What is love?
Take the time to renew your vows to one another. Tell each other how much you mean, and show it through acts of love that your partner would enjoy. In this week’s podcast, Alan and Pauly are still walking their talk after 45 years, and we hope you will enjoy watching and listening to this podcast for Valentine’s Day.
Note: Below is a transcription of this Walking Our Talk podcast. Please excuse any grammatical or punctuation flaws, as the transcription is a written version of our fluid conversation.
Pauly [00:00:07] Welcome to walking our talk with Alan and Pauly Heller, join our conversation as we discuss practical ways to apply spiritual principles to your everyday life and help you walk your talk one step at a time.
Alan [00:00:26] Walking our talk with Alan and Pauly Heller, and we’re looking forward today, you know, Valentine’s Day is coming up. And so we want to talk a little bit about love. And Pauly, I have spent at least 45 years with you.
Pauly [00:00:44] Yes.
Alan [00:00:45] In love.
Pauly [00:00:46] Yes.
Alan [00:00:47] So we’re going to talk about something that happened very early, like the first day we made commitment to each other.
Pauly [00:00:55] OK.
Alan [00:00:56] So I’m going to read this to you, Pauly, as we stand before men and God and come into a new relationship as husband and wife. I promise you, as your husband, I will first love God with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind, I will always try to be obedient to him first before anyone else. I will love you and never break this mysterious relationship that he has given to us for as long as we remain on this earth. I will nourish, respect, cherish you as I do my own body, for we are no longer two but one who. And we are told for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. As your husband, I will always seek to comfort you when you are distressed and anxious. I encourage you in times of discouragement. Laugh when you laugh, cry when you cry. I will seek to communicate with you, to speak the truth and love. Though it may sting for a moment, and it sure has sometimes and will not let a day pass where the sun has gone down on my rath, I give myself completely to you today, Pauly, and you alone. You are the bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. Nothing will separate us from God because God has joined us together and no man can put it asunder. And what did you say to me?
Pauly [00:02:40] I do want to tell you what what I said to you. But first I want to say that we studied the scripture before we wrote these vows and worked really hard at finding the biblical base for our vows,.
Alan [00:03:01] Right we studied Genesis, Ephesians, Colossians.
Pauly [00:03:05] Yes.
Alan [00:03:06] The Solomon proverb.
Pauly [00:03:08] Right. And we wanted to make sure that we got those elements into these promises that we were making to each other.
Alan [00:03:17] And honest and idealistic, but biblical.
Pauly [00:03:21] Yeah. Yeah.
Alan [00:03:23] And I meant it.
Pauly [00:03:25] Yes. And after we’d been married for a couple of years, you had these vows calligraphed, somebody hand wrote them on this huge four by five parchment and we framed and matted them. And they still are up on the wall in our bedroom. And I look at those every day and I’m reminded of of how hard we worked to prepare these for our wedding day and how hard we’ve worked to keep them.
Alan [00:04:06] So we’ll talk more about that in the podcast.
Pauly [00:04:08] Right. But this is what I said to you.
Alan [00:04:11] I want to be refreshed on what you promised me.
Pauly [00:04:15] You can tell me how well I’ve kept them. Alan, in the presence of God and our relatives and friends, I declare my love for you and my desire to be the helper fit for you that God created me to be. He said it is not good for a man to be alone because you have certain needs. As your wife, I promise to remain by your side to meet your needs so that you will never have to be alone. I commit myself to you to be the one in whom your heart may safely trust, to cherish your soul and care for you tenderly. As for myself, to respect you and honor you, to love you and serve you in every way for the rest of our lives. Although my emotions may fluctuate and my will rebel against yours, I choose today to submit my will to yours as I have submitted to the Lord. And Alan, I know we set our standards high, but we’re sure to fail many times in the years to come. Yet I’ll be looking to God to renew the strength of our love and the bond between us knowing that God alone can and will make our joy complete. I give myself to you in his name.
Alan [00:05:41] Yeah. And you know, although my emotions may fluctuate, I never knew how much your emotions would fluctuate and that our standards are high and we’re sure to fail many times. And we certainly have. And we’ve spent really our lifetime trying to help others and not hiding the foibles and the miscommunication and the rebelliousness of both our hearts at times, but always coming back to it and and coming back to what the word of God told us to do, to be obedient and to walk with him and to allow him to get us through some very tough times. You know, the major ones are a swollen optic nerve in my eye that actually took me out of the ministry that I was in with athletes in action and the gymnastic team, which, you know, I was on a gymnastic team for a year without doing gymnastics, which was a platform to be able to share the gospel. And so that really messed with my identity, my emotions. I also was on steroids and got angry. I remember breaking a kitchen table. Yeah, I remember that I was not myself. And, you know, I didn’t sign up for that when I when I made these vows. I didn’t know we’re going to go through.
Alan [00:07:05] And then, of course, dealing with Josh’s death and ups and downs of finances or ministry situations or relationships that we’re not working out or whatever and sticking together and keeping to these commitments. And so, you know, recently I married a young couple that were brought up and brought up in Christian home. And it was a delightful wedding because these folks really wanted to do it right. And, you know, there’s so much emotion and joy and excitement when people first get married. And you know what I tell them in premarital counseling, usually I do six sessions at least with a couple. And I say, you know, my goal is to help you build a life, not just a marriage.
Alan [00:07:57] And so in light of Valentine’s Day, it sort of brings us back to our vows and what is love? You know, in America, we say, I really love this caramel ice cream and I really love you, honey. So, of course, in the Greek, you know, there are four or five different names for love. You know, there’s Eros, which is the the physical and erotic type of love. There’s storgay and fellatio, which is like Philadelphia is brother friendship, friendship. And, you know, this is something I see a lot. I see a lot of couples after they’re married for a number of years and some not even too long that are friends and roommates. And they have a great friendship, but they don’t have any romance. And these days, people are dealing a lot with sexless marriages and, you know, probably do a podcast just on that, except with blush a lot. But just that’s an area that God doesn’t blush about. But the foundation of the relationship has to be agape, which is God’s love, which is unconditional. And there’s no way I can unconditionally keep these vows that I said to you or love you unconditionally without the spirit of God helping me do that, because I get upset just as much as anybody over things that go on in you. And I know you get upset with things with me.
Pauly [00:09:28] Well, here’s a thought, Alan. In our last podcast, we were talking about abiding in in God, abiding in Jesus. And if we are abiding in Him, we are abiding in His love. We are abiding, settling in, making ourselves at home in His love. And He says, if you abide in me and my words abide in you, you can ask whatever you will and it will be done for you. And so if we have settled in to Him and His spirit and His truth are living in us, we can ask Him to fill us with that agape, a love that we need in order sometimes to just overcome an offense that we have toward another person.
Alan [00:10:25] Well, and we’ll be talking in our next podcast about forgiveness. So tune in to that one if you want to deal with the heavy lifting. But today, we’re dealing with Valentine’s Day. And I remember when we did this marriage retreat over in Thailand and we were there for a week and we were in the midst of an exercise with the group. And I just said what I always say in the workshop, turn towards your partner and tell them such and such. And our host John Simon said, “wait a minute.”
Alan [00:11:04] And I thought, oh, did I do something wrong or what happened? And he says, “hold on in Thailand, when we say turn to each other means we’re going to fight, you know, we’re going to box.” He says, “I need to I need to tell them what you really mean.” You know, hearts and Disneyland. And we’re to love each other. That was something. So he took about ten minutes to describe.
Pauly [00:11:33] Right. Right.
Alan [00:11:34] But he got it across. And, you know, the couples started connecting with each other in ways that they didn’t in that culture.
Pauly [00:11:42] Right. And that the heart’s in Disneyland. And, you know, Bluebird, of course, that is a part of the relationship. It is. And, you know, I was talking about agape and, you know, we settle into that. But in a marriage, we do need more than that. Like, that’s the foundation that we can fall back on when that the romantic love seems to disappear and we have no Filho or not. We don’t even I don’t even want to be civil to you in the moment, but God’s greater love is carrying us through. But we need those other parts of love. Or what? Or we have no marriage.
Alan [00:12:26] Right. And so, again, I remember in this wedding ceremony, I try and make each wedding ceremony. I don’t say the same thing, but there are certain things that you need to say. And one of them is I tell them, you know, you have to have commitment. And one of the five areas that we talk about in the Marital Mystery Tour, which is our book, which would be a bad idea to give your lover this Valentine’s Day, just go to our website, walkandtalk.org, but the Marital Mystery Tour talks about commitment and the commitment takes you when you are committed to your partner. That takes you through the times where there’s a lull or the emotions aren’t there. But for the first few years, man, emotions and hormones are pretty good. So when we were younger, what was it that you would say helped you feel romantic or was romantic to you? Do you even know? Because I couldn’t figure it out.
Pauly [00:13:36] I know you worked so hard at it, trying to grow romantically, you know.
Alan [00:13:43] Chocolates, notes and get you into bed.
Pauly [00:13:44] You did really good with the candles and the flowers.
Alan [00:13:47] And I’m sort of the woman in the relationship and she’s the man. So if if I depended on Pauly to light the candles for the bath, it wouldn’t put the bubbles in there. Although you’ve gotten better. I know after 45 years you do it a few times.
Pauly [00:14:03] But you’ve also learned a few of the things that I really do like like getting my feet rubbed, getting my back scratched. But the most important thing for me is my love language, acts of service.
Alan [00:14:22] Making the bed without being told.
Pauly [00:14:23] Making the bed, helping me.
Alan [00:14:25] Today, I was I was sitting in my comfortable chair reading and I heard the garage door go up and I go, You have a choice, man. You can either help her with the groceries or you can sit here. But if you sit here, there will not be good checkmark. So I got up and I helped you with the dinner, and you said you were really appreciative of that.
Pauly [00:14:46] Yeah. Yeah. Those things mean a lot to me. And it’s interesting because I that’s the way I want to express my love for you is by doing things for you.
Alan [00:14:59] And it doesn’t mean the food I like. Yeah. I mean I’ll never say no to sex but.
Pauly [00:15:05] Right. Right.
Alan [00:15:07] But what are the things that for me it’s uh it’s not just the physical and in bed stuff. It’s, it is during the day the the little handhold or whatever, or calling me and, you know, just saying, hey, how you doing or whatever. And I enjoy one thing that you’ve done over the years is to have lipstick on and to kiss us a sticky note and then put it somewhere that that that’s great for at least two weeks. It has to do. I mean, this is what Gary Smalley, who used to write books on marriage, you know, he’d say the women want to know you, that you’ve been thinking about them not just for their birthday or the anniversary or Valentine’s Day, but to be thinking about them just in general.
Pauly [00:16:05] Yeah. When you’re away from them.
Alan [00:16:07] And then planning something, you know, to me, a getaway, uh, getting some time away alone, walking on a trail or walking around the park, those kinds of things. But ultimately, I mean, I’m like any guy, food and sex pretty much I’ll be happy.
Pauly [00:16:25] So this may be a little too much information, but we we do enjoy taking baths together. And we have this this house that was built in the nineteen-eighties and it has this great big oval spa.
Alan [00:16:43] Yeah you couldn’t do laps in it but it’s big.
Pauly [00:16:44] Right, it’s bigger than the average tub without the Jets or anything. But we, we were, we did just redo our bathroom and we were looking at new bathtubs.
Alan [00:16:56] Yeah they were pretty thin.
Pauly [00:16:57] Like the new tubs are like these freestanding tubs but we could not find a freestanding tub that had the same dimensions as the one that we have now.
Alan [00:17:10] At least that would fit in the bathroom space. In the space that we have, otherwise we would have to buy a new house. I’m not into that right now.
Pauly [00:17:17] Well, that easily accommodates both of us, which is something that over the more recent years, I don’t think I took a bath for the first.
Alan [00:17:31] Yeah. You were a gymnast and you took a shower.
Pauly [00:17:33] And the house that we lived in for the first twenty years of our marriage. Didn’t even have a bathtub. It didn’t have a tub in the master bath. You know, there was a tub in the guest bath. And so I’m just saying that over the more recent years, we’ve just started enjoying this. And each other in that it gives us a chance to just sit face to face with each other and just really let down and relax physically and just talk with each other, that’s something that really helps to warm me up and a lot of them and a lot of different ways.
Alan [00:18:12] So you need to figure out what works for you. You know, that may totally turn you off. I don’t know. But each couple needs to find that. And, you know, we found that going out on Valentine’s Day is not really much fun because there are long lines and who knows what you’re doing with covid. But we found the day isn’t as important. We might go to lunch and get a steak the day before because it’s a little cheaper and it’s empty.
Pauly [00:18:43] Right, right. So right to go to lunch instead of dinner that day just makes a lot more sense.
Alan [00:18:51] Right. I’ve given you everything from those little fruit deals that come in. You seem to like to get stuff mailed to you and show up at the door.
Pauly [00:19:01] Chocolate dipped strawberries. So, yeah, I haven’t seen those for a while.
Alan [00:19:07] So let me end our time here with First Corinthians 13. And what somebody said is, you know, put your name in there if you want to be convicted. But this is love. If I speak in the tongues of mankind and angels but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to charity and if I surrender my body so that I may glory but do not have love, it does not make me any good. Love is patient. Love is kind. It is not jealous. Love does not brag. Alan is not arrogant. But got to be careful when you put your name in there. It does not act disgracefully. It does not seek its own benefit. It is not provoked, does not keep an account of a wrong suffered. It does not rejoice in unrighteousness but rejoices with the truth. It keeps every confidence. It believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love, that’s God’s love never fails. But if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away with. If there are tongues, they will cease. If there is knowledge, it will be done away with. For we know in part in prophecy in part. But when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child. When I became a man, I did away with childish things. And some of us need to do that. For now, we see in a mirror dimly but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, and love remain these three. But the greatest of these is love.
Alan [00:21:16] And so as you go through your romantic ideas, one thing I want to say is make sure that you give to your spouse what they want, not what you want. And if you don’t know what that is, ask them what what would be something that would really be romantic this year? What would be something I could do for you that would really be a ten and an exchange those ideas. And then if you have to write it down in your notebook or your calendar or your phone, whatever, remember it for next year.
Alan [00:21:51] So I hope this has been helpful. We’re talking about love. We’re talking about romance. We’re talking about the commitment that we need to make to one another to make it work in marriage and in relationship. And if you do want to get a resource that is really helpful, I would get our Marital Mystery Tour at walkandtalk.org. Until next time. Keep walking your talk.
Pauly [00:22:18] This has been walking our talk with Alan and Pauly Heller, where we put into action those principles, we know from God’s word one step at a time, you can find more help at our website: walkandtalk.org.