Wouldn't that be nice? Except we all know that trying to create a perfect marriage is about as effective as building a house of cards. What if your relationship could be transformed though, in terms of intimacy and grace and encouragement and having fun with your spouse? We'll cover that today on Focus on the Family and your host is Focus President and author Jim Daly.
I'm John Fuller. John, it's not uncommon for husbands and wives to wonder why marriage seems so difficult at times. And that's just marriage, right?
If it's always treetops, something's not right. We want it to be easier and sometimes we'd rather coast in that relationship, not putting the effort into it that we need to, so we have a great communicating, loving, kind marriage. But you gotta put some time into it. That's where the magic in marriage really happens. And today with our special guest, we're going to talk about how to build that kind of magic, a biblical magic, into your marriage. Yeah, and Danny Ray Thompson and his wife Kimberly are in the studio with us.
And Danny Ray is a world-renowned illusionist who's been performing magic tricks for more than 30 years. He's got a pastoral heart and he and his wife Kimberly are passionate about helping husbands and wives develop a stronger relationship. And they've written a terrific book called No, I Can't Make Your Wife Disappear, A Magician's Guide to a Magical Marriage. And reach out to us here at Focus on the Family for your copy of that book. The link is in the show notes or call 800 the letter A and the word family. Danny and Kimberly, welcome to Focus on the Family. Well, thank you.
It's great to be here. Okay, now with that title, Kimberly, I gotta ask you, let me, let me hope that you as the wife had a little bit of input there to say, can we just use husband instead of wife? How can I make my husband disappear? Definitely. Oh, good. That's good to hear. We had some input here, but the reason it ended up being No, I Can't Make Your Wife Disappear is because believe it or not, that's one of the number one questions that typically the men come up and ask Danny after the show.
After the magic show? That's right. That's just rude. It is actually, but they think it's pretty funny. Yeah, that's true.
And that's the point. That's that is such an odd combination in a, in a really inspirational way. So Danny and maybe Kimberly, you played a role in that. But being an illusionist. Yeah, that's not your typical job. You know, we don't hear a lot about illusionists. I mean, one, you're trying to trick what people see, right? You're trying to create an illusion. Correct.
Yeah. And so now applying that in marriage. And as a pastor, are we waking up to this reality that, oh, my goodness, it's all an illusion.
I hope not. I hope your marriage is real. But good developing, you know, things that create wonder and astonishment in your marriage is something that I think I have a unique insight into. And so we've had the privilege of counseling people over the years. And then we thought, why is it that God's given us a great marriage, we've gone to different marriage conferences, and read a lot of marriage books, and that let's give back.
And so, you know, taking that combination of a marriage stuff, and then where those things overlap with the magic stuff, and create a book on that. Let me ask you so often, you know, when we look at personality types, and how people, you know, you end up marrying and selecting who you're going to marry, we do opposites. Oh, yeah, often, not always. And people will let me know, I get it.
It's the 8020 rule. So if you're following the 20%, don't write me a note. But do you guys are you like that? Is one of you more extroverted, one introverted? Or how do you guys see your personality types as a couple? Wow, you're on the personality so you could you could tell me what my personality is.
Right here on national air. He does not this is an illusionist for you does not want to be put in a box. So a lot of being put in a box metaphorically with boxed in with his personality does not want that.
So I am not allowed to diagnose him or tell him what his personality is. You know, Jean is an awful lot like that. She hates those personality tests. Okay, well, she'll say and I love I'm never one way all the way and it doesn't capture me.
Therefore, I feel it's a false answer if I right. Yeah, she goes through that whole rotation. I'll tell her what her personality is later. Let me ask you, you encourage husbands and wives to celebrate the mess of marriage. I like that. Yeah, you know, oftentimes we're talking about not being perfect. That can be a hard thing in marriage because one spouse might expect a little more perfection than the other. And that right there creates conflict because of the expectations, right? But I like that reminder of just have fun in the mess and be a bit chill. Yeah, so it's in the middle of the mess that I think I can show up and do some incredible things. We were always praying like get us out of the mess.
But what if it's in the middle of the craziness of kids, you know, wiping poop on walls? Can you can you say that? I don't know.
We'll hear from the FAA. I think it's a much better word. But yeah, good, you know, and you know, kind of those insane years in going. We just we want out but what if it's right in the middle of that the God shaping us and creating a different character in us to love others that are messy to to learn to love him in the middle of that instead of waiting till we're out of that season. Yeah.
And give us an example. Yeah. So there was one time, you know, I thought, I'll clean up the house while she's away.
She always wants everything dusted. And so that day, I think pretty reasonable. Yeah, I had a good idea. I thought it was a good idea. Like, you know, this is an outlier request. I mean, so I decided to dust the house with a leaf blower.
That's the first time I've ever heard of it. In my head, it seemed like a really good idea. Like we've got a little bit of dust. I mean, we had a lot of dust electric or gas.
So but I mean, it's still 75 miles of beauty. And so I blew out stuff that never should have been out from under the fridge above the fridge. And I am just going around and within like two, three minutes, I realized this is a really bad idea. I'm like in a big tornado of dust now in another place.
It's only moving it at this point. You're supposed to put the dust under the fridge. Come on.
I can help you with this. Where were you? You sweep it under the fridge, man.
Yes. And when she pulled into the driveway and I have like a dust storm, it wasn't good. It wasn't good. Let's let's turn into the magic for a minute. If I could say it that way. You compare marriage to a deck of cards. Okay. I'm going to ask you how.
But you also talk about you say you want to cheat in your marriage in order to have the winning hand. Let's be very specific. Yeah, we've got to be. Yeah. What does that mean? Yes. Thank you, Kimberly.
This is a Christian program. Not that kind of cheating. I'm extremely good at cheating, but. Well, you're an illusionist. Yes.
So back up to like bigger picture story. My biological father, he was kicked out by my mom for gambling. And so gambling has been a really interesting conversation in our household. But growing up, because it was one of those things that my my biological father was addicted to and tried to sell the house.
My mom kicked him out. And so growing up, I never into this day, I just don't gamble. But I started to work on how do you cheat at cards, you know, with sleight of hand for entertainment purposes. So you know, taking, you know, cards that might have a five or seven or two and turning them into the four races or something like that is in my wheelhouse.
And I could do that. But in our marriages, when you're dealt a horrible hand, you know, maybe, maybe your spouse has a mental health issue that you're like, I didn't sign up for this. Or maybe you have a kid that has a disability. Our first kid, great.
The second kid, we ended up in the NICU for 11 days, and it was heart wrenching and all those things you go through. But how do you take those things and go, Okay, the circumstances are different. But how do I how do I ask God to give me grace and forgiveness and hope. And the way Paul says is that we don't define our circumstances as like, these are horrible or bad, but it's in everything we have the opportunity to choose joy to choose life. And so I think when we talk about dealing the hand we're dealt is we don't always get a royal flush or a perfect hand. But whatever we're dealt, we learn to ask God to help us to see that as a good thing because he's orchestrating something great with the hand that you're done.
It's such a good reminder. I mean, especially with Paul's letters in the scripture, because he uses every a lot in every situation in every circumstance, give thanks. I don't know that we actually as modern Christians get a hold of that, really. We've got an 80% confirmation there. The other 20 Are you sure Paul or were you like, you know, taken up into the third heaven at that point?
Because we don't really embrace that, that God wants us to show faith toward him in every circumstance. It's a hard thing to imagine. You know, in the light hearted side, you had a Christmas tree, I think a crooked Christmas tree. What was Yeah, we've pulled out all the good stuff. So what happened with the crooked Christmas tree? So wow.
The things I should be, I don't need to write about. Okay, so you wrote it. So my wife and I were about to head down to San Diego, and we have like five minutes and one of her things is like, you know, that Christmas tree, it's got to be straight, that angel up top, it's got to be perfect. Are you Jean's sister? Man, you guys came from the same parents. Now it's a different deal.
But this is early on in our in our marriage. And so right before we're leaving for San Diego, she's like, the Christmas tree is crooked. I'm like, Oh, okay. So I, you know, get under the tree, you know, adjust it with your air blower. So no, so I'm under there with the screws trying to screw it together, get it straight. And then she's like, Oh, that's perfect. I get out, you know, now I've like leaves all over me poking me sap on me. And she's like, Oh, it just leaned again.
I'm like, Oh, did. So I get back under there. But now it's getting like, frustrating, because the tree wizard is like, that's her. It's not perfect, you know. And so I do it for five, six times.
Finally, very patient man, I normally normally, but this is not my best hour. Because at that point of it, you know, it continued to lean continue to lean is I was done with this tree. So I took the tree and I started slamming it into the ground to try to make it straight.
I'm like, Oh, and I'm slammed. Is this a decorated tree? It's a decorated tree.
We're just a tree. You're supposed to do that before you put the ornaments on. I know you're a magician, but I don't think that's gonna make it.
No. So everything flew off. Kimberly, the straight tree wizard is now saying, Okay, Danny. I'm shocked because this is the angriest I think I'd ever seen him at that point in our marriage. So it did a number on me. So what happened?
Did you get it to go straight? So here's the crazy part is I drove down to Ace, Ace hardware. And there was literally we didn't have a lot of money at this time. We were on a tight, tight budget. And there was some tree stand that said sets up in one minute.
I didn't look at the price. I just grabbed it. I bought it. And I was like, I literally set a timer. I'm like, if this thing doesn't set up in one minute, I'm going to be right back at Ace. But it set up in like 30 seconds. It was perfectly straight.
I'm like this. Why didn't I have this tree? That was worth 80 bucks. It was worth whatever.
I don't know. Kimberly may disagree. No, we saved that tree stand for years and I should hang it on the wall. That thing saved our marriage.
The tree stand that saved our marriage. Speaking of saving your marriage, Kimberly, you talk about and encourage couples to embrace counseling. We certainly appreciate that here at Focus. And that's obviously Christian oriented, Christian based counseling. We've always got to clarify that you can get some bad counselors that are going to come with worldly recipes to help you. But we're talking about solid Christian biblical counseling. Why do you encourage couples to keep an open heart toward counseling? You know, we all need advice. We all need help.
We all need more tools in our toolbox, essentially. So Danny and I were blessed to go to a conference when we first got married. No, before we got married. We did it when we were engaged. And then we did it here in Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor, but we didn't stay at the Broadmoor. That's right.
It's like a Christmas tree stand. Right, right. So going to the conference before we got married gave us some huge tools in our toolbox and probably even that language of toolbox. I don't think we knew that before then. And we were definitely very young getting married and needed all the help we could get. So that's where the tools started getting implemented. But then counseling was always something.
My mom was a huge proponent and had benefited from wise counsel. Yeah. And you know, one of the difficulties and I sympathize with this, but sometimes it's the husband, sometimes it's the wife. It's a declaration of failure that I don't measure up. And now we need counseling. And I thought I was a good person and a good Christian. Right.
And that's the mode I was in. I was like, I don't want to go to counseling. We're not going, we'll fix it. We can do this.
I had never been to counseling. But to me, it was like, you failed. Right. That's what it feels like. Yeah. And our first year of marriage, we ended up going to counseling and lo and behold, it helped. Imagine that.
People who have skills to do so. And so it was at that point that we just made a decision, we'll do whatever it takes. If it means going to counseling, if it means seeing a friend, seeing a pastor, whoever we can, whoever is further down the road to help us with our marriage, we're all about that. That's good. Danny, let me ask you, I think I've seen at least versions of this. One of the illusions that you perform is an elaborate underwater escape.
Describe what's involved and how you use that to teach people about life and God and marriage. Yeah. So for a number of years, I did underwater escapes and there's, you know, when, when you're going under water, you knew the, the first thing I would say before I went under water is I would ask people to hold their breath with me when they go under. And if at any point, they feel like they're going under vicariously, they're going to hold your breath. So, but when I go into water, I am going to ask that you hold your breath. And if at any point you let out your air, I want you to think about that moment when you take your final breath, where are you going to be?
Where are you going to be in your relationship with God, with your family with, yeah. And so it was one of those messages I say hold your, your breath as you go under, but it was the only piece I've ever done that vicariously people feel like they're in there with you trapped in there underwater in the dark. And yeah, so I, it's one of the best like messages because they're seeing it, they're feeling it. And when I would escape, you know, it wasn't, you know, like triumphant. It's like I'm doing a real escape and it doesn't go right every time we had to, you know, go wrong twice where I really thought I was going to lose my life. But it's, yeah, it's, it's a difficult thing and difficult on my wife as well. Every time after I got out of water, you know, I'd have to text her and let her know I'm alive, I'm good, you know, and then when I stopped doing that, I had to, you know, let her know, you know, I'm no longer doing that underwater escape.
I was like, babe, the deck of cards, it came out of the box. Fine. I'm good.
It's okay. I survived. Life insurance company was happy about the fact that, you know what they don't, they don't ask. They did not say, do you lock your skydiving and all that. They asked those questions, those questions, but they did not say you're not an illusion yourself. So I paint that picture a little bit because people, some people haven't been to a magic show.
I, I don't know that I've been to a big magic show to be honest with you, but this is a tank of water that's over your head. You're getting in, you're all bound up. You have handcuffs on. Yeah. So I'd have the audience, sometimes audience members would bring handcuffs, but usually I'd have handcuffs with me and I would pass those around, you know, make sure they're legitimate handcuffs.
Wow. And then I'd have somebody come up, examine the locks, examine the canister that I'm getting. We call that the chamber, but ultimately it was based on the milk can escape by Harry Houdini.
Right. And so somebody would examine that and then we'd have somebody help us dump 50 gallons of water into this drum essentially, and then put the lid on. And then there were six locks that would lock that lid into place. And I'm underwater in multiple handcuffs, you know, working with a pick to try to get out of those. So you have to really do that. You have to pick the locks. Yeah. And the sad thing now is my daughter's into lock picking and my wife's going like, no! Well hopefully she'll use it constructively. That's right.
You never know. Kimberly, in that context, you talk about the reset button in the book, both of you do. Yeah.
Speak to the reset button, how you use it and how it's been effective in your marriage. Sure. We used it yesterday. Well, give us an example. So when you're rushing out of the house to get to the airport and you have a bit of an attitude, it might be helpful. Was that your attitude?
I'm not saying use it, why? Might have been both of us, a little on edge trying to get out of the house for the airport, but it's a way of saying, hey, I'm sorry. And there's still apologies and there's still some reconciliation because I'm big on that. So you'd say something like, let's do a reset.
Let's reset. Which really means be quiet. Oh no, no, no, no. It doesn't mean be quiet.
It just means no, no, no. Yeah. Let's clarify that. No, it just means can we start over? Can we have a do over?
Let's try this again. Cause we're both acknowledging, Hey, we didn't do well at that getting out of the house because we didn't handle it. And with that situation, like we didn't handle ourselves the way we would normally or the way we'd want stress tends to do. Yeah. And yeah.
And stress does that. And it's easy to just go, you know what? I love you. You love me. We're in this together. We, I, whether I blowed her, she blew it, you know, I go, Hey, can we reset? And then we just start over and we'll literally like, Hey, let me give you a hug.
Let's start over. And you know, it's just grace and forgiveness, forgiveness. You use the term, but God in a positive way. Yeah. How do you apply that in marriage? But God.
Yeah. So the, the, but God statements are throughout the old and new Testament, you know, where, uh, literally the Israelites are going one way. God shows up and shows them mercy, shows them grace, shows them forgiveness. And so in our marriage, we want to, uh, but God marriage where if I do something that's hurtful or painful toward her, um, she knows the, but God stories has redeemed her, but God has done this for her. So she shows me that same grace, that same forgiveness. There's a great verse and you guys will have to find it. I don't, I'm just throwing out.
I know, I know you're going to have to make it up here though. That we're to forgive one another, the same way that Christ Jesus forgave us. And one of the things early on that we realized is that he forgave us before we ever asked. And so we don't wait for the other person, like, you know, be grudgingly like, no, until you apologize, until you do this, we try to show that grace and that forgiveness before the other person asks. So that when they're, they're like, Hey, I'm sorry, I've already forgiven you. It's our, we're good. You know, and, and sometimes we're not good.
So we have to work and reconcile, but a lot of times we could, you know, forgive the same way that Christ has forgiven us, which is beforehand. Yeah. In that context, what you're writing about is legacy. What's the legacy of your marriage in your marriage, those kinds of things. What recommendations do you have for couples who want to create that kind of legacy in marriage?
Yes. So legacy is a huge thing for us is it's one of those things that we talk about with having the end in mind is same thing with the underwater escape is when you take your last breath, where are you going to be? Where, where do you want your marriage to be a year from now, five years from now, 10 years, when you pass, what do you want your kids to say about you, your sister, your brother, your mom, your dad, your whoever those people are that are at your, your funeral, what are they saying about your marriage?
Have you invested well? Cause that marriage affects so many people. And so we talk about being legacy driven. And for me with, with Caroline, that just really made me wake up to, I want to be kind and caring and loving and Christ like to my children, to my wife and let that pour out of every part of my life. And, but that takes being intentional and it takes having a wife that shows grace and mercy to me every day.
It takes me focusing on the right things at the right time. And yeah, no, that's good. In that context, Danny, you have a fable, I think an African fable that kind of applies in that. What's the fable and how does it work in marriage? So every day with the lion and the gazelle, you have them both waking up in the gazelle has got to outrun the lion and lion's got to chase the gazelle to, to get his food for the day.
Both are necessary. If the lion gets the gazelle, he gets to eat. If not, he needs to keep chasing gazelles to feed his family or her family.
And then the gazelles got to stay alive. And so in our marriages, right, we have to wake up focused and running. Cause there's an enemy that wants to tear apart your marriage, devour us literally devour our marriages.
And we're seeing it across the world. And I'm sure in your community, you see marriages that are falling apart and maybe that's your story, but God has a greater story for you where you wake up with purpose and, and working on healing and working on restoring and working on loving your spouse and the way God's designed it. But you have to write down maybe one thing today that you're going to do to take a step in that direction to make a difference. That's really good. That's a good one. I like that.
Yeah. Let's put that in. Danny and Kimberly, this has been terrific. Love your book. No, I can't make your wife disappear. A magician's guide to a magical marriage.
Great title. And I'm glad you fought for the husband portion of that, Kimberly. I feel better because there's a lot of wives that might want their husbands to disappear, but we get the theme that it's applicable to either spouse and that's the point. And you've done such a great job capturing these stories and I appreciate you pouring into that. People don't understand how difficult it is for a couple to write about marriage. Because my guess would be, you guys aren't perfect.
And therefore you're exposing your relationship out, putting it out there for people to see, to read the stories. And it's just so vulnerable yet so good because we all kind of travel together on that same road with the same potholes and you know, so I deeply appreciate that vulnerability. I want to make sure people can get ahold of this resource. And if you can make a gift to focus on the family of any amount. A monthly gift is great, a one-time gift. If you need it and you can't afford it, we're a Christian ministry. We're going to get it into your hands trusting that others can take care of that expense. Just get in touch with us and ask for the book. If you can, support us and we'll send it as our way of saying thank you.
Please call 800, the letter A in the word family, 800-232-6459. Or you can donate and get Danny's book along with an audio download of our entire conversation with the Thompsons by clicking on the link in the program notes. Also at the website, we have a free marriage assessment that you can take.
It'll require five or 10 minutes of your time and it's going to go a long way toward helping you in your relationship, pointing out areas of strength and maybe an area or two of growth. Check it out. The link is in the show notes. Danny and Kimberly, it's been so fun and so insightful to have you with us. Thanks for being here. Thank you for having us. What a blessing to be with you. And 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. Thank you.
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