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Reconnecting With Your Spouse (Part 2 of 2)

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Reconnecting With Your Spouse (Part 2 of 2)

If busyness, exhaustion, and distraction have caused you and your spouse to drift apart, listen in as Dr. Greg Smalley and his wife, Erin, offer practical suggestions for rekindling intimacy in a discussion based on their book Reconnected: Moving From Roomates to Soulmates in Your Marriage. (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: August 12, 2020

Today's Guests

Episode Summary

If busyness, exhaustion, and distraction have caused you and your spouse to drift apart, listen in as Dr. Greg Smalley and his wife, Erin, offer practical suggestions for rekindling intimacy in a discussion based on their book Reconnected: Moving From Roomates to Soulmates in Your Marriage. (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: August 12, 2020

Episode Transcript

Excerpt:

Mrs. Erin Smalley: The truth is, is that most couples, when they get married – you know, they’ve been hard after pursuing each other, and so their focus is directly on one another. And then they – they conquer. They get married. And then many other things start to take their eyes off of each other. You think about, you know, work and kids and just the pursuit of this new life. And that’s what I was saying to Greg, is that our eyes have not remained on each other. It’s been this slow fade of – we went from absolutely pursuing each other wholeheartedly to pursuing many other things wholeheartedly.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: That’s Erin Smalley, and she’s with us again today, along with her husband, Dr. Greg Smalley. And this is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. Thanks for joining us. I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, we started a great conversation with Erin and Greg yesterday on how couples, so often, after we get married, begin to feel more like roommates. Uh, growing apart in marriage is something that happens almost naturally if you don’t make your relationship a priority. And we’re not talking about a full-blown crisis. Uh, you’re just kind of going through the motions of work and kids and all the things that are going on. And pretty soon, it’s just a business you’re running, right? Home economics – um, but we want to encourage you to do it differently, the way God intended it to happen. And that’s to connect at all levels – emotionally, spiritually, physically. And, uh, how to prime the pump to make sure that can happen. If you’re feeling like your marriage could use a new spark or that you, uh, need to regain some ground with your spouse, you’re gonna want to lean in today.

John: Yeah, we have a great conversation that started last time. And I’ll encourage you to swing by the website for the CD or to listen there or, uh, to get the app so you can listen on the go. Um, we talked with Dr. Greg Smalley and Erin Smalley about a variety of things. And, um, I’m sure we’ll recap that in a moment. Let me just say – they’ve written a number of books. It’s always great to have them here. Um, as Greg said yesterday, we let them out of their offices to come into the studio…

Erin: (Laughter).

John: …Because they head up the marriage effort here, and, um, they really make a big difference, uh, in that realm. Uh, the book that we’re talking about today is called Reconnected: Moving from Roommates to Soulmates in Your Marriage. And we do have that. Uh, contact us for a copy. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. Or online, focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Greg and Erin, welcome back.

Erin: Thanks for having us again.

Dr. Greg Smalley: Yeah, we’re excited to be here.

Jim: Well, let’s, uh, recap for those that are just joining us. And if you missed the conversation last time, get the download, uh, get the app for your smartphone so you can listen anytime. Why is it so easy for married couples to drift apart and start to feel like roommates?

Greg: I think we put so much effort and energy into courting, dating, winning her, putting that ring on her finger. What we notice is that oftentimes, when we accomplish that, then our – our focus changes to all these other things, so figuring out jobwise, careerwise, having kids, staying involved with friends and family – all these things cry for our attention. And there begins then a slow fade.

Jim: Yeah.

Greg: You know, we – we date and everything to get married. It happens fast. But then over time, it’s this slow fade that we don’t notice.

Jim: Erin, let me ask you this on behalf of moms – and, you know, I see this in Jean, um, especially when the boys were young. There’s this, uh, zeal – and, you know, it can be either a mom or a dad, but I think it generally fits with mom – where the justification that I – “This is the time I really need to be pouring into the kids, you know. I just don’t have enough time for you.”

Erin: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Jim: You can really rationalize that on a good basis. You know, the kids are 2, 3 and 5.

Greg: Yeah, very demanding.

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Very demanding. “And I’ve got to be there for them, honey. And I’m sorry I’m just not – you know, I’m not gonna be there that often for you,” whatever that means – emotional connection, talking.

Greg: Yeah, you’re a big boy. You can take care of you.

Jim: So, I just – I wanna play that out a little bit because I think that’s one of the core – especially in that season of life…

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Jim: …A mom particularly can really justify, “I’m going to be ignoring you for a while. So, we’ll check back in later.”

Erin: Yeah, it just – that just won’t work. And I think our culture just feeds that. You know, these kids – they are important. They’re a blessing. But they are not the center of the world. The marriage – the stronger the marriage is, the better it is for those kids. And so, the greatest thing that Mom can do – and again, it’s like we talked about yesterday. It’s not that we have to spend 24/7 focusing on our husband. It’s…

Greg: Although I wouldn’t mind. I’m just saying.

(LAUGHTER)

Greg: It’s okay.

Erin: Yeah, and you would have plenty of needs that I could address. But it’s looking at that – there’s certain things that we can be doing to continue to build the connection between – between Greg and I, between your spouse and you.

Jim: Yeah.

Erin: It’s important because that is the healthiest thing you can do for your kids.

Jim: Well, and so often in this culture and in this modern time, there’s so much fear that if Mom, again, feels like she’s dropped the ball somewhere, that somehow kids will be permanently damaged.

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: Kids are resilient. They’re gonna get through a little loneliness. They’ll get through a little neglect. I mean, I’m talking the normal stuff.

Erin: Yeah.

Jim: You know, make sure they’re fed, and they sleep.

Erin: (Laughter).

Jim: But I’m just saying, they don’t need you all the time.

Erin: Yeah. And – honestly, when they see – their little eyes see Mom and Dad connecting, it breeds security and safety in their hearts.

Jim: Yeah. Think of that.

Erin: And that’s something powerful.

Greg: You know, one of the things that – that I heard one time from some marriage speaker – and I’ve never forgotten it, and we say this to our kids all the time – that Mom and Dad, our marriage is the sun. You are the planets. You revolve around our marriage.

Jim: (Laughter) That’s a good way to look at it.

Greg: It will never be you as the sun. We are not revolving around you. Understand that we want to keep this strong. That’s in your best interests. When we kiss and they go, “Ew!” I always look at them and go, “You should be thanking me for kissing your mom right now…”

(LAUGHTER)

Greg: “…Because you win when – when we are well-connected.”

Jim: See – and I would take that conversation – when one of my boys did something wrong, I’d say, “You’re not Mercury right now. You’re not close to the sun.”

Greg: That’s right.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: “You’re acting like Pluto. You’re way out there.” But, uh, we mentioned lightly last time this idea of communication and the impact on marriage. So, let’s get to that one. You suggest there are four significant conversations – this is where you want everybody, the pen and paper – um, that spouses need to have, those four core conversations. What are they?

Greg: Yeah. People, when they say, “We just need better communication.”

Jim: (Laughter) What does that mean?

Greg: Well, that involves a lot of important conversations.

Jim: We’re talking to husbands here (laughter).

Greg: Right. One of them that we call small talk. And people often pooh-pooh that one. Like, “Oh, that’s at a surface level.”

Erin: Not Smalley talk, just small talk.

Jim: (Laughter) Yeah, good, good.

Erin: Yeah.

Greg: Yeah. That’s when we’re just checking in. “How’d your day go? What’s going on? Here’s the weather. What’s the…” – it’s just small talk. What it does is it creates a small connection without the exhaustion of the deep emotional connection.

Erin: Yeah. And then…

Greg: We need that small talk.

Erin: …There’s work talk. And that’s more – you know, the business of running the family, the administration of the family in the marriage. And, of course, that’s important. We need to do that. We need to look at our budget and our finances and our schedules. But, again, a marriage can’t exist only on that.

Jim: Mm. That is so good.

Greg: Yeah. And then there’s gonna be times where we hit conflict. So, we’ve got to work through the conflict. So, we just call that problem talk. So, there’s some issue that we need to work through, and that’s important. Instead of sweeping problems under the rug, let’s deal with it. Here’s what we’ve noticed. Here’s the problem. Those three – small talk, work talk, problem talk – those happen naturally. You actually really don’t need to force those to take place. It’s just a normal part of being in a relationship. But if that’s all you’re doing, you are killing your marriage.

Jim: Well, you guys are counseling lots of people. How much – percentage-wise, how much of a percent are couples…

Greg: Just locked in those kinds…

Jim: …Locked in those three?

Greg: …Of communication?

Erin: Yeah. What we find, 85 to 90%.

Jim: I mean, think of that.

Erin: I know. That’s a ton of time. But the thing is, is usually they sit back. And they’re shocked that that is what they’re doing. They don’t even realize what they’re doing because, like Greg said, those three happen spontaneously. But the fourth one is the one that you have to intentionally pursue. And that’s that life-giving heart talk, the deeper-level talk. And if you don’t do that, then, you know, it’s – if you don’t pursue it, it’s not gonna happen.

Jim: Yeah. Let me ask you – it’s so obvious. You see it in the research. You’ve described it. You put labels on it. And yet, our tendency in our humanness and our brokenness, I would say as a Christian, we lean that way…

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: …In the unhealthy direction – or I should say, the less productive direction, you know?

Greg: They’re needed. Those other types of communication…

Jim: Yeah. They’re needed.

Greg: …They’re important.

Jim: But they’re not life-giving.

Greg: They don’t bring life.

Jim: Yeah.

Greg: And that’s the difference.

Erin: And they’re also not as vulnerable. So, they’re not risky. They’re pretty safe. You know, we…

Jim: Well, that’s getting to – to the question, which is…

Erin: Yeah.

Jim: …Why? Why do we go to the easy stuff, and we don’t do the other stuff that is the stuff that the Lord would want us to talk about?

Erin: It’s more vulnerable. And it also takes intention.

Jim: Okay.

Erin: And I think we don’t understand that when we’re dating and we’re engaged, we are doing that naturally because we’re so locked in and focused. And then we train each other that – well, maybe it’s not so safe to go to those deep places…

Jim: Yeah.

Erin: …Because maybe it’s going to lead to conflict and disconnection. One of the number one human needs that we have is we long to be known and to be valued and connected. And so, it’s vulnerable. There’s a lot at risk. And so, to recognize that, if we build this safe place in our marriage that we can intentionally go there – and the awareness of we need to intentionally go there – we did it all the time as we pursued each other wholeheartedly. There is no autopilot. We’ve got to continue to pursue each other at that level.

Jim: Yeah. Now, you have developed four questions you ask each other. And I’d love to post those on the website so people can go. Because when I looked at all the content and material, these really – they hit me and reminded me that (laughter) I need to do this, frankly. Speak to those four questions you ask each other.

Greg: Yeah. The point of the four questions was, when I realized that we had to be intentional to have this life-giving conversation, then I kind of went, “Okay, so how would I really do that? Like, what – what does that mean?” So, I just asked Erin. I said, “Okay, if I’m gonna explore your inner life – so whatever’s going down a little bit deeper – what could I ask you that would be meaningful?” And instantly, she goes, “Oh, I got four. Ask me how I’m feeling. So, how am I doing emotionally?” Okay. “Ask me how things are going between me and our children but not from an administrative standpoint.”

Jim: A relational standpoint.

Greg: A relational standpoint. Her female friendships are very important to Erin. So, she said, “Ask me how things are going between me and my girlfriends.” And then this last one I love. She said, “Ask me one thing that God has been teaching me as of late.” Well, I’ll tell you what, I have locked those into my brain. So, any time that we’re, you know, commuting to, you know, a kid’s practice or sitting in the stands, you know, as they’re playing or at dinnertime or wherever, I’ll just ask one.

Jim: Okay. Then you have to listen.

Greg: Well, that’s…

Erin: Yes.

Greg: …That is implied.

Jim: If you don’t, you’re in big trouble.

Erin: Yeah. The propensity is to want to fix it if there’s a problem. Or, you know, let’s delve into – you know, if we did A, B, C and D, well, then that wouldn’t be happening, you wouldn’t feel like that. But it’s just recognizing, you’re just listening.

Jim: Yeah.

Erin: …And trying to understand and caring about what they’re going through.

Greg: Well, as guys, we need a goal. So, here’s the goal. So, I ask her those questions simply to stay updated…

Jim: Yeah, that’s good.

Greg: …In what’s going on in her life. I want to stay current.

Jim: No, that’s good. Now, Erin, you have four that are different…

Erin: Yes.

Jim: …From Greg’s that you ask him.

Erin: Yeah.

Jim: What are they?

Erin: Yeah, because if I started with how are you feeling, he might just go blank and…

Greg: “Fine” (laughter).

Erin: Yeah.

John: Yes (laughter).

Greg: “Okay.”

Jim: And the point is, you can create any…

Erin: Yeah.

Jim: …What’s gonna work in your marriage.

Erin: Yes, and that’s…

Jim: But these are good ones.

Erin: Yeah. So, I’ll ask him when he – when he comes home after a long day, um, we’ll sit, and we’ll have our 10 minutes together. You know, what was the high of your day? OK, what was the low of your day? You know, what is – what is stressing you out? What is it…?

Greg: John Fuller’s name comes up a lot.

(LAUGHTER)

John: No.

Jim: This is good. I like this.

Erin: What is really, you know, weighing heavy, stressing you out at work and at home? And again, my goal isn’t to fix it or to try to make it better. It’s just to listen and to care and to know what’s going on inside of Greg as well as what’s God teaching you right now. We’re both, you know, into different things during the day. And God is speaking to us through so many different modes. God is speaking to us through so many different modes, and so it’s fun to hear what God is teaching Greg ’cause it might be different for me.

Jim: Now, that is really good.

Greg: And let me – and again, remember. It started with me asking her, “To really get to know you, what would be meaningful to you to have me ask on a regular basis?” So, I mean, these are not prescripted. Like…

Jim: Right.

Greg: …These are the four you need to ask.

Erin: Yeah.

Greg: We – as a matter of fact – and we should put these in the show notes, which I’m now doing John Fuller’s job. I’m so sorry.

John: (Laughter) Thank you for doing that.

Erin: Yeah, .ca.

Greg: But we – we have created, though, like, hundreds and hundreds of questions that couples can ask. And you can link into that, download it. I’ve put these on my cell phone. So, under the notes, you can carry a copy in your car. I mean, get a little PDF. So, we we’ve got hundreds that’ll prompt as you look through them what would be several that are meaningful.

Erin: Yeah. I print those off daily for couples. I’m like, “Here. You’re not talking? Take these. Start here. See which ones work for you because a simple, little question can lead to such a deep, in-depth conversation.”

John: Well, we’re having some great conversation right now with Greg and Erin Smalley. This is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly, and, um, we’re gonna encourage you to get a copy of the book that the Smalleys have written called Reconnected: Moving from Roommates to Soulmates in Your Marriage. We’ve got that and some other great resources, including our free marriage assessment online at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Or call 800-A-FAMILY.

Jim: Distractions, you mentioned the book, come into play in all this. What are some of those sacred moments you want to keep distractions from seeping into?

Erin: Yeah.

Jim: And how do we do it?

Erin: It’s easy to get distracted…

Jim: Yeah.

Erin: …In our culture today because we’re running at such fast paces. We’ve got our cell phones. We’re constantly checking things and, you know, scores and Facebook and on and on. And just realizing that when you’re doing other things, your eyes are not on your spouse. And there’s these sacred moments that we personally don’t want to miss that opportunity to connect. One of the biggest ones is when we go to bed. When we go to bed, pillow talk is a big thing that we can choose to lay there on our cell phones – and some nights we do, when we’ve had a long, hard day and we just want to veg. But then I miss out. I miss out on connecting with Greg, and I don’t want to. I want to connect.

Jim: Are you a night person by any chance?

Erin: I am.

Jim: Okay. (Laughter) I’m going, “Greg, Greg, poor Greg.”

Greg: I am ready for bed at, like, 8:30. And it seems to be getting earlier.

Jim: Jean – you and Jean are the same. Man, I lay down in bed, it’s not time for talk (laughter).

Erin: Yeah, but…

Greg: This is a bed. It’s time for sleep.

Erin: (Laughter).

Jim: (Laughter).

Erin: But I what I found is I am a night person. And so, I could stay up a whole lot later, but because Greg goes to bed early and I want that connection, I go to bed early now. So, it’s…

Jim: Oh, that’s nice.

Erin: It’s helpful.

Greg: Oh, it’s the funniest thing. So, we agree, “Listen. I know that you would much rather stay up. Why don’t you just come to bed. Let’s have 10, 20 minutes of just lying together, joking, talking, being intimate. And then you can leave.”

Jim: (Laughter).

Greg: Seriously. There has been times – like, I’ll never forget the time that we went to bed. I thought we both went to bed. I got up in the next morning. I got up the next morning, walked down – because I get up earlier than Erin – and there was a table that had been built that wasn’t there the night before.

(LAUGHTER)

Greg: And I’m thinking, “Are there elves…”

Erin: It wasn’t just a table.

Greg: “…Coming in?”

Jim: (Laughter) Look at – it’s not just a table.

Erin: It just wasn’t just a table. It was six chairs, too (laughter).

Greg: And so, it freaked me out. I’m like, “Did someone break in not to steal but to construct something?”

Jim: Yeah.

Erin: The hilarious thing is my girlfriend came over, too, and helped me.

(LAUGHTER)

Greg: And I’m sound asleep. So, Erin and I have connected, and she’s got this whole other life after I fall asleep.

Erin: This whole party going on after you’re in bed.

Greg: But seriously, though, all joking aside, for a lot of couples, they are on such different schedules like that…

Jim; Yeah.

Greg: …That for them just to know – start off in bed together. Doesn’t mean that you have to both stay in bed. You can get up and some will have to go to work.

Jim: Well, what I’m hearing you say is accommodation.

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: You know, you’ve got to make some accommodation. Don’t be hard-hearted about, no, I go to bed at 9:00. And we’re not changing, you know, that kind of thing.

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: Let me move to perhaps one of the most important – I think it is the most important area – and that’s developing spiritual intimacy with each other. Um, that can – in the face of busy schedules and all the pressure, that can be one of the first things to go, that you’re not reading the word together, you’re not praying together. You know, so many people I talked to – particularly wives – will say, “I yearn for that. But I just don’t know how we’re gonna do it. My husband’s so busy. He’s out the door so quick and…” – but speak to the importance of that.

Greg: It’s so important to connect soul to soul. We’ve talked a lot about connecting heart to heart through that deeper kind of inner life conversation. But our souls need to connect. We need to connect spiritually. As a young husband, that was so intimidating for me. I saw some absolute spiritual powerhouses in my dad and some mentors. And the way that they would do that was so intimidating that it so – shut me down. I’d get so discouraged, then Erin would feel disconnected. And one of the things that I’d now share with young husbands is, “Listen. Just narrow this down to just a couple of things, which is how about this? Every day, pray with your wife. That might be early in the morning when we have – sit down for some coffee and have five minutes or whatever. It might be at nights, sort of as we’re laying in bed together.”

Jim: Good goal.

Greg: But pray together. And that even can be intimidating. And so, what I’ve learned to do with Erin is I simply just say, “Hey, what’s one thing that I can pray for you about that’s going on tomorrow?” And what I love is she’ll answer it. And I’ll go, I didn’t – you know, I’ll think in my mind, I had no idea she was facing that tomorrow. So, there’s a way even in that it keeps you current.

John: Mm hmm.

Greg: And so, just say, “What’s one thing that I can pray for you about?” And then join hands and do that. And she does the same, and you have this quick prayer time. It doesn’t have to be 20, 30 minutes and include the Lord’s Prayer and all these things – just, “How can I be praying for you?” That’s so unites us. That’s a daily goal. And then I encourage husbands, have a weekly goal to attend church together because the researchers show that if you’re praying together and going to church that so makes a difference in your marriage. So, go to – attend church together, and then join some sort of small group so that you are around like-minded couples…

Jim: Right.

Greg: …Who also value marriage, who value connecting and can help and fight for your marriage at times.

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Greg: And those three things – pray together, attend church and be a part of a community experience, so a Sunday school class or small group – that’s how we can really strengthen our shared spiritual relationship.

Jim: And, you know, Greg, there’s going to be a portion of the audience listening, and they’re going to say, “That – you know, that’s a good idea. We need to do that.” It’s a healthy response to your admonition.

Greg: (Laughter).

Jim: There’s gonna be another group of people where, you know, for all the reasons we’ve talked about last time and today, their hearts are a bit cooler, there’s – you know, I don’t know. There’s just a hesitancy, an unwillingness to go there – I’ve been wounded, it’s not a safe place for me, whatever it might be. So, I think the question is, if a listener is saying, “I wish I had that, but my heart’s closed” if they’re honest with themselves or maybe they’re saying, “I think my husband’s or my spouse’s heart is closed,” how do they develop that safety in the marriage to begin to open up to these ideas in a more accepting way, in a let’s do it kind of way rather than it’s never going to happen?

Greg: Yeah. Which is so critical because that was one of the factors that contribute to people feeling like roommates, is that marriage doesn’t feel safe.

Jim: Well, and I guess the question more clearly is just the dimming of that light…

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: …Rather than the light getting brighter, meaning your marriage and your connection. It just continues to dim.

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: How do we reverse that and create that sense of safety that we can try these things and be optimistic about them?

Greg: What I love is that God actually has given us a really simple formula in the Book of Joel in the Old Testament. There’s a verse that really stood out to Erin and I, and we realized that it’s really the key to creating safety in a marriage. And the verse said, “Rend your heart.” So, he’s talking to the – to his bride, the children of Israel. He’s saying, “Rend your heart. Open your heart to me. Don’t tear your garments.” Don’t tear your clothes as they used to do as a sign of grieving because they’d made some mistake. He goes, “Listen. I don’t want your clothes torn. I want your heart torn back to me because…” – and he lists four things that He is. That when Erin and I realized if we use those four things in our marriage, that’s what creates safety. He said that I am slow to anger – so He’s talking about patience – that I’m full of grace, that I’m abounding in steadfast love, and I’m compassionate.

John: Yeah.

Erin: And so, often when we come up against a spouse that has a closed heart, we want to bash through their walls and pry their heart open. And what does that cause? It causes them to feel more unsafe. So, instead, what you’re saying, Greg, is that we stand outside that wall and we show up in ways that are patient, that are gracious, that are kind because, believe it or not, even when your spouse is closed, they’re watching you. And they’re watching around that wall to see how are you showing up out there. And if it’s a safe environment, well, then it’s more likely that they might step out and take a step out towards you. So, it’s recognizing I can’t control if my spouse’s heart is closed or not, but I certainly have great influence in the overall environment of the relationship.

Jim: Yeah, let me – let me ask you this question. You know, typically, again, it won’t always be male-female. I don’t want to get stuck in that trap. But oftentimes, you have one or maybe both in the marriage relationship where being right is really important. You know, it just is part of, perhaps, your childhood when you were brought up. But you’ve got to correct people, especially your spouse (laughter).

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: You know, you’ve got to be right. How do you fight that appetite to correct and to have to be right? Does that make sense?

Erin: Yeah, yeah. I actually talk about that a lot each and every day with couples that, you know, you can do that. Certainly you can do that. But is it going to lead you to what you want? It’s going to lead to this tug of war, this emotional tug of war that, you know, I think it’s this way, I think it’s that. But it’s recognizing what I really want is that deep connection. And there’s two different people, two different perspectives. And often what I say is I expect to hear that there’s two different ways of looking at it. And both are valid.

Jim: Yeah.

Erin: So, how do we honor each other? How do we – we can offer suggestions, but, you know, we can ask, “Hey, are you open to my feedback?”

Jim: Hey, uh, we have other elements there. You talk about dreaming together. We’re not going to have time to get to that. That’s why people need to get a copy of the book. And you’ve done a wonderful job with this. But I do want to end with that husband or wife who has been listening on the program today, maybe both days, and he or she is feeling that sense of brokenness in their relationship. They recognize that there’s distance in their relationship, that they have grown apart. And perhaps they’re lonely and scared. They don’t know how to, you know, connect back together. What’s something they can do today, tomorrow as a first step to get their spouse closer to them?

Greg: Yeah, I think one of the most powerful ways to do that is to pay attention to what – how your spouse is really feeling, to go after their emotions. I’m telling you that when Erin and I are really disconnected, if I just take a moment and just say, “You know, how are you really doing it? Talk to me about what’s going on for you.” Like this morning, I mean, we’ve had a lot going on. We met up for coffee, and we just sat there. And it was such an easy thing just to do, just to – you know, tell me about what – how you really doing? And there’s something about pursuing Erin. And when I pursue her emotions, that creates that connection, that creates that safety.

Erin: Mm-hmm.

Greg: And so, it may be a really tough season and there’s so much that we could do and know we should be doing this, doing that, but just invite your spouse out to – “Let’s just take a walk. Let’s just go for some coffee. Tell me about how you’re really doing.” That begins a different type of experience. It creates a small connection that they can build on. And over time, you’re going to feel more connected. It’s going to feel awkward, weird in the beginning. But pursue each other – but pursue each other’s heart, go after the emotions, and watch what that does.

Erin: Yeah. And even as he was talking, the thing that was just going through my mind is how safe that makes me feel, to be pursued and to know that Greg wants connection with me. That’s a powerful statement to say to someone, especially your spouse. I want to be connected with you. I value you. And I’ve noticed that these small foxes have creeped in. And can we take a look and figure out what is it that’s causing our disconnection because I am committed to you, I want to be your best friend, and I want to – I want to walk this out. Can we take a look at it because I want that connection? It matters to me.

Jim: Well, once again, you guys have done a brilliant job with the book, Reconnected. And there’s so much more in here. And, you know, again, as Christians particularly, if I could speak to you, the Christian couple, we’ve got to model this well. I mean, the Lord himself created the institution of marriage. And I think one of the – one of the reasons the culture is struggling is because we in the church, too, have not done it as well as we should have. And we’ve got to keep that in mind, that we’re honoring the Lord when we do well in our marriages. And it doesn’t mean you’re going to be perfect. You’re going to make mistakes, and we get that. I make mistakes. John, you may not. But…

Erin: (Laughter).

Jim: …The point is, all the tools that you can muster to help you do the best job you can do. And I try to do that more now to think that people are watching and how can I model my marriage in such a way that people want that. And that’s a good goal even if you’re not hitting it out of the park every day. Contact us here at Focus. We are here for you. We want you to call. We have caring Christian counselors who can help you. We have that great Focus on Marriage Assessment – five to 10 minutes, that’s all it will take. It will point out your strengths and your weaknesses. And then we have so many tools that can help you. And if your marriage is in a really bad spot, we’ve got Hope Restored, a four-day intensive that can take you to a better place. Post-two-year survey work that we’ve done, 80% of those couples are married still and doing better. So, we have every resource you need to get this job done. And again, Greg and Erin, thank you so much for being with us.

Greg: Oh, our pleasure.

Erin: Yeah. Thank you.

John: Yeah, call us to let us know how we can put some of these resources in your hands or serve you. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Hey John, like we often do, man, when it comes to great tools to help people, if you can give a gift of any amount, we’ll send you a copy of the book to say thank you for helping other couples. And if you can’t afford it, get in touch with us. We’re going to trust that others will cover the cost of that. We believe in this content, and we know it will help your marriage move in a very godly direction.

John: Once again our number, 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. Well, on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks so much for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back next time as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

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