FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Service and Submission

with Chip Ingram | May 31, 2019
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Author and Bible teacher Chip Ingram coaches husbands on how to live out Ephesians 5 in their marriages. Husbands, he explains, need to own the responsibility to care and nurture their wives, ultimately helping their wives become all they were made to be. Wives, on the other hand, need to be sensitive to their husbands, especially their fear of failure, and need to be available to step in where help is needed.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Author and Bible teacher Chip Ingram coaches husbands on how to live out Ephesians 5 in their marriages. Husbands, he explains, need to own the responsibility to care and nurture their wives, ultimately helping their wives become all they were made to be. Wives, on the other hand, need to be sensitive to their husbands, especially their fear of failure, and need to be available to step in where help is needed.

  • 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.

Chip Ingram coaches husbands on how to live out Ephesians 5 in their marriages. Husbands, he explains, need to own the responsibility to care for and nurture their wives.

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Service and Submission

With Chip Ingram
May 31, 2019
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Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, May 31st. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson; I’m Bob Lepine. The success of any marriage has something to do—at least, in part—with how husbands and wives carry out our assignments/our responsibilities to love and serve each other. We’ll talk more about how we do that today with Chip Ingram. Stay with us.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. I’ve been reflecting, as we’ve been talking this week about a Marriage That Works; and I’ve been thinking about a scene in our movie, Like Arrows, where the husband and the wife recognize: “We’ve been kind of going through the spiritual motions, but that hasn’t really been a spiritual reality in our lives and in our marriage. We go to church, and we say grace. I pray bedtime prayers, and that’s kind of all there is to it. It’s not working, and our kids are spinning out as a result of this.”

They come to a point, where they recognize, “We’ve got to do something differently.” The husband tries to exercise a little spiritual leadership, and the wife is cheering him on—she says: “Our job is to be faithful. It’s God’s job to do the work.” I don’t know how many people I’ve talked to, who have seen the movie, who reflect on that scene and what that brings up to them. When it comes to marriage, that’s a big part of what we’ve been talking about this week—our job is to be faithful, not to be perfect, but to be faithful. It’s God’s job to take our faithfulness and to bless it; right?

Dave: Yes; that example is a good one, because it’s not words; it’s not good intentions; it’s actually living it out. I thought of this when you said this, Bob—I don’t know what year it was. I was the Detroit Lions Chaplain; you know? There were different coaches coming in and had me do different things. One season, for about five years, this coach wanted me to pray before we went onto the field, so the pregame—last thing we did before we ran out of that locker room.

I remember some player/somebody says, “I don’t think it should be the chaplain.” I’ve been doing it for games and games; and of course, we’re not winning. So, maybe, they’re thinking my prayers aren’t very good; [Laughter] but this guy went to the coach and said, “I think a player should pray.” He goes, “Okay.” So, we had a guy pray, and he starts cursing in the middle of the prayer—it was absolutely unbelievable. The next thing I knew, the coach was like, “From now on, you’re praying,”—[Laughter]—it was like, “Okay; it’s one thing to pray a prayer; but this guy actually knows how to pray and lives it.”

So, it’s the same thing in a marriage. You can say that you want/you can pray whatever you want; but when you get a marriage that works, it’s got to be lived out.

Bob: By the way, I think Like Arrows is on Netflix now.

Ann: I was just going to ask, “Have you told listeners?!”

Bob: We haven’t mentioned this before, and I haven’t verified; but it was supposed to, this month, come on Netflix. So, if you haven’t seen it yet, if you’ve got Netflix, check out Like Arrows

Ann: Yes; you need to watch it.

Bob: —and look for that scene in the movie.

We’ve got Chip Ingram joining us this week. Chip, welcome back to FamilyLife Today.

Chip: Thank you so much, Bob. Good to be with you all.

Bob: Chip is a Bible teacher. Recently, after—how many years were you at the church in Northern California?

Chip: Ten years.

Bob: And you just recently stepped away from that—handed it off. You’re still going—

Chip: Yes; yes.

Bob: —you’re still a part of the church, but you’ve handed off the leadership responsibilities and still giving leadership to Living on the Edge. You were telling us that, in Asia, the work of Living on the Edge is exploding.

Chip: Yes; I’ve been to China, I think, three times in the last twelve months. God has opened some doors, even in the midst of kind of all these kind of crackdowns we see.

Ann: Why do you think?—why is it taking off?

Chip: You know, I can give you a spiritual answer of the sovereignty of God—

Ann: Yes.

Chip: —and the kindness of God.

I think there was a man, who invested in the registered church for 25 years and built a relationship. I happened to write a book on the attributes of God. I think God so wants His name and the clarity of who He is—and honestly, you know, when I write something—and this is like A.W. Tozer and J.I. Packer for Dummies—[Laughter]—I mean, they wouldn’t let me call it that; but we had an opportunity to translate that. God has really used that and kept the door open and been able to provide that to hundreds of thousands of leaders.

Bob: Well, we’re talking about marriage this week. You’ve just written a book called Marriage That Works: God’s Way of Becoming Spiritual Soul Mates, Best Friends, and Passionate Lovers. I think—I hear a lot of people, saying: “That’s what I want.

Chip: Yes.

Bob: “So, I’m ready to hear how it works.”

We were talking about what we model in marriage and the impact it has on our children. A lot of our listeners may not know one of your kids by name; but they know one of your sons, because they’ve sung his songs.

Chip: Sure. Yes; my son, Jason, is a very accomplished songwriter. I don’t know how many Dove Awards, but he just won two Grammys—Lauren Daigle’s song—and is a very humble, godly young man and a good dad.

We went through a bit of a challenge like you have. Looking back—when we were in it, he was a rebellious son; and it was 98 percent him. Looking back now, he had a wacko dad, whose expectations and intensity—like I pushed all of his buttons. I think we both learned we had a lot to learn; but he did go through a season, where he really doubted God: “I don’t know if I believe.” During that time, it was really, really difficult; and I think he would be fair to say, “Dad, I really rebelled; and I pushed all your buttons.”

It got to where it was unsustainable—and one of those really, really hard talks, where, “Son, I’ve taught you all I can, and you can do whatever you want and live anywhere you want; but that’s going to mean, probably, relocating.” We saw God do an amazing thing in his life—and just a 180—and God grabbed his heart. Later, I kept waiting to make sure everything was real, and I just wanted to know. You know, in my heart of hearts, I was hoping: “I wonder if it was one of my better sermons. [Laughter] Maybe, I had a really good weekend.”

As we both matured through things, I asked him, “Jason, what—you know, what happened?—something happened inside of you.” He said: “Well, I remember we were sitting in the car, and you were having that hard talk. As you were having that hard talk, tears were streaming down your face; and you know, I’ve grown up catching Mom on her knees, and all I know is this Jesus stuff. I didn’t know if I could believe it, or I was just supposed to believe it, or was it just because you all believe? There is something about being a pastor’s kid—I was tired of the pressure I felt.”

He said, “But it’s so real to you and Mom, and I saw how it impacted your life. It was just such a strong testament. I said, ‘If You’re that real to them, show me that in my life.’” He said, “God did.” As a result, he followed his dream; and he is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever, ever met. The Lord has really used his life, and what I love is he writes songs with real content.

Bob: I’m just watching you recount that season with Jason, and it still stirs up—

Chip: Oh.

Bob: —a lot of emotion. How long were you and Theresa in that season, where you were thinking, “We don’t know what’s going to happen here”?

Chip: About four years—about four years, and it was—I don’t know how every couple lives, but the ones I get to know—you have issues and seasons. After the day is done, you sit up in bed, and you put the pillows behind you. You look at each other and, you know: “Honey, am I being too strong?” “Am I messing up here?” “Have I done this there?” “How did I blow it?” “What is God up to?” “Do you think this is going to lead to this?”—all of these fears, and you just pray like crazy.

I tried to say: “Okay; nothing you do can ever stop me from loving you,” and “You can’t have your own selfish way.” We talked about marriage and choosing—I would go out to breakfast with him. He’d roll his eyes, like, “Dad, I don’t really want to spend any time with you.” Honestly, I didn’t want to spend any time with him either!—but it was a choice. What I knew was—my behavior needed to be: “I’ve got to invest in my son’s life.”

On the personality range of things, we would not be a marriage made in heaven. He’s an artist; I didn’t understand. He’s an introvert; I’m like, over the top, intense extrovert. Sports, sports, sports—and he’s music, music; art, art. I mean, if we would have both had great attitudes, it would have been hard; so God has been very, very kind.

Dave: Tell me—did he write this? “You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing. You say I’m strong when I think I’m weak. You say I’m held when I’m falling short. When I don’t belong, oh, you say I am Yours, and I believe this.” I mean, obviously, Lauren Daigle sang the lyrics, but he wrote it. I’m not kidding—when I heard that, as well as it was sung by her, the depth of the meaning of that identity in Christ is so powerful. It’s beautiful to know that’s something that was born out of your relationship with him.

Chip: Yes; very, very, very special.

Dave: Wow.

Chip: We were—you know, looking back—thrilled to be his parents.

Dave: Yes.

Bob: We’ve been talking this week about what it is that makes a marriage work, and this book that you’ve written is anchored in Ephesians, Chapter 5, the classic chapter in the Bible on marriage, where couples have learned—if they’ve read this chapter—they’ve learned about God’s assignment for husbands to love wives/for wives to respect their husbands.

There are directions here for how we are to respond to one another differently in a marriage relationship. There are different things that God’s assigned for husbands than what He’s assigned for wives. They are to come together and to fit together in a complementary way. So, if you were to boil down a husband’s job description in a nutshell, can you do that?

Chip: I’ll give it my best shot. What I did in this book—because I didn’t get this, and I didn’t see it—I mean, this is more of a coaching book. This is: “Okay, guys, we are supposed to be the head of our family. We’re supposed to lead. We’re supposed to love sacrificially, intentionally, and sensitively; okay? That’s the job description.”

Okay; what’s that look like with your wife? What’s it look like in the finances? What does it mean to be the spiritual leader? What does it mean with your kids? I, literally, went through and wrote chapters and, real practically, gave guys, “Here are some steps to go from Point A to Point B,” because I didn’t see that; and no one taught me that. God brought some great mentors in my life and, then, kind of teamed up with my wife to do the same thing for women.

But I think what we need to understand is—we need to own the responsibility of, if I’m going to love intentionally, it says to care and nurture her. I finally got the picture—because my wife had such a damaged self-image and didn’t like herself—but she was this beautiful, beautiful flower that God had given me.

The word, nurture, there and care for means to keep her warm and that my job was to help her become all that God had designed her and made her to be; so that was helping her discover her gifts. That means living with her in an understanding way and realizing, like in her particular case—I don’t think she would mind me sharing this—you know, when you had her kind of father and, then, you’re abandoned by someone, I mean, she is so sensitive to rejection.

I mean, after 40 years—I mean, just so we don’t make this like, “Oh, we had marriage counseling 40 years ago, and things are great,”—this was ten days ago. We were trying to get some dates or something. I want to get them done really, really, really fast; and she was asking a bunch of questions. I just raised my voice a little bit [intensely]: “Well, honey, what we need to do is….”—I said it about like that. I looked at her face, and she just shut down; she didn’t say anything. Then, you know, we did something else; and then, in my mind, like men do, I thought, you know: “Get over it. How many years are we going to go?”—you know? [Laughter]

But what I knew/what I’ve learned is—she heard me yell at her—in her mind, I was yelling at her. I’m thinking, “I mean, I just like”—just like I just did—“I raised my—‘Come on. We need to….’”—it was that intensity. I looked over at her; I said, “Honey, did I hurt your feelings?” “Yes.” “Did it sound like I really yelled at you?” She goes, “Yes.” “I’m sorry.”

You know, I think we all need to understand—as a man, all our wives are different; but that’s the assignment. I mean, how does Jesus love the church? I think the thing—if I could flip it around—and maybe, you could speak to this far better than me—I don’t think most women realize how sensitive men are to failing, and how much they need to be affirmed, and how much we need—I talk about a man stepping up; and to me, a woman has to step in—not step over—step in.

Anything I’ve ever accomplished—I’m absolutely convinced I’m going to get to heaven, and the Lord and Theresa are going to say, “She prayed like crazy, and she stepped in; and Chip ran the errands.” I mean, I’m one high-energy, Energizer Bunny—blah-blah-blah-blah-blah, go-go-go-go-go—but in my loneliest, most dark times, living with her has been the biggest strength of my whole life.

Ann: That’s beautiful.

I think that what happens for us, as women—I’m going to speak for myself—is I didn’t grow up in the church. Submission—I remember going to the first Weekend to Remember® FamilyLife® conference. When this topic came up on submission, I was sitting in the back of the room, as an attendee; and I had my arms crossed. I thought: “Oh, boy, here we come. I’m going to hear about submission and how I need to be a doormat, and I need to let this strong man rule me.”

I had a very strong father; and he was not loving, all the time, to my mom. I wanted to protect my mom, and I also wanted to protect me; so I became very strong, thinking, “You’re not going to hurt me.” I think that is what has happened to women. We’re not sure what that looks like—to respond to a man’s love. I know that I became very controlling, and I think that’s what we do out of our fear. I’ve stepped into that, and I think—wouldn’t you say, “I was pretty controlling, Dave?”

Dave: OHHH, yes. [Laughter] Oh, yes.

Ann: And strong—I’m a strong woman, too, because I thought, if I was passive and I was weak, he would run over me as I felt like my dad did to my mom.

I think we all bring a lot of baggage into that area. As you describe your treatment for Theresa and what that looks like—your love and your care—what woman doesn’t want to do that?—what woman doesn’t want to receive that kind of care and love?—that feels good. But I think we’ve guarded our hearts; because we’re so fearful that we won’t receive that—that we guard our hearts, and we become hard, and we become controlling.

Chip: And I think we’ve got to be honest. So many Christian men have not treated their wives well.

Bob: Right.

Chip: As a result, that’s how they respond. I think a lot of bad teaching has been on submission that, actually, might be mild abuse; but it’s not good.

Juli Slattery—she, actually, did a little Appendix in the back of the book on “How do you submit in a difficult situation?” She talks about, you know, women are powerful. I mean, when you really think about who really runs a home, women are powerful. She says: “Submission is our power; but it’s our power, surrendered in meekness, to equip our husbands to become the kind of men that we need and to be the kind of fathers. You bring you’re A-game, and you’re strong. You bring out in your husband and in your family what they need the most.”

I’ll tell you what—my wife is one of the most non-passive women in the entire world—[Laughter]—and very submissive. We discuss and do everything together; but we’ve had those 1 percent of the times, where we disagreed. I mean, find a company that has two CEO’s or two head coaches. I mean, at the end of the day—I tell men: “This isn’t about an authority issue.

Ann: Yes.

Chip: “This is about responsibility.”

Bob: That’s right. You said guys need to learn how to step up/wives need to learn how to step in; and I think it goes to what we’re talking about here. The natural tendency for men is not to step up but to be passive—to pull back/to just coast—and: “If somebody else wants to take charge, yes; that’s fine with me. Go ahead because I’ll just sit here on the sofa and use the remote.”

Dave: I found that’s what I did. I was passive; and the only time I took charge, early in our marriage, was with anger and with harshness.

Chip: Yes.

Dave: Chip, when you were saying that, I’ve seen that look from Ann. I didn’t think I was harsh, but I was. It actually got caught once on video tape.

When I finally realized and understood, “This is what God calls me to—as a man, as a husband, and as a father,”—to reject that passivity/to overcome that and not respond in anger but in gentleness, and love, and cherish her like you said—the flower: protect and bring out the best—there was a difference in the way she stopped trying to control me, not immediately, but over time. It’s like she started to respect and submit in a beautiful, mutual way that made me a better man. I’m with you, Chip—I did not become a better man—she made me that.

Chip: Yes.

Dave: She really did; it’s crazy.

Ann: Well, we do have so much power, as women—not that we have to exert—we have the power to influence.

Chip: You’re not kidding.

Ann: Man, I’ve realized, even raising three sons—as I speak life into them/as I see the greatness God put in them, there is no greater power than that. It breathes life into a home/into a relationship. I think Dave and I have both seen that, as he loves, sacrificially, and I’m speaking life and supporting—and we’re, side by side, in this.

Chip: Yes; absolutely.

Ann: It’s this beautiful picture.

Bob: That’s the stepping in.

Ann: Yes.

Dave: Yes.

Bob: She’s an encourager—she is bringing life and energy to the marriage team/to the family team. It’s huge.

Ann: Powerful.

Chip: I want to be fair to guys; because what I think happens is—they hear something like this, or their wives hear this—and they say: “Oh, you’ve got to listen to this—go, online, FamilyLife. It was so helpful today.”

It’s like: “I don’t know how to do this. How do you actually step up, and what does that look like?” When it comes to relationships and spirituality, and leading in those areas, the reason we work so much and like sports is we are competent there.

Dave: Right.

Chip: But spiritually, you ask a guy how to pray with his wife; and you’re thinking: “It’s like playing basketball with Michael Jordan. She’s up there, and I’m down here.” So, I think you’ve got to give guys tools and some baby steps.

You were a college quarterback and a coach—it’s like saying, “Go score.”

Dave: Yes.

Chip: “Give me a play, man! Give me a couple of plays.”

Dave: Yes.

Bob: “Let me run the drill a few times.”

Chip: Right.

Bob: Yes.

Chip: That’s what we’ve tried to do in the book—is give men and women some plays. Honestly, when the man changes, things happen a lot faster; because the call of a woman—you’re going to protect yourself when it doesn’t feel safe.

Bob: Yes.

Chip: So, guys, if you want things to change, go for it.

Bob: Well, if you’re looking for a game plan—

Chip: Yes.

Bob: —Chip’s laid it out for you; because the chapters in this book—you’ve got “The Evolution of the American Man” / “The Evolution of the American Woman,”—how we got to where we are—and then, you start to lay out: “Here’s what it looks like: ‘What stepping up looks like for a man,’”—three chapters there—“’What stepping in looks like for a woman,’”—three chapters there. It’s really unpacking what you find in Ephesians, Chapter 5. Again, I’d encourage listeners to get a copy of the book, Marriage That Works.

Chip, thanks for being here.

Chip: It is a joy; and it’s great—Dave and Ann—what a—it’s a thrill to meet you guys. This has been really fun.

Ann: Thank you.

Dave: Thank you.

Ann: It’s so fun to meet you.

Dave: It’s been a go.

Bob: Yes; the book is available in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. Order online at, or call to order—1-800-FL-TODAY. The book is called Marriage That Works, and we’d love to send a copy of this book to you.

Well, here on the last day of May, this is the last opportunity we have to come to you and to challenge you—to encourage you/to exhort you—I’m trying to think of all the words I can think of there—whatever we can do to motivate you to become a part of the FamilyLife team. We’ve had a matching gift that has been extended to us this month—$645,000 in that matching-gift fund.

We have heard from many of our listeners this month; but today is the last day for you to make a donation and have your donation be matched, dollar for dollar, or to become a Legacy Partner—a monthly donor to FamilyLife. If you do that, each donation you make over the next 12 months is going to be matched, dollar for dollar; and we’re going to send you a gift card so that you, or someone you want to designate, can go to one of our Weekend to Remember marriage getaways as our guest. This is our way of saying, “Thank you for becoming one of our monthly Legacy Partners.”

David Robbins is here, again, with me today. He is the President of FamilyLife, and we need to hear from listeners today; don’t we?

David: Yes; today is a big day for us, as we are getting close, but really need to hear from other people who will join with us. There’s a listener, who sent me this email—it said: “FamilyLife gives me hope, encouragement, and new ideas. So, I give to say, ‘Thank you,’ and keep the ministry going. I need it, and others do too.”

I hope that is the spirit of why people would give—is that you are receiving encouragement in such a way that you want to pour that out and pass it on to other people.

Bob: So, if you would, go to today and make as generous a donation as you can or become one of our monthly Legacy Partners and help us take advantage of this matching-gift opportunity. We would be so grateful to hear from you on this last day of May. Again, the website: Whether it’s a one-time donation or your first donation, as a monthly Legacy Partner, we’re so grateful for your participation in the work of this ministry. It’s great to hear from you.

Then, keep in mind the couples who are joining us this weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina; Houston, Texas; and Indianapolis, Indiana. We’ve got three Weekend to Remember marriage getaways happening this weekend. Pray for those couples, if you would.

I hope you have a great weekend. I hope you and your family are able to worship together in your local church this weekend. Then join us back on Monday when we’re going to talk about how to successfully navigate the dating years. If you know somebody who is single, invite them to tune in or point them to our website. Shelby Abbott is going to be here with some very helpful thoughts on dating. I hope you can be part of it with us.

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

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


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