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Interview with Chip and Theresa - Overcoming Our Biggest Challenges

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
February 28, 2024 5:00 am

Interview with Chip and Theresa - Overcoming Our Biggest Challenges

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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February 28, 2024 5:00 am

Ask any couple and they’ll tell you - marriage is hard - especially when disagreements arise and personalities clash. So how can couples endure? In this program, we’ll learn some helpful ‘how-tos’ through the final part of Chip and Theresa Ingram’s conversation. Hear how they worked through challenges in their marriage over the last 45 years by remaining close to God and holding tight to His promises.

Main Points
  • Celebrating Marriage: Annie joins her parents to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary and discuss the ups and downs of their marriage.

  • Common Marital Struggles: They acknowledge that all marriages face common issues like money, children, sex, communication, and hardships.

  • Parenting Challenges: Chip and Theresa talk about their disagreements over disciplining their children and the importance of understanding each child's needs.

  • Sexual Intimacy: Theresa shares her struggles with sexual intimacy and the need for communication and seeking help within marriage.

  • Navigating Hardships: Chip and Theresa discuss how they've faced various hardships together and stress the importance of leaning on each other and their faith in God.

  • Seeking God's Guidance: Theresa emphasizes the value of seeking God's wisdom during tough times, while Chip highlights the importance of endurance and trusting God's promises.

  • Faith as Foundation: Annie reflects on her parents' strong faith in Jesus as the cornerstone of their marriage and encourages listeners to seek a similar relationship for fulfilling and lasting relationships.

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About Chip Ingram

Chip Ingram’s passion is helping Christians really live like Christians. As a pastor, author, and teacher for more than three decades, Chip has helped believers around the world move from spiritual spectators to healthy, authentic disciples of Jesus by living out God’s truth in their lives and relationships in transformational ways.

About Living on the Edge

Living on the Edge exists to help Christians live like Christians. Established in 1995 as the radio ministry of pastor and author Chip Ingram, God has since grown it into a global discipleship ministry. Living on the Edge provides Biblical teaching and discipleship resources that challenge and equip spiritually hungry Christians all over the world to become mature disciples of Jesus.

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Every marriage has big problems at some time or another, and they're pretty predictable. Today, Teresa and I share very openly about our challenges with kids, money, sex, communication, and how God in His grace has helped us to work through those things. I hope it'll be a help to you. Stay with me. Thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Living on the Edge is an international teaching and discipleship ministry motivating Christians to live like Christians. Today, we'll wrap up our short interview series with Chip and Teresa Ingram. For the past couple of programs, they've shared some helpful advice from their 45 years of marriage. We hope you've been challenged and encouraged by their conversation and moved to apply some of this wisdom to your relationship.

If you missed the first two parts of this series, catch up through the Chip Ingram app or at Well, with all that said, here's Chip and Teresa's daughter, Annie, to get us going with today's program, overcoming our biggest challenges. Well, mom and dad, it's been really fun being on air with you guys and talking about your marriage, celebrating your 45th wedding anniversary.

We've heard your story. We've talked about practices that have cultivated a strong marriage and allowed you guys to be at 45 years and still like each other, which is wonderful. Today, we want to jump in and talk about every marriage. No matter our background, there are common areas that create conflict and we have struggle in that marriage isn't just this like picture perfect picket fence with everything tied and neat and kind of your Betty Crocker analogy earlier that if we can step outside and be honest, even a husband and wife who truly love one another, who puts God first in their life, they're still going to have problems.

Absolutely. And some of those common ones are money, kids, sex, communication, and navigating hardships, just to name a few. I think we could add to that list, but today I just want to cover some of those. So I want to get really practical in this section. We've heard a lot of your story.

We've talked about lies that we believe and dispelling those lies with God's truth. As we cover these really practical topics, which one, as you look back over your marriage to the beginning, even up until today, which one has been hardest for you? Some of them are seasonal in our lives.

It's like some of them we have early on in our marriage and we work through them and then, you know, there are different seasons of life, different things come up. I love being a mom. I love being a grandmother. I'm a nurturer.

I just want to take care of them and make sure they have everything they need and love on them. And dad and I are so different. And I think one of the things that we, during our raising children years, was disagreeing on discipline. That was hard for me because he's General Ingram.

Reporting for duty. And I don't know, I'm Mary had a little lamb, I guess. I don't, I don't know who I am, but there were times when I felt, for me, it was a struggle when I felt like he was disciplining a little too much or too harsh and it would hurt, it hurt me inside. And there were times that we argued over that and, and then we got to a point where we realized that we weren't always on the same page. And so we would sit down every so often and talk through all the kids and what they needed, where they were in their lives and what kind of discipline, because the same kind of discipline doesn't work with all those years. And different children have different personalities. And so you have to, you have to, I think you have to sit down as a couple and really talk about each of your children and what do you see in them?

Where are they having their struggles and, and what do we need to see God do in their lives? And doing that really helped us be more on the same page as we discipline the kids. And, and I think to that point too, you look through a different lens. So your mom, she's a woman, she's a nurturer. She wants to protect. She wants to provide.

She wants them to be safe. And my lens is I want them to develop. I want them to grow.

I want to launch them into the world. I want them to have an impact. Both are really good things. And looking back, I'm just really glad, uh, very imperfectly. And sometimes you wish you could move the clock back because, you know, there, there's a reason why firstborns tend to be more driven than any other children is because when you don't know what you're doing, you can have the expectations. They don't get quite the balance that you want for others. And so, yeah, it was, it was really, really good and hard to hear her side like, wow, just being intentional. This one needs this to solve the struggles, but then they need this to grow.

And sometimes what they need to grow was not easy or pleasant. And, um, you know, you and I have an ongoing joke, Annie, where you were sitting at the table and in tears and taking your first AP courses and this is too hard. It's so overwhelming. I can't do it. I'll never do it. And I said, oh honey, you got this.

Uh, it's all about capacity. In two weeks, you'll have this done. Oh, I want to drop this course, dad.

I don't want to do it. And you know, your mom's heart was, why are you putting her through this? And mine was, believe me, she's going to get this.

And in that particular case, obviously you did great. And, but I think kids need both of that and recognizing what I hear from your mom is too, is taking the time where every one of your children are the special gift from God. And what's your plan of intentionality? What do they need? What needs to develop? And the other side is where do you see giftedness? Where do you see creativity? Where do you see the fingerprints of God that are unique on them? And you say, how do we cooperate with that?

And it doesn't have to be like us and it doesn't have to be so much education or they don't need to be successful or have some occupation that fulfills your desires. And I think little by little, we, we learned to do that together as a team, but boy, we had a lot of arguments getting there. We learned to do it better. I wouldn't say we'd learn to do it and never had another issue with it, but we learned to do it better. Well said.

Well, it sounds like you guys taking the time early on in your marriage to figure out communication was a foundational tool so that you could communicate about kids, because that was another topic that you really had to meet each other in the middle and understand, you know, what your kid needs. And each of you have such different perspectives. We would jokingly, you know, we've taken a lot of tests over the years, whether they're personality tests or marriage tests. And I would jokingly say only one of us needs to take it. So you take it and whatever yours is, I'm the opposite exactly. Or if I take it, yours is the opposite, which as we've said, it makes a great team. If you can communicate and boy, it sure makes for a lot of conflict when you're, you're different. If you can't communicate and get out on the table, the meeting of meanings instead of, why can't she get this?

Or why is he so hard-headed? And yeah, you know, it's hard work, but it's worth it. The one that I think can override a lot of the others for a lot of marriages is sex.

And when you come from a background that where sex was so distorted, so different than God's design, I think it can cause a lot of negative feelings and arguments, misunderstandings in your marriage. That's so critical because I think I knew your mom loved me very much. And in my mind, I'm super attracted to her. She's so beautiful. I love her.

I know she loves me. I have this complete disconnect on why, what's the problem? You know, I didn't understand her background, her wounds, what's it like to be married before, how that experience has not been very, very positive, even views from, you know, her family of origin. And so to me, it was very like, I don't get it. What is there, what's wrong? And so it was really, really frustrating. And I felt really rejected and my default response, it's not a good one, but my quick default response when I'm really frustrated is anger. And because your mom is so sensitive to rejection and has been deeply rejected at very deep levels, when I begin to raise my voice, not even yell or scream, or if I show a disapproval, and it was around this, it was like putting gasoline on the fire. And it was just, there was just times where, what's wrong? Where do we get some help?

How can I love someone so much and her not want to be with me? When you don't understand what's, what's wrong with you or why you, why you think a certain way or, and so it, it took us getting some counseling. So we, we went to a counselor and for several weeks and actually learned some communication tools and just some other things that helped, helped us.

I mean, we really needed to communicate and I didn't know how to communicate in that area at all. And I had come from such a negative background that for me, becoming a Christian and then marrying a Christian man, well, I thought it was going to be totally different. I thought, well, you know, I looked at sex as a bad thing because I was in a non-Christian world. And all I saw was couples, you know, sharing partners and just all kinds, it was just all negative. And then when we got married, in my mind, I don't think I, just how I was feeling. I'm not sure I actually thought this, but I think I expected angels to show up on our wedding night and just praise the Lord.

Well, that didn't happen. I was so, so discouraged because I thought, well, why? And then, and I thought, well, how can God, why does He ordain sex?

Why did He make sex? You know, and I struggled with that for a long, long time. And those days, you know, there weren't hardly any, well, you can find any information. It wasn't like today there's so much, so much help.

Well, we didn't have any help. And when I tried to get help from friends, nobody wanted to talk about it. You had mentioned that early on in those days, the late 70s, you know, early 80s, talking about sex in church was really not a thing.

No one talked about it. People were uncomfortable with it. And conversely today, there's more messages even inside the church that I think are such a sad and broken perversion where sex is all about just my experience and that sex outside of marriage is okay. God understands.

And that covenant is a very sacred, sacred covenant, and you can't fully be safe and fully be yourself apart from a marriage covenant. And I think the other thing may be for, I can only speak to men. I think this is true of women, but I'll, you know, I'll go out on a limb. I think there's part of my growth was getting off of just being frustrated all the time and digging into, there's a way that my wife thinks about things that I don't understand that make no sense to me. I think sex is a gift from God and I need to learn what makes her tick.

I need to discover her family of origin. We need to have talks about how she views things. I need to have empathy. Anger is not working.

Getting mad doesn't work. I need to be understanding and empathetic. And then I need to have expectations that say, you know what, sex is one aspect of let's consider 10 in your marriage. And I think somehow the culture and even inside the churches, well, if it's not like raging hot awesome all the time, you have a bad marriage. And I remember really thinking through, wow, I have this amazing wife, amazing mother. She's faithful.

She's godly. We're best friends. I have all these things that are positive. And I could say, is my sex life what I really want it to be? No.

Do I have a really good marriage? Yeah. Are we going to keep working on this? Yeah.

But it doesn't break everything. And, you know, I remember when we had a few years, we couldn't communicate. I mean, we read so many books. And so we made it through that. I'm kind of guessing we'll make it through this versus starting to attack the other person. And a lie that I believe was when I got really frustrated, our marriage will be better when she changes. She's got to change.

And, you know, God, you don't seem to be doing a very good job. I'm going to help you. I'm going to change her. And it was just, I finally came to the point, I mean, not like some big spiritual awakening. It was, I'm so angry, so hurt, so defeated.

Everything I try doesn't work. And I just came to the only one I can change is me. And so, okay, what, you know, even in my worst moments where it's 90% her and 10% me, it was, Lord, would you show me my 10%?

And by the way, it was way more than 10% in various areas. Mom, for the women listening today, what advice would you give them if they're stuck in a place where sexual intimacy is just really hard right now? Well, God is our first resource. We need His help.

We need His wisdom. I think one of the best things to do is start listening to some good communication about sex. And, you know, the savvy sauce is a good one. And I know that there's a lot of resources out there now. Actually, Laura probably has those on her podcast for women and men, because sometimes people, they don't really understand the anatomy of sex.

You know, I think it's a lot in our heads, but if you don't understand how your body works, you're going to be frustrated. And I think that's really important. So I would just do some discovery. I would encourage it, whatever you learn, that you would share it with your husband and begin to open up the doorway to be able to discuss those things together. I wanted to touch on hardships. You guys have definitely not had a trouble-free marriage, a perfect marriage, and have gone through loss, grief, cancer, lots of moves, job changes, broken relationships with different people in your life.

How have you navigated those? I think it would go back to some things we talked earlier about why it matters so much to get up and meet with God, trying to take those hardships through the lens of, is God sovereign? Is He really good? If He's all-powerful, if He's all-knowing, if He's all-knowing, just getting a lens on, you know, theology matters. It's, I mean, I remember when your mom went through cancer, you know, 12, 13 years ago. God, I know you love me.

I know you're good. You know I want her to live. We will see each other forever and ever.

I'm begging, asking, and we're getting the best medical help, but I want to hold her loosely. And, you know, we've been through injustice, betrayals, super financial hardships, times with kids where maybe someone's rebelling, or a tough time in our marriage, or, you know, these major changes where we starting over from one coast to another, and the adjustments to cultures that are so radically different. And, you know, I think most of all is drawing near to God, drawing near to each other, and then people in your life, you can't make it through hardships alone.

I just, I just think of mentors, friends, supporters, whether it's fellow staff members, or mentors, or the closest friends. Why do you think that hardships tend to be a environment for division in marriages? I think it's, it puts your relationship to the test, and, you know, we have actions and we have reactions. Our actions show our intentions, our reactions reveal our character. And I think hardships peel away and we react.

And we can say whatever we want about what we believe and what we think is real and true. Our behavior always is the evidence of what we genuinely believe. And I think hardships reveal some things that are painful to see in yourself, but they're also times that they either kind of make you or break you. You draw near to God and you're desperate, and some really, I would never want to go through some of the things that we've been through together, but there's been an intimacy that has been created through going through those that I wouldn't want to trade for anything.

As I look back on my life, the hardest hardship that I experienced was just being abandoned as a young mom and just having the man you love get involved with another woman and the rejection that, so I had lived through that. I had come to Christ through that. And going through that as a believer early on as a believer, my hope, my help, everything was just running and getting on my knees and crying out to the Lord, just giving Him everything and crying out for His help. And it's not that He didn't always change the circumstances, but He always helped me.

He always picked me up. And I think when we go through as a couple, we do the same. We cry out to God. We cry out to God together. If it's just something with our children or something really serious, I mean, we really seek the Lord. And God's word, a verse in Psalm 119 says, if God's word had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.

And I've lived by that. And it doesn't mean that, I mean, we had, I think when we moved we moved from Santa Cruz, California to Atlanta, Georgia. And Dad fully believed that God was calling him there. And we were leaving our church, which I loved, and leaving our son. It just, I got so angry with him because, and so for a while I didn't like him. I mean, so I, you know, there's some times when you just, it just hurts so much and you feel like, well, if it wasn't for him, this wouldn't be happening.

It's like easy to blame others for the problem. Oh yeah. Yeah. But I went, I was always, you know, always surrendered. I always surrendered to the Lord.

I always surrendered to my husband because I knew that was the right thing to do. And then later, as I look back upon those years, I'm so glad we went. And you see it in hindsight what God did. And I grew so much through that time, even though it was hard.

You were in high school and we had so much fun getting you ready for the problems and on all the different things you did and just those high school years and your friends. And I look back and just to see the amazing things that God did through that time. And so sometimes you have to, in the hardships, you have to remind yourself that God is good.

He's for me and I can't see it now, but He promises, He promises whatever He allows us to go through that He has good for it. And you just have to hang on to that. I think my one verse that I hang on to Hebrews 10, 36 says, you have need of endurance so that once you have done the will of God, you might receive what was promised. And I think so much of hardships is just not giving up and not giving in and realizing in the pain and the difficulty and the grind, as you persevere, it really does lead to proven character and proven character to hope and hope doesn't disappoint because the love of God is poured out in our hearts. And there is a real progression of how God works through these things for our good. But I think it's okay to say, and I hate the process.

I just hate the process. And at times it feels like you can't make it, but you just persevere. And I don't mean that just pull up your bootstraps. It is you draw on God's grace, God's people, God's word, and tell Him, I can't make this, but for this hour or for the rest of this day, if you'll give me what I need, I won't quit. And you get up the next day and you do it again.

And as your mom says, then you look back in a year or five or 10 and you think, oh, please, if there is a different way, I'd like that one, but I wouldn't trade what you produced. I think of the Hebrews five passage where it says, for even the son of man learned obedience through the things which he suffered. That there's a process, even when you've never sinned, there's a process and a fallen world where God uses suffering and difficulty and tribulation to develop us and love us and make us who He wants us to be, that there's no other way. Well, and that's guaranteed that we're going to suffer.

It's just part of life. And I love that we began our time and we've ended our time with Jesus as our hope. And that no matter what happens in our lives, that we can lean into Him. I just wanted to say thank you to both of you for your time to share your story and to be honest. Congratulations to 45 years of marriage.

I pray you'll have many, many more years to celebrate ahead. And I just wanted to share with our listeners what my greatest takeaway has been from your marriage. And it's that Jesus Christ is your greatest treasure.

And that, to me, was modeled day in and day out. Although you struggled with money and sex, communication, hardships, kids, through the thick and the thin, every day I woke up seeing Mom in her Bible and seeing you in your Bible. And you prayed with us every day. And that Christ is our greatest treasure and our greatest hope is the foundation for our relationships.

And you modeled. And that's the foundation for a father-daughter relationship, for a mother-daughter, for a spouse. And I just, whoever is listening today, whether you're married or not, if you don't have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, cry out to Him. He wants to meet you right where you are.

And He wants to show you that He can satisfy all the desires of your heart and He can help you have a lasting relationship. This is Living on the Edge with Chip Engram. And you've been listening to the third and final part of our interview with Chip and Teresa Engram.

Thank you so much Teresa Engram. We hope you've learned a lot from their insights and advice. And let me encourage you to go back and revisit any part of this insightful conversation, either through the Chip Engram app or by visiting

Well, I'm joined in studio now by Chip. And Chip, you know, I've really enjoyed hearing you and Teresa talk so lovingly and openly about your marriage these last couple of programs. And today you identified the obstacles you had to overcome together to make your relationship work.

What would you say to someone who could identify with a few of those areas you listed and is looking for some help? What I would say Dave, is there are different seasons where we all have struggles with kids, money, sex, communication, storms in our life. And out of that, I literally codified all that, teaching out of Ephesians chapter five. And it was called marriage that works. It was so simple.

I wanted to let people know there is hope. God designed it. This is a man.

This is a woman. You know, like engineers, if you'll follow the design, the car really runs great. And this is one of those times where I put it in a book with all the kind of practices that we learned. And we've just been very honest about, okay, yeah, we had a struggle with kids.

Yeah, we argued about money. And I wanted to give people some very clear practical ways to make progress. Our heart's desire is to see marriages restored, encouraged. There is hope. Don't give up.

You are in just one of those seasons that is predictable as it can be, but you just think it's so hard it might never get better. I'm here to tell you, if you ask God for help, God can not just heal your marriage, but He can make it a light for His glory. Thanks, Chip. To order a copy of Marriage That Works, go to or call us at 888-333-6003. This book will help you better understand God's model for marriage, the roles of husbands and wives, and what it really means to be one with your spouse. No matter where your relationship is right now, this tool is going to encourage you.

Again, to get your hands on Chip's book, Marriage That Works, call 888-333-6003 or visit App listeners tap special offers. As we close, our mission at Living on the Edge is to help Christians live like Christians. And one of the best ways we can continue to do that is through programs like this. So when you hear a message that helps you, pass it on to someone else in your life. You can easily do that through the Chip Ingram app or by forwarding them the free MP3s that you'll find at And don't forget to include a note about how it made a difference in your life. Well, until next time, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-28 05:24:33 / 2024-02-28 05:35:08 / 11

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