This interview is with Ryan and Selena Frederick from Fierce Marriage.
If you don’t already follow them for Biblical marriage encouragement you should definitely go follow them right now. We have been friends with them for several years. Since they share quite a bit about transparency and intimacy in marriage we thought they would be perfect to chat about oneness and transparency. These are just two of the seven marks of a marriage after God that we cover in chapter 3 of our new book, but we only had enough time for that here. We hope you are just encouraged as we were from this conversation!
Quote From Marriage After God Chapter 3: Marks Of A Marriage After God
A marriage after God is a team moving together in one mind, one heart, one spirit, and in one direction with their eyes on heavenly and eternal things.”
We pray we would be husbands and wives who pursue intimacy with You. We pray we would make ourselves known to You and known to each other. Help us to walk with each other in an understanding way and to love unconditionally. Thank You for the gift of oneness in marriage and what it represents. We pray we would operate as one every day in our marriage relationship. Holy Spirit continue to empower us to do so. Help us to be transparent with one another. Help us to be great listeners as well. May truth be exposed and may Your presence be evident in our lives. Thank You for marriage and thank You for salvation. You are a good God and we love You. May our hearts align with Yours as we chase boldly after You and pursue a marriage that reflects Your love story.
In Jesus’ name, amen!
[Aaron] Hey! We’re Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God.
[Jennifer] Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.
[Aaron] And today we’re in part four of the Marriage After God series and we’re going to be talking with Jerrad and Laila Lopes about our relationship with the Bible.
[Aaron] Welcome to the Marriage After God podcast, where we believe that marriage was meant for more than just happily ever after.
[Jennifer] I’m Jennifer, also known as Unveiled Wife.
[Aaron] And I’m Aaron, also known as Husband Revolution.
[Jennifer] We have been married for over a decade.
[Aaron] And so far, we have four young children.
[Jennifer] We have been doing marriage ministry online for over seven years through blogging and social media.
[Aaron] With the desire to inspire couples to keep God at the center of their marriage, encouraging them to walk in faith everyday.
[Jennifer] We believe that Christian marriage should be an extraordinary one, full of life
[Jennifer] and power
[Aaron] That can only be found by choosing after God.
[Aaron] Thank you for joining us on this journey as we chase boldly after God’s will for our life together.
[Jennifer] This is Marriage After God.
[Jennifer] Thank you guys so much for joining us today. We just want to take a moment and ask you to leave a review for the Marriage After God podcast. So if you’ve been encouraged by this podcast, if you want to support this podcast, that’s just one great way that Aaron and I would love to invite you to do that. It’s really quick. You just scroll down to the bottom of the app, leave a star-rating review or a comment review and we really appreciate that.
[Aaron] And then the reason we’re doing this 16 part series with all these interviews is because we’re launching our book “Marriage After God” and we’re excited to get it in your hands. And so if you want to take a moment and go to shop.marriageaftergod.com, either now or after the podcast, and pick up your copy of our new book. Jennifer and I wrote it. We wrote it for you and it’s to encourage your marriage to chase boldly after Christ’s plan and mission for your marriage. And so that’s what this podcast is about and we’re gonna be talking about Chapter 4 today with Jerrad and Laila Lopes. Welcome to the show guys.
[Laila] Hello, thank you.
[Aaron] We’re so happy to have you guys. We’ve known you guys for quite a while now. How many years actually?
[Laila] Probably three?
[Aaron] Three years?
[Jerrad] I think
[Jerrad] Yeah, like three years now.
[Aaron] We’ve met you guys once in person. We’ve been doing You guys have been doing the podcast thing way longer than us. Jerrad, you’re from DadTired, the podcast and the website.
[Aaron] And so, you guys have helped us on our journey of podcasting and just, it’s been awesome knowing you guys and so we’re excited to interview you both. So before we get into the ice breaker question and the interview questions, why don’t you just let us know who you are, what you guys do, children, marriage, all that.
[Jerrad] Yeah, well first of all, super excited to be here. We are obviously big fans of you guys and what you guys are doing to help encourage marriages. So really really honored to be here. Laila and I have been married for nine years this last week.
[Jennifer] Awesome, congratulations!
[Laila] January 2019, it’s nine years.
[Jerrad] Thank you. So nine years. We have three little ones as we’re building our team. We have a seven year old son named Elijah, a five year old girl named Eden, and a brand new baby girl named Ella.
[Laila] Two months old.
[Laila] Thank you.
[Jennifer] I love that you said building your team.
[Jerrad] Yeah, yeah. So we’re super excited about it. We thought we were done with two but once we decided we’re not, like, we’re just like,
[Jennifer] How many more can we have?
[Jerrad] Yeah, let’s just keep having lots of babies.
[Aaron] You know, God’s good like that. Just changes our hearts.
[Jerrad] Yeah, yup, yup. Yeah so, we totally see children as a blessing and we’re excited to keep the legacy moving on and the kingdom advancing through our family. So anyway, that’s our family. I run a ministry called DadTired and Laila is a nurse, an oncology nurse at the hospital.
[Aaron] Awesome. Well we are so excited to have you guys and we always have an ice breaker question and this is just a fun way to get our listeners to get to you know you guys, to get to know us, but the question is for you guys. If you could have a second honeymoon, what would it be?
[Jerrad] Do you have an answer to that, babe?
[Laila] Um, I actually quite liked our honeymoon. We went to Maui. I had never been to any of the Hawaiian islands and I really enjoyed that. I would probably re-do our wedding if we could do that.
[Aaron] You can, can’t you?
[Laila] I’d take a second chance at that.
[Jerrad] Our wedding was terrible. It was so bad.
[Laila] It wasn’t so bad.
[Jerrad] I didn’t like it at all.
[Laila] Jerrad didn’t like it.
[Aaron] You like your marriage though, right?
[Laila] Yeah, our marriage is good. The wedding was not us, that’s all.
[Jennifer] I always think that
[Jarred] The thing is, Laila, Sorry to interrupt you, go ahead.
[Jennifer] I was just gonna say, I always think back to our wedding too and I think, well, Pinterest didn’t really exist back then. So I think I would want to re-do it just for the sake of having my Pinterest board setup.
[Aaron] Yeah, that’s the problem. We didn’t do know marriages, weddings looked like because we didn’t have Pinterest, so. Well, we like. Laila and I met and then four months later were engaged
[Jarred] and six months after that were married and we didn’t have a style yet. You know? We just didn’t know each other very well, which is crazy to think about. And our friends didn’t know each other that well yet and it really is a testament to God’s grace and His hand on us, protecting us, because we really were still getting to know each other in so many ways. So anyway, now that we’ve obviously been in this for like a decade, we are like, alright, we would re-do it and invite more people or maybe different people.
[Laila] It’s just the style. It just wasn’t really our, well we didn’t have a style. We didn’t have a “us” established yet because we were so, we had just met nine months prior to our wedding, but.
[Jennifer] What about the honeymoon though? Would you do something different?
[Jerrad] I’m geeking out on Southeast Asia right now, so I would do like two weeks in Vietnam, Thailand.
[Jennifer] Aaron would love that.
[Aaron] Yeah, I think we’ve known some people that have done that. And you could do the whole thing for like 500 bucks.
[Jerrad] I know, I know.
[Laila] It’s a lot cheaper than Maui.
[Aaron] Awesome. So Jennifer, why don’t you give the quote from our chapter, this chapter, in the book and then we’ll get into the topic.
[Jennifer] So this is from chapter 4 of Marriage After God and it’s titled, “Your Relationship with the Bible”. It says, “A marriage after God is one that is eager to allow the word of God to transform them by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
[Aaron] And so, this whole topic in this chapter is just, without the Bible, without our foundation there, without our hearts and minds in that thing, the very word of God, we won’t know what we’re supposed to be doing. We won’t know how to know God and so we just wanted to talk with you guys today about our relationship as Christians with the Bible. And so,
[Jennifer] Specifically your relationship with the Bible.
[Aaron] Yeah, your relationship and then our prayer and hope is that the listeners would get inspired, would be encouraged, would be reminded of the importance and the vital place that the Bible has in our lives. That it is our faith, which is the word of God. So, you know, we’ll just jump right in. So here is the first question. What is your current relationship with the Bible? And I know that’s kind of a big question, but I just want to know, where does the Bible land in your life, as a married couple, as Christians, right now?
[Laila] That’s a good question. For me, it’s been a bit of a journey. I didn’t grow up a Christian at all. So I was really unfamiliar with it for the first 21 years of my life, actually. But after becoming a Christian, I was really in awe of the gospel and Jesus and that God loves me, as I had heard it, like, preached on Sundays. But I still, I actually wasn’t interested in the Bible for a long time. My view of it was that it was, maybe just a collection of old stories or something. It just seemed really irrelevant. But now as a more mature Christian, I understand that it’s actually, you know, as it says, the inspired word of God. Which I think makes it rather important. So I placed a much higher importance on reading it, learning it, and knowing what God’s word says about himself specifically.
[Jerrad] Yeah, and I would say for me, I grew up kind of opposite of Laila. I grew up going to church from the time I was just a young kid and so I remember learning the stories of God even as a child. But I think it wasn’t until maybe, I don’t know, seven, eight years ago where I started to realize, as you read the scriptures, that this isn’t just a random book of stories but that there’s actually a woven story in all of it of God redeeming everything back to himself and it’s really this beautiful grand story and it became much more beautiful to me that this wasn’t just like some stories where God was trying to get us to be more moral, behave better, but that He was actually telling a story about Himself and His relationship with His creation. So yeah, I think that’s where we are now.
[Jennifer] Awesome. So for everyone listening, just to encourage them, I like practical. I like to know what everybody else’s routines look like so that I can look at my life and go, okay, what can I maximize here or there or do better. So what is digging into the word on a daily basis look like for you guys right now? What is, do you have some routines put in place?
[Laila] Yeah we do. It’s about to change a bit for me. I still work. I work two or three days a week usually and I commute about 45 minutes to an hour each way. So I use that time, just as a practical way to get into the Bible, I listen to it through some audible app or the Bible on audio and that’s been really helpful. It’s just a quiet time. You know, we have three kids including an infant. So there’s not a lot of quiet time around here. But for me that’s been really a helpful and practical way is just in my commute.
[Aaron] That’s a great tip.
[Jerrad] Yeah, we use that. So last year we read through the Bible together from Genesis to Revelation and then we can kind of get into what that looked like practically if you think that that would be helpful. But this year, we are going through just the New Testament in a year and then next year we’ll do the Old Testament in a year and then we’ll cycle back through the whole Bible in a year.
[Jennifer] I love that you guys are already looking ahead. Like, these are what our years look like. I just think that’s so awesome.
[Aaron] Yeah, and being prepared like that and having a plan, it does make it easier because you know where you guys are at and the whole family being on the same page makes it easier rather than, like well what am I gonna read today. You all know. You’re like oh we’re reading, you know, we’re in John right now
[Jennifer] Right. and we’re on the same chapter and we’re gonna talk about that later.
[Jennifer] So could you guys share a little bit about that? Reading together as a couple. Not only how and when but how it makes you feel?
[Jerrad] Yeah, I think, for us, like last year, when we read the Bible together front to back, we started out with really grand plans of sitting down and having an hour together a day and reading through the Bible together as a couple and with the family and journaling, and that just wasn’t practical. It didn’t work out that way. And so, we didn’t want to give up on it. So we said, why don’t we just keep doing this on our own as much as, like everyday we’ll just read what the plan tells us to read, and then as many as times as we can do this together as husband and wife, let’s do that. As many times as we can do it together as a family, let’s do that. But we just didn’t want to get behind and we wanted to be realistic with it.
[Laila] If it came down to, should we just skip today because we can’t read together, we didn’t want to do that. So we just thought, you know, if we need to, we can still just make sure that we ourselves personally are filling up and then, as able, we’ll get together. We did try and prioritize that, to read it together as a couple because it was really fun to see what stuck out to Jerrad and I think he enjoyed hearing what things stuck out to me. ‘Cause sometimes it was different, sometimes it was exactly the same. But yeah, if it comes down to don’t read at all because we’re not reading it together or just get what we can when we can, then we just did it separately.
[Jerrad] And the other thing is, so I travel a lot too for work and for speaking and stuff. So like
[Jerrad] It was cool. And Laila works a few days a week. So it was cool to even know we were still reading the same thing. So even when I was on the road, we would still be doing phone calls and being like, what did you think of that passage today, what stuck out to you, or can you believe Paul said this, that was super convicting, you know? We were talking about it really organically all throughout the week and the year.
[Jennifer] That’s so cool. So I don’t know if people are like me in this. But you guys talked about setting this goal of what you wanted it to look like and be like and then quickly realize that it wasn’t practical and that you had to change things up or even go with the flow almost. And I know I have struggled with this in the past and really when it comes to anything in my relationship with Aaron, but you set these goals and when they don’t happen like you want them too, I’m saying, I’m saying it as if it’s not happening to me. But what I mean is I would get defeated or I would feel down and not want to move forward because it’s not happening like I want it to.
[Aaron] Yeah, like you failed.
[Jennifer] Yeah, like I failed and so I think that this is just really encouraging to hear from you guys and to be reminded that goals are good and having expectations are okay as long as when you come up against them and things aren’t working that people can still move forward and just change how it’s being done.
[Aaron] Yeah, so shift it quickly rather than just give up.
[Laila] I would credit Jerrad for that because I am a bit like that if we’ve set a goal to read it together every day and now it’s been two or three days and we haven’t read it together then let’s just quit, we’ll start over next year and try again. But Jerrad’s like, no it’s okay. You have something you say about setting goals that I can’t remember.
[Aaron] What’s that really good phrase you always say?
[Laila] What’s that good thing you say that is really helpful sometimes?
[Jerrad] I have no idea. But what I do know is, as Christians, man, we can just get so caught up in being really rigorous and disciplined and we have to have our morning quiet time and we shame ourselves if we don’t. But the point isn’t that we read everyday as much as the point is that are we getting do know God, right? And that’s like. Life happens. You might skip a day. You might like whatever. And obviously, it’s cool to be disciplined and it’s important. But even more important is are we getting to know God.
[Jerrad] If that ends up being a chapter a day, or a verse a day, or six chapters a day, whatever. Let’s not forget what we’re trying to do here and that’s to get to know the God of ours.
[Aaron] Yeah, I was gonna, this transitioned perfectly in what I was gonna bring up. Being marriages after God and chasing boldly after what He has for us and that He would use our marriages and knowing His word is the beginning of that because in knowing His word is knowing Him and what He wants, where He’s going, what He loves, what He hates. And so I just wanted to ask you guys, because a lot of Christians could be listening to this and be like, okay they’re talking about reading the Bible, everyone always talks about reading the Bible. Yeah it’s important. I gotta read the Bible. I gotta pray. Those are the, quote on quote, Christian things to do. But it’s so much more than that. It’s not just, like you said, here’s your reading plan because, to be honest, you could monotonously go through the Bible and not get anything out of it. But why? Why is it vital that the believer, that Christians, that marriages are in the word of God. What is that doing for us? Why is God desire us to know His word?
[Jerrad] Yeah, so at the heart of it is it’s bigger than just, I think what you said is so true, that as Christians we feel like, man I know I should be praying more. I know I should be reading the Bible more. I know I should be tithing more and whatever. It’s these disciplines that we kind of get on ourselves about. But at the heart of it is we are all susceptible to making up our own Gods in our own minds. We don’t drift towards good theology. We drift away from it. We drift towards selfishness and so often times, what happens is, we end up making our God look like us and he ends up liking the things that we like and he can tolerate the sins that we tolerate and he’s not, he loves the people we love and he hates the people that we’re mad at, right? He ends up looking a lot like us. And so scripture confronts us, right? II Timothy 3:16, it’s useful for rebuking and correcting and training in righteousness. When we read scripture, we realize quickly God is his own person. He has his own personality. He is who he is. He is Yahweh God. And so we are trying to, if we don’t learn who that God is, we will drift towards making up an own God in our mind and that is a really really dangerous place to be as a Christian.
[Aaron] So we dig into the word. We learn, and I love what you said because we do make up our own gods. When we just, and this is where a lot of Christians are today and I pray that my listeners aren’t there. But if they are, I pray that this snaps them out of it and says, oh we need to find out who God is, not who we think God is. But knowing who God is, what does that do to the Christian? What does that do in our lives when we’re like, oh. Laila, you mentioned that you met the love of God and you’re like, He loves me. And at first you weren’t like, and you heard that from the pulpit. You heard that from pastors and from church. But you weren’t interested in the word of God and then all of a sudden you were like, wait a minute. The word of God is who God is. You know?
[Laila] Right, exactly. Well I think if I would have just stuck with what this pastor had said to me or what the Christians are saying to me then I would also be pretty susceptible to also listening to maybe what other people were telling me. Untruths and lies. And so I think having first been drawn in by hearing God’s word spoken, then able to really ground myself in knowing who God is because of who God says He is and Jesus is and I wouldn’t know that if it weren’t for the scriptures and like I said, I would just be so easily swayed to believe who knows what if I would have just kept to what people tell me about God instead of what God tells me about God.
[Jennifer] Now when you do hear people tell you things about God you can test those things because you know His word.
[Jerrad] Christians say all kinds of really crazy things, especially on social media. Like God told me this, or just believe this, and it’s like, that’s not at all what God’s word says. And that’s why it’s so important for Christians to know the word of God because even Christians, or especially Christians, will say things that are just like, man that sounds really great but that just is not at all what the scriptures teach.
[Laila] They’re like half-truths. So they sound really Christian-y and good, but not quite right.
[Aaron] Yeah, I take the example from Christ when he’s in the wilderness being tempted by the devil and the devil uses scripture
[Laila] Mm hmm, right.
[Aaron] to tempt Jesus. He goes to the very thing that teaches us about who God is and he takes it out of context, you know? Which is funny because this is what false teachers do today. They’re using scriptures and they’re drawing it out of context and they’re using it to, like you said, create their own God from the scriptures rather than, well actually, this is why it’s saying what it’s saying and this is what it’s saying and this is who it is saying it to. That we have to be like Christ. Knowing the word, so we can go back to the enemy or to these things we see on social media, and say well okay, maybe that is right but it also says this and so, therefore, that thing can’t be true.
[Jerrad] Right, yup. That’s such a good reminder. And we remember in scripture, Satan has been doing that since day one. Didn’t God say. Very first words we ever see from Satan was “Didn’t God say”. And so yeah. We have to know the character of God because you’re right. The enemy loves to twist the words of God.
[Jennifer] So talking about the character of God. Can we know God without a close relationship with the Bible?
[Jerrad] I guess the only hesitancy I would say in that is there’s so many believers who didn’t have any actual Bible in their hand for a long time.
[Jerrad] Who had to hear stories about God and they relied on, maybe they had one Bible in their whole village, right?
[Laila] Even today.
[Jerrad] Even today that’s true where the word of God is being taught orally because people don’t know how to read or they don’t have access to the scriptures. And I believe that God, supernaturally by the Holy Spirit, can continue to work in their lives and mature believers for those that are in the situation. But that’s the exception right? For an American who’s listening, who’s got a Bible to say, yeah I kind of got a good idea of who God is, I kind of get the jist of the Bible, to say I don’t really need to read. That’s just foolish thinking.
[Aaron] Yeah I was just gonna say that. We’ve heard that before and that argument, well there’s other people that don’t have the word of God. But that doesn’t give an excuse to all of us who have multiple Bibles and we can literally go to a hotel room
[Aaron] and there is a Bible in the drawer. We can go to the store and get a Bible. People give out free Bibles. You can to your church. They’ll probably give you a Bible.
[Aaron] So we don’t get to have the excuse of like, yeah.
[Jerrad] So if you’re listening right now and you don’t have a Bible, I will send you one. Like that, there is zero excuse and I know you guys would too.
[Aaron] So Laila and Jerrad, you guys were talking about, when you got married very quickly and how you guys hadn’t established an “us” yet and that’s why you couldn’t do the wedding, you didn’t have a style for the wedding, you’re like who are we gonna invite, what does this thing look like? But things are much different now because you know each other and I just was trying to, I wanted to highlight that again because, we can know, you know the question was can you have a close relationship with God without the Bible. And I like your answer, no, I don’t think we can. But the Bible does tell us, in Romans, that we can know of God just by nature itself. Just by creation itself. But that does not tell us who God is. So we can experience God. Any person in any village anywhere can know that there is a God. Which is what Atheists they have to just literally deny that there is a God. They can’t just assume that there’s not because there is no, the world is proof of it. But to know God, just like when you guys were getting married, you guys didn’t yet know each other, we couldn’t know God without knowing what He’s said because that would be like being married and you guys never talking. Jerrad never explaining who his family is and showing you who they are and never telling you things from the past and how he thinks and things he’s done. And you literally just, you live together and you have no clue who Jerrad is. Yeah, you’re married.
[Aaron] You’re connected with him but, that’s not a very fruitful marriage, right?
[Aaron] So I wanted to bring that up, that beautiful analogy. But now you guys know each other, and you guys are consistently knowing each other and that should be the heart of the marriage after God is that we, whether we know everything now, and whether we’re in the word of God four hours a day, whatever that looks like, that we have a desire to go that direction. And it sounds like that’s where you guys are at.
[Laila] Yeah, I would say. Right, it would be the same. I mean, that is a good analogy. If I had married Jerrad and in the first year decided that I know everything there is about Jerrad because now I’ve been married to him for a year. That’s crazy. Every day that goes by, I am changing and when I interact with Jerrad, I learn about him. Something new about him. I mean almost daily we just learn the nuances and I think it’s that way with scripture too. Last year we read through the Bible, Genesis to Revelation, and I am certain that when we read through it again, I am going to learn it in a totally different way as opposed to have having just assumed that I know what I need to know and be done with it. I mean they say it’s the living word of God. It’s not changing but I am and the way that I, the way that God speaks to me through His word changes every time I read even the same scripture, over and over. It’s different each time.
[Jennifer] I love that you give that picture that it doesn’t change but I am. Like, I change because of it. So I want to kind of dig a little personal here and just ask you guys in what ways has the word of God transformed your marriage?
[Laila] Well I’m reminded through scripture who God is and what He’s already done and so I can count on what I know He can do. You know, like we said, we’ve been married for nine years and a couple years ago we had a really really hard season in marriage. It’s really part of how DadTired was actually born out of that season. But it was just, it was actually really awful. But I was able to pull from scripture what I know about God and what the Bible says about marriage and instead of bailing out like what my flesh would want to do and what my emotions were telling me to do is just get out of here, this sucks, this is hard, I don’t like him anymore. I was able to just know that God can change hearts and I just prayed like crazy through that season. And like what your quote from the book, “allowing the word of God to transform them by the power of the Holy Spirit”. I wouldn’t know that power if I hadn’t been in scripture. But I just was able to trust in the power of the Holy Spirit because I know what He’s done. I know what He can do. And here we are. Nine years in. And way past that awful season.
[Jennifer] What a powerful testimony. Like Aaron was saying, I pray for those listening. My prayer for those listening would hear that and be encouraged. And if anyone is in that place right now where things are, where maybe they’re rough or it’s hard to persevere right now, I hope that they would dig into the word of God and find the same hope and endurance that you found through the word of God.
[Jerrad] Yeah I was just gonna say too, to kind of piggy-back off of that is, your whole book is called Marriage After God, which is really like, that title says I want to marriage my, or I’m sorry. I want to model by marriage after God, right? In the character of God. And so to do that you have to know what God’s character is like. And when you read the scripture, you learn that God is a God who is relentless in His pursuit of people who constantly turn their back on Him. And he’s faithful even when people aren’t faithful. And so Laila, being connected to that truth, and the truth that she learned through the word of God and who God actually is, not who she wanted him to be in her mind, she was able to pursue me relentlessly even when I was not being faithful in my love and pursuit of her. And so, that’s a testimony. That’s much deeper than, hey, you should read the Bible every day
[Jerrad] because it’s a good thing to do as a Christian. It literally saved our marriage. Had she had made up some God in her mind, she probably would have said, well God wants me to be gone because Jerrad’s being an, you know, he’s being a jerk. But I know who God is and I want to model my marriage after who God is and as a result, I’m going to pursue Jerrad the way that God has pursued me even if Jerrad’s not fully in it. And as a result of that, the Holy Spirit worked and changed my heart. And literally, the reason that we’re sitting here today, doing this podcast, is because of that.
[Aaron] And that’s what’s amazing about the word of God. When the Bible tells us that the word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword, and we also see that in Revelation when it’s describing Jesus, you know this two-edged sword coming out of his mouth. And that it cuts even to the marrow. Like it cuts through our flesh. It cuts through our desires. It cuts through our opinions, our way of thinking, down to the motives and then it reveals to us who we are. You know? And that’s what changes us because, going back to that idea of creating our own little Gods. You know, creating what we believe God to be. You end up with the conclusion, Laila, is that well God wants me to be happy. Therefore, since I’m not happy, God wants me to leave. You know?
[Laila] Right. Oh yeah, I would have loved to have, at the time, made that true. Jerrad’s not being what I want him to be. He’s not making me happy. And yeah, God wants me to be happy so I’m out. But I just knew that wasn’t true. How many times we’ve been unfaithful to God just in our walk with him and He just doesn’t bail. There’s just no way around it. And he says to, you know, love your spouse that way.
[Aaron] Which is crazy.
[Laila] I just had nothing else I could do and I knew I couldn’t change Jerrad. I could beg and cry and you know, hey, don’t be a jerk. But there was just nothing I could do. We were just in a bad spot and I’m sure I was not always pleasant for him either. But I just had to pray to the one who I knew could change Jerrad’s heart and it certainly wasn’t me or any made up God who looks like me. But just, like you said, the power of the Holy Spirit, that was it. And I prayed a lot.
[Aaron] And he’s doing it. There’s people listening right now that are probably gonna be finding freedom and restoration in their marriages just because of this testimony. So thank you for your openness.
[Laila] And to be honest, there as a lot of eye-rolls for me when people would say, just pray about it, just pray about it. I hated that because I wanted some action, you know? But we were just at the point that I thought I literally have nothing else I can do and I would set my alarm in the middle of the night and get up and pray. It was just. I dunno. I’m tellin’ ya. I really didn’t like when people told me, just pray about it. But I did it because I was just that desperate and it was those prayers have certainly been answered.
[Aaron] Well I think of, so our pastor always says, “Prayer isn’t the preparation for the battle. Prayer is the battle.” That’s how we war. And the Bible tell us to pray about all things and for everything and in every place. And when we don’t just. The prayer that you’re talking about isn’t just, “Okay, Lord, just fix the situation.” It’s “Lord, what do you want? Lord, where do you want me? What do you want me to do? How do you want me to pray?” Man, and just in another encouragement, I love it, the Bible tells us when we don’t even know what to pray for, that the spirit prays for us. And then on top of that, Jesus is at the right hand of God right now interceding on our behalf. Which is amazing. That you could sit there in bed and say, “I have no clue what I’m doing Lord, but I need your help” and Jesus is praying for you and he’s saying, Lord help them. Give them strength. Give them courage. So I would encourage everyone too. That that’s a great encouragement. Don’t just pray. But pray with anticipation of what God wants and His will. So I want to ask you guys another question. You know, we’re talking about going through struggles. Jennifer and I, that’s kind of where our ministry was born from, was struggles we were going through. It sounds like the DadTired ministry and what you guys are doing was born out of some issues you guys were going through. But another thing we talk about in the book is that having a good marriage is not the end game. Having a healthy marriage is not the end game. Getting to the word of God and knowing the God is not the end game. These things that we’re talking about is to do something. That there is an end in mind. How do you guys see that, you know, the word of God changing you, you guys walking in obedience to the word and finding that restoration in your marriage, where you’re at now, how has God used all of that stuff and your obedience for his sake?
[Jerrad] Yeah, I think that, just kind of going back to what we were just talking about. I think that when we live out what we see God being like, we give everyone around us a glimpse of that God that we see in the Bible. And so when Laila was faithful to me in that season, she gave me a glimpse of the gospel. When she was faithful. When our kids see us be faithful to each other even when we’re not happy, but we continue to pursue each other relentlessly, we continue to pursue their hearts even when they’re disobedient, we continue to forgive, we give them glimpses of the gospel and the good news of God. And then our neighbors see that. The people around us see that. It’s living out what we see the God of the Bible being like that gives the world a glimpse of who God is. So yeah, I think that’s what God meant when he said, be salt and light, and to represent me to the world. And so anything other than that is really telling a lie about God. Had Laila bailed on me, then she would be teaching our kids that like, hey, you can just get out when it’s easy, or when you’re not happy, or when it’s hard, I’m sorry. And when you’re not happy. And that’s not who the God of the Bible is. And so it would be a lie about His marriage covenant, the whole reason of a marriage covenant was to, like you said, it wasn’t for the purpose of us just being happy and building our own little family for the sake of joy and having a nice little neat marriage. But it was to give ourselves, our kids, and the world around us, a glimpse of who God is. That’s the whole point of marriage. And so, we don’t want to tell a lie about it. We want to represent that original intent well and to show off to each other and to the world who God really is.
[Aaron] That’s beautiful.
[Jennifer] I have tears in my eyes.
[Aaron] That was really good.
[Jennifer] That was awesome.
[Aaron] How would you encourage those listening today to get even closer to the word of God? You know, not just like, here’s a set of rules, here’s your reading plan. But like, why? Why should they be closer to God, God’s word?
[Jarred] I think that I would probably just go back to what we were just talking about at the beginning of the conversation and what we’ve hit throughout this conversation and that’s that, man, I don’t care if you’ve grown up in church since you were born, if you were born in a baptismal, you know? Or like you just gave your. That’s a joke, by the way. Nobody’s hopefully born in a baptismal. Whether you’re born in the church or you just gave your life to Christ today, we are all susceptible of just making up who we want God to be. I’ve been teaching the word of God for a decade now and I still do it. I still want God to be, look like I want him to look. And I’m still confronted by the scriptures and the truth of the scriptures every single day.
[Jerrad] We literally just read a verse this last week in II Timothy that says you’re always learning but never arriving at the truth, or you know, at the knowledge of the truth. And it’s like, well crud, that’s convicting because I’m always learning. I feel like I’m learning and yet am I actually getting closer to Jesus? Just don’t be arrogant enough, even subtle arrogance to think that you know you can wrap your mind around this God of the universe. He is way to big for you to understand fully. And it’s just vital to continue to understand who this God is and to chase after Him. The other thing I would say on that is Proverbs 1 says, I think it’s Proverbs 1? It could be Psalm 1. One of the Ps. One says that if you, a man in the word of God is like a tree planted near living water, right?
[Aaron] Oh yeah.
[Jerrad] And so we all can tell when trees are planted near water. They’re alive, they’re producing fruit, they’re green, they look healthy. And the ones that aren’t? It’s really easy to tell. Hey, that tree could use some water. It’s dead. It’s dying. I could probably push it over right? And you can tell people, Christians, who aren’t near the word of God. They look tired. They look stressed. They look like they’re burned out and it’s like bro, it’s not that you need to have this huge crisis and figure things out. Just go plant yourself near the living water which is the word of God again.
[Aaron] Yeah, and I think of the parable of the seed and the sower and the different soils. And we wanna have the soft soil where when the seed is planted, which is the word of God, it goes deep into us. And if we’re not, like you were just giving that analogy of the tree. We actually had a tree die a couple years ago because we had a dry winter and we didn’t realize we were supposed to water it when it’s so dry. And the ground was all cracked and it started dying from the top down because the roots were, it was probably like got some sort of root rot, but because the ground was dry and the water didn’t go deep, the roots didn’t go deep. And so it’s the same with us. If we’re not in the word of God, if we don’t know the word of God, those roots are going, they’re shallow. And we think we’re going to survive on that as a Christian in this world. So that’s a good reminder. Thank you for that.
[Jennifer] This has been really great talking with you guys. We have one more question and it’s something that we’re asking everyone throughout the series and it’s, in your own words, what is a marriage after God?
[Laila] A marriage after God. I would say just remembering that your marriage isn’t just for your happiness. I know we hear that a lot. Marriage isn’t for your happiness. It’s for your holiness. But that’s just really true. Jerrad’s not here to fulfill me and make me happy because I would have bounced a couple times and I’m sure he would have been happy to do the same on a few occasions over the years. But just remembering that our marriage is to point each other, and our kids, and our neighbors, and just the world around us, back to God. That’s what I’m to do for him and he’s to do for me. We just point each other to Jesus, make each other more like Jesus through prayer and just trusting in God’s spirit and just praying that, over each other and for each other.
[Jerrad] I would agree with all of that except that I would have never left you.
[Laila] I know I feel bad because we keep talking about how I could have left, I could have left, but I’m sure I’m not always a peach. I don’t always make you happy but thank you for sticking around anyway.
[Jennifer] Well thank you guys so much for being on the show today. We are just cheering for you as you pursue the ministry that God has for you and your marriage and also online. We would like to encourage everyone to take a moment and pray with us and then Aaron will close us out. Dear Lord, thank you for your word. It is living and it is active, sharper than any two-edged sword. Lord, you created everything by your word and faith comes by hearing your word. You tell us that man cannot live by bread alone but by every word that comes out of your mouth. We pray that as husbands and wives who love you and are chasing after you, that we would be men and women of your word. That we would make it a priority in our lives. That we would read it and meditate on it. That it would be our sustenance. That we would allow ourselves to be transformed by it and renewed by it. May our marriages be transformed by it. We pray that our lives would represent what your word says. We pray that we would take the sword of the spirit, which is your word, and use it to fight against the schemes of the devil. Lord, your word is good and a gift for everyone. May we read it, may we know it, and may we live it out every day. In Jesus name, Amen.
[Aaron] Okay, so, everyone listening, we thank you for joining us on this episode with Jerrad and Laila Lopes. And I just want you all to go check out his podcast. It’s called “DadTired” and you can get it anywhere podcasts are available. So iTunes, just search for Dad Tired. Podbean, Castbox, wherever you listen to podcasts, you can find him. And can you let us know if there’s anything else that they can get from you guys, how they can connect with you guys?
[Jerrad] Super grateful again to be here. If they just go to DadTired.com, we’ve got a free little eBook that we give away to guys on just trying to help them figure out how to lead their family well and there’s a community to jump in to which a lot of guys in our DadTired community are also part of the Marriage After God and Husband Revolution family.
[Aaron] Awesome. Thank you guys again for being on the show and we have 12 more episodes coming up in this series, tons of more awesome interviews, so we want you guys to stay tuned and we’ll see you next week for next week’s episode. Did you enjoy today’s show? If you did, it would mean the world to us if could leave us a review on iTunes. Also, if you’re interested, you can find many more encouraging stories and resources at MarriageAfterGod.com and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.