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Building True Oneness in Marriage (Part 2 of 2)

Original Air Date 04/29/2014

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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 2 of 2)

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Episode Transcript


John Fuller: Last time on Focus on the Family Dr. Larry Crabb joined us to talk about marriage, and he had some provocative thoughts to share with us, like this:


Dr. Larry Crabb: 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. 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.

End of Excerpt

John: Well, Dr. Crabb is back with us for this edition of Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller, and Jim, there was some really deep content uh ... from Dr. Crabb last time, a very challenging conversation, in many respects.

Jim Daly: I thought it was terrific, John and you know, you hear a lot sitting, where we sit, from a lot of great people. But I love it when I can walk away and learn something new and I did that last time. Dr. Crabb, he brought “the wood,” so to speak, and kind of a, you know, gave me a one up about the husband side and what I need to think about, what I need to do. And I liked that. I like being challenged in that way. I hope you do, as well, uh ... both husbands and wives. In Christian marriage, we need that. We’re not butter, sharpening butter in the Christian community. (Laughter) We’re supposed to be iron sharpening iron. And so, if these comments, if you were with us last time, if they kinda cut your heart, that’s a good thing. And let’s learn from it and let’s do better. The world’s watching our marriages today.

John: Uh-hm.

Jim: I’ve been in plenty of meetings with people who oppose us, and often they’ll say, “Hey, the Christians haven’t done so well with marriage. Why not let us have a shot?” That’s specifically to the uh ... homosexual community. What do you say, as a Christian leader, in that context? I said, “You’re right; we haven’t lived it well, but it doesn’t nullify God’s Word. It just means we’re pathetic at living it.” And we gotta do a better job. And so, that’s why I’m grateful that Dr. Crabb is here, and he’s bringing the wood.

John: Uh-hm. Well, Dr. Crabb, if you don’t know much about him, let me just tell you that he’s a well-known psychologist, conference speaker. He’s written a number of books. He’s founder and director of New Way Ministries, and Jim, I told you off-air, ... this book, The Marriage Builder that we’re talkin’ about today, my copy is rather tattered up.

Jim: It is an old copy.

John: About 30 years ago (Laughter) as singles, but looking toward marriage, Dena and I worked through this in a Sunday school class. I still have it.

Jim: Yeah.

John: Many books have come and gone on my book shelf, but I pulled it out the other night, and Dena said, “That one’s worth reading again”--

Jim: Wow.

John: --because there is such a deep level of introspection and reflection on who God is and how He designed this relationship to be.

Jim: Last time we left off as Dr. Crabb was explaining what women truly need in that marital relationship. I want to start there, play that again from last time, and then pick it up with another question.


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.

End of Excerpt


Jim: Dr. Crabb, welcome back. I’m excited about today’s program.

Larry: I am glad to be with you guys. I had a good time, the last time we chatted together. Lookin’ forward to another good time.

Jim: Well, let’s pick it up. We talked last time about what that wife is seeking. Let’s turn it the other direction. What are husbands needing in that marital relationship?

Larry: When you start to understand what God has called us to, the first thing that happens in the soul of a man is terror. Can I pull this off? You’ve asked me to do this? Do I have the resources? Picture a young guy. [He] just got his driver’s license, taking his girlfriend out to dinner for the first time, and he’s drivin’ his own car. Gets to the restaurant. Didn’t have any idea what the bill was going to be. (Laughter) The bill comes. It’s 80 bucks. He’s got 20 bucks in his wallet. What does he feel like?

Jim: An idiot.

Larry: An idiot. He doesn’t have what it takes. Men are terrified [that] they don’t have what it takes to relate. Now, every guy looks for where … where he does have what it takes, maybe it’s in business, maybe it’s in sports, maybe it’s in a sense of humor, maybe it’s an outgoing personality. 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.

Jim: Hm.

Larry: Do women understand that, that we’re really kinda scared? I mean, you know, 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.

John: Uh.

Jim: Hm.

Larry: I’m better at this. But when it comes to my wife, and she’s hurting about something, now I’ve written books. I’ve been … gotten my Ph.D. [I] haven’t got a clue what to do half the time.

Jim and John: Hm.

Larry: And um … what does it mean then for a man to remember God’s call on his life and to move in the middle of his fear into what he’s scared to do, not knowing if it’s gonna make much of a difference? If a wife can hear that, then maybe there’s gonna be some real input that he’s gonna value from that woman.

John: Hm. You know, Jim, as we’re talking, I’m thinking of a time and it wasn’t too long ago where I just kinda raised my hands and looked at Dena and walked away, ‘cause I did not know what to do. I couldn’t fix what was goin’ on. I really had no clue just how to respond, if I was at fault, if there was something deeper. And … and that’s kind of a paralyzing place to be.

Larry: It is.

John: I mean, I … I work at Focus on the Family and you … like you, I think, no, if you knew the half of it (Laughter), you wouldn’t have any … any thoughts about me being close to ideal or perfect, ‘cause I … I’m just not. But in those moments, all I can do really is just say, “Lord, show me what she really needs here.” And Dena has helped me understand that, you know, I … I’m good at some things, and there are other times when she speaks into my life to say, “Here’s what I want. I want you to pursue me right now, not run away,” even though running away is far easier, emotionally.

Larry: And at that moment of paralysis, you have an opportunity. At that moment, we have no idea what to do, to say to your wife, to move to your wife. Move toward your wife and say, “Honey, I really don’t know what to do now, but I’m not gonna stop moving toward you. I’ll probably do it clumsily. I might do it wrong. I might have no idea wh … how do to it well, but you’ve got a guy that’s gonna keep movin’ towards you. I’m not gonna quit, ‘cause I care about you that much.”

Jim: Larry, let me ask you and I … I … again, I appreciate everyone’s openness here. I think it’s helpful, certainly for me. Um … but let’s talk about a concept in the book. You talk about um … manipulation, versus ministry. I don’t think many of us think of our marriage as an opportunity for ministry, but we should.

Larry: Yes, exactly, exactly. There’s a battle that goes on in the soul of every man and woman in the middle of every marital encounter. And it’s the battle between a willingness to minister, or a demand to manipulate. Can I give you a quick example of that--

Jim: Sure.

Larry: --in my own marriage? It wasn’t too many … too many months ago. My wife and I both got home from a long day, and we were both tired. But Rachel didn’t realize that I was more tired than she was.

Jim: (Chuckling) At least from your perspective.

Larry: of course. (Laughter) And I sat in my chair in front of our TV. Rachel sat in her chair. And I’ve got the television on and an episode was on and I’m … I’m so happy. Rachel sits down with her uh … computer to clean up her e-mail. And after about two minutes, I’m totally relaxed, so happy to be there, ‘cause I’m so tired. And she said to nobody in particular, but I was the only one in the room (Laughter), “I left my iced tea in the kitchen.” (Laughter) And I … because I’m trained, I think I picked up the thought that maybe I was supposed to go get it. And I could feel a battle in me right away, between ministry and manipulation. Something inside of me … this took about five seconds, but it went through this quickly. And I thought, I need to hold her accountable. She forgot it. (Laughter). And...

Jim: How’d that work for you?

Larry: Well, I didn’t say that. I’m thinking that. This is the internal battle.

Jim: Yes.

Larry: And then I thought, well, wait a minute, you know, and I … this … I don’t want this to be in any way irreverent, but I thought, well, if the Lord died for me, maybe I could get iced tea for my wife. And I … with that little bit of battle of ministry versus manipulation, manipulating her to say, “Don’t you understand, I’m more tired than you are. And if you don’t have your iced tea, well, go get it, for cryin’ out loud, ‘cause I’m really tired.” Then I thought, no, I think that’s entirely wrong. And I got up and to my credit, I went ahead and I got the iced tea without—

John: You didn’t sigh or anything?

Larry: --without grumbling. I didn’t even do that. I didn’t go, “I’ll get it.”

Jim: And … but the big question is, did you put a check mark in your IOU column?

Larry: Exactly.

Jim: (Laughing) Yeah, I knew that was coming.

Larry: Because when I gave her the iced tea, you know what she said?

Jim: Yeah.

Larry: “Thank you.” And I thought, that’s it? (Laughter) And I sat down rather irritated with her. And I thought, I can’t even be good without being bad. And the reason is, because there’s a battle going on within my soul, between ministering to my wife at any cost to myself, or manipulating her to get what I need in the moment.

Jim: You were expecting a voucher said, later you get some sort of uh … you know repayment for your good deed.

Larry: I … I deserve … I deserve a reward.

Jim: I’ll tell you what. I think this is where men and women … our gender IQs struggle. (Laughter) What I mean by that is, I think men, we’re not smart enough to figure this out, and I’m as guilty as anybody. I’ll give you an example (Laughing), years ago. We had … Jean had … had built up quite an ironing load back in the mud room. Here in Colorado, you have nice … you know, mud rooms we call ‘em with your washer and dryer and all that stuff. And so, I just noticed there was a deep mound of cleaned clothes that needed to be ironed, and it had been there for a while. It was probably 4’ deep. (Laughter) I’m serious. I don’t know … I couldn’t count the number of garments.

John: It was a busy season in life.

Jim: And I got … I was just so irritated, you know. And I was feelin’ righteous about this, and I hauled the presser. Her mom had bought her one of these press … you know, (Sound of Pssshh)--

Larry: Yeah.

Jim: --steam pressers. So, I bring that thing out. I’m tryin’ to figure out how to set it up, how to load it with water. I’m pathetic at any of that stuff. But I figured it out, huffin’ and puffin’, so she knew I was not happy about this. And I bring this big load of laundry out, and I set it in this big old chair, and I spent most of Saturday like I was workin’ at a dry cleaners, (Sound of Pssshh; conk, Pssshh; conk) and doin’ all this laundry, but all with an attitude.

Larry: Yes, that’s the key.

Jim: And I … at the end of the day I’m thinkin’, okay, what did you prove, that you can iron clothes? I mean, but I … nothing accrued to my credit. Jean was irritated rightfully, that I was irritated about havin’ to do the pressing.

John and Larry: Uh-hm.

Jim: And I mean, it was just one of those wake-up calls for me, when I went, how … how could I be so stupid? At least do it with a good attitude, so that she might think, oh, wow, I married a great guy. I’m not smart enough to think that through.

Larry: If we understood what the Lord meant when He said, “Let’s make … let Us,” the Trinity, “Let us make male in our image.” He’s talking about the relational image, which I think simply means this. How do they relate? Man, they’re the only small group that’s ever gotten along really well.

Jim: Huh.

Larry: You think about it, because the Trinity knows how to relate to one another, because they have the … well, uh … they have the … the resources. They have all that they need, because they are … their nature is defined by love. And I put it this way. They are profoundly committed to the well-being of another at any cost to themselves. My natural nature is to be profoundly committed to my well-being, at any cost to you.

Jim: Hm.

Larry: And until I understand that, that’s what comes naturally to me and recognize it in the moment of getting my wife’s iced tea, or doin’ the laundry, or whatever it might be, realize, now wait a minute; I’m willing to pay any price for the sake of another. If that becomes what is alive within me, my wife’s gonna smell it, and it’s gonna smell like … really good.

Jim: Larry, let me ask you this. Do women manipulate in some way, as well? I mean, we talked about how men can manipulate for their end game. What about women, and how does that manipulation … what does it look like?

Larry: Perhaps my wife is listening, so …

Jim: Yeah, Rachel, are you on the line?

Larry: No. Of course. Um … women and men are both equally flawed, but we have our own unique styles of manipulating and self-protecting. And when the Scriptures refer to a woman as someone who is open to receive, the woman who is threatened and doesn’t want to be facing her own pain, rather than being open, she closes.

Jim: Hm.

Larry: And she backs away. And the form in which she backs away—this will sound strange—she takes over. She becomes controlling. The … the core weakness of women—oh, dear; what … I might be in trouble for this—is that she really becomes controlling. And I have a biblical basis for that. When the Lord said in Genesis to Eve after she failed, “Your desire shall be for your husband” as part of the consequence, that looks like a positive thing. Why is that negative? But the word “desire” has a very interesting meaning and it literally means, “a desire to control, a desire to be in charge.”

Jim: Huh.

Larry: I could defend that biblically if we had more time. But that’s what it means. And a woman who desires to control is a woman who is protecting herself from being hurt. That’s manipulative, and it’s wrong.

Jim: How … how does a woman first, realize that, and then, what can she do to say, okay, how do I move more in a godly way in God’s character?

Larry: If she can begin to face the impact that her demand to control has on her husband. Because she’s a godly woman, because the Spirit of God within her soul even as she’s controlling, when she recognizes the impact she’s having on her husband, she’s gonna be broken by that. She’s gonna say, that’s not what I want to do with this man. I don’t want to make him feel small by controlling him like a mother to a little child. And when she realizes that, there’s gonna be a brokenness within her and the brokenness is gonna reveal within her own soul how much she really desires something very different than being in control.

Jim: Hm.

Larry: She desires to rest in the strength of another. She desires to build her husband up legitimately, to find whatever he’s doing that’s good and to really enjoy it and make it known, as opposed to helping him to see where he’s wrong and how he ought to change. Think of the Proverbs 18 passage, Proverbs 19, I’m sure … I’m not sure where it is, where the writer says - a man - says that I’d rather be in the attic of a house, than living in the living room, if I can paraphrase, with a vexing woman, with a controlling woman.

Jim: Right.

Larry: I’d rather be in a desert, he says a few verses later, than to be with a contentious and a vexing woman. The word “contentious” there literally means a referee, a woman who has a whistle in her lips--

John: Hm.

Jim: Oh.

Larry: --like a basketball referee. The woman who has that … the whistle-blowing woman is not attractive to any man. And when the woman realizes that, that’s what she’s doing, her godly soul is going to say, “Oh, Lord, forgive me, ‘cause that’s not the beauty of my womanhood.”

Jim: Larry, when you look at the gender responsibilities, does either gender bear more responsibility as the minister? Does the man take on that mantle, because he, in essence, is the leader, the spiritual leader of that union?

Larry: I would like to change the word “responsibility” to “opportunity.” Because, when you talk about the man’s responsibilities, women’s responsibilities, there’s a certain pressure attached to that.

Jim: Right.

Larry: I’ve gotta be responsible here.

Jim: Yeah.

Larry: But, talk rather about the opportunities that are unique to each gender. And is one more important than the other? No, I don’t believe it for a minute, because we can each reveal something about the glory of God uniquely. Women can reveal something about how God invites us, openly invites us into the Trinitarian dance, if you will.

Jim: Hm.

Larry: And a woman can reveal that by the way she relates and that’s incredibly important. A man can reveal the movement of God in the incarnation, going to Calvary. He can reveal the movement of God by the way he relates. So, we have two equally important opportunities to reveal the character of God by the way we relate to each other. Now in terms of spiritual leadership in the home, the man is responsible, (Chuckling) if I can use that word again, ‘cause it’s true. But the responsibility is an opportunity--

Jim: Right.

Larry: --to reflect God by the way he moves toward his wife. And I would say this, just speaking practically and realistically about a marriage relationship, that if I’m not moving toward my wife, it kills the marriage. And, I have an incredible opportunity to make our marriage come alive, by moving. And I think the man’s gotta say, “Nothing matters more than my seizing my opportunity.” Now that woman should not be sitting there and saying, “Well, you jolly well better do it, and then I’ll come along if you cooperate.” ‘Cause she’s gotta say, well, I’ve got a really important opportunity, as well. But when I think about, could I let my wife learn what it means to rest? And learn what it means that the word “submission” doesn’t have to be an ugly word. It’s an opportunity for her to arrange herself under the larger design of God’s plan for this marriage. And that shows off the character of Christ. If she can see it that way, then submission becomes a really good word, as opposed to, “Well, do what you’re told; I’m the man.”

Jim: Yeah, it’s hard to believe that, that word can recover in today’s culture, “submission”--

Larry: Oh.

Jim: -’cause it’s so misunderstood and … besmirched.

Larry: And the word … the word is hupotasso in the Greek and it literally means to arrange yourself under the larger design.

Jim: Hm.

Larry: That’s literally what it means--

Jim: Hupotasso.

Larry: --not “Do what you’re told,” Hupotasso is the word.

Jim: I think we should start using that, John (Laughter) hupotasso.

Larry: And when I told my wife, I said, “Honey, as I’m changing my views on submission, from “Do what you’re told,” which in my early days I thought, well, that’s what it means and I’m getting to a little different understanding of that, I asked her just a few months ago, maybe a year ago, I said, “Honey, what’s it like as I’m getting some deeper clarity into what’s submission?” She went, “Relief!” (Laughter)

Jim: That says it all, hupotasso. (Laughter)

Larry: Exactly.

John: Well, Dr. Larry Crabb is joining us again on Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller, and we’re talking about one of the many books that Dr. Crabb has written, The Marriage Builder. And for details you can swing by

Jim: Hey, Larry, let’s pick up. I want to ask you this question. Do … is there … you know, again, both men and women, we tend to … some personalities work well with checklists. Is there a way to recognize this in us, this selfishness you’ve been describing? So often with kids, I think with my own boys, I ask them to step back when they’re emotionally out of control and take a deep breath, or take a time out. Is there a mechanism that you and Rachel used early on to train yourselves to say, okay, here’s my human response, uuh! Okay, I’m gonna step back from that. What did you use as triggers?

Larry: I think there’s maybe two keys to that. One is, do we have in our minds, what I like to call and this’ll sound like a fancy phrase, but it really isn’t—”categories of understanding?” Do we have categories to think in? Paul says we’re transformed how? By--

Jim: By the renewing of our mind.

Larry: --renewing our mind, therefore to have categories to think in. And if we have the category of what other-centeredness really is and how it contrasts with self-centeredness, commitment to my will being at any cost to you, that’s a category to think about. A category of what it means to be feminine as a woman, to be open to receive, to be masculine as a man, to be remembering and moving. If we have these categories in our mind, then we can take those as templates, if you will, to observe ourselves, as we’re relating.

And then I have to tune into my emotional life. If I begin to feel an irritability, if I begin to feel a fear, if I begin to feel a retreating sense, then that’s like the red light in the dashboard of your car. And then it’s time to maybe stop the car, open the hood, take a look and see what’s goin’ on. So, if you have categories of understanding and you’re tuning in to what’s happening in your inner being, in your inner world, emotionally, then those become opportunities to do some serious good reflection that might lead to a recognition of what’s going on here that maybe isn’t so good and can lead to some real good stuff.

John: Yeah, there’s a level of introspection that Dr. Crabb uh … drives us to consider as … as he speaks and writes and as he’s been on this broadcast, Jim, and I don’t like that. (Laughter)

Larry: You’re welcome.

Jim: Challenging.

John: It wasn’t too long ago, just a few nights ago in fact, where I came home. It had been a kinda crazy day and I was just looking at getting something done at home. You know, the pile was kinda high. It wasn’t the laundry pile. Just a variety of things and I felt like I hadn’t accomplished enough at the office. So, I will go home and accomplish. I’ll get something done. Uh … I wasn’t considering the fact that my wife has been home all day, has three kids in the house, and she might need something. And so, my blocked goal, when I responded in anger to her saying, “Do you have a minute?” was, “No, I don’t have a minute.” And I … and I just tried to push her off, and the Holy Spirit kinda tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Wh … what’s really important? Getting’ somethin’ done, or this opportunity your wife has?”

Jim: (Laughing)

John: And you know--

Jim: Oh …

John: --I try to push that off and ignore that, but that was a blocked goal of mine, and she was in the way of me getting something done. So, my na … my natural reaction was anger.

Jim: Ah.

John: You know, you’re always wanting something from me.

Larry: You know what I hope people are hearing as you’re sharing those kind of stories, we are going to fail. We’re not gonna get it right, but failure is an opportunity to see what’s really going on in our souls. Don’t be afraid of failure. Use it as an opportunity to grow.

Jim: You know, Larry, so often, here at Focus, when we talk about disagreements within marriage, Christian marriage particularly … occasionally we’ll get letters or e-mails from people that say, “Hey, you know, my spouse and I, we’ve been married 30 years. We’ve never fought.

Larry: Hm.

Jim: Some couples, that’s not an element of theirs, and certainly, they’re probably saying something very honest, very true. But what would you say to the person who says, “Hey, you know what? We never fight?” Is that normal?

Larry: No (Laughing), it is not normal. Um … I rather think that the couple that um … never fights and always gets along is aiming too low. If you aim for the kind of intimacy, the kind of oneness that I talked about in The Marriage Builder and that I strive for in my marriage, I want to be close to my wife. And I would like to have the … whatever number of years we have left together, to be the very best years of our marriage. So, we’re still aimin’ high. And when you aim high, then you recognize the obstacles in your own nature that get in the way of that. And that’s where the tension comes. Aim low and you’re doin’ fine. Just become a happy roommate and have no problem. Don’t worry about marriage; just be a roommate.

I remember one time I was doin’ a conference years ago and I was uh … much younger at the time. I was maybe 35, or something. And an elderly gentleman, (Chuckling) my age now, came up to me after the seminar and said, … “ Dr. Crabb, I just want to let you know we’ve had no problems in our marriage whatsoever.” And I said, “Well, when did you stop living together?” (Laughter) And he looked at me funny, and he choked up a little bit and he said, “Within about six months of our marriage, we went into separate bedrooms.”

Jim: Ah … so it had truth to it.

Larry: “And now we begin to realize that we have lived separately, not just physically in terms of the bedroom, but emotionally.” And as a result, they really had no tension.

John: Hm.

Jim: Wow, Larry, that’s powerful. You know, as we wrap up, that reminds me of Scripture. It seems that we draw closer to the Lord when we are in trouble.

Larry: Yes.

Jim: You know, think about that. Uh …

Larry: Yes.

Jim: After 9/11, think of how many people reportedly went to church the next three or four weekends. It was like 90, 94 percent of the nation--

John: Uh-hm.

Jim: --was going back to church, because of that insecurity. Where are we? What’s happening to us? What’s life about? And so often, it seems like the Lord has set this journey of life in place, so that we hit broken moments, not to wound us, or to hurt us--

Larry: No.

Jim: --but He uses it to pull us toward Him. And I love that Scripture-- that “He’s close to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit.” I think it’s true in marriage. You want to feel that intimacy, be vulnerable, be real, have those times of disagreement, hopefully all within a Christian context.

Larry: Uh-hm, uh-hm.

Jim: But being shut off emotionally to your spouse is not living well.

Larry: No, it’s not living well.

Jim: And … you know, as we end up here, could I ask you to pray--

Larry: Hm.

Jim: --for us as couples, all those that are hearing this… to just do well, so that we might honor the Lord.

Larry: Oh, Father, I have a sense that You look down on our marriages and You wonder how we mess things up so badly. And yet, You’re so aware that You’ve designed something for us that’s just unbelievably good. You want us to relate like Jesus. You want us to be formed like Jesus. You want us to love like Jesus.

Father, You’re burdened for us. You never give up on us. You’re always pursuing us, even at our worst moment, You love us. We can’t do anything to make You love us less. And we can’t do anything to make You love us more.

Father, I pray for all the couples that are listening. I pray for Rachel and me, I pray for Jim and John and their relationships with their wives, that you’ll give us a high vision of what marriage was designed to be by You. And You’re … it’s good news; it’s not difficult news; it’s good news, but there are difficulties along the way.

Give us the courage to be open about who we really are, where we fail, so we can better appreciate grace and better appreciate the resources that You’ve given us in the Gospel, to love like Jesus and to build the marriages that will bring You pleasure and bring You delight and reveal You to the world, that You do make a difference in people’s lives, a difference that nobody but Jesus can make, nobody but … nothing but the Gospel can do, so that the Gospel gets a good hearing, because of the way we relate to each other in our marriages.

Give us that desire. Give us the ability that is within us. Give us the prayerful dependence on You for all that You long for us to be … experienced. We commit ourselves to You for Your glory, for Your purposes, to make You known by the way we live. And we pray it in the only name that we have access to You, the name of Jesus, amen.

Jim: Amen. Dr. Larry Crabb, author of the book, The Marriage Builder, uh … boy, you have really taught us some wonderful truths. Larry, thanks for bein’ with us.

Larry: My very real privilege. Thank you, gentlemen, both.


John: It was a great visit with Dr. Crabb. We just learn so much from him each time he’s here on Focus on the Family.

Jim: Hey, Dr. Crabb has given us so much good advice for us in these past couple of days about really working on removing the selfishness from our marriages. And I appreciate him so much, because that, to me, is one of the core problems. Be sure to ask us for Larry’s book to help strengthen your marriage. Every week, we hear from couples who hear this program and tell us, “Your advice helped to save my marriage.”

Can I ask you to become a monthly supporter of Focus on the Family? Because, together we can touch other couples in an incredible way for Christ. Your regular gifts make it possible for us to get this message out across the country to someone driving in their car, or listening to their smartphone, or maybe just sitting at their desk at work. That’s why we’re here - is to help those folks who are struggling. 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. Thank you for standing in the gap for others.

John: Yeah. This is one of those books that has remained on my bookshelf over the years and we want to make sure you get a copy. Join us, be a partner of Focus in ministering to families and uh, we’ll send that to you. Also, get a CD or download of this two-part conversation. Those have additional content. Our number is 800-A-FAMILY; 800-232-6459 or stop by to donate and get resources.

Well, tune into this broadcast tomorrow as Carol Kent shares an inspiring message about what to do when life falls apart.


Mrs. Carol Kent: But I want you to know that there is a special scent we have when we know Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. And when life falls apart as we know it, the fragrance of who He is can be evident to everyone in our sphere of influence.

End of Teaser


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Dr. Larry Crabb

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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.