Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Like the Shepherd, Day 4

Whitney: I’m a stay-at-home mom and farm wife, and I find it difficult to find anyone who values the idea of putting my husband and kids first.

Leslie Basham: This full-time mom wrote to Revive Our Hearts to tell us what encourages her and what discourages her.

Whitney: I’ve been struggling with finding fulfillment at home because there’s such little support for what I’m doing in society. When I sought help from family, a counselor, and friends, I’m usually encouraged to pursue a job outside the home as a solution.

Leslie: Then Whitney heard a teaching series on Titus 2 here on Revive Our Hearts.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth (from God's Beautiful Design): There are hard moments. There are moments when parenting brings you to your knees, it brings you to tears. But overriding that all should be the joy of Christ and these kids He’s given you and the privilege it is to raise them for Christ.

Whitney: It was so encouraging to hear the programs that reinforced that raising godly children and supporting my husband are a high and holy calling.

Nancy: We’ve got to go back to the Scripture and realize that the home is a vital part of a woman’s calling and are a witness to the world, and that it is a high and holy calling to be a wife and a mother.

Whitney: I have a renewed sense of purpose, knowing that I’m not the only one still valuing a woman’s influence in the home.

Nancy: And we need to become cheerleaders again for women who choose the mission of motherhood, the mission of marriage as a means of glorifying God.

Whitney: Thank you for your commitment to sharing Scripture even when it might not be received well in the culture today. I hope that your ministry is able to reach more women like myself.

Nancy: And I hope so, too. We really do want to reach many more women with God’s Word throughout the world, and we’re exploring ways to do that in Europe, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, and so many other places that God is opening doors.

But we can’t speak to more women without your help. Revive Our Hearts is facing a serious budget gap at this time, and we’ve been dipping into reserve funds. At the same time, we have bigger-than-normal needs in May as we head into the summer months when donations to the ministry usually drop somewhat.

So would you pray with us that God would provide $830,000 here in the month of May? And if God has used this ministry in your life to give you a great love for Christ and His Word, would you pray about getting involved in helping to meet that need?

To donate to Revive Our Hearts, call us at 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com. Thank you for making it possible for us to keep calling women to greater freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Brokenness: The Heart God Revives, for Thursday, May 4, 2017.

Robert Wolgemuth was married to his wife Bobbie for many years and cared for her during a battle with cancer that ultimately took her life. He’s the father of two, and, for the last year and a half, he’s been married to our host, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

He’s brought all those experiences together to write a book called, Like the Shepherd: Leading Your Marriage with Love and Grace.

Nancy: Well, I’m so excited to see how God is going to use some of the concepts that my husband, Robert Wolgemuth, has written about in his latest book that we’re talking about this week on Revive Our Hearts.

So, Honey, thank you for writing this book. Thank you for living the message. And thank you for the joy that you give me every day of being a wife of a man who thinks this way.

Robert Wolgemuth: Oh. One of my favorite things about you, Honey, is what you call me. We were inspired about this early in our marriage with a couple that we know and love and really respect.

Nancy: Yes.

Robert: And words mean stuff. You’re a word person.

Nancy: Yes.

Robert: I’m a word person. And words are significant. I’m thinking of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus talks about the power of words. He calls them oaths. How many times during the last few days of this recording have you called me Honey or Sweetheart? You say, “Oh, come on.” No, actually, that’s a really important thing.

Nancy: Yes.

Robert: How I frame my love for you in a word that I use—now, sometimes I use your name. Dale Carnegie said, “There’s nothing more beautiful than the sound of your own name. So I’m not saying don’t use Nancy or Robert. But there is something so sweet and so enduring about how when you send me a text, you’ll say Darling or Sweetheart.

Nancy: Okay, can I just interrupt you to say this is something I’m learning from you. And, if you don’t mind, I’d like to read a text you sent me this morning.

Robert: This morning?

Nancy: This morning—this very morning. Some of you have heard me share of how every morning as Robert is in the Word seeking the Lord, he does that at dark 0–30, way before I’m up and going. He will always text me some Scripture verses that have stood out to him in his reading. He does the One Year Bible, so he’s reading in the Old and New Testaments and the Psalms.

So you texted me some precious Scripture this morning, and then you said, “Good morning, Precious Girl, my treasure, my lady, my queen, my lamb, my lover”—I mean, what woman is going to dislike that. Right? You said, “May the Lord fill you with Himself today. Thank you for the pure joy of this journey with you. I love you so. RD”

I hope that’s not too personal to share that, but maybe it’s valuable for some husbands to hear, and wives to hear because you can’t make your mate talk that way, but you can talk that way to your mate.

Robert: That’s right. Exactly.

Nancy: And so, I was not wired to be expressive in that way. After all, I spent the last fifty-seven years of my life trying to be careful around men and not to say things inappropriately.

Robert: Yes, that’s right.

Nancy: And then all of a sudden I’m married and a wife, and these things that have not been expressed, not felt in me all those decades, so it wasn’t as natural for me, as for you who had a lot of decades of married life, to express those things. And I suspect early in your first marriage that was not as natural, but you grew in that.

Robert: Sure.

Nancy: So some wife listening is thinking, My husband never texts that way to me, never talks that way to me. Don’t even think about that, but do think about how you communicate with him.

Robert: You go first.

Nancy: You go first.

Robert: Yes.

Nancy: And that’s what you say throughout this book. It’s called, Like the Shepherd. That’s a capital S—the Shepherd. You talk about how God shepherds us, how Christ shepherds His Church. Then the sub-title: Leading Your Marriage with Love and Grace.

Robert: Sure. And there you go. The picture of a shepherd is that he goes first and the sheep follow. So, in very little, practical ways, whether it’s a word of kindness, or calling you Darling . . . By the way, RD—if some listeners right now are saying . . .

Nancy: Who is that man? 

Robert: RD?

Nancy: Thank you. That would be Robert David.

Robert: That’s what that would be.

Nancy had a brother whom the Lord took early in his life whose name was David. And when she discovered my middle name is David, that was sort of a fun moment.

Nancy: I love that.

Robert: So sometimes I sign RD, Robert David.

Nancy: So those sweet words, those kind words, those tender words, you talked about the couple who influenced us. It’s a pastor and his wife that we’ve both known for some years. They spoke into our courtship a number of times.

Robert: They did.

Nancy: So we would get texts from them. We saw when they were together in person or when they were texting on a thread, group text, how they . . . They’ve been married, oh, I don’t know, probably forty-five years or more.

Robert: Longer than we have!

Nancy: Longer than we have, for sure! And they’re still talking that way to each other.

Robert: Yes.

Nancy: Now, people look at us doing that, and they say, “Oh, you’ve only been married a year-and-a-half. You’ll get over it.” Well, I hope we don’t.

Robert: We won’t.

Nancy: We looked at that couple, and we said, “This is the way we want to be talking to each other and treating each other when we’ve been married as long as the Lord’s going to give us.”

Robert: Yes. I’m picturing women, Sweetheart, who are listening to this broadcast or the podcast, and they’re not with their husbands, and they’ll have an opportunity . . . I want this to be fun. My brow is not furrowed. My finger is not pointed. But I’m saying, “Wouldn’t it be fun to call him Sweetheart or Darling when he walks in the door or the next time you see him, if you’re both working, and you wind up at the house at the same time, or wherever?”

Nancy: And if it’s been a long time, he may say, “Who is this woman, and what have you done with my wife?” (

Robert: Yes. But words mean things, and what we call each other says something about the love that we have for each other, what’s important to us.

What I would say to husbands and wives who feel so far apart: You can do this. You take baby steps, but you can do this.

Walter Trobisch, years and years ago, wrote a book. The title is really all you need. The title of the book was, Love Is a Feeling to Be Learned.

So you don’t wait to feel like he’s your darling. You go first. Let the Lord change your heart, and maybe the Lord will be gracious and change his, too.

Nancy: If that feels really awkward, and it may if you’ve been married thirty years and you just don’t talk that way to each other, texting is a wonderful, simple way of communicating things that may be awkward to say out loud initially.

Robert: That’s right. It’s true.

Nancy: It may not be that ooshey-gooshey language yet. You may not start there. But looks for terms of endearment. What can you say that’s affirming, that’s encouraging? Husbands can do this for wives. Wives can do this for husbands. We find in our marriage that we fuel each other’s attentiveness, devotion, and we fuel romance. We fuel tenderness.

Robert: Yes. That’s right.

Nancy: Usually you’re the one going first. And in some marriages—a lot of marriages—the wife is the one who might be the more natural romantic.

Robert: And that’s okay.

Nancy: That’s okay.

Robert: Absolutely. That’s right. Like in the middle of the night, and you and I are aware that we’re both awake. Either I or you—sometimes we do it simultaneously—will just reach over and squeeze the other person’s arm or hand and then go back to sleep.

Nancy: Yes.

Robert: But it’s just the touching.

This is an image that I have of Jesus, our Good Shepherd, touching people. Sometimes He healed by just speaking words, and He had the power to do that. He created that person with the sound of His voice, so He can heal them. But my image is that sometimes—and we read this in the gospels—He actually touched people. And there’s power in that.

Nancy: Yes. And a lot of times, Honey, He touched people who were untouchable.

Robert: That’s right.

Nancy: People that nobody else would touch. People who had been damaged goods, as far as the world was concerned.

So you may be married to a husband or wife who is prickly, is not easy to touch, who’s defensive or has been damaged by the way they’ve been treated before. Maybe a wife who has been abused or mistreated by her dad, and she doesn’t like to be touched, or he doesn’t like to be touched. But gentle words, tender touch can bring healing to a person that you never thought would have been willing to go there.

Robert: It can happen. It can happen. Yes. But going first, gently, and with no expectations.

Sometimes arguments begin with the husband or the wife having unmet expectations. And so, I think, there’s magic—how’s that for a great theological concept?—in talking about expectations. Like, we’re going to take the day off. “What would you like to do today?” “Well, what would you like to do today?” And you have expectations that you talk about so you don’t get to the end of the day and go, “What a wasted day this was.” Well, you should have talked about it.

I think our relationship is that way. What pleases you? What pleases me? And there are stories in the book about that—places where I’ve missed, and places where I’ve learned about unmet or met expectations.

Nancy: You talk about how a shepherd knows his sheep.

Robert: Yes.

Nancy: You said something to me the other day, Honey—in fact, we haven’t had a chance to talk about this yet, but it really touched me—you anticipated something, as you are so good at doing, that I was going to want or need or think. You love anticipating my needs.

Robert: I do.

Nancy: You’re very attentive. You’re very tuned. But you said, and I think this is good for couples to hear because you don’t just walk down to the altar and all of a sudden know your mate in a way you need to learn to know them.

Robert: That’s right.

Nancy: You quoted that passage you love in Deuteronomy—I love it, too—about a husband not going to work for a year when he first gets married.

Robert: Right—Deuteronomy 24.

Nancy: So that he can enjoy his wife, learn how to please her. And you said to me the other day, “I knew that because I’ve been studying you. I’ve been getting to know you. And I spent this first year . . ." And I have a feeling you’re not going to stop with a year.

Robert: No, I’m not.

Nancy: And I’ve been doing that with you. We’ve been studying each other, finding out: “What does he like? What does he enjoy? What blesses him? What encourages him?” But that takes time. It takes effort. Again, you can’t say, whether you’re the husband or the wife listening to this conversation, “If only my mate would ______” fill in the blank. Because, as you remind me often, you can’t change the other person.

Robert: That’s right.

Nancy: But by God’s grace, you can change yourself.

Robert: Right.

Nancy: So often, when either of the mates is willing to make those adjustments, to start talking more tenderly, being more attentive, noticing what matters to your mate, and then being willing to do that, that can change the dance step in the whole relationship.

Robert: Oh, yes. You said that the word "anticipation" is key. It feels to me that this really hasn’t been apparent to me like it has in the last year.

The story I tell in the book is the quarterback throwing to a wide receiver. He throws the ball where there is nobody because his anticipation is that, as the wide receiver crosses the field, when he gets to where the ball is, the ball will be there, and he’ll catch it.

One of my favorite things is to do stuff for you before you ask. Now, I know, I’m not that good at it, but it is one of my favorite things—to reach for a Kleenex when I hear you sniffle one time, before you say, “Will you hand me a Kleenex?”

Again, this sounds like such trivial stuff. It’s not. It’s my learning you. It’s the Deuteronomy 24 passage that you mentioned. I do not have to understand all women—just you. I do not need to be an expert on all women—just you. So I want to study you. I want to do my homework on you. I want to know what you like and what you don’t like, what pleases you, what makes you happy, what makes you sad. I want to know you. I want to be able to explain you to somebody who doesn’t know you and come really close to being on target.

Actually, when we were dating, you said, “I want to tell you something about myself. I’m a very complex person.” That’s what you said to me.

Nancy: Do you think I was right?

Robert: I think you were right. Yes.

Nancy: You probably had no idea at that point how complex.

Robert: I didn’t. I didn’t know, and I couldn’t have known what all that meant. But let me just say, every husband and every wife, and every bride and every groom, is complex in their own way. So you can’t afford to just generalize about your husband’s wants and needs and your wife’s wants and needs. You go to school, and you learn. And you do everything you can to find out.

In fact, one of the things I learned over forty-four years of being married to Bobbie was to be a good gift giver.

My daddy was not a good gift giver. He gave—I’m not making this up—the same gift to my mother every Christmas—the same. She had a friend who owned a dress store in Wheaton, Illinois, where we lived. And every Christmas, my dad went and got a blouse for my mother. That was it. Well, my mother was a very satisfied, grace-filled—as I’ve said before—woman, and I think she was okay with that.

But one of my favorite things to do with you, Nancy, is to anticipate what you might want for your next birthday, and to surprise you with it, or for Christmas or for Valentine’s Day. And you’ve been such an inspiration. I mean, I go on a business trip, and I open the pockets of my briefcase or put my foot in a shoe, and there’s something—there’s a piece of paper in the toe of my shoe, and it’s a note from you because you got to my suitcase before I zipped it up and put a note in there.

Nancy: And, Honey, this is very sweet for us, but two things I want to emphasize here: We’ve got friends who’ve been married a long, long time—good marriages—who tell us, “We’re still learning this. We’re still working on this.”

Robert: Yes, that’s good.

Nancy: This is a lifelong pursuit.

Robert: That’s right.

Nancy: And, also, we’re mostly telling the sweet things here.

Robert: We are.

Nancy: And the things that add up to make a sweet marriage. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have the times where we really miss each other. Where we didn’t anticipate well, or you didn’t know that something was going to be really important to me, or I didn’t know that the way I handled that situation was uncomfortable for you or put you in a difficult position. And so, one of the things we do is communicate.

We sit down, and I would be more of a stuffer, but you don’t have that. If there’s something that’s concerning you, troubling you, or that you sense is troubling me, we’re going to talk about it.

Robert: Yes.

Nancy: And a lot of times, that conversation comes at meal times. So we don’t just hurry through our dinner times, usually. Sometimes we have to, but more often than not, you’ll pull a chair up, and we’ll talk. We’ll cover our day, but if there’s something that’s troubling you, we’re going to have that conversation.

Robert: That’s right.

Nancy: I don’t want anybody listening to us to think, Oh, they’re just living in la-la-land. I know that was a movie, which I haven’t seen—but this is a sweet season for us.

Robert: Yes.

Nancy: But also, you had a long marriage before ours. I had never been married before ours. So we have had some huge adjustments to make. One of the things we’re learning, yes, you have to talk about those things, yes, you have to work through them. We’ve had some tearful moments—plenty of them.

Robert: Plenty of them. That’s right.

Nancy: But it’s these tender, sensitive, kind acts and words that create an environment where you can deal with those things more easily. I think that’s what this book, Like the Shepherd, will do so much to encourage husbands and wives, to give them hope that their marriage, which will look very different than ours, really can be more and different and better than it is right now.

Robert: Well, forgive me for falling into sports metaphors, but what I would say to a wife who is listening to this, or maybe she encouraged her husband to listen to the podcast: There’s still time left on the clock.

In February of 2017, there was a Super Bowl, and the first half was all Falcons. People in Atlanta were beginning to celebrate because the great Tom Brady and Bill Belichick were going down. And something happened in the locker room at halftime.

Let’s just pretend that Belichick sat in front of his players and said, “Men, there’s still time on the clock.”

What I would say in an encouraging, hopefully inspirational way, to couples who have been married a long time, who’ve fallen into painful routines or hurtful routines: There’s still time on the clock. There are things you can do, even now, to give yourself joy that you didn’t imagine was possible by loving your mate. And, in this case, you can make this better. You go first, but there are some things that you can do to see in your wife’s eyes what you saw when you first saw her many years ago.

That would be my hope. Again, it’s not philosophical, but it’s some things you can do. It’s black and white. It’s instructions. It’s ideas. It’s things that will help her understand how wonderful it can be to have a shepherd like you as a husband.

Leslie: Robert Wolgemuth and his wife, Nancy, will be right back to pray for husbands and wives to live out the important concepts we’ve been hearing.

They’ve been talking about Robert’s new book Like the Shepherd: Leading Your Marriage with Love and Grace.

We’d like to send you a copy of this book when you donate any amount to support Revive Our Hearts. Not only will you be getting the new book, but, as Nancy explains, you’ll help make sure you can keep hearing Revive Our Hearts each week day.

Nancy: Yes. You’re able to hear Revive Our Hearts today thanks to the support of our listeners. The prayers, the financial support of listeners like you allow us to be here. And if you’ve never made a gift to Revive Our Hearts, or you haven’t done so recently, now is a really important time to get involved and to partner with Revive Our Hearts in this ministry.

May is the end of our fiscal year, which means we wrap up one set of budgets, and we get ready for another. As I’ve said earlier in the program, we’re facing a serious budget gap, and we’ve been using reserve funds to cover it. So we’re asking the Lord to put it on the hearts of our listeners to come through in a big way this month.

Your donation today will help to meet a need of $830,000 that we’re trusting the Lord to provide between now and the end of this month.

Leslie: To support the ministry, give us a call at 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com. Make sure to ask for the book Like the Shepherd. We’ll send one book per household for your donation of any amount.

To wrap up today’s program on how husbands can lead like Jesus, here’s Nancy.

Nancy: We’re going to continue this conversation tomorrow and deal with some of the questions that I know are racing through people’s minds as they’ve been listening to this series. Women thinking, I wish my husband would lead, but he doesn’t seem to be motivated to do that. And some of the other questions and challenges.

But I feel prompted, Honey, just before we close this conversation, knowing that there are hungry-hearted, hurting women and men who are hearing this conversation, I wonder if we could just take a couple of moments. I’d like to pray for the wives, and I’d love for you to pray for the husbands.

Robert: Yes.

Nancy: And let’s just believe the Holy Spirit to infuse a new measure of faith and grace and humility into that situation. Realizing that we can’t change the other person, but we can let God change us.

Robert: Yes.

Nancy: So let me just start, if I could.

Lord, I want to lift up wives to You who are listening and maybe women who aren’t married, younger women who will one day be married and are listening to hear what this is all about and what it means for them to be in the wife role someday.

But I’m thinking especially about women who are in a marriage. They’re hearing us talk about our journey, and they’re thinking, That seems so far-fetched. And, What I wouldn’t give to have a husband who is tender and who anticipates my needs, who cares about my needs, who even notices me.

Lord, I pray that You would extend into those women’s hearts the helping, healing, tender hand of Jesus, that they would not ultimately look to their husband to be everything in their lives, or maybe even anything at this moment, but that they would look to You; and they would find You to be a tender, caring, comforting, encouraging, protecting, leading Shepherd.

And for each of those women, help them to say, “Yes, Lord. I want to follow You. Thank you for being a Good Shepherd.”

And then, Lord, show us, as women, as we follow You in Your leading in our lives, show us You can work in our lives in such a way that we can encourage our own husbands to be all that You want them to be, not by preaching to them, not by pushing a book onto them that maybe they’re not ready to read yet, but by our spirit that adorns the gospel—by our gentleness, our tenderness, our gratitude, our humility.

Show us, Lord, show each wife, because it’s going to look different for different women, show us how to be in our marriage “a woman who does her husband good and not evil all the days of her life.” And then encourage those women, strengthen them, sustain them, support them.

And for some who may be a long time waiting for You to move, give them faith and patience as they wait on You to do what only You can do in that marriage.

Robert: Well, Father, I agree with everything that my precious wife has just prayed. And I pray for men who will either directly listen to this or by way of their wife’s report hear about it.

I pray, Father, as a man, scorecards are important, performance reviews mean something. Report cards meant something to me as a kid. And, Father, as I look into my wife’s face, she’s showing me a report card, a performance review of how well I’m loving her.

And so I pray, Father, that You’ll give me the kind of wisdom and humility to know what to do and what not to do, how to anticipate, how to love gently and compassionately and tenderly, how to be a man in this relationship, but how to learn carefully from the Good Shepherd, who was also a man, who led with humility and with love and grace, and who gave me the joy of following Him willingly, enthusiastically following His lead.

So, Father, I pray that my friends who are listening to this prayer will be encouraged. Oh, Father, I pray against discouragement, that a man would listen to this and shrug his shoulders and say, “I don’t have a chance.” Oh, Father, there is time left on the clock.

Thank You for Your grace. Thank You for waiting for us. I pray that You’ll help me and my buddies who are listening to understand that this is something we can do, step by step, incrementally, to love our wives better than we do now.

Thank You. Thank You for the hope that we find in the gospel and the joy of knowing You, standing before You, sins forgiven by the power of the cross. We thank You in Jesus name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants your marriage to be strong. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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