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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Allowing Grace to Transform Your Marriage (Part 2 of 2)

Allowing Grace to Transform Your Marriage (Part 2 of 2)

Brad and Marilyn Rhoads openly share their terrible first year of marriage and how God intervened to introduce the concept of grace in their relationship. You’ll better understand how marriage is a picture of the gospel and learn ways to honor your spouse in a more grace-filled, loving manner. (Part 2 of 2)
Original Air Date: January 19, 2024

Preview:

Brad Rhoads: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. And it says how are we supposed love one another like that while, you know, while Marilyn is a sinner, I’m to die for her, well, I’m a sinner, and Marilyn is to die for me. Why? Because our marriage is so much bigger than just us havin’ more happy. Our marriage is about bringing God glory and putting Jesus Christ on display.

End of Preview

John Fuller: Well that’s Brad Rhoads and he’s our guest today on Focus on the Family, along with his wife Marilyn, and, uh, we’re so glad you’ve joined us. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, we had a great discussion last time. If people missed it, they can, uh, get the smart phone app and listen to it that way, or go to the website for Focus on the Family. You can give all those details. YouTube, we have it there as well, so go listen to it. It really, uh, to me it was very insightful about where many marriages are at today. We come in very selfishly, even as the Christian community because we’re born into sin.

Marilyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And, uh, we come into this with expectations and we end up in performance-based marriages that are conditional, rather than grace marriages, uh, which are, you know, the Lord’s way of doing it. And, uh, I’m just lookin’ forward to part two of this discussion about The Grace Marriage.

John: Yeah, and Brad and Marilyn Rhoads have such a big heart for this effort to protect and improve and transform marriages. Uh, they started a ministry designed to help local churches, strengthen marriages right there in their own communities, that’s called Grace Marriage, and they have a book with a similar title, The Grace Marriage: How the Gospel and Intentionality Transform Your Relationship. And, uh, as you said, Jim, they shared some great stories last time, and, uh, if you missed any of that or wanna learn more about the book, give us a call, 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, or stop by our website, that’s focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Brad and Marilyn, welcome back.

Brad: Thank you.

Marilyn Rhoads: Thank you for havin’ us.

Jim: So good to have you back. Marilyn, let’s go your direction, just for the recap, uh, you know, we did talk about a performance-based conditional marriage, and then grace marriage. Uh, give us that performance recap. Uh, what does that look like, so that the listener or the viewer can feel it if they’re in it.

Marilyn: Yes, well, in a performance base, if Brad’s kind to me and responsive to me, then I’ll be kind to him and we’ll have a good evening together. But if not, then I’m gonna withdraw and distance myself. We all bring our personalities to the table. Some might lash out and fight, but we, we bring that to the table in a performance-based marriage. But in a grace-based marriage, when Brad walks in and maybe he’s not as kind to me, I think, “Whoa, he’s had a tough day.” I’m gonna take that rescue approach and move towards him rather than that natural response to move away from. Even remind myself of versus like, “While I was a sinner, Christ died for me.” Okay, and right now, I’m gonna lay down my life for my spouse. It’s humility. Humility is the whole key. I mean, Christ was the ultimate servant, servant, and that’s where we find-

Jim: Yeah. And that’s a good, good recap. You know, we have Hope Restored which is a marriage intensive. It’s been really successful. We’re expending it. We just, uh, have property developing in Scottsdale, Arizona, and then down in Texas. We have Branson and Michigan already up and running and we lease a building out there in, uh, Rome, Georgia. So, uh, a lot of couples are looking for help and the reason I’m bringing this up is there’s a question that they ask in the intake process, and that is, “Do you believe God can work a miracle in your marriage?” And if, if they say yes, then it gives us great hope that there’s, uh, the possibility of saving that marriage. If they say no, the probability is quite low, but usually the wife will say something like this, Marilyn, and I think you can identify. “Yeah, the, the Lord’s the only one that can help my husband ’cause nobody else would be able to.”

Marilyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And that’s okay. But you resonate with that statement?

Marilyn: Yes. Yes.

Jim: You know, just the yeah, God’s the only one that’s gonna be able to change his heart ’cause he’s such a rascal.

Marilyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Right?

Marilyn: That’s right. But God is a God of reconciliation, and marriage is the opportunity to put that on display.

Jim: Do you know, let me ask you, Brad. You think about marriage today, if marriage, especially Christian marriage was working really well, not perfectly, but really well. If we were doing the things that you talk about in your book, The Grace Marriage, if we were living from a fruit of the spirit mentality in our marriages, loving each other well, it should be so attractive the world be going, “What do they possess that…”

Marilyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … “that we don’t have, ’cause I want a marriage like theirs.” That’s the way it should be going.

Brad: Yeah, it, it’s powerful. It’s how we got in marriage ministry. By God’s kindness, we like bein’ married. And the first couple that asked us to do premarital, we said, “Why us?” They said, “We want what you have. That looks fun.” And right now, the way we do marriage in our culture, it is broken. We don’t spend time on it. We don’t work on it. We let life take us over and then we scratch our heads why it doesn’t work. So we need a total paradigm shift in how marriage is done. So when you get married, you talk every day, you date weekly. You both open about issues with one another and say look, we are a team and we are gonna live out a beautiful marriage for our good, the glory of God, and our family.

Jim: And then your point there to work on it, that’s the key.

Marilyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I mean, you got… Like anything, you gotta work at it every day.

Brad: Yeah, and it’s fun work. You know, like work is goin’ to dinner and a movie and hangin’ out with Marilyn. You know, goin’ to walk the river three miles with my best friend. I mean, marriage work is the best work I do, ’cause I love spendin’ time with Marilyn. Is it always perfect? No. Do we always get along. No. But would I rather spend time with her than anybody else in the world? Yes.

Jim: Now that’s good, and I think that attitude is so good. Uh, when it comes to marriage, why do we need to ground our identity in Christ. We touched on that last time but I wanna come back for the new listeners and viewers today. I mean, it is so critical, because I think of the expectations that we, uh, ground ourselves in our identity with the Lord rather than our spouse, expecting our spouse to meet all these needs. But, e- elaborate on that.

Brad: Jesus is consistent and reliable 100% of the time.

Jim: Yeah. (laughs)

Brad: I’m not even close.

Jim: Right. (laughs)

Brad: A lot of times Marilyn needs me, and I’m not there like I should. A lot of times, I feel like I need Marilyn and she’s strugglin’ and not there like I need her. But if, unless we are relying on Jesus Christ for all our hope, our marriage is gonna be on a roller coast, ’cause I’d like to be the perfect husband. Marilyn would love to be the perfect wife, but neither one of us are. But Jesus is the perfect lover of our soul and he is consistent 100% of the time, so our identify and our fulfillment has to come in from him, and then out of that overflow of Marilyn and just see the gift of marriage as a blessing.

Jim: And tell me the byproduct of that, Marilyn. When we have our identify in Christ, how does that translate into our attitude, expectations of our spouse.

Marilyn: I think it, it brings a whole freedom to your marriage that you don’t have when you’re under performance, because that’s heavy if you’re weighing. Am I doin’ enough? If you’re measuring yourself, we also have to get this how we have grace from Christ to be able to then offer it to our spouse. But it changes the whole atmosphere in the home when you get grace. It did in ours. And it also allows you to get over things so much faster.

Jim: Hm.

Marilyn: You can have a bad night and laugh about it the next day.

Jim: Hm.

Marilyn: And so, that is the beauty of grace. We’re not holding our sin against each other.

Jim: Yeah.

Marilyn: We’re not… It’s not a jerk license that I’m gonna just sit here and offer grace and you can do whatever you want. That’s not what grace is, but in the day-to-day life, when you are in a grace mentality it, it just changes everything.

Jim: Yeah, it changes the attitude.

Marilyn: It changes everything.

Jim: It changes the outcomes because of it. You have a friend Doug that made an impact on you. What did Doug share with you that kind of got your attention?

Brad: Well, it was really interesting. I was 43, he was 68. I was driven, I was performance-based in my walk with the Lord and everything. And he said, “God told me to save you 25 years of trouble.”

Jim: (laughs)

Brad: He said, because I see somebody striving, pressured, always tryin’ to do more, always tryin’ to do better, and I’m not gonna leave you alone until you rest in Jesus Christ, until you just enjoy the Sabbath rest of Jesus, until you realize you’re just unconditionally accepted and can offer that to others.

Jim: Wow.

Brad: And he, he went after me. He called me a moral narcissist. He told me I used the Bible as a self-help guide. I mean he, he stayed with me until when, then all of a sudden it’s for freedom Christ set us free. Easy burden. Light yoke. Rested sole. Sabbath rest of Christ. All of a sudden, that became a reality. It’s almost like I heard God say, “Brad, you’re not okay, and it’s okay. I love you. You’re my son. I love you.” For the first time it was like I could just breathe.

Jim: Hm.

Brad: And when, when that happened, it changed the atmosphere of our home and took our marriage to a new place.

Jim: Wow, that’s powerful.

Marilyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I mean, I mean, uh, everybody listening is to go, “Okay, I want that.”

Brad: Yes. And I saw it in him. Like I, when I walk with him it’s like walking with the peace of Christ. We’d walk in a store and it was like the atmosphere of the store changed. He wasn’t pressured. He wasn’t rushed. He said, “Brad, let me simplify the gospel. Just love the person in front of ya and love ’em well.”

Jim: Did you guys, I mean, it sounds almost like it was simultaneous for you, that you both were arriving at this place kind of together. What about the spousal situation where one of them is, you know, strongly putting their identity, their hope, their faith, their trust in the Lord, and they’re coming at it in a rescue mentality like you described, Marilyn, and the other is not moving quite the same way. How do you, how do you counsel couples that are in that spot?

Marilyn: Right. That’s really tough. And we counsel with people like that a lot. So in our first year, um, God really showed me my hope was in Him. And the Brad went to a conference not long after. It was later in our walk that we really got grace, and Brad got grace before me, and watching him has- really get grace practically and how it changed the atmosphere in our home. God worked on me through that. So really, he got, when Doug helped him see what that looks like in action, it was a while of me watching and God moving that in me, but we talked to couples, they’ve bee doin’ this for 20 years.

Jim: Yeah.

Marilyn: That’s hard.

Jim: Right.

Marilyn: And-

Jim: Well, and your heart gets cold.

Marilyn: Mm-hmm.

Brad: Mm-hmm.

Jim: It like puts more crust on the heart…

Marilyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … so it takes more effort.

Marilyn: Right.

Jim: So that’s why you guys, to get this in the first year of marriage is actually quite a blessing.

Brad: Mm-hmm.

Marilyn: Yes.

Jim: For those that are 20 years in…

Marilyn: Right.

Jim: … they’ve gotta do a lot of ground work…

Marilyn: Yes.

Jim: … to break that crusty heart up.

Marilyn: And it’s still just going to the Lord.

Jim: Yeah.

Marilyn: That’s the only place that we can then come with a humble spirit, seeking to serve rather than be served. That’s the only way to be fueled.

Jim: Yeah.

Marilyn: Especially in that environment.

Jim: Let’s introduce now that idea of intentionality.

Brad: Yeah.

Jim: We haven’t talked about that but, uh, you know, the need to be intentional in your marriage. You’ve referenced it, Brad, you know, you need to be committed, you need to work at it, but it is that word intentionality is quite accurate, but describe it, fill it in. Uh, why are we lazy about it?

Brad: Yeah, like Marilyn said earlier, we just think our marriage will just work. We have this em- emotion that just drives us toward one another and it just should just go well, and that’s not the way anything goes. Your, your car doesn’t go well unless you maintain it consistently. A garden, it doesn’t matter what it is.

Jim: Yeah, that’s very true.

Brad: I mean, the- probably the best thing we’ve done for our marriage, other than stayin’ close to Christ, is we go on a date once a week and we have for the last 26 years.

Jim: Yeah.

Brad: And intentionality is just sayin’ look, we’re going to have a good marriage and we’re gonna fight for it. We’re gonna stiff on the world, we’re gonna make time for it. We’re gonna do marriage differently than the world does marriage and we’re gonna experience marriage differently than the world experiences marriage. But it takes intentionality. Focus on the Family doesn’t do these great things just by accident.

Jim: Hm.

Brad: A lot of work goes into it. And Marilyn and I’s enjoyment of one another, it’s ’cause we, we make ourselves talk. We make ourselves spend time together and we’re intentional with it.

Jim: Now let me ask you this, especially for guys, if I could point to our direction, the guys that are listening. If that intentionality is not present, what does that pro- that mental process look like for the guy? It’s the career, it’s stayin’ late at the office, it’s- you should respect me ’cause I’m providing. Uh, I’m kind of fillin’ in those blanks, but is that what- what you usually see in the defensive husband?

Brad: Yeah, absolutely. And I heard one author, I’m not sure which one, that said if anything comes ahead of your marriage other than Jesus, your marriage will slowly die. And whether that’s work, whether that’s ministry, whether that’s exercise. God designed marriage as the most important horizontal relationship. For us, when we got married, the law practice came ahead of Marilyn, and how’d that go for me? Poor. So the thing is, putting your marriage where it belongs and givin’ your marriage off the top time, we’re basically, we’re gonna schedule our life around our marriage, not our marriage around our life, ’cause most marriages just get fatigued leftovers, and they wonder why they struggle so much to enjoy one another.

Jim: Yeah.

Brad: But if you say, look, my marriage is important, I’m gonna time block time and just spend time with ’em, enjoyin’ my spouse. Over time, you’ll find yourself wanting to spend time there.

Jim: Marilyn, let me, let me cut a little closer to the issue with kids.

Marilyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Because one of the things we talk about is maintaining a marriage-centric marriage as opposed to a kid-centric marriage and people go oh, yeah, yeah. But it’s hard to do.

Marilyn: Oh, we’re in a child-centered culture.

Jim: ‘Cause-

Yeah.

Marilyn: And, and-

Jim: And, and the demand is high.

Marilyn: The demand is high and we, we have five children, so we’ve experienced that. I mean, there are times that goin’ on a date felt like climbin’ a mountain to get out the door. Like I was in tears and I’m thinkin’ this is so hard. But, our marriage is, it’s important and it’s worth it. And one of the best things I can do for our kids is to love their dad well.

Jim: Hm.

Marilyn: Rather than be so focused on them that he doesn’t get anything from me. But we, life, with technology and our phones, I mean, they’re ever in front of us. There’s always somethin’ present. We have to put the technology down. It’s okay for our kids, if we miss an event. That’s actually a good example to them if they see, hey, my parents, they love each other and this is a priority.

Jim: Yeah.

Marilyn: It’s-

Jim: No, it’s good. I think it’s great.

Marilyn: So…

Jim: But it is intentionality.

Marilyn: It is.

Jim: I’m gonna keep punchin’ that word.

Marilyn: Right. And it’s hard. It’s hard and there are dates that aren’t great and we’ve had stretches through crisis where, uh, it’s not been fun.

Jim: Yeah. (laughs)

Marilyn: But, but it’s like our relationship with Christ. Not every time we walk away from a quiet time do we feel like this great benefit, but over the long haul…

Jim: Yeah.

Marilyn: … if I’m pursuin’ the Lord for 20 years, our relationship is just getting sweeter and sweeter, and so I even say a bad date is better than no date at all.

Jim: Yeah.

Marilyn: Because you’re in pursuit of your spouse.

Brad: And, and the lack of intentionality is what has resulted largely in the decline of marriage.

Marilyn: Mm-hmm.

Brad: There’s a lack of intentionality in the church, where 72% of churches have no marriage ministry. And there’s a lack of intentionality with marriage in the home. So if you don’t intentionally take care of something, you leave a space open, Satan can have a field day in it, and we’ve just watched and it’s been tragic. But the good news is it can change.

Jim: Yeah.

Brad: Every church can have a marriage ministry and it can become standard operating procedure for marriages today and to talk and to enjoy and to pursue. This is just how you do it when you get married.

Jim: Yeah. You mention personality and, and the overlay that that has, and you mention in the book, an example (laughs) of throwing a surprise birthday part for Marilyn. I think you and Jean are two peas in a pod, ’cause she would have the same reaction.

Marilyn: It was awful.

Jim: Right, it was awful, but I think Brad and I are alike.

Brad: (laughs)

Jim: Like what more can I say that I love you than throw you a surprise party, it took a lot of effort. And you’re going, “uh-uh, I don’t want that.”

Marilyn: (laughs)

Jim: But what happened? It fell apart.

Brad: Oh, we drove up and Mari-

Jim: (laughs)

Brad: Marilyn looked at me like I was, like, yeah, it was not good. It was not good. And it was-

Jim: You were proud of it until you got to the parking lot.

Brad: (laughs)

Marilyn: Oh, we had people…

Brad: We had people drive in, nothing Marilyn likes less than to put anybody out, so people drivin’ in from three hours to her party, it was just like putting her through an evening of pain and torture.

Marilyn: (laughs)

Brad: So, I mean, so yeah. That feeling was like oh my goodness.

Marilyn: He never gave me another one, thankfully. Even when I turned 50, I’m like, you know the drill here.

Jim: (laughs)

Marilyn: (laughs)

Jim: Don’t do that.

Marilyn: Don’t do it.

Jim: That’s so funny.

Marilyn: (laughs)

Jim: But it, but it points to knowing your spouse well.

Marilyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And to not do the things that would make them uncomfortable.

Brad: And it’s trial and error. You don’t get discouraged, so just keep tryin’.

Jim: Oh, yeah, okay. So here’s my dilemma and Jean’s, she listens to every show so I know she’s listening right now.

Brad: (laughs)

Marilyn: (laughs)

Jim: But, you know, so I thought about the girl- She has two girlfriends from elementary school and they see each other once or twice a year, and so those two friends wanted to surprise her and come out to Colorado Springs. She hates surprises and I know this, so now I have too much knowledge ’cause I know these two girls, they’ve called me and said, “Hey, are you guys gonna be in town on this weekend and we’d like to fly out and swoop Jean out of the house and take her off for a weekend out there in Colorado.” And I’m like, “Oh, yeah, we’re gonna be here.” And then, “Now don’t say anything to her.” I’m going, “Uh, it might be better if I say something.” “No, no, no, don’t, don’t say anything.” And I was in a pickle. (laughs) And so, I did spill the beans. And they had a wonderful weekend together, but I knew it would be far better if they showed up without, without her knowing, she would’ve been, “What were you all thinking.” Probably like you.

Marilyn: Yeah.

Jim: Right. Don’t do this to me.

Marilyn: (laughs)

Brad: Yeah, that’s… I mean, you did super well, because you-

Jim: Well, I don’t know about that, but…

Brad: No, you considered her. ‘Cause some spouses would prefer to know and anticipate and be ready.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Brad: Some like the surprise piece. Jean and Marilyn seem to not be big on the surprise piece.

Jim: (laughs)

Brad: Very practical.

Jim: (laughs) “I need to be packed before they show up.” Right? No, it’s all good. Uh, how, how do we love our spouses through knowledge and action like that? We’re talkin’ about it, but be, uh, maybe elaborate a bit more on that. Love in action. Love in action.

Brad: Yeah, it’s just payin’ attention. No- I mean, you have an opportunity to be an expert lover of your spouse, because like I’m with Marilyn every single day, and if I pay close attention, I know exactly what she likes, what she doesn’t like, and then have an opportunity to hit the target well. So if you grow in knowledge, and then you act on it, it’s amazing what it does for a marriage and how it puts the love of Christ on display. A lot of us just settle under this norm we can tolerate and don’t take advantage of the opportunity to really learn, then it’s unfortunate.

Marilyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Hm.

John: Well, this is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly and our guests are Brad and Marilyn Rhoads today, and, uh, they’ve got a wonderful ministry and a terrific book, The Grace Marriage, and you can learn more about it at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Crisis in, uh, grace can be an issue, and I believe you, one of your daughters had a, a health scare.

Marilyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: What happened and how did that put your grace marriage into focus?

Marilyn: Yes, one of our daughters had a grand mal seizure.

Jim: Hm.

Marilyn: I thought she was dyin’ in my arms. It was, um, the end of her fifth grade year, and I had never seen one before.

Jim: Yeah, that’s an experience. Yeah.

Brad: Mm-hmm.

Marilyn: And so it was, it was intense. At the time, we also had a newborn and another one of our children I was just learning had issues in school.

Jim: Oh.

Marilyn: So we’re going through testing and having things done, and it undid me.

Jim: Yeah.

Marilyn: I was sleeping with my daughter and my phone in my hand in case I needed to call 911 again.

Jim: Hm.

Marilyn: And we weren’t getting clear answers as to what caused it or a clear diagnosis and that was a crisis year, and I was a mess. And talk about crying is like the theme here, you can tell I, I’m one with tears. (laughs) But we went on a date every week and I was tryin’ to hold it together in front of all the kids, but we would walk out the door and the tears would just start rolling.

Jim: Yeah.

Marilyn: But they were, um, Brad in that year, he really listened and tried to love me, and I did not have anything to offer.

Jim: Hm.

Marilyn: I was depressed. I was anxious. I would go on ru-

I mean, I literally, my, just near panic attacks.

Jim: You know, yeah.

Marilyn: And it was, it- it was all I could do to get through the day.

Jim: Yeah, yeah.

Marilyn: And-

Jim: I so appreciate that boldness that- just sharing that because I can hear couples who are struggling with external things that deeply affect them.

Marilyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And they’re goin’, “Oh, this all sounds great. It’s nice that you guys have that wonderful marriage, but you don’t know what we’re dealing with.”

Marilyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: So that, I mean, that’s real.

Marilyn: Mm-hmm. It was intense and we’ve had a few different years where life has thrown hard things. Like that- That year, about a year in, I, I, the Lord lifted the clouds and I called Brad and I said, “I’m actually happy today. I forgot what happy felt like.”

Jim: Wow.

Marilyn: And I said, “Thank you that you just loved me and didn’t tell me all the things I should be doin’.” Because he could’ve told me, “You need to be in the Word more. You need to have more faith. You need to be praying more. You’re- you’re getting up late. Like the kids are walkin’ in to wake Mom. You need to get out of bed. We have to go to school.”

Jim: Yeah.

Marilyn: Like it wasn’t pretty well-oiled machine mornings in our home gettin’ ready for school with five kids…

Jim: Yeah.

Marilyn: … when I’m depressed. And I said, “If you had told me all those things I needed to do, you would’ve been right, and it would’ve buried me.”

Jim: Hm.

Marilyn: “But you just loving me and seeking to serve helped me out of the pit.”

Jim: Wow.

Marilyn: I mean, the Lord used him to help me out of the pit, rather than make me feel condemned in it.

Jim: Well and that’s so powerful. How did you in that environment, I mean, it was a year you said, right? Before you felt kind of getting back to normal.

Marilyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: How, how do you keep your hope and your eye on the idea that it will get better? ‘Cause it must feel like it will never get better.

Marilyn: Right. I don’t know that I felt like it was gonna get better. I just was so overwhelmed. It was just slowly…

Jim: Yeah.

Marilyn: … the Lord helped me out of that.

Jim: Well, back to intentional consistency I would add.

Marilyn: Mm-hmm.

John: Brad, in- Were there moments where you wondered is this the way it’s gonna be?

Brad: Yeah, we didn’t have any reason to believe it was ever gonna get better. I-

John: How do you maintain during that experience?

Brad: It’s just, I love Marilyn, and I really thought I, I wanna be the guy to help her.

John: Mm-hmm.

Brad: I wanna be that dude. So I really considered it a privilege, not a burden. I mean, she had nothin’ to give. I mean, that’s back to the grace-base. If it’s a performance-based marriage where, well, I’m not gettin’ anything, it’s gonna break down and every marriage hits that crisis point where one of the two spouses get to the point where they just given themselves and have nothing to give. So, I’m in, I, I remember thinkin’ I’m in til death do us part, and I, I love Marilyn, not because of what I get from Marilyn, I just love Marilyn. And I know Marilyn doesn’t love me for what she gets from me, ’cause there’s stretches she doesn’t get much from me. But she just loves me. And that’s the beauty of the gospel. God just loves Brad.

Jim: Hm.

Brad: God just loves Marilyn. And then says, “Hey, love each other like I love you.”

Jim: So why do we struggle feeling that?

Brad: It’s-

Jim: Even with the Lord?

Brad: Well, I think a couple things. One, we’re kind of taught the lie that somehow this world is gonna satisfy us, and it, it’s like pourin’ water through a net. You know, so, we set marriages up for failure because we ask from them things it can never give. Only Jesus Christ can truly satisfy me, and even though sometimes it doesn’t feel like God’s comin’ through, you know, because like when I was at that point of severe anxiety, I know God is true and He, and He is bigger than my emotion.

Jim: Hm.

Brad: He is bigger than my emotion. I have to live on truth, not emotion.

Jim: We’re right at the end. I think Marilyn, it’s right to throw this question your direction because so many women are struggling. I mean, men struggle to, but we tend to have, I don’t know, a little more tolerance. We’re not as, um, we don’t require quite the emotional, maybe. We, we have other needs.

Marilyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: But so many women struggle in the marriage, the isolation, the loneliness, is this ever gonna get better? What’s happening? So let me give you that opportunity to speak to the troubled wife who is in the pit of despair, who doesn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Marilyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: What, what hope do you have for her today?

Marilyn: I would say seek help, seek out help. I did have someone who was pouring into me during that year who was lovin’ on me and counseling me, so get help. You know Brad and I have, when we’ve been in harder spaces, sought outside counsel. It’s so important and like you said Hope Restored, it’s so important to acknowledge that you have needs and you need help.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Marilyn: Especially if you’re in that place. If it is in the day-to-day struggles of life that marriage hasn’t delivered what you thought it would be, kind of like Brad and I are sharing here, there’s not the huge issues that need to be addressed, then if you will be fueled by the Lord. I mean, Christ came to give life, life to the full.

Jim: Right.

Marilyn: Not in the easy.

Jim: Right.

Marilyn: Christ’s life wasn’t easy. And our lives are not gonna be easy, but we can have life to the full if we go to him and say, “Okay, show me how you want me to love my spouse today. What does that look like, to creatively love the person that I have committed till death do us part.”

Jim: Yeah.

Marilyn: And watch what the Lord’s gonna do.

Jim: That’s a great challenge, to wake up every morning and say that to yourself.

Marilyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: You know? In your quiet time with the Lord. Well, this has been great. Brad and Marilyn, how wonderful. I so appreciate your- again, your vulnerability.

Brad: Mm-hmm.

Jim: It’s kind of tough to talk about marriage and what was happening years ago and how far you’ve come, but it’s what many of us live, you know? If not all of us.

Marilyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Uh, we’re either in that early stage of we’re in trouble, or the better stage of the Lord has answered our prayers.

Marilyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And everything in between. So thanks for bein’ here today. I hope you will get a copy of this great book, The Grace Marriage, especially if you’re strugglin’. Uh, we want to put this into your hands, so if you can make a donation of any amount, we’ll send the book as our way of saying thank you. Uh, if you’re a pastor, consider what Brad said a moment ago, maybe you should start a marriage ministry and maybe those around you should actually assist you in doing that so it’s not one more thing on your plate. But let your church be a pro-marriage church, and talk about things and do the workshops, help equip people to have the best marriage they can have, and I think if a church concentrates on that, they’re gonna have new attendees comin’ all the time, ’cause people want a good marriage. Even nonbelievers.

Marilyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Uh, that’s what they’re hoping for, and they just need to be equipped spiritually to do that. So hopefully it’s a win, win, win. Right?

Brad: Mm-hmm.

Jim: So get a copy of the book, get a hold of this. If you can do that monthly, that’s great, and, uh, if you need Hope Restored, give us a call and we can give you more details.

John: Yeah, we’ll link over to Brad and Marilyn’s ministry so you can learn more about what they’ve been doing with churches and certainly we welcome your donations and, uh, request for, uh, this book, The Grace Marriage, and we’d be more than happy to tell you about our Hope Restored marriage intensives. We’re a phone call away. It’s 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. Uh, 800-232-6459, or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast for all the details. And on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

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The Grace Marriage: How the Gospel and Intentionality Transform Your Relationship

Receive the book The Grace Marriage and the audio download of the broadcast "Allowing Grace to Transform Your Marriage" for your donation of any amount!

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