It takes just $60 to save a preborn baby from abortion. But with nearly a million babies facing abortion this year, we must act now. Your $60 gift today will provide an ultrasound to a mother considering abortion and help her choose life. Don’t delay, save a life.

Choose the amount you'd like to give.

It takes just $60 to save a preborn baby from abortion. Your gift today will provide an ultrasound to a mother considering abortion and help her choose life.

Choose the amount
you'd like to give.

Focus on the Family Broadcast

How Waffles and Spaghetti Can Build a Stronger Marriage (Part 2 of 2)

How Waffles and Spaghetti Can Build a Stronger Marriage (Part 2 of 2)

Bill and Pam Farrel discuss differing approaches men and women take on marriage. They offer practical marital advice on how spouses can understand one another’s differences and even delight in them. The Farrels discuss communication challenges couples face — how women tend to address multiple topics and emotions all at once while men want to address one subject at a time. They describe how men and women can learn to relate to each other’s different styles and needs. (Part 2 of 2)
Original Air Date: May 19, 2023

Bill Farrel: You know, you mentioned people don’t have waffles and spaghetti at the same time.

Jim Daly: Not typically.

Bill: A-and it actually is kinda the point (laughs).

Jim: (laughs).

Bill: ‘Cause one of the big points of our book is if you wanna get your needs met in marriage, you need to take turns.

Jim: Ah.

Bill: And if you take turns meeting each other’s needs, it tends to go really well. If you try to force them to get met at the same time, you tend to get in conflict.

John Fuller: Well, that’s Bill Farrel, uh, describing how husbands and wives interact in marriage, often coming from very different perspectives. And maybe you’ve seen some of those differences in your relationship. Bill and his wife Pam are back with us today on Focus on the Family. And thank you for joining us as well. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller.

Jim: And John, we had a fun conversation last time with Bill and Pam about common differences between men and women and, uh, if you’re scratching your head saying there really is no difference with me and my spouse, look a little deeper. (laughs) It’s gotta be there. And as we shared last time, uh, these are God designed differences. I think He did this on purpose. I’ve often thought and, uh, I think Gary Thomas wrote about this, but I often thought, Lord, why did you bring opposites together and then we irritate each other. And of course, the idea is to become more like Christ; to become more selfless and more like Him. That’s, I think, the bottom line reason that the institution of marriage exists spiritually for us to be less self-focused and man it just, it is so hard because we’re such selfish creatures. And this is great material to better understand one another and to better understand what’s the goal. Um, you know, we discussed how men tend to be single focused, operating out of, uh, one box at a time, thus the waffle analogy. And then women are like spaghetti, all connected and thinking and throwing stuff at us that we can’t control or understand (laughs) or solve and that can create conflict.

John: Yeah, and, uh, our audience always resonates with Bill and Pam. This has really been a, a popular best-selling book, uh, that we’re talking about again today. Men are Like Waffles, Women are Like Spaghetti: Understanding and Delighting in your Differences. Stop by our website, or give us a call to get your copy. 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. And the Farrels are, uh, best-selling authors as I mentioned. They have, uh, experienced a lot of different things in life. They’ve been pastors and speakers and, uh, life coaches, counselors, and I think you’ll really benefit from what they have to share today.

Jim: Bill and Pam, welcome back.

Bill: It’s good to be back with you.

Pam Farrel: It’s great to be here.

Jim: (laughs).

Bill: Yeah.

Jim: It’s so much fun, uh, it just puts a smile on my face thinking about the conversation. And, uh, I’m looking forward to kicking it off again today. Let’s start with the topic of romance. And everybody just turned the r- the radio up or their-

Pam: (laughs).

Jim: … their iPhone up, or whatever.

Bill: Or the radio down (laughs).

Jim: Uh, romance, yeah, that’s the topic. How do our gender differences impact the ways we approach romance in marriage?

Pam: Well, because men love to succeed, one of the best ways to romance a man is to, um, help him succeed and lower his stress. So if you can do both those things, he’s gonna feel loved. And, um, so, w- I always encourage that we should tie together his favorite easy boxes, you know?

Jim: (laughs).

Pam: Every man has some favorite boxes, so knowing what your husband’s spirit boxes are. For example, if I wanted to, um, romance Bill, I would put together like a sports box because all of our boys ended up playing sports and maybe a football game, some tickets. I would take him to his favorite, you know, healthy, good for you restaurant. That’d be box number two. And then box number three, we haven’t mentioned as much yet, but that is, um, God has a way of helping us girls recognize that stress in men’s life and how to lower it. And that is, guys like to go their favorite easy boxes to rest and rejuvenate. And God kinda helped us out in that most of these boxes actually are shaped like boxes. The TV screen is shaped like a box, a computer screen is shaped like a box.

Jim: (laughs).

Pam: The baseball diamond, the basketball court, the football field shaped like a box-

Bill: Garage.

Pam: … the garage-

Jim: (laughs).

Pam: … is shaped like a box.

Bill: Refrigerator.

Pam: The refrigerator’s shaped like a box.

Jim: (laughs).

Pam: The bed is shaped like a box.

Jim: Okay, we got the point.

Pam: Yeah.

Bill: (laughs).

Pam: That bed box is like a favorite box for husbands to go to when they’re stressed. It’s like the free square in the middle of a bingo card. They can get there from every other square on their waffle.

Jim: (laughs).

Pam: So, if I wanna romance Bill, that means I’m gonna tie together that football box, that wonderful food box, and then-

Bill: Bingo.

Pam: … bingo box.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Pam: Uh, in fact, he would give you the tickets to-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Pam: … that pro-sports football game-

Bill: Enjoy the game.

Pam: … make sure that bingo was gonna happen at the Farrel house.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Pam: Yeah.

Jim: Yeah, that’s amazing.

Bill: So, so men can be pretty simple when it comes to romance. Where us guys need to recognize that what women think are, is romantic are connections. Anytime you make a significant connection into her life, she will interpret it as romantic. So when we call in the middle of the day and say, “Hey, there’s nothing really going on, I was just thinking about you, so I called just to say, I love you.”

Pam: I just called to say I love you.

Bill: That creates a connection in her life that makes her feel important.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Bill: When you buy flowers for her, all it says is I was thinking about you while I was doing something else. When you remember her favorite places to go, favorite dates of the calendar in her life, when you just notice her, like what’s her favorite color, what is her favorite dessert, hey, anytime you remember those kinds of things, it creates a connection into her life. And as men, we tend to think it’s gotta be big and it’s gotta be expensive.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Bill: And there’s nothing wrong with that. If you can do big and expensive, she’ll appreciate that.

Jim: Yeah.

Bill: But what she’s really looking for is that you noticed her and you made a connection. So if you don’t have much to work with financially and you wanna take a simple date and turn it into a big memory for her, well, send her an invitation. Like, hey, I know we got Friday night. Da- I, I think it’s a- it’s clear on our schedule. Can we spend Friday evening together? And do it in an ivita- it can be in a digital invitation, or it can be a physical one. And then on Tuesday, before just check, hey does it look good? Uh, you know, is the schedule clear? On Wednesday, give her some indication of how to dress appropriately, ’cause women always wanna be dressed appropriately wherever it is that we’re going.

Pam: Like, baby, you look great in that.

Bill: And then you can have a f- just take her out to a simple date, and enjoy the evening, and then Saturday morning, send a thank you note in the mail to her that she’ll get the following Monday or Tuesday.

Pam: Bonus points if you arrange childcare for all this.

Bill: Right.

Jim: (laughs).

Bill: And what you’ve-

Jim: That’s right.

Bill: … done is you’ve taken a simple date, but you’ve created week full of connections for her.

Jim: Right.

Bill: And my guess is, it’ll cover your romance points for, I don’t know, three to six months because you connected to her heart.

Jim: Yeah, that is really good. And speak to the person who… And, you know, again, the shoe can be on either foot. This could be the wife or-

Bill: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … the husband. Uh, and again, I’m not meaning to pick on a temperament type, but-

Bill: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … in your mind, picture an engineer, an accountant, I love you guys.

Pam: (laughs).

Jim: Or you gals. But, you know, they, they kinda think in a linear way. Um, speak to that person that says, well, romance, it’s not one of my spiritual gifts.

Bill: (laughs).

Pam: (laughs).

Jim: Because I’m so logical, you know?

Bill: Mm-hmm.

Jim: She’s gotta cover some of that for me.

Bill: It’s interesting you bring this up ’cause my dad was an engineer.

Jim: (laughs) Okay.

Pam: One of our sons.

Bill: My youngest son is an engineer.

Jim: Yeah.

Bill: And what I would say to you is, use your strengths rather than fight against them. So-

Jim: Hon, I’ve built you a building.

Bill: No, no, no.

Jim: Oh (laughs).

Pam: (laughs).

Bill: Like, to the engineer out there, I would say, there is a formula that works with your wife.

Jim: Hmm. Oh, okay, yeah.

Bill: And if you can look for the formula. Now, parts of the formula you might be uncomfortable with because part of the formula might be writing her a love note or saying something really complimentary to her. Um, but y- that there’s a formula that works. That’s why she married you is ’cause she appreciates the fact that you can put stuff into formulas. So figure out the formula and then execute it. You right now are trying to act like, well, how do I become the guy on the movies who’s real kind and sensitive and thoughtful, but she didn’t marry that guy. She married you. But you can use your strength to figure out what the formula looks like.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Bill: And my youngest son’s gotten very effective at that.

Pam: He’s so romantic.

Jim: Oh, that’s great.

Bill: Like, he, he has studied his wife and he’s figured out what works with her and he repeats it often.

Jim: And it works.

Bill: And it works.

Jim: It meets that need for her.

Bill: Because sh- because again, he took time-

Jim: Yeah.

Bill: … to study who she is, not-

Jim: Yeah.

Bill: … try to put her into a mold of what would be easy for him.

Pam: And that’s really what romance is. It’s just taking the time to observe your mate and then appreciate and value them. Uh, so there’s nothing more romantic than being told, wow, thank you for being you. And it doesn’t have to cost anything. One of the favorite stories that is in Men are Like Waffles, and Women are like Spaghetti is of a husband who didn’t have a lot of, um, money and so he just bought a dozen, you know, roses, on sale at… In California, that’s $5, where we are from. Um, so he s-

Jim: Back when?

Pam: I know, right?

Jim: (laughs).

Pam: Still. It, still-

Jim: Sorry.

Pam: … ’cause we live by the flower fields-

Jim: Yeah.

Pam: … it’s like amazing. But, um, he said, okay, I w- gonna deliver these one at a time. Instead of just handing the whole bouquet to her and-

Jim: Ah.

Pam: … saying, love you babe. Um, he said-

Jim: (laughs).

Pam: … can you sit down and then he would bring one rose, and he’d say, I love, uh, what a great mom you are. Then he’d bring another rose, and thank you for being such an amazing cook. So 12 roses with 12 compliments. Every woman would love that.

John: Mmm. Great insights today on Focus on the Family from Bill and Pam Farrel. And we’re so glad to have them back with us, uh, for a second day. We’re talking about, uh, their best-selling book, Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti: Understanding

Jim: (laughs).

John:and Delighting in your Differences. Uh, get a copy of that book from us here at Focus on the Family. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Or stop by

Jim: Uh, Bill and Pam, moving into gender differences and stress, uh, you-

Pam: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … you had a great example, I think, of, uh, one of your parents or grandparents and how they dealt with it.

Pam: Oh.

Jim: And what you observed.

Pam: Yeah.

Jim: I think with your grandparents, right?

Pam: My, it was my grandparents. My grandparents were, um, happily married for more than 60 years. So this worked for them, okay. And, um, that is when they would, then when they would get little miffed at each other-

Jim: (laughs).

Pam: … um, you know, grandma would just start like talking and verbalizing her stress, but grandpa, he was wise enough not to respond to all that. He would just go out to the shop and start fixing stuff. And it would give grandma a time to talk through and think through her little upset moment, and by the time grandpa came back in from milking the cows or fixing things, um, his wife was happy again. And so, it really is that process of seeing that we do process stress differently. Like, when, um, women are stressed, we talk our way through stress. Like, when I’m stressed out, my mom knows it, my sister knows it, my best friend knows it, my prayer partner knows it.

Jim: They can hear it.

Pam: Yes.

Jim: (laughs).

Pam: And the clerk at the grocery store will know it, when I’m stressed-

Jim: (laughs).

Pam: … out, right? ‘Cause we talk our way through stress.

Jim: Sure.

Pam: But guys like to go their favorite easy boxes to deal with their stress. And so-

Jim: Which is the nothing box for the most part.

Bill: Yeah.

Pam: Exactly. Or for my grandpa, it was his shop.

Jim: Yeah.

Bill: And for us men, I, I think it helps for us to have a picture of what this looks like. Like, when, when stress hits a woman’s life, it’s like a great big meatball comes flying out of the sky, and-

Jim: (laughs).

Bill: … it lands in her plate of spaghetti. And it sends noodles flying everywhere. And she has to go collect up all those noodles and get them back up on the plate. And then she has to integrate the meatball. Because everything in her life’s connected. So she’s gonna ask questions, okay, why did this happen to us? What does this say about you? What does this say about me? What does this say about us? Why did God do this? How are we supposed to respond? That usually takes several conversations.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Bill: And for men, we think that’s one conversation. Like-

Jim: Yeah, then we’re done.

Bill: … we’re gonna talk about this once, figure out what to do about it, move on. And our wife needs to integrate it all together. And so, as men, if we can train ourselves, if, when we see stress hit our wife’s life, if we can set aside some extra time, help her talk through everything that’s going on. And it’ll probably be multiple conversations, it will help lower the stress in her life. And on behalf of the men, I would say to the ladies out there, the other thing you could do to help in this process, is to get some really good girlfriends.

Pam: (laughs).

Jim: Yeah.

Bill: ‘Cause you probably need to talk about this more than we can listen. And if we’re both doing our part, it brings the stress back down.

Pam: And one of the things that we women can do when we’re, um, all stressed out is to really give some kind of a warning to our family.

Jim: What does that sound like?

Pam: (laughs) So, how it-

Jim: Step back.

Pam: … ha- uh, yeah.

Jim: Step back (laughs).

Pam: Actually, it’s-

Jim: Whoop, whoop, whoop.

Pam: … that’s not too bad.

Jim: Something like that? (laughs).

Pam:  That’s not too bad.

Pam: In our household, Bill, um, we were supposed to leave to go to Canada, to be on live TV on Monday morning. It was a Sunday afternoon, and my conference ran late. I called Bill. I’m like, “Honey, I’m gonna run late, so there’s five or six things I need you to do.” And Bill’s like, uh.

Bill: “Well, Pam, I love you. That’s the good news. The bad news is I’m with our oldest son, who’s car just broke down and we’re waiting for a tow truck, so you’re probably gonna beat me home. And there’s a couple things I need you to do for me before we can get out the door.”

Jim: (laughs).

Bill: Oh.

Pam: Yeah. So my time was cut in half, my list had doubled. I was very stressed.

Jim: This is not moving in the right direction-

Bill: Yeah (laughs).

Jim: … for you.

Pam: Exactly. And our oldest, Mr. Responsibility son was with Bill. Our youngest was already with the set of grandparents that he stays with, and only our then 13 year old, ADD, ADHD son, Zach-

Jim: (laughs).

Pam: … was home. And so, um, I walked in. I’m like, Zach, this is what Mom needs you to do. I just reeled off this long old list verbally. Well, I know better than that. That is not how you delegate to boys. How you delegate to boys, you write one task on one square post-it note. You line the post-it notes across the TV set-

Jim: (laughs).

Pam: … and you say you cannot turn on that TV till those post-it notes are accomplished.

Jim: (laughs).

Pam: That’s how you delegate to boys. But I didn’t do that. So I just reeled off this long list. And, uh, Zach was doing the first thing on his list, but kinda in Zach time, not very quickly. I walked across the living room. I’m like, God, he needs to be moving faster. We’re not gonna make that plane. And, uh, (laughs) the Holy Spirit reminded me. Don’t be yelling at that kid. This is your problem, Pam. You didn’t put enough margin in here. I know, but I need to get his attention. Word pictures. Oh, yeah. “Zach.” “Uh, yes, Mom.” “Okay, you know that Mom and Dad we teach that men are like waffles, and like spaghetti.” “Yes, Mom.” “Okay, so what happens when you put a bunch of pasta into water and then the water all boils out?” He’s like, “Uh, pasta explosion?” “That’s right. That’s what’s gonna happen here. This pasta is ready to explode.”

Jim: (laughs).

Pam: And Zach’s like, “Oh, Mom. Why didn’t you tell me it was like a pasta princess moment?”

John: (laughs).

Pam: And I’m like, “Zach, that is like brilliant.”

Jim: (laughs).

Pam: And so from that point on, anytime I’m stressed, all I’ll say is, “Pasta princess is home.”

Jim: (laughs).

Pam: And the boys, and Bill, Bill taught the boys, the only thing safe to say to a stressed out woman is, “What can I do to help you, ma’am?”

Jim: (laughs).

John: Amen.

Bill: Yeah.

Pam: And so that was a great code word. It brought humor, and we all smiled, and got action out of the boys, right?

Jim: And it all worked out? You made it to Canada?

Pam: (laughs) We made it to Canada.

Bill: We did (laughs).

Jim: (laughs) Good. Well, that worked out. Th-

Bill: Yeah, as long as you don’t overwork that, it works really well, ’cause it alerts us guys that, okay, stress is on the table. We need to respond.

Jim: So that can’t be an everyday thing.

Bill: No.

Pam: No.

Jim: (laughs) Good.

Bill: (laughs).

Jim: Hey, let me ask you, I-in that same vein though, with stress, I- more in the couple to couple relationship. Not with the kids, but, um, how do we integrate the different approaches? You know, it’s, sometimes-

Bill: S-so-

Jim: … to your point earlier, men can pull back if they’re feeling stressed.

Bill: Oh, yeah. We have to take turns.

Jim: Yeah.

Bill: Like, you, you cannot allow the wife to talk through all of the stuff that’s stressing her and go to an easy box to relieve stress at the same time. So you have to take turns. And the first thing we encourage you to do is decide who needs to relieve their stress first?

Pam: And have that conversation and-

Jim: Huh.

Pam: … what I realized, uh, really early, is that, um, if I would send Bill out to his favorite easy box. Um, and then I would pray through and process through my stress, uh, and talk to God about it. When Bill came back, he was a better listener, but I was also a better communicator, ’cause-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Pam: … Bill wasn’t hit with the whole tsunami of like all of my emotions.

Bill: A-and you know how we all have something in our life we wish we learned earlier? The thing I wish somebody had told me sooner in our marriage is your emotions follow your decisions.

Jim: Huh.

Bill: So if you decide as a couple, okay, who’s gonna relieve stress first? It also applies to conflict. Like when we had, have to be in conflict with each other, how are we going to approach it? If you decide how you’re gonna do it, your emotions line up behind you and you get control of them.

Jim: Huh.

Bill: But if you don’t make a decision and you just let your emotions run the discussion, it’s probably gonna be chaotic.

Jim: Yeah. And, uh, let’s move, uh, from that idea of stress and there’s so much more in the book, and we can’t cover it all, but-

Bill: Right.

Jim: … this probably, that area would help the most couples, I think, what we’re talking about, right there.

Bill: No doubt.

Pam: Cause this is a stressful world, yes.

Jim: It is. You come home full of stress. Both of you.

Bill: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Whatever you’re out doing. Moving to something happier, I guess, would be helping couples finding success. Um, I think you had a story, Bill, where, uh, you were starting a new job as a senior pastor but things weren’t going so well-

Bill: (laughs).

Jim: … for Pam at home.

Bill: Yeah.

Jim: And this was kind of an aha. I think it’s a great example of awareness for both of you. What took place?

Bill: Yeah. So, so we had moved down to the Southern California area, and I was pastoring a church and I was, I was like fully focused. You know how us guys are. When we have, we have a passion, we have a direction, we have a goal. And I was just fully focused. And assuming, well, Pam’s fully focused too, ’cause obviously this is a God thing.

Jim: Yeah.

Bill: God’s leading us. And, and we had moved from a home into an apartment. And-

Pam: ‘Cause that’s what we could afford in that part of Southern California at the time.

Bill: Right. And, and it wasn’t really the apartment that was the issue, it’s that this particular apartment building had a rule that we weren’t smart enough to ask about ahead of time.

Pam: Right. Kids weren’t allowed on the front porch, on the back porch, on the patio-

Jim: Oh, my goodness.

Pam: … on the sidewalk, on the grass. It’s like they-

Jim: So basically a no kid apartment.

Pam: Exactly, yeah.

Bill: Right. And we had two sons who are fully boys.

Pam: (laughs).

Jim: (laughs).

Bill: Yeah. Like, they like to rumble, they like to talk loud. They’re just fully boys.

Pam: And we had one car at the time, so, um, often times, I felt stranded with the boys there.

Bill: And so it, like it got really tough on Pam.

Jim: Hmm.

Pam: So I went to the closet to get something out of the closet, then I couldn’t remember even what I went there for. And I started to cry.

Jim: Hmm.

Pam: And I was sitting on top of a load of laundry and the boys, uh, toddled in and Brock’s like, “What’s wrong Mommy?” And I’m like, “I don’t know.” And-

Jim: (laughs).

Pam: … I just wrapped my arms around them and rocked back and forth and back and forth and back and forth until they fell asleep. And I put them in, each in their bed and Zach in his crib, and I went and I sat at the kitchen table. I’m like, God, I know this is crazy because I have two healthy kids and I love them. I have a husband who loves me. But every time, uh, Bill comes home, he hears, “Why did you do this to me? And how long do we have to live like that?” And like-

Jim: (laughs).

Pam: … that makes him wanna run home and spend time with me, God. Uh, yeah.

Jim: (laughs).

Pam: You gotta give me an answer to this pain. And so I thumbed through-

Jim: Hmm.

Pam: … my Bible and I came across that verse that’s very familiar. Wives, honor your husband. And I remember (laughs) telling God, “Yeah, but I’m pretty sure there’s an exception for this clause right here.” Um, and so I got my Bible study tools, uh, looking for a way to opt out of honoring Bill.

Jim: Oh.

Pam: But instead, I found out what honor really meant. And so, um, what God taught me that day is, I needed to see Bill as God saw Bill. A man worthy and honor and respect. I needed to speak to Bill with the words that God would use to speak to Bill. Words that would build him up and encourage him and edify him. And I needed to serve alongside of Bill in this new, uh, role as a pastor, and help him succeed as a true help-meet. And so I called Bill up and I said, “Hey, you wanna go to lunch?” And he said-

Bill: Uh, I think so (laughs).

Jim: (laughs).

Pam: Wasn’t sure what he was gonna get.

Jim: Ideas.

Pam: Yeah (laughs).

Bill: (laughs).

Pam: And, um, so, over lunch I shared with Bill what the Holy Spirit had taught me. I said, I, I don’t care if I get like the house, the car, the like everything that I think that I need to be happy, uh, from this point on, um, before God, I have decided 100% I’m on your team, Bill.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Bill: And if I were to put the emotion I felt in that moment into words, it would sound something like, yes.

Pam: (laughs).

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Bill: Because when Pam said I’m on your team, I don’t really know how to explain it, but something changed in me. Like, I became a better pastor. I was spending less time at, at church, getting more done.

Jim: Huh.

Bill: I almost immediately figured out how to get our, our family out of this apartment we were in, into a house that had a yard where the kids could run and use their big muscles.

Jim: (laughs).

Bill: And, and then a plan developed to build a home in the town where we were pastoring, so we could build roots. And, and I know I was working harder ’cause we spent a year building a house and pastoring a church. I was working harder, but it felt easier.

Jim: Yeah.

Pam: ‘Cause we were getting along.

Jim: Let me ask you-

Bill: Because when, when your wife believes in you-

Jim: Yeah.

Bill: … it taps into a resource you didn’t know you had.

Jim: Yeah. Uh, let me ask this question and I know again, the shoe can be on either foot.

Bill: Yeah.

Jim: So, you’re, you’re in this analogy. But, did you, were you ahead of Pam and kind of sensing this would be working a lot easier if Pam, fill in the blank.

Bill: Oh, there’s no doubt.

Jim: And, and so, and I’m sure Pam could make that-

Bill: Yeah.

Jim: … uh, assertion-

Bill: I think-

Jim: … of you, you know, this would be a lot easier if Bill would, fill in the blank. So you have couples that are in that spot. And they haven’t had that aha experience yet. And it may take-

Bill: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … time.

Pam: It does take time.

Jim: So, it, it-

Bill: Well, it’s even more intense than that, Jim, ’cause couples get competitive.

Jim: Right.

Bill: Like, I’ve got an idea of how this should go. I need you to get on board with how I believe this should go. And both the husband and wife will have that approach and you start competing over whose approach is best.

Jim: Well, and even applying scripture to it.

Bill: Oh, yeah.

Pam: Right.

Jim: If I could be that blunt, for the-

Bill: Yeah.

Jim: … Christian community.

Bill: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I mean, you could say, I see my responsibility. I think I’m living by that scripturally. But I’m not so sure she sees it and what her responsibility is.

Pam: I think that’s where prayer really comes in. And so, Bill and I were in this yearlong conflict shortly after that. And it was, um, because I just really felt like God had called me to, um, writing and speaking and leading women’s ministry and I was just on. Bill calls it my awakening. And, uh-

Bill: Right. And she came up, it, there was so much passion behind her desire to do all of this that it looked to me like it was gonna overrun our life.

Jim: Hmm.

Pam: And so I went back to school and, um, Bill had always made the commitment that I’ll believe in Pam’s dreams and I’ll walk alongside her, um-

Bill: A-

Pam: … as long as they’re God’s dreams for Pam, kind of.

Bill: Right. If it was Pam’s ideas, I wasn’t gonna-

Pam: (laughs) Yeah.

Bill: … you know, put my whole heart into it, but if-

Pam: But if it’s God’s idea.

Bill: Yeah. I, I was committed to support it if God really put it on her heart. And I couldn’t see it.

Pam: So, one day, we just got down… We d- we always like make an appointment, and we hold hands, and we talk through it. And then, if we don’t solve it, we reschedule. And we did that for a whole entire year.

Bill: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Wow.

Pam: And one day, w- uh, we were just broken.

Jim: Hmm.

Pam: When we just got down in front of our sofa, and I was sobbing. And I’m like, God, I’ve been trying to follow you, and obviously I’m like, maybe didn’t read something right, or, uh, maybe I did read something right, but Bill’s still mad at me. So we just need you to rescue us.

Jim: Yeah.

Bill: A-and my prayer was, God, I love this woman, but I don’t really like her right now. And something needs to change. So if you need to change something in me, change it. If you need to change something in her, change it. But Lord, we need, we need your guidance and we need your help here.

Jim: Yeah.

Pam: And so then next-

Bill: And when, when I realized, oh, this, Pam can’t say no to this because it’s the dream-

Pam: God’s.

Bill: … God put on her heart. And I said, I need to get that message to her. And one of the things you need to know about Pam, she loves public attention. Like, not every woman does. Pam loves public attention. So I figured, if I can go into her world and make a statement, I think she’ll get it. So she was going to college.

Pam: So I had a class, and it was, um, romantic literature. And-

Jim: (laughs).

Pam: … Bill had to be up on campus filming for the church. And this class, every day I was standing up for Jesus, ’cause it was, uh, just a secular university. And so I said, just pray for me when you go by this class. And, um, well, the door opened, and I- my, uh, professor-

Bill: I walked in, I walked in, oh.

Pam: … my professor was saying, “Romance is dead. It’s always been dead. It’s just an illusion.” And all the women are like, yeah, ’cause men are scum. And then the door opened.

Bill: I, I-

Jim: (laughs).

Bill: … bought a dozen roses-

Jim: Good timing.

Bill: … I walked into the classroom, set them on her desk, gave her a kiss, said, “I love you, Pam,” and then walked out the door.

Pam: And my professor’s like-

Jim: Oh (laughs).

Pam: … is it your birthday? Nope. Your anniversary? Well, why did your husband come in here? Well, I think that he just wanted me to know that he believes in the dream, uh, that’s on my heart to become a writer. And he just wanted to make sure that I knew that he believed in that dream. And now the women are like, so does he have a brother?

John: (laughs).

Bill: So, I was looking for a way to speak her language.

Jim: Yeah.

Bill: And she got the message.

Jim: Yeah.

Jim: Wow. What a great place to end. I mean, that is the romantic language, right? And it does exist. And especially if we’re focused on the Lord and what the Lord wants from us-

Jim: Yeah.

Jim: … in our relationship with each other.

Pam: God will whisper to us what we need when we need it.

Jim: Right.

John: Yeah, wow.

Jim: Every secular professor should be saying, “What’s going on here?”

Pam: (laughs).

Jim: Right? I love that.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim:  Thanks for being with us. Again, what a great-

Pam: Thank you.

Jim: … time together. It flies by when we’re here in the studio. And your great book, Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti. Get a copy from us here at Focus on the Family. Join us in ministry if you can become a monthly sustainer. That is a great way for us to even the budget out. We’ll send you a copy of the book as our way of saying thank you. One time gift as well. Just, uh, get into ministry with us if you haven’t taken advantage of that. I love God’s economy-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … in this regard because I-in this way, you get a great resource. You help another couple. Maybe cover the expense of sending it out to someone who can’t afford it. And, uh, we’re all doing ministry together. And, uh, I think it’s a win, win, win.

John: Yeah, so join the support team to help make programs like this and to provide resources like the great book, Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti. We also have our free marriage assessment for you. You can get a quick overview of what’s working well in your relationship and maybe you’ll discover some areas for improvement as well. Learn about these resources and more when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459, or stop by Hope you have a great weekend with your family and with your church family as well, and then plan to be with us on Monday when we’ll have practical help for parents when your adult child leaves home.


Dr. David Gudgel: You’ve gotta build the relationship and, uh, building the relationship that lasts two, three years that they’re in the home is an essential part of having a continuing relationship once they do go, um, off to college or wherever it is.

End of Preview

Today's Guests

Men Are Like Waffles Women Are Like Spaghetti: Understanding and Delighting in Your Differences

Receive the book Men Are Like Waffles Women Are Like Spaghetti and the audio download of the broadcast "How Waffles and Spaghetti Can Build a Stronger Marriage" for your donation of any amount! Plus, receive member-exclusive benefits when you make a recurring gift today. Your monthly support helps families thrive.

Recent Episodes

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Are Your Five Core Needs Being Met? (Part 2 of 2)

Dr. Koch emphasizes the point of having trustworthy friends who can help you meet your needs in healthy ways, and even learning to trust yourself — that you can grow and learn from your mistakes. She also emphasizes the need for hope and optimism, instead of negativity, in order to be healthy and whole according to God’s design. (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family Broadcast

Are Your Five Core Needs Being Met? (Part 1 of 2)

Dr. Koch emphasizes the point of having trustworthy friends who can help you meet your needs in healthy ways, and even learning to trust yourself — that you can grow and learn from your mistakes. She also emphasizes the need for hope and optimism, instead of negativity, in order to be healthy and whole according to God’s design. (Part 1 of 2)

Remembering Fallen Heroes and Their Families

Remembering Fallen Heroes and Their Families

On a very touching Memorial Day broadcast, Heather Blalock courageously shares about her journey with her children, after the loss of her husband, and offers hope and encouragement to other military families as we remember them this Memorial Day.

You May Also Like

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

A Legacy of Music and Trusting the Lord

Popular Christian vocalist Larnelle Harris reflects on his five-decade music career, sharing the valuable life lessons he’s learned about putting his family first, allowing God to redeem a troubled past, recognizing those who’ve sacrificed for his benefit, and faithfully adhering to biblical principles amidst all the opportunities that have come his way.

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Accepting Your Imperfect Life

Amy Carroll shares how her perfectionism led to her being discontent in her marriage for over a decade, how she learned to find value in who Christ is, not in what she does, and practical ways everyone can accept the messiness of marriage and of life.