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Letting God’s Light Shine Through Your Marriage

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Letting God’s Light Shine Through Your Marriage

Based on their book See-Through Marriage, Ryan and Selena Frederick discuss the value of a husband and wife pursuing complete transparency, and how this, along with the pursuit of other biblical traits, can model God's love and grace to others.
Original Air Date: October 26, 2020

Today's Guests

Episode Summary

Based on their book See-Through Marriage, Ryan and Selena Frederick discuss the value of a husband and wife pursuing complete transparency, and how this, along with the pursuit of other biblical traits, can model God's love and grace to others.
Original Air Date: October 26, 2020

Episode Transcript

Teaser:

Woman: When you look at me, what do you see?

Man: Uh, is this a trap? It sounds like a trap.

Woman: Just answer the question.

Man: Well, you’re very pretty. A nice smile. Love your dress. You’ve got a great personality?

Woman: This isn’t for an online profile. I want the truth!

Man: Honey, I think you’re perfect just the way you are.

Woman: (Sighs).

Man: Wait. Come back! What did I say?

End of Teaser

John Fuller: Well, maybe you’ve had a conversation like that with your spouse. Can there be anything more awkward than asking someone what they really think and see in you? Well, today on Focus on the Family, we’re going to be exploring how to bring more transparency and authenticity into your marriage and your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, this topic sometimes is daunting to me personally, but I think men in general, you know, trying to open up with your feelings and even use that terminology, we turn off because it’s hard to do. It doesn’t come naturally. I think you look at the brain chemistry of it, you know, men aren’t quite wired the same way as women are. Women are – they’ve got twice the connections between the two hemispheres of the brain. They’re constantly thinking about things and their feelings. But for us, it can be like, wow, what a waste of time.

John: (Laughter).

Jim: You know, you really want to go to the feelings of things? And so, for the guys listening, hang with us. We understand (chuckling) your pain. And for the women listening, we are going to talk about how perhaps your man can get a little more in touch emotionally with you. And we’re gonna give you some great ideas, both of you, to really improve your marriage today.

John: Yeah, and this works both ways. I think for husbands like you and me and for wives as well, it’s a struggle at times to be vulnerable. And when we go out on a limb and it doesn’t go so well, we feel invalidated or distant and disconnected. That happened… (Laughter)

Jim: I was going to say…

John: …Just last… (Laughter)

Jim: …Are you talking from experience here?

John: …Just last night! We had a little argument. And, uh…

Jim: (Laughter) Better you than me! Go ahead.

John: … And it’s icy cold in the bedroom emotionally. And I’m reading the prep for this broadcast interview…

Jim: (Laughter).

John: …And it just felt a little awkward. But that’s life.

Jim: What’s funny is the title of the book, See-Through Marriage. So, you’re laying in bed last night reading See-Through Marriage and you and Dena are having a little spat. (Laughter)

John: There’s a thick veil of darkness in our relationship at the moment.

Jim: Did it get resolved is the question…

John: Of course, always.

Jim: …People are going to be wondering?

John: Not always right away, but always gets resolved.

Jim: Well, that is super vulnerable. Thank you, John. We’ll explore that more…

John: Often! (Laughter)

Jim: …In the next half hour. Hey, if you haven’t already figured it out, this is obviously a common issue in marriages. We have two wonderful guests today, Ryan and Selena Frederick. They are authors, speakers, and podcast hosts. They started fiercemarriage.com in 2013 after they felt God calling them to openly share their own marital struggles with others. Which let me just say – and I appreciate what you just said, John. That’s where people connect. I mean, people are not perfect. If you haven’t figured that out. Not – particularly, maybe, Christian leadership. Um, we’re as vulnerable as everybody else. And when we put that façade forward, that somehow, we’re perfect, it’s wrong. Ryan and Selena, let me say welcome back to Focus.

Mr. Ryan Frederick: Hey.

Mrs. Selena Frederick: Thanks for having us.

Ryan: Yeah. Thanks for having us.

Selena: We’re glad to be here.

Jim: It’s great.

Ryan: Yeah.

John: And I should note that the Frederik’s have written a number of books, and the one we’re really zeroing in on today is called See-Through Marriage: Experiencing the Freedom and Joy of Being Fully Known and Fully Loved. And you can get your copy at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Well, let’s get right into it. Describe what transparency is supposed to look like and then explain why you say it’s both our greatest desire and our greatest fear. I can relate to the fear part.

Ryan: Yes. Yes.

Selena: (Laughter).

Ryan: And that’s a big, big topic. Big question. I think, uh, it’s tricky, it’s not easy to nail down. That’s one of the reasons why we wrote this book, is because people want this level of being known and they want this level of feeling loved because they feel fully known. And so, what does that actually look like in marriage and in biblical relationship? I think we see a picture of that. Uh, the passage that we kind of focus on is in 1 John, chapter one, “We walk in the light as He is in the light so that we can have” – two things – “fellowship with one another and being cleansed from unrighteousness.” So, what does it mean to have a transparent marriage? I think it’s just being – not hiding anything. And that’s easier said than done, but…

Jim: Yeah, I was going to say one of the challenges sometimes in counseling, you know, they will coach you to not necessarily share everything. You know, “When I was 15, I did this or when I was 18, I did that.”

Ryan: Hmm. Yeah.

Jim: Is there room for, you know, being wise there and not being silly about experience?

Ryan: I would say so.

Selena: Yeah, I think the – the – we look at the end purpose of transparency, right? It’s not just to share all of our dirty laundry and rehash some crime scenes, things that we’ve, you know, experienced in our marriage or outside of our marriage. But really, the purpose is to say this is an experience I – I had and it might be contributing to the struggles that we’re having …

Jim: So, he has context.

Selena: Yes.

Jim: Oh, that’s good. I like that.

Ryan: Yeah.

Jim: You compare our transparency to a stained glass window. In fact, your book cover is awesome. I mean, it’s got holes punched through it

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: …And it looks like a stained glass window.

Selena: Yes.

Jim: And, in fact, Jean commented on how much she liked it.

Ryan: That’s awesome. We’re flattered.

Selena: Yay. (Laughter)

Jim: … So, you connected just with the book cover.

Ryan: (Laughter).

Selena: Awesome.

Jim: But what were you getting at there? That are our transparency is like a stained glass window?

Ryan: Yeah. So, Selena spoke to the context, the end in mind, which is to what? As Christians, what is our purpose, right? To glorify God. And, as John Piper would say, “enjoy Him forever,” right? That sort of thing. And so, stained glass is the picture we kind of zeroed in on in that we’re imperfect shards of glass, we’re different shades, different colors. Actually came from experience we had when we got engaged at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

Selena: Mm-hmm.

Ryan: And, uh, it was just so beautiful, and I – I remember thinking about that and just being in awe of how wonderful this intricate design was. And then as we were writing this book, I was thinking …

Selena: I was thinking.

Ryan: Selena was thinking…

Jim: (Laughter).

Selena: We argue about this ’cause I was like…

Ryan: We argue about this.

Jim: Give credit where credit is due.

Selena: …”No, I’m pretty sure this was my idea on this one.” (Laughter)

Ryan: This is – we constantly have this. Uh…

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Good for you, Selena!

Selena: (Laughter).

Ryan: But the – what made it beautiful was the light, right? And so, our role is really to be, I guess, vessels of the light, right? In the Gospel of John, that’s what John the Baptist said is, “I’m not the light, but I’m here to tell you about the One who is the light.” Right? And one of the first verses there, “The light has shown in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” Right? That’s Jesus. And that’s our role. That’s why transparency is important.

Jim: So, how did that idea come to you? This is your moment. I’m giving it to you, Selena.

Selena: Oh, yes! Finally…

Ryan: Oh right, here it comes.

(LAUGHTER)

Selena: …It’s finally here. Um, no, I just – when we’re talking about being see-through and being transparent and knowing – I guess knowing ourselves, seeing ourselves rightly – right? – through the lens of the gospel. And so, when I’m – when I can see who I am, see the flaws that are inside of me, know that those are there for a purpose. They’re not just there to hurt the people around me…

Jim: Huh.

Selena: …To live in darkness and shame and isolation. But they’re there because God has allowed them, and they add beauty and they add purpose when – only when He is shown through that. So, not only is He through the gospel calling us out of the darkness, but He’s calling us into the light, right? So, there’s this too…

Jim: Where things are seen.

Selena: Absolutely.

Jim: But here’s the problem. We as human beings, maybe because of that sin nature that we have, we don’t like that.

Selena: Mm-hmm. Right.

Jim: You know, we do hide, and we do pull back from being exposed.

Ryan: Yeah.

Jim: And I guess – let me ask a two-part question. You guys go for it. A: why do we do that as rational people? And maybe the answer’s right there, because we’re not rational people.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: But we see that covering up is, in the short run, a better move than being transparent. And I think you even look at Adam and Eve in that regard, right?

Selena: Yup. Yup.

Ryan: Yeah, uh, we’re just like them, right? When they sinned, what did they do? They ran and hid. They felt naked and ashamed, whereas they had been naked and unashamed previous to the fall. And then God’s, you know, walking through the cool of the of – we all know the story, or at least probably know the story.

Selena: (Laughter).

Ryan: And He says, “Where are you?” Well, that’s God basically saying like, “Come clean on it. Tell Me – recognize what happened here.”

Selena: Yes.

Ryan: And I think, anyway, our tendency is to do that. I love this quote. I can’t remember it verbatim, but Jared Wilson wrote this and it’s – uh, he said, “Adam and Eve, when they sinned in the garden, they ran and hid behind the trees.” And he says, “I think they’re onto something. Now, today we have a tree we can run and hide behind in that tree is the cross of Christ.” And so, I think…

Jim: Huh.

Ryan: …To try to fight that tendency is to admit the authority and the truth of the gospel and to really pin your identity on that and to trust that. And I think that’s the fight of the Christian life in marriage and parenting and just living is to constantly believe – repent and believe the gospel more fully so that I can actually live in full light of it.

Selena: Mm-hmm.

Ryan: And that’s why it’s important marriage because we see marriage as an avenue for this – this sanctification to continue happening. And that’s what the book’s really all about.

Jim: Yeah. You know, I want to go there and I – in the open, I talked about brain chemistry and all that. And I know some are going to say, “Well, I’m more like how men act and my husband’s more like how…” And I get that. It’s kind of the 80/20 rule. But how much of that plays into our – I guess, our inability to – especially as men. I’ll just ask you, Selena. You know, just me as a husband. I mean, this is – for Jean and I, this is our thing in our marriage. I mean, she’s, you know, – she just feels like I – I’m not as connected emotionally. Some of that’s trauma, you know, I had a hard childhood. I’m sure it’s survival instincts.

Selena: Mm-hmm.

Jim: But how do we as men become more aware? Or how do we, you know, engage our wives? It’s a little frightening to us.

Selena: Sure. Um, I mean, I think the biggest thing is knowing them, knowing how they feel loved. Oftentimes, I think we project how – I feel love through words of affirmation. So, therefore, I’m going to give my husband words of affirmation when maybe that doesn’t speak volumes at all to him.

Jim: Doesn’t connect.

Selena: Right. So, kind of, again, learning their love language, understanding, um – I mean, you mentioned family of origin and past trauma. I think I can identify with that of not knowing how to always receive the love. And I think maybe women, you know, come from a generation of divorce and men falling out of the household. And so, then I’m looking at him trying to connect with him and loving him and allowing him to love me, but that can be a struggle because I haven’t identified that as, you know, knowing a Savior through your father. And, you know, that’s a disconnect.

Jim: Yeah. And some of it – I appreciate that, Selena, because so often I think in my own experience, I feel like Jean’s expectations are so high. I only got one route and that’s disappointment.

Selena: Right.

Jim: …Because I can’t get on that highway with you.

Selena: I hear you. (Laughter)

Jim: …But she’s – you know, she has that expectation. In fact, Ryan, two years ago or so you – you had, you know, some painful experiences, your memories of your family.

Ryan: Yup. Yeah.

Jim: Describe what happened there so people can latch onto this.

Ryan: Yeah, yeah. Um, so, basically, God had been kind of softening my heart to this thing. And it took months probably for me to get to the point that I’m going to explain here. But basically, I’d been remembering things from my childhood like 9-, 10-, 11-, 12-years-old around there, that really just made me feel a lot of shame. Uh, and the details aren’t honestly that important because I think everybody has something in there that’s like it’s just kind of squished down…

Jim: Yeah, fill in the noun.

Ryan: Right. Yeah.

Jim: Whatever it is.

Ryan: And I was just like, yeah, that’s not relevant to our marriage. I’m just – it just thought of it for whatever reason, but I don’t need to deal with it. So, I kept kind of pushing it down. But the Holy Spirit would not let that remain, right? And so, I was in church one morning and we were doing communion. And I was just – and it was just like…

Jim: Huh. Wow.

Ryan: …I just felt this clear as day. You need to just be transparent in this. Here you are writing a book on this…

Selena: (Laughter).

Ryan: …Right? – and you try to live this. And so, anyway, I…

Jim: That’s called conviction.

Selena: (Laughter).

Ryan: Right. It’s so inconvenient.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: We don’t like that either.

Ryan: No, it’s terrible! And so, on the way home from church, I just said, “Hey, I got to talk to you about” – it was actually during communion I said this. I said, “I need to tell you something. Just, so you know, like it’s from a long time ago, but I just need to let – be known in this way. And so, you’re kind of” – Selena’s kind of like on pins and needles, right?

Jim: Right.

Ryan: We didn’t really talk a lot going home. We went out to lunch with the kids. They had – by God’s grace, they all fell asleep in the car. And so, we had this private moment and I could just say, “This is” – and just put it all out there. And, uh – but your reaction – I thought you were going to just reject me and just basically throw it in my face and – and make me feel more shame. And I was going out on a limb and instead she says, “Hey, that just helps me love you more. By the way, here’s how I can be vulnerable.” And now you start – she starts sharing all these things that she had kind of been feeling the same level of conviction on. And then, you know, an hour later, we felt closer than ever. (Laughter)

Jim: Yeah.

Ryan: Yeah.

Selena: Yeah and I think as a spouse, it kind of – it’s still kind of grieves me to hear that, you know, my husband thinks that this is the way I’ll respond, not that he doesn’t know me…

Jim: I think it has very little to do with you, ironically.

Selena: Exactly. Exactly.

Ryan: It does, yeah. Yeah. Exactly.

Jim: I mean, it’s our fear.

Selena: Right. Exactly.

Jim: It’s the fear that we create that if I am transparent, I’m going to get crushed…

Selena: Right.

Jim: …Because it’s not healthy.

Ryan: Yeah.

Jim: It’s not right. Right?

Selena: Right.

Jim: And that – how does a couple – you know, how did they have their moment like you were there at communion. That’s pretty profound.

Ryan: Yeah.

Jim: How do you begin to set that up with one another? (Laughter) “Honey, I want to tell you something that’s gonna really be hard to hear?”

Ryan: I’m a big fan of queuing it up and saying, “Hey, we need – we need margin to talk about this. Let’s set a time. Let’s set a place. Let’s make sure we have an hour, because I want to talk to you about an important thing.” I think I come more prepared. Selena comes more prepared. Kids are asleep or babies…

Jim: Yeah.

Ryan: …Whatever that thing is. And we can actually – instead of just throwing it out there and having it be a can of worms.

Jim: Yeah, this can work both ways again. So, I – I don’t mean to put the shoe on one foot, but Selena, I do – you’re representing all females here, so…

(LAUHGTER)

Jim: …I mean, in that regard, how does a woman who is, you know, kind of in a good place. She’s healthy spiritually, healthy emotionally. She’s got some concerns for her husband’s inability to be transparent emotionally. How – if that moment comes and he’s going to tell you something – how do you – I want to say ensure, but I don’t think you can. But how do you react in such a way that allows you to have continued transparency? (Chuckles)

Selena: Yeah, for sure.

Jim: And you don’t really step on his oxygen hose.

Selena: Right. Yeah.

Jim: I mean, that’s got to be hard, too, especially if it’s tough news.

Selena: Yeah.

Jim: Uh, you know, a previous relationship before you got married, whatever it might be.

Ryan: Mm-hmm.

Selena: Yeah.

Jim: What coaching do you have for the wife particularly to say bite your tongue?

Selena: Yes.

Jim: And how do you respond if it’s not a positive thing?

Selena: Oh, the Lord is so faithful. I think the Holy Spirit is so faithful to show up in your own heart and in your own life. And, um, knowing how much God’s grace is extended to me, uh, I, therefore, can see how delicate of a situation this is. And my response is so important at that moment. If I clamp down that oxygen hose, it’s going to kill. It’s just gonna kill him. And I remember – I vividly remember one of our first really hard conversations as a – kind of probably three, four years into our marriage of talking about certain addictions or something. And he had shared with me and I was – I felt that. I was like, God has given me this position of either helping my husband, really helping, and stepping into that role or really cutting him off and allowing sin and brokenness to just take over. And I feel like the Holy Spirit was just saying, “Just love him. Just extend grace. By extending grace, you are not permitting. You’re not allowing. You’re not saying, ‘This is okay.’ What you’re saying is, ‘I have grace for you. I have forgiveness for you. This is what I’ve experienced in Christ. Let’s do this together. Let’s walk in it together.’” Because he’s not alone. We are one. So, whatever his, um…

Jim: Wow.

Jim: …Struggles might be, those are mine as well. So, who am I to lord anything over anyone? Um, so I can then come alongside. And it’s a joyous role, honestly, to step into, to be able to really, I think, help, and love your husband, your man. You know? That way…

Jim: That’s healthy.

Selena: Yeah.

Jim: It sounds good.

John: And that’s the call of marriage, isn’t it?

Selena: Right.

John: To carry each other’s burdens in a way that nobody else really can.

Selena: Yes.

John: So, our guests today on Focus on the Family are Ryan and Selena Frederick, and they’ve written a great book, See-Through Marriage: Experiencing the Freedom and Joy of Being Fully Known and Fully Loved. And I will encourage you to get a copy when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. Or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Let’s move to another area. In your book, See-Through Marriage, you referred to a financial study of 2,000 Americans that revealed some fascinating things about our hidden selves. The study said we’re like superheroes in reverse. (Laughter) Okay, explain that to me.

Ryan: Yeah, it’s such a weird concept to me. But basically, the zeitgeist or what people do online is so different from their real lives. And…

Jim: Oh, that’s interesting.

Ryan: …Think of a superhero – right? – where a superhero has a secret identity and that secret identity is, uh, they’re a common man, right? And then the superhero is the one that everybody knows about, and then they live their regular life. Well, the superheroes in reverse is that their – their everyday life is too mundane for them to share with anyone else.

Jim: They’re embarrassed by it.

Ryan: And so, they’re embarrassed by it. So, they put on this façade online. And so, one of the things of the study that they revealed is people would – were putting on this front of being financially successful, right? And this is a big study, thousands of people. And then over half of them were crying and had been like – they had noted crying in private in the past month or in the past week…

Jim: About their finances.

Ryan: …About their money.

Jim: Wow.

Ryan: Yeah. And so, what that revealed is this tendency that social media does kind of breed in us or I guess it exploits in us, is to put on the façade of what we think is valuable or important or worthwhile. And, uh – and then we are living these private lives that are completely hidden.

Jim: Interesting.

Ryan: And that obviously bleeds over into our marriages as well.

Jim: Selena, in that vein, let me ask you about again, particularly women who struggle portraying their homes or their kids in the perfect way. They get embarrassed about something. You refer to it in the book as a beautiful mess. So, you’re a mom of three young girls. You must be feeling like you’re always behind. You can ever be on top of everything and get everything done…

Selena: Mm-hmm.

Jim: …And make sure all the homework – I mean, all of it. I get it. So, what is a beautiful mess to look like? And emotionally, what does that speak to a wife and a mom’s heart?

Selena: Yeah, um, there’s been a theme, I think in the past I’d say – what? – five to eight years of that beautiful mess era of, oh, look at me. I’m just kind of holding it together, falling apart. All these, you know, pictures of either perfection or total mess, right? There’s no in-between. And I think that – I think the tide is shifting a little bit, at least it has in my own heart of saying there can be mess, but there can be beauty, but it doesn’t have to be either or. And I think the transparency aspect of this emotionally, like you just have to slow down. You can’t do it all. And you have to admit that. And us trying to take on those roles of doing all the things, keeping all the house clean and all of – what are the – the words that are going through your head? What’s the script that you’re hearing and listening to? Is it one from the Lord? Because I don’t remember Him saying that you had to do all these things to be – or is it one that you’re putting on yourself or one that’s being – you’ve been on social media too much and you’re hearing this script of lies of this is how everybody lives. They have super clean houses. They have 20 children…

Jim: (Laughing) Right.

Selena: …Super clean houses, home educate, do all the things. It’s perfect. And again, that’s a lie. It’s a façade. And so…

Ryan: Yeah. And the beautiful mess piece felt like kind of an excuse to sit and be transparent without the – the context of why transparency is biblically important…

Selena: Right. Kind of stopping halfway through on that journey.

Ryan: …Which is not just to be transparent, honest, because, hey, who doesn’t love watching, you know, kind of a beautiful mess unfolding for them.

Selena: (Laughter).

Ryan: No, the point is to be sanct – to move past it…

Jim: Right.

Ryan: …To move past the sin, to move past the dysfunction, to move into holiness and flourishing. I mean, that’s the 1 John verse, right?

Jim: Right. Exactly right. Yet, Selena, you write about isolation in marriage where we’re tempted to keep problems hidden from our spouse. I think everybody can relate to that.

Selena: For sure.

Jim: It just sounds like a lot of work. I mean, if I say that, I mean, man, we’re gonna be talking about it for months to come.

Selena: (Laughter).

Jim: Um, but the irony is, it does – that’s the very thing that develops that intimacy that strengthens us.

Selena: Right. Yes.

Jim: So, it’s a weird contradiction. Um, but, you know, the obvious question is, (chuckling) what’s wrong with the silent approach? I mean, is it really worth it? Is the payoff of intimacy worth sharing my deepest thoughts?

Selena: Yes, absolutely.

Jim: (Laughter).

Selena: I – that’s my conversation in my head all the time. Do I really need to bring this up? Because I feel like things – they’re good. They’re all right. They’re fine. And the Holy Spirit is so good and faithful – right? – to lead us again back into the light. The only – we’d so desperately, like you said, want that intimacy with our spouse. We want to be known. We want to be loved. But the only way to experience that and to engage in that is to be transparent, is to share those hard those hard and dark places.

Jim: Well, that makes me think of something else you mentioned in the book about being generous in your communication. And, you know, that’s always a good thing, especially as believers in Christ, we don’t always attain that, but we aim for that. So, what does generosity in communication look like?

Ryan: Yeah, um, it’s really tough. I think if we’re in a good spot in our marriage, um, we can listen to each other more generously and more charitably, in that I can hear past her words. I can hear what she’s actually meaning to say in the heart behind what she’s trying to say. And then one of the – speaking of young Ryan, early married Ryan…

Selena: (Laughter).

Ryan: …Terrible habit I had was trying – was, uh, using words, arguments to kind of belittle my wife, which is an insidious manipulation thing that so many men do. And I’ve repented of it and hopefully we’ve grown out of it, but I actually instead of throwing her own – and arguing her into a smaller place, I can actually say, “I think what you’re trying to say is…” Jim: (Laughter).

Selena: Or another thing, if you’re like that sounds too hard. I don’t know how to read into – past that. Well, if you don’t know, just ask questions. Asking questions is such a great way to understand where your spouse is coming from. Um, and obviously…

Ryan: And then you can ask questions in a way that…

Selena: Well, I know. But being careful of your tone…

Ryan: Yeah.

Selena: …And just saying, “I’m trying to understand you lovingly. Like I want to help. How can…? Here’s my questions.” (Laughter)

Jim: I can relate to that, but my – my issue is more like finishing sentences.

Selena: (Laughter).

Jim: Because I’m going. Okay, let’s go. Let’s go.

Selena: Yeah.

Jim: So, that’s probably not a good idea, right Selena?

Selena: Probably not.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Just from a woman. You know, the coaching you give me there. Don’t finish your wife’s sentences.

Selena: Yes. Yes. (Laughter)

Jim: Jean’s pretty good with that “I”, like, “Can you just let me tell you what I’m thinking rather than you tell me what I’m thinking?” (Laughter)

Ryan: Yeah, we had one of those the other day where we were on a walk and you just kind of went off for like 20 minutes. (Chuckles) It wasn’t at me, it was about other things. And I just “Mm-hmm, Mm-hmm.” Just listening.

Jim: (Laughter).

Ryan: Trying to articulate back and I think you felt very loved after that and like you’d been heard and – and then you wanted to hold my hand the rest of the walk…

(LAUGHTER)

Ryan: …Like she really connected. And so…

Jim: Well, I mean, that’s the – that’s the thing, right?

Selena: Yes.

Jim: If men really understood this, that intimacy emotionally that you create, it benefits the entire relationship.

Selena: Mm-hmm.

Ryan: Yeah.

Jim: And – and so many wives are desperate for that. You do, uh, relate marriage to cooking. And, of course, I’ve got to get in and figure out, okay, how does that work?

Selena: (Laughter).

Jim: And the ingredients. But what was your point in that example of how marriage is like cooking?

Ryan: Yeah. So, this is a long story. I’ll try to make it short. But basically, we got into this – I got into this new cooking method called “sous vide,” which is basically you put meat in a bag, and you put in hot water and it cooks at a precise temperature.

Selena: It’s this tool. Sous vide is a tool.

Ryan: It’s a tool that you put into a pot and you – and any way, it’s really easy to work with. And the – what I love about it is it removes all the variables, right? You’re not having to worry about oven temp or like having it on a barbecue and it gets burned. It’s very predictable.

Selena: Very controlled, yeah.

Ryan: And so communication…

Jim: That sounds complicated.

Ryan: It’s actually really easy.

Jim: (Laughter) Okay.

Jim: I’ll show you some time…

John: The right tool.

Ryan: It’s the right tool. Yeah.

Jim: I’m thinking brats. Let’s just have brats.

(LAUGHTER)

Ryan: But, uh, and so the point in the book was that by removing all these different variables, we can actually focus on what matters, and that’s the meat of the conversation. So, for communication, that would be, uh, timing, you know. Is this a good time or are we both tired and hungry or whatever that is, or are we better at the in-laws house? It’s not a good time to have this fight. Are the kids crying in the backseat? Is that a good time to have the fight? You know, you gotta remove those variables so you can actually get down to the meat of the conversation.

Jim: No, that’s good. I think a good place to end today is the example of what a couple did for you. I’m assuming it was an older couple. I don’t know. But you were kind of in a bad place and they must have observed it or heard something that was said and then they engaged with you. I think, you know, for those of us that are doing okay and might be able to do that, this is a great opportunity to become a mentor. In fact, we want to encourage people to mentor. Look at your neighborhood. Look at your church. And if, you know, you’re a seasoned married couple and you’ve been through some things and know some things, that’s a great thing to do. But what happened in your case?

Ryan: So, this was actually in the section of the book that talks about see-through community, see-through friendships. And so, we talked about one-on-one friendship. And then we talked about community…

Jim: Whew. That could be dangerous.

Ryan: Right. And then we talked about Christian community specifically with other Christians, not just good friends. Like we can have friends who aren’t Christians, but Christian community is meant to fill a specific role in the life of a Christian. And for us, this was a couple that – they’re actually younger than us…

Jim: Oh, wow.

Ryan: …By about three, four years and we had been having, I don’t know, a rough month, I’ll say…

Selena: Ongoing, yeah.

Ryan: …An ongoing kind of – and they, we didn’t even bring it to them, but they saw it and they said, “Hey, you guys want to come over for lunch after church?” or whatever. And we’re like, “Sure.” Total sabotage, right? Like they said – no, they were really kind in it, and they sat us down and said, “Hey, we’re seeing this in you guys. Do you mind? Can we talk about it?” And they…

Jim: Wow.

Ryan: …I think was a light bulb moment for us because we realized without them, without Christian community, we would have never seen this. We would have never – I would have never been humbled, specifically Ryan, I was humbled to see them…

Jim: Or it would have taken longer. That’s true.

Ryan: That’s probably more accurate. Yeah.

John: Did you welcome that, um, intervention, Selena?

Selena: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, they laid it out saying, you know, sometimes it’s easier to go and eat with someone and talk about something because you are more reserved and conscious of how you speak to your spouse…

Ryan: Yes.

Selena: …And what you’re going to reveal about the problems and conflicts you’re dealing with. So, yes, I was very grateful for that intervention, very grateful for that involvement.

Jim: Well, and it’s a good reminder of how critical relationships are beyond your marriage. I mean, that is the number one relationship beyond your relationship with God…

Ryan: Yeah.

Selena: Mm-hmm.

Jim: …Is your relationship with your spouse. And you’ve done a wonderful job in See-Through Marriage. You could put any word in there, right? See-through friendship.

Ryan: Right. Right.

Jim: It does fit. And how do you become more transparent, more vulnerable. And in doing so, how God uses that to strengthen the tether…

Ryan: Yeah.

Jim: …Between you. That’s the irony. And, uh, we all need to trust more in God’s approach that way. And the fact that as we share that, particularly with our spouse, how it strengthens our relationship. And, you know, I’ll speak to the guys. You gotta open up. You got to do this because your wife and your spiritual leadership, it – it really sets the tone. And I can tell you, I don’t always do a good job of that. I’m trying and I’m trying to be mindful of it. But you have to think about it and don’t shrug it off.

Ryan: Yeah.

Jim: And this is a great book to begin that dialog. If you’ve not been in that place in your relationship, See-Through Marriage is a great tool for you. And we want to make it available to you. So, if you can, you know, make a donation of any amount and we’ll get it to you as our way of saying thank you. If you can’t afford it, we believe in the content so much – we want to help your marriage and we believe there are supporters that will take care of the cost of putting this resource into your hands.

John: Yeah. Donate and get your copy of See-Through Marriage when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. Or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And we also have a free marriage assessment. I think well over a million people have taken this now. It’s very quick. It gives you an overview of what’s working well in your marriage and maybe an area or two that you can really work on. And again, this assessment is free, and the link is on our broadcast page.

Jim: Ryan and Selena, great conversation. And again, I so appreciate your transparency that helps the rest of us become more transparent. Thank – thanks for being with us.

Ryan: Yeah. Thanks for having us.

Selena: Thanks for having us.

John: And on behalf of Jim Daly and the rest of the team here, 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.

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