A Heart-to-Heart With Plumb
About the Guest
Her life seemed to fall in place easily, as did her music career. It wasn't until she was married with children that life took a downhill turn. Christian recording artist, Plumb (Tiffany Lee), and her husband Jeremy, fondly remember the ski trip that brought them together, and the challenges that hit them hard 11 years into marriage.
Christian recording artist, Plumb (Tiffany Lee), and her husband Jeremy, fondly remember the ski trip that brought them together, and the challenges that hit them hard 11 years into marriage.
A Heart-to-Heart With Plumb
Bob: Tiffany Lee, who performs musically as Plumb, remembers when she first realized there was a growing distance / an isolation happening in her marriage with her husband Jeremy. At first, she wasn’t particularly concerned.
Tiffany: “This is just for a season, because this is my best friend—he’s not going anywhere.” So I’m probably a little snippy, and I’m probably a little grumpy. I’m a little more selfish than usual. I’m a little more unavailable / a little less intimate—I’m a little / you know: “I don’t feel as pretty right now.” All of those different elements—I thought, “We’ll get through this”; because, in my brain, “We will never split up.”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, September 14th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey; I'm Bob Lepine. What Tiffany Lee was feeling in her marriage was an indication that there were cracks beginning to form in the foundation. We’ll hear more of her story today. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Wednesday edition. Right up front, let me remind our listeners about our upcoming Weekend to Remember® getaway season that kicks off here in a couple of weeks. Just a couple more days left in our buy one/get one free offer that we’re making to any listener who would like to attend an upcoming getaway at one of our 40 or so locations, where we’re hosting these events all across the country this fall.
If you’d like to attend—you pay the regular price for yourself, and your spouse comes free. The offer is good through the end of this week. If you want to take advantage of this special opportunity, go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link for the Weekend to Remember. You can get more information or register online; or if you have any questions, call 1-800-FL-TODAY. We hope to see you at an upcoming Weekend to Remember getaway.
Now, today, we have a guest who’s joining us, where—Dennis, if we use her regular name to introduce her, our listeners would go, “I don’t think we know her”; but if we use her nom de plume—you know what that is; right? You’re familiar with a nom de plume?
Dennis: I’m not.
Bob: Her pen name / her stage name, if you will—everybody will go: “Oh! Okay, I know who you’re talking about now.”
Dennis: Well, we have a special guest who goes by the name of Plumb, who has written a book called Need You Now; and her husband Jeremy join us.
Dennis: Hi. Glad you’re here. [Laughter]
Bob: And it’s okay to—do you want us to call you Plumb or Tiffany? Which do you prefer?
Tiffany: Oh, man. You can call me either one—Tiffany, also known as Plumb. [Laughter]
Bob: There we go!
Dennis: Well, there’s a reason why her name is Plumb. She is a recording artist, songwriter, and performer; but importantly, she and Jeremy are married. They have three children and live near Nashville. They are here to tell a great story of God’s redeeming work in a marriage.
But before we go there, I think we have to address the issue of how you came up with the name of Plumb. I know no one’s ever asked you that.
Tiffany: You’re the first one! [Laughter]
Dennis: First one!
Tiffany: Goodness.Well, I had just signed a record deal, and I was putting together a band. They had signed just me, but I was trying to come up with a band name. I have kind of always been a fan, since high school, of Susan Vega. I purchased her most recent project at that time, and there’s a song on it called My Favorite Plum—
—on the CD. I was going to have the record on repeat and kept hearing the same song over and over—I accidentally put that song on repeat; so I kept hearing My Favorite Plum over, and over, and over.
I thought: “Wait a minute—plum. I like how that sounds.” So I was talking to my A&R [Artists and Repertoire] guy the next day. I said, “What do you think of the name Plum?” And the A&R guy said, “How would you spell that?” I said, “Well, P-l-u-m.” Matt Bronlewee, who was my writing partner at the time / who’s now been my producer forever, said, “Well, if you put a ‘b’ on the end of it, it means ‘true’ versus just the fruit.”
I was sold—I kind of joke that the “b” in Plumb stands for Matt Bronlewee; because it was kind of his idea. I actually love it. I feel like it has really come to represent what I stand for, which is just raw, honest truth.
Bob: So are fans known as Plumbers? [Laughter]
Tiffany: What’s funny is—they do call themselves that, which is sort of—you know—ironic, believe me.
Dennis: Not Plumb-liners, but Plumbers. [Laughter]
Bob: That’s right. [Laughter]
Dennis: So, tell us about the homes you grew up in, Jeremy. Did you grow up in a solid family?
Jeremy: I did. I grew up by—my mother listens to your show religiously. In fact, when I told her—
Dennis: She’s a brilliant woman; you know that? [Laughter]
Jeremy: She gave me the run-down on both of you—everything about you / you have six children—everything about you guys. [Laughter]
Jeremy: Yes; I grew up in the Nashville area with mother/father, two sisters, and a brother.
Bob: And grew up going to church.
Jeremy: Very active—my dad was the youth pastor when I was a little child; and then, we worked at a boys’ home, growing up. So yes; very active in church.
Bob: So you were pointed toward Jesus, young?
Jeremy: At birth. [Laughter]
Bob: And at what point in your life did that faith become personal / become your own?
Jeremy: Well, as a child—when I was five or six, I accepted Christ when we were at Vacation Bible School.
It really became personal in college when I went to Liberty and, really, for the first time began to have a relationship, where I felt like, “This is an actual relationship with God.” Before that, it was more like you did what you were told to do. You just sort of—you were in a bubble; you know. You went to a Christian school / lived in a Christian home, and very bubble there. So Liberty was sort of—even though it was still a bubble, it was sort of my first opportunity to feel like I had that personal relationship.
Bob: Well, you were making choices for yourself. It wasn’t mom or dad or anybody looking over your shoulder—you were deciding: “Am I going to read my Bible? Am I going to pray? Am I going to go to church?”—all of that stuff.
Bob: And you stepped into it and said, “This is what I believe”; right?
Dennis: Did they have convocation, back then, when you attended?
Jeremy: They did!
Jeremy: Three times a week.
Dennis: Amazing. As you mentioned earlier, I spoke at convocation. Usually there are 12,000 young people—men and women—there at the event. I asked them to only speak to the guys—
Jeremy: Oh really.
Dennis: —because I wanted to talk straight to the guys. I feel like the battleground today, in a lot of situations, really, leads back to men being men. Those guys were really listening. That was a real privilege.
Bob: See, I like to tell the story—I say that, when Dennis spoke at convocation, only half the students showed up. [Laughter]
Dennis: Tiffany, what about you? Did you grow up in a Christian home?
Tiffany: Grew up in a Christian home. My grandfather was a Nazarene minister. I was in church from the get-go—asked Jesus into my heart at Vacation Bible School when I was eight. I think—looking back/reflecting back—I think that was kind of out of fear, because I’d heard a story of hell. So, when I was in my teens and early twenties, my relationship with God had a good bit to do with who I had a crush on or who I was dating. If I was dating the pastor’s son, I was—you know—
Bob: You were on fire for—
Tiffany: —on fire for Jesus.
If I had a crush on the quarterback at school—not that every quarterback is not a Christian—but I would—even if he wasn’t necessarily as solid / I was a little wishy-washy—so I was a pretty wishy-washy, selfish Christian.
Dennis: Chameleon—a chameleon Christian.
Tiffany: Yes; a bit of a chameleon at that age in my life.
Then, after I got married—took it more seriously; but it wasn’t until our marriage fell apart that I met Jesus in a completely new way. I feel like a new Christian—so—
Bob: You mentioned that your marriage went through a deep, dark valley. I want to hear more about the story of your music and how God led you to that, but I want to kind of have it be in the context of your relationship. How did you guys meet, Jeremy?
Jeremy: We met on a college ski trip. We were going to Colorado—
Tiffany: —through our church.
Jeremy: Yes; through our church. Our church was taking the college group to Colorado to go skiing. I signed up, and she signed up. At the time, I was at Liberty. I came home just for Christmas break and was going on the ski trip, and that’s where I met her.
Tiffany: And I had just started going to the church, so I had never met him until the trip.
Dennis: And was it love at first sight?
Tiffany: It was pretty—I mean—it was pretty close. I remember him walking—I remember his sister, whom I had come to know, walking in. She had just gotten engaged. I thought she wasn’t going on the trip because they were saving money for their wedding. I said: “Why are you here? I thought you weren’t going on the ski trip.” She said: “I’m not. I was just dropping off my brother.” She had a 13-year-old brother—I was like, “Why is he going on the college trip?” She said, “Well, no; I have a brother who’s 22. He’s right over there.”
I remember, vividly, looking. On the back of his shirt, it said Plug, which is a brand of snowboard gear; but I thought it said Plumb for a second. I was like, “Oh no!”—like, “There’s the fan on the trip!” [Laughter] When he turned his head, I remember taking a double take of: “I like how he looks!”
Bob: That’s pretty cool. I mean—
Dennis: But you weren’t a fan; right?
Jeremy: No; I wasn’t. And a lot has changed since then in my appearance. [Laughter]
Tiffany: Whatever / whatever. [Laughter]
Dennis: So, how does a guy, who’s not a fan of Plumb—
Bob: —become a fan? [Laughter]
Dennis: Well—how did you propose? I mean, I’m thinking: “Here she is—a creator of songs, singer of songs, and performer on the stage—you have to feel some serious heat in terms of how you went about this”; right?
Jeremy: Yes; yes, and I’m not creative. I’m not—
Tiffany: That is not true! He’s being humble right now.
Jeremy: I’m just—you know—it wasn’t anything spectacular. We literally went to this place, where I told her that I loved her. We went to the park—and had her best friends hiding in the bushes—and I sat there for 15 minutes, trying to get up the nerve to do it. [Laughter] I asked her to marry me.
Tiffany: The girl version of that would be that he told me he loved me at Centennial Park; and then he took me back there for lunch, and we were having my favorite lunch.
I love root beer, and I loved this particular place’s tea cake cookies. You know, he has my two best friends hiding in the bushes—one’s filming / one’s taking still images. He goes into the speech and gets up on one knee. I start crying and say, “Yes!” about 19 times; and then they come running out. It’s fantastic / it was absolutely perfect.
Dennis: So, everything a single woman would want in terms of a proposal.
Tiffany: Yes; yes. He’s—
Dennis: Way to go, Jeremy!
Jeremy: Well, it’s—yes; her story’s much better.
Bob: Yes; well, the tea cake cookies—that’s a good move on your part.
Dennis: So, how long were you married before you sensed that there were difficulties or challenges?
Tiffany: I would say, for me, I noticed difficulties about six weeks before the bottom fell out. I was very, very unaware—so eleven years.
Jeremy: Eleven years.
Bob: So, you would say the first eleven years were smooth sailing? You guys got along fine; everything was good?
Tiffany: I thought it was awesome; and at the same time, we had three children, back to back, so I was kind of in survival mode.
Jeremy was very constant about wanting me to keep being creative—like, “Hey, get a babysitter today and just go song-write.” I would feel guilty about that—I felt like I had to stay home, and be mom, and… “Well, let’s hire a house-keeper then.” “No; I can’t do that. I need to be the one who cleans.”
He and I both were raised by stay-at-home moms, who did all of that. I felt like I had to do all of that, not realizing that I was losing myself. I had this image of post-partum depression—as a woman who doesn’t get out of bed and who cries all day. I had to get out of bed, and I didn’t have time to cry all day—so, in my brain: “I’m not depressed.” But I was—I was absolutely depressed and overwhelmed—and couldn’t verbalize it / couldn’t own it.
I think, in my brain, I thought: “Well, this is just for a season. They’ll eventually go to the bathroom on a toilet, and they will eventually eat adult food, and they will eventually be able to all walk, and—”
Bob: —“and dress themselves.”
Tiffany: —“and dress themselves!”
Jeremy: Thankfully; they do now.
Tiffany: Yes; thankfully, they do now. But it’s—you know: “They’ll eventually be able to do that. So this is just for a season; because this is my best friend—he’s not going anywhere.” I’m probably a little snippy, and I’m probably a little grumpy. I’m a little more selfish than usual. I’m a little more unavailable—I’m a little less intimate / I’m a little—you know—“I don’t feel as pretty right now,”—just all of those different elements. I thought, “We’ll get through this”; because, in my brain, “We will never split up.” I sort of took advantage of that hope that that would never happen.
Bob: And what were you thinking at that same time?
Jeremy: I was thinking: “I’m overwhelmed. I’m doing a lot on my own,”—and that my wife felt like she was really depressed and she felt like—I would do my best to try to make a situation better and sort of have a positive attitude about things. But the entire time, I was setting up this wall of like—“I’m the one doing this, and I’m the one doing that,”—and sort of making myself an island and saying: “Here’s what I’m doing to take care of the problem.
“But yet, I feel like I’m not making any progress here.” I sort of felt like I was the one handling most of the burden; although Tiffany would have said she was handling the children and the burden there—
Tiffany: And he didn’t feel like he could tell me that, because I was a loose cannon. I mean, he could pull in the driveway from work—and if he was 15 minutes late, it was 15 minutes more that I had to handle all of this by myself. He would walk in the door; and instead of being like, “Oh, I’m so glad you’re home,” I would be like, “Where have you been?!”
He said, “I remember”—I don’t want to put words in your mouth—but he says he remembers pulling in the driveway and just not wanting to come inside—of just: “What kind of mood is she in? What have I done wrong this time?” So being afraid to tell me: “I don’t like being around you right now. I feel disconnected from you. I don’t feel…”—you know, whatever it was he was feeling. He felt like any of that would have just set me off and made things even worse.
Jeremy: And I just was at that place, where I’m saying, “Okay.” There were times that you’d walk in and it was great—everything was wonderful, and there was a good attitude. But there were a lot of times that that wasn’t, and it got to where I just started disconnecting.
I want to say, first of all, that none of that should have been what should have happened. I should have addressed it—we should have gone to counseling / we should have talked about it with people—I didn’t do that. I don’t know why I didn’t—you know, I don’t know.
Tiffany: We’ve talked about my reaction would have been not as receptive as it should have been. I definitely think—had he taken me aside and said what he needed to say, I would have probably disagreed with him. I would have probably accused him of being unaware of: “Do you realize how many diapers I change?” and “…how many children I’m feeding?” and “I don’t have any time for myself.”
At the same time, I think there was resentment from me towards him because I knew—if I asked for someone to clean the house, or if I had asked for someone to watch the kids, or if I had asked to just spend the time doing some musical—he would have been the first person in line to say: “Go! Do it!” because he knew how that makes me feel; and consequently, how I act accordingly to that. So it’s just—my response to that is—I’m a lot more fulfilled, I’m a lot happier, and I’m probably more pleasant to be around.
It was like his subtle way of, “Man, I really wish you’d get out of the house.” In my brain, I was saying: “That’s like trying to defer my responsibilities to someone else. My responsibility is here. I need to be with these children, and I need to be the one—I don’t want a babysitter. I want to be able to do it myself.” At the same time, I needed a babysitter; and I needed a housekeeper. It’s taken years for me to be able to come to a place where I realize, sometimes, that is not financially feasible for some—
—but if it is—or at any point, even just once in a while—to ask for help, to ask for childcare, and to ask for someone to help you in various different ways. It’s so important, and you don’t realize you’re drowning. You just don’t, and I didn’t.
Bob: You have to think there are a lot of people, listening right now—and some of them are unaware, but some are very aware—that there’s low-level frustration that marriage is not where they’d hoped it would be / that they’re not at the place that they long to be, as a couple; but they’re afraid to confront it. They’re afraid to talk to one another about it. They just don’t know what to do.
Dennis: And as in raising children, the same thing’s true in a marriage: “The easiest thing to do is nothing, because it doesn’t create conflict at the moment.”
I don’t want to feel like I’m piling on you, Jeremy, at this point; but would you say you were fairly passive then, as a husband, around these issues?
Jeremy: Yes; I was. I was just—I didn’t want to rock the boat.
Dennis: And see, I think that’s what I want the listeners to hear, especially the husbands. You know, you don’t have all the answers to step into the midst of the mud puddle and say: “Something’s not going on here that’s right. We need to have a heart-to-heart—we need to have a conversation.”
And okay; so it gets messy. Okay; so your wife doesn’t like it that you step off in the mud puddle and ask for some definition of what’s going on and “Unpack what you’re feeling and what’s taking place.” I think, a lot of times, guys don’t step forward because they don’t know exactly what to do. They want to fix it—
Jeremy: Right. I was going to say—we’re fixers. I want to fix everything.
Bob: And if you don’t know how to fix it—
Jeremy: —then you don’t want to go there.
Dennis: Yes; so the easiest thing to do is nothing.
Bob: But you’re saying a husband ought to just stand up and say, “Okay; I don’t know how to fix this, but something’s wrong and we need help.”
Dennis: Well, I just want to go over to Ephesians 5 and just mention a couple of words, where it commands the husband to nourish and cherish his wife.
Nourish means to cause to grow. At this point, Tiffany, you needed to grow out of a season of life—have some hope / some freshness in your life. It means to cultivate a sense of growth. That means you have to go where you may not know how to answer that question. You many need a third party to help at some point—a counselor or a conference like the Weekend to Remember.
The other thing a husband is commanded to do is—he’s commanded to cherish his wife. That means to love her in such a way—and Tiffany, you said this—you weren’t sure you would have heard what he said / you weren’t sure you would have received it. It didn’t sound, to me, like you had a teachable heart—you were kind of becoming hardened a bit.
I think the assignment of a husband is to be such a student of his wife that he knows how to love her in such a way that it will soften her heart. That’s what the word, “cherish,” means—it means to soften it / to make it receptive so it can grow.
Bob: Well, and again, I think for a man to hear us say: “You may not know the right thing to do; but if you sense something’s wrong, just stand up and say: ‘Hang on. Something’s wrong here. I’m not sure exactly what it is. I’m not sure how to fix it, but I know that just letting it be is not the right answer. So let’s put our heads together, let’s pray together, let’s seek help, let’s get counsel, and let’s talk to some friends; because we can’t stay here.’”
Dennis: And “Let’s go to a Weekend to Remember together.” You know, I just have to—
Bob: I knew you would recommend that. [Laughter]
Dennis: Well, I have to recommend it, because we’ve been doing this for 40 years.
Dennis: And more than three million people have been through all of our marriage conferences and events. We’ve been working to make the Bible plain and clear about how a husband needs to be a husband. A lot of times, there are guys like Jeremy—and he’s nodding his head now—they want to do what’s right / they’re just not sure how to step forward and how to provide solutions.
So if you don’t know what to do, find a way to get away for a weekend—find a babysitter and spend a weekend at one of our Weekend to Remember marriage getaways in one of 85 locations [fall and spring] around the country. I promise you—you’re going to hear the blueprints; you’re going to hear a new assignment, as a husband / as a wife; and in some cases, find your way out of a deep ditch.
Bob: Well, and of course, if you sign up before the end of the weekend, you save
50 percent off the regular registration fee—we have a buy one/get one offer going on right now—you pay the regular rate for yourself; your spouse comes free. That offer is good through the end of the weekend. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com to register, or call 1-800-FL-TODAY to register. Again, the website’s FamilyLifeToday.com; or you can call 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.” Plan to join us at a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway this fall.
While you’re on our website, look for information about the book that Plumb has written—
—it’s called Need You Now: A Story of Hope. It tells the story that we’re sharing this week on FamilyLife Today. This may be a book that you want to get and pass on to somebody who is out of hope for their marriage. You can order from us online at FamilyLifeToday.com. We also have copies of Plumb’s new audio CD called Need You Now—a great music CD. Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com to order; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY to order your copy.
Now, we want to say “Happy 20th anniversary!” today to Ken and Susan Reich, who live in Arlington, Tennessee. They got married on this day in 1996. In fact, they joined us a couple of years ago on the Love Like You Mean It® marriage cruise—“Happy anniversary!” to Ken and Susan—and to all the rest of you, who are celebrating anniversaries today.
We think anniversaries matter. Here, at FamilyLife, we’re celebrating anniversaries all year long; because this is our 40th anniversary as a ministry—
—we’ve been celebrating that all year long as well. We’re really thanking God for His work through FamilyLife over the last four decades and thanking listeners, like you, who help support this ministry, for making it all possible. We could not do what we do if it weren’t for folks, like you, contributing financially to support what we do.
In fact, if you’re able to help with a donation today, we’d like to say a big “Thank you!” by sending you our 2017 FamilyLife calendar. It’s all about how you can be an ambassador for Christ and how your home can be an embassy for the King—something we’ve talked about recently, here on FamilyLife Today. That calendar actually starts with October of 2016; so when you get it, you can put it right to use. And again, we want to say, “Thanks for your support of this ministry.” Make your donation online at FamilyLifeToday.com, or call 1-800-FLTODAY to donate.
Or request the calendar when you mail your donation to FamilyLife Today at PO
Box 7111, Little Rock, AR; our zip code is 72223.
Now, tomorrow, we’re going to hear about the moment in time when Tiffany Lee / when Plumb first realized that her marriage really was in serious trouble. We’ll hear that story tomorrow. Hope you can be with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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