Participants: Alanzo Smith, June Smith
Series Code: MGH
Program Code: MGH000040
00:30 Welcome to Marriage in God's Hands.
00:34 I am Alanzo Smith, your host for this program
00:37 I am June Smith, your co-host.
00:41 Today we have a very interesting discussion-healthy marriages.
00:46 Before we get into our discussion won't you bow
00:50 your heads with me as we pray.
00:52 Our heavenly father, we thank you so much for love
00:57 and for life.
00:59 We thank you for the gift of marriage.
01:02 We ask that your Holy Spirit will be with us,
01:04 and all our families around the universe,
01:07 and may your power keep us faithful to you.
01:11 In Jesus name, Amen.
01:13 Healthy marriages-I think that is a very important subject
01:20 for us to talk about.
01:22 Especially, because of the age in which we're living in.
01:26 Often times, so frequently, we hear about
01:29 dysfunctional marriages, and you hear about
01:31 marriages that are not doing well.
01:34 At a time when people focus so much on your health,
01:39 and they do all kinds of things to be in good health,
01:42 do you think we should also focus on our marriages
01:46 and to see to it that we have healthy marriages?
01:49 That's a very good metaphor because, yes, indeed
01:52 people spend so much time and money trying to build muscles
01:57 and to stay healthy.
01:59 Yes, we should be spending equal time on marriages and families.
02:05 There is a powerful text in Ephesians 5, that I would say
02:14 is the key to a healthy marriage.
02:18 Could you read that text for our listeners?
02:22 Starting at verse 21, it says,
02:54 The word submit is not a nice word
03:00 when we are talking about marital relationship
03:04 for a lot of people.
03:05 As a matter of fact, there are some wives who will tell you
03:10 that they are not about to submit to any man
03:14 in no way shape or form, not in this 21st century.
03:19 I remember I had a wedding to do some time ago, and I received
03:27 a call from the lady to be married.
03:29 She wanted me to fax over to her a copy of the wedding vows.
03:36 When I asked what was the reason for that request she told me,
03:40 she wanted to look it over.
03:43 She wanted to make sure that the word submit does not appear.
03:48 She does not think in this 21st century any woman should submit
03:53 to any man.
03:54 I think the same is true for some husbands.
03:57 They have a difficult time applying
04:00 the concept of submitting.
04:02 Some husbands are rigid in their lead,
04:08 in the way they relate to their spouse.
04:10 Their symbiotic relationship of submitting isn't established.
04:16 The Bible gives four categories of submission.
04:23 The first one is citizen to the state.
04:29 That is what I would call compulsion.
04:32 When Jesus said, Render unto Caesar the things
04:36 which are Caesar's.
04:37 We have no choice.
04:39 It seems like we are saying we have to pay our taxes.
04:43 Yes, that's compulsion.
04:45 The second one in the Bible is a slave to their master.
04:51 I call that subjection.
04:54 Paul says obey your master.
04:57 Much like an employee to employer relationship,
05:00 there are requirements, your supervisor has to give you
05:03 instructions and so you are expected to respond positively.
05:08 The third one is children to parent.
05:12 There again the Bible says, Children obey your parents,
05:16 so I call this obedience.
05:18 This is necessary.
05:20 The fourth one, however, is wives to husband.
05:24 This one I call collaboration.
05:27 When the Bible says, Wives submit yourselves
05:30 unto your own husband.
05:32 The reason why some people have problems with this text
05:36 is, they fail to look at verse 21.
05:40 Verse 22 says wives submit.
05:42 Verse 21 says submitting yourselves one to another.
05:47 So again, this is husband submitting to his wife,
05:51 wife submitting to the husband.
05:54 It's a give and take of both individuals in a relationship.
05:58 As you said early on it's a symbiotic relationship.
06:01 You know something, I think part of the problem,
06:04 why some people have problems with this text is they are
06:09 overlooking verse 25.
06:11 Verse 25 says, Husbands love your wives even as Christ
06:17 loved the church and gave himself for it.
06:21 Here we find Paul is admonishing the couples.
06:27 The husband must do the loving.
06:30 The wife must do the submitting.
06:32 There are times when the husband must submit as well.
06:36 That's what verse 21 is saying,
06:38 submitting yourselves one to another.
06:40 When we talk about this symbiosis, we're talking about
06:44 the husband doing the loving, and the wife
06:46 doing the submitting and vice versa.
06:49 We've spent some time looking at how families misinterpret
06:53 and misapply the concept of submitting
06:57 Why don't we now look at healthy marriages.
07:01 Healthy marriages are challenging at times.
07:06 One of the reasons for this challenge is the individuals
07:11 do what we call linear thinking.
07:16 Linear thinking is the cause and effect.
07:19 It is because you did this is why I did what I did.
07:25 It is because you say something why I behave this way.
07:30 Individuals find reasons to justify their behavior.
07:34 It's a cause and effect principle, and that
07:37 does not lend itself to a healthy relationship.
07:41 Healthy marriages, on the other hand, are able to
07:45 look at other variables, and they are able to see
07:50 from other viewpoints other than just A causes B causes C.
07:55 We have the concept of quid pro quo.
07:59 Meaning, you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.
08:02 We're saying that healthy marriages need to function
08:06 outside of that parameter.
08:07 Unfortunately, sometimes you do have people in a relationship
08:14 that may not fill the role that they should.
08:17 Even in those instances you need to be your best self.
08:22 It's not that you are relating because this person relates
08:26 to you nicely, but you're relating because you're
08:29 invested in your marriage and want it to work.
08:32 Communication-healthy marriages have effective communication.
08:39 Communication is accurate.
08:42 As we travel around the world and we talk with individuals
08:46 and conduct marriage seminars, people come up to talk to us
08:50 or in our clinical session we hear people saying
08:53 we don't communicate.
08:55 Is there such a thing as no communication?
08:59 It's funny that you ask that because, Virginia Satir,
09:03 who is a communication theorist, says really there's no
09:07 such thing as no communication.
09:09 We communicate all the time.
09:11 So even the couple who is silent and they withdraw,
09:15 and they appear not to be verbalizing
09:17 what they're thinking, they are still sending a message
09:21 to each other, and often that message is misunderstood.
09:25 The man who sits on the couch and is watching
09:30 his baseball game, and the wife calls out to him and says
09:34 could you get me something in the garage,
09:36 and he doesn't answer, is he communicating
09:40 or not communicating to his wife?
09:42 He is certainly not verbalizing that he doesn't want
09:45 to be disturbed, or that his game right now is
09:48 at a crucial point that he doesn't want to leave.
09:50 His wife may not be reading that message.
09:54 What she might be reading is he isn't responding to my need.
09:58 He is selfish.
09:59 He is interested more in the game than he is in responding
10:03 to the needs of his family.
10:04 The list goes on.
10:05 The essence is we do communicate all the time.
10:09 For a marriage to be healthy we need to use effective methods
10:13 of communicating.
10:14 Giving positive feedback is one of the key ingredients
10:19 to a healthy relationship.
10:22 If you are in a relationship and you are hearing
10:23 just the negative, what is not done, what you are like,
10:27 and just hearing negative things.
10:29 That has some kind of impact or negative consequences
10:35 on the relationship.
10:36 Healthy marriages give positive feedback.
10:40 It enhances growth and strength in the relationship.
10:44 Many people that I speak with talk about difficulties
10:48 and challenges that they face with what we call subsystems.
10:53 There is interference from other people
10:55 who are a part of their family unit,
10:57 whether these are extended family members, or they are
11:02 co-workers, or they are a part of a club they belong to.
11:06 These people tend to get more attention and affection
11:10 and time from the spouse, rather than the spouse giving
11:14 this time to the family.
11:15 Recently I spoke to a woman who was upset that her husband
11:18 was part of a group, a singing group, and that every
11:23 waking moment he had free was spent with the singing group.
11:27 Now, he is doing something that he thinks is valuable,
11:30 but his wife is upset because this is an interference
11:34 to her time and to her relationship.
11:37 Those are some challenges that healthy families face.
11:40 Another one would be family homeostasis, that is
11:44 the capacity of the family to rebound and regroup
11:48 from adversities.
11:51 Families that can withstand challenges, families that have
11:56 the capacity to grow and to change when they are going
11:59 through difficult times, are families that are healthy.
12:03 This is an important ingredient to a marriage;
12:06 the ability to withstand challenges and to change.
12:10 The notion of boundaries and limits, establishing structure,
12:15 where there are clear rules and each member of the family
12:19 children, husband and wife, they all understand
12:24 what the limits are, and to what extent these limits
12:28 should be kept, and what the consequences or discipline
12:31 will be if those limits are broken.
12:33 Healthy families have clear limits, set structure
12:38 and clear boundaries.
12:39 The children are not left to run wild or loose
12:46 and the boundaries are clear and well defined.
12:50 When you have well defined boundaries,
12:52 you have a orderly family.
12:54 You have a family that is growing healthy
12:57 because the rules are there, and they are governed by
13:00 those rules and they respect those rules.
13:02 The thing about that is it provides security.
13:04 Everyone knows, especially the children, they know exactly
13:08 what is necessary and what mommy or dad's
13:11 expectations are, and they live within the rules.
13:16 We are talking about healthy marriages.
13:20 Right now we are going to take a short break.
13:23 We'll be right back.
13:24 Don't go anywhere, because when we come back we're going to talk
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14:21 Welcome back to our program, Marriage in God's Hands.
14:26 We have been talking about healthy marriages.
14:30 June, share with our audience what we mean by differentiations
14:37 or levels of differentiation and the relationship with
14:40 healthy marriages.
14:42 One of the challenges that people often face
14:45 is the need to feel whole and to feel complete.
14:51 That in essence encapsulates the concept of differentiation;
14:57 the sense of being an individual.
15:00 The goal in a marriage is that each person will take
15:03 responsibility for himself, and work on the limitations
15:07 that they bring to the relationship.
15:09 So that they don't necessarily have to lean on the relationship
15:12 to feel complete and to feel like a human.
15:15 When an individual who's not yet married,
15:20 should they have this notion, this concept that
15:23 I'm going to get married to be happy.
15:26 I'm going to get married to be whole, to be complete.
15:30 That is correct.
15:32 The idea is if you're not happy within yourself.
15:37 You're not likely to be happy in your marriage.
15:40 Technically, what I'm hearing, you say, although you said
15:42 that is correct, what you mean is, we're going to be whole
15:46 as one, but we have to be differentiated as individuals
15:52 going into the marriage we have to be highly differentiated.
15:55 When two healthy people bring their best self
15:59 to the relationship then they can have that oneness they seek.
16:06 Accepting each other for who he is or she is, is important.
16:14 Talk to us about that concept.
16:16 We're talking about bringing your best self
16:18 to the relationship, and that's a work in progress.
16:21 Clearly the individual will have limitations, but each
16:25 spouse must be willing to accept this work in progress.
16:30 As they are growing towards that wholeness they will still be
16:35 comfortable with each other.
16:37 Sometimes we look for the weakness.
16:43 Early on we talked about accentuating the positive;
16:47 giving positive feedback.
16:48 What we want to mention here is the concept
16:52 of mentioning strengths.
16:55 In a healthy relationship look for the strength in your spouse
17:01 and mention it more than the weakness.
17:04 Often times we see the weakness, we feel the weakness, we pick
17:08 out the weakness and we elaborate on the weakness.
17:11 Yet so many strengths that are unnoticed, unmentioned
17:15 that would help to strengthen the relationship and to grow it.
17:19 I spoke to a woman once who told me that rarely does she hear
17:23 anything positive and that her husband really highlights the
17:28 contributions that she made to her relationship, but she hears
17:31 a lot of criticism about the things that she
17:34 doesn't do right.
17:36 There's something about the human spirit.
17:39 When, if you say something to me and tell me, how good I am,
17:44 or what skills I have or strengths I have in
17:49 the relationship.
17:50 It makes me feel good.
17:52 It makes me want to be that better person.
17:55 On the other hand, the limitations that you have,
17:59 I also need to be able to help you see that, but you need to
18:03 be able to receive that with kindness, so that you
18:06 can work at it and improve.
18:08 The key is how you say that limitation.
18:11 Often times we can say things but the way we say it
18:17 will determine the outcome.
18:19 We are encouraging you to focus on the strength
18:23 not the weakness.
18:24 Yes, there are times when you have to talk about the weakness
18:27 but remember, the way you talk about the weakness
18:30 will make a big difference in your marriage.
18:33 Family fun time-people rarely have time for fun these days.
18:38 In order to grow a healthy marriage we must take time
18:43 for some pleasure in the relationship.
18:45 That is true.
18:46 In one of my clinical sessions, I had a discussion with a father
18:53 who said he had very little, as a matter of fact, no time
18:57 for his son.
18:58 I gave him an assignment.
19:00 I asked him to take some time out during that week and go
19:04 and play with his boy.
19:06 It was amazing!
19:08 The following week, when they came back in session, how
19:12 the mother related to me the joy of the boy.
19:16 She related how he came in and was excited and telling
19:20 his mother all that daddy did.
19:23 He can catch the ball, he can hit the ball.
19:25 She said I've never seen him so excited.
19:28 That's what we are talking about.
19:29 Take time, make time.
19:30 As you cited that example, it reminds me of an advertisement
19:34 that I saw, where this woman, this mother, who is a
19:37 real estate agent is very successful in her trade.
19:40 That of course demanded much of her time.
19:44 Her little five year old daughter, on every demand,
19:47 was turned down.
19:49 She had no time to spend with her daughter.
19:51 On one occasion, her daughter asked, Mom can you accompany me
19:55 to some activity that she wanted her, and her mom had to cancel,
19:59 because she had an appointment with a client.
20:01 Her daughter turned to her mom and she said, Mom
20:04 how can I become a client?
20:06 That just broke my heart.
20:08 In essence, what her daughter was saying, was that her client
20:11 was getting a lot more of her time than she was.
20:16 Decision making-we're talking about growing healthy marriages.
20:22 One of the ways you can grow your marriage is to have
20:26 decisions being made on a democratic basis.
20:31 Talk to us on decisions being made in a democratic fashion.
20:36 The reality is in a family there are many people,
20:40 at least two people.
20:41 Sometimes three or four based on the amount of children
20:46 in that relationship.
20:47 Each person impacts the decision and should be considered
20:53 in the decisions.
20:54 Family members, in order to grow healthy relationships
20:58 really need to listen to each other, hear each other's ideas,
21:02 and ask for their opinion; their contribution to the decision.
21:05 That sometimes could impact more positively on the outcome.
21:10 You should not just bark out commands and impose commands.
21:16 We should listen and we should talk.
21:18 Staying totally committed to a relationship I think is a real
21:23 security in the relationship.
21:25 Knowing that I have knowledge of where we're going.
21:28 I am totally committed to this relationship.
21:31 Even if there is a challenge I am willing to find a solution,
21:35 but it's not my intent to walk away.
21:39 Knowing that I think really helps to provide security
21:42 in the relationship.
21:44 Many marriages are not growing simply because individuals
21:50 don't feel committed and secure in the relationship.
21:55 When we talk about being totally committed,
21:58 that means our entire being.
22:01 That's what God is talking about when he says
22:04 ...they two become one, that's total commitment.
22:07 One flesh... that's total commitment.
22:09 That's what God is expecting from each marriage.
22:12 It doesn't mean your marriage won't have challenges,
22:15 but when there are challenges, the goal is that we are working
22:21 to solve and resolve the problems
22:24 that confront the relationship.
22:25 Again, we are committed to make this work.
22:30 When each person, and the other members of the family,
22:33 get the idea that we're here to stay.
22:36 We're here to follow God's will.
22:38 We're here to commit to the longevity of this relationship.
22:41 Then we are likely to see positive results.
22:44 One of the complaints that I get from individuals
22:51 is their spouse does not show respect.
22:56 There is a lack of respect.
23:00 Talk to us about the level of disrespect in a relationship
23:03 and how that retards growth in a relationship.
23:06 I think it's human in general.
23:09 Anyone who is disrespected certainly will be offended.
23:14 In a relationship where love is supposed to be
23:18 a basic characteristic than disrespect should have no place.
23:24 Respect for ideas, respect for ideas and opinion, respect for
23:29 what you value...
23:31 Basically showing respect for each other.
23:34 This concept of living together means I have to value
23:40 and respect you as a person, and that's the least
23:43 you can do for me.
23:45 We keep talking about symbiosis.
23:47 That is the symbiotic relationship that God wants
23:50 us to have... respect for each other.
23:52 One other concept that I think is important is the notion of
23:56 providing for the family.
23:58 Ensuring that the family in order to grow have basic needs
24:02 and that these needs need to be catered to.
24:04 I find that many families are deprived of just the
24:08 basic essential and that to me is on some level
24:13 disrespecting the needs of your family.
24:15 Also, the problem solving skills of healthy marriages are good.
24:24 Problems ought to be dealt with as they come up.
24:28 Remember when we were doing that seminar somewhere,
24:33 in the question and answer period, a gentleman asked
24:37 how long after there's an argument should I make up
24:41 with my spouse?
24:42 I said the Bible says you should not allow the sun to go down
24:47 on your wrath.
24:48 He said, I know that but how long?
24:49 Before I could answer the wife responded, Tell him.
24:53 My husband takes a long time.
24:56 He responded, When I have a problem I need at least
25:01 two weeks before I settle down to talk to my wife again.
25:04 That's too long.
25:06 That is not a healthy thing to do at all.
25:08 As the Bible says, we ought to solve or fix our problems
25:12 and try to resolve it as quickly as we can.
25:15 The goal is to keep our marriages together.
25:17 How about willing to say, I'm sorry.
25:19 That is such a difficult thing for some people to do.
25:22 Yes, it is a very easy thing to do when you understand
25:26 the consequences of the injury that occurs when you hurt
25:31 each other.
25:32 So having the willingness to say Honey I'm sorry and mean it.
25:35 We should tell our listeners to grow a healthy family
25:40 avoid arguing in front of the children.
25:44 Sometimes we have this lack of impulse control
25:47 and we keep doing it.
25:48 We cannot afford to argue in front of the children.
25:51 It also allows the children to feel insecure,
25:55 and to feel unsafe.
25:57 In their world, Mom and Dad provide that nurturing
26:01 that nest.
26:02 If they get the notion that these two adults are going
26:05 at each other and are likely to run away from each other
26:08 then they are not sure where their lives are going.
26:11 Above anything else that we could say, in growing
26:14 a healthy relationship would be have meaningful family worship.
26:19 We cannot afford to be too busy or too tired, whatever it is.
26:25 We need to have family worship to grow the spirituality
26:32 of that relationship.
26:33 I think that is paramount.
26:35 Christ needs to be in the center of our homes.
26:38 The family altar must be erected.
26:42 Children must value the spiritual values we espouse.
26:47 We ought to ensure our little nest, our home,
26:51 is a little heaven on earth.
26:53 The challenge for parents is to be like Joshua.
26:57 It is our God given responsibility to command our
27:01 whole soul after righteousness.
27:03 Like Joshua said, As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.
27:08 In this day and age which we are living what better admonition
27:13 can we make, can we declare to our families the notion
27:17 that we will serve the Lord despite what's going on.
27:20 We will serve the Lord, despite what is happening.
27:23 This family, we're committed to serve the Lord.
27:26 That's the greatest asset in growing a family.
27:30 In God's Grace.
27:32 Let us pray, Father God we thank you for your love,
27:36 and we thank you for the families you have given us.
27:41 We ask for your strength, for your mercy, and your grace.
27:45 In Jesus' name, amen.