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Reconnecting With Your Spouse (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
March 5, 2021 5:00 am

Reconnecting With Your Spouse (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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March 5, 2021 5:00 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 2 of 2) (Original air date: Aug. 12, 2020)

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I was convinced that nothing can change what was going on in our marriage and I want to try anymore but my commitment to God, help me try one more time. We went to a hope restored marriage intensive and it was life-changing. The counselors created the safest environment we could imagine so that let us really talk one a much different course now I believe we received a miracle that week received your free consultation help is that most couples when they get married, have a been hired after pursuing each other and set our focus is directly on one another and inmate they conquered they get married and then many other things start to take their eyes off of each other. Think about working kids and just the pursuit of this new and listening 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 or in small issues with this again today along with her husband, Dr. Greg Smalley spoke some family with Jim Daly thanks for joining us on John for a jump start a great conversation with attorney Greg on how couples so often after we get married begin to feel more like roommate 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, you're just kind of going through the motions of work and kids and all the things are going on pretty soon it's just the business you run it right, home economics, but we want to encourage you to do it differently, the way God intended it 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 in all 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 Smalley 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. 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 look in the episode notes for further details. 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 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 week we dates in everything to get married 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 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 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 computer that often for you. Whatever that means. Emotional connection being boys. 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. 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 they are not the center of the world in marriage stronger than marriages that better it is for those kids into the greatest thing that mom can do it 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 back there 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 well and so often in this culture, and in this modern time so much fear that if mom again 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 so 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 breach security and safety in their hearts that something powerful 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. Well, that that is a lot of important is here right we call small talk and people often pooh-pooh that one like that's that's it. A surface level. Smalley multi-got good yeah this would just check in and had your day go what's going on.

Here's 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 that Smalltalk is a work time connects more business rep running the family 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, so good. Yeah in the scary times we had conflict, so we've got a work through the conflicts we just call that problem. Talk to the 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've noticed, here's the problem. Those three Smalltalk 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 percentage wise how much of a percent are couples just locked and no Lot 3 of you have mostly find 85 to 90% of time. Usually they sit in the 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, but the fourth one is the one that you have to intentionally pursue and that's that life getting heart taught the deeper level, time, and if you you don't do that then if you don't pursue it.

It's not gonna happen.

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 needed those other times you need isn't there important, but they're not like give a don't bring life and that's also not as vulnerable so they're not risky. They're pretty safe that's 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 cell locked in and focus. And then we train each other that sets us safe to go to dusty places because maybe it can only do 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 some 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 the hit me and reminded me to do this. Frankly, speak to those for questions you ask each other the other point of for questions was when I realize that we had to be intentional to have this life-giving conversation. Then I come went okay. So how would I really do that like what what is that mean so I asked her. 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 our children but not from an administrative standpoint, the relational relational standpoint of her female friendships are very important to Aaron so she said asked me how things are going between me and my girlfriends and in 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 where you commuting to you know kids practice are sitting in the in of the stand zero is there 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 deal of and 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 through those guys. We need a goal. So here's the goal so I asked her this question simply to stay updated. That's going what's going on in your life to stay current. That's good there you have for the different Greg so that you ask him what are the because if I started but how are you feeling he might just go blank and fine any work in your marriage, and that 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 light comes up a lot. What 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 teaching you right now. Both you know into different things during the day and God is speaking to Esther 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. Assuming the these are not prescriptive like you righties of the four use ask Wheatley's my fat implicit, we should put these in the show notes which I'm not doing John Fuller's job since I'm so sorry like 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 carving 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 to please start here. See which ones work for you because a simple little question can lead to such a deep in-depth conversation.

The distractions you mentioned 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. This is when we go to bed when we got up at 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 for good ready for bed earlier zero the same. I highly doubt about it's not time for talk that it's time for what I found as I am a night person and so I could step up a lot later but Greg is to bed early and I want that connection go to bed early now that's nice. It's Paul. It's the funniest things we agreed. Listen, I know that you would much rather stay once 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 that we went to bed.

I thought we both went to bed.

I got up the next morning walk down to get up early and Aaron and there was a table that had been built for L table with chairs break me out only did someone break did not dispute to construct things. My girlfriend came over to help me hold her like a rival party going on bed Sears is 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 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 so many people I talked to particularly wives will sell your and for that I just don't know how to do it.

My husband, so busies up 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 some just 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 a down for some coffee and have five minutes or whatever it might be at night sort of his ruling in bed together could go but but pray together and that even can be intimidating and so what whether to do there simply to say hey what's one thing that I can pray for you about this going on tomorrow. What I love short answer it in all go you will think my issues facing tomorrow so there's a wave and 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. She does the same in any of this quick prayer time it it doesn'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 got to be another group of people where you are, for all the reasons we talked about last time and today their hearts are a bit cooler. There's no.

I don't know. There's 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 and let's do it way rather than it'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 loses the dimming of that light rather than the light getting brighter marriage in your connection. It just continues to dim.

How do we reverse that create that sense of safety that we can try these things and be optimistic about 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 in a marriage in the verse said rend your heart so we snuck 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 as 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.

We talk about patients are full of grace that I'm abounding in steadfast love and I'm compassionate and so if you just take those four things and go how I learned to be more gracious, more full of grace, how to give Aaron grace in our marriage. The more I do that it makes her feel safe at what is compassion look like, how we be more patient and so often when we come up against a spouse that has a closed heart, we want to master their walls and pride heart open in 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 kind. 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 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 just as part of perhaps your childhood when you were brought up. You got 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 talk about that a lot. Each and every day 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 that 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 Kerry open to my feedback. 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've done a wonderful job with this, but I do want to end with that husband or 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 yet.

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 your height, 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 it.

We just sat there.

It was such an easy thing to subdue just to 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 know we should be doing this doing that 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 had have creeped Aaron and can we take a look and figure out what is it that's causing her disconnection because I am committed to you.

I want to be your best friend and I'm I want to 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. You know, again, is Christians particular 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 gonna be perfect to 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 and such where the people want that and that's a good goal, even if you're not hitting it out of the park everyday. Contact us here 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 it a point at your strengths and your weaknesses and then 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 her thank you so much for being with us all our pleasure.

Thank you to 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 or look in the episode note to John like we often do man when it comes to great tools to help people give a gift of any amount will send a copy to say thank you for helping other couples can't afford it in touch with us within the trust that others will cover the cost of that we believe in this content will help your marriage. Skinner number 800 K 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. Once again, you and your family thrive when a woman discovers her husband struggled with pornography. She needs a practical plan. The latest book from Focus on the Family aftershock but professional counselor Joanne Conti will help you through the seven steps of self-care and learn how to deal with the emotions involved in the discovery of your husband's addiction. Joanne Conti's timeless wisdom. If you hope, even while you're in your old season of aftershock. Learn more about

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