0:00:02 – Speaker 1
Welcome to the nextTalk podcast, where we share real stories and practical advice for parenting the digital world.
0:00:09 – Speaker 2
We’re your hosts, Mandy and Kim. Mandy is an award-winning author and the founder of nextTalk, and I’m the director of nextTalk, a nonprofit organization created to strengthen families through open communication. You can check out all of our resources at nextTalk.org.
0:00:24 – Speaker 1
For wives, moms and friends, tackling culturally relevant topics from a Christian perspective. we’re sharing what we’ve learned and where we’ve failed. We’re so glad you’re here for this conversation. Hey everybody, it is Mandy and not Kim. Not Kim today. Don’t turn it off. Don’t turn it off. I have a special guest in the studio today my husband Matthew.
0:00:54 – Speaker 3
Matt, please Matt.
0:00:57 – Speaker 1
I call you, matthew, when you’re in trouble.
0:00:59 – Speaker 3
Exactly. Yeah, chills ran down my back. I started breaking out in a sweat. What did I do wrong this time?
0:01:08 – Speaker 1
Okay, introduce yourselves, honey. for the listeners that haven’t heard you before on the podcast or whatever, We have some new people.
0:01:15 – Speaker 3
All right. Well, I’m Matt Mandy’s husband. We’ve been married 23 years and with two kids, 19-year-old in college and a 15-year-old in high school, And that’s it And you work, not in ministry.
0:01:31 – Speaker 1
You do not work at NextTalk, you do not work in ministry. You serve. You serve at our church as a volunteer and that kind of thing, but not in ministry. I think that’s important to point out.
0:01:41 – Speaker 3
Yes, what I’m doing right now is one of my least favorite things, so I’m definitely pointing that out, but I’m here.
0:01:50 – Speaker 1
Okay, and I just need you to know, i’ve already texted the NextTalk social media manager and told her your wishes, of your face, cannot be plastered on social media.
0:01:58 – Speaker 3
0:01:59 – Speaker 1
So we are not going to put a video of this out there, it’s just going to be audio. only because we’re respecting your wishes, honey.
0:02:05 – Speaker 3
Right, i have a face. I have a voice, not a face for a podcast.
0:02:12 – Speaker 1
Okay, we wanted to do this show because Valentine’s Day is tomorrow.
0:02:18 – Speaker 3
Another reason to waste money buying things that you don’t need And you’ll probably take back unless it’s edible.
0:02:27 – Speaker 1
This is like the practical side of my husband. I love him so much, he’s so practical. He hates cards. Do not spend five or six dollars on a card for him Like. We’ve even had to tell our parents like do not waste your money, he will take a note, he will take a chocolate bar, whatever. Just don’t spend the money on a card.
0:02:49 – Speaker 3
Yep, not a big fan.
0:02:52 – Speaker 1
Not a big fan of the marketed holidays to get people to spend their money, huh.
0:02:56 – Speaker 3
No, no, not a big fan, But for you I’d do anything.
0:03:01 – Speaker 1
Thank you, honey. Thank you, actually, that was your. Valentine’s Day gift right there This is my Valentine’s Day gift that you’re recording a show. You’re gracing me with your presence on this show. Thank you, baby, thanks, okay. So the title of our show. We’ve really been talking about this, we even talked to our team about it And here’s the title Three things not to do if you want to stay married. Yeah.
0:03:26 – Speaker 3
And I think all three of these I’ve pretty well perfected right On the 23 years. I guess in a few more years it’ll be up to five things not to do if you want to stay married.
0:03:37 – Speaker 1
Right, right. Well, i feel like our list could be way longer. We’re just scratching the surface here on what not to do, right, but these, as we talked through this, these were kind of like our big top three. These are big things that we wanted to cover, and so I just want to dive right in, because we have talking points for each of them, and I want to just hit the ground running. Number one is a really big one. Don’t lose respect for each other.
0:04:06 – Speaker 3
Yeah, Easy, easy not to lose respect for each other when you’ve been married for six months or a year or maybe two or three years. But you know, as you get older and kids and work and you know you lose in hair and are gaining hair and getting bigger and places where you were smaller and smaller and play. Well, anyway, you get the point. I mean, as time changes and you get older, it actually does get a little more difficult not to lose respect for one another.
0:04:35 – Speaker 1
Well, i think it’s because, you know, in a marriage you have this safe space and you let your guard down, and so you know that your other one, your significant other, they see the best of you, but they also see the absolute worst of you.
0:04:51 – Speaker 3
Yeah, I remember one.
0:04:54 – Speaker 1
Of course you do. Okay, share share.
0:04:58 – Speaker 3
This is the spilled milk event. Oh, yeah, yeah, actually, why don’t you share it? Because I really don’t want to run the risk of saying anything more than I need to say. that would jeopardize the rest of my day.
0:05:10 – Speaker 1
So you’re practicing here what you’ve learned in marriage.
0:05:14 – Speaker 3
I’m trying. I’m trying.
0:05:16 – Speaker 1
Things to do if you want to stay married. Okay, so the spilled milk one. One day we were getting ready for school and my son spilled milk. He was young, young, elementary school, and I lost it. I went crazy. I had just cleaned the house and it was an over the top reaction just yelling at him before he went to school and it was stupid. And I remember driving him to school and I was talking myself out of the guilt, like not feeling guilty about it, because I was like he should have been, like he was playing around, he shouldn’t have been playing around. You know I’m talking myself, making me think I was valid for the overreaction. And then I got a call from, from sweet Matt over here And I will never forget how he started the call It was. It was great, he did a great job. He said honey, you are an amazing mother.
Like if our kids see porn and they tell you you don’t overreact and you are calm and you have perfected that and that is amazing. But your literal reaction to spilled milk was way greater than like a porn or a sexual topic or anything like that. Like it was way over the top. It was just one of those moments where it kind of stung, but at the same time, like I was really grateful that you were honest because looking back on that, i mean that was years ago, right, years ago.
Things like that happen all the time in your home. You see your spouse handle a parenting issue badly. I mean we all do right. You see this over and over again And I think what happens sometimes is that Satan. If you don’t speak that out loud to your spouse and have a conversation about it, i think Satan takes that and little by little you lose respect for your significant other And that creates a problem because over time you’re going to find yourself being dismissive because you’ve lost respect. You’re going to start rolling your eyes Like if you know what I mean, like we’ve all been there. We lose respect.
0:07:20 – Speaker 3
We take each other for granted right.
And again, this is probably one of the ones that I could say is, or that I should, i would say, is one of the greatest challenges for me And it’s probably, you know, in all fairness, we got married when we were 21, 22, something like that, and so we’ve actually now been married longer in life than we were not married.
So, you know, i’ve spent more time with you than literally anyone else, even alone by myself, growing up before we were married, and so you know, that’s a lot of time, it’s a lot of opportunity to just try to live with someone as they change and as you change, and so, but it again, it’s very, very, very important from our, from our, standpoint being, you know, in our marriage, that we make sure that everything we do, we have to ask ourselves am I saying this in a respectful way? Am I just going to say or do what I’m going to do in a way that would be honorable, right to her? And I’ll be honest with you sometimes the things that I want to say are the things that I think do I need to take a minute right and step back and make sure the timing’s right, and then there are some things that I say you know what? no, i don’t need to say that, because I just know her. I know where she is And no matter what it is. It’s just not the right time.
0:08:49 – Speaker 1
Proud of you.
I feel like you chose hard conversation versus letting it go in your mind and then losing respect for me, and I think, over time, if I continued to behave that way and respond that way to our kids, it would become a bad situation as how you viewed me.
It’s the same thing like if I say to you I’m going to stick to this program. or you know, and I’m talking about like right now we’re both struggling with, like, our exercise routines and all of that you know and if you consistently hear me say I’m going to do this, i’m going to do this and I’m going to do this, and I never follow through with what I’m going to say. you know, instead of a conversation of why you’re struggling, why aren’t you doing what you said you’re going to do, is it a time thing that you over schedule Like what is that? instead of just remaining silent and becoming almost, like kind of almost roll your eyes at your spouse, like, oh, they’re. they say they’re going to do it, but they’re not really going to do it, like that’s a dangerous place in a marriage And I think many times we end up there before we realize it.
0:09:51 – Speaker 3
Yes, this is important And it’s not a one way street. obviously It’s. you know, i can think of my own challenges Specifically, you remember the basketball incident.
0:10:05 – Speaker 1
Your competitiveness comes out when we watch our son play basketball.
0:10:08 – Speaker 3
I’m much better now. I’m much, much better now. But there was a period of time not too long ago when, yeah, i mean I got pretty aggressive in the stands and you know it’s I don’t know what, but like whenever I was really engaged at this one point, this in the game, and I don’t know, and you looked over and you tried to settle me down and you know.
0:10:33 – Speaker 1
And that was. That was not a good timing thing on my part, because I should have waited. I should have waited.
0:10:39 – Speaker 3
Yeah, you don’t want to last oval, right? You were trying to last oval right. There in that moment I was just, you know, and you and it. We basically threw gasoline on the fire, not okay, now I’m making it sound like it was your fault. It wasn’t your fault. I should have not. I should have not recommended that you take yourself and your opinion to the car. That’s what I should not have done. Unfortunately, that’s what I did. That’s what I did. I remember that And you know why I remember that? Because you reminded me of that on a number of occasions after that, and so I think in that moment I kind of lost respect for you. I just like you know, again, it takes work, it takes effort. It just doesn’t come natural to really be able to sometimes manage these things, and I think people, no matter how long they’re married, i think they realize that they have to work at ensuring that they’re always demonstrating respect for their spouse.
0:11:41 – Speaker 1
So so one of the things that I’ve loved about Matt since day one is he’s always very calm. He does not lose his cool very much at all. Even in the midst of crisis he’s calm and he’s logical, and so to see him get fired up at our son’s basketball games is a whole another level for me. Like, i’m like who are you?
0:12:01 – Speaker 3
I don’t do it anymore. No, I don’t do it anymore.
0:12:04 – Speaker 1
No you don’t do it anymore. But it took that one instance where it you kind of were like crossing a line in my point and the bull has been just admit.
0:12:14 – Speaker 3
The bull has been lassoed.
0:12:15 – Speaker 1
No, the great thing about this is that this is the great thing about this is because you do respect me. Once you were settled down and you were calm, i said, honey, i just don’t think this is who you are or who you want to be or who you represent. You want to represent, you’re right, and so, and I let that just Because it’s not who he is. I’ve known him, for you know, we dated two years before, so I’ve known him 25 plus years. This is not who he is. This is very abnormal for him, and so being able to have that conversation, i think, was good Instead of me. Now a couple of things I did wrong. I should not have tried to address it in the heat of the moment, because when somebody is emotionally at a 10, our counselors always say that’s not a good time for conversation. You gotta wait till they come back down to like a two.
0:13:05 – Speaker 3
Don’t laugh though. don’t laugh though the raging bull, And that’s what you said Yeah, dude, that’s the quote from today’s podcast, right?
0:13:14 – Speaker 1
So I should have waited, but once we did get to have the conversation, i again I addressed it. It was a hard conversation. I didn’t want to have it, i didn’t look forward to it, but I thought to myself, if he continues to behave this way at basketball games, like I’m gonna lose respect for him Because it’s not who he is And I don’t know what is happening right now. And so being able to talk through that, i think, has been really important, and these are just a little examples. We share this with you because your spouse is not perfect and they are going to screw up. They are going to screw up and you’re gonna see the worst of them. You’re gonna also see the best of them, And so making sure, having your guard up, that you’re not losing respect for them, because if you do over time, that is very much gonna affect your marriage and your communication.
0:14:08 – Speaker 3
So the second point here is don’t go separate ways, which I think we also find happens pretty frequently whenever the spouse starts losing respect for someone else. But you know what? I think it also happens just naturally, right As we’re getting older and our kids are kind of starting to move on with their lives And we’re kind of like, okay, what do we do now? We’re starting to get to that point and we’re not there completely yet, but I do think it’s really easy to go, truly start going separate ways, which then again doesn’t help in the whole respect side of things.
0:14:51 – Speaker 1
Well, and we’re talking about our season of life, Matt, where our kids are growing up and we’ve got all this time, more time than we used to have. I think a lot of people go separate ways when their kids are little.
I think, they just don’t have time and they’re looking for an escape And date nights. We are drilled into this idea of date nights and I would say don’t get caught up in date nights. That’s a box to check Like for me. I thought about it as far as connection. So our Matt and I have reconnected this week, so, and that is way beyond sex. I mean, that’s a part of it. But I’m talking about like, am I venting to Matt? Is he? does he know what’s on my mind If I’m really stressed at work? have I communicated that to him? So maybe he knows why I’m snippy, or maybe he knows why I’m responding that way.
That connection piece is so important And it doesn’t have to be a fancy date night that cost you a million dollars and where you have to get a babysitter. We, some of our best I guess what you would call dates when we don’t even call them dates is just at home lunches together. Now that you work a little bit more remotely on a Wednesday, pulling out our meal preps from the freezer, heating them up in the microwave and having an hour where we can just like talk about what’s going on in each other’s lives, that’s amazing.
0:16:19 – Speaker 3
Yeah, you know what? What’s also interesting is, i think years back when we were, when we were just married, or maybe just married for five or 10 years, we wouldn’t do this as much, we wouldn’t connect as much, we wouldn’t stay kind of in constant contact.
0:16:37 – Speaker 1
Do you remember we couldn’t finish a conversation? We could never finish a conversation because the kids needed something.
0:16:43 – Speaker 3
Well, yeah, there was that. But then it seems like then every time we did talk you know, have the opportunity to talk I would be giving you some idea of some ridiculously thing, a ridiculous thing I wanted to do or buy or go or whatever the case. And now when I come to you with some ridiculous thing I wanna buy or go or do or whatever the case it’s almost like you can sense it’s coming because we haven’t really disconnected, like you generally know what’s in my mind, you know what kind of foolish thing I’m gonna suggest we do next, and there’s for me, there’s a real sense of, i don’t know, a sense of comfort there that I’m not kinda doing this life thing alone.
0:17:33 – Speaker 1
Yeah, you know, and this whole thing about don’t go your separate ways. We’re not saying you can’t have individual hobbies. We’re not saying I mean, do that that is healthy. What we’re saying is you’re moving in the same direction generally. You know, we years ago we did a vision statement for our family, a mission statement like what are we about? What is our purpose in life? You know you want to be. What is our core values? We’re moving in the same direction as a family and as a couple. And now we’re faced with this. Okay, our kids are going off and they’re building their life. You know, we’ve got one at college and we’ve got one more at home in high school, and so we’re we’re. We’re looking now towards that next season And what’s cool is those mission and vision for our family. It doesn’t change. It’s just like the situational stuff changes And that’s kind of comforting in the middle of all the transition too.
0:18:26 – Speaker 3
Yeah, sure is Great example. This is a big car guy, so I love classic cars. There’s no way, zero chance you’re going to work on a classic car with me. It’s just it’s not going to happen, and I’m actually good with that, right, i’m good with that. But I also know that if I want to buy a classic car, you’re ready to talk about it, you’re engaged. You know how important these little things are to me, and it’s it’s not like we’ve got to start from zero.
0:18:56 – Speaker 1
Yeah, you want to go to. You want me to go to a car show with you. I’m there. I don’t understand anything you’re saying to me, but I’m going to point out the ones I like. Whatever, because it’s just a foreign language to me. You start talking engines and all the things. Right, but I love that you have that hobby and I support you in that. You know you can have your own individual things. We’re not saying that you can’t, but you still need to be supportive of one another and making sure you’re not living two separate lives. Another just a practical standpoint. If you are a young parent listening and you are, like I’m, in that phase where we can’t finish a conversation, there’s no way I’m having lunch with my, with my husband, and you know, because we’ve got kids around all the time.
Here’s what we did when our kids were little and it was a lifesaver. When our kids were little, we lived near my mom and my in-laws, matt’s parents, and we had two kids. They would arrange a weekend every month where they took the kids. Now, each of them would get one kid and then the following month they would swap kids. This was an amazing gift to us and our marriage, and I didn’t realize it in the time, like I knew it was a gift, but looking back, it was one of the best things we did for our marriage. That was kind of like our date weekend, and sometimes we would talk about budget. I mean, many times we didn’t leave the house, we would watch movies, we would just chill, just have a minute to breathe. You know, sometimes it wasn’t even just about talking, it was just about sitting in silence with each other and you know me, maybe rubbing your feet and just relaxing or whatever That was comforting to us.
And again, it’s about that connection, not getting dressed up and spending $500 at a fancy steakhouse You don’t have. I mean, if that’s your thing, you can do it, but you don’t have to do that. And so I would encourage you, young, young parents, you know, find a system like that. If you are not living near parents maybe it’s a friend, you know let’s swap weekends once a month. I’ll take your kids, you take my kids. My marriage needs this kind of thing. That’s just a practical way that you can stay connected with your spouse, because this is important. Listen, your kids are going to grow up and they are going to leave. We do not want you to be married to a stranger at that point. So that connection over time is very, very important.
0:21:15 – Speaker 3
So three things not to do if you want to stay married Don’t lose respect for each other, don’t go separate ways. And the third is don’t weaponize vulnerability. You want to explain that.
0:21:28 – Speaker 1
So this one we’ve been back and forth on this talking point. Matt and I have. Marriage is this really vulnerable place where you share things with this person that you don’t share with anyone else. That’s what it should be. But I think we have to be careful here because you know, i know Matt better than anyone else on this earth. That’s how intertwined and connected that we are. Like he said, i can kind of read his mind. I know what he’s going to say, sometimes before he’s going to say it, and that is special. I mean, that is how God designed it. But I also think we have to be careful because sometimes we can weaponize that or use it kind of like to manipulate our spouse without knowing. I don’t think many people intentionally do this, but I do think it happens sometimes.
0:22:15 – Speaker 3
Yeah, i struggle with this because I just I can’t imagine someone who a couple that have been, that are married and who would knowingly identify the other’s weakness and use it against them for their gain. That’s not marriage. I don’t, I don’t understand that. But I but you know, when we were kind of talking through this and you said yeah, but unknowingly you brought up the vacation thing. because you know, and I’m not a, i don’t love, i’m a big person, a tall person, and so vacationing for me generally is not the most relaxing. It’s pretty uncomfortable and difficult. So I don’t, that’s not my thing.
0:22:57 – Speaker 1
Because mainly the flights. I mean you’re six, four, so getting on an airplane and we can’t afford first class. So there you go, on that right.
0:23:05 – Speaker 3
Yeah, flights, cars, hotel rooms basically all aspects of a vacation are generally uncomfortable for me. But it’s important. It’s important to to you. It’s one of your things, right? But? but I can’t imagine that you would ever weaponize that vulnerability in me to get what you want.
0:23:27 – Speaker 1
Well, i think sometimes what I mean by that is we just bulldoze through, right. And so I know it’s very uncomfortable for you to get on an airplane because of your height and your knees and everything like that, right. But I think sometimes we become so dismissive of it, i guess because we’ve heard it so long and it’s like, oh, this is your struggle, so now it’s my struggle, that sometimes we’ll roll our eyes and kind of be dismissive and just plow through it, and I think that’s really bad, because then I think it points you to point number one. You start losing respect for each other, right? You’re not honoring like. This is a struggle for me And I know for us, vacations are super important to me. To me it’s about building family memories, and so we’ve had to really work through that, like how we’re going to do that, because I don’t want to just bulldoze through, i don’t want to weaponize, and I have said in the past but doesn’t the family memory trump your uncomfortableness? And that’s not really fair of me to not hear that you’re uncomfortable in this situation, right, and so I just think we have to be careful.
Also, the other thing too when I talk about like weaponizing your vulnerability, you know, sometimes I hear women in social settings, at parties or whatever that they may say. They may roll their eyes and be like, oh well, he’s, you know he’s struggling right now with his job and you know the midlife crisis thing, so I’m just going to go make this decision. And sometimes it is about bulldozing through a decision that they know their husband won’t be on board with, kind of like a vacation or spending this money on this or whatever. And again, i don’t think it’s unknowingly. I know he’s struggling with a midlife crisis thing, So I’m just going to bulldoze and get my way here. But I do think we do it And I think we need to be aware of it, because if you continue to do that, the respect is going to dwindle in your marriage for each other.
0:25:23 – Speaker 3
Yeah, for sure I agree, And again the emphasis here is unknowingly right. The assumption is that generally people are just not going to do this to someone they love. Knowingly and strategically It’s manipulation, But unknowingly it’s just one of those things that I think happen over time And I think you’ve got to be really guarded against that.
0:25:51 – Speaker 1
I think, too, one other, really simple. If you have a person who struggles with their weight and their spouse is constantly nagging them about what they’re eating, what they’re questioning them, that’s hurtful, right. Just like with your kid. if you know your kid struggles with something, but you’re constantly on them about it, that’s going to hurt the relationship. And so again, it’s this vulnerability piece, like when your spouse confides in you about a struggle, a fear, maybe it’s a mental health issue. whatever it is, make sure you’re respecting that confidence. You’re not telling other people about it without their permission, you’re not putting it on Facebook, you’re not in any way weaponizing it to the point of you’re becoming an unsafe place, because that is going to very much hurt your marriage.
0:26:44 – Speaker 3
Well, thanks for having me on The three things that we recommend you don’t do if you want to stay married is They’ve worked for us so far. Well, i mean 23 years. We’re still young.
0:26:59 – Speaker 1
We’ve made some mistakes that we’ve learned from.
0:27:01 – Speaker 3
Yeah, last time in the bowl, raging bowl. Yeah, don’t lose respect for each other, don’t go separate ways and don’t weaponize another of your spouse’s vulnerabilities.
0:27:13 – Speaker 1
Thanks for my Valentine’s gift, baby You’re welcome.
0:27:17 – Speaker 3
I love the free ones.
0:27:20 – Speaker 1
Thank you so much for joining us, listening and sharing our podcast. Because of you, this show is in the top 5% of over 2.9 million podcasts.
0:27:32 – Speaker 2
We have lots of resources for you, from counseling to live events. Or if you have a show idea or a question for our team, visit our website at nextTalk.org. We’d love to hear from you.
0:27:43 – Speaker 1
At nexttalk. we’re more than cyber parenting It’s conversations to connect.
0:27:48 – Speaker 3
This podcast is not intended to replace the advice of a trained healthcare or legal professional or to diagnose, treat or otherwise render expert advice regarding any type of medical, psychological or legal problem. Users are advised to consult a qualified expert for treatment.
Transcribed by https://podium.page