[Aaron] Hey, we’re Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God.
[Jennifer] Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.
[Aaron] And today we’re gonna answer your questions about communication in marriage. Welcome to the Marriage After God podcast, where we believe that marriage was meant for more than just happily ever after.
[Jennifer] I’m Jennifer, also known as Unveiled Wife.
[Aaron] And I’m Aaron, also known as Husband Revolution.
[Jennifer] We have been married for over a decade.
[Aaron] And so far we have four young children.
[Jennifer] We have been doing marriage ministry online for over seven years through blogging and social media.
[Aaron] With the desire to inspire couples to keep God at the center of their marriage, encouraging them to walk in faith every day.
[Jennifer] We believe the Christian marriage should be an extraordinary one, full of life.
[Jennifer] And power.
[Aaron] That can only be found by chasing after God.
[Aaron] Thank you for joining us in this journey as we chase boldly after God’s will for our life together.
[Jennifer] This is Marriage After God.
[Aaron] Hey everyone, welcome back to another episode of Marriage After God. It’s actually the last episode of season three. So if you’ve been following along, we’re gonna be taking a break, we’re about to have a baby. If you’ve been listening to the last few episodes, you know that. And so, we’re gonna have a little break. And then we’re gonna come back in another season, in season four. We don’t have a date for that yet, which is fine.
[Jennifer] We’ll let you guys know on social media.
[Aaron] Yeah. And then, we’ll do some new episodes. And so, just as a side note, if you have topic ideas for the new season, go ahead and shoot those in a message to us on Instagram at @marriageaftergod. But, today we’re gonna be answering some questions from the audience, but before we get to the questions we like to talk about some things in life, but really, this first thing I wanna talk about is, I wanna encourage everyone listening today, because I know that there’s a lot of fears, there’s a lot of anxiety going around with the coronavirus, with things that are happening in the world, and I think some of them are legitimate things to be thinking about and considering. We wanna be wise people, that’s what the Bible talks about. We don’t wanna just pretend that none of this stuff’s gonna affect us. But, my encouragement is to remind everyone listening that our trust is not in this world. Our trust is not in the vaccine that they might come out with. Our trust is not in the government. Our trust is not in the healthcare system. Our trust is not even our bodies.
[Jennifer] Or money.
[Aaron] Or money. The Bible is very clear where are trust lies, and that when we trust in anything other than God, other than His son Jesus, that trust is faulty, that hope is false, and we’re actually insecure in those hopes. So I just wanted to point our hearts and our minds back to the Giver of Life. To the One that we look forward to, the One where our hope should lie, which is in Jesus Christ. Guys, one day we’re gonna be with Him forever, and we’re gonna have new bodies, we’re gonna be healthy, He’s gonna make the world right. All these things that are in the world, the destruction, the death, the injustices, the sickness, the pestilence, all those things are going to be made right. And so, once this thing passes, and whatever the damage is going to be, we don’t know. But there’s always gonna be something else. That’s why our eyes need to be on Christ. And so I just hope that if you’re having anxieties about this, the Bible tells us how to deal with our anxieties, it’s to lift up our request to the Lord with thanksgiving, and to pray to Him. And He says He’ll give us a peace that surpasses all understanding. And what I love about that is that our peace in God is completely standalone from everything in our life. That it doesn’t matter what’s going on in the world, it doesn’t matter what’s going on in our life, it doesn’t matter about our circumstances. You could be like Paul, in prison and be praising God. You can be like Peter in prison, writing letters to the church. You could be in the midst of whatever it is that this world and that the enemy, or whatever it is, wants to throw at you, and you can have complete and perfect peace in Jesus. And so, I just wanted to quickly encourage everyone with that.
[Jennifer] No, it was really good. I think that there is just a lot of attention specifically on the coronavirus. What I would say is, it is important to pay attention to what’s going on in the world, current events and things like that, but–
[Aaron] Wisdom is good.
[Jennifer] When we get those thoughts of fear, or anxiety, or frustration even, we need to remember that even in those times we need to submit those feelings to the Lord, and ask Him to guide us, to lead us, to give us wisdom on how to approach the situation and deal with it. And then remember that our bodies are gonna fail us. Our bodies are gonna get sick. There’s gonna be, if it’s not this thing, it’s another thing, and so we just need to be able to trust the Lord that He knows what’s gonna happen to us. He knows everything.
[Aaron] He’s knows all, He’s omniscient.
[Jennifer] So we can trust that.
[Aaron] We can totally trust Him. And again, this isn’t to say do not be wise, like we be wise, if we can make that take measures we do, but we have to remember that we could take every perfect measure, we could take every precaution, we can totally stock up what on whatever, just imagine it, whatever you think you could do to prepare, and your trust in that would still be faulty. Because none of that is actually secure. So, our trust is only good when it’s in Christ. So, be prepared to the level that you can, and let the Lord have your fears and rest in Him. That’s our encouragement.
[Jennifer] Another thing that we wanted to share with you guys is just how incredibly blessed we feel for our relationship with Hobby Lobby. And, I don’t know if you guys all know but they carry our books.
[Aaron] Which was a total God thing, because there was no way that we were connected with them. I wasn’t reaching out.
We didn’t reach out to them. They actually reached out to us and asked if they could carry our books, and I think it’s so awesome. It’s one of the cheapest places you can get our books.
[Aaron] The cheapest place.
[Jennifer] And, who doesn’t love Hobby Lobby? I mean, just to be able to go there and peruse, and look at everything.
[Aaron] People who’ve never been to one.
[Jennifer] Well, if you haven’t been to one, you should go check one out. I’m sure there’s one near you.
If you’re near one, yeah.
[Jennifer] But I just wanted to first give a shout out to Hobby Lobby and say thank you. Thank you for being someone who advocates for books like ours, and resources that point people back to God. And I also just wanna thank everyone who has been picking them up and buying them from Hobby Lobby, ’cause that keeps our relationship with them good.
[Aaron] That reminds me, I love when people go into Hobby Lobby and they take a picture. And they #hobbylobbyfinds. So if you ever do that, we love to re-share those. So if you are in a Hobby Lobby and you pick up a copy of our books, please take a picture of it, and we’ll probably re-share it on our Instagram.
[Jennifer] Just make sure you tag us @marriageaftergod so that we see it.
[Aaron] Exactly, ’cause if you don’t tag us, we don’t know. But yeah, so that’s just a couple of things, just encouragement on the chaos in the world that had our peace. And then just, we’re incredibly blessed and honored by Hobby Lobby and their partnership with us. That, to be honest, I don’t think we deserve. I don’t think we’ve, it’s a God thing, that He set this up and we just wanna give Him the glory for that.
[Jennifer] And if you’re like me and you have been wanting to order our books, and you want it today, you can go pick one up today. You don’t have to order it online and then wait for it.
They have them in stock. And they’re in every Hobby Lobby, which is amazing. So, it doesn’t matter which one, unless they’re out of stock. But they carry them everywhere.
[Jennifer] Once I know what I want, it’s so hard to wait when I do online shopping and stuff. I just wanna go get everything.
[Aaron] But now Amazon has one day shipping, which is crazy.
[Jennifer] I don’t know how they do it.
[Aaron] I don’t either. But it gets here. Okay, so, one last thing, we have a another prayer challenge. I don’t know if you’ve taken the marriage prayer challenge yet. Over 50,000 people have taken the marriage prayer challenge, which is incredible. So, we have this new challenge called the parenting prayer challenge, and it’s a prayer challenge for you to pray for your son or your daughter, or both.
Or all of them.
Or all of them.
Depending on how many kids you have.
Yeah, all your kids. And it’s completely free. Just got to parentingprayerchallenge.com and fill out the form and choose who you wanna pray for, and we’ll start sending emails every day.
[Jennifer] You guys might be wondering how it’s set up because, obviously, they’re not individualized prayers for you and your child, but they’re prompts. So, it’ll suggest pray for this specific thing, and then, as you’re praying, you’re making it personal because you know your family best.
[Aaron] And it’s a scheduled daily reminder. So you get this email, it says hey, you’re gonna pray for your son right now, and here’s what you should pray for. And it’s not to replace your prayer life, it’s to encourage it, inspire it, and give you a new outlook on your prayer life, and maybe expand upon it. One more time, it’s parentingprayerchallenge.com to go sign up for the parenting prayer challenge.
[Jennifer] All right so, this last episode of the season is a Q&A. We polled the community, the Marriage After God community, and Unveiled Wife and Husband Revolution, and we asked you guys to submit your questions, specifically about communication in marriage. And so, first of all, we just wanna thank everyone who sent us your questions. It’s been cool to be able to poll the questions from the audience from Instagram, from you guys, and to answer them here. It makes me feel more connected and I love it.
[Aaron] They often ask things that I’m not even thinking about. I’m like oh, that’s a good question. So, it’s really fun that we ask you guys. It also makes us feel like we’re connected with you on another level. So, if you follow us on Instagram, that’s usually where we poll our audience. You could follow @marriageaftergod, or @unveiledwife, or @husbandrevolution. We’re gonna be doing Q&A’s often, so if you see us pop a question and ask you to give us your questions, just submit them there, and we store them and we pick from them, and we try and answer them on here.
[Jennifer] Yeah, and just let you guys know because of timing, we don’t always get through every question, and so if you’re listening and you’re like, “I know I submitted a question “for communication in marriage,” and we didn’t answer it, please reach back out to us and just let us know, and maybe we can just answer it on Instagram for you.
[Aaron] Or on the next time.
[Jennifer] Or on the next Q&A.
[Aaron] Cool. So, before we jump into the questions, why don’t we just talk about some of the scriptures that, when I think about communication, these scriptures aren’t just, they’re not necessarily communication between a spouse. But it’s–
[Jennifer] With each other.
[Aaron] Yeah, it’s with [Both] people. With one anothers in the church.
[Jennifer] Very applicable to marriage.
[Aaron] So I’m just gonna read through a handful of scriptures.
[Jennifer] I’ll read the first one ’cause it’s shorter. You read the second one.
[Aaron] All right.
[Jennifer] Psalm 141:3 says, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; “keep watch over the door of my lips.”
[Aaron] Yeah, and I pulled some of these scriptures to just show what a biblical perspective over our mouth is. And the things that we say. In Matthew 12:33 Jesus is talking to the Pharisees, and He says this, “Either make a tree good and its fruit good, “or make a tree bad and its fruit bad. For the tree is known by its fruit.”
[Jennifer] Like we know a peach tree is a peach tree because it has peaches.
[Aaron] Or it’s one of those fruit salad trees.
[Jennifer] Well, that would be confusing.
[Aaron] Which totally ruins the analogy. But anyways, “You brood of Vipers, “how can you speak good when you are evil? “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. “The good person out of his good treasure “brings forth good, and the evil person of the evil treasure “brings forth evil. “I tell you, on the day of judgment, “people will give account “for every careless word they speak. “For by your words you will be justified, “and by your words you will be condemned.”
[Jennifer] So what you’re saying is words are powerful?
[Aaron] They matter, yeah. We need to know that, we can’t, like this specifically, and we just talked about this, actually, the other day, we say something and then we say I’m just venting, or I’m just kidding. But in reality if, it’s coming from somewhere, those words that we just conjured up out of our mouth. They came from somewhere, and so we need to be careful and aware, like wait, so I said this thing and I wanted to make it sound like it wasn’t that bog of a deal, but why did I say that? Why did I say that about so and so?
[Jennifer] If someone has self control of their tongue, and they think, they’re about to say something, but they decide not to, which is good, I would say they still need to evaluate their heart and question why was that even on the tip of my tongue?
[Aaron] Why did it come out so quickly? And often, I would imagine this is about people in our life, and then if we say something so quickly, even if it’s to someone in confidence, and we think, wait, am I actually angry at this person, or am I actually annoyed by this person, or bothered, or judgmental or whatever? And we have to think about that ’cause sometimes that comes out of our mouth and it’s not from a pure heart.
[Jennifer] And I’ll say this, words cut deep, and when, especially in marriage, you see that person, you just see their face and you’re reminded of what they’ve said, either recently or years ago. And you can hear them saying it in your mind, over and over again. And so, I think we just need to be reminded that we have a huge responsibility with our words.
[Aaron] The next verse is from James, but there’s another verse in James that we didn’t write down here, that talks about having control of your tongue, and how the tongue is a, it’s a small member of a body, but it’s actually like a flame that can start a fire. And you’re in the members of your body. It’s also talked about as a rudder, something that, you have a large ship that is controlled by such a little thing. The things we say actually matter to a point of it directing our lives. But it starts off with saying, if someone has complete control over their tongue, they’re a perfect man. So, we all know that we don’t have complete control over our tongue ’cause we’re not Jesus. Jesus was perfect. And everything He said was controlled.
[Jennifer] So, when we’re not perfect, and we’re not controlled, what’s our response should be?
[Aaron] Repentance. At least recognizing it and saying, whoa, what I said was off.
[Jennifer] Apology, reconciliation.
[Aaron] I know I can’t put those words back. It’s like toothpaste, it comes out, you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. So James 1:19-20 says, “Know this my beloved brothers, “let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, “slow to anger, for the anger of man does not produce “the righteousness of God.” So this is more a practical tip of, hey, to save yourself from saying something you don’t mean,
[Jennifer] Be slow.
[Aaron] Be slower to say it, probably stop yourself.
[Jennifer] I just wanna say, it also says be quick to hear. And I think, sometimes we wanna justify the things that we say.
[Jennifer] We’re not actually listening to how our words are affecting the other person, and so I think, I know you said this is practical, a really practical tip is just questioning, evaluating, making sure that you’re being a good listener in your marriage.
[Aaron] Listening to yourself, and listening to the person talking to you.
[Jennifer] And to the Holy Spirit.
[Aaron] Yeah, and to the Holy Spirit.
[Jennifer] Okay, next one Proverbs 12:18, “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, “but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
[Aaron] Again, showing the power of our words towards others.
[Jennifer] Such vivid imagery there.
[Aaron] Here’s one, Proverbs 18:2, “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, “but only expresses his own opinion.” So, we have to be careful about this, this is something I’ve struggled with in the past, my foolishness of just only interested in sharing my opinion. Like, oh, well let me tell you what I think, let me tell you what I think, rather than listening, rather than being thoughtful, rather than actually considering the other person. I’ve dealt with that for sure.
[Jennifer] Another one is Proverbs 18:13, “If one gives an answer before He hears,” again, going back to be a good listener.
[Aaron] This ever happens to me, I don’t do this. I do all the time.
[Jennifer] “If one gives an answer before he hears, “it is his folly and shame.”
[Aaron] So, the next one, and the last one, which is by far not the last verse, ’cause there’s tons of scripture that talks about how we communicate and the way we communicate. Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life “are in the power of the tongue, “and those who love it will eat its fruits.” So, understanding that our tongues are powerful. If we love the power of our tongue, we’re going to eat the fruits of it. Meaning, if we want to share our thoughts, and we’re totally fine with just speaking things, we need to be able to be aware that those words are ours, and we have to own them.
[Jennifer] All right, so that was just a little foundational prep for communication in marriage, just looking at a biblical way to communicate with your spouse.
[Aaron] And get a perspective on how we use our words.
[Jennifer] ‘Cause honestly, no matter what question we answer, that was probably the most important that you hear today.
[Aaron] Yeah, the scripture. Not our words, the Bible’s words. Always. So, question one from the community says, how do you two come together and talk about your dreams as a couple and as a family?
[Jennifer] Oh cool, I like that it’s as a couple and as a family. Which we do talk about, dreaming together, in “Marriage After God”, and I just love that chapter. Just because it’s something that Aaron and I have found a lot of joy in.
[Aaron] It’s fun.
[Jennifer] It’s fun. And what we do is, we look at our life and we say, okay God, what do you wanna do with us? And we get to talk about it.
[Aaron] How would you say, how have we been doing it over the last few years?
[Jennifer] So, our biggest, probably dreaming session, as a couple happens at the end of the year, and we take time to go over what did that last year look like? What’s still on our plate? And what things do we wanna try and accomplish in that next year? And it takes a good three hours or more to get through.
[Aaron] But they’re fun.
[Jennifer] Just because it’s a lot, but it’s so fun, and we do it over dinner. And then we have checkups throughout the year, when things change, circumstances change, or goals change, or we accomplish things sooner than later. So, we just check in with each other throughout the year.
[Aaron] Or we’re in the middle of a goal, accomplishing a goal, and we evaluate, is this what we really want? Now that we’re in the middle of this thing, which we’ve done.
[Jennifer] I will say this, our dreams don’t come from nowhere. Well, for one thing, there’s seeds planted by God that we feel really strongly about that God gives us these desires that we have. But we also, what we call the tool belt, our marriage tool belt, we look at what we have, and we go from there.
[Aaron] Yeah, and it’s not like, we talk about this in the book a lot more, the practical side of it. We’re not just throwing out, and casting a line out as far as possibly, and trying to see what we can grab. We look at what God is doing in our life, what we’ve already accomplished, in Christ, of course.
[Jennifer] It’s like we take that next step.
[Aaron] And we say okay, if we have any money, we say okay, how do You want us to use this money? Our home, our cars, our business? And then we even talk about things that we would love to explore and pursue. And we hold all of it loosely, pretty much usually, right?
[Jennifer] Yeah. ‘Cause there’s nothing we can guarantee.
[Jennifer] Another fun way to do this is, on those smaller check ins or smaller dreaming sessions, when we like to talk about it, we like to go on a drive, let’s say like a 40 minute drive. It’s super fun. We’re both buckled in. Can’t leave the conversation. And we just talk about it there. But, I love doing this and I think that, over the years, Aaron, wouldn’t you agree, that it’s something that’s been cultivated in our marriage because of our intentionality? It’s not really something that is just gonna happen on its own, but it’s also something that, I don’t know, we put the time in to do it.
[Aaron] Well, I’ll say this, and this would be my one tip in this section, is yes, it needs to be scheduled. So, you and your spouse need to say, we are going to do this, and we’re gonna do it on this date. So it’s on the calendar. And then the other part is, setting actual goals, writing them down. So, for us, you may not be us, you’re goals are gonna look different. Maybe they’ll be the same, but, we’ll say we want to have this book self published, or traditionally published next year or this year. Or, usually, the traditionally published is a little bit more out of our control. But, self publishing, we wanna have this book published by this date. And then that one goal gives us a whole list of tasks that need to be accomplished before, for that goal to happen. And so, setting that goal and giving it a realistic time frame, and writing it down on paper, and verbalizing it out loud.
[Jennifer] The success rate is so much higher.
[Aaron] Oh yeah.
[Jennifer] Let’s use finances. If we had a goal for finances and we just talked about it–
[Aaron] We wanna save $1000.
[Jennifer] By next week, we would have forgotten what the plan was. So it’s like, oh yeah, we talked about that, I think. So, when you go to write something down, I feel like it’s super helpful.
[Aaron] The finances is actually a good one. I would imagine almost everyone has some sort of financial goals. Maybe getting out of debt, or saving for a vacation, or pay for college, or who knows what it is? And so, setting the goal, a realistic goal, the thing that you know you can attain, and you can come up with those strategies of, we’re going to save $10 a month, or $100 a month, or we’re not going to buy this thing every week. When you do that, and you say it out loud, there’s now accountability as well. So, something comes up and you could spend the money on it, and you both look at each other and be like, are we willing to cast out that goal we set four months ago? No? Then we have to say no to this. Even though it’s difficult. And so now you both are on the same page. And man, that actually feels like victorious. You’re like wow, we just said no to something that we really wanted, because there’s this better thing down the road that we’re saving for. So, I would say set those goals, put them on paper, say them out loud, put them on the refrigerator, put them on a chalkboard, make them visible. And it’s true, your success rate exponentially grows.
[Jennifer] Again, I really like the second part of this question ’cause they also wanna know how do you do it as a family? So, you have kids involved. I’d say, as our family, Aaron, you are really good about leading our kids through these things, and prompting their hearts, and preparing their hearts.
[Aaron] Well, thank you.
[Jennifer] And just asking them really good questions. Our children are still pretty young, so we don’t download every dream or goal to them. We don’t feel the need to explain everything, but as we talk about dreaming together, and as we set goals we do keep the impact it will have on our family in mind.
[Aaron] Well, always, yeah.
[Jennifer] And so, we share it with our kids, and we’ll talk about it, and we’ll invite them to participate in the ways that they can.
[Aaron] And I would say, because we have this pattern of setting goals and dreaming together, we teach our kids how to do it. So, I’ll tell my son, and he’s drawing, and he might get to a point of not wanting to complete the thing he’s creating. And then I’ll tell him, I’ll be like, hey, do you wanna be a really good artist one day? And he’ll be like, “Yeah.” I’ll be like well, the way people become really good artists is a lot of practice. I said, so I know that it’s difficult to finish this, or you wanna move on to the next thing, and I totally get that because you’re excited but, there’s a lot of value in you sitting and finishing this and coloring it, and you’ll see a completed work. So, that’s a little way of teaching my son on how to set a goal.
[Jennifer] And that’s really good, what I would call that is casting vision, ’cause you’re showing him what the future would look like, but what it requires, and I think the same exact thing is important for marriage that both the husband and wife are reminding each other constantly. Because this whole episode is about communication, our words matter. We need to be encouraging each other. We need to be reminding each other, hey, remember we set this goal, hey, remember, this was our strategy, hey, this is what’s gonna happen once we meet it, and encourage each other and stimulate each others hearts toward those those goals in that way.
[Aaron] I totally agree. That’s good. Let’s move on to the second question, how do you gracefully bring up subjects that have been touchy in the past? You don’t, you just skip over them, you just ignore it. I’m just kidding. No, this is a hard one ’cause sometimes you can’t avoid the sensitivity of it, in some scenarios.
[Jennifer] I think it’s good to be sensitive to it.
[Aaron] What I’m saying is not that we be just harsh, or cold about it. I’m just saying you could come, I would imagine that there’s some conversations that you can come perfectly gentle, with the best intentions, with the best words, and it will still be a hard conversation. That your spouse still may take it very personally. So I would say you come cautiously, you come patiently. And I would say the number one thing is make sure your heart’s right. Is your intention because you’re just bothered and you want this thing to change and there they go again? Is that your heart, or is your heart that you actually care that they’re growing, they’re changing, they’re following through with their own words, because of their integrity, ’cause you love them, and you wanna see the mature? So, if your heart is a selfish one, like, I’m gonna go deal with this because I’m offended, which doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to have offenses. We have to deal with our offenses. But, if it’s a conversation from the past, we have a lot of these, about specific things in our life, and some things are little, and some things are big things. I would say, don’t avoid them, but make sure that our hearts are right, and make sure that the intention is for actual growth and maturity in your spouse, or for healing. Do you have any tips on that?
[Jennifer] Yeah, I was just gonna say that, when I go into conversations like this, I genuinely desire a good conversation about it. And, I think the most important thing that we could do, knowing that it’s been touchy in the past, is pray for each other before we even get to the conversation. So, praying that I have the right heart, bringing it to the table, if I’m the one bringing it, and praying that I share in a respectful way, with the right words, words that will bring you understanding, but I also pray for your heart that, if there is sensitivity or anything like that, that you would be able to respond in an understanding way as well. That we’re able to come together and have a good conversation about it. And I think that doing it with God at the center is the most important thing that we could do.
[Aaron] The tip for the person having the topic brought up to is humbleness. And also, being aware of defensiveness. I do this. I get defensive, we just had a conversation and I was defensive. And you called me, and you’re like, “Why are you being defensive about this?” Often, defensiveness is self preservation. It’s selfish, often. And so, if we’re defending ourselves, then we’re not in unity, and we’re also not being humble.
[Jennifer] You’re also not being quick to hear.
[Aaron] And I’m also not being quick to hear. Thank you for reminding me of that.
[Jennifer] I don’t know if this helps practically but, when we go into conversations like this, I’ll usually say something to Aaron like, hey, I really wanna share something with you, but, just so you know, my intention’s not to upset you, or point the finger at you. It’s just something that I’ve realized or recognized recently that I wanna talk about. Is that okay? Making sure that there’s a place and a space for that conversation. You don’t wanna just bring it up when you’re at the dinner table, or you’re walking into–
[Aaron] Right here on the podcast. Actually, I’ve been wanting to bring up to–
[Aaron] Not on the podcast.
[Aaron] And then, one last note on this. I think we can get in a pattern sometimes. Some relationships are special in this way, but I think a lot of us can, in some way, have this pattern of bringing up everything. And not overlooking certain things. There’s this one thing that we actually, it’s not that big of a deal, but I just have to bring it up every single time ’cause I don’t wanna have to deal with it ever again. And so I think, truly internally evaluating, is the thing I wanna bring up, is it a thing that needs to be brought up? Or is it something that I can actually just let go? The Bible tells us that love covers a multitude of sins. So not that we overlook sin and pretend sin doesn’t exist, but if I said something one time, we’re talking and I said something and you’re like, “Well that was rude.” But you know I didn’t mean it, it doesn’t need to be brought up, in that one scenario. Now, if it’s a pattern, like I’m always rude, that’s one thing, but if I said something, and you think, “He must’ve not meant that.” Or, the way they are with something. Sometimes it just needs to be let go.
[Jennifer] And I wanna speak to the other side, if your spouse is coming to you with something, I was gonna say something of importance, but, no matter when your spouse comes to you, how would you answer this question, does your spouse feel like they’re walking on eggshells around you? Does it feel like you’re here, there’s a layer of eggshell around you, and they can’t come that close to you? Does that make sense?
[Aaron] Yeah. So I think it’s important for both sides that people listening can evaluate, okay, am I being aware of what I’m bringing up, and is it necessary? And then, how are my responses towards my spouse? Am I someone who gets defensive? Am I being selfish?
[Aaron] Am I being critical? Like I’m just over-critiquing my spouse.
[Jennifer] Yeah, and so I think that’s it’s important to think about are we setting ourselves up for putting eggshells down to where no one wants to come close to us and ask us those hard things.
[Aaron] And I think a good remedy for this, specifically, ’cause we’re not tryna say, don’t have conversations that need to happen. What we’re talking about is evaluation and discernment. Is the thing that I want to bring up something that should be brought up? So my solution to that is, when you wanna bring something up, first evaluate in yourself if the thing that you’re seeing or wanting to talk about in your spouse, is something that you deal with, but maybe in a different way. Because often, we’re very keen to sin or issues in other people’s lives that we ourselves deal with. Someone’s always late to something for you and it bothers you. And then you realize that you’re always late for something else. But you don’t think about it. So, ask yourself, is this something that I deal with? And truly ask yourself, because if you care about it in them, you should care about it in yourself ’cause want to. So, just a little tip.
[Jennifer] It’s good. All right, question number three is, how do you talk to your spouse when they are distracted by their phone? Can we just skip this one? Just kidding.
[Aaron] Again, I never do this.
[Jennifer] Okay, repeat that for everyone to just take a minute and hear.
[Aaron] How do you talk to your spouse when they are distracted by their phone? You can’t.
[Jennifer] We have struggled with this so much you guys.
[Aaron] Before there was phones, there was TV. If you’re ever sitting next to me and I’m looking at a TV, I’m not even watching what’s on the TV, everything’s shut off in my brain. Which is why we don’t have a TV ’cause I would just sit there and I’d be gone for hours.
[Jennifer] This is true, but, what I was gonna say is, before phones there was an iPod. And I remember when the first iPod came out and we were dating.
[Aaron] And it only did one thing.
[Jennifer] I know, one thing. And I’m sitting at a restaurant, next to you, and you’ve got the wire from the cord in your ear, both ears, and you’re scrolling through music on your iPod.
[Aaron] Now, to my defense, I had just got it.
[Jennifer] You were so excited about it.
[Aaron] Yeah, I was excited about it.
[Jennifer] But here’s the point, we do get distracted, and it’s a real thing, and I think it’s important to talk about.
[Aaron] Yeah, I would say, and Jennifer, you’ve gotten good at this, Aaron, I’m tryna talk to you, can you put your phone down please? Because I didn’t even know you were talking to me, and you’ve been talking to me. And I’m on my phone. Which we have whole episode on phones and boundaries, which is something we’re constantly working on. But being free to say that, say hey, can you put your phone away? I wanna chat with you. And you’ve also gotten good at voicing to me how it makes you feel. You’re talking to me and I–
[Jennifer] Mid-sentence you’ll pull it out.
[Aaron] And then I’m on my phone. Maybe it buzzed or something, and I’m on it. Or, we’re talking about something, and it’s something that I need to do, and so I go to do it while you’re talking to me.
[Jennifer] Yeah, oh gosh.
[Aaron] You’re like, can you–
[Jennifer] Can you wait ’til I’m done?
[Aaron] Do that after we’re done? I know that you’re excited to do that. Yes, it’s mostly on my side, sorry. I would say yeah, just get really good at voicing it, hey, can you put your phone away so we can have a chat? I know that’s distracting. You’re gonna get on it afterwards, but, so we’re not distracted, let’s put our phones away. But, be willing to receive it on both sides. ‘Cause we’re cellphone generation.
[Jennifer] I was gonna say, I think it’s important to have patience with each other because, yes, we are a part of a generation that uses technology on a daily basis. This is such a hard one because it’s not just you, Aaron, it happens to both of us. But being aware and allowing your spouse to help you be aware, so not getting defensive when they say something about you being distracted on your phone. I don’t know.
[Aaron] A little side note about cellphones, something fun that we’ve done in our community for a long time, I don’t know if I started it or someone else did, someone must’ve started it, but if see someone on their phone and they’re spending time with you, just lean over and be like, hey, who you hanging out with?
[Jennifer] It’s kinda mean and sarcastic but.
[Aaron] What’s powerful about it is, oh, I’m hanging out with people on my phone, not the people that I’m actually hanging out with. But that’s has nothing to do with someone distracted by their phone. If you’re distracted, you just gotta ask, hey, this is an important conversation, or I wanna tell you something, can you put your phone away for just a second so we can chat?
[Jennifer] I will say this, Aaron, you have been making it a point this last year to leave your phone in the car, especially–
[Aaron] On Sundays.
[Jennifer] On Sundays, so that we are not distracted during fellowship time. You leave it out in the living room at bedtime, so you’re not constantly scrolling in the bed. On date nights, you tend to leave it in the car.
[Aaron] What I’m tryna to do is just, because I know how prone I am to just pick it up when it’s near me, I’m tryna find ways of getting it away from me. Which I wish that I could do more.
[Jennifer] We’ve also had some pretty deep encounters with our kids, where they recognize that we’re on our phones in front of them, and I think we’ve shared this on the podcast before, but just realizing how it impacts our relationship with them as well.
[Aaron] I think that’s an adequate answer for now.
[Jennifer] Which is, what is the solution here?
[Aaron] Tell them.
[Jennifer] Tell them.
[Aaron] Can you please put it down so we can chat?
[Jennifer] Hey, just so you know, it hurts my feelings when I’m talking to you and you’re looking at your phone. Oh also, I gotta mention this, if you’re in the middle of a really heavy conversation, and there’s no resolve yet, but there’s been silence for a while, don’t just jump on the phone, that hurts so bad. Just–
[Aaron] Remain in the situation.
[Jennifer] Remain in the situation, remain in the silence until it gets figured out. And if it doesn’t get figured out, communicate that with each other say, hey, we’re just gonna put this on pause until we can figure it out, and then move on. But don’t do it without that communication.
[Aaron] That’s a very good point.
[Jennifer] Okay, number four.
[Aaron] As a wife, how do you teach yourself to respond, ask, speak respectfully to your husband?
[Jennifer] So I guess I have to answer that?
[Aaron] Well, it’s not for me.
[Jennifer] Okay, so first you have to know what respect is. I remember back when we were first going to a marriage ministry, probably in third, fourth year of our marriage, and there was a group of young wives that I was friends with, and we’re hanging out one night, and I remember asking them how would you define respect? I don’t remember really growing up understanding. I kinda knew it what respect was, and I could get by with a makeshift definition, but I didn’t actually know what it looked like in marriage. And they didn’t either. It was like they looked at me like why would you even ask that question?
[Aaron] Why’re you even bringing that word up in our midst?
[Jennifer] And I’m just sharing that because I do think it’s important to know what respect is. So Google says respect is a feeling of deep admiration for someone. So, if you want to teach yourself to respond respectfully, you should know why you respect your spouse, right?
[Jennifer] You should know why you deeply admire them. ‘Cause that’s what’s gonna fuel you or propel you to respond that way.
[Aaron] Do you think a wife can respond respectfully to husband who is not respectable.
[Jennifer] That’s a really hard question, and I don’t feel comfortable answering it for every single person, ’cause I don’t know every single situation, but I would say this as an encouragement, that there are some things that you can find to admire about a person.
[Aaron] The thought I had, and I was thinking about, not a spouse, how should we respond to a stranger that we know nothing about? With honor, with respect, with kindness, right? So my point was, I think, that in pretty much most situations, on the individual level of a person who loves the Lord, we can find, even if it’s not for the husband’s sake, or the spouse’s sake, out of my respect and love for the Lord, I’m going to speak to this person the way Christ speaks to me.
[Jennifer] That’s a better answer than I gave.
[Aaron] I think you were being careful. I don’t think your answer was bad. That’s what I was thinking about is, regardless if they find something respectable, ’cause a lot of people might struggle with that, I don’t respect my husband, therefore I’m gonna talk–
[Jennifer] I’m not gonna, and then that becomes a justification.
[Aaron] And on both sides, I don’t respect my wife because of this, this and this, therefore I’m going to, rather than treating them the way Christ wants you to treat them.
[Jennifer] That’s good. Well, I think that we can, just as you’re talking about we can be respectful, and it’s not contingent on other people. We can be respectful in our communication towards others, towards our spouse, and like you said, out of that love and admiration for the Lord. I love that. And that that will influence our relationship. My admiration for you has grown over the years.
[Aaron] Totally, and vice versa. And I would say also, none of this subtracts from the kinds of things we get to say. If you need to tell someone, which you told me before about my sin in my life, what it was doing to God, what the reality of it was, but you said it so respectfully, so honoringly. And the Bible says to speak the truth in love. It doesn’t say don’t speak the truth because you want them to not feel bad. You can still say really difficult things to someone in a loving, respectful way. So that’s just a thought I had.
[Jennifer] Just to clarify too, the question was how do you teach yourself to respond, and ask, and speak respectfully? I would say the one word that comes to mind is practice. That’s probably what I should have just started with. But practice. As you practice this, and as you walk in it, it will become more natural for you to respond respectfully.
[Aaron] That’s good. And remember who you’re doing it for. It’s not necessarily your spouse, it’s for God, because you love the Lord. Yeah, that’s good. And it goes for the husbands too. The answer is the same. Okay, so number five says, what do you do when one spouse gets tired of talking and stops listening, and refuses to respond, or to keep the conversation going? This is like that situation, we’re having, it’s a difficult conversation, maybe it’s a frustrating conversation, maybe it’s just another one of those conversations that we’ve had 20 times. Well, first of all, you can’t control your spouse, just, I think, the quick answer is that you can’t control me–
[Jennifer] You can’t force them to give you an answer or or to–
[Aaron] You can lovingly say hey, it’s really hurting me that you’re refusing to finish this. Is there a better way we can finish it later maybe? Or can we finish it now? I would say also, being understanding in the situation of how the conversation’s going. Often, these kinds of conversations are the ones that are, both spouses are at each other, both spouses are annoyed, both spouses are selfish.
[Jennifer] Both probably need some humility.
[Aaron] Yeah. I would say just, sometimes maybe you just need to step back and pray for your spouse and say hey, I get that you probably aren’t interested right now, but we need to have this conversation. Can we do it another time?
[Jennifer] I know some things that I like to do with you is, hey, I get that were not in agreement on this, can we just pray about it and close with prayer, and ask God to reveal things to you over the course of however many days, or until you talk about it again.
[Aaron] And I would also say, for the one who’s wanting to continue in the conversation, so one’s checking out, and the one’s like hey, we’re not done. Maybe ask yourself, are you elongating because you haven’t gotten retribution yet, or are you wanting this to keep going because you haven’t convinced them yet of your side? Are you wanting to, discern and spiritually evaluate if you’re wanting the right thing? Are you wanting reconciliation or you wanting to be right? Are you wanting unity or you waiting for them to yield? And this goes for the husband or the wife. And so, ask yourself, are they checking out because they’re not getting to where I want them to be? And that’s why I keep going. Rather than hey, are we gonna find a solution, a unifying solution? Are we gonna find reconciliation, are we gonna find a place that we’re back in the right relationship with each other? Rather than I’m getting my way and they’ve come to my side?
[Jennifer] That’s good. I know I keep going back to prayer, but if your spouse is getting tired of the conversation and refusing to continue it, pray for their heart. Pray that the Lord would minister to them, and transform them, and bring resolve through them, because ultimately, it’s the Holy Spirit, right, that does it.
Mm hmm, amen.
[Jennifer] Okay, moving on to number six. How do you overcome the fear of vulnerability? That’s a really big question, but it can be simplified.
[Aaron] I think it has to be. Well, first of all, most people are afraid of being vulnerable.
[Jennifer] I would say everybody is. Vulnerability isn’t something that’s like, yeah, let’s be vulnerable. It’s hard.
[Aaron] It’s spiritual nakedness. It’s showing what’s on the inside, and often we don’t like what’s on the inside. And so I would say, you said earlier, practice. But really, asking the Spirit of God. Say God, transform me in this because, it was other people’s vulnerability with us that freed us to be more vulnerable.
[Jennifer] It gave us the courage.
[Aaron] So yeah, if you’re struggling with this, just pray and say Lord-First of all, regardless if you never reveal anything about yourself, we all know who we are. We are wretched. We are sinners who need a Savior, who need His righteousness, who need His power to transform us. And so, just recognizing that and say, okay Lord, humble me, and help me be open so that you can A, change me, the things that I’m afraid of, the things that I don’t like, the ickiness, the grossness inside me, but also use that vulnerableness, use that transparency to free others, to heal others. Not because of me, but because of You, Lord. I don’t know, that’s my idea.
[Jennifer] I think a big thing that I learned through being vulnerable in marriage, is having this resolve to understand that love requires risk in making yourself known. So, what I mean by that is, in order for me to know that my husband loves me, like actual me, not someone who’s pretending over here is–
[Aaron] Not what you show me.
[Jennifer] You have to know me, so I have to reveal it to you, and that requires risk. Because that means I’m gonna share something with you, and then you get to respond. So there’s a risk involved, and that’s what makes it hard. But I’d say, like you said, practice is really good, and then I was just gonna plug the Unveiled Wife here, because if you wanna get to know someone who wasn’t vulnerable, and then was extremely vulnerable, not just with you, Aaron, but with the whole world by writing a book about it.
[Aaron] It was a big deal for us.
[Jennifer] The Unveiled Wife is my journey of learning vulnerability in marriage and with God.
[Aaron] That was good. So, question number seven, we have been married over a decade and feel like we lost things to talk about.
[Jennifer] Aah. So, I would say,
Find things to talk about.
[Jennifer] I would say start learning again. So, Aaron has this really great quality about him where, when he gets excited about something, he just starts learning about it, I don’t know.
[Aaron] I research.
[Jennifer] Yeah, you have this research brain where you just, you get hooked on something. Even with the kids, like when it comes to Legos, it’s like, oh Elliot, I figured out this new thing. You’re even learning the Rubik’s Cube, okay. You been researching.
I have been.
[Jennifer] Watching YouTube videos, and you been sharing it with me. So you’ll sit down on the couch with me and be like, “Babe, look at this,” what do you call it?
Algorithm. And you do this twist thing and I’m not following, but I’m just smiling ’cause my husband loves to share this with me.
[Aaron] And then you see it working and you’re like, “How’d you do that?”
[Jennifer] Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. So start learning something again that you can share with them. It could be anything. And then talk about it with them.
[Aaron] And to be honest, if you’ve lost things to talk about, I don’t know this person. I don’t know their life. But if you guys are in a place, if you’re in a place that you have nothing to talk about, first of all, that’s not true. There’s never nothing to talk about. There’s never nothing to explore with each other, and to walk with in each other. There’s, at minimum, there’s tons of challenges in life to have to navigate.
[Jennifer] So you’re saying they’re choosing not to share things?
[Aaron] Yeah, I would say, I don’t think it’s possible to have nothing to talk about.
[Jennifer] Especially if you have children. If you have children, you have a lot to talk about.
[Aaron] Well, and the other thing is, is if we’re pursuing God together, if we’re looking to what He’s doing, He’s going to reveal to you sin in your life, He’s gonna give you jobs to do, like this idea of He’s got work for us to do, good works that He’s prepared for us since the foundations of the world, those things are remarkable, meaning that they are able to be remarked about. There’s something to be talked about. And so, I think that if there’s nothing to talk about, there’s potentially, maybe your minds aren’t on heavenly things. Maybe your minds are an earthly things, and worry, and things that you’re not looking up.
[Jennifer] Or maybe there’s sin your guys’s life that you’ve been avoiding confronting because–
[Aaron] Mm hmm, sin keeps us in darkness. So I would just challenge you, if you think there’s nothing to talk about, I would start praying and say Lord, what’s in my life, what’s in our life that is keeping us from each other? Keeping us silent, keeping us in the darkness, keeping us from moving forward and being excited about life? Guys, if you’re believers, we have the greatest hope, everyone in the world, the greatest hope is for the believer. That’s remarkable. That’s something to talk about, forever. We’re going to do it in Heaven. We’re gonna be worshiping the Lord, forever in Heaven. So, if we’ve lost that excitement now, we gotta ask ourselves why? What’s taking it away? Where have we misplaced that?
[Jennifer] Now simply, if you’re just bored, and you’ve forgotten how to communicate with each other, and ask each other good questions, I have to let that we have a freebie for you called Date Night Conversation Starters, and you can take these out on your next date, or just hanging out in the house, and use one of those to prompt a question and get started talking.
[Aaron] Start asking questions to each other. You can go to datenightconversations.com. Was that prompted, was that planned?
[Jennifer] I just thought about it.
[Aaron] These are some good things to think about.
[Jennifer] Okay, we’re gonna get through these next ones fairly quickly, just for times sake, but, how do you get an introvert to communicate? Here, let me change it, Aaron, how did you get me to communicate in marriage? ‘Cause I’m an introvert.
Keep asking you questions. Never give up. Do it gently with love. The goal is not to ever change someone, the goal’s to engage, and the goal is to encourage, and exhort, and to lift up, and to love, and to strengthen. Remember, you’re one, and God’s given you unique characteristics for a reason. So, they’re not things to be bothered by or hated, they might be things that need to be grown in. Just because, quote unquote, I’m an introvert, doesn’t mean that quote unquote, you need to stay an introvert.
[Jennifer] Don’t label yourself that way.
[Aaron] You can grow. You never know, what God wants to grow you into, and transform you into. So don’t just say well, this is what I am, and therefore that’s what I am.
[Jennifer] I’ll say this, over the years, Aaron, your affirmation and encouragement has really gone a long way in that, you ask me a question, and maybe I’ll answer it very quickly or short, or maybe not at all. And you say, just so you know, I want to hear from you. That affirmation, hearing that over and over again, reminds my heart, my mind, he really does just wanna know.
[Aaron] And then, one last little thing I would say, recognizing and cultivating the differences in your spouse will make them feel loved and makes your spouse more able to communicate in those times that they can’t-So, if they’re introverted, recognize that in your spouse in saying, hey, why don’t you get some time alone, when you go be with the Lord, I’ll take care of the family, I’ll take care of the kids, or whatever. And that let’s them know that you appreciate them, and their differences, their uniqueness, and you’re excited about it. You’re like, how can you use that in a good way, so that in those times that it’s necessary, you’re not allowed to just retreat into your title, into your whatever. They they know that you love them, and that you’re saying hey, I know this is hard for you, but we do need to deal with this.
[Jennifer] Yeah, that’s really good. Okay, so the next one says, how do you stay in touch with your spouse when your husband works two jobs and you’re a stay at home mom? I’m just gonna answer this one really quickly for what comes to my mind is get creative, text them, send love letters, make a journal where you guys can pass it back and forth, putting things on the schedule and protecting that time, even if you’re super tired or there’s other circumstances going on. I would say that those are some practical ways that I would answer that. And I’m sorry, that’s such a hard question to try and answer, but the communication is still a priority.
[Aaron] I would say if it’s a priority, we’ll do it. And we have a brother in our church that leaves real early in the morning, comes back real late, and he just he works a long job, and he records videos of him reading the Bible, and asking questions and sends them to his kids. So even though he can’t be home, when he has the break, when he has the time, he make sure to, everyday, send them something to lead them and disciple them. So, father’s who have these jobs, if you’re listening to this, and maybe you’re on the road right now, don’t use your absence as an excuse to not disciple and lead your children and family. There’s ways to do it, especially in this day and age, man, we have technology. You could FaceTime every day, there’s ways to do it. So I just wanna encourage you that, get creative like my wife said, find ways of connecting with your spouse and your children regularly, to show them that you’re there. Because even though you can’t physically be there, you can spiritually.
[Jennifer] Cool. Okay, we got two questions left. The next one is, how do you handle conflict when you are very irritated? Which happens to all of us, right? No one’s immune to irritability or irritation. But the verse that I thought of was Psalm 4:4, it says, “Be angry and do not sin. “Ponder in your own hearts, on your beds and be silent.”
[Aaron] And that’s a good point is, when you’re frustrated, make sure that, again, you’re coming with the right heart. So, you’ve dealt with your frustrations with the Lord first. Doesn’t mean you don’t say something about it, and you don’t address it.
[Jennifer] It’s that being slow to speak.
[Aaron] And then also, maybe wait. Wait for when you’ve cooled down. That’s always a good posture to take. Right, so the last question we got for you guys is, what are important questions you need to ask your spouse every week? Aah.
[Jennifer] Okay, so we don’t ask each other the same questions every week, but, we do have a standard of questions that we lean on when we want to know each other more, Aaron. And it’s stuff like hey, how’s your heart? Or hey, what are you thinking about? Or hey, what’s God been teaching you? What are you gonna be working on today? Or what do you need help?
[Aaron] Or what are you reading in the Bible? These are interesting questions that help, if the other person maybe hasn’t been, they say oh, well nothing. I’m gonna get into the Word, right? So they’re encouraging. And if they are, you can start a conversation with them about what they’re learning for the purpose of growth. And we have some friends, really good friends, Jeremy and Audrey Roloff, they actually have a resource called the Marriage Journal. And it’s an awesome resource. They actually have, it’s a weekly check up for your marriage.
[Jennifer] There’re actually specific questions that you ask every week.
[Aaron] And they draw you closer to your spouse, they help you get to know each other. It also helps you stay on track with each other. So, if you’re asking this question, if you’re out there thinking yeah, what should we be asking ourselves? It’s called the Marriage Journal by Jeremy and Audrey Roloff. You should go check that out, it’s an awesome resource, we totally support them, we totally love them. And it can totally help you in growing in your marriage. So, we love you all, and we thank you for joining us on this last episode of the season. If you haven’t checked out the other episodes from this season, please go do that while we’re on this little break. And also, check out last episode because we have a giveaway going right now. And it goes only until April 10th, so go check out our last episode and find out how that giveaway is gonna work. But, as usual, we pray before we sign out.
[Jennifer] Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of marriage. We pray we would be husbands and wives who are willing to communicate with each other in a respectful way. We pray we would have the courage to say the hard things in love. We pray we would be good listeners, and truly hear what our spouse is sharing with us. We pray to share our heart with one another, always. We pray that your Holy Spirit would infuse our speech and open our ears, so that we can hear. Help our minds to understand each other, and to extend grace to each other. We pray the posture of our hearts would be humble. We pray we would strive to make marriage a safe place to communicate, and not a scary one. Help us to work through our marriage issues, and the things that we’re experiencing to gain knowledge of each other and of You. Help us to grow in how we walk, and may it be in a worthy manner as we navigate life together. In Jesus Name.
[Aaron] Amen. We love you all. And we’ll see you next season. Did you enjoy today’s show? If you did, it would mean the world to us if you could leave us a review on iTunes. Also, if you’re interested, you can find many more encouraging stories and resources at marriageaftergod.com, and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.