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Marriage Baggage: Lies & Trust Issues: Jamie Ivey, Vivian Mabuni, Meg Robbins

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The Truth Network Radio
February 6, 2024 5:15 am

Marriage Baggage: Lies & Trust Issues: Jamie Ivey, Vivian Mabuni, Meg Robbins

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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February 6, 2024 5:15 am

Is there baggage destroying your marriage? Ann Wilson, Meg Robbins, Jamie Ivey, and Vivian Mabuni chat about baggage in marriage including, • influence of family generations • unmet expectations, and • porn's effects on marriage Tune in for actionable steps and valuable perspectives on preserving intimacy in your relationship. Ann Wilson, Meg Robbins, Jamie Ivey, and Vivian Mabuni are contributors to FamilyLife's all-new Art of Marriage group study! To learn more or order your copy, visit

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Connect with Jamie Ivey and catch more of her thoughts at, and on Instagram and Facebook.

Connect with Vivian Mabuni and catch more of her thoughts at, and on Facebook.

Hear more from Meg Robbins on other episodes! []

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Cross Reference Radio
Pastor Rick Gaston

We were made to be fully known and fully loved. And obviously, first, the place we need to experience that most is with Jesus. That's the gospel. He already fully knows us and he already fully loves us. And I even think that when we really believe that, it kind of frees us up to open the door even more to our spouse or even close friends, trusted people.

Opening up that suitcase and letting all the mess come out, it's painful, but it's not something that we should or really we're made to do alone. 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 This is Family Life Today. Okay, we're on day two of the best programs of the year because it's the women's round. I love it.

I love it. The guys are not in, even though I love Dave and it's a blast to do Family Life Today with him. It's a special day when we have all women at the table. And so welcome back to Family Life Today, my friends. It's good to be back. Welcome. What's going on with that?

No men today, hun. Really? You're kicking us out? Yeah. Bye. Bye. Not that you're not the best. We love you. I've got Meg Robins with me, Jamie Ivy and Vivian Mabuni, who are all with me yesterday. If you didn't listen yesterday, make sure you go back because we've talked a lot about a woman's role as a helper suitable for a man.

What does that even mean? We've talked about a little bit of baggage. Jamie, you were super honest talking about expectations and Jamie has a book coming out this month, actually. But I want to go back a little bit to the baggage that we carry into marriage. I remember one time when Dave gave a sermon at church, we were talking about this that week and we were saying, what would it look like for a wedding to take place? And the wife is standing there in her bridal gown and it's beautiful. And she's got like 10 bags behind her. And then you've got the groom, the same thing.

And he's got like 10 bags with him. And so we did that at church. We had a couple walk down the aisle. Hilarious. They stood right before the preacher and then all the attendants brought in bags. Wow.

It was totally realistic. Yeah. And I don't think people understand the baggage we bring in that affects our marriage. And Jamie, you talked a little bit yesterday about how you have this fear of Aaron not being faithful. And any other baggage, Meg, Vivian that you've brought in or Jamie, other things that you've brought in or maybe your husband has brought in. I think anytime that there's a breach in trust in whatever capacity that will lend to it. And something that Jamie, you referred to last episode, which I think is really valuable is having therapists.

Yes. Like paid friends. That's what we call them, paid friends.

I like that. You know, just the people that we can actually process some of these things with, because yes, my girlfriends are great at being able to come alongside, but some of the baggage part that needs to be entangled, it really helps to have a skilled therapist who is trained and a little bit more distant. You know, that isn't gonna necessarily always agree with me to speak into a situation and help to untangle some of those things. I come from an immigrant family story. And so my parents immigrated, they got their graduate degrees and built their lives and they actually knew English, but they're doing graduate studies in a second language.

You know, so it's just, it's a whole different story. There's not, so I think for me, there's even comparison with culturally, like what does a healthy family look like? And my family did not communicate like what I saw on TV. So there was not a lot of physical affection, verbal affirmation, hearing things like, I love you, or I'm proud of you.

I started to instantly say, you know, they're bad parents then, because they weren't acting like what I thought, you know, what was being displayed. Now I realized that the way that they showed love was, you know, in Chinese, you just ask, have you eaten yet? You know, I mean, and it's so practical, but it really is like so much of my beautiful, amazing culture is around food and that celebration, but it's a caring for, it's a very tangible way that you care for one another.

And so it's just, there's always something around the beauty of gathering and sharing a meal together. And so there is baggage as far as like broken trust, things that have been hurtful. For me growing up as an immigrant daughter, I think that there were ways that I had to grow up too fast. There are things that my mom shared with me that were inappropriate, that were about my dad and should have been shared with her friends. My therapist said that actually can be emotional incest, which is a very strong term, but it's inappropriate.

That kind of conversation needs to be taking place with other friends that are adults, not with our children. So there are different ways that we can be affected. I think, and in our forming and shaping and thinking, and that we just bring that right into marriage too. I brought a ton of like sexual baggage and just feeling like here I am. And like we use your analogy, here I am in my wedding dress. And to be frank, it felt like the baggage was like, here's all the other dudes. And that it took me a long time, many years in marriage to really believe and trust that I wasn't that girl before I started following Jesus. And that Erin didn't get that girl either. Like I just felt like, huh, really stinks for you, Erin.

Sorry, you got this. And that was a lot of baggage that I had to deal with. And that was, not just make that sound like that was an overnight thing, that was hard for me. And I was following Jesus, married to someone in ministry. And Erin helped me because I came to the table with a lot of sexual brokenness, sexually active a lot in high school and college. And Erin came to the table, I was the first girl he ever kissed. But Erin taught me, he's like, it's really hard these days to find anyone who doesn't show up with sexual brokenness.

So Erin struggled with pornography for years, but never kissed a girl. So in my mind, I'm like, well, you're getting the raw end of the deal. And he's like, we both come to the table with a lot of mess ups, a lot of screw ups and Jesus is good for both of us. So I kind of had to readjust that, what makes baggage? You know, and I brought a lot of that to the marriage. And I think the baggage, I mean, it sounds like kind of the consistent theme here is that it leads to lies we believe about ourselves.

And that's why you have to get rid of them and leave them behind. For me, I mean, it was even just like a friendship that went really south in high school. And it left me with a feeling that I'm not gonna be worth restoring with, or things like that, even though there's so much more to that story and there's baggage there, but it left me with a lie that I believed about myself. And what does that look like and how does that play out in our marriage? Well, yeah, that really affects how I interact with David.

If I don't think that he is gonna wanna move toward me if I've hurt him and I've got to deal with, sometimes with a counselor, sometimes it can happen in the context of your marriage or with friends, usually it means bringing other people in in some way, because being in the light is always freeing. But letting go of the baggage means letting go of those lies and starting to replace. And I love that you said, Jamie, it didn't happen overnight. Because these things don't happen.

We would love to just leave that baggage and run away. But really, we're tempted to pick them back up because we're so used to hearing that lie. And often, it's not like, Meg, you are this. It's first person, I am. And you believe those things about yourself and you have to learn to put that away and really replace it with who I am because of Jesus and what does he say about me. And sometimes I need to say it to myself and I need to read it in scripture, or I might need David to say that over me and fight for me in that way. That's really good. I think we get really comfortable with those bags as well.

I think we feel lost without them at times. I'm thinking about my favorite purse, maybe. And I just feel like I put that purse on and I'm like, oh, I feel comfortable. This purse has been with me through a lot of life.

Look at all the markings on it. I remember when I went here and I think a lot of times we're scared to get rid of the baggage because we don't know how to live life without it. And we don't know who we are. We don't know who we are because we believe the lies. That is so good with the lies. We believe that is true about us. And so if that's not true, then who are we?

And let's say this too. You might be thinking we did talk about our baggage, but we all know you might've tried to talk about it, but new bags open up as you get married. Like, wait, what is that?

I had no idea. It's not that you were unnecessarily hiding it. Maybe God is exposing it because God is wanting to do something beautiful with those bags, whether we get them out of the house. When you talk about your baggage, and Meg, the things that you just shared of the vulnerability of what you're feeling about yourself, that's level five communication, is saying like, I'm worried that you won't love me when you see all of my flaws and brokenness. I know that Jamie, my baggage is a lot like yours. When we came into marriage, you grow up and you just think it's normal. Porn was a normal part of my life.

It was all over the house. Then sexual abuse comes into the picture. And Vivian, I'm relating to, my parents were wonderful, but there was no verbal affirmation of love. There was no verbal affirmation of like, oh, we think you're amazing. And there was no physical affection.

So the only time I was ever physically touched was sexual and sexual abuse. And so we ended our marriage and we're standing before each other. We're going to reach the world for Jesus together.

And then it starts getting clunky because my bags are like creeping me out and I keep falling down and falling down, thinking Dave's bags are way worse than I am. So as a couple, is it important to really talk through some of those deep issues that you have? What do you think? The intimacy, that is true intimacy. I think for sure, I do think there's kind of a tendency in some places and for some people to think, well, that's just a little too much. But we were made to be fully known and fully loved. And obviously first, the place we need to experience that most is with Jesus.

That's the gospel. He already fully knows us and he already fully loves us. And I even think that when we really believe that, it kind of frees us up to open the door even more to our spouse or even close friends, trusted people. But I do think that, yeah, opening up that suitcase and letting all the mess come out, it's painful, but it's not something that we should or really we're made to do alone. And I think that it does create a new level of intimacy, not just for the sake of talking through all the hard things and it's not that every single detail necessarily needs to, but the things that are like sitting there that we're thinking about and that are replaying in our mind, sometimes they just need to be brought into the light.

There it is. Because even in the Psalms, it says, even the darkness is not dark to you. And those dark places that just kind of stay dark when we keep them inside, but when we bring them into the light, we experience freedom and healing. And then who we were supposed to be and who God made us to be that we still can be. And he wants to make us into that. And I think you're right, Meg. Not only, I'm not going to share all of my baggage with everybody, but I do want to share it with Dave. And I want some girlfriends, at least one, that knows my story that she can call me out on.

You're believing lies again? I remember one time I spoke somewhere and I had a lady come up to me and she said, Satan was glorified through you tonight. I was like, I've shared this on Fame of Life before, but I hid in my house for about five days.

I felt so much shame and I felt like I had failed God. She knew me, this friend knows, when I'm triggered, I hide. And so she's calling me, calling me, calling me. I'm not picking up, I'm not picking up. Finally, she comes to my door and she's knocking on my door and she's saying, I know you're hiding.

I know what you're doing. I am making you open this door and come and talk to me. And I opened the door and I'm just sobbing. I had told Dave, but there's something too, Meg, about bringing into the light of a person who really knows you and she just hugged me.

She said, it's all a lie, it's a lie, it's a lie. You glorified God, not Satan today. So we need each other. I'm gonna turn the corner a little bit, but Jamie, you had mentioned porn was a part of your background, of sexual immorality. It was part of mine and I know that that can really be traumatic in a relationship. When Dave told me that he was struggling with porn, I wish I could say, I said, oh, Hannah, I'm just gonna pray for you. I'm gonna just love you through it. I'm gonna be your partner.

I was the worst, like, are you kidding me? Like, what is wrong with you? And we have a lot of men and women sitting in shame and darkness, not wanting anyone to see this side of them. Let's just talk about that a little bit because I'm talking to a lot of women who are talking with their husbands and they don't know what to do because their husband keeps falling back into looking at porn. Jamie, you said you talked to a lot of women that are struggling themselves with porn.

So let's open this area up a little bit. Pornography is different. You talk about how you saw it all over the house. We had to go find pornography. We had to go buy a magazine. We had to go do whatever. Porn is coming for us these days. You can open your phone and accidentally, there it is.

I mean, I think some Instagram has like, this is not, maybe not considered porn, but it is stuff. I'm like, I don't need to be looking at this. And so it is so hard and it's such a battle that is really coming for us as believers, me personally. And our kids.

Oh, our kids, let's do a whole show on that because it is coming for our kids. By God's grace alone, Aaron hasn't struggled with porn in many, many decades. By the grace of God. And neither has Dave.

The grace of God is so great. Myself. There have been two times. We've been here for 22 years.

There have been two specific times. I used to tell this one story about how I was tired. I was exhausted.

Aaron was out of town. We had little kids. And I went back to what I had gone to previously before. And the story always ended with, by the grace of God, I couldn't get anything. Our computer wouldn't let me. We had it on lockdown.

By the grace of God, by the grace of God, by the grace of God. And it wasn't long ago, I was in a hotel and I spent a lot of nights in hotels. I've never seen porn on a TV in a hotel ever. And I was at this hotel and I was just looking, probably looking for a football game.

I love to watch football. And there was porn on the TV. And I stayed on the TV.

I'm like a mother to teenage kids, in ministry, all the things. And I felt so gross. And I knew one thing.

We talked about bringing stuff into life. I knew one thing. I had one more night in this hotel. I had to tell somebody. If I didn't tell somebody, I'm telling God, I'm so sorry, I repent, woe is me, all the stuff, all the things.

I knew if I did not tell anyone. So I had dinner with a friend that night and I told her she was amazing and gracious. We were gonna see each other in the morning. I said, the first thing you asked me is how last night went.

And she did. And by the grace of God, everything was great. And I tell that story and I do fight a lot of shame right now, even as I'm saying it out loud. Had told my husband, all the things. But I just always wanna say, by the grace of God with my background, that's happened twice in my marriage life.

One time I couldn't even find it. And so I don't say that to be like, guys, I'm not that bad. I say it to say, some of us will fight for this. It will fight for our purity. And fighting for sexual purity doesn't end when you get married. Fighting for sexual purity is a long battle. And some people's sexual purity is pornography. And some people's sexual purity is the novels they read.

And some people's sexual purity is looking at people in a way that is not holy and is not honoring to them. And whenever I talk about it, and I always have women come up to me and say, I've never told anyone, I so haven't. Yeah, and it is very on the rise with women. Especially in our young women because it's on their devices and they're Googling sex, I'm just gonna Google that. And honestly, with the young people, it's kind of like, oh, you don't watch porn? What's wrong with you?

It's like normal, not secretive. Let's talk to the women that are thinking, it's not that big of a deal, Jamie. So what if you watched it?

There's a lot of shows on TV now that we're watching. What would you say to that? What's wrong with that? I mean, I think it creates a hunger for more. And it also sets up this really unrealistic expectation and reality and just God has created sex for inside our marriage, between a man and a woman. And it's the way the enemy is just like distorting and twisting and making us hungry for something that is outside God's design.

I mean, you might be able to speak to it more. I just, I really appreciate your honesty and vulnerability to share because just like you said, this is everywhere and it's rampant and it's not, you didn't have to be looking for it. It comes looking for you and that's what the enemy is doing.

You obviously have a guard up in your life and you recognize that as something that you have victory in and you're thankful for that and God's grace to protect you in it. But I think just like you said, there are so many people who think this is okay. This is just part of culture and this is normal and the enemy has gotten so many people to that place of accepting it as normal. Because I think we have a skewed view of what sex is within a marriage anyways. I mean, that's a whole nother conversation. But what the world tells us, whether that be pornography or TV shows or novels, what the world tells us is not God's view of sex within a marriage. It is very self-serving, it is pleasing, it is a false view of what God intended to have this intimacy within a marriage. And so that's one of the problems. I mean, also like God's words really clear, flee sexual immorality.

Like it's not a like, should I or should I not? God actually says, run from it. And not because he doesn't love us and he doesn't want us to have fun. It's he's protecting us because he wants us to have the best life and sex life. The problem with porn too is it is all physical and sex is not only physical, it is physical.

But there is like a deep emotional intimacy there as well. And you miss that if you're not talking about this with a spouse that you're committed to for life. Professor Howard Hendricks, who is a prophet at Dallas Theological Seminary, once said, we were in a discussion and he'd been married 60 some years at that point. He was in his 80s and he said, you young people, you don't even know what sex is about. He said, until you've been married at least 15 years, you don't know anything. He said, because the first 15 years, you think sex is all about the body. It's about the physical. And when you're at my point in marriage, you understand sex is about the soul.

And I remember thinking, I want that. Everything about our marriage is not the same as it was 15, 20 years ago. And so if your marriage is built around this, like make me feel good physically, that just, it changes. Bodies change, circumstances, illnesses, children, finances, all the things affect that. And so sex is way more about intimacy with our soul, with our partners, why God designed it that way between a husband and a wife. Let's give the listeners whose husbands are struggling and they're like, I don't even know what to do.

Is this because something's wrong with me? How would you encourage them? Vivian, what do you think?

Not to hyper-spiritualize. I really believe in the power of prayer and it may not be an instant response, but to continue to pray, to understand for the wife, this is not your fault. I think that that is really, really important. This is not because of you and to be able to have that healthy separation and to understand that the solution is not for you to have to put out more or just look a certain way. That is not at all the message that we want you to hear. It's important to bring people in that that is a burden that you cannot carry by yourself.

And obviously your husband is not going to be able to walk in any type of victory alone. That that again is something where we are designed and hardwired to be in relationship with one another. And there's something about being in the light. I, similarly to Jamie, at one point had the TV, Darren's out of town and I went back and I watched and I was, felt awful, confessed it to Darren, but by speaking out the words, that honestly caused me to not want to.

And I imagine that was the same for you, Jamie. It's like Satan gets that foothold. Exactly.

And he wins when you don't say anything. Exactly. So that isolation is a lie that we are alone, but we use social media. We use binging on Netflix. We use shopping. We use eating. We use ministry.

We use working to numb pain. When we're in community, that's when we can walk in the light and actually experience the victory. And it's just, we will all stumble and fall along the way. We need one another. And so not to minimize the devastation that it is to have an addiction. This is similar to any kind of addiction, drug addiction, alcohol addiction, addiction, which is really recognizing I can't do anything to stop this.

And then God can, and we need to surrender to let him. And being in a 12 step group, very helpful to be in that kind of honesty and community. So I would just say those are just a few things.

There are great resources, and I believe Family Life has a lot of great resources to help for both sides to keep on walking in the light. I love that. And I just want to say this to the women. Again, I love that you said it's not your fault. There's nothing wrong with you. All of those things.

Because a lot of times, porn addiction is not even about the sex. No, there's something else happening deeper. Baggage.

Yeah, baggage. But I do want to say this. If we were all answering this question, if I was like, what do you want most for your husband? Like you want him to be close to Jesus. You want holiness in his life. We desire that for them. It is difficult for a woman when porn's involved.

Because we do take it personally. And it's hard because it's another woman in a sense, you know? And I wonder if we just switched a little bit in our brains and said, okay, I know my husband's struggling with this. He has confessed. By the grace of God, we're walking through this. What if your prayer was, I want holiness for my husband. I want that for them. And so instead of like, I can't believe he looks at porn.

What's wrong with me? I hope he stops. This is terrible. Let's do all the measures to prevent it, which you still should do. But what if our prayer life was, God, actually what I really want is I want my husband to be close to you. And I want him to have holiness in his life. That's what we want.

Yeah, we do. And holiness is fleeing from sexual immorality for all of us. Jamie, will you pray that? Will you pray that for the women that are listening? Because we're all resonating with that prayer. God, you want us to be close to you. You sent Jesus to reconcile us. And so God, I just, I pray a couple of things.

I want to pray for our awareness in our own lives that we all have baggage. We all have brokenness. None of us are better than anyone else. Our sins are equal. But God, you sent Jesus to offer something better for us. And Jesus actually covers those sins. And when you look at us, you see the righteousness of him on our lives. I pray for any women who are listening right now who are walking through an unbelievably difficult time with their husbands. This is not a light subject. This is not an easy road to walk.

We acknowledge that. God, there's a lot of brokenness. There's a lot of pain.

There's a lot of unknowns. And God, I just ask that you would send women into her life to walk alongside her. I pray that you would send men along his life to walk alongside him. God, I pray that the light would be so bright that the darkness cannot win in their house, in their marriage. God, I pray against Satan getting a foothold between them because of this. God, I pray that you would come in and you would redeem parts of their story that are affecting how they're seeing each other. And God, I just pray for reconciliation within marriages. God, you can do that. You are the miracle worker. You believe in marriage.

You created it. And so God, I just pray that on these women's lives who are listening today. And we pray all this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Amen. I'm Shelby Abbott, and you've been listening to Ann Wilson with Meg Robbins, Jamie Ivey, and Vivian Mabuni on Family Life Today. Wow, what a great conversation. Now, if you liked this or you loved it, you're gonna really love the continued wisdom and authenticity of these women who bring it to the all new art of marriage. I think all of us would say that we crave the good stuff in our marriages, things like forgiveness, selflessness, great communication, and all the rest of the good things that we desire when we picture our perfect marriage. Well, throughout six 25-minute sessions, Art of Marriage unpacks six biblical words that describe God's love for us and how each can be displayed throughout our really imperfect and messy marriages. So if that interests you, you can go to the show notes or to to learn more and grab your leader kit today. We're really excited to share the all new art of marriage with you and hear how it's impacting your marriage stories. Now, coming up tomorrow, what does the concept of husbands loving their wives as Christ loved the church actually look like? Well, Dave Wilson is gonna be joined by some other men from the all new art of marriage to talk about just that. 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 / 2024-02-10 04:05:33 / 2024-02-10 04:18:23 / 13

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