FamilyLife Today® Podcast

A Wife’s Responsibility for Oneness

with | January 13, 2009
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Wives, do you know how to nurture oneness in your marriage? FamilyLife marriage conferences speaker Ann Wilson tells you what you need to know.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Wives, do you know how to nurture oneness in your marriage? FamilyLife marriage conferences speaker Ann Wilson tells you what you need to know.

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

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A Wife’s Responsibility for Oneness

January 13, 2009
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Ann: Here is what I feel like God says to us – "Do you know all that love you feel for me?"  Yes."  "All that I have?"  "Yes, what do you want?  Do you want me to" – you know, basic women are thinking, "Do you want me to sing in the choir?  Do you want me – I'll work down in the two-year-olds, if that's what it means.  I just want to, you know, I want to do something for you."  He said, "I want you to take all you have for me" – "Yes?"  "And I want you to take that and give it to your husband, and I want him to know how much I love him by the way you treat him."  "Do you think I could work with two-year-olds?"

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, January 13th.  Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.  Have you ever thought about that – that one way you can demonstrate love for God and to serve Him is to love your husband?  We'll hear more about that today, stay tuned.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Tuesday edition.  This is Day 9 of our 40-day Love Dare.  We were just hearing about a love dare, weren't we, from Ann Wilson, and we're going to hear more about that coming up in just a minute, but we're going through the 40-day Love Dare that was featured in the movie, "Fireproof," that was in theaters back in the fall, and it's coming out on DVD here in the next couple of weeks, and we're encouraging our listeners to love like you mean it and take on your assignment each day and do the Love Dare. 

So Day 9 of the Love Dare quotes 1 Peter 5 – you're going to like this one – 1 Peter 5:14 – "Greet one another with a kiss of love."  Here is your assignment for today – think of a specific way that you would like to greet your spouse today and then greet your spouse with a smile and with some enthusiasm and then determine to change the way you greet your spouse each day to reflect your love for him or for her.  Okay?  So is there a way you can greet your spouse today?  That's your Love Dare assignment on Day 9 of our 40-day Love Dare, and if you'd like more information about the book, "The Love Dare" or if you want to review today's assignment go to our website, which is, and there is information about the book there, and you can find today's assignment there as well.

And as we keep going through this, by the time we get to Day 40, we'll be right there at Valentine's Day, which is the weekend we kick off our spring season of FamilyLife Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences.  We've got conferences that weekend in Washington, D.C. and in Norfolk, Virginia; Hilton Head, South Carolina; Hershey, Pennsylvania; at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Dallas/Fort Worth; at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and in Charlotte, North Carolina; and then we've got conferences continuing throughout the spring in cities all across the country and this week, any of our listeners who will register for one of these upcoming conferences either on Valentine's weekend or any of the weekends that follow, if you register at the regular rate, we're going to send you a companion certificate so that another couple can go either with you or at another time, in another location, they can attend one of our conferences at no cost.

This is probably the best offer we've ever made to FamilyLife Today listeners, and it's only available throughout the rest of this week.  So if you are interested in taking advantage of this, you need to register now for one of the upcoming conferences, and when you go online to register, if you fill out the registration form online, there's a keycode box; type my name in the box.  It's "Bob" and that way we'll know to send you the free companion certificate, and you can pass it along to a friend.  Or call 1-800-FLTODAY, 1-800-358-6329.  If you have any questions about the conference, we can answer them for you, we can get you registered over the phone.  Just mention that you heard Bob talking about it on the radio, and we will send along the companion certificate that you can pass along to a relative or a friend, someone at church, someone who would really benefit from being at one of these conferences this spring.

And then get ready for a fun, romantic getaway weekend for the two of you at the FamilyLife Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference and, you know, for a lot of couples, this weekend – they look back on their marriage, it has been – I was going to use the word "significant" but for a lot of couples it's been a lot more than significant.

Dennis: More than significant, and the reason is, is at the conference both the husbands and the wives get their job description.  And, you know, there's something to be said about a husband understanding what it is he is supposed to do, who is he supposed to be, and for a wife to understand what her role and responsibility is in the marriage relationship, Bob.  And, you think about it, when you get married, there are no instructions for what those roles and responsibilities are on the marriage certificate.  You just get married and kind of grapple your way through the dark as a couple, and you kind of get it right and get it wrong and you make some mistakes, but what the Weekend to Remember does is it delivers a clear, comprehensive look at what your responsibility is as a husband and a wife.

And you know what?  For a lot of couples, this is why it's a life-changing event, because for the first time they finally found out – this is what I'm supposed to do, this is who I'm supposed to be, this is what my wife needs, this is what my husband needs me to be.

Bob: And, again, if you go to our website,, the information about the special offer we're making to listeners is available there, but we need to hear from you this week if you want to take advantage of this special offer.  So, again, go to or call 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY.  We can let you know when the conference is going to be in a city near where you live, get you all registered, and you can take advantage of the savings.

And you mentioned the fact that the job description gets laid out at the Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference.  On Sunday morning, we have the guys head to one room, and the women go to another room.

Dennis: It drives the women crazy to not know …

Bob: What their husbands are hearing?

Dennis: What their husbands are hearing, because they want to be in on everything.

Bob: But, at the same time, they are getting great instruction from a wife, a mom and, in fact, today we're going to hear a part of a message from one of our speakers, Ann Wilson, who addressed a group of wives and moms recently at a Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference.

Ann is married to her husband, Dave.  They live in suburban Detroit, Michigan.  Dave is the chaplain for the Detroit Lions football team, and I'm sure there's been a lot of praying going on for the Lions all through the season.  And Ann was speaking at a recent conference, and we thought our listeners ought to hear how the wives get challenged during the women's session at a Weekend to Remember.

Ann: [from audiotape.]  When Dave and I were dating, we were down in Florida, and it was the first time we'd been on the beach together.  We hadn't been dating very long, and we were talking on the beach, and I realized that he had this neck problem.  You see, every time this beautiful young girl would walk by in her bikini, he just couldn't help but, like, twisting all the way around and watching her walk down the beach.

And, as most women, I feel insecure about myself, anyway, and so I was just so hurt by that, and I said, "That just kills me when you do that."  He's like "Do what?"  You know, it was such a habit for him that he had done his whole life that he didn't even think about it.  And so I remember going back to my hotel room and thinking, "Well, at least the women have clothes on.  What if I was on a topless beach with him?  That would be the worst experience ever."

Well, lo and behold, we go to seminary three years later, and when we're in seminary, we have to do an overseas internship.  So we take a group of college-age baseball players to Sweden, Finland, and Germany to do baseball camps and clinics.  And so I know this probably sounds so immature to you but, for me, I asked if – we were going to be on a resort on the beach in Sweden, and I said, "Can I just ask – are the beaches going to be topless in Sweden?"  And this guys says, "You know what?  There's just a real, like maybe 1 percent of the women will be topless.  It's on this remote part of the beach."  And so I thought, "Okay, you know, I can do that."

So we get off the plane, we're driving to this hotel resort, and the guy that's leading our group in Sweden says, "Hey, I hope they told you that at least half the women on the beach will be topless."  So I'm like, "Oh, great." And so I'm just kind of fuming, like, "I can't – this is going to be – how do you take 19-year-old boys on the topless beach in Sweden and talk about Jesus?"  It just didn't all go together.

So we're sitting in this resort at this hotel at a restaurant right on the beach and in the door walked these three incredible Swedish teenagers that were all topless.  And, I mean, these were like Barbie doll.  Like, it was, I'm like "Does God make people like that?  Look at these girls."  And I see – automatically, I look at Dave, and he's like this …


And I'm so sweet, I turn to Dave, and I said, "If you even lift your head, you are a dead man!"  And so I go back to the hotel room that night, and you know who I was mad at?  I was mad at God.  I thought, "You know all my insecurities.  You know how messed up I am.  Why would you put me in the very situation that is just one of my weaknesses and Dave's weakness?"  And I felt like God was saying, "Ann, can you trust Me with this?"  And, you guys, I'm so stubborn.  I'm, like, "No.  I'm not going to – no."

And the more I struggled with God, I just felt like over and over He was saying, "Can you trust me?  Can you trust Me with this?"  And finally I said, "Lord, what choice do I have?  I trust you."  And I think that trip was probably the pivotal point for me in realizing that my esteem and my worth don't come from my outward, but they come from who I am in Him.  And for Dave it was the most pivotal thing that ever happened to him where God totally got ahold of his thought life and his looking and his neck problem, and he really learned to control and give this area to God.  And so what I thought was going to be the worst circumstance in my life turned out to be something that was really great.

But, let me tell you, that little instance was nothing compared to things ahead.  When our three sons were born, all three of them were in the ICU unit at the hospital, where they were thinking all kinds of things would be wrong with them.  When Dave had – we thought that he had lung cancer.  When you lose people that you love – I lost my very, very best friend who was my sister, and she was 44 years old, and she died of lung cancer in five months leaving behind four young boys.

And, I tell you, when God says, "Can you trust Me?" in those circumstances, it is not easy, is it?  And so I feel like God is asking every single one of us that today in our relationships.  Can you trust Me?  And when I look at this, can you embrace God's design?  I look at that, and I say, "You guys, I know it can be hard, but I am telling you that God has good things in store for you if you can trust Him.  It may not be easy, it may not be your dream, but He will walk us through all those circumstances."

So let's look at what that means.  It means, a, when we trust and embrace His design, we intentionally pursue a daily relationship with God.  I think that's pivotal for all of us, as women.  And then, b, she also welcomes God's design for her marriage.  What does that mean?  It means, number one, God created the man to be the leader in marriage – the leader in marriage; and, number two, God created the woman to be man's helper and completer in marriage. 

Okay.  You guys have a little bit of an idea who I am.  The first time I heard this as a new follower of Christ – I didn't grow up in the church – and so when I first heard that, I really struggled with it, to be honest.  I'm pretty independent, and I'm pretty strong, and so I looked at that, and I thought, why can't I be the leader?  That wasn't even as bad as the next part when it says "helper."  I just thought, "Where is my helper?  He gets a helper, where is my helper?"  You know, have you ever thought that?  Like, "Why do I have to be the helper?"

And I remember when I had to teach this, I told Dave, "I can't teach this.  I'm struggling with the helper part."  And so I looked it up in the dictionary.  I thought, "Okay, surely, you know, there's a little better thing."  So here is what the dictionary says – "A subordinate; a gopher; a person who does the dirty work; a tagalong; someone important tells them what to do."  And I'm like, "No wonder I hate that word!"

But then I looked it up in the Hebrew, which the Old Testament is written in, and the word means "completer" or "to complete," which is very different.  And so if you look at Genesis 2:18, the verse says, "Then the Lord God said it's not good for the man to be alone.  I will make him a helper fit for him."  And a helper is a title of worth.  In fact, here is the definition that we're going to bring today to what the word "helper" means.  It means "bringing something to someone that they are incapable of bringing to themselves" – bringing something to someone that they are incapable of bringing to themselves. 

God refers to Himself in Scripture as "our helper."  Psalm 54:4 says, "Behold, God is my helper, the Lord is the upholder of my life."  And so – and then also in number 3 – "Husbands and wives have equal value, but we have different roles, responsibilities and purposes.  Galatians 3:28 says, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

One of the things that I saw a woman do that really made sense to me, and I meant to bring it, and I forgot to put it in my suitcase was she held up an umbrella, and she said, "Really, I look at our roles, and the leader and the helper of being like an umbrella."  And she said, "If I popped up an umbrella right now, you've got the canvas, and then you've got the support, or the base, and the handle."  So if I had this sitting up here, and if we are the handle, or the support, of the leadership, or the canvas, you tell me, which one is more important?

Okay, if you have the canvas – let's say the husband's role – is that more important?  If you had the canvas without anything holding it up, what would that do?  Nothing.  And if you had the handle and the little – you know, the spiny skeleton without the canvas, what would that do?  Right.  It's equal.  You see, I love how that looks.  I think we're equal.  You have to have one to complete the other, and if you have one without the other, the other is worthless.

Theodore Roosevelt said this – he says "The successful mother, the mother who does her part in rearing and training are right – the boys and girls who are to be the men and women of the next generation is of greater use to the community and [inaudible] if she would only realize it.  The mother is one supreme asset of the national life.  She is more important, by far, than the successful statesman or businessman or artist or scientist."  Amen to that.

Number one, a woman's home is the place from which she can change the world.  You know what?  I don't think we hear it enough, but you women are the influencers of the next generation.  Someone asked me one time, and I taught this Bible study with the Alliance wives talking about our role as women, and I said, "I don't know, sometimes I think our role – we are called to be influencers," and, I tell you, we do.  We influence our husbands.  When I look at a great man, not just his vocation – that he is successful in his vocation – but when I look at a great man, success in every area, I always look to his wife, because I really believe that great men have even greater wives behind them because we are influencers. 

You know what we have the power to do?  We can take our power as an influencer and build these guys up, but we also have the power to rip them to shreds.  It's scary, the power we have, I believe.  Sometimes women feel like, "Well, I don't have any influence."  Yes, we do.  We have way more than we realize.

I love the story of Dave Weaver – I don't know if any of you have heard of him.  Dave Weaver was – he speaks around the country.  He hasn't done it in a long time, but he used to speak around the country to high schools.  But Dave used to be a Navy SEAL, and he was in Vietnam, and he was trained – you know, the Navy SEAL, they're the best of the best, and he was trained specifically in explosives, and he said when he was in Vietnam, he was in a riverbank, and he had a phosphorous grenade in his hand, which means a grenade that burns, and he had pulled the pin when he was about ready to throw it when a sniper, a bullet, hit the grenade in his hand, and it exploded in his face.  And he said that he recalls laying in this riverbed seeing parts of his face float down the river.

He woke up in a burn unit of a hospital beside another vet that was just totally burned, and you couldn't even recognize him, and Dave says he'll never forget the day when this man's wife walked into the burn unit, stood over her husband, took off her wedding band and placed it on his chest.  And the man died a few days later, and Dave said what hope did he have if his own wife couldn't accept him, how could the world?

And so Dave says that he recalled hearing his wife Annie's high heels click down the halls, coming to his room, and his heart was just beating because he had lost the whole side of his face.  His ear was gone, his whole face was just all totally burned, and he said, "Annie walked into the room, and she bent down, and she kissed his one good eye that was uncovered, and she looked at him.  She said, 'I love you, Davy,' and he said, you know, when she calls me Davy, I know I'm the man."

He said, "Inside I was like Yes!  Yes!"  Every one of our husbands feel that when we kiss them and accept them as they are.  Because here's the deal – our husbands might not have the outward stuff, but don't we all have all our baggage inward?  Scars, ugly stuff that I find hard to accept, don't you?  I've got it in my life.  And yet what are you doing to your husband?  What do I do to Dave every day?  Do I take off my ring and say, "I cannot accept you as you are," or do we look at the mess that they are, just as God looks at the mess that we are, and we say, "I love you.  I respect you, and I'll support you."

Bob: Well, that is Ann Wilson speaking at a recent FamilyLife Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference, and you can tell those women were paying careful attention.

Dennis: They were.  In fact, Bob, have you ever been through the mall, and they've got maybe some cookies that you can sample, or you've got a fast-food restaurant that maybe has some chicken nuggets that you can try just a little sliver of, and you go, "Man, that was so good.  I think I'll go ahead and have a whole sandwich."

Well, the reason we featured Ann's message here on our broadcast today is because we wanted you to just have a little taste.  The conference has about 12 different messages that couples sit and listen to together, and it's done in such a fun, entertaining, relevant way that you know what?  You're not just going to get a little toothpick sample.  You're going to be able to get a feast at a Weekend to Remember, and that's why we're encouraging couples to sign up right away and get to one of these conferences.  I believe it's the best investment you can make in your marriage.  I don't think there is a better weekend available for couples.

In fact, we actually have a guarantee that if it's not one of the best investments you've ever made, we'll give you your registration fee back.  Why don't you join us at a Weekend to Remember and do something for your marriage, especially, Bob, especially with Valentine's Day coming and chocolate and roses?  I mean, there's a way for guys to do this right, or – for their wives to surprise them and make this a really romantic weekend away together.

Bob: Well, and we are sweetening the deal right now for our listeners who register to attend one of these upcoming conferences this week.  When you register at the regular rate, you and your spouse together, we're going to send you at no additional cost, a certificate that is good for another couple to attend for free.  So you can pass that along to them, even if they live in another city, if they're not coming to the same conference you're coming to – either – I mean, it's fine if you guys want to come together and do the conference together, that would be great.  But if you want to send this along to your sister who lives halfway across the country, she and her husband can go to a conference wherever they live.

These conferences are going to be in cities all across the country throughout the spring starting on Valentine's weekend, as you said.  So, again, if you want to take advantage of this special offer, which is as good an offer as our team has ever put together, you and your spouse register at the regular rate, we'll send you companion certificates so another couple can attend at no cost.  Register today online at, and as you fill out the registration form, remember this – type my name – type the word "Bob" in the keycode box on the registration form.  That way we'll know to send you this conference certificate.

Or call 1-800-FLTODAY and register over the phone and just mention that you heard Bob talking about the special deal on the radio and, again, we'll send you the certificate that's good for another couple to attend the conference at no cost when you sign up at the regular rate.  So, again, go to to register, type the word "Bob" in the keycode box on the form, or call 1-800-358-6329 – 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY, and just mention that you heard me talking about this on the radio, and we'll send you the companion certificate, and that way you can attend a Weekend to Remember, a friend can attend a Weekend to Remember, and both of you will have a great weekend getaway with your husband or with your wife.  It really is a fun romantic weekend for couples.

Now, tomorrow we are going to hear from a couple whose marriage got off to a bad start, and we're going to hear about the powerful way God worked in their lives and in their marriage.  That's coming up tomorrow, as you'll meet Rob and Laurie Kopf.  I hope you can be back with us for that.

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team.  On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine.  We'll see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas – help for today; hope for tomorrow. 

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