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Mudslinging and Marriage

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
September 8, 2021 2:00 am

Mudslinging and Marriage

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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September 8, 2021 2:00 am

We all carry "mud" into our marriages. Carey and Toni Nieuwhof discuss what the "mud" really is and how to deal with it.

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Ask your spouse today. What would make this a good day for you and I learned as I question because naturally sinful guy. I wake up going, what would make this a good day for me and I have my whole little less you know that a everybody in your house, wakes up with what would make this a good day for me. Something to put my little what would make this a good day for me and a few hours and then will focus on how I can help Tony make sure it's a good day for welcome to family life today where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most and will send Dave Wilson and you can find or on our family life.

This is family life today. Okay, one of things I don't think we realize when we got married is were standing there in front of the pastor. I looked perfect.

He did my hair combed over my bag and anyway you know it was just this is great. Mom is a cold day but if we could have seen, behind the veil, there were bags of luggage that were attached to us as we came to this marriage right. We had no idea how much we were actually bringing into our marriage of past hurt you brought a lot more baggage and I die probably did say and you have you had your share as well but actually the truth is is I brought a ton yeah and I don't think any Halas are aware of the impact that baggage from the past will affect our marriage in the present because nobody thinking on their wedding day. I bet this won't work. I bet will be miserable in a few years I expect there's a divorce in our future but also nobody realizes I don't think on their wedding day.

How hard it's going to be yeah and one of the best things we ever did we do know how vital would be at the time is two weeks before our wedding. We went to the weekend. Remember family life. We can remember, and it was the it was a light ball to say oh my goodness this is going to be hard, but we have a plan and I get say some this is a conference you can't miss all the family life. We can remember we took covert offer could make as a social distancing, but it's back. And not only can you go you can go half-price right now which is amazing. Yeah if you sign up right now you can go half-price you can pick the getaway you can pick the city you want to go to and trust me between Friday night and Sunday morning. You are going to get a plan that's going to be one of the best things you've ever done for your marriage and this is for pre-marriage couples married five years, 50 years, you name it, it will help anybody.

So here's I do a go to family life to and sign up for a weekend. Remember yeah and so we got a couple with us today that I just love Tony and Carrie new half are joining us. Tony just released the book out too long ago called before you split which is interesting because first of all let me just say welcome to family life guys glad to have you on the on with us. Hey, it's just so great to be with you.

I'm thrilled to be here love being with you guys.

Thank you yeah and I tell you, when I got your when I saw your book 2 things. One, I know Carrie and so I know a little bit your story but I did know half of it and are in the box but it's such a unique perspective because your divorce mediator you sat with couples you know Tony is you know Tony you know the consequences.

You know how it goes with family. So you have that perspective so you can bring all that into it as well, but you're married to a leader or a podcast or a former pastor. I mean a guy I listen to I read Carrie I read your blog every single day it's life-changing. It's power five pointed more people to your resources and your books because they're just dynamite so so good and he really you really have impacted so many interesting you both have your logic race where we met law school only is where you can Alaska Holly Osgood Hall Toronto. They divide you like.

Usually you're just in there with hundreds of other strangers at law school and we were put in the same section, section D and I noticed this really cute blonde girl in section D pretty much stared at you for two months until we started dating like my friend said Tony.

That boy keeps staring at you is that a parent cannot carry you to be undercover a little bit yeah II was kinda smitten. It was one of those things where it was love at first sight or lust at first sight, perhaps. But anyway, we became friends in a couple months later we started dating and you know that's another thing to we did not have a long dating.

Not long courtship if you want to use that word. So from meeting to being engaged was nine months and then from meeting to being married was 18 months and 18 months after we were married we had our first son, and all that happened while we were in law school try to graduate. It was a bit of his early time you we been empty-nesters for five, six years now. I feel like were dating is like all a lot of couples they discovered this part before they got married. We didn't quite marry strangers, but it was close. And you're right we brought all of our unresolved baggage into that relationship and you call in the book of if I'm right you call it mud or mud stories that you bring in, and so talk about that a little bit because I'm guessing you didn't realize the mud you are bringing in what was the mud you were bringing into your marriage.

There was plenty of it. I got together as we said when we were in law school and I became a Christian, just shortly before that and without a lot of mentoring or insight, and so it wasn't until several years into our marriage that I started to pick up clues that something wasn't quite right.

At one point we were on vacation with our oldest son and I had this episode where I just broke down in and started weeping, and really didn't know why it wasn't there wasn't any major factor provocation and it was probably about 36 hours of misery and then I start to pull myself back together and we went home and and at that point I realized I had a choice.

I can neither pay attention to what happened or just completely ignore it.

And life goes on.

But at that point I started to pay more attention to these emotions that seem to go beyond the circumstances, I call them over Cal emotions where maybe Carrie said something that was provocative. Maybe at a level in two or 3/10, but my responses that you know is a seven or nine some things going on with that and you know it took some introspection, prayer, reading Scripture was part of this discovery process and working with a Christian counselor to realize that there were these hidden lies that were beneath the surface. Certainly, I wasn't aware of them that were telling me things like I'm better off alone and that showed up in ways I was acting and behaving that were very self protective, it became obvious over time that I didn't trust anyone. That's how it it manifested in in my life.

It was part of my withdrawing from conflict that I talked about in our first time we had a conversation and I wasn't the only one I've also come to realize that I was believing things like my voice doesn't matter, and I deserve to be invisible.

And I think that meat. I've heard other people talk about having these hidden inner self limiting lies or beliefs you know where they believe things like I'm not good enough.

I'll never have what it takes and so yeah that's what I'm calling mind, but you could also call it Windsor baggage.

I think it's such a common phenomenon, but earlier in life. In the early years in my 20s, I had no idea that I had dragged those kinds of beliefs into my marriage and into my life that I think you know you tell me if it's true in your marriage. I found it. It's really easy for me to see the mud and hand it, I could see all her baggage. I had a really hard time see in mind even when she would pointed out, which is you know her gift to me. She said to me one day I am God's Holy Spirit to your life never said I need your help for. She said the Holy Spirit.

That's what I said I hope it doesn't feel like help to me right. The question would be how do you use mud because it is easier to see somebody else's but the look in the mirror and identified all I saw Tony's like crazy right like and that was a thing when I was single I was pretty happy because you are rarely in conflict with yourself, particularly in your 20s right.

I got my own way all the time and the other thing I think you're dealing with is you know if you come from your family of origin and you know we have different families of origin, but they were too dissimilar but like everything is normal to you as an adult, you begin to realize, oh that is normal. Normal. That was just normal to me. So really trivial example I remember like my mom would always wipe to catch up live bottle so you have your ball, catch up, you have the lid. If there's catch up on it becoming escorted out.

She would clean it, of course, yes, of course, exactly. Maybe I was obsessed about that and perhaps Tony was and I'm like well that's just like normal.

That's what people do and you know that is such a trivial and stupid example. But I think your life is that way.

Like courses when we go to bed.

As we do this when we do this we do that and some of that is your own preferences. So that's family of origin and how we get that yeah I spent a long time and I did the same thing. I would counseling to Tony was speaking like the Holy Spirit gave me an ultimatum and basically said you go to counseling or this is new and well. So when is about 31 I got married was 25 and 31 would counseling.

I spent the first hour of counseling complaining about Tony and Jesse, does this and she does this and she doesn't do this and so frustrated. Can you please validate me and correct her and then you know my counselors name was Jim. He just said to be well Carrie, now that were done talking about Tony, can we talk about you and that's when I began to realize and start to unpack that somewhere along the line when I was a kid I confuse love with performance and that basically if I've behaved well and I produce good results for Dave pretty much everything and of course that's not biblical.

That's not how people respond also realized I'm still working on this fear of intimacy that I am not good with really really close relationships know we moved a lot when I was a kid. Maybe that was part of it.

I remember being 10 years old and it was four schools in three years and I made a decision that I wasn't to make any more friends and dumb thing, but that's what 10-year-old Stu well turns out that we did move a lot after that. And all those people could've been my friends, but by that time the wall was up while put that in a marriage context and that doesn't go very well when you're afraid of the person whose closest to you, and I wasn't like afraid.

Afraid of Tony.

You know there was like I'm only going so far and yes I I had those issues and then my obsession with like OCD and environments in order got really out of whack. You know, to me, that was normal and self-evident.

You know you never buy an addition of worse homes and Gardens, so I would basically you know if I was frustrated with us. I would just go mow the lawn for the third time that week and that was my way of just coping with the stress and the chaos trying to wash the car or organize something because that was Kasner that turns out that can be very healthy. I still like a nice cup wanted to clean car, but it's no longer a thorn in our relationship and it's not a substitute for intimacy or not being able to unpack our conflict and deal with it in a healthy way yes is Tony so how did you deal with what Carrie just said there's pretty deep about.

I had a fear of intimacy and I guess some price and I because I have the same fear and I talked about it on Carrie's podcast like when we were talking about a vertical marriage. One of my son said to me dad. You're more intimate with the congregation on from the stage than you are with us in the home so you'll share vulnerability to a thousand people and you're afraid to go there. And of course he was 100% right. I was like as soon as he set it up like oh my goodness so my wife said to live with that for 40, 41 years, which was interesting like we would go out and Dave is probably a better communicator than I am, in terms that he uses more words. He's more animated and he also goes into detail about work and so he's telling you these great stories and at this happening in this I said this at work and timely thing like shaking my head and I can't sell like how are you doing and how do you think we are doing. And there's silence. I shut down.

Totally shut down because he felt like know why you knew I did know you are afraid to be in trouble to like what is she wanting so he's trying to think of what I'm wanting to find trouble for me to be is to move it, whatever that is. And so I just want to know how did you deal with that in your marriage because Carrie just submitted a similar thing was at a struggle did that change would that look like I think that's part of what we needed to go to counseling for Carrie's tendency to fear intimacy and mind to not trust anyone.

I realize that my my trust issues went deep enough to not even trusting God, you know, I started to realize that okay in my brain. I absolutely want to follow Christ. I'm 100% sold on being a Christ follower and being surrendered. But in my heart. Nothing resonates like nothing penetrates and I started asking questions like will got here I am following you, but where's the love where's the joy he wears the piece like this emotional using. You struggle with intimacy to well yeah that was that was my part as said struggle with intimacy that we were we were a fine picture to you, you, your relationship with the and I think you know for me just being open about it. It's a question of feeling, not judged feeling accepted feeling safe. And that's something I'm still working on and you know it's funny because I'm the same way like people would say if you follow my leadership stuff.

It's like wow carries very transparent. He's very open and is very real and that's true and you would also get that at my house for dinner. If you are over and we were hanging out, but I think there are layers to intimacy and I would say for me. You know me better than anybody, and you see me and then it's Keller's understanding of the gospel. The gospel is to be fully known and fully loved and so what normally happens is you say well I want you to fully love me so you can't fully know because if you knew this about me then you wouldn't love me. So you just hide yourself and so I've had to learn in Tony's been the best teacher and we've gotten. I think good at accepting each other. Being a leader is always try to fix my wife right. I fix problems all day long, and some to fix you and that is not a good strategy. There apparently told me many times you do not need fixing the holy here it's job. When I thought the Holy Spirit and helper things Tony said in the book, which I thought was very insightful was when you step in the your unprocessed wounds or your monitor your baggage or whatever you bring in when you started to do that, you start to realize I can no longer or you said I don't blame Carrie now for my unhappiness can talk about that because that's a big insight is that's what we do we blame our unhappiness on our spouse or our marriage but use you discovered subnets of life change. I think yeah it was through that that process of prayer and really opening myself up to Jesus in the way date. David describes in Psalm 139, when he says learn see if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. I needed to take ownership really. I did have that blaming perspective where you know if if only you would stop being so upset about the state of that kitchen or you know so focused on the environment and if you would step up as a coparenting pay more attention to us.

Instead, you know then things would be so much better and I was experiencing really dark moods. At that point and exhaustion and and I really was focused on Carrie as the cause for those emotions, but over time, as I prayed about it as I listen to what my Christian counselor had to say I started to recognize that now there were layers to what was going on and I was completely emotionally unprepared for marriage. I needed insight into how I managed my own emotions, let alone in a responded to her handled motions of other people and then another layer to my exhaustion was just being isolated since I had that underlying belief that I'm better off alone.

I really had been functioning as if I was an island and as if I was the only one who would forge ahead and take control of my life and you know I wasn't really being open or vulnerable with the friends that I had around me. I have friends I was hanging out with people with other mothers in and we would get together with our kids. I had friendships, but I wasn't really talking about what was happening in my heart in my life in our marriage and you know keeping those things to myself meant that functionally I was isolated I had to come around and reach the point where I I saw that father son and Holy Spirit that God's essence is community and none of us as followers as children of God are intended to be isolated so I swung around to the view where I could see that my emotional problems.

My exhaustion was very much a part of how I was living my life not what Carrie was doing in our marriage and I had to reach the point where I actually believe that I need to rely on God and others to be fully alive that it's actually a necessity.

It's like the air I breathe, it's part of being a child of God means that we have to have these relationships that are open and vulnerable, transparent and inter-reliant.

I think that's really big and I think a lot of us have been there and I may be there right now where you fall into this black hole a feeling I'm not worthy. I'm not worthy to be seen or heard. I'm alone, and the enemy of our soul. Satan that's exactly where he wants us to be isolated in our own heads. The longer you are in your head alone, the darker it can be remember speaking one time. I'm trying to hide in shame. I get done speaking I'm thinking that was awful and then I'm hit with this barrage of these these lies in my head that was terrible.

Your unworthy. You're not good enough. And this is all again baggage and mud from the past is now being slung into my mind this is from her family of origin as well yeah yeah and so it's very performance oriented and so if I don't feel like I'm at a 10. I'm a failure because I'm supposed to be the best and as a result of that, I'm in total isolation for like four days. I won't even answer the phone and I'm on my kids are home but I'm just I'm not worthy enough to even be around my friends because I want to talk about it. It's embarrassing. So here I have a friend that just keeps calling and thinking. Stop calling me and then she comes to my door and she's knocking on the door saying I know you're hiding in shame.

You need to come out of the house you need open this door and let me talk to you and so I did like I did next year so irritating and she made me sit down. She said I want to hear everything that you're thinking right now and when we bring those lies those ugly lies into the light with our spouse but the friend it's free and when you hear what he's been thinking sell the enemy the accuser of the brethren, who only seeks to kill, steal and destroy every our lives, our marriages, our families, and so when I hear that you like me and look at you you got set free.

You now in God, and it doesn't always happen overnight. Does it. It takes a while now, but what a good friend in a sense, it's the that I guess I'm sort of quoting Keller here as well, and the meaning of marriage. But one of the other things he brings out is the purpose of marriage is to help us become like a dog that he calls it our glory selves. You know when will be like Christ in Christ presence.

It's like run this journey to get there were never to get there and on planet earth but we will one day and he gives us a spouse who speaks life identifies the mud, we can't clean it up. But we can speak it into our spouse, and if we receive it were to be sharpened to become more like Christ.

If we rejected or stuck were dirty were muddy were to get to get out of there. So how did that process happen in your marriage that did God use each other. How did you stop being mudslinging as well so that was definitely the counseling journey for both of us. We did couples counseling human individual therapy and I think with both the light bulb went on at different times. Maybe a little bit earlier. For me that I had to take responsibility for my role in the marriage and stop throwing mother Tony are blaming her for everything and realize, wow, I really am kind of messed up in and actually ironically you know that made me first of all, the most important thing is what happens here in the home so that the end of the day am a follower of Jesus, husband, father, is among the most important roles and as I got that right.

Ironically, I became a better leader like not the perfect boss but I'm a better boss like it just has a spillover effect because I agreed with Tony like there were times where we you know open up a new building and I remember you're on the front row crying, not tears of joy, but tears of how miserable our life is and what this cost me, and now even to other buildings we've opened and other moments and like when there are tears there, tears of joy in agreement and that is such a joy. So I think a lot of self-examination, a lot of lot of prayer like confession and even when I get worked up in the moment, I'm like okay what did I bring to this. And sometimes I'm like about 1% like you even now you know if we get into the moment.

I do like what I bring to this and like well not much saw her fault. You're probably thinking the same thing but I think we have the awareness to know now wait a minute I'm probably somewhere between 30 and 70% of this problem. So let me try to figure out what part do I own. Okay was my total voice. Okay it was.

I made unreasonable demands. Oh, okay. I expect too much.

Some any roommate. She's a five you know in Morgan Krohn says where we wake up with 200% battery life in us every day and you would say wake up with 70% battery life or 80 or whatever and so I can often be like and will do this and will do this and will do this and will do this like this we can impending the entire garage until he looks that goes. That's how you're spending your spare time with what I have your salad.

Help me find my sub point so but it's it's now I can laugh at that, whereas before that would've been well you just gotta drop what you're doing and help me. You owe me. Tony owes me nothing to do that if she wants to help she can help yeah there were a couple of key things that I learned from Andy Stanley and one of them was around expectations, you know what what do you expect from your spouse really the answer is, is nothing.

I don't expect anything from your spouse that you share each other's desires and you operate from a position of trying to satisfy each other's desires as opposed to trying to jump through a hoop that your spouse holds up.

I think the other thing that really stood out to me at the time was at message that Andy preached about pride versus humility. And I believe he based it on first Peter five where Peter says all of you clothe yourselves with humility, for God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble and when I heard that message. The part about God opposing the proud really struck me in the sense that I really honestly want God's favor and help. I do not want to set God up as my opponent. I still it made me look more seriously at anyways that I was resisting the work of the Holy Spirit are responding in ways that were full of pride and just taking a deeper look at surrender one real practical tip would be this. Ask your spouse today. What would make this a good day for you and I learned us a question because naturally sinful guy. I wake up going, what would make this a good day for me and I have a whole little less you know the but everybody in your house, wakes up with what would make this a good day for me. So if you just like this weekend. I know I'm knocking to be painting all day but I know that probably still be getting out of the trail doing a hike maybe getting on motorbikes, maybe socializing a little bit something to put my little what would make this a good day for me and a few hours and then will focus on how I can help Tony make sure it's a good day for her and that's a direct application of love your wife as Christ loved the church.

It's a laying down of your agenda. This is not about me it's about her. It's about him. I'm going to serve unto Christ, not for my happiness really for the errors and that's a beautiful way to do life forwarded to merge really what's at the core report. Tony and Carrie knew half of ensuring today is what would make this a great day for us for our marriage and ultimately what would make this a day that God is pleased with that has to be the focus. As we think about our marriage. It can't just be that am I getting what I want out of this marriage. It has to be something bigger something more purposeful and intentional. I think a lot of couples get stuck in the cycle of thinking. Am I happy rather than asking the question, is my spouse happy and is God happy with our marriage. Tony new office written a book called before you split and it's a book that really every couple who is at a point of hopelessness in your marriage. This is a book your pickup and read and really work your way through and ask yourself the question, have I done everything I can do to try to preserve my marriage relationship, getting the help I need my leaning into friends who can help me here. Often times when couples find themselves in a tough spot in their marriage they actually they go dark. They don't reach out to anybody else, and that's the exact wrong time to be doing that. Tony talks about that and provides other wisdom in the book before you split which is a book we have available in our family life today resource Center you can get it online. The family like or you can call to order one 800, FL, today is the number in the book is called before you split.

Find out what you really want for the future of your marriage by toning you off order called to order at 1-800-358-6329 that's one 800 F as in family L as in life and in the word today. Let me also say you if you're looking for a way to clean up some of the. The messiness in your marriage.

You got a good marriage but all of us have those irritations. Those messy spots that we brought our own mud stories, as we heard about today in your marriage and you'd like someone who could help you take a good marriage and make it better or take or hurting marriage and bring hope. Plan to join us this fall at one of our 30 weekend. Remember marriage getaways that were hosting in cities all across the country. The getaway is a 2 1/2 day escape for couples where you can learn what God's word has to say about how to build a strong fulfilling enduring marriage relationship right now when you sign up you'll save 50% off the regular registration fee for an upcoming getaway that offer is good to family life to a listers and it's good only through Monday so if you want 50% savings and if you're ready to join us this fall of the getaway go to our website. Family life to Information about the getaways available.

Their combined location and the weekend that works for you and then register online or call one 800 FL today. If you have any questions or would like to register by phone either way. Plan to join us at an upcoming weekend to remember marriage getaway.

We look forward to seeing that tomorrow will hear from Tony new half how you process the decision in front of you when your marriage is in a crisis situation.

The decision to either split or to just stay and survive, or to save your marriage. How do you make that decision and and what you do once you've decided hope you can tune in and be with us tomorrow on behalf of our hosts David and Wilson on bobble payment. See back next time for another edition of family life today family like today is a production of family life ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most


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