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Focus on the Family with Jim Daly

Understanding Your Spouse’s Emotions (Part 2 of 2)

Understanding Your Spouse’s Emotions (Part 2 of 2)

Drs. David and Jan Stoop discuss the concept of emotional intelligence – the ability to understand your emotions, as well as your spouse's. The Stoops explain how bettering that understanding can help you improve and strengthen your marriage. (Part 2 of 2)
Original Air Date: November 27, 2017

Preview:

Dr. David Stoop: She might come to bed and say, “Are you gonna pray?” And I say, “Nope,” ’cause I’m still mad. She says, “Well, I am.” And she would pray. By the time she was done praying my heart had softened and I prayed.

End of Preview

John Fuller: Today, we’re hearing more from a classic conversation with the late Dr. David Stoop and his wife, Dr. Jan Stoop. Welcome to Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: I find it fascinating, John, that the Bible is full of emotion and emotional people. Uh, just read a couple pages from the Book of Psalms. You’ll see displays of frustration, grief, anger, and joy. Uh, God gave us feelings for a reason, but although it’s not good to suppress our emotions, we also can’t let our feelings harden our hearts or control us. Uh, last time, we shared a great conversation about how God wired us emotionally and how we need to understand what our guests call, uh, the BEP. Basic Emotional Posture. Uh, from there, we can trace our feelings back to their original source and use that to figure out why we say the things that we say and regret those things that we say, especially to our spouse. Because, uh, let’s be honest. We’ve all done that at one time or another. I probably do it too often, that’s for sure.

John: Mm, well, I’m guilty.

Jim: Maybe except you.

John: I’m guilty, too.

Jim: (laughs)

John: Uh, boy, all the time. I really am, uh, going to be listening in, uh, closely as we revisit this content from Dave and Jan Stoop. Um, I think it’s gonna help me improve my emotional intelligence some. And, and by the way, we took the-

Jim: (laughs) We did.

John: … SMART assessment, uh, last time, and we talked a little bit about that.

Jim: Mm.

John: Uh, if you missed the last part of the conversation, uh, find it on our website or download our free mobile app. It’s a great way to access the archives and listen any time you want. Uh, also as we mentioned last time, Jan Stoop is a counselor and a leader of marriage retreats, and she used to do those, at one time, uh, together with her husband, the late Dr. David Stoop. Together, they wrote the book The Emotionally Healthy Marriage: Growing Closer by Understanding Each Other. And along the way in this conversation, you might hear us refer to the former title, SMART Love. Uh, we do have, uh, the newest copy of that book available here at the ministry. Uh, get in touch for your copy. Our number is 800-A-FAMILY, or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. All right, here’s the second part of our conversation, uh, with the Stoops, which first aired a number of years ago on Focus on the Family.

Jim: Last time, we talked about the SMART acronym. You mentioned these emotions, the BEP that we, uh, briefly talked about. Let’s recap for folks very quickly the SMART acronym and your, uh, BEP.

David: Well, the SMART, the S stands for self-aware of my own emotions. And, uh, I, I’ve gotta be aware of what I’m feeling a- at least after the fact, as a beginning point, and then in the midst of it so that I can grab hold of it and begin to manage it. And the M-

Jim: Oh, I was gonna say, okay, ladies, so, uh, you’re all saying, (laughs) or many of you are saying, “That’s my husband.”

David: Yes.

Jan: (laughs)

Jim: He doesn’t understand his… He’s got no self-awareness.

Dr. Jan Stoop: Self-awareness is the key.

Jim: (laughs)

David: But d- But d- don’t, don’t be so quick-

Jim: They’re sticking with this the rest of the way, I guarantee it. But-

David: Don’t be so quick to point your finger at him.

Jim: (laughs)

David: Because there’s three others pointing back at yourself. (laughs)

Jim: So that’s the S of SMART. Then M.

David: M is to manage-

Jan: Manage it.

David: … my emotions, and I don’t w- wanna be controlled by them. I wanna be able to control my emotions-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Okay.

David: … in a healthy way. A is accountability. I’m being accountable to myself, I’m being accountable to my spouse, and I’m being accountable to other couples. And I think that’s extremely important that we have other couples in our lives that know us and pray for us and share with us and care for us.

Jim: It’s a good thing to do. Okay, so we got SMA.

David: Uh, SMA.

Jim: What’s R?

Jan: (laughs)

David: And then R is reading the other person’s. Reading your spouse’s emotions-

Jim: Ouch.

Jan: (laughs)

David: … which is empathy.

Jan: Lear-

Jim: I’m resonating with this one. I think this might be my weak link.

Jan: (laughs)

Jim: I think sometimes I’m driving so hard I’m not very-

Jan: Learning to.

David: Was it a low, low point in your chart? Yeah.

Jim: I’ll have to go back to my test.

John: Oh, no. No, we have Jean on the line right now.

Jim: (laughs) Yeah, right. No we don’t.

David: (laughs)

Jan: (laughs)

Jim: Hang up. Hang up. Hang up. But, uh, so that’s reading your spouse.

John: So, hmm.

Jim: Understanding your spouse.

David: Yeah.

Jan: Uh, their, their emotions. It’s, it’s-

Jim: Their emotions. Okay, guys. Come on.

David: Empathizing with it. Yeah.

Jan: (laughs)

Jim: You gotta be there with me. I mean this is not something that is natural.

Jan: Well, the other word there is to build empathy so I can understand what they’re feeling.

David: Neither, neith-

Jan: It’s a good thing.

David: Neither the R or the T are easy to do, but they become easier as you develop the skills of the S and the M. Yeah.

Jim: Okay. So it kinda flows together like a river.

David: Yeah. Mm-hmm.

John: Mm.

Jim: Gains a little more momentum.

David: Yes.

Jim: So what’s the T?

David: The T is together in the land of emotions.

Jim: (laughs)

David: We’re comfortable, we’re comfortable with each other emotionally.

Jan: To, enough to be in that world together.

Jim: So let’s get to the manage, the M of SMART, managing your emotions.

Jan: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Um, why is this war going on in our brains, uh, between the emotional part of us and the rational part of us?

Jan: Mm-hmm.

Jim: ‘Cause if you think about it, who doesn’t want that-

Jan: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … better marriage?

David: Yeah.

Jim: Maybe not perfect marriage, but all the attributes you just talked about-

John: Mm.

Jim: … it would be rational for us to aim for that, so we wouldn’t use anger toward our spouse-

David: But our-

Jim: … or shame or whatever it might be.

David: Uh, our, our rational brain is often e- subject to the emotional brain.

Jim: Yeah, that’s scary, isn’t it?

David: And that’s scary.

Jim: (laughs)

David: Because we haven’t… A- and managing my emotions e- m- means I’ve gotta develop my rational side of my brain. Uh, when we’ve been wounded as kids, when we’ve been, uh, w- we adopted a, a basic emotional posture of anger or fear or shame or sadness, uh, that’s giving precedence to the emotional brain.

Jim: You give power to that.

David: You give power to it.

Jan: Mm-hmm.

David: And you de-power the rational brain so you gotta activate the rational brain. So there’s, uh, there’s a language for each of those four negative emotions. The language of anger is I should, you should, or you shouldn’t, or you should, or I shouldn’t. The demand that I make on a situation. It’s like somebody cuts you off on the freeway and we, we get angry because they shouldn’t’ve done that. Well, they already did it so it’s irrational, so I, I wanna-

Jim: Gosh, you’re just going right at my weak spot.

John: (laughs)

Jim: What are you doing?

David: (laughs) So I-

Jim: (laughs) Are we in a session here? Do I have to pay you money?

David: No.

Jim: (laughs)

David: (laughs)

Jan: (laughs)

Jim: No, but that’s good. I mean, that’s exactly right.

John: Mm.

David: Yeah.

Jim: So what, what else can be done? Pray for the guy.

David: So, y- y- yeah. A- and there’s sometimes somebody cuts you off and you don’t even notice it because your, uh, mind is somewhere else and you’re thinking of something else and you just automatically tap the brake and go on.

Jim: It’s like whatever.

David: Yeah. Uh, the language of fear is what if? And what if this happened? What if that happens? And I always say if you’re gonna what if the negative you have to what if the positive because only God controls the future.

Jan: Mm.

David: You can’t control the future by what if. You g- so you’re talking about the possibility of the deal falling through. Well, you gotta say, “Well, well, what if the deal stays together and succeeds?” You know? Uh, u- u-

Jim: Yeah.

David: You gotta what if both sides.

Jim: Yeah.

David: And then the, the, uh, language of shame and sadness, uh, is the same, is if only. If only this hadn’t happened.

Jan: The regret. Mm-hmm.

David: And the, the living in the regrets.

John: Mm.

Jim: Constantly though, like a vicious circle, right?

David: Constantly, yeah.

Jan: Mm-hmm.

Jim: It just keeps going.

David: So if you can identify the language of the emotion you can begin to manage the language. Like the woman who was so angry that charred the f- my doorframe as she walked in the office. You know, I, I gave her an assignment to make a list of all the things she was angry about. I said, “Get an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet, sheet and make three columns. In the first column list all the things you’re angry about.” Well, she came up with 27 pages-

Jim: 27 pages?

John: 27 pages?

David: … of things she’s angry about.

John: Oh, my word.

David: (laughs) I felt sorry for the guy. (laughs)

Jan: (laughs)

Jim: No wonder she scorched the, the sign walking in your door.

David: And I said, “Now, in the middle one you gotta get all the… What are the demands you’re making?” And that’s the language she uses, you know. So she says, “Well, when I come, when you come home from work,” and he had a pretty r- high-level job, “and you see the table set. The candles are lit. The kids are in bed. You should know I want some time with you. Instead, you get up from the dinner and say, ‘Thanks,’ and go to the office and continue working.”

Jim: So that’s the should have.

David: That’s the should.

John: Mm.

David: So then I said, “Third column you gotta restate it as a desire, as a wish, as a want. I want you to spend some time with me.” And he’s over here making notes.

Jan: (laughs)

David: Said, “Well, w- I’ll remember that next time.”

Jan: He probably never thought of it at all, ever.

John: Right.

David: Never thought of it.

Jim: Well, Jan, I wanna pull you in to that-

Jan: (laughs)

Jim: … because, again, uh, the language between, uh, male and female-

Jan: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … can be as different as Chinese is from English.

Jan: That’s right.

Jim: So how does-

Jan: A-

Jim: How do you teach young women and women of all (laughs) ages-

Jan: Yeah. (laughs)

Jim: … to better communicate with their husbands-

Jan: W- well that-

Jim: … that don’t speak their language?

Jan: Uh, yeah. But that thing of changing the language to the wants or desires, it’s a mindblower about how that s- is heard by your mate and it changes their, their ability to hear you. So if I’m, um, in my fearful posture, I could say, you know, “W- w- why are you throwing that away?” Or, “I want that because I had a plan for that.” But-

David: What if it’s… What if you’re throwing away something that’s important to me?

Jan: Yeah, what if you’re throwing a… (laughs) But i- but if I can say, “I’m bothered by that but that’s okay because I have asked you for help in that area.” Something like that. But it diffuses it.

John: Mm.

Jan: But, you know, a big part of what the women, um, really, really struggle with is criticism. So we, uh, we have that thing that we can turn anything into a critical statement.

David: Yeah. And w-

Jim: Well, and that’s the shame part, correct?

Jan: Yeah.

David: And women do it more than men.

Jan: Yeah.

David: It’s been proven.

John: Really?

Jan: (laughs)

Jim: Let’s ask John and me. Uh, okay, no. I mean, that can happen.

David: But that’s because they want things to change and get better.

Jim: Correct. They’re desperate.

Jan: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: And they’re using that tactic-

Jan: Mm-hmm.

David: Yeah.

John: Mm.

Jim: … in order to hopefully evoke change, right?

David: Mm-hmm.

Jan: Mm-hmm.

Jim: So that’s the language of shame. Would that be fair-

Jan: Right. Right.

Jim: … to describe it that way?

David: But it would trigger anger, too-

Jan: Well- w-

David: … in the recipient.

Jim: Yeah.

Jan: Yeah. So the-

Jim: What does that language of shame sound like in the marriage?

Jan: Mm.

Jim: Just role play a little bit for us. What does that sound like between a, a c- in a couple?

Jan: Uh, of shame?

David: Oh, wow. It, it-

Jan: You should’ve worn that shirt. (laughs)

Jim: You should’ve worn the other shirt? (laughs)

David: (laughs)

Jan: No, anything I say that, that can be critical, can, uh, can put, uh, shame.

David: I can take it to shame. Uh, so, uh, y- you say to me, sometimes I, I come downstairs, “Are you gonna wear that shirt?”

Jan: And-

David: And I, and I think-

John: Mm.

David: … “Well, I wouldn’t’ve put it on if I wasn’t gonna wear it.”

Jim: Yeah. (laughs)

David: (laughs)

Jim: Pretty, pretty straightforward.

David: And, and then-

John: I have a friend who had a situation like that.

Jan: (laughs)

David: And then maybe remind me, “Well, you told me to tell you when things didn’t match,” you know, and-

Jan: Mm-mm.

David: … but what she w- e- criticism is always an indirect way to ask for something.

John: Mm.

David: And if she had said to me, “You shouldn’t wear that shirt with those pants. They don’t go together,” I’d say, “Oh, okay.” Because that was a clear statement.

Jan: Mm-hmm.

David: So there’s a shaming in and there’s a trigger point for anger-

John: Mm.

David: … for the, the statement, uh, “Are you gonna wear that shirt?”

Jan: That’s a- anything critical, yeah.

Jim: It, it-

David: ‘Cause I’m thinking, “Y- you think I’m stupid? I don’t know how to put a shirt on?”

John: Mm.

Jim: Well, and what’s sad is these little paper cuts-

Jan: Mm-hmm.

David: Oh.

Jim: … is what derails a marriage.

David: Oh, yeah.

Jan: That’s right.

Jim: It’s, it’s, it’s not necessarily the big thing, whatever that might be.

John: Yeah.

Jim: But it’s this kinda stuff constantly.

David: Mm-hmm.

Jan: A- and many of them are, are critical remarks that we m- make to each other.

Jim: Right. And it goes both ways.

Jan: Yeah. Oh, it does.

David: Men do it, too.

Jim: I wanna be, I’m gonna stand up for the ladies, too, because men can be-

Jan: Oh, we have m-

Jim: … critical and sharp and cutting-

David: Oh, yeah.

Jim: … and, you know, dismissive.

Jan: Many women in the seminar will say, (laughs) “He’s the one does the criticism (laughs) because I can’t live up to his demands.”

John: Mm.

David: Yeah.

Jan: But it’s difficult, but women are fighting it, too. They’re fighting it every way to try to figure out how can we, how can we get the kind of relationship we really want without ever, uh, having to, uh, demand?

Jim: Mm.

Jan: So I take away the demands.

John: You’re listening to Focus on the Family with Jim Daly, and that’s Dr. Jan Stoop along with her husband, Dr. David Stoop, and, uh, their book is The Emotionally Healthy Marriage. It’s full of practical help about building your emotional intelligence especially when it comes to relating with your spouse. And we have that book here at the ministry. Look for details at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast or give us a call. 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. And now the remainder of our conversation with Dave and Jan Stoop.

Jim: We’ve covered the, the S and the M and now we gotta get to the A of SMART. Uh, A is accountability.

David: Yeah.

Jim: So what does accountability look like?

Jan: Can I say a word there, that we, uh, over the years we were part of a group of couples. Um, mostly they lived in the Bay Area, far from where we are. And, uh, but we got together twice a year but they were our prayer group and they were our youth sponsors when we i- were youth pastors (laughs) at a large church up in, uh, uh, the San Francisco area. But anyway, um, they became our accountability group. So our, we had a lot of, uh, prayer accountability with each other and there were 10 of us so we named ourselves Da 10 of Us. (laughs)

Jim: (laughs) Da 10 of Us. That was creative.

Jan: But, but somebody liked the, yeah. Da, D. D 10 of Us.

David: Now there’s only eight of us.

Jim: Okay.

Jan: But, but to be accountable to other couples is a magnificent way to work out this, too.

David: We, we’d get together for a long weekend some place u- unique. We were in the Sierras-

Jan: Each time.

David: … and we were on the beach and w- different places. But a- always on the weekend there was a time of sharing a- and w- the guys dreaded it, you know, but we did it.

Jan: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

David: And so it’d be w- our turn to share with the other four couples and we would talk about what was going on in our life, what was going on in our kids. They prayed our son into sobriety and-

Jim: Mm.

David: … uh, prayed us through that time and, uh, it was just a time of, of accountability with each other.

Jim: Yeah.

David: And the n- next day w- somebody else would share and we’d pray for them.

Jim: We do that through a book club, Jean and I. We have five couples that are in a little book club.

David: Mm.

Jan: That’s great.

David: Yeah.

Jim: And we, we really, the books have become less significant than being together.

Jan: (laughs)

David: Yeah.

Jan: Absolutely.

Jim: And we do exactly that.

David: And every-

Jim: A day about everybody’s life.

David: Every couple’s gotta have that kinda context.

John: Yeah.

David: As Christian couples we need that kinda support.

Jim: Yeah.

David: And that’s accountable. But being accountable to each other and being an open book to each other.

John: Mm.

David: U- u- u- there’s a lot of men in our area that their wives don’t know the slightest idea how they stand financially and the man wants it that way.

Jim: Hmm.

David: And th- that’s counterproductive. That’s being unaccountable.

Jim: So it’s a lack of trust.

David: It’s a lack of trust.

Jan: Mm-hmm.

David: At least a lack of trust but it’s a failure-

Jim: Yeah.

David: … at accountability and accountability maybe has some n- negative f- feelings to it from how you grew up but the only way you’re gonna have a solid marriage that lasts into old age is to be accountable to each other and in love.

John: Mm.

Jim: And of course we’re talking to a couple who has been married 60 years so (laughs) you know what you’re talking about.

David: And there’s something great about growing old together.

Jim: Yeah.

David: There really is.

John: Mm.

Jan: (laughs)

Jim: Oh I, yeah, I totally agree with that. Jan, I do want, though, in this accountability area for ladies, I think, um, wives struggle here because, uh, accountability, it can be wrapped in fear.

Jan: Mm-hmm. Very much so.

Jim: You know, that fear that I don’t know-

David: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … what my husband’s thinking.

Jan: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I don’t know what my husband’s really doing. Um, you can put that into the context of he works late at night.

Jan: Oh, yeah.

Jim: And you can spin yourself into-

Jan: That’s right.

Jim: … a whole lot of emotions that may or may not be accurate, you know, that-

Jan: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Jim: … intuition that begins to develop. How does a woman who’s feeling that way, “I’m not connected with my, my husband,” this accountability area-

Jan: Yeah.

Jim: … but not to come across-

John: Mm.

Jim: … with the assumptions that you’re doing something wrong or that you’ve-

Jan: Mm.

Jim: … done something wrong and you come at that accountability in a way that’s not constructive?

Jan: Yeah. Well, I w- I would think, I don’t know if someone worried about that has a, a girlfriend or whatever, but, but to begin to trust whether the trust really feels like real, but I am going to trust you. I am going to, um, ask you things and I expect you to answer. Um, but in the midst of it the thing that keeps coming to my mind is the praying together. If there’s even-

Jim: Hmm.

Jan: … a smidgen of hope that that husband-

Jim: That’ll help.

Jan: … uh, is willing to even listen to you pray and then you hold hands or something like that. But praying together for Dave and I, since we began, what, 50 years ago, (laughs) uh-

David: 40 s-

Jan: Uh, 40.

David: Yeah, 50 years ago.

Jan: When, but anyway, we never missed a day even when he’s traveling. For Youth With A Mission he used to travel into some really strange countries. Not strange, but wonderful countries.

Jim: (laughs) Different.

David: (laughs)

Jan: Wonderful countries. And he would get a phone somehow and we always touch base. And so this starts to build the trust that we’re talking about here.

Jim: Yeah. No, that’s good.

Jan: But, but you know, they may not be able to get their husband on, on that level.

David: We, uh, we, we did a book years ago on when couples pray together and it’s out of print, unfortunately. But we did a survey of the couples who had agreed to do it w- ’cause we’d get a commitment from them to do it for six weeks. You know, AA says if you do something for four weeks it, it becomes a habit. We figure with spiritual warfare we oughta make it six weeks.

John: Mm.

Jim: (laughs)

David: But one lady wrote back and she said, “My husband won’t pray with me. He’s not a believer, but he’s, he said, ‘I’ll let you hold me and you pray.’”

Jim: Yeah.

David: And she was, they would hug each other and she would pray for them as a couple and, uh, th- I always t- thought that that, that was a beginning of something that’s g- was gonna, God was gonna use in a powerful way.

Jim: No, I like that. I think that that’s-

David: But accounta- accountability, there’s something in praying together that is a gentle accountability that-

Jan: Mm-hmm.

David: … e- keeps you on course with each other and… We’d had a fight in the evening and we, we pray at night when we go to bed and she might come to bed and say, “Are you gonna pray?” A- a- and I say, “Nope,” ’cause I’m still mad. (laughs) She says, “Well, I am.” And she never, you never pray-

Jim: Yeah.

David: … uh, your, uh, your partner into shame. You, you, and she would pray. By the time she was done praying my heart had softened and I prayed, you know. And so there was, there was that gentle accountability that, that regardless of what was going on, uh, if we couldn’t pray together we still tried and we still did, usually.

Jim: Well, you sh- you shouldn’t’ve worn those pajamas ’cause those are the wrong color, you know?

Jan: (laughs)

David: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Jan: That, that critical thing.

David: They don’t match. They don’t match the sheets. (laughs)

Jim: They don’t match. What, mismatched pajamas? How could you do that? I’m not praying with you.

David: (laughs)

Jim: Obviously, there’s some very serious things, too, and couples-

David: Yeah.

Jim: … are struggling with that and that’s the goal here-

Jan: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … is to help you, uh, do better in your marriage and your communication. That’s what it comes down to. Okay. We’ve got the S and the M and the A and now we’re going to R. And this, we need a little bit of time here ’cause I think this could be one of the world’s greatest, uh, deficits-

John: Mm.

Jim: … and that’s reading your spouse’s, or the other person’s, emotions.

David: Well, like, like we said-

Jim: (laughs)

Jan: (laughs)

David: … before i- it requires my being aware of my own emotions and being able to manage my emotions because now I’m not threatened by your emotions, and so I can speculate and, and a lot of it begins by speculating and, uh, th- there’s some action plans in there like e- looking for emotions in media and talking together about general emotions and getting to understand how you can read, uh, what the other person is feeling by things that you’ve talked about that were neutral.

Jim: What, what is an example where you struggled with, uh, reading one another-

Jan: Mm.

Jim: … accurately or with deference, or? Do you have an example in your-

Jan: Mm.

Jim: … 60 years of marriage?

Jan: (laughs) I’m sure there are many, but. (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Jan: Let’s see. Um, a lot over the kids. A lot of, uh-

Jim: Now you’re speaking my language. Okay.

Jan: Yeah. Yeah.

David: Oh, yeah.

Jim: Come on. Give it to me.

Jan: Yeah. (laughs) Oh, we have different opinions of, of how much we should interfere.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jan: Should we not?

Jim: (laughs)

Jan: Uh, that, that’s very difficult.

Jim: Yes.

Jan: And, uh, it is, it’s hard to come up with, you know, I know better. I was there. I saw it. (laughs) But to understand that all this has to do with how we are on it.

Jim: Mm.

Jan: And so we try to get together on at least one point of what we’re talking about.

David: Yeah. When we were dealing with our son’s addiction, uh, w- one of us would be s- kind and manipulatable and the other one would be firm and trying to draw the line.

Jan: (laughs)

David: And he could, every kid in that situation can play you against each other then, then-

Jim: Yeah, (laughs) that’s exactly right.

David: … walks away with whatever he wants. And, uh, what we had to learn to, was how to read each other’s natural tendency but to have talked it through enough that we knew that we had to stay on the same page. We had to be kind and firm at the same time.

Jim: Right.

David: Couldn’t divide that, and-

Jim: Now, let me ask you this in the context of marriage, though, where you have the husband who doesn’t display a lot of emotion and you have the wife trying to discern, trying to read her-

Jan: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … uh, her mate’s cueing.

David: Well, you know-

Jim: And you’re, y- you’re lost in that because he’s not giving you a lot of signals.

David: Well, then one of the things I tell the wives is e- uh, o- oftentimes I define the man as being afraid.

Jim: So he’s hiding.

David: He’s hiding, he’s fearful, and, and instead of him rejecting you he’s, he’s really hi- a- a- afraid of what he’s experiencing and he’s hiding from you. So if you can operate on that principle that he’s being motivated by fear, not by rejection, it can change-

Jan: Mm.

David: … the whole dynamic between you and that’s-

John: Mm.

Jan: That’s important to hear that.

David: So sometimes you have to help somebody do some empathy.

Jim: Right. And, so let’s not leave people there. Let’s say some of the audience just said, “Yeah. That’s the relationship I’m in,” whether you’re the husband or the wife.

David: Then th-

Jim: How do they unwind that? How do they start tonight?

David: Then th- you have a-

Jim: How do they say, “Okay”?

David: You sit down after dinner and ha- and say, “Let’s let the dishes go for 10 or 15 minutes and talk a minute. I heard this thing on the radio today that kinda suggested a lot of times you don’t talk to me because you’re hiding, you’re afraid, and it goes back to what you learned from a, as a kid from your mom and-”

Jan: Mm-hmm.

David: “… and the way she tr- disciplined you. Talk to me about what that was like when you were a kid.” And if I can get him to talk about what he experienced as a kid… Jan knows almost everything that happened to me as a kid and I know-

Jim: Hmm.

David: … almost everything that happened to her as a kid. We’ve over the years talked about it because it’s affected our here and now. It wasn’t locked into the past. It was still operating in the present. That’s-

Jim: It can be hard to have that appetite as the wife to say, “I’m gonna really listen and understand this.”

Jan: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Can it be hard?

David: Yeah.

Jan: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I would think it could be difficult, especially if you’re upset. (laughs)

Jan: Yeah.

David: Yeah.

Jim: You know, okay, yeah, blame it on your childhood. Heard that before.

Jan: (laughs)

Jim: I’m just role playing with you ’cause I want to really help people.

David: Well, a- a- it, it’s not just blaming it on my childhood. It’s trying to understand the pattern of behavior that I get caught in without even thinking.

Jim: Mm.

David: And e- you need to he- I need your help to pull me out of that and then in, we gotta talk about some ways that I, I can e- experience your helping me pull me out of it-

Jim: Yes.

David: … so you can keep me talking.

Jim: Um, we’ve got to at least touch on T so we don’t end with SMAR. (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Jim: Let’s end with SMART. But we don’t have a lot of time so t- just one minute-

David: Yeah.

Jim: … together in the land of emotions, the T, together.

David: Yeah, it’s together. Uh, how comfortable are we together in dealing with our emotions? And the, the goal is to become comfortable with a whole range of emotions.

Jim: Right.

David: That, it’s, that’ll be the result of doing S-M-A-R, so SMAR-

Jim: (laughs)

David: If I do SMAR well I will do the t- I will be SMART.

Jim: You get the T.

David: Yeah.

John: Mm.

Jan: It, and that’s gonna be a safe place.

Jim: So it all builds on itself.

David: Yeah.

Jan: A safe place for both.

John: Oh, I like that. That’s good.

Jan: Okay.

Jim: Not only that but scripturally, and that’s a great place to end this discussion.

Jan: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Scripturally, that’s what you want. It, I think the scriptural version of this is called becoming one flesh.

David: Yeah.

Jan: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Right?

David: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Jim: Togetherness. That’s what that’s saying.

David: Becoming one emotionally.

Jim: One emotionally.

David: Mm-hmm.

Jim: So you really are complementing each other and I think putting a smile on the face of God when His design is being made-

Jan: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … in his image, male and female, is actually functioning because you are one.

David: Yeah.

Jim: And that is a beautiful picture of where I would wanna be if you ask me the five-year goal.

Jan: Mm-hmm.

David: Yeah.

Jim: Hopefully maybe that could be done in six months, I don’t know. But-

Jan: Yeah.

Jim: … create that plan. The book even has an outline on how to create that plan, where you wanna be together. Your spouse has to participate. Don’t create the plan without your spouse. (laughs)

Jan: (laughs) That’s true.

David: That’s right. And l- and-

Jim: That’ll be a disaster.

David: And love is the end result. And love is never in the, the list of emotions because love is a different emotion. It’s designed to come and stay and grow whereas anger, fear, sadness, and shame, designed to come and s- alert you to something and then go away.

Jim: Mm. It’s a symptom.

David: It’s a symptom and love is more than a symptom. Love is a way of life.

John: Mm.

David: And that’s our goal is to increase love.

Jim: Wow. That is a great place to end. I’m sorry we have to.

Jan: Mm.

Jim: Dr. David Stoop and Dr. Jan Stoop. Go online, uh, get the book. That’s the point. Uh, there’s so many good resources. The assessment in there. I scored 98.

Jan: (laughs)

John: Uh, can we move on, please? (laughs)

Jim: (laughs) I got… It’s out of 120 so I feel like I failed. I’m already shaming myself here.

Jan: That’s right, (laughs) right under there.

David: (laughs)

Jim: Man, I always wanna get an A.

David: Oh.

Jim: But, uh, it’s just great tools to provide a pathway for you and I wanna thank both of you for being here, making the trip to Colorado.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Sorry you had to leave sunny California.

Jan: Yeah.

Jim: (laughs)

David: No, it was not a, not a bad move.

Jim: Okay, good. (laughs)

David: It was a, a good trip.

Jim: Great to have you.

Jan: We’re delighted to be here.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jan: Very, very special for us.

John: What a great conversation and we trust you picked up some nuggets to apply to your own relationship today. And as Jim said, if you’re finding yourself to be, meh, maybe a little frustrated with all this, perhaps it is difficult to tread into this territory. Uh, give us a call because we have caring, Christian counselors. Uh, we can offer a free phone consultation with one of those counselors to help you start to grow in intimacy and improve your relationship. We’re a phone call away. I’d like to encourage you as well to get a copy of the book from Dave and Jan Stoop, The Emotionally Healthy Marriage: Growing Closer by Understanding Each Other. It’s a terrific resource and, uh, we’re making it available today for a donation of any amount to the ministry of Focus on the Family. Partner with us. Help us reach couples around the world with this kind of, uh, great information and perspective. As you do, uh, we’ll say thank you by sending a copy of that book to you. All the details about donating and getting the book are at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Of course you can always call us. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Well, plan to join us tomorrow as we, uh, talk with John Marriott. He’ll share about deconstruction. What does that mean and how can you help your struggling child?

Dr. John Marriott: It’s not that they have a one time point where they say, “Oh, I don’t believe any of this. This is all just absurd.” But usually it’s over a period of time where they realize that their beliefs have just evaporated or eroded away. They haven’t rejected them, necessarily. They’ve kind of just lost them.

John: On behalf of the entire team, thanks for listening to Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

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The Emotionally Healthy Marriage: Growing Closer by Understanding Each Other

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