Rank #1: MP 071: What can the Enneagram tell me about my marriage? (with Beth & Jeff McCord)
This week, we’re excited to be focusing on a subject that we’ve mentioned quite a few times already on this podcast—the Enneagram. For those of you who haven’t been swept up in the Enneagram mania yet, it’s sort of like a personality test. But it actually goes deeper than that to show the motivations behind our actions and thoughts.
To help us with this complex topic, we brought in a couple who knows the Enneagram well—Beth and Jeff McCord. Beth is the creator of Your Enneagram Coach, which helps introduce people to the Enneagram and connect them with a personal Enneagram coach.
Her husband, Jeff, is the executive pastor at Southpointe Community Church in Nashville, Tennessee. Beth and Jeff have been married for over 20 years have two adult children.Interview Can you tell us about yourselves and how you got into the Enneagram?
We’ve been married almost 24 years and have two kids in college. We started learning about the Enneagram in the early 2000’s. We were in the stage of life with little kids when you’re trying to live like Christ, but find your internal world derailing all the time.
I wanted to be at my healthiest but was struggling. That’s when someone showed us the Enneagram and it helped me understand why I veer off course and what my healthiest was. We felt whatever tool we found had to be paired with the gospel. The Enneagram will tell you why you think, feel and behave in particular ways.Can you explain what the Enneagram is?
The Enneagram has been around for thousands of years and used in lots of different sectors. It’s become more modernized with psychology since the 70’s and we’ve looked at how the tool can help illuminate our heart condition.
I want people to realize that the Enneagram is a great tool, but the gospel is what transforms us. We’re always safe and secure in our identity in Christ, but sometimes we have times we’re not doing well. We want it to be a wakeup call to the patterns that aren’t best for or your relationships.Jeff, can you tell us about your role?
I’m an executive pastor. I’ve been pastoring in the local church since 2002. When we started using the Enneagram as a couple, we started in the local church at our dining room table.
Even back then, we would bring the insight of the Enneagram and apply the gospel to see hearts change. My beautiful bride is a type 9, who had a tendency to hide her talents, but she brought the depth to that conversation.How do your two Enneagram types interact?
Jeff: Let’s start by talking about my love for ice—I love ice and cold drinks.
Beth: We have a great ice story. I’m a 9 and our thought process is that we don’t matter—our voice doesn’t matter, our presence doesn’t matter. It’s a common theme for 9s.
Jeff: I’m a type 6 and there’s a roaring committee of thoughts in my head all the time.
Beth: For the 9, who feels like their presence doesn’t matter, when I do talk I want his full attention. When he looks at his phone what happens instantly in my mind is, “see, my voice doesn’t matter”. If I’m healthy I can navigate around that.
Jeff: I often get a little impatient with her pace—9s meander in storytelling. So as she was telling a story one day, I decided to take a little break while listening.
Beth: Jeff got up to get some water behind me and has a 32oz glass. The fridge is crushing ice into his Yeti and I’m still talking. He is getting his ice and I’m thinking: “see, he doesn’t want to listen to me”.
Ordinarily I would shut down and stop talking and we start this dance and start to spiral. But that’s when the Holy Spirit came in and he’s told me time and time again that he is listening. So while he was still crushing ice, I’m thinking” “He loves me, we’re best friends, he’s just getting ice and it doesn’t have to spiral out of control”. And we’re able to move forward.
Jeff: There are four things we hear from people as we talk to them about their dances:
- I didn’t understand my spouse and now I have clarity
- It’s compassion – I’m so sorry that’s what you’re feeling
- I understand our dance and our dynamics
- The Enneagram gives us great language to able to talk about it
The Enneagram is going to tell you like it is—blunt and straightforward. You’re going to see some things that are really hard to swallow.
But if you’re able to recognize that Christ has already taken care of things, you can see these trouble spots and not be overcome with self-condemnation, fear and shame. You have to own it and ask for forgiveness but you’re able to do that because you’re already free.What are the benefits and challenges of each of your types?
Jeff: There’s a book out there that talks about how we marry people who bring out a good we desire for ourselves. There’s something about Beth’s peacefulness, steadiness and sincerity that is very safe to me. Beth attunes to me in a way that brings peace and rest to my heart. I appreciate her strength, resolve, quiet perseveres and the attention she gives to me and our home. I want to be better at that because I’m not naturally at rest.
Beth: The strengths that Jeff brings is absolute commitment and loyalty, hard work and being able to see what I miss. When you use this in marriage, your spouse cannot come through for you in the way you long for but Christ did. Everything has to hinge on Christ or you’ll be back in the ditch again.What have you learned about Jeff being a 6?
Beth: 6s really need safety and security. They’re not all the same—my mom is a 6 and wants physical security (food, money, health). Jeff is more relational security. When we are in an argument and I withdraw, that is only saying to him “abandonment”.
I’m not intending to do that to him. When I feel myself starting to check out I can say to him, “I know this is important, but I need some time to settle down and process”. That’s so much more helpful to me and communicates to him that I know safety and security are important to him.
Jeff: The work for me is to believe it—that after 15 or 30 minutes she’s going to re-engage. And even if she doesn’t, I’m still secure in my relationship with Christ. It ends up creating a very hospitable dance between us.What resources do you have available for people who want to learn more?
Jeff: This is going to be a big year for us. We’ve written a book called, Becoming Us: Using the Enneagram to Create a Thriving Gospel-Centered Marriage. It’s really the foundation to a number of other resources. We’re going to be releasing a new marriage assessment in June to help couples get an introduction to their dance and what they think about their dance and that’s going to be free.
We’re also going to be doing date night events throughout the United States beginning in June. Those are going to be fantastic opportunities where we’re going to introduce the idea of the dance.
Beth: We are developing 45 marriage courses. The reason there’s 45 is because there are 45 couple types. So there’s a course for you and your spouse and we’re going to specifically talk about your dance and get into your kitchen.
Not only will we show you the negative parts of your dance but also the redeeming factors of Christ and what He brings. That will be coming out in June. We also have a free assessment if you don’t know your type.
And then we also have Discovering You which is a cliff notes version of the Enneagram if you’re new to the Enneagram. If you know your type you can do Exploring You where I do pre-recorded coaching sessions where I break down your personality type into bite sized lessons. We’ll have 9 more books coming out in December—one on each of the types.Your One Simple Thing this week
Get your Becoming Us marriage course and get insight into yourself and your spouse.Show Closing
Thanks for joining us for the Married People Podcast. We hope you’ll subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and leave a review—they help us make the podcast better.
We want to hear from you! Share with us on Facebook, Instagram or our site. If you want more resources, check out the MarriedPeople membership or Ted’s book Your Best Us. You can find more from Beth and Jeff at Your Enneagram Coach.
May 15 2019
Rank #2: MP 049: How can I deal with sexual baggage in my marriage? (with Mo Isom Aiken)
Mo is a New York Times bestselling author and a nationally sought-after speaker. Her newest book Sex, Jesus, and the Conversations the Church Forgot is about the role the church can play in the conversation about sex and sexuality. Mo lives in Atlanta with her husband, Jeremiah, and their two daughters, Auden and Asher.
Tell us about your sports background.
I played soccer at LSU for four years and realized going into my senior year that every NCAA athlete gets five years of eligibility, but only four in one sport. I was going to finish soccer in four years without interruptions.
I’d always played with the guys in the football facility about joining their team. I trained with the team for 22 months—lifting weights, doing agility training. By the time I tried out we had gone from two specialists to eight specialists, so I didn’t make the roster.
Tell us a little about yourself and your family.
My family is my greatest blessing and the best part of myself. My husband Jeremiah is like 6’5” and a blessing from the Lord. He leads our family so well. I’m 6’1” so we’re a tall family.
My kids are two and a half and ten months and they’re both already toddler size. We’re just big people and have a fun household. I want to be someone who will support whatever my kids want to do, but I don’t think they have a choice but to be in sports. I just need them to show some coordination!
Talk about your book and why you gave it that title.
The title came to me a few years ago—Sex, Jesus, and the Conversations the Church Forgot. In 2015, my husband and I had just married and were just walking into this season of sex within marriage in the confines of a covenant. I was struggling with so much from my past, so much that no one had ever talked to me about.
I had struggled with promiscuity, pornography and feeding my flesh. I came to know Jesus and I was so confused. I remember reading an article about a girl who waited to have sex until her wedding night and regretted her decision. It broke my heart. Even though I was confused, I still recognize the beauty within marriage.
I was still figuring a lot out, but I knew sex was a gift from God. I needed to find healing and wholeness in my own life and marriage. I knew someone should reclaim sex for the glory of God and I finally realized I should.
The title and all that I wanted to share just hit me one day in my kitchen. I never would’ve imagined the felt need it would hit when it released. So many people, across the board, have so many questions and are figuring it out. If we want to see a shift in our culture, we have to have wholeness in our own hearts first.
What sexual baggage did you brought into marriage?
We live in a culture in the church where we’re supposed to deny, deny, deny sex during singleness and then we’re supposed to stand at the alter and flip a switch. When you get married, now sex is amazing and totally permissible. It’s confusing if we don’t understand what sex is and why it matters.
I was raised in a Christian home and the church had a lot to say about the rule following behavior modification. But I didn’t know heart transformation so I pushed the envelope as far as I could. I rationalized and waived a banner of virginity, but didn’t know anything of purity.
When I was younger, I came across some of my dad’s pornography and it seared something in me. I developed a decade long struggle and many women in the church are struggling with it. I lost my dad unexpectedly to suicide and tried to fill that void in college with physicality. I gave so much of myself away trying to get a man’s heart.
Sophomore year of college I came to know Jesus and it completely transformed my life and heart. God immediately started a transformation for me in this area and I started an ‘intimacy fast’. I called it ‘kissless till next Christmas’. I knew I needed healing and this went on for two years.
The next man I met was Jeremiah and we moved through our dating relationship with a reframed understanding, but we still struggled. We came to such a point of conviction to either flee or marry. We prayed about it separately and God gave us the same word of coming together in marriage.
We stood at the altar and were able to stand there with great conviction about why we were marrying. We both had pasts that we hoped we could brush under the rug. Right at the start of marriage, all this stuff came crashing down.
My sister-in-law shared this quote with me about how before marriage, the enemy will do what he can to bring us together, and after marriage, he’ll do what he can to keep us apart. His goal is to divide us. We have to process, seek forgiveness, break off connections we had with people and fight for our marriage.
How is this less about behavior modification and more about heart transformation?
When we’re waiving this banner of virginity for the sake of virginity, it’s a works-based answer to a life-surrender question. God is asking for all of our minds, all of our hearts and we’re like “what if I give you some semi-good behavior?
But God is calling us to this greater heart condition of purity. Then virginity becomes a beautiful by-product. People are trying to modify their behavior but they’re not encountering true heart transformation.
What do you suggest to other people who have baggage in their marriage?
In the newlywed bed, especially, the enemy shames us into silence, confusion, and shame. This is where the gospel becomes practical. We have the strength and ability to break the chains of the shame and move through into healing.
Whether you’re 30 years in or three weeks in, there’s beauty in coming to the person we’re in covenant with and having the conversation. It takes grace on both sides because processing through sexual stuff is scary. For my husband and myself, it’s a regular check in about what’s going on and there’s amazing freedom that comes from that vulnerability.
What about the person who has tried to talk to their spouse and they don’t want to talk about it?
The first place you can go is to talk to God about it. Prayer on behalf of our spouse is the best thing we can bring into the marriage covenant. Finding an accountability or prayer partner can also be really helpful. But navigating that in a careful way is important—not just gossiping about your marriage to someone. But having this person to carry our burdens can be really beneficial. And sometimes that can be a counselor.
We can look at two stories to see who Jesus is in light of our sin—the woman at the well, who is a whore by all accounts. Jesus is at the well when she comes to draw water and he brings up all her sin and past. But in the face of her filth, he stays. And he offers her redemption and then sends her back to evangelize.
Then with the adulteress to be stoned. Jesus says those without sin can cast the first stone. He stands with her and doesn’t cast a stone. This is who God is in response to our sexual sin.
Sex is a unifying gift, a weapon against the enemy trying to divide us. There is power in healthy sexuality in marriage, and it’s worth it to work through the baggage.
Talk a little bit about pornography, what it does, how to protect ourselves, and how to get healing.
It’s important to remember that no temptation has overtaken you except what is common to man. Porn is a silent struggle and we are silenced by shame. This is an issue gripping the vast majority of people. I say that because it helps to understand how pervasively this has infiltrated our culture.
The average school aged kid is exposed at nine years old; I was exposed at age eight. Porn is such a universal issue because it’s so accessible and is deeply dehumanizing us. One in five mobile searches is for porn.
We are turning to quick fixes that sees other humans as body parts made for our pleasure instead of image bearing creations of God. It sickens and infects us and we become addicted to it. We have to stop rationalizing and see it as an all or nothing.
When I first came to Christ, my prayer was “break my heart for what breaks yours, give me eyes to see the world as you do and make me more like you.” If we start praying that, we can’t see porn the same. There are some practical ways to help too—software like Covenant Eyes that will guard your devices. We have to practice some discernment about what we set before our eyes.
Your one simple thing for this week:
Start praying: “Create in me a clean heart, God.”
Thanks for joining us for the MarriedPeople Podcast. We hope you’ll subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and leave a review – they help us make the podcast better.
We want to hear from you. Share with us on Facebook, Instagram or our site. If you want more resources, check out Your Best Us. You can find more from Mo on her website, Instagram, Twitter and her book. You can also set up Covenant Eyes on their website.
Sep 19 2018
Rank #3: MP 060: How do I make Christmas great for my marriage?
Before we jump into our topic this week, we have a PSA for you—we would love for you to leave us a review on iTunes. These reviews give the podcast more visibility, and ultimately help us reach more listeners. So if you want other people to know about us, rate the podcast!What are some Christmas traditions you had growing up?
Afton: We made puppy chow and ate it all the time. We always kicked off the Christmas season the night after Thanksgiving by watching Christmas Vacation and Home Alone.
Ted: We would go to my great-grandfather’s farm and cut down a tree. Then, my mom would have my brother and I decorate it—she would let us do whatever we wanted to do.
CJ: We didn’t have a ton of traditions, but we always had spaghetti for dinner on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning we’d have sausage casserole and our grandparents would come over for dinner. Now, Teri and I go to Chili’s on Christmas Eve—it’s the best people watching ever.What assumptions did you make going into marriage about Christmas?
Afton: I assumed we would get a real Christmas tree. That was not an assumption that Hudson had—he wanted to use a cheap fake one so we didn’t have to spend money every year. So our first year of marriage, he got out the fake tree AND we got a real tree and used them both.
Ted: We do a fake tree, too. Christmas ornaments have to mean something. So every time we’d travel, we’d get an ornament. Not one ornament is the same as another. But some of our tension started when we had to travel home and decide what family to see when.
CJ: I don’t know that I had a whole lot of expectations that first Christmas. I think we pictured Christmas our way and with our own families. You don’t picture the part with your in-laws, and that’s where some of the expectations come in.What are the stressors you feel when it comes to Christmas?
Afton: I still feel the stress of having to figure out the Christmas Eve/Christmas Day situation. We also have split custody with my step son, Julian, so we have to figure that out every year. It’s a logistical challenge for us. I also feel the pressure of making sure everyone else has a great Christmas.
Ted: Some of those logistical things have ironed themselves out for us. But what to get the kids for Christmas is a stressor. I want to celebrate, but some of it seems excessive.
CJ: This year, Teri is due with our first kid on Christmas day. As excited as we are, there’s also a lot of stress—who is coming in, who is staying with us.Some of the most common stressors that people have around Christmas:
- lack of time
- lack of money—Americans spend an average of $750 a year on Christmas.
- pressure to give or receive gifts
- where and who to spend the holidays with.
The results of increased stress can make a couple feel exhausted, disconnected, and have less interest in connecting as a couple.It’s important for couples to pause and remember what’s important.
Paying attention to the heart of Christmas can help couples simplify and get back to what a big deal this holiday is for our faith. There are a lot of ways this can be true for you.
It could be creating experiences instead of just stuff. It’s asking what you want for yourself and your kids and having experiences with your spouse.Your one simple thing for this week
Talk about Christmas traditions before Christmas.
Ask each other:
- What does Christmas mean to you?
- How did you celebrate Christmas growing up?
- What your favorite Christmas memory as a kid?
- If you could create the perfect Christmas traditions, what would they be?
- How is the way you see Christmas different from me?
- How is the way you see Christmas the same as me?
- How do we compromise?
Thanks for joining us for the Married People Podcast. We hope you’ll subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and leave a review – they help us make the podcast better.
Dec 05 2018
Rank #4: MP 027: How do we become our best us?
Today we’re going to discuss how to become our best US. Longtime listeners of the podcast know that Ted wrote a book by the same title because every US is different - What if we really celebrated that God makes all of our marriages really different?
The book has four foundational principles and habits that help marriages. We tend to believe marriage is really complicated, but Ted’s book (and this podcast) is about helping couples see that marriage is easier than you think.
Core 4 Habits to Make Your Marriage Better
- Have Serious Fun
People think that it’s ‘extra’ to have fun, not essential. The best way to protect your marriage is to enjoy it!
CJ: Typically, our serious fun is puzzles and games, but we actually have our first dance lesson tonight!
Afton: Our serious fun is almost always going to the movies. But usually date night is dinner – though I can have fun anywhere!
Ted: I have a surprise for you two! I got you both 2 for $22 Chili’s gift cards! Where can you have more fun than Chili’s? We love Chili’s!
- Love God First
I know it’s weird to put ‘Love God First’ second, but I believe that laughter and humor open the heart to deeper things. If you start with laughter it can lead to deeper things.
When we connect with God first on our own, it postures us to love our spouse in a way we can’t love them on our own.
- Respect and Love
There’s a circular relationship between respect and love – when we feel respected we tend to be more loving, and around it goes. Both genders need respect AND love; though typically men value respect the most while women value love.
Studies show that men’s core vulnerability is shame, which is the opposite of respect. And women’s core vulnerability is fear and love is the opposite of that.
- Practice Your Promise
Marriage isn’t about the ‘big day’; it’s about the every day. Practice what you promised on a daily basis!
Your one simple thing for this week: pick one of the four and focus on that for the week.
CJ: I’ve already answered mine, which was to have more serious fun and start our dance class.
Afton: I want to have serious fun this week, because sometimes you can get stuck in the everyday flow of things that you can forget to have fun. We just need to have some fun!
Ted: I think ours is actually to have serious fun as well. We have so much going on. I think we need to interject some fun. Maybe bring out my scuba diving suit.
Thanks for joining us for the Married People Podcast. We hope you’ll subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and leave a review—they help us make the podcast better.
Mar 07 2018
Rank #5: MP 034: What do I do if I'm married to a dreamer? (with Jon Acuff)
Jon Acuff is a self-described dreamer and New York Times Bestselling author of 6 books. For over 20 years, Jon has helped some of the biggest brands in the world tell their story—including the Home Depot, Bose, Staples and the Dave Ramsey team. He is featured regularly on national media like CNN and Fox News. Jon is very busy and has huge aspirations, but what does that mean for his marriage?Interview One of the things I remember getting excited about was Jenny Acuff writing a book called "Being Married to a Dreamer."
We get the question all the time – occasionally Jenny will do Q&A with me and people will ask about how I get my wife to support my dream. One time Jenny just said, “Money is nice”. I thought the book would be a great idea and I announced it, but she didn’t want to write a book.
People write in all the time to encourage her to finish the book, and it’s still an idea that I think would be great but Jenny doesn’t want to write the book because she doesn’t want to speak on it.Talk a little about the tension—a lot of time dreamers are married to people who are more grounded.
That’s definitely the case for Jenny and I – living with a dreamer is like a fire hose of ideas. The other person can often be the ‘how’ person and the dreamer can feel attacked. When Jenny was saying, “money is nice”, she wasn’t saying, “prove it!” She was saying that results make it easier to support it—when I’m getting up at 5 am and watching less TV. She knew that I was really getting excited about it.
The dreamer’s responsibility is to say when they just want to talk and brainstorm. Also, it’s not your wife’s job to carry all that. You’ve turned your wife into you warden, but we were created for community.How does this connect with the idea of being a dreamer?
I think part of it is having shared dreams, but it’s also not forcing your dreams on someone else. Your spouse shouldn’t 100% understand your dream because it’s your dream, not his.Talk about the beginning and when you were figuring all this out, then how it’s evolved over time.
Part of it is allowing your spouse to give honest feedback. There are a lot of marriages where, in your family of origin, the husband was the hero and the wife was the cheerleader. There are a lot of marriages where the wife doesn’t have the freedom to speak about things that should change.
A lot of my job is to shorten the distance between when Jenny tells me something that’s true and when I believe it. It’s having a space where your spouse can be angry, excited, critical—they don’t have to just act a certain way.What closed the gap for you on how long it took for you to hear what Jenny had to say?
It was other guys who had the kind of marriages I want. Most of the things I’ve learned, it hasn’t been like one day I woke up and was doing life differently. I heard a counselor once say that every man wants to know he’s enough and every woman wants to know she’s not too much.Give an example of when you and Jenny hit a space where she wanted you to throw the breaks and it was helpful.
When I first started working for myself, she would tell me that it seemed like I was trying to make everyone else my boss. She would tell me that I get to make the decisions but out of fear I was trying to get everyone else to be the boss. She was essentially saying to own my decisions and take responsibility for what I choose.
Another time she quit working for me—when you go on your own, you don’t have a community and your spouse becomes your community. I was running everything by her and she basically quit. My book Do Over she read like 8 times, but Finish she saw when it was done. Some couples work well together as an entrepreneurial couple, but they’re the unicorns.Talk a little to the people who are married to a dreamer. What can they do to support dreams but still be honest?
I think it’s to take a pause – most situations will dissipate on their own. If your spouse has a crazy idea, just wait a week and they’ll be on to the next thing. Then be honest about what you need – tell them you’re nervous about them doing this thing again.
Also, establish some ground rules. One of our rules is that I can register a URL on GoDaddy but if I haven’t touched it for a year I can’t renew it. Figuring out the simple ground rules is part of what you can do.How do you support her dreams?
Part of it is that I don’t try to make them mine. I create space for her to do the things she wants to do. She went to Germany, Switzerland and Singapore last year with a girlfriend and I try to be really flexible that way. I can’t travel for my job and then expect her to always be home.
Also not letting my stuff dominate the situation—she didn’t need to read Do Over that many times. Finish didn’t dominate our lives – it was my job, we launched it and it was great.How do you guys handle it with you traveling so much?
We’re deliberate about it – Jenny told me one time, after saying goodbye to my kids, that I was giving them all my shame and guilt about leaving. The weepy goodbye thing ruins the kid’s week. That was a huge change for me. I also tie it together when we’re at Disney on a Tuesday—reminding them that we can do that cause I was in Oklahoma the week before.
Also, when you’re on the road be on the road and when you’re home be home. I try to take them with me—I’m doing a cruise this summer with Sandi Patty and I’ll take them with me. They come when it makes sense.Talk a little about home. You have an office at home, how do you do that?
I try to be deliberate about keeping things in my office—not the living room, the kitchen. I’m usually done by 4pm when I’m at home. I’m still trying to figure it out though, every 6 months it radically changes.I’ve heard you say one time that your kids are your kids, they’re not your content. I’m sure that applies to Jenny too, talk a little about that
The older they get, the more invested they are in not being embarrassed on the Internet. They now are looking at more and suggesting stuff for me. I don’t reference my daughters’ Instagram name, a 14 year old doesn’t need to be inundated with followers. I don’t want my kids to be in ads, they’re not a prop.Your one simple thing for this week:
Fight in the morning. You don’t have to have it out at 2am, find the right time to have the conversation. I think it’s the most misinterpreted verse from the Bible – thinking you have to finish every discussion before bed.
Thanks for joining us for the Married People Podcast. We hope you’ll subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and leave a review – they help us make the podcast better.
Apr 25 2018
Rank #6: MP 075: #MPminute More Awesome, Less Awful
You and your spouse are unique. There's never been another us just like the two of you. You may be thinking, "Oh, we're like a marital snowflake. How romantic." Or you may be thinking, "Thank God there's not another marriage just like ours, because we are a hot mess."
Well, no matter where you're currently finding your us, you can experience more moments of awesome, and less moments of awful, because God gives us clear directions and instructions for our marriage.
When you dive in to see with the Bible has to say about marriage, you find verses that have how-tos and ‘ahas’. When we trust God and follow His instructions for our marriage, we can start to create habits that connect us as a couple.
Maybe your spouse is not really willing or open to do marriage God's way. Be encouraged. While it always takes two to keep a negative cycle going, it often just takes one to stop it.
Here's the great news, you're not the only one who really wants you to have a great marriage. God wants that for you even more. He gives us great instructions on how to have a great us, helping us to have more moments of awesome, and less moments of awful, helping us to become our best us.
Jun 13 2019
Rank #7: MP 002: Why do we have serious fights about silly things?
Ever felt like you and your spouse fight about the most ridiculous, silly things? Well you’re not the only ones! Today we’ll tackle this question, but first we have a few other questions that may sound familiar:
- Do you think appliances should go ON the counter or below the counter (take them down with each use)?
- Whose job is it to clean out the shower drain?
- How do you decide where you’re going to dinner on date night?
There are lots of silly fights – in fact, one of the top fights couples have is over household chores!
The Tension: Silly fights can cause serious damage.
All couples have silly fights, but they build up and can create real problems.
But here’s the truth: Our spouses don’t bring out the worst in us, they reveal the brokenness in us.
When your spouses’ reaction doesn’t match the situation, that’s where there’s some pain or damage. That’s where you can meet them and be their relationship hero.
But let’s turn it around – What are some situations that cause you to overreact?
- CJ: When technology (i.e. the internet) doesn’t work
- Afton: When I walk in the house at the end of the day and it’s messy
- Ted: When I feel misunderstood by Nancie
So, what do you do the next time you feel your spouse is overreacting to a situation?
Your one simple thing this week: Change your reaction.
Make a micro-move in their direction and change your negative response to a positive one. It may not feel natural, but will have a big impact.
Some of our tips for changing your reaction:
- If we could all treat our spouses as well as we do our co-workers, it would make a big impact. Use the same people skills you use with coworkers with your spouse!
- Think about a younger version of them – it softens your heart toward your spouse and what they’ve gone through growing up.
- Ask yourself, what is the most helpful reaction right now?
What are some ways we’re going to work on changing our reactions this week?
- Afton: When I feel like my emotions are so heightened that they’re not helpful, I’m going to take a breath and look for ways to react in a reasonable way.
- CJ: Ask for a do-over in the moment – literally out loud, pause the situation and ask for a do-over.
- Ted: Lean in when Nancie is reacting and try to understand what she’s feeling. Ask her “Do you want me to fix this or feel it?”.
Thanks for joining us for the Married People Podcast! We hope today’s episode helped you realize that marriage is a little easier than you think. And you can have less moments of awful and more moments of awesome! If you want more resources, check out our blog at MarriedPeople.org.
We also hope you’ll subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and leave a review – they help us make the podcast better.
Finally – join us next week when we ask the question “Is having fun in your marriage extra or essential?”
Aug 23 2017
Rank #8: MP 004: What’s one thing that can make every marriage better?
If there was one thing that could make every marriage better, wouldn’t all married people want to know what it is? Well if you Google it, the top article has more like 28 things to do to make your marriage better. It can feel overwhelming - is there really one great place to get started? Join us as we discuss!
The Tension: There are so many things that can make your marriage better.
But where’s the best place to start?
Nancie, Ted’s wife, suggested that couples simply ‘be kind’. And come to find out, this simple idea is backed by research!
Shaunti Felhaun and her team studied this very thing. And on this episode, Ted had the chance to interview Shaunti about how kindness can impact a marriage.
Shaunti received her graduate degree from Harvard University and was an analyst on Wall Street before unexpectedly becoming a social researcher and best-selling author. Today, she applies that analytical experience to uncovering the little changes that have big impacts in our lives, marriages, families and workplace relationships. Her groundbreaking books, including For Women Only and For Men Only have sold more than 2 million copies in 23 languages. Her newest book, The Kindness Challenge, is sparking an international movement called the 30-Day Kindness Challenge.
Truth: Kindness is one of the most powerful things in a marriage
Interview with Shaunti
It turns out that whether or not you’re thriving in your marriage is far more correlated to how you treat other people than how you yourself are treated.
- What does it mean to be kind?
Kindness is three things – withholding unkindness, speaking kind words and doing kind things. We studied and spent several years with more than a thousand people in a study group to discover what you can do or not do to be kind. We ended up with what we call the 30 Day Kindness Challenge. You have to do 3 things for 30 days and it’s super simple – you have to pick one person that you want a better relationship with (and of course we would encourage your spouse) and:
- Don’t say anything negative about that person (to them or about them to someone else).
- Find one thing that you can sincerely praise or affirm (tell them and someone else).
- Do a small action of kindness for that person
If you do these three things for 30 days, 89% of relationships improve!
- Who needs the kindness challenge?
Have you, in the past year, said “Man, this culture has gotten so unkind?” or “People are so mean on social media”? It’s so easy for us to think “Those people out there – I can’t believe they said that on social media… It’s just awful”. It’s easy to think that about them, but I can’t change them. That tone that they used is the same tone I used with my husband yesterday. And the ‘random acts of kindness’ that we see do make the world a better place, but intentional kindness toward one person that opens your eyes makes you a better person.
- Can you please talk to my friend and other people who are listening who think kindness is squishy?
Kindness, it turns out, is a superpower. It has unbelievable power in whatever it is we’re trying to improve in our life. When we give kindness, especially when it is not deserved, it causes miraculous things.
Your one simple thing this week: Take the kindness assessment
You may be surprised what you find!
Ted: I took the assessment and thought I knew where it was going but this thing nailed me to the wall!
Afton: This ties back to our first episode with micro-moves. The challenge is looking for something every day.
CJ: It’s like driving – you assume you’re a pretty good driver and don’t need someone to tell you how to fix you’re driving. But I’m going to take it and I think it is going to be pretty interesting!
You can too – go to jointhekindnesschallenge.com to take the assessment and join the challenge!
Thanks for joining us for the Married People Podcast! We hope today’s episode helped you realize that marriage is a little easier than you may think! We hope you’ll subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and leave a review – they help us make the podcast better.
Finally - join us next week when we ask the question “Can your spouse really meet all of your relational needs?”
Sep 06 2017
Rank #9: INTRODUCING: The Married People Minute
We're trying something new this summer—a shorter episode format that we call the Married People Minute. For the next few weeks, we're releasing some shorter episodes with one simple thing you can do for a better marriage.
Jun 13 2019
Rank #10: MP 046: What makes a millennial marriage different? (with Dr. Tim Elmore)
Every generation faces unique challenges, including in marriage. So what are those unique challenges for a millennial marriage?
Tim Elmore is a millennial expert and the founder of Growing Leaders. He’s an international speaker and best-selling author.Interview with Tim Elmore Tell us a little about your organization.
I worked for John Maxwell for 20 years—working with corporate America, pastors and ‘grown’ leaders. I really wanted to take the timeless leadership principles to the next generation, and John wasn’t focusing there. But he told me I should do it, so I started Growing Leaders with his blessing in 2003.How did you become a millennial expert?
We try to keep our ear to the ground and understand what’s going on in culture. As we were addressing students, we realized that they would never grow into leaders unless their teachers, coaches, and employers were better at leading them. A lot of our customers are older who are leading millennials and are frustrated. We’re teaching them how to tap into what’s there.What makes a millennial a millennial?
Depending on what researcher you read, the timeframe of millennials is different. But I basically say that it’s the kids born in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s. And 1991 is the year that most kids were born in our history!How have you seen some of the millennial generation change over time?
The millennials were the generation where change happened more rapidly than other generations. The early millennials born in the ‘80’s are slightly different than those born in the ‘90’s. The ‘90’s kids grew up with even more technology.
I think as time goes on we’ll see change happen even more rapidly. Gen Z has a totally different mindset. There are sub-populations within millennials but they are now young adults—entering their careers, starting marriages and having babies.What are the strengths of millennials and where are they more vulnerable?
I love the socialness of millennials. They are connected. The meeting of people is not difficult, but sometimes social media is inefficient at building authentic relationships. They’re high energy and feel empowered with data at their fingertips.
It’s the first generation that doesn’t need adults to get information. They feel empowered, which is good news and bad news. They want to change the world, but what they may not realize is that it’ll take longer than they think. Falling in love is awesome but marriage is more work than they may think.
When I teach older generations I use the SCENE acronym:
- Speed: Our world is full of speed. If I grew up in a world of speed, I’d tend to think slow is bad.
- Convenience: Everything is a quick click. But if I grew up in a world of convenience it’s easy to think hard is bad.
- Entertainment: it’s in our hands! But if I grew up in a world with entertainment that accessible, I can assume that boring is bad.
- Nurture: Have you notice how safety obsessed we are? In a world with unending nurture, risk can seem bad.
- Entitlement: We can feel entitled to things just because we’re here. If I grew up in a world of entitlement it’s so easy to think labor is bad.
I think all generations have been affected by these things. I would just say it’s slightly different when that’s all you’ve grown up with. My dad grew up in the great depression, where things were hard and slow and he always said to be grateful to have a job.
Those negative words—slow, hard, boring—are the things that helped me grow into a good adult. So we have to be more intentional to build some of these things into our kids.What’s unique about millennial marriages? Are they divorcing quicker?
Breakups do seem to happen quicker, because hard is bad. They assume that it must not be right if it’s hard. But those of us who have been married a long time know that’s normal. Millennials have also seen a lot of divorces, so they’re waiting longer to get married. The waiting isn’t necessarily bad.
Here’s what’s interesting—marriages 100 years ago seemed to make it. Kids were doing age appropriate chores. I’m not saying we have to go back to that, but we do need to challenge each other. My wife and I have been married 37 years and we’ve had to reinvent our marriage a few times.
If you’re willing to reinvent a little bit and still be committed, I think it can work. I also think we get confused between ‘feeling’ and ‘experience’. I can have good feelings on a honeymoon, but experience happens week after week. I believe good marriages are a combination of events and experience. The wedding is an event; the marriage is a process. The birth of a baby is an event; the parenting is a process.How have you noticed millennials are parenting in a unique way?
Oftentimes by the time millennials have kids, they’re deciding to be different than mom and dad. The first bit of data is showing that they’re not hovering over their kids. I often talk to parents and it seems like the ‘parenting report card’ changed with millennials.
I think that when millennials were being raised, parents risked too little, rescued too quickly, and raved too easily. All three of those are well intentioned, but I don’t think they were thinking long term. The further out I can see in the future, the better I do.
In the ‘90’s, Jack Welch introduced reverse mentoring at GE. When their new employees would start fresh out of college, he’d pair them up with an older worker and let the new employee teach the older about what they knew. It helped both generations have dignity by pouring into each other. What would marriages look like if we did this with couples at different ages than us?Talk a little about how millennials function as adults.
I began to think about this when I started hearing university deans tell me that 26 is the new 18. But most millennials do want things like to get married, even if they’re pushing it back. The jump from backpack (school) to briefcase (career) is a big one. Some millennials are pushing back marriage as they figure out their career. And some are choosing career over kids.What’s the danger in waiting until later to get married?
Social scientists say one danger is that we need babies to replace the existing generation. When you consider the economy, social security, etc. we need to replace the previous generation.What would want every millennial to know?
I would say a handful of things:
- Think long term. Whenever you make a decision, think about the ramifications.
- Think big picture. What are the other angles of this?
- Think high road. We’re always better people when we take the high road, not the low road.
I don’t think millennials are any worse than any other generation. I think our culture today doesn’t teach those things.Your one simple thing for this week.
Pick one of these things: ‘Think long term’, ‘think big picture’ or ‘think high road’ to focus on.Show Closing
Thanks for joining us for the Married People Podcast. We hope you’ll subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and leave a review – they help us make the podcast better.
We want to hear from you. Share with us on Facebook, Instagram or our site. If you want more resources, check out Your Best Us. You can find more from Tim Elmore you can find him at his Growing Leaders website.
Aug 29 2018
Rank #11: MP 058: Why is money such a big deal in my marriage? (with Lee & Martika Jenkins)
On today’s episode we’ve got another Ted Lowe interview, this time with Lee and Martika Jenkins. Lee is an author, pastor, and a former college and NFL football player.
He spent more than 25 years in the financial services industry before planting Eagles Nest Church in Atlanta, Ga. Lee and Martika have been married for 30 years and have three grown children.Interview Can you tell us a little about yourselves?
Lee: I’m Lee and in about two weeks I’ll be celebrating 30 years of marriage to this incredible woman. I spent 25 years in the investment business. But six years ago, I got out of the business world because the Lord was calling me into full-time ministry. The two topics I’m most excited about are marriage and money. We have three children who are grown adults and we love being empty nesters.Tell us a little about being empty nesters.
Our children are now 28, 26, and 23. It was a joy raising them. And now it’s a joy to have them out of the house!How do you have different personalities when it comes to money?
Lee: When we first got married, we were completely opposite. We were the classic spender/saver dynamic. I was the saver and she was the spender. When I wanted something, I bought it with cash. But Martika borrowed her way through school.
Martika: Back in the 80’s, you could sign one time and get five different credit cards. And I was so excited to have those cards.
Lee: When my sister introduced me to Martika, I went over to her apartment. I looked through her photo album and they have photos of Hawaii and all these places. And I thought not only was she beautiful and loves the Lord, she was rich, too! Little did I know that I’d pay for those trips later.How did you meet?
Martika: We met the weekend that I quit my job to move to Atlanta. Lee helped me find a place to live when I got here and our relationship blossomed from there.How did money impact the first years of your marriage?
Martika: It was tough because our money personalities were so opposite. Lee had to tighten me up and I had to loosen him up. He was so cheap it was ridiculous. We didn’t have a lot of money, but as the Lord blessed us financially it really helped our relationship to grow and become more intimate.
Lee: It was frustrating at first, but we had to wrestle with some of our philosophies and history. When you marry someone you marry their habits and what they’ve been taught. But it was very complementary even though we were financial opposites. We made a lot of the classic mistakes that young couples make.What issues did you see with couples while working in the financial industry?
Lee: It’s a sensitive issue. Couples don’t realize that they need to work together. In order for the two to become one, it takes a lot of work. It’s difficult for some couples to get on the same team because you have to compromise.
One of the reasons couples aren’t successful financially is because they don’t understand the biblical basis of marriage. They’re selfish, and you can’t be selfish when it comes to this area.How did this play itself out in terms of decisions and purchases?
Martika: When we first got married, Lee was on 100% commission. We had to talk about money more than most because we didn’t know how much was coming in each month. We had Money Monday’s where we had to sit and talk it all out.
We had restrictions on how much we could spend without the other’s approval and agreement. Because we were so tight, we had to communicate a lot. It helped our marriage because it helped us be more vulnerable.What money advice would you give to a younger couple?
Lee: When you’re young, you have to talk about it a lot. Like Martika said, we’d meet every Monday. When you come into agreement, it helps your marriage in every area.
Don’t stay away from this subject—fight through the discomfort. Once you break through the first initial meetings it will become something that’s fun.Do you recommend combining finances when you get married?
Lee: When two become one, that means everything. When you separate your money on purpose, you’re missing out on some deep intimacy and communication. One of the beauties of combining your money and doing things together is that it really forces you to talk. During that process, you get to know your spouse better.How do you compromise when one of you is a saver and the other is a saver?
Lee: Some of my biggest regrets are looking back and seeing how cheap I was with things like furniture. Some of our early things had to be thrown out and re-purchased because I was so tight about everything. I learned from that because I actually ended up spending more money in the long run.
Recently Martika noticed I was stressed with things going on. She told me we were going on vacation. It was the best, but had she asked me I probably would have said no. She’s helping me to loosen up and the more I do that the better it makes our marriage.The 10 Principles of Money and Marriage
We have the 10 principles and we usually say there are some you may be doing and two or three you really need to do. Here they are:
- Develop a spending plan: Some people call this a budget, but we like the word ‘spending’ better.
- Live within your means: Learn to be content with what you have and resist the temptation to want more and bigger.
- Avoid becoming a slave to debt: It’s important that your first inclination should be a debit card or cash. That way you’re spending what you have and not what you don’t have.
- Pay attention to your credit score.
- Find multiple sources of income: Don’t let your job be your only source of income.
- Save and invest for the future: Give to God first. Start saving second. Then, live off the rest.
- Be adequately insured: What would you want to have happen for your family if you woke up tomorrow in heaven?
- Honor God with your wealth: Be a generous giver! Honor God first and not last.
- Teach your children about money.
- Develop an estate plan: This can get complicated depending on your assets. But make sure you have an updated will.
Pick one thing from this list of 10 to talk about with your spouse.Show Closing
Nov 21 2018
Rank #12: MP 038: How can I empower my spouse? (with Mike Owens)
Jul 04 2018
Rank #13: MP 020: How do I help my spouse deal with pain from a previous relationship? (With Sam & Toni Collier)
Today’s episode is a little bit different – we’re going to listen to the redemptive story of Sam and Toni Collier’s marriage, and we think you’re really going to enjoy it.
Interview with Sam and Toni
Sam and Toni have been married for a little over a year and they’re a blended family. Toni’s three-year-old daughter, Dylan, is a ball full of energy in their home!
Sam: I was adopted at two months old with my twin sister. We were adopted out of a poverty stricken situation by a lovely couple. My dad was married twice before he met my mom and my mom was coming out of an abusive marriage. They become believers and got married, after which they find out that they can’t have kids. They come to meet my sister and I and were told they shouldn’t adopt us because we wouldn’t amount to much (due to where we came from). They taught us that if we didn’t believe in ourselves, it was viewed as wrong. They didn’t fight in front of us, and every morning at 5am they were up praying.
Toni: My story isn’t as polished as Sam’s. But we do have a central thread – my mom was abused in her previous marriage. My parents met and my dad rescued her from her situation. My dad has had two marriages as well, and they came together and get saved. However, my mom didn’t heal from her first marriage. My dad had a tough childhood as well, and you bring these two broken people together and brokenness leaks out onto your kids. I was verbally abused myself, and in the 3rd grade my mom had a stroke and it completely knocked her out. I watched her bounce back from a lot of health issues, but I was parenting my mom and myself. I graduated at 16 and left the house. But in the midst of all that brokenness, I still take away their willingness to give and my dad’s willingness to provide.
Sam: We met in ministry, and as soon as we got married we jumped into counseling. Toni had been through so much in her last marriage with the verbal abuse, some physical abuse, lack of providing… and our counselor has helped us through that.
Ted: My view of divorce over 16 years has evolved – I think I had a really legalistic view of it. I can say that for most people, divorce is not the answer. But for some people, it is. We make promises that people’s spouses can’t keep. I can make promises about your relationship with Jesus – because he is the same every day. But people that do what I do can tend to say, “If you do X, your spouse will do Y” and that’s not always the case. What would you say to a spouse who is damaged and hurt?
Toni: I don’t want to advise anyone to make a decision – anyone in a hard situation really has to make the decision for themselves. But in my own personal story, I’ve known that God has a plan for me. And there was a moment in my first marriage where I didn’t have that hope anymore and it wasn’t my fault. That’s when I knew I had to go.
Ted: Now, we shout from the rooftops that we love counselors. But I never want to forget that guy or that lady who thinks there’s something wrong about going. But once you do it, you shout it from the rooftops. What made you guys so comfortable with it?
Sam: Well we have to say Reggie (head of Think Orange). But some tangible reasons – she didn’t mention much about the abuse she went through, but when you go through stuff like that you need someone. I think it’s great to have somebody who is unbiased pouring love on you all. And third, I hate not being good at something. And at the end of the day, I’m going to be measured on what I was given - my family. Why wouldn’t I go?
Toni: For those of you experiencing that friction of not having time for it – we make time for the things we care about. I want to be a better me emotionally. One thing to watch out for with counseling is fear – fear of exposing myself to a stranger, fear of being judged. But vulnerability and bravery and being courageous unlock so many other emotions. I am a much better me, wife, friend and mother because I know what’s going on with me and I know where it came from.
Ted: You guys are modeling something great, and I just want to say thank you so much.
Thanks for joining us for the Married People Podcast! We hope today’s episode helped you realize that marriage is a little easier than you may think. We hope you’ll subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and leave a review – they help us make the podcast better.
Finally, we hope you’ll join us for next week’s episode!
Jan 17 2018
Rank #14: MP 081: How can I have a passion for my career and my spouse? (with Dana Spinola)
We’ve got a special guest lined up for this episode—the CEO of Fabrik, Dana Spinola. She’s helping us answer the question: ‘How can I have a passion for my career and my spouse?’
Fabrik is a clothing boutique based in Atlanta, with over 40 stores around the country. Dana started the company in 2002.
She and her husband Angelo have four children, including their daughter, who they adopted from Ethiopia. She’s also published a book called Love What You Do about finding passion and purpose in your work and life.
How did you and your husband meet?
I was out celebrating the start Fabrik. My girlfriends had taken me out and I was just coming off a breakup. I look across the restaurant and saw this guy out with ten other guys—it was like lawyers night out.
I went across the room to his group and said “Excuse me, I’m going to marry you.” He says that there was something attractive about the confidence I had when I approached him with marriage. We dated for a few years before we got married. We decided to get married the first night, but our years of dating validated that.
Where did your love of fashion begin?
It’s crazy to think that one of the best gifts my parents gave me was not having a lot of money. My mom made our clothing growing up. So our Saturdays were spent at the fabric store. She was also an interior designer, so she sometimes picked up sofas on the side of the road to take home and recover. My dad was the same, he was always painting and creating.
Why did you found your company, Fabrik?
The name is literally from the dictionary—it’s just the phonetic spelling of fabric. I love the essence of it being fabric, because that’s what clothing starts from. The other thing that was really important to me was everything being under $100. I had never been able to shop in a boutique growing up and the idea of walking in and being able to purchase anything was off my radar.
So I thought, what if I could create a place that everyone could shop at? I wanted to have really incredible clothing, but keep it affordable. I think that’s why it grew so much. I had no plans of opening more than one store, but my customers were asking for me to open one here and there. I think it was about the high-end experience with affordable prices.
What do you think fashion means for women and men?
When I watch a woman put on something that makes her feel beautiful, it changes her whole energy and spirit. They’re not judging themselves against anything else, they’re just seeing themselves the way God made them. You can watch that happen. There’s something innate in your own style that you’ve got to find.
Why is philanthropy such an important part of Fabrik?
I started this business because I wanted to have a clothing store. I didn’t jump into this for God’s purpose. As I started growing and it started becoming successful, I was also having. People would come up all the time and say, “Congratulations”. They would say that everything was coming together for me. And it hit me—I was growing this personal kingdom and didn’t see how I was helping our world.
We were in church one day and they said something about a mission trip to Haiti. I told my husband that we should go. We slowed down enough to take that trip and left our boys, my company, and my husband’s practice at home. Our hearts would never be the same. We realized that not only would be we adopting but we had to do things that weren’t just our own personal passions. We started our journey to figure out how we could help.
We then took a mission trip to Africa and I took my company. I was journaling on a bus and I wrote down “high style with heart” and I didn’t know what it meant but I knew it would mean something really big. We started our Asher clothing line (named after my daughter) and the proceeds go to orphans in Africa. We’re contributing to them being matched with families.
One of the coolest things has been during job interviews, the biggest question used to be “what’s the clothing discount?” But now it’s, “do I get to volunteer and go on the Africa trips?” To me, it means our heartbeat came alive.
What was the process for adopting your daughter?
Adoption is a crazy process; we started in so many different countries to end up in Ethiopia. My little girl was between 6-8 months and was found wrapped in blankets and left on the side of the road. The police officer who found her said she was screaming and they didn’t know how long she’d been screaming for. That used to make me cry, but now I see someone who didn’t give up.
How have you made a great marriage in the middle of career success?
The coolest thing that I look back on is that Angelo has been a stable force in what he believes God has done with Fabrik. He’s watched what God has done through Fabrik and has always had his arms around it in a big way. His hands have been open the whole time.
The other we’ve done well is bobbed and weaved with each other. When he was working to become a partner at his law firm, and was working until 2 am every night, I was starting the company and we had a newborn. But we’ve been OK because we’ve both had times we’ve had to tap out. It reminds me of those relay races. Now, he has our son’s football practice on his calendar at 4pm as a meeting. We’ve had to schedule things and that’s OK.
How do you schedule time during the week?
I don’t know about you, but organic does not work for us. We’ve scheduled a day date on the calendar every month for the next year and a half. We do have a date during the day because the night gets taken up by life. It is so small, but it’s a game changer.
What was the catalyst in deciding to go to counseling?
The reason we go to counseling is because he’s a man and I’m a woman. I love the idea of someone teaching us how to communicate better! We’re from two different worlds and two different lives and we want to be closer. And sometimes we can’t figure that out on our own.
Your one simple thing this week:
Know the little things that make your spouse happy and do one of them!
Thanks for joining us for the Married People Podcast. This episode was brought to you by the Married People Membership—an affordable, monthly subscription that provides married couples like you a ton of great resources every month to help you do marriage better.
That means new date nights, videos, eBooks, messages, and more available to you when you need it—all in one place at one low price. Go to our website to find out more about the Married People Membership.
Jul 24 2019
Rank #15: MP 056: How do I handle my spouse’s pet peeves?
What do we do when our spouse does something that drives us crazy? A definition of a pet peeve is: “a minor complaint or irritation that’s more annoying to you than anyone else." We’re not talking about deeper level things, just those little things that drive you nuts.
Some of the most common pet peeves:
- Leaving the toilet seat up
- Driving distracted by electronic devices
- Putting empty cartons back in the fridge
- Leaving clothes on the floor
- Telling the same joke over and over, expecting you to laugh
- Leaving trash in the car
- Not asking for directions or using the GPS
- Falling asleep on the sofa instead of going to bed
- Not putting your keys in the place where you go to get the keys
- Chewing with your mouth open at the table
- Always being late
- Taking the covers at night
- Squeezing the toothpaste from the wrong part of the tube
- Leaving stuff in your clothes pockets when it goes to the laundry
In preparation for this episode, Ted text his wife, Nancie, to ask about her pet peeves. Here’s how that went down.
- Ted: We are talking about pet peeves on the podcast tomorrow. What is something I do that drives you nuts? This is the minor stuff, not the big stuff.
- Nancie: That sounds like a question designed to hurt somebody’s feelings (especially mine).
- Ted: You don’t have any and I’m not mentioning them. But I can mention my own. . . so what are they my love.
- Nancie: You break rules.
- Ted: That hurts my feelings.
What causes pet peeves?
Many times, there is misattribution. This is when you attribute something to the wrong thing or person. You aren’t really the frustration with your spouse; you are frustrated by work, but attribute that frustration to your spouse.
It’s thinking, “I feel all this because of them”, not realizing your ‘tank of frustration’ may already be full and it comes out on these small things.
On the opposite side is ‘Affective Association’. One scientific study broke married couples into two groups. The researchers showed one group images of their spouse interspersed with beautiful things.
The other group saw their spouse and then images of neutral images. All the people who saw the first slide show ranked their marriage higher than when they started.
How we handle pet peeves matters because silly fights can cause serious damage.
Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
You can choose to let a pet peeve go or you can talk to them in a way that is loving and encouraging. We all know we do some things that drive our spouse crazy and we want to be treated this way.
How you do this depends on your relationship. It may be playful or more serious. For some people, the humor really helps. For others it may just be talking about it in a softer way.
Your one simple thing for this week
When it comes to your spouse’s pet peeves, there are some things you can drop and some things you have to say. But do both in truth and grace. You could start by asking your spouse for one thing that you do that drives them crazy. Then be brave enough to take it.
Nov 07 2018
Rank #16: MP 052: What do I do if my spouse is more introverted or extroverted than I am?
Our personality something that plays a major role in our marriages. Typically, it seems like we’re drawn to someone different than ourselves. Though it’s not always true, most of the people we know are different than their spouses in this way.Introversion vs. Extroversion
First, let’s define the difference between introvert and extrovert:
- Introverts get energy from being alone.
- Extroverts get energy from being with other people.
Afton: I think it is a common misconception that when you’re the life of the party around people or you’re charismatic, you’re extroverted. But I’m often drained after lots of time with people and need alone time.
CJ: I am definitely introverted and probably fit the stereotype. Teri was an extrovert in college and I think she’s moved a little more toward being an introvert.
Ted: Nancie is really comfortable on stage and in front of people. So it seems like she’s an extrovert, but she’s really not.What is an ambivert?
The confusion is that people often think it’s about how you interact with people, but it’s really more about where you get your energy. There is also a third category:
An ambivert is someone who exhibits both qualities of introversion and extroversion- depending on the situation and the people involved. One half to two thirds of people say they’re an ambivert. Here are some questions to help you know:
- Do you crave alone time but also love people?
- Do certain situations/people make you feel outgoing while other situations/people make you quiet and reserved?
- Do you struggle with the labels introverts and extroverts?
Truth: Personality differences are great opportunities to communicate unconditional love.
We can get so frustrated with a spouse if we haven’t processed who they are and celebrated who they are. How do we make this practical?If you're an extrovert married to an introvert:
- Introverts often need time to process. When they speak, it’s been thought out. So you start the conversation, knowing they may need to come back later to finish it. They really do want to talk about themselves, but you may need to be a better listener.
- Know that your introverted spouse needing time alone is not a personal slam towards you. Talk about when it is best for them to get alone time and when you need to reconnect as a couple.
- Many introverts don’t mind talking about themselves. They just need some time to process it and often times an invitation.
- Don’t spring social surprises on your introverted spouse. Saying, “hey, I invited my new friends over for dinner” can be a nightmare for your introverted spouse. It’s OK to have people over, but introverts typically like to have more warning.
- Ask them: what situations/scenes do you dislike the most? Figure out the times that are most draining. Is it big gatherings, medium size gatherings, small gatherings?
- Ask them: when we are in these situations, what do you need from me? Do you want me to pull you out of the corner at partiers or let you stay there?
- Support who they are by giving them time at the end of the day or whenever they need it most. But it is OK to say I love being with you so can we some set time when we are together and you are not alone?
- Your extroverted spouse processes issues and problems through talking them out. Giving them time to do that with you is a gift to them.
- Introverts: since you tend to keep things more to yourself, check yourself for being passive aggressive.
- Ask your extroverted spouse:
- Where is your favorite place to get a ‘people fix’?
- What people give you the most energy?
- What are the times that you want me to be with you the most?
The key is to work together and not use your extrovert or introvert personality to give you an excuse to do the things that cause division between you. For example, you shouldn’t say, “I don’t want to be around your family cause I’m an introvert” or “I don’t care if people are over during dinner cause I’m an extrovert”.
Finally, when you feel frustrated with your spouse’s differences, think about specific benefits those differences bring to their lives.Your one simple thing for this week
Figure out which category you and your spouse fall into. If you already know what category they fall into, ask them the high and low of falling into that category.Show Closing
Oct 10 2018
Rank #17: MP 057: Why is Jesus still important for marriage? (with Ryan & Selena Frederick)
We’ve got an awesome interview ready for you because Ted talked to Ryan and Selena Frederick, the founders of Fierce Marriage. Fierce Marriage is an online marriage platform., which includes a blog, a podcast, social media channels, and several books written by Ryan and Selena.
They’ve been married for over 15 years and live in Tacoma, Wa., with their two daughters. Let’s dive into Ted’s interview with Ryan and Selena.Interview How did you first meet?
Ryan: I remember it so clearly—the first time I saw Selena was in 8th grade. My mom was an educator and was interviewing at a Christian school. I went along to her interview and walked into the gym and saw Selena and my stomach dropped. I went to the school and didn’t talk to her for a year.
We became friends and then it turned in a romance. The summer after our sophomore year, we started dating and dated for four years. We got married pretty young—20 and 21. In hindsight, it was young, but I couldn’t wait any longer.What were the first surprises once you got married?
Ryan: As a young Christian guy in that generation of “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”, I’m thinking sex was going to be everything I want and more. But you get married and your expectation has to adjust. That was the biggest reality check for me.
Selena: It’s learning to manage those expectations as a wife. But you can’t uphold all those things and carry it all. And that’s OK. We were learning to do this together, so we had to grow in our intimacy. It’s gotten better with time.
Ryan: I would say to the young couple listening that it’s just the beginning of a long adventure of learning to love each other.What were the marriages like in your families?
Selena: I came from a divorced home. My parents divorced when I was about eight. So I didn’t really know what a marriage looked like. I heard the arguing and messes of my parents and saw the high and low but not the in-between.
Ryan: My parents have been together my whole life. They’re amazing, but not necessarily healthy in every season. My dad had two ultimatums for me growing up—no tattoos and don’t have sex before you get married. So marriage has always had a level of importance in my own mind.
Selena: I grew up in the church and it was monumental to my growth and view of marriage. I knew once I got married I wouldn’t consider a divorce.What made you want to pour into marriages?
Ryan: I would call it a quarter life crisis. About 7 years ago, I was working with our web development company—designing and writing code myself. We launched the business 10 years ago and had gotten these clients that I thought would be the Holy Grail. I thought we were living the dream but I was working long hours and hated it.
I started wondering why I was doing it. I was OK at it, but not great at it. I started asking God what He had for us and we wanted to do it God’s way. I had also done a lot of work with publishers and started wondering what if we started a marriage ministry. We had also seen a lot of our friends go through their first five or seven years of marriage and divorce. We started asking why ours was working and we wanted to be together still.
As clear as day, it was just Jesus. There’s no other reason we’re together. But knowing Christ and how we’re loved in Him is why we’re still together. We realized there’s something to be said in this space. We don’t know it all, but what we do know we’ll share openly and transparently. I spent a month or so building out the plan and we launched a few months later.Why do you think some of your friends were getting divorced?
There’s a lot going on before marriage that could be brought in as baggage. If you’ve had other sexual partners and Christ hasn’t helped you walk through that, for example.
The theme is the softness of heart and respect for each other that comes from wanting to hear God’s word and bend my will to it. It’s why we say it always comes back to Jesus. I don’t know how to make sense of love outside of Chris. When I look at Him it all becomes clear and the standard.
Christ empowers us to be able to love each other and have the hard conversations in the marriage covenant. If we’re not able to really walk through things from pre-marriage with Christ, it’s hard to continue walking together. We build walls and don’t want to be vulnerable.What do you say to someone listening who isn’t a believer and is hearing things like ‘covenant’ and ‘Jesus is Lord’?
For someone who doesn’t know what it means to love Jesus, it’s the grace of God that you’re listening to this. This is an opportunity to start that journey. Whether you call yourself a Christian or not, we don’t assume you know what it means to experience the true Gospel. We do them a disservice if we don’t at least create a framework where they can start getting answers to their questions.
In our book we released this last April, we spent a whole chapter on Gospel, Love and Covenant. We found that couples who understand truth about love and covenant will always have the behavior they want. But if we just try to give them tips for the behavior, that’s just behavior modification. At the core of it, our mission is to point people to Christ.What differences do you see in millennial marriages?
The biggest thing we always say is: step one is to not assume what people believe or their worldview. Step two is to not be afraid to point them to Jesus. People want a relationship that lasts for life and is transparent. And we know how to get that and it’s Jesus.What are the things you hear millennials are struggling with?
One of them would be finding true community where you’re known and knowing others. Having those people you can do life with and be transparent is so important.
The second is to understand longevity and stability with a true long-term vision in mind. It allows you to table issues and rely on your covenant. Let love mature.
The third one is our generation can tend to get scared of conflict. It’s why we want to live on Instagram. It’s mainly because we haven’t been taught how to resolve conflict so we walk away from it.Talk about being married and working together. How do you make that work?
Selena: We’ve become a pretty good team. Ryan handles a lot of the day-to-day work of keeping Fierce Marriage running. I handle our children and the day-to-day home life, but we’re both trying to bring Jesus into these situations.
Ryan: It’s understanding that we’re a team even though she’s not on a laptop next to me. It’s learning generosity and to be generous with your appreciation. Me working from home has been another transition for us. Bt seeing it as an opportunity to really serve each other. I’ll come down and relieve her if the kids are acting up.Your one simple thing for this week:
Ryan: Fight naked—literally and figuratively. It’s hard to get mad when someone is disrobing and figuratively don’t go into a fight with your armor on, stay vulnerable.
Selena: Find an adventure you’ve been wanting to do and do it together. It doesn’t have to be big; it could be finding a park or a new trail.Show Closing
Nov 14 2018
Rank #18: MP 042: How does social media and technology impact my marriage? (with Dave Adamson)
Today, we’re joined by our friend Dave Adamson, who is a former TV sports reported from Australia. Dave serves as the social media pastor for North Point Community Church in Atlanta and is a social media expert. Dave and his wife Meg have three daughters.
Conversation with Dave
What does a social media pastor look like week to week?
It’s beyond social media. I deal with a lot of people who connect with our church digitally. People connect with your church before they connect in your church, and most of the time they do that through social media.
We want to make sure we have a great presence there, that we’re involved in the community and that we’re connecting people from social media to our other areas and hopefully eventually to our church.
That doesn’t sound like a real job, Dave.
It’s funny, since I took this job we’ve heard from other churches who have hired social media directors. It’s become a bit of a thing. Social media is everywhere; we’re all on it and connect with people that way.
In the U.S., church attendance is declining. But I don’t say it’s declining; I say it’s decentralizing. People don’t need to come to church anymore to get the content.
How does technology and social media impact our marriages?
Social media does impact, but it has the ability to be a wedge or to bring us together. I could use technology to contact my wife in a way I couldn’t when we were first married 20 years ago. But at the same time, when I come to bed at night and Meg’s been to bed for an hour and I see the glow from her side of the bed it doesn’t seem like a good thing.
Why isn’t it a good thing?
It can create a separation—instead of spending the end of the day talking we’re on social media and turn it off to go to sleep.
Do you feel that tension in your relationship with your spouse, especially toward the end of the day? Or is that just part of your natural rhythm?
Afton: We actually started charging our phones in a different room when we go to bed. We actually started it to help us sleep better, but it does help relationally because you talk when you go to bed.
Ted: We have three teenagers, and we can’t be on ours all the time if we’re telling them not to be. So there’s the accountability there. We’re pretty conscious about it.
Dave: We have a rule in our house that all phones get turned off at 8pm and all phones get charged in our room. We used to charge them in the kitchen but we found one of our daughters would get up and go find it at night. This also means that we, the parents, have access to your phones.
The second rule is that every device in our house is on the same password, so I can open up their phones and scroll through it. But they can also do it to us. We also have a rule that Friday night till Saturday night is a device free zone in our house.
What would you say to the couple that doesn’t think they have an issue? How might social media be impacting them without them realizing it?
There are positives and negatives to it. The device/social media itself isn’t the enemy. There’s a stat that says the average American touches their phone 300 times a day. I always think to myself – how would my relationship with my wife be different if I held her hand or stroked her hair 300 times a day? It can be a negative thing but we can make it positive too. I even find with my daughters. I follow their Instagram accounts and it keeps me connected with what’s going on.
How does awareness help us control the impact technology has on our marriage?
Once you make that switch and start to use technology for good, it actually means more.
There’s a book by Reggie Campbell called What Radical Husbands Do and he says that for the first five minutes when you get home, stay five feet from your wife. I’m usually walking in ending a phone call or reading/posting something. Now, I will park around the corner, finish my phone call and then put my phone in my bag and drive in. I try to spend that first five minutes with her and then with my girls.
How have you used technology to make your relationship better?
Afton: We have one Spotify account, so when Hudson is listening to it I like to get on my phone and steal it so he can’t listen anymore.
Dave: That’s a good point, because we have one Audible account and we often read the same books now.
CJ: We like to try to go an entire day only texting each other GIFs to talk about our day. It’s entertaining.
Ted: Texting is a great thing for us during the day. I love the fact that we can connect that way
Dave: My wife travels with a missionary, and we use FaceTime to stay in touch. Another great way we use technology is we watch Netflix together and have regular family movie nights on Friday. Technology has done a lot to bring our family together.
What do you say to someone whose spouse is always glued to their phones and they’re having a hard time connecting with them?
I think it’s making people aware of certain statistics. That idea that we’re touching our phones 300 times a day or spending 2-2.5hrs/day on our phone. It’s the realizing of the time we’re wasting. Have some statistics so you’re ready to give them information that helps them make the decision.
What’s the payoff for people being on their phones all the time?
That’s a huge cultural and societal question more than anything else – we do it because everyone is, but it’s also how we stay in touch. As to the why, I think it’s partly the dopamine hit, part is marketing. We’re told we’re missing out if we don’t have this in our life.
I think it’s also because it’s a way to enhance relationships. I always look at it from the point of view of how many people I’m still in contact with from Australia because of technology. I’m also leveraging my social media as a tool to pass my faith on to my kids. I started writing out all my thoughts on Instagram in the form of devotionals. My daughters read them and they may or may not have heard it otherwise.
Do you have any closing thoughts for us, Dave?
It’s all about awareness—how often you are on the phone and not on the phone. How often you’re leveraging technology for good and how often it’s driving a wedge between you. I’ve found birthday and anniversary gifts for my wife from her Pinterest. It’s all about being aware and using it for a positive outcome and not letting it drive a wedge.
Your one simple thing for this week:
Go 24 hours without any phone – your whole family. Put them in a basket and put them away for the whole day.
Thanks for joining us for the Married People Podcast. We hope you’ll subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and leave a review. They help us make the podcast better.
We want to hear from you! Two things: first, let us know what you do on social media or technology to connect with your spouse and second, let us know how your 24-no-technology day goes. Share with us on Facebook, Instagram or our site.
Aug 01 2018
Rank #19: MP 003: Is having fun in your marriage extra or essential?
Busyness, kids, exhaustion… There’s a lot that gets in the way of having fun in marriage. Plus, marriage is serious business! Is having fun even that essential? Or is it just an ‘extra’? Join us as we dive into this question!
The Tension: We all want to have fun in our marriage, but there are a lot of ‘fun barriers’
- Time suckers
- Fun doesn’t seem important
But here’s the truth: The best way to protect your marriage is to enjoy it
No one is telling us to protect our marriage – we know we’re supposed to work at it, but not necessarily to enjoy it. But the truth is, enjoying your marriage is great for you, your spouse and your kids!
Your one simple thing this week: Do one fun thing for your spouse.
Having fun doesn’t have to be hard work or expensive! In fact, sometimes watching T.V. can be fun and interactive. Just figure out how you have fun with your spouse, and do that!
The great thing about being adults is that culture isn’t the boss of us, we’re the boss of us. We can carve out the time for the things we love.
- Do something spontaneous
- Schedule a date night
CJ: We’re very scheduled people, so I need to try to build in a little spontaneity for Teri. Maybe we’ll go out for ‘real’ ice cream (not frozen yogurt) after our next date.
Afton: While Hudson is on the road, I’m going to try to respond to 50% of his text messages with gifs
Ted: I have a scuba suit (for scuba diving) around the house that I put on when things need to lighten up. I think it needs to make an appearance this week.
Thanks for joining us for the Married People Podcast! We hope today’s episode helped you realize that marriage is a little easier, and more fun, than you think! We hope you’ll subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and leave a review – they help us make the podcast better.
Finally - join us next week when we ask the question “What is one thing that can (almost) every marriage better?”
Aug 30 2017
Rank #20: MP 033: How can my marriage influence the next generation? (with Virginia Ward)
Our marriages are impacting the next generation, whether we like it or not! That’s why we’re excited to be talking to Virginia Ward.
Virginia is the Director of Leadership of the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston. She also leads their Mentored Ministry Initiatives and is a pastor at Abundant Life Church in Cambridge, MA where her husband is the lead pastor. Virginia and her husband have a lot of influence on the next generation, so who better to talk to?
- Give us a little about your background and ministry – introduce yourself!
I am the oldest twin daughter and one of four. I’m a native Bostonian, I’ve been married for 34 years and we have two grown sons. My heart is really urban youth leaders, but helping people lead themselves first and then helping them lead and grow their leadership capacity.
- I’ve heard you say you work a lot with two different demographics. Tell us about that.
I work a lot with parents in an urban environment—and by that I mean people who live in cities of all financial backgrounds. I also work with families in ethnic communities where English may not be their first language and they’re working their way up from the blue-collar realm.
- Talk about your heart for the city. What makes that different than maybe the suburbs?
I grew up in the Boston area and then we moved to suburb south of Boston. But when we got married I wanted to go back to the city—it’s a faster pace, it’s constantly moving. Boston is run by knowledge—it’s ironic that we have a lot of academia but so many people who are not educated.
When we started our church my husband and I didn’t have our undergrad degrees but we went back to school and go them. We’ve seen people in our congregation go do the same as we’ve modeled it.
- When you talk about going into ‘the city’, what does that look like for you?
We live in the city, we ministry in the city, I work in the city. For us, it’s being connected to knowing who our mayor is, who our city council is. I serve as a mentor in the city of Cambridge for a girls program for 8th grade girls as they transition into high school. I want 8th grade girls to see that you can be a pastor, to help debunk some of the myths of being in ministry.
- This is a marriage podcast but I’m going to take a little side note as a dad of a 12-year-old daughter. What would you say to her if she were to think guys can do more than her?
I would say to her to keep her eyes open and store everything. Try things, pick up things and ‘store it in your bag’. Try a sports team, play an instrument, try new things. Keep track of what you like and what you don’t like. That begins to inform her of who she is becoming.
- Let’s talk a little about working in the city with so many types of families. How does marriage impact kids?
We have a spectrum of marriages in our church. We have young marrieds and people who got married a little older. My husband and I married at 22, so we grew together.
I’m seeing a shift lately where marriage is about my happiness and if they can’t help you and satisfy you, then why are you there? But I tell couples to take the divorce card off the table, and if you can get them to take that off the table they tend to be more willing to put selfish things aside and really work toward the ‘we’.
- Why do you think there are so many people who have the divorce card on the table?
It’s an easy way out where you don’t have to change. Marriage makes you look at yourself and the truths about yourself you may not have wanted to address.
- People are more educated than ever, but it feels like relationally people are less intelligent. Do you see that in people?
Yes, definitely. We can rationalize everything, but in relationships there isn’t the rationale. It forces us to have to be in that place of love—love God, love your neighbor as yourself and love each other like I have loved you. To bring that into a marriage, that is unconditional.
- God’s way of marriage is radical, some would even say ‘old school’. How do we talk to people about how it works?
We have to go back to square one, Adam and Eve. He made man and woman so man wouldn’t be alone, but also so they could be fruitful and multiply. This isn’t just about children – there’s something we can do together as a married couple that we can’t do alone.
When a woman sees a man, she sees his purpose and potential. If she can see alignment with that, she grows together with him. But she also recognizes her purpose in helping the greater purpose be accomplished. I encourage couples to figure out—who is she, who is he and then who are we together.
- You’re so active and do so many things. How has your husband made you even better and how have you made him better?
I would not be the woman I am today without him. When I met him, I was a mouthy, insecure female. I came from a divorce and was a rebellious kid. I knew it all and was going to do it my way. When I met him, he would ask me questions that made me think. He makes me think and process and question.
Together the teamwork and synergy is amazing. I have helped him in that he’ll think and process and think and process and I help him move. We’re both supposed to submit one to another.
- You mentioned that you grew up in a broken home. Talk a little about family of origin and how you and your husbands’ collided.
My husband grew up in a two-parent home and they always knew the presence of a father. My father was there for a time, but then it was my mom raising four kids alone. As a child of divorced parents, I often felt forgotten. That played into my relationship with God—thinking he’d be there sometimes and then disappear.
My husband had a great relationship with his dad and even grandfathers. At first in marriage, it was difficult for me to receive instruction from a man and I had to check that. My husband modeled for me what a man in the home should look like, but he also had to separate and not be my father. That was an eye-opening lesson for me. This has been a lesson because 70% of homes in the urban environment are single parent homes. It’s a real issue we have to address.
- Have the people you work with from a single parent home given up on the idea of marriage? Do they want to be married?
Many still want to be married but they want a healthy marriage – the basics. If he doesn’t have a job or a home, he’s not a man to marry. They want both parents to handle discipline, because if you don’t check it when you have a five year old, you’ll have a problem by eight!
- Mom’s have a gear that dad’s don’t have and tend to be so nurturing. Does being a single mom keep them from having that?
They have to balance both. I know some single moms who have done an amazing job of loving and nurturing but putting down their foot as well. The danger, especially if they’re raising sons, is they can be so much of a disciplinarian they lose the nurture. Or others who are so nurturing there’s no discipline there.
- Does this communicate to you that kids need a mom and a dad?
I know it’s old school and traditional, but we all need a mother and a father.
- In a community where 70% of kids are born to a single parent, how do you champion marriage without alienating people?
We’re being very intentional about championing marriage while keeping in mind most of our congregation is single. We help people understand that God’s plan is two-fold—this is what marriage looks like, this is what singlehood looks like.
We try to use examples of both. And even in the married examples, using examples of those without children. But if you are going to enter the covenant with another person before God, this is what it should look like.
Your one simple thing for this week for a married couple: Grow together. No matter what situation you’re in – whether you both work or have different lives (one of you stays home, etc.), find ways to grow together emotionally, spiritually, through all you’re going through.
If you want more resources, check out Your Best Us. Finally, we hope you’ll join us for next week’s episode!
Apr 18 2018