Jimmy Evans - Dynamic Differences
I wanna talk to you about how to make your differences dynamic rather than dangerous, because many people, when they get married, they don't know how to understand their differences and because of that, they begin to fight, begin to judge each other, begin to try to change each other. This is what happened to my wife and I when we got married 44 years ago. We've been married for 44 years. And when we first got married it was a nightmare. And I loved her, I was very attracted to her, she was attracted to me, we got married, and we began to fight just really, really bad fights, judging each other and, what I thought was, because she wasn't like me something was wrong with her, you know. Because I thought I was like the epicenter of normal, and if you're not like me then you ain't normal. Which she was very much unlike me in many areas, so different and I was different of course.
And, so we fought and we were on the brink of divorce after several years of marriage. Really believing that we had made a mistake, that there was something wrong with both of us. We both had judged each other so much until we learned that we were different by God's design and we began to celebrate our differences. This is what changed our marriage. This is why Allan and I wrote the book on Strength Based Marriage is because understanding your differences and making them dynamic, the way that God intended, and not dangerous, what happens when you don't understand your differences is what God made in marriage to help us to have a wonderful fulfilling life and to be a team. This is how God made marriage. We're different but we make each other complete. We come together and we become whole when we celebrate our differences.
Well, let me give you an example specifically of some things, areas, that we're different, and that they're wonderful when you understand it. First of all, all of our major needs are different. A woman, and I've taught this all over the world, hundreds of thousands of people, is that women number one need is security. The number two need, that most women have, is for open and honest communication. Women want to talk, they want the details not headlines. They want their husbands to patiently talk to them, and that's how they connect with their husbands world. They want soft, non-sexual affection. And they want leadership, they don't want to be dominated, but they want their husband to be the loving intiator of the finances, the children, the romance, the spirituality, those areas of the marriage.
So, when a women, when she's happy in marriage and her needs are getting met, it's because security, communication, affection, and leadership, those needs are being met. But, men are not the same. A man's number one need is respect and honor, that's the mega need of men. Secondly is sex, I don't think that shocks anyone and there are some women more sexual than their husbands, but most men are more sexual than their wives. The third need of a man, is friendship with his wife. We like our wife to be our buddy and not our mother. And so, we want to be friends with our wives. The fourth is domestic support. And that doesn't mean that all of the household responsibilities fall to the wife, it means that only, only a woman can really turn a house into a home. It's a gift that women have. And so even if a woman works outside the home, a husband wants his wife to be domestically centered.
So, his is, honor, and sex, and friendship, and domestic support. So, we're completely different. Well, when we didn't understand that, we judged each other and rejected each other, understand this, when you reject my needs, you reject me. I mean, we feel rejected, so Karen would say, "Can't you just hold me"? I thought, "That's weird". And she'd say, "Can't you just talk to me"? And I'd think, "You're nosy". And so every time she would tell me, you know, about her needs, I would judge her and reject her, then I would, you know, tell her, "I don't like it when you talk to me like that". And she say, "You're just too sensitive". And I would say, "I want more sex". And she'd say, "You're a pervert". And back and forth, back and forth. Well, understand this, the surest way to fail is to try to change the unchangeable. It's unchangeable. We are different by God's design.
Well, another area that we were very different, and, was money. We couldn't talk about it. It was a radioactive issue in our marriage that we couldn't talk about. And I didn't know that there were four money languages. We just see money differently, but your, most of us are married to someone that just sees money differently. There's no right or wrong answer, it's not that it's bad or good, it's just different. And so, Karen is what's called an Antilytic, and to her money is security. And she's very generous, she's very good with money. But, she likes to save, she's a saver. I'm an Amiable, to me money is love. We just got back off vacation took our kids to Disneyland, I love to use money to love, and to bring our family together, to do things for people, and of course, my wife is the same way, but she's more of a saver, I'm more of a spender.
Well, when we first got married we just had these horrible fights, because I said, "You're a tightwad. You're just a tightwad. You're gonna die one day, you know, with all your money in a mattress and no one's gonna like you". And she said, "Well, at least I'll have a mattress". And so, with me, she called me a spendthrift, it was just, I got so mad, and we had these fights, "You're a tightwad". "You're a spendthrift". And see, what happens when you feel as though that your spouse has gone to an extreme, you'll go to the other extreme to try to balance them out. So, the more she felt like I was spending, the more she saved. Well, I didn't like that, so the more I tried to wrestle the money out of her tight little fist, the more she would begin rat-holing and hiding money, and then you just end up at polarities.
Well, what's wrong. Nothing. We are design, we're a great team, what a great team, Team Evans is. We make better decisions together. You know, we've learned over the years, see if, there's the old saying, "If both of you are the same, one of you is unnecessary". We're different by God's design, we make a great team. We judged and rejected each other until we realized, it's just the way that God made us, and so we come together and make decisions, and they're balanced. And we respect each other. When Karen says, "Jimmy, I'd like to save a little bit more money". I understand the balance of that. And I honor that. When I tell her, "I'd really like to do this for our family". She honors that and respects it. So together we're such a great team, and I'm saying probably as a couple, you see money different, that's great. Well, let me talk about our strengths just a minute.
Allan Kelsey the co-author of Strengths Based Marriage, helped Karen and I a lot. We had a great marriage, I didn't know that, you know, our strengths were so different. So, and we have, you know, a lot of programs we're going to be talking about this. My number one strength is achiever. I'm a get it done guy. You want to get it done, I'm your guy. That's the number one thing that drives me. That's my wife's number 34. There are only 34 strengths. So, my number one is her number 34. My wife's number one is empathy. And empathy means, you know, caring for people, and being able to put yourself in other people's shoes, and just kind of having this, like, supernatural knowledge of what people are feeling and thinking. Which is my wife. That's my number 34. That's my bottom one. We are exact opposites.
So, we'll have these conversations before we understood our strengths we would have these conversations, and I would say, "Karen, come over here, I want to talk to you about this". And she would say, "I don't want to make a list with you. I don't want you to tell me what needs to get done today". And I just thought, "Well, what else is there in life, rather than gettin' things done"? 'Cause I'm an achiever, I'm a get it done guy. Everyday I wake up with a knowledge of what I'm gonna do that day, and I'm gonna check off the list. But, my wife wakes up everyday to love people. To take care of me, to take care of our aging parents, to take care of our grandchildren, to relate to the people that she cares about.
Well I'm, it's not like I'm an insensitive slob, it's just, that's my number 34. But, guess what, God gave me a woman to balance me. What, we're just such a great team. We get things done because of me, I'm saying get things done as far as task oriented, because my wife's a very hard worker. But she feels for us. She tells me how I'm feeling. I mean, we'll be having a conversation, and she'll say, "What do you think about that"? And I'll say, "I don't know". She'll say, "What do you feel about that"? And I'll say, "I don't know". 'Cause I'm just, I just don't feel a whole lot, you know, like she does. She'll tell me how I'm feeling. And she's always right. You know, a week or two later I'm just thinking, "Well, that's exactly how I'm feeling". She knew two weeks ago how I was feeling. And what I realized one day is, I need someone in my life that's not like me.
See, we used to fight and judge each other, our differences were dangerous. And we were rejecting and judging each other, because we didn't understand. 1st Peter 3 tells men, "Live with your wives with understanding, as a fellow heir of the grace of life. Lest your prayers be hindered". And with understanding means respecting her differences, she's different. Women love it, they love it when their husband affirms them. And they say, "Honey, can you hold me"? And "Honey, I really want you to be around this weekend, because I need you to be here with me and the kids". And he doesn't roll his eyes, and judge her, and reject her, but he says, "I understand, Honey. You know, there's nothing more important to me than just being here with you and meeting your needs. Making sure that you're taken care of".
Holding her, talking to her, being the leader of the home, not dominating, treating her as an equal, but leading her in the home, she's in heaven, it doesn't get any better than that. You're affirming her. If she has a different money language, you listen, you affirm her. Her strengths, you understand her strengths, which is so important, it gave Karen and I a different language in our marriage to understand, you know, she has empathy, I have achiever, we now have a language for that, and we respect that, and we're a great team. We're Team Evans. Our differences are not dangerous, our differences are awesome. We are a great team and you need to be thankful that God didn't give you somebody just like you. It would be a very boring life. God gave you someone different. And understanding those differences, makes your marriage dynamic.
Let me say this, there are three types of differences in marriages. One is rejected, this is how we started out. We rejected each other's differences, that's the worst. The next is tolerated, you just, you don't really celebrate it, you just kind of tolerate it, you know, roll your eyes, "Women, you can't live with them, and you can't live without them". That's tolerating. The third is celebrating. This is, this is where we need to be. We celebrate the fact that we're different. I celebrate Karen. 44 years of marriage, 44 years ago, I saw her on the outside and I thought, "She's hot. Like her. I want to spend the rest of my life with her". But then, she just drove me crazy. Not because there was something wrong with her, there was something wrong with me. I want to encourage you, learn about the differences in your spouse, celebrate those differences. And they will be dynamic and they will lead to a very, very happy marriage.
Allan Kelsey: If you're just tuning in, welcome to Strengths Based Marriage. We have a guest couple with us today, let's have a look at how their strengths influence their marriage. Today's couple is Jimmy and Karen Evans form Dallas, Texas. Jimmy's top five strengths are Achiever, Self-Assurance, Command, Relator, and Learner. Karen's top five strengths are Empathy, Developer, Restorative, Responsibility, and Harmony.
Allan Kelsey: I'm Allan Kelsey and I'm the co-author of Strengths Based Marriage and I'm really happy to be here with you, with my lovely bride Stephanie.
Stephanie Kelsey: Thank you.
Allan Kelsey: Hi, Darling, good to have you here.
Stephanie Kelsey: Good to be here.
Allan Kelsey: I always feel stronger when you're present.
Stephanie Kelsey: I like that.
Allan Kelsey: We've been married 25 years in May.
Stephanie Kelsey: Yep.
Allan Kelsey: So, we're gonna do something special and we're, have exceptional guests with us today. The co-author, also, of Strengths Based Marriage, Jimmy and Karen, thank you so much for joining us here, today.
Karen Evans: Thank you.
Jimmy Evans: Good to be here.
Allan Kelsey: We are very excited to be able to have just a short time to communicate with you about what Strengths has done in your marriage, and so, I've got some thoughts for you, I'm just going to get right in there.
Jimmy Evans: Good.
Allan Kelsey: Earlier in the episode you were talking about how in your early portions of your marriage there was, you know, you were learning about each other, but there was also some rejection of each other along the way. If you fast forward from that place, to where you are now, knowing what you do now about strengths, what kind of problems might that have solved for you early on in that?
Jimmy Evans: Oh every, every problem, probably, honestly. I thought Karen was defective.
Karen Evans: Excuse me.
Jimmy Evans: Well, I did.
Stephanie Kelsey: He knows better now.
Karen Evans: I know.
Jimmy Evans: Well, I just thought, I thought you were supposed to be the same. I thought that compatibility meant that we would be the same and I thought we're not the same. In fact, we're just so not the same. And Karen would feel, I mean, she's, Empathy is her number one strength, that's my number 34. And I just thought, "She feels too much. She's too emotional". And I would shame it. And I would say, "You're too emotional, stop it". Well, it's trying to stop the unstoppable. You're not gonna do it. And you're putting a lid on top of steam, it's going to boil, and that's what happened. Is that I would just sit there and judge her, and reject her, and she was being who God made her to be. And if I would have known that, if I could go back 44 years, what I would have done is to listen more attentively, and to affirm her, when she would come to me and say something, I would say, "That's so brilliant. That's so great". Because Karen is very relationally-oriented, and I'm very goal-oriented. I see, I'm relational I love my family, I love God, you know, but that's not my number one. That's her, she wakes up in the morning to relate, okay? And I felt like she was too demanding of me relationally. I thought her expectations were wrong. And so, we just fought, and strengths would have changed, completely, the way that I talked to her, the way that I listened to her, the way that I treated her. I mean, and, and, you know, and we learned about our strengths about six years ago, you taught us and you helped us. And we had a good marriage, but strengths just took it to the next level.
Allan Kelsey: Wow, see you said that you really admired him, even early on when there was some difficulties, that's, that just shows me that even in troubled relationships, there's always hope, isn't there?
Jimmy Evans: Absolutely.
Allan Kelsey: So, when you're thinking about admiring him, is it just something you're thinking of, or were you able to articulate it?
Karen Evans: I've always seen that gift in him. It's being able to talk, you know, and he's a great learner, he knows everything about everything. And it's not an arrogant thing, he just does. The whole family's like, "Dad tell us this". You know, so we always go to him for information, 'cause he's always attaining, so I love that. You know, 'cause I'm not a learner, you know, I want somebody just to teach me. Tell me.
Allan Kelsey: Well, that's true you have Learner, right?
Karen Evans: Oh yeah, oh yeah. What drives him crazy, if I come into the room and want to talk about, "Jimmy, I just think, so and so, so and so, so and so, and I can see this"... It's like his brain is like...
Jimmy Evans: I can only take so much of that, but she's so good at it.
Karen Evans: That's 'cause that's how I see.
Jimmy Evans: And in our relationship we're a team, we really are a team, and when it comes to relationships and that type of thing, I just, I can't, I'm just not on that level. And she'll sit there and talk and I, I admire it, but use to what I would just say is, "Leave 'em alone, Karen. Leave everybody alone. Why are you up in everybody's business. And why are you talking about like that"? Because I didn't understand it. Now, I'm just saying, "Thank God I have her in my life, because our family, our parents, our friends, every relationship in our life is better because of her". And she keeps the integrity of our home. And, but with me, I keep us on track of accomplishing God's purpose.
Allan Kelsey: Sure.
Jimmy Evans: For us.
Allan Kelsey: Good team.
Jimmy Evans: Yeah, we're a great team, so early on in our marriage we, Karen, I did greatly admire Karen and she greatly admired me it was the confusion about our strengths, that created a lot of conflict, especially with me. Because I was dominant in trying to change her, she would tell me how I was feeling. And, early in our marriage, and she was always wanting to know how I felt, and I just thought, "That's a boundary, I'm not telling you how I feel". Well, of course, women they don't want you just to communicate, they want to tell you, they want you to tell your feelings.
Allan Kelsey: Uh huh.
Stephanie Kelsey: Yes.
Jimmy Evans: They want to open up feelings, well I didn't know my feelings.
Stephanie Kelsey: And then let's go deeper.
Jimmy Evans: Yeah and she said one time...
Allan Kelsey: More? You want more?
Jimmy Evans: She knew something that happened it my past, and she said, "That really devastated you". and I thought, "That didn't devastate me". But, it did. A couple weeks later I was praying, in my quiet time, and the Holy Spirit just took me back to what had happened, it devastated me. Well, she, but it was, Karen helped to wire me emotionally. So, a lot of times, what's irritating you about your spouse, is a strength that you don't understand.
Allan Kelsey: Ah, it's misdiagnosed.
Jimmy Evans: Not always true.
Karen Evans: And usually your strengths come so easy for you, that you don't see it the way the other person's feeling it, you know. You just think it's a natural thing, you know, "Everybody should be like this".
Allan Kelsey: Yes.
Stephanie Kelsey: Yes.
Jimmy Evans: But, here's the point, I don't have empathy, but I have a wife with empathy. So, I have empathy. Is if I respect her and we act as a team, but if you try to force me to have empathy, it's gonna be a bad day.
Allan Kelsey: Jimmy, bring a little clarity to this idea, because the Bible says, "The two are supposed to become one". And you mentioned earlier, like, I thought we were supposed to become the same person, but that's really not what that means.
Jimmy Evans: Exactly, the misunderstanding, this was a misunderstanding I had when we got married, I thought compatibility meant sameness. See it says, "In the image of God, He created him. Male and female, He created them". And male and female is different. We fit together. We're very different, but we fit together. And so, we're different by God's design. And, a lot of things about us, our needs, our deepest needs, our strengths, there are many things that are different. What you want to marry is your compatible opposite. But, compatibility is based on shared faith, shared values, and shared goals, not sameness.
Allan Kelsey: I see.
Jimmy Evans: We share Jesus in common. We have the same character, we have the same values. We want to go to the same place in life, in other words, if one person wants to have seven children and live on a farm, and the other person wants to have two children and live in Manhattan, you got a problem. You may both be Christians, but you don't have shared goals. Okay, you may have shared character. But, what you want is compatibility, but if you're 100% compatible, you're not the same. And people go online, online dating, which is great, and they have all those categories, you know, they, I'm gonna, I want this, this, and this, and you find person that matches in all your categories, super deal, you're going to be very different than that person. Sometimes, I think that the online dating, though it's fine, it's great, great way to meet people, is, it can set a person up for wrong expectations.
Allan Kelsey: Yes.
Allan Kelsey: Because we were compatible online, we're just gonna have the same thoughts and finish each other's sentences, and be in a eternal mind meld, it's not gonna happen. You're gonna be very, very different, and so, what I love about strengths, Allan what you say, is your top five strengths there's only one in 30 million people.
Allan Kelsey: That's right, that's right.
Jimmy Evans: So, it's almost impossible to marry a person just like you.
Allan Kelsey: Yeah.
Jimmy Evans: It virtually is impossible. And that's not wrong, that's right. But, if you celebrate it, it's beautiful. Y'all do, we do, okay? And especially when you have to understand it, and then you celebrate it, when you reject it, it's devastation, because when you come to me and you reject who I am, because we're wired this way from birth, when I wake up in the morning, I don't have to make myself be an achiever.
Allan Kelsey: Yeah.
Jimmy Evans: Or a learner.
Allan Kelsey: When my feet hit the floor, I'm ready to go.
Jimmy Evans: Absolutely. Karen doesn't have to talk herself in to being empathetic, and to caring about people, like Stephanie. But, if you try to shut it off, oh, that's a real problem.
Allan Kelsey: Yeah.
Jimmy Evans: 'Cause now, you're rejecting the essence of who I am. And I think, I believe that strengths, 'cause we've done marriage ministry for 35 years, I believe that Strengths is, it gives a language to our differences, and an understanding to our differences like nothing I've ever seen.
Allan Kelsey: Karen, anything you want to...
Karen Evans: I have a question, 'cause you're so good at this. I was thinking as we're talking about friendships, you know, like you and Jimmy, you're friends, and her and I are, you know, the friends that we have outside of this, you know, and I'm thinking I really don't have that many friends, I can think of, that have empathy. and I think it's interesting that as friends even, if you look at the friends that you have around you, they don't, probably, have your top two or three. You know, like he's not best friends with a bunch of achievers, 'cause how boring would that be?'
Allan Kelsey: I know this person already.
Karen Evans: Yeah, so I think back to, you know, how many times in a marriage, before you get married and you're producing a friendship first, and how that is, you know, what you start on and you remember, it's built on things that you really liked about each other.
Jimmy Evans: And that's a great point, because it's not just about your marriage. It's about your children, your friends, everyone has strengths.
Allan Kelsey: It's really true. These strengths make their way into so many different elements of our lives, not just marriage or relationships. Jimmy, Karen, thank you so much for joining us today.
Karen Evans: Thank you. It was so fun.
Allan Kelsey: Real pleasure to spend some time with you.
Jimmy Evans: I love to see stories like that. That's why we do what we do, and an example of the impact these powerful resources can have on your marriage.
Allan Kelsey: Yeah, for example, maybe your number one strength is empathy, and your spouse's strength is to be restorative. Being aware of that is so important, because it will help you to understand how each of you think. Because while someone who is empathetic will feel what others are feeling, a restorative spouse will see a problem and try to fix it. They both want there to be resolution and understanding, peace and growth, but their perspectives are completely opposite, and if misunderstood by each other, can be cause for some really heated discussion.
Allan Kelsey: But trust me, no matter what situation you're in, your marriage can thrive in every area, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. And we wanna help you experience that today, so request your Strengths Based Marriage resources with your gift, and discover the principles you need, to see yourself, your spouse, and your marriage in a new amazing way.