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Harnessing the Power of Word Pictures

Air Date 05/04/2018

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Greg Smalley and John Trent explain how spouses and parents can avoid miscommunication and conflict by using "word pictures," which are simple metaphors to help clarify thoughts and feelings. The discussion is based on a book by John and Greg's father, Gary Smalley, titled The Language of Love: The Secret to Being Instantly Understood.

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Episode Transcript

Opening:

Excerpt:

Dr. John Trent: When you use a word picture, what it does is, people get caught up in the story and it goes right over their defenses and right into their heart.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: That’s Dr. John Trent. And he joins us, along with Dr. Greg Smalley, today on “Focus on the Family.” And your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly. Thanks for joining us. I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: You know, uh, communication is such an important part of every relationship. Um, you want to be heard and clearly understood, especially when expressing your feelings and those innermost thoughts, um, maybe even, um, some tough things. Uh, here at “Focus on the Family,” we want to help your relationship, your marriage, thrive in Christ. That’s what we’re about. Uh, Paul tells us in Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” So today, we’re going to teach you how to season your words with some salt. And I gotta confess, I’m not always good at this. If you’re an expert, uh, that’s great. But we have two people today who are gonna help us better understand.

John F.: Yeah. And these gentlemen are so good at using words effectively and powerfully. And, uh, years ago, Dr. Gary Smalley and John Trent wrote, uh, a superb book called The Language of Love. And it has helped so many people. It’s sold over a half-million copies. And Jim, it’s revised and updated and “Focus on the Family” is re-releasing it.

Jim: 500,000 copies - that is huge. And, uh, there is so much great content in here. And for those that don’t remember The Language of Love book, uh, you’re gonna be acquainted with some great ideas on how to bring some color to your relationship. Uh, John and Greg, welcome to the program.

Body:

Dr. Greg Smalley: Thanks.

John T.: Hey thanks great to be here.

Jim: Now, John, I gotta ask you, you worked all those years with Greg’s dad, Gary Smalley. Now, to work with Greg, I mean, this is kind of fun, Greg, to carry your dad’s legacy forward here at Focus. You’re our marriage expert, you and Erin, your wife, working together here. This is kind of awesome to see the two of you together.

Greg: It is fun. I mean, I remember the very first job I really ever did was working, John, in my dad’s book table...

(LAUGHTER)

Greg: ...’Cause I’ve been taking money.

Jim: How ‘bout that, John? How’s that making you feel?

John F.: That’s - that’s the - you’re the only reason it made a half-million, probably.

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: (Laughter).

John T.: That’s fine. Yeah.

Greg: Where’s my cut of that again? Where’s my...

Jim: But John, such great, uh, legacy there.

John T.: Well, it is. And - and, uh, so it’s kinda like a reunion tour, you know?

Jim: (Laughter).

John T.: The Grateful Dead are still going. We’re still going, you know.

(LAUGHTER)

John T.: And, uh...

Greg: (Laughter) We are grateful.

(LAUGHTER)

John T.: Yeah, we are grateful.

Greg: And we’re alive.

John T.: Yeah.

Jim: Well, that’s good. As we dive into this, the - the crux of the book, John, that you and Gary did - and, Greg, your forward in the book and, you know, working together, collaborating - is that idea of word pictures. And I - I don’t - you’re obviously, uh, good at that. I don’t know that everybody is. But you’re gonna equip us, uh, today to think about how to do that.

John T.: Yeah. Well, um, and let me give you an example. You started off by saying communication’s tough. Now, Greg, you’d agree with that for most people, right? I - I mean...

Greg: Absolutely.

John T.: Uh, and, you know, John Fuller never has trouble with communication.

Jim: (Laughter).

John T.: And you don’t, Jim. But - but, um, I remember when I was first married - um, I have a wonderful, awesome wife. I was, uh, in - I was working full-time in a church. I was in my doctoral program. And I was in three softball leagues - because I needed an outlet, right? I mean, you know, you have to...

Jim: Three softball leagues?

John T.: Um, yeah, travel teams and - so Cindy was saying, “Well, we’re not talking anymore.” And - and I go, “Well, come to my games. We can talk on the way of my games and...”

Jim: (Laughter).

John T.: That wasn’t flying really well, you know. And we just kept gettin’ more distance and angry. And then guess what happened? Is, uh - now, you know, Gary Smalley did word pictures back with Corrie ten Boom, who really taught him how important pictures were. But where I learned about were pictures the first time was from my wife, who - now, we’re really strained out. This is our first year of marriage. I’m working at a church. But, I mean, we are in horrible shape. And I - I, uh - her dad was a builder, and she had to get up early and help feed her dad. And she would get up early and cook me breakfast, you know? So I show up one morning. Guess what’s on the table?

Jim: Eggs?

John T.: Well, no. It was a book.

Jim: (Laughter).

John T.: It’s a big, thick psychopathology, which is really bad textbook. OK? So how - how sick can you be? So there’s no - no - no eggs, no bacon. It’s a book. And so I went - and I go, “Well, OK, what’s this?” And she goes, “Well, you know, this is breakfast today.” I go, “I don’t understand.” She goes, “Well, actually, this is our relationship.” And I go, “Uh, help me with this.” And she goes, “Well, ‘member how you took this last semester, and you couldn’t wait to just read every page? And, you know, you had tests, and you just spent all this time with it. But where is it now? Well, you know where it was? I was using it as a doorstop in my study.” And she goes, “Now I feel like you’ve finished that course, you’re on to the next course. But that book doesn’t really mean anything. And I feel like, uh, in our marriage, you know, I’m” - that’s - that’s who she was, was that I used to explore her. I used to talk to her, or...

Jim: Read every page.

John T.: Yeah. And now it’s like you’re on the shelf, and I’m doin’ the important things now that we’re married. And I’m tellin’ you, I - my head dropped. And, you know, I wrestled in college. I - I - it was like getting beat up. But what it was really was a word picture went over my defenses ‘cause she had said the same thing a dozen times at different volume levels. Do you know what I’m talking about? But - but, boy, that one word picture - and I thank God - this is the best part of the story, is, you know, I finally lifted up my head. I just said two thing[s] - I go, “Number one is I ask your forgiveness. I am really sorry.” And I said, “What’s - so what’s one thing I could do to open up the book?” And that started our discussions. Do you see what I’m getting at?

John F.: Absolutely.

John T.: So today we want to help people who are havin’ - not just having trouble with relationships. I mean, we’ll talk about how to praise people and - and encourage ‘em ‘cause you know, Greg, you can use a word picture to clarify things, right?

Greg: Yeah.

John T.: I mean, you do that with Erin, I think. Isn’t that right?

Greg: Yeah. Absolutely. Well, that - what’s fun about doing this show is that, John, when I was in college dating my wife of now 26 years, Erin, she asked me, “How do you - where is this going? How do you feel about me?” And I just was, “Uh, well, I like you. What?”

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: You’re fun to hang out with.

(LAUGHTER)

Greg: She told me I had a good personality. .

Jim: (Laughter).

Greg: ...Not sure what that means.

Jim: The death blow.

Greg: I actually went to John and said, “OK, Erin’s asking this. You know, I’m not sure quite how to express - I - I want - I want her to really get it.” He helped me come up with a word picture. And it was around this story of this kind of fictional account of this young Pacific Islander guy who wanted to ask for the girl’s hand in marriage. But the tradition was you had to give so many cows - like, one cow, very plain, two cows, better, three cows, you know, awesome, four, never happened. Well, he gives, like, eight cows for this very plain, ordinary girl. And it’s a great story, that - that she actually became, you know, this beautiful woman just based on his value and the way that he saw her.

Jim: (Laughter) So how did Erin relate to this story?

Greg: Marie Callender’s, you know, havin’ some pie.

(LAUGHTER)

Greg: And - and - and I said, “Hey, I want to get back to - we were talkin’ about this.” And I said, “Erin, to me you are, like, a 10-cow woman.”

(LAUGHTER)

Greg: I know where I wanted to go. And she went, “What?” You know, like, “You think I’m fat? What - what?” So as I explained this story of the eight cows, I said, “I wouldn’t just give eight cows for you. I’d give 10 cows for your hand.” I said, “I think that much of you. You are so valuable to me.” And it was within months that we were actually engaged. So John helped me come up with this great word picture that - that took our - that moved our relationship forward. So thank you.

Jim: Well, let me ask you. Why do word pictures work so effectively? Um, you know, what’s the secret power behind them?

John T.: Well, um, you know, it’s interesting. But, you know, you look at the Lord. Now, here’s something amazing. Until I dove into this - um, guess what? Forty-six times in the New Testament, Jesus uses what? Parables. Forty-six times. I mean, uh, you know, he talks about, you know, new cloth in an old coat. ‘Member that? Or new wine, uh...

John F.: New wine skin.

John T.: In wine skins. You know, don’t don’t take that lamp and put it under a - a, uh, basket. You know, the different kinds of soils when - but who is he talking to primarily? People that really didn’t want to hear a word he was saying, a lot of times the Pharisees and Sadducees. So when you use a word picture, what it does is people get caught up in the story. And it goes right over their defenses and right into their heart.

Jim: Well, and I think that paints the picture perfectly, that Jesus was going for the heart. I mean, to have head knowledge is good, but it’s not as good as heart knowledge.

John T.: No, absolutely.

Jim: And that’s your point. And that’s why word pictures are so effective. You had a client early on, if I remember correctly, in the book - Alyssa I’m thinking of, the little girl who really illuminated this for you. Tell us that.

John T.: Well, think about this. And - and, Greg, you know, we do counseling. And - and you guys do a lot of coffee-cup counseling, you know. But when you’re dealing with kids in particular - um, so I was working with this young lady who was - uh, had been through some traumatic things. And so you know, try sayin’ to a 10-year-old, “OK, honey, how are you feeling?” (Laughter) You know. And then go...

Jim: Try that with a 17-year-old.

John T.: Try that with a 17-year-old - “Oh, yeah, I don’t know.”

Greg: Fine. Gosh, leave me alone.

Jim: Why are you askin’ me?

John T.: Well, um, so she comes in. And of course, you know, I know this has happened. That’s why the mom’s there and that little 10-year-old. But what I did is I cut out a whole of bunch. - so I do this with all these kids, but I do with it adults too sometimes - is I cut out a bunch of pictures, and I laid ‘em on the table. So like, from magazines - now you’d - you’d go to Google, and you’d print off images, you know - but, um, I cut out a bunch of pictures and laid - and there were sunsets and, you know, just different - all different kinds of things. And one of ‘em was a submarine coming up. It was a - it was from one of those Navy, you know, recruiter, uh, kinda ads.

Jim: Brochures, yeah.

John T.: And the submarine’s coming up out of the water. And - but - but I just laid out all of ‘em, and I go, “Well, honey, do me a favor. Which one of those describes where you’re at today?” And she reaches over instantly and picks up the submarine. I go, “How come?” She goes, “Well, I - ever since this happened” - never said what it was - “ever since this happened” - she goes, “I feel like I’m underwater. And I got a periscope and I can see everybody, but nobody can see me anymore.” And so guess what the next six sessions were? Were, “Is there anybody down there with you? Are there lights on? Is Jesus in there? What would it take to - hey, how do we build a dock so you can pull the submarine in? And what would it take to come out of this submarine?” And they’re - they’re called therapeutic metaphors in counseling, you know. But they’re emotional word pictures. It’s being able to help somebody,you know, move an issue away from us enough where all of a sudden we get the picture.

Jim: Well, it helps - yeah, it helps someone who may struggle to articulate what they’re feeling, uh, describe it in pictures, right? And I love it.

John T.: Yeah.

Jim: Have you used that, Greg?

Greg: I - I do. I love how word pictures really help you experience someone’s word versus just hearing it. And I think this is especially true for guys. You know, as we talk, I’m listening for the point. What’s the purpose of this conversation?

Jim: (Laughter).

Greg: Do I need to fix something, decide something, solve something? And so that’s all very logical. And - and that’s how we’re - we’re wired. It’s a good thing. God created us that way. But within a relationship, that strength doesn’t always work, or it’s not as effective as we hope it could be. With my son - we have an adopted daughter from - from China. We’ve had her in our home for now seven years. And my son and my daughter, they fight like cats and dogs. It’s so frustrating.

Jim: Like normal (laughter).

Greg: Like normal. But there - there’s ways in which - I mean, he’s - he’s - he’s about, you know, six years older than she is. And I keep trying to say, “you’ve got to be more of a mentor with her and quit doin’ this bickering stuff.” But - but he’s not - nothing hit until the other day. I said, “Garrison, um, what would it be like if” - he’s a basketball player. So he loves basketball. That’s his interest. I said, “Imagine that you’ve had this amazing season, all-star here in Colorado Springs, and you won the title. And then all of a sudden you were moved from Colorado Springs. You don’t know anybody. You’re a stranger. The sights, the sounds, the smells, everything’s very different. You’re placed on this basketball team. You don’t know anybody. And what would that be like?” He goes, “Ah...that’d be - I’d hate that. Be confusing, be lonely.” I said, “But then what if, like, one of the star players on this new team really befriends you, and kinda takes you under his wing, and introduces you to people and - and just comes alongside of you? What would that be like?” “That’d be great. I mean, I - I would need that.” I said, “Garrison, Annie is like you, that basketball player that’s been moved away to a very new team. She doesn’t know anybody. It’s all different, and...”

Jim: I mean, even hearing it, Greg, it - it goes deeper. Again, you can have that kinda intellectual connection, be told what to do. You could say, “Hey, straighten up. Treat your sister like she’s part of this family. Give her direction. You’re the older brother. Act like that.” Doesn’t have the same...

Greg: But she gets it up there in his brain. He hears that.

Jim: Yeah. Doesn’t have the same connection. And I appreciate that vulnerability. But that’s a great, uh, illustration.

Greg: But he got it. I mean, instantly...

Jim: Yeah. He got it.

Greg: ...He just went, “Ooh, all right.”

Jim: Uh, John, um, let’s talk about equipping people to do this. But first I want people to know how to get this resource. (Laughter) That’s the key.

John F.: Yeah. John Trent and Gary Smalley are our guests today. And we’re talking about the book that Dr. Trent and, uh, that Gary Smalley, Greg’s dad, wrote called The Language of Love. It’s revised. It’s revised. It’s just out, again, from Focus on the Family Publishing. We’ve got it at focusonthefamily.com/radio.

Jim: All right, John, so how can we create...

John T.: Yeah.

Jim: ...Word pictures in our own lives, especially if - if we’re not creative in our nature?

John T.: Yeah, well, I mean, people - we hear that all the time. Oh, I’m just not creative. But we do use word pictures all the...

Jim: I’m a left-brain guy.

John T.: Yeah. OK, but - um, well, we set up a whole website. And one of the things you can download is 101...

Jim: (Laughter).

John T.: ...Word pictures.

Jim: Exhaustive.

John T.: And it’s word pictures that Gary and I came up with and used with people and have shared. And so it’s a great way to realize, as you read them, oh, OK, I get it, you know. Um, but I think, again, there’s so many places we can find word pictures. Um, you can use an object, you can use a story, kind of like, uh, earlier that Greg shared. Um, can I give you a quick example?

Jim: Sure.

John T.: So there’s this dad and, um, one of his sons is really struggling, and that’s the one that I know - is the son, you know. This is a while ago. And, uh, they’re from, uh, Baltimore. And, do you remember Cal Ripken Jr?

Jim: Oh, yeah.

John T.: Now, Cal Ripken Jr., if people don’t know, his dad was a baseball player, Cal Ripken senior - great player. Cal Ripken Jr. set the record for the most consecutive games ever by a baseball player. And when he broke the record, um, this guy is from Baltimore, and his dad was watching the game. And he sent an email to both of his sons, and it was a word picture, OK. So he sends this email. And he goes, hey, I just want you to know - I don’t know if you guys watched the game last night. But last night, when Cal Jr. broke the consecutive game record, the camera panned over, and there was Cal senior. And Cal senior’s in the stands watching his son break the record, and Cal senior began to cry. And he goes, when I saw that, I began to cry. And he goes, but I want you to know something - I didn’t cry because I was a Cal Ripken Jr. fan, because I am, but that’s not why I cried. I cried because I feel like God has given me two hall-of-fame sons that are gonna do more for God’s kingdom than any broken record ever could.

Jim: Wow.

John T.: And this buddy of mine, he said - he’s sitting, reading that email in the computer lab crying like a baby because my dad thinks I’m cooler than Cal Ripken Jr.

(LAUGHTER)

John T.: You know, and I just felt like he said for the first time I can - it unleashes you. So look, you can be - word pictures can come from, you know, an event. It can come from - you know, we - there’re so many great places you can - but it’s looking at a - a - what is it you want to accomplish? Do you want to praise them? Do you want to correct them? Do you want to, uh, clarify? Well, uh, I remember when I was going on a trip with your dad, uh, Greg, and I was gonna be gone for a few days. And our kids were young. Now, let me tell you, the hardest job on the planet, I think, is what? Raising small kids. It’s not flying around. And, sure, we get planes delayed. But we’re going out to dinner with people. You know, we get to sleep without being interrupted. Well, here’s Cindy, my precious, awesome wife, and the two girls she’s got to take care of now for three days. And, um, I was...

Jim: With no break.

John T.: Yeah, with no break and no help. And I’m thinking, “How can I really thank her for that?” And we’re playing in the backyard. And you guys are old enough - Greg isn’t - but you guys are old enough.

Jim: (Laughter).

John T.: Do you remember clotheslines?

Jim: Oh, yeah.

John T.: OK. Now, if you don’t know what a clothesline is, OK, back before...

John F.: Then Google it.

John T.: ...Dryers - yeah. Um...

Jim: (Laughter).

John T.: ...You know, so we had...

Jim: Oh, this is making us old.

John T.: I know. We had a dryer. But what I’m getting at is you put a clothesline up. Well, what is it - what would you do? You’d put the clothes up, and then you’d use a clothespin, right? So nobody knows what a clothespin pin anymore. But it used to hold the clothes so the wind wouldn’t blow the clothes on the ground. Well, we’re playing out in the back. Cindy’s getting dinner ready. And, um, I’m getting ready to go onto the trip. And I’m thinking about how can I praise her and encourage her? And one of the girls comes running up to me and hands me a clothespin. And it was like, what - and what’s this, Dad? And I go - I explain it. And as we’re walking in, I realize - so we walk in, and I tap Cindy - she’s cooking dinner - you know, I tap her on the shoulder. And I go, I want you to know something. You know, I’m leaving tomorrow, but I want you to know that this is you. And I hand her this clothespin. And it’s old, and it’s wooden. It’s...

John F.: Not quite as bad as telling her she’s a cow.

John T.: ...She’s a cow, but pretty close.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

John T.: It’s rusty. It’s rusty. You know, she goes, “oh, great, I’m falling apart.” I go, “No, no, no, wait a minute.” I go, “Pretend this is a solid gold clothespin.” I go, “You do such a great job of holding everything together. I wouldn’t be surprised - you know, when I have to go on a trip, man, you just hold everything together. And I am so grateful that God has given me you, and you’re like a solid gold clothespin.”

Jim: That’s good.

John T.: Well, here’s the deal. I come back three days later. What - she’s painted it white. She’s drawn a little red heart on it. It’s got a magnet on the back. And where is it? Even today, where...

John F.: Right on the refrigerator.

John T.: It’s on the refrigerator.

Jim: Refrigerator.

John T.: Because what’s really important goes right on the refrigerator. And it’s like, I’m a clothespin, you know. Or I’m a 10-cow wife.

Jim: Did she - did she say, now, John, here’s my word picture for you - you’re the wind...

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: ...That blows chaos every day. I would have been thinking that.

(CROSSTALK)

Greg: You are the stormy gale.

Jim: I think that would’ve been a good one, no?

(CROSSTALK)

Jim: Hey, Greg, I do want to honor your dad.

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: And, John, you worked with Gary for so many years. And I think most of the Christian community knows the two of you as this dynamic duo...

John T.: Yeah.

Jim: ...That wrote books like The Language of Love and so much more. Uh, did your dad use a poignant, uh, word picture for you...

Greg: All the time.

Jim: ...When you were naughty particularly?

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: I want the bad stories.

(LAUGHTER)

Greg: He did - he would say things to my brother and I. Like, if we were getting in trouble, we were misbehaving, he’d say, “Hey, boys, you stop that,” or “I’m gonna blast your bottom off.”

Jim: (Laughter).

John F.: Is that a word picture or a threat?

Greg: Well, because we would imagine little sticks of dynamite being strapped to our...

(LAUGHTER)

Greg: ...To our back-ends. And he did that funny, but we knew that, OK, we’d better...

Jim: That’s beyond the pale.

Greg: ...We’d better change course here.

Jim: Don’t do that.

Greg: He - I remember one time when - when John and my dad would go and speak. Uh, and when he would come home, there was a way in which - and I didn’t even really know this was going on - but he would feel rejected by me. Like, he would come home - loved my dad, loved being with him. So when he would leave, I guess I would punish him in a sense when he’d come home. I’d ignore him...

John T.: Yeah.

Greg: Again, I don’t remember doing this. And so instead of just telling me, “You know what? Hey, stop ignoring me. I’m your father, and you need to respect me, and that’s not very kind.” He came - and, again, I was into basketball, like my son. So he used this analogy of - of, you know, we’re - we’re on a team together and - and, you know, you’ve got the star player who’s just doing amazing but then gets injured - hurts his neck. He’s out for a while. And whereas before, as the star player, everybody was talking to him and hanging around him, now he’s been injured for a while, everybody kind of has left him alone, has kind of ignored him. He feels real alone. He goes, “What would that be like?” And I could instantly feel what that would be like. Yeah, that would be so frustrating because you want to be with everybody, but you can’t help it. You’re injured, and everybody’s ignoring this player. And he goes, “I feel like that we’re on a team. And I feel like that I was that star player who, when I leave to do a seminar, it’s kind of like I’m injured, I’m away. And then when I come back, expecting to reunite and connect, you’re just - you’re gone. You ignore me.” And - and it instantly helped me to feel that. I could feel...

Jim: Yeah.

Greg: ...And went, “Dad, I’m so - I - you know, I don’t know why. And I’m so sorry if that’s how you felt.” But as John was saying, I think the beauty of a word picture is that you get into the story, you feel it. These words come alive. They intensify. So instantly, I was moved to a place of going, “Man, that’s the last thing I want you to feel, and I am - I am so sorry.” And that changed sort of that - that dynamic.

Jim: Yeah.

Greg: But he used these all the time.

John T.: Oh, yeah.

Greg: His favorite one - remember when we’d be out, and he was frustrated with someone, he’d say, “That guy is like one taco shy of a combination plate.”

John T.: Yeah.

(CROSSTALK)

Greg: Yeah.

John T.: But it sure communicates.

Jim: He was thinking in those words.

John T.: That was his choice. It was just funny how he was...

Jim: Hey, you know, let me - let me paint a little word picture here. Um, there’s a wife who is hurting. She’s frustrated because she - you know, she doesn’t feel like her husband is listening to her anymore. Their marriage is cold. The romance has fallen away. Uh, maybe they’re living more like roommates - that’s one we hear often...

John T.: Yeah.

Jim: ...Here at Focus. “My husband and I, we’re more like roommates.” How can she use a word picture to crack open that situation, to say I need to be fed, I need nourishment?

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: What would that word picture look like?

John T.: Well, you know, we started off with me talking about Cindy serving me a book, you know. And that’s how I got the picture. But I think it’s so helpful for somebody to, you know, uh, help that other person by - again, what is it in their life that is a word picture that really communicates? I remember teaching this - remember the pro athlete conferences?

Greg: Yeah.

John T.: I’d do those with your dad. And I know you came to some of those. And there was a pro bass fisherman there. And I remember he - you know, one time I was saying, “Well, hey how do you do - what’s a word picture you could share?” And he goes, “Well, my wife is like a rubber worm dipped in crawdad juice.”

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Maybe not that one.

John T.: Well, not that one. But, I mean, he’s a bass fisherman. So it had made total sense to him, you know. But what I’m getting is, you know, his wife is like, “I’m a worm.” But if that person that’s really hurting, you know, can use that - that word picture, that object, um - just a - a quick example. Let’s say that the husband, who she really wants to connect with, is kind of like - right now, today, everybody uses their phone for everything, right?

Jim: Yes.

John T.: And so she’d say, “Hey, let me ask you a question. I don’t know why, but your phone’s gone. And, uh - and I don’t know what happened, but, you know, it’s gone.” “Well, what do you mean my phone’s gone?” Because the average person (unintelligible)...

Jim: Right.

John T.: ...Say, “Well, no, it really isn’t, uh, gone. But you know what - would you feel like if that phone was gone, and you couldn’t just run to the store and get another one?”

Jim: Got run over by a truck.

John T.: Yeah. “Well, I - you know what I feel like, um, what’s happened is - is we’ve just kind of lost that connection point. And, boy, what would it be like if we could sit down and talk?” And so that’s just one word picture and I’ll think that’ll be fun.

Jim: Well, that’s it. Greg and John, man, thank you for helping us better understand it. This is good for marriage and parenting, I think...

John T.: Yeah.

Jim: ...For illustrations for both. And it’s really good for human communication. We started the program talking about how Jesus used word pictures, and it’s so true. So, if the Lord is doing that to connect us, not just intellectually, but emotionally, at the heart level, uh, maybe we should become great students and great teachers of this methodology. Um, you know, Focus is here to do just this - to help equip you to thrive in your marriage. And Greg, you and Erin do such a great job walking in the door everyday here, on behalf of couples that are listening now, to put a tool in their hands. And this is one of those great tools that John and your dad created - The Language of Love. And, uh, we want you to have that tool so your marriage can thrive in Christ.

Let me share a letter from one of our listeners. She wrote: “You’ve impacted our household for over two decades through your radio broadcast - Adventures in Odyssey, the counseling you make available and the numerous books and resources you offer. The ministry of Focus has strengthened our family emotionally and spiritually in ways that we trust will positively influence future generations. Thank you.” I couldn’t say it any better. I mean, she caught it. And I’m so grateful that she’s been able to use those tools, probably, John, going back to the original The Language of Love. Who knows?

And I want to invite you to become a monthly pledge giver to Focus. And if you can do that today, we’ll send you a copy of Gary Smalley, the late Gary Smalley, and John Trent’s book, The Language of Love, redone and re-released. And, uh, previously sold half a million copies. There’s a reason it did, and that’s because there’s great content in there to help you in your communications. So, join us today. Be part of the solution. Be part of God’s answer to people who are hurting.

John F.: Yeah, help us and donate and we’ll send a copy of the book to you when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or stop by focusonthefamily.com/radio to donate and to get resources.

Jim: John and Greg, thanks again for being with us. This is really good stuff.

Greg: This was fun.

John T.: Thanks.

Greg: Thanks.

John T.: It’s been a lot of fun. Thanks, Greg, for jumping in.

Closing:

John F.: We hope you have a great weekend and that you’ll plan to be with us on Monday as Dr. Larry Crabb will help you learn how to build true oneness in your marriage.

Teaser:

Dr. Larry Crabb: I don’t know any marriage that’s good that hasn’t gone through some tough times. And tough times are an opportunity, as opposed to an obstacle.

End of Teaser

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More Episode Resources

Guest

Greg Smalley

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Dr. Greg Smalley serves as the vice president of Marriage at Focus on the Family. In this role, he develops and oversees initiatives that prepare individuals for marriage, strengthen and nurture existing marriages and help couples in marital crises. Prior to joining Focus, Smalley worked for the Center for Relationship Enrichment at John Brown University and as President of the National Institute of Marriage. He is the author of 12 books including Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage, Fight Your Way to a Better Marriage and The DNA of Relationships.

Guest

John Trent

View Bio
Dr. John Trent is the president of Strong Families, an organization committed to strengthening family relationships. He is also a conference speaker and an award-winning, best-selling author whose recent books include Breaking the Cycle of DivorceHeartshift and Leading from Your Strengths. Dr. Trent holds a Master of Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Counseling from North Central Texas Federation of Colleges and Universities. He and his wife, Cindy, have two daughters. Learn more about Dr. Trent by visiting www.strongfamilies.com, and check out his recently revised book The Language of Love by visiting encouragingwords.com.