FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Dr. Love’s Prescription for a Happy Marriage

with Bob Lepine | March 4, 2013
Play Pause

"Is it love, or is it the flu?" In a tongue-in-cheek, but biblical presentation, Bob Lepine explains 5 toxic behaviors that impair physical "feelings" of romance in marriage relationships.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • "Is it love, or is it the flu?" In a tongue-in-cheek, but biblical presentation, Bob Lepine explains 5 toxic behaviors that impair physical "feelings" of romance in marriage relationships.

  • 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.

“Is it love, or is it the flu?”

MP3 Download Transcript

Dr. Love’s Prescription for a Happy Marriage

With Bob Lepine
March 04, 2013
| Download Transcript PDF

[Angry voices of an arguing couple]

Bob:  What happens when toxins get released into the marital bloodstream?

Woman: In the past, I would get angry with my husband when I felt that he wasn’t allowing me to have my way.

Bob: What happens when there’s anger, or wrath, or malice, or slander, or abusive speech?

Man: I never finished a conversation with anybody until I met my wife because whenever the conversation would go in a direction that my dad didn’t like, he’d storm out of the room. I didn’t know you could talk through something all the way through until the end. I never saw it before.

Bob: It’s not enough for a couple to try to cleanse the marriage from the toxins. You’ve got to know what to replace those toxins with.

Man: My sister—she forgave her husband for the infidelity in their marriage. Now, they’re back together.

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, March 4th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. Today, we’ll hear about the toxins that can invade a marriage; and we’ll find out how you can restore your marital health. That’s coming up. Stay tuned.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Monday edition.

Dennis: Bob—Bob—Bob, is this studio moving? [Laughter] It feels like—

Bob: Are you still feeling it?

Dennis: —I’m still rocking. I’m still rocking a bit.

Bob: It was about—what was it? Three weeks ago, I guess, that we were onboard—

Dennis: I should be over this by now.

Bob: You should. We were on board the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise with about a thousand couples who joined us.

Dennis: It was amazingly stable, really.

Bob: We thought, this week, we would give listeners an opportunity to hear a little bit of what our guests heard as they joined us onboard the cruise.

Dennis: Well, let’s talk about just a moment here—we started on Monday and left port, I guess, about 5 o’clock on Monday afternoon—

Bob: Yes.

Dennis: —and sailed all the way down to Key West, which was not that far.

Bob: Not that far, but a great stop.

Dennis: It was a great stop. Then, we sailed all night and arrived the next afternoon at Cozumel—in Mexico—an island. That was really fun and clean and—by the way, I did something there that I’ve never done in my life.

Bob: Yes, you did.

Dennis: I went scuba diving.

Bob: With tanks—with tanks on the back.

Dennis: Barbara and I went—with tanks on the back.

Bob: Yes.

Dennis: Twenty-five feet—that’s how far I went down. You know, it was pretty cool. You can do a lot of things for the first time. For those who are listening to us, who have never been on a cruise, this would be the cruise of a lifetime to go and celebrate your 5th anniversary— 10th, 20th, 25th, 50th

Bob: Yes.

Dennis: We had some folks who had been married more than 50 years on the boat.

Bob: In fact, I was thinking, “If you’ve got an anniversary coming up this year or next year that ends in either a “0” or a “5”—10, 15, 20, 25—whatever it is—

Dennis: It’s a great way to do it.

Bob: —you ought to come. The thing I love about the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise is that it’s a little different atmosphere. Out by the pool, people are wearing a little bit more clothing than you normally would see on a cruise. The music that is playing onboard the boat is Christian music.

Dennis: By the time the week is over, Bob, the crew are kind of—they’re kind of stunned by so many people who are nice to them. I will tell a story, before the broadcast is over today, about a woman by the name of Claire from Ireland. It’s a great story, but we need to hear a message you gave on Monday night. This is the day we boarded the ship. As we left port at 5:30, Bob Lepine was joining some musicians on stage, giving a message about how to love and how to love like you mean it.

Bob: Well, and just before we hear a portion from this message, if you are interested in joining us onboard the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise next year, February 10th through the 14th—it’s Valentine’s week of 2014—the prices for the cabins go up in two weeks. So, we wanted to let you know if you’d like to join us, now is the best time to get in touch with us and find out how you can come along before the price increase. Already, 50 percent of the cabins are sold out. So, we’d encourage you to call this week. Call 1-800-FL-TODAY and say: “I’d like more information about the cruise. We’re interested in joining you.” Get the details and plan to join us. Dr. Gary Chapman is going to be with us next year. He’s the author of the book, The Five Love Languages.

Dennis: Crawford Loritts, who is pastor in Atlanta, Georgia, will be joining us.

Bob: We’ve got music from people like Nicole C. Mullen. Building 429 is going to be there. They’ve got a great line up of musical artists who are going to be with us. So, it really is a fun trip. We’d love to have you along. If you sign up this week, before the price increase, we’ll include you as a part of our studio audience in a FamilyLife Today taping session we’re going to do onboard the ship. So, find out more. Go to and click on the link for the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise.

Dennis: And you left out a couple of other speakers.

Bob: Oh, you and me?

Dennis: Yes. [Laughter]

Bob: Yes, that’s right. You and me—we’re going to be there as well. Karen Loritts is going to be there, as well. Ron Deal is going to be back with us, talking to blended families. I mean, it’s a great line up.

Dennis: And here’s King of Love, Bob Lepine, speaking on how to love like you mean it.

[Recorded message]

Bob: The thing I learned about romance from pop songs in the 60s and the 70s—probably the biggest thing came from Felix Cavaliere and the Young Rascals. Mr. Cavaliere was experiencing health problems, and he says it in his song. He says, “I was feeling so bad. I asked my family doctor just what I had. I said, ‘Doctor, Mr. MD, can you tell me what’s ailing me?’ He said, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. What you need,’ he said, ‘is good lovin’.’”

Now, here’s where we learned that there is actually a connection between how you feel and romance. In fact, we have somebody, onboard this ship with us this week, who recognized this connection between how we feel and romance, many years ago, and wrote a song about it. Would you welcome my friend, Steven Curtis Chapman, ladies and gentleman? Bring him out here. [Clapping] Here he is!

Steven: Hey, everybody. How we doing? [Clapping]

Bob: So, Stevie—

Steven: Yes, sir.

Bob: —tell us what you’ve learned about romance and physical health.

Steven: Okay. Yes, well, this was actually prior to me meeting the love of my life. I’ll expound upon that later tonight in my concert, if you can be here for that. But I—early on, I discovered this connection with a girl that I had gone to a ball game—I grew up in Kentucky—and football games, you know, Friday night high school football games. So, I wrote this song after a very moving time, we’ll say, in my life.

[Singing about symptoms that could be love or the flu] [Laughter]

Bob: Steven Curtis Chapman, ladies and gentlemen! [Cheering]

Alright, you’ve heard people described as hot-blooded; right? There is something in the bloodstream that determines just what your marital health looks like. In fact, I want to put a slide up here on the screen. Show us this slide, if you would. This is a look, close-up look, at what the red blood cells look like inside your bloodstream; but what scientists have uncovered recently is that, in the midst of these red blood cells, they’re actually some romance cells. Show us a close-up here, if you would.

We call it intimous pasinotés right there. [Laughter] There’s actually been some correlation found that these cells do better with conditions like—good hygiene, male- patterned baldness can actually affect these cells, shopping has an impact on these cells, buying new clothes—but here’s the breakthrough we have for you today—we have found a conclusive study that shows what causes these cells to shrivel up and what causes them to thrive.

Now, our romance cells are vulnerable to a number of toxins that get released into our bloodstream; and our heart starts to pound, and it drains the romance cells of their potency. These toxins that inhibit our romance cells make us less attractive to one another. So, interestingly, the primary toxins we’re going to talk about tonight were first mentioned by the Apostle Paul in the Book of Colossians. In Chapter 3, he talked about the things that cause romance to be drained out of a relationship. Look at this passage: “Now, you also,” he says, “put these toxins aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth; and do not lie to one another since you have laid aside the old self and its evil practices.”

What I want to look at is these six toxins in the marital bloodstream that can drain the romance right out of your marriage. So, let’s look at them, one at a time. The first toxin is—actually, we’ll put them together—anger and wrath. They really are—they fit together. Two different toxins, but they’re closely-related. You really sometimes can’t tell the two of them apart. Anger is that ongoing feeling of hostility toward another person; and wrath is when it explodes—when it bubbles up—and when it comes out in some way.

You might wonder, “Where does this toxin come from? How does anger and wrath get injected into your marital bloodstream?” Well, most often, people experience the toxic anger, in a marital relationship, when one of two things has happened—either when they start to feel hurt—and they get angry as a way to defend themselves against the hurt they are feeling. In other words: “You are hurting me—with something you said, something you did, something that bothered me—and my response to that is try to get angry. My hope is, ‘If I get angry with you, it’ll put you on notice not to hurt me like that again.’” You see how that works? Some of you have experienced that. You are hurting. So, you get angry as a way to try to keep your spouse from repeating the behavior.

Now, there are different ways that we deal with anger and wrath. Some of us are spewers—we’re blowers. We just—when we feel it, everybody knows it; okay? Others of us are stuffers. I am from the stuffer family with anger and wrath. When I get angry, instead of getting loud, I get quiet. Instead of letting you know it, obviously, I’m a little more subtle. I think it’s more spiritual that way; right? [Laughter] I mean, we have this idea that somehow silence is a little more spiritual—it is not spiritual! It’s just—that kind of passive anger is no better than explosive anger. Honestly, in our relationship—Mary Ann and I—have experienced these times of anger in our—where both of us, we get quiet. We just kind of treat each other with an almost a condescending tone in our voice, if we speak at all.

In fact, I remember, one time, we were flying down to meet with other FamilyLife speakers, who speak at our Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways. I was supposed to lead the retreat with the group of speakers. There, in the Atlanta airport, I figured I’d better start talking to my wife again if I was going to lead the marital retreat we were going on here. [Laughter] I’m just being honest! We’ve had those moments in the Atlanta Hartsfield Airport. I can take you to the gate and show you where we had to get it out on the floor and start to deal with it.

Anger and wrath come when we’ve been hurt; and we either get really quiet, or we get loud. So, that’s anger and wrath. The next toxin is malice. Malice usually—we hear that talked about in legal arenas, where we talk about the absence of malice—the person didn’t have evil intent when they did it. That’s what malice is. Malice is having evil intent toward somebody and wanting to act out in anger.

So, for example, I remember a guy that I was mad at. I remember, lying in bed at night, thinking about how I’d like to fly to the city where this guy lived and let all the air out of all four of his tires in the parking lot; okay? I didn’t want to do anything really harmful—just enough to really tick the guy off. That’s malicious. That’s what—I wanted to act out on my anger in a way that did harm to the other person—not necessarily physical harm—but something that would annoy him—something that would cause him some injury, some loss. That’s malice, and it’s toxic.

The next toxin is slander. Slander is when you say things that tear another person down. You make degrading comments. You might slander somebody, intentionally, or you might say something that you didn’t realize was slanderous until it came out of your mouth. Then, you’re trying to pull it back in. You can’t do it; right?

Now, we’ve all heard when we were kids, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but”—what?—[Audience] “words will never hurt me.” That’s a lie; isn’t it? And some of you have said words to one another that were slanderous speech—that brought hurt into your relationship—and there is no way to get the words back. Can there be healing for that hurt? There can be; but once it’s out, it lodges deep in our soul. That’s slander.

And then, tied to slander is this idea of abusive speech that Paul talks about. Let me ask you a really simple question. Abusive speech—when you are profane with your spouse, when you curse one another—and some of you do this in the midst of anger—one of the ways you express it is through cursing one another. That’s abusive speech. When you tear another person down—when you berate another person, when you start to talk about character, or appearance, or you start to say things that are designed to hurt somebody else—that’s abusive speech.

Probably the most—the best example I can give you of abusive speech—this is the trump card of abusive speech. When you are in the middle of an argument and you’re saying things that are hurting one another, the one card you can pull out of your back pocket and throw on the table that can’t be trumped—you know what it is? “Maybe it would be better if we’d never gotten married.” “Maybe we ought to just get a divorce.”

You can’t hurt anybody more deeply than that. You can’t hurt anybody more deeply than to go to the core of your marital covenant and suggest that that ought to be undone. Marriage, which is supposed to be two becoming one before God in a covenant relationship—a commitment to one another that is supposed to provide a safety and security—supposed to provide us love and supposed to provide us this unconditional acceptance—when you play the, “Maybe we ought to get a divorce” card, that’s abusive speech.

I just want to say to some of you—because you’ve played that card in your marriage before—an action point for you is to sit down, across from your spouse, and just say: “You know, I know I said that. I know I’ve said it before. I realize that’s a sin before God to threaten that covenant. So, I’m going to ask you to forgive me. I have asked God to forgive me, and I want to tell you right here, ‘I will never say that again.’” That would be a healthy action point for some of you here.

Last toxin I want to talk about is the toxin of lying. Now, let me define this toxin because you think you know what lying means; or at least, I did. I thought lying is when you tell somebody something that’s not true. Well, that’s lying; but it’s more than that. When you go to court, they say to you, “Do you promise to tell the truth…”—right? But then, they don’t quit there. They say, “…the whole truth and nothing but the truth?”

I learned this one time when I had been to the grocery store—I came home from the grocery story. Mary Ann said, “What did you get?” I shared with her most of what I got. There were a few items I did not want her to know about, particularly—items I didn’t want her getting into. I didn’t want her to know I was getting into them either; okay? I don’t remember whether it was ice cream, or chips, or a combination thereof—but something like that—that she didn’t need to mess with; right?

Well, the thing I didn’t realize is that the grocery store had started printing out itemized lists of what you bought at the store. When I didn’t throw away the evidence, she found it and said, “You didn’t mention these chips and the ice cream that you got.” Now, had I told her the truth when I told her what I got at the store? Yes—the whole truth? No. And what did that do? That made Mary Ann think: “What else is he keeping from me? What else can’t I trust him for? What other seeds are being sown in that?”

Do you see how this toxin threatens romance in a marriage? Listen—if there is somebody who has anger, wrath, malice, slander, abusive speech, and lying in the marriage—that’s not a turn-on; okay? Nobody looks at that guy and goes: “Boy, I’m just really—I’m feeling it right now!” [Laughter] “You know—you are angry and all that—you’re slandering me. Yes! Boy, can we hold hands?” Nobody wants to do that; okay?

Now, here’s what happens when these toxins get released into the bloodstream—they go right to work on the romance cells in the marriage. They start to attach themselves to those healthy romance cells. Then, they drain all the color and all of the passion out of the cells. And those cells shrink, and shut down, and start to die.


Bob: We’ve got to step in here. We’ve been listening to the first part of a message from the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise.

Dennis: And you’re not letting them hear all the message—

Bob: No.

Dennis: —because it would take longer than we have, here on FamilyLife Today.

Bob: It would. The entire message is available on audio CD. You can go to if you’re interested in getting a copy of the complete message because after we talked about the toxins, I spent some time talking about the antibodies that need to be released into the marital bloodstream to clean up the toxins—and how you need to inject kindness, and compassion, and humility, gentleness, and patience into your marriage so that you don’t just try to detoxify—but you, actually, replace those toxins with something healthy.

Dennis: Yes, let me just read you a couple of quotes here. Here’s one from a couple married 23 years. They rated their marriage, after the cruise, a “9”. This person said: “The cruise had the right balance of speaker sessions, concerts, food,...”—by the way, it was recommended, Bob, that we rename the Love Like You Mean It cruise the Eat Like You Mean It cruise. She goes on to say, “...sun and excursions—plenty of time to do them. We are even closer than when we started and plan to bring some people back with us next year.”

Here’s one who said, before the cruise, they were a “1”; after the cruise, they were a “9”. “A miracle was worked in both of us, and we were able to release the dead things and renew our love and commitment to our marriage after we both were ready to quit.”

Bob: You said you wanted to tell the story about Claire, from Ireland.

Dennis: Yes. There was a woman, Carol, who was getting a facial on the cruise; and as she talked to Claire—the woman from Ireland who was working in the salon, performing the facial—Claire said, “Are you guys all in the same church or the”—

Bob: You all related?

Dennis: —“related or something?” Carol said, “No.” She said, “Well, are you all in the same family?” Carol said, “Well, kind of.”

Bob: Yes.

Dennis: “It’s the family of Jesus Christ because of what He’s done for us.” Claire said, “Well, I’d like to know how to be a part of that family. Could you explain to me how I could be a part of that family because what I’m seeing around here really makes me want to be in that family?” Carol said she began to immediately pray, as the facial was continuing to work its way out. After it was over, she led Claire to faith in Jesus Christ. The next day, she gave her a book. The next day, they got her in a Bible study onboard the cruise.

And I tell you, Bob, it really is an exciting time of ministry, not only in our guests who come, but also in the crew members.

Bob: Well, and as we’ve said, if you’ve got a special occasion coming up—an anniversary that ends with a “0” or a “5”—this might be the year to do something very special and join us on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise.

More than 50 percent of the cabins have already been reserved for next year; and the price goes up in a couple of weeks, on March 15th. So, if you want to join us, you need to go to and click on the link where you can get more information. I know this is a significant investment, but there is no better investment to make than in your marriage—to do something special—to make a memory. This will be a memory that will last a lifetime.

Dennis: It’s a vacation with a purpose.

Bob: Yes.

Dennis: I mean, there’s a lot of entertainment. There are a lot of fun things to do when you hit port and even as we’re at sea. But we’re going to have two full days at sea next year. You have to know folks—that may sound like, “No! I want to go on a cruise so that I can go to a port.” Really, I’ve talked to a lot of people who have done cruises in the past—they like the day at sea the best because your choices are narrowed to some of the most fabulous choices you could ever imagine: speakers—you’d have to travel across the country to be able to hear—optional seminars, first-run movies—that we give people a kind of speak peek at—just all kinds of fun things to do onboard the ship—not to mention sleeping in and just having some walks and talks with the love of your life.

Bob: Well, once again, the website,; or call us, toll-free, at 1-800-FL-TODAY if you need more information. And we hope you’ll think about it. We’d love to have you join us. We’d love to meet you and love to get to spend a week with you next Valentine’s Day—February 10th through the 14th, leaving from Miami—the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise for 2014. Get more information, online, at

Now, tomorrow, we’re going to hear a second message from the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. We’re going to hear from Dr. Eric Mason who spoke from Psalm 51 onboard the cruise about what repentance looks like in a marriage relationship—the characteristics of repentant spouse. We’ll hear a portion of his message tomorrow. Hope you can tune in 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 will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas. Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.

We are so happy to provide these transcripts to you.  However, there is a cost to produce them for our website.  If you’ve benefited from the broadcast transcripts, would you consider donating today to help defray the costs? 

Copyright © 2013 FamilyLife.  All rights reserved.