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Being a Wife (and How I Got it Wrong): Jamie Ivey, Vivian Mabuni, & Meg Robbins

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
February 5, 2024 5:15 am

Being a Wife (and How I Got it Wrong): Jamie Ivey, Vivian Mabuni, & Meg Robbins

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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February 5, 2024 5:15 am

Discover profound insights on the biblical perspective of being a "helper" in this engaging podcast. Join Ann Wilson, Meg Robbins, Jamie Ivey, and Vivian Mabuni as they lead a dynamic women's roundtable discussion. Delve deep into the common misconceptions surrounding relationship responsibilities and explore the challenges associated with unmet expectations in the context of Christian marriages. Tune in for a thoughtful exploration of these crucial topics with a diverse and experienced panel. Jamie Ivey, Vivian Mabuni, Meg Robbins, and Ann Wilson are all contributors to FamilyLife's all-new Art of Marriage group study! To learn more or order your copy, visit

Show Notes and Resources

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! []

The all-newArt of Marriagesix-session video series for groups features expert teaching, devotionals, spoken word poetry, animation, real-life stories, humorous vignettes, and more to portray both the challenges and the beauty of God's design.

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Today is an exciting and epic day.

I'm not sure this has ever happened since I've at least been the host with Dave on Family Life Today. We have an all women's round table. It's an honor to be a part of making history.

We're making history. So every woman listening, pull up the chair, get your workout going because we're going to talk to you today. 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.

Thank you so much for joining us today. We're going to be talking about the new art of marriage and your voice is in it. You're teaching about marriage. So introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about what you do. Meg, you want to start?

Sure. I'm Meg Robbins and I am actually on staff with Family Life. And you're kind of the president. Well, David is, but that means you are too. David, my husband, is the president. I'm more like a family life ambassador. I get to do a lot of fun things.

It's exciting for sure. Vivian? Yeah. Did you say I'm an adult? How many kids do you have? Oh, I have four kids. Been married.

Been married almost 22 years. Yeah. It's pretty good.

Wow. Well, my name is Vivian Mabuni and I've been married to my husband Darren for 32 years. We have three kids and a daughter-in-law now, which is really fun.

It's a new season. It's been wonderful. I have been on staff for over 30 years with crew and do a lot of speaking and writing and podcasting. Tell us about your podcast.

My podcast is called Some Days Here and it's for Asian American Pacific Islander American leaders. Jamie. I'm Jamie Ivey and I've been married to my husband Aaron for 22 years.

Whoa. We have four kids, one in college and three in high school. So that's a fun and exciting stage of life. And I host a podcast as well called The Happy Hour of Jamie Ivey and also get to write and speak and just grateful to be here.

Thank you guys. And you have a new book out this month. I have a new book out in February. Yes. It's pretty exciting.

So exciting. It's called Why Can't I Get It Together? Which is how I feel often in life. Everyone raise their hand if they want to read that book.

Why Can't I Get It Together? Kick unrealistic expectations to the curb and rest in God's truth. Really just about expectations we put on ourselves.

And how do we really find what does God desire for us in our life with holiness and sanctification and striving to look more like Jesus. And it was a book I needed and still need. And so I'm excited. That's a great segue into what I want to talk about first today is expectations.

Let's just kind of talk about that. Because when I got married, I had a picture of what Dave was going to be like, what our marriage was going to be like. And he lived up to every single one of those expectations. But did any of you have unrealistic expectations in your marriage? And what did that look like? Most definitely.

You did. I think what's interesting is sometimes you don't know that you have unrealistic expectations until they're unmet or that you had any expectations at all. When we were engaged, we actually went through the family life workbook preparing for marriage.

And there were a lot of questions in there about expectations. And I probably wouldn't have thought about that until I got married. I wouldn't have thought about anything if it hadn't been for that.

So that was probably a good saving grace. If there's anybody engaged out there, you want to do this, get this book. But for sure, there were things, even though we thought we talked about it all, you know, and there are things that come up. And I'm just like, wait a minute. Well, one thing for sure for me is like, this is such a simple thing. But after I have cooked dinner, David will admit if he was sitting at the table, he would readily say he does not cook. And that's okay. I love to cook. So that's great. But, you know, I was kind of thinking like, after I've cooked, like, you're gonna probably do the dishes, right?

That's a fair expectation. And he actually now he does that for sure. Actually, our kids do it most of the time, but he'll he fills in the gaps when they don't. But there was a season where, you know, I'd be really tired after dinner, and I might be doing the dishes just because I kind of felt like I needed to get done. And he might say, Oh, let me do that.

I'll do the dishes. And I would have this expectation that he would just know that even if I said no, no, I got it. That actually meant, no, no, you come do it and push me out of the side. You know, like, I had this expectation he could read my mind.

And actually, my older brother who had journeyed and had some hard years in his own marriage, and they're still married and have an amazing marriage. But he had to learn the hard way. He was like, You know what, I cannot read her mind. She wants me to do something. She has to say it. So don't hold back. And it was like, the light came on. I have to use words and tell you what I'm thinking. But yeah, that sounds so silly. But it's like, I did have this expectation that he would just know and see when I needed him to do something without me communicating.

So sometimes a lot deeper, heavier. Yeah, yeah. I mean, I think we came in with this view of marriage, that it was just going to meet all of my needs. Do you think it's a Disney thing?

I think it's a Disney thing for sure. But I think it's also like, who doesn't want that? Of course, you know, I think that like, even to get spiritual, like our flesh wants our needs to be met. And that need is set there for God to fill it. I mean, you know, we're created that way. I think I'm gonna go a little bit opposite on this. One of my hardest things about marriage is always expecting the shoe to fall. So I'm going the other way.

And I have what you explained as well. But for me, it's a little bit deeper of I saw some marriages close to me as a child, where there was infidelity. And so for me, it's like, I have this expectation that like, surely my day will come when Aaron will do the same thing that I saw happen.

And that's not fair to him by any means. But God's really had to do a lot in my own heart of not putting expectations for failure on someone who hasn't failed. Let me ask you, that's really interesting and good. Did that make you guard your heart a little bit in fear of that happening? I think I threw myself in fully to our marriage. But I can get teary-eyed because I still, 22 years in, I don't think my husband's gonna do anything bad. I do sometimes.

Because it's just there. And God has done so much in my life. And really, even I talk about that in my book about I have these unrealistic expectations that I'm not letting God really take control of. And so I think we can do that both ways.

I kind of feel like a little Debbie Downer here like I just brought. But that's real for me. Yeah, because that was the narrative you saw at an early age. And so we're so shaped by things when we're young.

Yeah. And I mean, honestly, you guys, we all do ministry and we've all seen people fall in ministry. And Aaron would probably say this, when I see people fall in ministry, it hits me really, really hard, even if I don't know them.

Because Satan comes in, he's like, see, it can happen to them. It'll probably happen to you, Jamie. And I really have to spend a lot of my time, A, knowing that my happiness does not revolve around Aaron and what he does. But also, God, I trust you that you're good in your four hour marriage.

And we love you and all the things. And so that has been a weird thing for me to have to work through of this expectation that I'm putting on my husband to fail. That's a terrible expectation, you guys. But it's an expectation. But it has, it's something from my childhood. But I also look at that and I think, if you're listening and you haven't dealt with some of the wounds from your past, the expectations, the wounds, the hurts, I feel like God is so gracious. Jamie, like, you would have never dug into that. I'm guessing apart from the Jesus kind of healing you, showing you. Really? Because I think our childhood wounds, they come out one way or another.

You know, they're going to come out. And God has been so kind to me on this journey. And I've come so far in where I am. But it's just it's like always kind of underneath there.

And if Aaron was sitting right here, I would have said the same thing. And I always feel like it's so not fair. It's just not fair. But I think we all bring stuff to our marriages, a little bit of baggage stuff.

And it really isn't fair to the other person that I have to work on. This is mine. And God is dealing with me and dealt with me.

And I'm a million times further than I was as a newlywed. But thanks for saying it's not totally gone. Yeah, I'm fighting it. Yeah. When we're fighting our sin in our lives, we sometimes feel defeated. And I'm like, if you stopped fighting, then you're defeated.

Exactly. Like, keep fighting. So I feel like, I might fight this till I see Jesus, but I'm gonna fight it with everything that's in me.

The truth. And I think some of these deep places where we fight those battles create even greater intimacy with Jesus and with our spouse. You know, we let them in to this fear that you have. And that's scary and intimate to open up your soul about that. Do you remember the first time you told Aaron that fear?

Aaron knew that fear from forever. Dating? Dating and everything.

Yeah. But I remember one time I said to him, we could only been married less than a decade because I know where I remember exactly where we were. And I said to him, I said, if you ever cheat on me, I won't ask any questions.

I'm leaving you immediately. And look at me and say, because he said, afterwards, he said, that's probably the meanest thing you've ever said to me. And he was saying, I believe that God can work through anything. And he wasn't saying like, oh, no, I have the greatest husband in my mind that's ever walked the planet.

But I'll never forget that. Because I was bringing in a lot of unhealed wounds and saying there's no way that God could work through this. I sit here today and say that I think God can work miracles in marriages.

Absolute miracles. And we've seen it happen in people's lives. And so I remember that moment and Aaron said, that's one of the meanest things. And what he was saying was, we serve a really big, good God.

And I love you a whole lot. And I think God can work through anything. And we've seen God work miracles in marriages. And so that was a long time ago.

And I wouldn't say that today. Well, guys, I just brought all my little baggages here to the table. So I'm listening to all these stories. And I do agree that the baggage that we bring in absolutely shapes us and how we grew up. I did not grow up in a Christian home. So I had an expectation that if two Christians got married, and we have the power of the Holy Spirit, then, honestly, we would not really have conflict. Like I really just had this expectation that it would be conflict free. I realize now as I look back, that it was because my parents fought all the time. And when they would fight, they would throw around and threaten getting divorced. So I began to equate conflict equals divorce, no conflict equals no divorce.

And so it was like, I learned very quickly, and I still struggle with this is I'm an avoider. I would rather lie. Like, is it okay?

Sure, it's fine. You know, I would rather lie than to get into the conflict. And that's this constant battle that I still to this moment still need to be consciously aware of. I've heard it explained that sin is not just doing the wrong things. It's knowing the right things to do and not doing it. So that's where I recognize that there are times that I'm supposed to be moving toward my husband, and I'm avoiding him or ignoring him. And that's not okay. So those are some of the things where I just I had this expectation with the hope really in a little bit more of a fairy tale kind of happily ever after that, if I met and married a man who loves Jesus most, that we would just have this conflict free marriage, which is lovely.

That's just not reality. Then we wouldn't really need Jesus. We would just kind of skip along through the flower fields. And as you all talk about that, I'd like to skip through those. But I'm, I'm thinking the same thing. When I'm walking with Jesus, and my eyes are off of myself, they're off of Dave, and they're on King Jesus guiding me. I'm like, Yes, he's my Savior. He's my King.

He's filling me up. But life happens. We get busy. Things are hard. Things are going on with our kids. I feel like families are in crisis a lot of times because what we're going through, have you done this like out of the business, somewhere along the line, you're taking your eyes off of Jesus. Maybe you don't have time to be in the word or listening or writing or journaling.

And my eyes, I hope somebody else does this go to Dave. And I start seeing the things that he's not doing to meet my needs. It's just this automatic place of what are you doing? I'm doing all of this.

Does anyone else do that? It's making my marriage an idol. And making Dave an idol.

You've done that. Yeah, I mean, I remember specifically during the pandemic, Aaron and I had a really, really hard 18 months, probably the worst years of our marriage. And I remember I was talking to my counselor one time, and I was just telling her everything that I felt like Aaron was failing me. And Aaron might be like, I was, I mean, you know, they might be true statements. And she let me get through all of my ways that I was telling her that Aaron was failing. And she asked me, she said, What can you do about yourself? Like, what can you do?

Where are your eyes fixed? Almost just like what you were saying. And I was like, well, can we go back to talking about Aaron?

Because I like that a little bit better. But her point really was, you can't control what Aaron's doing right now. And so if Aaron is failing you in these ways, that might be a fact. But you can't control that. But what you can control is what Jamie's doing. And she wasn't telling me go be a better wife, go serve him more.

I'd say those things are true. She wasn't saying that she was literally saying, how are you doing? Like, what are you concerned with yourself? And not a like, it's all about me.

But what does it look like between you and the Lord? Because you cannot control the way Aaron is right now is acting or missing out or maybe not meeting your needs. And that was very convicting. Because it was like, I'm so concerned about Aaron, I'd be over here. And she literally was like, Can we talk about you for a minute? I didn't want to It reminds me of that quote.

Have you heard it? Pride isn't necessarily thinking a lot of yourself. It's thinking of yourself a lot. You're thinking of yourself all the time. And I remember with Dave, Jamie, I remember reading, remember the books by Stormy O'Marty and the Power of a Praying Life.

Talk about prideful. I remember reading this. And she was saying, we need to look at ourselves as wives. And I remember thinking, I'm amazing. I am getting it done here, man. But Dave, and so I remember asking the Lord, like, Lord, don't you think I'm doing a good job? And I felt like he was saying, look at where your eyes are all the time. They're on yourself.

You're out there on other people not meeting your needs. As we talk about fulfilling each other's needs and what's going on in marriage. I've been captivated lately by Genesis 2.18. And I know a lot of you have heard Kristi McClellan's teaching and Jamie and Vivian you're in seminary right now.

We are. I've been to seminary and I never studied this. But this in Genesis 2.18 is where it says, Jamie, you have it up. Will you read it to us?

Yes, it says, then the Lord God said, it is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helper fit for him. And another word is a helper suitable. And so I was 29 when we started speaking at the weekend, remember, getaway.

And so I'm 29 at that time, I'd been to seminary. And so I knew I should look that up in Hebrew, those two words, helper suitable. But I'm like, I hate those words. Why do I hate that word helper? And so I looked it up in Webster's dictionary and it says, a helper, a person who does the dirty work, someone important tells them what to do, a gopher.

And I'm like, see, I can't teach on this because that's what I feel about it. And then I thought, why do I have to be the helper? And I'm looking around like, where's my helper?

Why does Dave get a helper? Then I looked it up in the Hebrew, started studying it, and I've started re-studying it. And Vivian, you're shaking your head because you studied this as well. Give us a little picture into the Hebrew words are, ezer k'nedgos, helper suitable. What have you found if you studied that? So this is a beautiful word and it's used 21 times in the Old Testament and 16 of those times are in relation to God himself as a strong helper.

Psalm 121, I lift my eyes to the mountains, where does my help come from? Fascinating to me is that many of those contexts are in battle situations. And so I kind of throw in when I think of ezer as ezer warrior, and that just empowers, I think, women, daughters, widows, I mean, every season of life.

It's not just as a wife, not just as a mother, it's all women. So it's a term of strength. And I think that that is such a game changer because I also read helper. You're not the only one who read. I'm the same. Really?

Yes. When we were engaged, I actually really was in a pit about this word. I was like, this is so lame.

I don't want to be a helpmate. You know, like I really wrestled with it. We had a lot of conversations about it. And I actually did similarly like was doing a word study and then the Lord kind of brought some teaching on it just to kind of answer this ache in my soul about it.

I'm like, I'm entering into marriage. Is this, I'm just going to be a helper forever. And I didn't look it up in the dictionary is probably a good thing. Warrior is the word that the Lord just showed me. And even the fact that the same word is used for God was truly transformational for me. Like, do I believe that this is a term of strength and power that comes from the Lord, but like He is our strength.

But because of that, we are called to fight for people who need us to fight for them. There's so much there, so much more than how we translate in English. Who did that? How did that happen? I don't know. I know. Well, even the word canedgo, which is never talked about, it's only used one time in scripture and it's for the woman. And the way Christi described it, and I've read some other commentaries, but she said it means toe to toe, that she will stand toe to toe with her husband. And we were having a lunch with some guests on Family Life Today. And in this lunch, we had three people with master's degrees of divinity. And then we had a doctorate of theology in the room.

And so these happened to be all men that day. And I asked them, guys, when you read that and you hear azer canedgo, a helper suitable, standing, a warrior who will stand and help and go toe to toe. What do you think?

Like as you study the scriptures, and a lot of them, most of them had taken Hebrew. And one man said, you know what I think? I thought this was one of the most powerful things. He said, when a man stands toe to toe with his wife and he looks in her eyes, he sees the reflection of who he could be. I was like, whoa, whoa, whoa.

I said, can I use that in my book? He sees a reflection of who he could be and who he could become. And I thought, what is Dave seeing in my eyes? I think so often Dave's like, I've disappointed her again. Do you know what the men were saying is?

I don't think women understand the power that they have. And also, Christy McClelland, as she was talking about this, she said that she knew this when she lived in Israel for a while. She knew a rabbi. And when she took the scripture to him, she said, what do you think it means? And he goes, he's in his 70s, has a big beard. He says, I know what it means.

It means God knew there was an enemy in the garden and Adam and Eve needed each other to defeat the enemy. And I was like, oh, that is so good. Any thoughts on that? Yeah. I mean, I think, and I, you know, we've been married for 22 years and when I grew up, I never, ever heard this thought about.

Me neither. I would hear like, this is your job. You are the wife. You are the helper.

The way you described it in Webster's dictionary is what I thought I was getting into. Do the dirty work. You do the dirty work.

Here's what you do. You take care of the kids, you do the dishes, do all the carpool, all of this stuff. And while some of that stuff does still fall on my shoulders, like, you know, but I never, ever heard this kind of team together, toe to toe. And Erin, I think that like, we do ministry that way. We believe in each other that way. And so I think that we've almost done a service to our people in our churches. And I think even generations coming up behind all of us, that kind of, hey, welcome to marriage.

You're now do the dirty work. That is not appealing. Oh, young women are like, I'm out.

I'm out. Growing up in the church, for me, we kind of were just like, okay, it is what it is. I guess it's what I don't think people are.

There's no more I guess this is what it is anymore. I think that we are not preparing men and women to be co-laborers together within a family when we don't explain this to them. I totally agree. And I think it's a high calling that God has for us. And if we don't see that and talk about it and call each other to that, then we miss God's real purpose. It's easy to get caught up in what we don't want it to mean, but we do need to really speak to what it means. Because it has this beautiful, beautiful, life-changing aspect to our marriages. And I think it brings people up. Look what we get to be a part of. Look what you get to do.

Look at what God has said about you. I mean, that is empowering. It's very empowering. I think it takes a secure man to not be threatened by the strength of a woman. And I think it takes a secure woman to not always have to be in charge.

And so I think it works both ways. But I think when you have a team like that, for a man to not be threatened and welcome the strength of a woman, it's to his benefit and to the benefit of his family and society for us to not have to hold back. And at the same time, I think it takes a secure woman to not always have to be in charge. Because I think that we have a tendency to try to just jump the gun and take care of everything and do everything. And that's not a secure woman, too. So I think that there's both needing to listen to the Lord, both needing to be sensitive to God's leading, when to move out and when to wait. That was Eve's problem in the garden. She just took everything in her own hands. And Adam was there.

She turns to Adam, who was there. Anyway, it's just very true. We all have sons at this table, don't we? One of the things that's been interesting to me, having three daughter-in-laws, is I'm watching our three sons. Oh, they love these wives. Their wives are amazing.

They love them so much. And I've never seen the power that I carry with Dave, but I'm watching the power these young women have over our sons. I can see a look, a look of, what are you talking about? You know, that look? Or a look of, you're amazing. And I can see the power these women have. Like, oh, they don't see it. But I see it, oh, do you see the power we have as women when we speak who they could become? Our boys want to jump to that expectation. Like, you think I could become that?

Maybe I can. Because deep down, I think a lot of men, like we as women, are insecure. So I think this has been a really fun conversation. For our listeners, get on your knees, go to Jesus. And if you feel like, oh, man, I've done all the things you're talking about negatively, like we have, get on your face before God and say, God, I can't do this apart from you.

And he hears every prayer that you pray, and he'll be with you and sees you. And they are so right. I have noticed that when my wife Rachel says something encouraging to me or just really speaks life, I can live off of that for months, just months. It's so encouraging, and I just love it when she does that with me. I'm Shelby Abbott, and you've been listening to Ann Wilson with Meg Robbins, Jamie Ivey, and Vivian Mabuni on Family Life Today.

It's just been such a great conversation to listen in on and hear their perspective. You know, if you really like this, you're going to love the continued wisdom and authenticity that these women bring in the all new art of marriage. All of us, I think, crave, quote unquote, the good stuff in our marriages, things like resiliency and forgiveness and selflessness and so much more. 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 through our messy, imperfect marriages. So you can go to the show notes or to learn more and grab your leader kit today. We're excited to share the all new art of marriage with you and hear your marriage impact stories. Now, tomorrow, we're back with the roundtable of women talking about the baggage that individuals bring into marriage and its negative impact that it can have. That's coming up 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 / 2024-02-10 03:53:42 / 2024-02-10 04:05:32 / 12

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