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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Navigating Seasons of Change in Your Marriage

Navigating Seasons of Change in Your Marriage

Sean and Lanette Reed share their story of getting married, having three children and moving multiple times within their first two years of marriage. With their insight and practical tips, you’ll learn to face struggles and difficulties head-on as a team…and even strengthen your relationship.
Original Air Date: June 2, 2023

Sean Reed: What would it look like for Jesus to walk into the room and be the healer, the same God, the one who was able to resurrect the dead, speak life where it seems like there’s no hope? What would it look like for Jesus to walk into the room? Is there room for God?

Lanette: Hmm.

Sean: He is the difference maker. And, and at our darkest moment, He told us his grace was sufficient and he meant it. And that’s what brought us through.

John Fuller: Well, this is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly and our guests today are Sean and Lanette Reed. They’ll be talking about marriage. Thanks for joining us. I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, marriage is a gift from God and I wanna make sure people hear that. Sometimes we say too much, you know, “It’s hard work.” I ran into a 20-something woman the other day and she said, “Yeah, you know, when I hear a lot of Christian leaders talk about marriage they usually say it’s such hard work that I’m kinda not sure I wanna get married.”

John: Ah.

Jim: So I don’t want anybody to hear that. What I wanna hear is, “Man, pursue this because if you feel called to marriage,” and not everybody is, I get that, “it is an awesome experience.”

John: Indeed it is.

Jim: It does take some work.

John: Mm.

Jim: I don’t wanna be, you know, head in the sand with this, but, you know, what a beautiful, beautiful gift God has given to us in marriage. And it’s a beautiful picture of the gospel, how these ups and downs have a purpose, uh, to make us more like Jesus.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Gary Thomas has said that many times and wrote about it. You know, God brings two different people together typically, uh, not the same personality, and you end up learning to be selfless or selfish.

John: Hmm.

Jim: And selfless is the way of the cross-

John: Yeah.

Jim: … and the way of Christ. And isn’t that awesome that even in that marriage connection God’s trying to teach us something?

John: Mm-hmm. Yeah, and Sean and Lanette will be sharing from their own personal experiences and, uh, expertise. They’ve been married for, um, some 25 years, I believe, and are part of the XO Marriage team of speakers and podcast hosts. Uh, Lanette is a director for XO. And Sean is a teaching pastor at Open Door Church. And they have three adult children. And have written a book together called Marriage in Transition: Creating Connection Through Uncontrollable Change. Stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast for details.

Jim: Sean and Lanette, welcome to Focus on the Family.

Sean: Thank you.

Lanette Reed: Oh, thank you very much. It’s so good to be here.

Sean: Yeah, so great to be here.

Jim: Good to have you, yeah. And I’m looking forward to this discussion. You kinda heard my heart a moment ago on that-

Sean: Yes.

Jim: … but, you know, y- you’re pastoring, you’re working with couples directly, and really both of you are.

Sean: Mm-hmm.

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Jim: So in that context, uh, what are people sharing with you when it comes to facing these uncontrollable transitions that, uh, a- are part of marriage?

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Sean: Yeah, I think a lot of people are just kinda floating when it comes to-

Jim: Huh.

Sean: … life transitions and change. And we were ourselves as well.

Jim: Hmm.

Sean: And that was part of the greatest challenge is that if we’re not prepared for seasons of change, right, then, we don’t know how to navigate them well together as a-

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Sean: … couple. And so Lanette and I, we had, uh, within our first three years of marriage we had three children.

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Sean: We had moved to-

Jim: (laughs).

Sean: … two different cities.

Jim: I’m sorry. Like, this is funny.

Lanette: None of this was planned. (Laughs).

Sean: Yeah. (Laughs).

Jim: Wow, that was busy.

Sean: So … Yeah, so-

Jim: Three kids in three years.

Lanette: Three kids-

Sean: Three kids-

Lanette: … in three years.

Jim: Okay.

Sean: Three years, yeah.

Jim: That’s awesome.

Sean: Yeah, so if I wa-

Lanette: It wasn’t back then.

Jim: Yeah. Uh, yeah, (laughing) exactly. Well, that’s where-

John: Well- Yeah.

Jim: … you just put your head down and go.

Lanette: That’s it.

Jim: You know?

Sean: Exactly.

Jim: Whoo, get through the day.

Lanette: Yeah.

Jim: And w- wake up the next day.

Sean: 100%.

Jim: But it did create some issues.

Sean: Oh, 100%. You know, we, we would try to discover who we were-

Jim: Yeah.

Sean: And trying to discover our children and communication and juggling work and all the things, you know, and going through just normal life circumstances.

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: And I think that there were several things, uh, celebrating one another’s strength, uh, would’ve been great-

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: … early on.

Lanette: Absolutely.

Sean: But instead, we allowed our strengths to kinda drive us apart.

Lanette: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Sean: And I think a lot of couples find that. We’re reacting to the transitions, um, and we see our spouse as the problem, instead of dealing with problems together as a team.

Jim: In addition to, you know, obviously just being flat out busy with three kids in three years, newly married in those first five years-

Lanette: Yeah.

Jim: … I would assume, what were some of the other challenges that were, uh, haunting you at that time? I mean, it’s kinda obvious, but say it-

Lanette: Yeah.

Jim: … for everybody.

Lanette: Yeah. So honestly, the biggest thing was we were great friends, right?

Jim: Uh-huh.

Lanette: You know, we didn’t get married to our enemy. So we were great friends. But the minute we got married it’s kinda like we noticed one another differences-

Jim: Hmm. (laughs).

Lanette: … and we didn’t like them.

Sean: Yeah. (laughs).

Lanette: It was like the veil was just removed before our eyes, and it was just looking at ’em like-

Jim: Yeah.

Lanette: … “Yeah, you’re a little different than (laughing) where you were a couple years ago.” And so, really navigating those differences.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Lanette: And when it came to making decisions on finance or just, you know, even just parenting-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Lanette: … and discipline. And so, those differences really tore us apart.

Jim: Yeah.

Lanette: And it was really hard to get on the same page. And it was really hard to get on the same page and just kinda move forward. So for me, it was really navigating just him being different.

Jim: Yeah.

Sean: And then, we also went through a season where Lanette went through, uh, some physical sicknesses that she was going through during that time.

Jim: Mm.

Sean: Uh, as you can imagine, her body was going through a lot of changes-

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Sean: … having kids back to back to back.

Jim: Sure.

Sean: Um, and we also had a, a moment where our third child was gonna be a twin.

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Okay.

Sean: And so, we ended up, you know, having-

Lanette: A miscarriage.

Sean: … to, to grieve during that process of the miscarriage as well. So all of this happened… We got married at 18.

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Sean: And so, we graduated high school, got married in September. Our first kid came out in December-

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Yeah.

Sean: … of 1998.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Sean: And, and then we went through this process. So by 2001, you know, we were in a new city going through all of these different changes and navigating all of this and still trying to hear God-

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: … facilitate, you know, his will for our lives and everything. So-

Lanette: And that’s not even to mention the financial woes.

Sean: Oh, Lord Jesus. We needed help.

Jim: (laughing) I love it. So in addition to all that you had that-

Sean: Yeah.

Jim: … which is typical of a young couple.

Lanette: Yes.

Sean: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Jim: I mean, Jean and I, I mean, we scrapped and saved for a dinette set for $99.99.

Sean: (laughs) Yeah.

Jim: And it was put it together yourself, which is-

Sean: Yeah.

Jim: … a disaster for me ’cause I’m terrible at that stuff.

Lanette: (laughs).

John: Where is it now, I wonder?

Jim: Glass top. I- I’m … We took it to Goodwill many moons ago.

John: (Laughs).

Jim: But, I mean, that thing, that was it. That’s all we had.

Sean: Yeah.

Jim: We slept on the floor.

Sean: Mm-hmm.

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Jim: We didn’t have a bed.

Lanette: Yeah.

Jim: We had, you know, just thick cushions we would (laughs)-

Lanette: Yeah.

Jim: … lay down.

Sean: Yeah.

Lanette: Yeah.

Jim: So we were right with you guys.

Sean: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, it was just scrapping.

Sean: Yeah. And to see where we are now and to understand-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Sean: … where God has brought us to, we’re able to look back now and we appreciate the seasons that we went through.

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Sean: And the one that I would say is if I could go back, one of the things that I wish I would’ve done differently was celebrated her strengths instead of seeing, you know, the magnifying glass being drawn out and seeing all of her weaknesses and flaws. She was God’s gift to me within the marriage, and I hadn’t fully embraced who she was. And, and so acceptance needed to precede, you know, whatever I wanted to see change within her, and had we grown and matured to that point to where we would celebrate one another as God’s gift to us, we would’ve found ourselves, um, enjoying the seasons a little bit better. They were still difficult.

John: Yeah.

Sean: They were gonna be challenges either way, but when we really understand that God has given us a gift within our spouse, we begin to praise him for it, instead of complaining-

John: Yeah.

Sean: … consistently.

Jim: Well, that’s about it, John. Thank you for listening-

Lanette: (Laughs).

Jim: … to Focus on the Family. I mean, that’s the bomb.

John: Yes.

Jim: I mean, if we could do that-

John: That’s a huge thing.

Jim: Y- you’re staying married for life-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … and you’re gonna have a pretty good marriage-

John: Yeah.

Jim: … if you do that.

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: Yes.

Jim: And it’s so hard. You know, our flesh just grabs us, right, and maybe the enemy…

Sean: Yep.

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … grabs us to divide us, to conquer, to be… Someone once said to me, you know, “Every marriage that walks this earth is a stench to Satan.”

Lanette: Hm.

Sean: Absolutely.

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I mean, think of that.

Sean: Absolutely.

Jim: That that’s why it’s struggling the way it is, because the evil one does not want God’s image on this earth.

Sean: 100%.

Lanette: Yeah.

Jim: And that’s what he’s fighting.

Sean: Yeah, we’re made in the image and likeness of God, male and female created he them, and when the two are joined together and one, you’re seeing God-

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: … in the middle of a husband and a wife, and what you see is that three stranded cord that’s not easily broken. And every… If he can’t get to God directly, he has to get to the next closest thing-

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: … which would be the husband and the wife.

Jim: Yeah.

Sean: And we’re able to create and birth children and leave legacy and transform this world for good.

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: That’s… If, if you go to talk to Lanette and I, and you were able to like cut us open to say, “What’s in your heart for couples to realize that you guys are legacy makers?” You have the ability to literally transform the landscape of your country, of your family line, of your community, when you realize, like, God’s plan for your life.

Lanette: Yeah, and just as it’s a stench in the nostrils of the enemy, it is a beautiful sight in the eyes of God.

Sean: Mm-hmm.

Lanette: And so-

Jim: Right.

Lanette: … realizing the other side of that, that y- you’re covered in his glory-

Sean: Yeah.

Lanette: … regardless of how difficult the situation may be, and he has you, you know, that was kinda the anchor, I wanna say, for us. You know, uh, we had a very difficult time, like Sean was saying, in the beginning of the five to seven years of our marriage, and it was the one thing that held us together was our vows-

Sean: Mm-hmm.

Lanette: … and the commitment that we made to him-

Sean: Hm.

Lanette: … and knowing that he was with us-

Sean: Yeah.

John: Yeah.

Lanette: … regardless of how difficult it was.

John: Hm.

Lanette: So that was definitely an anchor for us-

Jim: You know, that’s so good, and it’s such an important reminder for folks that are listening or watching on YouTube, and they’re at that point where they’re, you know, it doesn’t mean as much as it used to.

Sean: Hm.

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Unfortunately in our culture today, you know, that covenant, uh, unfortunately doesn’t.

Sean: Hm.

Jim: And they just say it, you know, it’s transferrable to someone else.

Lanette: Yeah.

Jim: … and it’s sad. Lemme ask you outta the content of the book. I wanna get moving into it-

Lanette: Yeah.

Jim: … but ear-worm, I haven’t used an analogy or heard-

Lanette: (Laughs).

Jim: … of an analogy with the ear-worm, but how do you apply that to marriage?

Sean: Yeah, so-

Jim: (Laughs).

Sean: … gross.

Lanette: Leave it to Sean, a teaching pastor, to have something like that, yeah.

Jim: (Laughs).

Sean: Well, so we, Lanette and I, we actually met through music.

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Sean: Uh, so we were worship leaders in church when we first met each other, so-

Jim: Okay.

Sean: … that actually how we, you know, came to be, so our whole family’s a… Our, our son, our daughters, they’re all musically inclined, and so, we love music. And one of the things that’ll happen to you, I’m quite sure it’s happened, you’re trying to go to bed, and there’s a song that’s just on repeat in your mind, or you wake up in the morning, you can’t get it out your head.

Jim: Right.

Sean: And I believe that that’s exactly what happens within our marriages, is that after awhile the band is playing the song, but you’re singing it in your head.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Sean: Someone else wrote it, but you’re still singing it in your head as if it’s you. And I believe that negative narrative that comes from the enemy. You know, in our moments of, um, either hurt or frustration or if we’re holding a grudge or all the things, that doubt, that seed of doubt, it becomes a song that’s replaying in your mind. And after awhile you’re singing along with what we call a lying song. It’s not based in the truth.

Jim: Huh.

Sean: It’s not based in the truth of God’s best for your life. It’s not based in the truth of who God says your spouse is or who you are. And so the question really becomes if God was singing over you-

Jim: Hm.

Sean: … and if he had a melody for your life and for your family, what would it sound like? Does it sound like doom and gloom? Does it sound like defeat? Does God look at your spouse and see them as your enemy? Does God look at your family and say there’s no hope? Any sound that doesn’t align with the kingdom of God is one that you should not be in agreement with, and you need to dethrone and pull it down. You have to cast that song out of your mind.

Jim: Boy, that’s a good reminder not to let that tape recorder, here’s an old-

John: Oh, yeah.

Jim: … thing.

Lanette: (Laughs).

John: Yeah.

Jim: But just that, that loop to play in your head.

Sean: Yeah.

Jim: It, it’s really unhealthy.

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I think the song for me might be, (sings): “Jim, pick up that laundry. Get that laundry done.” (Laughs).

Lanette: (Laughs).

Sean: (Laughs). Yeah.

Jim: “It’s another pile, Jim.”

John: (Laughs).

Jim: (Laughs).

Lanette: (Laughs).

Jim: Anyway, it drives Jean crazy.

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: Not a bad song.

Jim: Lemme ask you this, uh, Lanette, you, you do… It’s kinda funny, but you do like a clean house. That was some-

Lanette: I-

Jim: … thing that was in the book.

Lanette: Yes.

Jim: And how you and Sean had to negotiate, I guess-

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … so what, tell me, I mean, that’s a wonderful thing. Although most people don’t know, cleanliness is next to godliness-

Lanette: (Laughs).

Jim: … is actually not in-

Lanette: Thank you.

Jim: … scripture.

Sean: No, it’s not.

John: (Laughs).

Sean: Exactly.

Lanette: It’s in there somewhere. I’m sure-

Jim: But any- if, if we could edit it, I think you might-

Lanette: Yeah.

Jim: … put that in there. So tell me why.

Lanette: So, you know-

Jim: (Laughs).

Lanette: … I just, I just grew up in a home, my culture was different. Right? And so I grew up two parent home. Uh, my mother always made sure that everything was great, uh-

Jim: Hm.

Lanette: … tidy, food was done, clean up behind us, just my culture when I grew up. So, fast forward, three teenagers, all of them are very active in our household, um, not coming home till nine o’clock at night, because it’s just that season-

Jim: Hm.

Lanette: … of, you know, basketball, football, all of that.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Lanette: But for me, my desire to have a clean house did not change.

Jim: Uh-huh.

Lanette: And so there was a point to where I became very frustrated, um, overwhelmed, because I value a clean house for my family.

Jim: You wanted to be like your mom.

Lanette: Absolutely.

Jim: Sounds like.

Lanette: Absolutely. So, um, there just really became a point in our marriage or in our family that I felt like I was being ignored.

Jim: Hm.

Lanette: Like, no one was listening to me. No one saw my effort. Um, everyone was carrying on with their own day-to-day lives, but I was like, “What about the house?” Like, “We have to make sure that when we all come home, it is a safe place to be here-”

Sean: I promise you, she was the only person who cared about that.

Jim: Oh-

Lanette: Yeah.

Jim: … 90% of mom’s listening to you right now are going-

Lanette: I, I-

Jim: … “You tell us.”

Lanette: … know I have a witness-

Jim: (Laughs).

Lanette: … somewhere.

John: Lanette’s got it. Lanette’s got it.

Lanette: Yeah.

Jim: So, wait, but I understand that mom frustration, like, “Man, I just took care of this, and look, the kids are ignoring. And you know why they do that, Sean, because they’re watching you. And you’re-

Lanette: (Laughs).

Jim: … ignoring me.”

Sean: (Laughs).

Jim: Oh, is this pretty good? Oh, is this cutting close to home?

Sean: There’s a little truth in there.

Jim: Okay.

Sean: There’s a little truth in there.

Jim: Yeah-

Lanette: There’s a lot of truth to that.

Jim: Well, it’s like, “I was watching the football game, and, you know, I didn’t pay attention to spilling that. And I left it there.”

Lanette: Yeah.

Jim: But, so you feel, you know, it’s part-

Lanette: I did.

Jim: … of you.

Lanette: I was feeling… Pretty much I was actually feeling like I was left alone.

Jim: Yeah.

Lanette: Like no one was valuing my input.

Jim: So how did you negotiate that-

Lanette: So-

Jim: … those emotions and those expectations?

Lanette: For awhile I thought my whole family had, were mind readers.

Jim: (Laughs).

Lanette: But they were not.

Sean: Mm-hmm.

Lanette: And so it really… I had to pull Sean aside and, you know, I had to really articulate to him that this is something that I value and not me just being nitpicky.

Sean: Mm-hmm.

Lanette: But something that I wanted to sustain for our family, even during this busy time.

Jim: Yeah.

Lanette: So I had to pull Sean in a little bit, and he had to get that.

Sean: Yeah.

Jim: He had to accept it.

Sean: Sure.

Lanette: He had to accept it.

Jim: Say, “Okay, I hear your heart. I’m sorry.”

Lanette: Yeah.

Jim: “What can I do to help?”

Lanette: Yes.

Sean: Yeah.

Jim: Was it kinda like-

Lanette: But then I also-

Jim: … that?

Lanette: … had to bend a little bit, because it was a hectic season-

Jim: Yeah.

Lanette: … for our family. So we had to negotiate.

Sean: Yeah, I, I think once we found that place of valuing her voice-

Jim: Yeah.

Sean: … and her understanding the season we were in, we were able to reach a negotiation. And I think sometimes couples want to negotiate before there’s ever an intimate connection and understanding and seeing the other spouse’s heart. And any time that you get to trying to plan something, plan an outcome, without first embracing what the other spouse is really feeling or seeing, then you’re gonna get the, you know, the cart before the horse, so to speak. So, after that, I became her advocate.

Jim: Yeah.

Sean: I helped. You know-

Jim: Good for you.

Sean: … we, we called the kids into order. You know? And-

Jim: I think I’m still missing on that one, and I’ve been married almost 37 years.

Lanette: (Laughs).

John: So it’s not too late.

Jim: Okay, here we go.

Sean: (Laughs).

Jim: Another intervention for Jim.

John: (Laughs).

Jim: (Laughs). Lemme, lemme ask you, ’cause that, that is beautiful. It’s beautiful. And, uh, you mentioned a couple times this need to cherish your, your spouse and to hear his or her heart, etc. So, how do we practically develop that more positive attitude? How do we get that loop about our spouse out of our head-

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Sean: Yeah.

Jim: … and concentrate on the good aspects, the things that the Lord would be saying to our spouse, “Way to go”.

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: Yeah.

Jim: How do we do that?

Sean: I, I, I would say one of the first things, you have to see your spouse, and I know it sounds kinda cheesy, but you have to see them from a heavenly perspective. Um, one-

Jim: No, that’s not cheesy at all.

Sean: You know-

Jim: Seriously.

Sean: … we’re here in Colorado Springs, okay? So we went up, uh, Pike’s Peak for the first time, uh, about two years ago. And when we… First off, the road up there-

Jim: (Laughs).

Sean: … was terrorizing.

John: That’ll test your, your faith.

Lanette: (Laughs).

Sean: You know, there’s no guardrails.

Jim: (Laughs).

Sean: Listen, I, I was driving. There’s no guardrails. We’re going up thousands of feet in the air, and I’m a Black brother, but my knuckles turned white.

Jim: (Laughs).

Sean: I, I’m telling you. I was, I was driving. I was holding that steering wheel so tight.

Jim: Wait till you come down.

Sean: I was, oh, I was-

Jim: (Laughs).

Sean: … I was freaking out. So, we, we, we drive our way up the thing, and it was hard getting up there.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Sean: And, you know, we finally get up to the top, amazing view.

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Sean: And it was worth the journey. And I think that-

Jim: Not a lot of oxygen but an amazing-

Sean: Not a lot-

Lanette: Yeah.

Jim: … view. (Laughs).

Sean: Not a lot. You know, I-

Lanette: It actually took him a minute to get out the car.

Sean: Yeah. I, I had to like breathe, calm down-

Jim: Yeah.

Sean: … and she was like, “Let’s go see.” I was like, “No. I, I’m going to breathe-”

Jim: Yeah, I need to breathe here.

Sean: And I think two things happened for me when I went up Pike’s Peak. Number one, it, I appreciated the journey up, and then, number two, once we got to that perspective, it literally was so glorious, it was beautiful. There was nothing like it. And I think that’s so often, the couples are in the trenches and all they see is the negativity. And what you have to do is you have to reset your mindset when it comes to, “Okay, how does God truly see my spouse?” And if we really believe in the blood of Jesus, if we really believe in redemption, if we really believe that God sees us and calls us his own, at some point we have to adopt God’s mindset even though we see the imperfections of our spouse.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Sean: Like there’s a real point, and that’s what we would call grace. It’s when I give you what you cannot earn. I give you what you don’t deserve is mercy.

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: And I give you what you cannot earn is grace. And I think that a lot of relationships, the love in the marriage is contingent on the performance of the other person.

Jim: Hm.

Sean: And, and what we say is when love swings on the pendulum of your spouse’s performance, that’s not unconditional love. And so to get to that place of unconditional love, that’s the key. And we had lost sight of that. And I think that the second key to that is forgiveness. Like, real, genuine forgiveness where you repel your offenses, and you don’t get looped in this thing where you’re score keeping and just holding it in day after day. There’s no true reset-

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: … and because of the fact that we’re holding onto things for longer periods of time than we were designed to do, it becomes toxic, and it eats away at us. And we’re not the best version of ourselves then. So I would encourage couples to do what Lanette and I consistently do. And we, in each season, we literally have to find ourselves discovering who that person is now.

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Sean: And that’s part of the joy of being able to be married for a, a long time is because we’re constantly changing and we’re constantly maturing and growing. So I’m trying to discover who Lanette is now. And that’s what keeps the marriage from growing stale and boring.

Jim: Boy, that’s good.

John: Yeah, really great information and heart from Sean and Lanette Reed on Focus on the Family. And, uh, you can find out more about them and get a copy of the terrific book they’ve written called Marriage in Transition: Creating Connection through Uncontrollable Change. Call us for your copy. It’s 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY, or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Uh, lemme ask you this, we usually try to stay clear of fights. Some people a- get a little uncomfortable with that. Let’s say strong disagreements.

John: Mm-hmm.

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Jim: But just to help them.

Sean: Intense-

Lanette: Intense fellowship.

Jim: Intense fellowship. Another good word to have.

John: Intense fellowship, I like that.

Jim: But you’re saying in the book that there are some intense disagreements that you need to have. I mean, the, these happen, and we’re human beings, and we have differences. Better to talk them out than to cover them up, I would assume.

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Jim: So what are those good fights versus the bad fights?

Lanette: Yeah, really fighting for unity-

John: Hm.

Lanette: … is definitely one that, uh, needs to happen. It needs to happen on a consistent basis. Um, when you’re going through transitions, uh, most of the time you naturally pull apart-

Sean: Yeah.

Lanette: … and you’re very, very unaware of it. And so you kinda go to your corner, and the other one goes to their corner, and then the narrative starts playing, and you start talking to yourself, but about your own perception or what you thought about the situation-

Sean: Mm-hmm.

Lanette: … where we’re saying, “No, you need to come together.”

Sean: Yeah.

Lanette: So you need to fight against what your flesh is saying-

Sean: Mm-hmm.

Lanette: … and kinda come together and say, “Okay, what page are you on?”

Jim: Right.

Lanette: “What are you thinking? This is what I’m thinking.”

Sean: Mm-hmm.

Lanette: And really fighting for unity so that you can move forward in your marriage.

Jim: These are great points. The other one that caught my attention was fighting for freedom.

Sean: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Now what, what does that mean in the context of marriage?

Sean: Oh, yeah, oh, man, it’s so much. You wanna talk about it? (Laughs).

Lanette: No, it seems like you have a lot to say.

Sean: (Laughs). So, I, I, I think identity is everything. And a lot of times we get stuck in this place of seeing ourselves according to our circumstances-

Jim: Hm.

Sean: … or we know each other only according to what we’ve seen come out of our spouse in the past, and it suppresses the hope for something that God has that’s greater for you. Um, Lanette and I, one of the things that we love to do are vision retreats. We love to, to actually, uh, di- discover one another’s personality, and the reason why we do all of these things is to get us to a point to where we’re not complacent, uh, with this notion of same old song-

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: … I already know you.

Lanette: You’re in a box.

Sean: Yeah, and you end up trapped according to either your family map and where you came from, and that’s all you’ll ever know, instead of embracing the fullness of all that God has for you now in this new season. And so we’re big on inner healing. We’re big on making sure that you as a couple don’t allow yourselves to get trapped in a box.

John: Lanette, when he speaks like that, and you start to see each other through that lens, how does that make you feel?

Lanette: Oh, my gosh, it f- it makes me feel like, “Wow, we can do anything.”

John: Huh.

Lanette: It empowers me. First of all, I think it, it brings me closer to him. Right? Because in my opinion, that’s the definition of intimacy, when he speaks on that level, in those terms. And then it just empowers me to, “Wow, he wants me to be free. He wants me to discover my identity. He wants me to be all that God created me to be.” So I have his support, and it’s like, “Man, I love him.”

Sean: (Laughs).

Lanette: You know? And so when you have that in a relationship, where one spouse is encouraging the next to be all that they, you know, God designed for them to be, and then they empower them and support them and just pour into them that level of freedom, that’s a beautiful thing.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Lanette: And when you have that in a marriage, you really can like go out there and conquer anything, and then you can go out there and walk in the legacy, you know, establish the legacy that God has for you.

Jim: Yeah. That’s good.

Lanette: It is.

Jim: That idea of unity, in the book you mention there are three pathways to unity. Let’s hit those to help people understand that.

Sean: All right, the pathways to unity would be humility, values, and the path of negotiation. And so if I’m talking about humility, one of the things that she and I have come to the place of is getting to a place where there is no big Is little yous, but just really growing to a place of understanding that God’s over the marriage. And then within our marriage, both of us have a say.

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: I think that a lot of times when one person is dominant in the relationship, then you’re cutting off, I think, part of God’s voice within the relationship.

Lanette: Mm-hmm.

Sean: And I think sometimes when God speaks to you, he sounds like your spouse.

Jim: (Laughs).

Sean: And so-

Lanette: Yeah.

Jim: And all the guys just said-

Lanette: (Laughs).

Jim: … “How did you know that?”

Sean: (Laughs). Exactly. You know? So that level of humility, I think-

Lanette: Yeah.

Sean: … within the relationship-

Lanette: There’s a, a mutual submission.

Sean: Yeah, absolutely. And so, we, we actually talk about this a lot. That submission is not a dirty word. You know, when people think of submission within the relationship, they think of it as a bad thing, as that all of a sudden you’re supposed to become a doormat, you know, to your spouse, and whatever they say goes. And that’s not really what we’re talking about when we talk about submission. Submission means that I believe that you bring value to the table and that I bring value to the table, and we’re gonna honor that-

Jim: Yeah.

Sean: … within the relationship. And so we make no decisions, especially major decisions, uh, without us making those decisions together as a couple.

Jim: Let’s end here, uh, as we close, speak to the husband or wife listening, uh, uh, who isn’t sure their marriage is repairable. You-

Lanette: Hm.

Jim: … encounter these couples all the time-

Sean: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … because you do intensive counseling.

Sean: Yes.

Jim: We do that through Hope Restored, our intensive counseling. And these are couples that are holding on by a string.

Sean: Yeah.

Lanette: Yeah.

Jim: You know? And you’re, they’re gonna go to a two-day, three-day, four-day intensive and pray and hope that God can work a miracle.

Sean: Yeah.

Jim: So what’s one thing those couples that are hanging by that string today can do to draw closer to their spouse and start to reclaim their marriage? I know these questions are always so hard.

Sean: Yeah.

Lanette: Hm.

Jim: But somebody-

Sean: Yeah.

Jim: … listening or watching is at that point.

Sean: They’re right there.

Lanette: Yeah.

Jim: And they’re, we, we’ve got them. And really the Lord has you.

Sean: Yeah.

Lanette: Yeah.

Jim: What do you wanna say to them?

Sean: Uh, I don’t want this to sound, um, too spooky, but my mindset is this, if you could imagine that Jesus was able to raise the dead-

Lanette: Hm.

Sean: … and he has all power in his hands-

John: Hm.

Jim: Hm.

Sean: … what would it look like for Jesus to walk into the room and be the healer, the same God, the one who is able to resurrect the dead, speak life where it seems like there’s no hope, what would it look like for Jesus to walk into the room? Is there room for God?

Lanette: Hm.

Sean: He is the difference maker.

Jim: Yeah.

Sean: And, and at our darkest moment, he told us his grace was sufficient, and he meant it. And that’s what brought us through.

Jim: Yeah, that is well said.

Lanette: It is.

Jim: This has been so good and so insightful. I hope people are being helped. I know people are being helped right now.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Thank you for being with us.

Sean: Thank God right now.

Jim: Man, what a great start. Uh, we’ve got caring Christian counselors who can, um, do a consult with you. Uh, our donor community provides that ability for them to do that. So take advantage of it, if your marriage is in that kind of trouble. And there are many, many resources we have here at Focus, like Hope Restored and others, that we can provide for you to give you that lifeline, and hopefully do exactly what Sean was talking about, point you toward the Lord so that he can begin to work that miracle in your marriage. Also, obviously, their great book, Marriage in Transition, if you could make a donation of any amount, uh, monthly or, or one-time, we’ll send it to you as our way of saying thank you for being part of the ministry.

John: Mm-hmm. Yeah, donate today, uh, get in touch and let us help as we can. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. Uh, that’s 800-232-6459, or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. You’ll find all the links and an opportunity to donate to Focus. Have a terrific weekend, and join us again on Monday when we’ll hear from social researcher Jonathan McKee. He’ll be pondering the role of technology in our relationships.

Preview:

Jonathan McKee: And the question we need to maybe ask ourselves is, is there a chance that even the fact that there’s more screens, more screen time, more connections, you know, than anyone in history, are we more satisfied? Is there a chance that maybe less could be more?

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Marriage in Transition: Creating Connection Through Uncontrollable Change

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