Provo’s Gary and Joy Lundberg say, “We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two.” A play off the Farmers Insurance mantra, this couple’s knowledge centers on building and safeguarding marriages. Gary is a marriage and family therapist, while Joy is a writer and lyricist — having written 200 published songs with Janice Kapp Perry.
The couple’s sixth book, “Because We Love Our Marriage,” tackles the additional threats to couples in the digital age.
UVMag: How has technology changed marriage?
Gary: I have wives tell me their husband comes home from work, sits on the couch and is on his iPad or phone the rest of the night. On the flip side, husbands say their wives are always on their phones shopping, looking at Pinterest, Instagram or texting. This eats away personal contact.
UV: What are positive ways couples can strengthen their marriages?
Joy: You need to have fun together, play together, solve problems together. Don’t put your kids above your spouse! If you put them first, you’re actually putting them last because if your marriage falls apart it will affect the children. It doesn’t take a whole lot to put your spouse first. When he or she comes in the room, show them you are glad they are there and give them eye contact and connection. Then you can both pitch in with the kids or other projects of the day.
UV: What are the biggest risks?
Joy: Some people might not realize what flirting is and how easily it can happen on Facebook, over text or even online gaming. Flirting is not just playful banter. It has sexual undertones.
UV: How do problems usually start?
Gary: The hard part is things can start innocently. Often the person doesn’t realize they are getting there until they’ve emotionally changed their allegiance.
UV: What constitutes an affair?
Gary: An affair draws you away from your mate. It often starts out emotional before becoming a full-blown physical affair. It starts with texting and setting up times to meet, and each step seems so small. It’s hard to stop it once it’s spinning out of control like one of those funnels with a coin spiraling around in it.
UV: Can most marriages be saved?
Gary: It comes down to whether you want it to be saved. Both of you have to want your marriage and your family for it to work. If you don’t prioritize safeguarding your marriage, it may not last.
UV: How can couples move past challenges?
Joy: We did a whole chapter on forgiveness. It’s such a tragedy when people do not forgive! Everyone makes mistakes, but couples can overcome and build strong marriages. It takes time and steps, but down the road couples can find happiness and be so grateful they held onto each other during a hard time. It’s painful but not impossible to work things out.
Gary: Often the person who has done the offending wants to move on with life after they apologize. But the trust doesn’t come back quickly. First, the offending person needs to live a trustworthy life with no questionable actions from that time forward. The offended mate has to risk and give trust to their spouse.
UV: What about couples who are truly mismatched?
Gary: I often ask my clients how they met and why they dated and got married. Couples often forget what brought them together. Also, they need to focus on helping their mate to be happy. You can’t MAKE anybody be happy, but you can help.
Joy: We had different interests when we got married 62.5 years ago, and we still do. We take turns going to a movie that he likes and then one that I like. This has broadened our perspective.
Gary: I asked Joy to marry me because she was cute, sexy and fun. But the main reason is that I wanted to be with her more than anyone on this green earth. In marriage, you choose someone you want to be with and then you work through differences so you can both be happy.
Authors Gary and Joy Lundberg share 12 safeguards for marriage
1. Flirt only with your spouse.
2. Spend time alone with your spouse and none other.
3. Keep confidences within your marriage.
4. Keep romantic thoughts on your spouse and no one else.
5. Speak positively about your spouse.
6. Be a willing sexual partner with your spouse.
7. Be more devoted to your spouse than to the internet.
8. Stay away from pornography.
9. Put your spouse before your children and parents.
10. Put your spouse before your career and church work.
11. Be willing to forgive your spouse.
12. Be wise in your spending.
For full descriptions, see “Because We Love Our Marriage,” published by American Fork’s Covenant Communications.