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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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Making Changes Together

Making Changes Together

2020-07-0733:141

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

The Promises Of God

2020-06-1645:151

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

Our Salvation Stories

2020-06-0849:15

In this episode, we share how we both came to know and walk with the Lord!
The world as a whole seems to be experiencing crises. In the last five months, we have seen headline after headline in the news and on social media. There is so much hardship, pain, death, loss, uncertainty, fear, chaos, and unrest.In addition to it all, there are countless more trials, hardships, and painful circumstances that didn’t make headlines. We are all hoping for peace. We are all wondering how to walk out these things, especially together in marriage.Whether you are currently facing hardship or if those times are ahead to come, we want to encourage you to walk through them in your marriage together, supporting each other and looking to God's Word to guide you.https://marriageaftergod.com
We start season 4 off by sharing the story of our first home birth. READ TRANSCRIPT[Aaron] Hey, we're Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God.[Jennifer] Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.[Aaron] And today we're gonna share our first home birth story. Welcome to the marriage after God podcast where we believe that marriage was meant for more than just happily ever after.[Jennifer] I am Jennifer, also known as unveiled wife.[Aaron] And I'm Aaron, also known as husband evolution.[Jennifer] We have been married for over 13 years.[Aaron] And so far we have five children under eight.[Jennifer] We have been doing marriage ministry online for over nine years through blogging, social media and writing over 10 books.[Aaron] With a desire to inspire couples to keep God at the center of their marriage, encouraging them to walk in faith every day.[Jennifer] We believe that Christian marriage should be an extraordinary one full of life...[Aaron] Love.[Jennifer] And power-[Aaron] That can only be found by chasing after God.[Jennifer] Together.[Aaron] Thank you for joining us in this journey as we chase boldly after God's will for our life together.[Jennifer] This is marriage after God.[Aaron] Hey everyone, welcome back to Marriage After God.[Jennifer] Season four.[Aaron] We're on season four. Yeah, this is crazy.[Jennifer] Awesome.[Aaron] We've had a lot of episodes, but we're back for season four. So if you're tuning in, welcome. If this is your first time, we're so glad that you're here. Listening to the Marriage After God podcasts. We pray that it's an encouragement to you and a blessing, but if you've been listening for a long time, welcome back. We're so excited to have you here.[Jennifer] Hi everyone.[Aaron] Yeah, and we're recording this in our garage as usual and it's still locked down season. And I know that a little interesting for everyone. It's interesting for us. Jennifer, have you had any thoughts about the season we're in with lockdown COVID-19 pandemic, unprecedented times.[Jennifer] Yeah, I mean, I've had some thoughts about it. I think what's been really a blessing is that we've been in postpartum season, so we had our baby and so we would have been kind of having a low key life anyways right now. Just with me resting, nursing is always usually an issue with our kids. Baby Edith had a tongue tie like several other of our children. And so the first couple of weeks was just basically me and her figuring that out. And so-[Aaron] I do feel like though we started self quarantine earlier because we were leading up to having the baby and then all of this stuff happened right around the same time as having the baby.[Jennifer] Yeah. I would say this we had a really good distraction from what was happening in the world. And so now we're kind of like coming up out of that we just hit the six week mark after having the baby. And I think the most important thing has been for me has been to communicate with you in navigating this pandemic and what the world looks like these days. And it gives me peace, being able to talk to you. It gives me a bit of relief and just knowing that I can share my thoughts, my concerns, whatever that I'm going through with you. What would you say?[Aaron] Well, same. We've been having a lot of conversations about it. We've also had a lovely conversation with our kids. It's kind of hard to like hide it from them cause why can't we hang out with our friends? Why can't we go out? And we're like, "Well, there's a lot of things going on the world." which is going on.[Jennifer] And as an encouragement to parents, I think it's so important that we really understand that our kids lean on us for security and support, especially in times like these. So when they have these big questions, we should be answering them. If they see us being able to have peace and hope and joy amidst the chaos it will give them guidance on how they can respond in times like these. if they sense in us fear and anxiety over the situation, then that could also influence them. So I think as parents, I think it's really cool to see that God has given us an opportunity with our kids to help them navigate this whole thing. And I think it's good for us to engage in conversation with them. It doesn't mean we have to explain everything, especially we can keep it age appropriate. But just being able to willing to have conversations with them.[Aaron] Well, and also being honest with them and letting them know that sometimes we don't have the answers. Like we don't know the appropriate way to respond to all this. We don't know exactly how this is going to turn out. We don't know... Like we just, there's a lot of answers we don't have.[Jennifer] And then we tell them, but our trust and our hope is in God. And so it's another opportunity to point them back to God and encourage their hearts to be able to trust God and I don't know, just to be able to move forward still in life and know that he has us.[Aaron] Yeah, and it's also been good to, I feel like in America we have a lot of comforts and this has shown us how dependent we might be on some comforts. And also brought us to a point that one of the other benefits to this is reminding us of our need for Christ, our need for his peace, his satisfaction, being satisfied in him alone. So one thing we've been trying to encourage our children, whether we catch it or not, whether we are always healthy, we don't know how this is going to turn out. We encourage them to know that God is good. God has us, he knows his plans for us and that we can't control all of those things, but what we can do is look to God who's in control.[Jennifer] Yeah, Aaron, you brought up comforts and especially living here in America. However this whole thing has also allowed us to see how people might be struggling. So you use the word comfort, but I also want to just mention that there's a lot people who've been greatly impacted by this whole thing in a negative way in a lot of different ways. So, I dunno if you want to speak to that.[Aaron] Well, yeah, we know that there's millions and millions of people that have lost their jobs. Some might not get them back. And so our hearts break for that situation. And we know that there's people that are sick. We know that there's people that are, that have other issues going on, that are not COVID-19 related and are having a hard time dealing with that. There's mental issues, there's abuse, there's a lot of things going on in this world that are being exasperated by this situation. And so-[Jennifer] As Christians, I think that we need to remember all of that especially if maybe we're in a different situation, but no matter what our hearts should be to be in prayer for everyone who's been impacted by it.[Aaron] And also been asking the Lord how we can be used.[Jennifer] Yeah, cause we're his body.[Aaron] We might know someone that needs some love, some reaching out, some help. And so we should be aware of that and ready for that. And we should be praying for each other. Praying for those that are going through hard situations and our prayers should not just be, "God, make their situation better."[Jennifer] Or even, "God let us go just back to normal."[Aaron] Right, because that's a thing that I have is like, "Hey, can we just go back to normal?" Our kids keep praying like God make this go away. They miss normalcy. But our prayer should be that hearts are softened. Hearts are turned towards the Lord, that people are brought back to the Lord, that people that don't know the Lord and find him, that families are healed and mended, that like these deeper things. That even if the body is broken, the spirit can be made whole. And so, yes, we should be praying for healing. Yes, it's good to pray for being taken care of financially and being taken care of in these ways. But right now, this is the time when man, the spirit of God catches hold of people. And so we should be praying that hearts are ready to receive. Hearts are open to hear the word of God are being watered and seeds are being planted. And that's, I mean, I don't know, more than anything. I want people to be saved in this time for eternity, not just for the season. So do you have any last thoughts on, I mean there's gonna be lots of thoughts.[Jennifer] I know we could probably do a whole episode on it. Two things. The first thing I was just thinking, if people are listening to this episode in the future. So like going-Yeah, after the-[Jennifer] After the fact, after all this has kind of settled down a bit. I just wonder what their thoughts would be just being reminded of this time. And then my other thought was just an encouragement and it's just for husbands and wives, it's an encouragement to be communicating with each other because no matter what your situation looks like right now you have someone right next to you who's going through it with you. And sometimes, I don't know those listening are like me, but sometimes I get caught up in my head where I'm having conversations in my head, even with you Aaron, and I'm like answering for you. But, then I realized I haven't actually talked to you in a couple of days about how I'm feeling or about what I'm thinking. So my encouragement is, especially in times like these that we are open and transparent and vulnerable specifically with each other.[Aaron] Yeah, I was also thinking, we are friends and families. Not being afraid to just come straight out and say, "Hey, how are you dealing with all this? "Hey, how's your heart? "Are you going through any sort of depression? "Is there any fears that you're like-[Jennifer] Yeah, are you okey?[Aaron] "that are just getting inside your heart." And just asking so that they can be maybe brought out of that darkness, maybe brought out of their shell and not be afraid to ask those questions. Cause I would imagine there's a lot of people dealing with hidden fears and anxieties right now.[Jennifer] And it's okay if you don't know how to answer them. It's okay if the greatest thing you can even say is I'm going to be praying for you or just stop and pray for them right then and there. But I think it was important that we just spend a little bit of time on that since this is such a huge thing going on in our lives right now. And our hearts go out to everyone. And we know this is just crazy, but God is good, like you said.[Aaron] And God's not surprised by any of this stuff. I just wanted to bring up a verse. James 1:12 says, Blessed is the the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Over and over again the New Testament speaks of steadfastness and continuing on and standing strong and standing firm. And I just want to encourage everyone, you believers out there, that we need to stand strong in the word of God and we need to remember who's got us, whose hand upholds us, who guides our steps and makes our paths and brings light into our life and it's God. And so we need to put our strength, our hope and strengths in him because they're not, and our hopes are not in the government. They're not in a vaccine, they're not in treatments, they're not in the, it just going away or those things are going to come and things happen, but we can't control any of this stuff. We just can't. And if we put our hope in those things that our hope is gonna fail. So let's put our hope in the only thing that's consistent, the only one that is a firm foundation and it's God and his word. And let's look to him for wisdom and guidance on how as believers we are to approach this thing that was going on. Cause he's the only, James also says, "If you lack wisdom, ask. "And we will be given wisdom as long as we do not doubt." And so let's ask him for wisdom. I need wisdom. We've been talking a lot about this man. Like how do we deal with all of these things? And we're definitely don't deal with it in fear, but we don't deal with it on our own strengths, our own wisdom. We lean not on our own understanding, but on every word, on God's wisdom. So that's what I just want to encourage everyone with is remain steadfast in these trials. And let's look to God for answers and our hope and for our courage and our wisdom.[Jennifer] And our peace.[Aaron] Oh, most importantly, our peace. So, that was just a bit of a encouraging word for everyone. We need it ourselves. I mean, he reminded ourselves, but I just want to invite everyone to, if you have children or if you're thinking about having children or if you're pregnant, we have something that we've created for you. It's a free resource and it's called the parenting prayer challenge. You can go to parentingprayerchallenge.com all one word and it's completely free to sign up and we will send you over the next 31 days, email with something to pray for and a reminder to pray for it. And it's pretty awesome. We've had almost a thousand people sign up for it and we would love for you to take advantage of it. We created it just for you. And man, it's an awesome thing and it reminds us as parents to pray for our children and there's awesome prompts in there to pray for all these different areas of your child's life. So yeah, we just, it's parentingprayerchallenge.com it's totally free and become part of the people that are going through that challenge.[Jennifer] All right, so today's topic is our first home birth story. No, it's not our first birth story. Obviously if you've followed us for any amount of time, this was baby number five. And, it's just kind of an interesting story and we're excited to share it with you guys.[Aaron] What's more interesting is that we actually fit every one of our kids and us inside of our explorer.[Jennifer] It's tightly, but it's good.[Aaron] It's tight. But that was just a fun little adventure that we figured out.[Jennifer] Aaron was surprised by that.[Aaron] I was a little surprised. They would fit without car seats. But the trick is as we have five car seats. We have actually we have-Four cars seats.[Aaron] four cars and two boosters or is it three car seats, two boosters.[Jennifer] Right.[Aaron] And just the way it's all arranged, we barely fit. It will be a lot better when some of them are out of their boosters. That'll make a big difference, but-[Jennifer] That's okay. Thanks for sharing. so the first four births were done in the hospital and we were happy with those experiences and we had the same, what's it called? It's not a goal. Same birth plan.[Aaron] Our plan was, we'd love to having children in the hospital, actually really love our local hospital here.[Jennifer] And food is so good.[Aaron] The rooms are just really nice and quite.[Jennifer] The people are so nice.[Aaron] It's been good. So we're not opposed to hospital births by any means.[Jennifer] No, we had that plan held in our hands. My whole pregnancy really, and the word changed that at the finish line.[Aaron] Pretty much, yeah.[Jennifer] And so it was our first home birth and I got gotta be honest, I was nervous. Even in the past I've been nervous to even consider a home birth, even though I know people and I've followed people online that have had them.[Aaron] And even though your pregnancies and labors have all been considerably like easy, not easy and-Easy is a funny word-[Aaron] It's safe, I should say.[Jennifer] Yes. Not emergency or anything.[Aaron] Nothing, you haven't had any big emergencies. It's like it just, it goes as planned usually.[Jennifer] Yeah. So anyways, I don't know. We just, we held our birth plan loosely as we believe people should and we submit it to the Lord. And really the last trimester is when all of the world started falling apart with the pandemic. And even more so in the last few weeks of my pregnancy. Protocols at the hospital started changing.[Aaron] They started limiting the number of people that could be in the rooms.[Jennifer] We started seeing a lot more articles online being shown stories of that happening. And I came home from one of my last appointments and I was sharing with Aaron these changes that had just been made and we were about to have our baby and I, there was a part of me that just was wondering what is the hospital experience going to be like? And we're just sharing some of our thoughts with each other.[Aaron] And we also, because a big part of this conversation is what was going on in the world. It wasn't just like whether or not we wanted to have a home birth. It was what is our, what does this situation look like for us amidst all of like the virus that's going around. And so we were discussing this and I just wanted to let everyone know that our number one discussion was, are we afraid? Are we gonna be in fear? Are we gonna make decisions or are we gonna be going into this with any anxieties? Because those are realities like, "Oh my gosh, we got to go to like the hospital, "which is where everyone goes that has, "that gets the virus." So that was a part of this conversation was. We are not going to be afraid regardless. Like whether we are going to be exposed or not. We want to have no fear. We want to trust the Lord because he does know what's going on, so.[Jennifer] Totally. Yeah, and also so everyone knows Aaron has been an advocate for home birth for several of my pregnancies. You would ask me like, "Hey, are you interested this time?"[Aaron] I've been pushing for a while.[Jennifer] But you've always been supportive too of what we've decided together. And so, when I came home from that appointment, I shared everything with you. And you suggested it again. You're like, "What about a home birth?" And I'm like, I kind of laughed about it. I was like, no, no, no, no. Like if I'm too far in my pregnancy that's crazy talk, I would have to adjust mentally and it just seems-[Aaron] And I would even be able to get a midwife. How is this gonna work?[Jennifer] It seemed impossible. And you were so hopeful and you're like, "Why don't you just call them and just see what's going on? "Cause maybe they've talked to other people about this." And so I made the phone call and no one answered. And I said, "See, okay, so we're not doing that."[Aaron] Did you leave a message?[Jennifer] Yeah. So by the end of that day, I had been praying and it had been on my heart just to consider both a hospital birth or a home birth. And the Lord gave me so much peace and I was okay with either one.[Aaron] And the same, yeah.[Jennifer] So when I said earlier about having an open hand, having my birth plan and an open hand and open heart, it was this piece that I had that was like, no matter what happens or how I give birth, it's the Lord.[Aaron] I actually remember, I think it was a, I don't know the exact date, but it was about a week before this. You posted a picture of the kids or something on Instagram and you wrote this beautiful thing saying, "Hey, here's my birth plan. "We want to do this." And you said, "but open-handed of course."[Jennifer] Yeah, it was an infant story and it was right at the bottom.[Aaron] And I said, but open-handed of course. And you had this whole idea. And it was before everything started getting really crazy. News-wise, but I remember you got someone messaged you and said, "Please don't have it at the hospital." Cause they were so concerned that's where you shouldn't be. And there were, it was so loving and so concerned. And we saw that and we're like, huh. But we didn't like talk about it.[Jennifer] I didn't think about it.[Aaron] But looking back on it, I was like, "Oh, that was kinda cool. "It was like open handed." Someone was like encouraging you in that direction, but.[Jennifer] So anyways, we were praying about it, but we hadn't heard back from the midwife and until the next morning. Give me some questions and I think they were just being really nice given the situation of what was happening in our world and our state. But because I had established care throughout my pregnancy, I didn't have any-[Aaron] There was no flags.[Jennifer] There was, yeah, there was no red flags, there was no problems or issues that I had throughout my pregnancy. My past pregnancies have been healthy and my labors have been fine and I haven't needed interventions or anything like that. And so they said yes and they were willing to meet with me that day.[Aaron] Which is they never do.[Jennifer] I just felt-[Aaron] They were willing to do this in this season for you.[Jennifer] Yeah. It just felt like an impossible situation that God just said, "Here, this is what I want you to walk through." And I got off the phone almost in tears because I then I had to tell Aaron that it was a go and I was, I was like, okay but like, yeah, this is, I didn't know, I was speechless really. I don't know how to explain that.[Aaron] Did you want not to tell me?[Jennifer] No, no, no, no, but I, and there was a part of me that was really excited, like I have never done a home birth before. Like how cool that I get to do this now. And then my next immediate thought was, "Oh my gosh, are we prepared for this?" Because I didn't know. I hadn't been researching about what to have for a home birth. So that, the next thing-[Aaron] I know is a little weird to think about. Like, what am I supposed... Am I supposed to have anything?[Jennifer] Yeah. So the other cool thing is that we didn't really need much. I felt like what I had like in my hospital bag and things at home already we were prepared for. There's just a couple of other things that you went out to get like an extra set of sheets and I don't remember.[Aaron] Some pillows and something like that.[Jennifer] I don't remember.[Aaron] The midwife give you a list of things. We had like 90% of the things on the list already.[Jennifer] Yeah. And they provided-[Aaron] There was only a few things I had to get. So that was pretty cool.[Jennifer] Then I had to wrap my head around it mentally and that just took prayer and me so many into God and saying, okay Lord, help me transition.[Aaron] Yeah, I think you mentioned a little bit ago that I've tried, I've been a proponent for home births and you said you don't know and I was okay with you doing hospital births, but I remember you saying like, "I'll do it when I have to."[Jennifer] Yeah like if something's gonna push me to do it, then I will. Like I'm not opposed to it. I just, I'm not ready for that yet.[Aaron] And I was like, "Maybe this is the thing making you have to," but it was perfect cause it was what you had committed to in your heart was like, "Well, when I have to, I will." And this was kind of one of those situations where I was like, we didn't have to, it would probably would have been totally fine, but we had the opportunity.[Jennifer] Well that's the thing is at the end of that day, I just knew I had peace that, or I'm sorry that the day before I knew that God would help us through no matter what we chose, whether it was home birth or hospital. And I had so much peace about it and I think that's why getting off the phone with the midwife, I was excited and okay and yet nervous about it.[Aaron] Of course yeah.[Jennifer] It was so neat that God provided a way for that. And so we started preparing for that. We started telling the kids we were cleaning the house, we were making a way for that to take place. And it was just a really exciting time for our family. A very short time.[Aaron] Yeah. Though the week prior, I was on maybe five days before we had the baby, I took the, we do have a chalkboard in our kitchen I did a little game with the kids and I said, I want, so who, what day do you think mom is gonna have the baby? And we started doing this voting and I would put down like, do you think it's going to be Monday? And it was like, leading up to the due date. And so everyone put their little dates down, even Truett voted. And I'm just bringing this up because me and Elliot were right. And so, we actually voted for the due date, which was the 20th.[Jennifer] I actually remember coming out and you explaining this whole thing to me and Elliot looking up at me going, "Mom, the reason I chose your due date is because 'you haven't had a baby on your due date yet." And he just thought that would be so cool.[Aaron] Yeah, and that's why we actually voted that because I feel like all the babies have been either right before or right after and it wasn't like way after.[Jennifer] Yeah, well Elliot, our first and Truett our fourth, were both due, were both born a day before their due date. Olive was three days past. And Wyatt was eight days past.[Aaron] Yeah, he was a big baby. But so we voted for the 20th, which is pretty cool because you were having like on the 19th, I remember you were kind of having some contractions but it didn't like go anywhere. And then the 20th, when did they start?[Jennifer] So I didn't have any, like I wasn't feeling any contractions the day before, but I just felt like it was going to happen soon. Like I could just tell my body was getting ready. But contractions started at about 1:30 in the morning, on her due date.[Aaron] Oh, that's what that, okay. It was 1:30 in the morning. That when it was.[Jennifer] Yeah. And they started and they were pretty close together. I mean seven, eight minutes apart, pretty consistently for a few hours. And then we got disrupted. Truett woke up, which he never does with a huge explosion, poop explosion. I'm trying to keep it clean here.[Aaron] It was horrible. It was all over his bed. It was all over him.[Jennifer] I've never had an experience like with having five kids now, I've never had an experience like this. So to be contracting and have that, I'm like, wait a minute.[Aaron] What time was that?[Jennifer] It was like five o'clock in the morning.[Aaron] It was early. So I'm up, like we're putting him in the bath and there's like poop everywhere. It was like, so gross.[Jennifer] So I told Aaron, you go lay in bed with him and since I'm up anyways, I'll do the laundry and-[Aaron] We couldn't put him back in his bed. It was like a war zone.[Jennifer] It was crazy. So now that you guys are all grossed out, I know. I feel like that just distracted my mind and body or maybe that's just the way it was supposed to be. But contractions kind of slowed down and were more sporadic. So it was like 11 to 15 minutes apart for a long time. I mean hours and I have a cute story, another cute story about Truett. This one's cleaner. About 10 o'clock in the morning I came out of the bedroom and Aaron had been hanging out with the kids and you left to go to the bathroom or something. And I started contracting. I had a big contraction and so I threw two pillows down on the living room floor and I was kneeling in front of them because I was gonna kind of try and either lay down or hold them. And Truett comes up and lays down on the pillows looking up at me and I'm just like on my hands and knees looking down at him. But I'm like trying to breathe through this contraction and he's just smiling. It was like a little redemptive moment for us, but it was sweet. So I labored all day at home. And one cool thing that I wanted to share with you guys is, the night before I went into labor, I was doing a little bit of research and just reading people's home birth stories that they've shared on their blogs. And I can't remember exactly who's I read, but she said this, she said, "Through every contraction "I used the opportunity to pray for someone else. "My husband, my children, friends." And I remembered that as soon as I started contracting and I said, "Oh, I'm gonna do that." I was determined. I was like committed to it, to this idea of prayer throughout each contraction. And it was such a beautiful experience. You guys, every time a contraction came, I would quickly think of someone who I would want to pray for my family, friends, really random things that, I kinda just like allowed the Lord to bring to my mind in that moment, whatever he wanted me to pray for. And so I would pray from the beginning of the contraction, throughout to the end. And not only was it a good distraction from the pain, but what a cool experience to use that opportunity to draw closer to the Lord and to lift up others. Like it was just, I recommend that for anyone going through labor. It was so beautiful.[Aaron] Yeah, it was actually beautiful to watch because you told me you're like, I'm using contractions to pray. And I was like, "Oh, that's awesome."[Jennifer] Yeah. What was actually even crazier was there was this one contraction that I was determined to pray for kids who during specifically this pandemic and stay having stay at home orders who have experienced abuse at home. And I had seen something on social media, maybe Facebook about this. And I hadn't thought about it before then. And so it stood out to me. And so, the contraction started and I started praying for these kids who are at home and possibly experiencing abuse. And as I was praying, you guys, the contractions started building up and becoming more intense and more painful. And it hadn't been like this in all the other contractions and it lasted the longest. And I just kept praying for these children. And by the end of it, I remember telling you, Aaron, that I felt like the Lord was showing me like almost like in relation to their pain, how bad my contraction was. It was kind of really interesting, but my heart just broke for that.[Aaron] Yeah, I think I remember you were crying a little bit in that one.[Jennifer] So, anyways, if you guys are pregnant or if you are gonna have a baby and you're thinking about contracting. I don't know, just remember this, pray, use that time to pray for other people. It's really cool.[Aaron] It's a similar experience to fasting. Like the point of fasting is when the hunger pains come on. When your flesh wants to be fed or to be consoled, we pray. It's the trigger point to pray. I wanted to just bring up a verse real quick, just talking about this whole experience because we have so many plans in life, we have this, we set in our mind how we want something to happen, how we want something to go. I mean, I don't think it was in anyone's mind that the world was going to change the way it's changing, but guess what? It changed. And things are changing every day. And, Proverbs 19:21 says, Many are the plans in the mind of a man but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. And so it's awesome. I mean, in this situation, we got circular, whatever your purposes, we want that to stand. We'd get, of course we have plans. We're going to make plans, there's many of them. But are we gonna be irritated when our plans get foiled? When our plans don't come true and we get blinded to see like, well, what is God doing? Like, God apparently wants something else to be happening right now. That's contrary to my own plans. And so when we can say, "Okay, Lord, like yes, we've made plans, "but what we want more is your purposes to be, to stand."[Jennifer] That's really good.[Aaron] So that's kind of what we saw happening here. And there's other things that God had in store for this, but I just wanted to point everyone back to God's purposes.[Jennifer] Awesome. So as my contractions progressed, they got a little bit closer together and, but nothing really was like showing us that delivery was soon. So this was probably around nap time. So I remember Aaron coming in the bedroom after he laid the kids down and, you just started praying for me and you weren't telling God what to do because we don't do that. But you were like, let's get the show on the road. I want to meet my daughter. And you were really excited for things too.[Aaron] Well, I remember you told me, like, you're not, you don't know why it's slowed down. You're like, I feel like we were getting somewhere. Cause we were, it was getting, they were getting closer and closer and closer and consistent. And then it was like, they just totally like tapered off and slowed down. They were still there, but, and you were just like, I don't know. And I was like, "Well, let's pray about it."[Jennifer] Yeah, and it was kind of a sporadic day, like a very, like when I think about my other four and I even told the midwives this, when I first met them that with my other four kids, once contraction started, they would-They don't stop.[ Jennifer] they don't stop and they just keep going. And then I have the baby and they're generally short labors and this was not like that. This was just different and-[Aaron] Maybe being home made you much more relaxed.[Jennifer] I don't know. I don't know what it was, but I do think this, something that was on my mind. And I remember sharing this with you after you prayed for me, was that I love end times, when we think about Christ return and all of that, and there's a verse, people probably know what I'm referring to, but it's in Matthew 24. And one of the disciples asked when the end of the age is going to come and Jesus goes off explaining the Wars and rumors of Wars and famines and all these things that are hard. And then at the very end, he said, all of these are, but the beginning of the birth pains. So they're like contractions and-[Aaron] He points out the world chaos as contractions, just like in labor.[Jennifer] Yeah, until the delivery of our King.[Aaron] Which showed off light and distant and they get more and more aggressive and closer together.[Jennifer] But sometimes they also slow down. It's kind of like, we get these moments of peace and everything's great. And everything in the world seems to be going fine. And then you get this really big contraction or you get this really painful one, or you get this really long one. And you're like, "Wow, this is not stopping." And so I felt like the Lord kind of gave me this picture with what I was physically and experiencing and enduring, with how sporadic the day was with my contractions and showing him a picture of the world and saying, sometimes it feels like you're about to have that baby. And then it slows down and stops. And there's this rest period.[Aaron] Well, and I wanna expound on that encouragement a little bit, because I think as the church at large, would it be valuable for us to continue to remember that we do have? The Lord is returning. And the things that he's shown us in scripture, like what we see going on in the world, the Wars, the rumors of Wars, the pestilence, the massive earthquakes, the volcanoes, all these things, like everything. Like the chaos in the world, there birth pains. And so it could look scary, but for the believer for the one who has our faith in Christ.[Jennifer] We know it's to come.[Aaron] There's something good coming on the other end. The Bible says, that in birth, the woman is in pain, but once the baby comes, she's forgotten the pain. And the point is of course you don't forget the pain, but the thing that you've been waiting for and going through the pain for is now here.[Jennifer] I think there's a version of the Bible that says that she's in anguish. Is not even just pain. It's like emotional and physical and it's draining.[Aaron] So church believers, we can look at the world and these things that we see going on the world shouldn't cause fear in us, it should bring us hope. And that's what even Jesus has. He says, I tell you these things that you might have hope because when we see these things, as the believer, we know what they mean. Just like when I see my wife going into contractions, I don't think, what's happening? I think, "Oh man, the more painful "and the more close these get together, "the sooner I'm gonna meet my daughter." And so even though it's painful and it's a struggle and it's a trial, it's temporary. And we even know that Paul says, "I know that our current struggles "are nothing to be compared with the coming glory." So I just want to encourage you believers out there that, the Bible, Jesus and the Bible gives us this idea of birth pains for a reason, because the example we get in birth of the contraction starting far apart, we get to look at the things going on the world and say, wow, the more that we see these, the closer they get together, it should turn our eyes up to look for our savior.[Jennifer] Yup. That's good. So, I feel like right after you prayed over me during that nap time, the Lord must have heard because things started picking up-[Aaron] Pretty quick.[Jennifer] pretty quickly. The contractions started getting closer together, more painful and just really the signs of labor were just all converging. And what was really cool was Olive's home. And so she got to participate. I remember so many times-[Aaron] Another benefit of having the baby at home.[Jennifer] Yeah, our four year old little daughter, almost five, was so thrilled to be able to participate in it. And she would, I would be on that big, the big bouncing ball, through contractions and she'd be sitting in front of me on my bed and she'd reach out and put her hand on my leg and encourage me. She'd rub my arms.[Aaron] Shoulders.[Jennifer] She'd look up at me and she go, "Mom, you can do this." Or she'd caught pretty much copy Aaron, anything that Aaron did, she'd do five minutes later. So she'd say, mom, she'd see a contraction coming. She goes, "Mom, just breathe." And then she breath with me-[Aaron] Yeah cause I kept reminding you like breathe, open your mouth.[Jennifer] Yeah, so that was really sweet. There was a handful of time. She prayed for me.[Aaron] What was that thing she told you? There was a moment as you got closer and you were just like, I think you said, I can't do this. Or I don't think I could do this. That's what it was. I don't think I could do this. What did she say?[Jennifer] She said, "You could do it, mom." I don't remember.[Aaron] It was really powerful. She was like, "You can do it mom. "And actually you have to do it the baby is coming."[Jennifer] Yeah. She's serious.[Aaron] She was good.[Jennifer] She's so funny, but such an encourager. And actually now she would love to be a midwife when she grows up after realizing what they do, handling mamas and babies all day.[Aaron] She wasn't freaked out by any of it.[Jennifer] No, she was such so strong. So yeah, things started picking up and I knew I was getting closer. So we called the midwife to come check on us and my friend Angie, who was going to be present at the birth. And another thing that I wanted to share with you guys is one of my desires from the beginning of this pregnancy was-[Aaron] Plans.[Jennifer] I mean, yeah. Was to praise my baby out. And I know it sounds kind of weird, but I've heard other phrases of like breathing the baby out or just letting your body kind of push the baby out. But my heart was that I would worship God throughout the whole experience. And I wanted to be like highly aware that I was able to do this during labor and delivery. And not only did Olive remind me to be singing very loudly because she was doing that. We had a specific playlist that we were playing and the songs like Waymaker and I Will Wait For You by Shane and Shane, like just some really great songs.[Aaron] Did you have in Christ alone in there?[Jennifer] In Christ alone, it was my Anthem throughout pregnancy. I just, I played that song every day. I just, I love that song and it was actually the song she was born too, which is really cool.[Aaron] It came on, and then-[Jennifer] She came.she came.[Jennifer] It was so cool you guys. And also Angie, cause I have a really close relationship with her. She knew this was a desire of mine. And towards the end specifically, I remember hearing her voice saying, "Jen remember to praise," like remember to sing, remember to worship and as hard as it was because I was giving birth and it's hard to even breathe at that time to be able to sing. It was like, my flesh was like, I don't want to do that right now. And then I heard the words of the song playing and I would just jump in and start singing. It was such a cool experience.[Aaron] I think you were singing it while you were pushing her out. Like it was that-[Jennifer] I was saying, "God you're good, " I feel so good."[Aaron] Yeah, it was pretty powerful and what's awesome is, another one of your plans and your heart's desire was to be like ministering and you wanted your labor to be a witness and a blessing to the nurses at the hospital.[Jennifer] I was just gonna say to the nurses at the hospital, it was one of my prayers throughout the pregnancy. I was praying for their hearts. I was praying for whoever was present at the birth to see God in it, whether it was in our relationship and the way we were interacting or in the actual birth. But my heart was that God would use this labor and delivery in a purposeful way in the hearts of those who were experiencing it alongside me, but what I didn't know was, I had been praying for the nurses and doctors. And then at the last minute we changed to a home birth.[Aaron] But God knew.[Jennifer] But God knew who was going to be there.[Aaron] And I remember that, I mean, you're singing worship songs. You're like are just the way we were interacting was really peaceful, really strong, really calm. And with our daughter there and just, I feel like the whole experience was very worshipful. It was really peaceful, really cool. And I know that it impacted the midwives that were there.[Jennifer] I hope so.[Aaron] First of all, they were awesome.[Jennifer] They were amazing.[Aaron] Really quiet, really calm like just really in control.[Jennifer] But also attentative.[Aaron] And attentative, yeah. And I remember afterwards, one of the midwives was saying, what did she say? We are truly honored to be a part of this. It almost looked like she's gonna cry. I don't know if she was or not, but it looked like they were truly like blessed if anything, by your labor, babe, like you did such a good job.[Jennifer] I praise God.[Aaron] Yeah it was awesome.[Jennifer] So little Edith joined us at five on the dot.[Aaron] Five o'clock yeah.[Jennifer] 5:00 PM on her due date with bright copper red hair. It's so beautiful.[Aaron] Yeah, we're praying really hard right now. And if you want to pray with us that she keeps that hair.[Jennifer] Oh, it's okay. It's just, all of our kids are blonde, so I'm assuming it'll change, but it's such a sweet color, especially in the side.[Aaron] Olive came out with really dark hair.[Jennifer] Yeah, it wasn't as red, but it was-[Aaron] It wasn't as red, Wyatt came out with like a-[Jennifer] Well, he was bald and so it was Truett.[Aaron] But its cute when it grew and it was a little red.[Jennifer] It was like a strawberry blonde. He's still kind strawberry blonde.[Aaron] But she is like, you were looking at it right now. It's super, she's super red.[Jennifer] She's sleeping. So anyways, all to say this, you guys, it was a really neat experience to be able to have a peaceful home birth. I thank the Lord that my past pregnancies and history was there. They were fine. And there was no interventions or-[Aaron] No complicated ones.[Jennifer] Yeah, there was no complications or anything like that. And that the Lord gave me the confidence to be able to say yes to this and that we were able to lean on each other, Aaron, to be able to do that.[Aaron] Do you feel like it was what God wanted?[Jennifer] I do. I feel like he had a plan from the beginning that he just didn't reveal to me until the end. Maybe he knew that's what I needed. I don't know.[Aaron] And we have no idea what God's doing in the hearts of those ladies that were with us and we need to keep praying for them because we don't know where they're at.[Jennifer] Or a daughter.[Aaron] Or a daughter. Yeah, But I mean-[Jennifer] I mean we know what's going-[Aaron] She's gonna become a midwife nurse.[Jennifer] She had all kinds of questions afterwards, but she just, she was thrilled to be able to participate in that way. I know it made her feel super special.[Aaron] So here's a question, probably all the pregnant ladies are thinking, would you do it again?[Jennifer] I remember texting a friend that later that night and she goes, so how was it? And I'm like, I'm a fan.[Aaron] Cause we have several people be like, "You can do this, you can do this." Cause we have a lot of friends that have done home births, almost all their kids, I think. And so they've been, they were really cheering you on another excited that you're like switched. And we know it's not for everybody.[Jennifer] But here, it's also something that I just keep telling myself as it's open. So like, even if we ever had another baby, I would be okay with having it in the hospital or at home. So it's just really submitting that to the Lord and saying, what do you want? This is for you.[Aaron] So babe I know there's probably a lot of women that are considering a home birth. If they've never had one before, how would you encourage someone who's already considering this?[Jennifer] Well for someone that's already considering it, I would just say again, pray about it and submit it to the Lord. Talk about it with your husband and do what research you need to do. All the questions that you might have surrounding it, go ask them, ask your friends, ask your care providers. Whoever's looking after you. But don't be afraid of it. I had a good friend tell me, like having a baby is not an emergency. It's a natural thing that God built our bodies to do.[Aaron] It's a good encouragement.[Jennifer] And we need to be able to trust that God's design works. Now there's a lot of cases out there where for whatever reason, someone needs to give birth in a hospital or someone needs an intervention and that's okay, too. So even for someone who's already planning a home birth or someone who desires a home birth, even they have to hold that birth plan loosely in their hands and submit it to the Lord and say, "God, what do you want from me?" And he might even change their plans to be a hospital birth. And I think the greatest thing is to just have peace no matter what that plan is and say, God, it's yours.[Aaron] Yeah, something I just want to remind everyone also is, and if you're not having caught it yet, we talk a lot about how our lives are to be ministry. It's not just like we have ministry over here. Like, "Oh, I work at this church "or I have this job over here. "That's some sort of ministry which no, those are bad." But when we realized that when Christ comes into us, when we have the Holy spirit, our life now is a ministry being poured out. We're being poured out into the world. We're lights set up on a hill. And so even in our home birth, we are doing ministry. Our life and the way we present ourselves and the way we react to each other and interact with each other and interact with the midwives and those around us is how the gospel is spread in the world. It's by our words and our actions, it's not by this thing set over here. And that happens once a week or every other week or once a month. It's everything we do. And if you're wondering what that looks like, ask God, say God, "How's my life? How is the things that we're pursuing, our labors, our work, our at home life, our schooling, our jobs, our everything? Our hobbies. How are we representing you everywhere we are? Because we are the body of Christ. Where we go, Christ goes. And so that's what we, our heart was for this labor. And it's what our heart is for this podcast, is what our heart is for our books, for our home, for our neighborhood. And so if you haven't thought that way, our parent hope is that your mind would be changed and that you would start to realize and recognize that every bit of your life is the Lords. And he desires it to be a offering to him. He desired, he calls us to be living sacrifices. And so, that's, what's amazing is we can be at home doing home birth, something that we don't need, didn't plan and say, "Okay, Lord, how are you gonna use this for you? "What do you want from us? "How can we participate in what you're doing "in the lives of those that are going to be here? "And also, what are you gonna do in us?" Cause there's a lot that God did in us, challenging us and changing our minds about things and showing us how to trust him more. So that was a little bit about our home birth story, which we think it's, God's story of course, all of our births. I wouldn't say this birth was any better than any of the other ones. Cause they all were amazing. I love meeting my children, but I did love a lot doing it at home. I really enjoyed it.[Jennifer] I really did too.[Aaron] So husbands out there, it was a pretty awesome experience if your wife is considering it, just know it's pretty awesome. You're home, it's more comfortable you're in your bed. If you have other children, they get to participate and see how it and know what's going on. And it was a really cool thing anyways. Yeah, that was our story, is there any last thing you wanna add?[Jennifer] I feel like, no, I think that what we shared was really cool and I'm, I just want everyone to hear me say that I love you and that I'm really proud of you. You're a really awesome support for me, especially during that time of labor and delivery and managing our other four kids during the whole thing. I just really love doing life with you and I'm excited that the podcast is back up and we're in season four. So I'm excited to be doing this with you.[Aaron] Awesome. Well, that was really nice. Thank you babe. I love you too and ditto and all of that. And bonus baby Edith this year and she is awesome.[Jennifer] She's doing really great.[Aaron] She's starting to smile and she's, I want her to cue a lot more, but she's just barely started.[Jennifer] She likes open's her mouth like she's gonna and then she just sit there and wait, she doesn't do it.[Aaron] She teases us, but she is so sweet. All right. We love you all. My hope that was an encouragement to you and a blessing. We're praying for you. We pray that God just moved mightily in your marriages and uses you for mighty things for his kingdom, wherever you're at. And during the season of chaos and craziness, just remember God's our peace and our hope.[Jennifer] And he is good.[Aaron] And he is good. And if you have been wavering in your faith in the Lord, I pray that you would just ran to him like, like you've never ran to him before and that you would surrender everything. He's the only thing worthy of giving your entire life to, and one day we're gonna be able to spend eternity with him.[Jennifer] One day soon.[Aaron] Birth pains.[Jennifer] Yeah.[Aaron] So-[Jennifer] We'll just pray through those contractions.[Aaron] As usual, Jennifer will you pray's out?[Jennifer] Dear father, you are the giver of life. Thank you for the gift of children. We pray we would have a deep understanding of children and we pray for a strong desire to bless the children in our lives. We pray, we would understand our purpose and role in raising children that know you. May our examples of life and marriage and everything show them the way that honors and glorifies you. Lord we also pray and ask for your peace to be in all of our hearts and in all of our homes, especially when the world seems to be lacking peace. Help us to be confident in trusting you for everything. In Jesus name. Amen.[Aaron] Amen. We love you all. If you haven't left us a review, would you take a moment and do that today? Those reviews help us rank in all the podcast apps and it also lets people know what the podcast is about and what other people think. If you have a lot to review, you are awesome. Thank you so much. Don't forget to get the, to take the challenge. It's parentingprayerchallenge.com. We talked about in the beginning of the show. We love you and we'll see you next week.[Aaron Voiceover] Did you enjoy today's show? if you did, it would mean the world to us if you could leave us a review on iTunes. Also, if you're interested, you can find many more encouraging stories and resources at marriageaftergod.com and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.
This Q and A topic is all about communication in marriage. Which we mention often in almost every episode because it is such a vital component of marriage. You have to talk to each other! We answer several questions that were submitted by our listeners. Please enjoy. Read Transcript[Aaron] Hey, we're Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God. [Jennifer] Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage. [Aaron] And today we're gonna answer your questions about communication in marriage. Welcome to the Marriage After God podcast, where we believe that marriage was meant for more than just happily ever after. [Jennifer] I'm Jennifer, also known as Unveiled Wife. [Aaron] And I'm Aaron, also known as Husband Revolution. [Jennifer] We have been married for over a decade. [Aaron] And so far we have four young children. [Jennifer] We have been doing marriage ministry online for over seven years through blogging and social media. [Aaron] With the desire to inspire couples to keep God at the center of their marriage, encouraging them to walk in faith every day. [Jennifer] We believe the Christian marriage should be an extraordinary one, full of life. [Aaron] Love. [Jennifer] And power. [Aaron] That can only be found by chasing after God. [Jennifer] Together. [Aaron] Thank you for joining us in this journey as we chase boldly after God's will for our life together. [Jennifer] This is Marriage After God. [Aaron] Hey everyone, welcome back to another episode of Marriage After God. It's actually the last episode of season three. So if you've been following along, we're gonna be taking a break, we're about to have a baby. If you've been listening to the last few episodes, you know that. And so, we're gonna have a little break. And then we're gonna come back in another season, in season four. We don't have a date for that yet, which is fine. [Jennifer] We'll let you guys know on social media. [Aaron] Yeah. And then, we'll do some new episodes. And so, just as a side note, if you have topic ideas for the new season, go ahead and shoot those in a message to us on Instagram at @marriageaftergod. But, today we're gonna be answering some questions from the audience, but before we get to the questions we like to talk about some things in life, but really, this first thing I wanna talk about is, I wanna encourage everyone listening today, because I know that there's a lot of fears, there's a lot of anxiety going around with the coronavirus, with things that are happening in the world, and I think some of them are legitimate things to be thinking about and considering. We wanna be wise people, that's what the Bible talks about. We don't wanna just pretend that none of this stuff's gonna affect us. But, my encouragement is to remind everyone listening that our trust is not in this world. Our trust is not in the vaccine that they might come out with. Our trust is not in the government. Our trust is not in the healthcare system. Our trust is not even our bodies. [Jennifer] Or money. [Aaron] Or money. The Bible is very clear where are trust lies, and that when we trust in anything other than God, other than His son Jesus, that trust is faulty, that hope is false, and we're actually insecure in those hopes. So I just wanted to point our hearts and our minds back to the Giver of Life. To the One that we look forward to, the One where our hope should lie, which is in Jesus Christ. Guys, one day we're gonna be with Him forever, and we're gonna have new bodies, we're gonna be healthy, He's gonna make the world right. All these things that are in the world, the destruction, the death, the injustices, the sickness, the pestilence, all those things are going to be made right. And so, once this thing passes, and whatever the damage is going to be, we don't know. But there's always gonna be something else. That's why our eyes need to be on Christ. And so I just hope that if you're having anxieties about this, the Bible tells us how to deal with our anxieties, it's to lift up our request to the Lord with thanksgiving, and to pray to Him. And He says He'll give us a peace that surpasses all understanding. And what I love about that is that our peace in God is completely standalone from everything in our life. That it doesn't matter what's going on in the world, it doesn't matter what's going on in our life, it doesn't matter about our circumstances. You could be like Paul, in prison and be praising God. You can be like Peter in prison, writing letters to the church. You could be in the midst of whatever it is that this world and that the enemy, or whatever it is, wants to throw at you, and you can have complete and perfect peace in Jesus. And so, I just wanted to quickly encourage everyone with that. [Jennifer] No, it was really good. I think that there is just a lot of attention specifically on the coronavirus. What I would say is, it is important to pay attention to what's going on in the world, current events and things like that, but-- [Aaron] Wisdom is good. [Jennifer] When we get those thoughts of fear, or anxiety, or frustration even, we need to remember that even in those times we need to submit those feelings to the Lord, and ask Him to guide us, to lead us, to give us wisdom on how to approach the situation and deal with it. And then remember that our bodies are gonna fail us. Our bodies are gonna get sick. There's gonna be, if it's not this thing, it's another thing, and so we just need to be able to trust the Lord that He knows what's gonna happen to us. He knows everything. [Aaron] He's knows all, He's omniscient. [Jennifer] So we can trust that. [Aaron] We can totally trust Him. And again, this isn't to say do not be wise, like we be wise, if we can make that take measures we do, but we have to remember that we could take every perfect measure, we could take every precaution, we can totally stock up what on whatever, just imagine it, whatever you think you could do to prepare, and your trust in that would still be faulty. Because none of that is actually secure. So, our trust is only good when it's in Christ. So, be prepared to the level that you can, and let the Lord have your fears and rest in Him. That's our encouragement. [Jennifer] Another thing that we wanted to share with you guys is just how incredibly blessed we feel for our relationship with Hobby Lobby. And, I don't know if you guys all know but they carry our books. [Aaron] Which was a total God thing, because there was no way that we were connected with them. I wasn't reaching out. We didn't reach out to them. They actually reached out to us and asked if they could carry our books, and I think it's so awesome. It's one of the cheapest places you can get our books. [Aaron] The cheapest place. [Jennifer] And, who doesn't love Hobby Lobby? I mean, just to be able to go there and peruse, and look at everything. [Aaron] People who've never been to one. [Jennifer] Well, if you haven't been to one, you should go check one out. I'm sure there's one near you. If you're near one, yeah. [Jennifer] But I just wanted to first give a shout out to Hobby Lobby and say thank you. Thank you for being someone who advocates for books like ours, and resources that point people back to God. And I also just wanna thank everyone who has been picking them up and buying them from Hobby Lobby, 'cause that keeps our relationship with them good. [Aaron] That reminds me, I love when people go into Hobby Lobby and they take a picture. And they #hobbylobbyfinds. So if you ever do that, we love to re-share those. So if you are in a Hobby Lobby and you pick up a copy of our books, please take a picture of it, and we'll probably re-share it on our Instagram. [Jennifer] Just make sure you tag us @marriageaftergod so that we see it. [Aaron] Exactly, 'cause if you don't tag us, we don't know. But yeah, so that's just a couple of things, just encouragement on the chaos in the world that had our peace. And then just, we're incredibly blessed and honored by Hobby Lobby and their partnership with us. That, to be honest, I don't think we deserve. I don't think we've, it's a God thing, that He set this up and we just wanna give Him the glory for that. [Jennifer] And if you're like me and you have been wanting to order our books, and you want it today, you can go pick one up today. You don't have to order it online and then wait for it. They have them in stock. And they're in every Hobby Lobby, which is amazing. So, it doesn't matter which one, unless they're out of stock. But they carry them everywhere. [Jennifer] Once I know what I want, it's so hard to wait when I do online shopping and stuff. I just wanna go get everything. [Aaron] But now Amazon has one day shipping, which is crazy. [Jennifer] I don't know how they do it. [Aaron] I don't either. But it gets here. Okay, so, one last thing, we have a another prayer challenge. I don't know if you've taken the marriage prayer challenge yet. Over 50,000 people have taken the marriage prayer challenge, which is incredible. So, we have this new challenge called the parenting prayer challenge, and it's a prayer challenge for you to pray for your son or your daughter, or both. Or all of them. Or all of them. Depending on how many kids you have. Yeah, all your kids. And it's completely free. Just got to parentingprayerchallenge.com and fill out the form and choose who you wanna pray for, and we'll start sending emails every day. [Jennifer] You guys might be wondering how it's set up because, obviously, they're not individualized prayers for you and your child, but they're prompts. So, it'll suggest pray for this specific thing, and then, as you're praying, you're making it personal because you know your family best. [Aaron] And it's a scheduled daily reminder. So you get this email, it says hey, you're gonna pray for your son right now, and here's what you should pray for. And it's not to replace your prayer life, it's to encourage it, inspire it, and give you a new outlook on your prayer life, and maybe expand upon it. One more time, it's parentingprayerchallenge.com to go sign up for the parenting prayer challenge. [Jennifer] All right so, this last episode of the season is a Q&A. We polled the community, the Marriage After God community, and Unveiled Wife and Husband Revolution, and we asked you guys to submit your questions, specifically about communication in marriage. And so, first of all, we just wanna thank everyone who sent us your questions. It's been cool to be able to poll the questions from the audience from Instagram, from you guys, and to answer them here. It makes me feel more connected and I love it. [Aaron] They often ask things that I'm not even thinking about. I'm like oh, that's a good question. So, it's really fun that we ask you guys. It also makes us feel like we're connected with you on another level. So, if you follow us on Instagram, that's usually where we poll our audience. You could follow @marriageaftergod, or @unveiledwife, or @husbandrevolution. We're gonna be doing Q&A's often, so if you see us pop a question and ask you to give us your questions, just submit them there, and we store them and we pick from them, and we try and answer them on here. [Jennifer] Yeah, and just let you guys know because of timing, we don't always get through every question, and so if you're listening and you're like, "I know I submitted a question "for communication in marriage," and we didn't answer it, please reach back out to us and just let us know, and maybe we can just answer it on Instagram for you. [Aaron] Or on the next time. [Jennifer] Or on the next Q&A. [Aaron] Cool. So, before we jump into the questions, why don't we just talk about some of the scriptures that, when I think about communication, these scriptures aren't just, they're not necessarily communication between a spouse. But it's-- [Jennifer] With each other. [Aaron] Yeah, it's with [Both] people. With one anothers in the church. [Jennifer] Very applicable to marriage. [Aaron] So I'm just gonna read through a handful of scriptures. [Jennifer] I'll read the first one 'cause it's shorter. You read the second one. [Aaron] All right. [Jennifer] Psalm 141:3 says, "Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; "keep watch over the door of my lips." [Aaron] Yeah, and I pulled some of these scriptures to just show what a biblical perspective over our mouth is. And the things that we say. In Matthew 12:33 Jesus is talking to the Pharisees, and He says this, "Either make a tree good and its fruit good, "or make a tree bad and its fruit bad. For the tree is known by its fruit." [Jennifer] Like we know a peach tree is a peach tree because it has peaches. [Aaron] Or it's one of those fruit salad trees. [Jennifer] Well, that would be confusing. [Aaron] Which totally ruins the analogy. But anyways, "You brood of Vipers, "how can you speak good when you are evil? "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. "The good person out of his good treasure "brings forth good, and the evil person of the evil treasure "brings forth evil. "I tell you, on the day of judgment, "people will give account "for every careless word they speak. "For by your words you will be justified, "and by your words you will be condemned." [Jennifer] So what you're saying is words are powerful? [Aaron] They matter, yeah. We need to know that, we can't, like this specifically, and we just talked about this, actually, the other day, we say something and then we say I'm just venting, or I'm just kidding. But in reality if, it's coming from somewhere, those words that we just conjured up out of our mouth. They came from somewhere, and so we need to be careful and aware, like wait, so I said this thing and I wanted to make it sound like it wasn't that bog of a deal, but why did I say that? Why did I say that about so and so? [Jennifer] If someone has self control of their tongue, and they think, they're about to say something, but they decide not to, which is good, I would say they still need to evaluate their heart and question why was that even on the tip of my tongue? [Aaron] Why did it come out so quickly? And often, I would imagine this is about people in our life, and then if we say something so quickly, even if it's to someone in confidence, and we think, wait, am I actually angry at this person, or am I actually annoyed by this person, or bothered, or judgmental or whatever? And we have to think about that 'cause sometimes that comes out of our mouth and it's not from a pure heart. [Jennifer] And I'll say this, words cut deep, and when, especially in marriage, you see that person, you just see their face and you're reminded of what they've said, either recently or years ago. And you can hear them saying it in your mind, over and over again. And so, I think we just need to be reminded that we have a huge responsibility with our words. [Aaron] The next verse is from James, but there's another verse in James that we didn't write down here, that talks about having control of your tongue, and how the tongue is a, it's a small member of a body, but it's actually like a flame that can start a fire. And you're in the members of your body. It's also talked about as a rudder, something that, you have a large ship that is controlled by such a little thing. The things we say actually matter to a point of it directing our lives. But it starts off with saying, if someone has complete control over their tongue, they're a perfect man. So, we all know that we don't have complete control over our tongue 'cause we're not Jesus. Jesus was perfect. And everything He said was controlled. [Jennifer] So, when we're not perfect, and we're not controlled, what's our response should be? [Aaron] Repentance. At least recognizing it and saying, whoa, what I said was off. [Jennifer] Apology, reconciliation. [Aaron] I know I can't put those words back. It's like toothpaste, it comes out, you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube. So James 1:19-20 says, "Know this my beloved brothers, "let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, "slow to anger, for the anger of man does not produce "the righteousness of God." So this is more a practical tip of, hey, to save yourself from saying something you don't mean, [Jennifer] Be slow. [Aaron] Be slower to say it, probably stop yourself. [Jennifer] I just wanna say, it also says be quick to hear. And I think, sometimes we wanna justify the things that we say. [Aaron] What? [Jennifer] We're not actually listening to how our words are affecting the other person, and so I think, I know you said this is practical, a really practical tip is just questioning, evaluating, making sure that you're being a good listener in your marriage. [Aaron] Listening to yourself, and listening to the person talking to you. [Jennifer] And to the Holy Spirit. [Aaron] Yeah, and to the Holy Spirit. [Jennifer] Okay, next one Proverbs 12:18, "There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, "but the tongue of the wise brings healing." [Aaron] Again, showing the power of our words towards others. [Jennifer] Such vivid imagery there. [Aaron] Here's one, Proverbs 18:2, "A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, "but only expresses his own opinion." So, we have to be careful about this, this is something I've struggled with in the past, my foolishness of just only interested in sharing my opinion. Like, oh, well let me tell you what I think, let me tell you what I think, rather than listening, rather than being thoughtful, rather than actually considering the other person. I've dealt with that for sure. [Jennifer] Another one is Proverbs 18:13, "If one gives an answer before He hears," again, going back to be a good listener. [Aaron] This ever happens to me, I don't do this. I do all the time. [Jennifer] "If one gives an answer before he hears, "it is his folly and shame." [Aaron] So, the next one, and the last one, which is by far not the last verse, 'cause there's tons of scripture that talks about how we communicate and the way we communicate. Proverbs 18:21, "Death and life "are in the power of the tongue, "and those who love it will eat its fruits." So, understanding that our tongues are powerful. If we love the power of our tongue, we're going to eat the fruits of it. Meaning, if we want to share our thoughts, and we're totally fine with just speaking things, we need to be able to be aware that those words are ours, and we have to own them. [Jennifer] All right, so that was just a little foundational prep for communication in marriage, just looking at a biblical way to communicate with your spouse. [Aaron] And get a perspective on how we use our words. [Jennifer] 'Cause honestly, no matter what question we answer, that was probably the most important that you hear today. [Aaron] Yeah, the scripture. Not our words, the Bible's words. Always. So, question one from the community says, how do you two come together and talk about your dreams as a couple and as a family? [Jennifer] Oh cool, I like that it's as a couple and as a family. Which we do talk about, dreaming together, in "Marriage After God", and I just love that chapter. Just because it's something that Aaron and I have found a lot of joy in. [Aaron] It's fun. [Jennifer] It's fun. And what we do is, we look at our life and we say, okay God, what do you wanna do with us? And we get to talk about it. [Aaron] How would you say, how have we been doing it over the last few years? [Jennifer] So, our biggest, probably dreaming session, as a couple happens at the end of the year, and we take time to go over what did that last year look like? What's still on our plate? And what things do we wanna try and accomplish in that next year? And it takes a good three hours or more to get through. [Aaron] But they're fun. [Jennifer] Just because it's a lot, but it's so fun, and we do it over dinner. And then we have checkups throughout the year, when things change, circumstances change, or goals change, or we accomplish things sooner than later. So, we just check in with each other throughout the year. [Aaron] Or we're in the middle of a goal, accomplishing a goal, and we evaluate, is this what we really want? Now that we're in the middle of this thing, which we've done. [Jennifer] I will say this, our dreams don't come from nowhere. Well, for one thing, there's seeds planted by God that we feel really strongly about that God gives us these desires that we have. But we also, what we call the tool belt, our marriage tool belt, we look at what we have, and we go from there. [Aaron] Yeah, and it's not like, we talk about this in the book a lot more, the practical side of it. We're not just throwing out, and casting a line out as far as possibly, and trying to see what we can grab. We look at what God is doing in our life, what we've already accomplished, in Christ, of course. [Jennifer] It's like we take that next step. [Aaron] And we say okay, if we have any money, we say okay, how do You want us to use this money? Our home, our cars, our business? And then we even talk about things that we would love to explore and pursue. And we hold all of it loosely, pretty much usually, right? [Jennifer] Yeah. 'Cause there's nothing we can guarantee. [Jennifer] Another fun way to do this is, on those smaller check ins or smaller dreaming sessions, when we like to talk about it, we like to go on a drive, let's say like a 40 minute drive. It's super fun. We're both buckled in. Can't leave the conversation. And we just talk about it there. But, I love doing this and I think that, over the years, Aaron, wouldn't you agree, that it's something that's been cultivated in our marriage because of our intentionality? It's not really something that is just gonna happen on its own, but it's also something that, I don't know, we put the time in to do it. [Aaron] Well, I'll say this, and this would be my one tip in this section, is yes, it needs to be scheduled. So, you and your spouse need to say, we are going to do this, and we're gonna do it on this date. So it's on the calendar. And then the other part is, setting actual goals, writing them down. So, for us, you may not be us, you're goals are gonna look different. Maybe they'll be the same, but, we'll say we want to have this book self published, or traditionally published next year or this year. Or, usually, the traditionally published is a little bit more out of our control. But, self publishing, we wanna have this book published by this date. And then that one goal gives us a whole list of tasks that need to be accomplished before, for that goal to happen. And so, setting that goal and giving it a realistic time frame, and writing it down on paper, and verbalizing it out loud. [Jennifer] The success rate is so much higher. [Aaron] Oh yeah. [Jennifer] Let's use finances. If we had a goal for finances and we just talked about it-- [Aaron] We wanna save $1000. [Jennifer] By next week, we would have forgotten what the plan was. So it's like, oh yeah, we talked about that, I think. So, when you go to write something down, I feel like it's super helpful. [Aaron] The finances is actually a good one. I would imagine almost everyone has some sort of financial goals. Maybe getting out of debt, or saving for a vacation, or pay for college, or who knows what it is? And so, setting the goal, a realistic goal, the thing that you know you can attain, and you can come up with those strategies of, we're going to save $10 a month, or $100 a month, or we're not going to buy this thing every week. When you do that, and you say it out loud, there's now accountability as well. So, something comes up and you could spend the money on it, and you both look at each other and be like, are we willing to cast out that goal we set four months ago? No? Then we have to say no to this. Even though it's difficult. And so now you both are on the same page. And man, that actually feels like victorious. You're like wow, we just said no to something that we really wanted, because there's this better thing down the road that we're saving for. So, I would say set those goals, put them on paper, say them out loud, put them on the refrigerator, put them on a chalkboard, make them visible. And it's true, your success rate exponentially grows. [Jennifer] Again, I really like the second part of this question 'cause they also wanna know how do you do it as a family? So, you have kids involved. I'd say, as our family, Aaron, you are really good about leading our kids through these things, and prompting their hearts, and preparing their hearts. [Aaron] Well, thank you. [Jennifer] And just asking them really good questions. Our children are still pretty young, so we don't download every dream or goal to them. We don't feel the need to explain everything, but as we talk about dreaming together, and as we set goals we do keep the impact it will have on our family in mind. [Aaron] Well, always, yeah. [Jennifer] And so, we share it with our kids, and we'll talk about it, and we'll invite them to participate in the ways that they can. [Aaron] And I would say, because we have this pattern of setting goals and dreaming together, we teach our kids how to do it. So, I'll tell my son, and he's drawing, and he might get to a point of not wanting to complete the thing he's creating. And then I'll tell him, I'll be like, hey, do you wanna be a really good artist one day? And he'll be like, "Yeah." I'll be like well, the way people become really good artists is a lot of practice. I said, so I know that it's difficult to finish this, or you wanna move on to the next thing, and I totally get that because you're excited but, there's a lot of value in you sitting and finishing this and coloring it, and you'll see a completed work. So, that's a little way of teaching my son on how to set a goal. [Jennifer] And that's really good, what I would call that is casting vision, 'cause you're showing him what the future would look like, but what it requires, and I think the same exact thing is important for marriage that both the husband and wife are reminding each other constantly. Because this whole episode is about communication, our words matter. We need to be encouraging each other. We need to be reminding each other, hey, remember we set this goal, hey, remember, this was our strategy, hey, this is what's gonna happen once we meet it, and encourage each other and stimulate each others hearts toward those those goals in that way. [Aaron] I totally agree. That's good. Let's move on to the second question, how do you gracefully bring up subjects that have been touchy in the past? You don't, you just skip over them, you just ignore it. I'm just kidding. No, this is a hard one 'cause sometimes you can't avoid the sensitivity of it, in some scenarios. [Jennifer] I think it's good to be sensitive to it. [Aaron] What I'm saying is not that we be just harsh, or cold about it. I'm just saying you could come, I would imagine that there's some conversations that you can come perfectly gentle, with the best intentions, with the best words, and it will still be a hard conversation. That your spouse still may take it very personally. So I would say you come cautiously, you come patiently. And I would say the number one thing is make sure your heart's right. Is your intention because you're just bothered and you want this thing to change and there they go again? Is that your heart, or is your heart that you actually care that they're growing, they're changing, they're following through with their own words, because of their integrity, 'cause you love them, and you wanna see the mature? So, if your heart is a selfish one, like, I'm gonna go deal with this because I'm offended, which doesn't mean you're not allowed to have offenses. We have to deal with our offenses. But, if it's a conversation from the past, we have a lot of these, about specific things in our life, and some things are little, and some things are big things. I would say, don't avoid them, but make sure that our hearts are right, and make sure that the intention is for actual growth and maturity in your spouse, or for healing. Do you have any tips on that? [Jennifer] Yeah, I was just gonna say that, when I go into conversations like this, I genuinely desire a good conversation about it. And, I think the most important thing that we could do, knowing that it's been touchy in the past, is pray for each other before we even get to the conversation. So, praying that I have the right heart, bringing it to the table, if I'm the one bringing it, and praying that I share in a respectful way, with the right words, words that will bring you understanding, but I also pray for your heart that, if there is sensitivity or anything like that, that you would be able to respond in an understanding way as well. That we're able to come together and have a good conversation about it. And I think that doing it with God at the center is the most important thing that we could do. [Aaron] The tip for the person having the topic brought up to is humbleness. And also, being aware of defensiveness. I do this. I get defensive, we just had a conversation and I was defensive. And you called me, and you're like, "Why are you being defensive about this?" Often, defensiveness is self preservation. It's selfish, often. And so, if we're defending ourselves, then we're not in unity, and we're also not being humble. [Jennifer] You're also not being quick to hear. [Aaron] And I'm also not being quick to hear. Thank you for reminding me of that. [Jennifer] I don't know if this helps practically but, when we go into conversations like this, I'll usually say something to Aaron like, hey, I really wanna share something with you, but, just so you know, my intention's not to upset you, or point the finger at you. It's just something that I've realized or recognized recently that I wanna talk about. Is that okay? Making sure that there's a place and a space for that conversation. You don't wanna just bring it up when you're at the dinner table, or you're walking into-- [Aaron] Right here on the podcast. Actually, I've been wanting to bring up to-- [Jennifer] No. [Aaron] Not on the podcast. [Jennifer] No. [Aaron] And then, one last note on this. I think we can get in a pattern sometimes. Some relationships are special in this way, but I think a lot of us can, in some way, have this pattern of bringing up everything. And not overlooking certain things. There's this one thing that we actually, it's not that big of a deal, but I just have to bring it up every single time 'cause I don't wanna have to deal with it ever again. And so I think, truly internally evaluating, is the thing I wanna bring up, is it a thing that needs to be brought up? Or is it something that I can actually just let go? The Bible tells us that love covers a multitude of sins. So not that we overlook sin and pretend sin doesn't exist, but if I said something one time, we're talking and I said something and you're like, "Well that was rude." But you know I didn't mean it, it doesn't need to be brought up, in that one scenario. Now, if it's a pattern, like I'm always rude, that's one thing, but if I said something, and you think, "He must've not meant that." Or, the way they are with something. Sometimes it just needs to be let go. [Jennifer] And I wanna speak to the other side, if your spouse is coming to you with something, I was gonna say something of importance, but, no matter when your spouse comes to you, how would you answer this question, does your spouse feel like they're walking on eggshells around you? Does it feel like you're here, there's a layer of eggshell around you, and they can't come that close to you? Does that make sense? [Aaron] Yeah. So I think it's important for both sides that people listening can evaluate, okay, am I being aware of what I'm bringing up, and is it necessary? And then, how are my responses towards my spouse? Am I someone who gets defensive? Am I being selfish? [Aaron] Am I being critical? Like I'm just over-critiquing my spouse. [Jennifer] Yeah, and so I think that's it's important to think about are we setting ourselves up for putting eggshells down to where no one wants to come close to us and ask us those hard things. [Aaron] And I think a good remedy for this, specifically, 'cause we're not tryna say, don't have conversations that need to happen. What we're talking about is evaluation and discernment. Is the thing that I want to bring up something that should be brought up? So my solution to that is, when you wanna bring something up, first evaluate in yourself if the thing that you're seeing or wanting to talk about in your spouse, is something that you deal with, but maybe in a different way. Because often, we're very keen to sin or issues in other people's lives that we ourselves deal with. Someone's always late to something for you and it bothers you. And then you realize that you're always late for something else. But you don't think about it. So, ask yourself, is this something that I deal with? And truly ask yourself, because if you care about it in them, you should care about it in yourself 'cause want to. So, just a little tip. [Jennifer] It's good. All right, question number three is, how do you talk to your spouse when they are distracted by their phone? Can we just skip this one? Just kidding. [Aaron] Again, I never do this. [Jennifer] Okay, repeat that for everyone to just take a minute and hear. [Aaron] How do you talk to your spouse when they are distracted by their phone? You can't. [Jennifer] We have struggled with this so much you guys. [Aaron] Before there was phones, there was TV. If you're ever sitting next to me and I'm looking at a TV, I'm not even watching what's on the TV, everything's shut off in my brain. Which is why we don't have a TV 'cause I would just sit there and I'd be gone for hours. [Jennifer] This is true, but, what I was gonna say is, before phones there was an iPod. And I remember when the first iPod came out and we were dating. [Aaron] And it only did one thing. [Jennifer] I know, one thing. And I'm sitting at a restaurant, next to you, and you've got the wire from the cord in your ear, both ears, and you're scrolling through music on your iPod. [Aaron] Now, to my defense, I had just got it. [Jennifer] You were so excited about it. [Aaron] Yeah, I was excited about it. [Jennifer] But here's the point, we do get distracted, and it's a real thing, and I think it's important to talk about. [Aaron] Yeah, I would say, and Jennifer, you've gotten good at this, Aaron, I'm tryna talk to you, can you put your phone down please? Because I didn't even know you were talking to me, and you've been talking to me. And I'm on my phone. Which we have whole episode on phones and boundaries, which is something we're constantly working on. But being free to say that, say hey, can you put your phone away? I wanna chat with you. And you've also gotten good at voicing to me how it makes you feel. You're talking to me and I-- [Jennifer] Mid-sentence you'll pull it out. [Aaron] And then I'm on my phone. Maybe it buzzed or something, and I'm on it. Or, we're talking about something, and it's something that I need to do, and so I go to do it while you're talking to me. [Jennifer] Yeah, oh gosh. [Aaron] You're like, can you-- [Jennifer] Can you wait 'til I'm done? [Aaron] Do that after we're done? I know that you're excited to do that. Yes, it's mostly on my side, sorry. I would say yeah, just get really good at voicing it, hey, can you put your phone away so we can have a chat? I know that's distracting. You're gonna get on it afterwards, but, so we're not distracted, let's put our phones away. But, be willing to receive it on both sides. 'Cause we're cellphone generation. [Jennifer] I was gonna say, I think it's important to have patience with each other because, yes, we are a part of a generation that uses technology on a daily basis. This is such a hard one because it's not just you, Aaron, it happens to both of us. But being aware and allowing your spouse to help you be aware, so not getting defensive when they say something about you being distracted on your phone. I don't know. [Aaron] A little side note about cellphones, something fun that we've done in our community for a long time, I don't know if I started it or someone else did, someone must've started it, but if see someone on their phone and they're spending time with you, just lean over and be like, hey, who you hanging out with? [Jennifer] It's kinda mean and sarcastic but. [Aaron] What's powerful about it is, oh, I'm hanging out with people on my phone, not the people that I'm actually hanging out with. But that's has nothing to do with someone distracted by their phone. If you're distracted, you just gotta ask, hey, this is an important conversation, or I wanna tell you something, can you put your phone away for just a second so we can chat? [Jennifer] I will say this, Aaron, you have been making it a point this last year to leave your phone in the car, especially-- [Aaron] On Sundays. [Jennifer] On Sundays, so that we are not distracted during fellowship time. You leave it out in the living room at bedtime, so you're not constantly scrolling in the bed. On date nights, you tend to leave it in the car. [Aaron] What I'm tryna to do is just, because I know how prone I am to just pick it up when it's near me, I'm tryna find ways of getting it away from me. Which I wish that I could do more. [Jennifer] We've also had some pretty deep encounters with our kids, where they recognize that we're on our phones in front of them, and I think we've shared this on the podcast before, but just realizing how it impacts our relationship with them as well. [Aaron] I think that's an adequate answer for now. [Jennifer] Which is, what is the solution here? [Aaron] Tell them. [Jennifer] Tell them. [Aaron] Can you please put it down so we can chat? [Jennifer] Hey, just so you know, it hurts my feelings when I'm talking to you and you're looking at your phone. Oh also, I gotta mention this, if you're in the middle of a really heavy conversation, and there's no resolve yet, but there's been silence for a while, don't just jump on the phone, that hurts so bad. Just-- [Aaron] Remain in the situation. [Jennifer] Remain in the situation, remain in the silence until it gets figured out. And if it doesn't get figured out, communicate that with each other say, hey, we're just gonna put this on pause until we can figure it out, and then move on. But don't do it without that communication. [Aaron] That's a very good point. [Jennifer] Okay, number four. [Aaron] As a wife, how do you teach yourself to respond, ask, speak respectfully to your husband? [Jennifer] So I guess I have to answer that? [Aaron] Well, it's not for me. [Jennifer] Okay, so first you have to know what respect is. I remember back when we were first going to a marriage ministry, probably in third, fourth year of our marriage, and there was a group of young wives that I was friends with, and we're hanging out one night, and I remember asking them how would you define respect? I don't remember really growing up understanding. I kinda knew it what respect was, and I could get by with a makeshift definition, but I didn't actually know what it looked like in marriage. And they didn't either. It was like they looked at me like why would you even ask that question? [Aaron] Why're you even bringing that word up in our midst? [Jennifer] And I'm just sharing that because I do think it's important to know what respect is. So Google says respect is a feeling of deep admiration for someone. So, if you want to teach yourself to respond respectfully, you should know why you respect your spouse, right? [Aaron] Right. [Jennifer] You should know why you deeply admire them. 'Cause that's what's gonna fuel you or propel you to respond that way. [Aaron] Do you think a wife can respond respectfully to husband who is not respectable. [Jennifer] That's a really hard question, and I don't feel comfortable answering it for every single person, 'cause I don't know every single situation, but I would say this as an encouragement, that there are some things that you can find to admire about a person. [Aaron] The thought I had, and I was thinking about, not a spouse, how should we respond to a stranger that we know nothing about? With honor, with respect, with kindness, right? So my point was, I think, that in pretty much most situations, on the individual level of a person who loves the Lord, we can find, even if it's not for the husband's sake, or the spouse's sake, out of my respect and love for the Lord, I'm going to speak to this person the way Christ speaks to me. [Jennifer] That's a better answer than I gave. [Aaron] I think you were being careful. I don't think your answer was bad. That's what I was thinking about is, regardless if they find something respectable, 'cause a lot of people might struggle with that, I don't respect my husband, therefore I'm gonna talk-- [Jennifer] I'm not gonna, and then that becomes a justification. [Aaron] And on both sides, I don't respect my wife because of this, this and this, therefore I'm going to, rather than treating them the way Christ wants you to treat them. [Jennifer] That's good. Well, I think that we can, just as you're talking about we can be respectful, and it's not contingent on other people. We can be respectful in our communication towards others, towards our spouse, and like you said, out of that love and admiration for the Lord. I love that. And that that will influence our relationship. My admiration for you has grown over the years. [Aaron] Totally, and vice versa. And I would say also, none of this subtracts from the kinds of things we get to say. If you need to tell someone, which you told me before about my sin in my life, what it was doing to God, what the reality of it was, but you said it so respectfully, so honoringly. And the Bible says to speak the truth in love. It doesn't say don't speak the truth because you want them to not feel bad. You can still say really difficult things to someone in a loving, respectful way. So that's just a thought I had. [Jennifer] Just to clarify too, the question was how do you teach yourself to respond, and ask, and speak respectfully? I would say the one word that comes to mind is practice. That's probably what I should have just started with. But practice. As you practice this, and as you walk in it, it will become more natural for you to respond respectfully. [Aaron] That's good. And remember who you're doing it for. It's not necessarily your spouse, it's for God, because you love the Lord. Yeah, that's good. And it goes for the husbands too. The answer is the same. Okay, so number five says, what do you do when one spouse gets tired of talking and stops listening, and refuses to respond, or to keep the conversation going? This is like that situation, we're having, it's a difficult conversation, maybe it's a frustrating conversation, maybe it's just another one of those conversations that we've had 20 times. Well, first of all, you can't control your spouse, just, I think, the quick answer is that you can't control me-- [Jennifer] You can't force them to give you an answer or or to-- [Aaron] You can lovingly say hey, it's really hurting me that you're refusing to finish this. Is there a better way we can finish it later maybe? Or can we finish it now? I would say also, being understanding in the situation of how the conversation's going. Often, these kinds of conversations are the ones that are, both spouses are at each other, both spouses are annoyed, both spouses are selfish. [Jennifer] Both probably need some humility. [Aaron] Yeah. I would say just, sometimes maybe you just need to step back and pray for your spouse and say hey, I get that you probably aren't interested right now, but we need to have this conversation. Can we do it another time? [Jennifer] I know some things that I like to do with you is, hey, I get that were not in agreement on this, can we just pray about it and close with prayer, and ask God to reveal things to you over the course of however many days, or until you talk about it again. [Aaron] And I would also say, for the one who's wanting to continue in the conversation, so one's checking out, and the one's like hey, we're not done. Maybe ask yourself, are you elongating because you haven't gotten retribution yet, or are you wanting this to keep going because you haven't convinced them yet of your side? Are you wanting to, discern and spiritually evaluate if you're wanting the right thing? Are you wanting reconciliation or you wanting to be right? Are you wanting unity or you waiting for them to yield? And this goes for the husband or the wife. And so, ask yourself, are they checking out because they're not getting to where I want them to be? And that's why I keep going. Rather than hey, are we gonna find a solution, a unifying solution? Are we gonna find reconciliation, are we gonna find a place that we're back in the right relationship with each other? Rather than I'm getting my way and they've come to my side? [Jennifer] That's good. I know I keep going back to prayer, but if your spouse is getting tired of the conversation and refusing to continue it, pray for their heart. Pray that the Lord would minister to them, and transform them, and bring resolve through them, because ultimately, it's the Holy Spirit, right, that does it. Mm hmm, amen. [Jennifer] Okay, moving on to number six. How do you overcome the fear of vulnerability? That's a really big question, but it can be simplified. [Aaron] I think it has to be. Well, first of all, most people are afraid of being vulnerable. [Jennifer] I would say everybody is. Vulnerability isn't something that's like, yeah, let's be vulnerable. It's hard. [Aaron] It's spiritual nakedness. It's showing what's on the inside, and often we don't like what's on the inside. And so I would say, you said earlier, practice. But really, asking the Spirit of God. Say God, transform me in this because, it was other people's vulnerability with us that freed us to be more vulnerable. [Jennifer] It gave us the courage. [Aaron] So yeah, if you're struggling with this, just pray and say Lord-First of all, regardless if you never reveal anything about yourself, we all know who we are. We are wretched. We are sinners who need a Savior, who need His righteousness, who need His power to transform us. And so, just recognizing that and say, okay Lord, humble me, and help me be open so that you can A, change me, the things that I'm afraid of, the things that I don't like, the ickiness, the grossness inside me, but also use that vulnerableness, use that transparency to free others, to heal others. Not because of me, but because of You, Lord. I don't know, that's my idea. [Jennifer] I think a big thing that I learned through being vulnerable in marriage, is having this resolve to understand that love requires risk in making yourself known. So, what I mean by that is, in order for me to know that my husband loves me, like actual me, not someone who's pretending over here is-- [Aaron] Not what you show me. [Jennifer] You have to know me, so I have to reveal it to you, and that requires risk. Because that means I'm gonna share something with you, and then you get to respond. So there's a risk involved, and that's what makes it hard. But I'd say, like you said, practice is really good, and then I was just gonna plug the Unveiled Wife here, because if you wanna get to know someone who wasn't vulnerable, and then was extremely vulnerable, not just with you, Aaron, but with the whole world by writing a book about it. [Aaron] It was a big deal for us. [Jennifer] The Unveiled Wife is my journey of learning vulnerability in marriage and with God. [Aaron] That was good. So, question number seven, we have been married over a decade and feel like we lost things to talk about. [Jennifer] Aah. So, I would say, Find things to talk about. [Jennifer] I would say start learning again. So, Aaron has this really great quality about him where, when he gets excited about something, he just starts learning about it, I don't know. [Aaron] I research. [Jennifer] Yeah, you have this research brain where you just, you get hooked on something. Even with the kids, like when it comes to Legos, it's like, oh Elliot, I figured out this new thing. You're even learning the Rubik's Cube, okay. You been researching. I have been. [Jennifer] Watching YouTube videos, and you been sharing it with me. So you'll sit down on the couch with me and be like, "Babe, look at this," what do you call it? Algorithm. Algorithm. And you do this twist thing and I'm not following, but I'm just smiling 'cause my husband loves to share this with me. [Aaron] And then you see it working and you're like, "How'd you do that?" [Jennifer] Yeah, it's pretty awesome. So start learning something again that you can share with them. It could be anything. And then talk about it with them. [Aaron] And to be honest, if you've lost things to talk about, I don't know this person. I don't know their life. But if you guys are in a place, if you're in a place that you have nothing to talk about, first of all, that's not true. There's never nothing to talk about. There's never nothing to explore with each other, and to walk with in each other. There's, at minimum, there's tons of challenges in life to have to navigate. [Jennifer] So you're saying they're choosing not to share things? [Aaron] Yeah, I would say, I don't think it's possible to have nothing to talk about. [Jennifer] Especially if you have children. If you have children, you have a lot to talk about. [Aaron] Well, and the other thing is, is if we're pursuing God together, if we're looking to what He's doing, He's going to reveal to you sin in your life, He's gonna give you jobs to do, like this idea of He's got work for us to do, good works that He's prepared for us since the foundations of the world, those things are remarkable, meaning that they are able to be remarked about. There's something to be talked about. And so, I think that if there's nothing to talk about, there's potentially, maybe your minds aren't on heavenly things. Maybe your minds are an earthly things, and worry, and things that you're not looking up. [Jennifer] Or maybe there's sin your guys's life that you've been avoiding confronting because-- [Aaron] Mm hmm, sin keeps us in darkness. So I would just challenge you, if you think there's nothing to talk about, I would start praying and say Lord, what's in my life, what's in our life that is keeping us from each other? Keeping us silent, keeping us in the darkness, keeping us from moving forward and being excited about life? Guys, if you're believers, we have the greatest hope, everyone in the world, the greatest hope is for the believer. That's remarkable. That's something to talk about, forever. We're going to do it in Heaven. We're gonna be worshiping the Lord, forever in Heaven. So, if we've lost that excitement now, we gotta ask ourselves why? What's taking it away? Where have we misplaced that? [Jennifer] Now simply, if you're just bored, and you've forgotten how to communicate with each other, and ask each other good questions, I have to let that we have a freebie for you called Date Night Conversation Starters, and you can take these out on your next date, or just hanging out in the house, and use one of those to prompt a question and get started talking. [Aaron] Start asking questions to each other. You can go to datenightconversations.com. Was that prompted, was that planned? [Jennifer] I just thought about it. [Aaron] These are some good things to think about. [Jennifer] Okay, we're gonna get through these next ones fairly quickly, just for times sake, but, how do you get an introvert to communicate? Here, let me change it, Aaron, how did you get me to communicate in marriage? 'Cause I'm an introvert. Keep asking you questions. Never give up. Do it gently with love. The goal is not to ever change someone, the goal's to engage, and the goal is to encourage, and exhort, and to lift up, and to love, and to strengthen. Remember, you're one, and God's given you unique characteristics for a reason. So, they're not things to be bothered by or hated, they might be things that need to be grown in. Just because, quote unquote, I'm an introvert, doesn't mean that quote unquote, you need to stay an introvert. [Jennifer] Don't label yourself that way. [Aaron] You can grow. You never know, what God wants to grow you into, and transform you into. So don't just say well, this is what I am, and therefore that's what I am. [Jennifer] I'll say this, over the years, Aaron, your affirmation and encouragement has really gone a long way in that, you ask me a question, and maybe I'll answer it very quickly or short, or maybe not at all. And you say, just so you know, I want to hear from you. That affirmation, hearing that over and over again, reminds my heart, my mind, he really does just wanna know. [Aaron] And then, one last little thing I would say, recognizing and cultivating the differences in your spouse will make them feel loved and makes your spouse more able to communicate in those times that they can't-So, if they're introverted, recognize that in your spouse in saying, hey, why don't you get some time alone, when you go be with the Lord, I'll take care of the family, I'll take care of the kids, or whatever. And that let's them know that you appreciate them, and their differences, their uniqueness, and you're excited about it. You're like, how can you use that in a good way, so that in those times that it's necessary, you're not allowed to just retreat into your title, into your whatever. They they know that you love them, and that you're saying hey, I know this is hard for you, but we do need to deal with this. [Jennifer] Yeah, that's really good. Okay, so the next one says, how do you stay in touch with your spouse when your husband works two jobs and you're a stay at home mom? I'm just gonna answer this one really quickly for what comes to my mind is get creative, text them, send love letters, make a journal where you guys can pass it back and forth, putting things on the schedule and protecting that time, even if you're super tired or there's other circumstances going on. I would say that those are some practical ways that I would answer that. And I'm sorry, that's such a hard question to try and answer, but the communication is still a priority. [Aaron] I would say if it's a priority, we'll do it. And we have a brother in our church that leaves real early in the morning, comes back real late, and he just he works a long job, and he records videos of him reading the Bible, and asking questions and sends them to his kids. So even though he can't be home, when he has the break, when he has the time, he make sure to, everyday, send them something to lead them and disciple them. So, father's who have these jobs, if you're listening to this, and maybe you're on the road right now, don't use your absence as an excuse to not disciple and lead your children and family. There's ways to do it, especially in this day and age, man, we have technology. You could FaceTime every day, there's ways to do it. So I just wanna encourage you that, get creative like my wife said, find ways of connecting with your spouse and your children regularly, to show them that you're there. Because even though you can't physically be there, you can spiritually. [Jennifer] Cool. Okay, we got two questions left. The next one is, how do you handle conflict when you are very irritated? Which happens to all of us, right? No one's immune to irritability or irritation. But the verse that I thought of was Psalm 4:4, it says, "Be angry and do not sin. "Ponder in your own hearts, on your beds and be silent." [Aaron] And that's a good point is, when you're frustrated, make sure that, again, you're coming with the right heart. So, you've dealt with your frustrations with the Lord first. Doesn't mean you don't say something about it, and you don't address it. [Jennifer] It's that being slow to speak. [Aaron] And then also, maybe wait. Wait for when you've cooled down. That's always a good posture to take. Right, so the last question we got for you guys is, what are important questions you need to ask your spouse every week? Aah. [Jennifer] Okay, so we don't ask each other the same questions every week, but, we do have a standard of questions that we lean on when we want to know each other more, Aaron. And it's stuff like hey, how's your heart? Or hey, what are you thinking about? Or hey, what's God been teaching you? What are you gonna be working on today? Or what do you need help? [Aaron] Or what are you reading in the Bible? These are interesting questions that help, if the other person maybe hasn't been, they say oh, well nothing. I'm gonna get into the Word, right? So they're encouraging. And if they are, you can start a conversation with them about what they're learning for the purpose of growth. And we have some friends, really good friends, Jeremy and Audrey Roloff, they actually have a resource called the Marriage Journal. And it's an awesome resource. They actually have, it's a weekly check up for your marriage. [Jennifer] There're actually specific questions that you ask every week. [Aaron] And they draw you closer to your spouse, they help you get to know each other. It also helps you stay on track with each other. So, if you're asking this question, if you're out there thinking yeah, what should we be asking ourselves? It's called the Marriage Journal by Jeremy and Audrey Roloff. You should go check that out, it's an awesome resource, we totally support them, we totally love them. And it can totally help you in growing in your marriage. So, we love you all, and we thank you for joining us on this last episode of the season. If you haven't checked out the other episodes from this season, please go do that while we're on this little break. And also, check out last episode because we have a giveaway going right now. And it goes only until April 10th, so go check out our last episode and find out how that giveaway is gonna work. But, as usual, we pray before we sign out. [Jennifer] Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of marriage. We pray we would be husbands and wives who are willing to communicate with each other in a respectful way. We pray we would have the courage to say the hard things in love. We pray we would be good listeners, and truly hear what our spouse is sharing with us. We pray to share our heart with one another, always. We pray that your Holy Spirit would infuse our speech and open our ears, so that we can hear. Help our minds to understand each other, and to extend grace to each other. We pray the posture of our hearts would be humble. We pray we would strive to make marriage a safe place to communicate, and not a scary one. Help us to work through our marriage issues, and the things that we're experiencing to gain knowledge of each other and of You. Help us to grow in how we walk, and may it be in a worthy manner as we navigate life together. In Jesus Name. [Aaron] Amen. We love you all. And we'll see you next season. Did you enjoy today's show? If you did, it would mean the world to us if you could leave us a review on iTunes. Also, if you're interested, you can find many more encouraging stories and resources at marriageaftergod.com, and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage. 
We are hosting a giveaway at the beginning of this episode!!! Listen to find out how to enter :)FREE DOWNLOAD: datenightideas.comIn this episode, we have a fun conversation about the experience Moses had with the Lord and the burning bush. Reading the Old Testament and the many miraculous things God has done over history is a powerful way to see who God is and His plan for redemption even from the beginning. 
Our physical health and learning how to take care of our bodies have played a large role in our growth of the years. In the beginning of our marriage, we dealt with sexual issues and after 4 and a half years living with those problems we finally discovered what we believe was a major contributor to those problems. We began replacing our toxic products with non-toxic products and almost immediately found healing in the area of intimacy. We have had many people over the years ask what kinds of products we use now and so in this episode we share a little of our journey and the products we like to use. Pleas enjoy! PRAYERDear Lord,Thank you for our bodies. We pray we would be good stewards of our bodies and consider all that goes on them and in them. We pray we would be willing to take the time and research the items we use on a daily basis, using things that help us and not hurt us. Lord, we ask that you would give us wisdom as we navigate living a healthy lifestyle. Help us to make good choices and be on the same page in marriage so that we can enjoy the benefits of living toxic-free. Please help us not to be overwhelmed by the process of learning, but rather, help us to be humble and willing to learn so that we can choose what is healthy for us and be advocates of healthy living for the sake of others. We pray living healthy would not become an idol in our lives and would not hinder any of our relationships. May we be people who don't just consume, but who are about our bodies and take care of them.In Jesus’ name, Amen! Some things mention this episode. http://Parentingprayerchallenge.comhttps://shop.marriageaftergod.com/products/the-unveiled-wife-embracing-intimacy-with-god-and-your-husband-by-jennifer-smithhttps://ENG.orghttps://unveiledwife.com/oils/https://norwex.bizDr. Bronner’s - https://amzn.to/2vRCQ91https://www.bendsoap.com/Native Deodorant - https://amzn.to/2VXpWkzBert's Bees - https://amzn.to/3cPJkpNBurt's Bees 100% Natural Moisturizing Lipstick - https://amzn.to/3aKRNs7Ancient Minerals Magnesium Lotion - https://amzn.to/2TQu6YT READ TRANSCRIPT[Aaron] Hey, we're Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God. [Jennifer] Helpin' you cultivate an extraordinary marriage. [Aaron] And today, we're gonna share with you our favorite non-toxic products. 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-- [Aaron] Love. [Jennifer] and power, [Aaron] That can only be found by chasing after God. [Jennifer] Together. [Aaron] Thank you for joining us in this journey as we chase boldly, after God's will of our life together. [Jennifer] This is Marriage After God. [Jennifer] Welcome back everyone to another episode of Marriage After God. We are happy to have ya, and today we are just going to share some, it's kinda like a funner episode, where we're gonna share, not just our non-toxic products, but why we choose those, and part of our story. [Aaron] Yeah, and well, we've had a lot of people over the years, kind of, 'cause we've talked about our journey with health, and we talk about products we use, and you have people often asking, "Well, what do you use?" [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] And so-- [Jennifer] A large portion of my first book, "The Unveiled Wife," you know, talked about our journey, you know, figuring some stuff out, and so, we'll probably start there. [Aaron] Yeah, but it'll be fun. We believe that it's good to have a healthy life, I mean, everything we talk about it spiritual, but there's something to be said about, taking care of our bodies, and being careful with what we're putting on, being thoughtful, we even talk about, yeah, we talk about this often in our books, we talk about it in our life. We actually try and live it also, doesn't mean we're perfectly healthy in every aspect, but what's been awesome about it also is, we actually have less stuff, which is cool. So we'll talk about that a little bit too. So first, before we get into that, why don't you give a little update on baby Edith? [Jennifer] Yeah, is everyone as anxious as I am to meet her? I'm-- [Aaron] Some people are probably like, "They're having another baby?" [Jennifer] I know, [Aaron] Yes we are, number five. [Jennifer] Yep, I'm 38 weeks, and just starting to feel like way more ready and prepared, mentally, [Aaron] Some of that pre-labor stuff [Jennifer] Yep, and my body, but also, just in our home, I feel like, we are all kind of getting to that transition point where, I don't know, we're just, we're just ready. [Aaron] So I'll say this, if you don't hear of any more podcasts coming out, after this one, it's because we had the baby. [Jennifer] But, I haven't ever gone that early, so-- [Aaron] Yeah, you-- [Jennifer] I don't know. [Aaron] We're usually like, I should say, you're usually right on the dot. [Jennifer] I will say this, usually nesting kicks in, and I you know, look forward to, just utilizing that energy, that extra energy to clean the house, and get every nook and cranny, and this time I didn't get that way at all. I had to like, really rely on the Lord, and just um-- [Aaron] Well I'll say this, I think you did have the desire to nest, but you didn't have the energy this time. [Jennifer] Yeah, I had the desire for sure. [Aaron] You're like, "I just can't get up off the couch, "I just, I don't feel like I," So, there was all these things that you wanted to do, but it took a lot of my helping, it took a lot of like, extra stuff that you didn't have-- [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] and so, but that's just unique for this time. [Jennifer] But we got some stuff checked off our to-do list this weekend and now I feel ready. So thank you Aaron, thank you for your help with that. Yeah well, I'm sure we'll have a little bit more stuff before the baby comes. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] Gettin' the house ready, just gettin' some things off of our plates, so that we can enjoy little baby Edith, [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] when she's here. [Jennifer] What I did do, was I got through Olive's old clothes, and got like a drawer ready for her, and all of her clothes are ready, so, [Aaron] Oh, we also moved all of, 'cause right now we have all of Truitt's clothes, in our bedroom, like right below the changing station, so that we can like change him, and put clothes there, but we moved those. Now he's got his clothes in the boys' room. [Jennifer] Yeah, [Aaron] I'm imagining, we're probably gonna move him into the boys' room soon, right? [Jennifer] Soon, yeah. [Aaron] And then he's gonna be one of the big boys. [Jennifer] Uh? [Aaron] I know [Jennifer] Everyone's growing up too fast. [Aaron] Who in the world? [Jennifer] Elliot feels like he's seven feet tall. Doesn't he feel so big? [Aaron] Yeah, he's gonna be a tall one. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] But it's awesome, seeing them grow, we were just talking tonight about if we would have had children earlier, which kinda goes into a little bit into our story, but if we would have started, day one, we'd have a 13 year old. [Jennifer] Yeah, just recognizing, how long we've been married and-- [Aaron] And we probably have 13 kids. So, [Jennifer] At our rate. [Aaron] Yeah at our our rate, yeah. Hey, I just wanted to also bring up something that I've been doing lately, and maybe you can chime in on this, Jennifer, as well, but for the men listening, something I've been trying to do, I know not everyone has our situation. We totally understand that. We get that. But Jennifer and I both, I would say I work the majority of the time, it used to be much more equal, but as we've had more kids, Jennifer's desires, and our desires has changed to, you spending a lot more time homeschooling, [Jennifer] My work just looks different [Aaron] Totally looks different, but the idea is that we're keeping things going, but what I've been doing lately, is letting you have Fridays to yourself, often that's so you can get, you know, the work that you need to get done, done. But sometimes it's just to go. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] To get into the Word. To meet with a lady [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] From the church. To just have time to yourself, or a little bit of both, like you get some work done in the morning, and then you have like a hair appointment, or you have a meeting with a friend, [Jennifer] Yeah, I try and use that time to schedule appointments-- [Aaron] Yeah. [Jennifer] But um, I will say this, I've really enjoyed it, and it's been super beneficial in a lot of ways, but I also recognize that change is coming, with having the baby and post-partum, and all that. So it'll be something that we reevaluate, come very quickly. [Aaron] Right 'cause we go through seasons, and ebbs and flows, and we have to adjust our schedules and our way of living to the situations in life. But, I just wanna encourage the men out there, that even if you're not in a situation, where maybe your wife works with you, or works at home, or maybe, I don't know, like your situations are gonna look differently. The idea is being intentional, to let your wife know that, especially if she doesn't have like, a regular nine-to-five job if she is at home with the kids, if you have a similar situation in that aspect, is giving them time. It may not be every week, maybe it can't be every week, but if it's once a month, if it's every other week, if it's for a couple hours, there's times like, "Hey why don't you, "I got the kids you get out of here--" [Jennifer] And maybe it can't be during the day, but it's at night or, if it can't be during the week, it's you know Saturday morning or something like that. [Aaron] Yeah, there's always going to be a way to just let your wife know that you're thinking about her time, and also, as men who are leading our wives, spiritually, giving them time specifically like, maybe it's at home like, "Hey, why don't you just go lock yourself in the bedroom? "Open up the Bible like, read, journal, "go take a bath, and listen to some worship music." Giving them time to themselves, time to recharge, regenerate. I know some women probably recharge around people, not alone, but, whatever it is, maybe they need to go be with some friends. Just, keeping that in your mind, something we've been practicing, like we said, it's a it's a seasonal thing. So it's not necessarily that it's always going to be this way, but currently Fridays have been your day, and you've been enjoying them, we've been slowing down on that with the baby coming. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] Also 'cause, you're having less energy, and you're like, "I just wanna be home." [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] But, it's been a cool thing. [Jennifer] I think it's a really good encouragement, and I think it's good for husbands to hear, that when it's even spontaneous, 'cause this was something that we kind of scheduled out, and looked at our situation, and said, "This needs to be happening." But even when it's at random, you know, spontaneous, it's a huge encouragement to the wife's heart to know that the husband is thinking of her like that. You've done that for me plenty of times over the years and so, I love that you're bringing this up. I think it's cool. [Aaron] So hope you're encouraged by that. One more thing before we get into our, our list of our favorite non-toxic products is, we just want to invite you to join the Parenting Prayer Challenge. We created this prayer challenge, it's very similar to the Marriage Prayer Challenge, where you get 30, 30 some-odd emails everyday, reminding you to pray for your children, and giving you a topic to pray for over them. and you can actually sign up for one for a son, or one for a daughter, or you can sign up for both, which is pretty awesome 'cause some of you probably have a son and a daughter, or just sons, or just daughters, or just one or the other, but you can go, you go to parentingprayerchallenge.com, all one word, and you sign up, it's completely free, and we just pray that God blesses you, and your prayer life for your children, because praying for your children is so important. Just like praying for your marriage. Just like praying for your brothers and sisters in Christ. Prayer is so important. God wants to be praying people, and so this is just a fun challenge. It's a way of being a catalyst for your prayer life, for your children. It's parentingprayerchallenge.com, it's completely free. [Jennifer] Okay, so for some of you listening you may have already read "The Unveiled Wife," if anything we talked about today, you know sparks interest and you haven't read that book yet, that was our first book that we came out with, you should go check it out, just because it shares more in depth of our journey, of kind of coming to this place of like, being aware of healthy living, and living a healthy lifestyle. But we're going to kind of summarize it. Just to kick off this episode, just so that you guys can, just get some background into Aaron and Jen. How about that? Okay. [Aaron] Let's see how quick we can make this summary. [Jennifer] Okay so I would say that when we first got married, Aaron, we didn't really, we didn't have a strong foundation of what it look like to live healthy. We grew up on fast food, and and home cook meals, but there was no, [Aaron] We didn't have an awareness of healthy living at all. [Jennifer] Yeah, and so we didn't really care about looking at ingredients on products, or you know reading the labels of things. I would say that you know I used all the all the really good smelling lotions and body washes, and if you didn't have more than three or four in your shower, it was like, "What are you doing?" You know, that type of thing. Fragrant candles, the kind of laundry detergent that you just never think about, you just use it because your parents used, or that's what so-and-so use. I remember using MAC makeup. This one, actually, I didn't really ever talk about this one, but this was one that affected me, in my teens because I was caking on the foundation, but I was using it to cover up acne, [Aaron] Which that made more acne. [Jennifer] Which made more acne. And I was actually allergic to something that was in it, and so I stopped using that, even probably around like 18. But anyways, the point that I'm getting at is that we didn't care about what was inside of these bottles that we were using to put on our skin, you know, the soap that we use, the body wash, the lip balms, the hairspray, we just consumed it. [Aaron] Not internally necessarily. [Aaron] We were consumers. We bought what we liked, we didn't have any consideration of what it was, and I actually think, back then, not very many people did. There was movements of it, but social media wasn't a huge thing back then, so not a lot of people were talking about it. Like news wasn't talking about it, like it was just, you got these products, and it wasn't until there was some sort of, big blow up or news story about something that people were aware of something, but I think with, now looking back, everyone is much more considerate about what's in products, people care about it, but back then we didn't have that experience. No one was telling us to, like, "Oh, do you know what those ingredients are?" Can you even understand what there, like, we just figured, like, "Oh, that's what they put in everything. [Jennifer] Yeah, and then, on the side of like, I'm not gonna go too much into this, but medicine, it was kind of just like, the Benadryl, Tylenol, like, whatever you could get over the counter type stuff. And I wasn't raised with a really big awareness of homeopathy, or how to, you know, use what you have at home. [Aaron] Right. [Jennifer] To help through sickness or things like that. Or to even just look at what's the root of the problem here? Of whatever symptoms you have. [Aaron] Or having an understanding of what those, why those symptoms exist. How fevers work, and how, like, why are you coughing, and sneezing, and these kinds of things. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] Rather than just, medicating the symptoms, which we're not totally against medication. [Jennifer] No, I'm just saying this is kind of like, where we came from. [Aaron] Yeah. [Jennifer] So we get married, and I, you know, it was just like a normal thing people talked about, to go on birth control, so I did that. 'Cause I thought that was-- [Aaron] It's what you do. You get married, [Jennifer] What we were supposed to do. [Aaron] birth control, wait. [Jennifer] Yeah, wait. And I only on it for about two to three months, and it like, drastically effected my body, and so that was the first thing that I noticed should go. And so we did that. But that was also in conjunction with trying to find a solution for what we were dealing with in our marriage, which started immediately-- [Aaron] Physically, yeah. [Jennifer] And for those of you who don't know, Aaron and I, we struggled with intimacy right off the bat, like, zero, none. [Aaron] Like sex, specifically we couldn't have sex. It was very painful for you, and we've talked about this in the past, there's a few episodes where we talked about our story, and in your book you talk about it, we talk about it in our new book, "Marriage After God." We talk about it so much because it was such a influential season in our life, and how it brought us to our knees before God. Because, it drew out of us, so much other sins, and frustrations, and bitterness, this situation we were going through. Which is often when we go through things that are hard. They often will draw out those negative things in us. Which is cool, because then God gets to deal with them. But that was, yeah, we didn't know it, you would go to see doctors, and they would say, "You're young." [Jennifer] "You're fine. [Aaron] "You're fine-- [Jennifer] "You're really great." [Aaron] "there's nothing wrong, "this should be working just fine." And then we'd go home and cry, because it's not fine, it doesn't work, nothing's changing, it hurts you. [Jennifer] Yeah, it was like at least if you told me that something was wrong, I can work with that. I can't work with nothing. But moving on, so year four of our marriage, we had a conversation with some friends, we were being really transparent and honest with them about our struggles, and they kind of like, I remember them sitting across from us, just looking super confused, like, "How-- [Aaron] Dumbfounded, or like, "Are you serious?" [Jennifer] "Yeah, is this really happening?" but she goes, the girl, she goes, "The only thing I can think of to help relate your story, "to someone else's that I heard is, "a friend of mine has PCOS, and she changed out all "of her products to be more organic, "and just cleaner, and three months later, "she ended up pregnant." Which people with PCOS, it's a hard thing to do, and they weren't even trying to get pregnant. She was just trying to heal some of her other symptoms. And we quickly disregarded that because we thought, "Well, we're not trying "to get pregnant, we're just trying to start off "with the first thing, which is-- [Aaron] Yeah, how do I have sex? [Jennifer] "sexual intimacy." And we didn't think about it again for about five, six months. And then what happened, Aaron you share. [Aaron] Well, I would just, it got worse of course, 'cause we're like, "There's like no hope, "like this in never gonna change." You know, it started off with a lot of hope, like, "Oh, it'll get better, it'll get, "but it can't possibly keep going the same way." And it just did, and you know, I'm praying through this, God was working in our marriage. There was a, if you read in our book, in both of our books, actually, there's this moment that God gets ahold of my heart, and just totally convicts me of my wrong heart, towards my wife. Not just over the situation about our sex, but about a lot of things. And it brought me to my knees, I repented, and I just said, "Lord, I'm gonna obey you. "I'm gonna walk with you, "and I'm gonna love my wife, "regardless of if I ever get what I think I deserve, "or whatever she owes me, or whatever. "I'm gonna love her. "The way you've called me to." And that was the beginning of a lot of transformations, in our marriage, in our life, and our being. But how, I don't know how, it was like. [Jennifer] It was shortly after-- [Aaron] It was like that weekend, maybe, [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] or the next weekend, or that week, 'cause it was at church that this you know revelation that God gave to me happened. And I'm in the shower, and I'm just praying, 'cause I'm still like, "God, there's gotta be something, "that's gonna fix this." 'Cause even though, I've totally committed my heart to say "I'm gonna love my wife," [Jennifer] You still wanted change-- [Aaron] I still want a change, right? But my heart was totally in a different place now. And I'm just praying, and I'm like. "Lord, what is it? "It's been since before we were married, "like this is, since we've been married, I mean, "and there's gotta be something." And I looked down in the shower actually, and there's a face wash in there, and I just immediately remembered this story about the PCOS, and the girl that got rid of her stuff, and I just asked myself, I was like, "Is it possible that there's something reacting "with my wife's body?" And then I started thinking like, "What has there been, that you've used, "ever since the beginning, of our marriage?" [Jennifer] 'Cause shampoo and conditioner changed out, body wash changed out, a lot things changed, in those four years, but my face wash was the one main thing that I always was consistent with. [Aaron] And so, I said, I just yelled from the shower, I remember like, "What have you been using "since before we were married?" And you were like, "My f-why?" You were like, confused. Anyways, I take the face wash out of the shower, and I hop onto our computer, and I just start researching every ingredient on the thing. And there was like, first of all, like, half the ingredients were, I went on this site, and it talks about the toxicity level, of ingredients, right? You type the ingredient in, and it just tells you what the level is. [Jennifer] Had you ever done anything like that before? [Aaron] Never, never done like that before. Didn't even know it existed, I had to Google, and I'm searching like, how do you figure out, I'm typing these, and then this site shows up. And like half the ingredients in this thing, were-- [Jennifer] It was EWG. [Aaron] Toxic. [Jennifer] EWG.com. [Aaron] EWG.com, I don't even know, is it still a thing? [Jennifer] I think so. [Aaron] Okay. So half the products were toxic at some level. And then there was several of the ingredients that had specific terms that it said it was, that the affect. Specifically the endocrine system in your body. Then I looked up, I was like, "What's the endocrine system? "I'll just start looking it up." I'm getting all technical, and we're not scientists, we're not biologists, we don't know, like, I'm not gonna try and diagnose people, but all I know is the Lord lead me to something. [Jennifer] We were putting pieces together. [Aaron] I started researching, and regardless if it has any effect, the fact that it had all these toxic chemicals, and I'm like, "Maybe she should, regardless, "she probably shouldn't be putting this on her body." and the endocrine system something that's, it's super important to the whole reproductive system. To the normal function of the woman's body. Like secretion of normal hormones, and I was like, "Dang, that sounds like a lot "of like the things that we deal with." And so it-- [Jennifer] The specific thing that you're talking about is parabens. [Aaron] Parabens, yeah. [Jennifer] So there's four, different types of parabens, in this specific face wash. [Aaron] Methyl, propyl, like all these different kinds. [Jennifer] And this was before parabens was a thing, [Aaron] Yeah, like no bottle said paraben-free, back then. [Jennifer] Nobody was talking about it yet, but it soon became a thing, shortly after that. [Aaron] A few years later. [Jennifer] I mean, I remember a few years later, you'd go into like, Ulta, or Sephora, and you'd start seeing, you know, makeup lines that say, paraben free this, paraben free that. [Aaron] Which is interesting because back then, no one cared. I should say no on knew. And then we're like researching this and finding this out, and I don't wanna say, like started move, we actually didn't start anything. Other people are already trying to get this moving, but because of social media things like that, that it exist. Things were a lot slower. I think things are way faster now. But I was just like, "Hey. "I want to be with you, physically." And in this is a big deal because Jennifer has been using this forever, she believed that without it, she was gonna have acne. And be, and feel ugly, or whatever it was, and I remember I was like, "Hey, would you get this up?" [Jennifer] I said no. [Aaron] And she was like "No!" And I'm like, "I'd rather you have acne and us be able "to be together, than you have clean skin, clear skin." [Jennifer] And then I was like, "Well maybe there's something, okay. "I'll just do it 'cause you asked me." [Aaron] So you did, you chose to put it away. And now, I'm sure everyone's thinking like, "Yeah, I'm gonna go use this to get my wife, "or get someone to stop doing something." But, I, my heart was not just to get her to stop using this. I actually had never thought about it until this moment, and I was just like, "Would you be willing to experiment with me?" Like, "Let's just delete this from your life." [Jennifer] Yeah, it was an experiment. And here's the thing you guys, three days later, three days later, I was at work and I remember just feeling different, and I called Aaron and I was like, "I don't get too excited but, I feel different, "and I wanted you to know that my body feels, "it feels like things are changing." And I feel like it was just like two more days after that that we had sex for what feels like the first time. [Aaron] Yeah, in four and a half years. [Jennifer] Like pain free. [Aaron] Pain free. Not just pain free, but like it was enjoyable. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] Like it was, like we were like, "Whoa. "Like that's what it's supposed to be like. [Jennifer] There was nothing else that was gonna convince me, that what we stumbled upon, was the thing. [Aaron] Right, and I would also say, we, God lead us a new place, in our hearts toward him. We had been repentant, of things that were going on, and I think that the Lord revealed thing to us, so I would say I definitely think that there is certain things are engaging, or interacting with your body. I mean we know over the years that you're sensitive to certain things, I'm sensitive to certain things. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] But I also think that the Lord, was like working in us. So I'm not trying to over-spiritualize it but, I don't wanna take away from what God was doing. [Jennifer] Sure. [Aaron] And he revealed this to us-- [Jennifer] Well and I think, he's the one that revealed this to us, and it was really awesome, and so the next step was, "I'm getting rid of all parabens." Like parabens became this like, [Aaron] We literally threw [Both] Everything, [Jennifer] And I am telling you guys, [Aaron] All of our shampoos, all of her makeup. [Jennifer] It was it! [Aaron] My makeup too. I'm just kiddin'. [Jennifer] It was in everything. It was in so much stuff. People will message me on Instagram, and they're like, "So you know, "You talked about parabens in the "Unveiled Wife," "and what kind of stuff did you have to look at?" It was like, [Aaron] Everything. [Jennifer] I tell 'em, "everything." And so what's funny is that, I look at our shower now from what it used to be, and it's like you had mentioned earlier, [Aaron] There's two things in there. [Jennifer] Yeah, which is one of the reasons why I wanted to do this episode. 'cause we just thought it'd be fun to share with you guys, some of the things that we use now, but this indecent, this thing that happened over something as small as face wash, is what stimulated our hearts to say, "Hey, what were putting in our bodies. "What we're putting on our bodies, "is important because it has an effect on us." [Aaron] And I mean it's definitely not our main focus, I mean everyone that listens to our podcast would know that this is not, we're not like a health and fitness-- [Jennifer] Freaks, [Aaron] Podcast. No, we just know, that there's a holistic view that God has of us. He wants us to love him with our minds, our souls, our bodies. Like so, when we look at the world it's not just, "Oh, we can be unwise over here, "as long as we're wise over here." we look at idea of, what we, we gotta be wise in every aspect. And we seek God on that. So what's wrong with just, caring about what goes on our body and in our body? Not out of a, like, not putting something on my body and not putting something in my body is not making me more holy. It's making me more healthy. [Jennifer] It's taking care of yourself. [Aaron] it's taking care of the body that God's given me. [Jennifer] Yeah, and I will say this, back then, it felt a little bit harder to know what to switch to, because-- [Aaron] Well, there was also less things, I think. [Jennifer] Less cleaner things available and so I just wanted to make that clear, that, you know, anyone who wanted to make a switch today, like if they want to go to their products or-- [Aaron] There's a million products now. [Jennifer] be more healthy in this way, there are so many good products out there and so, it's a lot easier, I would say. But another thing that triggered our healthy lifestyle, was doing the Sugar Busters diet, which we-- [Aaron] This was long time ago. [Jennifer] that was just a couple months, after all of this, and we made the commitment to do it together. We even took a class on it do you remember that? [Aaron] I do. [Jennifer] And they taught us how to read labels-- [Aaron] It was at the church. [Jennifer] Yeah, it was at our church. [Aaron] The church put this like health class on. It was cool. [Jennifer] Yeah so, it taught us how the read labels, and so I remember going grocery shopping with you, and we're looking at the back of like pasta sauce-- [Aaron] Well, everything we bought, had added sugar in it. Every single thing. [Jennifer] But we were like, amazed, we were like, "And this has it too!" [Aaron] I was like, "Bread doesn't have sugar in it." and every loaf of bread, was like, the second ingredient was sugar. And we're like, "Okay, what's going on here?" So anyways, [Jennifer] And then you had to go with a list of what are sugars called? because there's a lot of-- [Aaron] All the different names of sugar, yeah [Jennifer] Different names, for it. But that was another one, when we talk about eating, like that was what stimulated our healthy movement towards eating healthier and just buying things so that we're aware of what we're putting inside of our bodies. It doesn't mean we don't consume sugar, and we don't, you know, we'll have Chick-fil-A, we'll go out and-- [Aaron] No, but that education, the learning about how to read labels. What are ingredients, you know, how they order the ingredients, that's important, I can give a little tip on that. Even though we don't still do Sugar Busters, that month or how many? It was a couple months maybe. [Jennifer] It grew a muscle in us, We now, that's how we shop. When we go grocery shopping, of course there's gonna be stuff that we grab that has added sugars to it, but for the most part, we look at the ingredients in almost everything we buy. Everything, now especially with you, you need to be gluten-free. We look at, we actually buy less things that have wheat in it period, because of that, but it was a good tool in our tool belt, as we talk about in "Marriage After God," to just help us be healthier, help our kids be healthier. They enjoy things, here and there, we just had icecream tonight, so we're not like, sans sugar in our life, we're sans sugar all the time. [Jennifer] I was gonna say, we try and make the best opportunity, or we take every opportunity, when we can, to be healthy, eat healthy, and you know, choose the right thing, but it doesn't mean that we don't get, [Aaron] We also enjoy things. [Jennifer] Yeah, we also enjoy things, so, [Aaron] In moderation. [Jennifer] in moderation. That's good. [Aaron] So, Oh I wanna give that quick tip real quick, 'cause people are probably thinking like, "Well, what about the ingredients?" Just a quick tip on ingredients, the order of ingredients on the box, so like starting from the first, to the second, to the third, the higher up an ingredient is on the box, the more of that ingredient is in the product. So if sugar is in the top three ingredients, that means there's a lot of sugar in that item. So if wheat's the first or water, that's how they order the ingredients, based off of amount of ingredients. [Jennifer] So here's another one, it's really random, but I've been seeing a naturopath for my thyroid issues through this last year, and one of the things she asked me is if we use Weed and Feed. And I didn't even know, 'cause you usually do-- [Aaron] For the lawns? Yeah. [Jennifer] the lawns, yeah. And that was just one instance where she was like, "Well, instead of using that, "why don't you just pick the weeds?" like-- [Aaron] Or leave the weeds. [Jennifer] or leave the weeds. So there's a lots of things in our life that we can look at and evaluate, and say, "Oh, we should probably make change." It doesn't have to happen all at once, but it is something that we should be aware of, to go, "Hey what's happening to this exposure "that we're doing to our bodies. "And how can we maintain a healthy body?' [Aaron] And the Weed and Feed was important because was saying, "You guys walk on "that grass all the time." And like, it goes into your skin, and you're going to be affected by it. Because you're you're working with your thyroid and all of these things, effect that. Which is interesting because, we knew back then that you were probably sensitive to some stuff, and now we know now, you are definitely sensitive to things. Your body's gonna react, maybe differently than someone who, has normal functioning thyroid, or endocrine system or all that. [Jennifer] Right. Okay so, we we're just going to get into kind of a list of our non-toxic products because-- [Aaron] These are literally things that we use, pretty much on a regular basis. [Jennifer] Two reasons, one we just thought it would be fun to share these things, and if you guys you know want to know more, you can reach out to us on Instagram @marriage-- [Aaron] Reach out to Jennifer about the [Jennifer] I was going to say @marriageaftergod. [Aaron] Ah there ya go. [Jennifer] or @unveiledwife We also know that everyone's always looking for, you know, new things or ideas or inspiration so, we just hope that by sharing these, it's an encouragement to you, and give you some information. [Aaron] And I'll also let you guys know that we're not like necessarily sponsored by any of these people. We're just we're literally going to share with you guys the things that we love-- [Jennifer] Now I will say, [Aaron] and use. [Jennifer] that some of these things that I put on the list, and we've been using Young Living Essential Oils for [Aaron] Several years now. [Jennifer] about four or five years now. And we did just recently, just be more open to sharing the business side of things on social media. You may have seen that, maybe not. And so I know you said that we're not sponsored by this, but we,-- [Aaron] But we use it. [Jennifer] but we do use Young Living, and we do believe in what they have to offer, and and have really fallen in love with their products. So, I just wanted to put that out there, just so that people know and we're clear about that. [Aaron] We're not trying to be tricky or anything, we just, these are literally products we love and no one's asked us to share about them. Except for us, wanting to share about them. [Jennifer] Okay so when it comes to cleaning I really love the Thieves Spray, which in the beginning I was using wrong, because I didn't know it could be diluted. I literally would just put the spray cap-- [Aaron] And everything was just like slimy and had like, film all over the [Jennifer] Uh yeah, like a residue. [Aaron] We had residue everywhere. [Jennifer] On the countertops. [Aaron] Oh man, there was no germs I bet. [Jennifer] Ah, probably not. So the Thieves container comes, and then you dilute it, and it lasts a long time. But it smells really good, and I can use it for-- [Aaron] Everything. [Jennifer] I feel like every, one product, I feel like I can use for so much. [Aaron] And what's awesome is like, if you sprayed it on food by accident, I'm not saying you should eat it, but it's not going to be like spraying Lysol on something. Like you spray the table, you spray the the highchair, you spray, you're not worried about this, you know hurting your children. Which is awesome. It's an added benefit to this kind of cleaning product. [Jennifer] Another awesome cleaning product, is by a company called Norwex, it's really awesome you guys, they do these microfiber cloths, but they're like-- [Aaron] Aren't they infused with like silver? [Jennifer] Yeah, they're infused with silver, and they just, I don't know what about it is, but like, when you go to clean the stove, you barely have to even scrape, it's just like, [Aaron] Reusable [Jennifer] It like makes you want to clean. The window rag, you just you put water on it, and just wipe your window down, and they look crystal clear. I bought these mitts for the kids that have, they're just really easy slip-on gloves, but they're good for dusting, [Aaron] So that they can help clean? [Jennifer] So that they can help clean. Oh and our mop, I use the Norwex mop, and it's just really nice. It's good, I like it. I like their stuff. [Aaron] I wouldn't say those are necessarily, healthy products, they're just good products that we love using. [Jennifer] Oh yeah. [Aaron] On that specific one, [Jennifer] On the Norwex side of things. [Aaron] I did wanna go back, and just real quick, the Thieves Spray, we just talked about, I wanted to say it like it what it replaces. Because I think, as we go, we should just remind them, also, what it replaces like, it replaces Lysol spray, it replaces window spray, it replaces like toilet cleaner, it replaces all these things that you'd use to clean your countertops, or your floors, or your tables, or your, it does all of those things. [Jennifer] So for all you minimalists out there, [Aaron] You get one thing, and it does all. [Jennifer] It'll make your cleaning closet, or cupboard very pretty looking. [Aaron] It also smells really nice. [Jennifer] It does, that's true. For laundry, again that they sell Thieves Laundry Detergent and we've really liked that. And I just noticed that, there's a drastic difference when washing towels and washcloths. They're just so much cleaner. [Aaron] And they smell fresher, and they feel nicer. I've been really liking that, as well. This is this one's kind of like for me. So Jennifer, actually, doesn't use the the Thieves Laundry Soap for me, because I'm really sensitive, my skin, if we, if there's any laundry detergent that has any sort of dyes or perfumes or anything, I get like a rash, on my whole body. [Jennifer] If I even think about changing it, he breaks out-- [Aaron] Now, it happens, we've gone, we've stayed at hotels in the past, and I wake up in the morning and I'm just like red, and I go down and I'm like, "What are you guys washing your stuff with?" And they're like "We don't know, why?" And I'm like "I like I need something else." It's like horrible 'cause I'm like sleeping on these blankets and pillows, and so the only thing that we found work, we've actually tried venturing out, into other things, is the Arm & Hammer Sensitive Skin laundry detergent. [Jennifer] But it's fragrance-free, it's clear, [Aaron] Dye free. I'm sure it's got a couple of bad things in it, but literally, it's the only one that I've been able to use and not like break out in a rash on my body. But that comes in a huge bottle and we use it for me so. [Jennifer] Okay so earlier, we mentioned the shower, and just how the bathroom is much [Aaron] less cluttered, [Jennifer] Yeah, less cluttered. So we use dr. Bronner's for just about everything when it comes to washing our bodies. [Aaron] Body wash, shampoo, [Jennifer] I use it in the kids hair, I throw it in their bath and they have different scents, and they come in big bottles [Aaron] I like the rose scented one. [Jennifer] I will say this, the first couple times that we used it, do you remember how it felt like, really different, almost oily, but then once you got out of the shower it was like, [Aaron] Yeah, 'cause it doesn't suds the same way, as like a regular shampoo and also, you have to dilute it. And so you if you use too much, it's like everywhere but it comes off really easy. Doesn't leave any residue, but it's, we love it we use it for everything. Apparently you can use dr. Bronner's for like, laundry soap, [Jennifer] Yep. and dish washing soap [Jennifer] You can use it for a lot of stuff. [Aaron] We use it mainly in the shower, but yeah, you can [Jennifer] I use it for my face wash now, face and body wash, [Aaron] You can use it for everything. We wanna make a note that, the company that that owns dr. Bronner's, they write a bunch of weird stuff on the packaging so we're not necessarily endorsing what is written on the packaging, but we love the product. [Jennifer] When it comes to my like, lotions and things like that, Cetaphil is pretty bland, there's not very much stuff in it. I've used that for years now. I love the orange blossom and ART brand from Young Living when it comes to face moisturizer. The Genesis lotion is also really great, especially because, well, it smells clean and fresh, but it's not super fragrant. That one's good, just an overall lotion, I use that one for the kids. But also, Aaron, [Aaron] Yeah, there's a lotion that I, I hate lotions, like I don't like putting anything in my hands, even though, like right now, my hands are so dry because it's so dry out. But I hate feeling like greasy and the lotion I love the most is from Bend Soap Company, they're actually right here in our hometown. And they make this goat milk lotion, they make goat milk soap, they make a lot of really awesome things. So if you have really sensitive skin, like eczema, things like that, their soaps are amazing for it. That's actually why they started the company, 'cause one of their sons had issues with skin like that. [Jennifer] What I like is their milk bath, it comes in these like shavings, [Aaron] Oh yeah. [Jennifer] And it's just, you toss it in the bath with the kids, and it's just so fun. [Aaron] So just go check out Bend Soap Company, I can't remember the domain, but just Google Bend Soap Company. And their lotion, does not feel greasy. Once it's rubbed in, it's like, it smells nice, it feels great. [Jennifer] You don't have to go wash your hands [Aaron] It feels soft, yeah I don't have to wash my hands afterwards. [Jennifer] For toothpaste we do use Young Living. The Thieves whitening, specifically, is really good for us. And then we use it the kid's ones for the kids. But for the deodorant, this was a big one for me, because I feel like every time I try to use like, a natural deodorant, it just felt weird [Aaron] They don't work. [Jennifer] and didn't work [Jennifer] Yeah, but there's a new company out I'd say a fairly new. They're gaining ground, they're like in Target now, [Aaron] Yeah, they actually have some body washes now, I saw. [Jennifer] Oh really? [Aaron] Yeah, I almost bought a bottle of it. [Jennifer] Oh you should, I'll have to try it. [Aaron] But I like my Bronner's [Jennifer] I know. It's called Native. And they have great scents, it goes on smooth, almost silky like, and it works. Someone asked me, "Do you think it'll work during postpartum?" And I'm like, "That I haven't tried yet, "so we'll know this time around." But I've really really enjoyed Native. [Aaron] Yeah, it doesn't have the heavy metals, or nothin' in it, [Jennifer] Paraben-free [Aaron] So it won't necessarily protect you from perspiring, I should say. It's not an antiperspirant, it's a deodorant. So it protects from the smell, but-- [Jennifer] I don't, really notice-- [Aaron] Yeah, well, it's winter right now, so I don't know, sometimes. [Jennifer] I've been using it for a while though. [Aaron] But I like it a lot. It smells great, it feels good, and deodorant is another one that's really been a, hard one for me because, like, pretty much any deodorant I use, I used to use the Arm & Hammer deodorant, but that has some metals in it, and so I've since switched to Native, but Arm & Hammer and Native are the only ones that don't give me rashes on my arms. And they're painful, you've see them. [Jennifer] Yeah, [Aaron] Like, I they hurt. And I've loved their deodorants. [Jennifer] Another good product for chapstick, is Burt's Bees. [Aaron] Yeah that's good. Especially their vanilla brand, [Aaron] I think a lot of people are like, "yeah, I like that." Burt's Bees, they've been pretty synonymous for chapsticks. [Jennifer] That or coconut oil. Which coconut oil, you guys, you could used for literally everything. [Aaron] Yeah, we should do an episode on that. [Jennifer] Dry skin, lips-- [Aaron] intimacy, oh we're gonna talk about it. [Jennifer] Lubricancy, or, lubricancy? [Aaron] Lubricancy [Jennifer] Whatever that is. [Aaron] It's like, new word. [Jennifer] Okay before we get there, supplements, some things that I've been taking his last year, Nordic Naturals-- [Aaron] You've been, just real quick, you've been getting a lot, into the supplements, just because of your-- [Jennifer] Thyroid. [Aaron] your thyroid. So you've been learning a lot about these. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] Because we're, we're trying to avoid going with other stronger, methods, we're trying to do the natural way, [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] and you've been, pretty consistent with this. [Jennifer] Yeah, and just as a testament, after being on the supplements, I have actually, my numbers have gone down, and in my symptoms have pretty much dissipated, but I've also been pregnant the last nine months. [Aaron] Which does change things, yep. [Jennifer] So it does change things. But Nordic Naturals has a really great, strawberry flavored, omega-3. Which I love. And I've been taking-- [Aaron] So it doesn't just taste like fish? It tastes like strawberries? That's good. [Jennifer] Yeah. We've taking D3 a lot. Young Living has a great line of supplements that we use, like the vitamin C, the vitamin B, Multigreens, [Aaron] Yeah, I've been loving their Master Formula. It's like a pack of like five little supplements, and vitamin B, C, D3, all these different ones. I've been taking that, pretty much regularly, every day, I really enjoy that one. [Jennifer] Cool. Okay so for pregnancy and post-partum care, my friend recommended ancient magnesium lotion for restless legs, and it works. [Aaron] Do you get restless legs when you're pregnant? [Jennifer] Yeah, mostly towards the end, [Aaron] I'm being facetious, because I know. [Jennifer] I know, Aaron does the massaging, with the lotion, [Aaron] Yeah [Jennifer] Thank you, Aaron. [Aaron] You've had pretty bad restless legs this time. [Jennifer] Yeah, [Aaron] And the magnesium lotion-- [Jennifer] It's been good. [Aaron] And lavender, on your feet. [Jennifer] Yep. [Aaron] Has been, really helping you. [Jennifer] Yep, that's true. [Aaron] 'Cause I can tell, 'cause then you fall asleep. [Jennifer] Yeah. I've love it. And then the other thing that helps, has helped me during this pregnancy is the Young Living Deep Relief roller and I don't necessarily put it on, but like I smell it, like especially when I'm nauseous, or anything like that. [Aaron] I personally don't like this one because of how cold it feels. It's like all this-- [Jennifer] When you put it on, yeah. [Aaron] Like the peppermint in it, I just can't. [Jennifer] The cooling effect. [Aaron] But it does work, but it's too cold for me. So you brought up makeup in the beginning, I remember you used to go to the MAC store and you were like, "We have to go to the mall, I need some MAC." And I was like, "Are you serious? "You look beautiful." I've never liked you wearing makeup. You remember this? I was like, "You don't need to wear makeup." But you've used since not used makeup, the MAC makeup and for a long time, you didn't use almost anything, because we couldn't find anything. What do you use now? I'm sure some of the women are like, "What kind of makeup do you use?" [Jennifer] Yeah, so I would say, like my everyday would be, a primer from Urban Decay, which just kind of holds the eyeshadow on, and the eye shadow is also from Urban Decay. And I just like it, they're neutral colors, easy to put on really quick, and the times that I do use foundation, it's a powder foundation from Young Living, it's called Savvy Minerals, it's like a mineral makeup. And it goes on super light and so, [Aaron] But that's rare. [Jennifer] Yeah, it's like on Sundays. [Aaron] I would say you used to use a lot more makeup, and now it's like, you do a little eyeliner, [Jennifer] Yeah, [Aaron] You do a little mascara, [Jennifer] I don't use eyeliner actually. [Aaron] You don't use eyeliner? [Jennifer] No but my mascara, Smashbox has been a really good favorite, paraben-free, and Clinique. [Aaron] Clinique, [Jennifer] Yep. [Aaron] So no eyeliner, but mascara, okay, and then you use some lipstick sometimes. [Jennifer] Every once in a while. [Aaron] Yeah. [Jennifer] The Burt's Bees tinted is really nice. [Aaron] 'cause it's kinda like lipstick, and it's moisturizing [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] Yeah, so I'm just making a note that you wear way less makeup than you use to [Jennifer] Oh yeah. [Aaron] And I think you're beautiful. [Jennifer] Thank you. [Aaron] Yeah, well, I'm not lying. I've never been a fan of a lot of makeup, and because of this, you've since found contentment in just a very little. [Jennifer] Yep. [Aaron] Which I think is really awesome. [Jennifer] Okay so when it comes to intimacy, you guys we ditched pretty much, well, we did all lubricants because of-- [Aaron] And we've tried a lot of lubricants 'cause, [Jennifer] We've tried a lot [Aaron] 'cause, things didn't work. [Jennifer] But there were so many of 'em that had parabens in it. [Aaron] All of them. [Jennifer] Every single one, [Jennifer] We didn't even know, [Aaron] Had parabens, yeah. [Jennifer] And then other things on top of that that were just not good for you, so, we stuck to coconut oil for a really long time. [Aaron] So, tip, coconut oil's amazing, for that, specifically, and it's so good for you too. And it feels good. That was a little side note, for the adults in the room. So, I guess what we wanna get at, and I'm sure there's like a ton more things that we-- [Jennifer] I know, [Aaron] we use that are healthy, and we could probably, make a whole other list, but we essentially, wanted to show you that we've simplified, we found the handful of products that we love, and that we know what's in them, and we just, what's really awesome about this is, we it makes shopping easier, it's actually cheaper 'cause we're not buying a bunch of stuff and always experimenting, we're not always saying like "Well, let's try this new thing." We just say "Nope, we love this product. "Let's just go with it, we know it works." And so it makes, we don't think as much about those things. We know that we're minimizing the amount of chemicals we're putting on us, on our kids. And so we can have some peace of mind, and just one less thing that we have to think about, in our home. And we can put more intention into the spiritual growth of our family, into our careers, into our children, into each other, and we're not like worried about these other things. [Jennifer] Yeah, or when you say, "don't put as much "thought into them," I would say initially we do, because we do look at ingredients. We look and we do our research and figure out what we want to use, and we're in agreement when we choose things, but then, once we know what it is, it's kinda like that going back to that spaghetti sauce, once we found the one that didn't have sugar in it, we just stick to that one. [Aaron] And it's great. We love it. [Jennifer] And it makes it easy. It makes it so easy when you know what you are good with. [Aaron] Well, and grocery shopping's hard. I don't know if everyone who's listening is like, "Yeah grocery shopping's hard." Like, for us it's hard, like, so once you, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel every single time, we've kinda, we slowly over time with built, our list of things that we like, "Oh, these are the things-- [Jennifer] Stick to the basics [Aaron] "that we can, "we're just gonna go to those things." And some of them are a little but more expensive. But what's awesome is we don't get as much of everything, like we get those handful of things and I was just at the grocery store the other day, and I was just thinking how awesome it is, that we have these habits on the things that we get. There's just the staples in our home, there's things that we get often. We've already looked at the ingredients. We know we enjoy them. We know that we like them. And it just makes these normal, everyday things so much more enjoyable and easy. They're less stressful like, all around like, this this this way of thinking, is just good for our everyday life. To simplify, to know the things that we like, and we create the good habit. And then that habit is there. So we don't have to reinvent the wheel, every single time we walk to the grocery store. Or every time we are shopping for something for our home, and for our kids. [Jennifer] And we also gotta know when we do choose that organic, clean, non-toxic, or non-GMO, whatever the thing is, we can't be up so obsessive about it that when we go out, or someone offers us, or brings us-- [Aaron] Right. That's a good point. [Jennifer] food during, postpartum, or whatever it is, that we're not nitpicky in a way that promotes-- [Aaron] Is this from that specific brand? [Jennifer] Yeah, let's not be like that. [Aaron] Yeah, we're not, yeah. [Jennifer] And I guess what I'm trying to say is we can't make it in idol. I think it's important to be healthy, and do the best that we can, but there's going to be times that we can't, and that's okay. We can't make living out this way, become an idol in our lives, and especially not become a strife point between husband and wife. I think this is something that you guys, [Aaron] Or friends, [Jennifer] can learn about together. Engage in together, and agree on together. [Aaron] That's a really good point, you know it's good to, in general, be making healthier habits in our life, but the point is not just to be healthier, it's too have a good habits. It's to walk rightly and have wisdom. And so is that thing, if those things, are getting in the way of your relationships with other people, they need to be put on the shelf. Not forever, but like you need to check yourself, and say "Am I letting this thing get in the way of them?" [Jennifer] Yeah, or if you really, truly have a heart to encourage your friends, or family members, or whoever to also, live a healthy lifestyle, be patient with them, because it might take someone else more time, than maybe it took you, or I don't know, I just feel like we need to have compassion for people's learning experience, [Aaron] Yeah, well and also don't let this, one last little warning, don't let this be the message you preach. It's good to encourage people and say "Hey like, you know, why don't you try this? "Why don't you try some more healthy things? "Here's an idea." It's one thing to share, healthy lifestyle, and to encourage someone, but if that if that replaces the message we should be preaching, the message of Christ, if like we have this opportunity and we're instead, we're encouraging someone to be healthier, and then what were thinking is, holiness comes from that. Rather than encouraging someone in Christ, and making the healthy lifestyle thing, that's an ancillary thing in our life that were like, "Oh and I like to live healthy, "and here's some ideas if you're interested." So the main messages is our life represents Christ and we preach him. 'Cause, we could do that sometimes. I got excited about crossfit, and every conversation I had was about crossfit, and I have to check myself and be like, "Hey, is this getting in the way "of the message I should be preaching right now? [Jennifer] That's really good Aaron, and I just, you know, just even thinking about this episode, it's little bit fun and quirky, and you know, not very Christ driven, but yet, I think the encouragement here is that we're aware of what we're putting in and on our bodies because, the scripture to tell us about, our bodies being the Holy Temple. [Aaron] Right, and we're, it's just being wise. Let's be wise with our bodies, and we can't control everything, and we shouldn't try and control everything. But what we can control, with moderation, with wisdom, and with sober mindedness, you know, thinking rightly, I think there's wisdom in that. And walking good, and not just putting junk in our bodies, and on our bodies. [Jennifer] And it has felt really good, I think you would agree with me, in having the conversations from time to time, about our lifestyle choices, about the things that we're doing, the things that were buying, and it's something that we evaluate often. You know, even when we go to the grocery store and so, I would hope that this episode, encourages couples to do that. [Aaron] Yeah. [Jennifer] So I also wanna let you guys know that if you, especially the wife, if you're interested in following me on Instagram, @unveiledwife, there's a highlight tab called toxic, free, healthy living, and you can get more information there. And also if you're curious about more things, if you want to hear more about, you know, the things that we use just message me. [Aaron] So before we close in prayer, I thought it'd be cool if we let everyone know some of the resources and people that we follow that kinda promote, some healthy living, so what are you share some of those? [Jennifer] So Dashing Dish, she's a good friend of ours and she is-- [Aaron] She's awesome. [Jennifer] really good at just like, meal planning, healthy fitness, [Aaron] Believer, loves the Lord. [Jennifer] everything you can think of, if you want some inspiration she's a great resource. Dr. Mark Hyman H-Y-M-A-N, is a really great resource, he just talks about the holistic living, like that Aaron mentioned. Carrie Vitt, I think it's a Vitt, or Veet. It's C-A-R-R-I-E V-I-T-T and on Instagram, that's where I follow her, and she talks a lot about thyroid health. So I mention that earlier-- [Aaron] Yeah, which is important to you. [Jennifer] Yeah, if you guys are interested in more inspiration for thyroid health, she's a great one to listen to, or watch, or follow. Follow, yeah. [Jennifer] I don't know what it's called. Another one is just.ingredients. She is going to really fun resource, a newer resource that-- [Aaron] Someone shared this with you, yeah. [Jennifer] someone shared with me, and she does like, Costco overhauls, she'll compare products and it's just been really great. [Aaron] A note on her, isn't she the one, that she'll say "If you can't do this, "at least do this?" [Jennifer] Yeah, I think so. [Aaron] And so she shows you like, if you can't afford this, the best product, here's one that's a little bit better than that other product. [Jennifer] I know she shows pictures too, of like, comparing products and things like that. So that's just.ingredients. And then another one I've been falling recently, is Purely Parsons. She's a fun one, just a mom, also nurse, who shares a lot of things, and her highlight reel, I mean, so much about birth, postpartum care, flu season, just home remedies, farming, like, anything that you can think of that you want to know more about, she's just a fun person to follow. And I really appreciated, how much time she takes in explaining things, and sharing resources. And then we had mentioned Sugar Busters, but if you want to know more about the toxi, I can't say that word, [Aaron] Toxicity. of sugar, Dr. Robert Lustig L-U-S-T-I-G [Aaron] Oh yeah, he's the guy [Jennifer] he's the guy. And especially on YouTube. Just research him and check out some of his-- [Aaron] He talks about what sugar does in our bodies. and this is not to be an anti sugar talk, we just when we're aware of how things interact with our body, how God created our bodies, it's pretty interesting 'cause it's not normal things to learn, so just wanna encourage you to check that out. So hey, we just want to thank everyone for being here today. As usual, we like to close in prayer. And so just Jennifer, why don't you pray for us? [Jennifer] Okay. Dear Lord, thank you for our bodies. We pray would be good stewards of our bodies and consider all that goes on them, and in them. We pray we would be willing to take the time and research the items we use on a daily basis. Using things that help us and not hurt us. Lord, we ask that you would give us wisdom as we navigate living a healthy lifestyle. Help us to make good choices, and be on the same page in marriage, so that we can enjoy the benefits of living toxic-free. Please help us to not be overwhelmed by the process of learning, but rather, help us to be humble and willing to learn so that we can choose what is healthy for us, and be advocates of healthy living for the sake of others. We pray living healthy would not become an idol in our lives and would not hinder any of our relationships. May we be people who don't just consume, but people who care about our bodies, and take care of them. In Jesus' name, amen. [Aaron] Amen. We love you all, We thank you for joining us on this episode. We hope it was enjoyable and educational. Go follow @unveiledwife and check out some of her, some more of her things. She posts about them often. And again, we love you, and we look forward to having you next week, possibly as long as we don't have the baby before then, we'll get some episodes up. See you next week. Did you enjoy Today 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.   
Physical touch is such a powerful and amazing gift from God. He designed us for it. We need it. And it is physically, spiritual and emotionally damaging when we avoid it or do not get enough of it. In this episode, we discuss why Physical touch is so important and we give some practical tips on how to touch and be touched more.Embracing each other says “I trust you and need you in my life.”A comforting hug says, “I’m here for you.”A kiss says, “You are mine! And I love you!”Holding hands lets your spouse know you like them and like spending time with them.Tickle rubs, massages, running your fingers through their hair says, “I want to make you feel good.” ...And most times lets them know you desire more physical touch.Being married and living in that sacred space of physical closeness, embrace, touch...there is no other relationship like it on Earth. Make the time to send those messages of love to your spouse through touch. READ TRASCRIPT[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 "The Power Of Touch In Marriage." Welcome to the "Marriage After God" podcast where we believe that marriage was meant for more than just happily ever after. [Jennifer] I'm Jennifer also known as unveiled wife. [Aaron] And I'm Aaron also known as husband revolution. [Jennifer] We have been married for over a decade. [Aaron] And so far we have four young children. [Jennifer] We have been doing marriage ministry online for over seven years through blogging and social media. [Aaron] With the desire to inspire couples to keep God at the center of their marriage, encouraging them to walk in faith every day. [Jennifer] We believe the Christian marriage should be an extraordinary one full of life. 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." Well, welcome back, everyone. Thanks for joining us on this episode of Marriage after God, we're super excited to have you. You're looking at me funny Aaron, why are you looking at me funny? [Aaron] I was wondering if everyone knows that you're still pregnant. Or if they're waiting to hear about the baby 'cause I don' know if everyone knows the exact I'm still pregnant? [Aaron] March 20th is the due date? [Jennifer] Creeping up on us. [Aaron] More like, almost there. Also soon along with the baby coming, we have the end of our season coming. Season three of the "Marriage After God" podcast. [Jennifer] You're just prepping their hearts. [Aaron] I'm prepping their little hearts. [Jennifer] Will come back don't worry. [Aaron] Yeah, we have this episode and I think three more episodes. To finish up this season. [Jennifer] It's actually really great timing you guys. And it was intentional, because postpartum is the real deal. And so I need time. [Aaron] We're gonna take a break during the postpartum season and then will come back. Right before summer starts. We're super excited about that. [Aaron] Which always want to take these breaks gives you enough time to go back to all the episodes you haven't listened to yet, or haven't fully listen to. [Jennifer] Or relisten listened to your favorite one. [Aaron] Or relisten to your favorite ones. [Jennifer] I wanted to before we get into today's topic, I wanted to start off this episode with an encouragement of something that happened. But Aaron, when I mentioned that's what I wanted to share about, you're like, "No, let's just do the whole episode on that." I'm not gonna share it right now. That's what the whole episodes gonna be about. Enjoy it later. [Aaron] Right, but what we can talk about is so everyone, we've talked about how we're going through what's it called? "My Family 24 Ways". [Jennifer] "Our Family 24 Ways". That's what's it is. By Sally and Clay Clarkson. [Aaron] It's a family devotional and it's 24 weeks long. We did it twice. The first time we did it. We did it in a quarter of the time because we just kind of took each day was a-- [Jennifer] Each day was a new way. And they come with these coloring pages. Those are really great kind of quick overview of what it was about and gave us time to wrap our heads around it and get familiar with the content. And that was super fun for the kids. We did that last summer and then kicking off the new kind of school year in September. We're like let's do the whole week. And we'll use the was it a devotional or resource? We'll use it the way that they wrote it-- [Aron] Which is every way is a five day-- Process. Process, yes. Every day, there's another verse you're reading, another idea, there's another question, but it's all in the same family way. And we just finished that a couple of weeks ago. There's a couple of weeks we didn't do because of travel or different things. But we just finished it and it was great. The kids loved it, we loved it. [Aaron] Yeah, and we're bringing this up to just to kinda recap that we told you we were going through we gave it as an example to you all, on a great way to start doing a family bible time. It was a lot of fun was really easy. I had a lot of prompts for the parents to walk through it gives you the questions to ask. But Jennifer, what are we doing now? We finished our family 20 or 23rd, "Our 24 Family Ways". [Jennifer] "Our 24 Family Ways". [Aron] By Sally and Clay Clarkson. You should go pick that on Amazon. But when we're done with that and we love that. But what are we doing now? [Jennifer] There was that question creeping up to the end of that resource that were like, Hey, keep in mind, what are what are we going to do next? And there's lots of different things that we could have chosen. [Aaron] Now we've done before, where we just like read through some of the Bible, read just whole chapters. [Jennifer] I proposed to Aaron, I said, "Why don't we focus "on some of the kind of major Bible stories?" Our kids are still pretty young, and they know a lot of the stories but just clarifying for them, what actually was taking place during those stories, and what are the details and so we'll take a whole week on one story. And what I didn't share with Aaron was, my heart behind it was and let's focus on how Christ is pictured in these stories, which I just thought would be a really cool perspective, but I didn't share that part with you for some reason. I just said the Bible story thing really short and brief. And so I started making a list of the different Bible stories and I put them up on our chalkboard and you love the idea, and that first day that we started out with creation and Adam and Eve. You're like, and guys, because you're like, basically laying out what they can expect from how Bible time is gonna change for us. And you told the kids, "so we're gonna dive into these Bible stories, "one story a week, but we're gonna see how Christ "is at the center of each one." And I love that you did that we are totally like on the same page without even having talked about it. [Aaron] And it's been really good. Elliot's been loving them, because He loves learning about these stories. And also the questions and the digging in and how those correlations to Christ and Adam, or these stories that we all know of. [Jennifer] Just in simple things like in Genesis when it says, "we're gonna make them in our image" and get the kids to really like, focusing on what that one is. Like who is the hour. Who is us, who's talking here about Adam and Ellie is like, "Oh, it's God and Jesus in the spirit." [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] He got the idea in the beginning. And just an encouragement for those that are listening. You're probably thinking like, okay, like all of our kids know these stories, but you're actually surprised at the stories that you kind of know because you grew up in Sunday school, or how if they don't ever get brought up, your kids aren't gonna know them. They're not gonna know the story of Noah's Ark. They're not gonna know the story of Jonah and the whale. They're not gonna know the story of Joseph and Abraham and Isaac and Adam and Eve and creation. We have to do that. We have to teach our children these stories, and not just stories, their history. [Jennifer] Yeah, and my encouragement would be for our sake, as adults, going back to some of these stories have been encouraging because then we either see things we never saw before, or somehow it's relevant to something that we're going through that we can apply. That's just an encouragement. [Aaron] It's just getting back into the Word of God always and remembering these powerful, testimonies that God's given us of who He is, His plan for redemption and His story for us. Awesome, before we get into the topic, as usual, we have a free thing for you. If you haven't taken the marriage prayer challenge yet, we dare you. Take the marriage prayer challenge. It's marriageprayerchallenge.com. It's a 31 day email series where you're gonna get emailed every day with, something to pray about, and a reminder to do that. So you're gonna be praying for your husband or your wife every day for the next 30 days, 31 days, and we just wanted to get you jumped in. It's almost 50,000 people who have now taken this challenge. That's incredible. Yeah. If you're not one of those 50,000 I just wanna encourage you to go right now and take a break from the podcast even go sign up marriageprayerchallenge.com, It'll take you like one minute, and then come back and finish the episode. [Jennifer] Alright, so today's topic is on The Power Of Touch. And again, this is something that happened recently in our marriage that impacted me so much that I told him and I'm gonna share about that in the next podcast and he was like, "No, we're doing "the whole episode on this." [Aaron] And you went, "we don't need to do a whole episode "it's just a little passing idea." I did I was like, "No, this is actually really important "'cause of how much value you got out of it." [Jennifer] Yeah, so, and we understand that sometimes our episodes go quite long. And we're just gonna jump in, we're gonna dive in and give you the tips and tricks that you can do-- Up front. Right now we're gonna just do them up front. [Aaron] That way if you don't listen the whole episode, you're gonna walk away with the best tips for touch. [Jennifer] Yeah, I like that. [Aaron] What's the first tip they can get real quick. [Jennifer] I mean, I'm just thinking like, when you're passing by each other in the kitchen, you both have these tasks on your mind that you're trying to get done. Just give a little, elbow to the gut and let that let that spouse know that you're there next to them working alongside side them. [Aaron] It also might get them out of their way for a second. Another little tip is like when you guys are laying in bed and like just just right before your spouse is falling asleep, just to remind them that you're there and that you love them. Just giving them ,a wet finger to the ear. Or like a little like tap on their neck to like tickle them a little bit. [Jennifer] Maybe a pinch. [Aaron] Pinch. Those kinds of things that let your spouse know, "Hey, I know you're just we're almost falling asleep "but I love you." I love me so much. One of my favorite ones is when you're like out on family excursion, and your spouse is wearing a backpack And you're kind of walking, a little bit behind them just give that backpack a little push to the left or right. And it really throws them off. But it reminds them, hey, I'm here with you. [Aaron] It's almost like gets them to like flip around a little bit and then they could see you. [Jennifer] The whole point of touch really is to interrupt what's going on. It's to interrupt the day and to say, I love you. [Aaron] Everyone's thinking are they serious right now? We are totally playing. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] We're being playful. These are funny ways. Don't don't actually go by and especially if your wife's pregnant. Or go and hit the stomach. Don't do that. Don't do that. [Jennifer] No , we're just kidding. [Aaron] No, we actually legitimately wanna talk about the power of real loving touch, and what it means and how it works and why God's given us this gift of touch and the benefit from what we've seen in our own life. Something that Jennifer's gonna talk about in a second, an experience that she had with me. And then we're just gonna talk about that and encourage you the listener, you husband and wife who are in your car or in bed or at home, walking around the house, whatever you're doing listening to this, to just remember to touch more. It should be obvious but it's not. [Jennifer] I'd even say evaluate how long it's been since you've intentionally touched your spouse or what does that touch look like, either throughout the day or in the morning or at night, and just let the Lord inspire you today, when it comes to touching your spouse. [Aaron] And this isn't just for those that one of their love languages is physical touch, because every human actually every organism in the world requires touch for that stimulus for healthy growth, especially for human beings. And we'll talk about that a little bit later. But so this isn't just for those that the love language's physical touch. Every single one of us need to focus on this and if it's not your natural tendency to do so then we just gotta work a little harder. [Jennifer] Yep, okay, so this is what happened. I was having an off day. I felt rundown, I felt tired. [Aaron] Super pregnant. [Jennifer] I mean, just physically I just was not doing well. And yeah, just super pregnant. And I mean, everyone listening right now you're just thinking about that off day you've had and you're like, "Okay, I can relate to that." But I felt overwhelmed. And I was getting ready to jump in to school time with the kids. And I just had already felt exhausted. And so I was-- [Aaron] It was like the morning we hadn't even gotten our routine going. [Jennifer] Nothing had started yet. And I was already feeling down. And I didn't say anything about it. I just was trying to do what I knew I had to do, right that saying, "Do the next right thing." And so I'm in there with the kids. And Aaron, usually your routine is, after Bible time you get a cup of coffee and got out to the garage, that's were you work. But you didn't do that. You came in, you came straight to me your like Beeline right for me. [Aaron] Which is not normal for me. [Jennifer] No, usually there's just this space where you like maybe even question like, "Hey, how are you?" "What's going on?" You didn't do any of that. You just opened the door, walked over to me had me stand up. And you just wrap your arms around me and you just held me and I was like in tears over it because I didn't realize that I even needed that in that moment. And even though I felt like sobbing in that moment, I think I might have even chuckled 'cause it was like so refreshing, it was like that. Oh, okay that I think-- [Aaron] Also like, why are you doing this? [Jennifer] Definitely questioning that. But it was such a beautiful moment. And such a beautiful experience. I had to share it. And I wanted to share it with you guys, because it really impacted me and nothing needed to be said. Nothing needed to be more than that. It was just "hey," like there was so much said in the action itself of, "I'm here for you. "I love you, you can do this." And I remember at I had climbed up on the desk. And he was just staring at us probably wondering like, what are they doing? He's still literally a year and a half. [Aaron] And all that PDA is going on. And he's like, What's happening here? [Jennifer] But it really made me feel so good to be embraced. And I just I loved that moment. I love that you had a heart that was soft enough to know what I needed and to not let anything distract you from comforting me in that way. [Aaron] Well, and I'll all admit to everyone listening. I'm sure other men are much better at this. There's some people that are just naturally prone to like oh, like gentleness and comforting and recognizing weaknesses and others and wanting to go love on them. But that is not my natural position. I'm not naturally gentle, I'm not naturally sensitive. [Jennifer] I would say that you're more so you'd like to communicate about it. Like tell me what the problem is. And this is how-- How can I fix it. This is how I can fix it. which I think a lot of people probably think that way. [Aaron] And then on the negative side, I was in my worst way of dealing with this is feeling inconvenienced by someone else's weakness feeling inconvenienced by you're feeling down or because all I'm thinking is like we have this routine. You just got to move forward. And what's happening right now is like stop halting all that and that's my I would say that's my natural position. But you have been praying for me for a long time for this. Others have been encouraging me and rebuking me at times about my lack of sensitivity, my lack of gentleness. And it's something that I've been praying for myself. Because I'm a dad, I'm a husband, a leader in my church. And it's important in every aspect. I just been praying that God would help me be that way. This is not uncommon event, but that morning, I just felt like, Oh, she probably just needs a hug. [Jennifer] And it was perfect. And I just feel like I have to say this, logistically I know that this can't happen like this in every marriage. Schedules are different. Soldiers that are gone, for a long time People are deployed. Yeah, there's a lot of different types of scenarios or situations where in marriage where maybe you can't comfort them in that way with the power of touch, but it can be done still in a phone call or a text message or any opportunity where you are together, right? [Aaron] I would say, yeah, the physical touch is still important. I would say more important in those very little amounts of time that you would have. If anything, I would just, the encouragement for some one who's not around their spouse often, should make sure they take that focus more seriously. I got a question for you. I again, this is a new year-- [Jennifer] For me or for them? [Aaron] For you, Jennifer. It's not normal. But in that moment I came in and I surprised you by doing something out of the ordinary. And just holding you not trying to give you solutions not trying to ask you questions. Not feeling annoyed by the inconvenience. I just genuinely came to hug you and hold you and love you. What message is this into your heart? [Jennifer] It was really powerful for me. I felt like in that moment, there was this. Just first of all rush of peace. I feel like you reminded me that I'm loved. That I am cared for, that I'm thought of, that I'm not alone. Even though I'm alone with the kids currently trying to do school. You we're reminding me in a physical way that you're there and you're supporting me and you're encouraging me. And that how I'm feeling physically in that moment yet sucks and it's hard, but that I can continue on and that I have to, basically. but it was immediate comfort. [Aaron] It gave you something that you didn't have before? [Jennifer] Reassurance. [Aaron] How did it make you feel toward me? Was there like anything you thought, Or like, "wow, like this about my husband?" [Jennifer] Well specifically just that we are on the same team that you're there for me even when you can't take over for me like you just couldn't take over and do school that day, like you had work to do you needed to go get to it. But that you were supporting me in a comforting and encouraging way by letting your presence be known. And just that embrace. Did it make you, 'cause you've seen plenty of times in the past my annoyance, my dissatisfaction with a scenario like this. [Aaron] Did it make you feel more confident in my love for you to see the opposite of that? [Jennifer] Oh, totally, it really affirmed me and to think that you stopped your routine. You stopped your day, you stopped what was habitual, of going out to go to work. For me that was super thoughtful. And it was an immediate affirmation of this man loves me and cares for me and wants me to be okay today. And it did that like my perspective, my attitude, everything kinda just shifted in a more positive direction. And I was able to get through that time with the kids in a much better way. [Aaron] And I remember it drastically changed your perspective of the day-- As you see my countenance. Your countenance, by the end of the day, like I feel like you were more accomplished. At the end of the day, like you at the house clean. You had the, like you felt like a winner. Everything was done that you probably were in the morning thinking none of this is getting done today. [Jennifer] Yeah, and it feels so weird talking about it. Because in this way, 'cause I feel like we're sharing, like in depth, what the impact was, but it was such a small thing. It really was. It was it was such a small moment of physical touch that happened in our marriage. That really changed the whole day around. Imagine what would happen if that was a more consistent event Yeah, for both. For both of us. [Jennifer] I have a question for you. [Aaron] Okay. [Jennifer] Are there any standout moments of when I have randomly touched you or that have impacted you? [Aaron] Yeah, when I saw this question I immediately was thinking about the times in the past where we're sitting somewhere, maybe in church or at a friend's house or just out in public. and you'll put your hand on my back and just start tickle rubbing my back or rub your fingers across my hair, or the back of my neck or those little things even if they're only for like a split second. It instantly makes me feel like wow, that felt really good. My wife touching me wanting to connect with me that way. It also gives me this boost of confidence because in public when you're around people, I don't know if other men feel this way. But there's a confidence boost of like, my wife, my woman loves me. And like is showing it, isn't afraid to show it is-- [Jennifer] It's basically like earlier you asked me, what message did it send to my heart what you did to me. This would be what message is a couple when they're showing physical touch and affection. What message is it sending to others? [Aaron] Well in it, but the message to others sends a message to me, it makes me feel powerful, makes me feel respected. Like it's a little thing but like, my wife not being afraid to show affection to me in public means that she loves me that much that she's willing to show others that love publicly. And there's that there was a confidence boost in that. Other times, just like if we're laying in bed and you just, reach over to hold me or to play with my hair or to scratch my back like little things like that, that have been really like oh, immediately makes me feel really close to like, we're together. We're on the same page. Because what, when you're like, and everyone can relate to this. when there's like a fight or disagreement that there's conflict in the marriage. The last thing you want to do is touch. And so usually not touching is that is a common signal for distance for like we're not on the same page. That reaching across the bed, that reaching across the table, that reaching over to your spouse getting close drawing near. Is the symbol of unity. Is that proof of we're here together? I'm with you like your mine. And it's not obligated it's not like, "Hey, can you scratch my back? "Hey, I need a back massage? "Hey, can you rub my feet?" Which is not bad things to ask, but the unprompted, the desire, the actual desire, I'm going to reach out and put my hand on my spouse in a gentle way and for the purpose of touching them, knowing them and feeling their the warmth of their skin. It does a lot for that spiritual connection, that unifying nature of being one. [Jennifer] So, when I was thinking about ways that I'm intentional with trying to be, physical with you. I wanted to share this. Just as a tip for anyone listening is for me, getting in the car is a trigger, because I know I can reach over and hold your hand. Whether you're driving or I'm driving One of one of our hands is free. And so for me, I know it's such a simple thing, but just reaching over and grabbing each other's hands for a couple seconds, even if it's not long lasting. Is just really good too. [Aaron] Something that just another tip, another trigger when we're out to eat, I know I'll put my hand on your knee. When we're close together. A date night. [Aaron] Or we'll hold hands under the table. Things that keep us connected. And then another thing you're bringing up these trigger things to remind us of when we can touch and where. When we're in battle, because often we're both really hot. We don't cuddle too often because we get-- Temperature hot. Yeah, we're temperature hot. but like it could be easy to just get in bed do you thing forget and then you're rolled over and no touchings happening, no connection. But reaching over and like playing with your hair, or putting my hand on your shoulder or holding hands with you. I love all of that. Even though we can't cuddle because we're too like temperature hot. [Jennifer] More so during pregnancy. [Aaron] But I'm just a hot sleeper, it's hard for me to just want to cuddle for hours. But that doesn't mean there's not ways that we can connect. [Jennifer] And Would you say that there's any ways that I've failed in this area? I just wanna be honest with people. [Aaron] That's a big question to ask. [Jennifer] I know. [Aaron] Well, of course we've both failed in this area. Because selfishness creeps in, and when we're selfish. And usually it plays out. On "oh, I'm not getting what I want, "I'm not getting what I deserve." So I'm not going to give, what they deserve what they want or what they think they deserve. until I get mine. And we do that to each other. And we have in the past, we gotten way better at it. I would say we're talking about just non sexual touch right now. I mean, sexual touch is so important. We're gonna talk about that in a little bit. [Jennifer] I'm just on this side note. Any sort of physical touch will not just lead to sexual intimacy, but definitely cultivates that environment where you want more. [Aaron] Not negative physical touch, we're talking about actual, intensional-- Positive. Positive touch. [Jennifer] Affirmative. [Aaron] I would say just over the years, and it's something that God's been growing us both in is sexual touch, yeah, like initiating, reaching out and saying, "hey, I want to be with you, "I want to experience this time with you." But that's something that we've been both growing in. [Jennifer] Something that is required in order to grow in this area is communication. This is just an encouragement to our listeners, if they struggle with, I wish my spouse would touch me and they're not, and not wanting that bitterness to grow, you gotta tell them, you gotta tell them how it makes you feel or that you want to be encouraged in your relationship that you want to have more. when you say that's really important to be able to talk about it. [Aaron] Not just 'cause we sometimes get into this mode of, if I say something, then it's gonna devalue the reset receipt of it. [Jennifer] I've done that before, don't do that. [Aaron] If I tell my wife what I want, and then she doesn't, then it's devaluing it. It's almost like no, they just got to know. Rather than, like, I'm gonna communicate, maybe they don't know, maybe they have a way of thinking because of the way they're raised that just totally makes them disregard things that I want, or need. [Jennifer] Or maybe their mind just hasn't been on it. And by bringing that message in a positive way, "Hey, I think we like we've done this before, "hey, I think we need to kiss more," or, "hey, I think we need to hold hands more" or whatever the thing is that would feel you fill you up. Talk about it in that sense, where it's like, let's both make a commitment to do this more. [Aaron] I totally agree. And I think just having this desire to... We'll talk about the actual like, touch is just so much more than just it's a good thing to do. And so we'll talk about that more. The Bible talks about touch a lot. Jesus touched people a lot. And so we get this idea of the savior of the king, the Lord the Creator. come the earth himself, God Himself coming to earth in the form of man to touch us, right? There's a famous painting of God touching Adams finger right? There's this idea of Jesus coming to earth and in the flesh is like the ultimate intimacy active saying, God's saying "I'm gonna go, "come to touch you and and to heal you "and to make you be with me forever" and so we get to see this picture and Why don't you read John 13:5 of this super intimate moment that Jesus had with his disciples. [Jennifer] Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. So that was, like really simple. And I just like you said, it's just a really beautiful picture of intimate touch. [Aaron] Right, and it's this story shows us the servanthood of Christ. him girding his loins wrapping the towel around his waist, getting on his hands and knees. [Jennifer] And everybody was probably quietly-- [Aaron] Beneath his disciples. He lowered himself even beneath his disciple to wash their feet. And then he tells them go and do likewise. Essentially which is go wash each other, go touch each other, go embrace each other, go walk in such a way that you guys are unified, and do and do what I'm doing. Look I'm lowering myself as a servant, go lower yourself as servants for the sake of washing each other and embracing each other. [Jennifer] I wish that the Bible was more descriptive in this situation because I would love to hear what was going through the disciples mind when Jesus is getting ready to do this. And while he's doing it. [Aaron] But we only get Peters response, which is he's like, "No, don't do it." He's like, "unless I do this, "you have no part of me." He's like wash my whole body. Oh wait do it, do it. But also how were they impacted by this experience? I wanna hear more of that. But they walked with Jesus and I'm sure they had even more physical interactions with him as far as just arms touching or hugging or shaking hands or whatever, probably took part in their relationships as they spent that time together. But just thinking, how was this touch different? And what message did it send to each one of them about their relationship with Jesus? [Aaron] What I think is awesome is, you have Jesus called our high priest, and this is just a thought I was having right now we're talking about this. And the high and the priests in the Old Testament had to do all the ceremonial washings for themselves so that they can atone for the sins of everyone else. They first had to wash themselves we learned that Jesus did not have to do this because he was perfect. We have perfect Jesus, already perfectly like did not need to be washed, by any means, because he was perfect. Getting down to actually touch the dirt of his brothers, of his disciples. And also how powerful it is because God's created us in such a physical way to need touch. [Jennifer] Where he designed our bodies with the ability to receive it, right like we have nerve endings, and we can feel and I used to think that's fascinating. [Aaron] We have this perfect God in human flesh touching other men's feet and touching the flesh of others. And so there's a physiological response happening, a spiritual response happening, an emotional response happening. All of these things are happening at the same time with the king of the universe. But we get to experience that in little ways, and in everyday life with our spouse, and with others. 'Cause this physical touch thing, we shouldn't just end at, "Oh, I'm not a very touchy person, "and I'll try and touch my wife more. "But I don't touch others." The Bible tells us to embrace each other and how important touches, just gentle, loving touch in everyday life actually has a physiological healthy response in the body. That helps us with many things, but spiritually, it reminds us that we're close. And that we're together and that we're unified and that we care, [Jennifer] Which is so important in marriage, right? Really important infinitely. [Jennifer] Do you remember the time that I washed your feet when you came home from Brazil so we didn't have this, as pre-kids, probably-- My feet were pretty dirty. [Jennifer] Second year of marriage. I wanna say, we're living in Florida at the time. And I had a job. I was working in a preschool and you felt encouraged to go to Brazil, we were missionaries. I just happen to have a job to support us while we were working in Florida. But we were working for an organization that was preparing a trip to go to Brazil, I think it was for two weeks, three weeks? [Aaron] It's two weeks on the Amazon River it's pretty awesome. [Jennifer] And so you went and I missed you like crazy. But I had been reading this Passage about Jesus washing his disciples feet. And I just felt so encouraged when you got home. I think it was like three o'clock in the morning. It was like the middle of the sleep hours. And, and I remember you came home and you went to go take a shower, and I'm like, take a bath. And let me wash your feet. Yeah. Do you remember this? I do, I mean, two years in our marriage where we were already starting to experience some of those-- Hardships. hardships. and relational struggles and it wasn't as bad as it was later on in our marriage, but it was already there, but it was events like this, which I think helped elongate our process of not falling apart sooner. Those little bits of surrender that those acts of like, well, "we don't know what to do. "We're gonna try this like," you're praying and you see this, you're like, "I'm gonna try and walk in this." You tell God, "Jesus says to do this, "and I'm my husband's gonna get home, "I'm gonna wash his feet." [Jennifer] When I remember specifically thinking like, I wanted to feel close to you. I wanted to send that message to you that, "hey, I'm your wife, I'm your helper, "and I want to do what Jesus did and love you in that way." And I saw this what Jesus did as a very intimate thing. And so I just told myself, I'm gonna have the courage and just asked him if I could wash his feet. [Aaron] And I remember it made me feel really close to you. It made me feel really loved, it made me feel really honored. Also, it just surprised me. It was a surprising It was like wait, what? It was a very impactful moment for us. we actually put that challenge in our 30 day devotional for husbands and wives, for them to wash each other's feet. [Jennifer] While we're talking about Jesus, my mind's always, I feel like I'm always going back to "Marriage After God". But if you haven't gotten a chance to read it, you guys should definitely get a copy. It's the book that Aaron and I came out with last year. But there's a section of we're talking about how a marriage after God is intimate. And it talks about Jesus and I just wanted to read it really quick. It's on page 65. If you do have the book. "And marriage after God relentlessly "pursues and embraces intimacy "with each other, and with God, "our greatest example of this level "of intimacy is of course, Jesus. "He put his hands on people "who no one else would dare to touch." And there's a reference there to Luke 5:13, "He reached down and held a dying little girl's hand "giving her life again." Mark 5:41, "He broke cultural taboos to talk to people." John 4:9, "And he wept over the death of his close friend." John 11:35, "That's our Savior, he embraced intimacy. "If we are not intimate with God, "we cannot be intimate with other people. "We cannot weep with those who weep or mourn with those "who mourn or laugh with those who laugh. "We must look to the example of Christ and be willing "to embrace intimacy with God, and inner marriage." And I was just brought to remembrance of that section of the book because of how intimate Jesus was that he was willing to do all those things when I think about him, holding that little girl's hand and it's like, no matter what hardships we face in marriage, we can think to his example and go, "I can reach over and hold my spouse's hand." [Aaron] Well I think the example of Christ touching like the lepers and the sick and the bleeding and the things that a priest wasn't allowed to touch otherwise would make them unclean. Jesus was willing to touch unclean people, because in reality all are unclean. And so he's, he's touching these lepers. He's touching these these sick, he's touching these blind, these people that were outcasts that desire to be healed, to be desire to be known to desire to be reconciled to the community. And it's kind of like this picture in our marriage. Like, are we only going to touch when everything's perfectly right? Or are we going to in the midst of our pain and our hurt and our ugly, our smelly and in our dirty times? Are we gonna touch? Are we gonna embrace? Are we gonna hold? Are we going to reach out our hands and draw our spouse closer to us? Because even though often in our vows, we say, for better or for worse, it's often just for the better, and when it's in the worst is like, I don't have the energy right now. All right, until you change or unless this happens when it's those times that it's the most necessary. Jesus said it this way, he said, "I didn't come "for the healthy I came for the sick." [Jennifer] And I would even say most impactful, when you're either at odds with each other or there's tension or there's hardship [Aaron] Or you don't deserve it. [Jennifer] Or you don't deserve it and your spouse reaches across the table and touches you in that way. Oh my goodness. It's powerful. It's impactful. And I think that that's exactly what maybe one, maybe a lot needed here today. I mean, I just feel like that was really encouraging and even to me. [Aaron] It's encouraging to me, it's something I have to continue to be to remember. You're, you're having a hard time today. And my flesh is like-- [Jennifer] Get up, Jen. [Aaron] It's like, I don't know if I can handle you having a hard time again today. Because I mean, which is totally my selfish flesh, because I'm not experiencing what you're experiencing. So it's hard for me to just empathize right away. But when you walk in the Spirit, so my choice to be like, like, I'm gonna understand my wife right now I'm gonna walk in an understanding way as the Word tells me to do. I can realize this is hard season for you, I'm gonna have this hard season with you. And so just go and hug you and hold you and-- [Jennifer] Tickle me with your beard, which didn't help Aaron. [Aaron] Funny, touching is good to be playful. [Jennifer] It was really sweet. And again, I do appreciate that you came to my level and you saw me were I was at and you had compassion on me. And for the husband's out there who are similar to me, go against your flesh, and walk in the Spirit and and do this for your wife. To be honest some of you men that are listening, are probably thinking like, "Man, I don't ever do that." She'll probably not know what to do. You'll go and you'll try and like draw close to you, and you're gonna feel super awkward and she's gonna tense up and you're gonna pull her closer and you're just gonna say, "I know, it's kind of weird, I just wanna hug you." And then what's gonna happen, she's gonna realize it's real. And then you'll, you'll probably feel her melt. And so don't be afraid to do it the first time, it gets easier, and ask the Lord to help you do it to sort of help you physically encourage your spouse with that physical touch with the gentle the loving, the caring, the caress, the just that softness. [Jennifer] It's good. So we've said it a couple times, but just this idea that physical, physical touch sends a message to your spouse and there was just a kind of handful of ways that I was wanting to share with you guys about what those messages might look like. This isn't like, 100% perfect. It's just some encouragement. [Aaron] When you do this kind of sends these messages. [Jennifer] Embracing each other says, "I trust you and I need you in my life." A comforting hug says, "I'm here for you." A kiss says, "you're mine and I love you." Holding hands, let your spouse know, you like them. And you like spending time with them. Tickle rubs, massages, running your fingers through their hair says, I wanna make you feel good. And most times lets them know that you desire even more physical touch. [Aaron] It's true, and for those that are afraid of that last part, if I do this, then it's going to make them want more. I think that's something that should be prayed through. Your heart of like, you're avoiding touching your spouse because you are afraid that that will make them want more from you sexually. And if that's a fear you have and that's an negative thought you have which is something that keeps you from reaching out and touching your spouse. I think that's something you should pray about, that God would change in you. And there's a scripture specifically about this. [Jennifer] Real quick, I just have to say, there's a flip side to this of when your spouse is giving you physical touch, and you don't want it to lead anywhere that you're not just doing while they're touching you thinking they better not they better not. And then the moment it starts leading somewhere that you don't want it to go. You're thinking, "See, I knew they were just doing it "to get that thing." But, you guys God designed marriage to be physical, and-- [Aaron] It's the pretty much the only confines for Biblical healthy physical touch. [Jennifer] Yeah, like we need to be there for each other in that way. Now, if there's a specific reason why you don't want it to be led somewhere, you got to speak up, you got to let them know. Otherwise, your heart's just going to wrestle. [Aaron] And there's a loving way. It's like, "Hey, I'm really enjoying, "you reaching out you touching me playing with my hair, "you rubbing my back, I know, "you might want something more. "And I just wanna let you know that It may not work. "And so can we plan it for tomorrow night? "Can we can I reach out? "Can I let you know tomorrow?" [Jennifer] Yeah, or the other way is to set aside whatever justification you're rolling around in your head and go for it and enjoy it. [Aaron] Oftentimes, you get to the end of it, you're like, "Oh, I'm glad we did that part." "Oh, I needed that." Exactly. [Jennifer] Okay, so why don't you read that? It's 1st Corinthians 7:3-5. [Aaron] And this is this is a scripture that challenges both husbands and wives. On the actual obligation, we have to physical intimacy. It says this, "The husband should give to his wife, "her conjugal rights," and we all know what conjugal means. "And likewise, the wife to her husband, "for the wife does not have authority over her own body, "but the husband does. "Likewise, the husband does not have authority "over his own body, but the wife does. "Do not deprive one another except perhaps "by agreement for a limited time." I like how first of all says it says, "except perhaps." So it means like, if this is going to happen in the rare occasions of depriving each other, it's going to be by agreement and only for a short period of time. Like don't let there be long periods of time that this stuff happens. That's what almost destroyed marriage. Was long periods of time of not-- Me avoiding-- Yeah. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] That you may devote yourselves to prayer but then come together again so satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self control. There's a very stark warning of the temptation that comes from avoiding each other sexually. And there's also at the command that my body is not my own. It's hers and her body is not her own, it's mine, right? Which has tons of implications and we can have another episode about this. But just just as an encouragement, you shouldn't be withholding sexual intimacy from your spouse. If there's a good reason then you need to discuss that and come to an agreement on it. If there's infidelity, which is a good reason to have a break from sexual intimacy. [Jennifer] Not just a break, it's a break being prayerful. [Aaron] It's a prayerful break from purpose of reconciliation, for the purpose of building trust, for the purpose of coming together against stronger than before, if that's where you're at. And so there's there's a stark command on the Word of God that whose bodies ours, are my bodies is not my own, I don't get to just make decisions for my own body. I have my responsibility to my wife, and vice versa. [Jennifer] And we shouldn't be using, sexual intimacy as a tool and withhold it from each other or anything like that. We can't, we can't let division and disunity and that kind of heart to seep into the marriage relationship which is so beautiful, the way that God designed, being married and living in this sacred space of like there's no other relationship like it on Earth. I receive from you, Aaron you receive from me. There's physical closeness, embrace touched, like there really is nothing like it on Earth and to be aware of that and the opportunities that we do have to come together. And again, this is just another place where I wanna assert that if distance or timing doesn't work because of work schedules or something, that is key be circumstances that are keeping you guys from being physically close, that you're affirming one another with your words, words are really powerful. And as much as this whole episode is about touch, you need to be affirming to each other and encouraging each other. Like, "we can't be together right now. "But I'm gonna make this a priority as soon as I see you." Right? [Aaron] Yep, and I want to talk about some of the way God designed us. And created us to for touch for that human connection. Not just verbal, but actual physical. And there's a story that we've been told from friends of ours that have adopted in China. And they went to China, and they walked into the orphanage, and it was silent. [Jennifer] There's babies. [Aaron] There's babies everywhere, but it's silent, no, no crying no. Like you would imagine in a room full of lonely babies. [Jennifer] They said it felt eerie. [Aaron] It was what's wrong. And this has actually been researched by a lot of people. There's several orphanage systems around the world that this is kind of a case where the babies aren't touched. They're not held on a hug. They're not cuddled, none of that stuff. And the babies very quickly learn that they're not going to be comforted. So they don't cry. They need it, they want to be comforted, but the only way they can communicate does nothing so they don't communicate. And it actually stunts their their neurological growth, it stunts their physical growth, it stunts a lot of things in them just because they're not being touched. I remember hearing a story a while ago, of an old man who's single, his wife died years prior, and he wanted to find something to do with his life. And so he started going to the NICU in his local hospital, just to hold the babies. He would go in there and he'd sit in a rocking chair and he'd hold babies that didn't have families, or that they were sick or whatever it was and he would just hold them for hours. Rock them sing to them talk to them. And he had this ministry of going and just holding babies which is amazing. When he gets to heaven one day, God's gonna hug him for doing that. Human touch is fundamental to our communication, to our bonding, to our physical health. There's been tons of research on how physical touch on even little mounts of levels. It brings healing to your body physical healing, like it helps you with your immune system helps you with your neurological development. What human touch does is there's a chemical that God's put in our bodies called oxytocin. And it's released during sex. It's released during hugs, [Jennifer] It's actually released during breastfeeding while a mom is bonding with her baby. [Aaron] Yeah, it's called the bonding drug. When you have an orgasm and during sex, and oxytocin is released in both of your bodies. It actually causes you to physically, emotionally, mentally bond closer with your spouse, which is also why it's prohibited to be having sexual relationships outside of your marriage. Because you're bonding in this way with other human beings that you're not married to. And this is this should be only happening within the context of marriage. But that oxytocin release that hormone is actually so good for so many things. It relieves stress. It combats what's the stress hormone, it's cortisol. It combats that. So you have too much of that in your body and you have all this stress and oxytocin being released through a hug, through a kiss, through an orgasm through that these things that are that release oxytocin in your body, and then boom, you're actually helping your body do what God made your body to do. Which makes it even stronger, healthier, more excited, more fit, less sad, right? It helps with depression, it helps all these things. And these are all just the just the biological function of touch in your in your life why it's so important. So again, like I said in the beginning, regardless, if you're love language's physical touch, every human being on the planet needs physical touch for healthy growth, healthy living. You could have access to this on a daily basis with your spouse. Think about how much more joyful, and secure, and confident and happy you'll be if physical touch's more consistent like healthy, loving, gentle physical touch. A caress here, a hand holding there, a kiss, a hug, caressing the neck, touching the ear, playing with the hair. All these things, that are so good for us and make you have to be so close. And it releases all these good things in your body. And it actually it's a spiritual thing. It's an emotional thing, it's a physical thing. [Jennifer] That's really good. So often, I think that as humans, we become contingent on the other person in the marriage to step up and do something-- [Aaron] Transactional. [Jennifer] And I think it's important to speak to that for just a moment Aaron, and maybe you can share on this but Just as an encouragement to those listening. That we shouldn't be waiting to initiate, waiting to insert ourselves and be physical, for our spouse to do it first or to take that first step or especially if there has been distance or time between, a season of no physical touch. What would you say to encourage them? [Aaron] Well, I first want to talk to those that, like, maybe I'm imagining a husband has a hard heart. There's something, wherever they are in their marriage. And like I said, we talked about earlier touch is the last thing they want. And I would imagine a wife is afraid to like to reach out and hold their hand because they're gonna pull away and reject them. [Jennifer] Or maybe the couple who they have tried to openly Express and communicate that they want more or that there's they're hurt because it's not happening and then they get shut down. And so that kind of like what you're saying about the baby's crying, not crying in the orphanages. They've learned to not speak up and to not say anything. [Aaron] 'Cause they're not gonna get it. [Jennifer] That makes me sad just thinking about that in marriage. [Aaron] So my encouragement to those is to do it anyway. Even if even if they reject you, even if you, you lean over and you go to caress your wife's neck and she swats your hand away, or you reach over to put your hand on your husband's shoulder, and he shrugs it off. It hurts. I'm not gonna pretend that that doesn't hurt, I'm not gonna tell you to pretend it doesn't hurt. But you can hand that to the Lord and say, "Lord, that hurts me. "But I want to love my husband, "I want to love my wife." And, and maybe it's the next time you're walking by them, to the kitchen you just for half a second, rub your hand across their back. They can't stop you. Whether they say a word to you, they're gonna think like, she touched me. [Jennifer] You're sending them a message still. [Aaron] You're sending them a message still. And you do that over and over, and over again. They they look frustrated. You go up and you get close and say, "Hey, I'm praying for you." Just put your hand on their shoulder. They look sad. So you say, "can I give you a hug?" Even if they say no to you, do it. Reach out to touch someone like the song goes, "I reach out" and go to your spouse and just don't give up. Don't give up doing good for in due season you will produce a harvest, you will reap a reward. And I mean think about it's like what Christ did. He reached out and touched a lot of people. And so be Christ in your home to your spouse, reach out and touch them, pray for them. Put your hand on them. Try and grab their hand, touch their lower back, put your hand on their shoulder, put your hand on their forearm. Whatever it is, just let them know that you want to touch them. [Jennifer] Yeah, that's beautiful. We hope that this episode encouraged you guys. And this really brought you to a place where you're evaluating physical touch in your marriage. And I would say our charge to you would be an encouragement to be the initiator. I know we already mentioned that but to be the initiator of physical interaction, in your relationship with your spouse. And don't let your flesh, your insecurities, or your frustrations get in the way. Be courageous enough to reach out and see how that touch impacts your spouse. [Aaron] And ask Christ to give you the strength and the courage to do it in a supernatural way with your spouse. [Jennifer] All right, Aaron, you wanna close us out with prayer? [Aaron] Yep. Dear Lord, we praise you for the gift of touch. We thank you for the way you created our bodies and gave us the ability to fill and touch. We pray that we would be husbands and wives who use the power of touch to affirm each other in marriage and let one another know we are near. We pray we would have the courage to reach out and hug or hold each other's hand. Even when it feels hard to do that or inconvenient. May our marriage be a priority in this way. May our touch remind our spouse that we love them and that we support them. We pray touch with encourage intimacy and closeness like we have never experienced in our marriage before. In Jesus name, amen. We love you guys. We thank for listening to episode, we pray that you would touch more and that if you haven't already would you just take a moment, leave us a review. Just scroll down to the bottom of your app, hit a star rating that the easiest way to do it, you just tap a star. Or you can leave us a text review. We love those and also blesses other people when they're coming to check out the show for the first time. It also lets iTunes and other podcast apps know how to rank our podcast based off her reviews. So we love you all. We thank you and we pray that God moves mightily in your marriages and draws you closer to him and your spouse and see you next week. [Narrator] 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. 
FREE DOWNLOADSDatenightconversations.comMarriageprayerchallenge.comparentingprayerchallenge.com “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” - Ephesians 4:1 How do I become more selfless in my marriage?What are some Tips for consistency in communication within marriage to build intimacy?How do we live for God together...my husband never really been to church Etc?How do you work through disagreements on hobbies? IE motorcycles?How do you keep chasing dreams God's call you to, when your spouse is in a totally negative place?Do you still struggle with trusting your husband? Speaking about p 0rn and how can you battle thoughts?What is your number one advice to couples struggling?READ TRANSCRIPT[Aaron] Hey, we're Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God. [Jennifer] Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage. [Aaron] And today, we're gonna answer some questions from the community about not seeing eye-to-eye in marriage. Welcome to the Marriage After God podcast, where we believe that marriage was meant for more than just happily ever after. [Jennifer] I'm Jennifer, also known as Unveiled Wife. [Aaron] And I'm Aaron, also known as Husband Revolution. [Jennifer] We have been married for over a decade. [Aaron] And so far, we have four young children. [Jennifer] We have been doing marriage ministry online for over seven years through blogging and social media. [Aaron] With the desire to inspire couples to keep God at the center of their marriage, encouraging them to walk in faith every day. [Jennifer] We believe that Christian marriage should be an extraordinary one, full of life-- Love-- And power. [Aaron] That can only be found by chasing after God-- Together. [Aaron] Thank you for joining in 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 gonna be a Q&A episode where we polled our community and we got a buncha questions about a specific topic, which is not seeing eye-to-eye, and we're gonna answer those in a bit. But first, before we get into that, Jennifer, is there anything new going on in your life? Is there anything you wanna chat with me about? [Jennifer] I love chatting with you. Something that I wanted to share, that's been on my heart for our listeners, is just something that I been doing intentionally with a girlfriend of mine and that is discipleship and it's going really well, we meet bi-weekly. And the reason that I wanted to bring it up is because I think so often we can go about our days and our times and our schedules and just focus on what is at hand and what we need to do and sometimes we forget about discipleship or mentorship or how we impact other peoples' lives. And I just think it's really important for us to consider, you know, who's that older, more mature Christian in our life that we can glean from? So, someone we can be spending time with that will fill us up that will maybe speak truth into our life or see something that isn't going the way it should be and call it out in us or maybe we can go to them for a question. And then, who's that person who is younger than you that you can reach out to and have an impact in their life? You know, be that person for them. Toward God. Yeah. Encouraging them. Yeah. So, I just, I'm bringing it up because it's been going so well in my personal life that I just thought, "Man, if they're not thinking about this, "I want them to be thinking about this." [Aaron] Well, and it's a, we've talked about this in past episodes, about the necessity of community and walking with each other and our ministries in other people's lives. Yeah. [Aaron] Just the importance of we're not autonomous creatures, we're part of a body, and God's given us gifts that must be used to glorify Him and to mutually build up the Church and to encourage each other and to bless each other, so. [Jennifer] And sometimes our flesh can get in the way, you know, those insecurities where we go, "Oh, it'd be really nice to spend time with that person." But then we answer for them, right? We go, "Oh, they're too busy." Or, "They can't." Or, "I don't know"-- You're really good at this, aren't you? "I don't know what to say." Answering for people. Answering for people, yeah. And you've drawn me out of this. But my encouragement to that person is don't answer for that person but surrender to God, pray about your desire to build that relationship up, and then have the courage to just ask. And if they say, "I can't at this time," receive it and say, "Okay," and pray about, maybe, who else you can engage with in that way. But chances are, they're gonna be thrilled to hear from you. [Aaron] Yeah, I've been through something very similar. Not necessarily, I don't have a scheduled meeting with a single person each week or every other week, but I've been trying to intentionally meet regularly with all the men from our fellowship. Mainly to get to know them more, to get into deeper relationship with them, to be encouraged by them. But also to, yeah, disciple. And we're called to make disciples, we're called to walk with each other and sharpen each other, as iron sharpens iron. If we're not doing that and we're just kind of going about our day and, yeah, we see 'em at church on Sundays and then we leave and we have dinners every once in awhile, but if there's no intentional, like, "'Kay, I actually want to be in this person's life, "lifting them up to the Father, "and I want someone in my life doing that for me," we're kind of missing out on a huge part of what it means to be a believer, so. That's a great encouragement for everyone listening. Yeah. So, before we get into the questions, we wanna tell everyone about our free things that we have to offer you guys. We've made a bunch of resources now that I feel like they keep compiling, like, we're making more and more. 'Cause we get an idea and then we're like, "Okay, "let's make it and let's give it to everyone," so. [Jennifer] And I gotta admit, I'm the one that pushes for the new ones because I want you guys who have already been through, maybe, some of the ones that we've been offering to jump into the new one, which, the newest one we just launched is the Parenting Prayer Challenge, which, oh my gosh, I'm so excited about. [Aaron] Yeah, it's a totally free email challenge and essentially, we send you an email every day for 31 days giving you a prayer prompt for a specific area of your child's life, either your son or your daughter, and it's a reminder every day. [Jennifer] And it doesn't matter what age your kids are because it could be for your infant all the way up to your adult-- Your kids that are out of the house. Children, yeah. [Aaron] And you can get that at parentingprayerchallenge.com, all one word. It's totally free, you should go sign up today if you haven't. And just a quick note on the other ones, we have a free download called Date Night Conversations. It's a list of 52 conversation starters. You can get that at datenightconversations.com, one word. And then the last one is Marriage Prayer Challenge. It's similar to the Parenting Prayer Challenge, but it's for your marriage. Prayer's best. [Aaron] Yeah, you can sign up to pray for your wife or you can sign up to pray for your husband and we send you a prompt every day for 31 days. So, get those, those are completely free. [Jennifer] All right, so we are moving on to today's topic, which, we're doing a Q&A. We already polled the community from social media. We usually do this on Instagram, so if you're not already following, be sure to follow @marriageaftergod. You can also follow me @unveiledwife for some more wife encouragement and then @husbandrevolution for more husband stuff. [Aaron] And we'd love for you to be following us on Instagram so that you can see the behind the scenes stuff in our life. When we do the polls, we'd love for you to participate in those. We look at all those questions that you guys give us. [Jennifer] So, what we do is we poll you guys, we ask you to submit your questions, and then we use those to order these Q&As. [Aaron] Sometimes the questions are not all in the same category, but if we find enough in a category, we're like, "Oh, that's what we're gonna talk about." And so, we try and answer those. And we also always wanna start with: we don't have all the answers. Yeah. That's a funny way to start out a Q&A. We don't. We know this. [Aaron] We will answer to the best of our abilities, we will answer based off of things we've experienced and, as always, we're gonna try and, to the best of our abilities, point back to scripture. We don't always do that well either, but that's our heart because we know that the Word of God is the Word of God; it's perfect and we know that everything that we order our life by should be ordered by it. And so, we try, to the best of our ability, to do that, so. [Jennifer] So, today's kind of overarching topic is not seeing eye-to-eye in your marriage, which can play out in a lotta different ways, but I would also label this as disunity. So, this idea of not being unified-- [Aaron] Right, not on the same page. [Jennifer] Not on the same page in marriage. [Aaron] Which is that, the analogy of not seeing eye-to-eye, that we're unbalanced, you know, one's higher, one's lower, and so you're not seeing in the same space. And so, you have the, unity is a huge thing for marriage. And I'm sure that many marriages don't even struggle with this, right? Like, this is a unique issue in-- [Jennifer] I'm gonna correct Aaron, I'm gonna correct that. [Aaron] We're not gonna see eye-to-eye on this. [Jennifer] I think every marriage encounters this. Yeah. A lot, actually. Every human relationship. Yeah. [Aaron] In the history of human relationships. [Jennifer] Because we're all different heights. [Aaron] Like, it started in the Garden of Eden. You look at Adam and Eve. Come on, guys. [Aaron] Eve was like, "Oh, it does look good to eat." And Adam's like, "All right." No, just checkin'. [Aaron] And just, from the very beginning, not seeing eye-to-eye. But that's what we're gonna talk about today. There's quite a few questions, so why don't you start off reading some scripture? Okay. So, we're gonna dig into Ephesians 4 and starting in Verse 1, it says this: "I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, "urge you to walk in a manner worthy of "the calling to which you have been called, "with all humility and gentleness, with patience, "bearing with one another in love, "eager to maintain the unity of "the spirit in the bond of peace." And if, for some reason, you hear that verse right now and you're like, "You guys have shared "that verse so many times on this podcast"-- A couple. I'm not gonna apologize. The more we say that verse and the more you hear it and the more we live according to it, we will experience this, right babe? [Aaron] Well, and it's essentially Biblical meditation. We're repeating it, we're chewing on it, we're gonna say it over and over again because it's true. [Jennifer] And we're gonna see how it applies to our life and, you know, what we are-- [Aaron] Well, and it's a good tone to start with, to set the mood for this conversation, because no matter where you're at in your marriage, you could be thinking, like, "My husband "just thinks this certain way "and I'm not gonna get on that page with him." Or, "My wife just doesn't understand," fill in the blank. If we're eager to maintain unity with our bride-- Maintenance. With our spouse. [Aaron] That's gonna be the place that we start from, not a, "They need to change because I'm not gonna change." It's a, "What needs to change so that "we're on the same page?" And maintain is, that's a constantly occurring, that's not a, "Okay, we got on the same page "and now we're fine for the rest of our lives." This is a consistent-- Oh, we gotta realign-- Checking. Oh, we gotta do it again. Yeah. Oh, let's do it again. Let's continue to be this way, yeah. [Jennifer] Yeah, so I couldn't help but start out, also, obviously, God's Word is the priority and first and foremost, but I also wanted to start out sharing a little bit from Marriage After God because we've-- Book plug! Written a book for you and if you haven't gotten it yet, we want to urge you to get it, but this is from page 56 in Marriage After God and it talks about this idea of oneness, okay? You know, in Genesis, it talks about two becoming one flesh and so, we though it'd be great to elaborate on this in Marriage After God and so-- [Aaron] Okay, so I'm actually gonna read this section. Jennifer's actually a little outta breath, being pregnant and all-- He's saving me! [Aaron] So, it says this, it's on page 56: "One flesh does not mean two "independent individuals sometimes acting as one, "neither does it mean two individuals "negotiating a workable schedule where they "inhabit the same space but leave each other alone. "One flesh is a picture of unity, a joining together, "a growing together, where parts of each are woven together "in a way that there is no noticeable seam. "Oneness is one of the greatest ways "we show the world the true gospel." [Jennifer] So, what you're saying is it's powerful. Yeah. Our oneness in marriage. Did we write this? Yeah. [Aaron] Yeah, the idea of oneness it's not our idea, it's a Biblical idea, we pulled that from the Bible directly. And it's, again, the reason why I wanna talk about this and we always go back to it is because our marriage represents something more than just our marriage. It's a symbol that God created to represent Christ and the Church and the relationship between the two, that we are no longer separate, we're no longer nomads, we actually are part of Christ, we are one with Christ, the same way my wife and I are one. But when we walk in disunity, when we walk in brokenness and we're not seeing eye-to-eye, we're against each other where actually-- [Jennifer] Or even apathy where it's like, "I know we're off, I know we're"-- "And I don't care." "Not seeing eye-to-eye "and I don't care." Yeah. That's so dangerous. It's not the symbol that God intends it to be, so we're walking in opposition to God's way when we walk that way, so-- So, it's good to maintain that, you know, what you were talking about earlier, it's good to-- Maintain, yeah. Have priority in our marriage to focus on unity. [Aaron] So, question one, from the community, it says, "How do I become more selfless in my marriage? "I wanna please my spouse." Okay, first of all, this is just an outstanding question. I love that someone is even admitting that they want this because so often, our flesh gets in the way, our selfish nature gets in the way of even admitting this. [Aaron] Yeah, 'cause we're selfish. Yup. Naturally, without the Spirit workin' in us. I guess I would first say, this was specifically from a wife to a husband but I said spouse because it goes both ways, and the short answer and the practical answer is: serve the other person. Yeah. Right? The antidote to selfishness is service, you know? The antidote to wanting my feet washed is washing someone's feet. You know, you look at the picture of Christ and what he did for his disciples. And so, I guess, I just had a conversation with a brother from church, we were talkin' about meeting with people, and I brought up this idea of how, if you look at anything in life, how does anything grow? You feed it. Like a tree: you water it, you nurture it, you feed it, you prune it, and it grows. If I want my muscles to grow, I have to work them out, I have to use them, I have to feed them with the right nutrients, and I have to do the correct thing for them to work. I can't just sit back, wish they grew, desire them to grow, desire these things to happen, but do nothing. Children, right? You want them to grow-- You gotta feed 'em, it's like-- No. Oh, that's not-- But more than that, you can't just sit back and just let them have at it in the world, you gotta-- Yeah. Teach them and-- [Aaron] They can't be left to their own devices, they have to be guided and teached and disciplined and corrected-- Taught. And talked to and taught. You said teached. [Aaron] Teached. Oh, did I really? Yeah. Okay. So, in the same way, to become more selfless or, on the flip side, less selfish, you have to practice and work out that muscle. Yeah. So, an example in our marriage: we all go through these seasons where I want physical intimacy and maybe Jennifer can't give it to me. Like, we're pregnant right now, so this is a natural thing that happens, but times that we're not pregnant, maybe she's tired or whatever. And in my selfish flesh, I want something physical. But the selfless, spiritual-driven decision would be like, "Okay, I'm using that as a trigger, "I'm recognizing I want something. "I bet my wife wants something, too." And so, I tried, and I didn't do this every time, I don't do this all the time, but it's something I tried practicing is, "I'm gonna go and try and"-- [Jennifer] Give me the thing that it is you want. So, if it's a foot massage or-- Yeah, I want something-- Physical touch. [Aaron] Physical but I'm gonna go and say, "Hey, can I give you a massage?" And she wasn't even expecting it. Yeah. And that, it wasn't to manipulate, it was purely like, "I know I want something and right now, I'm just, "I know she probably can't give it or isn't interested "and it would be very selfish for me to "try and make her feel bad about it "or try and get something without her desiring it as well." So, I go and serve her. And so, that was one example, is practicing that muscle of service. Which, again, I'm not tryna make myself sound great. [Jennifer] So, I think the word that keeps coming to my mind as you're talking, Aaron, is the word initiation. And we have to be initiators, we have to be people who are willing to start first and not let our selfishness get in the way of that. And so, that would be my answer to this question, is: be an initiator. But even, prior to that, I would say we have to be people who are willing to get into God's Word and know it and let it transform us. And how does that happen? When we recognize our selfishness and we repent of it. Mm hm. Right? Because without repenting of your own selfishness when you see it flare up, you're never gonna change. You're always gonna be a selfish person. [Aaron] Which, repentance literally means to change your mind about. So, thinking you deserve something and therefore you're not gonna give something because if you're not getting what you deserve, why would you give what someone else doesn't deserve, right? And two scriptures come to mind when I think about this, a way of thinking about how to know when to give, to be selfless. I think of the Golden Rule: "Do unto others "as you would have them do unto you." And that's kind of a trigger, is any time I'm desiring something, it's probably a safe bet that the other person in my life, my wife, also is desiring something, right? And so, if I take that as a trigger, like, "Oh, I want, I'm trying, my flesh wants something "or my heart wants something." I can say, like, "Oh, I can go give this to my wife. "The thing that I want, I can give to her." But it's gonna be different, it may not be the exact thing I want, but. Let's say I want time to myself. It's probably possible that you want time to yourself. So, I can go be like, "Hey, "would you want to go out tonight?" Or, "Is there anyone you want to get together with?" Or, "Do you just need to go take a bath?" Yeah. Like, I can think that way. And so, I think of that loving your neighbor as yourself or doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, it's just thinking about the things that you want and then flipping it and saying, "How can I give the thing that I want to someone else?" The second verse that comes to mind is in Luke and it's about lending to people and it says this, it's Luke 6:34 through 36, it says, and this is Jesus talking: "And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, "what credit is that to you? "Even sinners lend to sinners to get back the same amount. "But love your enemies and do good and lend. "Expect nothing in return. "Your reward will be great "and you will be sons of the most high, "for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. "Be merciful even as your Father is merciful." And this is kind of not directly talking about selfishness but it's this idea of lending without this expectation. Like, give without saying, "I'm giving to you "only if I'm guaranteed you're gonna return it to me." That's true selflessness. So, that's what it's saying, is God's even kind to the ungrateful and evil, he's patient with them, let's the rain fall on them as well and gives them crops. That's what this idea's talking about. You know, so we should be merciful, so. [Jennifer] You know, I was gonna ask you a question in conjunction to this question and that is: when people, when a couple, when they're not seeing eye-to-eye or there's disunity in the marriage, usually they don't want to serve each other, right, and so there's that that they're combating. And my question was gonna be: how do you do that, how do you serve each other, how do you love each other amidst that disunity? But I feel like you just answered it in that scripture. [Aaron] Well, it's giving, so, and we always go back to this, I have this quote I say all the time: we can't let our obedience be contingent on our spouse's actions. Like, "Well, you're not loving me "the way I wanna be loved or deserve to be loved, "therefore I'm not gonna respect you." It doesn't work that way. The only person we have control over is ourselves. So, the only person we have to worry who's being obedient, yes, I'm concerned if my wife's being obedient to the Lord, but for me, the only person I can actually control, in the Spirit that God's given me, is myself. And so, even if my spouse isn't walking the way I want them to or doing what I want them to, I can still choose to walk in righteousness, I can still choose to walk in love and be graceful and merciful and patient and kind and loving, right, on my side. That's really good. So, even when there is disunity, even when you're not seeing eye-to-eye on a specific thing in your marriage, you can still love unconditionally. Right, exactly. Cool. Okay, so let's move on to number two. "How do we live for God together? "My husband never really has been "to church or anything like that, so." [Aaron] Okay, and again, this would go back to you have a wife that's not, doesn't go to church with you, isn't a believer, and the husband is a believer or vice versa in the situation. [Jennifer] So, how do you live for God together when one person isn't already living for God? [Aaron] Again, I go back to you can't control the other person. You can't make someone live for God that doesn't wanna live for God. [Jennifer] Basically, this is a not seeing eye-to-eye on a spiritual level. [Aaron] Yeah, on the greatest level, I would imagine. But you, the Bible gives instruction to the wife on how she can walk in a certain way that can totally spiritually influence her husband. You see that with the husband, the husband can walk a certain way that will influence his wife. [Jennifer] Regardless, any person who is following Christ and Christ is living inside of them has an impact in this world. Yeah. Bottom line. [Aaron] And if your spouse, as the Bible says, is willing to stay with you, even if they don't love God, if they're not walking with God, and they're staying with you and you love God, think about the thousands and thousands of hours that that person who doesn't know God is gonna be around God because of you. Like, it's not like you walk up to a stranger on the street and they had a split second that you got to preach the gospel to them. Like, this person's living in the gospel daily. It's going have effect. Mm hm. [Aaron] So, I would say there's no answer on how you can walk together with God if the other person doesn't want to, but you can walk with God for your spouse and in front of your spouse and toward your spouse. [Jennifer] And I would say your greatest desire, before even living for God together, is: how can I get my spouse to live for God? And so, being prayerful for their salvation and being prayerful that they have a growing desire to serve God. Nonstop. [Jennifer] That's a foundational thing that needs to happen. One more note on this. So, me and you, we got married, and from the beginning, wanted to serve God together. Yeah. Right? Essentially, what this wife is desiring, for her and her husband, we were there. But even in the middle of two believers who love God, loved each other, and wanted to serve God together, we were often not on the same page spiritually, we were often at odds with each other in how we wanted to serve God, in our own sins. So, even in the midst of what you might be desiring, of that perfect, like, we're both chasing God together, you still have to walk in your own faith, uprightly, with God for your spouse because they're going to fail you at times, they're not going to be on the same page with you. And that's something that we experienced. Yeah. So, we were on the other spectrum of wanting to do it together but still felt chaotic sometimes. [Jennifer] Yeah, and I would say, after all these years of continually growing in our personal relationship with God, that is what has brought us closer together and has driven that desire to continue to serve Him together. And so, I would say to live for God means that you know Him and so, a good starting place, well, we already talked prayer and praying for salvation, but, is knowing God, getting in His Word, going through resources like Husband After God or Wife After God. [Aaron] Yeah, our marriage devotionals. [Jennifer] Yeah, which you can get and maybe you'll start it and maybe your spouse won't. Maybe you'll be halfway through and it's still sitting untouched for your spouse. Maybe you'll be finished with it for months and finally they pick it up. I don't know how God orchestrates all of that, all I know is I've heard plenty of stories where a couple has the resource and they start going through it and it draws their hearts closer to God, so. And that's just one resource out of so many out there. [Aaron] Okay, so question number three. We have a lotta questions, so we'll see if we can get through 'em. It says, "What are some tips for consistency "and communication within marriage to build intimacy? "i.e. You may not be in an agreement on a topic, "so how do you communicate through it?" [Jennifer] Gosh, I wanna say don't go into it super inflamed and heated. But that's the best way. You go in at a hundred. No, but sometimes you just feel that intense about it and so, whatta you do, Aaron, when you have that intense of an emotion about a topic or about something that you need to navigate with your spouse? I mean, practically, being quiet, starting with silence. I think of that scripture that says, "Be slow to speak and quick to listen and quick to hear." 'Cause often, to be honest, most of the communication issues in marriage is misunderstanding. Because you, as a emotional creatures, God's made you more emotional, you're gonna say something with emotional words and I'm gonna interpret that a hundred different ways and none of the ways I interpret it are how you feel, right? And men being logical creatures, and that doesn't mean women are illogical, it's just hearing something and it's not what you meant and it's not what you're saying and I'm hearing it a certain way and I'm putting it through my own filters and that's what happens, so. Being slower to just jump at the person and be like, "Oh, you said this and that hurt me." But actually hearing and listening and being slower to saying stuff because once the words leave our lips, they're gone and they're-- Yeah, but we're also held accountable to them, right? I think something that I've learned in our own marriage, Aaron, is the way that I can have self control in coming to you with my emotions and still be respectful but still communicate them to you and let you know, "Hey, when this happened, I felt this way." And so, I'm not yelling at you, I'm not out of control, I'm not making you feel little, I'm just explaining this is what happened and this is how it made me feel. And I think it's important for couples, like you said, to be slow to speak and quick to listen so that we hear each other. I think hearing each other is so important. [Aaron] Yeah, and then, and we always bring this up, is: what is your intention? Is your intention to win, is it to defeat your spouse? [Jennifer] Well, the goal should be unity, right? Right. But that has to be a conscious decision, like, "Am I mad right now and I wanna destroy you "or do I actually want there to be peace?" And not just apathy, like, "I just don't wanna deal with it "so let's not talk about it anymore," but, "Am I fighting for something and it's chaotic "or is this something that I even need to be fighting about? "Is this even matter, what I'm frustrated about "or what we're miscommunicating about?" But recognizing that the whole purpose, at the end of it, is that we're unified, we're reconciled, we are one again, we're in intimacy, you know? [Jennifer] Well, and intimacy means to be known. It's not just a physical intimacy, although that's how you're known physically, it means to be known. And the way that we make ourselves known is we are vulnerable, we are transparent, we are real. And so, we're not hiding anything, we're not keeping things from each other, but we're also not disrespectfully just throwing it all out there. There's this self control that comes with it and a safe place where we know we can communicate back and forth and that's what builds intimacy in marriage. That's what makes me feel known, that's what makes you feel known. [Aaron] Yeah, so knowing your end result, which is, it should be humbleness, because God wants his people to be humble, and it should be reconciliation. So, that deals with 99% of our arguments from day to day. It's very rare that we're having arguments over real big things, it's always the little things. And then, what happens is you get all those little things, when the big things do come up, you're gonna be infinitely better at dealing with that with your spouse 'cause you know that you're on the same team. [Jennifer] A good little side note tip would be to start out and use sentences with I instead of you. So, you're not pointing the finger here, you're actually opening your hand and saying, "I want you to know who I am." [Aaron] Mm hm, yeah, that's good, that was a good tip. So, here's a good one. Everyone's gonna have some level of issue. [Jennifer] What's the first thing that pops into your mind when we say this question? [Aaron] How do you work through disagreements on hobbies? And the example that was given is motorcycles and it's probably very personal to that person. Yeah. But women have, this actually could be a wife's hobby. But any hobby at all, hobby's essentially the extracurricular, it's, "I have this passion "outside of my home or outside of my work or"-- [Jennifer] Which, I know you'll generally answer, but I just have to say, when I saw this question come through, I think there would be a disagreement on something like the example they gave, motorcycles-- Motorcycles, right. [Jennifer] Because it's dangerous, right, and so, we also have to address that aspect of, maybe, what this question means, but why don't you kick it off? [Aaron] I would, on the hobbies side of things, regardless of what the hobby is, because there's so many different levels of ability. There could be a wife that is into skydiving with their husband and most people would be like, "No way," but they're like, "No, this is totally fun." So, I'm not gonna just pick on any specific hobby 'cause that doesn't matter, for the most part. I'm sure there's hobbies that are absolutely like, "Well, that's sin, you shouldn't be doing that." [Jennifer] And then there are safer ones, like quilting. [Aaron] And then there could be totally benign ones that mean nothing and it's like, "Well, what's the big deal? "This is not a sin that I'm doing this." The questions should always be wrapped up in wisdom. Can you afford it? If your wife or your husband's not in agreement with it, that should be immediately a red flag because you're not in unity and it's not just a, "That person needs to change how they think about my hobby," because what if God put an insight or a discernment in your spouse? Because remember, you guys are on the same team, regardless of if you feel like you're in a team or not, and your spouse has a reason for having an issue with it. Now, that spouse, as you guys communicate about the hobby, humbly, it could, you could find out that the spouse just has, like your wife, has some sort of disposition from a childhood about the thing you're doing. So, it has nothing to do with anything else other than they just feel uncomfortable. [Jennifer] But if that's the case, is it worth it to listen and hear? Absolutely. Yeah. [Aaron] But what I'm saying is they could, through the conversation, be like, "You know what? "I am being irrational and it's not that big of a deal." Or-- The point is that they're talking about it. Yeah. Or it comes to this side of, "Well, "I just can't get behind it." And then at that point, are you gonna say, "Well, then get outta here 'cause I'm gonna keep doin' it"? And then essentially, you're choosing a hobby over your spouse. Well, on the flip side to this, the spouse that's in disagreement with that spouse's hobby, what's your heart posture and reasoning? Because are you just against it because you don't like them spending time alone from you? Are you just against it because you don't like what they like? So, I feel like the biggest part of this question, and it's for both spouses in the marriage, is: what are the motivations of your heart? On both sides. And are you communicating that to each other? [Aaron] Right, and usually, if you're defensive about something, if you're trying to defend and protect your hobby, that usually is rooted in something and you gotta immediately start asking yourself, "Why am I trying to protect this so much? "Why does this thing mean so much to me?" Because you could be using that hobby as a surrogate for your marriage. Like, "I get more fulfillment out of this thing "than I do out of my marriage or my kids." [Jennifer] Like an escape or something, yeah. [Aaron] And if that's the case, that's dangerous and that's called an idol. You should be careful with that. So, I think, any, there should be nothing in our life, not a single hobby should have any sort of weight against our family, against our ministry, against our marriage, against our responsibilities at our work, with our kids, none of that. Anything, it doesn't matter what the hobby is, it shouldn't be off the table for a negotiation. It should be something that you should humbly be willing to release, if necessary. And the necessity could be your wife or your husband just is like, "I don't like it." And to be honest, even if they're irrational, they are one with you. And if you're gonna just say, "I disagree with you, "you're irrational, I'm gonna keep doing it," you've just literally, how are you ever gonna be intimate, on any level, with a person that you said, "I don't care what you say, I'm doing it anyway"? You just can't. So, I would just put a warning in anyone's life, and this goes for the husbands and the wives, if there's anything in their life, a book club, a quilting club, a hobby of, like, you name it, everyone that's listening is probably thinking, "Oh, I have this hobby." [Jennifer] "I know what my thing is," yeah. [Aaron] And my job right now is not to say hobbies are bad 'cause you can totally have a healthy hobby, maybe it's something that you do with your family, maybe that it's something that you do by yourself, and you have total control over it and it doesn't get in the way of your responsibilities and your family totally feels taken care of and loved and that you're present-- [Jennifer] And they actually enjoy participating in it with you. [Aaron] Yeah, there's lots of things. But at the same time, if you have any level of, "I'm not lettin' this thing go "and no one's gonna stop me," that's a wrong heart. And whatever that thing is that you're into has got some sorta hold of you that you need to deal with. Yeah. So, I wanna share two things. One of them just kinda popped into my heart and I can't push it away for some reason and that is: if you, the individual, have some sort of hobby and you've been feeling convicted in your own heart because of timing, finances, lack of-- How often you're doin' it. [Jennifer] Yeah, whatever the thing is, please please please please please don't push that feeling off and just wait for your spouse to come and share their disagreement with you about it. Be a mature, Christian person, yield to the Holy Spirit-- Who's speaking to you. And say, "God, what are you trying to tell me "and how can I surrender this to you?" If that means give it up 100%, are you willing to do that? I just felt like I had to say that. The other thing is more personal, but I just wanted to share an encouragement. I didn't want it to all sound negative. But Aaron, you have been so good at, first, learning who I am, I don't wanna say studying me, but over time together, you know me pretty well and you know the things that fuel me, as a person, like writing and painting and crafting, and you encourage me in it. Now, there have been times in our marriage where we've been so strapped, it's like, "You can't spend that money on that, "you know, whatever that thing is." But there's also been, often, there's been times where you know that I've been going, going, going and you look at me and go, "I think you "just need to go to a coffee shop and write. "You just need to go do this thing with your girlfriends. "You just need to," and you're a supporter and an advocate for giving me space and time to be fueled by the things that interest me and I just had to say that because I think that, as a husband and wife, we have an incredible position and opportunity to support one another in the things that do fuel us, the things, the hobbies that we're interested in. And you've been really good at that, so I just wanted to say thank you but also use it as a testimony for those listening that they can be that way in marriage, it just requires communication. Yeah. That was good, thank you, I wasn't expecting that. Okay, why don't you read question number five? [Jennifer] How do you keep chasing dreams God's called you to when your spouse is in a totally negative place? So, I'm imagining this is a season, not just a day but not always like this, but they're just in a negative place and how are you supposed to keep moving forward with those dreams that you, maybe, were chasing together or were hoping to chase together? [Aaron] This, it sounds more personal, it sounds like this person, whoever it is, feels like God's called them to something specific. Oh, like individually. Yeah. And they're spouse is in another place. Okay. Either emotionally or mentally or maybe they hate their job and the other spouse is trying to pursue a ministry of some sort or-- Okay. [Aaron] The question itself tells me that the initial, the way the question's worded tells me that they're missing out on the first calling. The marriage? The marriage. [Jennifer] Yeah, that's what I was thinking. [Aaron] We have a responsibility, we're told to love our neighbor as ourself. And I always say, "Who's your closest neighbor?" Yeah. It's your spouse. And then your kids and then your actual neighbors and then your fellowship. And it's not like you neglect the others for the first, but you don't go out of order. I don't neglect my wife, when she needs me the most, to go serve someone else. That's out of order. Well, and here's what I think about that, is: if, let's say it is individual and one of the spouses is pursuing ministry or whatever they feel God has called them to do or maybe it's that they had a specific calling as a couple and that person's in a negative place now and they're not doing that anymore. How effective would either one of them be in any of those situations if they're not unified in their marriage? Not very effective at all. Well, and here's, this is actually the sad part, is they actually could be effective. But they're not effective where it counts. You know, we have children at home, we have our marriage to take care of, and it's not just to have a happy marriage, it's that we have a powerful marriage and that we, like, if I can't minister, we say this in our book Marriage After God quite a bit, actually, if I can't minister to my spouse, what right do I have to go and minister to someone else? I don't want to minister to you, you're in a negative place, but I'm gonna go try and minister other people that are in a negative place. There's something backwards with that. And I also understand that you could be, have already in this mode and you see God moving and God's using you and then your spouse, your husband, your wife, is going through something. And you're like, "Well, do I have to put everything "on hold because this thing's happening?" Yes. Is it totally possible that God brought them to that place and then is asking them to postpone it or wait until-- Absolutely. Something else happens? That could be part of it, right, just as an encouragement. [Aaron] Yeah, I'll get, I don't have the specific scripture on this, but Jesus, when Jesus talked to the Pharisees, you know, we all have a negative connotation of the Pharisees, right? But the Pharisees were God's people and they were the priests in line, they were the ones that were to teach the law to everyone, right? But Jesus, the problem Jesus had with the Pharisees was not just that they were Pharisees. The reason they get a bad rap is because of how they acted. They acted holy and they did the thing that they believed God was calling them to do without doing the things that they should have been doing. [Jennifer] The very specific things that He-- [Aaron] Yeah, He gives this example and He says, "You take advantage of your parents. "You say, "The things that I would "give to you, I give to God instead."" And that's exactly, that's what this question sounds like to me. "God's calling me to this thing over here "but my spouse is holding me back." And I feel like Jesus would say the exact same thing to that person: "Okay, you wanna do what I want you to do, but you're "neglecting the thing I've already told you to do. "I've told you to honor your husband "or submit to your husband." Or, "I've told you to love your wife "as Christ loves the Church. "And yet, you don't wanna do that thing 'cause "they're holding you back from my call in your life? "My call in your life is that also." And so, in another place, Jesus tells to the Pharisees, he says, "You tithe your mint and your cumin "and yet you neglect the weightier things of the law." He says, "You should, the weightier things "are justice and love and mercy." And he says, "And you don't do those things when you "shoulda done those things and the other ones." So, I just go back to this idea of if there's something going on, let's say you have a spouse that gets injured and you no longer can go do the things that you usually do and the ministry that you had and now you have to focus on your spouse. Does that change that you're doing ministry? No. No, you just have changed your energies to a place that the energies need to be right now. If your spouse is in an emotional place, broken, they lost a family member, they're depressed, they're going through things, do you just leave them behind because they're getting in the way of the true ministry? No, if it says the good shepherd was willing to leave the 99 for the one, the one is your spouse. You don't, you leave the 99 that God can take care of because it's God and it's His sheep and His ministry, and you can minister to the one that God's given you. And minister and wash and take care of. And that should never be neglected. I just, we can't do that, I can't tell someone, "Yeah." Well, first of all, we like to use words like, "God told me to," and "God's shown me," and "God's given me" as if that's a trump card. "You can't tell me I'm not supposed to "do this thing because God called me to it." But you know what I can tell you? I know what the Word of God says and if you're not doing the things that the Word of God says, it doesn't matter what you believe, you're wrong. And I'm not trying to be harsh but I am trying to be harsh because many, many families have fallen apart because of this very thing. "No, I'm doing what God wants me to do "and you need to be left behind." [Jennifer] They forsake what He said in His Word. [Aaron] Yeah, and another quote in the book, I said-- In what book? In Marriage After God, yeah. I said, "Don't sacrifice your marriage "on the altar of, quote unquote, ministry." Like, "Oh, I'm doing ministry over here, "so my wife has to deal with it. "She's not gonna ever see me, she has no idea if I love her. "She gets the last bits of my energies "rather than getting the best of my energies "and being the thing that energizes me to do more ministry." It's so much more fruitful to do it the other way than leave them behind. And I just, I think that's my answer. [Jennifer] I think you've covered it really well. So well that I think we should move on to number six. Do you wanna read that one? [Aaron] Yeah, it's about me. Do you, Jennifer, struggle with trusting me? [Jennifer] Do I struggle with trusting you? [Aaron] Specifically speaking about porn, how can you battle thoughts, like the-- [Jennifer] So, I just have to say, I feel like we need to record a whole 'nother episode on this topic altogether because-- [Aaron] We've already done one but-- I know. We should probably do another one. Well, I have received, really, lately, a lot of wives messaging me about this very topic, about trust and rebuilding trust after finding out that your spouse has sinned against you, sinned, especially with pornography, and so, that just needs to happen, but it's not gonna happen this season, so I'm just gonna have to plant that seed and say, "Stay tuned." But just to answer this question, up front, for you guys. I don't struggle to trust you anymore, Aaron. Why? [Jennifer] I think it's because we've worked so hard on building that trust back up and it absolutely takes time. And because, in the beginning, there were times that I did struggle with doubt and fear, especially times that I know you were left alone while I was out running an errand or something like that. And you know what it required is humility and communication. Because I had to be willing to say, "Hey, I'm thinking about you right now and I just, "I don't want you to fall into temptation. "Just be strong, I'll be back at this time." Or when I got back, I would ask you, "Hey, how've you been?" And the more times that we had encounters where you continued to stay pure, it built that trust up in my heart. [Aaron] And then, specifically, along that journey, what did I do, anytime I did choose to get back into pornography? You told me and you repented and you shared with me your own frustrations over the struggle of sin that you had, but you owned it and you were real with me and-- [Aaron] And no matter how little the offense was. [Jennifer] No, and I knew that you struggled with shame and guilt and I knew it was hard for you to tell me. And you learned how to give me a place to respond when I was emotional over it because it makes, I mean, just thinking-- Without trying to control your response. Yeah, 'cause it just, it made me broken knowing that those things took place and I felt a lotta things and I thought a lotta thoughts. But I would say that the humility of you coming to me or me coming to you and the reconciliation process was so important. And when I say reconciliation, I mean we talked about it. Even if it took two and a half hours, we talked about it. We prayed for each other and we tried to affirm each other that we were gonna move forward. Right. And the, some of the, just the practical things is: first of all, it does take time and you should never expect your spouse to just flip a switch and be like, "Well, I'm gonna trust you again." 'Cause that's actually not even Biblical. It does take time to build trust. Now, forgiveness immediately is Biblical, but that doesn't mean immediately, "Oh, we're back to where we were." No, there's been broken trust and it takes time, it takes repetitive purity, right? And then, the other practical is: I made a commitment to tell you, to let you know. And here's the thing, is: the offenses, although they changed in size, relatively, the thing I did, I still confessed it to you and you were able to see the true repentance in me. And so, it's not like it was the same each time, it was less and less and less. But my continuing to come to you and say, "Hey, I made this choice. "Yeah, it was a split second, "but I chose it and I feel shameful about it "and I wanna repent to you because this is not who I am "and it's not who I wanna be and so, I need to tell you." 'Cause I've learned, through the Word of God and through experience, that the confession and repentance is one of the ways that God's given us to kill our flesh. My flesh hates it, it wants to hide in the darkness and keep its, it wants, my flesh wants to not be known because it feels icky and I don't wanna be seen for what I truly am. So, the being consistent and telling you the truth and not just waiting 'til you found out but actually coming forth and saying, "Hey, I made a bad choice." And calling it what it is, a choice, not minimizing it, not justifying it. Those kinds of things helped you trust that I was actually changing. And that I love you and that I don't wanna be that person and that I'm willing to tell you because I want you to know, for my sake, so that I can heal and change and repent and be repented of that sin. [Jennifer] Yeah, I appreciate you sharing all of that and the second part of this question is: how can you battle those thoughts? And I just am thinking back to all of the stuff that I used to struggle with because the sin that you chose to partake in were like seeds planted in my mind and heart for the temptation to feel insecure or unloved and fall into those traps where your mind is just going wildly crazy with the worst kinds of thoughts about you and of our relationship. And I would say that being vulnerable with those and still being willing to be in an intimate place with you where I can say, "Because you did this, I feel this way," or, "I'm thinking these things," and revealing those types of thoughts to you helped me battle them. Because I gave you the opportunity to affirm me and say, "No no no no no, I know I chose that "and I'm so sorry, but that's not who you are. "You don't have to be insecure because of what I did." And there was this back and forth of understanding each other that I think was really valuable. Right. And again, another thing that, for the spouse that has dealt with this and is dealing with it, the mistrust is a natural consequence for a sin. Yeah. Right? And so, we have to recognize that. And so, another thing that builds trust, from the offender's side, is, 'cause what happens is: I've confessed, we've dealt with that event, and then you are leaving somewhere and it's a time when you know I would, usually, in the past-- [Jennifer] You mean I flared up with anxiety inside my whole being? Well, but, no, if you say something like, "Hey"-- Oh. "I wanna encourage you to stay pure while I'm gone." The not truly repentant person would say, "Babe, babe, we already dealt with that, you don't need to bring that up." Oh, getting defensive-- Like, "C'mon, you don't trust me?" No, I should be totally humble and willing to be like, "You're right, thank you for reminding me "and be praying for me and I'm gonna let you know "if I feel tempted and I'm gonna call you and I'm gonna." Instead of being defensive and prideful, I'm gonna be humble and realize that it's totally natural for my wife to not trust me and she's gonna learn trust by how I receive her care for me in that moment. You reminding me, like, "Hey, don't go to that thing." Me receiving that is a trustworthy action, right? Yeah. Another way that I battled thoughts of mistrust was I asked a lot of questions. So, if I ever felt uneasy about a situation or discerning. You know, maybe I woke up from a dream or something where it was like I couldn't shake it, I asked. Or you just feel it. Like, "Hey, something's off." Yeah, I asked you. I asked, "Have you been struggling?" And so, I think that when we recognize that we're battling thoughts, you can't just keep battling them, you can't just keep, you're just gonna be wrestling the whole time, right? And so, being able to open up and share with your spouse the types of thoughts that you're having and also go to God and say, "God, these are "the types of thoughts that I'm having," and finding scriptures that would help fight those thoughts for you and-- [Aaron] Well, and also be praying and asking God to transform your own heart, asking God to transform your spouse's heart. To purify your marriage. Yeah, to use you both for His work and for His kingdom. [Jennifer] See, I told you that this was gonna be a big topic. I feel like we just-- There's a lot, there's a lot more, yeah. [Jennifer] We need to be able to do another episode on that. Yeah. All right, so the last question, it's kind of a bigger, blanket one. It'd be: What is your number one advice to couples who are currently struggling with this eye-to-eye thing? They're not on the same page, they feel at odds with each other. [Jennifer] Well, I will say this: one of the most powerful, impactful, incredible ways that God got ahold of our hearts, Aaron, and made change and transformation in our lives and our marriage was entering into mature, Christian, Biblical community and being transparent with people who we allowed to speak into our lives and say-- "You're off base, bro." But sometimes we didn't even see that we were off on that whole eye-to-eye thing and we got called out for it and so, like, bickering or whatever the thing was. And I just remember how, and even still to this day, it's been such a huge part of our testimony, is being in Biblical community and how being a part of the body, and I don't mean like a one day a week type thing, I mean immersed in it where you know you can text that person, call that person, meet them on the fly for dinner to gain wisdom, to ask advice, to cry about, to praise for, you know, all the things. [Aaron] So, the bit of advice I would give that goes in align with being a community, and it kind of, it's, I talked about it quite a bit in this episode, is humbleness. And in Luke 14:11, he says, "For everyone "who exalts himself will be humbled "and he who humbles himself will be exalted." And all through Proverbs, it talks about this idea of the humble will be lifted up and the haughty are God's opposed. To receive anything from community, you have to be humbled and willing to hear. Like, "Hey, I think you are being a bonehead, Aaron." Like, "Oh, you're right, I agree. "I didn't realize that, I need to change in that area, "I need to go apologize to my wife." So, that humbleness, and even outside of community, in your marriage, if you're in a difficult place, there's something miraculously, spiritually powerful about humbleness. All of these fights we get in, all of the eye-to-eye issues, it's all because they're not seeing our eyes, they're not on our page, which is pridefulness. When we could be like, "Maybe I need to be on their page." [Jennifer] Or humility would point your spouse's eyes up to God and say, "No, look at Him." Right. [Jennifer] "Don't look at me in this, look at Him." [Aaron] Or recognizing you're wrong or maybe don't know or don't have the answer or need to sit back and say, "You know what? "I'm just gonna, I'm gonna let you have this one because, "I mean, I know I've been wrong in the past anyways." It's not a false humility, it's true humbleness, recognizing who you serve, you serve God. And so, in community, which was the number one thing that we believe totally transformed our life, but it also took us, in community, being willing to listen and hear and receive, which takes humbleness. And time. And time, yeah. So, that would be my bit of advice, is: man, humbleness is gonna go infinitely farther than any level of selfishness or pride. [Jennifer] So, the next time, it could be today, tomorrow, next week-- [Aaron] It's gonna be right after this episode, probably. [Jennifer] If you are finding yourself in a place where you're not seeing eye-to-eye with your spouse, remember humility. Absolutely. Remember to pray. Remember to go to God and say, "God, what is it that you want? "'Cause I don't want to get in "the way of what you're doing." Yeah, "How can my response and actions "and attitude right now glorify you?" And that, man, it changes everything 'cause you're like, "Oh. "Yelling and throwing a dish at the wall "is not gonna glorify God right now." Or, "Telling my spouse that they don't know anything "or that they're wrong, those might not glorify God." [Jennifer] Well, that wraps us up for this episode of having answered your guys' questions. Thank you again so much for being there and submitting those questions when we called out for them. Yeah, appreciate it. And, again, if you wanna participate in a Q&A episode, all you need to do is follow @marriageaftergod on Instagram and wait for the next time we poll for 'em. And then you can submit your question and we try and get through as many as we can with the time that we have. And if we ever do an episode where you're like, "I know my question would've fit in there," and maybe we didn't get to it, just message us and let us know. But we just love hearing from you guys and we love participating in this way where we get to kind of answer your questions or at least try. [Aaron] So, as usual, we end every episode with prayer. So Jennifer, why don't you pray for us? [Jennifer] Dear God, thank you so much for marriage. Thank you for our spouses and thank you for the opportunity that we get every day to walk this life with each other. We pray for humility to be a priority in our lives, that we would walk humbly before each other, that we would be motivated by how you're moving in our lives individually and in our marriages. God, we thank you for our marriages and we just pray for unity. We pray that, even in times where we don't see eye-to-eye or we have disagreements or there's conflict, that you would remain at the center of our marriage and that we can submit our hearts to you. God, we pray that we would be one with each other, that we would pursue oneness in our marriage and support each other in that way. And God, we pray that these situations that come up in marriage where we don't see eye-to-eye would be an opportunity where we can learn from each other, where we can grow to understand each other, where we can experience intimacy. No matter what, we pray that your will would be done and that you would be glorified. In Jesus' name, amen. Amen. So, thanks for joining us on this week's episode. We love y'all, we thank you for being a part of the Marriage After God community. And we just wanna invite you, if you have not yet, would you leave us a review? We love your reviews, they help the podcast get reach, and new people find it because of your reviews. So, if you wanna leave us a star rating and a text review, we'd love that. 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 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.
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. 
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Comments (50)

Masako Gii

love this episode! shared it to my fiancé 💕

Jun 23rd
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T. K. Bennett

Happy Anniversary

Jan 8th
Reply (1)

Dzeivid EM

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

Jan 7th
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Lisa N

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

Nov 17th
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Clara Van Camp

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

Oct 3rd
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Kyle Becerra

great episode

Sep 11th
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Shannon Jerrett

great perception on getting healthy and for what.

Aug 27th
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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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