BEST OF 2023: Setting Boundaries in Your Most Difficult Relationships – Lysa TerKeurst

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If we put so much pressure on our spouse to be everything for us, then I think we’re setting up a dynamic for our spouse to, in essence, be our god and supply everything when that’s not possible, and that too much pressure to put on the beautiful, but sometimes fragile nature of this intimate relationship called marriage.
Welcome to the focus on the family broadcast, helping you and your family thrive in Christ.
I am so excited to share this best of 2023 episode to focus on the family with you.
Alisa Turkish has many personal stories and wise counsel to share.
When it comes to relationships with your spouse, with your children, with your friends.
You know those relationships are some of the most reward connections this side of heaven, but challenges can and often do pop up, and they need to be sorted out to maintain peace and harmony.
And sometimes you have to draw a line. That may not be easy to do, but it is necessary.
Placing boundaries in our relationships is a loving action, and you’re going to learn more about that today.
Lisa, turkhurst has been with us many times before.
And as the president of Proverbs 31 ministries, she’s encouraged millions of women to strengthen their faith and their relationships.
Lisa is the author of the book, good boundaries, and good buys, loving others without losing the best of who you are.
We’ve got that book here, and you can find out more in the program description.
Let’s go ahead and pick up this best of 2023 conversation with Lisa Turkers.
Hey, let’s uh, let’s kick it off. John mentioned proverbs 31.
What a wonderful ministry for so many women.
It it this area boundaries when you look at it, I I don’t mean to make a gender distinction here, but I think women, I guess, have, um, such a desire to help those around them and significant ways, the boundaries can be very difficult and feel kinda counter spiritual, maybe, in some way, that if I’m not doing everything, if I’m not killing myself, by helping others, and I’m not living up to the expectation I have for myself.
Speak to that. And what women, uh, tell you through Proverbs 31?
Yeah. Well, I’ll speak just on my own behalf of my my struggle with boundaries.
You know, I didn’t write this book from the point of like, oh, I’m so good at boundaries.
You know, I I wrote it from my point of struggle and recognizing that where there’s chaos in relationships, there’s usually a lack of boundaries And I think the reason I personally struggled with boundaries is because I had a big question mark.
Our boundaries actually biblical. It’s got okay if we draw boundaries. Is it unkind? Is it unchristian?
And I think if we don’t have the biblical confidence that boundaries are okay, then we’re always going to tiptoe around them and maybe avoid them, plus boundaries can be off word.
I think sometimes when people hear the word boundaries, they have a couple of different reactions, neither of which are good.
One is, oh, somebody did a boundary with me and really used it as punishment or control or manipulation.
And that boundary just felt terrible.
Or they say, uh, you know, I’ve tried boundaries, and they just don’t work for me.
So it’s funny when you say the word boundaries, people have usually a little bit of a, like, hesitant reaction to the work boundaries.
No. It’s really true. And I I think it’s hard.
I think it like you mentioned in the Christian ethos, we feel guilty having boundaries because it’s almost like if you get slapped in the cheek, given the other cheek, right?
There’s lots of scriptures that caution us to go the extra mile Absolutely.
We can we can muddle that whole thing in terms of self protection.
Yes. Well, I put on, um, my Instagram stories one time.
Tell me the verses, the Bible verses that, um, have made you feel like boundaries are unbiblical and people sent in lots of Bible verses.
So I spent time with my theological team at Proverbs 31 Ministries and we we went through those verses.
And in the back of the book, the boundaries and good buys, there’s actually a resource. It’s many pages.
Of here’s what these verses mean. Here’s what they do not mean.
Here’s how they’ve been weaponized, and here’s a script you can use if somebody uses this first to tell you that a boundary is unbiblical.
I I, you know, I one of my most favorite research theological research times with these verses is, you know, people said, well, Jesus said, lay down your life for your friends.
You know, and Jesus modeled that. He laid down his life for his and that’s absolutely correct.
Jesus laid down his life for a high and holy purpose, but not to enable bad behaviors to continue.
So we must not confuse the good command to love with the unhelpful and often harmful behavior of enabling.
Yeah. And and that’s a brilliant distinction, really.
Um, and we’ve talked about the context for your life and things that you’ve gone through.
So these next questions are things that you’re openly talking about. So I’m putting you on the spot here.
But, um, your ex husband, art, and what took place with that is a great example, I think, of what you’re describing.
Can you Tell us what happened and just give us that brief synopsis, and we can use that as an example.
Yeah. Um, you know, I never expected the death of my marriage.
It was completely not something that I felt like would would ever would ever happen to our family.
And that’s what I call a divorce, the death of a marriage, because that’s really what was to me.
It was the saddest, hardest, most heartbreaking deal that I ever walked through And, um, you know, I think there were many, many years where we both fought really hard.
And toward the end, I fought really hard, but at some point, you have to accept reality.
And this was an unsustainable, um, reality.
And, honestly, at that point for me, it would be unbibled to stay.
So I’m always careful because, you know, I always want to honor him.
And so I’m care with what I say and what I don’t say, but what I do know is I didn’t walk away.
At some point, I had to accept reality. And that’s what got me to this place.
Well, and you did fight. I mean, I can remember the interviews we did before, during, and after.
And You know, it didn’t always work its way into the program, but we would talk about where you were at and what things were happening.
In that way, boundaries applied to a difficult marriage.
Um, you know, your own experience, the other women at Proverbs 31 women who share with you their struggles What does that boundary problem look like in a married construct?
Yeah. That’s a great question. Um, I think the easiest way to think about boundaries is, first of all, you’ve gotta have biblical confidence that god is okay with boundaries.
Because if you don’t have kind of confidence, then you’re always second guessing.
Is this the right thing to do or not?
But if you know that boundaries are not just a good idea, they’re actually god’s idea you can approach it in a different way.
Always with the purpose, the driving force of a boundary should always be love.
It should not be punishment, control, or manipulation.
So when I dug into the Bible, right from the very beginning in Genesis 1, I see that god established even the foundation of the world using boundaries.
You know, he separated the day and the night. He separated light and darkness.
He separated the sea from the land.
And, you know, so we see these appropriate boundaries where one stops and another begins.
But then I got to Genesis too and think of all the topics, all the subject matter that god could have chosen for his first conversation, first recorded conversation with man, and god chose the topic of a boundary.
And so in Genesis 2, we find god saying to Adam, you are free, which is important because boundaries are for the sake of defining where the freedom is.
Boundaries are not for the sake of just becoming so restrictive that you box a relationship in where it can’t grow and thrive.
So god says you are free, so he’s establishing the freedom are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but not the tree that’s in the middle of the garden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, or you will eye.
And so, again, when you understand that god never intended the human heart to carry the weight of the knowledge of evil.
God wasn’t being overly restrictive. He was actually being protective.
And so freedom and protection are both so important when we talk about boundaries.
And especially in the beauty and the treasured nature of such an intimate relationship in a marriage, you know, boundaries should be the way that you open up wonderful communication between you and your significant other that this is what’s okay, and this is what’s not okay.
This is what is acceptable, and this is what is not acceptable.
This is what I have to give, and this is what I don’t have to give.
So sometimes when we think about boundaries, we think about this hard awful conversation, and sometimes boundary conversations are really hard and awful.
But sometimes they can be the way that you fight for the relationship so you don’t spend time so much time fighting against each other.
I think those boundary setting opportunities can be very manipulated.
You know, a person that feels wounded because my husband doesn’t do such and such, or he always does such and such.
It’s not perhaps a biblical violation of the marriage. It’s his temper minutes personality. You married them.
Um, but how do you discern what is a healthy boundary and what’s an unhealthy boundary.
I think it it’s so clouded.
It really is. Okay. So I want us to think of 2 really important words: access and respond visibility.
And, again, as I continued to study and look for examples of god drawing boundaries or indications that god is okay with boundaries.
When I got to even the way god constructed or instructed the construction of the tavern which eventually became the temple.
Certain people were allowed certain access to certain parts of the temple.
It wasn’t because those people were more valuable than the other people.
It’s that they were required a different level of responsibility.
So by the time you get to the Holy of Holy’s, then only the high priest once a year had access to the Holy of Holy’s to make atonement for the people.
But the high priest had to be perfectly cleansed and purified before he stepped into the holy of holies, or he would drop dead.
And so the highest access required the highest responsibility and also had the highest consequence boundary violation.
So I like to think of these two words, access and responsibility to the level that we give someone access to us.
And that’s physically financially, emotionally, relationally, spiritually.
If we’re giving level 10 access, then the person we’re giving that access to needs to bring level 10 responsibility.
Where a lot of us get in trouble is we’re giving level 10 access But if someone is unwilling or incapable of anything more than a level 3, the distance between those two where you will find dysfunction, where you’ll find chaos, and where there’s chaos, there’s usually a lack of boundaries.
So here’s an example of an unhealthy way to set a boundary.
And this was my mistake, so I’m gonna own this confession time, okay, that I would want this person to lift up their area responsibility to match the level of access I’ve given them so much.
So I decided to put a boundary on them.
And when you try to put a boundary on somebody, you’re using external pressure to try to create an internal change.
And we all know if that person is unwilling or incapable of making that change for themselves, you can create temporary behavior modification.
But you’re not gonna really have them become more responsible with the access you’ve given them.
And kind of like today if one of you had a cardiac event now. We’re not Why are
you looking at me?
We’re not gonna have a cardiac event. But what would we all do? Respond. Yeah. Right?
And using external pressure, we could keep you alive.
We could sustain your life for a little while until the professionals came in and helped.
But at some point, if your heart does not start beating on its own, I could not sustain your life using external pressure.
Mean, you wouldn’t see us walking around this place today. Me doing chest compressions and think, wow.
That’s a healthy dynamic. You know?
And so instead of putting a boundary to try to force someone else to change on that person, we have to put a boundary around ourselves.
And be self controlled enough to reduce the level of access down to the level of responsibility that that person is demonstrating.
There’s so much here, Lisa.
And and I’m wondering where does love fit into this picture kind of going back to what Jim was saying because If I have a boundary and and it gets transgressed, well, love says to overlook the transgression, or does
Well, good question. God’s really clear about what love is.
And I think sometimes, like I said before, we confuse the good command to love with some bad behaviors of people pleasing and, um, you know, trying to enable someone or even stepping in save them when we can be a friend, we can be a spouse, we can be a parent, but we cannot be the savior.
And so, yes, the motivation for a boundary always has to be love, seeking the other person’s highest good as they seek your highest good as well.
So the motivation should be love. But it part of love is good communication.
Part of love is honesty. Part of love is being patient and kind.
And if we allow so many boundary violations that it wears us down to the worst version of our self, then we’ll be guilty of doing the exact that of what god’s definition of love should be.
Mhmm. Lisa, in the book you mentioned, uh, comparison to Hallmark films, which I think is hilarious And we probably need a little lightheartedness in the middle of this heaviness, but talk about the Hallmark movie and how it distorts things.
Right. Well, I think we all have visions of how we want life to be, how we want relationships to be.
And so you know, I talk about how sometimes at Christmas, especially I’ll be watching one of these, you know, wonderfully delightful, sometimes slightly cheesy
I lightly. And I’m thinking they have the same storyline every time.
Like, the girl is in some kind of distress and suddenly, she bumps into a guy at a diner And, um, you know, she actually then spills a little coffee on him, and then he just thinks it’s delightful.
And then she finds out he’s a prince of a foreign land.
And then, you know, they fall in love, and he whisk her away to the castle to live, you know, happily ever after
Never worried about the shirt.
Never worried about the shirt. Right? But then I said, but this is how life often goes.
She’s working at a diner. She spills offee on him, he gets so irate with her that he just says things that crush her heart.
She goes home. She is still infuriated with him.
Then something happens and he loses the ability to be the king of the kingdom again.
And so she decides to save up her money buy the castle. And, you know, it’s just that’s life.
Right? Life is messy. And it’s unpredictable and it’s hard.
You know, love and relationships are so wonderful until they’re not And I’m the biggest proponent of marriage.
I love marriage. I believe in marriage. I think marriage is the most precious connection between two people.
In writing this book, I’m not encouraging people to quickly, you know, push their spouse away or ghost their parents or you know, run away from their responsibilities in any way.
Boundaries are not to shove others away. They’re to help hold us together.
And really, it’s so that we can open up communication and and talk about things.
You know, one time I was having this counseling session, and, um, the Christian counselor that I go to see, he watched me over and over and over, say the word expectations, you know, like, expectations of this and unrealistic expectations and, you know, all the stuff.
And I use the word expectations like a lot in this one session. And finally, he stopped me.
He said, Lisa, I wonder if we might choose a different word than expectations because expectations are really simmering resentments in disguise.
What if we made the focus of our conversation, our needs, where the other person has the option to meet those needs or not?
And expectation implies you better do this or else. Right?
So when I shifted to needs and desire, then I’m able to more clearly communicate and give an opportunity for love to blossom, but that love meet exactly what I think love should meet.
Yeah. And one of the, you know, critical areas in marriage, particularly, but in all relationships, ships is expectation.
I remember I I wrote a book and the reviewer of the book said Jim Daly’s best advice is don’t really expect anything out of anybody.
That wasn’t what I was trying to say, but what I was trying to say was just keep your expectations reasonable in your relationships.
Don’t have such high expectations that there’s no way that person, whether it’s your spouse, your son or daughter, your mother-in-law, is gonna let you down if they’re too high.
So how do how do we even establish in the boundaries context the healthy expectation?
What does that even look like? And are we capable of doing that?
Okay. Well, I have another confession I am a people pleaser. I really struggle with people pleasing.
And so as I dug around into what what was driving this because, you know, my people pleasing would tip over into co dependency.
And, uh, good definition of co dependency is if you find yourself saying, I need you to be So I can be okay.
So are you okay? So I can be okay. Okay? Yeah. You know? Exactly.
And and having this this thing in me that I want everyone else to be happy.
So for me, I would rather sacrifice my needs, my desires, and all on the altar of keeping everyone else happy.
But here was the real danger of that.
When I pushed myself to really consider why was I trying to keep everyone happy?
It wasn’t just to please everyone.
I was keeping them happy because I was afraid if I didn’t, they would take something from me that I felt I must have from them in order to be okay in the world.
And when I got really honest, I wrote this in my journal.
We will always desperately want from other people what we fear we will never get god.
And so my people pleasing wasn’t necessarily to please the other person.
It was actually, because threes.
I feared that they would take that away from me, and then I wouldn’t be okay in the world.
And so the lord really had to work on my heart.
And all of this ties up been into marriage, you know, if we put so much pressure on our spouse to be everything for us, then I think we’re setting up a dynamic for our spouse to, in essence, be our god and supply everything when that’s not possible, and that’s too much pressure.
To put on the beautiful, but sometimes fragile nature of this intimate relationship called marriage.
Those are such powerful observations I’m sitting here a little bit stunned with everything that you’ve said because there’s such great wisdom in what you’re saying.
You know, just even in the dynamic of husband and wife and what that does those expectations.
You know, husbands tend to withdraw if we’re not meeting your expectation because that’s part of desire that we have.
We wanna be that everything for you.
And and wife’s had that same goal, but then we get, you know, a little bit of frowned from our wives and we go, uh-oh, I’m not behaving properly.
I I’m not sure why. How how do you clear up the conversation so that it’s healthy, it’s mature, and you can get to some solid relationship in the spousal area particularly to where you’re really heart to heart with each other?
Well, I think it’s really important to do a little bit of work to look at what has happened in our past in order to understand that what we don’t work out, we will eventually act out.
And often in the construct of a marriage. My counselor often says that.
And in the construct of a marriage, you know, it’s easy sometimes to pull past unhealed pain into present day arguments or into present day conflict or into present day tensions, and it all gets multiplied and it’s much bigger.
My counselor also says when it’s hysterical, it’s historic So if you’re having an out of proportion reaction to something at hand, typically, there’s work that needs to be done as an individual before we even try to come together as a couple.
But I’m utterly convinced that communication, good, healthy communication that we choose at the right time, not when we’re tired, not when we’re hangry, not right before we’re supposed to go to bed, you know, but if we carefully choose those times, then attempt to have the good conversations about what you need and what they need.
And that’s such a wonderful bonding opportunity if done properly.
And, you know, I I’m convinced more relationships die, not because we attempt to have the challenging conversations and they go poorly.
But because we refuse to have the conversations that we desperately needed have.
I’m always mindful of that person and maybe dozens, maybe hundreds that are listening going, well, Lisa’s describing me.
That’s where I’m at. I do take a lot and I have high expectations.
What are some things they can do after hearing this other than get your book, which would be a great in-depth resource, obviously.
But what can they do to say, okay.
I gotta reevaluate where I’m at with boundaries, what my expectations are with my husband, with my wife, with my kids, with my business partner with those that I work with.
Absolutely. I would say take steps, not leaps.
So don’t listen to this conversation and suddenly think, oh, I’ve gotta draw boundaries in all my relationships. You know?
What happened?
But take a step, not a leap, and maybe identify one place in one relationship where there’s some chaos where you find yourself saying, oh, I just can’t take it anymore.
Or, oh, I’m just so worn out from this hard situation.
So where there’s chaos, there’s usually a lack of a boundary.
So identify that one place and ask god to help you know when would be a good time to have an appropriate conversation.
And when you have the conversation, remember, you’re not putting a boundary on that other person try to control them or manipulate them or even punish them, you’re putting a boundary in place so that you can remain self controlled so that you can love others well without losing the best of who you are.
Well, this is focused on the family with Jim Dilly. I’m John Fuller, and our guest today Lisa Turcrest.
We’re talking about, um, some really difficult, but really good things to bring to the table here.
Lisa has written about this in her book, good boundaries, and good buys.
And we’ll encourage you to get a copy of that book from us here.
At the ministry, our number is 800, the letter a, and the word family.
The the mark of a really good writer, I think, is how you can use humor in very heavy situations.
And your book certainly has very humorous stories in there.
The one I connected with was how you’re flood lights, I think, are connected to some other areas out. Yes.
Yes. Tell me about that one because I am so mechanically un inclined.
I am too. You know, I grew up in a good long stretch of my childhood where, um, we didn’t really have the money to call the professionals in.
So This is my
mindset was always like, just work around it, you know, if I fix it as good enough.
So we did a renovation project and somehow the back flood lights of my house were connected to the hot water heater.
And I know if you are a plumber electrician, you probably are not gonna believe me, but I am telling the honest truth.
If we turned off the back flood lights, the hot water went out.
And so one time my sister came to visit, and she went upstairs to take a shower.
And all of a sudden, she yelled downstairs. Lisa, something just happened to the hot water.
To which I replied, sorry. I’ll go turn the back floodlights back on.
And so She got out of the shower and she came down and she looked at me.
She said, repeat to me exactly what you said.
I didn’t hear that right.
And I said, Oh, sorry. If we turn the back flood lights off, the hot water goes out.
And she leaned in closer and she said, you know, you need to get that fixed. Right?
And I was like, I know.
I’ve been meaning to put a little sign, maybe even laminate it by the back flood lights light switch and tell people don’t turn this light switch off or else we won’t have hot
water. Right.
And she leaned in. She said, that’s not normal.
You know that. A thick sing it.
Right. Exactly. And, you know, as I’ve thought about that story, it’s such an example of how we get used to our own dysfunction.
It didn’t even occur to me to call someone and have that fixed.
It occurred to me to put a sign up and just say don’t turn the back flood lights off.
Right, which you’ll be happy to know. I eventually, after my sister’s prodding, did get the issue fixed.
But I think it’s a good example of how over time, if we continue to live in this functional dances.
That’s what I call it, a dysfunctional dance sometimes in some of our most important relationships over time that dysfunction starts to feel normal and we normalize things that we shouldn’t normalize and we get used to our own dysfunction.
That’s a great analogy. You you also mentioned the damage done when we invest too much, um, attention into how people see us.
I I don’t mean to twist that, but, you know, people’s opinions and how that influences our own opinion of us.
I think some of that is hard to avoid.
I mean, if somebody says, you know, Jim, you’re you’re eating a little too much, you know, whatever that might be.
Um, there is a certain objectivity to that that somebody should listen to that’s healthy. And then there’s unhealthy.
Help us divide those.
Yeah. Well, I think you can always look at the intention of the statement.
Was this meant to harm me or help me?
And take a step back from that statement and just think, like, there’s a reason the statement was made.
Either it’s an indication that they have some issue going on and they’re trying to harm me, or it’s an indication of the great love for me and they’re trying to help me and to concerning those 2 are really important and not personalizing it so much where we automatically get defensive because, you know, that’s one of the real killer of a conversation is for one person to get incredibly defensive.
But as it relates to boundaries, you know, I think we have to have a real understand that communication is so vitally important.
And there are healthy ways and unhealthy ways to conversations.
And so boundaries really provide a structure for us to be able to communicate where the freedom is in the relationship.
And like I said yesterday, what is acceptable and what’s not acceptable?
And we have the opportunity to state what we do have to give and what we don’t have to give The real struggle sometimes in relationships is where we feel like we cannot say what we know needs to be said either because we’re afraid of the change that might happen in that relationship, we’re afraid that that person might reject us, abandon us, or, you know, ghost us.
And Here’s what I say. If we are that afraid that this person would reject us, then you’re really in a relationship where that person is probably gonna reject you eventually anyways.
And so I think boundaries give us an opportunity to have those help conversations that need to be had.
Yeah. You you share a story about a friend of yours whose mother found a baby picture or describe the impact of that, and how does that apply to what you’re saying?
Well, it was this beautiful moment. It’s a gal that works for me. Her name is Amanda.
And her mom gave her a picture of her when she was a baby.
And Amanda pulled out that picture one day and looked at it.
And she said, look at me before life wrote all over
me. Wow.
And she could just see so much life and the light in that baby’s eyes.
And she’s like, that baby is me, but so much of life has been written all over me that, you know, it’s she sort of changed the view of her potential based on the things that happen to her.
And if we wanna have healthy relationships, then we have to pursue health within ourself because health bonds with help.
Unhelp bonds with unhelp. So if we want healthier relationships, we would do well to tend to our help.
Heal some of those things from the past, work on some of those things.
And, um, and really determine to bring the very best of who we are front and center.
You know, in that description, a person like Amanda, you can feel the tread marks all over you.
That life has dealt you a bad hand, and you could get resentful. And that’s what you’re describing.
How do you climb out of that hole? I mean, even listening to to this today.
I mean, how does a person say, okay. I’m not gonna let people run all over me.
I’m gonna create a boundary. Is that the right motivation that you feel you know, that people have mistreated you.
Therefore, I’m gonna set these boundaries. Is that right or wrong? Or
Well, we have to be careful not to let bitterness that happens around us or the bitterness that comes at us get inside of us because that the Bible is so clear in in Ephesians, you know, we’re told to get rid of all bitterness because there’s never just a little bit of bitterness.
Bitterness leaks out, not just onto the person that we feel bitter against, but it leaks out onto all of our relationships.
So, you know, I can speak to this really personally.
At some point, I had to decide if the unwanted and heartbreaking divorce that I went through, if that was gonna be the epic finding moment of my life.
And would I always carry that banner of being a victim, or was I some point gonna rise up except reality because mental health is a commitment to reality at all costs.
Was it gonna rise up except reality, I can still wish that that would not be part of my story.
But by god, if it is gonna be part of my story, I’m gonna rise up.
I’m gonna hold up the banner of victory and I’m gonna kick the devil in the teeth and make him regret he ever messed with a woman like me.
Wow. That’s a statement.
And I I think it’s a statement, but it’s also lifesaving perspective to have. Yeah.
You know, we all have parts of our story that either we didn’t see coming or we didn’t want or, you know, that just ripped the rug out from underneath us.
And You know, I think it’s good to think about.
Am I gonna hold up the banner of victim or victory?
Because we can’t hold up both at the same time.
And in in that context, again, a little funny thing. These things start with small steps.
So your kids suggested you get a puppy to start in this direction.
So I think Givey was the puppy’s name. What did Givey teach you?
Oh, you just see stars in my eyes because I have fallen in love with this little puppy.
So his name is forgiveness.
So if you’re gonna name a dog forgiveness, you’re gonna know that that’s gonna be required of you.
Lots of forgiveness with this puppy. Right?
Especially potty training days.
Exactly. So, um, but, yeah, his name is Givi, and it just been a wonderful gift.
You know, it’s really challenging to have gone from a house where there were 5 kids and, you know, 2 adults, and life was big and loud and busy.
And, you know, then all of a sudden, one day I looked around and you know, the kids had grown and and they’re doing great and they moved out and they’re establishing their own lives.
And then, you know, all of a sudden, the companionship that I thought would be for a lifetime isn’t there anymore.
And I literally had this day where I woke up and the house was utterly silent.
And it’s hard to go from a house that was so full of the noises of a family to being absolutely quiet.
And so my kids, and I think they were very wise and say, that. They just said, hey, mom.
You need a little noise in your life. So let’s let’s get you a puppy. Right? Yeah.
So isn’t it is that the lord knows what we need and in so many different creative ways.
And, you know, I think that this is, uh, it’s filling a challenging gap in my life, but it’s good.
Yeah. It is good. Lisa, fear can prevent us from creating healthy boundaries.
The fear of what a person might think if we do this, uh, you know, whatever it might be, but we drop we pull in from doing the healthy thing that we could do.
I see that a bit in my own boys, you know, that confrontation is not a comfortable thing for them.
How do we either in our marital relationship or in our parenting journey, how do we help our spouse, help ourselves, help our kids not have that fear of engaging people like this with real firm boundaries?
Well, I think sometimes when we think about communicating a boundary, it feels like we’re we’re having to operate in the extremes, and extremes feel so comfortable.
Like, you know, we can never have this happen again, or, you know, you always do this.
And so always encourage people avoid the extremes and recognize that the boundary conversations don’t have to be awful.
I mean, if somebody makes a request of you that would extend you past the capacity that you have, Then we can have a gentle conversation and say, my heart says, yes, yes, yes, but the reality of my time says, no.
And here’s the deal. We’re already doing this really well.
So I’m gonna prove to you, Jim, you’re already doing this really well. Are you ready?
Do you have a bank account?
Um, do you have a passcode on your bank account?
I believe I do.
Okay. Even can’t remember it right now.
You have some sort of security so that not everyone can get your bank account.
Um, would you feel comfortable right now just sharing your bank account information and your code and everything just to give all of us free access to your bank account.
Absolutely not.
Why? Is it because you’re unchristian? Is it because you’re selfish? Why why won’t why won’t you just share it.
Because it’s none of your business.
Exactly. Right? And I would suspect because you don’t know if we’re all gonna be responsible with the limited resources that you have in your account, and you know that you have responsibilities that your limited resources need to handle.
Right? And it’s not because you’re unkind or un christians because you you have a limited capacity, and it’s because you’re human.
Only god has a limitless supply.
And so, of course, we wouldn’t give free access to everyone because we don’t know if they will be responsible with that access.
We know this with our finances, but we forget it with all other areas of capacity in our life.
And so I think it’s a really healthy exercise, even before we attempt the hard conversations, to have a logical sit down with yourself and to mind, what is my capacity in this area, in this area, in this area so that when requests are made that hyper extend us past our reasonable capacity, of course, always allowing the lord to grow us and develop us, but we can simply have a logical conversation.
It doesn’t have to be so emotion. I would love to do that.
My heart says yes, yes, yes, but the reality of my time makes this a no.
Now can’t give that, but here’s what I can give.
Yeah. You you know, I’m thinking of that marital conflict, though, where, you know, the frustrated wife, I’ll just use that as the example.
Obviously, you can put the shoe on the other foot, whatever.
But, you know, that that wife that’s been nagging her husband, I mean, it could be something silly.
Like, putting the dirty clothes in the right spot, and he just has some incredible inability to put it in the hamper.
I mean, it goes on the floor. It goes on the bed. It goes everywhere else, but in the hamper.
And I’m being ridiculous here, but that could become a real sore point. Uh, frustration.
Can’t you just put your dirty socks in the hamper?
And, you know, it starts to chip away at the relationship.
Now we can put more serious things in there, and you can keep, you know, inching up the game with the seriousness.
But where do where does the acceptance of somebody’s inability for whatever reason?
Did god create their brain so they can’t put their 30 socks in the stinking hamper.
But, uh, how do you evaluate that? How do you know when okay.
This husband in mind just does not have the capacity to do this, and I back down on the expectation.
Or I keep pressing even to the breaking point where this really puts a dent in our relationship.
How do you how do you know that balance?
Well, okay. Let’s use the example of one spouse always running late and the other spouse always wanting to be on time.
Okay. So are you typically, Jim, the run late person or the on time person?
On time person.
Okay. So
It’s interesting. You should say that because Jean is the running late person.
Okay. Okay. So let’s say you
and Jean
are having a conversation. And Jean, we love you. There’s there’s many, many, many of us that also run late.
Um, but let’s say you and Jean have this different definition of being on Let’s just phrase it that way.
Right? So you like to get there 20 minutes early.
Jean feels like as long as she skirts in at the last second, then she on time.
I mean, we’re just using much.
And she does a lot better job now than she used to.
Okay. Perfect. But you could have a conversation.
You could say, Jean, I absolutely love going places with you. I love going to church with you.
Let’s just use that as an example. I love going to church with you.
And, Jean, I have an issue. So you’re taking ownership of your own thing.
I have a different definition of being on time than you.
I can’t feel comfortable in church and receive everything that I’m supposed to receive if I don’t get there 20 minutes early.
So Here’s my proposal. If we can go 20 minutes early, that’s great.
If we can’t, though, I’m giving you freedom to take all the time you need and we will still sit together in church, but maybe we need to ride in separate cars.
But here’s the great bonus. I will arrive at church. I will save you a seat.
I will make sure you have notes.
I I will set it all up so that we’re both successful, and it doesn’t diminish our love.
If we ride in separate cars, it just simply means we go to church.
We just don’t ride in the same car. Right.
And so of course, that’s a simple example, and I know many relationships have complicated nuances to it.
But isn’t it better to come up with a solution like that?
Then to always sit in church with your spouse feeling annoyed and frustrated and let those simmering resentments grow to the point of a real serious issue in the marriage?
Absolutely. And those little things can do that.
They can get they could be blown up into big things, and it’s it’s unhealthy.
You had to make a a heart wrenching decision.
And, again, we talked about it at the beginning of the program last time, uh, to say goodbye to your marriage.
And I can’t imagine all of the angst and the writhing of going through that.
And you’re very respectful to your ex husband, art. But you you say that goodbyes can be healthy.
Now people are gonna jump at that say, how can that be? Cause god hates divorce.
And that’s one specific area, but how how can good buys be health see?
Well, and it’s interesting. You brought up the verse for Malachi.
God hates divorce because in the original language, that, um, that interpretation didn’t come about until the King James version.
Uh. In the original language, it actually says when a man hates and divorce his wife, he does violence against the very one he should protect.
Mhmm. And so when I did research on that and I started to under stand that, you know, of course, god would hate what divorced us to people.
Right? But god doesn’t hate divorced people.
And So I, um, you know, it it was it was gut wrenching. I did not want a divorce.
I fought really, really hard. Um, we were married 30 years.
And the last eight of those years.
Um, they were the hardest years of my life, and he would probably say they were the hardest years of his life as well.
But there were some things that shifted our marriage from a difficult marriage to a destructive marriage.
And when I realized that there were choices being made that were not keeping in line with a biblical marriage.
At some point, You know, it was not about me walking away. It was about me accepting reality.
And here the thing that I had to choose, though.
This was a very heartbreaking goodbye, but it was also at times a really messy goodbye. Heart wrenching, actually.
But I read that the original phraseology of goodbye, it actually comes from god be with ye.
And then it was shortened to god, b w y, and then it would it became good bye. Uh.
And so as I thought about that, I thought I want a little more of god be with ye.
In my goodbyes. And so I had a marked moment where I took all the heartbreak and all the devastation, and I acknowledged it.
It’s real. I will not deny it.
But I started to pray, god be with you, and it became a better Goodbye.
It’s powerful. And, again, people are dealing with all kinds of different things. Right?
And don’t understand the full situation that you went through and you’re very discreet about how you share about that, but you did fight.
And, uh, there was you know, biblical reasons for you to to terminate the marriage.
And yeah.
And I think that’s why it was important in this conversation studying the Bible, I had never really learned.
How do you say a biblical goodbye is god even okay with goodbyes?
And there so many examples that I found in scripture. I mean, we look at Paul and Barnabas.
They had a sharp disagreement. And it wasn’t because either of them were terrible people, it’s that they had a different vision of the next missionary journey and who should go with them.
Ways, and there’s no indication that they ever really came back together and did ministry together.
There was a softening on both of their hearts where they walked away, but they didn’t bash the other person.
They they didn’t discredit their ministry. Right?
And and the Bible says It actually even served to further the gospel even more.
So some good buys are just hard and horrific. The end. Some good eyes.
It’s not because either the people or terrible people, it’s because they had a division, a division.
1 had a vision to go this way.
1 a vision to go this way, but they kept their hearts soft in the process. Yeah.
And that that’s such a good thing to remember in the circumstance you’re in.
And, again, Lisa, right at the end here, I I, you know, it may not be a act of infidelity or a addiction or the things that occurred in your situation, but the woman that’s just frustrated, she feels like, is this it?
Maybe the man that’s in that spot. Is this it? Is this all that can be?
It’s just arguments and just, uh, you know, chaos. Mhmm. Why isn’t it more than this?
I thought that day we got married, it would be something different, and it’s not. And it’s gotten worse.
What word of encouragement do you have for them to say?
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Mhmm. Well, I would say sometimes you have to call a time out and call in a per professional.
And if there’s one thing that I would really encourage them to do is get out of the swirl of the own their own echo chamber.
What they’ve been fighting about because sometimes you can get in such a dysfunctional dance that it really does require outside people to speak into the marriage.
And that’s one reason I love focus on the family so much is because you guys you said you’re a house for help.
A help house
or whatever. Um,
but, you know, you have tremendous resources to help people find good godly cow You have tremendous resources that people can read.
There are events people can go to.
And so I would say do everything you can to fight for that relationship.
And have outside people that are good, wise, trained people to speak into your relationship because I would give anything absolutely anything to have not walked through a divorce.
And so do everything that you possibly can to not just save that relationship, but treasure it.
And at the same time, recognize if it’s shifted from difficult to destructive, a separation may be necessary.
Jesus called us to forgive seventy times 7, but he did not call us to stay in a situation where someone’s abusing us and hurting us and to stay close in that forgiveness, you can create some distance and enough distance where you can forgive that person if they never change 70 times 7 without getting destroyed in the process.
Right. Well, that concludes our conversation with Lisa Turkers on this best of 2023 episode of focus on the family.
I so appreciate Lisa’s raw real stories as well as the encouragement in her message, we have hope in Christ no matter the situation.
And to you, our viewer, maybe your story sounds a lot like leases, or you have a friend who has experienced something very similar.
Either way, here at Focus on the family, We are here to help you navigate those difficult relationships.
And a solid place to start is Lisa’s terrific book good boundaries and goodbyes, loving others without losing the best of who you are.
This Christmas season is the perfect time to share the hope Jesus Christ came to give us And I want to invite you to join us in ministry to come alongside those precious people, your brothers and sisters in Christ, who are facing difficulties and challenges.
You can give families hope through your support of focus on the family.
We ran some numbers, uh, this last year and discovered that less than 1% of our listeners actually contribute to the work being done here at Focus.
Less than 1%. That really surprised me.
If we could double or even quadruple that number, just think of the things god could do threw us together.
Let’s hit the ground running in 2024.
Be part of the kingdom work being done here to help families thrive in Christ.
And know you’ve been a faithful part of what god is doing. And we’ll make it super easy for you.
Donate today a gift of any amount, and we’ll send you a copy of Lisa’s book, good boundaries, and goodbyes as our way of saying thank you for standing in the gap for these families.
And, uh, to donate and get your copy of good boundaries and good buys, uh, just give us a call 800 a family, or click the link in the program description.
On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us.
I’m John Fuller inviting you back next time as we once again help you and your family Thrive in Christ.

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