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Learning to Effectively Communicate With Your Husband

Air Date 08/28/2015

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Authors Greg and Erin Smalley offer couples practical tips on improving communication in their marriage.

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Episode Transcript


John Fuller: I'm John Fuller and on today's "Focus on the Family" with our president and author, Jim Daly, we're going to be examining how well we communicate in marriage or maybe not so well.


Wife: She and Frank are at wit's end, so I told Marjorie we'll have them over Tuesday night to talk about Bruce.

Husband: Uh-hm.

Wife: That is, if you think that we can help.

Husband: Uh-hm.

Wife: You're not listening to me are you?

Husband: Uh-hm.

Wife: Then I think I'll invite some aliens—

Husband: Uh-hm.

Wife: --to lunch--

Husband: Uh-hm.

Wife: --at your office.

Husband: (Yawning) Whatever you think is best, dear.

End of Teaser

Jim Daly: (Laughing) I mean, I've been guilty of that; let me just say it that way. Hi, this is Jim Daly with Focus on the Family and you know what? Too many times that is how the conversation goes. I think guys can just tune out and you know, we all know we need to communicate better and it's the core of relationship, the core of marriage, but we just don't do it adequately and I'm not sure why, but today we're gonna learn more about how to communicate in your marriage and to really help wives better understand (Chuckling) the way husbands think and we have two very special guests to help us do that.

John: And they are our in-house marriage experts, Dr. Greg Smalley, his wife, Erin. They're on staff. They write; they speak together about marriage and parenting topics and they've written a number of books and one that we keep coming back to, we kinda take a bite at a time, a chapter at a time. It's called The Wholehearted Wife: 10 Keys to a More Loving Relationship. And of course, we've got that available for you at the website.


Jim: Greg and Erin, welcome back to "Focus."

Dr. Greg Smalley: Thank you; it's great to be with you guys again.

Jim: Really, it's back—

Mrs. Erin Smalley: Yeah …

Jim: --to the microphones.

Erin: Yes, as —

Greg: We see you—

Erin: --always.

Greg: --in the halls a lot (Laughter), but to be here.

Jim: Hey, you guys are doin' a great job with marriage here at Focus on the Family. I know when you joined the team a few years back, that was the goal, to have you walk in the door every day thinkin' about marriage and now we have the National Institute of Marriage. We're working in family formation with Boundless and these are all things that you have managed over these last few years and thank you for the leadership you provide.

Greg: Hey, you're welcome.

Erin: Yeah, absolutely.

Greg: We love being here with you guys.

Jim: What are some of those obstacles that we face in our communication with the person who is the closest to us, who knows us the best? Yet, we don't seem to always know what to say or how to respond.

Erin: Well, there's several of them that actually (Laughter) get in the way. I know for me as a mom and a wife, just that the pace that we live life at, just being very, you know, task oriented. We gotta do this; we gotta do that. You know, Greg, pick this kid up. I mean, it's just constant and in many ways—

Greg: And then I forget--

Erin: --of course.

Greg: --and that creates—

Jim: That's good.

Greg: --more problems.

Jim: I love that. I saw—

Erin: Yes.

Jim: --the stat, I think in the book where it's less than four minutes a day that a—

Erin: Uh-hm.

Jim: --couple actually spends together on average.

Erin: Uh-hm.

Jim: That was a little shocking to me actually. I think Jean and I spend a little more than (Chuckling) four minutes. I'm not gonna disclose how much more, but four seems really light.

Greg: Well, and the key being four minutes in meaningful communication. So, Erin and I throughout the day will spend a lot of time administrating our marriage, talkin' about, to her point, task lists, who's doing what. We'll talk about the budget. I mean, it's like we have a lot of business meetings where we're communicating, but really to have that life-giving, positive communication, I think that's where a lot of us struggle with, to Erin's point, really finding the time.

Jim: What's somethin' we can do to enhance that aspect of our relationship, just to have more quality time, not business time?

Erin: Uh-hm. I think first and foremost, it's becoming aware that typically, most of us are failing at this, that you know, four minutes a day, like you're saying, isn't enough. So to be intentional about that and just become aware that we have to set time aside for us to connect at a deep heart level.

Jim: What's a healthy time? I mean, as you look at the research, if a couple does X amount of time, their relationship tends to be healthier?

Greg: Yeah, actually, the research does say about 20 minutes a day. So, there's 20 minutes a day that we're turned towards each other. [The] TV's off; we're away from the distractions. So, maybe for us a lot of times it's right before we go to bed. It just seems that there's at night, kids are down, we're just, you know, layin' in bed together, that can be a great time just to have this, the kind of communication again, that's not about administrating your marriage. But we're really just checkin' in. How are you feeling? What's goin' on today? Those kinds of conversations will give our marriage life.

Jim: Whew! So glad I asked Jean that question last night.

Erin: Way to go.

Jim: How're you doin'? How're you feelin'? (Laughter) Now I'm not gonna say I'm a lot, you know, a lot more than four minutes a day (Laughter), but I'm gonna work on it for 20.

Talk about family of origin. It's really interesting to me. So often, you know, it's joked in many circles, Christian circles, too, you know, when you're gonna get married, look at her mom and both in her exterior, as well as her interior and that's the person you're most likely going to be close to marrying. We don't think about that much, do we?And so often the family of origin does play such a role in how we're shaped and how we grow up. How did that play a role in your life, Erin?

Erin: Well, it was a major difference in the types of families that we came from as far as communication, dealing with conflict. My family, you know, communication was, you'd throw it all out there and kind of hash it out and you know, and then walk away. And so, when Greg and I first got married, I literally [would], you know, bark somethin' at him and he wouldn't respond and I'd be like, "Excuse me," you know.

Greg: And I'd go to my happy place and just--

Jim: Were you hiding (Laughter) or what?

Greg: --curl up on the ground. (Laughter)

Jim: What was it? I mean, when you say "bark something," what does that sound like?

Erin: The intensity, maybe some anger, you know, just yelling, the tone was loud and for Greg, in his family was the complete opposite of that.

Greg: Yeah, yeah, to work somethin' out is just very calm. Everyone was kinda seated. We're just … we're talking, you know, just talkin' it through and so, I didn't know how to handle that level of intensity. And so, I would just shut down and so, I'd just would look like a deer in the headlights.

Jim: How long did it take you to figure this trigger out, this mechanism was goin' on?

Greg: Well, we've been married 23 years, so about 22 years. (Laughter)

Jim: And that's okay.

Greg: The first couple years, it took. You know, I've heard that it actually, it can take about, this freaked me out when I heard it, it can take about nine to 14 years to fully kind of adjust from what you were used to as a single and your family of origin, truly into functioning as a well-oiled machine inside of a marriage.

Jim: Yeah.

Greg: You know, it's huge. I mean, most of us think, ah, well, we'll adjust very quickly, but give that some time. You'll get there. You know, for me, I know growing up that my mom, she used to take me out on dates to where we would go somewhere, like her favorite date—this is so funny—was (Laughter) to go to K-Mart. Seriously. And they had their little eatery thing right there on the side and we'd sit there and have nachos and we would talk and see who could eat the most jalapeño peppers on their nachos. (Laughter) Seriously and I never thought about it, but that really shaped for me the importance of just … of sitting and asking questions.

And it's the same thing that I noticed that Erin does with our son, takes him out. [They] have these great conversations. She actually, and this is no lie, she pulls up. She uses the Focus on the Family app. It's called Make Every Day Count: Conversation—

Erin: Conversation.

Greg: --Starters. I mean, this—

Jim: Yeah.

Greg: --this is not a shameless plug.

Jim: We use those, yeah.

Greg: I'm just sayin'.

Erin: No, I—

Greg: You really do.

Erin: --I utilize it, especially with our 14-year-old son, because so often I'm like, I don't know what a 14-year-old son is thinking about or how to really connect and very—

Greg: Remember the first—

Erin: --different.

Greg: --one you did?

Erin: Yeah, very different.

Greg: She pulled out, very first time, as we were just all sitting there, the app came out and she pulled it up and the question was, "For a 14-year-old boy would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 50 duck-size horses?" (Laughter) That was it. (Laughter)

Jim: Okay, that's a good one. (Laughter)

Greg: And I'm really goin', "You mean we paid for this (Laughter) to develop someone develop this? And that boy has come back at least 10 times to change his answer. "Nah, I think I'd rather have the one horse-sized duck. I think I could take it." (Laughter) It's a funny thing.

Jim: Well, it does make the point though. I think some marriage specialists will talk about, especially for men, just talk about something in your day rather than one-word answers. When your wife says, "How'd your day go?" don't say, "Good." Talk about something and I mean, even if it doesn't make sense to your wife (Chuckling), just say something.

Erin: Yes.

Greg: It just keeps 'em going.

Erin: The one word that we have come across or I didn't realize I didn't like until we got married was "fine."

Jim: I learned about that word when Jean one time early in our marriage said, "How does this dress look?"

Greg: Oh. (Laughter)

Jim: "Oh, it looks fine."

Greg: No.

Erin: No.

Jim: She did not like that response.

Greg: Yes.

Jim: I mean, it—

Erin: Yes.

Jim: --was like—

Greg: You might've said--

Jim: --fine. I mean, fine; it's just good.

Greg: --it makes you look fat and ugly.

Erin: Yes.

Jim: Are you makin' up for it now? (Laughter)

Erin: There's no going back in that.

Jim: Wow. I think "fine" should just be ejected from the English language 'cause nobody likes that word.

Erin: Uh-hm.

Jim: Describe some of those common gender differences. Some people listening may never have thought about it in this way and of course, in the culture, we're constantly hearing there's no difference; there's no difference. But MRI scans and brain research are showing, there are huge differences in the way we think male and female. Talk about those.

Greg: You know, for me, literally this is the truth this morning. [I] just kinda got up early, just reflecting on our conversation today and I was thinking about this and goin', "Man, I wish I had a good analogy to describe the differences between men and women." And no lie, my cat came walking by. We have a cat and then my sister and her family's been here and they brought their dog. (Laughter) And so, literally watchin' the difference, all of a sudden I went, "Oh, my goodness." Like I believe now that women in terms of communication are like dogs, okay? Now men are like cats.

Jim: I think you're goin' the other way, but …

Greg: No, no, no.

John: We're gonna get a lot of—

Greg: No, no, no. No listen.

John: --response about this conversation, Jim.

Greg: No, listen. It's because, when we think about dogs, they're so relational; they're very social. They want to be around others. They want to relate and connect and all you have to do is walk up and say, "Hey, do you want to …?" And they're like, you know, they're just, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'll do whatever you want."

And where versus a cat, very, you know, likes to be on their own, very independent, kind of aloof a little bit to where you can't just walk up to a cat and just try to connect. (Laughter) Sometimes they will; sometimes they won't. And I'm telling you, like all I have to say to Erin is, "Hey, do you want to go for a talk?" And she's like, "I'm there," And we can go out and have this talk." (Laughter)

But to a cat, to really get that cat to interact, you have to play with him. I mean, you get a little string and start playin' and that cat will do it. And I'm telling you, that's just like a guy, is that we're a little bit more independent. We're a little bit more isolated. solitary and to get us really involved in that conversation can take a little bit more work. And that was a huge (Chuckling) [revelation], as I sat there and just watched these two, I'm like, that's one way to describe the differences.

Jim: You know, Greg and Erin, [it] seems to me, one of the difficulties we have in marriages and in Christian marriages, as well, is we fall into ruts. I mean, we're doing the same thing in year five as we do in year nine and 15 and 20 and 30. You have a concept about having a desire to be known and to know in your marriage. You need to have an appetite for that. Talk about that, 'cause one of the things I recognize is, you just get into the routine—

Erin: Uh-hm.

Jim: --and you don't keep exploring. You don't keep getting to know each other, 'cause you think, "I know pretty much everything and I like about 80 percent of that," but (Chuckling) I mean, whatever the end result of that, talk about the idea of being known and knowing your mate.

Erin: Yeah, it's so important to continue to know your mate, because he will change. I will change and we gotta continue to discover who we really are in each season of life, because in marriage we go through different seasons. Right now we're in the middle of raising teenagers and (Laughter)—

Jim: What season is that called?

Erin: --that's greater. Yes.

Jim: Crazy!

Erin: Crazy. (Laughter) and you know, just the chaos and the activity level and you know, but I'm changing as a mom. He's changing as a dad. We're changing as a husband and as a wife.

And so we have to continue to know each other. But then we have to offer who we are. You know, when you have a conversation with someone and you share your heart so deeply and then you get nothing in return? What fun is that?

Jim: Yeah.

Erin: You know, and so, it's awesome when you can also share who you truly are with your spouse, because that breeds this deep intimate connection within your marriage.

Jim: Well, we're talking about gender differences here, so when you look at men and again, correct me if I'm wrong, Greg, but oftentimes for men, being that cat-type personality (Laughter), meaning a loner, kind of aloof. I can curl up in a ball and I'll be fine—

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: --and just set me in the sunshine in the window all day.

Erin: Scratch behind my ears—

Jim: Yeah, scratch my ear—

Erin: --you know.

Jim: --once in a while. But—

Greg: Feed me.

Jim: --but men can do that. We can pull back from intimacy and what I mean by that is emotion intimacy, being engaged with our wives.

Erin: Uh-hm.

Jim: Talk about how a couple deals with that on the men's side, you know, when a woman is so frustrated. Someone [is] listening right now is saying, "Oh, that all sounds well and good, but man, we don't communicate in our marriage and it's killin' me as a woman."

Erin: Uh-hm. I would say over and over again when I talk with women and just girlfriends, that they consistently complain about that, that my husband just will not talk to me. And you know, there's so many different angles to take on this, but I would say first and foremost as a woman, to realize that your husband is different than you are and it's how God made us.

I'm so thankful Greg is different than me in communication because he brings so much balance to me. You know, having that laid-back, you know, personality and maybe not being quite like the puppy, you know, jumping and elated with conversation. It brings a balance to me.

And you know, not to have the expectation that he's gonna be like my girlfriend, who we can sit down at a cup of coffee and go deep quick and you know, have this deep intimate conversation within 2.5 seconds. It's gonna take him a while to emerge into that conversation.

Greg: And for me, I think that's the best advice. For Erin to really understand that, yeah, I'll never be like her girlfriend. I like to communicate in a very different way and see, I think the misnomer is, that men actually love to communicate, but we're just gonna communicate very, very differently.

Erin: Uh-hm.

Greg: And I tell women, I said, "If you really want to learn how to talk to a guy, watch ESPN." (Laughter) Seriously.

Jim: Now they'll laugh and say, "I don't want to do that."

Greg: Right, I'm sayin', do it to study, because how ESPN lays out their show is exactly how a man likes to communicate.

Jim: Describe it.

Greg: For example, so ESPN will usually start with the best clip and then they'll back up and explain it. So, Erin will call me and she'll say, "Hey, I was just in the car and I was talkin' to a friend and we were talkin' about our day and we were talkin' about this and we were talkin' about that and then she said somethin' and it really, you know, it really hurt my feelings.

I don't think that way. See, it's too much information, versus if she calls me and says, "Hey, you know what? So and so just really hurt my feelings." See, that's giving the little clip ahead of time and then, we can back up and talk about some of the details.

Jim: So you know the context.

Greg: I need a diet story. I need to know the context, 'cause there's times where she'll call me it's all these details and then we might shift into, "Oh, by the way, Taylor called." So, who, wait, what? We weren't talking about Taylor. Who's Taylor? (Laughter) We were talkin'—

Jim: (Laughing) It's your daughter.

Greg: --about so and so." (Laughter) And so, men are not multitaskers. We can focus in on one thing and that's why I'm telling you, watch ESPN and take notes and watch how they do it. Their quick little sounds bites. They're quick. They give the best part and then they back up and might unpack a little of the story and yes, that's how men love to communicate.

Jim: Huh.

John: And we're talking, of course, in generalities here.

Greg: Right.

John: This is stereotypical and—

Greg: Not all men will—

John: --because--

Greg: --be like this.

John: --it's generally true and there are some women who are gonna be more like that and more guys who are gonna be a little more communicative. But talking to Dr. Greg Smalley and his wife, Erin today on "Focus on the Family" with Jim Daly. And we're covering a portion of their book, The Wholehearted Wife. And we have that and a CD or download of this conversation and an app, as well, at

Jim: Greg and Erin, you talk about five levels of communication. Talk about those. What are they? And help us frame the different levels of communication.

Erin: You know, there are five different levels of communication — clichés, facts, sharing opinions, sharing feelings and sharing needs. And you can see that they go deeper and deeper, from facts all the way down to sharing needs. And the biggest thing that we take away from this is that most couples get stuck in the first three levels.

Greg: You know, fact and information is, how was your day? And so, you're just sort of unpacking what's goin' on in your day.

Jim: You're actually answering the question.

Erin: Uh-hm.

Greg: Yes.

Jim: Okay.

Greg: Exactly.

Erin: And then you go to sharing—

Greg: Not saying fine.

Erin: --yeah, don't say "fine." Then you go to sharing opinions. Well, my opinion on this is, you know, I think that, that was really, you know, pretty stupid, you know (Laughter), whatever.

Greg: She was looking right at me. (Laughter)

Jim: Well, she thankfully wasn't lookin' at me. (Laughter)

John: This is where a lot of couples bog down, right?

Greg: Yeah, finding a—

John: Because they--

Greg: --happy place.

John: --they feel like, I'm sharing my opinion, but you're not paying any attention or you're invalidating.

Jim: Well, and what you're talkin' about is, you're moving through levels of intimacy.

Erin: Yeah, and the deeper levels of intimacy come with, you know, three, four and five—sharing opinions, feelings and needs. And the problem is, is that most couples get stuck simply sharing clichés and facts.

Greg: And I think part of the big problem, too is that when you watch the average women, so when they're talking to each other, man, they get to the needs and feelings so quickly. It's amazing. It's cool to actually watch that; that is completely different than what most guys can do.

But my dad used to use this great analogy when talking about physical intimacy, that men are like microwave ovens—very quickly, easily turned on. But women more sexually, women are like Crock-Pots, just very slow to warm up. That's exactly reverse when you're talkin' about communication, that women are like microwave ovens. Boy, they can go deep in a split second. We can be at the deepest levels of communication, but see, men, we're like Crock-pots. See, we need to warm up. In--

Jim: In communication.

Greg: --in communication. Erin will call me and we'll just, "Hey, how're you doin'?" "Great." And she'll go so deep so fast and I'm like that deer in the headlights again. I kid with her at times. I'm like, "Hey, I need a little communication foreplay here — warm me (Laughter) into this. How did we get so deep? And so, I think it's helpful to remember again, that men probably aren't gonna go to as deep as levels that fast.

Jim: But what keeps a couple stuck? What I'm thinkin' about when you talk about clichés, I could easily see most men landing there and staying there because as you risk intimacy, being known, you risk being sorted out.

Erin: Uh-hm.

Jim: And a lot of wives and again, we're talking in generalities, seem to find pleasure in sorting (Chuckling) out their husbands and so, we pull back and we stay with clichés—news, weather and sports—because—

Erin: Right.

Jim: --it's comfortable. I don't get in trouble--

Greg: Or—

Jim: --and I'm gonna stay here and you go talk to your girlfriends.

Greg: --or we just don't really know where the conversation's going. Like for a woman, she's wanting to go deep and to connect, really get into talk about emotions. All that for her is what she's really out for.

For the average guy, we need a purpose to these conversations. I need to know where is this thing going? Is there a problem to solve, something to fix, a question to answer, something I need to deal with?

And so oftentimes, what can actually be really helpful is that Erin will say, "Hey, I'd like to talk to you, but I just need you to listen." Or "Hey, can you really help me think this through? I need some help kinda problem-solving this." And I mean, it so frees me, because now I understand where this is going. Women will talk just to connect and relate. There doesn't have to be any point to that and that's a good thing and that's how God made them, but again, to your point, most women, but for me, I get stuck when I'm like, where're we goin'? So, I might revert back to that cliché kinda fact level, 'cause that's the more comfortable place for the average guy.

Erin: Yeah and often going to these deep levels can lead to conflict, because if it's not okay for me to have a different opinion than Greg in our marriage, you know, if it leads to let's, you know, battling through who's right and who's wrong or, you know, who's opinion is more scientifically research based, you know, it's not safe. And you know, then you get into sharing your feelings and your needs. That's intimate, you know, heart information that we're offering to one another. And if it leads to conflict every single time, you know, why would a man want to go there? Why would a woman want to go there? Thus they get stuck, talking about clichés and facts and information.

Jim: Well, it's so true and I, again, I think we naturally, as human beings, we move to the place of comfort, not pain, not difficulty. But you know, that really is what Jesus calls us to do.

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: And that's probably why marriages where their communication's working, it's healthy and it's working better and where there's a light communication, it's not as healthy as it could be and it's certainly not everything that God would want in our relationship. That reflects Him.

Jim: Greg, in the book you talked about and I'm sure it's Erin talking about this, you being a "husband whisperer." (Laughter) That's pretty funny, but what does that mean to be the husband whisperer for wives who are tryin' to figure out this guy that they don't understand?

Greg: Yeah, you know, the meaning behind it was just, I love more than anything when I get a chance to sit down with women and just really coach them, from the mind of a guy. You know, as a guy, boy when you do this, this is how that ends up making me feel. Or if you want this, when you say it this way or whatever. I mean, it was more out of a spirit of goin', "Hey, you've got all these questions about your husband. As a guy, let me just sit down with you and just have conversations about, you know, here … from the mind of a guy, here's what we're thinking. Here's what we would want and so, that what was so much fun about the book, is that Erin got to really encourage women how to apply these things first and foremost to their own lives and then I got the opportunity just to say, "Hey, let me coach you, as a guy, as a husband, here's how I would want this to work."

Jim: Huh.

Greg: And so, it wasn't that I'm talkin' to my wife, which I mean, that would be awkward and hard and you'd feel so self-serving, but to be able to talk to other women going, "Here's what (Laughter)--

Jim: Yeah—

Greg: --is really needed here.

Jim: --that's much easier.

Greg: Let me give you some insight or information.

Jim: Let me also, the 80-20, 90-10 rule probably applies. I mean, these things are always gonna be good tools and they'll work for most couples.

Greg: Definitely.

Jim: There are gonna be some situations where a desperate wife is trying this and her husband's not responding.

Greg: Definitely.

Jim: It's probably an indication that you really do need deeper counseling and different help, 'cause there's other root issues going on that need to be dealt with.

Greg: Definitely. I mean, your husband's always gonna be the expert in him and so, the more you commit to having a spirit of, boy, I want to keep learning. I want to earn a Ph.D. in you. If that's the spirit, it doesn't matter which side of the gender difference you really fall on. It's just going, you know, "We are different. I'm gonna really spent the time learning about you and how you are unique."

Jim: Greg and Erin, you've written this book, The Wholehearted Wife for women. There's lots of good information there for men, as well, but it really is aimed at a woman and how she relates to her husband, to better understand him.

But talk to the woman who maybe feels frustrated. She doesn't know next steps. There doesn't seem to be that connection and because of that, she's kind of pulled back trying. Erin, maybe you're best qualified here as the woman at the table. What can she do to begin to change that tone? You can't change the other person—

Erin: Uh-um.

Jim: --so, if you're frustrated with him, that may be something you have to let go and then concentrate on what you can do. But what advice do you have for that wife in the marriage, where it is at a point of tension? She's tried everything, at least she thinks she's tried everything. What can she do?

Erin: You know, in The Wholehearted Wife, over and over again, we say, "You cannot control anyone but yourself. So, if you're frustrated and you know, pulling back and he senses that. So, what can you control? It's you that you can control and I would say first and foremost, evaluate where's your heart at? If your heart's closed down when you're interacting with him, you're frustrated. You know, there's maybe a root of bitterness that has, you know, started to grow.

Step back and really spend some time reflecting on that, praying about it, you know, maybe talking to some other women, maybe a counselor. And then, you can always call the 1-800 number here at Focus, 1-800-A-FAMILY.And they'll help you get a plan of what can I do to get my heart back open? Because an open heart, he's gonna sense that you start pursuing him and you know, and showing up in a fully different way, it will influence the overall dynamic of your relationship.

Greg: Yeah, I love that. You know, for me, I think it's so powerful when, Erin, when you praise me, there's something that so opens me up to just want to connect. Just the other day she was talkin' to some people and I happened to be standing there and she's just talkin' about, "Boy, I was watchin' Greg counsel this guy and it was amazing," blah, blah, blah. And I mean, we're just drawn to that. And so, I know for this season, you might be extremely frustrated, but do not give up. Do not let Satan convince you that he will not change, that you will not connect.

Boy, the worst question is, "How can I change my marriage?" The best question is always, "How can I be a better spouse?" And then, what can you do? And as you pursue your husband, you encourage him, you praise him, you learn how he loves to communicate, you know, he'll start to respond to that.

Jim: Good advice, so The Wholehearted Wife, Greg and Erin Smalley. This has been so good and Erin, you touched on it. I want to reinforce it. If you're in a point in your marriage where you're strugglin', listen, we have got to do a better job in the Christian community with our marriages. We're here to help you. We've got the tools, like Greg and Erin's book and so much more to provide you to get on a better path, including counseling.

So, call us if you need us and I appreciate the folks that have supported Focus on the Family to be able to afford that ability to provide counseling and provide these resources. And let me just say, if you're in a spot where you're healthy and things are goin' well and you can help us help those who are in a bit of trouble, if you could do that today, that would be great. Last year alone, we helped 140,000 marriages out of trouble and I think that is a great thing. Be part of the team that's strengthening marriage in our culture today. And again, to Greg and Erin, thanks for bein' with us.

Greg: Thank you for havin' us.

Erin: Yeah, thanks for havin' us.


John: Well, our phone number is 800-232-6459; 800-A-FAMILY and you can learn more at and you can learn more at And when you get in touch, we'll tell you more about Greg and Erin's book, The Wholehearted Wife and as was mentioned at the beginning, we've only addressed the topic of marriage communication today and there are so many other great topics in the book like resolving conflict in healthy ways and learning to appreciate and celebrate the differences you have with your spouse and connecting spiritually. It's a wonderful resource and it can revitalize your marriage.

As Jim mentioned, you can also be a part of our support team, helping strengthen families today when you support Focus on the Family financially. Donate at or when you call 800-A-FAMILY. And when you do, we'll send a complimentary copy of Greg and Erin's book to you.

Our program was provided by Focus on the Family and on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening. I'm John Fuller, hoping you have a great weekend and inviting you back on Monday. We'll have Dr. Henry Cloud with us, talking about how to make important and necessary changes in your life, next time as we once again, help you and your family thrive.

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Greg Smalley

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Dr. Greg Smalley serves as the vice president of Marriage at Focus on the Family. In this role, he develops and oversees initiatives that prepare individuals for marriage, strengthen and nurture existing marriages and help couples in marital crises. Prior to joining Focus, Smalley worked for the Center for Relationship Enrichment at John Brown University and as President of the National Institute of Marriage. He is the author of 12 books including Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage, Fight Your Way to a Better Marriage and The DNA of Relationships.


Erin Smalley

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Erin Smalley serves as the Marriage Strategic Spokesperson for Focus on the Family's marriage ministry and develops content for the marriage department. In addition to her work at Focus, Smalley is a conference speaker. She presents with her husband, Dr. Greg Smalley, at marriage enrichment seminars where they guide husbands and wives in taking steps toward enjoying deeply satisfying marriages. She also speaks to women on faith, family and the importance of healthy friendships.