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

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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

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 2 of 2)
Original Air Date: March 3, 2020

Episode Transcript

Excerpt:

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 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 P.I., the private investigator into what this woman or man is all about.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: Dr. Kevin Leman is back with us today on Focus on the Family. And your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly. Thanks for joining us. I’m John Fuller.

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.

Jim: (Laughter) 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 outlaws 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: A lot of great insights.

Jim: And we’re going to, uh, kick it into day two and continue that discussion.

John: And if you missed any part, uh – and if you missed any of part one, 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 – all at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. 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, fifty times or more.

Jim: (Laughter).

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 focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Kevin and Jean, welcome back.

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

Kevin: I enjoyed yesterday, and I think I’m going to enjoy today. That was fun talking about how God made us different…

Jim: (Laughter).

Jean: Yes.

Kevin: …And trying to do a better job of becoming one.

Jean: Yes.

Jim: (Laughter) 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.

(Laughter)

Kevin: Well, God bless her pea-picking little heart.

Jean: …And broadcast guest.

(Laughter)

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?

Kevin: 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: (Laughter).

Kevin: 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.

(Laughter)

Jean: I wasn’t an only child, but…

Jim: She knows the right way.

Kevin: Afterward, we need to discuss your birth order of your family because there’s – there’s something amiss there…

Jean: Oh, yes. That’s a…

Kevin: …That you could do what you’ve done in life and not be the firstborn. That’s a baffler to me. But, uh, the cholerics are the, uh, “Do it my way.” So, you’ve got “Do it the right way.” You’ve got “Do it my way.” Those guys are psychological first cousins.

Jim: (Laughter).

Kevin: They’re very, very similar.

Jim: So choleric in the birth order – where does that usually fall?

Kevin: The firstborn.

Jim: The firstborn as well.

Kevin: Yeah. And, again, all you firstborn children who are listening, you got in trouble for what your younger sister and brother did. “I don’t care what you did. You’re the oldest. I expect more out of you.” So, a lot of leadership comes from the firstborn, OK? And then, of course, you have the phlegmatics. Now, if there’s one thing I’d hate to be called in life…

(Laughter)

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

Jean: It does.

Jim: (Laughter).

Kevin: 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. 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.”

Jim: Yes.

Kevin: But here’s what’s interesting in marriage…

Jim: I – I identify with that.

Kevin: Oh, yeah.

Jim: There’s only one way – the fun way.

Kevin: We’re sanguine.

(Laughter)

Kevin: But you married the list maker.

Jean: Yes.

Kevin: I always tell people, “Sande and I, we live in a two-story house – her story and mine.”

(Laughter)

Kevin: We – we do see things so differently.

Jean: Oh, yes.

Kevin: And I call her the Martha Luther because she’s the great reformer.

(Laughter)

Kevin: And it’s like I’m the leopard, and she’s gonna take out her psychological Brillo pad and start working on my spots. 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 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 P.I., the private investigator into what this woman or man is all about.

Jean: That’s important.

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

Kevin: So, let me – let me ask you a question. Because those firstborns – you know who you are – you know exactly how life ought to be. Your husband is driving. He hangs a simple left-hand turn. It is only you can say, Martha Luther, is “Why’re you turning here?”

(Laughter)

Kevin: You’ve got a better plan. And so, remember, competition in marriage is not good. Marriage is not a competitive sport.

Jean: Right.

Kevin: 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.” And without that role definition, I think you’ll kill each other.

Jim: Well, in fact, competition – that does pop up even when you don’t assume that you’re competitive.

Kevin: Right.

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

Jean: I do.

Jim: (Laughter).

Jean: It was our – our first year of marriage.

Kevin: Oh, 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 was 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.

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

Jean: (Laughter) Well, that’s another broadcast. That’s another broadcast.

(Laughter)

Kevin: A long honeymoon.

Jim: It was a long – it was wonderful. I remember one time – this is so funny. So, Jean, you know, she has attributes where she – she likes a little solitary time.

Jean: Needs – needs.

Jim: You know, we’d been together 24/7 for months. And she said – at one point, she said, “I’m going to go to the store and just get a few things that we need.” And I said, “Well, I’ll come with you.” And she looked at me and said, “No. No, you – you could stay here at the hotel. I’m just going to go do this.”

John: (Laughter).

Jean: I was – I was dying.

Jim: I said, “You don’t like me?” We’d been together 24/7 for like five months at this point (laughter).

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

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

Jean: That wasn’t the competitive part, but it was the same trip. And while we are doing this multimedia show with three large screens. 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 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. And Jim runs over and does it for me.

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

Jean: Yes, right (laughter).

Jim: The bulb was in. It was up. We were going.

Jean: But a couple of things happened. One, I was – I was put out.

Jim: (Laughter).

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? Twenty-five years old…

Jim: Mmm hmm.

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

Jim: …Fiercely competitive (laughter).

Jean: Yes.

Jim: Let me put it that way.

John: (Laughter).

Jean: I didn’t realize that.

Jim: Yeah, she’s…

Kevin: Well, a lot of achievers in life need to owe up to the fact that they are competitive by nature – and many times at their spouse’s expense or other people’s expense.

Jean: Oh, yes.

John: Yeah.

Jean: Sure.

Kevin: But, uh, you know, here’s the question for a couple who struggles with competition, “Who’s winning in your marriage?”

Jim: And it should be the other one.

Kevin: Yeah.

Jean: Right.

Kevin: And there’s no winner.

Jean: Right.

Jim: Some people are…

Jean: No one is.

Jim: …still thinking, “Well, I’m not sure.”

Kevin: It’s a team sport.

Jean: Oh.

Jim: It’s your spouse that should be winning.

Kevin: Yeah.

John: 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 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: Kevin let me ask you – the – the – the power games that go on.

Kevin: Oh, there’s…

Jim: I mean, it’s…

Kevin: A lot of those.

Jim: …Human nature.

Kevin: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, you know the Scripture is 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. It just came out naturally.”

Jean: Right.

Jim: That’s a great observation.

Kevin: I like it.

Jim: Kids just know to cover up…

Kevin: Yeah.

Jim: You know, even something like that, like a cookie. Um, but you outline several of the power games that couples play with each other. Describe the game you call turtle shell mambo (laughter).

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

Jim: Yes, that’s a lot of men.

Kevin: Yeah. A lot of us men withdraw.

Jim: Men, we pull in.

Kevin: And its sort of 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.

Kevin: “…until I – I feel like I’m safe again.”

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

Kevin: 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 you say, “Honey, I can tell that something’s eating you. Uh, I don’t know if you want to talk about it now,” and this goes back to granting your spouse respect because you may want to talk about it now because you see something going on. But if you’re like Jim Daly and you go to – want to go to bed early…

Jim: (Laughter).

Kevin: …you don’t want to take on life’s troubles at 8:30.

Jean: Right. That’s good advice.

Kevin: “Maybe tomorrow would be better, Honey.” Or surprise them. When was the last time you, as a wife, sent your husband an email that said, “You know, I stopped at Victoria’s Secret and picked up a little something. It’s a 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. First Peter 3:7 says, “Live with your bride, you know, with understanding.” Well, ladies, let me tell you something about that husband of yours. He has no friends. He has associates.

Jim: Mmm.

Jean: Right.

Kevin: He has bowling associates. This goes back to our arms-length. And – and younger men today who are listening, thank the Lord, you do have friends now. Men are much better…

Jean: That’s true.

Kevin: …husbands today than they used to be. But some of us, for the older generation, middle age on up, a lot of us don’t have friends. You’re it. And I’m pointing to Jean, you know.

Jean: Mm hmm.

Kevin: 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’ve got the man that’s gonna strike back and be angry. One of ’em I call “Dump truck, dump truck, who’s got the dump truck?” And you sort of dump on your mate. It’s sort of like you have steer manure in a little dump truck. And you had a bad day, so you’re gonna find your wife and push that magic button and watch that big thing go “Rrrrr” and dump steer manure on your wife. And again, you’ve unloaded your load all right, but what have you done to your spouse? Or how about, “No, Honey, you go ahead and play golf. I’ll stay home here with your – with your mother. Hope you have a great time.” Actually, what you’re saying is, “I hope you lose your three iron and break your seven iron.”

(Laughter)

Kevin: And so…

Jim: And your leg while you’re at it.

Kevin: But a lot of things are just sort of 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 3-1-1 we talked about is so important.

Jim: Last time, yeah…

Kevin: Last time, yeah.

Jim: You can get a copy of that and download it. But so how does – how does a couple start feeling like a team? We’ve kind of isolated how the – how would they get into this pit.

Kevin: Yeah.

Jim: But how do they turn that around? Let’s say you have someone listening right now who may go home tonight at the dinner table and say, “Honey, I heard Dr. Leman on Focus today.”

Kevin: “I’ve been thinking about some things, and, you know, I think I’ve, uh, made a lot of mistakes.” So, the first thing is – is that – “You know, honey, 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. “I think we’ve gotten off the beaten path. When was the last time we prayed together? When we the last time we did this?” And – and start talking positive instead of negative. Don’t be bashing or pointing fingers. 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.

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

Jean: That’s good.

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

Kevin: Yes.

Jim: …who are in trouble.

Kevin: I know of 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 more humorous, uh, component of that. But Jean, you and I (laughter) had great communication error when we were at some water park. Uh, you want to let people know about – this is so funny. This is classic, Kevin. And I’d love your input on this one.

Jean: Oh, my. It doesn’t make me look very good. Um, our family was at a water park. And we arrived around lunchtime. We were going to 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 and order – probably order…

Jim: Some lunch.

Jean: …Get a table and – well, so I went to that first snack shack, and they didn’t have French fries…

Jim: (Laughter).

Jean: …To go with my veggie burger.

(Laughter)

Jean: And I really wanted French fries. So, I knew that line was long for the locker. 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.

Kevin: I can see it coming.

Jean: (Laughter).

Jim: Yeah. Although we communicated at this point. And she was going to run along to look for these, you know, French fries from somewhere. And I said, “OK, 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, “OK. Let’s meet back here.”

Jean: Yes. And so that…

Jim: And what happened after that?

Jean: That place didn’t have French fries.

(Laughter)

Jean: And so, they told me the next place. So, I was thinking, I’m probably not going to get to the table in time. But I think I actually thought that Jim would somehow know that I was sequentially going from snack shack to snack shack.

Jim: I think she was in another country at one point.

Jean: And so…

(Laughter)

Jean: I’m gone. And there’s long lines. And…

Jim: First hour goes by.

Jean: OK. No – well…

Jim: (Laughter).

Jean: I don’t know how long it was. And I get back to the table.

Kevin: The French fries were important.

Jean: And there’s no Jim and the boys.

John: (Laughter).

Jim: The boys were long gone.

Jean: They were gone. And so, I realize they’re not there. I go to the lockers. They’re not anywhere to be found. And I – this is just bizarre. I kind of start panicking. I didn’t know what locker they had. My – I had no identification. I had no money. I – 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 going to have to sleep in the water park, that they’re not going to let me out (laughter).

Jim: I’d say fear had gripped you.

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

Jim: (Laughter) Well, I had sat there literally for maybe an hour and a half, hour and forty-five minutes.

Jean: You didn’t (unintelligible)

Jim: I did. It was, like, that long. And so, then I decided she’s lost. My little wife is gone. So, I walked this whole water park looking under every bridge on the thing and, you know, every ride. I’m looking at the lines. I must have spent another hour looking for her. I come back to the very table. And Jean (laughter) – Jean and I meet at the table. And she’s mad at me (laughter).

Kevin: Oh, yeah.

Jim: She’s, like, uncorked.

Kevin: These Jim and Jean stories.

Jim: She says, “How could you leave me? How could you leave me?” I’m going, “I was here for, like, an hour and 45 minutes waiting for you. Then I went looking for you on this 300-acre lot. I’ve been looking for you for the last three hours.”

Jean: OK. But I don’t know if I’ve ever told you this…

John: (Laughter).

Kevin: Is this going to create a fight? Wait a minute.

Jean: …Speaking of communication – no.

John: This is good.

Jean: You know what the real problem was?

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

(Laughter)

Jean: OK. No. And it wasn’t – well, OK.

Kevin: Oh, it is going to be a fight.

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

Jim: We’ll meet at the table.

Jean: I do definitely have a problem with that. No. I was feeling insecure about my body and that set me off for the whole day. I’m not kidding. And my – my body was really covered with long-sleeve rash guard and board shorts. And there was only one other woman in the water park who was more covered than me from head to toe. That is why I went wacko that day. That’s what really was the last problem.

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

Kevin: I think I can make you both feel better if I told you that I lost my fourteen-year-old daughter Holly in New York City when I was doing The Phil Donahue Show in Bloomingdale’s and had to call Mrs. Uppington and say…

Jean: Oh.

Kevin: “I have a problem.” “And what’s the problem, honey?”

Jean: Oh.

Kevin: “Was the show delayed?” “Uh, no. The problem’s Holly.” “Oh, honey, what’s the problem?” “Uh, I don’t know where she is.”

Jean: Oh.

Kevin: “You what?” So, I can identify with you.

Jean: Right.

(Laughter)

Jean: But I was a grown woman.

Kevin: I know.

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

Kevin: 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.

Kevin: …because you marry your families.

Jean: That’s right.

Kevin: And you marry – whatever garbage was there, you bring at the altar. And you have to work through those things early in your marriage, or you’re going to end up paying for it. It’s going to pop up from time to time. But, you know, 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…

Jean: Absolutely.

Kevin: …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.” 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.

Kevin: 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 taken emotional notes, spiritual notes on – on what life’s all about. They take their ques 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…

Kevin: Women want men to read their minds.

Jim: (Laughter).

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

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

Jean: Right? I had to learn that.

Jim: Thank you.

Kevin: One of my favorite all-time things happened in my life when my wife says, “Honey, do you want to stop for ice cream?” And I said, “Uh, no.” I kept driving. Two minutes later, she’s crying.

(Laughter)

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

(Laughter)

Kevin: And so, when a woman says, “Jim, do you want to stop for ice cream,” she’s not asking a question.

(Laughter)

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

(Laughter)

Kevin: Yeah, see…

Jim: Thanks a lot, Kevin.

Kevin: Yeah. By the way…

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

Kevin: I’ll tell you what I’m going do. I’m going to stay a couple extra days…

(Laughter)

Jean: Yes. Thank you.

Kevin: …in Colorado Springs. And I’m going to help you two.

(Laughter)

Jean: Thank you.

Jim: Finally, after thirty-three years of marriage…

Jean: Thank you.

Jim: Hey. 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 loving your partner a daily choice. Those are good ideas.

Kevin: Yeah. Embrace…

Jim: Fill in the blanks.

Kevin: Embrace the differences.

Jim: Don’t let ’em irritate you.

Kevin: 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 you how much I dislike Barbra Streisand, did I?

(Laughter)

Kevin: But…

Jim: Didn’t know.

Kevin: 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.

Kevin: That this is a couple? It’s not a competitive event.

Jean: Yes.

Kevin: 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. “OK, there’s some things I need to do.” Maybe it’s the husband. But what would you say to that person where the intimacy – and I’m not talking just physical intimacy.

Kevin: No.

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

Kevin: Well, I know how they feel because I talk with them all the time, still.

Jim: And what do they do?

Kevin: And they feel isolated, and 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?

Kevin: They’re an elder in the church. “What are people going to think? And – 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.

Kevin: …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.

Kevin: “Their wedding picture mocked them from the table, those two whose minds no longer touched each other. They lived 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 their 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 other – from the stranger – each retreated from the stranger on the other side. For when love dies, it’s not a moment of angry battle, nor when fiery bodies lose their heat. It lies panting, exhausted, expiring at the bottom of a wall it could not scale.”

John: Hmm.

Jim: Don’t let that happen.

Kevin: That’s sad. Don’t let it happen.

Jim: Yeah. Don’t let that happen, and do whatever you need to do…

Kevin: Yeah.

Jim: …Which includes, contact us here at Focus on the Family for help. We’re here for you. I don’t want to belabor it, but, uh…

Kevin: Yeah, and The Intimate Connection is a very simple book. Men read it. Women read it. If you don’t need it, somebody does. Trust me.

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: Somebody you know needs that book.

Jim: And to that effect, I mean, if you can support the ministry, we’ll send you, uh, Dr. Leman’s book as our way of thanking you for being a partner with us. If you can’t afford it, uh, we’ll trust that others will cover the expense. Just get in touch with us. We’ll send it to you. And, uh, we’re committed to your marriage. And, uh, we know, if you’re listening, you are as well.

John: And our phone number is 800, the letter A and the word family. Or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Uh, Kevin, it’s been great to have you back, always good to see you.

John: Oh, my pleasure to be here. I – I love being at Focus. I’m just glad to help.

Jim: And Jean, thank you for being here. This was fun.

Jean: Well, I also enjoy…

Jim: (Laughter).

Jean: …being on the broadcast.

Jim: And we’ll continue.

Jean: And I love being here with Dr. Leman as well – and you…

(Laughter)

Jean: …And John.

John: Her favorite author.

Jim: We’ll continue to talk tonight at the dinner table.

Jean: Yes.

Jim: (Laughter) All right. Thank you both.

John: And to our listeners, thank you again for joining us. It’s been a special time and do make in plans to tune in next time as we hear from Jonathan McKee. He’ll be offering advice for parenting your teenage boy.

Teaser:

Jonathan McKee: Hang out with them and look for those opportunities to just enter their world, love on them, and engage in meaningful conversation about the stuff that matters. The more we invest in them, then they’re going to navigate some of these conversations with you. And that’s where values are passed on.

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