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July 8, 2020 2:00 am
In a discussion based on their book 9 Lies That Will Destroy Your Marriage, Drs. Greg Smalley and Bob Paul describe how cultural myths and fairy-tale expectations about marriage have a detrimental effect on couples, and how knowing and applying biblical truth can help those couples develop a thriving marriage. (Part 1 of 2)
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I can't do this anymore I can do this. Eli describes the day.
His wife had her suitcase packed ready to walk away from their marriage and I was all about know my my obsession, which was of the time being and of his career and his dream job that I had one for years but try to do that with an addiction in going where the good news is that Eli's journey toward helping healing begin with our podcast Focus on the Family help me in my marriage. Probably exact point in time that I needed.
I'm Jim Daly working together we can rescue more marriages like he lives and when you donate today.
Your gift will be double. Learn email@example.com/strengthen family or call 800 a family. The worst question you can ever ask is how I have a better marriage because it takes, to the best question is God. How can I be a better husband. How can I be a better wife.
What is within my control.
That's Dr. Greg Smalley and he joins us today on Focus on the Family along with his co-author, Bob Paul and I'm John Fuller, along with your host focus.
President Jim Daly John I've said many times, but there is one thing that we are core about and that's marriage that's one of our core things we want marriages to thrive and want them to thrive in Christ. Ideally, and we do place a high emphasis on the institution of marriage because we believe in it. We believe it's God designed family and I know hearing from the listeners and viewers. They agree. I mean, that's why they're turning and they want to get some help.
They want to have a better marriage. Gina and I want to do that were learning every day, especially in some fun when I come home and Isaac Jean.
I've got a great idea. Let's spend 10 minutes and evening together and select who did you record with today. I thought I was wise but I really get so much wisdom as you do.
John through listening to the guests that we have the privilege of interviewing and that's can be the same today.
I'm excited to interview two of our colleagues. Yeah I Greg Smalley and Bob Paul join us.
Greg is the vice president of marriage here at Focus on the Family and has been here a number of times Bob heads up our hope restored marriage intensive's and will talk a little bit more about those as we go together. They have a brand-new book called nine lies that will destroy your marriage and the truths that will save it and set it free is published by Focus on the Family and of course we have that here the link is in your episode notes Greg and Bob are welcome to focus hey think you so good to be with you guys. You been here few times Greg Bob this is your first time first time on the project so good to have you. Your normally out in Missouri at Branson, helping couples every day right word.
Actually there in Georgiana Michigan so I'm all over the place for focus help us talk about hope restored. Just fill in what happens there.
People arrive couples arrive Sunday night. Typically yeah it's it's a program that we have vanished. As you know, for couples that are struggling and generally in pretty severe crisis. They show up for our mainstay which is our group program that show up Sunday night and then there is there there through the day on Thursday and they come often looking for a miracle. Yeah, and it's so exciting and for those couples who are really struggling. Those that are in great difficulty. This is the kind of thing. If you're in that last not in your marriage rope give this a try, as so many couples get turned around in this environment and this program hasn't 80% post to your success rate, meaning 80% of those couples are together and doing better. 97% satisfaction rating that couples come in that the experience exceeds their expectations.
97% in the bottom line is you go way healthier regardless of what happens in your marriage will be a healthier person. But the best thing is that 80% factor we are saving marriages each and every day in my hats off to both of you Bob and Greg for the great work that the team does there Branson up in Michigan and also in Rome, Georgia so well done. We hope to be expanding into California right let me practice open you both come from counseling families you parents were so man, how messed up are your family here. I grew up in the home of getting Gary Smalley sickened one of the original dues around marriage.
He was selling good. He was so fun. I have heard them speak you know a million times in to see. He's one of the very very best, went to be with the Lord about four years ago and with what I love is in were for me, the passion for marriage came from is as a young boy, going to watch him and I was enamored with him up on the stage and from a thousand people on Mike what is happening.
Why is he up there.
Why are they paying to hear him what I have to do for free but anyways very confusing the people would come up and they would you literally give me his big hug strangers would come up and hug me and say thank you for sharing your daddy saved our marriage and in that left such an impression. And as I got older. What really those stood out and why wanted to follow in his footsteps is because everything that my dad talked about on stage, he really did live out when perfect and we had issues, but I tell you he really really live those things out so wasn't that hit his public persona of him up on stage is one person in it at home. It's a train wreck. A disaster doesn't want to have anything to do with with God with ministry, but that wasn't the case and was fortunate to have a dad who was consistent and real in who he was on stage is who we was it. That's a critical especially for Christian leaders for pastors that what people see is what you are and I think anything other than that is hypocrisy actually soak Bob how about your experience, you grew up in Southern California, your mom and dad. I think were in the counseling area. Yeah, it's interesting the similarities as we got together and started working with us 21 years ago. Is it was interesting to see the similarities and the differences.
Unlike Greg, I got my family was broken. My parents got divorced. I think before I was a year old which was a long time ago and divorce was not normal in those days. Not like today.
I was kind of an odd ball because I went every other weekend to my dad and my stepmom's house because both my parents remarried and I grew up with two families that were relatively intact. No believers though in the bunch. I'm the only Christian in the whole bunch and my dad and my stepmom of along the way became therapist and because of where we lived in West Los Angeles.
They became therapist of the stars I mean it was they they were authors also which was really interesting and had best-selling books and did radio intelligence aforethought from a secular viewpoint and as a young impressionable boy. I was very impressed kinda idolize my dad and my stepmom for the work they were doing to change people's lives and what was really kind of interesting. I see in hindsight how God kind of got hold of me and prepared me even before I knew him in that I started having some normal teenage issues with my mother and I would go to my father and my stepmother I would complain about what was going on between me and my mom and they decided to help so they started giving me books at like 13 network like the call the parent effectiveness training which I devoured and if you can imagine how horrible this was. That's bad news.
I read the book and then I take it to my mom and I say no you really need to read them excited about that, but that's funny. Years later I was are you married.
I was them through the bookshelf one day and I found that book with the different books leave on it so I'm assuming she actually read it, but I kept reading those those books and it started really infiltrating my psyche and I started learning to think psychologically no idea that God was preparing me for this work. I really had no clue, but he was getting me to think differently.
Let's turn to the book and and talk about what you discovered in your practices, etc. one is just marriage in general. When you look at the culture, there seems to be because of the I guess the divorce rate in people's disillusionment with marriage the culture generally is pulling back, you have some of the culture say we need to do away with the nuclear family. I think it's crazy. I think it's the beginning of the problems in the culture that we don't have healthy intact families. But what your read of why the culture is pulling back from the institution of family. Where did the institution come from and why is it under attack. You know God created marriage. So man did not.
It was God's gift to us in. Thus it's a post and so the evil one. Satan hates marriage hates what it stands for, and I really believe a big part of what's going on our culture right now is that Satan is so committed to destroy marriage because he fears what our marriage could be when you have a husband-and-wife together figuring out how how can we use this gift to God's given us to serve others to love others. That is one of the most powerful forces on earth. Satan knows that it so he's he tries to create chaos. He he wants couples to buy into lies that they start trying to live out that completely then destroys their marriage. That's what Bob and I see when couples come in for an intensive age the body into lies. They want to. Great marriage. These lies, though exists these myths in they don't get them there at all.
In a and I really believe is because Satan is trying to create that that chaos because he fears what we could be okay, let's get to the work I try to cover the nine today and tomorrow. I don't know that will get to all nine but if you miss any of the program at your downloaded. John will give those details and met the let's get to the first one that in fact you share the story of Zach and Katie who added to their wedding vows and they lived happily ever after. At their ceremony that fairytale idea. That's the first lie so take a whack at it you know it's interesting that that whole fairytale view of marriage has so infiltrated our Western culture for sure. And the idea when you get married.
As you're hoping that you know it starts. Once upon a time, and certainly the love that I have right now for my spouse has to be leading toward and they all live happily ever after and happiness. I'm it's it's built into the fabric of the American culture for sure when you think about, you know, the Declaration of Independence, you know, and where were able to pursue life, liberty and the end The Pursuit of Happyness and happiness is in a bad thing. I mean frankly I'm kind of partial to happy and I prefer more the less I'm convinced God wants us to be happy but when you think that happiness is the key that happiness is the goal.
You are so set up, because obviously God put us here on purpose with purpose and there's a cosmic battle that's going on between good and evil and happiness can't be the primary goal. There's a purpose bigger than have okay but in that where are we getting those signals that the media, what, how come it's not bad to have a bar to be reaching for. I want to happy, joyful marriage. I think that's okay. What is that break down to where it becomes a lie Greg the lie is that it might end in mind is to feel happy versus when when I think about my marriage. I think about Aaron and I on this grand adventure were on a journey. My goal isn't to be happy.
My goal is to journey in this life with Aaron throughout Alexander knew all of that in because if if my goal is happiness, then what happens when were not happy what happens when were in pain and were frustrated and something's going on it so confusing.
As Bob said, then maybe it's me.
Maybe she's the problem that I wouldn't say that out loud is that in my mind I'm thinking that but what I what I love when when the goal is to be on a journey with my wife. First Corinthians 728 says that for those who marry, you will face problems minutes straight out of the Bible. We are going to hit these high times in into where we feel joy and we experience happiness really hit low moments where there's gonna be a lot of pain in what I love is that there is no one else on earth that I'd rather be with on this grand adventure. Not knowing what's around the next corner. What were going to face for me. The goal is growing is growth, not happiness. I want to keep becoming more like Christ. I want I want to be a better husband and so my Outlook is not happiness its growth okay on his journey that reality is that your goal sometimes you gotta say okay I don't feel like being a better husband right now.
Yeah, I heard there are plenty of times. I'm sure Aaron would say yeah I experience him that way in in I'm human and argue to be those I moments in I'm a go to those seasons where I'm it's about me. I'm selfish and prideful, but the end of the day. I want to keep growing as an individual and as a husband and having our marriage become a marriage that we are both thrilled with that. So you tarry a trendline of your life.
As the Christian walk. You want that trendline to be improving over the course your life that more the fruit of the spirit is who you are. Over time, will we want to help you grow in your marriage and that 1 Great Way for you to do that would be to get a copy of this book 9 lies that will destroy your marriage, written by Bob Paul and Greg Smalley. We got it. Just click the episode notes for the link. I have Bob let me throw this when you and Greg you can add on the second lie kind of the equation of marriage and what does it mean you mentioned that the typical wedding ceremony which I'm laughing as Jean and I did this, which is the unity candle is beautiful it makes sense. It's right up Scripture.
I think that you two shall become one and we did it we had to individually lit candles. We let the one candle the other candles out together as beautiful as a tear in my regular I'm glad. Why is that the lie that the two shall become one, that's right out of Scripture.
Yeah that that parts not lie the understanding of what is meant by one is the problem to give it to me. Okay, so when you try and become one with Jean. I've known you guys for a while now and as far as I can see if one is becoming one is your goal, you two are a failure because every time I see you I see still Jim and Jean. You write like in the problem that is one of the biggest problems is that that because in English, we use the word one to be multiple things in this case to assume it means the number one were set up the fail, we can't become the same as one with our spouse. Oneness scripturally is meant to be unity oneness in spirit and purpose not the same and the other thing is is that each of us were created by God on purpose with purpose and each of us have a unique journey together when you get married, there's me and there's in my case, Jenny, and there's us. You add 1/3 journey and what the problem that I see with the unity candle is what you said happens at the end they blow out the individual candles and when I'm in a wedding everything in me wants to stand up and start shouting, which of course would with a disrupted wedding. My hair and I hate it when because of that kind of stuff I hate weddings.
I feel the wedding I want to go to my card and say you want to hold on the snowman you hear you saying the blowing it out is signifying that now. The old me is gone and we're marriage becomes the priority mirrored the marriage becomes the focus. The individuals then sort of fade away into the background and all were saying is that all three have to matter, you, your spouse and your marriage equally.
All have to matter in have to be attended to, and I think and I think the idea is to become selfless, more selfless, it's natural for human beings to be selfish. That's why the Lord said, be more like me and he is selfless right he's giving and I think that's the construct of it right.
Bobby had an example with your and your wife where vacations were something like a terrible eye exam. Patient is leading there's a practical way you could work through this in us because we are John fundamentally different and after almost 40 years of marriage.
We are still fundamentally different, so vacations were a common problem for us because my idea of the perfect vacation is hang out on the beach doing is close to nothing.
As I possibly can. Jenny is a pedal to the metal kind. Again, everything, do everything, everything okay we before we go on a trip we have to go get the AAA guide and see what all the gems are between point A and point B because the more we can do in that amount of time the better. So I had stewardship yeah I end up in a vacation at the end of a vacation feeling like I need a vacation from vacation. I'm so exhausted and Jenny go stir crazy doing it my way. So we were trying to figure out a way to resolve this and we prayerfully found a solution. Let's try this and what we decided to do and this is just one way to work through things but it's where our differences became a blessing we decided to try on a trip to Yellowstone and grand Teton. We we had a road trip for three weeks. It was day on day off day on day of the day on, we packed as much in as we possibly can. The day off.
We just chilled and what we found. It was so fascinating is that both of us can overdo our part to an extreme and I can actually under due to the point of boredom and she can overdo the point of exhaustion. This turned out to be the best vacation we've ever had and we we both ended up refreshed and excited.
It was fabulous. That's great. That's the way it should work all right. A lot of these love lies seem to be laced with some truth I think were identifying that which can make them kind hard to distinguish and know what we talk about with unity and becoming one.
Seems like the right thing. Hopefully people are understanding your definitions and what the concern is the third love lies. All you need is love. I want to make sure I attribute that to the Beatles. I think I coined that phrase, but what makes that Alliance sound so good. All you need is love. Come on Greg is love. I think the problem is is that when it's how people think and define love Sofer.
There's a big group of people to see. Love is all about that passionate feeling that they experience the emotional part of of love and you've got another group that when they think about love. It's that decision me. My father wrote one of his best-selling books was love is a decision so there's gonna be times you don't feel love and you gotta make that decision. So you find this kind of those two camps. It's either the focus is on the emotional feeling part of it or the commitment the decision in sadly they completely miss the truth about love, which is God's love we don't create love God's love and when we begin to understand that there is no part of love that I create in generate. It's not about a feeling it's not just about a commitment.
It's understanding it that my job is actually to keep my heart open so that God who is love flows through me. That's one of the best things we see happen in intensive is couples begin to really understand that. Okay so maybe part of the problem is that how waste view love like we get all the time couples coming to say why don't I don't feel love anymore towards my spouse and I think that's the end right at that point that's the end of their marriage because the love is gone back and and not tell you the truth is when I'm sitting in that the therapist sure that point because I understand how love actually works. That's one of the least troubling things.
Anybody can say to me because the only reason the love is in there.
At that point, since God is love and it all comes from him is that somehow top door to their hearts closed and the love is not able come through. Because honestly, if we want to experience the fullness of love for our spouse.
All we have to do is ask the Lord to let us see through his eyes and feel with his heart and it will be there in abundance.
Yeah, that's the Golden Nugget right there that's what it's all about Greg. You have a story and sometimes these things can take on small steps. It doesn't have to be something gigantic, although that's good too. But you had a story but did make in the bed that's things seem so simple, but it really hit it ministered to air in your wife's heart. Yeah, my my wife and I've had this ongoing argument over 20 years of marriage, is why do we make it bad. I love the comedian I'm with Aaron and let the comedian Jim Gaffigan comparing making a bed to taking your shoes off and tying them. It's like why I wanted to get back into the bed. How I like how I left it in so we've just battled out and I kind of funny when you know if you want the bed made go forward that that's your choice until she had a foot injury and was in a cast and I walked into her bedroom and I watched my precious little height in the cast hop around the perimeter of our bed trying to make it and I said okay this is like sick. There's okay seriously you injure yourself. It's a bad, let it go in and in the course of that discussion really understanding why that was so important to her and how much that meant to have a bed made. I finally got it yeah and thus I realize you know that that could even be a part of the way that I sacrifice for that I invest in my wife which is really that the fourth.
The lie that we see what I can ask about that exactly the sacrifice and the misunderstanding of the definition of what it means, go ahead and describe it yeah I did.
I think how sacrifice becomes a lie is that we really miss understand that God is created us with such value in my sacrifices actually taking this value that's God's given me in using it as an acid as an investment as a way to invest in.
My wife and so recognizing how important that that dad was in heaven that bed made was for her. It gave me a choice of me like I could either take this investment to God's given me me and actually use that is a way use the time. Use the effort. Use the energy that it would take to make the bed every day and so that day I told her I said okay I get it hunting you hop around his bed.
I get how important this is. I said, from this day forward.
I'm doing that.
Let me turn the table were four guys sitting at this table and I want to represent Elyse Jane but maybe women listening as well because I think women in this perspective, this is tough for them because they believe I I have to sacrifice who I am, for the sake of my marriage and my husband so let's put it in that context from a woman's perspective, that sense of sacrifice. I gave up my career for the family. I gave up this speak to the need to kind of put that in perspective how God sees that and what's healthy and unhealthy. I think giving generously is what sacrifice was about, but it's imperative that we recognize who we are in Christ and that for the gift to be of great value what's being given must be of great value. So to see yourself as less than in any way actually cheapens the gift when you really get the fullness of who you are and how valuable you are and then you take that in you invest sacrificially and somebody else that you've given something of great value your time, your energy, your gifts cool you are and it's imperative that when we sacrifice we give sacrificially it's coming from a place of value, not a place of value list.
But let me precious little bit so would help restore your synced literally hundreds thousands of couples. Yes. How do you prevent that root of bitterness from springing up. We want everybody that comes to really get who they are in Christ and we work hard for them to see this is not about you being less than this is about you being fully who you were created to be spread your wings and soar a great marriage is always one that has room for us to grow into the fullness of who we were created to be and bring all of our gifts to the table. That's a great place to stop for the day and were to come back and cover the other lies in marriage and the truths that will I think set you free in your marriage. Hey, let me turn to the listeners. I sent the beginning here Focus on the Family we want your marriage to thrive in Christ. I mean that's ideal if you don't know the Lord. That's job one. We want to talk to about that would like to introduce you to relationship with Jesus Christ and Dr. Dobson always said and I firmly believe this, the staff, your believe it is well we can help you in your marriage but we haven't talked about your spiritual dimension. Who is the author of marriage. We kind of failed so I want to make it clear that we believe a commitment to Christ is fundamental not only to your marriage but to your life in general.
Obviously into your eternal life, and then from there it's how do you do this well, and we want to help. I know the pandemic is put extra special pressure on some marriages, some are doing well. Given we've had more time to be together but summer fracturing because of that time together and were here for you. Let me also just mentioned that you put the fuel in the engineered focus. So if you haven't supported focus recently. Maybe I could ask you. I'd like to ask you to consider supporting us and certainly one of the great ways to do that right now is send a gift of any amount will send a copy of Robin Greg's book 9 lies and that will be our way of saying thank you and in addition to that we have some generous friends who have made a match available just a fun way to spur on giving. So when you give $25. It becomes 50 and together we can help many more marriages so if I can. Let me lean into because the pandemic is hit us here focus to giving is slightly down and we would love to continue to meet a growing need in the marriage and parenting areas and we need your help now you get in touch today and look for contact information in the episode notes and as Jim said you can get your copy of nine lies that will destroy your marriage website or give us a call and we do have counselors here. We can tell you more about restorative here in a spot of pain in your marriage want that encouragement we've heard from Bob and Greg to come out to you personally so call us if we can be of help. Again the number is 800 K in word family on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team here.
Thanks for listening to Focus on the Family join us again tomorrow for more of the conversation Greg Smalley and Bob Paul as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ. I was shocked when she gave me the divorce papers. I was so died I had reached my breaking point. I was desperate for a shred of hope. So I called the hope restored team.
It Focus on the Family they they listen to me and they asked about what was happening in my marriage. They encouraged me and my wife to attend one of their marriage intensive's for couples in crisis and they prayed with us. They help me believe that my marriage could be saved agreed to go but was skeptical that anything can help us but the whole environment was so safe and nonjudgmental from a high-tech and open up as we went with the counselors.
Both of us still have work to do in her marriage but for the first time in a long time we have hope again Focus on the Family's hope restored marriage intensive program has helped thousands of couples who thought that their marriage went over find out which program is right for firstname.lastname@example.org