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BEST Marriage - Anthony Delanely

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
May 15, 2021 1:30 am

BEST Marriage - Anthony Delanely

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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May 15, 2021 1:30 am

If your marriage isn’t all it could be, don’t miss this edition of Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. Former police officer, Anthony Delaney believes that if you have lots of conflict and you’re wildly different, there’s still hope for you and your spouse. How can you achieve the “BEST” marriage? Find out today on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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This is Doug Hastings, Vice President of Moody Radio, and we're thankful for support from our listeners and businesses like United Faith Mortgage. Heading into spring, I've been spending a lot of time pondering, analyzing, and debating something extremely important to men, and even many women. And that's whether a new driver would improve my golf game.

I would say I'm somewhere between embarrassing and appalling at golf. But man, do I love it. And all my buddies show up with these epic flash, big maverick birther drivers, and I can't help but feel like they've got this massive advantage on me and my persimmons. It's Ryan, and our faith and family mortgage team, we're proud to have a pretty special advantage ourselves, and one that can be a big deal for you. Our team is an arm of a bigger company who is a direct lender, which means our company uses its own money and makes its own decisions within its own walls. There's no middleman, and this advantage often allows us to get you a better rate, saving monthly and lifelong money on a refinance or new home purchase. We're much better at mortgages than I am at golf.

We are United Faith Mortgage. If you're imperfect and your spouse is imperfect, then is a healthy, vibrant marriage possible? To get the best out of this relationship, I need to see this other person as being a blessing. What have I done today to encourage him or her?

How can I share how I'm feeling and what I'm thinking and what I'm going through and listen to what they are also thinking and feeling? And then, you know, how do we seal the bond of marriage, the love that we have in regular, affectionate physical touch? Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . If you're struggling in your marriage and don't have a vision for the future, you'll want to hear Anthony Delaney talk about the practical steps you can take to improve your relationship. The best marriage is the title of today's featured resource at

B-E-S-T is an acrostic. We're going to talk about that. Subtitled, Why Settle for Less? Gary, that's a good question that you have dealt with through the years with your counseling, with your writing. So many settle for less in marriage, don't they? You know, Chris, that's true. And I think part of it is that they say to themselves, my spouse is never going to change, so things can never be better.

And they are all going to count. Number one, their spouse can change because they're human and humans change. And the second thing they overlook, I think, is they have a role in making the marriage best, you know, or better.

And so even though the spouse may at this juncture not be open, if you're open, you can have an influence on the other person. So, yeah, I'm excited about our conversation today. I am, too. And I could just listen to Anthony Delaney all day long because of the way he talks. Let me introduce him. He served as a police officer in inner city Manchester, England, for 10 years before going into church leadership. He now leads Ivy Church, which is a church planting movement. He also founded Launch Church Multiplication Catalyst, a global community drawing together hundreds of church and network leaders to be inspired and commissioned to multiply disciples, leaders, churches and movements. He's an author. He speaks and teaches throughout Europe and Africa.

He's married to Zoe and they have three adult children and four grandchildren. Well, Anthony, welcome to Building Relationships. Thank you very much, Gary.

Thank you, Chris. I remember my time over there with you when I was speaking in England and being in one of the churches with which you work. And so it's great to have you on today. So tell our listeners a little bit about what you do and why you do it.

Well, yeah, I'm very excited to be able to share with you and the listeners today. From Manchester in England, the church that I lead, Ivy Church, was actually founded in 1893 when a young man called Oliver Brock Bank had been at Cambridge University, where he actually heard the good news of Jesus Christ through DL Moody, who came across with Sankey and the two of them did a very short gospel tour at Cambridge University. And this young man turned his life around and then started a church, a house church, really, that then grew and grew. And then he actually built the building, which was the one that we started from in 1893. He paid for the whole lot himself.

Nobody knows how much it cost, except he did a really good job. And yeah, it just left an incredible legacy of faith, which over the years we've been building on. I'm from Manchester originally. I was a police officer here for over 10 years. Then I became a follower of Jesus Christ myself, was called into full time ministry. So I was ordained in the Church of England, led in various settings all around the country. And then 12 years ago, came back here to Manchester, to this city and took on Ivy. And since then, we've planted out a number of congregations meeting in different places all over the city. Well, that's exciting. I remember being in that church and seeing the plaque on the wall about DL Moody and Iris Sankey being there. And of course, I'm a graduate of Moody Bible Institute. So that was a real exciting moment for me when I realized the history of that church. But you know, what's great is to see that you and of course, many, many others through the years have built on that foundation and reaching out now in other places as well.

So as you speak and travel around the world, give us kind of your State of the Union report. What's happening with marriages that you observe? Well, I think they're probably more under pressure than perhaps they've ever been. I think that before the pandemic, there was already a lot of pressure on marriages. And when I say pressure, it used to be that there was, I suppose, centripetal forces, which is the idea that there'd be things that would keep people pushed together. You know, societal expectations and, you know, just traditions, perhaps all those things just started to fall away more and more over the decades so that now there's less pressure to stay together. But I feel like there's a lot more pressure even now to pull apart and to pull couples apart as those pressures have ceased. So the pressure is to stay together.

There's been a lot more pressure to pull apart. And I think people, as Chris said earlier through this last year or so, have been through testing times. We've all been through testing times. And with marriages, some people may be wondering whether or not their relationship will actually stand that test.

Some have gone stronger. I certainly feel, thank God, that ours has, mine and Zoe's, but it's not been easy. And that's what I talk about in the book that, you know, we've been married for 34 years now and it's a wonderful relationship. And yet we've had our times and our ups and downs and yet we're still going and still going together, which is really, I think, what matters is whatever we go through, we make this commitment that we're going to do our best to go through it together.

I think that marriages, as I say, are such a, it's a commitment, it's a covenant, but also they can be, it should be the best. And many people, I think, just feel like, well, I'm not getting the best, so maybe I should give up. Whereas actually, I think as we aim to get better, we find one day that we're heading towards the best, which is really what the book's all about.

Yeah, yeah. I certainly agree that in today's world, there's a lot of pressure just to give up, you know, if things aren't going well and you're not happy and they don't get better in a year or six months, then I'm going to go find somebody else. Everybody compares with somebody else, but it's an unreal picture that they see on Instagram or, you know, that they kind of think, oh, well, I'm sure those people, their marriage, their relationship seems so much better and mine's terrible by comparison, but we can't live by comparison. If we live by comparison, we're always going to end up feeling like we're missing out.

Yeah. Now you were a police officer for more than 10 years before you became a church leader. How did that profession prepare you for what you're doing now? Well, I feel it did because I came straight out of high school at 16 and into the police cadets, did some training there at the academy, and then went straight in at the age of 18 and a half, which now there's no way, they don't let anybody in the police until they're in their 20s now, but I was 18 and a half when I had to walk the toughest beat in Manchester.

We don't get to carry guns. Most of us over here, you just got to be able to be better at talking to people and negotiating with people. And I found myself having to go into really tense domestic disputes as we call them real. You know, sometimes there'd be violence involved as well. And people are really on a razor's edge in their relationships and arguments.

And I had to go in as this young guy and pretend in many ways to be older than I was in order to kind of give advice to people about their relationships when all I'd have really observed was my own parents and was kind of making it up as I went along. But I think over the years, when you've dealt with people in the extremities of those hard times, I found later looking back that I've been in similar rooms without necessarily the violence, but with the people pulling one another down, people being negative towards one another, people not looking to build one another up, people giving up on hope in the marriage, etc. And the time in the police, if that was like a scale of one to 10, if that was a 10 in terms of how tough it was, it prepared me for various things when people will come and say, well, my marriage is awful. And I'm going to say, no, your marriage is like a six compared with some of the things I've seen. And we can work with this.

It's going to be okay if we do the following thing. So I think, yeah, the things that I've seen and seen people get through and come through has given me hope for marriages, which the couple themselves may feel, well, we've got no hope. But I can actually look back and see that I've been able to help people with all kinds of things in their relationships. And again, there's hope. And, you know, I believe God can help us to have the wisdom and the love that we need to very often come through into a different place. Yeah. It's always been interesting to me to look back on people's lives, my own included, and see how God used things that we didn't anticipate he would use them in that way.

But he did in preparing us for the next step. So that's exciting. Let's get to your book, because I am very excited about the book. It's called The Best Marriage. Who are you trying to speak to in this book? Who's your audience? Well, as a pastor now, there were times when I would have a couple come to me thinking that they needed to be prepared for marriage. And they were wondering about that. And what were the pressures that they might have to be able to, you know, what are the conversations they could have that would enable them before the wedding day to get ready for all the important days after the wedding day? So that was one group of people who are thinking of getting married. There are also many people that I know, we just do marriage seminars like marriage checkups, if you like, and find that people just wanted to make the marriage a little bit better. And also there were people who were really struggling and having a hard time with marriage and wondering whether or not they'd even be able to make it another few months.

And what I didn't find at the time was any single resource that I could point people to and say, maybe this will help. And it's not the last word, but it could be a helpful word for you in that. And the more I looked around after a while through various things and through things that I was teaching myself in seminars, and through my own experience of hard times in marriage, myself and Zoe, I'm very open in the book about how we've been through marriage counseling ourselves at various points and had a lot of pressures to come through. But I wanted to write a book that would help somebody, whether they were loving their marriage, kind of just hanging on barely in some way, or they were wondering whether or not they were the marrying kind, what was right for them, and whether this was the relationship that they would be signing up for and to help them to be prepared. And so I wrote a short book, I tried to be humorous in it. I also wanted it to be a book, to be honest with you, that the man would read, because very often you find that perhaps the woman will read it and underline a few pages and pass them over to the guy. Right, write his name in the margin. You need to read page 40. So I wanted a book that, you know, and it's got some humor in it, and just to maintain interest and ask questions, and each chapter has some discussions and ideas to be able to help people to be able to talk about their most important relationship. So Anthony, the name of the book is The Best Marriage, and you use best, B-E-S-T as an acronym. Walk us through what those letters stand for.

For sure. The first one is blessing, B for blessing. And I think it's to understand that our partner, in England we have this phrase, the other half is meant to be a blessing to us from, you know, I believe from God. I very much write this as a book that whether or not somebody is a believer or not yet a believer, and they're just, you know, a spiritual person in some way, or maybe not even that, but the principles work anyway. And it's to help somebody to see that this is a means of blessing in my life. This other person is meant to be a means of blessing in my life. And so to receive them as such and to look at the ways in which they have been a blessing. The next one is encouraging, and it's finding regularly ways in which I can actually encourage the other person to be their cheerleader, to never pull them down. You know, somebody said the best way to bury a marriage is lots of little digs and actually to stop that before it starts and then instead to think, and again, the word think is another acronym, isn't it, you know, to what is what I'm going to say, true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, kind.

And if not, why am I going to say that? We should be building up the other person. We actually benefit from doing that ourselves. Sharing is really about vulnerability, which so many of us find difficult to be able to do that. But, you know, I know that much of your work, Dr. Gary, has helped many people to open up in that area of being vulnerable about their own needs and being able to share those things with their partners as being the people who are going to help them by seeking to meet those very real needs that everybody has. But also, you know, the work of people like Brene Brown, et cetera, have over the years informed me to think in terms of how vulnerability, although it seems scary, is the only way to have reality in our relationships.

And then the T is touch. And it's just that, well, we're seeing the problems these days through social distancing, et cetera, that literally people are dying to be touched. People are longing to be held and to be hugged.

And without that, there's something that is so missing. And so we need to be regularly, physically holding one another. I just went for a walk with my wife.

We spent a little hour walking our new little dog we've got. And, you know, we're walking around holding hands as we're walking on. Just all these physical touch things I think are so important. And obviously the sexual component of marriage, too, is a great gift to us that needs to be protected and cherished and enjoyed. So those are the four things that I think hopefully people can just remember. To get the best out of this relationship, I need to see this other person as being a blessing. What have I done today to encourage him or her?

Can I share how I'm feeling and what I'm thinking and what I'm going through and listen to what they are also thinking and feeling? And then, you know, how do we kind of seal the bond of marriage, the love that we have in regular, affectionate, physical touch? Well, no question, but those are four super important things in having a great marriage.

Well, I want us to dig into those a little deeper along the line, but let me pause and ask this. How about the effect of COVID-19 on marriages? The good, the bad.

What have you observed? I think that very often what's happened is it's actually rather than create problems, I think that what COVID-19 has revealed them is kind of revealed that what was under the iceberg that you couldn't see before very often, and that people having to spend extra time together perhaps in the home, there were things that previously had been left unaddressed and unspoken about, but now we're having to be in the same space, we're having to work things out. And for many couples, actually, that could be a good thing if they can work through it in a positive way.

It could actually, and I think I'm just talking to some people, finding that they say, well, actually, our marriage has improved because we've had to work some things out in order to be able to share a workspace or look after the children together, et cetera. And we've also found in some ways a bit of a common enemy in that there's this pandemic that the world is dealing with, and so it's united us together. And we've realized, actually, I care about you. I care about your health.

So I must care because I worry about you. And so there can be positives from it. But at the same time, in the book, I list statistics that show in terms of how divorce has been going anyway. And there's also evidence, I just read a report from the BBC recently that just over here in the UK, that the kind of divorce lawyers are circling a little bit like sharks smelling blood in the water and waiting to kind of pounce. And I think if you say the word divorce once or twice, then Facebook will hear it.

And the next thing is you're going to get, it'll just pop up on your timeline that you could have a conversation with somebody who could help you to get divorced really quick if it isn't working for you. And I think that's the big problem very often. Divorce has become, and I know it's a painful subject and I address that, but I think that if we feel it is going to make us happier to divorce, I also look at in the book that the statistics are in that in the end, people aren't generally happier because they get divorced because you always take the weather with you. And 50% of the problem in most marriages is the person that you're looking in the mirror at. And that doesn't change. You say in the book, Anthony, and I'm quoting here, most people drift apart rather than fall out of love.

Explain that. Yeah, I think we can have this picture sometimes that there's a climactic event and often as a pastor, I might get that call late on at night and it'll be like, our marriage has just fallen apart and come and see us and help to sort it out. And very often what I'll do is obviously try and talk to the couple, but make an appointment a couple of days on when the adrenaline's died down and say, let's look at the actual investment that you've been putting in your marriage.

Because what you realize is it's been like there's an overdraft that's taken place. They used to be in love. And that was when they were investing in various ways in the marriage.

And now life has come along and just made so many withdrawals. They don't feel like there's anything left to be able to draw upon in order to be able to have a healthy and good marriage. And what happens very often is people who, well, like the subtitle of the book, people have got married with a full expectation that they will be one another's because one flesh in love can't live without you other.

And then over time, they settle for less, invest less in the relationship, feel like, well, he's not doing it, so why should I perhaps? And as a result of that, after a time, they said they got hitched, but now they're living on separate tracks. And maybe they bump into one another at meal times every now and then for meal breaks, but then they just go back together again. And that isn't what they signed up for, but they drifted apart. And if you have a trajectory that's just a few degrees off, initially it looks okay, but give it some time, give it some years, and then you realize you end up with a couple, and very often that might be an empty nest situation where they're like, why are we even still together because we haven't got those things? The kids have grown up and moved away. We've worked patterns of change, et cetera.

Is there still a me and you? And people have drifted apart rather than had, as I said, a falling out. There's been more of just a gentle separation that's then ended up with two people living on two separate islands. And we know that many people at that juncture do choose to separate and then divorce. Now, Anthony, there are those who are saying that rather than bemoaning the fact that there are so many divorces and marriage is falling apart as an institution, that we should just recognize that marriage is an outdated institution, that monogamy is monotony, and why would I want to stay in this?

How do you respond to that sentiment? Well, I'd say that the most important things in our lives are our relationships. I think that's true spiritually. My most important relationship is my relationship with God through Jesus Christ. My second most important relationship is my relationship with Zoe. And through that relationship, so many other great blessings have come in my life over the years that we've been married.

And we are happy to the extent that we have a good relational framework. Now, that isn't always marriage. It isn't always for everybody. But the statistics are in that relationships, good relationships don't just make you happier.

They also help you to live longer. I just read a study recently that said people's immune response following a vaccination is stronger if they don't tick a box that says that they're lonely. There's so much that goes on in our lives that is related to our health that is connected to the health and strength of our relationships. Again, the statistics are in with regard to marriage. Statistically, couples who marry live longer.

I know somebody might be listening and saying, well, it feels like it. But they also tend to be healthier. And any children who come along receive the same benefits. Married couples also earn more money.

Usually, in most countries, pay less tax. They are less likely to cheat and be cheated on. And as a result, they do experience better mental and emotional health with less depression and anxiety. And men are half as much at risk of suicide if they're married. Married couples are less likely to abuse alcohol or drugs. And being married reduces the possibility and frequency of domestic violence. So if the single best predictor of human happiness is social relationship quality, and it is, and if you're married, you're twice as likely to report that you will have a happy life. And as I said before, however, if you divorce in order to be happier, you'll most likely not be, as few divorced people actually report being happier having done so.

And none of these benefits apply to cohabitation. There's something special about marriage. Thanks for joining us today for Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . You can find out more about your love language or our featured resource by going to You can listen to the stream or download the podcast right there and find the link to the book by author and speaker Anthony Delaney. It's titled The Best Marriage.

Why settle for less? Find out more at That's Let's look at the title again of the book, The Best Marriage. And we, earlier in our program, we talked about what each of those letters stand for, B-E-S-T. Let's look at each of those just briefly and try to give some practical ideas here. One of them is blessing. So how can one partner in a marriage be a blessing to the other?

Give us examples of what that looks like. Well, I'm sure you'll have heard of the work of Dr. John Gottman, who is a leading academic relationship expert. He's been featured by Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Blink, and he's able to tell with incredible accuracy whether or not a couple will still be together. Just by watching 15 minutes of interaction, he can tell whether or not they'll still be together 15 years later, and he's got a 95% accuracy rate on that. And one of the key factors that he says when he's looking for that is just that this couple are being positive way more than they're being negative. And he actually even has a ratio that comes out of that, which is that five positives for every one negative equals merits or bliss.

That's the maths. And it's about making the investments of the positives and to see the other person as a blessing and find ways imaginatively to be able to bless them rather than sitting there waiting for them to come and bless me. I have to think, what can I put into this marriage rather than what can I take out of it? And again, that can be as simple as a text while they're at work.

It could be cards. It's knowing their love language. It's being able to speak their love language. I didn't realize this when I first got married. I think when I look at my marriage for the first 10 years or so, I figured out that in terms of love languages, I suppose, that the thing that I'm all about is verbal affirmation. And so if my wife was feeling down, I would just tell her how great she was and what a wonderful wife and mum she was, et cetera, et cetera, and think that that would fill her up.

But actually, that's not her love language. I think the picture is that we were playing tennis on two different tennis courts and we weren't connecting in those ways positively with each other. And it took a while for me to realize, and again, some counseling for me to realize that I – well, what I've got to do is empathize. I've got to enter her world. I've got to ask questions about how she is and how she's feeling and spend the time with her because she needs quality time. I mean, that's a hard one for me because I'm a busy guy, and everybody gets busy. But if we're going to have a good marriage, I wouldn't just tell her how wonderful she is.

I've got to show up and be there with her and be a blessing to her in that way. Again, we can only pick these things up from our families of origin. I looked at how my father was with my mother, and they were wonderful, and they loved one another throughout the whole of their lives until my father died a few years ago. But I got my cues from him about what a husband was, and Zoe got her cues about what a husband was from her father, and vice versa with the mums.

And we pick up these things, and we can think, well, this should work for you because it worked in my family of origin. And again, it doesn't – it ain't necessarily so because people are different. And again, I mean, a big part of the blessing chapter is recognizing the differences and celebrating them as being the things that actually keep life exciting. I don't want another person just like me.

One of me is bad enough. But the ways in which I can bless Zoe are the ways in which I need to discover the ways that thrill her, that warm her heart, and that let her know, and they're not the same as what helps me, and I think that's a big part of blessing. The second word you use in the word best, B-E-S-T, is encouraging. How does that differ from a blessing?

Well, I think the early Christians would remember that Jesus was fond of saying a phrase, it's more blessed to give than to receive. And of course, that applies to marriage too. And the best relationship is when I focus on the other person, not just on me.

And literally, encourage means add courage. This could be a scary, tough world for anybody to live in. And I think that what I signed up for at marriage was somebody who'll stand alongside me no matter what, and that I don't ever have to face anything alone as long as we both shall live. And by the same token, that's what Zoe signed up for and expected in me. And some of our biggest challenges come, again, when we look to take rather than to give.

And so again, I'm so looking for what encouragement am I giving? And what if we thought of our marriages every day like an empty box? And you've got to put something in before you can take anything out. And really, it's like the picture is that there's really no love in marriage itself. The love is in people, and we decide where we will put it. If there's going to be any romance there, if there's going to be any encouragement there, if there's going to be kindness there, it's not there unless we choose to put it in. And sometimes, again, a couple could be waiting for the other person to put something into the box. But the more we put in each day, the more there will be, and it will build up.

And again, I reference another book in this book by Dr. Willard F. Harley some years ago. And he talked about the love bank, the idea that inside each other is this emotional tank that needs to be filled, and life will keep on making withdrawals out of that. But my job isn't to sit there waiting for my love tank to be filled up. It's to keep on emptying mine and to be making sure I'm spending most of that on Zoe that I'm putting into our relationship, because you reap what you sow.

And if I don't sow, I shouldn't expect to reap. So encouraging, just finding ways to, again, I've decided, I drive my wife to work. She can drive, but every day I drive her to work.

We spend the time together in the car there and on the way back. And before she goes in, we'll park, we'll pray. Then she goes into her work at the hospital where she's an emergency casualty nurse. And just in doing so, that's a choice to make to encourage. And in all of that, I'm not saying to anybody who's listening, I'm a great husband being like me, because if Zoe was sitting here, she'd also tell me many ways in which I'm not always an encouragement to her. But that just came to mind as an example of I don't want her to go into that emergency room situation and especially in COVID times, in high-stress situations. I want her to know that I care about her and that I'll be there whatever time her shift finishes. She never has to worry that there's going to be somewhere where she's going to walk out and that I won't be there for her. And so, again, it's not just words, it's presence.

It's literally being there. The third word and best is the S, and it's sharing. And it sounds like you were beginning to talk about that really when you said that you all spend time in the car together driving to work and coming back from work. But what is sharing involved and where do couples who aren't really closely connected, where do they start to begin sharing life on a deeper level? Well, you've got to start somewhere. And even if you start somewhere and you feel like you just got closed off and there's high walls between you, maybe somebody listening needs to hear this.

Today is the day. And you can even share that it's hard for you. When we first got married, before we got married, our church made us the guinea pigs for a marriage preparation course. And I remember being affronted. I was like 21 years of age. I was a police officer. I knew pretty much everything.

I was a man of the world. And I was getting married, and we loved one another, and we'd been together for nearly two years. We knew each other. So how could anybody come along and tell us about marriage? And I just realized I had so much I didn't know. Well, this very gracious older couple who did the marriage preparation course with us, they helped us and shared, and they didn't give us all their answers. They helped us to find our own. But I'll never forget that they were saying that if you ever get to that point when you just can't speak to the other person because whatever you say is going to set them off and going to end up with them arguing and making it worse, write a note to the other person and just write out, this is how I feel right now, and then write the note and pass it to the other person and say, I don't want you to talk back to me because, you know, some people will know what this is like. It feels like whatever I say, it makes it worse, and whatever you say makes it worse. But if I write it on a piece of paper, please just read it from beginning to the end and then write it back to me, your answer. Now, over the years, I remember them saying at the time and thinking, well, we love one another so much.

That will never happen. How could that possibly be? Within a couple of years, I was putting notes. I put a note like that under the bathroom door and just on the other side of the door heard like, and then I need a pen, and then a pen got put over and then Zoe came back and we were able to share. And it's tough. Even when it's hard, there are ways to share and to be able to do that. But it's much better if we can get in a habit of being open and being vulnerable. And it's taken me, Gary and Chris, I feel a lot, you know, kind of embarrassed to say it because I'm 56 years of age now. I'll soon have six grandchildren with two more on the way. But I've only just really learned that the best thing I can do in terms of sharing is listen.

And actually what my wife needs is somebody who will just hear her heart, not give her the answers, you know, repeat back the things that she's telling me and just hear her. And the other thing that I've realized, and this is something Zoe told me over the years many times, but, you know, maybe stuff I just had to deal with from my own family of origin, or even from, you know, those hard times in the police and the ways in which you deal with conflict in those, that ultimately I need to remember she's on my side. There's no us and them. There's just us.

That's it. And we made that commitment and God's right at the center of it and that three-fold cord cannot be easily broken with him at the center of it. And even though the world's trying to pull us apart in so many ways, the wonderful thing is he is a blessing to me and an incredible encouragement to me. And there's nobody that I'd rather spend time with except I forget that. And what I need to do is make that time, turn off the phones, not just watch another series on Netflix or whatever, but actually just sit and say, how's life for you now? How are you feeling?

What's going on? And then just to listen. And the other thing that I mention in the book, I think, too, which is helpful in that is to just repeat back very simply what the other person said to be able to share. Like when you drive up to McDonald's or some other drive-throughs are also available, I'm sure, but to go and you give your order and you say I'd like a Big Mac with extra fries, no pickle and a strawberry milkshake. And then the other person comes back and says, okay, was that a Big Mac, no pickle?

And he goes through it and you say, yes. A lot of this sharing communication is just hearing the other person and saying, I hear what you're saying is and then letting them hear that I've heard. And that is incredibly simple, really powerful. Technique, it's too strong a word, but just a loving way that we together can share and that we hear one another. And so I'd recommend that to the listeners as a way to be able to perhaps find, make some space, make some time and just give each other a really good listening to. So, Anthony, in the last section, we were talking about the best marriage, B-E-S-T, and we talked about blessing, encouraging and sharing. And the last of those is touch. You're talking about physical touch.

Just explain the importance of that just a moment. Well, we've been made body, mind and spirit, and we're meant to connect on all of those levels. The Bible talks really clearly about when a couple get married that they become one flesh. That's God's intention for them, that they reserve the sexual act for that time between a man and a woman when in a marriage covenant, this incredible blessing comes.

And, you know, people talk about having a marriage blessing and you can arrange it as a formal ceremony. But for me, every time a married couple are intimate together, that is releasing the blessing of God of intimacy, as well as, you know, I mean, everybody will be able to know that there's hormones released that are going to keep you healthy and strong. There's all those things on a physiological level, but emotionally we're healthier and better for doing that. And this is why touch is so important.

I reference in the book some of those horrible things that have happened over the years when they've had children that have not been able to form properly because they've not been touched. Again, just this idea that we are made for physical contact. But the way in which very often the world demonstrates that is that we go out and we join bodies with all kinds of people. And then maybe if we join bodies with enough people, we'll meet somebody that we share a common mind with. And then if we are of a common mind, perhaps I can share something of my spirituality with you. But the way God designed it is that we are meant to connect, first of all, at the level of spirit, that we meet with somebody who shares the love of God and knows the love of God with each other. If you can do that, then from there you form that friendship, that bond that is mind to mind, soul to soul.

And then at the right time and in the right way, you're set up for an incredibly wonderful possibility for a physical relationship. I mentioned before the broadcast, my son was here, Joel, and he was married. He went out to South Africa and met his wife who's from Canada. And he was at a Bible school out there. And at one point, when they were first attracted to one another, one of the leaders of the church said, okay, well, you need to not be in proximity to one another.

You're not going to be going on dates. We're going to have chaperones. And they were like, you know, kids from here in the UK, it's like, that's not how we're used to thinking in terms of relationships.

But obviously it's not just the Western cultures that know how to do relationships. And so this African leader took Joel out into the bush and he explained to him, he said like, when we have a fire out here, what we do is, first of all, we dig a little area. We section off an area for it. And then we get stones and we build all stones around it. And then we get the materials and we gather them for the fire. And then we put the kindling on top. And then when everything's ready, then we set the fire.

And if we don't do that, that fire is going to cause a wildfire of destruction. And he said, that's why we're going to build this right. And my son heard that, accepted it. And I believe that as a result of that, the fire that burns in their marriage burns so much brighter and stronger, purer and better than for many in their generation at the age of 28, for him to be married and focused on this one woman for life and how he can build into that. He's got potential as we pray for that and encourage him for them to have a long and happy and blessed and the best marriage, which I pray for them.

Yes. Well, Anthony, as we come to the conclusion of our program today, speak to the spouse who has heard what we're saying about having the best marriage, and they really want that. But the other spouse is just not interested. You know, they're not hearing this program today. They're not interested in reading the book.

They're just happy to stay where they are, just at a distance. What would you say to that spouse who's listening today? Well, I would encourage them that they can only change themselves, first of all. And, you know, in Scripture, it talks about if you have an unbelieving partner, in that sense, if it's an unbelieving partner, the way you demonstrate Christ to them is that you love them and you love them as they are. And nobody likes to be changed.

I've never met anybody who's really looking for everybody else to change them. But as you continue to love unconditionally and as you find ways to bless the other person, think of that picture again of that box. And, you know, as you put into it, I believe that it's still the possibility that you can only do what you can do. At the same time, I'd say that there is hope, but I'd encourage that couple to talk about going to counseling together to find ways that they can learn to address what it is and to say, you know what, we can make a commitment to work this through.

And the reason I can say that is because there's a detail in the book. You know, I talk about one couple who they haven't spoke to each other really in any meaningful way for a couple of days. He's walking up the stairs, she's walking down the stairs. He looks at her and says, I can't see one thing I like about you. She says, ditto, and then they part.

And that's all they're going to say for another couple of days. Now, I know that couple because that was myself and Zoe. That was us when we were about 12 years into our marriage, and we worked it out and we worked it through. And, yeah, it took both of us, but there were times when neither of us wanted to do it.

And then subsequently, even a couple of years ago, I got off a bus so angry with Zoe, I couldn't even be on the same bus as her and walked off in the rain. I was so just fed up, and she was similarly just like, what are we doing together? And we made the decision, we could walk out or we could work at it. And we decided to do the harder thing, I think, which is to work at it. And again, when I got in those counseling rooms, I found out that probably more than 50% of the problem was me. And actually, that's the only part I could do any real work on. And through that, however, I'm so grateful to say that today, we're headed towards the best, and it's getting better all the time.

Yeah. Well, that's great, Anthony. I am so glad you shared with us today and took time to write this book. I do believe that our listeners are going to find it to be very, very helpful.

You know, I don't think anybody wants to have a difficult marriage or a miserable marriage. And we, as you say, can only do our part. But if we do our part, we're having a positive influence on the other person as well. Well, thanks for being with us, Anthony. Thank you, Gary. What an encouragement today. If you go to the website, you'll find that book titled The Best Marriage, Why Settle for Less? You can find out more at Again, And next week, if you want to become who God created you to be, don't miss our conversation with Gary Thomas.

That's coming up in one week. A big thank you to our production team, Steve Wick and Janice Todd. Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman is a production of Moody Radio in association with Moody Publishers, a ministry of Moody Bible Institute. Thanks for listening.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-21 10:11:20 / 2023-08-21 10:30:22 / 19

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