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Staying Married Through the Storms of Life

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
April 12, 2022 6:00 am

Staying Married Through the Storms of Life

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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April 12, 2022 6:00 am

Jeff and Sarah Walton have faced a series of crises that have severely impacted their marriage and family. Financial issues and mental and physical ailments have challenged the Walton family for an extensive duration of time, yet they remain faithful.

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Seeing and you might even wonder if it's time to cut a bill on your marriage today and Focus on the Family learn how hardships and suffering can actually strengthen your relationship and help you both grow closer to God in the process. Thanks for joining us today your hostess books president Dr. Jim Daly and on John for John when a man and woman are prepared for marriage. They tend to focus on the positives and how wonderful their lives are going to be looking toward the future. That's a good thing. A natural you weave and say the bows for better for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, and I think when she denied it when we got married we were thinking a lot more about the better the richer the healthier part of that equation. We didn't anticipate the bumps that naturally come with marriage. But the fact is, every marriage will pass through some kind of storm, maybe multiple storms in law issues, financial conflict, maybe the baggage of bringing in from your past or all of it.

Who knows, you have to choose to navigate those difficulties and to really come up with a strategy to make sure that your marriage stays intact. Too many couples, crumble in those moments of difficulty didn't have a strong foundation to stand on. Can't see a way to work together and they just kind give up on the relation and I definitely agree with that and that's why we've invited our guests to the Jeff and Sir Walton to join us said they have a remarkable story about heartbreaking troubles that have nearly overwhelmed their marriage and family but through God's grace and power. They're still together, learning to trust God each and every day more and more and that's the key that you know I think of John 1010 I love that Scripture was the first Scripture that I actually memorized as a new believer at 15 years old but it basically says the thief. Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy. And I'm telling you folks, when you're, you know, in the marriage business or speak it. He comes after us with a vengeance and you know things divide us and things disrupt our marriages, etc. but that's true of each and every believer and if you are a believer in Christ. I know that you understand what I'm talking about and we need to understand that realize that and combat that each and every day.

And so Jeff currently works as a real estate broker and prior to that was a crime, a consultant assisting doctors with implanting medical devices during surgery and seer is an author and speaker and blogger in the have four kids. She stays at home with them and together they've got a book called together through the storms biblical encouragements for your marriage when life hurts and will encourage you to get a copy. Just click the link in the episode notes or call 800 a family. Jeff and Sarah welcome to Focus on the Family, thank you so much for so that here is you to be here.

Let's get into it when you first married. I think like I said Jean and I had those expectations of perfection everything to be perfect beautiful.

You know I was the knight in shining armor and she was my great. The damsel in distress that I saved. Somehow, someway, how did you envision that prior to you being married, what were you thinking yeah I think I I would relate exactly with what you've stated so you walk in the marriage kind of have all planned out. I think I'm that have this type of career you want to build and grow in your career you want to have a family and as you raise your kids.

You think that they're going to follow suit. You know and and following line and early in our marriage we we face kind of the complete opposite work were flipped upside down, but I think walking into that it's natural to think that you're going to have better days than worst days. But I guess we as we look back on that there so often that we I think as couples walking the marriage not being fully prepared for the other side for the for the worse for the sickness and so that's something that I think has been on our heart and something I got is grown deeply in us and a passion for for those couples and to prepare them for that seer expectations I think for women, particularly when you get married. There are certain expectation sometimes unspoken which makes it really difficult for us guys we don't know how you want us to behave if we didn't know that.

Did you have those expectations of what day by day. It would look like, week by week, year by year. Yeah, I don't like since we don't really realize we have expectations. They kind of just naturally calm and so is not until something opposite of that happens that you're like oh well, that's not at all what I expected, so I think I just said you going to marriage and we were young. I was 20, he was 23, so I think your little bright-eyed and not totally aware of what was to come in so I think I really imagined was I was excited to start life with him.

I was in love. I might come off of a rough few years.

I think I kind of in that back in my mind I thought I've gone through my hard stuff that has brought me through that he's grown me. Now is the time to really enjoy what God has for me. This is almost the redemption of what I just came through an short period of time where we really did enjoy just each other as a couple but really not long after we got married. The tension of work and long hours and me being home and trying to navigate that it didn't take long for me to start wondering okay what he's gone a lot later at night and anticipated he's gone really early in the morning I'm on my own. A lot.

That's not how I thought marriage was enemy at this is like a team type thing and so while we love each other. It didn't take long for those expectations to start kind of crumbling little bit yeah and let's help the audience because you mentioned that physical impairment that you had what what took place and how did that kind of become the first major obstacle for you yet will I actually dealt with a lot of health issues going up, but nobody can really figure out what was going on. It was really random things and so no one can connect the dots. So then we got married and it was setting as you see, let's it wasn't really in the forefront of just kind of a nagging problem in my life and then we got married not long after that I started having increasing problems with stomach issues can a flu like symptoms and kinda started to demand my attention a little bit more like it. Just couldn't push it to the background and so especially with him having long hours. It just added a little bit of stress and that increased as children came which is very common for health problems and the taxing pregnancy and delivery. All of that started to increase those problems that had always been there so they began to dominate life where I almost was not very functional. I was starting to be very foolish all the time which you know what it feels like that the flu you know I do anything I lay in bed all day, so that started to kinda come to the forefront in our relationship and I started seeing doctors but I still could not figure out what was going on with me. It took years until he started to figure that out, and in 2015 was when I was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease and the kids. Other kids were starting to show different symptoms as well. And about a year later they were diagnosed at the same thing that I had passed online disease, gestational link which I did not know was possible so that has manifested in all of them, which is created this to be a very difficult family journey as it tends to not be covered by insurance. So that continued and then I started to have several more ankle surgeries. So kind of felt like getting blows from every angle, layer upon layer and yet so the layers like you said, I really think what started to beat us down Jeff in that regard and expectations, you know, we've heard from Sir what that looks like but for you and your working hard. You got this demanding job servers alluded to that the hours that it required of you. Most of us men say okay were providing. That's our main thing and you should be speaking to your spouse you should be pleased that I'm able to put food on the table and take care of the mortgage and this is the number one demand of me. Some people might feel that's old-fashioned but there's a lot of us in the Christian community that operate that way. Big because we believe a parent should be at home with young kids, particularly so as that husband that father you probably thought hey I'm doing all I can do but don't let me put words in your know that is from the standpoint of the job that I had so's trauma consultant, as is John invention orthopedic trauma.

So on call 24 seven and it's a very demanding job. I think the first half of that time I was in that for about nine years. The first part of that was more tolerable and then once we started having kids that increase in the demand of that just became more of a challenge and then with her oldest son that we do have some extra challenges mental health and special needs with him continued to evolve and create tension and stress and so all during those times I was continuing to try and be faithful hard worker providing for our family thought I was doing the noble thing of continuing to go and doctors would call and I would I had to be there and so this tension of if I was not there business would be lost. Loyalty was very honest on the thin thread between doctors being quick to change over to another vendor.

That's it demanding the yeah that's fair. Yeah they got pressure to sure what I mean. That's the reality of the profession. That's correct. And so I think from that standpoint that is such an area that we didn't really communicate well I think internalizing a thought. Okay I am providing for my family.

Continuing to work hard and I'm trying to do the noble thing. There were a lot of instances are a handful of instances I would say because of our home life. The challenges with her oldest son things that became verbal and behavior and destructive kind of in our home, put Sarah in a tough position and so at the core of it. It was start to wrestle with. I think subtly the fear of man, and so do I. What would it take for me to to say no to a doctor when Sir was crying out and that was something that I wrestle with often. You know, I think it was easier kind of a tug and pull on one end, I was able to get out the house catch my breath and try and transition compartmentalizing and go to work and then I come back and then it's entering into chaos and how to enter back in.

How do we get back on the same path and in our scenario and this is just a not that situation. The extreme that we faced stair was waving the white flag a couple times and I walked out and now it's still just eats at me because I know that in hindsight I should've stayed but it was a fear of man. It was a fear of what doctors would think with the fear of women to lose a chunk of my income if he switches over to someone else and doesn't use me and so it's I think there's probably hopefully a lot of listeners that can relate just between the work balance in the family balance is so true.

And you know again this is why were doing this program so grateful that you've written the book and I want to mention this because your book together through the storms you have designed it to help couples prepare for and work through the inevitable problems that marriage will put in front of you. Those difficulties, and you point to the Old Testament. We all love to go to Job. I'm so glad God Job and the like that right yes Job has some great lessons for all of us when were suffering.

How did you pull the lessons from Job and apply them to your marriage Sir, let's start with you. Well it's it's kind of funny. I think when people hear that he wrote a marriage back on Job like I have no idea how that make sense.

Not so inspiring.

Most people want to skip past the first two chapters about the past that I found. I think we were going through and we had both been in Job a lot in that timeframe it's I think we started to notice little things that actually jumped out to us that related how Job and his wife interacted how we tend to respond differently to suffering. Job and his wife were in the same situation. They both lost all that they lost that shows how differently we can respond to that suffering. I think it shows how much the enemy is at work to really tear us apart and how much he uses that and sees that as a way to he can gain ground in your marriage is by just simply turning you against each other and what's the best way to do that is to throw arrows at you that are going to send you maybe reeling into different types of directions grieving differently struggling at communicating all the things naturally come up and so if you're not grounded in the word and you have not been prepared for that. It tends to kinda flip us on her head slowly. For those listening and viewing the you know may not be as familiar with the story. This is where Job's wife says in his despair. Once just curse God and die.

You don't hear that from your wife now thinking what I really love something strapped stuck out to me when we are going through that of how Job responded to her and he said you are speaking like one of the foolish women. He wasn't saying you are a foolish woman.

Job's wife you are speaking like one of them. This is not who I know you to be so even in him calling her out on what he knew was not correct.

He did it with graciousness and he was not tearing down her character. He was saying no, that's not what you believe. I don't believe that's what you leaving, but that's what these other women would say who do not follow the Lord so I appreciate it.because I think that can be a very very small difference in the way to approach each other. Let's get to the breaking point in your marriage that you highlight in your book. What was that moment and how did you both feel emotionally and spiritually. At that time. Yeah well I will say this is actually one of my favorite chapters in the book is titled he can't change her spouse's heart. I know we all need to do first thing you try to change the natural responses kind of think the other person's the problem in the situation.

I think I'm always right about is that I always think I'm right national instinct of sitting on the couch one day and we had part of her stories. Jeff had walked away from that job, which was an incredibly difficult situation.

It was to the point. Our family was in crisis.

Our marriage was literally falling apart. We are barely communicating without crying together like either anger or tears. And I remember sitting on the couch.

One day we just moved left our home that we had sold had downsized. We are in a smaller rental home and there's been so many instances where I felt so hurt when I was in literal crisis and at our home and he would have to walk out and I knew what I signed up for it had been many, many years. I was really okay with it. I always told myself you'd be here if he could, but I know that he can't but there are a handful of times what was serious stuff that I felt really terrified that he be leaving. And so when he would leave and he would not be present with me to see what went down in the house and to see the hurt that I experienced he would come home and I could try to explain it, but he had never been there and not really, really hard place and so that started to kinda build up in me. I started to build little bits of resentment of the key can even experience what I've walked through.

Not fair that I'm the one bearing this burden, and so we were trying to work through it and I kept trying to explain to him. Jeff, this is how much I felt hurt.

This is how much it hurt when he walked out in that one instance and everything that a conversation it was worse.

Like I Try to rephrase it. You know how we women like to do and every conversation left, I think, just with more frustration.

He was not understanding what I was trying to get him to grasp. I was just as angry as hurting and I wanted him to build, enter into my pain and finally one day after many, many of these conversations, I felt the Lord just pressed on me. Sarah stop looking to Jeff for your comfort and for your satisfaction and start turning to me and I was a sacrifice.

I really wanted him. I felt, but Lord, don't have a good marriage, don't we have to be on the same page doesn't have to somewhat understand, and it was like he said that is my job is to work on Jeff's heart.

I want you to come to me first, and so I started praying assertive, bringing the hurt that I felt to the Lord. I started to realize how much Christ was the only one that was in that room with me during those really scary times, even if Jeff had been there only Christ knew what it felt like to be in me to be a woman to be dealing with what I was dealing with and he's ultimately only one that can truly comfort me will in many ways were were at a point where we started, which is that I do have expectations. We have the expectation that Jeff could make that he was incapable a good concept that you bring up in the book that I totally agree with this.

This idea of building bridges instead of walls that such an obvious illustration but describe it. Yeah, I think, from a standpoint of its very easy to build walls within the marriage. And often those are subtle, and before we know what they're popping up left and right. To me it divides between emotion and spirit. Building a wall is emotional response building bridges is a spiritual that's so helpful and so I think when we look at building bridges.

We have to continue to rely on the spirit. I think we have to, and be able to recognize that we can't do this. Apart from him and so it's that humility that is that struggle that all of us have within our flesh we want to take control. We want to have our life look a specific way. But when we are up against the wall and we face suffering we see that with Job. Finally at the end where he comes from the turning point of of hearing to seeing then the beautiful part of that is the bridge has been built when we continue to not look just at her circumstances and what's across the table with our spouse, but then were able to have that open communication that bridge that first needs to start with the Lord and not putting up a wall between myself and him, so that bridge once that is built then we can have the bridge that's better with our our spouse and continue to talk to them and work through these because it's going to be inevitable that will continue to go through cycles and also say I think one thing that helps build that bridge is the sap seeing our differences as a negative thing there so much that I have grown because Jeff is different and so true as any you. Naturally the beginning like you're saying expectations you think your way is right you think your perspective is right. Jeff very different people.

We have a lot of things we enjoy together. But we are very different in many ways. At the same time and so those things that used to be major contrasting things as we've gone through these difficulties and we have gradually built those bridges and seen Jeff. It's kinda good that he can hold himself together at times emotionally when I'm falling apart because he kinda helps keep us both afloat during that season where my emotion and helping him express that has been a beneficial thing for us to build to communicate that together. So there are so many different parts about us that we have to remember that were teammates. We are not enemies in this we are on the same page and really think about it, you and your spouse are the only ones that can understand just how much you are walking through. It's a gift that you have each other. You and I can respond to it the same and that's where we have to realize that's not always a negative thing we can help gradually come together closer as we understand how we both process those things differently and can actually strengthen both of us. I will make sure we give no handles to people that are saying oh my goodness this is where my marriage is this is what were experiencing. To some degree.

One of the takeaways that you have in the book is grieving with hope. Describe yeah I think understanding again. It's the expectations that there are going to be different cycles of that within the marriage. Sarah Greaves differently than I do.

We process things differently and that's part of again working through that. It's not all pretty and it's something that by God's grace we've grown in and so we can grieve our losses and give each other space. I think as we look at the story of Job, we see beautifully.

Job walk through that process of bringing his pain, his confusion, all of his questions to God and he even says that you know that's kind of the complaining aspect of it in a healthy biblical way. It doesn't stop there though because that's what the world does worldly lament stops there. Why the anger taking it on God blaming God. But when we can move past that and bring our opinion and our hope and remember back to who God is. That's the beauty of Job is we don't get answer to his question of why, but yet what we come away with is a better understanding of who God is. We see God in chapter 38 to 40 come to mind of saying where were you when I created another nation. When you mention the why do want to wrap up in that area because I think most people relate to the why question God, why have you allowed this to happen and you mentioned the book better phrases to say what we know is better than what we don't know explained that you this is where it so important to have, to be planted where in the streams of water in talking about how if we are rich are not growing deep where it is constantly fed and fed by God's word being fed by being with body of believers having a foundation then were easily going to be swayed and so when suffering comes, it immediately shakes our foundation of who we think God is we all come with these preconceived notions of what is it mean that God's good what is it mean that he's faithful well, I might think God's goodness means he gives me something.

I think I really need. So when nothing doesn't come that belief is shaken to say okay will that's not true than what is it really mean that God is good and that's what we cease through the entire book of Job. When Job goes from hearing of who God is, to now seeing it. Really, everything that he believed about God was put to the test. So where is the beginning he was faithful, and he believed that God was good.

It wasn't till the end of Job when he walks through losing everything until he knew and it seemed God's goodness in a way he could have understood at the beginning and only reason he was able to do that is by holding onto the promises of what God has said is true, he could not fix his help on the fact that God would restore, which he graciously did. But he still did not restore his 10 children, he lost he was talking to grieve those they were not to be returned even though we had more children so I think it's just helpful to see that how we can end up knowing and keeping our foundation in keeping our footing by looking to what kind fully grasp onto his true only the promises of God, can I fully grasp onto. I cannot guarantee that I will have this thing I desire. I cannot guarantee I will be better and healed. I don't have that promise, I will eternally have the promise in this life.

So if I fixed my hope on me getting better physically or my son being healed mentally and if that's where my hope is constantly being swayed by the winds that are coming and what a great place to Jeff and Sir, this is been so good and I hope I hope people that are in difficulties really do get a copy of your book and the will make it available to you. We realize that you may not even be able to afford the just get in touch with us. We believe in the content. We believe it will help you and will trust others will cover the cost of that if you can make a gift of any amount or perhaps even join us as a monthly sustainer. We would appreciate that. That really helps us continue to minister together to those marriages that are truly hurting and I want to mention to hope restored one of our wonderful intensive marriage programs were usually is a four-day process where people who have signed divorce papers for the most part really stuck in their marriage, and we have thankfully opposed to your 80% success rate for those marriages are thriving in doing better so if you're in that spot. Call us to ask about hope restored. You can learn more about Jeff and Sarah's book together through the storms and you can also find out details about hope restored emergent answers when you give us a call our number is 800 K in the word family 800-232-6459 or visit the episode notes for details next time you'll hear a great presentation from Dr. Bill while a medical argument for the sanctity of life in the womb only biologic sense is that we are created in the image of God. At that moment of conception. One of oneself in the mom and oneself in the dead got together. That's when we were created in the image of God on behalf of Jim Daly in the entire team here. Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back to again help you and your family thrive in Christ. Okay Mike got here soon as I could. Was going on.

Hey, I just want to give an update on my marriage is a good news. Yeah our marriage is going great right now. I can be happier. That's awesome you. It's like a solid 5/10. Having a marriage that's just okay is what couples really want to live. Give yourself and your spouse an all-inclusive weekend you'll slow your pace. Focus on each other get more that's

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