Jimmy Evans - Celebrate Your Differences
I wanna begin with a premise in this message and this is a very important premise in this message. We seek marriage for many reasons, but one of the most important is that we are all incomplete and unhealed and we're looking for a spouse to fix that. Why do we choose the spouse that we choose? It's because we're incomplete and unhealed and we're looking for a spouse to change that. Karen and I, dated I think like most people date, we fell in love, we were, I met Karen when we were sophomores at Tascosa High School and we were in sophomore biology class together and I thought that she was very beautiful and I ask her out in May of that year, I ask her out to a Three Dog Night concert...
How many of you remember Three Dog Night? Raise your hands in encouragement, y'all. It's not the younger people that raise their hand, it's the mature people like me. But we went to a Three Dog Night concert and we loved each other and so we dated for awhile and. But as soon as I secured the relationship with Karen, I began to take her for granted. And I think that's very common. And we began to fight. I call it the performance phase of the relationship, we were performing for each other and putting our best foot forward. But as soon as we had secured each other, that's when we began to act normal, which for me was not good and we began to fight like cats and dogs. Which led us to, you know, the brink of divorce.
Let me talk about why we marry the person that we married. And how it can be a healing journey and not be a journey of pain like ours was for so long. And I wanna say this related to the sovereignty of God, because God is more sovereign than we think He is, in who we marry. It's understanding the sovereign purpose of God in marriage or why God tricks us into falling in love with someone who can drive us so crazy and why they drive us so crazy and how we can stop being driven so crazy and be healed. When we're dating, we are doing it mostly on a very subconscious level and we don't realize it. We're dating a person and we're looking at how attractive they are, or you know, if we like being with them or if we share, you know, the same basic things in common and it is important to be compatible and I'll talk more about that in just a minute, but research has proven that most of the dating that we do in choosing a spouse is a very, it's done on the subconscious. And a good analogy is an iceberg.
You see an iceberg and the tip is sticking out of water but the mass is below the water. When we're dating, we're looking at a person typically at a, on a very superficial level. But God is doing something so much more under the surface, that we don't even know about. And it's the not knowing that creates the danger. It's not understanding what God is doing when we're choosing a spouse, that really creates the danger in when we marry and a lot of the pain that is caused in marriage.
So I wanna talk about two sovereign and subconscious choices that we make when we're choosing a spouse. When Karen and I were dating, I was dating her, I didn't know there was anything deeper than just going out and having fun but God wires us to choose a spouse according to His will. God wires us to choose a spouse in a certain way. And there's something way deeper going on when we're dating and in the person we marry, there's something much more sovereign than we think there is in who we marry.
And so there's two choices, that we make when we're dating and get married that we need to understand. The first is when we're dating and marrying, we're trying to find a person to be our compatible opposite, 'kay. Now a lot of people would say, no when I marry, I'm looking for someone that's like me. No you're not. On a conscious level, you may think that you're looking for a person that's like you, God wired you to find your opposite. This is what Genesis 2:18 says, the Lord said, it is not good that man should be alone, I will make him a helper comparable to him, the word helper is the word exer, it means to supply what is lacking. God didn't create another Adam, because Adam didn't need another him, he needed someone to supply what was lacking. Marriage is not this, marriage is this. You don't need another you, the last thing in the world you need is another you. You need someone who supplies what's lacking. And so God created Eve to compliment Adam.
And so when we're getting married, consciously we're thinking I'm gonna find someone that's just like me. Just you know, cause I'm normal, I wanna find another normal person just like me. I don't know if you've ever thought about this, but you're basically incompatible with yourself. You know, you're looking for somebody compatible. We're looking for someone to complete us, compatibility is not based on sameness. Compatibility is based on beliefs, values and character. What makes Karen and I compatible is not that we're the same, cause we're polar opposites. What Karen and I compatible is we love Jesus, we're going to the same place in life and we both agree that the character of Christ is what we're after.
You wanna person that you share beliefs with, that you share life goals with and values. And that you believe in their character, the purpose of dating is not to see how good a person is in bed, the purpose of dating is to see a person's character so you can spend your life with them safely. That's the purpose of dating. So if we have the same beliefs and values and character, we're compatible. But we're gonna be very, very different. And it's not understanding that, that causes so much the problem. Remember Adam rejected Eve, as soon as they fell, Adam rejected Eve and said to God, that woman that you gave me, she's the problem. Ever since she showed up, it's been nothing but problems. And he was not accusing Eve, he was accusing God. Of not giving him the right woman, even though He did. He was created perfectly. Karen and I are so different, we're such a good example of this point.
Now I've written a new book, Harper-Collins is the publisher and my co-author is Allan Kelsey and our book is called Strengths Based Marriage. And the Strength Finders, for those of you who are in business, Strength Finders is the number one business book in the world, twelve million people have taken the CliftonStrength Finders assessment. And the CliftonStrength Finders, there are 34 strengths. And we all have certain strengths and weaknesses, but there are 34 strengths, these are really, really brilliantly done and Allan, my co-author, he is an expert. And so I wrote it from the marriage perspective, he wrote it from the strength perspective. But there are 34 strengths and so all of us have certain strengths and certain weaknesses.
So Allan... tested Karen and me. And so my number one strength is called achiever. And achiever just means get it done. I wake up in the morning, I'm gonna get it done. I'm an achiever. My number 34 strength is empathy. Empathy means just feeling. Feeling other people's pain and being in touch with the emotions around you, 'kay. So I'm number one, achiever; number 34, empathy. Karen is number one, empathy and number 34, achiever. We are exact opposites. Allan said, I don't know that I've ever tested two people who are more opposite than you and Karen. I've known it for many years.
So I'm an achiever. I wake up, I get it done. Karen is empathy. She feels. Karen lives, and she's very healthy by the way, I'm not talking, this isn't a bad thing, it's a good thing. But Karen feels, 'kay. I don't feel. I mean I guess I feel things, you know, but an example of how I don't feel is sometimes I'll have a toothache. And my teeth start hurting. Well when my teeth start hurting, I know I have a headache. And so when my teeth start hurting, I'll think to myself, I bet I have a headache. And I'll think about it for a minute or two, and I realize I have a terrible headache and I've had it for several days. And people say, well you just don't feel headaches, I don't feel like other people, I just don't. Why? I don't know. I just don't feel. But my wife feels for me. She lives in a constant feeling.
When I'm talking to Karen on the phone when she's in the car, I'm getting a run-down on everybody in her life that she's passing. Every bump in the road, all the traffic, all the people who pull in front of her and sometimes when we're talking on the phone when she's driving, I just have to say focus, focus. I just wanna talk about what we're having for supper, I don't wanna hear about everybody on the road, 'kay. We were eating dinner one night, we were eating at a restaurant and we had a bad waitress. She was just a bad waitress. And she's slow, we couldn't find her, she got the order wrong, all that kind of stuff. And so I realized about halfway through dinner, that Karen was focused on that waitress.
And I knew what was about to happen, I've lived with a sister many years, I knew what was about to happen. And I said leave it alone, and she said, no there's something wrong with that waitress, I'm gonna find out what it is. I said, leave it alone, we're gonna eat and go. We're not here to fix anybody tonight, we're just gonna eat and leave, okay. And we will feel like we've achieved something. It wasn't two seconds, that waitress was over and Karen had all of her personal history and ministered to her. You know, and when it was over, I just thought well that was real touching. You know, that was great. But her emotions make me nervous. To this day, they just make me nervous, you know cause I just don't feel, but so.
We're different, we're different. Well here's what happened. Early in our marriage, I would just say, you're weird! What's wrong with you? You feel too much. You're not supposed to feel everything, you know. I would just shame her and she'd do the same with me. We just sit and rejected each other. And when we were hurting each other, that's what we did. And then as our marriage matured, I remember the conservation that we had one day and Karen said to me, she said, Jimmy I am sorry. I am so sorry for how I feel. I know it bothers ya. I know that you think that I feel too much and I'm gonna try not to. I'm sorry. And here's what I said to Karen, I meant it from the bottom of my heart, Karen I need someone like you in my life. Please don't stop feeling.
See in marriage, there are rejected differences, there are tolerated differences and there are celebrated differences. The healing takes place when you start celebrating your differences. Karen and I are a great team. We really are a great team. As a family unit what I do really well, Karen doesn't care much about. What Karen does really well, I don't care that much about. We do some things together obviously and we enjoy being together. But we make such a good team. See a good team is not made up of people who do the same things. There's only one quarterback. You know, there's only person who plays each position, but you have to have all the positions to make a team. I don't need someone like me, I need someone different but the problem is, we're looking for someone who is our compatible opposite when we're dating, as soon as we get 'em, we begin to shame 'em and reject 'em because they're not like us. Because we don't understand what God is doing.
God is putting us together with an exer. If you're married, your spouse is your exer. They're supplying what is lacking. In my case, emotions. Karen is supplying in my life what's lacking. So when Karen feels, after 43 years of marriage, when Karen feels today, I don't shame her or reject her, I listen to it. In fact, I go to Karen sometimes, say tell me how I'm feeling. I don't know! I'll say, how I'm feeling about this and Karen will say, well you're feeling this. I'm like really, yeah.
Think about it for a little while, think yeah that's what I'm feeling. She's an expert feeler, she's just a great feeler. Jimmy Evans, you wanna get it done, I'm your guy. I'm an achiever, I'm gonna get it done. I'll kill some people in the meanwhile, but I get it done. Thank God for Karen. She's kept me out of so much trouble. You are wired to find your opposite, celebrate it, don't reject it. Celebrate it. God's gonna give you an exer. You wanna be compatible, you wanna be compatible in Christ, you wanna have the same character and values but someone different.
Here's the second subconscious decision and sovereign decision that we're making. To find a committed partner to walk me back through my past so I can heal. Now many people, including myself, would say, when they're getting married, I wanna find a person to take me as far from my past as I can possibly get. It is exactly the opposite. We're looking for a person who will walk us back to our past so we can be healed.
So let me tell you this story of Dr. Harville Hendrix and his wife, Ruth Lakelly Hunt. Harville Hendrix and his wife had written a book called, Getting the Love You Want. It's a good book. And he was the professor of marriage and family therapy at SMU. Southern Methodist University for many years. And during the time that he was the professor there, of marriage and family, he divorced his wife. Later, he remarried Ruth Lakelly Hunt. And his wife said to him, you were the marriage guy. I mean you knew all this stuff about marriage. Why did you divorce?
And that question really haunted him and them. And they wanted, they were researchers. They were both marriage people. And they wanted to answer this question. Why do couples fight? Pretty simple thing, I mean. The person that could answer that question, I mean that's a pretty valuable thing. Why do couples fight? Why do Karen and I fight when we first got married so much? And after eight years of research, after eight years of research, they came to this conclusion. "We're all wounded from our past and we are subconsciously looking for a spouse who has the best chance of healing us". As the marriage guy at SMU, he divorced, remarried, was haunted by the question, why did I divorce my wife? He didn't know. Why do we fight so much? He didn't know.
Researched it for eight years. They believed that most of our fights are because we are unaware of the dynamic that is going on of healing each other, and that's what causes the fighting, is because it's in the subconscious realm. And we don't really understand what's going on. When Karen and I got married, we fought all the time because we were touching each other's wounds, I absolutely agree with the thesis of their book, I believe it's why I married Karen, I believe it's why she married me. We fought each other, we did not have an understanding of that though, and we wounded each other. We wounded each other and we wounded each other until we began to heal each other.
You say, well Jimmy what changed that you began to heal each other? Number one, we had to both admit that we were wounded. I was very macho. And I was extremely damaged, but I put on this tough exterior. And every time that Karen would get close to my wounds, which I had many, I would reject her and act tough. Karen advertised her pain. She had low self-esteem and everybody knew it. She was devastated. And so, but Karen was the first one that came to me. She was more humble than me and she was more honest than me. And Karen said, I'm damaged, I'm damaged. And I thought well finally you're getting it, you know, you're the problem, well, she was more godly than me, more humble than me. But then the Lord broke through my heart and I stopped the lie.
And I told Karen, I'm damaged Karen. And it's the fear of you seeing this, that motivates a lot of my fights. I don't want you to see how messed up I really am. But obviously she just did. We stopped blaming each other and attacking each other. If you're gonna heal each other, you have to stop attacking each other. And this is what Karen did that was so wise, she just sit down and said God heal me. Wasn't about Jimmy. God heal me. She put the focus on herself. We both turned to God, but another thing that we began to do that was very important is we allowed each other to complain without being attacked.
And I said to Karen and she said to me, I'm your safe place. I'm not gonna judge you and attack you when you say stuff and if there's something that you're feeling, if there's something that's going on, I want you to tell me and I wanna attack it. And so we're gonna talk it out but I'm not gonna attack you. So we became a safe place for each other to come and share and we healed each other. Now let me say this, women were given the name in Genesis 2 of the Holy Spirit, helper. Jesus said, when I leave I'm gonna send another helper, exer, that's exer's the Hebrew, but in the New Testament it's the same thing. He's gonna supply what's lacking. He's gonna give you the power to accomplish a task and to supply what's lacking. Women are made in the image of the Holy Spirit and guess what, the Holy Spirit's a healer.
How did Karen heal me? Well first of all, she helped me find my emotions. Karen helped me to walk back through my past. I'm not wired to feel. And so, we would have conversations. It was talking to Karen that healed me. Because we would have conversations about my past, and I would say something and Karen would say, Jimmy this is what happened and this is how you're feeling about that. She was always right. Gently, spirit of truth, that's what Karen is, just like the Holy Spirit, she healed me. She was my safe place to talk and she believed in me. She always believed in me, she always spoke, you know, honor to me. Honor heals men. Many men, our deepest wounds are caused by disrespect and lack of honor. And so, her honor healed me.
How did I heal Karen? I gave her strength and confidence when she was unsure of herself. I have confidence. I gave her confidence, when she lacked it. I committed myself to nourish and cherish her and to put her first in my life and being cherished heals women because many women, or security heals women because many women, their deepest wounds are from feeling lack of value, that they're not worth fighting for and they feel insecure. And so I created an environment of security when I cherish Karen and put her first. And I healed her.
isten to me. I remember when Karen and I woke up and there were no more wounds. I remember the day in Canyon, Texas when I told Karen to get out of the house, go back to her parents. And I was a wounded, a very, very wounded individual. And I repented, and we did what I'm describing here, but I remember the day that we, we're not wounded people. Karen and I, it's wonderful to live in a healed marriage but I know what it's like to live in an unhealed marriage. You were designed to heal each other.
Now let me say one thing and I'm done. There's a movie called Groundhog's Day, Bill Murray. And in this movie, he's a rotten guy. He's a weatherman and he's at this place, doing a report on Groundhog's Day and he's just a rotten guy. Immoral, just a crummy, rotten guy. And he wakes up the next morning and it's the same day. It's still Groundhog's Day. And he's trying to get this girl, Andie Macdowell plays the character of the woman, he's trying to get this girl and he's a rotten guy and he wakes up the next day, he's still rotten, day after day, he wakes up and it's still Groundhog's Day, over and over, and he's a rotten guy. And finally he gets the message, that he needs to improve as a human being.
And so he begins to be kind and thoughtful and moral and he begins to improve himself. And finally, at the end of the movie, he's just a wonderful human being. And he wakes up and it's a new day. If you keep rejecting each other and attacking each other, you're gonna keep living the same day for the rest of your life. You're not gonna wake up and a new day in your marriage until you understand this. You married your opposite, celebrate it. And you married someone to heal you, let them. That's the way that God wires us. Those are the conscious, the subconscious decisions that we are making when we are dating. And when they come into the known realm, into the conscious realm, and we make the decision to accept each other, to cherish each other and to heal each other, that's when marriage becomes a healing journey.