Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Crawford Loritts tells wives they have a huge influence.

Crawford Loritts: Most women tragically underestimate the power that they have in helping to shape the confidence of their husbands. Even the strongest, most independent man . . . Ladies, if you are listening to me, don’t ever underestimate the power of your response to that man to make him to contribute to who God intends for him to be.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Choosing Forgiveness, for July 24, 2019.

Nancy: I feel so blessed and honored to be having this conversation this week with Crawford and Karen Loritts. They have been long time friends, and I’ve always appreciated hearing them teach and preach and write. I’ve learned so much from both of them, but I’ve been listening extra close to you guys since I’ve gotten married. I have just been taking in like a sponge the wisdom that God has given you in forty-seven plus years marriage. 

You all have been cheerleaders for Robert and me. You’ve encouraged us in our journey. This book that you’ve written on marriage called Your Marriage Today . . . and Tomorrow is not that long of a book. It doesn’t take that long to read . . . but probably a lifetime to learn to live it out. You’ve been practicing it for almost fifty years now. 

Thank you for your faithfulness to God, to each other, for the sacrifices you’ve made to share out of your lives’ journey with people like me.

Crawford: Well, thank you Nancy. There have been people who have sacrificed on our behalf too. It’s just a joy to be with you.

Nancy: I’ve mentioned on the earlier days the endorsements that your children wrote, among many others, at the front of this book. The most touching ones are the ones that came from your kids who have grown up in your home and are the parents of your eleven grandchildren. 

Your youngest, Holly, says, “My marriage is thriving because of the example my parents lived out in front of me. I’m excited for you to glean from these pages what I was taught first hand.”

Crawford: Yes.

Nancy: I know that none of your kids would say that you have a perfect marriage, but I know that each of them would say that you have an authentic walk with God, and an authentic walk with each other, and lives that demonstrate the grace and the gospel of Christ. This is what’s really the message of this book, right?

Crawford: Amen! We are forgiven sinners who draw from a perfect Savior. We’ve tried to be transparent and honest with them while they were growing up and we were raising our kids. I know that we are talking about marriage here, but there have been times that I have disciplined the wrong child. Looking back though, it all evened out. But thank God for the grace of God.

Nancy: You guys model that in such a beautiful way. As we’ve talked about earlier in this series . . . By the way, if you missed either of the previous two programs, be sure to go to ReviveOurHearts.com and read the transcript or listen to this conversation. I think it will be encouraging for you to hear how Crawford and Karen, both coming into marriage as we all do as sinners with baggage, with some dysfunctional areas of their past.

Karen, someone could have looked at your history prior to marriage and the legacy that God handed to you and think, What chance does she have of having a marriage that works?

Karen Loritts: In fact, there was an employee at the school that pulled Crawford to the side and said maybe he shouldn’t marry me because of my baggage, the illegitimacy, and all the rest of that stuff.

Crawford: Yes, that actually happened.

Nancy: Wow.

Crawford: I suppose in their minds and given the context, they meant well.

Nancy: They knew that you were going to face some challenges.

Crawford: Yes, absolutely.

Nancy: But God.

Crawford: But God.

Nancy: But grace.

Crawford: Amen.

Nancy: But Christ.

Crawford: Amen. But you know Nancy, the reality is . . . I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be wise in our choices as to who we marry. All our kids have had premarital counseling. We’ve drilled and encouraged them to make wise choices. But at the end of the day, you only have one choice of person to marry, and that person is a sinner.

Nancy: That’s right.

Crawford: That’s the only option you have out there.

Nancy: You marry a sinner, and you are a sinner.

Crawford: And you are a sinner, that’s right so.

Nancy: You have two sinners who need a lot of grace.

Crawford: You have two sinners coming together, so every marriage has to major in grace. Sooner or later you have to come to the place that you realize, “I can’t change the other person. I need to change myself, and the only one who can do that is the Lord Jesus. He doesn’t walk away from me, so why should we walk away from one another?

Nancy: Wow, yes.

Crawford: Yes.

Nancy: I know we have people listening to this conversation this week who, every marriage needs help, but there are some that are hanging by a thread.

Crawford: Yes.

Nancy: It doesn’t do any good to think, My husband has such sin issues that this marriage can’t work. Every husband has sin issues. Some of them are not brought under the control of the cross yet, at all. Every wife has sin issues. Some of them not brought under Christ control yet. But the hope is not in your mate’s behavior.

Crawford: No it’s not.

Nancy: Or change, it’s in the grace of God infused into your life whether you are the husband or the wife.

Crawford: Yes, yes.

Nancy: I’ve often said that the person who holds the key to any marriage changing is the person who most wants the help.

Crawford: Absolutely.

Nancy: You might think, If only my mate wanted help, or would go for counseling, or would change. It’s not your mate who holds the key to your marriage, it’s you.

Crawford: That’s right. How desperately do you want it?

Nancy: Yes

Crawford: Do you really want to change? Now, I’ve learned to ask that question when couples come in to see me and say, “This marriage is over. I don’t know what we can do.” 

Here are the issues and the very first question I want to ask them, that I do ask them, is “Do you really want help?” and “Do you really want to change?”

Nancy: Yes.

Crawford: Do you really want it? I think it’s the desire to press into the Lord to do what’s necessary to help get us to where we need to be. 

Karen and I talk about this a little bit in the book. When you look at the issues in your life, you always have to put them in context with, “How will this decision affect my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren? How does this choice or reaction fit in all of that?”

Nancy: We tend to think, How does this affect me right now?

Crawford: That’s right.

Nancy: How am I feeling about how I got treated or how my mate said something to me? We get so myopic, we just see the moment.

Crawford: That’s right.

Nancy: You’re saying, “Look up, look beyond, look around, look down the road in the way you respond to this situation today. It’s going to have an impact maybe for generations to come.”

Crawford: Sometimes I look out over our congregation during our services on Sunday morning. I look at the people there and I say, “We are all the repercussions of former decisions.” The stuff that’s going on in these lives right now, the issues that are taking place. 

I wonder if previous generations would have thought about, Now if I did this, I’m going to affect my grandchildren and great-great grandchildren and this kind of thing. These generational things that people wrestle and struggle with and these kinds of things all go back to someone’s choices.

Nancy: Well, think about Eve and Adam.

Crawford: Well yes. Absolutely.

Nancy: If she could have seen . . . She had a moment of pleasure. They got a moment of whatever satisfying lust of the moment. But if they had been able to imagine generation after generation after generation after generation down to today—our children and grandchildren suffering the ravages and consequences of sin.

Karen: They wouldn’t have done it, right.

Crawford: No, they wouldn’t have done it.

Nancy: They would have thought differently about it sure.

Karen: We should make a list of all the old, wise sayings that we have. I remember someone saying, “Marriage is a 50/50 relationship.” Well, if I only did 50 percent, and you did 50 percent, that makes 100 percent. But life’s not like that.

Crawford: Yes

Karen: In the beginning I was like that. I was a 50/50 girl. I’m doing my part, now you do your part, and we’ll meet in the middle. Well, after a while, Crawford or I would keep moving the line.

But marriage is 100 percent and 100 percent. And 100 percent only comes after surrendering to God.

Crawford: Yes. Well the very nature of marriage is that it is a covenant. The Hebrew word for covenant is beriyth, a sacred, solemn binding agreement. You were all in. You didn’t negotiate how much you wanted to be in, you were all in. You gave yourself completely to the other person.

I think, unfortunately, because of living in a culture that affirmation of my desires and my personal happiness is the premium, you don’t trust pass that. You don’t violate that for any reason. If I am not happy and if it isn’t convenient for me, then I need to get to a place where I am happy. 

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard Christian couples look me in the eye and say, “Well, I’m not happy. This is not fulfilling for me,” and this kind of thing. First of all, that is a fallacious conclusion. You do plenty of things in life that just need to be done. The fact is that we’re not living by objectivity these days; we’re living so subjectively. The words “obligation” and “responsibility” and “promises kept” are profane these days. They are all relative.

There’s no reason why we’re injecting almost relational bombing fluid into succeeding generations because they don’t have models of endurance, people pressing through hard times. I never heard in my household, never once the word divorce.

Nancy: As you were growing up.

Crawford: Never heard it. I never, never, never heard it. It wasn’t an option. It was that generation that my father said, “You know what, we said ‘I do,’ and so we’re going to make it ‘do.’” (laughter)

We have to do what we have to do. That means if I’ve got to change something or get an extra job or whatever it takes to meet my obligations, I’m going to do it. Happiness was a product of fulfilling the right objective.

Nancy: Yes, yes. We think we’re going to be happy if we do what we want to do. 

I was reading meditating on Psalm 1 this morning how, “Happy is the person who . . .” It’s not the person who walks in the way that seems easy and natural, what seems right. It’s the person who walks in the ways of the Lord steadfastly who is happy! It is a byproduct of the choices to say “yes” to the Lord.

Crawford: You know, the happiest people I know I’ve ever met in my life are those who have endured and persevered under suffering.

Nancy: Yes.

Crawford: I kid you not. I’m not being Pollyanna about that. You never hear of oppressed people giving in or taking a lot of medication for hypertension and all of these things. There’s something about doing the right thing in the face of adversity that rings true in your soul.

Nancy: And produces a deep joy in God.

Crawford: That’s right and a character that is worth passing on.

Nancy: That’s what this book is about, and thank you! You’re making us think differently about marriage than the way the world thinks about it today. And it’s important if you’re married today that you think rightly about marriage, but also that you teach your kids to think right about marriage by the way that you model your faithfulness to that covenant.

Crawford: Yes

Nancy: Well, we promised that we were going to have a conversation today about what every husband needs. A gift that the wife can give him. And obviously, the greatest gift is a woman who pursues godliness, exhibits the Fruit of the Spirit. That’s true for both husbands and wives.

A lot of these gifts we talk about both need from the other. But I think you’ve put your finger on some things that in particular ways a wife can bless her husband. So Crawford, I’m going to turn to you and say, “Beyond her relationship with Christ, that’s the foundation, what most encourages a husband? What makes him feel valued and honored by the most important person in his life?”

Crawford: Actually, the way that you raised the question is really the answer to the question, and that is to be valued and to be important. I could list a lot of them, but I’ll highlight three or four of them. I think at the top of the list is the word “respect.”

Now, everyone needs to be respected. We need to respect our wives, and our children need to be respected. But men have been wired in a particular way to be respected. You know that great verse, actually two verses in 1 Peter 3:1–2: 

“Likewise, wives are to be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.” 

Men need to be respected by the person who’s most important to them. We’re not talking about abuse. We’re not talking about being misused here or that kind of thing.

Nancy: Or just letting yourself become a punching bag.

Crawford: There are boundaries for that. It doesn’t mean that you roll over and die. We’re not talking about the violation of dignity, but we are talking about giving up our rights in such a way that will build up the other person.

Nancy: And this is talking about husbands who aren’t necessarily walking in the right way, right?

Crawford: Not walking in the right way, but to respect them for their place, to respect them for the position that God has given them in the relationship. When you think about it, I know how I feel. I can be beaten up or put down, and I don’t get a lot of that. But you know, you can have one of those days that you feel like chopped liver? And you come home, and you run into the honor and respect of my wife.

Nancy: What does that do for you?

Crawford: I’ll tell you what, it just makes me want to go out there again and face the battle.

Nancy: Yes

Crawford: So men need to be respected. And one of the problems in our culture that erodes the role of men and the role of women is that unwittingly it takes respect off the table. I know that there’s mutual respect there, but we need to be respected.

Nancy: Karen, you’ve ministered to a lot of women, you’ve spoken to women, you’ve discipled them, you’ve probably watched the dynamics of what happens in a marriage when a wife doesn’t respect her husband or doesn’t communicate that respect for him. Talk about what that looks like.

Karen: It’s sort of sad to see the response, to see the light go out in a husband’s eyes when his wife is not respectful in the way she responds to him—her body language, when the way she talks about him with her friends is disrespectfully. And like Crawford said, God has wired them—they need to be loved too—but there’s something about them. That man needs to be respected, showing honor to him. 

Even if your husband is an unbeliever, it’s how you talk to him, how you talk to him outside of his hearing, what your girlfriends think of him. Because we women have a long memory. If I always hear my friend talking about her husband in a degrading way, my respect for him when I see him is, I put him at a lower level.

Nancy & Crawford: Yes.

Karen: You have to be careful because we character assassinate our husbands when we’re disrespecting them, even with our children. I always made sure that I talked to my boys especially in a respectful way even though I am their mother. I wanted them to always hear that they are due the honor, they will look at me knowing that mom respects me and I’m of value because God has placed that in her life to give to men. So we have to do that to them. 

When I see that in my friends’ lives, you see these men they just melt away. I hate to use the word, but they are feminized or a little bit lower. They don’t step up to have the courage to be men.

Nancy: Masculine.

Karen: They don’t want to be a man.

Crawford: It feeds passivity. It just is the hot house for passivity in a man. I have a friend, boy this is a terrible thing that happened. His wife was just over the top disrespectful, and she would disrespect him publicly and say things about him. It was just really out of control. In fact, she ended up leaving him because he wasn’t quote “what she thought.” 

The guys is a man of God and obviously there’s always contributing factors in a marriage. But the deal was she just wore him out, wore him down. She disrespected him in front of the children, even around other friends. She would say little snide remarks and this kind of thing. And it wasn’t funny, even though she meant it to be humorous, it really wasn’t funny. It was eroding his manhood and just putting him in a bad place.

Nancy: And conversely, haven’t you seen when men who maybe aren’t as mature spiritually or in their character, but when there’s a woman who infuses respect into them, how they rise up and become more than she or they ever could be.

Crawford: Oh, absolutely! This is a generalization but one that I think is true, most women tragically underestimate the power that they have in helping to shape the confidence of their husband.

Nancy: Wow, yes. That’s good.

Crawford: It’s tragic. Their response, I just can’t tell you. I’ve gone on record to tell my staff and other people that, “Hey look, as long as I know that God and Karen are with me, I’m good.” I’m good. It’s just amazing what I can put up with. You can take my house, everything I have, as long as I know I’ve got this lady, and she’s with me.

Nancy: And if you don’t have it from your wife it can put you in a fetal position.

Crawford: Real quick. Very, very easily. I’m telling you, even the strongest, most independent man, ladies if you’re listening to me, don’t ever underestimate the power of your response to that man to make him and contribute to what God intends for him to be.

Nancy: Or to break him down.

Crawford: Or to break him down. Absolutely.

Nancy: The wise woman builds up her house and the foolish one tears it down.

Karen: Yes big time.

Nancy: With her hands and her mouth.

Crawford: We might get some email on this, but most men are a lot more fragile than you might think. Most men are a lot more brittle than you might think.

Karen: What do you mean by that?

Crawford: By that I mean, their egos. I think that the default love language of all men is words of affirmation, in varying degrees.

Nancy: Encouragement.

Crawford: In varying degrees. But I think that most men, words of affirmation are somewhere in there.

Nancy: Yes.

Crawford: Especially for the people that they really love. We can be very brittle if we don’t get the compliment, or we don’t get the respect, or we don’t get that deal. And again, I’m not saying that we are babies and that we should be babied and this kind of thing, I don’t want to go there. But I think that God has wired us in such a way . . . and it goes back to the reason why it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone, and why he needed a helper suitable, somebody that would fit in to complete who he is. When that’s taken away from him, he’s lost.

Karen: Can I be honest? So earlier in our marriage (I’m still not there forty-seven years later but ladies) if you are a woman like me that has a hard time giving your husband words of affirmation, I’ve had to learn the hard way. Because we do so many things, we multitask. 

In the earlier days Crawford would always finish his chores, take out the garbage, or painting or cutting the grass. He always wanted us to say, “Wow, you did a great job!” Well, I always had a hard problem with that because I cook, I clean, I take care of the kids, women we multitask. The only thing he wanted to know was, “Did I do a good job?” Just like a little boy. 

Well, what was that going to do to me to stop and say, “Thank you honey for taking out the garbage or cutting the grass or painting our bedroom door.” So for some of you women out there, he’s like a little baby that needs to have words of affirmation, we had to stop and have a praise party for him. I would say, “Yes, go ahead and do that” because it’s not about us. It’s not about you, it’s about the man that God has given you.

Crawford: But do it genuinely.

Karen: Do it genuinely.

In the beginning I had to do it by faith. But it’s okay to tell the man that you love him for working so hard. If your husband’s not a believer, “Thank you for allowing me to be involved in these groups and Bible studies.” Say those things, because it will do something to your man.

Nancy: With a grateful heart.

Karen: Right!

Nancy: It does something to you too, right?

Karen: Right. Just go ahead and say it.

Nancy: I had a woman tell me recently that both her and her husband would think that they have a good marriage. But she said, “For years, my husband has been saying to me, ‘I need you to express appreciation and gratitude and affirmation.”

Crawford: Yes.

Nancy: “I need that.” And she said, “I never wanted to do it because I thought, He’ll get a big head.It’s going to make him proud. I don’t want him to think that he’s like something. So she said, “I wouldn’t do it.”

She’s been reading some of our resources and she said, “I finally started to realize this is a gift I can give my husband. I had no clue until I started expressing encouragement and affirmation and gratitude and respect what it would do for me, and what it would do for him, and what it would do for our marriage.”

Karen: That’s good

Nancy: It’s like they are starting a whole new marriage!

Crawford: It did just the opposite of what she thought.

Nancy: Exactly.

Crawford: See it humbles him.

Nancy: Yes, and makes him want to live up to that.

Crawford: It won’t fill his head with arrogance or pride. And if it does, God will take care of that. (laughter)

But you know it really won’t, it really won’t. Karen puts wind in my sails now. Just a word here. 

Marriage was meant to change us. Now I know when you get married and I say I do, you don’t marry a possibility, you marry a reality. You don’t play God in your mate’s life. Let God, only God can change us. I get that. However, the very nature of marriage means transformation and change. If you haven’t changed, if you’ve been married two, three, five years, something is wrong with the marriage. We ought to be different. I tell couples all the time, stop making the personality excuses, “That’s not the way I am. I’m this kind of person.” Don’t deify your personally.

You can change. God can soften your heart. Allow the Spirit of God to do that. Maturity says, “No, that’s not what I need, but if that’s what she needs, I can do that.”

Nancy: We’re going to pick up this conversation in the next Revive Our Hearts. This is so good, so helpful. I want to encourage every listener who is married or would like to be or knows someone else who is married to get a copy of this book, Your Marriage Today . . . and Tomorrow by my friends Crawford and Karen Loritts. 

You can get a copy if you make a donation of any amount to support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. You can go to our website at ReviveOurHearts.com. Make your donation there. Make sure to let us know that you want a copy of Your Marriage Today . . . and Tomorrow. You can give us a call if you prefer at 1–800–569–5959.

On the next Revive Our Hearts, we’re going to talk about, well, conflict. How do you deal with it? And if you haven’t had conflict in your marriage, you probably haven’t been married longer than, I don’t know, two days, something like that. 

Be sure and join us as Crawford and Karen Loritts are going to tell us all the secrets to dealing with every conflict big and small in your marriage. We’re going to fix it all tomorrow, right? Well, we’re going to look to the Lord who’s going to show us the steps we can take. Be sure and join us for the next Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you build a strong marriage. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.