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Discovering the Secrets to a Lifelong Romance (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
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February 13, 2024 4:35 am

Discovering the Secrets to a Lifelong Romance (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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February 13, 2024 4:35 am

Popular guest Dr. Kevin Leman offers practical suggestions for maintaining a lasting, thriving marriage, including identifying your spouse's key needs, living a lifestyle of "24/7 intimacy," using feelings to strengthen your relationship, and more. Jim Daly's wife, Jean, joins the conversation to offer her insights from their marriage of over 30 years. (Part 1 of 2)


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And ladies, this man, it's who he is.

Your job is to get behind his eyes, see how he sees life. Your job, gentlemen, is to get behind your wife's eyes and really to understand what makes Jean tick. And she's not like any other women. So when you and I are talking about women today or men, keep in mind, all men are not the same.

All women are not the same. That's your job that God's given to you to be the PI, the private investigator into what this woman or man is all about. Dr. Kevin Leeman joins us today on Focus on the Family, sharing his tips about having a lifetime romance with your spouse. Your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly, and I'm John Fuller. Hey, John, we have an audience with us today in the studio.

So I want to ask all the guests, there's probably 10 or 12 people around us, what do you think the record is for the longest marriage, the world's longest marriage? Anybody just yell it out. 75. Anybody else? 82. That's a good guess.

Anybody? Okay. 87 years.

Think of that. 87 years. Zelmira and Herbert Fisher are the record holders.

They got married in 1924 and stayed married until Herbert passed away in 2011 at the age of 105. That is incredible. I understand they were believers. We'll get to ask them some of their secrets when we get to heaven. That's the place we'll need to ask that.

But I love it. I think the question all of us have is how can we be like the Fishers? What did they do well? Right. So I think we're going to dig into that today with one of marriage's best counselors and a prolific author, Dr. Kevin Leeman. He is internationally known as a psychologist and a speaker, always a popular guest here at Focus on the Family and has been married to his wife, Sandy, for over 50 years?

53 years in a row. We're only halfway there, man. Kevin's newest book is called The Intimate Connection, Secrets to a Lifelong Romance.

And of course, we have that here and you'll find details in the episode show notes. And Jim, we're also honored to have your better half here as well. Now, this could be a little risky, but I did invite Gene to join us.

And I thought three dudes sitting here talking about marriage and what women think, we need a woman here to represent the better half. So Gene has joined us. Gene, it's great to have you here. Well, thank you. It's always great to be here. Kevin, good to have you back.

Hey, thank you. You know, us men are always smart to listen to women. That's been a tip across the board. Listen to your wives. Isn't that the first rule of marriage? Men, listen to your wives. Oh, I like them.

They're closer to life than we are. That's for sure. Well, let's start with the big question. With all your years of experience, Kevin, as a marriage and family psychologist, what would you say is the number one secret of successful marriages? Well, I got to tell you this. When they asked me to do this book, I had a conversation with Mrs. Uppington, my bride.

Her real name is Sandy, but my nickname for her is Mrs. Uppington because she's the classy one of the two of us. And I said, honey, are we happily married? And she said, you're very happily married.

And so when I heard that, I said, okay, I'll do that book. But it's really pretty simple. You know, God gave us marriage as an opportunity to serve one another. That word serve is a little touchy these days in some circles. And I think basically it gets down to becoming an expert or really good at just knowing what your husband's needs are or what your wife's needs are and servicing her, being a servant. And again, talk to a group of women. I talk to women groups all the time and I say servant and man, the years are back. They're looking at you funny.

But I got news for you. That's what marriage is. It's being a servant to one another. Well, in your book, The Intimate Connection, you mentioned this context of have a lifestyle of intimacy. What does that mean?

Well, that's something you work toward. I'd love to tell you that most couples in the church have an intimate marriage. But my observation is they have a his and her marriage. They have the married singles lifestyle. They married single the married singles lifestyle.

What is that? Well, they're married, but you wouldn't know it because so many of the things they do are reminiscent of the single lifestyle. So it's kind of like a roommate in many ways. And women are the relational gurus of our society. They're like that little rabbit that keeps going. They hug anything that moves.

They're wordsmiths. And so many times it's just easy with all the stress on couples today. So many men and women who have young children are in the workplace. I shake my head sometimes. I say, how are these young couples doing? It's just tough to find time where we can be together and share. When you say one of the biggest reasons couples feel disconnected is because they don't understand each other.

Now, I'm sure that's not happening in your marriage after 53 years to Mrs. Uppington. But I mean, what what what's at the root of that? We don't understand each other. Is that the problem?

They're so weird. Okay. You know, jeans loading up here. It's like digging your own pot there. No, but just hear me out for a second.

Then you can harpoon me. They go potty in groups of six, eight, 10, 12. It's not uncommon for a woman to say, I'm going potty.

Anyone want to come along? It's a social event. Men do scratch their head at that one.

Yeah. I mean, it's a social event. They talk and and talk and talk. And women, you know, men like sort of the USA Today version, sort of because most of us as matters like to be problem solvers. You know, and my plea to women because they tell me my husband doesn't talk.

Your husband will talk, but you have to know how to approach this dude. Okay. If this is late breaking news for you, if you're driving, hang out of the wheel. Us men across the board. Now, let me give you a disclaimer. About 15% of marriages are not represented when I'm about to tell you, but we men across the board hate your questions. We don't like the Y word.

We get defensive. If you want your husband to talk to you, trust me on this, honey, could I ask your opinion about something? There's not a man in this building that doesn't have an opinion. I'm not saying it's a good opinion or a right opinion. I'm just saying we got an opinion. That's good.

That's a good way to stage it. All right, Jean, this is the dangerous part. You have a story from our marriage that illustrates the differences between men and women.

I seem to remember it had something to do with your birthday. This is going to be painful. Go ahead. Hit me.

Well, no, there was one year that I think we'd spent, we'd spent more money than we usually do. And I remember telling you, Jim, I don't want you to buy me a gift for my birthday. Now, can I translate that?

I'm good. We don't need to do anything for your birthday. Liar. Well, that's the problem. I said, please don't buy me a gift.

So my birthday comes. This is bad. I'm so sorry. Do you forgive me?

Yes, I do forgive you. And, and they didn't do anything. They being me and the boys.

Right. There was no burnt breakfast in bed from the boys. And there were no handmade cards from the boys. Jim heard me telling him, he thought I was saying, don't do anything. Well, can I, what I heard was you got the day off.

You know, you're bringing up guilt feelings of me and I always say women are the guilt gathers a life, but your story, Jean, painfully reminds me the guy that's written a lot of books on marriage and family. I bought my dear sweet bride. I can't remember if it was a birthday present or an anniversary present, but it was, uh, this is just embarrassing to say a four place toaster.

That's awesome. Not two, but four slice toaster. I think about that now and I say, Lehman, you're dumb as a rock. Why did it have a bagel set? It was as good a toaster as you could find, but it was, but this communication thing with women, I got to tell you a story about Mrs. Uppington because I had to take Lauren, our youngest daughter, by the way, Lauren was a little surprise.

If you don't know the Lehman history, we had the shocker at 42 and the surprise at 48. And wow. I had to take Lauren to the pediatric dentist. He was about three foot, six inches tall, little guy.

And I don't know what a pediatric dentist does tell you the truth, except work on little kid's teeth, I guess. But anyway, I said, honey, it's I'm late. I got to get there.

Tell me, I got to know where I'm going. She said, you can't miss it. You can't miss it.

Now listen to this. She said, there's flowers in the front of the building, but that's not the entrance. You got to go around the side entrance. You can't miss it.

Now, Tucson, Arizona, where I live is a million people in the metropolitan area. Okay. Then I'll, I'll go now and I'll start looking for flowers. Just give me the, give me the address. Give me the cross streets. But honest to Pete, that was her response. You can't miss it. Did you get lost? No, I finally got the address out of her, but I mean, I think I could have found it.

That's the point. Let me give you, you know, I said the women a word, one more thing. It just pops into mind. And we live about two miles as the crow flies from a place called Ventana Canyon Resort. It's a Lowe's beautiful hotel. And we had two ducks fly into our pool and those little suckers stayed there for three days.

And we have a little cocker who barked all the time at those ducks and the ducks didn't leave. Unbeknownst to me, my dear sweet wife calls Ventana Canyon Resort. Hello. Yes, this is Sandy Lehman. Um, I'd like you to come and, uh, get your ducks out of our pool. Excuse me, ma'am. Hey, Hey Harry, pick up line one.

I got a live one. Uh, she really thought that they were owned the property of Ventana Canyon because they do have some ducks up there, but that's very sweet. It is sweet.

Jean would have just fed the ducks. She says things that I just shake my head about sometimes. That's okay.

She's got a great heart. And so you learn, you learn, I say women lie like dogs with tongue in cheek. I'll be a few moments.

I'll just be a few minutes. That's not going to happen. But I've learned to sort of work out a formula to figure out. So I'm not asking her like what time you're going to be home and sitting there like an idiot, making a fool of myself said, Hey, you're going to be home two hours ago.

No, you have to understand who she is. Meet those needs as best you can. Yeah. This is the perfect setup for the next question, which I wanted to ask. Uh, you say true intimacy and marriage starts with recognizing each other's needs.

That's what you're expressing. So let's dig into it first. Uh, for us husbands identify the basic needs of women and what they are in. Jean, you're going to hold them accountable, right? Absolutely. You're the one at the table representing women. So you tell us if he's right on or not. So Dr. Lehman, what are these needs that women have?

God was the original humorous when he came up with this one, the two shall become one because it's so we're so different. Number one for women, I think is affection. It's huge in a woman's life.

Number two is communication. Now every man listening, what are we basically as men, not great at number one is affection. Uh, so it's affection, communication, commitment to the family. That's basically what it is for women. And men are completely different. They want to feel needed, wanted, and, uh, appreciated.

Yeah. And, uh, and fulfilled. And that includes, uh, the S word, sexual.

They want, they want that wife to pursue that chubby body that's gained 14 pounds since you walked down the aisle. And that's just the reality of how don't, don't write me a nasty letter that that was God's plan that that's how he made us very different. Well, Jean, let's get to another story. I don't know why we've done this, but, uh, you identify closely with the need for good communication. Like Kevin's talking about, explain that need, uh, were you and I have, you know, maybe played that out in our marriage communication. Well, yes, I, um, I was a night person, little less of one now, but you are, and I always have been a morning person and we would go to bed and I am ready to upload all the data that has happened in my day and nails on a chalkboard and this and that. And that's when I want to talk about resolve.

Like our deep relational issues. The moment we put our heads on the pillows and then later with kids, that's when I want to talk about the problems with the kids. Well, and Jim, I mean, you finally had to gently say, you know, Jane, when my head is hitting the pillow, I'm not totally with you. I mean, I go to sleep in like three minutes. It's amazing.

He does have some political leanings. That's very good, but it did take a while. That was probably way down the road of our marriage when I finally had the courage to say, I can't really hang with you here. Well, but, and I, uh, just in the last week, I mean, I really had to practice this. I wanted, I, I wanted to talk to you about probably one of our sons and I stopped myself cause it's bedtime and I know, and I, and also you told me that if you start problem solving at night at bedtime, then he can't go to sleep.

I can't unplug once I get into it. And so, I mean, we had to talk about that, but you also thought, yeah. Okay. So the other thing early in our marriage, we're probably year number three. I can remember specifically a moment where we're brushing our teeth in the morning together and I'm chipper as can be cause it's morning. This is the time God intended for man and woman to speak.

I mean, this is it. This is all good. We're supercharged.

I'm ready to take on the day for the Lord. And I noticed Jean's not responding to me. And I thought for a long time, I thought, why is she mad at me?

I mean, I'm serious. How are you doing? You sleep well?

Nothing, not even a grunt. And I thought she's so mad at me. She won't even respond to me.

Well, you married a very pretty woman as did I, but I'll tell you Mrs. Uppington in the morning to put it bluntly, she's got issues. I mean, she does. And she's got this stuff she puts on her face.

I don't know what it's called, but it's really, it looks to me, it looks like a poppy seed dressing or something. She puts it on her face and it takes a while for the beauty to come forth. But I always kid people. I say we're night and day different. I'm like, I go to bed early. And now that I'm older, I mean, I'm drooling at 830. And she says, you can make it to 830. She says, you can't go to bed.

But I said, well, watch me. But I'm telling you, she's half raccoon. She's up till two o'clock reading books or some of her best friends. And I told John last night we were visiting and I said about two o'clock, she goes out and tips over the garbage in the neighborhood and then comes back to bed. But we're night and day different.

I'm up early with a happy face. She doesn't like that. So you need to talk about those things. And I so appreciate Jean working to figure that out that she can't bring up a big problem. It's a learning process. Just like forgiveness is a learning process. And it's not a personal thing. If Jim falls asleep, it's not personal to Jean.

It's just something that is, right? So this is Focus on the Family. And we are enjoying a conversation today with Dr. Kevin Lehman. And I think we're getting into some of the content, Jim, of his book, The Intimate Connection, Secrets to a Lifelong Romance.

We want to encourage you to get your copy. We've got details in the episode show notes. Because of the humor of it all, let's quickly restate the three things that men need to know about wives.

What are the core things they need? Say them again. Yeah. You know, as a man, just a reminder, this is simple as ABC. Affection, okay?

And affection takes all different forms. It's that little touch. It's that single rose. It's that little note you wrote. And put a stamp on it.

Put it in the mail. It's that email that says, I can't wait to get home. And when you walk in the door, part of affection is, honey, what can I do to help?

If you've got little ankle biters around, I'm telling you, she sees you as the best reliever in the National League, coming to help her. And when you sit down and do nothing, the anger can build, and you get in trouble. So again, affection, communication, and that means you have to take time to do that. And then commitment to the family. Being a good dad. She purrs like a kitten when you're a good dad, believe me. Okay, now the opposite again.

Just to recap, what wives need to understand about helping the needs of her husband. Yeah, ladies, I know you're busy. You push six and a half hours to bring this little one to life, eight and a half for that middle child.

That youngest, he just came out real quick. Okay, I get it. But you have to understand this man, and I know some of you say, Lehman, I have four children because my husband's the fourth one. That's not healthy.

It's not good. He needs to be the husband. But you got to speak well of him, especially in front of other people.

You have to understand he needs to be wanted and needed by you. That's physically and emotionally and that leads to fulfillment. That's just the way it is.

No, that's really good. You have this analogy of the tea kettle to talk about emotions. Explain the tea kettle analogy. Well, you know, we tend to talk when life happens, little cheap shots, little something, you know, it's a little burr under the saddle. And well, I'm not going to say anything about it, you know, and but I'm going to remember it simmers and then there's a trigger and then it blows. And it's sort of like, I hate to use this analogy, but I think it's a good one. You have the flu. Okay. And you say, man, oh, and you throw up and you feel better because you throw up. But when you explode and it's anger and it's venom, you've literally thrown up on your mate. Yeah, you feel better, but what have you done?

And so it's really important that you, to quote my favorite, one of my favorite all time movies, what about Bob? It's all about baby steps for some of us as men, baby steps. But it takes a while to understand this gift, this woman.

Again, I say it with tongue in cheek, but they are weird. I took, I do Fox News in New York a lot. I took Sandy to New York with me recently and there's Nine West Shoe Store. Now ladies probably know what Nine West is. And she's in there two hours, Jean. And I was in there about 10 minutes, walked out, walked around Sixth Avenue and went back in and make sure she was still with us.

And she came out two hours later, two hours later, and she doesn't have a shoe. And she says, we need to go to Soho. We need to go to Sam Edelman in Soho. Well, if you know New York City, Manhattan and Soho is a long cab ride away.

So like a train seal, I find myself in Soho. And she's in Sam Edelman for an hour. That's three hours looking at shoes. And I'm so glad I took her to New York with me. But when she came out, she had two, she was a nine and a half narrow. How many men know what your shoe size of your wife is?

Nine and a half narrow. And she had two boxes of shoes with her. And it was like she had just struck the lottery or something. She was just beaming that she had these shoes. And so I say, you know what?

She's happy. I'm happy. There you go.

That's good. Listen, you outline, you outline five things we need to know about feelings. Uh, what are those five?

Well, thanks for the quiz. Number one, feelings aren't right or wrong. They're just your feelings.

Okay. And here's what I want people to really understand. When you share feelings, it draws you together. When you go down the judgment trail, now the defenses go up.

That's two of five. So how do you do that? How do you differentiate between sharing your feelings and sharing judgment about the other person's feelings? Well, with me that this is just for me, I got to sit on it a while. I really do because if I just follow my feelings and there's another one, everybody think about this. Just say we, we follow our feelings for the next 30 days together. Okay.

I got news for you. We're going to be in the county jail together. You can't go through life and follow your feelings.

Gentlemen, you see a good looking chick walking down the street, get in touch with your feelings. Now follow your feelings. You're going to jail. Somebody cuts you off in traffic.

I know they got a little Christian fish on the back. That doesn't count in my book, but what do you feel like doing? You feel like putting them in the ditch. So you can't go through life. God gave us a brain and you know, I, I think when we get this to, uh, problems in marriage, I really believe they're, they're basically spiritual problems.

I think so many of us brought so much baggage into marriage and we try to do this on our own and what I've learned and look at me, I'm old. I mean, I've learned to say, Lord, come on. I need some teaching here. And that's where the Holy, the Holy Spirit, everybody talks about the Holy Spirit led me to do this and led me to do that.

The way I see it, the Holy Spirit's a helper and he helps you to move forward. So I need a little time to sift through that. No, that's good. You, one of the, I thought good tools that you talk about in the book, the intimate connection is the three, one, one rule.

Jean and I actually mentioned that and we're going to try to implement that in our communication. What is it real quickly? I mean, you can do it two minutes. It can, I call it three, one, one would take three minutes and there's an issue. Okay. So you're going to face each other.

I mean, if you're rich and have a jacuzzi, more power to you, but for the rest of us, just hold hands, eyeball to eyeball. The rules are one person speaks for three minutes. Then the next person gets 60 seconds to sort of clarify what they heard.

Then that next person gets a minute to say, well, no, that's not exactly what I meant. Here's what, it's real simple and it, it helps you get the feelings out. I love the example of a balloon. You blow air into a balloon. Remember when you were a kid, you blow it and sometimes it snapped in your face. Well, do you remember when you blew it and then you took the neck of it and you made that terrible noise to bother your parents or your brother or sister?

Over and over and over again. There's a good analogy there that sometimes when that, when that stuff comes out in communication, it's not easy to listen to because your mates telling you something that you really need to hear. But notice that the balloon goes down and what's the odds of it bursting into a huge thing?

Very little because you've let some air out. So if that'll help people with that three one one concept, the point is you need to make time to talk. Yeah. The other four, I mean this is really number two of the five is communication.

Pick it up from there cause we didn't get all five. So again, remind us, you have a right to express your feelings. Okay.

Yep. And a lot of us were brought up in homes where when we tried to share our feelings, let's face it, we got shot down. And then when you ask your mate, why do you feel that way?

You heard what I said earlier. I mean us men hate the Y word. So when you say, why do you feel that way? You're just being demeaning to your mate. So saying things like, honey, tell me more about that. I want to understand more about how you feel. Well, as always, some wonderful insights from Dr. Kevin Lehman about listening and sharing your feelings in marriage. And this great content comes from his book, The Intimate Connection, Secrets to a Lifelong Romance.

Now, John, it was so fun having my wife Jean here as well. I think Kevin's message today is very clear. Healthy, loving marriages don't just happen. It takes a lot of intentionality to stay connected emotionally, physically and spiritually. Kevin's book, The Intimate Connection is a great way to start that process.

A great book of guidance is how I would say it. Send a gift of any amount to focus on the family and we'll get a copy out to you right away. And if you can make a monthly contribution or a pledge, that will really help us even out the whole year of budget. We need committed financial partners who will go the distance with ongoing support so we can produce helpful content each and every month, like this program, providing counseling and so many other resources for families.

Please give monthly if you can. A one-time gift is good, but let me say monthly is best. And let me also say thank you in advance for your generosity.

Right. And our number is 800-AFAMILY 800-232-6459. You can donate and request Kevin's book when you click the link in the show notes. Another helpful resource we have for you is our Loving Well podcast series with Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley. We've just released season seven of the series exploring how you can have a happier marriage and cut busyness from your schedule so you prioritize time with your spouse. Look in the show notes for all the details about the podcast, Loving Well. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening to Focus on the Family.

I'm John Fuller inviting you back next time as we hear more from Dr. Lehman and once again, help you and your family thrive in Christ. As a parent, it's easy to find myself sitting backseat to my kids in the backseat. It's tough to be a step ahead and full honesty, I'm pretty hard on myself when that happens, but I've found Practice Makes Parent, a podcast from Focus on the Family hosted by Dr. Danny Huerta and Rebecca St. James. It helps me be more intentional and not feel alone when things get tough. Everything they share is practical and well practiced and I can use it right away. Listen to Practice Makes Parent wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-13 07:53:43 / 2024-02-13 08:05:20 / 12

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