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Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
December 3, 2021 5:00 am

Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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December 3, 2021 5:00 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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Family helped me by giving me hope when my marriage was gone and hard and gave me a reason to push forward Jennifer almost gave up after her husband's affair. But today they're still married. There's always more to learn and I'm always another go on Jim Daly this season. Help us give families Hope and when you get today. Your donation will be doubled donated whenever I think about what it means for me to be a husband. What does Jenny need for me she needs me to be to be a friend to her that walked alongside her all throughout what she needs me to be a partner that shares the busyness of life with her and that she needs the intimacy of what love looks like. That's Kevin Thompson and you'll hear more from him today on this best of 2021 episode of Focus on the Family. Thanks for joining us your hostess focus president and author Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller marriage is at the very heart of what we do here Focus on the Family it's the foundation on which family is built. It's a beautiful picture of the gospel and it's important to God. And it's important to us every day. We help couples with challenges in their marriages.

That's just a reality of being in such an intimate relationship with someone it's hard work and there are bumps in the road. Inevitably when you stay the course, you can have a wonderful marriage and today we want to help you explore and better understand your role as a spouse in order to make your marriage strong, resilient and thriving and pastor Kevin Thompson has some great insights and tools to achieve just that he does and that Kevin is the married life pastor at Bayside church which is just outside of Sacramento, California and his wife Jenny have two children Ella and Silas, and he regularly meets with and counsels couples. He's also marriage and parenting conference speaker and the author of several books, one of which you'll hear about today, friends, partners and lovers what it takes to make your marriage work, and we have that here at focus. Just give us a call.

Our numbers 800 the letter in the word family were checked. The episode notes for all the details.

Let's jump in now.

Jim is your greeting Kevin here now. Best of 2021 conversation on Focus on the Family. Welcome back to like 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 shore.

What was their secret for 70 years of marriage using the JoAnn they were both in the military.

They never had children that she never went to church until in their 70s. 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 was 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 numbers, 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 service. JoAnn wasn't in the better shape.

So she ran home to get it as were similar 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 lover how beautiful is that she came back with pumpkin bread. She walked in I missed JoAnn. We rest. Mr. Eugene was the QB married 70 years and she said I'll tell them every day that you love them right. Is that right is about six months later 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 for 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 of 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 and 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 on this 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 wheat 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 there are also given a task and 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 leaves right before his horse and you were right, what did marriage look like 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 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. That 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 a 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 your 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 like 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. It's 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 tomatoes, like a house that friendship is the foundation or support the walls and in the roof. It is really intimacy that protects you, but one of my kids were little, I love you Donald someone that took them and 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 often and then they go about the things and also the woman say what's with the six letter word for this. He put his paper down and and look at what was taking place and I thought was beautiful imagery of what friendship is like. As you're walking side-by-side to life together you're experiencing life together within your bringing back to the couple don't what 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. I need to experience life that 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.

And since 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 Sam think about you day or two I'm in what I've done. Does that count. But even this morning. You know, being in beautiful Colorado Springs. I shot a picture the mountains and send them to Jenny and Unocal. That's love part of its jealousy thing right this playfulness and come into that beautiful picture and and 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 unit 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. You 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 their body. 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 all prepared by 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 as good things are happening and we go to coworker we tell them and Ora struggles 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 in 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, the very first person you turn to in good and bad and then beyond that, there's a variety of things I do the simplest recommendation I give the couples all the times take a walk together to get you walking as you walk. I think would take a walk together, absolutely. I think this picture of friendship being side-by-side in life. Think about that.

The things that you do side-by-side with me. I play golf you write 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 unhealthy notes with friendships outside of marriage, what, what's a good approach.

And so your spouse especially should be your best friend of Vanessa, let's create NetSuite's 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 wife 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 from 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 ride the lightning unnecessarily enjoy hanging around with every friend of hers, but it does mean that her friendship to me is so important.

She's got to be first, and she can have a deep info packet 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 going to touch negative what 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 that were distraught 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 told me 20 years ago about this idea partnership out of and like all that's kind of cold.

We know what's the point of 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 is that it's this idea that every single day. There is 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 we 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 and 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 use 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 of it. 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 it's 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 had 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 serenity that this when spouse knows that'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 and hold the roof up that rooftop of intimacy when I really think the idea you think that you are start a business and you are going with a business partner who would you want as a business partner. You want somebody who's going up. You have 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 in work 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 food can show up on the table. They just know what can happen is just magically appear right well they 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 it'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 is just on the couch.

Well 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 when a parent-child exist. You need professional help when I 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 rating 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 are 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 at all. The hand that I know yes some kind of touch of some sort, and that the man needs to reciprocate that 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 in its complex. We just very lightly, playfully, and so we kept on walking. Sally had me awake. She just touch me. I've touch back as they know that the back closet taught me so I just look for just touch on the shoulder right. He's was interesting.

Looking back on of the power of nonsexual touch and the importance of fat 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 I 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 even 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 all read them and then you can just give us a highlighter to humility, respect, mercy, communication and resilience say I mean 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 were to make whatever 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 the small town. What happens if somebody sees Iglesias good Soviet guy like that and so it is this idea will will account for that. That's down the office in our church hallway and and all auto 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 an inspiring message and what great insights from Pastor Kevin Thompson on this best of 2021 episode of focus on family and this is really content that any couple in any season of marriage can use.

Absolutely John and let me turn to our listener.

I hope you know Focus on the Family is here for you as I said at the top of this program. Your marriage is important to us and it's important to God.

And that's why we have great resources like Kevin's wonderful book, friends, partners and lovers what it takes to make a marriage work. Yeah.

And when you donate today. A gift of any amount will send a copy of that book to you as our way of saying thank you for doing ministry with us that when you order that both refocus the proceeds go right back into helping couples on the verge of divorce families in crisis.

Bewildered parents, frightened mothers considering abortion and others who just need a touch of hope as Christmas approaches you can share that hope as well as the healing the peace the grace and the joy that Jesus Christ came to give each one of us through your support of Focus on the Family. You can come alongside those who are struggling and give families hope and now through special year and matching opportunity. Your gift is going to be double dollar for dollar God will use your gift to bring healing and redemption to twice the number of families so on behalf of the families you'll be reaching through focus on the family in 2022. Let me save thank you donate and get your copy of friends, partners and lovers. All the details are in the show's on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for listening to Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back. As we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ. I was shocked when she gave me the divorce papers. I was so time I had reached my breaking point. I was desperate for a shred of hope.

So I called the hope restored team. It Focus on the Family they they listen to me and they asked about what was happening in my marriage. They encouraged me and my wife to attend one of their marriage intensive's for couples in crisis and they prayed with us.

They help me believe that my marriage could be saved agreed to go but was skeptical that anything can help us but the whole environment was so safe and nonjudgmental, high-tech and open up as we went with the counselors. Both of us still have work to do in her marriage but for the first time in a long time we have hope again Focus on the Family's hope restored marriage intensive program has helped thousands of couples who thought that their marriage went over find out which program is right for you and hope

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