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Creating a No-Regrets Marriage

Air Date 08/10/2018

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In a discussion based on their book The Marriage Mentor, Pastor Steve Stoppe and his wife, Rhonda, explain how married couples can cultivate the relationship they've always hoped for by re-framing their expectations, depending on God and remaining committed to one another through the difficult challenges of life.

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Episode Transcript

Opening:

Excerpt:

Rhonda Stoppe: Falling in love is all in your mind. You think on what is good, right, honorable, praiseworthy. You think on the best about that guy that’s going to walk in the door, that girl that’s going to walk in the door. Falling out of love is all in your mind. So it’s really focusing on what you’re thinking on.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: Focus on what you’re thinking about - that’s what it takes to maintain love and passion for your spouse over the lifetime of your marriage. A good reminder from Rhonda Stoppe, and she and her husband, Steve, are our guests today on Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller and welcome to our broadcast. 

Jim Daly: Hey, John, do you remember those days when you were so filled with, and I’d say intoxicated with love when you were dating Dena?

John: Uh...

Jim: I remember that with Jean.

John: ...I do. I was pursuing her pretty aggressively until she let me catch her.

Jim: Hey, you know what? I moved from - I was living at the time in San Diego. Jean and I were dating. She was living in Orange County, California. But she was committed to UC Davis. And I wasn’t gonna let her out of my sight. So I picked up and quit my job in San Diego, moved up to Sacramento...

John: Well, that’s pretty bold.

Jim: ...Where my brother still lives today, rented a room from him just so I could make sure I was close to my fiancé. I wasn’t going to let her out of my sight. And I think that ended up being a wise decision...

John: It wasn’t because you didn’t trust her...

Jim: No!

John: ...It was because you wanted to spend so much time with her.

Jim: Exactly, actually. And I probably ruined her collegiate career because I, you know, I took up all her study time and that’s not a good thing. But you know, for many couples, it’s almost like a merry-go-round filled with fun and excitement, the proposal, planning the wedding and all those wonderful dreams you have for the future, children along the way, probably, those kinds of things. That’s true for Jean and I. We would talk about what the future would look like, what we wanted to see, where we wanted to pursue vocational thoughts and ideas, pray about, “Lord, are you with me?”

But it doesn’t take very long for the fairy tale to kind of come crashing down and laundry’s got to be done and, you know, who’s going to do this and who’s going to do that, all the chores and things like that and that imperfection that we possess as human beings, you know. Jean - I remember we were nine months on the road together. We took a job with...

John: That’s how you started your marriage, right?

Jim: ...That was our honeymoon idea - big honeymoon. So nine months doing drug and alcohol abuse shows for high schools. And we were together 24/7. As an extrovert, I thought this was great! I remember one time Jean said to me, “You know, Jim” - this was, like, seven months into this relationship - and she said, “I’m gonna go to the grocery store just to get some dinner for tonight.” And I said, “Hey, I’ll just come with you.” She goes, “Oh, no, no, no. Actually, I just need a little breathing space.” And I thought, “Wow, what’s wrong? She doesn’t love me anymore.” She just needed some space being a little more introverted. And those are the things you learn in the early days of your marriage.

John: We’re all wired uniquely. And a lot of couples struggle with those transitions from individuals to one flesh and the unity that God designed for us. And we hear from husbands and wives all the time. They want to experience that oneness. It’s not a crisis situation. It’s just a really hard time for them. And they don’t know what to do, but they contact us. And if you don’t want to contact us yet, then listen in to the radio program today. We have a tremendous opportunity for you to learn here.

Jim: That’s for sure. For more than 30 years, the Stoppes have been mentoring married couples through their church, their speaking ministry, and the writing they’ve done on the very topic of marriage. Rhonda’s affectionately known as the “No-Regrets Woman”. And Steve is the senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Patterson, California. Together they’ve written a book we’ll hear more about today called The Marriage Mentor: Becoming the Couple You Long to Be. Steve and Rhonda, welcome to Focus. 

Body:

Rhonda: Thanks. We’re happy to be here.

Steve Stoppe: Thank you very much.

(LAUGHTER)

She’s very happy to be here.

Jim: Well, I’m looking forward to this. She is quite happy...

Steve: Yeah, she is.

Jim: ...So I want to know what’s the secret sauce? Why are you so happy?

Rhonda: Coffee.

Steve: I make her happy.

Jim: No, it can’t be that. Come on.

Steve: It’s me.

Jim: I’m going to ask you that question. I’m serious. What - what is it?

Rhonda: You know, honestly, it’s not my bent to be so happy. It’s not who I would have been if, when we first got married - the wife that you thought you were going to be, the wife you meant to be, the one when you were dating that you LOL’d at all his jokes and everything he said was super funny and all that...

(LAUGHTER)

Right?

Jim: Wait a minute, that’s not super funny, that stuff?

Rhonda: Well, it’s awesome when you’re trying to hook the guy. And then you get married. And I walked down this aisle - it was in the ‘80s - the biggest white hat veil thing you have ever seen...

Steve: Oh, it was beautiful.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: It was the thing.

Steve: Immediately, I said I’m - I’m keeping this thing.

Rhonda: Oh, let me just say, if you’re listening, go traditional because wedding pictures will haunt you.

(LAUGHTER)

John: Yes.

Jim: Go traditional!

Rhonda: But I knew the wife I meant to be. And she was going to be great and fun and so, you know, his greatest supporter and cheerleader. And one day I’m standing in the kitchen of our house with an icepick stabbing that ice. And he was out in the garage working on his car with his brother laughing. And I was - this is not what I signed up for. It just - it’s not fun anymore. It’s all about work. And I wasn’t the happy wife that I knew I wanted to be.

Jim: How long had you been together at that point? Married, right?

Rhonda: I mean, it was months after we got settled in. We both worked full time.

Steve: But my brother’s a lot of fun.

Rhonda: Yeah, he is.

(LAUGHTER)

And I used to be. But then I got so busy doing laundry and keeping the house and doing all the housework. And I think that women forget to laugh. They forget to smile at their husband. And I think laughter, you know, men crave respect from their wives. We’ve all learned that. I think withholding laughter when your husband’s trying to get you to laugh is dishonoring. It’s a way to disrespect them, especially dads cracking up at the table. The kids are all, you know, part of humor is the punchline is it takes you by surprise, right? When you know dad so well, you know the punchline. You know where he’s going with it. He says it, the kids are falling over laughing, someone spills their milk, and what happens to mom? “Oh, great. Thanks. More work for me. Good job.” And we just put a damper on the laughter. We put a damper on the joy in the home.

And you know, Nehemiah 8:10, here’s Nehemiah, and he’s giving the biggest pep talk of his life to the Israelites that are building a wall with one hand and have a sword in the other. And he says, “Here’s the secret to your success, the joy of the Lord is your strength.” And when you think about what we’re building in our homes, we are building a house with one hand and we’ve got the sword of the word in our other to defend our families and to guide them towards a no regrets life by the truth. But we forget the joy of the Lord is our strength. We focus on the building. And we focus on the sword. But we forget to just laugh and enjoy our families.

Jim: Yeah. And Rhonda, I need to ask that question, though. Where does that laughing together turn into resentment? Why does - in this case - a woman’s heart as you’re describing it - I’m sure the shoe could be on the other foot - but what in the heart is taking place that dampens down that desire to participate in the healthy way, in the right way? Why is she bitter?

Rhonda: Well falling in love is all in your mind. You think on what is good, right, honorable, praiseworthy. You think on the best about that guy that’s going to walk in the door, that girl that’s going to walk in the door. Falling out of love is all in your mind. So it’s really focusing on what you’re thinking on.

And the day that I was like ice-picking the freezer, I scared myself because I come from a long line of broken marriages. And I know - I’ve watched it lived out. And I’ve seen the danger when you stop thinking the best about your spouse. And I knew I needed help. So that’s when I was like, I want to find wives that enjoy their husbands. And I - and one of the stories that I tell in The Marriage Mentor that is one of my favorite stories - I’ve been a pastor’s wife. We’ve been in ministry for 36 years. He’s been a senior pastor for 18. And when we moved back to California, I went to a minister’s wives retreat. And I wanted to meet older pastors’ wives that loved being a pastor’s wife because it’s a hard job. And people don’t get it. I mean, it’s...

Jim: Right - expectations, everything.

Rhonda: Right. And I wanted to love it. And I wanted to raise PK’s that are okay. And I wanted to see how it was done. And Titus 2 calls the older women to teach the younger how to love their husbands and love their children. And I’m like, “I want an old lady to be my friend.” And I went to this retreat. And there was a woman named Vi that I just - this adorable, little woman who was married for 40 plus years to her pastor - husband - just loved being in ministry. And I went to this retreat year after year. In fact, I’m speaking about retreat this year. And we both have a heart for ministry couples. We have a ministry that we work with couples that are in trouble because Satan attacks marriages of ministry families.

Jim: Oh, yes.

Rhonda: So I attach myself to this precious woman. Well, her husband came down with cancer. And one year, she came back to the retreat after he had passed away. And she told this story. She said after 45 years of marriage and being in ministry together, Kurt on his last day was laying on the couch. And he’d been incoherent. And then he woke up, and he looked at her. And he said, “Vi, am I dying?” And Vi said, she said, “Yes, Kurt, you’re dying.” And then she gathered her joy. And she was this adorable, joyful, little woman. And she said, “But Kurt, you’re going to see Jesus today. What is the first thing you’re going to tell Jesus when you see him today?” And she said Kurt closed his eyes. And then he got a big smile on his face. And he looked at her. And he said, “I’m going to thank him for giving me you.”

Jim: Oh, man.

Rhonda: Right? I cry every time I tell Vi’s story.

Jim: That’s like a movie scene.

Rhonda: And the truth of it is we all want to be that wife. And whenever I tell that at a woman’s event or a marriage conference that we’re doing and I say, “Are you the wife you’re meant to be?” and then I tell that story, the tears fall because we know the wife we mean to be. But life gets busy. We don’t take the time to build the marriage that we really hoped for. We don’t find godly mentors and really having the joy of the Lord and having your husband want to spend time with you because you bring joy - a happy heart.

Jim: But in that context, when you say staying in love is really all in our mind as women, as wives, I’m thinking of the woman listening right now. And she feels like there’s these magnetic poles at either end. I can either respond with joy, but that’s becoming more and more difficult. Or it’s been years since I’ve chosen to respond that way. So speak to that mechanism of why we tend to fall toward the negative - what keeps us there and why do we find pleasure in being negative?

Rhonda: Our marriages are the most valuable resource we have to draw others to want to know our Savior - beginning with our children. And Satan knows that. And we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities of darkness that comes to steal, kill and destroy a happy marriage, a joyful marriage that will shine brightly.

What did Jesus say - let your light shine before men that they’ll see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven. We focus on the good works. But remember Jesus said in Mark chapter 12, love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. That’s your whole being. And then when we love him like that, then he loves through us properly so we can love others with Christ’s selfless love.

So I know you’re listening. You’re going, “Okay, she just spiritualized the whole thing. I need some real, practical, what do I do about this.” And in all the years that we’ve been in ministry, we have watched when a woman will just say, “Okay, my husband is not who he pretended to be when we were dating. He’s harsh. He’s controlling. He doesn’t take the garbage out. He’s, you know, neglectful - whatever that thing is.

Jim: He’s not meeting your expectations.

Rhonda: Right - an unmet expectation is the number one disappointment in marriage. And then we start dwelling on that. And I have memorized Philippians chapter 4 because when I went for those mentors to help me, they invited me to a Bible study. And they took me through the book of Philippians.

Jim: What’s the essence of it?

Rhonda: Whatever is good - be anxious for nothing. But in everything with prayer, supplication, thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And then the peace that surpasses all understanding will rule in your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. We want peace. But resentful thoughts, that root of bitterness that becomes from that resentful thought that turns to a root of bitterness that defiles many - it defiles our marriage. It defiles our children.

And we can’t even pray effectively because the prayer of a righteous avails much. But when we’re walking in resentment, we’re handing over our powerful prayer life for God to even change my husband, for God to even change my heart, for God to draw my kids to Christ - I’m exchanging that for dwelling on that. But it does come natural to dwell on what doesn’t measure up to our expectations. So it’s repenting. It’s a sin - calling it a sin, finding someone that will help you walk in that way. I know a woman and I tell her story in The Marriage Mentor. Her husband was not measuring up to her expectations. She felt imprisoned by a marriage that was not what she had hoped.

And when she finally decided, I’m miserable, and I’m making everybody around me miserable. And I can’t do anything about that person I’m married to; I can only let God change my heart. And as she repented of that resentment asked godly mentors to come into her life and asked God to help her think on what is good, right, honorable and praiseworthy. She said I don’t know how to explain it. But I just love my husband. And here’s the best part of that story. She’s raised some amazing children that love Christ. And she said, “You know, I know other people would have left that hard difficult marriage. And I’m not talking about abuse. I’m just talking about not what she’d hoped.”

Jim: Right.

Rhonda: But she said, “I’ve seen kids raised in really great Christian homes that walk away from the Lord.” And her kids have grown up and followed Christ. And she said, “You know, God let Joseph be sold by his brothers into slavery to prepare him for his ministry.” And she said, “If this is what I had to live through so God could do a work in my kids to draw them to follow Christ,” and listen to this, “I’d do it again.”

Jim: Right.

Rhonda: I’d do it again. And I think of Philippians chapter 1 when Paul said, “I want you to know, my brothers, what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. For it’s becoming known throughout the whole imperial guard and all the rest. My imprisonment is for Christ.” Sometimes our imprisonment in a difficult marriage shines more brightly Christ’s love to our kids then when everything’s hunky dory.

Jim: Right.

Rhonda: So it’s getting out of yourself and saying, God, I will live whatever you call me to live with my eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher my faith. Is it easy? No. Are there days you want more? Yes. But press into God, and His joy will be your strength.

Jim: Right.

John: Well, some great encouragement today from Rhonda Stoppe - and she and her husband Steve are with us today on Focus on the Family. Your host is Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller. And you can get the book that Rhonda’s referred to, The Marriage Mentor and a CD or download of our conversation at focusonthefamily.com/radio. Or call 1-800-the letter A and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Steve, we can’t let guys off the hook here. I mean, you came as a couple to talk about this. I know that the book is aimed toward a woman’s heart. And I appreciate that. But I know some women are listening. And they’re saying that’s all true. But you don’t know my husband, whatever might be the friction point there. And everybody’s trying in their faith to do this well. But some people have greater degrees of irritation. They may not have been able to cope with some childhood issues that they need to - all those things.

But let’s not let the guys off the hook here, Steve. You’re the man here. You’re the pastor. Talk about the responsibility that men have in their difficult marriages and what they need to do. It’s not about just saying, “Hey, my wife needs to do things differently.”

Steve: One of the things that we - we do premarital counseling - we always focus on a couple of things. Number one, the covenant of marriage - we don’t make them look like this is just going to be a - just a relationship you’re getting into and trying it out. I mean, this is - you’re making a covenant, not only with this person but really with God...

Jim: Correct.

Steve: ...That I will love this person. The Bible tells man to love his wife, right? Didn’t tell him to respect her. It tells him to love her, love her properly. Well, why is that? Well, it’s because the hardest thing for a man to do is to love his wife properly, right? I mean, you go to 1 Peter 3. And he tells this nice little vignette about women, you know, if you have an unbelieving husband, this is how you should act. But then he goes to the end of that and he says, and husbands live with your wives according to knowledge that your prayers not be hampered or hindered.

And so it’s like for the guy who goes, well, I’m just not going to, you know, she’s hard to live with. I don’t want to put up with her stuff. She just - you know, I’m just going to recluse to my little garage and just mind my own business. That’s the man who’s not doing what God’s called him to. So like Rhonda pointed out, all of this really stems for the believer from a spiritual issue.

An unbeliever doesn’t have the capacity to even do those things properly the way God wants them to until they give the heart to Jesus Christ, right? So the man is called to love his wife. The man is called to be the spiritual leader. The man is called, number one, to be that covenant relationship with her, right? - to where if he breaks that covenant or if he goes against that covenant, it’s really a covenant with God that he’s breaking. It’s his own integrity that is - that is really being betrayed there. So we have a great responsibility to be the men that - that God has called us to. We’ve got a great responsibility to be those spiritual leaders of our family. We’ve got a great responsibility to live with our wives according to knowledge, understanding them, go to school on them, know what makes them tick. And so you’re right. The men are not off the hook on this. And, and…

Jim: Well, in many ways, we’re being lazy...

John: Well, exactly...

Jim: ...Taking it for granted that she’ll be there.

Steve: You know, she kind of becomes our mother, you know, kind of does our washing, does our cooking, does all the other - we just get a little provided extra, you know...

Rhonda: Was I supposed to cook? Oops.

(LAUGHTER)

Steve: That’s why we’re here.

Jim: And let me broaden this out now. And, you know, I think people have the sense of what we’re talking about. And we’re touching on just a very narrow aspect of marriage and some of the difficulties. There are great marriages out there. And there are wonderfully biblically based relationships in marriage that are such good role models like you said. And the idea to look for them - that’s a wonderful mentoring admonition. Look for those couples that are doing well that have lived it for years.

Rhonda: And the older couples need to be that couple...

Jim: Correct.

Rhonda: ...Because everywhere I go and speak, I find young women that say, “There are no godly mentors in my life.”

Jim: Right. But they are there. But we need to make ourselves available for them...

Steve: That’s what it is.

Rhonda: And say, I need some help.

Jim: But in the Christian community, we need to put energy and effort toward protecting our marriages. I don’t care what age you are, either even in your 20s or in your 60s or 70s. That protection is really important because inevitably, as we said, the enemy is going to want to tempt us in a variety of ways. There’s obvious ways - physical attraction to somebody else. But there’s many, many temptations that come across. I think, especially for women, it might be simply where do I find happiness, where I find that joy. I’m not getting it in this relationship. And they become lonely. And so their loneliness becomes an opportunity for temptation.

And so in that context, um, I think the big question for me is how do we mature in Christ to be able to make those good choices, to be able to say, “I’m gonna choose contentment, I’m gonna choose to love you,” without even saying, uh, “You’re unlovable”? You know, and that’s the definition for me, is maturing and growing in Christ when you’re not rubbing it in the other person’s face that you are praying quietly to the Lord. “Help me to embrace my spouse in a way that honors you, Lord, because I’m doing this for you.” And it feels like so many marriages aren’t there.

Steve: Well, one of the things that we, uh, like to make sure that they understand is - is your agreeing to serve this person for the rest of your life. Right?

Rhonda: But when you’re engaged, and we’re doing premarital counseling, they’re like, “uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh.” And after they come back for counseling, they’re going, “uh-uh, uh-uh, uh-uh.”

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: That’s the difference!

Steve: Christ served us. Yes?

Jim: Yes.

Steve: Went to the cross, died on the cross for our sins. Paid the penalty of our sins to give us not only forgiveness of sins, but life eternal. Right?

Jim: Yes.

Steve: I mean, rose again. You know, the - the whole thing. I mean, you talk about service, you talk about somebody who gave themselves their all for you, and He says, “Now I want you to give yourselves to each other like that.”

Rhonda: Husbands love your wife like that.

(LAUGHTER)

Steve: Husband, love your wives like that. Right?

Jim: That’s intimidating.

Steve: Yes. And so what we tell our - our people, “I won’t marry you unless you at least tell me you’re willing to serve this person for the rest of your life, no matter what their response is.”

Jim: Yes.

Steve: Right? When - when God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, well, the whole world’s not gonna believe.

Jim: Yes.

Steve: So...

Jim: It’s so true.

Steve: ...So it’s really kinda comin’ to grips with what is my personal, uh, relationship with Christ like? Uh, we come back to the whole thing. It’s always a spiritual problem. If I truly am serving Christ, if I truly am following Christ, if I truly have determined, I’m gonna serve this woman with all that I am for the rest of my life. Now, uh, I get to figure out what that looks like. But that’s my attitude.

Jim: And that should be the standard you’re holding yourself to.

Rhonda: And I can attest too. There was a season in our life when we finally bought and sold a bunch of houses in the Bay Area. His dream was always to be debt-free and live in the country. And we bought a ranch. And the day we bought this little house - was covered with snow. I saw I was holding this man’s dream in my hand. And it’s an 80-acre ranch in the mountains in the middle of nowhere. But it was a cute little cottage, so I said, “Yes, sign on the line.” We went back after it closed escrow. The snow had melted. It was a shack. And I am not kidding.

Steve: It was a love shack.

(LAUGHTER)

Rhonda: We lived in that house with two kids, one bedroom, for two and a half years without power. Lived on a generator.

Jim: Mine ears.

Steve: We had power. It was just...

Rhonda: It was a generator.

Steve: Yeah, a generator.

Rhonda: Okay. In that time, I - we had a third, uh, surprise pregnancy. I was on the sofa bed for the entire pregnancy. Um, we didn’t have power. We didn’t watch a lot of TV late at night. So we had our third child.

Steve: Had to do other things.

Rhonda: Yes. And - and that was a season of very - it was hard. I cried a lot of tears. I was very much making sure he knew I’m living here for you, buddy. I’m livin’ in your dream. ‘Cause he was still going to work every day. He had to go commute, come back. I was home from five in the morning till about seven at night.

Jim: Sounds like you’re making bread and...

Rhonda: No, I didn’t do that.

Jim: ...And growing the wheat.

Rhonda: I just said, you know, “Bring food home, baby.”

John: They didn’t have power, Jim.

Rhonda: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Oh, that’s right. Kneading it.

Rhonda: And then I had this...

Steve: I lit her a fire with a remote.

John: A fire, yeah.

Rhonda: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Then I had this baby, and then I had postpartum. And I had never had it before.

Jim: And you’re out in the middle of nowhere.

Rhonda: In the middle of nowhere, no support. And then I had - after I was done nursing her, I was left with really bad PMS. And I was not myself. And so what this man is talking about, he had to live it at a season that was a very dark time for me, where I knew I wasn’t the wife I wanted to be. I knew the thoughts I was having and the emotions I was sensing weren’t what I wanted to dwell on. But I promise you, I was in my room fighting it as a spiritual battle on - I mean, not in my room, in the only room in the house, the kids’ bedroom. He came in one day. I had a chair in front of the door. My 6-year-old was holding the newborn. The 2-year-old was watching The Little Mermaid for the 100th time. And he walks in, and I heard panic in his voice: “Where’s your mother?”

And I was in there just sobbing on the bottom bunk of the bed and just like, I can’t do this. I’m just overwhelmed. And his choice to stay in it - you know, and I always tell women that are single, “When you’re looking for Mr. Right, make sure you find somebody that loves Jesus more than he loves you.” Because you don’t know the season of un-loveable-ness you might need him to choose to love you with that agape love that - that only a - a believer can muster.

And - and I, uh, was telling him. He’s like, “I don’t know you. I’ve known you since you were a 14-year-old. You are not yourself.” And I’m like, “I know.” And we had watched years ago Gary Smalley’s video series, “Hidden Keys To Loving Relationships.” And so one of the things that Gary talks about is - well, he talks about two things. Camping - and the positive thing about camping is the tragedies that happen and how it bonds you together. Well, all of our remodeling and living, that really did happen. Everything that goes wrong - the pipes break, you’re without water - it does knit you together. Or it pulls you apart. You have a choice to make.

Jim: Right. Hardship.

Rhonda: Uh-huh. But I - I said to him, “Okay, I’m gonna” - the other thing that Gary Smalley said was word pictures. People relate when you give ‘em a word picture that they can feel something. So I said, “Imagine if you were a werewolf. And every 28 days, you were gonna turn into a werewolf. And you were gonna eat your young. You were gonna eat anyone near you. The only hope you had was that someone would lock you in a cage until the full moon passes and you were yourself again. That’s PMS.” And I literally saw a lightbulb on the top of his head. He was like, “I get it. I get it.”

And he stepped up to the plate. He took those kids out. We have so many outbuildings and - and chicken coops and horse barns. ‘Cause he’s like, “Come on, kids, we’re gonna go build something,” and just let me have that little house to myself during those really difficult seasons.

Jim: Right. And that was the turning point.

Rhonda: Well, that was the beginning of at least me being able to have - I had nowhere to be by myself, even. And so having that, just to kind of - you know, the - the best thing I could do is - the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, gentleness, patience, self-control. The only fruit on my vine at that time was self-control. I could not let the words from my brain to my mouth come out of my mouth.

Jim: Right.

Rhonda: And as long as I held my tongue and just got through it, uh, it was just a really hard season. And, uh, if you are having - it’s a physical thing. I finally went to an endocrinologist. And she’s like, “You have brain damage. It’s something really wrong with you.” And I really needed someone to tell me that. And I meet women all the time that are like - it’s always those - the pretty angel-faced ladies in the audience that are like, “That’s me.” I’m like, “Come talk to me, sweetheart.” Because it’s a - you don’t expect it. And your husband doesn’t expect it. And then when you’re being loved with that kind of love, your kids see it. And it shines brightly for Christ.

Jim: Well, you guys, I mean, this is really the right stuff. And Marriage Mentor, a wonderful book that you’ve both, uh, written to help couples, uh, recognize these things and to change the pattern in their marriage, which, uh, I think most marriages need, if not all marriages need, that kind of attention. And this has been wonderful.

Um, if you’re in that spot, get a hold of us today. Uh, don’t hold back. Don’t be embarrassed. Uh, get in contact with us. Let us put this book into your hands. And, uh, we’ll do that. If you can’t afford it, let us know. We’ll help you. This is the kind of tool that you need. If you can give a gift for any amount, this will be our way of saying thank you for doing that.

And, uh, Rhonda, Steve, it has been wonderful to have you with us. Thanks for talking so straightforwardly about your own experiences, the couples that you’ve met, the thousands of couples that you’ve counseled. This is really helpful for everyone. Thank you.

Rhonda: Thank you, our pleasure.

Steve: It was a lot of fun. 

Closing:

John: We’d love to help you in any way we can. As you can tell, we have a lot of passion about marriage and a lot of resources as well. And we’ll invite your donation at focusonthefamily.com/radio to receive your complimentary copy of the Stoppe’s book, The Marriage Mentor. Or call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.

When you get in touch, be sure to ask about a CD or audio download of today’s conversation. You can also check out our free marriage assessment. It’s an online survey, it’s quick and easy to fill out, and it’ll help you see what’s working really well in your marriage and maybe an area to give a little more attention to. Get the assessment at focusonthefamily.com/radio.

Coming up next time on this broadcast, Arlene Pellicane describes what effective discipline for your child looks like. 

Teaser:

Arlene Pellicane: You do need the rules, but you must have the relationship or those rules don’t mean a thing.

End of Teaser 

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Guest

Steve and Rhonda Stoppe

View Bio
Steve Stoppe is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Patterson, Calif. His wife, Rhonda, is a speaker and author who is popularly known as the "No Regrets Woman," as she is passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Her books include Real-Life Romance and If My Husband Would Change, I'd be Happy. Steve and Rhonda have co-authored a book titled The Marriage Mentor and speak together at their No Regrets Marriage Conference. They also mentor ministry marriages at one-on-one retreats on their ranch in California. The couple has four grown children and nine grandchildren. Learn more about the Stoppes at Rhonda's website, rhondastoppe.com.