Joyce Meyer - Keys to Marriage - Part 1
Hi, everyone. Welcome to, "Enjoying Everyday Life". We have a special program for you today, about marriage. And whether you're married or not, this is great about relationships, maybe, something God has for you, in the future, whatever it is, there is so much to learn in this. You see, Joyce and our very special guest, Dave Meyer, recently joined me and my friends, Erin and Jai, on the talk it out podcast. Our conversation was so great that Joyce wanted to share it with you right here, today. Joyce and Dave are so encouraging, they're fun the way they talk about marriage, and they will share about being married more than 50 years, and the keys they've learned to help make their relationship work. We hope the insight and the encouragement that they share is a blessing to you, today.
Ginger: We're talking about marriage. So, mawrrridge... This is what's stuck in my mind, I don't know why. But there are so many aspects of different places. We talk about how we're in different stages of life, and everyone listening is in a different place in their own relationships. So, we're gonna dig right into your relationship, as well as ours, and everybody else's. So, why don't we start by you guys telling us how long you've been married and just give us a little background.
Joyce Meyer: Well, we've been married 54 looong... Wonderful years. And I would say most of them, have been pretty great. The early years were a little tough because I had been sexually abused by my dad, and had all kinds of problems, but didn't know I did. I thought everybody else had the problems, and if they would just do what I wanted them to, we'd all be fine. And so, I was pretty rough on Dave those first few years, but he's so easygoing that he managed it better than most people would. And so, what was it like for you, in those early years?
Dave: Well, I have a survival mentality. And so, I mean, the early years were tough because you know, not only had you been abused by your father, but you'd been abandoned by your mother, and rejected by your first husband. So, you came in loaded for bear, because you had all this stuff penned up inside of you, and I was the one who was gonna get it released on me, you know.
Joyce Meyer: And I truly, didn't know I had a problem. I mean, I really, I just thought if everybody would just do, "Why doesn't everybody do what I want 'em to"?
Dave: I didn't know you had a problem either.
Joyce Meyer: I know. I remember, Dave and I'd been married just about three weeks, he looked at me, one day, and he said, "What is wrong with you"? And I wasn't real sure that anything was wrong with me. But even then, we look back, we talk about it, and we sound like it was all terrible, but we had fun, even then.
Ginger: Well, you guys definitely have a lot of fun today. I think that's a great place to start. Because you guys, you have to know this. Joyce was already here, with us, and then, Dave walked in, and Joyce, tell them what you said.
Joyce Meyer: Well, the first thing I said was, "Why didn't you wear the shirt that we agreed that you were gonna wear"? He had me go in his closet, and approve the shirt that he had out, and then, he shows up in something else. And he asked me, "Can I wear a polo shirt"? And I said, "No, wear a dress shirt". And here, he is, in a polo shirt that says, "Boss," on it, of all things.
Dave: And... I said, "It's the shirt you approved, not the shirt I approved". And I said, "This is what the shirt says".
Joyce Meyer: Why did you ask me to approve it?
Ginger: Well, you know, this is real life. This is real life: this is how it goes.
Joyce Meyer: Something that I just kinda feel like I wanna start with is, I know that there's all kinds of people that, you're on the verge of divorce, or you're contemplating divorce, or you just feel like you don't know if you can make it with this person that you're married to, but I just really wanna encourage people to try to make the one you've got work, because there aren't any perfect relationships. And if you throw one away, think you're gonna go get another one that's gonna be different, it may have, not the same problems as your first one, but there's going to be problems. We always say, "The grass is not always greener on the other side". And I just felt like I really wanted to encourage you to, you know, realize that we haven't been married 54 years, because it's all been easy. We made a commitment to God, and he's been in the midst of our relationship. And I'm sure that there are many times that Dave stuck it out because of his love for God. And, you know, many times when I didn't give up, because of my love for God, and that's important. That you really make a decision, if you're a Christian, that you're gonna do what you believe, God would have you do, not just what you feel like doing.
Ginger: I think that's so great because there's something in working, there's something in God doing something in a relationship, between two people. And so, we want to talk more about that, to give people the tips and the fuel that they need. At the same time, Joyce, you've been through a divorce.
Joyce Meyer: Right.
Ginger: So, you also know the other side of that. And Jai's sitting here, going through a very difficult time in her life, where things are not always the way that you want it to be, I guess, is the right thing to say.
Joyce Meyer: Well, I married the first guy that paid any attention to me because I thought nobody would ever really want me because of what my dad had done to me. And so, I got married when I was 18, and I married a guy that was 19. And I don't know which one of us had more problems. You know, and a lot of times, I say, "Desperate people, do desperate, dumb things". And many times, you just grab at anything for fear of having nothing. And it's really not even fair to say that we had a five-year marriage, because we were separated those five years more than we were together. And on two different occasions, he abandoned me in other states. And I mean, just left one day to go to work and never came back. And so, on top of the rejection, I'd already experienced, more rejection wasn't really what I needed. But I got it, and so, we were married five years. He ran around with other women. He was a petty crook. He wrote bad checks all the time, and ended up... Shortly after our divorce, he ended up going to prison.
Dave: You know, when we got married, because of the hurt that Joyce experienced, she came in with a controlling spirit. In other words, she wanted to control the situations because she knew if she controlled, or felt if she controlled the situations that she wouldn't get hurt again. And I think that happens in a lot of marriages. I think, what happens is, is a lot of... Whether it's a man or woman comes into a situation where they've been, into a marriage where they've been hurt in some way, abused in some way, then they come in with that controlling spirit. And a lot of times, what you have on the other side, is a person that allows themselves to be controlled. And when you have a controlling spirit and a person that allows them self to be controlled, you have a situation that has to end up in a disaster. You know, there's no way around it. Unless that person realizes or learns that they can do something about it. They don't have to stay in that situation. But they have to have knowledge in that area. That's why the Word of God is so important. Because the Word of God reveals your position in a marriage. And you can't succumb to a person controlling you, because if you do, you're actually hurting yourself and that person.
Joyce Meyer: Timing is very important in a situation like that. And Dave was very long-suffering and patient with me for a long time. And then, he finally, did start confronting me. And oh, man, it was like a nightmare when he did 'cuz I just blew up. But probably, if he would have done it any sooner than he did, I would have probably just left. I just want to encourage people that, you know, if you're in a situation where you're being controlled or you let somebody control you, and you feel like you need to confront 'em, you need to make sure that you pray, and make sure you have the time right, and not just do it on your own timetable.
Erin: You know, how'd you know it was the right time to say something?
Dave: Actually, the Holy Spirit. And you know, I would pray, in situations, I'd go off and pray. But when I pray, I wouldn't just pray that I saw something that I thought was wrong in Joyce or she was doing it and she shouldn't have been doing. I would pray also that God would show me, if I'm not seeing this thing right and reveal to me, the truth, you know, so that I can change. And I think you have to be open-minded, when you pray. You have to have that open mind because if you go in with a judgmental attitude, praying, you know, that's a situation where God can't really do anything, because you're really hindering him from doing it. You're judging whole situation, instead of letting God judge it. And so, you know, and also, when I confronted her, when the Holy Spirit told me, "Now, it's time. Now, she's ready. Confront her". And when I did, if I'd have confronted her before that, I would have felt bad. But when I did, I felt total peace. I've felt peace about confronting her.
Joyce Meyer: I didn't, but he did.
Dave: She was like a bull in a China closet.
Joyce Meyer: Oh, I was so mad.
Dave: Oh, yeah, she was very mad. But it's like, I felt this peace and it was like, "Let her be mad. Let her be mad. She'll get through it. And when she does, she'll get set free".
Ginger: But that didn't come automatically for you. I know, you've said that you were at a point where you were just in tears and didn't know what to do.
Dave: Oh, yeah. That came over a period of time because I was trying to, you know, deal with the situation, and learning what to do, and how to apply the Word of God. And as I applied the Word of God, learned what to do, and applied the Word of God, that then, you know, God began to give me, you know, understanding and clarity in the whole situation.
Dave: And getting that, and then, the Holy Spirit said, "Now, it's time". And at that time, it was...
Jai: I wanted to jump in and say thank you both for being so honest, and transparent about your relationship. And I really encourage all the women that are watching this, possibly have your husband's watch this episode, because had more people done this, I think there could have been potential for what happened in my marriage, not to have happened. If more, leaders in the faith, would be honest about the trials of marriage. But also, understanding like, the leading of the Holy Spirit. We say it all the time, but when it actually comes time to practice it, it's a little challenging. So, a lot of times, I believe, with my ex-husband, like, I came in with a lot of baggage, as well, from my marriage. Which was one of the reasons why, at the end, after I found out about the affair, after I found out about everything, I was really just at a place where I was like, I'm willing to try to make it work. I wanted to try to make my relationship work, but he was so checked out by this time, and didn't have a lot of males in his life speaking that truth of leading, and asking God for wisdom on how to help someone that had been so damaged. So, I do want to thank you guys for sharing the honesty of the trials of marriage. And also, just encouraging those that are watching, like, maybe, ask your spouse to watch this, because this is very, very helpful. It's a little late for me, but it's helpful.
Dave: I think, most of the time, it's a lack of knowledge of what to do in given situations, you know. But then, when you get the knowledge, then you have to apply that knowledge. And so, there's two things. There's two things that have to happen. First, gaining knowledge, then applying the knowledge. And if you don't apply the knowledge you gained, and don't apply the knowledge, then, you know, the situation can't change.
Joyce Meyer: Usually, people just get angry, and they don't really deal with it on any kind of a spiritual level. And one of the things that Dave did, and I think this is something very important for our viewing audience to hear today, was Dave decided that he couldn't do anything to make me happy. But he decided he was going to be happy and enjoy his life anyway. And I think, so many people, you let your joy be dependent on what the other person is doing. And actually, initially, it angered me that I was so unhappy, and he was so happy. He didn't seem to care.
Ginger: Yeah. "This isn't right".
Joyce Meyer: Over a long period of time, it became a really great witness to me that he was so stable, and it made me hungry for the joy that he had. And kinda showed me that, you know, you can have joy, even if the other person's not doing everything you want 'em to. And I just think that's really important. If you're in a marriage that is challenging or difficult, don't let the other person make you unhappy all the time. Do what you can to make them happy, but if they're not gonna be happy... I remember, Dave said to me, he said, "I've tried everything I know, and you're obviously, not gonna be happy, so I'm not gonna try anymore. You can be unhappy if you want to, but I'm gonna enjoy my life and be happy".
Dave: I told her that, "I'll love you and show love to you, but it's your choice to receive that love".
Ginger: It had to be hard sometimes, to keep loving when...
Dave: Oh, it was hard. There were times when she would stay mad at me and wouldn't say a word to me for weeks. One time, three weeks: wouldn't say a word.
Ginger: You little spitfire.
Dave: Oh, she was a spitfire.
Dave: She's a spitfire, but, of course, that's why I married her. That spitfire, I like that, you know, spitfire in her...
Joyce Meyer: He likes a challenge, and he got one.
Dave: You know, at that time, was when I really learned, the Holy Spirit showed me, you know, "You can enjoy your life. Just go on and enjoy your life". And like, she was saying, it made her real mad, real mad but...
Joyce Meyer: Boy, was I mad.
Dave: ...It didn't bother me at all. You know, usually, something like that would affect a person and cause them to change what they're doing, but I had such a peace about it, that I was doing the right thing.
Joyce Meyer: And it bothered me, that it didn't bother him.
Ginger: So, did you think, through this, you know, "I need to get out of here"? "This isn't working for me". Or did you want what he had, and that kept you there?
Joyce Meyer: No, I never really thought about leaving Dave. I don't know why, because things were such a mess. But, I guess, you know, deep down inside, I knew he was right. But I hadn't come far enough in my walk with God, to where I really was ready to do something about it, until one day, and I still remember exactly where we were at, in the house. He was getting something out of his closet, and I was being a Smart Aleck, like I usually was, and giving him trouble. And he just looked at me, and he said, "You know what"? He said, "If I depended on you to make me feel like a man, I would be in big trouble". And he said, "I just wanna tell you that I'm not real sure how long I can put up with this, but I don't think I can put up with it forever". And that actually, really put the fear of God in me, because I knew from my experience with Dave that he wasn't the type to just make idle threats. I knew that if he said something that he meant it. And so, I really started trying to behave better. And I remember, after about a year, I said to him, "Well, you know, I'm doing better, aren't i? I'm doing a lot better". And he said, "Yeah, some". And I thought, "Wow". But you know, the other thing that I wanted to make sure that we tell people today is that one of the biggest mistakes that people make in marriages is they start trying to change each other.
Joyce Meyer: You don't like what the other person is doing, so you try to change them, you try to make them be different, and why don't you speak to that?
Dave: The best marriage is when a husband allows the wife to be herself and when a wife allows the husband to be themselves. That's the way we are, now. I mean, we allow each other to be ourselves, you know.
Joyce Meyer: And we're both imperfect.
Dave: Yeah, and that doesn't mean we don't do things wrong or even, well, we actually, haven't had words for a long, long time.
Erin: Just about the shirt.
Dave: A lot of people call 'em arguments. I call them heated discussions. You know, we haven't had that for a long, long time, but it's because we have to give each other the freedom to be ourselves. You know, and really, that's really, how the two become one flesh because they're...
Joyce Meyer: You know, you accept the person's flaws. And you almost, like, things that used to make me so mad that Dave would do, now, they're almost funny. They're almost humorous to me.
Ginger: "Almost," you said.
Joyce Meyer: Almost.
Dave: When I'd play golf, she used to fight me. She'd used to say, "You can't play golf. You can't play golf". And I said, "Well, I'm gonna play golf".
Erin: Well, I'd be mad, too.
Dave: So, over a long period of time, now, she's got to the point, over all those years, now, she's got to the point where she's, "Why don't you go play golf"?
Joyce Meyer: Yeah, "Why don't you go play golf, go".
Erin: So, how do you determine like, what are the things that are important enough to have a heated conversation about? And what are the things that you just let go, and give them just the room to be themselves?
Joyce Meyer: Well, obviously, if what somebody's doing this sinful, you know, you would need to confront that. But most of the things that people end up getting a divorce over, really, not in all situations, you know, there's adultery, and things like that, or drugs, or alcohol abuse, but I would say the majority of things that people get divorces for are just incompatibility. Well, who is compatible? I mean, really, nobody is, unless you decide to be, on purpose. And so, you have to kinda learn to pick your battles. And like, Dave knows my personality. It's a little bit, I guess, sassy would be a good word for it.
Dave: I wrote a good poem for it on that one time.
Joyce Meyer: I've usually, got something to say about everything.
Dave: I call her my "Sassy lassy".
Jai: Sassy lassy.
Joyce Meyer: It really means a lot to me, that he lets me be myself. I don't feel pressured to be somebody else. And, you know, Dave loves sports and I don't really care anything about any of 'em. And, you know, that was a big thing for a long time. You can't make somebody, not like something, if they like it. And you can't, like, he's got a little more of a laid-back personality, and I'm more aggressive. And you know, I always tried to make him be more aggressive. And he finally told me, one day, he said, "You better thank God, I am the way I am, or you wouldn't be doing what you're doing". And so, really, so often, God gives us the perfect person. But we stay so busy trying to make them be what we think they should be, that you never realize that God's given you what you'd need.
Dave: Well, actually, what happens is a... Most of the time, in marriages, you're opposites, you know.
Ginger: Yeah, tell me about it.
Dave: And so, what happens is you try and make the person be the way you are and you actually, married 'em because they have attributes that you don't have. And so, you're trying to make 'em be like you, and it's really not what you want.
Joyce Meyer: No.
Erin: But Dave, I know the right way. I'm right.
Jai: I've seen so many people, these days get, like, divorced over such little things. Like, even if you would of... Like, a younger couple, or a newer couple like, would have still been upset about the polo shirt thing. Like, I mean, ya'll just sitting here acting like, I'm like, "You're not mad about that"? "You're not mad about"... You know, but people these days are literally... I had a conversation with someone the other day, I'm like, "Seriously, that's why you're getting a divorce"? Like, everybody's just so quick to let things go and hold on to the most petty arguments. And like, I love that, to see how you all just kind of like, it was a moment. You still were a little upset about it. You're like, "I picked the shirt out," but then, you're like, now, you all are laughing about, you know.
Dave: We joke about things, mistakes, you know.
Joyce Meyer: It didn't really make me mad 'cuz I know how he is.
Jai: But I love that. I love that, though. The younger, couples now...
Ginger: But you have to learn that. It takes time. Tim and I are very different. I mean, we are opposites. And I am very hard to live with. I mean, I'm just headstrong, fiercely independent. And so, in the beginning, we had a lot to learn through that. I had a lot to learn. And we had a lot to figure out together. But you do tend to, not only come together, but you learn how to do things differently, for one another, without changing who you are. So, I was laughing yesterday, when we were at a drugstore and we were waiting in line for the pharmacy. And the line was long, so, of course, I didn't have a lot of patience for that, and I was getting bored. And so, I had of a bottle of vitamins in my hand, and they were playing musak, over the speakers. And so, I started shaking the bottle with the music, and kind of dancing around. And tim, when we first got married, would be like, "Stop it"! 'cuz he'd be so embarrassed. 'Cuz basically, I've embarrassed him for 36 years now. But this time, he just looks at me, and he just knows it's gonna happen. So, then, we're walking through the aisles more and I thought he was pushing me, and I said, "Do you want me to turn? Why are you pushing me"? And he said, "I was trying to hold your hand".
Ginger: And I said, "It felt like you were shoving me". And he goes, "Oh, yeah, because that works so well on you". So, anyway, we still have a lot to learn. But I'm so interested, Jai, in what you said earlier, 'cuz you said something about your own situation, and that "It's too late for me". But thank you for sharing what you're sharing. And I think that's really important because I want to think about all of the people, all of our friends who are watching right now, and the different situations that we're all in. And I think of you and mike too, and what you've been through recently, and just different things that are happening in their lives. And for you, is it important for you to see a hope for love in the future, you know? To learn, like we all need to learn, "Ok, what are my possibilities? What can God do"?
Jai: Oh, a hundred percent. Like, it's definitely, I think, that's why I always am grateful for the way that you share your entire story, you know, because it helps you feel like, "Okay, there's light at the other end of the tunnel". 'Cuz, honestly, I'm just saying, 'cuz my divorce wasn't final until like, a few months ago. Like, I've been going through this for a while, but my divorce wasn't final until a few months ago. And honestly, I was at a place where I'm like, I don't know if I can trust anyone again. You know, I don't know if I can get to the point where... And then, I'm like, do I, because everybody wants you to just move on. Christians, you know, like, want you to, "Just move forward". I am moving forward, but I still have moments. I still have healing that I'm going through. But to hear that you still, even in your marriage, like God gave you someone that could deal with, where you are. 'Cuz, I just shared recently, some positions of where I was, I went to my first wedding after being divorced. And that was the most difficult environment to be. And it was people that I loved, it was people that I was happy for, that actually, before I even found out about the divorce, I was like counseling, like helping them, you know. 'Cuz that's what I've been doing for years, you know. But then, to feel like, "Oh, my gosh. Everything that I've ever told them", like, "I'm not even worthy of, I can't say anything about this anymore". And so, to hear you being able to know that you've gone through that and still be able to, God restore your heart, and have someone that comes into your life that can help you heal through that, I think it's important.
Joyce Meyer: Well, I just really, I really want to convey the message to people to stop looking for reasons to get a divorce, and start looking for reasons to stay together.
Ginger: Coming up on tomorrow's program, Dave and Joyce continue to share their keys to marriage.
Erin: A couple months ago, the Holy Spirit spoke so strongly to me and said, "You have to make a decision. You cannot keep saying this or that. You have to decide you're going to stick this out, and then, make your, 'yes', be 'yes'".
Dave: Well, when you do that you open a door for God to start moving in your life. Otherwise you're basically, handling it by yourself.