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Reconnecting With Your Spouse (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
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August 12, 2020 6:00 am

Reconnecting With Your Spouse (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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August 12, 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. (Part 2 of 2)

Get the Smalleys' book "Reconnected" for your donation of any amount!

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This is John Fuller and please remember, let us know how you're listening to these programs on a podcast app or website that most couples when they get married and have a thin hard after pursuing each other and so their focus is directly on one another and then made a conqueror.

They get married and then many other things start to take their eyes off of you think about needlework and kids and just the pursuit of this new and that's what I was saying to Greg is that our eyes have not remained on each other. It's been a slow fade. We went from absolutely pursuing each other wholeheartedly to pursuing many other things wholeheartedly that year in small issues with this again today along with her husband, Dr. Greg Smalling is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. Thanks for joining us on John Fuller to jumpstart a great conversation with early Greg yesterday on how couples so often after we get married begin to feel more like roommates in a growing apart in marriage is something that happens almost naturally, if you don't make your relationship a priority and were not talking about a full-blown crisis so you're just kind of going through the motions of work and kids and all the things that are going on, and pretty soon it's just the business you run right home economics, but we want to encourage you to do it differently, the way God intended that to happen and that's to connect at all levels emotionally, spiritually, physically, and how to prime the pump to make sure that can happen if you're feeling like your marriage could use a new sparkler that you need to regain some ground with your spouse, you're gonna want to lean in today and we have a great conversation that started last time and I'll encourage you to swing by the website for the CD or listen. There were about to get the app list on the go. We talked with Dr. Greg Smalling and Aaron Smalley about a variety of things and I'm sure will recap that the moment.

Let me just say they've written a number of books. It's always great to have them here as Greg said yesterday, we let them out of their offices to coming the studio because they had at the marriage effort here and really make a big difference in that realm of the book they were talking about today is called reconnected moving from roommates to soulmates in your marriage and we do have that contact us for copier numbers 800 K and the word family or online Greg and Eric. Welcome back. Thanks for having excited me here. Let's recap for those that are just joining us, and if you missed the conversation last time, get the download get the app for your smart phone so you can listen anytime. Why is it so easy for married couples to drift apart and start to feel like roommates. 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 for you, not job boys careerwise having kids staying involved with friends and family.

All these things cry for attention in their begins. Then a slow fade in a week. We dates in everything to get Mary's happens faster than overtime. Since the slow fade that we don't notice this on behalf of moms and you know I see this in Jean especially when the boys were young.

There's this zeal, then you know can be either mom or dad, but I think it generally fits with mom where the justification that I this is the time I really need to be pouring into the kitchen, I did.

I just don't have time for you. You can really rationalize that on a good basis you know the kids are to three and five very demanding, very demanding and I've got to be there form honey and I'm sorry. I'm just not you know I'm not can be there that often for you. Whatever that means. Emotional connection are being boy you can take care of you.

So I just I want to play that out a little bit because I think that's one of the core, especially in that season of life, a mom, particularly can really justify I'm to be ignoring you for a while so will check back in later.

Yeah, it just that just won't work and I think our culture just that you know these kids important their blessing that day are not the center of the world in marriage is stronger than marriages that better it is for those kids into the greatest thing that mom can do. And again, it's like we talked about yesterday. It's not that we have to spend 24 seven.

Focusing on her husband would mind me looking at that there's certain things that we can be doing to continue to build the connection between between Greg and I between your spouse and you.

It's important because that is the healthiest thing you can do for your kids line so often in this culture, and in this modern time so much fear that if Monaghan feels like she's dropped the ball somewhere that somehow kids will be permanently damaged. Kids are resilient looking to get through a little loneliness, though get through little neglect.

I mean I'm talking the normal stuff. Sure, they're fed nicely, but I'm just saying they don't all the time and honestly when they see their little I see mom and dad connecting it breed security and safety in their hearts that something powerful you're one of things that that I heard one sign from some mirrored speaker and I've never forgotten it in. We say this for kids all the time. Mom and dad are marriage is the son you are the planets you revolve around our marriage.

It will never be what is done we are not revolving around you understand that we want to keep this strong that's in your best interest when we kiss and they go.

You always look at him ago you should be thanking me is on your mom right now because you win.

When we are well connected, I would take the conversation with one of our boys that something right so you're not mercury right now, you're not close to the side in your way out there but you we mentioned lightly last time. This idea of communication and the impact on marriage. So let's get to that when you suggest there are four significant conversations. This is where you want everybody. The pen and paper that spouses need to have those condos for core conversations. What are the people when they say we just need better communication that that involves a lot of importance on the husband's ear right. One of them and we call small talk and people often pooh-pooh that one like that's that's it.

A surface level, not Smalley multi-got good yeah this would just check in and had your day go what's going on here is the weather. What's that you insist is small talk. What it does is it creates a small connection without the exhaustion of the deep emotional connection and a small talk is work time connects more business rep running the family. The administration at the family in the marriage and of course that's important. We need to do that we need to look at our budget and our finances and our schedules again and marriage can exist only on that is so good. Yeah in the scary times we had conflict, so we gotta work through the conflicts we just call that problem talk so there's some issue that we need to work through and that's important instead of sweeping problems under the rug.

Let's deal with it. Here's what we notice. Here's the problem.

Those three small talk, work talk problem talk.

Those happen naturally, you actually really don't need to force those to take place.

This is a normal part of being in a relationship, but if that's all you're doing, you are killing your marriage what you guys are counseling lots of people how much percentagewise how much of a percent are couples just locked and no lost three of you have mostly find 85 to 90% everything that you have time, but is usually they sit back in their shot that that is what they're doing. They don't even realize what they're doing because I Greg said those three happen spontaneously that the fourth line is the one that you have to intentionally pursue and that's that life-giving heart talk the deeper level, time, and if you you don't do that then if you don't pursue it. It's not gonna happen. Yet, let me ask you this so obvious you see it in the research you described that you put labels on and yet our tendency in our humanness and our brokenness I would say as a Christian we lean that way in the unhealthy direction or I should say the less productive direction there and there needed those other types that are needed in their important but they're not life-giving. They don't bring light and that's also not as vulnerable so they're not risking therapy safety nets leading to the question, which is why why do we go to the easy stuff and we don't do the other stuff that is the stuff that the Lord would want us to talk about its more vulnerable and it also takes intention and I think we don't understand that when were dating and were engaged we are doing that naturally because of her Excel lock-in and focus and then we train each other that will need such a safe to go to those deep places because maybe it's nothing to conflict and disconnection. One of the number one human needs that we have is we long to be known and to be valued and connected. And so it's it's vulnerable.

There's a lot at risk.

And so to recognize that if we build a safe place in our marriage that we can intentionally go there in the awareness and we need to intentionally go there all the time. As we pursued each other wholeheartedly.

There is no autopilot. We've got to continue to pursue each other at that level that you have developed for questions you ask each other, and I'd love the post is on the website so people is my looked at all the content material these really they hit me and reminded me to do this. Frankly, speak to those for questions you ask each other yet. The point of for questions was when I realize that we had to be intentional to have this life-giving conversation than I can went okay. So how would I really do that really what was that mean so I asked Erin I said okay if him and explore your inner life, so whatever's going down little bit deeper what what could I ask you, that would be meaningful it instantly. She does audit for ask me how I'm feeling. So how my doing emotionally asked me how things are going between me and her children but not from an administrative standpoint, a relational relational standpoint.

Her female friendships are very important to Aaron so she said asked me how things are going between me and my girlfriends. And then this last one I love. She said asked me one thing the guys been teaching me as of late. Watch tell you what I have lost those into my brain.

So any time that we're commuting to you know kids practice are sitting in the in of the stands you as their plane or at dinnertime or wherever elders asked one okay then you have to listen well that that is at his own trouble propensity is to want to fix it if there's a problem wearing a let's delve into you know we did ABC and D will then that wouldn't be happy with you like that is just recognizing just listening and trying to understand and care about what they're going to those guys be the goal.

So here's the goal so I ask you this question simply to stay updated. That's going what's going on in her life onerous occurrence. No, that's good there and you have four that are different from Greg so that you ask him what are the yeah because if I started but how are you feeling he might just go blank and fine any work in your these are good ones yet so I'll ask him when he when he comes home after a long day and will sit and will have our 10 minutes together. You know what I have your day. Okay, what was the love of your day. You know what is stressing you out when illusion comes up a lot but is really weighing heavy stressing you out at work and at home, and again Michael listen to fix it or to try to make it better just to listen into care and to know what's going on inside of Greg as well as what God teaching you right now. Both you know into different things during the day and God is speaking to Lester so many different modes and such fun to hear what God is teaching Greg that is really in limine in in again member. It started with me asking her to really get to know you, what would be meaningful to you to have me ask on a regular basis to believe these are not prescriptive like you righties of the 40s. Ask Wheatley is my fat implicit, we should put these in the show notes which I'm now doing John Fuller's job so so sorry thank you for the way we've created, though, like hundreds and hundreds of questions that couples can ask and you can link into that downloaded I've put these on my cell phone so under the notes you can carry a copy in your car me get a little PDF suite. We've got hundreds little prompt as you look through them. What would be several that are meaningful. I print those off daily for couples in my care. You're not talking. Take these start here.

See which ones work for you because a simple little question can lead to such a deep in-depth conversation over having some great conversation right now with Greg and Aaron Smalling this is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly and really encourage you to get a copy of the book that Smalley's written called reconnected moving from roommates to soulmates in your marriage. We've got that and some other great resources including our free marriage assessment or call 880 family distractions you mentioned in the book come into play in all this. What are some of the sacred moments you want to keep distractions from seeping into how do we do it. It's easy to get distracted in our culture today because were running at such a fast pace. As we got our cell phones were constantly checking things and scores in Facebook and on and on in just realizing that when you're doing other things your eyes are not on your spouse and there's a sacred moments that we personally don't want to miss an opportunity to connect one of the biggest ones as it is when we go to bed. When we got a bad pillow talk is a big thing that we can choose to lay down our cell phones and some nights we do when we had a long hard day. We just wanted that I miss out on connecting with Greg and I don't want to I want to connect are you a night person but I am okay going forward and ready for bed that is really a resume of the same when I lay down that it's not time for talk that it's time for what I found is I am a night person and so I could stamp a lot later but Greg is to bed early and I want that connection that a better Lane how it's nice Paul. Oh, it's the funniest things we agreed.

Listen, I know that you would much rather stable and she's come to bed listless, have 1020 minutes of just lying together, joking, talking, being intimate and then you can leave seriously, there's been times like I'll never forget the time we went to bed. I thought we both went to bed. I got up the next morning walked down to get up early and Aaron and there was a table that had been built for L table it with chairs break me out only did someone break did not dispute to construct anything.

My girlfriend came over to help me.

She told her life after arrival. Parties going on bad Sears with all joking aside for a lot of couples they are in such different schedules that that that for them just to know start off in bed together mean you have to both stay in bed. You can get up and somewhat what I'm hearing is accommodation.

Gotta make some accommodation. Don't be hard hearted about now I go to bed at nine and will not change and let me move to perhaps one of the most important, I think it is the most important area and that's developing spiritual intimacy with each other that can in the face of busy schedules and all the pressure that can be one of the first things to go that you're not reading the word together, not praying together as so many people I talked to particularly wives with failure and for that I just don't know how to do it. My husband, so busies out the doors for Quicken, but speak to the importance of it so important to connect soul to soul, we talked a lot about connecting heart-to-heart to the deeper kind of inner life conversation. But our souls need to connect. We need to connect spiritually as a young husband that was so intimidating for me. I saw some absolute spiritual powerhouses and my dad and some mentors in the way that they would do that was so intimidating that it's so shut me down. I get so discouraged and Aaron would feel disconnected. In one of things that I'd now share with young husband's is this and this narrows down to just a couple things which is about this every day.

Pray with your wife that might be early in the morning when we have him sit down for some coffee and have five minutes or whatever it might be at night sort of this were laying in bed together could go but but pray together and not even can be intimidating and so what what I've learned to do.

There is a simply to say hey what's one thing that I can pray for you about this going on tomorrow. What I love shall answer it in all go you will think him I have no idea she was facing up tomorrow so there's a way.

Even that it keeps your current answer. Just say what's one thing that I can pray for you about and join hands and into that and she does the same and in you have this quick prayer time and it didn't have to be 2030 minutes and include the Lord's prayer and all these things just how can I be praying for you that so unites is that's a daily goal and I encourage husbands have a weekly goal to attend church together as a researcher show that your praying together, going to church that so makes a difference in your marriage. So go to attend church together and then join some sort of small group so that you are around like-minded couples right who also value marriage to value connecting in can help and fight for your marriage. At times, and in those three things, pray together attend church and be a part of the community experience so Sunday school class or small group.

That's how we can really strengthen our shared spiritually and you know Greg, there's going to be a portion of the audience listening and said that you know that's a good idea. We need to do that. It's a healthy response to your admonition. There's going to be another group of people where you for all the reasons we talked about last time and today their hearts are a bit cooler. There's no.

I don't know the just hesitancy and unwillingness to go there.

I've been wounded. It's not a safe place for me. Whatever it might be. So I think that the question is if the listeners saying I wish I had that but my heart closed. If they're honest with themselves. Or maybe they're saying I think my husband's or my spouse's heart is closed.

How do they develop that safety in the marriage to begin to open up to these ideas in them in a more accepting way, let's do it anyway rather than that's never going to happen, which is so critical because that was one of the factors that contribute to people feeling like roommates is that the person feel safe when I guess the question more clearly. Just the dimming of that light rather than the light getting brighter linear marriage in your connection.

It just continues to them yeah how do we reverse that create that sense of safety that we can try these things and be optimistic about them.

What I love is that God actually is giving us a really simple formula in the book of Joel in the Old Testament.

There's a verse that really stood out to Aaron and I we realize that it's really the key to create safety and marriage in the verse said rend your heart so we suck into the to his bride, the children of Israel. He saying rend your heart open your heart to me.

Don't don't tear your garments don't tear your closes. They used to do was a sign of of grieving because they've made some mistake he goes. Listen, I want your your close torn. I want your heart torn back to be because any list for things that he is that when Aaron and I realized that if we use those four things in our marriage. That's what create safety. He said that I am slow to anger, so we talk about patients are full of grace that I'm abounding in steadfast love and I'm compassionate and so often when we come up against a spouse that has a closed heart, we want to master their walls and pride. Ehrhardt open what is that because it causes them to feel more and safe.

So instead what you're saying Greg is that we stand outside that wall, and we shall act in ways that are patient that are gracious at our calming because believe it or not, even when your spouse is closed there watching and there watching around that wall to see how are you showing up out there and if it's a safe environment. Well, then it's more likely that they might step out and take a step out towards you. So it's recognizing accurate control of my spouse's heart is closed or not. But I certainly have great influence in the overall environment of the relationship.

Let me let me ask you this question. You know, typically again.

It won't always be male-female.

I don't get stuck in that trap. But oftentimes you have one or maybe both in the marriage relationship were being right is really important to say just as part of perhaps your childhood when you were brought up, but you gotta correct people, especially your spouse. You gotta be right hat. How do you fight that appetite to correct and to have to be right mix and I actually talked about that a lot. Each and every day with couples that you know you can do.

Certainly you can do that. But is it can lead you to what you want.

It can lead to this tug-of-war. This emotional tug-of-war that you know I think it's this way. I think it's sad but it's recognizing what I really want is that deep connection and there's two different people to different perspectives and often when I say as I expect to hear that there's two different ways of looking at it and both are valid to highly honor each other.

How do we we can offer suggestions that we can ask Carrie open to my feedback. Hey you, we have other elements there. You talk about dreaming together were not can have time to get to that.

That's what people need to get a copy of the book and you done a wonderful job with this, but I do want to end with that husband and wife who has been listening the program today. Maybe both days and he or she is feeling that sense of brokenness in their relationship.

They recognize that there's distance in the relationship that they have grown apart, and perhaps are lonely and scared. They don't know how to connect back together what something they can do today or tomorrow as a first step to get their spouse closer to them. Yeah, I think one of the most powerful ways to do that is to pay attention to what how your spouse is really feeling to go after their emotions. I'm telling you that there would Aaron and I are really disconnected.

If I just take a moment to say you hate how you really do want to talk to me about what's going on for you this morning. We've had a lot going on.

We we met up for coffee in and we just sat there. It was such an easy thing to do just that. You tell me about what how you really doing in in there's something about pursuing Aaron and when I pursue her emotions that that creates that connection that creates that safety in so it may be a really tough season and there's so much that we could do and know we should be doing this doing that but just just just invite your spouse out to look let's just take a walk… Go for some coffee. Tell me about how you're really doing that begins a different type of experience creates a small connection that they can build on. And over time you you can feel more connected. Scott feel awkward, weird, in the beginning but pursuant to this heart go after the emotions and watch with that us even as he was talking. The thing that was just going through my mind is how safe that makes me feel to be pursued into now that Greg wants connection with me. That's a powerful statement to say to someone, especially your spouse. I want to be connected with you. I value you and I've noticed that the small foxes have have creeped Aaron and can we take a look and figure out what is it that's causing our disconnection because I am committed to you. I want to be your best friend and I'm I want I want I want this out. Can we take a look at it because I want that connection, it matters to me. Well, again, you guys have done a brilliant job with the book reconnected and there's so much more in here and you know again as Christians, particularly if I could speak to you. The Christian couple. We've got to model this will mean the Lord himself created the institution of marriage, and I think one of the one of the reasons the culture is struggling is because we in the church to have not done it as well as we should have and we gotta keep that in mind that were honoring the Lord when we do well in our marriages and it doesn't mean you're good to be perfect you're gonna make mistakes and we get that I make mistakes. John, you may not. The point is, all the tools that you can muster to help you do the best job you can do and I try to do that more now to think that people are watching and how can I model my marriage in such a way that people want that and that's a good goal, even if you're not hitting it out of the park everyday. Contact us here at FOCUS we are here for you. We want you to call. We have caring Christian counselors who can help you we have the great focus on marriage assessment 5 to 10 minutes. That's all it will take you to point out your strengths and your weaknesses and that we have so many tools that can help you. And if your marriage is in a really bad spot.

We got hope restored a four day intensive that can take you to a better place post to your survey work that we've done 80% of those couples were married still and doing better so we have every resource you need to get this job done. And again, Greg and Aaron, thank you so much for being with us all our pleasure. Thank you. You call us to let us know how we can put some of these resources in your hands or serve you. Our number is 800 K and the word family 800-232-6459 or stop by hey John like we often do, and when it comes to great tools to help people if you can give a gift of any amount will send a copy of the book to say thank you for helping other couples. If you can afford it get in touch with us working to trust that others will cover the cost of that we believe in this content and we know it will help your marriage move very godly direction. Skinner number 800 K in working on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks so much for joining us today for Focus on the Family John Fuller inviting you back next time. As we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ

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