Dr. Kathy Koch explores the eight facets of human intelligence and explains how parents can identify and cultivate their child’s unique gifts. (Part 2 of 2)
Dr. Bob Paul: This is not about you being less than. This is about you being fully who you were created to be. Spread your wings and soar. A great marriage is always one that has room for us to grow into the fullness of who we were created to be and bring all of our gifts to the table.
End of Excerpt
John Fuller: That’s Bob Paul and he joins us today on Focus on the Family with Jim Daly, along with Dr. Greg Smalley, and we’re going to be talking about marriage. And, uh, thanks for joining us. I’m John Fuller.
Jim Daly: John, I am so pleased to have Bob and Greg back with us today. And if you missed the discussion last time, I think you’ve got to get the download. You know, get the app for your smartphone. Call us. We’ll tell you what you need (laughter) to do to – to listen in. But it was good stuff. And these two men have put together, I think, a powerful treatise on the issue of marriage. And, you know, both of them work with couples. Bob, of course, is leading the team at Hope Restored which is our four day intensive program. And he sees a lot of stuff. He runs the clinicians. That’s his job. And he gets to really peer into those counseling sessions and see what’s happening with folks. And he’s brought all of that wisdom, along with Greg, into this great book, 9 Lies That Will Destroy Your Marriage. But the wonderful news is there’s truths that will save your marriage. And that’s what we’re gonna cover today.
John: Mm hmm. Yeah. And we’ll encourage you to call us for a copy of that great book. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. Or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. As you said, Jim, Bob directs our Hope Restored marriage intensives. We have three locations and more details, of course, online. Greg heads up our marriage team here at Focus and has been here almost 10 years.
Jim: Bob and Greg, welcome back to Focus.
Dr. Greg Smalley: Oh, thank you. It’s good to be with you.
Bob: It’s always good to be here.
Jim: It’s always good. Yeah. It’s good to have you here, honestly. And I’m so appreciative of the – the work that you do to strengthen marriages through the efforts here at Focus. You guys, both – your kind of the kingpins of that effort and I’m grateful to both of you. So, thank you. I mean, hundreds, if not thousands of couples have been saved – their marriages saved, because of the work you’ve done and the Holy Spirit working through you. So, I can’t, you know, say thank you enough for that sacrifice and what you do for this ministry and for the Lord, more importantly. So, it is great. Um, let’s pick up with a little recap from last time. We covered, I think, four of the lies. Why don’t you take two each and, Greg, we’ll start with you.
Greg: Yeah. So, the first lie that we talked about last time is all about the pursuit of happiness. So, the lie is that the goal, the end in mind for a marriage, is to feel happy. Like watch any program to where you see parents saying, “Hey, you know, what I really want for my kids is for them to be…”
Greg: Fill in the blank.
Greg: Happy. And it drives me crazy. And I think that’s a part of where we buy into this lie. When I hear that, I scream out to my kids, “No. I do not want you to be happy. I want you guys to grow.” And that’s a big part of what we’re trying to help couples to do, is to move away from the pursuit of happiness to more the pursuit of – of growing. How – how…
Jim: Well, as Paul said, contentment. Right?
Jim: That’s a great goal. Be content in all things.
Jim: What’s number two?
Greg: Right. Ab – so, the number two, you see this in a lot of weddings, the unity candle.
Jim: (Laughter) Okay. We get it.
Greg: So, you – you have…
Jim: I said that last time.
Greg: …Two candles. You light the center and then you blow out the individuals. And the problem is, is what that means to couples is that the focus now is on the marriage. The two individuals have been blown out. They don’t really matter that much. And the reality is that all three have to matter. There’s me, there’s my wife, Erin, and there’s our marriage and we have to invest a lot of time and effort and energy into all three of those.
Bob: And then the third one is we call it all you need is love. And in some respects, that’s really true. As with all the lies, there’s kernels of truth in each of them. But where we see people really struggling is either going toward thinking that love is magical and mystical and the chemistry has to be there or – and if it leaves, you’re sunk. Or that it’s just about a hard core decision and I’m going to just decide to do loving things and hope feelings follow. And what we’re saying where the problem is, is that love actually comes from God. We do not manufacture it and it’s really about open – being open and available to His love coming in us and through us. And then the last one was about sacrificing. And the lie is not that we are to sacrifice for a marriage. We are. But not sacrifice who we are because we were created on purpose, with purpose. God created us intentional with great ends in mind for us and the contribution we can make to His kingdom. And we are to sacrifice by giving and investing what we have of value generously into our spouse.
Jim: Yeah. And that’s a good recap. And again, if you’re hearing something going, “Wait a minute. Wait a minute.” Listen to the program from yesterday. And that’ll be more defined when it comes to the unity of marriage, et cetera. And I think what’s really good for both Greg and Bob, they’re getting us to think about these traditions that we share. And then how rooted is it in Scripture? And that’s a good thing to do. All right. Let’s move on. Codependency. I want a definition of that. And then lie number five is you must meet each other’s needs. Now, generally, that seems pretty reasonable, but maybe not every need. That would be the issue. But talk about codependency. What’s the definition of that? And then how does lie number five apply.
Bob: Codependency really as we look at it – now, I know we throw around that term and I’m known for speaking a lot of psychobabble based on my profession. And it’s one – it’s when we technically see our spouses as the source. That they are the source of what we need and when I look to Jenny, my wife of almost 40 years, to be the source of my fulfillment, the source of my satisfaction, I’m putting a responsibility and a burden on her that is not meant for her. That God truly is my Source not Jenny. And God – it is in God that I’m supposed to find the fulfillment of my being. Not in Jenny. Can Jenny contribute? Absolutely. Can I contribute to Jenny? Yes. But I don’t want Jenny to be responsible. Actually, I found now, after all these years working with couples, that virtually all marriage issues are a result of misplaced responsibilities.
Bob: Either taking too much responsibility for things that are not mine to be responsible for or not taking adequate responsibility for that which is my responsibility. And what we want to encourage people to do is be full-functioning adults. God created me as a grown man – not when I was a child, but as a grown man – fully responsible for the care and well-being of this temple. His temple entrusted to my care physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. And when I look to Jenny, I was a soul – a card carrying codependent.
Jim: Yeah. And again, I hope this is registering with you, especially if you’re struggling in your marriage. It doesn’t need to be that way. And the great news is and I’m proud of this. If you hear me say it often, it’s because I mean it. 80 percent post two year success rate at Hope Restored. It’s an awesome thing. And just to do a little break from the content. Let me ask you guys. When – and Bob, this is directed to you. You’re directing the counselors there. The couples that come in, a lot of them are really at the – the end of the rope. This is it. They’ve decided to say, “OK, we’ll do Hope Restored. And if it doesn’t work, we’re getting a divorce.” But something miraculous happens with many of the couples, not everyone. And I get that. But there is something there. Is it communication? What is the secret that is going on when those couples who would not hold hands on day one are holding hands on day four? What is actually transferring their relationship? What do you see most often?
Bob: You know, it’s a great question and it’s really not one thing. Let me tell you what the core of it is. Uh, there’s one question that we ask all the couples that they must answer yes to for us to be willing to work with them. And the question is, “If God was to work a miracle in your marriage, would you accept it?” And we say, “The miracle could be the magnitude of the party of the Red Sea for all we care.” And many of the couples that come to us are desperately needing a miracle. Not a little fix, not a Band-Aid, a miracle. And the reason that our program works is because we realize that as good as my team is and I’ve got some unbelievably skilled therapists on the team that God has blessed us with, but none of us are miracle workers. We know who the Miracle Worker is. And the key for us is to help couples see the obstacles that often they have inadvertently placed between themselves and the Lord…
Bob: …And when they identify them, what we’re able to do if they choose, is to help move those obstacles out of the way so the Holy Spirit has free, unhindered access to their hearts. And whether it’s helping them with communication, whether it’s helping them with problem-solving, whether it’s helping them with caring for the temple, it doesn’t really matter what the issue is. If God is in the place He’s supposed to be, He is so dedicated to go – to showing up there and meaningfully transforming.
Jim: Yeah. And what it demonstrates to me is that, you know, brokenness in marriage is a deeply spiritual issue. And there is a way out because the Lord is always in your corner.
John: Hmm. Yeah. And the work is worth the effort. I mean, the – the fruit of that labor, of digging deep and looking at yourself and being honest with God can really bring about His opportunity for miracle, right?
Greg: And, John, the whole book, the purpose of that is, as Bob talked about those obstacles. It’s we’ve identified there’s nine main obstacles that are going on within those relationships.
John: Mm hmm.
Greg: And so, we’re just trying to point out, here’s the obstacle and this is what you can actually do that’s going to make a meaningful difference. So, we’ve had over 8,000 couples go through the marriage intensive programs. So, we’ve had this amazing lab. All we’re doing is going, “Here’s what we’ve seen work…”
Greg: “…Here are the nine obstacles and here’s what you can do about it.”
Jim: Let me hit a phrase and get your response before we move on to lie number seven. Um, and that is irreconcilable differences. The courts kind of created this terminology and you hear couples that are in a dark place use that phrase. “We just have irreconcilable differences.” I mean, you want to go, “What? Everybody does. It’s called being human.”
Greg: Right. (Laughter)
Jim: But, you know, there are serious applications to that where the fighting is terrible, the disagreements over whatever it might be. But speak to irreconcilable differences. Why is that so damaging?
Greg: Well, when you even look at the word, it means “incapable of being brought into harmony.” And somehow people…
Jim: Huh. Exactly opposite of the gospel.
Jim: And what the Lord wants.
Greg: And so, that’s the goal. That’s what they’re trying to figure is how do we come into this harmony? And all we’re saying is, “Listen. God created you on purpose, with purpose. Part of that purpose is that differences. That’s how He made us. We are so different. And that’s a beautiful thing. Differences are never the problem. That’s the beauty. That’s the gift.”
Jim: It’s how you manage it.
Greg: It’s how you manage them.
Bob: And utilize them.
Jim: Well, in that context, this is always the perplexing idea that God and, you know, you’ve got to tread carefully, say, “God, were you sure when You created marriage You wanted to have opposites attract?” Which is like 80, 90 percent of the rule, right? But it also is the very thing that teaches us to be more like Him.
Bob: Well, it exposes the things…
Jim: Right. (Laughter)
Bob: …That need work. Nobody can expose my issues as effectively as Jenny, you know?
Bob: When they bump, when the differences bump, you know, it really is where the opportunities of where God meets me and says, “Hey, you know that little place you just saw there? That’s really not like Me. Hey, if you and I could just kind of hang there for a little bit, I think we could get this to a better place.”
Bob: And I – and I love that.
Jim: Well, let’s move in number seven and, uh, we’re cooking now as we move into the last part of the program. Lie number seven is I’m gonna make you love me. And that’s the lie that if I just try hard enough, you’ll see how wonderful I am. (Laughter) Man, I – my heart goes out. I think this – it’s definitely not necessarily a gender thing, but I could feel a lot of wives particular, a lot of women, have that desire because they want that bonding. They’re – they’re made for that bonding and they’re sitting there going, “If I could just do things better, I’m sure he’ll love me more.” Why do you gotta be careful with that?
Greg: Well, the lie is, is that as long as we have love and as long as we are committed to each other for a lifetime, that’s it. I mean, we’ve – we’ve got the necessary ingredients…
Jim: You’ve wrung the bell.
Greg: …To make a marriage work. And that’s why when Erin and I were early in our marriage and we so were struggling. Well, we as believers we were going to church. We had lifelong commitment. We loved each other. And it wasn’t working. It was so confusing. And then one day I finally began to understand there was something else that was so important and actually saw this in one of those little roly-poly bugs. You know, the ones that if you flick it…
Greg: …You know, this little bug will roll up into this tight little ball. What’s interesting is that is that if you try to take that bug and pry it open, you’ll kill it. And that’s how God created our heart. Is that when – when we don’t feel safe in our marriage, and we instantly like that little bug, our heart rolls up. And what I began to understand with Erin is that, yeah, we – we loved each other. We had lifelong commitment. But my wife felt so unsafe with me. The way that I was showing up, the way I was trying to get her to love me in certain ways, made her feel so unsafe that she was like that little bug, so rolled up tight. Her heart was so tight, and it actually had begun to harden in. One of the things that – that I began to learn is that love is necessary. Commitment is necessary. But Erin and me both feeling safe – when we feel safe with each other than our hearts open like that little bug. That bug will begin to open back up when it feels the threat is gone. And that’s why I never knew that. I never understood how important the idea of feeling safe. How do we create a marriage that feels like one of the safest places on earth? That became the goal and that began a very different relationship for Erin and I. Now, we started to work on how do we create safety within our marriage?
Bob: And what we realized when we started presenting these ideas to the couples that we work with is that – um, and how central this is. We basically say, “If you can’t remember anything that you hear this week and except for one, if you can remember to make safety the center of the target, safety and security at the center of the target.” Because what actually happens to your point is that when people begin to truly feel deeply and profoundly safe and secure, we just always relax. And open up and when two hearts that are open are in close proximity to each other, that intimacy and the connection we’re longing for happens naturally. But when people feel unsafe and insecure, they’re guarded. And there’s something that hinders, as a result, the ability to truly connect in that way that our hearts are longing for.
John: Well, get in touch with us for a copy of this book, 9 Lies That Will Destroy Your Marriage. And, uh, we’d be happy to tell you more about our counseling services and Hope Restored, our marriage intensives. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. Or online we’re at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.
Jim: Um, moving to – to love lie number eight. Your love is driving me crazy. I think you have a story about that with a couple named Jeff and Michelle. So, and this relates to emotions. So, connect those dots for us. What was their problem and what was the solution?
Greg: Well, their problem was the same problem that I had…
Greg: …Early in my marriage. And what happened was that anytime that Erin would feel intensely about something, have intense emotions, I thought my job was to solve that, to fix that, to get her not feeling so intense and to feel better, to feel laugh, to whatever. And so, my job became managing her emotions. And there – I’ll never forget the day that – that as Erin came home and just said, “Man, I had a really tough interaction with a good friend of mine out of the blue. And she was frustrated with me. Yelling at me.” And an instantly, I jump in and say, “Well here. Here’s what you need to do. You need to call her back…”
Greg: “…And if you say this… And – and frame it this way…” And she finally looked at me and she said, “Do – seriously, do you think I’m an idiot?”
Greg: “Like, do you think that I couldn’t come up with that on my own?” Every time that I tried to move her away from feeling whatever. Believing that, “Well, you know, my job is to keep her from falling off the deep end because if she gets so emotional, she’s eventually going to, you know, somewhere that’s not going to be good.” And it sent the message that one, you’re incapable of handling, managing, your emotions. It put me in a role of thinking I needed to do that. And – and therefore, we would always get into an argument. (Laughter) I’m like this was…
Jim: Yeah. It kind of created that codependency.
Greg: Right. Versus really learning a very, very different way. Instead of trying to fix her emotions, solve some sort of problem, get her feeling differently, what if I just started to care about how she felt? And then what if that became my goal? And I’m telling you, that’s one of the greatest things that we see within the marriage intensives and then what we’ve written in the book is a method to actually help couples instead of trying to solve and get away from emotions, how do you actually embrace that so that you can use those emotions to feel a deeper sense of connection and – and intimacy?
Jim: Right. And, Bob, you – you developed that heart-talk concept, so – I think you did. What is the heart-talk concept? I think Greg is talking about it.
Bob: Yeah. that’s – well it starts off, as Greg is saying, recognizing that feelings were created by God. Every single one. There really is no such thing as a good feeling and a bad feeling like it’s a moral issue. There are pleasant feelings and unpleasant feelings certainly. But they’re not bad. They are – they are data. Feelings – and this – I’m speaking to the guys now because gals get this better than guys do typically. Feelings are raw data. They are just to – they’re are informers. They are not decision makers because we’ve got our heart, which is the data center. We’ve got her head, which is the interpreter and the processor, strategizer. And then we’ve got hands which carry out the marching orders. If you haven’t honored the data, you’ve got nothing for the processor to work with. You’ve got no good information. So, for instance, pain. It’s easy to think that pain is a problem. Well, pain is telling you something important. If you feel no pain, you’ve got a problem. You can’t care for this temple. So – so what we’re saying is listen to the feelings and listen to them as important data. And heart-talk is about hearing each other’s hearts, honoring the feelings for what they are. Not catering to them, not indulging them, but valuing them as critical information. And we teach people how to do that safely so that nobody feels that they regret sharing who they are and their essential vulnerabilities with one another.
Jim: That’s – that is good input. All of these. They’re really good.
Jim: Let’s get to the last one. We’re right at the end here. It’s the love lie that surrounds compromise. Now, compromise sounds like a good thing in the relationship. I give a little, you take a little, and so on. Why is that wrong?
Bob: Well, you know, the problem with it is that there’s always going to be a loser or both of you will lose. And – you know, and I believe that. You know, one of my passions in life is I’m really big on winning. I will go to great lengths to win. And I couldn’t understand why in my relationship with Jenny every time differences would bump that even when I got my way, I felt like I was a loser.
Jim: Welcome to Marriage 101.
Jim: I don’t need to be a clinician to tell you that.
Bob: Yeah. I was so frustrated. What was the problem?
Greg: You need to put Jim to work inside these (unintelligible).
Bob: Come on work.
Bob: Anyway, so what I finally realized God broke through one time, and He helped me to see that by His design, marriage is a team sport. And when you’re on the same team, you either both win or you both lose. There is no such thing as a win-lose outcome in marriage ever. It’s purely an illusion from the pit of hell, because if anybody – I mean, I asked my son once in a conversation I had with him because we were – we were locking horns on something and I overcame him, and he surrendered to me. And then I saw that I just destroyed him emotionally. And what I realized was that – that God helped me to see how to how to rectify that. I went up to him and I said, “Hey, son.” He was playing little league baseball at the time. He was 13. I said – he played with a kid named Chucky. And I said, “Is there ever a time when you win and Chucky loses?” He said, “No.” I said, “How about Chucky wins and you lose?” He said, “No.” I said, “How come?” He said, “Dad, we’re on the same team.” I said, “Exactly, son. I lost in that interact with you because I’m your teammate, not your adversary.” And what happened was I walked away for several days thinking about my marriage and finally the light bulb went off. And I saw for the first time that I set up virtually every single interaction I had with Jenny when a difference was at play, just like that one I did with Chris. And marriage is a team sport. And therefore, if either feels compromised – let’s use that word. If either feels compromised, less then, like they had to give in, that we lose as a team. And since that point to this day, which is 20 something years now, I’ve adopted, we as an organization have what we call a No Losers Policy. And I’ve made it 100 percent unacceptable for either Jenny or me to ever walk away from any interaction feeling like we lost because if either do, we both do.
Jim: It sounds impractical at some point, though. Just to challenge a little bit. And I like the winning side of being on the same team. But when you get to a decision or an impasse, how does one person not feel like I had to give in?
Bob: Well, you want to know the – the cool thing about this is that it seems like – I’ve been on the front side with difference with Jenny more times than I can count where I said, “Okay, God. No way humanly possible, we’re going to come up with a win-win on this one.” And to date, when we’ve used the principles we teach, I have never been right once.
Bob: Now, I might have been right that there was no way humanly possible, but we serve a God who is devoted to unity. And if we get out of His way – I mean, He lives in a perfect triune unified relationship. If we get out of His way, He will miraculously at times take us to a situation we both feel great about. It might not be what either one of you imagined you’d settle for at the beginning. But He will not leave a couple in disunity if we will allow Him to take over and have His way with us. And I set back at times and went, “How the heck did You pull that off?”
Jim: That’s it. We’re right at the end. I love that statement. We’re right at the end. Greg, I’ll turn it to you for that couple, you know, both the husband and a wife who are listening or watching on YouTube and they’re saying, “Boy, three of those nine hit me.”
Jim: And they’re feeling a little, um, maybe distant now. They’re – “What do I do?” Tell them what they can do today to improve where they’re at.
Greg: Yeah. The good news, as Bob just said, we have a God that has given us this gift of marriage who so is fighting in your corner for your marriage. To know you’re not alone.
Jim: He’s always for you.
Greg: He is and we’re for you. And we have amazing counselors. We have Bob and his clinical team with – within the Hope Restored program. That there’s options as you begin to go, “Whoa. Yeah. I’ve bought into this one and I’ve bought into this one.” Well, get the book and you can begin to really start to study and understand and reread going, “Oh, my goodness. The – the light bulb is coming off. The – the veil has been lifted.” And you can start to make slow steps. The worst question you can ever ask is “How do I have a better marriage?” Because it takes two. The best question is “God, how can I be a better husband? How can I be a better wife? What is within my control?” And that’s really what we’re laying out for you in the book. We’re giving you simple ways that you can make some adjustments, that you can make some different choices that will begin to make a difference. You have such amazing influence on your marriage and sometimes all it is, is some awareness and then, “Okay, so what do I do about that?” And that’s exactly what we’ve given you within this book.
Jim: And it’s so good. Uh, both of you have done such a great job with this content. I hope this book does wonderfully because it means people are engaging in their marriage and trying to do it better. And we’re here for you, as Greg just said. Thanks so much for the hard labor of putting this together and for everything you do every day here at Focus on the Family. Thank you for that.
Greg: Yeah, you’re welcome. Thank you.
Bob: And thanks for giving us an opportunity to serve this ministry and to serve the kingdom here.
Jim: Serve the people. That’s what it’s about. Let me turn to you, the listener, the viewer. Um, your marriage might be a challenge. (Laughter) And here’s the reality: all of our marriages at times can be a challenge. But we want to be here for you. Want to help you through that. We said it last time. There are mountaintop experiences and then there’s valleys. And the key is walking through them together, learning and growing and becoming better in marriage. That’s what the Lord wants from us. And those times of learning are really important. The downtimes are as important as the mountain tops, and I – I can attest to that. Jean and I have had those struggles. And I’m telling you, when you break through on the other side, it is a beautiful thing. And that’s what the Lord has intended for us.
John: And we’d love to help you grow as a person in your marriage and grow as a couple. And certainly, this book, 9 Lives That Will Destroy Your Marriage is a great resource. We do have some additional content online and, uh, we have details about our Hope Restored marriage intensives, which Bob helped found and runs. And we want you to be finding a place of hope and healing. So, call us today. 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.
Jim: John, let me share one story. And, Bob, this is going to warm your heart. It’s from a Hope Restored participant. And she wrote and said, “My husband and I truly received a miracle here at Hope Restored. Our overall experience was beyond our expectations. We learned that there is hope when thinking all hope is lost. Our relationship has been forever changed.” That’s awesome, isn’t it?
Bob: I love that.
Jim: And that’s to God’s glory.
Jim: And that’s why we do what we do. And, uh, I want to encourage you to join us in ministry. And it’s a wonderful way to participate, help strengthen other marriages. If you can give a gift a day of any amount, two great things will happen. One, we’ll send you a copy of Bob and Greg’s book as our way of saying thank you. And then we also have some generous friends that are willing to match you dollar for dollar. It’s just a fun way to put fuel in the tank here at Focus to do the ministry to marriages. And, uh, it’s a win-win-win. Kind of what you were talking about Bob. And I would encourage you to join us today.
John: Hmm. Well, again, if we can be a service to you. Call us. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. And when you get in touch, please donate generously as you can. 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.
Dr. Kathy Koch explores the eight facets of human intelligence and explains how parents can identify and cultivate their child’s unique gifts. (Part 2 of 2)
Dr. Kathy Koch explores the eight facets of human intelligence and explains how parents can identify and cultivate their child’s unique gifts. (Part 1 of 2)
Exploring the question “What makes us equal?” pro-life advocate Scott Klusendorf makes the case that all human beings are of immeasurable worth, including the preborn. He equips listeners to be effective, respectful, and compassionate in speaking up for those who do not have a voice. (Part 2 of 2)
Pastor Dave Carder offers couples practical advice for protecting their marriages from adultery in a discussion based on his book Anatomy of an Affair: How Affairs, Attractions, and Addictions Develop, and How to Guard Your Marriage Against Them. (Part 1 of 2)
Pastor Dave Carder offers couples practical advice for protecting their marriages from adultery in a discussion based on his book Anatomy of an Affair: How Affairs, Attractions, and Addictions Develop, and How to Guard Your Marriage Against Them. (Part 2 of 2)
Jonathan McKee offers parents practical advice and encouragement in a discussion based on his book If I Had a Parenting Do Over: 7 Vital Changes I’d Make.