PODCAST PLUS: Changing the Dynamic in Your Marriage!

by | Apr 4, 2019 | Uncategorized | 8 comments

Podcast: On how to change the dynamic in your marriage
Merchandise is Here!

How do you change the dynamic in your marriage?

It’s often in the little decisions you make, everyday. And that’s what the main segment on today’s podcast is all about. 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 this podcast “extras”. If you want to go deeper into what I talked about in the podcast, here are some more things to help you.

But first, here’s the podcast:

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Main Segment: Are you moving towards each other, or away from each other?

In your everyday decisions, are  you choosing to build good marriage habits, or to BREAK good marriage habits? I’m picking up on what I talked about on Tuesday, when we looked at the turning points in a marriage.

Want more on how a marriage can change? Check out these posts!

Millennial Marriage: You can’t find a husband if you don’t talk to guys

Rebecca and I jumped into a discussion on how young women need to be taught how to have healthy relationships with guys. Sometimes we focus so much on wanting “to stay pure” that we stay away from guys altogether, because we don’t want to give them the impression that we’re interested in them “that way”. The problem is that then we can never make any friendships would could eventually lead to something else. I do think that’s one of the reasons for so many who grew up in the purity movement now being single.

So let’s talk about how to find that balance! (And here’s a question for the comments: Can there be such a thing as healthy flirting? I’d love to talk about that!)

Reader Question: Is It Wrong to Expect My Husband to Regret his Sexual Past?

This is a really tough one, because the truth is that some people have long relationships with people they truly love that they later break up with, and they don’t necessarily regret that those relationships happened. And when it happened before they knew Christ, it’s hard to expect them to have acted differently.

Here’s the question:

​​I am engaged to a man who has come back to his Christian faith but unfortunately he has slept with several women before me. He was in a relationship with all of them, and loved them all.  We have slept together, he is my only sexual partner. He’s an overall great man who loves me and wants a future with me but I cannot get over his past. I have made great strides in my thinking, I used to picture him with the other women and I no longer do that. I have such pain from comparison however – he has so much more experience than me and I constantly worry I don’t measure up.  Part of the problem is that he also has never told me he regrets his sexual past. Do I have the right to ask him if he regrets it? I have forgiven him because I am a sinner too but the emotional damage has been done and I’m not sure if I can handle this or how to heal from this. I have read many comments that say their husband told them he regrets his past actions or the wife knows that her husband didn’t love his past sexual partners and the wife has been their husbands only love but neither of those apply to me. I don’t feel special to him sexually and I never realized how important this would be since I hadn’t had to deal with it.

I understand how difficult this is for her, and besides what I said in the podcast, these two posts may be of help for her situation now. The first one is about how to stop obsessing over your husband’s past. In this case, she’s not married yet. But before she marries, she has to be able to agree to put his past behind them and not bring it up again or judge him for it. If she can’t do that, then marriage is likely not a good idea. The second is a general one about how God does want us to save sex for marriage, and the fact that they are having sex now may be part of what is causing her angst.

Difficult question, though! What would you say?

Comment: A biblical counsellor missed the significance of postpartum depression

I’ve had a lot of flak (and a lot of support!) for what I’ve been writing about the potential problems with biblical counselors. I have my FINAL post coming out on that tomorrow (at least I really hope it’s my final post. I tried to only write one, but then people kept asking for clarification. Tomorrow I’m going to propose a code of ethics and best practices that biblical counsellors could adopt that could address a lot of these problems).

Two things I want to highlight today: First, guest poster Kristen Draughan, over at Wondering Eagle, has a thorough explanation of why biblical counselling can be problematic, especially going in to the treatments that secular counsellors use that we know work, and how seeing things through a sin lens is problematic.

In the podcast, though, I read out Kay’s comment from my original post:

I already see comments on Facebook saying you have mischaracterized biblical counseling. I beg to differ. I saw a biblical counselor when I was struggling with PPD and had just had a psychotic episode. The very first session I was told that my PPD was a sinful response to stressful circumstances, that no temptation had seized me except what is common to man (which is exceptional disturbing to hear when just a few days earlier I could have killed my baby and myself if God hadn’t protected us from psychosis), and I was told to just do the right thing no matter how I felt. Just *trying harder* to follow God’s way would free me from my depression.

To some extent, hearing it was my fault felt like good news at first because then I could fix it. The problem was the harder I tried to be godly, the more manic I became, and very soon was full blown suicidal because no matter how hard I tried to do things “God’s way,” I couldn’t break free. I finally switched to a Christian counselor trained in PPD and **the very first session** I was hospitalized. I saw the biblical counselor for months and she missed it. I was NOT okay. Not even a little bit okay. That hospitalization was the turning point in my journey. I wish I had gone months earlier instead of wasting all that time with a biblical counselor.

You can see the original posts here:

So listen in to the podcast, click on some of these links, and have fun on some rabbit trails!

And let me know what you think, too! Can you “flirt” in a good way? How do you get over your spouse’s past? Let’s talk in the comments!

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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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8 Comments

  1. Becky

    I haven’t had a chance to listen yet, hopefully next, but the Milennial Marriage segment sounds SO familiar. I’m definitely on the shyer side of introverted, and it’s always taken me longer to warm up to guys in particular, especially when most of my daily experience with them was a younger brother that I fought with a lot. I did have a couple of instances in my church youth group where my trying to be friendly was misinterpreted, and so in the wake of that plus I Kissed Dating Goodbye, it was difficult for me to learn what a healthy friendship with guys looked like. I dated a (terrible) guy in college, but could really only build friendships with the opposite sex in the context of a larger mixed group. And then I went through several years where every guy I knew was married and I was more friends with their wives. It took a seemingly random encounter at a different church– my brother’s, ironically– for me to meet my now-husband. I can’t help wondering sometimes if we would have met sooner if I had half a clue how to befriend guys in my 20s. When he was meeting some of my closest friends after we started dating, we found out that we’d previously both had jobs at my university’s parking services department at the same time– and one of my best friend’s sisters had worked in the office with him, so my friend had met him before!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      So interesting, Becky! I wish I knew the answer for how to teach young people how to have healthy relationships with the opposite sex. I do think that many of us act in such a way to put us out of the dating market, and we don’t make use of natural opportunities (like the ones you missed with your husband!) I guess it just starts with helping your children be confident in themselves in a good way.

      Reply
  2. Anonymous

    I am in a very difficult stage in my marriage. For 3 years I have had serious concerns about my husband’s choices in business and after speaking up about them, suggesting compromises and also contributing finances and time to the business, I have taken the step of saying I no longer want to have anything to do with the business. This might sound simple enough, but my husband, I think, truly identifies almost entirely with who he is in his work and he experiences this start from me as total rejection. He responds to my statement by basically saying I’m a bad person. He has also said he doesn’t think there’s a point in being married if we’re not working together. Drawing a boundary line is hard, but with this added guilt I feel from my husband, I feel absolutely paralyzed. What do you do when it feels like you have tried everything to change the dynamic in the marriage and it Just leads to a further degradation of the relationship.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s so hard! I’m so sorry. I think when you have kids, you do need to make sure that financially they’re on good footing, and if your husband is putting you in debt due to bad business choices, you may very well have to take a step back just to protect the children. Even if you don’t have kids, it’s valid to want to make sure you don’t go bankrupt.

      If your husband is interpreting this as rejection, it may be time to sit down with a mentor couple (especially one who has owned their own business) and talk this through. Tell him, “I love you, but I also need to feel financially secure, and right now, with the choices you are making, I don’t feel secure. I want to support you and your dreams, but I do think we need boundaries around when we say that something may be too dangerous. Can we set those?” And then talk those through with a mentor. I think your mentor will also want to tell your husband to step up to the plate here, too. But that’s what I would do.

      And if your husband says that he doesn’t want to be married if you’re not in business, then you can say, “It sounds like you are choosing the business over me, and that hurts. I want to stay married to you. I love you. But I also matter, and I have dreams as well. In a marriage, those should matter to you, too. Can we talk about how to make sure both of us feel safe and loved?” And if he honestly won’t, then you can’t change that. But eventually people do need to feel the consequences of their choices, and if he’s making bad choices, it’s okay to not go along with them.

      Reply
  3. Endlesscleaner

    I don’t want to sound mean or anything but the girl who can’t get past her fiancés past seems a little too much. Specially since she is having sex with him. My wife wasn’t a virgin when we met(I was a technical virgin. I had gotten a handjob once). She had sex with two guys and one was for several years. We even talked about it and she admitted all the things she had done with him, he. even convinced her to do anal. And I mean was it something I was happy about? No. But it was her past. She came to Christ later in life and wanted to change. God took her from this guy(turns out he was a serial cheater). Just her saying that she has “forgiven him” sounds like she sits on a high horse looking down on him. He doesn’t owe her any apology. If he has asked God for forgiveness for things he did before he met her than that’s forgotten. As you say if she can’t see past her own hypocrisy than she shouldn’t be with this guy. I mean she is having sex with the guy. That should worry her more than his past.

    Reply
  4. EM

    On how to cultivate friendships with the opposite sex…what my roommates and I did in college (and this would work for older singles too) was open up our home and invite people over frequently. Study nights, game nights, holiday parties, heck we even threw a formal Christmas dance. We didn’t have a lot of money so we did it on the cheap – like huge bowls of spaghetti with homemade bread. And then we invited everyone! Girl friends, guy friend, guys we might be interested in. There was no pressure because it was a group, but there was plenty of opportunity to talk and get to know each other. And we could invite that special someone without it having to seem like a “date.” It was a great chance to see someone’s character, like would he offer to help clean up at the end of the night?

    When my now husband and I were just friends, I was throwing a birthday party, but to our dismay a large tree fell and blocked our street so nobody could get to the house. At the last minute my husband offered to move the party to his house. It was so much fun, and when he drove me home at the end of the night he told me he was interested in me. The rest is history and we still love throwing parties together.

    One thought to add, is that if a guy “gets the wrong idea” through you just being friendly, it isn’t your fault. I think we all develop unreciprocated crushes at some point in our lives, and it is just part of the process. We cannot behave ourselves so perfectly as to prevent any man from ever having feelings for us. Life and love are messy. I had to kindly tell a few men along the way that I wasn’t interested. And there were a few that I really liked that never asked me out.Yes it was difficult, but everyone moved forward and it really was ok. I never felt guilty about it because my conscience was clear; I never intentionally misled anyone. I think that everyone you get to know helps you figure out what kind of person you’re looking for, and you can have some great friendships along the way.

    Reply
  5. Kate

    The millennial segment was great. As a 28 year old single who will turn 29 in Oct. i’m terrified at what the Lord has in store for me in terms of marriage. All i really want is a clear sign from God on whether i should marry or not. That way i can stop worrying about it and move on with my life. I see so many women in my Church marrying young, having children and yet here i am wondering……..At my previous Church ALL the women i knew there are married with several children. I cried sooooo much, Sheila. But i have used this time in my life to become more mature by myself while they have to do it with a spouse and children, which is far more difficult. As the Lord wills, i’ll accept anything He has planned for me.

    Reply
  6. LM

    My problem is that having grown up in the purity movement, having very conservative parents, having been homeschooled, *and* being shy meant I never talked with guys (except ones like 5+ years younger), much less had a normal/any kind of a relationship with them. So now that I’m married, I can’t look another man my age in the eye, and if he starts a conversation, I’m blushing and feeling like it’s inappropriate… which of course it’s not! So your posts about getting out and having other young couple of friends–which I know we need, I think ‘how do people do it without feeling like becoming good friends with other couples/ie the husbands isn’t an affair waiting to happen?’ (and wondering if my husband is looking at the other young wives) Obviously I feel very immature in this area, and I’m 33!

    Reply

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