Could a wife's attempt to manage a messy marriage work against her? I love helping women understand that God actually wants you to accentuate all the strength he's given you, but to do so in a way that's building something beyond just getting our own way or having things done the way we think they should be done. Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller "The 5 Love Languages" . Today, Dr. Julie Slattery talks to wives about the power they have to encourage and build a better marriage. Our featured resource is her book that's been rewritten. It's titled Finding the Hero in Your Husband, Embracing Your Power in Marriage.
You can find that and more simple ways to strengthen your relationship with the website, fivelovelanguages.com. And Gary, before we get to Dr. Slattery, since this is the Saturday before Valentine's Day, why don't you give some encouragement for those listening about that observance in our culture? Well, isn't it great that we have one day in the whole year that we emphasize love?
Let's use it. You know, I wish we had 365 days for Valentine's Day, but let's utilize it and make the most out of it. You know, so if you're married, do something different this time.
Give a different kind of gift. And if you're single, if you're just living your mother, I mean, let's think about love and look for opportunities and think about ways to express love to the significant people in our lives on that day. I think it's a great idea. Some people say, well, I don't like Valentine's Day.
Well, I don't know. I just think it's a great idea that we focus on love. So let's make the most of it. Use it to its full extent.
And I agree with you wholeheartedly. Maybe reading "The 5 Love Languages" book for the first time would be a good thing to do. And you can find out more about that at the website. Again, FiveLoveLanguages.com. Well, I think our guest today is going to have some great things to say to both men and women, but particularly wives who may be listening. Dr. Julie Slattery is a psychologist, author, the co-founder of Authentic Intimacy. In addition to speaking and teaching, she hosts the podcast Java with Julie, where she and a guest have coffee and conversation about relationships, sex, intimacy, and why God cares about our sexuality. She's the author of a number of books, including our featured resource today, Finding the Hero in Your Husband, Embracing Your Power in Marriage.
You can find out more at FiveLoveLanguages.com. Well, Dr. Slattery, welcome back to Building Relationships. Thanks for having me. I feel just the special honor of being able to share with you on Valentine's Day because, Dr. Chapman, you have been a champion of love in our culture. So, so grateful for the work that you do. Well, thank you.
We are really glad to have you today and particularly talking about this topic. Now, this book has the same title as the one you wrote 20 years ago. I understand you've completely rewritten the book.
Tell me about that. Yeah, well, I found that women were still buying the old version of the book and saying that it was helpful. And I recognize that the main concept of the book is just as needed, maybe even more needed than it was when I first wrote it 20 years ago. But that so much has changed over the last two decades, and I've changed a lot. And so, I went back to it with the intention of doing some pretty heavy revisions and editing. But once I got into it, I was like, I just have to start over. I don't even sound like I did 20 years ago. So, I ended up just starting with the same foundation and rebuilding. Yeah.
Well, take us back 20 years ago. What prompted you to write this book in the first place? Well, when I first started writing this book, it was my first book, and I was a pretty new wife. I think I'd only been married maybe about five years. I was a pretty new clinician, so just starting to meet with couples and with women. And in my own journey, as well as what I saw in the journey of other women, was this question, like, how do I use my strength? I really believe that God's design for marriage is a beautiful one.
I know when I read the scriptures that I see that God calls us to a unique place as women within marriage. But I was really struggling with what that looked like practically, especially in my marriage 20 years ago. I was definitely the more goal-oriented, focused person.
My husband was really laid back, loves to have fun. And I was just finishing my doctorate, and I was thinking, Lord, you gave me my personality. I have a lot of strength in my personality.
I've been a Christian for as long as I can remember. I have all this education, and I feel like I'm being told to just kind of park all my strength at the doorstep when I come into my home because I want to be a godly wife. And I knew that that couldn't be consistent with God's heart. And so it was really this wrestling of, how do I be all that God made me to be, and be honoring to his design within marriage? So that was kind of the impetus behind it.
Yeah, well, that was a worthy objective. So what's changed in 20 years in your own life and culture that would motivate you to rewrite this book? Well, the question certainly hasn't changed. I've learned more about how to do this and how to flourish as a woman and flourish as a wife.
And to understand God's heart for me as a wife is not one that dampens anything about my personality or my strength, but really channels it and channels it in a way that builds intimacy. But then there's just so much in culture that has changed. People that are commenting on where we are today, they're saying that we are changing more quickly than ever before in history. And certainly the internet and the smartphone technology plays a big piece of that. And that impacts marriage, how we think about sexuality, how we think about gender, how we think about marriage and intimacy. But we've seen other changes as well.
You were around 20 years ago too. You were in ministry, so you can chime in on this. I feel like a couple of decades ago, Christian women were struggling with, okay, they felt weak and I'm not sure how to be strong. I think today, Christian women are feeling very strong and they're empowered by our culture. They're getting higher levels of education, more powerful jobs. They're encouraged to be powerful in every arena of life.
And now the question is, how do I bring all that strength to intimacy and to marriage? So it's a little different slant on some of the same questions I think Christian women were asking just a couple of decades ago. What would be your thoughts on what you've observed?
Well, I think you're exactly right. I think far more wives are involved in vocations, as well as trying to be a wife and often a mother. And so I think the time stress is certainly there. Technology, which you mentioned, no question about it, greatly impacted wives and husbands' relationships.
So I'm excited that you've written this book. So you really want to empower wives not to manipulate or change their husbands, but help bring out the best in them. Is that right? Am I reading it right?
Yeah, it is. And I really believe that women are already very empowered. And we're more aware of our power than we probably have been in modern memory. But women have so much unique power, particularly within the intimate relationship of marriage. I think a lot of people would agree that women actually even have more power than their husbands do and how to set the tone of the relationship and the nuance of intimacy. So the question is, how do we use that power? And just given our own natural instincts, we're probably not going to use that power well. We're probably going to use it to primarily feel emotionally safe instead of risking intimacy.
We're going to use that power to get things done the way we think they should be done, rather than really inviting our husband into experiencing and growing in his voice and his power. So the goal is how do we channel the power that God has given us, which is a very good thing, into the kinds of interactions that are going to build true intimacy in marriage. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The New York Times bestseller "The 5 Love Languages" . If you'd like to hear a past program, take an assessment of your love language or find out about our guest today. Just go to our website at fivelovelanguages.com.
Dr. Julie Slattery is joining us. She's the author of Finding the Hero in Your Husband, Embracing Your Power in Marriage. Find out more at fivelovelanguages.com.
That's fivelovelanguages.com. Dr. Slattery, you have a chapter called A Wife's Greatest Challenge. What do you think is a wife's greatest challenge? Well, if I could sum it up, I'd say it this way. We want our husbands to lead, but we want them to lead the way we think they should lead. So it's really a double blindfold for the wife and the husband. Like, I want you to step into leadership, but do it exactly the way I tell you to.
And a lot of husbands will nod their heads when they hear that. Yeah, that's how I feel. She keeps telling me to lead, but every time I try to step into that, she's correcting me. So that's the tension. And, you know, that's sort of the pivotal question that we've got to sort through as wives, because we want to see our husbands grow.
We want to see them strong. We want to see them take initiative, but we get very anxious and afraid when they don't do so the way we think they should be doing it. Yeah, that is so true. You have experienced that in my own counseling.
My wife says to me, you know, I just wish my husband would be a leader. And I would say, what do you mean by that? What does that look like? And no two women say the same thing. They each have an idea, you know, of what that would look like.
But it's obviously going to be different from what he thinks it looks like. So the book is about the power of women and the power they have in marriage. Describe particularly what that power looks like and where it comes from. Yeah, well, I think our power in relationship is primarily stemming from what the other person needs. And so if I have a need, a very deep need, and you're the only one who can meet that need, that gives you power. If I'm struggling with cancer and you have the antidote to that, you now have relational power.
And you can use that poorly or you can use that well. And the same is true with emotional needs. So a wife's power really comes through what a husband needs in marriage. And in the book, I talk about three specific core needs that men come into marriage with that then give a woman power. And so the three needs are, first of all, that need to feel like my wife believes in me, that I'm her hero. She respects me.
And that's something we can unpack because I know that even that word respect can be a trigger for some women. And the second need that every husband comes in with is the need for a teammate and for companionship. God created a wife to be a complete or a companion for her husband.
He's not good on his own, and the scripture would say. And then the third need is really to share the sexual journey with his wife, to be pursuing that kind of oneness sexually. And so those are the three primary needs that men generally will express. And those three needs translate into a lot of relational power for the wife. So speaking into those needs, I'm hearing you say, can have a tremendously positive influence on her husband or conversely a negative influence.
Yeah, and it absolutely will. Whether you're aware of your power or not, you have it and you're using it. Proverbs 14 one says, the wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands, the foolish one tears her down. And in our natural wisdom and our natural flesh, I'm going to be using my power probably to be more manipulative, not really to strengthen intimacy, to encourage my husband.
It's only when God gives me the wisdom that I'm able now to start using that power in a very positive way. So in a similar way, do men have power in marriage? Yeah, do women have needs in marriage? If women have needs, that means men have power. So men have power in marriage based on what a woman needs. And while again, like you said, every woman is different and every marriage is different, the core needs that most women would resonate with in marriage is, first of all, I want to feel valued. I want to feel like I'm his number one.
He's choosing me. And then that second need being, I want to feel safe with him. I want to feel like he's going to use his physical strength, his relational strength, his leadership to protect me, to make me feel safe and secure. And so men have power in marriage based on those needs that most women really experience within intimate relationships. So what are some ways that wives tend to misuse their power? So one of the ways that I think most wives will misuse their power is they don't quite understand how their husband's needs are unique from their own. So let's talk about that need to be a hero or that need to feel respected by his wife. What I've come to understand, and Chris and Gary, you guys can speak into this because you're men and I'm not a man, but what I've learned through counseling is that most men have a real struggle with the issue of competence. They fear failure. They fear being exposed.
They fear letting people down around them. And when God says to a wife, you know, respect your husband, what he's really saying is make marriage an emotionally safe relationship for your husband. You get to vote every day, whether or not you think your husband's a hero or a zero. He's looking at you in terms of how, how am I doing? Now, if a woman doesn't understand that she's going to be again, maybe nitpicking, criticizing, you know, kind of taking charge of the home and what the husband consistently hears, whether it's spoken or not, is I'm not enough. She doesn't believe in me. And I've done this as a wife because I haven't been intentional about really understanding this need and this need in my husband's life. So in parenting, for example, we have very different parenting styles. And there've been many times where I'm over correcting all the time.
No, Mike, you know, say it this way or do it that way. And when I'm using my words that way, even if I think that's helpful, what that can end up doing is making him feel like, why would I even try? You know, every time I try to step into parenting, I'm getting it wrong based on what my wife says.
So I have no energy to even invest in this area of our family anymore. And so I would think that's a pretty common example of how women misuse their power, but there are certainly others as well. Yeah. Now, the biblical passages about submission in marriage are obviously controversial.
A lot of misunderstanding among Christian women and men. You wrote a chapter on submission. Listen, was it tempting just to avoid this subject?
Yeah, it was. I had a chapter on this in the first version of the book. And when I started rewriting, I'm like, should I go there? It's just easier not to, because again, this is a painful topic and a deeply misunderstood topic for a lot of women. But I think it's critical that instead of avoiding these hard topics, we really press even more deeply into the heart of God and say, where have we gotten this wrong? What is God's heart and how is it expressed through scripture? So that we're not just reading words and defining terms, but we're really saying, why does God care about this?
And what's his intent? And actually, Gary, I feel like the topic of submission flows so much into this conversation about power, because submission is not the absence of power. It's not calling wives to be weak. It's actually calling them to be very wise and intentional about how they channel their power, which is a main theme in the book.
Yeah. How do you think that the traditional teaching on submission has been unbalanced and even destructive to women and to marriage? Well, I think the traditional teaching has really made women feel like God wants them to be weak. And I use the example earlier in our conversation about how I felt as a young wife that I was probably supposed to leave all the knowledge I'd gotten from my doctorate degree, all the things I learned about scripture growing up, all my personality at the doorstep so that I could be submissive or not threatening to my husband.
And although that has been a way that I think this topic has a lot of times been presented, I think that's a misapplication of God's heart. God gave us our strength. He gave you your personality.
He gave you spiritual gifts and knowledge and wisdom. And all of that is meant to be brought to the table of intimacy. But to steward all that strength in such a way that your husband feels like, she's my teammate, she is for me. She's not competing with me.
She's not overtaking me. And so I love helping women understand that God actually wants you to accentuate all the strength He's given you, but to do so in a way that's building something beyond just getting our own way or having things done the way we think they should be done. And so that would be one thing I think also, and this is a really serious one, when people have used teaching on submission to make women feel like they shouldn't stand up, they shouldn't get help, for example, if there are abusive dynamics within their marriage, they shouldn't confront. Husbands and wives are still brothers and sisters in Christ. And so all the teaching in scripture about faithful friends wounding each other and about calling each other to accountability and confronting with love, those all apply within marriage as well. And I think wrong teaching on submission has really clouded that and led to some very destructive dynamics in some relationships. Yeah, and I think you would also agree that this is still a problem in Christian circles, clearly understanding this. What are some signs or red flags that might be waving that would say that this concept is being interpreted and applied in the marriage in a way that's detrimental?
Yeah, I think when there's an overemphasis on roles and behaviors, that's a red flag because God's teaching is all about our heart and our spirit. And so when we start setting rules like the husband should be the primary breadwinner all the time, or wives never give your husband your opinion unless he asks for it, those are behaviors and roles and rules that really become legalistic and promote unhealthy behaviors. Marriages are dynamic, and every husband's different, every wife's different, but what God calls us to is a spirit of flourishing and helping other people flourish. And so I think this is true in the church and in the Christian home. The question is, is your husband using his power and relationship to invite you to flourish? Are the women in a church flourishing, or do they feel like they're stamped down or discouraged? And if you can't say, yeah, the spirit is we want everyone to flourish, then we have to say, there's probably a misapplication here that's not representative of the heart of God. You know, when I'm talking to husbands who say to me, well, my wife's just not submissive.
And I say, well, let's start with you. You know, what did Jesus say is your role? Because in that same passage, it says, wives submit, it says, husbands love your wives like Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. Sounds to me like it's a role of dying to yourself for the benefit of your wife.
Where are you? Where are you along that line? Yeah, exactly. You know, so if you have, again, a church situation or a marriage situation where these verses are being used to put women down or to make them voiceless, you know, not only is that dangerous, but it also we have to recognize is not at all consistent with the larger message of the heart of God.
Yeah. Can I ask a question here and go back and look at this from the wife's perspective? Because you said, Julie, that by berating your husband or tearing him down, you can do detrimental things. Or if you are supportive of him and encouraging your words, five love languages, you can build him up. What about the husband who looks to his wife for that validation in everything? It's like, if she treats me well, then the relationship is going well. If she's having a bad day, then I've done something wrong and it's all about her response to me and I gauge my life about my wife's mood that day. That's not fair to her, is it?
No, it's not fair and it's also not healthy. What we know from Scripture, and this particularly even comes out of Ephesians chapter five, which talks a whole lot about the things that we're now discussing is that marriage is supposed to be this revelation of Christ's love for his people, of Christ's love for his church. And so marriage is sort of a mini expression of God's heart. And it's life giving by God's design. It's meant to be fulfilling.
It's meant to be emotionally safe. But it can't bear the full weight of what it was actually meant to point to, which was the intimacy we need to have with God. And so for both a husband and a wife that are looking to their spouse for all of that emotional fulfillment, all those intimacy needs, it's going to be too much weight for the marriage. And so the backdrop of this always has to be, how's your intimacy with God? How are you being fulfilled and validated as a son or daughter in Christ? And now marriage can bear some of that weight of, what does that look like here on earth? But only if we have the backdrop of, I'm really fulfilled through Christ. Because we are not by nature lovers. We are by nature selfish. And I'm looking to you to meet my needs.
And that's true of a wife and a husband. But the opposite is the biblical pattern. But we will never do, I agree, we'll never do the biblical pattern of really having a servant's attitude. I'm here to serve you. Like Jesus said about himself, I didn't come to be served. I came to serve. So if I as a husband have the attitude, I'm here to serve you, honey.
How can I help you become the person that you believe God wants you to be? And she has that same attitude toward me. I mean, man, that's what marriage was designed for, right? Yeah, and we can only be that unselfish and service-oriented if our deepest needs are getting met in Christ. And so as we grow in our relationship with him, it gives us more freedom to say, even if at this moment, I don't feel completely fulfilled in my marriage, I'm still going to invest in my husband. And for a man to have that same perspective.
Can you frame that then in Valentine's Day? And the expectations that are going to be there for him, for her, and all of that? How do you put that through that prism that you've just talked about?
Yeah, that's a good question. Chris, we were made for intimacy, which is why Valentine's Day and everything related to love and intimacy, so much can grab our hearts. And it's used for marketing, because that's what we were made for.
That's what we all desperately long for. But in our society, whether it's Valentine's Day, or it's the overemphasis on sexual expression, we're going to be fed counterfeits, like even just shadows of good things now becoming the main the main thing that's going to fulfill you in your life. So a lot of people on Valentine's Day are feeling sort of that climax of I can only be happy if I have this great romance.
And romance is a wonderful thing, but it's not the thing that's meant to fulfill you in your life. And so the ultimate love that God calls us to is first love for him and to receive his love. And now we can walk that out in healthy ways in love for others, whether, as you said at the beginning of the show, Gary, that's love in your marriage, or it's love for your children, or love for your neighbors, or love for our fellow countrymen, love for our enemies. And so God desperately wants us to be people of love. But we can only love others because he's first loved us. In fact, once Jesus said that this is the way they will know that you are following me, if you love each other like I've loved you.
Yes. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, New York Times best-selling author of "The 5 Love Languages" . We're hearing about hope for marriages today as we consider how a wife can be an agent for real change. If you go to our website, you'll see our featured resource, Dr. Julie Slattery's book, Finding the Hero in Your Husband, Embracing Your Power in Marriage.
Again, go to FiveLoveLanguages.com. Well, in this section, we'll discuss some issues related to sexual intimacy in marriage, so parents be aware of that. Dr. Slattery, you have a chapter also on conflict, and the chapter is entitled Your Last Fight. Describe the difference between healthy conflict and fighting. I feel like most people use the word fight and conflict interchangeably.
And I probably have done that in my own marriage. And I think it was a wake-up call for me to realize that conflict is inevitable. Actually, conflict is part of intimacy. You can't have intimacy without conflict.
But fighting is optional. And so while Mike and I are going to have conflict on a regular basis, we can go conceivably years without fighting. And so conflict is simply the fact that we have a difference. We have a difference opinion on things.
We have an interaction where he says something and I take it the wrong way, so I start to feel hurt. Those are all the normal conflicts that happen within marriage. Fighting is when we react to that difference by making it your version of this versus mine. I have to get my way. I have to win.
I have to prove that I'm right. I have to make you see it my way. And when we get into that mindset, we go into self-protective mode instead of really wanting to build intimacy. And so in the book, I talk about some key differences that you can see happen between addressing conflict in a healthy way versus addressing conflict in a way that turns into this fight of me against you. Well, let's talk about some of those practical ways to handle that because I think this is a huge problem. Listen, it's a huge problem in marriages that conflicts lead us to fighting and then we yell and scream and say hateful things to each other and then somebody walks out of the room and slams the door. Give us some ideas on healthy ways to handle conflict. Well, first of all, I think it's really healthy to realize that the goal of a conflict is not to win. And when I've taught on this, I've had people come up later and say, I've never heard that before.
I've never thought about it before. Because as soon as my spouse and I start discussing something we disagree on, I've always thought it's my goal to present the better argument or it's my goal for him to end up agreeing with me. And that's just not true. Dr. John Gottman, who is really respected as probably the foremost research on how we resolve conflict, came out with a statement based on his research that almost two-thirds of the conflicts couples have will never be resolved.
And you're like, what do you mean? What are you saying there is that you and your spouse, about 70% of the things you disagree on, you'll never see eye to eye. You'll never want the bedroom to be the same temperature. One of you is going to want it at 60 and the other is going to want it at 75.
That's not going to change. You probably never will have the same sexual drive. One of you will desire sex more.
One of you will desire it less often. And so just accepting that it's okay that we have differences. Actually, it's a good thing that we have differences, that we want to parent our children with a different framework because two are better than one. And so learning to approach those differences with how do I understand you more?
How do I value your perspective instead of how do I prove to you that my perspective is better? I think another one is the belief that you have to solve conflict right now. That couples who are healthy don't let the sun go down on your anger. You hear that verse and it's like we can't go to sleep until this is resolved. And when you really look at what Paul is saying in that verse, don't let the sun go down on your anger, what he's really saying is don't let bitterness get a root. And so I can go to bed and have dealt with my anger before the Lord without having resolved a conflict with my husband. And there are a lot of times where conflicts should not even be addressed until we've had perhaps even days to pray about it, to really think about it, to seek some wise counsel.
Because if we go in there and try to talk about emotionally triggering topics without that kind of preparation, even with the best intentions, we're going to end up hurting each other. I often share, Dr. Slattery, about the difference my wife and I had on she opens doors and drawers but doesn't close them. And that irritated me and I preached to her about order and we didn't solve it, you're right, overnight. It took us a few weeks, a few months, and finally one day she said, honey, if it really bothers you, why don't you just close them? I'll open them and you close them and that'll be our teamwork. And that makes sense to me, okay?
You're right, it doesn't go away, you know. She's not going to change, you know, and I'm not going to change. So we decided how can we do this as a team.
That's a great example. We'll call you the closer. Our other big one was the way she loads the dishwasher, you know. I'm very orderly and organized.
Everything has a place and she loads it like she was playing frisbee. We fought over that one for a long time and finally she said, well honey, if it really bothers you that much, she said, why don't you just, you be the one that loads the dishwasher and I want you to be fine. You have a very smart wife. Yeah, it took me a while but I got there, okay, I'll load the dishwasher. Yeah, actually you and my husband would have a lot in common. Like over the Covid quarantine he completely reorganized how I do everything in the kitchen because he's so organized.
Like, no honey, all the forks go in this spot in the dishwasher so now we can just put them away more quickly. Yeah, that's right. I agree with him. Well, this chapter I think that in the book is so helpful and I can guarantee most of the people who are listening to our program today, if they're married, they know what we're talking about. They know the conflicts.
Many of them have not found a way, however, to work through those conflicts, respecting the other person's position even when you don't agree with it and then finding a workable solution to that. Well, let's move to the sexual area. Sexual intimacy is a topic you focused on for the past 10 years really in your own ministry and writing and speaking. Why is sex such an intense area of conflict for many marriages?
Well, I think for a few reasons. First of all, God designed sex to be vulnerable and even the physical nakedness of sex means that you're exposing everything but God also designed sexual intimacy to be an activity and a journey that emotionally exposes us and so sexual conversations are very vulnerable and they're potentially triggering. When we're talking about sex with our spouse, we're not just talking about sex, we're talking about do you value me? Do you see me as attractive?
Will you reject me? It taps into some of our deepest areas of shame and of fear and so a couple that's trying to navigate an issue as simple as they have different sexual desires can be triggering all kinds of feelings of rejection and fear and anger and resentment and so the simple question do you want to have sex tonight all of a sudden becomes this explosive interchange of you don't love me, you don't value me, you don't care about my needs and now to add on to it, most couples don't know how to talk about sex. They don't know what language to use, they don't even know how to connect their own fears and vulnerabilities to what's happening in their marriage and so I think a lot of couples feel like this is just only in mine and they try to talk about it and then it just ends up with hurt feelings and nothing gets resolved and a lot of them just kind of give up. I agree with you and I think there are many many couples who have not and some of them been married for many years and they've never found a meeting place when it comes to you know mutual sexual satisfaction in the marriage relationship but you can't get there without communication, right? You can and they don't have models for how do we talk about this, not even just how do we talk about navigating the issues of having mutual sexual desires met but if we go a step deeper most couples are dealing with things like past sexual trauma, guilt and shame over choices they may have made in the past, betrayal trauma, sexual addiction, so try navigating those issues without the vocabulary and the conflict and communication skills to really connect and you can see why this is just a topic that most people want to avoid and so I think it's critical that we continue to develop resources like this show and some of the things that we do at Authentic Intimacy to give couples handles to begin understanding this journey and putting words to it. What do you say to the couple listening right now or the the wife or the husband who says yeah that's me I've given up is it this will never it's never going to happen any again I've got to do something else with my life you know because sex is just not there. What do you say to that person? Well I'd say first of all you're not alone I would say probably about 50 percent of married couples feel that way at some level but I'd also say there's a good reason for you not to give up you know sexuality is a massive spiritual battlefield and we see that happening all around us in our culture we see just the satanic attack on God's design for marriage and sexuality and gender there's so much confusion happening right now and I there's not much I can do about what's happening in culture the one territory that God has given me to steward is my own heart my own life my own marriage and so if I just kind of give up and I let the enemy have strongholds of fears in my life of anger resentment or unaddressed wounds then I'm letting him win and when I realize this in my marriage probably about 10 or 12 years ago it really like awakened within me I think a spirit of wanting to fight for righteousness and wanting to say to the enemy you might be having your way in the world but you don't get to have your way in my life you know I really want to invite God's victory into this area of my heart and my marriage and that's a key part you know I can't fight the enemy in any area of my life of my life including sexuality and my own strength but I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength and so I think that's a first step for a lot of couples they've never done this really inviting God into their sex life through prayer through really wanting to understand his heart for sexuality and asking him to begin that to begin with them on the healing process yeah and I think some don't even talk to God about sex because they feel that it's not spiritual you know but and they fail to realize God's the one that set all this in motion you know he made us male and female right well you know dr slider I think many times we're talking about communication books and resources like that and things that you have provided are so helpful and sometimes can open the door to communication where we wouldn't just sit down and talk about these things but we reading a chapter and and then talking about our response to it can be so helpful and I know that you really I know this is on your heart and and your website offers you know a lot of resources there why don't you first of all give us your your website because I think a lot of men and women would be interested in that yeah my website is authentic intimacy dot com and you can find pretty much all of our resources right there this is Building Relationships with dr gary chatman author of the new york times bestseller "The 5 Love Languages" our guest is dr julie slattery and we're talking about finding the hero in your husband embracing your power in marriage that book is our featured resource at five love languages dot com that's five love languages dot com for parents listening in this section we'll continue with more about sexual intimacy in marriage sorry in the last session we were talking about the whole sexual part of marriage what are some of the important mental shifts that some women and couples need to make in their sex lives well I think even before we took the break you had mentioned one of them and it's the mental it's the mental shift of really understanding that god cares deeply about this area of your life in this area of your marriage I think because the church traditionally haven't hasn't really talked a lot about sex we feel like it sex is sort of a separate category that god doesn't care about he hasn't said much about but when we read the scripture we actually find out that's not true that while maybe some church traditions have been quiet on this topic god hasn't been quiet at all so I think that's a huge mental shift of really accepting god created sex he created everything about my body he created hormones that create sexual desire he designed the orgasm that was his idea and he wants us to enjoy this within marriage you can hear that but to really embrace that and accept that is a different thing and it really can be transformational in the way you think about sex within marriage I think the other thing that's closely related to that is really beginning to see sex again as a spiritual battlefield if god cares about it that means that the enemy cares about it too and he wants to use the things you've experienced in your past he wants to use wounds and shame and fear to keep you in bondage in this area and so again when you recognize that you begin fighting differently and then another mental shift is just thinking about sex not as an activity but as a journey of intimacy and I think we put far too much emphasis on what's happening with our bodies and even questions like how often should we be having sex and far too little emphasis on what is god doing in our marriage through this journey how is he inviting us to be vulnerable with each other to know each other more deeply how is he calling us to be men and women of character how is he calling us to extend mercy and grace to each other specifically through our sexual journey and I think when we have that perspective of journey we can see that god is always up to something he always wants to work in our lives even through the painful stretches of a journey yeah what are some of the common barriers that you see couples dealing with related related to this whole sexual part of the marriage well I think in today's day and age most couples are entering into marriage with a lot of misunderstanding about sex either from the culture or from maybe some simplistic teaching they've heard in religious settings and and so they're they're entering into this journey with baggage with wounds from the past with fears with lies they don't really know how to articulate like my spouse could never really love me if they knew this or god could never forgive me for what I did here or I can never experience sex and enjoy it because of what happened to me and and so those are very common barriers of sexual addiction sexual abuse from your past guilt and shame over choices that you've made those are big barriers that again take a journey perspective of becoming free is not it doesn't happen in a day it's a journey of god would you teach me the truth would you set me free would you help me to experience the reality of forgiveness and of your mercy and so those are a lot of them again those are pretty heavy barriers but I think in today's day and age they're they're more the norm than the exception yeah and I think that's why what we're talking about in this section today is so important and I hope our listeners are open to taking steps because we don't have to stay where we are we can always grow in this area I want to talk about one other area before we have to leave today and that is this whole thing of navigating who does what in the marriage you know is often a source of tension how do you encourage couples to get on the same page with work and homework and housework and parenting in terms of who's going to do what how do we get that teamwork thing in place yeah it's so important to have a team perspective and I think traditionally there were household household chores that were divided up based on gender and I don't know how those came up like how we said okay women should do cooking and men should mow the lawn but in today's day and age I feel like we've sort of thrown those stereotypes out and just said okay we've got a whole lot of work that needs to get done how do we divvy it up and one of the ways that we can divvy it up is even looking at interests and gifting and so if the wife loves yard work and wants to mow the lawn then go for it if the husband loves finances and is more meticulous about the budget then that's what he should do you know really looking at what do you enjoy and what are you gifted at so that we're bringing the best to each other as a team I think another piece of this is what's fair you know it really creates conflict in marriage when one person feels like they're carrying too much of the load and so having honest conversations about that on a regular basis is just healthy emotional housekeeping for a couple to say do you do you feel like it's fair the way that we've divvied these things up now I will say that sometimes one of us will end up doing more work because we have a very unique specific way that we think work should be done so Gary you used the example of how you want the dishwasher done a certain way if you approach everything that way then eventually your wife is just gonna say well you can do it all and then you're gonna be like wait that's not fair so I think that that's another piece of it is we have to have realistic expectations I can't be micromanaging the way my spouse is doing his piece of this I have to give him freedom to do it the way that that he wants to do it so I think those are some of the ways that we learn to communicate and really build that teamwork over time yeah and I think if we see ourselves as a team and as you mentioned have different abilities and different interests and different places where we are experts in and the other one is not and it's not a matter of who does what it's a matter of working out how do we work together as a team dr slattery let me ask you a personal question how have you and mike navigated parenting and ministry and his career over the years well it has been a navigation and we have we have done it very differently through seasons and so when we first started having kids it wasn't planned when we got pregnant the first time I was just finishing my doctorate degree and so here I had this nice shiny new degree that I wanted to go out and use and he was just beginning his career in finance and when we talked and prayed about it we really felt like I was the one that felt like I wanted to be home with the kids and so for the first probably 10 years of our marriage I worked really part-time doing some counseling a couple evenings a week and starting on some writing projects until the kids got into school and then I started working more in more formal settings and now that we're empty nesters it's a whole different season where I have lots of freedom and lots of time but there have been times as we look back over 27 28 years of marriage where we both have yielded and sacrificed for one another and when god called me to work for focus on the family several years ago it required a move from ohio to color springs and my husband said let's do it I said I don't know like you want to move from my job and he's like yes I really feel like god is calling us to this that meant that he traded a two-minute commute for an hour commute and he did that for 10 years so he sacrificed for me in ministry and there have been times where I've sacrificed for him in ministry and I think when you have that attitude of number one what does god want for us how does he want to use us as a team and number two I'm willing to let go of what I want to really help my my spouse flourish when both the husband and wife have that attitude you really start to grow in intimacy and and that didn't happen right away god really had to teach us and refine our character so that we could be each other's greatest supporters and fans well thanks for sharing from your own journey I'm sure that some of our listeners can identify with that and one of the things I really appreciate is the emphasis you've had today and in all of your work in terms of how important our relationship with god is because god alone really can turn us from being self-centered and selfish to being truly loving and then in that love with that attitude we find answers to the struggles we have in marriage so thank you for being with us today thank you for spending time to rewrite this book and I hope that it's going to help a lot of wives and I think the husband's reading it would also profit from that so may god continue to give you wisdom give mike wisdom as you process with him the rest of the journey thank you dr chapman that means a lot and the same to you and carolyn thank you been a real treat to have dr julie slattery with us today go to the website five love languages.com you'll find her rewritten title finding the hero in your husband embracing your power in marriage just go to five love languages.com and next week more help and hope for your marriage anthony delaney will help you find your best marriage possible we hope you can join us before we go let me thank 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 you
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-05 21:56:37 / 2023-06-05 22:15:34 / 19