Grace in the Bedroom
About the Guest
Is there room for grace in the bedroom? You bet! Tim and Darcy Kimmel, marriage and family therapists for over 30 years, explain that in a grace-filled marriage you have to put the other person's interests first and be available. Not demanding sex, which isn't gracious, but rather doing whatever you can to meet your spouse's needs when possible.
Darcy KimmelDarcy Kimmel has a heart for encouraging and equipping parents and grandparents to maximize their unique callings in life with the Grace Based Parenting model for relationships. Her greatest joy comes from her own family and relationships. Darcy speaks at marriage and parenting events with her husband Tim. She loves to provide help for parents through the Grace Based Parenting materials, including single parents and blended families. As a writer, Darcy is co-author of several books on parent...more
Tim KimmelDr. Tim Kimmel is the founder and Executive Director of Family Matters, whose goal is to see families transformed by God’s grace into instruments of reformation and restoration. Tim and Family Matters conduct the Grace Based Parenting Conference across the country on the unique pressures that confront members of today's families. He and his wife, Darcy, also team up with other organizations such as FamilyLife, Focus on the Family and MOPS to build strong families. With his dry wit and engag...more
Tim and Darcy Kimmel explain that in a grace-filled marriage, you have to put the other person’s interests first and be available.
Grace in the Bedroom
Bob: It may sound contradictory; but Darcy Kimmel says, “To have a grace-based marriage, it’s going to take some work.”
Darcy: So many people think that—when they hear this concept of a grace-filled marriage—that it sounds like a lot of work and giving up a lot of my rights. It doesn’t sound like a quick-fix, and it’s not—it is hard work. And yet, if you choose not to give grace in a marriage, then, you’re signing up for a mediocre relationship—when you can have the power of God in your relationship, which is wonderful!
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, January 11th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’ll talk today to Tim and Darcy Kimmel about how we get grace and how we give grace in marriage. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Wednesday edition. You know, the subject this week—talking about grace in marriage—who doesn’t like that idea; right? Who would say, “I don’t want grace in my marriage.”
Dennis: Somebody doing good to me that I didn’t deserve or that I didn’t earn.
Bob: The problem is—we want it / it’s just the—it’s just the doing of it. It’s just the having of it that makes it hard.
Dennis: We’ve not been trained. We haven’t been mentored in what it means to give grace to another broken human being. Pull up a chair, get a cup of coffee, stay away from the cinnamon buns, and just; [Laughter] you know?
Bob: Where’s the grace?!
Tim: Where’s the grace?
Bob: Where’s the grace here?! [Laughter]
Dennis: It’s ever before me. Tim and Darcy Kimmel join us again on FamilyLife Today. Darcy, Tim, welcome back.
Tim: Thank you—
Darcy: Thank you.
Tim: —for letting us be here.
Dennis: They’ve written a book called Grace Filled Marriage.
Bob: We’re going to dive back into the book, here in just a minute; but let me interrupt you long enough to let our listeners know I need to remind them about the special offer we are making this week and next week about the Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways that we do, where Tim and Darcy speak—you are one of the couples who speak at these getaways all across the country.
The offer we are making this week and next week to our listeners—if you’ll sign up for a spring getaway—and we start them in about four weeks—you attend the getaway at the regular rate and your spouse comes free. We are trying to make it as affordable as possible for you to have a fun, romantic getaway, together as a couple, where the two of you can relax, and just enjoy being together, and focus on your marriage for a couple of days.
You can find out more about the special offer when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com, or you can call us at 1-800-FL-TODAY. If you need to find out when a getaway is going to be in a particular city, the maps are online; or just call and we can give you the information.
Again, the website is FamilyLIfeToday.com; and the number is 1-800-FL-TODAY. But we really hope our listeners / all of our listeners will make it a priority to come and spend a weekend with us at one of these Weekend to Remember marriage getaways.
Dennis: You know, Darcy, just for a moment—because the other night, I was on the phone with a number of folks, who are stakeholders, here in FamilyLife’s ministry. I was astounded because we could take a poll / a live poll in the conversation—how many of them had been to the Weekend to Remember and how many hadn’t. Half hadn’t been to the Weekend to Remember. I’m going: “How could they not?! How could they support this ministry and not go to the Weekend to Remember?” What would you say to someone who has not been—just about why they ought to go.
Darcy: Well, I’m so appreciative of them supporting the ministry; but their gift would mean so much more to them if they would go and see the result of that because God changes lives. God rescues marriages at those weekends.
We love every single time we go—we learn something new. We’ve sent all of our children to them—we give them as wedding gifts. They need to go!
Dennis: No doubt about it. Tim, a story from one—from a conference you’ve spoken at.
Tim: Well, here’s something that I’ve seen. I have seen people who—the only reason they are there is because their attorney says, “I will not let you sign these papers until you, at least, go to this thing—give it one more shot.” And they go out there. They see that God had a plan for their love, from day one, that they had turned their backs on. They open their arms to that, and then, God does—He just washes over them. I have seen Him rescue marriages that were on life support—over and over again.
Now, here is the cool thing—if He can do that to marriages that are on life support, just think what He can do to one that is clomping along pretty well.
Dennis: Yes; you’re running the race well. It’ll put some wind—some fresh wind in your sails.
Tim: For Darcy and I, we—our standard prayer of praise, at the end of a FamilyLife conference: “Lord, thanks so much for letting us be on this team; because we needed this, this weekend, for our own lives.”
Bob: You guys have a real burden to see grace in marriages. You said earlier that love is kind of what we all think is at the center of a marriage—and really grace should be at the center—not that love is unimportant, but love—
Darcy: Grace gets you through.
Tim: Grace determines the quality of the love.
Bob: And in your book, you outline freedoms that come with grace. What are the freedoms that you talk about?
Tim: Well, there are four freedoms that God shows us in His grace. We kind of outline each one of those. We could dial in on one or two of them and specifically illustrate what they look like—but the freedom to be different,—
Dennis: I love that one.
Tim: —the freedom to be vulnerable, the freedom to be candid, and the freedom to make mistakes.
In the freedom to be different—this couple got married. We all have quirks about us. We all have these idiosyncrasies that you don’t even realize until you get married and you find out, “You know—that’s very annoying.”
I want to say this delicately, but they got married in the wintertime. They had never slept together until their marriage—and because it was cold, they ended up like a lot of couples do with nothing on, but she kept on a pair of tube socks. She just felt that was great. Each time she knew that that was going to happen, she would put on these tube socks. She just got attached to those—almost like a security blanket—to that time with her husband. This continued for year, after year, after year. [Laughter]
Dennis: Even in the summer?
Tim: Even in the summer. She—and they’d go on vacation. She would take them with them.
If they were going someplace, where they thought something might happen, she’d take them with them. Well, these things—they lost their elasticity. They were pretty—
Darcy: —pretty grody-looking.
Tim: —after years. They started to really become a source of annoyance to the husband. He got to where this was a turn off to him. She said: “Come on, don’t worry about it. It’s just my tube socks. Everything is going to be fine.” So, finally, they ended up in front of a counselor.
Bob: Really, over the socks?
Tim: Over the socks. The counselor didn’t know why they were there—it was, “We need to see you.” Then, he says, “Why are you here?” The guy went right into this tirade about the tube socks—and from the beginning—she might have nothing on but the tube socks.
And the guy listened and finally said—the counselor said: “Are you nuts?! I know guys that would kill for a pair of tube socks like that for their wife. If we could figure out how to market those things and what they are doing for your wife, we could be zillionaires. Are you crazy?! You’re a very fortunate man.
“If you would just look at these things through a different lens”—and he was talking about the grace lens—“than you look at them. Just give your wife the freedom to be different. So, she likes those things on—so what?”
What was funny is—after he finally got—changed his perspective on this—she’d get into her car, and he’d put them over the rearview mirror; or she’d go to the microwave, and they’d be in there. [Laughter] Anyway, they had a lot of fun with that.
Bob: You know, Mary Ann and I have said to one another, many times over the years: “Different is not wrong. It’s different.”
Tim: It’s different.
Bob: But the instinct is: “If you are doing it differently than me, you’re doing it wrong.”
Tim: —“wrong.” And by the way, this is where grace leaves the building so often—that we keep score. We think we have a right, now, to play that game with you—and withhold, or punish, or whatever. This happens over and over again. We speak to this at FamilyLife all the time.
Bob: There’s arrogance, though, that is behind that idea that:
“My way is the right way / your way is the wrong way.” That’s where we’ve just had to look at each other and say: “Okay, you do it differently than I do. That’s—your way is not wrong. It feels wrong to me, but it’s not wrong. It’s just different.” You know what I’m talking about?
Dennis: I do know what you’re talking about. I was smiling.
Bob: You were nodding your head there? [Laughter]
Dennis: There is more than one way to load the dishwasher; you know?
Darcy: That’s right.
Dennis: There is Barbara’s way—[Laughter]
Bob: —and the wrong way.
Dennis: —and there’s—[Laughter]
Darcy: —and the right way. [Laughter]
Tim: —and the right way.
Dennis: Are you the right-way person, Darcy?
Darcy: I pretty much am, especially in the kitchen; but I think opposites do attract. It is fun when you are dating / when you are first married; but then, it just wears on you. Like you said—you become self-righteous. You start to assign some sort of almost moral value—
Bob: That’s right.
Darcy: —to the differences. Then, you get fuel behind your self-righteousness. Then, it becomes a real point of contention.
Dennis: One of the things we teach at the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway is that differences are God’s new capacities that He brings to us in our spouse. Barbara has brought all kinds of new capacities to me in her differences. She likes museums. Wherever she goes, she makes things beautiful.
Bob: She likes gardening.
Dennis: She does like gardening.
Bob: And you’ve learned to like gardening.
Dennis: I have learned to like gardening. And she hasn’t yet—she has yet to appreciate my love of hunting and fishing—[Laughter]
Dennis: —and joining me in the woods.
Bob: But there is still time!
Dennis: There is time.
Bob: There is still—
Tim: Has she ever sat out in the duck blind with you yet?
Dennis: Not in the duck blind. I think that would be—
Tim: Deer stand?
Dennis: —I think the duck blind would be the ultimate—
Tim: That’s ultimate—I’m telling you what.
Dennis: —you know—in waders, in cold water at 5:30 in the morning, in the dark.
Tim: Absolutely; absolutely—with beef jerky. [Laughter]
Bob: I’m curious—
Tim: Teriyaki beef jerky.
Dennis: It’s Duck Dynasty, here on FamilyLife Today.
Tim: I’m tearing up! [Laughter]
Bob: Listen to me. I want to talk about the freedom to be candid, because it sounds a little like the freedom to insult one another—you know what I mean?
Darcy: Well, you know, there is a difference between honesty—like Jerry Springer honesty—
Darcy: —and candor. Candor always has the best interest of the other person at heart. It’s part of communication in marriage. So many times, we hold our spouse responsible for expectations that we have—they have no idea we have of them. Yet, we get mad over that—thinking they should know this: “This is something that they should know about me or the circumstance.”
If we would just, in a loving way, say: “I need to tell you something. I need to tell you how that makes me feel,” or “I need to tell you what my expectation is,” without being mad about it to begin with.
Dennis: Darcy—how has that, theoretically, shown up in your relationship with Tim?
Bob: Theoretically? [Laughter]
Tim: Nothing theoretical about it!—but the Bible gives us guidelines: “Speaking the truth in love.”
Darcy: —“in love.”
Dennis: Of course!
Darcy: And working toward unity—not victory—when we have a conflict. Conflict is inevitable in every marriage. The thing you want to do is to solve the problem—not to become the one that’s right and they are wrong.
Bob: Don’t you think most of us have things that we think, in our own heart or mind, that if we thought: “If our spouse really knew I was thinking this, or knew that I liked that, or knew that this—my spouse would be disappointed in me. Therefore, I’ll just not share that. I’ll be less than candid because I have to protect myself and protect the relationship”?
Darcy: Yes. And that’s where that secure love comes in that we talked about. We have to feel safe in our marriage. That’s what grace does, because we know—if our spouse is loving us the way God loves us—
—He knows all that crud in our life—then, they are going to have forgiveness, patience, and a love that endures.
Dennis: Let’s talk about another delicate subject; alright? You speak of grace results in the freedom to be vulnerable. I’m just wondering, “How does grace show up in the bedroom?”
Tim: You know the reason we get married—let’s just be real—everybody listening. There is basically one reason why we need a marriage license in God’s eyes—that’s for the sexual intimacy side of it—because none of the other stuff requires a marriage license. Now, obviously, our marriages are far more than that—
Tim: —but this is the defining feature that you don’t share with anybody else. Yet, on this one, this causes more grief to couples. I think this is where grace can save the day.
Darcy: In our own marriage, we’ve gone through the spring of love, the hot summer love, the autumn, and the winter love when it comes too.
Bob: There have been cold fronts that have moved in.
Darcy: There have been cold fronts, especially with children and all that; but I think, in a grace-filled marriage, you have the other person’s best interests at heart—so, you’re available. You’re not always on the same page; but I know in our relationship, we’ve just made the commitment—we call it convenience store sex. You know—convenience stores are open 24/7, 365. If you have that attitude, it’s a very gracious response to one another.
Bob: Darcy, that sounds theoretic. There are guys who just turned up the radio and texted their wife and said, “Are you listening to FamilyLife Today?”
Darcy: Right. [Laughter]
Bob: Right? [Laughter]
Dennis: —“24/7, Sweetheart!” [Laughter]
Tim: By the way, no one is giving license to sexual addiction—
—that is not gracious / or taking advantage of the other person—that’s not gracious. Everybody understands people are sick or whatever—we understand that.
Darcy: And there is no permission to demand it either.
Dennis: That was what I was getting ready to say.
Darcy: No, no, no.
Dennis: There is no such thing as sex-on-demand.
Darcy: No; there isn’t—
Dennis: That’s not—that’s not—
Darcy: —because that’s not gracious.
Tim: That’s not gracious.
Dennis: —that’s not marriage.
Bob: So, the idea of convenience store sex—what about those days you’re exhausted / you can barely stay awake—and Tim says: “Store open? I just need a quick purchase here”? [Laughter]
Darcy: Well, if I was operating in grace, I would do whatever I could to meet that need. Now, sometimes, you can’t—you’re sick.
Tim: Yes; but it wouldn’t be gracious, at that point. You know, this is an area that causes incredible, enormous disappointment and grief. I think that so many couples punish one another through their intimate life. They demand or they defraud. They manipulate.
That does not reflect the heart of God’s grace.
What we just decided, early on, was: “Look, neither one of us have the right to take advantage of each other on this, and we don’t want to”; but I can’t expect her needs to be on the same page as mine at any time. We just said: “Hey, one thing we like about convenience stores is they are always open. They are always available.” We are just saying, as a gracious couple: “Why don’t you just take this attitude of just always being available to each other?”
Bob: Be generous instead of stingy in this area.
Tim: Yes. And don’t keep score on this thing—just be generous. And then, you can have a much more comfortable thing. We don’t have to play the guilt game, or the score-keeping game, and all that stuff.
Bob: Can we just say the Bible speaks to this specifically in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 7, when it says: “The husband’s body is not his own. The wife’s body is not her own.” You are co-owners of each other’s bodies. And it says, “Stop depriving one another”—
Tim: “Stop depriving.”
Bob: —“unless it’s for the purpose of prayer.” Most people who are depriving are not doing it because they are in a season of prayer. They are doing it because they are in a season of anger or a season of disregard for the other person; but it says, “Come together.” This is a part of the blessing of God. We need to look and say: “You know what? That passage—that applies to my marriage. I’ve got to figure out how to obey.”
Dennis: I’m going back to the definition of grace that I mentioned earlier this week with Tim and Darcy. It said that, “God’s grace toward us confronts our rebellion and indifference with an inexhaustible capacity to forgive and bless.”
Tim: —“and bless.”
Dennis: And I think you’ve really got to have both in the sexual dimension of the marriage relationship—the ability to forgive because we will hurt each other / but there is a sense of blessing here—of blessing the other person and doing good to them, whether they’ve been good to you or not.
Tim: Yes. When we do that, we’re reflecting the heart of the gospel.
All we’re trying to say—what that passage from 1 Corinthians 7 and your definition there—is: “This is what grace looks like. The world does not relate to this.”
When I’m on a performance basis with God, I do not want anything to do with this kind of an attitude toward my spouse. But when couples say, “No; I want to reflect God’s heart toward my spouse,” then, the very unique thing to us—the main reason we all got married was to have this freedom and this blessing, before God, to be sexually intimate with somebody we dearly love. Then, all this does is—the stock value goes up on that one. You don’t have to figure that this is something that is going to fade off the radar screen as you get older. Actually, it can get better and more fulfilling.
Darcy: So many people think that—when they hear this concept of a grace-filled marriage—that it sounds like a lot of work and giving up a lot of my rights. It doesn’t sound like a quick-fix—and it’s not.
It’s hard work. And yet, if you choose not to give grace in a marriage, then, you are signing up for mediocre, at best. Who wants a mediocre relationship?—when you can have the power of God in your relationship and experience marriage like God meant it to be, which is wonderful!
Bob: And the only thing that makes it hard to be a dispenser of grace in a marriage relationship is if you haven’t gotten filled up with grace in the first place.
Darcy: That’s right.
Bob: And that’s why it’s hard. If you’re finding it hard to dispense grace to your spouse, you need to ask the question, “Am I filled up with it?”—because—if you are filled up with it, it flows out. If you’re not, it doesn’t.
Tim: You know, I went to an event, where there were other speakers. I was kind of a newbie to speaking out there. I went to dinner with a couple of guys, and they were talking about their marriages.
They were talking with each other—I’m just listening. They both were struggling in their marriage. Then, they got into their intimate lives. They talked about how little intimacy they were enjoying with their spouse. Then, later on, they started to talk about how many times they had been hit on, as they travel—that women come on to them and so forth.
Well, I came home; and I was reflecting with Darcy. I said: “I must have ‘Geek’ written all over me because, in all of these years of travelling, I’ve never once had a woman come on to me. I must be the biggest idiot-looking guy.” She said: “Oh! That has nothing to do with it. You have a red light on.”
Dennis: They are sending signals.
Tim: They are hungry! We’ve had our issues and times where we don’t want to see each other, and touch each other, or be around each other—like anybody else. We have our bad days; but for the most part, we said, “Let’s not send the other person around hungry.” Then, I think a lot of things just fall into place. Like you were saying, Bob:
“When grace is in there, a lot of this stuff becomes academic. It just happens.”
Dennis: And when a couple of people are following Jesus Christ, in a marriage relationship, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be perfect—as you guys have illustrated and as we have illustrated many times, here on FamilyLife Today—but what it does mean is we learn the spiritual discipline of death to self,—
Dennis: —which is how grace can ultimately—back to your point, Bob—it’s how we can be a partaker of grace from God. Then, we can be a dispenser of grace to our spouse.
Tim, Darcy, I just appreciate you guys—your faithfulness to one another and in ministry over the years. Thanks for all you are doing for marriages and families through Family Matters®. I just appreciate your friendship as well. You guys are the best.
Tim: Thank you.
Darcy: Thank you.
Tim: You are very kind.
Bob: If we have listeners who would like to be at a Weekend to Remember, where you are going to be speaking this spring, I know you are scheduled to be in the Poconos in late April.
Bob: So, listeners may want to go online—FamilyLIfeToday.com—to get more information.
Just as a reminder to listeners— if you register for an upcoming Weekend to Remember marriage getaway, this week or next week, and you pay the regular price for yourself, your spouse comes free. It’s an opportunity for you to take advantage of the lowest price we offer throughout the year for what is a romantic, fun getaway for couples. It’s a Friday night, all-day Saturday, half-day Sunday—just a chance to spend time together, focus on your marriage, talk about what really matters and just put everything else off to the side for a couple of days. That’s what the Weekend to Remember is all about. At the same time, you get practical biblical help and hope for your marriage from a great team of speakers—people like Tim and Darcy Kimmel. It really is a great event.
You can find out when the Weekend to Remember is going to be coming to a city near where you live by calling 1-800-FL-TODAY; or if you like, go online at FamilyLifeToday.com.
You can register online, or you can register by phone at 1-800-FL-TODAY; and then join us for one of these upcoming getaways. I am going to be speaking at one in Branson, Missouri, the first week in April. Listeners in the Midwest, who would like to join me in Branson—love to have you come out for a great weekend getaway there. Again, get the information you need and register. Take advantage of the special offer we’re making this week at FamilyLifeToday.com, or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. Pay the regular rate for yourself and your spouse comes free.
By the way, while you’re online, be sure to get information about Tim and Darcy Kimmel’s book, Grace Filled Marriage. This would be a great book to go through with a couples group—with a small group from church. It really does take you right to the heart of what makes a great marriage a great marriage and that is grace. Order the book from us, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or call 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”
Tomorrow, we’ve got another one of our Weekend to Remember marriage getaway speakers, who’s going to join us. Our friend Robyn McKelvy is going to be here. She’s written a book for wives who are Sick of Sex—that’s the name of the book. We’ll talk about what Robyn has written, tomorrow. I hope you can be here for 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. I hope to see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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