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Maximizing the Happiness in Your Marriage (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
October 29, 2021 6:00 am

Maximizing the Happiness in Your Marriage (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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October 29, 2021 6:00 am

Shaunti Feldhahn reveals from her extensive research some simple attitudes and actions that can help your marriage thrive. (Part 2 of 2)

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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 of.

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 today on Focus on the Family Schonfeld shares some simple ways to improve your marriage like this. Another little sign that really matter to show your love for your wife with things like texting her or leaving her voicemail during the day just how much you care about our new women's that is literally you'll take seconds and send that text message right when you're thinking of that to say you know I can't wait to come home to you.

I love you so much said things like, I saved that voicemail. No little thing guys doesn't matter to hear more ideas from her guests, but you can try today your hostess book as president and author Jim Daly and on John Fuller John as we explained less time shocked.

He felt has spent years studying the research findings from thousands of married couples and has interviewed hundreds of couples who have extremely strong and happy relationships. As Chante believes that the best way to have a good marriage is to copy what happy couples are already doing and that's what she's sharing with us again today.

This will be a very encouraging message for couples who are in a pretty good place but just need a tuneup if you need more serious help. Please give us a call and will help you navigate that you and again the number to contact is 800 the letter a in the word family and let me mention that this content is covered in Chante's book which we have here the surprising secrets of highly happy marriages will years. Chante felt on speaking at a convened conference for Christian business leaders in Southern California on today's Focus on the Family next topic next little thing that we found secret of the happy couples. I want to tackle this one actually cracked me up because this is a perfect example of where happy couples said to do sometimes is at complete odds with what actually dead when Jeff and I were doing the research and you know we would one of the ways that we would arrange interviews was if we were going to speak and particular city.

We would tell the organizer you know the honorarium the travel expenses like we got all back and oh by the way, because were in the middle of this research project. One of the other things we need to do is to have you arrange three or four interviews, hour-long interviews with one of the couples in your church. That's the most happily married couple and that we can interview this would dig into their lives and what their story was we wanted to get over at the very beginning before we dug into what their habits were to find out what their advice was because these happily married couples are asked for their advice all the time so we wanted to get it out on the table so to get it over with. Like think your secrets of why you're so happily married. Our which is full almost always one of the top three was it's really important to not go to bed mad to really really important to not go to bed now and so I would always say oh yes, absolutely, I totally agree.

But do you ever go to bed mad principal.

You know when we tell young couples that we do premarital counseling know as I get it I get the really important principle but that's not actually what I'm asking Mr. and Mrs. happy couple.

What I really want to know is whether you personally do you ever go to bed mad times we tell people this is like and then finally we would say no. I just want to know do you go to bed mad and they always said yes we found out of the thousand couples in the study group we found three of the happy couples that said they never went to bed that because in reality what they had learned is that there were times where you have to upset, exhausted, angry people were trying to do something one in the morning at some point. Nothing good is going to come from that point on right and then we found what I thought was one of the biggest aha moments. The most important pieces of this puzzle. It turns out the most important thing is that what they did the night before.

The most important things. What they did. The next day it turns out that when you wake up in the morning the time your find that having a good night sleep so to solve the thing and you wake up and you're like, what was that about right, but they found that issue was still there the next day he couples didn't let it go. They addressed it. I will tell you that this was an occasion of great angst for me as I was recognizing what I was hearing because in every single one of these other studies. What we found. Through this rigorous scientific approach backed up with the Bible had said all along, we found the exact same thing Scripture is been saying all along only in this one. I was really conflicted because all those happy couples all referenced Ephesians. Don't let the sun go down on your anger, it's really important in all of the sun go down your anger. They all said that and so I was really wrestling with this is both a social scientist and a follower of Jesus, and finally a pastor who is also a counselor when I was explaining how conflicted I was. He started laughing. He's like to show you something, and he pulled out that verse in Ephesians and is is old-fashioned printed Bible as opposed to the ones it's on your phone right. And if you look and he said look at this and he pulled out that Ephesians is Ephesians 426 I think first of all, just as a quick aside passage in Ephesians is even referring to marriage, it's referring to living in community and all that but setting that aside from pulling out his his paper Bible.

He pointed to that verse and he said look at that little carrot sometimes you see in the Bible's little star a little cross references to another Scripture there's a tie there. I never noticed this before, but Paul when he was saying this he was actually quoting a verse in the Old Testament he was quoting a verse in the Psalms to his audience, which is audience would have been very familiar with in the context of the overall verses in your anger do not sin. Don't let the sun go down on your anger came, he was quoting Psalms for four.

He was quoting Psalms for four Psalms 44 says in your anger do not sin. Think about it overnight and remain silent, and so the apparent issue is in your anger don't seem if you need to do count one in the morning to not sin your anger do they think about it overnight so you don't say your anger do that because that was one of the things that a lot of the happy couples have found is that somebody would say something that they regretted the next morning someone would agree to something that they felt like railroaded into and they resented the next day and that in reality that there is a benefit in waiting and actually getting a good night sleep and that if the issue is still there to deal with it now. I will make a little note all the husbands in the room for your wife if he equivalent of the black cloud of doom is hanging over your head when it's late at night and you're arguing you may be able to click that often go to sleep.

She's good to be staring at the ceiling all night.

Okay, it's really important before you go to sleep to resolve that by being able to say look were okay. We just I need to sleep, but were okay so just a quick note about that okay moving on next topic that we found was really really impactful so I want to tell you an example of a couple that we talked to who did something and then ask you to diagnose me tell you this little story.

When I ask you to diagnose what he was doing so I would always ask these couples was kind of fun actually. The happy couples. I would always ask them to take me through their last argument. Their last fight and hope that you know we were causing marriage problems when they drove away from talking to us, but one of the guys this is a very typical situation when we said take us to the last fight he sells to you something.

This happened a few days ago. He had apparently been working really long hours like 70, 80 hour weeks because his company was trying to land this big deal this big contract and it was all culminating in on Thursday morning at like 6 o'clock in the morning he was going to get on the plane and go to some other city and sign this massive contract. So, weeks and weeks and weeks there is a way of getting on a plane on Wednesday he'd been working so many hours he had the time to get to the dry cleaners as we had no clean shirts for this trip and so his wife and three little kids and so he called his wife multiple times and said look, if you are you sure you to be able to get the dry cleaners as if you can't I can but I have to accept no shirts for this trip. She's like yes yes it's fine I'm he's like are you sure you called her three times offer three times because he said she could be a will start praying and forget the things and running around the kids. No no I got it I got it, he said. I arrived home at 10 o'clock at night to find the dry cleaners was closed and she forgotten to get the shirts and he said I was so mad I said okay what you do like this when I always have to diagnose what's going on is like you know you don't when you know what I was thinking like yes I do want to know exactly what your big and so here's what he said he didn't like. I went stomping downstairs.

I was so upset. Apparently he does carpentry like that sort of a way of like a hobby or whatever place I went stomping downstairs my workshop and down there with the pieces awarded. I got a rubber mallet and pounding the wood together and I'm like okay what you thinking when he said I'm thinking I'm still serious because I asked her three things she does this all the time he was like explaining this and then he said, but not really fair because I know the kids were sick in the baby was no need to go to the doctor and she had to stand in line at the pharmacist's office and then have to go all the way across town for the other medicines and was going on and on and on and and then she know she has to go to the grocery store, and make us dinner and she makes his dinner no matter what's going on every night to make sure to make dinner, no matter how late I'm home and she's such a good wife and one being such a jerk to see what he did notice for me what he just do wasn't to study for gave her. He started thinking about the positive to talk himself out of being something that we found the happy couples did not universally but in huge numbers that they focused on the things that were good and excellent and lovely and worthy of praise, rather than the things that were worthy of driving them crazy. Ephesians 4823 Philippians 48. My favorite verses in the Bible cite Philippians 48 in the middle of something that was a legitimate concern. They focused on the good things to talk themselves out of being mad. This was to me. This was a powerful powerful surprise. A powerful mechanism because it is so easy for us when we are upset legitimately upset and legitimately angry. We can is not just that we can stew on something.

It's truly that we can talk ourselves further and further and further into being upset about this and further and further and further into hopelessness when instead answer can be as close as finding the good that is there all along and focusing on the fact even though this thing is still out here focusing on that thing that's going to change our minds every bit as real as a thing that's driving us crazy, incredibly important for us to sort of put that type of thinking On where upset and the problem is, is when were set us when we least want to do that right when where upset is when it's really easy to want to wallow in being upset. So the question is you want to wallow or do you want a happy marriage because it looks like those two things are mutually exclusive and it makes all the difference in the world if you will focus on the positive.

I'll give you a little example of this. So Jeff and we had many marriage issues in years past, because I am unfortunately in our marriage. I am the messy one and Jeff is the neat one. And so for any of you women out here who are the neat ones and you're frustrated that your husband is messy at times. Can I just beg for grace on the part of the messy person in the relationship because it's just not a thing for me it's just I didn't get Jean and I hope my mom never sees this video, but like my mom is the most amazing, wonderful human being on the planet.

But she did know how to keep things neat either.

So I never learned that literally when I was 12 years old. We were out walking the neighborhood and we came home to find police cars in front of our home and another neighbor, a friend had come over to have a couple coffee or something and had called the police because she thought her house had been ransacked.

I never learned how to keep a neat house and I try. It's not that bad know I try but He Would Dr., Jeff absolutely crazy that I would pilot male on the island or whatever. You know the kids Legos and toys to be over the keno living room floor, or my shoes would be sitting in the kitchen ready had no right to be or whatever and he would just thought DMC so much he would pray and ask God help me figure out how to deal with this and then one day he felt like the Lord said, look at those Legos look at those shoes look at that mail stacked up on the island. Yeah that Tracy crazy but that's a sign that you have a wonderful wife who adores you and to little kids who think you are the best thing ever and you could be living in it perfectly neat pristine apartment back in Boston and be all alone and how grateful you should be that even though yeah the stuff drives you crazy. Think about how grateful you are that that's a sign that you have a wife, you prayed for and to little kids that you love and who love you and he said it completely took away that malaise that black cloud of doom that was about that issue and I would encourage you guys whatever that issue is that drives you crazy when you get into an argument, stop yourself the next time and look for those things that are excellent and lovely and worthy of praise, and focus on that, you'll find that it actually stops the train of thought even for get started okay final thing so one of the one of the other topics.

Really simple is it, we found that no matter what the happy couples how they viewed each other all the things that they did. One of the primary things that they considered about the other person was. They considered that their spouse with their best friend and no matter what, they created their spouse first and foremost like a vast friendship now. Studies have been done on what makes somebody best friends. What are the things that actually make you able to be best friends with somebody, the great and the studies have found the greatest predictor of friendship is absolutely not what you would think it is if I would ask you guys the greatest predict what you think the greatest predictor of friendship as you probably say the same things that I did because I would've said no no shared attitudes, similar temperaments, similar values, you know those kinds of things and instead those are red, distant second, third and fourth the number one predictor of friendship is geographic proximity. You are the best friends of the people you see most often, and we all know that's true because we've all had really really close friends who moved away or we moved away and you still care about each other is to let each other be some see each other as often.

You're just not as intimate. You're not us close and works the exact same way marriage is the most happily married couples regardless and they were there were couples who were deployed there couple who traveled away from each other for business all the time in this group, regardless of what their lifestyle was they made it a point to treat each other like best friends who had to see each other or talk or communicate often in order to escape their friendship with each other tight. And this is honestly one of the things that happens when you get into tension with the other person.

It's really easy to want to avoid the other person so you avoid the conflict and actually that's the worst thing that you can do happy couples instead of avoiding the temptation to avoid each other. They spent more time together, not less, to rebuild their friendship and final little example, I was talking to one of the women who had been in a really, really troubled marriage to me to the play that they were really seriously considering divorce and the only thing keeping them together was they had three little kids and they didn't want to give up on the sow they made before God and she said I looked at her calendar and I looked at how much time each week. These three little kids were very busy and they were very busy. I looked at how much time each week we spent together just talking just hanging out as friends the way we used to kind of not dealing with enough schedules and logistics but just talking. She said it was about 15 minutes a week were having these marriage problems.

We anymore we don't like each other as she looked at her schedule and she said what can I do to change and there was very little without rearranging everything, but she realized twice a week. Her husband took her seven-year-old to T-ball practice twice a week. She said there is no reason in the world that I have to load up the two younger children to drive with him to T-ball twice a week except that is 20 minutes there on the way and 20 minutes back twice a week. She said at the beginning. That is all she changed and it completely change their marriage because they were now spending extra 40 minutes.

Those two days just talking and sharing and catching up. They started to like each other again and that one thing allowed the spark of a lot of the other things that had to happen in order to restore their marriage. I would really encourage you to look from. If you have a good marriage want to make a great spend more time together. If you have a marriage is struggling in some areas spend more time together just as friends. You'll see the difference it makes him so I really think you guys for coming to this.

I know were at a time.

I really really hope guys realize everything that we said limits leave you with this note. This is not everything that we set a whole piece. How incredibly simple these things are even just one of will make a big difference. So my suggestion for you is don't try to do them all. Just pick one and you see the difference that concludes a presentation on Focus on the Family featuring sheltie filled John, this is been such a great two-part message from shortly. Let me recap the main points for those who tuned in late based on a research with thousands of married couples sheltie offered the simple ideas to improve your marriage for wives. She noted that men need to feel respected and appreciated so thanking your husband for everyday tasks is very important. Saying things like, thank you for changing that lightbulb or that one hits home. Actually benefit your marriage.

Chante also noted that men have an emotional need to feel sexually desired by their wives is not just a physical thing, so wives need to think of that is a high priority for husbands/aunt explained that most women feel very insecure about how lovable they are. So whenever there is tension or conflict in your relationship. It's important for men to reassure their wives that they still love them. In spite of the current difficulty. Chante provided some great insights into the Bible verse that says don't let the sun go down on your anger, which results in lots of couples fighting until the wee hours of the morning a pastor pointed out, that's actually a reference to Psalm 44 which says in your anger do not sin. Think about it overnight and remained silent.

He said the emphasis is on not sending when you're angry and it's okay to think about it overnight if that's what you need and Chante found that most of the extremely happy couples were able to do exactly that. Set the argument aside for the night and sleep on that is really good advice and I think certainly we experience some of the dynamic where we felt obligated to fix the conflict right there in the mirror into work it out. Even though we were too tired to think straight or to feel right exactly. Chante also pointed out that we can talk ourselves into being mad at her spouse by stewing about their faults or we can talk ourselves out of being angry by remembering their best characteristics we can choose to emphasize the positive intermarriages or point in Chante's final example was that we should treat our spouse like we would our best friend and press into the relationship when times are tough.

We need to resist the temptation to punish your spouse by avoiding them in creating distance in our marriage. That is never helpful. What say she's right, boost mobile personally for what I like that best friend analogy because if you treat your spouse like your best friend you will give them the benefit of the doubt because you trust them. That's why your best friends in the course were talking here about marriages that are generally healthy, not abusive.

If you're in that kind of situation. Please give us a call for a free consultation with one of her current Christian counselors we have lots of help here for the kind of situation are numbers 800 litter a word family or follow the links in the show notes and let me encourage everyone to visit us online and check out our free marriage assessment tool.

It's a fun quiz that will help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your relationship so that you can enhance your marriage in the areas that you need help in almost 1 million people are taken, the assessment and were so glad we can provide insights into relationships and supply follow-up resources that will help that's only possible because of the generosity of you are donors. We are so thankful for you and if you'd like to support marriages through Focus on the Family. Let me encourage you to become a monthly donor.

Any amount, large or small, is a great help to us, especially when it's on a consistent monthly basis and when you make a monthly pledge of any amount I'd like to send you a copy of Chante's book the surprising secrets of highly happy marriages.

It is chalk full of simple helpful ideas like you heard today and if you can't make a monthly commitment. Right now we understand that we can send the book to you for a one-time donation of any amount and you can do that when you call 800 litter a word family, 800-232-6459 or donate online and the link is in the show notes.

Remember to check out our free marriage assessment when you're at our website.

It really is about where you're doing well in your relationship in the area or to half of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for this Focus on the Family podcast if you would please take a few minutes podcast currently were waiting for so others can discover this podcast tell a friend listening as well on John Fuller and Bonnie back once more.

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