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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Learning to Love Your Spouse (Part 2 of 2)

Learning to Love Your Spouse (Part 2 of 2)

Matt and Lisa Jacobson return to discuss ways to serve each other well with love in marriage. Through choosing the way you think about our spouse, being of one mind in Christ, and cherishing them through every season of life, Matt and Lisa discuss how making your marriage last through the years is possible! (Part 2 of 2)
Original Air Date: June 7, 2023

Matt Jacobson: Just keep in mind, bickering is sin, all right? You don’t have to bicker. You don’t have to argue. You don’t have to act in a manner that compromises that unity. But how do you get there? You have to have that mindset yourself first. You have to believe what the Bible says about how you are supposed the be thinking about this marriage. It’s a unity. It’s oneness. It’s fellowship.

John Fuller: This is Focus on the Family with Focus president and author, Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller, and our guests today are Matt and Lisa Jacobson talking about, um, having a deeper love in your marriage and how to rekindle that, uh, through everyday practices, habits and attitudes.

Jim Daly: And John, I’m excited to continue the conversation that we had last time.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Uh, it kinda started us in a great direction about the importance of respecting and loving both our wives and wives respecting and loving their husbands. It works both ways.

John: Mm.

Jim: And I think that was a great point out of last time and I’m looking forward to today’s discussion. You know, the, the curious thing about this, I do get energized around marriage discussions. Now, do I always apply those things I’m hearing 100%?

John: (laughs)

Jim: No. Uh, it… People… We’re imperfect people. But can I take a couple of steps, maybe several steps in the right direction? I think the answer to that is yes. And last time we talked about deep in the heart stuff, like how do we, how do we truly, uh, live with contentment with our spouse? And how do we put our relationship with Christ in that first place so that our hearts are right, that contentment is there-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … and then stop owning, uh, our spouse’s relationship with the Lord? That’s between them and God.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: As Matt, our guest, said last time, you know, he’s not writing that mail to you. He’s writing it to your spouse (laughs), meaning the Lord. So, that’s a good thing. And we don’t wanna intercept that, uh, mail that’s intended for them, right?

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And today, we’re gonna cover more topics related to our relationship in the marriage covenant, and I’m looking forward to it.

John: Yeah. And Matt and Lisa are return guests. They’re very involved in ministry in the Pacific Northwest. Uh, they’ve written a number of books. Today we’ll be talking about a companion set of devotionals, uh, which are called Loving Your Husband Well and Loving Your Wife Well. These are 52 week devotionals designed to help you grow in your relationship. Stop by the website focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or call us for details. 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Matt and Lisa, welcome back.

Lisa Jacobson: Thank you.

Matt: Great to be back again.

Jim: (laughs). It’s good to have you.

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: I so enjoyed last time, even ending with the humor discussion, how important humor… I didn’t mention that in the intro. But that’s fun, too. Uh, laughing together is really important-

Lisa: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … kind of to provide that, that cushion when things aren’t as fun or laughable, you know?

Lisa: Exactly.

Jim: That you can have those punctuated times of laughing together. Well, let’s jump right back into the various topics. The next one I wanted to cover was conflict, uh, and the opposite of that I think would be unity, and unity is so important in marriage. Um, you know, I think it actually is easier to have unity in marriage than it is in parenting.

Lisa: Mm.

Jim: You know? (laughs)

Matt: Mm. Yeah.

Lisa: Yeah, that’s actually true.

Jim: You know what I mean?

Lisa: Yeah.

Jim: ‘Cause parenting, boy, you just come from different perspectives sometimes.

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: One’s a little easier. One’s a little tougher on the rules, etc. But unity in all things is really, really critical.

Lisa: Mm-hmm.

Jim: So, in that regard, um, how do we build unity and how do we, um, not need to win every argument perhaps-

Matt: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … and agree with our spouse on most things? (laughs)

Matt: Well, you know, one of the things that we find often, and, and maybe you guys have experienced this, too, but you can get in a pattern of kind of negative communication-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Matt: … and just a little snippy, a little ye-… And so, those differences can become sort of the seabed of disagreements and then snippiness and bickering and arguing. And yeah, you love each other, yeah, you’re gonna stay married, but you’ve developed this culture in your home that is kind of negative. And, you know, we just like to say, just keep in mind, bickering is sin, all right? You don’t have to bicker. You don’t have to argue. You don’t have to act in a manner that compromises that unity. But how do you get there? You have to have that mindset yourself first. You have to believe what the Bible says about how you are supposed the be thinking about this marriage. It’s a unity. It’s oneness. It’s fellowship.

Jim: Mm.

Matt: Right? So, the things that compromise that are the things that are outside of God’s plan for you. So, when you start thinking in those terms, you put a check on your mouth. I was with a friend the other day and we had talked to them, th- the couple about this business of bickering in their, in their marriage and, and they’re a great couple, they love each other. But they’ve got this culture of snipping at each other and, and we say, “You know what, that’s actually sinful. The Bible talks about speaking with kindness to each other.”

Lisa: Mm.

Matt: So, a lot of guys, they go, “Oh, wait. Was I kind to my wife?” Like, I challenge them and I say, “Did you speak with kindness? That’s what the Bible says you’re supposed to do, be kind to one another. Are you speaking that way?” So, it’s a biblical way of thinking and th- that’s, that’s where you start if you want to find the unity that God’s calling you to. What does the Bible say about how I am supposed to interact?

Jim: Wow. You know, so when Jean says to me, “That was a little snarky,” that’s not a compliment?

Lisa: (laughs). Nope.

Jim: (laughs)

Matt: (laughs)

Jim: Yes, that has happened. People are going, “Not you, Jim.” Yes, it’s true, I can be snarky and I’m reeling that in and learning every day. In fact, Lisa, you even mentioned that in your book, this ability to be a snarky jabber.

Lisa: (laughs)

Jim: But, uh, what was that situation when Matt may have been a little snarky toward you, Lisa, and-

Matt: It did happen one time.

Jim: One time. (laughs)

Matt: That’s why you’re pointing.

Lisa: (laughs)

Jim: Well, you’re a fast learner.

Matt: The one time he points out.

John: Yeah. (laughs)

Jim: I’m a little slow.

Matt: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Lisa: I think sometimes you can… A spouse can say something that comes across in a way that is really negative or tearing down. Again, those triggers is one of those things. So, there was a morning, a sunny morning. My husband’s a pastor. We are trying to get breakfast, you know, out the door and get the kids all ready. And he said something like… Now, this is what I heard. I’m not saying this is what he said.

Jim: Mm.

Lisa: This was what I heard him saying, “Hey, looks like this is all your mom’s serving this morning, so eat up and get going.” That is what I heard. And so, I was so furious ’cause I felt like it was demeaning, um, to me in front of the kids. That’s something that’s… I’m very sensitive about. I do feel like I need to be respected and, and especially in front of the kids. But I also thought, “Okay. Right now, I can get into this with him.” But I’m thinking, “Okay. He’s a pastor. He’s going to church. Is this really the conversation we wanna have on the way to church?” I thought, “You know what, I can… This can wait and I can put aside my anger. I can s- put aside my hurt and… But I am gonna talk to him about it. I’m not gonna just stuff it, ’cause that’s a different, whole different way of solving things.” And after church on the way home, I said, “Can I tell you something that happened this morning that you said?” And I told him what I thought I heard. He goes, “What are you talking about?”

Jim: Mm.

Lisa: “I didn’t say that at all. I was just saying, ‘Hey, let’s get eating so we can get going and go on to church.” So, it was, it was a quick conversation now, right? ‘Cause he’s just saying, “That’s not what I said. It’s certainly not my heart.” So, he responded humility. He didn’t get defensive and it gave me a chance to go, “Oh. You know, I just think I’m, I’m just overreacting to something.” And that happens all the time in marriage. I… And it builds. So, if you don’t address it-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Lisa: … or if you just make it a, a reason to get in a good fight, then it, it adds this negative aspect to your marriage rather than a positive one.

Jim: Mm.

Matt: It’s amazing how many things we know in marriage that turned out not to be the case.

Lisa: Yeah (laughs). So true.

Matt: You know, we-

Lisa: Yeah.

Matt: … have, we have this assumption-

Lisa: That’s true.

Matt: … we know th- what, what the person was thinking, we know why they said it.

Lisa: Yeah.

Matt: And yet, we don’t really. So, a maturity sense-

Jim: No, it’s really true. And it, it… Certainly, Jean and I had something like that just a few weeks ago and, and it really wounded her and I went, “Wow, I di-… That was not my intention at all.”

Lisa: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I didn’t even realize it, you know, in terms of the tone or what was said. I thought I was being just a, a fact stater. But that’s not how she understood it. So, I, I get that. I don’t know if you’ve had that.

John: Oh, just (laughs)-

Jim: Yeah. Okay. This is called marriage.

Lisa: Yes.

John: … a couple nights ago.

Jim: And we’re all right here. Matt, let me, let me address another common stereotype that men don’t share their hearts as easily as women. There’s a, there’s a neon sign. (laughs)

Matt: (laughs)

Jim: And this is something Jean and I talk a lot about. Um, you know, just that ability to share what we’re truly feeling. It doesn’t come naturally for most men. I don’t think all men. Some men have it-

Lisa: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … and I get that. But I think generally speaking-

Lisa: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … men struggle a bit more with emotional attachment.

Matt: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I mean, it… You know, for whatever reason. And, uh, speak to that stereotype and how we have to fight that in order to be intimate in our marriages-

Matt: Yeah, absolutely.

Jim: … the way our wives actually need us to be as men.

Matt: Yeah, absolutely. Well, uh, two sides to that, certainly. Uh, you talked about the guy willing to be vulnerable, willing to go there, and for that to be the case is he’s got to have a safe spot. He’s got to have a safe place. He’s got to know that his heart is safe with the heart of his wife, his words, his wounds, his, his feelings h- are safe with her. And so, what that means is sometimes she needs to communicate, “You can trust me.”

Lisa: Mm.

Matt: “I will never speak of you in a way that would y- make you feel exposed or compromised-

Jim: Mm.

Matt: … to another person.” Like, just communicating with your husband that you are that trustworthy person, you are-

Lisa: Mm-hmm.

Matt: … uh, somebody that, uh, that he can trust. There’s, there’s that piece to it, too. But then, you know, I’m also just gonna go back to that business of oneness. You know, if I understand myself, according to what God has said, I’m going to be willing to, uh, maybe go outside my comfort zone a little bit and she needs me to communicate to her that I love her and one of the ways I do that is I share who I am to her.

Lisa: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Mm.

Matt: And, uh, and so, this is the path of growth and maturity and you kind of have to decide, I’m gonna walk that path.

Jim: Yeah.

Matt: And sometimes it’s not comfortable, and sometimes you’re… But, but the thing about being vulnerable with another person, you’re giving them a knife to stab you with. I mean, that’s really-

Jim: Correct.

Lisa: Mm.

Matt: … that’s really what it is.

Jim: Well, le-

Matt: And so, that’s why that trust is so important.

Jim: And let me… Yeah. And that trust needs to be built. It needs to be, uh, trustworthy-

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: … if I could say it that way. And Lisa, let me have you speak to that issue, uh, related to absorbing things that might destabilize you when you hear it at first. And hopefully… You know, there’s some serious stuff. We’re not trying to tap around it. But, you know, there’s addictions that men can find themselves in-

Matt: Oh, yeah.

Jim: … and things like that. So, uh, you know, that’s where you main need professional help, counseling-

Matt: Yep.

Jim: … that kind of thing. But just the normal stuff of life, and when… Just to put the shoe on the right foot. So, when a husband is coming to his wife to say, even in his own heart without expressing it, “I want this emotional intimacy. I’m gonna try this.” And when he does, bam, he gets slapped.

Lisa: Yeah.

Jim: That’s not, that’s not a good response, because what will happen over time is he will stop trying.

Lisa: Yes.

Matt: Yep.

Jim: And then she’s… Then, typically, she’s gonna be concerned that he doesn’t share things with her, but it’s this vicious cycle that, “If I do, you judge me for it.”

Lisa: Right.

Jim: So, what-

Lisa: And you know how… Right.

Jim: What is sh-… What’s the response there, the healthy response for the wife when her husband is trying, inadequately as it may be, to express these things?

Lisa: The common complaint amongst women is that, you know, “Don’t try to fix me. So, I share something with you, don’t try to fix it.” I, I… Just-

Jim: No, that’s true.

Lisa: Just the other day, I heard that, and that’s so true. Well, the reverse is also true. So, if a husband does share something with you, don’t try to change him.

Jim: (laughs)

Lisa: It’s the same thing as being fixed. So, he doesn’t want y-… Don’t try to say, “Oh, well, this is what you need to do, or this is where you need to change. I’ve been meaning to talk to you about this.” And a lot of times we think of this as, like, an open door somehow to s- come in and go, “Well, you just need to change. You need to stop doing this. You need to speak more kindly to the kids,” and, and kind of stack upon it, rather than just sitting there and sitting with your husband and listening, caring about his heart, trying to imagine him as a young boy and maybe what his experiences were, ’cause he has his own set of experiences and vulnerabilities and wounds. And, um, and just knowing that he cares about you and that you’re a good listener is really powerful.

Matt: Mm.

Jim: Yeah.

John: Well, this is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly and our guests today are Matt and Lisa Jacobson and, uh, we’re talking about marriage and how to really, uh, dig in and have a great marriage for the long haul. Uh, they have a couple of books that we’re recommending. They’re 52-week devotionals and there’s a, a book for, uh, each spouse, Loving Your Husband Well and Loving Your Wife Well. Uh, find out more about these books and Matt and Lisa and their ministry and, uh, Focus on the Family and the way we can help you. Uh, we’ve got details at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Or give us a call, 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Matt, I wanna come back, uh, to the parable of the, uh, man who owed a large debt and was forgiven. Describe that, and then how to apply that within our marriages. I think it’s, it’s really brilliant. So often we read parables out of scripture, the New Testament, but we don’t have the acuity to apply them to our everyday lives.

Matt: Yep. So, you’re referring to, uh, yeah, the Ungrateful Servant, the Parable of the Ungrateful Servant. And he owed more than you could pay back in a lifetime, and he was gonna be thrown in prison. And so, uh, he went and… But he pled and he asked for mercy and he was given mercy. But then he turned around to somebody who owed him a pittance and he had that guy thrown in prison. And so, that’s that business of, uh… And the Lord just says, “Look, if you don’t forgive, I’m not gonna forgive you.” And forgiveness is so utterly critical in marriage and we can just stack up all of the offenses and convince ourselves that we don’t really owe that other person forgiveness, forgetting how much we have been forgiven. And, and, and, you know, if somebody is dealing with a repeat offender, if you’ve got a husband or a wife, uh, who’s doing the same thing over and over and then saying, “Hey, I’m sorry. Hey, I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” they’re not really repenting. You’re not… So, you might have to involve somebody else to get to the bottom of that so that you can get to a place of real repentance and leaving sin behind. But we have to be very careful as, again, biblical Christians, right? That’s the kind of Christian we wanna be-

Jim: Mm.

Matt: … a biblical Christian. We have to be very careful with nurturing this place of pain in my heart that justifies me withholding forgiveness from the other person. Satan loves a little root of bitterness. He loves that unforgiveness. And he’ll convince you in every way that it’s justified. But God forgave us-

Jim: Mm.

Matt: … and he calls us to forgive the same way, and forgiving, it’s… Here’s the thing. It’s always the wounded party that has to do the forgiving. Everything with God is kind of upside down, right? How come the wounded party has to be the one to go and forgive the other person, right? But that’s the way God set it up. It’s always the wounded person that has to offer the forgiveness.

Jim: Mm.

Matt: And that’s, uh-

Jim: Yes.

Matt: That is something that will be powerful sa- in your marriage. Um, but, uh, yeah, your enemy doesn’t want you to have any part of it.

Jim: That’s so true. And so be mindful of that is really critical important. Lisa, you describe in the book how Matt, uh, is more enthusiastic about change and moving and-

Lisa: (laughs)

Jim: … I could so relate to that. I had, you know… I think I went to seven different elementary schools in six years-

Matt: Okay. (laughs)

Jim: … so I get the picture. It makes you… Or it, it encourages you to make friends quickly.

Lisa: (laughs)

Matt: (laughs)

Jim: New friends all the time, right? And that was my sense of why I probably became an extrovert. “Hi. My name’s Jim. I’m new. You wanna be my friend?”

Matt: (laughs)

Lisa: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs). I’m sure I’ve even said that line a few times. But how have you both been able to let God work in each other’s hearts when your perspectives about life are so different?

Lisa: I think when you- you’re first attracted to your spouse, you’re attracted because they are different, right? Matt was the most exciting man I’d ever met in my life, and so I was thrilled to be his wife. But it… But that-

Jim: Aw, that’s sweet.

Lisa: (laughs). But that excitement gets a little scary (laughs)-

Jim: (laughs)

Lisa: … when you’re pr-

Jim: Or old.

Lisa: Or old.

Jim: (laughs)

Lisa: (laughs). So, like, we just moved into this new home just a few months ago, and he’s already thinking, “You know, we could sell this house and then I could build that house over there.”

Jim: (laughs)

Lisa: Now, 20 years ago, I would have already started crying. I’m feeling like, “I haven’t even unpacked the boxes and I’m trying so hard,” and-

Jim: Right.

Lisa: … and now I’m just like, “Can you just not talk about that right now? ‘Cause I don’t wanna…” (laughs). But also, understanding it’s how he’s made and reminding myself, this is what I loved about him, and it doesn’t mean we have to move tomorrow. And-

Matt: But St. Petersburg was a good idea, you have to agree with that.

Lisa: It was not a good idea.

Matt: Oh.

Lisa: It was a terrible idea. (laughs)

Matt: D-

Jim: St. Petersburg, Florida?

Matt: No, no. Russia.

Lisa: (laughs)

Matt: In our first year of marriage, I was sitting on the couch and Lisa’s in the kitchen-

Jim: (laughs)

Matt: … and, uh, sh- I don’t know what you were doing. Maybe making dinner or something. And I said, “You know, honey, we should move to St. Petersburg, Russia.”

Jim: (laughs)

Matt: And she’s going, “Oh my goodness.” You’re like-

Lisa: (laughs)

Matt: Sh-

Jim: There’s an on ramp for you.

Matt: (laughs)

Lisa: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: Had you ever talked about that before?

Lisa: No.

Matt: No. No.

Jim: (laughs). Okay.

John: This is why Matt is so exciting.

Jim: Okay.

Matt: (laughs)

Lisa: It’s exciting.

Jim: Maybe you and I aren’t quite alike.

Matt: Okay. (laughs)

Jim: (laughs). No, that’s fun, though. I get it. But it’s destabilizing for you. You’re looking for permanence.

Lisa: Mm-hmm.

Jim: You’re looking for something a little more concrete. And I… That I can relate to with Jean and-

Lisa: And he’s grown in the understanding of me-

Jim: Yeah.

Lisa: … and how I am, so he’s much better now coming to me, it’s like, “Hey, I just want you to know, I’m just thinking of this idea. This is not a plan. It’s an idea.”

Jim: Ah-ha. That’s good.

Lisa: Or he’ll say, “I know that you need this to help you feel secure. Or what would make you feel better about this, this-

Jim: Mm.

Lisa: … new, uh, adventure we’re going on?” So, it’s, it’s-

Matt: And there’s so much specific wisdom in the Bible about this-

Lisa: Yeah.

Matt: … directly stating, live with your wife according to knowledge.

Lisa: Oh, it’s, it’s huge.

Matt: So, make a study-

Lisa: Yeah.

Matt: … of who this person is.

Lisa: Yeah, yeah.

Matt: And interact with that understanding and that knowledge.

John: Mm-hmm.

Lisa: Yeah. And even along those lines. So, when he has a big idea, instead of me shutting it down, ’cause I can right away think of all the reasons this is a terrible idea, the impact that has on him is visible. Like, he just goes from excited to, oh, deflated.

Jim: Mm.

Lisa: And realize like, “Hey, just listen to the idea out. It’s not gonna hurt. We’re just talking about ideas.” And then if he really get serious, then I go, “Can I tell you some of my concerns about this?” (laughs)

Jim: (laughs). Yeah.

Matt: And the Lord has taught me to listen to this-

Jim: Yeah.

Matt: … wonderful resource of wisdom-

Lisa: Yeah.

Matt: … on my, uh, you know, next planet, you know-

John: So, so, did you move?

Matt: … inter planet area-

Lisa: No.

Jim: Yeah. (laughs)

Matt: … endeavor.

Jim: No, that’s so true. Let me, let me ask you. Continuing on through the great content in your devotionals, Loving Your Husband Well, Loving Your Wife Well. Uh, why is it important to treat each other well, especially when you think no one is watching? I’ve had that applied in our personal lives. People say you really know who you are… Your character is measured by how you behave when no one is watching.

Lisa: Mm.

Jim: That’s a powerful statement.

Matt: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And a convicting one, really.

Lisa: Mm.

Jim: But I, I never thought about it in the context of your marriage, that how your character in your marriage is how you treat each other when no one else is observing.

Lisa: Mm-hmm.

Matt: Well, we live in a culture and a society that says, “Hey, get mopped up for the camera.” You know? And-

Jim: Yeah, that’s so true.

Matt: … it’s putting it on. But of course, God knows exactly who we are when nobody’s looking and because that is who we are, and, and it’s so critical that who we are when nobody is looking as a couple is who we are when everybody’s looking because your marriage is what God is doing in the world. It’s not what you’re doing in the world. It’s what God is doing in the world. God put you together and God has a very specific purpose of communicating to the world how much Jesus loves the church by this example of marriage. And so, so, for that reason, it’s important. And just as a person who isn’t a hypocrite, it’s important, right? You’re actually a person of integrity and this is who we are when nobody is looking. God is calling us to have Christian Godly character all the time, not just when we know somebody’s watching us.

Lisa: Mm-hmm. And you don’t know who is looking or who is watching. Uh, I can think of a couple examples, but one is-

Jim: Okay.

Lisa: … uh, a single friend of one of our kids said, “I just love the way your parents look at each other.”

Jim: (laughs). That’s sweet.

Lisa: And it was very encouraging to him. It wasn’t even that interested in marriage-

Jim: Yeah.

Lisa: … ’cause he was so discouraged in-

Jim: Yeah.

Lisa: … in the marriage as he saw, whether they stayed together or not just wasn’t a loving, exciting thing for him.

Jim: Yeah.

Lisa: And so, you think, “Oh, I didn’t even know he was watching us.”

Jim: Yeah.

Lisa: Like, how could I have known that? And, um, another example was the last time we left Focus on Family-

Matt: That’s right.

Lisa: … we were on the airplane on the way home, it was late at night, we were wiped, but we were just sitting there and kind of holding hands and eating those little pretzels and a-

Jim: Oh, you got pretzels.

Lisa: Yeah.

Jim: That was good.

Lisa: We went all out. (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Matt: (laughs)

Lisa: We were laughing in talking and, and the flight attendant was very grumpy, um, just sho-

Jim: (laughs)

Lisa: I tried everything. Like, “Thanks,” you know, and just trying to be appreciative and she had a scowl the entire flight.

Jim: Mm.

Lisa: Finally, I just thought, “Well-

Matt: Which I think a lot of flight attendants have a legitimate scowl-

Lisa: Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Matt: … from what they have to deal with.

Jim: Yeah, yeah.

Lisa: Yeah, yeah.

Matt: So, we don’t wanna be hard on her, for sure.

Lisa: No, not that that was… I, you know-

Jim: But I get it.

Lisa: But as we got off the flight, it’s, you know, close to midnight and we’re walking up the little… She said, “Can I talk to you for a second?” And I thought, “Oh-

Jim: (laughs)

Lisa: … I’ve not been called aside for a long time.” (laughs)

Jim: Yeah.

Lisa: And I thought, “What is she gonna say to me?” She was already so angry. And she said, “Can I ask what you and your husband were celebrating?” And I said, “Oh, we’re not really celebrating anything. We’re just on our way home from, you know, an interview and we were just… Yeah. We just were loving each other.” And she said, “I just love that.”

Matt: Mm.

Jim: Oh.

Lisa: “I just loved watching you two.”

Jim: She was starving-

Lisa: Yes.

Jim: … it sounds like.

Lisa: And it was a huge witness. And again, you don’t really think-

Jim: Yeah.

Lisa: … about that.

Jim: Mm.

Lisa: But it said the gospel louder than if we had-

Jim: Yeah.

Lisa: … you know, had done probably anything else.

Jim: Yeah. You know, one thing I wanted to mention.

Matt: Mm.

Jim: It- It- It’s hard to live perfectly all the time, so when we’re talking about, you know, it’s the general principle of, you know-

Matt: Yep. Absolutely.

Lisa: Yep.

Jim: … being who you are on both sides.

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: But those things breakdown because we’re human. We have-

Matt: Yeah, exactly.

Jim: You know, we live in a sinful world-

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: … and we have sin in our hearts still.

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: That kind of thing. So, for the couple that may have the argument and think, “Oh, man. We’re not living with integrity,” I… You do just want to aim for getting better, not perfect.

Matt: Absolutely. It’s a sanctification process-

Jim: Yeah.

Matt: … and so we don’t just validate that because I had feelings that led me to that argument. No. God’s calling me to do it differently the next time-

Jim: Yeah.

Matt: … and he’s merciful, so we go to him-

Jim: Yeah. And-

Matt: … repent and we continue on.

Jim: And these are the principles we’re aiming for, and that’s what makes the content so good. And I think, you know, I have learned, uh… Thankfully I get to sit with very smart people like you that give a lot of attention to this and write great books about it. I feel I have moved, you know, myself personally over time, uh, to be more mindful of my tone and more mindful of who I am and those kinds of things. So, you know, if it could work for me, it can work for you. (laughs)

Matt: (laughs)

Jim: Let’s say, as we zero in here at the close, um, for both of you, I’ll ask this question. Why is it important, especially as a husband, but also for a wife, to put your hope in the right things?

Lisa: Hm.

Matt: Well, the Bible says hope deferred maketh the heart sick. And so (laughs), if you’re hoping for the things that are not what God would have you to value and to seek, then you’re, you’re, you’re putting your hope in things that are transient and things that are, are going to pass. And, and, and the thing is is our hope is in Christ and in his promises and in who we’re called to be and, and where we’re going. And so, you can set yourself up for tremendous disappointment if you put your hope in, um, “Well, I’m just gonna get this person to change in that way, or I’m going to, uh, have a life that, uh, guarantees that this is going to be the, the destination that we arrive at.” Our hope needs to be in the Lord and our focus needs to be in his call on our heart and our life and who he’s calling us to be.

Jim: Yeah, that’s good.

Lisa: Yeah. I think I can think of a s- couple of times in our marriage where, um, where it seemed hopeless and, like, wh- just on our wedding day, one of the pastors that was, uh, at our wedding, he turned to a group of people and he said, “Well, those two are gonna wake up hating each other.”

Jim: (laughs) There’s some aspiration.

John: Oh my gosh.

Lisa: There- There’s the… And I was just so devastated as a new bride-

John: Oh, my.

Lisa: … thinking, “This is what I have to look forward to?” Because we were so different and we do have strong personalities. And yet, when people speak those words over you, it’s hard not to, to believe them. And I know many people who’ve had family members say, “Well, you’re gonna end up divorced just like the rest of us,” and things like that instead of speaking words of hope and truth. And you don’t have to listen to those words. You can say, “You know what, we’re gonna have to work hard, but we have our hope in Jesus Christ.”

Jim: I like that.

Matt: The truth is, God has a beautiful plan for a couple who is willing to do things his way. You will, you will continue on a path of love and maturity and growth and fun and joy in your marriage. God’s plan leads to the blessing of obedience.

Jim: Yeah. You know, I’m thinking of something that somebody showed me just the other day. It was a s- uh, kind of a cartoon stick drawing of two people on one end of these stick figures representing a marriage, and, and this straight line across the life continuum. And then a finish line and a checkered flag.

Lisa: (laughs)

Jim: And then it’s God’s way-

Lisa: Yeah.

Jim: … which is this… The two stick figures starting out. It’s a valley. It’s a thunderstorm.

Matt: (laughs)

Jim: It’s a peak. It’s a, you know, flood.

Matt: Yeah, that’s right.

Lisa: Yeah.

Jim: Y- The line’s moving up and down-

Lisa: Oh.

Matt: Yeah.

Lisa: Absolutely.

Matt: Yes.

Jim: … through life’s-

Lisa: Yes.

Matt: Yes.

Jim: … dilemma’s right?

Matt: Yeah.

Lisa: Yes.

Jim: And then at the end, it’s a heart.

Lisa: Mm.

Matt: Yep.

Jim: Not a checkered flag.

Matt: Yep.

Lisa: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And I think what a beautiful way to look at things.

Matt: Mm.

Jim: This is what marriage does. I mean-

Lisa: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … it helps, uh, prepare us for heaven, I think, to become more selfless, more like Christ-

Lisa: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … and you’ve done a beautiful job representing that in these two devotional books, Loving Your Husband Well, Loving Your Wife Well. What a great way to set your course and to allow God’s blessing to fall upon you in… Particularly in your relationship with your spouse.

Lisa: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I hope you’ll get a copy of these books. Let’s make it easy. Uh, be a part of the ministry. Send us a gift of any amount and we’ll send both of them as our way of saying thank you, uh, for being part of the ministry and getting a resource or two resources that really can help you in your marriage journey. So, get ahold of us today.

John: Mm. Yeah. You can get these books, uh, at our website. That’s focusonthefamily.com/broadcast or call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. While you’re online, uh, take a few minutes and, uh, fill out our assessment, our marriage assessment. It’s free. About a million people have taken this and it really brings, uh, to bare some of the great things that are working in your marriage and a few things you might wanna work on. It’ll require maybe five or 10 minutes of your time. Uh, do that together as a couple, uh, and then you’ve got some talking points to get on the same page and, uh, on the journey together.

Jim: Thank you both for being with us. This is fun. Have a great time on the airplane. Make sure you’re hugging-

Matt: (laughs)

Lisa: (laughs)

Jim: … making out. Let the stewardess see that.

Lisa: Absolutely. (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Matt: (laughs)

Jim: And then she’ll come up and say-

Matt: It’s me-

Jim: … “Wow. What is going on in your marriage?”

Lisa: (laughs)

Matt: It’s just ministry.

Lisa: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs). I love it. Thanks for being with us.

Lisa: Thank you.

Matt: Great to be with you. Thank you.

John: And thank you for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller and on behalf of Jim Daly and the rest of the team, please plan to be with us next time as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

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