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Marriage After God

Marriage After God

Author: Aaron & Jennifer Smith

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Marriage After God is a weekly marriage focused podcast hosted by Aaron and Jennifer Smith, authors of Husband After God and Wife After God and their newest book titled Marriage After God: Chasing Boldly After God's Purpose For Your Life Together. Marriage After God is intended to encourage, inspire and challenge marriages to chase boldly after God together and to cultivate an extraordinary marriage with each other. Stay tuned each week for awesome marriage encouragement. We hope that we can shine a light on why God has brought you and your spouse together and how you can pursue His purpose for your life and family with joy and excitement.
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Jesus Is Our Passover

Jesus Is Our Passover

2021-03-2201:07:49

As Passover and easter approach we wanted to share how Jesus Himself has fulfilled the Passover feast in his life death and resurrection. In this episode, we share how the different elements of the Passover feast align with the life of Christ and we show how He fulfilled all of it. The feast is merely a shadow but He is the substance.
Speaking of the end of days we wanted to tell you about a movie that we recently watched that was really exciting and encouraging. It shares about how the return of Christ is like a Galilian wedding. marriageaftergod.com/btwhttps://amzn.to/2Oj4PrB
What do we believe? The answer to this question will explain why we do certain things, or why we remain in certain sins. It will show us why we chose certain attitudes and behaviors. Why we treat people the way we do or ourselves for that matter. What we believe matters and if we are believing lies then we will walk in lies. If we believe the truth then we will walk in freedom and power. What do you believe?
We want to invite you to take our 31-day marriage prayer challenge. These are made possible in part by our faithful prayer team patrons. Datenightconversations.com READ TRANSCRIPTWelcome to the "Marriage After God" podcast. We your hosts, I'm Aaron. And I'm Jennifer. We've been married for 14 years. And we have five young children. We started blogging over 10 years ago sharing our marriage story in hopes of encouraging other husbands and wives to draw closer to God and closer to each other. We have authored over 10 books together including our newest book "Marriage After God" the book that inspired us to start this podcast. "Marriage after God" has a message to remind all of us that God designed marriage with a purpose. To reflect his love. To be a light in this world. To work together as a team. Using what he has given us. To build his kingdom. Our hope is to encourage you along your marriage journey. As you boldly chase after God together. This is "Marriage After God". Hey everyone, welcome back to another episode of the "Marriage After God" podcast. We're are Aaron and Jennifer Smith, your hosts. I hope you have an awesome week. I just wanna start off by sharing a little thing that I'm doing with the van, Jennifer. You're going to tell him about the van? The van. Okay, but it was my idea, like give me a little credit. It was definitely your idea. So we love to drive which we'll talk about in the actually today's episode. I have a normal van. Like it's not a minivan. It's not a, what is it? Well, people call it... They call it, it's the full size. It's a Ford transit, it's a big old boy, it's huge. It's got all the seats you could want. For all the kids. But you know what it doesn't have until now, a toilet. But I put a toilet in that van. And the reason we did that is because we like to drive. We like to go on road trips, especially with all the kids. It's so easy to, that's how we go see our family. Yeah. We get in the car and we drive But it takes us like 15 hours to get there. So imagine being on the road with five kids, that's a lot of bathrooms stops and sometimes that's all we're stopping for. And so I told Aaron, we need a bathroom in here even if it's like something easy to sit on and... And it is, and so I've been work. Something I've been doing as a hobby is work at building vans. And so I took my van and I built this box out in the back and I put a toilet in there today. He showed me today, it actually looks really awesome. I'm really excited to use it this spring, summer, fall. All of our adventures. I told them, even if we go. It's gonna change everything. Even if we go to the lake for the day. Imagine how nice it will be when we're out on an adventure and even though we're kind of close to home we don't have to rush home. If someone has to use the bathroom, we can use that. And you're gonna put like a handheld shower thing. There is gonna be a hot water shower in the back? Not like to take a full-blast shower in the van. We can rinse the kids off. We can rinse the boards off. We can, it's just gonna be awesome. So cool, guys I'm stoked about it. I'm pretty proud of myself. I have a friend helped me and we're doing a pretty good job and it's coming out nice. So this is totally in our van now. Called the adventure wagon. Yeah, it's awesome and it fits all the kids. Plus one, if we needed another seat. Oh, interesting. Okay, moving right along. Guys we just want to thank you for being our share warriors. Aaron likes to mention that every week and I think it's an amazing thing that you guys have been sharing your episodes and it's just been a huge encouragement to us but it's also just a great way to get the news out or the the word out about the "Marriage After God" podcast. And so we just wanted to say, thank you, and. Before you move on to that part. Okay. I just wanna say we don't always do this but if you do share about our podcast to social media, we might repost it. Like if we catch it on time. Yeah, because we like to do that and it's really cool seeing people do it. So just a little . Okay, second part we don't always do but I wanted to take some time out to personally shout out a specific family who I think is probably listening right now. And it started with some friends of ours who I just wanna say these friends have been such an encouragement to us and we really appreciate them. So Stan and Jessica and I know you're gonna be listening to this episode. Thank you for being our friends. Thank you for all the personal encouragement that you have poured into our lives, especially about the podcast because you have asked us about it, asked us how it's going. You've asked us how you can help in any way that you can. So I just wanna say thank you to them. But I also wanna say hi to all of their extended family because I know you're listening to just actually sent me a screenshot of one of their families, group texts showing how they were sharing the episode on love. And she was sending it as an encouragement to me. And I just thought how sweet that they're all listening and talking about it. And then I see, I see her sister on social media shared every once in a while. So thank you to all of you who are listening and specifically Stan and Jessica's family. We appreciate you, we love you guys. All right, as usual we have a free thing that we want to promote to you guys. We love making these little resources and this one's been up for a while, but we haven't talked about it for awhile. It's our date night conversation starter download. It's totally free, and we came up with all these date night conversations, starters. So you can take them. You can go on a date and pick one of the topics and use it to start a conversation. But you don't have to go on a date to use it either. I mean, you could do that... You could sit at the table. In front of the fireplace. But dates are awesome. Yeah, true. So you should, you should use this as an excuse to go on dates with your spouse. Hey, like I have to. Yeah, so all you gotta do is go to datenightconversations.com all one word, datenightconversations.com. And it's completely free. You just fill out a little form and you download the little print out and print it out and you got all these conversations starters. All right, we're excited to share today's topic with you guys. We are gonna be talking about just a whole handful of ways that you can have fun as a family. And we think that it's really important to talk about episodes like this. They're not as heavy as the ones where we dive into scripture and we're talking about... Well let's go back and forth. Yeah. Serious, funny, light, yeah. And I think that this one's important because we're getting into a different season. So lighter weather and warmer weather, hopefully but moving on into summer, you know just getting some ideas out there to say, hey, are we, are we having fun here. But you have a note here it says, this is our funnest episode. And I actually thought, it said the funniest episode. And I was thinking, why is this gonna be so funny funny episode funniest, we should do a funny episode. This is like one of those kinds of episodes that just super inspiring. Like, I hope you walk away from it just going, like I want to do everything that was on their list. Yeah, and then we should redo everything. Then we should go back and read it. Why, and we're also gonna share about why it's important to create a fun atmosphere regardless of what you may be going through because joy. Because joy. We're Christian and we believe in God and he is our source of joy and so. We shouldn't make a shirt that just says, because joy. Because joy. Exclamation mark. Also, if you hear the word family and think, well this doesn't apply to me because we don't have any children. Let us encourage you that your spouse is your family. So if you're listening, remember this it only takes two to make a family. That's true, that's true, that's true. Should have called this the quote episode 'cause I have a few more good ones to share with you guys. Okay, but if you're listed, if you happen to be listening and you're not even married yet, I also wanna encourage you that you're still part of a family, if you... Family of God. Yeah, the family of God and and there's families within that family. And so you can, there's always people who spend time with and have a good time with, so. You can adapt this episode and adjust the ideas to create your, your fun with whoever you spend time with. It's true. Okay. And some people are just really good at having fun. I know, they don't even have to think about it. I know. We have to think a little bit about it but that's okay. And for those of them that are, those of them, those that are out there that are like us this is gonna be fun 'cause it's just some ideas and it's definitely not an exhaustive list but some stuff that we tried out this year. So we just hope that this episode encourages you and we hope this creates just some creative conversations in your relationship, right. Yeah, and if we learn anything from 2020 I don't know about everyone else but we learned how to have a lot more fun at home in the nature. And we did that. Yeah. And also last episode we talked extensively about building a strong marriage. And in this episode, it's kind of an extension of that conversation. True. Cause we've, we always talk about this that you gotta be able to have fun. Enjoying each other along the way. Enjoying each other delighting each other, being friends with each other. So what do you do with friends? What do you do with people like? You spend quality time together. Often doing fun things. Build memories. Yeah. Yeah, I like that. I also wanna note before we get into some of these ideas because I never want people to, you know, cringe or get a little like, oh, I can't do that because of finances. And so if you hear us say something. That might cost money. That might cost money. I just want you to understand that everyone's gonna be in a different place and might take that idea and do it a different way and do it within their means and do it how they can. And so what I don't want you to do is hear the list that we're gonna share with you and say, well I can't afford that or I can't do it or we can't take the time or we can't fill in the blank. Because those are just negative thoughts and they justify upfront why you can't participate in having fun in these ways. But what you can do is just take this basis of an inspiration and create your own thing and do it in your own means. So I just, I just wanted to encourage you there, It's actually, it's actually beautiful that we can't all do the same things all the time. Our limitations help create diversity in our families and in the body of Christ and that's a good thing. Yeah, we're all, we're all in different places in our lives. Different walks, all for the same purpose for Christ. But yeah if we all don't do the same things and that's okay. That's good, it's all good. So Aaron, we were just gonna jump into kind of a list of fun things that we've done as a family or our friends have done as a family, just you know, to give them inspiration. So do you want to kick, kick it off? Yeah, this is one that I I've kind of been waiting for. We've been doing it and sprinkling it in here and there but now it's at the point where we can't get away from this. Well, so we when we got married, we we loved spending time with our friends and playing games, board games. And we had one kid Elliot, and it was awesome. And then we had two and then we had three. And what happened is we had the shift of like we couldn't do often like have game nights. We just, that's the phase of life we're in. Like you and me or us with the kids or what do you say? You and me with our friends. And so just, I mean, we wouldn't stay out late. We just, our way of doing things changed. And our kids were so little that we could do some things with them but not to the extent of like actual strategic games. But now we've, we've hit a little landmark. I don't know what you call it but Elliot and Olive I think we mentioned it before now that they can play games now. Yeah. And they love it. And that's what I meant by we can't get away from it because they beg us every night, "Can we please stay up after you put the boys today?" I wanna play a game with you. Yeah, we wanna play games all the time. But better than that, like they they'll play with our friends too. And so we're kind of now in this transition where we're going back to being able to play games with our friends and with our kids, oh man. It's so good. Unfortunately they're really good at it and it's frustrating 'cause. I know. They win a lot but that's awesome. So we grabbed a few classic games for the kids at Christmas. Do you remember those, "Guess Who". Oh, and they love that game. Yeah. Yeah, and it's such a simple game. So if you don't, if you have young kids guess who's an easy one to, for them to grasp. Yeah. It's fun. And then we got one recently. I think we've mentioned it in another episode but "Cover Your Assets". I know it seems kind of funny to say but it's a card game and it's super lighthearted and easy Super easy to learn. And it's really competitive and really fun because you build up these assets and you're trying to get as much as possible. And then someone can just boom, take it. Kind of like in a war, yeah you get to challenge each other, it's super fun. So game night, we wanted to start with game night because that's one that you invest in kind of upfront but then you have your closet full of games that you go to as a family and those are the ones you bring with you. If you go on a trip where to grandma's house or whatever. And so just building a family culture where you experienced games together. Well, another thing we like to do is a tent camping. We've done that only in the last five years. I don't think I ever did it when I was a kid. I did. Yeah, I did tent camping when I was growing up. And we did in Africa when we were first married. Yes, and that left a, not the greatest taste but I think I learned. Oh, it was fun. I learned to get it back with our kids because tent camping is awesome. I think something that's super memorable to me when I was a kid but also even now that we're making memories with our kids is just how you go to bed, you know, bundled up but it gets really, really cold in the middle of the night. And you're just like half asleep looking for extra blankets or sleeping bags. And when you have to go to the bathroom and you're like is there any animals out there? I heard like a little noise in the thicket and you have to go out and do it anyway. Yeah, the other fun, memorable thing is just, you know building fire pits at night and then smelling them in the morning. I always, always loved that smell. And then sitting around it in the morning it's cold and you're sitting around a fire. I love having a hot cup of coffee. That's true. Even smelling bacon, cooking on the barbecue but the kids love it because they can run around and just, you know. Get dirty. Yeah, get dirty, throw rocks, play in the creeks, throw sticks, they love it. Okay, so some of these examples that we give you guys today we'll also have options for. So the option here would be, maybe you can't get out to go tent camping but you can tent camp in your backyard. And we did this this last year. Which is a great alternative. It was so fun. It was so fun, things. There's usually not big animals in the backyard. I was gonna say things stayed a lot cleaner 'cause like usually the tent gets dirty and stuff like that but it was nice 'cause it was just on our grass and we had access to a really nice bathroom And shower usually the kids go to bed first and then I sneak into the, go take a shower. It was really fun. So tent backyard camping is good. What else do we like to do outdoors that's fun? I don't know if it's necessarily out doors, I guess kind is road tripping. We like to... That is outdoors. I guess we're in a car. Okay, we're indoors outdoors. Yeah, we'd like to, we'd like to drive places with our family 'cause we get to see a lot of things. We get to move, I don't know, we like driving. Yeah, we do like driving. We like to go and visit places. Think of things like a botanical garden. What's a botanical? A botanical. They are way better than botanical gardens. Or a historical site, you know, something that maybe you looked up along. We've had that's some really interesting like little pull, pull offs. Like you look on the map and you're like, Hey, there's this thing we need to go to and it's like, it's like the sidewalk roadside attraction but we're like. Yeah, sometimes we're way off, you know. Well we thought it was but they're often like really unique, weird things that you would never find This last summer, we went to one of those vortex houses. That was the one I was thinking about. Yeah, that was strange. I'm trying to tell you in your head, everything's like sideways and weird and we're in a vortex. That was fun our kids remember those things. Okay, and then while you're, while you're on the road trip you can play games, you know, old school games. Like we play the yellow car game and so anytime someone sees yellow car they get points for that. Yellow car. Yeah, "I Spy" is another one. And then if you see a yellow Camaro you win. That's like the winning point. In our house. I mean our car. The "ABC Game". So you can do this with just about anything that your family is interested in. We've done it with produce before where we go. Okay, so one person has a, they say apples the next person says. Bananas. Okay, you get the point. We've done it with people's names. The thing about road trips is junk food. That's a personal favorite of mine. Smoking bacon and junk food. And candy, candy bacon has really good. Your options for each of these is just like what snack goes with it. Well, I base all of our adventures off of what we're gonna eat. You're funny. Oh, I have a little note here. Having fun going on road trips can also include a visit to grandparents house or other family members. And those are often the simplest road trips for us. And then our kids love it 'cause they just get to spend all day, every day swimming or playing with grandma and grandpa or whatever and they love it. Speaking of road trips, this last year we got to go to a few national parks. And so if you happen to be close to one that's a great way to have fun as a family and just get outside and adventure together. But if you aren't close to one maybe taking time to plan out that trip. Yeah, yeah, it can be affordable. Just drive to one, go get the little pass for the day. I don't know, it depends on how far the air, I guess. Yeah. Spent a few days there. We wanna go back and see some more national parks that was actually a lot of fun. What park was your favorite this last year. Yellowstone of course, because of all the animals we got to see, which by the way we didn't see the animals until like the second to last day but it was awesome. But I really loved glacier and I want to go back to glacier and spend more time there. We didn't spend, I don't think we spend enough time there. Glacier was really cool. Also on that trip, we got to go fishing and we had, you know, gathered up some fishing poles And try fishing. It was a little cold for the kids. And so it got hard and then had baby Edith in the ergo on me and so I was a little bit worried with Wyatt having a fishing pole and Eliot working with the hook, you know. So I stayed back I didn't help you much. Yeah, well we didn't catch anything either but it was still fun when it was like on this little shore with rocks and casting it in and like get it reeling it in it was fun. Yeah, I think for fishing, the fun thing about fishing is just spending that time together and all the little intricate details of, you know, what it requires. Putting the bait on the hook and then like then casting it out and just holding it. Like they just love that stuff. Yeah, cool, we should do that more this year. Something that we do a lot as a family is we love like beaches. We love the sand. I was gonna say anything with sand. So lakes, rivers, oceans. We love going to the coast. Like we can go and just literally sit all day and the kids will just dig holes in the sand, make little same castles, go find shells draw in the pictures in the sand. They just love it. We don't even really go swimming. We just sit on the beach. We, our coast is the Oregon coast now and it's just, it seems like every time we go it's really cold and windy, even though we've gone different times throughout the year. And so we just make sure I pack up, you know sweat pants suits like sweaters and they bundle up and they go out there and play still. So they're happy campers. And then we got one day one time where the sun was out and the so the ocean was cold, but it was like low tide. And so the water was really far out and there's like these little pools leftover that were warm. And that was actually a lot of fun. We just sit there like shallow. So we just like sat in these little pools of warm beach water. It was a fun. So getting outside, you know, doing adventures it honestly even, I mean, for us, Aaron having fun as a family could be as simple as walking, you know in the evening around the neighborhood or exploring local parks and local trails. We've done that a lot. Going for walks around the neighborhood. It gets energy out for the kids. It's also just a different scene. It's like a different, like they're if they're in the home all the time or especially this last year just going and getting out. And like today I just took the kids to the park. Yeah. And they ran around and were playing and jumping on the slides and they loved it. I think if you have older children doing maybe a more more intensive height could be fun. You know, something that really challenges you guys to get up that mountain or hill or whatever it is. Yeah, to the peaks. Yeah, and see some really awesome views and I think for, I just wanted to share for, you know if you have younger kids something that I've been doing recently with our children is when we're out in nature we'll do these scavenger hunts where I get really energetic and I'm like, okay, everybody and everybody and mommy's going to count to three. And then I'm gonna say something and you have to go find that thing and then bring it to me. So, you know, I'll have them all count to three and they're getting all pumped and excited. And then I'll say, you know, pine cone or something green and they have to rush to go get it, go find it. I've done it before. Like find me a red leaf and they have to find me a red one and then a yellow one and then a green one and just. Oh, four is easy. Yeah, different things that they have to look for but at the speaking of scavenger hunts it makes me think of, do you remember a long time ago we did Geocaching? Yeah. I don't know if that's still a thing. That's probably a bunch of geocaches all over the world that no one even knows about anymore. If you guys don't know what geocaching is just Google it. Yeah, it's like it's like hide and seek for little items around the, all around the world though. That would be fun to do as a family. Yeah, yeah 'cause I'm sure there's one probably right around the corner from your house. Okay, the next thing that we wanted to share was just very simple but family movie night. This one also comes with options. So you could do forts it's in a movie. So a big sheet for pillow fort. I've seen on Instagram someone else recently posted a pillow pool. So they get to pick between a pool or a fort and the kids picked a pool and I'm like, what is that? And it was just a bunch of blankets and pillows in the living room and they all jump. Like a pile. Yeah, huge pile. That sounds really comfortable. That sounds fun. And then maybe I was just gonna say maybe added in a fun snack, like popcorn. Yeah, we've also done a movie on the ceiling where I set up my projector pointing it straight up and all the kids lay down on pillows and with blankets on the floor. They really love that. And they just they're looking at, and it's like weird. And so they love that and they love the weird like we're looking up at the ceiling watching a movie and it's usually a huge and all awkward because it doesn't get, it's not square on the ceiling. I also feel like for some reason it's something that they forget about. And so when we say, oh, we should do the projectors tonight. They get really excited about it. They do. And it's like, they forget and then they remember how fun it is. And if you don't have a projector, you can actually find them really cheap on Amazon. And you get these little small ones. They may not be the highest quality but at least it's fun. The kids won't care, they'll watch it. All right, so we mentioned this next one on one of the previous episodes in this season on delighting in each other. Do you remember this? Yeah. Why don't you go ahead and share. It's one of your favorite things. The kids love it, no I do. Dance parties, just get on some goofy, fun like dance music. And be silly. And you just dance. And what's really funny is all of the kids dance. Druid is the best. Like in my opinion he just sits there and he does, he has this you can't see how I'm doing it but his hips move. And like, he like hops around the house and like he flicks his hands. Like he's cleaning some off his pants. Do you think Druid's moves are the best part about that? But I think it's his facial features. He contorts his face and just directs, his jaws to the side and his nose screenshot. And you know, he's just having a good time. And the Elliot, like hardcore dances, like banging his head and like jumping around and then all of his, like, ballerina. it doesn't matter what the song is. She's like Ballerina by herself in her own ballerina world in circles and twirling and. Everyone's got their own little way. Yeah, it's it's really funny actually. So dance party, super fun. Another thing that kind of involves music, Aaron is when our kids love putting on a show for us with instruments and as they get. They just make it up as they go. They kind of make it up as they go and they have a lot of fun doing it. And so over the years, we've tried to invest or accumulate musical instruments, even though Aaron and I are not musically inclined at all. No background here but I did take lessons for a short while on piano and I, I was starting to pick it up. So I wanna stay doing that. But our kids put on a show. So they'll like have fun just making up songs, singing, dancing, playing the piano. Well, and because we went through a season of piano Elliot's done, has he done two recitals now? And I think, did Olive, do one? Olive didn't get to do the recital part but she's been picking it up and learning. But they saw how recitals work because we bring the kids to watch. And so when they do it, they'll they'll say I want everyone to sit down and they'll say, hi my name's Olive and Smith. I'm five years old and I'm going to play and then she just makes up a song. But it's now turned into like a band show where she'll then introduce all of her brothers and all of their ages and what song they're gonna be doing. And it's just super fun. So for those of you out there who have musical talent and knowledge and you guys are already probably doing this as a family I bet you have a lot of fun. So for anyone. It's probably match more musical. For anyone that maybe this sounds interesting and you have a musical instrument laying around you can play around with that or I don't know. So I actually did this today. We have like my, my. You did everything today. Yeah, my parents gave us a karaoke machine. God bless their souls. And so Elliot was on the microphone. All of had the electric guitar, Wyatt was on the, Wyatt and Edith were on the our little electric drum set. It's like this little thing that we got on Amazon, but Edith was literally lik hitting the. I'm only surprised because I know how much she really loves the microphone. Yeah, but she wasn't, she was drumming and it was so fun. It was fun, it was loud. It was like a big metal band. I don't know why they were playing like rock and roll. So funny, I think it's just a big noise making session and we love it. We love spending that time together For extended periods of time. Another way you can have fun with your family is building stuff as a family, creating something maybe it's a garden box. I'm sure we'll talk about that later but building a tree house, we have a tree house in the backyard. And you always let the kids, when you're in the process of making it, you let the kids participate here. So here Wyatt hold this hammer or. Or get up there with us to paint or to be up there while I'm building and it's just exciting. We did this other thing where the kids wanted to start saving money. And so we had all these Mason jars for them 'cause we did the three, you know, save, spend we give and you built boxes for them so that they had. We had Elliot go cut like the wood and then I used a nail gun and he would hold it, and we were, we made, he helped make, make all of them And they loved it they loved the whole process. And then we took them outside to paint them and so each one looks a little bit different and they got to be creative with that. So I think making projects together as a, it's just a fun family affair Along the lines of building here's some ideas to make your home more fun. Just having fun things like a tree house, a tire swing. If you have the right tree for it. I wish I had a tree that we had to put a tire swing on. That'd be awesome we don't a bird house, a trampoline. For those of you like the danger of ramblings. We had a friend who had a big dirt pile who let their kids have, you know those plastic dinosaurs, all different shapes and sizes. So it was like a dyno pit. And then we had another friend who did a fairy garden. And so there's a lot of different options for, you know what your kids are interested in to make different parts of your home or backyard, you know, a fun zone. I don't know, I think these are great, great ways to spend time outside with them and having with them. Yeah, one thing I wanna add someday is a zip line. Well, we went to a friend's house. He had a zip line and ever since then the kids keep talking about it too. Well, I keep talking about, 'cause I want the zip line. One day we'll have the zip line. We will do zip line one day. So another way that you guys can spend time together as a family is, you know, do you remember growing Aaron, it was getting into the evening and we'd turn all the lights off and play hide and seek or sardines. I remember those are some of my favorite memories as a child. And our kids love playing it. No matter the fact that, that we know all the hiding spots in the house now they still want to play it and they still go hide in those spots. And then I guess I enjoy pretending I don't know where they're at. It's fun and then actually every once in a while I can't find them. And I'm like, okay, how did you, where are you at? And then they like totally tricked me. So don't forget about those, those kinds of older games. And you know, maybe you guys, you listening can think back to your childhood and what memories you had and just bring those games back with your family. Reinvent them. Yeah, make them your own Some other things our kids love to do is make paper airplanes, not all of them but Elliot, specifically, all of we'll do it. They get intense about it. Our house is like the trying to make these, you know which one's gonna go faster, which ones look the coolest. Or how am I gonna tweak this and what's gonna happen. Then we just have paper airplanes everywhere in the house. Another thing that we like to build together, Legos. So I know there's some serious Lego builders out there. I consider myself a, I just really like it. You like Legos, yeah. I do. And all of our kids love Legos on different levels. Elliot has his way of doing Legos. Olive has her way. Her princess way. Wyatt's just now been getting more and more into Legos for for the first time, which is really cool. And then Druid, just tags along, whatever else is doing. I thought I put the boys down for a nap, you know like two or three days ago. And I walked my Wyatt's room and I could hear, I could hear like little it almost sound like a little mouse. And so I peeked through the door and Wyatt looks up at me with these big eyes, like. You got caught. Yeah, you got caught. And he's like, sorry, mom. I just, I had to build this. And he pulls up this like, you know it looked like a big Triton thing Like a sword, he makes like a swords or like fliers or yeah, weapons. But he just had a blast doing that. So building Legos together, you could even set up a competition if you wanted to. You know, who can build the best house or tower. Bridge, airplane, space ships. As a family flying kites, I don't know if it's how much talent is involved in this but. We have attempted a couple of times. Yeah, just getting a cheap kite and then wowing the kids with get senior. If you can get it to fly in the air, playing chess and learning chess. You and I like this one. I made the note of learning chess because I'm more of a learner when it comes to chess. But it's, it's like, this is a good one for like a one-on-one with one of your, your little guys or your older kids too. And it allows for time to talk and to be strategic which is a good thing. Okay, so something we did last year, that was really fun was we found a company in town that could rent these virtual. Oculus, if you haven't heard of it. It's called Oculus? Yeah, it's a. But it's virtual reality? 3D goggles, yeah you put them on. So you rent these goggles and we got two of them. And so two people could got the same time and you put them on and it's like, you can see, you can see in 3D and you have these wands in your hand and you're like playing the game. And so you might think, how is this a family oriented thing but it is because everybody else who's not playing is just sitting there watching you. You guys, when I tried it. You're waving in the air. Oh when I tried for the first time I actually fell, it was so disorienting. You make sure that you have like cushions around you. Yeah, but it is, that was really fun. The all and all of the kids liked it. And there was, of course there's games that we don't play but there's the simple ones that it was like you're flying. Or cutting fruit in half. Or you're cutting fruit in half and have you had an Ninja. There's one where it was like an office space. Wyatt love the "Ninja Fruit" by the way. Yeah, there was one that I kinda got into that was like an office space. And you could just go around and push buttons on the computer or the fax machine or pour a cup of coffee. And it was like, this is so strange 'cause it feels like you're really doing it and we just rented those for the day. I would say that again. Yeah, I would do that again too. Also speaking about that kind of style of fun video games and if you can pick one that's multiplayer Yeah, like or "Mario Cart". Yeah. You know, the games that you can play with, with your family. Okay. I was trying to look, I was like, what is this. So I put the note on here "Measure Game" but Aaron you're gonna have to explain this. So my, I have my like every household have a tool in the house and all my kids are like, "Can I just play it that tool?" And I'm like, no, you can't just play with the tool. One of them is my tape measure. And so I have a tape measure sitting there and all of my kids wanna play with my tape measure. They're fun, you pull this tape on and like slides back. And we're always terrified it's gonna hurt them. And finally, I just came up with this game where I would have all the kids go in the bedroom and I would measure something in the in the living room. Like the arm of the chair. Or like the length of the couch or the size of the, the how wide the door is. And I would, they come back and I said, okay you guys need to find something that's 42 inches, long, 42 inches. And then they go around the house, around the living room with the tape measure, trying to measure and find the thing that's where they'll find something that's like 40 inches. And I'm like, is it this? I'm like, well, it's 40 inches. It's 42 inches. And it was actually a really clever game and the kids love it. Like they just they'll run around and try and figure out is it the picture frame, is it the door? And it also is like an educational game. It's just, they're like, they're learning how to measure things and what, you know, working with numbers. And so that was interesting and fun. People listening with like 12 and 13 year olds are going that would never work like. They're just, our kids are little and they just get really wowed by simple things like that. But again, you can always adapt this to make it. I don't know to be honest, I think they'd be surprised. They should try this before they're 13, 14, 15 year olds to be like, okay. We have this really fun game. If you can find the thing, that's 32.7 inches I'll give you a dollar. Yeah. I think, I think they'll go around measure stuff. It's definitely the door knob it's not the door knob, no, it is the door knob. Along this line of like, you know, guessing game I came home one time and found a random kind of like shriveled up piece of paper on the table. And it looked like a map of our house. And I was like, what is this? And one of the kids told me it was a treasure map that you had drawn up for them. And you ha you were playing another game with them where they had to like go and find something according to the map that you had drawn. I think I put something under some rocks somewhere. So that's another fun thing you can do. Yeah, and then they had to, they had to follow it based off of the drawing. Like there was like a picture of a tree they're like, oh that tree is over there. And they're like, well, how far from the tree is it Okay, so moving on a couple of other fun things that you can do as a family is something creative or artistic. So getting the paints out, you know and this could be as simple as finger painting all the way up to like get some oil paints out or acrylic and buy a canvas you know, for each person in the family and do something really special that way. But Aaron, something that we, our family really likes is there's a tutorial guide on YouTube and the kids love it. And so we'll just stick that on and everybody will get a sheet of paper and. We do it with them because of course it's YouTube and we try to be safe. But the, the channel itself is totally safe. We're just not sure about the commercials and whatnot but we'll sit with them and they literally will learn how to draw something for the first time and they follow it. And then if they're like, they can just start over. They can put it on slow Mo to watch it in slower. And they they've learned to draw a lot through watching tutorials. Okay, so the next kind of group we have here is having fun with food ideas. So this my category. Yeah, here we go, bacon. I like food . So having a baking day. A bacon day? No, baking in general. No, you said bacon day. Baking everything. And this, this can be for special holidays, like think of Thanksgiving coming up and you set time aside to do that or could just be for no random reason. Wait, just for a random reason. Yeah. That you any random reason that you wanna bake with your kids. Maybe bake to bring some treats to people from your church to bless your neighbor with. That would be awesome. Yeah. And I think what I also think about with this one is creating a fun family dinner idea that maybe is unusual for your family. I can't think of anything specific right now but let's say you guys are used to getting pizza. Well instead of getting pizza, make pizza and make it your own. Yeah. So find a special way that your, you know your family is gonna like that thing that you yeah. Make bacon on top of the pizza. Yeah. It's gonna come up a couple more times. Something else fun that I did last year was for lunch, our lunches are usually pretty simple, you know a sandwich quesadilla things like that. But I thought are I wanna make this a fancy lunch and so I got, however many cake stands, I could find, I lit candles, I got a bunch of different types of finger foods and fruits and cheeses, like grapes and carrots and hummus and I may just this feast. Was it called, like a charcuterie? No it was . Yeah, it was, but they got to pick whatever they wanted. Yeah, and so then I, yeah, I kind of they were outside playing anyway. It's actually a really good lunch. I called them in. Nuts and apple slices and dried fruits and it was really good. It was really good and they came in, I'm like, they were so confused. They were like, what is this with the huge smile on their face. And I said, you guys can make your own plates get whatever you want, have fun with it. And they had a blast and so. And they all of it. Yeah, that's a fun idea. Something else you could do is a scavenger hunt. We've done this Aaron where we leave notes around the house and they have to go from one place to another. And then on the back of the last sheet of paper, you know tell them where you. Reveals the thing that yo are doing to. Either, what you're gonna have for lunch or where you're gonna go for dinner. You know, you can be fun with it Surprise them with Chick-fil-A. Scavengers hunts are fun. Another thing that Jennifer you've been getting into this over the last several years in loving this is gardening. Oh yeah. And all of our kids get into it and I've got it, you have me making garden boxes, getting soil and. I lightly suggest that you maybe help me. No, it's fun 'cause we like one of our going back to the whole, you know going out and doing like little road trips. One of the things that we love to do is going to nurseries. Yeah. And we walk around and the kids get into the carts and we look at all the plants and I'm like, oh, that tree's awesome. I want one of those trees, yeah. Or you know, we were particularly like fruit trees. And so we're often just looking at fruit trees and you know, we planted an orchard in our backyard and. It has definitely become a family thing to build the garden, take care of the garden, weed the garden. Prep the garden at the beginning of the season prep it at the end of the season. Harvest. Yeah, getting the, getting the fruits of our labor. Specifically we'll have areas of the garden like Olive last year, I think she had snappies Oh yeah, so the year before she did mostly flowers but she had planted some peas, you know, around on the outside. And she just loved being able to go pick them and eat them all the time. Whenever she wanted. And so last year. And it's veggies so good for it. Last year, she knew that I had previously given Elliot his own box for strawberries and other things, cucumber. And so she begged me, mom, can I have a box? And so I gave her my middle box. So now my tomatoes are dwindling down. I only have one box for tomatoes but. No, no this year we're gonna do tons of tomatoes. The kids have just had a blast doing that and so she filled hers full of peas and she would anytime friends were over or whatever, she just, you know have so much fun doing that. But something that I think about with gardening is just how the time spent out there exploring it and, you know maintaining it, really builds unity. It brings our family closer together and creates a culture where your, your kids want to be a part of that. Well, our specifically, because we have fun doing that but. It's also useful skill. Yeah, but when you think about having fun as a family, you're, you're creating a place that they're gonna want to come back to over and over and over and over again even long after they're gone, I believe, right. And I, and we get to enjoy it as it happens. We get to see it grow, we get to see it flourish. We also get to see when like there's mistakes and so there's a lot of stuff that happens and in it's over a long period of time, especially like when you go away for a few days and you come back and it just seems much larger. And you're like, oh my goodness look at all this. The tomatoes are red now, you know. And also it gives the kids something that they can own. So Elliot just loves that he can go and pick strawberries. He doesn't have to ask it. He just go get his own strawberries, eat them and enjoy them. Olive goes and gets her snap peas and then they get to share too. And talk about, you know, hey, you can have one you know, oh, that big one I've been waiting for that one. You can't have that one. Last year Olive did her own harvesting one day and she likes, she went out there with a little pot and she gathered whatever she could find that was ready. And she came in and she prepped lunch. Do you remember this? And she set out all the, all the plates, she set out a cups of water and a fork. And she put all these different veggies on the plate Some snappies, some cucumber slices. And then she called everyone lunch is ready. And I was just like, oh my goodness, all of your are so sweet. It was good. She even puts some edible flowers on there. Was pretty. Yeah, was so pretty. What are this called? Nasturtium. Nasturtium? Yeah, it was super fun. Something that we also really love as a family is bike rides, we love it. That's true. We, especially now that two of our kids, we're working on our third one to start bike riding his bike this year. But two of our kids ride their own bikes and they just love to go and we have to keep up with them or we have to tell them to slow down. Wait for me. But we, we like to ride around our neighborhood. We like to go to specific areas like parks that have big bike tracks. I think my funniest my funniest bike rides are when we're out there for like two, three hours just cruising. It's, it's easy. Yeah. Yes, it's takes time and it takes energy but you're out in nature. You get to see things you're in a new place and, you know, feel the wind. And it's just, it's so exciting. The kids love it. They like to go just adventure and ride and, you know, have freedom. I don't have this in my notes but I wanted to share that you know, we've talked about it but the children's books that we're working on Aaron, I wanted to share a little piece with them listening. Do it. Okay, so we've been working on the, there's two version, two versions of what we're working on. There's two different books. Two different books, so there's a story of a mom and a daughter and a story of a dad with the son. And in the dad and the son's version there's gonna be this really beautiful picture of the son with the mom riding bikes together. And I'm just so excited about it 'cause it's one of my favorite things to do in our family. And we're working with a friend who's illustrating this book and I'm just, oh, I'm so excited for you guys. So hopefully that will be out this year, stay tuned. Some other ideas just to move through a few of these Nerf gun Wars. Oh yeah. It's really fun. Just you can get cheap ones and just running around the house, shooting Nerf guns at each other. And also as a family going into Nerf gun bombing friends just showing up. Get the neighborhood involved. And, attacking them. Along these lines of water balloon fights. We've done more water balloon fights. Especially in the middle of winter. No, coming into summer. Summer, gotcha, yeah. I was trying to think of other outdoor things like this. Growing up that I did with my family, we played a lot of catch. We played something called home, run Derby. We played "500", these are all like baseball, hitting games and catching games are super fun and volleyball. So don't forget about all the sports you can play as a family to have fun. Doing science experiments with your kids. An easy one. I just did this the other day. I just, I'm like, Hey, let's take hot water and cold water. Which one do you think will freeze faster? And then they're like, oh, probably this one, this one. And I measured the temperatures and I wrote the the information on each cup and we put them in the freezer at the same time. And then we checked back at 30 minutes and an hour I was wrong, they were right. But just finding ways of getting them fascinated with science and learning. They're always fascinated by that and you're so good at them. So good with them at doing these experiments and I just wanted to encourage those listening that you, you know you don't have to homeschool to do exciting experiments. You can do these no matter what. And I know they have books at the library. They have books at Barnes and Noble or YouTube channels go on Pinterest and find really easy ones. So, yeah, that was a really good one. One, I don't know if this was an experiment, but we did. It was it like two years ago was the butterfly experiment. That's what we really called it? It was a kit, where you have the little cage set up and then you, you know send them this code and they ship, you live butterflies. No, they're worms. Oh yeah. Caterpillars. That's right, live caterpillars. You said, worms? Worms. Live caterpillars. And you put them in this little environment and they turn into butterflies and you get to watch the whole process. That's pretty bloody actually surprisingly. The kids are like, what happened. You could just said, messy. They were messy but, but do you remember being out in the backyard and I took some photos on my phone when we let them go because they kind of just stuck around for a little bit. Well, they, they just sat on that, Olive's finger and it wouldn't fly away and Olive was so stoked that I would just sit there and then it finally flew away and he's like, no, come back. That was really fun. Another thing that we wanted to encourage you guys with to have fun as a family, and you could do this every day, if you wanted to, but making work feel like play. And I have a good example for this. It's not our example, it's actually a friend's example. This is work for adults too, make work feel like play. Yes, of course we are getting better at this but our friends, they blast music after dinner and do this whole cleanup party. And I know because they've showed it on their stories before on Instagram and their kids are like smiling while they're doing the dishes and singing while they're sweeping and I'm, and I'm thinking, what magic is this. So you just, you just gotta find those moments and make the best of them. Something you came up with this last Christmas, Jennifer. Which was a pretty creative thing. It was a Christmas, a Christmas box maze. We got a bunk, a bunch of cardboard boxes, open them up on both ends and then taped them all together and made this like maze. We put with stuff like Christmas lights in them, so like. It took over our entire house for a whole day. Yeah. Because we made these tunnels, we made these tunnels that went through to the different rooms and it was so fun. Yeah, went to the living room and then I made a, I made a PVC pipe igloo and I we put sheets over it in the middle of the maze. It was a lot of fun. It was so fun, and then we, I put wrapping paper on the front that said, Christmas Maze. And, but you guys can do this without it being Christmas you could do it for no reason at all. You can actually just Google. Card board box maze. Card board box maze and you'll probably see different types different options to show up. But you can also have fun by just finding ways to squeeze in surprises as a family. So this is probably going to be the parents for the kids, but you know those random like let's have hot chocolate, you know, let's. And don't even tell him, just sit him down for normal lunch and then just serve hot chocolate. Everyone's like, what is this? Why are we having hot chocolate with marshmallows right now. Or you can go more extravagant and surprise them with family coming into town, or I dunno, a surprise birthday party just shows up. Grandma just shows up. Yeah. Grandma. So along those lines, celebrations, you know, just making sure that you're not skipping over those milestones. Like for example, just you know, one of your kids starts to read. You know, learns how to read code, get ice cream, go celebrate, go affirm them. I don't think we can have too many reasons to celebrate I think. Like we can't, like there's it's good to celebrate things. No, we should be celebrating every day for something. Yeah. Why not? Cause we're supposed to be grateful people. This is really our reminder to ourselves that our time together with our children is so short and brief. Yeah, so brief. You were just looking at pictures. A friend of us, a friend of ours sent pictures of our son and his friend, like how, how old was he? Three. Two, three and Jennifer was like, I just wanna start crying. Like, why are they so old? Like, it, it goes by so quick I was just texting with my sister-in-law about how big our kids are getting. And she said, she texted back to me and she said, time is a thief. And I now I'm like, yes, you're right it is. And I didn't even remember that in a way that is like, we don't get it back, you know We only have what we have. So that was a pretty big list. And I'm sure there's gonna be more things that we're gonna try this year and figure out. And I hope it was an encouragement to everyone listening. So might just some ideas. So they have this list, they can adjust it, they can use it, use it as an inspiration but more than doing the things that are found what kinds of things might stop us or get in the way of us having fun because that can happen. Yeah, I think the, the immediate thing I think of is the inconvenience of a mess. Like my mind, my flesh automatically goes to what's gonna require. Yeah, messing the living room for the fort. Or whatever, yeah. Yeah. All the different things or just being lazy. Lazy is a big word for big... Like get up and go through balloons at each other. That's another thing, I don't wanna be wet and cold. Sometimes it's just the lack of thoughtfulness. So I'm just in which is one reason why we wanted to have this for you know, inspiration for you guys today because sometimes our minds just not on specific ways of having fun as a family or, or in a marriage. And so it, it requires a bit of inspiration to go. Oh I wasn't even thinking that, you know I think another thing that could get in the way is when we're not right with each other like if you're just, if you're frustrated if there's little off attitudes that it's gonna be hard to be like, let's have fun. Yeah, totally. So being on the same page being right with each other, walking in unity with each other helps you to be like, hey, let's bless the kids. Let's do something creative and fun. I think another thing that can get in the way is technology. I think that, you know, if we allow ourselves to be entertained by things that have to do with technology and we're not really bored anymore, we're not gonna go to that creative level of, I need to make fun, you know. Yeah, which we used to do before cell phones existed. Well, we're a part of that generation that kind of grew up with the. Grew up without them Like we were born in our childhood and then the second part was technology. But I wanted to share this quote it's by Albert Einstein. It says creativity is the residue of wasted time. So that idea of like being bored is good and then from it comes some fun Yeah. Steve jobs said, "I'm a big believer in boredom. Boredom allows one to indulge in curiosity and out of curiosity comes everything." That's good. Which is true because when you're curious, when you wanna know how something works, when you wanna create something that's where that innovation comes from. That's so good and being bored, we will be motivated to create life as we know it, that was like an unknown. Yeah, there's got a name for that. Finances is something that could stop, I know I talked about it earlier and I, I wanted to make a point about that but. It doesn't need to. Yeah. And that doesn't mean spend money you don't have. It means that we can still have fun and creative. You just gotta figure it out. Yeah. Simple as good and it's not affirmed enough in our fast paced have it all kind of world. Yeah, often simpler is better. Yeah, like I've, there's been so many times we've actually just a quick side note. I was just thinking about what this simpler is better. When we've gone on a road trips in the past or go to see family. There's often things that are where our parents live that we don't have access to here. And so we're like, let's go do this thing. Let's go to amusement park with our kids. Let's go do something that's creative and it takes the whole day and it's exhausting. It's hard and it's expensive and then it's like, all our kids wanted to do is sit in the sand at the beach all day. Yeah. Right, so we've been learning how to say what's the thing that's gonna be the most memorable. Yeah. We have an idea of what it is and often it's not actually what would be so, simpler is often way better. And I think to that note, it requires knowing one another knowing your spouse, knowing your kids, knowing your likes, your dislikes and really utilizing that information to create that family culture of what is it that you guys do? What are you gonna choose? I think that that's good. Another unknown or anonymous quote that I have here is, we didn't know we were making memories. We just knew we were having fun. And I love that, I love the, the innocence of, of what's motivating us. It's it's just, it's pure joy. We just wanna have fun. And then biblically, probably 15. Yeah, there's some quotes here. Proverbs 15, 13 says a glad heart makes a cheerful face but by sorrow of heart, the spirit is crushed. And this idea just there's we can produce gladness of heart and have joy in our homes and have lightness of hearts because there's going to be times of sorrow and it, it does crush the spirit. And so we need to make sure that in the times that we're not like that, that we are having fun, that we are enjoying what God has given us. What I also like about this proverb is that it says a glad heart makes a cheerful face. And so the impact that we have in each other's lives to say, hey if my hearts posture is a certain way I impact or I affect you. Yeah, it's gonna show. Yeah, and we should know this. We should, we should know that we have this power to make a cheerful face. If you wanna make your child light up and smile or your husband, think your goofy. You know, like we have that power, so anyways Psalm 118:24, this is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it, yeah and it's true. God has made this day and we can rejoice in it. Okay, so we like I said this was kind of an episode of quotes, I like it. But another one that I wanted to share with you guys is by one of my favorite authors Dr. Seuss. It's easy to remember and conserve as a reminder that we should seek the fun in what we do with people that we love. And it says today was good, today was fun, tomorrow is another one. That's true, I like that. So we wanna encourage you to go on a date this week and talk about having more fun in your relationship with each other and as a family. Maybe we can brainstorm some ideas. Yeah, and write a list. Write a list of things that you'd wanna do and figure out your budget. And then, you know, strategically figure out who's going to do which part of it, you know. Well, maybe fun is like a way that you can surprise your kids, like making someone doesn't even know that's coming. Okay, we're definitely doing that. We're gonna talk about that, cool. Okay, well, that wraps up today's episode. I hope that it was super encouraging for you guys to hear fun ways to have, fun ways to have fun as a family. Yeah, ways to have fun as a family. Just do it guys have fun. Yeah, so we're gonna talk about some things we're grateful for. Okay. To end this episode. I'm grateful for nature. I love how it expresses the invisible attributes of God and you see it everywhere. I actually like, I love listening to a river. Oh, wait I just, I was reading about how the many rushes of water is like the voice of the Almighty. That's really cool. Yeah, and I love listening to, I love listening to as rushes over the ground, I love watching and listening to trees as they dance and singing in the wind. We were just listening, I said, look at the trees and it was quiet. And they were just wrestling back and forth. So pretty. And I was saying how much I love just listening to them sway like that. That's so good. I'm grateful for having the opportunity to write a set of children's books. I briefly mentioned it above about riding bikes Which are hopefully coming. Soon. This year, maybe. Yeah, it's been a really great process. We have a friend doing the illustration for it and I just met with her about it, and you guys are so beautiful. I wish I could show you some screenshots or something but it is coming and we'll let you know, as soon as it's ready, but we have those coming. I feel so blessed to have been able to write them and participate with Aaron and write them. And they are awesome. In writing them, it was a dream of mine since I think high school to do children's books. So this is really awesome. Yeah. God's good. There's two of them, not one, two. I can't wait to see what my children think about them. I think they're gonna treasure him. Yeah, and we hope we hope you guys like them too. So would you share what you're thankful for, what you're grateful for, with your spouse, with God and with a friend and let's just spread gratefulness. So we're gonna end in prayer. Yeah. Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of family. Thank you for the adventure of fun. We pray we would be people who seek to have fun and choose joy no matter what we are experiencing. We pray would be intentional to be the initiators of fun. Please infuse our minds and hearts with ideas and the will to make life fun for others. We pray our marriages would be seen as lighthearted and full of joy. We also pray we would not let anything get in the way or hinder us from doing even the most simplest of fun things with our families. We pray our joy and laughter is contagious. A reminder to those in this that you are our source of true joy in Jesus name, Amen. Amen, we love you all and as usual, our share warriors would you go out and share this episode. Share it with someone who needs some ideas for fun. Share it with a friend, with a family member. We love you, will see you next week.
We want to invite you to take our 31-day Parenting prayer challenge. http://parentingprayerchallenge.com/ Read Transcript` [Jennifer] Welcome to the Marriage After God Podcast. [Aaron] We're your hosts, I'm Aaron. [Jennifer] And I'm Jennifer. [Aaron] We've been married for 14 years. [Jennifer] And we have five young children. [Aaron] We started blogging over 10 years ago, sharing our marriage story in hopes of encouraging other husbands and wives to draw closer to God and closer to each other. [Jennifer] We have authored over 10 books together, including our newest book, "Marriage After God," the book that inspired us to start this podcast. [Aaron] "Marriage After God" has a message to remind all of us that God designed marriage with a purpose. [Jennifer] To reflect his love. [Aaron] To be a light in this world [Jennifer] To work together as a team. [Aaron] Using what He has given us. [Jennifer] To build His kingdom. [Aaron] Our hope is to encourage you along your marriage journey. [Jennifer] As you boldly chase after God together. [Aaron] This is Marriage After God. Hey everyone, welcome back to the Marriage After God podcast. We're Aaron and Jennifer Smith. [Jennifer] Your hosts, hi. [Aaron] And we're glad to have you, yeah, hi. Jennifer, what's going on in our world right now? Not the world, our world. [Jennifer] We don't have enough time to cover all of that. [Aaron] Exactly, very true. [Jennifer] But our world, meaning you and I. [Aaron] Yes. [Jennifer] What is going on? It's good to be recording again with you. [Aaron] Yes, it is actually. What are you drinking? What did I make you? [Aaron] You made me chai, thank you. [Aaron] It's like the world's best chai. [Jennifer] It's really good. [Aaron] It's Metolius chai. [Jennifer] But when you asked me if I wanted, when I was saying yes, 'cause I thought you were making yourself one and you didn't. [Aaron] No, I made myself a coffee. The chais are good, but the milk messes with my stomach. I can't do it, it's like too much. But I sprinkled some cardamom on the top of there. A little bit of vanilla bean sugar. [Jennifer] It's fancy. [Aaron] Yeah. [Jennifer] Thank you. [Aaron] You're welcome. So I just got a quick question for you before we move on, as usual. What's something that has brought you joy this week? [Jennifer] Something that's brought me joy. Well, okay, this was actually really funny. So much joy, I was like, I was laughing about it. I was in the score room with the kids and you know that song ♪ Come thou fount of every blessing ♪ Okay? You know which one I'm talking about? [Aaron] "Come Thou Fount." Is that what it is? [Jennifer] I was just letting you know what song it was, 'cause usually, I'll say a name of a song and you don't know unless I'm singing, you know? [Aaron] Yeah, I know, and you sung it really well. [Jennifer] Thank you. Poor everybody else right now. Anyways, Olive loves to sing and hum and do all of that and so she was, I think she was trying to sing this song, and I could hear her as she's like playing with math tiles and she was saying& ♪ Come old faithful ♪ And I think, 'cause I don't know. [Aaron] That's a good version. [Jennifer] This is so cute. And it made me think of our trip to Yellowstone and seeing Old Faithful, which the kids still bring up that story of being able to see it, you know, shoot out and everything, but she thinks he lyrics are come old faithful. [Aaron] Does she let you correct her? And that like with the character [Jennifer] I didn't, it was too cute. I was just laughing about it. [Aaron] Yeah, she loves to sing and she makes up her own songs. She's like more interested in making up her own songs than she is learning real songs which is great because she's probably been a songwriter. [Jennifer] Yeah. It was really cute. I tried recording it and then I got caught and she didn't like that very much. She said I had to ask her if I was gonna record her. [Aaron] You know, it's funny speaking about that. Our kids are like that from like day one, like Edith, all of our kids. [Jennifer] Are we trying to record something? [Aaron] They're like saying their first words and I'm sneaking the phone up so she doesn't see it. And then she like looks right over at me at the phone and she knows I'm recording and she just won't do it. She just sits there and then like strides to smack the phone out of my hands. It's like our kids now we don't wanna be on social media. Even though we don't ever post these things. [Jennifer] Yeah, it wasn't even for social media. I was just doing it because it was so cute. I thought one day I'll show her show, you know her future husband or someone this, but it's all right, I'll get it one day. [Aaron] You know what? Jesus is our Old Faithful, anyway. [Jennifer] That's true. I should tell her that. [Aaron] It's an accurate portrayal of the son. [Jennifer] When I do correct her I will be sure to add that in. [Aaron] Hey, we just, we love that you're all here. We're excited to be talking about this topic today. Before we move on to the topic I'd like to invite you, if you haven't yet to leave us a review today or a star rating, you could choose whatever amount of stars you want to give us. I often prefer five stars, but that's okay. If you want to do something less, that's fine. But we would love to invite you to give us a star rating and a review. Those are awesome. It helps people find the podcast. It also helps people know what people think of the podcast. And so with that being said, I'd love to read one of the reviews that someone left us and it goes like this. Oh, so I read before I read this, remember how when we first launched this season we talked about the new podcasts the new song we have the interest on. What's funny is this person mentions it. We talked about how catchy it is. He says this podcast has been amazing and highly influential in both my wife and my walk in honoring God with our marriage. Each episode is brought food for thought and encouragement to surrender our pride and give glory to God with our words, actions and thought life. There is humor as well as which is a plus, because some topics can be challenging and a laugh here and there helps lighten hearts while not taking away from the lessons learned or to be learned. Okay, if you're read this much, please help me out. I've been looking for this song "Can't Be Bothered" And only Miranda Lambert song "I Can't Be Bothered" It's coming up. I'm on the edge of going crazy. Who is the artist of this song? He keeps whistling inside of his head, it won't stop. So it worked and that's M Matthew's 51317 that wrote that review. And what's funny is it's not actually a song that's on any like album I think. It's from this like stock music site. [Jennifer] So how does he find it? [Aaron] They can go to artlist.com and look for "Can't Be Bothered" [Jennifer] Okay, hopefully he finds it. [Aaron] Yeah, but it's funny 'cause the song is really catchy, [Jennifer] I didn't know you're going to share this this review that someone left. And I was just thinking, I'm really encouraged to hear that. He says that we, you know spread in a laugh here and there and that it lightens the topic that we're talking about which is good because the topics can be challenging. And I always wondered how people viewed that because I get really insecure or like, I think are they gonna think that I'm taking this too lightly? If I laugh right here. [Aaron] They are not taking this serious enough. [Jennifer] No, but like, I never want to offend anyone that I'm not taking it more seriously than I should especially depending on what we're talking about. So this is encouraging. Thanks for sharing it. [Aaron] All right, so today we'll talk... All right, so today we're-- [Jennifer] I was gonna say, I think you just need a drum roll, hold on. [Aaron] Okay. So today we're talking about six things to build a strong marriage. We haven't done a list post, list podcast in a long time [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] That I know of. [Jennifer] I don't know. [Aaron] Maybe we have. [Jennifer] I feel like we have. [Aaron] It's possible. We like our lists, but this is a good one. It's a good reminder. We all need reminders and we all need encouragement and we all need just a little pep talk sometimes. 'Cause we're all building something pretty amazing. Well, we do specifically. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] So that's what we're going to talk about today is this idea of building a strong marriage and just some of the aspects that we can focus on to do that. [Jennifer] Cool. So we're going to take it way back to a few years ago. I guess that's not like way back. [Aaron] It almost been six years now. [Jennifer] Just a little bit. Oh yeah [Aaron] Yeah, In April will be four. [Jennifer] Well, I was pregnant with Wyatt and he just turned four 2016, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, five years. [Aaron] Five years in April. [Jennifer] Yeah. So we were both right. 'Cause I said four, you said six. [Aaron] We're like, we're in the middle, perfect. [Jennifer] Guys, this is where we're starting off on building a strong marriage [Aaron] Communication is one of the topics. [Jennifer] So we bought our first home. We had been married for nine years and we found this old and decrepit falling apart home. It had been abandoned for like three years and there's a big sticker in the window saying, you know gonna be online auction in a couple of days. And it just really, it was like a glowing opportunity for us and our family. Although we didn't know if we could actually pull off the remodel. [Aaron] It was pretty bad. [Jennifer] It was bad, but this is the house we're currently living in. And it felt really good to have a home that was ours. Even though, I mean from day one, it was work. We had to put the work in to build it to make it even something that we could move into because do you remember the electricity and everything was-- [Aaron] Yeah the wiring had to be pretty much re-done, the entire house. The plumbing had to be pretty much redone. [Jennifer] And then as we started taking stuff off like the roof, we'll talk about, we found more. So we're going to start here. [Aaron] Yeah, every bandage we pulled off there was another bandage that needed to be pulled off. But it was awesome. One of the first things I remember doing this project and there was a lot that went into this but this most memorable moment was when we started ripping off the old roof. Because you can, when we looked at the roof you could see just the roof, the tiles were old we need to replace it. And we're like, okay, we'll just scrape the tiles off and we'll put new tiles up. [Jennifer] Wasn't there like a layer. Like I remember looking at the edge where the gutter was and there was like a layer of different decades of tile. [Aaron] Yeah there was like three layers of tile. They didn't just, whenever they did new tile they just put it over the old which is what a lot of people do. And so were we start pulling the tile off and we realized that all of the sub floor, all the wood the sub wood underneath the tile was also bad. Like we were like falling through the wood. And so we can just tile right over it. So we're like, okay, great. And so we start ripping all of the wood off. [Jennifer] And when you say we, he's not talking about we 'cause I was not up there ripping anything off of it. [Aaron] There was people that helped. But one day I was up there by myself just like with a big old crowbar ripping up big old. And what was hard was every time I tried ripping it up all the wood would break, but where the nails were stayed. So I had to like pry off just the little strip of wood that was on the trusses by itself every single time. So we rip all that off and it was a lot of hard work. And so essentially for a while, all of the walls in the house were just open. There was no doors, there was no windows. It was just, you see through the whole house from the street. [Jennifer] But I mean, we didn't start this in the middle of winter or anything. [Aaron] It was the middle of summer. It was hot-- [Jennifer] Well, not middle of summer, it was end of spring, early summer because we closed in the end of March. So April, May, June, yeah. [Aaron] It was ideal time to do it. And it was, you know really nice weather and it was perfect. So the whole house is open and now we rip the roof off and there's, you literally could see through the roof you could see through the walls, like just nothing. It's just sticks, standing up and we're doing all this. And we're at a rental 'cause we were renting a house and it just starts pouring rain. We wake up in the morning, I'm like, oh, it's raining. So I run, I rush over to the house knowing that it's all open. And I'm like, oh gosh, this is not gonna be good. And I walk in and I go through the there's no door. So I just walk in and right in the dining room kitchen area is just a waterfall of water just pouring into the house and flooding in the house. And I'm like, this is like our first house we owning. All I'm thinking is 'cause all the wood floors in there we're trying to keep original. And I'm like, oh my gosh, everything's ruined. And so I called Jennifer and I'm like, yep there's a waterfall in the house. And we're freaking out. I'm freaking out my friend that helped me do it. Couldn't, wasn't available to come help. And I'm like, I don't what to do. So I just run to Costco. I bought a bunch of big old tiles, threw them on the ground. I run to home depot. I pick up a hundred foot tarp which is a huge tarp, by the way I've never held a hundred feet tarp until this time. And then I climbed up on the roof by myself. Jennifer was down watching me. [Jennifer] I was there to cheer you on. [Aaron] But she couldn't get up there. [Jennifer] I actually was really scared for you because of how windy it was, like I remember your jacket blowing over and like, you couldn't keep your footing. [Aaron] Yeah. And does anyone know what happens when you have a hundred foot tarp in wind? It turns into-- [Jennifer] Mass of balloon. [Aaron] It turns into like a. [Jennifer] A kite. [Aaron] Yeah. And so this thing's flopping around. I use the wind to my advantage 'cause I let it open up the tarp as much as possible. But without pulling me off the roof [Jennifer] Parts that were sagging down, I tried pulling over but I like was pregnant and holding all of them, my hips. So it was useless really. [Aaron] So we got this tarp pretty much to cover most of the roof of the house to keep the water out. It was like crazy, but we got it. And then I got the wood down. We put some dehumidifiers in the house all over the place and it definitely wasn't as bad as it I thought it was gonna be, but man, that was frustrating, scary. I was cold and it was hard and oh that was a big deal. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] And it's so far behind us, which is crazy. [Jennifer] I know i&t is. I think in the midst of it though why it feels so frustrating is because you don't know the outcome you don't know how is this gonna how is this gonna damage the thing that we're working towards, you know. [Aaron] They just ruin everything. [Jennifer] What kind of impact is it going to have? So we're going to sprinkle in these stories today and I think it's good to relate it back right away to marriage to try and get this idea of what we're talking about when we talk about building a strong marriage. So like our marriage, when we realize, you know what it is, the value of marriage and how much it's worth, when those hard times come, I mean we're called to endure, we're called to persevere. But that doesn't mean we're not gonna be frustrated or scared or fearful of the unknown impacts of the choices that we make or the circumstances that come against us. Right? That's kind of like one of the things we want to share here. [Aaron] Yeah and then in the like manner being vigilant to do what it takes to mitigate and to take care of that issue so that it doesn't cause further damage which is kind of like getting the tarp and do getting the tiles and like, hey, let's fix this together. [Jennifer] Yeah, and even if the circumstance or the thing that you're facing seems impossible or even impossible for you as a couple and as a team to work together on we still need to do what we can to make it work. Right? I mean, that's what I felt like seeing you up there on the roof and about to be blown off. I'm like, I just got to grab this end of the tarp and like, act like I'm helping-- [Aaron] I'm cold and like frustrated, but we're going to do this and then we've got to get it done. [Jennifer] And we did. And we were able to protect a lot of the house during that time. And thank goodness. It was only one like day and night of that kind of rain. We were able to fix the roof and finish what needed to be done in order to close everything up and protect what was on the inside. [Aaron] Because-- [Jennifer] From the elements. [Aaron] To equate it to marriage, it's something that we're investing in. It's a valuable thing. It's not just an asset. It's one of the most valuable things we have in our life is our marriages. And we have to build them strong which is what we're talking about today and take care of them and protect them and be aware of the dangers of the weather of the things from within all those things that we, you know, we're gonna bring up some of it today, but that's kind of what we're talking about is, we have, we bought this house and it was something that needed to be built and taken care of and protected. And we did so and now we get to enjoy it. [Jennifer] Another thing I'd like to say is you as you're telling that story, you know, you said your friend who was helping us, couldn't make it at that time, in that moment to help you with the tarp. And that's okay. And that happens. And I just want to add that we can't rely on others to do the hard work of marriage. Like we can't like having friends, having family, even having pastors and therapists and people who are play really important roles in our lives. That's great. And that's so good in an impactful but ultimately it requires the husband and wife to put the work in to build that strong marriage. [Aaron] Yeah. That's good. Cause no one else can build that marriage for us. They can definitely help, they can participate. But when it comes to it like we're the ones that are going to protect it. We're the ones that sees the value. Right? [Aaron] Yeah, and we're the ones that have to make the choices. The choice to do it. To do it. That's good. Another story about our house, which all of this builds into this idea of building a strong marriage. Is something that we wrote about in our book, Marriage After God. And it's about a foundational thing that we had to do. We added an addition to the front of our house so that our living room will be bigger. And so we had to do a new footing and new foundation for that area that we're adding on. And so we had a foundation company come out and they framed it out. They poured the concrete and they did this whole thing. [Jennifer] And just getting to that point, sorry to cut you off. But just getting to that point took so long because we had to wait on permit. Then you know, waiting on the people that come and do that kind of work. [Aaron] The schedule yeah. [Jennifer] The weather, everything had to be. [Aaron] Just right. [Jennifer] Yeah. It took a while. [Aaron] And so they did it, they pulled the forms off and we go over it and we inspect and my friend who's helped me do this said that it was fine. But when I look at it and I saw there was like holes in it and it looked crumbly and there was like crack. Yeah, there was cracks in it and it just didn't look good. [Jennifer] It didn't feel perfect. [Aaron] It didn't feel right, for what I was the money was spending on it. And for what I'm thinking like, is this gonna like last 50 years, is this going to last 20 years? And so it wasn't quite done right. And so the company did come back& they ripped the whole thing out and they repoed the whole thing and then it looks perfect. And the reason we did that is 'cause I'm thinking long-term I'm thinking, is this going to last a lifetime? [Jennifer] Well, I remember you the value we were putting into the rest of the house. And you're like I don't want to be sitting in here, you know, 10, 15 years from now and then fall through the front living room because the foundation wasn't done right. [Aaron] Yeah, or the front corner of our house is sinking. And we see the cracks the walls because that foundation is important. If the foundation isn't firm, if it isn't strong. If it isn't structural, it's not gonna hold, all the weight that's going to be put on it. Everything that you build on top of it it's not gonna be there. And that's one of the things we're going to talk about today is our foundation. And we talk about that in our book how important our foundation is to build a strong marriage because without the foundation, doesn't matter what you put on top of it, it's gonna fall apart. [Jennifer] Or if it's slightly off kilter, it's the whole thing. It'll be noticeable, right? [Aaron] Especially as you build and build and build like none of the lines are gonna line up. The walls aren't gonna be straight. [Jennifer] You run into more problems. [Aaron] Yeah you run into more problems. [Jennifer] Well, after all was said and done, we did move into the house and we started to enjoy this labor of love that we kind of I don't know, it was an adventure for us. Right? [Aaron] Yeah and we enjoy it even to this day. [Jennifer] And what I loved was being able to make it our own especially coming out of rentals. 'Cause you try and do what you can around rentals to make them feel like your own. But that's just not the same. I don't know if other people have a hard time with that or not. Some people are, I've seen some people make rentals look like, you know it's so them, but just from what I experienced, when we were able to move into this house and seeing all the white walls, it was like, oh, clean you know, canvas for us to be able to then-- [Aaron] And our landlords didn't like it, when we knocked walls out and tried to make bigger rooms, they did not like that. [Jennifer] So anyways, it was fun to be able to look at it and go, okay, so how do we express ourselves? You know. And I love that. And just being able to hang pictures on the wall, you know this process didn't take one day. It didn't take two weeks. It was kind of something that we waited on and did as we went [Aaron] It's still not even finished. We're still always looking at different things wanting to paint walls, wanting to redo rooms. But it's been a fun process of making this house that we built into a home that we love. And we live in, which again is another analogy for our marriage that we were once two individuals and that we've come together. We've started something. And then there's this process this lifetime process of what is our marriage. [Jennifer] Yeah. It's kind of like the, the correlation here would be how do we express ourselves through marriage by the way we love each other, the way we interact with each other [Jennifer] What we build with each other the work we do with each other, our family, our children how we raise them, all of those things. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] They have long lasting effects but it's something that we could do together. Choose to walk in together and we decide how we're going to do it. [Jennifer] Yeah. Okay, so this would actually be fun to ask you what does this look like in our marriage? So how have you or I decorated our relationship? I know it sounds kind of cheesy, but why not. [Aaron] Really tapping into my sensitive emotional side here. I have to dig deep. [Jennifer] I'll say this, we choose to be generous. And I think that's a mark of our marriage. [Aaron] It's true [Jennifer] That we know each other to be generous to one another to our children and to others. [Aaron] I agree with that. That's something that is a mark of our marriage specifically, that's something that we strive for is how can our family be generous? Something I also think about is going back to when I proposed you, saying that I want to do whatever we did. I wanted to do it for God and I want to do it together. [Jennifer] That's true. [Aaron] And I believe that for the most part we've done that. [Jennifer] I was gonna say are our choices have been aligned with that sediment. [Aaron] Yeah. It was never, it wasn't perfect right away. But even what we get to do now was there was a bunch of stepping sets leading to this. And they were very in some intentional, some serendipitous but we are, our heart was always in this direction of like, well, how are we going to do this together? [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] What does that look like? And so I think that's one way we've decorated our home of our marriage. [Jennifer] That was cool. I just wanted to see what you think. All right. So I have another story. Do you remember? It was probably only a couple of weeks after we moved in and you were a little particular about the floor because you spent some money re-finishing [Aaron] It's the original floor. And we had to get it like, like laced in wherever the walls went away. We had to get new wood put in and I just was really happy about it. [Jennifer] We had this nice thing. [Aaron] It turned out really nice. [Jennifer] Super nice polish. It was almost like so beautiful. You're like, well, I don't want to walk on it. You know? And then here we have these kids that are like trying to ride their tricycles all over it. Sorry, we love them. [Aaron] They are the best. [Jennifer] Yeah. So this though was, it was hard, but-- [Aaron] God did invent humor. God, it was God. Humor was God's idea, right? So I have to just I have to know that God loves to laugh. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] He loves humor. He also loves to challenge us in our flesh. [Jennifer] I don't see challenges that he gives us opportunities to grow. And this is an opportunity for you. [Aaron] This is a great opportunity. [Jennifer] Our daughter, Olive who, you know, she was about a year and a half found like the brightest pink nail polish that one could-- [Aaron] It's still her favorite color. [Jennifer] Hot pink. [Aaron] Hot pink, bright neon, glowing pink. [Jennifer] And she came running down the hall, so excited and eager to paint her nails and dropped it all over the hallway for. [Aaron] All over and that stuff dries really fast, I don't know why. [Jennifer] By the time you got to it, it was like, you wiped up maybe a dot of it. But the rest of it was kind of stuck. And you were down there on your hands and knees with like Q tips and nail polish remover and anything you could find. But then that actually did lift up some of the stain. And so there's a couple of white spots, that we don't talk about in the hallway. [Aaron] Now it's a memory. [Jennifer] So what's my point with that hot nail Polish [Aaron] I wasn't frustrated or anything. I was so calm. No, that was a little, yeah. It was definitely a challenge for my flesh because-- [Jennifer] I got to encourage you there. That was, it was accident. And you know, it's fine. [Aaron] It's totally fine. Now when I look at these things, I think it's like part of our house, I was like, oh, look at that. Oh, look at that. I remember that. I see that scratch [Jennifer] But okay, so my point is this, even after building a home and making it what we want it like, it's perfect. Right? [Aaron] Wrong but I see what your saying. [Jennifer] Like a marriage having a great season or rhythm, you know and then all of a sudden you experience a really hard thing and it like bumps into it and you didn't expect it. You're like what just happened [Aaron] Or your flesh shows its face and you bump into your sin with each other and then. [Jennifer] Its gonna happen. [Aaron] Yeah, It should happen. If it's not happening. There's something I think wrong. Maybe not talking enough. [Jennifer] Life would be boring if everything was just super perfect and easy but we have these opportunities, like I said to grow from, to learn from, to identify and see, okay how's the Lord gonna use this one? So we need to keep our eyes open and out for that [Aaron] One, I think this is a good encouragement before we get into these six things, that, I mean we've thought this way, if only X, Y, Z changed or was different, man we would just be good to go. Like life would be peachy. And I think there's this, there could be a life is better or greener on the other side type thing. Like once we get here or if this change happens or if we can have this or we can attain this everything will be good. But the point is as the Bible talks about everything's in, we have seasons. Like we can have really good seasons. And then there could be really hard seasons like sickness can come in, we get confronted with our sins. Uncontrollable events could happen. There's lots of things are gonna happen. So if we get out of the mindset of one day, we'll be there and we get into a mindset of right now, we're here. What's the way to walk, where we're at. It changes everything [Jennifer] Perspective. [Aaron] Yep. [Jennifer] That's good. Another thing that I want to share is just that while I love that the Lord has led us to share about our marriage and create this place to encourage other marriages. And we've had to work on our marriage and we're still working on our marriage. I don't want anyone to think that we have built this strong marriage in that it's always strong. Like we have to maintain it. We have to keep it guarded. We have to protect it. We have-- [Aaron] We go through struggles. [Jennifer] You go through struggles. [Aaron] That's a light way of saying it. [Jennifer] Yeah, but today we wanted to remind you that much like building a home, marriage requires us to build and make it strong. So not a day goes by that. Aaron, you and I don't have to put that work in. And those listening, not a day goes by that you don't get to put that work in. [Aaron] And some days , it's like every minute it feels like we have to like focus on it. [Jennifer] Yeah, and our foundation is not like a home. Our foundation is not concrete. Our foundation is the word of God. So that daily work has to be laid on the foundation of God's word. We have to be in his word [Aaron] Which we'll talk about. [Jennifer] It's so important. I just want to just start that upfront 'cause it's really important. [Aaron] Yeah, so here are six things to do to make your marriage strong. [Jennifer] Right, let's do it. [Aaron] Number one and most importantly, working on making your marriage Christ centric [Jennifer] Keeping him in the middle, at the center. [Aaron] Yeah, It's not just in the middle of your marriage, but he's central to everything. Like what we do, how we talk, how we think how we raise our family, how we do church. Well, you know, all of it, he is central to all of it. It's not just like we have our marriage here. We have Christ over here. We have our parents over here. We have our friends over here. We have our church over here. [Jennifer] Got it. [Aaron] No, it's all centered on Christ. When you read that verse, 1st Corinthians 3:11 [Jennifer] For no one can lay a foundation, other than that, which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now, if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay straw each one's work will become manifest for the day will disclose it because it will be revealed by fire. And the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. [Aaron] And so this this scripture is not specifically talking about marriage. This is talking about the work that Christ has done in that our walks and in our Christianity. [Jennifer] Like everything we do. [Aaron] Everything [Jennifer] But marriage is a part of that. [Aaron] It's founded on Christ. And so he's warning against what we, how we build on that foundation. And that also there is no other foundation. Like he is the foundation and everything we do, our walk with him, our walking in the spirit our building for him, our working for him. Our marriages, our raising of children is built upon him. And that's what this is talking about. Are you building with, you know things that are going to burn up and fall apart? Are you building the things that are precious and won't get made more pure? And so starting there, this is the most important thing, it's central to our faith is building on top of Christ and our faith in him and our salvation in him. [Jennifer] So how do we do that? [Aaron] Well, that's a good question. First and foremost, we listen and obey what God has said through his son and his word. So Matthew 7:24 to 27 says everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat on that house. But it did not fall because it had been founded on the rock. This is exactly talking about the same thing. Who's the rock? [Jennifer] Christ. [Aaron] And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house. And it fell and great was its fall. And this is exactly this dichotomy of being a fool or a wise man and is based on whether we listen and do what God says in his word. [Jennifer] Be doers of the word, not just hearers. [Aaron] Or not. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] And so if we think we can build our marriage on something else, we think we can walk a certain way and put Christ in the background. Great is that fall that's coming. But if we listen and do what he says and one of the things that his word tells us to do is husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church, wives submit to your husbands as to Christ as the church does to Christ. These things are, they're there for a reason. [Jennifer] So here's another one, Psalm 127:1 says, Unless the Lord builds the house those who build it labor in vain, unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. So my question is, are we supposed to build or is the Lord? [Aaron] I think both. So we are, yes we build our house 'cause we're called to be obedient, like we just read. Listen to his words, do what he says. But when you do that, think about what happens when you're [Jennifer] He's working through you. [Aaron] Well, it's his, it's his doing. So when you walk in his spirit when you listen to what he says. [Jennifer] When you align your heart with his, you're actually carrying out his will. [Aaron] Right. And so it's just a quick funny analogy. I think about Ikea furniture. Like, yeah, you get all the stuff and you have everything you need and they give you the tools. They give you the hardware, they give you all the wood. [Jennifer] But if you don't follow the instructions. [Aaron] You're not building nothing. [Jennifer] Or it's like all backwards, you know. [Aaron] Yeah, you follow those instructions and you get a chair that holds you up. [Jennifer] I am speaking of when we did move into the house, I was looking for a dresser, I think it was for one of the kids like the boys room. And I went on Facebook, you know, the marketplace. And I went to go meet someone that was selling this dresser. And it was an Ikea dresser and they lifted up their garage for me. And I walk in. [Aaron] I remember this [Jennifer] Remember there was like these strange holes in the in the front of the dresser. And I'm like I just don't remember those being there like that. There's a couple of funky things about it. And then I told him, thank you. And I'll let them know if it fits the space. And then I looked, when I got in the car and looked it up online, that same dresser. And I'm like, I think they put it together wrong. 'Cause look, there's no filter. It's so backwards. So anyways. [Aaron] Yeah, so when we do it his way, it is him building it. [Jennifer] Yeah [Aaron] Right? But through us because we're walking in his spirit, Proverbs 3:5 to 6 says. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him. And he will make straight your paths. Again, that goes back to you walk in what he says and it's going to produce good fruit. It's gonna take you to where you need to go. [Jennifer] And you guys might be wondering what does that verse have to do with marriage? But that verse has everything to do with marriage. Because well, from my own experience, it gets so easy to want to share with your spouse, your understanding what you think is right, your perception, how you view the perfect situation or that needs to be done. [Aaron] By your spouse's wrong and your rights. Why everything [Jennifer] But if you both trust in the Lord with all of your heart and you don't lean on your own understanding and you realize that you're one. [Aaron] And you acknowledge Christ and everything you do [Jennifer] His way is just better. Yeah. Okay. All right. Here's another one. Galatians 2:20. I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me and the life I now live in the flesh. I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. [Aaron] The gospel right there. [Jennifer] We are Christ's. So the Bible this tells us that anything we do, we should do to his glory for him as if we're working for him. That's our marriage is included in that. So husbands, are you walking with your wives, loving your wives, building up your wives as unto the Lord for him, Are you realizing that you've been crucified with Christ and it's no longer you who live but Christ who lives in you? Those things matter when we put our minds on that it actually changes the atmosphere completely. Changes when we have an argument and we realize, oh my goodness, I'm being a fool. And I am not. I'm walking in that dead guy, not in the new guy. So we need to keep Christ at the center as our foundation. So we just, we gotta make sure that we're keeping Christ that he is our center, that he is our foundation and that there is no other foundation in our marriage. [Jennifer] So real quick, just, I think that everybody understands the idea of oneness and how in marriage, a husband and wife are one and that's beautiful, but we still operate individually. Like you can't force me what I'm gonna do. I don't force you, what you're gonna do. Our days are set up a little bit differently. And then there's times that we come together. So could you just speak to the individual, how do they prioritize and keep Christ at the center of their life? What choices are they making to do this. [Aaron] As individuals, we need to realize that we have our faith in Christ that he loves us as individuals, that we are to seek him his face and be in the word of God and be praying for ourselves, for our family for our children and have that attitude. That Christ is our everything. And that shapes how we respond to our spouses, how we deal with our children, how we make choices in life, all of those things matter. And what's awesome is, Christ isn't divided, if my wife has the Holy spirit and I have the Holy spirit and even though we may be individually pursuing Christ it's going to cause us to pursue him together. And it's going to cause us to be more in one mind. Right? 'Cause it's one spirit that we're walking in. [Jennifer] That's good. Would you take a moment to speak to the couple, who might be listening, who may tend to rely on their spouse for spiritual connectedness to God? So like I guess my point is let's say your good at doing this keeping Christ at the center of your daily life. I know that you're in the word. I know that you're praying for me and for our family. And I just have been relying on you to do that. And so I feel connected to God but I'm actually not walking the way that I should be, speak to that person. [Aaron] I think you, if you're letting your spouse when you say this, I think more of a husband who's being passive, lets his wife take the kids to church. He lets his wife read the Bible to the kids and is not interested in necessarily and-- [Jennifer] Might even be present for it, but not speaking up or. [Aaron] Not engaging, not having their own [Jennifer] Personal pursuit of God. [Aaron] Yeah, I would say that needs to change for your own sake. And it's usually important is that what usually again it's massively important for your family but it's more important for you as an individual. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] Like Christ loves you and wants, has a relationship for you in him and wants to know you and wants you to know him. [Jennifer] Yeah. And today we're talking about building a strong marriage, not an okay one not a mediocre one, a strong, powerful marriage. You both individually need to be chasing boldly after God. And then coming together to do that as one. Another scripture that we wanted to share was Philippians 4:13. [Aaron] I can do all things through him who strengthens me. [Jennifer] So who is doing the strengthening? [Aaron] Christ. Christ strengthens me. And what's interesting about that verse. Oftentimes we like to use that verse in a way of like, oh, I can do anything, but it's in context to living through certain kinds of situations. [Jennifer] Different seasons. [Aaron] Different seasons, suffering, poverty, wealth, all of these things, these different life stages these different things that we could experience [Jennifer] Tying your tarp up on the roof. [Aaron] We can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Yeah. So dealing with the things alive it doesn't necessarily mean like oh I can do whatever I want. [Jennifer] Right. [Aaron] Because Christ is gonna strengthen me to do it. It specifically talks about the heart. Normal hard things of life. [Jennifer] Endurance. [Aaron] Yeah, enduring. [Jennifer] Very cool. Okay. Well that was number one. I know we kind of spent some time. [Aaron] We only have five more. [Jennifer] The second one is, we've already mentioned it several times and it's so important but it's read the Bible and this-- [Aaron] The word of God [Jennifer] This is foundational to having a strong, powerful marriage, why? [Aaron] And this is, this is a hard thing is that many Christians in the, in this world mainly in the United States don't actually read the word enough. I don't remember the exact stat, but they're like very few people have ever read the whole Bible. Like very small percentage of people who claim to be Christians. And what's crazy about that is we claim to say we believe something like the word of God because when we say we believe in Jesus and we believe in God, like as a Christian. What we're saying is we believe what the Bible says about Jesus and God. But if we've never read the whole thing what are we actually believing? Like, do you know what you believe? And I just want to challenge you as a believer. If you have not read through the whole Bible this isn't a law thing. This isn't a working for your salvation thing. This is an encouragement as a brother to a brother or sister to a sister, read the Bible, read the whole thing front to back so that you know what you believe you know what you're having faith in. And so building a strong marriage or building a strong faith alone, you got to read the word of God. Read it with each other, read it alone, read it with your children make it a normal facet of your life. That the word of God is read out loud and in private always. [Jennifer] A few episodes ago, we talked about delighting in the Lord and delighting in each other. And it makes me think of reading through the Bible. And you know, some people, depending on the size of their Bible might feel like that's too daunting or that feels like a lot or I don't understand. But if we take it from an approach of delight in the Lord in this way, get to know him, you know, through his word, it's not daunting. It's not overwhelming. It's just an experience. [Aaron] Yeah. So I read this book a while back just about different translations and how they are translated. But the author said this thing that really changed the way I look at the Bible because we can look at the Bible and be like, oh there's stuff that I don't understand. Or you know, how am I supposed to study it? I'm not, I don't know how to study the Bible. And we look at it as this as like homework but he said have you ever just read the Bible to enjoy reading it? Cause he he's a literary major. He's a teacher of literature. And so he loves literature. And so he's, he encouraged the reader to read the Bible and just enjoy reading it. There's time to study and that's good and it needs to happen. But just reading it, reading straight through and enjoying the language, enjoying the flow enjoying the storyline and enjoying it like you would a good book. I thought that was just an a good encouragement. [Jennifer] So good. That's awesome. Deuteronomy 6:7 says, you shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house. And when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up, so what are we teaching them? [Aaron] Yeah, this is specifically talking about God's laws, his precepts and it's this encouragement to the fathers and saying make every moment of your day habit that your children would know my words. Would know my commands. Joshua 1:8 says, the book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it, for then you will make your ways. Then you will make your way prosperous. And then you will have good success. Who doesn't want to be prosperous and have good success? Right? And he's saying, the way you do this is put my law in your mouth, meditate on it. And this word meditate is to chew. Like you repeat it and you remember it and you sing it and you hum it. And you think about it and you over and over and over again. [Jennifer] So I think we're mostly familiar with Ephesians 6 about the armor of God, but it talks about the word of God and the sword of the spirit. And that's how we wage wage war. Right? [Aaron] Exactly, when we think about defending our home, defending our minds, defending our hearts defending our wives, [Jennifer] Defending against what? [Aaron] The enemy his schemes that, that we have, we have an enemy his name is the devil and he hates us as believers. [Jennifer] So he can't wield that sword. We can't use it correctly if we don't know it. [Aaron] And so we have to pick it up and practice it and read it and know it. [Jennifer] Okay, so why be in the word every day? [Aaron] Well, Hebrews 4:12 says, for the word of God is living and active. It's a living being, it's an entity. It's not a stale book that only makes sense in the past. It makes sense every day. It's sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit and of joints and marrow and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. The Bible knows us. It's God's word and God knows us. And so when we read it, whatever we think about ourselves, we'll either align with it or contradict it. And so when we read and we say, oh, my life doesn't line up with that. Oh, I'm wrong. So we look at it and it reflects us and it shows a true reflection of who we are. And so the more we read it, the more we see who we are, who God made us to be, what we believe, what we have faith in. And it changes us the word about changes us. [Jennifer] There's also been so many times where a certain part of scripture that I read that day speaks to a specific circumstance or thing that I'm you know, struggling with or facing in that moment. And I'm not going to say that it's just a coincidence that those things line up like that. I believe that God knows exactly how his words gonna speak to us and that he leads us to those things-- [Aaron] By his spirit. [Jennifer] By his spirit to be reminded of them and to flip to them and read them or just, he's just a good father. And he wants to use his word to encourage us. And I think that you guys listening may have had experiences like that before. And I just wanted to encourage you. You know, that's part of why we read the Bible every day is because it's relevant. [Aaron] That's good. I just want to read one more scripture. I just thought it was a powerful image of this idea. And Ezekiel actually, there's a few more scriptures, they all go together. Ezekiel 3:3, when Ezekiel's an angel visits Ezekiel to give him this prophecy, to give him this vision. And he said to me, son of man Ezekiel 3:3 feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it. Then I ate it and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey. And I just thought that was beautiful. It gets this picture of he's given this scroll. That's written on the front and the back. And he tells him to eat it. And it's this picture of the word and he eats this scroll, which is a funny statement but it's kind of what we're supposed to do. In John 6:35 Jesus said, I am the bread of life. He that cometh to me shall never hunger. Isn't Jesus sweet to our taste. Like he is a sweet aroma of salvation of life. And then John 1:1-2 says this about Jesus in the beginning was the word. And the word was with God. And the word was God, he was in the beginning with God. And then down in verse 14, it says and the word became flesh and dwelt among us. So Jesus is the bread of life. His word is him. So when we consume his word, when we eat the bread of life, when we eat the word, it's sweet and it and it changes us. And it fills us. [Jennifer] Taking on this idea of eating and hunger. You know, some people fast, like, you're you intermittent fast. So your morning you go without food. But there always comes a point in the day where you're like so hungry. You're so hungry. And then you carry on with eating today. And then there's some people that fast, you know maybe a few days, but then there comes a point where they know they need to eat. But spiritually, I think, I don't think people are thinking this way, but we're when you're not in the word every day, you're fasting from it. And you can only go so long until you need it. You need that nutrients. You need the bread of life to sustain you. Otherwise you're not being sustained. Right? [Aaron] That's exactly right. [Jennifer] I was just kind of flip-flopping that in my mind. But anyways. [Aaron] So you don't eat the word? [Jennifer] Eat it. [Aaron] Number three, humility. So someone once said to me you can't fight with a humble person. [Jennifer] Honestly, it makes me more mad because like I started to internally wrestle because I'm not getting the same response to justify why I'm upset [Aaron] But it's true. You, if there's two people that, you know like the whole same, it takes two to tango. If one's not going to tango, there isn't a tango happening. And so humility, which is, it's a mark of a Christian like we're to be human, we're to I was gonna say humiliated, but where to be humble. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] I&n marriage, without humility you'd have two prideful people and that doesn't work. [Jennifer] I was going to say, if you want to see your foundation in marriage start to crack all it takes is a little unrepentant pride. [Aaron] And you, and you got it. And so that's just the best tactic for any fight is, is to be humble. [Jennifer] Real quick, going back to this idea, I get these pictures in my head and then I can't not share them. So imagine your spouse just staring at you wondering why you're hammering up the floorboards or the concrete patio. [Aaron] Right, cause one's humble and you're, and you're like, no I'm going to rip it up. [Jennifer] Yeah, you're just staring at them like, what are you doing? Why are you doing this right now? Knowing that you're gonna have to fix and repair it later. Anyways, that's just like a heart check, a visual for us to pay attention to in marriage. [Aaron] That was a good one. And referring back to number one, which is Christ centric. Humility is an example we're given in Christ and he's who we follow. So if we're Christ centric we're going to say, man, like Christ was meek. He was gentle, he was humble. [Jennifer] Psalm 25:9 says, he leads the humble in what is right. And teaches the humble his way. [Aaron] And that's what we want. We want to be led in the right path. This strong marriage we're trying to build. It's taking us somewhere. James 4:1-2 says, what causes quarrels? And what causes fights among you? I have, this is the answer to why this is going back to the word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword. It discerns the hearts of men. This is why we fight, every single fight you ever have with your spouse is this, is it not this, that your passions are at war within you. [Jennifer] Duh! [Aaron] Seriously, you desire and do not have. So you miss word murder. Jesus said, if you hit your brother you've committed murder in your heart. So if you fight and quarrel because your passions are waging war within you I'm not getting what I want from my wife. I'm angry, She hurt my feelings, she's not doing this, she's not doing that. That's those are passions. There's something within me in me, I'm not getting. And then it says in verse two you desire and do not have the murder. You covet and cannot obtain. So you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. And it goes into this. [Jennifer] Sounds like the key is communication. [Aaron] Communication, that's true. So humility. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] Put down those passions, put them aside. [Jennifer] Put the interest of others above yourself. [Aaron] It's trynna make sense. Number four. [Jennifer] All right, number four is intimacy. We got to have intimacy. If we're going to have a strong marriage, but not just-- [Aaron] Good. [Jennifer] And I was just going to say, not just physical all of that's really important connection and love come through being intimate, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. [Aaron] Yeah. We don't want dry cold relate, you know marriages as believers. [Jennifer] We want to go to. We want to go to those vulnerable places with each other and talk about the things that are on our hearts and minds. [Aaron] But I want to emphasize all the men are like come on, do it. I want to emphasize the physical intimacy aspect because it truly affects marriages so much. [Jennifer] Yeah. Like so many different areas of marriage. Yeah. [Aaron] And the reason I say this is because the Bible talks less about like, it tells her husbands do not be harsh with our wives. So that goes into this idea of a gentleness a compassion with our spouse, with our wives. So that that intimacy matters. But it talks in a heavy handed way about physical intimacy because there's an importance to it. And in, Song of Solomon, the Bible doesn't shy away from this. Song of Solomon or Song of Songs in 1:2, it says, let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth for your love is better than wine. This book is prophetic and literal. It a love poem between a bright and a groom. Is there's a whole book in the Bible dedicated to this. This idea of this romance, this physical attraction, this seeing and desiring the beauty. [Jennifer] Lots of imagery. [Aaron] Lots of imagery, yeah. And that's important. 1st Corinthians 7:3 to 5. [Jennifer] Yeah, this is another good one. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife. And likewise, the wife to her husband the wife does not have authority over her own body but the husband, likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body but the wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for time. So you may devote yourselves to prayer then come together again. So that Satan will not tempt you through your lack of self control. [Aaron] This is a powerful verse. And I know some people have abused this verse but if you look at it in the context of two people who love Christ, you see it's saying that your unity, remember you are not your own person. I don't get to say like, oh no, it's my body, don't touch me. No, it's your body. This is your body. Which also means I can't just do with my body, what I want. I have a wife who gets a say in what my body does. And so if the men are listening, this is important that you don't get to just do whatever you want with your own body. You have a wife that is one with you and that you need to honor with your body and vice versa, that your wife's body is not her own, it's yours. So all the more why we need to protect as the Bible says, keeping the marriage bed pure. We protect that sexual intimacy with each other in such a mighty way. And then right here, it says do not deprive each other, sex should never be a tool to get back at your spouse or do it with hold that from them. [Jennifer] Or if you're struggling with something and this is something that I've had to learn in our marriage. When you're struggling with something that affects you wanting to be physically intimate. I struggled to communicate that. And so then there's this like it the Bible says except by mutual consent. And that's the part that I've missed is coming to you and communicating to you, what's going on. [Aaron] And then it says, except by mutual consent for a time. So not permanently. And that time is something that has to be discussed, like okay, when what's a appropriate time, we need to make, let's take this break for this reason, for this reason, for this reason. And then it says, so you may devote yourselves to prayer. So if you are gonna take that time apart physically there better be prayer. And this has to come back together, this sexual intimacy this is one of the ways that the enemy and that's why it warns even that Satan will tempt you. This is one of the major ways that the enemy is destroying Christian marriages is this way right here. And as always say that your spouse is the only option you have. There is no other option. And so you need to keep that in mind and be aware of that. That this is one of the ways that you can be unified in a powerful way. And it's one way that you can powerfully protect your marriage, is having that communication. Of course, that there's no you don't demand stuff from each other, that you walk with each other in this and you communicate about it but it should be something that you both are on the same page with and you don't neglect it. [Jennifer] That's good. All right, we're talking about the six things that we should be doing to build a strong marriage. And we are, we have two more. So number five is learn to communicate well. [Aaron] Yeah, this is the easiest one for us, for sure. [Jennifer] It should say always continuing and never ceasing to learn to communicate well. We're still learning how to communicate with each other. So many ways. Every day. [Jennifer] I feel like we're generally good in the majority of you know, marriage areas or I don't know what to call them. all the categories of marriage topics that we could talk about. But I would say that our top two are intimacy, physical intimacy and the way that we talk to each other or the way that we communicate [Aaron] There are things that we need to definitely like work at. [Jennifer] Well we are always-- [Aaron] Pray about-- [Jennifer] Having ourselves checked on. I feel like, especially in communication, we can be abrasive or matter of fact and we lose that emotional connectivity [Aaron] We lack compassion with each other at times. [Jennifer] Like, we think we can handle it but then so conversation after conversation after conversation, it accumulates. And then our hearts are like, wait a minute, this isn't working. And one of us tends to bring it back to the table. But God's been really working on us in this area. I'd say since the beginning of our marriage and we're getting better. [Aaron] Yeah, he's been pruning us a ton in the way we talk, because it's an, it's a witness. The way we communicate is not just a it's a witness to the world, but it's a witness to our kids. And so I just, we want to encourage you that learning to talk compassionately, patiently listen well, those are there. We have to do it. Proverbs 19:11 says, good sense makes one slow to anger. And in his glory to overlook an offense. So I brought this verse up, Jennifer I told you I was gonna talk about this but you didn't know what it was. A friend encouraged me the other day 'cause I asked for prayers that I'm not communicating well with my wife. And he said, hey, maybe it was something that him and his wife were practicing. He said, next time when you're not in the heat of the moment, when you're in a calm time and there is no arguing, there's nothing going on. Take your wife aside and say, hey can we talk and ask her and say, hey can we work on overlooking things more? I was, I haven't talked to you about it yet but I wanted to bring it up. [Jennifer] That's good. It's to our glory to overlook an offense and think about how many arguments we've gotten in. And we even say like, this is over nothing. Like, 'cause we're like not communicating well. And we get easily offended by a little thing. And if we overlook those little things, think like, oh they didn't mean that that's not what they, yes they said and that kind of pricked my heart but that's not, I know that's not what they mean. We can overlook a lot of things that aren't going to turn into something bigger and it'll probably bring way more peace in our conversation. And I just thought that was a really great encouragement that he gave to me. And so I wanted to bring it up that it says good sense makes one slow to anger and is to his glory to overlook an offense. I think it's something that all of us as believers can get better at overlooking things. [Jennifer] Okay, remember at the beginning of this conversation we were talking about building an actual home and then moving in and decorating it. I feel like this would fall under that category of like you're going to hang that big massive picture above the fireplace. It better be this like, you know just overlooking on the fence. Like it's a centerpiece. It's a statement [Aaron] Yeah and it probably bring lot more beauty to the home and not being so easily bothered, offended by the little things. Now there's going to be big things that need to be talked about. [Jennifer] Sure. [Aaron] And real offenses that are like, hey, that wasn't right, we need to work on that. But I would imagine most of the things are probably things we can overlook. So just an idea, something that I need to work on 'cause I get that way. I think like, why did you do that? Or I'm now I'm rambling, okay. [Jennifer] It's good. All right. Should I share this Proverbs 18:21, death and life are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruits. I just think that's such a good one and how we talk to each other. [Aaron] And there is different kinds of fruits. There's life and death. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] So are we producing life in our with our words or are we presenting death with it? [Jennifer] Yeah and then Proverbs 15:1, a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. I think this one reminds me of this one reminds me of going back to humility and how that is our example. And that's what we should be. A soft answer is based in humility is motivated by humility where a harsh word is more out of just that personal self-preservation and anger. [Aaron] And that's like my that's gotta be my theme verse for my life. And I get better at giving a soft answer. Cause I often give harsh answers. And I'm sorry for that. [Jennifer] No, you're forgiven, but you're not always harsh. [Aaron] Okay. Number six, which goes along with what you just did to me is love and forgive. They're kind of one in the same. [Jennifer] Look at this strong marriage being built over here. [Aaron] Love is an obvious one. But we, we did and we just did a whole episode on this. [Jennifer] You guys should go listen to that. [Aaron] So we're not going to go into all of those scriptures. [Jennifer] Okay. [Aaron] Yeah, they should go listen to it as that it's the last episode, right? But what we will share is 1st Peter 4:8. Above all keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. This goes along with, I just read in Proverbs about overlooking offenses is to one's glory. Love does cover multitude. Think about what Christ did. It covered all of my sin. And so the least I can do in my marriage is love my wife to a point where I can overlook the little things that I see. Yeah. You know. [Jennifer] No, I think that's really good. I think it's good to be reminded that we are fleshly beings in these imperfect bodies in need of unconditional love from our savior who gives it perfectly but also from each other. [Aaron] I'm practicing it. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] Like our savior. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] Christ centric. Okay. So that was, that was our six. And we want to be builders as couple. Like we build in our marriage, we build strong. We build strong in Christ. Not couples who tear down but build. So I wanna, we need to be willing to dive back into the process of remodeling it sometimes. If we need to fix the foundation even, like sometimes we need to dig in and be like, oh, hey we need to go back 27 steps and start back right there and figure out what we did wrong and like move forward, 'cause we want to fix that. [Jennifer] And then I want to add, you know, there might be times when you're building that you need to throw a big hundred foot tarp on the roof to try and protect what's going on, 'cause it's a mess. But there's going to be other times where the weather's a little sunny and you just need to enjoy each other. You need to remember that you two have been through a lot and you should enjoy yourselves delight in each other. [Aaron] Yeah and delighting each other, which we did an episode on that too. So this is not about perfection. 'Cause I know we can look at these and be like oh I'm not following through with all six of these. No we don't. We're not, this is not for perfection. This is that we would have a heart posture of moving forward. [Jennifer] And building something great. [Aaron] Yeah and that our eyes are like, hey, what we've been building, not that great. Let's build something better and let's run to Christ. Let's look in his word and let's do that together. [Jennifer] And in his power and the Holy Spirit's power. [Aaron] Exactly, it's the only way we do it actually. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] And our hardest grow and mature with our spouse. And we do this only in the power of the Holy Spirit. Like he's brought up. [Jennifer] Yeah. Cool. All right, hope that was encouraging to you guys. We are going to enter into one of my favorite parts of every episode, this season. [Aaron] ♪ Gratefulness ♪ [Jennifer] Gratefulness. So our hope is just by sharing things that we're grateful for at the end of each episode, you're encouraged and it prompts you to consider something that you're super grateful for and then share it with someone. It could be your spouse. You can share it with the Lord. You could share it with a friend or anyone else. Let's spread some gratefulness. Aaron, you want to go? [Aaron] Yeah. I'm grateful for my parents who by the way are probably listening to this episode right now. And then they're going to share it to their Facebook. And they're going to talk about how much they love us. They're really awesome. My mom and dad raised me to know God. They, again not perfect, but they loved God. And they did their best to teach me who he was teach me how to pray, teach me how to read the Bible and just taught me the gospel. And they showed us their lives and they still love the Lord. And I just, I miss them actually. I want them to like move in with us. But yeah, my parents I'm grateful for them. [Jennifer] That's awesome. I am also grateful for my parents and I don't feel like I can move on without saying that just because I am super grateful for my parents and that they also raised me to know God. Yeah. We can move into. [Jennifer] One big break. But I also want to say that I am super grateful for flowers. I got to a, I was reading some science stuff to the kids and we're learning about botany this year. And this book was talking about how God didn't have to make all the shades and colors that he poured into flowers and how unique each one is. It's kind of like that idea that he didn't have to make strawberries taste so good, which I don't remember where he got that from but it's so cool. Flowers are so beautiful. And we're entering into this season where we're going to see them popping up. And I've been a forced growing some tulips in the kitchen window, which I'm so excited. They're about to burst and they're red. And anyways, I'm just blubbering but I love and am grateful for the beauty of flowers. And it just shows God's character that he is creative. He is thoughtful. He cares about the detail. And I was telling the kids today that he's, it shows that he's patient. Because he's willing to wait all season until they bloom. So anyways. That's really pretty. [Jennifer] Flowers. [Aaron] Good answers you had two though. You're only allowed to be grateful for one thing. [Jennifer] You guys can have two this week, go ahead. [Aaron] All right, so we always end in prayer. And so would you join us. Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of salvation. Thank you for the gift of your Holy word. Thank you for showing us the way and helping us along. We pray would be couples who choose to build up our marriages to be strong. We pray we'd be fortified in any areas that are weak. If hard times come or storms rain down, we pray we would stand fast in faithfulness. We pray would be secure and strong in a strong foundation in marriage. One that glorifies you, please help us to be intentional and keeping Christ at the center of our lives. Reading your word daily, walking humbly with each other initiating intimacy and being good communicators. We pray we would love unconditionally and be quick to forgive one another. Please help us to build up and maintain our marriages so that we can be a help to others and magnify your name. May your will be done in our lives in Jesus name. Amen. We love you all. And we thank you. We pray this encourages you. As usual, your share warriors and you guys have been doing an awesome job. Would you share this episode with someone that needs it? Would you share this episode with a friend with a family member, email it, text message, post it to your social media. However you want to do that. It really helps. And tons of people have been doing and it is such an encouragement and blessing when people do it. We love you and get that join that free challenge that we got. Pray challenge and that I'll see you next week.
We want to invite you to take our 31-day parenting prayer challenge. These are made possible in part by our faithful prayer team patrons.  https://marriageaftergod.com/patronjoin today! → Parentingprayerchallenge.com Read The Transcript  [Jennifer] Welcome to the "Marriage After God" podcast. [Aaron] We're your hosts. I'm Aaron. [Jennifer] And I'm Jennifer. [Aaron] We've been married for 14 years. [Jennifer] And we have five young children. [Aaron] We started blogging over 10 years ago, sharing our marriage story in hopes of encouraging other husbands and wives to draw closer to God and closer to each other. [Jennifer] We have authored over 10 books together including our newest book "Marriage After God," the book that inspired us to start this podcast. [Aaron] Marriage after God is a message to remind all of us that God designed marriage with a purpose. [Jennifer] To reflect his love. [Aaron] To be a light in this world. [Jennifer] to work together as a team. [Aaron] Using what he has given us. [Jennifer] To build his kingdom. [Aaron] Our hope is to encourage you along your marriage journey. [Jennifer] As you boldly chase after God together. [Aaron] This is "Marriage After God." Hey everyone, welcome back to the "Marriage After God" podcast. We're in Jennifer Smith, your host- [Aaron] Yeah, we're excited to be back with another episode. [Jennifer] Do you know that we are more than halfway through the season? [Aaron] I know, crazy. It's going by really fast and it feels good. [Jennifer] Yeah. Hope everyone's enjoying it as much as we are. [Aaron] Yeah. [Jennifer] One thing I wanted to share with you guys just starting out the gate here, is took the kids for a walk, we have these really cool parks where we live in central Oregon, and just wide open nature, fresh air flowing river, awesome bridge to walk over, and we got outside. And sometimes it gets hard for me in the wintertime 'cause it's like, I don't know, it's cold. [Aaron] and you did it by yourself, I missed out on it today. [Jennifer] Yeah, usually I make you go along with me, huh? [Aaron] Yeah. [Jennifer] More hands- I was impressed. [Aaron] And I missed it, 'cause I like going on those little adventures with you. [Jennifer] Well, a friend invited me, and it was just really good to get out despite it being cold, and the reason that I'm sharing this with you guys is because this friend of mine just is very enthusiastic and passionate about nature and being outside all the time, and so one of her ways of encouraging me is this challenge she gave me, this piece of paper that said the thousand hour challenge, and there's all these little bubbles that you get to mark off for every hour that you're outside with the kids, and I just thought how wonderful, and so it's been a fun little way of kind of keeping ourselves accountable to being outside every day, and the kids have loved being outside. I mean, they ask for it all the time anyways, so if anyone wants to take up that challenge, it's a thousand hour challenge. [Aaron] How many hours have you done outside? [Jennifer] I don't know, since I started it's been about a week. I think we got in I wanna say nine hours that I'm keeping track of. [Aaron] So I'm outside playing all day out back. So like that counts as like the, towards the hours. It doesn't have to be on an adventure just outside- [Jennifer] It could just be outside. [Aaron] That's cool. [Jennifer] Yeah, so anytime they're outside for an hour, I mark it off. [Aaron] I was actually kind of wondering what that thing on the refrigerator. [Jennifer] Yeah it doesn't really explain much. [Aaron] That's awesome. But I will try and go next time, 'cause it looked like you had a lot of fun. [Jennifer] It was a fun little adventure. Also the reason that I was bringing that up is because some of you may have seen me post on Instagram about it, just random pictures of us being out on our nature walk today. But I'm back on Instagram and that's new. [Aaron] So you're saying everyone should message and say hi to you. [Jennifer] Sure, say hi, pop in and say hi. I was off for pretty much all of January, and I had never taken a break like that from a social media. Like, so hands off, like, I mean, I deleted it from my phone and everything, and it felt really good. And then one day I just decided I missed it. So I came back and at first it felt weird to post, like I didn't know really how to, it felt new again. but I'm back. Do you wanna come see me? Come say hi. [Aaron] Awesome, I just want to invite everyone, if you haven't yet to leave a review today, that'd be awesome. Five star rating, actually doesn't have to be five-star you can get, you can start whatever you want. Five star would be appreciated, but yeah leaving a review or a star rating today would be awesome. If you have done that, we're just so appreciative and it helps the algorithms. We always mention it. So if you take a moment today, we'd really appreciate it. [Jennifer] Another thing that we wanted to offer you is very similar to what you may have heard in the last few episodes kicking off the season, but it's a little bit different. So we've been sharing about the marriage prayer challenge, today we wanna remind you and offer you and invite you to the parenting prayer challenge. And it's essentially the same concept. You can go to parentingprayerchallenge.com and sign up, and you'll get 31 days of prayer prompts to pray over your children. [Aaron] And you can actually choose whether to pray for your son or your daughter or both, if you have both, and it's completely free, and we'd love for you to join that and take that challenge. And you could take it even if you're taking the marriage prayer challenge already. So you can be praying for your spouse and you can be praying for your kids. You should do that today. [Jennifer] Again, that's parentingprayerchallenge.com. [Aaron] So Jennifer, why are we talking about... Just real quick, I know this isn't in the notes, but why are we talking about comforting each other during hard times. When we came up with this list of ideas for episodes? [Jennifer] Yeah, I think we already mentioned that the motivation behind the way we created our list this season was just, how we do every season is what have we been learning about? What have we been doing? What have we been walking through? What's God been teaching us? So partly from that just last year, there were times that you hard times that you comforted me and I comforted you. And it was a kind of relearning opportunity for us in our marriage of what it looks like to go through a hard time and be there for one another. And the other reason is just because I think that if you had, you know, a handful of categories that every marriage deals with, this is probably one, of the top ones where every marriage faces challenges and hardship and trials and hard times, and we get the opportunity as husband and wife to be there for one another. And so I think it's good to what we always say check our hearts or evaluate, you know, where we're at and how we're doing. And so we thought talking about how to comfort each other during hard times, would be inappropriate marriage topic for a marriage podcast. [Aaron] I think so. And it's good for everything, not just your marriage, but I'm just thinking about situations in my life where I needed to be comforted by friends, by my parents. [Jennifer] That's true, we are gonna go into more of just comforting others too. [Aaron] But it's good, especially with how the world's going, and things have just been going on. I think there's plenty of opportunities to be comforted into comfort. And personally, this has been something that's very difficult for me to do to others. [Jennifer] Comforting others or having compassion or empathy toward them? [Aaron] All the above. [Jennifer] Okay, I'm like, just clarify. [Aaron] I don't know why. I couldn't tell you why, but emotional sensitivity has been difficult pretty much my whole life. I don't know why. I feel like the last handful of years I've gotten better at it, I feel like I've been like changing that in me. You could probably attest to this, like going from just always, you know, logical and cold to getting a little bit softer and- [Jennifer] Well, let me encourage you, because I wouldn't say the word cold. I don't think you're a cold guy, I don't think you're a mean guy, I think that you're a very strong guy, and so sometimes some of the weaker ways that we humans walk through get overlooked because- [Aaron] Being very gentle to me, thank you. [Jennifer] I'm being honest. I do think that you... There are plenty of times you've been compassionate or have comforted me or others, I just wouldn't say that you're like that kind of tenderhearted always trying to be there. [Aaron] Yes, it's something that I need to work on for 100% sure. [Jennifer] Okay, let's just stick to the notes here. [Aaron] Yeah, okay. It's something that definitely doesn't come natural to me. I don't know why it is, but it just never really has. Comforting someone in hard times, someone who's going through painful situations, suffering- Like what to do in hard times? [Aaron] That, yeah, not knowing how to be that person for someone. [Jennifer] When you have someone in your life that is going through a hard time, do you automatically get challenged with the thought, like, I don't know what to do for them, or is it more just like this is so uncomfortable and I wanna like... I hope they get better and I'm gonna pray for them move on. Or I don't know. [Aaron] Yeah, I'd say there's a couple of things. Especially if someone who's going through something's not in close proximity to me. And like I said, I've been getting better at this, God's definitely shown stuff to me and highlighted this in me. But if they're not like indirect proximity to me, it's hard for me to like put my mind on them and my heart on them. But when I am in proximity to someone, I'm thinking of like deaths in the family, or, you know, friends going through hard things. [Jennifer] Where I see it. [Aaron] Where I see it and I'm present. And yeah, I think I want to, like, there's this, like I know I should do something, I know I should say something, I know should be a certain way, but I, yeah, I think it's both of those things, but I also feel uncomfortable. So it's something I'm wanting to grow in, and get better, which is why I'm glad we're talking about it, because it's been something that God has been teaching us, teaching me. [Jennifer] Me too. [Aaron] He's used you a lot to teach me, which we'll talk about. [Jennifer] I was just gonna say, marriage is awesome in that those moments where you haven't walked with compassion or comfort, I've been able to share with you how I feel in those moments. You know, if I've felt overlooked, or I felt like maybe you didn't respond to me the way I was hoping you would have in the way that I felt, over the years, you have been responsive to those moments that I've shared that with you. So you have grown in these areas. You might see yourself as not being super great at comforting others, but you have grown a lot since I've known you in this. [Aaron] Yeah, and I wanna grow more, I wanna be better for you at that. But I just know that even with you, there's times that I'm not understanding, or I see a situation differently, or I might be it come off as cold or un compassionate, because I'm just like, Hey, like we can get through this. Maybe I there's been times that I'm- [Jennifer] Quick to fix it. [Aaron] Yeah, like I, I just jumped to- [Jennifer] The solution or like- [Aaron] The solution. And I also think- Moving forward. Just now that I'm thinking about it, I think I get, because I'm uncomfortable with someone going through something, I want them to stop going through it. Like, come on- I see what you're saying. Like stamp out of it. Like let's move past it. Maybe because I don't usually get affected too much. [Jennifer] You're the type that if you're near Aaron and you're going through a hard time, he wants to grab you by the arm and go have a good time, like, come on, let's just go, let's move forward. Like that? [Aaron] Yeah, Sort of. It's like I want you to see it from my point of view. I don't know. And then that's not always right, right? Wrong, that's not right. [Jennifer] And this is what God's teaching you. [Aaron] Yeah, this is what God's teaching me. [Jennifer] That's good. Also, when were talking and explaining that just now, I was just thinking the silence. You know that people say the awkward silence. [Aaron] It's too awkward for me. [Jennifer] Well, yeah. But sometimes when people are sharing that they're going through a hard time, or are suffering or need that person, that friend to comfort them. Yeah, you're quick to say something, you're quick to move or quick to be actionable, because- [Aaron] I wanna give some sort of response. [Jennifer] You want to give a response to them. And so would you say that God is teaching you how to just be still in that moment, and kind of be there with that person? [Aaron] Yeah, well, it's something that we'll talk about in this episode, but it's, there's, I think He's showing me, He's been teaching me how to walk with individuals, because every situation isn't the exact same. I could see things like, this is always how I'm supposed to be, or always what I should say. But every situation is different, and I need to love someone enough to understand them and how they will receive love and comfort. So more of a putting myself in their shoes the specific person, I don't know, I feel like I'm- [Aaron] I know, I feel like we've kind of gone on this tangent of like, let's talk about and focus on Aaron, but we didn't kind of mean for it to go that way, but we'll run with it. [Jennifer] Yeah, I just wanted to bring up that this is a hard thing for me. [Jennifer] You're being honest, that's good. I think this is interesting because I get what you're saying, and I've seen what you're saying play out before with me and with others, just having known you for so long. But there's this other side of you that really is gentle and compassionate and comforting, I've seen it. And I've seen you treat people, everybody has as equal, like you don't put people on pedestals where there's like this person over here that's higher, and this person over here that's lower. Like you've always maintained this equal standing of like value with people, which I think is incredible. And you've also always kind of, I don't know how to say at the same time, you've been there for the underdog. At different times in our life, there has been people that are like hard to get along with, or people are struggling with them and you seem to be able to relate to them and be friendly and be there for them. Does that make sense? [Aaron] It goes back to that, seeing everyone the same. I, well, I do tend to not like knowing that there's someone that's being cast out or downcast or put aside. And so I feel like I gravitate towards those people, but at the same time, I don't treat them any different than I would treat someone else. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] I just, yeah, it is interesting. But that has come into play Now that I think about it, with some of the problems I've had, because like I was saying, treating everyone the same, isn't always... It's good to it's good to view everyone the same, but it doesn't mean I'd respond the same to everyone, or interact the same with everyone, if that makes sense. Especially when it comes to things like comforting, things like suffering, things like pain, something that I may not understand, something I've never gone through. So I feel like it's been opened my eyes to like how to, as Paul put it, be all things to all men so that I might win some. Like that idea of seeing where someone's at and being like, okay, good Lord. What do you, how do you want me to respond to this specific situation with this person? [Jennifer] Right. Well, I feel like we went through quite a bit of just how you engage and interact with people just now, And I don't want it for now. I just don't want it to sound super negative. So just as a reminder to you, Aaron, I have seen you in times where people are suffering an uncomfortable or needing comfort, you've been there. And even in the awkwardness, even in the not knowing what to do or how to respond in that moment, I do try. You do try. And you're really, you're a good friend, and you're a good husband. And I just wanted to remind you that. So without going more into me personally, this topic was meant for everyone. [Jennifer] And I think is the launching pad. [Aaron] Yeah, well It made sense, 'cause I was writing this and I had to start with, hey this is something that is hard for me, but I'm sure it's hard for everyone at different times. But it's also something that we desire ourselves that we ourselves want to be comforted, and as believers, we want to be good at being able to comfort because we can comfort the lost, and that could be an opportunity to bring them to Christ. We can comfort our family and our spouse and our children, and so it's a good tool in our tool belt, as we talk about in our book to all to have. And I think it's something that we should, like you said in the beginning of this, examine our hearts and say okay Lord, how can I... Teach me how to be compassionate and have a heart for the hurting? [ Jennifer] Yeah, and no one's exempt from or immune from having hard times, or facing trials, challenges, suffering. Right, it might look different for each of us, but we all experience it on some level, every marriage does, every individual within that marriage does, people we know friends, family, people who, neighbors. Yeah, everybody faces it in different ways. And I think if we keep our hearts tender, I think tender is such a good word when it comes to being able to comfort one another, I think we'll we'll know what the right thing to do is when those opportunities arise. [Aaron] Isn't it James that says that pretty much promises, we will have trials and tribulations in our life. Like it's a given not just for the believer, but for the world. You can't turn on the TV or go outside or drive down the street without seeing it or even experiencing it. Like there's just going to be trials and challenges and things that are hard. So having an eyes for this and I think you said tenderness is a good word, but like like a softness, like a heart that's ready. [Jennifer] Yeah, well that's good. Yeah. I like that. Before we dive into some of the meat of the message today, I thought it would be fun to answer this question, what is the most comforting thing I have ever done for you? [Aaron] There's been times when I've been really sick and you pamper me. [Jennifer] Pamper. [Aaron] I mean like you- [Jennifer] I call it babying, I baby you. [Aaron] Yeah, there was a time when I had a really bad earache, and I thought my brain was gonna explode. [Jennifer] I remember that, I've never seen you in so much pain, actually. [Aaron] I hadn't ever been in so much pain. But you like held me while I was like like crying on the bed, 'cause it was hurting so bad. [Jennifer] I was a little terrified, I didn't know what to do. [Aaron] Neither did I, it was so bad. But I remember you I prayed for you. [Aaron] Yeah I think of those times when I'm, there is nothing to do, but you just held me or, you know, prayed over me, and so that was the first thing I thought of. [Jennifer] And then I think I said, I think you should go to the doctors or had you already been? [Aaron] I did, I went to the doctors and I got a, some sort of antibiotic but it was like, it got worse after I got back. [Aaron] I remember that, that was intense. [Aaron] So what's the most comforting thing that I've ever done for you? [Jennifer] I'd say like you mentioned a very specific time but I think in general, just when you hold me close, when you pull me into you and hug me and yeah, just hold me. [Aaron] Remind you that I'm still here. [Jennifer] Yeah, that you're very close. I think the second thing is just when I hear you pray over me or for us, that's always encouraging. [Aaron] That's good. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] Some tips for all those listening. [Jennifer] The only thing you need, physical touch and prayer. [Jennifer] I guess we're done. [Aaron] Yeah, let's move on to the... Yeah, now there's some things in scripture we can look at that can give us some I don't know if they're guidelines, but it's encouragement for us in our walk and comforting, learning to comfort our spouse, others. And I just wanted to go through some of those and hopefully it encourages you listening, it encouraged me when I was writing it. So the first thing is for the believer, we're told to comfort each other. [Jennifer] So do it. [Aaron] Right, so this kind of sounds oversimplified but sometimes I feel like we don't think have that responsibility. Or someone else will do that. That's not my job. And I know we've in various seasons, struggled with this. Like someone's going through something and we think to ourselves, no we shouldn't like maybe someone else will, maybe they don't want anyone over there right now. And just kind of questioning whether it's our role to go comfort someone. [Jennifer] Which the hard thing about that is the moment you justify it, or excuse yourself out of the situation, it only takes a fleeting moment to then forget about it. Like, forget that need, forget that that person needs it right then and there. And then when, by the time it comes back around you remember it, the moment has passed, the opportunity has passed, someone else has stepped in, which is good, and we're so grateful for those people that take over when we don't or choose not to, or forgetful but let's not do that. [Aaron] So yeah, the first thing is that we're told- [Jennifer] You said maybe it's over simplified and I just the next word I heard, but under done. So over simplified, under done. [Aaron] It's true. Yeah, because we do, we disqualify ourselves from that ministry, but we're we're told to comfort each other. And I would imagine, not imagine, I would say that the first person that you should be like prone to comfort is your spouse. Right, they're a part of you, you're one with each other. And so if you're not comforting each other you're not comforting yourself. Like if you look at that- [Jennifer] I would definitely say this, I'm trying not to use double negatives. If you're not comforting your spouse, you better not be comforting anybody else because the moment you show others comfort, and that ability and your spouse is sitting over here going what in the world? [Aaron] That's true. [Jennifer] That's so hurtful. And the other part of that is if you guys... We're gonna talk about this in a minute, but you guys should be comforting people as a team, like your marriage, your one, so you be comforting each other first and then step into that space of like being able to comfort others. Sorry, I had to get out of the way. [Aaron] That's good. So second Corinthians 13:11 is where we get this says: "Finally, brothers rejoice, aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you." So if we look at that os piece the God of love and peace will be with you. Do we want that? [Jennifer] Of course. [Aaron] Okay, then let's rejoice, let's aim for restoration, let's comfort one another, agree with one another and live in peace. This is how the brothers in the church, this is a Christians walk, [Jennifer] But this is such a great marriage verse. Like if you just replaced brothers for spouses. [Aaron] Finally spouse's rejoice, aim for restoration. And well, especially if you and your spouse are both believers like this totally applies. And even if you have a spouse that's not a believer, you can still aim for this on your side of the marriage. But we are to comfort one another. That's a, that's a command to us on how we walk. It's part of our job description, not only as husbands and wives, but as Christians, it's our responsibility to do this. So if you've been looking for permission to comfort someone, comfort your spouse, that you are qualified, that you are called to it, here it is. This is a part of your job. [Jennifer] Okay, so, because we're talking, it's kind of a mixed message or not a mixed, but- [Aaron] I love this note, by the way. [Jennifer] How do I say it's all encompassing message today on how to comfort others. So it is inclusive of your spouse and others, right? We need to- [Aaron] Like there is a caveat. [Jennifer] Yeah, we need to clarify that boundaries matter, And I'm saying this from experience being married to your Aaron for 14 years, that we've communicated and agreed upon boundaries that have, I think protected our marriage and protected our unity and our peace within our marriage. So do you wanna speak to that? [Aaron] And what you're talking about is specifically like so taking all of this advice for your spouse is great, and learning as a couple as an individual individual to comfort others is great, but we shouldn't just take that blanket across the board because it would be very dangerous if I got in the habit of personally and individually comforting other women or other people's wives, right? I mean, that was just, that would be wrong. Now, if someone needs to be comforted, what I can do is bring my wife into it with me, or encourage my wife to do it. [Jennifer] Hey, I noticed so-and-so is hurting over here. Have you reached out to them? Have you had a conversation? You know, things like that. And the reason that we bring this up, you guys is because our marriage matters and our relationship is sacred. Aaron and I's right. You would agree that our marriage is 100% special, special. Yeah. I don't know how else to explain that. And I think when you move into comforting others, there is a level of intimacy involved. And I'm not saying the same intimacy as a husband and wife, but emotional intimacy is something that's truly valued among human beings and how we experience life. And so if you're gonna move into that space where you're comforting someone, regardless of what it is like whether it's meeting a need of theirs, or sitting there and listening to some hardship that they're going through, that's something that we should be willing to look at and say, are we making sure that we are within our boundary, right? Just our boundaries is I don't. [Aaron] Our boundary is that I don't. I won't sit ever alone and comfort a hurting woman. I won't do that. And if I did, my wife would know about it immediately. It wouldn't be a secret thing, but that would be, that has never happened. So the, what would happen is I would call you I'd be like, Hey, I think we need to come up. And it sounded really bad. Like we should go pray for them, or you should go see if she needs to talk. And so we were, and the same with my wife, she wouldn't go and sit and have a really deep intimate conversation with someone listening to all of their hurts and the things they're going through alone, she would invite me, or she would tell me like, hey you should really chat with so-and-so, they really need some comfort, they need some, you know, someone to listen. [Jennifer] And we've actually found a really great blessing and benefit in this, and Aaron, you've had some really great conversations with guys who have needed that comfort from another brother and I've had the opportunity to comfort and be comforted by other Christian women. And it's been a good thing. And then together as a couple, we've been able to step into that and, you know minister to other couples and other people. So I just think that boundaries are important. And, and we kind of wanted to talk about it upfront and get it out of the way, because it'll apply to everything else that we're talking about. [Aaron] So we always want to just encourage boundaries and order and that it also encourages you to encourage your spouse to be a minister, to care for others. So working together helps with that, and it's not worth it. So if someone's going through something, just know that there's someone else that can comfort them, if it's not you. So find another sister, brother, "Hey so-and-so could totally use some comforting right now." And so that we protect our marriages. So I thought that was a really good note. Thank you for that. So I just want to give a quick definition of comfort. So comfort is, first of all, it's a verb. [Jennifer] Action. [Aaron] It's something you do, and you do it actively. And it's defined as a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint. So physically comforting someone helping, you know, if they have a broken arm holding their arm up so that they're not in constant pain as a friend of mine, one time put his back out. And I had to take into the to the hospital and I had to like, hold up his whole torso so that he would put any weight on his lower spine. And it was wow. But that, that's what this is talking about is physical comfort. I'm comforting that physical pain with my body. [Jennifer] I'm thinking about labors. I've had the opportunity to be a part of, where you're just trying to help ease that woman going through, that you just helping in any way. Yeah. [Aaron] The other definition is the easing or alleviation of a person's feelings of grief or distress. So that's one, that's common of they're going through something painful emotionally, and you're there for them. And then another one is ease the grief or distress. [Jennifer] Console. To console someone. So that's essentially what comfort is. There's a physical comfort, which again, should be in a safe way with boundaries, but with your spouse like that, like you said, me being near you, holding you, coming to you, touching you you know, embracing you. And so that's what we're talking about when we talk about comfort. [Jennifer] As you're going through these definitions, the word that stood out to me is the word alleviate. And it reminds me of, you know, lifting up kind of like that illustration that you get so good. And I looked up another, you know, the source of synonyms in it, it means to take the edge off. So it's not just solving a problem or making something not painful ever again, that might be where that uncomfortable feeling comes from for you, that you had mentioned earlier. It's like this expectation to help in a way that that we just can't, you know sometimes some hard things won't ever be fixed, but in them we can help take the edge off by gladdening someone's heart reminding them of the good making them laugh or experience joy amidst what they're going through. So I just thought that word alleviate was I dunno, really cool. In normal times there there's plenty of reasons and seasons we go through that bring us to a point where we need to be comforted. I think everybody listening right now it's just like maybe sitting in that space right now saying I need that, you know hopefully our words bring you comfort today. [Aaron] I think a lot of believers right now look at the stuff going on in the world. Yeah. And we desire to be comforted. Like, is it gonna like, what? Like what's going on Lord? And so as believers, also, something to encourage you with is you can comfort because you're comforted. I know it kind of sounds funny but it's it's why we can comfort. That my next point is we are told to comfort but you can comfort because you yourself have been comforted. In 2nd Corinthians 1:3-5 Paul says this: "Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of mercies and God of all comfort." Okay, right there just starts a God of all comfort, "Who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God, for as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ, we share abundantly in comfort too." This is true for every believer. Because no matter what, you're going through, you have the comfort of God on your life because you know that he has saved you by His son Jesus. [Jennifer] Okay, so just real quick, when we were sharing about the definition just a bit ago, a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint. Oh my goodness. This makes me appreciate and just attend a way to salvation that we have in Christ. [Aaron] Right, 'cause no matter what the world or our happens to our bodies, man, does our bodies or just happens through age or disease, that we are comforted with the knowledge and the truth that this isn't it, that we have a new body coming, that we have a new home, that we have a savior, and we're going to have eternity worshiping our father. [Jennifer] So every single one of us have felt broken, shame, unrighteousness, that sin that he set us free from he's given us freedom from that's the comfort that we're talking about. [Aaron] And on top of that, He sent us his us His Holy Spirit who also comforts us. So when we're in the midst of just life, he reminds us of the truth about us. This is something that we dealt with a lot this year, just us thinking about who we are in Christ. And that we're no longer that old man. And that God was, he reminds us like, no, that's not who you are. Hey yes, it feels this way now, but it's not true. Like the Holy spirit has comfort us many times by bringing to remembrance the truth about us. When the lies are making us sad, and feel broken the spirit isolator, he comforts us. And so I just want to encourage you listening that you have that same comfort. The God of all comfort comforts you in all your affliction. And this is why, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted. So we're not comforting out of our perfect situation, we're not comforting out of the fact that we don't have any afflictions. [Jennifer] We're not even comforting out of our own means. So when we're trying to, you know, help comfort someone by providing them something or, you know fulfilling a need for them. It's like, it's not even out of that physical response. It's literally because we've all been comforted by God himself. [Aaron] Right, so the comfort that we give, the comfort that we offer, the comfort that we attempt to walk in is his comfort, right? That's an incredible encouragement, because we can go sit with someone and know that any comfort we could offer, has come from God already in our life and in their life. I also think this is a good place to just say if we struggle with that awkwardness of or being uncomfortable with seeing someone suffering or going through a trial or something hard and the Lord's given us the opportunity to step into that to comfort them. And we don't know what to do. Like Aaron, you said that you've struggled with that. We can pray and we can ask Him and we can say, God, the God of all comfort, can you show me how you want me to comfort for this person right now? I know how you've comforted me, I know you, how you have set me free, you know, how can I do that for this person? [Aaron] That's a good point when there's times that I'm struggling when you're going through something, and I'm like, I have no idea what to do. I'm like, Lord, what do I do? And he brings to remembrance your words. I wish you would just like, hold me, like just come close to me. Which is you don't say that in the moment but you've said it enough. And I'm like, okay. And then I'm thinking to myself, this is hard. Why is this so hard to go? Just sit down right now. Right? [Jennifer] Our flesh will get in the way sometimes. [Aaron] Yeah, a lot. [Aaron] Especially in marriage, but- [Jennifer] All right, here's your third encouragement, Christian, okay, rise up and go to them to be present. What I was just talking about, like I'm sitting across the room or in the other room or like, I'm like, how do I help my wife right now? How do I fix this situation? And the Holy spirit says, go to her. So this is your call. So it's not just that we're told to do it, it's not just that you have the comfort given to you already to comfort others, but it's also you get up and you go, you, you do it. You don't wait for someone to come to you because we might have this thought, well if someone needs comfort they're going to come and ask for it, they're going to come and knock on my door and say, "Hey, I need to talk, I need to sit down and know that you love me, and that you're my friend. And I need to-" [Jennifer] Yeah, 'cause if, that's... Yeah, 'cause if we sit there and we say, I'm just gonna wait until they tell me exactly what they need, what are you off the hook? [Aaron] Well, I mean, this is, what's funny is like do we even do that? Do we go around and tell every single person exactly what we need? No, we don't. [Jennifer] So I'm going even tell you, I want you to read my mind. [Aaron] That's true. But you're in your marriage. I think there should be a lot more communication about this by the way. So if you need comfort, you should go to your spouse if you have it in you and say, I need to be comforted, or I just need you to listen or will you just sit next to me? Like I think... Now that doesn't get you off the hook, husbands if your wife doesn't do that, or wives if your wife or husband, if your wife doesn't do that. [Jennifer] Yeah, I think our hearts should be tender toward one another, and our eyes should be always scanning and seeing where's my spouse at? [Aaron] Right, but it wouldn't hurt for us to communicate more. [Jennifer] True. [Aaron] But we can't expect everyone outside of our marriage to be that way. So we have to have a willingness to get up and go. It's not easy. Here's some stories of this happening. Okay, Genesis 37:35, "All his sons and all his daughters Rose up to comfort him. But he refused to be comforted and said, no I shall go down a shield to my son mourning. Thus, his father wept for him." This is when Joe Joseph's father thought he was dead. And they all, they all rose up and went to him to comfort him. They didn't just sit back and say, "Oh, he's mourning in the other room." Now they got up and they surrounded him. 1st Chronicles, 7:22 "And Ephraim their father mourned many days and his brothers came to comfort him." They didn't comfort from a distance, they didn't sit back, let him go through what he's going through by himself, they got up and they went. [Jennifer] I was gonna offer to read this next verse, but I think I'm going to let you tackle it. [Aaron] Okay. Job 2:11, "Now when job's three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place. Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Namathite, they made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him." So this is another really cool thing. Now, if you've read job these friends don't do a great job of comforting, they do actually do a lot of what I would be prone to do saying how would they were wrong or like what they did, but what they do what they did do well is they came together as friends, and they said, "our friend is really going through something bad, we should go." And so this is just a note of sometimes it's appropriate to say, "Hey, we need to get some people together to go comfort this person, so they're not alone, so that they know that we're here for them." Make a little plan about it. Yeah. [Jennifer] That's really cool. The first verse you mentioned it says that he refused to be comforted. And I just had a note that because I think that's very human to reject or to resist comfort. I don't know why we do that, but I think everyone can agree. Maybe everyone that when someone does try to comfort us, sometimes our reaction is to refuse that or to reject it. We shouldn't get upset by this if we're the ones trying to comfort someone or our spouse, we shouldn't let rejection keep us from trying again or even trying with others. Don't let that become an excuse for why you're not continuing on and other opportunities. But I think that it's interesting that it did note that he said that. So I just wanted to make a little- [Aaron] Yeah, but what's awesome is someone can't have the opportunity to reject comfort if someone didn't go to comfort in the first place. [Jennifer] That's true. [ Aaron] I love that, let's not avoid going to someone 'cause we think there's no way they want to right now they wanna be alone, let's just leave them alone. Going to be there even if they reject you, at least- [Jennifer] They know you tried. [Aaron] Yeah, and also you give them the option, rather than they're just alone and there is no option. No one came to them, no one reached out, no one sought to comfort. And so going to comfort is right. And then rejecting it. shouldn't stop us from trying. [Jennifer] And we shouldn't reject comfort when someone's... 'Cause that's an opportunity that someone's trying to act in what God has said we should be doing, right? like the Bible says to comfort. [Aaron] Yeah, but in some cases especially with like mourning it's a process. [Jennifer] Yeah, that's true, that's very compassionate. [Aaron] We should try to receive comfort, but sometimes where you could be in a really deep mournful state. [Jennifer] All good things to talk about. [Aaron] Going to the next thing, what is the appropriate response? Right, so you, you brought up helping someone is like taking off the edge. You can't bring the person back from the dead, you can't take away the cancer, you can't change the circumstance, but you can soften the blow. [Jennifer] Yeah, but that doesn't just mean that when someone's in pain, or going through a trial that you insert a funny joke, or you know what I mean? [Aaron] Are you sure? That's a great way to like someone's hurting really bad, you make a joke and laugh. [Jennifer] Maybe it depends on the person, but you should be mindful of the person, you should be mindful of your spouse. Discerning, yeah. Yeah discerning, that's a good word. [Aaron] Which is what I was talking about at the beginning is... And a lot of people have these responses, when someone gets hurt, I actually used to do this, when someone would get hurt, I would laugh about it. You've talked about that before. And so we have these kind of natural fleshly responses that just for whatever reason how we were raised in our DNA- [Jennifer] What did it do or how to understand it. [ Aaron] But learning and asking the Lord to teach us what is an appropriate response? It's good to go comfort, we want to do that, but we got to ask, we just got to ask for that discernment, because we can have the right heart and bring the wrong response, which is something that I keep going back to. This is how I've been, I might want to, but then I to say the wrong thing. I'm trying to prematurely cheer someone up, like you said, the joke, I'm trying to push someone to move on from where they're, what they're dealing with, which is something that I would tend to do. Like, hey- [Jennifer] When there really is a process. [Aaron] Well, I skipped the whole process, which doesn't care about the other person at all, what it does is it cares more about my discomfort with this person's suffering. Talking too soon, which is something I struggle with, 'cause I want to just fill that, that like, let's just figure it out, let's talk. [Jennifer] I love you still. [Aaron] Romans 12:15 says: "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep." This gives a picture of walking with what someone's walking through with them. Someone's weeping for something. If they're weeping over a lost child, over a over sickness over just you name it, there's lots of things to weep over in this life, We don't just come in and be like cheer up buck. And you know, like, we should break.... Our hearts should break with them. When someone's rejoicing, rejoice with them. This is probably another conversation. But this is something that plagues the church I think sometimes is when someone gets some sort of success or something to rejoice in, we might get jealous. [Jennifer] So there's a lack of rejoicing for one- [Aaron] Yeah, I don't wanna rejoice with them 'cause like why didn't I get that? Or why are they being raised up? [Jennifer] So that played the church, but I think that it's more just the worldwide thing, it's a flesh thing. [Aaron] But if someone is winning, someone's successful, or if someone's has a praise report, if someone is having success in an area that you wish you had success in, or is having freedom and an area that you don't have freedom in, or like these things, like rejoice, they're part of the church, rejoice for them like that is so praise God. It also keeps us from that just contentment and Jealousy. [Jennifer] Another verse that we wanted to share with you guys today is Ecclesiastes 3:4 starts, and seven. It says: "A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to tear and a time to sow a time to keep silence, and a time to speak." [Aaron] Yeah, and Ecclesiastes was written by the wisest man that ever lived. And he just talks about this idea of what time is it? Is it a time to weep with someone? Is at a time to laugh with someone? Is it a time to mourn with someone? You know, tear, like, are you pulling up that, you know, the plants are you planting, sowing, the seeds, are you to be quiet, are you to speak? And so there's these... We can look at the situation and say okay, what role can I play right now? How should my heart be in this situation? Proverbs 25:20 puts it this way: "Whoever sings songs to a heavy heart is like one who takes off a garment on a cold day and like vinegar on soda." That idea behind this verse is singing songs is a great thing. But when you go to someone with a heavy heart and you try and seem to like artificially cheer them up, it's doing what I just, what I said a second ago is you're overlooking that person's heart altogether. [Jennifer] Yeah, there's no care. [Aaron] It likens it to taking off a garment on a cold day. So like someone's cold and they've got their coat on and I go rip their court off. And they're like, what? So you, you take away comfort. You don't- [Jennifer] Add to it, yeah. Did anyone else think when you said like vinegar on soda, the volcano experiment? [Aaron] That's what that does, it forms up- [Jennifer] Like they've been doing it that long. [Aaron] The word would be agitate. The last thing someone who's going through something needs is to be agitated. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] I'm sure everyone listening, knows someone like that, that every time you need some comfort they know how perfectly out of agitate. [Jennifer] Okay, so earlier when I had mentioned, you know this idea of taking the edge off of pain and how it means to alleviate, I said that it reminds me of lifting up. What if it's like lifting up a huge stone off their shoulders so that they can breathe a little better? Is that a good picture? [Aaron] Yeah, and that's a great analogy. [Jennifer] It's like lifting the burden of the hard stuff off them which you've done for me plenty of times. [Aaron] Right, and we have this list of the things that you there's times for. Sometimes it's sitting quiet with someone, sometimes it's encouraging what the word of God and advice, sometimes it's listening and not talking. [Jennifer] Sometimes it's giving them a thoughtful gift that comes with a sweet message. Sometimes it's watching a couples, children so that they can go have a date night and talk it out themselves. [Aaron] Yeah, lifting that Like, Hey, there's these responsibilities, how can we take some of these away? So they can go through what they're going through with less. [Jennifer] Sometimes it's offering to drop off groceries for them, so they don't have to worry about that. [Aaron] Sometimes it's cleaning the house for someone for your spouse. I love that you like lifting that load off their shoulders. [Jennifer] Sometimes it's a text reminding them of who they are in Christ or sending them a scripture verse. [Aaron] Sometimes it's a bouquet of flowers sent to their house. Sometimes it's a bag of goodies dropped off at the door. I like that one by the way. [Aaron] It's actually happened to me quite a few times. And I really appreciate all of you. Actually, I mentioned it once in "Wife After God" pure joy, great chapter, go check it out. And it just happened recently. [Aaron] That was a good goody bag. We have some good goodie bag dropper offers. [Jennifer] Maybe we should do an episode of just like how to put together a good goodie bag. [Aaron] That's true. [Jennifer] Okay, I'm so sorry. Sometimes it's a phone call just to hear their voice. [Aaron] And then sometimes it's a prayer. And I would say always a prayer sometimes said out loud [Jennifer] Like sometimes all of these and then always a prayer, always a prayer. [Jennifer] I think they get the idea. You know, at the beginning of this episode, I quickly said marriage is so awesome. It really is you guys, I hope you agree with me that marriage is awesome. But it's such an intimate relationship. What a gift We have to share with someone who can comfort us when we're at our lowest and Aaron, I can attest to this, you have comforted me at my lowest, and I hope that I've been that for you. [Aaron] You have, yeah. At least, I think that this is what marriage was intended for, right? To lift other up and to comfort one another for some. And at times Aaron, we were, this couple were the 'cause of our hard time was, was our marriage and our marriage. It was each other getting in the way. And we had friends that stood by us, friends and family who stood by us and comforted us through it. If this is you listening right now, this is where you are, I just wanted to say that we're truly sorry. And understand that this kind of pain. The pain that comes from a marriage, that's struggling. And we hope you will find comfort in this verse that I'm gonna share. Paul is talking to believers but this is our prayer for you today. And it's Romans 15:1-7, "We who are strong, have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Let each of us pleases neighbor for his good to build him up for Christ did not please himself. But as it is written through approaches of those who reproached you fell on me, for whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the scriptures, we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another in accord, with Christ Jesus, that together you may, with one voice glorify the God and father of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you for the glory of God." [Aaron] Yeah, I love that verse for couples that are going through this because the reminder is that, the God of endurance and encouragement grants them to live in such harmony with one another in accordance with Christ and so that they can, again like the God of all comfort, we talked about, that they can be comforted knowing that even though they're going through these difficult times, they themselves individually can run to Christ, be comforted by him and know that his heart is that they would walk in harmony. And that is what they should be praying for, Harmony. [Jennifer] And the comfort that we receive from Christ and the comfort that we receive from others does produce within our hearts and our minds this hope that better days will come. Even if circumstances don't change, even if the trials are still hard even if the pain is still prevalent, because of loss or or whatever the reason is, we have hope. Because we talked about this on the first episode of the season, and we have hope in Christ. We have hope for what's coming right? [Aaron] Yeah, and we should keep our eyes on those things. [Jennifer] So as husbands and wives, let us be quick to comfort one another during hard times. Let us lay down our lives and love for each other. Let us be slow to speak, quick to sit, fully present a good listener. [Aaron] Yeah, and let us walk this life out in humbleness. And when those feelings of insecurity and uncertainty or fear of rejection, rise up, be quick to push them away. We need each other. [Jennifer] Wait, I think you need to repeat that last line. We need ourselves know each other. [Jennifer] We need each other in marriage. [Aaron] We do. [Aaron] We need each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. [Aaron] And most importantly, we need each other to point each other back to Christ. like that's the most comforting thing we can do is constantly be praying for the other person in their walk with the Lord, in their mind being reminded of the truth of the gospel. It's the most comfort we can get is pursuing that. [Jennifer] And as we do, our eyes and our hearts need to be open. I'll say this, our eyes need to be open. And our hearts may be tender toward one another and take every opportunity. God gives us to comfort one another especially in our marriage relationship, and as we do this you guys, the greatest part is that God is glorified. [Aaron] Yep, and we can cover it because we've been comforted, so don't forget that. Hope that was encouraging to you. As always, we end the episode as always this season, I should say, we end the episode with what we're grateful for. [Jennifer] It might end up being a permanent thing. [Aaron] It might, yeah. Because we want to encourage you to be grateful for everything. [Jennifer] And we know that you are grateful but to acknowledge it and to vocalize it and to share it with someone that you know, and love. [Aaron] So we'll be grateful people, who know how to comfort each other. [Jennifer] Let them know what you're grateful for. [Aaron] I'm grateful for my children. They're so full of energy and life often more energy than I have. That's probably why I'm so tired. They love to have fun. Especially when we get down on the rug our new rug that we talked about, the one that's comfortable in my knees and wrestle and play with them. They're just awesome. I honestly thank God for them, they're so amazing. [Jennifer] I love them too. I'm grateful for modern technology. I realized that I have a great appreciation for my washing machine and dishwasher and just all the things that I get to use that have just been really awesome in my life. I was sitting on the couch the other day and I had a busy day with the kids doing school and playing and cleaning up after everyone. And I could hear the wash machine going. And I just thought, man I can't fathom everything that we did today and having to hand wash clothes. And so I just was really grateful that I have those ICM is a luxury. Like I, I never want to be blind to the provision that God's given us. And I'm just really grateful for those kinds of inventions. I think they're really cool. [Aaron] Yeah, so thank you to whoever invented the washing machine. [Aaron] As usual, we end our episodes in prayer. So would you pray with us, dear Lord thank you for comforting us in our affliction so that we may comfort others. We pray for the creativity and confidence as we comfort those around us, please us of how you desire to comfort others. Please show us thoughtful ways of showing our compassion. We pray we would be slow to speak and quick to listen. We pray we'd be quick to comfort one another in marriage protect our marriage in this way, that we would be comforters for each other. Help us to alleviate the burdens that bring us pain. May you be glorified as we choose to comfort others in Jesus name? Amen. We love you all. Thank you for joining us on this episode. We just ask if you haven't done so, would you leave us a review? And also would you be our share warriors and prayer warriors? Would you share this episode with a friend send him an email, send a text message share shared on social media. Would you just help spread the word about this podcast with someone, you know we love you and we'll see you next week.
We want to encourage you in your identity in Christ. We want to remind you that you are not lesser no matter what part of the body you are.And If you are struggling with doubt at all we want to encourage you to trust and know that God has given to you just like he has given to every other believer His spirit. READ TRANSCRIPT[Jennifer] Welcome to the "Marriage After God" podcast.[Aaron] We're your hosts, I'm Aaron.[Jennifer] And I'm Jennifer.[Aaron] We've been married for 14 years.[Jennifer] And we have five young children.[Aaron] We started blogging over 10 years ago, sharing our marriage story in hopes of encouraging other husbands and wives to draw closer to God, and closer to each other.[Jennifer] We have authored over 10 books together, including our newest book "Marriage After God", the book that inspired us to start this podcast.[Aaron] "Marriage After God" is a message to remind all of us that God designed marriage with a purpose.[Jennifer] To reflect His love.[Aaron] To be a light in this world.[Jennifer] To work together as a team.[Aaron] Using what he has given us.[Aaron] To build his kingdom.[Aaron] Our hope is to encourage you along your marriage journey.[Jennifer] As you boldly chase after God together.[Aaron] This is "Marriage After God." Welcome back to another episode of the "Marriage After God" podcast we're Aaron and Jennifer Smith, your hosts.[Jennifer] Hi.[Aaron] How's it going? We're so glad you're here. And I just wanted to let we love you. And this episode is gonna be some Bible. I don't know if we, do we ever-[Jennifer] Some Bible .[Aaron] Do you ever talk about the Bible in this podcast?[Jennifer] It's kind of a lot of Bible. Actually, that's a good note. If you wanna follow along in this episode with your Bible, I think it could encourage you.[Jennifer] Yeah, we're gonna be first, not 1 Corinthians. We're in breathing Colossians[Jennifer] 1 Colossians.[Aaron] 1 Colossians. 1 Colossians 3.[Jennifer] So I know, we mentioned that we're gonna be in a lot of Scripture today. I wanted to start with one random scripture that doesn't have anything to do with what we're talking about. And that's just because I was really encouraged by it. A friend was sharing from Proverbs:27,17. Which says, "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." And I don't know if I just read the ESV version. Is that right? Okay. And he basically said, it doesn't say iron sharpens wood, or is sharpened by any other means it was the same compound, it was iron and iron. And I just loved that. It was such a small little tidbit of recognizing word choice in the Bible that I thought that's really cool because...[Aaron] What are you-It shows the importance of why we need other Christians in our life. Because we sharpen one another when we believe the same and we operate off the same principles and the same-[Aaron] And we rub up against each other.[Jennifer] Yeah.[Aaron] Being in relationship, and fellowship.[Jennifer] And fellowship and all of that is so important. And it wouldn't work. If it was any other compound. It wouldn't work if those people weren't Christians, if they weren't reading God's word or abiding in Him.[Aaron] They're made of the same stuff.[Jennifer] They're made of the same stuff. The same property, the same people, right?[Aaron] Yeah. I remember what you were talking about. It was really good. Because we need we need people in our life. We can't do this alone.[Jennifer] Yeah.[Aaron] An iron rod just sitting there by itself, it's not getting sharpened .[Jennifer] Right, not gonna do anything, just sitting there-[Aaron] I will actually just sit and corrode and not be useful.[Jennifer] Yeah. So just a small encouragement for... An actually is kind of what we're gonna be talking about today. But it is good to-[Aaron] Oh yeah, look at that.[Jennifer] Be reminded that we need people.[Aaron] I think people are gonna think we planned it that way.[Jennifer] I didn't, I promise. Here I'll throw in a freebie, a different thing. 'Cause I like to start these intros with something fun. For any of you who are parents of small children. I forgot how fun these are, but I grew up on a old telephone with a long cord.[Aaron] The rotary phones.[Jennifer] You know, the kind that plugs into the wall. We're also used to cell phones now. I don't know if people even have phones like this anymore that actually work. But I was at an antique store, thrift store, and I found one for really cheap. And I just thought, "Oh, the kids will have a blast playing with this pretend in the playroom." So I bought one, and Olive won't stop playing with it today. She literally, I'm not kidding you. I was doing some school with Elliot. And she was standing behind you had like this little kids kitchenette thing. And she was on the... It was one of those, what are they called? Rotary phones?[Aaron] The rotary phone, yeah.[Jennifer] And she has-[Aaron] With the cord.[Jennifer] Right, with the cord. And she's got one end up to her ear and she's playing with the cord with her finger. And I look over and she's got a pillow stuffed under her shirt. And she's talking to someone, her best friend on the phone about her pregnancy. And about how hard it's been lately. But she's talking as if like-[Aaron] Who taught her to do the finger twirl thing-[Jennifer] I don't know. It was so funny. So anyways, it was a very cheap piece of fun for the kids and a little bit of history.[Aaron] That's a really funny story. I think Olive's awesome. Getting into the episode. If you haven't done so yet, would you leave us a review today. Star rating a review, we love those. They're very impactful to us. And they help other people find the episode. We'd love if you did that. And one more thing, we've been heavily promoting our marriage prayer challenge this season. It's the beginning of a new year. We're just hoping to get a lot of people just getting in the habit of prayer this year. God wants us to be praying people. So we made this prayer challenge it's completely free, so that it encouraged you and inspire your prayer life for your marriage. It's marriageprayerchallenge.com. It's completely free. It's a 31 day challenge, where we send you an email with a prompt for something specific to pray for, for your husband or your wife. And if your husband and wife are listening, right now, both you go sign up together, it would be awesome, we can be praying for each other.[Jennifer] Do it. Okay, so the title of this episode is, Don't Forget Who is at Work Within Us, within you?[Aaron] Within Me. You.[Jennifer] Were all listening.[Aaron] Yeah. This is for all of us. Because we can forget.[Jennifer] But we're not gonna. Okay. Let's back it up just a bit. We wrote "Marriage After God", which This podcast was inspired because of. But the "Marriage After God" book which came out a year and a half ago now, it was a message that Aaron and I had been learning and experiencing in our own life in marriage. And it was a message we found incredibly impactful. So we wanted other marriages to experience it. So we wrote this book, laid it all out for you. And there's quite a bit to unpack in "Marriage After God". But the premise is that, everyone, everyone, you, me, everyone listening, especially marriages as a unit, we all have a place and a purpose in the body of Christ in the church. Operating in this world, not for ourselves but for God.[Aaron] When you say everyone, you're talking about believers.[Jennifer] Believers.[Aaron] In the body of Christ.[Jennifer] Yeah.[Aaron] Yeah. So there's not some believers that don't have a purpose?[Jennifer] No.[Aaron] There's not like, not like one or two that-[Jennifer] We all.[Aaron] Every single one of us.[Jennifer] This is a quote from "Marriage After God", it says, "The beauty of the body of Christ is that each and every part is unique, your marriage included. And God will use your uniqueness for his purposes, if you let Him."[Aaron] So that's what we wanna encourage you in this episode, is to recognize that you are not excluded from the body of Christ, or from usefulness to Christ in His body. You're a part of it.[Jennifer] God does use our uniqueness for His glory. Another reason why we shouldn't compare, right? Which is something else we talked about in the book. But even though we are all unique and our marriages are too, we are still part of only one body. One.[Aaron] Yeah, the body of Christ.[Jennifer] Yeah. And there's things about us that are the same as others. And it is in those bonds of unity and likeness, that we find camaraderie, comfort, support, as that one body.[Aaron] It's also where you find the message of the gospel of Christ in the church as a whole, but also in our marriages. It's another theme that we talked about in the book is that... I actually talked about this a couple Sundays ago, that our marriage is an earthly symbol of a heavenly truth. And that's what we're trying to get at is your marriage and you individually, what God has put in us and wants to use in us is important and valuable and shouldn't be overlooked. So it's awesome as though all of us may be unique and have unique giftings and talents and resources, and God's gonna use us with those but the purpose is the same, that we're used to share his testimony.[Jennifer] Of Jesus.[Aaron] Of Jesus, yeah.[Jennifer] What Jesus did.[Aaron] Is to be shared with all.[Aaron] Yeah, yeah. Those unifying principles, those bonds that I was talking about, those are the things that stand out in a Christians life. And they're from the Bible, right Aaron?[Aaron] Yeah, the word is living and active in our lives. And what we wanna do in this episode is we wanna encourage you because I've known people that don't feel used or useful. They don't feel capable. They look at other people and they say, "Well, I'm not like them. I don't have their gifts. I don't have their talents. God can't use me. I'm not in that position. I'm not a paid this or that." But that's so far from the truth. 'Cause the truth is that God has arranged the parts in the body as you see fit. And He's given gifts to all of us that He sees fit.[Jennifer] And I also wanna add, you just explained it from the standpoint of someone who may think they've never had enough or to share, or to do, or to participate in that way. And then I've also seen where some people do believe even for a short moment, or even a long moment, that they might be able to participate in the body of Christ but then there're seasons where they doubt, or there're seasons where they're just, don't feel like they're enough, or there're seasons where they are just conflicted in their belief of what is true. So we wanna encourage you guys today, we wanna encourage you if that's where you're at, we wanna encourage you in your identity in Christ in the body and the part that you do play, that you're not lesser. Just because you have a different purpose or function in the body. Right? And if you're struggling with doubt at all, a little bit, or a lot of bit , we're here for you. We're gonna often encourage you.[Aaron] We do this. There's been several times that we asked ourselves, "What are we doing? Why are we doing this podcast? Why are we doing this book?" And we have to submit it to the Lord and we get reminded that it's for Him, and He's gonna use us how He sees fit. And so we get to be encouraged that we're a part of that body, we're part of His body. Just doing our part. Just doing what He has for us. This is what the Bible says, listeners, Christians, about us. Colossians 3:10-11. "And I put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator." I just wanna stop for a second. We put on a new self as a believer, there was the old self that's been put away that we constantly are putting to death, that old self. And it says putting on the new self, walking in newness of life, new creation, these are the words words that the Bible uses about the believer. So we put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. So we're being renewed by knowledge. So the Word of God, the Holy Spirit speaking to us working in us after the image of its creator. So the new self that we've put on the image of its creator is what we're being renewed in. And then it says in verse 11, "Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free, but Christ is all and in all." So raise your hand if you are part of that all.[Jennifer] I'm raising my hand.[Aaron] Yeah, I'm sure everyone listening .[Jennifer] Nobody's raising their hand babe.[Aaron] I think someone did. So if Christ is all and in all, so for the believer who's put on the new self and being renewed but in the image of its creator, Christ is you and in you because we are the body of Christ. Doesn't matter who you are in the body. This is true for you. It's not true for some believers. This believer over here that does this mighty thing. And this blue bar here that has this big ministry, no, it's true for every believer in the body of Christ.[Jennifer] So when it comes to identity, it's Him. Like, we're in Christ so we're one with his identity.[Aaron] So we put off the old identity that was a child of wrath, the Bible talks about, and we've put on a new identity which is Christ Himself.[Jennifer] Which also means that there's no distinction between who we once were, and who we are now in Christ.[Aaron] Which I think is a huge, like, we have this hard time as believers where we still see the old self, you know? And I think that that struggle happens, that's often where we feel disqualified, or we feel like we can't be used as we see that old self. And who we once were.[Jennifer] Yeah, we start to doubt when we see that person and say, "See, that's who I am." And not saying not reminding yourself who you actually are is in Christ.[Aaron] So we're reminding you that you are in Christ. And so He says up here, "No Greek or Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian." He gives all these categories, these groups of people. And as believers, we're not to dis divide ourselves into these groups. We're not to divide ourselves in any groups based on who we are, we're in the flesh. Instead, we live together with one identity, one identity.[Jennifer] The bride of Christ.[Aaron] We are the bride of Christ. We're his people.[Jennifer] I think we hear in terms like the bride of Christ, or the body of Christ, and we see this picture of a body, but full of people. I don't know if you see it like this, I see it like this.[Aaron] Like, all stacked on top each other.[Jennifer] Yeah, I kind of like just-[Aaron] I've never visualized that. Now I am 'cause you said it.[Jennifer] Sometimes I'd see it like that, which is beautiful. But let's not forget that Christ is the head of that body. We exist because of Him. And we're all here because of Him. And we're one with Him.[Aaron] Yeah[Jennifer] One.[Aaron] One, not-[Jennifer] It's not Christ over here. What I'm trying to get at, is not Christ over here and Christ body over here, it's all connected. Right?[Aaron] Exactly.[Jennifer] That's important.[Aaron] And so if you're in Christ, you're in the body of Christ.[Jennifer] And if He's the head, I was thinking about this. If He's the head, then He's the mind of the body which means that He's reminding us who we are and what our function is.[Aaron] That's true. Everything we need comes from Him. And it's Him that's that's in charge and controls what we do, and what the body does and where the body is going. So this is a good spot for us to, heart check for us. Do we divide ourselves in the body? Do we look... Often, this comes in the terms of those people over there are-[Jennifer] This way or that way.[Aaron] Elevated. And those people over there are lower. Or we do it with ourselves. I'm not like those people.[Jennifer] Comparison, yeah.[Aaron] So I must not be useful.[Jennifer] We put ourselves down.[Aaron] I don't play music. And these are just basic like the people you might see on a Sunday morning. The people that are playing music, or a pastor or you see these couple of ministries, which are powerful ministry is useful and needful. But maybe we look at that and we say, "Well, I'm not those. So I must not be anything. I must not be useful." Which is not true. They're needed, just as much as you are.[Jennifer] I think to just encourage people, 'cause I think sometimes when we give examples of specific things, I know we're trying to use it as a way of looking at something. But sometimes it can deter us from looking at even more things. And so when you're comparing yourself or dividing the body up, you mentioned Sunday morning but it can come in so many forms during the week as well within friendships, social media, who's blogging about what, or podcasting about who, you know? So I just wanna broaden that example and say this is far beyond just Sunday morning and what your purpose is, within the body. This is an everyday all day heart check that we can have?[Aaron] Well, here's one good example of this. And this happens probably in a lot of our lives. Let's say we hear of a friend who needs help, encouragement, some love, some advice. And we immediately think to tell ourselves, "I'm not the person to do that, what am I gonna say? I can't do that. I'm not qualified to go talk to them and encourage them. They need someone more knowledgeable."[Jennifer] So you kind of just talk yourself out of out of the opportunity.[Aaron] Yeah, what you've done is you've lowered yourself. You said, "I'm not capable. I'm not the one for the job." When you may very well be the only one for the job. I mean-[Jennifer] I will say this, I hadn't experience... I don't wanna share about it without asking that other person. But I had a friend walk through something difficult. And I didn't have any experience with that thing. And that justification that you're talking about did creep up into my heart, but I pushed it away. And I'm like, "No, this is important." And I thought at most I can go and sit and be present.[Aaron] And you did.[Jennifer] And that's all I did. And so for you listening, if whatever Aaron just said struck a chord in your heart, and there is someone in your life currently that is in need whether emotionally or physically or with intangible needs or maybe just going through a hard time, and you just wanna be present with that person, it means the world to them. It means a lot.[Aaron] So it's not loving the body if we divide the body that way. If we look at others and we judge them based on what they do. If we judge ourselves on what we can or cannot do.[Jennifer] It actually allows pride to creep up and start wreaking havoc on the body. If we're puffed up like that.[Aaron] yeah. What's funny is you might not think saying, "I'm not the one to do that" isn't pride, but it is. Because what it's not doing is being humbled for our Lord and saying, "Do you wanna use me?"[Jennifer] Yeah, I'll go do that hard thing that I don't know what to do. Yeah.[Aaron] Yeah. So we wanna remind you that you are needful in the body. And not just needful, you're necessary. If you're a believer, you are a necessary part of the body. There is no part not necessary.[Jennifer] You had a really good point about the Scripture you just read that I want you to share. Go ahead do that now.[Aaron] Yeah, one of the main things to notice between these different identities.[Jennifer] Go and read it real quick.[Aaron] In the verse it says, "Here, there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free." There's something that... Those are different identities, they're not just people, they're identities. And the difference between them is the forms of worship, their languages, and their positions. So you look at those things. You have Jews, they worship the one true God. You have the Greeks who worshiped either many gods or knowledge or self, right? You had the barbarians which was a term for anyone who spoke a different language that no one understood. So if someone spoke a language from a far distant land and no one knew it, they were a barbarian. And then the Scythians they were regarded as the wildness of barbarians by more by the civilized nations and have integrity. So back then they would look at Scythians and be like, "Oh, they're like, savage people that we don't know how they talk. We don't know their language." And then you have slave and free, those are positions. So you have a slave who is controlled by someone else, and you have a free person who they do what they want. So it's not just people it's talking about, it's talking about the way the identify. And so the reason all of these are to be discarded, none of those exist anymore in the church. And you'll see why, is because we now all have the same God to worship. We worship the same. We're unified. Whether Greek or Jew, nope, we worship Christ, all of us. We all now speak the same language. I'm not talking just like actual language like French or Spanish or English.[Jennifer] I heard the word christianese.[Aaron] No, we speak the same language which is the word of God.[Jennifer] 'Cause we're quoting Him.[Aaron] It doesn't matter what actual language you speak. So we could go to the church, the underground church in China. And even though we couldn't speak their language, an interpreter would be translating for us. We're still speaking the same words.[Jennifer] I think it's funny that you went to you went to China, which we haven't had experience with.[Aaron] I've never been to China.[Jennifer] But we have had experience with going to parts of Africa.[Aaron] I guess I should use that example, yeah.[Jennifer] I'm taking it personal. We have had opportunities where we've had even sometimes two to three translators between us and those listening.[Aaron] Yeah, there'd be like, all the different dialects. And that was actually really hard. But the thing is they heard the same words. And we all know have the same position. The Bible even talks about this, free or slave, we worship one God. We are free in Christ. We're in the position that we hold as God's chosen one's, holy and beloved. That's what the word says about us.[Jennifer] I really like that.[Aaron] So it talks about how no longer in the body of Christ, are there any of those other identities. All of those identities melt away and we all have one language, we worship one God, we have one position.[Jennifer] So you said earlier, this is a good place to have a heart check in it. I am just thinking how often do we stop to really think about our identity? It's something that might contribute to some tensions in our hearts at times, or some doubt that flares up. But when was the last time you sat down and maybe even wrote out what things do I cling to that I think are part of my identity? And when was the last time I really just owned Christ's identity? You know what I mean?[Aaron] And God's challenged me several times over the last few few years of my own identity, with the way I dress, or the way I look and things that I care about myself, and really saying, is there any part of your identity you're not willing to give up for me?[Jennifer] 'Cause then it would become an idol.[Aaron] Exactly.[Jennifer] Right?[Aaron] But challenging those identity markers in and me, I don't know what you wanna call them but in God's saying, "I want your identity to be in me only." But what's awesome about everything I'm saying this isn't about some Christians, this is-[Jennifer] About us.[Aaron] The church, it's about us. And in verse 10 it ends with, "But Christ is all and in all." So all those identities go away and now Christ is all and in all. So talks about Christ being the whole church, and Christ being in the individual members of the church. You, me, you listening, Christ is in you. Paul says it this way, in Romans 12:4-5, "For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function. So we though many are one body in Christ and individually members one of another." Which is awesome, because it's not just saying we're all members of one body and we're individually members of Christ. It says that as individuals, we're members of one another. So wherever you think your position is in the body, you're connected to the rest of us. So however you think you are in the body, you and me, we are members of one another. Me and my wife, members of one another. We are all together one. And it's a beautiful thing, because I just want to defeat the lies that some believers, hopefully if you're if you're listening and this is something that you're believing, that you are a an non necessary part of the body of Christ, or non useful, or haven't been given a gift, or that God doesn't want to use you for his kingdom and His glory, It's a lie from the devil. What the devil does not want you to realize is that you are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. He does not want you to realize that you are an unnecessary and active part of the body of Christ.[Jennifer] 'Cause if he can get you to believe that and you from that basis, talk yourself out I'm gonna help that person that's in need or fulfill whatever purpose God has for you in those moments that what I'm talking about when you're confronted with them. The enemy's winning if you can get you to believe the wrong thing.[Aaron] And we don't want to believe the wrong thing. We wanna believe the biblical thing. Who we are in Christ. It's incredibly powerful. Here's another lie you might be thinking. And this is about the Spirit of God in us. Don't ever think that you have less of Christ or His spirit than any other believer.[Jennifer] So this would be like if I was sitting back looking at you and going, "Wow, he's got way more spirit of Jesus, way more of him than I do. So I'll never be."[Aaron] Right. Don't believe that. You have no smaller or lesser portion of He's spirit or a smaller, lesser purpose. The purpose that Christ has for you is as important as Christ deems it necessary, because it's for His glory.[Jennifer] Yeah, we also can't believe that we're more broken than others.[Aaron] That's a great point.[Jennifer] Some people would use an object like say, this coffee cup. If it was broken and leaking, you'd wanna discard it. And I think we get there sometimes where we go, "No, I'm too broken. I can't be used. Discard me. Just don't let me participate in what's happening because I'm not worthy. I can't."[Aaron] Right. And this isn't a a point to say, if you're walking in unrepentant sin, "Oh, God will still use you". This is talking about if you're walking in that, you should repent.[Jennifer] Yeah.[Aaron] And be with Christ.[Jennifer] Yeah.[Aaron] But this is talking about a believer who is thinking that they can't be used because of XYZ. But Christ, it says that he picks the weak things to confirm the strong. And though and the foolish thing to confound the wise.[Jennifer] It also says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. So we all are right there in the same boat.[Aaron] And that's the truth is that Christ came for sinners, and that he didn't leave us there. He's given us a purpose. The same way, this is just a quick side note. The people of Israel before they became a nation, they were slaves. That's like the state of man before Christ, were slaves to sin, were dead, right? And then we pulled us out. He brings us into this, out of the world and He gives us His law. He writes it on our hearts by His Spirit. He gives us of His Spirit, He becomes our God. And this is what God did for His people. He said, "I will be your God, and you will be my people." He gives them their law, and He gives them a nation, and then He gives them work to do. He says, "Go build me a tabernacle." He gives them a laws and things to do. And so when he draws us into His kingdom, He does the same. He makes us a people for Him, to work for Him.[Jennifer] That's good. So we're talking about our identity being in Christ. And we really need to figure out if we're believing what His Word says about us, or if we're believing lies. Are we comparing ourselves are we doubting that we have been given enough to be able to fulfill his purposes that He has for us. And so just a reminder, getting past this kind of first portion of what we're talking about I think it's good to think about that this week.[Aaron] Yeah, in First Corinthians 12:12-13 it says, "For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body though many are one body, so it is with Christ." Again, this is just reiterating what we just read in another place, in another way. "For in one spirit we were all baptized into one body, Jews or Greeks, slaver free. And all were made to drink of one spirit." So you have the Spirit of God just like I do. So if you're struggling, and Jennifer, me and you we've gone through this with ourselves, with things that we walk in like, "Why did I do that again? Why do I think that way again?" And the lie from the enemy os gonna say, "Well, maybe you're not saved enough." Maybe you haven't been given enough by God. And maybe you don't have enough of the Spirit of God. So you can't. Now, we've been given of one spirit. There's another spot in the Bible that says that we've been given all things that pertain to life and godliness in Christ Jesus. So in Christ, we have what we need because he has given us what we need. If you are in Christ, if you are a believer, God has sent His Spirit to live inside of you. That's the truth.[Jennifer] What if someone's listening right now and they're not a believer?[Aaron] If you are listening right now and you are not a believer, then Believe in the Lord Jesus. That God sent him. That he died to forgive you of your sins. And that not only did he die, but God raised Him from the dead so that you can have new life. And that is the only Way to the Father. That's the only way to be with God is believing in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection. That's it.[Jennifer] And then go read a phenomenal love story called The Bible, start in Genesis and just watch it unfold before your eyes. Okay, so this next part is pretty cool. I'm gonna jump into.[Aaron] So again, if you're doubting whether you have the Spirit of God or not or if you have enough of the Spirit, I wanna just read what it talks about in 2 Chronicles. There's a beautiful picture of this, how God fills every one of us so completely. And this is the truth. After Solomon, King Solomon completed the temple he prayed to consecrate the temple. And in 2 Chronicles 7:1 it says, "As soon as Solomon finished his prayer." This was a long prayer. "Fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering, and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple."[Jennifer] So not just like parts of it.[Aaron] It filled it. It actually, I didn't put this verse in here but it says He filled it so much that they could not enter. He filled every part of it. He filled all of the temple, not just parts of it. Wasn't like, just the Holy of Holies was filled. Every ounce of the temple was filled with the Holy Spirit. And guess what friends? We are the temple. Not made with hands, but by God himself. And he doesn't fill a portion of His temple. So like me and Jennifer, we're filled with his glory. And that person over there was but this kind of area over here in the body was not filled.[Jennifer] Were those ones over there were completely filled with even, and some.[Aaron] Yeah, so they got more and we got a little bit. No. He doesn't just fill a portion of His temple or just the biggest parts of it only, He fills the whole temple. Okay? 1 Corinthians 6:19.[Jennifer] This is the verse that came to my mind.[Aaron] "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you whom you have from God. You are not your own." So our body is a temple, the body of Christ is assemble. We are filled with His spirit.[Jennifer] In 2 Corinthians 6:16. It says, What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God and they shall be my people."[Aaron] So what are we?[Jennifer] Were the temple of God.[Aaron] Right. And so He dwells among us. And He walks with us, and He's our God, and where His people. Doesn't matter who you are. If you're in Christ, He's your God, you're His people. You're His temple. He dwells in you. He's filled you.[Jennifer] Here's another, just after reading that verse I guess another place you can stop into a heart check and see are there any idols in your life that you've agreed to, or put up on a pedestal above the Lord? Sometimes we're focusing on one part of Scripture, but all of it's just as important. So if you guys.[Aaron] It's true.[Jennifer] I don't mean to be distracting, but it's important that we...[Aaron] Well, that's a good point 'cause knowing that God has filled us, there should be no room for idols. 'Cause what we're doing is we're pushing it in the place of where the Holy Spirit is. We're like moving it. And we don't want that. So what God has given us in Christ is enough. Believer, listen, what God has given you in Christ is enough.[Jennifer] And it's complete.[Aaron] It's perfect. Ephesians 3:14-21, "For this reason, I bow my knee before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named that according to the riches of His glory, He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit, in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, that you being rooted and grounded in love." We talked about love last episode, "May have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge. That you may be filled with all the fullness of God." that's incredible. All the fullness of God. "Now, to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us." Where is that work happening?[Jennifer] Within us.[Aaron] Within us.[Jennifer] Don't forget that.[Aaron] "To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever, amen.[Jennifer] Amen.[Aaron] So the spirit He's given us and the work that is happening within us is for the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations. So the reason He's given you everything, the reason he's given you what you need is for his church, and for all generations to partake in. So I don't know if you feel like you've been useless and not needed.[Jennifer] Overlooked.[Aaron] Overlooked. Know this, that what God is putting you is the very same thing that He's put in me. And is to be the for the glory in the church, and in Christ Jesus through all generations.[Jennifer] That's so good Aaron. And I really appreciate your passion when it comes to the word and how you read it and how you share it.[Aaron] Thank you.[Jennifer] As you're reading something that I noticed was... I mean, I've known it but it stood out once again is that when it says... Let me go back up really quick. "And to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled with all the fullness of God, and that knowing the fullness of God is tied in with knowing the love of Christ." I just love that. I think it's so beautiful.[Aaron] And what's amazing, so fullness of God. That's a lot.[Jennifer] I know.[Aaron] Right? It doesn't feel like it all the time. But it's the truth. Which is why we can recognize when we have walked in a way that's wrong. And we can return back to God and say, "Oh, that's not who I am. I don't walk that way anymore. Thank you for reminding me. Thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for changing and transforming and sanctifying me."[Jennifer] So even when we fall or sin, or choose unrighteousness, if we're able to see clearly and repent and be reconciled, we'll see that He's even still working.[Aaron] Well, I would say we can repent-[Jennifer] Because He's working.[Aaron] Because the fullness of God is in us. So my prayer today is that each of us would recognize what is living in us.[Jennifer] Who is living in us.[Aaron] Yeah. We must never forget who is working within us.[Jennifer] Colossians 1:27 says, "To them, God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."[Aaron] Man! I just hope everyone is being encouraged by this. Because we need to remember this. We need to be reminded of this week. I need a daily that Christ is in me. And the riches of that glory of that, and that mystery is in me. It's just awesome. Romans 8:10-11. "But if Christ is in you although the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is life because of righteousness."[Jennifer] His righteousness, right?[Aaron] Yeah. If the spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.[Jennifer] I just love that it is so specific that it says it also gives life to your mortal bodies. And it's not immortal bodily bodies. It's not once we get to eternity then, it's right here right now in our mortal human bodies occupying this earth, He will also give life to through His Spirit.[Aaron] And it doesn't say if the Spirit dwells in you, it says, "through His Spirit who dwells in you." That person of God dwells in you. He's there. It's just, yeah. Okay. That was a lot.[Jennifer] So just to wrap this up, Aaron. For those who may be agreeing with you that all of this is true, what we're saying. But they've been wrestling, they've been in a place where they have seen themselves as less than or haven't been walking in that confidence of God in me and making those choices to participate in what God is doing in this world and choosing to fulfill those purposes that God has for them, What do they do now? Right now?[Aaron] One of the biggest messages in the "Marriage After God" book is say yes. Yes, God. "Yes, I will go. Yes, I will do. Yes, I will say."[Jennifer] Then step out of the boat.[Aaron] Yeah.[Jennifer] Like Peter did.[Aaron] Yeah. We talked about in the book. And it's looking at your life and saying, "What is mine is God's." It could be your dinner table. It could be your baking skills. It could be opening up your backyard. It could be-[Jennifer] Sitting with that friend.[Aaron] Sitting with that friend quietly. It could be writing a book. It could be writing a song. It could be... And we're mentioning these ideas, but God is so infinite. Like there's so many things. I have no idea what good work God has prepared for you before the foundations.[Jennifer] But we know this is true because it says so in Scripture. You're a member of the body and every member has a different function. And that function is important.[Aaron] Yeah, so be used.[Jennifer] Be used.[Aaron] Say yes to God. All right, we're moving on to the last couple parts of this episode where we talk about what we're grateful for, which is a beautiful thing that Jennifer been encouraging us to do.[Jennifer] Something I've been trying to walk in more.[Aaron] Attitudes of gratefulness this year. So what are you grateful for Jennifer?[Jennifer] I was thinking about this, and I was just thinking how grateful I am for photos, photographs, even home videos. I think being able to look back at old photos it just melts my heart, especially photos of my kids. I remember being little and as I got older, I like to look at old pictures of myself to remember what I looked like. Like, as a baby. I just thought that was fascinating. And I think for anyone, that's lucky enough to have photos of people that they love or photos of themselves, even. I think it's a gift of time travel and they tell stories. I don't think that we should get wrapped up in taking a bunch of selfies, although affects your thing.[Aaron] Are there albums full of pictures of yourself? There's probably.[Jennifer] I like that there's evidence. I like that there's proof of life in a photograph.[Aaron] One thing I remember about your grandma, I think it was right in the front doorway. She just had like tons of photo albums from like every year. I remember it's . And you've been doing a lot more printing of photos which I think is amazing.[Jennifer] I feel like I actually made a mistake, which is contrary to what I just said about photos. But I told myself that I was gonna give a gift to each one of my kids have a scrapbook. Like a very tangible, stickers and all.[Aaron] Mind you, you started this three days before Christmas.[Jennifer] Yeah. I said gift, and I didn't say Christmas gift. But yes, that was my intention. And I just got a late start on it. So now it has become a-[Aaron] Pile of beautiful photos.[Jennifer] A pile of beautiful photos that one day I will give to my children. But I know that it will make them feel good that mom has a little treasure trove of photos for them. And one day I will get to it. Scrapbooking's not easy.[Aaron] Well, yours is a beautiful thing to be grateful for. I'm grateful for merino wool.[Jennifer] You have to explain that one.[Aaron] Well, I've always had... How should I say this, moist feet. But ever since finding merino wool socks, and merino wool shoes, even.[Jennifer] This sound like an ad .[Aaron] I'm just saying. I've really liked merino wool 'cause it has changed my life.[Jennifer] Cool. So your feet don't sweat anymore.[Aaron] Nope.[Jennifer] Not that you know of.[Aaron] Not that I know of, yeah.[Jennifer] 'cause the wool just soaks it all up, nasty.[Aaron] They're also really comfortable socks and really comfortable shoes. But no, I'm really grateful for merino wool. That was God's invention. It comes off of a sheep somewhere. It's great.[Jennifer] Awesome. Well, we just share these for you guys in hopes of spurring you on to consider things that you're grateful for. It could be the smallest of things, to the greatest of things. And our encouragement is for you to consider that this week, what you're grateful for and then share it with someone. Share it with the Lord, share it with your spouse, share it with a friend, or a random stranger. We need more of that these days. But that's our message of gratefulness to you.[Aaron] Awesome. All right, let's close out in prayer. Dear Lord, thank you for the uniqueness of your body, the church. Thank you for the thoughtfulness you have put into each one of us individually and the thoughtfulness of how you have brought us all together to make up one body. Thank you for the many different functions we all contribute too, for your name to bring you glory. Thank you for your word which provides the message we all share. We are so grateful that your word encourages us and reminds us of your great love. We pray we would dive into your word this week and being encouraged again and again by it. We also pray we would have eyes to see how you are working within us and how you are working within our marriages. We praise you in Jesus name, amen. We love you all. And just again, please consider leaving a review. Would you also be our share warriors this week and share this episode with someone, anyone. Maybe your social media, and email text message. We wanna use you guys to spread the word. And yeah, we look forward to having you next week. We love you all.
Are you really loving?

Are you really loving?

2021-02-0155:161

Join the Free 31-Day Marriage Prayer Challenge Today!HTTP://marriageprayerchallenge.com READ THE TRANSCRIPT [Jennifer] Welcome to the marriage after God podcast. [Aaron] We're your hosts, I'm Aaron. [Jennifer] And I'm Jennifer. [Aaron] We've been married for 14 years. [Jennifer] And we have five young children. [Aaron] We started blogging over 10 years ago, sharing our marriage story and hopes of encouraging other husbands and wives to draw closer to God and closer to each other. [Jennifer] We have authored over 10 books together, including our newest book "Marriage After God", the book that inspired us to start this podcast. [Aaron] "Marriage After God" is a message to remind all of us that God designed marriage with a purpose. [Jennifer] To reflect his love. [Aaron] To be a light in this world. [Jennifer] To work together as a team. [Aaron] Using what he has given us. [Jennifer] To build his kingdom. [Aaron] Our hope is to encourage you along your marriage journey. [Jennifer] As you boldly chase after God together. [Aaron] This is, Marriage After God. [Aaron] Welcome back. We're Aaron and Jennifer Smith, your host of the Marriage After God podcast. How are you doing Jennifer? [Jennifer] I'm good. [Aaron] Yeah, what are you drinking? [Jennifer] I'm drinking hot chocolate. [Aaron] I got a cup of coffee. This is like our second time now doing like having drinks while we're- [Jennifer] Yeah, last time we both had tea, which was? [Aaron] Interesting. [Jennifer] Fun. [Aaron] I like tea. But I love coffee way more. So I'm having some coffee right now. [Jennifer] Speaking of drinks, me and the kids were learning about water this week, which is just fascinating. I think that if you haven't had a chance to study water, I just want to encourage you that you should, cause it's cool. But did you know that it takes like 45 to 50 gallons of water just to make one cup of orange juice? [Aaron] Are you talking about like from the ground, like the tree? [Jennifer] Yeah, like what's required to produce a cup of orange juice. [Aaron] Oh, the amount of oranges. [Jennifer] Yeah, not 50 gallons of water to mix with frozen orange juice concentrate. [Aaron] So, for the tree to grow the amount of oranges necessary, it takes about 45 to 50 gallons of water. That's actually incredible. [Jennifer] Cause it's over time, that the orange grows. [Aaron] So when I have a couple of oranges, it's like drinking 50 gallons of water. That's my water for the month. [Jennifer] I don't know, I thought it was interesting. [Aaron] That's awesome. [Jennifer] Little tidbit that I memorized this week. But also I gotta say one more thing about water, because as we were reading this book, this orange juice fact was one of them in there, but it also said that, and I didn't know this, Aaron did you know this? [Aaron] Nope. [Jennifer] Let me say it first. That a snowflake, how it's made, and you can look this up, like if you Google the definition of a snowflake. Although be careful, look up the scientific like. [Aaron] Of snow. [Jennifer] Of snow, a snowflake. [Aaron] Yeah, that's funny. [Jennifer] How it's composed is actually ice crystals forming around a piece of dust. [Aaron] Okay. [Jennifer] Okay, and I sat there and I, my jaw dropped and the kids were like, what mom? And I'm like, wow, the Bible talks about how, well, that hymn popped up into my mind, he washes us white as snow. And I thought, you know, the Bible talks about how as people we're made from the dust, Adam was made from the dust. And here's this picture of a dust molecule flying through the air, surrounded by snow, ice crystals, and that's what makes a snowflake. I just thought it was such a beautiful picture. So I had to look it up and Isaiah 1:18 says, "Come now let us reason together says the Lord, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they are red, like crimson, they shall become like wool." And so there's this contrast of what we've done and that color of Crimson, that red, and they shall be as white as snow, pure white, no shadows. [Aaron] It's almost like God designed it that way. He had a cool, these pictures of the gospel. [Jennifer] I know but it's like hidden because no one goes around looking up, what is a snowflake? We all just assume it's snow. [Aaron] I've known about snowflakes for a long time but didn't know that they were formed around dust. I just thought they're formed in the air. [Jennifer] I think it's so phenomenal, I think it's so pretty, I love it. [Aaron] And it is, when the Bible tells us that, he is a hidden attributes, his divine nature is seen clearly in nature. I think that's awesome. And we're seeing little bits of this like these truths that God has in the Bible, but it's also shown in nature, which is amazing. [Jennifer] Yeah, I saw another verse, Hebrews 10:22, not quite about snow or snowflakes, but talking about water. And it says, "Let us draw near with a true heart and full assurance of faith with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience, conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." I thought that was another really just great verse that happened to pop up when I was researching about snow. [Aaron] And these are good verses to remember as Christians because that's who we are. Because there's times that we don't feel that way. Cleansed, washed white as snow. You know, the enemy comes in and reminds us of our filth, reminds us of our sin, those things the wrong thoughts, the attitudes, and then the Holy Spirit says, well, no I'm cleansing you of that. And I'm growing you, and I'm maturing you. So let's move forward. [Jennifer] Let's be something beautiful, like the uniqueness of a snowflake. Which I love because it's covering the dust. The ice, it covers it. And I love that picture. And a bonus when I was looking up pictures of a snowflake online, and there was these pictures like super zoomed in, on a snowflake, and when light hits it, it reflects a prism, a rainbow, because the composition is still water, and I love that. I love that this whole picture within one of the smallest things that we see with our eyes is a snowflake. And you get the dust molecule, the snow surrounding it, God's promise of a rainbow right there. [Aaron] That's awesome. [Jennifer] I don't know, it was just mind blowing to me. [Aaron] So next time you see a snowflake, think about yourself, think about God making you white as snow. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] And that's awesome, it's a gospel. [Jennifer] Cool little intro there. [Aaron] That was a really good intro, yeah. [Jennifer] You're welcome. [Aaron] We just wanna invite you if you have not done so, but many of you have, so we just wanna thank you. Many of you have left reviews and ratings for this podcast, and you've done them in various places wherever you listen to this podcast, you've left reviews and we love that. But if you haven't yet, if you haven't given us a star rating or review and you've been blessed by this podcast, would you do that today? Would you bless us by leaving a review that helps people find the podcast? It helps all the algorithms know how to rank our podcast. And it helps people that, when they find our podcast to know what it's about and what peoples testimonies are. [Jennifer] It's also kinda like a virtual high five. So if you wanna high five Aaron and I for what we do for you here on Marriage After God, give us a high five. [Aaron] I like that, a virtual high five. This is a review that someone left, and it says this, I can't say their name. I don't know how to say that. Anyways it says me and my husband are literally all for this podcast. We love how real they are and how they use personal experiences to teach us from their perspective. I love you guys, excited for the next channel. Love that. I think they're probably talking about next episode maybe . [Jennifer] Or next season. [Aaron] Next season. Anyways, we just, we love getting these. We love reading them. And so if you wanna leave one of those today, that'd be awesome. And like Jennifer said, it'd be like giving us a high five virtually. So thank you. [Jennifer] We'd also like to encourage you guys to sign up for the marriage prayer challenge. You just go to marriageprayerchallenge.com and sign up and you'll get 31 prayers over the next 31 days, encouraging you to pray for your spouse. So if you're listening alongside your spouse make sure that both of you guys sign up. [Aaron] marriageprayerchallenge.com, it's completely free. [Jennifer] All right Aaron, you've been excited about this topic. This was kind of your desire, right? [Aaron] Yeah, probably because it's one of the biggest things I need to work on. [Jennifer] You didn't have to admit that. [Aaron] Well, I'm just tryna be honest. [Jennifer] All right. [Aaron] Yeah as I was rereading through the notes I'm like, yep, this is something that I need. So, I'm not coming from expertise in this, other than coming from what the word says. And it's something that me and you care about, and want to be better in, and want to walk in. [Jennifer] Always. [Aaron] Love, walking in love. It should be so easy, right? [Jennifer] It's easy to say. [Aaron] It's easy to say. That's kinda what we're gonna talk about today. It's so easy to say actually. [Jennifer] Should we tell them who said I love you first? This has nothing to do with our notes or what we're gonna talk about today but, let them guess, wait, ready? [Aaron] Let them have a few seconds. So if you're listening, who do you think told the other that they love them first? And we're talking about us. [Jennifer] Aaron or Jen? [Aaron] Aaron or Jen? Okay. [Jennifer] Okay, ready? I did. It was me. [Aaron] Everyone is rather like, yeah. [Jennifer] I was patient, I waited for you but that's okay. [Aaron] You wanted to say you loved me when you knew of me in high school, didn't you? Like and I didn't even know. [Jennifer] That's okay. [Aaron] That's right. I mean you loved. Yes you did, you said you love me first. Wait, did I actually, did I tell you I loved you back? [Jennifer] Of course, after some silence and making me nervous, and me wanting to like jump out of the car cause I was so embarrassed. You made me... [Aaron] Well it's a big word. [Jennifer] I was already like, what is it called? Blushed, blushed? [Aaron] Yeah, blushing. [Jennifer] Blushed you. Just kidding. I had already pink cheeks from being embarrassed from saying it because I just wanted to get it out there, and then you made my cheeks red. [Aaron] Red faced. [Jennifer] Red faced. [Aaron] Anyways we did pronounce our love for each other in my car. So that's a fun little tidbit for everyone listening about us, that Jennifer said she loved me first. [Jennifer] I'll say this, I think we both knew way before anyone ever said it. [Aaron] Yeah, so it wasn't that we had no idea. [Jennifer] And you weren't surprised by me saying it. [Aaron] I wasn't, it was more of a... [Jennifer] There it's out. [Aaron] Yeah, we were being slow. [Jennifer] Patient. [Aaron] To say the word. Because it meant something. Which is what we're talking about today, what it means. And this idea of love. And saying it, and other things around love. [Jennifer] All right, let's jump in. [Aaron] Love's a big word. Like I just mentioned a second ago. [Jennifer] I mean it's four letters, yeah I get your point. [Aaron] It's not a big word in length, but it's a big word in meaning, right? But here's the problem, and this is why I wanted to start this way, is that the problem with love being a big word is we use it in a lot of ways, right? [Jennifer] Yeah like I love my plants. I love my house. I love our cereal, ice cream, right? [Aaron] Yeah, music. [Jennifer] What do you love Aaron? [Aaron] Pizza, I love pizza. [Jennifer] You think being a pizza delivery guy would deter you from pizza loving. [Aaron] No in fact it increased my love for pizza. If you didn't know anything, at one of my earlier jobs as a pizza delivery driver, I loved it. It was actually, while we knew each other. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] Early on in our relationship. But I do love pizza. I love trying new things, like a little adventurous things. I really love board games. I think you do too. We're like game people. [Jennifer] Why? I'm competitive, so it actually doesn't matter what we're playing or what we're doing, as long as I win. [Aaron] You like competition, you like winning. [Jennifer] I love winning. I love winning. Don't you guys love winning? [Aaron] Yeah. I love movies. So it's kind of unfortunate and actually nice because I watch less movies, but with all the movie theaters being shut and all that stuff, but I do love movies. Watch them way less than I used to but, we love lots of things. So, but there's other kinds of things that we love, right? With a different kind of love. [Jennifer] I'd say a deeper kind of love. [Aaron] Yeah. Like I love our kids. I love you. [Aaron] That's good. Do you love me like you like cereal? [Jennifer] Different. [Aaron] Those are different levels of love. [Jennifer] I like you both. No, but we love each other. We love our friends. We love God. We love Jesus. [Aaron] But that's definitely not the same kind of love. They're different. Like my love of pizza, or my love of my children, they're not even in the same planetary alignment. They're not in the same category. [Jennifer] That was a weird thing to say but I get you. [Aaron] But they're the same word. And I feel like in our modern day culture the word love is not as defined as it used to be. Like we use love for a lot of things. [Jennifer] It's used like on a broader sense. [Aaron] Yeah, it's diluted, it's used to have so much more meaning especially in the Bible. But now like we just, I love that, I love this. Like everything's, we love everything. But they cannot be the same kind of love. And it's obvious that there are different kinds of love, but it's hard when we use the same word for all different kinds of love. Would you agree? [Jennifer] Yeah, like when I say that I love you, it's not the same kind of love that I am saying that I love those other things. [Aaron] In essence when we use love it's more like I really enjoy these things. I really like these things, I desire these kinds of things, I want these things. [Jennifer] Well you know me, I love talking about definition. So, who gets to define love? Is it culture, modern history, poems, magazines? [Aaron] I would say currently those are the things that define current cultures word for love. The news, the magazines, movie stars or pop stars. How they are saying this is what love is. [Jennifer] How they use it we kind of all just follow along. But, I mean we do know as believers that, the creator himself has defined love. [Aaron] That's true. He's the one who gets to say what it is, and what it means. Not the world, not even ourselves, because we can even at times define what love is, which is kind of what I wanna discuss, we wanna discuss in this episode, is we do this ourselves, when we say, well, I love you. But it doesn't always add up. So with society using the word love in so many different ways, many things defining it, it's been watered down so much and used so many ways, it's become easy even in our most important things like our relationships to use the word flippantly. Where we just, we throw it out. I love you. But do we really mean it? [Jennifer] Yeah, it's like we have one word that encompasses so many other different words really. [Aaron] Right. And what's interesting is in that... [Jennifer] Not all words, sorry I meant all versions, like, we have the word love, that means a lot of different things. [Aaron] But it's one word. [Jennifer] But one word. [Aaron] Which can be very confusing [Jennifer] Which is why people use it in so many different ways. Is what I'm trying to say. [Aaron] Well, and it's important to realize that because you know when we talk about all the things that we love, and then we just also love our wife, also love our spouse, or you know, our kids, but there's something that's gonna make these mean something different. In the Bible, in the Greek, in the Hebrew, there are several different words for love. You can look those up. It's a great study to do, a word study on the word love in the Bible. And each one has a different meaning, each one's used for a different purpose, and they're much more defined, they make much more sense. And they're almost always in the situation of relationship. But in this episode, we're gonna not focus on the words necessarily for love, but rather the proof of love. [Jennifer] I love that. [Aaron] So to better illustrate this, I may say, I love my wife. Like I love you. But how do you know that to be true? How do you know that what I'm saying isn't just words but truth. [Jennifer] Because you show me. And your actions back up what you're saying. [Aaron] Exactly. So, but we do this. We say it all the time like, Oh, I love you. Like, I know this happened, but I love you. But what's hard is in our hearts and our minds. There's a disconnect. We can feel it, we may not able to verbalize it. [Jennifer] Real quick before moving on. I think that's important to note that when your words and actions are backing each other up, that's when trust is built. And you just use the word disconnect so when you say one thing, you say I love you but your actions don't back that up, that disconnect contributes to distrust. [Aaron] Right. [Jennifer] Right? I think that's important to note for marriage, marriage is listening. [Aaron] And that's what we wanna talk about. Because we all would say we love our spouse. And if you're listening and you're not in a place where you can say you love your spouse, then I pray that this encourages you in this episode, I pray that you'd go before the Lord and ask him to help you love your spouse. But it's important, because our words matter, and our actions matter. And someone brought up ones at our church about the actions of Jesus and how important they were because they lined up with his words. He did what he said. He said what he did. He fulfilled his own word. He fulfilled what God's word was. [Jennifer] Which is why we can trust him. [Aaron] Which is why we can trust him. [Jennifer] So real quick. We titled this episode, "Are you really loving?" But I think the real question what we're gonna look at today is, are we acting in truth when we say I love you. [Aaron] Right. And that's what we need to ask ourselves. And that's why we're going to walk through some things, just to kind of challenge us in keeping us from just throwing out the word and making that like a default, like, yeah I'm acting this way and this way and this way and, but you know, I love you, right? [Jennifer] Well that's actually a good question. Can we say that we love and are not necessarily required to act? Act on that, you know, act like we do. [Aaron] I don't know, how do you feel when I say that I love you but I don't act like it? [Jennifer] Yeah, like use the word proof earlier and I just love that because I think that it's proof. [Aaron] Right. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] So if I don't act like it? It doesn't matter what I said because I love you, but my actions aren't even close to showing it. Then you're thinking, do you really though, do you really love me? [Jennifer] And that's not good to place doubt in our spouses hearts and minds [Aaron] But we do love, and the Bible shows us. Jesus makes it very clear how we will know if we love him or not. With Jesus, it's not a, as long as you just say you love me I'm like, you can do whatever you want and we're good. Just say you love me. Now Jesus makes it very clear how we will know if we love him or not. And this is what Jesus says in John 14, verse 15, "If you love me," it is very clear, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." So he makes it very clear. He's not looking for as his term is, lip service. He's not looking for people to just say they love him, he wants people to show they love him. [Jennifer] So in deeds, like in your actions, obedience to his word. [Aaron] 1st John three, verse 18. He says, "Little children, let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth." Again, this clarifies this idea of what it looks like to love. We can use our words and let it be that only, which we do. I do this. I say it but I don't do it. But he says, "Let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth." [Jennifer] Before you go on and explain how really important this is, can I interrupt with one little story about Truet? [Aaron] Yes. [Jennifer] Okay. So our number four, he's two and a half and he's been slow to talker. Slower to talk. [Aaron] Yeah, slower to talk. [Jennifer] Out of the other kids. And I think partly is because he just gets away with it. Everybody like interprets what he's trying to say and just doesn't make him say much. So I've been trying to work with him on how, you know, how he talks. [Aaron] Speaking to us. [Jennifer] Speaking to us. And he runs up to my lap the other day and he says, "Love you mom." And it's like his first like big sentence where he's pronounced everything correctly, and his eyes were just so lit up and I just thought, oh my word, I love you so much. And then he kept doing it for like a whole minute. It was so sweet, over and over and over again. [Aaron] Cause he knew he got it. [Jennifer] Yeah. But you know, you're talking about this verse, it says, "Little children let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth." And in as much as that moment impacted me for Truet, and what he was sharing with me that he loves me, it was unprompted and out of nowhere and I know that to be true. I think that kids do less talking and more actions all the time if we're paying attention. They show us in what they give us and they don't have much, but they'll, you know, rewrap one of their gifts for us, they'll write or draw a picture for us. [Aaron] They crop and relapse and like when Truet runs up and just wants to hold my leg. [Jennifer] Yeah. They'll grab our hands randomly. And I think that all those little ways of them expressing what we mean to them is exactly that. So I love that this verse is saying little children because it's almost like he's talking to all of us as children of God, but really it's like a draw to, hey, look at the children. [Aaron] That's really good. Cause they do, they are less about just words. I think that's something that they grow into as they get older, but yeah, they're deeds. And I like that it puts deeds with truth. Cause you were talking about that. It's like lying. Like you say it but you don't do it, you're not telling the truth. But when you say it and do it, that's the truth. And this is the same for how we love our neighbors and fellow believers. Not in words alone, but in deed and in truth [Jennifer] It's in the action, it's in commitment, it's in obedience, it's in that heart posture toward the thing that you're saying it's the proof. [Aaron] Yeah. It's the doing, it's how we act. And as we always say, like in our book, our closest neighbors or spouse, so it gets to start in the home, where we get to practice, acting out our love for our spouse, for our children, and then our church, and then our neighbors, and then, you know, strangers. But it starts there and trickles out from there. So how often do you think we say we love each other? [Jennifer] Multiple times a day. I'd say definitely at the end of every phone call, and before we close our eyes at night, before we go to bed. [Aaron] Yeah a lot. We don't have a number. That was a rhetorical question. We say it a lot. [Jennifer] Oh, sorry. [Aaron] Yeah, it's good, cause it is multiple times a day. I would put a number if I knew exactly, but there's no way to know. It's a lot. [Jennifer] Here would be my question if I was to ask a question. How many of our disagreements, disappointments or contention between us, how often is that a result of feeling unloved in some way? [Aaron] Probably most of them, right? [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] Like if it's me. [Jennifer] That was rhetorical too. [Aaron] Yes. But what's interesting about this is we just answered how we say we love each other a lot, but then we have contentions and disappointments and disagreements as a result of feeling unloved. So the amount of times we say it, and how often we act it out, is not the same. That equation doesn't work. But this is true, everyone that's listening is probably thinking like, oh yeah, because this is marriage. This is life we have to navigate this. But, if we have our minds on, Oh man, I'm not even acting in love right now, like I should even say I love you if I'm not acting like it. I need to make an adjustment in my behavior, to show you I love you. And that could come into just example. Humbling myself in an argument and saying, I don't wanna fight, I'm really sorry, how can I help this? [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] Like slowing it down instead of ramping it up. Which is something that I can tend to do. [Jennifer] We both do it when we walk in the flesh. You said we all get to navigate this in marriage. And I think that it's so important to acknowledge that love is a massively important part of the infrastructure or foundation of the marriage relationship. And if there's no love, then there's no trust, there's no hope, there's no purpose. Those things begin to crumble if the infrastructure, if the foundation isn't solid. And so as much as we say we love each other and we think that our marriage is going okay. I think it's really important to constantly reevaluate that foundation and say, are there any cracks, are there any places where I need to reinforce, affirm and better that structure. So does that make sense? [Aaron] Yeah. [Jennifer] Okay. [Aaron] So why don't we look at how the Bible defines it? [Jennifer] Wait, are you going to thee, section. [Aaron] It's an important section. It's the love section. It's 1st Corinthians 13. Everyone calls it the love chapter in the Bible. [Jennifer] We gonna give you a piece now, and then the big chunk later. [Aaron] Yeah. And there's a reason it's quoted so much. It's because we need it to get this right. It says this in verse one, "If I speak in tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I'm a noisy gong or a clanging symbol. And if I have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned but have not love, I gain nothing." [Jennifer] So without love, we're nothing, without love we gain nothing. So we must learn what love is. And we must understand what love does and how it motivates us to action. [Aaron] Yeah. I wanna make one note. This is a little side note. But I noticed in this. So in 1st Corinthians chapter 12, and I even think 11, it's talking about all the gifts of the spirit. And like tongues and prophecy and all these things. And this is mentioning these ideas of gifts, which means that we can operate in giftings, but not be walking in love. So it's not the same thing as showing love to one another. And at the end of chapter 12, he talks about how he would show them in even greater way. And then he goes into talking about love. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] So the greater way it's like yeah, you can walk in these giftings, you can walk in these things that God's given you and not have love. And it's like a resounding symbol, a noisy gong. It's not the complete picture. God wants us to walk in love. And yeah, so we gain nothing, we are nothing if we don't have love. So I got a question for you listeners, and for you Jennifer. Do you know what the first mention of love in the Bible is? [Jennifer] No. I'm just gonna be straightforward, I don't. [Aaron] You didn't know before the, I mean you're probably looking at the notes, right? [Jennifer] I'm just being honest, I didn't know. Yes I see your notes, but I didn't know. [Aaron] Well, there's something for those that like like to study the Bible, and I hope you all do. There's something interesting about words and when you find the first mentions of them cause they have value of why they were mentioned there in the first place. That the first mention in the Bible of love is when God tests Abraham's faith. Abraham the father of faith. But at the same time in this story gives a foreshadow of how he plans to show the world his own love and faithfulness. It's in Genesis chapter 22, which by the way is really crazy that it takes 22 chapters in the Bible before you hear the word love. [Jennifer] That's what I was thinking. That's why I just, the first thing I thought it was God in the garden. I'm like duh, but I was surprised by this. [Aaron] It says this. He said, "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love and go to the land of Moriah and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." So this is a pretty familiar story. Abraham's to go sacrifice his son, you know, and we hear it. We know how that goes. God stops him, but it was to test his faith. He says now I know you will not withhold anything from me, even your own son. But he says, the son whom you love, right? This was the son of promise. And it sounds really familiar. Read that verse right there in Matthew 3:17. [Jennifer] "And behold, a voice from heaven said, this is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased." Nice little tie in there. [Aaron] Jesus is God's beloved son with whom he is well-pleased, right? Like Isaac was Abraham's beloved son. And then read this one, John 3:16. I'm pretty sure everyone knows this one. [Jennifer] Everybody knows this one okay. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." [Aaron] And that is the gospel. God sent his son that he loved to be a sacrifice that whoever believes in him would not perish but have everlasting life. And there's a great correlation here, that God loves his son Jesus, and Jesus was motivated by love for us and for the father. And that same love compels us to live for him and not ourselves. And so we have this picture of Abraham and his son, and this is the first mention of love in the Bible, and it's a foreshadow of the gospel of Jesus coming in. That's the first time we hear love. Is when it's foreshadowing in the gospel. It's more specifically about Jesus coming to die on a cross, which is incredible I think. [Jennifer] That's amazing, I never tied those two together like that. When you see him, you know back to back it's just really powerful. So let's look at some more scripture in John 15 verses nine and 10 it says, "As the father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my father's commandments and abide in his love." So again we see this picture of love in action. Abide is an action word, it's not a passive word. So he says abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love. So he says how to do it. So Jesus has commandments to love your neighbor as yourself. To love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. He says those are the greatest two commandments. And all the law of God hangs on those two commands. And so if you love God, you'll abide in those things and that's how you abide in God's love, and Christ's love. It's an action. It's not just I said it, I love Jesus. Great. How do you know you love Jesus? How does Jesus know you love Jesus? How does the world know you love Jesus? Here's another verse, it says, "See what great love the father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God." And that is what we are. Even God, it says, "See what great love the father has lavished on us." See. So here's the proof of God's love of what he lavished on us. [Jennifer] And then all you have to do is start in Genesis and read to revelation. [Aaron] Yeah exactly. That we should be called children of God. So him making us children of God, when we used to be children of wrath, right? Is him showing his love. He doesn't just say, I love you, figure it out. He says, I love you and I'm gonna lavish it on you by making you my children and my son Jesus. He shows it. [Jennifer] What I love is this verse right here. 1st John 4:19. "We love because he first loved us." [Aaron] There's an order to that action. [Jennifer] There's an order to that action because his love is what motivates us, it's what compels us, it's what draws us near to him and near to others. It's what we choose to walk out in. Not because we just understood one day what love was or read the dictionary definition of love, is because he loved us first. [Aaron] And I think there's a lesson there that I think in marriage, not I think, I know, we can get into the cycle of when you treat me right, I'll treat you right. [Jennifer] Conditions. [Aaron] When you love me well, I'll love you well. But we see this. We love because he first loved us. So we can actually initiate and love. We can walk in it, we can be quicker to forgive, we can get be quicker to give grace and understanding and patience, and we can go out of our way to do something for our spouse regardless if we think they deserve it or not. But the fact that they are your spouse means that they deserve your love. So they do deserve it. But we can initiate it. And I would imagine most spouses would recognize that, would see it, would be drawn into it, and would desire to reciprocate it. So rather than waiting for the other person to do it, and having a bad attitude about it like we do tend to have. [Jennifer] Or fall into the trap of hearing those lies of, well, I'm not gonna do it if dah, dah, dah, dah. [Aaron] Yeah. [Jennifer] If there are not. I'm not gonna, cause they don't. [Jennifer] Or because they did this, you know, xyz. [Aaron] Ephesians 5:25, "Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." So we see this picture of the way a husband should love his wife, is the way Christ loved the church and gave himself for her. [Jennifer] This reveals that proof of love that Christ gave him self up for his bride. [Aaron] So how do we know Christ loved his bride? [Jennifer] He sacrificed himself. [Aaron] He gave himself up for her. [Jennifer] He gave everything. [Aaron] Yeah, he went to the cross. This is how we know what love is. Jesus Christ laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. That's 1st John 3:16. All of these verses were showing that love is not a word, it's a way of being, it's a thing we do. All of these Christ showed it, God showed it, Abraham showed it. We have these pictures of what love looks like in the Bible. [Jennifer] So I know that Jesus is our Lord. He's our savior. He's a lot of things to us, but this next verse shows us he's also our friend. John 15, 13, "Greater love has no one than this to lay down one's life for one's friends." [Aaron] So Jesus did it. [Jennifer] He did it for us. And, again going back to that motivation of why we can love others, why we can do this and obey his word and live this way is because he did it first. [Aaron] Action. Luke 6:27, "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you." [Jennifer] So I put this one in here and then I bolded, do good, because it just shows that again it's something that you are doing. You're intentional, you're choosing. [Aaron] There's proof in your love. Colossians 3:14, "Put on love which binds everything together in perfect harmony." So we have this action, put on love. It's something that you're going to act in, something you're gonna walk in, something you're gonna perform. [Jennifer] So, you know, I used the word compel earlier and some people might remember this verse, but it's in different versions, we hear it different ways. And so I'll read the ESV, but I'm also gonna show you where the word compel is. 2nd Corinthians 5:14 through 15 says, "For the love of Christ controls us, or for the love of Christ compels us because we have concluded this, that one has died for all, therefore all have died. And he died for all that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised again." So Aaron just thinking about what you just said about we don't have to, or you're talking about initiation and you were saying, what we do is not contingent upon the other person. We can actually initiate love and we can choose to walk that out. It's because of this, what this verse is saying that we live for Christ and Christ has called us to love one another. So if a husband has a wife that maybe is distant, isn't quite in love as she used to be, or there's something, this turmoil he can be controlled by Christ's love for her, right? So he knows Christ loves him, he knows Christ loves her. And so he can be as compelled or controlled by Christ's love because Christ died for him and he knows it. And so he can pursue her in that way. [Jennifer] To be that initiator. [Aaron] Which is incredibly difficult, which is an example of dying to yourself [Jennifer] And wives we can do this same thing. [Aaron] And that's what we wanna do. We wanna let the love of Christ control us so that he flows through us, not our flesh. Cause like we talked about earlier when our flesh gets in the way, it don't work so well. So if love is foundational in our relationships with God and with others. If we say we love, the proof will show in our actions. [Jennifer] Amen. [Aaron] It will show in our obedience to the word of God. And it will show on how we conduct ourselves toward others. [Jennifer] Namely our spouse. [Aaron] First and foremost. [Jennifer] I mean first and foremost. So going back real quick to when we were talking about what you know, what or who defines love, and I said, the creator himself. Do you wanna read this next verse? [Aaron] 1st John 4:7 through 16, "Beloved, let us love one another for love is from God, and whoever loves, has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love." In this, the love of God was made manifest among us that God sent his only son into the world so that we might live through him, in this is love. Not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son to be a propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him, and he in us because he has given us of his spirit. And we have seen and testified that the father has sent his son to be the savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love. And whoever abides in love, abides in God and God abides in him. So not just that God defines love, God is love. So what he says love is, is what he is. So we do not get to make up our own definitions of love because then we're making up our own definition of God. Because he is love. So we should be careful to look at what the word says love is because it's showing us a picture of who God is. [Jennifer] Let's look at that. Let's finish reading 1st Corinthians 13. [Aaron] That's perfect. [Jennifer] Starting in verse four. "Love is patient and kind, love does not envy or boast, it is not arrogant or rude, it does not insist on its own way, it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, love never ends." [Aaron] Yeah, can we get rid of the irritable or resentful? [Jennifer] Only on Monday and Tuesday, sometimes Friday. [Aaron] And also the bears all things and believes all things. [Jennifer] What does that even mean. [Aaron] Well, this is showing us who God is. So it tells us that he is patient cause he's not willing that any should perish. That's bearing all things. He's waiting. But that's what we should be. When we're rude, we're not walking in love. When we're not being patient. This is the question we're always asking ourselves. Cause we'll say I love you but, and we have to ask ourselves, well like, was I really loving? Cause I actually was very impatient which means I'm not walking in love, because God is patient. So we can look at this, and this is God's definition. He's defining himself actually. But this is how he desires us to walk in his spirit. So it becomes really easy to find out if we are walking in the proof, or if we're just using words and the words don't line up with the actions. [Jennifer] Aaron, you've joked about the heart chart or the love chart. Do you wanna? [Aaron] Yeah, I'm gonna just, I tried making one, and it did not work the way I wanted it to work. [Jennifer] Okay. [Aaron] But essentially it's just, whenever you feel like you, when you say you love and you're looking at a situation, you get to ask yourself, what was I being patient. If it's no, then you're not loving. And so you get to go back and repent. I want to love, I need to be patient. And then you're like, am I being kind? No. Oh, then I'm not loving, so I need to go back. Okay am I being patient? So it's this idea that you just, you look at what it says. So instead of defining, cause this man, we do this. I love you. I was just really frustrated, but I love you. And then you realize like how I totally acted just now was not loving. So why are we saying we love when we're not acting like we love. I do this, when I'm being impatient with the kids, I'm not walking in love with my kids. So I can all day long say I love my kids but if I'm not patient with them, how do they know I love them? They don't. [Jennifer] And that's just the first word then there's kind, does not envy or boast, it's not arrogant, rude, and it's on its own way, it's not irritable or resentful, does not rejoice at wrongdoing. It rejoices with the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. [Aaron] Yeah. When I'm being irritable, like the idea of irritable means easily frustrated. I can be triggered easily. I'm just sensitive. If I'm being that way, then I'm loving myself and no one else. Because I don't want anyone to bother me, don't touch me, like oh, you did it again, like making people walk on eggshells, it's not loving people. That's this idea that of irritability, like I'm easily offended. That's another word that the other translations use is easily offended. [Jennifer] So I love play on words and we have this section of scripture that is talking about love. And then at the very end, it says, love never ends. Which draws you back up to the beginning, and it reminds you that you keep, yeah, that God's infinite for sure. But that also that we're supposed to keep persevering, enduring, and living out this way of love. And I think so often, maybe I shouldn't use the word often, but in marriage I think just overall because I think we're fleshly people. [Aaron] What? [Jennifer] No. And I'm not just saying just specific to us, I'm trying to get this picture out that marriage can be difficult. [Aaron] In general we have a flesh. [Jennifer] We have a flesh, and I think we can be tempted very easily to put a quick end to those ways of being. Does that make sense? [Aaron] Yeah. [Jennifer] Okay. [Aaron] Rather than just continuing on to doing the next right thing. [Jennifer] Yeah, to be to persevere in patience, to persevere in kindness, to keep extending these ways of love and proof that you actually do love. And here's an encouragement cause I think someone could take this and say, well I've been impatient lately it doesn't mean I don't love my kids or my spouse. No, the point is that because God loves us, the idea of abiding in his love and being given of his spirit, all these verses we just read that talk about these things is when we get convicted. When I recognize, man, I wasn't walking in patience. What happens is because I love my kids, I'm willing to repent and grow, and next time be more patient. Because if I genuinely didn't love, I would not care. I'd be like, yeah I'm not going to be more patient with you, I don't want to be more patient with you. No I want to be more patient with my kids. Something that we pray about often, like God give us more patience. God give us, help us be more kind, more gentle, help us to be more playful. So just because we make a mistake and we didn't walk in love in the moment, doesn't mean we don't love, it means that we didn't prove it in that moment. And so that's what's awesome about God is, he is patient with us because he loves us. And he's given us his Holy spirit to convict us of sin and righteousness. And so he's working on us. So praise God that he calls it out on us. [Jennifer] Amen. And as we abide in him, that understanding, and those reminders that we should be loving and how to love will be reinforced in our minds and in our hearts. But how do we abide in him? [Aaron] In his word. [Jennifer] Well in his word. So if you listening to this right now, if this is an opportunity for you to take a heart check and say, am I really loving? Am I loving my spouse? Am I loving my children? Am I loving God? And using the scripture that we've shared throughout this entire episode to consider if you're truly loving or not. But also, are you abiding? Are you in God's word? Because when we step outside of that and we are going week to week without being fed and consuming his word, we're gonna forget. And we're gonna let the flesh rule in our ways of being. [Aaron] Right, which is why we're told to abide. Which is a continual process that we... Cause in 1st John it says, "If you're gonna walk in the spirit, then keep in step with the spirit." The spirit of God's moving, we don't control it, he's moving. And so we need to be following, keeping in saved. And like you said, so getting in the word, again this isn't to tell you whether or not you are saved, this is because you're saved. Go look in the word and see how your actions line up with what it says, how your way of thinking lines up with what it says and let the word of God transform you by the renewing of your mind. Because that's what we need. [Jennifer] And this question of are you really loving? It's not really fair because it's not really a yes or no question, because every single one of us know that regardless of how we acted today, or even all the ways that we have proven our love, we know that we can be greater at it, deeper at it, wider at it, right? [Aaron] Yeah. With the holy spirit for sure. [Jennifer] So I think it's a good time to just dig in with ourselves and follow up with, what can I do to prove my love? Whether I'm proving it to God, proving it to you, proving it to my kids, my friends, my family, others. [Aaron] Yeah, so there were people that I love. [Jennifer] I think we should ask it every day. [Aaron] We do what we say. And you have a note here that says don't. You have a note here that says don't let your love grow cold. [Jennifer] Okay so I put that there because I was just recently reading Matthew 24. And you know, it's talking about the end times. [Aaron] Yeah. [Jennifer] And, yeah, it's just an encouragement. Don't let your love grow cold. [Aaron] It says in those days, the love of many will grow cold. And so we're seeing that, we're seeing people that they don't care. They're easily angered, they are frustrated, they're certain groups that they just don't like and that's the hearts of many, but it doesn't need to be hearts. [Jennifer] Yeah, let's not be them. [Aaron] We can have warm soft hearts. And the Holy spirit does that for us. [Jennifer] Okay Aaron, so since I like to be practical, you know this, everyone listening knows this. I always bring it up. But for those listening, we've talked about love and how to prove your love and the spiritual side of all of this, which is great. Let's do a lightning round of three practical ways a husband can show love and a wife can show love, or prove their love on a daily basis so that those listening can go home and activate. [Aaron] This is good for the husbands. Cause like me, they're probably thinking like, okay so what's the three-step program. How do I do this? What's the formula? I wanna do this. Like, what do I do tomorrow? [Jennifer] All right, gets and write these down. Ready? [Aaron] All right. [Jennifer] Hold on. Do you go first or do I go first? [Aaron] I'll read these ones cause they're for me to you. [Jennifer] Okay. [Aaron] And they're convicting. [Jennifer] Okay. [Aaron] Number one, sit with her, look in her eyes, maybe with your arm around her and just smile. Be close. So this is like a closeness, like intentional close proximity. [Jennifer] It's like the world's spinning around you but the two of you are not. [Aaron] Yeah, I'm here, look at me. [Jennifer] Things are still between us. [Aaron] Your eyes are beautiful. [Jennifer] It's calm. You're my everything. [Aaron] Yeah. Number two it says stick around after dinner and help clean up or encourage her to take a moment to herself. This is something that I've done. [Jennifer] You do this very well. You let me go like take a bath and you clean up or be with the kids. [Aaron] Yeah. Leave a note for her, number three, on her pillow or maybe before she wakes up, or on the kitchen counter, or I post it on the mirror. [Jennifer] You've written in the mirror before. [Aaron] Yeah, hopefully the steam stays and hanging it up. But these are just some real, these were really great practical, like ways I'm sure all the wives that are listening are like, oh I'd really appreciate that. [Jennifer] Look, we know these aren't the super deep, super wide, super, you know, great, greater ways of showing love, but I'll tell you what being in marriage, what, 14 years now? It's those small ways that add up over time that really do build that trust. [Aaron] Yeah. Then asking the Lord to help you be more creative. [Jennifer] Totally. He's the God of creativity. [Aaron] So how can a wife proof, show, act? [Jennifer] Okay. Affirm him with your words. Acknowledge something that he is doing right or something that he's growing in, something that you see in him, and encourage him. [Aaron] That's a good one. I love affirmation. [Jennifer] I know you do. Number two, encourage a conversation you know he's interested in and just sit back and listen. Be engaging, but you know, let him teach you something new or share something that's been on his heart or mind. [Aaron] That's a good one. [Jennifer] You like to do that with me. [Aaron] Number three. [Jennifer] I've learned a lot of things from you actually doing that. [Aaron] Your number three by the way you can practice tonight if you'd like. I'm just trying to help there. [Jennifer] Give them a back massage or a foot massage just because. [Aaron] Totally, I'll take it. [Jennifer] Okay. [Aaron] That's a good one. [Jennifer] All right you guys, I hope that you were encouraged by this episode. Obviously there are millions of more unique ways to love your spouse, especially when you take the time to study them or know them well. So take the time to do that for your spouse. Our challenge for you this week is just to be thoughtful of how you show, improve your spouse, and affirm your love for them. [Aaron] That's great. [Jennifer] Okay. [Aaron] Speaking of great, what are you grateful for? [Jennifer] That was amazing. [Aaron] Continuing our challenge for the month or for the season I should say. [Jennifer] Yes. We kicked season five off with this section of the podcast where we thought it would be fun to share the things that we're grateful for, as encouragement for you to think about things that you're grateful for. And that we're just gonna share a bunch of gratefulness this whole year, right? [Aaron] Be grateful people. [Jennifer] Let's be grateful. [Aaron] So I'll start. [Jennifer] Perspective is key. [Aaron] Yeah. I'm grateful for health. I was just thinking about it when I was trying to write down like what am I grateful for? Well, it's interesting cause when we're sick, all we wanna be as healthy. [Jennifer] That's true. [Aaron] And then when we're healthy we forget about what it's like to be sick. And I was just really thinking like, I'm really happy that right now we're healthy. [Jennifer] Yeah. Mostly healthy. Do you wanna share with them what happened to your elbow? [Aaron] Oh Gosh. Yeah I was walking, it's been snowing and it's freezing outside, and I was walking with my stroller to take it into the garage from the van and I slipped on the ice and fell right on my elbow. [Jennifer] It's pretty swollen. [Aaron] It hurts really bad. [Jennifer] Sorry. [Aaron] I don't know what's wrong with it but it don't feel good. I'm healthy though. [Jennifer] You are super healthy. [ Aaron] I wrote this before I did this to my elbow by the way. No, but even with my elbow hurting, I am grateful for our health. It's been nice. Especially with five going through any sickness. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] It's a while. [Jennifer] Okay, and I'm grateful for testimony. Just the good deeds, the works, the things that happen and those who give God the glory for it. I know my faith has always been encouraged and increased when I hear of, you know, people's testimonies or things that are going on in people's lives because God is working and he is moving, and I love hearing about it. [Aaron] Yeah. And for those of you don't know. A testimony is simply what God has done in your life for you through you. Maybe you can be challenged to share that this week. Share your testimony with someone. [Jennifer] That's a good idea. [Aaron] Yeah. [Jennifer] Cool. All right, and then as always, we'd like to end in prayer. Dear Lord, thank you for sending us your son whom you love and who took what we deserve so that we can have a relationship with you, eternity with you. Thank you for your great love. Thank you for loving us and caring for us. We pray we would receive your love and share your love with others. We pray we would show our deep love through action and in truth. Please give us the courage and the boldness to love extravagantly and to love deeply. We prayer our insecurities and selfishness would knock it in the way of truly loving others. We pray the love we experience in our marriages would be extraordinary. We hope others would see how we love each other and know it is because of you. May you be glorified in Jesus name. Amen. [Aaron] Amen. Thanks for joining us on this episode. We love you. Again you guys are our share warriors and our prayer warriors. If you feel obliged, we'd love for you to spread the word about this podcast, share it in an email, or text message. Invite someone to listen to it with you, and get the word out. So we love you all, and we look forward to having you on our next episode.
Take the FREE Marriage Prayer Challenge.Marriageprayerchallenge.com READ TRANSCRIPT[Jennifer] Welcome to the Marriage After God podcast. [Aaron] We're your hosts. I'm Aaron. [Jennifer] And I'm Jennifer. [Aaron] We've been married for 14 years. [Jennifer] And we have five young children. [Aaron] We started blogging over 10 years ago, sharing our marriage story in hopes of encouraging other husbands and wives to draw closer to God and closer to each other. [Jennifer] We have authored over 10 books together, including our newest book, "Marriage After God," the book that inspired us to start this podcast. [Aaron] "Marriage After God" is a message to remind all of us that God designed marriage with a purpose. [Jennifer] To reflect His love. [Aaron] To be a light in this world. [Jennifer] To work together as a team. [Aaron] Using what He has given us. [Jennifer] To build His kingdom. [Aaron] Our hope is to encourage you along your marriage journey. [Jennifer] As you boldly chase after God together. [Aaron] This is Marriage After God. [Aaron] Welcome back, we're Aaron and Jennifer Smith, your hosts of the Marriage After God podcast. We have a fun topic for you today. A light one and we think you're gonna enjoy it. We're excited to share it with you all. And hopefully it inspires you in your relationship with God and your spouse. [Jennifer] Yeah, before we jump into it, which we'll do shortly, Some of my closest girlfriends were praying recently for the men in our life, husbands, fathers- Thank you. [Jennifer] You're welcome. Just really wanting to lift up our men who are leading our families. Also, bearing the weight of care for everything that's been going on in our nation, in our world, because just by nature they're protectors, providers, it's on their mind, and we care about them. And so as they consider everything that's going on and how it will impact the family, and how they navigate it with us, we just felt concern to bring them before the Lord and pray for them. And I just love that we had the opportunity to do that. But with that, I wanted to also say Aaron and I want to recognize that there's just a lot going on right now. And I mean, we're only a few weeks into 2021 and it's already been historical and I'm not talking about just the memes. That's not funny. I thought it was funny. The memes are pretty historical. [Jennifer] Aaron was just sharing some with me. [Aaron] And hysterical. [Jennifer] No, anyways, this is serious. Just this first part's kinda serious. Because Aaron and I, just like you guys, we get to navigate what's going on in the world around us and respond to it. But because we also have an online presence and this platform of a podcast, we wrestle with questions like, hey, are we gonna address that thing that happened? Do people wanna hear our opinions? Does God want us to speak to that issue? And it's just, I know for me personally it's a lot, but we do wrestle. [Aaron] Yeah. It's not something that we just pretend isn't going on. But I think what we've landed on is that the most important message is that of Jesus Christ and drawing people back to the Word of God. Would you agree? [Jennifer] Absolutely. Yeah, and the reason that I wanted to share this is just so you guys know our hearts is that we are navigating and wrestling those things and you don't see all of those things happening. And so I thought it'd be nice just to address it and let you know that we are watching, we are praying, we know that there's husbands and wives out there who are impacted by some of the current events that are happening, whether it be political, or a natural disaster, or any sort of crisis. We know that those things are happening. However, like Aaron just mentioned, we're gonna stick to the things that God has purposed in front of us and the stories and the experiences and the things that we can speak to in His truth to encourage you, because that's what we created this podcast for is to encourage you guys. [Aaron] Well, and I would reiterate that we firmly believe that the Word of God, that walking with the Lord, is the response to whatever is going on. We talk about it in the platform of marriage and that aspect of life, but it's not like your job and politics and your marriage and your parenting and your friends and your church are all separate things in boxes that get dealt with differently. We deal with it all the exact same way. Now, that doesn't mean that we have all the answers, but what it does mean is we know who does, and we know who to run to, and we know what the Word of God says. The Bible is the eternal Word of God. It's living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, cutting through to the bone and marrow. It discerns the hearts of men. So that's what our mission is, like you said last episode, Jennifer, is our ministry is to the church. Now we have ministries outside of that as well, but our main one pretty much for our whole marriage and life has been ministering to believers. And so in these times, we're not the ones equipped to bring up political commentary. We're trying to be equipped to bring up what the Word of God says and encourage you in that. [Jennifer] Now, being a marriage podcast and knowing that Aaron and I, we struggle and navigate some of these things, we can speak to really quickly and encourage those who are watching the news or experiencing these things happening and unfolding. So can we quickly just dive in for maybe a minute or two, how can a husband and wife- [Aaron] Process. [Jennifer] Process and navigate these things as a couple? [Aaron] Well, what we could do, what our flesh probably wants to do, is get anxious, break down, feel overwhelmed. These are the natural responses to things that are out of our control. [Jennifer] Or confusion. [Aaron] Yeah, confusion or anger even. But you know what? The Bible addresses all of those things. And I think, well, we can do one thing is we can share the things that we're coming across and that are giving us anxieties. [Jennifer] Like if I'm reading the news and something just strikes a chord in my heart and I can't let it go, like it's just sitting with me, I can bring that to you and say, "Hey, I've really been thinking about this. It's kind of consuming my mind, can you- [Aaron] Pray for me. [Jennifer] Pray for me or help explain it to me or whatever I need in that moment. [Aaron] And that's what we're supposed to do is bear each other's burdens. So communicating about it, not just holding it in, not just saying, "If I bring that up, it's gonna cause something," or, "I can't talk about that," but like going to your spouse, going to your church, and just saying, "Hey, I'm dealing with something about this thing that I saw, or this thing that I heard, or what's going on in the world." [Jennifer] Another thing that you can do that we do is commit to praying for the things that you see and hear. Don't just scroll past it, don't let your heart become desensitized to it. [Aaron] Which is a good encouragement for me because, I mean, I haven't had social media on my phone for a little bit, but when I did, I would see something going on in the world and I'd be like, "Oh, that's horrible," and then I'd scroll right past it. Bummer it, yeah. [Aaron] But stopping and saying, "I can't be there, I can't like physically help, but I can pray. And I know that I know a God that can help and has a plan for this," that's good. Something that would be really helpful probably for the entire world is to take breaks away from consuming the news. Right? [Jennifer] Yeah. I would say even in today's era of the way the internet works is even taking a break from actively engaging. If you're one of those people that leaves comments and dives in right away, hit the pause button, be slow to speak, be slow to dive into those things until you've wrestled and processed with God, with your husband, with your family, and get your heart right. [Aaron] Yeah, just speaking about this idea of taking a break, I was speaking to someone from Compassionate International, which by the way, you should check them out if you haven't, and he was just sharing how every year him and his wife take turns going for a couple of days, three days I think, to be off all technology. [Jennifer] That's cool. [Aaron] Little hiatus. Not everyone can go away, but we could do that at home. Let's say, "Let's put this stuff away for a few days." [Jennifer] I think the goal is balance. [Aaron] It's balance, yeah. [Jennifer] And speaking of balance, it's even, in regard to God's Word, are you consuming outside resources and information more than you're consuming the Word of God? [Aaron] That's convicting to me 'cause the answer is yes. [Jennifer] Well, we need to bring some balance, then. [Aaron] We need to switch that around, yeah. [Jennifer] Another one is don't let current events polarize you in your marriage. So when it does come time to talk about it, don't allow that thing to be the source of contention between you and your spouse. You've got to remain unified. Yeah, don't let it cause division, as the Lord says. A house cannot stand that is divided. [Jennifer] Right, but if the foundation is the Word of God, then Run to it, yeah. [Jennifer] you'll be able to move forward from there. [Aaron] And there's a word that believers should remember is were we're to endure, as Paul tells Timothy, as a good soldier. [Jennifer] Well, things are going to happen. There's gonna be more news, there's going to be more historical events unfolding before us. [Aaron] Yeah, especially if you know anything about the Bible and what it tells about coming- [Jennifer] The end. [Aaron] Yeah, the end. The Lord's return. And I wanna end on some Scripture. This is, I read this today and I thought it was incredibly powerful. [Jennifer] And when you say end, you mean end this section so we can jump into today's fun topic. End the session, yeah. We haven't gotten into the good part yet. But this is really good. This is Isaiah chapter 35. "The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad. The desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus. It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy in singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it. The majesty of Carmel and Sharon; they shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, 'Be strong, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance. With the recompense of God, He will come and save you.' Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap like a deer and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sands shall become a pool and the thirsty ground springs of water. In the haunt of jackals where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way. Even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. No lion shall be there nor shall any ravenous beast come upon it. They shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing. Everlasting joy be upon their heads. They shall obtain gladness and joy and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." This was written thousands of years before Jesus came, and Jesus was the answer of this. He is the way that we walk on. He's the highway that shall be there called the Way of Holiness. The early church, before they were called Christians, were called the Way because they followed Jesus. So be encouraged by that. [Jennifer] Man, that was really good Aaron. Thank you for sharing that. And I just feel like I have to meditate on that this week and really just let my heart absorb it. Okay, we're gonna move on. Aaron and I would love to encourage you guys to leave a star rating review for this podcast if it has impacted you. If you have time, you can even leave a written review. These are so impactful. Not only do they help people find the Marriage After God podcast because of algorithms and the way that social media and all these platforms work, but it also really encourages us. And today we wanted to share some of those encouragements that you've left for others to find. [Aaron] Yeah, this one is by user, I think it's Agibb90. "You all are one of my favorites. Love Aaron and Jennifer and all the materials they put out, whether they're daily emails, Instagram posts, one of their amazing books, or an awesome podcast. They are an excellent source of God's knowledge for your marriage or for life. So glad you're all back. Keep doing what you're doing." Thank you, that was encouraging. There was another one, and these are recent ones, so I just wanna thank you for everyone that's taking our call to action and going and leaving a review. [Jennifer] So this one was a five-star by jones_k10. "This podcast is beneficial, encouraging, and practical. Aaron and Jennifer honestly share their story and wisdom with men and women. I love how the couple speaks to each other and their listeners. They don't hide behind the messiness of life. They tell it how it is and give practical advice to apply to your life. This podcast is a wonderful way to start each morning on a positive, encouraging note." [Aaron] Nice, thank you so much. [Jennifer] That was so encouraging. [Aaron] Yeah, our messiness is encouraging to people. I love it. So we just wanna thank everyone for keep sharing these episodes. It really blesses us and I think it gets a lot more people to hear about the show. And one last note before we move on to the topic is we want you to be one of the 114,000 people that have joined our free prayer challenge. It's 31 days and we send you an email every day with a topic for you to pray over your spouse. You can choose either the husband route or the wife route, whoever you're praying for, and it's completely free. Just go to marriageprayerchallenge.com, marriageprayerchallenge.com, and would you just join this massive, growing movement of marriages that are praying for their spouses? [Jennifer] All right you guys, did any of you see the Christmas star? [Aaron] The movie? [Jennifer] No. It was in the headlines for a while in December, but I heard about it. It's the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter, and it was- [Aaron] Oh, you're talking about the awesome space event. [Jennifer] Yes, and it was one that I asked Aaron to go chase after. So we jumped in the car and we drove south and we were driving and Aaron goes, "I think that might be it." And we saw something bright in the sky for like 30 seconds and then cloud coverage. [Aaron] Well, we were chasing the clouds 'cause we're driving down, I'm like, it said it was supposed to be in the lower horizon, Southwest region. [Aaron] and I'm thinking, "You mean the lower horizon where all the clouds are at?" [Jennifer] I know, it was crazy. [Aaron] Right, we're in the one place in the world that's not gonna be able to see this today. And we literally had to pull over because we saw it and were like, "There it is!" And it was like 30 seconds. [Jennifer] And then it disappeared. [Aaron] Yeah. And then it was gone. If that was even it. I think it was but we must've missed it 'cause they were like right next to each other, they weren't like one thing. [Jennifer] I don't know. [Aaron] It was pretty cool. Probably with the telescope would've been more amazing. I saw pictures online that were way more incredible. You know, it's funny when you bring this up I feel like we've chased a lot of like celestial things. We have, we have. We've spent a lot of time look up, I think, Aaron. But that's why I brought it up because I love that time with you when we're just standing side by side looking up. I don't know why, it's so fun. [Aaron] Usually quiet, yeah. [Jennifer] Well, yeah. There was this other time where we drove to another place very close to our house, I think it was like 10 minutes away, and we- [Aaron] Yeah, this was a couple years ago, right? [Jennifer] We were trying to watch the super blood moon rise, and there was gonna be a certain time where it was gonna be the biggest, and so we were just sitting there waiting for it. [Aaron] That was a cool one. That was cool. Because that one looked massive, it was huge, and we watched it rise over the hills. [Jennifer] It was so cool. Yeah, that was a fun one. And then there was another time where my brother texted me and said, "Hey, at this time," I think it was like 9:38 PM, "Starlink is gonna fly over the house. You gotta run outside and look at it." [Aaron] If you don't know what Starlink is, it's like hundreds of satellites all in a line. They look like a belt. [Jennifer] I think it was 400. [Aaron] By I think Tesla? [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] And we were literally standing there and we were like, how do we know we're gonna see it? Yeah, we ran out there. How, we don't see anything? And then all of a sudden we just- [Jennifer] It's cold, it's dark, we're in our pajamas. I don't even know if we had shoes on, but it worked. [Aaron] Well, and then all of a sudden, we saw one little light moving. We're like, oh, looks like a satellite, okay. And then another one, and then another one, and it went for like 20 minutes. It just kept going. [Jennifer] We had kinks in our neck from staring up and just sitting out there, and then- [Aaron] That was actually pretty incredible also with how in sync they were. They were perfectly aligned and just moving at the same speed. [Jennifer] But they looked like stars. [Aaron] But they looked like stars moving through the sky. Big ole belt of stars, but they were satellites. That was a fun one. [Jennifer] It was super cool. So anyways, we just wanted to open up this topic- [Aaron] There was another one that you didn't right down. Which one, which one? [Aaron] The super eclipse that we saw. [Jennifer] Oh yeah, that was really awesome. Was that 2017? [Aaron] That was, I don't know when that was. [Jennifer] I think that was 2017. The Great American Eclipse. [Aaron] That's what it was. We saw that tonight. It literally landed, like our region was the most visible. It was right above Madris but whatever. It was close and it looked awesome. [Jennifer] That was pretty remarkable. [Aaron] Yeah, 'cause I got video of it and you can see the burning ring around the moon. Not just that, And the sun, that was amazing. but the eeriness of the whole town just going gray, like dark. [Aaron] And then the birds stopped chirping all at the same time, like they thought it was nighttime. It was kinda creepy. It was amazing. We've seen lots of sky things. [Jennifer] Yeah. But my point in sharing all of this is that I love standing side by side doing something with you and getting to interact with you in that way, just being present. And that's kind of what we're gonna talk about today, but even more specific, this idea of delighting in one another. And when I think of the word delight and enjoying something, I think these times with you, among a lot of other times in our marriage, but. [Aaron] I just wanna read this Scripture that reminds me about these ideas of us looking up and just looking at God's creation. In Romans 1:20 it says, "For His invisible attributes, namely His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world in the things that have been made, so that they are without excuse." When we look up you can't deny the Creator. I was just telling Elliot the other day- [Jennifer] Our son. [Aaron] Yeah, our son. [Jennifer] I know you know that, I was just letting them know who are listening. [Aaron] It was snowing and we were driving through it and we were talking about how it looked and everything. Looks like you're going through a portal with the snow flying by you. So I said, "You know Elliot, there's more galaxies in the universe than there is snow falling right now." And just saying that statement blew my mind 'cause I was thinking- I think his jaw dropped too. [Aaron] Yeah, and I said, "And God knows all of the names of the stars within those galaxies." He named them all. It's just incredible that His infinite nature is perceived easily, His invisible attributes. The things that you can't see of God, you can see clearly in nature. [Jennifer] Yeah, and when we talk about this idea of delighting in each other and in the Lord today, I think I love doing these things with you, Aaron, and we're gonna get into some examples later, too, of how to delight in your children. And sometimes it's doing something, and being out in nature is such a big part of it because it's like doing all three at once with our family, 'cause I'm delighting in you, I'm delighting in our children, and I'm delighting in the Lord by recognizing the things that He has created. [Aaron] Enjoying His creation. [Jennifer] Yeah, and talking about it and being fascinated by it and having wonders surrounding us. Now it makes me wanna just go look up at the sky with you. [Aaron] Yeah, the first thing I think about when I hear the word delight is actually the opposite of it, which I believe would be not necessarily like being against something, but I feel like it's more like just existing with something. Like gray. Like I think of the r gray. There's no r, it's not beautiful. So I would imagine just existing with you and we're doing our thing and there's no joy, I'm not excited or happy. [Jennifer] No r. [Aaron] No r. But I feel like delight is having my eyes open and seeing you, seeing my kids. So like you were talking about last episode, being grateful for Edith playing with your hair and just stopping in. [Jennifer] Oh, I said daughter but I meant Olive. [Aaron] Oh, Olive. I thought you were talking about Edith 'cause Edith does that, too. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] And so delight is an intentional focusing on, right? I'm looking. I'm like, "Oh, look at you, look at this," instead of just existing next to and just kind of moving forward and there's no connection, there's no depth, there's no r. [Jennifer] It's like an appreciation, a recognition and acknowledgement. [Aaron] And a longing for a desire. Like I want it, I like this. Things that I delight in, I want. [Jennifer] Yeah. So I always love to look up definitions. Even if you kinda know what a word means, I like the definition. So, what does it mean to delight? To please someone greatly, to take great pleasure in, to give someone great pleasure or satisfaction. Delight is a verb, so it's an action word, which I like. [Aaron] Of doing something. [Jennifer] Doing something, yeah. And I also went to the source, which some of the other words gave it a little bit more r, which I like, indulgently. [Aaron] So I want more. [Jennifer] Yeah. Give me lots of my family. Give me all of it. [Aaron] Yeah. [Jennifer] Attractive, agreeable, and jovial, like friendly, enjoyable. I just like those words. I like being able to understand the scope of what it means to delight in. [Aaron] Well, and all those words also give more ways of looking at this. [Jennifer] Oh, and serendipitous was one of them, which is more like a happening by chance. This is just happening right now. [Aaron] Right, like let's go get in the car and look for the Christmas star. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] That was serendipitous. [Jennifer] That was very serendipitous, it was. [Aaron] And it could've been a tedious thing. It could've been like, no, we have other things to do. I could've been irritated or frustrated which I've done in the past 'cause I'm sometimes a grinch. But we didn't, it was a fun thing. [Jennifer] Okay, so we're gonna kinda break this down into three sections, delighting in the Lord first, delighting in your spouse, and then a brief section on delighting in your kids. So Aaron, why don't you kick us off with the first one? [Aaron] So I'm gonna read Psalm 37 verse four and it says this, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." [Jennifer] Okay, so do you wanna explain that? [Aaron] Well, on face value it sounds like, I know many people have taken this, and it could mean this also, that if I delight myself in the Lord, then the desires I have in my heart, He's gonna give me. [Jennifer] But here's the thing. When you delight yourself in the Lord, what's actually happening? [Aaron] Right. What do your desires become? [Jennifer] Right. [Aaron] Right, because if you're delighting yourself in the Lord, if you're attracted to Him- [Jennifer] If you're agreeable. [Aaron] If you're agreeable to Him, With Him. if you're friendly with Him, if you're following Him, wanting more of Him- [Jennifer] I think our desires will start to align a lot more with His than just what our flesh wants. [Aaron] The way I read this is He will give you the desires of your heart. So when we delight ourselves in the Lord, the desires we have will be given to us by Him. So He'll give us a desire for His Son. He'll give us a desire for loving each other. He'll give us a desire to serve. He'll give us a desire to be generous, a desire to long for more of Him, to long for more of His Word. So rather than I just have these desires existing in me and then boom, He gives me those desires. [Jennifer] I'm sitting here smiling because, [Aaron] What? [Jennifer] Well, I've never heard it that way before and it's not in our notes. And so I'm wondering where you came up with that, and when you first- [Aaron] This is how I've always looked at it. I know, but also when you re-read it, you said, "I hear it this way." It sounded exactly the same as how you read it the first time, so I was really confused until you started explaining it. But that's really beautiful. [Aaron] He will give you the desires As in it's almost like of your heart. you've got this empty bowl and you bring it before the Lord and you're just delighting in Him, looking up at Him like a child, and He fills your hands and your heart. [Aaron] Right, and of course there's desires in me, that He can fulfill, right? But the Bible tells us that if we pray in His will, we have what we pray for, right? So it's not that I desire a Lamborghini. That's an easy one to just blow out of the picture. And God's gonna be like, "Oh, you desire it? Here you go." No, I believe that when we delight in Him, when we love Him, when we serve Him, when we follow Him, chase Him, want more of Him, not just that our desires become His desires, He gives us our desires. The ones that we have now are from Him, for Him, to Him. [Jennifer] I kinda wish that this verse just had a period at the end of "delight yourself in the Lord," because that in itself is so beautiful and enough. I mean, God's Word is perfect and we don't need to add or subtract to it. So we take the full verse for what it is. But remember we talked about delighting being a verb and it's an action. And so this is a call for us to delight ourselves in the Lord. Like that's that's a good thing for the Christian to do. [Aaron] The other thing I think about is, like I said, God doesn't just want us to believe Him and exist with Him. Like, "Okay, great. You believe my son, you got my Word. You wanna be a Christian and you wanna follow me? Cool." No joy. [Jennifer] End of story. [Aaron] End of story, no. He wants us to delight. [Jennifer] Okay, I have to admit this. I love all the little, I call them treasures, that I find in God's Word or when I'm trying to research something that's in His Word and I'm using other resources. I call them treasures because I feel like it opens up my understanding of who God is and what He's doing. And I find it so fascinating. It makes me think of an archeologist, Archeologist. how they, and I tell Elliot, I tell all my kids this analogy because I think it's so wonderful, but someone who's digging out in the desert and they come across an old community or village and they are finding all these pieces that are proof, like a vase or a coin whatever that proves life existed in that area from a certain time period. And to them, they've got this little toothbrush in their hand and they're trying not to break whatever's underneath. And they're uncovering this artifact. Like that's how I feel about delighting in the Lord, especially when it comes to His Word. I don't, I just don't- [Aaron] No, I think that's a good point, 'cause it makes me think of the showbread in the temple. It was 12 fresh loaves of bread and they would stay fresh until they were consumed, even if it was a week. It was like a miracle they would stay fresh. But there was 12 loaves of them, right? And the priests had to eat all of it, they couldn't leave any of it behind, they had to eat every single bit of it. And it's like this picture of- [Jennifer] I feel like I would be really good at that job. [Aaron] 'Cause Jesus says, "I'm the bread of life." [Jennifer] I like bread. [Aaron] And then Jesus says to the devil, He says, "Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." We live on that bread. We wanna consume all of it. And that's another thing we're delighting in the Lord. Oh and also if you think about it, that bread probably was delicious. Yeah that's what I'm saying. Like warm, gooey bread, delicious bread and tastes delicious. And that's what the Lord's Word is. So on that idea in Psalm 1 starting in verse one it says, "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers, but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law, he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither. In all that He does, He prospers." [Jennifer] I love that verse. [Aaron] Yeah, God's law, God's Word, the law of Spirit, the law of truth, we delight in it. [Jennifer] And it benefits us because I love this picture being a tree planted by streams of water. You have everything that you would need to be fruitful, to prosper, to do what you were supposed to do, to do what you were created to do, and so yeah. [Aaron] So I have a question for you, and this may be rhetorical. Maybe everyone knows the answer. But maybe someone listening doesn't. Can you delight in the Lord and not delight in His Word? [Jennifer] Do you want me to answer that? [Aaron] Yeah. [Jennifer] I was waiting for everyone else to chime in, jeez. I think you can delight in the Lord. I mean, just based off of the one Scripture that we read earlier from Romans 1:20, when we talked about being out in nature and seeing His creation, I think that there's times that you can delight in the Lord. [Aaron] Apart from His Word. [Jennifer] Apart from His Word. [Aaron] But can you delight in Him and not delight in His Word? [Jennifer] Well, I would add to that by saying that- Like "I don't like His word, I don't love His word." No, you would have to delight in His Word because it says that Jesus is the Word. And you brought up the showbread and how Jesus is the bread of life. You nailed it. [Aaron] I don't think we can separate our love of the Lord, our delight in Him, from loving and delighting in His Word. So if we wanna delight in the Lord, we must also delight in His words, what He says, what He speaks, what He's written down for us. And that's how we get to know Him. [Jennifer] Yeah. That's it. I just put some practical things here for delighting in the Lord and that's the first one is just getting in His Word, reading it, being... Nailed it. [Jennifer] Well, that's how we're encouraged as Christians in our faith. And I also put the word explore it. And I mentioned earlier about getting into a word study or looking up the Hebrew or the Greek or the root word or whatever's gonna help you define and understand and uncover the meaning of the word. Not that we need anything extra because God's Word is perfect, but all of those extra resources do help in my opinion to bring clarity and just treasure. [Aaron] Yeah, use those cross references in your Bible. Those have been a huge blessing to us. When you find out how a verse is connected to another verse, you're like, whoa, that's really awesome. Another way practically to delight in the Lord is through praise and worship. [Jennifer] Yep. [Aaron] Just singing songs of joy in Scripture and doing it with other people also. How often do we just have worship music playing in the background? [Jennifer] Yeah, if you guys need to know some good go-to, Shane & Shane is so good. [Aaron] I love Shane & Shane, yeah. [Jennifer] Are there other ones that you wanna share? [Aaron] I've been really enjoying Red Rocks Worship. [Jennifer] Okay. [Aaron] Yeah. But yeah, just singing to the Lord. [Jennifer] Talking and discussing the Scriptures with others, whether it be your spouse or another family member or friend, sometimes just sharing the things that you're learning about can be a huge encouragement to our faith. But it's also delighting in the Lord because you're sharing something you're learning about with someone you love. [Aaron] Sharing about what God's doing in your life, how He's blessed you, how He's taught you, how He's led you, protected you. Those kinds of things, those bring glory to God. They bolster your heart. They actually bolster the person listening. Those testimonies is adoration. [Jennifer] Another thing is being impacted by His great design of creation. And we kind of talked about that when we were talking about stargazing, but this is another reason why I just love gardening, the gardening season, because you're out there and you've got the warm sunshine on your back and you're pulling those weeds. And then you look down and see a huge red strawberry. And you're just like amazed that this thing looks so perfect. And then your kid comes up and snatches it and takes a big bite and they've got juice running down their face. And then they offer you the other half and you taste it and it's just so tasty. We get to delight in the things that God has created. [Aaron] And I'd say your gardening. You've had some really awesome revelations through it with your own relationship with God. [Jennifer] Yeah. Especially about pruning. [Aaron] Yeah, pruning and weeds and growth. Awesome things to be able to put our hands in the soil and think of God. [Jennifer] Another really random one is I know Aaron, you already brought up worship, but something that I love to do is I've been rocking babies for a while, rocking babies to sleep. [Aaron] A little while. [Jennifer] Like eight years. [Aaron] Straight. [Jennifer] And on nights that it just seems a little bit harder and it's dark and I'm holding this upset baby, and they're starting to calm down, I'll start singing spontaneous prayers or saying spontaneous things for my adoration for God. And I love those times. They're so memorable to me as a mother to be able to hold a child and relate your heart as the child to God, your Father. It makes my whole heart just melt and surrender before Him. [Aaron] So there's infinitely more to say, I would imagine, about delighting in the Lord. So I would just encourage our listeners to dig in and just figure out what it means in their life to delight in the Lord, delight in His salvation, in His works, in where He's led them, what He's done for them. But what are some thoughts on delighting in our spouse? 'Cause they're probably similar but different, right? [Jennifer] Yeah. Well, we just spent a couple of days at the coast for a few days and I love it because we live inland now, so we don't get to the coast very often. When we lived in California, it was a much shorter drive. [Aaron] And we can get there in like 50 minutes with the traffic and 30 minutes with no traffic. [Jennifer] So now it's like once or twice a year we get to the coast and it always makes a huge impact on my heart. Standing before the ocean, it reminds you how small you are. But it becomes a really great backdrop for those moments of just being together, delighting in you, Aaron, and participating in life together. I don't know, I just thought about that. [Aaron] We always love little adventures. [Jennifer] Yeah, no agenda. [Aaron] You probably have heard an endless, if you've listened to our podcast for any length of time, we do a lot of adventures. We just like being with the family, going for walks, going to the coast. And so being together, doing those different things. We work from home, so we're in the home a lot. So being out of the home is fun. It's different. Yeah, one of the other examples I put down here is just, we do this little hike at Sawyer Park where it's along the river bed and our kids love to throw rocks in it. And just spending that time, I don't know if I talked over you when you were talking, but I used the word no agenda, and I love those moments because it gives me time to see you and see our children in God's light, and- [Aaron] And watch me kick my foot through the ice into the icy water Yeah, that was funny. [Aaron] and have a soaking wet foot. [Jennifer] Which just happened recently. I posted on my Instagram a few weeks ago, a picture of, I think it was from Christmas day, actually. You were climbing on the rocks with the kids. [Aaron] Yeah, that was the day I kicked that ice. It was a really cool picture. And I remember just standing, the reason I took the picture was 'cause I was just standing there and looking at you guys and just being so grateful for you. And even though you weren't right there next to me, I just, I was delighting in you. [Aaron] You were... [Jennifer] I was enjoying it. [Aaron] Enjoying from a distance. [Jennifer] Yes. I remember another time where before we had kids, we ran up to the back hill on my mom's house, 'cause it kind of overlooked our town, and I remember the sky was just blown up with r. Orange, pink, purple, blue. Bright on one side, super dark on another because there was a storm rolling in. And we just sat there and kinda did a 360 slowly, just looking at all of it, just amazed by it. Do you remember that? [Aaron] Mm-hm. [Jennifer] That was cool. [Aaron] Other times of us just delighting in each other is we have these hammock swings, you sit in them. It's not a lay down hammock, it's a sitting hammock. [Jennifer] Been a big hit. [Aaron] We love them. They're better than regular hammocks I think. But we can just sit and we're swinging back and forth, sometimes in tandem, sometimes opposites, just talking with each other, watching our kids play in the backyard. More so in the summer. Right now it's a little cold and I have the hammock swings put away. Sitting and just being present with each other, talking about whatever, whatever's going on in life, good things, bad things, the children, ideas. Oh, thinking of ideas one of the things that we probably talk about the most is just whimsical dream ideas that we have. [Jennifer] Like starting a donut shop. [Aaron] Or inventing a silent podcast chair. You're like, "We should do that, we should invent a silent, we'll make it so it doesn't..." We have these little dream talks about things that will most likely never happen but they're fun to talk about. [Jennifer] So another way that we delight in each other which every couple listening should be delighting in each other in this way is... [Aaron] Tickle fights. [Jennifer] No, that's not what I was gonna say. Is being intimate with each other. [Aaron] That is the next note! Tickle fights! It's physical. [Jennifer] Yeah, being physical- [Aaron] It might start with a tickle fight. [Jennifer] Yeah, being physical with each other and here's the warning is when you're not delighting in each other physically- [Aaron] It affects everything. [Jennifer] It affects everything, it really does. [Aaron] So we challenge you to physically delight in each other. [Jennifer] I know we use the word- [Aaron] This is the PG version. [Jennifer] Yeah. I know we use the word being spontaneous or doing spontaneous things together, but even if it's scheduled, like date night, our date nights are scheduled, that's delighting in each other. I love, especially now that- [Aaron] We look forward to them. [Jennifer] We look forward to it because we have a house full of kids who are very young and needy, and so for us date night is our time to delight in one another. [Aaron] And the way we've dealt with it when we can't go out is we tell our kids, "Kids, you have to go to bed and you have to stay in bed 'cause me and mommy have a date night tonight." Yeah, in our room. In our bedroom. [Jennifer] That's cute. Oh, speaking of serendipitous, serendipity. [Aaron] I like that word. [Jennifer] Do you remember we went- To Serendipity in New York. Yeah, in New York. [Jennifer] There's this little- [Aaron] It's probably closed down now. [Jennifer] I don't know, there's this little restaurant, and this is probably our fourth or fifth year of marriage, but there's- There was a movie about it. [Jennifer] Yeah, but I think the restaurant existed before then. [Aaron] Yeah, I think they made a movie Based on it? called "Serendipity." I think it was about the restaurant. I could be wrong. [Jennifer] Anyways, we went to that little place. [Aaron] It was a cute place. [Jennifer] It was so cute. It was fun. It was super fun. [Aaron] We got frozen hot chocolate. [Jennifer] Yeah. Right? Yep. [Aaron] That was years ago. Oh my goodness. [Jennifer] Okay, so we've been talking about a lot of good, fun memories about how we've spent our time delighting in one another. So follow me on this. I'm gonna list, not in full detail, but just some moments we've shared together that I feel like we really delighted in each other, but those moments came really- [Aaron] They were tightly knit with hardship. Tightly knit with hardship. So, okay, so unpacking for our honeymoon. So we get to our honeymoon spot and we're super excited, up in the hills in Julian, California, but then not being able to consummate our marriage. So all this energy, excitement, hope, love, just togetherness. And it didn't work. [Jennifer] We jumped in bed together. I think we might've even watched something on TV, I don't remember, but that night just being so brokenhearted and disappointed and frustrated over the fact that we experienced pain in that coming together and it didn't work. Okay, so that's one memory. Another one was sitting at the end of the dock in Malawi on that lake. There was like a gazebo thing over us. [Aaron] What was that lake called? [Jennifer] It was Lake Malawi. [Aaron] Lake Malawi, yeah, it's long. 365 miles along, yeah? The water was super clear, and there was rful fish swimming all underneath us. And I remember just sitting there, it was a warm day, and we talked a lot, but we also just sat quietly a lot. [Aaron] And we'd been out for a couple months, three months now. [Jennifer] Doing missionary work. [Aaron] And so we were tired and emotionally drained. Super tired. But it was still good just to be there. I remember that being such a pivotal point in our marriage for some of the things that we're talking about. And then shortly after that, like hours later- [Aaron] I rolled our truck. [Jennifer] Oh yeah. Like flipped it upside-down. That was crazy and life-changing and hard. [Aaron] Everyone lived. [Jennifer] Okay, do remember the time that we were visiting my aunt in Connecticut and we were in her backyard and she had a hammock off in the distance and we went and sat on it together 'cause it was just a spin day and we wanted to have fun? [Aaron] And we were childless, it was just me and you. And we sat in the hammock. It was our first year of marriage. Yeah. And it broke? [Aaron] We fell straight to the ground. [Jennifer] That's not as dramatic or hard, but it's just funny that we're experiencing this nice, delightful time together and then... Okay, one more. Okay, I remember we- [Aaron] In our apartment. [Jennifer] a few years married, no kids, in our apartment, and we had this fireplace. And I love the ambiance of a fire. [Aaron] And this wasn't a gas fireplace. No, it was like I was like a real wood burning you build a fire. [Aaron] fireplace, yeah. [Jennifer] And we had been putting it off for a while, but it was a gloomy day and I think I begged you, "Go get some wood, let's make a fire." So you come back and you Fair enough. set it all up and it's so perfect and we had a leather couch that my dad had given us, and so we kinda were spooning on it, watching the fire, trying to relax. It's all dark and moody. And then after a few minutes, we're like coughing. Billowing. The house is just filled a smoke. [Jennifer] Filled with smoke because something with the chimney flue. [Aaron] The flue was either clogged or it wasn't open. I didn't know how to do it. Or maybe it wasn't a fireplace anyway. [Both] I don't know. Okay, so all this to say I think it's important to recognize the value and significance of delighting in each other all throughout marriage because when trials and challenges and hardships come, and they're inevitable, it does require a lot more energy and effort to delight in those moments, which you're not even thinking about 'cause you're thinking about the hardship. But when you're going through hardships, at least for me when I'm going through something hard, I do reminisce about the times that we have shared together, that we have delighted in each other. And the times that I'm not remembering, you remind me. You bring it up. [Aaron] So practicing delighting in the good times makes it more possible to delight in the hard times. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] Good advice. Right? Yeah. [Jennifer] I just thought it'd be fun to bring some of those other ones up, 'cause they were really good memories we had. [Aaron] So what about delighting in our children? We're almost to the end here and this is a good one because as parents, it should come naturally to just delight in your children, but they're children. [Jennifer] I think it's a good thing for us to share about because for any of you who are parents, you know the role and responsibility that you have in your child's life to teach them character and just what's right, what's not right. And things get exhausting pretty quickly, but it's constant because they live with you and they're not grown up tomorrow. [Aaron] And they have 100,000 questions all at once. [Jennifer] And I think amidst all of the being on guard to teach them and to raise them up to be good men and women, godly men and women, we need to remember to delight in our children, to jump down on the floor and get in their face and smile and- [Aaron] Enjoy them. [Jennifer] Enjoy them and experience happiness and appreciation for who they are, our children, not just what they do or don't do or what they understand or don't understand. Because it's not about performance, it's about presence, it's about I'm your mom, I'm your dad. [Aaron] You're ours. [Jennifer] You're ours. And we can't do that if our nose is stuck in our phone, or if we're constantly working late hours, or if we are too tired. Parenting requires sacrifice. So even though you're tired, you still need to find a way to delight in them, to sit close with them on your bed or cuddled up on the couch. Staying up late answering their questions. [Aaron] Yeah, enjoying their stories or their creativity or whatever it is that comes out of them. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] Right. [Jennifer] There's been a couple other times I know in my parenting that I just absolutely love the way that we've chosen to delight in our kids and be present with them. One of them, and I think it's something the kids will remember because we do it every year, but sitting on the back porch during a thunderstorm and we're like scared but we're not, and we're kind of amped up. [Aaron] On the couches out there, yeah. [Jennifer] Yeah, in the back. And the storm's just kind of going crazy and it never lasts very long. [Aaron] The wind in the trees, I love all that stuff. [Jennifer] It's super fun. [Aaron] And the kids go, [Jennifer] Yeah, but we're bundled up and we're holding each other close and we're looking at each other in wonder and amazement and we're just there. I just love it. [Aaron] Something that I've recently adopted from some friends of ours is dance parties. I'm not doing them as often, but like the other night I just put on some on Spotify kids' dance music. There was no words or anything, it just was like this pop music. And we just started dancing. And Wyatt does this jiggle butt thing when he's dancing, with his legs. It's so funny the way he dances. But Wyatt, Elliot, Truett, Olive, they were all dancing with me. And that was a lot of fun. [Jennifer] I'll say this about Olive, especially when it's just you and her, like when you'll randomly sway her around like a ballerina, she's delighting in you. It's written all over her face. She's in a happy place. [Aaron] She just grips my fingers really tightly while I'm spinning her. But that's a lot of fun. She's beautiful when she's dancing like that. I mean, she's always beautiful. [Jennifer] Another time that we delight in our children is when we're baking together, or making forts, or just being sneaky and giggly and silly at each other, with each other [Aaron] Another one that's a good... All of these are things that we have to like learn and practice and desire, but this one in particular is getting good at asking questions.. Asking them like, "How's your heart? What's going on? What are some ideas you have? What do you wanna be when you grow up? Why do you wanna be that? That's interesting. [Jennifer] Leaning in, like if they're at the kitchen table or something, just leaning in and meeting them eye-to-eye and letting them share their hearts with you. Yeah, it's so good. [Aaron] But guys, just, we wanted to make this episode about just the idea of delight, delighting in the Lord, delighting in your spouse, delighting in your children. And it's an action, it's a verb. Finding the things to delight in, drawing them out, pursuing them, finding them, and delighting in them. And there's plenty if you just have your eyes open for it. [Jennifer] It's good. [Aaron] I wanna end on something. It's a fourth point and it's a surprise. Bonus. [Aaron] It's a bonus point, yeah. Lastly, the Lord delights in you. Like we're talking who we delight in, delighting in God, but God delights in us. Psalm 35:27 says, "Let those who delight in my righteousness," so this is talking about us delighting in Him, "shout for joy and be glad and say evermore, 'Great is the Lord who delights in the welfare of His servant,'" right? We're servants of God. We're servants of Christ. He delights in that. Proverbs 3:12, "For the Lord reproves him who He loves as a father the son in whom he delights." The Bible calls us children of God if we're in Christ. We're heirs with Christ, right? And so He delights. If He reproves us, that proves that we're His children and that He delights in us because that's what a good father does. Another one, ssians 3:12, "Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved." Think about that. So this isn't quite the word delight, but, "holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with hearts of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience." Something interesting about this verse is the fact that we clothe ourselves with those things because of who we are. We don't clothe ourselves with those things to become holy and beloved. So it says, "Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves." [Jennifer] Like we are holy and beloved. [Aaron] He loves us. We're beloved by the Father and holy because of Jesus. [Jennifer] Yeah. So good. One of the verses that I wanted to share was Psalm 149:4. It says, "For the Lord takes pleasure in His people, He adorns the humble with salvation." So again, not that specific word of delight, but pleasure. Yeah. Which is one of the synonyms. For the Lord takes pleasure in His, yeah. [Aaron] Take pleasure in. He delights in us. And the only way that can be possible is because two things. We're made in His image, right? 'Cause He can delight in Himself. He's the Creator. And also because of Christ, His Son with whom He delights, right? So we're in Christ, therefore He delights in us. We're made heirs, we're holy and beloved, we are a holy nation, a priesthood. We're His children that He delights in. And so I just wanted to encourage you with that, that God delights in you. Especially when we're humbled and we're walking in Christ and we have received His Son, He delights in us. [Jennifer] So our challenge for you this week is to delight in your spouse, delight in the Lord, delight in your children, find those moments where you can get face-to-face, eye-to-eye, and let them know, those people that you love, that you just love them. There's no agenda. It's not because of performance. It's just because of who they are and who created them. And we hope that this episode inspired you in those ways. [Aaron] Amen. [Jennifer] So at the end of every episode this season, Aaron let me get away with, no, I had this idea just to encourage everyone to think about things that they're grateful for. And we thought by sharing different things each week that we're grateful for, we'll kick off the conversation. So I'll go first this time. Or, sorry. [Aaron] I think you went first last time. [Jennifer] Okay, go ahead. [Aaron] Yeah, I'll go first. I'm grateful for our friends and our community, the husbands and wives, the men and women that we fellowship with. God has really blessed us and just, we love them, they love us, they are real with us, we know them, they walk with us, they cry with us, they laugh with us. Just I'm incredibly blessed, we're incredibly blessed by the people that we walk with. [Jennifer] That's awesome and I could just say ditto. No? [Aaron] No, you have a better one. [Jennifer] Okay, I'm grateful for the time that you give me. I feel like our whole marriage you've been so attentive to my needs in this way. So early in our marriage, it was doing art projects and just getting time away to be creative. Then when we moved, when we got married and moved, it was time with family. So getting plane tickets back to California or finding a way to meet up with them somewhere, or them coming to us and just giving us that space to have family time. Then there was a season of writing. [Aaron] Yeah, like last eight years. [Jennifer] Yeah. Writing books or working on Unveiled Wife stuff. Now it's like a weekly thing where every Friday you give me time to work or make appointments or whatever I need to do on that day. Meet with women, yeah. [Jennifer] Meet with friends, yeah. So I really appreciate that, Aaron, and I think it's a really beautiful thing that you've given me over our marriage. [Aaron] Thank you. I love you. So thank you. I love you. [Aaron] So we wanna encourage you out there listening to say what you're grateful for, to share it with someone, share with your spouse as you delight in them, share it with the Lord. And let's just be grateful this year. So as usual, we're gonna end in prayer and I hope you all join me. Dear Lord, we praise you and we thank you, for you are good and your love endures forever. Thank you for our marriages. We pray we would delight in you and delight in each other every day. We pray we would find creative ways to express our love and creative ways to spend our time together. We give you our anxious thoughts, our worries, our stresses, and ask that you would fill us with your peace. Lead us beside still waters. Lord, help us to be content. We pray we would delight in you more, individually and as a couple. We pray our souls would be satisfied just to sit in your presence and worship you. Please continue to strengthen our marriages. Give us eyes to see one another's needs and how to help meet those needs. Draw our hearts close together and closer to you. In Jesus' name, amen. We love you all. If you have time, please leave a review, a star rating. And also you guys are our share warriors. Would you share this episode in a Facebook post, in a Twitter post, in an Instagram post, in an email, a text message? However you're going to do that, would you just please share this episode? We love you all and we'll see you next week.m
God's Not Done With Us

God's Not Done With Us

2021-01-1101:04:161

Read Transcript Welcome to the Marriage After God podcast. We're your hosts. I'm Aaron. And I'm Jennifer. We've been married for 14 years. And we have five young children. We started blogging over 10 years ago. Sharing our marriage story in hopes of encouraging other husbands and wives to draw closer to God and closer to each other. We have authored over 10 books together including our newest book, "Marriage After God". The book that inspired us to start this podcast. "Marriage After God" has a message to remind all of us that God designed marriage with a purpose. To reflect His love. To be a light in this world. To work together as a team. Using what He has given us... To build His kingdom. Our hope is to encourage you along your marriage journey... As you boldly chase after God together. This is Marriage After God. Welcome back to the Marriage After God podcast. We're your hosts, Aaron and Jennifer Smith. Hey guys What are you drinking there? What? Oh. What are you drinking? I made chai tea. Tea. I'm drinking a rooiboss. And it's really good. Copy catter. I did actually- You saw me sneak in here with tea. I... No, I actually saw you with tea and I was like, "I'm going to go get some tea." It's cold, 'cause I was taking care of the baby and then I didn't get to drink it when it was warm. That's okay. Curious, how many people have the whistling stuck in their head from last week? Did you, Aaron? I've actually.. I've actually been whistling it. No, you haven't. Really? Yes I have. I don't know if that's exactly right but... I don't know if that's going to sound good to everyone else. High key... And it was like high-pitch. Yeah, no, I really liked the whistling and the song. I hope they do too. All right. I have to apologize because I re-listened to our kickoff episode from last week and I say 'um' a lot. Are you sure 'um'? We both said it a lot. I guess I'm just really rusty or I forgot how to podcast with you. Maybe I'm nervous. I have no idea what the problem was but I don't ever remember saying 'um' so many times. It was so many times we couldn't even edit them out because... I know you asked me like, "Can't we just like cut all of these um's out?" I'm like, no. I mean we could, but then it'd be like really choppy. Choppy, yeah. So for those of you who suffered through it, I am sorry and I promise to get better. Bear with me, bear with us. Mmm. There's probably some, like speech coaches out there they're are thinking, "Oh, we can help these people." Yeah, right. We can help them. Yeah. Yeah, there's one. Oh, oh. We are going to try and not say a bunch of uh's and um's. Well, you know, when you take a handful of months off, you just... You lose all ability to speak. We're working on it. Apologizing is kind of a part of this episode. So that's a.. That's a good one. That's a good way to start. Don't give away the key. Okay. Yeah. What else were you... Well, last week we mentioned routines. Just as a little update. And being the first... Week of the year. Second week of the year. Yeah, a couple weeks of the year, I would say that we're on the right track. I'm not going to say perfect. We're on the right track. I've been trying to get up in the morning to work out again. Which also helps me get up earlier and be ready for the day and so that's been nice. It actually helps me too because I feel like when you get up early and you're very enthusiastic about how the day feels. It really impacts my heart and it actually motivates me to also be ready. Well, and we both have goals to do that. So when- Yeah. one of us sticks to it the other one feels more obligated to. So it's like- That's true. helping each other out. Speaking of others helping, I actually convinced one of my friends to start working out with me at 5:00 AM in the morning. I don't know how I did it but he's been enjoying it. But having him do it with me has made me a ton more consistent. Which is pretty awesome because if I know he's coming, it's that much harder for me to stay in bed. The alarm goes off and I think to myself, "Okay, I can't text him right now 'cause he's probably all ready on his way." So I have to get up. You don't want him standing out in the cold. Exactly. And I also enjoy working out with people. I'm a people person. So having- You.. You're... Yes. I don't know if anyone knows this. You're a people person? It's a surprise. What? I get it. But it.. Aaron, you're not a people person, you need people like you... Yes. You can't live without people. Everyone does. Don't you? I think I can get by with little, less. Yeah, you got... That's that introvert in you. Yeah. Yeah, no, it's actually helped. There's something incredibly powerful about having someone who has a similar goal as you, like we were just talking about with each other. A friend of mine that wants to do this with me and how incredibly powerful it is in helping you meet your goals, helping you grow and mature and move forward, be consistent. Yeah. And so that's been a huge help. It's something I actually noticed. 'Cause I was trying to evaluate why I lost my routine that I was in for like three years. Well, why also it was easier for you to get to the gym, but when it's the home gym, it's a little bit... Yeah. Yeah, it's weird, 'cause my home gym is like right here. More of a challenge. Right, you gotta get in the car and drive but there was something... There was things missing that just disappeared, that helped me. Things like the cheers from the other people at the gym. People that have become friends. Anytime I had a new PR or accomplished something new. They recognized when I wasn't around. And so they would reach out, "Hey, how's everything going? Missed you at the gym." Tracking my progress. The gym has a way of tracking, you know, your weights that you've been lifting and... It's like that accountability. Yeah, well, it's not just accountability. It's the rewards. The way our brains work, we have a reward system that tells our... When our brain gets a reward, it knows, "Oh we should do that again." And all of those things that were so important for sustaining my pattern disappeared pretty much overnight. And with it, my pattern, my routine. So once they disappeared sort of the growth and the consistency, but there's something interesting about that concept especially when it comes to our spiritual walk. We need people, we need the Spirit of God. We need relationships with fellow believers. And that helps us continue on. We actually can't do it alone. And that's a deception that a lot of believers have. Is that, "Oh, I can do this by myself. I don't need anyone. I'm just gonna do my thing and..." But having partners, having fellowship, having other brothers and sisters to walk with and especially the Holy Spirit is how we grow. Yeah. Is how we move forward, Its how we stay consistent. It's how we have our mind in the right place. So I thought that was a cool.. It's a good little analogy. Yeah, correlation, yeah. Yeah. Very cool. Well, as we move into today's episode we wanted to encourage you guys. If you haven't had a chance yet to please leave us a review. This just helps the rating of the Marriage After God podcast. So that through the algorithms and all that people can find the Marriage After God podcast. The more people that know about it the more marriages are impacted. The more we're over here cheering. So we also just wanted to ask if you have time to leave a written review. Not only does this also encourage people to take a listen but it encourages us and it's an incredible blessing so... To have written those. just wanted to ask you to do that. Yeah, and I actually want to make a little note on the first episode of the year of season five I'm incredibly blessed because out of the last like seven episodes it all ready is one of the most downloaded episodes. What? Yeah, so.. You guys. Yeah, our listeners just- I guess there's people out there really hungry. missed us. Yeah. Hungry for A and Jen. So I just want to thank everyone. And I also want to thank everyone that, we did a call to action at the end of last episode. Just encouraging people to share the episode on social media. Thank you guys. Email it to a friend. Send it in a text message. Tell someone in person. And I think you guys are doing it. And I just, I really thank you. So would you just keep doing it if this episode blesses you today. Tell someone about it. Speaking of sharing something with someone. I really wanted to insert just a little food for thought. You like that? Thought for food. Thought for food. I was making dinner tonight and I was thinking about you guys and what I did... This is super random. I wanted to encourage those of you who cook in the kitchen because it's been a huge learning curve for me to know how to cook and how to meal plan and so hopefully this benefits someone listening I don't know. My goal was to make spaghetti and I had zucchini and bell pepper and onion. And so I chopped it up really small not like pureed style, but just small enough and added it to the meat and the sauce and everybody ate it and it was so delicious. So if you're a family, you know, if you're looking for healthy ways to add in those veggies and your family loves spaghetti it worked really, really well. And our kids had no idea. Well, they didn't like complain or anything. They didn't say one thing- No. about it. I actually didn't know they were in there until you... Yeah, you couldn't really tell. So just a little tip when you're cooking for your family. That was a good little tip. Right? Everyone's gonna have spaghetti tonight. Or tomorrow. Yeah, or tomorrow. Or this week. So as always, we want to offer something to our listeners. We like to create free resources that will benefit you, encourage you, inspire you and we talked about it last week. And it's the marriage prayer challenge. It's completely free. You can go to marriageprayerchallenge.com. It's all one word. And it is a 31 day challenge where every day we'll send you an email, either for the husband or for the wife, with a prompt for something to pray for that day for your spouse. And over 100,000 marriages have all ready taken this challenge and we just want to invite you to do it. If you haven't signed up all ready go to marriageprayerchallenge.com. You can do it at the end of this episode, if you'd like or whenever you want. It's completely free. And our thought is like, why not start the year off in prayer with our free prayer challenge? And also these prayers, all of our prayer emails that we send daily, are helped to be brought to you in part by our faithful prayer team patrons. And so we want to thank you if you're on the patron team All right, we're going to jump into today's topic which is, what we titled, God's Not Donne With Us. He's not done with us. He's not done He's not done with you. with you. You took my line. I was going to say the same thing. That's funny. I didn't know you knew I was going to say that but it makes sense that I would have done that. Yeah. He's not done with us. This is a good reminder for all of us that, you know, the idea that God's not done with us because there's times that we make mistakes, we mess up, we did it again, those sorts of things and it just makes us feel like, you know, how could God continue? How could He, you know, forgive me again? How could He deal with me? Like I would like... 'Cause we look at our own lives and we say like, how many times we want to be done with something or someone because of, you know, it oh, there.. Hardship. Yeah. Yeah. But he's not. He doesn't he's patient with us. And that's kind of what we're gonna talk about this episode. Yeah. So something happened the other day that I thought would make a good story, a good segue, into today's topic. So it's just one of those kind of everyday situations that happens in marriage. It's something simple. I kind of don't want to share it, but it's a good example of what we're going to talk about today. We recently got a new rug. Aaron came home from Costco with it. It's one of the really, really soft shag rugs. Yeah, it's super- I love it. comfortable. He plays a lot with the kids on the floor and so he likes the thicker... And the last rug we had was so thin. It would like hurt when I'm on the ground Yeah. So anyways, changing a rug out in the living room is kind of an ordeal 'cause you have to move all the couches. You have to roll up the old rug, clean underneath it. Which is gross. And then put the new one down. And so during this whole process, Aaron, you suggested let's take our old couches out and put them in the garage and bring the ones that are in the garage, which are nicer, into the house and... Yeah, they've been in the garage for a while 'cause we were just been waiting for the kids to get a little older. Yeah. We didn't want them to get destroyed. But one of them is like a smaller leather couch. And then we have this blue one. Longer, more modern looking. Anyways, I have actually really enjoyed the way the whole setup looks 'cause it looks so much different than what we had going on. But- It's Fresh. It's a new year. Yeah. New living room. So morning time is happening and we all sit down for family Bible time, which we've shared on social media before. We talked to you guys about it. It's a Holy time, not really a time to let your sin show. Right? Or the perfect time. Yeah. Aaron, you sat down, like you usually do, with a cup of coffee in your hand. Wyatt's sitting next to you and Truth's on his way toward you. And I just remember thinking it's going to spill. Like this is disaster waiting to happen. But instead of just, well, I'll just tell you what I said. I kind of looked at him cross-eyed and said, "Strange you would sit there on the leather couch with coffee like that." Yeah, it was a little more animated. It was like a.. Yeah, I had a little attitude behind it. A little attitudey. Yeah. Sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm embarrassed to share this. It's just, it came from a place of not wanting the coffee to be spilled, but... But you were bothered that I didn't think about it or... I don't know what I was bothered by But yeah. but it wasn't nice or effective. It wasn't an effective way to share it with you. And you were really calm and actually really nice in your response but you looked up at me and was wondering, you know, next time just simply asked me to move the coffee. Like just put it on the counter. Yeah, I think I said, "Was it necessary to like question me like that? Like with like an attitude?? Or say it like that, yeah. It wasn't.. Like can you just ask me to go sit it down on the table? Yeah, It just wasn't nice and I recognized that and I apologized but, you know, I didn't even realize that I had said what I said and said it that way. It was just something that kind of happened and came out. And the problem in that moment for me was I saw that it was an unbecoming way for me to act toward you. But I also recognized in that moment how regular, not often, but other times that I... It wasn't a one-off it, it's- It's a way of communicating. It's a way of communicating when I'm bothered or frustrated that I do and so I got to repent for that also. But today this is the, here's the segue, all right. Sometimes there's stuff in us that comes out. Things that we're not aware of or not expecting, you know. It just kind of is like it's in us and it comes up. Ways of being, choices we make, ways of communicating. Stuff that's been there for awhile, right. Mm-hmm, walking in the flesh. Walking in the flesh. The sinful nature flourishing. Yeah. So we just really wanted this topic today to encourage you because we know this kind of stuff happens marriage. Well, it happens in ours. Mm-hmm. But you know, God desires us to change. And he's so patient with us and He uses our spouse, He uses friends, family, people, children to show us our ways of being. So that we can repent, so that we can change. And it's called sanctification. Yeah. Just like I was talking about at the beginning of this episode. How valuable and powerful it is to have someone walking with you to keep you moving forward. That's what our relationships do. That's how God uses other believers. He uses non-believers. He uses our circumstances to draw out of us sin. To draw out of us, the old man, the old nature. The way we walk in the flesh when we're not in the Spirit. And it's a process, it's sanctification. That's why the title of this episode is God's Not Done With Us because this is the life of a believer. Yeah. Is sanctification. So he's not done with us. He's not done with you. Great. Yeah, and so this episode is an encouragement of sanctification is going to happen. God hasn't given up on you. If you're being sanctified, if God's drawing things out of you, pointing things out in you, convicting you in the Holy spirit, that means God loves you. Yeah, so I guess.. And that means He's working on you. So today's episode also kind of highlights how should you respond when he does that. Are our eyes open? Are our hearts humble? Yeah. To do that. An example of this, something that happened early on in our marriage before we had kids, that was one of the early on things that showed me some sin in my life. Some sin, a way of me and Jennifer can cave. It challenged us. Yeah, it challenged us. One of those things that God loved us and so He allowed someone to challenge us and encourage us. I think I might say He always uses people Yeah. to do things like this, it's cool. And so we're driving I think we're leaving the mall. We're with a couple... Another married couple friends of ours, good friends. Went to church with them. And I'm sitting in the backseat with my friend and Jennifer's sitting in the front seat with his wife driving. And Jennifer and I are talking across the car and we think we're talking normal and as usual... it was normal for us back then to talk this way. It was very normal for us. And my friend looks over and very strongly says, "You need to stop talking to your wife like that." And I'm like, it just stopped me. I'm like "What?" I like looked at him. And this is like the nicest guy. Yeah. He's so loving, so gentle. Super mellow, yeah. Super mellow. This was like the most stern I've ever seen him be. But he was utterly offended by the way we were talking to each other and the way I was talking to you. Being disrespectful. We were bickering and being rude Yeah. and disrespectful and just snapping back at each other and just snippy and the whole... I can imagine Cold. these two super gentle, calm people sitting between us. And, but he looked at me, he's like, " The way you're talking is- It's not okay. not okay. Yeah. He's like, that is not how you talk to your wife or anyone. And that was like a pivotal moment. Now I didn't, from that moment on, start perfectly talking to you but man, that stuck with us. Yeah, and our friend said it, not just because he was uncomfortable in the car in that moment- No. He did it because he genuinely loved us and wanted to see that area of our marriage grow and be better. And he didn't like what he saw. Yeah. And it was wrong. We realized from that point on because our eyes were opened by our friend, through the Holy Spirit, to that sin in our life of wrongful, rude, arrogant, snippy communication. And because of that, over the years we've been able to actually really grow in it. Recognize it. Ask friends of ours, " Hey, if you see us talking this way would you just let us know?" Yeah. Because whether we learned it from the way our parents raised us, whether we learned it from just the kind of people we are, Yeah. It was a part of us. It was something that God wanted out of us and he used a good friend of ours to point it out on us, Help us see. to help us see. And that was a huge thing for us. And now, this is just another example of just one of those things that we may not necessarily recognize as sin or sinful but it's walking in the flesh. It's not having self-control- Yeah. over our language. It's not having self control over our communication. It's not communicating with love and patience and gentleness. And God wanted that change in us. And He's been doing it ever since, like I said, we didn't just snap our fingers and boom we were like different people, but that was actually- It was a huge impact. That was a huge impact. We made strides in that area. Although we still- It's like something we focused on for.. Absolutely. We would notice it. Yeah, that time. We would hear like, "Oh we're not talking very nice." Doing that thing again. So those kinds of stories are in all of our lives Ways of being, things that we do, that God looks at and He's like, "I want you to be more like my son." I've given you my spirit to help you walk like my Son. So follow the spirit not your flesh 'cause when we follow our flesh that's when- Yeah. we ask rude questions rather than just encouraging our husbands to get up off the couch and go put the coffee down. We talk to our spouses rudely, arrogantly. We get angry when we shouldn't. We lose patience when we shouldn't. And so this is what it looks like to be a Christian. Not that we just, you know, 'cause we can have one perspective of, Well, I'm just a sinner. I'm going to sin all the time and, you know, thank God I'm saved. And I don't think that's the biblical perspective. The Bible says that we've been set free from the bonds of sin and death. Which means we're no longer slaves to it. Which means when we do it, it's because we're either choosing or we're being willfully ignorant. We're walking in a way that's contrary to the way that God's created us, and as the new creature, to walk. Just the thought for us, you know. It's good. Two things that I wanted to share about confrontation of our sin is that sometimes in cases like the story you just shared God uses someone to clearly spell out the reproof, you know, that this is the problem. Yeah. This is what I see going on. This is how you should change. And other times it's more of a response. A deeply felt and acknowledged response by someone who's been affected by our sin. Maybe it's sadness, anger, frustration. Those are all cues for us to stop and go, okay, something's going on- Right. that I need to address." And like you said, being a Christian means we're going to look at it. We're going to address it. Not just put it on the back burner and avoid it or pretend like it doesn't exist. And the other thing that I want to share with about confrontation with our sin is that God uses people. I shared that all ready. Yeah. And so sometimes he'll use you, like he used our friend. Sometimes Aaron he'll use, you he'll use our listeners. Yeah. In the lives of people that we love. And this is just a small encouragement to say when the Lord prompts you, when you see something, when you feel that ache in your soul, because you know it's going to be uncomfortable to walk it out in love but do it because that situation that we experienced with our friend changed our trajectory of the way we communicate. It didn't make us perfect, but it radically made us look at our life and go, we can't bicker anymore. We, can't talk to each other like that. All right. So if God can use you as a change agent in somebody's life, let Him. And that's something that we'll talk about as some of the postures that we should have- Yeah. in receiving these corrections from the Lord. I just want to bring in but another example of how God's been working in me over the years and maybe the husbands that are listening could relate to this. The Bible tells us to walk in an understanding way with our wives. And this is something, Jennifer, I'm sure you can attest to probably in many ways, that I struggle to walk with you in understanding. I'll often be quick to push you to get over the emotions that you're dealing with. Or to quickly answer the question. Or to find the solution. Rather than slowing down, listening. Real quick, I just want to say this is, 'cause we talked about God's patience earlier, and I feel like you walking with me in an understanding way is one of those areas of our life where I can see God's patient with you because it's not just understanding in this one particular area, it's understanding in a lot of different ways. And so we've seen it kind of flush out in a lot of different areas as you've walked and matured Right. and grown in your relationship with God. Does that make sense? Exactly. Yeah, and me not walking in understanding with you or even trying to understand, right. Like, I'm going to make efforts to walk in the Spirit and I'm going to be slow to speak and quick to listen. Right. And slow to anger. And I'm going to try and understand. What's going on? Why are you feeling this way? Why are you communicating this way? Why are you, you know, what's going on? And that's loving, right. So me not walking that way is sinful. Yeah, and I think the hang up there would be, sometimes you treat me as if I'm emotionally at par with you, like at equal with you, when I'm not. Right. So you respond to me or you communicate or you address something or you... Like you should be able to respond the way I'm responding. And I get impatient with you. Yeah, and I'm sitting over here going, " Whoa, what's going on." Yeah. Yeah. So anyways... Well and that's something that comes up often. I mean, we're married 14 years now. So that we've had- There's been some opportunity. A couple times. But as husbands that's our job. It's a command. It's also comes with a promise and a warning, you know, and I should be walking that way. This is one of the things that God, by His Spirit, has been teaching me over the years. A lot of the way, a lot of the time by you. You saying, You're not trying to understand. You're not even listening. You're not... You telling me, communicating to me. Often the most fruitful times that you communicated to me is after the emotions have died down but still you communicate to me. You speak to me, you share with me. But none of the change happens in me. None of those things grow in us unless we're willing to listen and receive and desire it. So just because you've been married a long time, you know, it doesn't mean we have a perfect marriage. We're all a work in progress. You could be married 50 years and you still need the Holy Spirit to sanctify you and your marriage. You can be a Christian your entire life. Yeah. And guess what? We're still sinful creatures that need a savior. We're still in the flesh and need sanctification. Right. Mm-hmm. It doesn't just stop. You don't reach perfection. The Bible actually tells us that, it says this in Philippians 3, 12, Paul says this, he says, " Not that I've all ready obtained this or I'm all ready perfect, but I press on to make it my own because Christ Jesus has made me his own." Like Paul, the great apostle, wrote two thirds of the New Testament. This is how he saw himself as someone who needed Jesus, needed the Spirit of God to sanctify him. And that's what we need. Yeah, I think that this is something that I've struggled with as a Christian is just the expectation I place on myself. Yeah. For perfection. Because I truly do want to be and walk perfect and I struggle with myself and I'm frustrated over the fact that I still sin or I still make bad choices or I'm still wrestling with that thing that I said I repented for, you know. Do you feel like that's something that God's been really drawing out of you recently? Like revealing to you. That expectation? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, He has. It's just this desire that I have to want to be perfect but the hardest part is making all those little choices to make change. That striving to be like Him, that I wrestle. It's kind of like, you know, you want the nice body but you don't really want to work out or eat healthy. It doesn't work. You know, so.. I've seen programs that do that. My point is, it doesn't just happen. It's something that we're enabled to walk in and we can choose because of what Christ has done and what he has given us. But it is, like you said, it's a process of sanctification and we need Him. This is where reliance comes in. We have to rely on the Lord. Yeah. Every single day and... Yeah, I remember saying in last episode that God's been drawing things out of us. Sometimes really painful, you know, but I want him to keep doing it because the more He does it, the closer I get to be like His Son And I'm not doing it to earn anything from Him, We can't earn anything from God. I'm doing it 'cause I love God. You know, so when I look back on, you know, my friend calling me out for how I communicated to you and how unbecoming it is. He wasn't just doing it so that me and you had a better relationship. Right. We're Christians. And he's thinking like, this is not how Christians talk. We have a message to share. A different one than what we were sharing. So that's another aspect of this is God's not just walking us through sanctification, and His son Jesus, for our sake, but for His sake. We're Christ's bride. And the Bible also describes us as the body of Christ. He's sanctifying the Body. We're, if you think about, I just thought about this, the priests before going into the temple wash themselves. And so that's what Christ is doing. It tells us in Ephesians 5 that he's washing his bride with the water by the word. So we're being sanctified. We're being cleansed. It's a process, but it's to bring Him glory. It's to make him more beautiful. Not necessarily us. And I think that's incredibly encouraging and powerful. You know, I wanted to share... This is going to be a little bit chunky, I don't know if it's going to come out perfectly because sometimes when we're learning something it's hard to verbalize, you know, retell it. But I knew that we were going to be talking about sanctification and so sometimes I'll take certain words like sanctification or purification or pure- Write them. and look up like the Hebrew word for it. And so there's still a lot of learning involved with all this, but I was reading something that was talking about how this one word that means to purify in Hebrew, communicates the idea of causing something to go from unclean, sometimes shameful, to pure. Yeah. So it's that process that draws from being unclean to pure. And I liked that they brought in the word shame. Because I think what makes me frustrated about this I want to be perfect and that I'm not, is that I have to address the things that I do, the sin in my life and then I feel shame. Yeah. And I think that's the pattern for everyone, every believer that recognizes sin in their life. Often our fleshly response to the sin is shame. So when we are confronted by our sin and we repent but we still feel shameful or that shame, How do we move forward in that sanctification process? Why and that's a great question because we do deal with that. And often that shame and that condemnation keeps us there. It keeps us from God. Makes us feel like, well, we're not worthy. Well, believe or just know this, none of us are worthy and the only reason we have anything in us that's worthy to go to God is because of Christ. Romans 8:1, is the thing that we should run to, to remember this is. Yes it says, "Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." So that shame, that condemnation we feel is just that, they're lies from the enemy because the only reason we're saved is because of Christ Himself. Not because we're good, right. And so we can rest in Christ. Now that means we should, like, if we're truly repentant and we desire growth, like we are forgiven. Like God has forgiven us of our past present and future sins and desires us to walk in light and holiness. And so that shame... I mean, says when Christ died on the cross he despised the shame. Like he's taken it. And the condemnation is no longer there. We have been made right with the father in heaven because of what Christ did. And so we run to Jesus with a repentant heart knowing that he's all ready forgiven us, knowing that he is transforming us with a desire to grow and mature. And then there's also this thought. You've struggled with this, Jennifer. About... Actually I have, and I think everyone that's listening has felt this way. God, why won't you just change this in me right now? Like this thing I have. This way of being. This desire I have. Yeah, I have to never worryabout it again. This lust. This, yeah. Can you just, like snap your fingers, Lord, and like make it disappear and I won't like, I won't even crave those things anymore? What's funny about that is, he has. The Bible tells us that He's given us all things that pertain to life and Godliness in Christ Jesus We actually talked about this in a different kind of context but we were talking about this very thing in our relationship and personally things that we were dealing with but remember we brought up the story of how you... We were trying to get rid of this school debt that we had and how you prayed and you were like, God, just take care of it for us. And it was a faithful prayer. Like you... Well, we know God can. We know he's... We've seen Him do it to other people. He's got limitless resources, right. Like, and he's all powerful and all knowing. So take this debt. Yeah, just take it. We're praying in faith. Take this debt. And what actually turned out to happen was we worked really hard to pay off the debt- Yeah. for a few years. Well, he gave us the drive and the resourcefulness- He gave us opportunity. and the ideas and the skill- To work. and the opportunity and people coming to us and saying, hey, would you take take pictures of our wedding? We're like, what? Yeah. Yeah. And things like that. And so at the end of it, the debt was paid off. The prayer was answered, But not in the way- But not in the way we want it. Yeah. Thought it would. And so what the point I'm getting to is we can sit and do nothing and pray that God changes us or we can trust and believe that what he's given us is sufficient to change us. Meaning you can change. For me, I can get up out of bed. I can learn and walk and understand with my wife. I can stop asking Aaron snarky questions. It not funny. It doesn't just happen. It doesn't just happen. It's... Oh man, I just... I thought of a really awesome story. Better than mine? No, this is one of the Bible's, so yes, but it's not my story. So do we all remember the story of Jesus going to the tomb of Lazarus? Okay. I want you to go back and read it. It's in the gospels. And he comes to the tomb and Lazarus had been dead for over three days. Where's there some significance there. It was four days and everyone was like he's going to smell. This is bad. Don't do it. Don't open the tomb, right. And Jesus is like, "Can you open the tomb? Open it." Roll the stone away." He rolls it away. And then Jesus says, "Lazarus come out." Okay. So that's the call. This is the... Jesus's words go forth and it makes Lazarus able to come out. Guess what? Stumble out. Guess what? Did he, like float out? Did he like hovered up and like you see like a mummy floating on the cartoon. No. He waddled probably because he's wrapped up. Waddled out of the tomb. And so he was made able by Christ and then he walked. This is how we we've been made able by Christ to walk. We were once dead and now we are alive. Now here's the cool part of the story. You need to go read this story again because you'll read it with new eyes. Then he tells those around him, "Go unwrap him." Okay. You need people in your life. Well, this is what's amazing is that without those people he wouldn't have been able to get out of the wraps that were wrapped around him. Christ calls us and makes us able. Christ gives us the ability. Christ brings the life to us and puts it in us. He's given us his spirit and his word and draws us to his voice. He says, "My sheep know my voice," right. And he prompts other people to help. And then he also has given us his church, his body that are also filled with the Holy spirit to come and to unwrap us. As we become unwrapped we can be more able to unwrap others and to slowly peel back the layers. That's really good. Right, and so it's not something that just happens. It's something that's happening and it's a choice and it's decisions that we make to walk in the spirit. It's something that we're enabled to do and choose because of what Christ has done and given. In the new Testament, over and over, it tells us to put to death the old man. To walk in newness of life. To grow in maturity. To seek that which is above rather than what is on earth. To keep in step with the spirit. To not walk in the flesh. Okay. All of these callings, all of these these things that the believer is called to do they're necessary because we still have flesh that we live in. We're not yet in our glorified bodies. That's what the Bible says. It says, we're not not yet there but when the perfect comes, we will be perfect. We're not there yet. These are all action words, okay. Put to death. Keep in step. Seek Seek... Grow. that which. Walk. Grow in. These are all actions. We don't just lay down on the floor and say, okay, Lord, transform me. No, he sends us out into the field and we get stronger as we dig and plow, right. And that's what we are as believers. So as God's sanctifying us in his son, Jesus, we should long for it and desire it and look for it. That's what a wise believer does. Or we can, what the Bible says, kick against the goads. That's what Jesus told the Paul. He was Saul at the time. He says, "Why are you kicking against the goads?" Like we can kick against the thing that's drawing us and fight or we can go with it and receive it. So what do you like, Jennifer, what does it look like if we, like to not receive it? 'Cause like this is... We don't always perfectly like, oh, cool. Yeah, I'll take the correction or I'll take the rebuke. So like what should we avoid and like what could... Well, I'll tell you what's happened in our marriage. No, no, no. Don't go there. No, them. The people listening. No, I'm just kidding. I can see how over the years the times that we have truly, and honestly, repented there has been change made because we were determined in our minds and in our hearts to act differently- Not just say it. and the other times where, say, a conflict or something came up or sin was confronted and there was acknowledgement and there was even apology and reconciliation, but not true repentance of like desiring that change. It got pushed aside and not thought about. That thing always came back up over and over and over again in different ways. So... So what you're saying is if we protect our sinful way, like this thing. No, that's just how I am. Oh, that's how I was raised. Justify it, yeah. No, that's just my personality. No, like that's not exactly what you think it is. Like justify and protect and shield then never... It's... It's never going to be healed. It's never going to be fixed. Put back in place. That's good. And we shouldn't do that. We should be... We should release. Like we should let go. We're like, okay, if we recognize where we're sinners then it's easy to admit you're a sinner, right. And by the way, if anyone listening wants to hear some example, an in-depth understanding of repentance, we have a couple of episodes, a couple of seasons ago, where Jennifer and I talk about our journey with lust and pornography and those kinds of things in our marriage and we go pretty deep into what it looks like to have a true repentant heart. So if you want to go check those out. But I just want to... I want to read a scripture here in Galatians five 17. Puts the idea of this thing that's happening in us this way. It says for the desires of the flesh are against the spirit and the desires of the spirit are against the flesh. For these are opposed to each other to keep you from doing the things you want to do. I've never felt that tension before. Have you ever- Never, no. felt that tension- I always feel- of those two perfectly harmonious. opposing each other within? No, this is... Every single time... The idea what this is saying is, and this isn't saying, hey, you're never going to do the thing that you want to do. You're never going to walk holy. You're never going to walk in freedom. That's not what this is saying. This is just literally saying the reality is that there is a flesh. Any sin nature that is still in us while we're in the flesh but we have the spirit of God in us and so we can, as the Bible says, walk in the spirit. We can keep in step with the spirit. We can run to the father in heaven and ask for strength. We can put on his armor, right. That's what the believer is supposed to do to help us combat the flesh. To put the flesh to death, as the Bible says, but man, it's a battle when you know you should, you know, get into the word but you want to be on social media instead. You feel the tug. You feel the struggle. Sometimes it's like whiplash. Yeah. When you know you need to apologize to your wife for how you're communicating but you are- Oh, it's an ache so deep. But you're mad because you want them to apologize because they also didn't communicate well. It's the struggle you feel. The tug there again. Your flesh is against the spirit. The spirit of God is saying, go do what's right. She's your wife. And you're saying, yeah, but she should go do what's right first. That's the flesh talking, right. So when you're sitting in that spot, you do nothing, but when you say no to the flesh, you go do the right thing but it takes humbleness. Humbleness. That's good. Yeah, I was going to share that none of us are exempt from this sanctification process, you know, that the Lord is walking us through when we're believers. Our responsiveness to God in the sanctification process matters and you just use the word humble. and that's what like, that is key because if He's faithful to show us and confront the things that we need to repent and change from then how we respond in those times truly does matter. And the only times I've been able to truly honestly repent and be determined to make change in those areas is when my heart is humble. The good news about all this is that, like the title of this episode says, God's not done with us. Philippians on, six says, "And I am sure of this that He, God, who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." And what that saying is, is the part- Not completion now? No, no. This is the life we live. The walk we get to have now and the sanctification that God does in us. The washing that He's doing is going to be completed when the Lord returns. So that's where the acceptance of I'm a sinner and I'm not perfect today. It's okay. Not that we... That doesn't give us justification to continue in our sin but to not feel the weight of that shame. Right, and it's recognition that... He's working in us. When we have sin in our life, God, because he loves us, is going to deal with it- Yeah. and we need to let Him. The problem comes in when we don't. Like you were saying. Like if we don't humble ourselves. The Bible puts it this way. "Don't quench the spirit." It's a warning. It's literally... That's the sentence. "Don't quench the spirit." And the warning is, when the spirit speaks, when believers come to you and the Holy spirit they've seen something in your life and they encourage you and they say, actually, this is dangerous. How you're walking or this thing that I see in you. We could get defensive and fight back but that's not us being humble. And we want to be humble 'cause God's not done with us. He's transforming us, renewing us, refining us through Jesus Christ, which is amazing. It shows that we're His. Just one note on the fact that we're His, just like gold, when it comes out of the ground is not pure. It's mixed with all sorts of things but when it's put to the fire, when it's put in a crucible and intense heat is added to it, it purifies and the way it purifies is all those impurities float to the top. And that's what God's doing in us because we're treasure to Hm. We're His treasure because we're in Christ. Christ is His son. So it's a beautiful thing. It shows that He loves us. We're His to be refined. He's making us more pure daily, moment by moment, second by second when we let Him. So Aaron, we talked about God's patience, you know. God's patience is a good thing. How does it benefit us? Why is it good- Yeah- that God's patient with us? I'm thankful, like people always mentioned, like being struck down by lightning or something. Like God- Like what does it take for Him to get angry. I know, He's a just God and he's going to bring wrath on the earth, right, but He's patient. And the Bible says in second Peter three, nine, "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you. Not wishing that any should perish but that all should reach..." What's that word? Repentance. Repentance. All. So reaching repentance in this sense is that someone comes to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and then for the believer is walking in repentance. Jesus told the Jews. He said, "Continue in repentance." but he tells the believer the same way that we have a life of repentance that we know that we... We know the flesh in us and we know the God in us and we say, God, I don't want the flesh. That's repentance. I don't want that anymore. That way of being, hate it. 'Cause you hate it. I want to hate it too. I want to hate it more. Yeah. So it's a beautiful thing. His patience means salvation. His patients means- Love. Love. Yeah. Right. Love is patient. And it's kind and gentle. Oh, wait. I know. So, okay. So how does the sanctification process and repentance and transformation impact the marriage relationship? How has it impacted us? In every way. When you see a strong marriage, and you think, man, I want to be like those people. Like how they love each other so much. I can tell you what that foundation's made of. Yeah. It's made of lots of- Humility. repentance and humility. Yeah. Because every time they had an argument, or what they learned to do in their arguments, is to know that they're on the same team, to repent of sin, to no secrets, being real. Not justifying sin. Yeah, not justifying themselves, but they're like, no. Their marriage is stronger because they recognize who they are when they walk in the flesh and they recognize who they are when they walk in the spirit. And they know who did what to cover that- Yeah. flesh. And then they encourage each other in that. Every day. Every day. Not just, like once a week or you know, once a year or on holidays. Yeah. It's something that Jennifer and I we have to learn. Yeah. To continue and encourage each other. That we don't take things so personally, you know. I've seen in our marriage, it's strengthened our unity. Yeah, for sure. There's been tons more trust. I'm sure there's lots of marriages that are like, man, I just wish I can trust my spouse. Right. When you see somebody repent, apologize, reconcile for even the smallest of offense, you know that that person is for you- Yeah. you know. Well, and is concerned about the way they walk in faithfulness. It reveals their character. Yeah, and so the trust comes in even when a spouse fails. Instead of trying to hide it and waiting and then getting caught, they come immediately and they say, hey, I did this thing and I'm really sorry and it's not who I want to be and it's not who I am in Christ. I know you're angry. I'm not going to try and change that but I just want you to know because when we come to do that, one thing I've realized in my life is that I got to love God and my relationship with God more than I love my wife and that's why I go repenting my wife. Not because I want to feel better about my relationship with my wife, but because I love God and I love my relationship with Christ and what he's done for me and so my getting over my self is because of that. My relationship with God. Yeah. I've been working to get over myself lately. That I wanted to share, because I think it's so important to even address the small stuff and so I've been in this season of like, God gave me fine tune eyes to see even the smallest thing that you want out of me and, you know, I'm just in a place with God where I want Him to refine me on a greater scale. Like just rip me open and do the surgery. What I've noticed is you'll come and apologize to me for something I wasn't even thinking about but you're like, "Hey, I said this thing to you and I'm really sorry." Yeah, sometimes I don't- It was rude and I didn't mean to say- walk you through what that thing was and remind you of it and you've been really gracious with me but it's been so good for me to see because I feel like the more like something will happen and I address it right away, then I see more. Instead of pushing it down, hiding- Hiding it. and saying, noit's not that big a deal. Or acting like it's not a... Yeah, acting like it's not a big deal. And this is just one example, but- It's called minimizing. Yeah. Don't minimize. Yeah, don't do that. We were driving in the car somewhere, having a conversation and we're kind of going back and forth, but you were going back and forth rightly. Addressing context for context- Which is not always the case. Okay, but just for the sake of... A little disclaimer. Just for the sake of this story, you were replying to the things that I was saying in regard to context, and you would say something and then I would respond with something completely out of left field. And you were really nice about it. You kept going on tangents that were bothering you. When we were talking about- Yeah, and like you said something like, "Did you hear what just said?" And then you told me that it... We got into another conversation about how it kind of hurts your feelings when I'm not addressing the thing- Oh, I know what you're talking about. that we're talking about 'cause I'm just jumping around. Right, which made me feel like you weren't listening to me 'cause I would answer the thing you brought up. Right. I would say, well, this isn't this. Well, because- and then you would just jump to another topic and I'm like- Yeah. wait, did you even hear the first thing I said? So you... It was a very gentle, like acknowledgement and then I started seeing how often I actually do it. I actually did it a lot. And so every time that it happened, I... Well, I repented and I said- Look, I'm going to change that way- I'm going to change that and I'm so sorry and so for a while, every time we were in a conversation I'd catch myself and be like, Oh wait. Every time you'd be like, "I just want you to know, I've heard what you've said. I acknowledge it. That was very good input. What do you think aboutBut I appreciate it. I was like, okay. My transition's got way better but we're laughing about it. But this was something that was like a fire. A thing that was frustrating you and I wasn't, you know, recognizing. I was blind to. I wasn't even paying attention to what I was doing and I wanted to change in that area. Have I been doing better? Oh, yeah. Okay. No, I remember the context of what you're talking about. I do want to make a note, because you were saying that you're like even the little things. I don't think... This is not an encouragement for you to be looking... Just calling out all the little things in your spouse like nitpicking- Right. Where, like I'm going to... And this is often kind of where people land. Like, oh, I'm trying to help my husband be better and so I'm going to call out everything that I think he needs to change all the time or the husband. I want my wife to be better. So I'm going to... And then all of a sudden, every little thing- No that's a good note. is being called on. This is not what we're encouraging you to do. What I'm saying is that I'm in a place in my relationship with the Lord where I was asking him to open my eyes and then he started to open my eyes and I'm like going around just saying, you know, changing the way that I'm doing things and that was just one example but that's a really good note. That we shouldn't go around trying... What people would have said before you can't be the Holy spirit to your spouse. You actually have to let the Holy spirit work in their lives. Yeah. And that's a really big testament to God's patience like we talked about before. We also, as a spouse, need to be patient like God is patient. We need to trust that He is working in that. He may use us, but He may use someone else. He may use something else to encourage that growth or that change and so yeah, on the other side of things, we should be super patient with each other. Yeah, that's love. It doesn't keep records of wrongs. That's another thing. So like you're not just, you know, finding all the things, keeping track of them and then setting them blowing up at someone because that's not love. Love is genuinely wanting that... You're wanting your spouse to grow in their relationship with God because that's the only way they're going to grow. Not because you want them to, but because they are growing with God. A note on this idea of wanting to bring something to your spouse. I think, you know, instead of finding all the little things and chipping at them all the time, which is super destructive, I think. That doesn't mean- Oh, it's critical. It's, yeah. It's criticizing, it's critical, it's exhausting, but don't avoid going to them with things that do need to be discussed. Like if there's a pattern. If there's something that's really like hurting you in love not in a heightened, emotional state, sit your spouse down and say, "I just need to share something that's on my heart." I read something... That's really good. That's so good, babe. Thank you, babe. I read- Example right there. I read something recently that said that your big emotions last like a minute and a half and so when something happens- Oh, yeah. It is like that. Yeah, and it's been good for me to have that timeframe just so that if there is a big emotion, like don't say something you're going to regret or something hurtful. Wait three minutes. Just wait a few minutes and then rethink it. Anyways, that was tangent. Yeah, then this... That was good, babe. I liked that. That was a really good example. The next thing I wanted to say, and this is something that has been really encouraging lately, before going to your spouse, go to God in prayer. Bring your spouse before the throne of God in prayer. Like I see this thing in my wife that I... Man, I really wish she would grow in this area or change in this area. Lord, would you help wife see this? She does this, God, and I would really... Can you help her see this, Lord? And then be praying diligently for the things specifically. Something happened recently. Jennifer, you started sharing with me something that God was showing you and revealing to you and you're like, I need to change in this area and God's, you know... I feel convicted on this and this and this and I want to grow in this. And I told you. I was like, I've literally been praying for this very thing and every word you said, I've been praying those words. I'm not kidding. I really was. I've been... So before sitting down and going- Criticizing. and criticizing or coming out of... I'm bothered or I'm hurt. Or I might... Okay, Lord, you can change my wife. I know she loves you and praying something that was good for you and God encouraged you in it and I didn't say one word about it too. It's not always the case, but man, that was a really encouraging thing to me to know that I need to be bringing you before the Lord more. Yeah. That's really good. Yeah. So husbands, wives... Be praying for each other Pray for your spouse, yeah. Okay, what can we ask God today to help us see our sin clearly and then what does it take to see change? The first thing that comes to my mind is Psalm 139, you know, where David says, "Search me O Lord." We did a podcast on this. You remember? Mm-hmm. It was a while ago. You guys can look it up. Search me O Lord because we want God to show us. We want him and his authority in our life to reveal to us the things that we need to see. Things that we're unaware of. Things that we're blind to or things that we've minimized or things that we've justified that shouldn't be there. Yeah. Then we need to be humble to receive what he shows. 'Cause you know He's faithful. You know He's going to show us, right. And he does, especially when the Bible tells us if we pray and do not doubt. So pray and don't doubt that God's going to start showing you and we should desire it as Christians. For our own sake, we'll be blessed. Our spouses will be blessed by the transformation in us, right. As I always say, like, you know, we're known by our fruit. That's what the Bible talks about. Good fruit. But who's the fruit for? It's not for the tree. It's not for the sake of the tree. It's for the sake of others. So that good fruit that God wants to produce in us by His Holy spirit is for our spouse's sake, is for our neighbors' sake, is for our children's sake. And so that transformation that God's wants to do in us and the sanctification process is for our good and for the good of others and for the good of the body of Christ. He's doing the work. He's cleansing his bride. He's preparing his church. He's doing it for His own glory and we should want that too. And when, you know, we've got a long, good stretch of things especially in marriage just going well and you've gotten through some hard stuff, but you've repented and you've changed and things are like well and then something else happens or something familiar happens where you've sinned again, don't be discouraged because God's not done with us. Don't be discouraged. Just do the next right thing Run to God. Run to the person you've you've sinned against, repent and let God continue to wash you. I know that's what He's doing and that's what the Holy spirit does for us. So I would say that we said everything that we wanted to sayfor this episode. But last episode, the first episode of the season, you started something, Jennifer, with these episodes that I think is really powerful. Where we share something that we're grateful for and then we encourage our listeners to then go and share something they're grateful for with their spouse or with a friend or social media. However they want to do it. You just want to spread gratitude. Yep. Because- God wants his people to be grateful. It's important. Yep. All right, so I'll kick this one off today. I'm grateful for the way my daughter will reach up and play with a strand of my hair when I'm sitting next to her. Which is really sweet. It's so sweet. Sometimes she'll just keep putting my hair behind my ear like over and over again and I just think physical touch and having that closeness, that bond is so important and so just the little things, you know, like that. It's really sweet. I'm also really grateful for the thoughtfulness God put into His design of language and you know, I briefly shared about, you know, looking up a Hebrew word and its definition earlier but I love how we can be led on a little word study. Like one word can take you on a journey when you look into different translations or different languages and sometimes words have pictures associated with them. It's just, I think it's so creative of Him to do for us and it gives us depth that we'll never fully uncover until, you know, we see Him face-to-face and then it'll all be revealed and we'll think He's even more amazing than we all ready think He is but I love language and- That's really true actually. I think it's really beautiful. I'm grateful for that. And it's something I've been trying to focus more on lately. Just utilizing His gift of language in my study time of the Bible so. That was a good one. Yeah. Why did... I should have went first because yours was really good. I'm grateful for God's loving patience with me and I know this is kind of what the topic was about but like I was telling you, this is genuinely one of the things I think I thank God for the most. He's patient with me. He's never let me go and he continues to love me and patiently changed me and transformed me daily. When I just look over my life and where I was and where I am today and who knows where I'm going to be in the next 10, 15 20 years and how God isn't going to change but I'm going to change because God loves me. Yeah, that's what I'm grateful for. Cool, so you guys think about what you're grateful for and then we just wanted to encourage you to share it with the Lord, share it with your spouse, share it with a friend. Anyone who you can and then encourage them if they want to share something that they're grateful for. Spread the gratitude. All right, so we always end with prayer. Jennifer, would you pray for us. Yep. Dear Lord, thank you for your patience with us. Thank you for showing us our sin and our need for you. Thank you for using people in our lives to call out what they see in love so that we can be better. Thank you for the opportunities in our marriage where your Holy spirit prompts us to share our hearts with each other or be patient like you are. Thank you for not being done with us. Especially when we aren't listening. When pride keeps us where we are instead of growing, when we choose wrong, when we're stubborn or just remain blind to it. We pray for open eyes and a humble heart. We pray we would choose repentance no matter how hard it feels to our flesh even in the little stuff. We pray we would continue to be sanctified by you and may it be a testimony in our lives of your goodness and power. We pray we would walk in righteousness and we thank you that our marriage benefits from that kind of faithfulness. Transform us O Lord, and may it bring you glory in Jesus' name, amen. Amen. Thank you, babe. Again, would you please consider leaving us a review if this episode blessed you and also you're our share warriors I like that. and our prayer warriors. Would you share this episode somehow, some way with someone who might be blessed by it. Email, text message a phone call and then have them listen over the phone. That's a weird one, but share it with someone. Let someone know about this podcast. We love you all. You guys are amazing and we will see you next week.
WE. ARE. BACK!we missed you all. We have a word for you this year and we share what God has been working in us since we took our hiatus back in June!Join our free Marriage Prayer Challenge Today!http://marriageprayerchallenge.com PRAYERDear Lord,Thank you for this last year. Although it was difficult and different in many ways, we know you were working. We trust you and we hope for all that is to come, all that your word says will come. We are excited for this new year and the many opportunities we will have by your grace to share Your gospel with others. We pray for boldness and great faith. We pray for the right words when the time is right. We pray for receptive hearts and we pray for revival. May you draw hearts closer to yourself. We pray marriages would be stronger this year. We pray our eyes and our hearts would be focused on you, what you are doing, and how we can participate. We pray for truth to prevail. We pray gratefulness will overwhelm our hearts and our minds. May your peace guard us and may Your holy spirit Lead us into this next year. In Jesus’ name, amen! Transcript[Jennifer] Welcome to the "Marriage After God Podcast." [Aaron] We're your hosts. I'm Aaron. [Jennifer] And I'm Jennifer. [Aaron] We've been married for 14 years. [Jennifer] And we have five young children. [Aaron] We started blogging over 10 years ago, sharing our marriage story in hopes of encouraging other husbands and wives to draw closer to God and closer to each other. [Jennifer] We have authored over 10 books together, including our newest book, "Marriage After God," the book that inspired us to start this podcast. [Aaron] "Marriage After God" is a message to remind all of us that God designed marriage with a purpose. [Jennifer] To reflect his love. [Aaron] To be a light in this world. [Jennifer] To work together as a team. [Aaron] Using what he has given us. [Jennifer] To build his kingdom. [Aaron] Our hope is to encourage you along your marriage journey. [Jennifer] As you boldly chase after God together [Aaron] This is "Marriage After God." Hey, welcome back to a new season of the "Marriage After God Podcast," and with it a new year. [Jennifer] 2021. It's here. Yeah, I'm pretty sure a lot of us are like thankful that it's no longer 2020. 2020 felt long. With probably good reason. Yeah, it was a long year. But we're your hosts, Aaron and Jennifer Smith. Hi! And we're glad to be back. We've taken quite a bit, quite a long hiatus from recording episodes for the podcast. But yeah, and we're here with season five, January, 2021, excited to be here. [Jennifer] So I think it's safe to say that 2020 was, different? [Aaron] Difficult? [Jennifer] Disorient. I can't say that word. [Aaron] Disorientating? Disorientating a little bit. It is a long word. [Jennifer] Just so much has happened, you know. And the personal impact of last year looks different, you know, from family to family. But Aaron and I just wanted to take a minute and just speak to anyone who especially felt affected this last year and in profound ways. Even small ways, it doesn't matter. At any point, if you struggled, if you wrestled, if you were frustrated or confused or just had a hard time this last year, we just want to acknowledge that. [Aaron] Yeah, anyone who's lost loved ones or jobs, businesses, those who got sick, who struggled with anxiety, mental illness, we just wanna say that we're praying for you guys. And we didn't wanna skip over this. We are gonna try and be light, but real things happened this year. [Jennifer] A lot happened. [Aaron] We just wanna remind you that your peace and your shelter is God. And we just pray that God would be your peace right now, and that he'd be comforting you. But if you have gone through that and you're here listening today, we welcome you. And we're excited to encourage you today and share a little bit of our life with you. And we're excited to get back into the podcast with you. So, yeah, but we just wanted to start with that. [Jennifer] Yeah, and now we're here starting a new season of the podcast. And we're jumping into a new year. Hopefully, all looking forward to a better year, but maybe we're just all a little bit more prepared to embrace whatever this year has for us and accept, you know, what is to come, whatever that is. [Aaron] And just a word we wanted to give, and not to whimsically throw this word around, but for the believer, this word is everything for us. And the New Testament over and over again reminds us of this word for good reason. And so we wanna remind you, also, fellow Christians, of the word hope. And it's an important aspect of the Christian faith that sometimes gets overlooked, because when the world goes the way it's going, it might overshadow, it might make us feel like, "Wait, is there hope?" Like, "What's going on?" [Jennifer] But, for us, I mean, when hard times hit, it's that hope that gets us through, really, to persevere, to endure. Because we're not just looking for the hope of a better day or a hope of things, circumstances to change. What are we looking for? [Aaron] Yeah, our hope isn't an earthly, temporary, imperfect thing. Our hope is in something eternal, something sure and everlasting. So, you know, our hope isn't in the things that are perishing. The Bible tells us and cautions to keep our eyes above where Jesus sit on the throne, right? Keep our eyes on heavenly things. So I just wanted to read a section from Hebrews 6 that explains what this hope is for us and where it comes from. It starts in verse 13. It says, "For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself saying, 'Surely I will bless you and multiply you.'" So this was God's promise to Abraham. "And thus, Abraham having patiently waited, obtained the promise, for people swear by something greater than themselves. And in all their disputes and oath is final for confirmation." So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise, so the heirs of the promise, that's us, brothers and sisters, that we're the heirs of this promise. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath. So that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf having become a high priest forever. So our hope is eternal. It's sure, it's an anchor, it's steadfast. But what is that hope in? It's in Jesus Christ, it's in his complete work. It's in the fact that he is sitting on the throne next to God in heaven, interceding for us believers. That's what the Bible tells us. He's praying for us. He's encouraging us through his spirit. And at the end of all of this, we get eternity with him because of him. So our hope is not in, you know, the government figuring things out and fixing all the problems. Our hope is not in a cure for things. Our hope is in Christ and his work and what he's done. And that's a sure thing, and it's certain, and it's perfect. And so, brothers and sisters, we just wanna encourage you, regardless of what happened in 2020, no matter what 2021 has for us, we have hope in the perfect and complete work of Jesus. [Jennifer] That was really good, Aaron. And it was super encouraging just to hear you share that with us. And I just want to just affirm our listeners that one of the biggest motivations of why we do what we do and our reasoning for getting into season five of the podcast is because Aaron and I feel very strongly that our purpose, God's purpose for us, is to be an encouragement to the believer. [Aaron] To the church, yeah. [Jennifer] I just really look forward to this next season and the episodes that we have coming out because I truly believe that they are gonna be a source of inspiration and encouragement, and just reminding the believers to have that steadfast hope, no matter what we face, no matter what we endure through. And like we mentioned earlier, from family to family, it will look different, but I guess we're all in this together. [Aaron] As believers, yeah. [Jennifer] Yeah, and Aaron and I just wanna be here for you, wanna be a voice of encouragement for you. [Aaron] So with everyone experiencing so much change, we've experienced change, we actually talked about change in the very last episode of season four, it's explaining why we were taking a hiatus and just taking a break. And the changes we made coming into season five, we've made a little bit of changes. You've probably noticed the new theme song in the beginning of this episode. [Jennifer] Yeah, it kind of just go straight to the music and our intro. And then you just shared the title of the song that we chose. Do you wanna share it? Yeah, this song with the whistling which we really like is called "Can't Be Bothered." And so it's kind of like a theme for this year that, as believers, we're just like, we're not gonna be bothered by what's going on in the world. We're gonna keep our eyes on Jesus. [Jennifer] Actually, when we were gearing up to just start this episode, we heard the whistling and Aaron goes, "It's like we're holding hands frolicking on the hills of green." I don't remember what you said. That's what it sounds like. But it was so picturesque. So I just have that vision running around in my mind. [Aaron] So when you hear the song, we pray that it encourages that idea of frolicking with your spouse. [Jennifer] No, Aaron prays that it gets stuck in your head and you think about our podcast. [Aaron] That too. That's the marketing in me. Yeah. So we have a new intro to the podcast. And what we'll do is, instead of starting with us talking and then going into the intro, it's gonna be intro. And then we're just gonna jump into saying hi to you guys and talking about what God has put on our hearts and what's going on in our lives. And so, yeah, that's a little bit of the change for this new season. There's another change that we were doing for this season, and we'll share that at the end of the episode, but it's a little fun thing to encourage new habits and new ways of thinking. And I'll leave that as a secret until the end. [Jennifer] Oh, they're gonna be just wanting to know more. [Aaron] Yeah, so as usual, we do wanna invite you, if you haven't done so yet, to leave a star rating. At the end of this episode, if you want, just scroll to the bottom of the podcast app and just tap on one of those stars. And it helps us get into the algorithms so that other people can find the podcast. And if you have time, leaving us a written review is just a huge blessing. It helps others know what the podcast is about. It helps others hear your testimony of what you might've been encouraged by or blessed by from the podcast. [Jennifer] And it encourages us. [Aaron] And it encourages us. So we just wanna invite you to do that at the end of this episode, or at any time, really, to help spread the word about this podcast. [Jennifer] So we already mentioned that this is season five of the "Marriage After God Podcast." And we just wanted to note here that if you are new and you haven't had a chance to listen to previous episodes, or if maybe you've missed any, just to take a look at some of those past episodes, you know, your next commute or laundry day, be sure to catch up. Also, subscribe so you don't miss any future episodes. [Aaron] Yeah. There's a lot of episodes, over 100. So you have plenty of time to go and listen to all of that. And we'd love to hear from you, to know what your favorite episode is, but yeah. Hey, what's happening in two days? [Jennifer] It's our anniversary. 14 years. I can't believe it! 14? Are you sure it's not like six or seven? Mm-mm, definitely 14. No, it's 14 years. Man, it's been a long time. [Jennifer] Happy Anniversary! [Aaron] Yeah, Happy Anniversary to us! [Jennifer] You know, it's funny, as, usually, we're so good about wrapping up the end of the year with talking about goals and visions and dreams and things we desire for the coming year. And I think just because 2020 was such a whirlwind, we did it a little bit in November, just because we were itching for some like- Normalcy. Yeah, normal and new. But we never really had that conversation. So I think come- [Aaron] I'm a little satisfied, too. I'm okay, like, I don't have any huge goals. I'm sure we'll come up with some, but right now I'm just like, "Okay, cool. 2021, let's see what's going on." [Jennifer] We usually go out to dinner on our anniversary to celebrate. And so I'm excited to see how that will play out. And I'm just excited. In the coming weeks. But yeah, 14 years. I'm proud to be your husband. It's been a roller coaster. Roller coasters are fun. Yeah. In a good way. But they're also scary. [Jennifer] Yeah, I was gonna say terrifying. [Aaron] And I think that's a good definition of marriage. But man, it's been good. I wouldn't trade the last 14 years. And it's actually been more than 14 years. We knew each other for quite a few years before we were married. So we've been knowing each other for a long time. [Jennifer] Still love you. Okay, so let's take it way back. What was your favorite memory from our first year of marriage? Ooh, it was a long time ago. I know. I know. [Aaron] 14 years. Okay, so we were gonna be planning on going to Africa. [Jennifer] We did go. [Aaron] I know, but in the first year, we were planning. And we moved up to Washington for a short while to spend time with friends, to raise some funds. And that time we were in Washington, actually, was really cool. [Jennifer] Yeah, do you remember the drive we took and it was just like no agenda type of drive out in like farmland and we saw a bald Eagle. [Aaron] Eating something on the ground. [Jennifer] Yeah, that was pretty cool. [Aaron] That was cool. So that was cool, that was a long time ago. We were like kids back then. But no, that was cool. We stayed in a little tiny apartment above, what was the shop? It was like a print shop. Print shop or something. [Aaron] That's what it was, downtown in Washington. Super fun. It was interesting and cool. But that was a fun time. It just feels like a whole lifetime ago. [Aaron] That was almost a whole lifetime ago, yeah. So, yeah, that was one of my fond memories of year one. Awesome. What was yours? [Jennifer] Well, it's a hard memory, but it's a good memory. [Aaron] This is your favorite memory, is a hard one? [Jennifer] I'll tell you why. [Aaron] Okay, just do it. Pull the bandaid off, just tell me. Maybe I shouldn't. I think I even wrote about it in one of our books, but do you remember staying in the airport, and we had just flew back from Africa and we're in like Miami or something like that? We had a transition. [Jennifer] And we were gonna El Salvador. [Aaron] Like right from there. [Jennifer] Yeah, and we're trying to not miss our plane, and I just stop in the middle of the airport and I'm just falling. You dropped your bags. [Jennifer] I'm just crying. And you turn around. And I'm a newlywed still, right? [Aaron] You're a good, like 20 yards behind me, just sitting there crying. And I'm like- I don't know what I'm doing. 'Cause we're like gonna miss our plane. [Jennifer] And you turn around, and you come rushing back. And you're like, "What could possibly be wrong right now? We've got a plane to catch." And I just said, "I think you married the wrong girl." Like, what we were doing, the ministry and the missions, everything was just so hard. And you grabbed my hand so hard and you said, "Okay, we can talk about it later." And you pulled me along with you. [Aaron] Which is like the theme of our marriage. I just, yeah, you got this, let's go. We'll talk about it later. [Jennifer] Yeah, but it is just a really good feeling to know that no matter what I'm going through, ups, downs, you've always been that hand of encouragement and someone to tug me along and say, "You got this." And even throughout this last year, 2020, you did that for me so many times. But instead of saying, "We'll talk about it later," we talked about it right in the moment. And I just really appreciate that about you, that you are willing to remind me who I am, remind me who we are together, and what are our purpose is, you know, for God's kingdom. And so, like I said, it's kind of one of those twisted, weird, hard memories, but I am so grateful for it. [Aaron] And that was fun. [Jennifer] It was so fun. [Aaron] It was like, yes, there was a lot of hardness in it, but there was a lot of fun in it too. So encouragement for those husbands out there. It's one of your ministries, grabbing your wife's hand and dragging her. Oh, encouraging her. No grabbing your wife's hand and encouraging her. Along the way. And telling her you love her and that you wanna listen to everything she's struggling with. And reminding her that you're there for her. That's what I meant. Thank her. Okay. Let's move on. Happy anniversary. I love you. And let's move on. [Aaron] Hey, real quick, we always want to offer something for free for you, for our listeners. We've made quite a few resources, and one of our most popular ones is our marriage prayer challenge. And you can go to marriageprayerchallenge.com, all one word, marriageprayerchallenge.com, all one word, it's completely free. You can join up, and we're gonna send you a prayer prompt every day for the next 31 days for you to pray for your husband or for your wife. And it's not to replace your prayer life. It's to inspire it. Inspire it. [Aaron] Yeah, it's like a fun challenge to be like, "Hey, I'm gonna get this email, and like, Oh, here's a new thing. I'm gonna pray for this today for my wife. I'm gonna pray for this today for my husband." And over 100,000 husbands and wives have taken this challenge already. That's incredible. Will you join them? If you haven't yet. Marriage prayerchallenge.com. It's completely free. It's 31 days. It's an email. It's simple. Sign your spouse up with you with their permission, yeah. With their permission. [Aaron] Yeah, but get that free thing. We wanna offer something every single episode for you guys to either download or get involved with for free. [Jennifer] This is also made possible in part by our faithful prayer team patrons. And we just wanted to do a shout out to them and say thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you. [Aaron] Yeah, those patrons help these emails stay free. And so, thank you. [Jennifer] Okay, can I just say that it feels really good to be broadcasting with you again? [Aaron] Does it? I know. [Jennifer] This is way more natural to Aaron. And he could just jump on a microphone and start talking. And for me, it's a little bit more challenging, but he's patient with me. But I really am excited to be here. And like we said earlier, we took a break starting in the summertime after season four, which was actually cut short a little bit. And we just felt like- We needed a break. [Jennifer] For ourselves and for our family, we just needed a break. And it was so nice and refreshing. Guys, we've been doing this ministry for 10 years, and podcasting for, what, almost four? [Aaron] Yeah, we were going pretty nonstop in the podcast for a couple of years. [Jennifer] Yeah, and it just takes a lot of, you know, mental capacity to dive into these. And we want to do them for you guys, but it was one of those, just- [Aaron] Well, and we also, we were about to or just had, I don't remember at what point we had our fifth child. [Jennifer] Yep. We had Edith. And so I was still in postpartum. [Aaron] And a hiatus was like, totally warranted. We were like, "Let's do this. Let's take a break." [Jennifer] But what was so encouraging was you guys. You guys would reach out to us and say, "Hey, we miss the podcast. We miss you guys. What's going on?" And we'd say, "Yeah, we're taking a break, and we're enjoying it." And they would say, "Oh, good." Be like that's- [Aaron] Yeah, but, "Don't take too long." [Jennifer] Actually, there was a handful of you that are like, "Well, we're really excited for when you come back." So just thank you guys so much for all of your messages. We really appreciate that. [Aaron] So although 2020 was a really odd year and incredibly difficult for some and lonely for others, for us, we had our own stuff going on. I mean, everyone has their stuff. We had our own stuff. We had some deep, deep lows. We had some really awesome highs. [Jennifer] Oh, I wanna share a little- Do it. Is it a story? I don't have any illustration. Good illustration, yeah. A good thing. A few days ago, I went through about six boxes of Legos trying to help my son look for a particular mini-fig, if you're familiar with those. His was Heartbreaker. [Aaron] It's an Iron Man figure. [Jennifer] The irony of his name. My son's been heartbroken over losing this particular Iron Man. And so I was showing him how to sift through the Lego bricks. And I even said that word, "I'm helping you sift." And he looks up at me and he goes, "What's that?" So I showed him that I would take a big handful of Legos and shake them through my hands, and did this one at a time going through these boxes. And so I was just thinking about this last year and thinking about this situation that I had with my son, and I feel like this last year was the kind of year that makes you sift through your soul. It makes you sift through your marriage. It makes you sift through every inch of your life, but in a really good way. [Aaron] I would even adjust that to say, God has been sifting us. Like through his hands. Through his hands. Oh, that's really good. Yeah, we got to do that. And I think sometimes we even got down to the gritty bottom and looked down and said, "What's that? What's that doing there?" And then we got to encourage each other, you know, back up from that place. And so I don't know why that illustration just really stood out to me. But I also wanna just take a minute, Aaron, and just say that you were an anchor for me this last year, someone who grounded me when my mind kind of spun out of control, just with everything that we endured personally, but also on a grand scale of like the chaos in the world and the confusion, you know, in the places that we live. [Aaron] And becoming a mother of five. All of it. There were legit things. [Jennifer] There was so much. There was so much. But you were so compassionate with me, patient with me, slow with me. You were my reason when things didn't make sense, and iron when God needed to sharpen me. And this year just showed me how much God has used you in my life, in my everyday life, in that refining process that I take for granted. Like, 'cause I know it's been happening over the 14 years. I know it's been happening every day since we've been married. But I think along the way, I just kind of like, I became used to it. But this last year I undersaw the value, the importance of it. God turned up the heat. To get all that dross, bring it to the top. [Jennifer] Yeah. So thank you. [Aaron] Well, thank you, that was encouraging. Well, speaking of that year and how God might've been sifting us and just some things that we experienced in winter, let's just give a quick rundown of some of the things that happened in 2020 for us. One pretty big thing I think is, you know, for those that don't know, we are part of a small home church, and they appointed me an elder in 2020, which is pretty cool. And if you're hearing that word for the first time, I'm just using the word the way that the Bible uses it. I teach and I try and make sure that false doctrine is not in the church and I try and abide by the standards that the Bible gives for an elder. But that was a cool thing. So I've been growing and learning a lot in my gifts of teaching. [Jennifer] Which you really are gifted in that. Thank you. Just being able to explain God's word, you know, and teach it. It's just really beautiful. [Aaron] Well, and this has been a sifting thing for me to realize the responsibility I have, that I can't just say my opinions and just, you know, "Oh, I'm gonna just say what I think this means." I actually have to study. I actually I have to make sure that I'm teaching, as the word says, "Rightly dividing the word of God." Because it says not many of you should be teachers because you'll be held to a stricter judgment, a stricter accountability. Like there's a level of responsibility there. Which is neat, difficult, encouraging. But I've been doing that for the last year now. And so that's been something that's been, you know, an element to 2020 of, with everything going on of, you know, how do I walk and lead in a church? [Jennifer] Yeah, and I would say this, having that responsibility, which you were already walking in that responsibility, but seeing you really flourish in that place grew your love for people. I mean, you always loved them, but had so much more care and concern and stepping into those relationships, and, you know. [Aaron] Well, and I would use that word love. That that is absolutely something that God's teaching me. Which is funny, 'cause like we're Christians, we should love, that's like our word, realizing how not good at loving I am. And so growing in that. And again, God's showing me, like, "Hey, no, I want you to love my way." Like, "This is what love looks like." And I'm like, "Okay." So I'm growing in that. He's pointing out all those rough edges on me. [Jennifer] So after that we had Edith, which we- Numero, what, cinco? Five. Yeah, we had her right in the beginning of, you know, all the COVID stuff changing. All the COVID stuff. [Jennifer] But we launched season four with her birth story. So if you guys haven't had time to go hear that and you want to, that's available. But we dive into that story a little bit more, which is a really cool story, actually. [Aaron] It was our first home birth. [Jennifer] Our first home birth. Yeah. [Aaron] We've had the first four in hospitals. The first four at hospitals. And it was beautiful and it was perfect. And God just, he just really gifted us with baby Edith. [Aaron] I'm sold on home births. That was like a cool thing. I know not everyone can do it, but that was awesome. [Jennifer] It was amazing. She's been an incredible joy to our family and our children. They'll walk by her and just go, "I love her so much." And it's just been an incredible distraction from what's going on in the world. I was just thinking like, having a baby during this time- [Aaron] She has no idea what's going on. She's just always smiling. The innocence, shes blessed. Her name actually means blessed, which is cool. But for me, it was like looking at the world and everything that was going on gives you that zoom out perspective of like, you know, just you're looking at everything all at once. But then when you have a baby in the midst of it, it zooms you so far in to something as simple as the smile on her face. [Aaron] Yeah, and the thing that she's trying to grab on the carpet. Yeah, or like cheering her on and she's trying to stand up. It's like nothing else in the world matters. So for me, that was a huge, just tender spot in my heart that I just praise God for it. [Aaron] And the lesson from this is have children to distract yourself from. Honestly, there's not enough time to think about all of that other stuff because we're trying to raise our kids. [Jennifer] Okay. Our house has been a lot of fun. It's been super busy, just, our time is consumed. But, yeah, having five kids is a lot, and we're learning. [Aaron] Also just overall, and I'm sure everyone's gonna have levels of this, this year has been refining for us. God, using the downtime, using the hiatus, using all of the things to draw things out of us and put more of himself into us. And that's been really awesome. Like me realizing how fickle my self-routine is. We've done episodes on talking about just consistency and routine, which is really powerful and really good. But the moment little things messed up my routine, it all went out the window. [Jennifer] Well, and how much your routine's actually impacted the rest of our daily life. Oh, gosh, yeah. [Jennifer] And all of that. I think everybody's probably looking back at 2020 going, "What happened to all of routines?" [Aaron] Yeah, no one's talking about New Year's resolutions from 2020. Those were like long gone. [Jennifer] Yeah. That's okay. We've got another chance. We've got another year coming. [Aaron] Yeah, and you know, what's good about it is it's just showing where, like, is it the strength in me or is in God and like learning discipline on another level. [Jennifer] Also learning How to be flexible when things are interrupted. [Aaron] Which is super frustrating, but it's like, "Hey, are we allowed to be interrupted?" [Jennifer] Yeah, are you still gonna work in the spirit? What? Yeah, I know. Some other things that- Speaking of spirit. [Jennifer] I know, I know. Some other things that we felt refined in this last year is just, well, for me particularly, but feeling selfish in my relationships and in my friendships, in my view of people and the way that I interact with them. And just had a handful of moments that God opened my eyes and said, "Jen, you need to repent." Be more selfless. [Jennifer] You know, "You need to change in this area, because these people love you. And I want you to love them more and love them like I love them." [Aaron] You have a word here on the notes, inconvenienced. That's something that God pointed out to you a lot this year was when you're inconvenienced is when these things, that's one of the triggers of when certain ways of being shows up in God's... That's just why you brought up the whole, are we allowed to be inconvenienced? Because when you walk in love, when you walk in the spirit, those inconveniences will be opportunities to love. [Jennifer] 'Cause with your words, I might say, "Yeah, I wanna serve them during this time right now." As long as it's done this way. [Jennifer] Yeah, and then for whatever reason, the circumstances are hard or like inconveniencing. And then I go, "Okay, well, how else can I fit this in? Because this is," you know, I'm thinking about myself, which goes into the next one I was gonna say is idolatry and putting yourself up on that pedestal and saying, "I'm more important," or, "I have all these things that I'm worrying about. So I can't possibly worry about someone else." [Aaron] Or, "I deserve this." [Jennifer] Yeah. So, what else? [Aaron] That's a big word, but that's something that God has been showing you in your life. And so the selfishness infringed on things for both of us, like we're both have been confronted this year on certain ways that we are. Not in every circumstance, but like, God, definitely, God's not interested in a little bit of this stuff in us. Like, he's not like, "Oh, that's just so-and-so. that's how they are." No, he's like, God wants holiness. He's refining us. And so he's been sharpening us, pulling some things out, pruning and disciplining. And we're like, "Oh, okay." Showing stuff to us that we haven't seen before, highlighting those things in us. Another thing that God's been showing us this year is helping us realize our insufficiencies as parents. [Jennifer] Uh-huh, having really rely on him. [Aaron] Yeah, and just running to prayer, you know, weeping over our of thinking and just saying, "God, change us, transform us. Help us to walk in love, to walk in patience. [Jennifer] Patience was a big one this year for us, especially with parenting. And I feel like we both came to the conclusion, there was this moment where we looked at each other and we're like, "Wait, we have five kids under eight. This is hard." You know what I mean? [Aaron] I think we all do this to some level of like, "No, they're ours. We got it, we can do this." And we kind of just neglect the realization that it actually is a difficult thing. It's actually hard. Yeah, like we are in the trenches with parenting. [Aaron] We have five children under eight. Learning and figuring it out. Or eight and younger. So that was actually helpful to realize like, "Oh, it's okay that it's hard. And it's okay to recognize that it's hard. We should be more patient." [Jennifer] Yeah, and walking in grace for ourselves with that learning curve, and walking in grace with each other and for our marriage. And with our kids. [Jennifer] Walking in grace with others and just, gosh, yeah there was so much that God did that was good. And it reminds me of that song "Miracle Worker," which everybody loves. [Aaron] "Way Maker"? [Jennifer] Yeah. What did I say? [Aaron] Well, it's "Way Maker" or "Miracle." [Jennifer] Yeah. Olive always calls it that. Anyways, even when we don't see it, he's working. [Aaron] Yeah, he has. And though some of these seasons in the last year were very difficult, just spiritually, emotionally, and physically, I want God to keep doing it. I'm loving the fruit that I'm seeing. Like, God is actually changing us. He's growing us. He's making us more like his son. And that's what I want. God's growing me and changing me. And I wanna receive what he has for me. [Jennifer] Oh, receive, that was another thing that this year really impacted me was receiving from the Lord and accepting from him everything and anything that came our way. You know, I don't know why that was hard for me to realize in the past, but when easy things come and it changes you, like an encouragement, you're like. Yeah, I'll receive that. "Oh, yeah, I can receive that. And I'll change." [Aaron] And a blessing? I'll receive that, yeah. [Jennifer] Yeah, you move forward. But I didn't realize how much resistance was in my heart when it came to hard circumstances, hard situations, being confronted, even you coming to me saying, "Hey, I see this happening, and you need to stop." It's like, "Ouch." But receiving that from the Lord and going "Okay." Or things we don't understand, "Okay, Lord." [Aaron] Well, I remember there was a moment you actually verbalize it. You said, "Okay, I'm gonna receive it." I'm like, "What?" And you're like, "Just the things." All of it. "I'm gonna receive these things that I don't want. I'm gonna receive them, and I'm gonna say, 'Okay, thank you, Lord.'" [Jennifer] But there was like instant peace. And then my heart was just okay. And it was like, "Oh, okay, God, I can trust you." So that was just a handful of things that we wanted to share with you guys briefly. [Aaron] Just a note on that, it makes me think of Job, when he said, "Shall we not receive the good things from the Lord," or "Shall we receive the good things from the Lord, but not the bad?" Meaning like both things come in life. Like the Bible says that rain, God sends the rain on the good and the bad, the wicked and the righteous. So bad things are going to come into our lives, hard things are gonna come into our lives, and God will bring some of those things in our lives. And so are we gonna be like, "No, I reject that. And I'm only gonna receive all this good stuff over here"? No, we receive both, because God's good, and he has a reason why he's bringing certain things in our lives, good or bad. [Jennifer] So, yeah, that's really good. Thank you for sharing that. What are some other things that happened last year that we can kind of celebrate? [Aaron] Something that it didn't necessarily start last year, it started, I believe the year before, but we have five books in Hobby Lobby. [Jennifer] Oh, that was such a blessing. [Aaron] And that's been a blessing to us. [Jennifer] It's been so awesome. [Aaron] Not just in our lives personally, but the fact that it's like, people can go, it's the cheapest place you can get our books. They have them like 40% off. [Jennifer] And we just had a friend send us a picture, and all five are in one row right there at the checkout kiosk. But how cool that we've got a row in Hobby Lobby. I just think that's so great. It's pretty awesome. So thank you, Hobby Lobby, if you're listening. [Jennifer] Oh, and we didn't really share too much about this, but for our listeners, if you are at Hobby Lobby or online, wherever, you might notice that "Marriage After God"- The book. The book had a revamp of cover, the inside's still the same. But do you wanna talk about the cover? [Aaron] Yeah, the content is exactly the same. But what they did is, Zondervan took it from a hard cover and made it a soft cover and changed the image on the cover. It's cheaper. Which is good. [Aaron] And it's really pretty. And it's got this nice matte cover, and it's really awesome. And that's also at Hobby Lobby or Amazon or iTunes, wherever you wanna get it. [Jennifer] Just Wanted to make that note so it doesn't seem like we have another extra book somewhere. It's not a new book. It's they totally revamped the whole look and everything. [Jennifer] Yeah. Very cool. [Aaron] So another note on that, pretty much the only place to get a hard copy of it, the hard cover, is from our store. So shop.marriageaftergod.com. If you're looking for some of the last copies. [Jennifer] I was gonna say they're a limited supply. [Aaron] Yeah, 'cause they're not gonna print the hard covers anymore, they're only gonna be in soft cover. Which they're wonderful. They're beautiful. They're awesome. They're more affordable, which I love. But if you want a limited edition hardcover, they're at shop.marriageaftergod.com It's the only place to get them right now. [Jennifer] Cool. Speaking of books, we've mentioned this to you guys before, but we've been working on some children's books. [Aaron] That's a new thing, yeah. [Jennifer] Well, the part that's new is that we've been working with a local artist for the illustration. So they're getting illustrated, yep. And thy look really good. So, that's been going. Super excited about that. So we're hoping that that comes out this next year. Do you wanna talk about social media? [Both] Yes. Do we wanna talk about it? Do we? So do you guys remember when we talked about being on a hiatus from the podcast? Well, we kind of- [Aaron] To guide us from social media as well. [Jennifer] Like not intentionally, but I just found myself posting less and less and less and less. And then I started to enjoy it, the fact that I wasn't on it so much. But not really, you guys, just looking at our life, like I'll speak for me personally, and then you can share, Aaron, but being on Instagram and Facebook and all the places, you know, I love it. I love being able to receive your guys' messages and, you know, have that engagement there or comment, being able to share pictures of our family and, you know, encouraging memes or whatever it is. I've always loved that. But after having Edith, there was just less time. And I found it very difficult to be on social media as much. [Aaron] I don't remember what book it was from, but there was this idea of brain calories. Like, you know how you have food calories, like you eat them and you're like, "Oh, I have 2000 calories. I have that much energy. I can use it to run and do whatever I want." But they gave this idea of brain calories of like, how many calories do you have and what are those gonna be spent on in your mind? So I think that taking the break from posting to social media as much as we used to, man, we used to post a lot. A lot, yeah. [Aaron] 'Cause over the years, we've lessened that, but it's been nice to put our brain calories to other things. [Jennifer] Well, I was gonna say, as my jurisdiction at home grew, my time and my ability to be more connected, I guess I'll say, it just flip-flopped. Which has been happening over the last few years, but yeah, I just wanted to make a note because I have had people ask me like through Instagram, "Hey, have I just been missing your posts or have you not been on?" And so I, again, just wanted to make a note that I've been enjoying the time off. You'll probably see me post from time to time, but it's not gonna be like it was, only because I'm in a season where I'm homeschooling too right now, not including preschool stuff. You're homeschooling all of them. Yeah, I'm homeschooling all of them, but to me, the preschool stuff comes way easier. But Elliot's in second, Olive's in kindergarten, and we just have busy days. [Aaron] Yeah, and another thing, you mentioned that people weren't seeing stuff, we actually started, I don't know if we were shadow banned, like, I don't know if anyone knows these things, but there was a season where people were having a hard time seeing our content. It wasn't showing to anyone. So what's happening is just with the way the algorithms, the way all these big tech giants are going, it has been harder for Christian voices, conservative voices to be seen. And so the amount of energy into those things, we'd rather put it into something like this. [Jennifer] Yeah, the podcasts. [Aaron] And our emails that we send. So if you wanna keep up with our content, just like subscribe to our podcast, get on our email list, and you'll get our prayer encouragements daily and you'll get this content weekly. Just one little thing that we're trying, it's an experiment, so I don't know how long we're gonna do it, but we deleted our Facebook and Instagram apps off our phone. We still have our accounts. So we can hop online on our computers in the browser and go check messages. [Jennifer] It doesn't quite feel the same. [Aaron] It's not the same. [Jennifer] I'll say this, the first day that we did this, I kept checking my phone and then I'd find myself going, "What am I doing? What am I doing? What am I doing?" And it actually showed me how often I was picking up my phone and just scrolling or just being a part of that. [Aaron] Well, the same is happening with me. I'm picking it up and I'm flipping back and forth through my screens. Looking for something. I'm like "What am I doing?" So maybe this year 2021, we'll be less addicted to our phones by getting rid of a couple of apps. And if you're listening to this, maybe you can take the challenge with us. We didn't get it from anyone else. I mean, we heard other people doing this, but we just, we're trying it. We're removing those apps, and we'll try and engage through the podcast and through our emails and we'll try and hop onto our social media occasionally when we can. Yeah. It's just something we're doing. [Jennifer] Okay, so we also want, in this first episode, we just wanted to share our hope and mission for this next year with you guys, with the ministry. [Aaron] Just with our life. [Jennifer] Our life, everything that we're doing. So yeah, let's just jump into some of these. First and foremost, we wanna preach the gospel way more. We wanna preach it here, online, wherever we can. [Aaron] I'd say the last season and the season before that, we started getting more, like teaching the word and preaching the gospel more. And so we just wanna continue that and then grow that, because there's nothing more powerful than the gospel. [Jennifer] And nothing more important, really. [Aaron] Yeah, especially, let me just look at the world. We need the gospel. [Jennifer] Yeah, we've also, in this last year, have been preaching the gospel way more to each other and to ourselves. And I think that's really important. So we're just gonna preach more. [Aaron] Yeah, and gospel, it means the good news of Jesus Christ. And without Jesus Christ, there is no good news. Think about that. So the gospel, it's what we're gonna, we're gonna be preaching that. [Jennifer] I love that. We're also gonna be growing in our faith. I mean, this is just the Christian walk, right? But we just wanna be intentional with allowing God to continue to grow us. Prune us. Prune us, increase our faith and our knowledge of him. [Aaron] We also wanna grow in love. I mean, we mentioned this a little bit before, but another thing we wanna continue to grow in is in our parenting, like we're raising five children. We don't wanna just raise them to be functional in society. We wanna raise them to know the Lord, we wanna raise them to love the Lord, and we wanna raise them to be bold, bolder than us, more knowledgeable in the word, but also like lovers, gentle, kind, generous. So we wanna grow in that this year. And I know that sounded like a lot. We have a whole like decade, or several decades where we get to walk with our kids. But that's, we just wanna grow in our parenting. [Jennifer] I would say this: feel more confident in our parenting, and just like- [Aaron] That's a good word. Grow in our confidence in parenting. [Jennifer] Naturally, I just think that there's a lot of insecurities, at least in my heart for parenting. And I just, yeah. [Aaron] I think that's natural, because- [Jennifer] We just love our kids so much. [Aaron] Every phase, we have no idea what the new phases have in store for us. [Jennifer] Even just with homeschooling, I look at it and I go, you know, I get intimidated a bit, because I don't know third grade, but I'm not there yet. Like he's second grade, second and a half. And so finding those insecurities and then trusting the Lord and letting him build my confidence up so that I can step into that next grade with him. But anyways, off tangent. Another thing we wanna grow in this next year is our love, our love for each other, our love for children, our church, others. When when I was thinking about this, I thought about how life has just changed for a lot of us this last year with like wearing masks and stuff. And the times that we go out in public, out into the stores, I was realizing that I'm not making as much eye contact, almost like just shuffling through. And I see the edge of my mask, and it's like it's hard for me to get past, but I think this next year, in order to show love to others we'll have to utilize our eyes a lot more and be more intentional to make those conversations happen. And I think people's hearts are yearning for that connection. They might not know it, but I think they're yearning for it. [Aaron] We have a desire to see a revival in hearts, in the hearts of husbands and wives. [Jennifer] Amen. [Aaron] Like, not just revival in their marriages, but like revival in their relationship with God. But like we always say, our heart for "Marriage After God," the whole theme behind "Marriage After God," the idea, the intention is not just healthy marriages for the sake of good marriages. God's got gifts that he's given to each one of us as his children, and a healthy marriage is a powerful marriage for God. When you're walking with God, when you're walking in unity, you can be used, and God wants to use us. He doesn't need to use us. He wants to use us in his kingdom. That's why he has distributed, through his spirit, gifts to all of us. And so we want a revival in the hearts of husbands and wives, because we'll see children be discipled, we'll see neighbors be preached to, we'll see churches thrive. These are things that come when husbands and wives have their hearts yielded to the father. [Jennifer] Yeah, you said the word unity. And I don't know why my mind automatically went to the word division. And I think we all got a healthy dose, whether through social media. What are you talking about? Or the news or whatever last year. We're so unified in this country. [Jennifer] All of that stuff does affect us. Like normal things are hard to navigate, normal relationship stuff, normal marriage stuff, normal whether it's finances or parenting or jobs. All of it. [Jennifer] You know, seeking out jobs or whatever, things used to be- [Aaron] Normal difficult. [Jennifer] Normal difficult in our lives. And now we have a lot more layers to it all. And so I just wanna encourage you guys, those listening right now, we have to be what is unified in our marriages. Like, we have to be the ones initiating love, encouraging each other. [Aaron] Being on the same team. [Jennifer] Being on the same team, being words of affirmation and encouragement, like, that is so vital to our relationships and our marriages. [Aaron] And it's gonna be even more visible now than ever when we do it. So, just as we come to a close, what can our listeners expect over the next two to three seasons? [Jennifer] Yeah, well, this next year, that is our aim, to do season five and six, possibly seven. And we'll have a handful of episodes per season. Some of this season's topics, you wanna go through some of those? [Aaron] Yeah, we're gonna talk about sin. Yeah, that's a good one. Nobody wants to talk about that, Aaron. [Aaron] No, just God confronting us with things. We mentioned a few of them. We're gonna try and talk about some of those things. [Jennifer] We're gonna kind of look at the purification process, the sanctification process. [Aaron] Yeah, that gold refinement. What is the dross? [Jennifer] It's gonna be good. Which, we're also gonna be talking about walking in the flesh versus walking in- Versus the spirit. Yeah, we have a note on this topic. There was this, when we were discussing this, we'll get into it in the episode, but there was this image I got of standing in a river, and the river is flowing pretty hard, and you will go with the river and it's easy. You go against the river, and it's dangerous. And this idea of like, when you're walking in the spirit, the Bible says, walk in the spirit and keep, "If you're gonna walk in the spirit, also keep in step with the spirit. Keep in step, yeah. [Aaron] So it's this idea of, you're not guiding the spirit, you're following the spirit. And so that's gonna be one thing. We're gonna talk about, we're gonna do an episode probably on sabbath, and this comes with a lot of connotations. [Jennifer] Yeah. The word rest just rings a bell for me. And I think that learning how to just accept slowness. [Aaron] We came up with this topic just of probably how not restful 2020 has felt. [Jennifer] And yet at the same time, we found ourselves in lots of moments of rest at home. Of rest, yeah. Because we have a Sabbath and his name is Jesus. [Jennifer] Yeah, we have another episode talking about are you really loving? And Aaron actually has a really cool- [Aaron] Thing that I wanna talk about with that. It's gonna be a decision matrix, I think that's what they call them, to find out if we're actually loving or not. That'll be good. So that'll be fun. [Jennifer] We're also gonna be talking about dealing with stressors and recognizing when things are hard, but also giving yourself grace. We've kind of touched on that. These are obviously all coming from what Aaron and I have been experiencing. [Aaron] And some of these might change too, but this is our preliminary list that we came up with of things that we thought we should talk about. [Jennifer] How to comfort each other during hard situations. One of my favorite ones that we're gonna focus on is end time prophecy and how to keep alert, how to how to keep watch, because the Bible tells us to. [Aaron] Yeah, one thing that, if you didn't know it about my wife, is she loves all things Israel and she loves all things prophecy. She just loves learning about prophecy. I wouldn't say she's, we're not prophecy scholars, but we just love that. Nope. [Aaron] I mean, we should, as Christians, we should love prophecy. I mean, Jesus fulfilled hundreds of prophecies in his own life because he was the Messiah. And then there's prophecies that aren't even fulfilled yet that we're watching happen before our eyes. It's so amazing. [Jennifer] So we'll talk about that a little bit, and the power of lies, and the the mental game that goes on with what we hear and where it comes from and how we can combat it. [Aaron] Yeah, a note on this is, like, are they our thoughts, or is it just something we're hearing? 'Cause sometimes we can be like, "Man, I have these thoughts." And so we're gonna talk about that. [Jennifer] Dig into that a bit. And then we're gonna end with Jesus is the Passover. And that aligns with Passover, which I think is cool. So we'll get to share a whole episode on that. Speaking of Israel. I know. [Aaron] Yeah, we hope you're excited. And we're gonna try and be, you know, just on here regularly, you know, weekly. Oh, so we talked about one of the new things that we're adding to the episodes. So, as usual, we will and in prayer, as we always do. But before that, let me share this new thing for this season, yeah. I had an idea. I had an idea, I told Aaron, you know, a big way to combat complaint or grumbling is thankfulness and being grateful, being grateful- It is the way. [Jennifer] It is the way. Being grateful for the things that we do have or have experienced, or just, it's that recognition of God, what God is doing in your life. And so I told him, I said, "If we're gonna start the podcast back up, we are absolutely adding this piece to the puzzle." And that's just, at the end of every episode, we are going to say something that we're grateful for. And our hope is that this spreads joy and thankfulness and inspires you guys to do the same. [Aaron] You know, the challenge would be that, when the episode is over, you consider what you're grateful for. [Jennifer] And then share it with someone. And then share it, yeah. Share with the Lord, share it with your spouse, share it with a stranger share it with whoever you want. But getting that out of our hearts and into praise, I think is so important. [Aaron] So we're gonna spend the first tithe of the year in Thanksgiving, like being grateful for God's goodness, for anything that God's blessed us with. You know, there's a verse that says this, this is actually God's will for us, being thankful. In First Thessalonians 5:18, it says, "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." It's actually his will for us. Have you ever saying like, "What's God's will for my life?" [Jennifer] You're doing it by listening to our podcast. [Aaron] To be thankful. [Jennifer] Being thankful. [Aaron] Yeah, and listening to our podcast. That's God's will. [Jennifer] No, he's just kidding. [Aaron] We're not gonna step outside scripture. No, his will is that you're thankful, right? So if you're ever wondering, "What's God's will for my life?" Thankfulness. And to be honest, the mere fact that sinners like us are saved by grace through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone- Gospel. Right. It is incredible, miraculous, and worthy of all thanks. [Jennifer] Our perspective matters, it really does. All right, Aaron, why don't you kick us off with what you're grateful for. [Aaron] I am grateful for a new year to pursue God and grow in my knowledge of him, because of what I just said about him. [Jennifer] Awesome, mine's a little bit longer, if that's okay. [Aaron] You didn't give it a length. It can be as long as you want. I know, I know. As long or short as you want. I am grateful for the downtime we had this last year, just between having Edith and postpartum and everything else that went on. I'm just really grateful for my family and being able to spend that time with you guys. It was a lot slower than what we are used to, but I really enjoyed it. [Aaron] Yeah. And God is good. [Jennifer] God is so good. All right, so now you guys get to consider what you're grateful for. And be sure to share it with the Lord and with your spouse and with your friends and anyone else you can think of. And encourage them to spread the message of gratefulness. [Aaron] And a PS gratefulness, we are grateful for you. [Jennifer] So grateful, and it feels so good to be back. This was our kickoff episode, and we just wanted to recap, you know, what kind of took place and moving into the new year. Our encouragement was that beginning portion of that. We have hope as believers, we have hope in Jesus Christ, and we're gonna carry that hope into this next year, whatever it has for us. And we're really excited about the season and the episodes that we just shared and what's to come. [Aaron] So we're gonna end in prayer, as we usually do. Dear Lord, thank you for this last year. Although it was difficult and different, in many ways, we know you were working. We trust you, and we hope for all that is to come, all that your word says will come. We are excited for this new year and the many opportunities we'll have by your grace to share your gospel with others. We pray for boldness and great faith. We pray for the right words when the time is right. We pray for the receptive hearts, and we pray for revival. May you draw hearts closer to yourself. We pray marriages would be stronger this year. We pray our eyes and our hearts would be focused on you, what you are doing and how we can participate. We pray for truth to prevail. We pray gratefulness will overwhelm our hearts and our minds. May your peace guard us, and may your Holy Spirit lead us into this next year. In Jesus's name, amen. And we love you all. And thank you for joining us for the beginning of season five. We look forward to many more episodes with you. And I didn't note this earlier, but because we're not doing social media as much, what we wanted to encourage our listeners is that you would be the one that spreads the word about the podcast. And so if you were blessed by this, and if you want to, would you just share this, somehow, some way, either on one of your social media networks- [Jennifer] Or just word of mouth. [Aaron] Tell someone about it, send it in an email, text it to someone. I think it'd be awesome if this podcast grew this year purely by our listeners. And so if that's something you wanna do, we'd love to invite you to do that. [Jennifer] Also, don't forget to get your free thing that we have for you guys, and that's just the 31 prayer challenge. You can go to marriageprayerchallenge.com to sign up and get started on that. [Aaron] We love you all, and we'll see you next week.
Making Changes Together

Making Changes Together

2020-07-0733:141

Change is inevitable. Some love it, some hate it and sometimes it can't be avoided. Today we talk about how we make changes and we also share some change that we are making with Marriage After God
Dear Lord,Thank you for the responsibility of parenting. It is not always easy, yet it is a worthy and noble task. We pray we would be intentional parents who tend to the soil of our children’s hearts. We pray we would be willing to get down on our knees, to get dirty even when its inconvenient or challenging and show our children how to live according to your ways. We pray we would raise our children to know You and know your word. May you plant seeds of salvation in their hearts and may our children receive you and be world changers, bringing you glory! In Jesus’ name, amen!
In This episode we want to talk about a few people in the bible that have really encouraged us lately and we hope their stories encourage you and your marriage as well. 
The Promises Of God

The Promises Of God

2020-06-1645:151

Do you feel weak or powerless? Do you feel like you can't walk in freedom? If that is you today We want to encourage you from the word of God. http://parentingprayerchallenge.com2 Peter 1:3-4His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 
Our Salvation Stories

Our Salvation Stories

2020-06-0849:15

In this episode, we share how we both came to know and walk with the Lord!
The world as a whole seems to be experiencing crises. In the last five months, we have seen headline after headline in the news and on social media. There is so much hardship, pain, death, loss, uncertainty, fear, chaos, and unrest.In addition to it all, there are countless more trials, hardships, and painful circumstances that didn’t make headlines. We are all hoping for peace. We are all wondering how to walk out these things, especially together in marriage.Whether you are currently facing hardship or if those times are ahead to come, we want to encourage you to walk through them in your marriage together, supporting each other and looking to God's Word to guide you.https://marriageaftergod.com
We start season 4 off by sharing the story of our first home birth. READ TRANSCRIPT[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 share our first home birth story. Welcome to the marriage after God podcast where we believe that marriage was meant for more than just happily ever after.[Jennifer] I am Jennifer, also known as unveiled wife.[Aaron] And I'm Aaron, also known as husband evolution.[Jennifer] We have been married for over 13 years.[Aaron] And so far we have five children under eight.[Jennifer] We have been doing marriage ministry online for over nine years through blogging, social media and writing over 10 books.[Aaron] With a desire to inspire couples to keep God at the center of their marriage, encouraging them to walk in faith every day.[Jennifer] We believe that Christian marriage should be an extraordinary one full of life...[Aaron] Love.[Jennifer] And power-[Aaron] That can only be found by chasing after God.[Jennifer] Together.[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 Marriage After God.[Jennifer] Season four.[Aaron] We're on season four. Yeah, this is crazy.[Jennifer] Awesome.[Aaron] We've had a lot of episodes, but we're back for season four. So if you're tuning in, welcome. If this is your first time, we're so glad that you're here. Listening to the Marriage After God podcasts. We pray that it's an encouragement to you and a blessing, but if you've been listening for a long time, welcome back. We're so excited to have you here.[Jennifer] Hi everyone.[Aaron] Yeah, and we're recording this in our garage as usual and it's still locked down season. And I know that a little interesting for everyone. It's interesting for us. Jennifer, have you had any thoughts about the season we're in with lockdown COVID-19 pandemic, unprecedented times.[Jennifer] Yeah, I mean, I've had some thoughts about it. I think what's been really a blessing is that we've been in postpartum season, so we had our baby and so we would have been kind of having a low key life anyways right now. Just with me resting, nursing is always usually an issue with our kids. Baby Edith had a tongue tie like several other of our children. And so the first couple of weeks was just basically me and her figuring that out. And so-[Aaron] I do feel like though we started self quarantine earlier because we were leading up to having the baby and then all of this stuff happened right around the same time as having the baby.[Jennifer] Yeah. I would say this we had a really good distraction from what was happening in the world. And so now we're kind of like coming up out of that we just hit the six week mark after having the baby. And I think the most important thing has been for me has been to communicate with you in navigating this pandemic and what the world looks like these days. And it gives me peace, being able to talk to you. It gives me a bit of relief and just knowing that I can share my thoughts, my concerns, whatever that I'm going through with you. What would you say?[Aaron] Well, same. We've been having a lot of conversations about it. We've also had a lovely conversation with our kids. It's kind of hard to like hide it from them cause why can't we hang out with our friends? Why can't we go out? And we're like, "Well, there's a lot of things going on the world." which is going on.[Jennifer] And as an encouragement to parents, I think it's so important that we really understand that our kids lean on us for security and support, especially in times like these. So when they have these big questions, we should be answering them. If they see us being able to have peace and hope and joy amidst the chaos it will give them guidance on how they can respond in times like these. if they sense in us fear and anxiety over the situation, then that could also influence them. So I think as parents, I think it's really cool to see that God has given us an opportunity with our kids to help them navigate this whole thing. And I think it's good for us to engage in conversation with them. It doesn't mean we have to explain everything, especially we can keep it age appropriate. But just being able to willing to have conversations with them.[Aaron] Well, and also being honest with them and letting them know that sometimes we don't have the answers. Like we don't know the appropriate way to respond to all this. We don't know exactly how this is going to turn out. We don't know... Like we just, there's a lot of answers we don't have.[Jennifer] And then we tell them, but our trust and our hope is in God. And so it's another opportunity to point them back to God and encourage their hearts to be able to trust God and I don't know, just to be able to move forward still in life and know that he has us.[Aaron] Yeah, and it's also been good to, I feel like in America we have a lot of comforts and this has shown us how dependent we might be on some comforts. And also brought us to a point that one of the other benefits to this is reminding us of our need for Christ, our need for his peace, his satisfaction, being satisfied in him alone. So one thing we've been trying to encourage our children, whether we catch it or not, whether we are always healthy, we don't know how this is going to turn out. We encourage them to know that God is good. God has us, he knows his plans for us and that we can't control all of those things, but what we can do is look to God who's in control.[Jennifer] Yeah, Aaron, you brought up comforts and especially living here in America. However this whole thing has also allowed us to see how people might be struggling. So you use the word comfort, but I also want to just mention that there's a lot people who've been greatly impacted by this whole thing in a negative way in a lot of different ways. So, I dunno if you want to speak to that.[Aaron] Well, yeah, we know that there's millions and millions of people that have lost their jobs. Some might not get them back. And so our hearts break for that situation. And we know that there's people that are sick. We know that there's people that are, that have other issues going on, that are not COVID-19 related and are having a hard time dealing with that. There's mental issues, there's abuse, there's a lot of things going on in this world that are being exasperated by this situation. And so-[Jennifer] As Christians, I think that we need to remember all of that especially if maybe we're in a different situation, but no matter what our hearts should be to be in prayer for everyone who's been impacted by it.[Aaron] And also been asking the Lord how we can be used.[Jennifer] Yeah, cause we're his body.[Aaron] We might know someone that needs some love, some reaching out, some help. And so we should be aware of that and ready for that. And we should be praying for each other. Praying for those that are going through hard situations and our prayers should not just be, "God, make their situation better."[Jennifer] Or even, "God let us go just back to normal."[Aaron] Right, because that's a thing that I have is like, "Hey, can we just go back to normal?" Our kids keep praying like God make this go away. They miss normalcy. But our prayer should be that hearts are softened. Hearts are turned towards the Lord, that people are brought back to the Lord, that people that don't know the Lord and find him, that families are healed and mended, that like these deeper things. That even if the body is broken, the spirit can be made whole. And so, yes, we should be praying for healing. Yes, it's good to pray for being taken care of financially and being taken care of in these ways. But right now, this is the time when man, the spirit of God catches hold of people. And so we should be praying that hearts are ready to receive. Hearts are open to hear the word of God are being watered and seeds are being planted. And that's, I mean, I don't know, more than anything. I want people to be saved in this time for eternity, not just for the season. So do you have any last thoughts on, I mean there's gonna be lots of thoughts.[Jennifer] I know we could probably do a whole episode on it. Two things. The first thing I was just thinking, if people are listening to this episode in the future. So like going-Yeah, after the-[Jennifer] After the fact, after all this has kind of settled down a bit. I just wonder what their thoughts would be just being reminded of this time. And then my other thought was just an encouragement and it's just for husbands and wives, it's an encouragement to be communicating with each other because no matter what your situation looks like right now you have someone right next to you who's going through it with you. And sometimes, I don't know those listening are like me, but sometimes I get caught up in my head where I'm having conversations in my head, even with you Aaron, and I'm like answering for you. But, then I realized I haven't actually talked to you in a couple of days about how I'm feeling or about what I'm thinking. So my encouragement is, especially in times like these that we are open and transparent and vulnerable specifically with each other.[Aaron] Yeah, I was also thinking, we are friends and families. Not being afraid to just come straight out and say, "Hey, how are you dealing with all this? "Hey, how's your heart? "Are you going through any sort of depression? "Is there any fears that you're like-[Jennifer] Yeah, are you okey?[Aaron] "that are just getting inside your heart." And just asking so that they can be maybe brought out of that darkness, maybe brought out of their shell and not be afraid to ask those questions. Cause I would imagine there's a lot of people dealing with hidden fears and anxieties right now.[Jennifer] And it's okay if you don't know how to answer them. It's okay if the greatest thing you can even say is I'm going to be praying for you or just stop and pray for them right then and there. But I think it was important that we just spend a little bit of time on that since this is such a huge thing going on in our lives right now. And our hearts go out to everyone. And we know this is just crazy, but God is good, like you said.[Aaron] And God's not surprised by any of this stuff. I just wanted to bring up a verse. James 1:12 says, Blessed is the the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Over and over again the New Testament speaks of steadfastness and continuing on and standing strong and standing firm. And I just want to encourage everyone, you believers out there, that we need to stand strong in the word of God and we need to remember who's got us, whose hand upholds us, who guides our steps and makes our paths and brings light into our life and it's God. And so we need to put our strength, our hope and strengths in him because they're not, and our hopes are not in the government. They're not in a vaccine, they're not in treatments, they're not in the, it just going away or those things are going to come and things happen, but we can't control any of this stuff. We just can't. And if we put our hope in those things that our hope is gonna fail. So let's put our hope in the only thing that's consistent, the only one that is a firm foundation and it's God and his word. And let's look to him for wisdom and guidance on how as believers we are to approach this thing that was going on. Cause he's the only, James also says, "If you lack wisdom, ask. "And we will be given wisdom as long as we do not doubt." And so let's ask him for wisdom. I need wisdom. We've been talking a lot about this man. Like how do we deal with all of these things? And we're definitely don't deal with it in fear, but we don't deal with it on our own strengths, our own wisdom. We lean not on our own understanding, but on every word, on God's wisdom. So that's what I just want to encourage everyone with is remain steadfast in these trials. And let's look to God for answers and our hope and for our courage and our wisdom.[Jennifer] And our peace.[Aaron] Oh, most importantly, our peace. So, that was just a bit of a encouraging word for everyone. We need it ourselves. I mean, he reminded ourselves, but I just want to invite everyone to, if you have children or if you're thinking about having children or if you're pregnant, we have something that we've created for you. It's a free resource and it's called the parenting prayer challenge. You can go to parentingprayerchallenge.com all one word and it's completely free to sign up and we will send you over the next 31 days, email with something to pray for and a reminder to pray for it. And it's pretty awesome. We've had almost a thousand people sign up for it and we would love for you to take advantage of it. We created it just for you. And man, it's an awesome thing and it reminds us as parents to pray for our children and there's awesome prompts in there to pray for all these different areas of your child's life. So yeah, we just, it's parentingprayerchallenge.com it's totally free and become part of the people that are going through that challenge.[Jennifer] All right, so today's topic is our first home birth story. No, it's not our first birth story. Obviously if you've followed us for any amount of time, this was baby number five. And, it's just kind of an interesting story and we're excited to share it with you guys.[Aaron] What's more interesting is that we actually fit every one of our kids and us inside of our explorer.[Jennifer] It's tightly, but it's good.[Aaron] It's tight. But that was just a fun little adventure that we figured out.[Jennifer] Aaron was surprised by that.[Aaron] I was a little surprised. They would fit without car seats. But the trick is as we have five car seats. We have actually we have-Four cars seats.[Aaron] four cars and two boosters or is it three car seats, two boosters.[Jennifer] Right.[Aaron] And just the way it's all arranged, we barely fit. It will be a lot better when some of them are out of their boosters. That'll make a big difference, but-[Jennifer] That's okay. Thanks for sharing. so the first four births were done in the hospital and we were happy with those experiences and we had the same, what's it called? It's not a goal. Same birth plan.[Aaron] Our plan was, we'd love to having children in the hospital, actually really love our local hospital here.[Jennifer] And food is so good.[Aaron] The rooms are just really nice and quite.[Jennifer] The people are so nice.[Aaron] It's been good. So we're not opposed to hospital births by any means.[Jennifer] No, we had that plan held in our hands. My whole pregnancy really, and the word changed that at the finish line.[Aaron] Pretty much, yeah.[Jennifer] And so it was our first home birth and I got gotta be honest, I was nervous. Even in the past I've been nervous to even consider a home birth, even though I know people and I've followed people online that have had them.[Aaron] And even though your pregnancies and labors have all been considerably like easy, not easy and-Easy is a funny word-[Aaron] It's safe, I should say.[Jennifer] Yes. Not emergency or anything.[Aaron] Nothing, you haven't had any big emergencies. It's like it just, it goes as planned usually.[Jennifer] Yeah. So anyways, I don't know. We just, we held our birth plan loosely as we believe people should and we submit it to the Lord. And really the last trimester is when all of the world started falling apart with the pandemic. And even more so in the last few weeks of my pregnancy. Protocols at the hospital started changing.[Aaron] They started limiting the number of people that could be in the rooms.[Jennifer] We started seeing a lot more articles online being shown stories of that happening. And I came home from one of my last appointments and I was sharing with Aaron these changes that had just been made and we were about to have our baby and I, there was a part of me that just was wondering what is the hospital experience going to be like? And we're just sharing some of our thoughts with each other.[Aaron] And we also, because a big part of this conversation is what was going on in the world. It wasn't just like whether or not we wanted to have a home birth. It was what is our, what does this situation look like for us amidst all of like the virus that's going around. And so we were discussing this and I just wanted to let everyone know that our number one discussion was, are we afraid? Are we gonna be in fear? Are we gonna make decisions or are we gonna be going into this with any anxieties? Because those are realities like, "Oh my gosh, we got to go to like the hospital, "which is where everyone goes that has, "that gets the virus." So that was a part of this conversation was. We are not going to be afraid regardless. Like whether we are going to be exposed or not. We want to have no fear. We want to trust the Lord because he does know what's going on, so.[Jennifer] Totally. Yeah, and also so everyone knows Aaron has been an advocate for home birth for several of my pregnancies. You would ask me like, "Hey, are you interested this time?"[Aaron] I've been pushing for a while.[Jennifer] But you've always been supportive too of what we've decided together. And so, when I came home from that appointment, I shared everything with you. And you suggested it again. You're like, "What about a home birth?" And I'm like, I kind of laughed about it. I was like, no, no, no, no. Like if I'm too far in my pregnancy that's crazy talk, I would have to adjust mentally and it just seems-[Aaron] And I would even be able to get a midwife. How is this gonna work?[Jennifer] It seemed impossible. And you were so hopeful and you're like, "Why don't you just call them and just see what's going on? "Cause maybe they've talked to other people about this." And so I made the phone call and no one answered. And I said, "See, okay, so we're not doing that."[Aaron] Did you leave a message?[Jennifer] Yeah. So by the end of that day, I had been praying and it had been on my heart just to consider both a hospital birth or a home birth. And the Lord gave me so much peace and I was okay with either one.[Aaron] And the same, yeah.[Jennifer] So when I said earlier about having an open hand, having my birth plan and an open hand and open heart, it was this piece that I had that was like, no matter what happens or how I give birth, it's the Lord.[Aaron] I actually remember, I think it was a, I don't know the exact date, but it was about a week before this. You posted a picture of the kids or something on Instagram and you wrote this beautiful thing saying, "Hey, here's my birth plan. "We want to do this." And you said, "but open-handed of course."[Jennifer] Yeah, it was an infant story and it was right at the bottom.[Aaron] And I said, but open-handed of course. And you had this whole idea. And it was before everything started getting really crazy. News-wise, but I remember you got someone messaged you and said, "Please don't have it at the hospital." Cause they were so concerned that's where you shouldn't be. And there were, it was so loving and so concerned. And we saw that and we're like, huh. But we didn't like talk about it.[Jennifer] I didn't think about it.[Aaron] But looking back on it, I was like, "Oh, that was kinda cool. "It was like open handed." Someone was like encouraging you in that direction, but.[Jennifer] So anyways, we were praying about it, but we hadn't heard back from the midwife and until the next morning. Give me some questions and I think they were just being really nice given the situation of what was happening in our world and our state. But because I had established care throughout my pregnancy, I didn't have any-[Aaron] There was no flags.[Jennifer] There was, yeah, there was no red flags, there was no problems or issues that I had throughout my pregnancy. My past pregnancies have been healthy and my labors have been fine and I haven't needed interventions or anything like that. And so they said yes and they were willing to meet with me that day.[Aaron] Which is they never do.[Jennifer] I just felt-[Aaron] They were willing to do this in this season for you.[Jennifer] Yeah. It just felt like an impossible situation that God just said, "Here, this is what I want you to walk through." And I got off the phone almost in tears because I then I had to tell Aaron that it was a go and I was, I was like, okay but like, yeah, this is, I didn't know, I was speechless really. I don't know how to explain that.[Aaron] Did you want not to tell me?[Jennifer] No, no, no, no, but I, and there was a part of me that was really excited, like I have never done a home birth before. Like how cool that I get to do this now. And then my next immediate thought was, "Oh my gosh, are we prepared for this?" Because I didn't know. I hadn't been researching about what to have for a home birth. So that, the next thing-[Aaron] I know is a little weird to think about. Like, what am I supposed... Am I supposed to have anything?[Jennifer] Yeah. So the other cool thing is that we didn't really need much. I felt like what I had like in my hospital bag and things at home already we were prepared for. There's just a couple of other things that you went out to get like an extra set of sheets and I don't remember.[Aaron] Some pillows and something like that.[Jennifer] I don't remember.[Aaron] The midwife give you a list of things. We had like 90% of the things on the list already.[Jennifer] Yeah. And they provided-[Aaron] There was only a few things I had to get. So that was pretty cool.[Jennifer] Then I had to wrap my head around it mentally and that just took prayer and me so many into God and saying, okay Lord, help me transition.[Aaron] Yeah, I think you mentioned a little bit ago that I've tried, I've been a proponent for home births and you said you don't know and I was okay with you doing hospital births, but I remember you saying like, "I'll do it when I have to."[Jennifer] Yeah like if something's gonna push me to do it, then I will. Like I'm not opposed to it. I just, I'm not ready for that yet.[Aaron] And I was like, "Maybe this is the thing making you have to," but it was perfect cause it was what you had committed to in your heart was like, "Well, when I have to, I will." And this was kind of one of those situations where I was like, we didn't have to, it would probably would have been totally fine, but we had the opportunity.[Jennifer] Well that's the thing is at the end of that day, I just knew I had peace that, or I'm sorry that the day before I knew that God would help us through no matter what we chose, whether it was home birth or hospital. And I had so much peace about it and I think that's why getting off the phone with the midwife, I was excited and okay and yet nervous about it.[Aaron] Of course yeah.[Jennifer] It was so neat that God provided a way for that. And so we started preparing for that. We started telling the kids we were cleaning the house, we were making a way for that to take place. And it was just a really exciting time for our family. A very short time.[Aaron] Yeah. Though the week prior, I was on maybe five days before we had the baby, I took the, we do have a chalkboard in our kitchen I did a little game with the kids and I said, I want, so who, what day do you think mom is gonna have the baby? And we started doing this voting and I would put down like, do you think it's going to be Monday? And it was like, leading up to the due date. And so everyone put their little dates down, even Truett voted. And I'm just bringing this up because me and Elliot were right. And so, we actually voted for the due date, which was the 20th.[Jennifer] I actually remember coming out and you explaining this whole thing to me and Elliot looking up at me going, "Mom, the reason I chose your due date is because 'you haven't had a baby on your due date yet." And he just thought that would be so cool.[Aaron] Yeah, and that's why we actually voted that because I feel like all the babies have been either right before or right after and it wasn't like way after.[Jennifer] Yeah, well Elliot, our first and Truett our fourth, were both due, were both born a day before their due date. Olive was three days past. And Wyatt was eight days past.[Aaron] Yeah, he was a big baby. But so we voted for the 20th, which is pretty cool because you were having like on the 19th, I remember you were kind of having some contractions but it didn't like go anywhere. And then the 20th, when did they start?[Jennifer] So I didn't have any, like I wasn't feeling any contractions the day before, but I just felt like it was going to happen soon. Like I could just tell my body was getting ready. But contractions started at about 1:30 in the morning, on her due date.[Aaron] Oh, that's what that, okay. It was 1:30 in the morning. That when it was.[Jennifer] Yeah. And they started and they were pretty close together. I mean seven, eight minutes apart, pretty consistently for a few hours. And then we got disrupted. Truett woke up, which he never does with a huge explosion, poop explosion. I'm trying to keep it clean here.[Aaron] It was horrible. It was all over his bed. It was all over him.[Jennifer] I've never had an experience like with having five kids now, I've never had an experience like this. So to be contracting and have that, I'm like, wait a minute.[Aaron] What time was that?[Jennifer] It was like five o'clock in the morning.[Aaron] It was early. So I'm up, like we're putting him in the bath and there's like poop everywhere. It was like, so gross.[Jennifer] So I told Aaron, you go lay in bed with him and since I'm up anyways, I'll do the laundry and-[Aaron] We couldn't put him back in his bed. It was like a war zone.[Jennifer] It was crazy. So now that you guys are all grossed out, I know. I feel like that just distracted my mind and body or maybe that's just the way it was supposed to be. But contractions kind of slowed down and were more sporadic. So it was like 11 to 15 minutes apart for a long time. I mean hours and I have a cute story, another cute story about Truett. This one's cleaner. About 10 o'clock in the morning I came out of the bedroom and Aaron had been hanging out with the kids and you left to go to the bathroom or something. And I started contracting. I had a big contraction and so I threw two pillows down on the living room floor and I was kneeling in front of them because I was gonna kind of try and either lay down or hold them. And Truett comes up and lays down on the pillows looking up at me and I'm just like on my hands and knees looking down at him. But I'm like trying to breathe through this contraction and he's just smiling. It was like a little redemptive moment for us, but it was sweet. So I labored all day at home. And one cool thing that I wanted to share with you guys is, the night before I went into labor, I was doing a little bit of research and just reading people's home birth stories that they've shared on their blogs. And I can't remember exactly who's I read, but she said this, she said, "Through every contraction "I used the opportunity to pray for someone else. "My husband, my children, friends." And I remembered that as soon as I started contracting and I said, "Oh, I'm gonna do that." I was determined. I was like committed to it, to this idea of prayer throughout each contraction. And it was such a beautiful experience. You guys, every time a contraction came, I would quickly think of someone who I would want to pray for my family, friends, really random things that, I kinda just like allowed the Lord to bring to my mind in that moment, whatever he wanted me to pray for. And so I would pray from the beginning of the contraction, throughout to the end. And not only was it a good distraction from the pain, but what a cool experience to use that opportunity to draw closer to the Lord and to lift up others. Like it was just, I recommend that for anyone going through labor. It was so beautiful.[Aaron] Yeah, it was actually beautiful to watch because you told me you're like, I'm using contractions to pray. And I was like, "Oh, that's awesome."[Jennifer] Yeah. What was actually even crazier was there was this one contraction that I was determined to pray for kids who during specifically this pandemic and stay having stay at home orders who have experienced abuse at home. And I had seen something on social media, maybe Facebook about this. And I hadn't thought about it before then. And so it stood out to me. And so, the contraction started and I started praying for these kids who are at home and possibly experiencing abuse. And as I was praying, you guys, the contractions started building up and becoming more intense and more painful. And it hadn't been like this in all the other contractions and it lasted the longest. And I just kept praying for these children. And by the end of it, I remember telling you, Aaron, that I felt like the Lord was showing me like almost like in relation to their pain, how bad my contraction was. It was kind of really interesting, but my heart just broke for that.[Aaron] Yeah, I think I remember you were crying a little bit in that one.[Jennifer] So, anyways, if you guys are pregnant or if you are gonna have a baby and you're thinking about contracting. I don't know, just remember this, pray, use that time to pray for other people. It's really cool.[Aaron] It's a similar experience to fasting. Like the point of fasting is when the hunger pains come on. When your flesh wants to be fed or to be consoled, we pray. It's the trigger point to pray. I wanted to just bring up a verse real quick, just talking about this whole experience because we have so many plans in life, we have this, we set in our mind how we want something to happen, how we want something to go. I mean, I don't think it was in anyone's mind that the world was going to change the way it's changing, but guess what? It changed. And things are changing every day. And, Proverbs 19:21 says, Many are the plans in the mind of a man but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. And so it's awesome. I mean, in this situation, we got circular, whatever your purposes, we want that to stand. We'd get, of course we have plans. We're going to make plans, there's many of them. But are we gonna be irritated when our plans get foiled? When our plans don't come true and we get blinded to see like, well, what is God doing? Like, God apparently wants something else to be happening right now. That's contrary to my own plans. And so when we can say, "Okay, Lord, like yes, we've made plans, "but what we want more is your purposes to be, to stand."[Jennifer] That's really good.[Aaron] So that's kind of what we saw happening here. And there's other things that God had in store for this, but I just wanted to point everyone back to God's purposes.[Jennifer] Awesome. So as my contractions progressed, they got a little bit closer together and, but nothing really was like showing us that delivery was soon. So this was probably around nap time. So I remember Aaron coming in the bedroom after he laid the kids down and, you just started praying for me and you weren't telling God what to do because we don't do that. But you were like, let's get the show on the road. I want to meet my daughter. And you were really excited for things too.[Aaron] Well, I remember you told me, like, you're not, you don't know why it's slowed down. You're like, I feel like we were getting somewhere. Cause we were, it was getting, they were getting closer and closer and closer and consistent. And then it was like, they just totally like tapered off and slowed down. They were still there, but, and you were just like, I don't know. And I was like, "Well, let's pray about it."[Jennifer] Yeah, and it was kind of a sporadic day, like a very, like when I think about my other four and I even told the midwives this, when I first met them that with my other four kids, once contraction started, they would-They don't stop.[ Jennifer] they don't stop and they just keep going. And then I have the baby and they're generally short labors and this was not like that. This was just different and-[Aaron] Maybe being home made you much more relaxed.[Jennifer] I don't know. I don't know what it was, but I do think this, something that was on my mind. And I remember sharing this with you after you prayed for me, was that I love end times, when we think about Christ return and all of that, and there's a verse, people probably know what I'm referring to, but it's in Matthew 24. And one of the disciples asked when the end of the age is going to come and Jesus goes off explaining the Wars and rumors of Wars and famines and all these things that are hard. And then at the very end, he said, all of these are, but the beginning of the birth pains. So they're like contractions and-[Aaron] He points out the world chaos as contractions, just like in labor.[Jennifer] Yeah, until the delivery of our King.[Aaron] Which showed off light and distant and they get more and more aggressive and closer together.[Jennifer] But sometimes they also slow down. It's kind of like, we get these moments of peace and everything's great. And everything in the world seems to be going fine. And then you get this really big contraction or you get this really painful one, or you get this really long one. And you're like, "Wow, this is not stopping." And so I felt like the Lord kind of gave me this picture with what I was physically and experiencing and enduring, with how sporadic the day was with my contractions and showing him a picture of the world and saying, sometimes it feels like you're about to have that baby. And then it slows down and stops. And there's this rest period.[Aaron] Well, and I wanna expound on that encouragement a little bit, because I think as the church at large, would it be valuable for us to continue to remember that we do have? The Lord is returning. And the things that he's shown us in scripture, like what we see going on in the world, the Wars, the rumors of Wars, the pestilence, the massive earthquakes, the volcanoes, all these things, like everything. Like the chaos in the world, there birth pains. And so it could look scary, but for the believer for the one who has our faith in Christ.[Jennifer] We know it's to come.[Aaron] There's something good coming on the other end. The Bible says, that in birth, the woman is in pain, but once the baby comes, she's forgotten the pain. And the point is of course you don't forget the pain, but the thing that you've been waiting for and going through the pain for is now here.[Jennifer] I think there's a version of the Bible that says that she's in anguish. Is not even just pain. It's like emotional and physical and it's draining.[Aaron] So church believers, we can look at the world and these things that we see going on the world shouldn't cause fear in us, it should bring us hope. And that's what even Jesus has. He says, I tell you these things that you might have hope because when we see these things, as the believer, we know what they mean. Just like when I see my wife going into contractions, I don't think, what's happening? I think, "Oh man, the more painful "and the more close these get together, "the sooner I'm gonna meet my daughter." And so even though it's painful and it's a struggle and it's a trial, it's temporary. And we even know that Paul says, "I know that our current struggles "are nothing to be compared with the coming glory." So I just want to encourage you believers out there that, the Bible, Jesus and the Bible gives us this idea of birth pains for a reason, because the example we get in birth of the contraction starting far apart, we get to look at the things going on the world and say, wow, the more that we see these, the closer they get together, it should turn our eyes up to look for our savior.[Jennifer] Yup. That's good. So, I feel like right after you prayed over me during that nap time, the Lord must have heard because things started picking up-[Aaron] Pretty quick.[Jennifer] pretty quickly. The contractions started getting closer together, more painful and just really the signs of labor were just all converging. And what was really cool was Olive's home. And so she got to participate. I remember so many times-[Aaron] Another benefit of having the baby at home.[Jennifer] Yeah, our four year old little daughter, almost five, was so thrilled to be able to participate in it. And she would, I would be on that big, the big bouncing ball, through contractions and she'd be sitting in front of me on my bed and she'd reach out and put her hand on my leg and encourage me. She'd rub my arms.[Aaron] Shoulders.[Jennifer] She'd look up at me and she go, "Mom, you can do this." Or she'd caught pretty much copy Aaron, anything that Aaron did, she'd do five minutes later. So she'd say, mom, she'd see a contraction coming. She goes, "Mom, just breathe." And then she breath with me-[Aaron] Yeah cause I kept reminding you like breathe, open your mouth.[Jennifer] Yeah, so that was really sweet. There was a handful of time. She prayed for me.[Aaron] What was that thing she told you? There was a moment as you got closer and you were just like, I think you said, I can't do this. Or I don't think I could do this. That's what it was. I don't think I could do this. What did she say?[Jennifer] She said, "You could do it, mom." I don't remember.[Aaron] It was really powerful. She was like, "You can do it mom. "And actually you have to do it the baby is coming."[Jennifer] Yeah. She's serious.[Aaron] She was good.[Jennifer] She's so funny, but such an encourager. And actually now she would love to be a midwife when she grows up after realizing what they do, handling mamas and babies all day.[Aaron] She wasn't freaked out by any of it.[Jennifer] No, she was such so strong. So yeah, things started picking up and I knew I was getting closer. So we called the midwife to come check on us and my friend Angie, who was going to be present at the birth. And another thing that I wanted to share with you guys is one of my desires from the beginning of this pregnancy was-[Aaron] Plans.[Jennifer] I mean, yeah. Was to praise my baby out. And I know it sounds kind of weird, but I've heard other phrases of like breathing the baby out or just letting your body kind of push the baby out. But my heart was that I would worship God throughout the whole experience. And I wanted to be like highly aware that I was able to do this during labor and delivery. And not only did Olive remind me to be singing very loudly because she was doing that. We had a specific playlist that we were playing and the songs like Waymaker and I Will Wait For You by Shane and Shane, like just some really great songs.[Aaron] Did you have in Christ alone in there?[Jennifer] In Christ alone, it was my Anthem throughout pregnancy. I just, I played that song every day. I just, I love that song and it was actually the song she was born too, which is really cool.[Aaron] It came on, and then-[Jennifer] She came.she came.[Jennifer] It was so cool you guys. And also Angie, cause I have a really close relationship with her. She knew this was a desire of mine. And towards the end specifically, I remember hearing her voice saying, "Jen remember to praise," like remember to sing, remember to worship and as hard as it was because I was giving birth and it's hard to even breathe at that time to be able to sing. It was like, my flesh was like, I don't want to do that right now. And then I heard the words of the song playing and I would just jump in and start singing. It was such a cool experience.[Aaron] I think you were singing it while you were pushing her out. Like it was that-[Jennifer] I was saying, "God you're good, " I feel so good."[Aaron] Yeah, it was pretty powerful and what's awesome is, another one of your plans and your heart's desire was to be like ministering and you wanted your labor to be a witness and a blessing to the nurses at the hospital.[Jennifer] I was just gonna say to the nurses at the hospital, it was one of my prayers throughout the pregnancy. I was praying for their hearts. I was praying for whoever was present at the birth to see God in it, whether it was in our relationship and the way we were interacting or in the actual birth. But my heart was that God would use this labor and delivery in a purposeful way in the hearts of those who were experiencing it alongside me, but what I didn't know was, I had been praying for the nurses and doctors. And then at the last minute we changed to a home birth.[Aaron] But God knew.[Jennifer] But God knew who was going to be there.[Aaron] And I remember that, I mean, you're singing worship songs. You're like are just the way we were interacting was really peaceful, really strong, really calm. And with our daughter there and just, I feel like the whole experience was very worshipful. It was really peaceful, really cool. And I know that it impacted the midwives that were there.[Jennifer] I hope so.[Aaron] First of all, they were awesome.[Jennifer] They were amazing.[Aaron] Really quiet, really calm like just really in control.[Jennifer] But also attentative.[Aaron] And attentative, yeah. And I remember afterwards, one of the midwives was saying, what did she say? We are truly honored to be a part of this. It almost looked like she's gonna cry. I don't know if she was or not, but it looked like they were truly like blessed if anything, by your labor, babe, like you did such a good job.[Jennifer] I praise God.[Aaron] Yeah it was awesome.[Jennifer] So little Edith joined us at five on the dot.[Aaron] Five o'clock yeah.[Jennifer] 5:00 PM on her due date with bright copper red hair. It's so beautiful.[Aaron] Yeah, we're praying really hard right now. And if you want to pray with us that she keeps that hair.[Jennifer] Oh, it's okay. It's just, all of our kids are blonde, so I'm assuming it'll change, but it's such a sweet color, especially in the side.[Aaron] Olive came out with really dark hair.[Jennifer] Yeah, it wasn't as red, but it was-[Aaron] It wasn't as red, Wyatt came out with like a-[Jennifer] Well, he was bald and so it was Truett.[Aaron] But its cute when it grew and it was a little red.[Jennifer] It was like a strawberry blonde. He's still kind strawberry blonde.[Aaron] But she is like, you were looking at it right now. It's super, she's super red.[Jennifer] She's sleeping. So anyways, all to say this, you guys, it was a really neat experience to be able to have a peaceful home birth. I thank the Lord that my past pregnancies and history was there. They were fine. And there was no interventions or-[Aaron] No complicated ones.[Jennifer] Yeah, there was no complications or anything like that. And that the Lord gave me the confidence to be able to say yes to this and that we were able to lean on each other, Aaron, to be able to do that.[Aaron] Do you feel like it was what God wanted?[Jennifer] I do. I feel like he had a plan from the beginning that he just didn't reveal to me until the end. Maybe he knew that's what I needed. I don't know.[Aaron] And we have no idea what God's doing in the hearts of those ladies that were with us and we need to keep praying for them because we don't know where they're at.[Jennifer] Or a daughter.[Aaron] Or a daughter. Yeah, But I mean-[Jennifer] I mean we know what's going-[Aaron] She's gonna become a midwife nurse.[Jennifer] She had all kinds of questions afterwards, but she just, she was thrilled to be able to participate in that way. I know it made her feel super special.[Aaron] So here's a question, probably all the pregnant ladies are thinking, would you do it again?[Jennifer] I remember texting a friend that later that night and she goes, so how was it? And I'm like, I'm a fan.[Aaron] Cause we have several people be like, "You can do this, you can do this." Cause we have a lot of friends that have done home births, almost all their kids, I think. And so they've been, they were really cheering you on another excited that you're like switched. And we know it's not for everybody.[Jennifer] But here, it's also something that I just keep telling myself as it's open. So like, even if we ever had another baby, I would be okay with having it in the hospital or at home. So it's just really submitting that to the Lord and saying, what do you want? This is for you.[Aaron] So babe I know there's probably a lot of women that are considering a home birth. If they've never had one before, how would you encourage someone who's already considering this?[Jennifer] Well for someone that's already considering it, I would just say again, pray about it and submit it to the Lord. Talk about it with your husband and do what research you need to do. All the questions that you might have surrounding it, go ask them, ask your friends, ask your care providers. Whoever's looking after you. But don't be afraid of it. I had a good friend tell me, like having a baby is not an emergency. It's a natural thing that God built our bodies to do.[Aaron] It's a good encouragement.[Jennifer] And we need to be able to trust that God's design works. Now there's a lot of cases out there where for whatever reason, someone needs to give birth in a hospital or someone needs an intervention and that's okay, too. So even for someone who's already planning a home birth or someone who desires a home birth, even they have to hold that birth plan loosely in their hands and submit it to the Lord and say, "God, what do you want from me?" And he might even change their plans to be a hospital birth. And I think the greatest thing is to just have peace no matter what that plan is and say, God, it's yours.[Aaron] Yeah, something I just want to remind everyone also is, and if you're not having caught it yet, we talk a lot about how our lives are to be ministry. It's not just like we have ministry over here. Like, "Oh, I work at this church "or I have this job over here. "That's some sort of ministry which no, those are bad." But when we realized that when Christ comes into us, when we have the Holy spirit, our life now is a ministry being poured out. We're being poured out into the world. We're lights set up on a hill. And so even in our home birth, we are doing ministry. Our life and the way we present ourselves and the way we react to each other and interact with each other and interact with the midwives and those around us is how the gospel is spread in the world. It's by our words and our actions, it's not by this thing set over here. And that happens once a week or every other week or once a month. It's everything we do. And if you're wondering what that looks like, ask God, say God, "How's my life? How is the things that we're pursuing, our labors, our work, our at home life, our schooling, our jobs, our everything? Our hobbies. How are we representing you everywhere we are? Because we are the body of Christ. Where we go, Christ goes. And so that's what we, our heart was for this labor. And it's what our heart is for this podcast, is what our heart is for our books, for our home, for our neighborhood. And so if you haven't thought that way, our parent hope is that your mind would be changed and that you would start to realize and recognize that every bit of your life is the Lords. And he desires it to be a offering to him. He desired, he calls us to be living sacrifices. And so, that's, what's amazing is we can be at home doing home birth, something that we don't need, didn't plan and say, "Okay, Lord, how are you gonna use this for you? "What do you want from us? "How can we participate in what you're doing "in the lives of those that are going to be here? "And also, what are you gonna do in us?" Cause there's a lot that God did in us, challenging us and changing our minds about things and showing us how to trust him more. So that was a little bit about our home birth story, which we think it's, God's story of course, all of our births. I wouldn't say this birth was any better than any of the other ones. Cause they all were amazing. I love meeting my children, but I did love a lot doing it at home. I really enjoyed it.[Jennifer] I really did too.[Aaron] So husbands out there, it was a pretty awesome experience if your wife is considering it, just know it's pretty awesome. You're home, it's more comfortable you're in your bed. If you have other children, they get to participate and see how it and know what's going on. And it was a really cool thing anyways. Yeah, that was our story, is there any last thing you wanna add?[Jennifer] I feel like, no, I think that what we shared was really cool and I'm, I just want everyone to hear me say that I love you and that I'm really proud of you. You're a really awesome support for me, especially during that time of labor and delivery and managing our other four kids during the whole thing. I just really love doing life with you and I'm excited that the podcast is back up and we're in season four. So I'm excited to be doing this with you.[Aaron] Awesome. Well, that was really nice. Thank you babe. I love you too and ditto and all of that. And bonus baby Edith this year and she is awesome.[Jennifer] She's doing really great.[Aaron] She's starting to smile and she's, I want her to cue a lot more, but she's just barely started.[Jennifer] She likes open's her mouth like she's gonna and then she just sit there and wait, she doesn't do it.[Aaron] She teases us, but she is so sweet. All right. We love you all. My hope that was an encouragement to you and a blessing. We're praying for you. We pray that God just moved mightily in your marriages and uses you for mighty things for his kingdom, wherever you're at. And during the season of chaos and craziness, just remember God's our peace and our hope.[Jennifer] And he is good.[Aaron] And he is good. And if you have been wavering in your faith in the Lord, I pray that you would just ran to him like, like you've never ran to him before and that you would surrender everything. He's the only thing worthy of giving your entire life to, and one day we're gonna be able to spend eternity with him.[Jennifer] One day soon.[Aaron] Birth pains.[Jennifer] Yeah.[Aaron] So-[Jennifer] We'll just pray through those contractions.[Aaron] As usual, Jennifer will you pray's out?[Jennifer] Dear father, you are the giver of life. Thank you for the gift of children. We pray we would have a deep understanding of children and we pray for a strong desire to bless the children in our lives. We pray, we would understand our purpose and role in raising children that know you. May our examples of life and marriage and everything show them the way that honors and glorifies you. Lord we also pray and ask for your peace to be in all of our hearts and in all of our homes, especially when the world seems to be lacking peace. Help us to be confident in trusting you for everything. In Jesus name. Amen.[Aaron] Amen. We love you all. If you haven't left us a review, would you take a moment and do that today? Those reviews help us rank in all the podcast apps and it also lets people know what the podcast is about and what other people think. If you have a lot to review, you are awesome. Thank you so much. Don't forget to get the, to take the challenge. It's parentingprayerchallenge.com. We talked about in the beginning of the show. We love you and we'll see you next week.[Aaron Voiceover] 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.
This Q and A topic is all about communication in marriage. Which we mention often in almost every episode because it is such a vital component of marriage. You have to talk to each other! We answer several questions that were submitted by our listeners. Please enjoy. Read Transcript[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. [Aaron] Love. [Jennifer] And power. [Aaron] That can only be found by chasing after God. [Jennifer] Together. [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. [Aaron] What? [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-- [Jennifer] No. [Aaron] Not on the podcast. [Jennifer] No. [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? [Aaron] 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. 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. 
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Comments (51)

Beth Alkire

This is such a great podcast! Thank you for this.

Dec 17th
Reply

Masako Gii

love this episode! shared it to my fiancé 💕

Jun 23rd
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T. K. Bennett

Happy Anniversary

Jan 8th
Reply (1)

Dzeivid EM

Really amazing content on your podcast, my wife and I came across this recently and its been of great help. We are going through episode by episode, it's funny that it's 2020 but we just start 2019 on the podcast...🤣🤣

Jan 7th
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Lisa N

this was such an encouraging episode as we are looking forward to number three. Thank you Jennifer for being honest with your fears and concerns.

Nov 17th
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Clara Van Camp

I am a newlywed (second marriage for us both). I appreciate this message as this is my first marriage as a believer so it's totally different this time around. The only thing that bothered me was your perspective on having children. What if someone cannot have children? You make it sound like if you don't have children you are not obeying God. I've heard teachings that God's command to multiply did not mean to have children, but to go make more believers. Some people face infertility or choose not to have children, I think you just need to be sensitive to that.

Oct 3rd
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Kyle Becerra

great episode

Sep 11th
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Shannon Jerrett

great perception on getting healthy and for what.

Aug 27th
Reply (1)

Shannon Jerrett

great bases and things we need to reminded of! thank you for the bases list and sharing your own story.

Aug 16th
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Shannon Jerrett

great ideas and biblical purpose for your $$

Aug 8th
Reply (1)

Kimberley Godes

i disagree to a point about how nothing your spouse does is as bad as what we have done to God. in an abusive relationship for 3.5 years. there are somethings that are not ok.

Aug 5th
Reply (1)

Brittany Schultz

I sobbed while listening to this podcast. Thank you so much for sharing your story and what got us die you are going to make marriages that you probably won't ever even know about by using this platform. My husband and I have experienced extraordinary things in our marriage we know we're only possible because if God we feel that same desire and Passion to be vulnerable and open with couples as they walk their marriage journey. So thank you for paving the way for so many to come out of the darkness.

Jul 14th
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Chae Marie Boyt

I don't how many times I have listened to this particular episode but you guys have no idea how much it helps and encourages me everytime I do. I can honestly say if it weren't for this and the Word, I would have already thrown in the towel with my marriage. THANK YOU.

Jul 14th
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Cherie Maguire

This podcast has been such an inspiration and has affirmed my mission in my marriage. Thank you for your ministry... you are such a blessing and encouragement to me.

May 30th
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Erik Brendeland

great stuff.

Mar 6th
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Gen Smyth

I love listening to this podcast. I have listened to some of the podcasts a few times. I really want to get my husband listening to Aaron & Jennifer. So much of what they have to say resonates with me. After 2 failed marriages I know having God and other Godly people in our lives is very important. I just have to say your new book comes out on my birthday and I so want to get it.

Feb 19th
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Alyssa Arends

SO GOOD. 🙌 Best marriage podcast out there. (seriously, I've listened to the others) My fiance and I have been listening to prepare our hearts and lives for our upcoming marriage and it has radically changed our relationship for the better in communication, prayer, and placing God above all else in every area of our lives. Thank you Aaron and Jennifer. Keep the episodes coming!

Jan 26th
Reply (1)

Natalie Quinn

our goal as a couple to become debt free. thank you for this.

Jan 18th
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Natalie Quinn

I love you guys and your podcast.

Jan 18th
Reply

Shannon Sadecki

my two favorite couples!!! can't wait!!!

Jan 15th
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