Your Husband–The Strong, Silent Type
About the Guest
Does your husband know that he’s your #1 priority? Today Susie Davis, author of Loving Your Man Without Losing Your Mind, talks about the magic ingredient that every man needs from his wife to be truly happy. Joining Susie today is her happy husband of over 20 years, Will.
Will and Susie DavisWill Davis Jr. (DMin, Southwestern Seminary) is the founding and senior pastor of Austin Christian Fellowship, a nondenominational church in Austin, Texas. He is the author of Pray Big, Pray Big for Your Marriage, Pray Big for Your Child, Why Faith Makes Sense, and 10 Things Jesus Never Said. An avid hiker, mountain-biker, and water-skier, Davis and his wife, Susie, have three children and live in Austin, Texas.
Does your husband know that he’s your #1 priority?
Your Husband–The Strong, Silent Type
Will: We loaded up the car to go to Colorado, 4 a.m. – we were going to drive 16 hours to Colorado.
Susie: But I do have some driving baggage.
Will: Car baggage – big time!
Susie: I do, and for some reason, I have trouble doing long car trips with Will.
Will: Colorado – 16 hours!
Susie: It’s something about in turning up the Doobie Brothers, enjoying the drive, and start dancing! I’m like Oooh!
Will: Put the kids in, drove 25 miles, and Susie was in the front seat in body language and huffing and puffing said, “Everything I need to know.” In my greatest man moment of all time I turned the car around and took her home, and dropped her off on the doorstep with the kids, and said, “I’ll pick you up in Denver, catch a plane.”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, August 4th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife Dennis Rainey and I’m Bob Lepine.
So, what do you do when you love each other desperately but in some circumstances being together you’re just driving each other crazy? We are going to talk about that today – stay tuned! Welcome to FamilyLife Today thanks for joining us on the Tuesday edition.
Dennis: Greatest man moment?
Bob: You and Barbara do okay on car trips together?
Dennis: You know, we’ve done okay on car trips. It’s some of our plane trips that have been…
Bob: Been a little tense?
Dennis: Yes! Except you can’t do it the reverse way. You can’t drop her off at home and say, “You take the car”!
Bob: I’ll meet you out there?
Dennis: I’ll meet you in Denver.
Bob: What is it about plane travel that causes anxiety?
Dennis: It’s not anxiety - it’s just only so much travel that a busy Mom can do! When you are getting six kids ready to go speeding – go do again after a busy week and everything in the world is coming unglued, and things are coming un-nailed it’s just life Bob. So there are those moments that we all experience!
Bob: Mary Ann is the same way. She is always wishing she wasn’t going on whatever trip it is. We can be going to see our grandbaby and she’s wishing she wasn’t going until take off. Then, it’s kind of okay.
Dennis: Then she begins to turn resolutely. Well, you know what, we’re going to talk about some of those expectations that we have of our spouse today.
Bob: But, before we talk about that, can I remind our FamilyLife Today listeners about a special opportunity that they have to sign up to attend one of our upcoming FamilyLife Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences. We don’t tackle travel anxiety specifically at the Weekend to Remember, but we do help you with issues like communication, resolving conflict, the intimacy in your marriage, your role, and your spouse’s role.
Dennis: It is worth the journey!
Bob: It is worth the journey to attend a Weekend to Remember. Right now it’s particularly worth it for FamilyLife Today listeners because when you register as a couple to attend an up-coming conference at the regular price we are going to send you a certificate for a second conference registration absolutely free.
So, you can call your son and daughter-in-law, or your daughter and son-in-law or friends you know at church, or whoever. When you register at the regular price you can bring along another couple with you, or you can scholarship them to attend. It’s a buy one get one free opportunity for the Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference.
We have about 50 of these conferences coming this fall to cities all across the country, so here’s what you need to do: go on-line at FamilyLifeToday.com, or call 1-800-FLTODAY. Find out when the conference is coming to a city near where you live, register for the conference, and again when you buy a registration for the two of you, you will get a second registration for a couple absolutely free. This offer is only good through next weekend, and you have to identify yourself as a FamilyLife Today listener. If you are registering on line, you just have to type my name in the promo code box. Just type “Bob” in there, and they will know you listen to FamilyLife Today.
Or call 1-800-FLTODAY, get more information, register over the phone, and identify yourself as one of Bob’s friends, and it’s all taken care of.
Dennis: You know it really is a good deal, and I just want to encourage you: If you guys haven’t gotten away in a while, the Weekend to Remember has fresh, relevant material that we’ve created in the past couple of years that you need to experience. It really is a great getaway for a couple. I’m thrilled that we have our guests back: Will and Susie Davis, who are joining us again on FamilyLife Today.
Will’s a pastor, a speaker, and an author. Susie speaks and writes as well, and she is the author of the book: Loving Your Man Without Losing Your Mind. Sounds like it could be a country song of some sort! Will is the pastor of Austin Christian Fellowship. Will, Susie welcome to FamilyLife Today.
Will: Thank you very much.
Dennis: Susie, you mentioned in your book something that I think is really a great point. You say, “That there are vast differences between what women may think their husbands are like, and what they are really like”! What do you mean by that?
Susie: I think that sometimes as women we expect our husbands to be like women instead of like men. Many times in marriage we want the kind of qualities that we have in our girlfriends in our husbands. The truth is that men are just different than women. It’s funny – this is born out of a story: I was having a really serious problem and I wanted to talk to Will. I thought, “You know of all people in my whole life my husband – my pastor husband. He’s so spiritual and sensitive he’s going to know just the right thing to say.”
So, I walked into the study, and I kind of slumped against the wall – you know my body language said it all, but just in case I thought I’d give him some words too, and I said, “Will, and I explained the whole problem,” and he looked up at me over his little half glasses. He looked so thoughtful and so intelligent, and so spiritual and I just knew he was going to say something really amazing. He looked up at me after I’d given him my whole life, I’d put my heart out there and he said, “Why don’t you go to the store and buy some bread?”
Bob: Bread? Do you remember this story?
Will: I totally said, “She needed to go shop – she needed some shopping therapy!”
Susie: No, that’s not why you said that: You were hungry and you wanted a sandwich.
Dennis: You hadn’t heard a word she said!
Susie: No! He didn’t hear a word I said!
Will: She walked into the study – need we say more?
I was in the study; I was doing God’s word.
Dennis: You were in the study – you were on task.
Will: Exactly, and she wanted to talk.
Susie: Oh my gosh! He was pretending like he was there, but he wasn’t. I think men master that look. You know, and then they say something and they blow it. It was just one of those moments where it made me laugh, so that was good, because I could’ve gotten really mad. It was so absurd that it made me die laughing, and I walked away, and I did not go to the store. I just thought, you know what – I just need to go have lunch with a girlfriend. You know, and let her help me sort out my life.
Bob: So, I’m thinking of some women who would say, “If my husband said that to me, I would not die laughing.” I would think there would be women who would say, “Susie he should have cared enough to put his books away, to lock in and to try to help you. He was just insensitive.”
Will: I was insensitive: there’s no doubt about it! There are times I’m very tuned in, and we listen, but at that moment I didn’t handle that particularly well.
Bob: Is that okay for you to be insensitive?
Will: No, it’s not! She could have gotten very mad and been justified. I handled it like a jerk, and she rolled with it. Thank God!
Bob: Is that what you are saying a wife ought to do?
Susie: I’m saying basically, “I think there are times you have to roll with it.” Sure, but I also think that we expect men to be super sensitive and to cuddle infants, and we forget that men need to be men. That’s actually the reason why we are attracted to them in the first place. So, for me it’s really about keeping a balanced life and not leaning into Will for every single communication need I have. Yes, the big stuff, yes should my husband listen to me – yes!
But, when he does say something insensitive it shouldn’t cause my world to cave in, because I did after all marry a man – you know?
Will: I think that’s a compliment?! I’m not sure? I did after all marry a man!
Susie: It’s an absolute compliment. I mean I married a man!
Dennis: The point of your book is: “At the point we are different – male and female we can begin to think I simply do not understand him or her. At that point you can feel like you are losing your mind because…
Susie: You can!
Susie: You really can, and you know what else? I think that both men and women do this: they get married, and it’s all fabulous and romantic you know. They do the wedding, and at some point they wake up and think: You know you are really frustrating me, you should be a lot more like me, and we’d get along with each other better. If you would just be more like me, if you would think more like me, if you’d pick up more like me, if you’d talk to the children more like me than we’d get along. Really, that’s a lie. It’s a lie, and embracing it wrecks a marriage.
Bob: Explain to our listeners what you mean by the love most – act worst principle? What is that?
Susie: That principle really is about the people that you love the most you treat the worst. It’s not what you intend to do, but for example: Will is my number one priority; he’s the person that I’ve pledged my life to even more than my children. I said, “I would be with this man and love him until death do us part, and I do love him.”
But, I think many times, and I don’t know if it’s just a woman thing or a man thing, you guys can tell me. Many times I don’t reflect that in my everyday living. I don’t reflect that in the way I treat Will, I go out and I’m busy all day, and I give everybody else the best of me. Whether it’s the person at Starbucks, or where I work the radio station. Then, I come home and I’m a not so nice wife to Will. That’s very upside down; it’s a very upside down thing to do.
Bob: To give you an illustration of that, we were talking to a pastor on FamilyLife Today, he and his wife had lost their son, and it was a season of depression, a season of grief, and she was despondent. He said, “I remember one day when somebody came to the door, and she opened the door, and she engaged with this person and was bright and alive, and then shut the door and went right back into it”: He said, “Why is it with a stranger you rally, and with me you don’t?”
Part of it you could say, is we should be free to be as honest and transparent. If I’m really depressed I shouldn’t have to put on a front for you, but I think your point is right, that we often take for granted, and take advantage of our relationship with one another, and we’re not kind. We’re not considerate. We’re not generous. We’re not loving. We’re not all of the things that ought to be characteristic of a follower of Christ in our marriage relationship.
Susie: Right – and for me, I think that a lot of it has to do with time and energy. You know, I’ll make the time to be a good neighbor, or be a good daughter, or be a good mother, over and over I’ll make time to be a good mother, but I don’t take the time to be kind to Will, and to love him in an everyday way, and to speak kindly to him, and to give him a break when he says, “Go get the bread.”
Bob: You did that when you were dating him!
Susie: Absolutely – I was a great girlfriend
Bob: But once you hooked him…
Will: You’re still a great girlfriend – babe!
Susie: Thank you!
Dennis: You have learned a lot of things. You haven’t totally lost your mind. You have learned a lot of things about your man.
Susie: I have!
Dennis: You speak of a magic ingredient that every man needs?
Susie: Respect! We say we love them, and I think they get that. You can all give me feedback on this: I really think that men need to feel respected by the woman that they love most. I think it turns them into amazing people.
Dennis: What would you say to the wife who screams about her husband constantly almost running into cars?
Will: How about repent?
Bob: Are you asking this for a particular reason?
Will: Repent pagan swine!
Dennis: This has become a real humorous thing in our marriage. In the past three or four years, I don’t know if I’ve become a worst driver or if Barbara’s become a big screamer?
Will: It’s a new level of intimacy you are experiencing!
Susie: There you go!
Dennis: I mean the point you are making is a woman needs to communicate that she trusts and respects her husband.
Susie: Right – and that he is doing a good job. I think that when we are especially gripey, that it basically says, “You are not being a man.” I think that when I fuss at Will in the car, he usually says, “I’ve been driving a really long time, I can handle this.” So, I don’t mean to be telling him he can’t drive well.
Will: I say that very politely though, I might add!
Susie: I think we do that, and I think that sometimes we’re not as careful in public as we should be and maybe we say something that we think is funny in front of our husbands about our husbands that’s not funny at all.
I think that grown men are little boys on the inside, and I think that sometimes as wives we fail to remember that, and I think that we have to be careful. Not that they’re fragile, but they are more sensitive than they let on. I think that wives have the most power to lift them up, and not degrade them. I think that’s the magic ingredient!
Dennis: When have you felt most respected by Susie?
Will: Words - words – affirmation! I thrive on her affirmation. I don’t need it more than I need God’s, but when Susie is complimentary of me, or something I’ve done it adds life, it adds fuel to my fire.
Bob: When you get done preaching on Sunday?
Will: Well, it’s more the opposite. If I come in from church, and she’ll say, “Boy, the music was too loud today,” which I had no control over, I’ll just crash. I’ll say, “I need you so much to be an advocate, and not an adversary in these things.” She’s really good at saying, “Great message, you were on, or whatever.” For me, it’s her words!
Bob: It’s not that she can’t be honest and speak the truth. I mean, when the music is too loud?
Will: I don’t want her to do it right after church though – I’m exhausted!
Bob: Or when you weren’t on, you want her to tell you you weren’t on – right?
Will: If she can approach it like permission to talk about church today – absolutely!
Susie: I think also what happens is: I need to realize that my biggest job is not critiquing the service on Sunday. My biggest job is encouraging the man - my man – the man who happens to be standing up there and teaching in front of a crowd. So, is it really that big of a deal if the music was loud? Surely someone noticed – someone is there to take care of it. If that’s going to really beat Will down, then that’s just not something I need to discuss.
Dennis: So, from a practical standpoint, the woman who is not married to a preacher?
Susie: Right – the driving thing is a huge thing – don’t you think? I think it’s huge!
Bob: You can tell by the look on his face he thinks it’s huge!
Susie: Listen, honest confessions Dennis. I was in a really horrible head on wreck, a couple of years ago, and I made it – I was fine – God took care of me. But, I do have some driving baggage.
Will: Car baggage – big time!
Susie: I do, and for some reason, I have trouble doing long car trips with Will.
Bob: Like long? How long?
Will: Colorado – 16 hours long, or anything over 20 minutes!
Susie: Anything over 20 minutes can get to be a problem.
Susie: It’s something about in turning up the Doobie Brothers, enjoying the drive, and start dancing. I’m like Ooh! Honestly, one of the things we’ve done, is we’ve struck an arrangement until I can get where I’m not a freak in the car!
Will: Now, we loaded up the car to go to Colorado, 4 a.m. going to drive 16 hours to Colorado, put the kids in, drove 25 miles, and Susie was in the front seat, in body language and huffing and puffing said everything I need to know. In my greatest man moment of all time, I turned the car around, and took her home, and dropped her off on the doorstep with the kids, and said, “I’ll pick you up in Denver, catch a plane,” and I drove back to Colorado.
Susie: Now, it sounds insensitive.
Will: It saved our marriage!
Susie: It did!
Susie: We promised the kids we’re not going to divorce. Mommy’s just a freak.
Will: I just turned the car around and said, “We’re not doing this for 16 hours, no way – I’d rather you fly!
Susie: Honestly, I respect that he did that. I respect that he recognized that for whatever reason, I’m a freak in the car and he was able to turn around. He didn’t say it like that – like we’re dropping you off at the doorstep – he realized it, and he handled it in a way, and it was actually exactly what I needed, and wanted.
Will: It wasn’t worth it though!
Dennis: I want you to quickly describe each one of these: what you mean by them in terms of how you can better understand your husband. I think this is pretty clear, but unpack it a little bit. A sex drought can cause a relational disaster?
Susie: It can. This is the deal – let me just be plain and simple. God made sex, he made it for a reason, it’s a big deal in your marriage, typically guys enjoy and want sex more than women. That is not only something that we need as women to think of – being able to give your marriage that’s pleasurable and fabulous, but it’s also a need in your marriage. To the extent that you refrain, or you’re too tired, or you have a headache tonight, that is going to impact your marriage.
So, I urge women – floor it with your husband. Remember way back when you left him at sometime – he’s a man you’re a woman. Figure it out, go to counseling, do whatever you need to do. It’s a huge integral part of a healthy marriage, and if it’s not happening, and you might think it is fine, I bet if you asked your husband, it’s not okay. It’s something I think we need to rethink as Christian women. It’s not bad it’s good. It’s not something to be pushed to the side or think of it like a to do list. It’s something we need to really rethink and get on the same page with.
Dennis: Okay, one more.
Dennis: Remember your husband is hot to someone – remind him that he is to you!
Susie: That’s right! Look, I married this cute man, and you know what, when you live with a guy everyday and they go out the door – you see them at their worst, they didn’t take the trash out, and they are bothering you. You don’t think about the fact that they are going out there looking all cute and smelly and they are in a big world where there are a lot of people.
Bob: You mean smelly good?
Susie: Smelly good! I did mean smelly good!
Will: Marlboro man smelly good!
Susie: There you go! They’re going out there, and it might be shocking for you to think of now, if you’ve been married 20, 30, years or even 10. T hey are hot to somebody, and it would be a lot better if they were hot to you. I think we need to just reignite our marriages, and remember. Do what you have to do – go on date nights, and tell them they’re cute and hot. Be that woman that you probably were when you met him and saw him for the first time.
Dennis: You’re a good sport. You know that?
Will: Every man in America is weeping right now listening to this. Thank you God!
Dennis: To sit in a studio with your husband and two other guys and have this – you’re a pretty good sport!
Will: She’s a man advocate. She advocates for men!
Susie: Yes – I would imagine it’s a hard thing to be a man today. I think that one of the most lovely things we can do as women, as wives of men is to love them, and tell them we love them with our bodies. I really do!
Will: Preach it girl! Bring it!
Dennis: I just appreciate you being honest about it, because I do think there’s a generation of young ladies who have grown up in this culture where in the process of the culture telling them how they can become powerful they’ve eradicated the differences between men and women.
In erasing them they have in my opinion weakened men and the relationship they have with their wives. Most young ladies don’t know how to respect. They don’t know how to build him up, encourage him, and they don’t think of that being one of their primary responsibilities, and assignments in marriage.
Bob: Well, and they think to themselves, I’ll respect him when he starts deserving it.
Will: Yes, it’s conditional!
Bob: And, it’s going to be a while before he starts deserving it. He needs your respect to get there. You know, what I mean?
Dennis: It’s how Paul summarized it at the end of Ephesians 5: Wives respect your husbands!
Susie: That’s not something that we need to feel squished down about. That is a privilege. If I can respect Will, and love him and build him up, and I see what he is able to do, in the impacting lives or just the person that he is, or the Dad that he is, that’s my pleasure and my joy. You know what? He does the same thing for me!
Bob:You know that’s something we can talk about here on the radio and there are folks who are listening and thinking – okay that sounds easy, but in my home, in my situation, that is not an easy thing to do. We have to acknowledge that is the case for a lot of couples.
In fact a lot of the couples who come to our Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences – they have lost respect for one another. The love has ebbed in their marriage. One of the great things about the Weekend to Remember is that these couples get two and a half days where they can get alone, they can spend time together, they can focus on what the Bible has to say about marriage, they can refresh their relationship – it is so interesting to watch these couples who come.
On Friday night, you can tell that they are a little stressed out, they are a little beat down, they are weary, and by Sunday it is like somebody came in and blew fresh air into the room. All of a sudden there are smiles on faces, they have some practical tools to take home with them, and you can tell something is different as a result of them spending time with us at a Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference. I bring this up because we are about to kick off the fall season for our Weekend to Remember Conferences – more than 50 conferences being held in cities all across the country this fall.
We want to encourage our FamilyLife Today listeners to attend one of these upcoming conferences. If you sign up this week or next week, to attend a conference, you and your spouse sign up at the regular rate, we are going to give you a second registration absolutely free. That can be for one of your children, or for a relative you know. It can be for somebody in your church, somebody at work. You can get together with another couple you know and the two of you sign up together and just split the cost if you want. However you want to work it.
If you are a FamilyLife Today listener, you register for the conference between now and next weekend. You and your spouse register at the regular rate, you get a second registration for free. You don’t have to attend the same conference, you can go to one conference in one city, and the other couple goes in another city – that is fine!
In fact if you have questions, about how all this works, call us toll-free at 1-800-FLTODAY just say, “I heard Bob talking about this on the radio, and I want to know more about how it works.” We’ll give you all the details, we can get you registered over the phone if you’d like, or go on line FamilyLifeToday.com is our website and the information you need is available there so you can get registered for an upcoming Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference at a special FamilyLife Today listener rate. The offer is good this week and next week only, so make sure you get in touch with us soon, and get registered for an up-coming conference.
We also encourage you while you are on-line at FamilyLifeToday.com get a copy of Susie Davis’s book Loving Your Man Without Losing Your Mind. This is a great book for wives to read through to find help, and encouragement, and hope in the midst of the challenges that all of us face in a marriage relationship.
Again the title of the book, Loving Your Man Without Losing Your Mind it’s available on our FamilyLife Todayresource center, and you can order from us on-line at FamilyLifeToday.com or call toll-free 1-800-FLTODAY. That’s 1-800-“F” as in Family, “L” as in Life, and then the word Today. We can make arrangements to have Susie’s book sent to you.
Now, tomorrow, we’re going to meet a couple whose marriage faced what is probably the ultimate challenge: infidelity, and did not survive. Jeff and Cheryl Scruggs will be here to tell us their story tomorrow. I hope you can be back 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. 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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