A Cup of Kindness
About the Guest
Which fruit of the Spirit is hardest for you? Peace? Patience? Kindness? Dennis Rainey talks to Michael and Hayley DiMarco about how the fruit of God's Spirit can powerfully transform a person's life, as well as a marriage. Hayley shares how, in the beginning of her marriage, she allowed her flesh to rule her life, but once she confessed that she couldn't do life in her own power and needed God's help, life became more satisfying and fulfilling.
Michael and Hayley DiMarco talk about how the fruit of God’s Spirit can powerfully transform a person’s life, as well as a marriage.
A Cup of Kindness
Bob: Hayley DiMarco says that she and her husband Michael are just like every other couple. There are times when they don’t see eye to eye. When that happens, there are times when Hayley doesn’t respond with a gracious, loving spirit.
Hayley: My initial is: “That—I can’t believe he did that!” I’m angry, and I’m giving God the riot act. Then, I realize: “Wait a minute. What does God want me to learn in this? Why is this chafing happening?—because if I’m responding to the Spirit, there’s no chafing. So, what is it in me where I’m not responding to the Spirit?”
I allow my mind to kind of hone in on Scripture that I know, and I find answers. Then, I move right to praying for him. Rather than getting on him for something, I go right to God for it and begin to pray. That’s how kindness shows up—in that I’m offering him prayers.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, May 26th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. Has it been a while since kindness showed up in your marriage?
We’re going to talk about the fruit of the Spirit and marriage today. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Thursday edition. I’m just curious. We’re talking this week about the fruit of the Spirit and how a wife can be a fruitful wife. When you think of wives, which of the fruit of the Spirit do you think they’re worst at? [Laughter] I just wanted to see how you’d—
Dennis: You have found fresh ways, not only to completely insult our guests, but now, our listeners! We can do without an occasional guest, but not without the listeners! [Laughter]
Bob: At least, I didn’t ask you which one Barbara is worst at.
Dennis: I thought that’s where you were going! [Laughter] I thought it wasn’t enough that you set up Michael DiMarco, on an earlier broadcast, to see where he slept last night. [Laughter] Wow! My breath is taken away on that, Bob.
Let’s do this! How would you answer that question, Bob? [Laughter]
Bob: I would answer—I’d take the Fifth Amendment is what I’d do. I would just plead the Fifth and get out of court as quick as I could.
Dennis: Well, you know what we could do—we could ask the author of the book, The Fruitful Wife, Hayley DiMarco, who joins us again on FamilyLife Today, along with her husband Michael, who did get a reprieve from the doghouse. Welcome back, by the way.
Hayley: Thank you.
Dennis: How would you answer Bob’s question? [Laughter]
Hayley: I was thinking about it when you asked. I was trying to scan my brain. I’ve talked to a lot of women, and I hear—I ask all of them: “What’s difficult for you?” so, I hear like all of them—it just depends on the woman. If they have kids, I would say probably the biggest one is patience. That’s probably a big one because they’re tried all day long. Then, the husband comes; and they’re tried some more. Patience is one that very few people say: “Oh, I’m gifted in that! I have that one covered.”
Bob: Yes; yes. Is that a struggle for you?
Hayley: It was. It was, having a—at the time, she was probably five or six when I was working through this. It was very challenging.
I found myself, like a lot of my friends: “Hurry up! We have to go! We have to go!” and being frustrated that it took so long to get this on and do that. It’s just—they’re never on your time schedule. They’re never as efficient as you want them to be. So, yes, I found myself yelling a lot and getting upset. That’s part of the reason—you know, in this book—that a lot of the information that came out under patience. I had to go through it as I was writing it.
So, I’ve learned a lot, and I’m happy to say that I’ve come a long way. There are moments when it’s really hard; but most of the time, I just feel—and I haven’t, myself, I believe, done anything—it’s really a feel of the spiritual power that comes through me. It’s just His Spirit that just—I look back and I go, “Now, where did that come from?”
Bob: So what’s the difference today? I mean, undoubtedly, there are times when your husband is making you late for something / your daughter’s making you late for something—the same frustration is there as was there a couple years ago. What’s the difference today between what happens and what used to happen?
Hayley: There are probably two things that I can identify. I talk about them in the book to help people with it. One is that I became aware, through working on this book, of what the fruit was. I had a lot of misconceptions, and I think most of us do have a misconception.
Love is not the opposite of hate but, rather, selfishness. When people hear that, they think, “I’ve never considered that.” It changes the way they think about how they love. I see that with all of the fruit in my life. As I started to see not what it was, but what the opposite is, I started to say, “Oh! I’m allowing”—what I call—“the fruit of the flesh”—which is kind of the opposite—“to rule my life, without realizing that’s the complete opposite of listening to the Spirit.” So, knowledge—understanding it in a way I hadn’t—was the first one.
The second one was just grabbing a hold of the realization that I can’t do it in my own power, but I have to do it through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Dennis: Yes, in Galatians, Chapter 5, it says, “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident.”
Dennis: It just ticks them off, you know—all the things where we lose control. Then, it goes on to contrast it with the fruit of the Spirit. I just want to say again, at the beginning of this broadcast, the Holy Spirit has been given to you, really, by Jesus Christ. He left the planet so He could send the third member of the Trinity to, not just be with us, but be in us, and be at work within us / in our souls, producing maturity.
Hayley: That’s right.
Dennis: He is the One who completes the sanctifying work—
Bob: That’s right.
Dennis: —that God’s doing in all of our lives.
Bob: “He who began a good work is able to complete it”; so you’re right.
Dennis: So what Hayley’s talking about here—this is not optional stuff. These are the ABC’s of being a follower of Jesus Christ. You have to understand you have the Holy Spirit. You can see Him grow patience in your heart.
Bob: But if you’re counseling a mother like you today—somebody who said: “I am impatient with my kids. They drive me crazy. They’re always this, and they’re that,” and “Yes, I want to be a more patient mom. So, do I just say, ‘Please, Holy Spirit, make it so,’”?
Hayley: Well, I actually can remember one mother, in particular, who I counseled, who was having just such a terrible time with her three kids not doing anything she wanted. They were late every day to school. She was screaming. Her husband said, “You have to stop the screaming.” Their house was just a house of shouting. As I listened to that, I talked to her. I said something that was very alarming to her; but I think this is the key, and it changed her. I said: “You know what the problem is? You don’t love your kids.” She said, “What!!” She was irate.
Because, see, I know she loves her kids. But I was explaining to her that she didn’t show them her love. As I explained that to her, “What they’re hearing from you and seeing from you isn’t love. They’re seeing your self-obsession—that you wanted them to be ready on time—that you need them to do this and do that.” This self-focus is causing the conflict; whereas, if you understand the truth about love—
—that it isn’t getting what you want, even with kids, because we all know, if we’ve raised them, we’re not getting what we want every second of every day.
Hayley: Letting that go, you can learn to love them. Then, the other fruit starts to flow out of that.
Dennis: Let’s talk about one of the other less convicting fruit of the Spirit. [Laughter]
Hayley: Which would be?
Bob: Patience—just kind of, you know—that was—
Michael: Low-hanging fruit? [Laughter]
Dennis: That was a tough one—raising six kids and getting anywhere on time—trust me! Okay?
Hayley: You don’t; yes.
Dennis: I’ve asked Him to grow that fruit in my life. Let’s talk about kindness.
Dennis: You struggle with kindness or were you naturally kind?
Hayley: Well, I have felt, all my life, that I’m naturally kind. I’ve written books, and I think we’ve probably talked about some.
Dennis: Yes, Mean Girls.
Hayley: Mean Girls; right. I’ve struggled a lot with mean girls in my life. I’ve always been the one that they’re like, “Why are you so nice?” So, I just assumed, “I’ve been called nice; that means I’m a kind person.” But it wasn’t until I studied what kindness really meant that I realized: “I’m not kind either.” I’m not because my kindness—at the root of it / if I got down to the bottom of it—was all manufactured to keep people from hurting me—
—to make it so they didn’t reject me / to keep them from being angry with me. So, it was all selfish—I did it all for me.
That’s not kindness. This is the important thing with all of the fruit of the Spirit—when we’re talking about a motivation that is self—when we’re talking about self-protection, self-promotion, anything that has to do with self—it’s coming from the power of our flesh because we’re focusing on self.
What we’re talking about is focusing on the life of Christ. We’re focusing on His Holy Spirit. When we do that, the fruit that comes out of us is then true fruit. It’s not this cheap imitation of this stuff our flesh concocts in order that we might please ourselves.
Michael: One of the interesting things about our marriage—how Hayley kind of sucked me into this book world and publishing world—is the times that she’ll be sitting in her office and ready to throw her laptop across the room or she just gets to a spot where she’s just struggling one way or another.
I remember this vividly—me, sitting on the floor, early in the morning when she was working on this manuscript, just struggling with the difference between kindness and goodness. It was just a memorable moment because, in that time of wrestling, was this great realization, where we said, “Kindness is really a synonym for grace—it is undeserved favor / unmerited favor.”
Michael: So, when we look at how we define ourselves as kind or not, it’s really, “Are we offering grace to others when they don’t deserve it?”
Michael: Not, “Am I just a pleasing person when it’s convenient for me?”
Dennis: So, Hayley, what does that look like in a marriage relationship? How have you seen the Spirit work kindness in your soul toward Michael?
Bob: Toward your Italian-Irish husband. [Laughter]
Hayley: Right! Yes.
Michael: The unmerited favor! [Laughter]
Dennis: And by the way, I thought it was a lot safer when you were throwing the plates in the basement, not throwing computers.
Dennis: That’s a little more costly.
Hayley: Yes, tell me about it! [Laughter] Well, for me—I think a lot of people can identify with this—when Michael might start something / when he might say something to me that’s either critical or that wasn’t what I expected, or when he even doesn’t do what I ask—like take out the garbage or whatever it might be—there’s something that he doesn’t do, my first response is to attack. It is either to defend myself and prove that he was wrong or to insist, “Why didn’t he do what I asked?”
That is commonplace in marriages. I see that happening all the time, where women—we are constantly trying to control the situation and get him to do what we want and make sure he understands us / communicate. It erupts into: “Well! He started it, so I’m going to finish it.” That’s been the biggest spot for me—where he might start something, whether it’s founded or not.
He might be criticizing a failure in me spiritually, which I welcome, but still hate / hate to hear about. Or he might be criticizing something that I don’t think is a problem. In those situations, my instinct to fight back has died down, where I now say—through the Holy Spirit, I am able to offer him grace and say: “I’m not going to fight back. I’m not going to stand up for myself in this point, but I’m going to let the Holy Spirit do that part.”
Bob: I have, for years, said to people that one of the aspects of kindness / one of the ways that kindness is manifested in a relationship—is you begin to give other people, what I heard R. C. Sproul call one time, “the judgment of charity.” We often call it “the benefit of the doubt.” It is believing the best about another person.
Hayley: That’s hard, though.
Bob: It is, but that’s what kindness looks like. That’s how we manifest kindness toward somebody else—is we say, “I’m going to believe the best about you, even if I don’t feel it right now,”—not naively / not covering up something—but just saying, “I’ll believe the best.”
Hayley: Well, what I talk about in the book is that we have this sense of justice—that things have to be fair, and sin needs to be punished. Even if it is sin that—maybe isn’t biblical sin—but he just did something against me. We have a sense of justice that things need to be worked out.
Hayley: Kindness is giving up that. It’s giving up your sense of justice to the God who is just. One of the ways that it would manifest itself, now, in our marriage is—if we start to fight, I want to talk it out and he wants to leave the room. He wants me to either go or he’s going to go. I just: “Oh! I want to talk about it and work it out!” I’ve had to learn—
Dennis: Are you sure he’s Italian?
Hayley: Yes; I’m sure.
Dennis: I thought Italians liked to get right out there.
Hayley: No, no, no.
Michael: That’s—actually, that’s more the Irish—you know, fight it out. The Italians have the—like: “Okay, this is all business. We’re going to plot against you, and put a horse head in your bed later.” [Laughter]
Hayley: “I’ll get back to you later!” [Laughter]
Michael: Yes. Well, no; that’s the thing—is that she has, just in this particular communication style, there are certain moments where I realize, that whatever we’re talking about, “It ain’t going anywhere.”
Michael: We’re in the endless loop. Those are those moments where her act of kindness is to trust me—that us pulling away for a second and letting things cool down—
Bob: “A time-out might really help here.”
Hayley: But it doesn’t mean that I walk off, and I’m fine. It doesn’t mean that I walk off and I don’t want to throw plates because I really do! But I don’t anymore. What I do is—I go into a room where I can shut the door and, hopefully, not slam it—but shut the door. I get on my knees, and I pray, and I pray.
My initial is: “That dog—I can’t believe he did that!” I’m angry, and I’m giving God the riot act. Then, I realize: “Wait a minute! What does God want me to learn in this? Why is this chafing happening?” Because, if I’m responding to the Spirit, there’s no chafing. So, “What is it, in me, where I’m not responding to the Spirit?” and allow my mind to kind of hone in on Scripture that I know, and I find answers. Then, I move right to praying for him.
So rather than getting on him for something, I go right to God for it, and begin to pray. That’s how kindness shows up—in that I’m offering him prayers. Jesus says, “Pray for your enemies.” That’s what I’m doing in those moments.
Bob: Not imprecatory Psalms. That’s not what you’re praying for.
Hayley: Right; no. [Laughter]
Dennis: But you also move to an apology—you say, “Apologize quickly.” You’re wrinkling your face up. [Laughter]
Michael: Oh, man!—apology. [Laughter]
Hayley: This is a long one because, in my family, we never apologized for anything. If I step on your toe, I say: “Why was your foot there?” I don’t have to say: ‘Sorry.’ Your foot should have been out of the way.” We just do not say sorry—I was never taught to say it.
Bob: Was it a matter of pride in your family?
Hayley: I don’t know if it was pride. I think what I was taught was: “Well, it was an accident. Why do you apologize for an accident? I didn’t do it on purpose,” and so—
Hayley: —right. I thought myself kind, and so I never did anything on purpose. So, I refused to say, “Sorry.” That was something we had to work through a lot. That’s why I wrinkle up my nose because—“Boy! Me learning to say, ‘Sorry,’ was like pulling teeth,”—I did not want to do it.
Michael: The strange thing was—our daughter was the same way. As far as when she was, just, little, little—it was like pulling teeth. I mean, she would just—
Hayley: Cry for an hour—not to say it.
Michael: Yes, at the thought of saying, “I’m sorry.”
Bob: I’m going to say something that could get me in trouble. I mean, I asked you a question that was designed to get you in trouble, as we started here. [Laughter] So, I’m going to just say something that could get me in trouble; but I’ve said this before—and I say it, hopefully, kindly and graciously—but it has been my observation that one of the dominating issues, for a lot of women, is this issue of wanting to be in control—
Michael: Amen! [Laughter]
Bob: —of everything in their lives.
Hayley: No; you’re right.
Bob: So, I’m thinking of that in relation to the issue of self-control, as one of the fruit of the Spirit, because it does seem to me, that for safety and security reasons, women often think, “I must be in control of my environment / everything around me or else I’m not safe.”
Of course, there’s a false sense there because you’re never really in control. God’s in control. But I’m just wondering about this issue of self-control and whether that even relates to this control-issue that’s going on in a woman’s life. Does that make sense?
Hayley: Yes; that does make sense. That is a big one. Everywhere I go, women are like, “Oh yes, I want to be in control.” It’s just what we want to do—women want to be in control of their husbands. That’s natural.
I haven’t really considered the idea of that lining up with self-control, but as you asked me that, I started to say, “Well, what do they both have in common?” We often get confused that self-control, with the word “self” in it, means that it’s something we have to generate ourselves to control. But really what it is—it’s an act of controlling yourself. Does that make sense?
Hayley: In other words, you take away self—you say: “No! The Holy Spirit in me is in control here, not self.” So self has to be pushed aside. In the area of controlling others, we are faced with this need for self-control and that we have to say, “No,” to self. We have to let self-control come from the Holy Spirit.
Bob: So, the issue’s really the self issue.
Hayley: It is.
Bob: Because the woman who’s trying to control her circumstances is saying: “I can run this. I’m in charge.”
Hayley: Yes; and, more than that: “I deserve it. I need my house to look like this,” “I need him to act that way,” “I need the kids to be like this,”—where it’s just we’ve created our whole world in an ideal of how it has to be. If it’s not like that, it’s the end of the world; so we are going to control it.
Dennis: Hayley, you wrote a whole book on this subject, about death to self.
Dennis: What was the name of the book?
Hayley: Die Young—
Dennis: Die Young?
Hayley: —Burying Your Self in Christ.
Dennis: It was just the way of the cross—that, if you’re going to be a follower of Jesus Christ, you have to learn how to deny yourself those luxuries of controlling other people.
Michael: That’s the great thing about those verses about the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5. A lot of people will just lop off the last verse—verse 24—where it states, “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
When we talk about controlling self, it’s really putting self to death. That control issue really feeds back into the whole issue of peace because, when you feel out of control or the need for control, you really have no peace; you have no peace in a God that is in control.
Bob: Yes, that’s a good point. I’m just curious why you did not write The Fruitful Husband at the same time she was writing this book. So, what’s up with that?
Michael: Well, we really felt like the first book really should be for women because, one, this was a journey that Hayley started.
Bob: The point is that love, and joy, and peace, and patience, and kindness, and goodness—all of this--needs to be worked out in the soul of a man just as much as it needs to be worked out in the soul of a woman; right?
Michael: Absolutely! Just our confessions are different or the way it manifests itself in the marriage relationship is different.
So, for me, while Hayley has gone on this journey of the fruit of the Spirit in her life, for me—she could testify to this, I think—I hope and pray—my anger / my short fuse—whether hereditary or just sinful nature—
Bob: That’s hereditary too.
Michael: Yes—it’s lengthened considerably because of living through the Spirit and the Spirit living in me.
Dennis: And watching her change in front of your very eyes.
Michael: Yes! It’s catalytic, where you see someone deny themselves. You see someone living in the Spirit—it truly is supernatural. You say—whether it’s a tennis match and one person drops the racket and stops playing or it’s just two people shouting in a racquetball court and, all of a sudden, you only hear your voice—the sound of your own sin is deafening.
Dennis: Yes; I want to just ask our listeners to listen carefully as I read Galatians, Chapter 5, verses 22 and 23, as I list out the nine fruit of the Spirit. Pick the one you want to close this broadcast with, as a listener, that you want to ask Him, the Holy Spirit, to produce in your soul today—for your spouse / for your kids—maybe, if you’re a single person, your roommate or your parents—just listen carefully and pick which one you want Him to produce: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
Bob: Now, finish the chapter. Read that last verse.
Dennis: “Against such things there is no law, and those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
Do you have it? Have you picked it? I’m going to pick one. How about you, Bob?
Bob: I think I’ll pass on that. [Laughter] I’ll just get right to telling people about how to get a copy of—[Laughter]—how to get The Fruitful Wife by Hayley DiMarco.
Dennis: I’ve been praying for Bob for years on this. This is—I’ve missed my opportunity right here. [Laughter]
Bob: You could go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, to order a copy of Hayley DiMarco’s book, The Fruitful Wife. Again, the website is FamilyLifeToday.com; or you can call to order at 1-800-FL-TODAY. Again, the title of the book is The Fruitful Wife—1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”
We should also mention your wife has a new book out for wives. It’s called Letters to My Daughters. It’s all about the art of being a wife.
This is a collection of letters she has written over the last ten years to your daughters and daughters-in-law, giving input and godly counsel on how to be the kind of wife that God would have every wife to be. Of course, you can order copies of Barbara Rainey’s book, Letters to My Daughters, when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Either order online or call 1-800-FL-TODAY.
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Now, tomorrow, we want to explore how we, as parents, can raise children in an increasingly post-Christian culture and still have our children know and love God in the process. We are going to hear a message from Dr. Al Mohler tomorrow. Hope you can be here and tune in to that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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