Can I Pray Scripture Over My Marriage? With Jodie Berndt [Episode 268]

Pray Scripture Marriage Jodie Berndt

GIVEAWAY ALERT: You can win the book Praying the Scriptures for Your Marriage by this week’s podcast guest. Keep reading to find out how!

Do you ever pray for your spouse? What about praying with your spouse?

Well, Jodie Berndt is back on the 4:13 today, and she shares how prayer is a simple way to infuse power into your marriage.

Whether you choose to pray individually or together with your spouse, you’ll discover the peace, provision, and joy that comes from trusting God with your most important relationship.

As we talk about her book, Praying the Scriptures for Your Marriage: Trusting God with Your Most Important Relationship, Jodie explains how praying God’s Word over your marriage will help you hold onto His promises and perspective with any situation you may face.

It’s so encouraging, and I love how Jodie makes prayer so accessible!

So, whether you’re newly engaged or celebrating a golden anniversary or just barely hanging on, I promise you’ll appreciate this conversation.

And if you’re single, this episode is for you too!

We’re talking about connecting with the person in your life who matters the most, whether they’re your parent, child, sibling, or friend. You’ll learn how praying Scripture over your relationship invites you into a deeper connection with God and with the one you love.

Meet Jodie

Jodie Berndt has written or co-written many books, including the bestselling Praying the Scriptures series for children, teens, and adult children. A speaker and Bible teacher, Jodie has been featured on programs like Focus on the Family, the 700 Club, and a host of popular podcasts. She has also written articles for many news and faith outlets. Jodie and her husband, Robbie, have four adult children and they live in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

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Episode Transcript

4:13 Podcast: Can I Pray Scripture Over My Marriage? With Jodie Berndt [Episode 268]

Jodie Berndt: The idea of praying in marriage is a way to open the door to intimacy, not just between you and your spouse, but also between you and God, and to acknowledge, just like in everything else that we've prayed for in our lives, that we don't have it all together. We do need his help. He's the one who is the God of romance. He invented love; he is love. And so why would we not say, Hey, please, Lord, come alongside, come in, come lead us and guide us.

Jennifer Rothschild: God has good things for your marriage. He wants joy for your most important relationship, and he invites you to partner with him through your prayers to experience those rich, rich blessings. So whether you're newly engaged or celebrating a golden anniversary, or maybe you're barely hanging on, praying the Scriptures for your marriage will infuse power and peace into every part of your most important relationship.

So today, author Jodie Berndt is back on The 4:13, and we're so glad she's here. And she is going to share simple ways to support and pray with your spouse, which I promise it is going to result in a deeper connection in your marriage. And it all begins with praying Scripture. This is going to be so good, so let's get started.

K.C. Wright: Welcome to the 4:13 Podcast, where practical encouragement and biblical wisdom set you and I up to live the "I Can" life, because you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Now, welcome your host, Jennifer Rothschild.

Jennifer Rothschild: Hey, our people. Glad you're here. Me and K.C. in the closet. Two friends, one topic, and zero stress.

K.C. Wright: Zero stress.

Jennifer Rothschild: I will say this, y'all. But I have to tell you, I have a confession. It's been a while, K.C., a few weeks, a month or whatever, since you confessed your Amazon problem.

K.C. Wright: Mm-hmm.

Jennifer Rothschild: You remember?

K.C. Wright: Oh, yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, I hope you're better.

But anyway, I realized today I have a problem. I literally -- Phil said, "What are you doing?" Because I was laughing in the office. I said, "I'm laughing at myself because I have a problem." And the first way to get over the problem is to admit it. Okay.

K.C. Wright: It's true.

Jennifer Rothschild: Mine is with Venmo. Now, let me explain why. You know what Venmo is, right?

K.C. Wright: Oh, yes. I have it.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. For those of you who don't -- and I know most of you do -- Venmo is an app. It's a platform by which you can, you know, pay people or be paid. So it's like, you know -- back in the day, it would be like writing a check to somebody or handing them cash. And it's super easy. But one of the features of Venmo is you can be public or private. And lots of people are public. Anybody who's in your contacts, if they're public, any transaction they make --

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- you see how much it is --

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- or what it's for.

K.C. Wright: Right.

Jennifer Rothschild: Right? Okay. Well, so if I open Venmo, my phone reads to me -- you know, because I'm blind -- and so I immediately start hearing, "Drew V. paid Anna K. $20 for rent." I'm like, oh, is that his roommate? Or is that her roommate? "Tina paid Rachel $40 for a pizza party." Oh, I wonder who had a pizza party. Okay, I get sucked in.

K.C. Wright: Oh, no.

Jennifer Rothschild: Sucked in. And I'm like, I know who's going to lunch with who, I know who -- like, I have some people I work with, and I'm like, ooh, Mike paid Tina for Elizabeth's birthday present. Oh, did I miss Elizabeth's birthday?

And the best ones are when people do emojis.

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: So there's this young friend of mine who lives in Georgia, Anya, and Anya and all her friends, they are Venmoing all the time. Five dollars for coffee, and then they'll put this desperate emoji like -- you know, like I'm dying if I don't get coffee emoji. And so then I'm listening to all the descriptions, the emojis.

K.C. Wright: I know.

Jennifer Rothschild: K.C., I spent 40 minutes scrolling through, knowing what all these people, who I barely even know, are doing with their money and their time.

K.C. Wright: Right.

Jennifer Rothschild: And then I start laughing at myself and I'm like, "Jennifer, you are not well. This is not a good thing to do with your time."

K.C. Wright: That's why I'm set on private.

Jennifer Rothschild: You should be, because people like me will stalk you.

K.C. Wright: I don't use it a whole lot, but I am -- you know, there's a little part of us that we're all just a little nosy.

Jennifer Rothschild: We are very nosy. I am.

K.C. Wright: And I saw the other day -- I'm like, huh, she's paying her for a hot tub. So she bought Zoe's hot tub? Interesting. She's making payments for a hot tub? She doesn't have money just to go out and buy a hot tub? And then I paid two teenagers to mow my grass all summer long, you know, and so I -- they're always in some comedy exchange on sharing this money that I'm giving them for mowing my grass. But I know, you do get sucked in so easy.

Jennifer Rothschild: It is fascinating to me.

K.C. Wright: But set it on private. Are you on private?

Jennifer Rothschild: I don't even know, but I don't even care. Because I'm like, I want to bring joy to people. If there are people out there like me -- and I'm boring anyway, 'cause normally, like, I only Venmo a few people and they Venmo me. Like, one of the young women who works for me, Kenzie, often she'll go purchase something at the grocery store for me, and so she'll Venmo me for that. But I did notice, I paid for Chick-fil-A for a bunch of people -- and I was with her and for some reason my credit card didn't work. She goes, "I'll cover it and I'll Venmo you." So I noticed it said Kenzie charged Jennifer Rothschild $45 for the Lord's chicken.

K.C. Wright: Christian chicken, I'm telling you. That is worth every dime.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. So y'all, if you're not on Venmo, or if you just have nothing to do in life, you should get on Venmo just to see what everyone else is doing.

K.C. Wright: It's the little things, people.

Jennifer Rothschild: It is the little things.

K.C. Wright: It's the little things.

Jennifer Rothschild: And you know what? It's only shameful if you don't admit it. So admit it and enjoy it. Embrace yourself. Embrace who you are.

Okay. But you know what, K.C.?

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: I do think we should do this for our people. We would like to read you something --

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- that you wrote, because y'all have been so generous with your reviews, and we should read them more frequently than we do. But I think we should read a couple of reviews of these dear people who have said things about the podcast.

K.C. Wright: Yeah. And again, we just want to say from our heart to your heart, thank you for taking the time to leave us a review. It's not about us, it's about reaching one heart at a time. So when you leave a review, it does so much for the podcast reach.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, it does.

K.C. Wright: So thank you, thank you. MissA199, whoever you are, feel the podcast hug. This is what she said. "These episodes are so encouraging and filled with good practical stuff that I listen on repeat."

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, I love that.

K.C. Wright: Whoa. That's contagious encouragement.

Jennifer Rothschild: That sure is right there.

K.C. Wright: I mean, that's -- you know what I think every time I read these podcasts? This is honestly what I think, and I'm getting chills just saying it right now. That's answered prayer.

Jennifer Rothschild: It is answered prayer.

K.C. Wright: That's answered prayer. Before we hit "record," Jennifer and I take a moment and we pray and we ask God to use this podcast to build his kingdom to encourage one heart at a time, and so these reviews are just answered prayer.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yep, they are.

K.C. Wright: Katie116 --

Jennifer Rothschild: Hi, Katie116.

K.C. Wright: -- thank you so much. This is what she says. "This next year has some challenges in it. I finished one of Jennifer's small group studies recently, and the Lord really used it to help me see some new things."

Jennifer Rothschild: Thank you, Lord.

K.C. Wright: "I was so excited when I found the 4:13 Podcast and realized I had enough episodes to catch up on that I would have company and encouragement throughout this challenging year." Thank you. So God's using the 4:13 Podcast in the ministry of being there for people.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

K.C. Wright: You're not alone.

Jennifer Rothschild: No, that's right. I'm so thankful to know we're going to be with you, Katie. We're with you, girl.

K.C. Wright: Love it.

Jennifer Rothschild: All right. Speaking of with us, we've had Jodie Berndt with us before. One of my favorite episodes. She's one of my favorite people. So we'll have a link to her past episode, which was on praying Scripture over your life. But this one, she's talking specifically about praying Scripture over your marriage.

But can I just say, I know we have a lot of listeners -- some of them are very dear friends of mine -- who are not married. This still applies to praying Scripture over your most important relationships. It might be a parent, it might be a child, it might be a BFF, it might be a sibling. But we all have those very important relationships. And this is a good way to just kind of shift our paradigm and learn how to pray Scripture over our most important relationships. So we want to remind you who Jodie is.

K.C. Wright: Jodie Berndt has written or cowritten many books, including the best-selling "Praying the Scriptures" series for children, teens, and adult children. A speaker, a Bible teacher, Jodie has been featured on programs like Focus on the Family, the 700 Club, and a host of popular podcasts. And she's written articles for many news and faith outlets. She and her husband, Robbie, have four adult children and they live in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Are you ready for this?

Jennifer Rothschild: I'm ready.

K.C. Wright: Let's go.

Jennifer Rothschild: All right, Jodie. You have been on The 4:13 before, and we're going to link to the other show you were on because you were talking about praying Scripture over our lives. And this is what you're known for, you know, the Scriptures series. And I love this. So this newest one, though, is about praying Scripture over your marriage. And there's a lot of ears that just perked up, because that may not be something that some people have ever done before. So let's talk about that. First of all, why does prayer matter in marriage?

Jodie Berndt: Wow. What a wonderful lead-off question. And I think you're right, we don't always think about it, do we? We can sometimes, I don't know, back burner our marriage or just assume that, hey, we fell in love with this person and all will go well. But I'll tell you, prayer really does matter in a marriage, potentially more than any other human relationship, I think, because God designed marriage to really reflect his love -- right? -- for the church. So I think he really is invested in our marriages and cares about our marriages. But we know we are broken and flawed people, we don't always get it right. So what a privilege to be able to invite him into the mix, into the conversation, and ask him to take us and lead us and guide us through this relationship.

But you asked why it matters too. And I think I'm finding out -- I learned so much writing this book. Scientists point to all sorts of physiological benefits that come when one or both spouses pray for one another or with one another, including things like a higher sense of satisfaction in your marriage or a greater sense of emotional well-being, you know, that peace that comes, or even -- there's research that links it to things like better sex. But I will tell you, I think for me anyway, and probably for a lot of your listeners, the idea of praying in marriage is a way to open the door to intimacy, not just between you and your spouse, but also between you and God, and to acknowledge, just like in everything else that we've pray for in our lives, that we don't have it all together, we do need his help. He's the one who is the God of romance. He invented love, he is love, and so why would we not say, hey, please, Lord, come alongside, come in, come lead us and guide us. So I think that's why it matters really.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, I think you just made a great case for why it matters. And as you're stating those things, I'm kind of thinking through them and thinking, you know, I don't know why it is for me intuitively, even though I walk with the Lord every day, I don't think about praying with my husband as often unless we're in a setting where it just seems natural. But it's not a discipline.

And here's what's interesting to me, Jodie. In fact, let me just pause here and say this. I think we need to give a spoiler alert, or at least manage some expectations. Okay? Because your book, it's not about fixing your spouse. Because sometimes I think that's the only reason we pray in marriage, is like, okay, Lord, change him. Right? And so your book is not about fixing your spouse. You write that it's a book about bringing your cares and your questions to God. So for couples who may be new to this, can they actually expect that their marriage may change when they start praying together?

Jodie Berndt: Well, I love that question, and I giggle when I hear you say fixing my spouse. And that comes from when -- before I wrote the book, I threw out a question on social media. I said, "Okay, if you could ask God to do anything for your marriage, what would it be?" And people's answers were all over the gamut. You can imagine. People wanted better communication, help with their finances. Parents and in-laws were a big thing. And just that deeper physical and spiritual intimacy that we long for, we crave.

But I'll tell you, more than one person responded and said, I just want God fix my spouse, or, I want you to write a book to help me to know how to get him to do what I want him to do. I mean, we laugh, but there is a real thread of truth in that.

Jennifer Rothschild: Of course.

Jodie Berndt: I've talked to a lot of women who wrestle because maybe -- you said, you know, you don't always think about praying with your spouse. I'm the same way. Robbie and I have been married nearly 40 years, but our prayer styles are pretty different. I like to use a journal; he doesn't really write anything down. I like to hold his hand and pray out loud; he's really happy praying in his head. You know, he'll pray out loud with me if I ask him, but that's not his natural bent.

And so I think sometimes it can be easy for wives to kind of say, you know, What's wrong with you? Aren't you praying with me? Why aren't you praying like I do? Why aren't you the spiritual man that I know you should be and all of this? And I'll tell you, I interviewed one gal, she was so precious for the book -- and one of the things I love about writing these books is I get to talk to so many people about how God is working in their marriages or their families or, you know, whatever the topic is, and then share the prayers that we can pray over these different subject matters.

But one gal I talked with as I was researching for the chapter about when you do have differences in your faith, maybe your spouse isn't a believer or maybe they are just not in the same place you are kind of on their journey. And she said, "You know, Jodie," she's like, "I wanted my husband -- I had this idea of what he should look like as a Christian husband, and I got him a Bible with his monogram on it and I thought that might make him read it." And she goes, "And then, you know, I saw this devotional that was targeted to golfers. And he's a golfer, and it had a golfer on the front, and I thought, oh, that's perfect for him. And he didn't really open that up." And she said, "And then I began leaving names and emails of the men in our church that I thought he should be friends with around the house so that he would contact them and have a good group." And we got to giggling, but it wasn't funny as she was going through it, because she was really craving, you know, a man who would be that that she wanted.

And she said finally what stopped her short was he looked at her one day and he said, "Why do you think your faith is so much better than mine?" And that was really a hard but real question where she had to say, you know, it doesn't look like mine. He does do things differently. And she said -- but she was really convicted about her attitude toward him. And we know we never nag anybody into a relationship with the Lord, right? The Bible says no one comes unless the Father draws him. And I love that verse in Romans where it says that it's God's kindness that leads us to repentance.

And so often I think for wives, we can think, oh, we just have to make a really good intellectual case or we have to get some good Christian friends for our husband or we have to nag them to get to church, any of that, when I think really the witness of our lives and our kindness and our grace toward them can be the thing that opens the door, that just kind of creates the greenhouse in which faith can flourish. And so that gal, that particular interview taught me a lot and I really resonated with what she had to say.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. And I think a lot of people are who are listening, because what you're really describing too, Jodie, is starting with perspective first. Because a lot of times women, we just want to get practical, like giving him the devotional. But there does have to be that perspective shift. And so for someone who is listening, she's like, okay, well, I've never prayed together with my husband, and it's because I feel uncomfortable or I know he would feel uncomfortable. So how can, in a very practical way, praying Scriptures for their marriage help kind of get over or mitigate some of this discomfort?

Jodie Berndt: Wow, another great question. You're just the best. Let me give you a two-part answer to that. The first is about praying Scripture. And I, as you know, love to use the Bible as a launching pad for my prayers. I like to approach it not just as something I read, but as something that can animate my desires, my longings, my perspective as you say, and kind of give voice to those things that are my desires and help me pray.

And so the scene in John 15 when Jesus is with his disciples, and it's one of his very last conversations before he goes to the Cross. And he could have talked about anything. He could have talked about preaching a great sermon, launching an evangelistic campaign, turning water to wine, any of that stuff, but instead he really drills down on what it looks like to pray, to remain in him. He says, John 15:7, "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." And then he goes on to say this glorifies God, this equips you to bear fruit. And really, when we spend time in the Bible finding out what God thinks about things, what he has to say about things, and then use those words to shape our prayers, we can be confident that they're lining up with God's good plans, what he already wants to do.

Let me give you just an example. A psalm that a lot of people love to quote or put in wedding cards for people is Psalm 16:11. You can turn that one into a prayer: Make known to us the path of life. Fill us with joy in your presence. Now, that's just a super simple prayer for joy and for life in a marriage, Psalm 16:11.

And so in doing this book, I hear you. It can be awkward for couples to pray alone; it can be awkward to pray together. But I'm just a real cookies on the bottom shelf girl. You know, I'm a little sheep that needs the hay down low where I can reach it. And so we've taken 20 different topics that are common in marriage, whether it is handling your finances, handling conflict, talking well, listening with love, and painful things, you know, betrayal and the need for forgiveness, and hard things like walking through suffering, walking through grief. I interviewed one couple who lost a child, and that just nearly derailed their marriage. I can't imagine anything harder. But so going through all of these different seasons of life and concerns we may face, and then offering at the end of each chapter 12 different Scripture ways that we can pray, for me and for my husband, Robbie, that gives us a place where we can come together on common ground and we can pray. Even, you know, for folks who are brand new to prayer and they're like, "I don't know how to talk to God." And, Jennifer, I meet people all the time. I speak around the country. And I'll get ladies in their 70s and 80s coming up to me saying, Jodie, I've been in church my whole life, but I don't really know how to pray outside the Lord's prayers and the prayers that we pray in our church context, and it feels like that's more something that the clergy does, or the professional varsity Christians, the Billy Grahams.

Jennifer Rothschild: The varsity ones.

Jodie Berndt: Right, right.

Jennifer Rothschild: That's cute. Yeah.

Jodie Berndt: And yet it's true, because we're not really taught to pray. Everybody thinks that, oh, it ought to just come naturally when you become a Christian. But really, there are some principles we can hang on to, and one of them is this idea that when we read God's Word and use it as his half of a conversation and then speak those words back to him, that really does accomplish his purposes and his plans, release his provision.

Jennifer Rothschild: What I like about that too, Jodie -- okay, so this is my perspective and opinion, and others may not agree. But it has been in my experience that a lot of men may feel uncomfortable with the emotionalism that could come maybe with prayer. There could be some discomfort there. And what I appreciate about this is the Word of God is objective. There is nothing subjective. Because I also think perhaps a husband could be nervous. Oh, great, my wife wants to pray. This is just a new spiritual way to veil her agenda and tell me what to do by telling God, you know?

Jodie Berndt: Right.

Jennifer Rothschild: So it this gives -- it protects the wife from agenda, if that may be her deal, and it protects the husband from feeling attacked, perhaps, when we just pray Scripture. I think that is so objective and such a gift to a marriage.

But here's what I think too. So there may be someone listening right now and she goes, Well, that's all well and good, but you don't know Jethro, who I'm married to. He will not want to pray with me. What does she do?

Jodie Berndt: Well, I will say she can continue to pray that he would, that God would open that possibility, that door. But Robbie and I taught marriage classes for years, and couples would come, some 25 or 30 couples at a time, and we would encourage folks at the end of each session to just spend four or five minutes praying together. But we also knew that not everybody wanted to do that. They love their spouse, they want to invest in their marriage, but that's just not an area of comfort or willingness for everybody. And so we would encourage people, when they were just sitting together at their tables, you know what, if this isn't something you're comfortable with, why don't you just ask one another, "What can I do to support you this week?" you know, or, "How can I let you know you are loved?"

And I'll tell you what, Jennifer, Malachi 3:16 is one of my favorite verses. It says that those who feared the Lord, or honored the Lord, talked with each other and that God listened and heard. And we know throughout Scripture, he is listening. He's always part of our conversations. And when we are speaking that language of love, that language that he is love, asking one another, "How can I support you? How can I let you know you are loved?" I have to believe he's listening into those things. He's receiving those things almost as an unspoken prayer, the cry of our hearts. Because the Holy Spirit has access to our hearts and our desires. We don't have to form the words. But he can take that and work with that, so when we are saying to our spouse, you know, "How can I love you? How can I support you?"

And even, you know, research has shown -- and again, I've been loving the way that secular research lines up with what Scripture says, and discovered so much of that in writing this book. One of the things that marriage researchers have found is that kindness is the most important thing in a marriage, that putting one another's interests ahead of your own, serving one another in love the Bible calls that, is a way to create what they call an upward spiral of generosity where you are doing something kind, you are saying something kind, you are serving your spouse, putting their needs first. Whether it's something like bringing them a cup of coffee in the morning, going to the movie that maybe they want to see and you don't care so much about, whatever it is, those little things taken together over time create this environment in which love can flourish, and I believe in which the Holy Spirit takes up residence, and then who knows what he can do in our Jethro's heart and mind. You know, he may bring him in to want to pray. But if he doesn't, that's also okay. Because the Holy Spirit is always praying for us, he's always praying with us. So for the wife out there who feels like nobody sees, nobody understands, nobody's praying with me, God is. God knows the cry of your heart. He understands. And his Holy Spirit is always praying for you and with you. We never pray alone.

Jennifer Rothschild: Jodie, he has really gifted you with some really fresh, practical insight on this. I'm super grateful. Because even just sharing with us the Malachi 3 passage, that is a great comfort to the woman who might feel like for some reason she is or her marriage is lesser than because they don't pray together. That's not true. And I appreciate that.

I also want to kind of circle back -- you mentioned kindness and the research on kindness, which is so Philippians 2 -- right? -- when we consider the other person as more important than ourselves. And when think about it, it's really hard to be unkind to someone who you're praying with. You know, you just don't do that. But when you're married, sometimes you can get busy and overlook it. Like when you're in the thick of the dailies of marriage, you just forget to be kind. So talk about -- a little more -- I would love that -- like, have you seen where kindness has impacted marriages and made a difference?

Jodie Berndt: Absolutely. But I think you hit on something when you say sometimes our spouse gets our worst attention or our worst love. And we're in the throes of it with a new baby and we think, oh, once they sleep through the night, then I can pay more attention to my husband or my wife. Then we think, oh, gosh, you know, they're teenagers and I'm up half the night worrying about them, I'm not sleeping anyway, and my husband's on the back burner. And then they grow up -- and I can vouch for this because I have four adult children. You never stop being a parent. You never stop thinking about them, loving them. My kids consume my thoughts and my prayers and my attention a lot of times, and I can be guilty of saying -- kind of thinking, oh, put Robbie just on hold for a minute because I'll get to him soon. And I just think we do such a disservice in our marriages when we don't prioritize and protect our marriage by putting the other person first. There's an old saying, the greatest thing a man can do for his children is to love their mother. And I think it works vice versa as well, the greatest thing we can do for our kids is to love our spouse.

For our kids I know, Robbie would come home from work and they would know that after he greeted them and we had a little hello, there was going to be 10 or 12 or sometimes 15 minutes where he and I were just talking to one another and they weren't allowed to interrupt. And they would get the giggles and they would try as hard as they could sometimes, and they finally learned to just kind of watch us. And they might go about their own business, they might be bored of us. But what that did was create for them a security and a stability of knowing that, hey, even though they were being ignored just temporarily, it was creating a framework where they knew we cared about one another, we were kind to each other, and we were putting each other's needs and concerns about our days kind of ahead of the other things. So, yes, I think that kindness is really, really important, that prioritizing is important.

And I have seen -- Robbie and I have seen -- when we were newlyweds, we heard Dr. Tony Evans talk about how he and his wife were having a little contest about who could serve one another better, that Philippians 2 verse you mentioned, put the others ahead of yourself and look at their interests. And he got so frustrated. He said his wife was so much more creative and better at thinking of acts of kindness and serving him, and he said, "I have to catch up. I don't know what to do." And so it became a competition. And Robbie and I really took that to heart to kind of think what if we made that a little friendly competition? And, you know, just looking for a love note you leave somebody. Or if you know the person likes their coffee at a certain time. Like, Robbie will sometimes bring me coffee if he knows I'm sitting down with my Bible in the morning and I haven't gotten there yet. And it's the littlest thing, but it's just an act of love that makes my heart so soft toward him.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, and you're speaking of being other centered too. And when we do serve, instead of wait to be served, it really does eventually ultimately serve that need we're longing to have met. You know, it's so backwards sometimes to our flesh, but it's exactly how God designed it.

And I want to talk about something else in your book. Because in your book, you open up about learning to listen to Robbie -- okay? -- instead of interrupting him. So tell us about that and give us some very practical tools or tips if this happens to be one of our issues. I'm only asking for a friend here.

Jodie Berndt: Asking for a friend? Yes. It's funny just even listening to you ask that question. I think, oh, gosh, keep my mouth shut, Jodie, don't interrupt Jennifer. I sure can be a -- and, you know, I'm not alone, and neither are you if it's your thing. Research shows that the average person can only go 17 seconds before jumping in with something. We all think what we have to say is important, entertaining, you know, relevant, whatever it is, so we're not the best at listening. And I've really had to learn that as a discipline.

And I think a couple of things we identified -- and there are more in the book. But one is to set the stage for communication. If something important has to be discussed, you know, don't expect that it can happen right in the middle of getting dinner together or when the husband's paying bills, whatever it is, or the wife's paying bills. But find a time to communicate where you know, okay, this is important, we need to pay attention.

And then also acknowledge the other person's feelings. You mentioned that earlier, that sometimes men might kind of run away from feelings. In our relationship, it's the opposite. Robbie doesn't -- I tell a story in the book about how we had to rate each other for one of these classes we were teaching. And zero to five, how well does your partner meet your emotional needs, and he gave me a zero. And I was just blown away. I said, "A zero? Honey, I didn't know you had emotional needs. I don't feel like that's fair." And he laughed. And that was a great learning point for me, that just because he's got a steady personality, he's not all over the place, doesn't mean he doesn't have emotions and emotional needs. So for us, we had to really learn to acknowledge one another's feelings.

And then the other thing is to identify the main issue. I know sometimes when I'm talking -- and maybe some women can relate to this -- it can be one thing I'm concerned about, like maybe where we're going to spend Christmas, but I'm all over the place with 15 different things that might not be the main issue. Maybe I'm talking about how I'm feeling overwhelmed with Christmas shopping, maybe I'm feeling like the kids aren't getting everything they need at school for their parties, whatever it is. And Robbie can listen to me and he can say, "Jodie, you're circling. You are circling and circling. Let's really figure out what it is that is driving this conversation and this issue." And he's just great at helping me pinpoint what it is that I want to talk about, and then we can address whatever that need is and we can step back and say, okay, now we know, and what, if anything, should we do about this? Is this something we just need to be aware of, that we need to pray about, or are there action steps we want to take? So after we've identified that main issue, really stepping back to say, okay, what's next, and get both of us on the same team, I think is an important part of listening.

Jennifer Rothschild: It is an important part. And I have noticed with my man, I have said to him sometimes -- like, I've tried to become self-aware enough over the years, "Honey, I'm going to tell you something. You have no responsibility to fix it, I just need to share it."

Jodie Berndt: Yes. Our men are fixers. They want to say -- I laugh. I tell the story, I think, in the book of somebody who broke a vase, a vase that she cherished. And she was so sad, and the husband was like, "Okay, we can get a new vase. I'll get the broom, we'll clean it up." And she's thinking, no, I just want you to hug me and say, "I'm so sorry about the vase," you know. But they just want to figure out how to make it better.

Jennifer Rothschild: Right. And so to love them well too, it's okay for us to say, Hey, I appreciate how you're wired, so I'm going to tell you something. You just listen and then you say, "I understand," and then we're good and we can move on.

Jodie Berndt: Yes. Yes. And that sounds so, you know, patronizing in a way, but it's not.

Jennifer Rothschild: It's not.

Jodie Berndt: We can't expect our spouse to be a mind reader. We have to sometimes clue them in to what we need.

Jennifer Rothschild: Right. And take them off the hook, take them off the hook.

All right. So in your book "Praying the Scriptures Over Your Marriage," you've got this resource. Okay? And I think it's powerful because it can lead to conversations. Right? So if you're praying these Scriptures, it can lead to conversations that could hopefully prevent some future crisis. So what are some of these conversations? You kind of touched on them a little bit a few questions ago. But give us kind of an idea of the kind of conversations that your book addresses.

Jodie Berndt: Well, the book has all different chapters, as I said earlier. You know, we've got 20 different topics, whether it's making good friends -- because, you know, as couples we need that -- thriving in the empty nest years, enjoying good sex, all of these things. Serving each other, as we've talked about, having fun together. Discovering your purpose as a married couple and then living that out. Kind of all these things. And every chapter ends with some discussion starters. And, you know, somebody might talk about them with their spouse, somebody else might say, you know what, I'm just going to talk about these things with God. I might journal them. I might reflect on them. Because it is meant to be a springboard for transformation, and a lot of that happens when we can start talking to each other and to God about these different issues.

And you may know, I've created these conversation cards that folks -- I don't know when this show will air, but with a pre-order of the book, you can get free sets of these conversation cards on all these 20 different topics that have some questions on them and a prayer, you can pray. And that's just free on my website. And I think I'll keep that up even after the book launch because I want everyone to be able to download those if they want. Because they're really fun. You can take them in your purse and just have them on a date night. Or if you're on a car trip, just pull one out and say, you know what, honey, what is it that you'd like to do that you think would be fun that might surprise me? And that's just in the having fun chapter. And so you can kind of chat about that and then invite God into the conversation with a prayer. Just even that prayer for joy that I shared earlier, you know, fill us with joy in your presence.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. Well, Jodie, too, what I love about it, again, is the objectivity of your book, of those kind of questions. I think it just helps bring a degree of safety for the couple who might have baggage in the past and they're concerned that, oh, everything she asks or everything he says is just a veiled reference to an agenda or whatever. This really protects from that because it gives some objectivity. So I really think your resource is just so hopeful and interesting, and I can see how opening those lines of communication -- sometimes the person we know the least are the ones we are the most familiar with, you know? And it just gives us an opportunity to almost date again. And I think that's just so good. So I'm highly recommending the book. I'm so excited about it.

But we're going to have to get to our last question. And I don't know -- I know you can handle this. Might be a hard question.

Jodie Berndt: I'm ready.

Jennifer Rothschild: All right, here we go. What is the one thing, the one thing that every marriage needs?

Jodie Berndt: Oh, that is such a great question. And I wrote a piece for Fox News on that and I picked the word "kindness," because that's what a lot of the research shows. But what was so fun was seeing other people's responses where they wanted forgiveness, they wanted compassion. I think what every marriage needs might look different in your marriage than in mine.

But if I had to pick what Jodie and Robbie Berndt need, it is that we need to live out that Philippians 2, we need to live out Ephesians 5, the classic New Testament passage about marriage. You know, so often we can read that and start in verse 22 where it says, "Wives submit to your husbands," and we think, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. But I'll tell you what, sister, we got to back that one up all the way back to the back of that chapter where it starts out with "Walk in love, giving yourselves up for one another just as Christ gave himself up for you." And when we do that, when we approach our marriage the way Christ approaches his love for us, being willing to both give ourselves up for one another, I think that walk in love verse, Ephesians 5:2, is the one thing that every marriage needs.

K.C. Wright: Can I just say this?

Jennifer Rothschild: Hmm?

K.C. Wright: This book is for men too.

Jennifer Rothschild: It is, right?

K.C. Wright: Not just for the ladies.

Jennifer Rothschild: That's right.

K.C. Wright: Every husband needs to get this book and read it with his wife. Do you realize the points you will automatically score with your Sugar Booger if you go buy this book and say, "Hey, baby, I want us to pray together." Oh, wow.

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, my gosh.

K.C. Wright: You're going to get so many points right there.

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, my gosh. Yeah, she is going to melt if you do that.

K.C. Wright: I know.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. So ladies, ladies, women who are married, you might just want to rewind the podcast 30, 40 seconds and then accidentally turn it up really loud and play it in front of him -- okay? -- right now. Anyway, K.C. does have that absolutely right.

This is a great gift for you, it's a great gift for your marriage, it's a -- by the way, I think this is a great wedding gift. Right?

K.C. Wright: Oh, yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: What a great wedding gift.

K.C. Wright: Good idea.

Jennifer Rothschild: It's really just -- literally it's a great gift to the Body of Christ.

K.C. Wright: And we are giving one away right now on Instagram. So go to Jennifer's Insta to register to win one. You can get there by hopping on over to the Show Notes at, or simply go and find her on Instagram right now.

Well, as we say goodbye for this week, may we walk in love. As we walk in love, we will walk in the fullness of what God intended. It works for every relationship. Faith works by love. Your car works by gas. Amen. You got to have love. Amen?

Jennifer Rothschild: Amen.

K.C. Wright: Remember, you can do this, we can do this. You can because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. I can.

Jennifer Rothschild: I can.

Jennifer and K.C.: And you can.

K.C. Wright: True story.

Jennifer Rothschild: True story.

Okay, K.C., Venmo me something so I can see in a fun emoji in here.

K.C. Wright: Oh, my goodness. I will. I owe you some cash right now for this delicious cup of coffee.

Jennifer Rothschild: For that coffee.

K.C. Wright: I mean, that's five bucks right there.

Jennifer Rothschild: That's right.

K.C. Wright: Coming your way.


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