Our past, our upbringing, and our experiences in life don’t stay in the past. They are carried into our marriages and affect how we operate in our relationships. This is a topic that we cover a lot in our book No More Perfect Marriages and in our coaching with other couples. The good news is that you are not powerless to stay stuck in the past! You can move beyond it and experience true intimacy in your marriage and relationships.
In this Dive Deep Interview we are joined by our friends, Joe & Tara Buchanan. Joe is the station manager at our Central Illinois radio station, WCIC. Together Joe and Tara are the hosts of the Behind Our Smiles podcast, in which they talk openly about their marriage journey and how their past has affected their marriage.
Talk About It
Tell me about a time in your childhood when you were hurting, disappointed, or grieving and share how your pain was handled.
Trauma in childhood can include parental divorce, neglect, abuse, death of a sibling, having an angry parent you couldn’t please, having an alcoholic parent or a parent who has so many of their own issues they are unavailable to nurture and lead their child. Understanding that, is there any trauma in your childhood?
Think About It
Trauma in childhood can include parental divorce, neglect, abuse, death of a sibling, having an angry parent you couldn’t please, having an alcoholic parent or a parent who has so many of their own issues they are unavailable to nurture and lead their child. Understanding that, is there any trauma in my childhood?
Is there anything in your past that might still be affecting your thinking, your fears, or your responses? Is there still work to be done? Should I consider working through any of those with a coach or a counselor?
Notes and Quotes
“I was pushing my anxiety and my fear on my wife.” Joe Buchanan
“There’s layer after layer after layer in the healing process.” Joe Buchanan
“I had to come to a place where I realized I wasn’t strong enough on my own. I needed God.” Joe Buchanan
Do you and your spouse spend a lot of time in the same space? Maybe it’s due to working from home, maybe because you own a business together, or maybe you’re retired and learning how to navigate a new level of togetherness. In this Dive Deep Interview Mark and Jill talk with Cynthia Ruchti, author of Spouse in the House about rearranging our attitudes to make room for one another. This interview is chock full of practical advice on how to deal with the challenges of being a human being living close with another human being!
Role adjustments: How are we doing working together to accomplish what is needed at home? Is there a better way we can work together to accomplish what is needed at home? How can we divide house chores now that our time is different?
What is your morning routine? What’s important to you in the morning?
Could we calendar and establish a weekly time to discuss calendars?
What is your ideal daily routine?
What is your need for personal space?
Help me understand your spiritual plan for personal growth?
I want us to operate as a team: collaborating, working together, and working in sync. What is one thing I can do to improve that?
With us sharing our space now, are there any better ways that we both can identify and respect each other’s needs?
Think About It
How do I need to rearrange my attitude to better love my spouse in our togetherness?
Do I have unrealistic expectations? (If you’re constantly disappointed in your spouse, you DO have unrealistic expectations!)
Am I struggling to ask for what I need? If so, what is hindering me?
How can I join into my spouse’s likes and desires?
Notes and Quotes
You can have bliss or you can have blisters.
We can become sloppy in our relationships and stop being kind, gentle, or generous.
You might need to discuss and actually make room for each other by remodeling and actually adjusting space formations.
“Before we could make changes to our space, God led us to heart change. My husband began using the phrase, “excuse me my love.” These words informed my heart that he loved and respected me.” Cynthia Ruchti
Philippians 2 1-4 (The Message) “If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”
Have you felt powered over, degraded or shamed by me? If so, could you help me see how I have done this?
What do you consider comforting for you? How could I comfort you if you asked me to do so?
Are our conflicts healthy or unhealthy? Do we work together to resolve conflicts or do we fight?
Think About It
For wives: Am I frustrated that I want my husband to lead and yet I am personally frustrated that he doesn’t lead the way that I want him to lead?
For wives: Husbands wake up everyday with the unconscious and sometimes conscious thought, “Do you believe in me?”Husbands need respect. How am I giving or not giving respect to my husband?
For Husbands: Wives wake up everyday with the unconscious and sometimes conscious thought, “Do you still love me?” How am I loving or not loving my wife?
List your thoughts, both positive and negative of what you believe about your spouse.
Am I accepting my spouses differences or wanting them to be like me? Am I resentful towards them because of this?
Is the strong woman and silent man syndrome operating in my marriage?
Notes and Quotes
“I’m a strong woman. God didn’t want to take my strength away, but he wanted me to steward it differently in my marriage.” –Jill Savage
“The first step in finding the hero in your husband is confession to God and then to your husband.” –Juli Slattery
Women have the power in their marriage to build intimacy with their husband by 1) respecting their husband and 2) helping their husband to grow and mature.
Husbands have the power in their marriage to build intimacy with their wife by 1) being attentive, nurturing and seeing their wife and 2) protecting their wife.
Conflict isn’t the same thing as a fight. Conflict is “us together against a problem.”
Differences drive conflict, personal values drive conflict, perspectives and experiences drive conflict. A fight is when it is me against you!
Practical ways to navigate conflict:
1) Wait to resolve a conflict. Waiting can sometimes be the best decision.
2) Learn to slow down your conversation, reflect back and hear each other.
3) Grow in repairing and resetting the relationship.
4) Learn to pray together and ask for God’s help and guidance.
Sex: Every couple struggles with sexual frustrations and issues. Sexual conflict is driven by differing desires, deep seated past hurts, shame, and rejection.
Practical ways to begin repairing sexual conflict:
1) Invite God into your sex life. Pray, if possible together, about your sex life.
2) Get God’s perspective about sex.
3) Seek out wisdom and help from Dr. Juli Slattery’s website, books and podcasts and other author’s as well.
Books: God, Sex and Your Marriage, by Dr. Julie Slattery (out June 2022) Rethinking Sexuality, by Dr. Julie Slattery A Celebration of Sex, by Dr. Doug Rosenau The Gift of Sex: A Guide To Sexual Fulfillment, by Cliff and Joyce Penner (they have written many books on this topic) Is There Really Sex After Kids?, by Jill Savage. These books can all be found here.