Psychologist Dr. Larry Crabb helps get to the root of disillusionment and disappointment in today's marriages, and points to God's heart for a husband and wife to enjoy true oneness. (Part 1 of 2)
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Dr. Larry Crabb: And I remember thinking, I have no right to demand anything from my wife. I only have an opportunity because of grace, to give something to my wife. And when I began thinking of grace in those terms, then I began actually looking at my wife in a way I don’t think I ever had before.
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John Fuller: Welcome to another edition of Focus on the Family with Focus president and author,
Jim Daly: I’m John Fuller and our guest today is Dr. Larry Crabb to talk about marriage and what it truly means and where we often go wrong in that relationship.
Jim: Dr. Crabb, I want to begin with this question and that is, what is happening in marriages today? What is going wrong? And uh … what about Christian marriages?
Larry: The difficulty is, that we’re not doing a whole lot better than the non-Christian world. And I rather think that uh … problems that afflict Christian marriages or secular marriages are not all that different and are getting in the way Christian marriages.
And if I had to name one thing that I think I’d … if I had the power to correct, I’d do it in a heartbeat and I’d do it in my own life, as well as other people’s, I would call the central problem, “unrecognized self-centeredness in the way we relate.” And rather than ministering, I believe we manipulate without even recognizing we’re doing it. Unrecognized self-centeredness is a problem.
Jim: Well, you’re hitting the nail on the head and I totally agree with you. I think that’s one of the great travesties of marriage today; it ends up being all about me and not about you, my spouse. And we’re gonna talk more about that today.
John: Well, as was mentioned, we do have Dr. Larry Crabb here. He’s a well-known psychologist, conference speaker, author, founder and director of New Way Ministries. And uh … he’s written a couple of books, and the one that’s really foundational for this conversation, moving forward, is The Marriage Builder. And Jim, it’s a delight to have him here.
Jim: It is and Larry, let me pick up where we left off, because I think you really did hit it, that selfishness in marriage. You know, when I’ve thought about it, just with Jean and I, it’s so funny. You come into a relationship, especially I think as Christian young people. You want to be idealistic and you’re so much in love and you’re so much alike, but really you’re not that much alike (Laughing), you come to find out. And over time you begin to see that selfishness in you. And I … I think, in a way, maybe God has designed it in that way, so that we have to become more like Him, which is selfless.
Larry: Marriage is a great opportunity for spiritual formation. (Laughter)
Jim: Yeah, that means hard work, doesn’t it?
Larry: That means hard work and it means honesty and it means some tension along the way. I don’t know any marriage that’s good that hasn’t gone through some tough times.
Larry: And tough times are an opportunity, as opposed to an obstacle.
Jim: Why do you think today so many, and I would say both Christian and non-Christian people, married couples, are willing to throw in the towel so quickly when they hit a rough spot? Is it … is it a lack of patience?
Larry: Well, I think it’s an awareness of a deep longing in the human soul that you’re demanding be satisfied. And when your spouse doesn’t satisfy that deep hunger within you, then you figure, this isn’t at all what I had in mind, so I’m gonna dump this woman, or dump this guy and get somebody else that’ll do a better job. And that’s really the core problem, the idea that, you know, I mean, when you marry, your woman, your … your man, you’re really assuming that, that person is gonna do for you what only God can do. And when they fail, then you just quit. That’s a very common reaction, I think.
Jim: Well, and so often today in the culture, that attitude of “get out” is reinforced. I mean, unfortunately here at Focus we hear often from particularly women who um … you know, are lonely in their marriages emotionally.
Jim: They don’t feel connected to their husbands. That can be a spell within a marriage, a dry season. But if you’ve gone, 10, 15, 20 years--
Larry: That’s hard.
Jim: --um … you become disenchanted and perhaps start looking for an exit.
Larry: I think that’s true and I think that a woman’s core terror, it’s that heart thinking about what a woman longs for the most; what she’s most afraid of is feeling invisible to her husband.
Jim and John: Hm.
Larry: Does he see me? Does he notice me? Is he interested in speaking into my soul? And when she feels that loneliness, that invisibility, then something feels very justified, not just great pain—certainly that—but very justified in living to relieve the pain, which is getting away from him.
Jim: Hm … and the other aspect of that is the husbands, typically around physical intimacy, don’t feel that’s being satisfied, so they get frustrated. The wives’ needs are not being met, emotionally. [The] husband’s needs are not being met perhaps physically. And they just get irritated at each other.
Larry: And then, partly because the self-centeredness feels very justified.
Larry: It doesn’t feel like the sin in our culture and yet, it is. And it violates exactly how the Trinity relates. Talk about a radical “other-centeredness,” and we’re supposed to be living in His image, but we got radical self-centeredness and think it’s legitimate.
Jim: In your book, The Marriage Builder, you talk about this concept of the “Me Generation” and the entitled generation. I’ve gotten to know a lot of 20-, 30-somethings and uh … it’s true, but I don’t think it’s unique. I think every generation is self-focused. Uh … why are we seeing perhaps more of it, to where they even garner the label?
Larry: Yeah. Well, I can speak from personal testimony, perhaps. Um … my wife and I met, when we were 10-years-old.
John: Oh, my.
Jim: Love this.
Larry: And she was going steady with Carl at the time, so I--
Larry: --couldn’t date her at that point, obviously.
Jim: That was wise.
Larry: So, when she … that was very wise. When she broke up with Carl at age 12, I stepped into her life through a youth group and we shared hymn books together and had a beginning of a relationship. And here’s what I think happened. I think this is what happens for generations, and it certainly is my story. That in the course of our courtship, if you will, from age 12 to 21 when we got married, um … I was aware that Rachel was doing for my soul, for my heart, what nobody else had done. And when I stood before the preacher at age 21, I said all the right words. But, what I was really saying to her was, “You’re doin’ a great job of making me feel the way I want to feel. Let’s get hitched, and you keep it up.”
Jim: (Laughing) Right. Right, that’s honest.
Larry: And I think that my wife, I … I don’t think I know this, and um, she’s been open about this, so I’m breaking no confidence. She was sexually abused from ages 8 to 12, and I had no understanding of that until 18 years into marriage--
Larry: --largely because I wasn’t safe enough for her to share it with. And when she married me, because I had never forced myself on her sexually, we maintained moral standards and I believe what she was saying as she stood there in her beautiful white gown marrying me, as I promise to do all the wonderful things that we say to each other and down deep, I think she was saying, “You’re the only man that I felt safe with.”
Larry: “Keep on making me feel safe. That’s your job.” And way down deep, I believe we had what I call a “tick on the dog” relationship, you know. What’s a tick do? It finds a host and sucks out of it whatever it needs.
Larry: And the problem in most marriages I’ve concluded, in doing so much marriage counseling, is in most marriages, there’s two ticks and no dog.
Larry: Think about it.
Larry: It makes for problems.
Jim: It definitely does and … and I appreciate that vulnerability and the fact that you talk openly about those tough years in marriage. Let me ask you this, though, as a psychologist--
Jim: --I mean, you … you were trained even in those yearly years of your marriage, you were in the process of--
Jim: --earning your degree, your Ph.D. You became an expert in this area. That …
Larry: That might be a little overstated, but--
Larry: --I appreciate it.
Jim: --I don’t think so. Uh … your books have had profound impact--
Jim: --on millions of people.
Larry: Thank you.
Jim: Yet, you were uh … living and learning (Laughing) as you went, in some cases, with your own marriage. How … how did you get a handle on that? How did you and your wife, Rachel, begin to see the light, to see what marriage was really meant to be? Shared vulnerability, shared trust, and from that, deep love.
Larry: I don’t think wisdom comes, until suffering upsets. And Rachel and I … this book, this Marriage Builder, I wrote that in response to the fact that after eight years of marriage, we were sitting at the kitchen table late one evening. Our two little boys were in bed, and … and we acknowledged to each other that there was nothing left in our relationship. We really weren’t connecting at all.
Larry: And I didn’t have a clue what to do. I had my Ph.D. I was doing marriage (Chuckling) counseling and I … and I thought, I’ve gotta think deeply about this. I’ve gotta search the Scriptures. I’ve gotta search my heart. And uh … out of that came the book, The Marriage Builder. And I think we’ve learned, when you honor a commitment to stay with your spouse no matter the struggle, then you start looking deep into your soul and then I think, if I can sound kinda spiritual here, I think the Holy Spirit, if you’re really seeking the Lord, gives some kind of wisdom.
Larry: And then I think my training had something to do with it, just looking at the nature of relationships, the nature of what’s going on in people and how early childhood hurts do all sorts of difficult things to you. But we searched deeply together and we learned that uh … and we made a turning point. We learned this, that unless I’m for her and unless she’s for me--
Larry: --we don’t have much of a chance.
Jim: That’s well said.
Larry: And that became a huge turning point in our marriage, when we agreed, I am for you to each other. And that was a big deal.
Jim: I … I want to come back to that, but I also want to (Chuckling) highlight something you’ve just said, in terms of your training. Of course, in a Christian context, and that’s what I want to talk about, it … psychology only goes so far. And I want to make sure that the listeners hear this, because sometimes people feel that we can lean too far into psychology. It gives a vocabulary. It trains people-
Jim: --to better understand the human behavior that we experience, that I think is God-engineered.
Jim: So, psychology, in my mind, is pursuing, not so much Freud or those other folks, it’s discovering God’s work in us as human beings. You mention this in the book, too. You talk about this distinction, that psychology is not gonna be the answer. Doing endless counseling is not gonna be the answer. You need a spiritual touch. You need God to enter into the picture.
Larry: Psychology doesn’t explain what’s most deeply wrong in the human soul. And psychology doesn’t give answers, solutions to what’s most deeply wrong in the human soul. My training in psychology, five years of grad school, getting a Ph.D. in Clinical Psych, it was more catalytic than authoritative, to use two big fancy words. It provoked good thinking, but helped me realize that the answers that I was seeking in my marriage, in my life, in my own soul, weren’t found in psychological theory, but it was very provocative. It made me think hard and I’m very grateful for my training.
Larry: But it led me to um … I’ve gotta find the real answers that only God provides.
Jim: Hm. Now let me go back to the being “for your spouse.” Why is that so difficult for us, including Christians? Why do we struggle to sit cross the dinner table from our spouse, because they did something that irritated us or they said something with a little zip in it and it hurt our feelings? Why do we as couples go through that, especially when we know The Way?
Larry: Yeah. It’s rather difficult for The Way to get deeply embedded in our souls. That takes a bit of a lifetime. And I would never say to anybody that we’ve arrived. But I would say, we’re in the process of arriving. We’re movin’. We got a pretty good marriage.
Jim: So, you’ve moved down the miles a bit.
Larry: We’ve moved down the miles and done pretty well with it. We’re very grateful for that. But I really do believe that … and this is something that psychology never teaches, that from the point of conception, you know, David said, “In sin did my mother conceive me.” What’s he saying there? He’s not saying that it was wrong for mom and dad to uh … procreate. What he’s saying is, at the moment of conception, there was a failure, a flaw.
Larry: There’s a flaw in the human soul and the flaw is, “I’m out for me and you jolly well better cooperate.” That’s just the natural disposition of the human soul. And then that gets shaped by our early environment. And then it continues on into marriage. And when I’m sitting at the breakfast table and my wife makes a comment that irritates me a little bit, I feel very wrongly attacked and I feel very justified in my reaction. And then I live to protect myself and I live to enhance my own good feelings, as opposed to thinking about the value of my wife and what I can do for her. Other-centeredness does not come naturally. It only comes supernaturally.
Jim: Hm. Let me ask this question, and I’ve done this from time to time, with marriage experts. What are we truly seeking in marriage? What is it that we, either should be seeking, or that, at our core, we’re really seeking?
Larry: You know, as a … as a Christian, who’s been a Christian now for 61 years, and who’s thought long and hard and still has a lot more thinking to do, what are we here for in the first place?
Larry: You know, if the Lord says, and He does say it many times throughout the Scriptures, that He does all things for His glory, that can become a trite cliché, and it’s anything but. And I’d rather think that what in the core of our souls, what we’re seeking for and don’t often get in touch with our real desire, what we’re really seeking for … and let me put it in a way that means a lot to me; I want to put Christ on display by the way I relate--
Larry: --and the way Jesus related, when He had nails in His hands, He was taking care of His mother. When He had nails in His hands, He was inviting the thief on the one side of the cross to join Him in heaven a little while. When He had nails in His hands, He was saying, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Now what does it mean for me? I’ve never had nails in my hands, but when I get poked by somebody, or when I hurt my wife or she hurts me and things are tough in my own soul, do I have the resources at the moment of my deepest hurt, do I have the resources to put Christ on display at that moment?
Larry: And when I think like that, my wife is in for a good time.
Jim: You know, you’re saying something there I want to emphasize, this well of God’s grace.
Jim: How do we tap that?
Jim: And then, how do we apply it to those we love the most, those closest around us? So often, we treat those closest to us and obviously, your spouse should be the closest person to you, with the least amount of grace.
Jim: And we treat strangers with great grace. Why?
Larry: Because, strangers … from strangers we’re asking very little.
Larry: We don’t require a stranger to touch our souls. We’re willing to be congenial, and if they don’t touch our souls, no big deal. We’ll go to the next friend. But with our spouse, the reason we get married way down deep and this is wrong, is we’re demanding that our spouse meet our needs. And when our spouse doesn’t, then we get really, really ticked, and we don’t show grace. But we can show grace to somebody else, where less is at stake in how they treat us.
John: Wisdom from Dr. Larry Crabb today on Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller. Your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly, and you can find details about Dr. Crabb’s book, The Marriage Builder at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio. And we’ll send that to you for a gift today, to Focus, of any amount, just as our way of saying thank you and as … as a way to prompt some good thought in your life.
If I can, Dr. Crabb, how does this look, or how did this look, rather, all those years ago when you had the revelation that I … I really need to do some thinking? And obviously, something had to change. What were those steps toward change that you took, that made a difference?
Larry: Well, I think the first step has to do with the word “grace.” I think the first step has to do with recognizing that when we fail each other, and let me just put it more bluntly, when my wife fails me--and every wife fails every husband; every husband fails every wife—but when my wife fails me, I could recognize within my own soul, that I thought a massive injustice has been committed against me. Well, when that’s the case, and I think that’s a bit of an overstatement, but when that’s the case, then grace has an opportunity. And I remember thinking, I have no right to demand anything from my wife. I only have an opportunity because of grace, to give something to my wife. And when I began thinking of grace in those terms, then I began actually looking at my wife in a way I don’t think I ever had before. I began looking at the fact that in the core of her soul, there’s an emptiness that I can speak into. And I think one of the most important things to think about marriage is, I believe that every husband, every wife can look at their spouse and say that I have exactly, God has put within me, exactly what my wife, my spouse, my husband longs to receive. You have the opportunity to touch your wife’s … your husband’s soul. And when I thought like that, after the difficult times in our marriage, then I think there was an excitement that developed in me. And I thought, this could be kinda fun. I could actually touch my wife’s soul, as opposed to just … can I put it bluntly, just use her body for my pleasure. Could I touch her soul for her joy? And when I began thinking like that, a whole new part of my being as a man got actualized, or enlightened, or resurrected, or whatever the right word is.
Jim: It became part of a purpose for you.
Larry: It became part of a purpose--
Larry: --the real joy of the purpose of marriage.
Jim: You know, so often today and I’m sure many people listening right now, they desire that relationship-
Jim: --in their marriage. They don’t have it.
Jim: How do they go home tonight? How do they sit at that dinner table, maybe the kids are around, so maybe it’s later when you’re goin’ to bed, how do you start that conversation to say, I want to do it differently?
Larry: It strikes me that, rather than making a resolve to do it differently, it might be wiser to say to your spouse—let’s talk about a husband for the moment—to say to his wife, “Honey, could we go out for coffee for a couple hours? And I’d like to ask you, what’s it like living with me--
Jim: Ooh, that’s a--
Larry: --as your husband?”
Jim: --dangerous question.
Larry: Oh, yeah, better have a couple hours here, and you better have some Kleenex there.
Jim: It’s a good one. (Laughter)
Larry: It’s an important one.
Jim: Well, but let me ask you in that context. I think that’s really wise, but you’ve gotta prepare yourself to respond correctly. Talk about that.
Larry: To respond meaningfully, to respond with a…a level of integrity that says, I want to honor my purpose, as you share honestly with me. I’m gonna let you know, wife, that whatever you say, I believe because of the Lord, because of the grace of God, I have the courage, and I’m not feeling it right now, but I think I have the courage to respond non-defensively--
Larry: --to what you’re going to say. I want to be other-centered toward you, and this is gonna be a struggle. Be patient with me. It might take years before you feel the fruit of all this, but I would like you to let me know what I’m like to live with, how I impact you. When do I make you feel alive? When do I make you feel dead? When do I hurt you? Because I want to live with you in a way that honors God and touches you. Let a wife hear that, and she’s gonna start crying for joy.
John: And Jim, uh … while I get what Dr. Crabb just said, I’m thinking, a lot of women are gonna wait for the other shoe to drop. They’re thinking, okay, he’s asking me that question.
John: He must have a list of his own (Laughter) that he’s gonna deliver. And your advice would be obviously--
Jim: --that on another day.
John: This is a different—
Larry: That’s another time (Laughter)
John: --it’s a different discussion.
Larry: Yeah and that’s where … that’s where the man who says that to his wife has to recognize that there’s gonna be a little bit of a manipulative energy behind his question. You know, I want my turn, too, there, sweetheart. And if he can learn to say, now wait a minute. I’m gonna put that to death right now. I’m gonna say, no, that’s not what it’s about. I really want to be here for you.
Jim: That is good stuff. It’s tough stuff.
John: Hard to do.
Jim: I remember one day uh … walking home in the door, saying to Jean after someone had suggested, I can’t remember; it was a guest on the broadcast. I thought it was a great idea. My wife always says to me, when I come home and say, “Honey, we need to have coffee tonight for an hour,” she’ll say, who’d you record with today? (Laughter) But, one of those moments I came home and I said … you … give me one thing I could do better in our--
Jim: --relationship. (Laughing) And she, as quick as could be, said, “I’ve actually got two.” (Laughter) I mean, she didn’t even hesitate, which shocked me. (Laughter) I was like, I thought she’d stumble a little bit.
John: Not even a, “Give me a minute.”
Jim: You know, kind of thing, “Well, you know, you’re so awesome.” (Laughter) I can’t even … let me give--
Jim: --that an overnighter, and I’ll come (Laughter) back.” No, she said--
Larry: Praise God for you.
Jim: --”Oh, in fact, I’ve got two.” (Laughter) And so, one was, “Your spontaneous nature, you tend to say things in front of the boys like, ‘Let’s go to Disneyland tomorrow.’” And she said, “You forget that I’ve got a whole day planned, and we can’t just pick up and do that and that really does irritate me.”
Larry: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Jim: And it shocked me. I had never thought about it in that context. And … that one, it stung me so much I can’t even remember the second one (Laughter), ‘cause I was still dwelling on that. I think I said to her, “I think I violated that five times last week,” I mean, when she had the comment for me.
Larry: That’s important. Rachel and I had something very similar. You asked about the steps we took after the--
Larry: --our difficult time. One of the things we did I’m just recalling now, I’d forgotten until this moment, that Rachel wrote out five things that if I would do, she would feel more loved. I wrote out five things that if she would do, I would feel more respected.
Larry: And we didn’t present these to the other as a demand. We simply presented them to each other as an opportunity that if not seized, we wouldn’t hold it against you, but if seized, we’d sure be grateful.
Jim: Oh, Jean, get ready; I’m comin’ home tonight. (Laughter) Here we go. Sit at the table.
Larry: Who’d you talk to today?
Jim: Hey, there’s five things … (Laughing).
Larry: Yeah, right.
Jim: I love that. Dr. Crabb, you talk about feelings in your book and … the way that you need to have a healthy mistrust of those.
Jim: Uh … what are feelings doing to us, and why do we need to be leery of them?
Larry: I believe we should be hypocrites to our feelings--
Jim: Hypocrites to our feelings.
Larry: --but not hypocrites to our purpose.
Jim: Explain that.
Larry: Well, there are times when things happen with … inside of me that have nothing to do with the Holy Spirit, and have everything to do with my flesh, everything to do with my irritability and my impatience, my demanding spirit and my sense of entitlement, um … my inappropriate desires. All sorts of things can go on inside of me. And, I have to subordinate the expression of my feelings to the purposes of God. And that means that … not that I’m going to … I think one of the worst things we say to each other is, “Well, I gotta be honest with you.” Rather than saying it that way, because usually that means, I’m gonna let you know exactly how I feel, and you better respond and shape up.
Larry: Now that’s just not the right direction.
John: Gets people right on the defensive from the get go.
Larry: Right on the defensive immediately--
Larry: --as opposed to saying, yeah, I … I am gonna be open with you. I’m gonna say it really hurts me when … Uh … I think there’s a real place for that kind of authenticity, but never with the spirit of demand. And the feeling that goes along with that desire often has a demanding quality to it. And therefore, there has to be some censoring, some thinking about what is gonna be heard, when I share this particular feeling.
Larry: And uh … only share those feelings with the spirit of, “I’m still for you; I’m demanding nothing from you, even though I’m sure desiring a lot from you.” Nothing’s wrong with that, but never a demanding spirit. That’s what … that’s the self-centeredness I was talking about earlier.
Jim: Dr. Crabb, when you boil it all down, let’s talk a minute about that gender difference, what is a woman … speak to husbands right now, or “to-be” husbands, speak to them about what a woman is truly seeking in that marriage. What does she need?
Larry: Yeah. Well, when the Bible talks in Genesis 1, that God made us to bear His image as male and female, He gave us some incredible insights right in that passage about what it means to be a female, that I need to take into account, as I relate to my wife.And the word in the Hebrew translated as “female,” literally means one who is “opened to receive.”
Larry: And I need to recognize that my wife is created and designed by God, open to receive something that I can give her, that her heart most deeply longs for. And I can put it in appropriate clichés, I suppose, but let me say it my way. I believe what Rachel wants more than anything else, that she’s open to receive and so glad to receive it when I give it, is to be profoundly noticed, to be treasured, to be cherished at the deepest part of her soul. Do I look at that woman and want to embrace what is deepest within her? And if I move into her, and the word for male, by the way, is a word that literally means “to move, to remember and move.” Do I remember how God has designed my wife, and do I move into the deepest parts of her. And at the risk of being maybe a little bit inappropriate, I hope not, but I believe God designed our physical relationship as a metaphor of our personal relationship.
Jim: That’s interesting.
Larry: The woman is open to receive. The man is designed to remember and move. And when I recognize that Rachel longs to be able to rest in the presence of a man who’s strong enough to not be thrown by the difficulties of life, to be challenged by them, but not to be thrown by them, and to be strong enough to still move toward her, even if I go bankrupt, to still move toward her, even if my ego gets assaulted, to still move toward her, then she can rest in the strength of a man. That’s what she longs for.
Jim: That is powerful, and a … that’s the first time I’ve heard it put in that way, and what a great way for us men to remember that. We have come to the end, and I want the reciprocal here. I want to know what women should know about meeting that need in marriage for their men, and what does that mean for them? Let’s come back next time, if you could stay with us and uh … let’s delve into some other aspects of the marital relationship. Can you do that?
Larry: I’d love to do it.
Jim: All right.
John: Jim, Dr. Crabb has shared so much wisdom with us on this Focus on the Family broadcast and it’s borne out of his many years of marriage, and his study the scriptures, his walk with God, and his study of family relationships.
Jim: Yeah, it’s so good, John. Again, Larry’s book is called, The Marriage Builder, and it’s an excellent resource, as we’ve said. I highly encourage you to get that from us. You’ve probably been helped in your marriage, more than once, in a meaningful way, by hearing the program - I hope so.
Would you please commit to becoming a monthly supporter of Focus on the Family? When you give on a regular basis like that, you allow us to syndicate this broadcast to reach those in need of marital help. And, it’s expensive to do this. But, with a lot of people helping sharing that burden every month, the ministry can go on, and lives can be changed in the name of Christ. We’re seeing it happen every day. And I want to say, “Thank you” for standing in the gap for marriages.
And when you support us today with a monthly pledge we’ll send you a copy of Dr. Crabb’s book, The Marriage Builder, as our way of saying thank you.
John: Donate and get resources when you call 800-232-6459. That’s 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Or stop by our website where you’ll find an opportunity to donate, more details about The Marriage Builder, that excellent book, and some additional bonus video, with Dr. Larry Crabb about how you can reflect God to your spouse. The website is focusonthefamily.com/radio. Well, join us next time on this broadcast as Dr. Crabb returns to share about the relational inadequacy that a man often feels in his marriage. Here’s a sneak preview:
Dr. Larry Crabb: Men are terrified [that] they don’t have what it takes to relate. Now, every guy looks for where he does have what it takes, maybe it’s in business, maybe it’s in sports. And we find whatever we’re good at and stay there and avoid relationships, because when we give ourselves to somebody else, we’re not sure we have what it takes to touch another person’s soul. The deepest part of a man struggles with a sense of inadequacy. Do women understand that? That we’re really kind of scared. I mean, I’m sitting here chatting with you guys, and I feel relatively comfortable doing this. I’m more competent doing this than I am relating to my wife.
End of Teaser
John: On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening to Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller, inviting you back next time for more from Dr. Larry Crabb, as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.
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One way to strengthen your marriage is to study the Bible together. To start, you can read these devotions adapted from the Kingdom Marriage Devotional by Dr. Tony Evans.Read more
Even strong marriages need to be occasionally strengthened and cultivated. Learn how to strengthen your marriage through mentoring, building hedges and increasing your spiritual intimacy.Read more
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Dr. Larry CrabbView Bio
Dr. Larry Crabb is a well-known psychologist, public speaker, Bible teacher, author, and the founder and director of NewWay Ministries. He is currently Scholar in Residence at Colorado Christian University, and serves as Spiritual Director for the American Association of Christian Counselors. Dr. Crabb has authored numerous books including Understanding People, The Marriage Builder and Fully Alive. He and his wife, Rachael, reside in the Denver, Colorado area.