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Creating a Marriage Full of Love and Laughter

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
March 22, 2023 6:00 am

Creating a Marriage Full of Love and Laughter

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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March 22, 2023 6:00 am

Lisa Jacobson and Phylicia Masonheimer discuss the series of “flirtation experiments” they created to rekindle their connection with their husbands. Through simple acts of love and kindness, these women were able to start a chain reaction that resulted in happier, stronger marriages.

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Lonnie and Kay were high school sweethearts, but over time, the never-ending conflict and their loss of love threatened to tear their marriage apart. When we filled out our forms with Focus on the Family, they asked us if we believed in a miracle, if we were willing to allow a miracle to happen.

And, you know, with all my heart, that's what I wanted. Lonnie and Kay attended Hope Restored, where Focus counselors help heal and restore broken relationships, giving husbands and wives godly hope for the future. I guess what I'd say is I cherish her now more than I did before, and I have a way that I can communicate to her that I did not have before, and Focus on the Family has given me that ability.

I'm Jim Daly. Working together, we can rescue more hurting couples like Lonnie and Kay. Become a monthly giver today by calling 800 the letter A in the word family, or visit slash family. It was simply by giving him that affection and showing him basically, I would like to be loved this way, but I'm going to choose to love you that way. He responded to that, and he did begin to be more attentive and more responsive. He brought me flowers for no reason, and it wasn't like he had never brought me flowers before, but there was this element of he felt more connected to me. That's Felicia Mason Hymer, and she and her friend and co-author Lisa Jacobson join us today on Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus President and author Jim Daly, and I'm John Fuller. John, flirtation can add spice to and spark to your marriage, and today, yep, we want to talk about that because God created this.

He created that spark. That's one of the great things about marriage, and especially keeping that in our marriages and the importance of it. Finding those times to truly connect with your spouse can be difficult in this day and age of modernity when everything's going. Phones are going, and kids are crying, and things need to be done, and we just got to make time for each other.

I'll tell you what, the number one thing in parenting is to show your kids a good marriage, and I know our guests are well-equipped to talk about that. It's true. Whenever I call Jean, she always answers the phone in such a nice way. It's so fun when I call her, and she'll say, hello. I'm serious. It just brightens my day.

She never answers it with, what do you need? Never. Isn't that awesome? That's a wonderful thing. It's a gift, but that's just one example of how that flirtation can happen, and it's just fun, and we're going to cover this today. I think you're going to want to stick with us. Yeah, and I think Dina and I, we like to laugh together, and that's one of the things I try to do is we sit down on the sofa after dinner just to connect.

Laughter seems to join us together, and there can be some flirtatious moments as we do that. Okay, we'll end it right there. Well, we have two guests who are going to share a little bit from their lives and their marriages. I mentioned Felicia Mason-Heimer. She's an author, Bible teacher, and host of the Verity podcast. Lisa Jacobson is joining us again.

She's been here before. She's an author and host of Club 31 Women, which is an online community of Christian women authors. Together, they have a book about their own experiences and insights.

It's called The Flirtation Experiment, putting magic, mystery, and spark into your everyday marriage. Get a copy from us here at the ministry. The link is in the show notes, and our number is 800, the letter A, and the word family. Felicia and Lisa, welcome to Focus on the Family. Welcome back. Thanks so much. Thank you.

Okay, it's already going to be a fun topic, I can tell. But this idea of flirtation, all the guys, all the husbands are smiling. Finally, Jim, way to go!

And wives are going, oh no. One more thing. Yeah, one more thing to do. But talk about just that general idea. Help us understand the context.

Let me ask it this way. Biblical flirtation, is that even a thing I could say? Yeah, absolutely.

Absolutely. When Lisa and I were writing this book, we were, of course, looking first at scripture for what does it say about the relationships between husbands and wives. And one thing that Lisa said that I loved is that our marriages should be holy, but they should also be happy. And sometimes we can get so caught up in the holiness of marriage that we forget about the joy and fun and happiness of being married.

And that is a thread all throughout scripture. Now, I'm not going to let you off the hook yet, because in the book you talked about a hallmark movie that you and your husband Josh were watching. Now, I don't see how you get flirtation out of a hallmark movie, but please highlight it for me. Okay, so I'm not saying that hallmark movies should be the guide for anyone's love life or marriage. Well, maybe so.

I don't know. But I was watching a hallmark movie several years ago, four or five years ago. My husband and I had two small kids, and he was actually not with me while I was watching it.

He was at a hockey game. And I was watching this movie, and I was just thinking, we laugh at these hallmark movies, but yet we continue to watch them. Women especially, we continue to watch them.

And why is it? Well, we know this predictable plot line, right? We know it's all going to work out in the end, but we also love this fun tension of, you know, the back and forth and the kiss in the elevator and things like that. And I was just sitting on the couch watching this thinking, I already have a man. I already have a husband, and I am so busy with little kids and work and all of this stuff that I forget to do these things.

And I wonder what would happen if I integrated some of these funny, like, hallmark moments, if you wish, into my existing marriage. But because I'm a systems person, I didn't try anything right away. I made a list of 30 flirtations.

I did 30 ideas, and I was like, I'm secretly going to do these, one a day, for 30 days and see what happens. And halfway through the experiment, it had, my husband never knew that this is what I was doing. But halfway through the experiment, it had transformed our relationship so much that I told Lisa about it. Okay, and then Lisa, now I'm turning it to you. You encountered that change in attitude, I think, one day with your husband.

What happened? Yeah, I told her when she talked about the flirtation experiment, I said, you know what, I think that's, like, one of the secrets to our marriage that we've enjoyed. We just celebrated our 30th anniversary, and we still don't, we're not just staying married. We actually really enjoy each other, and we still kiss and talk and hold hands.

And it's not just because we're a good fit, but because we really have been building this over years. However, the turning point, I would say, that I recall is back when I had four small children, and I was making dinner, and I was frustrated in my spirit, just feeling like all I do is cook, clean, look after the kids, make the world go round for everybody else. And my husband came in, and he came behind me, and, like, I was kind of cooking some vegetables on the stove, and he put his arms around me, and I just did the rejection thing, you know, to stop.

I'm busy. I've been pulled on all day. Yeah, and I just, and then I kind of saw him on my shoulder.

I watched him walk away, and he just kind of had, like, his shoulders were just drooping. And I had this strange moment where I thought, what did I just do? Here I've been saying, I want more love, I want affection, I want romance. And I just, you know, turned him away and made this my priority.

These onions are my priority. And so I turned off the stove, and I just whipped around, and I pressed myself into him and did a, you know, a hallmark PG-13 moment. And we just had this awesome moment, like, right there in the kitchen.

The kids just stopped what they were doing, and they were watching mom and dad, like, whoa. And it was really a great moment of going, you know what, we don't need to wait until everything's perfect. We don't need to set aside.

I'm all for date nights, and that comes out in the book as well, but we don't have to wait for date night. And we can just make the most of these daily moments. Well, Lisa, what you're talking about there is attitude. And I, you know, I think some wives hearing you right now are, okay, there's more guilt for me, you know.

So address that. It's not about guilt. It's about choosing wisely how to manage that area of your life, right. And that, I mean, yeah, paying attention to the onions doesn't give you much payback. Paying attention to your husband actually does in so many ways. But why is that struggle there? What's happening for women that there is that struggle? And I would say that's true.

Jean, if she were at the table, she'd be right with you guys going, yeah, I would have, you know, paid attention to the onions. Right. But why?

What is happening there? Why are we missing the gift that God gives us in that area? And why is it so much so onerous to participate in a different way? I think we want our husbands to initiate these things. We would like them to be more just proactive in this kind of thing. And often we're disappointed in it.

I would say generally speaking, that's kind of the word out there. However, as we've talked about it, we realized, OK, is it are we going to be satisfied then with a just an OK marriage that we're actually a little disappointed in? Or what is it that we can do and we can start the date night? We can initiate an adventure and and it's in a selfish way. Not really, but we actually benefit from it. Right. Because we're actually starting something we want.

And most of the time the guy comes along, goes, this is a great idea. I'm so glad you did this. Or I'm actually like talk about how you felt like Joshua started bringing home, you know, gifts for you and stuff. Now we're talking. He did. So what was funny was as I decided, you know, I'm not going to wait for him to come up with this. I'm not going to wait for him to have the idea. I'm just going to take initiative on my part to show him affection the way I would like to receive it.

He began to respond. And obviously our husbands are healthy, godly men. You know, we're not in unhealthy relationships.

And so that is a factor that we talk about in the book. You know, we're not saying this is a guarantee. If you do this, then you can manipulate your husband into bringing you flowers.

Like we're not saying that. But it was simply by giving him that affection and showing him basically, I would like to be loved this way, but I'm going to choose to love you that way. He responded to that and he did begin to be more attentive and more responsive. He brought me flowers for no reason.

And it wasn't like he had never brought me flowers before. Right. But there was this element of he felt more connected to me. Yeah.

He felt more like he could trust me and and like I was engaged with him. Yeah. And it was just having those simple steps for myself to follow really gave me the encouragement to do something every day. Well, it's so good. And of course, you know, there are going to be literally millions of people listening to this. And there's relationships all over the map. And I think it is important to clarify that if, you know, you have an abusive husband or an unhealthy husband, that's a different dynamic than what we're talking about.

And you really need clinical help. I would say Christian counselors focus has Christian counselors. It's a good place to start. We can also refer you to someone in your area. We have a great referral list of Christian counselors in everybody's area in the US.

It's a really good in-depth list. But just to make that clarification, I think is really important because some wives are going to be super frustrated because their marriages aren't in a place where it's just a little fine tuning. Exactly. We've got an issue here. Let me ask you, you pursued that playfulness with your husband and one night with some chocolate treats. This is funny. The fact that you hid them to make him think that you ate them all. Yeah, I think that. OK, right there.

I don't know that that would start me in the right direction. What do you mean you ate them all? I wanted at least one, honey. Yes. Yes. So my husband's a practical joker. So he thinks those kinds of things are hilarious. Yes. Which I think is an element with an experiment like this.

You have to know your spouse and know what what would bring them joy or what would show love to them or show them angst. You ate all the chocolate. Exactly. Don't create anxiety. But he thinks that kind of thing is funny. So a lot of what I did revolved around that playfulness, that joking, participating in games that he liked. I'm not a game person. I don't love games, but that's showing him I care about you. I care about board games, sitting around video games, video, video. Yeah, I don't love video games, but he does. And so that was something I was like, OK, I'm going to choose to enter.

80 percent of the wives just want you got to be kidding me. I know I'm that way, too. I get it. I really do. I do. But it was something that was he cares about this.

So what what's my option here? I can let him continue to play by himself on this game. Or I can join him in it. That's really interesting.

I think. And Lisa, maybe you can address this, both of you. It just seems that there's voices in our ears when it comes to marriage. Some are friends that say, I can't believe you do that or why would you do that? We seem to still set up these gender wars where you shouldn't give in to your husband like that or to the husbands.

Why would she treat you like that? Why do we give in to some of those voices and not say, OK, what does the Lord say about a healthy relationship? And actually, the interesting thing to me and what I've learned over years, sitting and interviewing really smart people like you to marriage is about selflessness. It's becoming more like Christ.

And I think why he created it is so that we can become more like him. So it should be a good thing that we're laying our lives down for each other. But there's people, especially in the women's movement, even Christians who are offended by that, that somehow you're telling me to lay my life down for my husband.

Women have been doing that for too long. Speak to that idea of mutual respect, mutual benefit, mutual selflessness. I think to keep that marriage love alive, you do have to lay down your life for one another.

Ideally, you're both going to be doing it. But sometimes, depending on your season, sometimes it's a season of life. My husband was in a really heavy season. And he needed me to carry the weight of that and and to help bring light and life and laughter into our relationship. So I didn't if you just wait for him to do his part.

Those are years wasted sometimes rather than really going, you know what? I can do this. Yeah. And I can love you and and hope for better things. And in our experience, and I see ours personally, but even a lot of many couples that we know, they've had the same that same experience of it was a good thing.

It wasn't always easy, but it was a good thing. Well, this is focused on the family with Jim Daly. I'm John Fuller and our guests are Lisa Jacobson and Felicia Mason Himer. And we're covering just some of the content in their book.

There's so much here. The book is called The Flirtation Experiment, putting magic, mystery and spark into your everyday marriage. This is really a great resource that treats the marital connection with some real biblical insight and practical, helpful advice.

Get your copy today. We have details in the show notes or call 800 the letter A in the word family. Lisa, you share about how you and your husband got into the habit of watching TV for before bed.

You know, one thing for I'll give Jean credit. She said, never will we ever have a TV in the bedroom. So and that's not saying you did, but you got in the habit of watching TV. I have fallen into that habit. News weather and sports, especially football season. You know, I'm watching college games, pro games, the whole bit.

And I've got to ratchet that down. But speak to that moment when you realized, OK, this is a waste of time. Yeah, we had always said we'd never have a TV in our bedroom, which we don't. But what we how we solved it was we'd watch shows on the laptop in bed.

That was very wise of you to look around. And we were in a season. We were really fried. And so we felt like at the end of the day, hey, we're just going to chill.

Right. We didn't want to have a deep conversation. We just wanted to chill. And so but it just kind of went on too long. And we really realized that we were missing out on that.

Connecting that end of the day conversation, end of the day cuddling, even just because by the time the show's over, it's like a night. And so we I knew we needed to make a change. And so I just started initiating. OK, let's set up a board game, which we hadn't played in years. And it was really fun. You know, it was something that we didn't have to have a deep conversation. Do you know what I'm saying?

Just create a connection. And then we were fun and then he'd win and he'd be happy. You know your husband well. But it was really good. It ended up on our evenings on a happy note. And then we did talk at the end of the day and have that cuddle time. But it it instead of letting life happen to us, as we all know, it was that being intentional of let's have fun together.

Let's do things that are just us and not always things about our kids, about our ministry, about our church, about the business. Yeah. You know, I visited my folks just the other weekend and they're they're 60 plus years of marriage. And they have they've developed a pattern.

So it's actually a wonderful pattern. Every night after dinner, they play Yahtzee or Scrabble or Cribbage or some other, you know, upper Midwestern game together. And the point isn't that they're playing against each other, it's that they're sitting together and there's space in the rhythm of those games to talk. And it can be small talk, but it's there's no pressure. It's flirting. But it's not the kind of flirting that we think of ends in a certain way. It's just emotional connection. Yeah, exactly.

That's exactly right. I always have to be careful because we play with our two boys when they come over. I mean, we're we're playing board games and it's always Jean and me on a team. Then Jean looks at me and goes, now played nice.

Don't don't get competitive with me. OK, OK. Yeah. So that's always the thing. Felicia, in a more serious way, you experienced kind of a scary time, I think, when you had a little child and you were having kind of night terrors, it sound like. And it opened up a bit of emotional connection for you and your husband. Describe what was happening and that vulnerability and how your husband responded.

Yes. So after our third child was born, a third child was born in 2020, so there's plenty going on in the world as well. And we had just my husband came home to work in the ministry with me. And it was just a really hard time in a lot of ways. And I had severe postpartum anxiety. And so I would have these anxiety attacks at night, usually when I was trying to fall asleep.

And I got the well-being of the well-being of mostly about my child and my children. And I wanted to not tell him what was going on because I felt like, well, it's just another thing for him to have to deal with. I know that it's anxiety. I know that this isn't like a real situation. So there's no point in adding on to him. And I know this that chapter in the book doesn't sound like flirtation. Right.

It's anxiety. But the point of this book is to show these little ways you can connect. And one of the ways I did choose to connect with him was telling him, like, this is what's happening to me. And will you pray over me?

And so he did every night. And that was just a super special way to invite him into a struggle, but allow him to connect with me through that struggle instead of pulling away from him. No, I can understand that. I mean, even with Jean, I think an intimacy space there for her is praying together. I mean, I would not normally think of it that way. But for her, that really shows something to her that I'm willing to pray for her before we go to bed or whatever the need might be.

That is a it's not a flirtation, obviously, but it's an intimacy builder that is really good for her to hear. Right. It kind of meets those needs emotionally and spiritually for her. Felicia, we're going to experience hurt in marriage. There's going to be a couple of marriages, people listening.

They're going to write or send us a text saying we've never had real pain in our marriage. God bless you. That's an amazing thing.

What an experience. But for most marriages, there's going to come, you know, some speed bump, hopefully not a brick wall, but it could be that. What are some ways that the flirtation experiment can help with that bump in the road?

Yeah. So my husband and I had some really hard first years. And because of that, there was kind of this reverberation forward through the rest of our marriage where, you know, if you have hurt each other really deeply, you struggle to trust each other in some ways. And so we were definitely dealing with that throughout our marriage.

And the flirtation experiment, you know, it started out as this fun, lighthearted thing. But then as time went on, it got to be, you know, a deeper connection, a more intimate connection. And that is what allowed us to really address those hurts and to build that trust back up again, to actually connect with him in a way that that we both felt like, OK, yes, we were hurt, you know, in year two and year three. But here in year six and year seven, by doing these things and connecting with one another practically, we're actually healing a lot of those patterns and healing a lot of what happened back then. And and, you know, Lisa was a big part.

Lisa and Matt, her husband were a big part and helpful to us in that process. So which is one reason I was so excited to get to write the book with her. But, you know, it isn't easy. I'm not saying that it was easy or is easy to heal those patterns and those hurts. But it's definitely possible with the Lord. Yeah, that's so good.

And that's really the goal, isn't it? You don't want to linger in that pain because you're going to go 30 years with it getting worse. And then you're going to wake up and go, I don't want to stay married anymore. That is the tragic ending of that relationship. Whoever sets out getting married thinking someday I'll divorce you.

It's not what you intend. You want to live together for your entire life, especially in the Christian community. Lisa, how did you and Matt choose hope after your daughter was born? I know there were some complications there. Maybe explain that to the audience.

And that can be a real burden on the marriage. What happened? Well, our fifth daughter was born very unexpectedly, had a massive stroke in utero. And so she came out very brain damaged and everything happened so fast and just doctors were swirling around. And the prognosis was very grim that if she did live at all, she would never walk, talk.

Noah says her parents. And just so you know, she is still with us today. And she does talk. She doesn't walk, but she definitely talks to your office. And how old is she? She's 22. There you go.

There's doctors for you. Yeah, exactly. So one of the things that happened in this hospital situation where we're trying to get our bearings was one of the doctors pulled me over in the hall and he said, I just want you to know statistically you're going to end up in divorce over this baby. What a thing to say in that moment.

Yeah, it was. And I thought, oh, so not only do I get this terrible news about the sweet little baby, but I'm looking at the end of my marriage. And I shared that with Matt and he said, we are not going to do that. We're going to walk through this together and we are not going to let this sorrow tear us apart or define us. And that's not that I know it's easier said than done, but we really, really committed to that and that we would trust in God that he is our hope and what the doctors say, what the statistics say. We don't they don't have to determine his purpose in our life and our relationship. And again, I think from within the Christian community, I would hope that would be significantly different that couples can stay together because this is what the Lord says. Life's not going to be easy, but we need to stay committed to him and committed to each other.

But in that context, how to maintain joy. I mean, you guys have done it. So now you're the masters who can teach the rest of us.

But you you're in that 15th percentile. The doctor got it wrong. You and Matt made it.

Your daughter's you know, she's talking your ear off, which is great. So when you look at keeping your eyes fixed on the right things, other couples that don't have that tragedy are trying to figure out how to stay together and stay in love. So how do they do that?

That's the big question. Keep that joy toward each other and remind we remind ourselves that we're on the same team. We do that often. We are together in this and we're going to walk through this together. We also we we do try to find the light side of things, like if she says something funny or if there's a big mess everywhere, you know, we laugh about it instead of getting upset about it.

There's so many opportunities of doing that. And and just even in the midst of, you know, crazy moments, we'll just say something funny and just make sure we laugh or tease or touch. You know, just all those things that just say, hey, life is still good.

We still have so many good things to be thankful for. Well, what I'm hearing from both of you is intentionality. And, you know, marriage needs intentionality. And if you don't provide that, you'll drift and things will not be the same.

And you'll you'll become strangers living in the same household, unfortunately. And that's what I like about the content, what you put together here. Felicia and Lisa, this is so helpful for all of us, men and women to apply to our marriages. So let me say thank you for catching it and then putting it down in this great resource, the flirtation experiment. And yeah, it was joking.

This should fly out of here because, again, what couple doesn't want that healthy kind of robust, fun relationship and building on that? And you guys have done it. So the proof is in the pudding. Thank you for being with us today. Thank you so much. Thank you.

And let me point out to the listeners and those watching this resource is here for you, along with so much more stuff to help you in your journey in marriage and parenting. But you can get a copy of this directly from Focus. If you can't afford it, just let us know. We'll get it in your hands. We're a ministry.

That's part of it. But if you can help us financially, either through a monthly gift or one time gift, we'll send the book as our way of saying thank you for being part of the ministry and helping others, families and marriages in the journey. And to make this a little more fun, we're trying to raise a thousand new sustainers to focus on the family.

So perhaps you can be one of them. And if you can make a gift on a monthly basis, we'll send you a copy of the book. Any gift you can pledge to focus on the family is deeply appreciated. Yeah, donate as you can when you call 800 the letter A in the word family or stop by the show notes where we'll have all the details about the book and ways you can contribute to the ministry. And while you're there, be sure to check out our free marriage assessment. Over a million people have taken that now and it is only about five or 10 minutes of your time, but invest and you'll get back ways that you and your spouse are clicking, how things are working, maybe an area or two of growth that you can pursue together. Again, it's our free marriage assessment.

The link is in the show notes. And coming up next time, you'll hear from Dr. Erwin Lutzer, who's going to help you pray for your child. There are many parents who want good kids, but not necessarily godly kids. 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 again help you and your family thrive in Christ. Want to grow your marriage? Then make sure to check out these two great resources from Focus on the Family. Learn how to appreciate the unique characteristics of your spouse with our free Cherish Your Spouse video series by Gary Thomas. You'll find it at slash Cherish Your Spouse or get away from the stress of daily life and make your marriage feel new again at a Focus on the Family weekend getaway. This retreat will help you slow your pace and reconnect with one another. Learn more at slash weekend getaway.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-22 06:36:30 / 2023-03-22 06:48:59 / 12

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