Multitude of Counselors

My Grief Observed Part 1

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript



Series Code: MOC

Program Code: MOC170033A

00:27 Welcome to A Multitude of Counselors.
00:29 We're so, so thankful that you joined us today
00:31 for our program called My Grief Observed,
00:35 My Grief Observed.
00:37 Our guest today is Mike Tucker,
00:39 someone who is preaching I have enjoyed for many years,
00:42 and I have to say that
00:43 there's a certain warmth to the way he preaches
00:46 that makes me feel like
00:47 he has just hugged the entire congregation
00:49 with the love of a Father.
00:51 It's just something really special about it.
00:53 And the other thing is
00:54 that I could tell even before I knew factually
00:56 and had asked him that he had been in counseling
01:00 and not that you've been in counseling, sorry.
01:02 You know, both may be true. Yeah, exactly.
01:05 But that he was a counselor, and then that was, of course,
01:07 verified recently.
01:10 You know, counseling changes
01:11 the way you think and the way you are,
01:13 and you never see things quite the same
01:15 after you've counseled people, and that's true.
01:17 And it comes through in your preaching.
01:19 And I've been really blessed by it over the years.
01:21 And I'm sure that in the course of your ministry,
01:24 you have counseled many people through grief, true?
01:28 Yeah, absolutely.
01:29 I used to teach grief recovery
01:30 when I was working as a chaplain.
01:32 So, you know,
01:33 it's a topic that I was versed in academically,
01:36 obviously, and experientially as a counselor.
01:40 But when you go through yourself, it's interesting too.
01:43 And that's why we're calling it My Grief Observed.
01:45 And I just want to open with a couple thoughts.
01:47 There are many theories of grief
01:49 and probably the most popular is Elisabeth KA 1/4bler-Ross,
01:53 and she came up with the theory.
01:55 And by the way, she initially formulated her theory
01:57 for people who were dying.
01:59 Her book was called "On Death and Dying."
02:01 But they realized that it applied to people
02:03 that were losing people as well.
02:05 And she broke grieving down into five stages, denial,
02:09 anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
02:12 And I think there's some logic to that.
02:14 But people have objected to that
02:16 and any formula for grieving
02:19 simply because it isn't that tamable of an animal,
02:23 it cannot be, you know, corralled into distinct stages
02:28 as if it's a task on a list that you check off.
02:32 And that may be the very thing about grief
02:34 that kind of makes it special in a way
02:36 because it's so very inconvenient.
02:40 If you look at human life as something that's functional,
02:43 grief really has no function to it.
02:45 But that's the very thing about it that makes it...
02:48 It proves that we are made in the image of a God
02:52 who grieves.
02:53 And God grieves because God is love,
02:55 and you cannot truly love
02:57 without truly grieving someone you lose,
03:01 but that grieving is extremely inconvenient,
03:03 it serves no functional purpose,
03:05 you just do it because it's part of that love.
03:07 And we made in God's image also grieve
03:10 because it's part of the fact that we love.
03:12 And I know that you have a story
03:14 about your own story
03:15 of grieving of losing your wife recently.
03:18 And so I wondered if you could talk a little bit about that,
03:21 just give us the background and launch into the story.
03:23 Sure.
03:24 Gayle and I were married as I told you before,
03:27 40 years, 3 months, 13 days, and 3 hours.
03:29 Wait, wait, 40 years. Okay.
03:32 Three months, thirteen days, and three hours.
03:35 And it's amazing how, you know,
03:36 you take the time to count that up
03:38 when it's been that significant of a relationship.
03:40 She was, by far, my very best friend,
03:43 and the person with whom
03:45 I was most intimate emotionally,
03:46 spiritually every other way.
03:47 We shared ministry together, we traveled together,
03:50 we did everything together.
03:52 We had preached together, we wrote books together.
03:55 You name it, we've done television together,
03:57 all of it together,
03:59 95% of our time was spent together.
04:01 And so when she got sick which happened rather suddenly
04:05 because she was 60 years old
04:07 and still playing volleyball every week
04:09 diving across gym floors to dig a ball,
04:11 you know, I mean, she...
04:13 Incredible health.
04:14 And then boom, we had the first symptom,
04:17 which was actually symptoms of a stroke.
04:20 And what happened is she had pancreatic cancer
04:24 that was stage four, it already spread to the liver,
04:26 which created a symptom,
04:28 a condition they call sticky blood.
04:30 It created a clot in her thigh,
04:32 and every time one of those clots broke through,
04:33 it gave her a stroke,
04:35 which was the first inkling that we had
04:37 that anything was wrong with her at all.
04:39 Was it a real stroke or just looked like a stroke?
04:41 It was a real stroke
04:43 because the blood clot went to her brain.
04:46 And so she lost use of the right hand
04:49 for a time because of that.
04:50 Eventually, one stroke took away her sight,
04:53 she lost the ability to tell the difference by feel
04:56 between a wool sweater and a silk blouse,
04:58 so she just couldn't tell.
04:59 She knew she had something but couldn't tell.
05:02 And so the first symptom came on March 3,
05:05 we were in Vancouver, British Columbia
05:07 doing a "Mad About Marriage."
05:08 She made a presentation even that way in high hills
05:11 for 3.5 hours in the afternoon 4 hours.
05:14 No one could tell anything was wrong.
05:17 The next day on March 6, I got her back to Dallas.
05:21 And when we landed, I said,
05:22 "Which hospital do you want to go to
05:24 'cause you're not going home?"
05:25 And she told me, we went in, they took her directly into ER.
05:29 First, they diagnosed strokes,
05:30 and then 10 days later after a biopsy
05:33 and MRIs and CAT scans and hospitalizations,
05:36 they diagnosed a stage four pancreatic cancer
05:39 that had already spread to the liver.
05:41 And that was March 16, she died April 10.
05:44 Wow!
05:45 And so basically they told me to take her home
05:47 because there was nothing they could do.
05:49 And, you know, I've worked in the hospital settings
05:51 as a chaplain, and I knew that.
05:53 When you say pancreatic cancer, unless the Lord intervenes,
05:56 death is going to ensue.
05:58 And so I took her home.
06:00 And my job then was not only to work with family
06:03 in order to manage meds and symptoms
06:06 and keep her comfortable.
06:07 And by the way, she did never have to use
06:09 anything stronger than Advil or Tylenol
06:11 till she went into a final coma
06:13 like two days before her death, which was a blessing.
06:16 Really? It was a very real blessing.
06:17 But my job then was also
06:20 to manage the countless number of people
06:23 who wanted to come visit her.
06:25 Family, friends, long-term acquaintances,
06:28 and so did that...
06:29 I had the opportunity also to talk to her
06:32 about her impending death,
06:33 and she had no fear, none whatsoever.
06:35 I asked her if she was angry,
06:37 which is a typical thing that people go through.
06:39 She said, "Why would I be angry?
06:41 I've had 60 years of immaculate health
06:43 and some people never get a day.
06:45 I've had 40 years of a marvelous marriage
06:47 and wonderful ministry
06:48 and some people never know that."
06:49 She talked about her children, her grandchildren,
06:51 her extended family friends.
06:53 She said, "Should I be angry with God
06:54 because all of that lasted only 60 years and not 80?"
06:57 She said, "That seems to be ungrateful,
06:59 and I won't be ungrateful."
07:01 And that was her attitude.
07:02 It didn't surprise me that that was her attitude.
07:05 And that's how she died with that kind of comfort
07:07 and that kind of confidence in her Lord.
07:09 Mike, I'm just thinking how she ministered to you
07:11 at the very time.
07:13 Yeah. Yes, she did.
07:14 That she would try to minister to her.
07:16 Yeah, she did.
07:17 And I forgot to introduce my counselors here.
07:18 So let me do that just briefly this is Rob Davidson,
07:20 about to be a licensed counselor
07:22 from Maryland, true?
07:23 Yes. So glad you're here.
07:25 Nicole Parker, Biblical Counselor
07:27 and University Professor from Tennessee,
07:31 Southern Adventist University,
07:33 Paul Coneff, marriage and family therapist
07:36 from somewhere in Texas, I don't remember where.
07:40 Keene.
07:41 Keene, Texas. Keene, Texas.
07:42 We're neighbors almost. Oh, yeah, I guess.
07:44 So sorry, I didn't mean to break your flow here,
07:46 but I forget these important people.
07:48 You got to get that in there.
07:49 These are important people. Yeah.
07:50 But, no, you're right, she did minister to me.
07:53 It didn't surprise me though that her attitude
07:55 was what I just shared with you,
07:57 what surprised me is that
07:58 that had been my attitude because...
08:00 You were angry?
08:02 No, my attitude was the same as Gayle's
08:05 that it was no anger, there was gratitude.
08:08 And that's surprising
08:10 because anger was my go-to emotion
08:12 for most of my life.
08:16 In order to survive basically
08:18 because of my growing up situation,
08:20 anger became a part of my life experience,
08:23 and it was the thing that always saved me
08:25 until it got too heavy to carry and eventually...
08:27 Can you unpack that a little maybe?
08:29 Yeah.
08:30 When you live in a home of anger,
08:33 you respond with anger.
08:34 I see.
08:36 And you can either be super compliant, which says,
08:38 I'm wrong, I'm wrong, or you can be super anger,
08:40 which says, you're wrong and I deserve better.
08:43 And actually the anger
08:44 was a healthier response for me I think
08:47 because it said, I deserve better.
08:48 So you were defiant.
08:49 I was defiant.
08:51 Hard to believe. Yeah.
08:52 Well, you know, I have my moments hang around.
08:55 Okay. All right.
08:57 But, you know,
08:58 I've gone through another experience
09:00 of loss of a different nature earlier
09:02 and had to experience
09:03 a great deal of depression over that.
09:04 Really?
09:06 And I was probably depressed for about 13 years
09:09 until the irritant itself,
09:11 and it's too longer story to tell.
09:12 It was finally removed, it wasn't anything I had done,
09:15 it was a circumstance of a life that was unfair.
09:18 It had oppressed me and depressed me,
09:20 even though I was ministering and doing everything else
09:22 and functioning, I knew I was depressed.
09:24 But we're going to be really curious about that
09:25 because...
09:26 Yeah, of course, you are, of course you are.
09:28 It was some kind of nutshell version,
09:29 you know, we're counselors here,
09:30 we want to know the details.
09:32 Yeah.
09:33 We want to know more.
09:34 This is a financial loss that almost robbed me
09:36 that almost robbed me of my ministry.
09:37 And it was not something that I had done.
09:39 It was, again,
09:40 the circumstances are too long to tell here.
09:41 Yeah, convoluted story.
09:43 It was a convoluted story of something I had not done,
09:46 it didn't matter, I was culpable apparently,
09:49 and I've had a huge financial loss,
09:52 thought I was going to
09:53 not be able to minister ever again,
09:55 and I responded with anger.
09:57 And after this was finally removed,
09:59 my ministry was restored.
10:01 I did some soul searching and figured out
10:04 that the reason for my anger
10:06 was that I thought God had owed me better.
10:08 Entitlement.
10:09 Yeah.
10:11 And when I realize that I'd preached
10:12 against the fact that God owes us more...
10:13 Yeah, entitlement.
10:15 And yet I felt it,
10:16 I confess that it's a sin
10:18 and I ask God to make my preach theology congruent
10:20 with my lived theology.
10:21 Amen. Love it.
10:23 And when Gayle was announced as being terminal,
10:28 I had to thank God because He had done
10:29 what I asked Him to do.
10:31 I did not think that God owed me
10:33 more than what He had given,
10:35 I was grateful for what He had given me,
10:37 and anger has not been
10:38 a part of my grief experience at all
10:39 because of that I think.
10:41 Yeah.
10:42 I recognized, I've been blessed beyond measure,
10:45 blessed beyond measure.
10:46 So that foundational entitlement
10:48 just really sets you up
10:49 for a lot of ramifications of it.
10:50 Absolutely.
10:52 You know, feeling cheated, feel resentful, feeling anger
10:55 but if you can sort of
10:56 knock that foundational thing out,
10:59 then a lot of things fall into place.
11:00 Yeah. That's right.
11:02 Yeah. That's right.
11:03 And so we faced her death with a shared attitude.
11:07 Prior to her death, you know, I just told her,
11:10 "You know, what I've done as a chaplain is
11:11 I ask people to do life review
11:13 because it puts their life in perspective,
11:15 do you need that?"
11:16 She said, "No."
11:18 I said, "You're probably right."
11:20 I said, "All right, so what we're going to do?"
11:22 So she said,
11:24 "What I need to do is write letters
11:25 to each of our children and grandchildren."
11:28 So she couldn't do that, so I took dictation,
11:30 we finished those.
11:31 Can you tell us little about your family,
11:33 you know, how many kids?
11:34 I have two daughters, adult daughters,
11:35 one of whom is married.
11:37 So I have a son-in-law, two grandchildren.
11:39 And one of them is a counselor, right?
11:41 Yes, my younger daughter is a counselor.
11:43 It's in the blood.
11:44 It's in the blood. It's in the water.
11:46 The other daughter has started off as a teacher
11:48 and is now a preacher.
11:49 So, you know, again, it's in the blood
11:51 because Gayle and I both started off as teachers
11:53 and turned into preachers just like my older daughter.
11:57 Wow!
11:58 So she wrote these letters of goodbye to them
12:00 that I was supposed to send to them
12:01 six weeks after her death.
12:02 Yeah.
12:04 And then she said, "I need to write one to you."
12:05 And so that's going to be awkward
12:06 because I'm taking the dictation.
12:09 I said, "Besides, what are you going to say to me,
12:10 you haven't said every day for the last 40 years?"
12:13 She said, "Well, you may be right."
12:14 I said, "But out of curiosity, what would you say to me?
12:16 What would you say to me?"
12:18 If you did write this letter.
12:19 I said, "If you were going to write this letter
12:20 what you're going to say?
12:22 If you write the letter.
12:23 She said, "I would say, first of all, no regrets."
12:26 That's speaking of our marriage.
12:28 She knew that I would beat myself up
12:29 over my perceived mistakes in the marriage.
12:32 She said, "No regrets, no regrets."
12:35 And second thing she said was...
12:36 Did that means something to you?
12:38 Yes, it did. It did. Yeah.
12:39 Did it surprise you at all or...
12:40 No. No?
12:42 Because that's her and that was one of our mantras,
12:43 so to speak, our mottos for our marriage.
12:46 And maybe you were just awesome and didn't know it, you know?
12:48 Well, I know that I had to grow
12:50 into being a good marriage partner
12:52 because, you know, if you don't see it at home,
12:54 you have to figure out what that means.
12:57 But the good news is you can.
13:00 Yeah, you can grow, you can change.
13:01 I mean, it helps when you're formatted to love and beloved.
13:03 Yeah.
13:05 But if you didn't get that growing up,
13:06 but I think you did have a close relationship
13:07 with your mother.
13:09 My mother and I were very close.
13:10 Very close. Very close.
13:12 And she was just a sweetheart to me.
13:13 Yeah. And I learned a lot from her.
13:14 Yeah.
13:16 But the second thing she said was, "Live our life."
13:18 And to me that meant faith, family, and ministry,
13:21 those are the three things
13:23 because that had been the cornerstone of our life.
13:25 Our faith in Christ, our family...
13:28 So she was, kind of, commissioning you going forward
13:30 this is what I want you to do.
13:31 Yeah.
13:33 She said, "That's what I would say is live our life,
13:34 don't try to make big changes, this is who we are."
13:37 I mean, she realized that
13:38 context of ministry will change,
13:40 those kinds of things, details will change,
13:43 but ministry is a part of it faith, family,
13:45 and ministry were the things she told me.
13:47 Mike, you're speaking to
13:48 so many married couples right now
13:50 who need to hear this,
13:51 as well as people who might be grieving.
13:53 But this is beautiful.
13:55 Yeah. Yeah.
13:56 That was she saying, "Keep living."
13:58 Yeah, exactly.
13:59 And we had talked at earlier stages about
14:03 if one of us died with the other remarry.
14:06 And I said, "I don't know."
14:07 She said, "Yeah, you will."
14:08 I said, "Well, I don't know."
14:10 She said, "No, you remarry."
14:11 "Why?" She said, "You need a wife."
14:15 Guy like you can't even match your socks.
14:17 She knew that I needed that.
14:19 I didn't realize that.
14:21 After she died, at first,
14:22 I didn't think I would ever remarry
14:24 because what I have to...
14:25 What did she mean now?
14:26 What kind of need, like, just to function
14:28 or make your dinner or was it more?
14:29 No, it's deeper than that.
14:30 Although, obviously, I don't cook,
14:32 so I need someone to make dinner.
14:34 But, you know, I have enough income,
14:35 I can go to restaurants, and I can,
14:36 you know, things like that.
14:38 But that's not what she meant.
14:41 I think that men in particular find it difficult
14:44 to have intimate relationships, even guy friends,
14:48 there's not a level of intimacy
14:49 there with most of your guy friends,
14:51 you like each other, you care for each other,
14:53 but there's not a level of intimacy.
14:55 There's only one person on the planet
14:57 that I had that kind of intimate relationship with
14:59 and that was her,
15:00 and she knew that I couldn't live
15:02 without that kind of relationship.
15:03 I would need to find someone with whom I could have
15:07 an intimate relationship
15:08 otherwise I'm alone in the world.
15:10 I didn't realize that fully until about seven months in.
15:13 So women are more naturally capable
15:16 of forming relationships outside of marriage.
15:18 Yes.
15:19 But men, kind of, need that anchoring relationship
15:21 to keep their relational.
15:23 Gayle had deep relationships with her siblings, especially,
15:26 her sisters, deep relationships with girlfriends.
15:30 Yeah.
15:31 I mean, they could share almost anything.
15:33 I didn't have that with anyone, but Gayle.
15:36 That's the only person on the planet
15:37 that I had that with.
15:38 Really? Oh, yeah.
15:40 That was very wise of her.
15:41 Yeah, yeah.
15:43 You know, as a minister, first of all,
15:44 it makes you kind of fearful of being too vulnerable,
15:46 too open to people.
15:48 And so you have to learn vulnerability
15:50 and that takes some confidence.
15:51 You mean being a pastor makes it difficult to be open.
15:53 Yes.
15:55 Because you feel like people use stuff against you.
15:56 They will use it against you.
15:58 And you have to be willing to put up with that
16:00 if you're going to be open and vulnerable.
16:01 Or you think they'll use it against you,
16:02 it's not always that they will.
16:04 Not always. But they might.
16:05 Most people won't but some will.
16:07 It's true.
16:08 And when I stand up and I share intimate details of my life
16:10 before people now in the pulpit or on camera, I get emails.
16:13 Yeah.
16:15 Some of which are supporting and others of which are not.
16:16 Not so much. Not so much.
16:18 So vulnerability,
16:20 there's a price to be paid for it,
16:21 and most men know that.
16:23 The most intense negative emotion
16:26 that men typically experience is shame,
16:29 and to open your life up and to receive criticism,
16:33 multiplies the shame in.
16:34 I'm just wondering if these two gentlemen
16:37 have the same experience where it's tough for you
16:39 to get really close to someone other than your wife.
16:42 Is it easier for you to access that?
16:45 Is that pretty true?
16:46 I'm totally relating to what you said, Mike.
16:48 Yeah, it's not natural.
16:49 And also, I agree with Mike that
16:51 some people will be supportive
16:53 but there's always some people
16:54 they may wait six months or year
16:56 but something goes wrong,
16:57 and then they're going to turn around and say,
16:58 "You're doing this because of what you shared."
17:00 Yeah.
17:01 And so because you guys typically
17:03 occupy these positions
17:04 where you are spearheading something
17:06 or the head of something,
17:07 you're especially vulnerable to people
17:09 that will use your vulnerability against you.
17:11 Absolutely, absolutely.
17:13 What do you think about, like this is kind of off topic
17:15 but what do you think about the whole bromance phenomena
17:17 where guys like make these almost romantic,
17:20 they're not homosexual,
17:22 it's this phenomena where men are like
17:24 they make these overtures
17:26 of a friendship nature to each other.
17:28 It almost seems like pseudo-intimacy though
17:30 because it's very public, and I, kind of,
17:33 wonder if they carry that intimacy
17:35 into private relationships, you know, what not.
17:37 Are they really talking about heart to heart struggles?
17:40 Yeah. Yeah.
17:41 And like Mike mentioned shame, anger,
17:43 are we really talking about those kind of things
17:45 and how they impact our life.
17:46 I doubt, and I do think God made us
17:48 in His image male and female
17:50 and that we make unique contributions,
17:52 And I think women too are more wired relationally
17:55 and tend to civilize man in certain respects.
17:58 Yeah. Yeah.
17:59 So and again, I identify with what you're saying,
18:01 and I do think that the bromance
18:03 is more of a false intimacy not...
18:05 Men don't understand what intimacy means
18:08 until a woman shows them.
18:09 Yeah, yeah, in generally speaking.
18:11 In general terms and obviously that's a broad stroke.
18:13 Yeah, sure.
18:15 But that was true for me as well.
18:16 And I thought I was pretty open,
18:18 pretty intimate kind of guy
18:19 until I discovered true intimacy.
18:21 So was it Gayle that it was her she was the secret sauce
18:25 or was it just what you went through together
18:27 that enabled you to get to that level of intimacy.
18:29 I think it's a combination of all things.
18:30 I think women have a greater intuitive sense
18:34 of what intimacy should look like
18:37 and constantly working to build that.
18:39 Yeah.
18:40 And then our shared life experiences
18:42 of course adds to this...
18:43 Yeah.
18:44 And on and on it goes through all that together.
18:46 No one knew me like she did. Yeah.
18:49 She saw me in my most vulnerable
18:50 in my worst times, and she saw me in my best times
18:53 and chose to focus on the best.
18:54 Yeah.
18:55 You know, there was a level of intimacy and trust there
18:58 that I had never known before that was rich for me.
19:01 And finally, as I began to grieve about...
19:04 As a I mentioned about seven months in,
19:06 it dawned on me there was an event
19:07 that took place which...
19:09 When you say seven months in, you mean, into her...
19:10 Into my grief. Okay.
19:12 Because she wasn't six, seven months, you know.
19:14 She wasn't around for seven months.
19:15 No, so about seven months after her death
19:17 is when it began to dawn on me,
19:19 "I don't want to live this way."
19:21 And it wasn't suicidal it's just how
19:23 is the rest of my life going to look
19:25 'cause I've never even had suicidal ideations,
19:29 it's not a part of my DNA apparently
19:31 at least not to this point in my life.
19:34 But it was, "How am I going to live the rest of my life?
19:37 Do I want to live it like this?"
19:39 And the answer was no. Of being alone.
19:41 Yeah, being alone.
19:42 So can we save the second chapter
19:44 for the second segment
19:45 'cause I want to unpack that during the second segment?
19:47 Sure.
19:48 But I want to look more
19:50 at the intimacy building process
19:51 of your marriage.
19:53 How you got there
19:54 because there are so many married couples
19:56 that don't get there.
19:58 Can you give us a little bit about your Mad About Marriage?
20:01 Yeah, I think... I think you guys chime in.
20:02 I think that for me to find intimacy,
20:05 the first thing was to recover from any negative
20:07 from the past that means to acknowledge
20:09 what was negative in my past
20:11 and how that it impacted my life
20:12 and what I needed to do with it.
20:14 So I began dealing with my anger issues
20:16 early on in my marriage as I realized that that anger
20:19 though it may have served me well in certain circumstances
20:22 was too heavy to carry, and it would hurt my wife.
20:25 And I didn't want to be a source of pain for her.
20:26 Did you ever see her get hurt by your anger?
20:28 Oh, yeah.
20:30 And it would be through a quick word, an angry word.
20:33 Just like short temper.
20:34 Yeah, short temper, angry word or an attitude.
20:37 And when I saw the pain that caused her,
20:38 I realized I didn't want to do that to her.
20:41 I didn't want to be the source of pain for her.
20:42 I wanted to be the source of joy for her.
20:44 Because some people just get mad back
20:46 and that obfuscates the problem, you know,
20:48 compounds the problem.
20:49 Yeah. And that wasn't Gayle.
20:50 Gayle didn't do that.
20:52 Did she grew up in a home
20:53 where they just didn't handle...
20:54 She grew up in Father Knows Best,
20:56 does God.
20:58 You know, it was Christian Neighbors, Father Knows Best,
21:00 the old 50 sitcom.
21:02 It was an idyllic Americana, that's where she grew up.
21:04 Really?
21:05 Was Fat her Knows Best like he was an autocrat
21:07 or was it more like he was just kind of...
21:08 Oh, he was a loving Godly man.
21:10 Oh, yeah. Okay.
21:11 Grace filled, who loved his children,
21:12 they adored him.
21:14 Oh, wow.
21:15 And his wife adored him,
21:17 they had a wonderful relationship,
21:18 they raised their children to know Jesus.
21:19 That's amazing.
21:21 And it was an amazing home.
21:23 So she had certain tools that you didn't have.
21:25 Yeah, exactly.
21:27 She had seen a good relationship
21:29 up close and personal.
21:30 And she understood intimacy intuitively as a woman
21:33 and then experientially
21:35 from the standpoint of her home.
21:37 So she knew, kind of, where we needed to go.
21:39 I didn't know.
21:41 And as I began to humble myself
21:43 and realize I can learn from her
21:46 and dealt with my own stuff,
21:48 then as we experienced life together.
21:51 There are certain mottos that we established between us
21:55 in order to make this happen.
21:58 The first motto was my spouse
21:59 would never intentionally hurt me because...
22:02 I remember that.
22:03 Yeah, that's an important motto for me
22:05 because I looked up looking over my shoulder,
22:08 wondering where the next target was coming from.
22:09 Yeah.
22:11 And when I realized that she would never intentionally
22:13 be the source of that pain
22:14 that I could trust her with that,
22:17 then that meant if the God goes down.
22:19 So that was the first one.
22:20 And then we had a second one we called good will marriage.
22:23 And that is that I promised to what the best for her
22:26 and for our relationship and to believe
22:28 that she always wanted the best for me in our relationship.
22:31 You put the best construction on each other.
22:32 Exactly.
22:33 So if you had an off day,
22:35 you weren't monsterfied for that half day.
22:36 That's right. That's right. Yeah.
22:38 Everybody has an off day or an off moment,
22:40 but I realize that she would never intentionally hurt me.
22:43 And so if I feel pain, then I would simply say,
22:45 "I know you wouldn't hurt me on purpose,
22:47 but this felt this way to me.
22:48 Can you explain to me what's going on?"
22:50 So you have like a positive default
22:52 that you would go back to
22:53 if things didn't go quite right.
22:55 Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. That's powerful.
22:56 So that helped heal me and build trust in me,
23:00 and then as we experience life's ups and downs,
23:02 successes and failures, that grew the intimacy.
23:06 And I also saw that even through the bad times,
23:09 she held onto that motto for us, that mantra,
23:12 "I would never intentionally hurt you."
23:14 She was faithful with it in every turn.
23:15 It's beautiful.
23:16 Don't you find that like in marriages
23:18 there are narratives
23:20 and that people have these baseline narratives like
23:24 this is a disappointment
23:25 or this person has never been faithful to me
23:28 or there's no hope for this relationship
23:30 or this is a constant assault on my dignity or whatever.
23:34 And what we're seeing here, at least,
23:36 what I'm seeing is a positive narrative.
23:38 It's a positive redemptive narrative.
23:41 It doesn't mean that you don't have sin,
23:42 it doesn't mean that you don't have struggles...
23:44 No.
23:45 But it means that you have this basic positive narrative,
23:46 and it's just instructive to me because I can think of times
23:48 in my marriage where we haven't had a positive narrative
23:51 'cause I didn't know how to do that.
23:52 Yeah.
23:53 I had never seen that done before and nobody was like
23:55 teaching the kind of seminars that you teach
23:57 at least in the days that we struggled.
23:59 And sometimes, you know,
24:00 there are people watching this I know that can't honestly
24:03 say that they believe their spouse
24:05 will never intentionally hurt them.
24:06 That's true.
24:08 You have to both make that true.
24:09 Solid evidence to the contrary,
24:10 but for those who can honestly say that
24:13 it's a beautiful gift to bring to marriage
24:15 and when you can't have that honest confidence
24:19 what can you do in a marriage, like,
24:21 what do you recommend to people,
24:23 you're doing these seminars all the time,
24:24 what do you find when people can't honestly say that?
24:27 I think you have to come to a point in your life
24:29 where you decide that your partner's dysfunction
24:33 is not going to produce dysfunction in you
24:35 that you choose to do the right thing all the time
24:38 whether it has a positive benefit or not
24:40 because you can never afford the luxury of believing a lie
24:44 or engaging in an unhealthy act.
24:46 Yeah. You just can't.
24:47 The power of sin is that
24:50 when one person sins against the other person,
24:52 it tempts the other person to sin and respond.
24:54 And so we set these cycles of sin going in our families,
24:57 first in our marriages,
24:58 and then pass it on to our children,
25:00 and the way we stop that
25:01 is by committing ourselves to righteous.
25:02 That's right.
25:04 Loving well no matter whether the other person
25:05 loves us well.
25:07 You go it. I call that going vertical.
25:08 You know, you don't have to react
25:10 to something perpetrated on you,
25:12 you can go vertical and stop that cycle.
25:14 And that doesn't mean you have to stay
25:15 in an abusive relationship.
25:17 No, it does not, it does not.
25:18 Sometimes, loving them well means the opposite,
25:19 you say that's enough.
25:21 There is a difference between abuse and dysfunction.
25:22 Yeah. Right.
25:23 And so, you know, the fact that
25:25 you stay in a dysfunctional marriage
25:26 maybe God honoring.
25:28 Right. Exactly.
25:29 The fact that you stay in an abusive marriage
25:30 honors no one.
25:32 It might be a really bad idea. Right.
25:33 That's right 'cause your kids get mad at you for it.
25:35 Exactly. Exactly. You could get hurt.
25:37 You know, there's a whole list of reasons.
25:39 Yeah. That's really powerful.
25:40 Do you think that we're somewhat,
25:42 and I hate to get into the range
25:43 where people accuse me of blaming the victim
25:45 but do you think that we're somewhat responsible
25:48 for bringing out the best in other people
25:50 'cause what I see in marriage is often people would be like,
25:53 "This person is so terrible to me,
25:55 they're so terrible to me."
25:56 And they have no sense of responsibility,
25:58 maybe if you put them on their best behavior,
26:01 and you gave them a 10,
26:02 maybe they would reach maybe an 8,
26:04 but there seems to be no sense of responsibility.
26:05 So a lot of times what I do
26:07 is try to get people back to that
26:08 internal locus of control where they're like,
26:10 well, maybe they're having their own sin issues,
26:13 but I'm going to make sure
26:14 to try to bring the best out of them.
26:16 I heard a story about a woman
26:18 who wanted to divorce her husband.
26:20 And the pastor said,
26:23 "You know, well, you can do that
26:25 but why do you want to do this?"
26:26 She said, "I want to hurt him."
26:28 He said, "Here's a better way to do that.
26:30 For the next six months
26:31 be the wife he's always dreamed of.
26:33 Absolutely, always dreamed of
26:35 and then when he falls absolutely in love with you
26:37 that's when you divorce him and hurt him."
26:39 It's a best way to hurt him.
26:40 She said, okay. Oh, good.
26:41 So six months she was ideal like, I mean, the perfect wife.
26:44 And at the end of six months he said,
26:45 "Now are you going to divorce him?"
26:46 She said, "Absolutely not. I love him."
26:48 We're having the greatest time of our lives.
26:49 That's right. That's right.
26:51 Because her changed behavior changed his behavior.
26:53 And so, yes, we have a responsibility.
26:54 There's a line though, I think, again,
26:58 it comes to the difference between
27:00 a dysfunctional marriage and an abusive marriage...
27:02 That's right.
27:04 Because in an abusive marriage,
27:05 your changed behavior affects nothing, nothing
27:08 but a dysfunctional marriage, it can change someone.
27:11 You know, I really wish we had more time to unpack
27:13 this whole thing of abuse and what distinguishes
27:16 between an abusive and a dysfunctional marriage
27:18 and maybe we'll open that up during the second segment.
27:21 We never know where these things are going to go.
27:22 Who knows.
27:24 But exactly this is a free for all though.
27:26 We're so excited to hear the story,
27:27 and it's really, it's comforting to me
27:29 to see grief handled with dignity
27:32 but even more than that the beauty of relationship
27:35 that was really forged, built on love,
27:38 and you developed intimacy,
27:40 and you didn't have the background that she had,
27:42 but you were able to learn things.
27:44 And that's so encouraging.
27:45 And I know there's people out there that are wondering
27:47 what's going to turn the tables in their relationship.
27:51 There's hope while there's life, there's hope.
27:53 Keep watching, keep learning,
27:55 keep listening, and things just may change.


Revised 2018-12-30