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Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
March 25, 2021 6:00 am

Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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March 25, 2021 6:00 am

Pastor Kevin Thompson explores three primary roles in marriage – friend, partner, and lover – and explains how spouses can live out those roles optimally by investing in their relationship mentally, emotionally, and physically.

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Man I knew my marriage was falling apart. I just didn't know how to fix it. I felt like I would always be alone even if I stayed married at Focus on the Family's hope restored marriage intensive. We offer hope to couples in crisis so they can have a marriage they've always dreamed for the first time I felt like my husband truly heard me. I received some great tools from the counselors of change my life and my marriage to begin the journey of finding health go to hope today. Whatever I think about what it means for me to be a husband. What does Jenny need she needs me to be to be a friend to her that walked alongside her all throughout watching his revealed partner that shares the busyness of life with her and then she needs the intimacy of what love looks like let's Kevin Thompson and he's with us today on Focus on the Family and Hostess crocus president Dr. Jim Daly, thanks for joining us on John folk.I hope listeners know that at the heart of Focus on the Family's marriage. That's what were doing 24 seven. Really, marriage and parenting. We are concentrating on that day, every day we hear from couples that have challenges in their marriages and I'm grateful for them calling our counseling team and others may be getting a resource into their hand to help them do better in their marriage. I think that's what it's all about. But the reality is when you can fine-tune your marriage you'll do better. That's the bottom line in order to concentrate on that today to explore and to better understand our role as a married person to help you become more resilient and stronger in that relationship we've invited Pastor Kevin Thompson to give us some great insights from his book, friends, partners and lovers and we do have that book at the website, call 800 the letter and word family or stop by the episode notes were we got a link and Kevin is the lead pastor of community Bible Church in western Arkansas and regularly meets with and counsels couples as a marriage and parenting conference speakers well and has written a number of books really talking about that one. Jim referenced Fran's partners and lovers should mention that Kevin and his wife Jenny have two children Ella and Silas, welcome back to focusing so much reveille okay your pastor, you see a pretty wide array of disarray in couples if I could say it that way.

In fact, you had an older couple, Eugene and JoAnn, who had been married for 70 years. I wish I could've met them. One amazing thing to be married 70 years and what did they tell you what is the secret.

These are people we should listen to for sure what was their secret for 70 years of marriage I Gina JoAnn.

They were both in the military.

They never had children that she never went to church until in their 70s. While some some people in our church built relationship with them. They came came to know Christ and I just became some of our favorite people around the church at that time. This about 15 years ago source that was all really young they never had children. So we Adopted them as grandparents a wonder they stop by to bring me some pumpkin bread ranting and we were having a conversation several staff members, came in and it came time to give me the bread and neither one of them had and they had a little lovers spat at that moment blaming the other for not getting it.

So this JoAnn wasn't in better shape. So she ran home to get it as were sinners talk to Mr. Eugene when my coworker said Mr. Eugene was the QB and married 70 years without hesitation he said tell her every day that you love how beautiful is that she came back with pumpkin bread. She walked in this JoAnn.

We rest. Mr. Eugene was the QB married 70 years and she said I'll tell them every day that you love them. How great is that right so about six months later I he was in hospice on his deathbed, and I would go see him just me and him and I recounted that story and I said Mr. Eugene.

Is that really the key to marriage and he goes yup memorize her answers that unfortunately sleep.

Marriage can't just be something that you memorize, but there are some very basic principles that I think they go all the way back to God's design a marriage that sin hasn't changed, and those of the basic roles that you and I are supposed to play as husbands and wives are supposed to play and we can narrow that down to friends, partners and lovers get into that content. Let me start with this question though what what is from your research. What is the number one reason for divorce. Yeah, it's a common question. Can we think we can attack the number one reason that it will lower a good number of divorces and a lot of people think that it's money.

Many people these days think that social media obviously communication difficulties in all those are accurate.

I think they're all issues within marriage but I think they're all symptoms. I think behind that the biggest issue that I see is a lack of intention whenever it comes to marriage that you and I do tend not to drift in the good things you see somebody and they they've lost 30 pounds in great shape and asked him how that happened is that we know is the strangest thing is just one day drifted into a workout facility drifted into the vegetable while it takes this tremendous intention to make change within your life and marriage is the same way, we begin relationships extremely intentional.

You intentionally call the person asked about you intensely plan the dates you intensely think about the gifts you can give them.

But over time the busyness of life, we tend to lose that intention, and as we lose that intention, we drift into a second right marriage that's really good, you identify three roles a spouse should fill and then you know how that fits with God's design for marriage.

What are those in and how do we see them fitting into God's word, yes he go back in Genesis 2 and God creates man and says it's not good for man to be alone and we we he wants to create a a helper fit for him and so you have all the animals that are created Lotta good things that are there, but none of them are the perfect fit.

And so then you have the creation of woman and and that moment you have this great compatibility and if they are also given a task and then into Genesis 2.

You see this very unique intimacy that they're going to have and so whenever I think about the original design before the leafs right before his horse and you were right, what did marriage look like will marriage was this friendship, there is a companionship that adequate have with somebody who is like him different, but like him unique from the rest of the animals they had a task to play so they were supposed to partner together and being stewards of God's creation and then there's this very unique relationship connection between them is intimacy. And whenever I think about what it means for me to be a husband.

What does Jenny need from me she needs me to be to be a friend to her that walked alongside of her all throughout life. She needs me to be a partner that shares the busyness of life with her and then she needs the intimacy of what love looks like the end. Whatever I'm doing marriage conferences. I was have couple standup. That's okay. Here's how this works. Everybody stand side-by-side with your spouse and hold her hand. That's what it looks like be a friend you're walking through life together now turn and stand back to back the and I'm scanning the horizon hundred 80 this way. My wife is scanning the rise 180. That way, looking for threats looking for opportunities as partners. We always have each other's back. Now stand and look face-to-face. And what's funny is in that moment I lose the attention of the audience. I've had the whole time, but also, and in that moment, there smiles there's laughter there's little comments there's touch interesting. We don't look at our spouses enough in the eye, but that's what intimacy looks like that somebody is going to see the fullness of who I am and still love me, friend, partner and lover. That's a good exercise and I'm in a talk to Jean about that tonight.

Let's face each other but you mentioned that friendship is really the key and that that's perhaps the most important. I'm sure all three are important, but friendship being the most important that you had a little trip to McDonald's. I think in the book that help illustrate this had that go now I think so and to measles like a house that friendship is the foundation ownership or the walls and in the roof that is really intimacy that protect you, but whenever my kids were little, I love you Donald and someone that took them as we are sitting there eating our happy meals. I looked over and there was this couple that looked retirement age and their reading the newspaper. There's a cookie and they both had coffee and then he put his paper down and he said hey have you seen this and it had the school discussion about what it is. He was reading in the paper come back up and then they go about the things and also the woman say what's what, to six letter work for this. He put his paper down and and look at what was taking place and I thought it was beautiful imagery of what friendship is like. As you're walking side-by-side through life together you're experiencing life together within your bringing back to the couple built with those experiences are like that. And to me it is this interweaving of being by ourselves and then being together and I thought this couple just give it image of that that was so beautiful of what my life with Jenny needs to be any to experience life that she's not happy alongside me every moment, but bring back the good asked for help with the things that I need help with is constantly weaving back and forth.

I think that's when the powers of technology talk about all the downsides of technology and rightfully so, but to be able to text your spouse as I have think about you today or to Ivan what I've done this account but even this morning at, you know, being in beautiful Colorado Springs. I shot a picture the mountains and send them to Jenny and you know par that's love part of its jealousy is a thing right but is playfulness than come into that beautiful picture and an I think for me it's not a good marriage necessarily has less negative events in their marriage. Is that a good marriage has more positive events and swiftly intentional about coming back to our spouse with good things with happy things with meaningful things and sharing that part of our lives with them. Well, you know, Dr. Greg Smalley on our team. Here he often will talk about how marriages can fall into business relationships right so you just managing the budget is managing schedule together and you don't have kind of the deeper good attributes of marriage. You mentioned a couple of ideas on how to develop that friendship to have some other ideas on how to nurture friendship specially think of guys who you know, we like the rooftop we talked about the intimacy is the roof so we like to go to the roof pretty quickly. How do we slow that down and make sure that the foundation of friendship as you describe. It is really healthy. Yeah, I think the very first thing is we had to make sure our spouses are first person that we turn to the Internet and so if something were to happen today. Good or bad. Who's the first person you call that there's something about the first telling the first telling has more emotion specifically for men.

If men really struggle their relationship was showing their spouse. The emotion than they need to make sure that the first person they tell the good or bad story to is not there buddy. It's not a coworker instead. Is there spouse because at first telling tends to have a lot of emotion if I do funerals sometimes I'll prepare about things can be an emotional funeral all go through it several times to get the emotion out well if if your wife is saying that you need more emotion in your conversation you need to get the emotion in, and a lot of times was happening is good things are happening and we go to coworker we tell the man, or a struggle is happening and we go to a friend on the way home and tell them so that by the time that were talking to our spouse, that emotion is gone and our spouse feels like they're getting something else so I think to build friendship first and foremost you want to make sure that your spouse in the very first person you turn to in good and bad and then be on that is a variety of things on the simplest recommendation I give the couple all the times take a walk together to get you walking as you walk. I think would take a walk together absolutely think that this picture of friendship being side-by-side in life. Think about that. The things that you do side-by-side with I play golf you ride side-by-side the golf cart.

Many people go fishing right you think about movies you think of a car right. Those are side-by-side activities and so you need to look at how can we get side-by-side, picking up new hobbies but a walk.

It is just a productive conversation going, or seeing other things is a productive thing. Yeah let's conclude the friendship part and just mention the healthiness or on healthiness with friendships outside of marriage, what, what's a good approach yeah and so your spouse especially should be your best friend of Vanessa, let's create NetSuite built.

I don't doubt that at all that and then you need to have healthy relationships outside of that which means or how to be strong boundaries and as spouses you you work through that. I firmly believe in the life veto if Jenny is uncomfortable with one of my friends trust her on male or female. It could be that she is like this guy friend that I have because his values are so radically different than mine. Trust her on that. And so it doesn't mean that she has to like every friend of mine. I delight in unnecessarily enjoy hanging around with every friend of hers, but it does mean that her friendship to me is so important she's going to be first, and that she can have a deep info pack, and influence on the friendships that I have and they have to be strong boundaries to say that this relationship with my spouse is unique. It is special and nothing is gonna touch a negative way that describes again a healthy marriage. This is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly and our guest today is Pastor Kevin Thompson were talking about some of the concepts in his book, friends, partners and lovers to your copy when you call 800 a family or stop by the episode notes will have the link in there for you Kevin.

I so appreciate the illustration you mentioned a little while ago about the house and the foundation being friendship in the structure being partnership and then the roof being that intimacy lovers is your book title says moving to the partner component describe the role of partner units. The word that's thrown around a lot in our culture today. How do we assess the partnership role in her own marriage. How do we see that score it. I guess you have. You told me so.

Jenny not been married 21 years I view it told me 20 years ago about this idea partnership out of and like all that's kinda cold. We know what's the point of saga business know that's exactly right. But actually, at this point this is the area of marriage that actually excites me the most. From the standpoint of it so overlooked and yet there's such potential within it that so yes, partnership does talk about the idea just managing the household and raising the kids and making the money, but I think is far more I think it's it's this idea that every single day there's somebody in my life it wakes up and thinks, how can I make his life better and how can I help him create the life that he desires to have. That's what partnership ultimately is about how can I make her dreams come true so literally.

I get this picture of Jenny Nye standing back to back and I'm scanning the horizon 180 looking for threats and opportunities, and she's doing the things same thing and so immediately my vantage point is broadened because of Jenny. There are things she takes care of that. I don't have to worry about in any way, we laugh all the time. For whatever reason with our children. I take care of that year she takes care of the teeth so the daughter of Down syndrome who has ear problems so I always take her to ENT always.

No questions asked. Jenny always does the dentist and orthodontist have no idea how that happened. It just cannot happen and and in wheat we reevaluated on occasion is this working for you which is life is easier.

I don't worry about teeth. Jenny's got the teeth I got the years and and that compounds in every aspect of life, and I think in marriage in a strong partnership strong partnership will literally divide your weaknesses and multiply your strengths. Think about that. If I'm weak in something Jenny is strong she gets to take the lead in that area.

My weaknesses covered up its downplayed is diminishing.

If I'm strong in an area Jenny strength can now multiply my impact what's going on how I can go about it even even in writing books she's a tremendous editor I'm I'm a horrible editor right my son the other day. He was diagramming sentences, and he said that. Can you help me with this is as homeschooled and I said buddy I can't do that and he goes what you write books. I said I have nine editors and he said can we send it to one of the idea.

I know what Jenny strengths are and that covers up my weaknesses and so I truly believe that it divide my weaknesses and multiplies my strengths and and partnership to me is were many couples.

I think don't understand the potential that lies within marriage that this can really be a fun aspect of the relationship. Not just a cold aspect and I think again is points exactly to God's design because we look at Genesis, it's the completer you know, we typically marry people that are somewhat opposite to us extrovert marriage, marries an introvert, etc. so it's almost like we come together we complete each other and then we got a lien on those strengths of each other and that's were some of the friction comes in marriage where we don't.

We believe our instincts are better than our spouses surrendered at this when spouse knows it's not true. I'm stronger in this than you are and it creates friction, let me ask you were three guys sitting at the table.

Here we talk about the roof quite a bit that idea of intimacy.

I like the fact that your positioning that in such a way that the structure is partner and friendship is the foundation again because sometimes I think we as men and I want to represent the female thought at this table in this moment.

Just knowing my wife Jean well enough you don't build the walls on top of the roof so meeting intimacy, physical intimacy, so I think, speak to that aspect.

How do we make sure there were were building the partnership walls strong so that the rooftop goes on in the partnership can hold the roof up that rooftop of intimacy when I really think the idea you think that you are start a business and you or any other business partner who would you want as a business partner. You want somebody who's going up give an equal amount of effort of care just as much as you are going to care is gonna work just as hard as you can work, but you do not want someone who's just like you because what's the point if the more you can diversify your strengths and abilities and that partnership, the stronger the business can be. And so it is with marriage and so my question for for couples never comes to the partnership within the relationship is not are you doing the same thing. I don't want you doing the same thing just was a complement one another. My question is are you putting in the equal amount of work of effort of attention of desire is that happening and worth that is happening. There's unlimited potential for a couple.

What's scary to me is when I see couples were in trouble. Many times I have devolved into a parent-child relationship. One of them is not taking the full responsibility of the relationship of the partnership and instead is acting like a child. My kids don't have to care with the money comes from.

My kids don't have to be concerned with how foods can show up on the table. They just know what can happen is just to magically appear right well to have a mother and father that take care of that for them is supposed to be that way that's not supposed to be that way for me. Jenny's not my mom right now we do different things. And yes there are some things that she does that I don't they just appear. And that's great there other things I'm doing to theirs equal effort that's going on, and in many relationships, where the couples are struggling with the woman is spending money without any thought or concern about the budget and the man is struggling to keep it all together in some way right. The woman is working all day and then coming home and doing 100% of the things around the house and the guy it is just on the couch while the person on the couch as a child that that's how child comes home after school like the Duke of Jordan done the majority the work goes the parent and so whenever I see partnership breakdown.

This inequality forms in which one is doing majority the work in the investment and taking responsibility and another one in and it becomes a very dangerous place with a parent-child exist.

You need professional help. Wise can ask. I think with jumped in my mind is who gets the score the test and that points right to the marital conflict because whoever's feeling like an equitable reciprocal relationship is not here.

That's usually the one who scoring the exam right there. The ones raiding the relationship and that's were frustration, bitterness, resentment begins to build. Now right on the core issue of why marriages are breaking down because are not healthy in the way that you're describing.

It is staying in love. This a much better area stating love really is a choice.

I mean, you know 70 years like Eugene and his wife is a long time. It helps to look back at that moment when we fell in love and I think you recall a special moment with Jenny about your first date in the book, what happened first date memories. I love you that's exactly right and saw the pastoral ministry measurable about his university with that with a minor in psychology and so is actually taking a family intimacy course at that moment, which is hilarious to look back on now. How would I let a setback through that now. 29. What did I know right I'm sure you could pontificate so but I remember reading in that class that I do that, generally speaking of women tend to make the first touch that. That is, that tends to happen, I will the hand, but I know yes some kind of touch of some sort, and that the man needs to reciprocate that there's this kind of intricate dance that's going on.

The couples are really even aware of that anybody listening his who's not married currently on their next date the notice right and so I asked Jenny out. We went out downtown Oakland city.

We walked around for hours.

It was beautiful and I'll never forget we were we were talking and I made a joke and she hit me, just you know Scott punch me, just very lightly, playfully, and so we kept on walking. Sally hit me awake. She just touch me. I touch her back as they know that's exactly right back class that taught me so I just look for just the shoulder right. He's but it's interesting looking back on of the power of nonsexual touch and the importance of that and how that really count goes back to friendship.

It really does that. That idea touches back to friendship. It plays into the intimacy. No doubt you think about it, I would if if I make a great put on the golf course.

My buddies can high-five me right if I'm grieving might my friends are going to embrace me and so there is this necessary nonsexual touch that I think of couples would increase.

They would then see the intimacy increase in those what's happening if if you want to be a better lover. Generally speaking, how you do that, become a better friend and a better partner. That's right. Build the foundation of the walls. I'm not saying it goes just that easily, but generally speaking for the average couple after that and a decent marriage and they wanted to be just a little bit better what they need to be thinking about is friendship I say in the book that skittish is the opposite of sexy right skittish. What is that mean there's no trust whenever I think about these roles. Friendship is built on this concept of trust partnership that is built on the idea of respect. If you have trust and respect.

Intimacy can be pretty good, but if either those two are present, you're in trouble and were right near the end and that was really the next question.

The five keys in your you mentioned a couple of the five keys to saving your marriage which you listed, and in no read them and then you can just give us a highlighter to humility, respect, mercy, communication and resilience. So having the right there in the book.

These are I think there's a really strong let me just pick one resilience. How does resilience in your marriage help you have a long term committed marriage a lifelong marriage. It is this idea of organ like whatever it take no matter what. Whatever it takes to make that none knows what that means is a lot of couples think were to make it but then they're not willing to to go get counseling. They're not willing to go to help restore they're not willing to to take the next step, whatever it takes, means that I'm not in care about my appearances on Medicare about my reputation that literally I will sacrifice everything in order to make sure I do whatever is necessary for Jenny and I to have a successful relationship and that is our mindset and so what that means if we have a problem working to get help will were a small town. What happens if somebody sees Lacey's Soviet guy like that and so it is this idea we will account for that. That's down the office in our church hallway and all I'll tell couples on occasion you go see this counselor and sometimes they will say all I can.

I can't walk this church hallway with all the staff people in them see us go in and I was tell them you know what were thinking that moment. Good for them. Good for them to get help. I don't sit back and just go. I wonder why they're walking in there. I think to myself, there's a thousand reasons why I need to be walking.

That's a better attitude and so resilience really does mean to me that working to do whatever it takes. Which means were to confront the true issues in our relationship and not push them aside because were to do whatever it takes to make it Kevin this been so great. I mean I really love the practical advice in your book is so full of more and I wish we could keep going just to talk about this basic skill sets and your your covering a lot of territory and I hope for the listener. If you are you not where you want to be. It's not desperate but you want to be in a better spot. This is the kind of resource fringe partners and lovers. The kind of book that you really need to sink your teeth into and better understand Kevin's done a great job of outlining those things that really can get to a better place has really Kevin based off a lot of your research and your countless hours of counseling couples right. There's not a single problem and also just asked me question what does Jenny need from me in looking the Bible and go okay there is those are great questions for all of us.

Thanks for being with you this is some content that really any couple in any season of marriage can use in the relationship. Absolutely John and let me turn to our listeners. I hope you know Focus on the Family is here for you. Your marriage is important to us and it's important to God that we have great resources available to you like our focus on marriage assessment, which is a free quiz that you can take at our website takes about 5 to 6 minutes. You receive instant results telling you areas you're doing well at in your marriage, as well as areas that could use a little attention. We also have Kevin's wonderful book, friends, partners and lovers what it takes to make a marriage work and would like to send that to you when you become a monthly partner a Focus on the Family you can pledge any amount today to the ministry and will send you a copy as our way of saying thank you. We rely on your support. That's how it works your prayer and financial gifts to Focus on the Family allow us to provide resources like our counseling team for hurting individuals and families. So please join us today and together we will do ministry if you can't commit to a monthly amount that's okay we get it will send you a copy of friends, partners and lovers for a one time gift as well donate and take that marriage assessment and get your copy of friends, partners and lovers by clicking the link in the episode notes or call 800 K in the word join us tomorrow as we talked with Hollywood greats Mark Burnett and Roma Downey on their new movie about the resurrection of Jesus in our own languages, filmmakers see daily which is to spread the gospel in behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back once more help you and your family thrive in Christ you've read accounts in the Bible how Christ so many but we really know very little about the lives of those early followers of Jesus chose and I have called you by name imagines what life was like those who followed Christ based on the widely acclaimed TV series. The chosen this Focus on the Family book by best-selling author Jerry Jenkins rings color and depth of the people surrounding Christ. You can find out

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