Laugh your way to a better marriage

Laugh your way to a better marriage

Recently someone sent me a Youtube clip of Mark Gungor’s “Laugh your way to a better marriage”. Since we have been talking about marriage and women in ministry, I thought I would share this with you.

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I purchased Mark’s 4 DVD set of his marriage weekend seminar after watching the clip. I think the DVDs are very helpful with some very helpful insights into marriage and why men and women struggle with seeing things differently. It is also very funny and I like insightful things that make me laugh. I haven’t had time to watch the last of the 4 DVD set yet, but if it is as good as the other DVDs in his marriage seminar set, I think he has a real winner. If any of you are looking for marriage help and wondering how mutuality in marriage can be worked out, I recommend Mark’s 4 DVD marriage seminar set. It cost quite a bit more than my 4 DVD set does, but I think there is good value in it.

44 thoughts on “Laugh your way to a better marriage

  1. Pretty funny. 🙂

    One of my favorite jokes is based on scientific fact. If a man gets hit on the head in the area of his speech center, he has a 50/50 chance of losing his ability of speech altogether. Men’s brains are very compartmentalized.

    If a woman gets hit on the head in the area of speech, the other half of her brain takes over, because the two hemispheres of a woman’s brain are interconnected in ways men’s brains are not.

    This is one reason why all the people who think God wants women to be silent are so very wrong. 🙂 hehe

  2. It is certainly interesting to see how different men and women think and how their brains are “wired” differently. That is why we are true complements and why women are very much needed.

  3. Oh and by the way, this speaker is a Pastor. He gets into forgiveness in one of the DVD sessions that is very good and very practical in a way that I don’t think a non-Christian presenter could.

  4. The evidence continues to mount that God is also a rational being, and never intended the church to have a unilateral hierarchy based on gender, doesn’t it?

  5. I always get a bit nervous with things like this. As a woman, I am extremely compartmentalized in my thinking and usually fit more into the male category on all those tests/assessments.

    I do have to wonder how much is nature or nurture. I do get concerned when I see someone make a point about women and their emotion.

  6. Lin,
    When he goes through the seminar he states that there are always exceptions. He says that in his own marriage there are areas that he is more like the typical female and his wife is more like the typical male. He says that one needs to remember that these are general characteristics and not set-in-stone rules. I am glad that he said this because I too have some opposite characteristics and that is just fine. My husband is more sensitive than I am at times and that is fine. It is his character and I am glad he is like this. The one thing that we did notice from the DVDs is that for the most part we can both agree that he describes much of the way each of us acts or interacts. I am much more able to multi-task than my husband as he finds that difficult.

  7. Thanks, that is a relief to hear. I always feel like ‘odd man’ (ha) out at these types of teachings. I cannot multi task at all and find that women who can, do not understand me at all! :o) I focus on ONE thing and a tornado would hit and I would not know it. I think romance is silly so when that subject comes up as it always does at these things, I beg my husband not to listen or buy roses. I say, clean the loo, buy me a book and I will know you love me. :o)

  8. Lin,
    That is the language of love. Some women need words and others roses and others yet acts of service. As long as you ask for what you want, you are doing the right thing. He tells women to ask for what you want and don’t say that if he loved me he would know. You have to ask for what you want and ask more than once 🙂

  9. I’ve often said that in online conversations, when the parties don’t know each other’s gender, that it’s almost comical how people try to guess anyway. Many times I was presumed to be male, and once was even reprimanded for “shirking my duty as a father and husband” because of my egalitarian arguments. I got a major laugh out of that one. (Yes, I finally told the guy I’m female, and he was strangely silent after that.)

    The internet is a good case study in mistaken presumptions about male and female brains. I’ve seen very emotional posts by males, and very technical posts by females. And as we know, females can be very hostile and aggressive, and males can be gentle and nurturing.

    My point is that the “exceptions” disprove the rule. Were our behavior and thinking dependent upon our physiology, there would be no exceptions at all. In fact, the idea of gender-based thinking and behavior is exactly like race-based arguments. It ignores the “exceptions” which disprove the rule.

    (blogged about that a while back)

  10. Yup, there are a lot of exceptions, but the similarities of the characteristics can be very helpful for us to understand our husbands and perhaps even more important – for them to understand us. I am a naturally submissive person and the one thing that I got from this DVD series is that it is a healthy thing to ask for what I need and not expect that my husband will naturally understand my needs. I also learned that it is okay for me to barter to get what I need. I wish I had learned this a36 years ago. I wouldn’t have had to wait for 20 years to get shelves put inside my kitchen cupboards! I thought taht I was being nice being so patient and not nagging, but I didn’t get what I needed. I am now learning what I need to do that will help my husband to stop procrastinating and the rewards that he gets for pleasing me is very helpful for him too!

  11. I think a better way to understand a spouse is to just talk to them. Why ask about generalities when the person we know is right in front of us? Why go to surveys and pop psychology when we can just talk to each other? Do we do these things with our friends or coworkers? And if we object that “he just won’t open up” or “she can’t put it into words”, then I think basic communication in the marriage needs major help! This is supposed to be our best friend, right? If I need a seminar about other people in order to understand a particular person, something is very wrong.

    Instead of discussing “male brains” and “female brains”, why not have couples just discuss the two brains that matter to them?

  12. Yup, we all look at things in a different way. I see things differently. What tweaked with me was that even though I have been married for almost 36 years and know my husband better than anyone, I got an understanding of WHY he does what he does. It caused us to talk about the whys not just the whats. My husband has always been my best friend since I was 15 and I do know him well, but I got a new appreciation for his thinking process and for that I am most grateful. Perhaps others might not like the information, but I LOVED it and it was good for me. I do appreciate that others may not feel like they have any needs but I sure needed to have a huge glimpse into my husband’s head and he into my heart. Praise the Lord for that and pass the tissues!

  13. It was pretty funny but I really get suspicious when a marriage seminar is being taught by only one gender. I get even more suspicious when a summary of men’s and women’s brains is given by one gender. How the hell does he know what goes on in a woman’s brain?? And what gives him the right to be joking about a particular people group that he is not a member of? I would find the jokes much more tasteful if the seminars were co-taught by a woman who joked around about the genders from a woman’s perspective.

    That said, if you say this series is egalitarian, then it is a gold mine. Egalitarian marriage resources are sooo hard to find.

  14. Cokhavim,
    The seminar series had lots more jokes about the men than about the women so I guess since he is a member of that “people group” he would have a right to joke about them, eh? He is also teaching an audience that is made up of Christians and non-Christians and some of them probably would be offended to have a woman teach the men. I found his style to be rather refeshing in his honesty and I do enjoy humor a lot even when I get to laugh at myself. Some may not enjoy this kind of approach and of course we cannot please everyone.

    As far as Mark being an egalitarian, he has women who are pastors in his church and he does not make the “fix it” of the problems in the marriage on the women to submit more. He makes it clear that personality types are for individuals not genders to that one who is dominant may be the woman and one who is naturally submissive may be the man. We cannot force a personality type on any one gender and I think he does a good job at explaining this.

    When I was done watching the series, I became quite aware that what I had thought was patience and submissiveness for 20 years was just willingness to accept not getting what I needed. That is going to change and I can see now that this isn’t selfishness. That was a great help for me and I wish I had learned this many years ago. I am still nice and still naturally submissive but I realize that it is okay to ask for and get what I need and how to get it 🙂 My husband agrees.

  15. I’ve wondered about this series, because (as previously mentioned) egalitarian resources for marriages are very hard to find. I’ve heard he is funny, and this clip proved it. I was LOL here at the computer. 🙂 I also worry about stereotypes, but the fact is that stereotypes always have SOME truth in them and that is how they begin. As long as we always allow for the exceptions and the variations in individual temperment, I think it can be helpful to consider that there are some gender-related tendencies. Comps usually think we don’t acknowledge ANT differences except the physical ones. Not so.

  16. Hi Martin.

    I’ve a book about brain differences between the sexes. Unfortunately I don’t remember the name. If I can come across it I’ll post it.

  17. Being a scientist myself, and thus being quite familiar with what kinds of things scientists publish, I suspect the differences between the sexes are a difference between the *average* of the two distributions of whatever parameter they measure. The difference between the averages may be statistically significant (in that the distributions are not identical), but I strongly suspect (without having done any of the research myself) that the width of the two distributions is much bigger than the difference between the averages, and secondly that the overlap region is also much bigger than the difference between the averages.

    In other words, I strongly suspect that the range of different brains of one gender alone is much larger than the difference between the average guy and the average gal.

    Put even more simply: sure differences exist, but I think we’re making way too big of a deal about them than they deserve.

    Aside from the stereotypes, these dvd’s do sound good, but I wonder if I’m only want them for the entertainment. It really bothers me that it’s all taught by a man alone, and not by a man+woman team. Doesn’t that raise anyone else’s eyebrow?

  18. cokhavim,

    Pastor Mark does bring his wife out and introduce her but she is obviously not a public person at all. I think he does quite well at speaking for women and he really gets the men to think. Would a woman do as well at getting men to think about what they do and why? I am not sure. I do believe that a woman has gifts that a man needs to benefit from. However when it comes to a man’s weakness, I am not sure he would hear it from a woman. Pastor Mark is gifted at getting the message across with a great deal of humor. The answer is not for women to be more submissive but to actually be stronger. I appreciated hearing this coming from a man. I didn’t feel that I missed anything and if you did feel like the teaching was missing something after you hear the series, you may want to write Mark Gungor and let him know. I just appreciated the way that he got his message across, his humor and the way that he spoke up for women.

  19. Here’s some grist for the mill:

    I must take issue with the thesis that women are by nature weaker than men. Scholar Hagit Lavsky, points this out in her book “New Beginnings” with the fact that the overwhelming majority of holocaust survivors were women (Lavsky 57).

    By way of analogy, it is well known that the strongest of steel alloys, although initially stronger than titanium, will not last as long as titanium will, in harsh and corrosive environments.

    So what’s my point in this bit of info and citation?

    Actually, it’s more of a question.

    What exactly is the Apostle expounding when he assures us that women are the weaker vessels (1 Peter 3:7).

  20. Some say he’s referring to their social standing and inability to earn a significant income because of it (ref. the “co-heirs” statement in that context).

  21. Hi.

    I’m new to this site and maybe this thread is so old it won’t be looked at again but I’d like to make a comment about jokes about either gender.

    I have a concern that whenever jokes are made there are always people for whom the subject is so sensitive and joking just makes the hurt more difficult to bear.

    Why is it that some people seem to learn through humour?

    Also,wouldn’t it be better to just tell the truth and be open about the kind of difficulties which occur between people who live together and then make suggestions about how we can change our attitudes with God’s help?

  22. Liz,
    I think that Mark’s way of teaching is not making jokes, but saying things in a funny way that causes people to learn even when they don’t realize it. If someone is offended through laughter I would imagine they wouldn’t attend. After all his sessions are called “Laugh your way to a better marriage”. I enjoy humor and I loved the DVDs and got a lot of good out of them. For others who learn differently I am sure there are good teaching sessions out there who may not use any humor at all. Neither way is better than the other.

  23. Hello Greg

    not sure if you are still reading this thread…

    regarding 1 peter 3:7 and the wife being the “asthenestero” (without strength, ‘weaker’) vessel, Sarah Sumner has some helpful thoughts in her book “Men and Women in the Church”. I haven’t got her book right in front of me know, but from memory her opinion is that the word is better understood as ‘vulnerable’. ie women were more “vulnerable” physically (and socially/ economically etc too i think). If you have access to the book it could be worth a quick read… IMO it certainly is not a statement claiming that women are weaker spiritually or emotionally than men. Life ‘everyday’ around me simply proves that this is not the case.

    I think it’s wonderful how God emphasises the importance of the husband showing his wife “respect” (TEV) / “honour” (NASB) and stresses that they are co-heirs in Christ even though ‘he’ may have some advantage in some area(s) of ‘strength’ over her… his relationship with God (prayer) is absolutely effected by how he treats his wife…
    what a sober warning for any husband…


  24. kerryn,

    I don’t know if Greg is still reading this, either, but I certainly do thank you for it! There is so much in the bible-pertaining to women-that has been evidently distorted in sermons, books, and so on for centuries, that it can almost be daunting to encourage new Christians, knowing that most of the churches they encounter will have some degree of that type of teaching. Thanks, again!

  25. Truthseeker and kerryn,

    Yes, I am still reading this thread cuz I get email notifications of new posts. And yes, I certainly know what you mean by wondering about new Christians and what they’re being taught about traditional gender roles.

    I have heard a well known radio radio ministry pastor here in Southern. Cal. use 1 Peter 3:7 as a proof-text that women are by nature (from Eve) weak & easily deceived, and therefore restricted to specific roles in the church, which according to him, ties in perfectly with Paul’s 1st letter to Timothy.

    I haven’t read Sumner’s book, but intend to. Wayne Grudem takes her to task in one of his books that I used for a research paper, but that’s to be expected.

    As Cheryl has stated many times, these are secondary issues, and they should not divide the church universal; but unfortunately, they tend to do that.

  26. One of the pastors at my church, when I expressed my disagreement with, and dismay and discouragement at being taught that women have restricted roles, said to me, repeatedly, “Why does that bother you when it is such a tiny part of the whole picture? People are getting SAVED here!” Saved to what, I wondered. I feel like if I happen across those who do get saved I should give them a brochure of things they may want to consider and be alerted to should they remain in the particular church so they don’t become discouraged and frustrated, as I am there. So that they can be introduced to what I believe is biblical truth on these issues. I don’t know how to adequately explain to this pastor and whomever else that it is NOT such a small thing. Women at my church are taught, if they take the women’s class, to submit their wills, skills, abilities and talents to their husbands. When I guestioned the pastor on this, he exclaimed in near exasperation that he had to submit to the board of elders so it wasn’t like the pastors or men didn’t have to submit, also. Perhaps they do, but the group of folk they submit to is far smaller than the group women have to submit to. I just pray that their eyes will be opened and my ability to give a reason for what I believe will improve. In that vein, I welcome reading recommendations that pertain to this topic. Thank you Greg and all others who take the time to write on this blog!

  27. Hi Truthseeker,

    Just to clarify for anyone who might be confused, when we say this is a secondary issue, we in no way mean it’s not important. We’re just saying it’s not something that should make some believers condemn others. But it’s most definitely important because that happens; it’s important because male supremacism has made it so. When half the Body of Christ is bound and gagged, we have to take a strong stand against the system of theology that promotes it.

    That said, your pastor is equivocating on “submission”; he’s comparing apples and oranges. Both men and women submit to leaders, but even then it should be for as long as the “students” are in training. It should never be a permanent situation. If the “students” never graduate then there’s something fundamentally wrong with the “school”!

    So there is nothing men submit to that women don’t. But there is something women submit to that men don’t. Your pastor thinks that the issue is just submission, but it isn’t; it’s unilateral submission, it’s a double standard. And this special class of submission for women has grave consequences, both in the church and in the home.

    When a woman submits in the church, she is told not to use her spiritual gifts to half the believers, if such gifts include pastor, prophet, or any other “presentable part”, which male supremacists have wrongly classified as “authoritative”. She is told she is in sin if she dares to exercise such gifts to adult males. Quite illogically, she is entrusted with the wisdom and guidance to bring boys to maturity, but once they get there they are her spiritual superiors!

    When a woman submits in the home, she is basically treated as a child who never grows up. She can be trusted to teach the children how to dress themselves but not decide what she herself can wear. She can present the gospel to them but not to adults. She can teach the boys to be independent someday but never for herself or her daughters. Her children can pray directly to God and learn to follow his voice, but she can only hear from God through her husband. And she is inherently disqualified from protesting these maddening and logic-defying regulations.

    The woman alone is held guilty for Eve’s sin, while the men claim Adam’s alleged leadership role even though Adam was quite unfit as a leader. Apparently the curtain in the Temple was only torn in two for men; apparently only men can “come boldly to the throne of grace”; apparently only men, by virtue of their reproductive organs alone, are trustworthy with the Gospel and the spiritual responsibility for their grown-up wives.

    Don’t know if my rant helps, but there it is.

  28. Truthseeker,
    As you already can observe for yourself “patriarchy” teaching hurts women whose desire it is to serve the Lord Jesus without being forced to be prejudiced to individuals who are not allowed to receive their gifts merely because of their gender.

    I have been thinking a lot about will and man’s claim that the husband is to take authority over his wife and overrule his wife’s will whenever there is a difference in opinion on a decision in the marriage. I think I will do a post shortly on this issue. It has been a difficult time for me as I am nearing the end of my time of researching and writing on my DVD on the Trinity. My thoughts and emotions have been very focused on this one issue and hopefully I will get a chance to take a break before the end of April.

  29. Paula and Cheryl, (and others), thanks for your help!!!! It is always like being at a good prayer/fellowship meeting to read this site, especially since I cannot freely speak my mind, thus freely fellowship, with those who attend my husband’s church. It is quite fundamental and separatist, though there certainly is some good there.

    I am reading through this site as fast as I can, realizing that I may find answers to my questions on the various blog trails. I think I need to cut, paste, and sort the writings by topic so I will have a fast and portable ready referance. Thanks for bearing with me as I accomplish this.

    Cheryl, I am looking forward to your Trinity series, and what you write about men’s authority per your above post! Paula, I am now going to locate your site-looking forward to it!!

  30. You’re welcome, Truthseeker… but be advised, going from Cheryl’s blog to mine is like going from a tea party to a bar & grill.

  31. Paula, not to worry! I welcome a bar and grill, so to speak! In fact, I was just there, and can’t wait to fully read your egalitarian link (I briefly read parts), because it looks like it takes everything and puts it together very nicely and quite fully yet not unduly (for those still in the first round of this topic)!!! This looks to save me much time as I get ready to put together a summary of sorts, or more likely, the full report, for the sake of my husband, and even perhaps the pastor of his/our church-whom I have put on the back burner until I get an adequate response. If so, may I have your permission to print it to share with others-with full credit, of course?

  32. Truthseeker,
    Thank you for your kind words!

    You gave me a well-needed laugh today. I mean, I laughed right out loud when you described my blog as a tea party and yours as a bar & grill. You are a feisty one for sure. The body of Christ needs all kinds and we sharpen each other. I am still smiling at the tea (for sure with cookies too for those of you who love to dip your cookies into tea) party! Tee hee!!! 😉 I needed that picture in my head as I am fighting the hard fight of faith today with sword in hand. Outside I am a warrior, but inside I am a tea-party kind-of-gal!

  33. I just found an old barbeque grill at a garage sale. Going to clean it up and invite a few friends to use it. I love diversity. These particular friends like to sit around play backgammon and cribbage while talking about theology n stuff.

    Takes all kinds to make up the kingdom. 🙂

  34. Cheryl,
    “I have been thinking a lot about will and man’s claim that the husband is to take authority over his wife and overrule his wife’s will whenever there is a difference in opinion on a decision in the marriage. I think I will do a post shortly on this issue.”

    Please do this. I am looking forward to this as soon as you are able. 🙂

  35. Sandy,
    I will doing this post this coming week, Lord willing. I just finished the major edit of my new DVD and I am brain fried. It is going into the review stage right now so although I have lots of work to do, and I may want to kick around and actually take a day off this week (!) I do want to get back into posting on my own blog. I have been thinking things through in my head late at night and there are a lot of things I would like to say on the blog.

  36. tiro3,
    What great friends you have! I always wanted friends that I could talk theology with. The “regular” men didn’t know what to do with a woman who loved theology and the women’s clubs just bored me to tears. I guess I am a square peg trying to fit in a lot of round holes. But…tah dah…here we have this blog and I get to share my thoughts with all you folk and you guys actually listen! What more could I ask for?

  37. One book that references the curious brain differences between men and women is:
    Why Mars & Venus Collide by John Gray, Ph.D.
    It is amazing how this book confirms the Gungor dvd content. For example, from page 43:
    Researchers have located six or seven language centers in both hemispheres of a woman’s brain, but for men, language is only located in the left hemisphere. Since men have fewer language centers, it is not only harder for them to express what they experience, but they do not feel the need.

    Again, general research, but helpful to know in understanding  relationships. –Hope this helps.

  38. Coach Mack,

    I would say that in general this is true although of course there are always exceptions.  I think Jesus showed us all how we can strive to communicate in a better way and also how all of us can learn how to be silent too when it is needed.  We also need to learn from him how to have wisdom to know the difference.

  39. Hope asked: Does he present a model of an egalitarian or complementarian marriage? Or does he not really broach that issue?

    In his DVDs he does not really broach the issue.

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