Living for the Glory of God
About the Guest
You're marriage is good, right? And, if you're like most people, it's filled with a lot of good things. But Dennis Rainey wants you to answer a question: how intentional are you about the legacy you and your wife are leaving with your marriage?
Dennis RaineyDennis Rainey cofounded FamilyLife®, a ministry of Cru®. Since the organization began in 1976 through 2017, Dennis’ leadership enabled FamilyLife to grow into a dynamic and vital ministry in more than 109 countries around the world helping families discover the joy God intended for their relationships with God, spouse, and kids. Dennis has authored or co-authored more than 35 books, including best-selling Moments Together for Couples and Staying Close and has received two Golden Medallion...more
You’re marriage is good, right? But how intentional are you about the legacy you and your wife are leaving with your marriage?
Living for the Glory of God
Bob: What is the glue that is holding the two of you together as a married couple? Dennis Rainey says that glue has got to be a strong bond.
Dennis: You can’t build your marriage around the kids because—hear me—you will get fired. You will see them go away, as they must, to their own houses—to their own responsibilities. And then, what do you two have, at that point? Your marriage—our marriage must be built to outlast the kids.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, June 20th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’re going to spend some time today thinking about the foundation for every marriage relationship. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. This week, we have been reflecting back on the time we spent together on the Love Like You Mean It® marriage cruise with a couple thousand listeners who joined us for a week-long focus on marriage.
And I was thinking about the message that you gave on the cruise on Thursday night—the last night we were together. You talked about conflict and about forgiveness. You wouldn’t think folks on a cruise would need to hear a message about conflict and forgiveness on—
Dennis: You wouldn’t—you wouldn’t think that. [Laughter]
Bob: If you’re going on a cruise together, you can’t be in much—I mean, who’s going to be mad at whom if you’re on a cruise together?
Dennis: Well, some people come mad, and some people leave mad. [Laughter]
Bob: I guess that’s possible. That’s true.
Dennis: Some people stay mad. They are in need of hearing, I think, an exhortation from the Scriptures just to be refreshed and reminded that we do need to liberally apply forgiveness in the marriage relationship.
Bob: We’ve already heard, this week, a message that Voddie Baucham did on forgiveness onboard a Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. All day long, I was hearing people say: “That was a great message. I needed to hear that message.”
So, wherever we are—even in the midst of a five-day cruise in the Caribbean—we still need to be reminded of what the Bible has to say about marriage and family issues.
Dennis: We get married to be one. Yet, it seems like all of life is trying to divide you and your spouse. It’s so good, Bob, just to go do something—and to sit and soak in the Scriptures together for five days like you do at the Love Like You Mean It cruise—and to find something that, maybe, re-cements that oneness, encourages that oneness, or maybe patches up the oneness where it’s been neglected for a while.
Bob: We are real close to being sold out on the 2015 Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, which will—
Dennis: Very close!
Bob: Yes, we’re down to less than—I think it’s less than 50 cabins left.
So, we wanted to let our listeners know—if you are interested in joining Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman, and Tenth Avenue North, and Voddie Baucham, and Kirk and Chelsea Cameron, and Dennis and Barbara Rainey—and Steven and Alex Kendrick are going to join us with a sneak preview of their new movie that they are shooting right now—
Dennis: And Bob Lepine being the emcee—I’ve got to tell you, folks, I wish you could have seen Bob after my message. [Laughter]
Bob: I was very tired that night.
Dennis: The message you’re about to hear—
Dennis: —was followed by a comedian routine by my co-host—[Laughter]
Bob: I was just—
Dennis: —that if we’d had this on video to YouTube—this could have gone viral.
Dennis: This could have gone viral. He was just a little loose around the hinges.
Bob: I was just—I was tired. So, if you’d like to join us, you can go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click where it says, “GO DEEPER.” The information about the cruise is available there.
But today, we want you to hear Part Two of a message from Dennis Rainey, talking about being intentional in your marriage and your family and about making sure that you keep short accounts.
Dennis: I want to talk with you about five things that you need to be intentional about as you go back home—five that, I believe, really do count over the long-haul.
Number one, you need to be intentional about keeping your promise—keeping your promise. Secondly, be intentional about becoming a student of God’s love. Number three—listen up on this one. This is important—be intentional about forgiving your spouse.
Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another just as God in Christ forgave you.” When I read this out loud to Barbara, as I was doing a little preparation while I was here, she said: “You know, we don’t know how to love because we don’t know the God of love.
“We don’t know how to forgive because we don’t understand how God has forgiven us.”
And this is how we practice forgiveness in a marriage relationship. Forgiveness is needed in all marriages because conflict is common in all marriages.
It reminds me of an African proverb that says, “When the elephants fight, it’s the grass that suffers.” [Laughter] Now, in a home, what’s the grass?—children—these little radar units that are watching the faces of their mom and dad. It’s the children who suffer. It’s why you’ve got to resolve your stuff! You’ve got to go tackle it.
I love what Ruth Bell Graham says: “A good marriage is the union of two forgivers.”
“A good marriage is the union of two forgivers.” What is forgiveness? Forgiveness means you give up the right to punish the other person. You can tell if you have forgiven based upon you wanting to get even or to hurt them—with silence, or with words, or with whatever—giving up the right to punish the other person.
Just a couple of suggestions: First thing I’d suggest doing is taking an inventory of the top conflict-producers over the years you’ve been married. Barbara and I have been married 41 years. I’ve made a little list of what we’ve fought over. She’s not in this meeting. She was in the earlier one. She was nodding as I was going through this—she agreed.
Schedule and priorities—we have had a lot of tough disagreements around the calendar—
—lots of demands—raising a family of six and, now, grandchildren—that all their parents—when they grew up—all fled the penitentiary and went to various states, throughout the United States, to raise their kids. So, it’s tough to get around and see all 19—soon to be 20 grandchildren.
Unrealistic expectations—both Barbara and I are high-expectation people. That can be conflict-producing. What do you on the weekend? I am an outdoor person. That does not equate that I like to work in the yard. [Laughter] Scratch that—I do not like to work in Barbara’s yard—at least, that’s what it was for several years.
Weariness—we’ve fought, frankly, just because we’re tired—just griping at each other. Sex, grocery shopping, menopause—
—which reminds me of another proverb from China, “It is unwise to swat a flea on a tiger’s head.” [Laughter]
Take an inventory about what you argue about. If you keep walking off into an alley and you keep getting mugged, would you keep going there? No! Some of us have been getting mugged in our marriages for decades, and we keep going into those alleys. Pull back—take a step back—and “How can we keep from doing this?”
One other thought, you know, as you talk about forgiveness—this is another point about being filled with the Spirit because He gives us the ability to be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving of the other person.
He works in our souls to enable us to forgive another person.
Fourth, be intentional about preparing for difficult times. Be intentional about preparing for difficult times. I can promise you this, “You will—you will have difficulties.” And some of them will be little bitty—they’ll be gnats. Others will be huge.
In 1976, we started FamilyLife. No one had heard of us. No one really cared. The family was falling apart, and a few of us decided to do something about it. There were three couples that started this outfit back then. We moved into a house where we were cheated out of several thousand dollars. Some three weeks we’d moved in—got the phone call from my brother that my dad had died.
He was gone—dead. No goodbyes.
We had an emergency trip to the hospital for our one-year-old son with an appendectomy. There were emotional challenges that Barbara and I were experiencing in our marriage. Then, in the middle of the worst winter in history—of 1976 and [‘77]—I had to go back and run our family’s propane business because my brother had an apparent heart attack.
While I’m there, the stress got to me, and they rushed me to the same hospital my brother was in. I thought I was having a heart attack. I didn’t—it wasn’t. So, I was back on top of a tank car two nights later—20 below zero wind-chill factor—unloading propane, looking up at the starry night, going, “What in the world are you up to, God?” Everything was coming unglued.
Came back home—a couple of months later. Barbara was doing her Royal Canadian exercises—a regiment she would go through.
I was late in leaving for work that morning for some reason. I now know why because she complained of being dizzy. I felt Barbara’s neck, and her heart was beating out of control. In fact, when we got her to the hospital, she registered 300 beats a minute from about nine in the morning until about four in the afternoon—five beats a second. She nearly died because her lungs weren’t working. They were filling up with fluid. You couldn’t give her the medication she needed because it was a stimulant; but at four o’clock in the afternoon, God put His finger back on the problem and her beat went back to normal.
For the next 30 days, she had extra heart beats. I had extra heart beats. The kids had extra heart beats. Then, we found out she was pregnant. We wondered: “How’s this going to work. Will she be able to give birth to a healthy baby?” She gave birth, some months later, to a boy named Samuel—that means “Because we ask of God.”
Now, here’s the point—if we had not been building our house on the Rock—attempting, however fragile and imperfect we’d done it—if we hadn’t attempted to obey Jesus Christ, then, we would have been like a foolish man over here. I’m going to tell you something: “I understand why people get a divorce. I really do.” If you go through something like that—over a period of months—you can set up a war against each other. Instead of sharing together in the burden, you can turn on the other person.
It’s why we have to be obedient. It’s back to that same passage, “The one who hears these words of Mine and does them, will be like the wise man who built his house on the rock.” You don’t build your house on the Rock in the middle of the storm. The winds will come.
The rain will burst against your house. Will it be a great fall or will it withstand? Maybe a little weather damaged, but will it stand the test of time? Make the commitment to Christ and build your house on the Rock.
Number five—be intentional about developing a common mission. Be intentional about developing a common mission. Third John 4 has been a love of both Barbara’s and mine as we raised six children. You can write this on our tombstones. “No greater joy do we have than this than to know my children are walking in the truth”—that we didn’t waste our lives in imparting the Scriptures and the God of the Scriptures to our kids. But hear me, “Your marriage—our marriage must be built to outlast the kids.”
You can’t build your marriage around the kids because—hear me—you will get fired. You will see them go away, as they must, to their own houses—to their own responsibilities. And then, what do you two have, at that point? Are you like the couple that John Piper writes about who walk on the seashore in South Florida, collecting seashells? Piper kind of has a little tongue-in-cheek as he talks about: “Come look at my collection of what my life is all about—my seashells.”
When I was a boy, we used to have a bunch of cousins like—I think it was like 35 or 40 cousins that would come in the park, and we would play together. And the aunts and uncles would watch us play a race called the three-legged race.
There are two ways to play the three-legged race. One where the guy, usually, faces the finish line, and the girl, usually faces the opposite direction. Their legs are tied to each other with rope in a couple of places. The guy half drags / half carries the girl to the finish line, falling all over the grass, while the aunts and uncles all laugh and enjoy the entertainment. That’s one way to run the three-legged race.
The other way is for the guy to face the finish line, and the girl to agree that she’s going to face it too. They have their legs tied together, and they’re locked arm. It’s still rough. It’s still hard. There is still pain, but you know what? There is a whole lot less struggle when two people have agreed on what the finish line looks like.
Here’s my challenge to every person in this room—Paul says, “You are God’s work of art created in Christ Jesus for good works, which He prepared beforehand that you should walk in them.” You are God’s workmanship. He has given you unique gifts, unique experiences, unique passions. There is no mistake you find yourself in the Caribbean—in a boat—listening to a guy, causing you to think about: “What are you going to live the rest of your life for? What’s your mission?”
You don’t have to have all the answers right now. If need be, take the next two years to determine—the next ten years.
The point is—be in the process of determining, “What are we going to give our lives for?”
I’ll close with this illustration. Sometime back, I got asked to speak at Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Now, you may think, “Why would you go speak to Sioux Falls, South Dakota?” Well, I’ll tell you—because Barbara and I have a burden for the orphan. So, when I get the chance to do something—and my schedule can afford it—this time I said, “Yes, but I need to be able to bring my grandsons and a couple of my sons-in-law with me,” because we were together when they asked me to—on the dates they asked me to speak.
So, we all traveled together; and we went there. I have no idea why they asked me to speak because there were 125,000 young people in this corn field in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. There were 25 bands, and I was the only speaker.
The bands were jumping this high in the air with their guitars. The stage was surrounded by a bunch of teeny-bobbers, and here I come to speak. They didn’t really care about what I was speaking about, and they just kept on having their little conversation—about 500 to 750 of them.
So, what it was like—it was like speaking to 124,500 people out there—but speaking from a cafeteria, where all the kids were having their conversations. At a point, I said, “Would you mind just kind of moving your conversation over there in that field because I came here to challenge you to make an impact on orphans?”
Well, I finished my message. We’re all on the plane on the way back. I turned to my son-in-law. I said, “You know, I have no idea if anybody heard a word I said or if it made any difference at all.”
There was a little voice that came from the seat behind my son-in-law—my grandson, Samuel, said, “I was listening, Poppa!” [Laughter] Eight years old. He said, “When I go back to our church, I want to start an orphan care ministry in our church.” Well, that was 2007, I think. Ashley and Michael, our daughter and son-in-law—five boys—start a foster care ministry. They now have cared for 18 foster care kids in the past six or seven years. [Applause]
So, here’s the thing—you have no idea the impact you can make in a place and in a nation, where it is absolutely needy.
Do not miss the opportunity to join God in what He’s doing on planet earth.
Thank you all. [Applause] Appreciate you.
Bob: You know, I think they were listening, and I think they were taking notes, and I think they were saying: “We want to do this right. We want our marriage and family to go the distance, and we want it to honor God.”
Dennis: Bob, we never know who is watching. Back in 2004, we had a 21-year-old intern who came here for three months and interned for the summer at FamilyLife. She said, “You know what hit me as I worked in this marriage and family ministry?” She said: “It hit me. This is a legacy! That’s what I want to leave!” And ten years later, she wrote me a letter.
And I want to have her on the air. I want our listeners to hear this story.
It’s remarkable! She’s ministering to, literally, thousands of orphans overseas through villages that she’s built / through educational programs that she’s established. She’s a single woman in her 30s. She caught the picture of what’s like to leave the aroma of Jesus Christ for other people to enjoy and to be impacted. And she has made a huge difference, as a single woman. You don’t have to be married to leave a legacy.
Every person, who is listening to me right now—you need to take a couple of steps back and say: “If I died right now, what legacy would I leave? How would others describe it?” Then, ask yourself the question: “Is that what you want to leave?” Are you about the right stuff?
I mean, life is way too short to be heading for the wrong destination.
Bob: You know, I think some folks might be surprised to hear that you presented this message on a cruise. I mean, we think of a cruise of being where you get kind of some light and fluffy entertaining messages that help you have a better marriage; but we really try to take time on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise to invest deeply in the lives and the marriages of the couples who attend.
And I want to, again, remind our listeners that the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise is almost full for 2015—fewer than a hundred cabins still available. So, if you’d like to join us in 2015—Valentine’s week—it’s February 9th through the 13th. We’re going to Key West and Cozumel with Kirk and Chelsea Cameron, and Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman, Dennis and Barbara Rainey.
Voddie Baucham’s going to be with us—Building 429, Michael Junior—great lineup of folks for the cruise this year.
Find out more when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click the link—at the top of the page—that says, “GO DEEPER.” You can get all the details about the cruise online, or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY. We can help you get signed up or answer any questions you might have. Again, 1-800-FL-TODAY, 1-800-358-6329; or you can go, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com and click the link that says, “GO DEEPER.”
By the way, online is the CD album that has all of the messages from this year’s cruise—messages from Crawford and Karen Loritts, Dr. Gary Chapman, Alex Kendrick, Ron Deal, Jeff Kemp. All of it available when you get the CD series from the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. The details are online at FamilyLifeToday.com.
And with that, we’ve got to wrap things up for this week. Thanks for being with us. Hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend, and I hope you can join us back on Monday—especially if you or someone you know is a stepparent and you’re finding it’s a little harder than you thought it was going to be. We’re going to hear from Ron Deal about what makes for successful step-parenting. That’s comes up Monday. Hope you can be here for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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