Dave and Ann Wilson fell in love and were married young. 9 months later, they were fighting every day.
Their struggles continued on and off for years and at one point Dave told Ann he’d rather be dead than married to her.
All through this, they were leading in ministry and even planting what would go on to become a large and influential church. 39 years into it, they are very much in love and learned how to get healthy. In this interview, they share the truth about love, sex, conflict and marriage.
Welcome to Episode 269 of the podcast. Listen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.
How 1 Married Couple Went from Broken to Blessed – Dave & Ann Wilson on Today
3 Insights from Dave & Ann
1. Your past wounds and insecurities don’t just disappear when you get married
Often times, the mindset of most young newlyweds is: Now that we are married everything is going to be perfect and the pain from my past will just disappear. Sadly, this isn’t true. There are certain wounds that you don’t just get over. For Dave and Ann, these were things like sexual abuse, conflict issues, and pornography. You will have to walk through these things with your spouse together. Most of these issues never fully go away. Dave and Ann have learned that that is ok.
The good news is that there is a way to use these pains that we are constantly working through for good. We can do this by being open and vulnerable about them with other couples. When you do this, you become more relatable to listen to and you get the chance to speak into other people’s lives who are encountering the same struggles.
2. If you want your marriage to thrive go vertical
Jesus brings truth and life to every situation when we go to him first. Often in marriages, the natural default is not to filter things through Jesus before we say them out loud. The primary call of Dave and Ann’s book is to take your marriage “vertical.” When you go vertical, you are taking the things that you say in your marriage and running them through the filter of – Lord, how can I encourage my spouse? and How can I say this with your grace? – rather than just saying things we later regret to our spouse.
One of the biggest transformations that happens when we go vertical is that we shift our hearts into a place of surrender about our marriage. When we surrender everything to Jesus and say Not my will, but your will be done, we are taking a more vertical approach to marriage. Dave and Ann believe that this is the best way to have a spiritually healthy marriage.
3. Attacking sexual sin and pornography isn’t quick or easy, but it’s worth it
Pornography and the temptation to let our eyes wander is a serious issue for pastors all over the world. One of the hardest things for those leaders to do is to simply admit that they have a problem. This is detrimental. Dave has learned that if you never talk about it, you’re never going to win. As long as it’s in the dark, the dark wins. The second you bring it into the light, victory and healing can start to begin.
Once Dave told Ann about his struggles, it took a few years for them to really become partners again and to become victorious in it. Two of the biggest factors in overcoming this temptation were taking the sin to Jesus, and finding a group of trusted men that he could be real and open with. Once you do those things, you have to find the wound causing you to turn to that temptation.
Quotes from Episode 269
The flaws that she sees and the things that hurt her are the very things God most wants to address in you. Your spouse becomes a mirror through which you see where God wants to move next. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet
Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?
Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.
How do you even have time to work on your marriage and on you? Believe it or not, you have the time. You just need to know how to find it and the High Impact Leader Course can help you.
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Sounds crazy, but it’s not. I know because I’ve lived it. A few years back, I seriously crashed and burned because the demands on my time and life were bigger than the time I had to accomplish them. I promised myself that wouldn’t happen again.
Today, I still have bigger goals than ever before, but I’ve made fundamental changes that have led to a healthier, happier lifestyle without sacrificing my family and vastly increasing my productivity at work. I’ve taken what I’ve learned during this journey and put it into the High Impact Leadercourse.
You can complete the three-hour course at your own pace. It’s the most comprehensive content I’ve ever created for leaders to help you reclaim HOURS every day so you can become more effective at work and more present at home. When your time, energy, and priorities are all working together for you, it’ll impact everything you do.
- You become a better leader, because you’re doing what you do best when you’re at your best
- You become a better spouse, because you’re focused at home
- You become a better parent, neighbor, and friend, because you actually have time off to relax and engage
These principles will free you to thrive in every area of your life.
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Next Episode: Jenni Catron
How do you become a sought-after public speaker when you never planned on becoming one? That’s a question Jenni Catron, who’s now a full time consultant and public speaker, had to figure out. She started at age 20 at a record label and soon discovered pitching to people much older than her was part of her job. Promoted quickly, Jenni eventually went on to become the Executive Pastor of two well known mega-churches where, again, she discovered that communicating well was a key to success. In her latest incarnation, Jenni has become a full time consultant, writer and public speaker. Carey and Jenni share pro tips about what makes for a great talk and introduce something brand new: the Nieuwhof Speaking Team, a curated group of leadership experts and fresh voices that will help you make your next event a success.
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