50 Years of Marriage: Our Success Story - Part 2 (Transcript)

Dr. James Dobson: Well, hello everyone. I'm James Dobson, and you're listening to Family Talk, a listener supported ministry. In fact, thank you so much for being part of that support for James Dobson Family Institute.

Roger Marsh: Hello and welcome to this Friday edition of Family Talk. I'm Roger Marsh. Yesterday, Dr. Dobson began a wonderful conversation with his friends, Jon and Marylois Gibson. Today, you're going to hear the balance of that conversation. The three old friends will continue discussing Jon and Marylois's a successful marriage of 50 years and counting. They'll also share some critical advice for new couples who are dating, or in the early days of marriage. Now, if you missed part one of Dr Dobson's conversation with the Gibsons, you can find it by visiting drjamesdobson.org/familytalk. Now let's go to the second half of this important interview right here on Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.

Dr. James Dobson: If I've learned anything about the human personality, that individuals not only represent a personhood, but also a temperament and the temperament, this is not something that you learn, the temperament is something that you are. It comes out of the genetic code somehow. A child is born different from every other child that's ever been born, we're all unique. And sometimes marriage requires the melding of two very different people, two very different temperaments with their own desires and inclinations and things that irritate, and somehow make it work. People who don't understand that get married and all of a sudden, they are agitated by the other person. Successful early marriage requires you to come to terms with that individual that you don't really know, and sometimes don't really like. You guys apparently are very different from each other. Jon, you had to work your way through that, didn't you?

Jon Gibson: Oh, we absolutely did because we are very different. And fortunately, my wife is willing to embrace the difference. And I-.

Dr. James Dobson: Are you, Jon?

Jon Gibson: ... I cherish this woman because she is my rock. She is my steady rock.

Dr. James Dobson: When you talk about her, a change comes over your face, your eyes get red, and I see tears. You feel very passionately about her 50 years later, don't you?

Jon Gibson: She is still the joy of my life. She's my best friend. She's my confidant. She covers my back and she's there for me. And she knows me better than anybody else on earth. And she still-.

Dr. James Dobson: And still loves you.

Jon Gibson: ... loves me. Yes. Yes.

Dr. James Dobson: Talk about Jon and his temperaments. How's he different from you?

Marylois Gibson: Oh my goodness. How much time do we have? The list is pretty long. Jon is a ready, fire aim kind of person, and I'm more, got to think about it. He is a journeyer, he just likes to go, just go.

Dr. James Dobson: Good thing he's a pilot.

Marylois Gibson: Yeah. And I'm a destination person. I like to be there and experience what's there. So our travel sometimes become a source of difficulty. He can work in the midst of clutter and piles and loves to have lots of things going on all at the same time, which drives me crazy. I need to-.

Dr. James Dobson: You're a person of order.

Marylois Gibson: ... I need to focus on one thing and complete it. I got to be able to check it off the list. And I've learned that marriage, you can't check it off the list, because you've never arrived. It's always in process, because people are always in process.

Dr. James Dobson: Yeah.

Marylois Gibson: So there's those differences. There's many more little ones, but we do find things that we enjoy together and like bicycling and exploring and flying to snow ski places. But I think the main way that we've been able to do that is both of us yielding and submitting ourselves to the Lord, because that gives us, that commitment to God is what gives us the ability to commit to each other. It gives us that strength and that desire when we might naturally not feel like it, and to appreciate and understand and go, wow, that's really a different way to look at it, and just see it with a lighthearted humor rather than say, "that is really bothering me."

Dr. James Dobson: Marylois, I've observed sadly that many people who go together for a long time and they are passionate about each other, get married and on the honeymoon, or the first few days of marriage, they discover things they did not know and they don't like that other person very much, at least not for a period of time. And that's why premarital counseling is so important to open the lid and let the other person show, courting relationship is designed to conceal information.

Marylois Gibson: Yes.

Dr. James Dobson: It's not designed to reveal it. If you got a flaw, you don't want anybody to know about it. So you don't talk about it. And then it is glaring just a few weeks after marriage. Did that happen to you guys?

Marylois Gibson: Well, yes. I always said it was a good thing we had a really long honeymoon. We had about a five week honeymoon. There were two times-.

Dr. James Dobson: That's dangerous. A lot of things can go wrong in five weeks.

Marylois Gibson: ... there were two times in that honeymoon that I thought I might come home a widow. And there were multiple times during that honeymoon that I wanted to come home single, because he had just finished his military training, was wound up tighter than I could imagine. And I'm like, who is this angry person that I never saw before? I think you're right. The courtship, I tell kids when they're courting, I said, this is the time to be selfish. See if you really like everything about that person. Does that little habit bother you? Now's the time to think about it.

Jon Gibson: And don't think that when you marry them, you're going to change them. That's not going to happen. And what you've been talking about is critical, I think, because in that pre-marriage counseling, you may decide that you're not going to marry this person. How much better to figure that out then than two weeks after you got married? Fortunately, she was still stuck with me.

Dr. James Dobson: I had a woman tell me just in the last year that she got married without really knowing the other person, the one she married, her husband. And she remembered waking up in the middle of the night and saying, "I don't know that guy over there and I don't like him, and I can't get away from him. My faith will not allow me to walk away, and I've got to deal with this for the rest of my life." That's a shock that should not happen if you go about it right.

Marylois Gibson: I also encourage couples even while they're early dating and then on, don't let it get physical, because that will cloud your thinking. You need to keep that relationship on an intellectual level until you get that part figured out.

Dr. James Dobson: Marylois, you're really talking there about premarital sex.

Marylois Gibson: I'm talking about getting physically intimate before you-.

Jon Gibson: Get married.

Marylois Gibson: ... really understand who that personality is. Because if you let the physical relationship, even if it's not sexual yet, if you go there first, you will not be thinking clearly to understand who each of you is and what that dynamic would work like.

Dr. James Dobson: It's one of the biggest mistakes you can make. I have seen research that shows that if you allow little indiscretions sexually, even if it is a first kiss on the first date, and you start going down that road, our bodies and our minds are made for that to grow and continue. And if you have not put a stop to it someplace, and really exercise discipline with each other, then you will be in bed with each other. Even if you are a deeply committed Christian and you don't want to go there, it grows, it's progressive. It happens.

Marylois Gibson: Yeah, because it will change your ability to process, is this the right person or not?

Jon Gibson: Yeah. This is critical, and it's critical because I see a game that's going on now that goes beyond this. And my words are, men, stop it. And women, don't fall for it, because what often happens is the guy gives her a ring and he says, let's get engaged. When are we going to get married? We'll get married. And they move in together. And that's a game. And gentleman, don't do that to the woman. And woman, don't allow that to happen to you, because you make a commitment to that woman. Until you make that commitment, then everything is off and you stand up like a man and be a man to honor that woman.

Dr. James Dobson: Yeah. To have determination to do that, because everything inside of you-.

Jon Gibson: Oh, I understand.

Dr. James Dobson: ... estrogen and testosterone are working on you.

Jon Gibson: Go for a run, take a cold shower, but honor that woman.

Dr. James Dobson: Well, let's turn a sharp corner here. And Marylois, you've given me permission to ask you about your breast cancer. What was that experience like? And what did it do for the two of you?

Marylois Gibson: It was a surprise. Our daughter was in the final phases of her medicine training. So when I got the diagnosis, we were in shock, but I felt Jon's support of my ability to make good choices with the help of our daughter in terms of the physicians that I went to and the treatment protocols that I chose, I felt like he was very supportive of my ability to make those kind of choices. And the fact that he didn't have to second guess and say, well, let's get another opinion over here and let's get another opinion over there. That was really helpful to me. He was very patient as the fatigue level from my treatment took me down more often than I think either of us were expecting. And so that support was really helpful in my journey.

Dr. James Dobson: Sometimes a diagnosis like that will drive you apart. In this instance, it brought you together. Is that right?

Marylois Gibson: I think so. It was just like, well, this is our problem. We're going to solve it together with the Lord.

Dr. James Dobson: We should hasten to say that you are cancer free now.

Marylois Gibson: Yes. 16 years this month.

Dr. James Dobson: Praise the Lord.

Marylois Gibson: Yep.

Jon Gibson: Yes.

Dr. James Dobson: You and I have both have a lot to be thankful for.

Marylois Gibson: Indeed. Indeed.

Dr. James Dobson: And Jon, you have a lot to be thankful for too, because you had a problem with your pancreas, and that can bring you down.

Jon Gibson: I'm praising God that I survived that, but I was diagnosed with what was called insulinoma, an insulin producing tumor of the pancreas. Fortunately, it was a benign tumor. I wouldn't be here speaking to you. And this woman stood with me. We took turns. It was less than a year after her.

Dr. James Dobson: So, the tables turned.

Jon Gibson: Tables turned.

Marylois Gibson: Very quickly.

Jon Gibson: And this woman stood by me while I was going through all the tests at Mayo, in Rochester. She stood beside me, even before that, when I had some horrible symptoms that were not fun for her to live with, I thought maybe I was going crazy. I would have times that I wouldn't realize I'd been up for a while. And I understand I was doing some fairly foolish things because my blood sugar was so low. But then we went to have the surgery. She stood by me while I was in the hospital for over 10 days. And it took a long time to recover.

Dr. James Dobson: Every couple goes through some form of that if you live together long enough.

Marylois Gibson: Oh yes.

Jon Gibson: And it's a time to either say, I don't want to deal with you, or it's a time that we said, we love you. This is, Marylois said it so well, this is not your problem. This is our problem. And we're going to deal with it together.

Dr. James Dobson: But the beauty of it is it drew you together.

Jon Gibson: Absolutely drew us together.

Dr. James Dobson: And sooner or later, you're going to go through the latter stages of life. And that can be quite a journey for the one that's least affected where all the giving is on one side.

Jon Gibson: And we have to be prepared for that. Because again, it's not about me, it's about us reaching out. And you see the people that are lovingly taking care of their other spouse. And they're a whole lot happier than the one that walked away.

Dr. James Dobson: Let me ask you Marylois, about another delicate matter, and that's the empty nest. You have experienced that. How have you coped with it?

Marylois Gibson: I had lots of plans of things that I was going to do as an empty nester, but I never had the time to do it because we've been so involved with kids our whole existence, that there are just more kids filling the nest. And so I'm back in the little kid divisions at the church working there. We have been mentors. So I don't feel like our nest really emptied out because God kept supplying young people who we could wrap our arms around.

Dr. James Dobson: Well, we're in the same boat, speaking of Shirley and me, but there was a transition. And for me it was a hard one. It was harder for me than Shirley. Shirley was preparing herself for the departure of our second child and last child, Ryan, and I was blithely going along thinking that it wasn't going to change. And we were on the way to the airport. We were about two miles from the airport where we were going to send him off to college. And I knew Ryan would never be back, because that's the go for it guy that he is. And it hit me. And I started weeping and I couldn't stop. And we got to the airport and I walked with him to the gate and I couldn't stay there. I went down the gate and wept the whole way. It hit me hard. I had written about the empty nest. I had counseled about the empty nest. And when it got there, I was not ready for it. And we got in the car and drove home. I cried on the way home.

We got to our house and there in the driveway was his little car that he was not going to be coming back to very quickly. I went in the house, went into the room where his little crib had been. And I could see images of him at two years of age and three and four running through the house. I knew that was over and I had gone from being a father, I still was a father, but it was a change for me. Realizing that, that precious era of my life was over. It was going to be different and I wasn't ready to let it happen. And I cried for three days.

Marylois Gibson: Wow.

Dr. James Dobson: And finally, I gave it to the Lord and then I realized that it's a pretty good thing. The house was a lot quieter, a lot cleaner. And we went on to the new stage, which was wonderful and is today, but I had a journey to go through. There's a tunnel to go through. I don't know if other people go through that, but I think women very frequently do that because it is the loss of something that you cherished, it was part of your identity. Jon, did you go through that?

Jon Gibson: Well, I did, I did early on because I loved driving my children to school.

Dr. James Dobson: Me too.

Jon Gibson: So I would drive our daughter to school. And then later I drove our son to school. And I was pretty jealous about the fact that they then started driving themselves because those were journeys of 20 to 30 minutes each way. And that was a time that we could bond and talk together. So I guess I had the early separation. And, but then when they went off to school, that was hard too, because they're part of your life and they're suddenly gone. Yeah. And it changes, but then it creates-.

Dr. James Dobson: It's God's plan.

Jon Gibson: It's God's plan.

Dr. James Dobson: I wouldn't have wanted him to stay there.

Jon Gibson: No.

Dr. James Dobson: He has to grow and you have to allow him to be his own man. And I didn't oppose that. I was for it. It was a good thing, but I was losing something inside of me.

Jon Gibson: I understand that. Here's the beauty that we've all experienced, that is the relationship changes. And now they're close friends.

Dr. James Dobson: Yeah.

Jon Gibson: They're not our kids, they're still our kids, but it's a different relationship. They're dear friends.

Dr. James Dobson: And it's God's plan.

Jon Gibson: It's God's plan. And we have to then measure what we say to them, because they don't necessarily want our advice, they want a listener and maybe some questions, but I praise God for the relationship we have with our kids.

Dr. James Dobson: Jon, you and I were talking a while back about putting fun into your marriage. How did you do that?

Jon Gibson: Oh, that's so critical. And I just want to encourage everybody that's listening, that you have an opportunity. We're involved with this Grace Marriage, a wonderful ministry, and it's a reminder. You spent a lot of time preparing for your business. You spent a lot of time dealing with your business. All of us in business do that. If we just invest a small portion of that same kind of energy into our marriage, it can go from a lackluster marriage to an awesome marriage by having fun. And the fun doesn't have to be expensive. It's bringing the flowers home. It's by saying, "hey, don't cook tonight. Let's go out to dinner, or better yet, I prepare to picnic dinner. Let's go out." It doesn't require a lot of money, but it requires cherishing that person and investing. Can you imagine if you invest just a fraction of what you invest in making your business successful? And I'm finding that it just turns everything around.

Dr. James Dobson: Your children enjoy being in a fun marriage season.

Jon Gibson: Absolutely, adventures and surprises. Hey, we're going to do something different tonight and they love it. My son is absolutely excellent at that. He is an adventure seeker. I think he's still a 12 year old kid at heart, but the kids love it.

Marylois Gibson: Well, and fun doesn't have to be just an event. We have plugged in lots of fun events and we like to be active outdoors. And so we try to plug a lot of that kind of stuff in, but it can just be doing something silly at home together spontaneously, or get out the old photo album. Remember when we used to do photo albums on, and they fade and everything but, and just laugh together. The thing I like about Grace Marriage is that it's a coaching system. So, it provides ideas of things to do on a date night.

Dr. James Dobson: Marylois, you just introduced a new topic that our listeners don't know about, Grace Marriage. You are involved in that ministry, and Jon you're on the board.

Jon Gibson: Yes, sir.

Dr. James Dobson: Grace Marriage. What is it?

Jon Gibson: Grace Marriage is different. There's so many good marriage ministries, where you go for a weekend and you come out just charged up. But where are you three months later? Grace Marriage gives you the tools. There's Grace Marriage at home. There's Grace Marriage you can do with your church, but it gives you the tools as to how you can, number one, give grace to your partner. And when they are doing something that upsets you, instead of getting upset back, try to love on them. But it also is ongoing to teach you how you can share with a partner and how you can grow together. It's like a tune up for your marriage that just keeps going on rather than... Because we've been to those marriage weekends. They're wonderful. So where are you three months later?

Dr. James Dobson: Let's give some publicity to them. Where are they? How do people find Grace Marriage?

Jon Gibson: Good question. It's gracemarriage.com. You can encourage your church to get involved with them. You can go to gracemarriage.com and you'll see Grace Marriage at home. You can do a ministry just by yourselves. And it is a phenomenal ministry with people who really care. This is a team, a husband and wife team. He walked away from a phenomenally successful law practice because he had had so many kids that came to them and said, would you coach us, because you have a marriage that's different than we see with our own parents? And they took that. They grew it. And it's just, it's wonderful. We love it.

Dr. James Dobson: The leaders' names are?

Jon Gibson: The leaders' names are Brad and Marilyn Rhodes. They are fine, fine folks. And you can learn more just by going to gracemarriage.com.

Dr. James Dobson: It's so good to have the two of you on the program here. I've enjoyed this conversation. Jon, I didn't say at the top of the program what I should, is that this ministry probably would not be on this site doing this work if it were not for you. You came in here as a real estate man. You negotiated a lease for our building, we didn't have much money. And then you served on the board for many years and you have been my friend. And I can't tell you how much I appreciate the two of you and what you've done. You really do try to serve the Lord every place you find a need, don't you?

Marylois Gibson: That's the joy.

Jon Gibson: That's the joy. And He gives us opportunities. And if we walk through those opportunities and embrace them, it's an exciting adventure, much more than we could ever design ourselves. And Jim, you and Shirley are a big part of what's been a joy to us. We love you dearly. You are the real deal. God bless you.

Dr. James Dobson: Thank you, brother.

Jon Gibson: Thank you.

Dr. James Dobson: Thank you, Marylois.

Marylois Gibson: Pleasure. Thank you.

Dr. James Dobson: Stay in touch with us.

Roger Marsh: You've been listening to Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. That was the conclusion of Dr. Dobson's interview with his and Shirley's good friends, Jon and Marylois Gibson. The Gibsons recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and their marriage, although full of joyful memories and hope for the future, has not been without its share of hardships and trials as well, as you've heard over the past couple of days. Now, if you missed any of today's or yesterday's conversation with the Gibsons, you can find both installments of their interview with Dr. Dobson at drjamesdobson.org/familytalk. Now, before we leave the air for today, I have a special announcement for you. It's that time of year again, time to register your kids for the fun and challenge of the National Bible Bee summer study. You've probably heard Dr. Dobson mention the Bible Bee before. The National Bible Bee's mission is to engage young people in the memorization and study of God's word, and to provide opportunities for them to proclaim that word through local and national competitions.

In the National Bible Bee summer study, your kids will learn to study and memorize God's holy Scripture. Can you think of a better way for them to spend their summer? And the program is available for every kid age five to 18, for as little as $35 per student. Also, there's an in person competition for the top 120 in each age range at the National Bible Bee this fall. Now, if you'd like to learn more, or to register your child for a summer of fun and learning Scripture, go to Biblebee.org, that's B-I-B-L-E B-E-E.org. But hurry, registration for the Bible Bee summer study ends this Tuesday, May 31st. So don't wait. Go to Biblebee.org right now to learn more.

Well, that's all the time we have for today. We hope you have a safe and blessed Memorial day weekend. Thank you so much for making us a part of your day and your life. And please join us again next time right here for another edition of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.

Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.
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