gideons, y’all know what I’m talkin’ about? Um, so I- I still don’t know who those people are but…

Jim: (laughs)

Sean: But (laughs) I just knew it was, like, the little hotel bible, right?

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: So, I get the, I get the bible and- and I open this thing up and I’m trying to understand it. So I turn to James, so it’s James, first chapter.

Jim: That was good.

Sean: And it’s like, “Count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptation knowing that the trying of your faith…” All that stuff. But it was the King James version so I was like, “What does this mean?”

Jim: Yeah! Well, at least you weren’t in Leviticus.

Sean: Yeah.

Lanette: Oh, gosh! (laughs)

Sean: That would’ve been bad. Bad start for me. I call him up and he explains it to me. I’m fascinated. I’m like, “This is the bible!” All of a sudden, I finally get to the part where Jesus is being crucified, right? So I’m just reading this and, like, I really don’t have a compass, no guide, no bible studies or anything. So I open the thing up and I’m reading, and the part where Jesus is being crucified, I’m a visionary learner, so I’m not saying I saw Jesus but I’m sitting there and I’m reading and I’m imagining the crucifixion. And I’m imagining this person being crucified on a cross and all those things and then, all of a sudden, it hits me. There was, like, this moment where my face was super-imposed on his face.

Jim: Wow!

Sean: And it was, like, wait, I get it. And then I thought about my own sinfulness and the darkness that was in my heart. And all the- the pain that I had gone through, survived. And I realized that he loved me enough to keep me, enough to pursue me, chase me, track me down, get my attention and enough to pull me out of it.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Sean: That was when I first knew love, unconditional.

Jim: And how old were you at this point?

Sean: I was 15.

Jim: Fifteen.

Sean: And then, we met when I was 16.

Jim: Now, hang on. I want Lanette to talk about that.

Sean: Go for it.

Lanette: (laughs)

Jim: I wanna hear your version of the love story. So you meet. You’re 15, 16?

Lanette: We’re 15, 16 years old. So, uh, like he, uh, hinted to, in St. Louis back in the day-

Jim: Yeah.

Lanette: The thing to do if you were young and if you were a believer, was to sing in a gospel choir. So I was in a choir, as well, and-

Jim: But not looking for boys.

Lanette: No! I was all about Jesus.

Jim: Yes.

Sean: (laughs)

Lanette: My heart and my eyes were fixed on Him.

Jim: (laughs)

Sean: Until I came in the picture.

Lanette: So…

Jim: That’s the problem with boys and girls.

Sean: Come on! (laughs)

Lanette: (laughs) So, the choir I was in, uh, needed a place to rehearse one week and so the director of that choir reached out to the church he was attending. And he was the one that actually opened up the church doors for us to come in.

Jim: Oh.

Lanette: So, here’s the thing, Sean… when I met Sean at 16 years old, he already had a full beard. So, I thought, I’m not even going to lie, I thought this man was 30 years old. And me, at 16-

Sean: It’s so bad.

Lanette: I look young now, so just imagine how young I looked at 16 years old.

Sean: Yeah. I was, like-

Jim: Perpetual 12.

Sean: Yeah.

Lanette: Perpetual 12.

Sean: And I was, like, “I’m not touching that.” You know?

Jim: (laughs)

Sean: Um, this… I’m not, I’m not getting in trouble. I’m not getting in-

Jim: So, then, once you figure out you’re the same age, what happened? No, I’m kidding.

Lanette: Yeah, yeah.

Sean: Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, that’s what… that’s exactly what happened.

Lanette: So, we actually saw one another in a mall, kind of like, a couple weeks after that. We saw one another in the mall. He was around some younger guys and I was like, “Oh, he’s mentoring. That’s great.”

Sean: (laughs)

Lanette: “I remember him.” And then, a couple weeks later, I saw him at a skating rink, a Gospel Skate Night, and that’s when I realized, “Oh, he’s 16.”

Jim: Yeah.

Lanette: And so, we talked. Uh, we just had so much in common.

Sean: We talked for three hours that night.

Lanette: Yeah, we talked for three hours.

Jim: That was very nice of you, Sean, to continue that relationship after that head slap.

Sean: Yeah, exactly.

Jim: Well, you looked 30.

Sean: Yeah, and it was just, like, “Oh, thank you.” And it… and what was amazing, though, ironically, um, her mom was a beautician.

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Sean: And she had done my mom’s hair and my sister’s hair but I didn’t know it. So, she come to find out my mom would always get her hair done on Saturdays and she would drag me along with her to the Salon. And she was also up there.

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: So I had been in her presence and didn’t know it-

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: Since I was a little kid.

Lanette: At a very young age.

Jim: Oh wow!

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: Yeah.

Lanette: Yeah.

Jim: That sounds like a God-thing.

Sean: I think so.

Lanette: Oh, I think so, yeah, absolutely.

Jim: So, there you are, but you’re, you know, you’re kind of bumbling along like all of us 16 year olds at that time and- and 17 and-

Sean: Yeah.

Jim: Were you in the same grade in school?

Sean: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Okay.

Lanette: Yeah, so we were in the same age, uh-

Sean: Grade.

Lanette: Same grade, different schools, right?

Jim: Different schools, okay.

Lanette: Uh, he stalked me.

Jim: Uh, make sure we edit that.

Sean: (laughs)

Lanette: Uh, but because… what he was just saying, right, with his story, his origin story-

Jim: Yeah.

Lanette: And not really understanding love and honesty, it was really hard for him to take me for face value.

Sean: Yeah.

Lanette: It was really hard for him-

Sean: I- I didn’t trust that she was as clean and nice and-

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: And good as she was.

Lanette: So he would leave his school early to catch me after my school, to see if I was, like, being authentic.

Sean: I had to vet her, y’all.

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: If- if it was… I had to do the credit check.

Jim: It had nothing-

Sean: If I was gonna make this investment, you know? It was just-

Jim: Are you sure it had nothing to do with Algebra as your last class that day? (laughs)

Sean: Absolutely not. Absolutely not.

Jim: Okay, good. So you weren’t ditching class.

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: No, no.

Jim: You were going to check her out.

Sean: Yeah. So we- we did that and then, all of a sudden, we start hanging around each other a whole lot.

Lanette: A little too much.

Sean: We started talking about marriage.

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Sean: Uh, even though we were in high school. We knew… we were both at a point where it was, like, “Hey, if we gonna do this, we’re gonna do it…” We weren’t dating to kind of play around. We were, you know?

Jim: Wow.

Sean: We gonna live this life. But then, we added a little fuel to the fire because we got so close, you know what I’m saying?

Lanette: (laughs)

Sean: Spring break happened and then she got pregnant.

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: And so, she’s pregnant in high school and that accelerated the question.

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Sean: You know, for us, it was just kind of like, “Well-”

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: “Do you see, uh, everything in me that you desire to see in a husband?” And she said, “Yeah.” And then she asked me the same question and I said, “Absolutely.” I said-

Lanette: It was a very mature conversation.

Sean: Yeah.

Lanette: Very.

Sean: So it wasn’t a romantic proposal-

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: But it was a very clear conversation that we had with one another and we made the decision to go ahead and get married.

Jim: Let me ask you this question because so often, uh, uh, especially parents of 18, 19, 20 year olds.

Sean: Yeah.

Jim: Um, you know, you- you might think, as a parent, and maybe your parents thought this too, “What a mistake.”

Sean: Mm-hmm.

Lanette: Hmm.

Jim: But here you are, 25 years later.

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Writing marriage books.

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Sean: Yeah.

Lanette: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, that’s pretty impressive.

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: Yeah.

Jim: What’s the best way for us to respond? Is- is my question. “That’s great!” Instead of, “You’re making a mistake.”

Sean: Yeah.

Lanette: Yeah. Yeah.

Sean: I have so many thoughts on it. Um, on the one hand, yes, we did get that. My father was very clear, “You’re making one of the biggest mistakes of your life.”

Jim: Wow.

Sean: Um, and to a degree, he was right in that I wasn’t ready.

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Sean: And, on the one hand, spiritually, there was a level of maturity. We were ready but then we weren’t. I wasn’t economically, you know-

Jim: Right.

Sean: In a place of strength, um, and there was still a lot of self-discovery-

Lanette: Right.

Sean: That we still needed-

Lanette: Right.

Sean: Along the way. However, and this is gonna sound a little cheesy, but there were two things that I think helped Lanette and I make it. Number one, how our parents raised us. Both of our parents, old-school, solid, sound wisdom. They all were hard workers. Um, and they had great character. That rubbed off on both of us.

Jim: Huh.

Sean: So it wasn’t like our origin story was one that was absent of hard work, diligence-

Lanette: Integrity.

Sean: Integrity.

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: They instilled… we watched them model it so, if they weren’t the great examples that they were and had we not seen what it took to be great contributors to society and to one another, then I would say, yeah, that would’ve been to our detriment to get married. However, in spite of the fact that we didn’t have a whole lot, we did have God and we did have their example. And to me, God made the difference in the middle of the marriage.

Lanette: Yeah. Mm-hmm.

Sean: And so, we were humble enough to still listen and learn and grow. So what I would’ve said was, if my dad was shaky, back then if I could redo it, what I would’ve loved for him to have said was, “Here’s why I don’t think you’re ready. And here’s the pathway that I would love for you, uh, guys to walk out before you get married.”

Jim: Yeah.

Sean: So if you’re gonna do it, how about you try these three things.

Jim: Yeah.

Lanette: Yeah, that’s good.

Jim: Lanette, let me ask you because, uh, you- you obviously knew, uh, Sean’s background, where he was coming from. You were in a more stable situation, I think.

Lanette: I was, yeah.

Jim: So, did that cause you any concern? Did your mom pull you aside and say, “Honey, you can do better.”

Lanette: (laughs)

Sean: (laughs)

Lanette: Well, my dad d-… I was a daddy’s girl.

Jim: Okay.

Lanette: Uh, two-parent home. Uh, family was the core, you know, uh, Friday night family, pizza night. Movie night. Sunday dinners. Grew up in church so I had a nucleus that was very stable. So my dad… when I told my dad I was pregnant he did not say a word. He got up and just walked out of the house. And I almost wish he would’ve yelled at me.

Jim: Huh.

Lanette: Right? I almost wanted the yelling or the disbelief but he just got up, walked out and I think he was gone for, like, two hours.

Sean: Yeah.

Jim: Wow.

Lanette: My mom couldn’t reach him, he was just gone. But what he did was, he came back and he said, “You know I love you. This doesn’t change my perspective of you. If you’re gonna do it, how can we help?” And for me, that was what I grew up with all along. And so, uh, it was the same. He- he embraced me. He told me there were gonna be challenges. He actually said, “Now, if he lay a hand on you, you can always come back home.”

Jim: Hmm.

Lanette: And I said, “I know. I- I’ll come back, for sure.” But he allowed me to make my decision but he was there with me. My parents were there every step of the way.

Jim: Yeah.

Lanette: Um, my mother tried to mother me, so that’s a whole other conversation, right?

Jim: You seem happy about that (laughs).

Lanette: (laughs)

Sean: (laughs)

Lanette: Um-

Jim: “Listen, Mom, I’m 18. I know what I’m doing.”

Lanette: But I will say, I will say, there was a lot of grace because I knew it was difficult for her, as well.

John: This is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly and our guests are Sean and Lanette Reed, who are describing their marriage journey with us. And, uh, as we’re hearing, they faced a lot of obstacles in the early days of their relationship. Now, one resource that Focus has for husbands and wives is our free, online marriage assessment. It’s a really simple tool designed to help you and your spouse get on the same page in terms of understanding your priorities and your goals and how you communicate. It’s a really, uh, wonderful tool. It’s free and you’ll find the assessment at our website, focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Let’s go ahead and hear more now, from Sean and Lanette Reed on today’s episode of Focus on the Family with Jim Daly.

Jim: Describe that first year of marriage, what you were coping with-

Sean: Oh man.

Jim: In your maturity.

Sean: So we graduated high school-

Lanette: Oh…

Sean: In June.

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Sean: We got married, September 5th.

Lanette: Mm-hmm. .

Sean: We had our first child, December 5th.

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Sean: And so… and then we moved into our first place, uh, probably a month or two after that.

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: And so, you know, the place that we moved into, it was a shotgun apartment.

Lanette: You guys know what a shotgun apartment is?

Jim: No.

Sean: May you-

Lanette: Okay.

Jim: I don’t. What is it.

Lanette: Yeah, okay.

Sean: You- you stand at the front door and you can see all the way to the back door.

Jim: (laughs)

Sean: The bedroom-

Lanette: You can see every room.

Sean: The kitchen, the bathroom, the exit.

Lanette: Yeah. And I-

Jim: I call that a home. (laughs)

Sean: (laughs) I mean, it was. It was, it was our first spot.

Lanette: Yeah. It had one AC unit.

Sean: Yeah.

Lanette: That was in the bedroom.

Sean: Mm-hmm.

Lanette: And then, when it was on, it spit out water.

Sean: Yeah.

Lanette: And so we would just kind of lay underneath it as the water was just spitting out on us.

Sean: Yeah.

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: It’s kind of disgusting when you think about it later on but-

Lanette: Yeah. (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Sean: But, I mean, it was, it was what we had and we made it work, right? So that’s- that’s how we started off and, I mean, literally, we were learning everything on the fly. How to manage finance, um, how to talk to one another.

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: How to raise a kid. Like, everything was all dumped on at one time.

Lanette: Yeah. It… Really pushing back, um, our growth, in the sense of, I had to focus on being a mom. I had to focus on how to be a wife.

Jim: Right.

Lanette: So, as far as what I wanted and who I wanted to be, you know, in that 20-ish, you know, age range-

Jim: Yeah.

Lanette: That was just pushed back.

Jim: Yeah, I was just thinking, I forgot about the kids.

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: So, we had three kids within three years.

Lanette: Yeah.

Jim: Okay.

Sean: Yeah.

Jim: So, by 23 you have three kids.

Lanette: Yeah.

Jim: Or 22.

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: 22.

Lanette: But even during that time, we had dealt with, um, health issues, we had dealt with miscarriage.

Sean: Yeah.

Lanette: We had dealt with my dad’s death, passing away.

Jim: Oh.

Lanette: Uh, we had dealt with just transitioning and moving from St. Louis to Texas.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Lanette: And so, in that four or five… just say five years, first five years of marriage, we had gone through so much.

Sean: Yeah, we grew up quick.

Lanette: Yeah.

Jim: Yeah. In fact, uh, in the book you talk about counseling younger couples now that you’ve had more experience under your belt.

Sean: Hmm.

Jim: And you tell them not to, kind of, have rose-colored glasses on.

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Jim: That early marriage is gonna be tough. It’s a rollercoaster.

Sean: Yes.

Jim: Get ready.

Sean: Yes.

Lanette: Hmm.

Jim: Do they look at you, like, “Oh, you don’t know how much in love we are”?

Sean: Yes.

Jim: “That won’t be our story.”

Lanette: (laughs)

Sean: Oh, man, I… let me tell you, there’s- there’s-

Jim: Right, Jean?

Sean: There’s so many of them that are just, like, “But not us.”

Lanette: Yeah.

Jim: Yeah.

Sean: And I’m, like, “As long as you’re breathing, it will be you.”

Jim: (laughs)

Sean: It- it- it’s gonna happen. And- and so, you can be in love through it all, and that’s great.

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: But- but life has a way of throwing curve balls at you and- and in that process, though, there are ways that we can stay united as a couple, no matter what comes at us.

Jim: Yeah.

Sean: No matter what comes our way. Through all of the marriage transitions, there’s a way for us to ground ourselves in a position to where her heart is always open to my heart and my heart is always open to her heart.

Jim: Yeah.

Sean: Usually, the circumstances of life, they pull at us in ways to where, when we went through, for instance, the miscarriage, that was our third pregnancy. Um, we were pregnant… she was pregnant with twins.

Jim: Oh.

Sean: And so, at that point, you know, here we went from, you know, coming up with names for two kids and imagining, “Oh, man…” You kind of… you prepare your mind.

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: And all of a sudden, obviously, the miscarriage happens and then the rest of that pregnancy was, you know, she was on bedrest and, you know, went through difficulty there. While she was in the hospital, uh, and going through passing out… I mean, it was a lot that happened with that pregnancy, um, our daughter, our daughter who at that time was about a year and a half, she goes into hospital and she can’t breathe.

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: And it was a freaky moment.

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: And so, what she was experiencing in that moment, carrying the child with a, you know, a very dangerous pregnancy at that point, and what I was experiencing from the outside, is two totally different things. And it’s… Very seldom do you get a husband and a wife that are able to see into the other person’s perspective of the experience and empathize with them.

Jim: Hmm.

Sean: To where it’s not just about your own perspective, but every problem we face, there’s a shared dynamic of, “How do I hold your heart in my hand while we go through a good time together or while we’re going through a crisis together? Do I see your perspective? Am I empathetic? Am I compassionate towards your experience of the same dilemma?”

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: And so, she ends up going into labor while our daughter’s in the hospital at the same time.

Jim: Different hospital?

Lanette: Different hospitals, yeah.

Sean: Different hospital.

Jim: Yeah.

Sean: Um, she goes, uh, and it’s, uh… How many months, uh, premature?

Lanette: Uh, I wa-… she was a month, a month premature, yeah. So she was tiny.

Sean: Yeah, so she went in and, literally, she did two pushes and the baby comes out.

Lanette: The doctor had to catch her.

Sean: Yeah.

Jim: Literally.

Lanette: He literally, he literally said, “Push,” and then, “Push again.” And on the second push she came out. He called the doctor and then the doctor turned around-

Sean: And said, “Hey-”

Lanette: And he had to catch.

Sean: And she… Yeah, literally. He was putting on gloves. I said, “Bro…” (laughs)

Lanette: Coming out.

Sean: Yeah.

Jim: (laughs)

Sean: So, she gets delivered. We have our- our- our little precious baby and then, on the flip side, uh, our youngest, come to find out her adenoids were swollen. She ended up having to have a surgery at, you know, a year and a half to get those removed. So we’re freaking out about that and yet, through it all, we’re trusting God in this process. In the aftermath of it, though, we’re- we’re like surviving at that point.

Lanette: Yeah.

Jim: Yeah.

Sean: You know what I’m saying?

Jim: Sure.

Sean: We’re surviving, we’re not connecting.

Jim: Yeah.

Sean: And so, as we go through these situations, I think you’re looking for your spouse to give you a certain response. You’re looking for your spouse… You have an expectation that a lot of times is gonna be unmet because the reality is, they’re going through it too.

John: This is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller and we’ve been listening to a conversation that Jim had with Sean and Lanette Reed about their rollercoaster experience in marriage. And how, despite all the obstacles they faced, God was in that journey with them, guiding their lives toward his purpose and his plan.

Jim: Now, we mentioned at the beginning that this program was recorded before a live audience of Focus Friends at a marriage conference here in Colorado Springs. And I have to say, we were all astonished and amazed by what the Reeds were experiencing when they got married. And how they had the commitment, not only to each other, but also to God, seeking his help to keep their relationship going. Um, the word that comes to my mind is tenacity and I think we all need more of that in our marriages today. To push through and link arms together as a husband and wife so we can show the world what Christian marriage looks like today. And sometimes that’s tough.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: You run out of juice, you run out of fuel. But what a great illustration about how to stay focused on the Lord. We want to help you get there in your relationship, that’s why I’m recommending the Reed’s book to you. Marriage in Transition: Creating Connection Through Uncontrollable Change. And we can send that to you, uh, when you make a monthly pledge of any amount to Focus on the Family, which is our way of saying, “Thanks for being part of the ministry and helping to rescue other marriages today.”

John: Yeah, and when you say, any amount, Jim, no amount is too small. Those monthly gifts of $10 or $15 or $20 really add up.

Jim: Yeah.

John: They go a long way to help strengthen our budget and to, uh, help us serve and encourage married couples looking for help. Recent survey results show that almost 600,000 husbands and wives were able to build stronger marriages in the past 12 months because of the help that Focus on the Family offers.

Jim: I love that. Every year we survey, uh, the constituents that connect with us and ask us for help. And we go back to them and ask them, “How helpful were we?” And that is a great number. Um, you can be a part of that marriage-building team when you make that monthly pledge today. But right now we’re trying to recruit families and individuals who will support this ministry all year long. And I hope you’ll prayerfully consider, uh, being a part of the ministry team here. And if a monthly pledge is more than you can afford, we get it. We know the economy. Uh, a one-time gift is equally helpful. So we just thank you ahead of time for your generosity.

John: Yeah, make a gift today and, uh, request your copy of the Reed’s book, Marriage in Transition, when you call 800, the letter A and the word, FAMILY, 800-232-6459. Or donate online at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. We’ll hear more from the Reeds next time as they describe the vital importance of having a vision for your marriage.  And on behalf of the entire team, thanks for joining us for this episode of Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller, inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

Marriage in Transition: Creating Connection Through Uncontrollable Change

Receive the book Marriage in Transition and the audio download of the broadcast "Creating a Shared Vision for Your Marriage" for your donation of any amount! Plus, receive member-exclusive benefits when you make a recurring gift today. Your monthly support helps families thrive.

Recent Episodes

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Organizing the Chaos in Your Home

Kristi Clover, mother of 5, shares quick and simple tips to bring joy into your home by getting more organized. From clearing the clutter to choosing your top priorities, you’ll learn some techniques to make housework easy and fun for the whole family!

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Encouraging Your Kids to Discuss Their Feelings

Feelings can be confusing for children to experience and express. In this upbeat message, Dr. Joshua Straub will equip you to create a safe environment in your home, so that your children can express what they are feeling and learn how to manage their emotions.

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Walking With God Through Trials (Part 2 of 2)

Michele Cushatt shares her story of walking through difficult times and how faithful God was throughout. She explores ten practices—concepts such as lament, humility, contentment, and perspective—that will help you build and strengthen your faith so you can weather those stressful seasons with God. (Part 2 of 2)

You May Also Like

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

A Legacy of Music and Trusting the Lord

Larnelle Harris shares stories about how God redeemed the dysfunctional past of his parents, the many African-American teachers who sacrificed their time and energy to give young men like himself a better future, and how his faithfulness to godly principles gave him greater opportunities and career success than anything else.

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Accepting Your Imperfect Life

Amy Carroll shares how her perfectionism led to her being discontent in her marriage for over a decade, how she learned to find value in who Christ is, not in what she does, and practical ways everyone can accept the messiness of marriage and of life.