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Are You Really Ready to Get Married? David & Meg Robbins

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
March 6, 2024 5:15 am

Are You Really Ready to Get Married? David & Meg Robbins

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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March 6, 2024 5:15 am

The anticipation for your big day is overwhelming. Have you discussed anything besides the wedding details? In-laws, finances, baggage? Don't worry! David and Meg Robbins share insights they wish they'd had before marriage. To make sure you're all set for your big day, grab their book "Preparing for Marriage".

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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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Our Daily Bread Ministries
Various Hosts
Our Daily Bread Ministries
Various Hosts

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. Start off as honest as you can. Don't hide, press in, get honest and vulnerable, bring other people into it.

But in your pre-marriage work, get as honest as you can because it will surprise you how much you'll be tempted to slip into hiding and shame. 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 David and Wilson. You can find us at

This is Family Life Today. We started a conversation yesterday hearing from David and Meg Robbins, who are back in the studio with us today, the president of Family Life. Welcome back. It's good to be back.

Thanks. We love having you guys with us. We started this conversation about two things you wish you had known before you got married. We actually only got one because we did the wives edition and we just said to Ann and Meg, you know, give us two things. And, you know, your things were so good, actually, we could do the whole program. I thought you might be saying we were talking too much, but you're just saying they were good.

No, he was saying they were good. And everybody, I think, could relate to those two. I learned something yesterday from my wife when she talked about speaking death, you speak life.

So I tried to speak life right there. They were good. And you did not talk too long. Actually, I'm not kidding. In the middle of the program, I was like, we could do the whole program on this one that Meg did.

We could have done a whole program on one Ann did, but we got two in one day. And today is men's day, husband's day. I'm kind of nervous, actually. What are they going to say? I don't know. You're nervous? A little bit. David, are you nervous?

I don't know. Nervous was not the word I came in with, but maybe I should be now. It is sort of interesting, you know, as I officiate a wedding, you know, it's like you're looking at this company, you're like, I wish I could tell them all this right now, which you can in a wedding. It should be done beforehand.

And it's sort of what we're doing. So, okay, David, let's start with the husband's edition. If you would think of your first one, what's one thing you wish you would have known before you were married? Meg, do you know what he's going to say? I really don't. Kind of.

Maybe. I mean, I think for me, when I think about a couple getting married, I was so grateful for the pre-marriage counseling we had that got out our hopes and expectations. Because the thing I would say is you do not know your hopes and expectations unless you are specifically asked about them or until they aren't met. And there's going to be a lot of things in life that you're going to have to live some life to really realize it. But getting married in that pre-marriage phase is such a great opportunity to get really honest about what hopes and expectations you have.

And I remember we went through Preparing for Marriage, Family Life's resource that's been recently redone and refreshed. We did it in Italy, actually, half of the time, which is a crazy little fun fact. We were leading a summer mission project engaged in Italy. Like, what were they thinking? They were thinking we were really mature. And by the grace of God, we lived out health.

It was very romantic environment. But we weren't married yet, so it was like a bummer. But anyway, I remember doing the expectations and hopes worksheet and just going, I would have never known.

We would have totally been tripped up by this. I would have never thought that this would be the way we would do it. And, you know, some of it's like finances that your dad did most of the finances and your mom didn't know much at all until a certain period of time when they really talked about it. And admittedly, she's the spender. So, you know, that was challenging.

I have not thought about the fact that we did that in Italy in a long time. But there really were so many things that were like these big aha moments that we had no idea we were both thinking about them completely differently until we sat down and like worked through the questions. I mean, I'm flipping through right now the new Preparing for Marriage book and just, you know, there's a whole worksheet here that you go through that you're able to talk about and then you can get mentors to help you process it. But will one of us be the primary financial provider?

If so, which one? Or do we both anticipate pursuing our careers? I mean, you start dreaming about the future and you may think very differently about those unless you've really talked about it. Another one is how often do we want to go on dates, you know, like that while we're married. And that's a huge thing.

And then there's one here about screen time like that. That is truly one that has certainly impacted our marriage. But 20 years ago, when we were going through the Preparing for Marriage worksheet, that wasn't in there.

It wasn't in there. Like cell phones had just become a thing and we were learning how to text each other. You know, at that time when we were engaged overseas, they were already texting. We weren't here. Isn't that funny?

And that's where we learned to text. Now you had to do the, you know, you press one three times in order to get the C. But that's something, an expectation that we now have to really process because you know what, it affects every home in a really intense way. Do you remember any expectation?

Either it got met or didn't. Do you remember? You wish you would have known this, even though you were really well prepared.

What didn't you know? Yeah. I definitely think when it comes to making big decisions about where we'll live, do we take this job or not? Do we live in this city? Do we move?

Do we not move? I mean, those are the, until you're in them, you really don't know how you're going to live them. And we, by the grace of God, when having some really tension times and being paralyzed and stuck in some big decisions, I'm thinking back to really the first one we entered into about, do we come back from living overseas or not? We were thriving as a couple, you know, living overseas had made us a team in a way that was totally new and different. I was torn up. We had no clue and we were so grateful to go, let's go get input.

Let's go get mentors. And I remember, you know, one of them going, well, you really just rip every possibility to shreds. Like you've pro-d and conned it and you've done everything. You know, it's like, I think you just need to take a step of faith. God's sovereignty will work it out because you've actually talked about the values you have together as a couple, not just who wins or which one's better for David or for Meg. And those are just the real moments that I, maybe I had expectations that, you know what, Meg's going to kind of follow along to whatever my next dream is.

And in Italy, we became more of a team where I go, this woman is so gifted and there's so much she brings to the table. Our decisions have to account for both of our giftings and wirings and hopes. So you kind of assumed like, I'm going to make these decisions, you know, as the leader of the family. And you were feeling some of the pressure of that.

Is that what you're saying? But that was helpful because you're saying, wait, look at Meg. I need her. Like we're a team. I think we, and Meg, you speak to this. I think we came into marriage knowing, yeah, I'm a leader in the home, but yet I really did genuinely value Meg and who she is. And we talked openly about what we both want to do. But until we got in that moment where we kind of viewed it really differently, that did get me stuck a little bit because I wanted, even before I was married, to value her. And yet, man, we were viewing things a little differently. And what God did was reveal in that process, I think he let it linger to actually reveal sin in my heart that I felt like I was getting behind in life when it came to building equity and buying a home.

And I was 30, all my friends had homes. God actually wanted to get at something in me. And I think that was one of the beautiful things about the expectations and the lengthening of the process. He had something for me in it. What was that? What do you want to get at? He wanted to get at, David, you're going to start making dumb decisions because you just want to catch up with your friends. You want to go get a house. You know, you're making this excuse that you and Meg both are creative and love making a home.

And all you want to go do is buy a home so you don't get behind. And there's some wisdom in that, but yet no, it was playing an idle central role in my decision making of let's go back to the States. And it took us having mentors and talking about our values for me to realize that's playing way too high of a role in our decision.

And I'm actually not valuing Meg much at all. I'm valuing this false sense of security of I'm feeling behind. Yeah, I think that the Lord was challenging what do you really value most and are you willing to let go of even some hopes and dreams that you have that you may not have realized no matter how you thought through your expectations beforehand. And some things change, you know, so I think the Lord was taking you to that. And I think what we didn't realize about decision making is we felt like and assumed probably that the Lord would always make it clear, you know, that if we sought him, then he would show us exactly what to do. And that decision, in particular, when we were trying to decide about coming home from overseas, I remember us both feeling like we are seeking the Lord out and he isn't giving us clarity that we're hoping for. And that's why our mentor said, you know, I think you're just going to have to take a step of faith and choose.

And, you know, it's not a wrong decision here. In both of them, you're wanting to follow the Lord. But through that process and the not knowing and not having clarity is what took David especially into his own heart in the process.

And that's how he got deeper in to see, okay, where are my values off? The reason the Lord might have been withholding clarity is just so that we would walk deeper into that together. I think I've realized, too, getting married, how God revealed so many sins and cracks in my own life. Look what Dave has brought out of me.

But that's not true. I should have said look what was already inside of me and the pressure of our marriage has just brought up things that God is wanting to heal. But God brought me in there to point them out to you. That was my role, right? That's what a lot of us think.

It's sad that we think that, but it is really that's already there and marriage is like a pressure cooker just sort of brings it out. And that's what happened to you, David. It just revealed, oh, this is in me. Yeah. You know, it's interesting. You don't know what I'm going to say about.

I have no idea. You know, one of the things I wish I had known, that's it. I had no idea that marriage would reveal the brokenness and baggage so greatly in my past that I was going to it was going to it was going to come out. And, you know, I sort of had this idea, oh, it's in the past. It's done. It's been dealt with. The truth is none of it had been dealt with. I didn't have any idea. You just didn't think about it as much. I mean, I didn't even know what it was. I honestly really didn't even know that.

Yeah. I grew up in a home with two alcoholic parents. My dad was a womanizing, chasing around other women and taking me on vacations with his girlfriends when I'm a little boy. And they're divorced when I was six or seven years old. I mean, Ann's comment is literally what I thought. Why would that be that big a deal? I mean, a lot of people gone through that or worse.

And it's, you know, it's buried in the past and they're fine. And then we get married. And for a while we were fine. I think it was like, yeah, we're living in the infatuation and the euphoria of just we love each other so much. We're doing what God's called us to do. We're on campus every day sharing Christ and seeing God do miracles. But I think when you add some kids to that pressure and then a lot more comes out.

That's what I was thinking too is certainly getting married. I think I began to see how much self-righteousness I had. I didn't realize, you know, and I'm like, it just constantly is in my face. Like I want to justify myself and not admit that I'm wrong. But when kids came into the picture, I mean, you know, I didn't know that I had a short temper.

Me neither. And toddlers, you know, and I mean things that it's easy to think and convince ourselves those things weren't there before, but they were. It just brings it to the surface for us to see, okay, be reminded constantly. This is why I really desperately need Jesus. I cannot muster up enough strength to overcome these things and the sin in my heart.

And thank goodness he has already overcome them. And what does it mean to live in a place where it's okay that you know me this intimately and you see all this mess and that David can still love me in those broken moments, you know. But I love that family life has revised preparing for marriage because these conversations are critical before you get married. And you can look at your baggage and you're assuming like, okay, I'm going to deal with this and this.

But Dave, I don't think you can get into all of it. No, I mean- Because once you're married, you still have other things that God's like, oh, now we're going to- Things are going to get revealed. Yes.

I may even think about John 16 where it says, Jesus says, I will give you the Holy Spirit who will reveal to you things that you're currently not ready to hear. And that's what marriage does. It surfaces those things and it allows for that fresh work to happen.

Yeah. I mean, one of my thoughts was, it sounds like it's a negative thing that, hey, all your junk's going to come out. It's actually a beautiful thing because it's revealed.

And again, you can run from it and you can deny it and you can not step into it. Or it's like we have this choice or you can step in and say, I've had a look at some things here that I don't think I would have even known if I wasn't married, but here I am. And one of them I thought of was I had no idea, we've talked about this many times, but I had no idea that I really avoided conflict until we got married. And we told the funny story of me walking out of our first year of marriage where I walked out of the room when we got into a conflict and Ann yells, get back here and fight like a man. You chicken.

That's what she said. And again, it's a funny story. And even in that moment, I had no idea, wow, I'm doing something I've done my whole life.

I'm actually doing something I watched my parents do. But that day and then many afters like, oh, you better deal with this. Do you understand what's going on and why you're leaving? Why you broke up with girls in college? Why you walked out of rooms that were conflict and just like, oh, I don't know what to do here.

And you withdrew. Well, you grew up in a home where conflict was bad. It ended in divorce and you think conflict's bad.

So, hey, let's, you know, let's dial in on that. And the result of that in our marriage and would be in any marriage is, man, when you get healed because you step in, it's really, I think a James five where you pray to God and he'll heal youth as you confess your sins to one another. So as a, as you bring people into your life that you work through this stuff with, and it could be a counselor, that'd be a very good option, which we did. It could be some other couples that you just get honest with and they walk you through. God forgives your sin as you confess it to him, but he heals you as you confess it to a brother or sister and other couples. And I think that's sort of the journey we're still on, but I think we would have never gone there without marriage.

So again, I say all that. Does that bring anything up in you guys that you're like, wow, we've been healed in some ways too, because stuff in the past or stuff that was part of our brokenness got confronted because we were married. Absolutely. And I think one of the first areas that comes to my mind is one of the things you were attracted to in me also became like the dignity. There's dignity in it.

And there's also depravity in that exact same space. Yeah, that's so true. I'm assuming you're talking about just how I was so attracted to David and how he was very passionate. I mean, if he was all in on something, he was all in, you know, very passionate and was going to pursue it with excellence and wholeheartedly. And really that played out in college when we met. He was a leader involved in the campus ministry that we were with CREW, and it was constantly something that drew me in.

I mean, he was very outspoken about his faith and wanting to see people see and understand who Jesus really was. It was a beautiful thing. And so I saw that, OK, man, he is so passionate about things.

But all of the giftings that we have, I think what you're saying is that there's dignity in that and there's also depravity because we're not perfect and we don't perfectly live out our giftings that God has given us. So I think as we got married and had kids, you know, that began to show up as workaholism, you know, and you've been very honest about that over the years. And there was a point in particular where probably around the same season where I was feeling like he was staying late, you know, and I was thinking he was coming home at six.

If he came home at 615, I was past my limit, you know. But to him, it was, well, I have to do all of these things and do them really well. And letting go of doing things to the level of perfection, which obviously, you know, you're not going to be perfect.

But there's just that shadow side that in my early years, it didn't come out. But as increased roles and responsibilities, there became an inflection point where, you know, there's that principle of choosing to cheat. I had to either cheat on perfect work or my family with work. It was an affair with, you know, everything being right and in order and what I do for a living. My identity was over-connected to what I do, even for the Lord. I was in ministry, yet I was over-connected to it.

And there was some necessary work in that depravity shadow side that, you know, there's two sides of that coin and God wanted to refine it. I think that that's really good for people to know before you get married and even when you're married that your marriage is always evolving. Because before we had kids, we're like, we've cut this down.

This is amazing. We are so good at this. And then we have kids like, oh, wait, there are new things. And then we had teenagers, oh, wait, we keep seeing new things and now we're empty nesters. And so it's continually changing. But the good thing is, if we allow God, He just wants us on our knees in each one of those phases like, Lord, we can't do this apart from you. And that's the beauty of changing and evolving when we continue to go through it with Jesus.

I was going to say that's the agony because it is so hard. I mean, you know, there's days where you're at your wits end, you just want to cry. I mean, I'm sitting here thinking there were days that we were yelling and I was getting in the car to go to a meeting that I had to lead spiritually and cast vision. And I'm literally getting in the car and she's yelling at me, where are you going? What do you mean you're going to another meeting? I'm putting the kids and I can remember pulling out of our subdivision, yelling sort of at God at my life right now, what is going on? Why don't you understand?

And then stepping in this meeting, go, hey, let's start with prayer. And again, it's not fake. It's the dual that you're living. And so I say it was agony. But now I also understand it was beauty because God was using this beautiful thing called, I was going to say and beautiful thing called marriage to say, man, I have work to do in you. And you're in a relationship that that's all going to be revealed. And if you let me, I will transform you.

If you resist me, you're going to still be that selfish, broken, messed up dude that will never become who I've created you to be. And that's true for both husband and wife. And there's this opportunity to say, okay, God, here I am, work on me and make me your man, make me your woman.

Yeah. I know that we don't have time to unpack this, but that would connect to the other thing I would share if we got into, which I'll slip mine in real quick, but it connects so much because my other one was start off as honest as you can. Don't hide, press in, get honest and vulnerable, bring other people into it. But in your pre-marriage work, get as honest as you can because it will surprise you how much you'll be tempted to slip into hiding and shame.

And I think if you can lay the thickest foundation as possible and we are honest, we are authentic. It's amazing to me that when scenarios like you were talking about how much you can start closing up, drifting apart, I can't believe we've gotten here. And I can think back to our very first week and remember the afternoon, me opening up about something one year into marriage where I go, I can't believe that I haven't been safe to talk about this with you.

Like what's my problem? Yet it took us getting away to crack open. I remember four years later writing a note going, I've got to communicate some hard things that I've been stuffing and I want to do so in a letter because I'm afraid I won't be honest enough. And there's just those inflection points where, man, whatever we can do in our pre-marriage counseling to go, we will not hide. We will not go in a corner of shame.

We will be as honest as possible and stay humble and teachable. It'll make you go to those moments quicker. We try to keep those moments as short as possible and be honest every day. But yet when you start withdrawing, what are those inflection things that push you back in it? And those are great married tips too, not just pre-marital.

That's something I was thinking the same thing that, you know, it's never too late to do that. To go to that level of honesty, vulnerability. And even if, I mean, for us, to be totally honest, I mean, we did start with somewhat of that foundation.

And then David just shared, you know, at year one and then year four. But even still 20 years in, you know, it's so easy to so quickly withdraw, you know. And I mean, we talk about it all the time. We naturally drift apart and you have to fight for that intimacy. But I think that really comes from taking those risky vulnerable steps of authenticity and saying, I'm going to let you in. I see that I've pulled away and I have to do that, you know. And, you know, at night I might turn my back and be quick to roll over.

And he's like, are you rolling over because you're withholding something from me? You know, I have to choose. I've learned to get more creative.

Are you okay? You know, that didn't really lead to much, you know. But he's usually right, you know. It's like, okay, what am I not letting you in?

And I'm going to take that step, you know. And sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. And if I don't, it just so quickly can become a big gap. You phrased it as something I wish I'd known before, but it's so true. It's every day.

Year 10, year 20, now you're 41 for us. And I would just add one last thought. If you're not totally honest, if there's like dishonesty or a little secret, just a little one, it'll snowball. It's like a sled on the top of a hill. You're just tipping that baby.

I know we're in Florida, but you know, picture yourself on a snow hill. You tip it and it's like, oh, it's just this one little thing. It's not that big. And there's not going to be a, you're going down and there's going to be a, it could lead to a trauma.

It could be a broken legacy. So I would just say, if you're listening and you've got something, I think I just spoke and said, you know what? That little thing you've been holding, today's the day you need to tell her.

You need to tell him. Maybe write it like David did. Maybe if it's too scary, write it and then say, let's talk about this. It could change everything. You know, I found that true connection and growth with your spouse or your future spouse is usually always preceded by vulnerability.

Pretending gets you nowhere when it comes to authentic connection. And what we've been talking about today has been really helpful wisdom for anyone, regardless of what your life stage might be. 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. You know, the Robbins's have written a book called Preparing for Marriage. Now, if you've been around Family Life for any amount of time, you might be thinking preparing for marriage isn't new. Well, actually, it has been one of our best selling resources of the past.

But David and Meg have gone after it and really helped to revamp and revitalize this classic resource for today's audience. It's a study guide that helps address things like finances and sex and God and family and the future. And we would really encourage you if you know a couple who is engaged or getting ready to get engaged, this would be the perfect gift for them. You can get a copy of the all new Preparing for Marriage at

Just look for the banner on the website. And if you're preparing to blend a family, be sure to check out Ron Deal's book Preparing to Blend. It's a couple's guide to becoming a smart step family.

And you can find Ron's book in the show notes today. So what's the backstory on David and Meg Robbins? What were their challenges when they got married?

What are the things that they faced that were difficult obstacles to overcome? Well, tomorrow, they're here back again with David Ann Wilson to highlight the importance of communication and being fully known in a marriage relationship. That's tomorrow. We hope you'll join us. On behalf of David Ann 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 / 2024-03-06 06:52:41 / 2024-03-06 07:04:45 / 12

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