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Becoming a Wholehearted Wife (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
October 28, 2022 6:00 am

Becoming a Wholehearted Wife (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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October 28, 2022 6:00 am

Greg and Erin Smalley describe how married couples can quickly get into a rut because of unmet expectations, poor conflict management, and personal baggage that interferes with their marriage relationship. They emphasize the value of honoring your spouse, learning how to nourish your marriage, and focusing on your relationship with God instead of expecting too much from your imperfect spouse. (Part 2 of 2)

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I remember just getting like really panicky like no I have to figure this out right now because my my son's gonna come home from school in like two hours and I have to know what to say. When Holly's son was considering suicide she called a focus on the family counselor. All those years I'd been listening to focus I was thinking about how they were like that practical guide for me that was sound advice I could get from them.

I didn't really know where else to turn. I'm Jim Daley working together we can rescue hurting parents like Holly and give families hope. We need the truth that focus on the family brings into our minds and into our homes. We need that if we're gonna raise up the next generation of believers to walk in obedience and to walk in the truth that God loves us.

Donate today at slash hope and your gift will be doubled. You know for me I think one of the the best questions that we can ever ask in a marriage is not how do we have a better marriage. I think that actually that is the worst question.

Why? Well because I can't control Aaron and it takes two of us to have a great marriage. I think the best question that we can ask in our marriage is how can I be a better spouse. Dr. Greg Smalley is back with us again today on focus on the family along with his wife Aaron and they're describing better ways husbands and wives can work through expectations and disappointments and experience the kind of marriage that God designed for us. Your host is focus president and author Jim Daley thanks for joining us today I'm John Fuller. John we had a wonderful conversation last time with the Smalleys and if you miss that get a CD or download or get the app for your smartphone it's really easy to do. This is good stuff that every marriage really needs not only to survive but to thrive as a couple and I want to challenge those of us who claim the name of Christ in a culture where marriage is constantly being redefined and often degraded we need to show the world something better.

We don't have to be perfect but better is a good goal. We have to live out God's Word and how we love and serve our spouse and when you do that you'll experience a more fulfilling relationship. Greg and Aaron are experts in this field they've devoted their lives to bettering not only their own marriage but everyone else around them as well. They head up our marriage ministry team here at Focus and I really appreciate their insights. Their humor is just like Greg's dad Gary so rich and their vulnerability about the challenges that they faced in their own marriage that I think is what attracts people to them.

They're very open about their shortcomings and I'm looking forward to part two of our discussion. And the Smalleys have written a wonderful book it's called The Wholehearted Wife 10 Keys to a More Loving Relationship and by the way the co-writer on this book was Greg's dad the late Gary Smalley. He was a great friend to this ministry and one of our most popular broadcast guests. You can get the Smalleys book when you click the link in the program notes or call 800 the letter A and the word family. And today on the episode we're gonna pick up our conversation with the Smalleys at the point where Aaron responded to some of the common frustrations that wives have in marriage. Really we desire more than that we want a great marriage we want a great relationship no we can't control our spouse or husband we can't change him but we sure have the power to influence and so I love Ephesians 6 7 it says serve wholeheartedly as if you were serving the Lord not man and so really when I show up as a wife I want to serve I want to serve the Lord I want to serve wholeheartedly I'm all in I want to do everything I can that I can control and that's me in this marriage relationship to influence and to impact this relationship. And we left last time talking about the choices that we make our attitude and you know I feel that with Gene and me I'm sure John you and Dina have this but sometimes just out of your own experience your background your nature comes out and you default to that setting and something frustrates you or makes you angry and that's where the evening goes and now it's you got to talk it through. What do you mean in the book about choosing a better path how do we really choose to react to our spouse in a better way? Mm-hmm and really because often we're not even aware of what we're doing of how we're viewing our spouse how we're treating our spouse and so really it's taking a step back and instead of focusing on him which again last time I said it's really a lot more fun to focus on him you know to really take a look at yourself and just becoming aware of how am I seeing him and how am I viewing him so when we've been hurt when we've been disappointed we forget how valuable they are and the bottom line God scripture says how valuable he is that he's made in his image his value does not change because God says so and so when we're grounded when we're spending time with the Lord when we're filled up when our eyes are on him on the Lord then it's easier to remember just what a precious individual we've married. Let's talk a minute about what we bring into marriage I touched on that it tends to form our opinions and the way we react under crisis or maybe just generally and I see that I can be really sharp with my tongue and my thoughts I'm fairly quick maybe not that quick in terms of responding to something and and I think for Jean and I that's where I I've got to be careful and mindful that I don't use either the kind of the sharp wit to cut down and I I do that far too often and and she's very much a golden retriever yeah and very loving person very kind person and so my cute little darts that I give myself such credit for actually are just crushing her yeah and I've I think I've got my hands on that far better than when I was younger and more immature in our marriage I guess Jean will have to let me know which she will tonight when I get home but but that's what I'm talking about what Erin what did you bring in to your relationship with Greg what family of origin things what did you have to work through I had I mentioned this yesterday that I had a lot of I was lacking a lot of knowledge and skills with relationships and so I learned a lot from Greg's dad and from Bible studies from other women and and really set off on a journey of learning and growing and really I communication wasn't a strong point for me conflict how to deal with conflict in a healthy way wasn't a big strength for me and then also anger was something that I was raised in a home where my dad he was the most gentle spirit but boy when he got upset it was it you know it was an explosion and so often in our family when we would work through something it was very explosive and very volatile versus Greg came from a family where that was not the case at all oh we avoided conflict we would never raise our voices and so is Erin and I would get into disagreement and the energy would go up and her voice would go up I mean it just I didn't know what to do so you're kind of for really two opposite yeah how did you reconcile that how did you learn that we're both kind of in a not so good spot where's good middle ground yeah I mean that was part of our problem is that how we handle conflict ultimately is what we call we're both fighters like we're gonna pursue we're gonna engage we want to battle this thing through we're gonna talk it through we want to argue it through in oftentimes in a marriage you see one that's more of a fighter the other is a flighter more of a withdrawer but for us oh we were gonna go toe-to-toe in the sense of we're gonna engage and pursue one another and you know and that's what was so challenging you know for us it's hard and it's something that we still have to to work on I know just the other day I was driving in the parking lot of our school dropping the kids off and it was there was a lot this is a while ago there's snow and and we were late and I was frustrated with Aaron going you know I was needing to leave on time and whatever was going on you know the we couldn't leave on time so I was late and there's snow on the ground in literally I wasn't paying attention and I smashed into the back of this woman's van oh my so now talk about being really late so she gets out and so we're talking and it's cold so I brought her into my car giving her my information and so she's writing down my information of my license in the radio was on it's also in a commercial came on it was talking about this this father-daughter dance that was coming up in the Colorado Springs area and as soon as I heard it I went oh no and so she's listening to this and she goes hey my husband and daughter they're going to that and I was like uh-huh and then all of a sudden it said in featuring special guest speaker dr. Greg Smalley that's you and I went yeah please don't tell anybody what I've done I was so I would just so through all of that I was just frustrated I mean I you know I smashed her car smashed my car down there's all this damage I gotta pay I remember calling her and just didn't handle it right and you know I was frustrated and versus you know more than anything I think what I've learned and this is the whole point of the book is that it's not about how can I have a better marriage it's how can I be a better spouse what do I need to learn what I've learned is that I need a little bit of time before I call her before I respond to her or it's not gonna go well I need some time to pull back and especially to go to the Lord and try to get some perspective and more than anything that I've learned about conflict that's what's helped me is that if I can just get a little bit of distance and then go to the Lord and usually it's like okay your daughter you created her what in the world what is she doing you tell you know but finally in the midst of my prayer I finally sink into God what do I need to do what are you how are you gonna use this to reveal something about me that I need to to work on and what I found is that when I focus on me in those moments to get my heart back open then I'm able to come back and re-engage and then we have a better conversation the thing that messes me up is when I've hurt frustrated and mad if I go to her off the bat it's never gonna work hmm cuz I'm shut down and Greg that really is the thing about setting patterns that's where you get into a habit and a pattern and then you don't communicate and he just watches news weather in sports and she's doing other things and you're not having relationship and then it's snowballs doesn't it what do we need to do as husbands we said we're gonna pick on husbands a bit let's pick on ourselves what do we need to do to better understand how to help our wives become whole-hearted because we have a role in it yeah we are I always like to think that part of my job is not to make Aaron become more like Christ tried to do that yeah that's not a good it really done don't say that out loud by the way but really I am also her helpmate in other words I'm helping her on this journey that she's on with the Lord to become more like him so how can I help her in and I just I always go back to Ephesians 5 I mean when you think of that whole passage of Scripture Ephesians 5 25 through 33 here's what stands out to me for the man okay Paul uses approximately 216 words in that section approximately approximately okay okay 62 of them are addressed to the wife 154 of those words and most women right now is saying see proves my point okay that's 71% of what Paul is saying is directed to the man that's a big deal there's something there that I really need to understand and give us the nutshell of what he's saying to I think what it comes down to one and again we all know this but you know my job is to love her sacrificially so Christ gave up his life for the church I am to love her that way giving up what I want serving her I mean we've talked about this before what would it be like in a marriage of every single day that I woke up trying to out serve her I can't I would love it she tried to do that but again I can't control that but what if that was my goal is I'm gonna love her like Christ love the church I'm gonna sacrifice I'm gonna give up my stuff and again Paul says it over and over I'm to love my wife is I love my own body and then he says for no one ever hated his own flesh but nourishes it and cherishes it guys that's it I mean if you did nothing else but focused on those two words to cherish her to recognize her value to really truly get this is an amazing person this woman that I married is just so valuable King Solomon says in Proverbs that that a wife is a man's greatest treasure I mean think about that she is so valuable even if I don't see it even if I'm so mad at her that I don't get it it doesn't change so from that spot of cherishing her then I'm motivated then to serve her to nourish her so then it becomes guys just a matter of going so what does Erin like what does she need for me what helps her to feel loved when I do whatever if I went on a quest to go Erin just answer the statement I feel loved when you you know guys write that down you've been given a formula there it is and I think if we do those things to cherish her to nourish her that's it I mean that should be our focus not on what she's doing or not doing it's hard to do as a human being it's the right thing to do Erin let me ask you though because I think some of this healing needs to occur where you know you deal with the past to kind of ask the Lord to get into the perhaps the dark closet of our life and it's not always the big things you know pornography or something like that these can be relational things for example you and your dad you felt like you had a breakthrough in a healing moment when it came to this dynamic that you learned as a daughter and the way that he would rage and how that would impact you talk about that I think it would touch a lot of women you know so often when you come from a home with a dad that rages or has anger it's something that is handed down and it's not something that we want because as a young mom I swore I was like I will never take this into my marriage into I'm not gonna pass this on to my kids but then all of a sudden you're frustrated you're hurt you've got kids running everywhere chaos and suddenly you find yourself snapping right and you go back to what you were raised with what you experience what we experienced and really by making that vow I'm not gonna do this really what we're doing is tying ourselves to it and if you are experiencing anger as a woman more than likely and as a man more than likely someone in your family of origin also dealt with it and it's something that's been passed on and I decided I was like Lord I do not want to carry this legacy this is not what I want to pass on to my kids and so I started praying and I didn't even know if Greg knew what was going on for me personally spiritually that it really was the prayer of my heart Lord help me break this pattern I do not want it and every time I would lose it I would just feel horrible I didn't feel good about who I was because that's not who I wanted to be and so I would go to the Lord again and say Lord please take this away well I'm this may not be how it happens for you but this is how it happened for me there was one day where I went to yell at one of my kids poor soul and I couldn't yell I started coughing and to this day when I'm standing at a soccer game and trying to cheer my kids on I literally I'll scream and it'll be this scratchiness in my throat it's just a reminder to say this is what God did he healed me from that anger he and I together broke that pattern how did that happen you know what happened in your life that it really worked well as I begin to understand anger there's so much underneath anger really when you show up raging or angry and frustrated there's other emotions that are going on really anger is a smoke signal is what we call it that there's something more going on there's something brewing underneath fear hurt frustration disappointment something is going on that's leading you to this place of anger so as I started to understand and like Greg talked about what I needed to do in those moments as I started to feel my heart rate increasing and things intensifying you really to take a break and step back and to become aware because again so often what we do we are not aware of what's driving it or even that we're doing it and so to step back and really get in touch with what's going on right now for me and you know and to name it to say you know what I'm feeling overwhelmed right now busyness can do this to us when we go from one thing to the next our heart closes our heart shuts down to step back and go okay right now my heart is closed and when our heart is closed that's the times that we're gonna do we're gonna say things that are not reflective of who we want to be did you have that moment with your dad where you're able to talk with him yes and really the great news is that working through it you know I went to counseling Greg and I spent numerous hours talking about this that really I had released it to where I really went through a season of forgiveness of just a process of forgiving him and really landing at a place of you know I'm probably never gonna hear and I'm sorry I'm not getting here of you know this is what I did wrong and I really got to the place that I really didn't need to hear that I met him at Mimi's a restaurant and we were just sitting there talking and typically conversations with him would end up escalating especially if it was about something in our relationship and so we I sat down and he looked at me and he said I have a question to ask you and I literally went here we go this is how it's always goes and so it's gonna end up tense and I'm gonna have to really try to control this and he looked at me and he said Aaron he said zero to ten how was I as a dad and I almost fell over I literally was dumbfounded I didn't know how to respond to that and he said you haven't answered and I said dad I gotta take some time to think about this and so I did but any grown woman would do I grabbed my cell phone and I ran into the bathroom and I called Greg I told her to read him a 9.3 sounds familiar but yeah so I mean you're partly in panic yes how did you came out of the ladies room and sat down I sat down and I really I had Greg calmed to me and he said you know ask him why he's asking you that so I came back I said dad why now what are you looking for and he said you know what when you get to the end of your life you look back and there are things that you regret and one of the things I regret is the anger that I brought into our house how I treated your mom how I treated you at times and tears started flowing down his face and really honestly never in a million years thought I would would get to this place and as he was talking I said you know what dad I want to be a great mom anger is something that I've had to deal with as well I said you know I've worked and worked to do things the right way but there are things I'm gonna have to go back and own and apologize for things that I didn't mean things that I said things that you know I impacted my girls or my our son that I didn't really mean and as I was talking the Holy Spirit was telling me tell him you've already forgiven him and I was like I'm not gonna I can't say that and so I started in I said you know what dad the things that you did great he was a hair stylist he always did my hair he introduced me to some really high quality hair products early on in life and I said you know dad yeah tell me these are so expensive Greg didn't like that well your hair looks great they were no longer free and I you know and I said but dad the hardest thing was the anger and he said I know I know and then I said you know what dad the good news is I said I've already forgiven you I said it's done and the unreal thing is that in the wholehearted wife in the dedication portion of it I wrote it to three men to my dad to my father-in-law and to my husband and again the Holy Spirit said show him and I so I pulled it up on my phone I had an email with it in it and so I handed it to him and as he was reading it just the utter pain and pleasure I mean it was all in one it was just the restoration of the relationship something I never ever dreamt I would have the sight of heaven and sweet Annie was actually with me through this whole conversation and she's patting my face going mommy it's wet it's wet and I'm like yes it's there happy tears Annie happy tears and walking out of that restaurant that day our relationship will never be the same well a couple of things from that observation one for everybody do what you can to heal the relationships now why wait why go to your grave not healing the most important relationships in your life and if you even want to talk that through if you don't have Greg on the other hand yeah I'd say call us here at focus let us help you walk through that what's a good thing to ask what's a good thing to say you know Jim the thing too that I'd add in there is that what I've watched my wife do so in spite of how I've treated her at times in spite of what her dad has done what I will say is that some time ago she did make a decision that that she had a choice in this and either she could remain resentful hurt disconnected in that relationship or she could fear out how to forgive and pursue her dad and that's what I've watched hmm she invited him to that father-daughter date night that I was speaking at so he flew out we flew him out and he got to be there and I think that's the point is that even if we're not gonna have a dad to pursue us to say you know what I was wrong and I love you and bless us give us that blessing is that the point of the book is that we can choose to do things that will impact a relationship and she would never say this but I know that God has used that persistence in her life and the fact that she got her heart back open to her dad yeah and that paved the way and I love that he I hate to say rewarded and I don't think that's what happened but you know I mean it turned out great but it may not for you and it doesn't matter what matters is that we respond and we make choices and we can influence and impact relationships just by doing some things differently and that's really what we are trying to to help a woman but I mean it's good advice for a guy as well as that is it doesn't matter what my wife is doing that I can choose to show up differently and those are the things that I want to do that's the kind of man I want to be I think that's what we're called to do well and I think the key thing there Aaron as I'm hearing you is this idea that there are things again in your past that will hold you back or spring you forward in your relationship with your husband and that's a profound thing I was just thinking of you as a little girl with your dad in that moment and those things that you learned I mean so many ways we as fathers are preparing our children in this case our daughters and we're failing in some ways as fathers preparing daughters to be the wives that they should be and again it's amazing how it all ties together in God's plan when a daughter feels the right things and learns the right things from her dad she knows how to be treated she knows what it means to be manly in that power that anger is not godly if it's outside those boundaries of what the Bible talks about you learn those things as a little girl and you see them in your dad and you bring them into the relationship how did that help you forgive Greg how did forgiveness how is that learned now as this relationship with your father is improving how did you bring that into your relationship with Greg how did I get dragged back into well better understand who he was as a man yeah you know really forgiveness is a choice and we are faced with multiple opportunities pretty much every single day to forgive someone and to offer that and it's not something that's always easy it's not something that is gonna you know we can choose forgiveness with a relationship may not be restored but like Greg was saying it goes back to us and who do we want to be in that journey that I went on of deciding that you know what this is my father and I'm called to honor him and I'm called to respect him it's also in my marriage I'm called to honor and respect my husband and my heart has to be open and my heart is my responsibility regardless of what I was raised with regardless of what I learned as women we can make choices to go on the journey of healing our hearts in doing some work to allow our hearts to be open and vibrant John 10 10 says he came to give us life and give it to the full and part of having a full life is having an open vibrant heart a vulnerable heart to risk yes that's what we're talking about I think the Lord loves it when we risk especially in this area of forgiveness go out on a limb it's amazing how God will show up for you at dr. Greg Smalley his wonderful wife wholehearted wife Aaron Smalley you've written this book the wholehearted wife and thank you so much for being vulnerable and being with us today thanks always great to have the Smalley's in the studio and that's how Jim and I concluded the conversation with them on this episode of focus on the family we do hope you were encouraged by their insights about marriage and family and that you found their transparency to be something you could relate to of course we do have the content available as an audio download so you can review it again make a gift today of any amount to focus and we'll send the book that we've talked about along with that download is our way of saying thank you for being part of the support team and equipping and empowering other couples who need this kind of encouragement and help donate when you call 800-232-6459-800 the letter a and the word family or stop by the episode notes for all the details when you get in touch we can tell you more about hope restored our marriage intensives where you can have an extended counseling session over the course of several days with other couples it is a terrific kind of a mini lab to learn better ways of communication and to find hope for your relationship God heals and restores willing hearts that attend hope restored in fact four out of five couples that have attended a hope restored marriage intensive are still together two years later and they say their marriages are stronger than ever if you're in a tough spot call and ask about hope restored again our number 800 the letter a and the word family have a great weekend with your family and your church family as well and join us again on Monday for godly encouragement for your marriage marriage is gonna have its hardships some are gonna be self-inflicted some are just were fallen people that live in a fallen world and if we have this ability to endure together to trust God in the midst of the difficult seasons he is going to bless us in ways that we can't even begin to imagine on behalf of Jim Daley and the entire team thanks for listening today to focus on the family I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ praying with the kids at bedtime in the comfort of your home this warm setting is featured in the new special edition print from focus on the family titled what matters most it's a story in paint by artist Morgan Weisling as you clay depicting a faithful pioneer family and it can have a special place in your home to remind you of what's truly important get this special edition print at focus on the special print that's focus on the special print
Whisper: small.en / 2022-11-09 03:33:42 / 2022-11-09 03:40:15 / 7

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