Real FamilyLife®

Dave and Ann Wilson

On Hands & Knees

October 2, 2017

When it comes to conflict in your marriage, one of you is an aggressive fighter and the other tries to avoid arguing.  Am I right?

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One time, I asked Barbara, "Out of all the adventures and romantic times we've had together, what's been your favorite?"  I have to tell you, we've had a ton of them all around the world.  I was surprised by her answer.  Do you know what she said? "Our honeymoon." Now, I know that's not true for some folks.  But for us it was an all-time memory maker.  I took weeks to plan a two-week honeymoon in the Colorado Rockies.  We camped, hiked, explored the magnificent Rocky Mountains, fished, took tons of pictures of golden Aspen, and we stayed in a cabin next to a roaring river. One final thought.  Maybe your marriage could use some adventure -- just some time for the two of you to sit and talk and share your thoughts and dreams with one another.  It may not be a second honeymoon, but you can be creative.  Go for it! I'm Dennis Rainey, and that's Real (adventurous) FamilyLife.
September 29, 2017
You think that's bad, I know of one stockbroker husband who had a ticker tape machine installed in his bedroom and kept it running, 24 - 7.  He may have been able to watch the Dow Jones go up, but my guess is that the market for romance hit an all-time low. Of course, wives can be guilty of de-romanticizing the bedroom, too.  Mounds of laudry that need to be washed or folded or ironed are sure killers of romance.  I know one man whose wife had so many African violets in their bedroon, he was afraid he was going to die in an avalanche of plants one night! One final thought.  Your bedroom needs to be a private, secure, romantic hideaway, not a place where husbands rebuild motorcycles or the kids gather to play games at midnight. I'm Dennis Rainey, and that's very Real FamilyLife.
September 28, 2017
As Barbara and I started having children, and as we began to experience more of the distractions and troubles that face a family, we discovered what Solomon calls the "little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, while our vineyards are still in blossom," things like financial pressures, poor health, and teenagers who won't go to bed. But the biggest threats to romance in marriage include such things as wrong priorities, passivity, selfishness, unresolved conflict, unrealistic expectations, and having a critical spirit.  But the deadliest romance-robbing fox is indifference, having an "I don't care" kind of attitude. One final thought.  If the excitement is gone in out of your marriage and you're not sure why, you and your spouse need to just sit down and have a talk.  It may not be fun, but together the two of you can start doing some "fox hunting." I'm Dennis Rainey, and that's Real FamilyLife.
September 27, 2017
The truth of the matter is that we really do make the time for the things that are most important to us.  Personally, I believe strongly that romance needs to find a place on your schedule, too. At the Rainey house, we work hard to save some of our best for each other.  When our kids were much younger, this was more difficult because raising children demands so much time and energy, not to mention getting babysitters!  So occasionally we put the children to bed early and turned our bedroom into our own romantic café, complete with a small table, tablecloth, candles, and flowers (when I remembered to pick them up).  Well, we ate there, we talked, and we relaxed.  We didn't even have to leave the house to get away alone. One final thought.  Even a simple stay-at-home date has to be scheduled.  Why don't you make romance a priority in your marriage, starting tonight? I'm Dennis Rainey, and that's Real FamilyLife.
September 26, 2017
I once heard a story about a woman who told her counselor, "I don't love my husband anymore."  Well, after hearing about all the things her husband wasn't doing, the counselor said, "For the next month, I want YOU to do for HIM everything you say he is not doing for you.  Then I want you to come back and see me."  Convinced this wouldn't work, the wife committed to doing what the counselor had requested. Well, a month went by and the woman returned.  "So," said the counselor, "tell me about your lack of love for your husband."  The wife exclaimed, "I've never been more in love with my husband in all my life!  When I started doing what you told me to do, all of my feelings for my husband came back again!" One final thought.  If that sounds a little too simplistic, I have a challenge for you.  Why don't you try it?  Prove me wrong.  Who knows, maybe your feelings will return, too. I'm Dennis Rainey, and that's Real FamilyLife.
September 25, 2017
Although my wife and I technically had six children growing up in our home, occasionally we were visited by a seventh child named "Nobody."  "Nobody" would do things like spill apple juice and peanut butter on the floor and then walk off and leave it.  When games and toys were strewn all over the floor, all six children would give Nobody the blame.  Of course, he never received credit for made beds or clean rooms. I think our invisible child, "Nobody," is a reflection of the irresponsibility that we all can show from time to time. One final thought.  Have you noticed a tendency in your own life to deny your faults?  When you have a disagreement, take responsibility for resolving it.  And when you make a mistake, admit it quickly.  Make sure there's not a "Nobody" living in your home. I'm Dennis Rainey and that's Real FamilyLife.
September 22, 2017
Here are some signs of isolation that you may notice in your marriage: First, a feeling that your spouse isn't hearing you and doesn't want to understand.  Perhaps there's an attitude of, "Who cares?" "Why try?"  "Tomorrow we'll talk about it--let's just get some sleep."  Or maybe it's a feeling of being unable to meet the expectations of your spouse, to really please them.  Another sign of isolation in marriage is a refusal to cope with what's really wrong: "That's your problem, not mine."  And finally, there's a feeling that keeping the peace by avoiding conflict is better than the pain of dealing with reality. If those sound are familiar to you, don't despair.  God loves to bring dead things to life, to reconcile relationships.  One final thought.  Fighting isolation takes a lot of hard work.  It starts with humility and admitting, "I'm a art of the problem," and recognizing that you're also a part of the solution.  Don't give up! I'm Dennis Rainey, and that's Real FamilyLife.
September 21, 2017
Just a few days before our second anniversary, Barbara went into labor with our first child.  After 24 hours of watching the agony, I nearly passed out.  I had to take a short walk, and when I returned, I was just in time to put on my scrubs.  When the doctor delivered our daughter, it was a magnificent moment.  We were both lost in the wonder and miracle of birth. At that point, the doctor could have said, "Well, do you want her?"  I could have pulled Barbara aside and said, "What do you think?  Her head is a little pointed."  Of course we didn't do that!  Through tears, we received our daughter as God's gift. One final thought.  If you have been given the gift of a child, why don't you thank God for your son or your daughter tonight.  Pull him or pull her aside, and give 'em a big hug, and him or her how thankful you are for God's gift. I'm Dennis Rainey, and that's Real Family Life.
September 20, 2017
Okay, guys, when your kids leave home, that's NOT time for unplugging from life, kicking back, and just relaxing.  Far from it!  But even if your children are young, I want to cast a vision for how you can become a patriarch. First, a patriarch is an influencer.  He builds relationships and leads others through those relationships.  Secondly, he's a protector.  He protects future generations using Biblical truth.  He protects them from the world's lies.  Which means you and I need to better know God's Word and stay "in it."  And third, he's a connector.  He builds relationships with succeeding generations and he connects them to the past. One final thought.  Your family responsibilities are far from over when the last child leaves home.  Just think of it as a transition to a new and exciting role God has for you: a patriarch. I'm Dennis Rainey, I'm trying to become a patriarch, and that's Real FamilyLife.
September 19, 2017
That is encouraging.  We as parents have a responsibility to teach our children to consistently tell the truth.  That can be difficult to do, because children are born with a natural tendency to lie. The prophet Jeremiah said, "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick.  Who can understand it?"  Unfortunately, it's not just children who tend to be deceitful.  As adults, we're tempted to give phony reasons for not taking phone calls.  We can stretch the truth and make up excuses for getting out of commitments.  What kind of example is that setting for the next generation? One final thought.  All of us have deceitful hearts and need to guard that heart against telling lies.  If we as parents model integrity, we can then teach our children the importance of telling the truth. I'm Dennis Rainey, and that's Real FamilyLife.
September 18, 2017
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500 Hours Together: A Family Time Challenge
There are 8,760 hours in a year. You’ll spend roughly 2,080 of those hours at work. On average, almost 900 hours swiping on social media. How much family time are you getting in? 

About Real FamilyLife®

Real FamilyLife® is conversational in nature and provides practical, biblical tools to address the issues affecting your family. You'll receive motivation, encouragement, and help.

About Dave and Ann Wilson

Dave and Ann Wilson are co-hosts of FamilyLife Today©, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program.

Dave and Ann have been married for more than 40 years and have spent the last 35 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® since 1993, and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country.

Dave and Ann helped plant Kensington Community Church in Detroit, Michigan where they served together in ministry for more than three decades, wrapping up their time at Kensington in 2020.

The Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released books Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019) and No Perfect Parents (Zondervan, 2021).

Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame Quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as Chaplain for thirty-three years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active with Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small group leader, and mentor to countless women.

The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

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