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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Best of 2023: How to Stay Crazy In Love With Your Spouse (Part 2 of 2)

Best of 2023: How to Stay Crazy In Love With Your Spouse (Part 2 of 2)

In this best of 2023 broadcast, Greg and Erin Smalley discuss the importance of couples prioritizing time together, connecting on a deeper emotional level. They stress the importance of physical intimacy in marriage; urging men to care for their wives and encouraging women to “prepare” themselves for intimacy. (Part 2 of 2)
Original Air Date: February 14, 2023

Erin Smalley: In I Corinthians 7:28 it says, “But those who marry will face many troubles in life.” And so it says in Scripture, when you get married, you’re gonna face difficulties, you’re gonna face hardships. And I always say, “Thank goodness we can do that together.” There’s not another person that I would want to face some of the trials, some of the troubles that we’ve experienced over 30 years of marriage. I wouldn’t want to go through any of that without Greg.

John Fuller: I really like that. That’s Erin Smalley sharing some insights and encouragement about marriage. And she and her husband, Dr. Greg Smalley, joined us last time on the Best of 2023 edition of Focus on the Family, and they identified some of the key ingredients couples need for a more loving relationship that’ll go the distance, that’ll provide you the kind of relationship that they’re experiencing. Thanks for joining us for Focus of the Family. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: And last time we shared some funny stories, and great advice came from Greg and Erin about how to avoid combat in, uh, your marriage and move toward negotiation (laughs) instead, which should be a breath of fresh air for everybody, and why we each need to work on our emotional triggers. Boy, that so relates. Jean and I do that (laughs) so often to each other. But those emotional triggers, h- how do we, uh, avoid those kind of conflicts that are avoidable? And I love how the Smalleys emphasize the importance of faith in the whole process. Strong marriages are built on the foundation of God’s Word, and we’ve always gotta bring our interactions back to that truth. Here’s a little insight. If you pray together regularly and read the Word together regularly, th- the chance of divorce is less than 1%. Isn’t that amazing?

John: Yeah, it really is, wow.

Jim: There’s a power of God example. So if you missed, uh, this conversation last time, get the download, the CD copy from us. Download the app on your smartphone. This is solid content that will really help your marriage, and you may wanna pass it along to a friend.

John: Mm, that’s right. And, uh, we’ve mentioned last time that Greg and Erin have written a wonderful book that captures, uh, all of this content and so much more in one place. The title is Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage: 12 Secrets for a Lifelong Romance. It’s a terrific resource whether you’re newlyweds or you’ve been married for years or even decades. Get your copy of that book when you call 800-A-FAMILY, or you can visit focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And here’s part two of our Best of 2023 conversation with Greg and Erin Smalley on today’s episode of Focus on the Family.

Jim: Greg and Erin, welcome back. Thanks for coming down the hall. (laughs)

Dr. Greg Smalley: Thank you.

John: Yeah. (laughs)

Erin: Thank you for having us. (laughs)

Jim: I always love saying that, because most guests are coming from across country, right? But, uh, it’s so fun to have you here. I’m grateful that you guys have planted yourself here at Focus on the Family doing such a great job with the marriage outreach.

Greg: Well, we love it, so thank you.

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Jim: It, it’s really been wonderful to watch that blossom, really. And, uh, people are benefiting from it. Their marriages are benefiting from it.

Erin: Mm.

Jim: So thanks for leading that overall effort. We really appreciate it.

Greg: Thank you.

Erin: Mm, yes, thank you.

Jim: Um, let’s jump back in. It was so much fun last time. Hopefully the listeners, the viewers enjoyed that. Y- You guys are so transparent. That’s what I love. It’s just right out there, (laughs) “And here’s how we argue. This is what we argue about. We know it’s stupid, but this is how you repair that.”

Erin: (laughs)

Jim: Uh, it was just so refreshing. ‘Cause so many of us as couples, uh, we’re struggling with the same stuff, you know, and it just equips us to, I think, think the right way, and therefore, do the right thing.

Greg: Totally.

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Greg: Hmm.

Jim: Um, let’s discuss the importance of husbands and wives spending time together. Now, when you’re doing this, s- spending time together is not about the budget. I mean, sometimes that’s true. You gotta do that. But what’s your definition of spending time together? What’s that look like for each of you?

Erin: I would say, Jim, that there’s this deep longing inside of each of us to be fully known. So therefore, when we’re spending this deeper level time… ‘Cause like you said, we can talk about the budget, we can have a conflict, we can small talk, but there’s something about, I always say, going under the waterline and really seeking to know what’s really going on inside of Greg, what’s going on inside of his heart, as well as me sharing what’s going on inside of me. There’s something so… It’s such a deep need inside of each of us to be fully known in that way.

Jim: Huh.

Greg: And I was interesting, we, at our marriage events, will ask the crowd at some point to have them rate what percent of their time their communication is devoted to, you know, just managing the family, business meetings, talking about tasks, who’s gonna pick up kids, who’s running to the store, that kind of stuff. And it, it blows my mind that, that on average it’s about 90% of our communication is around almost like administrating our marriage, having a business meeting.

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Greg: And the problem is, if that’s all we end up talking about, quite honestly, the, the marriage can get boring. Like if I know that any time Erin and I are gonna talk we’re probably gonna work out who’s doing what or whatever, it robs us then of really, as Erin was saying, learning and updating each other below the waterline, and we call that inner life conversation. The problem is that that sort of conversation, when I’m finding out how are you really feeling? What’s stressing you out? What are you dreaming about? What, whatever?

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Greg: What’s going on in your life? That stuff will never happen on its own.

Jim: Right. I’m smiling because I think so many men are lost in this. And I’m one of them too.

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: I, you know, Jean would say to me, “You, we need to communicate.” Well, we’re talking right now. What do we…

Greg: Exactly. (laughs)

Erin: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Jim: This is communication, right? But she’s meaning what you were saying, Erin, I, I wanna go deeper.

Erin: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Jim: And sometimes there’s that ad. I can’t even tell you what the ad is for, but it’s, uh, like Football Wives, they’re on the field chasing down football players.

Greg: Oh, yeah. (laughs)

Jim: And one of them is chasing a football player saying, “I just wanna talk,” and the guy’s running scared.

Greg: (laughs)

Erin: (laughs)

Jim: I, it’s kind of a metaphor for how many husbands can feel at times, that I don’t know what you’re talking about, “Let’s talk”.

Greg: Yeah. Yeah.

Erin: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Greg: Mm-hmm.

Jim: We’ve been talking all morning.

Erin: Yeah, and it can sound overwhelming when you think about, yeah, I wanna talk. Thi- It’s so interesting, because the research is really clear that if a couple spends 10 minutes a day talking at that deeper heart level, that they can have a relationship that is thriving. So it’s just going, “How do we create that space just to check in?” And I know for Greg, he likes to know w- what we’re gonna talk about. So, you know, sometimes I’ll him, you know, “What was the high of your day? What was the low of your day? You know, what’s stressing you out? What are you dreaming about? What are you looking forward to in the next month?”

Jim: Huh.

Erin: So just some of the very specific questions, it helps him to not be so flooded when I say, “Hey, I wanna talk.”

Jim: Yeah. Yeah.

Greg: And we’ve actually figured out two things around this that have made such a huge difference in our 30 years of marriage. And one is that we’re now, at the end of the day, so as we’re both laying in bed, an- and I’ve been initiating this, that I’ll ask her, “Yeah, what was the high of your day and the low of your day?” And then we just have a quick just back and forth, she asks me. And then I will say, “What’s one thing that I can pray for you about tomorrow?” And the time we spend doing that maybe is around 10 minutes, but I’m telling you, it so connects me to her, that there’s a way in which that I’m, I keep updated, like I keep current with what’s going on in her life.

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Greg: So that’s been one thing that’s made such a big difference. The other, and this is really my favorite, is that we’ve started playing a card game while we eat.

Jim: (laughs)

Erin: (laughs)

Greg: And, and, and it’s, it’s arou-

Jim: Okay. Elaborate.

Erin: After 30 years of marriage, this is what we now do. (laughs)

Jim: Okay.

Greg: So it’s, it’s Monopoly Deal. And it’s just, it’s a fun little game, but we’re playing something which hits on my love language, we’re doing something.

Jim: (laughs)

Greg: Like as much as Erin says, you know, “I just, you know, I wanna spend this deep time talking,” that, that doesn’t necessarily do it for me. I like to be doing something together. So we’re playing the card game and then I’m just simply asking her, “Tell me about your day.” We just get in these great conversations over-

Jim: “Hey, it’s your roll. Hey, what are you doing? Hey, you can’t take my property.”

Erin: (laughs)

Greg: But no, it, it’s, it’s not, it’s not like this high pace, challenging game that you’ve gotta think about, it’s just mindless.

Jim: (laughs)

Greg: So we’re doing something together, having fun, so we’re laughing, and we’re talking.

Erin: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Jim: Mm.

Greg: And in both of those things, so what we’re doing right before we go to sleep, just kinda catching up, and then doing something and having fun… And again, over dinner, I never would’ve (laughs) thought. We, we actually take these cards when we go out to a restaurant, and we’ll just simply play and talk.

Jim: (laughs)

Erin: (laughs)

Greg: ‘Cause it gets me, ’cause I’m doing something fun and, and I’m more likely to talk then.

Jim: (laughs)

Erin: Yes, and what I love about it is I love to talk. I mean, I can talk at any point. But I love that Greg is being able to experience what helps him to warm up into the conversation. And that’s-

Jim: You’re not looking over at the restaurant, looking at people looking at you? (laughs)

Erin: We don’t care.

Greg: We could care less.

Erin: Yeah. You know, that he’s doing something…

Jim: That means you’re old. (laughs)

Greg: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Erin: Exactly. That he’s doing something fun. And then I get to lean in and have fun too and talk. And I like to talk. (laughs)

Jim: Yeah. No, that’s good. It’s fun to find a groove, if I can use that term, t- t- to get that going, and that’s, that’s great that you guys have done that.

Greg: Yeah.

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Jim: We tend to eat dinner and then we do board games after dinner, but.

Greg: (laughs)

Erin: (laughs)

Jim: I don’t know that Speed Scrabble would work with spaghetti.

Greg: Just, just try it.

Erin: That would be a little messy.

Jim: We might give it a try.

Greg: Try it.

Jim: The two things that bubble up, and when folks contact us, you the, the viewer on YouTube or the listener, however you’re listening… And we love the two-way communication. We don’t want this to be a monologue, so we love when you get in touch with Focus and let us know how a program strikes you or what help you need. That’s why we’re here. And, uh, the two things that bubble the most in marriage are finances, like we just talked about, you know, that little epiphany maybe we need to do something differently, and then physical intimacy. I mean, those are the two things that, that will come up over and over in marriage. Communication, uh, would be in that same spot. But speak to, uh, uh, the way that we in the Christian community talk or don’t talk about physical intimacy, the damage that the don’t-talk-about-it does to us, and then how that becomes dangerous to a marriage.

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Greg: Hmm.

Erin: Mm-hmm. And, uh, you’re exactly right, so many couples are not talking about this gift that God has given us in marriage.

Jim: The wedding present.

Erin: Yes, and so, so often there’s such a misunderstanding as well about what it is.

Greg: (laughs)

Erin: Like is it… What is this physical intimacy and what is the purpose of it? And really looking at so often we think, “Well, you know…” And we don’t, I don’t think we do this, um, on purpose, but sometimes we end up thinking like, “This is for me to be pleased, to be served,” versus looking at this physical intimacy as a gift that w- in many ways, like Greg was saying earlier, that we both matter, and really looking at how do we pursue this in a way that feels good to both of us?

Jim: Yeah, that’s good.

John: Hmm.

Greg: I remember r- right before our, (laughs) our wedding night, you know, my dad did the classic, “Hey, son, you know, I want to, I want to share a couple things.”

Jim: If I forgot a few things, let’s-

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: Yeah. (laughs)

Greg: Yeah, and so I’m like, “Is this about how you would-”

Jim: I think I’ve… Thankfully, I think I’ve covered that ground with Trent and Troy, but I don’t wanna do that on his wedding night.

Greg: Yeah. (laughs)

Erin: (laughs)

Greg: And it was, it, I mean, I got his heart, and it was actually sweet advice, but the, the advice itself, though, now I disagree with.

Jim: Yeah.

Greg: And basically here’s what he said to me. He goes, “Son, you know, as you and, and Erin experience that physical intimacy,” you know, that, that wedding present as you put it, he goes, “your, your job is to be a servant. This is, this is about you r- really thinking about her, her needs, serving her, pleasing her.” And looking back now, I, I, again, understand what, what he meant, but the problem is, as Erin talked about, that, that this needs to be about both of us.

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Greg: This just isn’t about me thinking about Erin, and how do I serve and please her? I have to matter in that as well. And what Erin and I believe, if both the husband and wife come together in a way to where they are serving one another but and thinking about, “What do I want? What do I want in this moment of us being together?”

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Greg: That if you’re thinking about both… Uh, everybody has to matter to each person.

Erin: You know, so often, and I’m seeing it more and more, that post-COVID, women are carrying a lot of anxiety, anxiety as well as, you know, you think about everything that a mom or a young wife carries, you know, career and home stuff and, you know, kids and on and on, it’s just a lot. And so, often what I encourage them to think about is what’s getting in the way for you as far as creating space, um, to prepare to engage with your husband in this way, and really evaluating what is it that’s getting in the way. Is it that I’m carrying a lot and that I’m anxious? And, you know, which makes sense, but then, you know, or is it hormones, or is it a season of life, and? But then, what do I do? And really fighting for this connection with your spouse, with your husband, and looking at what is it that’s getting in the way.

Jim: Mm.

Erin: Is it prior abuse? You know, going in and seeking counseling, going in and talking to your doctor about hormone difficulties or whatever it is. And I would say the best thing you can do is talk to each other about it. Because often what we end up doing is assuming, you know, if he’s not pursuing me, well, then he doesn’t find me attractive, or, you know, what’s going on over in his yard? And so it’s just looking at, open up that dialogue in a way that feels good to both of you. And if that means going in and sitting with a third party, with a pastor, a mentor, a counselor, do that.

Jim: Mm.

Greg: You know, I, eh, we were, Erin and I were seeing a couple in a counseling session not too long ago, and I loved, Erin, how you challenged this wife, um, going, “And by the way, you will enjoy this as well.” Like this is for not just his benefit and for the relationship connection, but this is actually so you can enjoy this.

Erin: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Greg: ‘Cause she kinda, her, her belief is grown up in her family, whatever, even in the Christian culture, was this is just about me pleasing my husband, or this is the right thing that we should do for our marriage, and she was left out of that equation.

Erin: Absolutely.

Jim: Kind of us, yeah.

Erin: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Jim: Yeah, and, and again, it’s a touchy subject, but, uh, the Christian community, we need to talk about it.

John: And if you don’t know who to talk with, uh, give us a call here to talk to one of our caring Christian counselors. Um, get in touch for help and also to learn more about the book written by Greg and Erin Smalley called Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Online, you can find out more at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: I, I was really intrigued by a quote in the book, and it kinda goes back to what we talked about yesterday with Sun Tzu, The Art of War, which, again, I read in my business classes.

John: Mm-hmm.

Greg: (laughs)

Jim: I didn’t apply it to my marriage. It seemed a little dicey. But you did, and, uh, you said in the book, “Every great love story is set in the midst of war.”

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Jim: That sounds odd. Who wants to explain it?

Greg: Well, one is because we have an enemy who hates marriage.

John: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Erin: (laughs)

Greg: He hates-

Jim: I love that analogy.

Greg: God created marriage, and anything God created, Satan hates.

Erin: Uh-huh.

Jim: So war between good and evil, not, uh, be- between husband and wife necessarily.

Greg: Well, it, it’s actually both.

Jim: It’ll manifest that way. Yeah.

Greg: And so, because what, what’s interesting is that, you know, Erin and I have been married 30 years, and something that I, uh, just so now understand is that, that what Erin and I can accomplish together is far greater than anything we could’ve done on our own. There, there’s a synergy there. The unity, our oneness, that, that, honestly, that’s a super power.

Jim: And it’s a threat to Satan.

Greg: Right, because he, he knows what we’re capable of, our marriage is capable of, and he fears that.

Jim: Let me say it that way. Yeah.

Greg: And so he comes after us in all kinds of ways, and he does get us fighting. He wants us dis-unified. He doesn’t want us one and, and unified, s- operating together, pursuing something together. And so Erin and I believe that we, our marriage exists in a battlefield. And there are times that that battlefield, then, we become adversaries and all of a sudden, now we’re fighting each other. And yet if we can remember first and foremost that that’s exactly what Satan wants, that, that he wants to take our, our unity away.

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Greg: One of my favorite examples, and thi- this is still one of my favorite marriage stories. We were in the process of, of purchasing a home, and it was so stressful for me. I was worried about the finances and the budget. And, and as, as my personality will worry about those things, Erin’s a dreamer, and I love her vision, and she can start imagining, you know, “Well, if we had this kind of furniture, or this thing…” And as she would talk about these things, it was so stressing me out.

Jim: (laughs)

Erin: And I could tell. Like I, I’ve, I would, we… This one time, we were sitting in the living room, and all of our kids were home, and the girls and I were talking about. I said, “Oh yeah, the buyers want, you know, that piece of furniture and this piece of furniture and this.” And I’m like, “Yeah, because then we can just replace it with new stuff,” and just dreaming. And I was watching Greg.

Greg: Well, no, all the sudden I go, “Stop!”

Jim: (laughs)

Greg: Like I yell out, “Stop it!” And, and it was so awkward. Everybody just slowly turned around and looked at me. And I, and I said, “Erin, you have promised me that w- we, you will stick to the budget, and I’m overhearing you, and everything you laid out would like triple our budget.” And so Erin gets up. So she’s across the room.

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Uh-huh.

Greg: She gets up and purposefully comes right at me and stands over me. And for the first time in our 30 years, I really thought that she was gonna scream at me or, worse yet, you know, hit me.

Erin: (laughs)

Greg: I don’t know what was gonna happen, but I’m just, she had that look. And she gets right in my face, and then she grabs my face and she (laughs) holds me, and gets right eye level, and she goes, “Listen to me.”

Jim: Huh.

Greg: And I’m thinking, “Oh man, I, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I’m in so much trouble.”

Erin: (laughs)

Greg: She goes, “I love you, we are on the same team, and I will do nothing around spending money that isn’t a win for both you and for me.” And then she plants the biggest kiss on me, and then like, and then like drops me and then goes right back to the couch and starts talking with the girls again as if nothing happened.

Erin: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs) A budget kiss. No better than a budget kiss.

Erin: And walks away.

Jim: (laughs) She had you.

Greg: But, but what so, what so struck me though is that in that moment I allowed Satan to rob our union, our oneness.

Jim: She had me at the kiss.

Greg: I became Erin’s adversary. I saw her as my adversary. And in that moment that our unity was broken, the fact that she came (laughs) over there and did that restored that.

Erin: Mm-hmm. Yeah, and what I will say is that 10 years ago, I probably could not have done that. But doing my own work…

Jim: (laughs)

Erin: No, I’m meaning that I would have been triggered myself. But watching everything play out, I was like, “You know what? He’s just worried that I’m not with him.” And so I was able to kinda self-soothe and keep my heart open. And then I was able to go over and just say, “Loo-” I mean, I, I remember looking deeply in his eyes and going, “I’m not gonna do anything that is gonna harm our team, because we’re a team.”

Jim: Yeah. Have you, have you noticed a pattern, every Friday night he wants to talk about the budget now?

Greg: (laughs)

Jim: He’s waiting for the kiss. (laughs)

Erin: (laughs) That’s right. It’s beneficial.

Jim: Hey, honey, let’s talk about the budget. (laughs)

Erin: That’s funny. Yeah.

Greg: I put those together, but you, (laughs) you…

Erin: Yeah.

Jim: You’re spending way too much money.

Greg: (laughs)

Erin: Yeah.

John: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Greg: Then I pucker up. Mwah!

Erin: Yeah. I’ll be like, “I haven’t spent any of it.”

Jim: Yeah. (laughs)

Erin: But the, the opportunity is, is just recognizing there’s all kinds of things that we’re gonna face together as a couple, and we can do that individually or we can do that together.

Jim: And it kinda leads to this open/closed heart idea that you also have in the book, yeah, being aware, I would think, of an open and a closed heart between you.

Erin: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Jim: And then how do you try to keep more of an open heart more consistently?

Erin: Yes.

Greg: Yeah.

Erin: And, uh, the key to that, what’s so important, is I used to think that Greg had to do something for me to get my heart back open, and that is not the case at all.

Jim: Hmm.

Erin: I personally, that, God has given me my heart and has told me to guard my heart, and it’s my job to keep my heart open. There’s times it’s gonna close. When we have, you know, a negative interaction or he screams, “Stop!” from across the room, my heart, you know, may close, but I have full ability to manage my heart and to get it back open.

Jim: (laughs)

Erin: Me and God, we’ve got that.

Jim: Wow, that’s a big statement you’re making. I’m sure some women are going, “I don’t know if I agree with that,” but I get it.

Erin: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Jim: Um, but that’s a far healthier place to be, that it’s not…

Erin: Yes.

Jim: Well, either spouse. It’s not the other one’s responsibility to open or close your heart.

Erin: Correct.

Jim: I mean, probably we’re closing each other’s hearts more than we’re opening them, but it’s my responsibility to keep my heart open.

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Greg: Huh.

Erin: And that means that I’ve gotta show up and be aware of what’s going on inside of me, and continuing to grow in who I am as a person and in my faith, and, you know, processing when my heart gets shut down.

Jim: Right.

Greg: And really go to the greatest commandments. So this is sorta cheating, because how do you argue against Jesus saying, “This is the greatest commandment, to love God, to love others as you love yourself.” That means that, as I love me means to keep my heart open. If I’m gonna love God, if I’m gonna love others, and Erin is my closest other, that means that I’ve gotta be doing the job of keeping my heart open and keeping my heart well cared for.

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Greg: And th- that’s really what, what is meant within that, that verse, the “as” part of love God, love others as you love yourself.

Jim: Yeah.

Erin: And one thing that I wanna clarify, too, is that sometimes that means setting a boundary and, you know, making, making that line that, you know what, the way you’re treating me is not okay.

Greg: Sure.

Erin: Because, often what we think is, when we set that boundary, I’m doing it to keep Greg out. Really, when I set that boundary and I say, “Hey, uh, that doesn’t feel good to me,” I’m setting that boundary to keep my heart open. And sometimes we don’t recognize that that is the purpose of that.

Jim: That’s really good, and there’s so much more in this great resource that you two have done. Let me ask you this though. For the couple that they’re hearing this going, “Wow, this is painting a picture of our relationship,” why is there such a, probably a stigma would be a good way to describe it, to get help? I mean, so many couples suffer in silence. They don’t get the help they need. Sometimes it’s both of them that don’t wanna get the help, or one, and it puts the other one at a great disadvantage, ’cause what do you do?

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And so speak to the stigma of not wanting help, but overcoming that.

Erin: Mm. Mm-hmm.

Jim: I mean, you’re both counselors, so you’re doing this every day.

Erin: Mm-hmm. R- W- There’s so much fear around going in. You know, what is this person gonna say? Are they gonna blame me? And, you know, what am I gonna become aware of, some deep childhood something?

Greg: W- Will they show that actually I’m damaged and unlovable?

Erin: Yeah.

Greg: Those kinds of things.

Erin: Yeah. And what I love when a couple walks into my office, first and foremost I will praise their courage for coming in, because it does take courage to walk into a counselor’s office. And then I say, you know, “Of course, you’re here with this stranger, and now you’re sharing some deep heart things that, you know, you usually don’t share with a stranger.” So it takes time to build that connection, that safety within the counseling relationship.

Jim: Hmm. Eh, but the point in all that is, the risk is, your marriage is gonna get better. (laughs) I mean, that’s the thing. That’s the hope, right?

Erin: Yeah. Yes.

Jim: I, I, I guess it’s not guaranteed, but that is a more typical outcome.

Erin: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And if nothing else, you’re in a place that feels safe, that you can have some of those harder conversations with a third party who’s able to help manage the level of safety in the room.

Jim: Well, that is so good, and here at Focus on the Family we want to help create that safe place for your marriage. If we’ve shared anything today that has raised concerns for you or your spouse, please contact us. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be shy or embarrassed. We have caring Christian counselors who are available to help you, to listen to your story and point you to additional resources in your local area. And those consultations are absolutely free, so don’t hesitate to get the help you need for your marriage today.

John: Yeah, our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Uh, and when you call, just ask, uh, to speak with one of our counselors, and we’ll make sure to connect you up. Uh, that’s 800-232-6459, or you can learn more at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And when you get in touch, uh, ask about Greg and Erin’s wonderful book Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage: 12 Secrets for a Lifelong Romance. Uh, we covered only a few of those secrets in the past two days, so get a copy of that book today. Make a donation of any amount to the ministry, and we’ll say thanks by sending the book to you.

Jim: And let me say, if you’ve never donated to Focus or it’s been a while since we’ve heard from you, can I invite you to prayerfully consider how you can again, or for the first time, support the ministry? We are listener supported, which means we’re counting on your financial partnership to produce programs like this, buy the air time, provide counseling and resources to families, and help spread the good news of Jesus Christ. Let’s do it together. Be part of it. Um, many people, I think, don’t understand that less than 1% of listeners actually support the ministry, um, which means there’s lots of room for growth in that area.

John: Mm.

Jim: Just think what we could do together with 2% of the listeners supporting the ministry. I’m excited about that opportunity. Uh, in the past year alone we estimate Focus helped more than 440,000 couples build stronger, healthier relationships with each other. And with your generous support, we may be able to hit a million couples. Who knows? Uh, right now, we’ve got a matching gift campaign going on where some friends of the ministry have agreed to match any donation dollar-for-dollar, and it’s a fun way, a great way to get this ball rolling to see what God will do when we pool our resources in service to Him. And that, man, it’s just like fueling the gas tank.

John: Mm.

Jim: The more fuel for us, the more we can do together. So please, give generously to Focus on the Family today.

John: And you can do so when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, or donate online at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Coming up tomorrow, encouragement for women who want to raise godly sons.

Preview:

Rhonda Stoppe: This is your time in history, mom. This generation needs mothers who will selflessly embrace this blessed calling of motherhood and raise sons and daughters who are courageous and righteous.

John: 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.

End of Preview

Today's Guests

Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage Book Cover

Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage: 12 Secrets for a Lifelong Romance

Receive the book Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage and a free audio download of “How to Stay Crazy In Love With Your Spouse” for your donation of any amount! Right now, you can DOUBLE YOUR DOLLARS to GIVE FAMILIES HOPE through our YEAR-END MATCH provided by generous friends of the ministry.

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