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Focus on the Family Broadcast

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

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

Dr. Kevin Leman: And ladies, this man, it’s who he is. Your job is to get behind his eyes, see how he sees life. Your job, gentlemen, is to get behind your wife’s eyes, and to really, to understand what makes Jean tick. And she’s not like any other women, so when you and I are talking about women today or men, keep in mind, all men are not the same. All women are not the same. That’s your job that God’s given to you to be the, the PI, the private investigator into what this woman or man is all about.

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 wanna ask all the guests, there’s probably 10 or 12 people around us, what do you think the record is for the longest marriage, the world’s longest marriage? Anybody? Just yell it out.

Audience member: Maybe 75 years.

Jim: 75. Anybody else?

Audience member: 82.

Jim: 82. That’s a good guess. Anybody? Okay. 87 years. Think of that!

Audience member: Wow.

Jim: 87 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 105.

John: That is incredible.

Jim: (laughs)

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

Dr. Leman: (laughs).

Jim: 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.

John: 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 50 years.

Dr. Leman: 53 years in a row.

John: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

John: Well, Kevin, it’s-

Jim: You’re only halfway there, man.

Dr. Leman: Yeah.

Jim: (laughs)

John: 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. And I thought three dudes sitting here talking about marriage and what women think, we need a woman here to represent the better half. So Jean is join us. Jean, it’s great to have you here.

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

Jim: Kevin, good to have you back.

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

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: Uh, that’s been a tip across the board. Listen to your wives.

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

Jean: Oh, I like that.

Dr. Leman: They’re closer to life than we are.

Jim: (laughs) 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?

Dr. Leman: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: Well, I got to tell you this. When they asked me to do this book, (laughs) I had a conversation with Mrs. Uppington, my bride. Her real name is Sande, but my nickname for her is Mrs. Uppington ’cause 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.”

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: And so when I heard that, I said, “Okay, I’ll do that book.” But it’s really pretty simple, is, 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, ears are back. They’re looking at you funny. But I 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?

Dr. Leman: Well, that’s something you work toward. Uh, I’d love to tell you 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 single’s lifestyle. Uh, they love-

Jim: Married single.

Dr. Leman: The married single’s lifestyle.

Jim: What is that?

Dr. Leman: 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.

Dr. Leman: In many ways. And women are the relational gurus of our society. They’re like that little rabbit that keeps going. Uh, they hug anything that moves.

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: They, they’re wordsmiths. Uh, and so many times, it’s just easy with all the stress on couple today, so many men and women who have young children are in a workplace. I shake my head sometimes. I say, “How these young couples do 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 53 years to Mrs. Uppington, but-

Dr. Leman: 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?

Dr. Leman: They’re so weird, Jim.

Jim: (laughs) Okay, you know Jean’s loaded up here, man.

Dr. Leman: Uh, no.

Jim: Just keep going. It’s like digging your own pot there-

Dr. Leman: No, but-

Jim: … digging your hole.

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

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: They go potty in groups of six, eight, 10, 12.

Jim: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: 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.

Dr. Leman: Yeah. I mean-

Jean: (laughs)

Jim: It’s a social event (laughs).

Dr. Leman: (laughs) They talk and, and talk, and talk, and women… You know, men like sort of the U.S.A. Today version. Sor- sort of… ‘Cause most of us as men are, like to be problem solvers.

Jim: Yes.

Dr. Leman: You know, and my plea to women, ’cause they tell me, “My husband doesn’t talk,” your husband will talk, but you have to know how to approach this dude, okay? If this is late breaking news for you, if you’re driving, hang onto the wheel. Us men, across the board… Now, let me give you a disclaimer. About 15% of marriages are not represented in what I’m about to tell you. But we men, across the board, hate your questions.

Jim: (laughs)

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

Jean: That’s good.

Jim: Now, that’s a good way to stage it. 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: (laughs)

Jean: … that I think we had spent… We had spent more money than we usually do, and I remember telling you-

Jim: Or 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.

Dr. Leman: Liar.

Jim: (laughs)

Jean: Well, that… Well, that’s the problem. I said, “Please don’t buy me a gift.” So my birthday comes-

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

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

Jim: They, being me and the boys.

Jean: Th-… 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: (laughs) Uh-

Dr. Leman: You know, you’re bringing up guilt feelings of 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.

Jim: (laughs) That’s awesome. Not two, but four. I love it.

Dr. Leman: Yeah, a four-slice toaster.

Jim: That’s incredible.

Dr. Leman: I think about that now-

Jean: Restroom break.

Dr. Leman: … and I say, “Leman, you’re dumb as a rock.” I mean, why did you-

Jim: Did it have a bagel setting?

Dr. Leman: … do that?? It, it, it was as good a toaster as you could find.

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: But we do stupid things.

Jim: And you’ve written the books.

Dr. Leman: But this communication thing with women, I’ve got to tell you a story about Mrs. Uppington, because I had to take Lauren, our youngest daughter… By the way, Lauren was a little surprised. If you don’t know the Leman history, we had the shocker at 42, and the surprise at 48. And-

Jim: Wow.

Dr. Leman: I had to take Lauren to the pediatric dentist. He was about 3 foot, 6 inches tall. Little guy. And, I don’t know what a pediatric dentist does to tell you the truth except work on little kids teeth I guess. But anyway, I said, “Honey, it’s… I’m late. I, I got to get there. Tell me, I, I got to know where I’m going.” She goes, “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’ve got to go around the side entrance. You can’t miss it.”

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: Now, Tucson Arizona where I live is a, a, a, I don’t, a million people in a metropolitan area. “Okay, then. I’ll, I’ll go now, and I’ll start looking for flowers.”

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: Just give me the, give me the address. Give me the cross streets. But honest to Pete, that was her response.

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

Dr. Leman: No, I, I finally got the address out of her, but, I mean-

Jean: I think I could have found it.

Jim: (laughs) That’s the point.

Jean: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: Let me give you… You know, I, I said that women are weird. 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: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: 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. Um, yes, this is Sande Leman. Um, I’d like you to come and, uh, get your ducks out of our pool.”

Jean: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: “Excuse me, ma’am? Hey, hey Harry, pick up line one. I got a live one.” Uh, she really thought that they were owned the property of Ventana Canyon because they do have some ducks up there. But-

Jean: That’s very sweet.

Dr. Leman: It is sweet.

Jim: Jean would have just fed the ducks.

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

Jim: It’s okay. She’s got a great heart.

Dr. Leman: 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: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: That’s not gonna happen.

Jean: Oh, yes.

Dr. Leman: But I’ve learned to sort of work out a formula to figure out so I’m not asking her, like, “What time you gonna be home,” and sitting there like an idiot making a fool of myself saying, “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 set up 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.

Dr. Leman: Yeah.

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

Jean: Absolutely.

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

Dr. Leman: Well, yeah.

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

Dr. Leman: Yeah.

Jean: Okay.

Jim: So, Dr. Leman-

Dr. Leman: Well, if-

Jim: … what are these needs that women have?

Dr. Leman: God was the original humorous when he came up with this one: the two shall become one. Because it’s so, we’re so different. 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.

Dr. Leman: Yeah. And, uh, and fulfilled. And, and that includes, uh, the S word.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Leman: Sexual. They want, they want that wife to pursue that chubby body that’s gained 14 pounds-

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: … since you walked down the aisle. And that’s just the reality of how… Don’t, don’t write me a nasty letter. That, 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, uh, 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: (laughs)

Jean: I, 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, and this, and that, and talk about my girlfriends-

Jim: Oh, my goodness.

Jean: … and my family.

Jim: Please, no, no.

Jean: And, like, and-

Jim: I want to go to sleep.

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

Jim: (laughs)

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

Jim: Gently say-

Jean: (laughs)

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

Dr. Leman: (laughs)

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

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

Jim: (laughs)

Jean: (laughs) Uh, yes.

Dr. Leman: Right.

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

Jean: That was… Yeah.

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

Jean: Well, but, and, 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, ’cause it’s bedtime. And-

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. Okay, 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, ’cause it’s morning. This is the time God intended for man and women to speak. I mean, this is it. This is all good. We’re supercharged.

Jean: (laughs)

Jim: I’m ready to take on the day for the Lord. And I notice, Jean’s not responding to me. And I thought for a long time, I, I thought, “H-… Why is she mad at me?” I mean, I’m serious. “How you, how you doing? You sleep well?” Nothing. Not even a grunt.

Jean: (laughs)

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

Dr. Leman: 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.

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: 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.

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: But she puts it on her face, and it takes a while for the beauty to come forth. But I always tip people, I say, “We’re night and day different.” I’m like Jim. I got to bed early. And now that I’m older, I mean, I’m drooling at 8:30.

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: And she says-

Jim: You can make it to 8:30?

Dr. Leman: Yeah. She says, “You can’t go to bed.” But I said, “Well, watch me.”

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: But I’m telling you, she’s, she’s half raccoon. She’s up ’til 2:00 reading. Books are some of her best friends. And I, I told John last night, we were visiting, and I said, “About 2:00, she goes out, tips over the garbage in the neighborhood, and then comes back to bed.”

Jim: (laughs)

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

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Leman: 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, you know, that-

Dr. Leman: You learn-

Jim: … she can’t bring up a big problem.

Dr. Leman: It, it’s a learning process.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Leman: Just like forgiveness is a learning process.

Jean: Yeah.

Jim: Yeah.

John: And it’s not a personal thing. If, if Jim falls asleep, it’s not personal to Jean.

Jean: Right.

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 were getting into some of the content, Jim, of his book, The Intimate Connection: Secrets to a Lifelong Romance. Uh, we want to encourage you to get your copy at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or call 800, the 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.

Dr. Leman: Yeah. You know, as a man, just a reminder, this is simple as A, B, C. Affection, okay? 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, she sees you as the best reliever in the national league coming to help her. And when you sit down and do nothing, the anger can build, and-

Jim: Hm, that’s a good one.

Dr. Leman: … you’re getting in trouble. So again, affection, communication, and that means you have to have time to do that. And then, uh, commitment to the family. Being a good dad. Uh, she purrs like a kitten when you’re a good dad, believe me.

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

Dr. Leman: Yeah. Ladies, I know you’re busy. You pushed six and a half hours to bring this little one to life, eight and a half for that middle child. That youngest, he just came out real quick, okay? I get it. But you have to understand this man, I know some of you say, “Leman, I have four children ’cause my husband’s the fourth one,” that’s not healthy. It’s not good. He needs to be the husband. But you’ve got to speak well of him, especially in front of to her people. You have to understand he’s needs to be wanted and needed by you, that’s physically and emotionally, and that leads to fulfillment. That’s just the way it is.

Jim: You know, that’s really good. You have this analogy of the tea kettle to talk about emotions. What… Explain the tea kettle analogy.

Dr. Leman: Well, uh, you know, we tend to talk… When, when life happens, little cheap shots, little something, you know, it’s a little burr under the saddle, and “Well, I’m not gonna say anything about it,” you know, and, uh-

Jim: But I’m gonna remember it.

Dr. Leman: … 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, okay? And you say, “Man, oh.” And you throw up, and you feel better because you throw up. But when you explode and it’s anger and its venom, you’ve literally thrown up on your mate. Yeah, you’ll feel better, but what have you done? And so it’s really important that you, to quote my favorite, one my my favorite all-time movies, What About Bob-

Jim: (laughs)

Jean: (laughs) Oh.

Dr. Leman: … 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 sa-… I, 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.

Dr. Leman: And she’s in there two hours, Jean, and I was in there about 10 minutes, walked out, walked around 6th Avenue, and went back in, and made sure she was still with us, and-

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: … uh, she came out two hours later, two hours later, and she doesn’t have a shoe.

Jean: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: 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.

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: That’s three hours looking at shoes, and I’m so glad I took her to New York with me. And-

Jean: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: But when she came out, she had two… She wears a 9.5 narrow. How many men know what your shoe size of your wife is? 9.5 narrow.

Jean: That’s good.

Dr. Leman: 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.

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

Jim: There you go. That’s good.

Dr. Leman: That’s an old adage.

Jim: (laughs) I’m just kidding. Listen, you outline, you outline five things we need to know about feelings. Uh, what are those five?

Dr. Leman: Well, thanks for the quiz. Number one-

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: … feelings aren’t right or wrong. They’re just your feelings, okay? And he- here’s what I want people to 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?

Dr. Leman: Well, with me, this, this is 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… E- everybody think about this. Just say we, we follow our feelings for the next 30 days together. Okay. I got news for you. We’re gonna be in a county jail together.

Jean: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: 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 cuts you off in traffic, I know they got a little Christian fish on the back. That doesn’t count in my book. But what do you feel like doing? You feel like putting them in the ditch. So you can’t go through life… G- God gave us a brain, and, you know, I, I think when we get to s- 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 in the 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, “Lord, come on. I need some teaching here.” And there’s where the Holy s-…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 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-

Dr. Leman: Oh, yeah.

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

Dr. Leman: Real quickly. I mean, you can do it two minutes. It can… I call it 3-1-1, but think three minutes, and there’s an issue. Okay, so you’re gonna face each other. I mean, if you’re rich and have a jacuzzi, more power to you. 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 60 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…” 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 were a kid, you’d blow it and sometimes it snapped in your face? Well, 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?

Jim: Over and over and over again.

Dr. Leman: 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 that 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, ’cause we didn’t get all five.

Dr. Leman: So again, reminders. You, you have a right to express your feelings, okay?

Jim: Yup.

Dr. Leman: 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. 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, uh, tell me more about that. I want to understand more about how you feel.”

John: Well, as always, some wonderful insights from Kevin Leman about listening and sharing your feelings in marriage. And, uh, this great content comes from his book, The Intimate Connection: Secrets to a Lifelong Romance.

Jim: Now, John, it was so fun having, uh, my wife Jean, uh, here as well. I think Kevin’s message today is very clear. Healthy, loving marriages don’t just happen. It takes a lot of intentionality to stay connected emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Uh, Kevin’s book, The Intimate Connection, is a great way to start that process. Um, a great book of guidance is how I would say it. Send a gift of any amount to Focus on the Family, and we’ll get a copy out to you right away. And if you can make a monthly contribution or a pledge, that will really help us even out the whole year of budget. We need committed financial partners who will go the distance with ongoing support so we can produce helpful content each and every month, like this program, providing counseling and so many other resources for families. Please give monthly if you can. Uh, a one-time gift is good, but let me say monthly is best. And let me also say thank you in advance for your generosity.

John: Mm-hmm, right. And, uh, our number is 800-A-FAMILY. Uh, you can donate and request Kevin’s book at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Another helpful resource we have for you is our Loving Well podcast series with Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley. Uh, we’ve just released season seven of the series exploring how you can have a happier marriage, and, uh, cut business from your schedule so you prioritize time with your spouse. All the details about the Loving Well podcast and all the other great resources we have to help you and your marriage will be found at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening to Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back next time as we hear more from Dr. Leman, and once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

The Intimate Connection

The Intimate Connection: Secrets to a Lifelong Romance

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