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Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
December 8, 2021 5:00 am

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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December 8, 2021 5:00 am

Based on their book "Marriage Triggers," Amber and Guy Lia discuss common, everyday things – from house cleaning and backseat driving to workaholism and lack of intimacy – which can provoke anger and tension in marriage. Our guests explain how couples can identify those 'triggers' and deal with them in a healthy way. Jim Daly's wife, Jean, joins the conversation. (Part 1 of 2)

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Tony really struggled in his marriage and his wife seemed incompatible and headed toward divorce and together through to work it out to go to distant on Jim Daly this season. Help us give families hope and when you get today. Your donation will be doubled donated focusonthefamily.com/joy.

So I had to do the cleaning house I have my idols and my thinking and it had to start listening. If the light has to looking me to work on how I was going to let that because regardless of whatever guy did or didn't do, even if he listening it did not mean I had to.

And so I had to start being humble and saying okay what trying to fix him is networking that's inwardly and this is a best of 20, 21 Focus on the Family presentation all about marriage and Amber and her husband Guy will be sharing how to de-escalate have a more peaceful relationship with your spouse, your hostess focus president and Dr. Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller, John. It's pretty normal for marriages to experience the ebb and flow of relationship you have those beautiful days those wonderful moments, and then you have the maybe not so wonderful moments like to tell you again where the milk is so Star Wars the irritating things right here some encouragement from the book of Hebrews Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and tomorrow maybe not you or your spouse.

But Jesus is not something to stand on, no matter what things look like your spouse today. Rest in the fact that we have an unchanging God who is willing to comfort you and help you and transform your marriage. Today were going to bravely trudge through some areas that might be a little uncomfortable. The triggers in your marriage. Every marriage has them and all of us need God's help to get through those things and kinda mature so this triggers don't trigger us right and I've asked Jean my wonderful wife and accountability partner.

I think it's wonderful that we have Jean along with us in a guy and Amberly are relationship coaches and co-owners of faith and family production company in Los Angeles and been married 14 years and have four boys and the written book together called marriage triggers exchanging spouses angry reactions for gentle biblical responses and we have that here the ministry give us a call 880 family were stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast get your copy welcome each and every one of you know, I'm really looking forward to this. I think it's one of the core communication issues in marriage. How do we not trigger each other how to better understand those triggers and were going to get into that guy and Amber you came up with the idea so let's start with you. You describe your marriage as triggered from the start that sounds a little frightening. Why was that the case and did you enjoy it little bit of a honeymoon. The word little men. Not very long. Things move very very quickly for us when we we got married within within a couple months we got pregnant and so we didn't have that time to develop ourselves and get to know our identity as a young married couple. We quickly shifted directly into parenting and you know the extra room that was going to be the fun room suddenly turned into the babies room and you know all this should my wife is a wonderful planner and so she shifted into high gear planning mode and painting and all the things I'm like wait a minute what is evidence of your growth.

The fact that you just said she's a wonderful planner. It sounded so heartfelt is to be like me and she plans everything.

I still as I will be a thing.

Those are one of the differences we have in a relationship is she very much is the planner and she thinks 10 steps ahead and I'm very happy's thinking one or two steps ahead and being in the moment and so we we have to continually find that balance for ourselves.

So I get the baby part but before that even there were other stressors going on for the newlyweds listening that may be going on my goodness that's my wife or that's my husband is other stressors.

Opposites attract, and there is some truth to that, but it also creates a lot of everyday practical problems and when you're in a friendship and dating and then you get married living with one another is a different beast, and even early on to Smith, for example, we wait, I wanted to play in our new apartment, a wall of portraits you know I'm letting you make room for when baby comes on planner and I thought we will measuring guy will do all the hammering USC football game plan is different at the time because we didn't at the time have the communication skills to work through those things together, which we want to offer people hope that that is possible at the time we went we were just triggered and easily provoked anger, and so we were reacting instead of responding to each other and that kind of went downhill from things happen then to the wall pictures and what will all done in the game got watched part of it so very happy at their place in the book so still it still exists is one of those days was a penalty from both became convinced that you'd married the wrong person. That's a big statement I married Mr. Ronald for sure.

He married Ms. all wrong. We got it all wrong.

I used to think well I believe in God's sovereignty, but politeness was a mistake. I really felt that way early on. Even I left and a lot of the time. I liked him. We had so many triggers that I wondered how is this can happen how we can navigate this for the rest of our lives and it wasn't until God started working on me personally after I nagged and argued and yelled for a really long time and that didn't work. The Lord eventually started to Amber you are Ms. all wrong and he's Mr. Ronco that's because nobody is perfect. There is no perfect person, except for Jesus Christ and so as long as you continue to be prideful and argue you are not going to live life to the full, or have the marriage that I designed because then she say I do you do become a match made in heaven and sell that's what I had to come to know that we made a vow God did bring us together.

He is wrong I'm wrong, but that's because were P2 people that are sinful.

We need to yield to being perfected in Christ day by day and that's what is right for each other member is you describe that one of the things that certainly dreaming I've encountered you and Dana. Jonah probably encountered this too.

It's hard to like it said this way.

Get your fingers out of your ears because I think we get into the habit in her marital relationships were more pain your causing me. The more trigger your causing me the harder I stuff my fingers in my ears because I don't hear it and it is the exact opposite of what the Lord wants from you write access blinders. It filters us to not being able to hear or see that is a fork in the road in your relationship you decide that's where you want to live in constant conflict.

Amber came up with this wonderful principle that I think is one of the pivotal things in her book and in our marriage is the development of a me first attitude at first thought that sounds, I prideful me. First I want to get what I want. It's actually the flip of that. It's the if I want my wife to be more loving than I need to start with me and I need to be more loving if I want her to be more understanding and compassion about my needs.

I need to show her that compassion and understanding of her needs first.

Be first, and it changes everything was a good foundation and obviously let's go to some of the triggers in the book as I want to hit those lists and you can come back next time to really keep this discussion going and you must tell the world about all my is but one thing you identified with and Jean said that's one for me to use when the house is a mess. That's a trigger house at a trigger that I mean are guy and I triggering this and you and Jean every marriage is unique. Right because he's got two unique personalities to make up a unique marriage personality, but for a lot of couples we found that one or the other is more bothered by clutter or dirtiness which are to even think sometimes the house is very clean.

Wives will tell their husbands in the you know are coming after being gone from work in the house is clean is just cluttered everything I'm trying really hard but so for kyanite. He's not as bothered or triggered by clutter as I am.

And when you're home a lot like I was with our kids when they were young, a lot of couples will tell us this is such a problem, and so I had to disrupt that habit of being reacting, being quick to anger, and I believe God when he said be slow to anger, you know, be quick to listen and I had to say okay brass what can we do together to tackle this email put some things in place communicates part of it was just me practically having to get some better storage bins for teaching the kids to take on a little bit more responsibility at your biggest trigger overwhelmed by the time triggers that you have but take one at a time and we would do that. Let the consul clutter is not working for me. What can we do to strategize together. I want to keep reacting. Want to be more proactive if I can see from my side of things. You know I was working really intense job word be at work 10 to 12 hours a day I come home and Amber Scott you know two or three for kids at home that this time it was three kids to them still in diapers and I come home and could barely open the door because there's like toys all over the floor. You know, and I'm walking into that going like I just got off work and I should come in the house that's clean and ready and you not to be frustrated or I wouldn't say anything and I would I would allow that trigger to kinda bubble up and me and it would immediately push me towards frustration anger right away. But until I gained a full understanding of what her day was like with those kids in the house by herself without a lot of friends all in on this new neighborhood that we had moved into until I had a better understanding of what her days were like I was treated very quickly and so once we had a better understanding of that and allowed me to be more understanding of walking into that knowing I went to a job loss allow that wound a good thing in me and God used it for good, because he was home and see how difficult it lies things better for let me ask God for those spouses who who can't walk in those shoes then who do have that stressful job and are stressed out. Well I can as Jim as well.

Down by letter in the chaos, what advice do you have for them. I want to say that it's really simple one, but I just think that you have to have an understanding of what your spouse with their day is like and what they're going through. And again it goes back to me first attitude a little bit when you are concentrating on yourself to get about what your attitude is going into something I think you can get a better understanding of what you're walking into with your health. Even call me on the way home working on the habit of doing just to get Alanna Landfield for the environment. He was walking into so he could prepare himself mentally. Take a moment neither in traffic or write out front of the house while in the car just house a goal and wanted to know I the home of Dean is what you want.

I knew that I was looking more like military communication is yourself for the land that was very good of the ladies on this house being clean thing was go to guy one guy when it comes to us being triggered big backseat driving terrible thing is to backseat driver, absolutely.

But we work through that good. I'm glad I was there an early you had a thriving link with the two of you.

What happened will respond yeah so we live in Los Angeles and it is just crazy is fill every hole. It's traffic for hours. It's just nuts. And on this particular evening we were driving back to the little bit and we were. I was changing lanes and someone in front of me just changed right in front of me and caused me to have to jerked the wheel to get out of the way and Amber immediately was like what you doing you should drive like that in this immediately lash out at me like it wasn't me. It was heaven.

I'm trying to be defensive and take his question didn't swerve. Would you have been hit. Oh, absolutely. Okay. However, the principal's witnesses working on that night is successor, but neither is the truth is the habit of mine, not just in danger.

I was always telling him how to drive. I what what I was able to do is to think the best about my wife and realize that she wasn't lashing out at me in my bed driving. She was actually lashing out at her sense of safety for our four kids were in the backseat.

Most of the time so she be in the mama bear her concern was safety for them and so that's where her frustration was coming from. So I just had to realize that it wasn't towards me. It was literally about the situation and allowed me to accept any and all that much way and it really changed it still crops up from time to time doesn't work anything marriage. Do you know every day is different so it still comes up in conversation was so constant that we were getting frustrated in the car to drive together a lot for the next half hour for many years. We got to figure this out. So I was like okay I'm in a focus on you.

You're the driver you focus on driving on the passenger. I will work on being a passenger and not a driver and I will try to allow my anxieties to take a backseat. You know yet, but the question is how did you control your tongue.

I bite my tongue literally am not kidding.

I just like bite my tongue a camber.

We started listening to podcasts or books on tape just to distract the instructional driving like a small thing being a backseat to really the perpetual interjections of summons writing it gets to you. It just creates a layer of frustration that you may not even pick up on overtly so now when guys driving I'm in charge of the map and not any hey turkey was to turn now but I still do actually take the scenic route enough to go the way I would go. It's okay. That's good for those just joining us.

The triggers idea is that I'm having a reaction but it's kind of the tip of the iceberg right there something else going on. Perhaps that's coming forth is clear the air freshener fear and anxiety a sense of lack of control even positive change can cause some measure of stress in a relationship where you're more easily set off by things that your book is split up into internal triggers and external transfer reason all those things are encompassed in both of those right and Amber. I can relate to this next trigger.

Actually, I can relate to all the triggers over signing off. I mentioned that you had at struggle with an intimacy idol in your relationship because you didn't feel a lot. Tell us about that. Yes, I had very many preconceived notions and expectations about what our marriage was supposed to look like and fries. I thought it was going to be a lot of security financially white picket guy will go to work.

I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and work from home on occasion, and the Lord, you know he's got all his plans for us are good and they work together for good, but in those early years. I didn't think much of the plans. That guy was making for our family were good, and so I had this idol of closeness and intimacy that he was going to do things my way. We were going to be on the same page and when that didn't happen. It caused me to become really bitter and so no matter what guy would say or do. He couldn't get it right right and that is a really dangerous place to be and it's a painful place to be. What it sets up conflict. Obviously Gina just you know for people to understand your connection with this.

What were you feeling and I think it's rooted in expectations.

That's what you started with absolutely that we have unrealistic expectations and I would say you have the may be the greatest thing that I've learned through marriage is that your spouse cannot read your mind and I can remember being hurt that Jim couldn't read my mind. He didn't know everything that I expected, and if I had to tell them what I was expecting that. That made me angry and until I recognize that is so unfair.

Only Jesus only God could read our sit down with tears house and during the season and say okay this is really what my expectations are for my birthday or we have come home for worker.

These are my expectations for when I come home from work and how can we get the once funny you should bring that up on Berkeley where Jane said to me, I just, you know, I'm not sure you can tell us all motivation behind this, but said you know I really don't want anything for my birthday. I'm good this year. Basically, crisp right attitude Well so birthday comes and you know we have dinner in the next day, I can tell she's not happy.

My what's the matter you didn't even give me a card for my birthday. Well I know what I want you said anything is like a gift card anything but that wasn't quite now and I still we we were and what you have, what I meant was I didn't want Jim to buy me a gift. I didn't want Jim and the boys. By that didn't mean I didn't want homemade cards from the boys that I wanted fully letting you off the boys. My mom, so I will truly after that there I was able to say to Jim okay these are my expectations for my boys to make a handwritten card that you guys had this with Christmas right you second creat document battle right and we were so excited to stockings.

You you guys yeah excited when she said she wanted to stockings of relief said that was to be a tradition of our family because that was something that was a tradition that my family had of the night before Christmas we would always get together open the stockings and it was so much fun but are stockings would be filled with gag gifts and little funny things and just crazy stuff and we do even a white elephant thing where you'd end up sending the bad gift around them and it was so much fun embers stalking for me was filled with cologne and movie tickets and all this wonderful you know oils in different fun things and it was and I was pretty sure that pulling that red feather boa out of my Christmas stocking that we were going to make it to Christmas so thoughtful. All these favorite things in his docking valuable gifts and I had to gift after gag gift and I just thought wow, we are really living in two different planets Amber and Guy and Jean. I just at the end here think it's important to really hone in on that idea of coveting the ideal marriage. Having that high high impossible expectation. I guess Amber that you describe in your book.

I want to again address that. Why is that really one of the most damaging things to American when you have an idol in your thinking and you don't even realize that because your spouse is not living up to your expectations or your marriage or your circumstances. The life that you've created is not the life that you hoped for and prayed for you have a choice to make. At some point in that moment you can continue to be triggered and angry and bitter and you can go down a path toward destruction because Satan is alive and well and he is seeking whom he may devour and were convinced that he was trying to devour us in this early years of our marriage and and even now he still is on the attack but the other option was to recognize that my desire for what I want is either going to become so obsessive that I sin. If I don't have it and that isn't idol in my life because I covet more than putting on humility, compassionate heart, kindness and forgiveness and being open to trusting God with my marriage and my husband and my life and so I had to tear down all those idols of what I wanted and I had to start approaching guy differently and he had to start approaching me differently and ultimately we had to say our lives are not our own. If I am so fixated on guys, you know, ability to make me happy or not, or my circumstances to be ideal. Then I will always be miserable because in this world. I will have trouble.

But Jesus says fear not for I have overcome the world. So I had to do the cleaning house of my idols and my thinking and it had to start with me, that the Lord had to work in me to work on how I was going to love God because regardless of whatever guy did or didn't do, even if he was sending it did not mean that I had to sent and so I had to start being humble trying to fix working so appreciate the transparency from Amber and Guy Lee, today's best of 20, 21 Focus on the Family convicting reminders there, Jim. It really was a very nice to have Jean in on the conversation as well. Well, I do every time James I'm glad she's there with us. I really appreciated Amber and what she was talking about fixing those little problems in your marriage isn't just about praying for your spouse to change. It's about working on your own heart first, and if you get there. Your marriage is going to be in a good place over the long haul and were here to be kind of a drip irrigation system for you and your marriage to help you remember that we want to help you have a strong driving marriage and we know challenges arise, we get that. We also know that sometimes professional help is needed to rescue a marriage.

That's one reason we have our hope restored marriage intensive's and they work in the post to your survey that we do with these couples, 81% are doing better and still married that we could do this type of ministry without you. When you support Focus on the Family through prayer and financial gifts.

You come alongside those couples and so much more here. Focus you give families Hope and when you donate today.

A gift of any amount will send you a copy of Guion Emberley's book marriage triggers exchanging spouses angry reactions for gentle biblical responses and that'll be our way of saying thank you for standing with us to save these marriages and because of a special year and matching opportunity going on right now. Your gift will be doubled dollar for dollar God will use your donation to help bring healing and redemption to twice as many families and were excited to see what God's going to do you have Focus on the Family 2022. Donate your copy of marriage triggers when you call 800 K in word family fortune so notes for the link 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. As we continue this best of 21 conversation with Guion Emberley and Jim Daly as well and once more help you and your family thrive. I was shocked when she gave me the divorce papers.

I was so done 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.

I agreed to go but was skeptical that anything could help us but the whole environment was so safe and nonjudgmental.

I felt my heart open up as we work 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 was over. Find out which program is right for you@hoperestored.com


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