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Gary Thomas: Lifelong Love that Fights the Drift

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
May 17, 2022 2:03 am

Gary Thomas: Lifelong Love that Fights the Drift

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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May 17, 2022 2:03 am

Feeling the drift in your marriage? On FamilyLife Today, Dave & Ann Wilson host author Gary Thomas--who explores how intimacy with God helps us go the distance in marriage and fight for lifelong love.

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Wisdom for the Heart
Dr. Stephen Davey
Summit Life
J.D. Greear
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Our Daily Bread Ministries
Various Hosts

If you think back to when we were struggling. Would we do wrong me. When our marriages struggled to just what you think we did wrong. We got 80s I said it was all my point had angry and resentful. We pulled away from one another.

I stop talking wedding way you think. I think we lost our sense of calling personal submission. I think for me, I became very inward focused on my happiness in my dreams you not meeting them and I go frustrated. I pulled away and I think I start getting obsessed with her weakness and how you are pulling away and I was very selfish and prideful thinking that it was all your fault. Welcome to family life today where we want to help you pursue the relationship that matter most and Wilson Wilson. You can find us if we live or on our family life, family life today every couple we were included wants to have a long lifelong marriage is the goal. One day wonder like I don't want this year arms for we see the picture of ourselves now bawled empty-nesters. I dream the question is how to get there swim. I was back in the studio today with those that talk about how to do a lifelong love Gary welcome back. Thank you for having me that your book a lifelong love.

This obviously all all about how you do marriage long distance you written 20 books. All the books written no what is this rank in terms of like the message you are trying to get out.

Well, let me say, but the subtitle is today discovering how intimacy with God brings passion into your marriage, which is a great subtitle will the sacred marriage is the sort of what I became known for was really in one since I think a spiritual formation book.

How does God use the challenges the difficulties of frustrations marriage to help us grow and become more like Christ totally gets at the root issues of marriage.

This was my first more.

How does this understanding draw the two of you together to build intimacy so you have a lifelong love in both words matter.

A lifelong how you go the distance, but a love so it's it's qualitative not just quantitative that your building it and what you mentioned would drift is problem with every marriage because we live as fallen people in a fallen world. This is not a world that's neutral toward our love. I want every listener to get that there are real spiritual beings going to war against your affection for each other that Satan. The Bible talks about the devil prowls around like a roaring lion.

He hates families being together real spiritual beings attacking your faith. You have your own sin pulling you apart from each other and our tendencies like Adam and Eve to hide when our sin is exposed to accountability of marriage is a wonderful holy and sacred thing and it's a terrifying thing is I might start died from my wife and then you just have a fallen world. We get sick we get fired we have kids that aren't always on their best behavior. It's a world that's hostile twirl and so we have to realize okay if organist stay together. We can't drift because were being taken down stream and achieve everything you don't drift into physical fitness. You drift into being a couch potato. You don't drift into a wisdom and intelligence you drift into daytime television. You know, a nighttime reality shows. So in most areas we have to realize okay if we want to go upward, we have to go against the natural inertia and so the same things from your you can be infatuated with each other spiritually idealistic. This is a great match. But if you don't keep pressing toward each other. You'll pull apart and how do you stop the drip is as you say that every couple. You have been there except maybe the pre-marriage there like that second happened us. We thought that weeknight.

Where can it be different. We will not fall into the drift, but it's natural just go with the flow.

If you say we go downstream with it what you want people to listen to yesterday's broadcast. We talked about the magnificent Obsession because I think spiritual purpose is so key, but it does give us one sentence on that yes you know and first the kingdom of God, that you were made for more than marriage. You were made for a mission and the closest marriages have a mission outside of their marriage that draws them together but then beyond that. Just recognize that throughout our lives. Because fives can be long there certain things that pull us away from each other. There's just something about the male mind. It shouldn't be this way.

I wish we weren't this way, but I've seen so many counts as a talked about it, where getting the girl, so to speak is our accomplishment and then all the sudden okay now I'm going to get a promotion become a scratch golfer a minute. Finish rebuilding that car and our wife before she was our wife was just as high priority. Now she feels like she's five or six.

I would say this to Gary. I thought I remember this when he wrote me a letter and she said I feel like I was totally duped. My husband goes after me like spends time with me talking, he wins me and woos me she said now are married.

I feel like now he's on to another hunt. Yes, I feel like he saw me he shot me a bag me he put me on the mantle and now he's off to the next hunt and it is not what I'm describing and I'm imploring the men not to let that happen is one of the greatest acts of fraud.

We can ever commend what we do, do it. I think to some degree. I mean I was pretty conscientious for whatever reason, I really wanted to be a good husband I was reading Gary Smalley where is not that I was asked to sign his book.

People thought I was and later on in my life… Ironic, but I just think there's this natural male ambition that you want to get this done, or that done and we just have to realize that guys what we did to win our wives we should do to keep our wives.

Lisa and I talked a woman so he went in there going through my book loving and well which is book for wives and the wives asked me was a fair question hey Gary, you're here talking to us were talking about how to love them well.

Why do we read 10 of these books for everyone. Her husband's three wife listening put this book on the thing in the book mark doesn't moves always told guys if your wife gives you a book you should read it.

But if you don't, you better be moved not read it. Don't just move the bookmark, but there is that sense, where wives feel like I'm just more invested in this and how do wives often respond to God. Husband say she starts to have kids and suddenly he feels left out because she's thinking hey this guy do to me now have these kids and I can have this relationship and look it can carry some people away because babies can be amazing and you think they're gonna love you like no one is ever loved. You know God has a cure for that is called adolescence, but that's 12 years into the future when you realize you like to get out about all that you thought you might but then often that's where the husband feels like the wife is pushing away any feels like she's and wives hate it and I say this I thought you having an affair with our child.

So then what often happens after the husband feels like the wife is more invested in the kids and he feels left out.

Then he doubles down and he rediscovers golfer rediscovers his yes you say God is not always pursuer Maury goes outside yeah and and so now he gets his ego needs met outside the house so the wife often doubles down and is saying you're an absent father, your terrible husband, but he gets on the golf course. He said man, that guy could knock it straight down the fairway.

275 yards and his ego needs.

I okay will he he likes to be outside, which pulls them even further apart and then what happens if this is an address is that eventually the last kid leaves so I doesn't have that anymore uneventful apart and pretty much a stop at the lawyer on the way home dropping last get off at college and said okay we raise our kids together, but they've never really built in them significant teammates yeah think they set up a home together and that gives you something to talk about you know where you gonna put the garbage can. How does the toilet paper go on the thing they had babies together, you have to name him, you have to take care of him. You get them in the college but Davey knows because of what you do. What happens after the season is over teammates go their own places and if you just raise kids as teammates, not as intimate partners. If you've never built real intimacy.

When the season is over you go your separate ways and it just recognizing those vulnerabilities and said okay we don't want to let this happen. We are committed to putting each other first to making each other our priority and to not let this drift because most of us, you sent today we want one marriage and we wanted to work. So let's invest in it and make it the best marriage we can and not just to this ping-pong back and forth. Yeah, I think that in some ways out of every guys this way. I also drifted because I thought I was doing a good job as a husband I thought she was satisfied. I thought I was better than I was and I didn't realize we had drifted even though I notice boy, she is born her life into the kids for my life into the job in pursuing this mission. I think God is given us. But what at the same time you think I was satisfied at that point, but that's what you always said how in the world can you think our marriage is a 10 when I think it's a .5. I just thought I'm doing a pretty good job. I don't know if every guy thinks that but there's part of me thinking were not as bad as she thinks we are and then it took a crisis to get me back.

Is that normal, because I think a lot of us are disengaged until we realize, oh my goodness, this marriage is in trouble and a lot of is my fault and then we start the fight the drift that common. I think sadly it is that we can just get used to living distant lives, but eventually we get lonely and were not willing to put up with it when I try to plead with couples if you're unsatisfied with the disconnected marriage there two things you can do and get a divorce or you can become a connected marriage and my advice try to become a connected marriage first and see how that goes. Because you might be wanting to run from the disconnection, but you can get reconnected a good marriage isn't something you find because the second marriage will fall in bright red eyes. Well, yeah, good marriages of the fight. It's something you make and you have to keep on making so a couple things that can keep couples connected as we try to build one is a silly little thing to talk about what is actually helpful called killing spiders if there's a spider in our house. It's dead. I'm killing up you have a problem. Spiders that actually eat other insects so they can be good, but my wife just hates to see him some of newlyweds behind and so because I love my wife and she hates spiders I hate spiders and the principal is I want to make my wife feel safe and connected to me that all care about what she cares about some give some examples. Let's say her dad is been an alcoholic. He wasn't at all but I'm just using that I don't think the Bible theologically has this absolute prohibition of alcohol, but if her dad was an alcoholic and she had these memories of smelling on her dad's breath and seen the devastation in her family.

I could just imagine if she smelled it on my breath or just a teeny bit and she saw me slur my words a little bit the horror of her childhood would come rushing back as if I wanted to feel safe around me. I need to kill that spider it's about what makes my wife feel connected to me if this pushes her away. I'm going to kill that spider because I want her to be connected to me. Let's say we are on a second marriage were not been married to each other but let's say her first marriage was destroyed by a husband who watch too much video games the okay that took down her first marriage. I can imagine if I have this game controller out Jesus and I'm going upstairs. You want to meet me, I'll be there in five minutes and time goes by and maybe it's 90 minutes and I go upstairs and she's asleep and I got everything okay. Here she's gone.

This destroyed my first marriage, here goes my second marriage okay I need to kill that spider it's not worth it to have a separate hobby it's making my wife feel disconnected from is not whether it's morally allowed or not. What serves my marriage and some guys might say what hey I like the occasional beer or white. Why can I enjoy video games and my responses. If you knew what an emotionally connected marriage feels like, arm in arm heart to heart soul to soul. No individual pursuit can match that and it's a much lesser sacrifice to get that together. But we all have directness. All of us have spiders in our marriage. Things that we do we trust it will. The Bible doesn't prohibited I'm saying. Well, that's not the only issue. Does this help your spouse feel closer to you, or does it become a roadblock for them to feel connected yeah and so if your spouse points out a spider because we sing this many times and in NFL players. They will come home from practice is exhausted.

Not just physically but mentally and it's a high-pressure job because of being paid a lot of money to win football games on courseware in Detroit and didn't very Merry football games. But one of their escapes was come home play video games right yeah wife to say that the biggest companies of the wife would say to her husband. Seriously, I need you to be my hope that you can see how many I mean is that it is that one of those symptoms were your wife says some to you that is a spider listen to it.

This is a Lilly and Eve. You gotta find another way but but talk about it together in a spirit of empathy. What makes you close I know a military guy that's been on a lot of dangerous missions and we been gone for a while. He's is a tough thing for him when he's coming back. He says no I do it because I'm thinking one thing, it's three letters and his wife got that and so they realize you know what when he came home they would go to hotel and then go to his house the next day so he can be fully present for his kids, but was almost like for him. Okay, here's what else we reengage we have this we enjoy each other. We get our time alone she feels like. I like having time with them because it's hard to the kids all want them and so they just found out that reentry. What is something that draws us together instead of pushes us apart.

Here's another example solving a problem by killing a spider.

When Lisa started traveling with me became empty-nesters to strum with me most the time I would laughter. She's the extrovert. She's always talking to people so she's telling about everybody she talked to and she knows I pay attention these things and she doesn't.

So, if we would come out of an elevator and our room was left she would invariably go right if we go to the parking garage and the rental cars. North she go south you think half of the time.

She would just right but it's like these rappelling magnets. Is it was almost fascinating to me so want and we been at this hotel.

Two or three nights already and I let her go out of the elevator first trying to be the polite man and she goes right, and I'm like seriously. Just amazing. She still didn't know and that didn't make her feel closer to my shock you and you that the next day she did it again and I just stood where I was. She kept talking, walking down the hallway until about 20 yards realize I wasn't next door that also didn't make her feel close to Meg today so so I'm trying to be like Dave notoriously trying to teach me a lesson well and so I put it in guy language. Okay, honey, here's the deal. I say something it makes you feel stupid. I don't say something it makes you feel angry. Obviously there's nothing I can do II can't be the problem and Lisa said honey is so easy it's so easy whenever this happens, you say this way hon exactly that tone this way on and will both be so happy so on our next trip we got to do it.

She went the wrong way. I said this way on as she looked and she gave me this gorgeous smile and we laughed about it and we have laughed probably 100 times since then but but here's the principle something that was pushing us apart some silly little thing like that. She taught me okay this is how you do it in a way that draws us closer together. So every couple has this way hon. What is it that your husband does that really pushes you away, then have him help you understand what it is.

If he feels disrespected, then let him help you.

Okay, how do I correct you are, how to speak up in a way that you don't feel disrespected, so you don't keep doing these things that caused the dump does not just drift.

It's like propelling each other apart, but you're learning how to let the frustrations of life pull you closer together. I left that I left to how you both have strengths and weaknesses and see saying don't harbor my weaknesses and don't keep pointing them out when Dave and I were dating, I he realized I had this terrible habit of losing everything constantly that everything I do lose a lot and I was even worse back then and we had gone to a restaurant and had left leg gloves on the table. I bring this up and I got back in the car and I said I was his first your gloves it so I went back into the restaurant that Freddy and I came back and he pulled them out. He said I was hoping to teach you a lesson by remembering to pick up your gloves and I was so angry I said, oh, so now I relationships can be about you teaching me how to be better or teaching me a lesson that didn't fly very well, didn't know. I mean, I remember that I can take you right to the parking lot is so vivid in my mind I thought this will work.

This will teacher you know. Take your gloves into the car. She's going to end it all played out just like I thought. But the resultant layout like I was hoping she just gets so hurt and I know mayonnaise is a weakness and I've had my whole life. So I'm wondering can you accept it like I am broken and I forget things and I just need you to realize this is me. Can you receive me and now I love it. I guarantee you that I she loses her phone through four times a day.

It is so funny now.

It used to be a thing of it just irritated me because I don't. I have many other weaknesses, but what you said is so true it's like we will await part of its what we talk about yesterday. We are a mission together. He was more important than this little thing, but the sole thing is the differences in our quirks is that it's some not just to tolerate I actually so celebrated out now. When I realized she lost her phone to sit right over there to smile.

It's like I can grab it. I can hand it to her and you also got me an Apple watch to help me find a little thing divided, but I think it's so easy to drift. That takes work right will Sam get him to make this work you're listening to David and Wilson with Gary Thomas on family life today will hear more on dealing with irritations in marriage in just a minute, but first, as you can imagine this is been a tough year for us. We had to make some tough choices and were hoping that through the generosity of people just like you, we can continue to reach your home and all the homes that need help and hope for the relationships that matter most. This is an especially unique and critical time of year to donate because we've had some amazing friends of the ministry come alongside us and offer to double your monthly gifts for 12 months up to $300,000. When you become a monthly partner right now so that means if you give $25 a month.

The impact is actually if you dollars a month if you give $50 a month becomes 100 you get that you get the point on top of that when you give this month as our thanks to you organist send you a bundle of resources including two books. The first one is not part of the plant by Christine Clark and Bethany Beale and the second is a lifelong love by Gary Thomas who you hearing from today so you get to become a monthly partner have a gift double for a year impact families for the glory of Jesus and get a bundle of books you can give right or by calling one 800-3583 29 that's one 800 F peasant family L as in life and in the world today.

Right now, back to David and with Gary Thomas and what it's like to live with the every day irritations in marriage. We have to guard our minds. One thing that we have to push against is it there's ever a spouse.

It doesn't have those things that irritate us in we do and June 3 two we all stumble in many ways. We all stumble nobody's married the fourth member of the Trinity that person as it is and you talk about losing things that it time with Lisa when we used to live out in Katy, Texas which is a suburb of Houston and they kept building and the freeway.

I tend just kept getting worse and worse and worse as I would have to leave progressively earlier and earlier in the morning because every five or 10 minutes.

It's another 10 or 15 minutes sitting in traffic which I just hated in the morning. So one morning I got up is like 510 and I'm ready to go and my keys weren't where they're supposed to be and I'm looking all around and I could feel the traffic back enough and panicking more and Lisa finally heard because I have my phone flashlight on shows what is it I said I can't find my keys goes, oh yeah she will seek.

I couldn't find my car keys last night so I took your car. I said hello. Okay so were my car keys. Let me think, well, they must be my purse, we would know they're not in my purse and so and so now it's like 20 minutes but I'm just thinking okay have lost about 45 minutes on the road and whatnot. We finally found them and I'm getting on the road but God stopped me and it was just like Gary. This is how your spouse stumbles. Lisa misplaces like that, like me, like you, but here's the thing they've help me. She doesn't intentionally do it right right doing that to stop know it's not even Lisa and all do not want me to get to work on time, or to frustrate me and so instead of judging her or calling her.

You can't do this and she already felt terrible about it. I didn't even need to confront her and so often we think we have to express her displeasure. But what you said and about you misplacing things that will never change some of these things will never beckoning Dr. John Gottman said about 60% of marital issues will never go away. So if we can accept the fact that our spouse doesn't have everything we want and doesn't have anything that's frustrating will never have a close marriage will let those things pull us away from each other. We just have say no that's what we need, grace, acceptance and love yeah I think a lifelong love is accepting and loving each other imperfections and I think I could sing it all me loves that he say your curves and imperfections and it's really it's what God does with the we get to do that with her spouse that Steven and Wilson with Gary Thomas on family life to a one to let you know that you can get his book a lifelong love. When you become a monthly or you can give us a call at 1-800-358-6329 that's one 800 F peasant family L as in life, and then the word today. If you know of anyone who needs to hear today's conversation you could share it from wherever you get your podcast and while you're there really help us out if you rate and review us tomorrow. Working to hear a conversation with Ron Diehl, Dir. of family life blended and Dr. Jim Burns.

He's the president of homeward and Jim says the benefit of fun is often overlooked when we consider how to build healthy stepfamily relationships. We hope you can join us for their conversation about why and how intentional play can benefit your family that's coming up tomorrow on behalf of David and Wilson.

I'm Shelby Abbott's event next time for another edition of family life today family like today's a production of family accrued ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most

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