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March 31, 2021 2:00 am
Did you know that there are different seasons common to all marriages? On FamilyLife Today, join hosts Dave and Ann Wilson as they talk with authors Jackie and Stephana Bledsoe about the patterns all couples face, the ups and downs, and how it's all worth fighting for.
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Have you found them trying to schedule a date night with your spouse just seems to fall flat. Jackie Bledsoe understands that feeling when we recommitted to dating a few dates or how I staring at each other like okay what are we doing to know so wear something that we can talk about that are not just family business and my family business kids work, money, schedules, and all that, like, okay, how can we start sparking other conversations that will allow us to dig deeper than the stuff that we talk about all the time and makes our date nights boring. This is family life to our hosts are David M. Wilson. I'm Bob Lapine you can find us online and family life to.com. We all know how important regular marriage for maintenance is, but it can be hard to implement the times talk more about that today.
Stay with us and welcome to family life to.
Thanks for joining us this week about how marriage is not a three ring circus. It's a seven ring surfaces is we've got the jackets. Defendant Bledsoe joining us guys, welcome back to the program.
Thank you. You've written a book called the seven rings of marriage in and what we been talking about this week is the fact that every marriage does go through seasons and it's not like it's a straight path we can circle back around like some of the seasons we been talking about some of the rings we been talking about discovering doesn't just happen in the early years of marriage. It continues to happen.
Drop marriage and persevering has to happen because trials come along later. So all of these rings of marriage we have to revisit over and over again. Don't we do and I think it think we expect It's kind of like parenting. Once we have this face down will never enter that it seems likely to continue to circle back, but hopefully we've learned enough in the first ring and making time to get better to move on Jackie and savanna live in Indianapolis.
They are the parents to their Hoosiers their vision for four years, and parents of three children. They speak with us at our weekend. Remember, marriage getaways, this idea of the seven rings of marriage is something that is you are looking at your own story your own journey.
Even early on, you could see some of these rings we been through some of these rings are still ahead for us yet we were probably 13 years in marriage at the time when he wrote it and so we were, looking back is like, man. We've been through a lot babe look at what we've got is brought us through his grace is kept that together through any way to start, going through and we realize we were just getting started really in the mentoring which is one of the rings and will cover them short today, but we were in that journey. The seven rings that you lay out the first one is the engagement ring understanding where you're going.
The wedding ring, understanding, commitment foundation, the discoverer rings where you're learning about one another and learning all there are some things here.
I didn't know were there.
The persevering where your sticking with that, even when times get tough. What's the next ring you have to go through that you have some broken pieces in your marriage so you pursuing the persevering is the fourth ring which is kind like the fork in the road, so some couples choose to go and get out the marriage. Some choose to stay in the marriage and some Jesus, stay in our marriages where it is, then we come to the restoring and that's where we have to allow God to go to work and to restore the broken pieces, broken hearts, all the things that we brought about her that we went through during the persevering in our marriage. There's a lot of forgiveness that happens in restoring you talking in that chapter by drawing a line in the sand. What does that mean basically when I go back you know this is where we are and we talked about persevering out people going fork in the road when our moving forward so not going back to what we were.
So we have to continue to lean on that commitment in the found in the wedding ring. Also our foundation in our relationship with Christ.
But it's something that without like Stephanie said that forgiveness you're going to continue to deal with the suffering that happens in the persevering and we want to think I will give it to you and we can't heal our mayors on our own.
We can't heal our own hearts. We can even change our hearts without his grace were leaning heavily back on those early ring, especially that the engagement how would you guys saying somebody saying the flame has gone out marriage type are really struggling. I don't even have any feelings you rekindle love that feeling is it even necessary. I think that's important. Jackie and I went through a phase where we were dating for years in the early part of our marriage when our kids were young that we had allowed just the routine of life to take over and I think if you start they are just spinning some intentional time with each other, even if it's 15 minutes a day spending that time together so that you work on your friendship and your marriage again. That's a good place to begin talking just talking to have at least 15 minutes per day that were sitting alone phones wife and kids, TVs and all that consistently. When we do that that flame that spark is still there but we don't. We feel disconnected.
We don't know who the other person is asked like a stranger that were living with. So just basic things like that is what we look to doing it in their really common sense things but we just let life get in the way like that season when we were dating, we didn't even realize it. Like demands of lying that you noticed that later we notice it in the disconnect between us at that point we got desperate for date night because we like we were hungry to spend that time together and continue to grow closer and get to know where Stefan is at mentally mostly right, not vice versa level is the best question some of the worst like to ask questions that Jackie asked you I think the first one would be said get something prepared to where so I knew he wanted to take me somewhere I knew that she wanted to spend time with me.
It was like I'm not just coming home and expecting you to have dinner ready and working to go through the normal routine, but can you prepare something were to go out tonight that was probably the first question he saying get ready. Do you want to do tonight like he's a planner. So everything in his world plans, but if you can't think about a plan for date night. It's like that wasn't very important to you every time. Not every time so I got overwhelmed with me became appalling.
So I did what you came up that I created a little thing were to plan how much is a high end date night medium-range low in as far as cost as far as time to prepare it so right, so we got really really consistent. I was a very strong season in our growth connection and we've ebbed and flowed since the seasonal economist but will notice that when we're dating and we were intentional about it when we make up our mind to do that nothing gets in the way you times in the calendar but is like this counterpoint to just gloss over, and then there's another time or whether it's in the calendar not were doing times would like okay we had a date day make a Sam's Club run Sam's Club run because we just needed at times like okay, how do we make this time and that's a perception that we had early this night has to be this big thing. No more of our mayor's mentor couple said Pete have more dates we don't do anything to have more time to just talk to each other versus being distracted by the things those are fun.
You need those new experiences, but just be together. What if it's like broken restoring phase about the fixing stage which means something is broken. You mentioned earlier there's forgiveness in the states in one of the point where they wither with him because they've hurt me.
Maybe there's been an adult remembers benefit is been something that really broke our spirit or even the relationship. So how do we get to a place of forgiveness and assuming part of this this ring, which never really tends to be part of your marriage but talk to the couple is really hurting. That's I got only one eye. I can't date right now I don't want to be with them but I want to make this marriage work, but I don't.
I don't have anything for that heard on broken fix what you do you have to make that choice to show up and is not going be easy.
Every time you lease a joke that sometimes date night will become fight night going and what we thought was going even if we can get excited about. It may end up in an argument that might work for Steph Anna to be to get ready and all that effort and and think that she did to prepare like a get something together. Let's go out then it would live up to those expectations. So we went through many of those, but we still have a show up and just trust God you as we show up and be intentional about our mayors and connecting in that area that we will eventually get over and I think we did because those we recommitted to dating for a few dates, like staring at each other like okay so then we started learning a week.
We got got some conversation starters, plaintiffs are looking at were some things we can talk about that are not just family business. In my family business kids work, money, schedules, and all that, like, okay, how can we start sparking other conversations that will allow us to dig deeper than stuff that we talk about all the time and makes our date nights boring.
I think you said something key.
It's kind of making that decision. I want this marriage and still being willing to do what it takes to to foster healing. I think you have to make that decision for yourself before you can move forward with any area of trying to fix it time in your marriage. Forgive? Are you surprised to know we came into minutes of wrong way. One of the things was that when we were dating I was unfaithful to Steph Anna so that lingered in our marriage for the first few years, there was always a seed of doubt or distrust and even to know.
She eluded to about not sure if I made the right decision like that. I rush into this decision because we had a baby when we came into marriage and you know there's been you can share anymore. I'm sure there's a lot more forgiveness stories from you for just everyday things. You know, in short, with with one another think you have to recognize I'm Jackie is very much one that has to eat, so be sure he's can be quick if you know with words if he's not well nourished and I have had to forgive him many times over. Just being angry with my picture you told me years ago they said you are most vulnerable to sin when you are hungry or angry or lonely or tired.
And that's been true in my life I'm weak in those moments, and so I think we can all understand that that the whole idea, hungry, angry, lonely, tired, when somebody is empty or not at our best, and in those moments I think was Ruth Graham Billy Graham's wife who said that a great marriage is the union of two great for givers. This is going to be a discipline that were going to have to practice throughout our marriage. Learning how to seek and grant forgiveness. How to restore what gets broken.
How to take the fractures and reset the bone them and let some things heal over time, though maybe some soreness there for a while. Maybe tender for a while but if we don't do that then were in real trouble. So learning how to forgive is a part of the restoring phase of a marriage.
This is essential for every couple next spring out prospering. I think that's what we all come into marriage, hoping for kind in the vision that happily ever after is kinda what you envision but it really is a perspective change.
Once you've gone through these other rings and you recognize some of the areas that have been hurtful or have challenged you.
Your perspective has changed on. It's not just the end of the world, because for whatever thing that trips you up early on in marriage. So here you are in a state where your ear healthy and you're more mature in your marriage is perfect at the prospering you still going through some maybe some of the similar challenges that you got there before but you're more mature and you handle is so much different early on in our mayors minor thing makes this in a tailspin were two, three, four days a week that were not communicating at all in our like that thing we can get over much quicker and so that's one of the biggest things in. It's a rainy season of celebration is like me and look what God is done in our mayors look what we've gone through and that were still here stainless celebrate everything become the celebration this or some story about diapers. After suffering a story I just got nervous. I was talking about that this season when we had Jocelyn Josh was our third born and you reach this point in your pregnancy where you you just want things in order your nesting had this diaper genie that had been given to us at our baby shower months earlier and I had just reached a point in the pregnancy where I wanted things to be in order and I wanted the diaper genie put together, and Jackie agreed to he be that the one to put the genie together and I just was really bent out of shape about it not being put together at some point and I think in his mind he was going to do it, but in my mind I was ready for it to have been done and so there was just this big blowup argument that we can laugh about today but in the moment. It was not fun, feeling. It was very fresh.
As you probably know you're still pregnant so like you get to write before he's here is a certain way so many times asking to do something you asking me that he didn't know that I've never communicated joy and suffering coexist. I think some of what one thing with the prospering. As we notice that some of our greatest times in our marriage were some of our hardest times systematize it. We were suffering. There was a period of time where we were homeless as a family and not only will be homeless, but it was the second time. That one time was just when we had our our daughters are oldest used by yourself in the last time was the second time was when we were all five of us and so during that time. It was so hard and so unknown and we didn't know what but God brought us closer together. We were a homeschooling family stuff and was directed homeschool community so we had to go to church once a week to set everything up like the building maintenance guy so set up all the classrooms at the church that we were borrowing from and we pack up and go back but we were homeless. We had no place for all that stuff so we have stories that we are renting and literally our kids every time we go to stores. It was like playtime for them so they're having the greatest time ever. They remember the season is a great time at that same season. We were sleeping on the basement floor. Some of our friends to them.
That was a weeklong play date.
You know we were having meals together. We were always going somewhere together everything brought us closer together so we look back. A lot of the foundational things that we do in our mayors now were were solidified in the state during the season but it was hard and I was scared. We didn't know what was going to happen. I felt like a failure and here we are and we talk about what's our kids and it's like this thing that guy was like yeah this you're discovering over us where yes it's hard and you're going through stuff, but there still joy in it but we could've chosen to have a Little Different Way, God does his best work during those times when I was pregnant with our first son we been married six years. We just finished seminary. We bought a fixer-upper did make some money when you're in seminary is missing in that house had closed yet is sold we had no money here on staff with crews who are raising our financial support and we just didn't have a lot of money coming in. I was seven months pregnant and you are eating oatmeal and crying out to God, we can't do this and I remember Dave saying it seems to me that God is bringing the money so what was your prayer like a simple prayer was. I mean, you know you trust God as a missionary to provide your financial support which with crew was our paycheck. I vow and he and I got married, years before that 66 years for that if we ever don't have enough money in our account to get paid I'll never let that happen and we just missed two paychecks and just get those seminary start a new ministry did Nona anybody in the new city. Long story short, as I was starting to feel like okay godliness out of ministries business job at a marketing degree and I just thought okay so I made sort of a fleece what God is like okay I'm going to give you a month to call everybody and ask and do what I need to do and if you provide that I'll know you want to submit that I think it's your one anyways you're showing us the long story substantial amount of money and 25,000 1985/oh that prayed like Lord, unless this comes in we feel like working to go off staff and so I go to this Bible study I meet this woman get this never been to this study. She's asked me why were here why we moved to Michigan all these questions and similar on staff accrue days then you chaplain for the Detroit Lions click everybody thinks your wrinkles money because you were out this money thing and I said all well. We just raise support from financial donors who are really feeling like that's a cool investment in my money, and so I just told her about it and she said it's interesting and has been to tuck your husband like okay and so I actually while she was at that study was at a church do my little pitch and asking people consider supporting our ministry and back then, there is no digital is a 3 x 5 cards and they write their name and phone number if they're interested in.
They handed in right at the church at Internet offerings. I get the card I'm driving home and I'm looking through these cards and I think we got five dollars a month maybe 50 cards is like a prayer for you. I was so discouraged like more like a week from the month deadlines like I think godliness when I get home and met this lady name Ruth at this thing and she says they call her husband Ivan. I might what what you want to call some guy that doesn't even know me or you, why she has me this phone number, no cell phones, but that I do it on floor like call some guy are you kidding, you know. I go in the office later that night and there's a card lay on the floor like I dialed his number right and I'm not making this up his most gruff guy ever hey Ivan, my name is Dave Wilson. We haven't met, but my wife met your wife Ruth today at Bible study or some yeah I mentioned to my why she didn't call for just like that. Not exaggerating I might well here's our situation were on staff with athletes in action branch accrue and were missionaries and we raise finances board to do our ministry.
So I call me. Like I said, you're my life like looking at him like this is tell me what you're doing. I said well you know we have this ministry, pro athletes, and it isn't because we like pro athletes. They have a platform and when they they have an influence is leading to Christ and they went this whole little pitch and he goes well we get together, I could share our thing is just give me a number. Dave just like to never get like I'm afraid to give you my number is in my mind. It's $1 million, mostly ever needed just about close. I kept putting it off like Ivan, you know, really, could we meet Dave.
Give me a number that I got.
His life is significant as $25,000. You know by like next week and goes by. Give your phone number I'll call you back. I might want give your phone number okay here's my phone number is click okay. That was the worst this book, and I'm not kidding. Five minutes later the phone rings I think it was designed. Yeah, we got you what I call my business partner Jim.
He's going to 520 coming off a strong check while I'm tearing up right now. Every moment because I'm white. Here's my office is an advertising business.
Please come maybe tomorrow you'll meet my partner to drive over there and Ivan became one of our close you think back about that moment. We almost left ministry heart in God came through this story and said I'm right here in the craziest way I did. His funeral there at the funeral telling the story of the whole church and they all like. That's Ivan. He had such a hard family was broken. He was in the second marriage.
Ruth was his incredible wife and he became partners with us for the next 20 years, and that our church launched with him as our only supporter only person over for you and say all that to say, if you're struggling. There is a God-that's waiting to help you get on your knees and asking and trusting like for maybe a God who's going to provide financial support for emotional support. The relational support you need the last ring you talk about in the book is the mentor ring and maybe that's what you need more than anything else is somebody who can help walk you through the hard challenges can be the mentor you need in your marriage. Or maybe God is calling you to be that in somebody else else's marriage. Yes, thank you for this time.
Thank you for the book.
Thanks for coaching us on all of this. I hope blisters will get a copy of this book and go through it with other couples and do some diagnostic up where we and where was God had for us in this whole couples will come up and see you when were able to have more we can remember the moment. Thanks for being with us and by the way, you folks want information about when and where we are hosting weekends to remember because we have a few of those that have started back up this spring. You can go to the website family life today.com and find out more about the limited locations where these events are taking place in the course in the fall. We hope to be back up to full strength but we do want our listeners to know that were making your book available this week to blisters who can help support the ministry with the donation. The book the Bledsoe separateness called the seven rings of marriage your model for a lasting and fulfilling marriage. The book is our thank you gift to you when you support the ongoing work of this ministry. When you partner with us to reach hundreds of thousands of marriages and families every day with practical biblical help and hope for the relationships you make that possible affect what you're really donating to his to strengthen those marriages and those families it's other couples and other families that are benefiting from the donations you make.
So thank you for thinking about a donation you can donate firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call one 800 FL today to donate again when you do, we will send you as a thank you gift Jackie and Stepanek Bledsoe's book, the seven rings of marriage your model for a lasting and fulfilling marriage, and I know the book is going to help a lot of couples, so I hope blisters will call him and make a donation and get a copy of the book we got the Princeton family life David Robbins in the studio with us today and David. We always like having guests like the Bledsoe's.
Join us know one of my favorite things that happens on family life today is when some of our week in the room are speakers that serve with us on weekends and pour their heart out into families on the front lines through weekends remember good to be guest on family life to a crossover in connection happens. I love it because these are people who share our heart. You can hear their passion for marriages bleed out of them and that's certainly what we've experienced with the Bledsoe Sam we know that time together around timeless truths transform marriages. We see it happen weekend after weekend with the weekends to remember getaways and we're so glad to be able to bring them back and even though there's not as many as there normally are and that there is less people that are going to be there. They normally were excited to get them back up going again. We really are.
And again, there is information about when and where we are hosting weekends remember events, go to our website. Family life to.com to find out more about tomorrow. We want to talk about where God has placed you, and why he has placed you where he has placed you, Dave Wilson likes to say where to make a dent. Where were sent to talk to a couple tomorrow that you share with us what they learned about the art of neighboring hope you can tune in to hear from Chris and Elizabeth McKinney tomorrow. I want to thank our engineer today. Keep links along with our entire broadcast production team got some extra help today from Bruce Goff on behalf of our hosts Dave and Wilson on Bob Lapine will see you back next time for another edition of family life today. Family life to you is a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas. Accrue ministry help for today hope for tomorrow