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Better Ways to Communicate With Your Spouse

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
August 13, 2021 6:00 am

Better Ways to Communicate With Your Spouse

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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August 13, 2021 6:00 am

In a discussion based his book "With These Words," Pastor Rob Flood and his wife, Gina, offer insights on several key communication skills that have healed and revolutionized their once-troubled marriage.

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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. Hope will me come to a conversation with someone were not just bringing our words are not just bringing our children were bringing that inner narrative with us. So if we are telling ourselves lies a man thanked my self. You know I'm struggling with lazy wife.

I'm not doing this are heating some lazy like all of that is going to come into the conversation as well.

And so it's on us to make sure that we are believing truth that's Chino flood describing how easily a husband and wife can slip into conflict even in the most loving of marriages you hear more from Gina and her husband Pastor Rob flood on today's episode of Focus on the Family. Thanks for joining us I'm John Fuller and your host is focused president and author Jim Daly John, let's be honest. Our communication is difficult. There's a banner for marriage in your head that is for his resume honey that is not what I would say put your hand over that you entered a lot like what that will qualify what guarantees can be perfect, but we can help. I know and have been times that happened on both sides. Both spouses usually will have that were there misunderstood and it's so important that you get through that moment as quickly as possible right so doesn't last for a season but sometimes it does. You're just not communicating the way you want to and if that's what you're experiencing this program. Today's going to be for you and I'm excited to talk about how to tune up that marriage communication today.

Yet we have is a said Rob and Gina flood with this Rob is a pastor and he's in charge of community and care at covenant Fellowship Church in Pennsylvania and he and Gina have been married for 25 years.

They have six kids and Rob is written a book called with these words five communication tools for marriage and for life course we have that here at Focus on the Family.

Just click the link in the episode notes Rob and Gina are welcome to Focus on the Family, thanks for having us this good heavy. I love the opening question here about day six of your honeymoon had some, like blowup, and so many people have something like that. But honeymoons tend to bring about the best and the worst. And that's what was your day. Six like so we had a we had a wonderful engagement was a very long engagement is it too long. It was a two funding give me an idea how long 19 months as I was probably 12 months too long but we use that time to get ready and we work through sticky stuff in the engagement but when it came time to the wedding we thought we had worked through many challenges. We thought we had worked through any of the communication struggles we were having and there was an area of sin in our lives in a relationship prior to our wedding that I would confess to one another. Confess to God, and come clean with friends and then we got married, expecting happily ever after. To begin, we went to the happiest place on earth for our honeymoon. We went to Disney World and and it was actually there on day six that we got into a conflict.

It started very small second at Disney World you got in the conflict.

It is a beautiful hotel as we were getting ready for a beautiful dinner all of that Thanksgiving is actually on Thanksgiving. I have remember any of it you don't remember any of it. Will this conflict. He tells me what it's about. What is about a million people right now going to tell us what is so deeply area of sin prior to our marriage was in physical intimacy and now that it was sanctified, and it was allowed. I think we just assumed as young people that it all of that baggage would go away and went and it did not.

And so as we were working through those challenges. It became very tense so we step back from we started to talk and we didn't talk well about it. I we talked in accusations about it that blew up probably about 45 minutes of old. Maybe the loudest argument we've ever had. Day six were about 25 1/2 years and at this point and I was the worst argument we had it ended with her leaving the hotel room.

I went to sleep because you're distraught that is selling a normal thing that I rest my it was an area actually the first couple years of our marriage conflict, the stress of conflict in our marriage. I process by getting very fatigued and did not press into more communication. I had learned that about myself and day six yet I did that was a pattern and so we had. We went to dinner that night, during the truce had a fine dinner, but when we came back things were is not the same.

We didn't have the same level of trust from one another. We didn't have the same level of comfort just interpersonal intimacy was really awkward. I think it's worth noting. Just as an aside, I think there is a myth out there that when you get married that intimacy should be easy and fine because now you're married and I think that a lot of new couples can be really discouraged because it's not. It sometimes it is but sometimes it's not.

And so I think it's it's a good next wash and let me know that you can talk to somebody, let's move you know that you've done a great job wanting that groundwork of what conflict was there, but then you later and I don't know how much later want to hear that you begin to think maybe I married the wrong person was that both of you are six that might've been day six that they said that that thought entered your mind and then how did you process that and how did you obviously been married 25 years now so you found your way through that we doubt, but explained that that process that first year I would say we went through quite a bit of second-guessing, distancing from one another. We lived together we were. We found the house functioned, but we didn't really function relationally.

About 15 months later is when we started to put this back together but it was in one of those conversations that we discovered right about the nine month mark of our marriage. We each had begun in our own way privately, praying that the Lord would either take me or the Lord would take her because we we have this strange Christian conviction that divorce wasn't permissible. That's not the strange Christian conviction, but since divorce wasn't permissible. The only way out of this was for one of us to die, and we were praying that before our first anniversary and so for now we were 15 months in and were confessing these things to one another. It's worth noting that in this time we were we were functioning in the church. We each had ministries that we were either leading a participating and small groups. We were participating in and people like say how are the newlyweds nobody really wants to hear here in such bad shape.

Thinking of the traditional responsibly. It's wonderful at everything I've dreamed. And so we would answer affirmatively inside it wasn't and I think again, I think there are a lot of new couples who find themselves in a similar role that takeback with the wisdom that you have today. What would you say to the first year newlyweds couple works. Not great. Should they say to somebody they can trust you know what, it's not good were in trouble. Yeah I would say that I would say you need to do it and community you need to live that out and community. Particularly, I would think that an older couple who is further ahead of you would be really beneficial and not because they have worked through seasons of trial and difficulty in seasons where they were further apart and together want to jump ahead but did that happen for you. Did you find a couple who was willing to stand with you that somebody could trust surgery after China your trench through this on your own kind of the marriage jungle if I could call it that, in the rebuilding process. What we discovered were some ministries that are that intentionally build marriages and they they tied in fact they taught us to truths that we first started to apply to one another.

While this is what the Bible says you should be doing this with the Bible says you should be done well it with things in a very bad place months later we started to take the same truth and apply them to ourselves and that's when we started to see the grace pour into the relationship. That's when we saw one confession lead to forgiveness for 10 different things and God just put a wind to our back and as he was putting us back together.

He simultaneously gave us a desire to be used of God to help marriages avoid or at least work through the very thing we had to walk through.

It's interesting there would hop in my mind.

When you said that was it's not truth that's nullified the truth is active at your misappropriation of truth. That's a pretty powerful statement yes and applied to yourself that seem scriptural right in with your own heart before you look at your spouse's hard we say going to our marriage with a rake when you're raking in God's truth rather than a shovel and that you thought your spouse yeah that's a good way to envision that you also mention something called that you called the foolish marriage and how people need to recognize.

I guess what the definition of a foolish marriage is what is it will be that the check that chapter flows out of Proverbs 18 weathers all of these characteristics of a fool and after 12 years of marriage counseling you start to see these patterns develop in the couples that you care for and we saw it in our own relationship as well with this is where the fool is is contentious. He's looking for an argument he doesn't look how to over come or to overlook an offense. He looks how to take one up. And if we can help couples whether the husband or wife. Sometimes it's both. If we can help them. Just realize their responses to their spouse or what really throws the gasoline on the fire that it if they would just respond with a gentle word right. Proverbs 15. What if they would respond without looking for a fight, then what you'd have is a sin that fell to the ground and it's not an offense that got picked up and you have peace in the home and the gospel continues to reign in the relationship. Rob you have a nice analogy. I want to make sure we get to that. What was the knife analogy and what can we learn from that. So one of the things it's very important to realize is when, when, if your wife or your spouse ends up sinning against you that could land on you was wound right and nothing you're going to do is going to undo that what we need to be conscious of his is, we don't take a knife and and then hurt our spouse back.

What that ends up doing is she cuts me the first time with her comment. If I cut back. That only adds another wound to the marriage. It adds it as another thing that has to be forgiven. Another thing that has to be healed. So now because of my retaliation is not a response is really a retaliation. We've now got two things, we've got a deal with. We had were further damaged and so it's important as someone who's being sinned against that we realize.

Okay, I've not just been sinned against.

The marriage has been let me not further damage this by adding another Stan or another offense to the problem. Let me pick up on the same theme because you guys really experiences were one of you were saying something that was misunderstood. Describe an example or two of how that impacted your relationship still happen is true there is no perfection on the side of heaven right and so were going to stumble.

Hopefully we have longer periods of time or we can run the good race somewhere along the line we do triple. I think the tools that are in Rob's book are excellent. There tools that we use in our communication regularly. The tools that we've either heard about along the way. Read about along the way. Developed and those tools I think are really the foundation they really are. One is mirroring what were you getting it wrong when you talk about mirroring. So this is wonderful to give an example from the first year of our marriage and mirroring would've help. We had a disposition of judging one another.

We were not being gracious.

There was no charity we were giving to one another and so if she would say to me very innocently if she were to say hey Rob if you take in the trash out what I'm hearing is you think I'm lazy or negligent.

Okay you can see that Seneca well. I love the reminder.

If I said to her, he would time is dinner. She's thinking he doesn't think I'm gonna cook for him tonight that there was this this judgment we are adding but not voicing right so the tool of mirroring there for a couple that's looking to work through some of these misunderstandings. She says you have taken the trash out the best responses for me to say oh no I haven't. Thanks for the reminder. But if I'm in a bad place and I'm I'm offended by that otherwise innocent comment. If I want our marriage to press towards godliness. I need to respond by saying you know hey sweetheart, did you mean to judge me as lazy. What did you mean when you said that. Were you just asking me to take the trash out that kind of clarifying question that mirrors back to her what it is that I heard her say. And now she gets to say on an anonymous not what I meant at all and in the tool in the chapter on that tools mirroring one of the most important pieces of this tool is that the person who originally made the statement in this case it be Gina. She gets to decide what she meant and didn't mean right right so she says you want to take out the trash when you say that Gina are you are you meaning to judgment. None at all. Not what yes you are what now I just obliterated the tool because I'm committed to conflict on the full in that moment, committed to conflict, but she gets to decide what she meant. If I say something if were talking through a significant parenting conversation and ice. I suggest that we don't discipline this way, but this way she could think what he doesn't want to disappear as one punish the kid. All she has to say is so here's what I'm hearing you say. And now I get to say yes, that's what I'm saying we get to move forward without misunderstanding or no no no that's not what I meant. I get to decide what I meant and then I clarify and remove all and that's when the tools mirroring really help you know that it's really good.

I like that in every couple at every stage of their marriage can employ that the earlier you do in your marriage, the better you're going to be accurate in describing is something that pops into my mind as will come to a conversation with someone were not just bringing our words are not just bringing our tone were bringing that inner narrative with us. So if we are telling ourselves lies if I'm saying to my self mean I'm struggling with lazy wife. I'm not doing this or he thinks I'm lazy like all of that is going to come into the conversation as well. And so it's on us to make sure that we are believing truths absolutely let me touch on something. You also mentioned in your book with these words and that is the different behavior we tend to express between work and home.

They were very polite American get understand that back when I worked in International Paper.

I'm in your you're always treating people with deference, no. Did you happen to get that order incorrectly that I need by next week, but at home. We can put on a different attitude which is worse that thing we talked about getting I thought your picking that up. How come you didn't take the dry cleaning and enter it at whatever it might be, but there seems to be less generosity I guess is the right way to say it, why wouldn't we reverse that are not reverse, necessarily, but be kind to all is what the Scripture calls us to do what well it's good question why that the reasons could vary. One of the primary reasons that I I've discovered is people feel the consequences of being ungenerous at work immediately that your concern the consequences would be right would bring a bad result in your life and at home. The consequences often happen gradually and so we give ourselves all of the slack at home where we don't when work talking with church members or in our small groups or at work.

There is a and what the dichotomy that that this shows is not just intended to to make the person feel bad will look your duplicitous that's not what world whereafter what I'm after and pointing it out is that you really can do this, you can be gracious if you're spoken too harshly you do it at work all the time.

You can ask a clarifying question to make sure you get what's being said. So your work reflects the. The directions are being given. These are skills and tools that you can do so now let's do it in the most important relationship in your life that is so good. Remember you should never treat your spouse worse than you would treat somebody at work and I mean it sounds simple, you should be treating them for better minutes appointment and this is your cherished spouse and it's a good reminder in that regard. My wife and I can relate to something he also mentioned the book and that is the night owl a morning person.

Gina, I figured a morning person, which I am as well in jeans the night out and run a check so you know, one of the pictures like a paint here's you know it's 10 11 o'clock at night I'm ready to go to bed.

I can even put two words together and I lay down and Jean says can we talk for minute and I like never going anywhere but down the toilet. Are you listening Kimberly fell sleep last night. I was telling you about my girlfriend experience that right yes yes we have meat pretty early on that if there was going to be any kind of serious conversation that it needed to happen before 10 PM going night when we were in bed and he where were embed the lights out. He's like starting to unburden to me, something he struggling with a real struggle, something that we would typically have a conversation right now.

We had been married several years.

At this point we can work through a lot about spots that should be said, but I nothing left. So I was like honey do you want me to draw you out or can I just tell you what your sinners you help will I knew it was like 1130 right and so is burdening me just tell me my Cindy just tell me I need your insight but that's and I wouldn't start relationships there. You want to build to ablation encores in the comedy of it and knowing each other well enough to know when to pop this big point and you know want some feedback that's that's really knowing your spouse well enough to know when will I get the highest response rate, right, and that's part of the tool proper timing.

Here's is knowing one another. Sometimes it's reading the person's had a really hard day and you know what this can wait till tomorrow or this can wait till the weekend so that I get him or her at their best to supplying the tool proper timing really avoid so many unnecessary places of conflict and if this even established healthy communication habits so it can be done expediently and you can kind of go past all of the. The guardrails that you put out to make sure that the communication goes well. Inking is you can just get to it. But you're on the same page right at the end.

Here Robin Gina. When asked both of you.

Just to circle back to those early years in those difficulties.

Prayer, which I said probably his most important, but it's close second would be forgiveness and I can only imagine many people listening right now.

If there are in the you know the pit of despair with their marriage. They are not communicating well, the kind where you were on day six. There's a reason people listening right now were in that spot there thinking I married the wrong person.

Everything you both thought about 25 years ago. How do you apply forgiveness effectively rather than superficially. If I could sit that way and to be honest, I've done it both ways were I know you're forgiven John that's okay fine, but I haven't really done it there something bubbling still. But I don't want to deal with it, and in marriage that can happen frequently luscious get past it. Not really forgiving and the nurse true forgiveness were honey I didn't know I didn't take that offensively to speak to that dynamic and really that specific person listening right now dying in their marriage gift the time to do it the best way to go about it is to deal with your own sin first, because if you can come to a place where you realize that I will never need to forgive my spouse more than what I have been forgiven in Christ, then you can come to a place where you can extend forgiveness and be genuine about it.

Gina let me push a little on that the wife that is saying you know my husband is probably far worse than Rob was ever an and again I'm just trying to tease out that person listening that has that hard heart to even say that it may even be true but you have to grapple with that and understand the like you said Jesus is done for each one of us. He has an you may be in a worse place than we were and your husband may be much worse.

We are and and you may be in a place where you may be in danger.

And you need to seek shelter and safety before you can do any of these things, but I want to encourage women who might be in a position like that to not give up hope you have a God who is created the universe who is holding everything together for him and by your body is being held together by his well he can do a work and you wheat, you know, we don't even have to be willing. He says in his word.

We just have to want to be welling while and then he will work.

See you even have to get yourself to a place of willingness you just have to get yourself to play them. I want to be willing Lord to see where my sin is in the situation I want to be willing to forgive my husband of all of these things that feels so I'm forgivable and unsurmountable want to be willing Lord, and you lay that out before the Lord and that is like a feast and he can do so much with that. I so appreciate that in the course. The shoe can be on the other foot, we talked about the wounded wife but husbands can have their wounds as well and I want to make sure we recognize that the Robin Gina what a great discussion. I'm so glad you know when you think about it. Your desire to stay committed the fact that divorce was never an option for you. I so appreciate better now 25 years later, know your marriage is in a much better place and that's one of things I was talking to Jane just yesterday about couples that I know that have given up so early because I hit a Valley and didn't have the capacity to get through that valley, and to see the next mountaintop and there are can be those kind of vacillating mountaintop experiences, battle experiences, marriage, and for young married couples are to hang in there. Do not give up because it the longer you stay together in a Christ oriented relationship, the deeper it goes, the better it gets. And it's hard to see that when you're in that difficult spot, but it's true and you guys have done a great job expressing that today. Let me say the listeners. If you're in that position and you're really wanting to do the deeper gardening of your relationship, your marriage, get the weeds up just use all the metaphors. This a great book with these words, it's not complex. It just helps you to understand communication and the idea that you need to avoid that responsive nature that's in our flesh and be more Christlike in how you respond to your wife or your husband is simple but hard to do you get in touch and get a copy of this book with these words five communication tools for marriage and life and when you're online or have a some phone asked butter free marriage assessment will help you see some strengths and maybe an area or two to grow in that's immediate and you can access that online of the link is in the episode notes were number is 800 K and the word family. Also, let me just mention as we often do, if you can send a gift of any amount Focus on the Family to be part of the ministry will send you a copy of Rob's great book with these words.

As our way of saying thank you for partnering with us at Focus on the Family.

If you can afford it were to trust others will cover the cost of that. It's such a good basic marriage tool that want to get it in your hands. So, let us know. Either way, a partner with focus and will send you the books, I think you can afford it will trust others will provide for and once again our phone number is 880 family or donate the book when you click the link in the episode, Robin Gina, thanks for being with us. Thank you for the conversation and thanks so much for having the privilege to be here. Thank you on 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 is once more help you and your family thrive in Christ you're asking people to define the word appreciate it's like when something goes up in value. It's telling someone they did a good job Focus on the Family invite you to give a gift, appreciate when you give a non-cash gift of stock, bonds or mutual funds. You will avoid capital gains tax action and help families thrive for generations to come. Find out more about non-cash gift. Just visit planned

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