Focus on the Family Broadcast

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

Discovering the Secrets to a Lifelong Romance (Part 2 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 2 of 2)
Original Air Date: March 3, 2020


Dr. 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 Preview

John Fuller: That was Dr. Kevin Leman. He’s back with us today on Focus on the Family with Jim Daly, and what a fitting topic for Valentine’s Day, discovering the secrets to a lifelong romance. And we’ve got Jean Daly here as well. I’m John Fuller, and thanks for joining us.

Jim Daly: Hey, we all want to have a marriage where we’re free to share our deepest thoughts, feelings, and dreams with our spouse. And when we’re dating, it’s easy to talk about that for hours, right, Jean?

Jean Daly: Absolutely.

John: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs) And, uh, that’s what happens. We talk about those things and we develop that intimacy, and then we get busy. We get married, we have the kids, and we’re paying the bills and we’re taking care of the house, and the in-laws, and the out-laws, and everything else. And that’s why I’m really grateful that last time we started a discussion with Dr. Kevin Leman on his book The Intimate Connection. I invited Jean to join us, my great wife, and it was a great conversation, I thought, John.

John: Lots of energy.

Jim: There was.

John: Lot of great insights.

Jim: And we’re gonna, uh, kicking it into day two and continue that discussion.

John: And if you missed any of part one, uh, do go online. We’ve got links to it. You can, uh, download it, see the YouTube version, and, uh, also get the mobile app if you’d like, uh, all at And, uh, as was mentioned, Dr. Leman is a prolific speaker, author, and psychologist. He does a lot of TV and radio. He’s been here, I think, 50 times or more.

Jim: (laughs)

John: And, uh, always a popular guest with our audience. Uh, he’s written a book called The Intimate Connection: Secrets to a Lifelong Romance, and, uh, we’re offering that today to you at

Jim: Kevin and Jean, welcome back.

Jean: Well, thank you. It’s wonderful being back.

Dr. Leman: I enjoyed yesterday and I think I’m gonna enjoy today. That was fun talking about how God made us different and-

Jim: (laughs)

Jean: Y- yes.

Dr. Leman: … trying to do a better job of becoming one.

John: Mm.

Jim: (laughs) It was a lot of fun. I’m laughing about all the one-liners you had but it was great. Jean, uh, has said you’re probably one of her most favorite authors so I’m a little jealous. (laughs)

Jean: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: (laughs) Well God bless her pea-picking little heart.

Jean: And broadcast guest.

Jim: So that’s a great place to start. But, Kevin, one secret you identify that can lead to a stronger, healthier marriage, so the listeners are leaning in, and that is to understand your spouse’s temperament. Um, what’s that mean? I think I understand that, but how and why is that important?

Dr. Leman: Well, you know, we’re all wired differently. Uh, people come out of the womb differently. There’s four personality types that have been, uh, talked about for years and that’s the melancholic. Now I’m the guy that wrote The Birth Order Book and whenever I think about the melancholic I think of the only children. We’re gonna do it the right way.

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: And some of you are married to people who know exactly the right way to do things.

Jean: I’m a little offended by that.

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: (laughs)

Jean: I wasn’t an only child, but.

Jim: But she knows the right way.

Dr. Leman: Yep, yeah. (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Jean: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: Afterward we need to discuss your birth order of your family ’cause there’s, there’s something amiss there-

Jean: Oh, yes. There’s a lot.

Dr. Leman: … that you could do what you’ve done in life and not be the first-born. That’s a baffler to me, but, uh, the cholerics are the do it my way. So you got the do it the right way, you got do it my way. Those guys are psychological first cousins.

Jim: (laughs)

Jean: Hmm.

Dr. Leman: They’re very, very similar. They-

Jim: So choleric in the birth order. Where does that usually fall?

Dr. Leman: The first-born.

Jim: First-born as well.

Dr. Leman: Yeah.

Jim: Okay.

Dr. Leman: And, and again. All you first-born children who are listening, you got in trouble for what your younger sister and brother did. I don’t care what you did.

Jean: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Leman: You’re the oldest. I expect more out of you. So a lot of leadership comes from the first-born, okay? And then, of course, you have the phlegmatics. Now, if there’s one thing I’d hate to be called in life-

Jean: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: … it’s a phlegmatic. It sounds like something you would get in the ocean that would stick to your skin and you couldn’t get rid of it.

Jean: It does.

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: I mean, I never liked that term but those are those adorable middle children who are the peanut butter and jelly of the sandwich. They’re the, the best part. Uh, the, the, they, they mediate. They, they’re peacemakers. They go with the flow. And, and then of course there’s the sanguines like Kevin Leman and that’s do it the fun way. But here’s what’s interesting in marriage-

Jim: Yes. I, I identify with that.

Dr. Leman: Oh, yeah.

Jim: There’s only one way. The fun way.

Jean: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: Oh, you are sanguine.

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: But you marry the list maker. I always tell people-

Jean: Yes.

Dr. Leman: … Sande and I, we live in a two-story house. Her story and mine.

Jean: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: Uh, w- we do see things so differently.

Jean: Oh, yes.

Dr. Leman: And I call her the Marth- Martha Luther ’cause she’s the great reformer.

Jim: (laughs)

Jean: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: She, and, and it’s like I’m the leopard and she’s gonna take out her psychological Brillo pad and start working on my spots.

Jim: (laughs)

Jean: Ah.

Dr. 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 get behind your wife’s eyes and to really 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.

Jean: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Leman: 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.

Jim: Yeah, it’s so true. Let me, let me s-

Jean: That’s important.

Jim: Let’s bring it back to the temperaments because I think it’s important that we, u- uh, get a basic understanding that our spouse’s temperament can help deescalate conflict. I mean it gives you a framework for understanding triggers and other things.

Dr. Leman: Here’s the key, and I’m so glad you asked that question because those first-borns, you know who you are, you know exactly how life oughta be. Your husband is driving. He hangs a simple left-hand turn and as only you can say, Martha Luther, is, “Why ya turning here?”

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: You got a better plan.

Jean: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: And so, remember, competition in marriage is not good.

Jean: Mm.

Dr. Leman: Marriage is not a competitive sport.

Jean: Right.

Dr. Leman: Nobody wins in marriage and so my advice is have a good role definition in your marriage. “Honey, I’ll do this and you do that and we’ll come together on these other things.” Without that role definition I think you’ll kill each other.

Jim: Once that competition that does pop up even when you don’t assume that you’re competitive.

Dr. Leman: Right.

Jim: Jean, you have a story about that, I think, early in our marriage.

Jean: I do.

Jim: (laughs)

Jean: That was our, our first year of marriage.

Dr. Leman: Those are always fun.

Jim: Yes.

Jean: Oh, my. And we, Jim and I, were working for a company and we traveled around the country-

Jim: This is a great first year thing to do.

Jean: … showing, uh, multimedia presentations, motivational drug and alcohol abuse-

Jim: Programs at high schools. Yeah.

Jean: Right. On… Yeah.

Jim: So we went to 17 states in nine months. We had days off. It was great.

Jean: (laughs) Well that’s another broadcast.

Dr. Leman: A long honeymoon.

Jim: (laughs)

Jean: That’s another broadcast.

Jim: It was a l- it was wonderful. I remember one t-

Jean: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: … one time, this is so funny. So Jean, you know, she has attributes where she, she likes a little solitary, you know.

Jean: Needs. Needs.

Dr. Leman: All right.

Jim: We’d been together 24/7 for months.

Dr. Leman: Yeah.

Jim: And she said, w- at one point she said, “I’m gonna go to the store and just get a few things that we need.” And I said, “Well I’ll come with you.” (laughs) And she looked at me and said no.

Dr. Leman: Yeah.

Jim: “No, you, you can stay here at the hotel. I’m just gonna go do this.” (laughs)

Dr. Leman: Mm-hmm.

Jean: I was, I was dying.

Jim: I was like, “You don’t like me?”

Dr. Leman: Yeah. (laughs)

Jim: I mean we g- we’ve been together 24/7 for like five months-

Dr. Leman: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: … at this point. (laughs)

Jean: I just needed to go to the store alone.

Jim: (laughs)

Jean: (laughs)

Jim: Anyway, but that wasn’t the competitive part.

Jean: It wasn’t the competitive part but it was the same trip and w- while we are doing this multimedia show with three large screens, it-

Jim: It was, it had all these elements. It had, uh, you know, the, uh, what do you call those things?

John: Slide projectors, and-

Jim: Slide projectors. We had nine slide projectors. We had a movie projector. And it all had to sync.

Jean: We had a computerized projector.

Dr. Leman: Yeah.

Jim: Right.

Jean: And Jim and I would take turns running the different sides of that and this day I was doing the nine slide projectors and the reel-to-reel and w- if a lamp went out, if a light bulb went out-

Jim: You’re in trouble.

Jean: … part of the screen would go black. So you quickly had to pull that out and put in a new one, and so that was my job and, and I was trying to do it-

Jim: Yeah.

Jean: … and Jim runs over and does it for me.

Jim: It was like, you know, karate style. Voo, voo, voom.

Jean: Yes. (laughs) It was.

Jim: The bulb was in, it was up, we were going.

Jean: (laughs) It was. But a couple of things happened. One, I was, I was put out.

Jim: (laughs)

Jean: I was really miffed and felt like, you know, “What? I’m not good enough? I can’t do this by myself?” But I also was really pretty horrified that I felt that with my newlywed husband. I did not know I was competitive. I was, what, 25 years old?

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Jean: And did not know that about myself until that moment.

John: Yeah.

Jim: Fiercely competitive. (laughs)

Jean: Yes, a little bit. (laughs)

Jim: Let me put it that way.

Jean: I didn’t realize that.

Jim: Yeah. I mean, she’s sh- yeah.

Dr. Leman: Well, a lot of achievers in life need to owe up to the fact that they’re competitive by nature and many times that their spouse’s expense-

John: Mm.

Dr. Leman: … or other people’s expense.

Jean: Oh, yes.

John: Yeah.

Jean: Sure.

Dr. Leman: Yeah, but, uh, h- here’s the question for a couple who struggles with competition. Who’s winning your marriage?

Jim: And it should be the other one.

Dr. Leman: Yeah. And-

Jean: Right.

Dr. Leman: … there’s no winner. I- it-

Jean: Right. No one is.

Jim: Some people are still thinking, “Well I’m not sure.” (laughs)

Dr. Leman: It’s a team sport.

Jim: It’s the oth-

Jean: No.

Jim: Your spouse that should be winning.

Dr. Leman: Yeah.

John: Uh, let me follow up on that in just a moment. But let me tell our listeners we have, uh, Dr. Kevin Leman’s book at our website and we really encourage you to get it. It’ll be great to work through as a couple. Uh, it, it addresses so many different topics. It’s called The Intimate Connection: Secrets to a Lifelong Romance. Uh, we’ll send you a copy. Give us a call. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Uh, Kevin, let me ask you, uh, the, the power games that go on.

Dr. Leman: Oh, a lot of those.

Jim: I mean it’s almost human nature.

Dr. Leman: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, y- you know, the scripture’s pretty clear that we’re sinful creatures. I mean, that’s how we come along. In fact, Jean mentioned to our boys the other day, and I thought it was a good observation with Troy, our youngest. She said, you know, “We didn’t teach you how to lie about eating a cookie when you shouldn’t.”

Dr. Leman: (laughs)

Jim: It just came out naturally.

Jean: Right.

Jim: That’s a great observation.

Dr. Leman: I like it.

Jim: Kids just know to cover up.

Dr. Leman: Yeah.

Jim: You know, even something like that, like a cookie. Um, but you outlined, um, several of the power games that couples play with each other. Describe the game you call Turtle Shell Mamba. (laughs)

Dr. Leman: Yeah, I like that one because I know if, if I get upset, my first reaction is to get quiet.

Jim: Yes.

Jean: Mm.

Jim: That’s a lot of men.

Dr. Leman: Yeah, a lot of us men withdraw.

Jim: Men, we pull in.

Dr. Leman: And it’s sorta like, “Well, you go ahead and do whatever you want but you can flip me on my shell but I’m not coming out-”

Jean: Right.

Dr. Leman: “… until I, I feel like I’m safe again.”

Jim: What does a woman do in that case when she feels her husband withdraw?

Dr. Leman: All right. You see a pattern. These aren’t isolated things. A pattern or a man withdraws and when he withdraws, you know that something’s going on that he’s not happy with. It may not be you. It might be something that happened at work. But she’s like, “Honey, I can tell that something’s eating you. Uh, I don’t know if you wanna talk about it now.” And this goes back to granting your spouse respect.

Jim: Mm.

Dr. Leman: Because you may wanna talk about it now because you’ve, see something going on. But if you’re like Jim Daly and you go, “Well, I’ll go to bed early,” you don’t wanna-

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: … take on life’s troubles at 8:30.

Jean: Right. That’s good advice.

Dr. Leman: Maybe tomorrow’d be better, honey. Or surprise him. When was the last time you as a wife sent your husband an email that said, “You know, I stopped at Victoria Secrets and picked up a little something. It’s a s- little surprise for you but you’re gonna have to wait till Saturday.” Here’s a principle in marriage. Anticipation is as good as or better than participation. 1 Peter 3:7 says, “Live with your bride with understanding.” Well, ladies, let me tell you something about that husband of yours. He has no friends. He has associates.

Jim: Mm.

Jean: Right.

Dr. Leman: He has bowling associates. This goes back to our arm’s length and, and younger men today who are listening. Thank the Lord you do have friends now. Men are much better husbands-

Jean: That’s true.

Dr. Leman: … today than they used to be but some of us of the older generation, middle age on up, lot of us don’t have friends. You’re it. And I’m pointing to Jean.

Jean: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Dr. Leman: You know, and a lot of us as men, we have all this stuff that we deal with and it eats us up and we need somebody to unload it to, and sometimes it comes out in dangerous forms. So you got the man who’s gonna withdraw. You got the man that’s gonna strike back and be angry. One of them I call, “Dump truck, dump truck. Who’s got the dump truck?” And you sorta dump on your mate.

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: It’s sorta like you have steer manure and a little dump truck and you’ve had a bad day-

Jean: Right.

Dr. Leman: … so you’re gonna find your wife and push that magic button and watch that big thing go… and dump store manure on your wife. And again, you’ve unloaded your load all right, but what have you done to your spouse?

Jean: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Leman: Or how about, “No, honey, you go ahead and play golf. I’ll stay home here with your mother. Hope you have a great time.”

Jean: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Leman: Actually what you’re saying is, “I hope you lose your 3 iron and break your 7 iron.”

Jim: (laughs)

Jean: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: And so-

Jim: And your leg while you’re at it. (laughs)

Dr. Leman: Yeah. (laughs) But a lot of things are just sorta cheap shots but they’re just, they’re symptoms that, “Hey, you haven’t been paying attention to me. You have not been affectionate to me. You haven’t been communicative with me.” So all these things are gonna come to the surface if you don’t deal with them and that’s why that 311 we talked about is so important.

Jim: Last time. Yeah, you can get a-

Dr. Leman: Last time, yeah.

Jim: … copy of that and download it, but so how, how does a couple start feeling like a team? We’ve, uh, kind of isolated how the, how would they get into this pit.

Dr. Leman: Yeah.

Jim: But how do they turn that around?

Dr. Leman: I think-

Jim: Let’s, I mean someone listening right now may go home tonight at the dinner table and say, “Honey, I heard Dr. Leman on Focus today.”

Dr. Leman: Yeah. “I’ve been thinking about some things and, you know, I think I’ve, uh, I’ve made a lot of mistakes.” So the first thing is is that-

Jean: Mm.

Dr. Leman: … and you know, and I, “I don’t know what I’m talking about. I might be way out in left field here, but…” and then you slip her the commercial announcement. Or you slip him the commercial announcement. “But I think we’ve gotten off the beaten path. When was the last time we prayed together? When was the last time we did this?” And, and start talking positive instead of negative. Don’t be bashing or pointing fingers.

Jean: Right.

Dr. Leman: Use some I statements. “I feel bad that we’re in this position today. I mean, let’s be honest. I mean, do you feel as close to me right now as you’d like to?”

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Leman: “Well, no.” “Well, I don’t either.” “Well, let, let’s figure this out together.”

Jean: That’s good.

Jim: You know, we have a, a great, uh, intensive program for married couples-

Dr. Leman: Yes.

Jim: … who are in trouble.

Dr. Leman: I know about it.

Jim: And a lot of them have signed divorce papers, but one of the things that I’ve learned just observing that is so much of this gets down to communication. I mean we just don’t, uh, learn how to communicate with each other effectively and in fact, I mean, this is a m- more humorous, uh, component of that, but Jean, you and I had that great (laughs) communication error when we were at some waterpark. Uh, you wanna let people know about… This is so funny.

Jean: (laughs)

Jim: This is classic, Kevin, and I’d love your input on this one.

Jean: Oh, my. It s- doesn’t make me look very good. Um, our family was at a waterpark and we arrived around lunchtime. We were gonna get lunch. We’re first in line for a locker and the line, all the lines, were really long. So Jim stayed in the locker line and, uh, we agreed that I would go to the first snack shack-

Jim: (laughs)

Jean: … and order, probably order-

Jim: Some lunch. Yeah.

Jean: … get a table and, well, so. I went to that-

Dr. Leman: (laughs)

Jean: … first snack shack and they didn’t have french fries-

Jim: (laughs)

Jean: … to go with my veggie burger. (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Jean: And I really wanted french fries. So I knew that line was long for the lockers. So I thought I-

Jim: Oh, this gets bad. Hang on.

Jean: So I thought I had enough time to run to the second snack shack.

Dr. Leman: I can see it coming.

Jean: (laughs)

Jim: Yeah. Although we communicated at this point and she was gonna g- run along to look for these, you know, french fries from somewhere. And I said, “Okay. Let’s just meet back here at this table.” This is a huge like 300-acre place, and you get lost in this place, you’re done. And so Jean said-

Jean: Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Jim: … “Okay, let’s meet ba- back here.”

Jean: Yes. And so that-

Jim: And what happened after that?

Jean: That place didn’t have french fries. (laughs)

Dr. Leman: (laughs)

Jean: And so they told me the next place, so I was thinking I’m probably not gonna get to the table in time, but I think I actually thought that Jim would somehow know-

Dr. Leman: Hmm.

Jean: … that I was sequentially going from snack shack to snack shack.

Jim: I think she was in another country at one point. I don’t… (laughs)

Dr. Leman: (laughs)

Jean: And so I’m gone and, uh, there’s long lines and-

Jim: First hour goes by.

Jean: Okay. N- uh, well…

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: Hey-

Jean: I don’t know how long it was.

John: Those french fries were important. (laughs)

Jean: And I get back to the table and there’s no Jim, and the, and the boys, they were gone.

Jim: The boys were long gone.

Jean: And so I realized that they’re not there. I go to the lockers. They’re not anywhere to be found, and I… This is just bizarre. I kinda start panicking. I didn’t know what locker they had.

Jim: (laughs)

Jean: My, I had no identification. I had no money. Uh, my cellphone was probably in the locker. And I became like this lost five-year-old little girl and I’m like panicked. I think I’m thinking I’m gonna have to sleep in the waterpark, that they’re not gonna let me out. (laughs)

Jim: I’d say fear had gripped you.

Jean: Fear, uh, yes. And I’m walking around the park for two hours and we can’t find each other, okay, and, and I even went to the lounge chairs where we’d put our towels and stayed there for a while. Okay, Jim, when we finally did meet, what happened?

Jim: (laughs) Well, I had sat there f- uh, literally for maybe an hour and a half, hour 45 minutes.

Jean: You didn’t. (laughs)

Jim: I did. It was, uh, like that long. And so then I decide she’s lost. My little wife is gone.

Jean: (laughs)

Jim: So I walk this whole waterpark looking under every bridge on the thing and, you know, every ride. I’m looking at the lines. I must’ve spent another hour looking for her. I come back to the very table and Jean, (laughs) Jean and I meet at the table and she’s mad at me. (laughs)

Dr. Leman: Oh, yeah.

Jean: (laughs)

Jim: She’s like on court.

Dr. Leman: These Jim and Jean stories.

Jim: She’s like, “How could you leave (laughs) me? How could you leave me?” I’m going, “I was here for like an hour and 45 minutes waiting for you and then I went looking for you-”

Dr. Leman: I know, yeah.

Jim: “… on this 300-acre lot. I’ve been looking for you for the last three hours.”

Jean: Uh, okay. But I don’t know if I’ve ever told you this.

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: Is this gonna create a fight? Wait a minute.

Jean: We can have communication.

John: This is good. This is good.

Jean: No. You know what the real problem was?

Jim: Yes. You can’t stick to the plan. (laughing)

Jean: Okay, no. And it wasn’t-

Dr. Leman: Oh, it is gonna be a fight.

Jean: Well, okay. That is, that’s true. I do have a problem with that.

Jim: We’ll meet at the table.

Jean: Okay. I do definitely have a problem with that. No. I was feeling insecure about my body.

Jim: That’s the first time I’ve ever heard that.

Jean: Okay. I was. And that made me feel insecure and that set me off for the whole day. I’m not kidding. And my, my body was really covered with long-sleeved rash guard and board shorts and there was only one other woman in the waterpark who was more covered than me from head to toe. That is why I went wacko that day.

Jim: (laughs)

Jean: That’s what really was the problem.

Jim: This is the first time I’ve heard this.

Jean: I mean, talking about communication, had I started the day by saying, “Jim, we’re going to a waterpark. I’m feeling insecure about my body.” It would’ve changed the entire day.

Dr. Leman: It gets back to taking the time to communicate the reality of what I’m feeling inside. And lots of times for a lot of different reasons, and I think this goes back to how we grew up, how we saw mom and dad, what we brought, the baggage we brought in. I always remind people, “It’s not two people who got married. It’s at least six.”

Jim: Huh.

Dr. Leman: ‘Cause you marry your families and you’ll marry what, whatever garbage was there-

Jean: That’s right. That’s right.

Dr. Leman: … you bring to the altar and you have to work through those things early in your marriage or you’re gonna end up paying for it. It’s gonna pop up from time to time. But, you know, the, the Lord we serve is a great God. He wants what’s best for us and like I said earlier, I think most of our marriage problems are spiritual problems. We just try to gut it out on ourselves-

Jean: Absolutely.

Dr. Leman: … without saying, “Lord, I need your help. Holy Spirit, help me, guide me. Let me say the things that I need to say.” Before I came here today at my hotel I issued a very short prayer. “Lord, just help the words glorify You.”

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Jean: That’s right.

Dr. Leman: And it’s easy to try to glorify yourself or to be selfish. That’s the carnal part of man. But it takes that daily commitment to work toward oneness to be a real couple, and if you do, your kids are taking emotional notes, spiritual notes on, on what life’s all about. They’re t- take their cues from you.

Jim: Well, Jean, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t know you well enough to, uh, handle that differently.

Jean: Well, no. You couldn’t read my mind. And that’s a, that’s a really-

Dr. Leman: Women want men to read their minds.

Jean: I know.

Jim: (laughs)

Jean: And, and it took me a long time in marriage to realize how unfair that is, that Jim can’t read my mind, and that I need to tell him my expectations or I-

Jim: You do that a lot better than we used to that, so.

Jean: Right. I had to learn that and, and-

Jim: Thank you.

Dr. Leman: One of my favorite all-time things happened in my life when my wife says, “Honey, do you wanna stop for ice cream?” And I said, “Uh, no.”

Jean: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: I kept driving. Two minutes later she’s crying.

Jean: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: I go, “What’s wrong with you?” “I wanted to stop for ice cream.”

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Leman: So when a woman says, “Jim, do you wanna stop for ice cream?” She’s not asking a question.

Jim: (laughs)

Jean: (laughs)

Jim: This takes us all the way back to yesterday about Jean’s birthday. (laughs)

Dr. Leman: Yes, it does. (laughs)

Jim: Thanks a lot, Kevin. (laughs)

Dr. Leman: Yeah. By the way-

Jean: Right.

Jim: That’s terrible.

John: All you had to do was take some ice cream.

Dr. Leman: I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I’m gonna stay a couple extra days-

Jim: (laughs)

Jean: (laughs) Yes, thank you.

Dr. Leman: … in Colorado Springs and I’m gonna help you two.

Jean: (laughs) Thank you.

Jim: Finally, after 33 years of marriage.

Dr. Leman: (laughs)

Jean: Thank you.

Jim: Hey, uh, we have covered a lot of ground but let’s think of the takeaways for the listener. What are just three or four things, Dr. Leman? Uh, you mentioned treat your partner as a gift, making, uh, loving your partner a daily choice. Those are good ideas.

Dr. Leman: Yeah.

Jim: Fill in the blanks.

Dr. Leman: Embrace, embrace the differences. A-

Jim: Don’t let them irritate you.

Dr. Leman: Well, the things that you’re attracted to early in your dating are sometimes the things that really do irritate you later on. But embrace the idea of oneness. Embrace the idea that you really do need each other. I never told ya how much I dislike Barbra Streisand, did I?

Jean: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs) No.

Dr. Leman: But sh- she, she sang a song called People. People who need people are, what, the luckiest people in the world. Do you realize as a couple you really need each other?

Jean: Yes.

Dr. Leman: That this is a couple. It’s not a competitive event.

Jean: Yes.

Dr. Leman: And so working together and not pointing fingers, but saying, “Honey, let’s work on this together.” And that I love you never goes out of style. Neither does basic courtesy in marriage.

Jim: Yeah. You know, I’m thinking of that. Either husband or wife and I’ll use the wife because I think it leans that direction most often where she doesn’t feel connected any longer emotionally, spiritually, maybe even physically. She’s drawn into this conversation. “Okay, there’s some things I need to do.” Maybe it’s the husband. But what, uh, would you say to that person where the intimacy, and I’m not talking just physical intimacy, just-

Dr. Leman: No.

Jim: … the connection between the two of them is evaporated.

Dr. Leman: Well, I know how they feel ’cause I talk with them all the time still. And-

Jim: And what do they do?

Dr. Leman: They feel isolated. They feel trapped. They don’t know which way to go. They’re a deacon in the church.

Jim: So what’s that drop of water? What, yeah?

Dr. Leman: They’re an elder in the church. What are people gonna think? And we have nothing to say to each other. I would love, and we probably don’t have time, but I would love to read a poem to you guys.

Jim: Do it.

Dr. Leman: If I may. It’s called The Wall. Just listen to it and it represents so many couples today and it saddens my heart to think about this.

“Their wedding picture mocked them from the table, those two, whose minds no longer touched each other. They live with such a heavy barricade between them that neither battering ram of words nor artilleries of touch could break it down. Somewhere, between the oldest child’s first tooth and the youngest daughter’s graduation, they lost each other. Throughout the years, each slowly unraveled that tangled ball of string called self, and as they tugged at stubborn knots each hid his searching from the other. Sometimes she cried at night and begged the whispering darkness to tell her who she was. He lay beside her, snoring like a hibernating bear, unaware of her winter. She took a course in modern art, trying to find herself in colors splashed upon a canvas, complaining to other women about men who are insensitive. He climbed into a tomb called “the office,” wrapped his mind in a shroud of paper figures and buried himself in customers. Slowly, the wall between them rose, cemented by the mortar of indifference. One day, reaching out to touch each other, they found a barrier they could not penetrate, and recoiling from the coldness of the stone, each retreated from the stranger on the other side. For when love dies, it’s not in a moment of angry battle, nor in, when fiery bodies lose their heat. It lies panting, exhausted, expiring at the bottom of a wall it could not scale.”

Jim: Whoo. Uh, that’s quite an indictment about husbands and wives who have allowed too much time and distance to pass between their relationship and I can only say one thing in response. Don’t let that happen to you. Do everything you can to protect your marriage. Contact Focus on the Family for help today. We’re here for you. We have Christian counselors who can help. Uh, so many resources for your family and you as a couple. And we have Hope Restored, which is our marriage intensive, uh, for couples who are about ready to give up. Let me just add, that has an 80+% save rate when we go back and do our survey work two years later. Uh, don’t be in that situation. Contact us today and let’s see what God wants to do to transform your marriage.

John: We’re a phone call away. Uh, our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Or you can find out more about Hope Restored and all the great resources we have for you at

Jim: And let me also recommend Kevin’s book, The Intimate Connection. There is so much encouragement and practical advice that will help you. We’ll be happy to send you a copy when you make a monthly pledge of any amount to Focus on the Family today. And monthly giving really helps us balance the budget for those important resources and campaigns that we are planning for marriages and parenting and working to rescue pre-born babies and so much more. It evens things out for us. So please consider a monthly pledge to Focus today. A one-time gift is also good if that’s where you’re at. We really appreciate your partnership in ministry with us.

John: And you can make your monthly pledge when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Or, uh, again, donate and request Dr. Leman’s book at And you’ll find additional resources for your marriage at our website including our Loving Well podcast series featuring Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley. There’s a lot of great content in each episode. You can find out more on the website. Uh, coming up tomorrow, Lisa Harper offers encouragement for anyone who’s praying in midst of a challenging circumstance.

Lisa Harper: The two biggest miracles I’ve seen with my own eyes that happened in our family were on the other side of waiting, on the other side of waiting a long time.

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

Today's Guests

The Intimate Connection

The Intimate Connection: Secrets to a Lifelong Romance

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