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Bread Crumbs and Other Frustrations

with Rhonda Stoppe | September 13, 2017

The first time Rhonda Stoppe saw the man who would become her husband, he immediately took her breath away. But the shine of their picture perfect relationship began to wear off after their "I dos." Stoppe recalls how the kitchen crumbs began to undo her as a new bride, and shares what she learned the hard way: A happy marriage doesn't stem from how well our husbands meet our expectations, but how well we know God.

Show Notes and Resources

NoRegretsWoman.com

The first time Rhonda Stoppe saw the man who would become her husband, he immediately took her breath away. But the shine of their picture perfect relationship began to wear off after their "I dos." Stoppe recalls how the kitchen crumbs began to undo her as a new bride, and shares what she learned the hard way: A happy marriage doesn't stem from how well our husbands meet our expectations, but how well we know God.

Show Notes and Resources

NoRegretsWoman.com

Bread Crumbs and Other Frustrations

With Rhonda Stoppe
|
September 13, 2017
| Download Transcript PDF

Bob: All of us are prone to doing things that can get on the other person’s nerves. For Rhonda Stoppe, it was how her husband prepared his breakfast every morning.

Rhonda: He always thought he was doing me a favor by making the peanut butter toast on the counter so he didn’t dirty a dish. I don’t know why I did not see his obsession with peanut butter toast before we got married but—I had this fetish with crumbs—they just absolutely drive me crazy. [Laughter] I remember one day, I walked in the kitchen and the crumbs were all over. I just kind of gasped and he’s like, “What is wrong with you?”

Those little things—we assign motives to that; right? It’s like: “You don’t care what I do all day. Look at this!” I come from marriages in my family that crumbled from those little roots of resentment that turned to bitterness that just tore down the foundation of a marriage—so I knew that I needed help.

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, September 13th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey; and I'm Bob Lepine. What are the things your spouse is doing that are driving you crazy?

1:00

Maybe a better question is: “What are the things you’re doing that may be driving your spouse crazy?” We’ll talk about that today. Stay with us.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. You know, I think a lot of people—when they’re looking at challenges they’re facing in their marriage relationship—the biggest problem they have is trying to locate the source of the problem. Most people think it’s somewhere outside rather than looking somewhere inside.

Dennis: Like the mirror.

Bob: Yes; right.

Dennis: We’ve got a guest, here on FamilyLife Today, who has not only looked in the mirror but she’s also looked at a sheet of paper and written some thoughts down about how a wife is to better love her husband. Rhonda Stoppe joins us on FamilyLife Today. Rhonda, welcome to the broadcast.

Rhonda: Thanks. I’m excited to be here.

Dennis: Rhonda and her husband Steve have been married since 1981; they have four grown children.

2:00

She is a speaker and author of several books. This latest book is If My Husband Would Change, I’d Be Happy; and then it’s subtitled, (& Other Myths Wives Believe).

Bob: I almost scared her away from coming; because she tweeted that she was excited about coming, and then I tweeted back that we were going to pummel her with questions. She wanted to know if that was really a word and if we really did that in the studio. [Laughter]

Dennis: Oh really?! Did he say that?!

Rhonda: He said, “pummel” at about 11:45 your time. I was getting ready to go to bed and I go, “Oh, I’m going to be pummeled in the morning!” [Laughter]

Dennis: Wow! We found some fresh ways to, you know, offend our guests; but that—that’s—that’s a new one—in advance! [Laughter]

Rhonda: It was lighthearted, and I appreciate it. [Laughter]

Dennis: You’ve written a book here that’s just—a lighthearted book as well—about wives and husbands—and really, how wives can better love their husbands.

Bob: I think I have a suggestion that—see if this qualifies as one of the ways a wife can love her husband.

3:00

If she takes the initiative and registers the two of them for a Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway; and she can tell him, “I saved 50 percent by signing up this week.” That would qualify—don’t you think?—as a way of a wife demonstrating love for her husband?

I mention that, of course, because this is the last week that we’ve got the opportunity for couples to save 50 percent on an upcoming Weekend to Remember marriage getaway this fall. If you register this week and you use the promo code, “SAVE50,” you will save 50 percent off the regular registration fee; and you’ll get a great weekend out of it.

I would think, if you said to your husband, “I thought it would be fun for us to have a getaway weekend where the two of us got away for a couple of days and went to a hotel—and by the way—I saved us 50 percent on the registration fee.” I’d think there would be a lot of husbands who would go, “Sounds like a deal to me!”

Find out more about the special offer we’re making this week for FamilyLife Today listeners—go to FamilyLifeToday.com for the information.

4:00

You can register online or you can find out dates and locations of upcoming getaways. Again, the website is FamilyLifeToday.com; or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY, and we’ll answer any questions you have or get you registered for one of these upcoming events.

That is the end of the commercial. Excuse me—we can get on with it here.

Dennis: Let’s start with your love story with Steve. Just unpack how you guys met and how long it took him to pull the trigger.

Rhonda: FOREVER! [Laughter] I am crazy in love with Steve Stoppe—I am a Stoppe-stalker from way back. Steve had come home from Bible college to a church that I was actually going to a Christian school. All the young girls that were looking for a husband started dating him. I just—honestly, the first time I talked to him, I walked away and I had that fleeting thought, “I’m going to marry him.” I never thought that about anybody, and I was embarrassed that I even thought it—I was 14! [Laughter]

Bob: Okay; hang on.

Dennis: Fourteen?!

Bob: Bible college and 14.

Rhonda: I know! I know! I didn’t—he didn’t date me; he ran from me! [Laughter]

Bob: So what’s the age difference?

5:00

Rhonda: Six-and-a-half years.

Dennis: If you had a daughter, who was 14, and she had a crush on a guy—

Rhonda: That happened! Our youngest, Makayla—I’m going to tell your story / sorry, honey-girl. When she was, actually 13/14, she met the man she’s married to now. He was actually my older son, Brandon’s, best friend, Estevan. She was crazy in love with this guy. I adore my son-in-law and I—

Dennis: Well, you do now; but back then?

Rhonda: I always did! My husband was the one that was going: “Uh-uh-uh! He can’t know that she loves him at that age.” I’m like, “Baby, I was 14; and I knew I was crazy about you.” He goes, “Don’t tell her.” I’m like, “She knows our story!” [Laughter]

Bob: I just have to step in here, too; because I’ll never forget my son—his junior year in high school—he came to me and he said, “Dad, I know what we’ve talked about—about dating—and about the fact that you never marry the girl that you date in high school.” He said: “But can I just ask this one girl out? Can I just ask her to an afternoon movie?” I said, “You get her dad’s okay, and you can go to an afternoon movie.”

6:00

Well, they are, today, the parents of our granddaughter, Ivy. I’ve had—

Rhonda: Oh! We have an Ivy!

Bob: Do you?

Rhonda: Yes.

Bob: I’ve had to eat my words that you never marry your high school sweetheart. I would still tell my son that, more times than not, you don’t.

But you just fell, head over heels, for him at 14; and it never let up.

Rhonda: I tell the story—I hadn’t seen him in a while. He drove this 1969 Mach 1 Shaker Hood—it was awesome. We show up—this was in Freemont, California—I was a cheerleader for the Christian school I was at. We show up at this school. I see his midnight blue 1969 Mach 1: “No mistake! That’s Steve Stoppe’s car.” I get that little pitter-patter like, “I’m going to see him! I haven’t seen him in a while.”

I walk in; and he runs up, and he does a layup. He was playing an alumni game for that high school he graduated from. We—our eyes locked as he did the layup—and you know, you walk right in the gym, face to face; and he kind of froze in time for a minute. My heart pitter-pattered; and he turned and ran back down the court. I’m like: “He saw me! He’s going to come talk—he saw me.”

7:00

 

After the game, he goes and showers and does whatever. I’m getting ready—I’m in my cheerleading uniform, and I’m getting ready for the game. I see him come out, and I’m super-excited. He’s certainly going to come over and say, “Hi,” to me; and then, he walks out with a woman on his arm. I look at myself, in my little cheerleading uniform—I’m like, “He is never going to notice me—I’m a girl.” He introduces this woman to all of the kids he went to high school with. I was just like, “Nah, he’s never going to notice me.”

Dennis: How long did it—did he wait until he—

Bob: —until he noticed?

Dennis: —until he noticed and asked you out?

Rhonda: Well, he ran from me.

Dennis: Did he wait until you graduated from junior high? [Laughter]

Rhonda: Absolutely! Absolutely! You know, it’s funny; because we were just on a podcast called Engaging Stories. They were interviewing Steve and I and asking us: “Tell us your love story.” It evolved over such a length of time. My sister was dating his brother; so we kind of all hung out in the same friendship group; and our families are friends.

I remember I was—probably, around 16—he and I were sitting in his Mach 1.

8:00

A girl he had known in the past—he had kind of gone to see again. I was like, “If I don’t say something right now, I’m going to lose this guy forever.” So, I said, “You know,”—and I kind of waited and I said—“I kind of always thought that, maybe, one day, you and I end up together.” Then, the man doesn’t say a word. I’m staring out the car / he’s staring out the car—we’re sitting in the car, next to each other. Then, finally, he goes, “Yeah, me too.” I was just like, “Oh!”

So, from that point on—I wasn’t allowed to date; so we just kind of hung out a lot. I—like he and I say, “We don’t even know when we started dating.” We date now, a lot, just to make up for it; because we’re not sure when the dating actually started. But, yes, he still takes my breath away.

Bob: Okay; so I have to just step in here and say, “You sound like the last person to write a book called If My Husband Would Change, I’d Be Happy

Rhonda: Okay!

Bob: —because he takes your breath away. You’ve always been madly in love with him, since you were 14. He sounds like he’s Mr. Perfect. Everybody’s, who is listening, is going, “If I was married to him, too, I’d be happy!” [Laughter]

9:00

Rhonda: Okay! So, let’s back up then. First of all—after we got married, we took a month honeymoon. This wonderful man sold his Mach 1 so that we could have the money to go—

Dennis: You know, you’ve now mentioned the Mach 1 about four or five times.

Rhonda: I know; oh, I know.

Bob: —with the Shaker Hood.

Dennis: Was it Steve or—

Rhonda: No; no—it was his car. We sold it for three grand—it’s worth over a hundred grand now. I like to tell people he took me on a hundred thousand dollar honeymoon. [Laughter]

Dennis: There you go! There you go! [Laughter]

Rhonda: We had so much fun! I had never been to a lot of places in the United States—so we went to Mount Rushmore, Grand Canyon, [and] Yellowstone. One of the first stories I tell—and if my husband could tell / I give way TMI about my and Steve’s life—when we were at Yellowstone—I’m sure most people know this, but I didn’t—that Old Faithful erupts at the same time every day.

Bob: Right.

Rhonda: So Steve had this amazing idea that we were going to hike up to the top of this vantage point to see it go off from where we were. I’m like, “Alright.” We’re hiking up to this place, where we’re going to see Yellow—

10:00

Bob: —Old Faithful.

Rhonda: —Old Faithful. I don’t know why I can’t think of that word. All of a sudden, after my morning coffee / a little exercise, my stomach starts making atrocious sounds. I’m a 20-year-old blushing bride; and I’m like, “Okay; I’m going to ignore it.” Finally, I’m: “Dude! If I don’t make it back down to that bathroom, we’re going to have our own Old Faithful right here.” [Laughter]

I know this poor guy—he, looking at this, where he could get up there to see—we were almost there—and he’s looking down at the bathroom. We—the park closed after that—so he never got to see Old Faithful from that vantage point. We promised we’d go back—35 years later, we have not ever been back. But I think that is when he realized that I was not Cinderella—the princess he thought he married had some personal issues.

When we got home, we both went back to work, full-time. I remember the house—what we used to do, when we were married—is we lived in fixer-uppers. We lived in the Silicon Valley in San Francisco Bay area. Housings were super expensive. We would move into one and fix it up. The house that we just finished fixing up—I remember I was in the kitchen, chiseling the ice out of the freezer—the bacon.

11:00

As I’m doing that, I’m starting to resent: “This isn’t fun anymore. We’re not dating—we’re not having a good time.” He’s out in the garage—I hear him laughing with his brother in the garage. They’re putting brakes on the car or something. It was that little—little resentment / that little root of bitterness that scared me.

Then—the man loves peanut butter toast. I don’t know why I did not see his obsession with peanut butter toast before we got married but—he always thought he was doing me a favor by making the peanut butter toast on the counter so he didn’t dirty a dish. I had this fetish with crumbs—they just absolutely drive me crazy. [Laughter] I remember one day, I walked in the kitchen and the crumbs were all over. I just kind of gasped; and he’s like, “What is wrong with you?”

Those little things—we assign motives to that; right? It’s like: “You don’t care what I do all day. Look at this!” I come from marriages in my family that crumbled from those little roots of resentment that turned to bitterness that just tore down the foundation of a marriage—so I knew that I needed help.

12:00

I knew the wife that I wanted to be and I knew the wife that I could easily become. I looked around—my husband and I worked with teenagers at the time. I looked at some of the marriages in our youth ministry—the ones that you wanted to emulate. I just became friends with those older women. I know the relationships that I had with those Titus 2 women transformed the woman that I would have become—but because of the direction that they sent me—they were real / they were vulnerable with their successes and their failures.

That’s really the goal of If My Husband Would Change. It’s written the way that I talk. I meet women all the time that say, “Oh, I’m not a reader.” I’m like, “Well, let’s see—you read Facebook® all day long; so you’re a reader. We’ve established that you’re a reader.” “Let me write a book that’s going to hang out with you—that’s going to feel more conversational—that you’re going to want to get the information that’s in the book to apply it to help people build a no-regrets marriage.”

Dennis: You’re really talking about something that, I think, is a missing ingredient in a lot of marriages as they start off; and that is to have some older men and women speaking to the couple just as they begin their marriage; because habits get formed early in the marriage.

13:00

Do you remember the first conversation you had with one of those Titus 2 women?—just about something that Steve was doing that irritated you. Was it the bread crumbs?

Rhonda: No.

Dennis: —or the peanut butter that was smeared on the counter?

Rhonda: No, no; it was not. Actually, the woman that I think that comes to mind, right off the bat, is my friend, Gail. What was interesting about these women when I reached out to them—was that they invited me to a Bible study. I’m like: “No, no, no; I don’t need to study the Bible. I need help being a better wife.” They said, “Just join us.” It was a study of Philippians—it was a Precept study—so it was five hours of homework a week.

Bob: It was taking you deep.

Rhonda: It was. I want those Jesus, God, Holy Spirit Bible studies—I’ve got all those Scriptures memorized from school—I just want to fill it out—I don’t have time to do homework! But my friend, Gail—she said: “Just come to this class. By the time you’re through the book of Philippians—if it doesn’t transform you—I will never bother you again.”

What I found—Romans 12—that as we’re not being conformed to this world / you know, watching TV shows about how to be a better wife or whatever—

14:00

—but “be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, acceptable, perfect will of God.” As I was being washed with the water of the Word—and it wasn’t easy / it was a lot of time—but as I started seeing my life through a biblical worldview / as I started being transformed with truth—it changed the way I related to my husband. It changed that entitlement mentality—or that idea that it’s my husband’s job to make me happy; and if he’s not measuring up to my expectations, then he’s letting me down.

Bob: Now, can I just say here?—the book of Philippians says nothing specifically about marriage.

Rhonda: No.

Bob: But there’s a lot in the book of Philippians that applies to marriage. I think that’s an important point for listeners to grab onto; because we often think, “There are those marriage passages in the Bible, and that’s where I need to go if I’m having marriage issues.” But a passage, like Philippians 2—that says:

15:00

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility regard others as more important than yourself.” That makes a lot of difference in a marriage if you start to apply that; doesn’t it?

Rhonda: Absolutely! In fact, I love the book of Philippians so very much. I love, in Chapter 4, where he says: “Euodia and Syntyche see to it that you agree in the Lord. And you, my true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel, along with Clement, my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.” Immediately he says: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice. Let your reasonableness be made known to all men. The Lord is at hand; be anxious for nothing, but in everything with prayer, supplication, thanksgiving let requests be made known to God.”

We pick and choose those little verses out of Philippians, Chapter 4; but it’s like Paul was saying that conflict between those women—they needed somebody on the outside to come in and help them resolve it. Guess what? Conflict steals your joy. So, you fight for joy—you “rejoice in the Lord always; again”—first he suggests it / then he commands it—“I say rejoice.”

16:00

Marriage trouble in the church steals the joy of our marriages.

In 18 years of youth ministry, the number one thing that drove kids away from church was hypocrisy in the Christian homes. That—my husband and I, for those 18 years—you give us a kid whose parents are crack addicts and you say, “Hey, Jesus loves you.” And they’re like, “He loves me.” You give me a kid, who’s been raised in the church by apathetic, hypocritical, faking it—you know, a lot of times, the marriages in the church—they’re pretending to be something that they’re not—the kids know. You say, “Hey, Jesus loves you.” They go: “Yeah; yeah; yeah. I’ve heard it my whole life.”

Because our marriage is a light to share the gospel—and it begins in our homes—there’s no way around it. If we’re not living in a manner worthy of our calling by loving our spouse with all of our being, our kids are not necessarily—God can work in spite of us—but they’re not going to be drawn to Christ because of us.

Dennis: You mentioned something a little earlier that we ran past, Rhonda.

17:00

You mentioned something to the effect that you didn’t have the picture-perfect Christian family that you grew up in to draw from as you became a young wife and mom. Unpack that a little bit—of the model you were given or the bags that you brought into the marriage because of the home that you grew up in.

Rhonda: My parents were saved, and they were believers; but they had come to Christ later in life. They had no mentors come alongside of them—they had no one that stepped into their life.

Here is an example: my husband and I do a No Regrets marriage conference. We did one at the church in Patterson. We advertised it all over the radio. People from all over came; so it was a very anonymous event that you could be at. One of the couples that was there spent some time with our youth pastor and his wife afterward. She said something—she said: “My husband and I are living with my in-laws. He’s a pastor.” They had four children—they were living with them. She said, “We were on the verge of divorce a year ago, and my in-laws don’t even know it.”

18:00

My heart, in the church, is to help couples build a genuine relationship—that there’s genuine love for one another so that there’s not that pretense. I think there’s a danger of everyone looking around and going, “Oh, everybody’s happy, except us.” The enemy likes to divide and conquer. If he can keep you thinking, you know, “We’re the only ones,” you’re not going to say anything. What happens is—it’s just something that gets pushed under the rug until—textbook: the kids grow up and then everybody parts ways; because “We stayed married for the sake of the kids.”

That is my heart—is to step into the marriages in church. Then, of course, my heart is evangelism; because we can give all the advice about marriage that we want to give; but if someone doesn’t know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, then what’s the point? The secret to really having a happy marriage is not in how well your husband measures up to your expectations; the secret is in how well you love God.

That’s really the whole premise of the entire book. Mark, Chapter 12—the religious leaders of the day ask Jesus, you know:

19:00

“What’s protos?”—“What’s the priority of life?” Jesus didn’t say: “Go to church,” “Light a candle,” “Chant a mantra,” “Work in the nursery,” “Make a crockpot of goodies for people.” He said, “That you love the Lord your God with all of your being, with all of your heart,”—that’s your emotions / your soul—that’s who you are—your mind is your thoughts and your strength is with what you do.

But what we do in Christian America?—“I love God with what I do,” “I’m going to go do something to show the church and to show God how much I love Him.” He’s like: “Slow down, Skippy. Fall in love with Me with your whole heart.” How do we do that?—back to what those Titus 2 women taught me. I knew the Bible / I went to Christian schools—I knew Scripture. But every once in a while I’d meet someone who really loved Jesus—and I knew I didn’t love Him like that—because what’s the second part of Jesus’ command?—“then you love your neighbor as yourself.”

Falling in love with the Lord / falling in love with God with all of my being.

Jesus said, “My yoke is easy; My burden is light.” So if it’s hard to love others—beginning in your home—if it’s hard to love others, you have to step back and say:

20:00

 “There’s something wrong in my walk.”

My life verse—Psalm 119:165: “Great peace have they that love thy law; and nothing shall offend them,” or “…nothing shall cause them to stumble.” That’s my litmus test for how I’m doing by being in love with God through His Word. If someone can offend me—it doesn’t mean people aren’t offendable—I’m a pastor’s wife, girlfriend! But it’s choosing to say, “I am not going to pick up that offense.” But if I can’t, then I have to step back and say: “Am I being washed in the water of the Word? Am I letting the Word of God transform my thinking? Is it giving me the strength to take my thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ?” If it’s not, it’s not their problem for offending me / it’s my problem that I’m not prepared.

That goes into our marriages. You know, if my husband: “You going to wear that today?” It’s like: “Well, what do you mean by that?!” If I pick up an offense—yes; I can say, “Hey babe; can you not say it like that?”—and you want to have those conversations—but am I willing to look at my own heart /my own contributions to the marriage and say:

21:00

“I can’t do a lot about what he just said; but if I’m being offended, then I need to look at: ‘Am I being washed with the water of the Word?’”

Dennis: I look at marriages today and I think, “I don’t know how two people, outside of having a relationship with Jesus Christ, can face their own self-centeredness and their spouse’s selfishness and go the distance.”

Rhonda: Yes.

Dennis: There are so many conflicting messages in our culture today that says: “Trade him in for a new one,” “Find a better one,” “You can find another woman who’d respect you more than she does.”

Bob: It’s easier to shop for a new one today than ever before; because you’ve got Facebook profiles / you’ve got Tinder—you can swipe to the right and see if the next one looks better than the last one.

Dennis: Yes; and you know Bob, we start the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway talking about the “Five Threats to Oneness.” Selfishness is one of those five threats. What you have to realize is: “If you get rid of this spouse and replace him or her with a newer one—

22:00

—a newer model or another one—you’re still going to have to deal with your own selfishness / her selfishness or his.

I think the only world religion that makes any sense is Christianity. It’s a relationship with Jesus Christ; because He says, in order to do what Rhonda was talking about—if you’re going to love God—you have to surrender. Love is surrender between a person and their God / it’s a surrender of a person with another person in a marriage relationship.

Bob: You mentioned the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway. I talked earlier about the special offer that we’ve got going on this week—in fact, it expires this weekend. If our listeners would like to attend one of these upcoming getaways—we’ve got more than four dozen of them happening across the country this fall—you can sign up, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY.

If you sign up before the end of the weekend you will save 50 percent off the regular registration rate.

23:00

You need a promo code to do that—it’s “SAVE50”—SAVE5-0. Again, sign up today or before the weekend is over; and you’ll save 50 percent off the cost of a weekend getaway for you and your spouse—two-and-a-half days where you can focus on one another and focus on your marriage / have a great time together. Find out more when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com. You can register online; or call if you have any questions or if you’d like to register by phone. Our number is 1-800-FL-TODAY—1-800-358-6329—that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”

There’s also information, online, about Rhonda Stoppe’s book, If My Husband Would Change, I’d Be Happy (& Other Myths Wives Believe). We have copies of that book in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. You can order it from us, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY to get your copy. Again, the website is FamilyLifeToday.com.

24:00

Our phone number is 1-800-358-6329—1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”

Now, tomorrow, we want to talk more about some of the myths that wives have about what leads to happiness in marriage—some of the expectations that get carried into a marriage. I think that’s true for husbands and wives. We’ll talk more about it tomorrow with our guest, Rhonda Stoppe. I hope you can be back 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; A Cru® Ministry.

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