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Staying Committed Through the Rough Seasons of Marriage (Part 3 of 3)

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Staying Committed Through the Rough Seasons of Marriage (Part 3 of 3)

Al and Lisa Robertson, of Duck Dynasty fame, describe how their tumultuous marriage has been redeemed by God, offering hope and wisdom for couples facing difficult challenges in their marriage. (Part 3 of 3)

Original Air Date: January 15, 2016

A New Season

Receive a copy of Al and Lisa Robertson's book A New Season for your donation of any amount!

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A New Season

Receive a copy of Al and Lisa Robertson's book A New Season for your donation of any amount!

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Episode Summary

Al and Lisa Robertson, of Duck Dynasty fame, describe how their tumultuous marriage has been redeemed by God, offering hope and wisdom for couples facing difficult challenges in their marriage. (Part 3 of 3)

Original Air Date: January 15, 2016

Episode Transcript

Opening:

Recap:

Al Robertson: When He says, “I will forgive you and remember your sins no more,” it doesn’t mean God is, you know, can’t remember. It’s He chooses not to. He chooses to not let our past damage our future and that’s what we decided to do from that point forward.

End of Recap

John Fuller: Well, that’s Al Robertson and he’s a member of the famous “Duck Dynasty” family and you might have seen then on A&E and that very, very popular TV show. He and his wife, Lisa have been with us for the past couple of days and they’re back for a third time here on “Focus on the Family” with Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller and we’re so glad to have you join us for this program.

Jim Daly: John, I want to come back for this third day. It’s a bit unusual because we’re gonna talk about how the Lord redeemed so much in Al and Lisa’s life. And this is, to me, the gem of the whole discussion. It’s remarkable and I think just about everybody will identify with a portion of their story and hopefully, with the redemption portion particularly.

Now the last two days we’ve talked about the kind of out-of-control teenage lifestyle both Al and Lisa had. They weren’t walking with the Lord, although they attended church from time to time and then, how they came together in marriage and struggled through infidelity and other problems. But the Lord took ahold of both of them, especially Lisa and worked an amazing transformation in her to get to the truth of who she is in Christ.

And if you didn’t hear the program last time, you need to get it, like I said and I mean, it’s that powerful and I think could help you reconsider some of those dark areas in your own life. And I think it will help many of us deal better with those things that are holding us down.

John: And you can get that CD or download and our mobile app at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio. Or call us to speak to one of our caring Christian counselors. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.

Body:

Jim: Al and Lisa, let me simply welcome you back to the program.

Lisa Robertson: Thank you for havin’ us.

Al: Great to be back.

Jim: It’s so good again, we’ve said it throughout the three days now, just your brutal honesty; it’s so refreshing and what you’ve gone through. We left off last time about how your marriage hit the bottom, the rock bottom and we don’t want to cover that material again, but how the Lord healed you both and how it seemed you certainly implied that the intimacy that you have emotionally, spiritually today is far better than what you ever had in the past when you weren’t being honest with each other. Talk about that and how God has kind of transformed the way that you love each other, the depth of your love.

Lisa: Well, I wanted to tell you about the honesty due to my part on the relationship. You know, whenever I confessed to Alan what I had done and then also, went out into the backyard and confessed to God who I was and what I had done and that I was not wanting to be that particular person and that I really needed for Him to rescue me and show me the way, I took another step after that and I went to church, where there was 1,500 people, people who looked up to us.

Jim: You’re the pastor and his wife. I mean—

Lisa: That’s exactly right.

Jim: –you’re the couple. You’re leading them.

Lisa: And I just knew, because God put it on my heart that I had to confess and I had to let people know where I was, who I’d been and that, that was not the person that I wanted to be. And so, the night before, I wrote out my confession. I told everything that I could possibly tell in a short note, you know, so it wouldn’t take hours.

And I walked down front at our church and I handed that note to one of our elders and I allowed them to read that note and that day was the beginning of how God said in James 5, He tells us, “If you confess your sins, one to another and you pray for each other, then you will be healed.”

Jim: Yeah.

Lisa: Healing is what I so desperately wanted. So, I knew that confession was the only way to get to that healing. And so, I wanted accountability also. I wanted people to know where I’d been and I wanted them to ask me questions. What are you doin’, you know? How are you and God doin’ today? How are you and Alan doin’ today?

And so, you know, a lot of people call that the walk of shame and that’s okay with me, because what I had been doing was shameful. But I’m no longer shamed by that. My life is not who I was then. My life now is my life in Christ and what Christ has done to redeem me with His and our relationship, but also He’s redeemed my relationship with my husband.

Jim: There are people listening that maybe don’t have your story, but they have parts of it. They have not confessed something to their spouse. There can be that line of wisdom, but you’re saying, go for it. There’s something about that vulnerability that God will use to help teach both of you how to be more in love with each other if you’re willing.

Al: Absolutely.

Jim: Is that fair?

Al: It’s very fair and I think it started in the Garden of Eden with the very first husband and the very first wife, when you saw a dishonesty there in the lie that was exposed. First it was Satan’s lie and then it became their lie, you know, because as that couple, that they’re Adam and Eve, but look what happened.

They began to blame one another. They didn’t even know why they were ashamed, yet they were ashamed. All that stuff is comin’ out. Why? Because there wasn’t honesty. Their intimacy was affected right off the bat. And I believe that condition goes to this very day within couples. When there [are] things that you’re hiding from your spouse, whatever it is. And it seems like it’s really not affecting your relationship. It is, because anytime there’s dishonesty present, it’s gonna create some distance and doubt, just like it did with that very first husband and very first wife.

So, Lisa and I, we recognize that in each other and it took us some years to get to that point, where we just didn’t want to hide anything from each other, because it’s amazing how natural it is many times for relationships for people to just say, “Well, you know, that’s a private part of my life.” You’re husband and wife. You’re one. You were two and now you’re one. There’s no privacy; we’re together. You know, it’s all one. So, we believe that that’s one of Satan’s greatest tools to hurt marriages and hurt relationships, is to keep that dishonesty present in some way.

Program Note:

John: Well, there is A New Season. It’s the book by Al and Lisa Robertson and it chronicles God’s remarkable hand of work in a lot of brokenness as individuals, as a couple and it has that kind of biblical perspective that Al just shared We’d encourage you to get a copy. Simply call us here at Focus on the Family and we’d be happy to send a copy to you. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. You can find out details about the book and a CD or download of our three-day conversation at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio.

End of Program Note

Jim: Al and Lisa, when we talk about going to battle, you typically want somebody alongside you who’s been through it, right? You know, you talk about goin’ into combat, I want the guy that has gone to that war if I’m goin’ for the first time. You guys have been through the battle.

In that respect, in the book you talk about some of the great points that you’ve learned as veterans of the spiritual war and I want to touch on some of those. You talk about Genesis 2 and four principles that you’ve learned. Talk to us. Tutor us. Tell us what do you see in Scripture that applies to us?

Al: Yeah and I believe it starts at the very beginning in Genesis 2:24 and 25, which by the way, is something that Jesus quoted when He was talkin’ about marriage. A lot of times, people will say, “Well, you know, Jesus never directly talks about this, that and the other,” but He did, because when you go to Genesis 2, you’re layin’ out the standard of what a relationship looks like, that you start out with the idea of a leaving a mother and a father, to now begin a new family.

[If] you think about it, when a relationship begins that then is culminated in marriage, you are watchin’ the birth of a brand-new family. And just like we see the birth of a baby and the joy of that and all the hope, it’s the same thing in a marriage relationship. I mean, there’s so many good things possible. And are there gonna be struggles? Absolutely and that’s why it says that you will be united. And that’ll be that concept of unity and that’s that other one of the pillars that’s there in a relationship.

But then He says, “You become one flesh.” And so, that’s the idea that this is a permanent situation. This isn’t flowing in and out, that somehow you know, we’re one, but now for a year we’re gonna be two and we’ll live like two single people and then we’re gonna come back together. Unified permanent people figure out how to work everything out in a relationship.

Jim: Even with the wounds and the trauma.

Al: Absolutely and the past. It may be things you didn’t know. You know, maybe you get in the relationship and say, “Well, if I’d have known that, I wouldn’t have married you.” But you did and now you know, so we walk away now just because there was some difficulty there, that’s some stuff I didn’t know that now I know? We can’t do that. God has brought us together for a reason to be unified and good and holy and that’s that fourth pillar. He says and they were both naked and they felt no shame. That intimacy that’s so special that you know another person better than anybody else knows ’em. And it’s not just physical intimacy. It’s emotional intimacy and it’s spiritual intimacy, ’cause God made us with those three components.

It’s why we’re made in His image. You know, you got the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. You got us havin’ a physical, emotional and a spiritual makeup as who we are. And every relationship has it. Every need in that relationship needs to have those needs met. So, that’s the beauty of marriage and look, it takes you a lifetime to figure some of those things out.

And marriage just gets stronger when you do it the right way. I mean, Lisa and I now are 50-years-old, been married 31 years and we feel like our best years are still ahead.

Jim: Oh, that’s great.

Al: We’ve got some great things to learn, so that model that you mentioned is somethin’ that we try to share with couples and especially premarital couples. And you know, anybody considering gettin’ married, spend some time with a pastor, with a counselor, with someone that will take you through a process of premarital counseling, because they will lay out some principles that will help you down the road.

Jim: Well, I appreciate that. That’s something we support and in fact, we have resources for churches to do premarital counseling for that reason. Lisa, out of Proverbs 31, in the book you talk about seven ways to be lovable. Can you talk about a couple of those with us?

Lisa: Okay. In Ephesians 5, verse 33, you know, we’re talkin’ about being lovable and respectable. And so, in Proverbs 31, it lays out a pretty good idea as to how to remain lovable, but just some that kinda jump out at me is, you know, the first one is to have a sense of humor.

Jim: (Chuckling) I love that.

Lisa: And you can laugh at the days to come, you know. Well, what does that mean exactly? Well, that means that you don’t take everything so seriously in your life.

Jim: Right.

Lisa: You know, some days whenever you’re having a fuss and you just look at one another and you just start laughin’, because what is this about? I mean, it’s probably a silly little thing that we got into this tiff about, but I mean, you have to be able to laugh. Sometimes you have to be able to laugh at yourself, because you do really dumb things.

Jim: (Laughing) That’s for sure.

Lisa: And so, you have to laugh at yourself. You know, another one of those is to bring honor to your husband. And I am always wanting to lift up my husband. I had someone tell me one time, a lady one of my mentors and she said, “You know, your husband can go to work all day and all these women tell them how great they are and they can do all these business deals or, you know, they’re very good at meeting people. They always remember names so, you have these women who are telling them how good they are all day.” And she said, “And then they come home and all you tell ’em is everything that they’ve done wrong.”

And so, I always want to bring honor to Alan by telling him what a great man he is and what God has done in him and believing even before God’s done it, that he is gonna be the man that will bring glory and honor to our Savior.

Jim: Al, I’m not lettin’ you off the hook because for guys, you talk in your book about seven ways to be respectable out of Job. It’s interesting. Yours come from Job and yours comes from Proverbs 31.

Lisa: Uh-hm.

Al: Yeah, Job 31 and Proverbs 31.

Jim: Yeah.

Al: And when we found those, we thought it was interesting, because couples would remember that. And so, that’s one of the assignments we give ’em is to go and look. And Lisa’s right. Look, that passage was there and that command is there from Paul, but we can make it easier. For that woman you were talking about that was lookin’ at that, okay, maybe her husband can hear me to say, look, it’ll be easier for your wife to respect you if you’re a respectable person.

And I love Job 31, because Job is basically defending his honor, you know, because his friends have just piled on and they’re saying he’s terrible when he really wasn’t. He was tryin’ to figure out what’s goin’ on in his life.

So, in his defense of his character, to me he lays out seven wonderful principles about what it would look like to be a respectable man. And a couple of those that really jump out to me is the very first one, when he says, “I’m not gonna look lustfully at another girl.” And so, what he’s sayin’ is, you know, we always say, well, you know, look at our culture and the way people dress, like we put it off on everybody else.

I start out by bein’ a respectable man by deciding that I’m not gonna linger in looking at women like I shouldn’t look at women. You know, Jesus described it clearly. It’s in your heart anyway. So, I tell me, I call it “notice and dismiss.” We’re men. We notice things, but then we don’t look back. We dismiss. Once I see somethin’ and somethin’ pops on my computer, I dismiss that and I’m not gonna go back and look at that and then dive into [it] deeper and that’s what gets us in trouble as men and we lose our respectability.

If we’re looking at pornography or we’re constantly leering at other women and that becomes a part of who we are, then our wives don’t respect us and other people don’t, as well. So, we can make that decision.

Another thing that he talks about is, he says he’s not gonna linger at his neighbor’s door, you know, when he’s not home, meaning that I’m not gonna have flirtatious relationships with other people who aren’t my wife. And this is a huge thing, where men lose respectability.

You’re at work. You’re hangin’ out at, you know, your secretary’s desk or some other person and you’re at the break room and we’re havin’ conversation that’s not appropriate to be havin’ with someone that’s not my wife, that begins to tear down respectability. And not only that, of course, it leads us usually into another place.

And I love the way Job puts it. He says, “If I ever do that, then may my wife grind another man’s grain.” Which is one of those phrases in the Bible, you know, it speaks straight to me as a man, because that sounds terrible. Now he’s just puttin’ in a context of his culture and where he was, but I don’t want my wife grinding another man’s grain.

Jim: Right.

Al: And so, a lot has that to do with me then being a respectable man, because I’m teaching my family somethin’ by the way I lead my life. And so, there’s some others there, as well, but that’s a couple. And I think if a couple will look at it and say, you know what? If I want my wife to respect me, I want to be respectable. And if as a wife she says, you know what? I want my husband to love me, I need to be more lovable, if we could live up to those principles, then we’ll make the commands like that very simple and a lot easier to live.

Jim: I think it would be great if we can end with you praying for couples who are struggling. I’m sure Satan shudders when he hears the two of you pray for other couples—

Al: Right.

Jim: –because he knows he was not able to destroy you and I think that carries significance spiritually. So, if you could, could you lead us in prayer—

Al: I’d love to.

Jim: –for those couples who right now are thinkin’ maybe divorce is the option or leaving my spouse because they’ve been unfaithful or whatever it might be, that they would seek the Lord with all their heart to find a better answer than the one this world will give them.

Al: I’d love to. Father, we come before You today just so blessed that You have healed our lives—mine and Lisa’s, our relationship. And we don’t want to let a day go by where we don’t give You the glory for rescuing us from where we were. I thank You Father, for Your Son and just the ability that He gives us to live a life that we could only imagine or dream of.

And I pray today for every marriage, every person especially that’s listening and has heard a part of some of our story, that’s in that same struggle, wondering if they can make it one more day. I pray that You give them the strength and the perseverance to hold on, to trust You in a way they never have before, to do some different things that they’ve never tried before and and to follow You.

I pray, Father for maybe sins that are being committed right now, for an affair that’s going on, that you will help people have the strength to say, you know what? I’m not gonna live like this anymore. I want to walk away from that. I want to allow You and a new honesty to give us a different place to go.

Be with every family, every struggle, every child that’s hoping their parents will stay together for their sake, to have a strong family. Bless them, Father with strength today. And every good marriage that’s lovin’ You, Father, that it’ll become a greater marriage because of more of a trust in You and ability to grow.

Father, we look forward to our days ahead. Thank You for everything You give us. Thank You for my family, for our ability to be on television and to make a difference in the lives of people again, all to Your glory, and we give You that glory today, in the name of Jesus, amen.

Jim: Amen. Thank you for bein’ with us and we will watch, Jean, the boys and me, we’ll watch you on “Duck Dynasty” with even greater enthusiasm. Thanks for bein’ with us.

Al: Thank you.

Lisa: Thank you so much.

Al: Appreciate you havin’ us.

Closing:

John: Well, what a terrific way to bring to a close the third day of this “Focus on the Family” best-of program with Al and Lisa Robertson.

Jim: John, it is easy to understand why this conversation received such a high response from our listeners–the openness and the vulnerability with which Al and Lisa shared their heartwrenching story. It touched a lot of lives and you see years later the redemptive work God has done in their marriage. It gives all of us hope. As he prayed there, as Al was praying for those that had a good marriage, that it’d be a great marriage, for those that were struggling, that they’d get back on track.

Over the last couple of days we’ve shared your comments about this program and what it meant to you and today, Al and Lisa Robertson are back in the studio to tell us what impact they’ve seen as a result of sharing their story. Al and Lisa, welcome back to Focus.

Al: Great to be back.

Lisa: Thank you.

Jim: Man, in that ministry zone, what happened in your world when this aired and how did people respond to you as you met with them?

Al: Well, immediately the first thing I noticed was, you know, on social media which nowadays that’s where you first get–

Jim: That is (Laughing), yeah.

Al: –a reaction and response. And so, as soon as the episodes aired, we began to get all this social media, you know, following people following us or knew about us and said, “You know, I heard it today. This impacted me powerfully, you know. I’m getting someone to listen tomorrow.” And so, you began to see that first wave of social interaction, which is such a blessing that this platform again can drive people to listen and to be impacted. So, that was the first thing that I noticed.

Lisa: I received several e-mails even and then events that we would go to, people would say, “Hey, I heard your story on ‘Focus.’”

Jim: (Laughing) That’s great.

Lisa: And you know, “Your story is our story and thank you for bein’ so open and honest about it.” So, there [are] lots of people out there who have the same struggles that we do. And all they’re lookin’ for is a little bit of hope and that’s what we hope to give ’em.

Jim: You know, Lisa, I know we’re kinda rewrapping this program, but let me ask you this, because it has stuck with me since we recorded. That ability to really hand it over to God, in the Christian community, we kinda use that very loosely. You gotta hand it over to God. But in your situation where you could have a lot of resentment and bitterness toward Al and vice versa, how did you really hand it over to God? What did that look like?

Lisa: Well, I think the first thing you have to do is, you have to realize that you’re a sinner just like everybody else. You are not any better than the person that hurt you. And you know, I could’ve blamed my uncle. I could’ve blamed Allen. I could’ve blamed God, but you know, you have to take responsibility for your own actions.

And whenever you look at yourself in a mirror and you see who you’ve become, then you need to say, “I want to change.” And that means you change everything about yourself.

Jim: Yeah.

Lisa: You change how you forgive. You change how you react to people who have the same struggles you do. So, you know, whenever you give it to God, that means you give it to God and you walk away and you leave it with Him.

Al: You know, I see it as sort of like carryin’ a heavy weight that it’s really too much for you. You know, physically I’ve tried that before and I just had to stop and lay it down and figure out another way to move this thing. Well, when that’s a sinful situation on your soul and your spirit, Isaiah talks about it being like a cart that you drag along with ropes. And you know, it’s just that burden.

And so, to give it to God ultimately means to release the burden of something you can’t carry anyway. And so, whether that’s a resentment or bitterness or some sin in your life, it’s too overwhelming. That’s why we can’t find results and we keep tryin’ some way to pull this weight and instead of just saying, “You know what? I’m tired of that. I’m not gonna do this anymore. I’m finally gonna say, ‘God, I give up. I can’t carry this. Will You help me.’” And so, when I think about turnin’ something over to God, whatever it is, that’s the visual that I get.

Jim: That is good.

Al: That’s physical, you know.

Jim: Well, and you two are such a great role model for marriage and I know that puts pressure on you. You’re in the limelight with the show and all, the family achievement and all that. But what a wonderful thing to go from the ashes of your marriage to something beautiful now and to give God the honor and the glory for that.

Let me turn to the listener. Maybe you’re one of the folks who got in touch with us or even with the Robertsons after you heard their program. Maybe you were the one who was struggling with infidelity in your marriage. Maybe it was that secret that you didn’t want to share. I don’t know where you’re at now, but I hope you are getting help, because it’s not the failure. If you hear their story, it’s not the failure that was the key. It was turning toward God and finding hope and healing in Him.

And we are here for you if that is the place you’re at today. We want to be that counselor, that guidance for you to point you in a biblical direction. And we have so many resources, John, so many tools to help people. We have Hope Restored, a great intensive counseling effort, almost an 85 percent success rate. If you’re in that place, don’t throw your marriage away. Double down; make it a witness for the Lord. It’s gonna be hard work, but you know what? It’s gonna be beautiful when He’s done reconstructing it.

John: And Jim, I’m mindful that as Al was praying, his closing prayer he mentioned strong marriages, that they might be brighter. For those who are in a good spot, we welcome their financial partnership with us so we can reach out to these broken marriages.

Jim: It’s the way it happens. I mean, we could just be sitting here if we didn’t have the resources to reach people. So, thank you to all of you who support us. If you haven’t supported us in a while and maybe never supported us, pray about it. Ask God if this would be worthy of that support. I hope the answer’s yes. We are workin’ hard in the area of marriage and evangelism particularly.

You know, last year over 210,000 decisions for Christ, which I’m really proud of, and 130,000 marriages were saved and that’s again, just in the last 12 months. So, if that rings the bell and you feel confident that you can help us. Be a part of it. Be a part of advancing the family in this culture, because it is what we need today. And Al and Lisa again, thank you for sharing your story on “Focus on the Family. Thank you for the role models that you are. I bet back in the despair time, you never thought it would end in this way, right?

Al: We didn’t and you know–

Lisa: No.

Al: –it took 17 years for just to realize that every bad thing we’ve gone through God ultimately got glory and then ultimately it made us stronger. So you know, struggling couples, it’s good to know that, that’s possible. So, we love our partnership with you guys and I thank you for what you do.

Jim: Well, thank you so much.

John: It’s been great to have the Robertsons with us and I hope you’ll donate today to Focus on the Family. Our number is 800-232-6459 or you can donate at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio. And when you do, we’ll send a copy of A New Season, that book by Al and Lisa, to you as our way of saying thank you for giving the gift of family by supporting this ministry. And of course, no amount is too small. In fact, when you donate today, your gift is going to be doubled through a special matching challenge provided by some generous friends. And so, if you can give 5 or $10, that gets doubled. If you can give 100 or 1,000, that gets doubled. Take advantage of this unique opportunity. Time is limited. Call today. Again our number, 800-A-FAMILY.

On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening to “Focus on the Family.” I’m John Fuller, hoping you have a great weekend and inviting you back on Monday as we talk about marriage. Our guests are Milan and Kay Yerkovich and they’ll talk about love styles and how emotions affect your relationship.

Excerpt:

Milan Yerkovich: God has all these feelings and He knows how to name ’em. He knows why He has them and He knows what He wants to do with ’em. And we’re made in the image and likeness of God, aren’t we? So, for us to have access to our emotional self, this is called “emotional intelligence.” Our God’s highly emotionally intelligent. This isn’t psycho babble; we’re just copying God.

End of Excerpt

John: Well, you’ll hear more about emotions and your love style and how to have a stronger marriage next time on “Focus on the Family.”

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