Episode notes

Sometimes, it’s hard to know where to go to get experienced advice about building a strong marriage.

In this episode, we learn how to live a life of faith that is manifested in our marriage and family with special guest Al Baird, author of A Lifetime of Love: Building and Growing Your Marriage.

Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the LORD protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. [2] It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.

Psalm 127:1-2 NLT

God, the creator of everything good, has a plan for how to build our homes. When we look to him and do things his way, our marriages become strong. When we don’t, we have a tendency to mess things up. 

Marriage is a melding together of two totally different people, with different likes and dislikes, and different ways of approaching life. Without God, we will find ourselves in conflict with each other at times as we naturally tend to think our own way is right. God helps us understand each other and has the power to bring us together so that our unique strengths make us stronger than we could ever be alone. 

Through lessons learned from Al and Gloria’s 56 years of marriage and counseling other couples, this episode helps us make marriage an adventure and enjoy each other through all stages of our lives.

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About our guest

Al and Gloria Baird were both born in Texas. They met, fell in love, and married while still in college. After Al finished his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Texas in Austin, they moved to Boston for his first job and to be a part of a church planting. After 15 years in physics research, they decided that Al would give up his physics career and both of them would go into the full-time ministry as a part of a dynamic new church which eventually met in the Boston Garden. 

Al and Gloria not only helped to shepherd and lead that church but also served as leaders by planting churches in the Middle East. After 25 years in Boston, they moved to Los Angeles to serve that church. And then 22 years later, in their mid-70s they moved to Phoenix to be near one of their daughters and her family, as well as to work with the Phoenix church. 

God blessed their 56 years of marriage with three wonderful daughters, who are all Christians, three best-friend sons-in-law, and nine grandchildren. 

While Al and Gloria were writing A Lifetime of Love, God called Gloria home to paradise, temporarily pausing an incredible love affair.

References (scriptures and resources)


Russ Ewell 0:13
Welcome to Deep spirituality. We’re excited today to take a little side road here from our parables series that we’re doing, because I had the great fortune to have al beard in our studio and to talk about the great adventure of marriage and family. And owl has known me since I was a wee lad, and he has a gray hair to show for it. And I want you to be able to benefit from all I’ve learned and so many hundreds and 1000s of people live learn from him about living a life of faith that is manifested in your marriage in your family. First I want to tell you a little bit about Alan Gloria. And they’ve written a book that I’ll refer to in a bit. Alan Gloria were born in Texas they met fell in love and marry while still in college. After our finished his PhD in physics from the University of Texas in Austin, they moved to Boston for his first job and to be part of the church planting. After 15 years in physics research, they decided that Al would give up his physics career. And both of them would go into the full time ministry as a part of a dynamic new church, which eventually met in the Boston Garden owl and Gloria not only helped to shepherd and lead that church, but also serves as leaders for planting churches in the Middle East. After 25 years in Boston, they moved to Los Angeles to serve that church. And then 22 years later, in their mid 70s. They moved to Phoenix to be near one of their daughters and her family, as well as to work with the Phoenix church. God bless their 56 years of marriage with three wonderful daughters who are all disciples of Jesus three best friend’s son in law’s and nine grandchildren while writing this book, God called Gloria home to paradise temporarily pausing and incredible love affair. And so it’s great to have you on out, I want to tell the folks story before I get you in here, because it’s a good story. And I don’t even know for sure if you know it. And that’s why when I sent the notes, I didn’t include the story in there. So our full the full story in there. So everybody who’s listening. And of course, we thank you for listening. I know some of you listening in your car, some of you listening, as you’re chillin in the backyard, maybe a barbecue and maybe you’re doing laundry, maybe you’re trying to spend a little devotional time with God in the morning, I have a story for you, and you’re gonna enjoy this podcast. I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited out. And I’ve already been talking a little bit. But I was married. And we went on our honeymoon and March of 1989. And we were on our honeymoon. And we were coming back from the honeymoon. And everything had been going great. And then we got into an argument and I can’t remember the arguments right now. But I can’t remember the argument about period actually, it was something ridiculous that you get married, you get in arguments when you’re young married. So we were going to DC for work. And so we were going to be in Washington, DC. So we’re stopping we were coming back from our honeymoon, we stopped in DC. And as we were getting off the plane, we got into this thing and I had no idea what to do. I was like paralyzed I didn’t know what to say. I thought if I say something else, I’m gonna make another mistake. I already made a mistake. I didn’t know what to think I had nothing in my memory banks for experience to know what to do in this situation, having been primarily with Guy roommates for you know, the last five years of my life or whatever it had been. And so I said, I gotta I gotta get some help. And is a long time ago. So I had to go to a payphone. And so I went out to the payphone. And I go I know I gotta call out I asked the guy got a call. And so I get the get my money I put the put the money in the in the old payphone. And I know a lot of you’re laughing out there. A lot of you guys who are younger, you’re sitting and what’s a payphone and you go up to it, you put money in it, and you get to talk for a little while and you had put more money and if you want to talk longer, or you put a credit card in. And so I call the house in I had been over to Alan glorious house many, many times. And Gloria picks up and I’m desperate. I’m like, Hey, Gloria is out there. Because I was kind of the guy I was talking to when I gotten these conundrums about something that was complicated in life. And she goes, Oh, no, Al’s gone. He’s an appointment. And I was like, and you know, I’m like, I wasn’t crying. But I was like, I was thinking about it. And, and so I got, man. I said, Gloria, I’m in trouble. Right. Here. She goes, What’s going on? So I explained the whole situation. And I’ll never forget Gloria she goes Russ, and I can’t do an imitation of Gloria’s voice. But you know, she has, it’s that it’s sort of Texas, Texas, Boston, accent at the same time.

She goes, Russ, I’m going to give you a piece of advice. You’re going to need to learn something. So what do I got to learn? She goes, marriage is an adventure. She goes you’re taking yourself way too seriously. Marriage is an adventure. And I was like, it’s an adventure. She says yeah, even if you’re making mistakes, even if something went wrong, it’s a journey and it’s an adventure. Just enjoy the adventure in this she gave me specifics about go back. You know, I know apology was involved in there, go back talk to Gail. And and you guys just need to relax and just enjoy it. This is just the beginning. And it’s why I’ve titled our podcast today our the great adventure of marriage and family and she left me with a scripture, and it happened to be a scripture in your book. And for those who want to read Al’s book, there’ll be a link in the show notes to this podcast. And she said, Psalm 127. So I read it, and I read it every day. For the first three years of our marriage, pretty much I’d read it every day or anytime I got a jam. Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects the city, guarding it with centuries will do no good. It is useless for you to work as hard work so hard, from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food eat for God gives rest to his loved ones. Our thanks for coming on and talking about the great adventure of marriage and family. Did you know that story? Or was that the first time you’ve heard it?

Al Baird 5:58
No, I hadn’t heard that one. If I heard you I forgot it. I don’t think he did. I remember, surprise me at all. That’s exactly what she would do. Oh, well, she

Russ Ewell 6:07
pulled me out. I’ll tell you what it was it was an amazing, amazing thing. One of the reasons why I have to have you on today is because there are a lot of people have been talking to me. And they talk to me all the time over the years, about marriage and family. And sometimes there’s not a good place a really simple place to go. To be able to get some experience advice, or maybe people are talking to each other. And even though they’re trying to help each other. None of them has the experience of it. But can you tell me just why at the beginning of your book, you do quote Psalm 127? Why do you consider that sort of a bedrock passage of scripture to help people when it comes to building marriage and family?

Al Baird 6:46
Well, I think first of all, it’s not just in marriage is in every phase of life, is that God has got to be at the center of it. Because God created everything good. He created marriage. And so if he created it, he has a plan for how the way it needs to work, right. And so obviously, then, we need to go to the source of the creation, and that’s the Creator to see his plan. And so if we don’t do it God’s way, that we’re gonna mess it up, right. And that’s the whole idea of unless God builds a house, where labor is all fruitless, it’s not going to work. And that’s why so many marriages fail, is because people don’t first of all, go to God and see what his plan for it is. And then try to implement that plan in the marriage.

Russ Ewell 7:35
Wow, you know, one of the in your chapter one, where you talk about making God the architect, you put a line in there that says marriage is first and foremost a spiritual relationship. It’s a line that stuck with me from beginning to the end of the book. Can you help us understand what that means? And why it’s foundational to understand and believe that marriage is first and foremost, a spiritual relationship?

Al Baird 7:58
Well, I think a lot of people that are drawn to the idea of marriage, or are you in the physical relationship or whatever, because I think it it primarily is physical satisfaction. All right, but But marriage is much, much deeper than that is a spiritual contract, if you will, a spiritual relationship. That is, is is, involves three people, right? It involves the husband and the wife and God, working together and trying to see how it is that God wants us to interact with each other in our relationship, not only with each other, but with God. And to me that the real adventure in marriage comes when when a husband and wife together, can’t can go to God and walk in relationship with God and have that relationship that they share freely with each other. And it becomes a standard for marriage.

Russ Ewell 8:49
You know, it’s interesting, because I was never a religious person going up or anything. And so I never thought of God as being able to do a lot to solve relationship problems or hold things together. We have 1000s of people listening today. And a number of them don’t necessarily believe in God, we have people who go to church, some that don’t go to church. See, we have some people who are atheists and agnostics that will communicate with us and they feel like it’s really helpful to listen to some of the things they probably believe that a lot of this is Wisdom literature, as opposed to you know, the sacred word of God, which is fine. We welcome everybody to come on board. But how would it how would a person go about sort of making their relationship spiritual if it hasn’t been whether they go to church or don’t go to church, whether they consider those a Christian or don’t consider work? What’s a good starting point to put God at the center of your marriage and make it more spiritual? Can you give some tips on that?

Al Baird 9:47
Well, the first thing is to realize that that when two people husband wife come together, we’re basically selfish people. I mean, we we have what we Like we have our own tastes, we have our own ideas. And that’s fine. I mean, God creates us that way. But marriage is a melding together of two totally different people with different ideas with different concepts with different likes and dislikes. And if we, if we don’t have the help of God, the third party, we end up in conflict with each other. Because we, by nature think that that my idea and my way of thinking is the right way is to always the way I’ve done it, oh, boy, and coming to understand the other person’s perspective, yeah, is one of the really Adventures of marriage and quite frankly, and we were married 56 years, and we were still working on that idea. Yeah, totally understand each other, and how to please each other. But it’s back to the idea that that, to me, the the thing that makes it successful, is to really believe that that I didn’t come up with this idea of marriage, there was a creator that created it, and he created. So it would bring joy and happiness and fulfillment in life, not just not just to populate the world, but to really be a place that was if you will retreat in life, that we can go to each other. And if you don’t have that idea, then it becomes just my idea versus your idea. And there’s always going to be a sense of conflict, if that’s all you have, if you don’t have a source of authority, if you will, an overall umbrella that you trust, that we can go to this source of truth, and find the answers to what how we can really fulfill each other. And that, to me, is one of the real joys of life. It’s what makes me one of the things that makes me believe in God is to see how well two people can get along together. When you try doing it with the way that God says to do it a lot shorter, the proof is in the pudding. Yeah, that when you when you try it, it really works. And when you don’t do it, you mess it up.

Russ Ewell 12:15
Well, you know, what I like about what you’re talking about, is I know you’re not saying it’s simple, but the plan is simple. And if we just if we’ll just embrace the plan. And it sounds to me like you’re saying, one of the keys for error, all of this is we have to commit to God and commit to the Bible. And I saw that throughout your your your book, that there was a commitment to Scripture, the book, a lifetime of love by Allen, Gloria Baird, you can get it on Amazon, and pick up a copy. And again, the show notes will have a link so you can go straight to it. But it seems like you’re talking about being committed to God committed to the scriptures and everything I hear you saying, I kept as you were talking, I kept thinking about Psalm 119, which is a great song for people to read, if they want to get faith in the Word of God, and all it can do, I kept thinking, you’re you, you’re laying out a blueprint of faith that comes from the Scriptures. And so I would encourage people, hey, get yourself a Bible, start reading the Bible, even if you don’t believe in it. And as Al said, you’ll see proof by how your life changes and gets better when you read it. You know, there’s in chapter three of the book, a lifetime of love. The quote that I really enjoyed there, or the point I really enjoyed there, it says marriages come in all different shapes and sizes. And I think that’s kind of an underrated view, about marriage. And I know for us in our marriage, and in I was coming to your house when I was a wee little college kid, and in you were there when I got married and beyond. I think it was something I had to kind of come to grips with that. My marriage wasn’t going to be exactly like anyone else’s. And sometimes I think we don’t always understand that. The way our marriages bill, whether it’s the balance of talents that the wife and the husband have the interest, the way we collaborate or the way we complement each other, it’s all going to look different. And sometimes I think we get discouraged maybe when we don’t have a marriage like somebody else, instead of trying to develop the marriage that we have. And then sometimes we can be judgmental of other people’s marriages, because they don’t operate like our marriage operates. Can you speak to the idea of marriage coming in all different shapes and sizes, and what you’re thinking there and elaborate on that a little bit?

Al Baird 14:37
When I say it’s interesting is, you know, we’ve, through the years done a lot of marriage counseling, and a lot of pre marriage counseling. And one of the things that quite often happens is that a man and a woman and dating will think boy we have we are so alike. We like the same things. We do this we do. that. And man, we just we’d love the same movies. We love the same places to eat all these kinds of things. Yeah. And then you get married to say, man, we are so different. We don’t even agree on how to put the toilet paper in. When you start living together all the time you find out we’re really differ Oh, yeah, we have different tastes and different ideas, different philosophies. And to be on a really adventurous of marriage is, is not trying to change each other. But rather trying to complement it and drawing on the strengths of each other and building something even bigger and better than you would have in yourself. Because you put together the strengths of two people in a synergistic way. It becomes a very powerful, dynamic and very powerful team.

Russ Ewell 15:56
You know, as you’re talking, I’m laughing because I’m like, I resemble every remark and every comment you just made there of in the dating, hey, I got this totally under control. Man, this is great. And I’ll never forget, I had a hit when I was I was like, let’s watch a movie. And I love westerns. I was like, We got to watch Western. We got to watch. We got to watch her Western. And Gail was like, what? And I was like, Oh, and you know, it was all downhill from there of going. Oh, yeah. And right down to like you said the toilet paper. One of the things that comes to my mind is in chapter four, when you talk about loving one another, you gave five principles for loving one another. And, and I in and when I saw the five, I was like, huh, I wish I’d read those, like, six months or a year before I got married. And the five are unconditional love and acceptance, emotional intimacy and great communication, spiritual intimacy, encouragement, and affirmation and companionship. And I read those and I was like, man, if, if I could just get those down, you know, I could transform my marriage, if I could just do chapter four. But I couldn’t get through chapter one through three yet. So I was like, I gotta you know, it’s a little challenging. Tell me if you can, or I shouldn’t say tell me, but tell us if you can. Why did you pick those five? Or what was your thinking and picking those five?

Al Baird 17:28
I think it’s, as you go through life. And you look back and you reflect and you say, Okay, what what was it that worked with us? But also with all the marriage counseling? We did. We saw marriages in every form, you sort of start analyzing, okay, well, what are the things that the marriages that really worked? Well, what were the characteristics of those marriages? And then then for the marriages that really had problems and some unfortunately, ending in divorce? What led to the divorce? Why did people give up on each other? Okay, why did the relationship fail? And so those are five things that we thought were very key and very important in building a successful marriage that that for long term for the long haul. People, the couple enjoyed each other, through all the phases of life.

Russ Ewell 18:23
Wow, I love it. Can you talk a little bit about the difference between emotional intimacy and spiritual intimacy?

Al Baird 18:31
Well, I think the the emotional intimacy is I mean, some of us are introverts, some of us are extroverts. GLORIA loved deep conversations. I’m more of a typical guy that answers in three word answers.

And always, Gloria would always say what what do you what do you think about this? What do you feel about this one? I don’t have a clue what I felt. And and so I have to stop and think about this. I mean, what do you want to know? Why are you asking me that? I mean, why, why is this so important? Yeah. It’s it’s one of the authors that I’ve enjoyed through the years, he said that, that guys have nothing place. Nothing place is where we go and you don’t think about a thing. And I could be sitting there and watching TV and Gloria say, What are you thinking about? Nothing really wasn’t. And she couldn’t understand how can how could you been thinking about anything? But but if there’s a we are different people? Yeah, there’s some things a characteristic of men and women, right but But even among men, or even among When we are just different people, right, and to, to link up and enjoy each other emotionally, is to enjoy the things the other enjoys emotionally and try to understand where the other person is coming from emotionally. Wow. And that is very different than the spiritual intimacy, spiritual intimacy is is together, going to God for His guidance this direction. I don’t even remember why. But we decided on our honeymoon, that we would start praying together every day. And we did that then pretty much. Every day that we were together, we would pray for, for guy in bed in the morning, we would pray together. And it would not be a long prayer, right? I mean, it might be two or three minutes, but he’s sort of sort of a sign on with God for the day, right. And then last thing at night, we would, we would pray and we’d normally take turns and whatever. And, and it would not be unusual for one of us to go to sleep during the prayer or whatever. But it was a spiritual intimacy that we wanted to include God in our marriage in our relationship to make him a part of our relationship. So that we knew that if we had issues with each other, we were just for Christmas agreements, or even we were planning for the future or planning for the day, we wouldn’t include God in that we try to bring him into the equation and make him a part of of our relationship together. And that’s, that’s a spiritual intimacy, which to me is very, is significantly different than the emotional intimacy. Right?

Russ Ewell 21:41
Right. And, you know, it’s, it’s interesting, because I think, looking at what you were talking about, and listening to you, I don’t know that I’ve ever taught that clearly to people that those are two investments you have to make, and they’re not the same thing. And they need to be time taken out for it. Also, I remember coming over your house as a college student. And I understand better, I was able to have conversations with you and you and Gloria at the same time. And sometimes when you talk to people that are married you you can talk to the husband or you can talk to the wife and it’s you know, you’re talking to you clearly you’re talking to two different people. And then there are people when you talk to the couple you can be you’re talking to both of them together. And I think some of that is the intimacy that spiritual and emotional, that then allows you to include other people and affect other people together. And I know you talk about it, and we’ll talk about this a little bit with regard to family, that the closest of the marriage affects the children and creates a culture and an environment amongst the children. So if you check out what Alan Gloria listed as these five of foundations really, I think, the unconditional love and acceptance, emotional intimacy and great communication, spiritual intimacy, encouragement and affirmation and companionship, I think they’re not only great for marriage, but I think is we’re going to talk a little bit later when I give you the, the six quick questions. There, there’ll be aiding us in in, in building our families. The thing that struck me in chapter six, and I think a lot of people will will benefit from this is in that chapter, it was titled best friends. You actually quote one of my favorite from a lot of philosophers. From the time I was in high school and college, Frederick Nietzsche, which I’m sure I’m mispronouncing the actual way his name should be pronounced in the quote is, it is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendships. I’m sorry, it is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages Frederick Nietzsche, what What were you thinking when you put that quote in? And what were you trying to tell people in that chapter about the importance of Best Friend of best friends is married couple?

Al Baird 23:51
Well, I think a lot of times when we were in a counseling situation with a couple that were having some marriage problems, one of the one of the questions we’d ask is, do you really love each other? And sometimes they would have a hard time saying yes, but most of the time, say yes, we do love each other. But but then we say, Okay, would you say you’re really best friends with each other? And usually the answer that was really no, they were not best friends for each other. With each other. They didn’t cultivate being best friends and to me to really have a great marriage. We encourage, build the very best human relationship friendship with your husband or with your wife, more than your best buddy or whatever. But in terms of just everyday life, be friends. And as our three daughters were starting to date and then fell in love and whatever we would encourage them make sure that the person that you’re marrying is your very best friend. Wow. And if you can’t be best friends, then don’t marry, right. Don’t marry that person. Because that, to me is is the thing that really is one of the glues of marriage is being very best friends, we just glory and glory. And I enjoyed being together, I’d rather spend time with Gloria, when I had her than anybody else, I’d rather be with her. And that, to me is, is the way a relationship ought to be, it ought to be that type of relationship. It’s not it’s not just a time that, hey, when we’re together, we have a good time. No, when we were not together, I missed her. I wanted to be with her. Right. It’s that type of relationship.

Russ Ewell 25:50
I love that. And I, you know, one of the things that I’ve noticed is that in my life, and also in people I work with and talk with about marriage, and is sometimes we as men don’t realize that when we don’t have the spiritual intimacy, when we don’t have the emotional intimacy, and we don’t have the best friendship, we become really needy. And I know, for me, there are periods of my life where I’m wanting attention, or I’m wanting notice, or I’m wanting credit, or I’m wanting achievement. And sometimes that’s because I’m not getting what God wants me to have for marriage. And that that’s one of the important things in that. And so when I’m listening to you, I’m thinking, we as guys have to remember that we’re gonna have a lot less maybe dissatisfaction with our job or dissatisfaction with our achievements, when we’re able to have the love and the intimacy and the closeness and the best friendship with our wife. And so I appreciate that. And you can read more about that in chapter six, if you want to get as book in chapter 16. And of course, I worry a lot as a parent, and as a husband. And you know, I’m always thinking about what about this? What about that? When’s the other shoe gonna drop these problems? You talked about? Don’t worry. And in that chapter, like I said, it caught my attention. You talked about the miscarriages about glorious cancer, and how you had to fight Satan to get through the mall. And not let worry, control Can you say a little bit for people about the importance of fighting that battle against worry, even when facing things that are as painful and difficulty as difficult as cancer loss and miscarriages?

Al Baird 27:29
Well, there are going to be hard times in life, everybody is going to have a hard times in life. We lost our first baby that was born premature and only live today than we had Stacey. And that was she was well. And then our next pregnancy. We had twins and I live three days and we lost them. And you know, as young people we married and in our early 20s. At that age, typically, you sort of feel invincible. Yeah. You know, we can deal with any problem in life. We’re going to overcome anything. And and time we’ve lost three babies. Yeah, we suddenly don’t leave. We don’t feel invincible anymore. Right, we realize, you know, there are gonna be some hard things that happen in life. And that, quite frankly, in some situations destroys the marriages. Yeah, because they can’t handle it. It drives them further apart. On the other hand, what he did with us and what I think can happen is it bonded us together, it drew us together, it may it cemented our relationship together, because we were able to comfort and understand each other in a way that no one else ever could. Wow. And at the same time thing, and Gloria had cancer for six years before I lost her. And those were some of the richest six years of our 56 years together. Because we just treasured we knew that life was hard. We knew it had his hard times. And we knew we didn’t have forever together. We didn’t know how much time we wanted to make every day count. Yeah. Because we really treasured that relationship and being together.

Russ Ewell 29:25
That’s it’s, it’s inspiring. And it’s helpful because I know for me, I think you know is you know, because you were there. We had a son with autism Down syndrome. And up until that time, I think I probably was in that category of what Yeah, I got this, I can control life life, you know, a couple of bumps, but I got this, and then you find out that not everything is going to be easy. And it’s it seems to me that goes back to your original opening statement of your writing, that a marriage is a spiritual relationship and when God is at the center of it He holds it together. And it seems like you’re giving a great example of even in the toughest and toughest of times. And I hope a lot of us can take encouragement from what I was talking about. And Alan glorious journey, even the toughest times you can grow closer together. But as you point out, and I think I want us all I’m listening to you and hearing this, that you can let tough times cause you to have distance and get separated from each other. And so I’m grateful from you, you talking about that? As I was

Al Baird 30:26
limited, let me also go ahead with that rush, because not only get going as hard times drive you apart, they can they can also in God’s hands make you a much more mature person. And and stable person in terms of depending not only depend on God, but then able to help other people. Yes, we had so many people who would come to us then who had miscarriages who were lost children, because they knew that we had been through it. Yeah. And we could help them and we could give them good advice on how to how to cope with it, and how to even grow through it and heal and how to grow in their relationship. So in the tough things that we go through, Satan and God often work on the same things. Oh, wow. tries to destroy our faith. Yeah, and God and destroy our faith in each other. God, on the other hand, uses hard times or can use the hard times to cement us our relationship with each other and submit the relationship with God and increase our trust. Because we realize that, that man, we are not invincible. In and of ourselves. We are vulnerable. Yes. And if I don’t have God to lean on, what do I have? Wow. But with that faith and that trust, then we feel like we can handle anything.

Russ Ewell 31:44
That’s phenomenal. Thank you. I feel better. I feel better about life right now. I got my producer Vince is sitting over there shaking his head. He’s much younger than me. He’s sitting there shaking his head going. Profound, incredible and encouraging. Especially after two years of a pandemic. A lot of people that experienced a lot of loss. The lockdowns, particularly here in Northern California, we we’ve been so locked down, I’m not sure we know how to unlock it, it helps a lot to no one, we can get through hard times too. They can shape us three, they’re going to be some losses are going to be some defeats in life. But that doesn’t have to destroy our faith or destroy us. I want to get you out of here on what I call what I call six quick questions about family building. And I’ll have you back to elaborate on these at some point. But I want to give people just a real snapshot of six quick questions that you can answer.

Question number one, if you’re ready for the six quick questions. Are you ready for the six questions?

Al Baird 32:48
Let’s try it.

Russ Ewell 32:48
Okay. Do you believe family is first and foremost a spiritual relationship?

Unknown Speaker 32:58
It depends on who you ask. I do. Yes, absolutely. I think primarily is the spiritual relationship. Because if it’s not a spiritual relationship, I think that you’re almost rolling the dice on how successful it’s going to be. If you don’t have the architect involved in in the process. Yeah, that is crapshoot

Russ Ewell 33:18
out you just scored on that question. Vince is over there. Vince is over there going thank you for telling me all this before I head down this path. Number two, how can we learn to love the family we have what I mean by that and you help me in this area. Because we have a family with special needs. But sometimes people you write in your book about not living your life for your children or trying to live your life for your children. You know, that kind of thing. Sometimes I’m going to speak for men particularly. Sometimes you you have your kids, and maybe they don’t accomplish what you want them to accomplish. Don’t go to the school you want them to go don’t get the GPA, don’t play the sport don’t succeed. How can what’s a tip about learning to love the family you have? Instead of either envying other families wanting a different family or being disappointed in your family?

Unknown Speaker 34:02
Well, of course, one of the dangers in parenting is tried to live your life through your kids. I mean, sometimes if if we weren’t great in sports, we want to live through our kids in sports that have the missus, Seth, I think that the whole I mean, helicopter parenting or whatever. Yeah, we’ve got we’ve got try to bring our kids up to be their own people to have their own values not and obviously we want their values to be in God. But not because necessarily because I said so. Yes, but why don’t we cultivate that trust in God not just you just do this because I tell you to do it. Are you be because of this or because I want you to be this. I think that one of our goals as parents is trying to get our children to really develop what what do you want out of life and help them shape their values and reason with them and shaping what you’re really looking for in life. And obviously, hopefully in that process, we’re going to have that and duplicate our belief and our trust in God in the whole process.

Russ Ewell 35:04
Boy, man, this is like digging for gold. And I don’t have to dig very far out. Question number three. This hopefully makes sense to the principles of marriage and family change. When we face difficulty you kind of talked about this earlier. But a lot of people I’m talking to right now they’re facing financial challenges, spiritual challenges. Emotional health challenges are a big thing after the pandemic, disability, children with disabilities, their personal disabilities, maybe like you referred to earlier loss of a child or loss of a spouse, which you’ve been through. I guess what I’m trying to find out is, what would you say about when you go through difficult times the importance of holding on to these baseline principles of marriage and family, instead of letting the pain of life cause us to loosen our grip on these really eternal principles?

Unknown Speaker 35:56
I think it comes down to basically, what are our values? Who do we trust? Okay. Do I trust myself? Do I trust my marriage? Do I trust my career? Do I trust my talents? Or do I trust the creator of the universe? Okay, I mean, I would hate to live life, knowing what I’ve known in 81 years, with the ups and downs of it. If I had to do it on my own, if I didn’t have a basic trust in God, and knowing that he’s in control, that he knows things that I don’t know, but I know that he loves me, and he wants what’s best for me. That to me, I would be miserable. I would I would worry about even driving home. Yeah, am I gonna get shot if I’m in a wreck, and I got one ever, rather than a you don’t want. My life is in God’s hands. He’s in control. He only wants this eternal relationship with Him, which is really what’s important, is it is the idea of glory. And I always believe that this life is a pilgrimage to eternity. And we’re here just to prepare for eternity. Which makes it an adventure. Yeah. Because we really believe it has a happy ending. Wow, life would be miserable. If you didn’t believe in a happy end.

Russ Ewell 37:21
Wow, I like that out. I like that. I’m happier already. Vince is loving it. It’s like Vince, my producer today, he doesn’t usually do the recordings. So he’s loving that he got to record you. He’s like, fired up. Question number four. What are the most significant obstacles for men and prioritizing being fathers? What do you think are the significant obstacles for men and prioritizing being fathers?

Al Baird 37:53
Wow, that is a tough one.

Russ Ewell 37:55
I’m gonna, I’m gonna throw something out at you. Because one of the things I work that in, you actually helped me with this. I wait Well, before I was a father, is the thing, sometimes our ambitions selfish ambition, our desire to achieve our desire, you know, whether it’s a career, it’s a position to title becomes so important to us, that it’s hard to prioritize being a father because sometimes we’re choosing between if I do this work, and I don’t play with my kid, if I push back, going to see that game, if I don’t do this thing, if I’m not at dinner, I remember going to your house, and, and, and, and eating dinner with your family. And it was it was a powerful impact on me, because I knew the job you had and all that you had to do. And the fact that you could be there fully present. And I think I think Kerry may have been the only one left home at that time. But that the the others were in college, but the fact that you could be there, it made a statement to me that the priority of your life in the midst of this storm, is being a father I read about and followed brocco bomb President Obama. And he talked about even while being President going to the residence and eating dinner, however short with his girls and making that a priority. And so maybe I should ask you not what is the most significant challenge to it? But I should ask you, how should we think about that when we’re facing career pressures? When we’re facing expectations of people outside of our home? How should we think about making the decision to say no, in the midst of all this, my priority is going to be being a dad.

Al Baird 39:34
I think the there’s several different approaches or facets to that question. I mean, obviously, we wish we had direct communication with God, but he could just give us instant feedback. Obviously he generally does through through His Word, the Bible. Yeah. But but but not necessarily in a specific order. I do God in this particular situation. What I do in my schedule, in this situation, how do I spend the right amount of time I’m How much time do I spend in whatever? Yeah. And I think that one of the things that we all need is an outside source of advice that we trust. And that’s, that’s, that’s why we always tried to have another couple in our life. Excellent that that knew our life knew our schedule knew us, and could give us their insight in their their input in what they saw. And that we could bounce ideas off of that. None of us no of ourself are totally wise. That’s good. And even now, I can look back on our kids and wish I’d done certain things differently. Yeah, but but having an outside couple in our life advising us and telling us what they saw, would really, it really helped us. And I think that’s true for any couple, they, I would encourage every couple to have another couple in your life that really can help you that has the same values that you have, and that you trust their wisdom that can give you input.

Russ Ewell 40:58
That’s excellent. That’s number five, you’ve already answered. It was the question, why do you? What Why do you talk about the danger trying to live to your kids? But you You already answered that one? So we go to number six, the final question. And then our will have survived the six quick questions about family building. You said their stages of marriage in your book, and that’s excellent. But are there stages of family building? As you build your family? Do you think they’re stages? Do they go based on the age of the kids? Are they I mean, what are your thoughts about seeing family building stages as well as marriage?

Al Baird 41:32
Although There absolutely are stages in marriage. And I remember when one marriage retreat that we apparently retreat that we did, that was basically built, it was called stages. Oh, wow. And the first stage is really the honeymoon stage. It’s yours is the time that you have before the first baby’s born. Yes, that day is just the two of you. Oh, yeah, you set your own schedule, whatever. And you can decide the two of you can sleep late when you can. But then the next stage is when that baby’s born, Oh, you’re hurt me. Life changes, then totally. Because this is not just the two of you anymore. You You are you are controlled a lot about taking care of a helpless baby. Trying to help it grow and mature and, and whatever. And then the next stage is significant stages, is when your first kid goes to school. That’s a trying. I mean, that’s a hard time to take your kid to school and let it go by themselves in the classroom. Yeah, you’re praying they make and whatever. And so so that’s another stage and other stages is when the kids become teenagers. Oh, boy. I mean, that’s the one that that that’s that’s another adventure in life. Yeah. Yeah. Because by then, that your kids start having a mind or they’re on there. And quite frankly, some of their best or friendships are no longer you. Yeah, they start having best friends that are not not parents. And so it’s a certain you really start teaching your values to your kids. But it’s already too late. If you hadn’t done some modeling and teaching before then wow. Yeah. But But that’s a very important stage. And then another stage, obviously, is when the kids move out of the house and become a single adults. Of course, it’s not unusual today, the lifetime of the single adults move back home. Yeah, so you think you have an empty nest and you didn’t have an empty nest? There? Are guys. Yes. Right. But But But once your kids leave home, and realize that that you’re no longer the if you will, controlling parent, hopefully you’re still the influencing parents. Sure. But it’s no longer saying you need to be in but this time at night, or you do this or you do that. But but they’re out on their own. And then another stage then is when they marry which which now you’re you’re introducing a whole new person into the equation that their partner, okay, and then the final stage is cosa with the grandparents, our grandparents. That’s one of the most fun stages of all Oh, really is is when you can when you can spoil your grandkids and you don’t have to worry about it all the kids problem. But anyway, those are those are and they’re really boring subdivisions on stages. But those are some of the merit the major stages in life.

Now you have survived the six quick questions about family. It’s been incredible to be able to have you on to talk about the great adventure of marriage and family. Don’t forget all those who are listening a lifetime of love is the book by Allen Gloria Baird, and to our finish the book after Gloria moved on to paradise and and They are two of the most inspirational people I’ve known. And I’ve known for most of my life, and influenced me and the way I think about marriage and Gil my wife and the way she thinks about marriage and family, and would never have built my family the way I built it, if it hadn’t been for sitting at your table and watching it, even though I didn’t know what I was seeing it got into those memory banks. And out you know, I already told you off camera and off the mic, that I gotta get you back for a leadership series of podcasts that you and I can do, because that will be really fun. But thanks a lot out for joining us. And we hope to have you back soon. This is deep spirituality that calm, you can go and you can find the transcript from our podcasts, as well as you can find studies on marriage that have been produced on D spirituality. You can go ahead and look forward to when I can get out back on here. And we could talk about leadership. We had a great talk about it, but we want to put that on the podcast. So all of you can enjoy a two hour Thank you very much for being a part of it.

Hey, Russ, thanks. It’s great being with you. I look forward to doing it again.

Russ Ewell 46:02
Awesome. This is Deep spirituality and we’re out

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About the show

The Deep Spirituality Podcast is a show about having spiritual conversations. Join our Editor-in-Chief Russ Ewell and guests as they have candid discussions on spiritual topics ranging from faith to anxiety to vulnerability, inspiring you to go deeper in your relationship with God and have challenging and honest conversations of your own.

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