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Loving the Story of Your Marriage (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Cross Radio
July 27, 2022 6:00 am

Loving the Story of Your Marriage (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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July 27, 2022 6:00 am

Co-founders of Grace Marriage, Brad Rhoads and his wife, Marilyn, offer insight to couples as they describe how they've learned to love and serve each other well. Our guests discuss the importance of modeling a good marriage to our culture, and the work of their ministry, which assists local churches in strengthening marriages. (Part 1 of 2)

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This is Focus on the Family with your host focus president and author Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller and today will help you discover how more grace can transform your marriage but we begin with a very important update about a boat that's expected soon. In the U.S. Senate on the issue of same-sex marriage, John. We don't often bring these issues to the audience, but this one I want people to be aware of because of its potential impact for a little bit of background. Last week the U.S. House very quickly past the deceptively named respect for marriage act. All Democrat representatives voted in favor of it, along with 47 Republicans HR 8404 require states to recognize same-sex marriages from other states and seeks to codify it into federal law, which goes a step beyond the right to same-sex marriage created by the Supreme Court in that narrowly decided 5 to 4 decision in 2015.

This act is an assault on religious freedom and free speech and I'll tell you why in a moment on the heels of the Dobbs case and overturn Roe V Wade. Many in Congress are concerned that the Supreme Court could rule at some point in the future that same-sex marriage is unconstitutional even though it is now recognized as legal in the US this bill is intended to force representatives and senators to commit to a position on same-sex marriage, presumably to impact the general election in November and Jim to understand correctly that this bill would also recognize in federal law marriage by any definition allowed in any state, including polygamy. That's how her reading it.

I think it's true, it's another concern John if this bill passes, it could open the door for the federal government to force everyone force everyone including religious organizations to affirm not only same-sex marriage but as you said, polygamy, and other relationships in that way the law could lead to costly lawsuits and harassment of millions of Christians, profamily Americans in organizations like focus who believe in one man one woman marriage.

So here's what were asking you to do and again we don't do it very often, but please call your senators and respectfully asked them to vote no on HR 8404, the so-called respect for marriage act, which is really disrespect for marriage and its attempts to enshrine same-sex marriage into federal law. Democrats have put the bill on the fast track and they're looking for 10 Republicans in the Senate to get it passed, but by contacting your Senators now you can help persuade them to not even bring this damaging bill to a vote. This really is a religious liberty issue. Make your voice heard on this matter called the Senate switchboard to date. Merger senators to vote no on HR 8404 and the phone number is 20222431212022243121. A vote is expected very soon. Maybe even this week and will provide a link to all the information about reaching your senators@focusonthefamily.com/broadcast that's Focus on the Family.com/broadcast. So how would you respond if this happened to you all may see your license is about officer. I was like tags license or all of the date to get all this is in a ticket is just a warning, even neglecting your marriage Mr. Smith you're not careful you could be facing serious troubles on the road my marriage trouble about like I said this morning Mr. Smith spend more time with your wife.

Be sensitive to her feelings.

Don't forget about those relationships which are most important and safe driving to what was your marriage benefit from a friendly little reminder like that today on Focus on the Family. We have something like that for you as we explore the relationship with your spouse.

I can make that better and really experience the intimacy and of the love that God intends for you both. I'm John Fuller and your host is Focus on the Family president and author Jim Daly Jon, I think we all need encouragement about marriage in positive reminders about marriage. We dwell on the negative. So often thinking of the differences rather than those things that God used to bring us together like you said making that relationship a priority know why so hard. We have a lot of things that pull at us in this life, but the core thing is going to be your family. That's why were here Focus on the Family to try to make your family the strongest it can be if were honest, it's easy to slip into the routines of life and taking care of the kids pursuing careers managing the household.

All of it.

Sometimes our marriages. They just end up getting the short end of the stick and you can rationalize it. You can give a lot of excuses for it but I'm telling you it's the most important thing in this world that you can concentrate on. Of course your relationship with Christ is the foundation marriage is right next to it and it's going to be the thing that carries you through in this life. Every marriage has its absent flows. We get that times the were you feel connected other times when you're feeling distant. That's actually normal, don't panic, but what were talking about today and going to talk about with our guess is that sense of a distance that can occur in them. What you need to do to close that gap and fall in love again and remember the key things that God pulled together to accomplish you if you're feeling a little bit complacent about your relationship.

I think you'll find this to be a good encouraging program agenda will be addressing those couples who are in serious trouble. We have resources for folks in that kind of trouble and we invite you to give us a call, but we really do want to make this kind of a fine tuneup time it's exactly right John of Brad and Marilyn Rhodes are the cofounders of grace marriage. I just like that it sounds right you got have a lot of grace in marriage, but this is a church-based ministry that is working to equip local churches to strengthen marriages each and every day. The roads have a passion to help other couples experience the kind of transformational changes they've seen in their own marriage and that's where were going to talk with them today so welcome.

Both of you to Focus on the Family thank you cleansing so let's get right to it. Let's start with that overview of marriage, today's marriage more difficult today than it was 50 years ago, I think so why there's so much noise if cell phones you have used as lease boards you have travel ball give so many things. It's so much more difficult.

Now think to make space for the marriage because so many things compete for time and then Matthew talks but the worries the world the deceitfulness of wealth choking out the word.

I think the busyness and try to pay bills and all that goes on squeezes out the life of the marriage.

Yeah you Marilyn as a woman in a wife. When you look at the role of marriage in the culture today.

Is it harder when you talk to your girlfriends is different than maybe what your mother and grandmother may have talked about or is it generally the same. Absolutely I think it's I think it's more difficult. I think since we sifted into child centered mentality where everything revolves around the children. Like he said when we are growing up. There is no such thing as travel that now in my airplane travel ball you not to be playing sports is just the intensity and then all of the media that we have before us. You hear when we work with couples now one of the things I hear most is that that is such an midpoint.

That's an issue for them struggling that keep that it may keep to turn off the noise so we do focus on each other is that you know one of the things we have one of her sons that was very interested in baseball and we didn't really get on the bandwagon. You know, we do not intentionally but it just worked out where we didn't have a lot of energy about doing a travel team like that the money was expensive, then you're on the road almost every weekend going somewhere regionally. Sometimes it's two states over it just it does consume a lot of time and unless you really think in this kids got probe all potential it's probably a difficult decision.

Yes, it is fundamental that I've decided not to sacrifice my entire family and hopes my child be an average high school soccer player that's a good way to look at what is so true. You mentioned that aspect in the marriage where you know all these things kind of pull us apart. How did you recognize you have a problem and then how did you kind of formulate some solutions to getting back to what was healthy thinking is only back to when we were first married we brought in to manage what the world feeds this seminar love and romance navies and learning about Prince charming and I have these expectations that were off the charts.

They come into marriage with me with these expectations. Describe those just to help the listeners what those expectations look like well on I thought that we would get up every morning and have coffee together and talk about our day and he's the type they got at two minutes before he had to be out the door in heaven often and we moved to a new town. We got married.

So we are in a new town nearly married didn't know anyone.

He was starting a law practice and it really was a recipe for just a tank and so we had a really difficult first year and that I came with these expectations. I thought we would in the afternoons, after work (together, play tennis together and just in all of this time together and it did not look like that and so I spent a lot of time really. I was also in graduate school in social work is getting this degree and I'm learning all these theories and thinking that I need to tell him these things if I don't tell him all the things he's done it bother me than what is unhealthy patterns for our marriage so that once a week, which is crap and he would be like oh no, here we go again because I think he came it marriage with no expectations. So you have this collision, and a year into your marriage or is months so this honeymoon was over before the desire right away. We did see right away and then we really did struggle that first year and I was telling him everything he was doing it bothered me just being a nagging doing everything wrong and at one point the Lord really spoke to my heart and would like your help, not Brad and I felt so convicted that in the place of God, and often I think the enemy does that to get gifts God gives us enemies is to take our eyes off of truth, which is Christ and he's a lover of my soul.

So I went to Brad and us and we forgive me pitch in the place of God and that there's no way you can meet that expectation. And so I'm sorry and I don't need you to have joy. My hope is in Christ and that's where my joy is, and that was really a turning point for me in my relationship with the Lord and also in our relationship because we then went from really miserable to stable so you got out of the pit at least got to ground level Maryland I so appreciate that vulnerability and that openness I can think of people I know couples I know that they may been married 15, 20, 30 years in, she hasn't come to the understanding that he's not going to meet all my needs. What advice do you have that person, 10, 20, 30 years into their marriage and there still nagging and complaining that you're not you, not there boy, you have missed the bar and you continue to miss the bar and all he's hearing is and they live like that for years now speak to her directly say here's what's can help you most not nagging. That's what got us involved in Christ, which we felt so convicted about how it's approach so poorly and we see it so much and young couples and that tele first started out doing premarital counseling and then marriage groups in our home and I would just share that with anyone and that I talked to you that your husband is not your hope Christ is the hope is in Christ, then you take that burden nothing and freeze in from what you are laying on then and when you have that then anything good within your marriage is straight from God and blessings in just encourage and help each other but he does not completely mean the world will tell us that your spouse completing complement each other, but we certainly don't and it's so important that we are into it already. This is deep stuff and I so appreciated the. The key here, though I really want women to catch what you're saying Maryland because this in my mind this is where you are going to get the most hope and help is coming to this realization that he's knocking to be able to meet all needs.

He's an imperfect person and you've got to somehow settle in your heart that that's okay and I think so many married women struggle resting in that and so did you continue to struggle even though you knew it, the Lord pierced your heart with that. You know, very direct sense. Hey Marilyn, your hopes and me not inbred. That's pretty direct. Did you still stumble with it. Did you still struggle with it were there times you begin to recognize okay well I'm going back to that old person. I don't want to be that, sir, yesterday when I find myself being bothered by something Brad is doing or not doing that. I wish he wouldn't do, which is going to be Esther life.

I'm reminded well where is your help right it's in me. So it's a check is timely come to this place is sure there are things we talk and work through alien share when were struggling that that at the core. If it's hitting me in a place that that deep then take my eyes off Christ. Do you think inbred you're going to get in here. Believe me, but I just love this merrily so open about it. I just appreciate that so much for that woman who struggles in that area. What is a practical day-to-day thing that they can do. I mean you sounds like you have developed some great positive triggers to catch yourself so educate us. One thing I cannot tell women in our Bible study groups is if your husband is something that bothers you don't immediately share it with them. Pray on it and pray on it. Pray on it and pray on that is so hard.

It is so, but it is I don't do it every time not hear it because I don't do it all at the time, but my prayer is that Holy Spirit's leading lamp spin in time with the Lord in that will pies and I will pray about it before I take it to him. What's the what's the benefit of doing it that way and trust in him for the result not myself knowing that even in the power of a praying wife.

She talks about the Holy Spirit.

Such a better job of it working on our spouses than we do. We often get in a way of the Holy Spirit's meaning. When we take matters in our own hands that when we pray we give that pattern to our credit. I think bigger messes. I love it that is so good that Brad really just pick on you, so you have. I can't believe he had no expectations in your marriage that just sounds a little gentle coming from Maryland but yet have some expectations.

I can't really say I thought about it okay for me. I can't say I don't know that I had any expectations is probably just what up to professional parents that both worked really hard.

More loyal and writing telecom just cannot let each other do their own thing you did really well and that of stable marriage, wonderful people who just a different model than Marilyn came in with an expectation sure so you are an attorney for 20 years. Describe that environment as Maryland described a moment ago you get up just in time to get ready for work and go out the door and conquer the day and when a case and counsel people on what to do.

Probably save money save the marriage. Whatever and then come home and be a little bit exhausted. What what does that look like for you. We left Nashville I worked a big farm in Nashville to start a practice in Owensboro and I was really excited so I was just fired up about build a law practice and I took all my eyes off the Lord off Maryland on building a law practice tons of creative thought of ideas to generate clients and I didn't put any creative thought it all and how to nurture my wife and what were the what were the danger signs for you.

I didn't see that I have a problem. I thought that a hypersensitive life. I felt everybody else like me fun. What's her problem. Staff seem to like me. Client seem to like me.

So I got it together not come home and and she doesn't like me. So it makes sense to me like a friend of mine what's the person knows the best likes the least probably problem with you boy but I had an uncle who has mentored me and he could see what I couldn't see and he was not to leave me alone until is different than his back early in the promise keepers and natural since in our church. I was thinking eight hours of marriage preaching drive me crazy/turning down two or three times. Then he call my staff clear my schedule, wife clear my schedule bought my ticket invited my father long called to brag a great free and you go and I did want to go but God didn't care and I learned his Word sharper than a double-edged sword. Yeah, I mean have had you were angry. How did you respond I know is your uncle that still what you doing uncle Bob Tom loves me not.

Love, Tom. My best interests at heart. I just think you didn't fully get it, but when when I got there and literally the Lord shattered me coming shattered. Now, and it worked. And you know again what a blessing that it happened so early in your marriage did you have discussions like that when when you would come home Brad and Marilyn.

You know both you can answer this but did you articulate that observation to Marilyn saying you know I seem to be healthy on a good place people like me want you like me what your problem.

I didn't know that I'll attach that mail. I don't recall articulating that is much what about my life.

Yeah well you and sometimes say he does need take a chill pill for many husbands of the event.

He didn't articulate it that way that you could tell he pick up on how people are feeling read a moment ago you mentioned going to promise keepers, events, and there are some who won't know what those are.

So where was that in and what happened that is, I think you said shattered. You will what exactly is in Memphis Tennessee about 50,000 men there and it was just expositor scripture on merit.

It said love your wife. Just as Christ loved the church and gave his life up for her. Brent, would you give up for mail set there nothing live with your wife in understanding why do you ask the questions you seek to understand or to spend time as relating with her no, don't be harsh with her how sarcastic all of her tears made sense.

My sin was HT clear a member have the vivid thought of my doing anything correctly and the answer was no but God gave you godly sorrow. Second Corinthians. Godly sorrow is sealed to clear oneself and I could not wait to get home so what was the drive like back home couldn't wait couldn't wait to get back home or think she still there.

She still there were to make this right now. We got home at 2 AM from that event at 5:30 AM before church.

She's at planning plants and I got up at 530 and three half-hour sleep the shovel and is where you want me to do and she looked annoyed on the ghost we do and I said honey were starting today. It was weird because I knew something to change. I wouldn't worry about being temporary. I member hope and she wouldn't believe me just as I thought five years from now slip no question that in-flight need to prove myself. I feel like God it just changed me and I marriage underwent a transformation. We went from pie. The normal coexistent marriage.

We just go through life side-by-side together. Did this richly enjoying each other and richly enjoying marriage and that really is what God used the vault to send a marriage ministry because the kids we did the youth ministry whispers and we want what you guys have we do our premarital so that was the gateway end of marriage ministry probably 12 years ago and in that context. Where are we getting it wrong as churches do marriage ministry. What what's working with what you're doing and what would you say the pastors were listening to things. One, we teach to have a great marriage you have to not need the Lord Jesus Christ is sufficient. I don't need Marilyn to feel respected. She doesn't need me to make her feel special.

Jesus Christ.this work is kits and that's sufficient enough so asking of marriage.

One thinks of marriage can't give us then we fight fight fight to get it to give us something, it can never give us that's one thing the other is we seem a growing intentionality. One of my board member said couples will never be more intentional with their marriages than churches are with their marriage ministries. As we've met with churches, the level of intentionality with children and youth compared to marriage. It's a big difference is a big gap is pretty strong focus on premarital counseling. Pretty strong focus on crisis help but not a lot of good structures to help the everyday marriage grow and be protected rights will you want churches to do what they're doing were so excited or going upstream, catching marriage is precrisis.

If you catch a marriage of five is not hard to get tonight or not you catch marriage in a 1U takes real expertise to try to help them get to three because of the damages been done by the time they get that crisis point. It's really well said. I want to make sure were catching the heart of the listener, who may be struggling. And so Marilyn coming back to you. You made a comment that I think is really interesting. You said you were great talking to Brad you're great at dating but horrible marriage.

I think a lot of wives have.

I think I recall Jean making that statement to me a few years. I love you. I just don't like you. Right now there's lots of ways that that statement comes out and it, it all comes back to the same source. What you're describing Brad our neglect is husbands toward our wives speak to that moment.

What were you expressing to Brad to say something like that. You know you're good at dating but your horrible marriage.

I wanted him to start treating me as he did when we dated, because I felt like when we were dating. It was this courtship in this precedent. Then once we're married Kenneth were married now so that can stop right where still wanted some of the stick outline and that's why would say that because at that point he was pursuing building a practice that is focused on that. No, that's good. It sounds like you know it is and it happens to us men that are vocational interest become our mistress and we ignore our wife and we justify it by saying look I were helping the family my jobs to provide. This is what I'm doing and you should be actually patting me on the back as I'm doing a pretty good job providing for us and you're going but I'm starving. I'm dying yes and that's not what I'm interested in, but I just described that force well it came out in tears about weekly and now we just I would say things like if you loved me.

When you lead, spend time with me.

Are we get up and we would have coffee together.

We would do things together and he would say I do love you and so I was just expressing my frustration at the landfill left is back in action and he would sit there and roll his eyes, and I was actually accomplishing opposite of what I was wanting to us is that when God really spoke to my heart on your help, not Brad that I really was free to just give rather than beg for him. What I want to give without expiation. Yeah so I kind of an upset before Lebanese need to bury the bar just made a bar of expectations because that when I put expectations on hand actually it sets us up for trouble if I don't have expectations and I freely give love to him. Then it you just even in that place once I went to hand our marriage went to a better place before he went promise keepers so went to him and I said I was sorry and have put expectations on you and I really was pursuing the Lord and then just listening to the Lord. Like how can I love him. How can I let him well and we started doing better without me telling him you're doing this wrong indent this on you doing this wrong because I shifted from a mentality which I think is so easy that the world falls into. We all fall into what you can do for me right and that's the greatest reason marriages are just as the Lord is working in both of you simultaneously.

It sounds like, and then bread to get back for promise keepers is big change. You show up in the garden. 530 in the morning, three hours after you put your head on your fellow and it begins to change.

So what were some of the evidences of this occurring being there is obviously one over the next week, two weeks, months couple years. Was it sustainable.

Yes. Started putting creative thought and have a blessed love Marilyn not just creative thought and how to grow a law practice and handle cases well started using creative energy into my wife and family, which is most important, and not just toward my law practice and it was sustainable. We've been through really difficult times in our family. She's really sad I'm really down. I'm really anxious, but we've spending time together appreciating one of that is been stable and constant.

That is so good. What are some of the examples. There were you seen success through grace, marriage, what we've seen is we provide a structure that all couples can get in it I found that sustained growth is rare without structure and accountability had been in entrepreneurial business coaching for six years every 90 days I would go to go to business coaching and they would tell me what to do next, and if I didn't do it. They remind me. I realize that structures will her business grew so well when it's trying same structure work in marriages, so we worked on that structure from 2012 and to leave the practice in 2015 and now what we same when couples invest in their marriage that Scripture says whoever sows generously will reap generously. We hear it over and over and over. The difference it makes when people invest time, resources and creative energy into their marriage, or makes what a great gig. The Lords given them and their spouse that is so well said. It's great that you're using the lessons you learned in the early years of your marriage to help other couples. Today I want to hear more about grace marriage. Next time, let me turn to our listeners for a moment to remind you of all the great tools we have heard Focus on the Family for your benefit. We want to help husbands and wives thrive in their marriages. And that's why were talking about the topic today.

If you need prayer or encouragement or just someone to talk to. We have a wonderful team of Christian counselors who can help and we have lots of resources at our website. Like hope restored where we provide several days of intensive counseling for those couples who were ready to call it quits. But after they go through Hope restored 80% of the couple surveyed two years later are still married and that is an amazing statistic. So we're here to help you discover God's best for your marriage and will put you in touch with our counseling team or any of the other resources. The gym just mentioned and can do that when you call 800 232-645-9800 the letter a in the word family or will have all the details in the show notes.

We also have a tangible take away from what we shared today.

Two of our focus colleagues, Dr. Greg Smalley and Dr. Bob Paul have written an excellent book called nine lies that will destroy your marriage.

Greg and Bob really confront the common lies like all you need is love and the offers really godly truth that will help husbands and wives find better ways to communicate and serve each other and support each other will send that book to you. When you make a generous donation of any amount to the ministry of Focus on the Family will be our way of saying thank you for partnering with us and helping us uphold and strengthen marriages today and by the way, if you can't afford to make a donation today get in touch and I will find a way to get that book into your hands I will trust that others will make donations to cover the cost Brad Maryland. There are many more questions that I want to ask you about, and you have a wonderful story about a 6 Month Rd. trip that you took with all five of your kids can't wait to hear how wonderful it was as a fellow camper of thinking there's some pretty incredible stories ahead.

So let's come back next time and will talk about what the Lord accomplished in that mess kind of rekindling your marriage and your family and that experience can we do that absolutely all right and were looking forward to having you as a listener. Join us next time for the continuation of this conversation with the roads. Meanwhile, donate to Focus on the Family and receive your copy of that book by Drs. Smalling. It's all in the episode notes or you can give us a call 800 K in the word family coming up tomorrow how you can transform your relationship with your spouse statistic shows a 40 to 50% to marriage only. They also show if you invest in, you'll spend time and you'll do things with your spouse and you engage with her 90 days in coaching together is likely never to happen on behalf of Jim Daly in the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back once more help you and your family you ever wonder what it was like to meet face-to-face teaching on the Messiah/novelty Focus on the Family, I have called you by name. Based on the streaming series immersed yourself in first century Galilee want to dive deeper into Scripture with everything Stern learn more about the chosen novel focusonthefamily.com chosen focusonthefamily.com chosen