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January 13, 2022 9:00 pm
Choosing us in your marriage is both crucial and complicated. Counselor & author Debra Fileta offers advice to consistently operate as one unit.
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So after 41 years of marriage, which is been awesome okay yes what would you say is different about me from maybe the beginning how that ticket question. Welcome to family life today where we want to help you pursue the relationship matter most in our day will soon and you can find firstname.lastname@example.org or on our family life. This is family life today.
What would you say is different about me from maybe the beginning please be nice. Now I want to set you are way more other centered and self centered really, how to say I have no idea. I just want to know what you think about what you say it's kind of scary. Now I think we talked about this many times you are so affirming you believe in me. I feel so believed in for anybody that really matters, but for me as a man that is one of the greatest gifts anyone could ever get like that about you to like you. Now I feel like you believe in me way more than I believe in myself and that's I started laughing because we have sitting across the table at our studio. The therapist is probably analyzing us right now I go boy I could see all their childhood wounds come to see us back in the day to say that, but we got Deborah for later with us and she is a therapist and an author and a mom of four kids.
I mean in your first book was really about dating right but yeah but you moved on to write about marriage were also going to talk about some of the stuff in terms of psychology that you wrote.
But we must first follow. Say thanks for being here.
It's great to have you and your husband John in in town in Little Rock says our last week of recording in the studio bang bang. We are fresher and with Guinness say the haircut you know you have the same haircut.
I guess I wouldn't know. I thought you mentioned some about sarcasm how it's her pretty big chains.
I think it's funny. There was a day would that bother. Now it just like I love you bald man. Hello me right at the shampoo project done shaving shower look great on me.
Just affirm that dear Cecily your book choosing marriage. Let's talk about the subtitle regarding talked about many things, the walls that we bring in. If you missed previous conversation, you get to go listen to, but the subtitles why it has to start with we over me, so I'm guessing that so I know I read the book talk about going from pride, humility, or the selfish problem in our marriages help us out with this.
Yeah, we is greater than me. I think that is the formula for healthy marriage.
When you think of marriage, I think often times we look at it like a competition you know who's doing more on the house who is Lee has the most power in the relationship can be this competition rather than seeing us as truly one yeah, when were truly wine. It's a wee thing and now I am beginning to lose myself but in the best way possible. When John and I met you guys didn't hear the story at lunch.
I used to go by Debbie everyone called me Debbie when John and I met. She literally just started calling me dad without even asking my permission and it was kind of funny because I first threw me off the board Like Deb Selleck serious life, but he just started calling me Deb, and its stock. So now 14 years in the marriage. You can tell by how how someone knows me by what they call me if they call me Debbie. It's the pre-John era parents, my cousin, they call me Deb. It's the post John Wright if they call me Deborah, it's work-related but I use that story because in a way I lost part of myself when I got married, my name shifted. Even something as small as that in the best of ways because in marriage God calls us to lose our self selfishness. All of the things that he didn't call us to be personality and not our hobbies and interests in recalling all of the things that God didn't intend for us to carry those sins and struggles we've come to the table of marriage to be sharpened to be changed to crowd to mature and so interesting because I'm thinking about when I was young mom with three boys under five. I would continually say I have no life anymore.
I have no life anymore and then as my kids got older and I got older I was a change that. Like that was such a wrong way to see it. My life can change everything about a change but there is beauty in that changed. I sought is all I can't do this anymore and I don't have time to do that anymore.
And yet there is this beauty to that and I think marriage can be the same way it is different is no longer me.
It is me and you're saying there's a real beauty and there is an and it's something that's so unnatural because as a single person your whole life is dedicated to self thinking about yourself what you can eat what you're going to wear where you got your schedule, your budget is just about you and all of a sudden you have to share everything from the remote to the Fred to the bad.
I mean, someone told me before I got married, invest in a king-size bed like what kind of a marriage license. She was right. Everything in there so much that you have to learn to overlook with regards to the minors so that you can reserve your energy and power for the majors the things that really matter. Not everything can be big issue. I actually think of our watercolor bathroom drama let me talk to you little bit about selfishness when it comes to something as simple as how we get ready you now John side of the sink looks pristine moved and there's nothing on the counter so nothing yet my side is like a little bit chaotic but I know everything is senile and then the toilet paper roll like these little tiny things that you start bugging you he he is the king of leaving like one square left on the role. Use the toilet paper. There's just the cardboard or the cardboard then I'll go replace that I've never done that. By the way. Okay, go ahead. I'll replace it but I'm I'm just putting on site is profit on anointing indifferently and I think that's the stuff that begins to come to the surface. I mean, it becomes really because you've written about and you know big deal that you don't for see little fish you really are, you know, until you get married. I'm a member Tim Keller meaning of marriage says three things happened every married couple. First, they realize their spouses selfish. Then they realize I'm selfish to third is I'm nowhere near selfish, you know it's it's really true.
I'll tell this really quick, but I was invited years ago to play in this charity golf outing by a fellow friend of mine on Detroit Lions and long story short, each foursome gets a celebrity and they pay $1000 and they give us liberty and they don't know who slivers going to be and I was invited to play as a celebrity because my buddy and I said do you not know celebrity because I know what you're not gonna pay so it's free for you so I get there I walk up to this foursome. I introduce myself and they look at me like why did you introduce yourself, so I'm your celebrity and I look Magic Johnson just walk behind. I get him I get you and then the guys say it was two guys and two women, and then they said to me, so what or who are you, we don't know your name will you celebrity. I said I did want some a pastor and yeah that would freak a mouse was my friend Drew Stanton. You know the guys run this thing and they go yeah but you must have some other reason that your celebrity so finally say well I'm the chaplain Detroit Lions and this guy looks amigos corroborates. That means we can't drink and we can't curse because you're a pastor and I go will get better, bad golfer to so let's go anyway, long story short we get to like the eighth or ninth hole standing on the green, get ready, put in this wife walks from the other cart up to me and she goes, so I hear your marriage expert. I don't know what you talk about. They say you're a writer, marriage, and she was going marriage question I go okay this is classy I could never scripted this because I'm in my second marriage.
What's the problem with marriage. She says green as you look at me like you get 30 seconds. What's the problem with marriage. I go I can answer that one word to facet. I will selfishness listen to her answer. She looks misuse. You are so right. My first husband was the most ever be a result. It was classic. I look back at her. I going on, your first husband. I'm fine, but you don't talk about me and you know I could tell interfaces like you are right there is a problem they're called selfish your whole book is about. That's at the root of this thing. So how do we deal with our own self-interest. Because we want to deal with our spouses, but we really need to do it their own house from pride to humility. While I think it's important to first and foremost recognize our selfishness. When were oblivious to it. We have no hope now to really do an assessment between us and the Lord like I just open my eyes like what are the areas where I am holding onto self elevating self and then something else to do that. I really think helps. It is changing my mentality and seeing the ways that God has forgiven me and what God has done for me and it kinda begins to change my heart to extend that same grace to my spouse and I do believe it starts with the little things in marriage in the surveys I did. I surveyed over a thousand singles and a thousand married couples to get some data for this book and it was really interesting because the majority of married couples said it's not the big things that they feel are destroying their marriage like addictions and pornography. Not that that's not an issue, but what's actually affecting their marriage day in day out is these little things these little lifestyle selfishness type themes. The tension that begins to build and think about it. Most of these arguments that we have are about these little things and if we don't learn to extend grace to communicate in a healthy way if we don't learn to build those muscles with the little things. When the big things come when I can be able to handle them.
And so it really does start with learning what it looks like to be selfless in the little things but I will add. I think a lot of Christians are walking around believing that they're being selfless when they're actually being passive and not something I think is really important to differentiate that's interesting past 70 is when you're not communicating your needs passive and he is when you don't know how to say no and you're just doing things out of guilt possibility is when you don't want to rock the boat and cause conflict. So you'd rather just not talk about something that ends up destroying your marriage because you cannot be passive and not expect that there's some root of bitterness that starts to take hold of your heart and life baby or not actively saying it you being quiet and you're letting your spouse kinda lead in and you not saying what you need, but deep down, the root of bitterness and resentment begins to kind of creep into your heart can only be passive for so long and tells her it's going to come out and some conflict or argument or rage. You know what I mean. And so, so I think we have to really be cautious and say, selflessness is thinking of others first. But that doesn't mean that I don't communicate what I need. That doesn't mean that I pretend that I'm fine when really am not because that actually ends up causing more damage to the relationship than good. I think I did that a lot in our younger years when we are first married because I thought I'm not can it bring it up because it's not that big of a deal and I want to be this good Christian wife and so I found myself stewing about things you know and when I would go back and think about what was I thinking about in my head. I was constantly complaining about Dave over little things as you said Deborah like he never puts his dishes in the dishwasher or why is he praying with the kids are wisely gone again tonight ends but I didn't say anything, but I would keep thinking about it and then pat myself on the back like this and I do way more than he does. I think that's typical in a lot of marriages but then what would happen because I didn't see anything which is below what right at one time in Dave's thinking come from pride is that kind of typical absolutely is very typical and and if you really get to the root. The question is why am I not communicating what I need maybe don't know how to put into words maybe don't think it's serious enough.
Maybe you've grown up just kind of stuffing your needs are not feeling like there important and so the question is why it makes me passive because when you get to the why. Then you can begin to resolve things in it so important to be able to feel that you can share with your spouse what you need. So talk to a listener that maybe has done that they are listening and thinking that's exactly what I've done over the years.
What's our next step in a hottie take that step into that conversation first starts with learning to identify your needs. I think sometimes we stuff those needs for so long and it turns into criticism.
Yeah, my spouse is in helping with the dishes.
He doesn't do anything on that.
The question is what do I need the answer. You know I'm feeling burnt out feeling exhausted. I need some help and support.
I need to feel like your teammate when you can figure out what you need. It begins to become about you, rather than about your spouse and that's only one approach the conversation you want to go up and say D you just so lazy I do everything around here helping Jaime said that the years but more of Dave feeling burnt out. I'm feeling exhausted and it would mean so much to me if because now it's about me. I'm not attacking him.
Now it's about me and what I need and what I feel versus about him and what he's not doing it because that totally changes the dynamic of the conversation and you can still have a positive conversation and share unique.
I think sometimes people think that sharing what they need and being honest is always going to lead to conflict. Yes, but that's not the truth that I think sometimes maybe as a Christ follower. You don't want to share what you need to feel selfish right about me it's about Lando my life for you to go my knees because then it's about me, but your sin could be a positive way to actually serve your spouse by saying this is what I need right absolutely have to give her this example and assist therapist and step like okay what would you do it. Have no idea what this could be so I we share this before, but when our kids were little. I was having a day that I felt overwhelmed and I was sitting at the kitchen table crying, no, no, don't dove to the store so I'm crying and I say to Dave like I am the worst mom I feel like I'm failing.
I can't keep our lives together. Our kids were a little high and I was super vulnerable because I was at my wits end and I'm crying. And this is, he says, can be right. Okay this is a really battle of what okay.
I was very young now and you would never do this today. Silver goes upstairs. He comes down with the 3 x 5 piece of paper actually was this big blessed I was that big and I thought when I saw that's about an 8 x 207 x 7 69.
He wrote me an encouraging note of encouraging me as a mom and a wife like you're doing a good job. That's what she thought. And so you need is paperless numbered 1 to 10 I got keys like written 10 reasons I'm a good mom I said I could. I held it in my hands and it said read out loud. Number one, and I look at him like you are the sweetest get more organized number 2 Thinking Way to get better. Use your time wise enough. I went upstairs and I pray and this is what got me. I said do you think this is true in my face. So here I'm trying vulnerable and not withdraw so like the therapist in your office. What would you say your spouse doesn't respond in the way you are hoping here's what I would say if this was a therapy session you and so you're married to start by saying Dave, I'm proud of you that you tried to meet your wife where she was at.
That's a great writer and I was a for effort. Your heart was in the right place, and now I need you to spend some time listening to and to figure out what actually works for her because what works for you is a list of things we need to change, but that's not what works for her. So you've got to get better at telling Dave in those moments. What you need because he can't read your mind. He's a completely different person. He doesn't know what you need in those moments unless you tell him, and that really was our conversation. This was a breaking point for us in terms of it took us to a better rate.
Actually when she did rip it off and threw it and say this is from Satan. Yeah, great question. I said yeah what you need more like to know where you went wrong you shared your feelings and you stop there. So I want you to share your feelings as well as what you need to know that's really the parts to it.
And yeah, here's how I feel will maybe is know what to do with those feelings. Do you want me to want me to jump up and down. You cry, but when you tell me this is what I feel and this is what I need then I have a roadmap okay now let go one step further because I'm thinking of all the women that I talked to and so they'll say. So I did that I said this is what I need and I did tell Dave I need you to sit in it with me.
Now I do. I've heard someone say something like: this is what I need from you and my husband has not done anything since I told him that I was super vulnerable and then bitterness is sure. So how how would you counsel them. I would look at it as marriage is not a once and done conversation. This is a process and were being molded and shaped with each conversation. This is a work in progress, so we keep sharing what we need. We keep giving clues. We keep connecting with one another. We keep seeing what the other person needs. We keep making deposits before we make withdrawals we keep seeing our role because that's the only thing we have control over. It's good and then we trust God with what we can't control so this is on a once and then thing a minute. It takes you so many years to get to this place of dysfunctional interactions. You can expect them to go away overnight. It takes years of unlearning and relearning and learning what the other person needs and having conversations and there's even a roadmap called the speaker listener to which you might've heard about the arts. It's from the Gottman Institute, but I can give you a layout of what is it look like to even begin to have a conversation about what you need and what you're feeling.
Some people don't even know where to start. So when you begin learning these things. Give yourself grace your spouse grace. This isn't an overnight thing. Training for marriage just like training for a marathon just like training for medical school takes a significant amount of time and energy and effort in war and when you began to do those things can start moving in the right direction. That is, you say in choosing marriage its choice after choice. A lot of her little that I know for me when and told me that this decades ago. Here's what happened.
I began to understand all this is what she needs.
But here's the trick is when would be another situation that I would know what she needed. I would still feel the selfishness in me like I don't want to do it and that's where I would like Jesus change me. I can't do it. I don't have the power within me to serve her right now I know what serving her looks like she's told me I don't want to. And it's like that's where the power of the gospel in visa since those I'll give you the power now and then little choices like that piled on top each other full different yeah you start one choice at a time. So Jesus I surrender, give me the power to be the man. The woman you want me to be and then walk into Latin Aman like we talked about in our last conversation with my God I can scale any wall, and that's the key it's not just the wall. It's not just me but it's with my God yes on 18 like I can do this with God's help, whatever that wall is conflict or bitterness, or resentment or exhaustion God can give me what I need to overcome this into a fruitful, positive, beautiful, grace filled marriage.
If you are at a point in your marriage where you find yourself saying I can't do this anymore. According to Deborah for later.
You're the exact right spot because on our own. We can't do it, but with God's help in God's strength and the community of believers cheering us on and the wisdom that comes from God's word. There is a way for your marriage to be God honoring God glorifying, and for you to find joy in the midst of your relationship. That's what Deborah has written about in her book, choosing marriage, why it has to start with we is greater than me. It's a book that we got in our family like to the resource center. Great book for you to go through as a couple or to go through together with other couples to work on strengthening your marriage relationship you can order Deborah's book from us email@example.com or you can call one 800 FL today to get a copy of the subject of oneness, the subject of prioritizing the Wii is something that is at the heart of our weekend. Remember marriage getaways for more than four decades, couples have been coming together to spend a weekend with us to focus them on God's design for marriage and this event has had a revolutionary impact in the lives of hundreds of thousands of couples who would tell you there marriage is different today because they chose to invest a weekend and spend it with us. We want your marriage to be all God wants it to be and that's our goal.
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Join us for a weekend to remember marriage getaway and with that we have to wrap things up for today. Hope you have a great weekend.
Hope you and your family are able to worship together in your local church this weekend and I hope you can join us on Monday when Morgan talked about how important it is for us to be authentic, transparent, not hiding things in our marriage.
It's God's desire that we be fully known and fully loved by one another and by him. David Ashley Willis will join us to talk about the issue of transparency and marriage. Hope you can be with us for that on behalf of our hosts David and Wilson on Bob Lapine. We will see you Monday for another edition of family life today family like today is a production of family accrued ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most