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- Episode 1: Just Get Better
- Episode 2: One Great Hour
- Episode 3: Always Speak Last
- Episode 4: Be Wise Small
- Episode 5: Best Month Ever
- Episode 6: The Marriage Secret
- Episode 7: Your Inner Circle
- Episode 17: Your Daily Highlight
- Episode 18: What’s My Name
- Episode 19: Level Three Gratitude
- Episode 20: Accepting The Worst
- Episode 21: Affirmations Are Cool
- Episode 22: Zipping The Jacket
- Episode 23: Try Three Times
- Episode 24: Start With Why
- Episode 25: The Throne Room
- Episode 26: Do Hard Things
- Episode 27: Losing Some Battles
- Episode 28: Open Your Eyes
- Episode 29: Assess the Essential
- Episode 30: Resolving a Conflict
- Episode 31: Plan your How
- Episode 32: The Wicker Basket
- Episode 33: The Grit Scale
- Episode 34: Forfeit For Freedom
- Episode 35: Stress Free Chess
- Thank You
The Marriage Secret
God made marriage to be awesome! And for most of us, that's exactly how it starts! But you know, things happen after that. Life happens. We used to be inseparable, now sometimes maybe we feel world's apart. I've counseled dozens of couples who were seeking to rekindle what they once had. Consistently, time after time, it always come back to one simple thing that has gone missing: the marriage secret. To learn about some fundamentals that can make that secret work for you, and then to hear it explained in action: check out episode 6!
Hello everyone. Welcome back to the Excel till More podcast. I am your host, Kris Emerson and we are here to talk about tips and strategies that we can employ to help us grow in our faithfulness to God to reach new heights to excel still more. Thanks for joining. Let's get started.
All right, so today we're taking a little narrower view than usual. We're focusing in on marriage. We want to talk about the marriage secret. The one thing that just consistently seems to be in place for marriages that are thriving and usually when there is something going wrong in the marriage relationship, you can pin it down to this one idea. So that's where we're going today. I'm excited to share it with you. There are actually a few tips that we will be weaving together, but it will all build to that one marriage secret. Let me tell you a little bit about me. I'm definitely not a professional in this field in terms of a doctorate or anything like that, but here are my credentials as weak as they may be. I've been married for 21 years. I was nearly 19 years old when I got married. We've been together a long time Sommer and I, and it's just been, it's been good.
We've had ups and downs just like everybody, we dealt with loss and we've moved a lot and things have happened. But it just seems like we've always found a way to stick together, us against the world. We also are raising four kids. So some of the stress that comes along with a large family, we certainly understand that. We have two teenagers and also two little ones. And so there it becomes really important that we stick together and work together. Uh, less the little ones divide and conquer. I have been preaching full time for 18 years, maybe a little bit over that. And what that's meant is a bunch, a whole bunch of pre marriage counseling, one on one with couples and in classes. So we've talked a lot about the tools that people need to take into marriage.
There has been an increasing amount in the last 10 years or so of time devoted to marriage counseling people who are together, but they're struggling. And that's really where this secret started to emerge. Every time they would discuss what was going wrong and run through the entire thing and talk about the way things used to be, it just started becoming very obvious that there was one thread that weaves through all of those counseling sessions in recent years. I've done some interesting post marriage counseling, which is sort of a recovery mission, trying to see if we can put it back together. And once again we ended up in that same field of view. So I hope that you'll find this useful even if your marriage is going well. Something tells me a little bit more of this secret can go a long way. Maybe it's not so much a secret as it is something that's just been forgotten and we need to be reminded.
So here's where we will begin. Before we get to that, I want to talk about the runners up. I think that's right. The runner ups or, yeah, the two other things that are high candidates to be the marriage secret. I would certainly consider this to be one, two and three on the list. And one of them comes straight from scripture. One of the things you could easily argue is the biggest secret to a successful marriage is Bible study. I mean, we go back to Genesis and we see that God made marriage. He said it was very good. He put the two together and
all the way through from the very beginning, God is regulated that to make it good and sure you can always say, let's just get in the word of God. I've drawn that triangle before where if the husband gets closer to God and the wife gets closer to God, they'll always end up closer together.
So the Bible is a big key, not really a secret, just the key, but there is one passage, two versus, one section, to me that is the most important passage on marriage and all of scripture. It's found in First Peter chapter three but it may not be the verse that you're thinking of. Everybody kind of knows that First Peter Chapter three verses one through seven is about marriage. It's about wives being submissive to their husbands and husbands living with their wives in an understanding way. And that's all really useful stuff. It's about roles and it's, it's crucial, but hear me clearly here: you can know everything the Bible says about roles, his role and her role and submission and leadership, but if you don't know I Peter 3:8-9 it's really not going to do any good. In fact, we end up using verses as weapons and it ends up driving us further apart because we claim, you know, he claims dominance that she must obey and she claims that he doesn't care about her.
I Peter 3:8-9 is the most potent passage on relationships that you will ever hear or read. So let's read that together. Here's what it says "to sum up all of you,: be now notice these six things please. I'm reading from the new American standard, "harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kind hearted, humble in spirit, not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing". Now, the first thing I want you to know is this is about all relationships. He says "to sum up all of you be" what he's saying is relationships are designed to be a blessing to you. Not a curse, not a burden, a blessing, but in order for that to happen, there are six things you've got to key in on.
So before we get to the big secret, let me show you these six things. The first one is harmonious. No matter what's going wrong in your marriage or what stress you're facing, find common ground. Find something you can agree on. Hey, we both love God or we both want to raise our kids and keep them in a safe environment. Start with something you can be in harmony on and then bring it together from there. It's like a jacket. If you want a zip up the jacket, you got to get those first two pieces together. If you don't get those first two pieces together, you cannot put the whole jacket together. You get it started and then one the other you build a key to a marriage relationship is quit arguing about what your different on and find harmony. The second thing is be sympathetic, sympathy and empathy.
Kind of the same idea and it's this really great ability to at least for a moment, put yourself in the shoes of the other person. What does this situation look like from her side of the table? What does this feel like to her? I know I've had a long day and I'm ready to be upset about that, but what has she been through? What did she have to do today when we can see the situation and really if you want to go next level on this, if you could see yourself, if you could hear yourself
from the other person's position, it will go a long way in changing and really influencing the way that you communicate. The third thing here is be brotherly. Here's the simple take on that. We need to treat our spouse with the level of kindness that you would treat a 75 year old guy at church.
I always pick a guy. I've got Mr Eugene McClenny. He was actually about 90 now and I'll say in sermons if you wouldn't say it that way to Mister Eugene, why would you say it that way to your spouse? I don't know what it is about that, where we don't treat our spouse with the same kind of consideration we would a brother, so the third thing is this. If you're ready to say something, whether it's difficult or not, if you wouldn't say it that way to a sweet sister in Christ, then don't say it that way to your wife. Number four is pretty easy. Be kindhearted. The ability to approach everything from a level of kindness. Maybe nice is a good word. What's the nicest way I could say this? What's the nicest way I could go about doing this? Sometimes we just forget that marriages are built on our capacity to care and be caring for each other.
That's how the whole thing got started to begin with. Be kindhearted. Number five, be humble in spirit. That's a big deal. What it means is assume the least important person's role in the room. When you walk in a room, decide at least for a minute, I'm the least important person here. She is more important than me. I'm here to serve her needs. You know who did that brilliantly? Jesus did. Jesus was the most important person on the planet and yet he assumed the lowest position in each and every room in which he walked. Take just a minute and decide you're less important and you'll see some pretty amazing things happen. And then six, then we need to move on here so we can get to the big secret. But the sixth thing is not return evil for evil or insult for insult but give a blessing instead. You know, no matter how great your marriages, somebody is going to have a bad day and say something wrong.
You might call it evil. Probably we could coin it as insulting. Somebody is going to have a bad day. It is your responsibility not to return insult for insult. Frequently when marriages are having problems, it's not usually the first thing that said that causes all the problems. Because hey, stuff gets said. It's the first response that first response dictates the rest of the night. That first response dictates everything that happens. You're a response to something unkind. Either stops it in its tracks or it amplifies the insult, and now you've got a big issue on your hands. So to me, those six things are really, really huge. But here's the thing about the secret that we'll talk about in a moment. All that's great. The capacity to do all of that is great, but if you don't have a safe, focused environment in which to exercise these things, if things are so frantic and you're busy all the time and it's so stressful and the kids are all up in your business and you really just don't have the opportunity to share these six things then they're not going to do a whole lot of good.
Okay, let me share with you, what is the runner up to the big secret and connects directly to it. If I ask you, so what do you think the big secret is in marriage? You'd probably say, or you might say, communication and
communication is a big deal. When I teach pre marriage counseling like I'm doing this weekend coming up, lesson one is on communication. You know what that is, right? That's the ability to take what's going on in your head and get it into her head and it still needs to sound the same and it still needs to mean all the same things and so you use verbal signs, you use a selection of words and you use some tone that you package those words in and you have a facial expression and there are all these nonverbal signs and you're trying to get the message from you to her and once you've done that, you realize, man, that's the only like the first three seconds of this conversation.
Now I have to be quiet and listen and interpret the information she's sending to me and then decide how I'm going to respond to that. Communication is hard even if there are no distractions. Trying to get all that together. It's kind of tough. But listen, as valuable as that is, and being a great communicator, which means a good speaker and listener. Tremendous skill. But once again, as we get to the end of this study, once again, you could be the best communicator on the planet and your spouse could be the second best communicator on the planet, but if you don't ever have time to communicate or you don't ever have a quiet space to interact, those skills will not amount to very much. So this is the big secret. Are you ready? We're going to tie all that stuff together and leave you with it and issue a couple of little challenges for you this week.
The biggest secret in successful marriages that gets forgotten in marriages that are struggling is Quality Time. I cannot tell you how often I've sat down with a couple and we've taken the hour and they've told their story and they've run through everything that was going on and everybody's given reasons for why the other person is getting on their nerves and everything's there and at the very end I'll look at them both and say, okay, just quick question. Could you tell me about your Quality Time? And I'm telling you right now, usually they look at me like I just said something in Mandarin or I dunno, some foreign language. They look at me and they'll say, uh, could you, what? Could you say that again? Like what do you mean by quality time? You know, it's interesting if you ask teenagers who are dating, hey, tell me about your quality time, they'll tell you about tons of stuff.
Well, we just ride around together and we go on long walks and we go to dinner a lot and we just sit on the couch and stuff and hold hands and talk. When you first get together, quality time is what makes the entire thing work. Special time without interruption, without other people involved in it. It makes all the difference and yet as we get older and we've been married a while, I get it, we get really busy. I mean I've got the four kids, the whole thing going on. I get that, but we not only get less quality time, but it's almost like we just forget what it is. I don't even know what that is anymore. I can't even imagine what that would look like. I'm just here to tell you, if you're not finding time in your marriage to sit together and share the six things, the character traits from first Peter Chapter three or just simply communicate with kindness then your marriage will never be as strong as it once was and it'll never continue to grow in the way that you envision.
What this means is you have to be deliberate, intentional, setting aside time to sit together and talk, sending the kids out of the room for a while or going on a walk together or taking a car ride, but leaving the radio off or working on getting on the same page on things that really matter. Things that you haven't had a chance to talk about because of all that you've had going on. That means the television needs to be turned off at night for a little while. It means we need to take our cell phones and put them aside for an hour or so, so we can look each other in the eye and talk and care and sympathize and do all of the other things that we've talked about. So if you're looking at how do I rekindle some things in my relationship, or how do we kind of go to the next level? I feel like things are good, but I feel stressed lately.
Here are a couple of things that I want you to do. Maybe they're just mental exercises. Look back over the last seven days. Could you write down on a piece of paper, three quality time events that you had with your spouse where you are not consciously engaged in watching anything, listening to anything, balancing anything. It was just you and your spouse together enjoying one another's company. A lot of people just won't be able to do it. I pray that you can, it's great if you can't keep doing that, but whatever you come up with on that exercise, here's your challenge this week for the next few days, try to carve out on purpose time, even if someone else or something else has to wait for you and your spouse to share and the kind of interaction, the kind of interaction that made you fall in love with each other to begin with. Now, this may be a little tough to set aside at first, but if you're somebody who says, man, we know what the Bible says to do to make this marriage better, and we used to be so good at sitting down and working it out. What changed? Trust me on this. If you will set aside quality time and give attention to each other, you will see a difference. It is the marriage secret.
If you found this helpful today and you would like to support the program, there are three great things you can do. Make sure that you go to iTunes or the podcast app and subscribe, leave a rating, and also a review that would really help us out. Don't forget to share with people that you care about and remember, you can follow along on Facebook at the excel still more page. I hope you have a great day and remember whatever you choose to do today in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Excel Still More
Kris Emerson, a loving husband, father of four, and gospel preacher, takes a few minutes to go over some important life changing and spirituals insights.
- How to build a successful marriage.
- How to rekindle closeness in marriage when you are feeling distant.
- How the six ideas in I Peter 3:8-9 will change your life.
- What is Quality Time and why is it so crucial in a healthy marriage?
- What are examples of Quality Time and demonstrations of its help to marriage?