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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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This devotional episode is based on 1 Peter 4:7-11. We wanted to share how Love covers a multitude of sins and why it is so important that we love with this level of eagerness.1 Peter 4:7-11 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.PrayerDear Lord,We lift up our hearts to you right now and ask that you would make us a people who love others earnestly. Holy Spirit direct our hearts and remind us of your word. We pray we would above all things love others. We pray we would love our spouse, our children, our friends, and those who are in our life. May your love pour out of us. May your love pouring out of us transform our marriages. We pray others would be impacted by the love we share. We pray we would be able to love so deeply that it covers a multitude of sin. We pray that instead of shame or guilt, people would feel undoubtedly loved by us and by you. We pray for your word to be fulfilled through our choices to walk in love and that your will would be done.In Jesus’ name, amen! 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 talk about how love covers a multitude of sin. 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 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 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, - Love, - And power, - [Aaron] That can only be found by chasing after God, - [Jennifer] Together. - [Aaron] Thank you for joining us on this journey as we chase boldly after God's will for our life together. - [Jennifer] This is "Marriage After God." Okay Aaron, so we, we survived kind of a hard week. - [Aaron] We did survive. - I mean, - We're barely coming on - Our kids survived. - The other side of it, yes. - [Jennifer] But we're not the only ones going through this, so we thought we would just give you guys a little update of our family and hopefully encourage some of you out there who it might be hitting as well. - [Aaron] Yeah, our whole family got the flu. It was bad, but not bad. It was kind of a weird thing. - [Jennifer] Well, I'll say this, the Lord spared me and gave me the grace to be able to help everyone. 'Cause I felt-- - And you didn't even really get sick, you got some of the, like you felt sick. - Yeah you know the gut pain? - [Aaron] But you didn't have any other symptoms, which was awesome. - And the rosy cheeks. I felt like every once in a while, like I really don't feel good right now, I need to go lay down, but for the most part, I was able to be there to help everyone. Which made me really nervous, because people were, you and the kids were throwing up and I just thought, me, at this stage of the game in pregnancy, throwing up would not go over well with my body. - No and so-- - That woulda been terrible. - [Aaron] We're definitely thanking God, which we did a lot of, oddly. But not to be too graphic, but I'm pretty sure I put a rib out from how hard I was throwing up. - [Jennifer] That sucks. - [Aaron] Yeah, it still is really sore. But, what's awesome is, a couple of things, I just wanna praise you Jennifer, because I feel like you handled everyone being sick, and the inconvenience of it so well. I think I even told you, I was like, "I can tell you're walking in the spirit." Like your attitude was good, how much cleaning had to be done. - [Jennifer] It was a lot of work. - [Aaron] It's no fun when literally all the boys are throwing up and it's like, there's no clean blankets. - [Jennifer] It's all at the same time. - [Aaron] Yeah, so we, but we survived, we're coming on the other side of that. But one thing we practiced, I don't think we've ever done it before, not that we're not thankful to God. - [Jennifer] Not in this kind of circumstance, it's not at the forefront of our minds. - [Aaron] I did a post a couple weeks ago encouraging men to thank God for everything, if they get cut off in traffic, if something bad happens, even-- - [Jennifer] You didn't say if your whole family comes down with sickness, did you? - [Aaron] I know, if something good happens, I just said, say, whatever it is that happens today, thank God for it. And I tried practicing that. And so I'm literally in the fetal position in the bathtub, and I'm trying to thank God. I'm like, "Okay God, thank you. "Thank you for being sick." And I was like, why am I thanking God for this? Well, thank you for reminding me that I'm human. Like I'm fragile. Thank you for reminding me that one day I'm not gonna have this sickness. - [Jennifer] Or that we need to pray. - [Aaron] Yeah thank you for reminding, - Ask him. - Humbling me, showing me that my weakness. So there was a lot of things to thank God for for being sick, and I directly thanked God for being sick. And then we of course have thanked God for healing us and sparing our family from being even worse, 'cause it probably could have been worse. - [Jennifer] Something that really stood out to me is I didn't know you had this perspective kind of going into everyone being sick, and I wouldn't say I was there with you in those beginning moments, but you brought the family to the living room, and you said, "You know what, we're gonna pray, "and we're just gonna thank God today." And I think even one of the kids asked, "Why are we thanking God?" - [Aaron] Doesn't make any sense. - [Jennifer] But I was questioning it in my own heart too, like, okay, where's this going? But it was so beautiful to hear your prayer and you starting out saying, "God, thank you for this sickness." And it was humbling for me and for my heart to go, "oh yeah" you know? And to have that perspective before him. And then, I gotta share this other experience is just a friend of mine who, their family also got it really bad. - [Aaron] Pretty much our whole church got sick. - [Jennifer] But I met up with her for coffee when it was all past and she goes, "You know I just found, we found our whole family "just worshiping God through it." And it was so cool, kinda the same thing. And I said, "I didn't really worship him through it, "but at the end of all the laundry being done, "all the bathrooms being cleaned, "and having taken a shower, I came out singing "'Victory in Jesus' so, that was awesome." - [Aaron] But it is worship. Thanking God is worship. So whatever he gives, I think Job says it, "Should we not thank God for the good and the evil?" Like the bad things that happen? We thank God for those too, because he's God and he deserves our thanksgiving. And at the end of the day, salvation is so much greater than anything that we can go through. So, at minimum you can be like, "God, thank you so much "that one day I'm gonna be with you." That is so good. - [Jennifer] So if your family happens to get hit by whatever bug this is, - [Aaron] It's going around, yeah. - [Jennifer] Whatever's going around, we just wanted to encourage you guys to move forward with a thankful heart and to trust God and to be prayerful. And also just to be patient, because we know it's an inconvenience, we know it's hard, it takes away from your work schedule, it takes away from things on your to-do list that maybe you were hoping to do or whatever it is. We know it's hard, but if God's allowing it to happen, we can trust him and walk through it with him. - [Aaron] Yeah, so that was just a little update on our flu campaign. But we wanna encourage you. We have a new challenge. We've been doing a lot of these lately, a lot of new downloads and challenges and free things that you guys can get from us. And our new one's called the parentingprayerchallenge.com. We launched it last week and this week you get to do it. We're still encouraging parents to sign up to pray for either their daughter or their son or both. So if you haven't signed up for the Parenting Prayer Challenge, it's completely free. We're gonna send you 31 prompts every day, encouraging you to pray for different things for your child. - Over 31 days. - Over 31 days. - [Jennifer] Not 31 emails in one day. - [Aaron] Yeah, that's happened one time. Yeah, one a day, and the whole idea is that at the end of the 31 days you've built a habit of praying for your children. I'm sure all you parents love to pray for your children, but we just wanted to give this resource to encourage you to pray more, to pray deeper, to pray more consistently and give you ideas on what other things to pray for for your kids. - [Jennifer] Yeah, and I'll add this, it goes hand in hand with our books, "31 prayers for your son and for your daughter." And if you have those books, oh this'll be an incredible reminder. It's kinda like an alarm, right? Because your email comes through and then you're like, "Oh yeah." So you can get the book and go along with it that way too. - [Aaron] Mm-hmm, so parentingprayerchallenge.com, all one word, spelled the way you would think it's spelled. And sign up for free today. All right guys, we've been doing this new thing, we've mentioned it a few times this season. We're trying to do a marriage episode, we're doing a devotional style episode, a Q&A, we're trying to give a little bit more diversity on the kinds of things we're bringing up and this episode's gonna be a devotional style. We're gonna talk about some scripture. And something that we've been learning, something that I taught on at church. And so we hope it encourages you and why don't you, Jennifer start off by reading-- - [Jennifer] Oh, I was gonna sit back and let you teach for 30 minutes, yeah. - [Aaron] Oh, I'll just do it? No. - Go for it. - [Aaron] Why don't you read the scripture that we're gonna be talking about, - Okay. - And then we'll go into it. - [Jennifer] So it's 1 Peter 4:7-11 and it says this, "The end of all things is at hand, "therefore be self controlled "and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. "Above all, keep loving one another earnestly "since love covers a multitude of sins." - [Aaron] This is a great scripture in 1 Peter and we're excited to talk about it and what it means for us as believers, not only in our marriages, but just in life in general and walking in the body of Christ. And the power that is in our love for one another. And what that means and looks like. So we're gonna dig into this, these few scriptures, and kinda break it down and talk about some stuff and Jennifer you might have some questions. But we're just gonna break it down and see how this applies to us in our life. So the first thing I wanna point out is where our perspective should be. And Jennifer you read it, the very first thing it says in verse seven is "The end of all things is at hand." - [Jennifer] I feel like there should be an exclamation mark. - [Aaron] And it's almost is, it's a semicolon which says everything I'm about to say is attached to this statement. The end of all things is at hand, and so, we can easily, quickly think this is talking about Jesus coming back, or the end of days, right? But in the New Testament when it talks about the end of days or all things at hand or the end of the generation, it's mostly talking about all of the things that needed to take place, they needed to occur for the salvation story, for redemption, God's plan for redemption that he's been planning and preparing since Adam and Eve in the garden. And so, when Peter says the end of all things is at hand, he's saying that essentially, Christ has been born, he's died, and he's resurrected. - [Jennifer] Like we have what we need. - [Aaron] The thing that God has planned to take place has taken place. - Yeah. - [Aaron] Which means a lot. It means that we can now draw near to God. It means that we now can have salvation and a right relationship with God. Because without the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and his ascension and him sending the holy spirit there is no, like we can't be made right with God. So all of those things, the end of all things is at hand. The end of everything that God planned for salvation has been done, as Jesus says on the cross, it is finished. So it didn't necessarily mean that hey, the end of the world is tomorrow. But it's also an allusion, it alludes to Christ returning. Because now that the church age has begun, the spirit is living in man, we're made right with God, the bride of Christ is growing, we have an expectation of Christ's return. So we're in this imminent return zone. Like at any moment Christ can come back. - [Jennifer] And we are, we're called to walk a certain way. - [Aaron] Yeah. And so that's kinda, he starts off these statements with here's how you should be thinking. Realize first and foremost you have everything you need because Christ died and resurrected. He's given you his spirit, so now you can walk in his spirit and not the flesh. Like the things that we need to accomplish what he's about to tell us have already happened and are already available to us and been given to us. So that's our perspective in our relationships with our spouse, our children, our church body. That the end of all things is at hand. Like first and foremost, I have everything I need in Christ Jesus, to walk this way that we're about to talk about. And I walk this way because I look forward to Christ coming back, and I wanna not be ashamed at his return, I wanna stand boldly at his return. I wanna be excited for his return. - [Jennifer] It gives those relationships a lot of depth and purpose, how we interact with each other and how we're supposed to be in those relationships with each other. - [Aaron] Right and so, if you think about your marriage. You say, "Well, I just can't because my husband "is this, this, this." - [Jennifer] Or together you're just facing a really hard circumstance. - [Aaron] Yeah, like we went through stuff. And it's like, oh, our love for each other is stifled because of this hard circumstance or these character traits in the other person. But if our mindsets are on wow, first of all I can, because Christ did, and I should, because Christ is coming. My perspective and the way I treated you and the way we treat others would totally be transformed because we're no longer thinking of this immediate, well how did you treat me and how am I gonna treat you? - [Jennifer] Well, it's not about us. - Exactly. - Right? - [Aaron] Which is a powerful thing. And this is being taught to the believer, but the ramifications for this is in every aspect of your life. Most directly in your marriage and then also most directly in all of your relationships with other believers in the church. We need to have this perspective. - [Jennifer] Okay, so, then moving on in that verse, the next word is therefore. - [Aaron] Yeah and-- - [Jennifer] So the end of all things is at hand, - [Both] Therefore. - [Aaron] Yeah, and someone always says, "What's therefore there for?" I mean you ask yourself, "Well, why is that there?" And it's attached to the last statement. So, since the end of all things is at hand, be this way. And what does it say right there, Jennifer? - [Jennifer] Be self controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. - [Aaron] So, in relation to our relationships and in our life and in the way we interact in this world, self-controlled, how often do we say the word self-controlled in our house? - [Jennifer] Well, we're in the beginning stages of training our kids, so I feel like we say it all the time, multiple times a day. - [Aaron] 150,000 times a day. Are you being self-controlled? - Remember, self-control. - [Aaron] Be self-controlled, you're not being self-controlled. You must have self-control. Like over and over and over again. 'Cause that's, I mean our kids are learning to have control over themselves, that's the point. But self-controlled meaning, in my life, am I in control or is my flesh in control? 'Cause when my flesh is in control, we are not self-controlled. We're gonna eat as much as-- - We just give way - We want. - To whatever we want, yeah. - [Aaron] When I'm angry, I'm just gonna say what I wanna say. Oh, well, I was angry, that's why I said that. Well, that's not self-controlled. That's just blurting out what's coming to your mind because you're angry, rather than considering the other person. - [Jennifer] Which the mind is the next thing it says. - [Aaron] Yeah, sober-minded, which yes, this is talking about sobriety, not on drugs, not drunk with alcohol, but sober-minded is much more than just, we talked about this in another episode. I can't remember the name of the other episode, but it's having a right way of thinking. A clear way of thinking. So if you think about, we just talked about anger. You know Jennifer, you do something that really frustrates me and then I get so angry I just start saying whatever I want, like I'm not being sober-minded. I'm letting my wrath and my anger control my words and my actions, rather than my mind. - [Jennifer] It's like being self-controlled of your mind specifically. - Right. - [Jennifer] Like being able to have those thought processes and walk yourself through it mentally. - [Aaron] Another example of being sober-minded is fear. So, there's nothing wrong with natural fear, like you know fire's gonna burn you, so you don't touch it, but we're talking about like there's something going on in the world and it's causing us to have this anxiety and fear which causes us to make decisions and not seek out wisdom and oh, we're gonna go do this thing because XYZ over here, I don't know how that's gonna turn out, therefore we're gonna. And so that's not sober-minded either. Instead of thinking through what is reality, thinking through what is the repercussions if XYZ happens or if we don't have what we need or if, like thinking sober-minded is rather than operating in the fear and just making decisions off that, you're operating in knowledge and wisdom and you seek counsel and you're slow to act, slow to speak. So that's the idea of sober-minded. So since we know that the end of all things is at hand, meaning we have everything we need in Christ, meaning all of the things that God planned for redemption has happened, you have the holy spirit, be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. - [Jennifer] So real quick, I just have to, just hearing you repeat that, it says, "Be self-controlled and sober-minded "for the sake of your prayers," that means you're praying. So it's almost like it's saying be self-controlled and sober-minded and prayerful. Like be a person of prayer. - [Aaron] Right, and we just talked about being sick. If our minds were in this position of thankfulness and we were just wallowing in the suffering, 'cause throwing up's not fun, not feeling good is not fun, and we could just sit there and be like woe is us. And we're not even being sober-minded in that. But instead we're like, "Thank you Lord." It actually helped us elevate above our current circumstances to be able to see it from a heavenly position. Like, okay, well, just because this thing is happening, doesn't mean I stop being a Christian. Doesn't mean I can now act XYZ, be this way, say these things. No, I actually even in this, can walk this out. Because we know all things have been fulfilled in Christ, and his return is imminent, even in my sickness I get to say, "Well if Christ was to come right now, "I wanna be like him, wanna look like him." This is how we must live as people who claim the name of Jesus. We can't claim the name, but not walk it out. - [Jennifer] Mm-hmm, okay so before you move on, I feel like maybe some of our listeners would have the same question, and that is, it says "for the sake of your prayers" so does that mean your prayers are in trouble if you're not being self-controlled or you're not being sober-minded? What does that mean? - [Aaron] Yeah, I mean, in 1 Peter I think we get another picture of that when it talks about husbands walking with their wives in an understanding way, it says for the sake of your prayers. So, there is a way that the believer can walk that would hinder our prayers. And it could be put this way, someone told me once, "God's not gonna tell you "to do a new thing until you've done the old thing." Like the thing he's asked you to do already. And so it's almost like this, we're looking for a new word from the Lord, we're looking for guidance and wisdom. And he's like, well, but you're not even loving your wife right now. - Mm-hmm, I have a really good example of this when it comes to kids. Olive, just I think it was yesterday, she came up to me and she was like, "Mom, I don't have anything to do." And so I gave her something to do, it was a small task. And she turned around really quickly and said, "I don't wanna do that." - [Aaron] What else can I do? - [Jennifer] What else can I do? And I looked at her, I said, "Sweetheart, "can you go do what Mommy asked you to do?" - [Aaron] Right. Yeah, and there's even a scripture that says, "Go back and do the first things "that you've been told to do." Like you've left your first love, we learned in Revelations. There's this idea of like, God's already given us some commands, given us some things to do as believers. In his power, to do it, and we wanna skip over those things and we're gonna talk about this. We wanna skip over those things to get to the other things. We're like, "Well, I don't wanna do that thing." Loving that person's difficult. Or, praying for that person, ehh, let's pray for this big thing over here. - [Jennifer] Or how about, "I'll be self-controlled, "but I don't care about being sober-minded." - Exactly yeah. - You know what I mean? - [Aaron] Which doesn't make any sense because, - [Jennifer] I know. - [Aaron] If you're not sober, like let's talk about being drunk, you're not in self-control either. Those things go hand in hand. So yes, the Bible teaches that our prayers can be hindered. I don't know exactly what that means, does that mean that God doesn't hear 'em at all? Or is it that I am hindered? Like I'm not gonna want to pray more. I don't have a desire to, I'm frustrated. No, Lord, I don't want to. It's like when our, like you said our kids, when they have an attitude, Wyatt crosses his arms, puts his head down, it's like he doesn't wanna look at us. - [Jennifer] Or like that example you gave of us being sick, if we weren't sober-minded and self-controlled, we wouldn't have prayed in thankfulness, so yeah, hindered in a way that if we're not walking that way and we're not being that way then we won't be praying at all. - Yeah so, - We won't be a people of prayer. - Regardless of how it plays out, I don't want either of those things. I wanna be able to come to God boldly and I also want God to receive me and hear my prayers. The Bible tells us that the prayers of a righteous man availeth much, it's in James. And I want my prayers heard. I want them to avail much. And when I pray for my family, when I pray for health, when I pray for opportunities, when I pray for other, my family members, when I pray for the lost, I want those prayers to be heard and to have power with God. So, God says, "Well be sober-minded and self-controlled "so that your prayers won't be hindered." Then I should just do that. - [Jennifer] Do it. - [Aaron] It's not easy all the time, but that's what we get to do, because the end of all things is at hand, so I should be able to do it. Okay, so let's move on to this next part of this verse. - [Jennifer] Well the next verse. - [Aaron] Yeah, the next verse, there ya go. Verse eight starts off, it says, "Above all." Okay, and I just wanted to highlight this idea, so if you're in your Bible, which that'd be awesome if you were, you should be. It says, "Above all," comma, "keep loving one another earnestly." And I just wrote down some ideas of what's the all? Like above all, above how generous you might be financially, like, "I've given so much." Above being right, like "Well I know "that this scripture means this." Above memorizing every scripture, above being debt free, above your health, above your safety, above all. Above everything that you see as good, 'cause these things are good, for the most part, don't neglect to do this thing. So, above all, do this thing, right? - [Jennifer] Do you think it's easy for us in our flesh to justify like, "Well, I don't have to love that person, "and we don't even get along, but I'm doing this "over here, so, I'm good with God because this over here." Do you hear what I'm saying? - [Aaron] Yeah, we do this all the time, and there's a scripture that I'll bring up that shows this hypocrisy. Like, "Well no, that person doesn't need to be in my life, "because of XY and Z, but, you know what? "But I read every day, I'm in the word every day." "Oh but I pray, I'll pray for that person. "I don't have to love 'em, but I'll pray for 'em." I think something that I've heard a lot, and it doesn't make any sense, but we say this, "Oh, I love him, I just don't like him." Almost as if love is this general like, yeah we're in the same city, but I'm never gonna talk to him, I'm not gonna be kind to him, I'm not gonna be cordial, I'm not gonna even, I don't wanna go out of my way for them. I'm not gonna give to them, I'm not gonna help them, I'm not gonna. So what love is that? - [Jennifer] If you're doing that, I was gonna say, what's your definition of love? - [Aaron] And that's my point is we, okay, I'll just do this. So the point of everything I said above all, or not that we shouldn't do those other things, 'cause I never want someone to be like, "Well, all we have to do is love others, "and we don't have to be generous, "and we don't have to read our word and memorize scripture." These things that are actually really good for us. "And my health and my, all these things don't matter, "as long as I just love." No. All of those things matter, but we don't neglect this one thing, and often it's the one thing we neglect. We work on all those other things, 'cause we have, those are easier, those are personal. We can control 'em. We can't control other people and that's why it's so hard. And I think of this in Matthew 23:23 Jesus says this, he says, "Woe to you scribes and pharisees, hypocrites, "for you tithe mint and dill and cumin, "and have neglected the weightier matters of the law." And then get what he says, "Justice, mercy and faithfulness. "These you ought to have done "without neglecting the others." - [Jennifer] Like do it all. - [Aaron] He's like, "Yeah, you spent time, "you outwardly show all these good things that you do, "yet you've neglected justice, like you don't care "about those in your midst who need justice "and you've been unjust." Or showing mercy and faithfulness. You haven't remained faithful to your spouses, you haven't remained faithful to your people, you haven't remained faithful to, and he's saying these things you should have done without neglecting those other things that you do. And so that was the point I was getting at is like yeah, all those other things are good, but we cannot throw out loving one another earnestly. - [Jennifer] So you used the word earnestly, why don't you define that, just for our listeners really quick? - [Aaron] Okay, 'cause it's a pretty powerful word and it's how he wants us to love each other. It's not like, "Hey, I love you, yeah I'll see you later. "Oh yeah, we're good buddies." It's something deeper than that. He says, "Love one another earnestly." And the definition of earnestly means with sincere and intense conviction. It's so powerful. It's not just a, in passing a word you just say about someone, it's a life lived out way of loving. It's a my actions and the way I think reflect the deepness of my conviction and belief about how I love you. And so a perfect example is in marriage. I love you, and it's not just a word. I show you by how I take care of you. And how I show up every day and how I sit and talk with you. And how I ask for forgiveness, and I'm patient, and all these things are the actions of my love for you. - [Jennifer] Yeah, I think that's really important to point out, because I think in marriage specifically, you can text each other back and forth, I love you, or say it at the end of a phone call, conversation. Saying it in passing or before you leave to go to work. But are your actions proving what those words actually mean? So you've convinced yourself in your mind, yeah, of course I love my husband, of course I love my wife. And I tell them every day. - [Aaron] How do they know? - [Jennifer] But, are your actions supporting your words? - [Aaron] Yeah, and so let's break down this definition a little bit, it says with a sincere and intense conviction, that's the earnestness. Sincere means free from pretense or deceit. Proceeding from genuine feelings. So I don't just say it, it's not just a word that I use so that I look good with my other Christian friends and brothers and sisters. - Or that you know you should use because you're married. - [Aaron] Yeah, like, "Oh yeah, of course I love so-and-so." But yet, you don't truly believe it in your heart. You struggle with believing, like well, do I love him? I mean, I could move on. I'm not going to, 'cause I don't wanna look bad. That's not love, it's a free from pretense or deceit. So there's nothing, you're not saying it to receive anything like, "Oh good, so good that you love that person." And you're not saying it out of, it's not a lie. When you say you love someone it's truthful. It's a genuine, genuineness, a real thing from with inside of you. And then that second part, intense conviction. And I smashed two definitions together, 'cause the word intense and conviction I put them together and it's a highly concentrated and firmly held belief in what you are doing, right? So, it's not going away. My love for my brothers and sisters in Christ, my love for others in the world, my love for my wife, it's real and it's going to drive my actions and my decisions and my attitudes and it's gonna cause me to repent and it's gonna cause me to change and grow because that conviction is solid. It's there, and when I'm challenged in that conviction, when the listener is challenged in that conviction of love, they get to ask themselves, "Well do I truly love so-and-so?" And then they get to remember, well, the end of all things is at hand, I must love so-and-so, regardless. Without pretense, it needs to be truthful and powerful. That's what that word earnestly means. - [Jennifer] I love that definition of intense conviction that you shared, and it makes me think how intentional this type of love truly is, because-- - [Aaron] That's a good word, intentional. - [Jennifer] Yeah, it's intentional because you're motivated by your, like it said, "firmly held belief in what you are doing" so everything that I do in our home, everything I do with our kids, everything I do with you, comes out and is an overflow of this belief that I have that I truly love you and that genuine feeling that you talked about earlier. And that's such a different situation when you compare it to just saying the words I love you or just going about your day without any motivations as to why you're doing those things, you know? It makes me think of the type of motivational speaking you hear when it comes to entrepreneurship, where it's like, "You gotta know your why." You gotta know your why. - Yeah, what's your why? - [Jennifer] What's your why? So it makes me go there when I think about in marriage, why are you doing all the little things that you do throughout your day? It's because you love that person. - [Aaron] Mm-hmm, and it's not superficial, and it's not just a word, but it's an actual held belief. Like "No, I love my wife. "I love John over there." Like truly love them, not just, "We're Christians "and we love each other." - Right. And if we truly consider this you guys, then when we get into a hard spot in marriage, when we get into conflict or something happens unexpectedly that you don't desire, you can continue on, because there's this hope knowing that, "Well no, I love them. "You know, I know this is hard, but God's given me "a love for them." - [Aaron] Yeah. What I think is really cool, I just thought about this, often we think about this idea of growing in love, which we do, we change and our level of love deepens. - It deepens, yeah. - [Aaron] But it's actually, the way this is stated, it's actually a starting point. We start at this basis of love for one another. Not build into it. It starts at this place and I thought that was really cool. I just was, - I like that. - [Aaron] I was just thinking it's like it's not, yeah, it does grow over time, but it's also, like you said, even in those hard times, you default to that position of love. Not default to, well we're not in love because, or we're building in love and the default position is no love. That's not actually, I mean marriage starts, usually, for the most part, with a deep conviction of love. And so the default position is love. And I didn't have the scripture originally here, but I thought about this and I think it goes perfectly well. What this level of love is supposed to look like, it's supposed to be remarkable. It's not supposed to look like the love of the world. Like the world loves itself. There's people that they love their own and they do a good job of that, but the love that Christians are supposed to have for one another is supposed to be remarkable, miraculous. And Jesus puts it this way in John 13:34. "A new commandment I give to you, "that you love one another. "Just as I have loved you, "you also are to love one another. "By this all people will know that you are my disciples "if you have love for one another." So it's not like, if we do these great things, or if we have this great band, or if we preach this great message, it says if you love one another the way I loved you, the whole world will know, oh that's a disciple of Christ. - [Jennifer] Yeah. - [Aaron] That's remarkable. So I get, the question I have in your marriage, in your relationships at church, would the world look at how you love them as remarkable? Like that's a remarkable love. How could he love like that? How could she love like that after so much has happened to her, after this or that? It's a remarkable love and it can only be done with Jesus Christ. That's what he says, "If you love as I have loved you." Which is an amazing, amazing kind of love. It's literally remarkable. And I have some notes here and this is, this is exactly why churches fall apart. This is why friendships dissolve, this is why marriages end. When we let the intensity of our conviction to love each other soften. We got to that point a few years into our marriage. Our conviction to love one another, because of the things we were going through, got weakened. - [Jennifer] I was gonna say, I don't feel like softens is just the right word because it sounds mushy-gushy, but I mean we're talking about the dissolving of that belief and conviction. - [Aaron] Yeah. And it's not that those things that were happening had some external power to weaken our love for each other superficially, - We chose that. - We let our love, yeah we chose it, that's a good word. And so, I just wanna ask you, as we get into this, have you let your love, the earnestness of your love for your spouse, for other believers, weaken? For whatever reason, because someone hurt you, because someone said something harmful about you, because someone didn't pay you back? - [Jennifer] The relationship's messy or hard or challenging and you just wanna, - Walk away. - Walk away. - It'd be easier. - Yeah. - [Aaron] There's been so many times I've thought to myself, it would just be easier to move. - [Jennifer] Well, we thought that in the beginning of our marriage when we were facing hardship and we got to the point at the end of three and a half years where we were, so incredibly close to walking away convinced in our selfish flesh that it would be better for each other if we just separated. - [Aaron] Move on. - [Jennifer] And instead, God got ahold of our hearts in a remarkable way and, I mean he brought the message to you first and then to me, but it's a choice. - [Aaron] Yeah. - [Jennifer] And are we gonna let our circumstances dictate that choice or are we gonna choose it in our hearts and move past the circumstances? Or even if we have to deal with the circumstances for the rest of our life, and that was the commitment we had to choose. There came this pivotal moment where, people who've read our books, they know what I'm talking about, but we're standing in church, Aaron, and you're sharing this heart that God has given you for our marriage to continue on regardless if anything changed. That is remarkable. And that saved us, that saved our marriage. - [Aaron] And here's the difference in the types of love. The love that the world has for itself, and the love that we are to have for our brothers and sisters and our spouse. The love that Christ gave to us was unconditional. The love that we try and walk in is often transactional. You do this, I'll do this. You give me this, I'll give you that. Oh you didn't do the thing, or you weren't the certain way? Then I'm not going to. Jesus it says, "Yet while we were still sinners died for us." So even when we were weakest, when we couldn't save ourselves, Christ died. Christ gave himself up for his bride. And this is the message that Christ gave me that day, reminding me, he's like, "Hey are you gonna love "your wife unconditionally, or transactionally? "Are you gonna love her regardless if she ever gives you "what you think you deserve, what you ought to have? "Or are you gonna love her like I did "when you could do nothing for me, "and I still died for you?" - [Jennifer] John 13 comes back to my mind like you said. Jesus says, "Love as I loved you." - [Aaron] And you know what this sincerity and intensity, this earnestness sounds very familiar to how Jesus said we would worship God. He says this to the woman at the well, in John 4:24, he says, "God is spirit "and those who worship him must worship "in spirit and truth." Spirit and truth. And this isn't talking about worshiping each other. But it's how we love each other, in spirit and in truth. - [Jennifer] It reminds me of the definition going back earlier to those genuine feelings. - [Aaron] Mm-hmm, it's not from pretense or deceit. It's no, I genuinely love you. I may not know how to do it well, but I'm going to default to love, I'm going to default to giving you the benefit of the doubt. I'm going to love you regardless if you give me what I deserve. And then in Matthew 22 verse 37-48 says this, "And he said to him, 'You shall love the lord your God "'with all your heart and with all your soul "'and with all your mind. "'This is there greatest and first commandment. "'And a second is like it, you shall love your neighbor "'as yourself, on these two commandments "'depend all the law and the prophets.'" - [Jennifer] I remember we read this verse to our kids and they got really confused, because we've taught them the 10 Commandments. - Yeah. - And they were like, "No no no, that's not the." - [Aaron] No, you have to honor your mom and dad. Like, yes. And what I explained to 'em is, and this is what Jesus says, he says, "Anyone who does these won't break any of the laws." Because when you love your neighbor, you're not gonna steal from them. When you love your neighbor, you're not gonna lie to them. When you love your neighbor, you're not gonna covet their things. You're gonna say praise God that you've given them those things, God. Praise God. They're gonna use 'em for you, I hope. We don't covet. When we love God we don't dishonor our parents. When you love your parents you're not gonna dishonor them. And so, that's the kind of love that we get to have for one another. And it's actually, it's one of the greatest commandments, to love God with all our heart, mind and soul and to love each other as ourselves. To love each other with that intensity. Okay, so we're getting up to the last part of this section of scripture and it's the most powerful one. It's actually the title of this episode. And it's the reason why Peter is commanding us to love each other in the first place. It's the reason why he's saying to do these things, it's the reason why he gave us the mindset of hey, the end of all things is at hand, be this way, love this way. So before I move on to this next portion of this scripture, I'm gonna read the whole scripture again. It's 1 Peter 4:7-11. "The end of all things is at hand, "therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded "for the sake of your prayers. "Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, "since love covers a multitude of sins." Okay, so here's the-- - You slowed down there at the end Aaron, - I know it's, - [Jennifer] Is that important? - [Aaron] Well, it's the most powerful section of this scripture, I believe. And what's amazing about this is it's the opportunity that believers have to love like Christ. What did Christ's love do? - [Jennifer] Saved us. - [Aaron] It covered us. We've just been teaching the kids through Adam and Eve, the story of Adam and Eve and how they were to, God told that surely on the day that you eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, you will die. And guess what. - [Jennifer] Well the kids asked the question, - They're like, - But they didn't die! - [Aaron] Yeah, they didn't die. Here's what's amazing is something died instead. They covered themselves with fig leaves, God covered them in skins. So an animal had to die. So even then, way back in the beginning, in the very first people, God showed his redemption plan. That he was gonna substitute the death that we deserve for another. And so it was a picture right then and there of what Christ was gonna do. And this is what the believer gets to do. This is the remarkable love that the world's gonna see and be like, whoa, those people are God's, Christ's disciples, because Christ died for them, and look how they love each other. - [Jennifer] They wouldn't be able to do it without him. - [Aaron] Yeah, and so love covers a multitude of sins. So here's a question, I taught this at church and I asked this question, and it was hard for me to get it out without crying. But I said, "Who doesn't want their sins covered?" I said, "Raise your hand." How many hands do you think went up? None. So I ask the listener, do you want your sins covered? Do you thank God that his son Jesus and the blood that he shed covers your sins completely? That you are made white as snow? That you are clean before God? Okay, so if we can answer that question with "Yes, praise God," then our love should do the same. Our love has that same power. I personally love the fact that God no longer sees my sin. I personally love that who I was before Christ is now dead and buried. But, what we often do is we highlight other people's sins. And what it does is it raises us up and puts them down. Oh so-and-so, I can't believe they would treat me that way. You can't believe it? I mean how else do we deserve to be treated, really? We deserve hell. That's what the human state deserves. - [Jennifer] There's other times in marriage that we hold their sin against them. - [Aaron] Absolutely, yeah. - [Jennifer] So, whether it's for ammunition later, or maybe you're not intentionally thinking that, but all the sudden it comes up again, and you haven't covered their sin in love. You've been hanging on to it out of bitterness and anger, and you're gonna spew it out back in their face to make them feel a certain way. - [Aaron] Or waiting for them to trip up and it makes you feel better, because as long as their sin is greater than your sin then you're not a sinner. That's like the logic we use. I know that we struggled with this. You believed because I struggled with certain things you didn't even wanna see your own sin. Things that you were dealing with, your own pride, your own bitterness, your own angers, 'cause I was the sinner in the relationship. I was the one that needed to repent, I was the one that needed to change. And I did, I mean it's not like I didn't. But we do that, we look, we long for the sin in others. Oh, since they're that way, I can be this way. Rather than wanting to cover those sins. Rather than wanting to overlook them and remind those people of who they are in Christ, without pretense, without this idea of like, I'm gonna point this out, because I wanna hurt them. Or I wanna feel better. - [Jennifer] I think just kind of glancing back over those first few years of marriage, something else that I've struggled with is holding on to the sins that you struggled with even after saying I forgive you or trying to make up and resolve things. Because I had this belief about you that you were gonna fail me. So I was building a case, right? - [Aaron] You were waiting for me to, yeah. - [Jennifer] The next time you messed up, I go, "See, this is the type of person that you are." And I held up a mirror to show you your sin instead of pointing you to God and saying, "But he's redeemed you." You know what I mean? I didn't give you-- - Why you acting like this? God's redeemed you. - I didn't give you the positive message, because I truly cared about restoration at that point I was looking for a case in order to get out. To leave, to say, "You're this way, and I can't handle it." - [Aaron] Yeah. And that leads me to this question, do we see our spouse's sins against us as special or less deserving of forgiveness and grace? Do we see the sins and shortcomings of others towards us as less deserving, as special? Yeah, yeah, I've done things, I get it, God forgives me, but what they've done? No, what they've done is not forgivable. What they've done is, you can't tell me to love that person. Well, you know what, I don't. I'm not telling you anything. God says it, okay? When you give that word picture, 'cause I think it perfectly sums up this idea of when we love the way Christ loves, what it does. - [Jennifer] Well, I was just thinking about this idea of covering a multitude of sins by our love, the word picture that I got in my mind to help me understand that is a blanket and it's function. When you think about a blanket and being wrapped up and curled up on the couch with it, it provides warmth and comfort and padding and it consumes you. - It protects you. - [Jennifer] It protects you, it's just all around you and it was a really beautiful picture for me to understand how God covers us. Kinda like even as you said, going back to Adam and Eve, how he covered them, ya know? - [Aaron] And then the picture I got, and the Bible even uses it, says that our sins are made white as snow. And we live in a place that snows. And you see all the landscape, there's all the colors, the grass, the concrete, the trees, the houses. - [Jennifer] Pretty soon everything starts to fade away. - [Aaron] It snows and guess what. Everything's the same color. - Everything's white. - Everything's white. And beautiful and it could be on the dirtiest, muddiest area, and it's a beautiful white field. And that's what Christ's blood does is it covers us. And out of our thankfulness for that, we get to love others the same way. And this isn't an overlooking of sin, this isn't a pretending sin hasn't happened. And I'll talk about that in a second. But it's the way we love that no one, no one's sin is special that doesn't deserve our forgiveness, because what we've done is so worthy of punishment. The littlest sin we've done is detrimental to our own nature. And Christ has forgiven that in us. And I was reading in Leviticus this morning, and it was talking about all of the sacrifices and all the atonements and the priest is supposed to do this and all, it was so weird, I'm reading, I was like, "I wanna watch a video on this." So I watched the Bible Project's video on atonement. - [Jennifer] Oh they're good. - [Aaron] Yeah, it was good. And I almost started crying in Starbucks, 'cause I go to Starbucks after the gym, watching it because it was explaining how the atonement was a replacement and it was talking about the two types of evil, it was the sin against your brother or God. And it washes that away. But the other thing is the broken relationship aspect. Let's say you stole something, you paid it back, right? But there's also now distrust and fear that's in the relationship. And so that has to be atoned for as well. And so there's this picture of the priest sprinkling blood over the temple and the Tent of Meeting, right? And it showed this picture of, there was all this black looking weeds on the ground, and every time the blood hit the ground it turned to normal. And it said the blood also brought us into a safe relationship and a love relationship. And that's what this love does when it's covering. It's not just pretending things didn't happen, it's actually mending relationships so that we can walk with people not in fear, not in angst or anxiety, but we can actually walk with people in freedom and in love and in purity. That's what this does. And I wanted to share that 'cause it literally almost made me cry when I was thinking what God's done for me, and how he's, he didn't just fix the offense, he also fixed the relationship that was broken because of the offense. - [Jennifer] It's remarkable. - [Aaron] Yeah. So, I just wanna quickly, we talked through a lot of the scriptures, but I wanted to quickly say, this isn't to say we ignore sin, because that actually is unloving. Ignoring someone's sin is unloving. The loving thing to do is to address the sin, not out of our own vindication, trying to get something paid back to us, but out of, like you said, pointing them back to the truth of what God said about them. Or if they're not a believer, to repentance and salvation. So the loving way to, we deal with sin lovingly. And we come to people in truth and our position is of we wanna see the best for you. We want you to be in a right relationship with us. As Matthew 18 says, it's like you've won your brother. That's what you go to them for is for the purpose of winning your brother, not for winning the argument or winning the, oh see, all I want is an apology and we'll be good. No, you're going with the intention of hey, this is broken right now. We need to fix this. Love covering a multitude of sins isn't to say that the sins just disappear. It's to say that we deal with them the biblical way, the loving way for the purpose of reconciliation, 'cause that is the ministry we've been given is reconciliation. - [Jennifer] And we do this for people because we desire the same reciprocation, right? Of love? - I want it. - [Jennifer] I want people to overlook and cover the sins that I've committed, even the slightest or smallest, there's no degree. It doesn't matter. If I'm imperfect, I want someone to love me still. And I think that's important to remember, especially in marriage. - [Aaron] So I hope that bit of scripture encourages you in your walk. As usual we pray before signing off, so we're gonna pray. Dear lord, we lift up our hearts to you right now and ask that you would make us a people who love others earnestly. Holy spirit direct our hearts and remind us of your word. We pray we would above all things, love others. We pray we would love our spouse, our children, our friends and those who are in our life. May your love pour out of us. May your love pouring out of us transform our marriages. We pray others would be impacted by the love we share. We pray we'd be able to love so deeply that it covers a multitude of sin. We pray that instead of shame or guilt, people would feel undoubtedly loved by us and by you. We pray for your word to be fulfilled through our choices to walk in love and that your will would be done. In Jesus name, amen. Hey thanks for joining us for this episode. We pray it blessed you, of course. And don't forget to join the Parenting Prayer Challenge. That's parentingprayerchallenge.com It's completely free and we pray it blesses you. See you next week. 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.
We are about to have our 5th child and with our growing family comes more of a necessity for spending quality alone time with each of our kids. The logistics of this also get more and more Complicated but that should not stop uf from trying and growing in our ability to single out our children to show them that we love them, want to hear from them, and want to get to know them as individuals in the family. In this episode, we share some practical ways to get some alone time with each of your kids and why it is so important to cultivate that experience on a regular basis. Join our Free Parenting prayer challenge today and build a habit of praying for your children daily.http://parentingprayerchallenge.com PRAYERDear Lord,Thank you for the gift of family. Thank you for the blessing of children. May we be people who are willing to make our children feel special, and to feel seen and heard. Help us to spend quality time with them, building fond memories and moments that build our trust with them. Help us to carve out time to show our kids that we desire to be close to them and want to dialogue with them. We pray we would be fun and intentional parents with the purpose of teaching our kids your ways. May our children have a heart to build a family of their own because they love our example and appreciate all they experience. May your love be woven into our legacy and may your light shine in our relationship with our children.In Jesus’ name, amen! 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 some fun ways to spend quality time with your children. - [Aaron] 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 that Christian marriage should be an extraordinary one full of life, - Love. - And power. - [Aaron] That can only be found by chasing after God. - [Jennifer] Together. - [Aaron] Thank you for joining us on this journey, as we chase boldly after God's will for our life together. - [Jennifer] This is Marriage After God. Okay, Aaron, this is just, I am so excited about this episode. I don't know why. - You're always excited for all the episodes, I like it! - [Jennifer] No, this is different. This is like I'm giddy over this because we have young kids and the whole episode is about spending time with our kids, things that we've been learning, as-- - [Aaron] We should let the cat out of the bag. You actually really like our kids. - I do, I'm biased. - So, that's why you get so excited about this. - Okay, fine. I was gonna say we're gonna share things we've been learning as new parents. Are we still new parents? - [Aaron] Someone recently called us new parents. They said, "I would consider you still new parents." And I'm like, we have a fifth kid on the way, how are we still new parents? - I know, I think it's 'cause they are all just still little-- - [Aaron] They're all young, yeah. - [Jennifer] Yeah, we're in a lot of just little kid time. And so even though this episode is about spending one on one time with your kids, really it can go for any age kid. But before we jump into that, why don't you give us a little update on something you shared a couple weeks ago on studying your kids? And if you guys don't know what I'm talking about, you gotta go hear that episode. - [Aaron] So I got some journals and I purposed to take some time to write in those journals things that I'm observing from my children so that I can kind of learn them, think about my children on a level when they're not around and say, "What are the things that I've seen in my kids, "ways they're being, things they've said?" - [Jennifer] So he got one journal for each kid, and he's not writing to them, per se, he's just writing about them to help him. - [Aaron] Yeah, I just write stuff I'm observing as if I'm like, on a safari, like "I saw Elliot today do this." I will say this I wrote about Wyatt in the wrong book. - [Jennifer] I know. - [Aaron] I had to rewrite the whole thing, which is actually kinda good 'cause I wrote it better, but. - [Jennifer] What are some things you're learning about our kids? - [Aaron] Yeah, well, just some cool things. It's cool writing it down, and I've only been doing it like once a month right now. So it's not like every day I'm writing something about them, but it's cool 'cause I write down emotional things about them, like when I see how they respond emotionally to things. - [Jennifer] Okay. - [Aaron] I also write down things that I see them getting good at-- - Or interested in. - Or interested in, things they say, 'cause every once in a while, they say something really remarkable, and I'll just try and remember those things and I write it down, I'm like, "We asked this question and he answered this way." And so just, it's really cool, I've done it twice now and I'm gonna continue doing it, you've encouraged me and said, "Hey remember you said you were gonna?" I'm like, "Oh, yeah." So I think over time, it'll become more of a habit, but it's been a fun thing to to write down and I would encourage parents to figure out ways that they can learn their children. - [Jennifer] Do you feel like it's requiring you to pay attention more? So like, are you trying to notice things? - [Aaron] I am, I am. - [Jennifer] Your eyes are on them more. - [Aaron] Yeah, and I'm not just, "Oh, yeah, they're in the background, doing their thing." I'm trying to watch them intentionally like, how do they respond to that thing? How are they gonna answer this question? How are they...? So yes, I would say it's making me more intentional. - [Jennifer] I just think that's so cool. So something that I wanted to share before we get started is that I had a friend recently asked me at church, she just said, "Hey, have you taken Wyatt out on a date, "like just you and him?" Okay, Wyatt's our, he just turned three, and I was shocked. I was like, "No, I haven't, thank you." Because they know that we do this. They know that we like to take the kids out for one-on-one time, and we've been doing it with the older kids, Elliot and Olive, but I don't know why I just didn't think about taking Wyatt, and he is getting to that age where he would probably love it. And so it kinda woke me up and it was a good reminder that God knows that we have this desire to spend one on one time with our kids, And He used a friend of mine to ask me about it. - To remind you. - To remind me. - [Aaron] It's like a gentle nudge. - [Jennifer] It was! It was really cool, so thank you friend. - [Aaron] Yeah, and you know what, just a little bit of honesty, especially as our family grows, 'cause we had Elliot and it was our first time being parents and so we had all this energy on every milestone, on everything with him and then we had Olive and that dwindles a little bit, all that attention. And then now we have Wyatt and now Trude, and now we have Edith on the way, and I just, sometimes it can be easy to forget certain children in the place they're at, forget what we did with our older children at that place. - [Jennifer] Yeah, or that they're all individuals, because we see 'em as a pack, we're always going places together, and so being able to separate them and say, "You are unique, and you are special, "and you are important to us." - [Aaron] So before we move on to the topic, we just wanna tell you about a new free resource. One of our ways we minister through this ministry is by creating free resources and paid resources. We have our books, of course, but we also love to create these free resources to encourage you in your prayer life and your marriage and your parenting. And the new one we have, I don't know if you've taken the Marriage Prayer Challenge yet, but now we've created a Parenting Prayer Challenge where you can sign up to pray for your son or daughter or both and we'll send you a prayer prompt every day for 31 days, to encourage you in your prayer life over your kids. It's pretty awesome, and all you gotta do is go to parentingprayerchallenge.com and sign up completely free today. Go do that today. - [Jennifer] Okay, so the topic for today is, you know, spending one on one time with your kids, spending quality time with your kids, some even call it dating your kids, like having date night with your kids. And I'm not sure exactly where this came from, but we have two couples in our life that have been instrumental in our faith and in our parenting that we wanted to share with you guys 'cause I'm sure the idea came from one of two of these places. - Or both. - Or both. Matt and Lisa Jacobson from Faithful Life podcast, and Isaac and Angie Tolpin from Courageous Parenting podcast. Again, both of them have been instrumental in both of our faith and our parenting, and they're so encouraging you guys, so if you're not already following their podcasts, you need to go check them out right now. - [Aaron] Yeah, and we started dating our kids after Olive was born, Elliot was getting older, he was almost three and we've tried to continue it since. There's seasons that we totally forget to do it, but we try and make it built into a regular routine. So just one example right now Olive's in dance and so I take her to dance, and I sometimes, maybe every other week, I'll go early, and we'll go have dinner together before she goes to dance. And so it's just me and her, and that's actually been a lot of fun. We get to go eat together and then she goes and dances off all the food that she ate. - [Jennifer] Yeah, not all of the the opportunities that we take with our kids happen regularly because well we're going into having five now, our oldest being seven. - It gets a little harder. - [Jennifer] Yeah, and it just gets hard. So we try and take advantage of every opportunity that we have, but as a large family, we also like to do things together. So I would say our goal is usually to take one kid out a month, and so either you will take them or I will take them. - Yeah. - Or you take two and I take two. So we kinda just mix it up and we play with it. - [Aaron] A good tip to make it more regular, and we tried this in the beginning was monthly birthdays. So Elliot's birthday's on the seventh, and so remember we tried doing on the seventh of each month would be like that date day for Elliot. We haven't been consistent with that, but someone might be able to take that and run with that idea. - [Jennifer] Yeah, the thing that I remember from that when we tried it was that the kids began to expect it. - Yeah they did. - Which was cool, because we want them to know that we wanna spend time with them. - [Aaron] It's my birthdate day coming up! - [Jennifer] But we also like the spontaneous, "Hey, I'm going to take you on a date right now." So, we'll leave that one up to you to decide, but we thought it'd be fun to share with you some standout moments that we've had with our kids on these date days. Do you wanna start Aaron? - [Aaron] Yeah, so speaking about Olive, I would take her to dinner, and we'd go to one of our favorite restaurants and it's right there, right where she goes to dance. And I'll leave early and we'll spend about an hour eating together and just talking, sometimes she's coloring, sometimes she'll bring a book that she loves I'll read it to her, but a couple of cool things about this is it really stands out to other people. They start seeing me with my daughter and they're like, "Wow, this Dad's with their daughter" or just, it's a really intimate thing. So it's an example to others, which has been really cool. It also gives you enough time to just ask them questions and be like, "Who are you?" This little girl who's growing and turning into a her own person with her own ideas and with her own dreams and which is just a really powerful thing. A couple months ago, there was a really funny thing that I found out about Olive from dating her. So we go to this restaurant and I order something I've never ordered before, and it's this shrimp pasta dish. It's amazing, I loved it. It's like one of my new favorite things. And I get it and I'm like, "Oh, this is so good. "Oh my gosh, this is so amazing." And Olive leans over and she's like, "What's that smell?" And I'm like what? - She's really straightforward and blunt. - She's like, "Dad, that smells disgusting." And I'm like, "What are you talking about?" And she literally, she was like "I can't eat Dad, "this is ruining everything and I don't like that smell." I find out she doesn't like seafood smell, 'cause it smelled a little like shrimp and she was like, "It's disgusting!" So every time I order she's like, "Dad, don't order that, "I can't eat with you!" - [Jennifer] Actually, I remember her coming home that night and so you went to dinner first and then dance. So you guys were gone for a couple of hours. And she came home and I was like, "Oh, how was it?" And she goes, "Mom, Dad ordered this food "that I did not like." - [Aaron] "It was disgusting." And so I found out that Olive doesn't like the smell of seafood. So I have to get that pasta when I'm out around Olive now. - [Jennifer] That's funny. Something that stood out to me was, I remember a while ago, just having a hard day and needing a Mommy break. You know, all the Moms right now are like, "Yep, I feel ya." And so I asked Aaron if he could come in and watch the kids while I went and grabbed some lunch by myself. And I was really looking forward to it 'cause you had said yes. - Oh I remember this day, okay - [Jennifer] You understood and said yes and I was getting ready to go, and it was a day that I was actually having a really hard time with Olive. And so I don't know why all these stories revolve around her but-- - She's special. - [Jennifer] She's special. - [Aaron] She's our only little girl right now. - [Jennifer] She was just having a very emotional day, which was new for her in her development. She wasn't like this before, and it was rubbing me the wrong way. And so I was getting ready and you looked down the hallway and you kind of signaled to me like-- - I said it quietly-- - Do you wanna take her? - [Aaron] You learn really quick not to say things out loud. 'cause then it's like, it ruins everything. - [Jennifer] And I was actually really frustrated that you even acknowledged that-- - Or even asked you. - Or even asked me because I just wanted to get out of there. And I'm just being honest, and I just felt my in gut like, yes, that's the right thing to do and so I-- - [Aaron] But with your body language it was like no. - [Jennifer] So I said, "Olive come here," and she came running down the hall. She goes, "Where you going?" 'cause I had my shoes on. I said, "I'm going to lunch, do you wanna go with me?" And she lit up like just-- - You made her day. - I did. And so we went to lunch and I sat down and I tried asking her some questions and getting to know like what's going on, I acknowledged that she had been emotional and she acknowledged that she had been emotional. And it was a really encouraging time for our relationship. It was almost like God showed me where it's gonna be when she's 16. - [Aaron] I know, I love those glimpses! I'm so excited for that. - So cool. And just being able to get her away from all the boys in the family, and just see her for who she was and what she was going through, it was like an eye opener for me. So that's something that really stood out to me and showed me like my little girl is growing up and I need to be there for her and what does that look like? We also took a little devotional with us and it was a book that you actually started going through with her on your guy's dates. And so I took it with and read a page out of it and we talked about it and she was just, she came back just different from that opportunity. - [Aaron] Well it totally encourages her and makes her feel so loved. And yeah, she had a totally different attitude the rest of the day from that time with you. And that that's kind of how is with all of our kids. I love when I go out with Elliot. Again, I take him to piano, and then I'll take him to a lunch. So we what we do is we couple events. - [Jennifer] Things that you already have responsibility to. - [Aaron] Yeah so, I'm like, "Oh if I just leave a little early, "then I can go actually have a date with my son." He looks forward to it and we go and we'll color together, we'll talk, I purpose to not have my phone out at all. - [Jennifer] That's good. - [Aaron] I had to check it once in a while for a text message or you might call me or something, but I try and put it away so he knows that I'm intentionally trying to be with him. And then like, I just try and be, it's actually honestly, it's hard sometimes 'cause I'm like, how do I engage with my son? I'm trying to come up with creative questions, I'm trying to dig deeper than just what we always hear out of his mouth. I'm like, you know, what about this? What do you wanna, you know? - [Jennifer] But you can't expect it because when they're so young, they might not and that's okay. - [Aaron] Yeah, but I have to try. And so it's cool. The last time I went on a date with him, so he's been loving video games. He's playing Zelda, like that little, it's like a remake of the original Zelda, it's pretty awesome, actually. And he just talks about it a lot and I'm like, "Okay, Elliot, you know that someone came up "with this game, right?" And he's like, "What do you mean?" And I'm like, "Well, this whole story, "everything you love about this game, someone--" - Someone designed it. - "Created it." - [Jennifer] Someone made it up, yeah. - [Aaron] It came up from there, like all the names of the characters and all the places and he was like, "What really?" And I was like, "And you could too." And I actually started talking to him, I was like, "Why don't you describe a game?" And we literally spent the hour and he came up with his own game about a little boy with a backpack and his backpack has all of his powers and toys and we came up with what the adventure was gonna be about and he had to save the ancient. And it gave an opportunity where I was able to coax out of him more creativity and he was actually able to see beyond this thing that he loved to something to something that he could create like something he loves. - [Jennifer] That's so cool 'cause you took something that he was interested in and you saw it and you said, "Now how can I use this "to benefit our relationship?" - [Aaron] And it was fun because it made the conversation unique, it actually drew something out of him, I would imagine, made him feel more powerful like, "Wow, I could do that?" like, "I could make that thing? "I didn't even know that was impossible." I'm like, "Well, yeah, someone made it." So it was a lot of fun and I actually got to hear his creativity and I would ask him questions like, "Well, what does that character do? "Where did he come from?" And now he's like, creating these back stories. And so I told him, I was like, "You should do that "as a school project this year, come up with a game." So that was that was a really powerful, fun experience, too. - [Jennifer] That's awesome. Another standout memory that I have is with Elliot, I'm not trying to copy you on these stories. - It's okay if you are. - I know. But this actually happened when we were on vacation. I was pregnant with Wyatt and so Elliott was probably like three, almost four years old and we had gotten the opportunity to go to Maui, and it was really fun. And I remember waking up really early one morning and I shook you and I was like, "Hey, can I take Elliot out?" And you were like, "Yeah," but he was sleeping, but it was so cool. I woke him up and we snuck out without Olive waking up and so you and Olive stayed resting. - [Aaron] I slept for another two hours I think. - [Jennifer] Well it was probably like 5:45 in the morning and I'm like trying to get dressed in the dark. And we went downstairs 'cause we were staying at this resort with access to the beach, and we went, their coffee shop opened at 6 and so we went and got a bagel and walked all the way out to the beach. And I just sat there and we ate a bagel and then he played in the sand for like 30 minutes, 40 minutes, and we walked back up and got to have breakfast again with you guys. And it's such a standout memory for me because I loved having that one on one time with him. I love that we got to take a special unique opportunity away from everyone else just to be together. We got something that we both love and shared it, a bagel. And I have this memory of sitting on the beach, even though that whole vacation was pretty memorable, that's what stands out to me because I sat on the beach with just my son and I got to watch how he plays and I got to observe him and engage with him and love on him and it was just, I don't know, one of the things we'll talk about in just a minute is just the benefits of having that one on one time with your kid and I would say building memories like that where they stick with you-- - [Aaron] And they'll stick with them too. - [Jennifer] Well with them, but it makes you wanna recreate 'em. Oh, it's so powerful for the relationship, for the friendship, for the engaging aspect of what this is. - [Aaron] You know, in this episode, I would say our main goal in sharing these things with you is in parenting and in just marriage and in life and in church and all these things, there's so many things drawing our energies and attentions and every one in a while we just need to be reminded that we need to be taking opportunities to slow down and to get off the beaten path with our kids. To get to know them, to let them know that we are there for them, we like them. Like, it's one thing to love your kids, it's another thing to like your kids. And our kids need to know that we like them. Like I wanna spend time with you, I wanna be near you, I wanna know who you are and how you think. So that's our encouragement. What are some benefits, if those that are listening now start trying to implement some way that they should be taking these date days, date nights, alone time with their kids? - [Jennifer] Well, I the first thing that comes to my mind, and it just happens when you have multiple people in the family, when you step away with just one is you get uninterrupted time with them to really hear them and what they're going through. - Which is nice. - And to chat. It really is nice because anyone with multiple people in a family, you sit down at the dinner table and everyone's talking over each other. And we're working on that, our kids are pretty young so they're still learning that but it's all the time in the car, while they're playing, it's constant and so being able to pull away from the crowd and saying, "Hey, I see you and I hear you, "and I wanna hear more." It's powerful. - [Aaron] And then that goes into the other part of this, which is you get, you get to be un-distracted. But now this also takes, you should be intentional on this. Like I said, I try to not have my phone out because I don't wanna just be, and sadly, we see this sometimes, you see a father with their kid, and they're just, that Dad's on their phone and I don't wanna be that guy and I've done that before. Make sure that we're like, the intention is to be with your child. - [Jennifer] So it kind of gets you out of your elements to where you're purposeful and you're thinking ahead, you're thinking through all the steps while you're on this date, because your purpose is for them. - [Aaron] Yeah, and you know what our children see it. They feel when we're with them or not. Like, "Oh, I'm just here. "Dad's just here, but he's not here." Or "Mom's just here and she's not here." So intentionally putting it away, which totally shows them respect and honor and says, "I wanna know you, I'm here for you." - [Jennifer] It lets them know that there's, I kinda mentioned this earlier, but it lets them know that they're special, that they're an individual from the family pack. - [Aaron] They're not just one cog in the whole piece, that they're a person. - Yeah, yeah. We also get to know them. You know what, like you mentioned studying your kids earlier and I feel like having that one on one time, you really get to know them, where they're at, what they're going through. Something that I mentioned Isaac and Angie Tolpin earlier from Courageous Parenting, and Isaac, he just has this really great tool that he uses with his family that he shared with us, and he really is good at this, like naturally. But he talks about going three questions deep and this is a great tool to use for little kids because sometimes you ask them a question and either they don't fully understand, or they don't know how to answer it and so by asking the same question three different ways you get to pull from their heart. And so maybe you guys can just tuck that away or go look up Courageous Parenting and check that out but he talks about going three questions deep. But Aaron, why don't you give them some examples of what kind of questions they can ask on these dates with their kids? - [Aaron] And this isn't the definitive list, of course. - [Jennifer] No, no, but just some things that we go through. - [Aaron] Yeah, and the idea is, and it's a challenge, is I wanna be deeper than just like, "Hey, how are you? "What do you wanna be when you grow up?" Which I love those questions, but we wanna be able to go deeper so, "What do you know about God?" Which is a great question for discipleship, because then you get to find out like, where they're at in understanding God. - [Jennifer] They may say some off the wall thing that you might have to correct. - [Aaron] Yeah, or they'll blow your mind away and you'll be like, "Wow, I didn't even, "I've never thought of that about God." - [Jennifer] Or how do you know that 'cause I didn't teach you that? - [Aaron] Yeah. Another question is "What has God been teaching you?" Which actually makes them think like, "Wait, God teaches me things?" And then they can think like, "Oh, well, maybe to be more patient with my sister." Something like that. "What have you been interested in lately?" And you might already know the answer-- - [Jennifer] Well I was gonna say their interests can change so you might know the answer, but it could also surprise you. - [Aaron] Yeah, 'cause like forever Elliot loved Iron Man, and now it's Spiderman, but now it's not even Spiderman, it's Zelda. - Zelda. - So-- - Link. - [Aaron] "How are your relationships with your siblings?" - [Jennifer] This is a really good one for kids, that they are recognizing that their relationships with their siblings are important, and so they'll most likely be honest with you about how they are. Go three questions deep though. - [Aaron] Yeah. A good question is, "What things have you been frustrating, "or have been frustrating you lately?" Ask them like, "Hey, have there been things "that have been bothering you? "Are you frustrated with something "or do you feel sad about something?" - [Jennifer] Something that I've been used to asking when I have one on one time with the kids, like Elliot and I just ran an errand recently, and he jumped in the car, and we were headed over to my sister in law's house and I just asked him, "Hey, bud, how's your heart? "What's going on? "What are you thinking about lately?" So just things like that are really good. And then the last one Aaron. - [Aaron] This is a hard question to ask your kids. You know, sometimes they won't even know how to answer this but if you wanna honestly know the answer, and you honestly ask it, it's "How have I been doing as your Mom? "How have I been doing as your Dad? "Is there areas I can grow in? "Is there things that I do that bother you, frustrate you?" Now it doesn't mean that their answer is always gonna be applicable or right but it's a way of honestly saying, "I care how my children view me." Not that I just-- - Maybe they'll be, maybe they'll be really affirming and they'll encourage you. - [Aaron] Well and younger, they're all, "You're the best Dad ever!" And you get you're probably not or you don't feel that way but as they grow up, and they know that you care, they know that you want to know. - [Jennifer] And if we see this as a longevity thing, like an investment, then each time that we're with them, and we're asking these kinds of questions, we're asking this specific question-- - [Aaron] They might start thinking of better answers. - [Jennifer] Well, not just that but in their own maturity and development they will have more deeper, right? But you've prepped them over the years on answering. - [Aaron] Well and what it's also doing is building in them a trust of-- - You can tell me. - Mom and Dad wanna know, and I can tell them. - Yeah you can trust me. - They wanna know things and I want to tell them things and I wanna share with them. So it's this open line of communication and it's not just not having deep, if we as parents early on think "Oh I'm not, "I can't have deep conversations with my kids." Then when they're older, it's not gonna just start out of nowhere. - Right. - So we gotta start now, even if the conversation doesn't go deep, at least you're teaching your children like, "Hey, let's communicate, I want to hear from you." - That's good. - You know? - [Jennifer] So we were talking about the benefits of why we do this, why we have one on one time with the kids and we took a little side tangent to talk about questions that we asked them on these dates but let's finish up with this list of just some of the benefits. - [Aaron] And one of them is you get to know them. Remember we talked about we wanna like our kids. You get to know your kids. - [Jennifer] You get an opportunity to speak into their life. - Yeah. Going back to the whole continuing that open line of communication, you want your children to come to you for advice, you want your children to talk to you. So speaking into their life-- - [Jennifer] Here's two of 'em, I'm gonna share fun for both of you. Just whatever you're gonna go do, and it doesn't mean you have to spend money, I mean-- - [Aaron] I'll say this though, fun is a heart position and it's a posture you have to take. You have to decide in your heart this is going to be a fun thing not a inconvenient thing. Because I have hard time with that. I can be like, "Okay, this is inconvenient, "I have other things I want to be focusing on." But if we say, "Nope, this is gonna be a fun thing. " I wanna spend time with my kid." - [Jennifer] Well and you can look at fun and say, "What's something that I think would be fun "that I wanna invite my child into?" Or you can look at it from their perspective and say, "What would be fun for them?" And the other one I want to share, I already touched on it earlier, but it's building those memories and allowing your children to build those memories of having fun and doing something with just Mom or just Dad. - [Aaron] Another one, it's just logistically, especially when your family starts growing, taking one or two of the children out of the home helps the other parent also, it gives the dynamic of reprieve, it allows for other things to take place, it allows your wife or your husband to have time to themselves or with the other kids. So there's just a strategic, logistical thing that happens with taking one of the kids. And then also, your kids begin to look forward to it. - Yeah, even if it's spontaneous, they still know "Mom and Dad love me and they like me--" - "This is something that happens, "I'm gonna get time alone." And you know, it also opens that opportunity that our kids come to us and they say, "Can I go on a date with you?" They actually invite us on dates, they long for those times alone with us. - [Jennifer] Yeah. I'm gonna run through a couple benefits just for the parents' sake, investing into this relationship long-term. So casting that vision of, kinda like when I said when I was sitting at the table with Olive, it felt like how it would be sitting with her at the coffee shop at 16. - [Aaron] Which is exactly what you're doing. That's a pattern you're building of, if you want to be sitting when your child's 16, 17, 18, 20 and you have that deep close relationship, it doesn't start then. - Right. - It starts right now. - So. We admit, we don't have a 16 year old, but I would assume that if we haven't been putting in the time and investing in that way, when they're 16, are they gonna want to spend that quality time with us? - Well, I hope so. - Well, yeah, but I think the investment comes way earlier on and I think we need to be mindful of that. - [Aaron] Well, and I'll throw a shout out, Isaac and Angie Tolpin from Courageous Parenting, they do have older children and this is what they say. They say, "Hey, we started early investing in this "'cause we wanted our children to want to hear from us, "want to spend time with us." And they do. So we have examples in our life that we get to look at and say, "Well, let's just start now "and let's follow that example." - [Jennifer] Another benefit is Aaron you mentioned that that whole heart posture of kids being inconvenient, like being an inconvenience, and so when you think about one on one time with your kids, going to spend that quality time with them reinforces that they're important and special to your heart, so that it doesn't feel like a burden, the day in and day out of things that you're doing with them, because even you start to look forward to spending that quality time with them and then you get to have fun. Like when I think about taking my kid for a treat, sometimes it's even spontaneous to us in that, "Hey, there's this window of opportunity "and I wanna go share it with them." I like a treat, I like coffee, I like hot chocolate, I like a good conversation and so it's a benefit to us in that way. And then the last one, which Aaron you touched on, but it alleviates the other parent who's with the other kids for a brief time. So if I take one or even two of my kids, and I go on a date with them and you're at home with the other ones, it changes the atmosphere a little bit and I think it's nicer and easier. - [Aaron] I'll say this also, not just on the date side of things, we've kind of made a commitment to each other, it doesn't happen every time but if any one of us are ever gonna go run an errand, we always take one or two. - It's an opportunity! - It's an opportunity for the children and it also is an opportunity for your spouse and it's called this, it's divide and conquer. It's this idea of like-- - Except you enjoy it. - [Aaron] Yeah, but you enjoy it. So it's a pretty smart strategy for not always having the burden of all the children all the time on just your wife or just your husband. It's this idea of like, we're gonna work as a team so that this parenting thing doesn't feel burdensome all the time. - Yeah. - 'Cause sometimes it does. - [Jennifer] Okay you guys, we've shared a lot, but we also wanted to share some cool practical date ideas to spend time with your kids and these are just a handful, there are so many more, and especially when you think about different age categories, 'cause different kids will be interested in different things. And we also just wanna be clear that you do not have to spend extra money on these things. You can make it as simple as going for a walk around the block and heading to the park, playing catch with your son or daughter, or you can save up and go to a nice dinner with them. But we just wanna reiterate that you don't, it doesn't have to be a painful experience as far as finances or time. - [Aaron] And our kids are, they're super complicated but they're also very simple. - Yeah. - Time. - Yeah it's time. - They want presence and time. So like, I would imagine my son Elliot, if I just took him to the top, we have a hill, a butte that we can go look up on top of at sunset or sunrise, he would just love that. - Yeah. - And it's free. We just take the time to do it. - [Jennifer] So here's the thing, don't let anything keep you from excusing your way out of this. If you're a parent, and you have a child or children, no matter what their age is, it's important to spend quality time with them and have one on one time with them to have those conversations and share with them your heart and hear their hearts and really just invest the time into that relationship and I think this is a good word and warning to all of us as parents, especially looking at the longevity of our relationships with our kids and where we want to be with them when they're older. - Yeah. And just a note, imagine or realize what you as an individual need and desire. Don't you want your spouse to spend quality time with you, alone time to get to know you, to look in your eyes and say, "Who are you? "What are you doing?" Jennifer we just had to talk about this. You know like, "Hey, I want you to get to know me, "I want you to ask me deep questions." - [Jennifer] Yeah. Even if you were to think about along those same lines there and if you were to think right now everyone listening about you as a child and what you desired most-- - [Aaron] I think about these things. - [Jennifer] Think about that. Spend some time today and really think about what did you desire most from your mom? What did you desire most from your dad? And if you have children, try and implement those things. Try and be that way. - [Aaron] I don't know if I'm right in this, but I would imagine the things that we wished we had the most, the things that we wish that we got from our parents are probably the things that we have the hardest time giving to our kids. I would imagine that's true 'cause we've seen in our own lives, like me, patience. That's something that my mom and dad struggled with with me at times, I'm not very easy person be patient with. And so patience has been something I've had to work really hard to give my kids. And so if you look at your relationship with your parents, I would imagine the thing that you longed for the most and probably didn't get is the thing that you might have the hardest time giving. But don't let that be the reason. Like say, "Okay, you know what, God help me in this. "I wanna give this to my kids. "I wanna give them that attention, that affection, "that patience, that gentleness that I didn't receive." - [Jennifer] And even without thinking about it, every person in the world, every human desires what? To be known and loved. So, bottom line, this is an opportunity for us to get to know our children, to let them know we know them that we're paying attention, and to give them that quality time where we're conversing with them about things and loving on them. - [Aaron] Okay, let's give some ideas. These are practical ideas for, and you'll have to look at this and figure out the age range, where your kid is at age-wise and say, "Oh, this would be appropriate or this would be applicable." - [Jennifer] And then talk to each other about scheduling and timing and like, is this something we can put on the calendar? What would be best? - [Aaron] And how does it work? Like practically? - And we would encourage-- - Is it once a month? Is it every week? - We would encourage you guys to take time doing it 'cause even Mom who's at home with the kids all day, she still needs that one on one time. So finding ways to give Mom that opportunity and then finding ways that Dad gets those opportunities. And every family will look different. - [Aaron] Okay, so here's some ideas, a meal date. Just picking a breakfast lunch or a dinner and going somewhere, maybe bring it, like you make a pack a lunch and you go to a park. - [Jennifer] Or bring 'em to either yours or theirs favorite restaurant. - [Aaron] Right and just you and them. - [Jennifer] Another one is grabbing hot chocolate and bringing a game along or coloring. Depending on their age. - Coloring, a miniature board game. - Yeah. - [Aaron] Something like, what's that dice game? Yahtzee? - I was gonna say Farkle. - [Aaron] Or Farkle, oh that's a fun one. - [Jennifer] But hot chocolate and I'm assuming as they get older, it might turn into a coffee date. But hey, that's fun. - [Aaron] Another idea is treat 'em to a treat, like a cookie or a bagel or a cupcake or something like that. A donut, we love donuts, and a devotional, bring some sort of like child appropriate devotional and just read it with them and talk to them say, "What'd you think of that? "Do you have any questions for me?" - [Jennifer] Or maybe you don't have a resource, but you have a very specific conversation that you want to share with them privately. Use that opportunity for that. Another one would be the trampoline park. Aaron, you're really good at this one. - [Aaron] I like this one. This one is a fun one for me. - [Jennifer] I feel like I'm always pregnant and so it's hard for me to feel comfortable jumping and I get dizzy really easily but you love taking the kids and the kids look forward to you taking them to the trampoline park. - [Aaron] And it gets a lot of energy out and you can do it with them. And it also requires, you're not gonna be on your phone because it's hard to jump on your phone. - [Jennifer] It doesn't have to be trampoline, it could be laser tag or something fun like that but it's just going to one of those places that is very kid friendly and having fun. - [Aaron] Another one that's free, a bike ride. - [Jennifer] Unless you don't have bikes. - [Aaron] Unless you don't have bikes, but-- - You could rent some. - You can go for a walk, but a bike ride, a lot of people have bikes. Go for just a bike ride around your block, go take the bike somewhere on a trail, and just have that time of going, stopping and looking at stuff and talking. - [Jennifer] Wear your helmets! Even you Mom and Dad, be an example. Another one is interest shopping, and what I mean by this is just for example, okay Elliot's so into Legos and we have this really cool local guy who has a Lego store and it's small and it's like a boutique, but you go in there and there's Legos everywhere. He has a personal collection that he switches that in and out. And so just taking a random afternoon to go check the Lego store. - [Aaron] And it doesn't mean even you have to buy anything. We tell our kids all the time we like to go look at things and we'll say we're not buying anything today, but let's go look. And then they're like "Okay," so their expectations are totally set and they enjoy looking at stuff. - [Jennifer] Yeah, so I say interest shopping 'cause it could be anything from window shopping down in a downtown area to eventually you know, your girl is 16 and she actually wants to go shopping so it could change depending on the child. - [Aaron] This next one's a free one also and Elliot loves this one, Barnes and Noble trip or library. What we do is we just go and Barnes and Noble's fun because you can go and they have so many different types of books and we'll sit in the back and he just picks a book up, starts looking through the pages, picks another book up. Sometimes he'll be like, "Hey Dad, read this one to me." We'll go sit down and I just read to him and it's just me and him and it's quiet in there. - [Jennifer] There's been a couple times you guys have come back with a gift for Olive or something like that. So using the opportunity as a thoughtful way to say "You're not gonna get anything, "but what would stand out to your sister or your brother "or your Mom or Dad?" Another one would be going to get ice cream. Go and get ice cream, go for a walk. Some ice cream places do like a factory tour, you could do something fun like that. - [Aaron] One more is, we got two more, run an errand. This is like a really practical one, I have to go do something, I have to go get the mail, we have to go to the grocery store, and take a child with you and they're your partner. So I'll take Wyatt and he's in charge of the list or Elliot will be in charge of the list of what we're getting and I'll say, "Okay, we're looking for this, what aisle that on?" And so it's like a fun, something that has to be done, but they're doing it with me and they're your partner in that job. - [Jennifer] And it's fun when you give them a job to do on that errand. I know you just mentioned that but I had just been thinking like yeah, they really think that they're valued and have responsibility in the family when they get to be a part of it. The last one that we want to share with you is just a special event. This could be as simple as volunteering to help someone move, so Dad and son go help so and so move or a baby shower, I think of all the times that I get to take Olive on a little date and share in an experience like a baby shower with her and so even something like that you can utilize an event opportunity to take your kids on a date. - [Aaron] And there's a ton of other things, our heart was just to get your mind on this. What are ways that you can get alone with your children and get to know them? And taking turns, Dad doing this, Mom doing this because they wanna know both of your hearts are with them, they wanna know that both of you know them, and that you desire to be with them and like them. And it also, yeah like you said, the pack, it shows that they're an individual amongst the family but that they're also a part of the family. - [Jennifer] And as I was just thinking about this, we shared questions that you could ask your child to be able to pull out that conversation from their hearts but also give them the opportunity to ask you questions. Say, "Is there anything that's been on your heart "that you want to ask Mom or Dad? "Anything that's confusing or you've been struggling with?" - [Aaron] Anything you want to know about me? - [Jennifer] Or yeah, you wanna know about me? So I think opening up opportunity for your kids to ask you questions would be a really huge benefit to the relationship by doing that. - Totally. So we hope that encouraged you. Hope we gave you a lot of good ideas to run with. - [Jennifer] The next time you go on a one on one date time with your kids, be sure to post a picture and share it on Instagram and tag Marriage After God so that we can see what you guys are up to. It'll be inspiring to all of us. - [Aaron] As usual, we end in prayer, so why don't you pray for us? - [Jennifer] Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of family. Thank you for the blessing of children. May we be people who are willing to make our children feel special and to feel seen and heard. Help us to spend quality time with them, building fond memories and moments that build our trust with them. Help us to carve out time to show our kids that we desire to be close with them and want to dialogue with them. We pray we would be fun and intentional parents with the purpose of teaching our kids Your ways. May our children have a heart to build a family of their own because they love our example and appreciate all that they have experienced. May Your love be woven into our legacy and may Your light shine in our relationships with our children. In Jesus' name, amen. - [Aaron] Amen. Thanks for joining us on this episode. If you haven't left us a review, please take the opportunity to do that now. We love reviews from our listeners. And also don't forget to get the new download. Or it's not a download, it's a challenge. The Parenting Prayer Challenge. You can go to parentingprayerchallenge.com, sign up, it's completely free and we'll send you prompts every day for the next 31 days to pray for your children. We love you guys, see you next week. 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 is a cool topic that actually came from some wives in the MAG community online who asked us to specifically talk about this. It is so encouraging to know that there are wives out there who are actively trying to understand how to help their husbands lead their home.What we believe about spiritual leadership is found in scripture.Ephesians 5:23-25 “For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.”1 Corinthians 11:3 “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” PrayerDear Lord,Thank You for the gift of marriage. Thank you for the opportunity to consider these things and how we can mature as a couple. We pray we would walk in righteousness, gentleness and self-control. We pray we would be people who see others through the lens of compassion. Help us to be thoughtful in our responses to each other. Help us to be respectful in our conduct. We pray our interactions as a married couple would be a testimony of your power and authority in our lives. May your light shine brightly in us as we direct each other back toward you.In Jesus’ name, amen!Read The Transcript- Hey, we're Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God. - Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage. - And today we're gonna share how a wife can encourage her husband to lead spiritually. Welcome to the Marriage After God podcast where we believe that marriage was meant for more than just happily ever after. - I'm Jennifer, also known as Unveiled Wife. - And I'm Aaron, also known as Husband Revolution. - We have been married for over a decade. - And so far, we have four young children. - We have been doing marriage ministry online for over seven years through blogging and social media. - With the desire to inspire couples to keep God at the center of their marriage. Encouraging them to walk in faith every day. - We believe that Christian marriage should be an extraordinary one. Full of life. - Love. - And power. - That can only be found by chasing after God. - Together. - Thank you for joining us on this journey as we chase boldly after God's will for our life together. - This is Marriage After God. - Hey guys, thanks for joining us on a new episode of the Marriage After God podcast. We're in season three and - It's so exciting. - I know. And I hope you've been enjoying this new season. We've been doing some fun posts. We've been doing some devotional style marriage encouragements and just, we're trying to make it a little bit more dynamic. - Dynamic, ah that's what I was gonna say. - A little bit more mixed content. I hope you're enjoying it. If you are, let us know on Instagram. Send us a message. Let us know what you think of the show. Also, we always want to encourage you, if you love an episode, if this is a particular episode that has blessed you, would you just take a screen shot of wherever you're listening to it at and post it in Instagram and tag, "Marriage After God." We love seeing those. We love sharing those on our own pages and it gets the word out. Let's other people know about it. - Okay, so I have to share with them. Knowing that we were going to be recording podcasts, I stopped by the local coffee shop. Shout out to Dutch Brothers. - Yeah. - They're really good. They're just one of those drive through coffee shops, but sometimes the people come outside to take your order and you know, I'm like, well into my third trimester. Very noticeably pregnant and I rolled my window down and he goes, "so what are we having?" And I said, "A girl!" He was-- - When you told me this, I thought you were kidding. - No. - I was like, oh, you got him good. - He was so embarrassed and he was like, "even if I ever assumed I would never say anything." And I go, "oh no, it's not your fault. "I just, I just gotten done on an appointment "and it's on my mind all the time "and people are always asking me "if we know what we're having." And we were just laughing about it. - That's really funny. And what's funny is you weren't kidding with him. You thought he asked you. - I thought it was a legitimate question, but he was wondering what kind of coffee we would take today. So that's funny. But I did wanna just give a little update on the pregnancy. You know where I'm at, it's been really good and hard at the same time. - It's been really hard. - Well, no complications. - This has been hard when-- - We shared about this already. No complications, but just, you know when you're chasing around four other little kids and your body is physically limited, it gets hard and uncomfortable at times. And so I've been feeling just a lack of energy lately. - Mmh hmm. - I've been feeling slower and being confronted with my, just physical limitations and that's hard for my mind to wrestle with 'cause my mind wants to go, go, go and do more and I can't. - A tip for husbands out there. If your wife is pregnant in her third trimester, just massage her feet and legs every night. - Yeah. - That helps a lot. - It's wonderful. - It's kind been where we've been at. - But all is good and I'm really exciting for the nesting phase to hit because I know that that's kind of like an extra burst of God's grace for soon to be moms. It just, it comes on. - A burst of endorphins. - Yup and you just go and you clean the things that you never even look at and it feels so great. And so, I'm kind of looking around my house going, nope, that's gonna wait for-- - The question will be is how long will it stay that way with our four other kids. - I know. Like the cleanliness, yeah. - Okay, we just wanna encourage you guys, everyone that's listening, we have some free downloads. - Mmh hmm. - We have two specifically, there's actually a bunch more, but the two I wanna talk about today is, "The Marriage Prayer Challenge." It's a 31 day prayer challenge where you sign up. It's completely free and we'll email you a marriage prompt, a prayer prompt and a reminder to pray every day for 31 days for your spouse. And you can go to MarriagePrayerChallenge.com and sign up for that for free and then our other free download, it's a new one. It's our "52 Date Night Ideas" ebook. We have, we came up with 52 unique date night ideas and so if you're looking to have a whole year of date ideas, just go to DateNightIdeas.com and sign up and download it for free. And those two free, well, those things, we created for you guys just to encourage you, to inspire you. So yeah, MarriagePrayerChallenge.com and DateNightIdea.com. - Cool, okay so, the topic for today is how can a wife encourage her husband to lead spiritually and when, how Aaron and I kind of set up and prepare for these podcasts episodes is we have a document that we both share and we kind of just, once we have the topic down, we'll go in every so often and add notes and look over it and share our thoughts about it. And I remember when I first went into this document, it just said the words, "honorably and gently." - I put all the notes I could come up with in there. - It was really sweet, but I just had to get that out of the gate because it was really cool to see your perspective of how, like what it takes for a wife to encourage her husband and those are two powerful words. - Yeah, to my defense, I actually did put more in there later. - I know. - I wrote down, and we'll get to some of those, but I wrote down a lot of the ways that you have encouraged me. - Yeah - Whether we've talked about it or not. - This was just the first note that I saw and I just wanted to add that because it was really cool. But this is actually a topic that came from the wives in our Marriage After God community and it was a question that kind of kept coming up in different ways and so we thought it would be fun to talk about it, discuss it. - Mmh hmm. - And encourage you listening. Both husbands and wives because marriage takes two. - Yeah and for the husbands and wives that are listening, husbands take note of the things that we talk about because even if your wife isn't encouraging you to be a spiritual leader, even if she doesn't know how to or hasn't started yet, it's important that we as men start stepping up in that role. Trusting the Lord. Chasing after Him and guiding our family closer to Him, to the word of God. - Yup. - And we do that by example. - Mmh hmm. - We do that by being faithful, trustworthy. - Yeah. - And so I just want to encourage the husbands. - I think that's really good and I think that as the husbands are listening, of course not using everything that we share as ammunition to go, "see, you should be doing this," - Oh absolutely. - but rather, use what we share today as an encouragement to you in how you should be leading. - Yeah. - And hopefully, it inspires you both today. - Yeah and just, I always bring this up. Our pastor, Matt, our old pastor would always say, "read your own mail." So, in those scriptures when it's talking to the wife on how she should be, we don't read that and say, "see, this is how you should be." - Because you've got the whole section yourself to be reading. - Yeah, I have my own mail I need to be opening up and reading and to honest, there's enough there for each of us to be doing our thing to not have to worry about how our spouse walking those things. - Mmh hmm. - That doesn't mean we can't encourage our spouse to be like, hey, I just want to encourage you, the way you were being, that was a little disrespectful. Or, like, we can always encourage each other. We're allowed to do that. Again, honorably and gently. - Yeah. - But there's so much in our own, in the scriptures that talk directly to us, that we should be just walking in. - Yeah. - In the spirit. And you know what, when we do that, our spouse, it's so hard for our spouse to not. - Mmh hmm. - Like when we're walking the way the Bible calls us to, it's gonna be really hard for our spouse, our wife, or your husband to not desire to walk in that way as well. - Okay so, first Aaron, before we get into the encouraging aspect of encouraging our husbands to lead, there's something else that you wanted to talk about. - Well, I think it's a good point that we should bring up of just where this idea of spiritual headship, spiritual leadership comes from, 'cause there's a lot of people who will be like, no, that's not right. it should be, this way or that way, but-- - It's not for Aaron and Jen. - It's not my idea. It's not like I came up with like, hey, the men should be in charge and the men should be leading. It's a biblical concept. It's the way, it's an order that God put in place and for His purpose, not for ours. - Right, so what we believe and how we operate in our family comes straight from scripture. - Right. - And that's what kind of where we wanted to start off on the foundational aspect of this. - Yeah and I want to encourage everyone that's listening that your desire should not be to live Aaron and Jennifer's way. - Mmh mmh. - Your desire should be to live the Bible's way. So you getting into the word and saying, wow, it says this. How does that play out in our marriage? - We're just big neon arrows pointing to the word of God. - Let's hope. - That's what we're here for you. - So Ephesians five, 23 through 25, the famous marriage scriptures. It says this. It says, "For the husband is the head of the wife, "even as Christ is the head of the church, "his body and himself at savior." So just real quick, it's not saying that the husband is the savior. It's saying that Christ is the savior of the church. But it's saying in that same manner, in the same manner that Christ is the head of His church, His bride, the husband is the head of the wife. And we talk about his in the Marriage After God book, that the picture of husband and wife, the symbol of marriage is to represent the gospel of Christ the Savior and His church, the bride. And so, that order of headship is specifically to highlight that, that point. So if I'm trying as the husband, if I'm trying to lead in a way that diminishes the gospel, I'm not leading well and I'm not walking in the spiritual leadership that God's called me to. So, if I'm being abusive, if I'm being vulgar, if I'm using my power that God's given me in abusive ways to manipulate, to control, that's not how Christ came. That's not how Christ loved His church. He came humbly. - Humbly, yeah. - And He came putting it, laying Himself down. That's exactly what the scripture's talking about. Giving himself up for her. And so, we don't just get to say, oh, see the Bible says I'm in charge, so now this is how I'm gonna do it. No, the Bible says I'm in charge, so I must do it His way. - His way, yeah. - The Bible's way. So, I just wanted to point out. - No, that's good. - But that's one of the first spots that we would run to in showing this headship, is the husband represents Christ. Your bride represents the church and that relationship represents how the gospel works. The redeeming nature, the love, the unity, the oneness of us being joined to Christ through His death and resurrection and so, headship comes straight from here and it also says, and when I read first Corinthians 11:3, - It says this, "But I want you to understand "that the head of every man is Christ. "The head of a wife is her husband "and the head of Christ is God." - What I love about this is it's showing this order again and saying the head of every man is Christ. It starts that way. It doesn't say that the head of every woman is man. It's not written that way. It says, "the head of every man is Christ," and what that means is my authority does not come from me being a man. It comes from Christ and Him saying this is the order I want. That, so we have to first realize that we are responsible to our own head, Christ. That the way I love and lead and disciple and walk, I'm directly accountable to Christ and He's gonna look at me and say, how did you walk in this authority I've given you? That's this is idea of derived authority. It trickles down. It's not just inside me because I'm a man. - Right. So, the second part of that is, "the head of thy wife is her husband," and this is very specific 'cause it's not that the head of every woman is a man-- - Yeah, which some people believe. - Well, can you clarify that? - Yeah, it's, this is specifically talking about the relationship again between a husband and a wife that me as a man in the church, I don't get to have every woman be in submission to me, - Right. - as Ephesians five, 23 would call a wife to be in submission to her husband. Women do not need to submit to me. My wife should, but that's it. I don't get to have any sort of extra authority in any other woman's life other than my own wife. So, we don't get to use this scripture as an excuse of women are in this position and men are in this position in the church and that's not what we do. - I think this order, God showing us this order is really important because when you're bringing two people into a single unity so that they're one, which you know, the scripture tells us, there's gotta be-- - Order. - There's gotta be order because otherwise you'll have two people trying to lead and what happens when that's going on? - Chaos. - Chaos because they're fighting for their own ways. They're doing their own thing and they expect the other person to follow and so this provides the outline. - Right, well and what's even more amazing is it ends with, "the head of Christ is God." There's a scripture that says, "Christ learned obedience "through the things that He suffered." Which is amazing because you're like wait, what? Not that He wasn't obedient. It's this idea of full obedience meaning even unto death, Christ was obedient to God. Christ, there's another scripture where Christ says, "I only came "to do what my Father has called me to do. "To go where my Father has called me to go "and to say that which my Father wants me to say." There's this perfect picture of Him being completely and perfectly in unity with God in His obedience to God and His will. - Which, I love this because it just further solidifies that Christ is our example. - Yup. - Right, Christ, it could have just been that Christ is God and that's the authority and that's it, but no, He says that, "the head of Christ is God." That means that Christ is in subjection to God's authority and if Christ is our example, then we need to follow. - Right and this is a big concept 'cause Jesus is God. - Yeah. - And God is God. And the Holy Spirit is God because we have this triune nature of God. Three individual persons, but one God head, right. But there's an order to it. - Yeah. - They've been in perfect unity since before the foundations of the world. So for all eternity, God, Christ and the Spirit have been in perfect harmony-- - They get it. - and unity, but it's in order. - Yeah. - God the Father. God the Son, God the Spirit. There's this order and it's showing us right here. It's saying, in the same way that Christ, God, has a head, God, God, right, It's kind weird. The husband is the head of the wife and Christ is the head of the church, and the head of man. So all this is showing is a derived authority trickled down. Christ got His authority from God. I get my authority from Christ. My wife gets her authority from me. This trickle down of roles and positions and we shouldn't go beyond that. We shouldn't try and extrapolate that and say, see, men need to have authority over every woman in the church. No, there's not a single woman in the church that needs to be submissive to me the way my wife should be submissive to me. She's the only one. Now, if we go back early on in Ephesians, right before this it says, it says, "Be in submission to one another "out of reverence for Christ." - For Christ. - Which is a command to the church as a whole, - Right. - Which means-- - Be unified. - Be unified. That each one of us in the body are not trying to be above another. We're trying to raise the other ones up, but that's not to be mistaken with people, 'cause people do this. They mistake that, saying, see, husbands should submit to their wives also. That's actually not what that's saying. That's a command to the church as a whole generally. People in the church should be in submission to one another out of reverence for Christ, okay. And then it goes on, it says, "wives submit "to your own husbands." It says, "your own husbands." Not to other men. It doesn't mean my wife needs to submit to any other men but me. And other women don't need to submit to me the same way my wife does. But generally, in the church we should be in a mutual submission to each other in the body, not in marriage necessarily. - Right, so this idea of leadership and headship, it's not something that you just get because you're a man. - Right. - Or men get because they're men and it's also not something that men are naturally good at just because they're men. It's something that they look to Christ and say, you're my example. You're my head. The authority comes from You and from God and I'm gonna walk in Your ways. - Right and then that leadership plays out when I'm doing it God's way. Now, if I'm not doing it God's way, does that mean I don't, that the wife doesn't have a responsibility? Again, going back to the reading your own mail. Whether or not the husband is walking in this way, which is why this episode's here, is the wife has a calling and an opportunity to walk in her own obedience to Christ. - Right. - And to walk a certain way that will bless her husband. - Yeah. - Bless her marriage and potentially change his heart and raise him up to be the leader that he's been called to be. So, I just wanna reiterate that men, we're accountable to someone. Wives, you're accountable to someone and it's Christ. And we each have an accountability and we need to make sure that we recognize that so that when we're leading our families, husbands, we recognize that we don't just get to lead it however we want. We lead it the way Christ wants. - Okay so, that was kind of laying the foundation down. I know people like to hear from us, so let's share a little bit about just our personal testimony of how we've been walking in this. You reading your mail about headship and leadership and me reading mine about submission. - Why don't we start with yours? - Okay, so, so I admit that I had this understanding that a wife was to submit to her husband, but of course, learning something requires the experience of walking through it and learning from mistakes. - Doing it. - And growing and allowing the Holy Spirit to convict our hearts when we're wrong and to submit to Him and be transformed by it. I would say that actually, the opportunity of marriage has helped me understand what submission is and what it looks like and I've gotten better at it over the years, but I wouldn't say I'm perfect. - Right. - But I, I know that it, in the beginning, it was easier for me to submit physically and what I meant by that is, I had this idea that wherever Aaron, wherever you would go, I would follow you. Whatever you chose to do, that would be an easy thing for me. I'm just gonna follow you. I'm gonna do it and I saw it as submission. But then there was all these other little areas that I didn't realize I wasn't submitting to you in. - Like me having a choice in something. Or desiring to go somewhere or something. - Yeah or trying to make a decision for our family that would change the way we functioned as a family or even, this was before kids and so, just between you and I, whether it was about health decisions or-- - Getting out of debt. - Getting out of debt. That was a really hard one for me. - Yeah. - And if people read the Unveiled Wife, they know about this. I think I might have shared it in Marriage After God, too. - You were not interested. - Well, I struggled because I saw it as your debt and I was very young and immature in my thinking and I didn't see us as unified in that and so submitting to your request of, hey, let's put this thousand dollars we just got, that we just earned from hard work and put it towards my school loan debt. I was like, uh uh. But what I found through the experience of walking through that with you is that when I did submit my heart and I said, "Okay, Lord, whatever you ask." I'm gonna do this and this was just one area but, being able to submit to you in that decision that you made for our family, it actually blessed me and it benefited me and I saw-- - Still does. - Yeah. Yeah, look at our, the years that have passed and becoming debt free, that's just one area that I feel like has really changed my heart in this area of submission to you and it does happen in all the little choices. I remember, just recently something happened where you, I wanted to go out to lunch 'cause I had a desire for a certain thing. I think it was a certain sandwich shop down the street and you said, "well, let's just eat at home," and I responded with the worst attitude and I said something like, "that's not what I wanted." And I did it in front of the kids. - At least you're honest. - Well, I'm really embarrassed but I was, I ended up leaving. I think I took Elliot with me and we were gonna run some errands and I was gonna go get my sandwich and the whole way there I just felt the Lord saying, "You need to call your husband. "You need to tell him you're sorry right now." Like, this is bad. And I remember telling you I was, "I'm really sorry "for the way that I responded to you in that moment," because I wasn't in submission to your decision to eat at home. I wanted what I wanted and I threw manipulation out. I threw my emotions out to try and get what I wanted and it wasn't right of me and so learning, even in the smallest of things, how to submit to you in my heart, in my actions, in my attitude, all of it. I don't know. I'm still learning this, but it really does benefit and bless our family when we walk in the order that God has provided for us. Told us how to do it. - Right and not just in the practical things, because to be honest, you've been blessed by submitting to me even in bad things that, like choices I've made, and submitting to me in things that you disagreed with. And the blessing isn't in that my bad choice turned out good or that my decision wasn't a poor decision, 'cause those things happen. I don't lead well all the time. The blessing in the encouragement and the power comes from your obedience to Christ. Your closeness to God. - Yeah. - Your, when it says that, "Christ learned obedience "through the things that he suffered," - Yeah. - sometimes that's the joy and that's the blessing, is like, regardless of your husband ever does the thing that you want him to or ever leads the way you want him to, the true power in blessing is in your obedience to God. - And I would say this to add to that, you're absolutely right. It's also, it builds trust. I'm trusting God because if I can see something, like you said, a bad decision or something like that that you're gonna make and I still submit to you, basically I'm saying I don't understand why you're choosing that but I'm gonna trust God with you and with what's going on. - And with my life and the situation. - And that has blessed us. Some of the opportunities with that that have come out has been a learning opportunity for you or a growth opportunity for me and it-- - Yeah, so when I think about this, I think of that first Romans eight, 28. It says, "and we know that for those who love God, "all things work together for good "for those who are called according to His purpose." So, Christian, raise your hand. Are you called according to His purpose? - Yup. - Yeah. Do you love God? - Yup. - Yup. So, even when you're husband's not leading well, does God, can God work that out for your good? 'Cause He promises to. And we may not know what that good looks like right now and it may not feel good and we talked about this feelings thing a couple episodes ago, but He's gonna work it out. - Yeah. - I like what you said. Trusting God. - Yeah, I didn't know you were gonna bring this verse up but as you were reading it and you were getting to the end of it, it says, "those who are called according to His purpose," and when I just think about marriage in and of itself, it's for His purpose. It's not for our purpose, although there's benefits to us. Because earlier you'd talked about what it represents and so when we submit to His order and we say, okay Lord, we're gonna walk this out. I'm gonna encourage my husband to lead. I'm gonna let him lead. He's gonna lead me, and the husband's over there saying, Okay Christ, I'm following You. I'm walking Your way, it's for His purposes. - Yeah, so I think that's a good, for the wife listening, heart posture is saying, Okay Lord. My life and my marriage is Yours and I want to practice trusting You. I want to practice loving You. I want to practice knowing You, and so this is one of the ways I'm gonna do that is walking in submission to my husband. - Yeah. - Even when I'm afraid of how he's making, the decision he's making. If I think he's wrong. - Yeah, well-- - It doesn't mean you can't encourage him, right? - Well, here's the truth. We cannot encourage our husbands to lead and feel confident in leading if we challenge every time they try. - You're right. Think about our kids. We have to give them opportunities to make choices, make decisions, do things on their own and if we never do that, they're never gonna get good at the things they wanna get good at, right. - Yeah. - So, even with your husband, just like anything, the moment they, and this has happened to us, I try and make a decision and there's an immediate fight, argument. - Confrontation. - Yeah, confrontational, or opposition. - Conflict, disagreement. - Like, no, I think that's a bad choice, rather than letting me figure it out. - And then going to the prayer closet with it. - I have enough room for it. And we've seen this time and time again in our own marriage. We've seen it in other marriages. This is the things is, we'll get messages from people saying, "how do I get my husband to lead, "'cause every time he tries, "I don't like the decisions he makes." And I'm just thinking he's never gonna figure out how to make better decisions if you're not gonna encourage him and say, okay, let's try that. I might not see how that's gonna work out, but I'm gonna follow you and let's see how that plays out. - If we do submit, if we do act out in submission towards our husband, then it's gonna require us to pray more for them - Oh yeah. - and the choices that they're making. I think all the wives need to hear that right now because how often are we praying for our husband's leadership? How often are we praying for the choices that they're making and how they're leading our family? That we want it to improve or that we want it to go a certain direction and that we're submitting those desires and things to the Lord. - And I would say, 'cause I'm just thinking about marriages where you have a super immature husband. Someone who just, the decisions they make are totally selfish decisions and those, that happens. You know, their hobbies or how they wanna spend the money. Where they wanna go or they just wanna leave and they just wanna, that's a hard place for a wife to be. I just wanna say my heart is broken for where you're at in your marriage, but for you, your prayer closet, getting on your knees before God and knowing that God loves you and your husband. - And that He has a purpose for it. - He has a purpose for what's going on. Just start praying that God captures that man's heart. - Yeah. - And pray fervently without ceasing. Pray daily, hourly, minute by minute for them and watch God move. And then also pray for opportunities. - Yeah. - Like very calm, gentle honoring opportunities to be like, hey, that's great if you wanna do that. I just wanna give you an encouragement. Would you consider how this is gonna bless us when you make this decision? - Yeah, respectfully communicate. - And how ever they answer, be like, okay, I just wanna encourage you to consider that. - That's great. - Love you. - 'Cause we have huge influence in our husband's lives in the way that they do make decisions. So, even if we don't feel like that's true, they're thinking about the things that we say and how we're saying them. - Yeah. - Right. - And I would also give an encouragement to wives to not be manipulative in the way they encourage their husbands to lead because I think sometimes there could be, oh yeah, I want him to lead as long as he leads my way. And so, doing, just using your emotional, emotions and the way you word things to get them to feel like their decision's bad and they should go with yours anyway, or, that's not how, no one responds well to those things. So just being careful how you're using your words and being prayerful in this journey of encouraging your husband. Again, prayer and running to the Father 'cause God's the only one who can change hearts. And that's what needs to happen in a lot of these men's lives. Husbands, if you're listening. If you're having a hard time leading, it's a heart problem in you that you need to go to the Father and say, change this in me. Why am I so afraid, or why is this so hard, or why am I feeling like I can't. Because even if your wife's not letting you, you should still be leading. - Yeah. - Because you can be an example in your home. - Okay, so real quick. For the relationship that the husband hasn't been spiritually leading and maybe the wife has, there could become a root of bitterness in her heart towards him and so when he does step up to try and lead, it can feel almost frustrating in the sense that he's doing it wrong or he's not doing it how she thinks he should. I know you mentioned all of that. - Well, she's been doing it for so long and now she has to like, wait, you're just gonna come in-- - How do you transition. How do you transition and sometimes that root of bitterness can get in the way and so I just wanted to call that out because you had touched on it briefly and I just, do you have any thoughts about that or an encouragement to a wife who may, there may be a situation that happens in the midst of them working together in the kitchen, how does she respond in that moment? - Yeah, well, it's even before that. If there is a root of bitterness like this, I've been leading and I've been doing this and my husband hasn't stepped up and there's this irked feeling. - Now all the sudden he's going to try. - Now you're gonna try or if you're gonna do it and you're not gonna do it my way. All those kinds of things. - How do they respond? - The first humbleness and repentance. - Yeah. - Within their heart. Saying, okay Lord. This is gonna be difficult, but I have been angry and bitter. And I just wanna repent that because I do want my husband to rise up. I do, I don't, say like, we need to tell the Lord, I don't want to get in the way of what You're doing in my husband's life. I actually wanna be a catalyst for what You're doing. I wanna be a part of it. - That's good. - So, I would just say start with humbleness and repentance. - Okay, so we're gonna move on and share just what are some ways that I have encouraged you to lead our family that's impacted you, 'cause I think hearing personal stories like this helps get the idea across. - So, I just have a list here. This is one of the things that I just wrote down notes of. Things that I've experienced that you've done for me that I felt encouraged me in my leadership. - Which, by the way, I had mentioned how we kind of prep our episodes. I didn't know you were gonna do this and so when I went in there to look over the episode. I saw this and I was so touched by it because I thought, oh, I didn't even know I was doing these things that have impacted you. So, I was really excited to hear this. - Well, thank you. So, the first one is you often ask me questions about the Bible. So, this does a bunch of things and we talked about this before. Scripture talks about this. It calls wives to go to their husbands and ask them questions. - Yeah. - And I know many wives would be like, well, I know more about the Bible than he does. Exactly. - Or I know where to go that would give me the right answer. - Exactly, like I have, oh, I have so and so or I have this Pastor or I have this podcast. Those things aren't bad. - Or whoever, yeah. - But just, ladies, listen. Listen to the power that this has in a husband's life. If every question you had about the Bible, even if you knew he didn't have the answer, if every question you had about the Bible, like you're reading scripture and you're like, this is weird or that's interesting or I wonder what he meant by that, and you went to your husband. You're husband's at home, he's watching TV or he's doing whatever, right, and you're like, hey, Hon, I was just reading in first John and it says, this, what do you think about that? And not in a facetious way. Not in way that sounds antagonistic, but genuinely wanna know what he thinks. - Yeah. - I would imagine in the beginning you'll have, what, what are you talking about? I don't know. Just go ask your pastor. I don't know. - Who knows. - Who knows how he's gonna respond, right. But imagine the 50th time. What do you think that husband's thinking to himself? He's thinking, she must think I have answers. She must think I know something, right? - I better know something. - She must believe or must be interested in my way of thinking about this. So, over and over and over again, running to your husband and saying, hey, what do you think about this? Hey, I read this. Have you ever read this before? What do you think it means? How do I know how to and over and over and over again you go to your husband and you ask these questions, eventually he's gonna start going to look for the answers. - Yeah, I would say space the questions out just so that he doesn't feel berated. Right, give him some breathing room because it could be, for some husbands, new. - Right, this is tactical. This is tactical. - No, it's not. It's a beautiful way that a marriage gets to look at the word of God together and so, my first thing is just give some space in between each question and then if you have a husband that's having a hard time answering those questions or maybe he forgets or maybe there's a lot of time that goes by and he never gets to that question, gets to answer that question, pray for him. Don't let that become bitterness in your heart that he's not answering your questions. - Yeah. - Let it become an opportunity for you to pray for him. - See it as a tool. Well first of all, the Bible tells wives to go ask their husbands questions. Second of all, over time that's gonna build up so much respect in him. When someone asks you questions, ladies, just think about this. If someone comes to you and says, hey I have this question. I wanna know your opinion, thought, idea, doesn't that make you feel so respected and honored? - Totally and I either wanna share right there what I think or I wanna go figure it out and then come back. - Yeah, 'cause that person really wants to know from you. Cool, so lets, I'm gonna run through a bunch of these and then we'll go a little deeper-- - Sometimes Aaron gets really excited, - I do. - and he starts teaching on a topic, but we're gonna share a little bit more about how you can encourage your husband specifically in just a little bit. But first, let's get through this list of what you came up with. - So again, these are things that I've seen you do for me. - Something I was gonna share real quick on this is one of the opportunities I always take is after a Sunday church service, if something stood out to me that I didn't understand, I'll come to you and say, "hey, what did "the pastor mean by this?" Or, "I'm kinda confused," or whatever the question is. - Right. - And so that's one opportunity and then, one of the things that we like to ask each other is, "what has God been teaching us lately?" So, I like that. - Yeah. So, the next one is, you encourage me in the things I'm already leading in. So, it's like this affirmation. You see me doing finances and you encourage me in that. Hey, thank you so much for doing, taking care of our family so well in that area. If you see me with my, doing something leadership wise with my kids, like discipling them, talking to them about something spiritual. Teaching them something, anything. - Positive reinforcement with words. - Oh yeah, so what you're doing is you're, and it, you're going out of your way to recognize leadership things in me and affirm those things. - Yeah. - You work hard to implement things that I have put in place. Which again, - I have a good example of it. - That's a submission thing and a leadership thing. - So, I had a good friend, Angie Tolpin from Courageous Mom, encourage me in home schooling to say, go to the husband, 'cause I'm there all day with the kids, but to go to your husband and say, what's your vision for home school? What do you want me to be teaching them? And then to take that vision and implement it and let your husband see the fruitfulness that comes from it. - Which gave me an opportunity to lead because I'm like, whoa, I didn't even think about that. - Now you gotta look into home school. - It took me some time to think about things that I cared about. - Yeah. - You did all the detailed stuff, all the standard things. - But you got to cast the vision and lead our family in that way. So, that's just one example, one area of what that looked like. - Which I kind of already mentioned this, but you reinforce my leadership with the children. So when you see me doing, leading my kids. Teaching them things. Encouraging them, you affirm me in that. - We also have to be unified in that. - I notice you were working on submitting to my leadership and yielding to my way of leading by laying down your plan-- - Can you see it in my eyes when I'm not? - Yeah, or inviting me to make the plan. These things encourage me and show me like, oh, she wants me to lead. - I used to come to Aaron at the beginning of, not every day, but important days and I'd say, okay, here's kind of like my expectations and what I want today to be like. - You could tell me yours afterwards, but this is what I want. - I've gotten into it but I still do that at times, but I do, I've gotten into a better habit of going to him on those days and going, hey, what were you thinking about today? Let's talk about this. I'm trying. - Well, you have gotten better and I've also raised up in that area. - Yeah. - So. - Being thoughtful. - Yeah, so we sit down and we'll discuss the plans for the week. It doesn't mean that you don't have a voice in it. - Right. - You're expecting me to lead in that. You've reminded me of what the Bible calls me to do in a loving way. So, there's been times that you said, "hey, I just want "to remind you that this week's coming up. "There's gonna be these things. "I'd love for you to put your heart on "and your mind of what you see for us. "How do you want this to play out? "Remember, that's your role. "I'm looking for you to do this in my life." And so you just in loving, gentle ways, saying "hey, God's called you to this. "I'm looking forward to it. "I'm excited for it and I'm reminding you to do it." - Yeah, no, that's really good. And I think there's been other times where just the way that I hear you talking with the kids, if it's a little harsh, I'll say, I'll remind you, gentleness. Sometimes it's just a one word phrase and other times it's just, there's actual scripture that comes to my mind that I feel like I need to share with you. - Yeah, there's been times in my life when I'm in sin, - Yeah. - And we're talked about this in our pornography episode - Oh yeah. - Awhile ago where you came to me and you actually spoke truth to me. - Jesus' words about adultery. - Instead of giving me your heart in your words, which you definitely had those, - Yeah. - you give me the word. - His words, yeah. - You showed me what you're doing is adultery. What you're doing, you're going to end up teaching our children. You need to walk in the freedom you have. You spoke all these truths to me in a very powerful way, but you reminded me what the Bible says. - Yeah, I want to admit to one more, but this is more like a failure slash warning for wives not to use scripture to get your own way and there's one scripture in particular that always comes to my mind when I'm frustrated at you or what you're doing and it's the one about, "husbands walk "with your wives in an understanding way." - You're not understanding me. - No, it's such a beautiful verse and I love it and I really do believe that you should be walking with me in an understanding way. - Yeah, of course. - But I shouldn't use, there's been a couple times where I've brought it up and I know I'm frustrated because I want you to understand me, but really, I just want you to yield to me. So, don't do that. - Right. - Don't do that. - You've gotten better on that. - Yeah. - These last two are really powerful ones. Ladies, wives, speak well of your husband in public to others. This is the most dismantling, one of the most dismantling, destructive things you can do is speaking down of your spouse in public. - Yeah. - You should never do that. That doesn't mean, like you're not, you're going to a confidential, a confident, a brother or sister in Christ to get advice and you're sharing situations. But that's not what this is and everyone knows when you're talking down about their spouse. - Here's the deal. If you're walking with the Lord, the Holy Spirit will convict you on those times that you're not walking faithfully and you are talking about your husband. - Okay, I get so frustrated about this and actually, if any of you that are listening have done this, I pray that you would think through it. Repent of it and change. I've seen people, public comments about their spouse. Oh, husbands and wives. Oh, my wife would never do this because of this, this and this, and I'm like, well, why are you telling everyone? Go talk to your wife about that. Or, I wish my husband would read this because he's this, this and this, and I'm like, whoa. - When you say public comments, are you talking about comments on social media? - Social media. - Okay. - And this is just, that's just one forum. - Yeah. - It's super public. Everyone sees it and I would just imagine, if I was that husband, I would be destroyed. And I think that's the point that they're doing it is that they feel destroyed so they're retaliating. - Yeah. - And so, I just want to encourage that we don't speak down about our spouses in public. My wife, Jennifer, you do this. Not speak down about me. You speak well of me. - Yeah. - Which makes me desire to live up to the words you speak about me because I hear it and I'm like, whoa, that's what she thinks of me. I didn't feel like that today. I didn't feel like I was being that way. So, speaking well of me in public is something that's been done that's been hugely impactful in my life. - I will say this just to encourage the wives who maybe have done this or it happens occasionally is in order to change, you have to repent and I remember years ago, it must have been within the third or fourth year of marriage, I went out to lunch with a friend and the conversation turned into this kind of complaining about you. - Complaining about me. - And I was on, I remember still where I was on the freeway feeling conviction from the Lord on how I spoke about you and I called that friend up and I was like, I have to apologize. What I said, what I did, it wasn't a good example. It wasn't what I should have done and I told you about it and I had to confess it. Otherwise I could have easily just stepped right back into it another time. And when we're confronted with our sin like that and we deal with it and we repent, it changes us. God changes us. And so I just want to encourage you, if you find yourself in the midst of doing something like that and the Lord convicts you, repent. - Yeah and again, I wanna separate this idea of sitting with a close girlfriend who's going to draw you back to the word of God, - Right. - and encourage you in saying, here's some things I'm dealing with. - I think we all know the difference. - Everyone knows the difference. - Versus I'm gonna tell you how much I'm bothered by my husband. - It's a heart posture. - It's totally a heart posture, So, speak well of people and of your spouse in public and then the last one is, Baby, you do this. You look to me for guidance pretty much for everything. It doesn't mean I have the answers all the time. I rarely have the perfect answer, but you come to me and say there's this, what about this. Hey, this things going in my, hey, I have this relationship thing, what do you think. So, that's become a pattern in our life. Coming to me for advise. - As it happens, I trust you more. I wanna hear from you more. I wanna get your perspective more and so, it's a building block, so like in marriage, you may not be at a point in your marriage right now where you feel that way. Where you desire your husband's perspective on something, but as you guys work through that and as you grow and you give him more opportunities for giving you advise on things or help walk you through certain things, you'll learn to trust him more. - So, that was really good. Let's talk about some of the benefits of walking in submission to his leadership. So, why don't you share some of the benefits you've seen from learning to walk in submission to and allow me to lead. - Okay, well, feeling loved and looked after. I feel like you truly are concerned with my welfare, our family's welfare and just when you make decisions or how you lead our family, it shows. There's evidence of that. - Just real quick. Husbands that are listening. Listen to these benefits because when you walk in leadership and walk in spiritual leadership, your wife's gonna experience the same benefits. - Yeah, totally. I feel like God's honored and glorified because we're working out that order that you mentioned earlier. - Yup. - And it's a stark contrast to the way that the world operates. It just looks different. So, they see that picture of marriage. I feel like there's less worry in my own heart because the burden is shared. So, if we are walking through something hard, I know, especially over time of submitting to your leadership, that I can trust you. I can trust God with you. What else? Our communication is better. I feel like we communicate more respectfully towards each other. Intentional discipleship of our children. - That's been a huge-- - Them seeing a good example of what it looks like for a daddy to lead and mommy to submit has been really cool and they get it, even at a young age. - It's amazing what they get. - Yeah. I feel like it provides an open and safe place for us to talk about things, especially biblical things. And if there is ever disagreement or misunderstanding on certain things, decisions that we have to make or concepts that are even in the Bible that we get to talk those things out and wrestle with them together. - Those are good benefits. - Yeah. - And it just, it's, yeah, it's obedience to God's order and it's a blessing. - Yeah. - When husband and wife are walking that way it's good. - It's awesome. - It's awesome. - Marriage is awesome. - Now, it doesn't mean you can't walk that way without your spouse walking their way. We're still called to read our own mail and walk in obedience to Christ. - Yeah. - But man, when you're both doing it, the ministry that you can do, the example you are to the world of the gospel is so beautiful. - Yeah, I will say this is another benefit, too, is that when we understand His purpose for marriage and His order and we're trying as hard as we can to walk, maybe it's not perfect, but we're walking in those roles and in those ways, we're motivated by an internal, eternal perspective that far outweighs any current circumstances that we face. So Aaron, wouldn't you agree that over time, the things that we face, the things that we have to walk through together are now, like after 13 years of marriage, they're much smaller to us in comparison to our view of what's motivating us, which is God, which is His-- - Well because we repent way quicker. - Eternity with Him. - We humble ourselves way quicker. We realize like, man the thing that we're really fighting about now, - Yeah. - is not worthy of this much attention. So, we back off quicker. We come to each other and say we feel dis-unified. - Right. - Let's work on that. Let's fix it. Our kids, we also recognize it in our children. When we have disunity, when we're not walking well with each other, - Yeah. - our kids experience that and respond to that. So, we wanna give some scripture. We're coming to the end. But here's just in the Bible. So, wives listening, if you have a husband that's not walking obedient, in obedience to the word, listen to what the Bible says. This is some of the most powerful scriptures, I think, to a wife on the power that she has in her husband's life. First Peter, chapter three says this. "Likewise, wives be subject to your own husbands." Remember, that submission reference to your husband. "So that even if some do not obey the word--" - Now this could be a non-Christian or it could be someone who claims to be a Christian but is not obeying the word. He's not walking the way God wants. - Right, that's what I love about this is it doesn't distinguish. It's saying someone who does not obey the word. - Yeah. - It could be both. It says this, "they may be one without a word "by the conduct of their wives. "When they see your respectful and pure conduct. "Do not let you adorning be external. "The braiding of hair, the putting on "of gold jewelry or the clothing you wear. "Let your adorning be the hidden person "of the heart with an imperishable beauty "of a gentle and quiet spirit which in God's sight "is very precious." And so, the point of this is, it's saying, in stark contrast to letting your outside appearance be the thing that is attracting and is getting the attention, it's not saying don't wear these things. It's saying don't let that be what you're using as your adorning. The thing that you're putting on to show who you are. Who you are should be that respectful and pure conduct from within and what it says right here, it says, "they may be one without a word." So, you want to win your husbands' hearts, not just for you but for them to be a leader. For them to raise up and sort of obeying the word of God. It's your conduct. Your gentle and quiet spirit, which is amazing. What that means is, wives, you can actually walk in such a way before your husband in your home that could transform them by the way they walk. Like, why are you so respectful? I'm this way and you just keep serving and you keep loving and you keep forgiving and you keep showing me by example what it looks like. That's powerful. - Yeah. - And so I just want to encourage with that scripture is like, the Bible says it, so you can trust God that it's saying wives, if you walk in this way, this is power in your husband's life. - I love how specific it is that it says, "without a word," because I think that often times we get creative with our words. Women, we know how to talk and we talk a lot sometimes. And sometimes we think that our words are gonna change our husbands. We think that if we say something enough. - I just need to get him to... - Right and so I love that there's a distinguishing note there, that, "without a word." And that shows the power of, like you said, our conduct and our behavior and the things that we choose to do. I think if we slow down and really meditated on this verse and understood what God was trying to teach us through it and walk it out, man, your husbands will be influenced by this. - Let's take it a step further. So, the wife represents the church. The symbol of the church, right. And what power does the church have in this world? Our conduct. - Mmh hmm. - It says that, "the world may know that you "are my disciples by the love you have "for one another." In other places it says, "that the world may know "that God sent Me by the love you have for each other." - Yeah. - So, wife, your conduct is that symbol and representation to your husband. - Yeah. - And church, our conduct is a body of Christ, is that symbol and light to the world. That's what that's representing. - In Proverbs 3, 5-6, it 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 path." And what I love about this in support of the verse we just read is coming back to our words. Sometimes we think our way is the right way and we're just gonna speak those words and we're gonna say that thing over and over and over again, but here God's saying trust me, lead on my understanding and I'm saying don't use your words, use your conduct. And so we need to pay attention. We need to acknowledge Him. We need to acknowledge His word and what He's sharing with us. - Amen. So, let's just end on five simple ways that they can start encouraging their husbands. Of course, we talked about all the ways I've seen you do it. - Yeah. - But there's just five ways. I'll do one, you do one. So, number one. Pray for him that he embraces his role as a future leader. - Number two, ask him to wash you in the water by the word at night or in the morning and if you don't know what I mean by that, Ephesians 5 25 says this. "Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church "and gave Himself up for her "that He might sanctify her, "having cleansed her by the washing of water "with the word so that He might present the church "to Himself in splendor without spot "or wrinkle or any such thing, "that she might be holy and without blemish." And so, getting in the word together. Talking about it. Making those safe places for you guys to ask questions, for you to ask him questions and get answers and learn together. - And don't become bitter if it takes time. - Yeah. - Just keep asking. Say, hey, when you're ready, I'd love for you to read to me. I'd love for you to talk to me about the Bible. - Yeah. - Which leads to number three. Ask him spiritual questions and questions about the word of God before searching it out on your own, which is super respectful and powerful. Just going to him and say, hey, I'd love to know your opinion on this. I'd love to know what you think about this. And just do that. Make that your pattern of, go to him first. - Yeah. - Don't go to your, you know, whoever you listen to on your podcast or who, blogs you follow or your pastor. Go to him first and then go to those places. And that let's him know that you totally respect him. First Corinthians, 14:35 says that is there's anything that they desire to learn, talking about wives, "let them ask their husbands at home." - And I will say this. I think you'll be really surprised by your husband's answers when he does share them with you. I've had girlfriends in the past tell me, you know, I'm not good at asking my husband questions, but I asked him recently, duh duh duh tah duh, and this is what he came back with, and she shared his response and it was incredible and then she got to affirm him in that and it built his confidence. - Yeah, which is number four. - You guys are so cool. Number four is affirm him with kind words. Let him know that you believe he can do this. - Yeah. Number five is be supportive in action. Meaning in front of the kids, being on the same page. If he has a decision, be like, let's do this. We're gonna do this as a family. Dad has made a decision. This is what Dad's decided. Showing him that you're rooting for his leadership. - And that means that things don't change when Dad steps outside of the home to go to work or Dad goes to run an errand. - You instill things that he's desired. - You are the, the mediator between you and your kids and you're going to be an advocate for his vision, for his decisions, for his leadership for them. - Yeah and just as encouragement, this, sometimes this takes times. This always takes time. But Jennifer and I, we're still learning how to do this. I've failed often. Jennifer fails often. This is something that we have to constantly be like, hey. We gotta get realigned. I know I have to remember my role. You have to remember yours. Let's do this. So we just want to encourage you to take those steps in prayer. To desire what God desires. To be in the word of God and yeah, just follow. His ways are good and we just need to chase after those. So as usual, we end in prayer. We pray that this episode encouraged you and so, let me pray. Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of marriage. Thank you for the opportunity to consider these things and how we can mature as a couple. We pray we would walk in righteousness, gentleness and self control. We pray we would be people who see others through the lens of compassion. Help us to be thoughtful in our response to each other. Help us to be respectful in our conduct. We pray our interactions as a married couple would be a testimony of Your power and authority in our lives. May Your light shine brightly in us as we direct each other back to You. In Jesus' name, amen. We love you guys. I hope this blessed you and encouraged you. Just get into those scriptures yourself. And we just want to remind you, if you have been following us for awhile and haven't left a review yet, would you please do that today? Just scroll to the bottom on your app, hit the star rating and if you write out a review also, we love reading those. Again, thank you for joining us and we look forward to having you next week. 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.
In this episode, we answer questions for our community about having children, birth control, how many kids to have and more.Please also take a moment and download our free 52 Date Night Ideas eBook.http://datenightideas.com PRAYERDear Lord,Thank you for the gift and blessing of children. Thank you for creating and designing us with the ability to recreate, what an incredible miracle life truly is. We thank you for the opportunity to build our family and have children. We pray for others who either have not had children yet or in awaiting their first in anticipation. May you lead them in the way you desire them to walk and to grow together. We praise you for all those who have children and we also pray for those who can’t have children for whatever the reason may be. You are sovereign and we trust you. We continue to surrender our hearts to you as you lead us in parenting and raising our children to know you. Please help us with our fears and insecurities. Please remind us every day of the purpose we have with our family. May your name be glorified.In Jesus’ name, amen! READ FULL 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 some of your questions about having children. - [Aaron] 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 onlinae 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 on this journey as we chased boldly after God's will for our life together. - [Jennifer] This is Marriage After God. Hey, everyone welcome back to another episode of Marriage After God. We're happy to be with you and we're really excited about this episode, and just being able to answer your questions. So doing Q&As is gonna be just an awesome new feature of the podcast where every couple of weeks, we're gonna poll our trusty community on Instagram and ask you guys what questions you have, and hopefully get some answers, well I should say opinions. - [Aaron] Yeah 'cause we have all the answers. - [Jennifer] No. - [Aaron] On everything. - [Jennifer] We don't but you know what, we're happy to explore these questions with you. And so thank you to everyone who shared these questions with us, and specifically about about having kids which we have a little bit of experience with. And so we'll dive into that in just a bit. All right, so one thing that we really are excited to share with you guys is that we have a new freebie for all of you. - [Aaron] So everyone has already did the free prayer challenge. - [Jennifer] Right. - [Aaron] They already got the date night conversations. - [Jennifer] You better, we've been sharing about those two for a while. So I begged Aaron, and I was like, "Let's do something new. "We've gotta do something new." - [Aaron] So this one is date night ideas. It's a free download. It's a list of 52 date night ideas which you could do one a week for the whole year. - [Jennifer] So is this something we're committing to? We're gonna go through all of these and do them? - [Aaron] Sure. - [Jennifer] Let's do it. - [Aaron] Let's see how it goes. - [Jennifer] I think that would be so fun. - [Aaron] So if you wanna get this freebie, this download, you just go to datenightideas.com and you can download our free ebook with 52 date night ideas. - [Jennifer] And the goal is one a week but if you can't do one week, do three a week. It's fine-- - [Aaron] If you have to do one a day, you know what, you can get done faster-- - [Jennifer] Have fun with it. - [Aaron] And just do it all over again. - [Jennifer] Have fun with it. No, but you can use these whenever you want and you can even sift through them and pull from it. - [Aaron] You know what would be fun is if they downloaded this and then found another couple to do a challenge with. How many they can get done in a year? - [Jennifer] Interesting, the other thing you could do is print them out and cut them out and stick them in a jar and pull them out randomly. - [Aaron] Yeah. - [Jennifer] That would be fun. - [Aaron] That's a great idea. Datenightideas.com, one word and it's free. Go get it, so the topic we're talking about, these Q&As, they're all on a similar topic. We polled our followers on Instagram and many of the questions were around children. Having children, children after marriage. - [Jennifer] So we're like let's stick them all in one episode so we can hit them all at once. - [Aaron] And so we're just gonna, some of these we're gonna wing answering. If we don't have good answers, we might say we don't know. We're not afraid to say we don't know. - [Jennifer] And just keep in mind that these are just our positions on these questions. How we would answer them based off of our experience and knowledge and-- - [Aaron] And things that we know of the Bible. - [Jennifer] Things that we know of the Bible and what we believe in so-- - [Aaron] Take it for what it is. - [Jennifer] Yeah and thank you guys again for asking these questions and sharing them with us and we really appreciate that. If you wanna jump on board for the next Q&A, just follow along on Instagram @marriageaftergod. - [Aaron] And you can always send us your questions in a message and we may not answer it in the message but we'll take down the question and potentially answer it in a future Q&A episode. We'd love to get those from you. So why don't we just jump right in to the first question and this is a doozy I feel like 'cause it's controversial, it could be. - [Jennifer] It could be yeah. - [Aaron] And they ask us their question and they said, our view on birth control. - [Jennifer] So what's your view on birth control? - [Aaron] That's a good question. - [Jennifer] It's a big question. - [Aaron] Okay, next question is, no I'm just kidding. Our view on birth control. - [Jennifer] Let me share my point of view first. - [Aaron] Okay, go ahead. - [Jennifer] I'll just be honest. I went on birth control 'cause that's what I heard you do when you get married. And so I went on the month before I got married and I chose to go off of it a month after we were married. So I was on it for a total of two months and I got married at 21, you were 22. And we were so excited married and so excited to-- - [Aaron] Be with each other physically. - [Jennifer] Yeah, experience what sex was like and it was awful. I'm just gonna be honest. It was very painful for me and so I scrambled, you guys. I tried to figure out why is my body responding this way because it was my body that was keeping us from experiencing-- - [Aaron] Physical intimacy. - [Jennifer] Healthy, physical intimacy. And so one of the things that came to my mind was something that was super obvious because over the course of that month of being married, not only were we having these issues but I gained a lot of weight. I got acne. - [Aaron] There was a lot of things going on. There was emotional stuff. - [Jennifer] Emotional ups and downs and mood swings and it was awful and I didn't feel myself. And so the obvious question then is what happened in the last few weeks that has changed me? - [Aaron] Other than getting married. - [Jennifer] I know it's a big transition. - [Aaron] I that that guy you married can make you feel crazy, I get it. - [Jennifer] But we narrowed it down to birth control and so I chose to go off of it and I haven't regretted it. - [Aaron] And it didn't fix everything but it did actually drastically change your mood. - [Jennifer] And some of the physical things that I was-- - [Aaron] Some of the physical things you were experiencing. - [Jennifer] Yeah. - [Aaron] So that's an experience you had with birth control. We know tons of people use birth control. I also know that there is certain people that say birth control is a sin. I'm not gonna go that far. I'm not gonna make statements like that. What I will say is I'm not an advocate for opting to put a chemical in your body to adjust and manipulate how your body is naturally meant to work. So that's my, you're meant to do a certain thing. Your body has been created to do a certain thing and birth control is meant to stop that thing from happening, to manipulate the way your body responds to certain things and I don't think that's great. We have a lot of stuff going on this world. A lot of sickness, a lot of problems and for us to be healthy and to do something like that to our healthy body, I don't think is very wise, personally. - [Jennifer] So just to clarify for those listening, you're not saying that you won't put anything on or in your body that helps stimulate positive things to happen in your body. You're saying, you wouldn't do something that would stop the natural function of your body. - [Aaron] I'm saying I don't think it's a good idea to put something in our bodies electively to stop the natural. - [Jennifer] That alters the natural. - [Aaron] Yeah 'cause there's, again, I'm not gonna. The question is about all the other things that happen in this life, we know taking things when you're sick. - [Jennifer] I was gonna say there's supplements and there's oils and there's things that are out there. - [Aaron] Right, that's different than I'm gonna take this birth control to stop my ovulation so that we don't get pregnant. I'm not gonna do that. That's just my personal perspective on this. And to be honest, there's most things like medically that I'm a little hesitant on just because I like to stay mostly natural as much as possible. But this is about birth control. I'm just saying that taking a woman's body, putting something in it to stop her from doing what it's naturally meant to do doesn't sound wise to me. Now on the spiritual side of things, we have to always ask ourselves the question of why are we trying to stop ourselves from having kids? Why are we trying to protect against that? And there's tons of worldly wisdom that we receive on why we should wait and what, there's this and that. And don't you wanna travel? Why don't you establish your marriage first? And none of those things line up with the things that we hear about in scripture about children being a blessing. That it's good for women to have children. People prayed when they were barren because they wanted children and all these positive. It's positive, positive, positive but our generation and the last couple of generations has heard the message of negative. Children are a hindrance. Children get in the way. Children are difficult, they're expensive. They're hard, some of these things are all true. Not all of them but some of these things are true but not in the sense of they're not a blessings. Not in the sense of we shouldn't do it. I think we should always be asking ourselves about our heart posture towards children because God's heart posture towards children from the words of Jesus. "Let the children come to me", that's what he said. - [Jennifer] I love that, that's so beautiful. - [Aaron] Don't hinder the children. - [Jennifer] That's really good. I was gonna say that personally, we think that it needs to be thoughtfully considered not just in its physical impact on someone's body but its spiritual impact. And I think you just hit it on the head with being a heart posture. - [Aaron] Absolutely. - [Jennifer] And asking ourselves why. - [Aaron] Yeah and what do we believe about God? Is he good? Does it give us good things? And has he made us a certain way? And yeah those are all true. So we don't believe in birth control, the chemical form. I would say do any form of birth control, and we're about to have our number five so everyone can logically find out, we don't do birth control. We would probably lean towards just what's it called? The rhythm method? - [Jennifer] Natural planning. - [Aaron] Natural planning. And again, that's not even perfect. It's more of to our own abilities, we're just gonna try and plan around this and if God gives us a child, we're gonna be stoked. - [Jennifer] Yeah, all right let's move on to number two. Okay number two says, what made you wait to have kids? - [Aaron] Made us is a good word because half of it was physical. - [Jennifer] I was gonna say this is a two parter for us. - [Aaron] We just talked about how we couldn't have sexual intimacy. - [Jennifer] Yup. - [Aaron] So it was not impossible but highly unlikely 'cause it was . - [Jennifer] We weren't doing the thing that makes the babies. - [Aaron] Yeah, the thing that makes the babies wasn't happening so there was no babies being made. And then the second part of that is, and this might have been out of a bitterness because we couldn't be with each other. I have feeling that some of it was from that bitterness but also some of it just straight from our own selfish pride. We would tell people, they would ask us when are you guys gonna have kids? And we'd be like, oh we're not gonna have kids for a while or maybe ever because we're too selfish. - [Jennifer] We like sleeping in. - [Aaron] We like traveling. We like this, we like that. We said these things out loud. This isn't thoughts we had. - [Jennifer] And I would agree. Some of it was probably just to give them an answer 'cause we weren't gonna straight dig into well, we can't have sex. So we found a different way to answer it but I think at the core, we truly believe those things as well. We were selfish. - [Aaron] I remember I would pridefully say it like it was something to boast about. - [Jennifer] Looking back-- - [Aaron] You are too selfish. - [Jennifer] Looking back that's so embarrassing. - [Aaron] I know what a fool I was that I would actually say that. God's looking at me at like I know who you are. - [Jennifer] I love you Aaron. - [Aaron] I was like a little child to him and he's patient with me, thank God. But what a fool that I would just boast about my selfishness which is opposed to God, to be selfish. I was literally boasting about my opposition to God. - [Jennifer] I wanted to share a little bit about this question. What came to my mind is well the physical. We couldn't and the selfish but I was also really terrified of having children and I don't remember it being a super affirmed thing growing up. And even though I came from a big family, it wasn't like I had this dream to have a big family myself. - [Aaron] And it wasn't like children are good. Children are a blessing. All you saw was there's all of this chaos at home sometimes. - [Jennifer] Yeah, so I remember just being really scared about having children. And so I was actually okay with not having children for a long time if any. I didn't have a hearts desire to have children. - [Aaron] And I actually, now you bring that up. I remember specifically a thought I had and I had it regularly was I didn't want children because we couldn't be together. All I thought I was like yeah that would be so perfect. We'd get pregnant the one time we do come together and then now like we couldn't enjoy each other, and now we have a kid. This totally negative connotation on having children because it was just gonna get in the way of the thing I wanted. - [Jennifer] Yeah and I think we talked about that even back then. Something that I didn't talk to you about that I really struggled with was the thought that if in that turmoil, those first three years if we did have a kid how much more it would tie me to you which is really depressing and sad to think about. I just am broken-hearted over those kinds of thoughts now. - [Aaron] But that's when we were in our sinful hearts. - [Jennifer] But that's where I was and I didn't have hope in our marriage. I truly believe that we're coming to the end so it was like I have to make sure even more that I don't get pregnant which was avoiding you. - [Aaron] Which made the whole thing worse. - [Jennifer] Yeah, it was a mess, you guys. - [Aaron] The devil is good at what he does. And it's why we have to resist him and it's why we have to put on the full armor of God 'cause these thoughts and things will come if we're not focused right. - [Jennifer] Now I have a part of this question to ask you. It has to do with this question, that's not here but would you have waited if you could have sex? - [Aaron] Back then? Well probably 'cause again I had my selfish heart of I thought tons of horrible things. I was thinking about your body and I was thinking about our sex, and I was thinking about being inconvenience with now I have to raise a child, and we're doing all these things. So absolutely, I think back then, selfishly would have waited. Not because I thought it was wise but because I didn't want to have to deal with it. - [Jennifer] Okay and I was thinking more like answering now having had children. - [Aaron] No, I wished we didn't have waited. - [Jennifer] I like that you're answering really honestly. - [Aaron] No, if I knew what I know now. - [Jennifer] I wouldn't have waited. - [Aaron] We'd have a 13-year-old. - [Jennifer] That's weird to think about. - [Aaron] How incredible would that be? We'd have a teenager. - [Jennifer] Wow, lots more growth opportunities for us. - [Aaron] No, I wouldn't have waited at all but to be honest it's God's sovereignty. - [Jennifer] Yeah. - [Aaron] He knew who we were. Our sin kept us away from it and it's probably better back then because we had some maturing to do. Not that I'm telling anyone they should choose to wait. I just think God knew what he was doing and he let us through a lot of stuff to grow us and make us into the men and women he wanted us to be. - [Jennifer] Yeah, all right. Number three, do you think numbering your children is necessary? - [Aaron] Yeah, I'd give a 10 to Elliott and then like all if I give-- - [Jennifer] What are you talking about? - [Aaron] I'm just kidding. Numbering, I'm thinking like . - [Jennifer] That's not what they're asking. - [Aaron] Numbering, the question is about should we have one, two, three, how many should we have? - [Jennifer] I was gonna change the question to what we usually get is what number do you guys want or what are you looking for? Because we do get asked that. - [Aaron] Yeah and it's usually with this like are you done yet look. Do you realize how many you have? We know exactly how many we have. So the question is do you think numbering your children is necessary? And I'm imagining the heart but it is do you think it's important to consider how many children we're having? Should we only have one or two or three? That's a pretty common thought. Most of the time, it comes in the form of, we only one, two or three. That's where that comes from. So Jennifer, do you think it's necessary. That's how the question is phrased. - [Jennifer] No, I don't think it's necessary. I don't think that we need to have a set number and we personally don't have a set number. - [Aaron] Our answer when someone asks, how many do you want is whatever God wants. - [Jennifer] Yeah. - [Aaron] Because to be honest, I don't know. - [Jennifer] To couple with that though, I do think that there's wisdom in every situation and so what I like to say is we take every pregnancy as it comes. - [Aaron] Yeah. - [Jennifer] Submit it to the Lord-- - [Aaron] And in between the pregnancies, we submit those to the Lord as well. - [Jennifer] Yeah, and you know what, it's a journey of walking with God saying God I trust you and it's not easy but-- - [Aaron] And I'll say this. - [Jennifer] He's doing this. - [Aaron] I'm gonna be a little candid here. There was a challenge after we had was it? - [Jennifer] Elliot. - [Aaron] Elliot and we went right back to that place in our hearts of we don't want any more. Elliot was difficult. It was our first child. - [Jennifer] He had colic. - [Aaron] He had colic for a couple months. - [Jennifer] I had nursing issues. - [Aaron] It was really difficult. And we just were like no, we can't do this any more. This is crazy, we are also-- - [Jennifer] Honestly-- - [Aaron] Publishing a book and we're thinking like how we're gonna do all this stuff and have another baby and everything was coming together. - [Jennifer] When I look back on it too, I don't remember it being a negative feeling. I just remember being okay with it being one. - [Aaron] We're like, we're fine. - [Jennifer] Yeah. - [Aaron] But again from all selfish positions. How are we gonna keep doing these things? That was too hard, I don't wanna do that again. And we were challenged by someone really hard and I'm gonna just explain to you what was challenging to us, and I'm gonna leave it at that. And they came to us and we were just sharing our hearts with them. And they very softly and gently said, you know the reasoning that you were coming to with this deciding not to want any more. And he brought up, is like it's usually for Christians, we say things like we want one, some or none. And it's like that sounds great. It sounds wise. One summer night, I'm gonna choose the size of my family. I think that's wise based off of whatever. Then they said that's very similar to the reasoning that pro-choicers have. It's your choice. Christians aren't gonna choose the abortion option right, hopefully. That's where the heart of a Christian shouldn't be that direction at all. We don't do that. But one, some or none is very similar and it's my choice. Pro-choice, I get to choose what I want. And he's explaining this to us and it cut us to the heart, and we realize wow, we're telling God, who's in charge of this area of our life. We want God to be sovereign in every area of our life except for this one. And so when they were explaining to us that we were essentially making decisions very similar to the idea of pro-choice. It's our choice and I want it to be pro-me whatever I want. And it really challenged us and it actually made us go and pray and dig into what we believed about children, and what we believed about our family, what God wants for us. - [Jennifer] I remember shortly after that conversation maybe even walking out of the restaurant, I told you that as I was sitting there listening, I could picture myself holding my hand shut tight and it was me as a Christian telling God, you are sovereign, you have every part of my life. I love you, lead me oh but you can't have this over here. - [Aaron] Don't touch this over here. - [Jennifer] And I was gripping it so tightly and I remember explaining this picture to you and just saying I feel like God wants me to open up my hands and trust Him. And I feel like we got pregnant about a week and a half later. - [Aaron] Yeah really quick. - [Jennifer] Really quick. - [Aaron] And I'll say this. It's easy to say, hard to do. Every single pregnancy we've had to go to God and say God, we need your help. We need to trust you more. We need to know what you have for us because it's difficult. Pregnancy is difficult. Children are difficult. It's just part of life so it's not like all of a sudden everything became rainbows and unicorns. It was like we have to trust God every single time which is what he wants. And then I'll say this as gently as possible 'cause I know the person that asked this question. I'm not trying-- - [Jennifer] There's a lot of people out there that asked. - [Aaron] There's a lot of people who have this question. I think the question is irrelevant and here's why I say that. You can say I want three kids and God only give you two. Is God wrong? Nope, I God bad? No. - [Jennifer] You could want two kids and never be able to conceive. - [Aaron] You could want one kid and never be able to conceive. You could want whatever you want. We could desire whatever we want. We can have this picture for our life and it's so perfect that oh if we just had a boy and a girl, you have six girls. I know people like that, okay. You could say lots of things. - [Jennifer] You can say you don't want any kids and then get pregnant. - [Aaron] We know people that are on birth control and I've gotten pregnant. We know people that have been barren for years. - [Jennifer] And have gotten pregnant. - [Aaron] And then have gotten pregnant. We know people that have had their tubes tied and then unfortunately have still gotten pregnant and had to have surgery because of the dangers of that. - [Jennifer] We also know the word of God and in Psalms when it talks about God knitting together a baby, a human inside a mother's womb, we know that's true. So it's from Him. - [Aaron] What we wanna do is we wanna say instead of asking well how many do we want? What's wrong with saying, God how many do you want? What do you want our family to look like? How do you want us to shape our family? You could say you want two children, right? And you have those two children and you stop, and there's no way for you to know that that third child was gonna be another Moses, another David. You don't know what God wants for you. So that's why I think that question is a little irrelevant because you think you have control. - [Jennifer] This is what the question should be. Do we trust what you have for us Lord? - [Aaron] Yeah and if that's a zero, and that doesn't mean that doesn't come with heartbreak but if it's zero, then God gets to choose that. If it's one, then God gets to choose that. Me and Jennifer are on number five and this could literally be our last child. We have no way of knowing. Something would happen. We could just not get pregnant again. Things happen or we could have another five. I don't know. But we want to trust the Lord with everything. I wanna encourage you to do the same. Whether that's zero, one, two, three, five, 10. That's the question we should be asking. Number four, what's the best way to prepare for or not be fearful of having a newborn? This is a good one 'cause we're literally right there. - [Jennifer] Yeah and you know what fear is a natural thing and it always comes with that feeling of I don't know what's on the other side of labor, or delivery, or having a newborn, and I struggled with all those fears. But when I look back and I think about my first baby, holding him in my arms, it's the most beautiful, miraculous thing I can think of. - [Aaron] And you don't necessarily look back and dwell on the pain. - [Jennifer] No. - [Aaron] You know it's there. - [Jennifer] I know it happened. - [Aaron] You look back and we think about those-- - [Jennifer] The joy and the love and the incredible miracle that comes with having a child. And I think that we should also just note that this probably whoever asked this question is going to give birth to a baby but I think even for adoption. When you think of the other ways that people build their families. I think there's a lot of fear that comes. A lot of fearful thoughts that could come with the unknowns but we just wanna be an encouragement to you guys that you're not alone. God is with you and do everything in prayer. The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing, to pray constantly. - [Aaron] To pray for everything. - [Jennifer] To pray for everything and to be thankful. And so I think the first way that I would respond to this question is pray, and pray with your spouse. Pray together over your family and over every situation. - [Aaron] Present those fears to the Lord and say Lord, here's some things I'm afraid of. Give me peace, give me your peace. That's what he tells us to pray for everything. With thanksgiving, lift your request to Lord. - [Jennifer] And the other thing I would say is meditate on his Word. What does God say about children? What does God say about birth? What does God say about families? Things that comes to my mind is John 16:21. It says, "When a woman is giving birth, "she has sorrow because her hour has come "but when she has delivered the baby, "she no longer remembers the anguish "for joy that a human being has been born into the world." That's what I remember. - [Aaron] That's an awesome statement by the way. For joy that a human being has been born. That's so cool and it is true because the pain is real. It's a thing you get to experience. You can talk about that in a second about experiencing the pain but you remember the joy of that child, holding the baby, seeing their face for the first time hearing their coos for the first time. - [Jennifer] I know I said this. It's miraculous, it truly is. - [Aaron] Yeah and seeing them grow up is miraculous too. I can't imagine my life without any of these kids. - [Jennifer] I know and I feel so grateful that the Lord trusted me and gave me these gifts. It's so wonderful. Another verse that comes to my mind and something good to dwell on is Psalm 127:3. It says, "Behold children are a heritage from the Lord. "The fruit of the womb, a reward." - [Aaron] So preparing yourself for having a newborn is you're preparing to have a reward and to build a heritage that he's giving you. That's really cool. - [Jennifer] A good resource for becoming new parents, you should check out "Redeeming Childbirth" by Angie Tolpin. It was just a really good book to bring perspective to having children and what that looks like biblically. So if you wanna check that out just go to courageousmom.com. One last thing that I just wanna encourage you guys with, and this you can do prior to having your first baby but you should also be doing it throughout parenting, and that's just talking about those fears with your spouse whenever they come up. And using those opportunities to encourage one another. If the wife is afraid, the husband can go to the word of God and console her and comfort her and encourage her. If the husband has some fears and he's being vulnerable about them, she can encourage him through the word of God and through prayer, and I just think that is so vital for us to be one in the way that we are experiencing the same thing, right parenthood. And another thing you could do is find someone who you admire, who has experience that you can ask questions to. I know as a new mom, I had so many questions. I still have so many questions. And so finding someone who you can be in communication with even if it's just a quick text or if you can get into community with several people who you can have questions too, and really just have that support system. It's really important - [Aaron] Yeah and that actually leads into our last question, number five really well. This person asked us if we can talk about the best ways to invest in our spouse before having kids. - [Jennifer] Okay. - [Aaron] Which is a cool thing because we could have done this. - [Jennifer] I know we did this for, no, we should have been doing this for years. The first thing that comes to my mind is having regular date nights and when you don't have kids and you're married, it can be so easy to just make everything feel like a date because you're with each other but making it significant somehow. - [Aaron] Getting it on the calendar, making it a regular occurrence. - [Jennifer] And doing something out of the norm, right? So like if you guys regularly already do something together, don't consider that your date. Go do something else. - [Aaron] Yeah, and what's good about that is it puts you into a really healthy pattern and habit so that after the kids, you guys will long and be like, hey, we need to get back on track. - [Jennifer] Not after the kids are grown and raised, you mean after having kids. - [Aaron] I'm saying after six weeks of healing and getting better. You guys are like, hey, we need to get back on schedule with our date nights, that's important. And for awhile, you're gonna have the baby with you and then eventually you'll get a baby sitter. But you start that up and it's there. It's existing. - [Jennifer] And just to encourage you guys, we've gone on dates with babies before and it can be done. - [Aaron] Just find those restaurants that-- - [Jennifer] Are really loud. - [Aaron] Either really loud or mostly full of older couples 'cause they love seeing young couples with their babies. - [Jennifer] Most of the times. - [Aaron] Most of the times. - [Aaron] Some restaurants don't like it but the experience we've had, we have people come up and be like, oh, your baby's so wonderful. This is so cool seeing a couple with children now. Anyways that's a good tip. For the husband's preparing your spouse before kids just doing what a Ephesians five says, "Washing your wife with the Word." Continually speaking God's truth into her life over her reminding her what the word of God says, reminding of her of who she is, what she's capable of, how God made her and building her up because those are the things that are gonna continually give her confidence. Make her feel like she can be a mom that she can handle pregnancy and labor and that she is going to be a victor in that area. So it's immensely powerful the words that a husband speaks over her life which is why we're commanded to wash our wives with not any words but the Word. With God's Word, reminding her of who she is, what God's doing in her life. That the thing that she's going to do. Having a child is such a powerful and beautiful thing that as she disciples that child, she's literally making world changers. Growing the Kingdom of Heaven within your home. It's a powerful thing. - [Jennifer] That's awesome, I love that. Another thing that I would say and this is something to continually do throughout your marriage, but to get really good at it is practicing transparency. Aaron and I talk about this a lot and it's something that I feel like we were actually pretty good at in our marriage but could have been even better way sooner at, and that's just being transparent and honest with one another when you're struggling with sin. You confess that you repent. When you're wrestling with insecurities or doubt or frustrations, you talk about it and you find a way if you're at conflict with one another, you reconcile. All those really important-- - [Aaron] Getting better at those things. - [Jennifer] Communication things. - [Aaron] Which will be huge for your children to see and to benefit from. - [Jennifer] And your parenting because there's gonna be a lot of situational things that come up that you'll have to be transparent with one another in and talk about so that you're on the same page when you parent. - [Aaron] Which leads into the other thing, and this is hugely important. Overcoming sin and bad habits. So for the husbands, if you guys are struggling with pornography, and you think it's just like not a big deal. And you're like, oh it's every once in a while. Just realize what you do, you're gonna teach your children. And I wish I would have known that earlier. I wish I would have recognized the the magnitude of walking in what I saw as hidden sin or things that I was getting a handle on. But it's just every once in awhile, it's not that big of a deal, minimizing those things. Maximize them, take those things in your life and say no, I need to get this out of my life. I'm not gonna smoke any more. I'm not gonna show my kids that habit. The way I eat. The hidden sins of my life, pornography. The way I talk. If you have issue with bad language. Those are things that you're gonna teach your kids and so work on it. Confess them, find freedom from them. Walk in the freedom that Christ has already given us on the cross and walk in it so that you can teach your kids to walk in it. The same freedom. - [Jennifer] Have authority in their lives. - [Aaron] Yeah as a pastor once told me, purity is power. Walking in purity is powerful. Say that last line right there, babe. - [Jennifer] I just put a note on here. Have children, because the question was how do you invest in your spouse before having kids. - [Aaron] Which can be-- - [Jennifer] It could be any range of things. It could maybe you're already pregnant and you're just waiting for the baby to come but it could also be we chose not to have kids right now, so what can we be doing? Well I'll tell you what, if there's one thing in Aaron's and I life that has stimulated growth in our relationship-- - [Aaron] That God's used to sanctify us in huge ways. - [Jennifer] Absolutely, or to just grow closer to each other in opportunities in ways that we never would have known or experienced, it was through having children. And so I've really appreciated that about our journey and where we've been, and so hopefully that just encourages you guys. - [Aaron] Those are five questions that we received from the community. Again we're not the end-all be-all to these answers but we try the best of our ability to look at the word of God, to look at experience and see how God is trying to change the way we think about things. - [Jennifer] I'll say this, answering the questions is not easy for me. I'm a peacemaker and I don't wanna ruffle anyone's feathers or ever put things out there that make people feel uncomfortable, but at the same time I want you guys to know where Aaron and I are on some of these topics because you're you're listening in, you're following us. And for whatever reason, God has trusted us with an opportunity to share these with you. And so I hope that through our experience and through the things that we have shared with you today, if anything, you get to go back to the table with your own spouse and talk about them, and share your own perspectives, and thoughts behind them. And we just encourage you to, like Aaron said, get in the scriptures and dive into what God has to say about these and let that be the foundation for what you believe and your your viewpoints and your perspectives on some of these topics. - [Aaron] 1 John tells us to test every spirit and to discern. So don't just take what we're saying as pure gold. Go yourself to the word of God and find them out. But if you're not willing to go to the word of God, and you just wanna disagree and have your own opinion, you have to understand something that we're not called to just do that. We're called to trust the word of God. And so I wanna challenge you if you are in that place, go to word of God. Take the things we've said and go dig in. Find out what God thinks about all these questions. What God thinks about children in the womb and raising children. You find out for yourself and come up with your own conclusions based off of what the word of God says, not off of what we say. But we love you, and as always win in prayer so please join us. - [Jennifer] Dear Lord, thank you for the gift and blessing of children. Thank you for creating and designing us with the ability to recreate. What an incredible miracle life truly is. We thank you for the opportunity to build our family and have children. We pray for others to either have not had children yet or are in waiting their first in anticipation. May you lead them in a way you desire them to walk and to grow together. We praise you for all those who have children and we pray also for those who can't have children for whatever reason maybe. You are sovereign and we trust you. We continue to surrender our hearts to you as you lead us in parenting and raising our children to know you. Please help us with our fears and insecurities. Please remind us every day of the purpose we have with our family. May your name be glorified in Jesus' name, amen. - [Aaron] Amen. And guys as always, I just wanna invite you to leave us a review, a star rating. We love those. They're incredibly powerful and effective in spreading the word about the podcast. We love you all and we pray that you guys would just grow closer to God and you chase his will for your life and get his heart on the matter of children. See you next week. 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.
I would imagine that suffering is not a very popular topic amongst most churches today but suffering is a vital and important part of every believer's life and It should not and cannot be a topic that is left out of our Biblical thinking. Suffering comes in many forms and our heart today is to discuss the biblical view of suffering and how it is a powerful mindset and tool in our lives.Download Free Thinghttp://marriageprayerchallenge.com/Topic NOTESI have bee systematically teaching through 1st peter and last week we got to chapter 4:1-Devotional - what are we learning from the WordRomans 8 "Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. 3 For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry."Suffering as a believerCease from sinDepriving my flesh is sufferingBeing in human nature and submitting to God is telling your flesh noChoosing to walk in the SpiritUniversal doctrine sufferingRomans 8 to explain whoever suffers … putting away of flesh is causing our flesh to suffer“want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.We have been freed from the “want to do” God gives us new desires new cravings. As we walk in our new selves it growsDefine:Sensuality - Not just sexualTHE WORLDLY DEFINITION IS PURELY SEXUAL.THE BIBLICAL USE is: unbridled lustLiving for pleasure of every sense - pleasing the 5 senses rather than pleasing GodFROM WIKIPEDIA: Hedonism is a school of thought that argues pleasure and suffering are the only components of well-being. Ethical hedonism is the view that combines hedonism with welfarist ethics, which claim that what we should do depends exclusively on what affects the well-being individuals have. Ethical hedonists would defend either increasing pleasure and reducing suffering for all beings capable of experiencing them, or just reducing suffering in the casePassions - Not just what are you passionate about in lifeBeing controlled by our emotions and serving our emotions vs pleasing God - affected by sensuality in that when we are not feeling good or something not pleasing instead of suffering we let our emotional response dictate our actions - flesh isn't getting what it wants so our choice is to suffer in the flesh and choose to walk in the spirit or suffer in the spirit and walk in flesh they are opposedDrunkenness - Not just being drunk from intoxicationOvertaken by a substance or something out side your bodyProverbs 20:1 "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise."Ephesians 5:18 "And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,"Removal of natural function - (Inhibition) ConscienceOrgies - Not just a sexual experienceOverindulgenceGiving into your flesh never satiated never enoughEcclesiastes 1:8 "All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing."HISTORICAL "secret rites used in the worship of Bacchus, Dionysus, and other Greek and Roman deities, celebrated with dancing, drunkenness, and singing."Drinking parties - Not just drinking at a party or hosting one intentionallyIt is inviting others to partake with you in all of the aboveNo one likes to feel the weight of shame or guilt alone so if theyMisery loves companyApproval so you can keep doing itWhy godly fellowship is so importantLawless Idolatry - All of this ends with self-worshipHow I feel what I want what I pursueOpposite of dying to self or taking up crossEach one shows the progress of worshipping self vs the CreatorPrayerDear Lord,Thank you for your word and how it cuts us to the heart. Thank you for teaching us through your word. We pray your word would continue to transform us as we learn it and choose to walk out all that you command us to. We pray we would be people who recognize parts of our hearts that need to change, sin that needs to be repented of, motivations that are not pure, and actions that do not reflect your ways for the purpose of repentance and reconciliation and growth. May your will be done in us and through us. May your light shine brightly through our marriages as we encourage one another to draw closer to you.In Jesus’ name, amen! 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 going to talk about why suffering is good for us. 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. - Love. - And power. - [Aaron] That can only be found by chasing after God. - [Jennifer] Together. - [Aaron] Thank 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 guys, welcome back to another episode of the Marriage After God Podcast. - [Jennifer] Hi. - [Aaron] We love you guys. I just wanna say, the first episode of this season of this year, I think it got up to number 32 or 33 on the charts in iTunes. So that's all because of our listeners. - [Jennifer] Thank you guys! - [Aaron] Downloading all of these episodes, your guys rock, I just wanna say thank you. - [Jennifer] Hopefully they liked it, you know, thought it was a good episode to kick off the year with. - [Aaron] Yeah, if you liked it, share about the episode, take a screenshot of it, post it on Instagram, Facebook, tag us in it, we love seeing those. - [Jennifer] @MarriageAfterGod. - [Aaron] And we might even share about your post on our Instagram account. - [Jennifer] That'd be awesome. Okay, so Aaron, why don't you just give a little update where you at, how's your week, what's going on? - [Aaron] I think we talked about it last time. I'm starting to get up earlier. For a while I've been getting up around 5:30 and going to the gym, I've been doing that for a couple years now and recently I told you, Jennifer, that I wanted to get up even earlier. - [Jennifer] I was shocked actually. - [Aaron] To give myself an hour in the morning to get in the Word 'cause remarkably if I don't purpose to do it, it doesn't happen. So I figured what's the best way to do that. - [Jennifer] Or your amount of time spent in it wasn't as much. - [Aaron] Yeah, and so I figured the best thing to do would be get up earlier. - [Jennifer] Okay, so now what does your morning routine look like? - [Aaron] So I've been getting up a four, my alarm goes off at four, and then I hit snooze a couple times. I've been getting up around 4:20, 4:30. - [Jennifer] Now, the first time you did it, I was woken up because usually you sneak out of the house pretty quietly. - I turned the light on. - You turned every light on. - [Aaron] I didn't turn every light on. - [Jennifer] It was so bright and then I was up at 4:30. - [Aaron] What the problem was is I forget to set all of my stuff out the night before and I couldn't find anything. - You weren't prepared. - I wasn't prepared. You should always be prepared. If you wanna have a good morning routine. - Good marriage. - Oh. - Oh. - [Aaron] If you wanna have a good morning routine and a good marriage, prepare, put your stuff out, get everything ready that you're gonna be grabbing, so you don't have to look for it and scavenge. - [Jennifer] And I'm just using it, I'm not even mad about it. I went back to bed. - [Aaron] I mean I'm only a few days into it and it hasn't been terrible because I go to the gym now earlier and I'll say this, I really enjoyed going to Starbucks and sitting down, there's no one there, and getting into the Word, that was awesome. And also I started back up doing my intermittent fasting. - [Jennifer] You did that for a while like a year ago. - [Aaron] Yeah, and I only stopped because I was just trying to do something different, get more calories. But I'm going back to it because I feel like I got too much calories. - [Jennifer] Okay. - [Aaron] I really like intermittent fasting. And if you don't know what intermittent fasting is go look it up, it's pretty cool. - [Jennifer] Why don't you just explain real quick briefly what you mean. - [Aaron] Essentially you fast for 16 hours and then you have an eight hour window of eating. Essentially you just miss breakfast. - [Jennifer] I was gonna say most of us fast throughout the night, but this is more intentional, don't have that before-bedtime snack or anything. - [Aaron] Yeah, I'll usually not eat from seven o'clock until 11 or noon the next day. Which is not always easy. - [Jennifer] You also fit in those calories at lunch and dinner 'cause you work out, they know you do CrossFit, you lift heavy weights so you need that energy. - [Aaron] Yeah, I need enough. But it also does help me maintain how much I'm eating and it also makes me think about what I'm eating so I eat better instead of just spreading all those calories out. Anyways I've gotten back into that and kinda liking it. - [Jennifer] Awesome, very cool. Okay you guys, we also wanna encourage you to sign up right now for the Marriage Prayer Challenge if you have not done that yet. It's really awesome. Aaron, how many couples have already joined? - [Aaron] Almost 30,000 couples. There's actually a number counter on the sign up page, and it's a real number counter. I didn't make it up or faked it, it's actually counting people that sign up. - [Jennifer] Okay, so you just go to MarriagePrayerChallenge.com you can sign up for the husband version or the wife version and what do they get? - [Aaron] They're gonna get a email every day around the time that they signed up, giving them a prompt and a reminder to pray for their spouse. - [Jennifer] Awesome, come on you guys, go sign up, it's awesome. - [Aaron] Yeah, so it's MarriagePrayerChallenge.com. Completely free, just give us your email and your name and boom, you'll start getting those emails every day for 30 days. - [Jennifer] So today's topic is on why suffering is good for us. And we're not just talking about physical suffering or sickness or things like that, but we're gonna get into, well we're just gonna get into something that you spoke on recently Aaron that really, really moved me because I love it when you can look at Scripture and see it a different way, I need that help sometimes, someone else coming in and going, "Hey, look at this, this is awesome." So I just wanna dig in. So this is kind of like a devotional style episode. - [Aaron] Yeah, Jennifer and I came up with this idea to do one devotional focused episode every month and so this will be that one. And the topic is something I actually taught on this last Sunday. And you said, "Hey, we should "do an episode on that teaching." So that's what we're gonna do. We'll talk about stuff I brought up from Scripture and then you might have some questions for me, but it's pretty cool, and it's on a very small section of Scripture. - [Jennifer] I'll say this, one reason that I love that you're my husband is that you teach me and I love that. I love that you can look at Scripture and teach me from it and so I'm excited about this episode because I feel like you're gonna have the opportunity to teach others with the same impact that you've had in my life just over this one Scripture. - [Aaron] Well thank you, that's awesome. - [Jennifer] Keep it up, Aaron. - [Aaron] I wanna emphasize that my hope and prayer is that whenever I'm teaching the Word of God that it's not my opinion, not my own flavor of things, but that I'm just trying to clearly teach what the Word of God is saying. So I hope that's what I'm doing right now. - [Jennifer] Yeah, it's good. - [Aaron] So I'll just kick it off that the section of Scripture that we're going to be discussing is mainly from I Peter, chapter four. And it's only the first four verses, which is gonna be the chunk of what we're talking about. And it doesn't sound like a lot of Scripture, but there's actually a lot in here. We're also gonna dig into Romans eight, and that has a little bit more, so there's still a lot of reading. - [Aaron] There's a lot of Scripture to help give context to these few lines of text. So are we gonna start out with you reading I Peter? - Yeah. - Like give 'em just the context of what we're going to be talking about? - [Aaron] So it's actually verses one through three, I'm gonna read it right now, starting at verse one. "Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, "arm yourselves with the same way of thinking. "For whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, "so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh, "no longer for human passions, but for the will of God. "For the time that is past suffices for doing "what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, "passions, drunkenness, orgies, "drinking parties, and lawless idolatry." - [Jennifer] Okay, so before we jump into these set of Scriptures, can you just expand a little bit about when it comes to doctrine and universal doctrine? - [Aaron] Yeah, so I start off this teaching actually on Sunday just explaining how when we come up with doctrine, which are the fundamental things that a believer should walk in, teach. These are the things that are core, doctrines in the Word of God. A doctrine, in order for it to be a doctrine, it's gotta be universal. You can't pull something from Scripture and say, "This is doctrine, but it doesn't apply "in Iran, it doesn't apply in Africa, "it doesn't apply in the suburbs." - [Jennifer] Right, or just certain groups of people. Or certain churches. - [Aaron] Right, so if we interpret or pull things from Scripture that isn't universally applied when taught then it's gotta be interpreted through universal doctrine. So that you can't just pull that and say, "Well, that's doctrine." And one example of this would be the prosperity gospel, this idea that God wants every single person to be wealthy, and perfectly healthy, which isn't backed up with Scripture at all. - [Jennifer] We also don't see it in real life. - [Aaron] Yeah, you don't see it played out. There's people all over the world that are not wealthy or healthy, but they love the Lord, God uses them, this is reality on both sides. We see Scripture, like in Ecclesiastes that God gives rain to the evil and the good, evil and the righteous. So there are certain things that he has a certain level of blessing on every person, he gives breath, he gives the sunlight, he gives rain, he gives food, sustenance, regardless of how they are. So the prosperity gospel in the sense of God wants you to prosper financially and with possessions doesn't work universally. But what does work, and this is where I ended off was the universal doctrine of suffering. Without suffering there is no salvation. Christ learned obedience through the things that he suffered. He says that believers will suffer. - [Jennifer] Which kicks us off for this verse that you read, which I don't know if you wanna read it again. - [Aaron] Yeah, it says, "Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh," it doesn't say suffered in the spirit, he suffered in the flesh. It says, "Arm yourselves with this same way of thinking." - [Jennifer] Not just some of you, not just you over there in the corner, arm yourself. - [Aaron] Yeah, it tells every believer to arm themselves with this way of thinking of understanding the suffering of Christ. - [Jennifer] And the suffering of the flesh. - [Aaron] And the suffering in the flesh, which we're gonna get into. So when I say doctrine, this idea that suffering is a doctrinal teaching. We cannot subtract it from Scripture, we cannot subtract it from the Christian life. We cannot say, "Yeah, that's good, but only for Christ, "and then he doesn't want his children to suffer." He says, "If I suffered, you will also suffer. "They hated me, they're gonna hate you." These are all things that the Bible teaches and no matter where you go in the world, it doesn't matter where you live it should be something that is taught and understood by the believer this idea, this doctrine of suffering. But there's many types of suffering. And what we wanna talk about right now is what is this talking about. What am I arming myself when realizing Christ suffered? What's the weapon that I'm using? And what it is is an understanding of what suffering is for the believer and why it's so good for us in the varying aspects. 'Cause the first thing we think of probably is suffering, massive pain or loss, which is definitely a form of suffering. But really what suffering is at the base level is our flesh-- - Dying to ourselves, yeah. - Yeah, dying. That's what suffering is. When Jesus says, "Take up your cross and follow me," the cross is the instrument of death of your flesh, your body. You put a body on it and it dies there. And so suffering in the sense that we're gonna talk about is not just this overtly physical suffering. It's telling our flesh no, that's suffering. And as we go through this scripture, we'll see that more and more. But that's what we wanna get the believer, everyone listening to understand is we shouldn't be running from suffering. We shouldn't fear the idea that our flesh is gonna endure some sort of discomfort and pain and that we're not gonna always get what we want and we're gonna have to tell ourselves no and these are all forms of telling our flesh no, it's suffering. The body suffers when it doesn't get what it wants, that's suffering. When you feel pain, it's something that the body doesn't want, which is why you get that pain signal saying, "Hey, this is not good, stop it." - [Jennifer] Right, we really hope that this episode is encouraging to you guys and gives you a fresh perspective of how suffering is good for us, especially in context to our sin nature and the suffering of our flesh. - [Aaron] Which is the exact purpose of this. Of putting away that sin nature and having the spirit of God win and not the flesh. - [Jennifer] Do you wanna jump in to Romans eight? - [Aaron] Yeah, 'cause Romans eight gives us a perfect context for the second part of the scripture that says "Arm yourselves with the same way of thinking." Right, so we realize that Christ suffered in the flesh, we can have the same way of thinking of recognizing the suffering of our flesh is a weapon against something. And it says, "For whoever has suffered "in the flesh has ceased from sin." And this can be taken very literally, which it should be, I think because if we have perfectly suffered the way Christ has we would have perfectly ceased from sin because once we're dead and gone with God there's no more sin in us. But we're in the flesh, so it says, "Whoever suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin," and I think Romans eight perfectly clarifies what this is saying, and it says this in Romans eight, verse one, "There is therefore now no condemnation "for those who are in Christ Jesus." First and foremost believer, believe this. "There is therefore now no condemnation "for those who are in Christ Jesus. "For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free "in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death." So what has set you free from the law of sin and death? It's Christ and his Spirit, right? It says, "For God has done what the law, "weakened by our flesh, could not do. "By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh "and for sin he condemned sin in the flesh "in order that the righteous requirement of the law "might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to "the flesh, but according to the Spirit." - [Jennifer] I feel like you should reiterate that last part. - [Aaron] What he's saying is the law, which is good, and perfect, and righteous couldn't save any man because man has weak flesh. In our flesh we cannot fulfill the law. But Christ did fulfill the law in his own flesh. Right? And so what it's saying is that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us through the putting away of our flesh through Christ. - [Jennifer] Right, I just love that last part that you just read, it says, "Who walk not according to the flesh, "but according to the Spirit," which is foundational to what we're gonna be teaching from I Peter and it's a choice, they're all choices, right? - [Aaron] These are choices that the believer have because we've been set free, so we have the freedom to now choose righteousness rather than only being obedient to sin. - [Jennifer] Right, and it's through our actions that we walk according not to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. - [Aaron] Right, so this says, "Walk not according to the flesh," so if you take anyone who has suffered in the flesh and say, "Anyone who walks not according to the flesh, "but according to the Spirit ceases from sin," that's kind of what this is saying. This is verse five, "For those who live according "to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, "but those who live according to the Spirit "set their minds on the things of the Spirit." - [Jennifer] Okay, I gotta stop you again because I feel like there's often, I'm sure everybody can relate to this, but when you struggle with sin, and you wrestle with those temptations that come, your mind is on it, right, like when your mind is set on something that your flesh desires and wants to do it doesn't go away until either you do it or you tell it no. - [Aaron] Which is suffering. And this is where we're trying to define this. - [Jennifer] But that whole setting your mind, it starts there. - [Aaron] And it says this, "For to set the mind "on the flesh is death, but to set the mind "on the Spirit is life and peace." - [Jennifer] Raise your hand if you want life and peace. - [Aaron] "For the mind that is set "on the flesh is hostile to God." - [Jennifer] I don't want that. - [Aaron] Hostile, like you're an enemy of God when your mind's on the flesh, "For it does not submit to God's law, indeed it cannot. "Those who are in the flesh cannot please God." So when the Bible tells us that the flesh and the Spirit are opposed to each other, are against each other, that's what this is saying. Saying when you're walking in the flesh you can't please God, you're an enemy. When you walk in the Spirit, you please God. And it's God's Spirit that we walk in. And then it says this, "You," believer, "however "are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, "if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. "Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ "does not belong to him. "But if Christ is in you, "although the body is dead because of sin, "the Spirit is life because of righteousness." So remember we said whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin? Let's put it this way, although the body is dead, suffered in the flesh because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. So the Spirit that God's put in us has brought to life our mortal bodies, and listen to this, verse 11, "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." So I thought this Scripture perfectly illustrated what says right here when it says, "For whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin. "So as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh "no longer for human passions, but for the will of God." So when we're gonna get more and more right now into this idea of suffering in the flesh, it's this idea of walking in the Spirit and not the flesh as Romans also says. When you gratify the desires of the flesh you cannot please God, right? But if you walk in the Spirit, you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Right? - Yeah. - [Aaron] So this is what this is getting to, Peter's talking here, and he's explaining how Christ suffering in the flesh has done this for us. Has given us a way to suffer in our flesh, not in a way of self-salvation because we can't, Christ already did it. His suffering was sufficient. But because of his suffering and from his own words 'cause he left and went home to be with the Father, he sent his helper, the Spirit, to work in us and through us for his will and his work in us. So what we can do now is we can learn to suffer in our flesh via the Holy Spirit. Meaning I don't gratify the desires of my flesh. So when you want a donut, I love donuts. - [Jennifer] I love donuts. - [Aaron] Or you want that new car, or you want your neighbor's thing, coveting, right? Or you want to avoid shame so you lie, these are all fruit of the flesh, these are all things to protect your flesh. I don't like the way that feels, I don't wanna be embarrassed, I don't wanna look shameful, I have pride, I don't want them to think this way about me. It's all the flesh, so suffering is, like here's a form of suffering in the flesh, humbleness. That's painful, humbling yourself. Getting down on your knees and saying, "I am this thing, I did this thing, I said this, "and I want to be forgiven by You." Like humbling yourself, recognizing you're not that great of a person is suffering, is telling your flesh no. I'd rather you suffer and my spirit be lifted up. - [Jennifer] So you started out that little lineup of things that people struggle with was a donut so can you just explain, 'cause eating a donut doesn't have to deal with humility, what does it have to deal with? - [Aaron] Well again, our flesh, and I explained this on Sunday, I was talking about how our brains work. Our brain matter, it's flesh, it's a compilation of cells and there's these chemicals that get released and you have sensors, and receptors, and you have all these things that God gave us to work a certain way, pleasure sensors and pain sensors and all these things, and those are all the flesh. Now what the point is is that you don't just shut 'em all off. It's to put them into submission to the Spirit. So a donut right, having a donut's not sinful. Like, oh, a donut's good. But not having any control and letting your senses control you is not walking in the Spirit, it's walking in the flesh. Like that See Food diet, I see food and I eat it. That's not having any control, the Spirit's not in charge, your conscience isn't in charge, it's, "Oh I see it and I'm gonna put it "in my mouth and eat it." - [Jennifer] So the donut can represent a lot of different things. - [Aaron] Think about pornography. Like you're not controlling your flesh. You're saying, "Flesh, you can have whatever you want." - [Jennifer] That's not suffering. - [Aaron] No, well we suffer in the Spirit. - [Jennifer] And we suffer the consequences. - [Aaron] Yeah, we suffer the consequences, but you're not causing your flesh to suffer, telling your flesh, "No, I don't want you to have it. "I know you want that, I know you crave it, "I know you think that's gonna be good for you, "but the Spirit of God that's in me says no." - [Jennifer] That's good. Okay, so I wanna move on because there's a lot of clarity that comes from this next verse and how you broke it down, which is what impacted me probably the most out of this teaching. And so I'm gonna reread the verse, it's verse three, it says, "For the time that is past suffices "for doing what the Gentiles want to do," and I remember you stopped and said, "Underline that." - Underline want to do. - Want to do. 'Cause our flesh wants to do a lot of things. You just gave those examples. "Living in sensualities, passions, drunkenness, "orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatries. - [Aaron] You've read this a lot, right? - [Jennifer] Yeah, I've read this a lot, but I need to explain because I'm sure people relate to me on this. When you read certain scriptures, it's not that you don't say, "And I know I'm not perfect, "I know that there's sin in my life, "and I'm willing to have open eyes "and for God to reveal that to me, "but when I read this I go, 'well, I'm not really "'struggling with those things, "'I don't really have drinking parties or whatever.'" But you broke it down in a way that makes this verse relatable to all sinners. And so I wanna share that. - [Aaron] And let's remember what the context of this is. Christ's suffering, being armed with this way of thinking, recognizing that our flesh, having our flesh suffer while walking in the Spirit is how we cease from sin, it is how we walk the way God wants us to. And so he gives the contrast, he says, "For the time that has past suffices for doing "what the Gentiles want to do." Now when it says, "Gentiles," it's meaning Godless people. Gentiles were anyone that wasn't a Jewish person. And so what he's pointing out is not specifically Gentiles, he's saying anyone doesn't have God, isn't walking with God. And want to do, saying this is the way they want to be. And then it says, "Living in sensualities, "passions, drunkenness," and what I did is I broke down what these things are. - [Jennifer] And how they're all related. - 'Cause they're specific. - Yeah, they're very specific, and I didn't realize that they were even related. I just thought it was one of those lists, you know? - [Aaron] Again, if you're listening and you have your Bible, the want to do part. Okay, it's want to live in sensuality, and passions, and drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry, right? And like you said, "Well see I don't "struggle with those things." And maybe someone like me that struggled with pornography might point out sensuality and passions like okay, yeah, but I've never done orgies, that's not me. But I wanna highlight that through Christ and his suffering and him giving us of his Holy Spirit we've been freed from the want to do, right? He's changing our desires to be his, he's giving us a hatred of sin because he hates sin. - [Jennifer] And I think in conjunction, the convictions become stronger and so we hear the Holy Spirit loud and clear when we go to do something that we shouldn't be doing, right? - [Aaron] Our prayer and constant desire should be that he's consistently giving us new desires and new cravings. I pray, "Lord, give me a craving for your Word." I don't naturally in my flesh have enough craving for God's Word, let alone reading. Sorry if you relate to that, reading's not something I just crave to do, but there's some people that love reading. But I want God to change those desires so the want to do is an amazing thing that God's freed us from that we're no longer slaves to sin. That's the want to do. - [Jennifer] We're not slaves to our flesh. - [Aaron] We're not slaves to our flesh, God severed that slavery with his Spirit. And now we can actually walk in that Spirit when we focus on that Spirit and we walk in his ways in his Word, that's how this works. So I'm gonna define some of these things. Sensuality, it's not just sexual. Our definition of sensuality is usually very sexual and this absolutely does mean sexual, sensuality. But it's not only sexual. Sexual's one sense. It's one sense being usually this physical pleasure. - [Jennifer] That's what comes to my mind when I think about it. - [Aaron] But sensuality in the biblical use is unbridled lust. Unbridled lust. This idea of lust, I see something, I take it. So think about your five senses, sensual, it's a sensation experience. You're looking for you five senses to be pleasured. I want my eyes to see the most beautiful things. - [Jennifer] Or whatever I want them to see. - [Aaron] Or whatever I want them to see. I want my hands to touch whatever is gonna make my mind feel good. - [Jennifer] I want my mouth to say whatever I feel. - [Aaron] Or taste, right? So you think about your five senses and sensuality is living to please your five senses with whatever pleases your five senses. That's what sensuality is. Often, sexual things encompass all of them, which is why it's usually accompanied with sensuality as a sexual thing because sexual things please pretty much all your senses. But food, music, all of these things, not that those things in themselves are sinful, I want everyone to clearly hear me. It's living in a way that you want your senses pleased. 'Cause that's the opposite of suffering. That's the opposite of suffering. It's living for pleasure in every sense. You want your five senses taken care of, and if anyone of them are hindered or hurt or suffer, you're not happy, and something's wrong, and God must be angry or I'm not close to God. - [Jennifer] And you can see this in the flesh when you feel the conviction of either someone saying something to you about something that you're doing or the Holy Spirit just does it and you feel defensive. You immediately wanna justify that thing that it's not that bad, or that it's this or that it's that and you become, you wanna fight for it. There's gotta be a way that I can still have this in my life. - [Aaron] Yeah, so example of this is you're doing something and you're not recognizing it, and a brother or sister in Christ comes up and says, "Hey, I noticed that you're talking a certain way "or you did this certain thing." And you're like, "Don't judge me, get out of my way." And you immediately feel like you've been judged or wronged or hurt. In reality, you're just getting checked in your spirit and your flesh doesn't like it. - [Jennifer] I also wanna be realistic, most people don't say, "Don't judge me." What they'll do is say, "Oh, okay," and then never talk to that person again. They don't even communicate. - [Aaron] Or say, "Well let's just agree to disagree instead of again, suffering the flesh, humbling yourself and saying, "Maybe there is something I need to grow on." - [Jennifer] Or, "Man, that recognition alone just hurt. "And I'm gonna walk in that for a little bit "and see where God wants to take it." - [Aaron] So I wanna read this, I read this from Wikipedia. It's the definition of hedonism, which by the way, is this idea of pleasure-centered living. Like I'm looking to please all my senses, hedonism. "And it's a school of thought," this is what Wikipedia says, "Hedonism is a school of thought "that argues pleasure and suffering "are the only components of well-being. "Ethical hedonism is the view that combines "hedonism with welfarist ethics, "which claim that what we should do depends exclusively on what effects "the well-being individuals have. "Ethical hedonists would defend "either increasing pleasure or reducing suffering "for all beings capable of experiencing them "or just reducing suffering." So think about that. It's as long as I'm not suffering, I'm happy. Or I wanna be pleasured, and if I can't have pleasure I just don't wanna suffer. Now I want everyone listening to think about that 'cause we have areas in our life, Jennifer and I, we were talking about this that we think this way. Like, "Oh, I'm good with all this as long as "I don't have to go without food for a day." Or "As long as I'm not gonna feel this pain over here "or I'm not gonna have to say no to my flesh in this area." Right, we all have this level of pleasure-centered focus or at least avoidance of suffering. That's what this idea of hedonism is. - [Jennifer] Basically if we're living to pleasure our five senses we can't possibly be pleasing or pleasuring God. - [Aaron] Exactly because he might ask us to do something that doesn't feel good. Right? - Yeah. - [Aaron] And so a litmus test is for us to ask ourselves in those situations when we feel like we're just, it doesn't feel good, something's going on, we're having this emotional, which I'm about to talk about, we can ask ourselves, am I trying to avoid letting my flesh suffer a little bit? Am I trying to avoid saying no to my flesh? - [Jennifer] Okay, so the next one is passions and when I think of the word, passions, I immediately think of things that I'm either passionate about or people who've said-- - [Aaron] It's usually a positive thing, yeah. - [Jennifer] "I'm just a passionate person." But yeah, it's usually a positive thing or maybe it has to do with extracurricular activities or something like that. But why don't you share more about that? - [Aaron] So passions, the definition of passions in the dictionary is essentially uncontrolled or emotional outbursts. It's this like passion outburst of anger, which the Bible says wrath is not good, "The wrath of man does not produce "the righteousness of God." And wrath is an uncontrolled, emotional outburst. Or uncontrollable sadness, or uncontrollable joy or happiness. I'm just trying to get whatever emotions these are, out. And what this idea is is someone who lives purely off their emotions. Like, "Oh, I'm not happy, so things are wrong." But you know what, you know how many stories there are in the Bible of people that, like a lot of David's songs or him not happy. Now they still end joyfully 'cause he knows who his Lord is and his Redeemer, but he's in the muck and the mire. He's in a cave, cold and scared, the emotional, passionate person who lives by their emotions would say, "David was doing something wrong because he wasn't happy," but that's not true. David was right where God had him, he was doing what he could do in God's will. Now I'm not saying emotions are bad. God's given us all of these things. Our senses are good things. Our passions, our emotions are good things, but these are fleshly things, meaning if they're the things that drive us and dictate us then the Spirit of God is not. - [Jennifer] Yeah, I was just gonna say if someone's motivated to maintain a certain emotion or are drawn out of their emotions to act, they can't serve their emotions and serve God. - [Aaron] A good example in Scripture says, "Be angry and do not sin." - [Jennifer] So that's a perfect example of having and experiencing an emotion-- - [Aaron] But not letting it control you. - [Jennifer] But not letting it control you and not acting out of it. - [Aaron] Yeah, you know how hard it is to love someone who is harming you or doing you wrong? But that's what Scripture calls us to do. - Because Christ did it. - Because Christ did it. So, there's things that our emotions will want us to do, wrath, outbursts, laughter, like lots of things. But God wants the Spirit to be in control, not our emotions. And I wanna add to this, often, so based on the sensuality things when our five senses aren't being met with what they want that's when our emotions react. I'm hungry, you know the whole term, "I'm hangry." So you're having a sense, one of your five senses not being taken care of. - [Jennifer] Your emotions heighten. - [Aaron] And so you let your emotions go to get what you want, right? That is not being in self-control. That is not walking by the Spirit, that's walking in the flesh. And so I broke these down all like this to show us that this way of being is not the way the believer should be. That doesn't mean we're not gonna fall into our emotions at times, we're not to be these emotionless robots. What happens is God's given us a way to walk in the Spirit, even amidst the heaviest emotional times. Like sadness and brokenness and fear, and we can walk in the Spirit in those things. - [Jennifer] Yeah, how do you submit those to God and walk righteously amidst feeling those really deep things? - [Aaron] So it all goes back to the, men, this is a universal doctrine that it doesn't matter where you're at, it doesn't matter what you're going through, God has given you the freedom and through the Spirit of God to rise above those things and to appropriate those emotions where they belong. In your sadness to go to God and weep before him. And he says, "I've bottled up every tear." So knowing that we can actually run to the Father, "I'm so angry right now, God, take my anger from me. "Show me how to not be angry with my wife, or my husband." - [Jennifer] My kids. - [Aaron] Or we can just handle it ourselves and let's just take that emotion, and let's just-- - Run with it. - Run with it. And what usually happens, and everyone's thinking about those things when they've let their emotions run, we regret it every time. And we look back and we say, "Well, that wasn't godly, "that was not what Christ would've done." - [Jennifer] Or "Man, I just wish I was different." When we can be, it's just the choices we're making. - [Aaron] So I wanna go on to the next part, which-- - [Jennifer] Feels like an obvious one. - Right, drunkenness. - Drunkenness. Well, it's not just intoxication though. - [Aaron] Well, you're right. - [Jennifer] It is, when you look up the definition, drunkenness, it's being intoxicated by something like alcohol. - [Aaron] Right, and this is clearly talking about no believer should get drunk. - [Jennifer] The Bible talks too much about being sober minded. - [Aaron] And not being drunk specifically. So I do wanna clarify I'm not saying this doesn't mean you can go get drunk. No believer should be getting drunk ever. - [Jennifer] All of these things mean what they are. They also have-- - Deeper spiritual meanings. - Deeper spiritual meanings that we can apply to address our sinful nature. - [Aaron] So let's talk about what drunkenness is. Yes, it's being drunk on alcohol or some sort of drug. Your mind, it's overtaken by something else, which is essentially what drunkenness is. You're allowing a substance, an external force to take over your flesh, that's what drunkenness is. You drink enough alcohol, what happens? The Bible talks about it, you start saying things you would never say out loud, you start acting a way you would never act. - [Jennifer] I always say that or associated it with the word uncontrolled, like that person's uncontrolled right now, but I never considered the aspect of it you actually being controlled by that thing that you just ingested. - [Aaron] Yeah, and I'll give an example, Proverbs 20, verse one says, "Wine is a mocker." So it's saying that the alcohol has an influence to cause you to mock. "Strong drink a brawler." Wants you to fight. All of these things are very fleshly things. "And whoever is led astray by it is not wise." So now nowhere in Scripture does it say you're not allowed to drink. Now some people will take it that way, and we're talking about alcohol so I'm just bringing it up. But 100% absolutely no believer should be getting drunk on anything. But the next thing I'm gonna talk about. And it says, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, "and whoever is led astray," so I've given myself over to this substance, this thing to now do what it wants with me. Like not as if it's a real person, but we have these basic, all these things that are talking about the flesh, we have these basic ways of being in the deep parts of us. - [Jennifer] It's the way he designed us, like he designed us to-- - [Aaron] But he wants it under control. Not let go of. And so the other part I wanna say is in Ephesians five, 18 it says, "Do not get drunk "with wine," again there's a direct command, don't get drunk with wine, "For that is debauchery. "But be filled with the Spirit." So it's saying, don't let your flesh go by letting it be overtaken with wine, alcohol, other substances, but be filled with the Spirit of God. - [Jennifer] This also shows that deeper spiritual meaning of what we're trying to show here when you talk about drunkenness because drunken by the Spirit, that sounds weird, but it's because of that deeper meaning that we're talking about. - [Aaron] And at the base level of what drunkenness is, it's literally the removal of the natural functions that God's put in us, that inhibition in us, that conscience, that ability and restraint that is naturally in us to like, maybe there's something I wanna say, but I'm not gonna say it 'cause that's not appropriate. You're drunk and it just comes out of your mouth. So what you're doing is you're living in the sensuality way you want all your senses met, you're living with your emotions and then you wanna be drunk and you want to release the natural built in barriers that God's given you to protect you from doing or saying-- - [Jennifer] Sinful things. - [Aaron] Yeah, things that don't honor you, don't honor others, don't honor God. And so again, it's like this, I wanna just let it all out, I don't want any control, it's the exact opposite of self-control. It's no control. Which then leads us into the awkward one, orgies. - [Jennifer] Which everybody's thinking sexual experience. - [Aaron] Which again, it means that. - [Jennifer] It is, but it also means more than that. - [Aaron] Right, if you look at orgies at the base idea of what an orgy is, it's overindulgence. So all the things we just talked about, it's doing all of it without restraint. - [Jennifer] Yeah, no barriers, no limitations, as long as you want, as much as you want. - [Aaron] Yeah, oh and that was another good donut. - [Jennifer] That was a good box of donuts. - [Aaron] Those two boxes of donuts were amazing, right, but of course I would feel gross after that. Or alcohol, like alcoholics, they don't restrain themselves. And we're talking about these things that go in the mouth, but think about anything. Anything in your life that you don't want any restraint on. - [Jennifer] So it's overindulgence, and it's giving into your flesh, and you're never satisfied, you're never satiated. - [Aaron] Yeah, when you're in the flesh-- - It's never enough. - The flesh never has enough. You know who says this, Solomon says it in Ecclesiastes one, eight. It says, "All things are full of weariness, "a man cannot utter it. "The eye is not satisfied with seeing, "nor the ear filled with hearing." - [Jennifer] Okay so just that made me think of the porn industry. They get hooked at an early age, but then it's not enough to gratify what their eye is seeing, so it gets worse and worse, deeper and deeper into these things that are just wicked. - [Aaron] And worse and worse and worse and worse and worse. - [Jennifer] And still yet never satisfied. - [Aaron] And this is like the exact opposite of what Christ wants for us. In that verse it says, "The time has past that suffices," means we've done enough of this. Literally he's saying that we have freedom from this unsatisfied, never ending cycle. - [Jennifer] Well, what did Christ say to the woman at the well? - [Aaron] Oh, yeah, so the woman comes to him and she asks for water and he says, "If you would ask me I would have given you water "that you would never thirst again." And she says, "Where's this water, give it to me." - [Jennifer] So it's this contrast of allow your flesh to rule you and never be satisfied or walk in the Spirit and be who you are in Christ with freedom and be completely satisfied. - [Aaron] Right, and Christ, God wants us to be satisfied in him alone. And so when we walk in the flesh, like this idea of orgies it's like I just wanna go somewhere that's gonna give me everything I want and as much of it as I can. And this is not the way of the believer. We are satisfied, completely satisfied in Christ. And so this was a historical note, I saw when looking up this idea of orgies, which I did very carefully by the way. - [Jennifer] Which if you think about that. - [Aaron] Yeah, and historically the word comes from, it's a Greek word, orgia or something like that, but what it was was it was a ritual, secret rites used to worship a Roman god. And the Roman god was the god of grapes and vines and caused men to be crazy. So it's this idea of when we have this way of being, we're like, "I just wanna go and I wanna throw "all my inhibition out, and I wanna drink, "and I wanna eat, and I wanna have fun, "and I want my five senses pleased, "and I wanna just be happy." You're literally worshiping something other than God. That's this idea when you walk in the flesh in this way. So we're gonna go to the next one, there's two more, we're almost done. Drinking parties, and this idea of drinking parties is exactly what it says, these parties that you're just going to get drunk. - [Jennifer] Again, in reading the list in Scripture I skip over 'cause I go, "Well, I'm not doing that." - [Aaron] But the deeper idea is parties meaning multiple, meaning many others, meaning you're inviting others to partake in all of this way of being. That's the way that the people that don't know God, the Bible says, "Don't associate with the wicked "for they can't even seep until they've caused bloodshed "or until they've caught people in their snare." Like these ideas of drawing others into the same way of living fleshly. - [Jennifer] And it can be as simple as you're sitting in a room full of friends and you start gossiping. The invitations can be subtle, but I think that the reason people do it is because they don't want to do it alone, they don't want to be alone in their sin. They're seeking approval so if I can get so and so to do it along with me, then there's this sense of approval that it's okay. Or maybe wrestling with the shame and guilt that comes with sin that you wanna forget about and so you have others join in, I mean there's a lot of different reasons why. - [Aaron] Well, I'll give a great example in my own life, and it's something I'm not proud of, but when I was deep into pornography, and I would meet new men in churches there were pastors or they were like older or wiser and deep down inside either I thought, "There's no way that he's not addicted to pornography "just like me," or I hoped that he was because I didn't want to be the only one. And I thought, "No, every single one "of these guys does too." - It's so broken. - It's so broken. So in my mind, this drinking parties idea, this idea of like, "Oh, we're in this together. "He's a sinner like me and he does the same things as I do, "and I actually hoped he did." - [Jennifer] I think this is a good time to caution us to evaluate ourselves. Are we inviting others to partake in sin that maybe we're not recognizing as sin or we've pushed away that conviction from the Holy Spirit and let's ask God this week, "What areas of my life "have I been inviting people to partake "in with me that aren't righteous?" - [Aaron] Well, it first takes that self-evaluation of like, "God, is there anything "in me that you want out of me?" A good example in the marriage, do you remember when we were going through financial stuff? I would let you spend the way we probably shouldn't spend knowing that it would let me spend the way I wanted to spend. - [Jennifer] Right, 'cause then when you would request something I would have to say yes. - [Aaron] Because I'd be like, "Well, I let you get your thing." And essentially we were just pulling each other down. - [Jennifer] That's really good. So in marriage that's often where the invitation starts. - [Aaron] Keyword, drinking party. Don't invite me, just kidding. - [Jennifer] Don't invite me. - [Aaron] Last thing, lawless idolatry. Everything we just walked through is lawless idolatry and here's why. It's self-worship. - [Jennifer] Yeah, how I feel, what I want-- - [Aaron] Is god. - [Jennifer] Well, it should be God. - [Aaron] No, what I was saying is what you feel and what you want is god, is your god. - [Jennifer] Right, is your god. But what we should be saying is-- - [Aaron] "God, what you want." "God, do you want me to be hungry right now?" And I keep talking about these physical things because this is the idea. - [Jennifer] Well, that's where it starts. - [Aaron] We are to be spiritual people. Jesus told the woman at the well that same story. She's talking about where they worship 'cause she was a Samaritan, he's a Jew and he says, "There's gonna be a day "that you will neither worship there or here, "but my people worship me in spirit and in truth." Not worshiping in passions and sensuality and as Jude says, and that happens even in the church. I'm gonna worship God with my senses, and if I don't sense God and feel God, and my senses aren't being met and pleasured by the Spirit of God then I must be far from God. But you know what, there's many people in the Bible that were in the pit. I think of Paul, and he's singing worship songs, naked and cold in prison. In that moment most people would be like, "I don't feel close to God. "He's not helping me, this doesn't feel good." But Paul knew exactly who his savior was and he knew that what he was dealing with as he says in Scripture, he says, "For I have ascertained that my current suffering "is nothing to be compared with the coming glory." What that means is that this temporary suffering, the little bit of saying no in my flesh, the little bit of pain that I feel, the little bit of depraving of my own desires for the sake of God's will and God's thing that he wants done in my life and in others is so little to be compared with the glory that I'm gonna experience when he returns. - [Jennifer] Which is a hopeful message for us as Christians. We should hear that and be like, "Yes, we're in agreeance here." We should be willing to suffer, and this is why suffering in the flesh is good for us. - [Aaron] Yeah, and a lot of people don't like talking about suffering, but this again is a universal doctrine that Christians should understand and walk in that my flesh does not get to win in my life. - [Jennifer] And when we feel those convictions from the Holy Spirit going day to day, whatever it might be, when you don't tell yourself no, you're putting yourself in a place of worship that you should not be in. You're idolizing yourself, you're saying, "God, I'm more important that you." - [Aaron] My comfort's more important that your will. My pleasure's more important that your Word. And so each one of these is like this progress of worshiping self verses Creator. Worshiping the creation rather than the Creator. My comfort, my pleasures, my senses are much more important than what God's doing in my life. - [Jennifer] A dangerous place to be. - [Aaron] And a good example of this is the reason why many people have a hard time getting out of debt or quitting certain addictions or making life changes is because that's too difficult for my flesh to handle, even though God's like, "But I'm gonna "give you the strength to do it." - [Jennifer] Yeah, I think too, just to shed a little bit more perspective on this idea of suffering, I think sometimes we only go so far to see what we would suffer in the midst of saying no to our flesh. So like it's that little bit of-- - [Aaron] "I tried." - [Jennifer] Yeah, but we see what suffering equals when we say no to our flesh, but we don't look beyond that to see what suffering looks like when we don't say no to our flesh, the consequences, the hurt, the pain, the death, the sin that comes. - [Aaron] The shame. - [Jennifer] Because of the choices that we make. And that's what all of this, of what we're talking about today comes down to choice. You're gonna choose to walk in the Spirit or you're gonna choose to gratify the desires of the flesh. - [Aaron] And you know what believer, you're listening to this? - [Jennifer] You have been set free. - [Aaron] Yeah, you're not a slave to sin and death. We can choose to walk in the Spirit that God's given us. He dwells in us, giving life to our mortal bodies. How amazing is that? So this isn't a go suffer and find your righteousness through just self-depravity and self-abasement. That's not what we're talking about. There are some faiths and some religions that believe that. If you just make yourself suffer enough, you'll be righteous. Now the point is we're already righteous, and the way a righteous person walks with the Spirit of God is we don't gratify the desires of our flesh. And when we do, we recognize it, we repent, and we say, "Thank you, Lord, for forgiving me. "And give me your power to walk better next time "to beat that thing that is in my life "because you have beat it on the cross." - [Jennifer] Amen, so here's the charge for us this week and forever. And it's that first part of that verse that you started us off with there and it's, "Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh," our Christ, our Lord, our Savior suffered in the flesh, "Arm yourself with the same way of thinking." We have to think like him. - [Aaron] This current fleshly body we live in is temporary and the simplest way to put this is Jesus says, "Take up your cross and follow me." The cross is the instrument of the death of our flesh. So let's crawl up on that cross and let's take it with us and let's ask the Holy Spirit, "Lord, teach me. "Teach me how to say no to my flesh "when it craves things that are in opposition to you." Some of us struggle with pride, I just wanna throw that one in there, that's a flesh thing. That's pride, that's the flesh wanting to be elevated and recognized, rather than humbled and God being recognized. So we always end in prayer. Jennifer, why don't you pray for us? - [Jennifer] Dear Lord, thank you for your Word and how it cuts us to the heart. Thank you for teaching us through your Word. We pray your Word would continue to transform us as we learn it and choose to walk out all that you've commanded us to. We pray we would be people who recognize parts of our hearts that need to change, sin that needs to be repented of, motivations that are not pure, and actions that do not reflect your ways for the purpose of repentance and reconciliation and growth may your will be done in us and through us, may your light shine brightly through our marriages as we encourage one another to draw closer to you. In Jesus's name, amen. - [Aaron] Amen, we love you guys, and we thank you for joining us this week. Please consider leaving us a review and a star rating. You just gotta go to the bottom of your podcast app and tap one of those stars and leave a review, we love those, and they help other people find the episodes, find the podcast. And also don't forget to get the free Marriage Prayer Challenge, MarriagePrayerChallenge.com. See you next week. 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.
With Valentine's Day just around the corner, we thought it would be fun to share some gift ideas to help inspire you. All of the gifts we share in this episode are things that we love and use often.ONE QUICK NOTE: If you are trying to get out of debt we suggest skipping gifts for a while. Instead, find free ways to bless each other and show your spouse your are thinking of them. We never want to promote spending when we can't or shouldn't. PRAYER:Dear Lord,Thank you for being the ultimate gift giver. Thank You for the gift of marriage. We pray our hearts would be pure in the way we give gifts to each other. We pray we would be thoughtful in the ways we give to each other. Help us to study and know our spouse well enough to give them gifts we know they will love. More than giving good gifts, we pray our love would be genuine and deep and extraordinary as we pursue intimacy with each other. Grow our love for one another….In Jesus’ name, amen! READ THE 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 some unique Valentine's Day gift ideas for your spouse. 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 on this journey as we chase boldly after God's will for our life together. - [Jennifer] This is "Marriage After God." - [Aaron] Hey, welcome back to another episode of the "Marriage After God" podcast. This is the second episode in season three of the "Marriage After God" podcast, and it's gonna be a fun one. We're gonna talk about gift ideas and Valentine's Day, and these are fun episodes that we get to do. It's just to become a resource for you to help you in stuff that you guys are trying to pursue with each other. But before we begin today, I just wanna check in with my wife. How are you doing? - [Jennifer] I'm doing good, I'm doing better, I should say. - [Aaron] Yeah. - [Jennifer] I don't know if people can hear it in my voice, I-- - [Aaron] She hasn't stopped laughing for 15 minutes. - [Jennifer] It's been really hard, guys. We went to go record this episode and I could not stop laughing. Something was hysterical but really it was nothing, and that made it even funnier. - [Aaron] And I'm sitting over here not laughing. - [Jennifer] Though I think it's spiritual because we're trying to record. I couldn't stop, but I finally got my bearings and I'm here, and I'm excited to do this with you, Aaron. - [Aaron] Yeah, so, me too, now. It's the second week of the year, 2020, new decade. How do you think things are going? I know it's new, but. - [Jennifer] Yes, I would say so far, so good. I mean, I'm still looking forward to this year. I think one thing that I've already been noticing is that I have this hopefulness to savor this year so that it doesn't feel like it flies by super fast. - [Aaron] Yeah, 2019 felt like it went really fast. - [Jennifer] Really fast. - [Aaron] Every time I looked at the calendar, I was like, wait a minute, we're in the third quarter. What's going on? - [Jennifer] Yeah, how is this already possible? So I'm hoping that this year just is a slow year for us and for our family. - [Aaron] Yeah. Well, seeing our kids grow up also. - [Jennifer] It breaks my heart, really. - [Aaron] It feels like it's going way too fast. - [Jennifer] Why do they have to grow up every year? If they skipped a year, it'd be cool. - [Aaron] I actually think time is going by faster 'cause when I was kid, I remember time feeling like it was going so slow. - [Jennifer] Playing in the backyard for hours. - [Aaron] And then people say when you get older, time flies or goes faster. But we even asked our kids, and my son Elliott, he was like, "Dad, why does it feel like every day goes by so fast?" So my son-- - [Jennifer] Even feels that. - [Aaron] Is even feeling time go by fast, so I'm wondering if there's something to that. Maybe the earth is spinning faster or something like that, I don't know. - [Jennifer] There's still 24 hours in a day. - [Aaron] Yeah, just real quick, what is something you're looking forward to in 2020? I know that there's stuff around our house that you like to do. - [Jennifer] Yeah, so specifically this week, I'm really excited to prune our trees. When we moved into this house, it was kind of bare ground in the sense that we got to do whatever we wanted with it and we decided, on the side of our house, we had this space. I really wanted to plant a little mini orchard. So if you follow me on Instagram, you'll see pictures of it throughout the seasons. - [Aaron] We've got some apples, we've got some peaches. - [Jennifer] Yeah, and I've never been able, I've never really had the opportunity to cultivate fruit trees before. I really don't know what I'm doing, thank you YouTube and friends who share their information with me. But I've just learned kind of the art of pruning and I practice it, and January's my time to practice. And so this week I'm gonna get out there. I use pruning to shape the trees and also to keep them, to keep their form small because our backyard is small. - [Aaron] Yeah, we don't want them to get huge. We wanna keep them small trees. - [Jennifer] But also, though, pruning stimulates growth which is exciting, so it's kind of like-- - [Aaron] It's almost biblical. - [Jennifer] It is biblical, which I also love that whole thing about that. - [Aaron] Yeah, and you've been loving doing it. It's therapeutic for you. - [Jennifer] Yeah, so even in the summertime, I'm actually looking forward to January 'cause I think, oh I get to prune my trees again. - [Aaron] Yeah, and we also get to see the fruit that comes from it, literally. Like literally fruit grow on these trees. Something that I'm looking forward to doing this year, and I'm trying to do, I've already implemented it already. I bought a journal for each one of my kids and I'm gonna, we did this parenting class a couple months ago and I felt convicted that I'm not taking time to study my children. And that sounds intense, but I'm not taking time to just evaluate the things that they like, the things that they say, how they act. - [Jennifer] What they're going through. - [Aaron] What they're going through, yeah. Evaluating their spiritual, where they're at spiritually, where they're at in their heart and emotionally, and even physically. So I'm just, I don't know how exactly I'm gonna do it. I started doing it, I'm just writing notes down in a journal about each kid. - [Jennifer] But I have to, I was gonna say, I have to explain this whole, what happened, because you didn't tell me that you were gonna be doing this and he's unboxing these journals on the bed. And I didn't know they were journals at first. I just saw these different colors. - [Aaron] She's like, "What are you doing?" - [Jennifer] I'm all, "Are those Christmas presents?" 'cause this was just a couple weeks ago. And I thought they were a part of all the other gifts that were coming in from Amazon. And he goes, "Oh, they're journals for the kids "and each one," and he holds up the yellow one. And I'm like, "Is that for Wyatt?" and he goes, "Yup," 'cause yellow, Wyatt calls himself the yellow boy, yeah he likes yellow. And you got a pinkish purple one for Olive. - [Aaron] A blue one for Elliott. - [Jennifer] And I think a gray one for Truett. - [Aaron] Yeah, oh I think that's backwards. I think the gray one's for Elliott and blue one's for Truett. - [Jennifer] Okay. And so he's putting them on his shelf and he's like, "You know, I just, I really feel "like I need to study my kids," and my heart sank in a good way. It was such a beautiful picture of a dad's heart for his children and something I never even thought to do myself. - [Aaron] You do have a journal for the kids, though. - [Jennifer] I write to them, though. - [Aaron] You write them letters. - [Jennifer] I write them letters and prayers, and it's quarterly, so I don't do it all the time. But this is different. This is a way for you to get to know them in a very deep and personal way, and to keep your eyes on them. And I just, I was blown away by that. And so I'm really excited for you and jumping into this, even though I know you're still figuring out what it's gonna look like. - [Aaron] Yeah, and I'm not doing it every day. My intention originally was to do it every day. And I'm like, okay, I can't do that. - [Jennifer] We got a lot of kids. - [Aaron] Yeah, but when I think about it, I'm gonna pull them out and I'm gonna write down observations of my children in it. And so it's not necessarily for them, it's for me. But one day they'll probably read it and they'll learn a little bit about themselves, probably. Okay, cool. So I just wanna encourage everyone that's listening to download a free thing that we came up with for you guys. It's called "52 Date Night Conversation Starters". It's an e-book that we made for you. And the point of it was to inspire your date life. We have a whole episode talking about date nights and putting it on the calendar, and you should go check that out. We're real huge advocates for having a scheduled date night. - [Jennifer] We're also huge advocates for conversations and communicating well with your spouse, which is why we've combined these two. And we wanted to give you something that would stimulate those really good conversations during date night. - [Aaron] Yeah, so you go to DateNightConversations.com, all one word. And you can download it for free, just give us your email address and boom, you'll have that PDF. And what you do is you can print it out. And there's one for every week of the year. And so the encouragement is, hey go on a date every week. And what's awesome is that you're gonna have a conversation about something deep. Why don't you give some examples? - [Jennifer] I was gonna say, so that's your freebie. But here's your freebie. This is for everyone listening. We're gonna give you three sample questions that you could ask on the date night. This is what you would get if you were to sign up for this. So the first one is, I thank God for our life together because. - [Aaron] Dot, dot, dot. - [Jennifer] So you get to answer that. - [Aaron] Yeah, and then you spend the time, while you're eating or getting a dessert, or going for a walk or whatever, and talk about that question. - [Jennifer] So the next one is, is there any part of my work routine that is negatively impacting our marriage or our family? So I feel like this is a really good one to kind of evaluate, where are we at, what's going on, and what can I contribute to this by sharing my heart with you? - [Aaron] Right, and if work routine doesn't work in both roles, you could say routine. Is there anything during my day that I do regularly that maybe needs to be massaged, moved around, cut out all together? - [Jennifer] Yeah, and the recommendation is that you guys ask each other the same question. - [Aaron] Exactly. Number three is, if we envision ourselves in our 90s, sitting on the porch in matching rocking chairs, if you would look over at me and say, "I wish we," - [Jennifer] Dot, dot, dot. - [Aaron] Yeah, so it's this idea that, why don't you transport yourself to 90 years from now, or when you're 90, and then ask yourself what you would have been doing today. That's kind of the idea. But these are fun, creative, there's 52 of them. This is just three of the 52. So we wanna encourage you to go get that DateNightConversations.com. Completely free, go download that. - [Jennifer] All right, today's topic is unique gift ideas for him and her on Valentine's Day. And the reason we wanted to bring this up is 'cause in just a few weeks, everyone around the world is gonna be celebrating Valentine's Day. Not everyone, but you know, a lot of people. - [Aaron] Not in some countries. I don't even know who celebrates it, but, lots of people. - [Jennifer] My point is this, it's gonna be in our faces. It's gonna be everywhere. And we just thought we'd give it some thought beforehand because if you're like Aaron and I, getting inspired is key for gift giving in marriage. - [Aaron] Yeah, and can I be a little honest about my disposition towards Valentine's Day? - [Jennifer] Quickly, go. - [Aaron] Okay, I'm just gonna be quick. - [Jennifer] Hold on, let me cover my ears. - [Aaron] I'm not a huge fan of feeling obligated to give gifts, and I feel like sometimes certain holidays do that. That's not to say if you love doing this, and you love the holiday, don't listen to me. But if you're kinda like me, then don't feel like this podcast is for you, necessarily. Or maybe it might inspire you and you won't feel like I feel sometimes. I'm just being honest, sometimes I feel. But I've had to, I've been challenged by people in my life to not take it as an obligation, but take it as an opportunity. - [Jennifer] Opportunity, I like that. Also, I just wanna encourage those of you who are listening and maybe you're not married yet, that you can use these gift ideas for a significant other in your life. Maybe you're dating or-- - [Aaron] Or a family member, maybe. - [Jennifer] Or a fiance. - [Aaron] Or a friend that's also single with you. That's a good idea. - [Jennifer] Okay, so gift giving is actually an art. I think it is. I don't think I'm very good at it. - [Aaron] Some people are gifted at it, for sure. - [Jennifer] When I think about how I give gifts, sometimes I'm so embarrassed because my wrapping skills are off the charts terrible. - [Aaron] Your rapping skills, like rhymes, or wrapping? - [Jennifer] No, like wrapping paper. - [Aaron] But that sometimes makes the gift even better, the way you wrap it. - [Jennifer] I always opt for the bag and tissue 'cause I don't like, I can make it look cool without having to do much work. - [Aaron] Yeah, and it is an art form. Some people are really gifted at it naturally. They're just so thoughtful in the way that they give gifts. And some of us aren't that way. So sometimes we just need to be inspired with ideas. That's kinda the point of this podcast. - [Jennifer] Yeah, so Aaron and I, why don't we just share a little bit of our experience of giving gifts in marriage and what that journey's been like. - [Aaron] I've tried to be really creative over the years, and some of them hit big, some of them flopped. And it's not necessarily that you didn't like the gifts, they're just, they're different, the way that they are received and the intention behind it versus how it actually turns out. - [Jennifer] Yeah, I'd also say it depends on what's going on in that season of life that that gift is given because one of the things I'm gonna share later, I'll point it out later 'cause I don't wanna give it away yet, but it was very significant to the season of life I was in. It stood out to me more. - [Aaron] And we've done all sorts of things. Sometimes we don't give gifts on certain days. Sometimes we do experiences, we do things together. - [Jennifer] Sometimes we just look over at each other when the time is coming and we go, "We're not doing gifts, right?" - [Aaron] And we're like, "No, no gifts. "Promise me you're not gonna." - [Jennifer] If we're on the same page, it's good. If we're not on the same page or haven't talked about it, then feelings-- - [Aaron] Remember, conversations. We talk about these things. - [Jennifer] I was gonna say, there have been times where I've felt a little neglected or left out. I don't know if you ever have, but sometimes you look at an opportunity and maybe you didn't get something you expected to get or desired to get. - [Aaron] Yeah, and we weren't gonna talk about this, but I do wanna just encourage anyone that, a day like Valentine's Day shouldn't be an opportunity for us to feel neglected. - [Jennifer] Or hurt. - [Aaron] Or hurt. Let's not let it turn into that. If it goes the other way and it's an opportunity to bless and love, and to enjoy a moment together and time together, but let's not let it do the other thing. Let's be above that as Christians. - [Jennifer] 'Cause it comes out in our responses. - [Aaron] It does. And we make expectations and criteria that don't necessarily need to be there and we can put burdens and obligations on our spouse or on our fiance that doesn't need to be there. So let's be above that. Let's take the opportunity to maybe use it as an opportunity to bless and love your spouse. But let's not let it do the opposite. - [Jennifer] That's good. And I just wanna make a note that our ability, Aaron, to give gifts to each other has really grown over time because as we get to know each other more, 'cause we're always getting to know each other. And we recognize the things that inspire us or things that we're learning about and we give gifts based off of those things. It's been really thoughtful. - [Aaron] Thank you. - [Jennifer] And then other times, just the thoughtfulness of bringing your spouse their favorite candy. Sometimes even those moments can stand out because they're like, "They know me." That feels good to be known in that way. - [Aaron] And you've done that, you know I like candy. I don't eat it all the time, but. - [Jennifer] Aaron's an easy gift receiver. - [Aaron] I'm easy to shop for, I would say. 'Cause I don't ask for much, just candy. - [Jennifer] Just candy. - [Aaron] Good & Plentys, to be specific, so if anyone out there wants to get me candy, or Hot Tamales. Okay, I just wanna do one quick note before another quick note. - [Jennifer] How many quick notes do we got? - [Aaron] Lots of quick notes. We don't want this to, we're not gonna try to over spiritualize this. We didn't grab a bunch of scriptures to be like, "See how powerful gift giving can be?" To be honest, we just wanted to have fun with this and give you some gift ideas. And I think it'd be wrong of us to try and turn this into a overly spiritual, here's the rules on how to give gifts. We just wanted to give you some ideas, things that we've loved, things that we've used. And you can take them or leave them. I think it'll just be a simple fun episode. - [Jennifer] Another quick note is that if you're trying to get out of debt, we suggest skipping gifts for a while. Instead, find free ways to bless each other and show your spouse you're thinking of them. And I'll just give you a handful right here. DIY gifts with materials you already have. Using a talent like drawing, I did this before. I think it was for Christmas. I drew you a picture of us kissing. And it was a really small five by seven, I framed it, it was cute. - [Aaron] I think we have it somewhere still. - [Jennifer] Yeah, I do, it's in the mudroom. - [Aaron] Oh yeah, oh yeah. - [Jennifer] I cherish it. - [Aaron] No it's just somewhere I don't ever see. But I like it. Yeah, writing a note, a song, a poem. Those things have deep meaning. But again, the reason I wanted to bring this up is because I don't want anyone to think that we're advocating you should go spend money you don't have. Or that you should spend money when you're trying to get out of debt. Valentine's Day is just another day. It might be an opportunity to give a gift, but you don't have to. - [Jennifer] We're actually bigger advocates for getting out debt than we are to give gifts. - [Aaron] That's the best gift. - [Jennifer] Get out of debt. - [Aaron] Spouses get out of debt, yeah. So yeah, and real quick, some of our favorite gifts we've received, my favorite thing that I pretty much received is whenever Jennifer has done some sort of special event with me. Either planning a birthday party, which she's done a couple times, or planned a guy's hangout time. She's like, "Hey, I've already set it up. "Here's your friends. "You guys are going here, go hang out, go have fun." Those kinds of things have been really special for me. She knows that I love being around people. - [Jennifer] He's so social, you guys. - [Aaron] And Jennifer would love to sit on the couch with me and not do anything. So for her to set something up like that, which makes her not be with me, and gives me time to go be with friends is a huge thing for me. And so those have always been really special to me. And what's been special to you, gifts that we've given? - [Jennifer] Well the first thing that comes to my mind is all my children, each one of them are a gift. - [Aaron] You're right. - [Jennifer] Do you love me for that? - [Aaron] Couldn't have done it without me. - [Jennifer] Okay, so the gift that I was thinking about earlier that was very significant to my season of life and it just stands out to me, was Mother's Day 2015. It was just a couple, maybe a week and a half after I had Olive, and there was a little bag sitting on the table for me for Mother's Day. And I opened it up and it was a pendant with an O on it for Olive to match my E that I had for Elliott. So it was one of those-- - [Aaron] You have a necklace that has, you put little letter pendants on it. - [Jennifer] And it was so thoughtful. It was something I hadn't asked for, which I think that would be my big thing. Is when you give me a surprise or a gift of something that I never requested or asked for, but you know me and you did it because you love me. Those are the kinds of gifts that really stand out to me. Those are my favorite. - [Aaron] And I know that about you. - [Jennifer] That's good. - [Aaron] That you, here's a little quick tip for all the husbands. Just listen to your wife and she'll tell you what she wants throughout the year and you just write them all down and then pick one of them. And they'll be surprised 'cause they'll forget that they said it, but you won't. - [Jennifer] But it won't sound like a request. It'll just be like a nonchalant, "Oh I really like this." Or, "I really love that." - [Aaron] "And I wish I had a--" Or, "I've always wanted one of those." That's how they come out. - [Jennifer] We try and be subtle. - [Aaron] All right, hey let's just get into some of these gift ideas. We're first gonna give ideas for the men. - [Jennifer] So all the men have to close their ears, right? - [Aaron] No. Or they could listen. - [Jennifer] Sorry guys, this is kinda like giving it away but not. - [Aaron] So these are all things that I use and have really enjoyed. They're not necessarily gifts that Jennifer's gotten for me, but I'm putting them out there as, hey this would be great because I've loved them and I think other men would love them. I'm gonna start off with my ESV Heirloom Study Bible. It's made out of goat skin, it's all black, it's huge. I love it, I never thought I'd love this big of a bible, but I really love it. And it's pricey, right now it's on Amazon for 217 bucks, where it's usually $375, so it's actually like a hundred bucks off, over a hundred bucks off. - [Jennifer] Also just a quick side note that these prices could change, depending on when you're listening to this episode. If you're not listening to it at the weekly launch, prices can change. - [Aaron] Yeah, we have no clue. I have no control over the price. - [Jennifer] Yeah, and this goes for everything that we list. - [Aaron] Yeah, I also wanna give a note, we're not being sponsored by any of these people. These are things that we actually have used and loved and enjoyed. I love this bible. It's got 20,000 plus study notes in it. It's got 80,000 plus cross references. Over 200 charts, 50 plus articles, and 240 full color maps and illustrations which I really love because they'll show you an illustration of the temple right in the middle of a chapter when it's talking about a temple. So you get this picture, and you're like whoa, and you see the temple, and it visualizes what you're reading. - [Jennifer] There's something else it has that you've left off and I just know this because I like this feature about your bible. The different ribbon. - [Aaron] It's got four ribbons. - [Jennifer] Instead of just one. - [Aaron] And I use them, actually. When I teach at church, I have all the ribbons in the spots that I'm trying to jump to. - [Jennifer] And it's really great because sometimes I don't want to move my ribbon because I want it there for a reason, but I wish I had another one, so I end up sticking a napkin or something. - [Aaron] Yeah, something in there. - [Jennifer] Something, whatever's closest to me, a business card, so I like that feature. - [Aaron] Yeah, it's ESV, I love the ESV translation. It's an amazing bible, it's beautiful too, when you look at it. I know it's expensive, but I wanted to put a note out there. We spend money on lots of other less important things. Why not spend some money on an heirloom family bible that you're gonna hand down to your kids? Just a thought. The second thing is a wallet. Not any wallet, this is a special wallet. It's by a company called Saddleback Leather. And it's awesome. I've had this wallet since 2014. - [Jennifer] Just to clarify, it's not a dad wallet. So a dad wallet is about five-- - [Aaron] It's not this 14 inch dad wallet. - [Jennifer] That has everything. But it's more compact and it's simple, and it's perfect. - [Aaron] It's made out of genuine leather. It's hand stitched. This thing's beautiful. Saddleback Leather has what they call a hundred year warranty. It's like a lifetime warranty, but it's way better 'cause it's called a hundred year warranty. If anything happens, if the threading comes off, if the leather starts to tear, they'll replace it, no questions asked. - [Jennifer] And it's not the kind that folds open. What you have is just a single kind of billfold. - [Aaron] Yeah, they call it a front pocket wallet. It's a single thing and it's got these slots. And it's got an open pocket for the ID. And so it doesn't fold open. It literally just stays really compact, really small. And it lasts forever. I've had this since 2014. It's got a few, it's really worn down, really nice and soft. I love this wallet. It keeps me from having too much stuff in my wallet, as well because it only can hold so much. I wish you could see it. I'm holding it right now in my hands. Go check it out though, go to SaddlebackLeather.com, SaddlebackLeather.com, and check it out. It's 49 bucks, it's super cheap actually, 'cause I've seen prices on other wallets and they're really expensive. But for how long this lasts, for the quality of it, for how it feels, for how small it is, I think it's an awesome gift idea for any guy. Unless you're the kind of guy that loves their super thick wallet. Number three, and this goes back to, remember we were talking about the journals I bought to write in for my kids. This is by a company called Baron Fig. Baron, B-A-R-O-N F-I-G, Baron Fig. And they're called the confident hardcover notebook. And these notebooks, they did a lot of research on what people are looking for in a notebook. It lays flat, the way the paper feels, the thickness of the paper, the way the pens write on the paper. Everything about it has been manufactured to fit perfectly what you would want in a journal. - [Jennifer] And you've been using them for years. - [Aaron] For years, when I buy a journal, I buy one of theirs. They range from $12 to 22 bucks. Their standard size one, I think it's like $17 or $14. It's not expensive at all. And they ship really fast. They've got 100 and something pages in it. They're just great journals. I use them all the time, I have a couple in my desk right here. Their largest one, I use as my bible study journal and they lay perfectly flat. You just open it up, it lays flat on the table. It doesn't have to, the pages don't bend or anything like that. It's called Baron Fig confident hardcover notebook. Those are awesome. And those are all the journals I bought to write for my kids in it. Number four, this is a little bit more pricey of an item, but-- - [Jennifer] Like much more pricier. - [Aaron] It's much more pricey, but man, this has got some major benefits to your wife. - [Jennifer] It's true. - [Aaron] So wives that are listening, it's not just a gift for your husband. This is a gift for you and you'll see why. It's my Traeger smoker, it's a grill where you can smoke pretty much anything you want on it. And how often do you think I use my smoker? - [Jennifer] At least once, but even sometimes up to three times a week. It just depends on what it's for, what's going on. - [Aaron] Pretty much every Sunday, I bring something smoked to church. I smoke a tri tip, or a brisket. That's kind of something I love to bring to church for our after church potluck. And so my church benefits from it even, too. I'm selling this pretty hard. I love my smoker. But they range from anywhere from 400 to $900, a smoker grill. - [Jennifer] And Traeger's just one brand. - [Aaron] Trager's one brand, they're not the cheapest brand but they're super high quality. It's the one I have. But there's tons of other brands. There's one called Green Mountain. They have pretty affordable models. They're a great brand. Another one is Pit Boss. Camp Chef is one of the top of the line brands that are out there. And then while doing my research on this, there's a really affordable brand called Z Grills and yeah, you should expect to pay between 400 and $900. But man, we get a lot of use out of this thing. I use it all the time. There's nights that Jennifer's like, "Are you gonna be--" - [Jennifer] What sides should I make? - [Aaron] Yeah, "What sides am I making, "'cause you're smoking some pork." Or we're smoking some chicken, we use it all the time. And the flavor you get in the meat is just so good. Anyways, I love my smoker. I couldn't not bring it up because of how much I love it. And how useful it's been to the family, to the church, to giving you breaks for dinners. It's just been amazing. - [Jennifer] Would you recommend a wife just picking one out for her husband, or more of like a certificate of I wanna get this for you, let's talk about it. - [Aaron] That's a good point. To be honest, I think they should just, when it comes to these kinds of purchases, you absolutely should discuss it. - [Jennifer] That's what I was thinking. - [Aaron] That's a big purchase. 'Cause either he's gonna have a preference for the kind, the brand. - [Jennifer] But you can still do something cute like put a little note or certificate in a box and say this is for you. - [Aaron] Buy him some tongs, like a-- - [Jennifer] Oh, a barbecue kit. - [Aaron] That way he's like, "Wait, what's this for?" And you're like, "For the smoker you're gonna get. "We have to talk about it 'cause it's expensive." But yeah, you should always talk about a purchase like this, just with how expensive it is. Never just do it. - [Jennifer] And get them what they want and not just pick something because of the expense. - [Aaron] And then the last gift idea. It's a new thing that I've-- - [Jennifer] This was a gift to yourself, actually. - [Aaron] I did give this to myself this year. It's called the Ember self-heating coffee mug. And I drink coffee every day, I love coffee. - [Jennifer] Multiple times a day. - [Aaron] Multiple times a day. Well that's often because my coffee goes cold and I have to go in and get a new cup. This coffee mug, it's got a heating plate built into it. And it has an iPhone app. It literally keeps the coffee at the exact temperature you want until you're done drinking the coffee. - [Jennifer] This is for all those coffee lovers out there. - [Aaron] Oh yeah. - [Jennifer] I guess tea would work, too. - [Aaron] Yeah, and these range from 75 to a hundred bucks. They have different sizes. They have an older model that you can get that's even cheaper. You can probably even find them used on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. But it comes with a little charging plate. They can last up to 80 minutes, a charge, which is like an hour and some. And if you have it on the charging plate, it lasts all day. - [Jennifer] I feel like this would be a great gift for moms too, 'cause I feel like moms are probably constantly reheating their coffee. - [Aaron] Well, there's a ton wives out there that love coffee and they'd probably really enjoy one of these. - [Jennifer] Maybe like a matching set? - [Aaron] Yeah, they have a gold one, a white one, a black one, they have all these different colors. But I've really loved it. Keeps my coffee hot. It's super practical. I love gifts that are useful. That it's not just a trinket. - [Jennifer] It's gonna make my life better. - [Aaron] It's gonna make my life better. I'm gonna use it on a daily basis. At the end of the day, if it every breaks or falls apart, or I lose it, I'm gonna miss it. I'm gonna be like, where's that thing at? I want that back in my life. So my Traeger, my coffee mug, these kinds of things. My wallet, when I was writing this list down, I was like, "What things do I use all the time?" And these are all those, so. - [Jennifer] All right, my turn. Women close your ears, no just kidding. I just have to make a note that we just hope that this episode brings inspiration to the way you give gifts and especially if you're just in a place where you want to give a gift, especially for Valentine's Day, but maybe you don't know what to give. So hopefully this is sparking some creative juices flowing. - [Aaron] Yeah, the two words I would think of is meaningful and useful. Is that right? That's kinda what these are. - [Jennifer] All right, so for her, gentlemen. The first thing that I wanted to share was something called a growth book. And it's similar to the journal that Aaron mentioned, the Baron Fig journal. I would say-- - [Aaron] But way more useful. - [Jennifer] Well I would say the quality is up there with it. It also is, it's like a journal. But, instead of lines, it's dots. And so it's actually really useful because you can use it for multiple things. - [Aaron] You can draw in it. - [Jennifer] You can draw in it. You can do calendar stuff or scheduling. You can journal in it. I use it for journaling my time with the Lord. I use it for taking notes during the parenting class that we took. I take it for goal setting, things that Aaron and I are aiming for. - [Aaron] You keep yourself on track, too, with a little bit of homeschool stuff, don't you? - [Jennifer] Yep. So, it's just a really, really awesome way to kind of detail your life and what you're working on. - [Aaron] I wanna note, one of the coolest things I thought about these is, doesn't it come with a sticker pack for you to label things? - [Jennifer] So it comes separately. So the growth book itself, which you can find at GrowthRootsCo.com, the book itself is $32. The stickers that accompany it is $2 extra. So all together, you're talking about $34. And honestly, I've never liked something so much that I use on a daily basis. - [Aaron] She's holding it right now and it's full. - [Jennifer] And it's beautiful. They come in different colors. It's got the cloth feature for the cover. And then you open it up and the first thing you'll notice is it says volume, with a line and a date. - [Aaron] So when did you start this and what volume is it. - [Jennifer] Yeah, so this is my, my growth book is volume one from 2019. - [Aaron] You started in September, looks like. - [Jennifer] And I started in September. But I've been using and I'm about three quarters of the way through it. So it's got a lot of pages, and it has other special features. So, in the very back, which I love, it has all the books of the bible with all the chapters and you can cross them off as you read them. So if you're doing a bible plan. - [Aaron] Yeah, keep track of where you are in the bible. - [Jennifer] It has a spot for prayers that you're praying through and ways that God has answered and when. Books that you're currently reading, or a list that you can put together. So it just has a lot of features to it that I really love and I think it would be a great, a great gift but also it's a growth gift. It's like you're encouraging your wife in something that she's probably either already doing or working on, and you're just saying, "Here, why don't you record it?" - [Aaron] Yeah, I wanna support you in this. - [Jennifer] So along with that is my number two, and it's these colored pens that I got that a friend recommended. And they're just on Amazon. They're by Tao Tree, T-A-O T-R-E-E. But they're fine liner color pens and they come with 24 different colors. They're super fun. I use them specifically for journaling in my journal. They're 11.99, so a super cheap gift if you wanna combine those two, it'd be a fun little. - [Aaron] And you use those a lot. You use the different colors for different types of notes. It helps you organize what you're writing. - [Jennifer] Yeah, so that's my number one gift right now, is that-- - [Aaron] Growth book. - [Jennifer] And that's by GrowthRootsCo.com, so you can get that there. And then the colored pens are at Amazon. Okay, now my number three. Aaron mentioned his favorite ESV bible. I'm gonna share mine. It's the journal bible that is about eight and a half inches tall and it's almost square, it's not quite square. But the cover of it is really beautiful. It's this linen print that is yellow, mustard yellow, and flowers, it's just so beautiful. And I use it every day. And it has, what I love about it, is it has a margin on the side, a ruled margin, so you can write notes. I use it, I love reading through the bible. And when I get to one of those notes from two years ago and it was me in labor with Wyatt, or whatever, and just looking back on prayer requests or things that I've mentioned next to whatever it was that I was reading at that moment. So it's kind of like you said, it's a heirloom, a family heirloom. - [Aaron] And it's single column, also right, so on each page is one column of text. And what's nice about that is I believe that the lines actually coincide with the lines on the text, pretty close. And so you could actually have notes that are directly, line by line if you wanted to. It's a really pretty bible. I've always liked it. - [Jennifer] And it's available, also-- - [Aaron] It's hardcover, too. - [Jennifer] On Amazon. - [Aaron] It's a hard, nice-- - [Jennifer] It's a hard, solid bible. And it's just a pretty bible, so you wanna keep it out. - [Aaron] It's really pretty. - [Jennifer] And that runs about 33.99 on Amazon. - [Aaron] Which is not expensive at all, for a bible. It's great. - [Jennifer] Okay, my number four is Made by Mary, and I talked about this stamped pendant necklace earlier. They are just a really great company, MadeByMary.com. And they have something new out, which actually I really am fascinated by. It's called a birth flower pendant. And so you can go on there, and depending on what month you were born in, or if you were gonna get one for your daughter, you just order the month, and it comes with that specific month's flower. They're beautiful. - [Aaron] Every month has its own flower? - [Jennifer] Yeah. - [Aaron] I didn't know that. - [Jennifer] Yeah, they're really cool. But they also do birthstones and you can get, you can order either a bar or a circle, or whatever shape you want, and they stamp whatever it is you want. So currently, what I have is a single circle with an initial of each of my kids, so E for Elliott, O for Olive, W for Wyatt. - [Aaron] And when you say currently, that's a hint. - [Jennifer] No. - [Aaron] At what's coming next. - [Jennifer] No, it was because the one that I mentioned earlier, I was doing individual pendents, like circles with individual letters. - [Aaron] And you were getting-- - [Jennifer] It was heavy. - [Aaron] It was 24 circles on the necklace and it's getting real heavy. - [Jennifer] It was getting heavy, so I switched to a single circle with each of them stamped on there. But Made By Mary, just really beautiful jewelry on there. And they range-- - [Aaron] Super meaningful, too. - [Jennifer] Super meaningful, but they range in price. And I'll just say it's about $38 for one of those pieces of jewelry. The last thing that I will mention and it's one of my all time favorites gifts, and it's from a local spa. And it's just going to get a massage. It's time alone. Or a couples massage. But it's that time that you get to feel rejuvenated and relax, and-- - [Aaron] And usually they're rare, so they're really special. - [Jennifer] So this would be my pricey gift. Aaron had a really pricey gift. This one would probably range between 65 and 250 to $300 because it depends on what service you get and where you're getting it done. - [Aaron] And my gift was the gift that kept giving, though. No, I think that's a great gift idea, is the occasional local spa. - [Jennifer] Yeah, just go spoil yourself. - [Aaron] Yeah, just letting your wife go and have a couple hours to herself, getting pampered and loved on, and massaged, it's nice. - [Jennifer] A great thing about that kind of gift, we talked about giving a certificate to your husband for his grill, but this would be the same kind of thing where you give a certificate and then she can make her own time to go do that and make sure that she's able to really enjoy that time. - [Aaron] Or secretly in passing be like, "Man, I wish there was really good spas around here." And then your wife would be like, "There is, the best one's down the street." And you'd be like, "Oh, that's interesting." And then just keep that note hidden away and then you just get her a little gift certificate. So we wanted to give you those five gift ideas each. We hope they inspired you and maybe even sparked another idea for you, which is awesome. But, we wanted to give you a couple bonus ideas, and these are more gifts that would bless both of you in your marriage, in your parenting. And the first one is we wanna share with you, some good friends of ours launched an online course called "Courageous Parenting" and it's an online program and you take it together. And there's videos, and there's questions, and it's a whole thing to help you grow in your godly parenting with your children. We all need this, Jennifer and I, when we talk about the parenting class, this is exactly what we did. - [Jennifer] We just got to walk through it with them in person. - [Aaron] Yeah, we're blessed to do it with them in person because they're a part of our church. But their program is called "The Courageous Parenting Program" and you can get that at CourageousParenting.com. - [Jennifer] Now it is a little bit pricey. It's 399 per couple, so that's why we're recommending it as a gift, it's a huge investment, both financially, but also mentally and spiritually. - [Aaron] It's actually cheap when you consider the lifelong lessons you're gonna learn from it based off of parenting your children. - [Jennifer] And we're saying this because we're sitting here right now, having just gone through the course and we're going, "Wow, we have some stuff ahead of us "that we're working on and working towards, "and we're so grateful for the information "that we got from them." And so this would be a really great opportunity for you guys to do something together that's going to, like Aaron said, just be an investment for your whole family. - [Aaron] Studying my children, that concept, came from "Courageous Parenting". They were teaching about that and it convicted me. I was like, I'm gonna study my kids. - [Jennifer] So another option, bonus, that would benefit both of you guys-- - [Aaron] Shameless plug, enter now. - [Jennifer] It's our devotional. So it's "Husband After God" and "Wife After God". - [Aaron] You can get those at Shop.MarriageAfterGod.com. They're 30-day devotionals and you do them together, or separately, and then you can come together and talk about them. But there's a husband one, and it walks through specific things for the husband and his role. There's a wife one, talks about specific things that a wife and her role. And then there's questions, there's journaling pages, there's scripture. Man, thousands, and thousands, and thousands of couples have gone through this devotional together. - [Jennifer] Yeah, and it's about $32 for the bundle on our site, which is a really reasonable gift, especially when you think about it being a together gift. - [Aaron] Husbands, this is a great gift to just go and get. - [Jennifer] Yeah, just go get one right now. - [Aaron] And your wife will probably hug you for it. I'm not kidding, you should do this. - [Jennifer] Okay, and this is a great way to cultivate intimacy and communication, and just invest in your marriage in this way. - [Aaron] Okay, the last one that we wanna say, this is for both of you, is Jennifer and I went to one of these years ago and we loved it. It was pretty amazing, we still advocate for them. It's called "Weekend 2 Remember" by Family Life. You can find out about it by going to FamilyLife.com/Weekend-2-Remember. You can also just go to FamilyLife.com. I'm sure they have a huge graphic for it because it's one of the biggest things they do. It's helped save countless marriages. - [Jennifer] So what they do is there events held throughout the year, nationwide. And so you have to go on their website to find out which one is nearest to you. Or if you wanna get-- - [Aaron] And there's probably gonna be one near you. - [Jennifer] I was gonna say, or if you wanna make it a road getaway and go somewhere, you could do that too. But they're hosted at hotels and it's literally a weekend. So you go and you spend the night. And they have sessions. - [Aaron] No kids allowed. - [Jennifer] It's beautiful. It's such a great time to really intentionally focus on your marriage and what God desires for your marriage, and what his purpose is for your marriage. And Aaron, we did it coming out of a season of darkness and hardship. - [Aaron] It really helped us. - [Jennifer] It was reconciling for us. I remember just sitting there, holding your hand, going, "This is exactly what we needed." So we've always been an advocate for "Weekend 2 Remembers" and chances are, there's one very close to you. So they range about 175 per person, which again, this is an investment, but you're talking about your marriage and it would be a great gift opportunity for both of you to sit down and really consider getting away for the weekend to do something like this. - [Aaron] Hey, we hope you enjoyed these ideas. And if you have more ideas, would you share them on our social media so that other people can see them? Just post about it in your stories and tag @MarriageAfterGod, or on Facebook just tag us. People are always looking for ideas. We all need some inspiration sometimes, everyone of us. Well, we thank you for joining us. We're gonna close in prayer, and then yeah. So let's pray. Dear Lord, thank you for being the ultimate gift giver. Thank you for the gift of marriage. We pray our hearts would be pure in the way we give gifts to each other. We pray we would be thoughtful in the ways we give to each other. Help us to study and know our spouse well enough to give them gifts we know they will love. More than giving good gifts, we pray our love would be genuine, and deep, and extraordinary, as we purpose intimacy with each other. Grow our love for one another. In Jesus' name, amen. We just wanna thank you for joining us this week on this episode. If you haven't left us a review yet, would you please do that? Your reviews are incredibly powerful at spreading the news about this podcast. It helps other people to find it. It encourages our hearts. And it helps other people know what to expect in the podcast. So leave us a star rating and a review today. We greatly appreciate it. See you next week. 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.
In this episode, we explore the topic of new year resolutions and how being people of our word is so much more important. Jesus tells us that we must be people who mean what we say. Our YES must be our yes and our NO must be our NO.We also give simple tips and ideas on how to be better at keeping our word this year and how not being people of our word can hurt not only ourselves and our relationship with our spouse but also with our kids and others. READ THE FULL 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 going to talk about how to be people of our word. 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 on this journey as we chase boldly after God's will for our life together. Jennifer:           This is Marriage After God. Well, happy 2020, everyone. Aaron:              I was wondering if you're going to say 2020 or 2,020. Jennifer:           I'm a 2,020 er. I guess. Aaron:              Yeah, I'm a 2020 er. I think. Jennifer:           I don't think I've said it before. Aaron:              Or 2,020? 2020. It's the first time we're saying it. Jennifer:           It's the 20s. Aaron:              It's the 20... We're in the 20s. I did see a meme that said... It said, "Everyone be aware the 20s is starting in a couple days." And it showed this picture of all these really dapper men wearing the 20s suits, and it looked really cool. I was like, "I wish. I wish it was that 20s." Now, we're in 2020. Jennifer:           If they were here. This is crazy if you think about it. Aaron:              We're in a new decade. I don't know if everyone's thought about that. But we're literally in a new decade. That's insane. So this is the first episode of the year for us. If you're noticing it's launching on a Monday, that's a new thing for us. Jennifer:           Yeah. Aaron:              We usually launch on Wednesdays, but now we're going to try launching on Mondays and see if we like that timeframe of launching episodes. Jennifer:           Hopefully, you guys like it too. If you want to give us some feedback, just head on over to Instagram at marriageaftergod and let us know what you think. Aaron:              Yeah. We had a... Man, I feel like we had an awesome 2019. Jennifer:           Yeah. Aaron:              2019. Jennifer:           I liked it. Aaron:              2019? 2,019. Jennifer:           2,019. Aaron:              And I just wanted to do a quick recap of just what 2,019 looked like for us as a family. And we're going to talk about things that we're excited about for 2020. Jennifer:           Yep. Aaron:              And then we're going to talk about the topic. So, the first thing I can think of from 2019. Jennifer:           Even though it happened mid-year. Aaron:              It's like mid-year. Jennifer:           It was a lot of work in preparation leading up to it. Aaron:              Our book, Marriage After God. Jennifer:           Yep. Aaron:              Launched June 2019. Jennifer:           June 4th. Aaron:              June 4th, yeah. And man, thousands and thousands of you guys have gotten a copy of this book. And we've had such good feedback from it. And we just love seeing what the Lord's doing in and through this book. Not in the book, I guess. Through the book in marriages. And so if you haven't gotten a copy of the Marriage After God book, you can head over to Amazon, you can head over to our store, shop.marriageaftergod.com and pick up a copy today. You get a bunch of free resources with it when you do. But that was a huge thing. Jennifer:           Yeah. Aaron:              That's like a lot of time, a lot of work writing, the publishing process. Jennifer:           Like two years worth [crosstalk 00:03:02] Aaron:              The waiting, then the marketing and then all of that stuff. I feel like we just wanted to take a ton of break off, like after that. A ton of time off because it was exhausting. And what else happened in 2019? Jennifer:           Well, shortly after the launch of Marriage After God, we found out we were expecting again. Aaron:              Yeah, we're pregnant with number five. Jennifer:           Number five. So most of my summer was sitting on the back porch just not feeling well. But the kids played and it was great. And it was beautiful. And I think a lot of that hopefulness of this pregnancy and meeting our daughter, [crosstalk 00:03:35] Edith. Aaron:              Edith. Jennifer:           Yeah, I'm just sat with us the rest of the year. Aaron:              Yeah, and this has been a difficult pregnancy, but it's been teaching us a lot, which is really cool. Number five [crosstalk 00:03:46] Jennifer:           Not difficulty because I've had, like health issues or anything like that, but just feeling nauseous and already having little kids that we're helping nurture. Aaron:              Yeah, there's been no complications just it's been a rough physically. Jennifer:           It's been harder than the other ones, for sure. Aaron:              Yeah. Jennifer:           I just wanted to clarify. Aaron:              But you're on the other side of that. Yes, you have a little bit of hard time sleeping sometimes. But this has been... We're excited to meet Edith. Jennifer:           Yeah. Aaron:              In March. Jennifer:           I felt like getting through the holidays and focusing on Christmas was like my goal, because I knew once the new year came, my next thing [crosstalk 00:04:21] Aaron:              You're like, "This is coming." Jennifer:           Welcoming this baby. And so I'm just so excited to be kicking off this new year with that in my heart and getting ready to meet her. Aaron:              Another big thing that happened in 2019 for us was we branched off from our home church and planted a home church with a few couples. Jennifer:           So we've been doing home church since Olive was about three months old. Aaron:              Oh, wow. Jennifer:           Yeah. So it's been a few years and it grew. And the point of branching off and planting a new home church was for growth. Aaron:              Yeah. Instead of just the mentality that we have with our home churches, instead of growing and staying together and buying a building and expanding that way, we just plant churches in homes. So there's been two other churches planted from that one home church over the last couple years. And so we've been doing it for eight months now. And it's incredible. The families that have come, the people that God's brought in, and the relationships that we're building. Aaron:              It's teaching us new levels of love for one another. It's teaching us how to grow in our giftings. I've been teaching a lot more in our home church. It's just so cool. And so that's been a huge thing. It really exciting. Probably one of my... Other than having another baby coming, it's probably one of my favorite things that happened last year was planting that home church. Jennifer:           Another thing that stands out to me is, I've been homeschooling the kids. I feel like since they were born just because of the nature of who I am and what I love [crosstalk 00:05:47] Aaron:              The way we worked out. Jennifer:           The way we work. Aaron:              We don't talk to them like babies. Jennifer:           well, and not just that, but I was in the Christian preschool education system for so long. And so I had this background to know just how to incorporate teaching and learning with young kids throughout the preschool years. And so I've always just naturally done it with my kids. But this was the first year that we officially started Grade One. And it was a big deal to me because [crosstalk 00:06:13] Aaron:              It's like a real grade. Jennifer:           Well, it's a grade, right? I was nervous. I've never done it before. Aaron and I both have been public schooled. And so we didn't have you know, a lot of background with homeschooling, we have a great community that encourages it and has support where if I have a question I can go talk to my friends. Aaron:              Lots of homeschoolers. Jennifer:           Lots of homeschoolers around here, which has been great, but just starting off with Grade One and it feeling so official. I don't know. It just freaked me out a little bit. Aaron:              Do you feel like it felt like diving into a pool without knowing how to swim? Jennifer:           Yeah, I mean, I guess. Yeah. Aaron:              Well, we spent months considering all the options. Jennifer:           Well, and I spent a long time preparing what we were going to teach him and how we were going to teach him and you know what, you guys? I don't [crosstalk 00:07:01] Aaron:              I'm going to say this before you finish. Jennifer:           Okay, what? Aaron:              You're crushing it. Jennifer:           You're sweet. Aaron:              She has a student binder, she has this program she's doing, she's scheduled in the breaks that we're going to take. She's like [crosstalk 00:07:10] Jennifer:           I was just going to say this [crosstalk 00:07:11] Aaron:              She's crushing it, guys. Jennifer:           We're both really enjoying it. Me and Elliott. We are really enjoying it. Aaron:              Well, and it's not just like Elliott, you're bringing all the kids along. They're all at different stages, but, man, you're doing a really good job. Jennifer:           Thank you. Aaron:              Yeah. So how excited are you for 2020? Jennifer:           Okay, I already mentioned this, but I'm so excited for 2020 because I get to meet my second daughter. I can't get over that. I can't believe it. Aaron:              Olive's super excited. She just cannot wait. She's like, "I'm going to have a sister." So yeah, 2020's got a lot of potential. And that's what's awesome about New Year's is there's so much potential because it hasn't happened yet. Jennifer:           Yeah, we've shared about this in our book. But Aaron and I love to dream together and vision cast and every end of the year season, we do this together, but this last year, we did a little bit earlier in December and it was so refreshing just to... We went on a date but we spent like three and a half hours just sitting there writing down notes and talking and getting out of our hearts what we had been thinking about and dreaming about and just asking each other some hard questions about our relationship, about our relationship with the kids. Aaron:              About work, about books. Jennifer:           It felt so good. Aaron:              About lots of things. Jennifer:           Yeah, where we're headed for this new year. And then my birthday was a couple days ago, and we got another date night in where we just got to just go over a little bit of those things that we had talked about, and set our sights on them and aim for some goals this next year. Aaron:              Yeah, just so everyone knows that... Maybe don't know Jennifer's birthday is on the 31st. December 31st. So she's a New Year's Eve baby. And then our wedding anniversary [crosstalk 00:08:47] Jennifer:           Is today. Aaron:              Is today. Jennifer:           Happy anniversary. Aaron:              Yeah, we've been married [crosstalk 00:08:52] Jennifer:           13 years. Aaron:              I almost messed it up. 13 years. I was going to say 12 but we're done with 12 now we're in the 13. Yeah. 13 years, we've been married. So that's our... We're launching on our anniversary. Jennifer:           Awesome. Aaron:              Our marriage birth day. Is that how that works? Jennifer:           Launching the podcast's new season. Aaron:              Yeah, this is a new season. This is season three, I think of the Marriage After God podcast. And this is our 13th anniversary today. Jennifer:           Awesome. Aaron:              Yeah. So we have a lot that happens in the end of the year, in the beginning of the year, which is why we get to talk about a lot of things. And we always encourage, you can go back and listen to our episode on dreaming together on our podcast, episodes and episodes ago, but you should go check it out. But it just talks about what we do, and why we do it, and how powerful it is to set goals and dreams and writing them down and talking about them together and how unifying it is. And it's something we try and do. And what are some of the things that we've talked about? What things are we looking forward to this year that they may or may not happen? But the goal is we're going to [inaudible 00:09:54] Jennifer:           Yeah, we've submitted these things before the Lord and we just really... We hope to see them come to be. And I'm really excited about the first one, I'm going to share it with you guys. It's been one of our biggest goals. Like it's been on the table for some time, but we haven't actively pursued it. And it's children's books. Aaron:              Yeah, Jennifer's written two amazing children's books. Jennifer:           You're being so nice to me. Aaron:              I know. We're not going to tell you what the names of them are, because they're special. But you'll find out when they launch, whenever they launch because we don't have a publisher yet. But we're looking for one. And they're going to be incredible. You're going to love them. Jennifer:           I hope so. Aaron:              So we're going to be pursuing that this year, we're going to try and find a publisher. We're going to try and get those children's books published this... Either this year or next year. I don't know how long it takes to get a children's book published but we're going to try. Jennifer:           Yeah, because there's art involved. But one reason why I'm so excited about this, you guys, is having young kids and having this message that we want to share with them. It just feels like a gift. It feels like something that we can create for them, right now, in their season of life that they'll get and that would inspire them and hopefully, a lot of others kids. Aaron:              Yeah. And a little secret about it is they're going to have a marriage focus. Jennifer:           Yeah. Aaron:              Which is interesting, because you're like, "How do you do a children's book but have a marriage focus?" Well, you'll have to find out. Another goal that we have this year is to try and do more giveaways. We want to give away... We've been doing these giveaways with Bibles. And we've been partnering with a couple companies that sell Bibles and have these really incredible Bibles. And I've been really enjoying it. And there's something special about giving away a Bible, getting Bibles into people's hands. Aaron:              And so we're going to try and do that more when trying to partner with some companies that have some awesome Bibles, which Jennifer just did a giveaway. And we're actually going to ship those books out soon with a really beautiful Bible for women. It's got this fabric cover and it's ESV, which we love, and I give away a Bible. I actually have the Bible, I use it. I've given a couple of them why now, but we just... I think we want to do a little bit more of those Bible giveaways this year. Jennifer:           Yeah. Aaron:              More often. Jennifer:           It's a fun way to spread the gospel. Aaron:              Yeah, I know right now I have three Bibles sitting on my desk that I want to give away. So we're going to do that soon. So in order to be a part of those giveaways, by the way, follow us on Instagram at marriageaftergod and unveiledwife and husbandrevolution. So those are other ways to find out about the giveaways because we post about them. But that's one of our goals this year is to give away more Bibles. Jennifer:           Yep. The last one that we're going to share with you guys is just that we love the Marriage After God community we love being able to host this podcast for you and our hearts in talking about the podcast was just that this is going to be a year of intentionality where we are going to put so much thoughtfulness into the content, not that we haven't in the past, but we just really [crosstalk 00:12:44] Aaron:              We want to put more. Jennifer:           We wanted to share that with you guys because we want you to know how God is stirring in our hearts to make this podcast and this content something that's really encouraging and challenging and makes you walk away really truly considering how God is moving in your life and in your marriage and in your relationships. And so I just put that out there to let you guys know that this podcast is the main priority for us. And we're excited and thrilled to... And honored to be able to do it for you. Aaron:              Yeah. So one last thing before we get into the topic, we want to invite you to join our free Marriage Prayer Challenge, we have almost 20,000 people that have already joined this challenge and are currently in it. And so if you want to join it, it's marriageprayerchallenge.com. It's completely free. You'll get a series of emails over the next 31 days, prompting you and giving you things to pray for, for your spouse, and you can choose to take the husband challenge or the wife challenge depending on who you are in the marriage. Aaron:              And it's awesome people are loving it. I get thank you emails almost every day from people thanking me for the challenge and we just want to let you know we've created these resources for you, not for us but for you to grow in your relationship with the Lord, to grow closer to your spouse and to see him move in your marriage. And so we want to invite you, marriageprayerchallenge.com. That's marriageprayerchallenge.com. All one word. And join that prayer challenge. Aaron:              So let's slide right into the topic at hand. And it seemed like a no-brainer. It's the new year, people are talking about resolutions, commitments, people want change, they're going to take this new year and say, "Okay, we're going to start today, and we're going to do this new thing. I'm going to pursue this idea. I'm going to make this change in my life." And we wanted to talk about that. But in a different way. We want to talk about in a core way, when that is deeper inside of us, at the core of who we are, rather than trying to help you figure out how to keep your resolutions this year. Jennifer:           Yeah, I feel like there's a lot of vantage points too to this conversation, a lot of layers to be peeled back on it. And so we're just going to peel back one of those layers on this discussion and talk about what it means to be specifically people of our word. Aaron:              Right, if you look at it, the resolution side of things, I set a new year's resolution. I'm going to lose five pounds. I'm going to start this business. I'm going to fill in the blank. And that's a thing that we say, a statement we make and then if we don't follow through with it, we weren't a person of our word. I said I was going to do one thing, and I did another. Or I said, I was going to do this thing, and I didn't do it. Aaron:              And so that's what I want to talk about. Are we men and women of our word? Regardless of the resolutions we set, because if you are a person of your word, if you set a resolution, you will follow through with it. If you set a commitment, you're going to follow through that commitment. So it's a important attribute of a believer's life that are our yes be yes and our no be no. Jennifer:           [inaudible 00:15:47] Aaron:              That's nothing in between that. Jennifer:           Let's read that verse. So Matthew 5:33-37. Aaron:              It says, again, you have heard it that it was said to those of old, you shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn. But I say to you, do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God or by earth, for it is the footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you can't make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply yes, or no. Anything more than this comes from evil. This is Jesus talking. Jennifer:           Okay, so before we unpack the principle here and why you chose this verse to kick this topic off. Would you just spend a little bit of time on the last part of that verse and maybe explain what it means when it says, simply, yes or no, anything more than this comes from evil? Aaron:              Well, let's think about this. If I tell someone, I'm going to do this thing for them. That's a yes, right? I'm going to do this thing for them. And I don't follow through with that. Am I a liar? Jennifer:           Mm-hmm (affirmative) Aaron:              Is lying a good thing? Now, we can come up with tons of excuses. And we can say, "Well, I mean, there's circumstances and something comes up." And yeah, that may be true. But when we tell people, when we say to ourselves, to others, to our kids, to our wife, to our friends, to our pastor, to the people that we walk in fellowship with one thing and do another, that's not good. That's an evil thing. Aaron:              And so what Jesus is saying, he's like, "Don't swear by God because... Or don't swear by heaven, because that's the throne of God, you have no control over heaven. Don't swear by earth, because you have no control of earth. It's not yours." He even says, "Don't swear by your own head." Because these are things that people will do, "I swear by the hair in my head or I swear by my own." It's like, what he's saying is, is you're trying to give authority to your word that doesn't exist. Jennifer:           So where does that authority come from? Through your actions, right? Aaron:              It comes from your actions. So what he's saying, he's like, "Let's just be people that when we say something, we do it, we mean it." And that is where your authority comes from, the action. And so if we have to... And he's saying, "Don't even give oaths." And if you read throughout the Old Testament, I'm not going to bring these stories up. If you read throughout the Old Testament, there were men who made oaths that regretted them. And they had to follow through with them because it was a law. If you made a note and you didn't follow through with it, you were breaking God's law. Aaron:              And so Jesus is taking it even further and saying, "Don't even need the oaths. The oaths don't mean anything. Because what means something is that you do what you say." And so that's what we're getting to as believers is, are we men and women who do what we say that we're men and women of action, right? There's another scripture I was just thinking about James that it says, if you hear the word and do not do, you're like a man who looks in a mirror and walks away and immediately forgets what you look like. It says, but rather, do what you hear, like be doers of the word. Jennifer:           Yeah, there's another verse that comes to my mind in talking about this and it's Ephesians 4:29. It says, "Let no corrupt talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion that it may give grace to those who hear." And usually, we hear this verse in context. And we've shared it before in other episodes, but in context to the word choices that we use, and things that we say. Aaron:              And negative things. Jennifer:           So when you hear [crosstalk 00:19:13] Aaron:              Hateful things, hurtful things. Jennifer:           And those are very obvious. But in light of simply saying yes or no, and sticking to it with your actions, I feel like we can easily fall into this crep talk if we are saying one thing and doing another. Aaron:              Right. And a good example of this would be, as a husband, I tell my wife, "I'm going to be home at a certain time." Now, the one time it happens, and hey, I really tried there was traffic there was this, right? It's one thing, but if I'm telling my wife, I'm going to be home. And I'm just using my words to appease her or tell her one thing and make her think one thing. And then consistently [crosstalk 00:19:50] Jennifer:           Day after day, after day. Aaron:              I'm home five minutes late, 10 minutes late, 12 minutes late. Jennifer:           An hour late. Yeah. Aaron:              Right? And I'm always having an excuse. I'm not building up my wife, I'm not giving grace to her. All she hears when I say it now is like, "Yeah, right." Jennifer:           That talk is actually corrupting your marriage relationship. Aaron:              Right. So it goes back to if I can't say yes to her, I need to tell her... It's a truth thing. Jennifer:           Yeah. Aaron:              The truth is, I won't be able to make it at that time. In reality, or the truth is if I say that, then I need to make changes in the things that I'm doing to make sure that the thing I said, it's true. Because I don't want to be a liar. We want to be men and women of light, of truth. And so, yeah, when we say things that we don't mean, which is another level of corruption, I'm just saying it. I'm giving lip service is what the Bible calls it. Aaron:              I'm telling God, I love him with my mouth, but hating with my actions. That's called lip service. I'm telling someone, I'm going to do something but in my heart, have no intention of actually following through with it. That's corrupt. And that is from evil. That's what Jesus was saying. Anything else other than your yes and your no is from evil because what you're doing is you're either making yourself look good just for the sake of showing a certain face, you're trying to intentionally deceive someone, you're trying to make someone think one thing while you're going to do another. None of those things are good. Aaron:              And so that's... When I think about that scripture of crep talk, is our words... Are we corrupt? Are we trying to walk in? I mean, and this isn't to talk about those occasions of misfortune or accidents. Jennifer:           Right. There's grace for those things. Aaron:              Right. Of course, this is the core of who we are. Jennifer:           Pattern, a belief system, a way [crosstalk 00:21:33] Aaron:              When we say something, do we mean it? Or do we just say things? Which brings me to another thought is, are we thoughtful about the words that come out of our mouth? Or do we just let things come out? Am I just making empty promises, because in the moment, it just, "Oh, yeah, everyone's... Oh, yeah, I'm going to do that too. Yeah." And so that's what we want to talk about. Because this is much deeper than just keeping resolutions. This is everything in our life. Do our kids look at us and know they can trust what we say? Jennifer:           Right. Even in the smallest of things, because I've recognized that as a parent, I've had to stop myself mid-sentence because I'm going to say something that I know I don't mean. Saying the word maybe or saying the word yes when I really mean no, or not right now. I need to be truthful to my kids if I want to build trust with them. Aaron:              But we want to be reliable. The Lord wants us to be reliable. So how could our kids feel secure if they never know? They can't. And that's a good example, I was thinking about that with my kids. They'll ask me questions and the easy response is maybe or, I'll think about it, or let's see, and I do that often, actually. But if I took a moment to think about I could either say, yes, and then my kids know, "Oh, we're going to do that thing." Or I could say, "No, we're not going to do that today." And it'd be done. Jennifer:           But what's required of us to be able to stop and be people who really, truly consider our words and think through all of that? Aaron:              Well, we have to consider... We have to understand who we are, our own limitations, our own abilities, what the day has to hold, it calls us to be more thoughtful. Jennifer:           We have to count the cost of whatever that is that thing that we're committing to. Aaron:              Yeah, which is a biblical wisdom that we are talking, counting the cost, thinking through, making our plans, not just being frivolous, not just being flippant. And actually, being thoughtful. Jennifer:           Everybody gets to answer the question, are we ready to pay the price for this? In the sense that if you are someone who doesn't follow through with your word with the commitments and the goals and the resolutions that you've made, you're either going to pay the price in your relationships, in a negative way. Or you're going to be a person who's going to count the cost ahead of time and pay the price the right way. Aaron:              Yeah, what's it worth to keep your word? Jennifer:           What sacrifice do I need to make for that to happen? Aaron:              Yeah. And all this goes back to building that trust, the reliability. And it's a name that we're building. And it's not just our name... We're going to get into this more, but there's a name that we represent as Christians. Jennifer:           Okay, so this leads me to a question what is easier to simply say yes or no? Or the following through of our yeses and our nos? Aaron:              Well, it's easier to say yes or no. But it's not right. And I would say, since it's new year, we were talking about resolutions, a perfect example of this is new year's resolutions. It's so easy to make them and we think that January 1st is going to give us something we didn't have December 31st. We think that January 1st is going to open a door that was closed on December 31st. And so what we do is we say... It's almost like making an oath on heaven or earth or on our head because we think, "Oh, New Year's has some power that's going to make my yes a yes. January 1st has this authority that I can make an oath by, that's going to give me some self-control that I did not have before." Aaron:              I'm technically making an oath on. And Jesus saying... He's like, "Don't do that. It's not yours. You can't make an oath on 2020 thinking that 2020 is going to make it come true." So, new year's resolutions is a perfect example of it's easier to say yes, than it is to follow through on that, yes, it's easier to make the resolution than it is to resolve the resolution, complete the resolution. And so, is that what we're doing when we make resolutions? When we tell someone we're going to pray for them? When we tell our kids we're going to do this thing this year? Or we're going to hit this goal this year? Or we're going to do this as a family? It's easy to say yes and make ourselves look good in the moment to someone or to [crosstalk 00:26:04] Jennifer:           Or to our ourselves. Aaron:              Or to even ourselves. Yeah. But it's much more difficult and it's much more spiritual to be able to follow through on things. Jennifer:           There's a statistic out that says that less than 10% actually follow through with their new year's resolutions. Aaron:              Yeah, and I would imagine, that's probably a high probability that it's even less than that. Jennifer:           I mean, we've experienced this before mid-spring fall out, you have all this momentum, and you're goal-oriented and you're set-up for success and then your flesh gets in the way and all of a sudden you're off the rails, you are not staying committed to what you've decided. We've experienced this in the past. And I would say in those times, it was because we weren't committed truthfully, in our hearts. We weren't committed to those yeses. Like we should have been. Aaron:              Well, and that's a good point. When we say yes, even to ourselves, let's say, it's our diet or exercise or getting in the word or how we're going to commit our self at church, whatever those things are, do we even actually believe it in our own heart? Or are we saying it hoping it's going to change? Like that fake it until you make it. Like, "I'm just going to keep saying it until it's true." Rather than actually believing it. Because the root of transformation, the root of any change in anyone's life, starts with belief. It's how the gospel works. Aaron:              It says if you believe in your heart... Our salvation is based on belief, we believe. And then the faith is the action of that belief. So, belief leads to faith. So I believe what God has said is true and my faith is the acting out of that belief. And so in our own life, we are going to do anything, we're going to say yes to anything or no to anything if we're going to make any actual transformation change in our life. Aaron:              It's got to start with belief. So if we're just saying things, but knowing it's not... Not believing it, but hoping that the belief comes someday, it won't. Because it has to start with the belief first. And we talked about this a lot with our own life and things that we have struggled with. Jennifer:           Yeah, I was just going to say, there's been times in my life where I believe that I should make this commitment. And I believe that I can do it, for a period of time. But there's also this part of my heart that I don't talk about that I believe that I'll do it for as long as I can. And then once I can, it's okay. Aaron:              It's what you believe. Jennifer:           Yeah. Aaron:              And so you were only able to get as far as your belief brought you, what you believed was true. And so what we believe, it creates how we act because that's what faith is. It's the action of our belief. It's acting on the thing you know to be true, right? So if we believe we can't, then we won't. So no matter how many times you say you can if you believe you can't, you're not going to. Jennifer:           Yeah. One of the things that I wanted to bring up since I did already mentioned that there's been times in our past where we've experienced that fall out of not following through with commitments or goals that we've made. Something that's really helped us out is strategy. So when we actually communicate and verbalize with each other and utilizing the gift of marriage for this is so perfect, because you have someone who's on your team. When we sit down, and we talk about the things that we believe, the things that we want to change, the goals that we want to make, and we write them down, and we make a plan. We have been, what would you say 99% more successful in accomplishing those things. Because we've been actionable. Aaron:              Yeah. And then the second part of that is not just writing it down, because what that does is it makes you accountable to it out in the real world. It's this idea of if you say it in your head, but never say it out loud, then it only exists in your head and it doesn't ever have to be real. So it could be fluid, it could change. And be awry because no one knows. And I mean, yeah, it was this way, but now it's this way. But then when we say it out loud and write it down, it actually becomes a real thing. Aaron:              And you're like, "Oh, that's a commitment. That's a real thing." And in order to change that, I have to erase it, or scribble it out, which means I'm having to confront my own change. And then the other part of that is accountability, meaning if I write it down and say it out loud, but never tell anyone, then I have a backdoor to be able to make that... To change however I want. And no one will know. No one will be able to say like, "I thought you were doing x, y, z." You're like, "Oh, what are you talking about?" Jennifer:           Right. So if you tell somebody like I've told you things that I've been wrestling with that I want to change or set a goal for, and the moment I tell you, I'm held accountable, and then you think about it [crosstalk 00:30:52] Aaron:              Well, and later on when I see something, I'm like, "Hey, I thought you were... You told me we're going to do something else?" Jennifer:           Or, "How are you doing with x, y, z?" There's that accountability, and it's a beautiful thing for marriage. Aaron:              It's also really hard. Jennifer:           To see it play out. Yeah. Aaron:              But if you want to be that person, that person that is a man or woman of your word, when you say, yes, to something, yourself, another person, that yes means yes. Every time. Now, we always want to go back to this grace and mercy. And this is not about perfection. But it's about character. It's about principle. It's about value. It's about where do we get these things from? It comes from the word of God. It's the people God's called us to be, not just called us to be but empowered us to be. We have the holy spirit. Aaron:              In 2 Peter 1:3 says, we've been given all things that pertain to life and godliness, all things for those who are in Christ Jesus. If we are in Christ Jesus, we have his spirit, his power. It's not ours. And so we have to lean on that we say, "Lord, I need your help. I feel so weak in this area." Jennifer, do you ever feel like this in your life with anything like that? You've tried in your own strength, and you're like, "I don't know why it can't change or I can't do this thing." And what's my response to you? Jennifer:           Well, you're not supposed to be doing it on your own strength. Aaron:              You're right. Jennifer:           You always tell me to be praying about it, you tell me to go to the Lord, what does God's word say about me? Say about what the thing that I'm wrestling with? Aaron:              And where does the power come from? Him Jennifer:           Him. Aaron:              And so when we fail, we look to him and say, "I failed. I need more of what you have for me, I need more of you, Lord. I need to come to you." And then God says, "My grace is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in your weakness." And so we get to be reminded of our own weakness that we're not supernaturally powerful. We have his power, which is actually supernatural. I meant to say, we're not inherently powerful. Jennifer:           We're not superheroes. Aaron:              We're not superheroes. Yeah. Jennifer:           He is. Aaron:              So I have a question for you. Why do we even make commitments? Why would someone be obligated or obliged to say yes to someone or agree to something that they may [inaudible 00:33:00] Jennifer:           Everyone that just made new year's resolutions a couple days ago is thinking, "Yeah, why did I do that?" Aaron:              "I shouldn't have done that." Jennifer:           I think it comes down to what we... We want something. There's something that we want. And if it's a commitment we're making to someone else that somebody else wants, it's to [crosstalk 00:33:17] Aaron:              Maybe make ourselves look good to them. Jennifer:           Or maybe we do want to follow through with it, but we don't actually believe we can. And so there is that wrestling. Aaron:              We don't want to let them down. Jennifer:           Yeah, but I think the question is, do we make commitments just to look good or impress or think a certain way? Or do we actually truly want to be trustworthy, reliable, full of integrity people? Aaron:              And that's a good place that we could start when we are thinking about things we're going to say yes to or no to is asking us why are we saying yes? Can we fulfill this? Will we be able to do it well? Jennifer:           It requires us to slow down a little bit because in this fast-paced world we live in, it's easy to just say yes to everyone and everything. But I think it's really important for us, especially as Christians to slow down and consider, why are we saying yes to that thing or no to that thing? Aaron:              Even with ourselves, why do I want to get healthy? Why do I want exercise? Why do I want eat better? Jennifer:           What are our motivations? Aaron:              Why do I want to get into the word more? Why do I want to... You fill in the blank of the thing that you want to commit for yourself because oftentimes resolutions or commitments, they're internal. The things that... We don't like something about ourselves, that there's something that we want to grow, and we recognize that we need to change. Aaron:              So asking yourself like, what does that mean, and why? And then asking yourself how that's going to work? And we're going to get into some practical tips in a little bit. But these are some good questions we need to be asking ourselves about these yeses and noes in our life. Jennifer:           As we're asking ourselves those questions also, we need to keep in mind why it's important to be people of our word. That was one of the reasons why we wanted to take this episode in this direction. So maybe we can just ask them some of the hard questions. Through the examples in probably all of our lives that we've experienced. Aaron:              Well, think about this, we are called Christians. What is a Christian? Jennifer:           A Christ-follower, someone who follows in his footsteps. Aaron:              Right. And so we're in the world, so, we're his followers but God calls us something else. He calls us representatives. He calls us ambassadors. So we're ambassadors and ambassadors represent a country, they represent a place, a land, they are not itself, the land or the place. They are representative of the thing, of the place. And so that's what we are. And so, going back to this idea of people of our word, it's not just for our own sake, there's something bigger involved. Aaron:              We're ambassadors for a land. We're ambassadors for a people, for each other. And we're most importantly, ambassadors for God, representing Christ on earth right now. We're his body. And so, when we're not people of our word, we end up being horrible ambassadors. There's people that aren't believers, and they always hear us say one thing and do another, "Oh, yeah, that person always or never follows through." Like at our jobs. Think about this. Aaron:              That we work for a boss, we tell him we're going to get something done, and we don't. Or we have a partner at our job, and we are supposed to get something done and we've let it fall through the cracks because of whatever. Jennifer:           Or we tell that friend, we've seen a dozen times, "Yeah, we're going to get together, we're going to get coffee." Aaron:              And never call them. Jennifer:           "We're going to have dinner, we're going to do something." And then yeah, never call them. Aaron:              We have that person. We're like, "We're going to bring them a meal or we're going to..." And we just don't, "Oh, I didn't have time." Jennifer:           Someone asked for a prayer request. Aaron:              "Oh, I'll pray for you." Jennifer:           And you don't. Aaron:              And you walk away and you never pray for them. These are real things that represent what we believe about ourselves, about God, about people. And it gets in the way of the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ that he's actually changed us. And because of what he's done for us, because of him, in his completed work on the cross, saving us, puts a deep desire in our hearts to look like him, and to be like him and to follow him and to chase him. And do we think Jesus was a man of his word? Jennifer:           Yeah. Aaron:              Do you think Jesus ever told someone one thing and did another? Jennifer:           Mm-mm (negative) Aaron:              No, Jesus was who he said he was and he did what he said he did. And even said, at one point, he said, "I only do the things that the father tells me to do. And I only go to the places the father sends me." Right? And he's saying... He's like, "If I say it, it's what God said. If I do it, it's what's God doing. If I go there, it's where God wants me." That's what Jesus did. Aaron:              And so there's no going back and forth, there's no being wishy-washy. There's no being double-minded. There's no being double-tongued like I say one thing out of my mouth, but I mean another. I say another thing over here. And we want to be ambassadors... We're [inaudible 00:38:12] We don't want to be, we are ambassadors for Christ. And the question is, are we representing him well? Of course, in his spirit, he's empowering us to do it. But are we? Jennifer:           Yeah, when I think about the importance of keeping our word, the hard question I would ask is, how does your actions impact spreading the gospel? Because either you are or you're not, right? Aaron:              Yeah, exactly. And I'll give it a just a couple of examples. So in my own life, I do all the customer service for our store, if anyone didn't know that, that's true. So when you email me, it's me talking to you. And often, people ask for prayer, and I don't write out prayers for people. I can't... We don't give advice but I often will say, "I'm praying for you." That's all I'll say. And I actually stop for a moment and I pray for those people to the best of my ability, because I don't know all the details of their life, but the holy spirit does. Aaron:              I don't just say it just to look righteous and let people know like, "Oh, look, they pray for us." I actually do it because I want to be a man of my word. Even through an email with a couple of words to this person who doesn't know me. I want them to know that... And I want you to know, right now, if you ask for prayer and I said, "I'm praying for you." I did. And if I can't, I don't, right? And so that's just one example. Like when we talk to other people, and we say, in person, I try not to say, "I'm going to pray for you." And then go away. I try to pray for them right then. Jennifer:           Some things are a longevity game, though, and it requires that constant prayer. Aaron:              But that's one little activity. Jennifer:           No, it's good. Good example. Aaron:              In my own life, but there's lots of other things. My kids, I was thinking about, if I tell my son, I'm going to do something with him later, or "Hey, maybe I'll think about it." I do that a lot and we talked about it at the beginning. But I want to be better. I want to tell him like, "Yes, I'm going to do it, let's do it." Or [crosstalk 00:40:06] Jennifer:           "No, I can't." Aaron:              "No, I can't." Jennifer:           Yeah. And I think that if we consistently fail at keeping our word whether to ourselves in the goals that we've made, the commitments that we've made, or to others. Aaron:              Or to our kids. Jennifer:           We're creating distressed in the root of people's hearts, and in our own hearts. And so when we go to share the gospel, when we go to teach from God's word, we can't do it effectively, because people will not trust what we have to say. Aaron:              Yeah, and we want to be trustworthy. We want to be men and women who mean what we say and say what we mean. Jennifer:           And do what we say. And we want to be a foundation for people, a place of security, a place of safety and trust, not of insecurity. Aaron:              And you know what? If we are these people, when we don't follow through, when we drop the ball, when we should have said no but said yes, we will recognize it quickly. We'll be like, "Man, I was not a person of my word." And you know what we'll do? We'll go to that person, we'll go to ourselves, we'll go to our spouse, we'll go to our kids and we will apologize. We'll repent. Jennifer:           And instead of it being a confirmation for what that person believes about our character, it will actually be an opportunity for them to extend grace and love and understanding. Aaron:              Yeah. Well, and it builds trust because they know, "Oh, man, when so and so drops the ball on me, they're going to recognize it." And it's not going to be this thing where no one ever mentions it and in the back of my heart, I'm thinking, "Do they even care? Do they care that they hurt me? Or that they frustrated me, did they care?" Aaron:              Because we want to care, now, it brings us back to loving our brothers and sisters. And that's a powerful thing, going to someone and saying, "Hey, I dropped the ball on you. And I want you to forgive me. And I hope you do. And I'm going to try harder next time to not drop the ball on you." Jennifer:           So there's a big statement that I want to make. And I think it's important to just recognize because we're people of vision and future and hope and we don't just do things by the seat of our pants, we don't just keep... We know what's coming as far as [crosstalk 00:42:16] Aaron:              The Lord's return. Jennifer:           The Lord's return, right? Aaron:              Yeah. Jennifer:           And so we have work to do on this earth. And if we can keep our yes and our no in the small things, then we can do even better in the bigger things. Aaron:              Yeah, thinking about that scripture that says, if you're faithful little you will be faithful with much. And that's true. If you're faithful with the little yeses and the little nos, if you're faithful to keep those little, little commitments, you're going to be faithful to keep bigger ones. Jennifer:           Yeah. And can God look down on you and say, "I trust you." You're faithful." Aaron:              Yeah. Jennifer:           All right, so let's jump into a handful of practical ways of becoming a person of your word and also what some of the benefits are. Aaron:              Yeah, so get a pen and paper. We're not going to go deep on all these. We're just going to throw out some ideas. Say things out loud, we talked about that in the beginning, like when you say it out loud, it becomes real. And you can confront areas of weakness, and you can work on them. To make better habits. Jennifer:           You can write down your goals, which helps you strategize and aim for them because you have them written down in front of you, word for word, holding yourself accountable. And I would also say sharing those very specific goals or commitments with your spouse and communicating through them. Aaron:              And then a trick. So if you're going to just try and lose weight, this is just an example. It could be anything but writing down a strategy is infinitely more powerful than just saying, "I'm going to eat better." Jennifer:           Right. Aaron:              How? How are you going to eat better? What are you going to do when you go the grocery store? What kind of foods are you going to buy? What are you going to stop buying? What things do you currently buy that you're going to write down that we're not buying this anymore. This is no longer part of our diet? So writing down the strategy, breaking it down for little goals [inaudible 00:43:58] we are going to stop eating this thing. Jennifer:           Attainable goals. Aaron:              I'm going to stop putting cream in my coffee. I'm going to stop getting that thing. Write it down and have attainable goals and then you can know at the end of the month, you'll be like, "Wow, I actually stopped." Jennifer:           I'm doing it. Aaron:              Doing that thing. So whether you lost a pound or not, you actually reached part of your goal by making a change in your life that is actually long-term and sustainable. Jennifer:           Yeah. Here's one, make your schedule work for you in that sometimes we make commitments and we don't change anything else to make that commitment happen. Aaron:              It's just going to fit somehow. Jennifer:           It's just going to fit somehow. So take a look at your schedule and make sure that everything's conducive to that yes, you made or that no, you made. Aaron:              I think this isn't on the list. But I'm going to just point out, maybe think about over the last year, 2019, write down commitments that you dropped the ball on, and then you might be able to find a pattern of the things that you like to say yes to but you never follow through on. Maybe it's dinner dates, maybe it's having friends over, maybe it's whatever and then figure how this year you can change that, going back to your schedule thing. Maybe you leave one afternoon open a week for that thing that you said yes to and always had to say no to later. And so maybe just do a little evaluation of broken commitments, and figure out how you can fix them for this year. Jennifer:           If you're going to go that far, then I would add on a little bonus if there's ones that are leaving broken relationships to go and repent, and especially if it's with your spouse, like just say, "You know what? I just took inventory of what's going on in my life. And I'm sorry that I did this to you." Aaron:              Yeah, I promised you a date night every month, last year and we never did it once. And let's figure out a change. It's going on the calendar, like whatever it is. The other one, invite others to keep you accountable. So find someone and truly let them know say, "This is going to be hard for me. I might fight you on it. But here's something I want to change in my life. And if you see me would you just gently say, "Hey, I thought you made a commitment to that." Or "Hey, I thought you were going to..." And remind me." Invite someone. Jennifer:           And then the last one is don't go all out, up front. So you got to be realistic. And this is one thing that Aaron's actually taught me. Aaron:              I'm going to go five days a week to the gym and I'm going to do three hours of work, I'm going to lift every day, I'm going to cut everything out of my diet, I'm going to... Don't do that. Jennifer:           Make a commitment to go to the gym and hit at least once a week until you work your way up to a strength that you can maintain. Aaron:              I talked about this actually, in the episode when we talked about healthy living. One of the biggest things for me is that I didn't commit to just going to the gym every day. What I said is like, "I'm going to get up once a week at six o'clock, and I'm just going to go to the gym down my street." Jennifer:           Have those little victories in your life so that in the next year, you can look back and say, "Oh, look how much growth I've experienced." Because of those little attainable goals. Another one would be like when you think about your Bible reading with the Lord. Some people will look at the new year and go I'm going to read the Bible in a year which is great and a goal you should attain for. Aaron:              But do you realize how much reading that is? Jennifer:           Not just that, but if you're not doing it day by day, even in small chunks, there's no way you're going to fit in that kind of goal. So be realistic with yourself and what you're capable of doing. Aaron:              So to condense that the idea would be, instead of taking like, "I want to be completely like this person next week." And realize that's not possible. Jennifer:           It takes time. Aaron:              What you want to do is you want to find little things that you can change in your life that become how you are. Because right now you're not a certain way. And to be that other person takes 1000 little other things that need to change in your life. Jennifer:           Right. Okay, so what are some of the benefits of being a person of your word, Aaron? If you say you will be home at a certain time, what's the benefit? Aaron:              My wife is going to feel honored, we're going to have more stability in our home, our kids are going to know what to expect. I think you'll respect me more. I mean, you respect me, but they'll be a deep respect, they'll be like an honor. There's power and authority also. That's something we didn't talk about but there's power and authority in being a man of your word. There's people I know and when they say something, they do it every time all I think is like, "That man is so reliable. He is powerful." And I think to myself like, "I want to be more like that guy." So I think it'd be a good example my kids, they would say, "Wow, I want to be like that." Jennifer:           Okay, if I say that I'm going to do a meal plan for the week. And I do it. Our family gets blessed, food's on the table, we're going to save money. Aaron:              We'll eat better. Jennifer:           Yeah. Aaron:              Which that meal planning just in itself helps a lot of things. You can control what's going in the pantry and in the refrigerator. Jennifer:           I won't be frustrated come 3:30, 4:00. Not having a plan. If you say you will stick to a budget. Aaron:              Save money. Get out of debt. Jennifer:           Not buy useless things. Aaron:              Yeah. And have junk that has to go in the trash someday. Those are little commitments that [crosstalk 00:49:04] Jennifer:           Not have to confess and repent to your spouse. Aaron:              About your spending, about this thing, "I shouldn't have done it." Jennifer:           These are just a handful of things that we're thinking of. Aaron:              And it really is... It's integrity and it's power. Jennifer:           Yeah. Aaron:              This is something we've been talking about lately when you do these things, which are... They all go back to self-control, which is a fruit of the spirit, right? Self-control. There's power in self-control, someone who can control themselves, that's power. And that's God's power showing like, "Look at this person who's not just walking in their flesh, not just going by every whim, not every craving, every desire. They actually control themselves. They have poise and they're distinct." Because that looks different. That is surprising to the world. How do you have that much control? Jennifer:           Yeah, faithfulness is cultivated. Integrity is cultivated. So deciding in your heart to do what you say not just say it with your mouth. Aaron:              A good example of this is we talked about not having our phones in the bathroom like having devices in the bathroom like we're trying to put in place, in our own lives, things that we're going to expect of our kids. Jennifer:           Yeah. Boundaries. Aaron:              And it can be easy to be like, "Oh, I forgot." Or I can think every single time like, "I said, I'm not going to do this." And I could put my phone somewhere. And I know a lot of people use their phones in the bathroom. So they're like, "No, that's my thing." I don't know. But that's integrity. Even when my wife doesn't know I'm doing it, am I choosing to honor what we've talked about? Jennifer:           And when I think of integrity, I think of it even having integrity with yourself. Because otherwise, you're going to be constantly in conflict with your mind, as your spirit and your flesh wrestle with the things that you know you should do that you're not doing. And there's no peace in that. So if you're a person of your word, there's going to be peace. If you're a person of your word, change can happen, goals can be met, victory can be experienced. Aaron:              All the things that people are wanting. Jennifer:           Maturity. Aaron:              To grow. Jennifer:           Growth, your spouse will respect you, people will respect you. I think you mentioned that. These are all good, good things. And when you do it, when you are a person of your word, you are showing yourself and your spouse and your children, that you are a person who can be believed. Aaron:              And trusted. Jennifer:           Trusted. Therefore, when you do go to preach the gospel or teach them from God's word, they will listen and they will trust what you have to say and belief will grow in their own hearts. Aaron:              Yeah, and what's better than being able to show your kids what they're capable of in the holy spirit, that they actually can change and make decisions and say, yes, and mean it and do it. That's teaching your kids the power that they can have in God, and that they don't have to be a slave to their lack of self-control, to be a slave to their cravings and desires, but they can have control over those. Jennifer:           Yeah, and you touched on this earlier about we're not alone in these commitments that we're making. If we're Christians, then God is with us, his holy spirit is empowering us and we need to rely on him to walk us through that. But that means we need to be open with God and share with him when we're struggling and share with him when we need his help and pray over these things and keep them submitted to him. Aaron:              And also ask him to show us as David did. Search my heart, Oh, Lord, and see if there be any wicked way in me. Ask God to show us if there's anything in us that he wants changed. Any deceit, any falsehood. Jennifer:           A verse that has become very foundational in Aaron and I's marriage that I wanted to share with you today is proverbs 16:3. And it says, "Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established." I think it's a powerful verse and a good reminder that anything that we do, anything that we say yes or no to, we need to be committing these things to the Lord, we need to be submitting them to him and knowing that we're not alone and trusting him to guide us through them. Aaron:              And committing to the Lord doesn't mean, "Here's what I'm going to do, God. Now, bless it." It means, "Lord, here's my plan. What do you say?" Jennifer:           I was just going to say, what does using this verse look like? Or holding [inaudible 00:53:00] look like in our marriage? And it's exactly that. It's saying, "God, here's what we think we should do or desire to do. But we want you to align your heart with ours." Aaron:              We want to align our heart with yours. Jennifer:           Yes. Aaron:              No, but it's usually the other way around. We want your heart [inaudible 00:53:18] Psalm 37:5 says, "Commit your way to the Lord, trust in him and he will act." Jennifer:           So he's acting. Aaron:              Yeah. Jennifer:           It's not just us going about our day acting and trying and doing. He's with us. And I think that's empowering. Aaron:              Well, that comes at the end of... I want to say one last little quote before we close out in prayer. And it goes to this idea of often we see, like, "Oh, I'll start my diet on Monday." Or "I'm going to start reading tomorrow." Or "I'm going to make this change next week." And so I always say, if change is always tomorrow, then it's never today. And so if we get in the practice of, "Oh, I'm going to make that change right now." Like, "I'm going to make that decision now. I'm not going to save it for another day. I'm not going to say it's more convenient tomorrow." Aaron:              All that means is we're not going to do because there's always another tomorrow. But there's never another today. And so we got to be men and women of our word. And let's ask the Lord to help us be that. Jennifer:           Yeah, and with it being the new year, and you guys probably have already made commitments. We just want to encourage you, guys and say carry on. We are cheering for you, we're here for you. And we love you guys. And we hope that you are women and men of your word. Aaron:              And don't be afraid to adjust your commitments if you need to, to make it more realistic. Because what we are is that you have lifelong maturity and growth and transformation, not a short-term, exciting, burst of transformation and then you go back to your old ways. All of us, we want to be men and women who are growing and maturing and becoming more and more like what God's called us to be. And that's this lifelong sanctification process. So don't be discouraged if you can't hit that awesome resolution that you made. Let's set [crosstalk 00:55:12] Jennifer:           Attainable goals. Aaron:              Set attainable goals in your life and ask God to transform you. Jennifer:           All right at the end of every episode, we pray together, so we just want to ask that you would join us in prayer. Dear Lord, thank you for another new year. Thank you for today. We honor you, Lord, and we praise you for you are good and your love is everlasting. We submit this new year to you, we pray your will would be done in our lives and through us. We pray your will is done in our marriages and through our marriages. We lay our lives down, our hopes, goals, and desires and we ask that you, Lord, would align our hearts to yours. That everything we planned for and say yes or no to would be for your glory and not our own. Help us to be people of our word to stick to our commitments, especially when it feels hard. Remind us daily of the importance of being trustworthy and our impact for your gospel. In Jesus name, amen. Aaron:              Amen. Hey, thanks so much for listening to the first episode of the year. We want to invite you to leave us a review if you have not done so, those reviews help other people find the podcast, they bless us. And they're incredibly encouraging. So please leave us a star rating and a review today. And it'd bless us. Also, don't forget to join the prayer challenge for free. It's marriageprayerchallenge.com and you can do that anytime. See you next week. Aaron:              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.
Answers to Your Questions

Answers to Your Questions

2019-11-2800:50:143

Hey Friends!In today's episode on the Marriage After God Podcast, Jennifer and I took the time to answer your questions. A question we received stirred up what we feel is a good reminder for us all as we give thanks during this Holiday season. "Keeping your faith in the hard times will produce a hopeful mindset." Aaron SmithOur faith is important to us no matter the season and it's easy to praise God when life is great. However, we can quickly forget to praise God when things aren't going great. "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds..." James 1:2. With this episode comes our sign off for the year and we hope to return sometime in January or February. Thank you so much for listening! Jennifer and I are incredibly grateful for your support and had fun answering your questions. We wish you and your family a Merry Christmas. 
In Today's Episode on Marriage After God podcast, we are encouraging you to stop hiding before it's too late! This episode was inspired by our own experience of concealing our relationship issues, as well as other couple's stories we have seen unravel.Over the years, we have received countless emails and messages from couples sharing that they were on the verge of divorce. Some of whom we knew personally, and some we didn't. The ones that we knew especially hurt us, and we felt blindsided by the problems in their marriage.How can problems go unseen? You can avoid community and fellowship altogether, or you can do what Jennifer and I had done at the beginning of our marriage - hide in plain sight. Though we had close friends, we never let people truly know us or our struggles.Our hearts for this episode is that it would encourage you to stop hiding. The Devil wants us to hide in shame and be isolated, so we don't bring about change. We pray that this episode encourages you to seek true fellowship and hope it eliminates the fear of being fully known.Join the Marriage Prayer Challenge for FREE!Go to www.marriageprayerchallenge.com
The Lord's Prayer

The Lord's Prayer

2019-11-1400:50:421

Prayer is such a vital part of every Christian's life. In today's episode, we are going to be discussing the Lord's prayer. The Lord's prayer is spoken by Jesus when he gives the Sermon on the Mount. This teaching is super important because it emphasizes the importance of prayer and a personal relationship with God."And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that others may see them. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."Matthew 6:5-13 ESVOur hearts are that today's episode encourages you to build on your prayer life, not for salvation, but to build real intimacy with God. Intimacy takes intentionality; just like our marriages, we need to invest in our relationship with God. We pray this Marriage After God podcast encourages you to cling to God and deepen your relationship with him.
In today's episode on the Marriage After God podcast, our goal is to encourage you on your pursuit to chase after God. Everyone needs encouragement and to be reminded of the hope they have from time to time. We urge you to listen thoughtfully to this episode and share it with your spouse or anyone else that could use some cheering. "The first encouragement we want to give all of you on your journey is: don't be afraid! This journey can be fear-filled sometimes, and the enemy wants to make us afraid. So, I just wanted to read this verse, Jeremiah 17:7-8 ESV 'Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit." - Aaron Smith We pray this message leaves you hopeful as well as excited about God's plan and purpose for you.
Today, we are entering into the second half of our topic, "Boundaries With the Opposite Sex." If you didn't listen to last week's episode, listen to it right now before jumping into today's podcast!"I want to encourage everyone out there, that maybe their spouses aren't at this place yet, and remind everyone that it's a growing process. We didn't just show up to our marriage with this way of being and understand it fully and walk in it perfectly. We are walking this out day by day. " Jennifer SmithWe pray that today's podcast would start a healthy conversation between you and your spouse and that your hearts would be submitted to God and protecting your marriage from the enemy. If your heart is already for this, we encourage you to walk out what you desire your spouse to step out and fervently pray for their heart. 
In today's episode, we're talking about hard conversations again, but this time, we're very specific. "Blessed is the one who finds wisdom and the one who gets understanding." Proverbs 3:13. As always, we hope to inspire you to be a light in this world. Our hearts desire that everyone listening, listens with a teachable heart. We pray this episode blesses you.
The word of God is sharper than any two edge sword it cuts through the bone and it pierces to the soul, it’s the thing that transforms us. Today in the Marriage After God Podcast we are going over four anchor verses to meditate on when you are trying to overcome sin.“If you’re a believer and you’re practicing sin and getting better at it, you better think long and hard of what you know of God, and to who you belong. “ Aaron SmithOur desire is that today’s podcast not only helps equip you to  overcome temptation and sin, but that it also prepares you to encourage your spouse when they are wrestling with sin.  We pray that this episode blesses you.
The word of God is sharper than any two edge sword it cuts through the bone and it pierces to the soul, it’s the thing that transforms us. Today in the Marriage After God Podcast we are going over several anchor verses to meditate on when you are trying to overcome sin.“This is not a conversation about how to be saved, that we walk perfectly and holy and that’s how God is going to receive us. No. This is a conversation that the believers are already saved, and being sanctified. But it’s through the knowledge of the word of God that we are more and more sanctified and walk in more and more holiness. The desire is that we hate our sin more and more the same way God hates our sin because our sin destroys us.” - Aaron SmithOur desire is that today’s podcast not only helps equip you to fight temptation, but that it also prepares you to encourage your spouse when they are wrestling with sin. We pray that this episode blesses you.
Encouragement for Newlyweds

Encouragement for Newlyweds

2019-10-0200:44:161

Everyone can use a little encouragement now and then so whether you just got married (congrats!) or you've been married for a long time stay tuned for today's episode! After all, don't we all want to have the newlywed exuberance, excitement, and love?1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV "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. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away."Our desire is that today's Marriage After God podcast helps you quickly realize what your marriage is actually about so you can start your marriage off with an eternal perspective. If you know any newlyweds or soon to be newlyweds please share this episode with them so that they might be encouraged and blessed! 
The Return Of Christ

The Return Of Christ

2019-09-2500:37:46

In this episode, we discuss the return of Christ and how it is to encourage us as believers.
The Gospel

The Gospel

2019-09-1800:42:311

Take our FREE 31-Day Marriage Prayer Challenge now. Go deeper with prayer today at http://www.marriageprayerchallenge.com The gospel is the foundation of everything us Christians believe, and the reason we started our Marriage After God ministry. In this week's episode of The Marriage After God podcast, we are discussing the singular most important topic we will ever discuss on this podcast - The Gospel. There is both infinite simplicity and complexity in the gospel, but today our goal is to simplify the gospel."There's a reason why we want to simplify it, I don't know about you, but I'm going to be a little bit vulnerable here. I have been a Christian for a very long time... I became a Christian at 17, and now I'm 35. I was raised in a Christian home, so I knew God, but it wasn't until maybe three years ago that I could actually fully verbalize the gospel." - Aaron SmithOur goal is that today's podcast will clarify the gospel message for our listeners and get them comfortable with expressing it to others. We pray this episode blesses you. Thanks for Listening,Aaron & Jennifer Smith@marriageaftergod
What Does God Love?

What Does God Love?

2019-09-1100:38:12

Sign up for the 31-day marriage prayer challenge for FREEhttps://marriageprayerchallenge.com I was reading in Psalms 37, and there was a line that says “For the Lord loves justice”… and I thought how cool is it that the word directly told us what God loves.I thought it would be fun and instructive for us to find out if there are any more places in the bible that tell us directly what God loves.If God loves it, maybe we should too. And we know from Psalm 107 that God's steadfast love endures forever. It never ends or changes so he must still love today those things he said he loves back then.Psalm 36:7 How precious is your steadfast love, O God!THE WORLD John 3:1616 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.The world, meaning the people he created in His image. Mankind1 John 4:19 We love because he first loved us.If God loves the people he created, then I think we must do the same.Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.CHEERFUL GIVER 2 Corinthians 9:7Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.JUSTICE Psalm 37:28For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.It was God’s justice that put Jesus to death. Because the only way we could be Justified is if the penalty for our transgressions were paid for. The requirement of the law must be fulfilled. And it was in Jesus.Listen to what we will pay if we do not receive this amazing free gift from God.2 Thessalonians 1:8-9dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,So we should love that God is just. He doesn't just let the sin go undealt with. If he did he would be unjust. He is even going to justly deal with all the wicked things of this world.Revelation 21:4He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”RIGHTEOUSNESS Psalm 11:7For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.Ephesians 2:10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.Proverbs 15:9 The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but he loves him who pursues righteousness.Psalm 146:8 “The Lord loves the righteous”The Jewish Nation Hosea 3:1And the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.”We should love the jews. God chose them to be the people to receive the Law and to bring us the messiah.Jesus was a jew.All of the apostles where jews.Let’s be praying for those who have not received Jesus as their messiah. Let’s pray for revival.The disciples John 16:27for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.God loved the disciples.God Loves Jesus John 10:17For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.God loves His Son He always has and He always will john 15:9As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.God loves Jesus PrayerDear Lord,Thank you for your steadfast love. Thank you for loving us even yet while we were sinners. Thank you for showing us in your word what you love. We pray that we would abide in your love every day. We pray your love would manifest in our hearts and pour out into our relationships with others. May your love change us and transform us. May your love radically impact our marriages by the way we love our spouse. Help us to understand even more deeply your love for us and receive it with a humble heart. We pray we would show you our love by obeying your word and keeping it.In Jesus’ name, amen!
Here We Go Again!

Here We Go Again!

2019-09-0400:56:02

Take the 31-Day Marriage Prayer Challenge Completely Free. Join Here -> http://marriageprayerchallenge.com The truth is we have some exciting news! Must listen to find out what :)
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Comments (49)

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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Shannon Sadecki

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

Jan 15th
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Kamile Serstkova

I binge-listened to all episodes in a week! It’s so encouraging and you provide sound biblical teaching and experience. Very very grateful to God for your ministry!

Dec 18th
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Jalina King

My story is exactly the same except replace "4-year intimacy struggle" with "3-year infertility/miscarriage struggle." Super grateful for the way God worked through those years. We replaced all our food household products starting January 2015. Our miracle babies were born August 2016 and May 2018. Two under two! Praise God! Hubby and I were also baptized together April 2017.

Dec 6th
Reply (1)
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