Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: According to Dr. Crawford Lorritts, your closeness to God affects how you relate to your spouse.

Crawford Loritts: The depth of authentic intimacy in a relationship is a reflection of the depth of your walk and relationship with the Lord. Marriage is to be the living, visible biography of the life of the Savior in your history. It tells the truth about Jesus.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Choosing Forgiveness, for July 23, 2019. 

Yesterday we heard from Crawford and Karen Lorritts on their new book, Your Marriage Today . . . and Tomorrow: Making Your Relationship Matter Now and for Generations to Come. They’re back with Nancy today to continue the conversation. Let’s listen.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: I’m so thrilled and honored to have my longtime friends Crawford and Karen Loritts here in the Revive Our Hearts studio today. They’ve flown in from Atlanta. You two do a lot of traveling, a lot of speaking. I’m just so thankful that you were willing to work it into your schedule to join us this week!

Crawford: It is a privilege. We’re grateful that you invited us. We’re glad to be here!

Karen Loritts: Good stuff!

Nancy: You have such a marriage that God has written in your lives and through your lives as a result of forty-seven-plus years of marriage . . . four kids, eleven grandkids. And to our listeners, if you didn’t get a chance to listen to yesterday’s program, go back to ReviveOurHearts.com and pull it up—especially if you’re coming out of a background that has broken relationships, broken family, dysfunction. 

You’ll be so encouraged to hear how God’s grace can redeem and rescue from any background, and how your past doesn’t have to define you. It certainly explains some things, but it doesn’t have to be a bondage to your life.

So Crawford and Karen, you’ve written this wonderful smallish book—but packed with truth enough for a lifetime—called Your Marriage Today . . . and Tomorrow. Why the title?

Crawford: The very nature of marriage is that it was meant to impact a time that we cannot see. Not to get unduly theological here, but the institution of marriage: God gave that as a conduit through which the image of God is passed on from one generation to the next. It was to reflect the unity and the love relationship that’s found in the Trinity. That’s the reason why He said, “Let us make man in our own image.”

And so, family is to reflect the truth of the Trinity, and it’s God’s process of incarnationally representing who He is, what He’s all about from one generation to the next. Now, that doesn’t sound very warm and fuzzy when you’re sitting in a counseling session with a young couple, but I actually think we ought to begin there. 

That’s because one of the reasons that marriages are breaking up is because we’ve lost the “holy ‘why’.” If we viewed marriage from that perspective, we see that this is going somewhere because God wants to do something in succeeding generations. 

That’s the stuff of endurance. Pressing into and wanting to change helps us to get a little more holy “pep in our step” about what we’re all about, solving problems, reconciling differences, and really telling the truth about the gospel.

Karen: Honey, I really like that expression “the holy ‘why’.” To be honest with you, Nancy, when I stood at that altar on May 22, 1971, the only thing I knew was: I was going to get married. I loved this man, he loves me; we’re gonna have babies, and we’re gonna live happily ever after!

Even as a believer, I had no thought of, My marriage . . . can it make an impact beyond just me? And so, it is God’s design that we impact generations. Having that tag on the book, Making Your Impact Now and for Generations to Come, that’s the “holy ‘why’.” I like that; you did good Honey! 

Crawford: Well, thank you very much. I don’t know where that came from, but I appreciate it! 

Nancy: And the fact is that every marriage is making an impact on the future generation, one way or another.

Crawford: Yes, well said, Nancy. I don’t want to sound “in your face” here, but it’s categorically irrelevant to say, “I don’t want to leave a legacy.” If you’re breathing, you’re going to do that!

Nancy: We all leave a legacy.

Crawford: The appropriate question is: “What shape is it going to be in?”

Nancy: We can see how our lives have been influenced by the legacy others left us. 

Karen: Right!

Crawford: Absolutely!

Nancy: We leave a legacy for godliness or for a lack of godliness. But then, we’ve got to remember we’re leaving something behind, too.

Crawford: That’s right, and the hope in our marriages is not that we had great marriages before us and models before us. The hope in our marriage has to do with our concept of God.

Nancy: Yes.

Crawford: It has to do with our concept of God. It’s not what I bring to the table; it’s what God can do when I submit to Him and surrender to Him. That’s where our hope is. We’re all messed up. We’re all have issues in our lives, and we all have dysfunction, but our concept of God is everything.

If we have a great concept of God and we have a vision of who God is and what He’s able to do, then that’s the hope that will carry us through the future. Again, as we said in previous programs, my great-grandfather was a slave. He couldn’t read and couldn’t write, but he loved Jesus and that was the tipping point. And because of that love for Him, “I’m going to show you what I can do in succeeding generations.”

Nancy: Yes

Crawford: Yes

Nancy: I’m thinking as we are having this conversation, there are people listening to us right now whose marriage is a mess. It’s tension, its conflict, it’s a burden not a blessing. They’re saying there’s no godly legacy being left here. But the word you keep using is “hope.” 

Crawford: Yes

Nancy: It’s not found in whether your mate does this or that. It’s not found in your history. It’s found in right now are you willing to say “yes” to Christ for whatever He intends for you now.

Karen: It’s a daily surrender. I remember in our early days and months of our marriage. To be honest, I was crying in my pillow because my grandma told me that she loved Crawford, my aunts they loved Crawford, my mom loved Crawford. But they always told me, especially my nana, “If it doesn’t work out, you can come back home.” Always there was an out.

Nancy: Wow!

Karen: You didn’t know that?

Crawford: I knew that.

Karen: They loved you Crawford.

Crawford: But my dad told me just the opposite.

Karen: You couldn’t come back?

Crawford: I couldn’t come back home.

Karen: Well, my nana said that because none of their marriages lasted; they were all divorced.

Crawford: Yes, that’s right, that’s right.

Nancy: So did you ever consider taking that advice?

Karen: No, because I would be ashamed because I was a Christian. They would say, “Well, Karen, this didn’t work for you so. We’re all the same.” So I just hung in there and cried in the pillow when I didn’t get my way. God just kept going after me.

Crawford: But Karen that’s a very significant point. One of the things that we have learned . . . we don’t have a perfect marriage, our kids could tell you, you know . . .

Nancy: Stories.

Crawford: Stories, and all of that. We’re not perfect parents; we don’t have a perfect marriage, but one of the things that God used is those times in which there would be conflict in the relationship—where we didn’t see eye to eye. There’d be stress, and we didn’t know what to do. It drove us to our knees.

Karen: Yes

Crawford: And it drove us to a place of help. Someone needs to hear that today.

Karen: Yes.

Crawford: Sometimes we’re trying to figure stuff out, and God says, “I don’t want you to figure that out; just trust Me. I want you to take the conflict. I want you to take the brokenness. I want you to take your failures. Get an open Bible. Drop to your knees. Seek My face. Surrender to it. Say to Me, ‘I can’t make this happen. Would you help me?’”

It’s only when your pride is broken that you can get deliverance and help. If you’re still trying to play the game and gut it out, it’s not going to work.

Nancy: Or solve it on your own.

Crawford: That’s right. It’s just not going to work. As a pastor I see that all the time. I’ve said to young couples, “When are you going to cry uncle? When are you going to cry uncle? You can’t fix this!”

Nancy: And sweeter words God has never heard than, “Help Lord!”

Crawford: Yes.

Nancy: I need You.

Crawford: Absolutely.

Nancy: I can’t do this without You.

Crawford: Absolutely. I think that that is the point. Christians have the same problems as non-believers do in their relationships. The difference should be that we surrender to the power who can change that.

Nancy: I’ve often said to women, “Anything that makes us need God is a blessing.” And that can include conflict in your marriage.

Crawford & Karen: Yes.

Nancy: Not that it’s a good thing, but it’s a good thing if it makes you need God.

Crawford: Because it’s the pathway to where you need to be.

Nancy: God pours grace on the humble.

Crawford: Amen.

Nancy: There’s nothing like our inadequacies and failure to make us feel our need for Him.

Karen: Even though I had those great role models, women who mentored me and loved me and things like that, they could not fix me. I had to ask God to fix me and surrender. Sometimes it was tough beans, because God was not going to give up on me

Crawford: I can’t tell you the number of times that I have said through the years, “God I can’t fix this.” To be honest with you, there’s a part of my personality . . . I’m a fixer. I just want to fix it. I can call somebody. I’ve got resources. I could do it, or whatever. But God has brought me time and again as a husband and as a dad . . . There have been times when I’ve literally said with tears flowing down my cheeks, “God, I can’t fix this! I can’t do anything about this. You know, it’s amazing the number of times when I’ve said that there’s a peace that came over my heart. As if God was saying, “That’s where I want you to be.”

Karen: Good place.

Crawford: That is a good place to be, yes.

Nancy: I’m reading from one of the endorsements at the beginning of your book by your son Brendon, younger son. He said, 

“All my life I’ve watched my parents literally live out these truths in this book. Even though they are not perfect, there’s a profound sense of wanting to honor the Lord in everything, especially in their marriage. Through ups and downs, through victory and failure, their commitment to the Lord and to each other has imprinted my life and my siblings’ lives. I’m grateful for the legacy they have stewarded, modeled, and passed on to us. Sometimes I wish that people could see greatness in private, because that’s what I have witnessed. Thank you Mom and Dad. I love you dearly!” 

And Karen is in tears because this is what you want for your children.

Crawford: Yes, more than anything else.

Nancy: You want them to see not perfection but grace.

Crawford: Yes. Nancy, I want to state this the right way. I’ve stood in stadiums filled with fifty, sixty, seventy thousand people. I’ve had people say kind things about me. But the greatest blessing in my life is to witness how this stuff works in succeeding generations. You can take all that other stuff away, all of it.

Nancy: Yes

Crawford: All of it. I pastored a church that was pretty sizable, and all that stuff you can take away. But to see the hand of God working through imperfect people who have stumbled toward faithfulness and to see that it works—that’s what it’s all about. 

I just want to encourage anyone who’s listening right now who is tempted to give up—you’re overwhelmed, and you are just sick and tired of the stuff. Just take another step. Just take another step. Just trust God, believe Him, and allow Him to meet you at your point of need. 

Because the vision is this: you’re going to have grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and you don’t want to send shrapnel into the future because of pulling back and giving up and not moving forward. You can make a convenient decision that will imprison your future so don’t do that.

Get some help. Find somebody. Get some counseling. Open the Word of God. Trust God. But keep stumbling toward faithfulness and obedience.

Nancy: And it’s His faithfulness, ultimately, that keeps us, right?

Crawford: That’s right. Go ahead.

Nancy: It’s not our faithfulness. We can’t be faithful apart from Him. One of the very practical things that you could do is get a copy of this book, Your Marriage Today . . . and Tomorrow by Crawford & Karen Loritts. It’s available for a donation of any amount as our way of saying “thank you” for your support of Revive Our Hearts. We’ll tell you at the end of the program how you can make that gift and get a copy.

I think that one of the most helpful chapters or pair of chapters in this book for me, in this stage in my marriage, was about gifts that a wife needs from her husband and then another chapter on gifts that a husband needs from his wife. So we mentioned yesterday that you might, if you’re a woman who listens to Revive Our Hearts regularly, want to ask your husband to listen to this program or this series with you because it will give you something to talk about and something to pray about together. 

Karen, I know that you speak to wives at marriage conferences. You’ve discipled a lot of younger women and wives. You have some very practical wisdom about some of the most important gifts that a wife needs, and this is helpful for husbands I think to hear.

Karen: It is.

Nancy: Because they want to be a good husband, but they’re not sure how. Men and women are so different. You come from different backgrounds and with different love languages. So as you unpack for men, what’s a helpful thing for them to hear? What’s one of the important gifts that you want men to understand that they can give their wives?

Karen: Well, I was thinking about that. If I had two out of the seven gifts that you can give your wife . . . You know we love the flowers. Crawford was great at giving me flowers and writing me notes. He is even still today brings me beautiful flowers, I love that! But some of the gifts, two of the seven that were in the book that I would really want to highlight is: the gift of unconditional love

The unconditional love that goes beyond the self is really helpful. I love it that in 1 Corinthians 13 when it takes about love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things—there are all those things about love. Put your name in that and see if that’s the kind of love that you are giving your wife. Unconditional love. 

Crawford time and time again has come and exhibited and shown unconditional love even when I was having all my kinds of meltdowns. Looking, feeling so inadequate to be this godly wife, this godly mother, unconditional love. He modeled 1 Corinthians 13. 

Another big, big one is the gift of understanding. This is a big one. We have four children. When our last child went off to college, I was good. We took her to school in August. I was good in September, the middle of October I was sitting having my quiet time, opened the Bible. The next thing I know, my Bible is wet, tears had just flooded my Bible. I felt as though my mother’s card was taken away. I went through this horrible, emotional meltdown being an empty nester.

Nancy: You were speaking at a True Woman conference right about that time.

Crawford: Yes, I remember.

Karen: Yes, it was horrible.

Crawford: I remember that.

Karen: I had an emotional meltdown, and I couldn’t figure out what is happening to me. Crawford, the fixer, wanted to fix it. Live with your wives and understand your way. Well, he couldn’t understand me because I didn’t understand myself. 

Crawford: Yes, it was a little bit of a challenging time around there.

Karen: It was really challenging. He wanted to pray with me, gave me Scripture. Men, sometimes you cannot just understand your wife, what she’s going through, but God calls you to live with her in an understanding way.

Nancy: And Crawford, your response to those circumstances was, you were feeling different about your kids leaving the house.

Crawford: Yes, I was happy. I mean, well, I was . . .

Nancy: You were looking forward to the future.

Crawford: I missed our youngest, and I missed them, and I’d tear up every time we dropped off four kids at college. I got that, but I was excited about this new adventure. You know, being empty nesters now. When they are in college, you are kind of, sort of empty nesters.

Nancy: Right.

Crawford: I was thrilled about that.

Karen: But you can’t understand if your wife is going through a period, a season in her life where now let’s say her mother card whatever that means, or she’s going through some hormonal changes.

Crawford: Those two things converged.

Karen: Yes, they converged. It was a horrible mess. But he loved me and understood. He was seeking to understand by giving me time, being tender with me, showing his treasure for me as his cherished possession. Those things he had to step up.

Crawford: Now, it did take me a little while.

Karen: It took you a little while.

Crawford: I was a little bit confused there because the waters were a little bit turbulent. I finally got on the other side of that and said, “This is not an easy fix here, just put your seatbelt on.”

Karen: So anyway, there are some good things in the book about how to really understand your wife, that’s a good gift.

Nancy: So as you look back on that season, before you know it, your daughters and daughters-in-law will be at a similar season. So looking back, both of you, what are the takeaways? Crawford, how do you understand or live in an understanding way with your wife? What are some practical ways, Karen, that Crawford communicated tenderness to you. Let’s unpack that a little bit.

And while you are thinking about it, let me just tell you I just thought of something as I was reading about thoughtfulness, which was one of your points. As we’re recording this interview, we’ll air it a bit later, I’m a week away from turning sixty. My husband is celebrating birthday week for me.

Crawford: Oh my!

Nancy: So I got up this morning and had this beautiful card on my bathroom counter. When you open it up, you can see butterflies pops out. Robert has been listening to me talk about how I’ve always wanted to be a godly, old lady. I always looked forward to getting older, but I don’t know in the last few weeks, I’ve just felt a little bit tentative about this whole thing of going into my sixties.

It just felt a little bit weird and a little like, “Am I old?” If you’re older than me, you’re going to laugh at me. Robert’s been listening, and he wants to understand my heart. He says, “My precious lady, on the threshold of a new decade,” then he quoted from Revelation 21. “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new.’ You see the butterfly, and you think of the newness. How good of the Lord to bring you to this place for His glory.”

Crawford: Amen, amen.

Nancy: And I’m thinking that tender, thoughtful, kind note at a moment that he knows I’m feeling a little bit tentative. I think he’s maybe wanting to avert the meltdown if we possibly can.

Crawford: Yes.

Nancy: There may be a time when it isn’t averted, and you still love and understand and deal with each other tenderly through that.

Crawford: Yes, I think that the understanding is not so much that you cognitively can figure out what’s going on. I think that’s the wrong way of looking at it. I think it’s a heart understanding; I think it’s empathy. I think it’s even though I may not know exactly why she’s feeling this way, that’s irrelevant, she is feeling this way.

Nancy: And you don’t have to dismiss the feelings.

Crawford: Yes, you don’t have to dismiss that, and I had to learn that. I think that most guys don’t, I shouldn’t say most, but a considerable number of us don’t naturally go there.

Nancy: It’s hard.

Crawford: Yes it is.

Nancy: It’s hard for us as women, we don’t understand ourselves.

Crawford: Yes, yes, yes, and you get to that place that you say well just suck it up, and you’ll get over that.

Karen: That’s not a good answer.

Crawford: It’s not a good answer, no.

Karen: I think for you too, Crawford, is that you’ve grown over the years and you are a good listener. Instead of saying, “Okay, I listened, now let’s fix it” for this wife, for me I needed not only for your to listen but not say anything and pray with me through it

Crawford: Yes, and the truth of the matter is that I didn’t have to control it. 

Karen: That’s good.

Crawford: I think as you mature and as God works in your heart and life, you realize how much you weren’t in control to begin with. So then you don’t have to control people. You don’t have to control outcomes. You need to support the folks that you love and stand with them and help them to get through whatever place without judging them, or having them have to be like you or to think like you. But instead, you empathize with them.

Nancy: Yes.

Crawford: And that’s where real love is sacrificial.

Karen: That’s right.

Crawford: It doesn’t have to have cognitive reasons for things.

Nancy: I would love to take a moment to read those verses from 1 Corinthians 13. I’m thinking about that moment at the beginning of our wedding ceremony, when I was getting ready to walk down the aisle from the back of the church. Robert was standing at the front waiting for his bride. Before I walked down the aisle, he recited 1 Corinthians 13.

Crawford: I remember that.

Nancy: He recited the whole chapter from memory.

Karen: He did a good job.

Nancy: Yes he did. He had been working on that, not just memorizing it, but having a heart to live that kind of love, to love me in that way. I feel so blessed, so grateful. But just these middle verses, and whether we’re husbands or wives, saying, “Is this the way I treat my mate?”

Not because I feel some great ooshy gooshy love at the moment necessarily, but is this the way I act toward my mate?

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”

Karen: Love it.

Crawford: Amen.

Nancy: That’s the love of God for us. That’s the love he wants to infuse into our hearts, our lives, our marriages, our responses to each other in marriage. And boy that’s, you don’t learn to love that way in a day or year or decade. It’s day after day choices isn’t it?

Crawford & Karen: Yes.

Crawford: Yes, and I hate to keep coming back to this, but you need God to love that way because it’s uncommon.

Nancy: Yes, supernatural.

Crawford: It is supernatural, and that’s the reason why I just have come to this conclusion that the depth of intimacy in a relationship, authentic intimacy in a relationship is a reflection of the depth of your relationship with God.

Karen: Yes.

Nancy: Wow, say that one more time. It’s so good.

Crawford: Well, the depth of authentic intimacy in a relationship is a reflection of the depth of your walk and relationship with the Lord.

Nancy: Yes.

Crawford: And you just can’t get away with it because it was meant to be that way. It was never meant to be one off. It was never meant to be compartmentalized. That it is not just a foundation. It infuses everything. Marriage is to be the living, visible, biography of the life of the Savior in your history.

And that’s what marriage is intended to be. It’s holy, and it’s transformative, and it’s changing us from one state of carnality to a brilliant state of glory. It tells the truth about Jesus.

Nancy: Well we’re going to continue this conversation in the next Revive Our Hearts. Wherever you are in your marriage, I hope that you will get a copy of Crawford and Karen’s book, Your Marriage Today . . . and Tomorrow. It’s just chock-full of practical wisdom, insight, help, and honesty, sharing out of your own journey.

Thank you for doing that Crawford and Karen, for not making us thinking that you have just arrived, having a perfect marriage. I know it’s been helpful for me, and I’m hoping that many of our listeners will get a copy.

We’ll be glad to send it to you when you make a donation of any amount to support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts, which is helping people to think God’s way about every aspect of their lives, including their marriages.

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been talking with Crawford and Karen Loritts about glorifying God in marriage. They’ve been discussing the new book by Crawford and Karen called Your Marriage Today . . . and Tomorrow: Making Your Relationship Matter Now and for Generations to Come. 

When you support Revive Our Hearts, we’d like to thank you by sending a copy of this book on marriage. You can do that by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com and making your donation online, or call us at 1–800–569–5959. Nancy . . .

Nancy: Well, on the next Revive Our Hearts, join me as I talk with Crawford and Karen Loritts about what every husband needs from his wife. You may want to get your mate to come and listen with you. Make it a matter of prayer and conversation, and it will be something of great encouragement to your marriage wherever it may be right now. 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.

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