FamilyLife Today® Podcast

We Still Do: Doug and Patty Daily, Part 1

with Doug and Patty Daily | March 29, 2007
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Doug and Patty Daily didn't want to divorce, but they DID hope one of them would die! Today on the broadcast, hear how God changed the course of their love.

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  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Doug and Patty Daily didn't want to divorce, but they DID hope one of them would die! Today on the broadcast, hear how God changed the course of their love.

  • 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.

Doug and Patty Daily didn’t want to divorce, but they DID hope one of them would die!

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We Still Do: Doug and Patty Daily, Part 1

With Doug and Patty Daily
March 29, 2007
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Doug: I grew up in a family that really had very little emotional intimacy with one another, and it was evident on our honeymoon that we weren't talking, I was interested in the physical relationship, and Patty had dreams of this honeymoon being everything you could ever imagine, and it was far from that.

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, March 29th.  Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.  When a marriage goes from hopeful to hopeless, is there a way back?  Stay tuned.

 And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us.  You know, Dennis, I think sometimes when we look at marriages of people around us, we see just the airbrushed picture of the marriage.  We look around, and we see this nice couple – I was sitting – in fact, I was sitting behind a couple yesterday at a meeting, and this couple was – they were being so affectionate with each other, and they were rubbing each other's neck and cuddling close to each other.

Dennis: I didn't notice you'd noticed that about us.


Bob: And I thought to myself, you know, I don't remember Mary Ann cuddling up to me like that anytime recently.

Dennis: Right.

Bob: We are aware of the flaws in our own marriages, and all we see is the public display of what looks like everything's okay in everybody else's marriages, and that can be discouraging to couples, don't you think? 

Dennis: It really can.  In fact, the problem is we compare reality – what we are experiencing up close and personal, in all of its warts and flaws and ugliness, we compare from a distance, and we don't know what other people are going through.

Bob: We've got a couple with us today who had one of those "looks good from the outside but you don't know the real story on the inside" marriages, at least in the early years of their marriage.  In fact, this story is an article in our online magazine, "The Family Room," this month, and if any of our listeners are not currently subscribers to the online magazine, you can go to our website,, and when you get to the home page, click the red button in the middle of the screen that says "Go," and that will take you right to an area of the site where you can subscribe to this magazine. 

 We'll send it to your e-mail each month – no cost, no obligation, and one of the stories you will read in the upcoming issue, which is going to be sent out in another couple of days is the story of the couple who joins us today.  In fact, you had asked me to read the opening of this article that's going to be in the magazine.  Do you want to introduce this couple first?

Dennis: No, no, we'll introduce them after the story occurs here.

Bob: Okay.  "For more than a month, 12-year-old Daniel Daily complained of hearing a funny sound in his head, but his parents, Doug and Patty, didn't take him seriously.  After all, he was the type of child who seemed to notice everything. 

 Yeah, he was suffering from headaches, but his doctor said they were just migraines.  Finally, on a Saturday morning in April of 1997, while they were preparing to play a soccer game, Daniel turned to his sister, Laura, and said, 'See if you can hear this.'  She put her ear up to his ear and said, 'I can hear something.'  So could Doug and Patty when they listened.  It sounded like water running intermittently through a crimp in a hose.

 They immediately called a doctor who suggested that Daniel sit out his soccer game, and the doctor said it sounded like an arterial vascular malformation, that's an ABM, a tangled web of blood vessels that can cause hemorrhages and seizures.

 This news and the subsequent five-day wait for Daniel to have an MRI, plunged Patty into a deep state of anxiety.  She read up on ABMs and wondered if Daniel might even have a brain tumor.  In a way, she was already grieving at the loss of her son.

 She and Doug prayed together one night that week, and she felt like Abraham in the Old Testament giving her son over to God.  'If Daniel has a tumor, if he has to go to chemotherapy, I'll trust you, Lord,' she prayed.  'If he dies, and you take him home, I'll trust you.'

 Then Doug prayed, and to Patty his words sounded indifferent.  'God, please help us through this time.  Give the doctors wisdom as they look at Daniel.'  When his prayer was finished, he turned to Patty and said, 'I don't think we should get so worked up about all of this.  We don't even know if there is anything to worry about yet.  It might be nothing.'

 Patty was livid.  Was her husband actually telling her that she shouldn't be emotional when their son might be fighting for his life?  Wasn't this problem the inability to share intimately with each other, to express their emotions, the very thing that had nearly driven them apart early in their marriage?

 She looked at him and said, 'Doug, I am going through the most difficult thing I have ever experienced in my whole life.  I have never been so scared.  Clearly, I cannot trust you with my pain.  I have friends who will let me feel it, express it, and who will even feel it with me.  I'll walk through this with them and with God but not with you.'

 That moment remains seared in the memories of Doug and Patty Daily.  It was one of those turning points in a marriage when a husband and wife make choices that will lead them either toward isolation or toward unity.  But God had worked in Doug and Patty's lives for many years to prepare them for those choices, and for the two extraordinary weeks that awaited them."

Dennis: You know, as I heard you reading that again, Bob, I thought of a marriage that was facing a crisis.  Doug is a pastor, Patty is a pastor's wife, and from all appearances in that congregation, they would look at them and just as you started the broadcast would think, "Oh, they've got their struggles, they've got their issues, but they've got it together."

 And Doug, of course, is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary.  He has received four years of training in the original biblical languages.  He knows the truth about God's love, he knows the truth about his assignment as a man, has been in ministry since 1980, and various forms of ministry with Campus Crusade and also as a pastor, and here they are at a crossroads.

 And, Patty, first of all, I want to thank you for the vulnerability of writing those words and taking us to that scene, because that takes a degree of vulnerability that most pastor's wives are never willing to admit, but in that situation with Doug, your husband just didn't get it, did he?

Patty: No, he really didn't.  I was experiencing the kind of pain that I had feared ever since my first child was born.  I remember 18 years ago when my oldest child was born, probably a half an hour after he was born thinking, "Oh, this love is too great.  I couldn't bear it if I were to lose him now."

 And I really had lived with that fear for all those years, and here I was actually facing it for the first time.  And Doug seemed cold and uncaring, and Bob was very gracious when he read my words.  I didn't sound like that.  I was – there was a lot of emotion in my voice, and I was – the incredible pain that I was experiencing just in a flash turned to anger – intense anger.

Dennis: Doug, as Bob was reading those words, you began to weep.  Why?

Doug: Two reasons – one, I just relived Daniel having the tumor and all that we went through there; and, second, my initial responses were not supportive of Patty, and I just didn't want to go there emotionally.  Patty was ready to go there, and whether I was or not, I needed to support her.  I needed to listen.

Dennis: This was not a new theme in your marriage.

Doug: Oh, no.

Dennis: You all met at a camp.

Patty: He was the camp director, and I was the woman's camp director.

Dennis: And he was everything you dreamed.

Patty: He was.  The first time I met him, I thought, "This is the guy."

Bob: So she sees you, and she's head over heels.  How long did it take for you?

Doug: Well, that summer I got to know Patty, and we talked a lot, and she became a dear friend.  I didn't pursue it right away.

Dennis: What finally kicked you into gear, Doug?

Doug: Well, I had a friend at the camp who said, "You need to clarify your relationship with her, because you all are good friends."  Then, finally, I kind of clarified things.  I said, "I'm interested in getting to know you better," and it scared me when she said, "Well, I'm interested in getting to know you, too," and we started a dating relationship in Lumberton, Mississippi, and then Patty had to go back to Wisconsin, and I knew I'd be alone, and I thought she might meet somebody up there, and we were dating kind of heavily, and I thought, "I need to pop the question."

 And so I did, and she said yes immediately.

Dennis: Well, you started your marriage off, then, you got married, and it was all smooth sailing from then on, right?

Doug: No, our marriage hit the skids, I think, on the honeymoon.  I can remember Patty crying herself to sleep on our honeymoon.  I grew up in a family that really had very little emotional intimacy with one another, and it was evident on our honeymoon that we weren't talking, I was interested in the physical relationship, and Patty had dreams of this honeymoon being everything you could ever imagine, and it was far from that.

Bob: Patty, did you carry too many expectations into the honeymoon or was it just such a departure from what the relationship had been before the wedding that you were shocked?

Patty: I think there was some of both of that.  I definitely had some Hollywood-type expectations of romance.  On the other hand, there had been a lot of that previous to our marriage.  Doug was very attentive and affectionate, and I felt like that stopped right away.

 I think also, in addition to my expectations, there was a very real longing to connect with him, and I didn't even know how to express that.  And then those desires, which I think are legitimate desires that God puts there, turned into a demandedness, and I felt like I was entitled to having those longings met, and I became angry that Doug wasn't meeting those longings.

Dennis: You know, what you're describing is, I think, felt by many wives.  They reach a point where they simply do not know how to express what is on their heart, what they need out of the relationship, and in all fairness to a man, a young man who is just starting out marriage, who just got this new job description that Bob writes about in his book, "The Christian Husband," I mean, you get this job description without a lot of training and, now, all of a sudden, you're supposed to speak woman, you're supposed to know her and know how to relate to her, and yet we don't.  We don't know how to do that at all.

Bob: You're supposed to be able to fulfill the desire that she can't put words to.  She can't explain it to you, but you're supposed to understand it instinctively and meet it, right?

Patty: Yes.

Bob: And so men kind of wind up sitting in the chair with the remote control going, "I'm not sure what to do from this point on."

Dennis: Right, and so what happens to most marriages is she moves into her own isolation, he moves into his, and she pours her life into the kids, and he pours his life into work, and 15, 20 years later, there's some kind of an eruption that exposes the lack of relationship.

Bob: I just want to know, if you had tears on the honeymoon, I mean, right away you're going "Things aren't working the way I thought they would."  Was your first year of marriage "Boy, we've made the biggest mistake of our life?"

Patty: Probably the first five years of our marriage.  It was really awful.  We were on staff with Campus Crusade, and we were on a campus ministry, and we both were sincerely walking closely with God, wanting God to be in complete control of our lives, but we just didn't have the emotional maturity or ability to connect in the way that we needed to as a husband and wife.

 So we would spend the week on campus leading people to Christ, discipling, having a very successful ministry, and then on the weekend it would erupt.  It didn't take 15 years for us, Dennis, it erupted immediately, almost every weekend.  The disappointment that I was feeling and I think Doug was feeling trapped would all come to a head almost every weekend.

 I remember one night, as it typically happened, I would start Friday night with hopes that this weekend would be different; that we would do something special; that we'd have a wonderful conversation, maybe we'd have some friends and enjoy them, and, of course, none of that was happening.

 So I got mad, and instead of talking about my feelings, I put on my jacket and walked out the front door.  Well, this was in Minneapolis in February at night, and we didn't live in a very nice part of town, and I thought, "I'll show him," and I walked out the door.  I didn't bring my hat or mittens or anything, and I walked down the street thinking, "Boy, he's going to really worry.  I'm scaring him.  He'll realize how much he needs me."

 And about 45 minutes later I walked back and peeked through the window, and can you guess what he was doing?

Bob: Exactly – remote control, right?

Patty: We didn't have a remote control back then but, yes, he was watching TV.  So I thought, "Well, I'll show him," and I walked to a hospital that was about a half a mile away and sat in the waiting room for about two hours.  So when I did finally come back, I peeked through the window again, and guess what he's doing now? 

Dennis: Had he popped some popcorn?

Patty: No, he's in bed asleep.

Dennis: Doug, you're in ministry.

Doug: I didn't know how to deal with the emotions.  I didn't know what to do next.

Dennis: So you just shut down.

Doug: Shut down and went to bed and thought logically.  I mean, I really did – Patty's from Northern Wisconsin, she's not stupid, she won't stay out in the cold even though it's close to zero, and she'll find someplace – and I knew – my gut was she wanted me to come after her and say, "Oh, please, please, please come back," but my pride was in the way of that.  So I went to sleep.

Patty: We did talk about it some in the morning, but we just did not know – we didn't have the tools to do what we needed to do.

Dennis: Wow.

Bob: Was there any joy – there had to be moments of – an anniversary where you'd have a nice meal and there was some joy in that, wasn't it?

Patty: Yes, there was some joy.  We enjoyed a lot of the same things.  We played racquetball together, we enjoyed going on canoe trips, and we did have some joy.  And I really and truly loved Doug the whole time, and I know he loved me, too.  But I felt like there was a big wall around Doug, and I knew there was someone behind that wall that I loved deeply, but I just couldn't get to him.

Bob: Couples in this situation have to have the foundation of a covenant underneath them if there is any hope of fixing the problems.  But because so many couples today haven't settled that covenant issue, they don't have the foundation of commitment on their marriage, you can see why, at this point, they just spin out in opposite directions.

Dennis: Well, think of the modern marriage today – the modern marriage and its partial commitment, prenuptial agreement – what would a couple like Doug and Patty do?  They would pull the ripcord, hop out, the parachute would open, and they would both "safely" drift in two different directions and terminate the relationship, and they'd be two people off doing their own things, even thought they're Christians who were in the midst of serving Jesus Christ.  But it's the commitment, the covenant, that I think forces us to deal with reality that we're hurting each other, and we need to find a solution.

Bob: And to deal with the hidden issues in our own heart, because that's what was revealed through all of this.  That's where most couples would spin out, and they'd head off, but they'd keep all of their buried issues and carry them into the next relationship.  In this case, you have to deal with those issues.

Dennis: I've got to underscore that, Bob, because what Doug and Patty have illustrated for us today is I don't think uncommon in marriages.  I think people hit these walls, and they think they're the only ones to hit it, and I applaud you two for your transparency in sharing it.

 But if you don't deal with the darkness of your heart, your needs, Patty, as you spoke about.  Your inability to understand her needs, Doug, and how you felt hopeless and helpless to meet those needs.  If you don't solve those issues in your life, you are going to repeat it again.  That's why we're seeing so many couples who have been married two, three, four times, because they've never dealt with the core issues in their lives, and they've never, ever addressed them from a spiritual basis.

Bob: You know, as we speak at our Weekend to Remember conferences around the country, we see the lights begin to come on for some of these couples that you're talking about, Dennis.  They begin to realize that the issue is not that the person that I'm married to is the wrong person, and if I can just get the right person, everything will work out.  But the issue is there's some stuff in me that's got to be dealt with, and there's some stuff in each of our lives that's got to be dealt with in order for there to be real intimacy in a marriage.

 And I know whenever the two of you speak at one of these Weekend to Remember conferences and share your story, you've got couples who come up to you and say, "Okay, you were talking about us."  Probably a lot of couples who come up and say that because for the first time they're in an environment where they can be honest, they can feel safe about saying, "We have felt the way you guys felt, and we don't know what to do about it," and we can show them that the Bible offers hope and help for their marriage.

 In fact, I'm going to be speaking at one of these Weekend to Remember conferences here in a couple of weeks out in the Los Angeles area, and we have a number of these conferences taking place in cities all across the country in April and May and into June and July, and if our listeners are interested in attending, a great weekend getaway for couples – the Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference.

 Let me encourage you to go to our website,  When you get to the home page, there's a red button that says, "Go," that's right in the middle of the page.  If you click that button, it will take you to an area of the site where you can get more information about the Weekend to Remember conference and when it's coming to a city near where you live.

 Again, our website is, and you can get the information when you go there.  You can also call us at 1-800-FLTODAY to find out about the upcoming schedule of Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences.  Just call and say, "Here's where we live.  When is a conference coming near us," and someone on our team will get that information to you.

 In addition, we have some resources we can recommend to listeners who may find themselves in the same position you guys were in – a very difficult place in their marriage, wondering if there is, in fact, a way to dig out.  Dr. George Kenworthy has written a book called "Marriage Makeover, Minor Touchups to Major Renovations," and he has dealt with some very difficult, even desperate, kinds of marriage situations, and he talks about how the Bible and God's Spirit can do a renovating work in any marriage as long as both people are open to what God wants to do to help them preserve their marriage relationship.

 Then, of course, Dr. Emerson Eggerich's book, "Love and Respect," which has been a bestseller is a very helpful tool for couples who keep missing each other and going into what Dr. Eggerich calls the "crazy cycle," and if it's felt for you like you've been in a crazy cycle in your marriage, his book would be helpful.

 Go to our website, again, at  We've got a number of resources that can help you with these issues in your marriage.  Click the red "Go" button in the center of the screen, and that will take you to an area of the site where you can get more information about these resources or order them online, if you'd like. 

 And don't forget, you can read Doug and Patty's story in our online magazine, "The Family Room."  You can subscribe to it on our website at  It's free, and we're happy to send it to you each month.  Again, go to, click the red button that says "Go," and that will take you right to the page where there's more information about all of these resources.

 Or if you'd like to call 1-800-FLTODAY, we've got folks standing by who can take your call and help you with any questions you have or make arrangements to have these resources sent out to you as well.  Again, the number is 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY.  That's 1-800-358-6329.

 Let me again say a word of thanks to the folks who not only listen to our program but those of you who have contacted us this month to participate in our efforts to make sure that friends, family members, folks all around the country who need to hear the Gospel have a chance to hear the Easter story this year in advance of Easter.

 We are sending out sets of Resurrection Eggs first through our friends at Here's Life Inner City.  We're sending them to families who live in urban America who need to hear the Gospel, and then through you, we are asking you to help us distribute Resurrection Eggs to your friends, family members, loved ones, neighbors, co-workers.

 The way it works is when you make a donation of any amount this month, you'll not only help us get Resurrection Eggs into the inner city through Here's Life Inner City, but we'll also send you a set of Resurrection Eggs that you can share with a family member or a friend or a neighbor.  Easter is just a few weeks away, so if you can help with a donation this month for the ministry of FamilyLife Today, we would appreciate your support, and we would be happy to send you a set of these eggs so that you can pass them along to someone and let them hear the Gospel this year at Eastertime.

 You can make a donation of any amount online at, and when you do you'll come to a keycode box.  Type the word "eggs" in there, and we'll know that you would like to have a set of these sent to you.  Or call 1-800-FLTODAY and make your donation over the phone and, again, mention that you'd like to participate in our Resurrection Eggs initiative during Easter season, and we'll get a set of Resurrection Eggs out to you.  We appreciate your support of the ministry and your partnership with us in this initiative.

 Tomorrow we're going to be back and hear the rest of Doug and Patty Daily's story about how God took a marriage that was in isolation and headed in the wrong direction and brought them together and has kept them together now for more than two decades.  I hope you can be with us 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'll see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

 FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.


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