Do you love your spouse, or do you truly cherish them? Gary Thomas encourages couples to make a daily effort to go beyond the ‘duty’ of love, and combat the natural inclination to drift apart by choosing to see the best in their spouse.
John Fuller: On the last episode of Focus on the Family, Patricia Ashley explained that her marriage was over.
Patricia Ashley: I mean when I say it was dead, I mean… that I didn’t love my husband. I didn’t hate him. I wasn’t glad to see him come. I wasn’t glad to see him go. Yeah do y’all… that’s dead, huh?
End of Recap
John: Today you’ll hear how Patricia’s marriage was not only saved, but how it began to thrive. And your host is Focus president Jim Daly. Thanks for joining us, I’m John Fuller.
Jim Daly: Yeah John, the last time we heard that Patricia’s marriage really was at that point of complete apathy. And you know, I’m sad to say, I’m sure a lot of people feel that way in their marriages right now. So, if you missed part one, I’d encourage you to ask for the CD or go get the download. Um, they’ll both have extra content that we just couldn’t fit into the time here on air.
John: Yeah, we’ve got details for you at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast or call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.
Jim: To recap part one, after five difficult years of marriage, Patricia and her husband became Christians. But that didn’t miraculously heal their relationship. They were still avoiding each other, even to the point of reading their Bibles in separate parts of the house. But then an emergency in a friend’s life led Patricia and Vernon to pray together. And when they said amen, they found that God had quickened their dead marriage, and they felt a spark. They were drawn together again. That’s amazing, but they still had issues to work on, and that’s what Patricia is going to detail today.
John: Yeah and she shares very honestly along the way. As you heard um, in the opening clip, her message is based on what the Bible has to say about marriage, and there are principles that Patricia began to apply in her relationship with Vernon. Here now is Patricia Ashley, sharing from her heart speaking to a women’s conference in Indian Wells, California on today’s episode of Focus on the Family.
Patricia: I like my daddy. And he’s just… When my daddy calls me, we literally, on the phone, laugh for about two minutes. I just be so glad to hear his voice. And he be so glad to hear mine, we just laugh.
Patricia: Do you… do you hear what I’m saying? And my mother she… if she calls me, and if my father’s at home, she will say everything she’s got to say to me before she gives him the phone. Because she knows that once he and I start talking, it’s all over.
Patricia: But do you know what? I know, and God brought me to a place, as much as I love my father and enjoy him, and I think my father’s a great man. Even when my mother used to get on his nerve, and he used to get on her nerve. Even when I used to get upset with him about some of the things he did. To me, he was always a big man. In my sight, there was nothing he couldn’t do.
Patricia: And do you know what? I had to take all of that admiration, and I had to connect that to my husband. God had to begin to show me areas, not focused on his negatives, but focus on his positives. While he’s still performing the negatives. Come on now, you saw something in him. Start focusing on his positives, and start letting him know.
Patricia: And let me tell you something. When you compliment a man, and all of them are like this, even if they crazy.
Patricia: All of ’em are like this. Giving them true, not flattery, but when you give your husband true compliments. And when you say true positive things to him, about him, it is like putting water on a plant. Do you all hear me? Even if they reject it. Even if they act like it didn’t move them. Believe me if you walk out the room and peek back at ’em…
Patricia: They like it. That’s why our daughters are able to steal our husband’s heart. ‘Cause they get out up under the car while he’s changing it. And they lay there and watch him work on the car. Come on now. My daughter’s 20 years old and… and… and there’s nothing my husband won’t do for her. And they had that kind of relationship and I wondered how does she have his heart? She would sit up at the dinner table five years old. I learned from my five-year old daughter how to deal with my husband. She would sit up at the dinner table, and she wouldn’t even have to talk. She’d just point for what she wanted, he’d get it.
Patricia: I said, “What is this?” I don’t have that kind of control. And I said, “I’m gonna watch her, and whatever she does, I’m gonna do.”
Patricia: Do you understand what I’m saying? Do you… are you all listing ladies? I’m telling you how to experience fulfillment.
Patricia: When he’d be working on the car, she would go out there and lay up under the car or lay… sit down on the side of the car and talk to him. So I started going out there, sitting at the side of the car talking. And when he’d be out in the backyard cutting the grass, she’d be walking up and down the grass with him and talking to him. And guess what? I started walking up and down the grass, and I started talking to him. Come on down.
Patricia: And when he came home from work… I’m telling you how to do it ladies. When she… when he’d come home from work, she’d run to the door and then she did this until she left home. She’d run to the door and be so glad to see him. “How you doing daddy?” Give him a big hug, and just act like her day had just begun. And guess what ladies? Hey! Do you hear me? Come on now. I felt like this girl’s got his heart, I want it. And I’m not going to compete for it ’cause I want him to have a good relationship with her. But I believe his heart is big enough for me and her. And little by little. Now at first he was suspicious and he thought I was crazy. But I was a woman on a mission.
Patricia: Do you hear me? Yes. That’s why marriages are falling apart today. Now I’m telling you. Listen, love, reciprocate.
Patricia: After a matter of time guess what started happening? Girl! Or as they say, “girlfriend.”
Patricia: I started telling him all of the good things about him. Guess what? He started telling me good things about me. I mean, it took a while. I got to be honest with you, it took a while. But God had to test me. God said, “Are you doing this to please me? Oh, you just doing it to reap the benefits” I said, “God, if I got to stand before you to give an account, to give an account…” And we’re going to do that, ladies. If you’re married, you’re going to stand before God to give an account. If you’re going to stand before God to give an account for the kind of wife that you are, get your feelings healed.
Patricia: They are hurt, some of them. Set your affections on things above. You know what happens when you do that? You stop having expectations out of your mate, and you take the stress off of your marriage. And you free him up, ’cause you know what? If there’s something wrong with you, there’s probably something wrong with him. Or if there’s something wrong with him, there’s probably something wrong with you. ’cause you chose each other.
Patricia: Yeah and… and for the most part, we, as women can see good from our perspective. And we can just see what we’re enduring and what we’re going through. But when… if we were to look at some of our relationships from our husband’s perspective, and see the world through their eyes, and feel the world through their emotions, then we would see that they have as many needs as we do.
Patricia: And it’s a mutual thing. But we must come to a place, if we’re going to experience fulfillment is to… to release our expectations and say, “God, I don’t expect him to be sensitive to me, but I expect you to be sensitive through him to me. I don’t expect him to love me unconditionally, but I expect you to love me unconditionally through him.” But God, all of my expectations is in you.
Patricia: I expect you to teach him how to be sensitive to me, as the weaker vessel. I expect you to do it through him, to me. Now come on what have… what have you done? You’ve placed that weight on God. You’ve cast those cares on God. And guess what you do? You get out of your husband’s face and you get in the face of God. You stop talking and pulling on your husband, and you began to talk and pull on God. Come on now. So the thing is, what you must do is make a decision whether or not God is able. And you can know that he’s able because of who he is. And then you must know that God is for your marriage. He’s for the success of your marriage. Whether or not you chose him or not. God would desire to choose them for us, but most of us get ahead of a God. And God has to make the wrong one, the right one. Come on now.
Patricia: But He’s able. He can do anything. We want fulfillment in our marriages. (laughs) We’ve got to look at it God’s way. We got to leave and cleave. We can’t put our marriages asunder. And then we got to know what God’s purpose is for marriages. God’s purpose for marriage is that we have companionship. But now we must have companionship with God first, because the word in Amos 3:3 says, “Can two walk together except they agree?”
Patricia: We should be able to agree spiritually first. We should be able to agree emotionally, and we should be able to agree physically. And see, for the most part, we want to go into it agreeing physically, we are attracted physically. Like I hear my daughter said, “I like men with pretty teeth.” I’m like I said, “baby, you better like more than that. you better look for more than just pretty teeth.” Come on now. And I know that she is, but that’s just one of her things. We have those kinds of things.
Patricia: We had better know that God would have us to connect in the spirit realm first. That we would agree spiritually. And if there’s not spiritual agreement in your house, begin to ask God to give it to you. Because you know what? God loves your husband more than you do. Yes, he does. And he’s more concerned with him than you are. Ask God for spiritual agreement, God knows what it takes to bring it about.
John: You’re listening today to Patricia Ashley on Focus on the Family. And coming up next, she’ll be sharing what the Bible has to say about physical intimacy in the marriage. And just a reminder, you can get a CD of this presentation with additional content to listen to again, or to share with a friend, just call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Donate as you can, and… um, we’ll send that to you as our thank you gift for being a part of the support team. You can also donate online and request that CD, focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Let’s return now to Patricia Ashley.
Patricia: And then… if we’re going to experience a fulfilled marriage as it relates to companionship, our husbands must dwell with us according to knowledge in first Peter 3:7. “And then God intended for marriage, in order that it would be fulfilled, to accomplish enjoyment.”
Patricia: We should be able to experience gratification, delight, and pleasure in our mates. But one of the reasons we don’t always experience that is because of perversion. Remember we said that everything that God said was good, man perverted it. Now from my understanding of what I’ve read in the Bible, God gave us physical intimacy as a wedding gift. Do y’all hear what I’m saying? Now, I don’t know about some of you, but you try to give the best gifts that you can find. How many of you following me? In the mind of God, the best gift that he could give to a couple was physical intimacy. And it’s big… And you get the gift of children. It’s a gift that keep on giving. You get the gift of children as a result of physical intimacy. Now, it’s been so perverted.
Patricia: First of all, we perverted by opening the gift before time.
Patricia: Yes we do. And you know you’ve done that. Slipped and opened a Christmas present for Christmas. And when it becomes Christmas, there’s no fun opening that thing up. You’ve taken all of the joy. There’s no rapture, an explosion of ecstasy. And so sometimes we can’t enjoy the gift because we’ve opened it before time. So what we have to do is we have to go back and say, “God, make this right in me. Purify me, first forgive me for defiling my relationship.” Ask God to take you back, and to sanctify that which you have defiled by lowering your moral standards and being promiscuous and fornicating before you got married. Just ask God to go back… cleanse me, forgive me, sanctify me, make me whole. And then God began to work. Some of us have been molested, and that’s why we don’t enjoy the gift. Come on now. Save and get footholds in our relationships, because we won’t respond sometimes intimately to our husbands.
Patricia: We tempt them to lust, we cause… we insight lust in them. Because we won’t respond to their needs. Sometimes we struggle. We trying to change these men, and create them, and mold them, and make them, and manipulate them, and you just end up frustrated. But God made him, and God is for your marriage. And he’s for your mate. He wants your husband to enjoy the marriage as much as he wants you to. Some of you just need to be more sensitive, and ask God to open up the… understanding of your eyes. But the key is, place all your expectations in the Lord, and know that he’s for the success of your marriage. Know that. Know that God wants us to be fruitful. Now God would have us to multiply. To have children. And ladies, if you don’t do anything else, ask God to give you his heart about having children. There is a spirit of murder in this country that hates babies.
Patricia: Now, if you’ve had an abortion, God is for you. He will heal you of the emotional, the spiritual, psychological trauma. He will forgive you. He will take away the guilt and the shame, and all that needs to be done. But we need to be committed to life. We need to start honoring women that are pregnant, and we must take a responsibility. We as women of God, especially some of you older women, the Bible… God’s goin’ get y’all. He said that the older women are supposed to teach the younger women. And they’re not doing it. The older women are to teach the younger women. You have a responsibility. You’re going to stand before God for not teaching your little women. You must go to younger women when you know they’re pregnant and you must say, “blessed is the fruit of your womb.” God has done a good thing in you, that he would trust you to nurture a life.
Patricia: We… nuh-uh, we got to do that. You got to go out of your way. I don’t care if she’s a stranger, go out and find that woman, and those babies in their wombs. Listen, I didn’t… When I get a chance, I’d bend over and talk to the baby in the womb. I said, “Baby, you are blessed. God has purpose and plan for your life. We are eagerly and… waiting for your birth with great expectation. You’re going to be a great woman or man of God.” Then I said, “My name is Pat.”
Patricia: Yes, I do. Yes, I do. Then I tell the mother. I say, “Now when this baby born it’s goin’ recognize my voice.” Do you hear what I’m saying? It’s real, it’s that real to me. It’s that real. We must make a commitment to encourage women to be fruitful, and then become extended families. Women are not having babies because we live in a selfish and an ego centric society. We don’t want to make the necessary sacrifices. My mother had five of us and we were considered a small family. Do you understand me? We must get the heart of God since that [inaudible]… we gonna stand in front of him one day anyhow. Get his heart now, and ask God to forgive us for not encouraging women when they’re pregnant and overlooking them.
Patricia: We should celebrate those women. And when you get a chance, bless these women. And encourage them. God would have that… our marriage would accomplish, that… that our husbands, the… the marriage will be protected. Let me tell you something, whether your husband is saved or unsaved…
Patricia: Do you know? Whether he’s saved or unsaved, God can use him to protect you. Because if the truth were told, by each one of you… If you can think of something, things that your husband warned you of, relationships that your husband disapproved of, and some of your other girlfriends. As that relationship developed, you found that there were things in it that was just a dead end. You ended up hurt or betrayed. Or you ended up being used. Are you in debt… and he tried to rise up to protect you by saying, “You know what? There’s something wrong with her. I don’t know what it is, but I don’t feel good.”
Patricia: And even unsaved men… I have listened to things that Christian women have told me that they’re unsaved husbands told them, and I said to myself, “It couldn’t be closer to the gospel if he hadn’t read it out of the word.” Because God will sanctify him, and anoint him, and use him to protect you. Even if he’s unsaved. Because that’s what God intended for the marriage to accomplish.
Patricia: God intended mostly for the marriage to illustrate an example of Christ and the church. Christ has joined himself to the church eternally. Forever. Christ has said to the church, “I will never, no never, leave or forsake you.” And sometimes they say, “Marriage is like flies at a screen. You got those waiting to get out. And those waiting to get in.”
Patricia: Some of us are waiting for excuses to abandon and abort our marriages. And we wait for an opportunity for our husbands to do what some of these folks tell us it’s okay to do. But if it was okay to divorce your husband because he was in founding adultery, then why do you deal with the guilt afterwards? Why do you deal with it?
Patricia: And you know you do. But let me tell you something… There is no way around the guilt, and guilt is an indicator. Just like you scream when somebody burn you with something hot, it’s an indication that there’s something wrong there. Guilt is an indication, and you have to deal with that guilt. And I have met married couples who’s now remarried… God has blessed them in a second relationship, but every last one of them that is living in the real blessings of God.
Patricia: You know why it is? Because they said that they came to a point where they submitted. And they began to realize that what it took to make the second marriage successful, the same amount of prey, I’m telling you now, the things that they were running from in that first marriage, they met in the second marriage. The things that they had to overcome in the first marriage, they were confronted to overcome. They had to still overcome those things. But now for those of you that have experienced that, and you’ve gone through it, guess what? Don’t keep that a secret.
Patricia: You should start investing into the marriages of other people. You should become men and women that’s committed to the success of other people’s marriage because you know how violent divorce is. You know how it’s a tear and you how painful it is. And you must have… God has restored you and, you are recovering in a second marriage. You have a responsibility to encourage young couples, and people whose marriages that you know are in trouble. And you know when you see folk with their marriages and you know what they look like. ‘Cause you know what you looked like. You know how you felt. You can listen to women, you can look at women and tell when they’re in pain. And when they’re going through. Come on now, this is tight. But I’m telling you what God say.
Patricia: Do you hear me? We have got to do this God… get in God’s face. Don’t take my word for it. Get it from him, ask God.
John: And with those wise words we come to the end of a two-part presentation from Patricia Ashley, who has shared very honestly how God restored her marriage when it felt completely dead. And the biblical principles that she employed.
Jim: What a testimony, John. Um… as we’ve said, Patricia and Vernon were able to celebrate over 45 years of a thriving marriage until his death in 2018. And that’s our goal, to help your marriage not just survive, but to thrive in Christ. And like we said last time, if you’re in an abusive relationship, it’s important that you get to a place of safety for yourself and your children. But keep praying for your spouse and for their healing. And if that’s your situation, please call us to talk to a counselor. It’s completely free thanks to our donors.
John: And the number is 800-A-FAMILY, (800) 232-6459. Uh, call us and request that one of our counselors give you a call back.
Jim: Uh, you know, um… The last time we aired this program, John, we heard from a listener who said, “When I heard your podcast, my marriage was at an all-time low. The speaker, Patricia, said her marriage was dead. And I thought, finally, someone who understands me. I learned so much about what God says about marriage, and am living my days with a better outlook, trying to apply these principles. I thank God for you, Focus on the Family.”
John: Oh, well…
Jim: Well, isn’t that good?
John: That is. And that’s just one of hundreds of calls and emails we received in response to this show.
Jim: That’s right. And our research shows that over the past year, we’ve helped over 100,000 couples throughout North America navigate and survive a major marital crisis. And almost 600,000 couples have built a stronger and more satisfying marriage. And… we expect those numbers to go up thanks to our four-day intensive experience called Hope Restored, where couples who are on the brink of divorce can find healing. And it has a success rate of over 80% when we talked to them two years later. That’s amazing. So, if Focus on the Family has touched your marriage, would you please consider making a donation? We operate off of donation, and a gift of 30 dollars will help us save one marriage. When you make a donation of any amount, we’d like to send you a CD of today’s program with Patricia Ashley. And that will include some extra content that you won’t want to miss. So, get in touch with us today.
John: Yeah, you can reach us when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459, or donate online and request that CD at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And when you’re online with us, look for some web extra audio that we’ve posted. Uh, Patricia offers a little bit further explanation of a husband’s need for intimacy in marriage. And coming up next time on this broadcast, Stephen Arterburn offers advice for spiritual and emotional healing from difficult circumstances.
Stephen Arterburn: You have to experience both the sadness and the anger or the great disappointment, and you have to talk about it, and you have to open up about it, and admit it to yourself. And when you do that… when you’re talking about that reality, it just frees you.
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