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Greg Smalley: Reconnecting in Marriage

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
April 27, 2022 10:00 pm

Greg Smalley: Reconnecting in Marriage

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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April 27, 2022 10:00 pm

Life has a way of moving us into roommates in marriage when we want to be soulmates. Ron Deal talks with Dr. Greg Smalley about how to stay deeply connected.

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All of the verse in song of Solomon 215 so suck it all the foxes will be little Foxman for the room. The vineyard of love in. I think for a lot of us. We guard against the big things. Infidelity affairs abuse you.

Whatever the big things that think we do pretty good job of really guarding our marriages from those things is honestly the little things that really can contract us. Welcome to family life today where we want to help you pursue the relationship that matter most and often they will soon and you can find or on our family life Family life. So one of the things every marriage needs is a lot of joy joy communication.

Here's one. Nobody thinks of rest, because you can get so busy I don't know why work talk about this. We have gotten so busy in our marriage that we don't rest. We don't play and we talk about playing, but it's hard to do sometimes and it we need this, we need help in this area because we work hard and work were struggling to find rest that I think a lot of marriages find the same thing just become roommates asserted become like a business partnership will eventually use those terms. And so today we get help for marriages that are in that place we been, and we got Ron deal on his family life blended podcast. He sat down with Greg Smalley who is the executive director of marriage and family formation of Focus on the Family, and guess what they talked about rest in marriage. It is a great conversation so here's Ron and Greg talk about a really important topic for your marriage. What are some of the things that whole couples apart trying to send roommates yeah we hear that a lot's weird sort of this idea that Hale love you committed to you but am I just feel like were nothing more than married roommates. Actually, that's about what my wife Aaron said eight years into our marriage and it's I just finished my doctorate just said my very first marriage book come out (right always dreamed of a wall that is just being released my own wife just in tears just says yeah this is far from the marriage I've always dreamed of. And I just feel like were married roommates. We've drifted so far apart.

I don't know you felt them sleeping with a stranger in a course, I'd love to say that I met that statement with just total compassion and empathy and deep understanding. I defended myself I rationalize I gave every excuse to try to reframe in yet when I really was willing to hear her. I realize that's exactly what happened is that we had just we had drifted any for a lot of couples they go through that and then they try to do bigger things like wool. Let's make sure were doing date nights this going to vacation. Let's do a holiday. Let's do something big.

And the problem is that a marriage can't survive. From date night to date night or from vacation to vacation. I think that's what's going on for a lot of couples they're hoping they can make up for all the disconnection for all the dizziness and thus they try to live from vacation, holiday, date night to date night holiday and vacation it just a marriage can't survive off of that for a devil. He wants to talk a little bit more about some of things that lead us into being roommates yeah Aaron have identified a number of things. But let me just go back say I love the story and appreciate that story. One of the things those of us that are in marriage and family ministry knows that our own families are not perfect, then I've been in counseling numerous times under 35 years and I suspect we will again at some point after I do hope it's just hard and difficult which are not that good. So that's will be different that so we we you know I've said so many times you're always going to be working on your marriage because God is always your jammers work on you and so as soon as you feel like we've arrived. Well, then God, if you're humble enough to listen.

He'll show you that next piece you that you have to deal with them and usually it comes out in the relationship environment sort sort of like, but why can't we get up well because were working and there's a process that's going on with them. Also pleased to hear that you like me have the spiritual gift of defensiveness. Oh I'm very easing out of the I'm so well-trained for my later to get by with sarcasm which is so like brother and so it's easy to put up those walls and react and what you mean you're upset we mean you're disappointed you don't know my heart, my intentions and next thing you know the other person's feeling unheard and not listen to now things are getting worse not better. If you will listener I never got started.

There's some element in any of this that you can relate to.

Okay good to know your normal and let's just keep talking about what this stuff is words on it so you guys have identified some characteristics of roommate marriage situation. Let's walk through a few of them tell us about you and I kept hearing about people saying that we feel like married roommates will why Mike like this one couple might feel that way because they're just in a really busy season. Young young kids are taking care of you know aging parents in another couple me be a lot of conflict and so they're not connected. Maybe spiritually, they have no mutual spiritually a ship in so we we started going okay so what were those main things we Swedes begin the interview couples we can't generate a list of probably research with about a thousand couples just to better understand this and by far, the biggest one was exhausted really physically tired. Yeah, that's a lot going on and I think you know by doing intensive and working with couples in crisis. We hear this a lot that they have nothing to give know they are going at such a rapid pace. So they keep pouring out and they don't know how to how to get full so that they have something to give you know as you're talking I'm sitting here listening for the blended family couples.

They're hearing this, you get married and there's 3457 kids down the two of you. You got multiple households are trying to coordinate with former spouses, former mother-in-law, all kinds of stuff outside your home and inside your home and just draining the battery exactly was exhausted is a good word for emotionally. It takes a lot to just try to maintain and keep up chase kids and do whatever. And this is true, I think, even if their adult children. They may be halfway across the country, but you're still trying to figure out how we stay in touch and connected that maybe there's step grand kids involved in trying to figure how do we bond with. So I think what I hear saying is that there may be different circumstances that create the exhaustion, but nevertheless exhaustion just means they can't quite connect with each other's I was right. So if we stay empty. Then we have nothing to give.

I've nothing to give a method to connect with you because you become a threat just don't want something you're more, you want affection you want. Whatever it is versus really understanding that the bidder forgot connect. It has to begin with this idea.

What am I doing to make sure St. full and I can hear the young mom's, you know, the stepfamilies with so many kids rolling their eyes. You feel it will ensure you come over watch the kids all get all get some rest for whatever right, Aaron, and I really tried to narrow it down to okay so if you identify with agon yeah I'm just in a really busy season where I end up exhausted. Nothing to give. We just encourage people figure out what gives you rest will give you life in their kind that the two sides of the same coin would gives me rest probably isn't going to set my heart on fire talk and bring the passion but the same time. What does just get me going and give me life probably is not to give me rest in, so we encourage people really talk about that. Ask each other in this season of of our life together.

What would rest look like what would life look like doing activities that really give you life. And so for example we live in Colorado so were right there in the base of Pike's Peak and I love to fish so I think about something that would give me life.

It's all about fishing. So Aaron knows that and so all go to her and say him to go take off a day workouts can go by myself or go to the mountains and she blesses that she knows what it does SUPER early try invite you so I don't come back, rested my goodness and get the bingo trout on the end of that line missing ending in the middle of a river good in God's beauty image. Is there something about it that so brings me alive in them when I think about rest from reason.

Introverts just just unplugging from people and income to being by myself and sometimes just listing some praise and worship music, but doing something like that just gives me real rest and so it's it's gonna be different for everybody here is good be different based on the season. And so, again, young parents are going to you.

If we write the River children got arrested and you just have to figure that out in its it's your job to figure that out. I'm hearing you gotta know yourself, you do and you gotta then prioritize some self-care and is not a problem, sometimes for people.

Clearly I know going fishing is really going to help, but now I don't know this too much to do just whatever and so end up not doing it right in your empty. You have nothing to give. So your family gets leftovers. And no one wins versus understanding that the greatest commandment love God, love others as you love yourself. I think as Christians we often rewrite that verse to say love God and love others before ourselves instead of ourselves in God gave us two commandments there to love him in the love others. He's assuming that we are already doing the job of loving us which means were were doing what we need to be full of his love, were were allowing our hearts to be full so that we have been something that we can just keep given and given and given so my goal is not about selfishness is not this narcissistic will focus on me. Its focus on you to get.

You have something to give out is really about giving, but from a place of abundance and that's why when you figure out will give you rest gives you life is a great way to balance to make sure that you have something we've been listening to Ron deal talking to Greg Smalley about finding rest in marriage and I am so convicted right now.

Are you yeah because we can run pretty hard and we've been running hard and it's a great reminder that God gave us a commandment the Sabbath to rest and it isn't just a legalistic law. It's does our body and is were learning today does our marriage good. I think talus followers of Christ we are so busy giving our lives the way that when we hear somebody saying hey I need a mean day that still narcissistic and selfish but we do need to learn how to fill up and what does Phyllis that that's important then the thing about it is Greg just said is it makes us better for others who love God better.

We love others better. We love our spouse, better make our marriage better and there's more to learn about this Phyllis Québec Toronto Greg and find out how we connect to live this out. So what are some other characteristics of roommate relationship. Yeah, I think busyness obviously was it was another big one so you can you can be busy point been exhausted, but you can just also just not taking care of yourselves, leads exhaustion busyness. We all of the seasons and I go thrown in some seasons are much less busy than others, but for a lot of us were just Ron and we have so much going on and when we speak and were talking about busyness people automatically get super defensive medicine. Now they think they were to start going through some time management habits and look at your calendar. What can you jettison it if you like their plates are overflowing with a lot of good things will spell and relax were were actually not do that were were actually in a show you that. Let's look at your plate because we guarantee there's things that are happening already that you could take advantage of the week so people just relax were not going to add or were worse going to show you that you're doing things.

For example, when my favorite researchers. I know you respect this gentleman as well. John Gottman has done some the best research he found something called a bid for connection and is I've learned and really understood this.

This is made a huge difference in my marriage. So what what he found is that throughout the day. We all of us constantly, or are turning toward her spouse were making some sort of bid for connection. For example, the other day Aaron and I were just driving on the road I'm driving she's in the passenger seat approaching me is my very favorite vehicle like if I have money to buy whatever I could. This is what I get is is a Ford F1 50 Raptor Owasso Google that I never had six beautiful elves bring tears to your eyes so it's is approaching.

I can tell insight. I see that you're all looked there's a raptor now she in that moment that was actually bid for connection. I'm basically saying hey would you for a moment be interested in what I'm interested join me in the celebration of what could be exactly as I can tell you I know level as my wife care at all about you hold much less raptors me she's like just trying to get something given the occasional drive is deserted raptor like that dangerous right right as sure got away you go towards that. As you know that a million times. He knows what it is but that's not her thing is my thing and so in that moment, she had a couple choices she did turn away and basically ignore me, keep texting on her cell phone or scrolling through you face. But whatever so she could turn away and ignore me. She could turn against me and actually say something snarky like, come on. Where were in ministry as if we could ever afford a vehicle like that. Give it up, you're being ridiculous so she could turned against me.

Or she could turn towards that connection, which is what she did just simply she when she goes up the red one. I was like yes like school. She's like why I know you love those why you like that so much all man is so fast it is 0 to 60 in like six seconds and we literally had maybe 10 to 15 second connection but it was a connection was a micro connection those of the things that are happening constantly throughout the day.

Often times we ignore it or we turn against it versus really turning towards Aaron loves to hurt her idea of a roof for raptor's bargain shopping raptor, etc. now I know level. Do I have any interest in shy hate to shop I go one time to the Dillards your new year day sale. I get a couple things of the year, but Aaron loves the bargain shop and social come home to walk in the door there bags to set them down.

She comes up to me and shall hold up an item and she'll say guess how much this originally was, now is is like replaying the price is right on the side novel turned that that I've got a just high. It only got hundred 50, but not even close to hundred dollars on my wall again could care less what I'm turning toward her. She's making a bid and she'll shall say, guess what I paid in. I know if it's like under $10 is a real exciting dragons only garlic 999. Not even close. Eight dollars. Unlike not even close. What that's what is it honey you're amazed exactly what. How would the stewardship your design for our finances is amazing.

The point is, again, I've no interest in clothing.

But she was making a bid I can turn towards that and that's one of the things in the busy busy season, you may not have the capacity to add those to a date night loves going to vacation but you can really notice these little tiny bits that can be anything of phone call going. You got here would happen to me. I can choose I can say hey I'm a little something and I don't have time or Haley call you back in five. Whatever but I can turn towards that in the more than we do, that those little micro connections state that add up. And so for that busy person acts that they're already happening just do your best to turn toward those take advantage of the 10 seconds and just watch how those those will add up. Imagine somebody's lesson right now and there feeling what I'm feeling and that is the you are for raptor 90 guilt feeling guilt because of the lessons you talk to you as you listen to you talk I'm feeling you know what I missed it. Just this week I got a lot on my mind. I got this letter that they line up with this in mind, I'm so focused their missed bid and it's like wow, what I do now. Yeah, here's the good news you will have dozens tomorrow you will have more.

The next day. Didn't see the fact that you notice that you missed the bid I think is the true battle is noticing them.

Seeing them for what they are, there will be plenty of times that we even know it and don't respond okay so have at the next about the next one, so I would just say this, don't be discouraged. Glad I noticed it okay take advantage of it. I know I can soon in a little bit better next time. I sued the Wii hundreds going on your way yeah you know it might even be that I could go back to my wife and say hey you, I realize I missed something there that you are leaning toward me and I was so powerful I didn't catch it totally maybe that in and of itself an apology in effect would be a bid would be responding totally leased moving toward her and it was another bid because Basie apologize, and so now you would have the opportunity to respond. Turn towards that and receive that me.

Whatever it is just they happen all the time. My job is really notice and look forward Aaron. I've even gotten to the point where we will call it out.

Hey is a bit was make it a fun thing, but we've I think we've grown to the point were we really notice those and thus wording to turn towards and just either micro and that's the nice part were not talk about a have in our conversation get out doing a little self-care. I can imagine somebody, playfully tossing it the other way.

Hey, did you notice I just made a bid yet sort of making it overt.

Yeah I'm inviting you to join me in this discussion about shopping raptor's or whatever it might be again the playfulness in that is a connection but I don't want to listen to Ms. which are saying the big picture saying people are busy and exhausting feeling.

Note this is not a good add something by letter. This is a just notice that a lien toward and let that be something that energizes just like sheep because of marriage can survive between bits is to happen. So much so we may not be able to add in the big stuff man again.

Those little foxes on the flipside. Good news is the bids will happen constantly. We can take advantage of those in it so we can stay connected with and listening to Ron DL Dr. Greg Molly and their conversation from the family life blended podcast talking about rest and even knowing how to do that is a couple does this mean is I've been listening to this mean that I need to learn to play golf out.

I was again I was thinking you do when I bid do you hey you want to go right on the cart with me as I play golf you go yeah I love you to play golf you will learn, play golf, but I love you just be in the car you know watch me hit the ball 350 yards down the middle of the fairway that is never really I get when I just tell you that your butt looks good is getting ready. I didn't figure to say that, on error, but that's a nice thing to use a set, you still look good that now I have but no I mean I was thinking we do the bid thing like Greg and Robert talk about in your bid to me often as I would go for a walk. You want to go yeah as you love the walk and you want me to go walk with you. I'd rather run but I walk with you and what we do, we doggedly leverage better. I think this discussion is really helpful and it keeps us from being lazy and it helps us to pursue one another that we need to listen for the bids and take time to rest and if rest looks like play whatever looks like for you that gives you energy back do it in your marriage, your marriage will be better for you been listening to family life to a with Damon and Wilson if you know anyone who needs to hear today's conversation between Ron DL and Greg Smalley.

You can share it from wherever you get your podcasts and while you're there, you can search for the family life blended podcast as well and subscribe to hear more from Ron deal. In fact, I don't want to miss the episode they just released this week about the story of a stepmom and a biological mom and how they turned their toxic relationship into a healthy one again. Search for family life blended wherever you get your podcasts at family life.

We believe strong godly marriages and families can help transform the culture and our world that resonates with you. Would you consider giving to family life to.

We are listener supported and all this week we want to send you a copy of Eric reads book on common trustee was a guest earlier this week on family life to a we want to get that you as a thank you for your donation of any amount to family life to a you can give securely or you can give us a call with your donation at one 800-3583 29 that can be a one-time gift or you can become a partner with us and make it a recurring monthly gift. Again the number is one 800 F as in family L as in life and in the word today. So how do you resolve conflict in your marriage is a yelling which is it the silent treatment. Is it a rousing game of rock paper scissors well.

Whether you're in a stepfamily or not.

I think you find some practical wisdom will be here again tomorrow from Ron deal Dr. Greg Smalley. Hope you can join us on behalf of Damon and Wilson. I'm Shelby Abbott will see you back next time for another edition of family life today family like today is a of Emily life accrue ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most

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