We Still Do: Doug and Patty Daily, Part 2
About the Guest
Patty thought Doug was self-centered; Doug thought Patty was the "black-hole of affection." Join us on for today's broadcast when Doug and Patty Daily tell of the valleys they walked through before learning the real meaning of love.
Patty thought Doug was self-centered; Doug thought Patty was the “black-hole of affection.
We Still Do: Doug and Patty Daily, Part 2
Patty: One of the issues with me was I did not know how to express emotions. Not only did I not know how to express them, but I didn't know how to feel them and, in fact, at one point that pain turned to anger, because it hurt too much, so I covered it up with anger, and it was really a crisis of belief for me. I not only was angry at Doug, but I was angry at God for giving Doug to me.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, March 30th. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. What do we do when pain or anger or other issues surface in our marriage? Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. We are talking to a couple today whose story is featured on our online magazine, the issue that is about to come out – the magazine is called "The Family Room," and it's available to any of our listeners who would like to subscribe to it. In fact, you can go to our website, FamilyLife.com, click the red "Go" button you see in the middle of the screen, and you can sign up for a free subscription to "The Family Room," and we'll make sure it gets delivered to your e-mail inbox once a month, and you'll be able to read stories like the one we're visiting this week with Doug and Patty Daily.
It's a story of – well, Dennis, it's a story of couple whose marriage looked good from the outside but that's because they were covering up a lot of the reality of what was going on, and you have to wonder how many marriages have that same situation – look good on the outside but nobody knows the real turmoil that's going on behind the scenes, and we're glad to have you guys joining us this week. Welcome back to FamilyLife Today.
Doug: It's good to be here.
Patty: Thank you.
Dennis: I'm glad you came back, because a lot of our listeners kind of left us yesterday, Bob, in a slew of despond – a relationship that had hit the wall in the first five years of your marriage. Doug, you're a pastor, you've been trained at Dallas Theological Seminary, had four years of training there. Both you and Patty served for a number of years on Campus Crusade for Christ staff. You have been in ministry, you've discipled people, you've taught the Bible.
You now have three children, two boys and a daughter, and early in your marriage, though, as we talked about yesterday, you hit this point where, Patty, you felt like he wasn't meeting your needs and didn't understand your needs partially because, as you admitted yesterday, you could articulate them.
And, Doug, you felt hopeless because you didn't know how to meet those needs that she was expressing and the expectations that kept on getting dashed every weekend, even in the midst of a very fruitful ministry, right?
Doug: Right. I felt like I didn't have the tools. I didn't know what to do, and it was extremely frustrating and both Patty and I thought about calling it quits.
Dennis: And, Doug, it was really your marriage covenant, your commitment to God and to one another that kept you two hanging in there in the relationship.
Doug: Well, I can remember being upstairs in our house in Minneapolis. It was probably after a fight or a weekend of silence, and having a quiet time with God, and then just discussing with Him, "Lord, if Christianity works, it's got to work in the marriage relationship. Help me learn how to make it work." And I can remember that as clear as if it had happened yesterday.
Dennis: Was there an immediate answer to prayer?
Doug: No, but there was determination to pursue some avenues that we had not investigated before.
Bob: Did you guys go to counseling?
Doug: We pursued counseling, we had an appointment with somebody that happened to be coming into Minneapolis for a week, and we sat down over a lunch and chatted with him. He was a counselor and, for the first time, someone expressed there's hope.
Patty: It was the first time that I felt like someone understood, and he did two things for me. He said, "I want you to know that what you're experiencing is not new. Many other people have experienced the same thing. And, number two, I want you to know there is hope."
Dennis: So there was a sense of relief?
Patty: I think so.
Bob: You say that was a beginning. Did you go on to pursue additional counseling? Did you go to a conference? Did you read books? How did you unlock this door?
Doug: We pursued some counseling, and it began with a trip out to see this man in California for a week. It was a kind of intensive time.
Dennis: You referred to Patty during that period of time as a black hole of affection. What did you mean by that?
Doug: Well, it was kind of like even if I did the best I could, it would not be enough.
Bob: Patty, were you looking for Doug to meet more needs than any woman ought to look to her husband to meet, or was he just blocked up emotionally so much that legitimate needs that a husband ought to meet, he didn't know how to meet?
Patty: I think that he was blocked up somewhat, but the greater issue for me was my expectations and my demandedness.
Bob: Dennis, I think all of us, as husbands and wives, need to look at the expectations, the longings, the things that we are asking another human being to do and to be and to meet in our lives and just say, "Is that a legitimate thing to ask of another human being, or am I really expecting from my mate what only God can fulfill in my life?"
Dennis: You know, all disappointment, discouragement, comes from unmet expectations. When we hold a high standard, and that standard is not met, those needs go unaddressed over a period of time. It then moves from discouragement and disillusionment to a loss of hope, a despair, and that's what can happen in a relationship that doesn't get a handle on this issue of expectations, and I wonder about the young people today who are starting out their marriages?
They've looked at a previous generation who have had throwaway marriages and so they come into a marriage relationship with two extremes – one, a lot of fear that the marriage isn't going to work but also unreal expectations from Hollywood, from books, from all the seminars they've been to and Christians they've been around where they think just because they're believers now all their problems are addressed.
And I think today we've got to address with young people as well as with those who have been married for a number of years, their expectations and help them bring into alignment with the Scriptures.
Bob: Was there a point in all of this where both of you sensed together there's a turn. We're starting to pull back out of the ditch?
Doug: I don't think there was a turning point. In fact, I remember a year after being in counseling, I think I was putting things together for our taxes, and I had calculated how much money I'd spent, and I remember calling Patty in and saying, "We've been seeing this counselor for a year. Look how much money we've spent, and you're no different and neither am I."
But, as the years went by after that, it's amazing how your vision gets 20-20. I think there were significant changes that we couldn't see just a year into the process.
Bob: Did you feel the same way after a year of counseling? Did you feel like we're not getting anywhere or did you sense that maybe you were turning the corner and heading in the right direction?
Patty: Well, actually, if anything, I was feeling worse, because one of the issues with me was I did not know how to express emotions. Not only did I not know how to express them, but I didn't know how to feel them.
So what I was learning in counseling is that was a safe place where I could finally let some of the pain come to the surface, and so I was feeling an incredible amount of pain that I had never allowed myself to feel before. So after a year, I was probably feeling more hopeless and, in fact, at one point, that pain turned to anger, because it hurt too much, so I covered it up with anger.
And it was really a crisis of belief for me. I not only was angry at Doug, but I was angry at God for giving Doug to me, and I began to even doubt the very thing that gave me life.
Bob: I guess we've got to get to some point in all of this where the two of you start to go, "We kind of like each other, and we're learning to deal with" – you guys do like each other now, right? Do you get along a little better?
Doug: We're working on it.
Bob: Okay, good.
We laugh at that, but that's part of the lifelong process. You know, yesterday we got to a point in your relationship where your son, Daniel, was hearing something, and you could even hear it, and it looked like it could be a medical issue, and all of the pain was there for you and, Doug, you were kind of blocking it off, kind of old patterns coming back for both of you, and you prayed and poured out your heart to God, and Doug prayed and said, "You know, Lord, whatever, we'll be okay with this."
And you gone done praying, and you looked at him and said, "You still don't get it," and that's – you still have those bumps in the road along the way as those old patterns re-emerge, don't you?
Doug: Well, I think we've learned to understand each other's personality better. I understand Patty is emotional, she processes things emotionally, and I think in the situation with Daniel, Patty came around and began to see that I process things differently, because about three days later a pediatric neurologist brought us into a room and said, "I have some terrible news to tell you. Your son's got a brain tumor, and it's the size of a plum."
And what Patty had processed the week before, I started processing immediately in a matter of minutes. And I can remember him telling us about it, and then saying, "Let's go in and talk to Daniel. Would you like to tell him?" And I immediately said, "Let me tell him, please."
And we walked in the room, and I saw him, and no words could come out of my mouth. It had broken my heart, and I looked at the doctor, and I said, "You need to tell him." And that started us on a process with Daniel and with God and with one another that could have split us apart but instead it welded us together.
Dennis: And in many relationships, an illness issue like this, of this magnitude, does split couples up because they don't process the pain in the same way or at the same speed, and they don't process it together.
Over the next 11 days after the doctor had prescribed surgery, and you had to wait for brain surgery for that long, you began to view your son definitely. How so?
Doug: Well, when we first found out we'd have to wait 11 days – that ticked me off. A tumor the size of a plum, from my perspective, should be removed immediately, but they could not work us into the surgery schedule. And I was angry at the doctors, and I was angry at God, but then God worked those 11 days into such a good thing for all of us.
One of the things it did is it helped us process what we were going through.
Dennis: So it was good for your marriage?
Doug: Good for our marriage and good for Daniel. In fact, during that time, Daniel asked Patty to read to him "The Last Battle, the Chronicles of Narnia." They'd read it before, but never like this. And Patty sat down each night and read a chapter of "The Last Battle" to Daniel. It was all part of a process for us and for Daniel to look at the spiritual realm of life.
Dennis: Patty, as you were reading that story about "The Chronicles of Narnia, the Last Battle," and Aslan, who is a picture of Jesus in C.S. Lewis's great series, there was one scene that you described.
Patty: It was just before the last battle, and they all knew that they were going to die and go to what they called "the real Narnia," which is an allegory for heaven. And just before the battle, one of the girls says to the good king, Tirian, says that she's afraid, and he answered her, he said, "Courage, child, remember, we're all between the paws of Aslan."
And when I read that, Daniel looked at me and said, "Mom, that's where I am."
Dennis: How old was he at the time?
Patty: He was 12.
Bob: Did you think, when that surgery was performed on Monday, as they wheeled him in, were you thinking, "That's probably it?"
Bob: Were you thinking that?
Doug: Part of that was in my mind, part of it was I was confident he'd come out. I thought, for sure, he'd come out with deficits, though, like not being able to walk or speak or stand. We didn't know what we'd face on the other end.
Dennis: You talk about the day of the surgery and how you were supported by the prayers of thousands of people, and I remember, Bob, here at FamilyLife, we prayed. There was a bunch of us praying and entering into that with you. Throughout the surgery, you'd get reports, and you wrote about this. You said you'd get a report, "They've opened the brain." Then another report, "The tumor doesn't look malignant."
A few hours later, I assume, "We think we were able to get most of it, but we had to cut away a bit of the brain as well." And two other reports – "He still may die in the next 24 hours," "There will probably be physical deficits."
Wow. There's a scene that you tell here about you going to his bedside, Doug.
Doug: They called us into the ICU, I went up to him, and the nurse said, "He's still unconscious." We didn't know whether he would wake up, and then I asked the nurse, I said, "When he wakes up, will you get him to stick out his tongue?" And the nurse looked at me like I was crazy, and I said, "No, let me explain. I talked to a neurological nurse, and she said that one of the signs that there's no brain damage is that they get the patients to stick out their tongue."
About the third time I made the demand, I looked down, and Daniel opened his eyes, and he stuck his tongue out at me, and I just burst into tears. He went right back to sleep, but he had a little precocious look on his face that only Daniel could have.
And the next 24 hours, we were on pins and needles. He would come in and out of consciousness, and we stayed with him – I stayed with him all that night in ICU, and then we made it through that morning, and then Patty came up and relieved me, and I headed home, and I wasn't home 40 minutes, and there was a phone call, and Patty was distraught and says "He's having convulsions, you've got to get up here."
And I thought this was it, and I drove 90 miles an hour to Children's Hospital only to get up to the room and find that the convulsions were over, and the next 36 hours he was home in his own bed.
Dennis: Bob, hearing this story is remarkable for several reasons. One, first of all, there was a marriage in place to go through the valley of the shadow.
Bob: If it had not been for the years of counseling, for the time invested, and the commitment that you guys had had, you really wonder what an event like this would have done to both of you.
Patty: Well, and we haven't talked about what it was like during those 11 days. It was a wonderful time of connection with Daniel, but it was even a more wonderful time of connection between Doug and I. There is nothing like laying in bed at night in each other's arms praying together from the depths of our hearts in a way that we never have before.
It was agonizing, there's no doubt about that, but there also was a taste of joy like we've never tasted before of connection with one another, and we have said that those 11 days were like a taste of hell, but they were also like a taste of heaven. Everything was so vivid and real. It was almost like living in black and white and during those 11 days, it was like vivid Technicolor.
Doug and I, I think, tasted a oneness that I really didn't think was possible until heaven.
Bob: You know, the picture there of a marriage in the midst of crisis, couples coming closer together, that's the way it ought to be, but it's the way it so seldom is. It's not just Daniel's story of surviving a brain tumor and the hand of God rescuing a young boy, but it's a story of a gracious God who says in the midst of the trials, "I'll take you through them because they work a work of sanctification in your own heart and life and in your marriage with one another."
Dennis: And the interesting thing is, Daniel is a normal, playful boy who shows no side effects of that surgery.
Doug: Well, he has no deficits. In fact, I think it was about four days after the surgery, his mom caught him outside climbing a tree.
I just about killed him for that, but we do live with the tension of what can return.
Dennis: The reality is not only has a young man survived a crisis you, as a couple, have survived a serious challenge to your marriage. And in the midst of your own process, you prayed a prayer to God – "Lord, if Christianity works, it needs to work in marriage and specifically in my marriage."
And I've got to believe there are those who are listening right now who could utter that same prayer, and my encouragement to you, wherever you are, maybe pull off to the side of the road, maybe stop what you're doing in your home, your office, your workshop, but just stop right now and, in humility, ask God if He would work a miracle in your marriage; that you and your spouse might walk together in this life and might know the sweetness of fellowship with one another.
Bob: You know, we've seen God do that at our Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences in cities all across the country for more than three decades now, and I want to be clear with our listeners, the Weekend to Remember is not a quick fix that can patch up every marriage, especially if you've got a lot of anger and bitterness and resentment that's been developed over a long period of time. You can't expect to come in for a weekend conference and have all of that go away in a weekend.
But here's what you can expect – you can come to a Weekend to Remember conference, and you will find, first, hope for your marriage; and then, second, you will find practical, biblical wisdom on things you can do that can make a difference; that can begin to pull your marriage out of the cycle you've been in, and move you into a new pattern, a new way of relating to one another that is what God intended for marriage to be all along.
I'm going to be speaking at one of these conferences here in another couple of weeks out in the Los Angeles area. We have conferences coming up in cities all across the country in April and in May and in June and even into July. If you'd like to find out more about a Weekend to Remember marriage conference that's coming to a city near where you live, you can go to our website, FamilyLife.com, and if you click the red button that says "Go," in the middle of the screen, that will take you to an area of the site where you can get more information about dates and locations for upcoming Weekend to Remember conferences.
Or call us at 1-800-FLTODAY. That's 1-800-358-6329, and someone on our team can pass the information along to you and help you find out when a conference is going to be in a nearby city. But I would encourage you – whether your marriage is in the kind of situation that Doug's and Patty's was in years ago, or maybe you just need a good marriage tuneup; your marriage is doing fine, you just want to make sure that you don't get off in the ditch, go to one of these Weekend to Remember conferences, and I think you'll find it will be a weekend of refreshment and encouragement for your marriage.
I should mention it comes with a complete money-back guarantee. If you come to a conference and if, for any reason, you are not fully satisfied with the experience, we will refund your registration fee with no questions asked. So you can't lose, all right?
More information is available online at FamilyLife.com, or you can call us at 1-800-358-6329, that's 1-800-FLTODAY, to find out about an upcoming Weekend to Remember conference.
Now, if you go to our website, there are also resources available there that can help a lot of couples who are in a tough spot in their marriage and who, for whatever reason, may not be able to get to one of our upcoming conferences. Dr. George Kenworthy has written a wonderful book called "Marriage Makeover," where he explains how he has seen God do a transforming work and turn around some very difficult marriages and how God's Word can be applied in your marriage as well. That's available in our FamilyLife Resource Center.
Along with Dr. Emerson Eggerich's book, "Love and Respect," which has been very popular over the last couple of years because I think it really identifies some key issues that couples deal with that can put them in what Dr. Eggerich calls the "crazy cycle." And if you feel like you've been in a crazy cycle in your marriage, I think you'll find his book is very helpful.
Again, these are among the resources that are available from us here at FamilyLife Today. You can go, again, to our website, FamilyLife.com, click the red button that says "Go," and it will take you to a page where you'll get more information about these books and other resources that are available from us here at FamilyLife Today, and don't forget, you can also sign up for an online subscription to our e-magazine, which is called "The Family Room," and Doug and Patty Daily's story is told in our online magazine this month. So you can sign up for a free subscription, and we'll be happy to send that to you each month.
Again, the website is FamilyLife.com. Click the red "Go" button, and we can help you with any of these resources or call us at 1-800-FLTODAY, and someone on our team can help you as well.
And with that, we're going to have to wrap things up for today. I hope you have a great weekend, and I hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend. On Monday, we are going to talk about one of the most difficult situations parents face, and that is when a child is headed in the wrong direction spiritually whether that child is still at home or has left home. We're going to talk about what you do with a prodigal. I hope you can be with us 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. Have a great weekend, we'll see you Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.
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