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The Marriage Podcast for Smart People

A Relationships, Family and Health podcast
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With over 1,000,000 downloads...we have the research, the truth, and the answers you're looking for.

You’re not satisfied with your marriage. You’re afraid of ending up alone--but married. Or maybe you fear losing your marriage entirely. Look, we know how tough marriage can be but, like you, we believe marriage should be forever. Many have told us that these weekly shows have helped them to create a marriage they love today and they’re going to treasure for a lifetime. You can see their comments in our reviews. Listen, you don’t have to be unhappy in your marriage. Or alone. Or even considering divorce. Start your marriage towards enjoyment and security today: first, subscribe to our podcast. Second, get our worksheets and other bonus content via Patreon. Third, build a thriving, passionate marriage! Who are we? Caleb has his Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy and brings you solid, research-based marriage advice once a week through this show. Verlynda keeps his two feet firmly planted on planet Earth! Together, we bring you The Marriage Podcast for Smart People from


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Recent Episodes

How Prayer Impacts Marriage
Often, people see tension between spirituality and the field of psychology. Academics seem to look down on matters of belief as unintellectual, and the faithful sometimes think that scientists are secular opponents to all religion. However, research is continuing to indicate that expressions of faith have tangible, measurable benefits. This holds particularly true about prayer. Marriage Affects Cardiovascular Health Marital strain and conflict can have a direct effect on your heart. In fact, researchers have found that these factors correlate with poorer cardiovascular health. In one study, they found that one of the large chambers of the heart, the left ventricle, thickens in response to marital distress. This thickening is closely associated with a decrease in heart function along with other cardiovascular issues. So experiencing stress in your marriage will physically affect your heart. Surprisingly, prayer can reverse negative impacts on the heart.  Prayer Affects Cardiovascular Health A new study came out this year that examined the impact of daily prayer on your health, specifically what is known as daily partner-focused petitionary prayer (PFPP). This kind of prayer, while quite a mouthful, simply refers to speaking with God using your own words and language. You can contrast this against memorized or liturgical prayer–not because one is better than the other, but just as a way to define the scope of the study. PFPP is praying to God for your well-being as well as the well-being of your spouse. It focuses on asking for support for the challenges you are facing in marriage. The study found that PFPP had a positive impact on relationship communication and quality as well as certain specifics of cardiovascular functionality. This type of prayer reduces the strain of daily stress on the heart and improves its efficiency. Prayer Affects Marital Health Not only does this kind of prayer have positive benefits for your cardiovascular health, it also helps enhance your marriage. Researchers have found that prayer that focuses on your spouse improves relational satisfaction, particularly as marriages mature. In a study by Fincham and Beach, they found that this enhanced satisfaction in relationships led to an overall increase in commitment. A second study by Fincham and Beach confirmed their findings. As couples pray for each other, they find greater satisfaction in their relationship. And as that grows, they become more committed to one another. And yet another study discovered that when you pray for your spouse, you become more willing to sacrifice for them, more so than merely having positive thoughts about them.  Intentional prayer in and for your marriage helps you enjoy your relationship and leads to a deeper, more intimate connection with your spouse. How Prayer Impacts Marriage Prayer can be an effective tool to take a hard, honest look at your marriage, so we’ve put together a worksheet that will help you evaluate where you are in your relationship with your spouse. We’ve made it available to all of our supporters on Patreon, so go and check out how you can use prayer to intentionally reflect on your relationship. Get the Worksheet! Prayer Motivates Kindness An essential factor in examining prayer is how it affects your thinking. For example, a study in 1990 took a look at how prayer affects your intentions and willingness to engage in certain behaviors that influence relationship functioning. This study found that when you pray for your spouse, you are primed to think about them with more love and compassion. As a result, you will start to show greater respect and sensitivity to them. How does this work? Think about what happens when you argue. Before the conflict, you feel in tune with your spouse, having the same goals in life. But as soon as the fight starts, new, selfish purposes appear that clash with those of your spouse. However,
Why Church Leaders are Vulnerable to Infidelity and Pornography (& What To Do About It)
Being in a position of spiritual leadership is a challenge. While people will admit that pastors are just as human as everyone else, the standards and visibility on them are much higher. These higher expectations can make them especially vulnerable to infidelity and pornography. Rather than entering into this conversation as a way to condemn, the goal here is to help spiritual leaders proactively seek to prevent moral failure. After all, their potential moral failure has an even higher impact, affecting not just the pastor and their family, but their ministry and congregation as well. So in pointing out potential weak spots and blind spots, spiritual leaders will learn how to deal with the struggles that are common to people in their position. By becoming aware of these tendencies, they can learn to defend against them and protect themselves and their ministry. How Common Is This Problem? Ray Carrol, a former pastor, wrote “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World” after his own marital infidelity. In his research, he found that this issue was surprisingly common. In an anonymous survey, 33% of pastors admitted to crossing the line with a woman not their spouse without having been caught. In another study, the respondents revealed that one in nine pastors (around 11%) had committed adultery. Similar findings were discovered in a survey of 277 Southern Baptist pastors. 14% were involved in some inappropriate sexual activity. 10% disclosed that they had a sexual relationship with either a present or former member of the church. Of course, our intent is not to single out the Southern Baptist denomination! But data from individual denominations can point to a systemic issue that extends beyond denominational boundaries. Besides the problem of sexual indiscretion, pastors may also struggle with pornography and sexual addiction. Internet pom has become a significant pastime for ministers as well as church members. Christianity Today surveyed pastors and discovered that 18% of the pastors visit a pornographic site at least twice a month, with some visiting more than once a week. Again, the point of mentioning these statistics is not to vilify or to condemn leaders, but to help leaders find healthy ways to deal with the problems common to people in their position. What Motivates Male Infidelity? While there are women in positions of spiritual leadership, the majority of data we have specifically addresses males. So for our female readers, we ask that you translate the data we present, as our research scarcely addressed the infidelity of female leaders. Men who commit infidelity can be motivated by several factors: any one of these or a combination of them: PowerOpportunityNarcissismDesire for Instant GratificationLack of Discipline / Self-controlFalse Feelings of InvincibilityDelusions of GrandeurCorroding Family / Marital RelationshipsJustification of Selfish Choices (i.e. lack of sex) The Burdens of Pastors or Clergy Church leaders are a very busy group of people. They suffer from a congregational expectation (explicit or not) that the local church is their priority, even more so than family. Because of the amount of attention the church requires, it can be challenging to relax at home and make time for their family. Their long hours usually come in the context of spiritual calling and purpose. As a result, pastors can exhaust themselves emotionally, intellectually, and physically. And because they overstretch themselves, their capacity for intimacy and connection with their spouse diminishes, leading to a fading relationship at home. This is because they are responsible for more than the logistical concerns of the church. They are also responsible for the emotional burdens of their parishioners. As pastors, they are expected to empathize with and even solve those burdens, eating away at the emotional reserves needed to connect with their spouse. Additionally,
Is My Spouse a Sex Addict?
The road to discovering your spouse’s sexual addiction takes many forms. Sometimes, compulsive sexual behavior can be completely hidden for years before it is found out. It may happen as a single, devastating revelation or as a series of smaller discoveries.   Perhaps you already knew about their sexual compulsivity but hoped that marriage would somehow temper this behavior. But each promise that your spouse makes to change becomes yet another broken commitment. Sexual addiction can have devastating consequences for the addict as well as their spouse. It’s essential to understand what it is, how to diagnose it, what causes it, and what a healthy path forward looks like for a marriage dealing with sex addiction. Defining Sex Addiction While still relatively new to psychology, sexually compulsive behavior is becoming an increasingly recognized phenomenon with a reasonably well-defined set of features. It is not merely an extension of a Christian worldview. Regardless of their religious background, a large number of researchers and therapists now specialize in the treatment of sex addiction. The point of this article is not to preach against or shame sexual desire. After all, sex addiction is not necessarily about having a high sex drive. Just because you or your spouse enjoys having sex does not make either of you a sex addict. Only You Forever has several certified sex addiction therapists on our team. We have years of experience in working with sex addicts, and we know how crucial it is not to confuse the enjoyment of sex with sexual addiction. Sex addiction involves sexual expression or activity that is excessive, problematic, or out of control in either men or women. It can look like hypersexual or destructive sexual behaviors characterized by compulsivity, secrecy, or continuation of a behavior in spite of negative consequences. These behaviors are harmful to at least one person if not more. The addict, their spouse, their lover, their family, their employer, or other members of society can be affected by their behavior. These effects span economic, health-related, psychological, social, or relational impacts. It is a real problem, one that takes a substantial amount of courage and commitment to address. But recovery is possible. Diagnosing Sex Addiction DSM-V Proposal The North American standard for articulating diagnostic criteria for disorders (the DSM-V, or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition) has not yet officially addressed sex addiction. However, a hypersexual disorder has been proposed. Based on this proposal, individuals must have the following symptoms: Over a period of at least six months, recurrent and intense sexual fantasies, sexual urges, and sexual behavior in association with four or more of the following five criteria:Excessive time is consumed by sexual fantasies and urges, and by planning for and engaging in sexual behavior.Repetitively engaging in these sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior in response to dysphoric mood states (e.g., anxiety, depression, boredom, and irritability).Repetitively engaging in sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior in response to stressful life events.Repetitive but unsuccessful efforts to control or significantly reduce these sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior.Repetitively engaging in sexual behavior while disregarding the risk for physical or emotional harm to self or others.There is clinically significant personal distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning associated with the frequency and intensity of these sexual fantasies, urges, and behaviors. In other words, it is impacting the quality of your life.These sexual fantasies, urges, and behaviors are not due to direct physiological effects of exogenous substances (e.g., drugs of abuse or medications), a co-occurring general medical condition, or manic episodes.
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Podcast Details
May 16th, 2014
Latest Episode
Sep 11th, 2019
Release Period
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Avg. Episode Length
22 minutes

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