Participants: Alanzo Smith, June Smith
Series Code: MGH
Program Code: MGH000042
00:31 Welcome to Marriage in God's Hands.
00:33 I'm Alanso Smith, the host of this program.
00:37 I'm June Smith.
00:40 Today we will talk about progressive marriages.
00:44 But before we do that, I invite you to bow your heads with us
00:48 as we pray.
00:51 Our Father, we thank You for Your love and Your mercies.
00:54 We pray for every marriage today.
00:58 May Your Holy Spirit be with each couple and bless them
01:02 and allow their marriages to progress.
01:05 In Jesus name, Amen. Amen.
01:10 Progressive marriages, wow.
01:13 This is something that is very important to talk about.
01:17 Because there's a text in the Book of Genesis.
01:21 Genesis chapter 2 verses 21-24. Let's invite our audience
01:30 to read with us this text.
02:21 The beginning of the nuclear family in Eden.
02:25 After a family is formed, they cannot afford to remain static.
02:31 There should be growth and that's what we're talking about
02:35 when we say marriages must be progressive.
02:40 The concept of a marriage or a couple moving forward,
02:47 the whole though is marriages must not be static,
02:53 as you rightly said. But that marriages must be going
02:56 some place; there are plans, there are goals and both people
03:00 in the couple relationship are working together.
03:06 The thing about it is that marriages are a challenge
03:08 on every hand today. And so what we would like
03:12 to share with you today are some myths about marriages.
03:16 As a matter of fact, Dr. Arnold Lazarus in his book
03:21 Marital Myths, mentions 24 marital myths.
03:25 But we're going to look at just 2 of them.
03:27 One of them he says, a husband and a wife should do everything
03:33 together at all the time. That sounds exciting to me,
03:38 how that can be a myth.
03:43 Well think about it, to be practical really each individual
03:47 will have needs that they want to meet outside of each other.
03:53 Meaning, there are sometimes when the husband needs
03:55 to be off doing things that he needs to do.
03:58 Or the wife needs to be off doing things
04:00 that she needs to do. But it doesn't separate them.
04:03 It doesn't mean that they're not together.
04:05 They're one in mission. But they both have two
04:07 independent lives or two individual lives.
04:10 It's not logical and practical for you to do
04:12 everything together. I mean, you may have two
04:15 separate careers. It's just not logical,
04:17 not even healthy for the relationship.
04:21 So it is a myth when people think that everything they
04:24 should do together, and if one person is asking for time to
04:28 get to do something else, the other person could be very
04:30 annoyed or could think that you're not meeting my needs
04:33 because you're not assisting with this chore.
04:36 And we're not advocating exclusiveness.
04:38 There is togetherness in a marriage, but the operative
04:41 word here is always. You can't be always doing
04:44 things together. There must be some
04:46 independence and autonomy there.
04:49 So progressive, we're saying that in order for a marriage
04:52 to progress, individuals must have personal autonomy.
04:57 He mentions also that marriage should be 50/50.
05:00 It's a 50/50 relationship. Well, that also sounds good.
05:04 50/50, I bring 50 percent to the relationship and you bring
05:09 50 percent to the relationship.
05:11 Bam, we have a 100, perfect. What's wrong...
05:13 The reality is though, we should bring 100 percent of
05:19 ourselves to the relationship. So indeed, that's a myth.
05:22 Think about it, if I only invested or committed 50 percent
05:26 of me, of my time, my ideas, my resources, etc to our
05:31 relationship, what am I doing with the other 50 percent?
05:34 That could be in conflict with our goal and our mission.
05:37 So I support the notion that this is indeed a myth.
05:41 Although some people espouse that this is what
05:43 should be happening.
05:45 So, in progressive marriages then, we should experience
05:48 belonging not exclusion. There should be that sense of
05:53 belonging, because it gives you a feeling of self-worth and
06:00 togetherness and "I'm a part of this relationship
06:03 and I want to invest into it. A long term investment too
06:07 because there's this concept, there's this feeling of
06:09 belonging and I'm not excluded from the relationship at all. "
06:14 Another characteristic of progressive relationships
06:17 is the concept of comfort and tension.
06:21 The reality is, home needs to be a nest where individuals
06:27 in that family or in that relationship can be comfortable.
06:31 And so you want to be comfortable.
06:33 The sole notion of belonging tied in, you want to go home.
06:37 When you're leaving work...
06:40 It's like when I'm away from home, I look forward
06:43 to going home. There's belonging there.
06:45 There's comfort there. I love my home, no matter
06:48 where I go, I always look forward to going back home.
06:52 Because I feel this sense of belonging and you love me.
06:57 And I share that with you. But unfortunately, in some homes
07:01 there is a lot of tension and prolonged periods of tension.
07:05 And that excludes the concept of comfort and belonging.
07:09 So what we are saying is that in progressive relationships,
07:12 you want to create a sense of comfort
07:15 and not excessive tension.
07:18 Another duality that we could take about is the notion of
07:22 pleasure and pain. In progressive marriages,
07:26 there needs to be pleasure. Not pain, pleasure.
07:30 Often times, families are experiencing pain.
07:34 Too often, the relationship is not the relationship where
07:39 we are happy, we're enjoying it. And that's what marriages
07:43 should all be about. The notion of enjoying
07:48 your marriage. Be happy in your relationship.
07:50 Not a painful relationship.
07:55 Closeness and distance, power and weakness.
08:00 Those are issues that will come up.
08:06 Weakness and distance are negatives in a relationship.
08:12 Closeness and power are positives in a relationship.
08:18 Progressive marriages should experience power and closeness.
08:23 That's what it's all about.
08:25 Now what do we mean by power? The whole notion of each person
08:29 having some autonomy, some sense that "this is what
08:35 my mission or my role is in the relationship" and they can
08:38 execute this role competently.
08:42 Yes, and closeness: "bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh"
08:46 in their lives. But togetherness, that
08:49 is what God intends for the family.
08:52 Now in relating progressively, one concept that I think helps
08:56 is the notion of reframing. There are times when we see
09:01 things the way we see it through our lenses.
09:05 And sometimes, we have clouded lenses.
09:10 And our perspective or our perception may not be accurate.
09:14 So it is helpful for us to explore other options,
09:19 other possibilities. For example, if a wife is
09:23 expecting her husband to come home at a certain time
09:27 and he didn't show: he's late, he didn't call, it is likely...
09:35 She might get upset She might be fuming, steaming.
09:36 "Where on earth could he be. He promised that he was going
09:40 to be here at this hour. And look, he's late. "
09:44 She has supper fixed and he didn't show.
09:46 And they have to go off for an appointment.
09:47 She could be ranting and raving.
09:50 But we're talking about reframing.
09:52 How might she take that same situation,
09:55 that same lateness and reframe it to the point where
09:59 she's not upset, she's not getting mad, she's not throwing
10:02 a tantrum, but she's able to deal with the situation.
10:06 One thing she could do is begin to think that there might
10:08 have been a legitimate explanation for his lateness.
10:14 For example, it could be that there is a traffic jam
10:16 and he's tied up in traffic.
10:19 Or he could have had some extra chore at work and he got
10:21 bogged down and didn't get a chance to call.
10:24 But we may say, "Well why not call?"
10:26 But there's a possibility the cell phone could have gone dead.
10:29 He could have forgotten to charge it the night before.
10:32 What we are saying is that there are so many variables
10:35 that could have caused him to be late.
10:36 So if you take the situation and reframe it, you might not get
10:41 as flustered as you are just by seeking another possibility
10:48 as to what might happen.
10:51 Now let's look at the concept of how my marriage progresses
11:00 by what I say and how I, we call it sentence completion.
11:05 When we say things in positive ways,
11:08 it makes the marriage progress. For example, one way that I show
11:17 that you care for me is when I
11:25 get that foot spa and I
11:29 give you a good foot massage.
11:32 One way that I know that you care for me is when you
11:37 pay attention to me when I speak to you.
11:41 One way I know that you love me is when that night you
11:50 sewed up my pajamas and I went to put them on and I couldn't
11:56 push my foot in because you sewed them up.
12:00 One way that I know you love me is when you buy me
12:04 my favorite fragrances.
12:07 You know, I feel special when you cook me that lasagna dish
12:13 that you know I love.
12:15 I feel special when you have a surprise birthday party for me.
12:19 So what we are saying to our audience is that sometimes
12:23 when you say powerful uplifting sentences to your spouse,
12:32 it helps to make the marriage progress along.
12:36 We're talking about progressive marriages.
12:39 And we want to identify the concept of double binds.
12:43 Would you like to share with us how that works?
12:46 Well, double bind is when we send messages
12:51 that are confusing. And you know something?
12:54 I think we should talk about that after our break.
12:58 Because we're going to go into a break and that is very
13:01 powerful and awesome and I really want our audience to get
13:03 into it and to hear what we have to say about that.
13:05 So we're going to take a break. We're here talking about
13:10 progressive marriages. And we're encouraging
13:12 individuals to understand that from the day you say "I do",
13:16 that's not the end of the relationship.
13:18 You start growing. So we will be right back.
13:22 Don't go away anywhere. Stay right there.
13:24 We want you to hear what we have to say.
13:26 Because remember, marriage is not in your hands,
13:30 it's not in my hands. It is in God's hands.
13:45 There are many "How To" books available, but there's one
13:47 that's free and perfect for every couple.
13:49 "How You Can Build A Better Marriage"
13:52 Bible-based matrimonial advice is given in a
13:55 light-hearted, easy to read manner.
13:57 For those contemplating marriage, newly-weds,
14:00 couples in their golden years, and everyone in between.
14:03 Simply call or write for your free copy:
14:20 Welcome back to our program Marriage in God's Hands.
14:23 We have been talking about progressive marriages.
14:27 And at our break, we're just about to deal with the issue of
14:32 double bind messages. And we're saying, I'm saying
14:38 you're to avoid the use of double bind messages
14:42 in your marital relationship.
14:44 For example, "Forget I ever said it. "
14:48 Well, why did you say it in the first place?
14:51 Because once it is said, it's going to impact the relationship
14:56 one way or another. Alright, here's another one.
14:59 "Ignore these instructions. " But you gave the instructions.
15:04 It reminds me of an attorney in a court of law.
15:08 And he makes something, he makes a statement that he knows
15:12 he's not suppose to make. And so the judge, the other
15:16 attorney objects. And the judge says to the jury,
15:19 "Will you please disregard what the attorney has just said?
15:23 Strike it from the record. " Okay, it's stricken.
15:26 But guess what, the seed is already planted.
15:29 The idea is planted in the minds of the jury.
15:31 It has it's affect and that's why the lawyer did it.
15:34 And so we're saying in marriages, when you do that,
15:39 remember is has a negative connotation.
15:45 So double bind messages don't make for
15:47 progressive relationships.
15:49 Not at all.
15:52 Families experience reinforcement erosion.
15:58 Reinforcement erosion is a classical term that is used.
16:04 Simply meaning, families or couples who are married
16:09 for a long time. They somehow tend to
16:12 lose their ability to care for each other.
16:16 And to do nice things for each other.
16:20 It is said they get comfortable. They begin to take each
16:22 other for granted. You know when you're dating,
16:25 there is so much energy and even synergy
16:28 to the relationship. And you can tell these two
16:30 people are in love. But after people live together
16:33 for a while...
16:35 They lose the one flesh.
16:36 So that's what we're trying to encourage people to do.
16:39 To keep the passion and to keep the marriage progressing.
16:41 And not have it erode.
16:44 So there are solutions to reinforcement erosion then.
16:48 We hope so.
16:49 They're are. For example, you mention dating.
16:54 I think it's a good idea if we could go back to the notion
16:59 of dating. When we were dating,
17:02 I remember how special it was. The different things you
17:06 did for me and the many love letters you wrote me and wow.
17:11 And those things helped to build oneness and to build
17:14 communications and to get to know each other.
17:16 And so it is, after marriage we want to encourage couples
17:19 to keep dating each other.
17:22 So do we do that in our relationship?
17:23 We try.
17:24 Well, we more than try. You know you date me a lot.
17:27 You know I date you a lot too. I think that's beautiful.
17:31 So we want to encourage couples do things together.
17:34 Play together. Have fun time.
17:36 It's not all about work, work, work.
17:39 But we want to encourage people, couples, in order to progress
17:43 to take quality time together.
17:46 Take a break. There are some
17:47 people living in large cities and sometimes they are
17:50 stressed out with the demands of work and demands of church
17:54 and the demands of family life and all these different things.
17:58 But sometimes the two individuals must take
18:01 and make time for each other. Because that's important.
18:05 That's how the marriage will progress.
18:08 We're talking about things that you might do avoid or to prevent
18:12 reinforcement erosion. One of the ways to do that
18:17 is simply to spend time on the things that are interesting
18:23 to each other. So learn each other's interests.
18:26 For example, in my relationship with you,
18:28 I've had to learn lots of the things that you like.
18:31 Because I didn't particularly enjoy, for example watching
18:36 sports and some of the games that you like.
18:39 I know I taught you to love baseball.
18:40 Well, I'm trying. It's a work in progress
18:42 I would say. But that's the idea.
18:44 So the things that bring pleasure to each other,
18:48 you may have to put extra effort to make it happen.
18:52 But that's what a progressive relationship is about.
18:56 One of the things that I see us progressing in our relationship
18:59 with is walking together. Going for, not walk as in
19:05 exercise but walk as recreation. We just walk leisurely and talk.
19:12 And it builds the relationship. It strengthens the relationship.
19:15 And I'm encouraging you to do that.
19:17 Just go for a leisurely walk. By the beach, in the park,
19:21 around your neighborhood. Wherever it is safe and
19:24 convenient for you to go for a walk.
19:26 Just walk and leisurely talk. We're not in a hurry.
19:29 We're not discussing a problem. We're not trying to resolve
19:32 an issue. At the stage,
19:33 it's just talking about little flowery things.
19:37 Building the relationship.
19:39 One of the things I like is rehearsing and reflecting
19:43 on childhood memories. Learning about the way you
19:47 were when you were a boy. And I guess sharing
19:51 my stories as well. But I've listened to so many
19:55 of your stories that I can almost finish the sentence
19:57 now when you start them. But that's the idea.
20:00 That you want to learn about each other by
20:03 sharing some of these memories.
20:05 Dating memories and childhood memories are powerful.
20:10 I think I can tell you everything that happened to you
20:15 when you were a child. Simply because I've heard
20:19 the story over and over again. And the funny thing about it,
20:23 it's not boring. Every time you sit down
20:25 to talk to me or I'm talking to you, it's like
20:27 we're always there listening. And that is so important.
20:32 to the health and progress of a relationship.
20:35 Talk, talk, talk. Because remember,
20:38 the number one problem that was identified is communication.
20:42 People are not communicating. People are not talking.
20:45 And we're saying, don't wait until there's a problem
20:47 to start talking. Don't wait until
20:49 you're stressed out to start talking.
20:51 When things are going good, talk, and when you're able to
20:55 talk in the good times, when the rough times come and the
20:58 tough times, you're able to talk.
21:01 Because you've developed a pattern of communication.
21:03 Another thing I think is helpful to avoid erosion is
21:07 what we call avoid holding grudges.
21:10 If there's a conflict, if there's a challenge
21:12 in the relationship, deal with it now.
21:14 Try to settle it. Talk it through.
21:17 Work out the resolution and get to the other side.
21:21 Don't be a garbage bag. A garbage bag is something
21:24 that we keep dumping trash and garbage and things in,
21:27 just keep dumping. And it holds it until it's
21:30 filled up. And there are
21:32 some people that are filled up. They can't take in any more
21:35 and they're just there. We're saying no, no, no no.
21:38 For the health of the relationship, don't contain.
21:43 If there's an issue, and there will be, talk about it.
21:46 Work on it, get rid of it, move on.
21:50 That's the key.
21:51 You will not always be in each other's company.
21:54 Sometimes you have to go out of town.
21:56 Sometimes you have to go away on assignments.
21:58 But wherever you are, remember your spouse or your children
22:03 want to hear from you. So, we encourage couples
22:06 to check in, to communicate, to link when they're
22:11 in the absence of each other.
22:13 But what if I should say that, you know, I can't afford it.
22:18 It's hard to make a call, etc. That's not a viable excuse.
22:24 That's not a reason for not keeping in touch.
22:28 The reality is making a call call these days is really
22:30 not that expensive.
22:31 Especially with the internet.
22:32 So that we're saying couples need to take responsibility
22:36 to stay in touch. If you go to work for
22:39 the whole day, it would be nice sometimes maybe to send an email
22:41 or a text message and to check in a lunch break or
22:44 some other break that you have. Just so that you know what's
22:47 going on and your spouse gets the opportunity to share
22:51 with you what's happening in their work.
22:52 And of course, at the end of the day to sit together and debrief.
22:56 Talk about what happened in your work, please.
22:58 Talk about what happened on the travel back home.
23:01 And share what's going on in each other's world.
23:05 And I should never forget your birthday or your anniversary.
23:10 Never, never, never. That's a cardinal thing.
23:14 I will not forget your birthday.
23:16 I will not forget your anniversary.
23:18 And that's important to me, that's important to me.
23:22 Because those are special and significant days.
23:25 We were doing a seminar. It was a couples retreat.
23:32 And we asked the ladies to step outside.
23:35 And we were asking the men some questions.
23:39 And if you recall, we asked one man what was
23:42 the anniversary of his wife. Well, he thought for a moment
23:47 and he said something like February 12th.
23:50 So we wrote that down. When it was time to bring
23:53 the wife in, and she came in and we asked her what was her
23:59 anniversary date. She responded by saying
24:01 something like November 14th.
24:04 I remember that.
24:06 The date was wrong and the month, everything was wrong.
24:08 We cannot afford to allow that to happen.
24:11 We have to remember anniversaries, birthdays
24:14 and to make sure that we remember the right day.
24:18 And other special occasions.
24:21 Progressive marriages have some beliefs.
24:22 And when we understand that we are all finite limited
24:28 individuals, and that we make mistakes, the ability of
24:33 individuals to accept that and to understand it, that as we
24:36 progress along, there are times we will make mistakes.
24:38 And there are times when we will fail.
24:41 Because we're limited. We're finite.
24:43 But that does not destroy the validity and the
24:45 strength of the relationship.
24:47 I'm thinking of a concept that strengthens progressive
24:49 relationships is the thought that we see things differently.
24:54 We have different perspectives on our realities and it is ok.
25:00 That we come together and we are one in purpose
25:04 and one in mission. But we can accommodate our
25:07 differences and celebrate that.
25:10 Progressive marriages believe that even miserable situations
25:14 will get better. In other words, they're optimistic.
25:18 When individuals are in relationships, and they have an
25:21 optimistic view, that is helpful and healthy.
25:25 If I take a pessimistic view, "Well, it's not
25:28 going to get any better. Well, I don't think
25:31 we're going to make it. Well, I think we'll
25:34 have to break up. " We can see where that is going.
25:37 If we're optimistic, if we feel that "Well, yes it's rough now.
25:42 We're going through a storm. But after a storm,
25:44 there is a calm. " Yes, things can get better.
25:47 So we're saying our beliefs, the assumptions we make
25:49 in our relationships. For example, when we
25:52 think of the notion that we can respect our individual choices.
25:58 And we don't have to put each other in a box in order to
26:01 function, that we can create space for growth individually.
26:06 Then we are helping each other to become the best
26:10 they are capable of, and your marriage is likely to grow.
26:13 And no marriage can really progress unless Jesus Christ
26:21 is in the center of it. The Psalmist says, I invite you
26:25 to look at Psalm 127:1. Read with me, it says:
26:40 That is so true. God has to be the foundation.
26:44 God has to be the cornerstone.
26:46 There are many individuals who are progressing materially.
26:51 They are progressing financially.
26:53 They're progressing educationally.
26:55 All are forms of progression, but Jesus Christ is not
27:00 at the center of their home. And in truth, and in fact,
27:03 that's not progress. Because if Jesus is in
27:06 the family, what a happy home. But if He's not in that family,
27:10 no matter what we have, it means nothing.
27:14 I can think of 1 Thessalonians 5:7.
27:17 I invite you to read with me.
27:23 We want to take our challenges to God.
27:25 He is available and able to see us through our challenges.
27:30 So when we have barriers, or anything that would prevent
27:35 our marriages from progressing, let us remember to always pray.
27:40 And that's exactly what God is asking us to do.
27:42 No matter what, put it in His Hands.