FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Having a Marriage Without Regrets, Part 1

with Kay Arthur | January 19, 2012
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If our marriages are going to flourish, we must know God's standard for success. So says Kay Arthur, internationally known Bible teacher. Hear Kay tell the secret of holding a marriage together.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • If our marriages are going to flourish, we must know God's standard for success. So says Kay Arthur, internationally known Bible teacher. Hear Kay tell the secret of holding a marriage together.

  • 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.

If our marriages are going to flourish, we must know God’s standard for success.

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Having a Marriage Without Regrets, Part 1

With Kay Arthur
January 19, 2012
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Bob:  Thousands of husbands and wives are settling for a satisfying marriage.  Kay Arthur says they’re setting their sights way too low.

Kay:  When I talk about a marriage without regrets, I'm not saying, “Here is this wonderful marriage where you are just happy all the time;” but I'm saying that someday each one of us is going to stand before God.  Second Corinthians 5:10 says that Christians will stand at the judgment seat of Christ and give an answer for the deeds done in their body.

Bob:  This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, January 19th.  Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.  What does it really mean to have a marriage that is centered in God's Word?  We're going to hear about that from Kay Arthur today.  Stay tuned.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today.  Thanks for joining us on the Thursday edition.  Dennis, before we get started, I want to remind our listeners that this week is their one opportunity to sign up to attend an upcoming Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway and take advantage of the special offer we’re making to FamilyLife Today listeners.

When you register for one of the upcoming, spring Weekend to Remember events, we are offering registration on a buy one, get one free basis.  So, you pay for your registration; your spouse comes free.  That’s for FamilyLife Today listeners, and it’s this week only.  So, we need to hear from you before the week is over. 

You can register online at  That’s where you can find all of the information about when the conference is going to be and what location.  You can see if it is in a city near you on a weekend that works for you.  Of course, you have to identify yourself as a FamilyLife Today listener to take advantage of this special offer for listeners.  So, we need for you to type my name—type “BOB” into the promo code box that you see on the registration form. 

So, again, go to  Get the information about when the conference is going to be in a city near where you live.  Sign up online and type “BOB” into the promo code box; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY.  Talk to somebody here at FamilyLife about when the conference is going to be near where you live.  They can answer any questions you have about the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway.  It’s a fun, romantic getaway for couples.  We’ve got dozens of these events happening this spring.

Again, this week is your only opportunity to take advantage of this special—buy one, get one free offer that we’re making for FamilyLife Today listeners.  So, be sure to identify yourself as a FamilyLife Today listener when you call to register at 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY”. 

We really do hope that you’ll plan to attend one of these conferences.  It’s a great weekend getaway, a good tune-up for your marriage.  Just so you know, the conference comes with a complete money-back guarantee.  If for any reason you are not satisfied with the event, we’ll give you the registration fee back, with no questions asked.  So, you can’t go wrong; alright?  Let us hear from you.  Call 1-800-FL-TODAY or go online at

Now, we are going to be talking today with one of our favorite people about one of our favorite subjects.

Dennis:  We are—we're talking with a good friend, Kay Arthur.  Kay joins us on the broadcast today.  You know, it's always fun—that grin.  She's just grinning because she's one of the few guests that I've ever invited back who completely whips me at the microphone every time I invite her on the air.  I mean—you remember the last time we had her on, Bob?  (Laughter)

Bob:  I do.

Dennis:  It was ugly in here.  I mean—

Bob:  She’s saying, “But I've got one more thing to say.”  You had one more thing to say; and that was, “How are we going to get to all of this?”

Dennis:  I saw her later on in the day, after we had done the taping.  We were taping at Christian Booksellers in Orlando, as I recall.  I ran into her, and she still had more to say.  (Laughter)

Bob:  You didn't have a microphone then.

Kay:  Haven't you ever studied man/woman—what's the difference? (Laughter)

Dennis:  Well, you're really good.  Many of our listeners know Kay through her ministry, Precept Ministries.  I know this—there has to be some pencil producers somewhere in America that smile—

Bob:  Many—

Kay:  Many colored pencil producers.  (Laughter)

Dennis:  —because Barbara has her multicolored pencils out.  I mean, there’s a table in our home that literally is cluttered with Precept Bible Studies, Barbara’s pencils, and an open Bible.  It’s Technicolor.  Barbara likes to watercolor; so, this is right down her alley, here.

Kay:  I guess it is.  I guess it is.  You know what’s so exciting?—is when you meet the men on our staff, the male teachers.  We have quite a few of them, and they’re really all men.  You see their Bibles; and you’d think that they were into watercolors, too.  I mean, they study inductively, and their lives show it, and their family show it.  It is incredible.

Dennis:  Let's say that there's a person who hasn't heard of Precept—I can't imagine that—across the country.  A person who is listening right now who is going, “You know what?  I'd love to be trained in an inductive Bible study.”  How can they—

Bob:  It sounds medical.  It sounds clinical, “Inductive Bible study”—

Kay:  It does, and—

Dennis:  It's really fun, though.

Kay:  It sounds clinical.  Inductive simply means that you remove the middle man, and you go to the source yourself to find out, “What's up?”  So, we teach you how to remove the middle—not remove the middle man (We want the pastor in the pulpit, and we want the good commentaries and that)—but how you can go to the Word of God yourself and observe the text in such a way that you really see what it says. 

When you really see what it says, what happens is interpretation, “What does it mean?” comes to the surface and then, “What are the principles of interpretation?” such as context and how it rules.  Then, it doesn't stop there because it has to go to application—not, “What do I think about this passage?” not, “What does it mean to me?” but, “How does it apply to me?”

Bob:  The difference is when you dig it out yourself.  It locks into your heart differently than if you read what some commentator wrote about it.

Kay:  It sure does, and we have—we're doing from “cradle to the grave” in Bible study now.  Kids are finding out, “This is what God says,” so they can stand up to their peers, they can stand up to their teachers.  It is the same with adults.  We are living in a day and age when we need to learn to stand for truth, no matter the cost.

I heard you, on one of your programs, talking about On This Day.  That's a devotional I use also.  You read constantly of people—it cost them their lives to stand for the truth.  Those are the days that are coming. 

I cannot stand for something I really don't know is absolute, pure, unadulterated truth.  So, that's why Precept Ministries exists and crosses all denominational bounds.

Dennis:  If folks wanted to join a Precept Bible study, how would they go about finding one in their community?

Kay:  Well, all they would have to do is log into our site on the internet, Precept,, O-R-G.  They can log into many of our sites in our different states; and we can tell them because we have courses, not only there, but all over the world. 

They can log in and find out what languages we're in.  Many of them have neighbors that want to read in their own language: Spanish-speaking, Chinese, Korean, Romanians, Russians, or whatever.  We're in all these different languages.  So, they can actually get Bible studies for those people in those languages, or they can call our 800 number.

Bob:  Dennis, we've got a link on our website at where people can get to Precepts website, and we can also pass along the 800 number to anybody who contacts us at 1-800-FL-TODAY.

Dennis:  You know, it's our privilege here on FamilyLife to partner with all kinds of ministries around the country.  I want folks to know we believe in Precept and what they're about and want to encourage our listeners to glean from these other ministries—

Kay:  Thank you, Dennis.

Dennis:  —the strength of what they're about—because it will enrich your life, as an individual believer, as you make your marriage and your family go the distance.

Kay: Right, right.

Dennis:  Kay, you have written a book that—well, some of our listeners are going to go, “Wow!  It's about time.”  Others may say, “Kind of interesting you'd write a book on marriage because”—

Kay:  Especially with that title.

Dennis:  Yes, A Marriage Without Regrets.

Kay:  No matter where you are, no matter where you've been—

Dennis:  That’s right. 

Kay:  —you can have a marriage without regrets.

Dennis:  Before you became a believer, you had a marriage that failed.

Kay:  Yes, I have lots of regrets about that marriage.  Yet, I have a clear conscience because I've come to know Christ since I was married to my husband.  I married a man, and I wanted the storybook marriage.  I wanted a marriage that was going to last.  Divorce was not in my vocabulary.  Six years later and two boys later, on the advice of two ministers that never opened the Word of God, I left my husband. 

I shook my fist in the face of God; and I said, “To hell with You, God.”  It just kind of horrifies you to think of anybody saying that to God, but you see the grace of God.  As I've said before, I didn't know that, before the foundation of the world, according to Ephesians 1, that He had said, "To heaven with you, Kay."

Anyway, I went out; and I became an immoral woman.  I went from one man, to another man, to another man.  One of the things that I have shared because now, my son has been saved, my oldest son—but my oldest son saw me be immoral; and that's so heartbreaking—for a child to have to live with that image of his mother in the living room with this man.  Yet, so many children are living with images and pictures that little minds shouldn't see.  So, I was immoral.  I went from one man to another man, looking for a man that would love me unconditionally.

One day, I saw a man; and He opened His arms wide.  He nailed them to a cross; and He said, “I love you this much.”  That's when I found the Agape kind of love, the unconditional love, that loves me when I'm a sinner, that loves me when I'm ungodly, that loves me when I'm an enemy, that loves me when I'm helpless and hopeless; and doesn't leave me in any of those states after that love takes root in my heart through believing in Jesus Christ.  That's how I can write a book on a marriage without regrets. 

One of the things, guys, that really touches me is—because I'm so open about my past—and I'm open because after I married Jack and I had our third son, I remember sitting there, nursing him one day, and crying because I was on the mission field.  I was working with teenagers, and I was teaching them how to be godly.  I was teaching them what God's Word said. 

I thought, “God, where were You when I was a teenager?  Where were You?  Why do I have to be married twice?  Why do I have to have two boys that have had two fathers and have been through this pain?  Why, God?” God just showed me, “I saved you, Kay, when I wanted to save you.” 

It's the Scripture in Galatians, Chapter 1.  Precious ones, if you're listening and you're just ruing all your past, and moaning, and groaning about it like I was.  You're saying, “God, You know I've messed up so bad.  There's no way out; why didn't I know You sooner?”

Let me share with you in Galatians 1.  Paul is giving his testimony.  Paul was the chief of sinners.  Paul had murdered, had really been—was guilty of putting Christians to death before he became a Christian; and Paul said, “When it pleased God to reveal His Son in me.” 

When God showed me that, I said, “Okay.”  He just said to me in my heart, “I saved you when I wanted to save you.  Now, if you'll quit moaning and groaning about the past and you'll share it with others, I'll use that to give them hope.”    You see, He's the Redeemer.  So, if I could see how He could take all my mistakes, and all my errors, and all my sins, and redeem them, and use them—bring beauty out of ashes—then, it was alright because my times are in His hands.

So, marriage—no matter where you've been, no matter where you are, you can have a marriage without regrets. It's not saying you can have a perfect marriage because it takes two to make a perfect marriage.  Let's face it—the other partner does not always want to cooperate. 

So, how, then, can I have a marriage without regrets?  How can you, as a woman or a man?  If you're reaching out and your mate refuses to love you, or as so many share with me, your mate turns around, like this illustration—it was a story from a woman that wrote me to tell me how God had sustained her because she knew the Word of God. 

This woman's husband came to her one day—just walked into the kitchen and said, “Get the kids.  I want to talk to you.”  So, the three kids came.  He's standing there in the kitchen.  He says, “I want you to know that I don't want to be part of this family anymore.  I'm walking out, and I’m not coming back.” 

One child just sat there stunned.  The other child got up and ran screaming through the house.  The middle child—not the stunned child—the middle child, I think, was the daughter.  She began to try and reason with him and say, “Daddy, how can you leave us?”  Finally, the stunned child, just—it was just overwhelming.  The mother sat there and saw this happen.  How can she have a marriage without regrets?

Well, she knew the Word.  She had been living the way God says, “Live as a wife.”  So, when I talk about a marriage without regrets, I'm not saying, “Here is this wonderful marriage where you are just totally in love”—

Dennis:  You're happy all the time.

Kay:  —“You're happy all the time,” but I'm saying that someday each one of us is going to stand before God.  Second Corinthians 5:10 says that Christians will stand at the judgment seat of Christ and give an answer for the deeds done in their body.  How can you have a marriage without regrets when you stand before God; and you can say, “I did it Your way, not my way; I did it Your way”?

Dennis:  That's in contrast to the world's way because the Christian community, in many areas, is embracing what the world's way is, which is counseling one another to just bail out of the relationship and just divorce him or divorce her—“You don't have to be unhappy.  You don't have to be in an unpleasant situation.”

Kay:  Right.  Let me take it one step further.  Your mate was unfaithful to you.  Now, infidelity is grounds for divorce—the Bible teaches that.  I do a whole chapter on divorce.  So, we look at the biblical issues. 

In this, if there's infidelity, you have grounds for divorce, but divorce doesn't—sends the wrong message to the world.  Because you see, you and I are the bride of Christ; and Jesus doesn't divorce us.  When we sin, when we fail, He doesn't walk away.  He's the Redeemer; He's the Restorer.  So, I feel like we're never more like Christ than in the height of forgiveness and obedience and saying to the Father, “Not my will but Thine be done.” 

I'll tell people, “Yes, you do have grounds for divorce; but is this God's will?  Will you give God time to work in your partner?”  Grace has always been.  Grace is not a new concept.  Grace has been from the beginning.  It started in the Garden of Eden with the first promise of Jesus Christ, and we've always been saved by grace.  God uses that to show us how Abraham was saved before the law, you know, before circumcision.  Abraham was saved by faith.

Okay, so, grace has always been there.  The Law came by Moses to show me my sin; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.  I mean, here it is—full-blown thing.  Yes, you have a right to stone this woman to death, under the Law; but grace says, “Let him who is without sin”—stone—“cast the first stone.”  So, I think that what we need to do is we need to give room for God to work.

A woman was doing my Marriage Without Regrets Precept course.  She started the course.  Her husband came home and said, “I want a divorce.  I'm getting a divorce; nothing will stop me.”  The church came to him.  He said to her in private, “I'm going through counseling so I'll look good, but don't get your hopes up because I'm not coming back.”  He stayed in there—went through counseling.  So, then, she brings home the tapes.  She says, “Would you watch these tapes with me?”  He wants a divorce because he's been having an affair—and she doesn't know it—with her best friend.

He confesses that.  He really doesn't want a divorce, but the sin is so great he wants a divorce.  He's caught; he's trapped.  See, sin takes us farther than we ever wanted to go.  It costs more than we ever intended to pay, and it keeps us longer than we ever intended to stay. 

So, he confesses his adulterous affair.  She, in turn, is told by the counselor, “Now, are you going to live like Christ lived?  Now, you're on trial.  Are you going to forgive as Christ forgave?”  That marriage has been reconciled.  This is what I'm talking about. 

Israel got in trouble because she did not consider her future.  She lifted up her skirts to every passerby.  Her uncleanness was in her skirts.  We are unclean.  We are spiritual adulterers, and we are physical adulterers.  We are not considering our future, and Marriage Without Regrets calls you to consider your future in many areas.

Dennis:  Kay, the problem within the Christian community today is that we have become soft.

Kay:  Exactly!

Dennis:  Sometimes, using grace as an escape mechanism, saying, “Well, whatever I do, whatever I want to do, God will forgive me.  God will just cover it in grace.”  That kind of presumptuous spirit, I think, is really dangerous for an individual and, certainly, for the church or the Christian community as a whole. 

Frankly, because of that, we're now dealing with a generation of young people who are coming out of broken homes, divorced homes, who don't know of the kind of commitment you've spoken about here, where a woman or a man is hanging into a relationship, fulfilling their part of the covenant, even when the other person has broken their vows to them.

I think today, within Christian circles, what we've got to do is we have got to—out of the dust and the rubble, what you write about in some of your books—we've got to repent.  We've got to repent of our attitude about divorce and about encouraging people to escape their marriage.  We've got to call them back to their commitment. 

A book like this, A Marriage Without Regrets, what you've done in here is—through your own brokenness, and your own rubble, and the ashes of your life—you give people hope that they can experience that as well.

Bob:  We have the book available in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center, and we'd love to send a copy out to you.  Go online at for more information about how to get a copy of Kay Arthur’s book, A Marriage Without Regrets; or call us toll-free at 1-800-FL-TODAY to ask about the book.  Again, the website is; or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY, and we’ll make arrangements to get a copy of the book sent to you. 

Don’t forget, this week we are encouraging listeners to sign up for an upcoming FamilyLife Weekend to Remember marriage getaway.  You and your spouse can attend one of the upcoming spring getaways.  If you register this week, when you pay for one registration, we’ll throw the other one in for free.  So, you pay for your own, and your spouse comes at no additional cost.

It’s a buy one, get one free opportunity, and it’s only for FamilyLife Today listeners.  To take advantage of it, we need to hear from you before the weekend is over.  We need you to call 1-800-FL-TODAY to register.  We can answer any questions you have—let you know about dates and locations; get all that squared away. 

If you want to investigate on your own, go to; and all of the information is available there about dates and locations.  You can register online as well.  Keep in mind—you need to let us know you’re a FamilyLife Today listener to qualify for this buy one, get one free opportunity. 

So, if you’re registering online, type my name in the promo code box—type in “BOB”.  That way, we’ll know you listen to FamilyLife Today.  If you call 1-800-FL-TODAY, just say, “I’m a listener.  I heard about this special offer,” and you will qualify.  It’s only good through the end of the weekend; so, let us hear from you.  Call 1-800-FL-TODAY or go online to register at 

One more thing before we’re done.  We are aware, here at FamilyLife, that there are a lot of U.S. servicemen and women who are finally returning home after having been deployed, been overseas for a deployment.  As you know, the reentry can often be a rocky situation.  We have established a scholarship fund to send servicemen and women and their spouses to one of our Weekend to Remember marriage getaways this spring, as our guests. 

The fund is called “The Finally Home to Family” fund.  If you would like to make a donation to help sponsor a service member and spouse at one of our Weekend to Remember getaways this spring, go to and click on the link that you see there that says, “Finally Home to Family”. 

Or, if you’d like, you can text a donation.  Text the word, “HOME”, to the number 28950.  The word is “HOME”.  Text that to 28950, and you’ll get instructions on how you can make a donation on your mobile phone.

Again, we appreciate whatever you can do in helping us with this scholarship fund so that we can help as many service people and their spouses to an upcoming Weekend to Remember marriage getaway and help ease the reentry into being back together as husband and wife.

We want to encourage you to be back with us again tomorrow.  Kay Arthur is going to be here again.  We’re going to continue to talk about having a marriage with no regrets.  I hope you can be here 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. 

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