As Josh and Phy wrap up their series on marriage, they conclude by discussing growth: how do we grow together practically and encourage one another to be diligent workers for the benefit of the covenant? There are practical things we can do along with the more fundamental actions of prayer and communication. In this episode, Josh and Phy discuss the practical things they do to stay on the same page, set goals together, and encourage growth in the areas in which they need it.
Phylicia: Welcome to Verity. I’m your host, Phylicia Masonheimer, an author, speaker, and Bible teacher. This podcast will help you embrace the history and depth of the Christian faith. Ask questions, seek answers, and devote yourself to becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ. You don’t have to settle for watered-down Christian teaching. And if you’re ready to go deeper, God is just as ready to take you there. This is Verity, where every woman is a theologian.
Hi, welcome back to Verity Podcast. I’m, Phylicia Masonheimer.
Josh: Yeah, I’m her husband Josh.
Phylicia: And we are in the very last episode of the Honest Marriage Series, Episode 12 and I can’t believe we’re here already. That’s three months’ worth of podcast episodes. We’re recording this right after Christmas before New Year’s. So, it’s a little bit late going up because of the holiday. But we’re so glad that we squeezed it in before we wrap up the year. In this episode, we’re talking about growth as a couple and what Josh and I do to grow as a couple, to stay on the same page, and to keep a vision for the future. We thought this would be a good way to end the series, and hopefully, give you something practical you can try out in your own marriage as you are going forward. So, we are going to be looking at our verse for this episode in proverbs, it’s proverb 29:18, which says, “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.”
Now, obviously in context, this is talking about prophetic vision. So, in the Old Testament, a prophet giving the Word of the Lord, the revelation of God that cast a vision for Israel at the time. That’s the context of this verse. Another translation of this verse is, ” Where there is no vision, the people perish.” I think it’s interesting that in the ESV, it says, “People cast off restraint, but the end result is that they perish.” Either way, a Christ centered vision for the future is the only way to remain in godliness, to remain together in walking in a scriptural focus, a Christ centered life. If we don’t do that, we can cast off restraint and fail to keep the law, the gospel. So, we’re going to talk about how Josh and I do that practically, how we keep a vision. We, as we’ve shared so far in this series are very different personalities, would you say it?
Josh: Yeah. Great.
Phylicia: [laughs] We actually, recently retook the Love Languages test and discovered that we are still opposite on our love languages, but we also took the Apology Languages test, which is on the same website.
Josh: Yeah. That was interesting.
Phylicia: That was very interesting, very helpful. But once again, we were complete opposites. [laughs]
Phylicia: Sometimes, I’m like, “Gosh, the cards are just stacked every single time we do any kind of test, we’re always complete opposite.”
Josh: I’ve literally got a zero in what, she scored the highest on.
Phylicia: Yep, exactly. Anyway, it takes a lot of work for us to remain on the same page. And again, we’ve talked about this throughout this series. So, if you’re jumping in now, you can go back and listen to previous episodes where we talk about our different personalities, and how we work through conflict, and make decisions about everything from parenting, to finances, and more. But keeping the vision has been really important for us because of all the transitions we’ve been through as a couple. So, there are two big things that we do that have been very helpful to us. The first thing is our Sunday night planning.
Josh: Yeah. So, usually, after the kids go down to bed, we have our planners that we have right now, and it’s just like a way to structure out the week that’s coming up, and we list everything we have on the calendar from previously and everything that we know is coming up that may have not made it on the calendar, and we use like a shared calendar.
Phylicia: A Google Calendar?
Josh: Yeah. So, we just basically go down and be like, “Oh, like, so, you have this on this day,” which for me really removed a lot of like, “Oh, we’re doing this today. You never told me that?” [laughs]
Phylicia: Yes, that was a huge reason we did the shared electronic calendar because I don’t actually like electronic calendars, but it was Josh’s preference. So, in order for him to know what we were up to, we started using it together, and it’s actually worked really well because then, I just take what’s on that calendar and put it into my physical planner.
Phylicia: And now, you use a physical planner as well.
Josh: Yeah. It’s really useful to look at it each day in the morning and be like, just as a reminder. Oh, yeah, we had this today, along with checking the electronic one. So, it is really useful to just kind of stay on the same page, and I guess, like, synchronize basically. And we have to do it still, even though, we have a shared calendar, I have to sit down and do the planning meeting with her or else. You know, there will be something on the calendar that it’s like, “Oh, I didn’t see that” or “If it’s there, we never talked about it.” Oh, that actually includes me as in addition to you, okay.
Phylicia: Right. Yeah.
Phylicia: So, we’ll add things to the electronic calendar throughout the week, but then, we’ll have to sit down on Sunday night, talk about it, go over the week and say, “Okay, well, I see that you have this early morning meeting on Tuesday, what time will you be back because I have to leave to go to this.” I think our life is unique in that every single thing for us happens under our roof. We have a small farm, we run our business from the farm, we homeschool, and our church is five minutes away, and our town is 10 minutes away. So, everything revolves very close to our home, and a lot is happening under our roof, and we often have people over, people are often here to house throughout the week. So, there’s a lot that has to be discussed and we have to make sure that we know who is where so that we can trade off kids, and schooling, and work because we both work and we both homeschool. So, there’s a lot of logistics involved there. But the Sunday night meeting works no matter what lifestyle you live, I would say.
Josh: Yeah, I think so. It’s like a nice, slow end to our Sabbath at sundown, and it just kind of prepares you mentally for the week so that you don’t feel like you’re already behind Monday morning.
Phylicia: That’s a really good way to put it. So, during the meeting, practically speaking, Josh described, we go over the Google Calendar and that is all of our appointments. So, those are like, outside appointments with other people, interviews that we have, people who are going to be at the house working, anything like that goes into the calendar. Doctor’s appointments for kids, all of it. That’s on the Google Calendar. Well, we don’t put tasks or anything aside from birthdays that we need to remember on the Google Calendar-
Josh: No projects.
Phylicia: -or projects. Those go into our planners. But we still want to talk about them during our meeting. So, we talk about our appointments, who’s going to be where, what days would be best for Josh to homeschool, for me to homeschool. Typically, I watch the kids in homeschool in the mornings, and he works, and then, we switch in the afternoons. I work in the afternoons and he will watch the kids and answer some emails in the afternoons. So, we’ll talk through all of that in the meeting. But then, we also talk about other things like–
Josh: You’ve been talking about your power sheets lately, your personal growth.
Phylicia: Yeah. My own goals, my plans for the next year, we’ll talk about that kind of thing.
Phylicia: Meals, I’ll sometimes say, “Hey, are there any things you need?” Because I plan all the meals for the week, Sunday night, and then, I place a pickup order that evening so that it’s ready to go Monday as well. So, we just start the week on the same page and we’re trying to also take some time to just talk to each other a little bit as well.
Josh: Yeah, kind of touch base. Like I said, we synchronize and it does like, you know, that’s when you would be like, “Are you getting enough time in the morning to have devotions or develop personal growth?” So, it is a time for us to touch base with one another on our growth.
Phylicia: Yeah. So, it started out I think, I don’t even know how it started but we wanted a way to stay on the same page, but then it became so helpful. It’s kind of just seems to come naturally now. I look forward to it. I don’t know if you look forward to it, but I do. [laughs]
Josh: I do.
Phylicia: It’s usually a good experience. Okay. So, that’s the one big thing and if you’re listening, we have a free marriage meeting download on the website at phyliciamasonheimer.com/resources. You’ll see it listed there it says, your marriage checkup, and that is a free download with many of the exact questions that we ask during our Sunday night meeting. So, if you would like to have a guide to use in your own marriage, you can head to phyliciamasonheimer.com/resources and it should be right there on the freebie page. We’ve got a bunch of great downloads so that you can grab, but that one is specific for marriage.
Josh: Cool beans.
Phylicia: Okay. Yeah, cool beans. Okay, so the other thing that we’ve done, this one we haven’t done every year, but we’ve done it twice. I think maybe three times, though, what it didn’t look exactly the same as this time. But we’ve gotten away towards the end of the year to talk about our vision for the next year. Our goals, our desire for what we want for our family.
Josh: Yeah, company retreat.
Phylicia: A company retreat [laughs] kind of.
Josh: Management only.
Phylicia: [laughs] So, how would you describe what we did this time?
Josh: Well, we did a lot of Christmas shopping. [laughs]
Phylicia: That’s true. We did do that.
Josh: Yeah, we just took some time to just talk about our vision for this coming year, for our company, and for the children, and just our lives. So, it was really nice to just get away and have some clarity in that and we covered a lot of ground just kind of candidly, while we were doing, you know, at a coffee shop or bookstore, or at Target. So, we were able to just like, there was no agenda as far as the itinerary of the trip, but we were just able to just discuss everything and cover our hopes, and goals, and expectations for the coming year, and it was really nice.
Phylicia: Yeah, it was nice. It was just one night and a day and a half or yeah, basically, day and a half. Then, not too far away from home. And so, like I said, we’ve done this a couple of times and it isn’t very structured, like, we’re not sitting down with a list of things to go over. Although, sometimes, we have a few things that we really need to talk about, but you know, for this year we were looking back on 2021, and we had a lot of travel this year, mostly for work or for my brother’s wedding, and it was all really fun and really exciting. But next year that’s something that we don’t want to do because it took us away from home and the farm so much that we really want to stay close to home next year. So, we talked about that, and what that will look like, and why we want to do that, and what impact it will have on the family. So, we got to talk through different children and what we think they need.
Josh: Yeah. We even came up with a word.
Phylicia: We tried several different versions of the word for the year.
Josh: Yeah, the first draft was recoil. [laughs]
Phylicia: And I was like, “That’s not a very this positive word.” It makes me think of like, a snake before it strikes or something.
Phylicia: We’re trying to come up with something along the lines of like retreat or rest.
Josh: Yeah, I think the better version was recuperate.
Phylicia: Yes, I think that was the better version. I was like, “Recoil doesn’t sound like a good word for the year.”
Phylicia: I’m not sure why, but it doesn’t. But for instance, setting a word for the year, this is something, we don’t take it super seriously. We’re not going to just like use this word all the time next year, but I do pray about a word personally for each year, and all of this is a focus. It’s like this is kind of a theme of focus that I align my goals with and for us setting that intention for the year tells us you know, when something doesn’t line up with that intention, then we need to be able to say no to that no matter how good it is.
So, if someone comes along in August and he is like, “Hey, you have this great opportunity to take this trip.” Well, we’ve already set our intention that trips are really a no go in 2022 other than the few that we’ve chosen, because it’s a lot of strain on the family after we get back in with the garden, and the animals, and in the business and stuff. So, we know what to say no to. And getting on the same page with that, I think, is helpful because then we can hold each other accountable later on in the year.
Josh: Yeah, I think it will also help for us to be more invested in our local community.
Josh: So, that’d be nice.
Phylicia: Yeah. And so, you don’t have to set a word for the year to accomplish that. You can just accomplish that by talking about things and maybe setting three or five actual goals for the year. We didn’t set anything tangible beyond our word, and the decisions that we made for the business, and for our home life. But you could be very specific if that works better for you.
Phylicia: Okay. So, that’s what our getaway for goals and vision casting looks like. Now, one question I think might come up is, what do I do if I’m growing but my spouse is not growing at the pace that I want, or I wish, or I think they should be objectively? I think every spouse gets to a point where they look at the other one and they’re like, “You are not where I think you should be in this area.”
Josh: Basically, you’re dead weight.
Phylicia: You’re dead weight. You need to pick it up enough. I think it’s really hard because you know that maybe the growth, it would be the best thing for them, whether it’s their health, their spirituality, their parenting, their friendships, any of that. You want them to be growing but they’re not. You know, you can’t force them to change. So, what do you do in a situation like that? That’s kind of the question I think that people would ask. We’ve been very open that both of us have wished the other was growing in certain areas at a pace that we would have liked better.
And we were talking before we recorded about two areas where we both needed growth, and one that I thought of is, my struggle with affection and physical touch, and Josh thought of his struggle to be really consistent and growing in his Bible study, in his knowledge of the word. So, we were going to talk separately. I’ll talk, he’ll talk about, what our spouse did for us that has helped us grow in those areas? So, Josh, why don’t you go first?
Josh: Okay. All right. Got me in the hot seat. So, for me, I think I’ve struggled with consistency in general as a theme.
Josh: So, it’s no surprise that it’s affected my devotional time or quiet time, a lot of people have different words for it. But for me like, consistency has been hard and when I have been consistent, it’s been hard not to view it as a chore, and something I’m just checking off the list. So, it’s tough. It’s like, you have to find the medium where it’s relational as well as consistent. So, what I’ve been doing recently to try and just do something is, just like, I’ve been listening to the Bible on audio. And while I’m doing that, I’ve just been reciting like, writing down memory verses, and then, just taking a time of prayer after that if the whole family isn’t around, which depends on if whether or not I get up early enough to do it. So, that’s been really helpful for me to just like learn the word and committed to heart. This is a newer thing for me.
Phylicia: Newer model for you?
Josh: Yeah, newer model. So, it’s been working pretty well for just like, you know, because I always get kind of paralyzed by, “Oh, what do I study now, do I get this devotional or that devotional and some of them are just like, a lot of busy work if there’s writing required or there’re no verses at all. So, you’re not even like learning the Bible.
Phylicia: I know a really good Bible study on Revelation.
Phylicia: I know a great study on 1-3 John, by this lady named Phylicia Masonheimer.
Josh: I don’t know. It’s kind of daunting.
Phylicia: Verse by verse, my man. [laughs]
Josh: Yeah, it’s clever. I might have to take up some of the articles there.
Josh: Yeah, so that’s been helpful for me. Phylicia has been able to support me in that by, you know, just like allowing the time, you know, if there’s something like, if I do it later in the morning, then she makes a little space for it, and won’t ask of me things. So, that’s been really nice for her to just like create that space and cultivate it. So, that’s been very passive way of her supporting me, which usually goes better than an active way of supporting me.
Phylicia: Okay. So, tell people though, what would an active, “active” way of “supporting” be in that situation, because I think a lot of wives really struggle in this area sometimes and they’re like me.
Josh: Well, it is tough, because it can often, like, you feel like you’re nagging, and he feels like you’re nagging, and oh, no, like, when it comes to a man’s religious status and knowledge, I guess, a humble topic, like you have to be really humble as the man to not be offended by your wife asking about it. So, it’s really tough to be that humble because you know, especially, in cases like this, obviously, she is more studied or at least diligent in her studies.
Phylicia: Well, I think you’re being a bit modest here. You’ve always been consistent in seeking the Lord. It wasn’t like, you were like, years of not seeking Him. You weren’t like a functional atheist or anything. You just weren’t studying it the way I was or do, and it didn’t look the way mine looks.
Phylicia: And I think that’s where some wives and husbands, too, because I’m sure there’s husbands with wives who struggle this way. Again, spouses can fall into a problem when they expect their spouses Bible study growth to look exactly like theirs.
Josh: And some hurtful conversations can come out of it, like, when I’m studying and she doesn’t see it for maybe a couple of weeks, and it’s just done before she woke up or hear or there when she wasn’t around, and she may say like, “I don’t even know where you are spiritually because I haven’t seen you studying.” That’s super hurtful and really discouraging when you have been studying and she just hasn’t seen it. So, I think having an open dialogue and maybe, one for your Sunday night weekly preps, just be like, how have you had time to do your devotions like, has the schedule allowed for it? And not like pointed accusatory questions, but there’s a way to ask without seeming like you doubt them.
Phylicia: I think I asked at one point, do you have time and is there a way I can help make time so this is a priority for you? And that put it in your court to say, “Yes, it would be helpful if I’m doing it at 8 o’clock, if you could give me some space in the living room to do it” or maybe, it’s a husband who’s like, “I’m going to do it in the evening when I get home from work after dinner, can I have a half hour after dinner to do it.” It’s a sacrifice on your part as the wife to give up that time. But it’s a way of investing in his growth or in her growth, whoever has this particular issue that we’re talking about them. And it might be both. Both partners have to do that.
Josh: Yeah. So, you talked about an example for yourself.
Phylicia: Yes. So, I have been pretty open in the past that I have struggled with physical affection or physical touch like nonsexual touch as they call it on the Love Languages test. When we first took the Love Languages test, I got a zero for physical touch and Josh, that’s always been his highest. Love Language, classic, Masonheimers, that happens to us every single time. But I think it’s just that in the early days, my family of origin wasn’t a very touchy family, wasn’t a huggy family, little bit different now.
Josh: PDA embarrassed you.
Phylicia: Oh, yes. PDA embarrassed. I’m better now about it but even other people, I wish having public displays of affection made me very uncomfortable if I was in their presence. So, I did not want to ever you know, like, shown towards me in public, and then of course that translates to your daily life in marriage. So, this is an area of growth for me and I did study this, I actually have a devotional that I wrote about the process through which I wrestled with this scripturally, and I read some psychological journals about what can cause it, and its avoidant attachment is what it’s called, and kind of got to the root of what was causing that, and allowed the Lord to heal that. But I’m still in progress. So, I still because of the habits of my nature, I’m still not naturally drawn towards being physically affectionate.
I am with my children. But with adults, I am not. So, friends, family, and Josh, it’s not something I think of, it’s not something that’s on my mind. So, I have to be very conscious and intentional. I actually will put it on my To-Do lists as a reminder that I need to be intentional in this area. So, Josh has been helpful, and he’s been very understanding when I’ve tried to explain why I struggle with showing affection. Why isn’t something that comes naturally to me? I think a lot of people think, “Well, if you love someone, of course, you want to.” Well, when I love someone, I do things for them, or I give them a beautiful gift, or I think of them and I bring them a coffee or something. That’s the way I’m processing and showing that I love someone. I’m not drawn to hug someone because I love them. So, that’s something I just have to be very intentional with.
So, if Josh had shamed me for that or been like, “Well, what kind of person doesn’t think to hug and kiss?” That would have been really embarrassing and very hurtful, and it would have been a lot harder, I think, for me to grow in this area because I would feel like, I was just an utter failure in his eyes. But he has never shamed me for it. I mean, he said, this is really hard because I feel loved through physical touch, but he’s never shamed me for it. So, also, he has set an example of affection that makes me feel safe to be affectionate with him, even though, I’m still not as good at it as he is. He has helped me learn what it looks like and to help me be vulnerable and safe with him. So, that’s been an area of growth we’ve been able to work on because of that example. Like you said, you needed me to create a physical and time space for you to grow in your spiritual life, you are creating a physical and emotional space for me to grow in my emotional life.
Josh: Oh, that’s deep.
Phylicia: [laughs] Well, I think that’s kind of a parallel, and maybe, that’s the takeaway for this particular episode. And on growth is what space are you creating for your spouse to grow?
Phylicia: Because if you’re always jumping into the space and telling them what to do, or telling them how they’re not measuring up, or what they could change, that’s really hard to live with.
Josh: You ever see two hermit crabs in one show?
Phylicia: No. Did they do that?
Josh: Nope. There’s a reason for it.
Phylicia: [laughs] That’s such an old man analogy. I’m still trying to figure it out. But basically, create space. Leave the hermit crab shell open. Is that what we’re going with? Is that–? Okay.
Josh: I guess, so.
Phylicia: And then, there will be space for them to grow. Oh, wait, do hermit crabs grow to the size of their shell?
Phylicia: Oh, I get it now. Most of Josh’s jokes take me like a day to get. Okay. Well, you guys, wherever you are in your own marriage, we hope that this series has been an encouragement to you, and then, it does help you grow and have good conversations. Hopefully, you’ll have a few ideas of things that you can implement. Really, the Sunday night planning thing is honestly, one of the best things we’ve done. So, if you do nothing else that would be my biggest suggestion. And then, one other thing I wanted to mention, our favorite marriage book that we ever read was Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. We read it when we were engaged and it was really transformative.
So, if you need a good marriage book recommendation, we really haven’t read that many, but that book was really helpful to us and we loved it a lot. I guess, our encouragement would just be to continue to pursue one another, and pursue the Lord, and keep Him central. We’re so grateful you hung out with us for the series, and we hope that you will refer back to it if you ever need some encouragement in whatever season of life and marriage you are in.
Thank you for joining us for today’s episode of Verity. You can connect with fellow listeners by following me on Instagram @phyliciamasonheimer or on our Facebook page by the same name. Also, visit phyliciamasonheimer.com for links to each episode and the show notes.