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Discovering the Secrets to a Lifelong Romance (Part 1 of 2)

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Discovering the Secrets to a Lifelong Romance (Part 1 of 2)

Popular guest Dr. Kevin Leman offers practical suggestions for maintaining a lasting, thriving marriage, including identifying your spouse's key needs, living a lifestyle of "24/7 intimacy," using feelings to strengthen your relationship, and more. Jim Daly's wife, Jean, joins the conversation to offer her insights from their marriage of over 30 years. (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: March 2, 2020

Today's Guests

Episode Summary

Popular guest Dr. Kevin Leman offers practical suggestions for maintaining a lasting, thriving marriage, including identifying your spouse's key needs, living a lifestyle of "24/7 intimacy," using feelings to strengthen your relationship, and more. Jim Daly's wife, Jean, joins the conversation to offer her insights from their marriage of over 30 years. (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: March 2, 2020

Episode Transcript

Excerpt:

Kevin Leman: The Lord we serve is a great God. He wants what’s best for us. And I think most of our marriage problems are spiritual problems. We just try to gut it out on ourselves without saying, “Lord, I need your help. Holy Spirit, help me. Guide me. Let me say the things that I need to say.”

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: Dr. Kevin Leman joins us today on Focus on the Family sharing his tips about having a lifetime romance with your spouse. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: Hey, John, we have an audience with us today in the studio, so I want to ask all the guests – there’s probably ten or twelve people around us – what do you think the record is for the longest marriage – the world’s longest marriage? Anybody? Just yell it out.

Unidentified person #1: Maybe seventy- five years.

Jim: Seventy-five. Anybody else?

Unidentified person #2: Eighty-two.

Jim: Eighty-two – that’s a good guess. Anybody? OK. Eighty-seven years. Think of that…

Unidentified person #1: Wow.

Jim: …Eighty-seven years. Zelmyra and Herbert Fisher are the record holders. They got married in 1924 and stayed married until Herbert passed away in 2011 at the age of one hundred and five (laughter).

John: That is incredible. I understand they were believers. We’ll get to ask them some of their secrets when we get to heaven.

(Laughter)

Jim: (Laughter) Yeah, that’s the place we’ll need to ask that, but I love it. I think the question all of us have is, “How can we be like the Fishers? What did they do well,” right? So, I think we’re gonna dig into that today with one of marriage’s best counselors and a prolific author Dr. Kevin Leman.

Jim: He is, uh, internationally known as a psychologist and a speaker, uh, always a popular guest here at Focus on the Family and has been married to his wife, Sande, for over fifty years?

Kevin: Fifty-three years…

(Laughter)

Kevin: …in a row.

Jim: You’re only halfway there, man.

John: Yeah. Kevin – Kevin’s newest book is called The Intimate Connection: Secrets to A Lifelong Romance, and, of course, we have that at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And Jim, we’re also honored to have your better half here as well.

Jim: Now, this could be a little risky, but I did invite Jean to join us…

Jean Daly: (Laughter).

Jim: …and I thought, three dudes sittin’ here talking about marriage and what women think – we need a woman here to represent the better half. So, Jean is joining us. Jean, it’s great to have you here.

Jean: Well, thank you. It’s always great to be here.

Jim: Kevin, good to have you back.

Kevin: Hey, thank you. You know us men are always smart to listen to women.

Jim: (Laughter).

Kevin: Now, that’s been a tip…

Jean: (Laughter).

Kevin: …across the board. Listen to your wives.

Jim: Isn’t that the first rule of marriage? “Men, listen to your wives.”

Jean: Oh, I like that.

Kevin: They’re closer to life than we are.

Jim: (Laughter) That’s for sure. Well, let’s start with the big question. With all your years of experience, Kevin, as a marriage and family psychologist, what would you say is the number one secret of successful marriages?

Kevin: (Laughter).

Jim: (Laughter).

Kevin: Well, I gotta tell ya this. When they asked me to do this book, I had a conversation with Mrs. Uppington, my bride. Her real name is Sande, but my nickname for her is Mrs. Uppington because she’s the classy one of the two of us. And I said, “Honey, are we – are we happily married?” And she said, “You’re very happily married.”

(Laughter)

Kevin: And so, when I heard that, I said, “OK. I’ll do that book.” But it’s really pretty simple as, you know, God gave us marriage as an opportunity to serve one another. That word “serve” is a little touchy these days in some circles. And I think, basically, it gets down to becoming an expert or really good at just knowing what your husband’s needs are or what your wife’s needs are and – and servicing her, being a servant. And, again, talk to a group of women. I talk to women groups all the time and I say, “Servant” and, man, “Here’s our back.” They’re lookin’ at you funny. But I’ve got news for you. That’s what marriage is. It’s – it’s being a servant to one another.

Jim: Well, in your book The Intimate Connection, you mention this context of, have a lifestyle of intimacy. What does that mean?

Kevin: Well, that’s something you work toward. Uh, I’d love to tell ya that most couples in the church have an intimate marriage. But my observation is they have a his-and-her marriage. They have the married singles lifestyle. Uh, they…

Jim: Married single?

Kevin: The married singles lifestyle…

Jim: What is that?

Kevin: Well, they’re married but you wouldn’t know it because so many of the things they do are reminiscent of the single lifestyle.

Jim: So, it’s kind of like a roommate.

Kevin: In many ways – and women are the relational gurus of our society. They’re like that little rabbit that keeps goin’. They hug anything that moves.

(Laughter)

Kevin: They – they’re wordsmiths. Uh, and so many times it’s just easy with all the stress on couples today, so many men and women who have young children are in the workplace. I shake my head sometimes. I say, “How are these young couples doin’ it?” It’s just tough to find time where we can be together and share.

Jim: Well – and you say one of the biggest reasons couples, uh, feel disconnected is because they don’t understand each other. Now, I’m sure that’s not happening in your marriage after fifty-three years…

Kevin: Oh.

Jim: …to Mrs. Uppington. But…

Kevin: Uh, oh.

Jim: I mean, what – what – what’s at the root of that? You – we don’t understand each other? Is that the problem?

Kevin: They’re so weird, Jim.

Jean: (Laughter).

Jim: OK. You know Jean’s loadin’ up here, man. Just keep goin’. It’s like diggin’ your own pot there…

Kevin: But – no. But…

Jim: …Diggin’ your hole.

Kevin: Just hear me out for a second, then you can harpoon me.

Jim: (Laughter).

Kevin: They go potty in groups of six, eight…

(Laughter)

Kevin: …ten, twelve. It’s not uncommon for a woman to say, “I’m going potty. Anyone want to come along?” It’s a social event.

Jim: Men do scratch their head at that one.

Kevin: Yeah. I mean…

Jim: (Laughter) It’s a social event.

(Laughter)

Kevin: They talk, and talk, and talk, and women – you know, men like sort of the USA Today version…

Jim: (Laughter).

Kevin: Sorta because most of us as men are – like to be problem solvers…

Jim: Yes.

Kevin: …you know? And my plea to women – because they tell me, “My husband doesn’t talk.” Your husband will talk, but you have to know how to approach this dude, OK? If this is late-breaking news for ya – if you’re driving, hang on to the wheel – us men across the board – now, let me give you a disclaimer. About fifteen percent of marriages are not represented in what I’m about to tell ya. But we men, across the board, hate your questions.

(Laughter)

Kevin: We don’t like the “why” word. We get defensive. If you want your husband to talk to you – trust me on this – “Honey, could I ask your opinion about something?” There’s not a man…

Jean: Mm hmm.

Kevin: …in this building that doesn’t have an opinion. I’m not saying it’s a good opinion or a right opinion. I’m just saying we got an opinion.

Jean: That’s good.

Jim: Now that’s a good way to stage – all right, Jean. This is the dangerous part. Uh, you have a story from our – our marriage that illustrates the differences between men and women. I seem to remember, uh, it had something to do with your birthday. This is gonna be painful. Go ahead. Hit me.

Jean: Well, no. There was one year…

Jim: (Laughter).

Jean: …that I think we had spent – we had spent more money than we usually do. And I remember telling you…

Jim: …on something.

Jean: …”Jim, I don’t want you to buy me a gift for my birthday.”

Jim: Now, can I translate that?

Jean: Yes.

Jim: “I’m good. We don’t need to do anything for your birthday.”

Jean: Yes.

Kevin: Liar.

(Laughter)

Jean: Well, that – well, that’s the problem. I said, “Please don’t buy me a gift.”

Jim: Yeah.

Jean: So, my birthday comes…

Jim: (Laughter) This is bad. I’m so sorry. Do you forgive me?

(Laughter)

Jean: And – yes, I do forgive you. And -and they didn’t do anything.

Jim: “They” being me and the boys.

Jean: Right. There was no burnt breakfast in bed from the boys, and there were no handmade cards from the boys. Jim heard me telling him – he thought I was saying, “Don’t do anything.”

Jim: Well, can I – what I heard was, “You got the day off.”

Jean: What?

(Laughter)

Kevin: You know, you’re bringing up guilt feelings in me. And I always say, “Women are the guilt-gatherers of life.” But your story, Jean, painfully reminds me – the guy that’s written a lot of books on marriage and family – I bought my dear sweet bride – I can’t remember if it was a birthday present or an anniversary present, but it was a – this is just embarrassing to say – a four-place toaster.

(Laughter)

Jim: That’s awesome – not two, but four.

Kevin: Yeah, four.

John: …A four-slice toaster?

Jim: That’s incredible.

Kevin: I think about that now…

Jean: …Restaurant grade.

Kevin: …And I say, “Leman, you’re dumb as a rock.” I mean…

(Laughter)

Kevin: …”Why did you…”

Jim: Did it have a bagel setting?

Kevin: “…do that?” It – it – it was as good a toaster as you could find. But…

(Laughter)

Jim: And you’ve written the books.

Kevin: …we do stupid things. But this communication thing with women – I gotta tell ya a story about, uh, Mrs. Uppington because I had to take Lauren, our youngest daughter – by the way, Lauren was a little surprise. If you don’t know the Leman history, we had the shocker at forty-two and the surprise at forty-eight. And…

Jean: Ooh.

Jim: Wow.

Kevin: I had to take Lauren to the pediatric dentist. He was about 3’6″ tall – little guy. And I don’t know what a pediatric dentist does, to tell ya the truth, except work on little kids’ teeth, I guess. But anyway, I said, “Honey, it’s – I’m late. I got – I gotta get there. Tell me. I – I gotta know where I’m goin’.” She says, “You can’t miss it. You can’t miss it.” Now listen to this. She said, “There’s flowers in the front of the building but that’s not the entrance. You gotta go around the side entrance. You can’t miss it.”

(Laughter)

Kevin: Now Tucson, Arizona, where I live is a – a – a about a million people in the metropolitan area. “OK, then. I’ll – I’ll go now, and I’ll start lookin’ for flowers…”

(Laughter)

Kevin: Just gimme the – gimme the address. Gimme the cross streets. But, honest to Pete, that was her response.

Jim: (Laughter) “You can’t miss it.” Did you get lost?

Kevin: No. I – I finally got the address out of her. But I mean…

Jean: I think I could have found it.

Jim: (Laughter) that’s the point.

(Laughter)

Kevin: Let me give you – uh, you know I said that women are weird. I – I – one more thing that just pops into mind. And we live about two miles as the crow flies from a place called Ventana Canyon Resort. It’s a Loews – beautiful hotel. And we had two ducks fly into our pool, and those little suckers stayed there for three days.

Jim: (Laughter).

Kevin: And we have a little cocker who barked all the time at those ducks, and the ducks didn’t leave. Unbeknownst to me, my dear sweet wife calls Ventana Canyon Resort. “Hello?” “Uh, yes, this is Sande Leman. Um, I’d like you to come and, uh, get your ducks out of our pool.”

Jean: (Laughter).

Kevin: “Excuse me, ma’am?”

(Laughter))

Kevin: “Hey. Hey, Harry, pick up line one. I gotta live one.” Uh, she really thought that they were…

Jim: …Owned?

Kevin: …the property of Ventana Canyon because they do have some ducks up there, but…

Jean: That’s very sweet (laughter).

Kevin: It is sweet.

Jim: Jean woulda just fed the ducks.

Kevin: She says things that I just shake my head about sometimes.

Jim: That’s OK. She’s got a great heart.

Kevin: And so, you learn – you learn. I say, “Women lie like dogs,” with tongue-in-cheek. “I’ll be a few moments. I’ll just be a few minutes,” you know?

Jean: Oh.

Jim: (Laughter).

Kevin: That’s not gonna happen.

Jean: Oh, yes.

Kevin: But I’ve learned to sorta work out a formula to figure out – so I’m not asking her like, “What time are you gonna be home?” – and sittin’ there like an idiot, makin’ a fool of myself sayin’, “Hey, you were gonna be home two hours ago.” No. You have to understand who she is. Meet those needs as best you can.

Jim: Yeah, this is the perfect setup for the next question which I wanted to ask. Uh, you say, “True intimacy in marriage starts with recognizing each other’s needs.” That’s what you’re expressing.

Kevin: Yeah.

Jim: So, let’s dig into it. First, uh, for us husbands, identify the basic needs of women and what they are. And, Jean, you’re gonna hold him accountable, right?

Jean: Absolutely.

(Laughter)

Jim: Because you’re the one at the table representing women.

Kevin: Well, yeah.

Jim: So, you tell if – if he’s right on or not.

Jean: OK.

Kevin: Yeah. Well…

Jim: So, Dr. Leman, what are these needs that women have?

Kevin: Well, again. Just notice, I – I – I think God was the original humorist when he came up with this one – “The two shall become one” – because it’s so – we’re so different.

Jean: Yes.

Kevin: Number one for women, I think, is affection. It’s huge in a woman’s life. Number two is communication. Now, every man listening, what are we, basically, as men not great at? Number one is affection. Uh, so it’s affection, communication, commitment to the family. That’s basically what it is for women. And men are completely different. They want to feel needed, wanted, and, uh…

Jim: …Respected, appreciated.

Kevin: …Yeah. And, uh, and fulfilled – and that includes, uh, the S word – sexual. They want – they want that wife to pursue that chubby body that’s gained 14 pounds since you walked down the aisle.

(Laughter)

Kevin: And that’s just the reality of how – don’t – don’t write me a nasty letter. That’s God’s plan. That – that’s how he made us – very different.

Jim: Well Jean, let’s get to another story. I don’t know why we’ve done this, but…

John: (Laughter).

Jim: You identify closely with the need for good communication, like Kevin’s talking about. Explain that need, uh, where you and I have, you know, maybe played that out in our marriage – communication.

Jean: Well, yes.

Jim: (Laughter).

Jean: Um, I was a night person – little less of one now. But you are and always have been…

Jim: Totally morning.

Jean: …a morning person.

Jim: Totally.

Jean: And we would go to bed, and I am ready to upload all the data that has happened in my day. And, you know…

Jim: Nails on a chalkboard.

Jean: “…Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and this and that…”

(Laughter)

Jean: …And talking about my girlfriends…

Jim: Oh, my goodness, please, no, no.

Jean: …and my family, and…

Jim: I wanna go to sleep.

Jean: And that’s when I want to talk about – resolve, like, our deep relational issues…

(Laughter)

Jean: …is the moment we put our heads on the pillows. And then later with kids – that’s when I wanna talk about the problems with the kids. Well, and Jim, I mean, you finally had to…

Jim: Gently say.

(Laughter)

Jim: “You know, Jean, when my head is hitting the pillow, I’m not totally with you.”

(Laughter)

Jim: I mean, I go to sleep in, like, three minutes. It’s amazing.

Kevin: He does – he does have some political leanings. That’s very good, Jim.

(Laughter)

Jean: Yes (laughter).

Jim: Right. But it did take a while. That was probably way down the road of our marriage when…

Jean: Oh, that was – yeah.

Jim: …I – I finally had the courage to say, “I can’t really hang with you here.”

Jean: Well, but…

Jim: (Laughter).

Jean: And I, uh, just in the last week, I mean, I really had to practice this. I wanted – I – I wanted to talk to you about probably one of our sons.

Jim: Probably.

Jean: And I stopped myself because it’s bedtime.

Jim: God bless you.

Jean: I know. And I – and also, you told me that, if you start problem-solving at night at bedtime, then he can’t go to sleep.

Jim: I can’t unplug once I get into it.

Jean: And so, I mean, we had to talk about that. But you also thought…

Jim: Yeah. OK, so the other thing – early in our marriage – we were probably year number three – I can remember specifically a moment where we’re brushing our teeth in the morning together, and I’m chipper as can be because it’s morning. This is the time God…

Jean: (Laughter).

Jim: …intended for man and woman to speak. I mean, this is it. This is all good. We’re supercharged. I’m ready to take on the day for the Lord. And I noticed Jean’s not responding to me. And I thought – for a long time, I thought, “Why is she mad at me?” I mean, I’m serious. “How are you doing? You sleep well?” – nothing, not even a grunt.

(Laughter)

Jim: And I thought, she’s so mad at me, she won’t even respond to me.

Kevin: Well, you married a very pretty woman, as did I. But I’ll tell you, Mrs. Uppington in the morning, to put it bluntly, she’s got issues.

(Laughter)

Kevin: I mean, she does. And she’s got this stuff she puts on her face. I don’t know what it’s called. But it’s really – it looks – to me, it looks like, uh, poppy seed dressing or something.

(Laughter)

Kevin: And she puts it on her face, and it takes a while for the beauty to come forth. But I always kid people. I say, we’re night-and-day different. I’m like Jim. I go to bed early. And now that I’m older, I mean, I’m drooling at 8:30.

(Laughter)

Kevin: And she says…

Jim: You can make it to 8:30?

Kevin: Yeah (laughter). She says, “You can’t go to bed.” But I said, “Well, watch me.”

(Laughter)

Kevin: But I’m telling you, she’s – she’s half raccoon. She’s up till two o’clock reading. Books are some of her best friends. And I told John last night – we were visiting, and I said, at about two o’clock, she goes out and tips over the garbage in the neighborhood and then comes back to bed.

(Laughter)

Kevin: But we’re night-and-day different. I’m up early with a happy face.

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: She doesn’t like that.

Jim: So, you need to talk about those things, though. And I so appreciate Jean, you know, working to figure that out, that she can’t…

Kevin: You’re learning.

Jim: …bring up a big problem…

Kevin: It’s a learning process.

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: Just like forgiveness is a learning process.

Jean: It is.

Jim: Yeah.

John: And it’s not a personal thing if…

Jim: (Laughter).

John: If Jim falls asleep, it’s not personal, Jean.

Jean: Right (laughter).

John: It’s just something that is, right? So…

Jean: Right.

John: This is Focus on the Family. And we are enjoying a conversation today with Dr. Kevin Leman. And, uh, I think we’re getting into some of the content, Jim, of his book The Intimate Connection: …

Jim: (Laughter) I think we’re getting there.

John:Secrets to A Lifelong Romance. We want to encourage you to get a – we want to encourage you to get your copy at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Or call 800, a letter A and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Because of, uh, the humor of it all, let’s quickly restate the three things that, uh, men need to know about wives. What are the core things they need? Say them again.

Kevin: Yeah. You know, as a man, just a reminder – this is simple as ABC – affection, OK? And affection takes all different forms. It’s that little touch. It’s that single rose. It’s that little note you wrote and put a stamp on it, put it in the mail. It’s all those little – it’s that email that says, “I can’t wait to get home.” And when you walk in the door, part of affection is, “Honey, what can I do to help?” If you’ve got little ankle-biters around, I’m telling you…

Jim: (Laughter).

Kevin: She sees you as the best reliever in the national league…

Jim: (Laughter).

Kevin: …Coming to help her. And when you sit down and do nothing, the anger can build.

Jim: Hm. That’s a good point.

Kevin: And you’re getting in trouble. So again, affection, communication – and that means you take time to do that. And then, uh, commitment to the family, being a good dad – she purrs like a kitten when you’re a good dad. Believe me.

Jim: OK, now the opposite again – just to recap, um, what wives need to understand about helping the needs of her husband.

Kevin: Yeah. Ladies, I know you’re busy. You pushed six and half hours to bring this little one to life, eight and a half for that middle child. And that youngest, he just came out real quick.

(Laughter)

Kevin: OK? I get it. But you have to understand, this man – and I know some of you say, “Leman, I have four children because my husband’s the fourth one.” That’s not healthy. It’s not good. He needs to be the husband. But you got to speak well of him, especially in front of other people. You have to understand he needs to be wanted and needed by you. That’s physically and emotionally. And that leads to fulfillment. But that’s just the way it is.

Jim: No, that’s really good. You have this analogy of the tea kettle to talk about emotions. What – explain the tea kettle analogy.

Kevin: Well, you know, we tend to talk – when life happens, little cheap shots, little something, you know, a little burr under the saddle and – “Well, I’m not going to say anything about it, you know?” And, uh…

Jim: “But I’m going to remember it.”

Kevin: It simmers, and then there’s a trigger, and then it blows. And it’s sort of like – I hate to use this analogy, but I think it’s a good one – you have the flu. OK? And you say, “Man, oh” – and you throw up. And you feel better because you throw up. But when you explode, and its anger and its venom, you’ve literally thrown up on your mate. Yeah, you feel better, but what have you done? And so, it’s really important that you – to quote my favorite – one of my favorite all-time movies, What About Bob?

Jim: (Laughter).

Kevin: “It’s all about baby steps for some of us as men – baby steps.” But it – it takes a while to understand this gift, this woman. Again, I say it with tongue in cheek, but they are weird. I took – I do Fox News in New York a lot. I took Sande to New York with me recently. And there’s Nine West shoe store. Now, ladies probably know what Nine West is.

Jean: Of course.

Kevin: And she’s in there two hours, Jean. And I was in there about ten minutes, walked out, walked around Sixth Avenue and went back in and made sure she was still with us. And…

(Laughter)

Kevin: Uh, she came out two hours later – two hours later, and she doesn’t have a shoe. And she says, “We need to go to SoHo. We need to go to Sam Edelman in SoHo.” Well, if you know New York City, Manhattan and SoHo is a long cab ride away. So, like a trained seal, I find myself in SoHo. And she’s in Sam Edelman for an hour.

(Laughter)

Kevin: And that’s three hours looking at shoes. And I’m so glad I took her to New York with me. And…

(Laughter)

Kevin: But when she came out, she had two – she wears a nine and a half narrow. How many men know what your shoe size of your wife is?

Jean: Ooh, that’s good.

Kevin: Nine and a half narrow. And she had two boxes of shoes with her, and it was like she had just struck the lottery or something. She was just beaming that she had these shoes.

Jean: Aw.

Kevin: And so, I say, “You know what? She’s happy. I’m happy.”

Jim: There you go. That’s good.

Jean: That’s right.

(Laughter)

Kevin: Yeah. That’s an old adage. Isn’t it?

John: It is.

Jean: Yes.

Jim: Listen. You outline – you outline five things we need to know about feelings. Uh, what are those five?

Kevin: Well, thanks for the quiz. Number one…

Jim: (Laughter).

Kevin: Feelings aren’t right or wrong. They’re just your feelings, OK? And here -here’s what I want people really understand. When you share feelings, it draws you together. When you go down the judgment trail, now the defenses go up. That’s two of five.

Jim: So how do you do that? How do you differentiate between sharing your feelings and sharing judgment about the other person’s feelings?

Kevin: With me – this just for me. I’ve got to sit on it a while. I really do because if I just follow my feelings – and there’s another one. Everybody think about this. Just say we – we follow our feelings for the next thirty days together. OK? I’ve got news for you. We’re gonna be in the county jail together.

(Laughter)

Kevin: You can’t go through life and follow your feelings. Gentlemen, you see a good-looking chick walking down the street. Get in touch with your feelings. Now follow your feelings. You’re going to jail. Somebody cut you off in traffic. I know they got a little Christian fish on the back. That doesn’t count in my book.

(Laughter)

Kevin: But what do you feel like doing? You feel like putting them in the ditch. So, you can’t go through life – God gave us a brain. And, you know, I – I think when we get this – to, uh, problems in marriage, I – I really believe they’re – they’re basically spiritual problems. I think so many of us brought so much baggage into marriage, and we try to do this on our own. And what I’ve learned – and look at me; I’m old. I mean, I’ve learned to say to the Lord, “Come on. I need some teaching here.” And that’s where the Holy – the Holy Spirit – everybody talks about, “The Holy Spirit led me to do this and led me to do that.” The way I see it, the Holy Spirit’s a helper. And he – he helps you to move forward. So, I need a little time to sift through that.

Jim: No, that’s good. You – one of the, I thought, good tools that you talk about in the book The Intimate Connection is the 3-1-1 rule. Jean and I actually…

Kevin: Oh, yeah.

Jim: …Mentioned that, and…

Jean: Mmm hmm.

Jim: …And we’re gonna try to implement that in our communication. What is it?

Kevin: Real quickly. I mean, you can do it two minutes. It can – I call it 3-1-1. But take three minutes, and there’s an issue, OK? So, you’re gonna face each other. I mean, if you’re rich and have a Jacuzzi, more power to you.

Jean: (Laughter).

Kevin: But for the rest of us, just hold hands, eyeball to eyeball. The rules are one person speaks for three minutes. Then the next person gets sixty seconds to sort of clarify what they heard. Then that next person gets a minute to say, “Well, no. That’s not exactly what I meant. Here’s what” – it’s real simple. And it – it helps you get the feelings out. I love the example of a balloon. You blow air into a balloon. Remember when you’re a kid, you’d blow it, and sometimes it snapped in your face? Well, do you remember when you blew it, and then you took the neck of it and you made that terrible noise to bother your parents or your brother or your sister?

Jean: (Laughter).

Jim: Over and over and over again.

Kevin: But there’s a good analogy there that sometimes when that – when that stuff comes out in communication, it’s not easy to listen to because your mate’s telling you something you really need to hear. But notice that the balloon goes down. And what’s the odds of it bursting into a huge thing? Very little because you’ve let some air out. So, if that’ll help people with that 3-1-1 concept, the point is, you need to make time to talk.

Jim: Yeah. The – the other four – I mean, this is really number two of the five – is communication. Pick it up from there because we didn’t get all five.

Kevin: So again, uh, reminders – you have a right to express your feelings, OK?

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: And a lot of us were brought up in homes where when we tried to share our feelings, let’s face it, we got shot down.

Jim: Mm hmm.

Jean: Mm hmm.

Kevin: And then when you ask your mate, “Why do you feel that way?” – you heard what I said earlier. I mean, us men hate the “why” word. So, when you say, “Why do you feel that way?” you’re just being demeaning to your mate – so saying things like, “Honey, I’ll – tell me more about that. I want to understand more about how you feel,”

John: As always, some great insights, uh, from Dr. Kevin Leman talking about the power of listening and sharing feelings and we enjoyed that conversation with him. And Jim with your wife, Jean, in the studio as well.

Jim: It was great to have Jean in the studio along with Dr. Kevin Leman. We took a pretty lighthearted approach to the topic. But I want to acknowledge that this can be a point of pain for many couples, especially when it comes to trust and being able to openly share your feelings. If that’s a pain point in your marriage and you need help, I want you to know you can call us or get a hold of us. Take that step to reach out for help. Here at Focus we have counselors who would be honored to talk with you over the phone. It’s free of charge. The donors support that activity. We have marriage intensives as well. Our Hope Restored program and there are many other resources for your here. So, get a hold of us.

John: And, uh, we’re a phone call away. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or you can stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: If your marriage isn’t in crisis but you’re still missing that soul-level connection Kevin described, I highly recommend you get a copy of the book. It’s called, The Intimate Connection: Secrets to a Lifelong Romance. 

John: And Jim, what I love about Dr. Leman’s books is that they’re always so very practical—like that 3-1-1 concept that he explained near the end of the broadcast.

Jim: That’s exactly right, John. It’s exactly why I want to get this into the hands of as many listeners as possible. This book has the potential to truly revolutionize your marriage! And if you’d be willing to partner with the ministry here at Focus and make a gift of any amount, I’ll send you a copy of The Intimate Connection by Kevin Leman as our way of saying thank you.

John: Donate and get your copy of the book at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Or when you call 800-A-FAMILY. Well, on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team here, thanks for listening to Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller, inviting you back next time as we once again hear from Dr. Leman and help you and your family thrive in Christ.

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