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Embracing Your Unique Love Story

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
March 3, 2022 5:00 am

Embracing Your Unique Love Story

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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March 3, 2022 5:00 am

Rhonda Stoppe is challenging you to remember the spouse you dreamed of being on your wedding day, to literally write down your love story, and lean on Jesus as your ultimate unfailing love so you can fully embrace the unique love story God has written in your life.

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My husband because he was unlike any other guy I had met so I followed my wife when I was three hours late for my first day with her and she still around it with me. The thought had the exact same sense of humor. I met her. We had a view minutes conversation. I was like wow I could totally marry that girl. I thought that's the kind of guy that I want to marry and it didn't hurt that he was really good looking to go well, you remember what it felt like when you fell in love of maybe your heart started fluttering in your hands got kinda cold and clammy and just the thought of a person of being around just make you smile well as time goes on, and life happens. Sometimes those feelings fade and today on Focus on the Family would be sharing some love stories to help you remove Amber while you fell in love and embrace unique love story, God is writing in your life you still doing it, I'm John Fuller and your hostess Focus on the Family president Jim Daly general never forget that moment I met Jean I was at a friend's wedding as best man at the wedding, the couple getting married there really excited to introduce this but she had come with another guy so she was quite reserved and I was able to dance one dance with her and then I walked back to the table and another friend that was there I looked at him. I said I think that's the woman I'm gonna marry. It took 13 months but that really was the moment I mean I just knew that she was the one.

It was amazing.

Then we went on our first not real day. It wasn't official because Jean was not dating anybody.

This was just a bunch of people getting together four of us married to that night we went to an immigrant concert actually from that night forward. Even though we didn't talk about it. She said that night. I know so is pretty quick for both of us and so much fun. Have a we had a great time meeting on the singles camp out and it took me a few months to convince her that we really should go out on a date we I asked her and she said no. I persisted. We were prayer partners. For a while it worked pretty well and then she did finally agree to start going out and it's been 35 years now.

I can think of the prayer partners they were you praying dear Lord, bring a woman into my life and she's your prayer partner welded together. We had a little motivation going there might've and I think that's okay with well that's so great that our guest today is going to illustrate that kind of romance and talk about how we can keep that plan going even in the different paces of our lives and our guest is Rhonda stopping. She is a pastor's wife and author, speaker and has 30 years of experience as a marriage mentor and her husband is Steve they have four grown children and 10 grandchildren and Ron has a great book called real-life romance, inspiring stories to help you believe in true love. That's can be the basis of our conversation today. Rhonda welcome back to Focus on the Family am so excited to be back with you guys you've been sitting there quietly listening to our little giggles in our description anything catch your attention and show that little teaser and then hearing you guys and that's what this real-life romance book is in 30 years of being in youth ministry with my husband. He's been a pastor everywhere in California within the same church for the last 20 years the watch kids grow up and fall in love.

I seen my own kids. Grandma Mary Ellen love you marry them. We do premarital counseling with them so you get CC over and over again. This sweet love stories of people who really pursue Christ first and then he writes their love stories. It's fun to think about when you got me, and I have thought about this but to do premarital counseling to be the couple doing so good for your own marriage. So you had in the early stages of your courtship. I mean that it was kind of a little different.

You were young.

14. I think Steve was older all that you describe that story. But how did you meet Steve. Let's start there. Well it's a long story and I was going to a Christian school in the San Francisco Bay area. He was away at college in Denver.

He came home and his parents had moved to the town where the school was so he kind of with the new guy at church and if you been in a singles group, you know, when a new guy walks fresh me right is usually way more women now okay okay you get the idea behind with the body. And these girls are like, and so he just think it's a very friendly church starts taking these girls out and I'm watching from afar and honestly the first time I ever met in the person ever talk to him. He was working on the buses in the back of the church so I walked in the back of where the school is looking for my sister and he was working on the bus and so I said my sister and he's your sister who she happily dating his brother at the time she's dating about my brother who is banned is given a hard time my mom went in the car my mom was irritated. I like to go. As I walked away.

A fleeting thought marry him on site. I was embarrassed.

I was like, just shy 15 years old think that about any guy on the street and I was like that's embarrassing.

And then I had the hugest crush on him.

From then on, so I'm watching him dating these women and I'm this teenage girl, my sister wasn't allowed to go out with his brother unless there was a chaperone, so I had always gone with them is like 37 so he started going with us.

The four of us eventually, my sister and his brother broke up, so I hadn't even while he had a 1969 Mach 1 he sold that there's a video on my website of us telling her luster.

He talks more about his 1969 Mach 1 personal and is out there what so anyway I later this Christian school hadn't seen Steve in a while and I we pulled up to a game that we were going to play basketball games in Freeman.

He was on the basketball team. Well, he was alumni okay because he's all right he's gone so I saw this 1969 Mediterranean blue mop one with a shaker hood is a part of our romance start even know the right turn I saw the car and I knew it was his is no mistaking and I got a little flutter stop ceased happy so I walk in the gymnasium and he's playing the alumni game for the school. He graduated from. So as I walk in it's a small gymnasium. He's doing a layup right toward the door that I'm walking and so he does this layup and he does this kind of freezes and spot in black eyes give me that smile and a wink. Any goes down to finish the game like he saw me he saw me come talk to me when you say trying to think of whatever clever thing I could say so I go over to my side of the gymnasium after the game he goes I guess. Showers, whatever. Finally he comes out and Michael. He's going to come talk to me and he puts a girl on his arm and he walks up the bleachers introducing this girl to all alumni might look down at my cheerleading uniform I teenage self like he is never ever going to notice me I'm too young and that was, he didn't even think about me think about me and I was sad, but what I love about that story reminds me of how I longed for his attention to interest and it's what I call magical moments.

There's we forget ones were married, how much we longed for that person to look away, absolutely. But then you go into the courtship to get married and that's where you want to go now is so how long did the glow last well we got married and then we moved I was working full-time and he was working full-time using construction after the honeymoon is over.

So I'm going to work all day and it's the rainy season during construction.

So he would stay home and play Atari with his brother while it was raining and I would come home and they would have peanut butter toast and it was BL of the counter and I would like to clean it up. Don't you care what I do all day and I felt myself starting to just not enjoy him because he wasn't measuring up to my expectations, and so as that occurred. It scared me.

I knew the Wi-Fi meant to be and I think that's the wife. We all want to be. Is this amazing woman that in their cheerleader. We laugh out loud with them. We have fun with them. So why do we husbands irritate you so much. Well I think it's because our expectations are so like if you love me, you would assign wrong motives to their actions and I think that to me is what we have to step back.

I want to be in love with my husband till the day one of us dies I want to be in love with him long past that and I want him to be in love with me but if I'm not still working at when we dating you know. Step 19 69 Mach 1B rumbling down the road and I hear it was in the 70s I got my fair faucet hair curling iron going on in my heart with pitter patter when I heard that car, I wanted to look my best and give him the biggest hug when he walked in the door but once were married. Often times in the same yoga Panza born to five days and sprayed some dry shampoo in my hair and you know what the kids been hanging on me all day. I don't have time to say hi to you as you walk in the door. I think it's just easy to lose that romance in those simple things you know, a lot of times, and the reason that I like the stories is it shows real romance, you know, romance me is not just plan the perfect date take me out to a nice restaurant. Romance is walk in the door and take this baby and just let me take a bubble bath and meet me in the bedroom after you promote that on care to give them butter toast as you clean it up as life was one of the key things you been married 36 years you have been married 32 but you are going on 35 is now 38 okay so when you see that Aminah can be pretty dry at times and I'm sure there's a spouse or wife or husband listening right now going to. We we come to the desert island 12 years ago 15 years ago, for that parched couple who you know that haven't kept with it, but haven't romanced each other. The heaven done the hard work, which it really is hard work.

I think the first thing I would say is one of the couples listening today. Not both of them and there thinking I wish he was listening to this I wish she was listening to that and my advice is let it begin with.

You don't wait until he becomes the man you wanted him to be. Here's the irritating part. It's the irritating part.

How do you overcome the irritating parts so cats can start with me and act differently back more excited or whatever. For me, yes, number one, it was finding great mentors.

It was finding couple Steve was we worked in youth ministry.

So we got to see the parents of our youth and the ones who still held hands when they walked in the door at church the one who laughed at each other's jokes went each other across the room and like what do you know I want and we just became friends with them. I watch as they say I was a old ladies, no stuffing otitis to call the older women to teach the younger, how to love their husbands and that word love is to be his friend.

It's how to be his friend. When we get married are husbands oftentimes are thinking this will be my friend. She's going to be my support my encourager and I think we get so busy about the business of life. We forget that.

So what these women did.

They invited me to a woman's Bible study and they said just join us. It was a book of Philippians study and we went through the book of Philippians.

The word of God does transform you the word of God. If you go into it saying you know searching of God know my heart try me know my anxious thoughts. If there's any wicked way in me, has been in me and lead me in the way everlasting God, Jesus at the priority of life is to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength that your whole being, and then love your neighbor as yourself. We try to love our neighbor the way God wants us to love without loving God the way he called us to love him which comes through fellow shipping with him in prayer washed with the water. The word seeking him on a daily basis and I can remember when I knew I didn't love God like that and I would once in a while meet somebody who did. And it would bother me because I knew that's what it was supposed to look like I was trying to be a good Christian and do all the right things was more out of duty than out of adoration. I remember repenting and asking the Lord. I can't love you like that but you said you have not because you asked not and so I'm asking you to give me the love you want me to have for you.

I'll do the work all fellowship with people that love you like that and then love you through me so that then what spills out of us is his agape love for others, beginning with our snack that's really good and I think the difficulty is that discipline of putting yourself kind of in the backseat and it's the classic struggle we have big selfish creatures in the Lord's telling us over and over again. This is the problem that you have what I'm to do through marriage and here's where the culture breaks down with marriage sexually meant for us to become more selfless and I'm think I'm saying this for myself to because I don't do it well. I try but sometimes I find a lot of times I feel so hot. How do we remind ourselves what this is about. I think it's just important that we it's intentional and taking our entitlement and setting it aside not entitled to make that person make me have happiness with me me me me me right my happiness is not gonna lie and how well my spouse treats me.

My happiness is not an ally in my worth being found in if he still thinks I'm beautiful when we let each other off the hook and we find our depth of who we are in this adoration of the creator of heaven and earth loved us so much he purchased us for his treasure with the blood of his son that the spiritual answer.

The practical answer is just do it just wake up every day and think on whatever is good right honorable and praiseworthy about your spouse and then asking your spirit of the Lord, give me the love for him, rekindled those things remind me of those things and that's the goal of this real-life romance.

The last chapter in the book one more love story it says it's yours right you love story in this book and you're just not just any illustrates your story, the one that your children and your grandchildren may tell long after you're gone around as Christians we sometimes say things like romance and true lover, kind of in that silly category maybe men, but also we might think of other somewhat worldly. I don't know. I mean II tend to like romance and all that. I don't know Jim would agree will be good to see an occasional phone seven John on the road to get to the point. What's the significance of the biblical stories I think. And again, very stereotypical. I get that but we never gonna brush through those and we don't think of it in the context we want to get the David battling as a warrior starts as teenagers write one of the nitty-gritty guys stuff and but the stories in Scripture about romance.

First of all, do they exist and secondly where are they and what are they telling us is the one that comes to mind as you're asking that question is just think of Mary and Joseph dear couple of kids and they were engaged and they were going to get married and they were in the Bible tells us that Joseph deeply loved Mary and then she comes and says this angel came to me and told me that it's Friday and I'm gonna carry the Messiah and I am a virgin but just so you know and it is interesting that God doesn't send the angel first to jump. He challenges Joseph to just kinda trust her. And of course he's like the girl of a great, great, utterly privately, because I love her and then I love that God gives her Elizabeth that older mentor. She goes away to be with her cousin who's pregnant with John the Baptist and immediate. Elizabeth sees her and says yeah you are pregnant with the Messiah this baby that's it with images left within my womb and then hears Joseph out there trying to figure it out and then God comes to him and gives him a dream and says take this woman to be your wife. What I love about all of those Old Testament accounts is God's character because a lot of times God doesn't show up immediately when he challenges us to do something that's a huge act of faith and isn't surround us with a bunch of people that cheer us on and say oh yeah, I totally believe God calling you to do that and got the practical people that are like what you thinking you can do that and so Joseph comes she comes back and he takes her as his pride.

What beautiful romance story and then to think of my me tearing up.

He delivered the Messiah was just her and him in the in note no room in the manger.

He delivered this baby and in you know there's something romantic about even when you have a child and your spouses in the room with you. I was in labor for 52 hours with my first child turned around*from all the way nomad window which is an 83 I had a hippie do lot. It was like a whole. Now it's better.

Don't take and I'm like okay on to be a good mom and mom to take any drugs. She noticed he sat by my side and he encouraged many held my hand and he coached me. That's real-life romance when I treated him pretty well yeah what was going on.

Jim is like give me the draw so many real-life romance stories that we miss in our own love stories because it's just life and we just move forward but if we step back and encourage you know yourself to think about when he showed up for you when you showed up for him. Steve shattered his hip in a dirt bike accident 13 years ago was rough is a metal plate I say has buns of steel now and I had to take care of him and was three months of him just really not being able to direct at all and I remember he would dissipate. I'm so sorry because this injury.

You know whatever, but I member telling him this gives me an opportunity to show you how much I love you and when never would have been able to show that she would. Although yeah I cereal you have so angelic. I want to know that you know I had been if were preparing our hearts before a trial comes and I had been reading a book and it was called.

The subtitle was fighting for joy and I remember when he was in the hospital and the entire time that we were going to Raleigh was in traction for nine euros and I get some water yeah you broke my ankle. You had to do yeah really my 810 just kept coming over my mind and it's the joy of the Lord is your strength.

And so when the word you know in someone, it is your word at hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you. There is a secret formula to taking our thoughts captive and it comes from being washed with truth, and having it in there. So when those things come were prepared when did Nehemiah tell them the joy of the Lord is your strength when they were building a wall with one hand a trial in one hand and a sword in the other fighting off the enemy that was going to maybe attack them also. That was challenging their character lying about them saying that their motives were pure while it on the pastor's wife.

If you're trying to build your house with one hand and you got people coming at you with you questioning your integrity or your motives or whatever you can either pick up the burden of all of that you can fight for joy, which is what Nehemiah said the success to your battle is the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Amen. I like that you know your older daughter Meredith has had some difficulty to what's happening for her and her husband how they struggled through loved each other through difficult Meredith and Jake met at the Masters University and he was on jumped up on the table in the cafeteria imitating a believe it was a velociraptor. Yet, 6 foot four baseball player and funny guy and the table collapse underneath them.

In all everybody's food went everywhere in marital's eyes met Meredith and she was embarrassed for him and she walked out and he was embarrassed that she saw him anyway, long story, they would always have a love yeah yeah and she's like not about dating you just like and he writes of this poem and it's basically something like roses are red violets are blue. Maybe I think I might like you, and she's just like oh no, that's way too much that's too serious for me and she runs the other way.

He's confusing and they end up married and they had they had of a child. At one point and then they had ectopic pregnancy which was really a difficult situation for them and then there'd had a number of miscarriages and at the same time my daughter Kayla had had a miscarriage. Meredith got pregnant again and gave birth to IV IV love who is a treasure to our family and when she was born. Our whole family converged in the room to celebrate. Finally, this birth of a new baby because we only had at that point one grandchild and Jake stopped us and he said something's wrong with Ivy. We don't know what it is and what it it is. It's called Golden heart syndrome.

It's that shed facial cranial deformities in but it wasn't they did know anything about it till she was born in a scooped Ivy away from Meredith and Meredith was saying my baby where's my baby so that was interesting to watch how Jake just ministered to Meredith then and I went over to IV and I was singing to her and she was I think Jesus love me. I have a terrible voice and I'm like somebody sitting to this child could she's going to pick up grandma's bad off tone and she quieted and then in the night they had. She flunked her hearing test and they said she couldn't hear my son Brandon, whose love stories also in the book Brandon and Jesse. He's a musician, a worship leader in Southern California. Brandon stayed up all night just pleading with the Lord that I wouldn't be death and the next morning she passed her hearing test in our family was just celebrating. We were all staying in the apartment on campus at the Masters University. While this it was going on and Jake was ministering to Meredith. That's real-life romance. They prayed together they trusted the Lord together as Golden heart is a syndrome so a lot of things came through at one point Meredith said this is in our struggle is Ivy struggle.

And God called us to prepare her to walk through this trial and just watching them love each other and trust the Lord to that.

That's real-life romance.

Rhonda unmindful of couples the they may be in the middle of the struggle right now and they don't have the handles we don't have the terrain to get their footing draw closer together through challenges. How can I find that footing they need to seek out a biblical counselor they need to go to the pastor they need to go to a godly mentor when you're in the middle of it and especially when you're even when you are prepared for a trial.

It still you know the Bible says don't be surprised that these various trials come upon you, but were still shocked. We know bad things happen to good people, but when it happens to us were just we want to save why I remember I just shattered my wrist. I'm sitting here with a brace on my hand because we just rolled a quad and I shattered my wrist and it was painful, and for two months. I was just laying in bed with this pain and you know the Bible says rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice in as I was laying there canceling speaking engagements and other things I really wanted to go do as I was laying there I had to really ponder that what is that me.

Rejoice in the Lord always and it doesn't mean rejoice in the circumstance it's rejoicing in the Lord.

So I just had to sit there and go over what I knew to be true about him and rejoice in who he is in his character, but find someone that will speak that truth into your life when you're going through those trials find someone we comfort those with the comfort that we ourselves have been comforted.

Find someone who's has struggled with infertility who has had a miscarriages had a special needs child who's dealing with that. You know, out of the blue diagnosis and ask them to walk with you, help you keep your eyes on Christ because the ocean is going to drown you what I think that's the key in here focus. We want to be that friend for you and come alongside you if you're in that tough spot.

Call us. Let us talk with you. Let us help you with resources that will help build that bridge that you need. And Rhonda one resource I really recommend is your great book real-life romance. It's such a wonderful tool for husbands and wives to be inspired that they can have that strong godly relationship they've always wanted. I probably don't have time to share this story but James and Missy's love stories in this book in real-life romance and they had some struggles. He went off to Iraq. He was deployed and she said I decided to be a student of marriage, and I listen to Focus on the Family every day and I realized my sin in our marriage that I wanted him to change. But when I finally put that before the Lord and she said every day. By the time he came home since his deployment was the best thing for us because by the time he came home I was ready to be the wife I meant to be. When we got married, that's powerful story so contact us were here for you and if you share a passion for helping couples who are struggling. I want to invite you to join our team of financial supporters is that simple.

God is doing amazing things through our listeners who are committed to supporting the broadcast financially. Some give consistent monthly support and others, so one time gift every bit mean so much to helping others and giving makes you feel good to one wife and mom wrote to tell us that she started giving the focus when she and her husband became investors.

She said that supporting focus financially help her find new ways to invest time and energy and financial support to the kingdom of God, I love the if you can give a gift of any amount of focus that I want to send you a copy of Rhonda's book real-life romance is our way of saying thank you and get connected with the counselor donate and also get Rhonda's book by clicking on the link in the episode's behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for listening to Focus on the Family on John Fuller and putting you back.

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