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

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
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February 14, 2024 3:11 am

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

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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February 14, 2024 3:11 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 2 of 2)


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The Lord we serve is a great God. He wants what's best for us. And I think most of our marriage problems are spiritual problems. We just try to cut it out on ourselves without saying, Lord, I need your help. Holy Spirit, help me, guide me.

Let me say the things that I need to say. That was Dr. Kevin Leeman. He's back with us today on Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. And what a fitting topic for Valentine's Day, discovering the secrets to a lifelong romance. And we've got Gene Daly here as well.

I'm John Fuller, and thanks for joining us. Hey, we all want to have a marriage where we're free to share our deepest thoughts, feelings, and dreams with our spouse. And when we're dating, it's easy to talk about that for hours. Right, Gene?

Absolutely. And that's what happens. We talk about those things, and we develop that intimacy. And then we get busy. We get married, we have the kids, and we're paying the bills, and we take care of the house, and the in-laws, and the outlaws, and everything else. And that's why I'm really grateful that last time we started a discussion with Dr. Kevin Leeman on his book, The Intimate Connection. I invited Gene to join us, my great wife, and it was a great conversation, I thought, John.

Lots of energy. There was. A lot of great insights. And we're going to kick it into day two and continue that discussion. And if you missed any of part one, do go online. We've got links to it.

You can download it, see the YouTube version, and also get the mobile app if you'd like. All at slash broadcast. And as was mentioned, Dr. Leeman is a prolific speaker, author, and psychologist. He does a lot of TV and radio. He's been here, I think, 50 times or more. And always a popular guest with our audience. He's written a book called The Intimate Connection, Secrets to a Lifelong Romance. And we're offering that today to you.

Check the episode notes for details. And Kevin and Gene, welcome back. Well, thank you. It's wonderful being back. I enjoyed yesterday, and I think I'm going to enjoy today. That was fun talking about how God made us different and trying to do a better job of becoming one. It was a lot of fun. I'm laughing about all the one-liners you had, but it was great. Gene has said you're probably one of her most favorite authors, so I'm a little jealous.

God bless her. So that's a great place to start. But Kevin, one secret you identified that can lead to a stronger, healthier marriage. So the listeners are leaning in, and that is to understand your spouse's temperament.

What's that mean? I think I understand that. But how and why is that important? Well, you know, we're all wired differently. People come out of the womb differently.

There's four personality types that have been talked about for years, and that's the melancholic. Now, I'm the guy that wrote the birth order book, and whenever I think about the melancholic, I think of the only children. We're going to do it the right way. And some of you are married to people who know exactly the right way to do things. I'm a little offended by that. I wasn't an only child, but... But she knows the right way. Afterward, we need to discuss your birth order or your family, because there's something amiss there. Oh, yes.

That you could do what you've done in life and not be the firstborn. That's a baffler to me. But the calerics are the do it my way. So you got to do it the right way, you got to do it my way. Those guys are psychological first cousins.

They're very, very similar. So caleric and the birth order, where does that usually fall? The firstborn. Firstborn as well. And again, all you firstborn children who are listening, you got in trouble for what your younger sister and brother did.

I don't care what she did. You're the oldest. I expect more to you. So a lot of leadership comes from the firstborn. And then of course, you have the flagmatics. Now, if there's one thing I'd hate to be called in life, it's a flagmatic.

It sounds like something you'd get in the ocean that would stick to your skin and you couldn't get rid of it. I mean, I never liked that term, but those are those adorable middle children who are the peanut butter and jelly of the sandwich. They're the best part.

They mediate, they're peacemakers. They go with the flow. And then of course, there's the sanguines like Kevin Lehman and that's do it the fun way. But here's what's interesting in marriage. I identify with that. Oh yeah.

There's only one way, the fun way. We're sanguines. But you marry the list maker. I always tell people, Sandy and I, we live in a two-story house, her story and mine. We do see things so differently.

And I call her the Martha Luther because she's the great reformer. And it's like I'm the leopard and she's going to take out her psychological Brillo pad and start working on my spots. 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. No, it's so true. Let's bring it back to the temperaments because I think it's important that we get a basic understanding that our spouse's temperament can help deescalate conflict.

I mean, it gives you a framework for understanding triggers and other things. Here's the key. And I'm so glad you asked that question because those firstborns, you know who you are. You know exactly how life ought to be. Your husband is driving.

He hangs a simple left-hand turn. It is only you can say, Martha Luther is, why are you turning here? You got a better plan. And so remember, competition in marriage is not good. Marriage is not a competitive sport. Nobody wins in marriage. And so my advice is have a good role definition in your marriage. Honey, I'll do this and you do that and we'll come together on these other things. Without that role definition, I think you'll kill each other. Well, in fact, competition, that does pop up even when you don't assume that you're competitive. Jean, you have a story about that, I think early in our marriage.

I do. That was our first year of marriage. Those are always fun.

Oh my. And we, Jim and I were working for a company and we traveled around the country. This was a great first year thing to do. Showing multimedia presentations, motivational drug and alcohol abuse.

Programs at high schools. Yeah. So we went to 17 states in nine months. We had days off. It was great. Well, that's another broadcast. It was wonderful.

I remember one time, this is so funny. So Jean, you know, she has attributes where she likes a little solitary time. You know, we've been together 24 seven for months. And she said, at one point she said, I'm going to go to the store and just get a few things that we need. And I said, well, I'll come with you. She looked at me and said, no, no, you could stay here at the hotel. I'm just going to go do this. I was like, you don't like me?

I mean, we've been together 24 seven for like five months at this point. Just needed to go to the store alone. Anyway, but that wasn't the competitive part, the competitive part, but it was the same trip. And while we are doing this multimedia show with three large screens, it was all these elements that had, you know, the what do they call those slide projectors? We had nine slide projectors. We had a movie projector. We had a computerized projector. And Jim and I would take turns running the different sides of that. And this day I was doing the nine slide projectors and the reel to reel.

And if a lamp went out, if a light bulb went out, part of the screen would go black. So you quickly had to pull that out and put in a new one. And so that was my job. And, and I was trying to do it.

And Jim runs over and does it for me. It was like, you know, karate style. The bulb was in, it was up, we were going.

But a couple of things happened. One, I was put out. I was really miffed and felt like, you know what? I'm not good enough.

I can't do this by myself. But I also was really pretty horrified that I felt that with my newlywed husband. I did not know I was competitive.

I was what, 25 years old and did not know that about myself until that moment. Fiercely competitive. I didn't realize that. A lot of achievers in life need to owe up to the fact that they're competitive by nature.

And many times that their spouses expense or other people's expense. Yeah, sure. Yeah. But here's the question for a couple who struggles with competition. Who's winning your marriage? And it should be the other one. Yeah. And there's no winner.

Some people are still thinking, well, I'm not sure. It's a team sport. It's your spouse that should be winning. Yeah. Let me follow up on that in just a moment. But let me tell our listeners, we have Dr. Kevin Lehman's book at our website, and we really encourage you to get it. It'll be great to work through as a couple. It addresses so many different topics.

It's called The Intimate Connection Secrets to a Lifelong Romance. We'll send you a copy. Give us a call.

Our number is 800, the letter A and the word family. Kevin, let me ask you the power games that go on. I mean, it's almost human nature. Yeah. I mean, you know, the scripture is pretty clear that we're sinful creatures. I mean, that's how we come along. In fact, Jean mentioned to our boys the other day, and I thought it was a good observation with Troy, our youngest. She said, you know, we didn't teach you how to lie about eating a cookie when you should. It just came out naturally. That's a great observation.

Kids just know to cover up, you know, even something like that, like a cookie. Um, but you outline several of the power games that couples play with each other. Describe the game you call turtle shell mamba.

I like that one because I know if, if I get upset, my first reaction is to get quiet. Yes. That's a lot of men.

Yeah. A lot of us are men. And it's sort of like, well, you go ahead and do whatever you want, but you can flip me on my shell, but I'm not coming out until I, I feel like I'm safe again. What does a woman do in that case when she feels her husband withdraw? You see a pattern. These aren't isolated things, a pattern or a man withdraws. And when he withdraws, you know, that something's going on that he's not happy with. It may not be you.

It might be something that happened at work, but you say, honey, I can tell the something's eating you. Uh, I don't know if you want to talk about it now. And this goes back to granting your spouse respect because you may want to talk about it now because you see something going on. But if you're like Jim Daly and you go to, well, I'll go to bed early.

You don't want to take on life's troubles at eight 30. That's good. Maybe tomorrow be better, honey, or surprise him. When was the last time you as a wife sent your husband an email that said, you know, I stopped at Victoria secrets and picked up a little something. It's a little surprise for you, but you're gonna have to wait till Saturday. Here's a principle in marriage.

Anticipation is as good as or better than participation. First Peter three seven says, live with your bride with understanding. Well, ladies, let me tell you something about that husband of yours. He has no friends. He has associates.

He has bowling associates. This goes back to our arms length and younger men today are listening. Thank the Lord. You do have friends now. Men are much better husbands today than they used to be. But some of us in the older generation, middle age on up, a lot of us don't have friends.

You're it. And I'm pointing to Jean, you know, and a lot of us as men, we have all this stuff that we deal with and it eats us up and we need somebody to unload it to. And sometimes it comes out in dangerous forms. So you got the man who's going to withdraw. You got the man that's going to strike back and be angry. What am I called? Dump truck, dump truck. Who's got the dump truck. And you sort of dump on your mate. It's sort of like you have steer manure and a little dump truck and you had a bad day. So you're going to find your wife and push that magic button and watch that big thing go and dump store manure on your wife.

And again, you've unloaded your load. All right, but what have you done to your spouse or how about no honey, you go ahead and play golf. I'll stay home here with your mother.

Hope you have a great time. Actually, what you're saying is I hope you lose your three iron and break your seven iron. And your leg while you're at it. But a lot of things are just sort of cheap shots, but they're just, they're symptoms that, Hey, you haven't been paying attention to me. You have not been affectionate to me.

You haven't been communicative with me. So all these things are going to come to the surface if you don't deal with them. And that's why that three one one we talked about is so important. Last time. Yeah.

You get a copy of that and download it. But so how do, how does a couple start feeling like a team? We've kind of isolated how the, how would they get into this pit, but how do they turn that around? Let's say, I mean, someone listening right now may go home tonight at the dinner table and say, honey, I heard Dr. Lehman on focus today. I've been thinking about some things and you know, I think I've, uh, I've made a lot of mistakes.

So the first thing is, is that, you know, I don't know what I'm talking about. I might be way out in left field here, but, and then you slipper the commercial announcement or you slip him the commercial announcement, but I think we've gotten off the beaten path. When was the last time we prayed together? When was the last time we did this and start talking positive instead of negative, don't be bashing or pointing fingers.

Use some I statements. I feel bad that we're in this position today. I mean, let's be honest. I mean, do you feel as close to me right now as you'd like to? Yeah. Well, no.

Well, I don't need it. Well, let's figure this out together. You know, we have a great, uh, intensive program for married couples who are in trouble and a lot of them have signed divorce papers. But one of the things that I've learned just observing that is so much of this gets down to communication. I mean, we just don't learn how to communicate with each other effectively. And in fact, I mean, this is a more humorous component of that, but Jean, you and I had that great communication error when we were at some water park. You want to let people know about this is so funny. This is classic Kevin.

And I'd love your input on this one. Oh my, it's doesn't make me look very good. Um, our family was at a water park and we arrived around lunchtime. We were going to get lunch. We're first in line for a locker and the line, all the lines were really long. So Jim stayed in the locker line and, uh, we agreed that I would go to the first snack shack and order, probably order, get a table and well, so I went to that first snack shack and they didn't have French fries to go with my veggie burger and I really wanted French fries. So I knew that line was long for the locker. So I thought I had enough time to run to the second snack shack.

Yeah. Although we communicated at this point and she was going to run along to look for these, you know, French fries from somewhere. And I said, okay, let's just meet back here at this table. This is a huge, like 300 acre place and you get lost in this place, you're done. And so Jean said, okay, let's meet back here. That place didn't have French fries. And so they told me the next place. So I was thinking, I'm probably not going to get to the table in time, but I think I actually thought that Jim would somehow know that I was sequentially going from snack shack to snack shack.

I think she was in another country at one point. I'm gone and there's long lines. First hour goes by. Okay.

Well, I don't know how long it was. When I get back to the table and there's no Jim and the boys, they were gone. And so I realized they're not there. I go to the lockers. They're not anywhere to be found.

And I, this is just bizarre. I kind of start panicking. I didn't know what locker they had. My, I had no identification.

I had no money. My cell phone was probably in the locker and I became like this lost five-year-old little girl. And I'm like panicked. I think I'm thinking I'm going to have to sleep in the water park that they're not going to let me out. I'd say fear had gripped you. Yes. And I'm walking around the park for two hours and we can't find each other.

Okay. And I even went to the lounge chairs where we'd put our towels and stayed there for a while. Okay, Jim, when we finally did meet, what happened? I had sat there literally for maybe an hour and a half, hour, 45 minutes.

I did. It wasn't like that long. And so then I decided she's lost. My little wife was gone. So I walked this whole water park looking under every bridge on the thing. And you know, every ride I'm looking at the lines I must've spent another hour looking for. I come back to the very table and Jean and I meet at the table and she's mad at me.

She's like uncorked. She's like, how could you leave me? How could you leave me? I'm going, I was here for like an hour and 45 minutes waiting for you. And then I went looking for you on this 300 acre lot.

I've been looking for you for the last three hours. But I don't know if I've ever told you this, you know what the real problem was? Yes, you can't stick to it without a plan. That is true. I do have a problem with that.

We'll meet at the table. I do definitely have a problem with that. No, I was feeling insecure about my body.

That's the first time I've ever heard that. Okay, I was. And that made me feel insecure. And that set me off for the whole day.

I'm not kidding. And my, my body was really covered with long sleeve rash guard and board shorts. And there was only one other woman in the water park who was more covered than me from head to toe. That is why I went wacko that day. That's what really was the first time I've heard this. I mean, talking about communication, had I started the day by saying, Jim, we're going to a water park. I'm feeling insecure about my body.

It would have changed the entire day. It gets back to taking the time to communicate the reality of what I'm feeling inside and lots of times for a lot of different reasons. And I think this goes back to how we grew up, how we saw mom and dad, what we brought, the baggage we brought in. I always remind people, it's not two people who got married. It's at least six because you marry your families and you marry what, whatever garbage was there, you bring to the altar and you have to work through those things early in your marriage or you're going to end up paying for it.

It's going to pop up from time to time. But you know, the Lord we serve is a great God. He wants what's best for us. And like I said earlier, I think most of our marriage problems are spiritual problems. We just try to gut it out on ourselves without saying, Lord, I need your help. Holy spirit, help me, guide me. Let me say the things that I need to say.

Before I came here today at my hotel, I issued a very short prayer, Lord, just help the words glorify you. And it's easy to try to glorify yourself or to be selfish. That's the carnal part of man. But it takes that daily commitment to work toward oneness to be a real couple.

And if you do, your kids are taking emotional notes, spiritual notes on what life's all about. Well, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I didn't know you well enough to handle that differently. Well, no, you couldn't read my mind. And that's it.

Women want men to read their minds. No. And it took me a long time in marriage to realize how unfair that is, that Jim can't read my mind, and that I need to tell him my expectations. You do that a lot better than we used to do that.

Right. I had to learn that. One of my favorite all-time things happened in my life when my wife says, honey, do you want to stop for ice cream?

And I said, no. I kept driving. Two minutes later, she's crying. I go, what's wrong with you? I want to stop for ice cream. So when a woman says, Jim, do you want to stop for ice cream? She's not asking a question. This takes us all the way back to yesterday about Jean's birthday.

Yes, she does. Thanks a lot, Kevin. I'll tell you what I'm going to do.

I'm going to stay a couple extra days in Colorado Springs, and I'm going to help you too. Thank you. Finally, after 33 years of marriage. Hey, we have covered a lot of ground, but let's think of the takeaways for the listener. What are just three or four things, Dr. Lehman? You mentioned treat your partner as a gift, loving your partner daily choice.

Those are good ideas. Fill in the blanks. Embrace the differences. Don't let them irritate you. Well, the things that you're attracted to early in your dating are sometimes the things that really do irritate you later on. But embrace the idea of oneness.

Embrace the idea that you really do need each other. I never told you how much I dislike Barbra Streisand, did I? Did you know? She sang a song called People. People who need people are what?

The luckiest people in the world. Do you realize as a couple you really need each other? That this is a couple.

It's not a competitive event. And so working together and not pointing fingers, but saying, honey, let's work on this together. And that I love you never goes out of style. Neither does basic courtesy in marriage. You know, I'm thinking of that either husband or wife. And I'll use the wife because I think it leans that direction most often where she doesn't feel connected any longer emotionally, spiritually, maybe even physically. She's drawn into this conversation.

OK, there's some things I need to do. Maybe it's the husband. But what would you say to that person where the intimacy and I'm not talking just physical intimacy, just the connection between the two of them is evaporated. Well, I know how they feel because I talk with them all the time still. And what do they do? They feel isolated and they feel trapped. They don't know which way to go. So what's that drop in the church?

They're an elder in the church. What are people going to think? And we have nothing to say to each other. I would love and we probably don't have time, but I would love to read a poem to you guys, if I may. It's called The Wall.

Just listen to it. And it represents so many couples today. And it saddens my heart to think about this. Their wedding picture mocked them from the table, those two whose minds no longer touched each other.

They live with such a heavy barricade between them that neither battering ram of words nor artillery of touch could break it down. Somewhere between the oldest child's first tooth and the youngest daughter's graduation, they lost each other. Throughout the years, each slowly unraveled their tangled ball of string called Self. And as they tugged at stubborn knots, each hid his searching from the other. Sometimes she cried at night and begged the whispering darkness to tell her who she was. He lay beside her snoring like a hibernating bear, unaware of her winter. She took a course in modern art trying to find herself in colors splashed upon a canvas, complaining to other women about men who are insensitive.

He climbed into a tomb called The Office, wrapped his mind in a shroud of paper figures, and buried himself and customers. Slowly the wall between them rose, cemented by the mortar of indifference. One day, reaching out to touch each other, they found a barrier they could not penetrate. And recoiling from the coldness of the stone, each retreated from the stranger on the other side. For when love dies, it's not in a moment of angry battle, nor when fiery bodies lose their heat. It lies panting, exhausted, expiring, at the bottom of a wall it could not scale." That's quite an indictment about husbands and wives who have allowed too much time and distance to pass between their relationship. And I can only say one thing in response.

Don't let that happen to you. Do everything you can to protect your marriage. Contact Focus on the Family for help today.

We're here for you. We have Christian counselors who can help. So many resources for your family and you as a couple. And we have Hope Restored, which is our marriage intensive for couples who are about ready to give up.

Let me just add that has an 80 plus percent save rate when we go back and do our survey work two years later. Don't be in that situation. Contact us today and let's see what God wants to do to transform your marriage. We're a phone call away. Our number is 800, the letter A in the word family.

That's 800-232-6459. Or you can find out more about Hope Restored and all the great resources we have for you. The details are in the show notes and let me also recommend Kevin's book The Intimate Connection. There is so much encouragement and practical advice that will help you. We'll be happy to send you a copy when you make a monthly pledge of any amount to Focus on the Family today. And monthly giving really helps us balance the budget for those important resources and campaigns that we are planning for marriages and parenting and working to rescue preborn babies and so much more. It evens things out for us. So please consider a monthly pledge to Focus today.

A one-time gift is also good if that's where you're at. We really appreciate your partnership and ministry with us. And you can make your monthly pledge when you call 800, the letter A in the word family or again donate and request Dr. Lehman's book when you click the link in the show notes. And you'll find additional resources for your marriage at our website, including our Loving Well podcast series featuring Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley. There's a lot of great content in each episode.

You can find out more on the website. Coming up tomorrow, Lisa Harper offers encouragement for anyone who's praying in the midst of a challenging circumstance. The two biggest miracles I've seen with my own eyes that happened in our family were on the other side of waiting, on the other side of waiting a long time. 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. 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.

In 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 / 2024-02-14 05:22:05 / 2024-02-14 05:34:06 / 12

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