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Reconnecting With Your Spouse (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
August 11, 2020 6:00 am

Reconnecting With Your Spouse (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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August 11, 2020 6:00 am

If busyness, exhaustion, and distraction have caused you and your spouse to drift apart, listen in as Dr. Greg Smalley and his wife, Erin, offer practical suggestions for rekindling intimacy in a discussion based on their book "Reconnected: Moving From Roomates to Soulmates in Your Marriage." (Part 1 of 2)

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Focus on the Family
Jim Daly
Focus on the Family
Jim Daly
Focus on the Family
Jim Daly
Focus on the Family
Jim Daly

This is John Fuller and please remember, let us know how you're listening to these programs on a podcast app or website.

I think we put so much effort and energy into courting dating winning her putting that ring on her finger. We notice is that often times when we accomplish that then are our focus changes to all these other things.

So fear not job boys careerwise having kids stay involved with friends and family. All these things cry for attention in their weekends than a slow fade. This is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly and our guest today are Dr. Greg Smalley and his wife Aaron on John Fuller and thanks so much for doing the judging and I've been married for elements. A number of years over 30. I eventually lost Greg as awesome as you and Dena have been to some wonderful seasons together. Then there's those other seasons will put about with some considering I've been married 30 years and in 28 of them were great at one of those lines, but you know we do want you to have a great marriage. That's what God intends for all of us to be connected emotionally, spiritually, physically and here Focus on the Family couples contact us all the time because they've drifted apart in its kind in normal in this culture to allow that to happen in today were going to talk about how to counter that, so you can invest in your marriage and your marriage can grow in a way God is honored and that we care about your marriage and we want to give you the greatest potential to have the best marriage you can have an Greg and Aaron Smalley had of our marriage team here at focus and they've written a number of books. We always enjoy talking to them reconnected. Moving from roommates to soulmates in your marriage is just out and we've got Greg and Erin, it's always good to have your welcome back. It's always such a pleasure.

Yeah, we love it when you let a set of our you will listen. You have written a wonderful book together, and you speak together and encourage couples to have strong healthy marriages organized, put that to the test of the there was a point in your marriage where he felt like things were drifting and that you know what one thing I like about what were doing. John it is normal to have this happen. You don't have to be embarrassed as a Christian couple, particularly the tools to correct these things is what we want to talk about. So what was going on earlier in your marriage.

When he felt this drift and what is it look like what I was stunned when Aaron sat me down and said here's the bottom line. I love you. I'm committed you for a lifetime, but I feel like we are nothing more than married roommates in it it it was so surprising to me because we were. I guess as I look back, we were in a really hard season of just being super busy. We had young kids. We had started a new ministry working with couples and in crisis. So here we both have our masters degree and doctorate in counseling were supposed to have this great marriage would written books on marriage and here I have my wife telling me that and were were nothing more than married roommates and so I think… That that season that we are super busy working a lot in just drifted apart and in I didn't realize that I thought everything was going great in this. I didn't know what she really meant by that liquid okay what you say are we done. Are we my trouble. I was so taken by what are you saying you help him understand. I was available to help them understand what is really going on is that most couples when they get married they been hired after pursuing each other and said their focus is directly on one another inmate. They conquered they get married and then many other things start to take their eyes off of each other.

You think about your work and kids and just a pursuit at this new life and that's only saying to Craig is that our eyes have not remained on each other. It's been a slow fade as we went from absolutely pursuing each other wholeheartedly to pursuing many other things wholeheartedly tell me about the safety pin in your your first travel experience with courtship, but what was going on so we just been engaged for a few months I was moving from Phoenix, Arizona, Denver, Colorado to attend Denver seminary.

So I asked Karen he or she come with me. You've got some friend family friend, you can stay with them see where we can be next year we get married and so I loaded up a U-Haul is gonna tow my car behind. The only U-Haul that was available because I didn't pre-book anything was one that had a stick shift and just didn't really have good experience driving is a humongous time, likely needed to delete a tiny mask like 45 footer Leslie and I won over by so so II thought he hooked everything up right and so's eyes started so early in the morning Aaron came over we got in and say goodbye to my parents and so as I started down the road.

I think I popped the clutch too hard and McKenna jerked for five times down the road and also I looked in the side mirror and I see my dad's famous author Gary Smalley running after the truck and I'm like it's embarrassing is currently yeah it's time to cut the cord and is doing and you ran a marathon, so like he can always go for 26 miles following his pullover. He probably wants Wilma's hug.

I pullover roll the window down in his he comes right up. I'm kinda reaching for him to give one last hug, and he goes, Greg, you idiot like wow is one wishing to kick me out of the nest, so to speak, because don't you see what's in front of our house still is.

I really scanned through the rearview mirror, I could see my car that was on the trail time left behind.

I guess when I popped the clutch side not the whole thing half the installer I whatever I do, but there was what's really what stands out is Aaron laughed and laughed and laughed for like 10 minutes she thought that was the cutest thing that I wouldn't check to see if the safety pin was in right and that's so true right about marriage. Early on in her marriage. Everything's funny and adorable and cute things that get irritated is in the car because I can remember 20 miles outside of Phoenix and directions because people this is before you know GG is all that and I suspect that he had no idea what you're going leverage the policy okay things you get married and things begin to change very much so you have seen the indication of what I was signing up our back you know that those things are cute and funny back then become irritations and annoyances, and often we can become better and begin to believe what in the world. I married this the wrong person.

And you know the truth is the slow fade section and we can be can roommates in isolated and lonely and back is not what marriage was created to be here this all the time so as we work with couples is row do events refocus wheat we hear this people come up and say we love each other, which is committed but were just so disconnected.

We feel like nothing more than married roommates and so here I went on sort of this journey to go. What is that mean so if John is saying that he feels like roommates. If you're saying that for saying that.

What does that mean the same thing to everybody what we discovered by interviewing and studying always couples that it seemed like there were about 10 major things that stood out to cause people to feel like the roommates, and so we went alright.

Let's take this 10 things help people understand why it happened in and what's want just one solution for each one of those 10. Naturally, that the book that's why were were thrilled and I tell you it's made such a big difference.

Even in our own marriage and Aaron, let me ask you in this this roommate I guess comparison using the book. This idea of soulmate roommate so elaborate on both of those we currently hear this a lot from couples especially when they're hurting that I've met my soulmate in such is the world's definition of cellmate. Just leave me hate that we don't like it and so really what were talking about soulmate in that instance of this back is that there's one person that you have made this covenant relationship agreement with the biblical context that the two shall become one and that one you're saying is like a stone, and that you're experiencing the deepest levels of connection and intimacy possible this side of heaven that we are having dusty conversations, deep connection were experiencing sexual intimacy were were doing life together were best friends and it is like experiencing that with Greg and it's a lifelong journey that were committed to ever subjected to get more into that as we describe the attributes of the book, but Greg you also use this combination of wild beasts of the little foxes that attacker affect your marriage will what you getting out there.

Yes of King Solomon's. He was getting married. His fiancée told him that listen you need to guard our relationship, you need to catch the little foxes that come into our vineyard of love and destroy it, and what she was saying is that there are some big wild beasts out there, bears and lions, who certainly would do damage, but it's actually the small little foxes. These little creatures they can invade our marriage that we really need to guard against. The research is so clear that couples certainly will divorce you.

If there's been some infidelity or some of these big things, but more often what you hear is what we just fill out a lot of we just drifted apart. There's irreconcilable differences. Those are the little foxes.

It's a it's a slow fade we get married superquick weed we find this person, we court this person and we get married in then over time versus this tiny slow drift so often it's it's something specific, maybe they have young kids and are just no sleep there, just exhausted. Maybe it's a special needs child.

Maybe it's caring for older parents.

Maybe they're starting a new business or something going on in their life that is draining. It is draining that they've had to give so much time and attention to that at the end of the day they look at their spouse and go out of you, but I cut nothing. I've nothing to give in.

That's a small little fox.

Or it could be that there's conflict. There's things that aren't going well with in the relationship, and there there's an unwillingness or an awareness that bring these things in a way that feels good to both of us.

But then what happens is hearts close maybe harden and then they end up living these very separate lives may be developing separate groups of friends are you just just not crossing paths and hearts are hard, and then then we make choices and do things that are not true to who we really are destructive to the marriage.

Greg you help develop something is been incredibly successful here focus.

The focus on marriage assessment and youth heads, you know, we have had like 800,000 people take this assessment. So the data is now extremely meaningful and what are some of those common struggles that are being lifted up in that assessment.

One of the top three most common things that are separating people emotionally, physically, spiritually. Yeah the three top three areas. The people struggling are these little foxes so interesting how even our own assessment bears that out. So number one is there just unhappy about their sexual relationship. So maybe they're sexless. They're not having sex or is this not as often or something's going on.

Another one is conflict is Aaron, talked about were just not able to really work through the problems that are there some discounts sweep them under the rug and so just frustrating and communication is another one what they're saying is, there were just not talking now the problem is that they are talking, but they're just not talking about the things that bring life to the relationship for a lot of couples that we work with who are struggling in their communication.

They're talking a whole lot about to do lists and tasks and who's going to pick up milk and who's turn is it to pick up the kids from wherever they get stuck in a rut that monopolizes their communication which over time that becomes boring or if I start to believe, and by the way this happened to me there came a moment in our marriage that I honestly thought I don't really enjoy talking to my wife and I just wanted to be up on myself and be in the man cave in because what was happening is that all of our communication focused around finances who's doing what, tomorrow it was just one big business meeting. It's funny because will ask couples as we travel and speak you know what percentage of time do you spend talking about, you know, business stuff, what percentage of time do you administrate your marriage and it's funny because I can sit back in another. It's really not 90% of our crime. That's where were spending our time and how life-giving is that to the marriage thing is, as were often not aware of it so we don't know that's what were doing will go ahead and find out more about some of what were talking about today in the gradebook reconnected, moving from roommates to soulmates in your marriage, written by Dr. Greg Smalley and his wife Aaron and I we do have that here at Focus on the Family give us a call 800 K and the word family were stop by Focus on the Let me ask you this again for that person listening in their okay am I in that roommate phase in my in the soulmate phase in my marriage. Let's give some description to that remake you identified several characteristics that the married roommate experiences like give me some of those yes so someone might feel that exhaustion to where they just don't have anything to give.

It might be a really really busy season in that's what Aaron and I were talking about when we felt like roommates.

It was because we were so invested in all these other things. So we just constantly busy so there wasn't any time okay so we live in a busy culture totally. I mean we got smart phones at work connected 24 seven into the world and it just feels like you're carrying a heavy load each and every day. So just in that area. What can you do to say okay let's change something with the things that really stood out. A guy named Dr. John Gottman fantastic marriage researcher found that often times throughout any given day. Couples are doing something called bids for connection.

It's like that so recently and I were driving down the road in we had a stop light source sit there also and I went will look in approaching was my very favorite vehicle like my dream vehicle like if I was to have his unlimited supply of money.

This is what I get.

It's a Ford F1 50 Raptor love you not you got nothing to me like that.

What Greg did. He looked at hey by the way, that was a bit for connection is read all about it this morning. John Gottman talks about when we draw these little heaters that track I live we have a choice in how we respond to it. So then of course I was like my word Raptor. It's so exciting to leave those happen throughout the day. Aaron will come home you haven't seen her so come home and maybe she got to go shopping for a quick second and loves to bargain shop. So every time she bargain shop shall come in and sleep find seek me out and she'll go hold up and out. Conjugal just so much as originally was while I shop once a year. I hate going to the mall it's all done online. So when she holds up an outfit and goes give so much this cost. Originally I me I have a choice.

That is a bid for connection, I can go. I don't care does leave me alone. I was less of health coaching always guys. What do you say five dollars or when I go I so II guess I will say like 99 box in chocolate no not even close was like 105 of the King house because the light is just what I paid.

Now I've learned that you gotta go under $10 if she's that excited like eight bucks no 699 and we just have his tiny little connection. You men over time, those little micro connections at up and it actually creates stronger connections between us now is going to cure everything know this is one of those little tools that we started using the make such a big difference. The awareness that I'm trying to connect to the eye level as I work with couples just to say you know the be complaining.

He talks about these boring things and on and on and I'll say when he brings is that what he's really saying to connect with you and I like that. That is really good inside that may change my communication let me let me get some of the other people are. Again, their thinking mind that roommate phase with Dr. exhausted, busy we just really quickly go through the listener will come back to somebody's but exhausted, busy, pragmatic, gentle neglect, complacent, spiritually distant conflict avoidance sexless, disengaged, unsafe vision was a minute if someone Terry missing going that describes my marriage. This is what this is for. This is for you. I want to move to another store.

You have Greg that that illustrates one of these points and that is when your kid I so identify the piano man that I think it used a metronome all it was horrible. I I hated taking piano lessons I wanted. Guess I with my friends and all I can remember my poor piano teacher would be horrified, but she would set this metronome.

This little wooden thing that back-and-forth it taught you beat all II thought it was hypnotizing me so that he might share what it actually does is it teaches pace.

It teaches rhythm so that you don't have to pay attention to time and in life. Everything is coming at us and we needs were. This internal metronome something that that helps us to be able to create a rhythm in a pace so that we can stay. We have things to them give our spouse in what Aaron and I have learned is that I get a lot of things can help you come to develop his inner metronome. This rhythm is godly rhythm. But what Aaron I realize that if you pay attention to what gives you rests, and then to what gives you life. If you figure out okay this is what truly gives me rest and what would you through life. What would brings my heart alive and invest time and effort into those things that I have more to give her that's how we can manage this inner rhythm that we need so that we stay full yet so often we want to cut things out and Nina pair the schedule and great.

There's things that you can cut out, but I know in my life. There's things I busy season with kids and work in ministry.

And so it's important to recognize opportunity and it's my job to make sure that I fall some when I come home I don't serve the leftovers that I know what is it that brings me rest you know maybe it sleep. Maybe it's sitting and reading you whatever it is for you versus what brings me life it brings my soul alive. Is it being outdoors.

Whatever that and I have more to get that in that context, you're saying how to refuel yourself but what we want to do today before we wrap up here. Let's come back next, I will continue the discussion is so much more in this great book done. But let's and were we can give folks some examples of how to reunite themselves so we described this roommate kind of marriage culture that we have are so busy we've identified these 910 11 things that separate us. What are some things some ideas that we can change tonight and tomorrow and as we move forward. What are just a couple things we can do that reunites us as a married couple. I think it's important to recognize Jen that there's an opportunity to build a stronger attachment between the two of us we build this attachment with our kids and they do it pretty naturally but it's recognizing that there's things specifically I can be dealing to strengthen that connection. It's really MI available when Greg wants to sit and connect with me and my open to that. She now unavailable to him and I reaching for him in my turning towards him or my leaning away and turning towards other things. So it's important just to recognize were building that strong connection between the two that one of the key things tonight. I know many couples and businesses, especially in the busy child-rearing season is to carve even just 10 minutes together and tell your kids who run around at 5679 hate you know this is mommy and daddy time to spend a few minutes together because we want to love on each other and we want to make sure you see us love and honor each other but go away and great for kids to see that because now were a marriage centered home. Not a kid centered, really.

And that's important.

But that is that something that you guys are done we do.

We told our kids that it o'clock was bedtime because it was now moment at time if you get up if you're bothering us. Then we will take time from you tomorrow you'll sit in timeout or whatever to teach them so that they understood that you know at the you you mention the site you do of 10 minutes in leader or not. That's actually the researchers found that if couples spend 10 minutes a day just talking not about schedules and to do lists and administrator their mirrors but actually talk about the inner life like what how you feeling what's we think about dreaming about was creating anxiety. Things like that. The inner life if if I explore and pursue Aaron's inner life for 10 minutes a day. They found that makes such a huge, huge difference that amazing and I heard that is like candy opinion. I asked Greg what was your day what was the level of your day and just knowing that just doing I'm hearing about what's going on inside of him, not about worker schedules or whatever, but more about light is inside of him in his heart.

Yeah I just love the Lord creating us in that way, you said you know I can make this so easy for you can do this just spent 10 minutes like this Greg I want a another funny story. Had the book, which was most of us guys whom I want to overcompensate and you have thing with the family camp that I thought was hilarious because that's what I would do.

Explain what happened will assume part of what happens for people is that when were feeling disconnected were busy and were investing all this time and the other things.

Then we place so many expectations and hopes on big things like vacations and holiday time so as we were headed to a camp as a family. I had built this up to be this most incredible experience Ruby to be connected and have fun and laugh and play were to walk away. The kids would say I loved it fall exactly you're the greatest parents of all time. And so the very first mornings after a restless night's sleep or just walking over to the breakfast hall in two of our kids get to this huge argument in the one gets so mad she goes on done with this family. She walks off.

This is family camp. This is our data set and ready is a family will I lost it. I started yelling to the family.

You guys make me sack and were supposed to be having fun. By the way, we are the teachers everybody's lot. We couldn't find her daughter who is no longer awful. Finally she came back to the cabin. I did wooden cabin. I stood up I lectured. I told him that you are going to have fun and we and I connected and I stormed out. I was so mad, so Aaron follows me coming down the lake.

He's like what's going on like it's your children drive me queasy and in the more we talked, actually, what I realize three errands, just great questions is that I built this and I did so many expectations and hope for the time and upon realizing that I was able to let those go back to the cabin pulled liberty together. I citizen my hope is that we do connect with but I'm not gonna worry and I'm not to force this to happen. I think a lot of times that's what couples do is they, they exist between date night to date night vacation to vacation in us all that other time that they're not using so thus when they're on the vacation it's built up in those experiences can't deliver the connection that we long for. Which is really wide in the book we take at least 10 things. There's an assessment that you can take that will pinpoint which of these 10 maybe it's multiple things that you where are you struggling and then we give just a real easy simple solution to each one of those those 10 things in it's made such a difference. There were now Aaron and I don't operate between date night to date night. We don't operate between vacation to vacation. We are finding these other small ways to connect that makes such a big difference.

Well that is so good and we do want to come back next time. Continue the discussion.

McGregor this is really informative and tell you guys focus is here for you and we want you to call us and get in touch with us and let us know where your were you coming up short.

Maybe it's okay.

We all do, and I love Greg and Erin's willingness to share that. So get in touch with us and would love to put this book in your hands and if you can make a gift of any amount. I will send you a copy of this wonderful book reconnected as our way of saying thank you for being a part of the ministry here. Focus on helping other couples and you can donate and get your copy of reconnected call 800-232-6459. That's 800 K in the work-family or stop by By the way when you're at the website, we mentioned that free marriage assessment go ahead and take the really helpful. It takes just five or 10 minutes to fill out really is. As Jim said very, very insightful, but where you're at in your marriage again. All that is on the website and on behalf of Jim Daly, and the entire team here. Thanks so much for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back.

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