Today in 1989, my husband Jay and I said “I do.” That was 30 years ago. Today, we’ll look back over 30 years of marriage and talk about everything from the preciousness of sex between a husband and wife to navigating difficult seasons in marriage. Bottom line? We STILL DO. Listen in a be encouraged, marriage is worth it. Happy Anniversary, Jay! I love you.
Transcribed version of the podcast is below
Today’s Scripture Writing Challenge Verse
- 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11
Resources Mentioned in Podcast
- Bible Study + Cursive Copywork Sample.
- This includes a sample week of a week of the Bible Study and one page of Copywork in Cursive. For the Manuscript version of the copywork and the schedule, sign up for a free account at MomStrong International!
- Please note: The Bible Study is a FULL four weeks, this sample is just of one week.
All things Heidi
- Heidi’s Books
- See all events here
- MomStrong International
- Speaking Requests
- Submit your questions to MailBox Monday
- Essential Oils
Join us at MomStrong International for our Bible Study and Scripture Writing!
Submit your questions to MailBox Monday
This podcast was brought to you by our friends at Evangelical Christian Credit Union.
Hey everybody, this is Heidi St. John. Welcome to my little corner of the internet. Today is Monday, September 30th. This is episode number 825, also known as Jay and Heidi St. John’s 30th wedding anniversary. Today I’m thrilled because my husband is joining me here on the podcast and we’re going to celebrate married love.
Stick around, I think you’re going to be encouraged.
Before I get going today, a couple things, a little bit of house cleaning. First of all, thanks to everybody who’s leaving reviews for the podcast over at iTunes. Oh my goodness. We really appreciate that. It blesses and encourages us. It also helps us get the podcast out to more listeners. Please keep doing that.
Also I was going to ask you guys a favor. If you could go over to Amazon and leave a review for Becoming Mom Strong, Prayers for the Battlefield, Bible Promises for Moms, the Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Romance, anything that I’ve written that you have read, if you haven’t left a review for it, my goodness, we would really appreciate that. It helps us a lot to get those books out to other people. I want to encourage you too, my women’s conference Faith That Speaks is coming to Vancouver on the 12th of October. If you haven’t gotten your tickets for that, that is Saturday, October 12th. I will link back to it in the show notes today.
We are in the process right now of changing venues for that event. If you are coming, have already purchased your ticket, actually even if you haven’t, please keep watching the website and we will be listing the new location very soon. We’re not canceling the event, but we’re going to move it. We’ve outgrown this location. Stay tuned for that. My women’s event Faith That Speaks, I want to encourage you to put feet to your faith. That’s really what we’re going to be doing is spending a whole day together on Saturday, October 12th. My team will be here from all over the country. My assistant Melissa, who is also my friend, actually all the women that work for me. I have an incredible team of women that work directly with me, including the women that help us write the Bible study at Mom Strong International.
[Heidi] Speaking of Mom Strong International, we are getting ready to start a brand new study that actually begins tomorrow. This is a great time to jump into MomStrong International and it is a chance for you to really dig deep into the Word of God. I’m going to post some pictures today, some samples of what the Bible study looks like so you guys can see it and see what we’re talking about. It includes the Scripture writing challenge and Kid Strong. There is a Spanish version of the Scripture writing challenge now available. We’re working hard to bring that to you and I hope you guys will consider becoming a leader. You can become a leader of a MomStrong International group and we are working hard over here to plan things just for the leaders. We would love to have a leaders’ retreat to really encourage you and train you in how you can minister to and reach the women around you with the love of Jesus. Check that out. MomStrongInternational.com.
All right, without further ado, I want to introduce my favorite person in the entire world to you today. For those of you who haven’t met him, his name is Jay St. John and we were married on this day, September 30th, in 1989. Today our 30th anniversary on the 30th of September. 30 on 30. And we thought let’s podcast and just talk about married love. Hey baby, welcome to the show.
[Jay] Hey, thanks for having me.
[Heidi] I always like sitting across the table from you. We’ve been sitting across the table from each other for awhile.
[Jay] That’s right.
[Heidi] That’s right. Seven kids and 30 years and a lot of ups and downs.
[Jay] I’m not going to lie.
[Heidi] Life can sometimes be difficult, but I thought it’d be fun to have you just join me in the studio today. I mean you’re almost always in the studio because we’re always talking about, you out there. You’re the one who really mixes down the podcast and makes it sound good. You make me sound better than I really am.
[Jay] Well, it’s not hard to do.
[Heidi] Scrub out the flaws.
[Jay] The “ums” and the pauses.
[Heidi] The “ums” and sometimes I’ll say something, and I’ll be like, “Yeah, I don’t like that. Start over.” And then you’ll come through and make me sound better than I actually am in real life. I appreciate that among other things. I’m glad you’re here.
[Jay] Thank you. It’s good to be here.
[Heidi] 30 years, babe.
[Jay] Not long enough.
[Heidi] I thought it’d be fun today just to talk about married love and what makes it so special. It seems like in the culture right now, we’re trying to define love in a lot of different ways. I just noticed there was an article in Time Magazine, which I don’t normally read, but they’re talking about how they’ve made their first gender neutral Barbie doll. And trying to say that gender doesn’t exist. We’ve tried to define marriage away from God’s definition of marriage. And I think sometimes, obviously, we do that out of our own brokenness. There are a lot of people listening to this today who are celebrating maybe their 10th anniversary or their fifth or they’re in the beginning seasons, really, of marriage. And it can be really easy to be sidetracked and pushed off-course, away from what God says is important by just the voices in the culture right now. And I’m noticing that it’s become more important than ever, I think, for men and women who’ve been walking with God for a while to say, “No, this is the way, walk in it.” Not that we do it perfectly, but to say, “No, God’s way really does bring blessing.”
[Jay] Absolutely. I tell my kids, “Look around and see people’s lives and the stumbles and the things that they do.” And I know there’s been key points in our marriage, and even personally in our individual lives, where we’ve chosen to do the harder thing because we believe that God’s Word is true and right. And so you make a sacrifice, whatever that thing is, and then there’s a benefit and a blessing to following God. And I see that over time. I look at my kids now, especially when I’m leading worship and I’m looking around the stage and it’s all my children and I’m like, “Wow, I am so blessed. How did I get here?” And I don’t feel worthy for the blessing that I get, but I’m so thankful for it.
[Heidi] Wait, what? You don’t feel entitled?
[Heidi] Wait, what? I think you landed on something that I’d like to camp out on for a second because it really is about a choice that we make. You’re choosing every day to wake up and love your spouse, to choose that person that you married. And we’ve been through a lot of hard things in our life, really hard things. We’ve been through financial struggles. Deep water within our extended family. We’ve walked through very painful scenarios with people in our immediate family. We’ve had struggles in our own family, struggles in our marriage. And I think it’s important, what you just said, is that we’ve made a choice and said, “Come hell or high water, I’m going to choose to love you.” And I really feel like it’s so amazing to me to think, I can’t even believe 30 years. That just seems like, didn’t we just get married?
[Jay] That’s right. We’re just starting, right?
[Heidi] Wait, how old does that make us? Let’s not talk about that.
[Jay] I was just telling you the other day, I said, “We should put a sign on our car that says, ‘Newly Married'”.
[Jay] “30 years.”
[Heidi] 30 years. Well really, I feel like it’s more precious now. Our love is deeper. We have more shared experiences. I mean certainly we loved each other when we got married. And I guess you could argue that it’s sort of twitterpated , “I’m going to spend the rest of my-“, you don’t realize what’s ahead of you. I mean I think if we knew we’d have been more scared.
[Heidi] But as it was, we were like, “Hey, we get to go on an overnighter and no one will care.” You know?
[Jay] “They let us do this.”
[Heidi] “They let us do this. This is amazing.” And really now, I mean 30 years later, my love for you is deeper, my commitment to you stronger, I trust you more. I mean I trust you so much more now because we’ve walked through deep water. And there are a lot of people listening to this right now who are just going, “This marriage thing. This isn’t fun. I don’t even really like it.”
[Jay] That’s right. Anything of value takes effort and work, and that’s what marriage is. It has such a rich value. And I think that’s what I was saying earlier, that I see now, even more than ever, just seeing how that blessing ripples out as our kids are growing up and becoming adults and seeing them follow God and do what God’s made them to do. And being excited about, “Wow, look what they’re doing. They’re actually succeeding and flourishing and what a blessing.”
[Heidi] And they’re succeeding in spite of the two of us who didn’t always get it right.
[Jay] Right. Exactly. And oftentimes the examples we had to give them were not good ones.
[Heidi] What were we always saying? Well, that didn’t work.
[Jay] Sometimes you have to learn from other people’s mistakes.
[Heidi] Yeah. You right. Sometimes, I think when we look back over some of the more difficult things, and obviously I don’t want to camp out on just how hard it’s been, but I think there was a season… people look at our marriage and we have a unique thing going on because sometimes people will say, “Well, Heidi’s the one who’s sort of the front person.” But people weren’t tracking us 30 years ago when we started out and you were a worship pastor for a long time. And I was the one who was, I guess you could say, behind the scenes and actually it was a joy because we’re working together. It’s not really about who’s in front or who’s getting the most accolades, it’s what is the Lord doing. What is God doing? And one of the things I really love about you, I mean, there’s so many things. Let’s talk about you.
One of the things, one of the million things that I love about you, is your strong desire to do what the Lord is asking us to do. And sometimes that’s meant moving away from our families and moving to where God called us. Sometimes it means doing things that are unconventional. I mean, for goodness sake, we had seven kids when a lot of people were like, “What? You’re pregnant again? Don’t you guys know how that works?”
[Jay] I think that was your idea.
[Heidi] Whoa, Whoa. Whose idea?
[Jay] I remember saying, “After two, that’s enough.”
[Heidi] Oh, when we were teenagers?
[Heidi] Yeah. When we were young. And actually, yeah, from the very beginning I was like, “No. Two kids, that’s so boring. Why would you do that to us?” I wanted three. I thought if we could have three then I wouldn’t be so bored because there were seven kids in my family.
[Heidi] And only two kids in yours. I say only, but two kids in your family and seven in mine. And I thought, “I can’t even imagine just two kids.” It felt like-
[Jay] Well I couldn’t imagine being outnumbered.
[Heidi] Right. Yeah, you’re right. But we are outnumbered, outnumbered, outnumbered now.
[Jay] Well I definitely remember, because I remember when you said that you really wanted a third and I was like, “Okay, they have to be in pairs.” Because there’s part of me-
[Heidi] Yeah, you were like, “It needs to be an even number.”
[Jay] That’s right, because they have to be buddies.
[Heidi] Yeah. So then you wanted four, which wasn’t hard to talk me into.
[Jay] But I remember, it just you imprinted in my mind, holding my hand up and saying, “I will not have five kids.”
[Heidi] Our fifth was a straight up surprise. I think I was like three months pregnant when we figured it out because we were like, “What just happened?” And I remember you saying, “Great, now we’re going to have to get a new car. Now people are going to say, ‘Oh, they’re the homeschool family. All those kids.'”
[Jay] It’s true.
[Heidi] It’s true. And yet, our fifth was born and I can’t imagine our lives without her. That girl is a, oh my goodness. I mean such a talent. Such a beautiful…what is she? She’ll be 17. And she’s such a wonderful, beautiful addition to our family. And I feel like after she joined our family, I think our attitude towards children began to change.
[Jay] Well I know mine did. I think yours was already there, but I think the fear of having all these kids that we couldn’t afford and couldn’t raise, that we’d be overrun by them-
[Heidi] Which we were.
[Jay] Well maybe we were. But I recognized the incredible value in wonder and joy that our kids were bringing us. And I think too, as God was pushing us more into family ministry, I think I was recognizing, “Well, God made us to do this. He’s given us these kids to be able to do this family ministry that’s so desperately needed out there.” And so I saw, “Wow, this is part of God’s blessing and part of God’s calling for us to do this.” Yeah, there was a definite change in my heart. I mean, you can say it was in your heart too, but I remember you saying you wanted a bunch of kids when we were first married and me just thinking, “There’s no way.”
[Heidi] And I thought, “Man, if I just look at him the right way and wink at him, and maybe we can get three out of the deal.”
[Jay] Yeah, that’s the truth.
[Heidi] But I wonder, Jay, because we counsel couples all the time out on the road and when we’re speaking at events, and certainly even at my women’s event, I love to see the people that come up to talk to you that have really good questions and they’re deep questions talking about family life. And I’m always telling parents, “Listen, we never talk anybody out having babies because some of the richest, I mean absolutely the richest, not some of, the richest thing that has come out of our marriage is our family, is our children.”
[Heidi] And I think in the culture right now, boy, we see children as a burden. We see them as, “That’s going to be expensive.” And it is. Yeah, you’re right. That’s expensive. But man, there’s nobody we’d rather hang out with then our kids, no place we’d rather be than hanging out with our family. And over 30 years have chosen to nurture that aspect of our lives. And I think when the Bible says, “I have no greater joy than to know that my kids are walking in the truth”, that doesn’t actually come home to hit the point that the apostle is trying to make, until your kids are old. I mean until they’re adults. And you see them actually walking with the Lord and it is so joyful.
[Jay] That’s right. It really is a joy. And it really, it’s funny because it has taken me by surprise. I guess I wasn’t, I mean I was praying and hoping that they’ll follow God, but there’s no guarantee. We tell people that all the time.
[Heidi] Yeah. There’s no formula.
[Jay] There’s no formula. You just have to trust the Lord, listen to the Lord and follow him. I say that too about having kids as well. Because you said, we don’t talk people out of having kids and that’s true. But I do think in every part of your life, and this is something that I think we miss often in the church, as Christians, every part of your life you should be pouring out to the Lord every day. “God, what do you want me to do? How do you want us to live? Where are we going? I’m living for you.” That’s part of serving him and him being our master. And I think with kids as well, that is very important. Some of our kids were surprises, as we said, but again, I would say, “Well that was God blessing us.” And probably, for me, saying, “Jay, come on. You can have fifth kid. You’ll be fine.”
[Heidi] And really, I mean there are moments, and one of my favorite memories of you is really when we were in a very overwhelmed stage of family life. We had seven children, actually, I don’t think we had the seventh at the time. I think we had six. But our youngest, Sydney, was a baby and I mean, I’m in the throws of homeschooling and I can’t keep the laundry going and all the dishes seem to be piling up all the time. And the kids were constantly losing their math books and I was feeling like a failure. And you were working at the church. I remember you coming home one day and I was literally sobbing, like in a fetal position sitting on the couch or the floor or something and you’re like, “What’s the matter?” And I think I was just feeling like an abject failure in every area. I was feeling like, “The kids aren’t obeying me, I can’t get ahead.” And I remember you just say, “Heidi, you need to look at me.” And so I looked up at you and you said, “Heidi St. John, ordinary women would be dead by now.”
And I thought, “Really?” And I think just that encouragement, I mean obviously it was a little bit tongue in cheek, but it made me… I always tell this to moms and I hope the dads, I hope the men who are listening to this really take it to heart and I’d love to hear your side of that conversation. But you took what could have been really devastating…you could have said, “Yeah, you’re right. Dude, where are the kids? Why isn’t the house clean? Why are we having frozen pizza for the 17th night in a row?” But you took what could have been a really bad situation and you made me want to be a better mom.
[Jay] Well, God prepped me for that I think because I was getting some criticism from other coworkers and peers as to why we were homeschooling, because we had opportunity to put them in a somewhat prestigious Christian school.
[Heidi] Yeah, that’s right.
[Jay] And we decided not to because we really felt that our family, we believed God was asking us to do what we were doing and we prayed about it. And we’re like, “Why Lord? We could put them in this program for next to nothing.” And we felt God saying to continue. And then in the midst of that, when I was getting some criticism from others and I was comparing how our family is and the culture of our family and how we were doing and where we were going and where some other people were at in their family and where they were going. And I was so thankful for what we were doing and that sacrifice. Because homeschooling, it definitely is a sacrifice, as you were sharing.
So I come home and when you’re all frustrated, I’m thinking “We’re doing so great here. I’m so thankful.” So you’re complaining, and I’m thinking, “No, we’re not. We’re doing great. I know it’s somewhat of a mess. I know you’re frustrated.” And typically this is what happens. We all want everything to go smooth. You want the kids to obey properly and to do all their schoolwork and the house to clean itself and all these things that just aren’t realities.
[Heidi] Oh please. Why won’t it clean itself up?
[Jay] Life continues to happen and you’re taking on such an extra burden to be able to school these kids. And especially when you have so many at different ages. I mean, when you went to right one of your books at the office and I stayed home to school them, I remember just thinking, “This is insane. I can’t do this. How does she do this?”
[Heidi] That was the first one. That was the guide to romance. And I do think that that was a really important part of our marriage also. The Lord relayed this message on my heart and I was like, “How am I going to do this? I can’t write this and school the kids.” And you’re like, “Oh, I’ll do it.” You said, “I’ll do it.” I made you work boxes, I’m pretty sure.
[Jay] No, back up, because I remember the first day you told me “This is what you need to do.” And so I’m getting them all around the kitchen table, doing their schoolwork, and I focus on the one thing I’m working on. I can’t multitask very well.
[Heidi] Yeah, you right.
[Jay] And so I’m sitting there teaching one of them, I forget, math or history or something and we’re working on it and I’m excited and showing them like, this is what it is. And I look up, there’s nobody else at the table. I’m like, “Where did they all go?” I yell at them and they…
[Heidi] Welcome to my world.
[Jay] They all come back and I say, “You sit here and do your schoolwork.” And they give me all these excuses of why they had to get up and leave. And so I get them all going again and go to the next one…
[Heidi] “I need a drink of water.”
[Jay] …and the same thing happens again. I think that’s when I called you. I’m like, “I don’t know how you do this. It’s like herding cats. They won’t stay focused. I can’t keep them doing their thing and I can’t keep tabs on all of them at once.”
[Heidi] Yeah. And you were serious.
[Heidi] You were like, “Legit, I can’t do this.”
[Jay] I can’t do it. And that’s when you said, “We might try the WorkBox system..
[Heidi] Which was actually awesome.
[Jay] Which is great because then they know each step and what to do and the flow and I’m not having to…
[Heidi] I’m going to link to that in the show notes today because I know that there’s still blog posts and stuff out there about work boxes and how they work and it was a huge help to you and it really helped keep the kids moving and helped you feel like you’re not going to lose your mind.
[Heidi] I remember one time I came home from writing that book, I think I was probably gone five hours a day. I was trying to go someplace quiet and just work on this book. And I came home and you looked at me, you’re like, “How have you been doing this for 10 years?” And I was like, “Oh, are we having frozen pizza for dinner tonight?”
[Jay] That’s right.
[Heidi] But it was good because it gave me an appreciation for you being gone all day, and I think it gave you an appreciation for what I was doing. And I think it allowed us to enter more into the commitment that each one of us had made to the direction our family was going. And that was a big deal to me. I think sometimes, men will come up and ask you, “How can I encourage my wife?” or “How can I help my wife, especially my homeschooling wife? I work all day.” And you get that question a lot, right? When we’re out on the road. What do you say to those dads when they come up to you and are like, “I don’t know how to actually encourage my wife”?
[Jay] Well, and I think the testimony that you were giving earlier about how when I told you what I told you, which, like I said, to me, I was just speaking from my excitement about how things were going to you, but it was right timing. God, like I said, that’s why he prepped me for that. And so encourage men now, “Look, you don’t have to do a whole lot. Encouraging your wife and saying, ‘Look, I have your back.’ When you’re having struggles with your kids and praying about child rearing or academics or whatever the issues are with your kids.” I mean I remember so many times talking to you about, especially math because we seemed to struggle with that the most.
[Jay] And I’m like, “I don’t know.”
[Heidi] Because I don’t like it.
[Jay] Yeah, I know. And I just remember thinking, “I don’t know, what do you think?” And you had all these other ideas. And then I do remember researching some of those ideas that you’d had and trying to come back with maybe to help. But I was thinking, “I don’t know what to do here.” Sometimes I’d think, “This homeschooling thing is over our heads” and I think it is. Honestly, I’ve thought many times, I think God fills in gaps and things that we don’t know well enough because I think the primary reason we homeschool, I know the primary reason that we homeschool is for our children’s character. We want our kids to know the Lord. We want them to walk with the Lord and know who they are in Him.
[Heidi] We want them to be adults.
[Jay] We want them to be respectful. We want them to have discernment. We want them to be listening to the Holy Spirit, having self control, having discipline, all the things that that we need as adults. And if we don’t learn it when we’re kids, we’re going to have a whole lot harder time learning it as adults.
[Heidi] Babe, you and I are so on the same page because you just gave me the perfect segue into the sponsor for this segment.
[Heidi] You guys know we partnered with Evangelical Christian Credit Union and they are the sponsor of this 30th anniversary celebration episode. And part of training our kids to be adults, is to teach them to use money wisely. We want to give them the tools that they need. And I’ve been talking about ECCU Start Young account program, but now I want to let you guys know, this is so cool, about the Visa debit card that’s included with each account as an introduction to digital spending. This is important because I remember when Jay and I were first married and we got our first credit card, it was a disaster. It was a total disaster. But the debit card and the Start Young spending accounts, they don’t have any monthly fees. They don’t have overdraft fees, which is great when you’re trying to shepherd your kids through “How do we actually do this thing?” Plus you get parental control. Can I get an amen for parental control? Amen. You get monitoring. You can set their card access and spending limits, provide a safe environment for teaching your children how to make responsible purchasing decisions either in person or online.
Let’s face it, you guys, you don’t want your child’s first experience with cards and digital spending to be when they get their first credit card, like Jay’s and mine, that was just a disaster, on their 18th birthday. And if this is interesting to you, and I hope it will be, you can learn more and find out how to enroll your kids at ECCU.org/Heidi.
All right, Jay, I want to transition for just a second to talking about some of the nitty gritty of celebrating married love. And one of the things that has been precious to you and I over these 30 years, not always awesome, but precious, is sex inside of marriage. And this was something, I know, that was a bigger deal to you. I mean, if we’re just being honest, it was a bigger deal to you than it was to me. Am I right?
[Jay] I’m not you, but yeah, it was a big deal to me.
[Heidi] Yeah. Because we kind of argued about it because you felt like I didn’t care as much about that aspect of our marriage. And I think there’s a part of that that’s probably true because you and I came at it from differing viewpoints. Obviously I’m a woman and you’re a man. And I feel like as we’ve gotten older in our marriage, the preciousness of that relationship, that aspect of our relationship, sex inside of marriage, has been become more precious to me.
And I think it’s easy, so I want to talk, just for a second, to the young families, the young moms or the young dads who are listening to this today. And maybe dad, your wife has just given birth to her fourth child or whatever and she’s sleep-deprived and she’s exhausted and she’s nursing a baby. And maybe now that baby’s three months old and you’re thinking, “Hey, can we go back to how it was before?” And she’s looking at you like you have six heads. And you’re frustrated and I understand that. I’m wondering, Jay, can we touch on that just a little bit? How can a husband meet his wife in that space? From your perspective and then I’d sort of like to talk about it.
I mean we’ve had seven children over 30 years and it’s caused a fair amount, I mean I think at least sexually speaking, that aspect of our relationship, it caused a fair amount of tension for a fair amount of time. When you put all those seasons of life together and somehow through the grace of God, and I think a lot of patience on your part and really patience on my part, we’ve been able to navigate that and I think come out with a healthy perspective.
[Heidi] Can you talk to the guy right now who’s thinking, “My wife doesn’t care about sex and this part of my relationship is frustrating for me”? How can he reach the heart of his wife? How can you encourage him?
[Jay] I think what I’ve learned in our 30 years of marriage…
[Heidi] It’s a long time.
[Heidi] Congratulations by the way.
[Jay] Thank you so much. You too.
[Heidi] You put up with me for 30 years. That deserves some sort of a medal.
[Jay] Likewise. The thing that I’ve learned is that as men we are exhorted to love our wives and to love them like Christ loved the church. And it’s a very giving love. You’re focused on the other person. And the thing that I’ve learned over time, and I just didn’t get this when I was younger, is that if I want what I want, I’ve got to focus on you and take care of your needs, take care of where you are, and be able to set aside my desires and those things for the time. And as I’ve done that, you have responded back and loved me back. I don’t think, I mean maybe consciously, but I feel like it’s more, I feel like you respond to me when I’m caring about how you’re melting down at home or things, the dishwasher’s broken or the car’s making a funny noise or whatever. If I deal with all those things and take care of the things that are frustrating and giving you angst, you tend to respond to me and I end up getting what I’m looking for.
[Heidi] What are you looking for?
[Jay] How else do I say that? I just don’t know.
[Heidi] I do think, though, these were lessons that we needed to learn. And when I look back and I think of us in our newlywed, I guess, young married years, I’d say that was up to probably 15 years that we were still just struggling. I remember talking to some of my girlfriends who were struggling with the same things. Several of my women friends would call me on the phone and just say, “My husband and I are arguing about this and I’m so tired and he doesn’t understand me and I don’t understand him.” And I think part of it that, you’re right, I mean we’re learning how to give to the other person and it really is a sacrificial giving. But then what you’re saying is there is a reward on the other side of that.
There is. There is a reward on the other side of that. The reward obviously, maybe the reward is we’re getting to have sex. Maybe that’s the reward. For me, the reward is feeling this closeness to you because it’s beautiful. It just is. There’s a preciousness that happens between a husband and wife in the bedroom. And this was God’s design. And I think, pushing past that, talking. And one of the things that really helped in those early years, and it doesn’t have to be children, it could be pressure at work, it could be at a hundred different things. I think the enemy wants to come in and he wants to create a separateness between a husband and a wife. And one of the very best ways and one of the most successful ways to do that is to get in there and mess with your sex life, right? Is to get in there and either the wife’s too tired or the husband’s preoccupied or maybe he’s just selfish when it comes to sex and he doesn’t care how his wife feels or the wife is selfish and she’s not seeing this as an actual legitimate need that I need to meet and I want to be joyful and embrace my husband.
And the enemy comes in and pretty soon you’ve got a chasm between a husband and a wife. And I remember, I don’t know who it was that said this to me, but it really helped me to, I think it was probably girlfriend who said to me, because I was just saying, “I just feel like I’m failing.” I think that was the conversation you and I had a lot because you would come to me and you would say, “I feel like this aspect of our marriage doesn’t matter very much to you.” And to me I just was like, “Great, I’m failing. It’s just one more area that I’m failing. One more place and I’m disappointing somebody.” And I remember talking to a girlfriend over coffee about this and just pouring my heart out, which is what Todd Wilson was saying the other day, find somebody that you can be real with, that you can talk about the nitty gritty and the hard things of life.
And I remember her saying, “Heidi, the Bible is pretty clear. The only place that your husband can find this release inside of marriage. And when you deny that for whatever reason, you’re wounding his heart and it’s a wound to him. He can’t go any place to have that wound cared for. He can’t go outside of your marriage and yet you’re pushing him away.”
And I just thought, “That’s not what I want.” Because my heart was to love you the way that you needed to be loved. And I remember praying about it specifically. And I told you. I said, “Jay, I’m going to pray about this because I want to have this love for you to be so strong, that every time you talked about this with me, it thrills my heart.” “He loves me, he wants me, he thinks I’m beautiful.” And I think it was a turning point in our marriage.
[Jay] That’s right. I think also in the Song of Solomon, it talks about that part of love and that part of sex life and that stuff like a garden. And I do think, if I tend to it and care for it, there’s a whole lot of work beforehand that’s done before you can actually reap the harvest that you want to reap. And I think that happens as well. Those are things like telling you you’re beautiful. I’ve noticed how you even respond to those kinds of things when I say, if I see a new dress or a new this or whatever, if I say, “Hey, that’s really pretty. It makes you look really beautiful or whatever.” You really respond to those things and I feel like you become more beautiful as I say those things and as I try to nurture you in that area.
And I think, again, as I’m doing that, you seem to respond to me then better for what I’m wanting from you. But the reward I get from you in that regard is so rich and so wonderful. It seems counter cultural because everybody’s, “Get what you want. As long as you’re getting what you want, that’s a good relationship” and this and that. And I have found that pursuing it that way doesn’t yield a good result. And it’s not a rich one either.
I have told you this many times as well, sex was made by God. It’s an amazing thing. The Bible equates it with Christ and the church. I mean it’s like, “What does that even mean?” It’s just so amazing and deep. And I think the richness and the real depth of sex isn’t the physical act, although that is pretty stinking amazing. It’s actually, our souls becoming one as God made us husband and wife and the connection that we have that is so much greater and deeper even than what we’re just physically doing. I just want to encourage every marriage look, don’t neglect that because I just believe you’re missing one of the most foundational pieces, the glue that holds you in a deep place together as a couple.
And as you mentioned so well before, the enemy is after us and that is the first and most successful place that he will try to separate and put a chink in your marriage. Guard it. Enjoy it. Like I’ve said many times, look, as Christians, God made sex for us in monogamous marriages. We should be having the best sex of anyone in the world because we’re doing it as it was designed. Enjoy that.
[Heidi] Yeah. And it really is, I think, a testimony. It was David Madorie, I think, who said that his wife had said, “Birthdays, it’s great. Celebrate a birthday. You didn’t really do anything to earn the birthday, right? You just came into the earth but we’re celebrating. But marriage and anniversaries are something that truly are worth celebrating because it’s another year of choosing.” It’s another year of Jay choosing Heidi and Heidi choosing Jay and we’re saying, “Hey, we’re going to walk this thing out. We’re going to stay together and we’re going to invest. We’re going to invest in our marriage.”
And I know that the world is very successfully right now, chipping away at what God says is true love. I was in, I don’t know what store, JC Penney the other day, just awash with LGBT propaganda all over the store. And one of the shirts was love always wins, which we all know that they’re not talking about love the way that God defined it. But what you’re saying really is the blessing that’s found inside the boundary. God said, “This is the boundary and stay inside.” It’s like in the garden of Eden. What would have happened if Adam and Eve would actually stayed inside the garden? The blessing would have been there.
But instead they went outside of God’s clear boundary, outside of his clear instruction. And what did they find? They found suffering, they found death, they found discontent and hurt and heartache. And the same thing is true in the United States, actually, and around the world. When we go outside of God’s clear instruction for marriage, there’s heartache and hurt. And I think we go outside of it when we neglect it inside of marriage. We neglect the sexual aspect. I talk to women all the time and it’s very sad, out on the road, who say, “Oh, I haven’t slept with my husband in, three months, six months, a year.” I’m like, “Man, if I did that to my husband, he’d be bench pressing the house.” Things would not be going well.
And I always think there must be something deeper going on. There’s a hurt usually in that woman. She’s hurting on some level or maybe her husband’s been involved in porn. And that really, I mean you’ve seen that absolutely up close and personal in the lives of the guys who come and talk to you. It hurts marriages. These people who say, “Oh no, it makes my marriage better.” No, it actually doesn’t. Why? Because you’ve gone outside God’s boundary. And I think, man, if we could just stay inside the boundary and say, “Lord, help me protect and nurture what you’ve given”, the blessing is there and it’s rich and it’s full.
[Jay] That’s right. Let’s pursue it.
[Heidi] That’s right. Hey, there’s so many more things we could talk about it. We have to come back and do this again because I’d love to talk about parenting and seasons of parenting and things that the Lord has taught us. I feel like we’re still learning as our kids are becoming parents themselves and growing.
I was just talking to Todd, well you know, because you were sitting in the studio engineering that podcast. But we were just talking about the silent years of parenting and how it can be difficult, but there’s also a blessing in that just in coming alongside each other and saying, “Hey, let’s nurture our kids together” and agreeing how that should be done.
You are an amazing human being, Jay St. John and I am blessed beyond measure to be married to you.
[Jay] Well, I’m trying to impress a girl.
[Heidi] Everybody who’s listening to this who’s ever heard me speak, knows I always say that. People say, “What’s wrong with my marriage?” I’m like, “I’ve spent, what is it? 32 years now trying to impress a boy.” And you’re right about, I do think another thing that you’re really good at is telling me that I’m beautiful. I think especially when I don’t feel beautiful. You’ll say “you smell really good” or “I love what you’re wearing” or “you’re so beautiful”. And it makes me want to be beautiful. I’m thinking, “Oh, wow. I’m wearing my hair in the same bun I’ve had in now for 14 days and he still thinks I’m beautiful” and it makes me want to be beautiful. I think sometimes, really, it is the simple things that a husband and a wife can do.
I remember we made a pact when our last baby was born because I had her at 41 and that’s a whole other podcast, but oh my goodness, having a baby in your forties. And people are like, “Are you sure?” She is one of the biggest blessings.
[Jay] Yeah, absolutely. We love her so much.
[Heidi] Oh my goodness.
[Jay]I mean all our kids. I feel bad when we focus on one, but they’re all so amazing. But yeah, the last one, we really have enjoyed that.
[Heidi] I think because we were older. I do think it’s because we were older and we thought maybe we’re done, maybe we can’t have any more babies. And the Lord gave us this baby and it felt like Abraham and Sarah at that point. But I think that preciousness of it, and I was, I think, rightfully so, just tired after that. And we were trying to, again, renew that commitment to intimacy in our marriage and how can we foster and continue to grow our marriage? And you and I came up with some things that we could do. Like I just said, “Hey, if we want to spend time together at night, then I need you to help me with the dishes and we’re using paper plates and whatever.” And so you did that and it was an amazing, wonderful thing.
Anyway, I love you Jay and I’m so happy to be celebrating our anniversary together and thanks for coming on the show with me.
[Jay] Oh, I love you too and I love chasing you.
[Heidi] Well good. Let’s keep doing it.
[Jay] For another 30 years.
[Heidi] All right, I’ll look forward to it.
Hey, thanks for listening today everybody. I hope you guys have enjoyed this. This was our special 30th anniversary edition of the Heidi St. John Podcast. We hope you guys are blessed and encouraged by what you hear. If you are, please leave reviews for the podcast over at iTunes. Tell your friends about it. I’m going to link back to some marriage resources in the show notes today, some articles I’ve written and some books and also some books not necessarily written by me that I think will bless and encourage you guys. Stay faithful, nurture your marriages. It’s absolutely worth it. Thanks for listening everybody. And I’ll see you back here on Wednesday.
Write to Heidi:
Heidi St. John
c/o Firmly Planted Family
11100 NE 34th Cir, Vancouver, WA 98682
Support this ministry by donating through E-giving. You can also send donations to: 1100 NE34th Cir, Vancouver, WA 98682