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Choosing Together

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
May 3, 2021 2:00 am

Choosing Together

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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May 3, 2021 2:00 am

Whether you really like your spouse or you aren't feeling anything, Aaron and Jamie Ivey, authors of "Complement," assert that "choosing together" in marriage is surprisingly beautiful. Listen as they share with hosts Dave and Ann Wilson about complementing one another with purpose.

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I think all of us would agree that the foundation for a successful marriage is love. But Aaron Ivey says all of us need to be recalibrating how we think about what love is. It's not enough for me just to like you. It's not enough for us just to be attracted to each other. It's not enough for us to just think you're my soul mate, so this is all going to work out. But you have to really press into what does love look like? What does love look like when you go through conflict?

What does it look like to love your spouse when you don't like them? This is Family Life Today. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson.

I'm Bob Lapine. You can find us online at Do you have what it takes to make a marriage work? And do you understand how husbands and wives become one?

We're going to talk more about that today. Stay with us. And welcome to Family Life Today.

Thanks for joining us. So do I have this right? You guys, for a while in your marriage, you were pretty big on the mixed doubles tennis circuit.

Is that right? Yeah, we're known, Bob. We're on the cover of Tennis Magazine.

I like it that he said circuit. You played mixed doubles. We did. You played tennis growing up. Yes. And you played football growing up.

Yeah. But you wanted to marry Ann, so you learned how to play tennis. I actually asked her out on our first date at a tennis court. So when you played doubles, did that go smoothly for you? Well, I just want to say, first of all, that I did beat Dave the first time we ever played. I do not remember that.

And then he got good so quickly. I was so mad about the whole thing. But yeah, we played mixed doubles.

And you would think that it'd be just, oh, this is fun. But no, we had huge fights. Yeah, I didn't know the tennis world. And as soon as I realized I can play this game and she's really good, let's get in tournaments.

So there's tournaments, obviously. And I'll never forget one of our first. It was a big fight.

Yes. She hit this cross-court forehand that landed just outside the line. And I was at the net. I thought I was in from my vantage point.

Well, she was back at the baseline. And the other couple that we're in the tournament against called it in. And I just was being a nice guy like a Christian should be, right? So I just said, oh, no, it was out. And they looked at me like it was out. I go, yeah, it was out.

So it's your point. And I turn around and she gives me the evil eye. And she just, I mean, steam is coming out of her. I'm like, what? She goes, you don't make their call. You don't make their call. That's their call. I go, well, yeah, but they made the wrong call.

You don't. And from then on, we could even function. To play mixed doubles, you almost have to have this sense of I know what you're going to do. Exactly. And you're going to charge the net. So I'm going to drop back or I'm going to cover this while you cover that. We had hand signals behind the back.

You're right. We do have a sense and we did have a sense of I'm going to do this and you're going to do this. And it's a little bit of a picture of what marriage is like, where we have to have a sense of what am I supposed to be doing here?

What are you supposed to be doing here? You have to compliment one another. You guys had the chance recently to sit down with some dear friends, Jamie and Aaron Ivey. And if our listeners don't know the Ivey's, they ought to find a way to get to know this couple.

Oh, yes. They're wise. They're fun. They're great to listen to. And they have a really cool walk with Jesus. Jamie has a weekly podcast that's called The Happy Hour.

Aaron is a worship pastor at Austin Stone Church in Austin. They've been married for 20 years. They've got four kids. And they have just written, I was going to say a book, but it's actually a his book and a her book side by side, both with the same title, which is Compliment.

And that's with an E and not with an I. It's about how we fit together, not how we flatter one another. And they're talking about this dance in marriage. And you started your conversation with them by asking them to share with everybody how they met and how they fell in love.

Tell us how you fell in love. Let's hear the Ivey's love story. It's probably two different versions of the same story.

Do they compliment one another? They're probably very different. So when I was younger, I did not know Aaron. Obviously, we met in college, but I grew up in a Christian home. But when I was turned 16, completely just walked away from the Lord.

And it's a whole nother story for another day. But I was living a pretty crazy lifestyle, moved back home my sophomore year in college. And while I had been gone at college, my parents had started attending the church where Aaron was working. He was also in college, but he was a student pastor. My brother was in his student ministry and he knew my parents. And so I moved back home and we meet a Sunday. You can tell him when we met.

Well, I remember it going down one way. I'm not sure if this actually happened, but first of all, a college student should not be responsible for being the student pastor at a church. Right. But I was, you know, it's a medium sized church and I love doing it and I love discipling her brother. He was a part of my student ministry. Her family had always told me about this older sibling, older daughter that they had.

Right. And I was like, OK, sure, whatever. I was the single guy, too, on staff. So, you know, people were trying to.

Everybody wants their daughter to meet Aaron. So I just kind of wrote it off. I'm like, OK, I'm sure. And then, you know, I was also in charge of being like kind of in the four year of the church, making sure people feel welcome, making sure people feel invited in. And this really beautiful college aged girl walked in. And I knew that she wasn't a part of our church because I knew everybody at her church. And she didn't look like she normally went to church. I probably was scandalous.

I probably had on a really short shirt. She wasn't dressed like a First Baptist Church kind of college student girl, you know what I'm saying? And so I'm like, I need to make sure that she gets connected to our church and to make sure she feels welcome.

You know, she feels a part of everything. So I I'd be in line to turn and introduce myself, you know, and was very professional. I'm a pastor here. Just want to make sure you're connected. Can I help?

Here's my number. That kind of thing. Jamie, do you remember this moment? I do not remember this moment at all.

I remember it incredibly clearly. It's kind of depressing, Aaron, that she doesn't remember it. But it's OK.

It's OK. So we really I mean, we met at church, but I was coming home and healing from some broken stuff in my own life, in my own heart. I was in love immediately from day one.

I was like, this is the one. But I just went on with my life and we became friends, friends where we would just see each other at church. And one day we saw each other at church and I was in love with her. Keep in mind after a couple of weeks and she flashed her hand in front of my face and had a big diamond ring on it. She's like, look, I got engaged.

No, wait, wait. She didn't have it on the first time you met her. No, I know. In the in the year and a half that we just skipped a lot of time from, I was dating somebody and got engaged. She didn't mention that. I forgot to mention that.

No, but so I was walking. She's engaged. And she's like showing it off.

You know that you're like, this was my person. Yes. And she's the one. Yeah. And the diamond was huge. And it was like beautiful.

Especially when you're in ministry. Oh, yeah. Exactly.

I think of a diamond. Exactly. So, yes, that happened. I was going to leave that out. No, I'm not leaving that out. That happened. And before I even got engaged, I was dating this guy. I went to Passion.

You know, the conference. So it's crazy that I even went there because I wasn't walking with the Lord. I wasn't interested in walking with the Lord. I don't know how I said yes to this, but I actually ended up riding a car with Aaron. So I was making sure she was getting connected to all things. So I invited her to go to Passion with me because that's where I met Jesus the year before strategic. And she needed a ride. And there happened to be an extra seat in my car. So it was me and another girl. She kicked that guy out.

Get out of here. So I go to Passion with the ring on. I wasn't engaged yet in details.

It doesn't matter. But I was I was soon to be engaged. But I went to Passion and fell in love with Jesus for the first time. And so my life changed forever. And within the next couple of months, I ended up getting engaged with this guy. But my life was changing. Like I was a different person than I was six months ago, because that's what happens when you meet Jesus. He changes your whole life. And so, you know, throughout that, I realized I can't marry this guy. You let me tell him what I thought. This is my favorite part of the story.

This is the big finish. So I start to realize I can't marry this guy. And I go to my dad's office and I'm just I'm we have a wedding date. I have a ring. I have a dress.

All the things. I go to my dad's office and big ring, big diamond. We've heard that. And I tell my dad and my dad was so sweet and kind. And he's like, you don't have to. And I needed someone to say that, you know, because you're in that moment and you think I'm going to let down so many people. I look back, you know, 22 years and think, man, that was one of the hardest decisions I ever made because I did love that guy with whatever I had. So I have my fiance at the time. I'm like, hey, meet me in my office. So we have to talk. And he sits down and I tell him, I don't think I can marry you.

My life has changed. He had noticed because some things in our relationship had changed. And I'm just like telling him, I just don't think you're the guy for me. And mind you, Aaron and I just hung out, like not really hung out. We'd never been alone together. We just were acquaintances at church.

And I did ride to pass with him all the things. And he said, I don't understand. Like, what are you looking for if it's not me? And I said, I kid you not. I said, I don't know what I'm looking for, but I do know I want someone like that Aaron Ivey guy at church.

There it is. I said his name because we were friends. We laughed all the time.

We had a great time. But I think I could date Aaron because I had a lot in my past. And so I was like, he didn't feel worthy. He's not going to want a girl like me. And I thought he was too good for me. Like, I'd never dated a Christian.

Really? I never dated a Christian guy. I'd never dated anyone that loved the Lord.

I've never had been in a healthy relationship. And so, but I just knew I saw him and I had been around him and he made me laugh. And I told that to that guy. And then did you say, can I keep the ring? I did.

I called him. I was like, can I get that? That was, you know, early spring. And Aaron asked me out like that December and we got married a year and a half later. That's a good story. Isn't that good? Yeah, it's really good. Did she ever tell you that part of the story while you're dating? Like I said to this guy, I want to marry somebody like you.

Yes. And I downplayed at the time. I was like, oh, that's nice. Inside though, I'm thinking, see, I knew it. I was right.

From the day you walked into the foyer. Here's the thing. I mean, you get married. I mean, our story is similar in terms of different details, but you know, we thought like everybody should think in some sense, this is the one. I mean, we have a phrase for it, the one. And then you get married and there's disappointment or discouragement or whatever disillusionment.

When did that happen? And what did you do with that feeling? The first couple of years of our marriage were super easy. Honestly, like Jamie and I.

Like what you say, like, oh, the first year so hard. No, we're pretty easy. We're pretty easy going. We're pretty laid back. We just love to have fun. We didn't have very much conflict at all.

Like we weren't fighters. And did you have much premarital counseling or anything like that? We had some like, you know, the normal four or five weeks. You should have had all kinds of counseling.

We went through with the guy that married us. We did like a six week class. I don't remember anything from it, but I'm sure it was awesome. I don't remember one single thing. I'm sure it was great.

I remember the wood panel walls in his office and that's it. Hey, by the way, listeners, we aren't saying premarital counseling fad. It's actually really, really helpful. We do it for couples now. It's important.

It is. And I'm guessing even reading your book would be great for a premarital couple. Oh, yeah, absolutely. I wouldn't say read our book either, but read them both. OK, so you go through a couple of years like this is fun.

Totally. This is what we expected. And then there are two years that come to mind that were the hardest years for our marriage. It was 2010 and it was 2020.

So we can't wait for 2013. Who knows what's up in 2013. Every 10 years we're like, this is the worst year of our life. But 2010, we had the complexities of adding some kids to our family that we adopted and they're incredible. But that was just a new thing for us. And there was some trauma related to that just whole situation like there is with any adoption. And that was really hard for us.

That was probably the first time where we started to have conflict. Like, wow, this isn't easy. There's something that's been added into our kind of just easygoing friendship. That's making us kind of evaluate the stuff that we've maybe stuffed or that we just kind of glossed over. And so that was a really hard year.

And in 2020, I know it was a hard year for everybody, but it was uniquely hard for Jamie and I just being in quarantine, having four teenagers at home, 24 hours a day for a year, all kinds of things kind of came up. But when you go through seasons like that, that's when you realize it's not enough for me just to like you. It's not enough for us just to be attracted to each other. It's not enough for us to just think you're my soul mate.

So this is all going to work out. But you have to really press into what does love look like when you go through conflict? What does it look like to love your spouse when you don't like them? That was all kind of very new for us. And we've had to navigate through that. Yeah. So you discovered I think what a lot of couples don't ever discover because it's so critical. We say at the Family Life Weekend, remember, you're not competing with your spouse.

You're completing in a different sense, like it isn't that they don't need you, but they they finish one another. Which is your word for compliment. Right.

So talk about that. Of all the titles and all the concepts to write a marriage book about, why compliment? Because it's such a unique.

I've never seen a book like it. Yeah. Not just the way you wrote it differently. By the way, I had no idea.

I didn't read each other's stuff. Yeah. That's fascinating. But why compliment?

What's that mean? My dad is a painter and he's a phenomenal painter and he paints photo realism. So you look at it and it looks just like a photograph. You can swear. It's unbelievable. You can't believe that it's not a photograph.

Right. And I remember, you know, even as a kid watching him paint, it was unbelievable because you have a palette of very simple colors. And there's only, you know, maybe eight, 10 colors on his palette. But simply by using complementary colors, you can actually create something that's way more beautiful than any one color would be on its own. And as Jamie and I think through marriage and think through the power of marriage and the purpose of marriage and even in our own friendship, we are both individual people that God made and wired very uniquely. And Jamie is beautiful on her own.

She is a whole person that has her identity in Jesus Christ and she's a strong woman. But when God brought us together, he intended for us to be complementary in the same nature where Jamie and Aaron together. Hopefully, if we're doing it right and we're bringing out the best in each person, there's actually a new color that comes forth. That's way better than me on my own or Jamie on her own.

And so we've experienced that. We wanted to help people kind of understand that that's what God intended if marriage is in the cards for you. And marriage isn't the ultimate thing. So marriage isn't like the thing that you, you know, hopefully one day get and then you're finally a whole human being and God can use you. Marriage happened to be in our story. And when God does put that in your story, it's meant to be complementary like that.

That's really beautiful. So one of the things you just said, Aaron, that I want to come back to, because like you said this and Jamie, I want you to respond to it. Because I'm thinking of a lot of the people that are newly married or they're engaged. And you said, we're learning how to love each other when we don't like each other. If you would have told me on my wedding day that I'm not going to like Dave or I'm not even going to have feelings for him sometime, I would be like, what? What are you talking about?

And then six months later. I don't like anything about him, actually. She literally said that out loud to me. I don't like anything about you.

I don't know what I was thinking. Don't say those things out loud. But what does that look like? What do you mean by that? How do you love each other when you don't like each other?

Chapter one. What you don't know on your wedding day is beautiful because otherwise you might not say yes, you know, because you're two people getting married. And only thing you see ahead of you is bliss. There's no way you could ever imagine what life is going to bring you. I mean, you know, we've been married almost 20 years and walk through, you know, adding children to our family was difficult.

Sickness with our family, you know, parents aging. Life happens, you know, and so it gets difficult. And so sometimes it's not even that like Aaron changes and I don't like him. It's just we're two human beings who on our own would choose ourselves, would choose our own flesh, our own interests, our own likes.

And so in those moments when we're doing that, then I'm like, oh, this isn't working because this isn't how God made it. And so when we talk about loving each other and we don't like each other, for me, the ultimate example is Jesus. You know, and that's I think that's what I say all the time about the book is like it's a book on marriage, but it's also a book of how to just look like Jesus. You know, like if we all tried to look more like Jesus, it'd be easier to love someone when you don't like them. And so when I talk about love, I think, man, what is the picture of Jesus when he loves us? And I'm by no means saying that Jesus loves us and doesn't like us because I think Jesus is really fond of us.

Me too. But I think that as humans, we have to do things that are sometimes out of our nature. And so, you know, when we read First Corinthians 13, we read it a lot of times at weddings. But Paul was actually just writing that to the church and saying, hey, you should love people like this. And so, yes, that translates into our marriage, but also translates into this is a human being made in the image of God.

And I'm speaking about my husband. I should love him the way Christ tells us to love people. And so for me, at times when it's hard or there's conflict or we're fighting or circumstances are difficult, I have to ask myself, how does Jesus ask us to love people?

And I have to somehow, only by the work of the Holy Spirit, do that in those moments. And it's difficult. Even if he doesn't deserve it.

Especially if he doesn't deserve it. Yeah. And that's hard. Really hard.

I notice how you said that. Talking about me when I don't deserve it. But here's a question for both of you or either want to answer. How do you do that when you don't feel it? You're hurt, maybe really, really angry. And you know, I want to love him, love her as Christ loves me. And I can't. You ever been there?

Yeah, absolutely. Before we got married, I didn't, I truly didn't know how to love people. If you could kind of meet me back then, I grew up super insecure. I grew up believing that I would never really amount to anything or do anything. I had things that were spoken over me that kind of formed that belief that I had. And, you know, I always struggle with why don't I know how to love people?

Why don't I know how to love well? And really, at the end of the day, it wasn't about me not knowing how to. It was that I had not believed that God actually could love me. That you were worthy of his love. Totally.

Totally. And so I think it's even stepping back further and further from how do you love your spouse when they seem unlovable? Stepping back further to do you really believe at the end of the day that you are deeply loved by God no matter what? Because Jesus came to love people that were deemed unlovable. By all standard measurement, I should not be loved by God.

That is perfect and holy and awesome. Compared to God, I should be unlovable. But he chose to love me radically and he keeps doing it over and over again.

So I think it starts with a deep rooted belief that I am loved by God. And until you kind of wrap your mind around that and believe that, it's impossible to love somebody else that in the moment you think is unlovable. But when you grasp it, then there's nothing Jamie could do or say. There's no distance. There's no like big fighter argument that we couldn't get through because I believe, man, God loved me.

And so I can love Jamie because I have the love of God in me. Right. It's impossible to do it without that.

Yeah. And I think it is too sometimes it's a choice that you have to make. That's a great point. Like I think I've had to learn that because when you get married, like you said earlier, I would have never thought I'm going to have to choose one day to love Aaron today.

Like I'm like Aaron could never do a wrong thing, you know? But you do have to make that choice. And I think that's what people get hung up on is because they sometimes think like, this is hard.

This must be bad. Right. Or maybe I married the wrong person.

Yeah. And I just think hard doesn't equal wrong and hard doesn't equal bad. Hard just means it's hard. And life is hard. I mean that no one listening has an easy life. Nobody. There's not one person. And so I think even having to go, okay, so if you're in that space in your marriage where you're like, I don't know if I like him.

He doesn't deserve my love. It is a choice in the morning. It is a choice at noon. It is a choice at five. It is a choice at ten thirty.

It is like a choice that you have to make. And do we always succeed at that? I think we fail sometimes.

We think he doesn't deserve this. I deserve more. He doesn't deserve more, but it is that consistent going before the Lord saying, I want to choose to love him. Help me do it. And I don't know if you guys are like me, but I can't do it apart from the help of the Holy Spirit.

Like it's impossible in my flesh. I want Dave to serve me and love me and do these things for me. But the same power that's in us and the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, he lives in us.

So he gives us that power. And as you mentioned, First Corinthians 13. I mean, I have to read this and I think of Bob Lapine's book Love Like You Mean It and the small group material that we have available at But it says, I mean, just think about this as you're listening. Is this what it looks like for you and your household to love? Because we've all heard this in so many weddings. Love is patient and kind. Love does not envy or boast. It is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way. It is not irritable or resentful. It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. Love never ends. Oh, that's convicting. It's beautiful.

Yeah, it is beautiful. Well, we've been listening to a recent conversation that Dave and Ann Wilson had with Aaron and Jamie Ivey, the authors of a pair of books, both called Compliment. There's a version for him and a version for her talking about marriage and talking about how we love one another when we don't like one another. And there are seasons in a marriage where you go, I really don't like you right now, but I still am supposed to love you. And it's a choice we make, not an emotional feeling.

And I tell you, you know, we've said this many times, but if you would have told me before marriage that I wouldn't like Ann, I would have said you're crazy. Right. It's not to like. Come on, man.

A lot, I know. We all have our moments. That's the thing. There are days I'm very unlikable. I mean, do our kids not like us sometimes? Do we not like our kids? I mean, it really has very little to do with love. Love is bigger than like.

And that's what we learned today. And the decision to love, the choice we make to love, as you said, Ann, has got to be a spirit-enabled decision, because if we try and do it on our own strength, it's going to look bad, go bad for everybody. And we cannot do it apart from God's spirit and power in us.

And learning to rely on him every day and to surrender to him every day and to give him our marriage every day is something that I feel like we can't do it apart from him. We are so excited about the Ivy's new books, and we're also excited about the fact that during the month of May, we've had some friends of the ministry who have come to us and said, we want to help you guys head into summer strong. So they have agreed that this month they are going to match every donation we receive from our listeners dollar for dollar.

So a listener who says, I want to help support family life. I'm going to send them $25 that will free up $25 from a matching gift fund. And it makes the the value of your gift worth $50. And I got to tell you, it couldn't come at a better time. This is really important for us as a ministry. Like you said, it's a critical time.

You know, you think it's middle of the year, but it is a it's really our year end in some ways. So your contribution is going to help moms and dads legacies literally be changed, just like yours. And when you make a donation, in addition to your donation being doubled, we'll send you as a thank you gift, a copy of the book we've talked about today.

Aaron and Jamie Ivy's books complement again, one for him, one for her. That's our thank you gift for your donation. And in addition, we're going to include a flash drive that has five episodes of a conversation the three of us had recently, where we were just talking about the core lessons that I've learned from guests like the Ivy's in more than 28 years of hosting family life today. These are lessons on marriage and on parenting, a whole variety of subjects. The flash drive and the books are our way of saying thank you.

When you go to family life today dot com to make a donation or when you call 1 800 FL today to donate. Again, that donation will be doubled and we'll send you these thank you gifts. And let me just say thank you in advance for your gift.

It is so meaningful to us and we are so grateful. Now, tomorrow, we're going to talk more with Aaron and Jamie about complementing one another in marriage. And we're going to hear a new original song that Dave Wilson wrote, kind of an ode to Aaron and Jamie Ivy, your new best friend. It may just sweep the country. You never know, Bob.

It may be swept up. We'll hear that song tomorrow. I hope our listeners can be with us for that. I want to thank our engineer today, Bruce Goff, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, I'm Bob Lapine. We'll see you back tomorrow for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life of Little Rock, Arkansas, a crew ministry. Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-23 08:36:11 / 2023-11-23 08:49:03 / 13

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