PODCAST: You Don’t Get to Be Selfish, Love Bombing, and More!

by | Jan 31, 2019 | Uncategorized | 22 comments

Merchandise is Here!

It’s time for a new episode of the Bare Marriage podcast!

I hope you all will listen, but if you don’t have time, I’ll have some links and rabbit trails below so you can read all you want as well!

And consider these links as extras to the podcast, too. They’re things I mentioned in the podcast, but didn’t have time to say. So here’s where you can go more in-depth!

But first, here’s the podcast:

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Main Segment: We need to learn to control HOW WE THINK

Yesterday on the blog I kind of went off on a rant to a woman who said that she regretted having kids, and that the two worst days of her life were when she discovered she was pregnant and when she had her son. I was far too harsh in retrospect (some commenters took me to task for that, rightly), but I do think it had to be said.

The main point of what I wanted to say to her, though, was that whatever you focus on expands. And she is feeding the thoughts that are making her miserable, rather than replacing them with thoughts that can help her grow in peace and joy.

Seriously, you have to take control of your thoughts, which is the main point of my book 9 Thoughts that Can Change Your Marriage.

How are you THINKING about your marriage?

And what if it’s actually your THOUGHTS that are holding you back from a great marriage?

Learn how to change what you think about marriage–and then you’ll be able to figure out how to act to get a great marriage, too!

I’ve written more about this concept of changing how you think, and you may find these posts interesting in addition to what I said in the podcast:

Millennial Marriage: Why aren’t Millennials Going to Church?

Here’s the article we were discussing:

Young adults are dropping out of church in large numbers

Here’s Rebecca’s twitter thread that we were talking about:

Rebecca and I decided that millennials really need authenticity and community, something that church often doesn’t provide. What do you think?

Here’s an article I wrote about church and community, too.

Reader Question: How Do We Rebuild Trust After an Affair?

A woman wrote in saying that she’s trying to rebuild her marriage after an affair–but the problem is she finds it hard to trust him. And she’s admitting that she’s the reason that he had an affair.

We really need to stop accepting blame for things that are not our fault. Yes, you may have contributed to the marriage breaking down. But he made the decision to cheat! Often we’re quick to accept blame because then, if we’re to blame, if we change we can keep the marriage together. But the point is to work towards honesty, not just towards a marriage staying together. If you want real intimacy, you have to build trust.

More posts on that:

And some other posts I told her she should start with:

READER COMMENT: Beware of the Abuse/Affection Cycle

In my post about healing from emotional abuse a while ago, a very insightful reader left this comment:

The hardest thing about abusive relationships are the cycles of abuse vs affection. Constant severe abuse is often a lot easier to walk away from, as it is obvious and there is no ‘reward’ to pull you back. Emotional manipulation/abuse is far worse as you are trained to put up with more due to the carrot/stick behaviour. Just when you start to gather up the courage to leave, the abuser will switch into ‘nice’ mode to draw you back in again. Then the relationship will be roses for a while and you think everything is alright, let down your guard, start planning for the future again. Then one day the abuse restarts and you feel completely thrown. And the constant swings in emotion destroy your self esteem and leave you unable to accurately judge whether the abuse is really that bad (since ‘they can be so lovely at other times’). It’s exhausting and it gets harder and harder to find the energy to stand up to the bad times. You eventually just give up and assume that is how your life will be forever. The cycles of abuse/affection become your new normal as you forget what a real normal, healthy relationship is like (assuming you’ve ever experienced one).

She’s absolutely right. That was one of my criticisms in the Love & Respect book, too, about how Emerson Eggerichs spoke about a man who had been physically and emotionally abusive–he was let back in the home “after he repented.”

Saying you’re sorry and looking like you’re heartbroken for what you have done is a NORMAL part of the abuse cycle. It isn’t enough for someone to say they’re sorry. They must:

  • Take responsibility for what they did, and be able to name what they did that was wrong
  • Tell those who will listen that it was their fault, not yours
  • Tell those close to you what they did, so that they are owning the problem
  • Get counselling
  • Live out a life of repentance for a significant period of time

That is what repentance should look like. So it’s not about saying you’re sorry; it’s about living it out.

That’s true in other things, too, not just abuse. It should be true for getting over porn use; it should be true for getting over affairs. 

That’s it for today! Hope you enjoyed. Keith and I are in sunny Florida right now getting ready for my Girl Talk in Jacksonville on Friday night. Let me know if there’s anything else you want me to talk about in the podcast!

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Sherie

    Isn’t this the podcast from last week?

    • Rebecca Lindenbach

      Whoops! Technical error we’ve fixed now 🙂 Glad you noticed so early in the day!

      • Sherie

        Podcasts with coffee before my toddler wakes up is my morning routine 😉 Loving the podcast- keep up to great work 🙂

  2. Kate

    Regarding millennial’s and finding a small church with older people, as a millennial myself, i already attend a small church made up of about 80-90 people on a given Sunday. I attend that Church because it’s theologically sound. Only problem is that i’m the only single person there! As someone who’s 28 and desperately wanting to get married, i have been contemplating for a long time what my options are. For now i’m doing online dating, eHarmony. I have 6 months membership on there. If i don’t find a husband in that time, then my 2nd option is to find a young people’s co-ed Bible study to attend during the week, at a larger Church.

    I have found a good one. Let me first finish with the online dating then, i’ll be joining them. I agree small church’s are theologically edifying, but they are not a place to be for those who want to get married. Perhaps, once i meet my husband i can drag him to my Church, unless i have to relocate. I have also had the fear of attending these Bible studies by myself. Being the new face, the awkwardness, the trying to see which group has room to fit me in (cuz there are a lot of cliques in church’s), coming to terms with my own motives for attending the Bible study. I sometimes feel guilty for wanting to be there just so i can find a husband. It eats away at my soul. That’s why i’m praying this online thing works for me. *ugh* It’s hard man.

    We also have to keep in mind that many Churches cater to families because families bring them money! Single people are often broke so they don’t give as much. Many Church’s have closed down their singles group and replaced it with mothers/children group. Apparently, churches are afraid that singles group will be used as hook-up place instead of a Bible study place. And i’m like, what better place for Christians to meet than at Church. Why would you shut it down in fear that a bunch of them might get married. Hello! Logic 101 says, if they meet at your Church the chances of them staying there and building a family is greater than if they met somewhere else. *face palm*

    So where are all the singles today? Online, on social media. I know more Christians my age who met somewhere on the internet then ever before. The Church made it clear we’re not wealthy enough for them, so we left. A quiet Exodus. We’ll be back though, when we have our families. As always loved the podcast an your daughter’s views are always a joy to listen too. Represent us millennial, Rebecca! 🙂

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Totally laughed at your comments about being afraid it would be a “hook up” place. Yep. I knew a really large church that insisted on doing the singles groups and College & Career Bible studies in gender segregated groups. So the women would always be with the women and the men with the men. HELLO?!? People are trying to find mates! Let them get to know each other in a BIBLE STUDY. Wouldn’t that be a GOOD thing? To see if someone has anything good to add to the discussion? So weird. It’s like they think dating and relationships are somehow sinful and may take you away from really studying the Bible. But married couples go to Bible studies. Why can’t singles? So silly!

      • Kate

        Thank you! This why i love you. You GET it! Before i found the co-ed Bible study group i wanted to attend i checked another large Church and they too had the men and women separated. I for sure won’t be attending that one. I have plenty of female friends. I don’t need more. Let us mingle. Like Rebecca said, we’re looking for a community. Many church’s teach sound doctrine. But let’s not imitate the education system. Where the students attend to learn and then flee to their apartments after class. My, my, what a world!

      • Bethany

        There’s so much I could say, because I disagree with almost every opinion you hold about the church and the singles. Maybe it’s a difference in location, because I’ve never seen or heard about such awful churches as you describe. But my biggest suggestion is to ditch eharmony and try okcupid instead! I found it much more effective in every way, for finding a spouse. Why? Because you could read people’s answered questions about every subject of life. I personally found my soulmate almost a year ago, and highly recommend it to everyone.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Oh, I’ve never heard of that, Bethany! I’ll take a look.

  3. Natalie

    Seriously!!! You guys have the BEST Christian podcast of any sorts that I’ve listened to!

    Part I: “Taking every thought captive” is a verse my mother has quoted to me regularly since childhood, since I love to speak (or act) then think :p . And Sheila’s mom’s quote is so true too! Ugh, I got so much benefit from this segment and really needed to hear all that again! Thank you!

    Part II: I grew up in the SoCal megachurch scene of the 90s/00s. I didn’t go to youth group regularly growing up because even there it felt too big for me to feel connected (plus, a lot of the obnoxious, two-faced popular girls that were on MTV shows and thought they were God’s gifts to the world went to those youth groups too, so I didn’t really want to associate with that and their snide comments/feeling excluded.) I went to college, got connected with Campus Crusade for Christ’s college ministries, and got a little more connected and spiritually fed. But in a fairly large university, it’s still hard to really feel connected if you don’t totally click instantly with people there or at least have some classes with other kids in the groups or know someone there from the dorms or another activity you’re involved in on campus. It wasn’t until I was a newlywed that I found probably the first church that’s ever really felt like home. My husband and I moved to a different part of CA for his job. I didn’t want to live in the awful air quality of the city where his office was, so we moved to the Sierra foothills a little over an hour out of town (which meant a draining 2.5-3 hour total commute for him daily, but WOW was it gorgeous and fun living in a small mountain town!! Incredible hiking too!) It was there that we found a small community church with a congregation of no more than 300 people, half of whom were 65-100 years old, but also a thriving high school program and homeschool community, as well as a good amount of other mid 20s – early 30s couples we really connected with. 3 years there wasn’t enough, I SO wish we’d been able to start raising our own family there in that church and environment, and I still miss it every day since we’ve moved. That experience not only led me to a new place in my life but also changed my mind about small churched. I feel like, before, I kinda thought that small churched generally didn’t have very good teaching, weren’t biblically based, or were even “true Christians”. What I found was that small churches are by far the easiest to get connected to, and when you’re connected in a strong Christian community, we’re more likely to grow in your faith because you have people who know you, encourage you, and push you to new places. So clearly, now, I’m a huge fan of small churches, especially for millennials who feel disconnected. They probably won’t have the big worship productions or the ambiance or sound you’re used to if you come from a medium to large sized megachurch. But they’ll probably still have the teachings and will definitely have a better environment for community and getting connected.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Totally agree with you about small churches! Although I laugh at your “300” being called small. 🙂 Where I live, that would be a large church! 250 is considered really pretty good!

      I go to the largest church in the area right now, but we’ve tended to go to churches around 250-300, and you really do get connected so quickly. It is awesome.

      And I’m so glad you’re enjoying the podcast! We’re having fun making them, too.

      • Natalie

        lol, yes, I guess “large” is relative. The church I grew up in now has 1500+ people attend all Sunday services combined, so when I think of very large / “megachurch”, that’s where I’m coming from. But when you have the population size of the LA/OC/Inland Empire/San Diego urban sprawl that is Southern California, it’s easy to get numbers that size. It’s all relative to where you live. We now live in TX and our church is medium sized for the area with about 250-500 combined between two services. But also, most of the population in our area goes to some sort of church too.

  4. Lyndall Cave

    I just read the article, and didn’t listen to the podcast. But Rebecca NAILED IT when it comes to millenials and church. My sisters and I are millenials, and we don’t go to church because it feels irrelevant. I tried for five years to adjust my attitude like the twitter comment implied (go to serve, not to get), but I burnt out. I don’t want a system. I want community. I want authenticity. I want dialogue. And that seems really rare in the modern institutional church.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      It is, Lyndall! I really wish we could change the way we do church. That’s what we talked about in the podcast, too. It is too teaching heavy rather than community heavy. You can get teaching at home! We need people.

  5. Melissa

    I criticized you a bit earlier but I do want to say I love your take every thought captive advice works. Jesus has the best advice. Recently I developed an embarrassing crush on someone while my marriage felt like it was dying. Sex had been rare for almost 2 years, communication was terrible, workloads between us were dumped mostly on me, and my husband was playing video games too much and becoming borderline abusive towards me and our dog. I was about to leave but we just moved here so I had nowhere to go. Then I developed a crush on someone I respect very much. I had to constantly change my thinking about this person because well I was vulnerable to a possible affair. I prayed for God to help me tame my thoughts and now they’re going away. It was very humbling because I never thought it could happen to me. I never told my husband about the crush because it’s embarrassing and would hurt him. I can’t think of a good reason to tell him because it’s embarrassing and I don’t want it. Is that wrong?

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Way to go with doing the right thing! And I actually looked at exactly that scenario on this post on whether honesty is always the best policy. I think it’s important for YOU to have accountability (maybe in another friend or something) or for it to be sure be in the past. But if it is, I think to burden your husband with it personally is unkind to him. I know many will disagree with me, and I’m not positive about this. But if you are acting appropriately, setting up boundaries, and making sure that it can’t and won’t go anywhere, I don’t know why he needs to be hurt. Again, that’s Sheila speaking, though, not God. I honestly can’t say what He would say in this situation!

      • Melissa

        I did speak to another friend which also helped. I just wanted to talk about it on here because for some reason I felt I should have. Maybe someone else is struggling with the same thing and needs to know other people do too. I couldn’t tell him it would just hurt him and make the work he’s been doing on himself seem pointless I think. Things are getting better.

        • Phil

          Hi Mellisa – where I come from we have a principle. It states that when we make amends for our past we do not harm ourselves or others. In my case my wife knows full well of my past behaviors of porn and other sexual activities of the sort. She does not need to know every detail as that will only harm her more. I say having an accountability partner is perfect. As you work on your marraige, the right time may appear for you to indicate to your husband that he almost lost you. Recently my wife was able to tell me straight up with no hesitation that had I kept going like I was we would not be together today. I already knew that but the healing has taken place so she could say that straight up no blinking. I wish you the best in your marraige.

  6. Heather

    RE: Millenials and Church
    I completely agree! I’m struggling with wanting to go to church (at 23) after growing up in church my entire life because although our church is pretty theologically sound I feel as though we either go super deep into a subject and down a rabbit hole or we don’t go deep enough and they also don’t really offer any small group classes on Sunday morning anymore. There are currently 3: one for our seniors early in the morning, one for men, and another one I’m not sure about the focus of. I am trying to figure out how to proceed. We are so deeply connected within this church (I’ve been going there since 5th grade, my husband and I both serve on the praise team, we just were a part of the baby dedication, etc.) but we aren’t feeling spiritually fulfilled. I really struggle with putting myself out there so if we were to move to a different church I would really struggle with forming connections and finding a group of people I’m connected to as much as I am at our current church but I don’t get to have that connection boosted anymore on Sundays. The most I get to see people is quickly between services or after church. I miss the connection I had as a youth.

    • Phil

      Hi Heather – I seriously had a ton of stuff I wanted to say or add to the podcast yesterday. I thought it was great. On the subject of community – We have been in our church for just over 3 years. I found it hard to enter into the community in some ways. Besides the Pastor, I first made friends with an 80 year old guy. He had some health issues and was shut in for several months so I took over his role of giving out candy in the parking lot after the service is over. No one asked me to do it I just did it. He was super concerned about the kids and that is a job he created for himself which the kids and some of the adults love it too. We have been asked to attend many things so don’t get me wrong our church was doing all they could…..but something I noticed about us is that we wanted certain roles that we had served in the past and those roles are more than sufficiently covered. So instead of taking people up on there offers we chose not for whatever reason. So some of the problem was really just us. Now I serve on the offering team and I am a substitute Sunday School teacher for our quite large adult Sunday school class of 40ish people. I made a new friend that has been developing since we started attending as well. He is our worship leader and Sunday School Superintendent. We started calling each other about 1 time per week to see how we are doing and spur each other on. And my favorite current little community effort is this 88 year old lady who I HAVE BECOME HER BIGGEST FAN. She has been calling my house for 3 years. She calls on our wedding anniversary and either Christmas or Easter or sometimes both. I kind of didn’t realize what she was doing but it hit me this past December. She has her own Phone Ministry. We are not her only phone call. She was not when I met her but is now a shut in and told me she has lost some things due to her age but she still has her phone. She is way too much for me. I can’t compete with her love and affection and affirmations. So what is happening is COMMUNITY we just were not recognizing it was happening. So, I believe that often we are waiting for something and while there are churches out there that may not get the community piece correct, I believe that it is more the individuals missing the invitation because they want it a certain way. Example – We have a young at heart group 50+ and a young adult group 30 minus. What about the 40 year olds? They tell us we are welcome at either spectrum but then why not print it that way? It certainly doesn’t sound inviting. Anyway, Grace and I are working a new concept that I/we have created for developing community for us and maybe it will spur others on too. It goes like this: We have been blessed with the ability to add on to our house. When we bought our house I promised my wife when we moved we would have certain things that she desired. The situation we have requires building it. I have had guilt about doing it as I feel like we should be giving back more to others not only financially but of ourselves. The guilt has been lifted because our plan is to use our new space to invite people from our church over for a visit/dinner/quick chat/bible study or whatever. We just got our new church directory and phone numbers are in there so when it is complete we can start our own ministry of sorts. Fellowship with others. 1 phone call and one invite at time. It will take a long time to get through them all but hey I got nothing but time. We are young. Anyway Heather thanks for sharing. I wish you the best in finding christian community.

  7. Molly

    Yes on the big churches! I just left a big church after 12years. It was great when i started out but got so legalistic when we got a new pastor 10 years ago. I finally couldn’t take it and found another church. It’s smaller and I’m still finding my place but muy kids are happy and my husband actually wants to go with me. I do know a few of the women already too.
    Changing churches has been painful but ultimately it’s been a huge blessing.

  8. Incorrigibledi

    My experience with church is that the older people attending do everything they can to make young people feel welcome (change the music, plan programs, try to be relevant). But to me, this feels like they’re treating church like entertainment or a service provided, rather than what it is: worship of the living God.
    If church has to be entertaining enough or kind enough or authentic enough in order to pull me in, the fact is that it’s never going to be as well done as Amazon prime video.
    I think the seniors need a mind shift where they realize that it’s about God and what he wants. They need to do that openly and not care if it’s not popular or cool. Then when we young ones are looking for something good and true and beautiful, we will find it in their relationship with God and know it’s possible for ourselves.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I think that what we’re seeing with so many young people fleeing megachurches and heading to liturgical churches, this may shift. Young people are saying they want something real, not just to be entertained. It will be interesting to see where this goes in the next few years!


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