FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Our Mate’s Three Driving Needs

with Darcy Kimmel, Tim Kimmel | January 10, 2017
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Are you loving your mate as God loves you? FamilyLife speakers Tim and Darcy Kimmel define love as "the commitment of my will to your needs and best interest, regardless of the cost." They explore the three driving inner needs in marriage: security, significance, and strength.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Are you loving your mate as God loves you? FamilyLife speakers Tim and Darcy Kimmel define love as "the commitment of my will to your needs and best interest, regardless of the cost." They explore the three driving inner needs in marriage: security, significance, and strength.

  • 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.

Tim and Darcy Kimmel define love as “the commitment of my will to your needs and best interest, regardless of the cost,” and explore the three driving needs in marriage.

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Our Mate’s Three Driving Needs

With Darcy Kimmel, Tim Kimmel
January 10, 2017
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Bob: Tim Kimmel has been working with married couples and with families for many years now. Along the way, he has observed a lot of practical relationship skills that couples have used that have made a difference in their marriage and in their family. But he says, “At the end of the day, there is really only one thing that every couple needs most.” 

Tim: I keep coming back to the gospel—to me, the gospel is something that is supposed to—not just save us—but transform us. We wanted that transforming work of God’s grace to wash through us. We did not want to leave it at salvation. We wanted it to change us. We desperately needed it when we started getting those kids.

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, January 10th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. If you had to measure the grace quotient in your marriage, on a scale of one to ten, where would it be?  We’ll talk today about how you can have a grace-filled marriage. Stay tuned.


And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Tuesday edition. So, you think our guest is right?  Do you think the missing ingredient in marriage—in a lot of marriages—is grace? 

Dennis: I think it is. I think we don’t know how to do it. I think a lot of us would have made very good Pharisees. Barbara and I are quoting that to each other a lot these days. It’s kind of like we’ve become even more intimately aware of how we can be religious—going to church, even reading the Bible, praying together, et cetera—but we are not possessing, and articulating, and living out the real thing. That’s what Tim and Darcy Kimmel are bringing to us today.

Bob: Well, we can get to self-righteousness pretty quickly too. That’s a part of being a Pharisee; isn’t it? 

Tim: Big time.

Dennis: Well, we are well-trained in that. No doubt about it.

Tim, Darcy, welcome to the broadcast.

Darcy: Thank you.

Tim: Love being here.


Bob: It occurs to me that a lot of our listeners are going to recognize Tim and Darcy’s voices, because you guys have been speaking for decades now at our Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways. In fact, I should mention to listeners, here at the beginning of today’s program—this week and next week, we’re inviting you to join us at an upcoming Weekend to Remember marriage getaway. If you come and pay the regular rate for yourself, your spouse comes free. So, this is the best offer we make all year long. It’s good this week and next week only.

We start our Weekend to Remember marriage getaway season in early February. You can go to our website now—find the location where a getaway is going to be happening in a city near where you live, mark out that weekend on your calendar, and contact us to take advantage of the special offer we’re making this week and next week for FamilyLife Today listeners. Pay for yourself to go, and your spouse comes free. If you need more information, go to; and you’ll find the info you need there—


—you can register online. If you have any questions, call us at 1-800-FL-TODAY; and we’ll try to answer any questions you have about the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway. And who knows? You may get a chance to hear Tim and Darcy Kimmel speaking at your getaway this spring.

Tim and Darcy have written a number of books, including the book we’re talking about this week, called Grace Filled Marriage. Tim, one of the statements you make in the book is—you say, “Grace isn’t blind, but it also isn’t without nerve endings.” Explain what you mean by that.

Tim: I think a lot of people—they get nervous about grace because they don’t understand biblical grace. They have misapplied something else to it that it’s not—like it is permission, it’s rolling over and playing dead, it’s just being nice. Grace can be nice—but grace doesn’t mean that the rule book is gone—that there aren’t consequences for wrong behavior. It doesn’t mean we accommodate our spouse doing self-destructive things. In fact, that wouldn’t be gracious at all.


God loves us so much that He gets in our grill when we step out of line.

But you know what I think the overarching problem—why Christians don’t really get the whole grace message is because we limit it to salvation. We get grace, when it comes to salvation: “I was lost. Now, I’m found. I was blind. Now, I see.”  Then, we stop it there; and we go on a performance basis, with God, from there on out.

In fact, I think it is part of the grand illusion that Satan has put on. Before we are saved, he says, “You’ve got to earn your way to heaven.”  Then, we get saved—[Satan says], “Okay; well, I’ve lost them there; but you’ve still got to earn God’s love.”  So, if I am doing that with God, I’m going to put my wife on the same routine that she’s going to do to me. And the next thing you know, everything goes south. That’s what we are saying in this book. We can have God’s heart of grace, and it’s a game-changer for the relationship when it comes to our marriage.

Dennis: What you’re reminding me of here is what Paul said in Colossians, Chapter 2, verse 6—


—he said to these Christians at the church—he said, “Therefore, as you receive Christ Jesus, the Lord, so walk in Him.”  And he goes on to say, “You didn’t receive Him by the works of the Law.”

Tim: No.

Dennis: “You received Christ by faith, and it’s God’s gift that He responded to your faith. And even your faith was a gift from God. He has saved you with His grace.”  And what you are saying is, “Just as we have been saved through grace, and how God is relating to us, we are to magnify that grace toward our spouse, the person who knows us best and who sees us at our worst.” 

Bob: And when we read Colossians, Chapter 2, and see that we are to walk in the same way that we received Christ—we are to walk in grace—not try to perform. We do have to remember Romans 6, Tim, because in Romans 6, Paul says: “What should we say?  Should we continue in sin so that grace may abound?”  And he says, “No; if you’ve really been changed, you’re not going to want to continue in sin”; right? 


Tim: But see, I can take an attitude toward God—where I am going to live my life to please Him. It sounds like a great idea, but it leads more to self-righteousness and performance; or I can say, “No, what I want to do is—I want to trust God in my life.”  This leads to organic obedience—more inside-out obedience. That’s what we, ultimately, want to get in our marriage.

When I married Darcy, she had four big brothers and a pretty mean-looking dad. So, I was faithful to her in those first few years of marrying her; because I knew that they would kill me!  [Laughter]  So, I was obedient to my vows, because of the consequences I didn’t want to face; but as I grew deeper and deeper in love with her, my desire to want to be a noble man, on her behalf, was more from the heart connection than a checklist. I think we don’t—we miss that a lot in our Christian life.

Dennis: It wasn’t that she became perfect—


Tim: No! 

Dennis: —and earned your love.

Tim: No! 

Dennis: It was that you finally learned what real love was all about. Hollywood does a good job of really mystifying love, at this point.

Tim: Well, Hollywood is so enamored with an emotional, airbrushed, Photoshop®-ped thing that they are not even remotely close; but—let me define love; because I think, when we define love properly and grace properly, we can keep these things in perspective.

I like to define love as a commitment of my will to your needs and best interest, regardless of the cost. Now, that’s the kind of love that God has for us. He shows us His grace, which is giving us something we desperately need, but don’t necessarily deserve. And so—well, look at the church. Does God show us grace because we’re so loveable?—we’re so wonderful?—we keep getting better and better?  No, we are pathetic!  Many times, we show up on empty and ornery; and He continues to love His church.


We’re just saying, in Grace Filled Marriage, “Why don’t we take that same love that God shows toward us, His bride, and show it toward our spouse?” 

Bob: Darcy, Tim talked about a performance-orientation toward marriage in the early years. Did you feel the same thing? 

Darcy: Oh, yes. I mean, I didn’t grow up in a home that had much biblical content in it or teaching. So, I grew up wanting to be perfect; and I wanted everything to be peaceful. So, in our early years, when we had conflict or when he was displeased with me, I just thought: “Okay; I’ve got to try harder on this. I’ve got to do better, because I don’t want him to think that I’m anything but perfect.” 

I had a hard time owning my own sin when we were first married. Tim has such a heart of justice that it was very hard on him when we would have a conflict.


It would all end up being his fault, in my mind, and me not taking responsibility for my own sin and just acts of—I don’t know—disappointment and dishonor. He worked me through that. Tim helped me see that—and that’s grace—because, as he said, “Love is the commitment of my will to your needs and best interest, regardless of the cost.”  It was not in my best interest to think that I had no culpability in the things that I did to hurt him. So, his love for me—it was a hard love because I didn’t want to believe that I couldn’t be perfect.

Bob: Do you remember when you started to get the grace idea for yourself, when it started to free you up and the difference it made? 

Darcy: Yes; it was when we had young children at home. I think God showed me—through my love for my children and how—sometimes, it’s easier to get the grace-thing when you’re in a position of power and your children are needy.


I started to see the picture of God’s grace more in that role, and it became more relevant in my marriage.

Dennis: So, you’ve never had—you never hit a wall?  You never hit a dark, deep valley, where you two—

Darcy: I think we’ve had winter seasons in our marriage where we were so overwhelmed by just daily life—four kids, ministry, and ill parents. You know, you just go down the list; and they just sucked all of the energy—we were so tired. Unfortunately, you kind of give everybody what they need and don’t always keep something for your spouse. I think we’ve gone through those winter seasons.

Tim: But I think we tend to think that these kinds of messages only apply to people that are in dire straits—by the way, they do apply to people who are in dire straits—but there are a lot of people that are having a—would say they have a fairly-decent marriage—but they are still a long ways from what they could be—


Bob: Yes.

Tim: —because on the day-to-day basis, they are not letting Christ work in their heart—become the DNA of their relationship. God is a God of relationship. He wanted that heart connection.

What we are saying, in this book, is there is a way—we quantify it in this book—there is a way you can do this. It changes—you know—the unique things of our relationship, like intimacy—it changes that radically. It changes the tough times—the autumn years / the winter years.

Bob: Yes; you’re talking about cold fronts that move through a marriage.

Darcy: Right.

Bob: That’s the language that Mary Ann and I will use—you know, a weather pattern—where the weather just changes. It was sunny here yesterday. Look what happened—a cold front moved through. [Laughter]  That happens in every marriage. It doesn’t mean that your marriage is bad, or that you married the wrong person, or that there is a flaw. It’s just the reality of life—that there are seasons where it gets cold and icy.


It takes a little thaw before you can get back to normal. But it’s in those moments that grace needs to fill both of your hearts. Otherwise, your hearts can get hardened; can’t they? 

Tim: See, I look at grace as the proper clothing for any season— 

Bob: —any occasion.

Tim: —any occasion. When we are clothed in grace, and those weather patterns come through, it can get us through that. It’s also a very relaxing, freeing thing in those summer / springtime moments of our marriage too.

Dennis: You know, when we start out our marriages, we’re not always thinking about all the seasons we’re going to experience. We are getting married for some reasons—and you talk about three in your book—kind of three driving forces that everybody’s about. I think it would be good to share that with your audience; because, regardless of what season you are in, you need to know, really, how you are relating to each other and satisfying one another’s needs.


Tim: When I got married, I didn’t know that Darcy had these three driving needs, nor did she know that I had them—but when we studied God’s grace, we saw that He was meeting them in us.

We have three needs—everybody married. We need to know that we are secure in that relationship. The way we meet that is give each other a secure love. We need to know that we are significant—we have intrinsic worth and value. The way we give that—meet that in each other’s lives—is give each other a significant purpose and help build that into them. Thirdly, we need to know that we are strong or sufficient to face the moments we’re in. The way we help them get that is give them a strong hope for, not just now, but for the future. So—secure love / a significant purpose. A strong hope is how God meets our needs through His grace. In the book, we show people how they can turn around and use those very things to meet their spouse’s needs.

Bob: So, a secure love means that you know, no matter how chilly it gets with a cold front moving through, nobody is moving out.

Darcy: That your marriage is a safe place—


—that you don’t have to worry about—like I was worried about being perfect—because you’re not going anywhere. You can stay in that bad state, or cold-front state, or you can do the things that are necessary to move you beyond that.

Bob: And that’s the security that you are talking about—

Darcy: Yes.

Bob: —is that security to know: “Okay; we’re going to see this through together. We’ll get to the other side. Yes, the weather is chilly right now; but the sun won’t always be hidden.” 

Darcy: Right.

Bob: Although I do think there are folks who have been in a—the cold front has settled over the house for years. I think about a person, listening, who is going, “This all sounds fine; but this grace thing—if it’s not a two-way street / if it’s not both of you committed to it—then, it’s just one miserable marriage.” 

Tim: Well, it wasn’t a two-way street between them and God. It was a one-way street that He kept going down. Galatians 6: “Do not get weary in well doing, for in due time….” 


Bob: So, the husband who says: “Tim, I hear you. I’ve been doing that for decades. I haven’t—I don’t know when the due season is coming, but I’ve been waiting and I haven’t found it.”  What do you say to them? 

Dennis: Well, let me jump in here and just say I know a guy like this. He has been in a marriage now—it has to span three decades—their children are grown. This guy has hung in there. For all practical purposes, they’re married; but they are estranged from one another. Honestly, I don’t know how the guy did it and continues to do it.

Well, I do know—we’re talking about it here—he knows the grace of God. He’s committed to that woman and to be obedient to God to fulfill his assignment of loving her as Christ loved the church. Christ didn’t love the church when the church was all scrubbed clean and beautiful, smiling at Him.


Christ loved the church, and went and got the church out of the gutter, where He found a good number of us.

Darcy: Right.

Dennis: And He redeemed us, and He still pursues us. That’s really the message of the gospel.

Bob: Yes; it really—the only way you can keep pouring out grace, in the midst of adversity like that, is if you’re continually being filled up with grace—

Darcy: That’s right.

Bob: —on a daily basis. If you are trying to do it on your own, it’s not going to work; but if every day, throughout the day, you are being filled up with the grace of God, then, you’ve got a reserve that you can tap into.

Dennis: I couldn’t agree more.

Tim, let’s talk, real quickly, about significance. How do you help Darcy have a sense of significance, as a woman, when the culture wants to define significance around career, around accomplishment, achievement?  How are you her cheerleader? 

Tim: Well, I think our world is—we measure significance four ways—wealth, beauty, power, and fame.


God places no real value on any of those things in the Bible—there is nothing wrong with them. I find that the things that I applaud Darcy—that have eternal impact / give her greatest significance—her love for her children / her grandchildren; the way she is being used as a conduit of God’s grace, and mercy, and forgiveness to other people—because that lasts forever.

In the process, she also makes a great dinner, and she keeps a beautiful house, and she makes life a lot better for me to take on every day. But I do think that it’s not something that she has to wonder, “When was the last time he said that?”  We just make it a part of a daily vocabulary of building one another up.

Bob: I’ll give you an example. I came home yesterday. I noticed some things around the house that had been—there’d been some work done.


I don’t always notice this; but for whatever reason, I noticed. I said, “You—Wow!—you have been busy here today.”  I mean, I pointed this out, and this out—things that Mary Ann had been doing around the house. You think to yourself, “A wife, who has been busy all day—it’s just nice that somebody noticed that you were doing those things rather than coming home and saying, ‘What’s for dinner, and where is the remote?’”—right? 

Darcy: Right.

Tim: Right.

Bob: And I’m not always good at this because, sometimes, I’m preoccupied, but for husbands and wives to pay attention to the contributions that each of us are making to our relationship, to our homes, to our parenting, to all that we’re doing—and not just to notice it but, then, to verbalize it—to say to the other person: “I noticed this. I was…”

Tim: By the way, this is right out of God’s playbook. He wants to say, someday, to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” 

Dennis: He is going to approve of us.

Tim: He wants to applaud us, with nail-scarred hands.


Dennis: Right.

Tim: He owes us nothing!  Yet, He sees that value He wants to place in us.

Bob: I was brushing my teeth over the weekend. I looked at the—I said: “Look at this bathroom. This bathroom looks cleaner than the last time I brushed my teeth.”  I went to Mary Ann and I said, “When did you clean the bathroom?”  She said, “Oh, halftime—I went up, when the game was on—I went up at halftime—I thought, ‘I’m going to clean this up.’” 

Dennis: While you were eating popcorn, watching the game. [Laughter] 

Tim: Yes; exactly.

Darcy: Messing up the living room. [Laughter] 

Bob: Exactly right! 

But the reality is—she just found a little moment—and just for me to step up and notice that and say: “Thank you. This is just one of those contributions you make, and I’m grateful for it; and I don’t say thank you enough.”  

Dennis: I appreciate you illustrating that, Bob. You’ve been a great illustrator of what we are talking about here. And I want to talk about the last one of how we bring strength to our spouse. I’m thinking of you, Darcy. How have you really helped Tim have strength and hope for the future?


I mean, Barbara’s belief in me has kept me going over the years. I’m sure you’ve done that in your marriage over your four decades of marriage. Share with our listeners how you’ve brought that strength to Tim.

Darcy: Tim and I were married for a week, and he started seminary / graduate school. He came home the first day and said: “You know what, Darcy? I think they made a mistake in admissions. I should not be here. You should see all the great guys that are in my classes—people that have accomplished much.” He said, “I really feel out of my element.”

Somehow, God spoke to me and just said: “You know what? You need to encourage this man. He has God-given abilities, and you need to really give him hope that God will use those.” So I started writing him little notes—putting them in his lunch and putting them in his textbooks. To this day, I can go to a drawer in his dresser and pull out a couple of those notes.


That seemed to remind him that “No; God was in this, and we’re going to get through this together.” So I think that gave him a strong hope for the future.

Dennis: Yes. No doubt about it. I look back on Barbara’s belief in me, as a young man, starting out. I didn’t realize how needy I was of having her to stand with me as we looked at the future.

I want to encourage a wife to just take step back and go: “Am I a cheerleader for my husband? Does he know I believe in him?”

Bob: You stop and think about it—grace is a pretty all-encompassing word. I mean, it captures a lot of what marriage is supposed to be all about—kindness, and humility, and compassion, and tenderness. I mean, I’m thinking of all of the words that really fit under that definition of grace, which is at the heart of what Tim and Darcy Kimmel have written about in the book that we have in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center, called Grace Filled Marriage:


The Missing Piece. The place to start,—in marriage.

You can go to our website at to order your copy of Grace Filled Marriage. This may be a book you’d like to go through with a small group or a study group. You can order from us, online, at; or you can call to place an order at 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.”

If this is something that you’d like to meditate on and maybe soak in for an extended period of time, let me encourage you to join us this spring at one of our upcoming Weekend to Remember marriage getaways. We will have—I think it’s almost 90—85 to 90 events happening in cities all across the country this spring. A weekend-long getaway for couples, where the two of you can just relax, and enjoy being with one another, and laugh, and have a good time, and talk about your relationship, and how you’re doing and how you can do better.


This is an event that is great for couples who have a good marriage and want to see their good marriage continue to be a good marriage. It’s also an event that is helpful for couples who are struggling and need hope and help.

Right now, when you sign up for a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway, you pay the regular price for yourself and your spouse comes free. It’s an offer we’re making this week and next week for FamilyLife Today listeners. You can go online at to sign up for the getaway, or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY. If you have any questions or if you’d like to sign up over the phone—1-800-358-6329—that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”  Or again, register online at—just look for the link for the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway.


If you need to know when a getaway is coming to a city near where you live, we have the maps and all the information available on our website. So again, go to

Now, tomorrow, we want to talk about the difference grace makes in a marriage—some of the freedom that comes in a relationship when grace is the foundation for your marriage. Tim and Darcy Kimmel are going to be back with us. Hope you can be back with us as well.

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.

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