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Nurturing Your Spouse’s Heart

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
April 27, 2022 6:00 am

Nurturing Your Spouse’s Heart

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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April 27, 2022 6:00 am

In a lighthearted look at marriage, Dr. Greg Smalley offers advice on how to nourish and cherish your mate’s heart – an essential ingredient for marital satisfaction.

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Today on Focus on the Family Dr. Greg Smalley has a question for you what he wants in your marriage when you want your relationships. Maybe it's friendship, passion, intimacy, great communication to be known deeply, whatever is promise you that's only possible if you have to open hearts. You'll hear how to be openhearted and your hostess focus.

President Jim Daly thanks for joining us today on Focus on the Family. I'm John Fuller, Jon, I think we all want those things.

Greg mentioned but sadly too many couples find themselves drifting apart and often it's because a sense of heart heartedness is set into their relationship.

So today, Greg Smalley, our VP of marriage or focus is going to share what he believes is the secret to a healthy marital relationship and he should know. Prior to joining focus Greg and his wife Aaron worked for the Center for relationship enrichment at John Brown University and he's the author of 12 books on relationships, including his latest called crazy Little thing called marriage written with his wife Aaron, and Greg does a lot of speaking and bold here today is from a conference that was held at Focus on the Family to pick up after Greg has explained that as the son of the late Dr. Gary Smalley. He was very confident about his relationship skills before and perhaps until he actually got married.

To be honest about two years into our marriage. I really thought that we were one more arguments away from Aaron leaving just the way that we tried to work through our differences, we were stuck we weren't getting along. We were sort of entrenched in conflict, both miserable the expectations of the gun and fulfillment. All that just let us to section to such a place know. Luckily we got help and again were going on 20 years and so mean we we made it.

Looking back, though probably of all the things that I've learned about marriage and in how to have a great marriage.

Probably there's one thing that stands out. This actually was starting to happen in my marriage that almost ruined it. And so let me ask you a quick write. What is the key that the most important thing. What's the foundation of a great marriage only allowed to choose one thing right so dish out similes out to be what we thinks the secret. The key to great marriage rights of Jesus through tiered spiritual relationship. Okay, what else friendship so forgiveness good communication which usually that's usually number one this year's the first thing here. That's a great one. What was yellow biker honesty, commitment, so any others intimacy. I would disagree within you think all of those are important, but I tell you what is something else isn't happening. None of those things are possible. I'd never heard this before, I didn't get this because I didn't understand this. It almost destroyed my marriage so let me share with you what I believe is the key to allowing you to have all those things. Kaylee tell you a quick story to illustrate this about my my oldest daughter Taylor when he was her first day of kindergarten and review moms remember sorting your sending your oldest child offer their first day of kindergarten we see your hands with that sort of her painful day in heart I know Aaron's crying and you know I was like yes want one out. You know, three more to go.

Kind of things it wouldn't quite the same but she's upset. Sooner we get Taylor loaded up on the Boston. She goes off and get Aaron back in the house and she informs me that she has to be gone that afternoon so she can be very clear instructions that I am supposed to be on our porch waiting for the bus to pull up so I can greet Taylor sold three.

Whatever their EMR porch. The bus pulls up on waiting for Taylor find out about her first day.

Taylor gets off the bus I found her holding hands with a boy seriously I'm thinking how it's interesting when sure to make you that, so I'm watching Taylor this boy that right up to me and I've no time to process what to say before Taylor yells as she goes down high schools. This is Hank were in love and working to get married and I'm going you been to school for eight hours what's going on you know you can homeschool tomorrow starting tomorrow and rest that are here these two are have a little bit of fun with them since it relisted suits so you guys are in love and you're gonna get married and they with when I said I said no, being five in all.

I said, first of all, where will you live in the Catholic teacher looked at me and shrugged her shoulders and Taylor takes his kid over the side of the ports and they huddled up in their talk about this. I'm just patiently wait and they broke huddle and came back and Taylor says dad if it's okay with you and mom Hank and I would like to live in the backyard in the little tykes house to those little plastic you know things a log cabin or a castle or whatever the is that your mom will love having right in the backyard of she visits you anytime for this fine is so interesting though to watch these two over the next few weeks. He lived in our neighborhoods. There always together playing in whatever Taylor would come home from school tell us about Hank everything was always a positive and glowing kicked the winning soccer goal.

Answer the right question. The test it's a one day when I came home I walked in no Taylor said they were tailored to said she was your daughters upstairs. You need to go see here guys. That's code for what you are in trouble. So I found Taylor under bed seizes Pauline's value. I know you won't believe it when I tell you this procedures Hank broke up with me today so I sit all Jesse Taylor, I'm so sorry that misheard she was yes. She goes daddy. She was so mad at him.

I imagine it. She goes and I hated him. She goes and I want him to die when the world by the way, she gets that from her mother's side of the family & just so you're not worried about me, but I'm thinking what the world is the morning Steve left for school, in love with all Hank. Everything's perfect and wonderful. Now the end of the day. She wants the kid to die what what happened. Let me ask you this right because a tell you same thing that happened to Taylor is what happened to Aaron and me to affect what happens to the Aaron and me in happened back those first two years is the biggest thing that I see with the couples that I work with who are in trouble when Taylor left for school that morning. If we just think about her little heart would you say that when everything was wonderful going great.

What would you say Taylor's heart was towards Hank open or closed. Yeah, pretty open rights. Once she got hurt and disappointed and expectations went unfulfilled.

Once he heard her would you think happened to her little heart you think it stayed open or do you think it shut down as I'm telling you more than anything that I've learned. I think the secret to great marriage begins with understanding something very important in the Bible Jesus. The only time he was ever asked about divorce. What did he say he said Moses permitted you to divorce because of the hardness of your hearts. The reality is, I believe, is that a hardened heart is the kiss of death for a marriage for a relationship really of any kind and I tell you what, the moment that our hearts begin to shut down towards her spouse or towards another person.

Over time, a close hearts will harden. I never knew that that's exactly would begin to happen inside my marriage is that because of the conflict in the disappointment in the hurt and all the frustration all that my heart and Aaron's heart we just shut down to each other and slowly by slowly, our hearts begin the fossil ice. Luckily for us we got help in our hearts begin to open once again to each other but I never understood this.

All that stuff you guys yelled out, communication, intimacy, spiritual light mean all that stuff you guys said I guaranteed none of that's possible in list to hearts are open to each other so I would say this with the foundation of a great marriage really have a great relationship is that you have two open hearts.

I tell you what it is so important.

Kings Solomon wisest man that ever lived said above all else, so above everything else.

The only time he ever use that phrase. What did he say above all else, guard your hearts. Why are we guarding our heart. What are we guarding it against them do it until he will regarding it against doing is closing down because it goes on to say because our hearts, the wellspring God's love is intended to flow out of our hearts, and for hearts close down that wellspring isn't able to flow out. So Solomon is saying here. Guard your heart from closing.

Got a stay open so God's love can flow out. Why do we need an open heart, relationally, is again every single thing that you want.

Why why you're here. What he wants in your marriage when you want your relationships. Maybe it's friendship, passion, intimacy, great communication to be known deeply. Whatever it is I promise you that's only possible if you have two open hearts so talk about relation real quick white. Why does a heart close our hearts will open and close every day whacking be leaving the house and get a look or a comment from my wife is hurtful and shut right down.

We can talk on the phone and maybe she apologizes in my heart's gonna open back up but the bottom line is this is what happens though in a relationship when you don't feel safe with someone your hearts will shut down and you will disconnect from them.

I don't care what relationship or talk about to be at work that commuter kids at sibling appearance spouse when you don't feel safe with someone they make you feel unsafe in some way. Your heart will close and you'll disconnect but here's the good news though, so there's good news to this the way that our hearts were design. Realize that your default setting of your heart the way that your heart was created to exist was an openness. Openness is the default setting.

The heart is actually takes more work to keep your heart shut down and what we know is that it's when people feel safe inside of a relationship there hearts, naturally open and then intimacy just happens. You don't have to try to figure out how to build intimacy.

You don't you don't have to to try to figure out how do we create this great, wonderful, intimate relationship. I'm telling you which you gotta figure out is how I keep someone's heart open to me and the only way hearts can truly say open to you if it fills what safe and that's why white glove to offer for you to just consider is that what if we made our goal inside of our marriage with our kids in any relationship with her goal became to creates relationships that feel safe. What if your home became the safest place on earth over that be like what I can tell you is that hearts are more likely to be open.

Lots of things can shut our hearts down. We can't control all those things were busy and exhausted, worn out your hearts can close that is nothing do with your spouse. But again, what we can control those environment of our marriage environment of her home. We can create homes that feel like the safest place on earth. So we talk real quick about what will I mean by safety.

What I would say that safety emotional safety really means is that when you feel free to open up into reveal who you really are that deep stuff.

Your deepest thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams me that stuff it that will have the were not just to share with anybody right there effective you think about it, the people that you share your deep stuff that's inside your heart is really only with people. I bet you that you feel safe with you really thought about it.

We feel safe when we feel that we can open up and share that stuff in trust and believe that our spouse will handle that stuff with the utmost care will listen will understand will validate will cherish and honor who we really are to think. When that is happening then then we start to feel safe. So really the question becomes, so how do we create that. So let's talk about how do we get there. Will actually you the answers right there in the Scriptures truly right there. Why did I spent a year I do marriage seminars run the country's over the year we'd surveyed about 10,000 people disaster what what happens it makes you feel safe and what happens that makes you feel unsafe in a relationship.

When we analyze what helps people feel safe. We we realize that there was really more of an attitude and then some actions all the responses really you could divide them up, and those two things and it's really right here. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but what nourishes it and cherishes it. Something about those two words. Nurse shares I think is really the answer.

So let's talk about first. The word cherish.

I believe that cherishes an attitude and that attitude says basically is that I get how incredibly valuable. My wife is now I'll tell you when I'm mad at her, frustrated her disappointed me. I certainly lose sight of how incredibly valuable she is, but you know the truth is is that my wife is extremely valuable. Not because I say so because her heavenly father made that very very clear. Listen what he says about my wife. He said that my wife Aaron was made in his image.

That alone makes her valuable. He said K that she is his treasured possession of that one God of this universe is. My wife is his treasured possession. Jesus said, my wife is his glorious inheritance. How were my very favorites is for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also to that verse is saying that what you value, where your value is, there will your heart is going to be open to that thing.

That's why for me when we want to for help someone feel safe, it's because I get how valuable you are when my favorite examples of this actually something I saw in my parents relationship. Now my mom and dad. They been married for 47 years.

Again, my dad is one of the foremost world experts on marriage is probably written over 60 books you one on healthy families and healthy marriages, and yet what I love about my parents marriage his adjustment actually makes you feel really normal.

Is it still every once in a while they still get into a massive argument that it is makes people normal. Michael if they can fight and still make a binoculars hope for us you know is so one Thanksgiving we were at my parents house and so my parents can this big argument asserts it was extorted escalate to the point were were my mom has often one direction.

My dad heads off and the other is my mom starts to walk away all the women just naturally just go right to her, to comfort and you know do whatever else you do quite well in me and my son were watching my dad walk away and I'm going will you know I said that we should probably help out and I said hey dear since the go talk to grandpa he likes you better. Anyway is a garrisons like Griego's. You're the adult you go Dr. Mike. Our ride is it hey dad always inhaled up as well.

I said hey I can see really upset. I said I literally know exactly what to do in this situation is that I know I said I really do know what to do for you to help you out. It was all right I said one could use him to go to the bookshelf and grab one of the books that you've written, read to you what you should be doing for mom right now. Will the door that slammed my face telling was evidence that I believe that that was real funny but I still think it was funny so I waited I came back in a minute or so later knocked on his door, his eye hates Greg, and so I find them at the computer but as I walk around is going to go around to descend the stairs Of my hands on his shoulders. And hey, I am sorry how can I help was. I walked her and II can see what he's looking at is not online. He's actually reading the documents word document the top of the document. My mom's name is normal.

It said why Norma is so valuable.

I thought what what I said no, what is is what we looking at here because while he goes in a number of years ago because I was think about your mom is to start to write some things about her and what I love about her and how valuable she isn't put them on the computer and then you and I add to it from time to time. I kid you not. Hundreds and hundreds of little words and phrases about my mom and I said all right, but I said what are you looking at that right now you're you're mad at her he was. I know because what I've learned to do because usually I just would come in my office and sit next to you about how mad I was and she had no right and who is she and Lola and I'd stay mad at her is what I do now as I make myself open this up and he goes a start to read to the list because you get to the first couple Mike that's not true in white habitat. I'm in a race that one for sure. But he goes you and after a moment I settle in, and I remember that you got a pretty amazing mom how low some telling you that that's what he's doing, where your treasure is what you value, there will your heart be open and that's what helps them get to different place simply by doing that, which I thought is great. That makes sense number one.

It comes from the fact that we cherish our spouse or our kids beyond attitude without action, though sometimes can be meaningless.

That's why think the nurse part is all about and all about action to treat our spouse treats our kids in valuable ways to back up I see your value now want to treat you in valuable ways. I think when we do that we begin to create safety to love that verse. Let us not love with mere words or tongue, but with what Max swears that look like I asked all those couples. So how do we do this and then basically what I asked him it is just answer the statement. I feel loved when you When you what whatever and they gave thousands upon thousands of answers to the top ones that we found number one the number one answer was gratitude that can interesting because the number one thing that we found it makes people feel unsafe is criticism and gratitude is the antidote for criticism. So I think if we want to help someone to feel safe.

Boy gratitude is going to go a long ways.

Recognizing what they've done that you appreciate what you value about them. Here's another one known this was where my very favorites to laugh and to have fun.

Who likes that one. Tell you what my wife never feels safer than when she's laughing and playful in dispute were having fun that's that's when things are so appreciated in value about our relationship is.

That's one of our core values. But you know in the Mike my loose love the fact that my wife just really is made this commitment our relationship and there's really odd times that she tries to be funny. Like for example cave couple let her know. Maybe a couple years ago at 330 in the morning. Okay she wakes up convinced that she's heard noises that were any women do that this wake up think you've hear an intruder or some noise so she says she wakes Glad she was wake up she was or someone intelligent intruder in our home. Have a look right side do little nightwatchman thing can't find anybody. But I'm smart enough to where I come back towards her bedroom. I hit the hall light this to look see her in bed.

I shut the light off so tired like during the morning to discuss stumble just about to get into my side of the bed. Well it was not Aaron that I saw those were pillows that she had poked into her side of the bed because she is laying on the ground right next to my side of the bed. She thinks she's been real funny okay so I go around is I'm just about to get into bed. She screams blood. He murdered her and pulled me down. Case what you think. I'm thinking you wanted to go get a mild bad you know some yelling out. I love you.

You know are about to die for. I tell her honey of getting older, my heart's getting weaker, how you can explain this to her kids dads gone because I scared to death.

You know, I've never felt more loved in all my life. Oddly enough I kid is the weirdest saying how that makes me feel completely safe with her. That strange day that's me really the question though for you is what helps you to feel loved, because that's the stuff. This can help to create safety and that's the stuff until it's a gold mine of information. Some points if you're willing to write those things down exchange those lists tell you what that can be the difference between a hurting marriage and in a marriage that is on that journey towards a place of being able to thrive.

Hopefully all your here and resize this but in order to get everything that you want. Whatever this fun being scared half to death. Communication intimacies Saxon, you name it. Those that are not possible list to hearts are what are open.

What is your opportunity to due to to help your spouse is hard to open. All it takes is the people when they feel what's safe.

Their hearts are good begin to open what can I do to help my spouse to help my kids feel that our family are is the safest place on earth.

Dr. Greg Smalley is rep upper presentation on today's Focus on the Family is really great message but I don't know if you will and can live or feel safe when their repair and smoke. She is a practical joker. She is something else but Doug Greg and Aaron have both been wonderful additions to our team here at focus and they're the authors of the book crazy Little thing called marriage 12 secrets for a lifelong romance and they been here on this program talking about that book in various chapters. There's a lot of research behind what they wrote about the 12 core values that will help build a great marriage. That's right, John. Some of those values or ideas like stay true to your commitment rebuild trust after breach recognize the real enemy. And it's not your spouse. Trust God, pray together. Keep your hearts open as Greg so often mentioned there follow a vision for your future together, fight negative beliefs and celebrate your differences and I'd encourage you to get the book from us here Focus on the Family today and that when you do your helping us reach out to help hurting marriages one marriage at a time and in fact when Greg and Aaron were here to talk about the book we received this comment from a female listener. I've been married for over 20 years and really love Greg and Aaron's honesty about how hard marriage can be at times, but it's so worth the fight more young marriages need this kind of encouragement. Let us spot on and let me encourage listeners to donate to this ministry, which helps us provide resources like this book to young couples regardless of their ability to support us at this time because oftentimes they do need help, but they can't afford to get it. So true. And it's a great idea Jeff and we want to be there for every married couple who needs us. So please make a donation today and if you need it, ask for a copy of crazy Little thing called marriage will send that to you for donation of any amount as our way of saying thank you and call now. The numbers 800 K in the word family or stop by the show notes for more details when you're online. Be sure to look for free marriage assessment to evaluate the strengths and maybe a weakness or two in your relationship. You also discover some great articles to kind of shore up those weaker areas next time a heartbreaking yet encouraging story of a young couple who spent just 45 minutes with their newborn baby before she passed away.

There were days in that year after where it was okay and I was okay and for five years later, we see God in those moments, but in the moment and for those families going through it. It is okay to not be okay. On behalf of Jim Daly, and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for this Focus on the Family podcast. Please take a moment to give a rating for a senior podcast at been sure about this episode with a friend once you and thanks in advance for doing I'm John Fuller inviting you back next time. Again, help you and your family thrive in Christ. Soon the Supreme Court will make its historic decision on abortion in the Dobbs versus Jackson case, one that could overturn Roe P Way, what will the verdict mean and how should we respond as emotions run high as Christians we need to be ready and Focus on the Family can help you prepare starting May 2 will share inspiring stories from people base their own pro-life moment and experience God's love to learn more moment

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