Why are young men getting married later? In 1971, the average age of a man getting married was 24.4. In 2020, the average age was 38 according to the latest official figures available from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Why is this? And is it something that should be concerning?
Both married at 24 and have kids, Jordan and Andrew discuss their own experience being a husband and a young dad. They talked about the importance of celebrating singleness and what are the "good" and "bad" reasons to get married. Will marriage will fix my sexual issue? Will another woman complete my "Christian" life? How can I know for sure if I found the "one"?
Jordan and Andrew also share some marriage advice given to them that wasn’t very helpful. Listen to this episode, hear how they move beyond their mistakes, learn to love their wife, and lead their families well as a young man.
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Jordan: Hello and welcome to the Impactus podcast. My name is Jordan and I'm joined by my friend Andrew here. And today we’re talking about being young and married something both of us have some experience in. We’re going to be talking about why are young men getting married later in life? we’re going to talk about what we wish we knew when we got married and just some – hopefully, we can help you guys avoid some of the mistakes that we made. And so, stay with us, and we’re going to jump right in.
Hey guys. I'm so excited to have my friend Andrew here today. I'm going to let him introduce himself, but man, he understands what we’re talking about today. He’s a leader. He’s led many youth and young adults. And I know you have a special place in your heart, too, for young men. So tell us a little bit about your background and just kind of how you ended up here today.
Andrew: Yeah, I appreciate being here with you. This is really, really fun and really cool. I grew up in Mississauga, which is just outside Toronto for those of you who don’t know your GTA geography. I went to public school; grew up with an older brother and younger sister; parents were church-going people. So we started going to church from a young age and kept going to church from a young age. I got really connected to the youth program at my church, which I love – Youth Ministries – because it had a huge impact on me and my life and in my time in youth, the ministry as a student. We’d go to conferences and stuff like that.
And from a pretty early age, theology and Jesus and faith was interesting to me in the kind of way that I felt like maybe I have some sort of calling to ministry or to be a pastor of some – in some way and in some sense. And those who were leaders of mine at that time kind of called that out in me, too. So it led me down a path of going to school a few different places in my early 20s and serving in a few different roles and capacities at our home church here in Mississauga. And then it led me to go to seminary. And it also led me to take students on international trips to conferences where I got a chance to meet my wife at a youth conference.
And so, for those of you who have single pastors or youth pastors in your ministry, they’re not taking your students to youth conferences for your students’ sake. They’re taking them because they have eyes on a prize. That’s what they’re looking for. That was my experience. So I met my wife while we were at a youth conference in Indiana as a youth pastor with a group of students there, and I slipped into her DMs. For those who don’t know what that means, it means I reached out to her on the internet and started talking to her there. And we started a relationship, and it grew to a point where she accepted my offer to marry me. [cross-talking]
Jordan: And you have some children?
Andrew: So yeah, we got married in 2016 – in May of 2016 – in Indiana. Actually, no, March 2015. We moved to Canada – back to Canada church [point? 00:02:39] in May of 2016. And since then, we’ve been in different kind of roles at our church – different pastoral roles – and we have had two children since.
Andrew: I’ve got an almost-three-year-old and an almost-one-year-old, both girls, and they are verifiably the cutest children in the world.
Jordan: That’s something. That is up for debate.
Andrew: I don’t think it’s up for debate anymore.
Jordan: My daughter is the cutest –
Andrew: Bobby’s cute, but–
Jordan: Bobby’s pretty cute. Well, listen, you’re one of the few guys that made it through Christian university without getting married. We went to the same Christian university, Tyndale University. Some say Bible college. Others say, you know, bridal college, that type of thing. You see a lot of relationships begin. You see a lot – and you see – but a lot of people do find a partner in Bible college. But what’s interesting is that people are actually getting ... They’re getting married later in life, and this is no shock to many of you that are listening, I'm sure, but in 1971, the average age of a man that got married was 24. In 2008, it’s 31. I imagine, now, in 2021 it’s even higher than that. Andrew, from your perspective as someone who has led young men, why do you think some of this is going on?
Andrew: I think something is happening culturally. I don't think it’s – I don't think there’s just a few guys who are choosing to get married later. I don't think it is just people freely choosing that that’s a better path. I actually think there’s something happening culturally. I feel like even in Christian culture and even amongst people who get married younger... How old were you when you got married?
Jordan: Man, I should have thought about this before the podcast. Twenty-four, I believe.
Andrew: OK, so were relatively young, comparatively. But people like you and I – I was 24. My wife was 26 when we got married. -- we’re considered getting married young even though we freely chose to do it. It didn’t seem young to me. I don’t know if it seemed young to you.
Jordan: No. It’s funny. Rachel and I, we dated for four years before getting engaged, and what’s funny is our Christian friends were going, “Jordan, like, is everything OK with you guys? Like, are you guys OK? It’s taken a while to put a ring on that.” Our non-Christian friends, when we got engaged, were like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Guys, slow down. Aren’t you going to establish yourselves, get your careers, buy a house?” And so, there is a bit of a dichotomy in some ways between what the church and the world think.
Andrew: Yeah, totally. And we’re trying to figure out -- we’re navigating our way through it. Like, are we young? Is this wrong? Should I have waited till I was older? And then you see kids -- not kids – young adults get married at like 20 and you’re like, “Whoa. That’s really young and weird.” But that’s how old my parents were when they got married, and it wasn’t weird then. I was talking to someone the other day and they were talking about a couple of pastor kids that I'm connected to – children of pastors – who are getting married at, like, 21, 22, and they were thinking like, “This is really bad.”
This is a Christian person who was like, “Uh, it’s really – it’s a really bad example that these kids are getting married so young. They’re just getting married to have sex. That’s such a bad way to think about it, such a wrong way to think about it. It’s such a weird thing.” Right? And this is a Christian person, a deeply Christian person. I'm like, “Maybe that’s true. Maybe that’s not true.” I know their stories. None of them who got married were getting married for that purpose alone. But there’s almost this perception now that people who get married young are usually religious and they’re getting married for one reason. And that’s because they’re not supposed to have sex. So they want to have sex. So they go and get married young, which –
Jordan: Yeah, not my experience.
Andrew: Not my experience and I don't think it’s their experience, but that’s the perception. And if that’s not the reason why, then it’s like, “Then don’t get married so young. Do all these other things.” So –
Jordan: Yeah, it’s interesting I think you’re right. I think it’s that we’re living in a cultural moment that, you know, you’re seeing the secularization of society. We live in a post-Christian society, and so, in regards to the godly ordinance of marriage, we shouldn’t be shocked that culture as a whole is getting married later. I mean, you know, you think about – like, I'm a wedding officiant and so are you.
Andrew: Yeah, we both do weddings.
Jordan: Andrew Wood Weddings dot com.
Andrew: [Laughs] Well, what’s interesting is almost every non-Christian wedding I’ve had the privilege of walking alongside a couple with, all of them said, “Well, we had two choices. We could buy a house, or we could have a wedding.” And all you millennials that live in the Toronto area, you kind of –
Jordan: You know what that feels like.
Andrew: You know what it feels like to say, “Wow. I’ll never get into the housing market.” And so, you’re seeing some of that. I also think, too – I’d like to know your thoughts on this. I saw an article years ago. I couldn’t find it in preparation for this. But it was the idea – it might not even have been an article, but it was this statement that so many millennials are hesitant to get married because maybe they were the children of this mass divorce culture that we’ve seen. You know, maybe millennials don’t want to get married because they don’t see the marriages they’ve seen as something they want.
Andrew: Any thoughts around that?
Jordan: Yeah. Well, yeah, I get it. Like, I don’t blame them. We were talking about this before. Half of them – and we throw out these marriage stats and these divorce stats all the time. They’re kind of over – I think they’re overused a little bit. But the reality is, like, there’s, you know, a lot of people who get divorced. And so, that’s its own pain that people experience. And there’s the odd person you talk to that will tell you that it didn’t affect them that much, but most of the time, if people are honest, it has a huge impact on them, especially if it happened during formative years in their childhood. So that has a massive impact on them. And then, the ones who don’t end up getting divorced ...
There are still so many unhealthy marriages. You know how hard marriage is. And so there’s lots of people who are living in marriages and they’re committed to them, but they’re not that healthy. So people’s examples are divorce or really unhealthy marriage. How many examples of really healthy, stable relationships can you think even point to, or in general population point to? It’s hard to ... It’s not the norm, right? It’s not common. So I don’t blame people for having that – having that fear. I don’t blame people for having those feelings. I'm not –
Andrew: Yeah, especially if they don’t have that underlying ethic of why marriage is worth it, why marriage, we believe, is honouring – why marriage is a gift. You know, I do think that this should be a reminder to us as Christians and parents of modeling something special for our children that marriage can be something beautiful, can be something shaping. At the same time, I think, in the church we have to learn how to treat singles, and that’s a whole episode in and of itself. But just the idea that singleness is OK, and singleness can be honouring, and singleness can be beautiful, and singleness can be a gift.
Sure you see, like in Proverbs, where it says, “a man who finds a wife finds a good thing.” You also see Paul say things like along the lines of, “I wish everyone were like me – single.” Right? And so, I just think the church needs to do both. I think sometimes we make married with kids the ideal. We even see it. You know, we were chatting a little bit about this before, how we’ve seen in some church planting groups, what they’re looking for as a particular church planter is a married man with kids.
Jordan: With multiple kids, yeah.
Andrew: With multiple kids –
Jordan: Because that’s a sign of health. That means, OK, there’s nothing wrong with this person because they’re married with multiple kids.
Andrew: Yeah. It makes me scratch my head a little bit, right, when, you know, if we look at our – the Catholic church, they look for the complete opposite – someone that is going to be completely dedicated to –
Jordan: Isn’t that so interesting?
Andrew: That’s very interesting. I think on the road to the truth is the ditch on either side, right? And I think somewhere in the middle there you’re going to find the truth on that one. But we have to be able to celebrate both. You know, obviously the family is so important, and that’s one of the reasons why people should get married. There are good reasons to get married.
Jordan: There are very good reasons to get married, and this is actually. It’s not only Christians who think this. I was talking to my – somebody who’s in my family who is not a religious person by any means. They don’t model a religious-looking life in any kind of way. And we were having a conversation about family and about offspring, and they just became a grandparent recently. And they’re verbalizing all these things are so true about the human experience, which is that family is so meaningful and so important and provides so much stability and so much – Of everything that you need in your life, stable family is worth everything to this person.
Their ethic of staying married, you know, I think, is a Jesus ethic that they probably have culturally, but their verbalized ethic was, “It’s what’s best for my kids. It’s what’s best for my grandkids. I'm going to continue to stay married for the sake of this family unit.” So there still is a strong ethic for family, or at least we feel it. And when you talk to the average person who’s not super woke or trying to say something that they don’t actually believe, or is not trying to push some sort of ideological talking point, if you’re just talking to a normal person who’s living every single day just working and trying to survive, they’ll tell you that the most important thing is family. And they’ll value – it’s a high, high value because it does bring so much meaning to people in their life.
Andrew: Yeah, I think you’re on – I think that is a good reason to be married is the security that a monogamous household has for children and even society as a greater whole. I think it’s good for us to have a caveat here that we have tons of single men listeners, and the temptation sometimes when we jump into these conversations, intentionally or unintentionally, is for people to feel as though, “Well, this is exactly the same thing that we communicate to people in the church, that the ideal is marriage and everything else is subpar.” And just know our hearts as – because that’s not how we feel. You know, we believe that you can be single and thrive as a Christian.
Jordan: As married people – I don't know about you. As married people, I have a hundred ideas of things I could do if I wasn’t married and I didn’t have kids, and not the kinds of things you’d think I’d want to do – like honestly good things, good things to serve the lord and build the kingdom. I’ve got a massive list, and it’s not that my marriage and my family holds me back from it. It’s that I have a specific and unique calling because I have a family, and there are certain things I can’t go and do and I can’t serve in certain ways. And those are barriers, those are boundaries put on me, and it’s an OK thing. And there are different types of barriers and boundaries if you’re single, but it’s not – one’s not more valuable than the other [cross-talking 00:12:26] the kingdom work that we’re called to.
Andrew: Let’s be honest, man. There’s tons of families, tons of single dads that are leading in ways that are better than dads that are in marriages –
Andrew: – and relationships. And so, a good reason to get married, though, you're right, is to build a family, if you feel that’s what God’s calling you to. And I think that’s one thing that doesn’t get stated enough, that marriage is something you should feel God pushing you to. So oftentimes, people are pressured into marriage, or they have that person in the church that plays matchmaker, right? I hate to admit, I’ve been known to play matchmaker.
Jordan: You don’t hate to admit that. You love to admit that.
Andrew: OK, I'm just going to say, you know, Matt and Beth, Sean and Emma, Caleb ... No. I'm just kidding. But I think there is -- sometimes people like to push this like, “Well, are you going to get married?” That’s the question they often ask, you know. And so, I just think – I just think we’ve got to navigate that conversation carefully, but also it’s something that you should be called to, and you shouldn’t be pressured into, yeah. No, there’s ton’s of bad reasons to get married and –
Jordan: There’s lots of bad reasons to get married. And it doesn’t mean you can’t figure out how to be married even if you entered into it for a bad reason.
Andrew: That’s a good point, right, because I'm sure –
Jordan: You have to, actually. If you got married and you are married and your motivation was you were just like some thirsty 20 year old, you know what I mean? You’re like, “Uh, I need to get married –
Andrew: Better to marry than burn with passion? Yeah.
Jordan: Right, if that’s really ... We don’t necessarily promote that ethic, but if you’re married because of that ethic, you’re still responsible to stay married, right?
Andrew: Exactly, yeah.
Jordan: But yeah, there are healthier reasons to get married and less healthy reasons to get married.
Andrew: Yeah. I think of the myth or the mistake people make when they think like, “I have sexual addiction and if I get a partner, I will no longer watch porn, I will no longer masturbate,” or whatever the case may be. I have yet to see marriage fix sexual issues.
Jordan: [Laughs] I have only seen marriage magnify –
Andrew: – exacerbate it.
Jordan: In fact, we have a contributor named Sathiya Sam, and he does a lot of stuff on this – how marriage magnifies a lot of these issues rather than kind of fix them. And I think, too, a bad reason to get married is because you feel like someone’s going to complete you.
Jordan: That type of language kind of sometimes just is like a red flag.
Jordan: Yeah, like the idea of finding the one.
Jordan: What are your thoughts on that?
Andrew: No. I don't know. Did you find the one?
Jordan: That’s a good question. I believe I found Rachel –
Andrew: [Laughs] Rachel.
Jordan: – because she is the one.
Andrew: And she’s the one.
Jordan: She’s my only one.
Jordan: And she’s the one that I will commit to.
Andrew: Is she your person, though?
Jordan: The person.
Andrew: Is she your person?
Jordan: I don't like the language around person.
Andrew: [Laughs] I can let you in on – my wife and I have a guilty pleasure.
Andrew: This is not some – this is something I do to serve her and celebrate her essence because Stephen Arterburn, in Every Man’s Marriage, told me, “Celebrate her essence.” And part of her essence is to watch every season of The Bachelor and Bachelorette.
Jordan: Man. [Laughs]
Andrew: And that comes out.
Jordan: The Bachelor and Bachelorette.
Andrew: And nowadays it feels like there’s never not a season on of The Bachelor or Bachelorette.
Jordan: It’s always on.
Andrew: There’s Canadian ones, there’s American ones, there’s girls, there’s guys. It’s non-stop. But one of my biggest pet peeves with the show is that it seems like everybody now uses this language of “my person. I'm looking for my person” or “the person” and it’s kind of like bringing out the kind of old school language of “I'm seeking the one. I'm looking for my –
Jordan: My soulmate.
Andrew: – soulmate, my one true love.” It’s that fairytale, Disney, “There’s one out there for you and it’s the perfect one. And do everything you have to do to find it. Give up your ...” That’s what the whole Bachelor thing is. You give up your life and your job and you move to this mansion with 30 other people in hopes that you find the one. Yeah. I don't know. How do you feel about that?
Jordan: Yeah, not big on it. I think it puts a lot of pressure on people to say, you know, like, “You’ve got to search the world.” But there’s a lot of people in the world, especially now that you have a lot of eligible bachelorettes on your phone with dating apps. I don’t even know how people navigate that very well. But also just the whole idea of like – it actually comes from Greek mythology from when Plato wrote his Symposium and how they believed that humans were – you know, had two faces and four arms and two heads. And Zeus was like, “These people are too powerful. I'm going to slice them down the middle.” And now you have to go your whole life trying to find your other half. We even still use that language – other half, right? And so, I think we’ve just got to be careful. And I think it puts a pressure on people, but I also think it gives the illusion that you’re not complete without that person. And I’ve never seen a relationship of people that haven’t ... You know, when you have that idea, you put a load on your partner that they just can’t carry.
Andrew: I am a big guy, and I cannot carry that load. Honestly, I'm horrible. I fail at it all the time. I cannot sufficiently carry that load for somebody else.
Jordan: Yeah. And so, the question, I guess, Andrew, is how do you find a partner? How do you find a wife? To a young guy that’s maybe listening and you’re looking and you’re trying the dating thing, is – it’s easy for us to say we’re married, and so, you know ...
Andrew: I know. Somebody chose to marry, so it’s crazy.
Jordan: Yeah, it’s wild –
Andrew: Honestly, that’s part of it, though, because the whole mentality of finding the one or “What are you looking for?” or ... You know, I used to tell young guys – I still tell them. I think this is useful. I still tell them like, “Hey, forget about what you’re looking for and become – focus on becoming the person that the person you’re looking for is going to be looking for. That’s the one thing you have control over, and you don’t want to miss that, you know, because Rachel could come around. And if you’re not that great yet, Jordan, then she’s going to walk on by you” kind of thing.
Jordan: It’s amazing she stopped for a second. [Laughs]
Andrew: Yeah, right. [Laughs] So I still use that language and I think it’s useful. It puts responsibility back on you. But the whole idea of fine-tuning everything so perfectly, looking for that perfect person to fit this box, it’s just you’re never going to find the person to do that. So you’re either going to lie to yourself about them actually meeting those expectations, or you’re going to constantly look and be disappointed because nobody’s meant to meet that need or to fit so perfectly. But the other side of the coin is, like, there are things that are [possible? 00:18:19] to look for, right?
Jordan: Yeah, definitely. You know, I think about – like, this just came to me. When I moved to the Toronto area, Milton, which you also live – shout out to Milton. Although I just moved to Burlington, so I don't know if I can say that anymore.
Andrew: Yeah, I know.
Jordan: But when I moved to Milton, I found the basement apartment that I loved It was awesome. But then for the next three years, every night before I would go to bed, I would get on my phone and look at apartments in Milton, and I think it was just this questioning of, “Did I make the right choice? Is there a better deal out there?” And I think sometimes, especially with dating apps and things like that, that we have to be ... There’s this unsure like, “Maybe I’ll just do a few more swipes,” or, “I’ll just look a little bit more. I’ll start a conversation.” So I think it can be very paralyzing. It’s kind of like going to a buffet and saying, “What am I going to have?” Whereas, we went to Christian universities with small circles of Christian community and it was like, “OK. I don't have the world at my fingertips.”
But I say that to say I do think there are responsible things to do. The first is obviously – and not to be trite, but to make it a matter of prayer is an obvious one. And I think, too, inviting your community into that, you know, not just even finding, but making sure it’s the right one. So you’ve started dating someone and your friends are saying, “Man, red flag.” If it’s friends you trust and love, pay attention to that. Sometimes it’s hard to hear through your own feelings when you’re infatuated, but if people you love are saying, “Hey, Jordan, you know, I'm not sure about this,” or maybe welcoming them into the conversation. I think that’s important, too.
Yeah. I think about Abraham and how he wanted for his son, Isaac, a wife. So he sends his servant out to find, and the servant goes out, and the servant prays that if a girl comes by and serves him and his camel water, you know, that’ll be the wife for Isaac. And I think God does still sometimes move in that way; however, I think sometimes we put a lot of pressure and we kind of spiritualize, “God, send me the one.” You know. And so, do I believe that, yeah, God can make it evident who your wife is? The night I got home from my first date with Rachel, I was high-fiving guys in the hallway. And I was shouting, “I'm going to marry that girl,” right?
Andrew: Yeah, you were?
Jordan: I would say yeah, it was amazing.
Andrew: Those are my favourite stories, by the way.
Jordan: You know what’s funny. Rachel got back to her house and didn’t say the same thing at all. And so, here I was having an Abraham –
Andrew: Well, naturally. [Laughs]
Jordan: – having an Isaac and Rebecca story. She’s, on the other hand, saying, “I’ve got to suss this guy out a little bit more. And both are to be expected. And so, don’t freak out if it feels like the stars aren’t aligning right away, but also don’t be closed to the idea that God could do something miraculous either.
Andrew: Yeah, that’s good.
Jordan: Now listen, we’ve both been married – five years?
Andrew: Yeah, five years.
Jordan: Five years, 2016.
Andrew: Going on six.
Jordan: Wow. When’s your anniversary?
Andrew: March 11th.
Andrew: [Laughs] That was close. [Laughs] March 11th.
Jordan: It was funny. I was telling people for years my wedding date was June 6th. It’s June 18th, yeah, so ...
Andrew: It’s a little off.
Jordan: It’s a little off. But what would you say to a young Andrew newly married or just about to get married? What would you say?
Andrew: I am just learning how to talk in feelings.
Andrew: And I know that – I don’t even say that lightly. I am 30 years old. I’ve been an on and off kind of youth leader pastor for 12 years. I was a pastor of an adult church for two years. I’ve been to seminary. I’ve been married for almost six years and I have two children. And I am just like infancy stage of speaking through feelings – my feelings. And this is just something I never learned growing up. It wasn’t with health for me. I had a pretty healthy upbringing and a pretty healthy family, a lot of love there. My parents are still together. We’re really close, all of our family. So it wasn’t like – it wasn’t like I necessarily had trauma growing up in my life. I know a lot of people do have different stories and it makes more sense why some of these things were challenges for them.
For me, we just never learned how to do that. It was never talked about. It’s just in the culture that I grew up in, especially playing sports all growing up. Thinking through the feelings is one thing, and then speaking those feelings, the vulnerability that that requires, is its own thing. And I don’t do either very well, you know, even when it comes to thinking, the way my mind works is not usually feelings, or at least not attuned to them. And so, I wish – like, when I was earlier on, instead of reading all the marriage books about men -- you know, women submit to your husbands and men, you’re the leader, and this is how marriage – Christian sex is supposed to look like. Do this and don’t do that. And all these practical things and this is conflict resolution.
All that was really useful in some ways, but what I didn’t have was an embodied experience of talking through the filter of feelings in the midst of conflict, right? So I'm just learning how to do that. The example is like, you know, my wife and I are having a conflict – having a fight about something, I'm really, really – I'm really, really good at pointing out what she did that was wrong, the behaviour – really good at it, yeah. And I listen to a lot of psychology and read it, so I could tell her what’s going on in her, right? I'm, “This is what’s on and you’re this and you’re doing that, and this is why you’re doing it.” And I might be right.
What I'm not doing is communicating why I'm feeling the way I'm feeling. Like, I'm enraged. I'm angry. I'm upset or I'm hurt here and I'm not thinking about why. All I'm doing is attributing it to a behaviour that was done to me. And it doesn’t mean that that didn’t happen, and it doesn’t mean that that was right, but what I'm just starting to learn to do is to think about what I'm feeling and why I'm feeling that way. If I'm feeling angry or defensive, or if I'm feeling condescended and I'm feeling ashamed about that, or I'm feeling weak, or I'm feeling – you know what I mean? -- and that’s what I'm reacting out of ... I'm learning, too, and I wish I learned to do this earlier – how to respond with, “Hey, this is how I'm feeling right now. I don't know why I'm feeling that way all the time.”
And I can explore that, but learning how to explore why I'm feeling that way. If I'm feeling ashamed, why am I feeling ashamed? My wife just asked me to pick something up off the floor, you know? if my wife says, “Hey, you forgot to get that thing I asked you to get again,” instead of – I'm feeling defensive. I'm feeling angry, but I'm – but there’s an emotion there. And a part of it that I haven’t ever really spent a lot of time exploring them. I’m just learning to now is I'm feeling ashamed. Man, like you’re pathetic. Why didn’t you do that right? Why didn’t you get to that? Why did you forget that again? Why are you so useless? Why do you keep screwing that up? Why do you keep getting that wrong? Why are you not better? Why are you –
Those are real thoughts and feelings that are happening in me, and they’re happening like that. I don't know if you’ve experienced that, but they happen like that. And if you’re not processing them or paying close attention and working through those things in the moment, then what you end up doing is just fighting against behaviour all the time. It just exacerbates the conflict, you know?
Jordan: Yeah. So what I hear you’re saying, Andrew, is you wish you had learned to be able to kind of interrupt that process and just pause for a moment, or even – or over time reflect on, ”Why do I have a particular issue in – when she comments on, you know, why I do things? It’s like the shame and justice. Well, she’s right, but I also still am very offended.” [Laughs]
Andrew: Right, right.
Jordan: Yeah. [Laughs]
Andrew: Well, then, yeah, why do I feel that way about myself? There’s something else going on there. It isn’t just related to the behaviour. And I honestly didn’t ... It’s taken me years to figure that out, and I haven’t figured it out yet. It’s taken me years to figure out that I need to figure it out.
Jordan: Yeah. It’s one of those things that you even figure out more as you say it out loud. [Laughs]
Andrew: Yeah, well, because no one’s talking, you know. Maybe people are talking, but just haven’t in the circles that I’ve been around, you know, necessarily.
Jordan: Yeah, and I’ve heard that shame actually has two results. Oftentimes, it becomes like naval gazing, right? So, as men when we feel challenged: “Poor me. I never do anything right.” And the other is like extra over-the-top action. So it’s like, “Well, now I'm going to do everything right. I'm going to clean the kitchen every morning.” The other day I just said to my wife, because I was kind of feeling a little bit of shame about how I – you know, my wife cooks some meals and I'm home after work.
And I'm like, “You know what? I'm going to start getting up in the mornings and I'm going to put a slow cooker on every morning.” And I just said that to my wife. “I'm thinking about doing this.” But what was that? It was over-reaction because of shame. So you see this a lot when things happen in the world – injustice, you know? You see people say, “I can’t believe I missed this” or “Why am I so bad?” And the other extreme is “I'm going to respond immediately and do a lot of action.”
Andrew: I'm going to fix it all right away.
Jordan: Fix it all.
Andrew: What is some advice that you wish you had when you were not yet married?
Jordan: Yeah, I wish – I wish I – I think I underestimate – I was focusing on the wrong. You know, as a young man I'm like, “OK, I need to stay away from obviously the big things like affairs, blow-up arguments, you know, like pornography. They’re all really big things, and all those things are things we need to be very careful of not to allow into our marriage. At the same time, I think those are often – those are manifestations of things that are not dealt with. Muhammad Ali, who is the best boxer other than Jake Paul – just kidding – said that it’s not the mountain ahead of – it’s not the climb of the mountain that’ll kind of wear you out. It’s the pebble that’s in your shoe.
And I just feel like when I heard that I thought about marriage because I just thought about how easy it is for the slow day-to-day erosion of either connectedness or miscommunication – it’s the small ... It’s the day-to-day efforts of keeping just intimacy alive in your marriage that will protect you from those greater things. I think about like just our generation and how they numb out at the end of every day on their phones. And, you know, Rachel and I are trying to get better at that. Or how easy it is after putting Poppy to bed just to turn on Netflix and then we don’t speak until the next morning – basically till we slide into bed and say goodnight and wake up. And so, that’s something I wish I had been more wary of early on. I think another thing is just the idea that my wife, Rachel, is not responsible for me.
Andrew: Yeah, that’s so big.
Jordan: You know? I was reading a book recently called The Great Sex Rescue. Or no, I was listening to a podcast by the authors of that book. They were talking about how like, “You want to be unromantic to your wife? Be a giant kid in a man’s body.” You know, if you want to just be like a teenager around the house – and I think maybe unconsciously I – I can’t believe I'm about to say this on air, but –
Andrew: Say it.
Jordan: I think subconsciously I probably expected my wife just to do what my mom did, which was pick up after me. I think a lot of young men, that’s a challenge they have is that they expect their wife to mother them. And I just put that to bed really early and still actively try and put that to bed that actually my wife is not responsible for my bad habits. My wife is not responsible for my spiritual growth. That’s a huge one. You know, as I try and love and lead my family, I want to be the one setting the pace on those things. I thought that, too. I thought going into marriage – I had terrible eating habits and spending habits, right?
Jordan: And am I the only one here?
Jordan: But I honestly thought like, “Well, my wife’s disciplined in these areas, so when we get married, she’ll control our finances and that’ll fix the problem. And she won’t want to eat all the garbage food that I always want to eat. And she won’t put up with me going through the drive-through at McDonald’s. She’ll tell me off and correct me, and I’ll feel bad about it and won’t do it again, and that’ll fix the problem.” Yeah. Yeah, treating my wife like she was going to be the discipline that I didn’t have in my life, right? It’s like, no, no, that’s actually not how it works. One, typically, you bring somebody down a lot easier than they bring you up.
Andrew: That’s so true. I think I’ve been a worse influence on her than she’s been a positive influence on me in respect to those areas because, you know, I'm a heavy guy to pull up. You know what I mean? So that’s a reality. And yeah, the burden of it, like, it’s so – nobody wants to spend their ... We struggle with being disciplined with ourselves, let alone having to take care of someone else. When you have kids, gosh, it’s exhausting to have to walk around and pick up after you kid and be disciplined on their behalf. Can you imagine doing that for a grown adult? No fun.
Jordan: Yeah. No, it’s no fun. I remember one of the times when Rachel just so funnily sent me just a picture of a piece of gum that I had just kind of like somehow missed the garbage can, right? And I just thought –
Andrew: Did you know – like, when you threw it, did you honestly – can you recall that you knew you missed it and you just walked off?
Jordan: I don't know. I don’t remember –
Andrew: You don’t remember if you actually knew? OK.
Andrew: You’ve done that before, right? We’ve done that, right? Nuh.
Jordan: Or they kick the little crumb under the fridge, you know what I'm saying?
Andrew: [Laughs] Yeah, exactly.
Jordan: I hope we never look under there. But yeah, no, I think that was a big one, and just the whole idea you don’t get a new you. You touched on that. That’s just so huge. Now we’re coming to the end of the podcast and I would love to just maybe do – ask a speed round of questions just for you to answer quickly. And maybe I’ll even give my answers. But what’s the worst advice someone gave you about marriage?
Andrew: I remember going to a – it was called Act Like Men Conference. I don't know if you knew about it. It was back in the day when the Mark Driscoll and the James McDonald crew were doing these men’s conferences. I remember going with a bunch of men. It was in Hamilton. At that time I thought, “Yeah. This is great.” And one of the guys got up there. I think it may have been Mark. But one of them got up there and they talked about how Paul uses – he used failing as an example of the fact that women are more easily deceived,
and, therefore, they need a husband to help them not be so easily deceived. My role is to lead her so that she is not easily deceived.
I don't know if this is what they were trying to do, but how it came across to me was that in most situations, I'm the one who’s going to see things more clearly, and my wife’s not. And my job in leading her is to help her be more perceptive, right, to help her be more rational, to be less likely deceived. This was terrible advice for me. First of all, I'm already the personality type that doesn’t need to be told, “You’re probably right.” And second of all, that’s just not true about women at all. Most of the time my wife’s seeing things clearer than I am. She’s a very perceptive person and she’s aware of what’s going on socially in ways that I'm not. She’s paying attention. She’s assessing risk. She’s the one who’s doing that.
I'm the one who’s just like abandon any thinking and just go forward and do something. I'm the one who more easily can be manipulated and deceived into something, you know? She’s not that way at all. So first it hurt my perception of my wife, and then it also hurt us in conflict, right? Because there are so many conflicts where we can’t resolve this conflict because I'm sitting here thinking she’s the woman, so she’s deceived, right, or more easily deceived. So she’s deceived by herself and whatever. And it’s just one, it’s bad ... One, it’s not true. So it’s bad. Two, it’s really harmful for seeing anybody that way, let alone your wife. But this was a teaching – a core teaching – in the church or in the movement that I trusted and that kind of I wore, you know, going into marriage thinking, and then –
Jordan: That was definitely a piece of advice I ... Wow. I think of just even the common thing – and this may be controversial because it does come from scripture, but the whole idea of not going to bed angry, right? Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. And I’ve had to wrestle with that because some of our greatest hurt, I think, and hurt in my friends’ marriages and even in my own, is because I wouldn’t let things go at one a.m. in the morning when we just need to go to bed. You know, like, that – I don't know. Have you heard that before? Don’t go to bed angry at one another and those types of things?
Andrew: Yeah. I'm the one who’s like, no, I need to go to bed angry because I'm not – I'm not going to be able to deal with this.
Jordan: And how often do you wake up and sometimes you’ve flipped the script? Like, they’re going, “I see your perspective.” And the other person wakes up and goes, ‘I see your perspective.” I’ve had to do some wrestling around that and what does that mean for us as a couple because I always felt like everything had to be resolved so we can roll over and kiss goodnight, when, really, that’s not how, practically, it works out. That’s been one. I have another quick question for you is what is one small habit that if you implemented would make the greatest difference in your marriage – one habit?
Andrew: One habit? I think if I ... This is not a small habit. This is once a week taking an actual intentional Sabbath where ... And by Sabbath we mean actually put my phone away and be fully present and be intentional about it, not casual about it. If I just had one Sabbath – I think if we just had one Sabbath together a week as a family, my wife and I would feel more connected. I would talk to her a lot more. I would have – I would ask her good questions, and we would have great conversations, and we’d feel connected.
I would feel present with my family and my kids, which would relieve a lot of frustration in our marriage – her perception of me. I would feel a lot better about myself. My stress levels would be relieved. And yeah, usually that would result in, you know, a date night, or at least enjoying one another’s company. So for me it would be – I was just intentional about taking a Sabbath and intentional about what I did on that day. Everything -- not everything. It’s not a “fix everything,” but it would make a huge difference in our marriage, yeah.
Jordan: Yeah. I think, for us, and mainly for me because it’s a “me” thing, is just the device, man, the phone. I think the jury’s still out on how our devices are bringing division in our marriages, and just not from anything they may cause in and of themselves. It’s my lack of willingness to just put it down and turn it off. I was inspired recently by a pastor that said he turns it off every day at five p.m. when he kind of goes home. And I'm thinking wow, what reality does he live in, right?
Jordan: But that would be the biggest thing for me. You know, Andrew, this has been a pleasure and an honour as we’ve walked through this, and I just want to take a moment just to speak to you, men that might be watching at home, or listening as you drive your car. I just want to encourage you that here at Impactus, our hope is to equip you for a life of purpose and godly impact. And all over our website and our resources, you can find stuff that could help you [walk in 00:37:21] that, whether it’s marriage, pornography, sex addiction, whether ... Also, we’ve got articles on there on fitness. So there’s all sorts of stuff that can help you.
But I do want to bring your attention to something that we’re calling the Husband Challenge – seven days, and it begins the week before Valentine’s. And our hope is that – well, actually, by the time this is posted, it’ll be just about starting. So I want to encourage you, if you haven’t already signed up for that, it’s seven days long with a daily devotional, and a challenge, and a conversation prompt to help in your marriage. And we truly believe it’ll be encouraging to you, and so we want to encourage you to jump on over there.
And let us know what you thought. I would love to hear the worst piece of advice someone gave you about marriage before you got married. And so, if you’re watching on social media, feel free to hit that in the comments. Or if you’re on YouTube, write it in the comments. But don’t hesitate to reach out blessed, and have an awesome week. Thanks guys.
Andrew: Yeah, thanks.
Jordan: Thanks for listening to the Impactus podcast. To learn more about living a life of purpose and godly impact, check out Impactus dot org.