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September 26, 2022 6:00 am
Author Kathi Lipp offers practical, fun ideas for couples to improve their relationship and make time together a high priority.
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My wife is the traditional things like candy or flowers. So what she really appreciates is a backrub or a foot rub, and I have to do that without any agenda. Of course, hesitantly likes to go to the movies and sell every week I'm on Thursday evening. I try to see what and beyond that he might like and start planning date night for him. My wife, I believe appreciates.
The rest in the morning while I make breakfast and I love doing that thing care of her daughter some good reminders for all of us were married to spend more time together as a couple to serve each other and really reconnect and refresh our marriage to hear more about that today on Focus on the Family with your host focus presidents and Dr. Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller, John. I think all of us who have been married more than a few years. Need those kinds of reminders simple ideas that don't require a lot of planning or expense or extravagance just thoughtfulness. Sure, having special dates is important candlelight dinners or we can get away there lots of fun and they will create special memories for you as a couple. But those are not the everyday life situations. I mean it's great come up with something every so often, but everyday stuff always showing love your spouse is obvious, but those deep plans there more sporadic and you certainly don't want to keep a romance quota between each other.
You haven't met my quota.
You know your spouse is not a good way to start your morning discussion were all in a different season of life. For example, you may be raising young children on a limited budget so you can't do much or your work schedules are so different that finding time together as a couple is pretty difficult or if I made Jim like you and I have confessed before here in this broadcast. There are times when you get home and you're just brain-dead and like I got nothing for you. Also, sorry it's so true John, welcome to the club. By the way, but we can't let that extreme and become our normal routine either where we just ignore spouse and chalk it up to fatigue and marriages can't survive on cruise control.
What we need is something in between a balanced approach where you find those simple everyday ways of saying I love you and I still care about you and to reach out to each other and I know our guest Kathy live is going to help us emphasize that message today and we have a great conversation recorded with Kathy a while ago about her book happy habits for every couple 21 days to a better relationship and Jim began the conversation on Focus on the Family. Let's get right down to it, do we have to be that methodical to get a good relation. I think that okay let's talk about that we've been talking off the air a little bit about running and exercising and things like that and think that marriage is any different than trying to get help you whether it's healthy in your life are helping your marriage if you're saying okay well I will be running a 5K but I'll do that on the day now and not worry about paying exactly there could be some soreness and some other things about think that we need to be a bit intentional about our marriages and to put a burden on anybody.
All good stuff this is all fine. But there doesn't have to be a bit of a plant because you can go especially depending on the season of your life we're talking about that you go for a month and not have a real in-depth conversation except about the bills. Or maybe the trouble your kids and at school pouring into that relationship. Those conversations are so draining. You can end up feeling like wow this is really tough. You know it's hard with that diet is a great for me is that analogy you want to lose weight, you know so you sell And eat these things but that whole sentence like your craving those things and you end up eating the very things that are not the right things to eat right, more so than if you were kind of ignoring it all yet. Any such thing. Why does the human spirit. Why do we gravitate toward doing the very thing we shouldn't do what you know God started talking about that back in Genesis yeah we want what we can't have or shouldn't have and we are credence for so much more than that we are created to have these healthy relationships these things that God wants us to be able to enjoy. He wants us to be old to enjoy our marriage.
Enjoy our partner but when were stuck in the my niche. All that has to get done to the during the day and were putting our emphasis on the urgent instead of the important and the important is that relationship then it's easy to get distracted and spend our time wanting the things that we don't necessarily need and that's really well-settled that you John, I can relate to that putting your emphasis on the urgent rather the importance a great way to say it because so often those things are most important to us, we neglect in our relationships within the family are certainly one of them. I was a father that that is a burden that I have at times not just with Jean, my spouse, but often as a dad I you I travel quite a bit. Now all feel the burden that are not there at that moment for my sons. I try to be nice. It's one of the burning desires in my heart to make sure that I'm the dad that they need, but I still fall short, and it's so frustrating. It's so frustrating to be human to have for life get in the midst of what is really really important and I think part of what I'm talking about in the book is that it's not saying okay every single day. We spent two hours looking longingly into each other's eyes.
What does it look like I think it looks like a lot a little thing a lot of little things and it's about paying attention and being intentional so most things in the book are yeah I give you 21 projects. These little things to do and that it's not every day for each of the spouses.
But one day it saying you know what your husband's favorite candy bar is sometime this week. Pick it up, put it on his nightstand, tell him he doesn't have to share with you.it's the little things just just say it's going back to when we were dating or maybe when we were engaged and are mind was on our spouse all the time.
We couldn't help but think about the was hard to work. It was hard to do anything else in life because we were so concentrated on that relationship and then the marriage happens and daily routines happen and then kids come along and it's easy to lose look at that and all I'm saying is let's recapture 5% of that and 5% can go a long way to making your spouse feel loved and making you feel left.
Why is that intentionality that's required to get this accomplished. Why is that so hard for us wise and hard but I it's so simple to put those things first to think about what Jean might like tonight. What would inspire her tonight. What can I give her that would show her I love her.
What what is robbing our imagination of the kind of creative expression in our marriage. So here's what okay I love a good chick flick. I'll be honest with you. Okay, we have the premise of the chick flick is that we spend all our time winning the love of that other person and the end of it is the marriage and once the marriage happens, it's all that you don't have to try, the more you want to do anything yet that is the goal and we now that marriage is just the beginning.
But it's hard to stay intentional when all of our society says you know what you're just building up to this that is the prize at the end of all this, and everything will just magically work itself out. We know that that's not true. We know that more effort has to be put in after the Bowser said that before, you know, I'm not sure if I've mentioned is Jim, but there was a time when we were courting. When Dino looked at me with in the middle. She looked at me across the sofa.
We were both just bone tired and she said to herself, there will be plenty of nights like this that's okay. Well, yes, and I delivered on my end but is it I think you just said is so true. We, the expectation is for this, but in reality there are ups and downs to use that word.
Jim used in the introduction there are seasons I describe for me some of the habits I made in 21 days as you do this just give me a couple and they will play off about this book is we did. This is a giant experiment with my church. We got 200 couples at my church church on the hill in San Jose, California, and it was led by me and my pastor and what we did is we took these couples through about 45 habits and we set things like guys write your wife a note and tell her 10 reasons why you love her girls tell your husband 10 reasons why you respect him by their favorite candy bar and then we asked them to go on dates together and so just update we asked him to go on different kinds of dates we asked them to go on a double date and it was so exciting to see people who started to really engage in their marriages and really exciting with an the thing that just blew me away is how much the guys loved it because the guys were told hey we want to do this this and this and they laughed saying okay if I do this and this.
I'm not to get in trouble and so probably like it right so the guys were all in. I got all these emails and phone calls telling me what they did and how their wives responded and so it was little things like we ask people to fill out a little survey, we asked the wife to say okay tell me when your birthday is coming when your anniversary and you're not allowed to write, you should know this already and what your favorite flower what your favorite perfume and so when it came time to buying his wife a treat. He had a list there it was in the doctor, he yes exactly, and so we gave them information so that they could make these projects a little bit more specific and little bit more interesting. And so it was just little simple things five-minute things by a card, write a note do something to really delight your spell. I love that and what's great about that is, anyone could do that you could do that in your church today. Everyone listening could talk to the pastors is something we could do. I think that be great. We had a marriage revolution in our church. It was so exciting. On the last day of the project and what we did is we take the 21 that people felt had the biggest impact and effect on their marriage and on the last day we had a celebration and we had posted notes that they put up on the sides of the church, talking about what God did in their marriage and it was so exciting to go and read all of those things saying things like this was the first time I ever got a card for my husband. One of them was this is the first time I ever wore lingerie for my man. And then there was another one that said this was the first time my wife ever wore lingerie. Praise God for lingerie was real impact by doing these simple things because these are all people who love each other kind of gotten out of the daily habit of talking about exactly why you matter so much to me Kathy when you talk about date nights in happy habits for every couple that something we support. Here Dr. Greg Smalley's on the team and focus in the we have a big push to due date nights, but one of the concerns that a lot of young couples particularly have is that we can afford it and we don't know what to do because we don't have a lot of money.
How can they do this in a cheaper way without spending 100 or hundred $50 for a big night. In fact, you have what you call the $20 approach talk. I really do. We did this for a long time, especially when we were first married and we knew we needed a date night. This was an optional. This wasn't something that would be fine. It was if this marriages can continue to thrive. We need some time together so we came up with a list of 20 things we could do for under $20. And so it was things like when the coupons came around for miniature golf where it was buy one get one free. We were on that and we would do things like that and say you know expensive dates put pressure on you because you have to have a great conversation you have to get dressed up and that's not the point. The point is to go out and have some fun debris capture a little of that romance you had when you were courting her dating and saying you know what we enjoyed being together. We like each other and so I do have a list of 20 dates for under $20. I'd be happy to share that that's a great post and to say and also the other thing that I think is really important, especially for young couples with kids is the babysitting factor and I understand you that I can get very expensive.
What we did is we had a babysitting co-op and so we would swap with other families and we would have little tickets that we would trade for our babysitting time together and it made such a difference because not only did we have this great date we come back and pick up her kids and would be able to have a little couple time with the other couple and just enjoy ourselves before we took our kids home and change the dynamic of what we were doing that co-op did you ever say okay will be back next week. I have a lot of tickets for that but you know we did have a couple of times where we did a weekend getaway and I think that that was so critical to our time together. It's a great thing to do. Let's look at the other end of that equation.
Let's talk to the couple who was kids have grown the 20 bucks is not the issue anymore that I could spend a bit more on an evening out, but now they've gotten into this right where they just don't do it speak that fiftysomething couple that has the cash but not the desire, yeah, I think it's important to say. Sometimes you just gotta shake up the routine, you gotta do something different. You gotta get out of yourself you know we are kind of heading into that area. We celebrated my husband's 50th birthday and this year and we just decided that some of the stuff we've been doing in the past.
Is it working for us so when things were doing now is every Saturday that were both home.
We are going for a hike and this is something we want to get out. We want to be healthy, but we also want to spend time connecting with each other. We have signed up for a 5K. This terrifies me. But we are working together to get ready for this 5K and it gives us a common goal and I think that's really important when you don't have the day-to-day crisis is with the kids anymore to have something your shooting for some routine. What would be fun. What would be something that you couldn't do with the kids because there wasn't the time or money. And now you've got the time and maybe a little bit of squiggle room money why there somebody in between. Here Jim ended between the young couple in between the couple. It's perhaps a little more seasoned and that is the couple who have for or five for perhaps six kids in their thinking, okay, I've got the want to I can afford 20 bucks.
I want to shake up the routine, but there's these little appendages I just we just can't get away from you. Having a co-op is nice idea, but with six kids. That's too many tickets so my thought on something like that is. Maybe you say that for once a month maybe your out time is once a month but then you should be dating a home and there are ways to do that you get the kids into bed and if you have teenagers you say you know what, you don't have to go to sleep but you can't be downstairs and you guys have a little bit of time that's just for the two of you and I know that when we had kids at home and we had a blended family we said in lesser bleeding.
Do not knock on our door uncertain. Yeah, we just had time to be in a room by ourselves. You know that Kathy appreciate that II think it's interesting I think is particular difficult for women. I see Jean my wife. In this way because there even that there's a sense that I've got to be available for the kids, 24, seven, and even to squeeze that time is difficult emotionally to manage that speak to that person who can't seem to make that space because there they wanted to be the supermom I understand.
But you know I think we and this is nothing against Jean or any mom who wants to be available for her kids but we also need to understand that our kids need to learn the skills to entertain themselves. Our kids need to learn the skills to take care of certain things on their own were helping them as they grow they need to become more and more independent part of the independence is saying you know I don't need to be here forever.
I'm to tuck you in and you can go to sleep on your own, and I understand there also subissues that can surround that. But we understand were giving a gift to our kids when we're teaching them you can do things on your own and mom and dad are going to be here. If there's an emergency were here but you know what we want to model for our kids with a healthy relationship looks like in a kid centric house is not a healthy house that's an important thing in it. It's good, it's good to have the heart for the children, but you also have to have the heart for the marriage and the best gift you can give your kids is a healthy relationship.
What more could your kids need the deceit their parents being together and loving each other. In fact, you talk about having an encouragement crew. I love that word will look like that. What is that mean other couples who are saying you know what this is something we want to detail. We want to make our marriage. The top priority. After our relationship with God in our house and so work and encourage each other were to hold each other accountable. Maybe it's just the women saying okay working to make sure that we plan some time for our men. During the week and I think that really the women can often be the instigators. Now I'm not saying guys are off the hook but I don't think it's up to the guys to plan the dates all the time. I we've done stuff like with other couples.
The girls and I got together and we said okay working to do a mystery date for our guys. So the first thing we did is we went to dinner and then we got a roll of tokens for each of the guys and we went and we played video games.
It did ski ball and all that kind of stuff and then we went to a fancy pants place for dinner and we all were in the same car we all did this together.
It took us no time to plan it. It took us very little money, but it was so much fun to be with other couples and it's fun to be with your spouse with other people around you get to see a different side of that that's your encouragement crew that's a great idea given encouragement crew actually yes we do have a Sunday school class were there's community there and we really do. We don't spend a lot of time outside of that Sunday morning together, but we do speak into each other's lives. We do have laughter together even in the context of the class and when we get together it's really good.
It is good I like that I think every couple should find that kind of community to be a part of the reader through book club five meeting for laptop have enjoyed seven years that it's just a lot of fun.
It's a great group of couples and we just enjoy the time very very good time. Kathy, let's talk about this aspect of it that we we want to have pure motive so often in this area, we can become a bit manipulative. Perhaps with ulterior motives. How do we, in order to honor the Lord and honor our spouses. How do we make sure that were not being kind tonight so we can get something later.
Okay so I sorry I understand exactly what you mean and women have their own motives guys have their own motives ledges beyond I you know and what of the jokes among women is the sexiest thing a man can do is scrub the toilet. Let's just beyond rooms across the country. Okay to say that to our spouses to say no I'm not doing this because I want the end result.
But let me be honest with you when I feel like you're pitching in with the kids when I feel like you're pitching in with the housework you have never been more desirable to me in my life to get beyond scratching my back and I know that may exit out there and be honest. Also, let's talk about. I think it's important to be honest about our needs, whether their physical, emotional, spiritual, or relational. I think that those are important things. I think going in with motives that are not expressed is not a good thing, but I think to be honest with your spouse and say you know what a great date night. Looks like to me is I feel loved when you go buy me flowers that makes me feel loved and it may not seem that important to the husband but to the wife. It's really important, and the husband can be really honest and say you, it's important to me that you and I have some couple time with the quotes firmly in place there at the end of the night and let's just because there are times when it's important to have those conversations so that everybody's needs are getting that way as we wrap up one of the things I love the term you use comfortable.
So often we create expectations. I'm sure even people here yesterday and over setting the bar so much higher than where they're living out today that you were not saying have to most all that were simply trying to give recommendations and suggestions on how to have a more fulfilling and richer marriage. Talk about comfortable love well the perfect example for this is my 16-year-old daughter.
At one point, I know that sounds crazy but at one point I was talking to her about the husband I was praying for for her and I said you know I'm praying that you find a husband like the husband I found one who honors you and loves you and cares for you and my daughter is 16. Said I don't want your kind of marriage.
It's boring and I was brokenhearted when I heard that, I mean it tore me up because I thought she has such a distorted idea of what true love it and I carried that herd around for a really long time.
She's 21 now and she says I want the kind of marriage you and Roger have because she said I thought if there's no drama. It's not exciting but you know when I see how much you guys care for each other and how much you love each other and she didn't recognize the value in that, but that's comfortable. Love that we serve each other, which is not a very popular term these days, but I see my husband died itself almost every day to make sure that I know that I am loved and that I'm happy and I try to do the same for him and I can't think of a better way to be married than the way that we are right now is taking us a long time to get there, but we had to get past a lot of drama and a lot of you. Is this what marriage is supposed to look like and now are the place where we couldn't imagine anything better will and you so wonderfully illustrated. I think Christian marriage that comfortable love giving himself the world's not very much more me focus and I don't mean that in a general context. I know there are people that give of themselves that are not Christian.
I get that but that is the Christian ethos. They may not know they're expressing it right that is God's heart and that will become more and more unique in the culture as Christians live out a rewarding marital relationship. And I think it's what's going to bring the culture back to marriage and benefits of marriage. Kathy Whitlock happy habits for every thanks for being with us again.
Thanks again for having me guys a terrific conversation with Kathy Lynn today on Focus on the Family, and Jim, I depreciated the energy she brings in the positive message for taking her marriages to that next level. It's a great reminder John that marriage isn't that complicated.
The little everyday things we do and say really matter and with some intentionality and creativity. Your relationship with your spouse will grow in amazing ways. And that's why were sharing this broadcast today because Focus on the Family wants to help strengthen your marriage and help you become a living witness of what a God honoring family. Looks like even with our failures. At times, with your help we can see a lot more husbands and wives experience that same thing, but imagine how many more couples we could impact working together to give them practical advice and Bible-based encouragement. Hopefully, like we've done today. Please join our marriage building team with your generous support to Focus on the Family. We'd love to hear from you and if you can send a gift of any amount today to Focus on the Family will make sure you get a copy of Kathy's book happy habits for every couple as well as additional downloads of today's broadcast R number is 800 K in the word family or stop by the program notes for all the we've also got a free marriage assessment for you is really easy to fill out the takes maybe five or six minutes, and it'll give you a good overview of what's working well in your relationship and maybe an area or two to work on as well defined details on the website. Next time, how to teach your son about manhood as early as possible.
You have to speak it so you gave him no other options.
You told person trouble going home.
What else is say every day, you need to tell Strauch to be brave 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 once more help you and your family thrive in Christ. See 70 $28 is Chase.they all die.
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