FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Connecting in the Busy: David & Meg Robbins

with David and Meg Robbins | June 17, 2024
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Is your schedule a never-ending stream of lists and calendar invites? Finding time to reconnect with spouse can feel like a challenge. David and Meg Robbins share their takeaways from the Love Like You Mean It cruise.

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  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • 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.

Busy schedule? Connecting can be tough. David and Meg Robbins share cruise insights: enjoy each other, make space, grow together with God.

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Connecting in the Busy: David & Meg Robbins

With David and Meg Robbins
June 17, 2024
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Meg: No marriage is static. We're all either drifting towards isolation or intentionally moving toward oneness with each other. Sometimes, there can be things that happen that are like this little wedge, and other things happen and hammer that wedge and make the space between us grow if we're not careful. That's what happens when we start to drift apart from one another.

Shelby: Welcome to FamilyLife Today where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Shelby Abbott, and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. You can find us at

Ann: This is FamilyLife Today!

Dave: Today we're going to listen to a talk that was given on the Love Like You Mean It® cruise.

Ann: By our President, David, and Meg Robbins.

Dave: Well, here's the thing: when I think of Love Like You Mean It, I think of The Beach Boys [Laughter] and so, I sort of came up with a song that we could sing: “Let’s go cruising now, everybody’s cruising now; come on the Love Like You Mean It cruise with me…” [Laughter]

Alright. That's all I'm going to say about that. [Laughter]

Ann: Well, I just want you to know, if you haven't signed up for 2025, the Love Like You Mean It cruise, do it because we have—listen to this part—“SEAS the Savings” sale, June 10th through the 25th.

Dave: Is that what we're doing?

Ann: Yes.

Dave: You didn't even know what to do with my great song, did you?

Ann: No, I just kind of ignored it and kept going.

Dave: All we have to say is—how many times have we been on this cruise?

Ann: A lot.

Dave: I bet it’s 10 times.

Ann: Maybe?

Dave: Usually, we're speakers on this cruise, but I'm just telling you: if you've never done this, you’ve got to do it this year.

Ann: You do.

Dave: You don't want to just hear these on FamilyLife Today,these talks. They're great talks, and they're every night on the cruise. There are breakout talks during the day, and there are ports of call, and there are musicians and comedians and illusionists, and a lot of great, great people.

Ann: It’s really fun.

Dave: It's really a great week to not only get a vacation, but to get a vacation with a purpose because you're pouring into your marriage.

So, today, we get to hear one of the talks that was given by our President, David, and his wife, Meg. Actually, it was the first night, and they called it More Than Cruise Control.

Ann: I really like this talk. I've heard it before, and you're going to love it. I think Meg has a great illustration in the beginning that everybody's going to relate to.


Meg: We moved to Orlando about four years ago, and one of the things we realized really quickly is that we've never lived this close to the ocean, or the beach, and we love going to the beach. We pile all our stuff and drive about an hour and spend a day there. But we also know that our kids love to boogie board. If we get there without those, it's kind of a sad, disappointing day at the beach, because they can get in the ocean and ride the waves for hours, truly, and just have a blast.

But what happens every time—it doesn't matter if it's like a calm, chill day, or if it's super windy, or storms are coming; what happens, pretty much every time—is that they're riding the waves, and they're riding the waves, and we look up and we're [thinking], “Oh, my goodness! They are way over there!” And we're going over here, we're yelling their names, telling them, “You have got to get out of the water. Get back on the sand. Look, our umbrella is way over here! Walk all the way back down, and then, you can get back in and start over. But pay attention, because the water is taking you all the way over there.”

And truly, our marriage is the same way. The currents of life are going to pull us away from each other. Life is hard. It's challenging. There are also joyful moments, but the constant currents of life pull us apart. We all need moments where we get out of the water, out of the craziness of the currents of life, and get on solid ground to reconnect with the Lord and reconnect with one another.

Now, I realize that we all just got on a boat, and it's kind of shaky right now as the engine is revving up, and we're going out on water; but stick with the analogy for now. This is your “solid ground moment,” even though we're on a boat. [Laughter]

David: Okay. So, as we kick off this first night, we want to share just a few best practices and things that, as we've gone on a few of these Love Like You Mean It cruises (not as much as some of you in the room), we've learned and that we want to encourage you with. The verse we've been praying for you, and over you, and for everybody on this cruise is Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty One Who will save. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will quiet you by His love. And He will exalt over you with loud singing.”

This has brought two ways to mind that we want to encourage you this evening as we start this week. One is that you would delight; that you would delight in each other and delight in the Lord; that you would experience the Lord rejoicing over you and over your marriage, and you would imitate the Lord, and rejoice over your spouse with gladness in Him.

Justin Whitmore Early says it this way—he says, “Love is not something you stop practicing just because you stop feeling it. Love is something you finally feel because you keep practicing.”

Here are a few ways you can practice delighting in each other this week:

Meg: The first thing that we found to be so helpful is just to “remember.” It's not that hard, but just be playful and delight in the fun that you can have together. Take moments; do things that maybe push you a little bit beyond what you normally would do, and have fun! Laugh together.

Actually, about a year ago, we went on a marriage retreat—it was for some ministry leaders—but they had something planned every day for us that most of us had not ever done before. It was just a little bit different, and at some point, we were talking, and David looks at me and [says], “Man, this is so fun!”

Life is so serious. We are so serious sometimes that we forget to just have fun and do some of the things that we did when we were dating and first married, and we just needed to get back to those things. So, we would say: our souls need it. Laugh a lot. Choose things to do that are fun and push you out of your comfort zone.

David: Yes. Another way to delight in one another this week is to create space for one another. That sounds simple, and you're together. You're [thinking], “Hey, we're together all week.” But one of the things we learned the hard way on our very first Love Like You Mean It cruise—it was the first cruise I had ever been on; it was 2018, and we learned the hard way: during the day, you can't make it to every event and every breakout. It won't be good for you. You could end up squeezing out time together because you're just on the go, trying to do everything else. My personality is: “Let's go, go, go! Here we go—all of it! Let's get our money's worth. Come on!” [Laughter]

Create space by slowing down. Look at the few things you want to make sure you go to; go stand in line for those few things. Those will be worth it. You stumble into something else: “Hey, let's try it out!” Sure, that's good. But zero in on those few things, and delight in each other, and having space just to [say]: “Alright, we just get to enjoy one another.”

The fact is, many of us have not been on cruise control. Many of us have been going warp speed. To come into a week like this, and to try to downshift and take down the adrenaline of the things we're consumed with—all of us right now. It is hard to gear down and just settle in, and create space, genuinely (not just physically present, but genuinely) space to delight in one another. As Pete Scazzero says, “You can't live at warp speed without warping your soul.”

You get this week, this opportunity, to enjoy creating space together. We're going to seek to really do this. Sometimes, you're going to need it because kids, or whatever stage of life you're in—an older parent that you may need to check on—but at times, leave the phone back in the room or set it aside all together.

Sherry Turkle, in her book, Alone Together, had some fascinating research. She said this: “Studies of conversations, both in laboratory and in natural settings, show that when two people are talking, the mere presence of the phone on a table between them, or in the periphery of their vision, changes both what they talk about, and the degree of connection they feel. Subconsciously, people keep the conversation on topics they don't mind being interrupted with. Even a silent phone disconnects us.”

Isn't that crazy? But yet, ever since reading that quote, I kind of watch myself [thinking],  “That is so true.” Realize that; take moments for it, and as it gets surfacing, go there and enjoy the space together.

Meg: Looking back at Zephaniah 3:17, when we've been praying that God would quiet us with His love and exult over us with singing, we've been thinking of depth, and we would say, “Look for ways to go deeper together.”

This is a choice that we have to make. There's certainly going deeper with the Lord; but when you think about going deeper with one another, you really have to choose to let each other in. And I would say those things that are stirring in your heart, whether that's sitting in here in the evenings, or maybe, just when you're sitting, looking at the ocean, and you're thinking of something—it could be something that has to do with your relationship with the Lord, or your character, or something in your marriage—I would say: choose to take a the extra step and tell your spouse what you're thinking, what you're processing, and what keeps bubbling up.

I think, over this past year, I've realized that there are times when those kinds of things are happening, and maybe my emotions are coming alive. I have a friend who likes to say, “My eyes are getting leaky.” Sometimes, I will brush those away and hide that from David. I realized it, and I was [thinking], “Man, I'm putting the lid on my emotions in front of you, and to you, and I hate that.”

It was really frustrating at times, but even just talking about that and telling him that was a way for me to take the lid off and let him in, and say, “Hey, I don't know why, but this is happening…;” just things like that. I think it's easy to think, “This is just for me, and I'm going to process this.” But we all long to be known and to be loved so deeply, and we give each other the opportunity to respond when we let each other know. David knows me really well, and a lot of times, he picks up on that and [says], “Hey, you seem a little off,” but he can't read my mind, and he can't read my heart.

We really believe that, this week, there is an amazing lineup of speakers and artists and so many things that are going to be awesome. But we believe that the real magic is going to come from the conversations that you have about those things, and about the things that you hear. So, we would just say: take a moment to just sit a little longer in the things that stir up, and choose to take the lid off and share.


Dave: This is FamilyLife Today, and we are listening to a portion of a talk that David and Meg Robbins, our President of FamilyLife, gave on the Love Like You Mean It cruise this past February.

Ann: I think what they shared was just super helpful, don't you?

Dave: Yes.

Ann: And relatable.

Dave: And there's more to come, so we're going to go right back. Oh, by the way, let me say this! If you want to get on the cruise next year, go to Sign up for the Love Like You Mean It cruise and join us.

Let's go back to David and Meg.


David: One other thing on depth, we would say, and it’s one of the reasons we're here is: “Go to the depth places that God is drawing you in to,” you, personally, in your relationship with the Lord. It seems novel, but yet we all know, you can get on these things and start doing things, and you don't end up just sitting with Jesus, and abiding with Him, and being with Him. It gets so easy not to do that. As an activator and busy-body that I can be sometimes, that's certainly true for me.

We were looking at the maps, multiple times today, trying to figure out where we are on this boat, and where we need to be. [Laughter] There's that red dot, and you're [thinking], “Alright, that's where I am.”

I would encourage you, spiritually, as you get on this boat, to look at that map and [say], “I want to be there. I want to be at the front of the ship,” or wherever you want to head to, personally, in your own walk with Jesus, and to look at that dot. You have to locate where you are, and not where you are in the past, and not where you were a month ago, but where you are today; what you're bringing on the ship with Jesus, today. Locate that and say, “Okay, ‘you are here.’ Jesus, here's where I am, and I need you to show up in this way.” Or “I am numb. I don't even know if I want—Lord, stir up a desire in me.”

Wherever you are, be honest with Him, and have the opportunity, not just to be together on this ship, but the opportunity to take space with the Lord yourself. And then, the most vulnerable and intimate thing: bringing your spouse into some of the ways that Jesus is convicting you, or dreams He's stirring up in your heart, or hopes He's lifting your eyes to.

That's our type of prayer; we hope that you connect over the type of oneness that you experience this week. It could start with the simplest prayer. Tonight, you can just be lying in bed, grab each other's hands, and just pray: “Lord, we want what you want.” That’s it! It can be more if you want it to be more, but just verbally go before the Lord together and say, “God, we want what You want. We want more of You, and we want whatever depth You want to go to in my own life, and we want more of one another.”

Meg: Yes, and as we wrap this up, we just want to say: remember that no marriage is static. We're all either drifting toward isolation or intentionally moving toward oneness with each other. I think we've really experienced this, for sure, even over the last month. I think, sometimes, there can be things that happen that are kind of like this little wedge, and other things happen and hammer that wedge, and make the space between us grow, if we're not careful. That's what happens when we start to drift apart from one another.

I think, for us, really this wedge started in December. My parents were supposed to come to see us for Christmas. My dad is 87, and he took a fall, and they just realized, “It's just too much for us to come down there.” It was kind of sad and just really put a strain on us; changed our whole expectations of what the holidays would be like.

David: Yes, and your birthday is the first week of the New Year, and basically, we just bypassed that birthday because on her birthday, as we were about to go do some fun things, our 13-year-old (now 14 year-old) sliced his foot open in a river, and an ER visit was what the rest of the day was.

Meg: [Laughter] Yes. We have a senior, so that comes with a lot of emotions. There's certainly some “senioritis” moments, so we have those things going on, and that's hard. Then, it's just hard, thinking of launching your kid out of your home. Many of you, I'm sure, have done this; but it's sad. So, that's hard.

David: Yes. We have one girl, and she is fully a teenager. Teenage friend drama is a real thing, no matter what type of school you're in.

Meg: This is true.

Dave: It consumes a lot. All I know is at 11 p.m., nothing else is happening, because that's when she's ready to talk.

Meg: Pretty much every—

Dave: —the distance is real.

Meg: —every night.

Dave: Yes.

Meg: It's true.

Then, we have some friends who are walking through their own really hard things, just trying to recover from some addiction. Trying to carry that with them, and [finding] the balance between caring for ourselves, but also trying to help them, is hard.

David: What we're carrying on to this boat is, last week, we had board meetings for FamilyLife, and we invited a few other couples in. It was a unique, very engaging time, but our heads were not in this space.

Meg: Yes.

Dave: I mean, it was “get-it-done” space.

Meg: And yesterday was our daughter’s “Sweet 16,” which was awesome! But I think we spent the last three days trying so hard to make sure that she felt celebrated, and it was awesome, because we're taking off for the week. I don't even know that we've had too many conversations other than, “What are we doing for her birthday?”

David: True. And this is layered on top of a year where we've had mold in our house. We enjoyed the Florida mold, and we were out of our home for several months; just the realities of being apart and survival mode with six different AirBnBs.

Meg: One of our kids who already has a chronic illness was diagnosed with diabetes this fall, so that's been another big thing to carry. As you can see, this is how we feel, getting on the boat, in a lot of ways. So, we're really thankful for an opportunity to step out of the currents of life and really have time just to reconnect with the Lord and experience some depth there, and experience delight in each other, and letting each other in.

We're so excited to be here, and this is our prayer for all of you: that this would be a moment that's a “dry ground” moment in your marriage that may be on a shaky boat in the sea, at times, but that the Lord would just really show up for all of us and give us ways to reconnect.

David: Yes, Let's pray. I want to pray over you and ourselves: “God, we want what You want for this week. Lord, You are in our midst. You are a mighty One Who will save. You rejoice over us with gladness. You quiet us by Your love. You exult over us with loud singing. Give us more of You this week, God. Amen.”


Ann: This is FamilyLife Today, and we've been listening to David and Meg Robbins in a talk that was given on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise last February.

Let's take you deep. You're probably relating to what Meg is talking about, and what they're talking about when we say, “We all drift toward isolation.” If you've ever been to a Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway, we talk about this all the time, that every single marriage naturally drifts toward isolation. So, maybe the conversation could be, even tonight or this week with your spouse: “Do you feel like we've drifted toward isolation?” Just like on the beach and [in] the water, we just naturally drift.

Dave: Life can be fast. We've committed to a lot of things, and we've been super busy. When you do that, you don't have time; you don't make time to sit and say, “How are we doing?” Again, that's one of the reasons the cruise sort of forces that to happen. It's like you step out of your normal life, and you do something you can't do when you're running to work, and the kids, and ball games, and school events, and baby feedings during the night. I'm thinking of all the different stages that families are in.

Ann: Yes.

Dave: You don't hit the pause button and rest. I think David and Meg were saying, “Okay, you're on a boat. You don't have your kids with you; you're going to focus on your marriage all week.” But it can be easy, even on a boat, not to say, “Okay, let's be intentional about asking how we're doing?” Ask each other, “How are you doing? And how are we doing?”

Ann: How can we say it in a way that our spouse would have a good response and not feel like we’re attacking them?

Dave: I think timing's really important,—

Ann: —yes.

Dave: —so, don't do it right when he or she walks in the door [Laughter] from a hectic, hectic day. I think you pick the right time, and maybe even schedule it, and maybe get out on a date. But then, I think, you start it with a with a comment; something like, “I want the best for us. I love you, and you're amazing. How do you think we're doing? How are you doing?”

Ann: Yes, that’s good.

Dave: I don't know. I think you start with affirmation rather than, “I think we need to talk. [Laughter] I'm not feeling loved right now.” Again, that may all be true, but pick the right time. Ask God. Pray beforehand, and then say, “Hey, let's talk about us. I want us to be great, and I know you do, too. How do you think we're doing?”

Ann: I think this would be helpful, because I think, in the past, I would have wanted you to analyze yourself. But now, when I listen to this, I think, as I approach you, I think I would say, “Hey, I want you to know, I listened to this podcast or radio program today, and I realize [that] I feel like my head is all over the place. It's with the kids; it's with school; it's with work; all these things. I feel like I'm drifting away from you, and I'm really sorry. I feel like everything else feels more important than you, and I don't want it to be like that.”

So, to even own up to our own part of it; I know, for you, that would make you feel like, “Oh!”

Dave: "It’s not just about me.”

Ann: Yes.

Dave: Well, that's how a husband feels, and that's how a spouse feels. It can easily feel like an attack; but when you own your side of it,—

Ann: —yes.

Dave: —it lands more softly. So, maybe tonight is the night to put the kids down to bed, and then go downstairs, and instead of turning on the game, or turning on—

Ann: —Netflix.

Dave: —TV or whatever it is (which we do all the time), maybe just pause and say, “Let’s just talk. Let's start with you,” and see where God takes it.

Ann: And you could share this with them, too, and say, “Hey, I listened to this. This one hit me, thinking how we need to make sure we're not drifting. You listen, and maybe we could talk about it.”

Shelby: You know, we are intentional about so much in life that we value: things like our job, cleaning up the house, working on the lawn, [or] whatever hobby we might be into; even our responsibilities within our church; but what if we valued not drifting the way we value those other priorities?

There's a need for intentional connection with your spouse in the middle of life's chaos. I love that David and Meg were being intentional to encourage us to delight in each other, to create space for your spouse, and [to] go deeper in your relationship with God and the one who you said “I do” to.

I'm Shelby Abbott, and you've been listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with David and Meg Robbins on FamilyLife Today. We heard from them and their time on the Love Like You Mean It cruise. It's really, really cool because the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise is a getaway for married couples looking for relaxation, renewal, romance, lifelong memory-building, and reconnection with God. I have been on the cruise myself, and it's fantastic!

Right now, you can book and save during our “Seas the Savings” sale. [Laughter] Try to say that five times fast. If you use the promo code “SEAS25” as in “S-E-A-S25,” you can save big on the state room for the 2025 Love Like You Mean It cruise. This sale is going to end on June 25th. You can learn more in the show notes, or head over to to learn more; or you can give us a call to find out more information about the Love Like You Mean It cruise at 800-358-6329. Again, that number is 800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”

Now, tomorrow, what is the secret sauce for stronger marriages? Do you know? Do you know what it is? Well, you can explore the power of respect, communication, and encouragement tomorrow by tuning in and listening to Bryan and Stephanie Carter from the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise as they talk about all those things, and being rooted, and recognizing your spouse's worth as created in the image of God. That's coming up tomorrow. We hope you'll join us.

On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Shelby Abbott. We’ll see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

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