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A Lighthearted Look at Wedded Bliss

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A Lighthearted Look at Wedded Bliss

Comedian John Branyan shares a humorous look at living with a spouse who is your polar opposite and a touching message about the wonder of true, lasting love.

Original Air Date: March 21, 2016

Today's Guests

Episode Summary

Comedian John Branyan shares a humorous look at living with a spouse who is your polar opposite and a touching message about the wonder of true, lasting love.

Original Air Date: March 21, 2016

Episode Transcript

Jim Daly: Hi, I’m Jim Daly. Before we start today’s program, I want to take a moment to thank all of you who gave sacrificially to Focus on the Family this past month. Thanks to some generous friends, we had a 9 million match campaign during the month of December. The biggest one we ever had!

And I’m thrilled to report that you met the match! Thank you so much for your faithfulness and encouragement. Not only to our team here at Focus, but to the hundreds of thousands of families, the married couples, parents, children, and single adults who will be blessed by the broadcast and resources that we, together, will provide in 2020.

So, again, thank you for your partnership with Focus on the Family.

Excerpt:

John Branyan: You notice you gotta get your driver’s license renewed every four years? But you don’t have to get your marriage license renewed, EVER (laughter)

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: Well, that’s an interesting perspective! Something I hadn’t heard before. Welcome to Focus on the Family with your host, Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller.

Jim: John, laughter is a great way for us to ‘get over’ some of the discomforts of everyday life. And our guest, John Branyan, will help us get some perspective on our own marriages as he takes a humorous look at his. You know, it’s so easy to get ‘tunnel vision’ and focus on the problems that you have with your spouse. And sometimes there really is value in taking a step back and just recognizing the fact that men and women are very different! And a lot of our conflicts stem from those gender differences.

When we aired this program in 2016 it became one of our Top Ten shows for the year, so I know you’re really gonna enjoy this lighthearted look at the marriage relationship and the true value of lasting love, illustrated by a poignant story John will share in just a few minutes.

John F.: And the audio is from John Branyan’s comedy DVD called Wedlocked. And I’ll explain the visuals, here. John is at the Department of Motor Vehicles sitting next to a rather quiet stranger, musing out-loud about marriage, and you’ll hear the other man respond once or twice. Here now is John Branyan on Focus on the Family.

John B.: You know, I’ve been … I’ve been married for 21 years, same person. And I think the … the secret to a long-term relationship is flexibility, adaptation. You gotta pretty much bend with the wind or it’ll just knock you flat.

(Laughter)

Because it’s always in a state of flux. It’s always changing. I mean, after 21 years, she’s not the same girl that I married. The relationship is a lot more intense.

She asks me questions.

(Laughter)

Questions that I don’t know the answers to, ‘cause they’re questions that no man has ever known the answers to.

(Laughter)

Deep, probing, impossible questions. “What are you thinking?”

(Laughter)

“I’m a guy, I’m thinking nothing!”

(Laughter)

Zero, zilch, zip, nada, nothing. She’s a girl. Girls cannot think nothing. That never happens. When her mind is blank, there’s still billions of calculations flying through it. Angles being considered, thoughts being process and organized, colors being coordinated. She’s like a four gigahertz, 256, meg … terabyte, file-serving computer. I’m like that little solar calculator that comes free with cigarettes.

(Laughter)

And I still spend time with other guys. You know, me and the guys go out. We talk. Never once have I ever said, “Hey, Al, what’ch you thinkin’?”

(Laughter)

Because I don’t care.

(Laughter)

Plus, he’s a guy; I know what he’s thinking—nothing.

(Laughter)

She wants to borrow stuff from me that I never have, like tissue and Kleenex. “Can I borrow a tissue. John, I need a tissue. Can I have a tissue, please?” Hm?” No. Men don’t carry Kleenex. To a guy carrying Kleenex and wearing long sleeves is redundant. (Laughter and Applause)

I guess what I’m sayin’ is, I’ve never really been much of a fitter inner.

(Laughter)

I’ve never been a “belonger.” In high school it was that way, growin’ up, all the way through high school. The car I drove in high school was a brown Chevy Vega.

(Laughter)

Two doors and three speeds and that was a chick magnet.

(Laughter)

Poor man’s Pinto.

(Laughter)

So, I had no girlfriends in high school, but I had more sisters than the Catholic church. (Laughter and Applause)

And then a couple of years after graduation, this miracle. Along came Lori. Along came this girl and she said, “I love you. I really love you.”

(Laughter)

(Whispering) I should’ve been suspicious right there.

(Laughter)

I should’ve known I was in over my head. And we started planning the wedding. Planning the wedding. We had to have a wedding rehearsal. That’s what she told me, “Gotta have a wedding rehearsal, John.” “Like, why, is it tricky?” She goes, “Yes, it’s tricky.”

(Laughter)

I don’t mind … I don’t mind rehearsing. I just wish we would practice somethin’. There were so many things I needed practice on. There were so many things I didn’t know how to do. Still don’t know how to do ‘em. Consequently, 20 years later, I’m still … I coulda used practice on a thousand things.

I could’ve used … I could’ve used practice droppin’ off to sleep at night with a pair of sub-zero feet in my back. (screaming)

(Laughter)

“You … you have frostbitten my kidneys.”

(Laughter)

I could’ve used practice standing in the women’s clothing department in front of the dressing room door, holding her purse trying to hang on to a shred of masculine dignity. (Laughter)

And even getting used to each other. Just occupying the same sleeping space at the same time, that’s what’s difficult, getting used to each other’s nuances. She’s a morning person. A morning person.

(Laughter)

The sun barely breaks over the horizon, she’s hovering over the bed, “Oh, look sleepyhead; the sun’s up!”

(Laughter)

“The sky is blue, and the birds are singing. It’s gonna be a great day. It’s time to get up, up, up, up, up!” Grrr. You know what I would rather hear at 6 o’clock in the morning. (Clk, clk) “Everyone on the ground, this is a stick up!” ‘Cause at least the stick-up guys will let you lay down.

(Laughter and Applause)

The birds … the birds are singing. That is the only sound that they know how to make. (Laughter)

You know what I think. I think one bird gets up early and the noise outside the window is all the other birds going, “SHUT UP!”

(Laughter, clapping)

And even climbing into bed together, occupying the same sleeping space takes… Now, she’s my wife. I lo … I love her. But there are still times when I will climb into bed next to her. I pull her over close. I can smell her perfume. Start to kiss the back of her neck. Blow in her ear. She looks over at me and says, “What are you thinkin’?”

(Extended Laughter)

“Gosh, I don’t know; what are you thinkin’?”

(Laughter)

And she goes, “I was just thinking that if we fold the dish towels smaller…

(Laughter)

… they will fit more efficiently into the kitchen drawer.

(Laughter)

“That is exactly what I was thinking.”

(Laughter)

“Let’s go do it now.” Maybe while we’re up, I can spackle.”

(Laughter)

And then into the relationship came the children. We had four babies. Somehow. (Laughter)

Other Guy: Spackling accident.

(Laughter and Applause)

And that changes everything. I learned so much. I learned that they separate pregnancy. I learned to separate pregnancy into three things called “trimesters.” And the reason they’re called “trimesters” is, because during that time the husband tries to “mester” up the strength…

(Laughter)

… to stay in the house with a pregnant woman.

(Laughter)

And the first … first trimester, first trimester, two cells come together and form a tiny human being. The second trimester, that tiny human being begins to grow. And then the third trimester, the pregnant woman changes from a human being…

(Laughter)

… into a Tasmanian Devil.

(Laughter)

And so, I come in the front door and she’s “Boom, baga … bag … boog … ga … wa … tall … goo … ga … gaz.”

(Laughter and Applause)

“Hey, where … where’s the cat?“ (Sound of burp)

(Laughter)

And it was at that moment in my life when I realized this is not the same girl that I married. (Laughter)

This is not the same species that I married.

(Laughter)

After just a couple of years of marriage, you start to see signs of each other that are kept hidden when you’re dating. When we dated, she never devoured small domesticated mammals.

(Laughter)

I would’ve remembered that.

(Laughter)

At the same time, there’s parts … there’s parts of becoming a new father that aren’t completely terrifying. Kinda heartwarming. Like when she was about six months along into the first pregnancy, she developed this … this intense desire to learn everything she could about becoming a mother—carrying children, raising children, ‘cause it was our baby. It was my baby and she wanted to do it perfectly. “This is your baby, John, living inside of me. Suckin’ the life out of my organs like a parasite.”

(Laughter)

“Making me bloat like a fish on the beach!”

(Laughter)

“Doin’ backflips on my bladder all because of you. My love.”

(Laughter)

So, she went to the library. She got books on the subject. She subscribed to magazines. And so, by the time the baby’s arrived we were perfect parents. She, because of months of loving maternal research, and me by (Sound of pfft) default. ‘Cause I had her to explain everything to me, all the stuff I had to know. Like trading off feedings in the middle of the night. Baby’d cry and she’d nudge me, “John, baby’s crying.”

(Laughter)

“Do you hear that cryin’ baby? That is youuuur baby!”

(Laughter)

“The book says that daddy should take a turn feeding for bonding. So, bond!”

(Laughter)

So, I would stumble down the hall into the kitchen, lookin’ for bottles and then it would occur to me, “Hey, we’re breastfeeding.”

(Laughter)

This is gonna hurt like a monkey.

(Laughter)

John F.: You’re listening to John Branyan on today’s episode of Focus on the Family.

And you can get a CD of this entire broadcast for a gift of any amount when you call 800-A-FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or donate and request the CD at our website, focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Let’s go ahead and return now to more from John Branyan on Focus on the Family.

John B.: And in the midst of all of it, in the midst of unanswered questions and confusion of roles and kids flyin’ around the planet, in the middle of all the chaos, I’m still expected to be… “romantic.”

(Laughter)

I’m still expected to breathe new wind on the embers of romance.

(Laughter)

(Pfft)

She will appear from nowhere. “Take me someplace.” Take me someplace nice, because we never go anywhere, that’s why. We just stay home all the time and I don’t want to stay home all the time. I want to go someplace. I want to go out somewhere with you. So, take me someplace. Take me someplace nice.”

(Laughter)

All right, where do you want to go? “I don’t want to TELL you where to take me. That would ruin everything. You have to think of someplace to go.” So, I got tickets to the tractor pull.

(Laughter)

And that was wrong.

(Laughter)

We have so many friends whose cummerbunds matched the flowers, matched the dresses and they marched down the aisle. They took a vow … a vow until death do us part and then they parted. And they weren’t dead.

(Laughter)

I think love takes longer than that. It takes a lifetime. It takes a whole lifetime to learn what really annoys them. So, you can do it again and again and again.

(Laughter)

If you stick with it, eventually you’ll zero in on the source of conflict. You’ll figure out what it is that causes the two of you to fight. Lori and I did. It’s me.

(Laughter)

I remember the first fight that I caused. It was right after we got married. And I wanted to go out with the guys, you know, just me and the guys like we used to for old time’s sake. And she wanted me to stay there with her and cut the cake and throw the bouquet and (Laughter) …

And even now sometimes she’ll get me backed into a corner, maneuvered so I can’t escape, and she’ll say, “John, listen, Sweetie, I was just reading in Cosmo.” Cosmo? Great. (Pffff!) Bring it on. “If you could start all over again, if you could wipe the slate clean, hey look at me; this is important.

(Laughter)

“If you could start all over again and wipe the slate clean, start afresh, would you get married again?”

(Laughter)

The speed with which you answer that question is as important as the answer itself.

(Light chuckles and clapping)

And the truth is, after 21 years, the answer to that question is yes, I would. I would marry the exact same girl again. Because what I’ve learned over these years is that the two of us together are somehow better than the sum of the individual parts. And she is so many things I could never be and I’m so many things that she doesn’t want to be.

(Laughter)

It’s complementary. We haven’t mastered it. We’re still learning, both of us. I’m learning. She’s learning. Both of us. I’m learning that she’s like a … like a flower. A flower with infinite petals. And each petal is a little more complex and a little more lovely than the petal that preceded it. And it’s gonna take a lifetime to examine every subtle nuance, every tiny little facet of her personality that makes her unique and special—different from all the rest. And beautiful.

I know her favorite color. I know how she looks in the morning. I know her shoe size. I know how she cooks. Beep, beep, beep.

(Laughter)

“It’s an ancient family recipe.” For microwave popcorn? That’s… Family recipe is “This side up.”

(Laughter)

I know how she drives. (Whispering) Wow!

(Laughter)

She’s got this motto. “Well, we paid for insurance; we might as well use it.”

(Laughter and Applause)

She does stuff with insurance I could never do. She hit a deer. She once hit a deer that was already dead in the middle of the… Tore a running board off the car, knocked the wheels all out of alignment. She was so upset. “I’m sorry, John. I didn’t hit him on purpose. Hmmm.” I didn’t get mad. I couldn’t get mad. ‘Cause you know those deer crossing signs by the road? They always show the deer like this. It never shows it like this, (Sound effect).

(Laughter)

And late at night on long trips when I’m driving, she’ll sit up front with me and she’ll go, “Well, it’s late at night on a long trip. You’re probably pretty tired aren’t you, ‘cause it’s late at night on a long trip. So, I’ll just sit up front with you and keep you company, help you stay awake.” Five miles down the road, pfft, she’s sound asleep, man.

So, this is what I do. Pull into the first rest park that I come to where the semis are idling with their lights on, pull nose to nose with a semi, throw the car in neutral, hit the gas and go, “Aah!”

(Extended Laughter and Applause)

But you know what happened after the wedding cake was eaten and the flowers wilted and all the thank-you’s have been sent out? After that, after the wedding, then real life settled in. And real life, I mean, day to day life is hard and it’s mundane and it doesn’t feel the way it feels when you’re dating. Some days it doesn’t feel like it’s worth it. And every time those feelings come over me, I have these memories of my great grandparents—Great Grandpa Frank, Mamie. When we were little we’d go over to their house, my brother and I. And Great Grandpa Frank would sit in a big overstuffed chair by the window and we’d stand right in front of him. And he’d lean forward in that chair and talk with his hands and tell us all the stuff that little boys are supposed to know.

You know, he taught us how to build a treehouse up in the branches so the floor wouldn’t sag, the roof wouldn’t leak. Taught us how to sit on the handlebars of our bikes and ride ’em backwards downhill…

(Laughter)

… with groceries.

And all afternoon in the rocking chair right next to him was my grand grandmother, Mamie. And she would laugh at the same joke that she’d heard him tell a billion times before. In the middle of the story, he’d look over, pat her on the knee, wink at her, jump right back in and never miss a beat.

And as years went by, we started to notice that Mamie was having trouble remembering things like the names of the neighbors that lived right next door. So, my great grandfather’s job became to just be with Mamie. Constantly. And make sure she didn’t forget somethin’ important, like unpluggin’ an iron or shuttin’ off the stove. But she got worse.

And pretty soon she was more than he could handle all by himself. He was too old. So, they had to move out of their house and into a nursing home.

And I remember the time that we went to visit the nursing home, dinner time. Great Grandpa Frank sat across the table from Mamie. His plate sat over to the side, got cold, while he took one spoonful at a time from her plate, fed it to her. Then he’d smile at her. He’d wink. Take a napkin, wipe her chin.

Mamie couldn’t use a toilet by herself. So, every time she had to go, he’d take her in and help with all of those responsibilities, every single time. And during all of those years when he was doin’ that, we never heard him complain. He never once snapped and said, “You know what? I’m an old man and I’ve had a long tough life, too. And now I can’t even blink with Mamie around, because if I do, she may wander off or she’ll fall and hurt herself. And I have to feed her. I have to take her to the toilet.” He never complained.

Then there was the day that my brother and I went to visit the nursing home. Great Grandpa Frank sat in his big overstuffed chair. He looked up at the two of us and said, “You know, boys.” And there was a tear right here. He said, “Mamie… Mamie doesn’t know who I am anymore.” And that was the first complaint that I ever heard him speak about his little bride.

It didn’t seem to bother him to have to feed her and bathe her and take her to the restroom. What broke his heart was when all of those times were over. The two of them were married for 70 years. 70 anniversaries with the same person. And I am positive that after all of those decades, she was not the same girl that he married. She didn’t look the same. They didn’t do the things they used to do when they were young and strong. She couldn’t even remember who he was. But there’s no doubt that my grandfather was still crazy in love with her, ‘cause love is not what you feel. Love is what you do.

John F.: Mm. What a touching way to end this rather lighthearted look at marriage on today’s episode of Focus on the Family featuring John Branyan.

Jim: Ah…wow! I love John’s last line there – “Love is not what you feel. Love is what you DO.”  In fact, the Bible puts it this way, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” And that’s from the New Testament, First Corinthians 13, verses 7 and 8.

And what a wonderful example great-grandpa Frank is to each one of us – to love his wife, to care for her, even when she couldn’t recognize his face anymore. That is true love.

And you know, caring for a chronically ill spouse is a very difficult process.

So, if you’re in that situation right now, or if you have other stressors in your marriage, please give us a call. We have caring Christian counselors available to spend some time with you on the phone and perhaps give you a referral to a like-minded counselor in your area. It’s a free service and we’re happy to provide it, thanks to donors like you!

And if you feel like your marriage needs an intervention, let me strongly recommend our Hope Restored four-day intensive program. Hope Restored helps couples break free from cycles of pain in their marriage and thrive in ways that used to seem impossible. 99 percent of couples who attend say they would recommend Hope Restored to a friend. That is quite a compliment to the team, there!

John F.: Mm-hm. It really is.

Jim: Best of all, when we follow up with these couples two years later, 4 out of 5 are still married and report that they’re doing well. That’s an incredible program.

John F.: It is. And Jim, just last week I met someone who went through that about 10 years ago. They said, “We were struggling.”

Jim: Yeah.

John F.: “I didn’t want to go. I went and we are together and happier.” So, we have seen so many marriages thanks to the Lord’s work through Hope Restored.

Jim: Well, and if you’ve been giving to Focus on the Family let me say, seriously, from the deepest part of my heart, ‘Thank You’ for making it possible for us to provide these resources for desperately hurting marriages. Over the past year our research shows that we’ve helped over 700-thousand couples build stronger marriages or resolve a major marital crisis. And that’s thanks to you and the Lord working in their heart.

Please join our marriage-saving work by making a donation today. We’re a listener-supported ministry and we rely on you for support.

And when you make a donation of any amount, we’d like to send you a CD of this message from John Branyan as our way of saying thank you. So, get in touch with us today.

John F.: And you can do that by calling 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast to donate and request today’s CD.

Well have a great weekend. And be sure to join us again on Monday as Dr. David Ireland joins us to share God’s heart for people of ALL ethnicities.

Teaser:

David Ireland: So, the scripture is challenging us. Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every ethnicity. The Bible is sympathetic that on the fact that God created people to be diverse; ethnically, racially, culturally. And that’s positive.

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