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How to Wreck a Marriage: Jonathan Pokluda

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
November 1, 2023 5:15 am

How to Wreck a Marriage: Jonathan Pokluda

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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November 1, 2023 5:15 am

If you knew there was someone actively seeking to wreck your marriage, what would you do? Author Jonathan Pokluda insists that enemy exists—and that knowing his strategies is critical to winning the war. He reveals ways to combat the vulnerabilities of your marriage for a deeper, more fulfilling relationship that truly wins.

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Sanctification is God conforming you to the image and the character of Jesus Christ. It's the best kind of change. And it's miraculous and supernatural and amazing.

And I'm so thankful. This is Family Life Today. So here's a question for you. If the devil was going to take you out, how would he do it? Don't say he's going to use your husband.

He would do something with my kids and make me incredibly fearful about that. Wow. Did you think that I would say that? Yep.

You did? Well, I thought you'd say something related to the kids or grandkids. You thought it would be fear.

Because you love them more than me. That's all I know. He'd take out my husband and send me to a deep, dark depression. He'd give you an upgrade.

Definitely. And by the way, folks, you just heard the voice of Jonathan Pakula. Up here. We call him JP, pastor of Harris Creek Baptist in Waco. But I was thinking as I'm looking over here, there's somebody sitting beside you who's not quite as tall as you are. You might have just set the record for the tallest guest we've had, at least in this studio. What are you, 6'7"? 6'7". Yeah, there's not a lot of guys I look up to. No, you look up to. Because you're tall too, Brian.

That's Brian Goins, by the way. I'm not hugely tall. But you say you're like, awkwardly tall. I'm weird tall. I'm weird tall.

Once you cross 6'5", then people look at you funny. Well, let's talk about Brian Goins. Yes, let's do that. Let's do it.

That won't take long. A lot of our audience knows what you do at Family Life, but you and Jen do what? Well, we do a couple different things. We do have the podcast Married with Benefits here on Family Life, which has been fun to work with Shanti Feld on. It's so good. Yeah, that's been a lot of fun.

My wife, Jen, and I have been on the Weekend to Remember team for 17 years now. You're like our boss. Well, I prefer chief. Chief. That's better.

That's right. You lead the team. We do. And you've grown the team. We train the team. It's a humbling thing when you think about how many years you guys have been on the speaker team. Don't ask.

I won't, but I know it's a little bit longer than 17. And then we also get to work on great special projects for Family Life, just creative new things. And you mentioned the art of marriage, and a lot of our people that listen to this love art of marriage and have used it for years in church as a video curriculum on marriage successions that have been used for events and small groups. And so we've just redone art of marriage and so excited to get that into the hands of people and the new version of it. And in fact, Jonathan Pakuda is on it. You guys are on it. And so I feel like I'm surrounded by great talent again. And you guys have done such a good job in being voices and giving your own authentic selves.

All I know is the original art of marriage, God used it in such a powerful way. And I know he's going to do the same thing with this one. One time we were asked by Family Life, Dennis Raney back in the day, asked us to speak on the cruise. And we had never been on the cruise, let alone been asked to speak.

And I'm not kidding. This Sunday, we're getting on a plane later that afternoon. I'm preaching at my church. We're doing a series called Underrated or something. It was a series on the people in the Bible that you never thought would do anything. Nobody knew who they were. And so it's so funny.

I go, so hey, think about this. Dave and Ann Wilson are going on this marriage cruise to speak. Nobody knows who we are. And I'm not kidding. I said, in fact, yesterday I went on the website to see what they said about us. And here's what's on the website. And on the website, it said Dave and Ann Wilson. It was a picture of Dennis and Barbara Raney.

It was messed up. I'm like, they don't even know who we are. So we're going to walk around this boat and nobody's going to know us. Well, we get on the boat. And of course, we hadn't spoken yet. So nobody knows us. Every person on the boat goes, hey, David and Wilson were like, how do you know us?

Because we knew it wasn't from the website because they had the wrong picture. And they said, art of marriage. You're in the art of marriage. And I was like, oh, my goodness, God has really used this. So the prayer is this one will be used in an even greater way, Brian.

I'm excited about it. I hear about it. I mean, truly, if God uses you to restore someone's marriage, you just see so much gratitude in that.

And so even like just being associated with you guys, I feel like people are like, oh, yeah, man, art of marriage. The cruise you mentioned those things. You spoke on the cruise. And Brian has to with Jen. Oh, yeah. And what's funny about that, you mentioned the cruise. That's actually where we recorded JP. In fact, if you watch on the New Order of Marriage, he's kind of up and down. But it is he's in there and then the Ivies are in there and they both kind of have the same background because we had one room and we had one shot at this.

And it was the one time where the seas weren't too bumpy. And I was just thinking about the book you guys have been talking about for the past couple of days. Why do I do what I don't want to do by JP? I thought this book has so much to do with marriage. And I just think of how much when I think about the vices and how many marriages could have that title to their marriage. We do what we don't want to do.

Why is it that we keep doing what we don't want to do? You talked about in our marriage, and I think even this week, you talked about how marriage puts this magnifying glass on our sin nature and just blows it up. So why are so many couples, not to use the cruise analogy, but in this boat? Yeah, I think so much of it comes down to expectations with marriage.

And I think it's a growing problem as I look at the next generation. Me too. And so if you're a parent of a child that's not married yet or going into marriage, they think, hey, this person's going to complete me. They're going to fulfill me. Hey, marriage is fun. I can't wait to get married so I don't ever have to sleep alone again.

I'm going to have this live-in roommate to help me every day. And you don't go into it thinking, hey, this is something I'm going to have to work really hard at. And there's going to be some aspects of fulfillment there, but it's not there to fulfill me completely. It's not there to play the role of God.

I'm really going into this to serve this person. And rather than the expectations that I have for them, hey, how do I go in with a clear head and a right sight to understand what is the role that I'm going to play in this marriage? I think expectations are a part of it. And I just think the sin nature that we all have. Like, we could go around. Like, what do you guys think?

Just don't even think about the book, like, truly. What are the struggles that couples have? Like, what are the sins that seem to cause issues in marriage? What would you say? Just anger, not knowing how to deal with it. And I think it goes back to so much of our family of origin.

And I think that's where I just talked to a guy this week. He and his wife are struggling. And it's like there is not a model for what to do or how to do it well. And so then when I get in it and my spouse, to your point, is disappointing me, they're not living up to my expectations. I feel this check engine light in my heart.

It's going off and I'm getting mad, but I don't know what to do about anger. And so I just give into it. I think selfishness, which is rooted in pride. I hear a lot, you know, she just spends so much money, right? Or he just spends so much money.

It goes both ways. What came to my mind is I, and I did this not for a year. I did think I did this for over a decade. I blamed Ann for my anger. When Brian said anger, I'm like, oh, there I am.

That was definitely one of mine. And I always blamed her. I was like, I wasn't this angry before, but now. And I think a lot of us do this in marriage.

Whether it's anger or whatever it is, it's like we turn it toward them. Like I'm an angrier man than I ever was. I wouldn't be this angry if I was single. Or we may think if I was married to somebody else. We think it's her or him and I was wrong. It was what you said day one. It was a mirror to me.

Ann was being used by a guy to say, this is who you are. And then like you said earlier, your kids do the same thing. And it forces you to either stay an angry man and be selfish and never change or go, I got to deal with this. And this is a gift.

She's a gift from God to point that out. Think about that like a prison cell. That's such a hard situation where you have one spouse walking on eggshells all the time and even trying to manage the kids. Hey, don't set him off. Don't make Daddy angry.

Let's make sure the house is peaceful. Or Mommy, right? It goes both ways. That's a really difficult situation.

And it's a hopeful situation though. That's always what I want to say. Whatever marriage situation we're dealing with, James 1.19, be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry. For a person's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. There is a righteous life that God desires, a better life that God desires. There is a life of forgiveness. I've seen that and you become that, right? I only know you today.

I don't know you then. I know who doesn't mark you today. And I would say what marks you is grace and forgiveness. And that's the hope that I would give the listeners, is God can take the angry person and make them a person of short accounts, make them a person of reconciliation, an ambassador, a minister of reconciliation.

He does that work. There is a path toward that. You know, it's interesting. We both have the relationship.

It is interesting. You both said anger. I think some women would say that. But what I did for years and years is the second I would take my eyes off of Jesus, I would put them on Dave to meet my needs. A lot of that's expectations, pride. And I would make my marriage and my husband my idol. And when Dave didn't meet the needs, then I would put them on my kids, like, oh, you'll make me happy. And I think a lot of us as women do that. Like, oh, this will be the source of my happiness.

And none of that can meet my happiness. It's Jesus. But man, as soon as my eyes go off Jesus, I'm like, what is he doing? Why isn't he meeting my needs?

Why isn't he being the dad that he should be? So I get this critical spirit. Do men not do that as much?

It's different. I just know when you said anger, I was like, same with me. But I'd also, JP, you're looking at me as saying I didn't know you as an angry guy, because I would snack. Did you hear that?

Right on that. But I'm sitting here right now thinking this is the beauty, and it's even what you're saying in your book. I don't think I would have forgiven my dad, which a lot of it was family of origin, to be the man that you sensed maybe some grace in without her. She's the one that looked at me one day and said, you need to forgive your dad, which I got angry about.

What are you talking about? And that was the catalyst to say, God gave me a woman as a gift to say, I'm going to make you better. If you'll listen, if you resist this, you're going to never change. But if you'll listen, you have a partner who's going to help you become like Christ. And there she is. Well, that's why I love God gave you a voice to help people in marriage bring out the best in their spouse. I see His hand on you in that, Ann, so I'm excited. What about you, JP?

What would you say? Well, one that I would say I trip over in counseling others and see so predominantly in myself is apathy. And I think there's just such a temptation to come home and say, okay, I worked hard, and I really need to veg for a minute. I just want to get lost on my vice or my kind of guilty pleasure is Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Dude, I am the king of things.

There's our common bond. You're still using Craigslist. Do you trust anything? I'm more Facebook Marketplace. Are you looking for a deal?

All the time. I'll look for a deal for you. I'm like, tell me what you want.

I'll go look for it. Same. People will reach out and say, hey, we need a golf cart. Find me a golf cart. I'm like, gotcha.

No sweat. I usually have an inventory, in fact. And that's one for a wife. When our husbands aren't engaged or they're present, but they're not mentally present, it drives us crazy. And, yeah, just the phone, the idolatrous phone.

I mean, because that's where it is. I'll just sit there and I'll scroll. I'll look through things. And, you know, the kids are like, dad, dad, and it's so convicting to even think about. But, you know, what does it look like to go to save your best, you know, when you get home? For the people that are closest to you, what does it look like to engage? I mean, sometimes I'll pull in the garage and just stop and pray. I say, all right, Lord, please help me in this transition. Like, I've got nothing left in the tank. I'm tired. Really tough pastoral care meeting I'm coming from or meetings all day that have just drained me. Please help me to go in here because I know some of them are going to be excited to see me and we're going to sit down for dinner. And you entrusted these three arrows to me. Help me to have something to say.

The most important disciples. Well, Brian, let me ask you, as you have revamped and redone the art of marriage, there were great things in the old one. Tell us, like, what's the new one? Is it different for a new generation? Some of the things we're talking about, is it in there?

Yeah, I mean, it's funny. Even some of the stuff that JP's talking about, let me just say this. Here's what's consistent about the old and what is new because the old one was great. The old one did something different.

It wasn't a talking head. It was like this symphony of voices. And it was also this variety of creativity.

Bob Lapine, Dennis Raney did a fantastic job in doing something different in video curriculum that, again, a church can use it for an event or a small group or couples could go through it. But I think what we've really tried to do is how do we take that and really move more towards what's the art and emphasize the art of marriage? God's this designer.

He's this creator. And like any artist, whether it's a book that they're writing or whether it's something they're painting or sculpting, every artist has an intention. They want something to be put on display. And so what we try to ask is what would God want to display in marriage?

What are the characteristics? And a lot of it really hits on some of what you're talking about with these virtues. What are the virtues of God that when a marriage actually displays that one towards one another, the byproduct becomes oneness. The byproduct becomes this sense of joy that we all want in marriage. God never intended us to be glorified roommates where we're taking each other for granted and our anger is running rampant. He actually wanted us to experience oneness. That happens when we actually display God towards each other. And we can't do that on our own. And so one of the things like JP says, and you guys are in it, the Wilsons are in it, JP's in it, we have a number of other great voices and people from all around the country, different types of art forms that are presented throughout.

And so we're really excited about what it's gonna do. But one of them, in fact, one of my favorite quotes, I'm gonna read one from you, Anne, that you have. I'm gonna do that towards the end. But JP, you talk about, and it hits on what we're saying, and I'm gonna see if you can remember it.

I'll start it with a prompt. If you don't wanna change. Oh, don't get married? Is that what it says? Yeah, if you don't wanna change, then you won't like marriage.

And if you don't wanna serve, you're not gonna like marriage. That's good. Because I think that's really the problem that we all face is that at the end of the day, I'm not stupid.

I know the verses. I'm just stubborn. Yeah. I don't wanna change. And I want you to change more than I want me to change.

Right. It's like so many things in life as I spend time with young people on the other side of the altar. So before they get married, I would say that they need to hear one of two things. They need to hear that marriage is hard or they need to hear that marriage is good because some of them have over-indexed on the difficulty of marriage.

They think, oh, it's so hard. I don't wanna get married. I wanna be single the rest of my life. It's like, no, but marriage is good. It's a gift from the Lord. Whoever finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord. Not ultimate and singleness can be good and Jesus was single and all of those things, but marriage is good. There's something there that God has for us, but some of them need to hear marriage is hard because they're like rose-colored glasses. It's gonna be easy.

It's gonna make me better. As you move toward that, you just need to know that your role is service and sacrifice. Like that's when I turned to Ephesians 5. I'm not even talking about the specific role of a husband and a wife. I'm talking about the call on both of those people to make sacrifices for one another and to serve one another. That is what I see in the text when we're talking about marriage and it produces something really great in us.

When I got married, I've told y'all, year two, the wheels fell off and I wanted out because I did not think about that as my role, is to sacrifice and to serve her. I thought, oh, man, this is fun. It's like a never-ending honeymoon. It's gonna be a blast.

It got hard and I wanted out so fast. I didn't have the tools and that's why I'm so thankful for the ways that you guys have just created so many helpful tools. I hear all the time of just the restoration that has taken place in marriages because of the work that God has done through you guys.

This is a tool. Talk about the fact, you guys are both pastors and you've served at a church for a number of years. You guys do a lot in marriage ministry. If we're gonna move towards virtue and move away from vice. JP, you talk about how it's not about stopping a bad habit. It's about replacing it with a good habit. What's the role of people? Why is that such a crucial thing for couples to engage with others and how to even use a tool like that?

How would you guys recommend that? How have you seen that work in your own lives? So you go back to that year two, the wheels fell off. I would tell you that community, and when I say community, think small group, home group, cell group, life group, whatever you call them in your context, we called them community groups at the time. It was actually specifically called a foundation group because it was for newly married couples. Changed my life more than anything else other than Jesus. And so getting plugged in with these other couples, we've said before together that marriage is this mirror that shows you how selfish you are.

But in some ways, that's not safe for Monica. When I just see her and I think, all you are is a mirror that shows me how selfish I am. But these guys came around me then and they're like, oh, no, no, no, you really are that selfish. And I'm like, wait, what? And you heard them.

No, yeah. And I could say, but you don't understand she. And they're like, no, no, no, you're the problem. And I'm like, wait, hold on, how am I the problem?

Well, and I can tell you stories that they said that I was hearing for the first time that the Holy Spirit just turned the light bulb on. And I'm like, oh my goodness, I'm that selfish. I'm that selfish.

What am I going to do? And they were like, well, here's what you do. And they knew the word. And we were all at different places in our spiritual journey.

Monica and I went in that small group as the most, we're the furthest from Jesus, if you will, or the furthest from mature Christianity. And God used them. And then ultimately I became their pastor, which is a crazy journey.

And then recently, one of them even moved with us. Wow. Yeah, I was thinking, Brian, when you said that, and I'm sure JP can relate to this as a pastor. One of the discouraging things, I think, is that you'll spend hours a week preparing this sermon that you, I always said to Anne, it's like every sermon has to be Super Bowl. It's got to be the best of the best. Of course, never.

It was. But when you walk up there to give that sermon, here's what we know. Most people's lives are not going to be changed by what I say today.

Hopefully God uses it. And I'm not going to underestimate the teaching of the word of God transforms lives. But you know as a pastor, if they don't do anything else with this hour, nothing's going to happen in their life. But if they take that and then jump in a cell group or a family group or a life group, whatever church you call it or family life calls it, and they get in a community with other people, then in some ways like, wow, I'm not that important. The cell group leader is more important than I am.

Yeah, it's true. And so when we get in our first marriage group, when you sit there, it's just this magic thing happens when another couple shares their struggle and you look at each other. And you can't say it out loud yet, but you get in the car and go, they're like us. They yelled at each other like we did this week.

We got to go back. And then you start to dig into the word together and you get to see God change your life. And every cell group or every life group needs a tool.

And the art of marriage is a tool. Otherwise you're just sitting around and you're like, what are we going to talk about? We're going to talk about sports, we're going to talk about food, what we ate last. This actually gives you the conversations you most need to have.

But don't know how to have. And family life really helps prompt those things to get you a little bit deeper than the superficial stuff. And like you said, Dave, it's like when you do that, you realize you're not alone, which is so helpful.

I think that's what the enemy's goal is. As long as he can keep you isolated in your house with the garage door down and no one really knows what's going on, the more that he can keep you, the power of addiction is secrecy. I remember the first, it was a Sunday school class that Dave and I led. We were in our 20s and we were newly married.

We're still struggling in our early years of marriage. And we thought, let's just go through this small group on marriage. It was a- Family life home builders.

That's what it was, family life home builders. And we thought, nobody's going to come. Who's going to want to do this? And so we started out, I think we started out with maybe 10 people, so five couples.

And by probably four weeks later, this thing had 150 people. The pastor came to us and said, who are you and what are you doing? Cause half our church is going to your Sunday school and we're like, yeah, we're just talking about marriage. But it made us realize people are hurting.

Nobody's talking about people are hurting. And Dave and I didn't have all the answers. We were still struggling, but that probably changed our marriage.

But besides Jesus and being dependent on the Holy Spirit, being surrendered to him in prayer, that started to change our marriage by God's grace. We did home builders. And to your point- You're not old enough to have done home builders. I did, I'm telling you.

They founded it like some half price book. No, no, no. Somebody let us through it. And I'll tell you like, to your point, the first time we met as a group, just the guys circled up and Monica called me on the way home and said, hey, how was it? And I said, oh, it was fine. I mean, I'm never going back, but it was fine. And I tell people to this day, it was God's grace to me that the next Thursday rolled around and I went back and I sat in that living room and then I went back and I don't know why, but God used that more than anything else in the context of community. Because Monica was praying. But it's funny that there is something, like people are listening and they'll go to the art of marriage or through the art of marriage and they'll think, man, I don't want to say this in front of these people.

I don't know them well. I don't want to go back. And if you push through that, that is where the real change, and we talk about the change that comes in marriage, it's a good change. Like sanctification is God conforming you to the image and the character of Jesus Christ. It's the best kind of change. And it's miraculous and supernatural and amazing. And I'm so thankful.

Man, and that's such a good word. And it's one of those things where it's like, you get the life that you really long for. And not only that you long for, but as we talk about in art of marriage, that actually God designed you for. He designed you not to be alone. And someone once said, if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

And there's probably no other marathon that's longer than marriage. We can't do it alone. James 5.17 says, confess your sins, not to God, to one another, and then you'll be healed. And so when we confess to one another, there's something, there's so much power in going, I want to be healed. Well, I'm going to read that other quote, Ann.

It's actually funny. I'm looking at the workbook on this session from session three, which is all about God's agape love towards us, which as we live that out towards each other, agape really means I'm going to do what's best for you, regardless of what it costs me. Marriage is about me serving and sacrificing on a daily basis. But Ann, you said this, one of the things that we got you on video saying, I think all of us have a reason to get divorced because we fail each other miserably.

We don't meet each other's needs. There are things that we hope for and we don't get, but there is a great reason to stay in. God renews, God restores.

There's always hope for a new day. And then right across from your page, we got JP's quote, the one I just talked. Let's pull my stuff out and just repeat that word.

Good. So we're super excited that this is out and we believe God's going to use it to really help renew and restore a ton of marriages. So thank you guys for being a part of this. Thank you, Brian. We really appreciate all that you do.

And JP, it's so fun to have you in the studio. I love it. It's fun for me.

It's more fun for me. So thanks, guys. I'm Shelby Abbott and you've been listening to Dave and Anne Wilson with Jonathan Pacluda and Brian Goins on Family Life Today. You know, Jonathan has written a book called Why Do I Do What I Don't Want to Do? It's going to be a book that really helps you replace deadly vices in your life with life-giving virtues. It's going to be our gift to you when you partner with us financially here at Family Life.

So how do you do that? You can go online to or you can give us a call with your donation at 800-358-6329. Again, that number is 800, F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. And you can feel free to drop us something in the mail if you'd like to. Our address is Family Life 100 Lakehart Drive, Orlando, Florida 32832. You know, today is November 1st, and the day is finally here. It is today. We are hosting our very first Art of Marriage preview event tonight.

You ever wondered what marriage is actually for or maybe wanted more out of what you've got in your marriage? Well, we're going to help you with that. Tonight, Aaron and Jamie Ivey, Vivian Mabuni, Jonathan Pacluta, and Brian Goins are going to be contributors tonight. It's going to be an event that really helps you get a good idea for what the Art of Marriage resource is going to be when it releases.

So there's still time. You can register at slash coming soon or check out our link in the show notes. Be a part of that event tonight. Now tomorrow, Brian Goins and JP are going to be back to discuss the challenges that couples face in marriage and how virtues play a crucial role in improving your relationships. That's tomorrow. 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-01 07:00:59 / 2023-11-01 07:14:30 / 14

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