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Pre-Wedding Conversations You Can’t Afford to Skip: David & Meg Robbins

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

Pre-Wedding Conversations You Can’t Afford to Skip: David & Meg Robbins

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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March 5, 2024 5:15 am

You're getting married soon....or your new to this marriage thing. David and Meg Robbins give pointers on diving into those must-have conversations about money, sex, in-laws and more. Helping you get ready for more than the wedding day—a lifetime of marriage. Pick up their book "Preparing for Marriage" to ensure you're prepared for your big day!

Show Notes and Resources

Want to hear more episodes by David and Meg, listen here!

Want to hear more about David and Meg's engagement plus marriage journey? They share in Preparing For Marriage: must-have conversations for anyone getting ready for the big day.

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Hey, we'll get to the program in just a second, but first, I'm Shelby Abbott and we are rapidly approaching Easter. And sometimes families need ideas for what to do with their kids to help them focus appropriately on more than just candy and bunnies. Well, we celebrate the resurrection.

It's the most important event in the history of all humanity, of all creation. And Family Life's resurrection eggs is a great way to help your kids not only have a great time, but also focus on the true meaning of what we're celebrating when it comes to Easter. It's a dozen plastic eggs that have little items inside.

A book comes along with it to help guide you through the story of what the significance of the resurrection is in a way that your kids can understand and be pointed to the true meaning of what we're celebrating. We want to send you, I guess, a carton of these eggs along with the book when you become a monthly financial partner to help support and make the ministry of family life possible. You can get a carton of these eggs by going online to where you can find a donate now button at the top of the page. Or feel free to give us a call at 800 F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. When you do give, thank you so much and we're going to send you these eggs.

Have a blast with your kids and pointing them to the true meaning of what we celebrate at Easter, the resurrection of our Savior and Lord. There are always going to be things that he's not going to know unless I tell him. I will never forget when we were getting married and my brother said to me, you know, you just need to know that if you want his help with something, you have to tell him. And it was really good for me to hear that because I do think there are times even still where I will have a tendency to think, is this not obvious?

Like, can't you see that I need help with this? 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. Well it's not every day you get to have one of your favorite couples walk in the studio.

It's true. It's a good day, isn't it? We got Paul McCartney sitting in there with us today. I'm about to break out in a song.

This is great. Can you sing Hey Jude for us? You do not want me to.

Our child could, but we cannot. I'll leave the questionable singing to you, Dave. All right, so our listeners are like, I think I know that voice.

I think I know that voice. We got David and Meg Robbins, the president of Family Life in Family Life Studio today. Welcome back to Family Life Today. It's great to be here, guys.

We love it. Part of me wants to just start with, so what's new? What's going on in your life? You've got all kinds of things going on, right? We are.

Didn't see that question coming, did you? Yeah, we got high school age, you know, in the thick of it, even college discussions happening. We have middle school girl realities happening. Elementary boy trying out a new sport, taking up lots of time, and then our kindergartener just plugging away and learning how to read and subtract yesterday. That was a big deal. I can't wait.

And he's subtracting. I'm like, You've had COVID go through your families a little bit. You guys are in the midst of everything.

Yes, we wish we had not been in the midst of COVID, but it did slow us down maybe in a way we needed that we didn't know. Yeah, I had it. And I think God was saying, get on your back, because it was supposed to be milder symptoms.

It was not for me. And Meg said, I've never seen you sleep. I've never seen him sleep that much. He must have needed it.

Yes, yes, I think he did. And I heard your back actually hurt because you were in the bed. Are you just calling me old? You're calling me a bad singer and old? No, you were talking about one of the Zoom things, like my back hurts.

I'm like, really? Why? Because you were like in your son's bed the whole quarantine. I was isolated for several days in my teenage son's room, and that could separate me the most. Do you have a mattress? But I was sitting against this headboard. His name is Ford, and we have this cool tailgate that is a Ford truck tailgate as its headboard.

But let's just say after you sit up in it for two straight days, it may cause some issues, you know. Well, you're supposed to say Family Life has a brand new resource that's really an older resource that's been revised, right, called Preparing for Marriage that you two are the editors of. That's right. The team has been so great, and we are privileged to be able to be a part of this resource because this is one that is the first interaction we ever had with Family Life was Preparing for Marriage.

Our pastor who took us through our pre-marriage counseling used Family Life's Preparing for Marriage, and it was so significant in our lives that we've used it in dozens of young couples' lives. So have we. Yeah. Yes.

I think everybody has gone through that. So many churches, and it's been great, but it also needed updated. That's right. And we are so excited to be able to bring this resource to people today.

It's available now. Yeah. So tell, if there's a listener, it's like, okay, what is Preparing for Marriage? How would you describe it? If you were to bullet down to its basics, it would be, what does God have to say about this beautiful institution of marriage that he created that's meant to reflect his love for his bride, the church, and our marriages, each one of our marriages get that opportunity to reflect it. And then it also leads you through very practical conversations. The magic of this resource is actually getting the couple, guiding the couple through different worksheets where they talk to one another about things that they may not know they need to be talking about as they prepare for marriage. And that was the magic for us was how it made us look each other in the eye and realize some things. And yeah, it's been revamped into not just a few worksheets, but five conversations every couple needs to have before they get married.

Well, let me ask you this. Do you remember when you went through it as a couple before you were married? Did it help? Definitely. I think there were things that came up just in the questions asking you about your expectations. You know, you don't know that you have an expectation about something usually until it's unmet. So it was great for us to think through some super simple things like who's going to do the laundry most of the time, who's going to take out the trash most of the time, but then some other really big things like, you know, what kind of house do you see yourself living in? What kind of urban living or in the, you know, rural area, some things like that, or even how many kids do you think you're going to have? Or even how are you going to spend Christmas and where will you spend Christmas?

Yes, whose family? How much time will you spend with your family and your in-laws and what's realistic and what does it mean to really leave and cleave and, you know, things that you know need to happen, but you haven't thought about the specifics of it. So, I mean, for us, it was super helpful, I think made a huge impact. And, you know, obviously you can't talk through every little thing that is going to come up in your life, but there were so many things that I think we figured, oh, we'll just sail through this. And as we were working through those things and talking about it, I mean, I think we laughed a lot just realizing like, wow, we see more things differently than we thought we did, but it was super helpful just to think through, okay, there are things that weren't on our radar that we need to think about and make plans for. And those might need adjusting along the way, but just helped set us both kind of at the same perspective going in and expectation wise.

Really linking arms in our expectations. Yeah. In some ways it digs into the things couples need to know before they get married and we've all been married a while. So I thought it could be sort of fun. We were talking about this to do the two things you wish you knew before you're married. Now we don't have time to do all of us, so let's make today the wives edition.

Nice. So we'll have Meg and Ann share two things. Now you guys haven't talked about this. No, we haven't. Yeah, we haven't. So it could be similar, it could be totally different, but who wants to go first? Like what do you wish you would have known?

Do one, do your first and then Ann can do one of them. Okay, that's good. I think what comes to my mind first is that David will never be able to read my mind. I mean, that may be super obvious.

You would think that I would know that. And I think obviously I know he won't be able to read my mind, but there are always going to be things that he's not going to know unless I tell him. I will never forget when we were getting married and actually we were in the middle of going through this workbook and my brother said to me, he had been married probably about seven years at the time and he was like, you know, you just need to know that if you want his help with something you have to tell him. Like if you're standing at the sink and you're thinking, you might start fuming and thinking, why isn't he coming over here and helping me with the dishes? You know, I've been working on these dishes for 30 minutes. He was like, we are not very smart. I'm going to bang him a little louder. Yeah, exactly.

Oh yeah, I did that. He was saying, you know, it took us a long time to realize that a lot of times, and he's just kind of throwing himself and men under the bus, and this is not true for all men, but he just said, you know, we don't know, we don't pick up on it. You know, you just have to say, hey, can you come over here and help me with these dishes? I just made the whole entire meal and I'm tired. And it was really good for me to hear that because I do think there are times even still where I will have a tendency to think, is this not obvious?

Like, can't you see that I need help with this? I'm thinking it's been 40 years. You know, it's been 40 years. Do I still have to ask? Right. And I think a lot of women think that like, all right, come on.

Now this is just ridiculous because we've been married a long time and I ask the same thing all the time. I'm just going to say, you're saying that with a lot of emotion. A little more emotion than I'm comfortable with. It sounds like it happened last night.

No, you were amazing. Like, you did all the dishes last night because I wasn't feeling well. Yeah, it's really tough.

There's two of us. It's like, wow, there's no kids and no mess. It's like you go over and do one dish.

But Meg, you're right. You become resentful. You do. They don't even know that you're resentful and they have no idea why because we just haven't communicated. Totally. And it can be things much bigger than the dishes, you know, but I think that's exactly what happens is that without realizing it, there are things that I might think, oh, I should just take one for the team and do this. But over time, that's taxing and that's me not even letting him in to an area that I might truly need help.

I mean, I might truly be at the point of, OK, I am really tired and I just need a minute, but it could be something totally different that has to do with my heart and how I'm doing. And he's not going to know unless I tell him, you know, there are certain things. Yes, he's going to learn me and he's been a student of me for 20 years. So there are things he picks up on for sure. And he can ask and dig in. But there are also going to be things that he just isn't going to know until I tell him. So as much as I would like for him to be able to read my mind, I think maybe, maybe that wouldn't be a good thing.

But I think it's important to, sorry, David, I think it's important to for us as women to recognize when we have the martyr complex going on. Like, and I've done that in my head. I do everything around here.

Look, he's watching the game. He doesn't even know I'm in here doing this, you know? That was going to be my question to Meg, but both of you, really. And David, did this ever cause a real riff? Because when I hear that, I know for Anne and I, this was more than just I got to tell Dave what I need. She was really hurt.

Yeah. That I wasn't helping, that I wasn't stepping in. And I'm putting words in her mouth. So maybe it probably worse than I'm saying, but I think it was pretty bad for a while because she would tell me and then a week or a day or two later, I still wasn't doing it.

She'd already told me and I'm still just sitting there and not helping or not meeting her needs or talking or listening, whatever it was. It wasn't just a little, oh, cute little Dave's not, it was, it caused a riff. I'm just asking if you felt that.

I just have to say, this is so funny because I was so frustrated. Like it was as simple as, hey, could you take out the trash? And he would say, yeah, absolutely. And it would never happen. And so it wasn't never, it wouldn't happen for a half hour. He's always a never. We learn that at the weekend to remember.

So here's what I did. I'm like, Jesus, how can I communicate? You're praying about me taking the trash out. How can I communicate this in a way that he'll hear? And so we're having dinner this one night and I say, you know, as a quarterback, because Dave played a quarterback and you know, he's like, oh yeah. And I'm like, so as a quarterback, what was the most frustrating thing as a quarterback that you would say by far, this is most frustrating. He goes, oh, without doubt, when I would tell the receiver, here's the route, and then he'd run a different route or he wouldn't even run it. And I was like, did that frustrate you? He's like, yeah, it just made me so mad.

You throw interceptions and they think it's your fault, it's really a receiver's fault. That's how I feel when I say, hey, could you take out the trash? And you said, or whatever it is, sure, I'll do that. And then it never happens. He says to me like, that's how it feels?

It was awesome. Well, and I think sometimes when we communicate something, we're thinking, I'm asking you this for an ongoing thing, not just will you take the trash out tonight? You know, I need your help in this area, which sometimes for us, I think it takes time for us to realize that we need to have a bigger conversation than you just asking one time. I think the biggest time that we felt that, or I can remember feeling that, is when we had little kids and I mean, for sure that was, that made us feel it no matter what. But I think it came out the most when it was like David was coming home from work and he would say, I'll be home at six. And then when six o'clock came, you know, I had three kids, three and under. And so when six o'clock came around, if he wasn't pulling in the driveway, that was like my limit.

You know, I felt like I have reached the moment when I thought I would be, have some relief and some help. And if he wasn't there, you know, I would start fuming, you know, and every minute is totally true. And we finally realized, and I was definitely letting resentment build. And, and I would say the next day, so what time are you going to be home? And like, are you, you know, then the little comments, you know, little digs.

So are you really going to be home then? And so eventually we realized it would actually be better if you would say seven and show up at six, fifteen, then to tell me six and come at six fifteen or whatever, you know, even though, and I had to learn to show grace, but I think he also got to the place where, okay, how do I make the norm being accurate with my prediction, you know, just for my own sanity. When I'm such an optimist, it actually was really hard for me. Like I genuinely thought I was giving a real time, but yet my behavior kept shifting and not being true as I would stick around. And it really was creating real resentment and tension. And, you know, you declaring need of, look, I would rather you just, you know, overshoot so that I, because that I'm making it to that line, you know, and, and I need you, the reinforcements need to come in, you know, as I'm, as I'm surviving till that moment and those witching hours. And it was actually like, it was kind of like a character shift that I needed to make of my optimism's good, but it's kind of naive and idyllic and I need to get rooted in a little more reality, especially for how this is affecting Meg. And, but I just, you know, in declaring need, I think two times recently, you have lived this out well, and we don't live it out well all the time.

And, you know, it creates, you know, tension fairly often, but yet we keep going to this place in two ways. Last night, I walked in the door and within a good 10 minutes, you know, you phrased it, Hey, we need to have a folding party tonight, a folding clothes party. Like all the clean clothes were piled up. And let me say, I needed her to declare that specific need because I had woken up at five, prepared for something last minute that I pulled off, you know, by the skin of my teeth yesterday afternoon. And I was exhausted. And what's true is I fell asleep putting our five-year-old down in the bed with him. And so she, I sent somebody upstairs. I said, could you please go see if dad is asleep with Mac?

I think he is. So my, my, you know, sixth grader came and woke me up and I realized, all right, I got what I needed to reboot. Let's go fold. It's a folding party.

I love that you added the party aspect to it. It needed a positive spin because there were a lot. I had clean, gotten a lot of laundry clean, but not much folded. But then also, I think recently in these recent months, you've really pushed me in a healthy way that could have been resentment and come on, you're not doing enough, but you've encouraged me to get more intentional with our oldest boy and going, you know, I know you, you want more than this. And you know, the rhythms we've gotten into with the grind of school, you're not, you're not doing what I know you, you want to do and what you're able to do. And it was really belief that you spoke into me, but I know there was frustration in it, but yet you really called me up in a way declaring need of, he needs you right now. You know, Meg, that was masterful how you said that because as women, and I've done this poorly with Dave, is when we come to our husbands and say, hey, you're not doing this.

And it just feels like for Dave, it felt like disrespect, and it makes him not want to do it. Like, I'm failing, I'll probably keep failing. But you spoke life, identity, and this is who you are. That's identity. Like, I know that you want this. I know you're good at this. And so it's just a reminder. I mean, I think that came from not saying it right several times and realizing like, okay, there's a way for me to encourage him to do this rather than come in saying you aren't doing the thing you said you were going to do. I mean, just was trying to grab breakfast with him before school a couple of times a month. You know, it's like, okay, how can I help make this happen?

Like, what can I do with the other kids or it's like offering grace before we go to condemnation. That does not come naturally to me. So I'm meaning that the hard way. Well, that goes to mind.

This is one of the things I wish I would have known before I've gotten married. Oh, I can't wait to hear this. No, it's along this whole line is I didn't know and realize that the power and the influence I would have over Dave. I just thought he's one of the most confident, self-assured people that I've ever met in my life. And surely he doesn't need me speaking that into him because he already has it. I had no idea the insecurity or the doubts that you had because you don't show it.

And so as a result, I think I was, my words were harsh. I think this is a natural tendency for some women. I don't know if it is for men, but for as women, it can be a natural tendency when we take our eyes off of Jesus, we put them on our husband and we expect, and it's that word expectations. We have these expectations that they will make us happy and they will meet our needs.

And I had no idea, one, that you guys carry so much. I'm putting a whole bunch of stuff in this. You can see it's like, I didn't realize that I'm an influencer, that just as you said, Meg, the way you said it, man, that was influencing David and motivating him to want to spend time with your kids.

So that's the thing that I would say. I just have a tendency then when I'm not surrendered to Jesus, I become incredibly controlling. I try to control the situations. I try to control Dave and I'm controlling him by speaking negatively.

And it never won. I was like, why isn't this working? What did that make you feel, Dave, when I did that?

Exactly what you said. I felt controlled. There's something in me that was rebellious, like, oh, that's how it's going to go.

I'm going to do the opposite, which is terrible. That's the sin nature in me that I rejected it. And again, we wrote about it in our book, Vertical Marriage, but it was like decades. It wasn't just a couple of weeks or months. No, I think it was 15 years that I did that. And I'm not saying that I didn't do the same thing. So we're not just talking about one thing, but it was, yeah, I was demotivated. And part of me would look at her, probably didn't say it, but think, you think this is working? Just look at the results.

It's not working. Maybe a different tactic would work. Not knowing what you just said is so easy. And we can do it as men too, as we take our eyes off the savior and we put it on our spouse to be our savior. And then we're disappointed. And we don't ever go, duh, they weren't made to be.

And yet I think every couple, as a pastor, when I stand in front of couples officiating their wedding, I just want to say it in the wedding, but I'm going to ruin the wedding if I say it, but I just, you're almost smiling. Like you're going to figure this out. You're trying to find life from her and she's thinking you're going to give her life. And when it doesn't happen, you're going to think you married the wrong person. And hopefully you're going to remember you're looking in the wrong place. So that's what you're saying. So here's the thing, David and Meg, did you experience that at all in your own marriage?

Did you do that? Could you try to find your life through David? Most definitely. And I think even still, you know, there are times when I am like, if I feel that resentment building or I feel frustrated or I'm not coming in a try to build you up way, usually that is a red flag for me to realize why am I so frustrated that I'm not getting this thing or this unmet expectation? Usually it's because I'm looking to him to fulfill something that the Lord wants to give me, you know, whether it's joy or freedom, maybe just like confidence and who God has me, the role that he has for me to fulfill and not, you know, looking to David to affirm me. And not that there isn't, like you said, we can speak life to each other and there's a beauty in that. But when we're looking to that person to meet that need first, then we're going to be disappointed. It's an idol.

Of course. Our spouse becomes an idol or our marriage becomes an idol hoping they will fill me up. They will make me happy and they do. But if that's your source, it never, it never makes it.

There is really only one true source and that is Jesus himself. And we each get to experience that and bring that strength to our marriages. And one thing you said, Meg, makes me think back to this resource of preparing for marriage.

One of the things we do when we do pre-marriage counseling that we had people encourage us to do is while you're doing pre-marriage counseling, get as honest as you can. You were in the rose colored glasses phase, you're consumed with the wedding. And it's good.

It's okay. It's a good thing. And there is a lot of hope and we are loving marriage.

There's so many great things about it. And we love passing on how great marriage can be. Yet when it comes to the conversation about family history or the conversation about money or sex and communication and all the things we come in with, when we aren't honest with those kind of idle moments that we run to as a source, whether that's security of money or whatever it could be, you really don't prepare for marriage that well. And so I wish I would have gone back and we were pretty honest and it laid a foundation of continued honesty, but I wish that we would have been even more honest about some of the idols in our life and how much we look to one another.

And it would have even set a stronger foundation and couples can do that. That's good. Well, David, you just went into what you wished you'd known before marriage, which is tomorrow. We get to talk about, I thought we're going to get two from the ladies today. We only got one, but you know what? It's just great stuff.

Seriously. And as you said, that's the kind of stuff that you talk about in preparing for marriage, which one of the other great things I think about preparing for marriage is you don't have to be like a licensed counselor to use it with a couple. It's a tool that any couple can use to be a mentor to other people. So anyway, we're going to talk about more tomorrow. I love the kind of conversations that happen like this that are just really honest to help us discover like what's essential when it comes to conversations. What's important when it comes to communicating well and setting up the right resources to prepare like a strong foundation as you're moving into the beginning stages of marriage. And David and Meg have done such a fantastic job with that today.

I'm Shelby Abbott. You've been listening to David Ann Wilson with the president of Family Life, David Robbins and Meg Robbins on Family Life today. As you're getting ready for putting on those rings and saying I do, the journey of marriage doesn't begin there. It really begins as you start to prepare before you get to that moment when you say I do. And the Robbins' preparing for marriage study really helps you from everything from the romantic flares at the beginning to focusing on finances to making wise choices about what you're going to do in the future as a couple. And we truly believe that this really is an incredible resource for engaged couples. It's one of our best selling products from the past and it's totally revamped and refreshed with amazing wisdom that we really feel will benefit anyone you know who is engaged and getting ready to say I do. You can get a copy of preparing for marriage at

Just look for the preparing for marriage banner on the webpage. And if you're preparing to blend a family, if this is maybe your second marriage or you're marrying someone who has kids and you're about to become a blended family, we encourage you to check out Ron Deal's book Preparing to Blend. It's the couple's guide to becoming a smart step family.

You could find Ron's book Preparing to Blend in the show notes today. Now tomorrow David and Meg Robbins are back to talk about other elements of preparing to marriage including how do you discuss your hopes and expectations for the future? What are the role of mentors and counselors in your life? How do you actually have honest communication? And how do you address that scary topic of conflict when it comes to entering into difficult conversations with your future spouse? Well, we're going to handle all of that including so much more with David and Meg tomorrow. We hope you'll join us. On behalf of David and 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 / 2024-03-05 07:38:21 / 2024-03-05 07:50:36 / 12

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