#21 – Are You Ready for Marriage? | Tim Rarick

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Ep. 40 - Podcast Thumbnail

Tim Rarick is a speaker and professor at Brigham Young University Idaho, who seeks to make complex ideas simplified. In this episode, Tim helps explain why people struggle with deep emotional issues and how ties can be mended by focusing on having integrity with what we yearn for in relationships.

  • What is a good way to be prepared for marriage?
  • What are the main causes of problems for families?
  • What ways can parents help their children inherit healthy intimacy?
  • What do studies and research show about the need for intimacy?
  • How do you solve the real issue and what does Tim compare it to?
  • A good story of change in a woman’s life.
  • Tim sharing on a breakthrough in his own relationship with his son
  • What are behavioral patterns for healthy relationships?


Episode Transcript:

Andrew Love: All right, everybody, welcome back. This is another day here on planet Earth. And it’s gonna be a good one because we have an amazing guy that I met at a convention in Las Vegas, of all places. Don’t worry, it was, it was a good, healthy convention. And when I saw him, I was like, immediately is one of those things where I was like, I need to know that guy. And I remember him, he was there with his wife. And I asked him if we could have breakfast, which for me, is very difficult because I’m an introvert. So, but I knew it had to happen because he’s such a cool guy. He has amazing things to say. He’s the professor of Marriage, Family and Child Development at BYU in Idaho, and they’re presently on lockdown because of the virus, but he’s not stopping. You can’t stop a man like Tim, because Tim Rarick is going to be teaching classes from a computer. But he’s here to join us today because I wanted to pick his brain about you know, assessing the the environment, what are we going through in terms of how humanity, especially young people are dealing with sexuality and how they can prepare best to have an amazing marriage that’s filled with satisfaction and joy and love and connection and all that good stuff that we all deeply, deeply want. So please welcome to Love, Life, and Legacy. Tim Rarick. Welcome, Tim.

Tim Rarick: Thanks, Andrew. I have to say, I felt the same way, when I met you at that conference. I thought now that seems like…

Andrew Love: Crazy, right?

Tim Rarick: Yeah.

Andrew Love: There are just those people and you’re like, it feels like a) you’ve known them for a lot longer than two seconds, and b) you have to figure out how to make space for that person in your life. It’s a very unique sensation. Hey, man, I’m so yeah, thank you. It’s not easy. We’re in totally different time zones and you’re a busy dude. So I appreciate you making time. And so you work mostly with young people, right? What ages are you, are you teaching these days?

Tim Rarick: Yeah, on my primary things I do is teaching about 18 to the average is probably 18 to 25 year olds, and I get some non-traditional students, but then I have some, I guess, if you want to call extracurricular stuff that I do with occasionally, I’ll speak to or work with youth. More of like teenage Yeah, my primary population is young adults.

Andrew Love: Awesome. in the Midwest, in the, in the countryside.

Tim Rarick: Yeah,well I guess Idaho’s technically the West. But yeah, we’re, we’re kind of out in the sticks if you want to, really, we’re like an hour and a half from Yellowstone. So we’re, we’re out there.

Andrew Love: And I mean, this is really great, because, you know, I get to travel a lot. And I make the mistake of having this assumption that somehow humans are different when you go to new places. So I was surprised to find out when I went to Mongolia that even they have pornography and sexual issues going on. It’s not perfect over there. So to hear that you’re in a very remote place… are the students there grappling with, you know, stuff that pretty much anybody else is going through? Even in a city, are you seeing that, say, the students are dealing with pornography? They’re dealing with, with their own issues, just the same?

Tim Rarick: Yeah, the problems that are disconnecting people from each other, and from themselves honestly are everywhere. And in most of that is our technological age. I’m not anti-internet or anti-technology. But I think we become the servants rather than the masters of our screen media. And so because of that, a lot of these viruses, if I can use that word nowadays, it’s, I know that’s a buzzword. Alright, maybe even a trigger word. Those things, emotional, relational, even spiritual, and mental viruses are coming in through our screens, no matter where you live. I have to say though, I do work at the United Nations every year at the Commission on the Status of Women, which is trying to promote gender equality, women empowerment, to things I’m a big fan of. But there are many people there who try to do it and maybe diagnose the problem and prescribe the solution differently than I would. I’ve met with ambassadors and delegates from all over the world. And I talked to them about things that are breaking up families marriages. I remember sitting down with the delegate from Cuba. When, I, we brought up the issue of pornography to them, because we were talking about a lot of social issues affecting the family. I guess, our main job there is I’m trying to give them social science evidence to show that the family and marriage is kind of the cause and solution of most social problems. And so pornography was one of those things disrupting that unit. So when we brought it up to him, he’s like, oh, we don’t have that problem. We have dial up internet. And because the government regulates all the internet, and there may be some truth to that, they may not have it and I’m not sure how much truth there is to it. But even if it were true, pornography is ubiquitous because the Internet is. Now, you’d probably have to go really far out in the sticks or get off the grid to avoid some of the dangers that disrupt, disrupt relationships and true connection. And again, I’m not against technology or screen media. It’s just that when, I guess that’s an example that even Cuba where they think there isn’t a problem because of dial-up, they’re, they’ve got to have a problem. Here at BYU Idaho, it’s a public institution. Its own, it’s a religious institution owned by religion. And so I see many of the social problems that we’re going to talk about affecting these students. And sometimes I tell them, look, you’re not immune. You may be experiencing the diet form of what’s happening throughout the world, but you’re still experiencing it. And sometimes you’re feeling the full-blown weight of the sexual exploitation and disconnection that’s happening everywhere. So, yeah, my, my students are not immune. I, I think the only way to be immune, well, we’ll get to that later.

Andrew Love: Well, that’s, it’s very interesting that they you put your job description at trying to explain to a bunch of people what the underlying foundational cause and hopefully solution to all of our ills are is the family. Because I fundamentally, you know, High Noon is absolutely in the same line with that within the family. What, what amount the sexuality come up as, as an issue that, that hurts families that, that’s the cause of pain in families. Like a lot. Obviously, you don’t have a stat necessarily on hand. But do you feel like it’s, it’s a big issue that comes up a lot that there are sexual problems that end up causing strain on the family? Or is it more money or…

Tim Rarick: The number one cause of divorce is selfishness. If you look at research and look down the list, irreconcilable differences, money, sex, even adultery, abuse, one or both partner, part, parties or partners; it comes down to pride and selfishness. And we don’t like to talk about that thing. Because we always like to think somebody else’s the problem or something external outside of me is the issue and there’s nothing inside of me. So to tie that to sexuality, within marriage and within family, that’s a big issue. I mean, there’s sexual abuse that is occurring. The rates have been increasing as pornography viewing has been increasing. There’s sexual issues within marriage, because if you were raised in a home where you never saw healthy sexuality portrayed between mother and father, husband and wife; maybe, when I say sexuality, I guess I should define my term and that is, it could be sexual and non sexual touch. Hugging, kissing, holding hands. I think children need to experience that whether you kiss your child on the, depending on the culture you’re from. In your traditions, on the lips, on the cheeks, on the head – that physical touch is so comforting. It’s so comforting for children to be able to feel loved and cared for. And I think it’s just as important for the children to see the parents showing that sort of affection between each other. But if you’re raised in a home where you don’t see that and your parents talking about sex like it’s a bad thing, and this can happen in religious homes. I’m religious, I’m not anti-religion, but when I say this religious homes, I see a big problem parents not talking to their children about anatomy and sex. Which when we get to the antidote, I think you can’t understand darkness unless you’ve been taught light. And if you haven’t been taught healthy sexuality and embrace that intimacy – that’s one of my favorite words is intimacy – because it’s multifaceted. There’s physical intimacy, there’s spiritual intimacy, there’s mental or emotional intimacy. There’s, there’s all forms of it. And if you, if you’ve had that healthy portrayal and teaching of that as a child, then you’ll recognize filth when you see it, and you’ll say, I really don’t need that because you’ve already, you’re kind of getting your healthy dose, even getting your healthy dose of it. So I think it permeates through Parent-Child relationships that were permeated through marriage. The media portrays sex as… and honestly at the United Nations and other policy-based places that I go to, sometimes I do work at the state level, sometimes national, international. When I hear people demanding for more rights, they view sex as a right. And it’s just as important as food and water and shelter. And I’m going, I have never known anybody crawling across the desert, die, and the autopsy he died from lack of sex. I just, that’s the problem; if he would have had more sex, he would have lived. So…

Andrew Love: I think I met, I think I met one guy that was like that.

Tim Rarick: Well, okay, sample size of one. Anyhow, so we talked about it. What we do have a need of is we have a need to connect and buy all that. For 30 or 40 years we have Attachment Theory, Mary Ainsworth and John Bowlby, tested this for years. And we’ve had scores of studies that have come out about that babies and adults, everything and anything in between, we need to feel bonded, we need to feel loved. We need that oxytocin, which is also called the cuddle or the bonding hormone in our brain that is necessary for thriving, to survive physically, it’s not necessary. But to to survive emotionally, relationally, we need that and. So I think that gets twisted and distorted through movies, through music and through all sorts of maybe even political movements. The sexual revolution certainly, certainly fueled this. And talking about sex as a commodity, like no. I want to say bonding, love, intimacy, that’s a necessity. Sex, in the way you’re describing it as a, you know, a pleasure-based, self-centered act to, to relieve yourself and to get to feel some sort of love – that is not a necessity. In fact, that’s only damaging. So I see this has been, it’s been tearing up marriages, this misunderstanding of what intimacy actually is. And I see it particularly in Parent-Child relationships. And the research shows just one more thing. I’ll share about this because I could really go on forever and you’d be like, hey, I want to ask another question. What if, another thing is the research shows that the opposite sex parent sets the stage for the opposite sex relationships for the, for that child’s life. So mother-son, father-daughter; they’re the gateway into the opposite sex. And so to understand how the opposite sex should treat you and how you should understand them, that foundation is critical all throughout adolescence. And so if that’s not set well or if it’s not set at all, the child doesn’t, as some researchers call it – a sexual script; they don’t have a script to go off of neurologically, socially, emotionally and otherwise. And so if you want to think of it as an appetite. Instead of filling that appetite with nourishing, healthy things that are also delicious, they fill it with things that maybe like arsenic-laced Twinkies, where maybe it feels good for a while but you’re slowly getting poisoned. And so anyhow, I yeah, I do see this. I see it infecting… and regardless of what your stances are on some of these issues, I’m just going to say them, but I see it definitely filling fatherlessness. I see it filling divorce rates, cohabitation rates, abortion rates. Even if, you could even link this to poverty. Uou could link it to abuse, both domestic and child abuse and many other social issues. So if I could get something out to the world, it’s that trying to solve, since we’re experiencing a pandemic, now, it’s trying to solve… say for example, let’s just say you have a bacterial infection. Trying to solve that by just NyQuil is never going to work. You’ll get rid of the symptoms, but you’ve got to take antibiotics to get, to root out the problem. And most, most people I hear when they’re trying to solve disconnection in our world, they’re, trying to solve a lot of these social issues or address the social issues and many more. Their, most of the ideas are NyQuil. And we do need NyQuil to help manage things and to feel better temporarily, but the family’s the antibiotic. And if we don’t get that, right, we’re just going to be getting drunk off NyQuil for a long time and kicking.

Andrew Love: You know, in a society that has so many sexual confusions, like what, what are the repercussions? So, you know, we’re growing up in a very much, a divorce culture. My parents got divorced. Most of my friend’s parents got divorced. And that, that messes up your script, obviously. So what are the, what are some of the repercussions that we’re seeing as a society because of lack of healthy intimacy? Like, is this, you mentioned some of them, but I mean, obviously, we have an agenda at High Noon to help people understand sexuality because they’re not getting the script from their parents. They’re not getting a template from their parents. They’re not getting pretty much anything from their parents. They’re getting it all from actors and actresses, you know, online porn. And because of that, that’s their model, and that’s becoming more normalized. So what, what are, I just want people to as much as possible, understand what are they? What are they getting That is not what they could be getting? What are they missing out on, you know, with this substituting intimacy for porn?

Tim Rarick: Yeah, well, I’ll give you since you brought up father-daughter examples. And I, I write and speak about that frequently. And the same would (be) true, the same is true for father, er, mother-son relationships as well. And I bring up particularly father-daughter relationships because fatherlessness is so much more rampant than motherlessness. Every time a child was born, a mother’s nearby, that’s a fact of reproductive biology. But the question for cultural trends, for policy and for others is if father’s going to be nearby. And so girls for example, are missing, what it feels like to really be loved and cherished by a man and really, that, that increases such, I like the word ‘self-worth’ better than ‘self-esteem’. I just, that’s just me. But there, all the research shows that daughters who are raised by active, loving, and communicative fathers have a huge advantage over daughters who aren’t. Now, fatherlessness could, you could have a father who’s physically present, but emotionally absent and that’s almost as damaging. So those daughters have much higher self-worth. They’re much lighter, much less likely to struggle with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, body image issues. They’re more likely to graduate from college and, you know, high school and college. But to me, if you stick to the flip side of that, what the, what these daughters are missing out on and you can also easily argue what these fathers are missing out on. But we’ll talk about the daughters, what the daughters are missing out on; what it really really means to be truly loved by a man…

Andrew Love: Uconditionally

Tim Rarick: …unconditionally without any agenda in mind. And that you, you’re a person with hopes, needs, fears, dreams and desires that are just as legitimate as, as the man’s. In fact, having three daughters myself, I would say they’re more legitimate than mine, because we want what’s best for them. And fathers we, we tend to be the big heavy when boys start to come around to protect men who may not be as unconditional as we are. So they’re missing that. And they’re missing, shall we say, well, you can easily see, and this will bring up some other social issues that I’ve mentioned. But you can easily see how in these kinds of relationships, how a daughter, if you’re struggling with self worth, and these kind of, these are all, it’s hard to tell what’s the chicken or what’s the egg, they all feed off each other: self-worth, mental health, and that includes eating disorders, depression, anxiety – all those things are linked to the opposite sex, how the opposite sex abuse you. And so I really, and then how you view yourself through that lens. I, I just see so many social problems. If you want to talk about epidemics, I just, although this is an epidemic that’s, that’s been growing and growing and continues to grow. And our culture is paying, our world is paying the price for it. So what happens is when you don’t feel truly loved, conditionally, you feel like some women will, and those… I’ve seen women go into extremes. On the negative side, and one is they don’t trust men, and they want to demean them or step on them and try to elevate themselves by stepping on men. And then maybe even using them because, again, you’re lacking. There’s this hole inside. I remember, let’s see. Oh, well, I have, we have one son and when he was about four or five, he was eating dinner and he knew we had ice cream sandwiches, they’re rectangle-shaped. And he, he’d eaten all of his food. And then he says I’m full. I don’t want any more. I said, Okay, that means you probably don’t want ice cream sandwich. He goes well, and then he points to his stomach and he draws a shape on his stomach, like a truck directly. I got this much room, the size of, it was just a size of an ice cream. if he was eating with and it just would fill in that little spot there. And I see a void, I guess, emotionally, mentally, socially, that when these girls aren’t getting that they’ll try to they’re reaching for some sort of connection, some belongingness some understanding. And so the one extreme is what I described. The other extreme is is to you see women and I research on women who’ve been in the porn industry and got out and the vast majority of them came from fatherless homes or father abusive homes, and many of them said, I finally got the love and attention. I always wanted And then but in retrospect, it’s not what I needed. And they they were sucked in because all the attention they got from men and some of them would even would cite in their biographies or their, you know, their stories. Again, there’s there’s just sharing their stories, they’re not sharing anything specific of like, I want to point you on one thing. I was just kind of looking at it. More of a social scientist doing the qualitative review of it, many of them would say, I wish I’d always had a father. And so they’re missing out on how did these women allow themselves to be sexually exploited without realizing why they’re trying to fill in these gaps in themselves… …not working. And so, and then men who are looking at pornography, or who are profiteering off it, they, they know, I mean, I’ve, I’ve read people who stuck about… sex traffic and pimps, they’ll say they look for the girls like you walk up and say you have very beautiful eyes. And if she looks down and says no, I don’t, and this kind of like, lacking self-confidence and self-worth, and he says, oh, I know I got her now. But if she says, thank you and kind of walks up, it’s like, well, I’m not gonna go for her. Now, these are some extreme cases I’m giving you, of course, but it’s the illustration that when people are lacking healthy sexuality, unconditional love, true connection, that we will, we’re going to fill it in. And so one more quick example and this can happen, men and women. We will fill in the void somehow – the connection void. If we’re not getting it one way, we’re gonna get it another. And even if it’s not pornography, it’ll be endlessly checking a smartphone on on Tik-Tok or on Instagram, so we can get those dopamine hits. So we feel connected, but we’re really not learning how to regulate emotions, how to make true bonding connections.

Andrew Love: Sure. We have a ton of people out there who are really working hard. They’re trying to build sexual integrity. We call, we call it heavenly intimacy, building heavenly intimacy, which is like, at its apex. It’s, it’s husband, wife, giving their mind, heart, spirit., and then lastly their bodies to each other, like using their bodies to transmute the best of themselves, you know, that’s kind of like the apex. And that’s, we’re trying to train them to get to the point where they have a mind and a heart and a spirit to be able to, to offer somebody. So what would be good practice, say mentally, emotionally, spiritually, they’re lacking some sort of connection; what’s a healthy way of getting that connection? Because if I would say most of us didn’t receive a full serving of love because of the way that society operates. We missed a lot of opportunities to be with our parents, because of whatever reason everybody’s too busy to actually spend any time together which is the main purpose of living, in my estimation. But, no If you didn’t get a full serving of love from your parents, what is a good way to find healthy connections so that, you know, the next time they have an alternative to picking up their phone and wasting their time and energy?

Tim Rarick: So yeah if, I don’t want this to be doom and gloom, that somebody’s thinking, Oh, that that means if you don’t get true love and intimacy growing up or unconditional love, stick a fork in yourself because you’re done; there’s really no chance and then you’re just gonna have to be socially, spiritually mentally handicapped. That’s not how it is. Now, we know the brain. If you want to just focus on neurology, the brain is plastic, and the neurons that fire together wire together. So if, I every time I have a bowl of cereal, pick up my smart phone and I do the same three or four apps, then I will do that without even thinking if I do repeat that enough. Because those two neurons of eating cereal and looking at my smart phones, particularly if it’s, you know, certain apps. Now is that a bad thing? No, but it’s an illness, it can be. And it’s an illustration of how these things can happen so easily without us even knowing it. So, but if the brain is plastic, we can create new neural pathways. We see this in drug addiction recovery. We see this in pornography addiction recovery, that the brain rewires itself. It takes a different shape. And so I would say, starting just educating yourself about how the brain and how relationships work, go to really good resources to learn about that because you don’t know what you don’t know. And I teach a parenting class here on campus. That’s one of my areas of specialty. I guess one area is the policy, the other one’s more the parenting. So it’s kind of, I always try to joke and say I’m protecting the families, from the inside-out, parenting, and the outside-in, policy. But so, the parenting, I have a lot of students who will say, well, they’ll learn about certain principles and ideas that are philosophically and research based. And they’ll say, well, I didn’t get this growing up and they’ll, they’ll have the same question: can I turn the tide and raise children with certain things that I never got? I said, Absolutely. So just taking that class is a huge step in the right direction because their eyes are open to ideas they’ve never thought of before. They’ve never before considered. Now, it’s not as easy as just learning about it. But getting good information, going to organizations, individuals, to get that really good information. So it can change the way you start thinking about things. For example, one of my favorite books… can I plug a book? I didn’t write it so can I still plug it?

Andrew Love: Yes.

Tim Rarick: Okay. This is not, it’s connection-based, but it’s, it’s not porn. He doesn’t address pornography in the book, but he dresses changing the way we see and changing patterns and traditions and things like that. It’s called Bonds That Make Us Free by C. Terry Warner, the initial C, not the word. It’s philosophically-based, but it is such a, to me, a game changer in seeing how we have more choices. Regardless of how we were raised, we still have more choices than we think we do. It opens up your eyes to whole, all sorts of possibilities in thinking in ways that most people typically don’t think. So. If we can change the brain, we can change the mind, which I separate those things out. We can change relationships, we can change the spirit, we can change the heart. That book is all about changing the heart. And I think it addresses it quite well. Another thing is, as you get good information, you’ll start to… so, many of these women that I know that have recovered from a poor father-daughter relationship, they found father figures in their lives because they knew what to start looking for. They got good information, they started making good connections and healthier relationships. Instead of thinking this is just who I am, I’m just going to be doomed to attract bad guys my whole life. They realize they’re worth more. And they realize they’re better than that. And they will own some of the choices that they have been making rather than just blaming it on their dad, even though he did play his role. And they’ve learned how to, I guess, they have a lot more autonomy, they can choose their future and not have to live in the past to feel like this is just who I am. That’s one of the biggest impediments I see the people changing is them identifying with their past or identifying with their bad habits or their addictions. That’s not who you are. That’s something you struggle with. But you can change again with good information and healthy relationship. So that’s… the healthy relationship component is critical. I have a student who was raised in Haiti, and I got to be quite close with her that she helped me with some UN work last year, I think it was. And she had a terrible upbringing with her father, her mom. Her father was abusive to her mom and to her. They divorced in her younger years. And then mom was raised… mom raised her as a single mother for a while, and then she remarried. The next husband was a little better, but not much. But she said she meant as she got, she started hating men. And when she got to her teenage years, she met a couple of really good men in her community. That just broke the mold of what how she thought all men were, because most men around her were just, were not, well, they were toxic, if I could use that buzzword. And she met these men and opened her eyes that there’s a different way. And not all men are this way. And so she befriended them. They became father figures to her and it really changed her bit by bit and sent her on a different path. She got more information than she then had. She got healthier relationships. And you could say spiritually and neurologically different neurons started wiring together that never did before. And socially. And she’s married to a really good man now. They have a son together, she has changed. She’s turned the tide. She’s become, she stopped becoming a victim, stopped being a victim of the past and start being an agent to act in the future. And so, and I’ve seen this men too, who were raised by poor fathers who never saw that in their home and they latched on to some groups that some, had some healthy… well, this could be a whole nother conversation, but had some healthy men there that were really trying to, they were authentic, down-to-earth that were really trying to do good. Those relationships and that, I guess, if I could boil it down to something as simple as just getting information you never had before. Good knowledge with good relationships, even if they’re not family, can really change, can be game changers for you. And if you’re listening to this, and, and you’re thinking, well, I’m listening to this podcast because I want good information. I said, good, keep doing that. Maybe you are one that you feel like you’ve recovered enough that you can be that person to reach out and to be the father or mother figure, to be that connection to model what shows healthy femininity, healthy masculinity and healthy fatherhood and motherhood and husband, marriage, etc, and, and be the gateway.

Andrew Love: Yeah, that’s fantastic. I mean, I accept that as a challenge and pass it off to everybody out there who’s listening. Because when you have certain bad habits, obviously you need accountability to develop new good habits and to get rid of your old bad habits. But it helps you see the value of modeling where you would like to be for other people as well so that their plight is lessened. And it’s like this virtuous circle that takes place, it’s a, it’s a great idea. And I love it. Because it seems to expedite the process when you say that when you have clear information, and then you start to develop some sort of vision and a goal for your life; when you become accountable to the things that you want, and then you also start to embody them for other people, then they’re, they become accountable to you, you become accountable to them for the person you want to be. And it just kind of speeds up the process. Does that make sense?

Tim Rarick: Oh, yes, absolutely. When your heart starts to change, because it’s not just a mind thing. But especially when your heart starts to change, you start to feel a desire to want to help others and to be, to be that person for other people. You start to see them differently. I mean, this can happen just even… I’m far from a perfect father, but when I see my children as the problem when I’m miserable or angry… what, who said it? TS Eliot: “Seeing the other person as the problem is the problem.” But when I start to have a change of heart and start to see them as people who have, again hopes, needs, fears, dreams and desires, they’re as real to me as my own. My, even within a 24-hour period, my heart starts to change. Instead of seeing my son as a belligerent teenager who just wants to be on a screen all the time, who doesn’t want to come to family gatherings, like family dinner, because we try to have at least a couple family gatherings a day, if not, you know, at least dinner for sure. Which by the way, research shows is a credible tool for parents or families to connect. But when I see him that way, I don’t see his struggles. I don’t see that he’s actually insecure. And this actually happened a couple of weeks ago. I was really just upset and like, I cannot believe I’m raising a boy who xy and z, you know, who’s doing this. And I was thinking about myself, I wasn’t thinking about him. And I think when we get so self-absorbed into our own problems, and we cannot see the other person, clearly; we can’t even see ourself clearly. And I think some people who are struggling with connection, really this inner connection to really be, am I seeing myself as I really am? Am I seeing my spouse or my child or people around me as they really are? Or is it colored by my pride? Because really, seeing my son in that moment, it was pride that was blinding me to the reality of him. My pride was like, I cannot believe it’s how it was reflecting on me. And I felt justified because for a whole variety of reasons. But once I let go of that pride and I had a change of heart, a whole bunch of possibilities opened up to me. And I saw him as somebody who felt insecure, didn’t have very many friends and didn’t feel understood, particularly by his father. I really just needed somebody to listen to him, to learn from him. And to offer that unconditional love. Instead of addressing, like, you need to get off your screen, I said, it was more of an urgency of I need to connect and bond with this boy. Because if I don’t, he’s gonna bond with something. And that’s why he’s bonding with the technology. And you, I’m sure you’ve heard this all the time, but the opposite of addiction is connection. And I was blinded by my pride. So that was in a 24-hour period doesn’t mean I’m solved and I’m healed and everything’s fine and I never get prideful and blinded by… there’s all sorts of pride. I mean, there’s, there’s the I’m better than you pride, but those are also the I’m worse than you and I’m, I’m a terrible person. Self-disparagement is a sneaky form of pride that stops us from reaching out and turning outward to others. So I’m not healed from it. But I’ve learned over and over again, people’s humanity is constantly reaching out to us and pleading to just, just understand me. Just get to know me. And they may have a crusty shell but deep down, that’s what they really want. And so I think this turning, if people, we really need to turn the tide. If we can’t get it in our families, we can get it in the human family.

Andrew Love: Absolutely. Yeah. And I can see, I mean, what you’re saying is applicable to blaming your boss, blaming a teacher, blaming your parents, because it goes both ways. I think I hear a lot of judgment, from young people about their parents. And I think that they’re also forgetting the fact that their parents are humans who are flooded. And that, yeah, anyway, it’s a good lesson for all of us to learn to see the humanity and the worthiness of all people. And that yeah, pride is that sneaky thing that divides us from our, divides us within ourselves, like our hearts and our minds and each other. Um, thank you.

Tim Rarick: You bet.

Andrew Love: I mean, I wish we could go for a couple more hours and I I think we just have to do part two and three and four and five. But for now, I will have to start wrapping it up. And if you could just give a couple key points. For single people, what would be the best preparation to be, to show up for marriage prepared. Because we actually have a whole episode of like how to show up to marriage prepared and that’s one test that you don’t want to cram for or like slack on, you know, you really want to show prepared. So, what is good preparation for young people to show up to marriage prepared?

Tim Rarick: The most selfless people are the best spouses. And that when I mean selfless, I don’t mean where you’re constantly doing to please other people, and be a… people-pleaser is different than being selfless. People-pleaser is still focused on self. It’s not turning outward, it’s turning inward. But as a single person, I tell my students this all the time because they’re keenly interested in, in marriage and family. And so I tell them all the time is that you can’t just flip a switch. Like if you’re, if you’re focused on lust and focused on self and you never check your heart and you never say where’s my own, you know, pride and were, were I blinded by my pride. If you never do that, it’s not like you can flip a switch and say, like, now I’m full of love, because I think love and lust are opposites of each other. And lust is focused on self and not on the moment, and it’s on gratification. Love is focused on the other person, and it’s more long term, it’s focused on joy rather than pleasure and pleasure is okay in sex. But if that’s our primary, if selfish pleasure is our primary goal… so you just can’t flip a switch. You can’t be all of a sudden, I’m married now. And so now I’m going to give my heart to you when I’ve never learned how to give and turn outward as a single person. And one pattern that I found quite helpful in that way, I’m going to shamelessly steal this from Dr. John Van Epp. He’s written a, I don’t know how many books but I know one of them. This is gonna sound like a funky title. But trust me on this, it’s called “How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk”. Really good book. So I would say he gives this thing called the Relationship Attachment Model. Great advice to single folks and it still applies to married folks as well. And that is you don’t trust somebody more than you know them. You don’t rely on them more than you trust them. You don’t commit to them more than you rely on them. And you don’t touch them more than any of the prior for. Does that make sense?

Andrew Love: That’s really cool. I like that a lot.

Tim Rarick: Oh, think of it as like a five channel stereo or like an equalizer. So you’ve got on the far left, because since we, you know, in America, we read from left to right. But on the far left is no and on the far right is touch, and the sliders go up and down. So you shouldn’t be higher in… so there’s know, trust, rely, commit and touch. You shouldn’t be higher in trust, your slider shouldn’t be higher in trust than it does in know. So and then your, your, your reliance slider shouldn’t be, and that’s like emotional relaince, physical reliance, etc. You shouldn’t rely on somebody more than you trust. So it should be ascending order, like your know should be the highest. And if you want some examples getting to know someone while you’re dating, do things that you actually get to know them in a variety of circumstances. Don’t just go do a movie together because you don’t get to talk. You don’t get to actually get to know someone. And as you get to know someone, then your trust should kind of lag behind your knowledge. As that goes, you start to rely on them more. What our culture has done is moved the the touch meter up half, if not all the way. There’s this joke sometimes you hear from most of whom, it seems like, it’s completely fine with one night stands. Well, what’s that? That’s the touch thing all the way up and all the other sliders down. That’s a recipe for disaster. So if you want to have a healthy pattern in your marriage, create a healthy pattern and you’re dating. That model that possesses you in your dating life has power to possess you and your marriage life. So, what, for better for worse. So just to wrap this up, I would say, try, practice that pattern in your dating. Don’t trust somebody more than you know them. Don’t rely on them more than you trust them. Don’t commit to them more than you rely on them. And then don’t touch them more than any of that. You know, I hear teenagers say, why can’t we just make out with each other? Or why can’t we just grope each other? And I’ll go, because you’re touching is a reflection of how much you know, rely, trust, and commit. And if that’s a manifestation of it, and you’re not in a position to make that commitment, your commitment, that sort of act is showing that you’ve committed something that you’re not in a position to… you’re teenager. You’re still living at home. You can’t make a marriage commitment right then. So the higher your commitment, the higher in touch to go up. The marital commitment is the most, should be the most permanent, most sacred commitment. So the touch should follow the commitment rather than the other way around. And so rather than ask the question, how far can I go and get away with it? Which is a very self-centered turning inward kind of selfish thing? It’s what’s the proper pattern? How do I get to know them? That to me, that, that’s a healthy pattern of intimacy, social or emotional, intimacy, spiritual, physical, etc.

Andrew Love: And so if, if you follow that pattern, what are, what are the, what are the benefits of having, not like knowing the person and trusting them prior to touching; what, what are the benefits of that just to help sell people on it? Because it’s like, you know, how often do they hear people saying what you just said? Probably never. So like, how do we, how do we sell them on this as a good idea.

Tim Rarick: Well, let me just, yeah. So I spoken at I’ve spoken at Princeton twice. And one of the times I spoke during the q&a session, somebody asked about dating and I showed him the RAM model and I have an image. And I described this, and a student from Ohio, Princeton students. So he was stunned that he’s never heard this before. And I guess he’s hearing the same stuff over and over again, which is, it’s all about you pleasure yourself. And so he was excited to hear something new. And he kind of felt like he had been duped or misled. And I told him he had, but it’s not totally his fault and knowledge is power. And now you can start acting and thinking differently. But this the benefits of this pattern is that you make more. First of all, it’s a pattern for making more level-headed decisions, the prefrontal cortex, which is like the brain CEO or the, that is decision making, it’s emotional regulation, etc. Research shows that love can be blind, you get too much touch into a relationship without the trust, knowledge, commitment, and etc. You can make pretty boneheaded decisions. Because your love can be blind, you think oh, you, this will work out because X, Y & Z. Because you’re so, maybe I don’t know if it’s overwhelmed with oxytocin or what it is, but because I can’t remember what the issue is, but if you’re putting touch too quickly, then your head won’t be as clear and you won’t be able to make wise decisions about this relationship:  how long should I stay in or, or maybe I should stay in this, maybe I need to re-calibrate and spend more time getting to know this person. So that’s the one benefit. A second one would be mental health, mental and emotional health. You follow this pattern, you’re less likely to rely on people like if, if you’re a man or a woman, that you tend to rely on the opposite sex to feel good about yourself. You tend to go through relationships over and over and over again, serial relationships, because… and I’ve seen students like this who feel like they always have to be belonging in a relationship. Their mental health struggles when they’re not in a relationship. So that’s a, that’s a slippery…pOr maybe not a slippery slope. That’s, that’s walking on thin ice, because you do not have a strong foundation. If you follow this pattern, you’re more likely to make wiser decisions, have better mental health. And you’ll have healthier relationships. I mean, who doesn’t want a true, selfless, reciprocal relationship where you can fully give yourself freely. And it’s reciprocated. I mean, there’s nothing more beautiful than that, than being in a relationship with someone who loves you, completely sees all of your metaphorical and literal words and is still willing to give themselves fully and accept you fully as you are. I think this, that’s the, those are the three biggest selling patterns is just you’ll make clear decisions in relationships, you know better mental health, and you’ll have a better – when that time comes – you’ll have a better marriage. And if even if marriage doesn’t happen, those two first things, you’ll have healthier relationships across the board. Intimate relationships across the board.

Andrew Love: I think that’s fantastic. It sounds like you get to, in many ways, become the owner of your marriage because you can be the owner of yourself more, right? So you lose yourself less. And it seems like our society is built upon losing more and more of yourself in other people and other things, to the point where you don’t even in a sense, recognize yourself. But the more that you take kind of ownership over yourself, the more that you have to give, and when you find somebody who’s done the same, you can be much more in control of the destiny of that, that relationship. Is that, is that a fair assessment?

Tim Rarick: That’s a fair assessment. Yeah, you, and, and you’re not gonna be riding off into the sunset. This won’t be a Disney happily ever after. But it will be, you’ll have a stability and a level of happiness and joy that’s still there even when the two of you fight or the two of you are having problems. Because that stability, that relational stability is there. And yeah, it’s just, we have to learn how to really give ourselves if we don’t understand ourselves. I mean, what was there to give? I mean, you just give yourself sexually without, without all the other components, I just think it’s it’s putting the cart before the horse and you’re not gonna like how it turns out.

Andrew Love: I have to let you go by law because I believe in love, and I want you to go home and kiss your wife. So I will let you go for now. But I do want to speak with you again down the road. I want to thank you and I want to apologize to all of our listeners. We had a bunch of technical, technical difficulties today. But Tim persevered because he’s a champ. And there will be a part two for sure. Even if I have to go to Idaho, which I don’t think I’ve ever been to Idaho; but I will go there just to track you down and shove a microphone in your face because I want more people to know what you have in your head.

Tim Rarick: Well, two quick things, Andrew, it’s an honor. Maybe three. It’s an honor to be on this. Second, I love what you do at High Noon. Keep up the good work. It’s necessary. And third, I may not do this one online next time just to force you to come to Idaho so we can hang out.

Andrew Love: Yeah, so everybody, if I never, if you never see me again, I’m in a farm somewhere. I’m just grazing. I’m just eating some grass.

Tim Rarick: Probably potatoes here.

Andrew Love: I think our missions are aligned as well that, you know, everybody who sees the dire state of families affecting our society negatively. We have to do everything in our power to help people have the family that everybody deserves, you know. But few people know how to maintain and sustain in the, in this world, that’s in many ways against family. So I appreciate you for all that you’re doing and standing up for families and for making it cool, too, because most people, like family value conferences and stuff are usually so lame. But you’re really such a cool guy.

Tim Rarick: Oh, well thank you so much.

Andrew Love: So I appreciate it for, that you’re making it cool. You’re doing good work, and everybody out there. If you have any questions, we will have in our show notes that book recommendation that Tim had. And also, if it’s okay, a link to Tim’s bio, because I just was doing some research online and his university has. And so you can reach out to him if you want, if he’s comfortable with that. Otherwise, you can just google his name because that’s how I found out everything I needed to know about Tim. So he’s accessible. If you have any more questions, he’s, he’s a very cool guy. Please reach out to him and if you want any questions for us, you know how to contact us. Thank you for listening and we will talk to you later. Bye Say bye, Tim.

Tim Rarick: See yah!


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  1. At about 16:55 in the podcast, I just burst out crying. For me I feel this has been so true. My parents are married, but because of our extended families living in two places (Japan/USA) our immediate family has lived separately to help each side of our families. The majority of the time I have lived where my mom went, but I definitely felt the lack of my dad’s presence. This helped me. Thank you so much. God must be so grateful to have people like you doing what you are doing.