FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Avoiding Stupid Attempts at Love in Marr

with Michael and Hayley DiMarco | February 4, 2010
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Stupid attempts at love don’t just happen when you’re dating, but also when you’re married. Today husband and wife team Michael and Hayley DiMarco tell how our emotions, especially selfishness, often derail us in marriage. Today, hear them talk about other harmful ways to relate to your spouse, including failing to provide and not accepting his offerings.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Stupid attempts at love don’t just happen when you’re dating, but also when you’re married. Today husband and wife team Michael and Hayley DiMarco tell how our emotions, especially selfishness, often derail us in marriage. Today, hear them talk about other harmful ways to relate to your spouse, including failing to provide and not accepting his offerings.

  • 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.

Stupid attempts at love don’t just happen when you’re dating, but also when you’re married.

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Avoiding Stupid Attempts at Love in Marr

With Michael and Hayley DiMarco
February 04, 2010
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Bob:  Let me ask you how is your RQ – not your IQ, your RQ – your romance quotient?  Hayley DiMarco says, “For a lot of women there are just little things that they do that they shouldn’t ought to do.”  For example!

Hayley:  It’s very easy as women – we have in our minds exactly what we want, and when we don’t get it we’re very transparent so we express in our faces, and in our emotions that’s not what I wanted, and we totally miss the fact that that devastates the man who brought you something, and really tried, and wants to make you happy.  What that tells the man is-

Michael:  I can’t please her!

Hayley:  That she’s never happy!

Michael:  So why try?

Hayley:  Right and so then you stop bringing as much because well, she’s never happy.  But, really the bottom line of it is that the woman is being selfish – that she’s more concerned about material possessions, and the thing he didn’t bring or the thing he didn’t do than loving him.

Bob:  This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, February 4th.  Our host is the President of FamilyLife Dennis Rainey and I’m Bob Lepine.  We have some advice for men and women today – advice like how to deal with disappointment in a way that doesn’t completely wipe out your husband.  Michael and Hayley DiMarco join us.

Welcome to FamilyLife Today thanks for joining us. 


Dennis:  Our phone lines have been jammed ever since they heard what you said earlier Bob about singles being stupid.  I mean unbelievable!


Bob:  We are talking this week about the fact that all of us in relationships can tend toward to borrow a phrase here – cupidity – combining romance and stupidity to come up with cupidity, and it’s not just for singles.  I would like to just go on record as having been stupid in my marriage relationship from time to time.  I’ve been guilty of this!


Dennis:  Oh my goodness!  Barbara and I been married 37 years, and I promise you.

Bob:  You’ve had moments of cupidity?

Dennis:  More than once – seasons – seasons!  We won’t call Barbara to confirm that at this point!


Bob:  Well, let’s talk to the experts because we have a couple of really

Dennis:  Their life’s story is in this book.  Michael and Hayley DiMarco join us again – Hayley – Michael welcome back!

Hayley:  Thank You!

Michael:  Thanks!

Dennis:  They’ve written a book called:  Cupidity – 50 Stupid Things People Do for Love


Michael:  And how to avoid them.

Dennis:  And how to avoid them

Michael:  That’s right – we’re not just observing and then laughing.

Dennis:  So, it’s not just a guilt-producing book.

Bob:  We’ve already talked this week about what singles do, those things that they tend toward in relationships – what about married couples?  I mean if you had to boil it down and I don’t know if you can boil it down to one thing.

Dennis:  Well, they have 50!

Bob:  Well, I know but if you had to zero in on what the tendencies that women have in marriage toward relational stupidity Hayley where would you point?

Hayley:  I think that for most of us what our tendency is is to look at everything from the perspective of how it feels to us.  Everything, not just love but certainly in love we talk about amongst ourselves how we feel.  So, if he makes me feel bad then there’s something wrong with him.  If he doesn’t make me feel good there’s something wrong with him.  So, I think most of the acts of cupidity center around that.  We define everything by how we feel rather than what’s true.

Dennis:  So, number one – believing love is a feeling.  Love is not a feeling!  It may sometimes feel good but love is a commitment.  It’s sacrificial action.  It’s staying with somebody even when there aren’t any feelings.

Hayley:  Well, you look at what scripture says about love.  You know you’re supposed to love God, love your neighbor, love your enemies, love those who hate you – all of these as they get progressively more difficult can all apply to marriage.  There are times when your husband or your wife’s your neighbor, and you have to love them, and you might not feel anything about them at all, but you still have to love them.  There are times when they’re going to feel like your enemy, but you’re still commanded to love them.  So, it’s not a feeling – sometimes you’re going to feel awful about them, but that doesn’t change that you still love them.

Michael:  Counter culturally there’s nowhere in scripture where there’s a direct command to love yourself. 

Hayley:  That’s very good!

Michael:  Love God, love your neighbor!

Dennis:  Well, there would be those who say love your neighbor as yourself.

Bob:  The reality is you already do love yourself.

Hayley:  More than yourself!

Michael:  That’s the great thing about the verse is Jesus already knows.

Dennis:  I just wanted to head off the mail before it arrives.

Michael:  No,the scripture already assumes part of our sinful nature is that we’re going to love ourselves more than anything else.  So, the biblical command is to love others as yourself.

Bob:  As I was looking through your book, and trying to ask the question in my marriage relationship where have I been most relationally stupid?  One of the chapters that caught my eye was the chapter of walking on egg shells.  Now, for me as a guy I have tended to want to be a pleaser.  In fact I have thought if Mary Ann is happy then I’m doing what I ought to be doing as a husband – right?

Dennis:  You’re a peacemaker!

Bob:  Yes.  If I can just help her to be happy with life then I’m doing what God would have me do.

Hayley:  Really?  Okay so you’re doing something different than what God would do?  Because, are you called not to be?

Bob:  Now, I didn’t bring this up so that you could rebuke me!


Hayley:  Just this topic I’m sorry – I’m not getting all over you Bob.

Dennis:  No – no keep going, keep going!

Hayley:  This is not something that you’re alone on okay?  This is something that we see a lot. As a woman I see it happening to my friends, and people around me, and I say, “It’s too bad that her husband won’t love her the way God loves her.”  That is – God doesn’t want to make you happy – He wants to make you Holy.  So, I think it’s the responsibility of the man in a spiritual relationship to ensure that his wife is becoming more Holy not more happy. 

Bob:  I will tell you it took me a long time to even come to that understanding of that realization.

Hayley:  Well, I’m sure you know that now – I don’t mean to step on you!

Bob:  No, but it’s true because Mary Ann will express with some degree of passion what she feels is the right thing to do, or what she wants to happen in a certain situation, and I will interpret that passion as alright – well, if I can accomplish this then you’ll be happy, and I’ll be rewarded right?

Michael:  You’ll be the hero!

Bob:  That’s right, and so it all kind of blends together until I did come to a realization where I think her happiness is not my primary responsibility here, but I need to stop and say, “Is that really the right thing we ought to be doing?”  Is this what the Lord would have us do?  There are times when I need to say to her, “You know I don’t think that’s the right.”  As passionate as you feel about it, I’m not sure that’s the right thing for us to do.

Dennis:  There may be those times when you’re sensing the displeasure of your wife that the best thing to say is nothing. 

Hayley:  Amen.

Dennis:  Barbara and I just spent a day traveling where she didn’t get up on the correct side of the bed.  The day started out terrible, horrible, no good, very bad and she wanted to move to Australia.  It was just where she was, and for once I didn’t try to correct her.  I really gave her space.  I didn’t try to make her laugh which makes her madder.  Instead I gave her space and we traveled a good bit of the day without saying much of anything.

Now, the eggshells for me is wanting to fix it.  I want to make her right.  I want to make her happy as you’re talking about but sometimes you have to give your spouse the freedom to have had a bad day, and let them sort it through and come to grips with.

Hayley:  Without trying to fix it!

Dennis:  That’s right - with their relationship with God, and not play junior Holy Spirit.


Bob:  You’re saying after 38 years you finally have understood it?

Dennis:  I didn’t say that!  You were the one, Bob – you were the one who said you finally understood it – I did not start on that one.


Michael:  See, and that’s the response, too, that God has with us as He loves us.  Sometimes it’s appropriate for Him to correct us, sometimes it’s appropriate for Him to come alongside us and crack a joke about something we just did, and then sometimes He stands there in silence and just lets you sweat out that bad day of getting up on the wrong side – which side is that left or right?

Dennis:  I’m not going to comment on that!

Michael:  I’m trying to figure that out for Hayley.

Dennis:  Here’s another one that you mentioned, and this one is good for women – number 16.  What do you mean by not accepting his kills?  This is sounding like a caveman or a little barbaric here.

Michael:  Yes, not accepting his kills.  I’ll let Hayley take it from here but not accepting his kills is basically picture a caveman – you can make it modern honey.  Picture a caveman coming back to a cave with two rabbits but she really wanted an antelope.  She did not want to clean and cook two rabbits.  She was wanting an antelope.

Hayley:  Well, I think that for a lot of us – men I know your number one goal and Bob you pointed this out, is to make your wife happy.  I think that’s beyond the shadow of a doubt the goal of every man – he wants to make his wife happy.  So, when men bring you – when your husband brings you something like let’s say he brings you a new garbage can because he knew you needed a new.

Dennis:  No, no, no, no  - we’re using the wrong illustrations here.  I’m sorry to correct you guys but he talks about rabbits – killing a rabbit – killing an antelope – no woman wants a rabbit or an antelope.  She wants a nice watch that has diamonds marching around the face, and he brings home a Timex.

Hayley:  Okay, let’s talk about that then.

Bob:  Or he found one on the streets of New York that has those diamonds and says five bucks.

Michael:  It was inside a coat.


Dennis:  Now we have it right!  Okay talk to them about that.

Hayley:  Okay, it’s just very easy as women we have in our minds exactly what we want, and when we don’t get it we’re very transparent, and we want to keep it real.  So, we express in our faces, and in our emotions that that’s not what I wanted.  We totally miss the fact that that devastates the man who brought you something, and really tried and wants to make you happy.  What that tells the man is – I feel funny saying that sitting here in front of three men – you probably all could speak to this better than I could.

Michael:  I can’t please her!

Hayley:  Right – that she’s never happy!

Michael:  Yes – so why try?

Hayley:  Right and so then you stop bringing as much because well she’s never happy.  But, really the bottom line of all this is that the woman is being selfish – that she’s more concerned about material possessions, and the thing he didn’t bring or the thing he didn’t do than loving him for the beautiful thing that he’s done.

Bob:  So, let’s say he does bring home flowers that he bought at Wal-Mart okay?

Dennis:  They just happen to be discounted because they’ve been there a couple weeks with the price.

Michael:  The plastic wrap is on it with the price tag that you can’t peel off not that I’ve done that.

Hayley:  Yes - $2.99

Dennis:  No, me neither!

Bob:  So, does she act like she’s flattered when she gets the $2.99 flowers that were in the throw away bin at Wal-Mart?

Hayley:  Well, let me ask you don’t you find that alluring – isn’t that beautiful and gracious in a woman?  You could pick her some flowers by the side of the road and she thinks “That is so sweet; I’m going to put this in a vase right in front of where everybody can see it.”  There’s something alluring - very attractive about a woman who’s pleased – isn’t there?

Bob:  But, are you pleased when you get the $2.99 flowers from Wal-Mart?


Hayley:  Do I want the expensive flowers from the fancy florist?  Well, yes maybe I do but what you have to do is tell yourself that you’re pleased with his effort.  You’re pleased that he thought enough about you to buy something, and not make it about yourself really and what you think you need to be more comfortable or more happy.

Dennis:  Okay, this is close to number nine – failing to provide.  A man wants to provide the dozen roses that you know cost $50 – 60, but let’s face it that doesn’t happen all that often.  In this economy this one right here is a big one – failing to provide.  Explain what that means Michael?

Michael:  Well, surrounding an act of cupidity – the act of failing to provide in a stupid loving sense is really not going to the base of tough economy and people being laid off, and really struggling.  But, it’s for the lazy man.  It’s for the man that is not making an effort.  This applies to men both married and single that won’t get off the couch. 

So, when a man commits an act of cupidity by not providing for his wife and/or family what he’s doing is he’s saying, “I’m going to abdicate that role to my wife – I’m going to let my wife bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan.”  Once again it goes back to what Hayley said earlier – it’s about selfishness, it’s about how we feel and when men delay growing up they continue to do what they want, and not what they need to do.

So, if a guy really has a dream of becoming a professional skateboarder, and he’s 45, and has a potbelly you know he’s probably outgrown that.  He probably needs to get on the treadmill or start delivering papers in the morning and work that gut off. 


Bob:  I want to read a passage of scripture here but first I got an e-mail from my son today  - he’s a senior in college, and he pointed me to this passage of scripture.  He said, “Dad, I was reading 2 Thessalonians chapter 3 today” – Now we command you brothers in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.  For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us because we were not idle when we were with you nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it but with toil and labor we worked night and day that we might not be a burden to you. 

It was not because we do not have that right but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate.  Even when we were with you we would give you this command.  If anyone’s not willing to work let him not eat.  For we hear that some among you walk in idleness not busy at work but busybodies. 

My son writes me, and he says, “This sounds like those guys we’ve talked about Dad who are looking around trying to marry their mother.”  I’m just thinking cha-ching.  He’s figured it out and not only is he figuring it out but on a college campus – he’s seeing it.  He’s seeing the guys who are X-Boxing until three, and they just aren’t taking on the mantle of masculine responsibility.  I think when you talk about failing to provide you’re talking about guys who don’t want to be guys in a relationship.

Michael:  A positive twist on that is when if you picture every man as a sports car or a 4x4—a performance machine of some sort—it’s not performing if it’s just sitting and idling.  Men have to really harness that God given gift of the accelerator pedal. 

Dennis:  Yes, it’s not fulfilling the purpose that God has for that man.  Let’s talk about physical acts of cupidity – you have a couple here I want you to just comment on.  Number 22 – withholding sex to get romance.  Is that what women do?

Hayley:  Yes - yes!

Dennis:  Notice I didn’t turn to Michael.

Michael:  I was all ready to answer that one!

Hayley:  No, I think that it’s a kind of a cliché for a reason.  If you get her mad and she’s mad enough at you she’s going to make sure you don’t have sex to get you back.  I think that’s an age-old practice on the part of women.  I think it’s a very selfish practice, an ungodly practice, and it really is kind of like a little kid having a fit.

Bob:  Okay, but Hayley lets just be honest you’ve been mad before right?

Hayley:  Yes, I’ve been steaming mad!

Bob:  Okay and those are not the times when you’re really the most in the mood – right?

Hayley:  Neither one of us probably at that point!

Bob:  So, at the point where you are mad at your husband you’re not predisposed toward physical intimacy.

Hayley:  Right, well what I’m saying is probably he isn’t either.  He’s not looking at you saying, “Hey baby let’s go up to the room.”

Dennis:  Yes, yes but let me change the equation here a little bit.  Let’s say Michael comes to you, and he says, “Oh sweetie I am so sorry.  I repent in sackcloth and ashes, and here I am I’m groveling on the floor.”

Bob:  Has this ever happened?

Michael:  Not really!  He’s going to have trouble with this.


Hayley:  I’ll project to someone else!

Dennis:  You’ll project someone else.  No, don’t do that either.  Anyway he comes to you, and he repents, and then he says five minutes later “Hey sweetie.”  Then he’s in the mood for love.

Hayley:  That’s the point that women withhold.  If he’s repented, and you’re not in the middle of the fight anymore and he’s interested, for you to say no is sinful.

Bob:  Punishment!

Hayley:  Yes, because you are seeking revenge, and that belongs to God.

Dennis:  Now, wait a second – I’ve been married for 37 years, and this has happened in our marriage before – I’m not talking about her punishing me, but I am talking about where there’s an argument where I’ve wounded her and where I as a man have had to realize that the aftereffects of the wound are real and that as a man I’m being pretty selfish to expect her to move past the aftereffects to move toward physical sexual love in the relationship.

Hayley:  Well listen cupidity happens on both sides.  It takes two people being smart about love to really make it work.  Because a man could torture a woman by saying this:  No, you can never withhold, and right now is the time.  So, yes there are extremes on both sides.  But, what we’re talking about is the woman who literally holds onto it to punish – that’s where you go wrong.

Michael:  Yes, and it could go both ways as she was saying where it becomes transactional  - that act of cupidity is where well the cliché again – when was the last time you took me to a movie?  Well, three movies this month so we’re going to dim the lights twice.  You know things like that where it becomes some sort of like a story problem that’s a roadblock.

Bob:  I thought you were going to clean the garage today and since you didn’t I’m not interested.

Michael:  Right!

Hayley:  But, we’re really called to imitate God, and to love the way God did.  He loved us even though we weren’t lovely so that’s really the bottom line.

Dennis:  Yes – let’s look at number 31 – this one is a guy problem generally.  Looking at porn that is clearly an act of cupidity.

Michael:  Well, yes plainly it’s a sin.  But, what it does is it reveals the stupid lovely fact that men are lazy.  Typically that’s why men are more susceptible to porn I believe – we believe is because it’s men’s sometimes lazy nature that leads to looking at pornography.  Because, what it says to women and to anyone else that has an inside in that man’s heart is that I’m too lazy to make an effort with my wife.  I’m too lazy to provide for her what she needs as far as communication and nurturing.

Bob:  I’m too lazy to press for reconciliation when our relationship is fractured.  I really am looking for the lowest threshold. 

Dennis:  Easy way out!

Bob:  That’s right!

Dennis:  There is a reason why there’s an entire chapter in the Bible committed to love.  First Corinthians 13 – I’m not going to read it.

Bob:  Because we’re all guilty of cupidity is that why?

Dennis:  I think we all are guilty of cupidity.  But, it says, “Love is patient, and kind.  Love does not envy or boast, it’s not arrogant or rude, it does not insist on its own way.  It is not irritable or resentful, does not rejoice at wrong doing but rejoices with the truth, love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, love never ends.”

I think life is one long process of God reprogramming us and teaching us how to love.  We don’t start out the beginning as single people knowing how to love.  We don’t start out as married folks knowing how to love, we start out with a real shallow commitment that’s called a marriage covenant, and then we make it good, and it gets deep, and it gets rich, and wide, and it’s multi-color.  It’s tasty, it’s magnificent if we don’t quit.

I really appreciate you guys and your book here:  Cupidity.  In a fun way, you’ve helped us laugh at ourselves but at the same time slip little doses of truth in the beverage so that we’re drinking it in.  I love you guys, and appreciate your work – thanks for being with us.

Hayley:  Thank you!

Michael:  Thanks so much!

Bob:  Now, I’m looking forward to seeing just how many stupid married couples will call us now.

Dennis:  You’ve done it again!  That pretty much takes care of all of our audience.

Bob:  The singles, and now the marrieds.

Dennis:  Earlier it was the stupid singles; today it’s the stupid marrieds.

Bob:  You can go on-line at and get a copy of Michael and Hayley’s book Cupidity and as I’ve already said this week I would not recommend this as a Valentine’s gift for your spouse.  Don’t say, “Here sweetheart I thought this would be a great book for you to read.”  This is for you to read, and to progress a little bit with your romantic quotient – your RQ. 

Again the title of the book; Cupidity – the website is  You can also call toll-free 1-800-FLTODAY, and we’ll let you know how we can send a copy of the book out to you.

Let me quickly say a word of thanks to those of you who help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today.  I think most of you know that our program like most of the programs you hear on this station – we’re listener supported, it’s folks like you who believe in what we’re doing who call from time to time, or go online and make a donation, you keep us on the air in this city, and in other cities all across the country.  When we remind you of the fact that we need your financial support we don’t want to do anything that would take away from the giving that you’re already doing to your local church.  We believe that needs to be your first priority, but if you can help us with a donation over and above what you’re doing with your local church we would appreciate it.

This month we want to show our appreciation by sending you a CD that features a message that was presented a number of years ago at one of our events where Jody and Linda Dillow talked about what they call The Four Flames of Marital Intimacy.  Given that this is the month it is we thought that was a great message to send out as a thank you gift this month.

When you make your donation on-line at just type the word FOUR in the key code box on the on-line donation form and we’ll know to send you a copy of the CD when you make an on-line donation.  Or call 1-800-FLTODAY – 1-800-358-6329 – you can make your donation over the phone – ask for the CD that we were talking about on the radio – they’ll know what you mean, and again we’re happy to send it out to you this month.  We do appreciate your financial partnership with us, and your support of the ministry of FamilyLife Today.


Now, tomorrow we are going to meet a husband who as he tells it – he and his wife lived in virtual emotional isolation for more than a decade in their marriage.  They were still together – everybody thought everything was fine, but it was chilly at home.  We’ll meet David Bentall tomorrow, and I hope you can be with us to hear his story.

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 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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