In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Dr. Juli Slattery describes a wife’s power to help her husband became the hero God has called him to be. She explores the core needs of men and women, corrects misconceptions about submission, and offers practical advice to help couples overcome barriers to physical intimacy.
And so part of the art of being a wife with with your particular husband is what does it look like to have those two things in balance so that my husband knows I’m on his team that I believe in him, but I’m also not afraid to step up and offer needed counsel, insight and accountability. Welcome to the focus on the family broadcast helping families thrive. John I think just about every couple enters marriage with wonderful expectations. It’s going to be bliss. This is awesome. We’re always going to be infatuated with each other, but it’s normal not to feel warm and close to your spouse 24\/7 at some point that infatuation wears off when you start to notice perhaps the flaws and the other person and you’re going, okay, maybe even saying to yourself, did I marry the wrong person? If you’ve felt this kind of disillusionment with your marriage today is going to be for you. And next time too we have a wonderful guest who knows focus well. She used to work here at focus and be a co host of the program and she will offer that encouragement for those marriages that are facing that disappointment and disillusionment. Yeah. And we’re speaking to women primarily. But men, I’m going to encourage you to listen in because there are some really great takeaways here for you to have conversation about with your wife. Dr juli Slattery is a clinical psychologist is president and co founder of authentic intimacy which is a ministry devoted to teaching God’s design for sexuality. And she also hosts a podcast called java with julie. I think you started that back here in the springs a long time ago, julie. She’s written an updated version of her book which has helped countless marriages. It’s called Finding the Hero in Your husband revisited, embracing your power in marriage. Contact us to get a copy of that book for yourself or someone in your sphere of influence. Our number is 800 the letter a and the word family or click the link on your screen, Julie. Welcome back to focus. It’s so good to see you. So good to see you guys. Always good to be here. It’s um you’re doing great. You are tackling an area of the proverbial garden that a lot of people don’t want to go to and that’s how to strengthen marriages help marriages develop better emotional and physical intimacy and marriage is what drove you to that part of the garden. Hmm. Well, I know it’s cliche to say, but it really was God. It was really something that he put on my heart and I I just saw so much Brokenness that I felt like we didn’t quite know how to handle in the church, particularly around sexuality. So yeah, so it’s good when you look at the original book, finding the hero and your husband which was written over 20 years ago now, which it’s amazing, isn’t it amazing how time flies. Yes. Um it’s probably more desperately needed today than it was then. That’s probably true. Yeah. What have you seen in the last 20 years, a lot of change? Certainly a lot of change in our culture with technology and the smartphone and the challenges of that with pornography and just being distracted, not knowing how to build intimacy. confusion around sexual issues. What is intimacy? What is healthy sexuality? And then I think also we’ve seen a lot of change just in the empowerment of women. And that’s been a very, very good thing in many spheres. But I think it’s also made intimacy and marriage more confusing and as women are getting a voice and getting stronger, I think a lot of times we’re seeing men kind of get in the Shadows now. Yeah. Where’s our voice? And so, and so that pendulum has kind of swung, I’d say over the last 20 years of the typical marriage in the setup, we talked about those women who are feeling disillusionment or maybe they married the wrong person, etc. Let’s go right there so that we can answer that question when those feelings of bliss uh, fade. Um, what’s going on there and what do women need to keep their eye on to ensure they don’t lose the flame? Yeah, I think almost every woman who is married or has been married will identify with those for a few years of just man, this is harder than I thought it would be. And it’s not getting better. I’m starting to feel hopeless. I think probably 20 years ago when I wrote the first version of this book, most couples would stay with it and try to work things out for a decade or so before giving up. But now we’re seeing even in Christian marriages, people just give up pretty quickly when they hit that wall. You you speak in the book to uh women to encourage them to respond with that kind of disappointment by choosing to believe in their husband. Okay, that’s like a 1.80. Right? I’m not feeling close to him. He’s really disappointing me. And then you say turn toward him and move toward him. You can’t do that easily. So how does a woman do that? How does she be so frustrated with him? And then you’re telling me to turn toward him julie? You don’t know my husband? Yeah, I don’t know your husband. Yeah. So I think part of it is recognizing that disappointment is part of building intimacy. And I think most women when they experience that barrier to intimacy, like they feel like they can’t connect, they feel like, wow, we’re really going backwards. This isn’t gonna work. But actually to build an intimate relationship, you have to get through the disappointment because otherwise you’re just loving each other based on sort of a selfishness of what you’re doing for me. But when you get disappointed when it actually costs you something to love and to reach towards that other person is when you start putting true bricks in the wall of intimacy. And I know that both of you have experienced that you’ve we’ve all three been married for several decades now. And and you can probably look back on those early circumstances, like if you would have given up, then you wouldn’t have pushed towards what is it really to understand my spouse and what does it mean to be vulnerable enough for my husband or wife to really understand me? It was gonna relate this to just the christian walk, you know, because the right question for us as christians particularly is to say God, what what do you have for us in this? What do you want from me in this marriage? That seems desperate and that’s hard. It is hard. Yeah. One way I like to think of it is you really don’t know if you love your spouse until you don’t feel in love anymore because now you have a choice. Well, I move towards him and love, Well, I invest in this marriage, you also know as you’re saying, jim, you don’t really know you have faith until you don’t feel anymore because faith is walking towards something that you believe to be true, even when it doesn’t feel true and how applicable that is for our marriages today, not just our relationship in christ but for our spouse that we need that attitude, describe what you mean by relational power in marriage and how can wives use their influence to build intimacy? Even if they don’t have the energy for it. Yeah. So when you said a few minutes ago, what does it look like to move towards your husband? Really one of the ways of understanding that is to get this concept of relational power and how am I using my relational power? So every relationship has power dynamics within it. And if if I’m in a relationship with my husband, my power comes in what he needs from me. Like a lot of times we think our powers and what we need. But actually the power comes and what the other person needs. So let me just use a non marriage example, let’s say I have this rare illness and uh and it’s it’s an illness that could take my life. But you jim daly are the only one that has the antidote for that illness. You now have great power. You can demand any kind of money that you want. You can say Julia, I’ll give you this this medicine. But you have to run around the building 20 times and I do it. You have power now because you have something that I need and you exclusively can meet that need well in marriage, God has designed it so that a man has needs that the wife is intended to meet exclusively and a woman has needs that a husband is meant to meet exclusively. And so that gives one another relational power. And so for a woman to understand like what is it to move towards my husband? She really has to understand. My power comes and what my husband really needs in the book. You mentioned three needs for men and two needs for women because you guys are way you guys are way needier than we are. I was gonna say that you took the words right out of my mouth. But it is funny and I could see that. But what are the three needs that men have? Yeah, well the first one, I’m gonna warn you for a lot of women, this is a very triggering word today, but men need respect. Ah and it’s a triggering word. I think in today’s culture because women have heard this and they don’t really know what it means. They just have heard it as a biblical teaching that isn’t really connected with understand the heart of their husband. And so one of the things I like to do is really explain to women what that actually means, that your husband needs respect. And part of right here you go and you and you you two men can correct me where I’m off on this one. I think we’re going to but go ahead. Well, part of what I think women need to understand is that men have a different relationship with confidence than than women do. I like the heart of a man is always wrestling with this question. Am I good enough? Am I going to fail? Am I going to be found out as an imposter? Do I do enough as a husband as a, as a boss. As in my work, there are always afraid of, I might fail. I might, you know, try something. So, so I think understanding that need for respect and marriage is a woman saying to her husband consistently, I know the worst about you, but I believe in you. Like I, and that’s why I named the book finding the hero and your husband because at some level, every guy’s waking up really asking the question, am I her hero? So when even the bible is talking about women’s respecting their husbands, it’s tying into this need that women, you have a power based on how you interact with your husband by the words you choose by the posture of your heart to either be saying to him, you’re not good enough. You’re not measuring up, which is going to tear him down or instead to choose to say, Hey, I’m with you. I believe in you. I’m behind you. Yeah, julie. I want to before we moved to number two. I, I really want to dig into this a little bit because I can hear a woman saying, hey, you don’t know my husband, There’s nothing to respect about him. He doesn’t lead in the home. He doesn’t lead with the kids Spiritually. I’m the one always having to say, honey, come on, do something spiritual for the kids. Um, how do you get over that brick wall? I’m not going to call it a speed bump because that then sets the attitude of the wife’s heart that now you’re up against, you’re against your husband because he’s filling the blank, lazy, whatever. How does a woman overcome that observation? That’s real And then try to suggest, oh honey, you’re worthless. But I still love you. Yeah. Yeah. Well first of all, it’s similar to what we might say to a husband when we would encourage them. Hey, love your wife, even when she’s unlovable to, you choose to love her, choose to treat her with value and with kindness. And uh, and with respect. The same would be true as what we say to a wife, respect is not a feeling. It’s a choice. It’s a posture. These are all choices. Right? And so it’s, it’s not, I don’t feel respect for my husband today. Therefore I can’t respect him. It’s no, I choose to have a posture of my heart that is looking for the best. And one of the reasons that husbands don’t lead and, and they behave in some of the ways that you mentioned is because we don’t call them to that. When you say to your husband, you’re not a good leader. You’re not helping with the kids enough. What is he hearing? I’m a failure. I’ve already. So why should I try and so speaking life into your husband looking at what he’s doing Well, even in asking him for help. If you do that in a posture of more, I believe in you. I’m on your team. You’re going to get him to respond more because you’re actually speaking into his need instead of tearing him down with what you’re asking him to do. Yeah. We guys don’t run towards failure. Just don’t run away from it. Yeah. This is focused on the family with jim daly and I’m john fuller. Our guest is dr juli Slattery. We’re talking about her book, Finding the hero in your husband. And we’ve got that here at the ministry, click the link on your screen or give us a call to get your copy 800 the letter a and the word family Julia. Let’s move to number two. So we have respect. What’s the second thing husbands need. Yeah. The second thing and women are going to say amen to this one. They need help. That’s a big definition. I mean, what do you mean a little more specific for an hour? I don’t need your help. There you go. Yeah. Even when we look at creation, we look at that God created the man and then he said, you know what? This guy is not good alone. He needs help. He can’t do this by himself. So I’m gonna create for him this help me And again sometimes women here that and they hear that as am I less than I’m a helper to my husband. But when we actually look at that hebrew word, it’s the word easier, which is the same word that is used for the holy spirit, how the holy spirit is that helped us. And so we see in the scripture that God created men and women to be a complement to each other. That women were created particularly within the relationship of marriage to be that teammate. And that help can look like lending her gifts and her strengths and her insight. But it can also look like accountability in, I’m sure it has before. Well and you know the interesting thing about that, I think after 35 years of being married Jean and I I’ve really come to that conclusion. She has made me such a better man and I just wish I would have realized that your one or two and not fought that, you know that what you’re saying there, that guide. Yeah, men can be dumb sometimes and we can do things that turn us into spiritual dead ends. Right? But our wives are to help us and they have a keen insight typically to point us in a better direction, but we don’t always listen. Yeah. And and that’s that’s because there is probably a better way to offer some help to you. Well that’s right. Yeah. So here’s the trick. I think of these two needs of respect and help As like two wings of an airplane and they have to be balanced and most of us as women will emphasize one to the expense of the other. So you’ve got the woman who is only hearing the respect need and always encouraging her husband but not holding him accountable, not setting boundaries, not using her voice. And that’s a destructive marriage. But on the other hand, you have women who only want to help. They’re always offering advice and they sound critical and they really and they really haven’t proven themselves to be trustworthy to their husband in terms of yeah, she’s on my team. Like I can hear this because I know she’s got my back. She’s not being critical. And so part of the art of being a wife with with your particular husband is what does it look like to have those two things in balance so that my husband knows I’m on his team that I believe in him. But I’m also not afraid to step up and offer needed counsel, insight and accountability julie in that regard. Again, I’m thinking of the woman that she’s been on that path. These are hard um emotions and disciplines to pull up out of your like in a rut. So how does a woman say, okay, I’ve been pounding my head. I’m hearing what julie saying, how do I get off that highway of critical illness and onto a better path. I mean you can understand it intellectually but doing it is another thing it is, you know it starts with how we change anything which is really a confession, You know confession to God, confession to one another. I remember this one time I was speaking on this concept finding the hero and your husband and I was in this room of maybe 300 women and you know as a speaker, you’re watching your audience and there was this one woman that had her arms crossed and she just seemed to be glaring at me. That means not a good yes. And then she got up in the middle of the talk. She was near the front, walked out and I thought oh my goodness I lost, I lost that one and then after the talk was over she came and found me in the lobby and she said I’m so sorry I had to get up and leave but I was so convicted that I just had to get up and call my husband and just I just cried like I don’t just realized I have been tearing you down For the last 15 years of our marriage and I don’t want to do that anymore. And it begins with that it doesn’t mean that we’re going to be perfect going forward. But the intention of your heart is God you’ve given me a good man and all I seem to be able to do is criticize him. I want to change that. Well, that realization you’re saying is that first step out of the rut. Alright, so we’ve covered respect and the realization that your husband needs. You need your help. There’s a third need that that men have. And of course, yes, men have more needs than women. That’s pretty funny. And I want to get to the women’s needs before we end today and then come back next time and drill in a little bit on all of this. So what’s that third need that men have? Yeah, it’s interesting when I I first wrote this book 20 years ago, I defined the third need as physical intimacy that men have that strong need that needs to be met. But I totally wrote that I’m this time around because I’ve learned so much about intimacy and marriage, about the sexuality and marriage. And now I’m phrasing it as the need is actually that a husband desires for his wife to share the sexual journey with him. And that’s very different than just meeting a physical need. It’s been being in it with him in terms of whatever struggles he might have, What does physical intimacy actually mean to him in marriage? So it’s far more complicated than just meeting a physical and when you say it that way, it does connect to at least number two, you know that your husband needs your help. This might be one of the strongest areas that your husband needs your help and we’ll dig in more next time on this. But let’s go to women now what is you know what’s the first of the two that that women need? Yeah. You guys should know that you’ve been married for a long time. Well you wrote the book so we’ll give you our perspective. You go first. There you go. And so what women really need their their first primary need is this need to be valued to be cherished by their husband. So as a husband is waking up every day saying am I her hero? She’s waking up every day saying does he still love me? Am I still the one he chooses? And that’s why women can be so sensitive to her husband who’s working 80 hours a week or who’s golfing all the time or who is distracted by their smartphone. It’s like he’s not choosing me. That’s interesting because I was gonna ask that what is maybe you’re giving us too much credit for being married so long and understanding these things. But you know what are those things that communicate being cherished to a woman Because you know sometimes for men you gotta grab us by our face, look us in the eyes and say honey I need this. So it’s one of those moments. Yeah. First of all you have to know your wife and uh and not every woman is the same and how she experiences how she feels loved. Like dr gary chapman’s five love languages, a great starting place. But for some women, it really is that quality time that I choose to be with you. Some women really need to hear the words. Yeah. Yeah. If you write, if you write her a card and just really express how you’re feeling and why you love her so much and what you love about her, like that’s gonna be it. It can be gifts that can be acts of service. Uh So you need to understand for your wife what it is like, I remember early on in our marriage, mike would bring me flowers and I’m like, thanks hon. But I don’t really like getting flowers, like that’s not my thing. Uh And then he was like, yes, like I never, it took me a long time before I told him that that I appreciate the gesture. But it doesn’t mean a whole lot to me. Like when he brings me my favorite coffee, that means a lot more to me than the movies aren’t full of people. Guys bringing the coffee to the girl. It’s always flowers. That’s why you have to study your wife. That’s good. What’s the second aspect of a woman? Uh woman’s need? Yeah, well this one I’m gonna get a little pushback on because it’s not very culturally um consistent today. But I really believe that an intimate relationships, a woman needs protection. And when I say that, I mean, women are capable of doing so much of providing for ourselves, of making decisions for ourselves. The mantra kind of goes, you don’t need a man, you can do what whatever you need to do yourself and women can be so independent, but in order for a woman to flourish and marriage, she really needs her husband to step up and two step in the gap. Whether that can look like providing financially, whether it looks like even physical protection, not using his strength may be his louder voice to be intimidating, but instead to be protecting, to protect her emotionally. Like I remember one of the things that help me really fall in love with my husband, we were dating and he said to me that he asked me this really weird question, he said julie, I want to know what hurts you. And I thought, well that’s weird, what do you mean? He said, what would I do that would really hurt your feelings emotionally. And I just kind of looked at him strange and he said, I’m asking you this because I never want to do that and he was expressing in his heart that he wanted to protect my heart. And so when women aren’t happy in marriage, sometimes it’s because as you said earlier, even jim, he’s not leading he’s not standing in the gap, like I feel like I have to carry the whole burden of the disciplining of the kids or earning all the money and he’s not stepping up. And so that is a core need that women have in intimate relationships. And again, I don’t think we talked about it enough because it’s so countercultural. Yeah, julie. This has been so good. We’re right at the end. We have squeezed a lot of content into this discussion, but we haven’t covered at all. So I want to come back tomorrow and continue our talk. Probably go a little deeper on the intimacy issue and other things. So, Man, let me turn to the listener. If you are living in this space that we’re talking about, which I would guess 99% of people are uh get a copy of Julie’s book. It is a wonderful resource. And uh, certainly you have options on where you can find that. It’s probably all over the place. But if you can order that through, focus on the family, remember all of the dollars, go right back into ministry and we will make the book available to you for a donation of any amount. If you can join us as a monthly sustainer, that is great. It helps us to plan our budget and we will send you a copy of julie’s book for that kind of commitment. But a one time gift is good too. So we’ll send you the book to say thank you if you can help us do ministry together with that one time gift. Either way, we want you to get this book and to apply it to your life. If you can’t afford it, I’ll trust others are going to cover the cost of that and we’ll provide that ministry to you. So get in touch with us. Don’t be embarrassed. Yeah, donate as you can request that book and know that we have caring christian counselors here as well. We might have Touched on something that makes you think I have to talk to. Somebody will schedule that consultation when you call 800 the letter a in the word family. Of course you can donate when you call that number as well. Or click the link on your screen for more details. Julie. Thanks so much. Let’s come back and keep the discussion going. I look forward to it and on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today For focus on the family. I’m john fuller inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in christ