Beauty in Battle Podcast

When Perfect Isn't So Perfect

May 31, 2022 Jason Benham, Tori Benham Episode 22
Beauty in Battle Podcast
When Perfect Isn't So Perfect
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we interview some longtime friends, Denny and Heather Smith, who show us that even a seemingly perfect couple is anything but perfect! Denny and Heather are both on staff at a church in Indiana and they share their powerful story of how they found love in the midst of difficult times early on in marriage. 

Heather also shares her story of how anxiety almost wrecked her life, to a point where she actually wrote out her own funeral service. But God pulled her out of that pit while strengthening her bond with her husband at the same time. 

You'll be encouraged as you listen to their story. 

Tune in and enjoy.  

Okay. I'm excited about today. We've got Denny and Heather Smith with us, our very first guests on this podcast, Denny Smith. And I went to school together back. What, what? Denny was 88 to 94. I think it was junior high and high school and we never won to state champion. Because it was an adventure though.

It wasn't Jason, you made it an adventure. It was an adventure. And you know, what's funny, we never won a state championship in basketball because David and I couldn't stop falling out. And Denny remembers a time where David got so. That he ran back into the locker room and kicked a hole through the wall.

And the wall was the only thing separating the locker room from the gym. So we saw his foot dangling out into the gym, David or Jason. What about the time when David chased the referee into oh, into his room and you had to run and get him? I did. I did have to. David wanted to know. It was not a good day.

And our dad always would go to the games with his Bible in his hand. And I was like, maybe you need to not tell people you're our dad. Okay. So we're excited to have Denny and Heather. Um, Denny is a pastor of a church in Indiana. Heather is one of the administrators. So they're like a couple that you would think is the perfect couple, right?

It's far from perfect in vocational ministry. And just yesterday, they celebrated their 24th wedding anniversary and they came here and spent it with us. We did give you the night. I mean, you guys had the evening to yourself, the best host and hostesses I'm in my goodness. Just amazing. If, if, if the podcast world could just see.

Where we're doing this, this room is beautiful. All goodness. And Heather, I walked into this room that we have set up for them. And Heather had the most amazing oat milk latte waiting for me. So me and Jason are sharing a mic with an oat milk latte. So you get to endure some pretty bad breath. I like it, but, but we won't, we won't tell the audience that.

Oh, milk gives Tory explosive diarrhea, but the rest of today be playing. So I'm joking. There's a bathroom class, the podcast, and you have to run to the restroom. It's right there. Okay. So before we have our little convo with you guys talking. You know, maybe some things that you struggle with early in marriage, because we got a lot of young couples that listened to this podcast.

So they need to know that even the perfect couple. Yeah. And then I heard that you guys were coming to visit. I was like, we've got to get them on the podcast. Cause you guys have been married 24 years. That's I'm saying that's amazing. And there's so many young couples that reach out to Jason and. And they're struggling in their first, a lot of them it's in their first five to 10 years, which is exactly that the years that we struggled and I know that you guys have too, and I think it's so encouraging for couples to hear that they're not alone and that there are, there are those that have gone before them that have plowed.

And made it and here you guys are 24 years later and I feel like your relationship and you've shared with us is better than ever. And that's just such a testimony is it's a miracle, actually. I love it. Okay. So I'm going to cut you guys off for a second because as you very well know, we don't start podcasts without Tori's amazing.

Well, they're not, they're not, Tory's amazing jokes anymore because the faithful people that follow us are sending in their jokes. So yes, Travis Taylor, thank you so much for sending us your joke. This is great. Wife told me to pick six cans of Sprite from the store. When I got home, I realized I picked so.

good job to have is okay. And this is another one from Travis. How does NASA organize their parties? They plan it. Okay. But, but you said Nassau, like Nassau Bahamas instead of NASA, like in a S a, oh, did I? I always say everything wrong. That's just that's that's that's the beauty. That's the beauty of Tori's Joe.

Some come out. Great. Some come out, not so great, but they're all incredible. Actually. They're not Tory's jokes. You just said today's was Travis's jokes who gave the NASA one? Travis. That was Travis. Travis. Good job. T rap. Okay. Let's jump right into this. Um, you guys got married, both of you went to Pensacola.

And it was at Pensacola Christian school. Is that what it's called? Pensacola college. Okay. In Pensacola, Florida. And then you got married and started traveling and Denny was preaching and you were singing and you guys were traveling like traveling ministers type thing for the school. Right? 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

We were together without a break in a van without GPS. Pre cell phone with a paper map. Now my word list, you were just thrown into it. Yeah. Yeah. It was crazy. We got lost a lot in every which way. iPhones. Yes. If you would have had that, it would have been so much easier. Okay. So then how was it? How was it, how was that first year?

Oh, it was, it was really, really hard, you know? Um, I would say I was a good kid. Danny was a good kid. We both love Jesus. Marriage was going to be easy that, Hey, you love Jesus. I love Jesus. This is going to work. Yeah. And we got together and we realized we're both selfish. I mean, we just, we're just sinful people.

And we fought and we bickered and we yelled at each other and we got lost. And then we had to put on a smile and get in front of the churches and speak. And, um, it just, it was a really tough. First two years of our marriage. Wow. I remember, you know, looking back on it. If, if I had it to do over again, I would have definitely married her glad I did.

I'm glad you said that. Thank you for saying that. If I had it to do over again, I would have loved her a lot better. I'm very sad. I didn't. Yeah. What would you tell your younger self? We'll see early on. I didn't want the rapture to happen. Didn't want Jesus to come back because she was going to be the solution to all my problems.

And I really believe that, um, I really thought that I'm going to get married to Heather. She's beautiful. She's fun. She has an amazing personality. And even though I couldn't define it this way, and I would have said, Jesus satisfy me. I really was looking forward to it. Like she's gonna meet all the deepest needs of mine.

Well, and I bet it wasn't a few days into our marriage where it was, it was like, oh, this isn't, this isn't that. And so, um, I would say it stayed that way for a couple years until I'm a youth pastor in Texas. And I'm a preaching before teens and, and I felt like an absolute hypocrite and I would get up to preach.

Oh, I just feel so dirty. And I don't love my wife like I should. And so that's when we started. Seeking help, but, you know, we didn't really feel comfortable seeking help or we were at just because of the fact, even though there were people I'm sure that would have loved to help us. We just felt like we needed to have this, uh, Arif, perfection, you know, pastors, you know, And so that's when we went to San Antonio.

And what do you think we learned there? Oh man. Um, it was, we didn't move there. We just went to w we like, we can't get counseling here. That'd be embarrassing. You guys were trying to, to position yourselves as those who weren't having any problems. Cause you didn't want to be, uh, to, to appear as hypocritical.

Cause I think at the time didn't. Youth pastoring. And this is what, three years into marriage at this point. And you were working in the church as well. It was. And so we went to therapy and, you know, that was kind of, we didn't really know anybody else that that was going to therapy at the time. Um, we actually just called focus on the family and said, where do we go for help?

And they sent us to this place in San Antonio. Wow. And, um, it, it really helped us. I mean, it didn't solve all of our problems, but I think, um, I think it really Denny, I think it would be great if you spoken to this, it really helped with your identity in Christ. And we didn't really hear a lot of teaching about identity in Christ back then 20 years.

It really was more about like, you know, what you do and how you serve and how you look. And, and, and I'd never, I don't remember ever hearing a message on identity in Christ. And this, this counselor, this Christian counselor started talking to Denny about who he wasn't Christ. Wow. So what was that because of Christ's redemption?

I am a new creation of great worth. I'm completely forgetting. Um, I've been set free. I'm absolutely complete in Christ. And so now I still struggle everyday believe in that, but I'm realizing that it's not ministry for, for me, it was ministry that defined me. Wow. What the sermon was like, how many were in the youth group?

Um, what people said about how I was doing, um, those are all still battles, but that really did define me. Yeah, it's deep that he was able to point that out to help you get to that. Right. We've we say in our book before oneness, there has to be Tunis. You can't be one, the two can't become one and two. And until the two are each individuals, right.

You have to have two individual people to make up. Now, one new hole. So identity in Christ, and then seeing through your spouse to God as the one who meets you. Right. Is w that's a principle of marriage took you guys to have to go to therapy to get that. So, but being one in Christ, that's amazing. And we also started to, um, just look inside of ourselves and see how selfish we both were.

So selfish. You know, we came into marriage wanting what are all the good things that it would do for us personally, instead of going. Thinking, how can I serve the other one? And, you know, Denny would say, um, that he was, uh, he was selfish beginning of our marriage, but you know, I was, I was driving down the road with my daughter.

She's she's 19 years old. Well NESA and, um, last week we were driving down the road and she, we were talking about my husband, Denny. She said, daddy is the most selfless person I have ever known. I've always thought that too. So when you guys are telling me that Denny was selfish in marriage, I'm like Heather, you're a liar.

You lied on our podcast, but that's the difference of being concerned about what even being around you guys. Uh, are you back when I was younger, I wanted to portray I'm a really good person. But when I would get in private, the real me came out. How's a really selfish me first person. Yeah. So how did you, how did you discover this about yourself?

Like w w what was it? Was it the counseling, or when did this awareness, when did the subconscious thing come to the conscious that, oh my goodness. I'm actually very selfish. Well, I think that was an ongoing process because the closer you get to the word of God, As you grow older, the more you realized that the deep sinfulness in your heart.

And I remember we used to thinking, well, I'm going to become to a certain point in my life. I'm going to feel like I'm really spiritual. I mean, I got it all together and the older I get and the more I get into the word that the more I realize all of the depravity that my gosh. Yeah. Yeah. So I think one event though, really brought a lot of this out and I don't know if you're headed there, but yeah, you go there dive into the deep water.

Well, so it's probably, um, about 12 years ago and a Christmas vacation and like normal back then, we're with Heather's family in Michigan, away from Texas, and I'm not being present with the family and you're telling me Denny, get off the phone, get off the phone, but I'm back in Texas trying to help with all the.

And there's this young man named Johnny that I loved and Meg, great kid, a big old 300 pound football player. African-American young man and, and Johnny needs a home to stay in, but that was all of my focus and I wasn't with them. So we'd go home to Texas and she's been going like crazy, full speed. We'd be on crazy full speed of ministry.

And then we get home and instead of helping unload the luggage. And just get my family settled back in the house. I, I literally let them get out of the car and I just took off to go help somebody else to go minister to them because we love Johnny. Let me say great kid. Um, and that was just kinda like the point on the pimple was amazing.

We've been living like this. Are you a pimple popper? I'm a very much of a company. I got an interrupt in high school. Um, I'm just walking somewhere. I have a zit on my back, my neck, he reaches up and grabs stop it. And he pops the pimple on my neck. He did that. Doesn't surprise me at all our poor kids. I actually love the kids going through puberty and they get up in the morning and I'm just looking at their face.

Like, is there anything that I can pop now? I'm going to wash my hands before and after. So leave me alone. Okay. Sorry. We interrupted you guys. So basically you were traumatized again. It was Jason popping. Is that right? Um, no, but I would say as, as a wife and ministry, I, I didn't feel like he loved, loved me as much as he loved the ministry.

And that's this thing with Johnny and we loved Johnny and we were in, in it, but I felt like he, he loved everyone else more than he loved me and the kids and ministry came first. You know, we, we started to study where in Ephesians. I think it's the Feagins five where it talks about how the husband is supposed to lay down their life for their right.

Their wife, like Christ laid down his life for the church and which says priority. Yeah. And I, I didn't feel like I was a priority, but then on the other side of it, I wasn't submitting and I wasn't respecting. And so it was just kind of that vicious cycle of, you know, him trying to feel validation through ministry and people patting him on the back of you're doing a great job.

You're building a youth group, you're doing great in ministry and me over here, you know, feeling like he doesn't love me as much as he loves the ministry. So I'm going to pour everything that I have in the ministry. And I'm going to get my validation from everyone else saying that I'm doing a good job in ministry too.

So. Finding our worth and our identity in Christ. We were just finding it and people patting us on the back. Wow. That's impressive. So, you know, you got like the triangle, you have God at the top and then a husband and a wife. And when you're both moving towards the Lord, you're both getting closer to each other, but we were both moving towards ministry.

So we were pushing away from each other. And I think a lot of young couples and even a lot of older couples. I have no clue what ministry means ministry means to serve, you know, and our idea of ministry is like w w what was all of our idea of ministry? If you're working in a church setting or as a missionary overseas, you're in full-time ministry.

When, in reality, anybody who claims Christ and is willing to serve him and serve people on behalf of him is in full-time ministry. So are your minister. Denny was to Heather and your, your kids and Heathers was to you. That's full-time ministry right there. Of course you didn't know it at the time. And when Torah and I first, first got married, we didn't know that either.

You know, we're like, oh, we're made for ministry. Let's go do it. And that's how you find even pastors who have this great church and then their marriages fall apart, because they're confused as to what ministry is. So I'd say to that young couple out there, let's listen to right now, if you love Jesus, your primary ministry is to your spouse.

All those verses in the book. That talk about loving others is, is putting your spouse just puts your spouse's face right there. The primary other in the scripture is your spouse. So when Jesus says whatever you've done to the least of these you've done to me, we'll put your spouse's face there because your spouse at some point becomes the least of these.

And if you treat her or him right in those moments, it's as if you've done it to Christ. So you guys went through this, you both had an opportunity to feel like you were validated by your efforts in your vocational ministry. And yet God showed both of you that you're both operating out of selfishness.

You need to find your identity in me. And then where do we end up? Because w you, you left us with Johnny. So Danny takes off the guests. Johnny Johnny's listening. We love you. Oh yeah, for sure. Yeah, couple months in, um, after that we, um, Heather calls me up and she's like, we got to talk. So we'd both that day.

We were, I was going doing my thing in ministry. She was hers. She's like, we have to talk this. I said, okay. So we met at a Barnes and noble and I get in the car and she just looks at me and said, I'm done. I'm like, well, you're done. And what did you mean by. Well, earlier in the day I was singing at a funeral and I, I, it was a time in our, in the ministry where there were a lot of people that passed away.

And so I had had sung and several funerals in several weekends, in a row and I was tired and this was right after, um, Johnny came to stay with us and, and he was loved the kid. Um, and, and then we were just busy, just busy, and we kind of. Gloried in our busy-ness we kind of like, you had a badge of honor, like we're so busy.

We're serving the Lord. Look at us. We're busier than you. We must be more spiritual. We wouldn't have said that. But we really liked people to know how much we were doing. We were just so full of pride and, you know, scripture says pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. And that's what happened to me.

I fell, I, I, I, my body stopped working. Wow. And I remember singing at that funeral and I called my dad and I said, I texted, or actually I was texting. During the funeral. And I said, I can't get up to saying, I don't have any more strength than my day. She had more strength than any woman I knew. Right. Right.

I mean, she was a go getter, right. Your head going to get it done, tell you how to do it. Right. Yeah. I lost my strength and it was because I taught that we were supposed to do everything in God's strength, but I didn't live it. Wow. I was, I was teaching something that I wasn't living. And, um, I remember my dad saying, you can do it.

You can do it. I'm going to pray for you right now. And I got on stage and I sang. And then when I got off stage. I just remember my body feeling very strange. And I started to get my heart started to race and my, my skin started to feel hot and, but everything else felt cold. And, and I didn't know, I was actually experienced my experiencing my first panic attack and that led to several years of anxiety attacks.

And by the way, when w when we did meet at the coffee shop, before you go to the next. She said I'm done. And I was like, and thankfully she wouldn't know what the marriage they married. You talked about divorce. I was done with ministry and it wasn't even ministry. It was just my body stopped working. I wanted to still do ministry.

I could just tell something was off in my body. I talked her out of it. I was like, no, no, no, no. We're good. I mean, cause I was like, everything was ministry, so we had to keep this thing rolling. And so she gutted it out for two more weeks and then her body totally shut down. Well for three months she was, she was basically, your body was speaking to us and our precious church.

Took care of our family. And they were the body of Christ tests. I'm telling you people brought us meals and they cleaned our house. Our friends came through for us and I was embarrassed. I was so full of pride. I didn't want somebody to come clean my house or any groceries and, and, um, but they, they, someone who's doing everything.

I mean, our church was so good to us. Um, and your funeral? I did, I was, I was sick, but you know, I remember at one point my parents came to come help, take care of me and I was on the couch and, and I just couldn't feel God, you know, it was the first time in my life where I was praying and I felt like I was hitting a wall.

Wow. Hmm. And, um, my dad, I, I leaned over to my dad and I said, dad, I just don't feel God. I pray in and I don't feel him. And he said, I don't hear you praying, say it out loud. And so I started to pray out loud and I could feel the presence of the Lord at that moment. And God just, God started to work on my heart and I didn't have the strength to get up and go anymore.

But I started to, to, um, lean into Jesus and lean into an actual, real relationship with Jesus and start digging in his word. And, um, it changed, it changed my, my walk with Jesus. And then eventually it changed our marriage. Yeah, man, that's powerful. I think there are so many people, like you look at what's happening right now with anxiety.

It's it's at an all time high. Like it's never been like this. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that we've got technology now that didn't exist 50 years ago, that supposed to give us more time. But in reality, what it's done is stolen our time. And so anybody that has a modicum of ambition inside of them, like you, Heather like me where, cause I've had this before, same thing, anxiety attack, but where, where we have any type of ambition, it can jump out front and you can get so busy, especially when you guys both said you were finding your identity and what you considered to be ministry at the.

And doing, doing, doing next thing, you know, you're drawing, you're drifting further and further apart. So in reality, what I believe that God did for you was this three years in the marriage when this happened. Oh no, this was probably nine years. Nine years in America. Yeah. Somewhere around there. So at this point, you guys have been youth pastors at working in the church for probably six, seven years.

We had already kind of worked through our ma our marriage difficulties, you know, went to see the counselor in San Antonio. Um, except for the fact when this happened, I realized how much I took her for granted. Yeah. That's where I was going. Is that what this was, was actually a gift that God gave to you guys as a couple that she went through this and her body was screaming at her.

You're running so fast that you can't. Be drifting apart. And Denny, I think when you told us this story, the first time you were talking about how you did put so much on her, you know, and when you're looking back at it as a married couple, you're like, ah, what I should have done in re is realized that she was carrying so much of a load and I should have helped lift that load.

Tell us about how that happened for them. Yeah. When I F I feel like there's so many ladies that Heather's been able to help through in their thirties and forties. They're like going full speed. And then they hit a wall and they just, they can't do anything anymore.

And so we are really glad that at a young age, y'all are breathing in the young couples and speaking the truth to them. And that's really important. Um, the, the, the three things that kind of, it just popped into my brain right now, three things that were a game changer. This one, she got to know the word of God.

And that really now, here I am a preacher at this. I wasn't hungry for the word, her hunger for the word maiden me to get hungry. Wow. So that's one thing that I noticed. The other one is boundaries. From this point on, I helped protect her and then she set up boundaries. So she could be really productive at the things that she did.

But, but she wasn't just going to go here, there and everywhere. And then the third thing, I really think that came out of this is true friendships because I remember, um, early on the kinda the idea was, you know, your ministry, you can't get close to people. I mean, you love people, but you can't be, um, transparent and real with people.

And. Most people can't function like that, you know? Cause a past we're supposed to live in community. No, James five 16 says confess your faults one to another, pray for one another that you may be healed. Right. And just because you're in the ministry that doesn't exclude you. Yeah. Yeah. And we need community.

And so, and we had so many people around, you know, 20, 25 years ago we knew in ministry, there is bottom and out. I mean, there's just like morality and just all kinds of just stuff going on and want to be a statistic. And I know my own systems, you know, sinful heart. I know my own lush. I know my own struggles.

And so when she and our marriage began to really, um, step into other people's lives and could be honest with. Um, it took away this pressure to feel like I gotta be perfect. And long-term, it's been a lot easier now in public to get before people and say, I'm a screwball. I mess up. And, and, um, and that's okay because Jesus can redeem that.

And he does redeem that and, and, um, and just be the same person learning how to be the same person. In public as we are at home and everywhere as we are at church. And that just brings such a freedom when you can just be real and authentic. And, and so me struggling with anxiety, man, there were so many other people in the body of Christ that struggle with anxiety.

I started sharing that story and started sharing how it really changed our marriage. And. Actually people started to relate to the imperfections in my life for so long. I was trying to portray that I had it all together. In reality, people relate so much more when I shared your vulnerable. I'm so embarrassed.

Absolutely. Wow. And I just, I don't want to skirt around a really important part that you shared because when you share this with me the first time, it really, it hit me really hard. Going back to your weakest moment where you had to whisper to your dad. What did you say to him? I want you to say that one more time.

You said, I can't feel God. I can't feel God. And you could barely say it, right. It was a whisper because you had no strength left. Right. And he said to you say it one more time, because I think this is so powerful, loud. They out loud, Ray out loud. And so we started, and that was the beginning. It was the beginning of really speaking my prayers out loud to God.

I think that's just such a powerful testimony, because what I know of you is someone who speaks it out loud and you are, I believe you have a gift of prophecy, which is just building up the body. And I, when you told me that story, I wonder if that's when it began when you spoke it out loud. Because what I know of you is that you speak life into people and you spoke life to yourself, like the dry, the story of dry bones, where you say.

You literally did that to do that. Like come, you got to speak life into your, your own being. And now that you are whole, you speak life into so many people. And so I think it's just the power that to me, speaks to the power of testimony, you know, revelation 12, 11, and they overcome by the blood of the lamb by the word of their testimony.

And that's your testimony that you spoke to those dry bones come alive? So I just think so many marriages would be blessed to know. That we have that, that, that whole, the holy spirit is inside of us. We have the helper and that we have the power to say, dry bones come alive. And I know there've been a lot of, uh, young ladies who have reached out to me that feel like their marriages, you know, they're, they're pushing in there and they're not going to give up, but they, they feel that dryness in their marriage.

And so I think that'll be very encouraging to so many of, of them that are going through a dry see. I think too, another thing you said, speak life over yourself. Um, and I did start to do that, but then I started to change the way I communicated with Denny and I, I started to speak life over Denny. I started to tell him, you know, You're a man of God.

Yes you're. I appreciate how you're such a bold and courageous leader. I appreciate that you lead our family. I appreciate that you get in the word every single day and that you pray and that you pray with our family. And when I started to thank him and speak life over him, he, he, he became a better husband.

You know, he, he rose up to that. I was telling him how wonderful he was, because I did see a change in him. But then he just, he just became even how wrong. Yeah. That speaking life is so powerful. Okay. That reminds me of Ephesians five, where it does talk about, um, uh, men love your wife, love your wives as Christ loved the church, right?

So he's talking about men living their lives and he says, women respect your husbands. So women need love, which is priority. Men need respect, which is. So as you're speaking life into your husband, he's responding with love, which is priority. So he's a prioritizing you as he's prioritizing and loving you even more than you're admiring him more.

And that's where, uh, the book love and respect by Emerson. Eggerichs doctor Dr. Egrets. He talks about that being the energizing. That whenever you're doing that, the more spiritual of the two makes the first move and you make the first move and you start doing that. And I think that you have also said that you guys speak that life over your kids.

Yeah. You know, you do that. Like what, what is it, what is it that you say to your son before he gets out of the car? Almost every day? Um, I tell Landon he's, um, almost six. And I learned this from Priscilla Shire. So I don't, this was not my idea. I heard her say this, maybe on Instagram. I thought I want to do that.

So, um, I tell him, Landon, you are a, you are a man of God. You are a child of God. You are a bold and courageous leader. You love the Lord, your God with all your heart, soul strength. And might today, you are going to put the armor of God on you're going to put the helmet of salvation on you're going to put the breastplate of righteousness on the shield of faith.

You're going to hold it. Sort of the spirit. You're gonna put the belt of truth on, and you're going to go spread peace with your gospel shoes land, and you are going to go kick some devil, but today with the power of the holy spirit and you are going to be kind to everyone, especially women and children.

Oh my goodness. I feel like a charge electrical charge is going through my body. Like you should also say that at his wedding, when he gets married and you record that with my name, you're a woman of God. You're a woman of God, but you know, I want to just speak into something you said earlier, Jason, you said that, um, that, that really, this, this struggle with anxiety and this, the sickness that I got, um, about 12 years ago, it was a gift to our marriage because. Danny came through. And he, when I was weak, he really was strong.

Wow. He came through and he, he took care of me. He was the best caretaker and he took care of our family and he took care of our kids and, and God was real. And the body of Christ was real. And our church was just so loving and caring to us. And it was, it really was a turning point in our marriage because I saw Danny.

Love you. Well, because at first up for such a long time, we both put the church before each other. And I saw him putting me first, putting God first and then me. And, um, it really was a gift. That sickness was a gift. Well, and I would say too, um, what a lot of people don't realize is that that God is not just your father.

He's your father-in-law. I think I forget which author said that in one of his marriage books, but the best way that you can love your father-in-law is to love his son. Right. So, I mean, you guys have a daughter, I don't see she got a boyfriend or whatever. Maybe one day they get married. The best thing that your son-in-law can do for you to say he loves you, Heather and you, Denny is to love Lenexa.

Right? That's the number one thing. So we, we have to make sure that we get that right. If we get that right, that we were loving. God's. And even though that's our spouse, that is how we say that we love God. And it's a powerful thing. And when we speak life into each other, like you remember the story of Gideon, he had to go out and fight the Midianites.

And in order to be recruited into the battle into the, to be the, the leader of the army, the angel of God shows up and Gideon is out threshing wheat in a wine press, right. Because the Midianites would come and they would steal the wheat. So he's electronic. And the way that the angel approached him, he said, greetings, oh, Valiant warrior.

So here's Gideon. What we know of him. He's always asking for a sign he's he's, uh, threshing wheat in a wine press, or he's hiding from the Midianites. Gideon was probably a worse, but the angel shows up and says you're a Valiant warrior. And then Gideon rises up to the level of what the angels spoken to.

And we get out what we speak in, you know, so as we speak life into our spouses, like what you did for Denny and what Danny began to do for you, it's a, it's a powerful thing. So if, if you guys could go back to your young self, let's say you're married for years or whatever. What would you say to your young self Denny?

You go first, then Heather, you go, what would you say to your, to your young marriage? What, what do they need to hear more than you. To how I should treat my wife. If I had whatever, again, that's going to help you in your marriage. If I would have served her as unto the Lord, as opposed to trying to serve me, it would have changed everything.

And now that we are. W we still struggle. Marriage is a lot of work, right. But we have a really awesome marriage. And I mean, we are the, we are the most connected in every year of the marriage than we've ever been. But I do remember that we never considered divorce, even though at times, maybe we both wanted out early on and you know, you come up to that light tunnel when you're getting ready to go through something.

Let's say you just come up this tunnel and there's a lot of construction and you look through and you're like, I don't want to go through that. And then a lot of marriages, that's what it's like. You look up at that tunnel of chaos and you're getting ready to go through, you know, cancer or job or relationship or kids are struggling or, you know, some area of my life is chaos.

And what often happens is one bail. You know, they either Belle emotionally or actually bail. And, but when you go through that intimacy or you go through that tunnel and the other side is greater intimacy. Wow. And I can look back and say, I'm really glad we stayed together. It would have only gotten worse.

And she helped me realize, I mean, marriage makes you realize where you really have your own issues. It brings out your own flawless. And early on. I just thought she has floss. No, it was who she was, was revealing my floss. Wow. It's all good. Yeah. And I would just say for those young listeners, um, that when you suffer together, it draws you closer together.

No, and we did go through some pretty tough times. In our marriage and, and divorce, wasn't an option. And, um, we did seek therapy and help, and it's strong. It has made us closer. Wow. You know, I'm really thankful for that. I can, when I was going through all of the anxiety and the. I didn't want to say, thank you, God.

I wanted to say, what do you want me to learn from this? But I wasn't ready to say, thank you God, for this. It took me a while. Um, but now I can look back and I can say, thank you, God, that that really was a gift to our marriage and, and just a gift to me to, um, to get my identity in Christ. Not in what I did.

So good. Well, I love this. Um, and Denny, you, you said something that I thought was really good, um, earlier about three things that you learned whenever your wife was having, uh, that bout and things that you could do as a husband, the number one was the hunger for the word. Helped bring you guys out. But number two was to set up boundaries.

Uh, I forget what you said for number three, but friends, friends, that you can be honest with a good, a good friend group right out like you, Heather needed other girlfriends. Right. And Heather needed other guy. I mean, grant, I said, Heather, Danny need another guy, friends, Tory. And I have seen this to be the case too.

I mean, we need each other for sure. She's got to have other girlfriends outside of the marriage. I've got to have other guy friends and then secondarily boundaries. So many young couples don't understand boundaries. Um, and we just did a two part, one, a part, two podcast on how to affair-proof your marriage.

And all it was was awesome. 10 points on how, how to set up proper boundaries in your own thinking. Right. And there has to be those boundaries, but then there also has to be boundaries inside the relationship like I'm called to protect. Tori who is a nine on the Enneagram, which means she's going to dive in and help everybody, anytime that she can.

And I have to make sure that she doesn't always do that. Right. And she knows I'm a one on the Enneagram, which means that if I can't dive in and help certain people, that I'm going to feel guilty and all that, and she has to tell me, no, you know, no, Jason, right now, you actually need to go to the game because you can't go off and help that person.

And don't feel guilty about not being able to help that person. God will provide somebody else. You know what I'm saying? So it's those proper boundaries. That, that we were able to establish in our own. And you guys were able to establish, do you have any not perfect at that? No, I get that. We, we struggle.

We still struggle with this. I mean, um, but I do think we have, we've come a long way in that. Um, and, but we're not perfect at it. Oh, I get it. But like what what's up, what's some, what are some good, healthy boundaries that you would encourage young couples that they need to incorporate into their own?

Really? That you can think offhand well in ministry for two particular, I guess it could be this way in any, in any type of wa, but in ministry I used to want her to be seen. Hmm. Hmm. I did love her. I was proud of her, but I wanted us to, we've got to be there so people can know that we're there together.

And it ends up being, if she's not there, maybe we'll lose some sort of respect. And now I want her to be close to the Lord. I want her to be physically and spiritually. Well, so she's highly impactful at what she does, but if I feel in some way, she's a depleted, maybe your immune system's a little weak. Uh, you stay in, you're not going to that event.

You don't have to be. No, no, no. It's good. I just want her to serve the Lord. Um, yeah, that's, that's great. I love that. And that protects me, protects you and it makes you, sorry, rose. Yeah, she's got a lot of fire, but she's my rose. Oh, I love that. That's awesome. I think so many couples can relate to the whole not feeling prioritized because as women that's what we need is priority in men.

So it's women need priority. Men need admiration. And so I just wanted to ask one last question before we close it out. Th that's one way that he makes you feel the priority, but what has been the biggest change in the way that he's made you feel that priority in the last, you know, what's been like the last 10 years where you kind of had that shift?

Well, that makes me feel loud. That I will say that's probably, that makes me feel loved that he, I don't feel like, um, he loves the church more than he loves me. Wow. But I do feel like he loves God more. And that's a good thing. That's a good thing. I think, um, you know, I, I can rely on him waking up every single morning and spending time with Jesus that actually makes me feel loved.

It makes me feel secure. Um, and that's a boundary that he's put in his life. Like don't, don't mess with his time with Jesus. Um, and, um, that makes me feel secure and then him, but then him putting, putting me before the ministry, putting me in saying, you know, Um, you're not going to go to that event. You're going to stay home and it's going to be okay.

They'll survive without you. You know? And that, that, that, that protection makes me feel loved. I love that Jeremy and Aaron, go ahead, Tory. I'm sorry. Go ahead. Jeremy and Aaron, a build our student pastor at our church into doing a killer job to love him to death, but I'm regularly telling Jeremy. I'm most concerned about your walk with the Lord?

We just had a big victory yesterday. God works. So today let's just take 15 minutes this morning. Even you may already have your time with the Lord just once let's just go around and be content. Thank God for what he's doing. And then I want you to be plugged in with the Lord and really plugged in with your marriage and then a third down the road as ministry, because I know he's kicking in that area.

You know, it's funny. I had that same conversation with. Uh, and his wife. Yeah, Tori and I did when we went and did a marriage seminar for you guys. And, uh, I remember telling him, cause they had just gotten married or whatever. And they said, what, what advice would you give? And we said, you do not put this church in front of each other.

You, you, and, but this would include entrepreneurs, your business. It would include your job. This include anything. Uh, some dads are so caught up in their kid's AA. You know, sports that they're putting that in front of their marriage. It's like, no, come on. Nothing goes in front of your marriage. I'll end with this.

I was talking to a guy who told me that he and his wife were really having a hard time, uh, getting along. And his wife always seemed to kind of be nagging him for his time. And so I asked him what his day looked like and told me he goes to work. And then, uh, it was like three nights a week. He was on an AA call, alcoholics anonymous.

And, uh, and he said, and you know, he's mentoring these. And, uh, and he said, and she, she's kind of giving me a hard time about that. And I said, ma'am I get that, you know, I, I get your schedule and all this, but let me just ask you this. If your wife called you and told you that she had a flat tire, would you go and, and try to help her fix it or whatever, or you just go and change the tire for, and he's like, well, of course I would.

I said, okay. So on your way to, as you're driving and you see your wife with a flat tire, you know, maybe a mile down the road and all of a sudden you look and you see another guy, who's also got a flat. And you stop and help him while your wife waits. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? He's like, well, that's not a good thing.

I said, that's what you're doing. You're putting, helping out these dudes who are alcoholics in front of your wife, who needs. I said, you can't be administered God in their life. You have to trust that if you can't help these particular guys, because you need to be with your wife tonight and go do whatever it is, then you need to trust God that he's going to raise up somebody else that will help them out of their pit.

But you go get your wife out of her pit. So, but that's something that helps us remember. Our priorities in marriage. And so that's, that's really good for younger couples. Now, you guys are awesome by the way. So good. Thank you guys so much, so much. You guys are awesome. We love you guys. We love you. And before we leave, we always have to do a, would you rather, so we're going to ask you, are you ready?

Would you rather slide down a sizzling hot metal slide in the middle of winter? I'm sorry. In the middle of. Sizzling hot sizzling hot. We're going to go with summer or crawl on your hands and knees across a splintered wooden Drawbridge in the middle of winter, I would rather do the hot down the slide.

And my son's version is you're going down it with razorblades or. Uh, suck the pus out of a skunks ear. Oh, I would rather suck the puss out of a skunk steer. I don't want to slide down razorblades on a have slide. I'll do the wind. You're going with winter with the wind chair. Yeah. I don't like being hot.

Yeah. I think I'm with you Heather, on the winter. That that's metal slide. I've done that when I was a kid, I think Weaver elementary school in Garland, Texas with that big, massive metal slide. I don't know Denny, if you ever went to that playground, I had a few occasions where I did go down the steaming hot metal slide in the summer.

So I'm going to stick with the winter. It's a life-changing experience. It's a life-changing. Yes, it is. All right. Hey, thank you guys for hanging with us. This was really fun. All right. Don't forget to rate review subscribe. If you think that this podcast would be a blessing to somebody, share it out, tell them that Danny and Heather Smith are going to share, give you all their dirty laundry.

And this is just a great thing. All right. Thank you guys. We'll talk to you next week. Thanks for being with us.