Podcast: Nurturing the Soul of Your Marriage


Join Josh and Kit as they speak about Nurturing the Soul of your Marriage with special guests Erich and Ginny Becker from Sparrow Ministries.


…you are you and I am me, and there is a space between us…

…do you want your marriage to thrive?…

…we want to be home, we want to be together…


Sparrow Ministries

Click for Full Podcast Transcription

Josh 0:28
Okay, so you’ve spent months maybe years getting to know this special someone. And you’ve asked a lot of questions, you spent a lot of time you’ve, you’ve gone to their favorite movies with them, and you’ve read their favorite books, because you want to know this person, and then you decided to get married. So now your bride or you know your fiance is you’re getting closer and closer and getting to know their family better. And then you get married. And then you find out with all the work you’ve done, all that you’ve done to get to know this person, all the work they’ve done to get to know you. You get married, and you find there’s someone else living with you. Wait, what is this, this third thing that we’re going to talk about today in our podcast? So today, Kate and I are joined by Eric continue Becker, they are the founders and directors of Sparrow ministries. You call yourself as directors. What do you Yeah, sure.

The President which is a ministry in the Baltimore area, greater Baltimore area, specifically ministering well, Eric, why don’t you give us the

Erich Becker 1:30
the elevator pitch the elevator pitch? Yeah, we we’ve come together, Ginny and I, to help couples get married, well, stay healthy, and navigate the challenges that come into marriage well, and then thrive in their marriage. So whatever that takes, we want to help people find the answers for their marriage.

Josh 1:54
All right. So after you get married, and you find there’s this third thing, what, alright, give us the reveal. What’s this? This third thing is a concept you guys have been working on? And I think it has real merit for us to talk about. Well, I,

Erich Becker 2:07
I don’t know what I don’t know how you would answer that, honey. But I would say I think that third thing is the marriage itself. I, I believe that when a couple gets married, to do become one in God’s eyes, but they also stay individuals. And they’re now part of a larger entity called their marriage.

Ginny Becker 2:33
Yeah, and we like to describe it as kind of the soul of, of your marriage. So a soul is the true essence of someone, right? And we all have unique individual souls, and we bring to individuals is like your example of, you know, I go to all the movies she likes, and, you know, I’m sure Jamie loved that when you did that, you know, and, and it’s that kind of we and then we bring that into a marriage, and we think we’re going to merge all those things that will be forever our life. And what we realize is no, you are you you are you, I am me, there is then a space between us, which is the soul of our marriage, which is unique to us. It is not like any other marriage that actually ever was in the history of the universe. And so oftentimes, we start focusing on each other, you know, it’s that terrible, wonderful quote from Jerry Maguire, you know, that one of them said, you know, you had me at hello, you complete me, right? You’re like, Oh, my, that’s a lot of pressure,

Kit 3:37
right there. And

Ginny Becker 3:38
it’s, and it’s not really, you can’t do it now without that race disappointment. So that’s where expectations come in, and all that. But if you can look at, you know, I, me, Eric’s himself. And then our marriage is actually what we’re working for. Our marriage is what we’re actually trying to strengthen. And that comes in a lot of different forms. There are times in our marriage where one piece of that soul needs tending to. So let’s say, things have been really heavy, stressful in our marriage or with our kids or whatever with our jobs. And we find ourselves week after week after week with no joy and laughter and fun or adventure. Or like this is not what we signed up for. Well, what is and even worse, the absence of that but the presence of sniping at each other and picking at each other and avoiding each other right as we don’t want to do that. It just Yeah, yeah. So you think about that. So often you think about the soul of your marriage with kind of what part of that needs tending to. So in that case, we need to say let’s we need a day or maybe a weekend where we are not focused on the on the heaviness of life, but we’re going to go and have an adventure together. We’re going to go hike together. We go out into the woods and that’s where we get refreshed. To say, okay, we’re gonna leave everything behind. And we got to attend to this part of the soul of our marriage. It also helps us individually. Yeah, right. But it also it feeds the soul of our marriage, it feeds the health of that. Yep, that third entity. It’s kind of like the third way, what is that?

Kit 5:19
I love this concept, because it’s where we are still getting to know this idea that God created each of us so uniquely, with such love, and how important is to embrace that for ourselves. But it makes so much sense to me that then when two people come together, and the beauty of them becoming who they are, but then creating this, this third, the soul of a marriage, that then would also be completely unique. And it wouldn’t mean emerging, it would be bringing this these two holes into this new reality. And that would help so much in terms of just this idea of continuing to nurture your own self, but then also you don’t compare your marriage. Yes. And that is just a that is a killer. I hear it all the time. I know, I’ve done it a lot in my marriage. And so there’s just a lot of relief. Thinking about it that way?

Erich Becker 6:14
Yes. Because we tend to compare the worst of us to the best of what we think the other couple has. Absolutely. So that’s a losing game, right there.

Ginny Becker 6:25
Yeah. And I think the other thing that’s really important, is that the conversations that we have around it, so it’s really easy to focus on the negative instead of saying, Okay, what, what are we building? Like, what are we building into the environment in our home, you know, a lot of times we forget things, we, we or we get lazy about building the environment in our home that actually our spouse wants to come home to, or that we want to come home to, and so that we can look at the the soul of our marriage is our environment, our physical state, our emotional state, our spiritual state, it’s all wrapped up in that entity called the soul.

Josh 7:07
It also gives it I think, if a couple views their, their marriage as this, this and you know, it’s it is this third thing, it’s also them, so, but if we can view it as this is something that we both are tending together, so whether you know, thinking about a garden like that, we’ve just both signed up to attend this garden, then we both have responsibility for it. And I there is a lot of freedom in this doesn’t have to look like, you know, Tom and Jane’s garden because it can’t because they’re not in this marriage. And so there’s relieves pressure there. So there’s, there’s added responsibility for both. There’s a, I think it does kind of pull out some of the weeds of you’ve got to make me happy.

Unknown Speaker 7:50
Yes, yeah.

Josh 7:51
So maybe we talk about that a little bit. Yeah. And how that idea of so So, Josh,

Erich Becker 7:55
I appreciate that. Because a lot of times when a couple comes to meet with us sitting in our living room, one of the first questions we ask is, do you want your marriage to thrive? Do you want your marriage to stay? You want to stay married? Yes. Yes. They both say yes. Then we say okay, we’re gonna fight for that marriage then, and keep you from fighting against each other. Let’s start focusing on what will make the marriage stronger. And they can both contribute positively to that, even when it’s hard to be positive with each other, if they’ve waited so long to even come to us. Give us an example of that, like, how

Josh 8:43
does that play out? Well,

Erich Becker 8:47
you know, if we, we could say to the husband, Charlie, what do you think would benefit your marriage? If you could do that? Don’t even I wouldn’t say this, but don’t think about doing it for Jane. But do it for your marriage. Because you may not like Jane right now. But if you would like your marriage to work, that might be enough for Charlie to do something positive for the marriage sake, that would benefit Jane. And I know it’s a nuance, but it’s almost like you know, if you love Jesus, enough, you can love your spouse through Jesus by just loving him. And it you know, so

Kit 9:41
does it take like, it’s almost like if they’re in a battlefield, it’s almost like you’re saying, take yourself out of the battlefield against your spouse. And and you have a different perspective

Erich Becker 9:52
and fight together for something

Kit 9:54
like kind of remove yourself from that so that you can see differently

Ginny Becker 9:59
and it doesn’t mean You don’t address the issues? Yeah, for sure, no, because but so often, what we see is that the issues are a symptom of a deeper root. If you want to use the garden, you know that there’s a there’s a root that needs to be tended to, to uproot it so that there can be health. But I think that, so oftentimes the focus only becomes on the, the enemy of your spouse, your spouse becomes your enemy, instead of know that the issue is probably the enemy, you’re not my enemy, what you do I don’t like or how we’ve become I don’t like, but you’re not my enemy. And the thing, whatever it is that’s coming against us, could we look at that together as the enemy? And how do we battle that thing.

Josh 10:48
So I think about some of the context of some of the men and women have walked with over the years. And one easy example of that is a man who’s struggling with an ongoing pornography addiction. And he wants to get better he’s he is he’s doing the hard work of recovery. He’s being as honest as he knows how. And he’s, he’s working his wife, but this The problem isn’t going away right away. And so we have found that, that when couples can get to a place of health, and it’s a long journey, and I’m not saying you know, just shift perspective, and it all gets better, but but when they can reach a place through hard work, where they both are both recognizing that we are, we are fighting against this thing that’s threatening our marriage, and we’re fighting in our, we have our own roles to play in the fight, you’re fighting against that together, so you’re no longer the enemy. You’re my ally. And so it is there’s Yeah, there’s paradigm there. But it but I think it does help to, to create a different environment that can really be fruitful, helpful for, for the meetcha thing get there.

Ginny Becker 11:44
And I think that’s a really important point. Because when there’s a really big issue like that, like anything, right in our marriage, we actually we stop seeing the things we fell in love with, we stopped seeing the true essence of our spouse, like the true soul of our spouse, and all the beauty and all the goodness, and we just focus, we zero in on that issue. And then all of a sudden, our spouse is awful or broke. So broken beyond repair, or whatever it is, that’s in our mind, because we’re so focused on that issue, and then we just spiral down. And then it’s really hard to spiral back up, to see them as God’s beloved child, who the battle is not against me, the battle is their own, because they’re a separate person. And we’re gonna fight it together.

Kit 12:38
And even if there’s been a trauma, because one of the things we’re you know, we acknowledges that spouses are often traumatized by, you know, significant betrayals, whether it’s pornography or infidelity, yes, that doesn’t take away from this reality. And that we that we also still have to, we need to acknowledge the trauma and, and, you know, look at being at the ER and doing what we need to do to address that in a very important way. And these other things are also still true of our marriage. And there’s still something worth fighting for.

Josh 13:12
Yeah, I mean, so on the other side is the so I’ve been using the husband and wife example. So let’s just go with that still. So for the, for the wife to view that this, the sin as the as the problem that my husband and like, there’s a lot to unpack there, but for the sake of this topic, on the other hand, for the for the husband, recovery work can be really intensive, and it can take a lot of time. And I’ve I’ve met husbands over the years who have who have kind of been angry at their spouses, like I’m doing all this stuff, like leave me alone. Well, that’s, that’s a husband who’s who is in his own journey, ignoring his responsibilities still tend to as he can this marriage, this soul of his marriage. And there’s a lot we can say about that. But I think that would take us into a different podcast altogether to be well, just a different time. But so so what else would you say about this, the nurturing the soul of the marriage and some of the distinctives that helps for couples, whether they’re in a difficult time like that, or they’re in a really good time? Yeah, well, if

Erich Becker 14:05
you if you buy this concept that it’s the soul is the space between and around us. We try to help couples discover and create and develop positive habits that make that space between thriving, fun nurturing environment. So little things like, share two affirmations with each other before you go to bed tonight, something you saw good in or that your spouse did just two affirmations before you go to bed at night, and that can begin to change what you’re looking for even in your spouse. Because if you do that for two, three weeks, I gotta find something else and there’s there’s playing games. You’re paying attention, and you’re looking for the good and not expecting the worst. And the

Ginny Becker 15:06
neat thing that that does also is then you’re building a foundation of security and love, so that when those things pop up when the trauma comes, or disagreements or arguments, then you have this foundation of I know, I’m loved. I know I’m loved. And so this is not a reflection of his lack of love. For me, it’s just a thing, it’s a thing that we need to get through. The other thing and kit you actually taught us this years ago. And we have couples do this a lot. Because they, when you lose connection, you don’t often have words, to come back together. And so one of the things that we often tell couples to do is that every day when you come home, give an adjective that describes how you are today. And it’s amazing, because a lot of people don’t know how to ask that question in a way that elicits response, you know, instead of good, bad, angry, frustrated,

Erich Becker 16:05
like how was your day becomes fine, same old, same old, right?

Ginny Becker 16:09
So if you ask that question, and the adjective is a little deeper than fine or good, or not so good, whatever, then you can ask a follow up question. So that’s beginning that’s bringing people back to the soul of their marriage to each other. They’re nurturing each other. But also in the middle of that there’s something mysterious that happens that the soul begins to get built up. Yeah. And sometimes it needs to get built back up.

Josh 16:34
Yeah. user. I mean, you guys are talking about how to, I mean, healthy ways, creative ways. to, to create ground to create atmosphere. I mean, it I keep thinking about the kind of like, you know, interior decorating, like if if that were our focus, like, how are we going to make this home? Something we both like, but you’re beyond interior decorating, you’re talking about? How are we going to make the fabric of how we talk to each other, listen to each other, relate with each other, ask question to each other, sit with each other? or physical with each other? How are we going to make that an environment? That is? That is good and life giving? Yes,

Ginny Becker 17:13
yes. Yeah. And that we want to be home. Right, that we want to be together? What? Oh, gosh, I heard a really neat thing recently that somebody had been married, I don’t know. 60 years said, What is the secret? Like, what is the non negotiable secret for your marriage? And he said, we want to this is how we’ll know we have succeeded, when we always know that we want to be together, that we’d rather be together than with anybody else. I think, wow. Yeah. That’s what I want. That’s what I want for the marriage as I know. That’s what I want for you all is that Gosh, like, I can’t get wait to get home to that person. And all the foibles and

Kit 17:56
all this stuff, even if it’s not like, you know, if there’s contentment, you know, like, I think about how that’s true for me that I would rather be the Butterfly,

butterfly. Oh, like, just, you know, we’re just like, Oh, I get to be with Greg in an hour.

Josh 18:15
And let’s clarify. You’re not saying and if you are, correct me, but you’re not saying we want to be together? Oh, Oh, my Oh,

Unknown Speaker 18:22
my please. No, no, please.

Ginny Becker 18:25
Just so we’re clear. So Eric, and I started working together. 24, seven. And there are times when we look each other and say, we need a break, don’t we? We just need a break. So I’ll go on the we need to go do our thing for a little while, and then we’ll come back and we’ll be better. Yeah, no, it’s not about that. But it’s that it’s that when we’re together, there’s a safety

Josh 18:45
because you are the as you said, the beginning because you are different people. Oh, am I just one, quote unquote, soul? There’s Eric. There’s Jeannie. There’s Eric and Jenny’s marriage with its unique DNA. Because Eric, because Eric is who he is engineers who she is. And they’re bringing themselves to this this. Yes.

Ginny Becker 19:02
Yeah. This third. Yeah. And Eric often says, you know, scripture talks about iron, sharpening iron, and often sharpening iron means sparks fly. So that happens too.

Josh 19:13
would want to say to my wife, a iron sharpens iron and right now I think I need to find a different kind of iron the toxin guys. Yes,

Ginny Becker 19:21
yes. Yes, that too. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

Erich Becker 19:25
So the goal isn’t necessarily even decreasing the space between you. It’s just sweetening that space between and then it’ll the sweetness will attract you to each other.

Kit 19:45
When you say that, it almost makes me realize too, that if you have us, if that space between you is sweet, then you’re not threatened when you’re not together all the time. Right. It’s really the insecurity of things that would make you feel kind of compulsive about it. wanting to be together all the time, I think when you have that sense of I know who I am, yes, my husband is also his own person, we have a marriage. And so we’re free to be together and fully enjoy that and be a part and really enjoy that.

Ginny Becker 20:11
And I would say it takes, it takes two to tango in this, right? It takes two to be building and it’s intentionality from both spouses. I mean, I think one can build in, but the other needs to also be building in for it to be that healthy, and they might do it in

Kit 20:30
different ways in different times. And certainly, that’s true in my marriage, like Greg builds in our marriage very differently than I do, and learning to honor that. But I think that’s a really good point that somewhere, you have to say, yeah, I’m in. Yeah,

Josh 20:44
I’m in that bring that brings back something, I think it came up earlier about the comparison thing. So it’s so easy for husbands or wives to compare themselves to other husbands and other wives or people to compare their marriages, or at least what they think of another person’s marriage with their own marriage. And if we really get after what you guys are talking about, and we recognize and accept, embrace, even as part of the adventure, that our marriage has a unique fingerprint, because we are two people who have unique fingerprints coming into this marriage, then all of a sudden, there’s all these possibilities. So they’re like the, you know, the affirmations, the add the adjectives, those two are practical ideas. But the sky’s the limit on how we in this marriage are going to make this this work and make this marriage uniquely ours and wonderful. And yeah, anything else you’d say what a wrap up, I don’t pray for the marriage before we end. But she’d say about this concept of this, the soul of your marriage?

Ginny Becker 21:36
Yeah, I’d say I’d say just recognize it, like recognize it and begin to see where where you personally as a spouse can start building into the soul of your marriage, notice where it might be broken, notice where it might be 10, needed, needing, tending, and, and then stop looking outward. Like, you know, unless you’re getting help, that’s a whole different thing. But stop looking outward in comparison and thinking everybody else’s soul of their marriage is wonderful, because it’s not everybody’s in process. Everybody’s on a journey. 39 years we’ve been married, we’re still on a journey. We’re learning every day through through like wrestling, sometimes not physically wrestling. Although every marriage is supposed to be one sentence too much.

Josh 22:33
Jesus, thanks so much for the gift of marriage, and we pray for the marriage, this table and the marriages of every man and every woman listening. God it is it is a wonderfully. It is a wonderful, just idea and concept to be musing on that you have as you brought husband and wife together, you have created something that’s unique and all the universe throughout all of time. So we pray for everyone listening or that you would grow us up inspire us learn how to nurture that unique gift out of someone else’s marriage, but at the marriage that we’re in. I pray these things now and even Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen, man, amen.

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