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Cherishing the Differences in Your Spouse

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Cherishing the Differences in Your Spouse

Authors Greg and Erin Smalley encourage spouses to embrace each other's differences, focusing on their good qualities instead of their faults.

Original Air Date: November 7, 2014

Today's Guests

Episode Summary

Authors Greg and Erin Smalley encourage spouses to embrace each other's differences, focusing on their good qualities instead of their faults.

Original Air Date: November 7, 2014

Episode Transcript

Teaser:

Woman #1: I’d say men are more factual, literal, um spontaneous. And women are more relational.

Man #1: Men are must more docile and more objective without the emotional response (Yelling) and I really mean it!

Woman #2: Men like to solve problems and women like to express their feelings. And that’s not always the best combination.

Man #2: Women are different from men in the sense that they are much more sensitive and emotional and tuned into what’s going on in life.

End of Teaser

John Fuller: Well, the fact is, men and women are very different from one another and that can lead to some interesting interactions in your marriage. We’ll talk more about that and your marriage on today’s “Focus on the Family” with Focus president and author, Jim Daly and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, you know what? It’s fascinating how in some ways we can completely opposite with our spouse, and I think the Lord does that for a purpose.

John: Well, opposites attract, right?

Jim: Well, they attract, and I think He planned it that way so that we can become more selfless. We’ve talked about that. But when you sit there and think, “Okay, Lord, why did You design it this way?” I think that’s one of the major reasons. He brings an introvert together with an extrovert. He brings a night owl together with a morning person. And before long, what you thought was bliss because you were so much alike, you suddenly realize, oh, we’re not that much alike, and that can create friction.

John: It can and uh … the program we have today is really for marriages that don’t have really intense friction, Jim. We’re talkin’ today to those who have healthier marriages. There’s good interaction and connection. You’re not dealing with a crisis. Uh … but you just have those general day-to-day kind of confrontations.

Jim: Uh … you know, and that’s where there is a sense of good will toward your spouse. That’s a probably a good indicator that you’re healthy but may be strugglin’ where you still have good care and concern. But maybe there’s some cracks, like you said, John, in that relationship. And you know you need to work on some things. If it’s an abusive situation, call our counselors. You want to get out of that situation and we certainly are here to help you.  

That’s why Focus is here. Not just for that troubled crisis, but also for the tune-up and that’s what we’re gonna talk about today. And I think you’re gonna find great help from our special in-house marriage experts, our guests today, Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley. Greg and Erin, welcome back for the many times to “Focus on the Family.”

Greg Smalley: Great–

Erin Smalley: Thanks for having us.

Greg: –to be here with you guys again.  

Jim: Okay, differences, I want to start right here. You’ve got some kind of story about shopping. Let’s kick it off with that.

Greg: (Chuckling) We were just a couple weeks ago, we were doin’ a seminar in Florida. So, when we were finished with the seminar (laughter), just again just illustrates how different we are, ‘cause we get into the car and I’m done talking. You know, men, we’ve got about 12,000 words that we’re gonna speak every day on average. I’ve used ‘em all up. I don’t want to talk. The moment we get into the car, Erin wants to talk. And I had to tell her, I’m like, hey, I just need … I … I need a break. So, the nice part is, you … you call your friends–

Erin: Yeah.

Greg: –Call the kids.

Erin: So, I pick up my phone and call Taylor, our daughter and our … my friends. And I start texting and we head to the mall, because I’m looking for a specific bag. A … a large like tote bag. And so, I tell him, and he gets into it. He’s like, okay we can go and find that.

Greg: Oh, it was perfect, ‘cause it … now I don’t like to shop, but boy, you give me a purpose, if there’s some reason why we’re there and she said—

Jim: You’re on the hunt.

Greg: –I didn’t even know what a tote was, but it was something to carry a computer that … that she was looking for. So, now we’re on the hunt. So, now we’re at this mall. We go to one store. There’s tons and I’m looking. I’m holding them all up. (Laughter) I think we’re there, but no; it wasn’t quite good enough.

Erin: No, because as we looked, I started thinking, well, really, I could use this compartment and I need that, and I need this kind of strap. Well, maybe it’d be good to have one with wheels on it and …

Greg: Wheels! When did wheels factor into the whole thing? So, we … we went to another store. And then we went to another store. And she comes up with a bathing suit for our son. (Laughter) She bought it. And I went, “When did you even…?” (Laughter)

Jim: That’s called a diversion.

Greg: When did you even …

Erin: I was …

Greg: We’re looking for a bag, a tote.

Jim: But it caught your eye.

Erin: Well, it was the bargain basement.

Greg: Uh!

Erin: I mean, it was—

Jim: Three bucks.

Erin: –it was seven bucks, and so—

Jim: Okay, not bad.

Erin: –I was like, I can’t pass that up. Well, then we ran into a woman from the seminar and we had to have a conversation.

Greg: We’re in Florida–

Erin: And …

Greg: –a mall. We run into someone that Erin knows and so, now we have to stop and talk. And I’m goin’, we don’t have time to talk. (laughter) We’ve gotta find this bag. I’ve gotta shoot it, bag it and let’s get out of here. And then somehow, we even ended up at a … at a food court.

Erin: We just needed a little snack, a little energy to keep going (Laughter) But then we…

Greg: She wants to talk again!

Erin: –we …

Greg: Although she did get me some meat, so I was at least eating meat–

Jim: And you were good.

Greg: –while we sitting … oh, man!

Erin: But then we ended up not finding the right bag. We saw—

Greg: It’s painful.

Erin: –one that was nice—

Greg: I had to leave.

Erin: –but it was way overpriced and so, that night we get back to the hotel and he … Greg lays down. He was exhausted, but he’s sound asleep. Well, I find it online for a great price and so, I hand him my phone. I’m like, “Hey, I don’t know how to do this” and so …

Greg: She wakes me up! (Laughter)

Erin: From a dead sleep. And so, he ends up buying me two bags from a dead sleep, but—

Greg: For the … for—

Erin: –we conquered.

Greg: –less than what we were gonna do. But all that to say we could’ve skipped everything (Laughter) and just laid in our hotel room.

Jim: You will have found the $7 swim shorts!

Erin: Yeah, see?

Greg: Uh!

Jim: There is purpose to that! Let me ask you this — there’s a Scripture I love, because I think again, it’s God’s sense of humor. Genesis right there in 1:27, He says this: “So God created mankind in his own image. In the image of God, He created them (Chuckling) male and female He created them.” What’s your spin on this? I gave you mine at the top of the program. Why did He do it this way?

Greg: Well, I … I … I love that verse, even the very next verse down, I think it’s in 31, it says, “Then He looked over all that He had made and saw that it was very good.” So, here … here’s God Who creates male and female so different and then ends up saying, and that’s a good thing. And I think that’s one of the most important uh … realizations that we can make, is that, you know, these differences that are probably gonna frustrate us, irritate us, maybe be the basis for a lot of conflict, even for some couples who are splitting over irreconcilable differences, it … the truth is… See, Satan wants us to believe that differences are the problem. God is sayin’, what I created will never be the problem. The problem is never differences, is how people manage their differences. That’s the problem. That’s how we get in the way.

Jim: Hm.  

Erin: Uh-hm and really these differences, they bring spice. They bring balance. They bring all kinds of beauty to our relationship because we’re different and that’s a good thing, like Greg is saying. But it’s all in how we manage those differences.  

Jim: Okay, let’s talk about those differences. I mean, the Men Are From Mars—famous book title. I think a Christian version of that was Men are Like Waffles and Women are Like Spaghetti. I didn’t make that title up (laughter) so if you’re offended by that, if you like waffles, that’s not my fault. Uh … but what …

Greg: More of a pancake guy, myself. (Laughter)

Jim: There you go. What are they drivin’ at, these differences? Describe ‘em.

Greg: You know, for me, when I think about differences, I would say it this way. Marriage is like being in a canoe. (Laughter) With all my degrees, everything I’ve learned, that’s how I would say it. Marriage is like being in a canoe and this is what’s important. Okay, think about before we were married, Erin and I were in separate canoes and we’d go on dates and we’d kind of row up next to each other. And in life, you know, we’re always rowing up to someone we can relate. But when we get married, when we become one, we’re now in the same canoe.  

The problem is that every single little movement that she makes, every time that she leans one direction or does something, it throws me off balance, as well. The threat is that somehow, we’re gonna tip over. I would say differences are like those movements. All those differences that … that was have gender, personality, all that, are like the movement to where, when Erin is moving, it’s threatening me. I’m afraid we’re gonna tip over. It’s doing something to me. So, then I have to try to control her, settle her down. Don’t move! Stop doing that! Quit doin’ it like that! And more than anything that … that I’ve learned is that, marriage is like that canoe. We’re in this canoe together.

Outside of that, I mean, if I row up next to John Fuller, you know, and he’s doin’ somethin’ I don’t like, I can always push away and paddle back. But in a marriage, I can’t do that. So, all those little movement[s], like those differences, really what it does is, it … it … it feels like a threat. It’s somehow making me feel unsafe, nervous. I don’t like it. It’s doing something to me.  And so, if we can just remember, we’re in the same canoe and that’s a good thing. That’s how God—

Jim: (Laughing) For as long as you’re—

Greg: –designed it.

Jim: –not beating each other with the paddles!

Greg: Exactly (Laughter)

Erin: Yeah!

Jim: Uh … let me ask you this though, the uh … you know, a lot of couples will experience this where uh … those differences are … are so … they drive so much energy, so much angst that they begin to go into the red zone, you know, where I would say communication shuts down. How does a couple first recognize, you know, we’re gonna have differences, we’re not the same person. And how do we keep out of the red zone, if I could call it that?

Erin: Well, you think about before you get married, I know we experienced this. There were so many of those differences that actually drew us together. That we … you know, little quirks, things that he did I thought were so cute and sweet (Laughter) and …

Jim: And now they’re irritating! (Laughter)

Erin: Well, amazing, what happens, then (Laughter) you get into the same canoe. I like your analogy, Greg. And you get into the same canoe and you know, they’re no longer cute. They’re threats. They’re not like you. And so, when you start seeing someone that’s different, you know, especially as women, we just think a little tweak here, a little tweak there and it’ll—

Jim: You could fix us!

Erin: –be all good, yeah. But think about what it feels like when someone’s trying to change you and control you. You’re not being accepted. You’re not being embraced for who God made you to be.  

Jim: Well, from a … a marriage counseling perspective, which both of you have done many hours with couples, when one spouse is trying to change the other spouse, that’s usually a recipe for disaster.

Erin: Mm-hm.

Jim: Why? It seems uh … maybe rational. That’s the best way to go. I can change him.

Greg: Well one, it’s manipulative. So, if I’m trying to change her basically what I’m saying is, I don’t like what you’re doing. I think what I want or the way I think it should be is better than the way you think or what you’re doing. So, one, it … it sends a message that … that I’m superior.  I think I’m better. I know more than you do. But also, it says what God created is …

Jim: (Laughing) And you’re supposed to say yes, dear.

Greg: Yeah. (Laughter) I’m sorry; yes dear, yeah. But it also …

Erin: I don’t remember that happening like that though. (Laughter)

Jim: Sorry, you were talkin’ about the Lord.

Greg: Well this … (Laughter) listen to this podcast over and over and over again; you can hear me saying, “Yes, dear.” It also says though to God almost that, hey, what You created I don’t think is that good.

Jim: Hm.  

Erin: Yeah.

Greg: You said it was good, but I’m kinda saying it’s not, because I don’t like it. That’s not the way that I would do it. That’s different than me. Again, those movements are makin’ the canoe feel real unstable. And … and that’s why this doesn’t … it just doesn’t work.  

Jim: Let … let me ask you a common uh … maybe debate … whenever I use the word “argument,” somebody will write a letter saying, “Christians shouldn’t argue.” Uh … so, let me just say the debate between a couple. It could be something like this. “Honey, you treated that person with such deference and such kindness.

John: Mm.

Jim: How come you don’t treat me that way? If I were to say something that bad—

Erin: Uh-hm.

Jim: –you would’ve been down my throat. We’re far more comfortable with our spouse and letting them know what we really feel than perhaps with even close friends or family members. Why is that?

Erin: I had a realization just last week. I was at the Children’s Hospital with our little Annie, who has a few special needs. And you know, the doctors were coming in one after the other and really looking at her and evaluating for what was wrong. And for so … you know, like you’re saying, I see everything that’s right with her. But then why when we look at our spouse, do we look at these differences as something is wrong?

Jim: Hm.

Erin: In … thus, you know, with our friends, with our kids, we … we will see what’s right.

Jim: Hm.

Erin: And so, why can’t we extend that grace and see what … what God created is good, it says. And like you said in Genesis, it’s good and to really allow Him to be who he is. But again, being intimate and being close, often we can’t… or we choose not to do that.  

Jim: Well, and I guess it’d be another way of saying it, the cup of grace for others can sometimes be much deeper than the cup of grace for your spouse.

Erin: Uh-hm.

Greg: And if you really can think of that … that analogy of being in the same canoe. That’s what I think is perfect about this is that I give someone grace because I can push away from you. I can paddle back away.

Jim: Right.

Greg: If you’re doin’ somethin’ I don’t like, you’re not in my canoe. You are not a threat to my well-being. In so many ways, Erin and I are in that canoe. Everything that she does, every movement she makes can create that instability, that threat. In some way, it’s the deepest, most intimate relationship that I will ever have, outside of my relationship with God is with my wife. And therefore, she knows more and it’s that threat when she’s movin’ around, I think is why that it’s easier for us to extend grace to other people.

Jim: The only … the only thing when I hear that analogy, it sounds like a bit of fear, that you’re fearful that my canoe is tippin’ one way or the other. You don’t want it to be that, right?

Greg: Well, I just think in a deep close relationship because we’re one, because we’re in this marriage, it’s true. That every movement I make, it moves the boat in some way. And if you’ve ever been in a canoe, we … we know what that’s like. And so, it’s not a bad thing. I’m not saying that the canoe thus is wrong or there’s something bad about it. I’m just saying the reality is that Erin and I are in this together.

Jim: Hm.

Greg: And what happens is, that I go from seeing all these little differences as cute and funny and oh, I laugh at ‘em, to they start to irritate me a little bit. I … I don’t like the way that happens. It keeps me maybe from doing something. So, I begin to see them in a negative light. I… I develop these negative beliefs that creates conflict. And then down the road, hearts close. Hearts harden. I mean, all because we didn’t know how to manage these differences. So, I’d say the key is, can you learn how to manage these differences?

John: I’m John Fuller and this is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. And today we’re listening to a conversation that we recorded with our colleagues, Dr. Greg Smalley and his wife, Erin.

And we’re hearing about differences in marriage and how to navigate those with your spouse. And the source for this great content is Greg and Erin’s book, called The Wholehearted Wife: 10 Keys to a More Loving Relationship.

We’ll recommend you look for that and for a link to our free marriage assessment at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Okay, I don’t feel like we’ve actually fleshed out the gender differences, so I’m comin’ back to that one. Men and women — this is a generalization, I get that. And probably the 80-20 rule applies, where 80 percent of men will act this way and women and 20 percent the other way. So, I get that. But typically, Greg, I’ll let you speak for the men. What are men like?

Greg: (grunting)

Jim: What’s … maybe we should reverse this actually! (Laughter)

Erin: I know, after that noise I think . . .

Jim: Now that I think about it (Laughter) …

Erin: Like start over.

Jim: But go ahead, take a swing. What are men about? Typically?

Greg: You know, so take communication for example. So, as for me, a lot of men see communication needing some sort of specific purpose—a problem to solve, something to fix, a question to answer, some decision that we need to make. So, if there’s not a clear purpose in my mind, I … I don’t need to do a lot of talking. So, there’s…

Jim: Is this hard-wired? Why is it so predictable?

Greg: I … I think it’s exactly hard-wired. I think it’s back to the Genesis verse. God made us male and female. So, as a male, just the way that God’s created us, for most men, we communicate when there’s purpose. We’re looking to fix something, to solve something. Our goal is action. So, I’m listening for facts. I’m listening for what is it that Erin wants here? And the irony is that she’s completely different. So, within communication, you know, Erin, you … she’s wanting to connect. She’s wanting to relate.

Jim: Erin’s gonna talk about that. (Laughter) Go ahead, Erin. Tell us about the women.

Greg: I wanted to say it …

Jim: I saw her face!

John: She really wants to talk about that!

Jim: Man, he’s telling me what I’m about. (Laughter) I want to tell ‘em.

Erin: No, because he knows that I’m gonna have a lot of words to say and a lot of emotion and I … I really want to connect. So, he was trying to … to … stifle that.

Greg: Just because I love her. (Laughter)

John: He was getting to the point.

Jim: All right, formally, Erin—

Erin: He was trying to control me, so … (Laughter)

Jim: —tell me … tell me what women are about mostly again 80-20 rule.

Erin: Exactly and … and like you’re saying, so many couples will say, “Oh, I’m totally opposite of that.” But as women, we want to connect. We want to build an intimate, close relationship through conversation. We just want to share. There’s no limit on the number of words we have to emote with. And really, we’re sharing our feelings and our needs. And the ultimate goal is just this deep level of connection. And it … obviously, it’s very different than what men want through this conversation. Thus, it can be frustrating.

Greg: Hey, one of the funniest times, we were drivin’ in the car. And I remember we’re driving there. I’m drivin’, so we’re on (Laughter) this road trip.

Jim: Somebody’s driving.

Greg: Someone’s driving. (Laughter)

Erin: Hopefully!

Greg: Driving and I literally am just thinking, how nice this is. We’re … I’m with my wife. I’m with my family and we’re just drivin’. We don’t need to say anything. We’re just enjoying the beautiful scenery. (Chuckling) And finally Erin goes, you know what? She goes, “What is wrong?” She goes, “You won’t say anything.” (Laughter) And I’m going, wait, what? Here I’m thinking we’re having this lovely time. Silent. We’re just looking at the beauty that—

Erin: And here—

Greg: –God’s created.

Erin: –I really thought he was blocking me out or you know, ignoring me. And all … I mean, I … we’re sittin’ side by side. What a great opportunity to connect.

Jim: So, there’s not much relationship looking at a tree is what you’re saying, Erin (Laughter) and Greg’s feeling quite comfortable!

Erin: It’s not doin’ it for me!

Greg: There was no purpose in this conversation (Laughter) other … we’re just driving together. It … and again, now I know that she likes to connect that way, so as her husband, I have to remember that. That she wants me to initiate, to share, to ask her questions, to get to know her, so I get that. It just shows you the difference though. I was perfectly content just bein’ next to my best friend, my wife, in the car, not saying anything. And here she’s thinkin’ I’m blocking her out of my life!

Jim: Okay, I gotta ask you though. Did that erupt into a little argument? (Laughing)

Erin: It did. Do you remember what happened?

Greg: And then I shut down, because I was—

Jim: Then you really …

Greg: –mad.

Erin: Yeah, I think we drove across—

Greg: Before I was peaceful.

Erin: –the state of New Mexico in silence. (Laughter)

Greg: It was a long drive—

Jim: Well, that … and that’s—

Greg: –let me tell you that.

Jim: –an illustration of what happens. Just expectations are in a different place and then you end up truly upset with each other.

Erin: Yeah. And what would’ve been so helpful for me to understand that he needs these times of just quiet. And it’s not that … it has nothing to do with me; it’s how he was created. And that’s understanding these differences helps so much.

Jim: Uh … we have talked a long time ago. You dad, Gary Smalley, who’s a contributor and co-author of this book, The Wholehearted Wife — he and John Trent created something, a tool. It’s a quick tool. It’s not a uh … you know, full diagnostic on personality, but it was the animal—

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: –comparison.

Greg: So good.

Jim: Walk us through that, because I think that’s an easy way for people to understand themselves in a humorous style. And then, John, we’ll put that test up online and if you haven’t taken it before, come to the Focus on the Family website and you can take it. But describe the lion, otter, beaver, Golden Retriever.

Greg: Yeah, it’s so perfect, ‘cause we’re talking gender differences in communication but then there’s also personality difference. Like a lion is that person that really wants to be in charge. You think of an otter as this … that fun-loving, life is a party, always wants to be the life of the party. And you’ve got a golden retriever, just that sweet, very relational, caring, you know, a lot of empathy. And you’ve got the beaver personality that’s more structured…

Jim: Engineering.

Greg: Engineering. Detailed. You know, gets things done ‘cause there’s so much order. So, as Erin and I got married, you know, I’m a beaver/golden retriever. So, I … I … I can be relational, but really my … the key … I … I like things done right. I … I … I like the order and the systems and all of that, but I married an otter. (Laughter) So Erin is just … she is so extroverted and fun-loving. You know, life is a party. And so, that … that … we quickly began to bump into—

Jim: How does—

Greg: –each other’s differences.

Jim: –an otter like living with a beaver? (Laughter)

Erin: Do you want the truth? (Laughter)

Jim: Absolutely!

Greg: You’re killin’ me, Jim Daly. (Laughter)

Erin: Well, it … it … as he’s talking, it makes me laugh, ‘cause I … it makes me think of our house. He has order in ev … you know, his areas, but me, I have piles of stuff and you know … and I know where everything’s at generally. (Laughter) But it’s, you know, a little disordered chaos and I’m totally okay with that. Where for him, that drives him crazy. So, it’s important to understand how each of you are created.

I tell a story in the book that early on, growing up, I was adopted and so, in my family I always wondered if there was something wrong with me, because I was so different than my other family members. And I will never forget, my sophomore year of college, his sister brought me this personality test. It was the first time I had ever taken anything about … and I had no idea about personality. So, I took it and I realized I was an otter, Golden Retriever. And it just made sense. No one else in my family was an otter or Golden Retriever.

Jim:  It was who you are, unique.

Erin: It was who I was. And it just brought so much peace and understanding. Nothing was wrong. It was all right; it was how God created me. So, understanding yourself is critical. But then understand who your spouse is in their personality because then it’s so much easier to see it as a good thing—

Jim: Right and not a bad—

Erin: –versus—

Jim: –thing.

Erin: –a bad thing.

Jim: Yeah. Uh … Let me quickly, as we’re wrapping up, get to the positive nature of this, Greg and Erin. What are some of the benefits that married couples can experience when they learn to accept each other for who they are and embrace their own uh … you know, their own personality bents?

John: Hm.

Erin: You know, really first and foremost, if we as women especially can stop trying to change our spouse. You know, to see it as a positive that we’re different and that’s okay. You know, if something’s out of balance, being careful of how we bring that up. Bringing it up at a time other than conflict. But there has to be room for both of us in this relationship and in this marriage. We have to make room for both of us. It’s two people.

There’s a quote that I love. It’s my job to love and respect. This was actually from Billy Graham’s wife. “It’s my job to love and respect Billy, it’s God’s job to make him good.”

Jim: Wow! I mean, there’s … yeah, that’s good. Let me … let me mention this Scripture, which I think fits and then Greg, you can respond to all of it. But Philippians 4:8. This is beautiful! This is Scripture. We’re Christians, those of us that believe in Jesus Christ. Here’s what it says, not what Jim Daly says. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable. If anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” And I would think that what he’s saying there is, um … act in such a way. That sums it up, doesn’t it, Greg?

Greg: It perfectly does, because not only God created us different, He said that was good. So, we need to give each other room as Erin said and accept these differences. Understand these differences. But Jim, what you’re talking about I think is the key to the whole thing. You want to change the way you see your spouse if you see their personality differences as irritating, really work on valuing those differences. That’s the key, is it’s whatever is good. I mean, God made this good.

I love in Luke where it talks about, “For where my treasure is (so, what I value, see there) will my heart be also.” I think when we really recognize those differences is bringing such uniqueness, spice into our relationship. Otherwise relationship would be bland. It would be boring. If we both were alike, well, where … where’s the fun in that? I mean, literally one of us wouldn’t be necessary!  

But I think, for the moment that I really went from trying to change Erin and trying to deal with all these irritating differences in gender and personality and family of origin, to really going, God, show me the value of … of … of what she’s bringing to our marriage. And if you want to change that right now, all you have to do … I would encourage you, make a list of what is it that you love about your spouse. Think about their personality, their character, their gender differences. Write those things down. Make that a list. Call that your “value list” and hold onto that.

Jim: Hm. 

Greg: It’s in those moments that I’m irritated with Erin, I have an option. I can pull that list out and look through it and go you know what? Yeah, God created an amazing person. She’s amazing and it’s because of all those differences! And so, if we can get to that place of really valuing those differences, I think that’s how we really change this.

Jim: Okay, so we’re in the canoe together. We’ve gotta accept our differences and celebrate them really—

Greg: Value them.

Jim: –and lean into them. See what’s right versus what’s wrong in our spouse and we’re so quick to find out what’s wrong.

And do come to the website. Take the test. It’s fun. And I think it’ll put a little laughter into your relationship with your spouse. Man, John, this has flown by, hasn’t it?

John: It has. I’ve benefited a great deal from the conversation. I’ll have some talking points when I get home tonight, in fact. (Laughter)

Jim: Greg and Erin, thanks so much for being with us.

Greg: You’re welcome. Thanks for having us.

Erin: Yeah, thanks for having us. 

John: That’s how we concluded our conversation with Greg and Erin Smalley on this episode of Focus on the Family. And some great insights from them, based on the book they co-wrote with Greg’s dad, the late Gary Smalley, called The Wholehearted Wife.

Jim: John, it’s always a good time in the studio with Greg and Erin. They’ve got such a great sense of humor. And we really do hope you found some good encouragement for your marriage. And I want to recommend you get their book.

We talked about gender and personality differences today, but that’s just one of the many topics they address. Greg and Erin have identified 10 keys for a more loving marriage. Who doesn’t want that? Things like honoring your spouse, diffusing anger, and the importance of connecting spiritually.

This is great content — and I’d love to put a copy of The Wholehearted Wife into your hands when you send a gift of any amount to Focus on the Family to do ministry together. That’s our way of saying thanks for joining us in strengthening and rescuing marriages today!

John: And you can donate at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Or when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459.

At that website you’ll find a link to our free marriage assessment which is a wonderful tool where you can quickly get a good overview of what’s working well in your marriage, and some areas where you may need to improve a bit. And we’ll urge you to check that out!

On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening to Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ.

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