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Navigating Seasons of Change in Your Marriage

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
June 2, 2023 3:24 am

Navigating Seasons of Change in Your Marriage

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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June 2, 2023 3:24 am

Sean and Lanette Reed share their story of getting married, having three children and moving multiple times within their first two years of marriage. With their insight and practical tips, you’ll learn to face struggles and difficulties head-on as a team…and even strengthen your relationship.


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Hi, Jim Daly here. Today's culture deeply needs help, but in times like these, the light of Christ can shine even brighter.

So be encouraged to share his light in this broken world. Listen to the Refocus with Jim Daly Podcast. Without time limitations, I'll have deep, heartfelt discussions with fascinating guests who will encourage you to share God's grace, truth, and love.

Check out the podcast at or wherever you get your podcasts. What would it look like for Jesus to walk into the room and be the healer, the same God, the one who is able to resurrect the dead, speak life where it seems like there's no hope? What would it look like for Jesus to walk into the room? Is there room for God?

He is the difference maker. And at our darkest moment, he told us his grace was sufficient, and he meant it. And that's what brought us through. Well, this is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly, and our guests today are Shawn and Lynette Reed. They'll be talking about marriage. Thanks for joining us.

I'm John Fuller. John, marriage is a gift from God, and I want to make sure people hear that. Sometimes we say too much, you know, it's hard work. I ran into a 20-something woman the other day, and she said, yeah, you know, when I hear a lot of Christian leaders talk about marriage, they usually say it's such hard work that I'm kind of not sure I want to get married. So I don't want anybody to hear that.

What I want to hear is, man, pursue this, because if you feel called to marriage, and not everybody is, I get that. It is an awesome experience. It does take some work. I don't want to be, you know, head in the sand with this, but, you know, what a beautiful, beautiful gift God has given to us in marriage. And it's a beautiful picture of the gospel, how these ups and downs have a purpose to make us more like Jesus. Gary Thomas has said that many times and wrote about it. You know, God brings two different people together typically, not the same personality, and you end up learning to be selfless or selfish.

And selfless is the way of the cross and the way of Christ. And isn't that awesome that even in that marriage connection, God's trying to teach us something? Yeah, and Shawn and Lynette will be sharing from their own personal experiences and expertise. They've been married for some 25 years, I believe, and are part of the XO marriage team of speakers and podcast hosts. Lynette is a director for XO, and Shawn is a teaching pastor at Open Door Church, and they have three adult children and have written a book together called Marriage in Transition, Creating Connection Through Uncontrollable Change. Stop by the show notes for details or give us a call.

Shawn and Lynette, welcome to Focus on the Family. Well, thank you very much. It's so good to be here. Yeah, so good to have you.

And I'm looking forward to this discussion. You kind of heard my heart a moment ago on that, but, you know, you're pastoring, you're working with couples directly, and really both of you are. So in that context, what are people sharing with you when it comes to facing these uncontrollable transitions that are part of marriage? Yeah, I think a lot of people are just kind of floating when it comes to life transitions and change. And we were ourselves as well. And that was part of the greatest challenge is that if we're not prepared for seasons of change, right, then we don't know how to navigate them well together as a couple. And so Lynette and I, we had within our first three years of marriage, we had three children. We had moved to two different cities.

None of this was planned. Wow, that was busy. Three kids in three years.

Three kids, three years. That's awesome. Yeah, so it wasn't back then. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Well, that's when you just put your head down and go, you know, get through the day and wake up the next day, but it did create some issues.

Oh, 100%. You know, we were trying to discover who we were and trying to discover our children and communication and juggling work and all the things, you know, and going through just normal life circumstances. And I think that there are several things. Celebrating one another's strengths would have been great early on. But instead, we allowed our strengths to kind of drive us apart. And I think a lot of couples find that we're reacting to the transitions and we see our spouse has the problem instead of dealing with problems together as a team. In addition to, you know, obviously just being flat out busy with three kids in three years, newly married in those first five years, I would assume. What were some of the other challenges that were haunting you at that time?

I mean, it's kind of obvious, but say it for everybody. Yeah. So honestly, the biggest thing was we were great friends, right? You know, we didn't get married to our enemy.

So we were great friends. But the minute we got married, it's kind of like we noticed one another differences and we didn't like them. It was like the veil was just removed before our eyes and it was just looking at them like, yeah, you're a little different than where you were a couple of years ago. And so really navigating those differences when it came to making decisions on finance or just, you know, even just parenting and discipline. And so those differences really tore us apart. And it was really hard to get on the same page and just kind of move forward. So for me, it was really navigating just him being different.

Yeah. And then we also went through a season where Lynette went through some physical sicknesses that she was going through during that time. As you can imagine, her body was going through a lot of changes, having kids back to back to back.

Sure. And we also had a moment where our third child was going to be a twin. And so we ended up, you know, having to grieve during that process of the miscarriage as well. So all of this happened. We got married at 18. And so we graduated high school, got married in September. Our first kid came out in December of 1998. And then we went through this process. So by 2001, you know, we were in a new city going through all of these different changes and navigating all of this and still trying to hear God facilitate, you know, his will for our lives and everything. That's not even to mention the financial woes. Oh, Lord Jesus, we need to do that.

I love it. So in addition to all that, you had that, which is typical of a young couple. I mean, Jean and I, I mean, we scrapped and saved for a dinette set for $99.99.

And it was, you know, put it together yourself, which is a disaster for me because I'm terrible at that stuff. Where is it now, I wonder? We took it to Goodwill many moons ago, but I mean, that thing, that was it. That's all we had. We slept on the floor. We didn't even have a bed. We had, you know, just thick cushions. So we were right with you guys.

I mean, it was just scrapping. Yeah. And to see where we are now and to understand where God has brought us to, we're able to look back now and we appreciate the seasons that we went through. And the one thing that I would say is, if I could go back, one of the things that I wish I would have done differently was celebrated her strengths instead of seeing, you know, the magnifying glass being drawn out and seeing all of her weaknesses and flaws. She was God's gift to me within the marriage, and I hadn't fully embraced who she was. And so acceptance needed to proceed, you know, whatever I wanted to see change within her. And had we grown and matured to that point to where we would celebrate one another as God's gift to us, we would have found ourselves enjoying the seasons a little bit better. They were still difficult.

There were going to be challenges either way. But when we really understand that God has given us a gift within our spouse, we begin to praise Him for it instead of complaining consistently. Well, that's about it, John.

Thank you for listening to Focus on the Family. I mean, that's the bomb. I mean, if we could do that, it's a huge thing.

You're staying married for life and you're going to have a pretty good marriage if you do that. Yes. And it's so hard. You know, our flesh just grabs us, right? And maybe the enemy grabs us to divide us, to conquer, to beat.

Someone once said to me, you know, every marriage that walks this earth is a stench to Satan. Absolutely. I mean, think of that. Absolutely. That that's why it's struggling the way it is, because the evil one does not want God's image on this earth.

100%. And that's what he's fighting. Yeah, we're made in the image and likeness of God, male and female created He them. And when the two are joined together in one, you're seeing God in the middle of a husband and wife.

And what you see is that three-stranded cord that's not easily broken. And if he can't get to God directly, he has to get to the next closest thing, which would be the husband and the wife. And we're able to create and birth children and leave legacy and transform this world for good.

That's, if you were to talk to Lynette and I and you were able to, like, cut us open and say, what's in your heart for couples to realize that you guys are legacy makers? You have the ability to literally transform the landscape of your country, of your family line, of your community, when you realize, like, God's plan for your life. Yeah. And just as it's a stench in the nostrils of the enemy, it is a beautiful sight in the eyes of God. And so realizing the other side of that, that you're covered in His glory, regardless of how difficult the situation may be.

And He has you, you know. That was kind of the anchor, I want to say, for us. You know, we had a very difficult time, like Sean was saying, in the beginning of the five to seven years of our marriage. And it was the one thing that held us together was our vows and the commitment that we made to Him and knowing that He was with us, regardless of how difficult it was. So that was definitely an anchor for us.

It's so good and it's such an important reminder for folks that are listening or watching on YouTube. And they're at that point where they're, you know, it doesn't mean as much as it used to. And fortunately in our culture today, you know, that covenant unfortunately doesn't. And they just say it, you know, it's transferable to someone else. And it's sad.

Let me ask you out of the content of the book, I want to get moving into it. But earworm, I haven't used an analogy or heard of an analogy with the earworm, but how do you apply that to marriage? Yeah, so gross. Leave it to Sean, the teaching pastor, to have something like that, yeah. Well, so we, Lynette and I, we actually met through music. So we were worship leaders in church when we first met each other. So that's actually how we, you know, came to be. So our whole family's, our son, our daughters, they're all musically inclined.

And so we love music. And one of the things that'll happen to you, I'm quite sure it's happened, you're trying to go to bed and there's a song that's just on repeat in your mind. Or you wake up in the morning, you can't get it out your head. And I believe that that's exactly what happens within our marriages is that after a while, the band is playing the song, but you're singing it in your head. Someone else wrote it, but you're still singing it in your head as if it's you. And I believe that negative narrative that comes from the enemy, you know, in our moments of either hurt or frustration or for holding a grudge or all the things that doubt, that seed of doubt. It becomes a song that's replaying in your mind.

And after a while, you're singing along with what we call a lying song. It's not based in the truth. It's not based in the truth of God's best for your life.

It's not based in the truth of who God says your spouse is or who you are. And so the question really becomes if God was singing over you and if he had a melody for your life and for your family, what would it sound like? Does it sound like doom and gloom? Does it sound like defeat? Does God look at your spouse and see them as your enemy?

Does God look at your family and say there's no hope? Any sound that doesn't align with the kingdom of God is one that you should not be in agreement with and you need to dethrone and pull it down. You have to cast that song out of your mind. Boy, that's a good reminder not to let that tape recorder, there's an old thing, but just that loop to play in your head.

Yeah, it's really unhealthy. I think the song for me might be, Jim, pick up that laundry, get that laundry done. It's another pile, Jim. Anyway, it drives Jean crazy. Let me ask you this, Lynette, you do, it's kind of funny, but you do like a clean house. That was something that was in the book and how you and Sean had to negotiate, I guess. So what, tell me, I mean, that's a wonderful thing. Although most people don't know, cleanliness is next to godliness is actually not in scripture. It's in there somewhere, I'm sure.

If we could edit it, I think you might put that in there. So tell me why. So, you know, I just grew up in a home. My culture was different, right? And so I grew up two parent home. My mother always made sure that everything was great, tidy, food was done, clean up behind us. Just my culture when I grew up. So fast forward, three teenagers, all of them are very active in our household.

Not coming home till nine o'clock at night because it's just that season of, you know, basketball, football, all of that. But for me, my desire to have a clean house did not change. And so there was a point to where I became very frustrated, overwhelmed, because I value a clean house for my family. You wanted to be like your mom.

Absolutely, absolutely. So there just really became a point in our marriage or in our family that I felt like I was being ignored. Like no one was listening to me, no one saw my effort. Everyone was carrying on with their own day-to-day lives. But I was like, what about the house?

Like, we have to make sure that when we all come home, it is a safe place to be here. I promise you, she was the only person who cared about that. Oh, yeah, 90% of moms listening to you right now are going, you tell us. I know I have a witness out there somewhere.

Lynette's got it. But I understand that mom frustration, like, man, I just took care of this and look, the kids are ignoring. You know why they do that, Sean?

Because they're watching you and you're ignoring me. Oh, is this pretty good? Oh, is this cutting close to home? There's a little truth in there, there's a little truth in there.

Well, it's true. It's like, well, I was watching the football game and, you know, I didn't pay attention to spelling that and I left it there. But so you feel, you know, it's part of you. I was feeling pretty much I was actually feeling like I was left alone. Like no one was valuing my input. So how did you negotiate that, those emotions and those expectations?

For a while, I thought my whole family were mind readers, but they were not. And so it really, I had to pull Sean aside and, you know, I had to really articulate to him that this is something that I valued and not me just being nitpicky, but something that I wanted to sustain for our family even during this busy time. So I had to pull Sean in a little bit and he had to get that. Yeah. He had to accept it. He had to accept it. Okay, I hear your heart. I'm sorry.

What can I do to help? Yes. But then I also had to bend a little bit because it was a hectic season for our family. So we had to negotiate. I think once we found that place of valuing her voice and her understanding the season we were in, we were able to reach a negotiation. And I think sometimes couples want to negotiate before there's ever an intimate connection in understanding and seeing the other spouse's heart. And any time that you get to trying to plan something, plan an outcome without first embracing what the other spouse is really feeling or seeing, then you're going to get the, you know, the cart before the horse, so to speak. So after that, I became her advocate.

Yeah, I helped, you know, we called the kids in the order, you know. I think I'm still missing on that one, and I've been married almost 37 years, so it's not too late. Okay, here we go. Another intervention for Jim. Let me let me ask you, because that is beautiful.

It's beautiful. And you mentioned a couple of times this need to cherish your spouse and to hear his or her heart, et cetera. So how do we practically develop that more positive attitude? How do we get that loop about our spouse out of our head and concentrate on the good aspects? The things that the Lord would be saying to our spouse, way to go, how do we do that?

I would say one of the first things, you have to see your spouse, and I know it sounds kind of cheesy, but you have to see them from a heavenly perspective. No, that's not cheesy at all, seriously. We're here in Colorado Springs, okay? So we went up Pikes Peak for the first time about two years ago. And when we, first off, the road up there was terrorizing.

That'll test your faith. There's no guard rails. Listen, I was driving, there's no guard rails. We're going up thousands of feet in the air.

And I'm a black brother, but my knuckles turn white. I'm telling you, I was driving, I was holding that steering wheel so tight. Wait until you come down.

Oh, I was freaking out. So we drive all the way up the thing. And it was hard getting up there. And, you know, we finally get up to the top. Amazing view.

Oh, yeah. And it was worth the journey. And not a lot of oxygen, but an amazing view.

Not a lot. You know, it actually took him a minute to get out the car. Yeah, I had to like breathe, calm down. And she was like, let's go see.

I was like, no, I'm going to breathe and take it in. And I think two things happened for me when I went up Pikes Peak. Number one, I appreciated the journey up. And then number two, once we got to that perspective, it literally, it was so glorious. It was beautiful.

There was nothing like it. And I think that so often the couples are in the trenches and all they see is the negativity. And what you have to do is you have to reset your mindset when it comes to, okay, how does God truly see my spouse? And if we really believe in the blood of Jesus, if we really believe in redemption, if we really believe that God sees us and calls us his own, at some point we have to adopt God's mindset, even though we see the imperfections of our spouse.

Like there's a real point. And that's what we would call grace. It's when I give you what you cannot earn. I give you what you don't deserve is mercy. And I give you what you cannot earn is grace. And I think that a lot of relationships, the love in the marriage is contingent on the performance of the other person. And what we say is when love swings on the pendulum of your spouse's performance, that's not unconditional love. And so to get to that place of unconditional love, that's the key. And we had lost sight of that. And I think that the second key to that is forgiveness, like real genuine forgiveness where you repel your offenses and you don't get looped in this thing where you're scorekeeping and just holding it in.

Day after day, there's no true reset. And because of the fact that we're holding onto things for longer periods of time than we were designed to do, it becomes toxic and it eats away at us. And we're not the best version of ourselves then. So I would encourage couples to do what Lynette and I consistently do. And we, in each season, we literally have to find ourselves discovering who that person is now. And that's part of the joy of being able to be married for a long term is because we're constantly changing and we're constantly maturing and growing.

So I'm trying to discover who Lynette is now. And that's what keeps the marriage from growing stale and boring. Let me ask you this. We usually try to stay clear of fights.

Some people get a little uncomfortable with that. Let's say strong disagreements just to help them. Intense fellowship. Intense fellowship.

Another good one. But you're saying in the book that there are some intense disagreements that you need to have. I mean, these happen and we're human beings and we have differences. Better to talk them out than to cover them up, I would assume.

So what are those good fights versus the bad fights? Yeah, really fighting for unity is definitely one that needs to happen. It needs to happen on a consistent basis. When you're going through transitions, most of the time you naturally pull apart and you're very, very unaware of it. And so you kind of go to your corner and the other one goes to their corner. And then the narrative starts playing and you start talking to yourself about your own perception and what you thought about the situation. Where we're saying, no, you need to come together. So you need to fight against what your flesh is saying and kind of come together and say, okay, what page are you on? What are you thinking? This is what I'm thinking. And really fighting for unity so that you can move forward in your marriage. These are great points.

The other one that caught my attention was fighting for freedom. Now, what does that mean in the context of marriage? Oh yeah, oh man, it's so much. You want to talk about it?

No, it seems like you have a lot to say. So I think identity is everything. And a lot of times we get stuck in this place of seeing ourselves according to our circumstances. Or we know each other only according to what we've seen come out of our spouse in the past.

And it suppresses the hope for something that God has that's greater for you. Lynette and I, one of the things we love to do are vision retreats. We love to actually discover one another's personality. And the reason why we do all of these things is to get us to a point to where we're not complacent with this notion of same old song. I already know you. You're in a box.

Yeah, and you end up trapped according to either your family map and where you came from. And that's all you'll ever know instead of embracing the fullness of all that God has for you now in this new season. And so we're big on inner healing.

We're big on making sure that you as a couple don't allow yourselves to get trapped in a box. Lynette, when he speaks like that and you start to see each other through that lens, how does that make you feel? Oh my gosh, it makes me feel like, wow, we can do anything. It empowers me. First of all, I think it brings me closer to him, right? Because in my opinion, that's the definition of intimacy when he speaks on that level in those terms.

And then it just empowers me to out. He wants me to be free. He wants me to discover my identity. He wants me to be all that God created me to be. So I have his support and it's like, man, I love him. And so when you have that in a relationship where one spouse is encouraging the next to be all that God designed for them to be, and then they empower them and support them and just pour into them that level of freedom, that's a beautiful thing.

And when you have that in a marriage, you really can go out there and conquer anything. And then you can go out there and walk in the legacy, establish the legacy that God has for you. Yeah, that's good.

It is. That idea of unity in the book you mentioned, there are three pathways to unity. Let's hit those to help people understand that. All right, the pathways to unity would be humility, values and the path of negotiation. And so if I'm talking about humility, one of the things that she and I have come to the place of is getting to a place to where there's no big eyes, little use, but just really growing to a place of understanding that God's over the marriage. And then within our marriage, both of us have a say. I think that a lot of times when one person is dominant in the relationship, then you're cutting off, I think, part of God's voice within the relationship. And I think sometimes when God speaks to you, he sounds like your spouse.

And all the guys just said, how did you know that? Exactly. So that level of humility, I think within the relationship. You're doing a mutual submission. Yeah, absolutely.

And so we actually talk about this a lot. That submission is not a dirty word. When people think of submission within a relationship, they think of it as a bad thing, as if that all of a sudden you're supposed to become a doormat to your spouse and whatever they say goes. And that's not really what we're talking about when we talk about submission. Submission means that I believe that you bring value to the table and that I bring value to the table, and we're going to honor that within a relationship. And so we make no decisions, especially major decisions, without us making those decisions together as a couple.

Let's end here as we close. Speak to the husband or wife listening who isn't sure their marriage is repairable. You encounter these couples all the time because you do intensive counseling. We do that through Hope Restored, our intensive counseling. And these are couples that are holding on by a string. And they're going to go to a two-day, three-day, four-day intensive and pray and hope that God can work a miracle.

So what's one thing those couples are doing that those couples that are hanging by that string today can do to draw closer to their spouse and start to reclaim their marriage? I know these questions are always so hard, but somebody listening or watching is at that point. And we've got them. And really the Lord has you.

What do you want to say to them? I don't want this to sound too spooky, but my mindset is this. If you could imagine that Jesus was able to raise the dead and he has all power in his hands, what would it look like for Jesus to walk into the room and be the healer, the same God, the one who is able to resurrect the dead, speak life where it seems like there's no hope? What would it look like for Jesus to walk into the room? Is there room for God?

He is the difference maker. And at our darkest moment, he told us his grace was sufficient and he meant it. And that's what brought us through.

Yeah, that is well said, man. This has been so good and so insightful. I hope people are being helped. I know people are being helped right now. Thank you for being with us.

And man, what a great start. We've got Caring Christian Counselors who can do a consult with you. Our donor community provides that ability for them to do that.

So take advantage of it. If your marriage is in that kind of trouble. And there are many, many resources we have here at Focus, like Hope Restored and others that we can provide for you to give you that lifeline and hopefully do exactly what Sean was talking about, point you toward the Lord so that he can begin to work that miracle in your marriage. Also, obviously their great book, Marriage in Transition. If you can make a donation of any amount monthly or one time, we'll send it to you as our way of saying thank you.

For being part of the ministry. Yeah, donate today. Get in touch and let us help as we can.

Our number is 800, the letter A and the word family. And we've got further details and links to the book and other resources right there in the show notes for you. Have a terrific weekend and join us again on Monday when we'll hear from social researcher Jonathan McKee. He'll be pondering the role of technology in our relationships. And the question we need to maybe ask ourselves is, is there a chance that even the fact that there's more screens, more screen time, more connections, you know, than anyone in history, are we more satisfied?

Is there a chance that maybe less could be more? On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening to Focus on the Family. I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ. We'll talk with you, pray with you, and help you find out which program will work best. That's 1-866-875-2915.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-02 05:43:21 / 2023-06-02 05:55:58 / 13

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