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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Jimmy Evans » Jimmy Evans - Successful Communication in Marriage

Jimmy Evans - Successful Communication in Marriage

Jimmy Evans - Successful Communication in Marriage
TOPICS: Marriage, Relationships

We love you. Thank you, thank you. Good morning, good morning, good morning, good morning, good morning. It is wonderful to be here with you guys. My dear friend, Pastor Chris, who I've missed seeing, last so it is wonderful to be here and to be talking about the subject of marriage. Now, next May, my wife Karen and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. Is that unbelievable? Fifty years. My dad said he couldn't remember if he was born first or married first. I'm kind of the same way. So, I started marriage counseling in 1982. I started as a marriage counselor. So, I've done that for 40 years. I absolutely love helping people in the area of marriage, and this message is called "Successful Communication Marriage".

If you have your Bible there, if you'll turn to Proverbs 18, verse 21, I want to read a couple of verses here to start off with, and I want to talk about successful communication in marriage. This was the worst area of our marriage. Now, we almost divorced. We married at 19 years old. And after several years of marriage, we almost divorced and communication was a big issue there. I was horrible. I was just a terrible communicator. In Proverbs 18, verse 21 says "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit". And the next verse is very interesting. "He found find a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord".

I think it's interesting that those two verses go together. The power of life and death is in your tongue. I destroyed my wife with my mouth. I was just a young, you know, immature young man. And when I would get frustrated with Karen, I loved her, you know, but when I got mad at her, I would just say things to her, just to devastated her. And after 3 years of that, I had literally destroyed our marriage. The good news is the Lord saved our marriage. The same mouth that destroyed my marriage and my wife brought her back to life. And when the Lord corrected me, and the Lord taught me how to do what I'm gonna teach you to do today, how to communicate marriage, it transformed our marriage.

We've never been anywhere close to where we were in those first years. We have a wonderful marriage. We're able to communicate every single day in a great way. This is the most important skill in marriage, and the reason is, is because it transcends every area of your marriage. You talk about your needs. You talk about the kids. You talk about finances. You talk about in-laws. You talk about schedules. You talk about church. We talk about every area of marriage, and 86% of couples that divorce say they had poor communication. And so good communication is an important foundation for a good marriage. Let me begin by talking about the reasons why we communicate.

There are six basic reasons of why we communicate. And I also want to say, if you're single, if you're young, if you're old, it doesn't matter. The principles I'm gonna teach you in this message will help you communicate on any level, in any relationship, but I'm gonna specify a lot of these comments to the area of marriage. But here are the six reasons why we communicate. Number one is just basic information, just I'm saying something just basic. "Honey, I'm home. The dinner's ready. The kids are on the roof again". Just basic stuff, you know, just every day kind of stuff. The second is partnership. We need to talk because we're partners. We need to talk because we have needs that we need to meet, but also children, finances, responsibilities. We share as partners, responsibilities. We need to talk about that.

Number three reason that we talk is conflict resolution. You know, it's inevitable in a relationship that there's gonna be some conflict, that there's nothing wrong with having conflict in your marriage, as long as you can solve it. The only problem is when you can't solve it. So, if you have a fight every now and then, or whatever, that's okay, as long as you can get through it. And I'm gonna talk to you about conflict resolution here in just a little bit.

Number four reason why we communicate is connection. Now, this is something that we might not think about when we're communicating, but these are verbal and nonverbal ways we communicate with each other to try to get validation, attention, affection, and emotional connection. I'm just trying to connect with you. And so research has shown that the average couple that goes out to eat, and they sit across from one another at a meal, that they will connect over 100 times during that meal. That's the average. This is a look, a smile, a word, a touch, a joke, whatever it is, but I'm trying to connect with you. Now, today, what is complicated connection in marriages is called technology and social media. Twenty-five percent of couples fight every week about Facebook. One in seven people have seriously considered divorcing their spouse because of their social media habits. And so I'm trying to connect with you, and you're connected to the universe out there. You're connected to all these people out there, and I can't connect with you here, and that causes a lot of stress in relationships.

And so, number five reason why we communicate is personal information or revelation. I want to tell you about myself. Now, this is when communication gets good because now I'm talking about feelings, thoughts, frustrations, about life, dreams, desires, hurts, fears, those kinds of things.

And number six is intimate communication. This is the prize of communication in marriage. This is expressions of love, affection, affirmations, dreams desires, spiritual intimacy. It's talking about our spiritual lives and in our relationship with God and even praying together. Spiritual intimacy is the deepest level of intimacy there is in the relationship.

So, those are the six basic reasons why we communicate. And when communication's working, it means we can talk about all those things and get through those things. But we have to realize that when we get stuck with one of those, it affects every area of communication. Let me go back to the issue of needs. I was talking about partnership being the second reason why we communicate. Now, if I could meet my own needs, I wouldn't get married. You wouldn't have gotten married, except there are needs that you have that you can't get met on your own. And so we're at each other's mercy when we get married. If you don't meet my needs, Karen, I'm talking about Karen. If Karen doesn't meet my needs, my deepest needs God meets, but there are needs that we met in each other. I'm at Karen's mercy. She's at my mercy. And the problem is our basic needs are very different. Women have one set of needs, and men have another set of needs, and this is something that's typically very hard for most people to understand and accept in their spouse.

Here are the four needs of a woman. These are the four basic needs of women. Number one need of a woman is security. Nothing makes a woman feel more secure than a selfless sacrificial man, husband. Nothing makes a woman feel more insecure than a selfish, detached man. And so her mega need, a woman's mega need is "I need you to make me feel secure". Okay? Number two need of a woman is open and honest communication. When a woman is asking you, you know, "Where'd you go"? "Nowhere". "Who'd you see"? "No one". You know, it's just you're giving her headlines. She wants you to cough it up. Open and honest. This is a profound need. I didn't say a want. This is a profound need that women have. Number three, soft, nonsexual affection makes her feel special, makes her feel secure, soft nonsexual affection. Number four is leadership. She does not want to be dominated. She wants to be treated as an equal, but she wants her husband to be the loving initiator of the well-being of the children, the finances, the spirituality, and the romance, things like that.

And so when a husband is making her feel secure, he is communicating with her openly and honestly, he's affectionate with her, and he is a leader, that's what makes her world great. That's what meets her basic needs. Men are not that way. Our number one need is honor. It's respect. The mega need that men have is we want to be respected. We are very sensitive in our egos, and that's the way that God made us. And a lot of times, women will say, "Well, you're just a big baby". We really are. We're just big babies. When it comes to our egos, just one little word or one little look can hurt a man more deeply than sometimes women can understand. So, it's honor.

Number two is sex. Most men are more sexual than their wives. Number three is friendship. We want to be buddies with our wives. I want to hang out with Karen. There's no one I'd rather hang out with than Karen. But I don't want to be mothered. I have a mother. I don't want another one, okay. I want to be buddies with my wife. Okay? Now, I love my mother. I'm not mad at her or anything. But number four is domestic support. We want our wives to be domestically centered, even if you work outside the home, and women have a gift of nesting that men just don't have. And so I love being in the place that Karen prepares for us. And so she's just an incredible, you know, decorator, and she just makes her house into a home.

Honor, sex, friendship, domestic support. So, typically, we get married, and we begin to communicate with each other about our needs, and we think that the other person's weird. You're not normal, because you're not like me. And so Karen, I grew up with two older brothers, Damien and Lucifer. And they earned those names, by the way. They beat me up every single day. My dad wasn't affectionate. My mom wasn't affectionate. My brothers were violent. And so I just grew up in that kind of an environment. And then Karen said to me a million times, "Would you just hold me"? And I'd just say, "Karen, that's weird. You don't need that". And I'd put her in a headlock, just kind of, you know, I did. But literally I said to her, "That's weird". Okay? It wasn't weird. She was normal. She had the normal need of being held, and I wouldn't meet that need.

Well, she also needed open and honest communication. I just thought she was nosy. I thought, she's the nosiest person I've ever met. And I would come home to a nightly interrogation. I mean, so I would come home, and it was just like, "Where'd you go"? You know, "Who'd you see? What'd they say? What'd they feel? What'd they think? Where'd they live? Who are their ancestors"? It was like, oh! And I just thought, you know, she's nosey. And if you want to kill a monster, you don't feed it. You starve it, and I'm not gonna feed the nosey monster. So, I would just sit there, not saying anything, just interrogation. She was frustrated. I was frustrated. But she was normal. And so when our marriage was terrible, we were both, you know, there's an old saying, and that is that marriage is about the coming one. The question is which one?

And so I'm trying to change her to be normal like me. She's trying to change me to be normal like her, but the only way that marriage works is to serve each other. The only way you're gonna have a successful marriage is to meet a need that you don't have. I don't have her needs. She doesn't have my needs. And rather than shaming each other, and rejecting each other, and not believing each other, what makes a great marriage, we had a horrible marriage, I did not meet any of Karen's basic needs when we first got married. What makes a great marriage is two servants in love. It doesn't matter what I need, honey. It matters what you need. And the most important ministry I have is to Karen. The most important reason I'm on this planet is to serve Karen.

And so whenever she talks to me, and I meet her needs, and she meets my needs, that's what makes a marriage great. And so, again, my point here is when you get stuck on any level, it affects communication, and a lot of people get stuck in the area of needs, because we're very different than one another, and we have a tendency to reject each other and shame each other when it comes to needs. So, let me talk about the five keys to successful communication marriage, five things that will help you to successfully communicate with your spouse. Number one is the right tone. Okay, so tone is critically important when it comes to communication. So, I'm gonna say the same thing three times; and every time I say the same exact words, it's gonna mean something different.

Here's number one: "Okay, I understand, I'll do it". Here's number two: "Okay, I understand, I'll do it". Here's another three: "Okay, I understand. I'll do it". Happy, frustrated, angry. I'm happy. I understand what you're saying. Tone communicates care. It's impossible to communicate with a person who doesn't care. And when I communicate with you, what... see, when you care, you will find a way to understand. When you don't care, you don't. And so the tone of my voice is telling you whether I care or not, but also tone carries an encrypted message. So, I talked to you about security for a woman. When a man is communicating with a woman, with his wife, it doesn't matter the words that you're saying, as much as it matters the tone that you're saying it in. You can say the right words with the wrong tone, and you said the wrong thing.

So, let's say this. When you're communicating with your wife, regardless of the words you're saying, here's what she needs to hear in the tone of your voice: you come first. You're not a distraction to me. You're not a burden to me. If I have to crawl through 10 miles of cut glass to make things all right in your life, it's a done deal. You'll not have to say it two times. What do you need, honey? When she hears that tone, she feels secure, and she's able to hear it. When she hears you saying, "What do you want? You're a burden to me. You're a distraction. Something else is first in my life," that's what sets her off. You're not gonna be able to communicate when you have that tone. To a man, our mega need is respect.

And so you can say the right words in a wrong tone to a man, and it's very hurtful to him and very frustrating to him. So, when you're talking to a man, here's what he needs to hear: "I believe in you. You're a good man. I'm glad I married you. You have what it takes". When she hears that tone, he's gonna calm down, and he's gonna be able to hear it. So, the number one thing that we have to do in communication is we have to get our tone right, and make sure, 'cause, you know, to this day, if my tone is wrong with Karen, instant response, bad, instant bad response. But when my tone is right, instant good response. So, this is always true.

Number two key to successful communication is enough time. You have to have enough time to communicate. Sometimes the reason that our tone gets wrong is because we just don't have enough time to communicate. So, let me talk about three different types of communication, and the first is proactive communication. There's proactive communication, which means we're gonna sit down in advance and proactively discuss the areas of our relationship. If you don't have proactive communication, you have reactive communication. Reactive communication means we're constantly reacting to issues. If you have reactive communication, you're gonna have radioactive communication. This means we're gonna get hurt. Somebody's gonna get hurt when we talk about this, and we're not gonna be able to talk about it. It's a dangerous issue.

So, proactive communication means 3 to 5 days a year, you take a trip without the children. You can't take the children. You can go camping. You can go to a motel or a hotel. You can go to a resort. You can go wherever you want 3 to 5 days a year; and you wake up in the morning, and for half a day you pray and talk through every area of your relationship, especially the areas where you're having conflict. You begin your vision retreat by surrendering your marriage to God. No one dominates the process. You go away... we have a book. We've taught this for many years. People have this. We have a book called "The Vision Retreat Guidebook," and this guides you through the process of having a vision retreat, and it gives you a place to write all your decisions down.

So, when you get finished with your vision retreat, you talked about all the important areas of your marriage, and you've written it down, and now you're in agreement. You take 3 to 5 days to do that. It will transform your relationship. Now, the pastor who taught me how to do this, probably around 35 years ago, he had five children, and he and his wife went away for 5 days every year on their vision retreat. They had five children, and they had an individual vision for each child every year. When they came off of their vision retreat, they had prayed and talked about every child to the point where they knew exactly what God was saying for each child the rest of the year. Their finances, their schedule, their spirituality, every area of their relationship, and he told me, and by the way, I was doing, I was a marriage counselor at that time and doing marriage seminars. He was the only man I knew who had a better marriage than me.

So, Karen and I took our first vision retreat around 35 years ago, and we borrowed a friend's cabin at a lake, and we went away for I think it was 3 or 4 days, and we went through that. We had three areas of our marriage at that time. We had, you know, we had a good marriage, but our finances, we would fight from time to time; the kids, we had teenagers; and my schedule, I was very busy, and my schedule was the areas we had frustration with. So, we went away, and we had our first vision retreat. After our vision retreat, we did not fight for one year. We had zero conflict in our relationship. If our marriage was here, our marriage was here after our vision retreat. Our kids do this. I mean, we've taught thousands of people to do this. It is a transforming experience. And so the reason that we fight is because we don't see eye to eye.

Amos 3:3 says, "Can two walk together if they don't agree"? The answer is no. If you don't agree, you're gonna be constantly fighting. You have one vision for the kids. I have another vision for the kids. You have one vision for the finances. I have another vision for the finances. So, we're constantly fighting. But here's what happens when you have a vision retreat. The Holy Spirit aligns your headlights, and now you're both looking at the same place. You're in agreement. You can walk together without fighting. And so 3 to 5 days a year. And so here's the way I say this to people. Would you trade 5 hard days... and by the way, you pray and talk half the day, and you have fun the rest of the day.

So, I'm gonna make this seem bad, though. Would you trade 5 hard days of talking, maybe even fighting a little bit, but resolving all these issues and having a successful vision retreat for 360 days of peace? Or would you rather skip those 5 days and have 365 days of tension? Vison retreat will help you to proactively communicate so that you can have a peaceful, harmonious relationship, and give you plenty of time to talk through all of your issues. The second type of communication is personal communication time. Every day, no phone, no computer, no television, no children, face to face communication time, 30 to 60 minutes a day. You have to have it. You have to have 30 to 60 minutes a day of talking, when you have the time and energy to talk without distractions.

So, Karen had asked me many, many times if I would talk with her, and I never did, 'cause I thought she was nosey. And so, one day I said to her, and this is when our marriage was changing, and I was changing, and I said to Karen, "Karen, I'm gonna come home tonight, and we're gonna spend time with the kids. We'll eat dinner. We'll spend time with the kids. And we'll put the kids to bed, and then I'll sit down and talk with you for as long as you want to talk, about anything you want to talk about". And so I thought two things. I thought, I'm the greatest man in the history of the world. I'm sure of that. Number two, they're gonna find me dead tomorrow with my brain sucked out. That's just... So, I came home that night, and we put the kids to bed. We had a little area in our bedroom. We had a little sitting area. And we'd pop popcorn, and we'd sit face to face. And I was terrified. I mean, I had never done this before. I had no idea what to expect.

So, I sat down, and I said, "I'll talk as long as you want to talk, about anything you want to talk about". And she was easy on me for the first 10 minutes or so, and she said, "What about this, what about this, what about this, what about this"? Then she went back into my childhood. She was fascinated by my childhood 'cause she would say to me, "I wish I knew why you're so messed up". Thank you. So, we sat down that night. She immediately goes back to my childhood. I want you to tell me about this, and this, and this, this, and this. And I said, "Okay". And so I told her. I told her. I'd never told her before, but I told her the whole thing, and she said, "That's why you're the way you are".

And I said, what? Whatever. And she said, "Well, how did you feel when that happened"? And I said, "I didn't feel anything, Karen". And she said, "Yes, you did". And then she told me how I felt. We're gonna call a technical on that. You can't tell me how I'm feeling. But she was always right. And my friend said he knew he married Mrs. Right. He just didn't know her first name was Always. But she was always right. And so she told me how I felt, and I said, "I did not". Two weeks later, I'm having a quiet time, and I'm just sitting there praying; and all the memories and the feelings of that event flood me, and I realized she was right. I had been devastated. I just didn't know how to deal with it. And the Lord healed me through the conversation I had with Karen.

This is the way I say it. Men come emotionally unassembled and talking with our wives is how we get wired up. And your wife will say, "Zzt, zzt, that's an emotion. That's a feeling. We're gonna wire that up. Let's remember that right there". And that's what Karen did. To this day, she'll tell me how I'm feeling. She's always right. So, 30 to 60 minutes a day of face-to-face communication. Number three type of communication is intimate communication, 3 to 5 minutes a day telling each other how much you love each other, being intimate, being, you know, humorous in a good way, just being kind and gracious. Three to five minutes of intimate communication a day will resurrect a dead marriage. Your tone is critical. You have to have enough time. Take enough time to communicate.

Number three is an atmosphere of trust, building an atmosphere of trust. Now, I had destroyed Karen's trust in me. I was a very dominant chauvinistic man, very selfish. I golfed a lot, too much, and I was either working or golfing. I didn't meet any of Karen's needs. I was harsh with her, with my tongue, did a lot of damage with my tongue, never took responsibility for this. So, one day I went to play golf. We fought a lot. And one day I went to play golf, and I came home, and Karen confronted me. We had a baby girl, and she confronted me. And I said, "You go pack your bags and get out of this house. I don't care where you go. Just get out of the house. I never want to see you again in my life".

So, Karen ran down the hall crying, and I'm in the living room now. We went to church every Sunday, and I read my Bible every morning. I was a jerk, but I was a sanctified jerk. And I had read my Bible that morning in my quiet time in John 16. And Jesus said, "When the Holy Spirit comes, he'll lead you into all truth". And so that interested me. When I read that, that morning in my quiet time, I thought, "The Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth"? That's an interesting thing. So, that night I'm sitting in the living room. I know that Karen's about to leave, and I don't know what I'm gonna do if she stays. I don't know what I'm gonna do if she goes. I just don't know what I'm doing. I'm just completely lost.

And so I bowed my head, and I said to the Holy Spirit, "I want you to teach me how to be a husband. I don't know". And that's the first vulnerability I'd ever shown. And when I said those words, something fell off of my eyes. These blinders fell off of my eyes. The minute before I prayed that prayer, I thought to myself, "I am Mr. Wonderful. I just accidentally married the devil's ex-wife". I didn't know. You know, who knew? The minute after I prayed that prayer, I thought, "I am the biggest jerk in the world, and I married the most precious woman in the world". And I realized the damage I had one. Went in the bedroom. I'd never said I was wrong in 3 years of marriage, ever. And I went in the bedroom, and I knelt down next to Karen, and I said, "I'm sorry". And I said, "I'm sorry for the way I've treated you. I'm sorry for the way I've talked to you". And Karen said, "Your mouth, Jimmy, your mouth has devastated me".

And we kind of made up that night, but really we still were in a bad, bad place. The next morning, I woke up and I just didn't know what to do. And I said, "Holy Spirit, I pray that you'll teach me how to be a husband, because I just don't know what to do". So, he told me to turn to Genesis 2, and I turned to Genesis 2, and here is the Scripture that healed our marriage. This is Genesis 2:24-25. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother, shall be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed". Now, the Holy Spirit, when I read those verses, the Holy Spirit kept telling me to read it over and over and over. I read it a dozen times, I guess, and I saw the four laws of marriage. This is the first time I ever saw that those verses contain the four laws of marriage. Here are the four laws of marriage.

Number one, the law of priority. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother. For the sake of marriage, you have to reprioritize the most important relationship you had before marriage. Marriage means this is the new number one priority. Marriage only works in first place. It doesn't work in any other place, the law of priority.

The second is the law of pursuit. For this cause a man will leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife. The word cleave there means to work with all your energy. It's a very energetic word. Marriage is work. It only works when you work at it. You have to pursue each other.

Number three, the law of partnership. They two shall become one. Before the fall, there's never a reference to Adam being over Eve or Eve being over Adam. They were equals. Marriage is about sharing as equal partners. No one can dominate the other person.

The fourth is the law of purity. The man and his wife were both naked and unashamed. Adam and Eve were both naked until they fell. As soon as they sinned, they had to hide themselves behind fig leaves. Marriage only works in an atmosphere of purity. You have to be careful how you treat each other, and you have to take responsibility when you've made a mistake.

I read that verse, those two verses. I saw the four laws, and I instantly realized I'd broken all four laws every day of our marriage. No wonder we're in shambles, and no wonder Karen has on trust for me. So, I changed. That day, I made a decision. I'm putting Karen first. I hung up my golf clubs for 3 years. The next time I played golf was Karen told me one day, "Go play golf". I think I was on her nerves. I was in the house too much or something. I hung up my golf clubs. I put Karen first. I started serving her and pursuing her 'cause I was lazy, and I took her for granted. I began to treat her as an equal, and I stopped dominating her, and I became an expert at saying these words: "I'm sorry. I was wrong. Will you forgive me"?

I had never said those words in 3 years of marriage. I became a master at saying those words. And so after several weeks of doing that, we became friends again, and we had... there's a good spirit in our marriage. After several months of doing that, our marriage was transformed, passionate. We've never been back to that bad place again. And we were talking one day, after several months, and we were talking. Karen said something very, very personal, very intimate to me. And I said to her, "How long have you been feeling that way"? And she said, "Years". And I said, "Why didn't you tell me"? She said, "Jimmy, I couldn't trust you until now".

I didn't know my own wife until I had developed an atmosphere of trust where she felt like she could open up and share with me. You have to have trust, if you're going to be able to share on the deeper levels. And the four laws of marriage, my book here, "The Four Laws of Love," this talks about the four laws of marriage and how you can apply these to every area of your marriage. That's also available on Amazon or

Number four key to successful communication is the truth spoken in love. Righteous conflict resolution. Ephesians 4:15 says, "Instead, speaking the truth in love, we grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ". You have to speak the truth in love to be able to righteously resolve conflict and communicate to each other. John 1:14 says that Jesus was full of grace and truth. So, grace and truth have to go together. Truth without grace is mean. You can destroy a person by telling them the truth without love. Grace without truth is meaningless, but grace and truth are medicine.

So, let me talk about how to create a save atmosphere for conflict resolution. The first is you have to give your spouse the right to complain without paying a price. I went to a conference, a men's conference, when I was a young man in my 20s, and the pastor was talking, and he said these words. He said, "Every man needs to sit down with his wife and say, 'Tell me what's wrong with me, and I won't defend myself.'" And I thought to myself, when he said that, I thought, "That's the dumbest man I've ever heard in my life. What terrible advice".

Well, it was the right advice. And so in marriage counseling, when we get people in marriage counseling, many times they're terrified of speaking the truth to their spouse, because they know they'll go ballistic. That's what they say. And that's the way I was as a young husband. So, Karen and I have been married almost 50 years, and so we have code language, after you've been married for a while, and here's part of the code language Karen and I have. I'll say to Karen, "Are you okay"? And she'll say, "I'm doing good". And here's what "Are you okay"? means "I will do anything in my power to make your life right".

You come first. No one's before you. All you have to say one time is if something's not right, and that becomes my number one agenda item to make it right. I have no fear of Karen telling me what's wrong. Because how do I know I'm a good husband until my wife tells me? I want her to be happy, and she's the one I key off of. And so you have to give your spouse the right to complain without paying a price. And the second, you have to learn to complain and not criticize. Now, complaining is about me. So, give your spouse the right to complain. Here's what complaining sounds like. It's all about me.

So, I go to Karen and I say to Karen, "Karen, this morning we were in the kitchen. You said that to me. And can I tell you how it made me feel? But I'm not saying you meant this. I just want to tell you how it made me feel. When you said that, it made me feel like maybe you weren't over yesterday, and you were saying that maybe to get me back. I'm not saying that's what happened. I'm just saying that's the way I felt, and I'd like to talk about it". That's complaining. Let me tell you what criticism sounds like.

Criticism is, "You know, Karen, we were in the kitchen this morning, and you said those words to me, and I know why you said it: because you're evil like you're mother. And you're just like her, and you were trying to pay me back for yesterday. I know exactly what you were trying to do, and the judge and jury have met, and you're guilty; and if you'll confess, we'll go easy on you". That's criticism. The guns are blazing. I'm telling you how you're thinking and feeling, and we've already passed the verdict on you. Everybody hates that. So, you can get through anything if you'll speak the truth in love, give each other the right to complain. Doesn't mean I'm gonna agree with everything, but I'm gonna let you do it without losing your dignity, and we're gonna complain, and we're not gonna criticize.

So, you can get through anything if you just do it that way. Here's number five, and that is a team spirit. And you are different by God's design, and you can't change it. One of the surest ways to fail is to try to change an unchangeable. So, one of the things that Karen and I are most different in is the way we look at money. So, this was the radioactive issue we couldn't talk about in our marriage was money. Even after the Lord healed our marriage, we had a very difficult time talking about money 'cause we have such different perspectives.

I read this article by a man named Kenneth Doyle, who's a financial psychologist at the University of Minnesota, and he says that there are four money languages. There are four ways that people look at money, and these are hardwired into us. See, we don't choose this. It's hardwired into us. There's a driver: money means success to a driver, okay. There's an amiable: money means love. There's an analytic: money means security. And there's an expressive: money means acceptance. There are four different ways that we look at money, and we're just different by God's design.

So, Karen and I fought constantly about money. I'm an amiable. To me, money means love, but to Karen money means security. And so we got in these huge fights about money, and I would call Karen a tightwad, and she would call me a spendthrift, and we would just have these knockdown, drag out fights. And I told Karen one time, I said, "You know, Karen, you're one of those kind of people, you're gonna die one day with all your money in a mattress, and no one's gonna like you". And she said, "At least I'll have a mattress".

And so just made me so angry. So, we had... now this is one of the greatest areas of our marriage today is money. I said to Karen years ago, I said, "I'd like to take the kids and the grandkids to Disneyland. I'd like to take a really nice trip. We've never done that before, take a nice trip, I want us to pay for it". And Karen said, "I'm fine, Jimmy, as long as we do it by cash". I said, "That's fine, let's start saving up". So, we saved up all the money until we had enough to pay for it. We took the grandkids to Disneyland. And our three little granddaughters went into Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique in Disneyland, and they all, they got glittered up, and they just, they came out literally, had glitter all over them. They didn't bathe for a month. And they had their little tiaras on, like this, and they were all arm in arm, laughing and skipping, kind of... now, see, that's what money means to me.

To me, money is being able to get our family together, and love on each other, and all that kind of stuff. But because of Karen, we were able to do it by cash. And here's what I say. I say this a little bit jokingly, and that is our family is safer because of Karen, but it's funner because of me. And I'm sure you're the same way. One of you is the saver, one of you is the spender. We're Team Evans. We don't tolerate each other's differences. We celebrate each other's differences. And what we've learned over the years is we're different.

When you have a football game, you don't have 11 quarterbacks running on the field. That'd be ridiculous. We play different positions. And when Karen and I first got married, and we would talk about money, I would just say, "Karen, that's crazy, that's wrong". And we just fought. We judged each other, we rejected each other. And now what we realize is we're better because we're different. We both bring different perspectives. By the way, did you know in your money languages you're better if you're different? Because every money language has a weakness, and you balance each other out if you're different. And so you are different by God's design; and the more you celebrate that, the more you'll be able to communicate.

And so the right tone, when you're communicating, tone is critical. Enough time: commit enough time to communicating annually and every day. An atmosphere of trust: have you broken one of the laws of marriage? Have you violated your spouse's truth, and they're talking to you about it? And you realize you need to go back and do some repair work. Speaking the truth in love: have you given your spouse the right to complain without paying a price? And do you complain, or do you criticize? And if you've done something wrong, just go back and tell your spouse that you've done it wrong and ask them to forgive you in a team spirit. We're different, and we celebrate that. We are Team Evans, and we are an awesome team because designed us just the way he wanted to design us.

I want you to bow your heads with me, if you would. Lord, thank you for these people and these couples, for all the singles here that want to be married. I pray you'll prepare them for that day and bring that person to them that you desire for them to marry. For all the married couples, all the campuses, watching online in this service, heal anything that's broken. By your miraculous power, by your Holy Spirit, heal any damage that's been done by words. Heal it, Lord, and heal us. Heal those things in us that produce the words of death and the words of destruction and help our mouths to speak words of life to each other. Help us to build a marriage, a healthy marriage based on healthy words and healthy communication. I pray your blessing over every couple, over every family. In the name of Jesus, we bind the spirit of divorce, in Jesus's name. We declare that these people are going to live the rest of their lives together in a wonderful, blissful marriage. In Jesus's name, amen. God bless you guys.

Chris Hodges: So good. Come on, say thank you to Pastor Jimmy, everybody. That's so good. And if you can, just stay seated for just a few more minutes. We'll always end on time. And I tell you, when he was telling that story about his own experience, being in the presence of God and come under conviction, I just sense that God may want to do some of that in us, today. I know I've opened up my heart to God speaking to me today and pointing out any area. There's a verse in Psalm 139 that says, "Search me, Lord, know me, see if there's any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way of everlasting".

And I think one of the best ways to end a service is to make a decision, not just toward the topic, you know, marriage, today, but also make a decision toward God. And if you'll allow me, I just want to lead us to that moment. Would you bow your heads right there where you are? And if you're under conviction, that's God. So, don't despise it. That's a good thing. The devil condemns. He says, "You're a bad person, and there's no way out". But God convicts and says, "Hey, let me show you, let me show you a better way".

But what conviction requires is a response. It requires us to say, "Yes, God". That's it, "Yes, yes, I'm going to follow your way". And maybe you're here today, and you're away from the Lord, or just you feel disconnected from God. Maybe you don't even know if you're a Christian. You never made a decision of faith. Maybe you have, and you've walked away, and you're away from God, and you want to come back. Others of you, it's at a mediocre level at best, and you want to dedicate your life or rededicate your life to God. Can we make that decision right there?

So, Father, right now, I pray for every person, Lord. God, I'm asking you in this moment that we make the most important decision of all, and that is we allow you to sit on the throne of our hearts, that you are Lord of our hearts and our lives. And God, we thank you for helping us with our practical lives, our marriages. But God, we know it begins with you, seated on the throne of our hearts.

If you're here today, and you want to make a prayer to God, I'll help you with the words right there where you are. Just say something like this. Say:

Jesus, today I surrender my life completely to you. Be the Lord of my life. Sit on the throne of my heart. I'm gonna follow you. So, forgive me, change me, save me. Thank you for convicting me, to show me how I need you in my life. I give you everything. Thank you for setting me free. In Jesus' name, I pray, amen.

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