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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Laughing, Loving and Lasting With Your Spouse

Laughing, Loving and Lasting With Your Spouse

Pastor Kevin Thompson believes couples can have happy marriages, if they are intentional about maintaining a healthy, godly relationship. He shared a great story about the 70-year marriage of his grandparents, who lived hard lives but had an enduring love.
Original Air Date: October 31, 2022

Preview:

Kevin Thompson: Marriage is gonna have its hardships. Some are gonna be self-inflicted. Some are just we’re fallen people that live in a fallen world. And if we have this ability to endure together, to trust God in the midst of the difficult seasons, He is going to bless us in ways that we can’t even begin to imagine.

End of Preview

John Fuller: That’s Kevin Thompson. And he’s with us today on Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus President and author Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: All right, John, here’s a question for you. Do you and Dena laugh a lot?

John: Oh (laughs) we- we try.

Jim: Right there.

John: Okay, so my goal is to help her laugh at least once a day because of some bad joke or a pun or a- a lot of times it’s just a funny memory that I can pull up from our early years.

Jim: That’s a good goal. I like that goal. I think humor is so important in marriage, uh, really to get through some even rough spots. It’s fun to-

John: Absolutely.

Jim: … sometimes let some of the pressure out and make light of a situation when the timing’s right. There are inappropriate times (laughs) to do that too.

John: Yes (laughs).

Jim: But you know what? Here at Focus on the Family, uh, we want to give you a marriage tune up. And, uh, you know, this is the, the moment where your marriage is in a pretty good place, but you can always do a little better. That’s the kind of nuts-and-bolts information we’re gonna give you today. Uh, we help couples every day with challenges in their marriages. And I thank you, the supporters out there listening, for stepping up and helping us to do that day in and day out with counseling, intensive programs for marriage, all the- the toolkit we have for everybody to tap into. Uh, today we want to help you learn how to make the overall tone of your marriage happier and more committed. And I think that’s a great goal. We’ve invited Kevin Thompson, author of Happily: 8 Commitments of Couples who Laugh, Love, & Last, to give us some insights to marriage.

John: Yeah. And Kevin is the Married Life Pastor at Bayside Church outside of Sacramento, California. He’s also a marriage and parenting conference speaker and a blogger. And he’s married to Jenny, and they have two children.

Jim: Kevin, welcome to Focus.

Kevin: Well, thanks so much for having me.

Jim: For the first time.

Kevin: First time.

Jim: Now you’re a pastor.

Kevin: I am.

Jim: First and foremost. So you’ve seen a few couples in trouble.

Kevin: Oh, there’s no doubt. The pastorate is fascinating from a relationship standpoint because you were- you were there from the very beginning, when couples begin to date. And sometimes you’re making calculations of whether or not that’s gonna make it or not.

Jim: But you never speak of this.

Kevin: Never. You always hold that-

Jim: (laughs) How accurate are your predictions?

Kevin: Always- well, you know, I do have- there’s only one place in which I make predictions to Jenny, my wife. And that is with the wedding cake. And so it’s not with dating. But it’s with the wedding cake at the, uh, reception. And I have- I have found that if you will watch that, you can begin to see if the couple’s going to make it or not. Now it’s not whether or not they smash the cake or don’t smash the cake. But one of my very first weddings I did, the couple did the- she gave him some cake and it was really smooth. And he gave her some cake and really smashed it in. And you could tell she was irritated. And then she smashed it back. And then he got irritated. And then they actually went to the ground.

John: Oh-

Kevin: And I looked at the person I was standing next to, and I said, “Is that normal?” Because this was only-

Jim: (laughs)

Kevin: … at my second wedding. And that couple was divorced within six weeks.

Jim: Oh, that’s sad.

John: Six weeks?

Kevin: Six weeks.

Jim: So this is the predictive model.

Kevin: The- no.

Jim: (laughs)

Kevin: A- a- and so it’s not whether or not you smash or not. It’s whether or not is the respect in that moment? Is there playfulness-

Jim: Wow.

Kevin: … in that moment? And so to this day, whenever- whenever somebody sees me at the reception, they’ll look at the wedding cake and then they’ll look back at me to see. And I’ll give- just give kind of a thumbs up, thumbs down-

Jim: (laughs)

Kevin: … of what I think.

Jim: So it’s become a bit of a game.

Kevin: It’s kind of a- it’s-

Jim: In a good way.

Kevin: … kind of a game.

Jim: Well, uh, share with us, you mentioned Jenny, your wife. Um, you know, let’s start with your own (laughs) how did you meet, what happened, and did you smash the-

John: And how did the cake thing go? Yeah. (laughs)

Kevin: Very gentle with the cake. So Jenny and I went to Oklahoma Baptist University together. I actually met her before I went but she completely blew me off. And so I was speaking at her church. Uh, my joke is she was the only, uh, female there over the age of 14 and under the age of 40. And I ask a friend to introduce me. And, uh, he did. He introduced me and said, “Jenny, this is Kevin Thompson. He’s gonna go to OBU next year.” She was already there. And, uh, she goes, “Oh, that’s great. You’ll have a great time,” and walked off. And that was our initial meeting. And, uh, two years later, we were reintroduced. And, uh, then I asked her out. We begin to date.

Jim: Had you ever forgotten about her?

Kevin: No.

Jim: (laughs) Okay.

Kevin: By no means.

Jim: I’m just making sure.

Kevin: Well, I went to OBU just with one focus and that was to find her again.

Jim: (laughs)

Kevin: And, uh, and to, to make sure-

Jim: Wow.

Kevin: … I- to make sure I made her mine. And so on our very first date, uh, I ask her out and she told me that she would never marry a pastor. She would never move for a man. And she would never marry somebody younger than her. And, uh, two years later all three of those things were, were found false.

Jim: (laughs) That’s funny. And you kept that checklist.

Kevin: That’s- oh, oh, and I remind her often.

Jim: (laughs) Okay. Maybe we need to help you.

Kevin: (laughs)

Jim: No, this is fun. Uh, your grandparents were married maybe as long as any couple I’ve ever heard of. But how many years?

Kevin: That’s exactly right. Se- we, we buried my grandmother on the 70th anniversary of the day my grandfather went to get the marriage license.

John: Oh my.

Jim: Wow. I mean, that is a long time. What did you learn watching them?

Kevin: You know, to me my Mamaw and Papaw were inseparable. I can’t even say Mamaw without saying Papaw. And, uh, my grandmother was the strongest person I’ve ever met. Uh, I’ll, I’ll never forget. She’d pull the biscuits out of the oven and half the time wouldn’t even use a potholder.

Jim: (laughs)

Kevin: And I did not- I didn’t understand it, right?

Jim: Seriously. This isn’t walking both directions uphill to school.

Kevin: No, no. She literally-

Jim: (laughs)

Kevin: … I mean, whenever you think about what it was like to be born in the 20s in, in American Arkansas-

Jim: She was tough.

Kevin: … she was tough. My grandfather was the most gentle person I’ve ever met. And so when I think about toughness, I think about Mamaw. When I think about gentleness, I think about Papaw. And, uh, married 70 years, inseparable. My grandmother never pumped her own gas. Papaw wouldn’t let her. That was his job.

Jim: Right.

Kevin: And I don’t think my grandfather ever poured his own coffee. That’s what Mamaw did. And so they had these very traditional roles, no doubt, that a lot of those were generational and all those kind of things. But they had a connection with each other that was just something I wanted to aspire to. I’ll never forget. We do the funeral and, uh, a- and I’m standing there looking down at my grandmother. And, and somebody comes up and looks down who, who was very close with her as well. And she looks down. And this person said, “Man, 70 years of marriage. They were lucky.” And I thought to myself how true is that? They were lucky. But then I got to thinking, you know what? They kinda made that luck.

Jim: Huh.

Kevin: They kinda made some choices here that it wasn’t just a flip of a coin. It was literally the flip of a will where they chose to be committed to each other. And, and yeah, they were lucky. But they also were born in the midst of a depression. They also went through several wars. Uh, they also had the, the trials of raising kids, of going through economic depressions. They were lucky i- in the end. But I bet you it didn’t always feel lucky. So I just began to investigate what is it that really made this for them? And they were people of tremendous faith. A- and the more I got into it, the more I begin to see in many ways they lived out the kingdom ethic within their marriage. A- and to me you think about it. God’s kingdom, what- what we’re going to experience one day in heaven, uh, the kingdom ethic is laid out in beatitudes.

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: Well if that works for the kingdom, why doesn’t that work for marriage?

Jim: Okay. You know, there are hundreds of thousands, millions of people listening. Um, is happiness in marriage attainable?

Kevin: Absolutely.

Jim: And I don’t know what the percentage might be, but there’s gonna be a large percentage of people that don’t feel that.

Kevin: No. And, and understandably so. A- and, and by no means do I ever think that happiness is the ultimate goal. I, I think that’s one of the great struggles with, with modern life, modern viewpoints of marriage, secular viewpoints of marriage i- is they think that personal happiness is the number one goal. And so if I don’t have it, if I’m not experiencing it, I just need to find somebody else a- and move on and go in some other way. I, I don’t think that’s the, the viewpoint at all. At the same time in the church, if we’re not very careful, we can deny the presence of happiness in a marriage and just say, well I’m just called to suffer for the Lord. A- and never experience the fulfillment of this relationship of what it could possibly be. Whenever you think about Jesus, don’t you think he was happy?

Jim: There’s a joy there that is clear.

Kevin: Clearly. Suffered in, in unimaginable ways, had tremendous feeling, obedient no doubt, but there was this sense of, of joy. You s- you, you picture Jesus with the children, right? You, you picture Jesus even with, with women as, as they were looked down upon in that society-

Jim: Right, the sinners.

Kevin: … and just giving them a, a sense of life in some way. I don’t think happiness is the ultimate goal of a marriage. But I do think it is the natural byproduct that comes when a couple is committed to each other and finds joy in the Lord.

Jim: No, that is good. You use a term in your book, contagious, that divorce is contagious. I don’t like that. But tell me why you chose to use that term.

Kevin: I don’t like it, but I don’t doubt it.

Jim: Right.

Kevin: Because I see it in churches. I, I see it. We’ll have Sunday school classes, home groups, where there’ll be a series of divorces, uh, that all of a sudden happen. And I think it’s the concept- it could be the concept of divorce oftentimes is the byproduct of a series of poor choices. And so if you surround yourself with people who are making poor choices, you’ll probably make some of those choices as well.

Jim: That- no that’s a good observation. And that influence that, um, men and women have on each other. Um, I mean, that’s what you’re talking about.

Kevin: Oh no doubt. And, and by no means do- a- do we ever wanna see somebody struggling in their relationship, oh, they’re contagious. We gotta stay away from them. By no means am I saying that.

Jim: Right.

Kevin: But what I am saying is you have to show some intention within your own relationship to make sure that you also s- as you’re ministering to people and being friends with people who are struggling, you’re also strengthening your own relationship by surrounding yourself with people with good marriages.

Jim: No, that’s good- and it’s a good way to think of your friendships and what you want to develop in the way of healthy friendships. All right. Let’s get to it. You identified eight, uh, commitments from the beatitudes, of course found in the Gospel of Matthew. Touch on each one of those, uh, eight, just lightly, and tell us why it’s important to demonstrate, for example, humility in marriage.

Kevin: It, it, it all begins there for me. It’s, uh, blessed are the poor in spirit. Jesus is basically saying blessed are the spiritual beggars. In God’s kingdom there’s a value to recognizing that you don’t have it all and that you need help. Where else does marriage begin but then with this recognition of, I have no clue. Marriage to me is this beautiful thing where you have these two people who know nothing about what it means to be married, how to live with each other, a- and they’re going in it together. And they’re, and they’re called now to figure it out. To me that’s one of the most beautiful aspects of marriage is we are equally ignorant. And yet we’re gonna figure it out together. And if you show me a couple, show me an individual who’s willing to recognize their own ignorance, their own inability, a- and then to get help, a- and to read and to study and to learn, there is no limit on what they can become and what they can do.

Jim: To help those couples struggling in this area, eh- when is there or what kind of sign is there for pride slipping into the marriage?

Kevin: Yeah. P- pride, I mean, pride is what kills marriage. Right? A- and, and-

Jim: What does it look like?

Kevin: … and a marriage will thrive in humility, it’ll die in pride. I, I think about several things. We can look in our own lives. How does pride look to us? Now I, I think about if everything becomes personal, that’s pride. Now a- all right. If your wife doesn’t like how, you loaded the dishwasher, a- and you don’t look at that as we have a disagreement over how to load the dishwasher. You feel that as a personal attack, that’s pride. Y- you’re just disagreeing over dishes. But if you feel that personally, that’s pride. Uh, if your wife can’t influence you. Y- you know, if Jenny right now says, “Kevin, you need to leave Colorado Springs right now.” All right, I might ask her why, but if she’s really dogmatic about it, I’m leaving. Like I trust her. I, I know she’s for me.

Jim: Something’s going on.

Kevin: And I know she loves me. And even if she’s wrong, she really hasn’t been before. (laughs) And so I’m outta here. But for a lot of people, their spouses cannot influence them. Their opinions are what their opinions are. And their spouse has no say in that. That to me is an evidence of pride.

Jim: Yeah.

John: Our guest is Kevin Thompson. Uh, this is Focus on the Family. Kevin’s written a great book, Happily: 8 Commitments of Couples Who Laugh, Love & Last. And of course we’ve got copies of that. And then Jim mentioned a variety of resources we have here at Focus for you regardless of where you’re at in your marriage. Uh, stop by our website for more. focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Uh, let’s get the second commitment. It’s embracing the hurt. You had, uh, to deliver I think some difficult news to your grandfather. What happened?

Kevin: Yeah. I was the one who, who let my grandfather know that, that my grandmother had died.

Jim: Ugh, that is hard.

Kevin: And, and so I, I actually drove him- he, he had always been the one in bad health. She had always been the healthy one. She died at 90. I’ll never forget driving my grandfather up to make the last visit. He was frail and I had to be the one to take him. And I’ll never forget. We are driving, uh, to the hospital and it was right after work. A- and all of a sudden he says, “Hey Kevin. Look at that sunset.” And I looked up and sure enough, the sun was setting over Oklahoma. It was as beautiful as can be. And I thought to myself, how did he see that?

Jim: Huh.

Kevin: H- he’s about to go see his wife of 70 years for the last time and he knows it. How did he see that? That was just who my grandfather was. He had the ability in the midst of experiencing the bad to see the good.

Jim: His eyes were open.

Kevin: His eyes were open to see it.

Jim: Hm.

Kevin: And so we went and had that visit. I brought him home. And, uh, the next day she died. And I was the one that came home and leaned down, uh, before him and, and let him know that, that she was gone. And it was such a tremendous honor, uh, to do so. And yet such a tremendous heartbreak to see the, the man that I so love suffering in, in, in such a way. Th- and yet this idea of within love there comes this hurt and this pain and this sorrow. And we live in a time in a society that avoids that with-

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: … at all cost. Y- you know, back in the old days you lived out on the farm, animals lived, and they died. You were there for birth. You were there for death. Uh, when a loved one died, they, they were- the body was kept in the home. The funeral was there. The visitation might be there. Now we’re distanced from all of that to such an extent that people get very uncomfortable, uh, around discomfort, uh, and around pain. A- and this is the chapter that surprised me the most about the book. This is one of the reasons I love to write. I- is you always hit on something. It’s not that I have all this knowledge and I’m giving it. It’s I’m out there searching. God has put truth-

Jim: Sure, observations.

Kevin: … in this world. I’m searching for it. And this is something I would’ve never have thought of that can create a healthy marriage and actually lead to happiness. But the idea that we are fallen people in a fallen world. I’m a broken person. I can never fully be the spouse my wife deserves. She can never fully be the spouse that, that she wants to be for me. Marriage itself is gonna disappoint at times. But as we lean into that, recognize that, mourn that, it actually empowers us to appreciate the good that we have.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Kevin: And yet if we are constantly denying the sorrow, the sadness, the heartache, we are actually in so doing also denying the joy and the gratitude and all the good things that are there. This is the chapter that in my opinion every single person needs to read because I think it’s an idea that I’ve never seen before.

Jim: Yeah. Kevin, number three would be, uh, to avoid both apathy and aggression. I mean, this probably hits a lot of people. So what do you mean?

Kevin: It, it, it really is. I, I, I’ve seen other writers, uh, put it in other ways, uh, to avoid silence and violence, uh, would, would be a concept here. To me, those are two different ways of getting the same poor result.

Jim: Right.

Kevin: And, and, and so some people, men specifically, can be apathetic if we’re not very careful.

Jim: Right, disengage.

Kevin: Disengage from the relationship, from the concept. We can be very engaged at work or in our hobbies and definitely football season, you know, is going on and that kind of thing. But from our marriage, we tend to be a little bit more apathetic. Uh, whereas others, at times, are overly aggressive. A- and so, all right, if you wanna have the discussion, we’ll have the discussion. And I’ll come at it in such an aggressive way, you’re not gonna open up your heart. You’re gonna have to get defensive in every way possible. Uh, to me, this is where meekness comes into play. The ultimate definition of, of Jesus in so many ways.

Jim: Hm.

Kevin: Uh, that he had this gentleness about him. He would never avoid the discussion that needed to be had. And yet at the same time, he would come at it with a gentleness that would create this climate of safety. You kn- you know it’s a funny thing. You can talk about anything to anyone if you feel safe. If you feel like they’re not gonna use it, exploit you-

Jim: Correct.

Kevin: … in some way, manipulate you. You can talk about anything. And so if you can create that with your spouse, and the way to do that is, I’m not gonna be apathetic. If the conversation needs to be had, I’m gonna have it. One of the things I had to learn very early on in marriage, and it’s, it’s taken a long time to get there, is that I can say it and Jenny’s still gonna love me. Y- you see, I had written the story in the back of my head is if I show any unhappiness, if I show any discontentment, th- if I admit that, that I don’t like something, she may not love me.

Jim: Huh.

Kevin: Now of course it still expressed itself, right? She just didn’t know why. She just didn’t know what was- why was I unhappy? What was going on? And she had to teach me and train me. Kevin, you can say that to me. A- and we’re gonna be okay. Th- and so I had to get over the apathy of what was-

Jim: Right.

Kevin: … going on. But at the same time you can’t take it too far into aggression, to where you’re just attacking everything.

Jim: And it’s a good picture I think mostly at how men respond. Those are two switch alternatives, right, on or off. (laughing)

Kevin: And it’s not-

Jim: Engaged or not.

Kevin: … either or, it’s both and.

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: We tend to be both and.

Jim: Right.

Kevin: We tend to be up- apathetic until we become aggressive.

Jim: Right. There’s a flipping point.

Kevin: Yeah. And the answer is meekness.

Jim: Yeah. That’s good. And that’s so God oriented rather than fleshly oriented.

Kevin: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Uh, you know, I love this thought of marriage being bigger than we are. And, uh, you have kind of informed us as to what the purpose of marriage is. What’s your view into that? What do you-

Kevin: Yeah.

Jim: … think God is up to here?

Kevin: Ultimately, it’s to bring glory to God. I mean, that’s the ultimate call. And I think marriage is, is one avenue that God has chosen for me to transform my heart.

Jim: The only question in that is by what means? To bring glory to God by-

Kevin: Yeah. By loving well, by being transformed into His likeness. By using our strengths together, uh, to assist, uh, others as well. Uh, I always say in, in a healthy marriage, uh, your, your strengths are multiplied, and your weaknesses are divided.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Kevin: Uh, and, and so Jenny and I have different strengths and abilities. And the weaknesses that I have, the consequences of those are diminished because of who she is. And yet my strengths are multiplied.

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: I would have never have written if it wasn’t for Jenny. She’s, my editor. She agrees to everything I’ve written. I mean, she’ll delete things sometimes and say I don’t believe in this. And so-

Jim: (laughs)

Kevin: … suddenly neither do I. (laughs)

Jim: That’s gotta be a fun editorial process.

John: Meekness is the response to that.

Kevin: It is. W- and, you know, that’s a funny thing. Is I have to constantly remind myself in the midst of that that she’s editing something? I mean, I poured my heart and soul in this and she’s just, right, coldly marking things out. I have to remind myself; she loves me and she’s for me. Constantly.

Jim: She sounds like a truth speaker.

Kevin: She is.

Jim: (laughs)

Kevin: She, she’s kind and she’s gentle but she loves me and she’s for me. And so this edit is for my benefit. Whenever I think about marriage being bigger than us, I think if I stop loving Jenny today, imagine the ripple effect.

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: Not only to Ella and Silas, our children, to our extended family, to the church that I pastor, now to the people who’ve read the books, to those who have heard this broadcast. It would just be a, another confirmation to them in this world in where it feels like so many marriages are falling apart, that it’s impossible to make it.

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: And yet every time I choose to love her in part, I’m also loving her parents and her family and our- my kids and our church. And there’s a ripple effect in-

Jim: Bigger than you.

Kevin: … and thank goodness. It is much bigger than us. Now, now think about this. If marriage is just about us, it’s up to you whether you love or not. Just whatever feels right to you is that- that’s what you should do. But if marriage is bigger than us, then I am commanded, called, motivated, empowered, driven to love her even when maybe in the moment I don’t want to because there is such a consequence to this love either good or bad. That’s- the choice of that is ours. Whether or not there is a consequence is not our choice. Whether it’s good or bad, that’s up to us-

Jim: Yeah. That’s the first four. Let’s see if we can get through the next four. I mean, there- it’s gonna be rapid fire. But you say refuse power struggles.

Kevin: Yeah.

Jim: Come on, Kevin. That’s the whole male game.

Kevin: (laughs) That’s the whole marriage game, to be honest.

Jim: (laughs)

Kevin: I, I think actually this is an area where many women are playing the game and they don’t even realize it.

Jim: That may be true.

Kevin: And, and so the idea of the cold shoulder, uh, the idea of oftentimes, uh, bundling sex, uh, a- and making it into a power play, uh, rather than an actual aspect of what the relationship is all about. And this is where mercy comes in. And, and if you have received mercy from God, you have recognized your own sinfulness, you know that you need to be forgiven, so you’re gonna be quick to forgive your spouse.

Jim: And it’s giving of one another. I mean, that’s what that’s describing, right?

Kevin: There’s no doubt. And it really does go back to the very first beatitude. I mean, think about this. If you recognize that I’m poor in spirit, that I’m a sinner, and I am now mourning my sin, so I’m operating in meekness where I’m dealing with all of this and yet marriage is bigger than me, then suddenly giving mercy becomes much easier because I realize how much mercy God has given me and I realize how much mercy Jenny has given me.

Jim: That’s good. Okay. Next is live in truth.

Kevin: I, I- uh, you can’t have a real relationship where truth isn’t present. A- and this is the sad part as a pastor is, I know a lot of couples who, who they are in a fake relationship because they are only giving part of themselves to a spouse who’s only giving part of themselves. A- and, and they’re operating in this way that isn’t real. The picture of marriage to me is I’m gonna take my whole heart and I’m gonna put it on the table. Jenny’s gonna take her whole heart, put it on the table. And then those two hearts are gonna interact. Well that demands from me now transparency and honesty and truth. A- a willingness to admit my faults and my mistakes, to get help where I need to get help. Now this isn’t a, a cold kind of bluntness of I’m gonna say whatever it is I wanna say in the moment. That’s not truth. Uh, oftentimes that’s arrogance a- and pride. Truth is now a humble recognition of what is actually going on and we together are going to get through this.

Jim: Well, and the, the biblical language there is to become one flesh, right?

Kevin: Yeah. And, and-

Jim: Not just on the table separately. You’re over time becoming one heart.

Kevin: And that can’t happen without truth. Truth and intimacy go hand in hand.

Jim: Yeah, I like that. Okay. Number seven, make peace. (laughs) That’s a good one.

Kevin: This is where the rubber hits the road, isn’t it?

Jim: (laughs)

Kevin: My wife is a- is a- is a, a advertising and marketing specialist. And so a lot of her day is spent, uh, negotiating, uh, with advertisers of how to get a, a better deal. A- and so I feel like our, our marriage is a constant, never-ending negotiation. Uh, but I think that’s a beautiful thing. Is, is that it is our job now not to receive peace but to make peace. I, I talk about in Friends, Partners and Lovers, my first marriage book, uh, the idea that there are so many, uh, Nobel Peace Prize winners that got divorced.

Jim: Huh.

Kevin: Now think about it. They could navigate international negotiations between differing ethnicities and countries in, in the midst of some of the oldest battles that this world has ever known, but they could not make peace with the person in bed beside with them.

Jim: Huh.

Kevin: That is really where marriage begins to be felt. Can I find a common ground? In the midst of the differences, can I find a common ground to where we can move forward?

Jim: Yeah. Lastly number eight, and I like this one. I think it’s a great capture out of the beatitudes and applying it to marriage. Endure whatever may come.

Kevin: And the key there being whatever.

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: It really is this I- Jesus said blessed are the persecuted. We know we’re gonna suffer in this world. A- and in part i- if we live by biblical principles of what marriage is all about, people are gonna look at us and think in some ways that we’re foolish, that we don’t know what we’re talking about. I- I’ll write a blog post at KevinAThompson.com and will say, “Here are 10 tips to help avoid, uh, adultery.” And I’ll get blasted by people saying how dare you talk about this. Or this is so ridiculous. My, my wife has all the passwords to all my social media, can check it at any time. There is no back door channel that you can get to me that she can’t see it. People look at that and say, “Well does she not trust you?” Yes, she trusts me. And you know why she trusts me? Because I’m, I’m transparent in those ways.

Jim: Yeah, that’s good.

Kevin: And, and yet people don’t understand that. And so there- there’s gonna be an endurance that you’re gonna have to have in this secular world. But there’s also just gonna be marriage is gonna have its hardships. Some are gonna be self-inflicted. Some are just we’re fallen people that live in a fallen world. And if we have this ability to endure together, to trust God in the midst of the difficult seasons, He is going to bless us in ways that we can’t even begin to imagine.

Jim: And Kevin I so appreciate, uh, what you’ve done here in writing this book, Happily, uh, 8 Commitments of Couples Who Laugh, Love & Last. And I think the application is the next thing. We’ve given great information and you’ve done a wonderful job explaining it. So I’m thinking of the couple that’s going, okay, we’re not living in this spot. They’re listening to the radio or podcast right now and the wife is saying, “We’re not there. I’m not there.” What can they do today to begin to change this? What’s the application of this?

Kevin: Yeah. A- and, and there’s several approaches. They can call Focus on the Family and and begin to seek help. Seek prayer help. They can get a mentor couple that’s a little bit older than them, that has a marriage that they want to model after and ask them to speak into them. Uh, they can get a book like this. Read a chapter a week-

Jim: Together.

Kevin: … read it together. Read a chapter a week, uh, maybe each with a highlighter and then just sit down and answer the questions. Go for a walk. That’s my favorite prescription for a couple. Go for a walk and talk about the chapter that you just read. It’s very possible though that there are gonna be some couples out there that they’re just gonna need professional help. It doesn’t mean that you’re failing. It doesn’t mean that your marriage is over. What it means is, I need assistance. We, we all need help in, in life and-

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: … things. And marriage is no different. A- and so they can call a- and get good Christian counseling to say how can we move forward? But but my question is basically this for couples. Generally speaking, not this day, not even necessarily this season, generally speaking, would you define your marriage as happy? Is that a characteristic of it? If the answer is no, something is wrong. It doesn’t have to be the defining characteristic, and it definitely will not define every day or every season. But over the long arc of your relationship, will you be able to look back and say, “I was happily married?” If not, you need to get help.

Jim: Yeah. That’s really good insight. Kevin Thompson, man, this has been terrific. Um, your message has, uh, been an encouragement I know too so many. Get a copy of the book, Happily: 8 Commitments of Couples Who Laugh, Love & Last. And this is that practical tool that just lays it out, what you should be aiming for. And I think Kevin’s done a wonderful job doing that. You can get it right here at Focus on the Family. We’d love for you to do that. Because the proceeds go right back into helping families, helping marriages do a better job. And, uh, we would really appreciate that support. So for a gift of any amount, uh, we’ll send that book along to you as our way of saying thank you for investing in the ministry. And if you need that more intensive marriage solution, we have Hope Restored, which, uh, we have three locations now in Branson, Michigan, and down in Atlanta that you can sign up for if your marriage needs that kinda hands on help. We are here for you.

John: Yeah. We’re a phone call away to talk to our counselors, to ask questions about resources or, uh, those Hope Restored marriage intensives. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. And online we’re at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Kevin, thanks again for being with us.

Kevin: Well, thanks so much for having me. I enjoyed it.

John: And coming up next time, Ryan Bomberger is our guest. And he’ll remind us of the thousands of children in foster care who are waiting for a forever family.

Ryan Bomberger: Literally. If you look at, uh, evangelical and conservative, uh, protestant congregations, there are about 191,000 of them. If one family out of three of those, or if one family out of 33% of all of those-

Jim: Yeah.

Preview:

Ryan: … evangelical and conservative churches adopted a child out of the foster care system, there would be no children waiting on that list.

End of Preview

John: Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ.

 

 

Today's Guests

Happily

Happily: 8 Commitments of Couples Who Laugh, Love & Last

Receive the book Happily and the audio download of the broadcast "Laughing, Loving and Lasting With Your Spouse" for your donation of any amount!

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