There's something really sweet. There's something really special about that generous display of love and affection. And think about Song of Solomon, where the two lovers are calling out to one another and delighting in one another and expressing that in all sorts of manners. The best marriages are where husbands and wives are generous and extravagant in expressing their love for one another. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Shelby Abbott, and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. You can find us at familylifetoday.com or on the Family Life app.
This is Family Life Today. So you were a world-renowned gymnast that nobody ever heard about. I was not. Well, I mean, you were stinking good, and you don't like me saying this, but you had an Olympic coach looking at you when you were a young girl telling your dad you had what it took to get all the way to Olympics.
Obviously, I am so glad you didn't go that route because we would have never gotten married. But as you think about, you know, the ability and the heart and the practices that you went through to become a top-notch gymnast, what comes to your mind? Hard work. Like, because we have a granddaughter that's in gymnastics now. We got to watch her the other night. It was just awesome. She was really amazing. And can I say, she was the best in the gym.
I don't know how anybody else couldn't see that, but no question. But the thing that I hated the most about practice, and we practice every single day, except Sunday, was that we did 500 push-ups and 500 sit-ups every single day. And you were how old? Oh, started at eight. Five hundred a day.
Five hundred a day. Come on, go ahead and tell them how, when you get to elementary school, you climb up the rope. No, I'm not sharing that part. I'm just saying. That came from the push-ups and the... That's true. I mean, you had strength. But as a gymnast, you have to be incredibly strong to be able to compete at a higher level.
And so we had to put into practice things that were grueling in order to make it to the next level. So we've got in the studio a best practices guy. That's a good way to say it. You know, if our listeners are like, who could this be?
They already heard him laugh, so they probably recognize the voice. But Bob Lapine is back at Family Life today. Welcome back, Bob. Great to be here with you guys.
Thank you. Yeah, one of the reasons we bring up this idea of best practices in your latest book, Build a Stronger Marriage, at the back of the book, sort of toward the end, you said, what are the best practices for a marriage? Do you have any athletic stories of best practices that like Ann does? Or you were in a band. So I was in a band, but you brought up athletics. So I played on a ninth grade football team. Yeah, I want to hear about this.
This is a pretty classic story. So we went 0-5 in our season. I was the third string fullback on an 0-5 team.
So that tells you a little bit about my athletic prowess playing football. There was one day at practice where, you know, they were running the first team offense and they were just throwing in filler guys on defense. So they said, Lapine, go in at nose guard. So the nose guard is right over the center. He's lined up against our first string center, Bob Barge. And he was a big fellow, right?
He's going to bury you every play. Oh, yeah. I mean, I look up at him and he looks up at me and he just starts to laugh, seeing me across.
Yeah, he does. And I looked at him and I said, Barge. I said, you don't hit me, I won't hit you, OK?
It's practice. And they said, snap. The quarterback snapped the ball. And I don't know what happened, but the adrenaline shot off in me. I ran right over him, took him out and sacked the quarterback.
Really? The coaches on the sideline were doubled over in laughter and they were yelling at Bob Barge saying, you let Lapine run over you? And so the next play, when I lined up at center against Bob Barge, he just looked up at me and snarled and it was not going to go well for me on the next play. Well, Bob, I think our listeners are thrilled to hear your voice, but share a little bit of what you're doing right now. Since my regular time here with you guys, which I still miss, but I'm listening to you and love listening to Family Life Today and the great job you guys are doing. I am pastor at our church in Arkansas on Little Rock called Redeemer Community Church. It's a growing church and a privilege to be the teaching pastor there. In addition to that, I've been working on writing this book, Build a Stronger Marriage, other books I've been working on.
I've had opportunities to speak in a variety of settings. And I'm working with a church planting organization called the Great Commission Collective. And this is an association of churches that are committed to wanting to plant churches in the United States and all around the world. And I'm a part of the board of that organization and wanting to see God raise up gospel-centered churches.
We need them in our country and in our world. It's exciting. So you're as busy as ever. As Mary Ann says, so when does retire what? And I go, I don't know when that happens or how that happens. But it's not yet.
Not yet. Well, as you thought about best practices for marriage, let's talk about some of those. In the book, Build a Stronger Marriage, I spent most of the book talking about how do you identify the problem spots that most often come up in a marriage relationship, superficial motivations for getting married. We get married for the wrong reasons, with the wrong goal in mind. We get married with habits and patterns from our family of origin or from traumas we've been through or from guilt and shame that we bring in.
We have conflict that we've got to know how to work through. Once we've taken care of some of that messiness, then the question is, how do we make something really great? What are the things that you can do, not just so that you have a functional marriage, but you have the kind of marriage that everybody would look at and go, that's what I want. And I realized that it's not just cleaning up the mess that makes that happen, but you've got to be intentional about building some things into a marriage that are actually going to set it apart. And I learned from observing couples for decades, those marriages that you would look at and say, these are exemplary marriages. These are the ones that you would look at and go, if what I see in public is true in private, that's what I want. That's what I want for my kids. Those marriages had some things in common, and so I just started cataloging them, dealing with sin issues, forgiveness.
We've talked about that already. That's one of those best practices. But another one I found is we have to have the right kind of love in marriage and the right approach to love in marriage. Most of us have an orientation on love that has been more formed by pop songs and movies on the Hallmark Channel than by what the Bible has to say about love. And I started thinking about this on a continuum. You know, when it comes to money, some people are thrifty with their money, and some people are generous with their money, right? They're on a continuum. And in fact, often thrifty people marry generous people or generous people marry thrifty people, and that can be a source of conflict. But if you put it on a scale, and over on the one far side of the scale, you had somebody who is not thrifty, but tight, you know, cheap, miserly. My husband, yes. Did she just say that?
You're way better, but you used to be. But hangs on to a dollar, right? Yes, yeah. Frugal. That's on one side, and then maybe somebody who's thrifty, and then maybe in the middle, you've got somebody who's moderate. Then over on the other side, you've got somebody who is generous. But then on the far side of that is somebody who's extravagant.
I might be in both those in for Dave. On the generous, extravagant side of that? So we would look at extravagance when it comes to money and say, there might be an appropriate time to be extravagant, but you shouldn't be that all the time.
I mean, you've got to be wise. You only have so much money, so you've got to know how to steward it well. When it comes to love, love is different than money, because it's not a case of we only have so much love, so we've got to be thrifty with it. No, we have an abundance of love coming into our lives, poured out from the Father. So 1 John 3 says, Behold what manner of love the Father has lavished on us. So we have this love that's been lavished on us that is now in our account. So instead of in marriage saying, I'm going to be thrifty with my love for you, I'm going to manage it well. No, we should be extravagant in our love toward one another.
I watched couples in marriage where they were extravagantly expressing their love for one another, and you could just see the delight that was there. One of the people where it stands out, and it's interesting that I'm sitting here talking with you guys about this, on the same property that Bill Bright found years ago, the headquarters for CREW. For those who don't know the name Bill Bright, he was the founder and president of what was then Campus Crusade for Christ.
It's now CREW. And Dr. Bright and his wife, Vonette, they shared with us many times on Family Life Today about some of the real challenges that they had in their marriage. But I remember Vonette talking about how when Bill would come home and she'd be in their apartment, they had a condo in Orlando, and he'd open the door and he would shout out, where is my beloved? Where is my sweetheart?
And I'm thinking, gag. That just sounds over the top, but there's something really sweet. There's something really special about that generous display of love and affection. And think about Song of Solomon, where the two lovers are calling out to one another and delighting in one another and expressing that in all sorts of manners. The best marriages are where husbands and wives are generous and extravagant in expressing their love for one another.
They don't try to be thrifty. Sometimes I think a spouse will say, well, if I'm too approving, if I tell him I love him, then maybe he'll think he doesn't need to get any better, right? So if I approve of this, he's going to think, well, no. No, when somebody is expressing their extravagant love for you, that's the person you want to be.
You want to step into that more and more. But Bob, what about the people that just aren't like that? You know, they're not expressive in their love. Or what about the people that just don't feel it? Yeah, so I would say if you don't feel it, then you need to go back and you need to explore and examine what it is to be loved by God. And as you think on and meditate on God's love for you and let that just swell up in your heart, it will start to flow out of you. Your feelings for other people will start to pour out as you meditate on God's love for you.
And you may be uncomfortable. Again, if you grew up in a family where you just didn't say, I love you, you didn't express it very often, or you were afraid if you said it, the other person was going to think, now I don't need to change at all because look at how much they love me. You just need to get over that, and you just need to start practicing it. You need to start working out that muscle and start verbalizing it and say it over and over again and practice and go to your spouse tonight and say, you know, I recognize I've been kind of stingy with expressing love for you.
So I'm going to start setting the alarm on my clock five times a day, and I'm going to either text you or call you, or if I'm with you, I'm going to say I love you every time the alarm goes off, right? You need to start cultivating that habit because, again, think about God. Does God ever say, well, I'm not feeling it right now, or I just am not good at expressing it?
No. God demonstrates his love for us. God shows his love for us, and we're to be imitators of God in doing that for others. I think the issue is, what if you feel like, well, my spouse doesn't deserve it? And that's where you have to go, well, let's go back to God. We are recipients of his love.
Do we deserve it? Right. And so find those things where you can express appreciation, where you can affirm, but where you can say, my love for you is not conditional on your performance. My love for you is because God's poured love into me.
I love you. I'm choosing to love you, and I want you to know that. I think we can all recall a person that loved us extravagantly. I mean, maybe some people can't, but I can remember my grandmother, whenever she would greet me, she would hug me.
And my parents never hugged or kissed and never told us that they loved us. So when my grandmother would see us, she would kiss me on the lips and hug me so tight, and that marked me. I remember having a Detroit Lions Bible study, and Yvonne always hosted it at her house. And when she hosted, every single wife and woman walked in the door. She hugged them and kissed them on the cheek.
It was extravagant. Like, I'm so glad you're here. And at the end of that year, I remember so many people saying, I came because Yvonne made me feel so loved. I didn't want to stay away.
And even growing up, I can remember every single day my dad walked into the door. He would grab my mom. He would hug her. He'd kiss her, and he'd grab her butt every day. And there was something—I was a little girl, and it wasn't inappropriate. It was just this affection.
He just loved her, and he'd kiss her, and she'd squirm away and laugh. But it marked me as a child. Dave and I are both pretty high thinkers. And so for us, that wasn't really natural.
I think it's something you've got to work on. Me too. And it's interesting. You know, I was reading your book about extravagant love.
I'm expecting an extravagant illustration. Like something, oh, it's so big, I'll never be able to measure up to Bob Lapine. And the story you tell is when you're with those couples, and they ask about a romantic moment in your marriage, and Mary Ann says, I mean, this is not extravagant, but it made her feel loved. Yeah, the question was, what's something romantic your spouse has done for you lately that made you feel loved? And I kept thinking, what's she going to answer?
I mean, I couldn't think of anything I'd done recently. And she said, well, the other night, I was doing the dishes, and Bob was watching TV. And without me saying anything, he got up and turned off the TV and came in and grabbed a dish towel and started drying the dishes. And I said, no, they wanted something romantic.
They wanted something extravagant. She said, I felt so loved when you did that. She said it just, now she thinks every time I pick up a dish towel, you know that I've got something on my mind, right? But it's just those little accumulations of things. It's the practicing of let's not be stingy with our love for one another.
Let's express it to one another, and let's make that the habit. The couples who thrive in marriage, that's what they do. The couples who are stingy, they're not the couples that you look at and say, I want my marriage to look like theirs.
No, they're sitting around with tight lips and not smiling. No, you want the couples where the love just pours out of them for one another. I mean, you wrote a whole book on 1 Corinthians 13, Love Like You Mean It, a video series based on it. That's extravagant love, right? Well, it is, and it's different than our conception of love. Love is patient, it's kind. It's that whole passage that walks us through what love is and what love isn't. So I think we need to grow in our understanding of love, and then we need to not just understand it better, but we need to be people who start implementing it and start living it out. You know, some of you, it's been years since you verbally said to your spouse, I love you.
I mean, what's up with that? There's something in you that needs to be fixed, and I think you may need to go to your spouse and say, I haven't told you this enough, and I haven't said it often enough, and I want to be different about that. I want you to know, I love you, and you matter to me. I mean, I don't know a husband or a wife who, hearing that from their spouse today, would go, can you just tone it down a little bit? Do we have to talk about this?
Or even a child. Exactly. Well, I think what we do is we pull back when we feel like our spouse doesn't deserve it, and so we don't give it.
But I love what you said. Our Heavenly Father, regardless of what we've done, continues to pour out extravagant love on us. And so, that could be a worship moment where you're thinking, I don't feel like they deserve it, God, but I'm going to demonstrate love unconditionally, just as you have for me. And tied to it, one of the other best practices I talk about in the book is the practice of enthusiastic encouragement. I was going to ask you about it, because it sounds like that's how it lives it out. So, there really is a connection between it, but honestly, when I think about people that I've known in life who are enthusiastic encouragers, Ann Wilson comes to mind as one of those people. I was wondering if you were going to say that. That's nice. She is.
She's incredible. I mean, I've seen this modeled in your life. You are affirming, and you believe in folks, and maybe you understand how life-giving that is to those folks.
Maybe that's part of why you do it. But in a marriage relationship, when we are cheering one another on, that is life-giving. I think of our mutual friend Robin McKelvey, and Robin and Ray speak at the weekend to remember marriage getaways with us. And Robin made the statement, she was a cheerleader in high school, and she said, our team was a pretty stinky team. She said they'd be down by three or four touchdowns in the fourth quarter, and we're still on the sidelines saying, you got it, you can win it, and lead in the crowd and cheers.
It's obvious they're going to lose, and we're still cheering for them. She said, when I got married, I realized I traded in my wedding dress for a cheerleading uniform. And now, no matter how my team, my husband, our family is performing, my job is to say, we can do this, come on.
We can cheer you on, and we can point out all of the encouraging things you are doing and help you grow into it. I can take you to the place on the campus at the University of Tulsa, inside the front door of KWGS radio, the very first radio station where I worked a regular shift as a student in college. And I was doing Tuesday nights from 9 until 1 in the morning. I don't think there was anybody in town listening. I was picking whatever records I wanted to play. I was just having a great time. It was fun. I think Marianne listened on occasion.
I would occasionally do a little shout-out to her. But I was just playing records and being a DJ. And one day, I walked into the radio station, and the station manager, who was a professor, Gary Chu, said, what's your name? I said, it's Bob Lapine. He said, what shift are you doing?
I said, Tuesday nights, 9 to 11. He goes, yeah. And then he said this. He said, where did you work before you worked here? And I said, this is my first place to work. He went, huh, really? Well, you sound good.
That's it. It could be that I did radio for the next 40 years because Gary Chu said you sound good. There was something so life-giving to me about that where somebody said, you can do this.
You've got something here that was a powerful, profound moment. I ran cross-country when I was in high school. You look at me now and go, no, you didn't. No, there was a time, and I didn't do it because I wanted to. The track coach said, run cross-country.
It's good conditioning. So I did. And our cross-country track was a figure-eight track. So you started in the middle. You'd run a loop. Then you'd come back by the starting gate, and you'd run a second loop. And then you'd finish at the same place that you started. That's how you did the cross-country loop. So you'd start, and there's a group there.
The cheerleaders are there. They're cheering you on. Go.
You can go. So I'd get out of the blocks quick. Then I'd get about halfway around that first loop, and I'd be dogging it. And I'm like, well, I hate this. I wasn't going to win.
I knew that. But I'd keep it. Then as I started coming back toward where the crowd was, and I could hear the cheerleaders saying, there's Bob.
Come on, Bob. I'd pick up the pace. I'd go a little faster. I'd run through, and I'd be panting. I'd get to the other side of that. I'm out of sight.
I'd start to dog it again, right? But then when I'm coming back to the finish line and I could hear them, I'd pick up the pace again because they're cheering me. We're like that in life. When we're cheering one another on, when we're going, you can do this. Come on.
You're doing great. We pick up the pace. It gives us extra energy. You've seen this, Dave. You worked with people making millions of dollars as professional football players, and they would come out in the middle of a game, and it would be a tense situation, and they'd look at the crowd, and they'd take their hands up, and they'd motion to the crowd, cheer for us.
Yeah, we need it. And I'm going, wait, wait. You're getting paid a million dollars to do this, and you need the crowd cheering for you in order to make this play work. The player goes, when I'm hearing them cheering for me, there's a little extra energy, a little extra boost. I look at all of that and say, if in marriage I was an enthusiastic encourager, I was the one going, you're great at this. This is one of the things you do better than anybody else. I so admire this about you.
You're so good. That wind beneath the wings of another person, that just gives life to them, and the best marriages, the marriages that thrive and go the distance, that kind of encouragement is happening all the time. You're listening to Dave and Anne Wilson with Bob Lapine on Family Life Today.
Dave and Anne have some final takeaways on the importance of practicing encouragement. That's going to be in just a minute, but first, Bob has written a book called Build a Stronger Marriage, The Path to Oneness. You can get a copy at familylifetoday.com or by calling 800-358-6329.
That's 800 F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. Also, last year, we did two other interviews with Bob on this book. You can hear them by searching for Family Life Today wherever you get your podcasts and look for Build a Stronger Marriage with Bob Lapine or you can check today's show notes at familylifetoday.com. All right, now let me pause right here and thank all of our Family Life partners because without your continued dedication, this donor-supported ministry wouldn't exist. We wholeheartedly appreciate you, and if you have yet to join us, we'd love it if you'd consider partnering with us today, and when you do, we're going to send you a copy of Rachel Faulkner Brown's book called His Name, Our Hope in Grief. Now, Rachel was a guest with us earlier this week, and if you want to help more people benefit from conversations like the one you heard today, you can partner with us at familylifetoday.com, and when you do, we'll send you a copy of Rachel's book, His Name, Our Hope in Grief. Again, you can find us at familylifetoday.com or give us a call at 800 F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. And feel free to drop us a line.
You can reach us at snail mail at Family Life, 100 Lakehart Drive, Orlando, Florida, 32832. Okay, here's Dave and Anne on the importance of practicing encouragement. I've said this many times on this program when Anne went from a boo-er, you know, I felt like she was booing me to a cheer, I believe in you, I see good things in you, you're a good husband, you're a good man.
It changed me, just like you running that thing. It's like, wow, I'm going to be a better husband. So when you comment and say Anne's that enthusiastic encourager, she wasn't. But she is, I mean, it's something you can build, you can learn, you can cultivate.
I mean, there are times I'm like, can you just get in the car? She's over there talking to some stranger, and she's telling them how amazing they are, and you can see this woman lighting up because probably no one has said these things. It ends being the voice of God in some ways, and we get to do that in our marriage.
You talk about our best practice, that's a huge one. I think we're living in a culture where we feel beaten down, we're weary, we're tired. And so when we can breathe life into someone else and see the goodness that God put in them and to cheer someone on, it really does. And Dave, I feel like you do that too.
So here she's doing it again, Bob. But I mean, but honestly, I think that we all have the capability of doing that, but you do that to me all the time. But Bob, I think Dave and I both want to thank you because you've seen things in Dave and I that we have never seen in ourselves. You've coached us, you've mentored us, and you've done that for listeners over 20-some years.
And I think a lot of them would say, I'm at a place where I am spiritually because I've listened to Bob Lapine in family life today. So thank you. You've changed so many of us. Thank you, guys. Now coming up next week, Dave and Anne Wilson are going to be joined by podcaster and author Annie Downs. You could join Annie on her 100-day journey into prioritizing fun in your life. We're going to talk about that next week. We hope you'll join us. On behalf of Dave and Anne Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a donor-supported production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
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