“Make Your Marriage Grow Again”

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Episode Summary

This episode will help you grow your marriage relationship!

We believe a marriage relationship is either growing or waning and it’s usually only growing if we purpose to nourish it. This episode is full of ideas to further grow your marriage relationship and a strong marriage is important to equip confident Christian kids for an uncertain world.

Main Points From This Episode:

  • Growing your marriage relationship is vital for your kids’ well-being
  • We must be examples as much as possible for our children.
  • Take some time to reflect on your marriage; is it growing or waning?
  • Communicate with each other about ways to grow your relationship
  • Approach each other in a forward-looking optimistic way about your relationship.
  • Listen to the episode to get a full list of ideas to grow your marriage
  • Make a simple plan together
  • Beware of hurdles that will like to subvert your plans (listen to the episode for these)

Scriptures From This Episode:

Galatians 6:7 – “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.””

Philippians 4:8-9 –  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Proverbs 16:3 – Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”

Matthew 18:20 – “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.

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Full Transcript:

Note: This is an automated transcript and misspells or grammar errors may be present.

Welcome to Courageous Parenting Podcast, a weekly show to equip parents with biblical truth on raising confident Christian kids in an uncertain world.

Hi, I’m Angie from Courageous Mom.

And I’m Isaac from Resolute Man.

We’ve been married for 21 years and have seen the fruit from raising our eight kids biblically. Based on the raw truth found in.

The Bible, we can no longer let the culture win the hearts of children. Too many children from Christian families are walking away from their faith by age 18. And it doesn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t be this way. Join us as we start an important conversation about effective parenting.

And the following.

Fix it once you sit down.

Welcome to the podcast. Hi, guys. Hope you’re all doing well. We so appreciate you being here. We’re doing a little marriage series. The last two have been on marriage. What were they?

Inge Making marriage fun again.

That was the.

First one we.

Did. That was a good time.

It was good times. And then the next one we did was make your marriage a team again.

So important with some practical ideas and some barriers to what prevent that sometimes. And today we’re talking about.

Make your marriage grow again. So obviously, depending on how long you’ve been married, maybe maybe you’re a newlywed and you’re listening and you’re like, Oh, this is great. I’m so excited to get a fresh start, get motivated again, to continue growing. Maybe you’ve been married four or five years and you feel like you’re in the the season of the trenches, if you will, of having lots of littles working hard, all the things, and you’re having a hard time finding time for each other. Or maybe you’ve been married for 11 years, 15 years, and you look at each other and you go, Man, we just we spent so much time doing things with the kids. I feel like we don’t spend very much time together, you know? So Isaac and I just a little share a little bit about our story. We’ve been married 23 and a half years and we have nine kids. So we’ve been in all of those seasons and we’re also grandparents. So we get to have date night, special date nights where we get to babysit our little Quincy. And that’s kind of a fun thing that we love to do, which we haven’t done that yet. This month we get to do that still. So we just thought, though, that you guys, this is something that Isaac and I evaluate on a regular basis with our marriage.

And so we’re going to share some some tips, some encouragement. We’re also going to share some scriptures that might be a little convicting. But I just I pray that you would hear our heart in this. You know, Paul exhorts the church in revelation to specifically and he he says not to be lukewarm. Right. He says, I’d rather you be hot or cold in Revelations. I think it’s chapter four. And there are so many times throughout the word that it’s so encouraging to me when God shows us the bigger picture that our marriage isn’t about us, that it’s supposed to represent the relationship between the Bride of Christ and Christ to the world. And so when God is speaking specifically to the church and he’s saying, Hey, in your relationship with me, I would rather you be hot or cold, but not lukewarm. I look at that scripture and I also look at it in context of my marriage because of all of the analogies that God uses to show that there’s a representation there. And that’s a challenge to me to not be lukewarm in my marriage, to be really purposeful. And there have been seasons where I, I definitely admit that that has been harder for sure. But you know what? It’s never too late to be purposeful, to be intentional in your marriage.

Amen. And so our marriages are either growing or receding. There’s really no status quo. And maybe the status quo needs to be broken a little bit in your marriage. I think that happens to all of us sometimes As time goes on, rhythms continue, but maybe there’s some neglect that needs to be addressed. And, you know, it’s really important that our relationship with each other is growing and it’s so vital. And, you know, it’s one of the reasons we’re focusing on this right now. We’ve just been really focused on our own marriage. And marriage is such an important part of parenting. In fact, it is one of the most important parenting tips is to work on your marriage, to grow your marriage relationship, and to have it surrendered to the Lord and that you would be on purpose, that your marriage would glorify the Father, that people would look at it and go, Wow, that is really special. It’s obvious God is the center of their marriage and look at what God is doing through that marriage.

You know? And on that note, I really do think that a strong marriage, a biblical marriage, is the best gift that you could give your kids. It’s it’s the roadmap to leaving a strong legacy, if you will, because I’m sure that if you guys all were to to stop for a second and write down what your biggest dreams are for your kids in regard to who they would marry in the future, you definitely would have a bit of conviction and going, Oh, I need to be better at this in my marriage, or I need to get I need to stop doing that in my marriage or whatever. You know, I know that there have been times where, like, I’ve caught myself in the midst of grumbling or complaining about something and I, I have to, like, apologize if a kid overheard it. And that doesn’t happen, thankfully, as much as it did when I was a younger mom. But that’s definitely something that you need to be aware of. So we’re going to talk about those kinds of things today. But before we do, we wanted to just invite you guys to join us in the Be Courageous app. We get to do a Q&A every month in the app, which is super fun. It’s a live Q&A for about an hour. Right.

I think. And people can ask us any question they want. We feel way more comfortable there. Are answering any questions someone wants to ask us, that’s for sure.

Yeah. So we’ve been really just enjoying that. And of course I’ve been going through redeeming childbirth. I think this next week will be like session 18 or something like that, right? And so I’ve been reading chapter by chapter with a lot of women in our pregnancy group. And when we’re done with that, we’re going to start a marriage series in the app.

For everybody In the.

App, Yeah. So it’ll be in the community section possibly or in the marriage group, but we’re just excited that we get to do those kinds of things. Yeah. So we wanted to invite you to join us.

Much more interactive there. And we also thank you for being part of the 10 Million Legacies movement. You hear us talk about that. It’s the vision that we have to impact 10 million legacies, and it’s just it’s on our hearts. We’re passionate about it. And every time you share, you give buy a course, buy a product at Be Courageous Store. It really makes an impact. And so you can find everything now in one hub at be courageous ministry dot org including you can find the show notes for every single episode all our podcast episodes. And of course you can listen anywhere you want.

That’s right. All right, guys. So let’s dive in. Make your marriage grow again. Yeah. Let’s talk about growth for a second. So, Isaac, earlier you said that your marriage is either receding or it’s growing. Yeah. Why don’t you talk a little bit more about that?

Well, I’ve just found in anything, there really is no status quo. Things don’t just stay good. For example. They don’t just stay in one place. Things are always moving. And if there’s resistance on good things happening, it seems in this world. And so if we’re not working on our marriage relationship, then likely it’s really slowly, maybe, but still doing it, receding in closeness, deteriorating a little more contempt, a little more little less warmth. Maybe it’s getting the relationships getting a little colder over time. And if we’re working on it, it’s getting warmer. And we’re and we’re you know, maybe we’re praying together, we’re doing things that nurture our marriage. And so it’s moving in a positive direction. And so it’s either moving in one direction or another.

It kind of reminds me of a house, actually, Right. Because your marriage is a good reflection of home. Right. In fact, in Isaac’s phone, my phone number is home. It’s not. And he calls me home in his phone. And that’s true, though, where your home is, where your heart is. Right. And when I think of a home, isn’t it true that that you can get your outside of your house or even the inside of your house, you can get it all dialed in and have everything set up and looking nice and then maybe you don’t ever do anything that is going to make the outside of your house messy. But what happens over time, not, you know, not taking care of it, continually neglecting it, if you will, or just leaving it the way it was, even if it was awesome. Let’s say the outside of the house is brand new. If you don’t continue doing upkeep over time, things start happening to it, right? Shutters start getting old and tattered. Paint can start chipping, wind, dirt can collect on the side of the house, and over time it just gets tattered. And I would say it’s the same thing with a relationship, right? Like if you neglect your relationship, there is going to be wear and tear on it, especially since we all know that biblically there is an enemy that is against marriage.

And it’s so more important than ever to be proactive versus reactive. There’s so many attacks against marriage with so many distractions. Idolatry is a real issue. We’re going to talk about that. That can be a barrier. And it really is important more than ever, that we are growing and we’re growing our relationship and we’re purposeful to do that. I mean, what do you want your kids to look for in their future spouse? And they’re looking to you guys.

So I think on that topic of growing, one of the things I know I’ve had conversations with both of our daughters about this. You’ve probably had conversations with the boys about this too. But one of the main qualities that we’ve encouraged our daughters to look for now it’s up to them to look for this. But one of the things that I verbally encourage them is to look for a teachable heart, to look for someone who wants to continue growing, because if they don’t have a teachable heart, then growth isn’t going to happen, right? Like it literally is a reflection of a heart attitude. And that’s actually one of the things we’ll talk about later, is that could be one of the hindrances, would be pride. It would be the opposite of having a teachable heart, would be pride. Right. And so just in this whole podcast, as we’re going about things, maybe you can identify those things that are like the most important things that you would encourage your kids, even because this is a parenting podcast. And, and so like as we’re talking about marriage, like think, what are the things that I have verbally encouraged my sons and daughters to look for in a future spouse? Because truth be told, like, yeah, people can make lists. We’ve encouraged our kids to make lists before. Really everything can be kind of whittled down into one or two things. And one of those things is having a teachable heart.

And loving.

God. Yeah, because I mean, truly in life, as you guys know, like there’s tons of hard things that you walk through in life. But if you have a teachable heart, when you walk through something hard, your heart posture is, Lord, what lesson do you have for me to learn in this? And so if they’re yoked to someone in marriage who has that same heart posture towards God when something happens, you know that they’re going to continue to grow in their marriage regardless of what the outward outcome would be, Right? So as we start talking about growth, we’re going to be talking about a lot of different topics and you have to evaluate. So our number one point.

Is to reflect. It’s so important to reflect where your marriage is at right now. And maybe you write these down, maybe you just think about them. But is your marriage growing or is it backsliding a little bit, the relationship and, you know, if it is growing, I think you’ll still get a lot out of this episode. And that’s wonderful. If it’s backsliding, you’ll get a lot, too. I think it’s important to think about, though, that. And is it growing in the areas in the ways you want it to? I think getting cognitive actually thinking about these things are important because sometimes we’re just moving along and there’s so many there’s busyness, there’s so many things going on, but we have to pause and do that kind of critical thinking. Not critical like negative, but critical. Like productive thinking is a better word. Evaluation, evaluating and just thinking about, you know, if I could have our marriage in in whatever way I wanted it to be, which way would be better than it is now? And that’s not to have a critical spirit about it, but it’s just to look for opportunities and maybe do that together, maybe discuss it together. I think that’s really important.

You know, on this topic, one of the verses that Isaac and I have been discussing the last couple of days is just the exhortation that’s in Galatians chapter 647. I’ll just read it to you guys and then we’ll talk about it a little bit. It says, Do not be deceived. None of us want to be deceived. So listen up. That’s that’s kind of the cue there. Listen up. Do not be deceived. God is not mocked for whatever one sows that He will also reap for the one who sows to his own flesh will, from the flesh reap corruption. But the one who sows to the spirit will, from the spirit reap eternal life. And then just realizing that our relationships are really, truly the one thing in this life that is eternal are our relationships are eternal in a sense, right? And so what we so we will reap. And that that’s true of marriage, too. Right? And so as you’re reflecting like, what are the things that you are sowing in your marriage? And I think that it’s not this is not a point like Isaac and I are not encouraging you to evaluate what your spouse is sowing in the marriage. I will. I am encouraging the wives to evaluate, to think, to be really honest and introspect of what are the things that you are sowing in your marriage that are either helping it to grow or stopping it from growing, potentially being a barrier in growth or making it harder, right? And then.

Isaac Yeah, I mean, husbands, we’ve got to really analyze, be introspective, honest with ourselves and go, Hey, are we making it hard for our marriages to grow? I mean, we need to be initiators. We’re the leaders of our families. Wives are important leaders to equal and value some different roles that God has given us. But it’s so important that we’re initiating the we’re desiring to grow our relationship with our bride. And then we’re proactive in that we’re taking initiative. And does that need to be changing how we talk about some things with our wives or encouraging and experience with our wives? What you know, we’ll give you some ideas in a little bit, but it’s really important to think about, you know, how am I doing as a husband, how am I doing as a leader in a family, as an initiator? Am I initiating good things that so good seeds of relationship in your marriage?

I even think about like respect. Respect is a thing that both men and women want in their marriage. Right? And so if maybe if you’re someone who’s like, I feel like I don’t really get very much respect or appreciation for things, then maybe what you really need to be asking the question is how do I sow respect and appreciation in my marriage? Because this scripture actually says that the one who sows is going to reap. And so wives like this is huge if you feel unappreciated or disrespected. Same goes for husbands. Like recognize that if you choose to start sowing appreciation, if you choose to start sowing respect for your spouse, guess what you’re going to reap in return.

More of that, more of that. It’s going to be a it’s a positive change. You’re creating a positive change. In your relationship system, if you will, to create change and just initiate if you’re the one listening, be the initiator of starting to say those kind things or change how you look at things and, you know, be that person that starts.

I even think about this in regards to serving, right, like serving one another. There’s been a long time. I don’t remember who said this, but it’s been around forever to try to outdo one another in service. Right. That’s been a real trigger quote, if you will, for Christian marriages, is that if the wife is focused on serving her husband and the husband’s focused on serving his wife, like that is a beautiful picture. Can we OutServe one another? Right. But there’s this element of like reaping what we so and so if we’re selfish in our marriage and we’re not ever loving on and trying to serve our spouse in that kind of way, guess what is going to be reciprocated, right? There’ll be this like battle really of wills, of selfishness. And that’s not a biblical thing that we should be walking in, that would be walking in the flesh, which is what the Bible warns us in. We just read this right. He who sows to his flesh will reap from the flesh.

Yeah. And our second tip is to communicate. So once you’ve reflected, you’ve talked about these things, maybe one of you is reflecting. Maybe both of you are. Because there was an initiation together to to both reflect and come together. That’s great either way, but communicate now. It’s really important when we communicate about these things. If there are things that we want improved in our relationship, that we’re not coming as the complainer. You know what I mean? You’re coming with all the negatives, a big list of negative things like an ever ending list, or it feels it can even feel that way, even if it’s just a couple of things. If someone comes to the other spouse with a defeated approach, a complaining approach, that’s not great. I think we can all be adults and mature walking in the spirit and come from a place of not necessarily looking backwards and being negative, but looking forwards and being positive. You can frame things in a different way and that’s going to be way better received. What we’re not trying to create here is a fight for you guys. What we’re trying to create is a positive, forward moving, Hey, you know, there’s a lot of things I appreciate about our relationship. If you ever want to start on a good foot talking about things that you desire to be improved, you should always talk about the things you already see that are good.

Because if you anchor on good and commonality first in a communication and a conversation, then it’s already going in a good direction. And then you could even if if this you think this is going to be a tough conversation, to bring even something up that you desire to be improved, you can always go, Hey, there’s something that’s been on my heart that I really want to talk to you about, and that gives a little warning to the other spouse that there’s something serious, maybe deeper coming and they’re more willing to receive it when you give them that little warning and then you go into it. I really desire to that we spend and I’ll just give a simple one more alone time together. I think that would be really good for our marriage, or it could be something heavy and deeper. Right. That’s that’s more difficult to talk about. But whatever it is, communicate that. And even if there are a bunch of things on the list, maybe not communicating all of them at once, maybe just a starting point is good to get yourselves in the right direction because it can be overwhelming for the other. And then defenses rise and it can lead to conflict. So just you have to be discerning about your own relationship, about these things and how and how many things and how you approach this.

You know, one of our recommendations would be even to make it super basic if when you’re on date night and you’re talking about your desire, like your desire to grow more in your marriage. Right. Like maybe maybe only one of you guys is listening to the podcast today and you decide to think about this and you’re really reflective about yourself, not your spouse. That’s my encouragement. And you journal down some things that you want to change that will, you know, are potentially hurdles for your marriage growing. Or maybe they’re the things that are holding your marriage back, right? And you write those things down and then you also write down maybe some things that you would really desire that would be cool, right? And so having one thing that you would potentially want to bring up that you would like to see changed. And then one thing that you or two things that you do appreciate that you see those kinds of conversations and that kind of communication is always so much better received, especially if it’s something that is like both of you are potentially doing it. And can I also say to you that there’s this element of like where humility comes in, where if you are being introspective and you recognize that you’re in sin in something, right? Like let’s just say maybe you struggle with complaining or maybe you complain about the same thing over and over and over again, That would be equivalent to nagging.

And we know what the Bible says about nagging, right? I just even have a couple of verses here. Proverbs 21 nine says it’s better to live in a corner of a house top than in a house with shared with a. Some wife and another one is a continual dripping on a rainy day in a quarrelsome wife are alike and quarrelsome is also translated into nagging in other translations. But I think that there’s warnings for us in that right. And so just to be sure, when you’re communicating not to go into that complaining nagging mode is kind of what Isaac is trying to get to too, because there is like there’s this need for us. Yes. To be transparent and open and talk about the things that we need to work on. But coming at it from a humble place of actually being repentant, You know, I’m really sorry that I’ve been nagging you about this one thing. I really don’t want to do that anymore, and I just want to apologize to you. Like, that’s that humility right there opens it up to everything.

Good. Yeah.

Yeah. So can I just say, like, that is a huge step forward in growth.

And that could lead to a humility on the other partner, the other spouse of just saying, Wow, you know what? I could be better at this or whatever it is. Here’s, here’s scripture that will help. Leading into this is Philippians four eight through ten. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable. If there’s any excellence, if there’s anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen to me, practice these things and God of peace will the God of peace will be with you? I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Oh, so anyways, so awesome to just think about those things. It’s really Philippians four eight through nine to really think about those things that are good. What is lovely, if you’re having a hard time as you’re thinking about talking to your spouse about these things, about thinking about things that are good, maybe you need to read the scripture, maybe pray, and then read this Scripture and God will move you. There’s there’s always some good elements about what God’s doing in our lives. There’s always something good that we can focus on, and that gives us the right heart, I think, to move forward and have and communicate our desires for things.

It’s kind of like the light, right, that’s shining bright when maybe there’s a lot of hard stuff going on, or maybe the reality of where you’re at. It’s hard for you to find things to be thankful for. This gives you a good list of things to specifically be looking for that you can maybe even jot down. This would be another really fun exercise to just write down the things that you appreciate in your marriage or the things that you appreciate in your spouse. I think that it’s easy for us to be our own worst critic. And I think that being that, you know, we’re we are one in marriage, being a critic of our spouse is something that we not we as an Isaac and I. But just like in general in marriage, I think that there’s that temptation that’s there for each person in the marriage to also be really critical of the condition of the marriage as well. Right. Just because that’s a human condition that we tend to be our own worst critic or harder judge. Right. And having grace for one another, being able to forgive each other and marriage, maybe that’s a desire that you have. Maybe you sense that there’s that you’re struggling with a critical spirit or your spouse is and you feel like you aren’t experiencing forgiveness or mercy. That is something to be praying for. That is a good thing to be desiring. Right? And so this list that Isaac just went over in Philippians four versus eight and nine give you a good thing of like different categories of things to look for to help you if you’re in the midst of a bunch of darkness and you’re having a hard time seeing the little lights, seen the blessings, the things that God has done in your life that can really help you to have a bigger, fuller perspective and to have a grateful attitude, which I think is what really needs to be the focus. Right? For anyone to experience growth, you need to be able to point at the things that you’re thankful for.

So here’s some practical I want to take a moment and give you something for free if you haven’t got it already. Is the date night one sheet? It is a beautiful document you can download that will have some key questions on it for your date night. Just get in alignment about what’s most important for your family. No matter what time of year, it’s always important to recalibrate. You can get that by going to courageous parenting dot com and subscribing to our mailing list. Also, you can get all of our show notes and everything at courageous parenting dot com. And I also just want to share real quick about the parenting mentor program. So many families are being transformed by going through this. It’s the six week self paced program with live engagement from us in even direct interaction. So if you want to join us, here’s a little bit more about it. You can find out more at courageous parenting dot com.

Steve and I realized that we were getting too comfortable with the world’s vision of how to raise our children. What Angie and Isaac have done in. Rating. This is literally phenomenal.

This program provided awesome scripture based teachings and just some really great practical applications.

This class has just really rocked my world. It has given me a vision for not just the different things that we might focus on as parents who are trying to raise our kids biblically, like how our kids are behaving or what we’re doing with discipline, but also the things of the heart. We now have a game plan to how we want to raise our children. We have so many answers to the questions that have been in our mind. It’s not just these hypothetical situations or it’s not just this. Here’s what I think you should do. It’s let me show you where in scripture this is. Do your legacy a favor and your self a favor and just do it. One of the best things that we’ve done this year, one of the best investments we’ve made this year, and I could not recommend it more.

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Cool things, ideas that you can communicate about that might help your marriage grow. There might be a challenge in your marriage, and one of these things might be a solution to growing in that way. So here’s some idea. So obviously, some of these are under the learned category, which is reading together. You could separately be reading the same book and then discussing the chapter, or you could take turns reading out loud and discussing the book. We’ve done both of those things in different ways and one slower than the other, obviously reading out loud. But it is kind of neat to just do that together even for 15 minutes. I think that can be a real powerful thing.

Even just reading the Bible together, if that’s something that you’re not doing, maybe you’re reading the Bible as a family and you’re reading the Bible separately, reading the Bible together, and a totally different type of Scripture, like Song of Solomon’s, for example, right? Like, that’s a good one. We’ve read that together, and that is something that you’re not necessarily going to be reading with your kids, right? That’s something you would just read together and it would encourage your marriage. But there’s also an importance for you guys to be learning in other ways together, too. And so maybe you’re not readers, maybe you’re not readers now, even if you don’t consider yourself a reader, I still would exhort you to read the Bible and to read the Bible together. But there are other ways that you can learn as well. Like podcasts.

Yeah. So maybe you can pick a podcast and you each listen to it. This is sometimes easy. You’re for the guy that’s going to work and has to drive to work and works really hard and all those kinds of things. Maybe there’s just not bandwidth to feel the energy to be in a learning mode. Well, there are podcasts during the car ride and you could be listening to the same episode and then you could discuss it together. Obviously, our podcast is great for that, but there’s lots of good podcasts out there, I’m sure, and it depends on what area of your marriage you want to work on, depending on what you listen to together.

Another really fun thing to do maybe you haven’t done before is go on a marriage retreat specifically to a conference together somewhere that you’re going to be challenged to grow. Many years ago, Isaac and I went to a weekend to remember that was put on by family life. We really enjoyed that conference, but it’s very different than other conferences that are out there and they are around. So if that’s something that interests you, look into that. But the point is, is that you guys would be pursuing to learn together. That’s one way you grow as learning together, right?

And if you ever run into that challenge where you’re out to eat or you’re doing something together and you run out of things to talk about, it’s a good chance that you’ve stopped learning together. Yeah. That there’s or you’ve stopped learning individually even to because you have nothing new to share with other and things get kind of boring. You don’t want to be boring. You don’t want have a boring marriage. You want to have things to talk about. And that takes learning, stimulating your mind. You know, there’s I didn’t plan to talk about this, but there is proof that we’re either connecting neurons in our brain or they’re disconnecting. It’s not like you learn and then you’re you’re growing your brainpower. We use like less than 10% of our brain. A lot of scientists think of our brain capacity. And when you learn new things, you’re connecting more, you’re making more connections in your brain. But if you stop learning, you don’t keep those connections. When you had more, they start to die out, actually. And so learning really stimulates the mind and it keeps you having active things to talk about and keeps things interesting for sure.

So some other ways that maybe you can pursue growing together, growing in other spiritual disciplines, if you will, so that your spiritual relationship with God together is growing. Aside from reading the Bible or listening to Christian podcasts or going to a Christian marriage conference, you could try praying together if you haven’t been praying together. The Bible says in Matthew 18 that there’s power in people praying together. Here is the verse. It says, for where two or three are gathered in my name. There I am among them. So much so imagine a couple praying together. I mean, one of the things that I’ve always loved. Loved about praying with Isaac is that especially if we’re in a busy season where we’re like, constantly go, go, go, go, go. And we’ve got a lot going on with the kids. When I hear him pray, I hear him sharing things with God and with me that I maybe didn’t hear him share before, right? That we’re CERN’s. You get to know what’s on their.

Heart, on their hearts. You find out where your spouse is, heart is and what they care about. And that can bring a closeness sometimes, especially as husbands. I admit, it can be hard sometimes to think about what I should share with my wife, like it sometimes doesn’t even come to mind, like something that would be really good for me to share. But then when I pray it comes out and then it nourishes our marriage. Something I would have never thought to tell her but was on my heart and through prayer. The Holy Spirit prompted me to to talk about it and.

To ask God. And isn’t it important to know what’s on your spouse’s heart so that you know how you can be praying for them outside of that prayer time together and also how you can continue encouraging each other? I mean, that’s part of like the benefit of being married is that when two are married, when two are together, when one falls, the other can pick them up. Like that’s part of God’s design for marriage, that we would be able to carry one another’s burden, that we would be able to be working together as a team. Go listen to the previous podcast to hear more about that. But I just think of what an honor it is like when you actually are able to communicate through prayer and you hear what’s really on their heart, then you know how to be like proactively praying for them, but also to circle back around and ask and go, Hey, how’s that thing at work that you prayed about, that conflict with that person or whatever it was, right? And sometimes you just don’t even think. And I think that a lot of communication between spouses, if if I’m a real honest, I remember thinking back when Isaac was working, we had lots of little kids. He would come home, he’d ask me how my day was, and it was like the download of all the things, right? Because I’m a pretty wordy person and he was so patient to listen. But when we would have like our downtime or when the kids weren’t around and I was able to let my guard down, then it was, Oh, how did your day go? Right? And we need to get better at that as women to not be so self focused, but to be able to ask the good question and then listen to our spouse to hear what is really going on in their heart so that we can be considering them more highly than ourselves, which is another scripture, right? This is just basic points that God calls us to as Christian Christians in relationship with one another.

Another thing that another idea you could talk about is serving serving one another, but also serving together a way that Angie example front of my mind just served me as she came with me on a trip. Rare that this happens but I get you know I gave a corporate speech and she came with me and she really served me in some amazing ways. It was just really helpful to have her there. Of course, I loved having there and we had a great time together, but she was serving too, and it was amazing. And then there’s opportunities to serve together, too.

Yeah. So, you know, obviously doing new things together that’s growing, right? Like if you’re doing something new for the very first time and you’ve never done it before, you’re learning something new. And so sometimes even just signing up at church to do that new ministry that they’re trying to get off the ground and doing that together can be real encouragement on your marriage, right? I know for sure that you’re going to grow a lot because wherever you raise a hand and say, Yes, I’m willing to serve Christ, there’s going to be growth ahead. But I even think about memories, right? Like growing. Part of growing and learning is also like experiences and doing new things together and and making memories together. We talk about this a lot as far as like having in family life and and trying to do signature experiences. Like we talk about our RV trip and different things like that that become these huge memories that our kids will never forget about, Right? That build bigger, better bonds, if you will. But within marriage, you need to have those same kinds of things that are sometimes not even involving the kids. Can I just say that like going on trips together, if you can, and just making memories, like I even think about, you know, this wasn’t our first year doing a garden and it was our first year doing a garden in Idaho. But we used to have a small hobby farm in Portland, in Damascus, and we did that for like nine years where we cultivated a vineyard and we had worked hard together. We did new things, we made memories pursuing dreams, which is the next thing, right? Like Isaac had this dream.

I had a vineyard dream. I don’t know why I’m not a big wine drinker even back then, but I just had this dream. They’re beautiful. They stay with you, they grow old vines can get 50, 60 years old. I’m like, I want. I want a crop that grows with the family.

That they can always drive by.

It and it raises the property value. And I just. It would be just a fun thing. So, you know, we. 180 some plants. Yeah. And it was kind of a serious thing, but it took.

A lot of learning, that’s for sure.

But it was good. And I really appreciated her just being into it, making one dream. When I had that dream. Yeah, we did it together. I think doing something new together. Is there something new that neither have you’ve done? That together would be fun. It could be something as simple as, I don’t know, ice skating. It could be dancing. It could be, I don’t know, karaoke.

Oh, there’s all kinds of things. I mean, for us now, now that we’re in Idaho and we’re starting from scratch, homesteading again for us, we love doing projects that we can involve our kids in as well, but require it always requires Isaac and I to grow and learn new skills that we have, whether it was remodeling the courageous parenting studio or putting in a 1000 square foot garden last year. Right? Like there were aspects that Isaac learned new things and he taught the boys and things that I was learning, that I taught the kids. And and we did it together as a team. And we made memories and we made like God helped us make dreams come true.

Hey, And maybe, you know, you need some romantic ideas, too. And you can think about those, but think about your ideas and ahead of communication and then communicate about them and distill it down. Our last point for you, very simple and quick, is make a simple plan, not a complex plan, not a whole bunch of things. It’s very hard to implement more than one two max, three things. I mean, maybe come up with a plan of the first thing you’re going to implement together, and maybe it’s just praying together. Keep it simple. We’re more likely to follow through on our plans when we keep it simple and we really commit to them. And once we’re doing we’re exercising muscles, maybe praying together, maybe now we can pick up that next one, which.

Is serving.

Together or something like that. So I just think that’s so important. Proverbs 16 three, such a good verse right here. It says, Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established. So once you make your simple plan, commit it to the Lord, pray together, commit that to the Lord. And it’s it’s a beautiful thing when you get God involved. He wants he loves marriage. He loves your marriage no matter what challenges you’re dealing with. He loves your marriage and he wants it to glorify the father. And so what as humans do we need to be doing, yielded to God, yielded to his Spirit, not in our own flesh? What do we need to be doing? And maybe one of those things we’re going to talk about a couple of hurdles that might get in the way, just some warnings as we end here, which is, you know, is there any idolatry in your life or is there any adultery in your spouse, wife? And maybe you’re just thinking about your spouse right now. Well, when we go through these, you might realize what is idolatry. First of all, it’s anything that is interfering with our relationship with God because it is such a consistent focus in our life that it’s distracting us away from a relationship with our father.

That’s an idol. But what’s interesting is that those idols that we potentially have in our lives that can be a deterrent from us connecting with God and having experiencing God in a more intimate way. Those same idols affect our marriage also. So we have a list of some different things that maybe these are preventing you from growing in your marriage or in your relationship with God. And I think that first, John, we’re not going to dive into that a lot. But really there’s an imagery that is there as far as like walking in the light as he is in the light and having fellowship with one another and and recognizing that sins of the flesh, which we’re going to list some of these that really are truly down to the bare bone, it’s idols, idolatry. The truth is, is that those things prevent us from being close to God. And if we have those things that are preventing us from being close to God, then it actually prevents us from being close to one another in fellowship as well. And we need to we need to be serious. We understand that those are threats. Yes. Those are things that are preventing us from growing closer to one another to our spouses and to God. So the first thing in idolatry would be like social media or video games, pornography, right? Like, are any of those things idols in your life or in your spouse’s life? What about sports or.

Either watching sports or a huge focus in the family of kids playing sports? But it’s such a focus. It’s such a it takes us away from going to church on Sunday and things like that or fellowship with believers and so forth. You know, you have to think about that or maybe clean house. Angie wrote that one down.

But I want to say I did. I did, because I think that a lot of times, isn’t it true, ladies, that we all want to have a clean home and we want to steward what we have? Well, and that’s a good biblical principle, but sometimes we can make idols out of our expectations or standards of cleanliness that then. Actually can become a hurdle that prevent us from growing deeper in our relationship with our spouse or with other people. I just even think about other people, for example, like does the cleanliness or lack thereof prevent you from practicing hospitality because that affects your relationships with other people.

How can a clean house be an idol, though?

Well, it can be an idol if that’s what you’re spending all of your time consumed doing constantly to where maybe you’ve got a broken relationship with one of your kids or your spouse. And it requires some nurturing and investment of time. But you’re just so consumed with doing more and more projects around your house that that fills up all of your time and that it’s never good enough. I would say that there’s an element of like, it’s never good enough. It’s not perfect, right? You’re maybe your expectation or your standard for cleanliness is so high that you can never attain it because there’s always going to be a mess, right?

So it’s a focus that’s detracting from relationship with God, relationship with spouse, potentially. So working out to a health, working out all these things, we’re not saying these things. These are all good things. But in excess, if it becomes an idol in our lives, it can take away from our relationships with God and with our spouse and even our kids. And so, you know, having such a high standard for health that that is the consumption of our mind, that is what we’re supremely focused on, can be unhealthy. Yeah. How about some myths, like, you know, a workaholic because the kids are young and and if I work hard now, then when I’m older, I can provide and we can do all the things we want to do. Well, you know, they’re being formed when they’re young, so maybe be working actually as an idol in disguised as being for the family. Now providing is very important. Working hard is fine. All those things. I get it. But sometimes we can cross a line and we’re just it’s disguised. Whereas even if we didn’t need to work so hard, we still do.

Because maybe.

We have to be honest, a.

Promotion has become an idol or hitting a certain quote quotient or whatever it is, right? Like there are so many things that could potentially become an idol. But really the the biggest like way that you can determine this is if you if you can evaluate is this thing that I’m doing preventing me from growing in my relationship with God or my wife or my husband.

Right. And obviously, substance abuse, also pride, you know, having pride in our life comparison. Maybe our marriage is fine because we’re our marriage is better than this one over here. That’s not we shouldn’t be comparing. We should be like, how can our marriage get better no matter.

How good it is? We should always.

Be asking that it could be kids, could be an idol, that we’re not focused on a marriage because we’re so focused on the kids and parenting and all the different things.

Well, and I even see this with homeschool families. I was just sharing at a homeschool moms retreat that over the years, just speaking at homeschool conferences, I can’t tell you how many moms have come to me at once. They’re empty nesters and their kids are out of the house and they’re done home schooling. They literally look at their spouse and they’re like, Who are you? You know? And they they’ve lost this sense of what they are together, yoked to one another, because their focus has been so much on the kids. And that is an example of having made an idol out of homeschooling, which homeschooling is a good thing, but you just don’t want to let it become an idol. And obviously having a family, it’s the same thing. We’ve done a podcast on how to know if you’ve made an idol out of your family. You got to go listen to that one.

So in the final thing, that could be a barrier and has to do with several of these is escapism. We don’t even realize it, but we’re keeping ourselves busy to escape, having to deal with our marriage. We’re keeping ourselves so occupied, we’re embracing this idol over here, in part, subconsciously, we don’t even realize it because our marriage feels too hard to work on. It’s gotten to a point where it’s too difficult and nothing’s impossible. With God, let’s be yielded to God and let’s stop escaping and let’s start nurturing this, this, this most important human relationship that we have. And let’s surrender it to God and let’s find a path. The first step. And if you need help, get help. But find that first step of what you can do to start nurturing it. You can create a positive ripple effect forward. That’s unbelievable. And hey, we hope you’re enjoying this little marriage series we’re doing. Each episode obviously stands on its own, but if you miss the last two, go listen to them. We’d love it if you shared it and help the minister grow.

Thanks so much. See you next week. Hey, thanks for listening to this episode. For more resources, go to courageous parenting and courageous mom dot com for free online workshops, blog posts, and best selling courses. Also, we wanted to quickly tell you about our six week online parenting mentor program. Isaac and I created a powerful biblical curriculum. Here’s how it works. Each week we release a video with a downloadable parenting packet to make it easy for you to incorporate those teachings directly into your parenting.

This is an incredible, self paced program where we cover everything from obedience training to overcoming mistakes most Christians are making. But more than that, it’s a supportive community. You’ll have access to our private online group, live Webcasts and the courageous parenting text message line where Angie and I can send you weekly encouragements straight to your phone.

If you’re interested in joining our next online parenting mentor program, secure your spot now at courageous parenting dot com that’s courageous parenting dot com.


Written By Angie Tolpin
Angie has been married to Isaac for 19 years and together they have eight children, whom she homeschools. She is the Founder of CourageousMom.com, a doula, the author of the best-selling book Redeeming Childbirth, and the creator of the first ever Christian Postpartum Course. Angie loves ministering to Women and has created a few online Bible Studies on Biblical Friendship and Motherhood.

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