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.
as modern christians. We want the fruit of a good marriage. We want our husband to love as well. We want them to help with the kids. We want, we want to be good wives. That that encouraged him. That’s fruit. The route is what is God doing in my heart? And do I really trust that God is good. Welcome to the focus on the family broadcast helping families thrive john last time we started an insightful conversation and primarily we were addressing wives and their relationship with husbands and the husbands needs, but we did get the last two needs of wives in at the bottom of the program. It was really good. And I’m looking forward to the discussion today. Uh men that are listening stick with us, although we’re addressing a lot of this content toward wives and how they treat their husbands. There is a lot in here too for a man and how to treat your wife. So this is for everybody equal opportunity instruction And I’m looking forward to it. I learned some things yesterday that I need to do differently to help my relationship with Gene and after 35 years, that’s a good there’s always room for a refresher course and I really appreciate what julie had to share. And I think a lot of help here for both wives and husbands, definitely. Yeah. And dr juli Slattery is a clinical psychologist, she is president and co founder of authentic intimacy, which is a ministry to teach God’s design for sexuality and as part of that ministry, she hosts a podcast called java with julie and it’s always great to have her back. And we’re gonna be talking more about the content in a book that she has revised. Its called Finding the Hero in Your Husband revisited, Embracing your power in Marriage. And let me also mention that we’re going to have content today. That isn’t going to be appropriate for younger listeners. So please parents just be aware of that julie. Welcome back. Thanks for having me. Yeah, it’s so good. You are hitting at least from my perspective, you’re hitting so many great points for a marriage to be So much better. If you’re a seven, this will get you to 10. If you’re a three, this will get you to an eight, I think at least so doing things differently and turning towards God’s word to look for those answers really is the right way to go. So I’m looking forward to what we’re gonna talk about today. Um, let’s get right into it. Uh, submission. Whoa! There’s a word. Let’s jump into the deep end of the pool. So when it comes to submission, I can’t think of a word that stirs up more energy and more negativity than that one. But the bible does use that word. What does it mean? Well, I think first of all, we have to address why it’s stirring up so much negativity. And um, you know, there are a lot of women that as soon as they hear that, that word there, like they want to throw their smart phone across the room or turn off the radio, I think it conjures up weakness and for that women, wait a minute, I’m no weak woman. But you know, what is it? Hey, what nerve is it hitting? Like you said, the idea that maybe God wants us to be weak or less than. But I think in today’s day and age, we hear so many stories of women that are in abusive marriages and have stayed in that situation because of a wrong understanding of submission. We’re in the middle of the Me Too in the Church Too movement and abused. Yeah, there’s a good reason for women to be upset, been abused in the church, has been abused in the christian home. And so I think we’re in an era today where it’s become so painful for many women that they just want to discount that altogether. Let’s like, let’s just take a big red pen across the aisle in the bible or describe why it doesn’t doesn’t apply to today’s marriage, but it does, you know, it’s not primarily because paul wrote this in a couple of his letters, it’s because marriage is a revelation. It was created to be a human relationship that reveals the nature of how God loves his people. And so when paul does teach on this in the scripture, he’s saying in marriage, you’re creating something in your relationship that points to christ relationship with the church and so the way a man loves his wife and lays his life down for her, the way a woman responds to her husband, it’s not just about your marriage, you’re painting a picture of what how christ loves his people. And so we can’t so easily just dismiss it. But we do also have to wrestle with how it’s been misused and harmed women so often with culture rather than getting a deeper understanding of the biblical definition and what God is saying, we tend to take a marker out and exit out and change the scripture. Were not allowed to edit the book. We can’t come along and take that marker and knock those things out. So when it comes to submission, it’s how do we dig deeper to better understand what God is revealing to us and that’s really what we want to do. We want to understand God’s heart and why he would create marriage the way he he has. And part of this goes back to what we talked about yesterday, we talked about the power of a wife and marriage. We talked about how guys, you really have three needs and women have to needs. I think in many ways that makes women more powerful and marriage than men. Absolutely, yeah. I think I think a woman has the ability to set the emotional tone of marriage more than men do. We even joke about it? We call it the thermostat, right mama is the thermostat. Yeah. And now is that true in every marriage, I think there’s certainly women who are like, wow, I don’t feel powerful. My husband is controlling and dominant, But I would say to that woman, God wants you to be powerful. He wants you to have a voice, he wants you to stand up. He wants you to speak out loud and so submission is not the absence of a voice or the absence of power. It’s using your power wisely. Yeah. You know proverbs 14 1 says the wise woman builds her house but with their own hands, the foolish one tears hers down. That’s really true. Like all the proverbs, right? You had a really kind of funny and lighthearted story about you and mike taking a trip in colorado that alludes to this thing of submission. What happened? Yeah. So we’re driving out to the mountains and you guys know this drive well because you live in colorado. But I usually drive when we drive in the mountains because I get carsick if I don’t drive, I was already going a little over the speed limit, but he’s like come on jules, you can do more than that. Like you can go a little faster. So yeah, so I start going faster and wouldn’t you know it? We pass a police officer and we see the lights and I’m like, I was so mad at him. I’m like this is your fault. Like you were telling me to go faster and he’s like, I know, I know I’ll take care of it. You just be quiet. You know I mean he meant it like you don’t have to say, you don’t have to say anything, I will take responsibility. This is my fault. So he knew I was pretty upset. So yeah, so the police officer comes to the window says, uh, do you know how fast you’re going? And my husband immediately says, I just want you to know it’s my fault. I was telling her to go fast and the officer says, so should I write you the ticket? And mike was like, yeah, if you need to, I’ll take it. So the police officer goes back to his cruiser and were waiting the tension and I’m looking at my husband like, this is your fault. And uh, and he’s like, I’m sorry, you’re right. And so about five minutes later the officer comes back and he says to me, ma’am, I’m not gonna write you a ticket, but I’m gonna give you a piece of advice next time. Don’t listen to your husband. You know? And that is a fun story. But I do think it shows that there are times where women should not listen to their husbands, uh, there are times where husbands are taking the relationship or the family or just making decisions that are ungodly or unwise. And if a woman thinks submission means always just going along with things, she’s not understanding what God is actually calling her to do. I I wonder um in that healthy biblical context, give us examples where that works, where there’s tension and or there’s a need for resolution. What is a healthy expression rather than us just talking about the negative side of that? What what does a healthy challenge look like? Yeah, really good question. Jim. Yeah. I think what we have to understand is submission as is an attitude of the heart. When we look at Peter’s letter to the church, he talks to wives about having a quiet and submissive spirit. And then he uses the example of do you know the biblical woman? He uses the example of in that passage. Alright, It’s Sarah. So he says be like Sarah and don’t give in to fear. Now if we look at the story of Sarah and Abraham was Sarah quiet woman doesn’t seem to know she was, she had she had, you know, she had lots of opinions. But here Peter is saying she had a quiet and submissive spirit. And so submission is about your spirit. It’s not about whether your mouth is moving, it’s the attitude of I’m not going to take you down with my words. I’m gonna build you up with them. Even if their constructive words of criticism. And the other thing Peter says is don’t give way to fear when women don’t have the right spirit in marriage, they’re giving way to fear in one way or the other. Either they’re afraid to use their voice and they become weak or they give way to fear by being being manipulative, controlling dominant. And so submission is really how do I use my power in a way that’s not reacting with fear? And there’s all sorts of applications to this. For example, let’s say a woman needs to confront her husband’s pornography. Use one way of being fearful is I’m not going to confront it because they’ll get mad. Another way of being fearful is yelling, being demanding. Uh you get this taken care of right now, that’s that’s not an inviting intimacy. So she would approach this where first of all bathing in prayer. But honey, there’s something very important that I need to talk to you about. I’m aware of your pornography use and it offends me. I believe believe it offends God because it’s not his design. And this is true in a lot of situations. I know that this is something that started when you were a teenager or younger and I know it’s a battle and I’ll be with you in that battle, but I’m not okay with this going unaddressed, wow, that is powerful. You know, because I my guess would be that a man’s greatest fear is that if this is exposed, I lose her rather than fighting through it, right. And we talked about. We’ve had some broadcasts that have addressed that and that’s where you’re at, definitely go to focus on the family’s website or contact us to help find a way to work through that and get to a better place. I want to get back on this just for a moment. But it feels like one of the greatest dilemmas julie that a woman can have is that desire to take over when there’s a vacuum I’m gonna step in, whether it’s the kids or whatever it might be. So that fear that you described ends up be becoming control. And that control is expressed by taking charge because if I can take charge, I can control the environment. Um speak to that. Sometimes it probably is needed. I, you know, part of me feels that way somebody’s got to drive the ship. And then in other ways that could be so devastating to the relationship when you’re seeking control out of fear. Yeah, I think we, as women tend to put our husbands in a double mind. We say I want you to lead, but I want you to lead the way I tell you to. And so it’s this idea of a woman wants her husband to step up, but she doesn’t trust him to do it right? And I did this as a wife as a young wife because I had a certain view of what leadership should look like in my home. And it wasn’t mike’s personality. And so I would tell them how to lead and I would end up being manipulative and controlling and I wasn’t happy and he wasn’t happy. Neither of us were thriving. And so some of it is really learning that if if I don’t leave room for him to grow and if I don’t appreciate the ways he naturally does lead, we’re going to just be in this cycle forever julie. Let’s turn toward the physical intimacy and ask some questions in this area. A lot of people get uncomfortable with this. I get it. Um, if you’re thinking, jim, why are you covering the subject? It’s because we need to, I mean, we have left this to the world to define and to give proportionality too. But this is a biblical principle. The idea that God gave us the gift of sexual intimacy in marriage as his gift to us and we need to reclaim that and teach our Children about it. So, in that context, um, you describe how you grappled with this intimacy issue early in your marriage. How did you, how did you deal with that? What were the frustrations you were feeling? I probably didn’t deal with it very well early in my marriage. Uh, the frustrations I had, you know, partially, partially was uh in all candidness. It wasn’t enjoyable for me and a lot of women experienced that in marriage were like, well, I guess this is a gift for the husband, but not for me. And I think the traditional way of approaching that situation is sort of the way that that I approached it was I guess it’s my duty as a wife to meet my husband’s needs. And that wasn’t necessarily a bad attitude to have to wanna have a servant attitude about sexuality. But I will say that it keeps a couple and it kept us from the fullness of what God designed sex to be in marriage. Can I ask you in that regard? What do you think with the women that you counsel? How many women have that perspective? You know, it’s not enjoyable for me. I do it out of obligation. I think I think I think it’s probably around 60% or more. Yeah. And that that makes it something important to talk about. What did you learn over you know the years with you and Mike, I mean how did you and you know you’re a psychologist. So how did you apply all this to say? And that’s okay. But um you know for that younger wife who’s right where you were What are the 1-3 things you would say? Think of it differently or how do you get out of that obligation? Feeling? Well, I would talk to the husband too because I think that the teaching has been misguided to the husband. That’s good when we talk about sex and sexual restraint for singles. We have no problem saying God wants you to use self control. He wants you to value him more than you value getting your own needs met? And for some reason we feel like once we get married, we shouldn’t ever have to use self denial or self control related to our sexuality. And I think the teaching traditionally has been to men once you get married, you should get all of your needs met sexually in marriage and now your wife is obligated to do that. And that has hurt so many marriages, hurt so many women because women have felt like, even if for 30 years, I never get any pleasure out of this. God wants me to keep giving my body over and over again. And for women that have had sexual trauma, they can feel re traumatized, they can feel like uh they’re just objects to their husband, their not being loved and nurtured. And so I think that this sort of simplistic approach to sex and marriage is something we need to take another look at. Uh, and to vote for both the husband and wife and to really even look like at a passage in 1st Corinthians seven, which is often used to give that kind of teaching and to say actually what paul is saying is that the sexual relationship is a call for both the husband and wife to minister to one another and men need to be encouraged if your wife has pain during sex, if she has trauma in her past, if she’s not enjoying it, the burden in some ways is also on you to say, how do I minister to my wife emotionally and physically? How do I understand the complexity of how she’s created sexually? How do I go on the healing journey with her and not just say no, I get my needs met regardless. And so I really think that there needs to be a paradigm shift where a couple says God created us for healthy sexuality and we’re going to pursue intimacy, not just check the box of activity. And I think that was something that really helped me as a wife and helped us in marriage. And I think it’s something that’s been a challenge for a lot of couples julie. I think it’s so important to provide some of those practical handles for people. I’m sure there’s a lot of women and some men that are going, wow, okay. We have not related to each other in a biblical healthy way. So let’s encourage couples to go on offense and and do this better. What are those practical ideas that people can apply? What’s the playbook? Yeah. So first of all, it’s really asking the question, How am I using my power and marriage if you’re a wife? How am I using my power to help my husband feel respected? How am I using my power in terms of what I have to offer that? Let me ask you this in that regard because it’s so important getting to what’s real and sometimes we can obscure that even when we’re asking ourselves that question, we don’t see it because we’re blinded by it. So how does a person really objectively see How am I manipulating the marriage and really be able to see the answer? Well, you could ask your spouse. That’s one way to do it. Yeah. And I’ve asked my husband this when I wrote the first version of this book 20 years ago, I went through my three areas of power and I asked him how he was doing and he didn’t give me as good of a report card as I hoped he would. You know, he helped me understand and see it was hard to hear, but how I could be manipulative. And he started, he would call them my Jedi mind tricks. He’d be like no one time he actually said to me, I was talking to him about something, he goes, wait a minute, just a second. And he raised his hands up like an automatic window going up. He goes, okay, manipulator shields are activated, go ahead. So he had like a fun way of reminding me and showing me that hey, be careful. Like I’m feeling manipulated and both husband and wife need to have a teachable heart and I think we can get so defensive and feeling like I have to be the best wife for the best husband that we can’t hear where we’re missing the mark. But really just having that sensitive spirit towards the Lord and towards one another of I want to do better and I know I haven’t done this well maybe even growing up I didn’t see the best examples but help me do this better because I want to be the best husband and wife I can be for you. Well you use playing offense, I used it in the question but you say playing offense is really important as a couple and describe what that looks like. That that idea that you know especially with physical intimacy, what is playing offense? Yeah, so playing offense is you know I use that in reference to physical intimacy because I think a lot of times all we do in marriages think about the defense like how do we check the box? How do we make sure nobody’s using porn? How do we affair proof our marriage? And there certainly is a time and a place where we need to have a conversation about keeping on defense and having our guard up. But if all you ever plays defense you never you never win, you never gained ground. You don’t. And you know we have a God who plays offense all the time. He takes ground back. And so playing offense is asking questions like how can intimacy in our marriage be greater a year from now than it is today, How can we share more of ourselves, how can we learn to look forward to being together physically? What would be fun even how do we how do we get set free from some of the things that are keeping us from enjoying this? Yeah. One of those difficulties that I’ve learned is, you know, especially for that woman who grew up in the church, it was no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. And especially for the woman that abided in that, Okay, no, almost to brutality, you know, and then she gets married and then she’s saying, how do I flip this switch? Right. Yeah. It’s hard for a lot of women. I think some of the mess subtle messaging in the church has been more that women were supposed to be the sexual gatekeepers. Like it was assumed that men would have sexual desire and that that was going to be a difficult thing for them to steward. But women were almost told not to be sexual. And so they don’t know how to awaken those desires. They don’t know how to receive those desires as something that is God given and good. And for a lot of women, they need to actually go back to the scripture and look at the song of Solomon and retrain their understanding of Biblical sexuality. So that not only they can say yes to their husband, but they can first even just say yes to the desire God has put within them. That is really good. That’s a great observation 15 years into your marriage. You and Mike, you know, you had this revelation of giving, giving it over to God and you know, some women right now are saying, yeah, I did that at year seven other women are saying, you know, I’ve been married 30 years. I haven’t done that yet describe that experience and how God gave you peace about giving up control and giving up manipulation to the best of your ability. I’m sure there still is a little bit of that because we’re human. Yeah, it helps to write a book on it because you have accountability now that’s true. So, but it wasn’t just giving up control of my marriage. I think it was like a shift in my whole relationship with God. Women know how to work hard and they know how to work hard in marriage. Like what percentage of the marriage books do you think are purchased by women? We’re always working on our marriage, but we sometimes work the wrong way and that’s the way I was working. I read and devotional recently that talked about the difference between focusing on the fruit versus focusing on the root and how as modern christians we want the fruit of a good marriage, we want our husband to love as well. We want them to help with the kids. We want we want to be good wives. That that encouraged him. That’s fruit. The route is What is God doing in my heart and do I really trust that God is good and I think I hit that wall probably about 15 years of my marriage where I realized that a lot of what I was doing was rooted in pride, thinking I knew better than my husband. It was rooted in fear of what would happen if he made the wrong decision with this or that. And really getting to the point where I was investing in the, in the roots of what does it look like to just want to honor the Lord. Now I want to fix my husband and I want to fix my marriage. That’s fruit. But I just want to be a woman who honors the lord and what we see in scripture is that when the roots are healthy, then the fruit starts to come out healthy. Uh and it’s been a joy over the last say 10 years or so. Just to see the fruit that comes from like someone says and just being rooted in the word of God. Being rooted in the spirit of God and just letting God take care of the fruit in his own timing. Yeah, that is really good julie. There are wives listening right now who are doing all the right things. The things that you’ve talked about. They have given up that mega control. They’ve been praying for their husbands encouraging them, but they’re still not seeing fruit. It may have been months, it might be years. How would you encourage that? That woman, that wife to keep going, even when it’s not happening. Yeah, I would say, first of all, fruit isn’t always just in your marriage. The fruit isn’t that you’re going to change your husband. The fruit may be very silent for a while. People are watching you and your Children are watching you. People around you are watching the witness of a woman who is faithful through difficult circumstances. A woman who is seeking wisdom and seeking wise counsel when she doesn’t know what to do. And so don’t underestimate the fruit. Ultimately, God sees you, You know, I’m not gonna stand before God with my husband. I’m gonna stand before him alone and I’m gonna give account for how he stewarded everything that he has blessed me with. I’m going to give account for how I’ve stewarded my role as a wife and a mom. And God sees the choices you’re making to honor him. And I’d also say, do still seek counsel. Like if your marriage isn’t nurturing to you, you need relationships that are nurturing, you need friendships and you need wise counselors to let you know where you draw boundaries so that you’re not continually wounded in your marriage. So there is an element of making sure that you have people around you that are helping you navigate that difficult situation. That’s so good and julie man. We’re out of time. Thank you so much for being here. Number one seeing you brings us great joy again and just saying, you know how the Lord is blessing your ministry to women and, and men. Uh, it’s really good to see how God’s using you. Thank you for rewriting the book, which really helped many, many people and let me turn to our listeners. Um, you know, this resource is really important. It’s an important book to get to have to give to friends. If you’re in a good place, I would keep your eye open with those couples in the church that you know that you, you know, the Lord’s letting you know they’re hurting. Uh, this would be that kind of book that would make a big difference in their marriage. And if you can make a donation to focus for any amount, will send it to you as our way of saying thank you. And uh, if you can do that on a monthly basis as a sustainer that helps us even more. So consider those two ways. A one time gift, monthly gift and we’ll send you the book to say thank you. If you can’t afford it, we’ll get it to you. Just give us a call, don’t be embarrassed and we’ll trust others will cover the cost of that julie mentioned this earlier, but focuses here. It is a heap and a storehouse of resources to help you and your marriage. That’s our goal. Plus we have counselors who can talk with you, they’ll probably have to call you back but you can call and ask to talk to a counselor and they can give you some perspective. That perspective that julie is referring to, its free. We’re doing this to help you in the name of christ and the supporters supply that ability for us to do that. I’m grateful to each and everyone so Get in touch with us. We’ve been doing this 44 years over 44 years. Um You’re not going to shock us. Yeah. Call to schedule a consultation with one of our counselors or to donate or to get julie’s book. We’re all three. Our number is 800 the letter A and the word family. 802 326459. Or click the link on your screen, julie. Thanks again for being with us. Always my pleasure. And thank you for joining us these past couple of days with Dr Slattery on behalf of Jim Daly and the rest of the team here. Thanks for joining us today for focus on the family. I’m john fuller inviting you back next time as we once more help you and your family thrive in christ