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Never Stop Looking Up in Your Marriage (Part 2 of 2)

Air Date 02/22/2019

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In a discussion based on their book, Vertical Marriage, Dave Wilson and his wife, Ann, encourage couples to look to God instead of to each other to find purpose, meaning, and fulfillment in their life and their relationship. (Part 2 of 2)

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Episode Transcript

Opening:

Excerpt:

Ann Wilson: And it’s so funny, when you first get married, you run hard. You go hard at it. You know, you’re like, “I’m all in. I want to do this. We’re going to be great.” And then our spouse lets us down or drops us, and they disappoint us and suddenly we stop running quite as hard. And we’re afraid that we’ll be dropped. And pretty soon you don’t have either one running toward each other.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: That’s Ann Wilson describing a really common challenge that husbands and wives can face in the early years of marriage. Fortunately, couples can learn how to turn back toward each other again. And Ann and her husband, Dave, are back with us to share more of their rather remarkable marriage story and what they’ve learned along the way. This is Focus on the Family with Focus president and author Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, I’m sure when your girls were little, you read some of those princess stories to them, right?

John: Oh, yeah. Yeah, all the time...

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Having just...

John: ...Over and over again.

Jim: ...Having two boys, I never read those stories. I don’t think my boys...

John: It’s not too late. Should I bring one back?

Jim: No. I’m not doing it...

(LAUGHTER)

John: Okay.

Jim: ...But it is special - you know, what happens there with your little girls. And you know, they begin to think at some age, I’m sure, about what it will be like to be married to Prince Charming and how much that husband in the future is gonna deliver these incredible, uh, delights in marriage. And then you get married, and maybe you get some of that, but then marriage isn’t all that. And you might be living in that place right now, where maybe you don’t like your spouse. Maybe it’s feeling like it’s all done. The magic is gone. Today’s program is for you because, you know what? It’s not about being happy all the time. It’s about committing yourself to the Lord vertically so that you can have the relationship with your spouse horizontally.

And I think - Solomon talks about it in Ecclesiastes 3 - um, that God has set eternity in our hearts. And what’s amazing about the Christian life is that we know we will ultimately get that fulfilled, uh, joyful life in the next life to come. And that’s what we’re aiming for. We can have much of it now in a relationship with Christ, but it won’t be perfect in this life. And like most of us, our guests today, Dave and Ann Wilson, have a marriage that wouldn’t make a very good fairytale. Well, I think it might actually because of that brokenness in their story. If you didn’t hear it last time, get the download. Call us. We’ll get it to you. But they had some amazing brokenness. And they’re here today after 39 years, which proves God’s redemption story in their lives.

John: Yeah, the Wilsons are writers and speakers. They’ve got a book called, Vertical Marriage: The One Secret That Will Change Your Marriage. We’ve got copies of that and last time’s conversation as well. Just stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Body:

Jim: Dave and Ann, welcome back to Focus.

Ann: Thank you.

Dave Wilson: Glad to be here.

Jim: Man, I’m so energized about our conversation last time because you touched on so many tender areas. And I so appreciate that openness and that vulnerability. I want to pick it up today where you had another wake-up call on your 10th anniversary. And this seemed to be one of those milestones. You’ve been married, like I said, 39 years. This is year 10. What happened?

Dave: This is where the book came out of. I mean, and it was a night where, when it happened, I thought nobody’ll ever hear this story. It’s a dark, dark moment in our marriage. It’s gonna be a secret because you know, if you had asked me a minute before that date, I’m taking my wife out on our 10-year anniversary, and I’m pulling out all the stops - trust me - romance, nice restaurant. And you know, I don’t like...

Jim: You did all the right things?

Dave: Oh, everything. And if you had asked ask me, “Okay, Dave, what’s your marriage on a scale of 1 to 10?” I’m - I honestly would’ve said, “Um, we’re a 10. Probably, if not a 10, it’s a 9.8. And I guarantee you Ann would agree, right?”

Jim: Yeah.

Ann: And I would’ve said it’s a one, maybe a .5...

John: Hm.

Ann: ...Which I was mad that Dave didn’t even know how bad we were doing.

Dave: But I was about to find out. We went out on this 10-year date. And uh, you know, I’m Mr. Romance. I give the waiter - Ann didn’t know this - I slip him 10 roses, and I tell him, “Listen, when I give you a look, bring one rose at a time.” So I look over. He lays the first rose down, and we talked about year one. And that was great. And I look at him, and he puts another rose. We talked about year two. So we did that for 10 roses.

Jim: Wow. And most women right now are going...

Ann: Isn’t that impressive?

Jim: “...Oh, my!”

Ann: I know.

Jim: “If only - if only Bob, if only Mark...”

Ann: Yes.

Jim: ...I’ll go through all the names.

John: John or Jim.

Jim: No, I wasn’t going to use our names.

(LAUGHTER)

Dave: And I do that every day, don’t I, Ann?

(LAUGHTER)

Yeah.

Ann: Yeah.

Jim: And - but you’re sitting there, Ann, thinking what?

Ann: I thought, “Whoa, this is amazing. What a spectacular night. He’s gone all out.” I was so impressed. But it had not been great prior to that night.

Dave: Of course, we didn’t talk about that in those 10 roses.

Jim: Right.

Dave: It was nothing good and...

Ann: Yeah.

Dave: ...It really was sweet memories of 10 years. We had two little boys - little boys at home. And then as we were driving home, I had one more surprise that I had sort of conjured up, and that was to pull into the parking lot of the middle school that we had just contracted to start our church - in this little cafeteria in this middle school.

We were about to start in three or four months. Ann didn’t know we had just signed a deal to do this, so I thought, “We’re gonna pull in a parking lot - midnight. Nobody will be there. We’ll pray that God will do a miracle and turn this school into a church and it’ll grow.” And then I thought it’d be fun just to go parkin’.

(LAUGHTER)

You guys know what I mean by parkin’?

John: A little making out.

Jim: I think I do.

Dave: Yeah.

Ann: And he was all about the “parking” part.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: That’s a good blend of spiritual and natural, but...

Dave: Exactly.

Jim: ...Which was more important to you?

Dave: Uh, ask my wife. She knows.

Ann: I’m not sure we prayed.

Dave: I don’t even know if we did pray. I don’t remember that...

Jim: You are a very vulnerable person. I must give you credit for that. But, Ann, what are you thinking at this point?

Ann: Well, I really did think, like, “This is an amazing night.”

Jim: Yeah.

Ann: However, we had not been doing well at all. And I felt like - Dave, I thought you were aware of that at the time - like, “Oh, he’s really making up for all this...”

Dave: I mean...

Ann: ...Because he was gone so much.

Dave: And I look back, thinking, “How could I be so naive?” But I - I actually think this night’s going to end with us making out in a Honda Accord...

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Okay.

Dave: ...Which is a bad plan from the start.

Jim: Yeah.

Dave: But I turned to kiss her that night, and she turns her head. And I honestly was so naive, I thought she didn’t know I was trying to kiss her.

Jim: Right.

Dave: “There’s no way she doesn’t wanna kiss me.” So I try again, and she...

Jim: Because “I am Mr. Marvelous.”

Dave: Exactly!

(LAUGHTER)

I’m Mr. Romance, you know?

Jim: Am I helping you there, Ann?

Ann: Yes. Thank you!

Dave: That’s what I thought.

Jim: So Mr. Marvelous is going.

Ann: Oh, so he goes to kiss me, and he says, “Is something wrong?” And I didn’t want to bring it up that night...

Jim: Yeah.

Ann: ...Just because I thought he really is trying so hard right now, and I don’t want to bring it up. This isn’t the time or place. But he kept pressing me. And so, finally, I said, “Yes, there is something wrong. I’ve lost all my feelings for you. I have nothing left.”

Dave: Yeah, that was boom.

Jim: That was a gut blow.

Ann: And he was shocked, especially because he thought we were 10.

Jim: Right.

Dave: I mean, I can still hear her saying...

Jim: Yeah.

Dave: ...Those six words - chapter one of the book, “Six Words That Changed Everything” - because I was shocked. I mean, I honestly didn’t know. I’m like - so I just looked at her like, “What do you mean you’ve lost your feelings for me?” And I knew enough at 10 years of marriage that you listen. And so she started to share, and I got - this is where it got miraculous. As Ann started to share what those words meant, I heard the voice of God.

Jim: Ah.

Dave: And not an audible voice, just the Holy Spirit...

Jim: Yeah.

Dave: ...Who lives in me. Can He speak? Yes. And He sort of - didn’t nudge me. He shoved. It was two words - “Shut up.”

Jim: Wow.

Dave: That’s what I heard.

Jim: It was just an outside-in thought.

Dave: Yeah, it was just a vertical...

Jim: Yeah.

Dave: ...Enter into this car. It was like, “Shut up,” which meant, “Just listen.”

Jim: Right.

Dave: “Don’t interrupt.” My pattern would’ve been to interrupt her, defend, prove her wrong. That’s what we did when we fought. Again, I didn’t know that then, but that - and so when God said, “Shut up,” I didn’t say a word. I...

Jim: Yeah.

Dave: ...Just leaned over and listened.

Ann: Which I was surprised by that because I thought - and this was the pattern. A lot of people in marriages have patterns that they go into. I would say that to Dave, like, “I feel like you’re never home. You’re not here to put the boys to bed. I feel like I’m doing this all alone, and you’re not invested in us.” And he would get mad and defensive and prove to me that I was wrong. And so I was expecting that to go to the same place that evening, but he was quiet, and he just listened. And so I said, “I started out so angry that you weren’t here with me, and then my anger turned to bitterness, and then my bitterness turned to resentment. And now I don’t have anything. I don’t even have hope that we’re gonna make it. I’m not saying I’m leaving you, but I’m saying we’re just totally isolated, and I have nothing left.”

Jim: Well, and I wanted to ask that question because you had to be thinking the D-word at some point - you know, “Should we get divorced?” For the benefit of the listener...

Ann: Yeah.

Jim: ...How close were you to entertaining those thoughts?

Ann: I don’t think that - I wasn’t making any move...

Jim: Right.

Ann: ...But I did feel a sense of hopelessness that it wouldn’t...

Jim: Yeah.

Ann: ...Get any better. And I just thought, “This is us.”

Jim: You know, Ann - And specifically this is for you - when you’re the spouse that feels like you’re the only one in the game...

Ann: Hm.

Jim: ...You’re the only one trying. What advice do you have to keep going - your left foot in front of your right foot emotionally?

Ann: Yeah.

Jim: And then, Dave, I’ll come back to you. But, Ann, even after that night...

Ann: Yeah.

Jim: ...What made you get up in the next day and say, “Okay, he’s trying a little?”

Ann: I think it is what ended up happening. My response was a result of what Dave did next, which was crazy.

Dave: Yeah, this had never happened, but I heard God say one more word. And again, I didn’t hear an audible voice, but a very strong impression from the Holy Spirit living in me, and it was one word - “Repent.”

Jim: Hm.

Dave: Repent meant I’m lukewarm. And I was. I was your pastor, speaker, go into the Word of God to get a sermon, not to be intimately in love with my Savior, which I had done for decades, you know, sitting with Him daily. I wasn’t having a daily devotional quiet time. I had done that. I was just too busy. And so in one word, I knew all of this, which is crazy. “This horizontal marriage is never going to work, until I’m number 1, till you go vertical first.” I knew all that in one word. So I’m listening to Ann, and yet I know the answer is not gonna be found horizontally. We do need to talk. We need - do need to work this out. I do need to hear her heart. But I also knew this is never going to work until I go vertical. And so as Ann finished, I just said to her, I said, “I need to do something right now. You don’t need to do this. I need to do this, and I need to do it now.” And I felt at the moment I needed to be in a posture of full submission. So - and I don’t pray all the time on my knees, but I wanted to be on my knees. And to this day, I don’t know how I did it in the front seat of a Honda Accord, but I got on my knees.

Jim: This is some kind of night!

Dave: Yeah, this is some kind of night. It’s not going anywhere I thought it would go. It’s going to a much better place actually.

Jim: Yeah. Interesting.

Dave: And so I just got on my knees, and you know, I pushed the driver’s seat back, and I just turned around, and I just prayed out loud, just for me. And I said, “Lord, I repent. I’m lukewarm. You’re not number 1. I know what You say about hot and cold and lukewarm, and I’m that guy, and I don’t wanna be that guy. You need to be number 1 in my life, where You’ve always been, and You aren’t right now. I’m number 1. My career’s number 1. Make me the husband, the dad I need to be. God, change me to be the man she deserves. Amen.” And I thought, “Okay, now we can talk.” And I turn, and she’s on her knees.

Jim: Right.

Dave: On the other side of the car.

Ann: And that’s what you asked me previously, and that’s what I was gonna say, is that when Dave started praying - first of all, Proverbs says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath.” And so when he was gentle in his response, my defenses automatically came down. And when Dave started to pray this prayer, I instantly was convicted, and the conviction was, I felt like God was saying, “Ann, you’ve had your eyes so much on Dave that you’ve taken them off of Me.”

Jim: Hm.

Ann: And I felt like He was saying, “I never equipped Dave or made Dave to meet all of your needs. That’s My job. And you have been looking to him to meet all of your needs. And you need to come back to Me and put your eyes and your focus and your life in My hands, and trust. Quit trying to find your happiness only from him.”

Jim: Wow.

Ann: Because I really thought, if he would just get his act together, we could be great. And I had my list. If he would start doing this or that, we would be great. And God’s saying, “You have no control of your husband. Your job is not to control him. Your job is to seek Me first.” And so that’s what put me on my knees in the car. And I said, “Lord, I’ve made Dave Wilson and my marriage an idol. I’ve put it in front of You, wanting that to make me happy. That’s your job, God. And so I repent, and I offer my whole life and my marriage and all that I am to You. And here I am. And take us. We can’t do this apart from You.”

Jim: Wow. I mean, this is such a picture of what is right and good, what the Lord wants in marriage, and it’s this amazing night that you had.

Ann: And it would be nice to guarantee that both spouses would do that, but there’s not.

Jim: Yeah. And I think that was the key point here. Because we have counselors here at Focus on the Family. You, the listener, might be right there. You’re going, “This is our marriage.” And I’m telling you, if you need this kind of help and resources, we’re here for you. That’s why supporters support this ministry. Your marriage is meant to reflect God. And sometimes it’s broken. That’s okay. God knows that. He also knows that He can repair it, just like He’s done with Dave and Ann.

John: Yeah. And our number is 800-A-FAMILY - 800-232-6459. You can also find help at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Dave, again, this is so good. And Ann, your response to it, your willingness to hear the Holy Spirit in your own heart. Because I think a lot of times - and I think wives particularly - there’s a righteous anger that you can get. And it is all him, and if he would just do better, we would be better. And Lord, isn’t that true? “Yes, and that is true. Let’s work on Dave together.”

(LAUGHTER)

A beautiful night. Beautiful 10th-year anniversary, although it was a disaster. I’m not even gonna ask the most obvious question. But in your...

Dave: Nope, didn’t happen. Didn’t happen.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: That’s done. But let me go to another soft and tender area. And Dave, again, so many men will relate with this. You were battling with anger. I mean, that’s been part of your story. I believe your dad walked out at a young age?

Dave: Yeah, I was 7 years old.

Jim: I mean, so I can relate to that. I had an alcoholic father who left when I was 5. So you end up - you know, you’re wondering, as a little boy, thinking, what does it mean to be a man? And unless you have good mentors, which thankfully I had a couple - football coaches, etc. - that could help straighten my life out a bit. But anger does reside in the hearts of many boys and young men. What was your battle there?

Dave: You know, it’s interesting. Again, I’m so clueless to what’s going on.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Thank you.

Dave: I mean, I can’t believe now, looking back. But, uh, it all came to a head in the kitchen, when I blew up at something Ann said. I can’t even tell you what it was. And I’ll never forget her response, though, was - she just flipped her hand like this, like, “There you go again. I’m never bringing anything up. That’s what you do every time.” And she turned. And this sounds crazy. I literally go, “What are you talking about? I do not!” And she’s like, “Exhibit A,” you know, like, “There it is.”

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Look in a mirror, right?

Dave: And it was one of those moments where I went upstairs - and again, I have little boys at the time - and I go into my little office. I had a bedroom that I had an office up there. And I just sat down. I said “Okay, God, am I really, like, an angry guy?” And I felt like He’s like, “Yeah,” So long story short - and I tried to capture it in the book, is I did a study on anger. I preached on anger. And it wasn’t for the congregation, it was for me. I was like, where’s this come from? What’s going on? I remember when I did this series months later, I literally tied an extension cord around my waist and had it dragging around the stage, and that was one of my big learnings, is anger is plugged into something. It comes from somewhere. And for me, that was a new thought. It was like, duh, now. But it was like - yeah.

And so I was like, I didn’t even know there’s three types of anger. And there’s all kinds, but you know, there’s anger that’s okay. It isn’t out of control. It’s sort of related to a specific situation. And I had some of that. But I had the other two that were really bad. I’d never heard these terms - displaced anger. What’s displaced anger? It’s anger you have in this situation that’s displaced from another situation.

And I remember reading and studying. It’s like, how do you know if you have that? Well, you can do this. On a scale of one to 10, should you be angry right now? Yeah, probably a three. You’re a nine. Why are you a nine when you should be a three? Ah, you got to trace that extension cord back and say, “Okay, what is this plugged into?” And I often found that there’s displaced anger. You hear, you know, “He comes home, and he kicks the dog.” He’s not mad at the dog.

Jim: Right.

Dave: Something happened at work. There’s - and road rage is displaced anger. Something’s going on in your life you haven’t processed.

Jim: Wow.

Dave: And I didn’t even know that anger was a second emotion. You know, that I was really good at anger, really bad at hurt. I don’t come home and cry, I go angry. And so those learnings - and then I had this third one. This was big for me. Chronic anger is like displaced, that it comes from somewhere else, but it isn’t, like, something happened this morning or this week. It’s buried. Five years ago. Ten years ago. Well, Jim, you know.

Jim: Yeah.

Dave: I didn’t know till that moment. Oh, my gosh, I’ve got chronic anger. And a chronically angry person, it can snap any moment. It’s like zero to 10 - boom - and everybody’s like, “What just happened?”

Jim: Right.

Dave: That was me. That was what Ann was trying to say that day. Like, “Every time I bring something up, that’s what you do.” And I’m like, “No, I don’t.” Yeah, I do. And so I had to trace that one back. And it’s a long story, but I realized I had never forgiven my dad. I was still angry. I’m 33 years old, and I’m still having consequences in my marriage today, even as a dad, buried decades ago. And I had to go on a journey - I talk about it in the book - of forgiving my dad, which was impossible to do without God’s power. And God took me on this journey. And I can sit here today and say, “I’m free.”

Jim: And it’s such a beautiful story, but you’ve got to be in touch with those things. You’ve got to begin to ask the right questions. Why am I reacting this way? Some people might call that a trigger, right? You know, when your spouse says something - boom - you go to 10. All of a sudden, you’re attacking. And it’s healthy to take a look at that. Let me get a little more into the tools that help a marriage do better. In the book, you talk about divert, withdraw, abandon. Describe those terms.

Dave: You know, that was something that changed my life. I heard Rick Warren say this years ago. I mean, decades ago.

Jim: Before he hit it big?

(LAUGHTER)

Dave: Before he was Purpose Driven Life Rick Warren. And he was talking about your spiritual walk, and he just used these phrases. I’m a guy that likes alliteration and phrases. You know, I’m a preacher. And he said, “Divert daily, withdraw weekly, abandon annually.” And it’s really just a daily rhythm, a weekly rhythm and an annual rhythm. And he was talking about, okay, if you’re gonna walk with God, every day you divert from your schedule. Your schedule is packed...

Jim: Yeah. Don’t be so Type A you’re locked in.

Ann: Yeah.

Dave: Yeah. Carve out 15 minutes, 30 minutes, five minutes, whatever. It’s - we know it is a devotional quiet time, whatever. He’s saying, “Do that.” You gotta cultivate that discipline and rhythm. Here’s what we did in the book, cause I thought it was interesting. Those same things are true vertically, but they’re also true for your marriage relationship. It’s like, every day you need some time to talk to your spouse as well. So turn off the TV and talk!

Jim: Yeah.

Ann: Well, and that’s what happened out of our 10-year anniversary story, is we had this great homecoming with God, but then we were living out the “Now what?” questions, like how do we go from here? And my feelings did not come back automatically. It took some time to develop those and to go through that. So we kind of put these things into practice. Like, we need to catch up every day, just for a few minutes, of saying, even this question: “How are you doing?”

Dave: Which I didn’t want to ask.

Jim: Right. You kind of...

Dave: ‘Cause I didn’t want to hear that answer again.

Jim: Grew shy of that, right?

Dave: Yeah. But there was a rhythm, then we started to talk. And then the weekly, withdraw weekly, is simply the Sabbath principle. You need to rest spiritually. But you need to date. As a couple, you need to date.

Jim: Spend time together.

Dave: Yeah. And so we decided, we’ve got to intentionally put this in a calendar. It doesn’t have to be a Friday night, a lot of money. It can be a lunch. It can be a breakfast. But once a week, spend a couple hours - and that’s where we really sort of dove into, “So how are we doing? How are we doing in our marriage relationship?”

Ann: And even just - I know that in a marriage, it’s easy to stop pursuing one another. And so for even - I told Dave, “Just ask me, ‘Ann, how are you?’ I want you to ask me that question. My girlfriends do. I want you to ask me that.” And so Dave’s so funny. He’s writing it down, like, “Okay, I’ll ask you, ‘how are you?’“

(LAUGHTER)

Dave: And I can’t believe I wrote it down. But I was like, that’s how clueless I was. And I really think what happened to me and us is I got lazy.

Ann: Me, too.

Dave: You know. It was like - it’s almost like you lose your first love. And it’s interesting, I just preached on this. You go to that passage in Revelation 2, where he says, “I commend you for these great things, but you’ve lost your first love.” And what’s he tell him to do? Repent. Hm, heard that word before. And do the things you did at first. And I realized, man, when we were dating, when we were newlyweds, aw, pursue, pursue, pursue. And then you get lazy, and we’re, how do you get that back? A lot of couples think, well, I got to get that feeling back. No, no, no. Do the things you did at first. What’d we do? We talked every day. We dated. We forgave.

Ann: We had fun, too. We - married couples stop having fun and doing fun things together.

Dave: And so I honestly had to go after my marriage, like I do anything else, like, “Do I want this? Let’s go.” If I want a new body, I get up, I workout. So it’s daily, weekly.

Jim: It’s so true.

Dave: And it’s once a year, a retreat, a pouring into ourselves as well.

Jim: And you know, I am hopeful that we’re all hearing this. I mean, the couples that are listening, maybe your husband’s not with you, maybe your wife is not with you, and you need to sit down and listen to this together.

Dave: Hm.

Jim: And I hope you do, either listen to the podcast or get the CD from us, what have you. But I want to ask you, Ann, because I think you’ve got the answer here. Um, that woman that feels like, “There’s no way. This sounds great, but you know, Dave had some major epiphanies that I’m not seeing in my man.” What about that sense of hopelessness? If we go back to that moment, and Dave had not turned around in the Honda Accord - that’s a great word picture.

Ann: Yeah.

Jim: And he had not prayed that night. He would’ve looked dumbfounded at you, like, “What do you mean, we’re at .5, we’re a one?” And it went darker, and you drove home in silence. And you got to the house and turned your back to each other in bed, and you didn’t talk. You got up and continued the routine. Speak to that wife who’s experiencing that.

Ann: Yeah. I would say, don’t give up on Jesus. I think it’s the - and don’t give up on what God can do in your marriage. Because I think I was at that point of feeling hopeless, like, “God, even You can’t do this. You can’t even resurrect this.” But the fact that Jesus was resurrected from the dead - God resurrects dead things. And so I would say this, I wish I would have done this sooner. Keep your eyes on Him and on you.

Dave: Him being?

Ann: God. Yeah.

Dave: Yeah. Not your spouse.

(LAUGHTER)

Ann: Yeah. Yeah. Yes.

Dave: Cause that’s what we do.

Ann: Yeah. That’s what I was doing. I was looking at Dave’s flaws, instead of looking at God’s greatness. And I know some women are gonna say, “I’ve tried that. I’ve done that. Things aren’t changing.” I would say keep pursuing God. And I love what one preacher said this - and I thought, “Oh, gosh, I wish I’d have heard this.” He said, “Your spouse should know and understand how much God loves them by the way you treat them.”

Jim: Wow.

Ann: That was so convicting to me. Like, if your spouse doesn’t even know God or acknowledge God or even want to have anything to do with God, the way you treat them and love them is an act of worship to God when they don’t deserve it.

Jim: Oh, that’s true.

Ann: Yeah.

Jim: Dave and Ann, this has been awesome. Man, I could just - we could just talk all day. Let’s go to dinner tonight. I’ll get Jean.

Ann: I know. That’d be fun.

Dave: You pay, we’re going.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: We’re not going in a Honda.

(LAUGHTER)

Dave: All right.

Closing:

Jim: But the whole thing is so, so good. And I hope this has touched your life. And if you’re living in that place where you’re saying, “My marriage is like a dry weed,” get a hold of us. We’re here for you. Nothing you’re gonna say is gonna shock us. Forty years of ministry, I think we’ve heard just about all of it. And we have caring Christian counselors who will have that initial talk with you. They can send you, uh, in the direction of a local, uh, counsellor in your area. We have an incredible rolodex. People probably don’t know what that is.

(LAUGHTER)

John: Network would probably be the word for that today, huh?

Dave: You’re right. Network.

Jim: Network of counselors, a referral list that can help you. We have Hope Restored, our intensive marriage. Get a hold of us. And most importantly, get a copy of Dave and Ann Wilson’s book, Vertical Marriage. That’s a great tool and a great resource for you to start by reading a story where God said, “You do this, and I will work through you.” And to the both of you, thank you for living it in such a way - vulnerable - but in such a way that we can say, “Wow, their God has worked a miracle in their marriage.” Thank you for that.

Ann: Thank you.

Dave: Thank you for having us, and thank you for your ministry.

Ann: Yeah. 

John: Well you’re gonna find information about the Wilson’s book and our counseling team and Hope Restored - all of this at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Or call 800-232-6459 - 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

Be sure to check out our free online marriage assessment, which is a really easy and quick way to get an overview of what’s working well in your relationship and maybe an area or two where you can improve. And then, finally, when you get in touch, please consider making a generous financial contribution to Focus on the Family. We’re listener supported, and that means we depend on your partnership to strengthen marriages, equip parents, and offer God’s love to hurting families. If you can make a donation of any amount today, we’ll gladly send a complimentary copy of the book, Vertical Marriage. Our website, again, focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Well coming up next time, we’ll hear from Scott Klusendorf as he shares a compelling defense for pre-born babies.

Teaser:

Scott Klusendorf: What makes humans equal? Simply this: We all have the same human nature. And men and women, you have that human nature from the moment you began to exist.

End of Teaser

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Guest

Dave and Ann Wilson

View Bio
Dave Wilson and his wife, Ann, are the co-founders and teaching pastors at Kensington Community Church, a national, multi-campus church that hosts more than 14,000 attendees every weekend. For the past 25 years, they have been featured speakers at FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember events, and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Dave and Ann are authors of the book Vertical Marriage: The One Secret That Will Change Your Marriage. The couple resides in the Detroit area, where Dave has served as chaplain for the Detroit Lions for more than 30 years. Learn more about the Wilsons at their website, daveandannwilson.com.