Video Teaching: 40 Years Of Marriage
Barry and Lori Byrne share ten things they have learned through their forty years of marriage.
BARRY: Hi, everybody.
LORI: Hi, guys.
BARRY: We’re a little later today; we were helping set up for our Single Life Workshop starting tomorrow. But on Sunday, Sunday was our fortieth wedding anniversary.
LORI: We were in church, and during worship Barry looks over at me, and he goes, “Happy Anniversary.” And I went, “Oh!” And we both had forgotten. But this happens all the time because we don’t ever celebrate our anniversary on the day. And we went to Cancun in April for it, so – but it was kind of fun going, “Oh my gosh, this is our birthday – I mean our anniversary.”
BARRY: Forty years together in our marriage and really, really thankful for what all God has done for us. And we feel actually very blessed. And part of our ministry, I think, is an obligation for us to give away some of the good things that the Lord has given to us – give it to you, to other people the best we can. And we put together a list of ten things –
LORI: Just in about ten minutes.
LORI: We just thought, “What are the things that come to our mind?” So, this is not exhaustive,
LORI: and it’s probably not complete.
LORI: But it’s things that we both thought of.
BARRY: So, we just wrote down the ideas. We’ll just talk through them a little bit with you. We haven’t prepared that too much. But the first thing we both thought of is it’s a mutual commitment to a real relationship with God. And that existed before we met each other. God is important to us, and it’s important for both of us to make that relationship as real as we can, not just a form thing that we do but really listening to God, having His words mean something to us. So we do the best we can to live the way He tells us to live, what we learn from Him, to be able to go to Him to confess things when we need to.
LORI: And even just as a wife, having a husband that loves God more than he loves me – which is a wonderful thing – I know that if we’re having something going on between us, and we’re upset, or there’s something going on, I always have this confidence that if it’s a time where I’m right and he’s wrong, that he will go to God, and God will speak to him.
BARRY: Those times have been very few, by the way.
LORI: And it happens the other way of course, too. But we both have that confidence that God is important enough to each of us that we’re going to give Him preeminence in our relationship, even in our own choices of what we do or what we decide. And so, it’s happened numerous times in our lives where I’ve just had to go, “Okay, Lord.” And the Lord will just tell me, “Be quiet,” you know? And sure enough, he will go to God, and God will speak to him. And we’ll be able to work things out, and vice versa – it works that way, too. But it brings a lot of peace and a lot of confidence knowing that the buck stops with God because He’s a wonderful life coach.
BARRY: And it brings unity; it keeps us together, just having God connect us. I just looked at the time; we’ve gone three minutes. We’ll do thirty minutes if we keep going this slow.
LORI: Oh, no. Okay.
BARRY: Secondly is just not keeping secrets. And again, I would say this did not begin after we got married, but that was something that we both brought into the marriage – just a commitment to being open and honest and speaking the truth and trusting each other. And so, we talked; we told each other what’s going on in our lives. And if you’ve been to Single Life or to LAM, you know we talk about this. I talked about how we started with nothing hidden even while we were dating.
LORI: And people always say, “Well, do you let your spouse read your iPhone?” And I go, “Yeah.” It’s not a separate thing. We don’t have separate bank accounts. We don’t – what else do we say? We don’t keep a different schedule.
BARRY: Go on to number three, sharing our life together.
LORI: Yeah. No separate bank accounts – it’s kind of like my money is your money,
LORI: because it’s for the greater good for both of us. And my bank account became his, even though when I sent it to him I didn’t know how to balance my checkbook. And so, I just had all these outstanding checks, and that was a big mess.
BARRY: So, the point number three is we really shared our life together. When we came together, it wasn’t my money, her money; it was our money. It was our life, our house. And there were things like in the house, Lori was – she worked some outside the home, but she was primarily a stay-at-home mom raising our kids. And I thought, “That’s her place,” so her ideas of what she wanted in the house were really important to me, more so than mine in many ways. And anyway, so we really shared things together.
LORI: And we work to keep our schedules as similar as we can. Sometimes you can’t get up at the same time or go to bed at the same time, but you can go and lay down and be with each other and pray or talk for a little bit if the other is going to sleep early. But those times in the evening and the morning are really precious to be able to just have a few minutes to bless each other’s spirits or just say, “Good morning,” or share a dream that you had. You know, there’s so much that happens going to bed or getting up in the morning.
BARRY: Yeah. So, number four is just connecting with each other, connecting with each other daily. And you know, I know there are people that say, “Oh, we go, and we connect; we have a date night, this and that.” For us, it’s like –
LORI: And that’s good.
LORI: That’s good to have a date night.
BARRY: Yeah. But to feel like we don’t connect well the rest of time, it just would feel so unfulfilling to us, rather than having daily times where we talk and share with each other. And that’s where we try to keep our schedules together so that we can talk and share and get up at a similar time. Lots of times when I’d get up for work, I’d get up earlier, but she’d get up before I leave, and we’d have some time together and breakfast together and things.
LORI: And we walk and we pray together, and we’ve said that a lot. But that’s been a mainstay in our lives because we’re getting exercise, but we’re with the Lord. In that time that we’re praying, sometimes we’re working through conflict, you know, or we’re working through fights or disconnection, or we’re praying for our kids, or we’re processing something that we want to talk about. And that has been huge, because that means – and we hold to that. We’ll get up and do that when it’s raining – we have rain gear – or when it was snowing. Or when it’s really hot, we’ll get up early in the morning. But that time to be able to check in with God and with each other has become a real mainstay in our lives, wouldn’t you say?
BARRY: Absolutely, yep. Okay. I’m just going to move on. I was looking at the list while we were talking.
LORI: We have too many things on here.
BARRY: I know. And just being intentional about our time together. Number five is being quick to reconcile. And we talked about the difference between reconciling and working through conflict. And reconciling happens when we’ve done something to hurt the other person, intentionally or unintentionally even, or we’ve done something wrong – to own our stuff, to let myself feel how it’s hurt her, and –
LORI: We have that tool in our tool booklet, and we teach it in our workshops. But we really use it.
BARRY: Yeah, we’ve had to use it. And being pretty quick to reconcile – not letting walls come in between us of hurt and pain and separate; that’s one of the ways that couples get – couples who really love each other and really want to have a good marriage and don’t reconcile, and not all of a sudden but gradually over time, they feel separated and don’t know how to reconnect. So, that’s one of the reasons people don’t reconcile.
LORI: And another thing we’ve learned and we’ve done all throughout our lives, not perfectly, but we have chosen to not run away from conflict but to work through conflict as soon as we can.
BARRY: It’s number six for those of you who are counting – working through conflict.
LORI: Yeah. And you know, sometimes you’re really mad, and you don’t want to talk. You know, you could spend a day or so – we try to use self-control and get back. Sometimes if we’re so angry, we just want to calm down and be able to not say something we’ll be sorry for, we’ll do that. But most of the time we will work through it, probably the day of. And again, we have another tool that you can use in our little tool booklets or our tool app –
BARRY: To work through conflict.
LORI: Yes, to work through conflict. But that is really important because when you’re used to being connected, when you are disconnected, it’s very uncomfortable. Sometimes people that have come to our workshops have been disconnected for so long, they were shocked of what it felt like to finally be connected in the workshop. And so that’s the opposite of what we’ve felt because we’ve been really intentional. Like I said, we don’t do it perfect. And, you know, we argue, and we’re both very different, so we’re very opinionated, but –
BARRY: We’re both pretty stubborn.
LORI: Yes, we are both very stubborn. But that has been really important for us. We value being connected, and working through conflict is what we both have chosen, even if we don’t want to we do it, in spite of what our feelings are telling us.
BARRY: And just a word about working through conflict. Working through conflict is needed when you have differing opinions about what you need to do together – the things that are going to affect the family, about how we’re going to raise our kids, how we’re going to spend money, how we’re going to spend our time – things like this that we have different opinions about, but we have to come together and make a decision and make an agreement. And one of the things we were talking about this morning in a meeting is when we feel one of us really, really strongly have a very strong conviction about something, stronger than the other – like for instance, if I feel Lori has a very, very strong conviction about something that, “This is the way we should do it; this is what God wants for us,” and I have strong opinions but not as strong, we’ll usually go with the one that has the strongest. And then the other just lets go and says, “Okay. Well, I’ll go with you on that.” And it’s worked out well. And I’m sure sometimes we’ve had to switch and change because it hasn’t worked. The direction wasn’t the best, and we would make adjustments. But it’s that working through differing opinions and coming to an agreement so we can eventually move together.
LORI: And I will say this, that we’ve had times where neither one of us are willing to budge. And that’s been very few and far between because we’re usually pretty much on the same course even though we see things really differently. But in those times, because of what I believe Scripture says, I will go, “Okay. I really strongly think we’re supposed to go this way, but I want to choose your way because I want you to be the covering over our home and the covering over me. And I’m not going to fight you on that.” And like I said, that’s very rare, but we do come to those times, too.
BARRY: So, number seven is just exercising self-control. And for me, those of you who have heard me talking, I can get angry or get at least very strong in what I say – you know, not really mean about it, but I can get angry and irritable. And sometimes, very, very important times in our marriage, there are times when I know I cannot say what I want to say because it would be destructive, because it would be hurtful. Probably most people have felt those things. And when you put them out, when you let them out, they get out there, and you can reconcile, and you can, you know, apologize and do all that. But if you keep putting things out there, it makes it harder and harder to really come together and feel safe. And so self-control – being able to not always have to have my way or I’m angry, and I let just angry words, hurtful words come out – it’s a huge thing in terms of being one and staying connected.
LORI: And we’ve not called each other names or cussed at each other.
BARRY: I call her Lori Lynn. Not bad names.
LORI: But also, we weren’t raised in a home that did that. You know, I think God has different grace for what you were trained in. I think He holds us to a higher standard because we weren’t. So, if we started cussing each other out and screaming at each other, I think that would be really a significant thing. So, that’s not an issue that is very hard for us; we don’t have a hard time not wanting to say really mean, cutting, degrading, horrible things. And it’s shocking to hear what people have grown up with and what they’ve allowed to happen in the relationship. And that’s, I think, what Barry’s talking about with self-control. And whether you grew up with that or not, ask Holy Spirit what He wants you to be doing in that and how that’s manifested.
BARRY: Alright. Number eight is we raised a family together. And there’s a whole lot about this. I’ve been thinking about it lately, and I really believe raising children will kind of reset an adult’s perspective on life, on the world, even on themselves. And it has to do with just, you know, God giving us this innocent little child, and all of a sudden – we grow up, and we get into our teens and young adult years and become kind of independent and take risks and maybe make some bad choices, and then we live with them – but when this little child comes into your world, all of a sudden, to me it’s like a reset of, “Ah, this is innocence and purity again, and I want that for my child. Even if I haven’t lived it so well in my young adult years, I want it again. I want it for my child, what I had when I was young.”
LORI: So, it holds you to a higher standard for your kids.
BARRY: Yeah. And I really believe raising a family together – now the key is together. Because you can do that in a way that divides you, like mom gets connected with this child, and dad gets connected with this child or whatever, you know. But doing it together and again, coming to agreement about how you want to parent so we support each other in that. That’s not all easy, but I would say it was a really good time for us; for me, it was. Raising our family together was a blessing from God.
LORI: It didn’t feel hard because we were both a hundred percent in. We were both kind of carrying the load, and it was a delight. We loved being with our kids, and we still do. Even as adult children, they are still a priority to us, even over ministry. And you know, everybody’s so busy, but we work really hard to have regular, intentional time with each one of them. And that is – that has just been a blessing in our lives.
BARRY: Okay. So, number nine – we could talk a lot about it more, but we don’t want to keep you too long here today. Number nine is serving people outside of our family. And so, we’ve been busy people. You know, we had our family; we spent time with them. We had work, house stuff, but we always also made time for ministry in the church. And I didn’t actually add up the years, but I think it was about twenty years where we had people living in our home.
LORI: At least, yeah.
BARRY: And one, two, three, four people living in our home besides our children. And so, we were always giving outside, and our children saw that. And they still do that.
LORI: Our children were giving to the people that lived in our home all through the years.
BARRY: Yeah. And in my opinion, if you live your life to primarily serve yourself, you’re not going to be very happy. Actually, it doesn’t matter about my opinion because Jesus said there’s more blessing in giving than receiving, and so it’s just a good thing. And we were able to do that as a family to a significant extent.
LORI: Yeah, that’s good, Barry B.
BARRY: And as husband and wife.
BARRY: So, last –
LORI: Taking risks together to follow the Lord as He has led. We’ve done this all throughout our lives – when it was time to leave my mom and dad’s church, and the Lord was leading us somewhere else. And then when the Lord led Barry out of working at Alpha Center where he was the overseer; he was the – what was your title there?
BARRY: Executive Director.
LORI: The Executive Director of a counseling center. And he went out on private practice all by himself in his late forties. And then <Video Glitch – possibly going on staff with Bethel>
BARRY: And I was 50.
LORI: And all the changes that have come. It’s like the Lord asks you to take those risks because He’s preparing you for what you were to be put on the earth and do, the purpose of why you were born. I mean, that’s what we found out. We’re now sixty-four and sixty-six, and we realize that we’re living out why we were born. But all these things – He gives you time to respond and to learn; it’s training. And you can either say yes or no to Him. If you don’t want to risk and you want to – we could have said no on any one of those things, and He would have still loved us and blessed us. But I think there’s something very significant about saying yes even though it’s hard but you know it’s God. And I can remember our youngest son, when it was time for us to move up here to Redding, he was in his junior year; he was playing basketball. He had friends, etc. When we told him we were – you know, we’d been talking to him about it, and we finally made the decision to move. And he goes, “Well, I don’t want to go, but I know this is God. And I know that if it’s God, I need to do it.” And he went with that attitude. And when we moved up here, he was probably more settled and put in place and enjoying himself sooner than any of the rest of us were, because he was obedient even if he didn’t want to.
BARRY: Yeah. So one thing I wanted to reinforce about what Lori was is saying here is that when God is leading us, it’s important that we’re together.
LORI: Not just one of us making a decision and dragging the other one along.
BARRY: Like the move here and some things that happened around that time, it was a really hard time for us financially. After we had been really well set in Orange County and good income and stuff, we came and had a significant drop in income and just a lot of financial challenges for a while, until we got resettled. And during that time, Lori never criticized or complained or said, “Why did you…” you know, put it on me or anything and blaming me for the hardship and stuff because we were together in the decision. And so that was really critical.
LORI: And the Lord had given us so much revelation together. When you have lots of revelation for something that you’re going to do, watch out because it’s because you’re going to need it. And that really helped get us through.
BARRY: So Lord, we thank You for You’ve done for us over the last forty years. And I just want to bless all of you, anybody listening out there, with hope and expectation for good and godly relationships and the willingness to invest in them. Not just to believe, “Oh, because I’m a Christian, or because I want this, it’s going to happen,” but to be able to give yourself to follow the Lord in your relationships as much as you would in anything else in life, because He wants to support you in this. And Lord, I just pray that these relationships will increase because the world needs to see them. It needs to see good, Godly husbands and wives, parents and children, working together.
BARRY: And I ask this in Jesus’ name.