Marriage After God show

Marriage After God

Summary: Marriage After God is a weekly Podcast hosted by Aaron and Jennifer Smith, authors of Husband After God and Wife After God. This podcast is intended to encourage, inspire, and challenge Christian marriages to chase after God together and to cultivate an extraordinary marriage. Each episode will focus on relevant marriage issues including intimacy, healthy living, boundaries, pornography, biblical living, tips for families, parenting and more. Stay tuned each week for awesome marriage encouragement.

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 Being Faithful In The Little Things Will Prepare Us For The Big Things | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:36:53

Let's be faithful with the small things so that we will be faithful in the big things. Consider supporting this podcast by visiting our online store today. READ: [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 being faithful in the little things will prepare us for the big things. [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. [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. [Jennifer] Thank you guys so much for joining us on today's episode. We just wanna take a minute to just encourage you to leave a star rating review, this just helps other listeners find our podcast. And we're just eager to get this message out. So please take a minute just to leave that star rating, and also if you have time and some extra love, you can leave a written review. That also just really encourages our hearts, lets people know what this podcast is about, and again just spreads that love out into the internet. [Aaron] Also if you've been really loving the podcast and the content, one way you can support this podcast is by purchasing one of our books. You know my wife and I, we've written 11 books now, going on 12. Our twelfth one comes out next year in June. And you can just head over to, and pick up our prayer books, our 30 day marriage devotionals. You can look at all the products we have. And we even have prayer books for children, too. You pray for your son, pray for your daughter. They've been a really popular book. So if you wanna support our podcast please consider going over to when you're done with this podcast. [Jennifer] Okay, so we are going to start off with an icebreaker, we did this last week, it was fun. So Aaron, I'm gonna ask you the first question, and then I guess we'll just tag team it, and then I can answer after you. So it is, what is one habit that you would like to create in your life right now? [Aaron] I would like to get better at reading the Bible more consistently. I'm just gonna be honest. [Jennifer] Okay. [Aaron] I used to be, have it at a specific time every day and I've just kind of gotten out of sync with that. So I'd like to get into a better habit of digging into the word of God. [Jennifer] Okay. And I would answer that by just saying working out. I feel like after I had Truett, you know you wait that kind of post-partum period, six weeks or so out. And then I started feeling really good and I added in one day a week. And now I'm looking for more. So just finding a consistent schedule for that would be really awesome. [Aaron] That's a good habit, yeah. [Jennifer] Well you encourage me. [Aaron] Thank you. [Jennifer] We're gonna share a little more about that later, but you've been in a good habit of that. [Aaron] Okay, so before I move onto the main topic I just wanna read a quote from a book I'm reading right now called the Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. Habits are powerful but delicate, they can emerge outside our consciousness or can be deliberately designed. They often occur without our permission but can be reshaped by fiddling with their parts. They shape our lives far more than we realize. They are so strong in fact, that they cause our brains to cling to them at the exclusion of all else, including common sense. [Jennifer] That's good. [Aaron] Yeah, really powerful quote. The whole book just being about habits and how we form them and how we can change them. It's a really good book. [Jennifer] Yeah I wonder if anyone else listening as you read that quote can already just think about a handful of habits in their own lives that do this very thing. [Aaron] Yeah, it's amazing. Most of our habits we form without even thinking about them. It's not like we try to form the habit we just, they form out of our everyday rituals and routines, Choices. [Aaron] And choices, yeah. So it's kind of, it leads into what we're gonna be talking about today a little bit. We're not gonna be talking about just habits. [Jennifer] A little bit bigger of a concept. [Aaron] Yeah. [Jennifer] Of being faithful in the little things, and why. [Aaron] So, why don't we start off with the conversation that we had in the car the other day which lead us to wanting to talk about this [Jennifer] So, yeah we were driving in the car and you brought up that morning's workout, and you just wanted to share about it with me and how excited you were about something specific that you accomplished. [Aaron] Yeah, I was really proud of myself actually because I learned that I had a skill I didn't know I had. The workout involved rope climbing which we don't do very often. We do them maybe once every other month. And this workout had two rope climbs every so many movements, and before the workout started we were just getting ready, warming up and I thought, "Hey, I'm just gonna try a rope climb real quick, "see how it feels, "'cause I haven't done it in awhile." And I did a rope climb without my legs. So they call it a legless rope climb [Jennifer] Sounds torturous. [Aaron] Yeah, but I was really surprised at myself 'cause I've never been able to do a legless rope climb. And so I was sharing, I was like, "Babe, I did all these legless rope climbs today, "I didn't use my legs at all, "I just used my arms to go up and down." [Jennifer] And I just mentioned how I feel like that, like there's so much of it that's mental. [Aaron] Yeah, 'cause I didn't even know I could do it. And I was telling her, I was like, "Yeah, it's amazing how much "all of the stuff we do is mental "because I may be able to do it physically, "but I may not be able to do it mentally." There's many times I have to force myself to keep going. With this workout specifically, I told myself, I was able to do a legless rope climb, I'm just gonna do the whole workout doing only legless rope climbs. Which meant I had to slow down. I couldn't do as many rounds as everyone else did. But I was able to accomplish my little goal. And I was super proud of myself. It was a really good feeling. [Jennifer] You should be, that's awesome. [Aaron] I didn't realize I could do it. And we started talking about how not only is it a balance of mental and physical, but it's something that all these things that people learn, when you see people you're like, oh I can't believe they can do that. They didn't just start doing it. At the crossfit gym that we do, that I go to, there's a progression to things. Like I didn't just start doing legless rope climbs. I could not even do it, I wasn't strong enough, nor did I know how to. So we, there's this term called scaling. So we scale down the workout to what we can do. So even though, you know, I can't do what the main workout is I can still do the workout at a different level. [Jennifer] It seems like that's the key is scaling. [Aaron] Well it is the only way to do it, 'cause you can't just come in and expect someone to do this part of the workout if they've never done it before. You know, some people might be strong like that but usually you just can't. And so we were just discussing how you know, it starts off really small. You know, like, for the rope climb specifically. One of the ways that you can scale that down is instead of climbing the rope you just lay on the floor. And you pull yourself up. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] The rope to where you're standing. [Jennifer] Which when I do crossfit, I had to do that and it was not easy. Even for me. [Aaron] That's even still really hard, yeah. So you're just laying on the floor. [Jennifer] You have to start somewhere. [Aaron] And you walk your arms up the rope and you just pull yourself until you're standing up. And that's one of the first steps of learning how to climb a rope. There's other ways to do it where they bring the rope real low so it's not a very tall one, and you just try and do like a few feet, you know, instead of trying to do 15 feet up in the air, or 25 feet up in the air, you're just, you know, you're going up a couple inches or a couple feet. But that's what spurned this conversation with us about wanting to talk about not just habits, but-- [Jennifer] Spiritual growth, maturity. Just all kinds of hard things in life that you have to be able to start somewhere and experience that progression and balance of growing. And yeah, so when we were talking about scaling we were looking at life and saying that's still required. [Aaron] Well, and what happens is if we do this all in our own hearts, we look at something, or we look where someone's at, and we say, "Oh, well I could never do that, "therefore I'm not gonna try." Like I could never do a legless rope climb so I'm not gonna try. I could never run a marathon so I'm not gonna try. And that's, like no one just goes and runs a marathon. [Jennifer] But we don't see the work that they put into practicing and trying and even failing at times and feeling defeated. [Aaron] And where they started. [Jennifer] Where they started, yeah. [Aaron] Actually, today our coach at the gym was just mentioning how when he first started it took him like two years to do double unders, which is jump rope, you know where you spin it really fast. I can barely do 'em. But when I look at him I'm like, "Wow, it took you that long?" That's how my progression is going, it's been, I can't do 'em yet. I've been going for about two years and I've almost got 'em. But when you hear that you're like, "Oh, well, okay that's normal. "I guess I didn't realize that everyone "starts in the same place." [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] Like everyone starts somewhere. We all start as babies. And then we get stronger and we grow. And so that's kind of what we wanted to discuss today. We're discussing it in our own lives. What are things that we can start today that we're gonna get stronger in and stronger in and better in later? You know, is it health? Spiritually, being in the Word. [Jennifer] Leading our children. [Aaron] Prayer. Leading our children. And how the incremental growth comes from the beginning of starting somewhere and moving forward and getting better at it. [Jennifer] Taking those steps. When we were kind of walking through the notes for today's episode, you mentioned, you know, everybody wants to be at the 1,000 mile mark without ever having to start with the first step. [Aaron] Yeah, what's that quote? A journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step. [Jennifer] But yeah, everybody wants the reward, and everybody wants to experience the high of maturity or spiritual growth. [Aaron] And the blessings that come with it. [Jennifer] The blessings of leading your children and all these things, whatever the things may be. But there's a lot of work that's required of it. And sometimes we look at that work load and we say, "I can't do that." We don't believe that we're capable. But we wanna remind people that it's a matter of growing incrementally. It's making those daily choices, those individual steps toward those things. [Aaron] Yeah, being faithful. [Jennifer] Being faithful with them. [Aaron] In the very little things on a regular basis. You said something a second ago about not realizing, or not thinking we can handle stuff, or what we're capable of. I think the number one thing I've learned from my fitness journey, and we're not gonna keep talking about fitness by the way, this has been our template for why we were talking about this 'cause of what we've been seeing in me. Is that I'm surprised at what I am capable of. And every single time I go to the gym I'm like, "I can't believe I was able to do that." And I'm not tooting my own horn, it's just the nature of not telling myself I can't. And not giving up on myself and not giving into when it's difficult, and realizing what I'm capable of. There's, I was just thinking about this, what was the movie where the guy's escaped from the prison and they go across the Sahara Desert or whatever? And like it's just thousands and thousands of miles and they just survive. No one would think they could have gotten across the desert but they did. But that's how it is in life. We don't think we can accomplish things or make things happen in our lives, or learn something in the Bible that we see other people know or understand. And we're like, "Oh, we're not capable of that." I can't do that, you know, I can't go speak on stage, I can't go witness to someone, I can't, you know, spiritually lead my family. These are legitimate things that people see other people do, but then inside are like, "Oh, I don't have "it in me to do that." [Jennifer] Yeah, and I don't feel like people are walking around saying I can't do that, I can't do that, I think that it's kind of just something that we accept without even giving it a second thought sometimes. [Aaron] Well I know in my life that's happened a lot. There's things I've just said I couldn't do. But why? Who told me I couldn't do it? You know, doesn't mean I do everything. We wanna talk about the spiritual things in our lives that we can be implementing, walking in, that we can be building on. Becoming faithful in the little things because when we are faithful in these little things over time they compile into bigger things. You know I think spiritually when I think about being faithful in little being faithful in the big, and I think of that scripture where Jesus says, "If you deny me before man, "I will deny you before my Father in Heaven." And I think, you know, we don't as Christians just say, "Oh, one day if I'm persecuted "and put in this situation where "people are gonna threaten my life, "I'm just gonna stand for God." And then, in a very simple situation where someone asks me about my faith and I ignore the question or I avoid the answer. Like can I say that if I can't be faithful in that very little, safe, non life threatening situation. [Jennifer] How would you ever do it? [Aaron] Yeah, how could I possibly imagine that when my life's on the line, or someone else's life on the line, I'm gonna stand for my faith? And I think that's what we're getting at today is practicing walking in these little things. [Jennifer] Yeah, and I think that what I see beneficial about being faithful in the little stuff is in your relationship with God, and our relationship with God, we're actually building trust with Him. He's able to trust us. [Aaron] With more. Yeah so, I wanna read a couple scriptures here. In Luke chapter 16, Jesus is giving a parable. It's about a dishonest manager, and how he was taking advantage of his master's finances and bills and things that he was in charge of. And at the end of it Jesus says, he says this, it's in Luke 16:10. "One who is faithful in very little "is also faithful in much. "And one who is dishonest in very little "is also dishonest in much. "If then you have not been faithful "in the unrighteous wealth, "who will entrust to you the true riches? "And if you have not been faithful in that "which is another's, "who will give you that which is your own? "No servant can serve two masters "for either he will hate the one "and love the other, "or he will be devoted to the one "and despise the other. "You cannot serve God and money." So the direct context of this of course is finances, is money, is the things that we have, and it says unrighteous wealth. And what it's talking about is earthly gain, earthly money, earthly finances, earthly wealth. 'Cause He says if you can't be faithful on Earth with the money that you have that's not Heavenly, not eternal, how can you be entrusted with true riches? Which are Heavenly things. Which are eternal things. And so, the question out of this parable, even though this is specifically talking about money, is what earthly things do we have that we're being faithful with now? You know, I remember thinking when we first started our ministries, you know we launched our social media pages, and we were thinking like, "Man, that'd be so awesome. "What if we can get to a million followers?" [Jennifer] Oh yeah, I remember that. [Aaron] It was like our first year. And we had just started this thing. [Jennifer] We didn't know what we were doing. I mean we were just trying to, we knew our hearts were to encourage people and to utilize the tool of social media. But it was so new back then, too. It was all just, it was all new to us. [Aaron] Yeah, we hadn't even had it long enough to even be called faithful with it. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] You know. And we would've totally mismanaged a platform like that if it grew that fast without us being faithful with the little thing that we had. [Jennifer] So yeah, even though we wanted a large following and people that were part of our audience that we could speak into their lives and encourage, I wouldn't say that we were ready for that, especially when we first started. [Aaron] Of course not. That would be ridiculous. You know, in Timothy we learn about eldership and deaconship and that position it says they must not be a new convert. And the point is that they're not ready. They haven't been proven yet. And so there's lots of things in our life that we should be proven in, and we should walk in consistently to show that we're faithful in those areas. So I just wanna read one more scripture about the same subject. It's in Matthew 25:23. And it's in the same kind of parable. It's a parable of the Talents, you know, the master goes away, leaves three of his servants with a certain amount of Talents, and he expects return from them. And then he says this to one of them. His master said to him, "Well done good and faithful servant. "You have been faithful over little. "I will set you over much. "Enter into the joy of your master." That's what I want God to say to me. [Jennifer] Me too. [Aaron] That God's given me certain things. He's given me my marriage, my children, my job, our relationships, our home, our money, our car, all of these things. And there's much more, right. And I want Him to say that I was faithful with the things that He's given me. That I was faithful in investing them for the kingdom. You know, I wanna ask us, not just me and you Jennifer, but our listeners, what areas of our life, whatever areas of the things God's given us are we being faithful in? And what areas can we be more faithful in? Whether we thing they're big things or small things. We just have to recognize that the things that we currently have, the life that He's given us, He wants us to be faithful with. So, we're talking about, you know, being faithful to the things that God's given us. But I think on top of that, it's really good, we need to be good stewards, we need to be faithful with the things God's given us. But what about our spirit? What are some things that we can be faithful in in the little ways on the spiritual side of things in our life? [Jennifer] Well I definitely, like everyone would agree with me that reading His word and prayer are probably the top two things, right off the bat that we could look at our lives and evaluate whether we're doing that or not. Do we have a good, healthy habit? A daily routine of that? [Aaron] Yeah, being regular in the word and growing in that area. [Jennifer] I think some things that stop people from doing that is feeling like they don't know how to pray. Feeling like they don't understand God's word. And I think I would just encourage them that even if you don't understand it just keep reading it. Eventually God will help your heart to understand it, or maybe you'll have questions, and then you can go seek out answers to those questions. But it's a process. And I think that if we could just start with the simple, you know, just be active in reading, be active in sharing your heart with God, I think those are simple habits to start. [Aaron] Yeah, we're never gonna get better knowing the word of God without reading it. [Jennifer] It's true. [Aaron] And it is daunting, it's like whoa where do I start? And there's so much stuff, what's prophecy? How do I understand it? And there's just so much in the Bible, it's so rich, right? But, what we're getting at with all of this is we just start. You aren't going to get to the finish line without starting the race. And so this is kind of like our, you know, our call to action for the community, for those listening is if there's areas in your life that you know that you haven't been faithful in the little? Like you haven't been in the word of God regularly, haven't been praying, that today you start. [Jennifer] And it's not necessarily a chore either, like I just wanna encourage those listening that sometimes we can see the mountain ahead of us, and just like I said, be daunted by it, and think that's too hard. Or not enjoyable. Or see it as a chore to get to the top. But if you think of a mountain, and having a trail leading up to the top, you're gonna have, you're gonna go through probably tall trees or meadows or flowers or rocks and things to look at. And I think that it can be an enjoyable thing to pursue. It is an enjoyable thing to pursue. But we have to have the right perspective in order to see it that way. [Aaron] And it may not feel enjoyable at first because we're stretching muscles we've never used before. We're practicing something we haven't practiced before, so it is hard. It can be painful. Like, you know, going to bed later, so you can get in the word. Waking up earlier. Those aren't easy things in the beginning, but what happens is you build a craving for it and you start seeing the fruit from it. [Jennifer] And you enjoy that. [Aaron] And that's what you start enjoying. You're like, "Man, I enjoy the spiritual growth I'm seeing. "I enjoy the perspective I'm gaining. "I'm enjoying seeing my life change and transformed "by these new habits I'm forming. "By the word of God, by prayer, "by fellowship." You know, the things that the Bible's called us to. Walking in those things aren't always easy right in the beginning. But there's a quote that just says nothing worth doing's ever easy. You know. And these little things are worth doing. And we have a little note here, it just says incremental growth. The point is are we growing or are we stalled? Are we just staying in one place? Are we stagnant? The Bible uses that term lukewarm. We're neither hot nor cold, we're not going backwards or forwards. We're just remaining. And we don't wanna, a Marriage After God doesn't just remain. [Jennifer] Yeah, we wanna inspire you guys to take those steps forward. [Aaron] Yeah, we chase, we boldly chase after God's will for our lives. And there's only one way to know God's will. It's to dig into His word. And it's to dig into prayer. And it's to participate in the communion of the fellowship of being around believers and walking with one another, and accountability, and iron sharpening iron. But it starts somewhere. [Jennifer] And practically speaking how do you start building these habits or these routines, these things that we know we should be doing when we're not doing 'em. How do we start? [Aaron] Yeah, and it's not going straight to the end. Like okay, I'm gonna read three chapters a night, I'm gonna read through the whole Bible in a month and I'm gonna, it starts with I'm going to set a time every day that I'm gonna open the Bible. [Jennifer] You know when we first got married I remember your mom mentioned to me, she was just giving me tips and tricks on how to manage a home and all of that. And without saying that it was coupling she was actually teaching me the art of coupling. She would say things like, "You know, I read my Bible every morning "with a cup of coffee." So she goes and pours herself a cup of coffee, sits at the kitchen table, and she leaves her Bible on the kitchen table so she knows that those two things go together. And it's a way of building in that habit each and every day. Building a routine each and every day. And I never really put into practice the skill of coupling. Actually I forgot about it until a friend of ours brought it up to us a couple years ago, and kind of inspired you in the art of coupling. And do you wanna talk about that a little bit? [Aaron] Yeah, so, this is just a tip for anyone who wants to implement new habits and routines in their life, especially in these spiritual areas of like reading the word of God or praying, or going and being with other believers. We can couple, which is taking something you already do on a regular basis, taking a habit you already have, and adding the new habit or routine to it. So a good example would be like, if you took a shower every morning, having a note on the mirror in the bathroom to remind you to pray. Or putting your prayer notes on the mirror or somehow in the bath, in the shower when you're in there. So what you're doing is your coupling your daily routine of showering with a daily routine of prayer. [Jennifer] Yeah, so currently right now, by the way I just have to note. If they hear baby noises, coos and burps, it's, the baby's on my lap. But right now we're-- [Aaron] Real life. We're coupling podcasting with parenting. [Jennifer] Yeah. We are trying to find cues within our rhythm of just managing the kids, and so after Bible time I help Elliot with piano, and so for me a signal of ending Bible time means piano time helps me remember that we have to do piano every day. [Aaron] Which we've been talking about piano, we love that our son's learning piano, but it's been hard to have a routine of daily practice. And so we're like okay, what can we couple it with? What can be our cue during the day for you to just go straight to piano practice? And so we're making it right after Bible time he'll do piano practice. Bible time is a good example of something that we've been working on in our home. Forming new habits and better routines and something that's going to spiritually benefit our home and family and children. [Jennifer] Which we've seen. [Aaron] Yeah, and this actually was a hard thing. I remember thinking man I wanna be leading my family spiritually, I wanna be a spiritual leader, I wanna implement things that are gonna benefit my children and myself. And I remember thinking how hard that was. I was like I don't even know what to do, where do I start? What do I, what am I supposed to do? And I just told myself one day. I was like I'm just gonna start. So I was like okay kids, come sit down on the couch, we're doing Bible time. And they're like what? What is Bible time? And didn't it start off, I think we've talked about it before, it started off at like a verse. [Jennifer] Yeah it was short. [Aaron] Like we just did one verse. And I would talk about it for a minute. I didn't have like a set Bible study, I was just like, "Okay, what do you think "that verse meant? "What was your favorite word out of the verse? "What does it mean when he says this?" [Jennifer] Now the whole family looks forward to it. [Aaron] Yeah and it's not just a verse anymore. We read up to two chapters and it will probably get more and more eventually. And that's just an example of starting somewhere. And since we started it's been, we started in January I think. Or February. And it's pretty much been a whole year now. And we do it, I feel like we do it four to five times a week on average. There's some days that we miss. I have coffees on Wednesday mornings so I don't think I do it then. I think you've been doing it. So, that's a routine we have in our home. That our children are hearing the word of God, they're learning the word of God, I'm getting better at leading and having this routine. And what's awesome is when you take these small steps of faithfulness, so me just sitting down for a few minutes a day, reading the Bible with the kids turns into other things. It makes it easier to now have a routine for piano practice. To have a routine for breakfast and a routine for what comes next in the day. And a routine for prayer in the car. We've been practicing, just, we're driving and like hey, who could we be praying for right now, kids? It makes those muscles, those spiritual muscles easier to use. Stronger. [Jennifer] I just keep thinking how much stronger our kids are gonna be. [Aaron] Yeah, because we're practicing habits and spiritual skills now. They're gonna benefit from them. And that's the whole point is we want them to benefit from them. And we're benefiting from 'em. I find myself wanting to read more, which I've always told myself I'm not a reader. And then the other day I was like I'm just gonna read books. So I have like three open books right now in my nightstand. I haven't read through all of them yet, but I'm reading through all of them currently. And I have this audiobook I'm listening to so I'm just trying to walk in new things. I just don't wanna be the same person all the time. I wanna be moving forward. I wanna be growing in life. And I know you feel the same way. It's things that we've been seeing and know that God wants from us is just maturity and growth. So what areas in our life are you seeing that we may need a break? Like habits we may need to break or replace with other habits? [Jennifer] Well I know for myself, we were just talking about this the other day, but when I feel overwhelmed, or even if I feel like I just accomplished something really hard, I treat myself. And it's like that's my cue for a bad habit. Or like I said when I feel overwhelmed. [Aaron] Like you've earned it. Like oh I've earned to go splurge. [Jennifer] Yeah, or if I feel overwhelmed and I just wanna feel better, those are just some simple cues that give me a very bad habit of you know, filling that with sugar or whatever the treat is. [Aaron] Yeah, fill in the blank. [Jennifer] Fill in the blank. So I think that's one thing that I am looking forward to breaking. [Aaron] So replacing that supposed reward you wanna give yourself with something more healthy. [Jennifer] Another one would be going to bed late because I wanna build a habit of getting up early and getting in the word before I get going with the kids. But I know in order to do that I need to go to bed earlier. [Aaron] Yeah, and these are again, these are little things. So just trying to be on the same page, and say hey, what will it take to get to bed 30 minutes earlier tonight? It's setting for ourselves some goals maybe. Little goals like hey, if we're gonna be praying with each other at night let's make sure that we have the kids in bed on time, let's make sure that we're efficient, let's crawl into bed and let's spend time in prayer together. [Jennifer] And I do feel like we are getting stronger and better, more obedient, more faithful in these small things. And sometimes it can feel defeating when we think about we've already come so far, or we've already stretched that muscle so much. We've already changed. [Aaron] Yeah, do I need to do more? Gosh. [Jennifer] Yeah, we've already changed so much and then it hurts when God, or you, or someone reveals that there's more to go. Or even just like, there's another step to take. It can feel really defeating. But that's what faithfulness is all about is just being willing to take that next step forward. Yeah, and I wanna encourage those listening. We've mentioned quite a few things in our life that God might be wanting to change in us and grow in us, and give us more diligence and more faithfulness in, because He's just building and building on us. And again like we said in the beginning, they could be listening to all of this and be like well that's so much, where am I supposed to start with all of that? And my encouragement is just start. God's probably revealing right now to you one area that He would love to see you grow in and change in. Is it just spending some time while you're driving to work praying instead of listening to the radio? And not thinking like oh, I have these 50 things I need to do today, 'cause you will fail. We've experienced that in our lives. We have this grandeur idea like oh I wanna be this person, this is what I'm gonna do, I'm gonna implement these 12 things and I'm gonna be that person tomorrow. And then it's like that's too hard, I can't do it. But what we found is it's real easy to do something small. But then when you do 1,000 small things, right? It becomes a very big thing. I wouldn't have imagined that we would have written 12 books eight years ago. We didn't write 'em all in the same day. [Jennifer] That would have been really hard. I'm glad God didn't ask us to. [Aaron] Thank God, yeah. [Jennifer] He knows us better than we know ourselves. [Aaron] But now looking back it's like oh, we did one book. And then we did a second book. We had 1,000 followers, and then 10,000 followers, and again, not just to talk about us. I'm just, the point is, we started somewhere. And unless we start we're not gonna ever get anywhere. [Jennifer] And I think a marriage after God is willing to start, and they're willing to embrace hard things, and they're willing to persevere. And they're willing to look at the future with vision and understanding and hope that they will, they will mature, and they will grow, and they will exercise those muscles for the purposes of what God has for them to glorify His name. [Aaron] Yeah I was gonna ask why does all this matter? [Jennifer] Yeah, it's for Him. [Aaron] Like why are we even? It's for Him. He's got something for us to do. Just think of that scripture that tells us that God's prepared beforehand, before we were even formed in the womb, He had good works for us to accomplish in this world for Him. So all of these things, they're not so that we can feel more holy or look what we've done. The only goal, the only drive, the only passion that should be pushing any of these decisions forward, and giving us motivation to do these things, and grow in these areas, is to see what He's doing in our life, and to see what He's. [Jennifer] Truett agrees. [Aaron] Yeah, Truett agrees. So I hope this encourages those that are listening to ask God what areas they can build new habits in, and to be revealed, areas they can just start today. [Jennifer] I'm willing to bid they already know what that next step is. [Aaron] Yeah they're thinking right now like oh, I've been wanting to do this. [Jennifer] Okay, you just need to do it. [Aaron] You just need to do it. So I said last night Jennifer, you were mentioning how you wanted to start something, and I was like, "Start? "Start today?" I didn't say it harshly, but I was just like the reality is that it's not going to start for you, like start it. [Jennifer] And sometimes I feel like we always wanna say like we'll start Monday. And that never works because then Monday comes, then Tuesday comes, then Wednesday comes, and you forgot that you were supposed to start Monday. So then you have to start Monday again. [Aaron] That's one of the tactics our flesh uses to keep us from moving forward, to keep us from growing up. Is as long as it's tomorrow it's not today. So let's just make it today. Today's the day of salvation. Today is the day that we make those changes. Today is the day we say yes to God. Today is the day we believe what the scriptures say about the power that's in us, the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. And that we walk in it. We walk in the spirit, not the flesh. I just hope everyone that's listening is encouraged, I mean it's something that Jennifer and I are walking through and growing in and learning how to be. So a new thing that we've been doing is ending in prayer. And so Jennifer's got a prayer for you all today. So would you please join us in prayer? [Jennifer] Dear Lord, we pray that we would be men and women who submit our lives to you. Examine our lives and show us the areas that need transformation and change. We pray we wouldn't complain or grumble when you revealed to us bad habits that we need to break, or what the next step of growth is that we need to take. Help us not to be prideful or resistant when you use our spouse to speak a word of truth about the habits in our lives. May we receive what they have to share with a humble heart, knowing that what they share is motivated by love. We pray we would walk in righteousness. Holy Spirit help us to break the stronghold of habits that need to go, rhythms and routines that have become natural to us but don't benefit us or our families. When you convict our hearts toward change may we boldly choose to walk out what you desire for us. May we be faithful in the little things each and every day, knowing that our faithfulness is building trust in a relationship with you. Please help us to prepare our hearts and our bodies for the work that you have for us. May we take time to encourage our spouse in building better habits, and keep each other accountable to the changes we aim to make. Lord help us to be faithful in the small things so that we are prepared for the bigger things. In Jesus' name, Amen. [Aaron] Amen. So thanks for joining us for today's episode. We pray that you would hear the heart of the Lord today. And that you would seek out what He has for you, and how He wants you to grow. And we look forward to having you next week. Did you enjoy today's show? Find many more encouraging stories and resources at and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

 Asking God To Search Our Hearts | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:34:21

The Bible tells us that the crucible is meant to refine, and God will allow us to go through things in our lives that will act as crucibles to bring us to a place where the dross of our character can come to the surface. Consider supporting this podcast by buying one of our marriage books today. -> READ: [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 asking God to search our hearts. ♪ Whoo ♪ ♪ Hey, hey, hey ♪ [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-- [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. ♪ Hey, hey, hey ♪ [Aaron] Welcome back to another episode of the Marriage After God podcast. [Jennifer] The most amazing podcast you've ever been listening to. [Aaron] Yeah, if you're married for sure. Actually, I think we have people that are not married listening to us. [Jennifer] Hey, that's good. Yeah. It's awesome. [Aaron] Which is awesome. As usual, we wanna invite you to leave us a quick review. A star rating is the easiest way to do it. All you have to do is scroll to the bottom of the podcast app and hit the star. But if you have a little bit of extra time, you can leave us a text review also, and that helps lots of people see the episodes, see the podcast, because it comes up in the rankings the more reviews they have. So that'd be awesome if you can do that. If you've been blessed by the show, we just invite you to do that. [Jennifer] And thank you to everyone who has already left a review and star rating. We really appreciate that. [Aaron] Yeah, there's tons of 'em. We have over 600 star ratings, and like 70 or 80 text reviews, which is amazing. [Jennifer] And so encouraging to us. [Aaron] Yeah, I go through and I read 'em, and I send 'em. I'll text pictures of 'em to my wife so she could see what they say. They're really encouraging. So we wanted to also invite you to check out our online store,, where my wife and I have written a 30-day devotional bundle for husbands and wives. We've also written a prayer book bundle for husbands and wives. And it's also where we're gonna be launching our new book next year, Marriage After God, which this podcast was started because of, and that comes out next year. So if you wanna support our podcast, if you love the content, just go to [Jennifer] For those listening who, like you said, maybe aren't married yet, we also have a book bundle for them. Oh, yeah. And it's prayers for your future husband and wife, so you can check that out as well. [Aaron] Thank you for that reminder. So that's how we get support for our podcast. If you love it, if you wanna support the podcast and the content, check out our store, and pick up one of our books. That'd be awesome. So before we get into the topic, I'd love to do an icebreaker. And this is something we're gonna try doing. It's a new part of our show. And so it actually reminds me of when we used to lead a marriage table back at our old church, babe. Do you remember how we do icebreakers in the beginning of all of the sessions? [Jennifer] Yeah, it was super fun. I think it was just a way for people to get to know each other on a real quick, kind of surface-level basis. And so I think it'll be fun. I think it'll give our listeners just a little bit more insight into us. [Aaron] Yeah, and sometimes it'll be fun. There might be like a little game or something. I don't know yet. [Aaron] So here's the icebreaker. What is your favorite candy? [Jennifer] Mm, that's a good one. I have lots of favorite candies. I tend to lean more towards the chocolate, which when I think of candy, I think of hard, sour tart things. So I don't know how other people would answer this, but I would just say like a good Snickers bar, good chocolate bar. [Aaron] Do you like the nougaty center? What's in a Snickers bar, peanuts? I don't even know. Yeah, there's like caramel, nuts, the nugget, all of it. [Aaron] Mm. [Jennifer] Or is it nigget? I don't know. Nigget? [Jennifer] I don't know what it's called. [Aaron] I think it's nougat. Noo-jit. Okay, so now you ask me an icebreaker question. [Jennifer] All right, so you're drinking a cup of coffee right now. Yes. What do you like in your coffee? How do you take it? Let everyone know. [Aaron] Black, nothing. I don't put anything in my coffee. ♪ Boring ♪ Just kidding. I like it that way. Just espresso and water. Hot water, of course. So that's... I don't know if anyone knew that about me. I just like black coffee. Yeah, it is boring. I don't put any sugar, no cream. I don't even like eggnog in my coffee even though I love eggnog. [Jennifer] I've never even heard of someone putting eggnog in coffee. Why would you even say that? [Aaron] Like an eggnog latte. [Jennifer] Oh. I'm not really a coffee drinker, so I don't know what's available. I don't know what's out there. [Aaron] Yeah. It's the season for eggnog, that's why I brought it up. I'd rather just have a cup of eggnog with a cup of coffee next to it. Okay, so icebreaker done. But another thing we're gonna add toour podcast is I'm reading a book right now, and I'm gonna read a quote from it. And so I think what we're gonna try and do is just take little quotes as we're reading through books and materials that we are checking out and going through. And the one I'm currently reading is Letters to the Church by Francis Chan. And the quote is on page 78. And it's this. Scripture is clear. There is a real connection between our unity and the believability of our message. If we are serious about winning the lost, we must be serious about pursuing unity. And I just love that, because we've been talking a lot about unity in our church lately. A theme in our life lately over the last few years has been unity, just learning to fall in love with the body of Christ and fall in love with other believers in the way the Bible has called us to. So that just really spoke to me last night when I read it. [Jennifer] So I love that quote, and I think it's pertinent to what we're gonna be talking about today, specifically just introducing what we wanna talk about today 'cause it kind of started out with a little messiness in a relationship that contributed to what we're gonna share today. Do you wanna-- Yeah. Share a little bit more about that? So in our, in our small home church, we have a handful of families. And when you walk so closely with people, there's just going to be some messiness sometimes. There's gonna be stickiness. There's gonna be hard things. It's why the Bible talks a lot about our relationships with each other. The majority of the Bible is not just our relationship with God, but how he desires us to walk with one another. [Jennifer] Right, which I really appreciate that about the Bible. I think that it gives us all the tools, and encouragement, and guidance on navigating the messy parts of relationships. [Aaron] Yeah, and-- [Jennifer] For the purpose of unity, which is what you just shared on. [Aaron] Exactly. And we're not gonna talk about the specific situation. We're not gonna talk about the specific people. [Jennifer] Well, here's the thing, is everybody listening right now can relate to this. No matter what relationship that you're a part of, there's gonna be messiness. [Aaron] So what all of our listeners can do is as they hear what we're talking about, they can superimpose their own experiences to fill in the blank, because we don't need to give those details. Because what we wanna talk about is what happened-- [Jennifer] After. [Aaron] Because-- Yeah. Of that situation. [Jennifer] Mm-hmm. [Aaron] So maybe you can give a little bit of synopsis of what happened over the last few days, and maybe what led up to this. And we can talk about our conversation we had. [Jennifer] Okay, so there was this relational messiness that was going on. And you were sharing with me late Saturday night that on your way home God had used that situation to prompt your own heart to kinda confront some things. [Aaron] Yeah. I took what was going on, and in the midst of what was going on immediately began to internalize and look inward and say, okay, who am I in this scenario? Who am I at home? And I felt like God started just really pointing out in me things, and calling out in me things, which is I believe is what we should be doing. Whenever we confront hard things, whenever we walk in trials with our brothers and sisters, I feel like the fleshly response is to look outward and say, oh, look at this, look who's at fault. This happened, they did this. But the spiritual response should be to look internally, and say, who am I? [Jennifer] Mm-hmm. [Aaron] What does God wanna do in me? How does God wanna use this situation to change me, transform me, make me more like him? [Jennifer] Mm-hmm. Yeah, so we were sitting on the couch that night after the kids went to bed, and you started sharing this with me, kinda like as if this situation pulled up a mirror to your own life. And what was the specific thing that God revealed to you? [Aaron] He revealed to me a few things. He revealed to me, specifically, my harshness at times with my children. [Jennifer] Mm-hmm. [Aaron] Although I've been growing a lot, and we're trying really hard to disciple our children well, and be consistent with them, and discipline them well, and train them well, and raise them well, and love them well, I have some areas of my heart and areas of my character that need to be changed. And he used this hard situation in other relationships in our fellowship to show me this. [Jennifer] Mm-hmm. So what you didn't know going into this conversation with me was that I had also been wrestling with some similar thoughts just about the way that I sometimes react or respond to the kids. And earlier that day was just a struggle for me. And I just was short with the kids, a little negative in my responses toward them, and I felt really bad about that. And we sat there for about an hour and 1/2 weeping over these types of responses, because our kids don't deserve that. Our kids don't deserve us to be short-tempered, or quick in our responses, or what are some of the other things? [Aaron] Harsh stares, the way we look at them. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] The words we choose to use. The way we word our messages to them. [Jennifer] Mm-hmm. And it's not that we're like this all the time, but there are specific situations or circumstances that happen that we respond to in this way. Fleshly, yeah. Fleshly. Yeah, that's a good way to put it. [Aaron] And what's funny about this in how God works is our conversation on the couch that night started out as a debrief of what we've been dealing with outside of this conversation. This wasn't even a conversation we were having. And then it just mutated very quickly into a very internally focused, intrinsically-focused conversation about our own, we should call it sin. Mm-hmm, yeah. 'Cause that's what it is. Us not walking rightly, and us walking in the flesh is sin. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] The first thing I think of is the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience. Us not being peaceful with our children, us not being patient with our children, us not being kind or gentle, it's sin. 'Cause right before that statement about the fruits of the Spirit is the fruit of the flesh. Mm-hmm. [Aaron] And although we were going through something very hard, and what I think happened is we were already spiritually sensitive because of the things we were going through in the other relationships. [Jennifer] Well, and we were kind of talking, the conversation started out with the different perspectives of that situation and kind of going to God and saying, what's going on, what's happening, and what needs to happen for reconciliation or unity within the body, within these other relationships? And then, like you said, it kind of just internalized. And I feel like what happened sitting on the couch with you that night is it was almost like God had a bucket going down into a well and he was drawing it up. And it was like the bucket was pouring over. That's a good illustration, yeah. [Jennifer] And I felt like he was pulling it out of me, all these things that I wasn't really struggling with in that moment until all of sudden, the light shined on my heart. [Aaron] I think I said one phrase and it just triggered this whole conversation, and softening of our hearts, and a revealing of our sin, and a conversation that led us to just dive in of who we are, what we do, are these things gonna remain, or are we gonna change them and remove them? [Jennifer] Well, I remember, too, a few days before this was happening, I remember driving down the street, and I had the same conviction about my role and relationship with my kids. And I brushed it off with the justification of, well, I'm not as bad as some people, or I don't do it that often. And I had these justifications that made me just kind of push it aside. And we should never push aside convictions like that. And I was realizing that-- But it's so easy to. [Jennifer] I know. -Sometimes. I know, it really is. [Aaron] 'Cause confronting those things makes us feel ugly. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] And that's not fun. [Jennifer] Yeah, so all a sudden, my flesh goes, well, you're not that terrible, you know? Mm-hmm. [Jennifer] When really, the things that I was doing, I should definitely stop and recognize. And so, man, that was a good conversation sitting with you on the couch that night. [Aaron] It was a necessary one. And so why are we bringing this up to our audience? Are we talking about parenting right now? No. [Aaron] No. [Jennifer] No, it actually has nothing to do with parenting. [Aaron] No. In our case, it had to do with parenting. It also had to do with we had some conversations about our marital relationship. [Jennifer] Yup, and how we treat each other in certain circumstances. Yeah, the words we use. Are we walking in the roles God's called us to? Or are we going outside those? Are we fighting against them? Because we've grown so much in those areas, but at the same time, we can't forget that we aren't perfect yet. [Jennifer] Mm-hmm. [Aaron] That God's still sanctifying us, and he's changing us, and he does it in specific ways. And so I just wanted to bring up a scripture that illustrates just really well. It's Proverbs 17:3, and it says the crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts. And Proverbs uses this illustration several times. And a crucible is a big, ole hot pot that you would throw metal into, and it melts it down. And you melt it, and melt it, and melt it, especially with precious metals like silver and gold. And what happens is the more you heat it up, the more you boil it, the dross, the impurities, float to the top, and then you can scrape it off the top. And then you keep heating it, and then more impurities come up to the top, and you scrape it. That's what a crucible on a furnace is for, for gold and silver. And I believe God was using this situation in our church with some of these relationship that we were having that we were navigating issues with as a crucible for our hearts. It was a spiritually-sensitive situation. We're being required to be in the spirit, and being praying and asking for the Lord's will, and seeking after his answer for what's going on. Which then brought to the surface in our hearts some thingsthat he wanted to scrape away from us. [Jennifer] Yeah. That's definitely what it felt like sitting on the couch with you that night. I just felt like he was-- It was kinda painful. Like drawing it up, yeah. But it was good. [Aaron] Mm-hmm. [Jennifer] And I remember at the end of it, you said, "Well, we need to change." And then I cried some more, and said, "It's so hard, I don't know how to." And you're like-- Yeah, you're like, "What do I do? "I feel like I wanna change, "and what?" And you weren't saying just you. It's us. Us. Yeah. [Aaron] But you're like, "I feel like I want to, "but I don't know how to." [Jennifer] And you said, "We just do. "God's already given us the Holy Spirit that empowers us, "and we just need to." [Aaron] Yeah. And for those that are listening, I'm sure they can think, remember we talked about the filling in the blanks? They can think of a situation or something in their life where they're like, I just don't know how to change. Like what do I do? And what's amazing is, and it sounds too easy, and I'm not trying to downplay the difficulty and the struggle that our spirit and flesh have with each other at times, but we can just change because we are empowered by the Holy Spirit. Do you remember the illustration I gave Eliott this morning during Bible time? We were talking about the Holy Spirit empowering us, and I used his-- [Jennifer] Oh, yeah, Tony Stark. Yeah. [Jennifer] Our son's obsessed a little bit with Iron Man. He thinks he's the coolest guy ever. [Aaron] Yeah, so I was reading in Galatians, and it was talking about being empowered. And I told Eliott, I said, "Eliott, do you think Tony Stark "would be powerful without his suit?" And he's like, "Well, no, he's just a man." And I said, "Well, but his suit gives him power. "He can fly, and shoot blasters." And I was giving all these little illustrations. And I said, "That's what the Holy Spirit is." [Jennifer] You could see kind of a light bulb go on in his head like, oh, yeah. [Aaron] I said, "Without the Holy Spirit, "we can't do anything." Which the Bible tells us, we can do nothing to please God without the Spirit of God. We can't do anything apart from the Spirit. But with the Spirit of God, we can do everything. Everything that God wills for our lives, we could actually accomplish through the power of the Holy Spirit. And yeah, his eyes did light up, because I equated the Holy Spirit to Iron Man's suit. It's much more powerful than Iron Man's suit. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] We have the living God inside of us. We have the power that resurrected Christ from the dead in us. Mm-hmm. [Aaron] And so on the couch, I was like, "I'm not trying to be harsh, "but I think we just have to change today. "We cannot continue in what we were walking in. "We cannot continue to give ourselves excuses. "We cannot continue operating the way we've been operating." I said, "We just have to change." [Jennifer] Mm-hmm. And then you also said, you said, "We need to ask God to search our hearts, "and in humility, confront the things that he brings up." [Aaron] Yeah, like the dross. Mm-hmm. And deal with it. [Aaron] Allow him to search us. And that actually came, so right at the end of the night, I made a phone call to a friend, and I told that friend. I said, "Let God search your heart." [Jennifer] Mm-hmm. [Aaron] And I get off the phone, and immediately this conversation broke out with us. And it's like, not to be a hypocrite, I must take my own advice. Yeah, yeah. You know? Mm-hmm. [Aaron] And I was like, well, am I allowing God to search my heart? So I just said, "We need to let God search our hearts, "search within us, "and show us the things he wants to cut out of us, "he wants to change in us." And I wanna read all of Psalm 139. It's Psalm of David, a man after God's own heart. The Bible calls him that. God calls him a man after his heart. And as I brought up on Sunday when I was talking about this topic and what God was doing in us, I asked everyone, I said, "Do you want to be, "do you wanna be people that are after God's heart?" And everyone raised their hands. Yes. And said, "Yes," yeah. [Aaron] And said, "Yes." And I was like, "Well, we have a template for that. "We know someone who when they sinned against God "and were confronted by God with it, "confessed, and repented, and turned that moment." There was still consequences in life, but he was a man that showed us like, oh, when we walk this way, we can turn and walk the other way, and we can please God with our life. And so Psalm 139 says this. Oh, Lord, you have searched me and know me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up. You discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, oh Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in behind before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is high, I cannot attain it. Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to Heaven, you are there. If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, surely the darkness shall cover me and the light about me be night, even the darkness is not dark to you. The night is bright as day, for darkness is as light with you. For you formed my inward parts. You knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works, my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret intricately woven in the debts of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed substance. In your book were written every one of them the days that were formed for me when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, oh God. How vast is the sum of them. If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake and I am still with you. Oh, that you would slay the wicked, oh God. Oh men of blood, depart from me. They speak against you with malicious intent. Your enemies take your name in vain. Do I not hate those who hate you, oh Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with complete hatred. I count them my enemies. Search me, oh God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts, and see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. And what's so powerful about this scripture, first of all, it's beautiful. Mm-hmm. Just David's ability to write poetry and song. He's very talented. But also his ability to show us the vastness of God's knowledge of us. [Jennifer] Mm-hmm. [Aaron] That he knows us better than we know ourselves, better than anyone knows us. He was there before we were formed, had thoughts about us before we were formed, knew the days of our lives before they existed. And yet at the very end of this, he still asks this all-knowing God that knows everything about him to search him, and to know him, and to know his thoughts, and for the purpose of finding any grievous way in him. And I just think if David did that, as people with the Holy Spirit in us who searches our hearts would sit down and say, Lord, is there anything in me you want out of me? I think it's important for us as believers to do that. [Jennifer] Yeah, I know. It's just so beautiful. And I love how you brought up that God already knows us inside and out, every which way before we were even born. He's the one that knit us together. He is the one who made us in the secret place. And I think that that helps us trust him when we cry out to him and say, search me, oh Lord. We can trust God. Right. [Jennifer] Because he's the one that created us, and he already knows us. [Aaron] Yeah, and he desires us of our own will to invite him to search us. [Jennifer] Mm-hmm. [Aaron] Because we can be oblivious. [Jennifer] Yeah, we can. [Aaron] It's not an excuse, but often we use it, the ignorance and obliviousness, as an excuse of like, well, I didn't know, or well, how am I supposed to, I'm not perfect. We use all these words, like you said, "Well, I'm not that bad." [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] And I've done the same thing. When I come to these thoughts that the Holy Spirit's prompting my heart, I say, well, I've changed a lot, and I used to be much worse, and therefore, I'll get better eventually, and it's not that bad. [Jennifer] Well, we can't be blindsided if we are growing in spiritual maturity to think that we've ever reached the pivotal place at the top where we're just like perfect. Yeah, we're there. [Jennifer] We're not there yet. We'll never be there until we're in the presence of God, and we have to stand before him. [Aaron] It's a great point is we're not there yet. [Jennifer] Mm-hmm. [Aaron] And so, A, can we humble ourselves enough to recognize that we're not there yet? [Jennifer] Well, we have to. -Yeah. We need to. [Aaron] Yeah, the Bible tells us that if we don't humble ourselves, we're gonna fall. And I don't wanna fall. I don't wanna, in our scenario, lose our kids. I don't wanna just continue in these every once in a while or every so often things that we deal with, and then embitter our kids to us. [Jennifer] Mm-hmm. Or set the example so that when they're parents, they respond in this way. Let's just end it. Let's stop that, and show 'em the right way. [Aaron] And ask God on our knees, change us. Make us better. Show us how you want us to be the way everlasting, right? Yeah, 'cause who benefits from when we cry out and say, search me, oh God, of course we benefit from that if we walk out and pursue what he has for us in purifying our hearts and purifying our lives, but who else benefits? [Aaron] The body, others, our children, our spouse, our neighbors. It increases unity in the body of Christ with other Christians. Other people benefit from us inviting God to search us, and change us, and draw things out of us. And what's awesome is the Holy Spirit's already doing this. His desire is to sanctify us and transform us from the inside out. But there's something powerful about acknowledging and recognizing that he wants to do that. [Jennifer] Mm-hmm. [Aaron] And then it's almost like opening the curtains or taking the glasses off, you're like, oh, like yes. I'm gonna look for the things you wanna show me, so when you show me, I'm not gonna slough 'em off. I'm not gonna justify them away. I'm gonna say, that's something you're showing me. Okay, I'm gonna change it. I'm gonna walk in your spirit you're giving me, good Lord, to help me change it. We woke up that next morning, how did you feel? [Jennifer] Lighter and braver. [Aaron] Braver? Brave's a good word. [Jennifer] Yeah, I just felt like we could do this. And the coolest part is that we're doing it together. You could've had that revelation from the Lord and just continued on and maybe ask God to search your heart without ever having that conversation with me. But because you entered into that conversation with me, we're able to not just have had an awesome conversation where intimacy took place in that moment, especially-- I was just thinking the word intimacy, yeah. Over our children. That was so beautiful to me. But that we get to keep each other accountable and walk through it together. Day-to-day, we're asking each other, "Hey, how've you been? "How've you been with your attitude? "How you've been with your responses?" That is what marriage is, that's a part of what marriage is for, why God created two becoming one. [Aaron] Yeah, to help sanctify us, to transform us. Yeah, so it's not just your journey with God, although, that's important. It's our journey together, and how God can move through our marriage. [Aaron] Yeah, and the next day, man, it did feel lighter. It did feel like we can accomplish anything with God. It also empowered us. It made us ready for what God had next for us. And I don't know, I just wanna encourage everyone listening to consider the things we're saying. I asked everyone on Sunday. I said, "Go this weekend, ask God to search you." And it is scary, and I'm pretty sure there are people that haven't done it yet, because they're like, okay, am I ready for this? Am I, you know? [Jennifer] What's God gonna show me, even though you probably already know. [Aaron] Yeah. What's funny is just me even mentioning it, I bet you anything, things just immediately came to people's hearts. Well, what did I keep saying on the couch that night when I was crying? Do you remember? [Aaron] Um, we said a lot of things. You kept saying you can't, or-- I kept saying, "Why did you even say anything?" [Aaron] Oh, yeah. [Jennifer] Like three different times, I'm like-- And oh, yeah. "Why did you even say anything, why did you bring this up?" [Aaron] Yeah, "I don't even like that you brought it up." [Jennifer]But I didn't mean it. It was just my flesh-- No, it was out of your heart, yeah. Yep. Not wanting to confront certain things, but I know it needed to happen. And I'm so thankful. And I remember telling you, "I didn't bring it up. "God brought it up." Yeah, the Lord did. Which I'm grateful for, I really am. [Aaron] Well, yeah, and-- [Jennifer] And don't you feel unified in our marriage that we know that we're trying to tackle hard things with parenting? Together, yeah. [Jennifer] Together, yeah, I just love that. [Aaron] And what's funny is the more you're with someone, the more you're one with someone, the more your issues are the same. I think when we-- [Jennifer] We start copying each other. [Aaron] When we first got married, I had my issues, you had your issues, and we've slowly worked through a lot of them. Mm-hmm. Right? And now we're on the couch crying about the same thing. The same thing. [Aaron]Like our horrible parenting, or our horrible attitude. I might be exaggerating a little bit, but I feel like I'm not. Like that God wants us better in these areas. Well, here's the thing. I don't think it matters what level. I think that if it needs to change, he's gonna prick your heart about it. Yeah. And it's our job to have the courage to face it and allow God to transform us. That's the point. It doesn't matter what the level of harshness is if there's any harshness. God wants it. You know what I mean? [Aaron] Yeah, well, level is a good word. 'Cause you actually mentioned a while, you've talked about how if something you were walking in a sin wasn't to the same level of something I was walking in-- [Jennifer] I disregarded it. [Aaron] You would be like, well, it's not that. [Jennifer] It's not as bad as that guy. Yeah, at least I'm not like my husband, and the things he's walking in. [Jennifer] Stop justifying, Jen. [Aaron] We can actually, we do that. [Jennifer] I know. [Aaron] There's things that God might wanna change in us, and what we do is we say, well, it's not one of the major sins, so it's not that big of a deal. And God's like, wait, no, I'm not okay with any of it. The Bible tells us to be holy as he is holy. What that means is that we're pursuing the holiness, which means we're practicing it. In 1 John, it tells us, it says, he who practices righteousness is righteous. [Jennifer] Mm-hmm. [Aaron] And that's what God wants. He wants us to practice it, and he teaches us these things. And so-- [Jennifer] What's the challenge for them? [Aaron] The challenge for them, the challenge for them is to sit down with their spouse, and ask God to search them. As David said, search me, oh Lord. Know my thoughts. See if there be any grievous ways in me. [Jennifer] And if there are grievous ways and he reveals them to you, which he will, he's faithful, and he wants this for us to have the courage to change. [Aaron] Yeah, and to realize that you can change, and be transformed in those areas because the same Holy Spirit that just revealed those things to you lives in you empowering you to be different, to be a new kind of human. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] As The Bible Project always says. A new kind of human that we can actually be godly people. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] And it's a journey. Yeah. And so that was our encouragement for everyone today is to do what we just did. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] And then to do it often. We're gonna do it more often. We're gonna be kind of a constant prayer of like, okay, Lord, is there anything in me? Change me, make us new. [Jennifer] Yeah. Well, speaking of prayer, we ended the last episode on spiritual stamina with a time of prayer together, which I really enjoyed. That was really awesome. And we just loved that so much that we believe that there's a necessity to be praying with you guys. So at the end of every Marriage After God episode from here on out, we're gonna end with prayer. So you can look forward to ending each episode with us, and we just invite you to join us in prayer wherever you're listening. [Aaron] All right, I'm gonna pray. Dear Lord, thank you for your holy word that guides us and challenges us to be transformed. We desire to be mature. We desire to be who you create us to be. We lay our hearts down before you. Please search our hearts, Lord, and see if there be any grievous way in us. Prune our hearts. Cut out what is sinful and unfruitful. Strip away the bad and replace it with your good. Reveal to us the areas of our lives that need to be repented of, that need to be changed, that need to be transformed. If there is anything we have been hiding, anything we have been avoiding, anything we have been unaware of, please open our eyes to it all and give us the courage to confront it. Lord, help us to deny our flesh and embrace the righteousness through your Holy Spirit living in us. May we never be prideful. May we never be convinced that we don't have room to grow. Search our hearts, oh Lord. In Jesus' name, amen. [Jennifer] Amen. [Aaron] So I hope that blessed everyone. Prayer is important. God calls us to pray without ceasing. And so have this conversation with your spouse, get in prayer, and see what the Lord reveals. So we thank you for joining us this week. And we hope it blessed you. We hope God's working in your lives. That's our constant prayer for you all. And we look forward to having you next week. Did you enjoy today's show? Find many more encouraging stories and resources at, and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

 Spiritual Stamina and prayer | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:37:19

Join us as we discuss how God has been showing us His desire for us to grow in our spiritual stamina in our prayer life. Prayer should be a normal occurrence in the believer's life and it has been a foundational element of our marriage over the years but lately, we have been feeling that God is desiring us to pray more. In order to grow our stamina, which is the ability to handle more, in our spiritual life is by doing it more. -- Take our 31-day marriage prayer challenge today and join the 1000's of couples who have done it. -- FOR MORE MARRIAGE ENCOURAGEMENT SHOP MARRIAGE RESOURCES FOR WIVES FOR HUSBANDS READ: [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 Spiritual Stamina and Prayer. 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, [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] Okay, before we get started on this week's episode, I just wanna invite any of you that have been subscribed to our channel and enjoying this content, if you would just take a moment and leave us a star rating and a review. If you don't have time for a text review, you can just leave a star rating also, but when those reviews get left, they actually help our podcast get seen by a lot more people so we'd really appreciate it, if you have a moment to leave a review, that would be awesome. [Jennifer] Also, Aaron and I would like to invite you to support this podcast by shopping through our store. So if you go to, you can check out our resources on prayer and take the 31 day challenge, pray with your spouse through those resources and that, shopping through our store helps support this podcast. [Aaron] So let's just get into the content now. You know, we're gonna be talking about spiritual stamina, which is a term that I brought up this last Sunday and we'll talk about where it came from but I believe it's something that God's walking us through right now. There's several things that we're gonna talk about today that were brought up recently, over the last few days, and we're just thinking, "Man, we should talk about this." [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] For this week's podcast. [Jennifer] Yeah, I feel like it's a necessary message, not just for our hearts and the things that we're walking through but hopefully it'll inspire everyone listening. [Aaron] Yeah, and then our heart for this podcast is always to inspire and encourage marriages out there who love God and who wanna know His will for their life and marriage to move forward and that's what He's doing with us, it's our journey, it's their journey, but this word 'stamina', it's something that I think about often when it comes to my workout in the mornings at the gym, which this morning's was super hard and I had almost no stamina. I could not keep going, I almost quit halfway through the workout. [Jennifer] I've been there before, pretty much any workout I've ever done. [Aaron] And the idea is that we, as we work out, or as we exercise or we build muscle, our muscle in our body and our system gets better at doing that and it means we can handle more. And this week, on Sunday at church actually, I was thinking about it. Actually church service was awesome, I walked away feeling so blessed and that just, the Lord was speaking to our hearts, but a thought I had was, "Man, I wonder if we could handle more as a church body?" [Jennifer] Like go longer? [Aaron] Yeah, go longer. Like, it was actually a really good service and several people spoke and talked and we sang a lot of awesome worship songs and just, it was a really good morning. There was tons of prayer, but then I just had this thought of I wonder if we could handle more. Could we go longer, or is it, we just cap it a certain amount or time and this was, I don't believe anyone was, I actually didn't tell anyone this, there was no problem, it was just, I was just thinking, like, I wonder what it would take if we could do more, if God wanted us to go further, if we could, would we be okay with that. Have you ever thought about that before, Babe? [Jennifer] When I think of stamina, I think of my time spent with the kids and kind of just doing our daily routine and the kind of stamina that a parent needs, to be able to do that, to last the whole day. That's a good illustration. Fulfilling their needs and being their encouragement and their comfort and just be that person in their life to guide them and it requires a lot, and so when I think of the word 'stamina', that's what I think of. [Aaron] Well, that's a good illustration, actually. So your stamina from one child to your stamina to two children-- [Jennifer] It grows exponentially. I feel like each time, every time we have another child, I do feel like, kind of like you were talking about, growing and as you exercise and building that muscle, I feel like I'm building that muscle as a parent. [Aaron] Right, in every aspect, not just playing with our kids but in discipline-- [Jennifer] And teaching. [Aaron] In teaching, discipleship, all these areas. So another area that stamina came up was in prayer, recently, and we're gonna talk about that and actually at the end of this episode, are we gonna pray for the marriages that listen? [Jennifer] Yeah, when we were talking about what we would share today, I've actually been asking you for a couple weeks now, hey, we need to an episode just on praying and pray for the couples who are listening because we know how powerful prayer is and our heart is to pray for you guys, and so we thought we could just enter into a time of praying and I'm really excited to do that today. [Aaron] Yeah, and we'll do that towards the end so stay tuned. I did a live video today on Instagram and got people's prayer requests so we're gonna go through some of those, Babe. Oh awesome. [Aaron] But we're just gonna pray generally for marriages who listen to this, marriages and the church and so that's gonna be awesome, but prayer was a part of the spiritual stamina we were talking about. Jennifer and I have made prayer a main theme in our marriage since the beginning. It's been a main theme in our ministry online, it's been probably the most popular books that we've had, is our prayer books. [Jennifer] And I would say that it's not because we're good at it, it's because God's constantly calling us to do it and I feel like that's been an area of our life that we constantly come back to and need to be reminded of and so I think that's why it's such a big part of our ministry online, is because we know that if it's hard for us, it's probably hard for other people. So, just wanted to-- And I feel like recently-- Share that. [Aaron] We've talked about this a bit, Babe, is that God's actually asking us for more. It feels like He's saying, "Hey, I want you to pray more." That there's more to be prayed about, that I want more energy put into prayer and so that goes back to the stamina of well, what can we handle? And you actually, you just asked God recently, you said, "Okay Lord, what's next?" And I feel like what's next in our life is more prayer, more of the word of God, more spiritual growth, more fellowship, all of these things that God, that we experience God in and how we know Him and I think that's what He's calling us to. [Jennifer] So, real quick, you had mentioned that on Sunday specifically, you were kind of wrestling with the question, can we handle more, and I know that the night before, you had started a new book and so do you wanna share a little bit from that? [Aaron] Yeah, so not only was this idea on Sunday of like, can we handle more? Can we pray more? Can we read more? What could our church handle? Could our spiritual stamina be built and grow as a church as a whole but also as individuals in our marriage and then the conversation continued and then that night, I read this book at night. It's by Francis Chan, it's called Letters to the Church, I just got it and he talks about prayer in it and it was pretty powerful, I just wanna read a little bit of what he said. This is on page 67 and he's talking about prayer and the church and he says, "Years ago, my friend from India "drove me to a speaking engagement in Dallas. "When he heard the music and saw the lights, "he said, 'You Americans are funny. "'You won't show up unless "'there's a good speaker or a band. "'In India, people get excited just to pray.' "He proceeded to tell how "believers back home loved communion, "and how they flocked to simple prayer gatherings." First of all, this story itself shocked me and I was like, oh! Like, I've never thought of that and do we do that? Would we flock to a prayer meeting? Do we crave prayer? The Bible is just so adamant about prayer, God's so adamant about our prayer life. Jesus dying on the cross tore the veil from top to bottom so that we can actually have direct line of contact with the Father Himself. That we no longer need an earthly priest, we have a high priest, Jesus Himself, who intercedes for us and gives us direct access. [Jennifer] Which is incredible, do we take advantage of that? Yeah. We should be. [Aaron] And I think this started a really long conversation, actually, right before bed, but later on in the chapter he says, "It is His desire for all His children "to experience the fullness of Him through the church "and has given us His word to show us how. "Let's dream of trembling believers on their knees, "speechless because they grabbed the weight "of speaking to Yahweh. "Let's picture small groups and large crowds "coming with eager expectation just to pray. "This is possible." And so, this book, I'm really liking the book. There's a few things that I've wrestled with but this prayer stuff, we talked for probably an hour, just about our spiritual stamina, our prayer. Like, are we even giving prayer the time of day that it deserves in our life? So, Babe, when I read that, because I read it out loud to us in bed, and just how he was dreaming of believers on their knees praying and speechless and eager expectation just to pray. How does that make you feel? [Jennifer] I think it draws out of my heart just this eagerness to do it more. Sometimes we have these emotions and feelings in our hearts and we can't even put words to them until you read someone else's writing and then it's like, "Oh, that's what it is." And I've been feeling this way for a while and I feel like that was, his words, like, just hearing you read them out loud, was like, "Yes, that's it." Like, we need more of that and earlier you had mentioned that we had been praying for what's next and that specifically came from when I had gotten away for a couple days for a women's retreat and there was 15 of us and we each took turns sitting in what we called the hot seat and it was just a chair in the middle of the room but each one of the women there basically just shared a prayer request and then we all prayed specifically for that woman-- One by one. One by one. Every single woman. It took us, like, three hours or so to get through and when it was my turn, I remember just thinking like, I feel ready for what God has for, for whatever's next for me and for us and so that's kind of where that came from and I'll tell you what, the experience of that prayer time was so powerful, not just in my life, but in all the women's lives there and it made me, when I got home, it made me think of how when you're gone at a retreat or you're gone at a conference, there's this spiritual high. That you walk away feeling like you're just so close to God and you really experienced something truly miraculous and what I felt like God was sharing with me about that specifically is that it was because we devoted time to Him. We sat for three and a half hours and prayed over each individual person, in prayer talking to God, like, petitioning for these prayer requests and then we expect in our daily life to just go through whatever we have, whatever requirements that we have on our day to day agendas and we think that we're gonna experience God the same way without going to our prayer closet, without being on our knees, without lifting up those requests to Him, without being thankful for things and just talking to Him and sharing our heart with Him, we expect the same spiritual high. [Aaron] Yeah, and God doesn't want us to have spiritual highs and lows, He wants us to be consistent with Him. What's funny is you said, so you planned that whole retreat and all the women just raved about it and you were telling me, though, you were like, "I planned all these great things "and they were all fun, like these games "and these conversations and they were great, "but the most powerful thing we did was the prayer." [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] And it was that you said, "It felt miraculous, "it felt like we were in the presence of God "as women coming together for the purpose "of praying for each other," and as we talk about this, I feel like the thing we've been feeling is that we're missing something. Like you said, we expect to experience God in the same way in those dedicated, devoted times as we do in our every day life when we don't dedicate or devote time. And so, the stamina side of that is we need to devote time to practicing and walking in those things. You know, at bedtime. One thing that we've realized is we could be spending more time in prayer. Are we cultivating an environment where we get to bed early enough and even if not, early enough, and prayer is a priority at bedtime, together? [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] Praying for our kids, praying for our family members, praying for our church, and I feel like that's where the stamina comes from, is the devotion and the time that we set aside for it. [Jennifer] And I feel like, as we practice it and we stretch that spiritual muscle, we'll get even better at it. [Aaron] And that's the goal, right? That we get better which means we're closer to God, we're closer to Jesus, we become more like Him, more transformed into His image and so that's what we're talking about today and what's funny is, it's not like we have done this yet, right? Our heart is that we're gonna start walking in this ourselves and start examining areas of our life where we need more spiritual stamina. [Jennifer] Yeah. [Aaron] You actually challenged us this morning-- [Jennifer] Well, because this has been a conversation with us. You do Bible time every morning with the kids, which I absolutely love. I love seeing you lead in that way and you read through a chapter and you put it away and we went to go pray and I'm like actually, I think we can handle more. And you said-- [Aaron] Yeah, going back to our Sunday conversation. [Jennifer] Yeah, and so you said, "You're right," and so you pulled it back out and you just told the kids, "Hey, we're gonna read a little bit more today," and you read a-whole-nother chapter. [Aaron] Yeah, and I will say it was in Luke chapter 21, was the first chapter we read and then chapter 22 was significantly longer, but we did it and the kids totally handled it. Yeah, they got a little squirmy and even in my own flesh, I could feel myself feeling like, okay, this is just going long, but that's the only way we're gonna do it. Didn't we, when I started doing Bible time, wasn't it just a verse? [Jennifer] It was a couple verses, it was so brief, yeah. I feel like it was five minutes, max. Maybe if that. [Aaron] Probably a couple minutes and now we're at a full chapter, so just for those that are listening or wondering about family Bible time, start small and build up the stamina. Build up your ability and your kids' ability to listen and hear more and handle more time in the word of God. [Jennifer] And I just wanna add something specifically for kids, because when we build our spiritual stamina, they're seeing our example and the way that we lead in that way. Oh, that's good. And that's gonna help them as adults and so I just wanna encourage those listening with kids that it's our job, it's our privilege, it's our obligation as Christians to lead our children in this way and I'll be honest, sometimes I lean heavily on my husband to lead in this way and it's like I think, we already did Bible time and so therefore when I'm doing school with them and Aaron's off to work that I don't need to pray with them, or at least I think like, check off the box, that's already been done, but if I wanna build their spiritual stamina, I'm going to go into prayer or read the Word or teach whatever I need to teach of God's ways at any time throughout the day and that's kind of been the blessing of being at home to homeschool them but today, specifically, as this theme has been playing out in our lives and we've been thinking about spiritual stamina, I, during school, stopped and made the kids sit on the floor and we all held hands and I said, "We're gonna pray. "We're gonna pray specifically for some friends "that are going through a hard time right now," and each one of the kids prayed and it was really incredible. [Aaron] And that's good and that's building our stamina and how could we ever expect our children to fall in love with the word of God, grow spiritually, love God if they don't see us walking in those ways? We can't expect something different from them that we wouldn't expect of ourselves. And so the desire that we have to grow spiritually, to get better at being in the word of God and to get better at prayer. Not that these things commend us to God but they make us more like Him and because our heart is like, "Man, Lord, we wanna be like You, we wanna walk with You, we wanna know You," that's where this desire is coming from. This craving of getting stronger and more fit in the word of God, activating the things that we're learning, walking in the ways that we're reading in the word of God. [Jennifer] So we were dong family Bible time this morning and you wanna share about what we read? [Aaron] Yeah, 'cause again, there's this theme. There was Sunday morning, there was Sunday night in the book I was reading and then this morning, Monday morning, we're reading in Luke and it's Luke chapter 22 and it's just, this is about Jesus praying. He's about to go to the cross and I just wanna read the scripture verbatim and then we'll talk about it. It's in Luke chapter 22, verse 39, "And He came out and went, as was His custom, "to the Mount of Olives and the disciples followed Him. "And when He came to the place, He said to them, "'Pray that you may not enter into temptation.'" I just wanna stop right there for a second because you actually pointed this out this morning, you're like, "He asked them to pray "not to enter into temptation?" Jesus loved his disciples and He asked them, He said, "Guys, pray that you don't enter into temptation." Especially knowing that Peter was about to be tempted to deny Him. He knew he was gonna deny Him, three times, and Jesus was like, "Hey guys, "pray so that you won't enter into temptation." He's like, it's not just a warning, it's like a hey, this is what you can do, this is what you should do so that you won't do the other thing. [Jennifer] And this is the same, this is true for us. Yeah. Right? [Aaron] And then he says in verse 41, "And He withdrew from them, about a stone's throw "and knelt down and prayed, saying, "'Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me. "'Nevertheless, not My will but Yours be done.' "And there appeared to Him "an angel from Heaven, strengthening Him, "and being in agony, He prayed more earnestly "and His sweat became like great drops of blood "falling down to the ground. "And when He rose from prayer, "He came to the disciples "and found them sleeping for sorrow. "And He said to them, 'Why are you sleeping? "'Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.'" [Jennifer] Okay, so hold on. So, Jesus was in agony and He kept praying. [Aaron] He prayed more. [Jennifer] He prayed more, more earnestly. So, that shows some stamina and I think that this moves my heart so much because I think of everybody going through hard times, everybody goes through, in their own way, they have to face circumstances, conflict, whatever it is. How can we have the stamina to face those things earnestly through prayer, if we're not doing it when times are easy? [Aaron] Yeah, and it would be easy to say, "Well, like, he's Jesus," but the Bible tells us that Jesus was like us. He was tempted in the same way, He had physical limitations and weaknesses in the flesh but without sin and so it says that he was in agony, sweating as it were drops of blood, that's how much agony He was in, knowing what He was about to face on the cross. But yet, He prayed and said, "Not My will be done but Yours." And so the template we get here is that we pray God's will for our life, that we do it even when we're in agony and more earnestly and I just like He says, He says, "Why are you sleeping?" And I feel like us, it's almost as if we've been sleeping and God's looking at us saying, "Wake up. "Wake up, the time is drawing near, "get on your face and pray." do you feel like that, Babe? Yeah. Do you feel like He's telling us to wake up? [Jennifer] Yeah, I do. I mean, I feel like in a lot of ways, we do fulfill these scriptures and we do try and walk in righteousness and walk in the ways that He's called every Christian to, through His word but yet so often, we neglect it or we forget or we think we're doing fine until we read things like this and it hits us head-on that Jesus Himself was in agony and He continues to pray earnestly, and that's our example. And are we doing that? [Aaron] Yeah, and I think about, He says, "Rise up and pray that you may not enter into temptation." I think of the normal temptations to sin, but how often are we tempted to just not pray? To not be in the word of God? [Jennifer] To do something else, to go on social media? [Aaron] Gosh, that's like, my story. It's everyone's story. I go to bed and I'm like, "Oh, I'm gonna read the Bible," and then, boom, I'm on my phone. [Jennifer] It's everyone's story right now. [Aaron] Yeah, so let's wake up, Christians. We're gonna do this with you. Let's wake up from our spiritual slumber and our lack of fervor for spiritual things. The Bible tells us to desire that which is from above, Heavenly things, and I want that. I wanna pray more. I wanna be in the word of God more. I wanna be in close unity and fellowship with other believers more. If in prayer, and in the word of God, I'm thinking about this Sunday in teaching on this idea and practicing it and just reading through several chapters in the word of God, just to get our stamina for the word of God. [Jennifer] I think it's important, I think we need it. [Aaron] Yeah, and so we should try that. Remind me to do that this weekend, I'll prepare something. So that was the scriptures that we read this morning to our kids, again about prayer and just seeing Jesus's example in that. And then I just wanna, really quick, this is to emphasize that I believe God's just hammering home in our marriage currently, this idea that God wants us praying. So last night, I could not sleep. I don't know if you know this or not but I literally was dreaming all night and when I dream, I don't feel like I've slept at all. I remember waking up at 12:00 and then 1:30 and then 3:30 and then at 4:30, finally, I woke up, and I started praying for the person I was dreaming about. I was like, "Okay Lord, I had this dream "about a friend of mine and I had the dream all night "and it was really distressing to me," and I finally just woke up and I just prayed for him. I don't think the dream is true but I believe that he needed prayer, and so I just started praying for him. And then I had another person, another friend of mine that moved away, and I haven't thought about him in a little while, and so this morning, after I got back from the gym, I just started praying for him. And what's awesome is, he sends me a message, or he actually posted about me today, just saying he wanted to like go do a run with me, or something like that, and I went and I just messaged him and I said, "Hey, how are you doing? I'm praying for you." And he lets me know that stuff's going on in his life, that I didn't know about and I was like, "Man! Well, I'm praying for you, "I'm here for you, let me know what's going on." And I was like, "Okay, Lord." [Jennifer] That's really cool. [Aaron] Like, you want me to pray? Like, I'm gonna pray. And it's not for my sake, it's for others' sake and it's also for just hearing God's voice, which I think is awesome. [Jennifer] Yeah, well I think that when our hearts are yielded in that way and submissive to God in that way, we hear Him and He can speak to us and He can lead us and He can show us things or present opportunities like, with your friend, texting back and forth, would you have even had that opportunity if your heart wasn't tender enough to be praying for him? [Aaron] Probably not. I wouldn't have been thinking about him, I wouldn't have been ready. I might have, like, if I talked to him later, said, "Oh, I'll pray for you," but it encouraged me to know that God had already had me working in the spirit on his behalf. Which I think is a really awesome thing. And think about the body, the entire body of Christ, the church, what it would look like if we were praying like this for each other? Just always in prayer for each other. It'd be powerful. [Aaron] Now, what would it look like in our marriages? What would it look like if I was praying for you every morning? Which I do, I pray for you, but I don't pray for you the way I could be. Do you feel like you feel pray for me like that, and if you don't, what would you think would happen if you were praying for me, just fervently and daily and hourly, sometimes? [Jennifer] Well, there has been seasons of our marriage where I know for a fact that you're wrestling with something or you need help with something or you're down and like, I can sense that, or we've talked about something specific and those are the times that I feel like I really go to God in prayer for you, on your behalf, and then there's other times where I feel like we're good and I'm not in that same heart of prayer. [Aaron] Right, we're good, we don't need it. [Jennifer] Not that we don't need it, but like, I know if someone says, "Prayer is amazing, "you need to be praying," I'm like, "I know." But am I walking in that faithfully, with fervor, with my knees on the ground for you? I don't fight for you like that, like I should be, every single day. [Aaron] Right, and we get reminded in the word of God that the battles that we face are not battles against flesh and blood, but they're spiritual battles, against the powers in the air and the spiritual forces and we get to battle, as our Pastor Matt always says, he says that prayer isn't the preparation for the battle, prayer is the battle. We could be battling for each other. I could be battling for you that God's walking with you and helping you and encouraging you in your faith, in your abilities as a mother, in your strength as a wife and you could be praying for me for being protected from temptation and walking in leadership and getting wiser and all these things that we could be praying for on a constant basis. [Jennifer] What I found to be so impactful about marriage is that when we are yielded in this way, to be praying, especially for our spouse, when I'm praying for you, my heart's not focused on myself, it's not about me, it's about you and if my heart's in that position, then what's gonna happen in my actions as we interact with each other throughout the rest of the day? I'm gonna be mindful of you, I'm gonna be thoughtful of you, I'm gonna be thinking about your needs and thinking about how I can serve you, love you, help you versus the other way around which is me, me, me. [Aaron] Right, and that goes to that scripture, I believe it's First Thessalonians that says, "Pray without ceasing." It's not that we are literally on our knees praying 24/7, it's that we are in constant communion with the Father, who, when we do that, changes us, speaks to us, walks with us, guides us, puts our eyes on the things that He wants our eyes on, puts words in our mouths that He wants us to speak, has us hear things He wants us to hear, and so prayer does that. It turns our hearts to God, which then turns our hearts to what He wants. So I love this. I think that as marriages, we should just pray and we're gonna be doing this, pray that God would give us a heart for prayer. That he would grow our spiritual stamina for the word of God, for prayer and that we would see fruit from it, good fruit. And so I think we should go into a time of prayer. What do you think about that, Babe? [Jennifer] I feel good. I feel like it's necessary and needed and I think that we need to be praying specifically for the body of Christ even more. I feel like we're entering into a season where the body needs it more than ever. [Aaron] Right, so we're gonna go into a time of prayer and I'm gonna pray for some of the things that the community, you guys, gave me to pray for and we'll pray for some other things and then we'll close it out. [Jennifer] We wanna invite you guys to pray along with us and if anything comes up in your heart that you need prayer for or that your spouse needs prayer for, just take a minute and just pray for them. [Aaron] Father God, I just wanna come before You and I wanna lift up marriages all over the world, marriages who love You, marriages who desire to see Your will done in their life. Father, I pray that You would reveal Yourself to them, that You would draw them so close to You, God, that they would know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they're Yours and that You desire to use them in mighty ways. Father, I specifically wanna pray for those marriages who are struggling with illness. I know many marriages have real illnesses, real bad things that they're dealing with, hard things, things that they've been dealing with for years, even. I pray, Father, for complete healing. I pray that even if they aren't healed, Father God, that their hearts would be yielded to You, that they would trust You and know that You are doing good things in their life. I pray, Father, that they would lean on You in their weakness because, Father, You tell us in Your word that in our weakness, Your strength is made perfect, and so I pray that in their lives, Your strength would be made perfect and they would know it. I pray that they would rejoice in their afflictions, in their sickness, that people that are watching them and that are wanting to them to be better, Father God, would see their joy, would see their resolve and would know, God, that they are walking with You and that they would be a testimony to people that are watching them. I also wanna pray for marriages that are dealing with infidelity, Father God, and unfaithfulness. I pray Lord that you would convict the hearts of those who are not walking in faithfulness with their spouse; that Lord, You would change them and transform them and rebuke them, if necessary, and that You would bring other Christians alongside them to rebuke them as well; and that they would turn their hearts to You, that they would repent and that they would change their ways and that You would redeem those marriages, Father God. We just, we pray in Your mighty name, in the name that is above all names, Jesus Christ, and we ask, Lord, that you would change those marriages and that they would be a testimony for you; that anyone who would see and hear their story would know that there is a God in Heaven; that they would know that You are the one true God, because they see that Your hand was in their marriage and that You redeem them and save them. [Jennifer] God, I just thank You so much for these marriages, I thank You for these husbands and wives and the purposes that You have for each one of us and I just pray, Lord, that as we draw closer to You, that Your holy Spirit would just continue to guide us and continue to lead us, continue to give us stamina, Lord, for Your word, give us stamina for our prayer life and for talking to You and just coming before You with our requests and our thankfulness and everything that's going on in our lives, Lord, and I just pray that we would have stamina in our family lives, that we would be present. I pray, Lord, that each one of us would know the roles that we have with our children and other people's children, that you would just reveal to us, just how influential each one of us are in their lives and I pray, Lord, that we would have stamina with them, that we would be patient and kind and compassionate and caring as we disciple them and draw them closer to you. God, I thank You so much that these marriages desire to draw closer to You and I just pray that we would all experience more intimacy with You. I pray that we would experience more intimacy in our marriages. God, I pray that every marriage after God would build their foundation and establish it according to Your word, that we wouldn't let a day go by without reading your word. God, please remind us every day that we are lights of Your testimony, especially for this world, this dark world, Lord. I just pray that we would know what purposes we have to fulfill in this life and I pray that we would walk in the ways that You've already established for us to walk. God, I pray against the enemy. I pray against his flaming arrows and the ways that he tries to attack us and I pray that he would not get in the way of what You're trying to do on our lives. I also pray against our flesh and the temptations that come to draw us away from You and I just pray, Lord, that we would be stronger than that, that we would be able to walk righteously and pure and God, I just pray that Your Holy Spirit would help us in this way. God, I specifically wanna lift up some requests that came from the community and that was around job and work and I just pray, Lord, that as people transition in and out of jobs, with changes, I pray that for those who don't have a job right now, I just pray for all of it, Lord. That You would just continue to guide each one of us as we pursue the work that You have for us, and regardless of the circumstances, whether we're in work, in job changes or out of work, that we would continue to be a light for Your namesake, that we would be a testimony to those around us, of faithfulness and perseverance and hope. I pray, Lord, that whatever work that we do, that we would do it unto You. I also wanna lift up finances too, Lord, and I just pray that each one of us would steward well all that You have given to us. If there are couples in debt, Lord, I just pray that You would inspire them to change their ways, that they would do everything that they can to get out of that debt and that they would lead their families well in the area of finances. I pray that we would be a generous people, people who don't cling to what they have but that they're holding it open handed so that You can guide and direct wherever You need those resources to go. God, I pray that You would be able to trust every marriage with the finances that You have placed in their lives and that we would just steward them well, Lord. God, I just thank You so much for our marriages and I just continually ask that Your Holy Spirit would lead us and guide us and draw us closer to You each and every day. [Aaron] Father, we love You and we thank You for the things You give us in our life. The blessings, the hard things even, we thank You for all of it, Lord. You love us, You desire for us to mature and to grow and to become the men and women You've called us to be. You desire that our marriages would be used to grow Your kingdom, to spread Your gospel and Father, we just wanna give You all the glory and all the honor, You deserve it all. You are so good to us, Father, and we thank You for it all and we just pray these things in Your Holy Son's name, Amen. So we thank you for joining us today, I know this was a little bit of a unique episode and we just pray that all of us, that me and my wife, that you and your spouse would begin to grow in our spiritual stamina, that we would fall in love with prayer, fall in love with the word of God and that we would crave more and more of it every day so that God would use it to change us, to transform us, to make us more like his Son, Jesus. And the reason for it all is that He would use us, that we'd be used to point people to Him. We thank you for joining us and we look forward to having you next week. Did you enjoy today's show? Find many more encouraging stories and resources at and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

 QUICK UPDATE: IT'S Thanksgiving :) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:12:35

Changing up the format a bit. New equipment, where we are at with the podcast and where we are going. Just a short update. Happy holidays!

 How To Enjoy A Stress Free Holiday Season | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:39:43

A stressful holiday season with all the planning and shopping and traffic is seemingly impossible to avoid. But what if there was a way to enjoy this holiday season with peace and joy rather then stress and anxiety? Well, we believe this is possible. -- Take our 31-day marriage prayer challenge today and join the 1000's of couples who have done it. -- FOR MORE MARRIAGE ENCOURAGEMENT SHOP MARRIAGE RESOURCES FOR WIVES FOR HUSBANDS READ: Hey, we're Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God. Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage. And today we're gonna share how to enjoy a stress-free holiday season. Thank you so much for joining us this week and we're really excited to jump into today's episode. Yeah, before we get started, as usual want to invite you to subscribe to our channel so you get notified every time we upload a new episode. So it's that time of the year where holidays are coming up, we got Thanksgiving, we got Christmas. Lots of family stuff going on. Yeah, family time, we got Black Friday, Cyber Monday. Some people see those as holidays. -Yeah. They're spending holidays. So we just thought we'd share some tips on how to have a stress-free holiday. So why don't you give tip number one and then we'll just run through these? Okay. Okay, so the first tip is make sure to plan, when you have everyone over at your house, to do a recipe for dinner that you've never done before. And it's really special if you only give yourself the exact amount of time to get it done. Like a super complicated Pinterest recipe. Super complicated, pictures perfect. It's like 10 courses, dessert, three turkeys, brisket. Like everything, right? And tell everyone don't worry about bringing anything, just make sure you put all that burden and pressure on yourself just so that you can wow 'em, you know? Yeah. Number two. That's a good one. Number two is remember that if you don't provide a perfect, perfect holiday event that everyone's gonna realize that you actually don't love them. Sad. Like if you don't just put it all together perfectly, when you realize that, it'll help you just to do it right so that you get every single thing right and it's just super special. So that's number two. Just to have a stress-free holiday. What's number three? So the third one is keep really high expectations up because if you keep high expectations up on how everything will go, then you're usually more motivated and more excited about that specific day. Yeah, like so high that you like need like a step-up stool to get to the top shelf of expectations, right? Yeah, totally. Yeah, those are the special ones to meet your expectations. Yeah, at the end of the year where all the expectations just like, it's like the power expectation. Yeah, like how this is gonna go is gonna set the tone for all of the next year. All next year. Yeah, exactly. The fourth tip is don't shop online because shopping online is too easy because then you can just wait for it, it comes in the mail and you-- It's boring. You can't like touch the gifts. Yeah, you want to go like the day before, you know, Christmas or-- On a weekend. Yeah, right when everyone's going because that way you can do with other people. It's more communal. And everyone's looking for the same things so it makes the shopping experience just much more eventful. Yeah, and all the traffic to get there, right? I mean, all the red brake lights. That's what I have in my mind when-- And that's time so you just really contemplate how those expectations you just talked about are gonna get fulfilled. Yeah, when I think of holidays, I think of lights, you know, colorful lights. I think of those red tail lights and like traffic jams and lots of long lines and it's just fun, it's fun to be remembering how that is a significant part of shopping. Yeah, that's awesome, we have to come more. What's the next one? So the next one kind of goes along with shopping on the weekends during the holiday season but it's make sure that you get everyone in your family the gifts that they want. And friends and extended family because they all, there's also something they all need, right. Yeah, get everyone everything that they want and if you do it that way, you won't miss anyone and you won't hurt anyone's feeling by not getting them what they wanted. So just be real specific and get 'em what they want. Yeah, and then that goes to the the last tip is because you're getting everything everyone wants, just put it on credit. That way you don't have to worry about not having the money now. Right, right, worry about it next year. Yeah, you can worry about it next year. Like it's-- Stress-free holiday now. Yeah. So of course we're kidding. We do this every once in a while, we give these fake tips. This is a typical holiday I would imagine. It's funny. But I think that these six tips we gave should be thrown out. Because they don't work really. No, they do the opposite. This is we're used to, this is what we're accustomed to, this is what happens, but it doesn't provide that stress-free-- And I don't know about our listeners but this has been, not the credit part, but this has been our lives of like hey, if I get so-and-so one thing, do I have to also get these three people something? Like if I don't get them and then I get them something, are they gonna realize that I didn't and we just have like all of our emotions wrapped up in like what we're getting for someone or how we're preparing an evening or having the most epic recipe. Yeah. And well, I know we were joking about that but I think sometimes we do want to impress people and we want to make sure that they don't have to worry about anything so we put all that pressure on ourselves and we don't usually give ourselves enough time and the other people will miss out on, you know, I don't know, sharing in that blessing of-- Well, so thinking about the food thing. For this year, I'm currently, I'm gonna be smoking a turkey for the first time ever. And so I kind of have some high expectations for myself. For yourself, yeah. Yeah, I'm like, oh, I want this to be the best turkey ever. I'm like looking up like special recipes. And so I just need to have some really level expectations of like okay, like what's our back-up plan if I fail at this turkey? Well, as you're talking, I'm thinking okay, and I also have-- Frozen hamburgers. Yeah, no, that's not gonna fly. Okay, but check it out. So I was just thinking as you're talking about expectations and specifically smoking this turkey because you smoking even chicken in the past, I'm sitting there going okay, the sides are done, when is it gonna be ready? So I have to time this better. Yeah, so you're gonna have to time it really good so that my expectations are met, please. Okay. -I'm just kidding. No, but I should probably lower my expectations as well on that one. And know that to get it perfect, it might take a little bit longer to get it just right. Anyways we did the funny tips, these atypical sort of advice that no one would ever give you but we all kind of walk it in some form or fashion. We all do it anyways. But what we want to do is we actually want to walk through just some higher level tips to actually lower the stress. Because these holidays that the world and society has put so much weight on don't actually have to be weighty. They could be very enjoyable and very peaceful and not stressful. Yeah. So before we jump into those real tips, because we're talking about the holiday season, I thought it would be fun to just share with our listeners, you know, maybe some of our favorite memories growing up from our childhood. We can give some of that perspective of like what does a child think about these holidays coming up? Yeah, cuz when we were kids, we didn't think about all of the work or energy that went into it putting it together. Right, we just enjoyed it. We just, yeah, we had fun. So you asked me before we started this episode, you know, what is one of my favorite holiday memories? And I sighed because I'm like, man, I'm really bad at the nostalgia stuff because-- Oh, remembering. Yeah, remembering it. But I just think like I don't remember most presents I ever got. I actually maybe remember one present. I remember all the presents I didn't get. The boots. The boots. I remember like that side of that stuff but I mostly remember going and being around family. Like I remember being excited every time we'd go to my grandparents house and all of my cousins and all of my uncles and everyone was there. And I also remember like loving that there was a lot of food. Like it didn't matter what it was actually, there was one thing. As long as there is candied yams. -That is probably still our favorite part. That's literally my favorite part of this season, Thanksgiving, Christmas. Oh, that and eggnog. Oh, eggnog for sure. That's kind of like the only tradition I have in my life is like I have to drink eggnog. And it can't be mixed with anything. It just has to be pure, thick, delicious. A good brand of eggnog. Yeah, local eggnog. So like yeah, when we're thinking about all the things that now that we're adults might bring us stress, when we were kids the things that we enjoyed about the holidays. It was people and food, I feel like the majority. Yeah, gifts, and like just it was the things that we don't think about now necessarily. We don't remember as kids all the things that made it maybe difficult or heavy or we didn't think about money back then, we didn't think about time or work or all these things that now we think about. So it's a good perspective to think like, oh, well, you know, what our kids experience isn't necessarily what we experience. But we can make them experience it good or bad in the way we think about it. What was one of your favorite experiences growing up with the holidays? Yeah. I would say it was spending time with family and even just running around doing things together was really enjoyable and just seeing the decorations, so whether we were driving or walking in a neighborhood where there was Christmas lights. Oh yeah. You family still does that. Yeah, we still do that. We love that. Christmas light drives. Yeah, we really love that. But just spending time together, I really feel like that was stand out to me. My stepdad and I, we'll still joke about going Christmas shopping and we'd get all, every kid would have a cart and we'd sit on the back of the last person's cart and do like a train through the store. You guys ever do that? Oh, no. Oh, that was really fun for us. There's only ever two of us. Oh, right, we have a little bit bigger family so that was really fun. And then the food. Just you know, always knowing that we were gonna go and we're gonna either make it together or eat it together. You know, all of those things were stand out to me. That's good. So there's some common themes on just the simple things that we remember, not the complicated hard things necessarily. Oh, and Christmas Eves service. Like going to church, we all dressed up. It was the one day a year that we all dressed up in our nicest outfits and did our hair and there was always a little bit of chaos surrounding it. We got to get there on time. But doing like candlelight service, that was always something that I look forward to. Something that you started when we got married, or when we had Elliot I should say, was always opening a gift the night before. Oh yeah. Sorry, I just can't wait. -Yeah, but that's what your family's always done. We've always just enjoyed that. And not me. My family wouldn't let me open them until like after every single person was up, after everyone was showered, after we had breakfast, after the house was clean, after. It's like noon, we're like opening presents. It wasn't that late. Yeah, can't make kids wait that long. Well, another reason, I don't know if you know this, why I like opening gifts early too is because growing up, my parents were divorced and so we had split holidays where I would spend Christmas Eve with my mom, Christmas Day with my dad, and so I kind of did get gifts on both days and so I liked getting them early too. But you liked spending time with the people more probably. Yeah, yeah. So why don't we talk about some tips? Cuz I'm sure everyone that's listening has similar things that they think about, similar experiences, and we're all gonna be different in little nuances but I think overall there's a universal way that we can be in any types of events to be more stress if you have peace, to view these holidays more soberly and enjoy them more. So why don't we talk through some tips that all of our listeners can walk through in their own marriage and practice and start to implement and talk about, and maybe everyone will have a very peaceful simple holiday season. Yeah, well, I think just the the overall tip that I want to mention first was making sure that your heart is right, you know, going into the season. But like that requires you to be intentional every day, to kind of do a heart check and say where am I, what am I thinking about, what's going on, and going before the Lord and if you have expectations or you have hopes and you have specific things that you hope would happen during this time, giving them to him and saying hey, God, could this happen? And just laying it before him. And if it doesn't, be okay with that. Yeah. So that's a good starting point, just checking our hearts. We learned that in the Bible that it's good to examine ourselves, where we're at with all of this stuff, what's our expectations, what's our perceptions do we have, dispositions towards things? Me, I personally have always had a disposition of and people have called me Scrooge. You don't want to be forced to celebrate. I don't like feeling manipulated into like all year round, not a single person thinks anything of me if I don't get him a gift. But I feel like this season like Christmas season, all of a sudden I feel like, well, certain people, are they gonna feel a certain way if I don't get them something and I just, I don't like the way that feels. Now I've had to adjust a lot of my own heart and overall thinking. But yeah, that's been my disposition. I don't know if it was just the way I was raised or just my natural way of being of not liking to being told what to do by society, by commercials. And your disposition has been that it's a special sacred time and there's always like we have to have a Christmas tree and we have to, like you see like an experience that makes you feel a certain way. Yeah, I like to enjoy all the little things and, but almost to the point where I'm not flexible with giving things up if it doesn't happen or getting upset. Right, because the advice you just gave of evaluating here. You've never, not never, but you don't usually stop and say okay, all these things that I love about this season, I'm gonna hand them to you Lord and like what do you want to change in me? Is there something you want me to recognize about myself? Instead of just controlling it and being like I want it to be this way. Which on my end, I'm like throw it all out, I won't do any of it. I think I even asked this year, I was like are we doing a Christmas tree this year? So with them listening and hearing how we're so kind of opposite in this area, I wonder if they think we fight over the holiday season. Sometimes. We do. It happens. Which is why we're talking about this stuff. And that's why it's so important to check our hearts. That's why I wanted to start with that one because all these tips that we're gonna talk about right now go back to this one thing that's your heart and your heart matters, so okay, so. Okay, so number one is communicate. So being able to, I feel like we, every time we do a tip list, we start out with communicate but it's so important. Yeah and most people don't know how to communicate. Like how do I share that I'm not interested in getting a Christmas tree when I know for a fact you absolutely 100% want a Christmas tree? And that's where like in their situations, they're gonna have something maybe similar where one person has a certain idea or way of wanting to do it and the other person has another one. I might not be able to come to you and say hey, can we evaluate this year whether we want to do that or not? Because I might be afraid that you're gonna be broken or hurt or like how could you not want to do? That's what we always have done. But it's not right for you to not say anything just because there's eggshells all around me and you don't want to crack them, so. So not only do we need to give each other room to communicate but then we have to communicate. Yeah. And without an agenda of like I'm gonna communicate because that's exactly what I want. Especially if it's not that big of a deal. But it could be this year I don't think it's wise for us to spend money on the Christmas tree and that's my reasoning behind it. Maybe we're just so busy with other things that we're not going to go cut one down or we're not gonna be able to afford one because, man, they're expensive if you don't go cut one yourself. And a lot of people can't cut themselves. And that's just one example but. So a few things to communicate about is feelings, like how you explain like what your feelings about the holidays and these specific events and with certain people coming and how you might, maybe you're like hey, so-and-so's coming over and actually I have some anxiety about it because of these few reasons. How can you help me navigate this or how should I be thinking about this? So that I can then encourage you or vice versa in the Word of God, in prayer to be preparing our hearts. Maybe we need to change plans. So feelings about the whole thing. Yeah, potential plans, communicating. Like kind of like what you mentioned, this is what we have tentatively on the calendar and just giving your spouse a heads up of like this is what we've already committed to, this what we've said yes to, this is the family that's gonna be in town, this is how we're gonna roll it out. Yeah. Family values, this is the big one, going back to the heart thing. Asking ourselves, communicating with each other like what do we actually value as a family? Is it getting lots of gifts, like we just want to make this like an all out or is it like we want to be simpler, we want to teach more intrinsic things. We want to just teach just being together, reading together, listening to certain songs together, singing together, learning something new together, serving together. Like what are our values and how can we wrap everything else around our values and what do we need to get rid of that are kind of ancillary to our values? Like oh, we don't need to do those things or that we're doing for another motive and it doesn't really fit into what we are as a family or what we want to teach our children, right? Like just one example would be like let's say if it comes to gifts. Instead of everyone getting five gifts, maybe, and we've done this before, like one little tiny gift and like one learning gift and one gift that they really want. Or one gift or just a dollar amount that we want to spend. Some people, and we've talked about this even, do like a give and get. Like hey, you're gonna get a gift but is there something that you want to give to someone else and how-- Your siblings, yeah. So practicing those things like what are our values as a family? And then the last one, it would be expectations on all of these things. You have to identify what those are before you can communicate them, so this goes back to checking your heart and thinking and considering about how you want this holiday season to be and then sitting down with your spouse and communicating that. Yeah, so lots of communication about all these things and continual communication. Yeah, and I think the key to this type of communication, especially if you want a stress-free holiday is to communicate with humility leading your heart. Yeah. And asking the Lord like you said in the beginning, what his heart is for the holiday. Yeah, yeah, don't skip over what he wants for you. Yeah, are we just like kind of gonna do our own thing or are we gonna actually say okay, Lord, what do you want to happen? Because if you do it that way, then he's at the center of all of it, right? Yeah. And he could even pull out of us something that he wants to change in us about the way we view it or the things that we want or don't want. Yeah, and oftentimes when you keep God at the center of your relationship like that, what I've known from experience is that it can even change your heart or perspective towards your spouse. Like if if you guys aren't in agreeance over how many gifts are gonna be given or what family is gonna come over or whether you're gonna get that Christmas tree or not, instead of arguing about it, God actually changes your heart or changes their heart on the matter so that you guys can be in unity and enjoy that season. That's good. So the next thing we want to talk about, we just talked about expectations but now we're going to go into expectations. So just the idea of letting go, being flexible, and having very light expectations. Because again, these days are just days. Like yes, they have some meaning to them, yes they're they're an opportunity to celebrate something like the birth of our Lord, you know, those kinds of things, but they are just another day. The Bible doesn't give us directives on how to do these holidays and that we need to be observing them. These are actually not biblical ideas at all. We celebrate biblical things during them but they're not necessary, they're not required, they're not a thing that the Christian must do to be a Christian. So just having that mentality of like okay, my expectation is this is another day and we're gonna celebrate Jesus and we're gonna celebrate Thanksgiving. But are our expectations above and beyond what they need to be? Are we setting too high of expectations or are we being real and saying okay, Lord, like I want to be so like low on my expectation. Not low. I use the word light because it's not low expectations. It's not like you don't have to have expectations. You can have expectations, you're just saying they don't need to be so lofty that they're almost unattainable. Because the problem with that is, let's just be real for a minute, if you had these high expectations and let's say your kids get sick or your husband's running late or whatever, how is that gonna dictate your attitude or are you gonna lash out, are you gonna be frustrated, are you gonna stomp around the house? And I'm using this because I've done it before. I'm just recognizing like why expectations can be so dangerous in someone's heart when they're not met. Well, and then asking ourselves where the expectations are coming from. So our expectations usually come from one of two places, external forces or internal ones. Is it an expectation that I put on myself for this holiday like oh, I want everyone to know that I've got it all together, that this is gonna be amazing, that they're gonna all be taken care of by me either as the husband or the wife, like whatever their expectations are internally. Or is it external? Oh, my in-laws are coming and they're gonna be expecting an extravaganza, they're gonna be expecting me to have it all together, and there's lots of other reasons. My friends or my social media accounts, like what they see from my family. But even then like even though those are external places, that still comes from an internal place because those people might not even be thinking what you think they're thinking. That's true. There are all these expectations that we have, they're internal motivations of like oh, I don't want to look this way or that way or I do want to look this way or that way. And those aren't good things. Those are so unhealthy and they're dangerous and we do it in many, many, many areas but they often rear their ugly head in a season of heightened expectation and respond, and things that are drawing us. Yeah and I think that's where the chaos comes from. A large chunk of it, the stress comes during the holiday seasons from these expectations. Yeah, well, and we have to remember that, like I was just saying, these holidays are not things that the Bible's insist you did and called us to remember. Like the Bible tells us to remember the Lord's Supper and to remember what Christ did, right? Yeah, are we even doing that? Yeah, like which is a good thing to implement, like hey, we should do this with our family as a tradition. But these holidays, man, the world has been so good at impressing on us necessity for things. Like oh, if you don't participate to this extent, oh, you're not a good person or you're not a good Christian or you're not, you know, you must not love, you know. But that's wrong. Like I hate commercials because they, something I didn't need, now all of a sudden I need it. Right, and they make you, that's what marketing is about. Doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad thing but how it influences us and how we drive, you know, making our house look a certain way and the presents and all the things that we don't just lay on ourselves but then the society and the world lays on us also to participate in. We actually can think differently about it. It doesn't have to be a huge thing to us, it doesn't have to be a big heavy. And I know people are gonna be like well, what's the big deal about Christmas, I like celebrating it. I'm not saying don't celebrate things. I'm saying understand where a lot of our drive and motivation comes from and oftentimes it's from internal insecurities or expectations and external forces pulling you along and saying this is what you must do and how you must think and what you must be. Again this goes back to my Scrooginess that people have called out. Like I just don't like feeling like one day a year is the day of gift-giving and that's how we celebrate. Right? My thought is like well, if you love people, aren't you gonna like give them gifts in all different forms throughout their whole life? And like your life is gonna want to serve them and love them and be generous to them? And what's funny is the Bible tells us to love our enemies and to pray for those that persecute us, so we have this idea of like giving to those who don't even deserve to be given to by us. And it's just, I'm kind of ranting now but having just the right expectations and this just goes into the next thing we're going to talk about is having a sober mind as a family about the holidays, which is everything I'm getting to right now. You know, the fact that we may be able to celebrate any day in relative health, with food, with our loved ones, is a humongous blessing. Yeah, and we should recognize that. We should be thanking God for that and honoring him and showing him our appreciation for even the simplest of things that he's already given to us. Yeah, I think about that scripture in Proverbs that says a house full of feasting and yet with strife is not as good as a house full of peace with a little food. Like you can have this huge feast and all the presents and everything beautiful. And all the family drama that goes with it. And all the drama and frustrations and anger and fights and bitterness and all the weird stuff that goes on, and that's not good. I don't want any of that. I'd rather have like a few morsels on the table and we're all loving each other and talking about the Lord and serving others and we're healthy, you know? And that, like praise the Lord. You know, so a sober mind. How often do you do you think that way? Cuz like this season just makes us think about a lot of other things. Yeah, I'll be honest, I get really distracted by what you mentioned earlier which is expectations and like how I view a certain day or week or entire season should go and the things that I want to do, the things I want to teach my kids, the experiences I want to have. You know, some of my expectations and I don't know if those listening will agree or can relate to, but some of my expectations come from wanting to recreate my own childhood or things that I thought were really fun and-- To give to our kids. To give to our kids and to share those memories with them or build new ones around those ideas or experiences, which isn't a bad thing at all but sometimes I'm so consumed with that that I do miss out on these other really important things like just being thankful for all the simple things that God's already given to us. Yeah. Well, and then like you mentioned something about recreating or creating new traditions and which traditions can be good in a home, as long as we're not like relying on traditions, but you know, I was thinking like sometimes we look at other people's lives and like look at the traditions they've got and like oh, that's so special. And doesn't mean we can't glean from other families and like oh, I'd love to implement something like that. But then we again, we put something on our shoulders, and be like oh, unless we do that, we're failing our children somehow or-- Or this isn't the holiday that I wanted. Yeah and I just, I don't think that's a very sober way of looking at any day of our life. You know, I'm worrying about tomorrow when today's got enough worries of its own, right? And I feel like the best family traditions, the healthiest traditions, especially ones that are wrapped in the gospel and in the Bible and knowing God, come naturally as we serve God and seek Him and as his desires come out of us because what happens is generosity, right? We start training that because that becomes, that's a part of what we are because God's generous, we love to be generous, so instead of about getting, it's about giving and that just becomes a tradition in our home naturally. What are some other ways that we can think soberly about this season? Well, we say it all the time but it's walking in the spirit and intentionally walking in the spirit during these times. That's really gonna keep the stress and chaos and conflict out of the home. Yeah. I would say, and the reason we bring up so much, I actually believe that the core of being a Christian outside of believing in God, in Christ, and him crucified, right, is walking in the spirit. Because when you walk in the spirit, the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control. And against such things there is no law. It says like when you walk that way, you're walking in perfect harmony with God, right? And so no matter what's going on in the world, in our home for the holidays, if we're walking in the spirit, it's a good thing. Our kids are gonna glean from that, it's the best gift we can give to our children. It's the best gift we can give to our spouse. It's the best gift we can give to our neighbors. And the reason I always go back to this, it calls it fruit. The fruit isn't for the benefit of the tree, it's for the benefit of the eater, right? So if I'm the tree and I bear fruit, then everyone around me gets to eat the good fruit. You know, you get to enjoy my peace and my patience and my kindness and my goodness and my gentleness and my faithfulness and self-control. Those are all things that are good. Now they benefit me too of course but the purpose is everyone around me. So I feel like to think soberly like you said, walking in the spirit. Yeah. So going on to the next one would be no day's actually about us anyway. So I think sometimes when we set those expectations, it's all about us. When we try and plan and prepare and cram so much into the holiday season and we do everything we can, spin in circles to try and make it happen, we're doing it because we're trying to fulfill something, our own desire, and we have to remember that it's not about us. It's about the people that you're engaging with, it's about the kids that you want to experience these memories with, it's about the people at the store who are trying to check out all these other customers. And dealing with angry people and frustrations and-- If we're only focused on ourselves, we're gonna miss every opportunity that God has for us to do ministry, to love, and to reflect his light in their life. Yeah and again it's not even just about others, it's about Christ. Like what light are we being in the world during a season like this or are we just looking like everyone else? Are we also frustrated because that one thing I wanted or the line was so long or the traffic or whatever it is? Yeah, don't huff and puff your way through the holidays because-- Or being frustrated because you can't afford certain things or because, like there's that other spectrum of like maybe not be able to accomplish or do or participate in what you want. And still remembering it's not about any of that stuff. It's about Christ and are we being a light in this world? Yeah, this will also help in if you experience a family conflict like with aunts, uncles, grandma, grandpa, other siblings, other adults, like people who should be able to walk in maturity and just figure things out. We're not perfect and our flesh wants to fight sometimes, so if we were to just stop and realize that none of these days, this whole season, this whole life that we have is not about us, when we hit that wall or conflict with other people, other family members, if we walk in this and we remember that it's not about us, then we're usually more giving or serving to that other person and we can make things work, we can make it happen. And then you're being an example of God's love and light to them and hopefully they'll change too. Yeah, which is the point of this life as a believer. It's a point of a marriage after God is to be a light in the world. And so the last little point I want to, I threw this one on about having a sober mind is, and we talked about this in the finance episode we did, do not put stuff on credit. No. If you can't afford it, just don't get it. Change your expectations. Like no one's gonna hate you, right? Hopefully. But I promise you're not gonna regret not putting stuff on credit. Yeah or find another way to be, like if you really wanted to get someone a gift, be more thoughtful in like writing them a personal note, letter, or something on really nice paper. I mean, there's other ways around gift-giving without money. And letting them know that you love them. Yeah, so that was just a quick one. Don't put things on credit. Don't fall into that temptation. Just avoid it. Yeah, and if you are tempted, especially to fulfill like maybe your children and getting them a lot of gifts because when you were a child, you didn't get a lot of gifts, sometimes people wrestle with that. I would just think like your child's not gonna not like you or not love you because when they were younger, you didn't get them everything that they ever wanted. In fact, they'll probably, like we just shared about our favorite memories, they'll remember the time that you spent with them. Yeah. And they won't know what you don't get them, so that's a good thing. Let's go into the last part, this is the most important part. And it goes along with what we were talking about before the credit thing about remembering it's not about us. Yeah, that you have a ministry, your marriage has a ministry, the whole family has a ministry that God wants to do through you and I feel like during the holiday season there is so many opportunities to minister to other people and to just be that light in their lives. Yeah, God's antidote to our natural state of selfishness, because our natural fleshly state is to preserve ourself, and to serve ourself, and to feed ourself, and to bless ourself, and to love ourself, is to love and bless others. Is to turn things outward. And so use this season with your family as a marriage after God to bless and serve other people. That looks so many different ways. We have a few ideas. One of them we've done every year for the last 10 years, a long time. It's called Operation Christmas Child. And it's you get a shoebox and you fill it with some little goodies and what they do is they send them all over the world. And you can actually, if you do it right, they'll track it and say where your box went. And it goes to a child and every single child gets the gospel and they get prayed for and loved on by people that are giving these gifts. And not only are they getting a box of gifts that you gave them, they're getting the gospel. And this is a great one to do with your family or just your community, your church community, and just spend that time together talking about these kids that are gonna receive these gifts. Praying for them. Praying for them, teaching your children why it's good to be generous and I don't know, we've really, really loved doing this. Yeah and so that's a fun one. We're gonna do it this year with our church, we do it every year. And so that's one way. What's another way? So another one is be in prayer for your friends and family. So kind of like you said, praying for those kids that are gonna receive those boxes, make sure that you're praying for other people who are in your life and just love on them in that way. Yeah, practice with your kids. So we train with our children, we say hey Elliot, who do you wanna pray for? We'll give him ideas. You wanna pray for your friend? You wanna pray for your grandma? You want to pray for? And just be praying for those that don't know the Lord and pray for salvation for them, pray that God reveals himself to them and that Christians are brought around them to minister to them and love on them. Pray that you have an opportunity as a family to do that and have that be a core message, a core event, not just on the holiday but throughout the holidays, like every day. And then practice doing it all throughout the year. But use this as a season to specifically say hey, let's be praying for grandma and grandpa. They're coming out, they're gonna be around us, let's pray that we can be good examples and let's pray we can love on them and make them feel loved and blessed. So making prayer a main part of this season. That's good. So another one, we've talked a lot about food on this episode, but it's inviting people who you know don't have a lot of family around or maybe don't have any plans or maybe they're in need and inviting them over for a nice meal. To join your family, yeah. And make something for them and get them a gift and let them be a part and participate. Especially if you have friends that don't have family that are nearby, maybe they're gonna be alone. Don't let anyone be alone. Especially I was just thinking we have experienced this because we've traveled and we've been in places that-- When it was just us. We didn't have family around, when it was just us, and even now a lot of our family lives in California, we're in Oregon, and so we've done the Friendsgiving thing when our family didn't come in. I don't know, I just think it's such a loving way to share the gospel with someone. I mean, we've felt loved by it, we've experienced God's love and his truth come through this so. Yeah, so use hospitality as a gift you can give to others. Inviting them into your home, into your apartment, to be a part of what God's doing in your life. So the last thing is just, and we kind of had hit on this a lot. Well, and as you do these things that we're talking about as far as blessing people, you'll fulfill this role. Yeah, just use this holiday season as a very intentional time to teach your children and yourselves. To be honest, I need to be reminded of this stuff and taught it and practice it. To be generous and giving and to have hearts of service. So do your neighbors need anything? Is there any way you can bless them? Maybe you can bring them groceries. Maybe it's like baking them a pie and bringing them a card. So using this season to be very intentional about teaching our children, ourselves, about generosity, about service, and about being outward focused. And I think that's the best way to get our minds off of ourselves, to get our minds off of our own anxieties and stress and worries about this season and what it might mean, and make it about other people. You know? And doesn't mean we can't enjoy it and have our own things. I'm just saying the main focus and just how do we operate as a marriage after God. And I think those things are the best way to have a stress-free holiday season. Yeah, and it's what we all want, like we all desire to be able to enjoy this time of year and spend it with our families. And so I think that one of the reasons why we wanted to just talk about this today is to encourage you guys to check your hearts, talk about it, talk about your expectations, talk about the things that you hope to do or the family that's gonna be in town, and just pray. Pray, pray, pray, pray, pray with your spouse about all of it, pray with your kids for other people, find ways to be generous. I mean, all these things that we talked about, like Aaron said, it's to get our hearts right before God and right with each other and I think that if we do that, it does eliminate so much of that stress and chaos. It brings peace from God into our lives. And so as we come to a close, I just want to ask you to sit down with your spouse and as a couple ask God, God, what do you want for us this holiday? What do you want to use our family for as a marriage after God? And so we love you guys and we thank you for joining us and we'll see you next week. Did you enjoy today's show? 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 Why A Heart Of Thanksgiving Is Important For A Marriage After God | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:42:07

Thankfulness in marriage is necessary and unthankfulness is destructive. In the season of thanksgiving, the meaning of thankfulness can easily be lost. In this episode, we give some tips on how to have a biblical mind on thankfulness and how to walk in it every day. We all need to be reminded often to fill our hearts with thankfulness. -- Take our 31-day marriage prayer challenge today and join the 1000's of couples who have done it. -- FOR MORE MARRIAGE ENCOURAGEMENT SHOP MARRIAGE RESOURCES FOR WIVES FOR HUSBANDS READ: Hey, we're Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God. Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage. And today, we're gonna talk about how a heart of thankfulness is necessary for a marriage after God. So today, we're gonna talk about thankfulness in marriage, and we may even hit on why unthankfulness is, you know, damaging to marriage. But we're excited about this episode, especially 'cause Thanksgiving's right around the corner, and I think that, you know, thankfulness is usually on people's mind. If not, it's written somewhere on a napkin or some sort of decor for Thanksgiving, so. Yeah, but one of the reasons we wanna bring up this topic is especially with a corporate holiday, you know, federal holiday being Thanksgiving, sometimes it might lose its meaning. We might think, oh, of course, yeah, I should be thankful, I should be thankful, but we forget actually the spiritual impact that thankfulness has on our lives and actually the command that we have from the Lord to be thankful. Yeah. And so we just wanna talk about what thankfulness does in a marriage after God, and how it could benefit our ministry. And why it's important to do it all year 'round, right? Yeah, not just one day a year when the food's amazing. So that's what we wanna talk about today, is thankfulness, and we're gonna give some tips on the end, just how to have a mind and heart surrounded with thankfulness, and the Bible's really clear on how thankfulness should be a part of our lives. It shouldn't be just something that comes and goes, and it shouldn't just be based on the circumstances, which we'll see, but thankfulness should be an integral part of the Christian's life. It should be something deep inside of us. And so I think it'll be fun to discuss this. I have some questions for us to answer candidly about thankfulness in our own lives, because we're never unthankful. Never. Yeah, our marriage is only ever full of thankfulness. We're always walking in the spirit, so like. Yeah, perfectly. That flesh never gets to us. I mean, we're just. No, of course we're being facetious. We're a perfect couple, really. No, we have to be reminded often to be thankful, to have hearts filled with thankfulness, and the fruit that comes from that is good, and the fruit that comes from unthankfulness is not so good. Yeah. It's actually very destructive. Yeah. So, we're gonna dig in. We have some scripture to talk about, and some questions to answer, and then some tips at the end, and I think it's gonna be really good, so I hope you enjoy it. Okay, so we kind of broke this down into two sections, and so the first one is it's necessary for a strong marriage relationship. So thankfulness is necessary in order to have a strong marriage. And the first question that we wanted to kind of ask each other is, how do you think that thankfulness might play a huge role in strengthening our relationship? Yeah, I was thinking about this based off of the scripture that we're gonna talk about later, but thankfulness, I feel like it keeps us in a positive place, it keeps us moving forward. You know, I think about the times that we're not thankful. Mmhmm. And what our relationship is like. If you go back to like, in the beginning of our marriage, I don't know if I was necessary thankful for you, right? And so, I would neglect you. I would be frustrated with you. I would be bitter at our relationship and the things that weren't going my way, 'cause I had these expectations, and since those expectations weren't being fulfilled, I wasn't thankful. It was like I got a bad gift, and I was like, oh, thanks for this, God. I remember all the years at Christmas, and I would, you know, as a little child, be expecting one thing. Like that bike. You should tell that story. Yeah, I know. So, one Christmas, I just wanted a bike. The only thing I wanted was a bike. I dropped hints everywhere. Disclaimer, my parents are awesome, right? So, I wanted a bike. And I remember getting to my grandma's house. We were all there, everyone was there, and my grandma just starts dropping hints, 'cause she knows exactly what I'm getting. She's like, oh, I know what you're getting for Christmas. Oh, what is it? And she's like, here's your first hint. It's red. And I said, red? I'm thinking, I'm like, oh, a red bike, yeah. And then she got me with the second hint. She's like, the second hint is it starts with a B. Oh, no. And I'm like, what? I'm like, my parents actually got me the bike I wanted! And then I get the present, and it's like this big. It's like, it's a small box. Oh, no. And I'm like, how does a, maybe it's like a helmet. Maybe it's the helmet for the bike, and they're gonna trick me. Stay hopeful here. And I open it up, and it's a red pair of boots. Oh, red boots. Cowboy boots, yeah. That's awesome, though. Yeah, that's the kind of thankfulness I'm talking about, that we had in our marriage, like, yeah, thanks, God, but it was more like a, I wasn't actually thankful. Now, I did wear those boots all the time. But you didn't get the bike that you wanted. But I didn't get the bike I wanted, and I feel like that's what, you know, thankfulness is being thankful for what you have. So I could have been thankful for you, and I would have seen you with eyes of thankfulness. Mmhmm. Whether or not I think you were what I should have gotten, or the things that we were going through were something great or terrible, I could have been thankful, and that probably would have changed a lot of things in the way I responded to you, in the way I walked with you. I can see that. Instead of drifting away from you, because it was like, I'm gonna put you in the closet, like those boots. He didn't ever put me in the closet. I didn't put her in the closet. But that's the spiritual, you know. Isolation. Isolating myself. Being apart from one another, yeah. But like, how have you seen thankfulness play a huge role in strengthening our relationship? Well, on the positive side, 'cause I also, in the beginning of our marriage, I wouldn't say that I was thankful for the gift of marriage. I was a little bit jolted in like, not receiving the thing that I wanted. It wasn't how it was supposed to be. Yeah, this isn't what I thought it was gonna be. Yeah, and the first few years were really rough, but I could see how, when we started to walk out with hearts of thankfulness, how it really affirmed our marriage. And so I just kinda wanna highlight the positive here, that it changed us, and it gave us eyes to see where, even in the really, really small stuff, how we can be grateful for what we have and who we're with. I mean, I can look at our relationship now, and I'm so grateful for being with you. I can even be thankful for the things that we went through in the past, because I know that God used it for good, and I don't know, I just think that it's important to have a heart of thankfulness for each other, even in the hard times. And we're gonna talk a little bit about that later as well when we get to the tips, but you're really good at reminding me to be thankful. Now I am, I didn't used to be. In the hard times, yeah. And I was actually, while you were talking, I was thinking about all those times in Africa when we were missionaries, and we would go to a family's home, and when I say a home, it was like either a hut or just a smaller building, not what we would recognize here, and they would present us with the most, in our minds, wasn't something amazing, food, but in their minds, it was the best they had, and I just remember recognizing, 'cause a lot of the missionaries that we were with, they were like, no, you're gonna honor them. You're gonna eat what they give you, and that's hard for us. And you eat all of it, 'cause if you leave some, then you're not using the value of what they gave. Yeah, you're not appreciating that. You're not showing them that you're thankful. And I'm just thinking about the relationship between the gift-giver, the person giving me their food, in their world was the best that they had, and I'm thinking, like, oh, this is not as good as I, you know, my selfishness. Not being thankful is looking at the relationship in a way that like, oh, you didn't give me enough, you didn't give me what I want, and therefore, I'm not gonna be in that kind of connection with you and that kind of fellowship with you, right? Yeah. And I'm actually like, you know, harming the relationship with that person, because I'm not satisfied with what they've given me. Now, on the other hand, let's say I'm hungry, and I have no food, and I crawl into their home, and they feed me, right? Whatever they give me, I'm thankful. The Bible tells us that, you know, when you're hungry, even bitter things taste sweet, right? So the mentality, the heart is different toward that person. I'm like, man, thank you. You saved my life. You saved my life. It's the same food, different perspective. Yeah. So when you think about it from that perspective, you know, of a perspective shift, it really comes from a place of pride. You know, I'm unthankful because I deserve something, I'm owed something. What you have given me isn't worthy of me, right? It's a very selfish way to look at it. Super selfish. And so, on the other hand, if I'm thankful, my perspective is like, what I have is better than what I deserve, is more than what I'm owed, is beyond what I could have asked for. It's exactly where God wants us to be. It's pride versus humbleness, humility. So that's why I think it strengthens our relationship when we are thankful for each other, during the circumstances we're going through with each other, for the things that God's given our marriage. How can or has unthankfulness hurt our witness and ministry as a couple? Well, some of the stuff I was just talking about, of the pride. Mmhmm. I feel like, no, I don't feel like. I know people can recognize pride and arrogance and cockiness, and I feel like being unthankful, that shows out. I actually, I'm telling it myself again. I like that, I like that. I realized I had a situation with this that's caused me to kind of think about certain patterns I have and certain characteristics I have. A lot of our friends know that I love good food, and I barbecue my own meat, and I'm particular about how I make it, and whenever I go to restaurants, when we're with friends, I get something, and I find myself critiquing what I've been given. Yeah, yeah. You know? I'm at this really nice restaurant, and I'm like, oh, you know, I would have done it this way, or oh, they didn't do it the way. It's supposed to be done. It's supposed to be done. And so I have this particular way, and it's just me kind of, the way I've justified it is just me walking in my passions with food, right? And a friend of mine said something to me, and I'm like, oh, that was interesting. And I don't think they were trying to be rude to me or mean, but they said, you know, Aaron, you should be a restaurant critic, right? And I think they were sincere, but when I was on the way home, I remembered talking to you. I was like, I think I'm a jerk. You know, I'm sitting at this nice restaurant, I'm enjoying my friends, and there was literally nothing there to complain about, not a single thing, and my critiquing, you know, I'm using my air quotes, is just my unthankfulness. It's me being prideful about my knowledge of things, or something not being good enough. Right. For me. Well, also, I would say for you, it was the value of, I'm paying for this. Like, let's say it was a steak, and I could have done it better for cheaper at home. Right, which is thoughts I have, you know? And who knows if that waiter's listening to me going back and talking to the chef, and like, I'm just one of those guys that complains about a really nice plate of food. You know? It was funny, it's all this unthankfulness is around food. It's not always food. It's not always food. These are just good examples, I think. But like, you know, our life is supposed to be a light in this world, and like, what if I'm sitting there, it could be embarrassing for you, too. I don't know if you've ever been embarrassed. No. I think you have stories in your own life of people acting like this on a bigger scale. Yeah, I was thinking though, like, I think we've shared this in another episode, but when it comes to our kids, especially around food, are we showing them an example of thankfulness when it comes to our food, or are they also going to be critiquing their food? I think you talked about them critiquing my food at home. Which is so dangerous. I'm like, that's your mom. Don't critique your mom's food. You enjoy it. Yeah. But you're right, that's another witness to our children. We're using food as an example a lot, but it goes for everything. Like, if we're not thankful for our car, our home, you know, and that comes out in the way we take care of those things and treat those things and talk about those things. I have an example of you know, just how our ministry as a couple can negatively impact or have that negative impact on our ministry to others, and it's more relational, but if you are doing something that I think you should have done different, or if I think you weren't doing right, and we're in front of a group of people or whatever. For you, or just in general? Just in general, or for me, it doesn't matter, and I don't respond with a heart of thankfulness, because I don't actually see your action as being good. I see it as all the wrong ways that you're doing it, right? Right. Because I don't have that heart of thankfulness, it comes out in my response to you, and then all of the sudden, I feel that. Other people are watching you. Yeah, other people are watching me, and I start to feel embarrassed of my own actions and responses towards you, and I feel like our marriage is weakened and kind of broken. Right, the witness that our marriage has, our unity's gone, 'cause it's like, oh, why'd you do it that way? Can you just go redo it? Yeah. I don't know if I'm making up that example, but, I think that's a good point, how we treat each other, especially back when we weren't thankful for each other. And even now, we still, you know, we go through days of just like, today's hard, this happened, this happened, this happened, this happened. Yeah, feeling overwhelmed by it. Right? And we're like, well, and we really forget all the good. But I guess the, you know, going into the verse we're about to talk about, sometimes we can think, well, right now there isn't good, so why should I be thankful? But that's actually not what the Bible teaches us. God actually has a way for us to be in the good times and in the bad, and so, I'm gonna read Ephesians five. This right here gives us the picture of how God wants us to be thankful and why, and in the book of Ephesians, Ephesians is the relationship book. It's about our relationship with the church, our relationship as a church, our relationship with God, and then our relationship with each other, and it's all relationships and how we relate to each other as Christians, as the new creature that God's made us. In Ephesians five, in verse 15, it says this, and this is talking, again, about the relationship between individuals in the church, as a global idea. It says, look carefully, then, how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for this is debauchery, but be filled with the spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and, right here is the keyword, for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Again, the context of this is how us as individuals in the body of Christ, in the church, the global church, are to act with each other, to relate to each other. You know, we submit to one another out of reverence. We greet each other with songs and hymns out of our hearts filled with thankfulness, and so what that means is when our hearts are filled with thankfulness, the sound that comes out of us, the tone that comes out of us, is melody to God. It's melodic, it's harmonious, it's beautiful, it's up-building, it lifts your spirits. That's what that heart of thankfulness does. But the keyword, again, is for everything. Giving thanks always, and for everything, which is kind of hard to understand. Like, wait, we're supposed to thank God for the hard things? Are we supposed to thank God for the difficulties we had in our marriage, in the beginning of our marriage? Yeah, and I would say in the midst of it, it was really hard to. I don't think we were thankful. I don't think we were thankful. I was not. I remember my prayers consisted of, why are you doing this to me, God? But looking back in hindsight, we have thanked him for that. Oh, yeah. So if we can encourage those listening, if you are in the middle of a hard spot, try practicing finding things that you can be thankful of, not finding things. I guess it's be thankful for them. Be thankful for them. Say Lord, this is hard; thank you. And here's the thing. We can always find something to be thankful for. I guess so, yeah. But God wants us to be thankful for everything. Yeah. For the hard things, for the easy things, for the painful things, for the joyful things, because God wants our Thanksgiving. Yeah. And you know what? Paul says this. He says, our current sufferings are not to be compared with the coming glory. So, even the hardest things we can go through, and if you think about Christians that are being persecuted all over the world, they should thank God for that, first of all, because they're gonna get an extra blessing. That's what the Bible says. But that's so short of a time. It's gonna be done with, and they're gonna be in glory with God. Mmhmm. That's what our lives are. So all of our little things, the little, painful things, the hard things we go through, the big things that we go through. God doesn't just want us to thank him for the good things. He wants us to thank him for everything, which is awesome. I think I was just talking to you this morning encouraging you, just saying, you know, do you have breath in your lungs today? Did you have food to eat? Do you have energy in your body? I mean, you went pretty far. You were like, do your legs work? Do your hands work? And I was just letting her know, letting you know, that we have so much stuff to thank God for, just in the fact that we're, the people listening right now are sitting there, breathing, listening. They have life in them, and God says, I want you to use your life for me, and I want you to be thankful for that life and all the things that happen within that life. I think a big part of being able to thank God for everything, for all of it, good and bad, it shows your amount of trust in him. Yeah. Because when you can say, God, thank you for this, even though it's really hard, you're trusting that he's either gonna walk you through it, you're trusting that his timing is best and that that hard time will end when he sees fit, or you're gonna trust that he's gonna use that hard stuff for something good later, right? Well, yeah. I feel like trust is such a big part of it. Being unthankful for it, like, God, why are you doing this to me, which is my heart, is presumptuous, to think, like, I know better. Right. God, you're doing it wrong. This thing I'm going through, I don't deserve it, it's not right, you're unjust. That's what I'm saying if I'm unthankful to God. And when we put it in that context, 'cause while you were talking, I was thinking. I was like, yeah, actually, unthankfulness is telling God we know better. Yeah. And the story I think of is Job. Yeah, that's what I was thinking. Which is one of the oldest manuscripts known in the Bible. It's the oldest one. It's not chronologically the oldest, but it is the oldest written manuscript. And it's a story of a man who goes through the most incredible suffering, and it almost looks like he doesn't even deserve any of it, right? And he's telling the Lord, like, I'm righteous, I'm just. God, I don't deserve any of this. And by the very end, what does God tell him? Where were you when I set the foundations of the earth and I told the water where to stop? Where were you when I created everything, right? And he's essentially telling Job, he's like, he's like, Job, you don't get to question me. And you know what, it doesn't tell us why, but God blessed him in the end. Doesn't mean he deserved it. Just God chose to bless him. That's what God can do, 'cause he's God, right? Yeah. So, that's actually a pretty scary thing to think about, that when we're unthankful for even the little hard things, the big hard things, we're telling God we know better, and that's, again, a prideful heart against God, but I'd rather be, no matter how hard it is, in a spot of being held by God, like God, I trust you, like you said. That was a good word. Yeah, that's good. I wanna also read I Thessalonians 5:16-18, 'cause I think it kind of affirms everything that you're saying right now. Yeah, this is like the other half of how we're supposed to be thankful. Yeah, so, it says, rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. And I think so many people are out there and they think to themselves, I just wanna know God's will for me. I just wanna know what he wants for me. It's right here, boom. It's right here. This is God's will for you. He wants you to rejoice always, and that reminds me of the verse that you were just reading about of, you know, having psalms and hymns. You told me one time, I think it was you, about how you know that someone's joyful when they're singing? I said that at church on Sunday. Oh, yeah. So you know that someone's joyful when they're walking around the house humming or singing, and their spirit's just light, and you feel their tone. You can hear it. Yeah. So I think being able to rejoice always is a testimony of God's power in your life. Whether the circumstances around you are good or bad, if you're able to rejoice, you're saying, hey, none of this stuff matters, because I know who loves me, and you know, part of our ministry as A Marriage after God, our ministry as Christians in this world, is to be a light to others, and how are we supposed to reflect him and bear his image? It's to be able to rejoice in all things. Which is a perfect transition into the second part of why it's necessary to have a heart of thankfulness, is because it's for a marriage to glorify and magnify God. Thankfulness, in our hearts, does that very thing, and we have some scriptures to back that up, if we haven't already proven it, just by some of the scriptures we've already read. But like you said, the magnification, the glory, there's nothing more powerful than meeting someone who's going through extreme suffering, and they have thankfulness in their heart, and they have joy, and it doesn't mean they're not in pain, doesn't mean they're masking it or hiding it. They just truly know who their Savior is, who their Father is, and who's gonna raise them up on the last day. They know who's gonna hold them when they get to heaven. They know where their life is held, and there's something powerful. You say, wow, how could you go through so much and still thank God, and still have joy in your heart? And I think that, I don't think that does magnify God. It shows how good God is, and that's where, if we're a marriage that's just bitter and angry. Or operating out of pride all the time. Yeah, we're contentious, and like, any time, man, I don't know if you've ever known someone that just, almost everything that comes out of their mouth is negative. Yeah, it'd be great if the car didn't always, you know, have that little tick in the engine. Oh, yeah, what a great day. Too bad it's gonna rain. Like, just everything they say is like, what's the word, Debbie Downer? Yeah, yeah. I feel bad for the person that they named that after, but. But that's not a good witness. What does that magnify? Like, that doesn't magnify God. You know, it magnifies your own self-loathing, your own view of the world, being so dreary and down. And again, would you think it could be easy to fake this? Like, 'cause that's not magnifying God, when we're faking that we're joyful, and we've got a mask on, but yet, we're hurting and broke and angry inside. No, 'cause it goes back to you always say, like, how you're living your life, can you tell someone else to live that way? You're always encouraging other men and even me to be aware. Be an example. Of how you are walking, and yeah, I don't think that you can say, follow my example or do what I'm doing if what I'm doing is smiling on the outside in the world and then running home to cry about it. You're not gonna have the authority in your life to say. It's hypocritical. This actually works, or God is actually with me, yeah. Yeah, and I think you're right. I think the example we need to set is that we're at home and outside the home the same. You know, in private and in public, we're the same. That's called integrity. It's the opposite of hypocrisy, where I'm one way in front of someone and another way in front of another person. And I think people can sniff it out. I think people know, even if they don't. If you're around someone long enough. Well, if they're not identifying it verbally, they feel it. Like, you can feel when someone has an ungrateful heart. Yeah, and it's not a pretty thing. I've had it. There's times that I get tempted to walk in ungratefulness, and then I have to remind myself, you know what, things are good, God's good. He's given me way more than I ever deserve, and that'll help when we get some of these tips at the end of how we can have hearts of thankfulness. But yeah, the second part of just magnifying God, the reason we have hearts of thankfulness is to magnify and glorify God. I wanna read a verse. It's Psalm 69:30, and it says, I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. And so I just wanna highlight two things here. One, I will magnify him with thanksgiving, that's an action. Like, going to God and saying, thank you for, thank you for being you, thank you for creating me, just thanking him, thank you for my spouse, thank you for my marriage and my family, and then the other one is, I will praise the name of God with a song. That's also an action, and I think it's really important for us to be aware and to know the types of music that, you know, we're putting on or listening to. Filling ourselves with. Filling ourselves with, and, you know, I'm not saying you can't listen to other things, but make sure that you are spending time praising God with a song, whether that's putting it on the radio or singing it out of a book or, you know, singing songs with your kids. I'll admit this. I make up songs. I just randomly sing them, whether I'm in the shower or walking around the house. I do, too. Are we a make up song family? I guess so. They don't always make sense, but I'll just like, instead of praying out loud, I'll sing it, or I don't know. I think that's kind of weird, but. I made up one last night with our friends. It was like, thank you God for friends and food and food and friends. I don't know. It was kind of silly. I do it silly, but I like it. I think it's fun, and I feel like I'm fulfilling this, when it says I will praise the name of God with a song. Yeah, and so going back to the magnify with him, magnify him with thanksgiving, I'm thinking about the first questions we were asking ourselves about the witness we have. There's another scripture that tells us to be ready to give an answer when someone asks us about the hope we have. And the first thing I thought of when I heard this was, oh, one of the best answers you can give is thanking God. Like, why do you have so much hope? How do you trust God so much? 'Cause I thank him. He's a good God. He gave me salvation in his Son Jesus. He's freed me from sin and death. He's empowered me to walk in purity. Like, all of the things that God has done for us, we can thank him for, and recognizing his goodness. So, magnifying him, so when someone asks, you be like, you know what? Thank God. So on the flip side to this, a person that's unthankful won't even ever get that question. That's a good point, 'cause you're not gonna go up to someone and be like, hey, you just seem so down. What's your trick? How can I get some of that? How can I get some of that? Every time we're somewhere, you're just complaining about everything. I want some of that. They won't be asked. That's a good point. Yeah, will never get asked, actually. People get avoided that are like that. Yeah. That are always down. So don't be them. Like, I saw this meme. I follow these nutritionists and strength training experts on Instagram, and there was this post he did. He said 10 things to stop doing right now, and the number one thing was stop hanging around negative people. So, like everyone, all of these positivity teachers and all these people that help people better their lives, they all say like, don't hang with negative people. So they actually got that from the Bible. It says bad company corrupts good morals. You know, we shouldn't be hanging out with negative people. 'Cause then we'll tend to have those tendencies. Yeah, and if you know someone that's negative, you should go out of your way to always be encouraging, and be like, you know what, I think that was a negative thought that you just, I don't think you're thinking right. God's good. Yeah. Look at how he's blessed you, and remind that person, 'cause what will happen is either they'll change or they'll stop hanging out with me, 'cause you're always encouraging them to see the brighter side of things. So what happens if that's your spouse? What if you guys are opposite there? Oh, well don't stop hanging out with your spouse. Do the other one. Pray for them. Pray for them, and constantly encourage them. Okay, I just wanted to. Yeah, constantly encourage them. But like, you know what, God's still good. I'm sorry you're going through that, but God's good. He's got us. Yeah, don't not hang out with your spouse. Thank you for highlighting that point. Okay, so I think you were gonna read Psalms 50:23. Yes, Psalms 50:23 says this: The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly, I will show the salvation of God, ooh. So it's interesting that it ties thanksgiving as a sacrifice, like it's something that you're giving to God, and you know what's funny, is, it's not funny, it just lines up with scripture. In the Passover meal, one of the cups that they drink filled with wine is the cup of thanksgiving, right? And so, and that was actually one of the Old Testament sacrifices, was a thanks offering, right? And we hear that at church sometimes, let's give a thanks offering, you know, but what it's saying is it's a sacrifice of thanks, and I feel like that ties so much when we think about being thankful for all things, almost like when we're thankful for the hard things, the suffering, we're actually saying, I'm gonna give this as a sacrifice to you, Lord. I'm gonna thank you anyway. That's really beautiful. You know, I'm gonna offer up my thanksgiving, even amidst the suffering. Thank you, Lord. And there's something immensely powerful in thanking God. It changes us. It transforms us. It gives us his perspective on life, and it tells him, God, we are lowly, and you are high. I also feel like it removes the power of the circumstances, 'cause I feel like so often, we can give power to our circumstances, and I don't know about anyone else listening, but for me, being a mom who works, but is also at home a lot and can get overwhelmed by just house management stuff, I feel like I can easily let my circumstances have power in my life to overwhelm me. And be controlled by them versus controlling yourself in them. Exactly. Yeah, that's a good point, because the thanksgiving stops the downward spiral. Yeah. Like, oh, you know, Lord? I'm just gonna stop right now and thank you. And well, it helps you, or it helps me, recognize who's got the power. Yeah, it's not us. It's God. It's God, and he's got the power to change our circumstances, and you know what, even when he allows us to go through hard things, he's still a good God. And we're gonna trust him. And we're gonna trust him. I loved what you said about that. Thanksgiving is trusting him. And so, where's your trust? Is it in yourself? Do you believe that you know better than God, or is he the one that knows better, and you trust him in it? Man, that's powerful. So I feel like we actually hit some of these tips already. That's okay. I think that we should go over them. But we'll give them the tips now. Okay, so we have five tips to give you guys, and these are just practical ways of kind of living out your day to day with a heart of thankfulness, and then one little bonus, so. Yeah. What's the first one? So the first one is say it out loud. Say it out loud that you're thankful. So when I bring you a towel, you tell me thank you, or. Yeah, it could be in the very simple things, especially in your marriage. Make sure your spouse knows that you're thankful for them. You're thankful for the ways that they do things, even if they're different than the way that you think they should be done. That was a tongue twister, but yes. I know. I get what you're saying. Being thankful when. I'm talking to myself. I'm preaching to the choir. Yeah, just saying thank you, and not just making it a passive like, oh, thank you, but like, wow, I really appreciate what you did. I really appreciate the way you did that like we do with our kids at the dinner table. I've been practicing, every single time I sit down, have you guys thanked mom for this meal? Oh, yeah, thanks, mom. Have you thanked dad for this meal? And they're like, thank you, thank you. Like, we're just trying to show 'em, when you're thankful, it shows that you appreciate what you have. Yeah, or how about when the waitress sets down the food at the table. Thank you, or when we're. No, they don't need to be thanked, right? 'Cause that's their job? I guess you could walk back to the kitchen. No, that again goes back to our witness. I was like, I guess you can go thank the chef, but. No, absolutely. They're doing a job, and that's, again, a part of our witness, is going out of our way. Speaking of waitresses, one thing I've been practicing is learning their name, and that also lets them know that they're appreciated and that they're thought of and that they're a person. Yeah. And they're doing a job, and we can thank them for the job they're doing. I was also gonna say like, when you're at fellowship or around friends and someone serves you or gives you something, make sure that they know that you're thankful. But don't just say it out of lip service. When we say say it out loud, it's an overflow of your heart, and you're verbalizing what is actually in your heart. And if you're someone who's not thankful for even the little things, maybe you can start practicing this, just saying it out loud. So actually, when I looked down at the tip, I thought it said we sing it out loud. Oh, you can sing it out loud. And I feel like that's a good little bonus, is that you were talking about music, is having hymns and songs and praises, you know, playing in the house, or just singing our thankfulness. Thank you. That's a good one. The kids like to sing, you know? So it's a good way to help them practice praising God. Okay. And thanking him. Okay, so number two is we remind each other to be thankful, and this goes back to when I said you're really good at this. Reminding your spouse, no matter what's going on, no matter how easy or hard your circumstances are, you're reminding each other, hey, let's be thankful today. Hey, you can do this. Let's be thankful for what we've got going on. Let's remember who our Lord is. Yep, so when I thought about this tip, most of the Old Testament is a story of remembering and forgetting. If you just read the whole Old Testament in context, it's remembering and forgetting. Remembering what God did, forgetting what God did. This is how the people of Israel's relationship with God went throughout the generations before Jesus came. And you know, we fall into those patterns sometimes, and God, right after he saved the Israelites in a powerful way, you know, the 10 plagues, going through the Red Sea, and they're into the wilderness, and they're going, and they just immediately start complaining. Lord, it was better off back then. Did you lead us out here to die? No, of course he didn't. He just saved them in a miraculous way. He can't take care of them? He did this amazing thing, and they just forgot. And so God, he warns 'em. He says, don't forget where you've come from. Yeah, that's good. And, you know, we forget. We can sit here in our home, in our nice home, and forget that we have a home, and think, oh, it's just so messy, and how, you know, I can't believe I didn't do this, or I forgot to go set up the thing, and all the things, we allow that to, woe is me, right? Yeah. And we both get into this on the various aspects of how we manage our home or our vehicles or our bank accounts or whatever it is, and we forget that God gave it all to us. Yeah. That God's the one that's put it in our trust, and that God's the one that can take it away, as Job tells us, you know? He says God giveth and God taketh away, and we forget that actually, God has that authority in our life. So, practicing what God told the Israelites to practice and what he gave them tons of things to do, all the ceremonies, all of the festivals, all the new moon feasts. All of those things were to remember what God did. It's why we take communion. Jesus said do this in remembrance of me and what I did on the cross, 'cause how often do we forget about our salvation? You know, if everything was taken away, babe, would you still have something to be thankful for? Absolutely. What? Salvation. Yeah, that we get to be with our Father in heaven forever. Yeah. So, that's that tip of just practicing remembrance. And so, when your spouse is going through a season or a time of like, they're down, they're unthankful, they're struggling with things in their life, the other spouse can gentle remind them, be like, hey, just remember. Remember what God's done for us. Remember, we don't deserve any of this. Yeah, and you don't have to be going through a hard time to remember. I think, I would suggest on your next date night, you know, have a conversation about where God has taken your relationship from and where he's brought you to. It's a thankfulness date. Yeah, yeah, have a thankfulness date. That sounds awesome. And then start off with thanking God that you're on the date. That means you probably got a babysitter. Yeah, that's great. So, yeah, I think it's important just to remind each other. So this is number three, and it says thank God through prayer. So when you're praying, you guys should be praying with your spouse and be praying at all times throughout the day. Remember, pray without ceasing. But be thankful in your prayers, so telling God why you're thankful and lifting those things up. Yeah, this is actually, so, for all the people that wonder how to pray without ceasing, 'cause people always bring that up, like, let's be in prayer without ceasing. You know, Matt, actually, our pastor, brought this up on Sunday. It means to be in constant communion with the Lord, and one way you can do that is thank God throughout the day for everything. Ah, thank you Lord for this car. Thank you, Lord, for this food that I'm having at lunch. Thank you for my partner that I'm working with that's helping me out. Thank you, Lord, for that friend that just gave me a smile as they walk by. Thank you, like, and just thanking God. That's a perfect way to commune with God throughout the day. Yeah, I think that this is how we taught our kids how to pray, too. Like, one of the biggest ways that we taught our kids how to pray is. Thanking God. Asking them, well, what are you thankful for? Oh, let's tell God that, you know? That's a good point. Yeah. Yeah, so, in prayer, thanking God through our prayer life, just thanking him directly. Thank you, Lord. So what's number four? So number four is make it a conversation in your home. Make it a conversation with your spouse. Make it a conversation with your kids, and we do something. We go around the table at dinner time, and we say, okay, what are you guys' highlights? So think about your whole day and what stood out to you, and we'd like to talk about it. Yeah, what was something that you really enjoyed, and usually it's a kind of thanksgiving. It's like, oh, I really enjoyed that one thing, or that awesome thing. Sometimes our kids say everything, the whole day. Or they mention something from three months ago. I feel like they're just trying to get out of having to think of something, but that's kind of cool, that they say the whole day. But I think that it is important to make it a conversation where you constantly talking about things that you're thankful for, because it goes back to that remembrance of like, we have to remind our flesh to be thankful, and so we're constantly talking about it. So, number five is practice putting scriptures about thankfulness on the walls. Oh, that's great. Like we have our chalkboard. You know, do a study on thankfulness. As a family, as a husband, as a wife, open up and find all the words and the stories about being thankful and what the Bible says, and meditate on those. Remember them. Put them on Post-It notes all over your home. Put them on your chalkboards if you have those, and just let the word of God translate and change our minds and the way we think, you know, about complaining versus thankfulness, which leads us into our bonus one. The bonus one, which is. Kinda the opposite. It's kinda like, yeah, here's the opposite. It's don't complain. So if you guys wanna tackle, you know, ungratefulness and unthankfulness in your heart, you gotta stop complaining. Yeah, so, as a family, when you hear complaining, maybe make a rule, like no complaining. We're not allowed to complain about something. Hey, that sounded like a complaint. Be careful how you bring it up, but. Like with the kids sometimes I'll say we're the Smiths, and we do hard things, or we're the Smiths and we don't complain. We're the Smiths. We're not bored. We're not bored. We can go find something to do. Yeah, so making a habit of not complaining, because complaint is, again, it's saying that we're not getting something we're owed, we're not getting something we deserve. And then you're just training your flesh to be okay with that. Yeah, and 'cause that's what the flesh wants. The fleshly response is to complain, like the Israelites did. The spiritual response is to be thankful. And so, that is our little discussion on thankfulness and how it can invigorate our marriages, how it can empower our marriages, and how it can be used by God as a ministry in the world when people see our thankful hearts. And so we just hope that you guys would discuss this as a family and as a marriage and walk in thankfulness. Let's stop complaining. Let's be men and women of God who thank God for everything and in everything. We love you guys. We thank you for joining us this week, and we look forward to having you next week. Did you enjoy today's show? Find many more encouraging stories and resources at, and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

 Making Time Count In Your Marriage | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:35:47

Everyone has the same amount of time in a day, yet we all manage our time differently and many of us may have lost a healthy perspective of and use of our time. In this episode, we discuss time and how if we value our time correctly then we can be more effective for the ministry God has for our marriages. We talk about how much time we have or how little we actually have. How do we perceive the value of our time? How can we see our time differently, how can we use it more effectively? Do we need to slow down? and most importantly we must ask ourselves what God's word says about time. -- Take our 31-day marriage prayer challenge today and join the 1000's of couples who have done it. -- FOR MORE MARRIAGE ENCOURAGEMENT SHOP MARRIAGE RESOURCES FOR WIVES FOR HUSBANDS Hey we're Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God. Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage. And today we're gonna talk about making time count. Hey before we get started we just want to invite you as usual to subscribe to our channel so you get notified every time we upload a new episode. Also we love to hear from you guys so be sure to leave us a comment and let us know what stood out to you in this weeks episode. So this episode is about time. About how much time we have, and how little of it we have and how we perceive time, and how we perceive the value of time. This has been a conversation that we've had a few times in our life and it's always around situations where we feel overwhelmed or like failures because we've dropped the ball over here, we've dropped the ball over there, we have all these things that we need to be doing, wanna be doing, can't be doing, can be doing. And I think it's a good conversation for marriages, especially ones that are chasing after God together to have together so that we can get a good perspective on our time. I think it's a good topic too just in today's culture. I think that the moment you probably said time people are thinking wait don't talk about it 'cause it's gonna pass me by. It's fleeting and everybody knows that, and yet our culture tries to cram in so much and tell us to seize the day type thing. So, there's a lot of people out there trying to do a lot of things and sometimes it can feel overwhelming or like we can't breathe, and so taking that moment to just stop and evaluate our time, it's important. Taking what moment though? I know, I know it doesn't exist. When you think about your life all of us use words like oh I'm busy, I've got a lot going on. They're filler words and they're easy ways of not having to explain everything that's going on in our life. But, just thinking about time and being busy, I also think about one of the last episodes we've published about social media and I'm thinking like oh but I find plenty of time to scroll. That's true. So, it's really I think something that has gotten out of whack. Yeah. We've lost our perception of time. The value of it. And I think our purpose of guarding it, I think especially as husbands and wives and parents, and I don't know I just feel like maybe no one's talking about this. But, we need to be guarding our time. I feel like it's a really important thing to evaluate and consider often maybe regularly and we're just not doing it. We're not being encouraged to do it. Yeah, well I think we don't guard it is because we don't know the value of it. I've used that word a few times now and I'm just thinking about how we value other things. Money, we know money's worth something because it could buy certain things and it can do certain things for us. So, we put it in banks and we save it up and we store it and we use it and we try to be wise with it if we can. Money has a value. Our cars have values because they do things for us, and we have all these value metrics for other things, but I feel like all of history people valued time much differently than we do in our current culture. I feel like time now it's even though we say oh I don't have enough of it or there's only so little that we just throw it away. We throw it away hours on social media, video games. So wasted, yeah. It's wasted on other things that are important we waste our time on. So maybe if we had the correct value of it, if we recognize like I wrote some notes here that just said we only have 24 hours in a day. Yeah. And, a quarter of that or more needs to go to sleeping. What a waste. Right? You totally want sleep when you die. Yeah, sleep when you die. You know for people like that live in California, we used to live. I used to commute two and a half to four hours a day or more depending on how bad the traffic was. If there was an accident, I was in traffic all night. Or a fire, which have been going on in California. So, a lot of our time spent in a car. A lot of our time spent at work. A lot of our time spent on the toilet. In a shower, if you were to just take all of the things that we do to just live, the time gets real... Like what we have left is not much. So, I think if we were to just realize man, time's valuable. Do you recognize time as being valuable? I'm starting to. And then now we're talking about it. Yeah, no I know. I think that it's a message that God's been trying to get through to my heart and I just haven't stopped to take the time to really like hear him on this. But, this morning I was actually driving to a friends house, I was gonna drop her off some dinner and spend some time with our kids playing and on the way out there you know when you're driving you see everything kind of pass by, like literally. Really fast. Yeah, physically. Which is a really good picture. It is a really good picture for how time flies but I don't know maybe it was just the Lord speaking to my heart but I just felt like I've been going, going, going, and I really need to slow down more so what I specifically heard is like in my family life, and in my home management, and things that I do at home. I need to be slower. I don't know, I would like to explain a little bit more, but that was the brief message. What's awesome was God was kind of speaking to you through the Holy Spirit while you were driving and this was before I told you what our episode was gonna be on. Yeah, I asked you to text me so that on the way home I could be thinking about whatever the topic was gonna be. And you were already thinking about time, which is why we're bringing it up, it's just something that we need to recognize in our own life and how to capture the time that we do have. We call this making time count, and we always say we have to make time. Like, oh I just need to make time for getting healthy. I just need to make time for the Word of God. I just need to make time for playing with my son. We actually can't make any time. Yeah, I was just gonna say that, we can't make it. It's a pretty funny statement, 'cause we can't make any time. What we can do is sacrifice other things that we spend our time on. That's the only way we can make time. That little statement I said capturing time makes better sense. Oh I need to capture time for the Word of God. I need to capture time for spending time with my wife. Because we all have 24 hours. Yeah. And we all only have so many years and minutes. You actually helped me a few years ago kind of understand this idea that we're only given so much and at the beginning of the episode you started out by sharing how sometimes you recognize this struggle with time when we are faced with like failure and just struggles in our family life. Yeah. I was struggling a few years ago with feeling like I can't do it all, but I want to do it all. We were in the middle of writing your first traditionally published book. Yep we were writing The Unveiled Wife. And we were moving, and we had our first son and just trying to being parents. Yeah. Just a lot of stuff going on in our life. So, we do what we normally do and what we like to do and we took a drive, we talk about that a lot. We drove up to the mountains. We took like a 45 minute drive and I'm just kind of spewing out this heart issue I'm having with I wanna do all of these things and I just feel like I can't. How am I suppose to do this? And I think that the last thing we ended up talking about was working out. And I just need this time to do this, carve it out. Yeah. And what did you say? Well, I remember the conversation like, it wasn't just you, I was thinking through these things too but you were like I gotta write this book, I gotta edit this book, I wanna be a good Mom, how to do I be a good Mom? Yeah, I'm nursing all the time. And I wanna get back in shape, 'cause we had the baby and you're like I wanna get exercising. And then you were also talking about our social media, 'cause that's a big part of our ministry. You're like I want it to look better. How do I reach out to people through comments? How do I answer all those messages? It's a lot. And I remember telling you that you can't. Yeah, it was really actually annoying the way that you communicated it 'cause you're so blunt about it. I don't know if I was mean about it. You weren't mean, I just didn't want to hear that. I just didn't want to hear that I couldn't fit it all in. I was trying to be encouraging. No, it was encouraging. But it didn't come off encouraging. No, no, no it was encouraging, I just didn't want to hear that I don't have enough time. Like, nobody wants to hear that. And what I went into I remember in that car ride, I was just telling you you only have 24 hours in a day, and you can't work all 24 hours. Yeah. Man if we didn't have to sleep, we would have so much more time, that's insane. I said you are physically limited. You literally, every single person in the entire world that's ever existed, doesn't matter how strong you are, is limited. Yeah. In our physical abilities. No one can pick up a bus. Some people might be able to pull a bus, but we're limited in our physical abilities. We're limited in our mental abilities. We're limited in our financial abilities. We're limited in our time, we're limited in every single way possible. We are finite creatures. Not infinite like God is. You gave me this illustration where you put your hands up. I remember you putting your hands up almost like you're grabbing a bunch of things in your hands and you said you know, because we're limited beings, we can only do so much with the time that we're given, and if there's something over there that you want to do, you have to let go of something else in order to do it. Yeah. And I remember that, just the idea and imagery that you gave me of putting your hands up and showing me how much I can fit in my hands really stood out to me 'cause I could see it. It was almost like oh, well that makes sense. I think I specifically gave you that because you were talking about fitness. And I said hey if you wanna spend 45 minutes exercising, you might have to spend 45 minutes left sleeping. Yeah. Or you might have to go to bed later. So you had to sacrifice something over here to do that other thing. 'Cause if you kept everything the same, you weren't gonna be able to accomplish all the other things that you wanted. So, it's a good illustration to have. It's just really taking all of our time and energy and ability and just realizing how much can be done with it. But, I think it's more than that, because that's what the world currently wants us to do is just fill our time with everything. But, it just doesn't happen. You know we have some examples from our own life and from just the worlds perspective of what it looks like. What this time management thing looks like and how we have to sacrifice. So, the idea that we have so much time and ability and we're limited is first of all just a good place to remember. A good thing to remember that we are limited. Like I told you that one day, and like we tell each other often still. We can't do everything, but you know what happens, how this practically plays out especially when we are looking at other peoples live and we're like how do they do that? You get emailed sometimes and they say how do you do everything? Yeah. And they don't realize that we don't do everything. Sometimes our sinks full of dishes. Right, because you can't do it all. You have to sacrifice one thing for another. I haven't gotten the oil change on my car yet and it's like three months past the oil change due date. We've never gone that far. Not that far, it's been getting pretty close lately. But like I hadn't done that yet because I was filling up all my time with other things. And so we just, we let go of one thing to grab another. And what this might look like, and maybe the people listening know someone who has done stuff like this, or they themselves are. But like, you know people that are super, super successful. It's rare that they're successful in every area of their life, because they can't be. And this is what you were struggling with, this is what many people struggle with. How can I be this amazing business person and this amazing mother and an amazing wife, and an amazing godly woman or husband or man. And then also be a awesome father. And all of these things equally. We just can't. It's not physically possible, we don't have enough in us to do that. And so you see someone who is super successful and you think oh man, I think I want that kind of success. Well, you gotta calculate what it took for them to do that. They might have sacrificed their marriage. And we've seen that a lot. Lets think about ministry. We've seen pastors they're amazing pastors, and they're teaching their congregations and they loose their family over it. I don't personally think that is a good balance. I would rather be a okay pastor and have an awesome family life. But I think that's what we need to evaluate. What are we chasing? What are trying to hold onto or take on and do with our limited time, limited abilities, limited resources. And are we pursuing the right things? Are we using our time wisely? I think those examples that you gave or more of the severe ones that you see. The big, yeah we see those ones. Really big ones that can be really detrimental, but I think that if our time is mismanaged, even in the little things, it can really kind of backfire within our own families. And I think social media does play a role in the comparison trap of wanting to try and do it all. It's hard because you see someone really good at this and then you see someone really good at that, and you're piecing all these things together to make this perfect person that can literally do everything and you're trying to fulfill that. I know, you bring up you're feed and you're like man this feed looks awesome. But all those other people that are really good at those individual things aren't trying to do everything. They're just doing the one thing that they're good at and you're seeing that and adding it to the list of things that you wanna try and do and accomplish. I think that's a good example. Our curated feeds of all the people we follow and we turn it into one perfect person. And you're like I wanna be that. How do we make our house beautiful and work all the time and go travel the world and it just doesn't exist. Here's the reality, if you're gonna go travel you're probably going to have laundry all over your bed because when you go to pack you have to do all the laundry and make sure it's clean before you go. So when you get back, there's gonna be a lot of laundry everywhere, right? That's just like a simple example. Or if you're traveling all the time you can't have a home. Yeah. And so you want this beautiful home and you want this beautiful travel life. And these are big pictures things from a few people we follow. They're just examples that we're throwing out there. But, the people listening, they have their own things that they're thinking of. They're like oh man yeah, I've been wanting to this, and I've been wanting to that and I just feel like I can't. And how does everyone else do it? Okay, I gotta tell this one story. So, my friend was getting into sourdough and I thought this is so cool and I so wanna do this. And so I start putting my time and energy into feeding this starter that she gave me, and for the first couple weeks, it was really great. It was like, you put it in a dark place for awhile and let it grow. We had bread every night. Oh my goodness. It was pretty awesome. It was amazing, and it tasted so good. Yeah. But after about two months of me trying to scramble and figure out how this sourdough things works 'cause I never done it before, I realized that I was letting certain things around the house go, or I'd have to rush out to get more flour because I was in the middle of baking something and I was not managing my time well just because I was so focused on trying to do this sourdough thing. And that was one little thing. It was just one little thing. But, it absorbed a lot of your time throughout almost every day for like a couple weeks Yeah, and I had to just let it go thinking okay I was learning and I learned this process and it was really cool but I'm gonna have to shelve this for a little bit and move on and figure out how it can fit into my schedule like in a normal way and not just at a frenzy. 'Cause that's what it felt like. I just recently went through a season of we have this home and there's all these little things that we've been wanting to do that need to get done. We have our businesses. And our home life, and I just had this list of all these things that need to be done, and I would chase after one of them and I realized I would put so much energy into the one thing and it took up mental space and it took up emotional space and actual physical time. And I started telling myself okay, I have to either take one day and finish all of these things or realize some of these things, nothing's going to change in our life if I did not do it. It doesn't get done. I'm just thinking about the rims on our car are super dirty, and a friend of mine just keeps saying oh all you need to do is acid wash them and they'll probably come looking beautiful, and every time I see him I'm thinking I gotta do that thing. It literally won't affect anything in our life at all, and so I just tell myself I don't need to do that. Nope. I don't need to do that. It's useless, it doesn't matter. Maybe one day if I have this extra day and time and it just perfectly aligns in the moon and stars all... I'll do it maybe. So, I'm just trying to practice. And that was like one little example. I'm trying to practice it in a lot of little areas. And then also recognizing where we waste time out of all of our things. Do you have areas in real life that you waste time? The bread thing was one example, but I feel like there was a benefit. I don't like I was wasting time there 'cause I was learning a new skill and it was really important to me. It started getting to waste time though. You thought it was gonna be this thing on the side. I could just fit into everything else and it became a thing. Yeah, I would say that I don't feel like I necessarily waste a lot of my time because I use it and I'm with the kids the majority of the day, but I think that I could definitely manage it better so that I was more efficient with my time. Right. That's another thing, how efficient are we with the time that we do have. Yeah, I feel you asked me that just kind of on the spot and I'd have to seriously contemplate how I'm... Well I asked you because I have one specifically. Oh go ahead. Based off of that previous episode about social media, I waste time on social media. Oh, yeah. When I do it, there's the conviction I get from the Holy Spirit when I'm doing it. I'm like scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, and I'm like why am I not using this time that I'm scrolling to read the Word of God? I could be scrolling through the Word of God on my phone. I have it on my phone. I'm always a big advocate of using my physical Bible, and we always tell couples to just be in the Word of God physically. But, I waste so much time when I could be in this more. Yeah. I have this desire to know the Word of God, and yet I do things that are contrary to that desire. Like knowing social media really well. It's literally this fruitful. So that's one thing I waste my time. It's something that I'm actively trying to change in my life. That's good. So when I feel that prompting of like why am I scrolling, I'll go to my Bible app and I'll read a Proverb, I'll read a Psalm. But I'm sure there's other areas of my life I waste time too. So when we were talking about sacrificing one thing for another to make sure that we're prioritizing the things that we want. Wasting time and things like that. How does that affect the family or relationships when we mismanage our time? Why is it important to value our time? Like, what's the why? Well, again, we've been everything to steward. Our time is a gift. God's grace is on you every morning, but the fact that we get a morning and that the sun rises is a gift from God, and he desires that our life and our resources and our energy and our time be used to please Him and to serve Him and to minister to the world and to our families and to our neighbors for him. So I think when we mismanage our time it's just being a bad Steward with something He's given us. Yeah. And again, it's probably I'm say this, time is the most valuable asset we have. 'Cause you can't make more of it. That's true. We're only running out of it. And so much changes within time. Such a short period of time. So, everybody always tells you kids grow up fast, and it's just so true. I feel like our kids are growing up so fast, and when we were considering this topic for today's episode, I was just thinking about my drive this morning on my way out to my friends house, and how everything is going so fast, and how I feel like I just need to slow down. The reason that I felt that prompting was because these are just little examples but Elliot's got these shoes that he got frustrated over 'cause he wants to learn how to tie them but he can't. And I have three other kids who need to get ready and get in the car and make sure everyone's got shoes on and instead of sitting there, teaching my kid how to tie his shoe with a gentle spirit, I'm like rushing everyone out the door. Yeah, I'm like hurry up everybody, come on let's go. We gotta be here at a certain time. We gotta make this happen because I'm trying to fit so much into my day that I don't have time to sit there and help you. I don't have time to walk you through this process right now. That doesn't happen everyday, but when it does happen it's like I just missed that opportunity to minister to my child or to engage with them. I was telling you Aaron, going to the park and just being with them in a slow pace in my own heart so that we can engage with them in nature. And talk about why the leaves are falling off the trees right now. And how God created everything and all those little moments for walking in the Spirit. One of them is patience. I think that was a good point, I was just connecting is was you sitting with Elliot. Elliot has the same amount of time also, and what we're doing is we're being generous with our time. Or are we being hoarders of our time? Like, I'm gonna use it only for myself. 'Cause I do the same thing. I'm like hurry get in the car, hurry get in the car, hurry buckle up, like it's always like I don't even know why I'm rushing them. We're not even trying to be somewhere. I know. They're learning something about us we probably shouldn't be telling. We are hurried, and I think everyone does that. I think it's because we know our times limited, but the same time we're not managing our time well. If we just managed our time better, we would stop hurrying everything and everyone and stop to engage with them and be present with them. And I think that goes down to understanding the value of time, because if we valued our time we'd realize we're not gonna have very many moments with our son learning how to tie his shoes, or our daughter learning how to buckle in, or our littlest son learning how to drink from a cup. All these little things that we may not value correctly, 'cause it takes time. And I would be careful to even for those listening to justify the way that you organize your time because like this morning when I was taking dinner over to a friends house who needed dinner, that's ministering and that could be looked at as a good thing and yet rushing everyone out the door to get there by a certain time, it just kinda jolted everybody and I didn't need to do that. I could have done it either in peace or said I can't do that today. Well, we actually talked about this. Imagine if you or I or together we did that everyday, we wouldn't be able to minister to our children, minister to each other. Yeah there wouldn't be enough time for that. Minister to other neighbors. So, you can't just look at ministering, well I need to do that because that's the most important thing to do with my time. Because, there's other ministering that needs to be done. We have to spread out what God's given us. And it actually makes me think of a scripture we read to our kids this morning during family bible time. This is probably what prompted everything. It might be. And it's in Luke 5, and I'm gonna read a few verses just so you have the context. It's Jesus right after he heals a leper. It says, in verse 15, but now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. And you think oh my gosh. Jesus was healing people, his fame spreading. He just healed this man with leprosy, and now all these people are coming and flocking to him. And you're like oh Jesus is gonna be touching people, healing people, and this is what it says. It says, but he would withdraw to desolate places to pray. You know? Jesus, the Savior, the perfect one. Emmanuel, God with us. All these people are coming to be healed and he's like I'm gonna go pray. Yeah. Even Jesus didn't just fill his time with all of these things that we thought would be the most important thing 'cause Jesus knew how to prioritize his time, he knew what he was there, and he's like I'm gonna go pray. I'm gonna go recharge. I'm gonna go be alone in desolate places, places like that have nothing around, no one around. In darkness, and he's gonna go and just be with God. And what's funny is we say we're busy, our time's filled up. We have all these things going on. How often do we just go into desolate places and pray? Go into our dark room, get on our knees. I know that I don't. And God's called us to do that. And so I was just pointing out, I wrote here, even Jesus would quiet himself and pray. Yeah, and I feel like those opportunities to stop and pray and spend time with the Lord are just as valuable when you're actually engaging with the children, praying for them. Like being a Father who goes before the Lord for them to ask for protection, to ask for good health, to ask for maturity and to ask for all of these things on their behalf is just as valuable as spending time with them. And so I feel like this needs to be prioritized. Yeah, and it goes too how do we value our time? Yeah. What are we doing with our time? Looking into our lives, and asking the Holy Spirit, and saying Holy Spirit show me areas that I'm wasting your time that you've given me. This is all your time, all the time that we have in a day is God's. How are we wastin it? And that could be filling it with good things. Yeah. Oh we're doing this, we're doing homeschool. We're going over here, we're going over there, instead of maybe God is like I want you to dedicate some of your time to me. Just me, just being with me. Being in my Word, just being quiet. We're trying to teach our daughter to be quiet and to be still right now, and are we doing that? Are we quiet and still? And letting God have some of our time. Letting him have a lot of our time. So, I think that's really good, just recognizing that even things that we call ministry could be out of whack if we do too much of it. If it's just all that and we're not even doing other things that God's called us to do. Man, time is a weird thing. Okay, so we titled this episode Making Time Count, and for the benefit of those listening and ourselves, how can we make time count? Like as a marriage after God, as husbands and wives who want to fulfill the Lords will and purpose in their life. What does time have to do with it? Well, like I said, it's our most valuable asset, is the time that we have in a day, in our life. Ecclesiastes, Solomon says our life is like a breath. Which should give us some real perspective on how much time we actually have. It's fleeting, it's like boom gone. Here today, gone tomorrow. So recognizing that our times short. Paul says that a lot, recognize the times, that our time is drawing near, that the Lord's returning. Just understand there's an urgency for just guiding our families and ministering in our families and to our children. In ministering, guiding our neighbors. And doing the things that God's asked us to do now when we have time. Today's the day of salvation. Today is the day, don't worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow has enough worries of its own. Today is the day. We get those words all the time 'cause God's like no, no, today. You have today, and it's the only thing you have. You're not promised tomorrow. So, I think an urgency, a recognition of the value of our time. How does that stand with you? Do you feel the urgency in our own life? I do feel the urgency for us to just recognize the value of what we have and that it's a gift and that the time that I have with you is a gift. I was actually just thinking about this also this morning. Not to get too in to detail or anything. But, the time that I have with you to be intimate that time is fleeting and I was just thinking as we grow older with each other, am I going to regret the time that I didn't take advantage of being with you? I know, when we were younger and healthier? Yeah, and I was being convicted on that. I felt like the Lord was just saying you need to initiate more. You need to be engaged more, and I already am starting to regret the time that I haven't been for whatever reason. And so, and I've enjoyed the times that we have been. So, I think that same way with our children, or as a family as a whole you know. The times that we have been slow and present and just laughing and playing. It's so peaceful, and I love that. Time that we get to spend with our family, with our children. So, I think making that a priority and I think that the thing that it's gonna require though I know for me is that when I feel that hurried spirit and when the words come out of my mouth hurry up, hurry up, hurry up, I need to stop and remember to walk in the spirit to be patient, and to choose to slow down. To choose to be present, to choose to say no even if that on the other side is really good. Whatever that other choice is for the sake of whatever other ministry I'm suppose to be doing. It's almost like being diligent to spend the time verses wasting it. Like money, oh I'm throwing it away or how much do I got to pay for that? Yeah how am I investing with my time? How is that being invested? Yeah. So thinking about our time in those terms, those quantities, those units. I will say that a marriage after God does that well. And we need to do it better. We need to do it better, and I wanna challenge those listening to start today. To evaluate your time, evaluate what things you're saying yes to, what things you're saying no to, and what things you're sacrificing for that grab of whatever it is you wanna try and fit into your schedule. And, to know that time is valuable. So I wanna end with a little bit of scripture, and then maybe we can give them a little bit of advice on how to look at our time. And, it's in Ephesians 5 and I'll just start in verse 15. And it says look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And so just make the best use of the time, and this is in reference to how we once were in darkness and now we're in light. And it's saying so, make the best use of your time. So, let's be godly in how we look at our time. Let's ask God how he views our time and would like us to use it. What are some of the little tips that we have on how we can look at our time and how our listeners can? Well I think the priority that you should look at would be is your marriage in balance? Are you spending that time with your spouse? Are you cultivating that relationship? Is time spent well there? Yeah, is time spent well there, because if that's not happening, that balance isn't right. Same, I would say, goes for your kids. If you're not engaging with them, if you're not spending quality time with them. Discipling them. Discipling them, teaching them, loving on them. Just being present with them without your phone or without friends around or without distractions. Yeah. I would say those are the key important things that I would recommend people stopping to evaluate. So, I just wanna remind them, the reason we're bringing all this up in the first place is 'cause we wanna encourage you guys. We wanna encourage you to have peace, to recognize that you are not able to do everything. So, that's the little bit of advice I wanna give is that they can't do everything. To not be worried that they can't accomplish everything and to recognize that they're not meant to. They're not meant to accomplish everything. My encouragement too would be to watch out for that comparison trap where maybe you look at your friends lives or maybe you know that neighbor across the street, or maybe on Instagram, someone on social media. And you're taking bits and pieces from all these different people and you're accumulating this list of the things you need to be capable of doing, the ideals within the home, and all of the little things that you think that you have to accomplish and just remember that not one person can do it all. And I would say take that list, and lay it at the Lord's feet, and say Lord... What's important. Yeah, what do you want me to do? Yeah. We should always be asking this, like Jesus did, we should go off in prayer. We say Lord, I have all these vision, dreams, ideas as a marriage we have these things we wanna do. What do you wanna us to do? What's valuable to you? What do you care about? And what should we pursue, what should we sacrifice so that we can do these things that you don't want us to do, and what should we sacrifice that you don't want us to do? That's good. And just be asking the Lord what he wants, like that's what he wants us to do. And I think too something that we're getting better at is just looking at our lives and saying how are we managing our time well? What are we doing that's beneficial to the whole family and to the ministry that we've been called to. And what things are sucking our time and being able to cut it out, yeah. And so we wanted to have this conversation with you all because it's something that we constantly are having conversations with. We forget and we get into this season of like we can't do everything. Yeah. We have all these visions, we wanna do this, we wanna do that. We have all these books we wanna write, we wanna post, we wanna do these videos. Things that fit with what we're doing. But, we can't do 'cause we're trying to also have a godly marriage. We're trying to also have a godly family and to disciple our children and to have a decently clean house and to have our cars not fall apart and have our home not fall apart and have our lives not fall apart. So, just recognizing that it's okay to not be able to accomplish everything. And if you're feeling that overwhelmingness, if you're feeling like you're hurrying through life, we would just say just stop today and go do as Jesus did. Find a desolate place, a dark quiet place. Escape everything, and just spend time with the Lord to be able to evaluate all of this and maybe you'll come out feeling a little bit more refreshed. Yeah, definitely do it as a couple. Yeah. Find that time. Maybe spend 30 minutes before bed and after everyone's asleep, no one needs you and get into prayer with each other. Say, let's ask the Lord how we can rest in him, how we can wait on him. As the Bible tells him, wait on the Lord and he will renew our strength. And so, we hope this encouraged you. We hope that it sparked some awesome conversation about how you value time. I know we're gonna still talk about this. Yeah. And we also love to hear from you if you wanna leave a comment in the box below. So, we as usual, we thank you for joining us. We hope this blessed you, and we hope to see you next week. [Aaron Smith] Did you enjoy today's show? Find many more encouraging stories and resources at and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

 We Ask Each Other Random Questions About Finances & Money | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:39:17

We are all on a journey with money and the Bible talks a lot about money so because of this It is very important for us as Marriages after God to be able and willing to discuss money with each other and how to manage money in marriage. In this episode, Jennifer and I ask each other questions about money and we give candid on the spot answers to those questions. We discuss our individual view and relationship with money. We talk about how we were raised with money and what we were taught about it. And we share our fears that surround money. -- Take our 31-day marriage prayer challenge today and join the 1000's of couples who have done it. -- FOR MORE MARRIAGE ENCOURAGEMENT SHOP MARRIAGE RESOURCES FOR WIVES FOR HUSBANDS READ: - Hey we're Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God. Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage. And today, we're gonna ask each other random questions about finances and money. Hey, thanks for joining us this week for another episode of Marriage After God. We're excited to have you. As usual, we wanna invite you to subscribe to our channel, so you get notified whenever we upload new content. Today's episode includes questions that we came up with, that we haven't shared with each other just yet. Just about finances and money, but we know that you guys have questions too, and we can answer them in a future episode of Marriage After God, so be sure to leave those comments, and leaving your questions about finances and money. So, before we get started, I want to start off with a disclaimer. We are not financial advisors. No way. So, we're not giving stock suggestions, or anything like that. We're just gonna ask each other questions about our experience with money, and I actually have no clue what your questions are, and you don't have any clue what mine are. These things always make me nervous. I like to be prepared. So, we do these episodes every once in a while, but these are gonna be really candid answers from our own life. Which, I feel like is really helpful for the listener, because I feel like they're gonna relate to us and understand what we've been through, or what we're going through currently. And so, I do but I don't like these. And they're hard 'cause we do cut out the pauses 'cause sometimes we have to think about them. Yeah. We're like uh let me think about that for a sec. But, hopefully what we wanna offer to you guys is just an inside perspective on where we've gone in life with finances and money, and where we're coming from and what God's teaching us, and maybe they'll be some funny stuff in here. I actually don't know. Some reality and some encouragement. Yeah, and 'cause our heart is that as marriages after God we would have hearts that are yielded to God in every aspect of our life. One of them being money, and to be honest we are on a journey with money. Yeah. The Bible talks a lot about it, but today we're just gonna talk about the journey we've been on. Yeah. So, let's get started. Do you wanna do the first question or do you want me to do the first question? Let me do the first question. Okay, you do the first question, and then I'll do mine. Okay, so my first question is were you taught good money habits like savings, building up a savings account by your parents? Or I guess the question is, who is your biggest influence? That is a great question actually. So, let me think for a second, I have a terrible memory and you know this. Okay, so first thing I remember is my Mom did definitely teach me how to use a checkbook. Does any use checks anymore? I don't know. I was taught how to do the reconciliation in the back pages and write them. What comes in, what goes out. Yeah, so I do remember that. I remember them opening a bank account for me, and me putting money in it and learning to save. So, I think the basics. I remember saving when I was a little kid like $100. I don't remember how I got all the money. That's a lot. I had a box, it was this wood box, and every dollar I'd get I'd get it, and I'd wet the dollar and flatten it out. Oh my goodness, I didn't know this about you. I would flatten the dollar out and I'd make it perfectly crisp, and I'd let it dry and then I would put it in the box, and I'd have them all organized and I'd have a rubber band around them, and I saved up all these $1's and $5's and $10's. Okay, this type of personality explains a lot about how we organize our finances now. You never heard this story before? I've never heard this story before, and I feel like now that I know, it makes sense because how you organize... You're like, I'm gonna change some of these questions I have for you. No, no, no, but as I see it, 'cause you lead us in our finances, and you organize our budgeting and all of that, and it's meticulous, and I feel like you've been really good at that. SO, I don't know who taught me that. Okay. So, somehow money was talked about. I remember my parents giving me a dollar at church to put in the tithe. So, I feel like they gave me the foundational stuff, the basic stuff. Good for them, that's awesome. So, yeah, I think they might have given me more, they had to of. But, I just don't remember it, all the details. Real quick, does Target have anything to do with any of these questions? I didn't actually ask any. Okay, good. I'm just kidding. Didn't think about Target. For all the wives out there. But CostcoI'm just kidding. Okay, here's your first question. Okay. Okay, what was your view of money growing up? Well, I remember it being kind of this elusive thing of we never had it. I don't wanna go as far as saying we were poor growing up, but I often heard my parents say things like that, and things have changed now in their life and in ours. But, I just remember having very little, and I remember personally when I started working and getting my own income, I protected it. But, I spent it, but it was mine. Yeah. I didn't necessarily share it, I wasn't super generous. I tithed here and there, but it wasn't consistent. So, would you feel like you were, based off the question you asked me, were you taught about money, other than just hearing about lack of it, or not ever enough? I don't remember my Mom sitting down specifically with me to show me certain things, but it was kind of like we'd be at the grocery store and I'd be like hey can I fill out your check for you? 'Cause I remember checks back then too. And she would let me, and she would show me what boxes to fill out. And then, when I was a teenager, probably like 13 or 14, she also opened up a savings account for me, and so I got to get familiar with putting money in the bank. So, we both had those foundational things. Yeah. So, there is a second part to this question. Oh no. So, I was asking about your view of money, but what was your view of giving growing up? Yeah, so shared a little bit about that, and I remember it just being a little bit harder for me. It's weird, it wasn't as hard to if I was gonna buy a gift for someone. Like, I saw value in that, and then give it to them. But, just giving someone money or even giving the church money, I justified it by saying well, I'll serve with my time or my energy. I'll go work in the children's ministry. Yeah, I don't need to give money. I remember us having conversations about that. Yeah, I just saw the benefit of that, but I guess because I always thought money was tight, or it was so little that I had to kind of keep it. Yeah. To myself. Keep it really close. Keep it real close. I was controlling over my money, and not in a healthy way. And we're all at a certain place when it comes to money and our perception of it, and it comes from how we were raised, or things that we've experienced. So, thank you for sharing that. Yeah. Okay, so my next question for you is going into marriage and being the husband and I don't know if you felt the weight of responsibility with finances and having to provide. But, did you have any fears going into marriage and managing our finances? No, I didn't know what managing our finances looked like. Yeah, we hadn't experienced it yet. 'Cause we hadn't experienced it yet. But, I feel like I might be a little unique, maybe not but I don't feel like I've thought too much about money. I remember that we had lots of conversations about it, I remember even telling you when we got engaged, hey I may not have a lot of money, I may not ever be able to buy you anything. But I'll love you. But, I'll be here for you and we'll figure it out. And that was just me being honest, I didn't know what kind of money we would make, or if we'd ever be wealthy or have a home. I didn't know any of that stuff. But, I wasn't worried about it either. So maybe in a unhealthy way I didn't think about money at all. Like no concern? Like no concern. I don't know, maybe that's a healthy thing too, I've never been too concerned about money as a whole. But, no so going into marriage I don't think it was a anxiety of mine like oh I gotta figure out money stuff. Again, we've learned a lot over the years of like how much we need to focus on it, and manage it well and steward it well. But, no I'd say early on when we were getting married it wasn't something that was on the forefront of my mind. Other than we needed it to go to Africa. Yeah, so just to let people know who are listening, we jumped started our marriage by jumping into missionary ministry. We went to Africa for four months. Yeah, we traveled around, went to Africa and stuff. And so, our finances were kind of unique jumping into marriage because we relied on the support of other people while we were traveling internationally. We had no money. We didn't have money. Like legitimately no money. We raised money to go to Africa. We raised money and then we took it, but then while we were there, and leading up to that, we had our jobs leading up to the time that we left. Which was about two or three months of marriage, but then we heavily relied on the support of others. Not only that, but we when we moved to Florida for a bit, just to give a little bit of background, there was a season where I was working full-time for free in the ministry that we were apart of, the missionary organization. And you were working part time, we had no kids then, and we still had no money. We were broke. We were so broke of course because I was even being paid, and you were getting paid minimum wage. Yeah. In Florida, which is like less than normal. And part time. I remember us being in our car one night, or one afternoon and we had no money for gas. Yeah, we're gas less. We're just like okay. God's taken care of us every step of the way though. I'd say your parents were a huge blessing to us during those times because they've always supported us and been open handed with their finances, and that day specifically you called your Mom. I remember that day my Mom gave me $20. and I was so embarrassed, and I said just don't tell her, what did I say? I said don't tell her that we're homeless, okay that was the same day that we were in transition that's a good word, transition from one house to another. But we didn't have another house yet. Yeah. We couldn't stay at the house we were at. They weren't our houses, they were people letting us stay at their places, because we were trying to serve as missionaries, and we were traveling a lot, and it was just a really interesting time. God took care of us, but I would say it was foolish. Yeah, looking back at it yeah. Again the negative part of me not paying attention or considering our finances. Yeah. I should of changed that scenario. And we did, God convicted our hearts and put us on a whole journey of changing our thought process on money and our responsibility with it. Yeah, but I did tell you don't tell her that we're homeless, just tell her that we need the money for gas. Yeah And it all worked out, we got a place that night it was all great. Yeah we did, it was awesome. So, God was lookin' out even when we weren't. He's faithful even when we're not. Even when we're not yeah. But that's where we started our journey of money is just experiencing that side of it. So, let me get to my second question for you. Okay, this is a question for you, but it's about me. Oh. Yeah, so what is one area I can grow and mature in when it comes to money? Okay, that's really funny because I have a similar question for you about you. Oh then we should make yours the number three for me. Okay, so what's one area that I want you to grow in? That you think I could grow or mature in when it comes to money? I think sometimes, okay, so you have this part of your personality that loves to research. Like, you spend a lot of time on researching things. Which is a really good. Can be really good. It is really good I think. The downside is because you do so much research, and you look at reviews and you look at what other people are saying, and you look at price value, when you do actually go to make a purchase it's a really good purchase. Sometimes really expensive purchase, or sometimes it's something that we think we need when we don't necessarily need that one, or that thing. So you're saying I buy the more expensive thing because... It had the better reviews. And it's gonna last longer, or it's a better value. We have all these justifications of what we walk through when we buy a purchase. Which I do, I do that. Yeah, so and you don't do it all the time, but when you do make those bigger purchases, I don't know. So you're saying having a little bit more of a sober mind about certain things. It's not like I make big purchases all the time. No. But when I do often instead of just going with the more affordable or something that will fit what we need, I'm gonna go and get, 'cause I'm looking for value. Yeah. And I'm like, well I need to spend a little bit more to get the value I'm looking for. And sometimes that also hangs us up on the purchase that we need to make. For months. Yeah, because you're like I need to do my research. That could be good though, the slowness of it. I know, I know, but that's why I said it's like a catch 22. Maybe getting more sober about my expectation of the value. Yeah that's good. And being okay with less when it matters. I don't know, thinking faster and wiser and slower and smarter all at the same time. All the things, all the same time. Yeah, I know what you're saying. No one's gonna understand what we're talking about, but I get it. If you have an example. I don't know to put you on the spot. I don't, I'm trying to think. No, I don't. Okay, so give you an example something I'm thinking about. Okay. Like, I wanna buy a lawnmower. And I could go down to the thrift store and pick up a lawn mower for like $25. Call around, ask a friend. I could call around and see if any friends have an extra one I could borrow or buy. But, the way I think is I'm gonna go look online and be like well if I'm gonna be using this every weekend, I might as well get a new one. But if I'm gonna get a new one and spend that kind of money, I might as well look for the best one. It just keeps going up and up. And I haven't bought a lawnmower yet. And you haven't bought a lawnmower yet. That's a great example. And this has been a few weeks. Yeah, okay. Okay, I will think about buying a lawnmower in a better way. Like, not go buy the best one, and I might call some friends up soon. Actually someone actually told me they might have one. Oh really? I was gonna say, you might buy one and then it breaks down and you can learn how to fix it. It's good all around. That's true. Time waster. Yeah I know. Okay. Okay. That was your question for me about you. That was my question for you about me. Really confusing okay. Okay my next question is, throughout our marriage I guess for a little back story if people don't know us, we got debt free and we've been really committed to remaining debt free. But, one thing you've been really adamant on, even from the beginning of our marriage was no credit cards. Right. So, I guess my question is why Aaron? Why so adamant about that? Even times where I had good justifications or excuses why no we should do this, we'll get miles you're like no. So, let's be honest, you're right I've been so adamant about no credit cards, but we did get a credit card. We did. Just a couple years ago. For about a year. For about a year, it was an Amazon credit card, because they had such good points and like all the things. Okay. And, we did that to buy a house, and we needed credit because we literally had no credit, 'cause we've never had credit cards. Yeah. And, it made it harder which was fine. What made it harder? What do you mean? Not having credit. Oh, yeah. No credit score made it harder to do the loan thing and so I was like hey let's get a credit card, and we were just gonna do like one or two things on it. It became a habit over that year. Just to build credit, and then what happened was every thing we were spending on our debit, we now put on our credit. And even though we were paying it, what happened was our way of spending money even on all the normal things got so out of whack, because what we would do is we'd spend on the credit card, and then by the time we paid the credit card, the money that would of been spent a month ago, hadn't been spent yet. And so by the time we pay off the credit card, now we're back to zero. We're always playing catch up. Catch up yeah. And I hated that, and I finally like cut the credit card up, and it took us like a couple months to detox from using the credit card. Well one thing that I noticed with the credit card was that there was this access to it felt like free money. It's the same concept as poker chips. The reason casinos will play with poker chips versus cash, is because poker chips are less painful to put on the table. Interesting. They're all the same size, maybe they're different colors. But, it doesn't feel like money. And so you spend more. I think Dave Ramsey also shared this tip once is when you're spending with cash, you're feeling it going through your hand, you're not gonna go waste it on that $8 Mocha, you'll just get a black coffee or whatever. $8, yeah. Yeah, but when you're constantly using your debit card you don't feel it as much. But, it's even more true with credit cards I feel like. Well it is, and also with credit cards, they do the whole points thing, and it gives you enough of an incentive to spend more. Which we don't need incentives to spend more. We're human. We have enough incentive to spend more, so that's why I've always been afraid of credit cards, I just knew that debt and credit cards were so dangerous. So before and after that year that we had a credit card, that's why you're so adamant about it? Like having the credit card proved exactly why I hate credit cards, even though we were doing it the right way. Anyone would say, oh yeah, get a credit card, just make sure you pay down the balance, and not keep a balance and all that. We never paid a penny of interest, but that doesn't make it anymore of a healthy habit. We were so backwards on the way our money was being spent, that it like gave me anxiety. That's true, I remember you really frustrated over it. And then the detoxing, it took a few months, like we were negative a bunch, because we were playing catch up on the way our money was coming in, and the way the money was going out. And we forgot how to spend correctly. Yeah, it was totally different, we were like what we have to look at our budget again. We have to like look at how were... So, I just hate credit cards. Okay. And so that's just the reality of it. Okay. You ask me my next question. Next question, this is also in the beginning of our marriage. I thought you were gonna say it's also about me. No, in the beginning of our marriage, I remember us praying that we would make more money so that we could give more money and be more generous. You remember that? Mm-hmm. And over the years, we've had opportunities to do so. Mm-hmm. Has your or our perception of our giving changed at all since then? Yes, I mean mine definitely, I don't know if your has increased because I feel like you've always been a really generous person, and what you shared in the beginning of that question of praying that prayer I feel like you've taught me a lot and led me a lot in this area of generosity, and I feel like that was one way where you taught me in a really special way 'cause it's not like you just sat down with me and pointed out where I was not being generous. You sat down and said hey we should be praying about this. And so we prayed, we lifted our request up to God, and anyways I just really feel like over the years, He's answered our prayer, He's been faithful to show us different ways of giving different opportunities. He's invited us a lot to just participate in serving the body and being generous. And, I feel like more of a generous person because of that. Awesome. Yeah. I used to see generosity, the pinnacle of generosity, as giving more. That's why I prayed this, 'cause I truly wanted to increase in what we had, not so that I can have more but so that I can give more. That was a reality of how I felt and believed. And as we've matured and gotten better jobs and now we just making money from our books, and trying to be more generous and giving more something that I've changed in is not that I don't wanna give more, I still have a heart to give and wanna be generous. But what I've found is I can get lazy in giving in the other ways of my time, my energy, my resources, my love, my other things. Because I can give money. Not that giving money is a bad thing, but I just felt like God showed me that there's lots of ways that he desires us to give. And that there's other ways that could be more valuable, than just giving someone $10 or $100 or something. That I could give them something more valuable than money. Almost like showing me that money's... Like what is true generosity? It's not just money. Well, and not just true generosity, what God is actually desiring us to give. And not that, like I said, the money, or time or none of those are intrinsically different or like bad or better. But, seeing the true value in things. Because I can give all my money as it says in the Bible, and have not love and I'm nothing, right? And so, it doesn't matter what I'm giving, it matters why I'm giving and who I'm giving for. And so, he's just been transforming my perception on giving and I could default to like oh let's just give so and so money, or how about I give them a whole day of me helping them. What do they actually need? Yeah, what do they actually need? And money could be it, but am I using that as a crutch in my giving? That's really good, yeah. Which is a weird thing to think about. Well, I wanna add to that first part of the question about us praying for God to give us more so that we can give more. I remember specifically you mentioning we're not gonna wait for him to give us more, we're gonna start now. And I think that's really important especially for our listeners to hear, because I think sometimes we can always be in a season of waiting. And we're like we have to wait for God to give us more in order to give more when we can give out of what we have even if it's a little bit. And so I just wanna encourage them with that. Yeah. 'Cause we found it to be truly a blessing even when you give when you barely have. Well and the Bible says that exactly. You know, it talks about Jesus talks about the woman who gives her last mite. And he says she's giving more out of her poverty than you did out of your wealth. Yeah. And so there's this perception that we have of well I can't give until I have more to give. Which doesn't make sense, because unless we have a heart of giving, we're never gonna give, because it's never gonna feel like enough. 'Cause that's the chase of numbers. There's always another number to jump to. So, that's how I've changed in this, but I think you're right. You've gotten much more generous, and I feel like I've changed in what I see as generosity. Yeah. Making sure that my heart is right and not just I can give money. That's really good. Which could be so cheap in the Kingdom mindset. Or, perfectly generous it's all how we do it. Yeah. Your question. Okay I'm up next. So, did you ever have a goal of how much you wanted in your savings account or in our savings account? Has there ever been a number? This probably goes back to my first answer about not thinking about money very often. No. No. I don't think I've ever had a number. There's been specific times in our life when we're saving for something specific. So we needed a number, yeah. Yeah, but I don't think I've had like a oh I want $10,000 in savings or I want $5,000 in savings. Even though Dave Ramsey says you should have a certain amount in there. I think it's like $2,000 or something emergency fund. Yeah, I think there's a minimum emergency fund, but then there's like six months savings of payroll or whatever. But, no I don't believe I've ever had a specific number in mind. Okay. But, maybe I should I don't know. I don't know. We'll let the listeners tell us if I should have a specific number in mind. Okay. Okay here's a question for you. This is kind of a fun one, and it's also maybe it's a question they could be asking each other. Okay, that's good. That are listening. What is the best thing you've ever spent money on? And here's my catch with this, is I'm trying to point out that sometimes we look for value in things, and we think it's gonna be there, but then it's not what we think it's gonna be. So I wanna see if you can recall oh the best thing I've ever spent money on was? The best thing I ever spent money on was oh man. I feel like I know what kind of thing it will be. What kind of thing? Yeah. Well, the only thing that really comes to mind are two things and they're both jewelry orientated. Jewelry, okay. One thing you bought me. Would this be like a typical thing for women and jewelry? Actually I think you bought me both, so I can't even use those examples. Why not? I don't know. Oh 'cause I bought them. 'Cause you bought 'em. It's the ring that I have now as my wedding ring. You bought it for me on my 10 year wedding anniversary. Yeah but you didn't buy it I guess. No. Well, if it's our money then maybe you did. I can't think, I guess the couch? That was a good purchase. That was a good couch. Okay, so let me give you some background. The couch behind us? Yes. Yeah it's a nice couch. So, just some back story real quick. I was pregnant with Olive and we had just moved to Central Oregon, and somebody had given us this old 1970's floral couch it was bright yellow. Smelled like cat pee. Oh my gosh it smelled so bad. And we had it for almost a year I think. Yeah. I really liked that couch though. It was really stiff, and I was over it and I told Aaron can we please, please, please, please, please buy new couches? And, what's really funny we're renting this little tiny house, like it was like a little cottage bungalow style. What was it, it was like 1,100 square feet? I feel like it was smaller than that. But anyways, the living room was not very big, but we went to this furniture outlet place I sat on every piece of furniture until I found the one that I wanted. I was probably like six months pregnant, and I found these couches. And I've loved them, they've been one of the best things we ever bought. And it barely fit in that house. Yeah, it didn't fit in that house, but we had them in there. Yeah. It was the most money we spent on furniture. Usually we would get given furniture or we'd go to the thrift stores and get furniture. It was our first house purchase of furniture. And you know what? If people read The Unveiled Wife, they would know that our very first couch as a married couple was an inflatable blue blow up couch. Plastic couch. Yeah. That it deflated. That deflated while we watched T.V. The bottom part did. So, couches is like a thing for us? I guess so you guys. We had this beautiful ugly blue couch, from like the '70's in Florida. So the things with the couches that we have now, I even remember the day that the delivery guys dropped it off and unboxed it. Like that's how powerful this purchase was for me. So, I'm really happy with it. So, I actually that you were gonna answer like trips we've been on. Oh. Like adventures. I didn't even think about that. That's what I thought you were gonna say. I knew that you would probably answer. Okay. Although I like that too. Your biggest thing is spend money on memories. Yeah, and these couches have been awesome. They're comfortable and the kids play on them, make forts out of them. They're huge pillows so yeah, building forts is like awesome. They're like perfect fort couches. What's funny though is the pillows are so big, they're super heavy. Anytime they wanna build a fort they're like gung-ho about it, and then the moment we say 'kay clean up they're like we can't they're too heavy. Yeah they can take 'em off and build a fort, but they can't put 'em back it's difficult. Okay, anyways. Okay so you have one more question for me. Okay, so what's funny about this is my last question... Let me guess, it's the exact same one as me? No, it happens to be what was your worst purchase ever? Because you're such a researcher and you go for the top notch thing. So, okay. You gotta have a bad one in there. It's not gonna be worse in the sense that you're thinking like a bad thing I bought. It's more in like I regretted. Yeah. Like what is it called, buyer's remorse? Okay. I've had that several times. Yeah you have. So, and you're probably gonna remember this story. The paintball gun that I bought. -That's exactly what I was thinking about. I knew that was what you were thinking about. And the reason, I've had plenty of remorseful purchases in my life not gonna lie. But because the Lord used it to teach me something about myself. Yeah. When it comes to not just money but where I find my value. And I was gonna going through a season we were financially strapped, I didn't feel very successful at what I was doing in life. Our marriage was a little like It was more than Okay, alright. We were drowning. I can only laugh about that now because we are so far from that place now. Yeah, not back then it wasn't funny. No. But, I wanted to feel successful again. I wanted to feel needed and useful and valuable and I did use to be part of a paintball team when I was younger. You remember when you were first hanging out with me, I was working at a huge paintball park in California. The first day I met your Mom was at one of our tournaments. Yeah, and I was good and I loved it and it was a very short season in my life, and so when I'm in this season I'm feeling like a little sad and depressed and unsuccessful. And so I was clinging to an idea of who I was and who I could of been and so I said hey I wanna buy a paintball gun and I wanna get back into that hobby. What's funny about paintball is it's not a cheap hobby. You don't buy cheap paintball guns to go do a hobby of paint balling. You definitely would never buy. So, like I said, I bought a really nice paintball gun and all the equipment and all the stuff, and it was really surprising because you were like okay. You let me even though you probably thought it was such a stupid idea. I didn't see the value in it at all. And I went one time and I felt the Lord tell me why are you doing this? Why did you go spend all this money and this is not what you want. How long did the gun sit in the box for? Maybe a couple months. And it just sat in the box, I only used it one time it was brand new, and I finally came to my senses and the Holy Spirit was like you are looking for something in the wrong place. And the only reason you bought this is because you feel this way and you're going through this and I had to repent. I came to you and I said I'm sorry. You said I feel like an idiot. That's actually what I said. I said I feel like an idiot. I said I think the only reason I wanted to do this and buy this is because I don't feel successful. And I had to admit to that, and you forgave me. And you're like I'm really glad that you're deciding to get rid of this 'cause I did not want you to do that. And I was like can you sell it for what it's worth? And no I didn't I lost money on it. Yeah. But that was a lesson that I learned in looking for value and security and fulfillment in something else other than God. And so that's why that sticks out to us, or to me specifically is that story is that was me buying a feeling or a notion about myself and trying to turn into something I wasn't and trying to fulfill myself through money. Yeah. Which doesn't work. Yeah don't do that. In any way ever. For anyone. For anyone. Yeah don't do that. The Bible tells us you cannot serve God and money. Yeah. You'll hate one and love the other, or you'll serve one and despise the other. You cannot do it. And so that's not the worst purchase I ever made, but that was on the top of the list. Most regrettable. Not most regrettable. Actually I look back and I thank God that he allowed me to do something dumb. In a safe way, 'cause it's not like I emptied our savings account. Yeah, I don't know back then it could have been pretty close. I guess you're right. You're right, it probably was. But you weren't paying attention to the savings accounts. I wasn't paying attention to the savings accounts so thanks. Ask me your last question now, we'll get the spotlight off of you. Okay what is one area you can grow in your relationship with money? I don't wanna say. I take the fifth. You can't. It's not a court of law, this is Marriage After God. Okay, so ready for some truth, some honesty? Yes. Okay, you already know this about me. I have this problem when I feel like we need to spend money for things especially if it's for the house or for the kids or whatever, and let's say I'm at Target or Costco or WholeFoods or whatever. Or online. Or online, and I see a few extras that I wasn't necessarily planning on buying or at least at this time, and I just go ahead and go get it without consulting you. I feel really bad about that, and I know it's an area that I need to grow in because there's been seasons where I am good at it, and I feel like I'm respecting the commitment that we've made to discuss purchases over a certain amount and then there's other times where I just disregard it, and I don't know why I do that. And you're not talking about a pack of gum or an extra pair of socks? Well I'll buy an extra pair of shoes for one of the kids, but they really don't need it, it's just they're really cute and they're right there on the end aisle at Target. How often does this happen? How many shoes does Olive need? I know, I know. We try and be pretty minimalist when it comes to the way that we live, but then there's times where I'm just like oh and I need this type of hand soap and laundry detergent and all of these extra things when I wasn't planning on making those happen that day. Truthfulness, transparency. Transparency, I think that's a good one. Yeah, yeah. I mean, we both do it though. We base it off of what we see as valuable. Yeah. Like oh this is an important purchase but our scales of value are so different from each other sometimes on purchases. Yeah. But, which is why we should discuss them more. Yeah. Which is actually something that we've just another level of honesty with our finances, we just recently are revisiting with each other because we get out sync. Yeah, we just went on date night and that was the topic of our conversation which is why we're doing this broadcast. Yeah, so we're out of sync right now, and so we're trying to get back in sync with each other of communicating. Just a rule of thumb something that we've instituted in our marriage and what we're talking about is that we've stopped doing, but what we used to do is we would discuss any purchase that was going to be over $50. Yeah. We would plan out things that we were trying to save money for and we just haven't been doing that lately and it hurts us. Yeah. And so we're gonna get back into that, we're gonna discuss be on the same page with each other on things that we want to spend money on. Needs versus wants. Yep, that's a big one. What we're trying to save for. Okay so we're done with our questions but I do have one more question that I wanna answer so that those listening know. Okay. So, we're writing this book Marriage After God, and we are dedicating a whole chapter to finances, and how it's foundational to a marriage after God, and I just wanted you to share a little bit about that before we close out. It is. There's a few things that are on the top of the list that cause divorce and destruction in marriages and it's sex and money. And so, if we don't have a sober Biblical mindset of money, if we don't understand what it's for, if we have the wrong perspective and relationship with money, it will destroy us. And we experienced that, and this is not just having it or not having it. This is whatever money you have what your relationship with it is. And even if you don't have money, what's your relationship with pursuing it. Because the Bible talks about not pursuing wealth or not toiling to pursue wealth. It says be wise enough to desist, right? It tells us that we can't serve God and money. Jesus talked more about money than he did about other things. Money is important to God. There's a wrong perspective that verse that says money is the root of all kinds of evil. But, it doesn't actually say that. See that's a wrong understanding of money. It's the love of money it's the root of all kinds of evil. And so having the correct biblical mature relationship with money and how when we have that, it becomes a tool, a powerful tool in the life of a marriage after God, in a marriage that's wanting to see God's Kingdom grow and their marriage be used for his purposes. Because then he can trust us. Yeah. The Bible tells us if you are faithful with the little you will be faithful with much. And so that's why we have a whole chapter in the book dedicated to finances and money and our relationship with it, and how we're suppose to view it and think about it and use it, and it's foundational, and if you just think money's not important as in a topic to consider and to truly evaluate in your life it's gonna control you versus you controlling it. Or maybe you know that money is a source of contention in your marriage, and you guys aren't being one. That is just a red flag that it is time to get on the same page. Go for a date night, talk about strategies on how you guys can organize your finances, and then commit to implementing the things that you discuss, and we're not perfect at this. Like we just said, we just went on a date night to talk about how we're out of sync right now and we need to refocus and just move forward in oneness and in unity when it comes to our finances. So that's really good. This isn't' just financial advice so that we can be wealthier and happier and all that. The point is the money and the resources God's given us, he desires for us to invest into his Kingdom. Now that looks a bunch of different ways, but he wants us to think that way. Like oh, my money and the things that God's given me are not just for my own benefit. They are for our benefit, but they're for the benefit of what he has given it to us to use for in growing our families, taking our families in generosity, in building the Kingdom through supporting missionaries or building an orphanage or adopting a child or whatever it is. Yeah. The money's for that. Yeah. For those things, the things that God's called us to not for our own pleasures. Now, we do get to enjoy all good things that God gives us. Right. But if that's our own focus, we're in the wrong place in the first place. So, yeah that chapter is an important one. Yeah. We actually been editing it right now. We're working on it right now. Well, thank you guys so much for joining us this week on money and finances. Yeah. We hope that we gave you a little bit of insight into just the conversations that you guys can be talking about it with each other. We hope that you have an incredible week, and we'll see you next time. [Aaron Smith] Did you enjoy today's show? Find many more encouraging stories and resources at and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

 Let's Talk About Social Media And Marriage | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:37:16

We haven't figured out how to perfectly navigate social media in our marriage and family which is why we wanted to talk about this subject today. We talk about a few strategies to build healthy habits with social media in our home and we will talk about areas that we struggle with social media. We think it is time to start evaluating how social media is affecting our families and daily lives. There is a lot of good that can come from social media but there is a lot of unhealthy things as well. Aaron gets personal and shares his own addiction to social media we share stories of things our kids have told us because of us being on our phones in front of them and we both share how we can be better at how we engage with it on a daily basis. “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything." 1 Corinthians 6:12 -- Take our 31-day marriage prayer challenge today and join the 1000's of couples who have done it. -- FOR MORE MARRIAGE ENCOURAGEMENT SHOP MARRIAGE RESOURCES FOR WIVES FOR HUSBANDS READ: - Hey, we're Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God. Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage. And today we're gonna talk about social media and your marriage. Hey, thanks for joining us today. As usual we want to invite you to subscribe to our channel so that you're notified each time we upload a new episode. So I brought up today's topic to you and I said, "Hey, we should talk about social media." Not because we've conquered this beast, or have figured it all out, but more so because we're in the midst of trying to figure it out with having kids and seeing the impact in our family life using social media, not that our kids are using it but how we use it and they notice, but also using it for work and things like that, I just felt like it's an important conversation to have. So I thought, hey, we'll bring up the topic today, and those listening can maybe further the conversation in their own marriages at home because chances are they either want to be talking about it, or they've already been talking about it. Yeah, and a big part of us doing this podcast is to start the discussion in our own home. We've talked about it in the past, and we've tried implementing things, so we're gonna bring up some strategies, and things that we're still struggling with. And hopefully, we can find more healthy habits when it comes to social media, especially in a world where everyone's doing it. It's like social media is just a part of life right now. We were discussing before we started the podcast, when we were talking about the notes, that we grew up in a world that social media like didn't exist and then boom! Social media was everywhere, and there was no training for it, there was no preparation for it, there was no studies on it. It just was, and I also grew up, I don't know about you, but I didn't have a cell phone until I was like 18. Yeah, I was like 18, 17 or 18. But now every single person has a cell phone. Every single kid has a cell phone, and every cell phone is a smart phone, and it's got social media on it. And I think it's just about time that we start evaluating our home life and our use of social media, and the potential dangers of it for our marriages, for our kids, for our health. And just so those listening know, when we're talking about social media, I think everybody uses it in maybe a little bit different way, but it can be-- Or all of it. Or all of it, yeah, some people use one platform, some people use all of them. But we're talking about Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest. Twitter, YouTube. Snapchat, LinkedIn, there's so many. Snapchat, there's a bunch we don't even know about that people use. Yeah, YouTube, did you already say that? Yeah, YouTube, yeah. And so those are all just different avenues that we can have social-- Connections. Connections online, and it's become a way of life, but the question is how are we approaching it in our homes, in our marriages, and what's healthy, what's inappropriate, and I think we should talk about all of those things. Yeah, and I don't want this episode to seem like a downer because it's not. There's a lot of good that comes from social media. Obviously, we've been able to share ministry online in this way and so there's a lot of good that comes from it. A lot of relationship building, a lot of connection and healthy connection through using social media, and I think a lot of people using it would attest to that, but I think they also would agree that there are some negative sides and cons that we need to figure out. Yeah, and I want to start with a scripture just to give us an idea about this because it's not like we're saying social media is bad, you need to just get rid of it, no. For some of you that might be the case. We've had friends that just got rid of their social media accounts and just totally checked out, logged off. Yeah, or at least for a season they did, yeah. But the idea is to have a biblical perspective, a right perspective, a healthy perspective, a sober mentality about social media, so this is in 1 Corinthians, chapter six and it's verse 12. Paul is saying this. He says, "All things are lawful for me, "but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful for me, "but I will not be dominated by anything." And so this idea of yeah, as Christians, we have this freedom in Christ. This isn't necessarily bad, it's not a bad thing. May be lawful for us, but is it beneficial? May not be lawful for us but are we being dominated by it? And so those are some questions we can ask ourselves and it just helps us look at it and be like okay, may not be a bad thing but are we in control of it or is it controlling us? And so this is just one little bit of scripture that Paul gives us to have a better mentality to be approaching this with. So why don't we share just like a general overview of like where we're at with social media? Yeah, our life? Yeah. Yeah, because we're never on social media. Never. No, actually what's funny is social media is a part of our job, right? Which we, I often use as an excuse. I do too. Why I'm on social media. It's definitely one of those justifiers like, well, I have to do this. Yeah, like I need to keep up, I need to make sure that I'm watching what's going on and responding to people. Because we do legitimately use social media for our ministry online. Everyone that's watching and listening to this episode probably found out about it through social media, so it's definitely important to what we do but it's not everything we do. And so right now I would say I personally definitely have an unhealthy relationship with social media. I would just say that outright. It's actually something I'm currently, I was literally just laying in bed last night, praying about it. Oh, really? Yeah. So it's something that needs to be dominated by me and not dominating me, as that scripture in 1 Corinthians says. Yeah, that's good. And so it's something that I'm trying to adjust and figure out. I can definitely tell that I've got an addiction to it. Like I said, we grew up in a generation where social media just came out of nowhere and we weren't trained, we didn't have parents that grew up with it and said oh, you know, limit face time, limit screen time, limit all this stuff, and we didn't have any of that so it just happened. There's something about that infinite scroll where you just like, I don't know about you but-- Mindlessly scrolling? Yeah, sometimes I stop myself and I'm like what am I doing? I'm not even looking at what I'm scrolling through, I'm just addicted to the scroll. Yeah, like what's next, what's next? There's this, there is actually those pleasure hormones being released when you're on the internet. Studies have shown that it can be addictive. They haven't done enough studies on it but they're doing more and more and they're finding that it's social media itself, social media use is being tied to mental health and depression and anxiety and we can see that on a small level because there's times that we see someone else's life. We're like oh, that's nice. Get stuck in comparison. Yeah, which absolutely if we do that day-to-day and like if we don't have a healthy relationship with the Lord or with our family, like that could just fuel a fire that doesn't need to exist. But where I'm at is I definitely am on social media way too much and the reason I know that, because I can easily justify and say well, I need it for work and I need to be on. You know, yeah, it's unfortunate that I need to be on so much but some examples I can give you and you could probably pull out some examples too, being on the phone doing nothing, just mindlessly scrolling when I should be hanging out with my kids. When I'm supposed to be working, mindlessly scrolling. Like in bed next to you at nights when I could be with you or talking with you or being intimate with you or having a conversation or whatever, I'm scrolling. Okay, so can I share a story real quick? I just thought about this. I wasn't going to share it but 'cause I didn't know until you just said that. If I don't like the story, I'll cut it. Okay. But just go ahead. So the other day, it was probably like two weeks ago now I think, I was walking out to the car and you were already in the driver's seat waiting for me and you were looking down and I knew you were on your phone. Because I'm always on my phone. Well, yeah. And I got in the car and I remember saying hey, can I tell you something and you're all "What?" And I'm like, well, I used to really like it when I'd be walking out to the car and you'd be watching me because I would try and do something funny like dance or make a funny face or just knowing the fact that you're watching me walk out to the car, there was something, I don't know, reassuring and loving about that. Well, I think you're missing it 'cause you know, now you're recognizing it existed and now it doesn't. Exactly and so now there's even times where I go to dance or go to do something and I realize you're not looking at me and so then I feel kind of foolish but then I feel sad. Which is really sad. And I just remember telling you that I like it when your eyes are on me and I think that's one of the detriments to social media is our heads are always down, the eye contact is lost, and we miss those little opportunities or moments to be with each other even if we're walking to the car. I know it sounds silly but-- Well, it's ironic it's called social media. I feel like it's antisocial media, it's like-- Disconnection. Yeah, we have less real connections in life and I have a bunch of friends on Facebook. You know, oh, so many people liked my comment and my wife sitting next to me not liking what I'm doing. You know? It's really unfortunate. And this is us really talking about what we're dealing with. How are you, what's your relationship with social media right now? I would definitely say that I spend too much time on it and that's after cutting out, like being aware and trying to cut those times out so that I'm not on it as much. And having four children now, I am recognizing that my time is limited and very valuable and so I've been trying the last couple weeks to leave my phone in the bedroom during the day when I'm with the kids so that I'm not even on it but I still find myself looking for it or going back to it and bringing it out, asking one of the kids to go get it for me. But one of the biggest things that I've tried to implement recently was when I had Truitt, I had the baby. And with all my past babies while nursing, I would scroll on social media 'cause it was like downtime. I don't know why I just saw it as like this time where I have a free hand, the baby's nursing, everyone's fine, I could just scroll. Yeah, like what's the big deal? Yeah, what's the big deal? But with this-- When people used to read books and like learn something new or... Yeah, I'm just mindlessly scrolling. But I realized very quickly that with this experience with nursing, it's been incredible. I haven't had any like pain or hardship with nursing and so I've really enjoyed it, so I found myself not picking up my phone and then making that a more intentional thing, so now every time I go to nurse-- Like watching the baby, talking to him. Yeah, I keep my phone away from me and I look at him, I make eye contact with him, and I feel like there's this connection that needs to be there especially with nursing moms. And so that's just been a huge encouragement to me and a recognizing of I need to stay off my phone more. Yeah, another example of why it's probably super unhealthy, our relationships with our phones, is when we don't have our phones, the anxiety we feel. Yeah, that's a problem. Where, I don't have my phone. Where is it? Okay. Where is my phone? I think I do that every single time we get in the car. No, you do this. You're like, Aaron, I think I left my phone in the house and I go inside the house and I come back, you're like nope, it was in my pocket. It was in my pocket, I'm fine. It's happened like 100 times. Sorry. You're so kind to always go back and-- I know, I go look for it, I'm like it's not where you said it was. And you're like, oh, it was in my jacket pocket, I'm so sorry. But yeah, those anxieties you're feeling. And I bet everyone that's listening has experienced that. Like oh, where's my phone, or mindlessly scrolling. Like it's a common thing now. I almost feel like if we didn't do it, like if we just turned our phones off, right, I know we would go through withdrawals because I felt it before when we tried going like no technology for a day. It's hard. But we'd be weirdos. What? Yeah, because you'd go hang out with friends and all your friends are gonna be on their phones and you'd be like hey guys, you want to talk? Okay, this has happened to me before and I remember looking around going, okay, I guess I'll just go on my phone. Because everyone else is. Everyone else is. Oh, so I want to give an example. You just brought something to memory. Yeah, the one that just happened? Yeah, it just happened. So we have a really good friend over and she's, we haven't seen her in a while either, and she's talking to us about something, she's just telling us a story. This is why it's so bad, I don't remember what she was talking about. She's telling us a story and I'm on my phone. I didn't even realize I was on my phone. And I heard myself going huh, yeah, yeah. And she stopped and she said "Am I just talking to myself?" And Jennifer was on her phone. No, I wasn't. You weren't listening though. I was with the baby on the couch. Yeah, but I think you were looking down or something. I was not zoned in, yeah. But I was on my phone and Jennifer was like focusing on the baby or something and she just stopped and she said "Am I talking to myself right now?" And she was very kind about it and kind of funny and I looked up and I was all oh my gosh, I'm really sorry. I put my phone down, turned it off, pushed it away. Don't you just want to throw it away at that point? I felt like a jerk. You're just like let's just set this thing on fire. She was literally standing right next to me and I couldn't even listen to her. And I hadn't seen her in a while and it was so disrespectful. How often does that probably happen and people don't say "Am I just talking to myself?" They probably just move on and feel like not valuable. Yeah, Simon Sinek did a TED Talk. I was gonna bring this up. Was it TED Talk or was something else? It was some sort of viral Facebook video. And it was so convicting. And he was just saying, he's like the moment you pull your phone out. Even if you're not on it-- You're telling everyone in your presence that they're not as important. And it's so true. And I know like the feeling I had when she said "Am I talking to myself right now?" Because she literally was talking to herself. I was ignoring her and I was standing right next to her. And how many times has that happened with our kids? Yeah, okay, you gotta tell them the story with Elliott. I didn't want to point the finger at you. Guys, we have a bunch of really sad stories when it comes to social media because of how bad it is and this is why we're talking about it. But this is how people feel. Like people feel this way, kids feel this way, so share. Elliott's five. Go ahead. He's five years old and I don't even know, was it while he was five? Yeah, it was this year, you were outside. I'm outside and I walk out there and he's playing and he always wants me to play with him. And I have my phone in my hand of course and he just he goes, man, kids have a way of like stabbing you right in the heart. So he's like "Dad, what do you love your phone more than me?" And that was a legitimate thing he said and it wasn't like he'd ever heard someone say that before. That was hims telling me like hey, I'm right here and you're on your phone, what are you doing? Like I want you to play with me. That was a wake up call for both of us. I don't know why my son has to be so intrinsically like thoughtful, like the way thinks and he's just got a way of being, he's super intelligent. And I looked at him and I said no. I said of course not but Elliott, you're right, there's no reason why you would think otherwise. And I put my phone down. I said of course I love you more than my phone and I'm gonna work on not being on my phone in front of you. And so just we're not getting to our strategies yet but one of the things that we've done is we've told our kids that they're allowed to tell us to get off our phones. Yeah, well, because we're-- Dad, get off your phone. We're like in training as parents. We're like trying to figure this out. Yeah, we have to figure out how to rightfully and correctly and soberly use our phones. Because social media is not bad but it's bad. And we have to know that we're setting an example for their hearts. Like how are they gonna feel as they grow up when they get their phones? They're gonna remember mom and dad are even still always on their phones and I don't want to be like that. I don't want to be that way. And it's bad. So because of these kind of events that have happened, we're becoming more aware of it and we have got to figure something out. It's got to be fixed, like we've got to put our phones down. And we've tried making rules like not having our phones on us when we're around the kids or not having them in our bed. You know, we've dropped the ball on a lot of those just because of how connected we've been to social media. But I am, as sad as these intimate moments have been with these people that we absolutely love, I feel like they've been wake-up calls for us and I feel like that is what's starting the change. And I'm glad that you're willing to share some of those stories because I feel like people listening will hear those and think, oh man, does my child feel that way or does my friend think of me this way? And maybe they just haven't said anything. And maybe that would be-- Well, lots of people feel that way. I know even though I do it, I feel that way when someone does it to me. I'm like hey, I'm like are we talking, what's going on? Are we gonna be on our phones? Something that we've kind of incorporated within the group of friends that we have is saying who you hanging out with right now? Yeah. And it's like this cue of like, hey, we're all doing something together and you're on your phone. Are you hanging out with your phone and people on social media, or are you hanging out with us? Are you being present? And so it's like our cue to like, oh no, I'm not hanging out with anyone, put it away. Sorry, I'm hanging out with you guys. You guys can use that if you want. Yeah, that's a little tip for your friends. Yeah, who you hanging out with? Just a little vocal reminder of like get off your phone and hang out with us. We know some people that have done like phone baskets where everyone puts their phones in but we haven't done that but I know other people have. Yeah, okay, so moving on. Do you have any stories of like social media and specifically our relationship and maybe how it's caused some either tension in our relationship or temptation for sin? Well, yeah, like I've struggled with pornography my whole life and social media didn't make that any better. Gave more access. It gave me more access to things and it's still a danger and can have temptations involved with it, but I don't give in to those temptations now. But one of the things that has always been hard is like you would be on my, 'cause we have access to each other's phones, you just knowing like oh, he's following that girl or who's that or who's that? And just the things that you would see might make you feel insecure. And then I remember for a while, there were certain people that you would follow and I would ask you like why are you following that person? And we had a good conversation about it a while ago. What was that about? So yeah, there's this girl that I was following and I was following her because I liked her lifestyle and I liked how she looked. It was all vanity in my opinion but I didn't realize that I was even doing it. And I don't know if I was talking about her or he looked over my shoulder and saw that-- I think I looked over, you were in bed scrolling through her feed. Scrolling through her feed and you just asked me like, well, can I ask why you're following her? And that was the first time that I had to stop and consider why I was following someone and really think about it. And I wanted to really think about it because I thought it was an important question. And I thought, you know what, I was even honest with you. I said I don't know why I keep going back to her feed but I'm jealous of her. I think she's really beautiful, she has a beautiful family, they go on these vacations. Did you feel like you'd coveted like what she had? I did, I did. And I would often go back especially in times where I felt discontent or whatever and I don't know why it made me feel better just to go look and see what is she up to? How is she happy? And I remember after telling you that, you said you should evaluate whether you should be following her or not. And after that, I decided not to follow her and it's actually been healthier for my heart. Yeah, not that that woman was doing anything wrong. No, it wasn't her fault, it was my own heart condition and I had to check it. Yeah, and there's a lot of things that we do. Like so something that I've made a commitment to on my social media and I told you about this is I went through and I unfollowed every girl. Not that any of them were immodest or anything like that but I just, I made a decision. I said there was first of all no reason I needed to be following any girls. That was just for me personally. Like if it was a friend of ours, right, because I even unfollowed our friends, I followed usually their husband. And if there was something that I needed to see, you followed them and you'd be like hey, so-and-so did this, did you see that? Or you could share it with me. But I just realized, I evaluated like why am I following certain people, which this goes back to how social media is developed and evolved and what it's convinced every single person of. It's convinced us that if we don't like someone or follow someone, then we must not be friends with them. Right? When I have a lot of friends outside of social media that I don't follow on social media and I actually have great relationships with them. Do you feel like it forces you to stay in communications in other ways with them? Yeah, I mean-- Like better ways? In some ways, but again like the women, I wouldn't contact them privately. Oh, right. So why would I be following them privately? So I got to, I just realized, I evaluated who am I following and why am I following them? You know, is it actually adding benefit to my life? Do I need to be following them? Like I like to follow family and some friends and to see what's going on their life because I can't keep up with them all the time, which is totally fine. So I unfollowed all the girls on both Facebook and Instagram. You've been through there. You've seen there's no girls anymore. And in reality, I didn't need to. If I needed to know something about a friend of ours' wife, you'll let me know. And usually I don't need to know, thanks, it doesn't matter. But that's just one thing that I did and that was something I did for myself and also something I did for you 'cause I was like I don't need my wife feeling insecure about anyone I'm following. Not that you are trying to be insecure or that you're jealous but doing those things inadvertently do cause those situations. And I'll be honest, knowing that you've struggled with pornography in your past, knowing that you had social media accounts was in itself an insecurity because I would always question what are you doing? Who, why? And that was hard for me for a really long time but regaining that trust with you and seeing that you haven't been with that struggle for a very long time now, that we've rebuilt that. And so I'm not as insecure. But you've also seen me make decisions with social media that match that purity. Like you having access to it, me showing you, me talking about it, me not messaging people privately, me not following girls at all. Those are just fruit of the way I'm walking in. It's my way of protecting myself because if I know I'm prone to something, I'm like, well, I should avoid that, right? And so trying to find those healthy boundaries. But again, even on the not being tempted with the lustful stuff, I still struggle with the scrolling. Which could be just as destructive, you know. Yeah, okay, so in talking about social media, one thing that you really wanted to touch on was idleness. We both have struggled with this at times and so-- Right, it lines up with the idea of just mindless scrolling. So the word idle, a lot of times we usually define that as like doing nothing, right? But it's actually broader than that, it's more than that. It's doing something that's meaningless or doing something that's fruitless, right? So it's not just like sitting in your chair doing nothing. That's not necessarily being idle. Being idle is doing things that are worthless. So filling up your time with things that don't matter. With busyness, right? And so in Proverbs 19:15, it says "Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, "and an idle person will suffer hunger." So there's just this idea of like, the Bible talks a lot about laziness, a lot about idleness, a lot about slothfulness, and this idea that like don't be unwise, a foolish lazy idle person. And there's another scripture I'll get into. But it says an idle person will suffer hunger, right? Now we can look at that and just on the practical reality side, an idle person that's filling their time up with nothing, like I'm just doing hobbies. Well, I need time for my hobbies. They're not gonna be productive, they're gonna, you know. We live in a city that is known for its adventure sports and we always hear about like during the summer, people calling in sick because they want to go bike riding. Or in the winter, people calling in sick because they want to go snowboarding. And that to me is idleness. Eventually someone who has an attitude of that is just gonna get fired, right? So just on the practical side, being idle is not gonna produce income, right? You're gonna be lazy, you're not gonna have a job. But the other kind of hunger I think of is the word, right? An idle person that's filling up their time, me, and this is what I've been struggling with is I'm scrolling, scrolling, scrolling. Then I realize, I'm like why did I just sit here for 20 minutes scrolling when I could've been in the word of God? I could have been praying. That's good. I could have been spending time with you. So the hunger, I look at on a whole 'nother level of like spiritual and emotional and physical, right? You know I hunger for time with you and yet I don't give you time. That's really good, babe. So I look at the the depravity and the danger of idleness and that could be what social media is for many people. I know it is for me and I'm just confessing that, that I can find myself being idle and I'm recognizing it now. Now I go in the bedroom, I'm like oh, I'm gonna read my Bible, I bring my Bible and I bring my phone in too. And then you get a notification, ding. And like I just gotta quickly, ding. And then like 30 minutes went by and like what did I just do? I just wasted my time. So the next scripture is also in Proverbs. It's in Proverbs 31 and this is talking about the Proverbs 31 woman, right? But it's just another way of describing what I'm talking about. 31:27. "She looks well to the way of her household "and does not eat the bread of idleness." Right, so we go back to like a Proverbs 31 woman looks well to her home and doesn't eat the bread of idleness, right? Which is funny 'cause the last one talked about hunger and this is saying you're eating the bread of idleness, like idleness is a food you're eating but it actually gives you no sustenance. That makes sense in what you were sharing and how it's not that you're just sitting there not doing anything, you're doing some-- It's an activity you're doing. You're eating something, it's just not filling you with nutrients. Right, and so in this situation for this woman who's trying to manage her home well and bless her husband and her children. Are you hinting at me? No, well, maybe. This is for both of us, right? I know, I know. You know, she is sacrificing the health and well-being of her home for nothing. That's literally what she's doing. That's insanity. It's crazy. It's crazy. So we just want to like look at these and say okay, are we being idle? Is this fruitless? Is it taking away from my relationships, my relationship with God? Is it's getting in the way of my relationship with my children? And those are some serious questions we can ask ourselves about social media. It's something that I'm asking myself currently, something that I'm praying about regularly, and I'm trying to make changes in. And so maybe what we can go into is some of the strategies that we've implemented, some that we want to implement, just to give like a good idea because the people that are listening and watching might want them because I'm sure that they deal with this too. We just live in social media-ville. It's like life right now. It's true. Okay, so one of the first ones that we started out doing when we first got on Facebook was we share passwords and we're very transparent with giving each other access to each account. And this is just a good overall, being one in your marriage and protecting each other is access. Like my wife knows that she can get on my phone, we have the same password for our phones and for our computers. She can look through my search history, she could be on my phone, she can see whoever I'm following, she can see things I've liked, she has access. Now we've had marriages and people say I don't need to do that, they just need to trust me and blah blah blah. Like they take it to a negative level. That's fine, you want to be that way, go ahead. I'd rather be safe. I'd rather my wife feel like she can trust me, I'd rather my wife. Now you almost never even check. No, but in the past there has been moments where I'll see something that triggers this curiosity of like do I trust you and what are you guys talking about? And I'll click on stuff or visit and then turns out it was nothing and that affirms me. And yeah, I'm at the point now where I don't really need to check in but-- And the goal even if you did-- But I know that I can. Even if you did check in, the goal shouldn't be to see if I'm wronging you. The goal should be to see if I'm sinning because you are my wife and you're my helper. And the advice for us, I shouldn't be checking because I'm like jealous and I want to make sure that you're not talking to anyone. I'm checking to see if you're being safe and my whole goal would be to reconcile with you and to help you walk in purity and vice-versa, right? Not because I just want to see if I'm being wronged here. And so sharing passwords and giving access and verbally giving access, meaning hey, if you ever want to grab my phone. Our pastor does this often. To the men, he's like you have access to my phone. Like he wants the other men to be accountable or him to be accountable to us and he just says if you want to look at my phone, go ahead. I mean, that's what's good about being a part of a good community. So what's the next one? Another one is talking about your experiences on social media, so this is kind of a two-parter. So it'd be like, hey, I saw so-and-so on Facebook say this or do this, did you see? Or you know, just inviting each other into those spaces. So the other part of this is sharing your experiences from social media and feelings that you have because of it. If you're wrestling with insecurities or comparison or-- Or getting mean messages from people. Yeah, are you talking to your spouse about those things and are you inviting them into that space and just talking about it? Yeah, so being open and transparent with your experience with social media so that it's an open conversation, that's good. So what's the next one? So another one is permission to ask questions. This is one that I feel like you're really good at, that we're both really good at in our relationship and it has helped protect our marriage and protect our hearts. And that's just, you know, asking those hard questions. When you asked me why are you following so-and-so, that's a hard question and it made me really consider why. Yeah, and when you're asking the questions, is that before you ask the question on both parties, the husband and the wife, ask yourself why you're asking the question. Are you asking because you're insecure yourself or you're jealous or you're fearful, or you're asking because you actually are interested in the well-being and the purity and the holiness of your spouse? Which doesn't mean if you feel those other things, don't not ask it, it means reconcile first and say okay, I'm feeling a certain way, I need to let them know that. Hey, I just saw you looking at such-and-such and actually I'm feeling a little insecure right now and I want to know why you are following that person or why you were looking at that. And we've had couples, we've had wives and husbands talk on both sides, say hey, my husband just won't stop following these girls that I've asked him not to follow. And he says why, they're friends from school, it's not a big deal. Wives following old boyfriends and vice versa. So there's got to be an openness not only for the questioning but also a permission to be like hey, I actually would appreciate if you didn't follow so-and-so. And that's one of the other ones was being willing to delete those relationships that are just really unnecessary. Because your marriage is the most important thing. Yeah, and here's a good warning sign. If we're being defensive about unfollowing someone on social media, there's a problem. There's a problem. Because guys, it's social media. Unfollowing someone and unliking someone's page and not seeing their posts online does not make you not like that person. Doesn't mean that you don't have a relationship with that person. Now if the only relationship you have is online, then all the more, why is it a big deal? So if there's a defensiveness welling up like what's the big deal, you need to ask yourself why you're being defensive. That's really good. Like why are you trying to protect this social media thing over here versus your spouse who has a concern? So recently I've been telling the kids when they're arguing over a toy or just upset at each other, I always tell them that toy is not more important than your brother's heart. It's true. And so I just think about that in context to marriage and social media and just think like social media is not more important than your spouse's heart. It's not. Guys, marriages existed for thousands of years without social media. It's probably better off without it. Right? So we just remember that social media is, if we're getting defensive, there's probably an addiction there to the platform itself. There's probably some sort of connection to whoever you're being asked to stop following. You got to ask, you got to pray through those things. You got to ask yourself why am I being defensive with that? Another way that we've been really good at protecting our marriage through social media is whenever someone messages me that is a man, I'll usually say please contact at Husband Revolution and I'll tag you right away. Or if it's a friend of ours, we'll just tag each other in that message so that everyone's a part of it and there's transparency there. Yeah, we haven't been perfect doing this every single time but again we talk about things so if someone messages me that's a friend of ours, I'll let you know. Hey, so-and-so messaged me, just want you to know. And so there's an openness there. We have a pretty straightforward rule on just not having private communications with the opposite sex online. So you know, I get people, being on social media, being a social media ministry, I get women all the time messaging me and I usually give very short answers or no answer at all, right? So there is no long-term communication. If they ask for advice, I don't give advice. Just say oh. So one thing I'll answer and this is an example, just so you know. Someone will ask like what Bible version I use. I use ESV. Yeah, really like to the point. Yeah, there's no conversation, there's no, okay, cool. If you want to know more, message Unveiled Wife. And so very short or no answer at all and that's just kind of where I've landed the plane on not getting myself in trouble. Yeah, nope, same here. Okay, so the last one that I have on here is be willing to put it away, whether that's a season of like not logging in or if it's just a daily hey, I'm gonna go put my phone away because I want to be with you, I want to be present with you, I want to be with our children, and be willing. Yeah, I think I would take that. So the willingness should be good, like this is another thing. We've given each other permission to say put the phone away. Which is hard because we get defensive, like what's the big deal? I haven't had, I've been on all day. Okay, okay, I don't sound just like that. And we're like fighting. I didn't say you did. You just told everyone you do. I know, I do, you guys. I get really defensive sometimes. We both do. You'll ask me to put it away and I'll be like I'm not. And then I recognize I'm being defensive and I'm like So giving permission to tell each other please put the phone away. But the willing to put it away part, I think it should go even further and we should be proactively putting our phones away, getting off social media. I think I need to be putting in the other room and not having access to it when I'm with the kids so that they don't see me picking up my phone and you know, oh, it's checking it. 'Cause I'm always checking it for no reason. Like there's nothing. And like I said, like Simon Sinek, you're just letting everyone in the room know that they're less important than your phone. It breaks my heart, you guys, it's so sad. Such a good quote. Actually the whole document, we should link to it. Yeah. So that's what we have for you guys today and, you know, we just want to remind you that a marriage after God is one that values their marriage relationship and like I said earlier, social media is not more important than your spouse's heart. Social media is not more important than your heart, Aaron. I know. And I want to treat you with that respect and love and concern and value. Ditto. And so from this day forward. Till death do us part from our phones. I promise to do a little bit better. -We are gonna work on it. We are. We have to work on it because I don't want my kids growing up feeling less than because of our phones. And I don't want to feel less than. I mean, I don't want you to feel less than, both. Yeah. The other thing a marriage after God should be willing to do is to evaluate these things and look at every aspect of our lives and say okay, what needs to be changed? What needs to be cut out? What needs to be destroyed, put away? And so social media might be that or at least needs to be re-evaluated and put into check, right? Which means as we wrap up this episode, go call your spouse or unless they're watching this with you, listening with you-- Yeah, watch this first and then put your phone away or your computer. Oh, 'cause they're on social media. My point is go have that conversation, go talk to each other about some of the strategies that you can implement that will help protect your marriage. Yeah. Alright, we thank you for joining us this week and we look forward to having you next week. Did you enjoy today's show? Find many more encouraging stories and resources at and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

 7 Traits of a Spiritual Leader | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:46:30

Spiritual leadership or spiritual headship in the home comes from the idea that God has designed marriage to operate in a certain order. His design when walked in actually comes with blessing and security. In this episode, we discuss what some of the traits of a spiritual leader are and what it can look like when they are walked in. -- Take our 31-day marriage prayer challenge today and join the 1000's of couples who have done it. -- FOR MORE MARRIAGE ENCOURAGEMENT SHOP MARRIAGE RESOURCES FOR WIVES FOR HUSBANDS

 Our Favorite Parenting & Marriage Resources - Part 2 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:26:06

Parenting resources have played an invaluable role in us navigate and grow into our role as Godly parents. There are a handful of parenting advice books and websites that transformed the way we saw parenting and discipling our children, we thought we would share them with you! In this episode, we share books, blogs, social media accounts to follow, and some insight into the power of our roles as mother and father. We also share a look at the some of the parenting resources we have created to inspire your prayer life for your kids. Here are all the links from our Favorite parenting books and resources we talked about in this episode. ***Books Large Family Logistics - ESV action Bibles- Rhyme Bible - Little Golden Books Rod & Staff Bible Stories - ***Audio & Video Jonathan Park - Ken Ham Answers In Genesis - Nest Entertainment - We Sing Songs - GA Henty audio adventures - Sing the Word from a to Z - ***Sites/apps The Bible app for kids The Bible Project -

 Our Favorite Parenting & Marriage Resources - Part 1 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:25:18

Marriages resources played an invaluable role in helping our marriage grow into what it is today. There are a handful of marriage books and websites that transformed the way we saw our marriage, our sex life, our way of communicating and so much more than we thought we would share them with you! Some of these resources helped us in our struggles with sexual intimacy, porn addiction, and parenting. In this episode, we share books, blogs, social media accounts to follow, and some insight into the power of real-life relationships. We also share a look at the some of the marriage resources we have created to inspire and lift up your marriage. It is crucial for the health of your marriage that you invest in your relationship by digging into resources that give you a fresh perspective that will challenge you to grow in the role that God has given you! Here are all the links from the helpful marriage books and resources we talked about in this episode. Books ESV BIBLE Aaron's Bible Jennifers Bible Experiencing God Study Wired For Intimacy No More Headaches Sacred Marriage You can get all of our books at Sites

 How People Pleasing Will Hurt You And Your Marriage and stop your ministry | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:32:49

Are you a people pleaser? People pleasing is a very common issue in many peoples lives including ours. Maybe we do it because we are insecure, or fearful of what others might think of us. Maybe we try and please people for selfish reasons, whatever the reason we do it we must realize that it is damaging and will hinder you from being able to truly minister to those in your life. in today's episode, we discuss the 3 reasons we believe people might be tempted to become people pleasers and where it comes from and how it can hurt our marriages and how it hurts our ministries. Resources -- Take our 31-day marriage prayer challenge today and join the 1000's of couples who have done it. -- FOR MORE ENCOURAGEMENT SHOP MARRIAGE RESOURCES FOR WIVES FOR HUSBANDS

 How To Work as a Team During Postpartum | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:41:34

The Postpartum season and any other time of trial or hardship can really rock a marriage. In this episode, we discuss our past experiences of postpartum and why this fourth time around was so different. We specifically address a decision we both made before the baby was born and how it impacted the wellness of the whole family during postpartum. Postpartum is a trying time as a husband and wife get disrupted with a new baby, crying, sleepless nights, pain, and a jolt in the day to day routines. However, we realized that being a team and working together is critical during this season. We talk about how selfishness and fairness cause bitterness and frustration, we talk about expectations, walking in the Spirit, and we talk about preparedness and how much that can really help the marriage during postpartum. Postpartum eCourse -- Take our 31-day marriage prayer challenge today and join the 1000's of couples who have done it. -- FOR MORE ENCOURAGEMENT SHOP MARRIAGE RESOURCES FOR WIVES FOR HUSBANDS

 11 Fall Date Ideas | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:17:56

Being creative with your weekly date nights can get difficult over the years. This is why we put together 11 date night ideas for you. :) Take our 31-day marriage prayer challenge today and join the 1000's of couples who have done it. FOR MORE ENCOURAGEMENT SHOP MARRIAGE RESOURCES FOR WIVES FOR HUSBANDS


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