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Battling Depression as a Christian

Dr. Chris and Alisa Grace pose for the cover of The Art of Relationships Podcast.

Mandy: Welcome to another Art of Relationships podcast. We are grateful for listeners like you. Let's get right into it.

Chris Grace: Well, Alisa, it's really fun to start looking at different podcasts that we've done over the years and one of my favorites has always been, whenever we bring a guest on.

It's just so fun to be able to hear from different life experiences and today is no exception to that.

Alisa Grace: Yeah, we have a really special guest with us today. And Chris, do you want to talk about him?

Chris Grace: Yeah, sure. There's a thing called Weekend to Remember and Family Life, and Alisa and I get to speak on with them along with Tim and Maureen [inaudible] everybody knows from the podcast. And I think, Alisa, as we've been doing that over the years, we're actually more rookies at it. It's only been a few years. There are some that have been there for a long time. In fact, one that was given the outstanding teacher of Weekend to Remember, which is a really big deal, and that was Clarence and Brenda Schuler.

Alisa Grace: Yeah.

Chris Grace: And this recently, we talked and got in contact with Clarence and asked him if he would join us for a podcast. And so, we've been so impressed by listening and following a lot of the different people that have been influential in many people's lives. And Clarence, you are one of those people who have just published a number of very important books and some of your work with your wife Brenda, you guys do so much different things related to relationships. And it's Alisa and I's goal is to do and follow what you and Brenda have been able to do for many, many years.

Alisa Grace: We want to grow up and be you guys.

Chris Grace: That's right.

Clarence Schule...: Well, one of my spiritual sayings, "Don't be like me, be better than me."

Chris Grace: Well, we really do appreciate all of your work that you have been able to do. You have written a number of different things, including one that's going to be coming out soon called Hope in a Dark Place, about facing loneliness, depression, and anxiety. I think maybe, though we not going to spend it on that one, maybe a little bit of pre... Let us know you've been writing that and working on it and it's just now coming out. Tell me a little bit about it.

Clarence Schule...: Oh, man. Well, yeah, of all the books I've written, one of my mentors, Dr. William Pannell, who wrote a classic book called The Coming Race Wars, back in '92 that predicted all this happening today. And it was just re-release last year with Jemar Tisby doing the introduction. He said, "Your books on race and stuff like that are really good and I like your marriage stuff," he said, "But the book on depression," he said, "That's really your best work." And it's really telling the story of my own personal battle with depression and just how God has graciously helped me, with the help of a Christian counselor, I began to navigate that where I can manage it more effectively. And so, when I share the story, a lot of people are depressed but sometimes they don't know it. And then as you talk to a secular psychologist and psychiatrist, they often say that men in particular, there's an epidemic among men with depression.

But I was in this Ukrainian church about three weeks ago and shared. The pastor interviewed me because he was so intrigued by the thing with depression. And after it was over, his daughter came up and said, "Thanks so much." Because the parents say she had battled with depression. And so do a lot of singles because sometimes they feel that they're not married and lot of stuff. So, it's a real issue.

What I'm excited about the book is that I had no idea that the Bible actually talked about depression. And so, that there's David, Jeremiah has a mild vow with depression. But also in Isaiah, God speaks more to that than anything else. I think in Isaiah 45:3, he talks about... He says, "There're riches and hidden treasures in the dark place." And that's really the foundation for the book. And what that really means is that if you are in a dark place, because we're a Christ followers, one God is with us. But if we're in a dark place because they're hidden treasures and riches there, God's going to teach us things, we don't have to rush out of that dark place. We don't have to fake being fine. And I think that's really great for the Christian community to understand that.

Chris Grace: Clarence, I so agree with your friend's analysis of the need for books like this and topics like this. You've studied both anthropology and Christian education, but when you deal with something on a personal level, and so many of us have family members that are close to us or ourselves that have dealt with this. Depression, when we look at it, is one of the most common psychological disorders out there, right? That and anxiety probably upwards of one in four people at some point in their life are going to experience this. So, when did you know this was going to be a book you wrote or needed to write and what's your journey with it?

Clarence Schule...: Well, the first time I did it, I was at the Fatherhood Commission. I'm on the board there with guys like Steven Kendrick, Jeff Kemp, a guy named Mitch Temple and some other guys. And so, they asked me to do devotion. And so, I... What God typically does is when I'm coming through something and I get an opportunity to speak, he has me speak on what he's teaching me about. And so, I wasn't crazy about it, but I began to share this story and people just went crazy. They were taking pictures of all the slides and Stephen Kendrick's crazy. He yell... While I'm speaking, he yells, "Clarence, this is really good. I'm going to start taking notes." And so.

But it just freed a lot of people up. And then as I preached in several churches, the response really blew me away. And so, I told my book agent about it. He said, "Well, okay, you need to write a book about it." And I said, "I just got a sermon. I don't have a book." And so, I blew him off for about a year. But over the quarter period of a year, I so consciously prayed about it and talked about it, then God just began to reveal things to me. And I began to go back and examine my journey when I think I first began to battle with depression and stuff like that.

So, it's been something I probably started dealing with probably in 1995.

Chris Grace: Wow!

Clarence Schule...: And then there were other times I dealt with it and didn't know I was depressed until I got with my friends, and they got me out of it. So, it is an ongoing battle. I just think I have a better control over it now. And so, I've dealt with anxiety, I've dealt with loneliness and all those things. But also in some ways, having been depressed and know that and having time to work through it with the Lord, it has really been a lot better. I think I'm a little bit nicer, I think I'm a little more patient and I think I have a little more wisdom and understanding for people who are different.

Chris Grace: It's funny that you say that because I think a lot of people that struggle with depression or assume they know what it is, feel like people that are depressed would be quieter, maybe more reserved, maybe more... Because of the depression, more patient. But there's a lot of connection with anger and frustration. And so, they don't realize that someone that is depressed and dealing with that can actually be hard to live with, and that person themselves who's struggling oftentimes doesn't realize that a lot of what you think would be, oh, just a passiveness in all areas actually isn't that all the time. It's a quietness, but there's also an edge to the person, isn't there?

Clarence Schule...: Well, people respond to depression and other bad news in a lot of different ways. Some people go pursue pornography, some people get drunk, some people sleep. And so, there are a lot of different ways you can do that. But a lot of people who are depressed, and I imagine most people who are depressed are functional depressed people. And if they haven't had that wound healed, one, they may not know they're depressed, and so they become very defensive protecting themselves, so they don't get hurt again. So, they can often hurt the people closest to them because they don't really understand themselves. And sometimes you feel people around you don't really understand you or are a lot of times maybe the biggest thing is you don't really feel heard.

Chris Grace: Yeah.

Clarence Schule...: And people tend to have short patience when we look normal, but we're not really normal. And one of my friends found a ministry called invisible disabilities. And so, people don't understand like, one of my friends unfortunate was sexually molested by his mom and dad and the priest where he went to church. So, for him, being heard is a real big deal. But also, getting other people to listen to him, to let him share his voice is difficult too because people want to rush in and interrupt and cut him off. So, people do respond a lot of different ways to depression.

Alisa Grace: You make a great point there, Clarence, when you talk about that being an invisible disability, that oftentimes people look great on the outside, but what's going on in the inside is completely different and couldn't be more opposite than what they're showing on the outside. So, when you were dealing with your depression, maybe initially, what was it... At what point did you get to where you said, "I think there's something more than just being a little off going on with me"? What was it that keyed you in to, "Maybe this is more serious and I might need to get some help"? What was it for you?

Clarence Schule...: Well, I think the first thing that happened to me was some things didn't go well. I'm performance oriented and I was probably depressed about nine months. And I went back home to do the baby dedication for my grand niece. And I was with some of my buddies and they got me laughing and joking. And all of a sudden, I realized I was depressed. I hadn't really laughed or joked in a long time. And I said, "Wow!" Now, I must have been depressed all this time and God just through the power of the Holy Spirit revealed that to me. But then in October 17th... In October of 2017, something really occurred that really disappointed me and I went really deep into depression, the deepest and darkest as I ever gone. And I just really felt the Lord said, "You need help. You need counseling." And so, being a spiritual giant like I am, I said, "Well, why don't you counsel me?" And he didn't repeat that.

And so, in my newsletter, I wrote between the lines that I was struggling. And so, this girl, young lady who was clinical psychologist, and she called me and said, "Are you okay? You want to talk about it?" And of course, I said no because I don't have issues. And then God would not talk back to me. Then I called her back and said, "Hey, look, if you still want to help me, I need help. But I'm pretty raw." I said, "I'm not going to use ibuprofen or anything, but I don't want to deal with all the Christian cliches, all stuff like that." So, I said, "If you want to deal with me, you can."

And so, she walked around on eggshells for a while, but she began to say things to me like, "When you're in a dark place, it can be a holy place if you're trying to follow God in the dark place." That was really profound to me.

Alisa Grace: Oh, man.

Clarence Schule...: I thought I was by myself and stuff. So, that was beginning of my help, and she just really was really pretty phenomenal. And she actually helped write the book. She helped explain to people why I'm so crazy.

Chris Grace: Yeah. Well, aren't we all? But still to have to be able to know that that was going on, I love that because even in Psalm and even in Isaiah, he talks about at night and in the dark, and then he visits us right in the "Watches of the Night," he says in the Psalm. And there's something about the deep dark place that is, as you said, could be a very holy place to be. It's just a hard and holy place to be.

And so, a lot of us are in that dark without knowing it. And then of course, Paul, I love that how he talks about, in Colossians, how he rescues us from the domain of darkness and transfers us to the Kingdom of Light. Clarence, one thing you did say about, and you're alluding to this a little bit, is even within Christian circles, this has a very negative stigma. We're at a Christian University here, and the students, the moment I start talking about loneliness or depression or anxiety, perk up. But the next question is always, "Well, what do I do? I can't go talk to a therapist that doesn't let God into this," or "I will not take medication because that's not the way God would do this." Well, how would you respond to that?

Alisa Grace: Or I just need enough faith, that just means I don't have enough faith.

Chris Grace: Yeah.

Clarence Schule...: Well, the trap is we tend to self medicate. And our self medication is... I hope this makes sense... Is our perception of our faith. And sometimes we really need help. And counseling is just now coming around where somewhat viewed as normal or acceptable. And that's because a lot of famous people are starting to say, "I've struggled with depression." And so, Olympians, pro athletes, and that's making it more normal. But when I become vulnerable and share my story, and people say, "How you get help?" I say, "Well, I got this young lady as a counselor." And then they start freaking out. And I say, "Well, just like in marriage, when people come to me for counseling, sometimes what they really need to hear is a third voice or a different voice." And I say that counselor for you can actually be that different voice.

And what we did in the book, we actually gave some really good guidelines to find a Christian, biblical counselor, which you should look for. And so, I think that helps people see that. But the reality of it is, the way God made us, is that we need help. That's the whole nature. Understand of spiritual gifts as a really interdependency. And their interdependence, it means that you too have spiritual gifts I don't have and I need what you have, but your spiritual gift is not for you and mine is for you guys. And so, as we develop this interdependency, we create a unity and that's what really builds and strength us to body.

And so, I had to deal with my pride and my Superman complex and say, "Hey, okay, I need help." And I think it was really significant that God had a woman help me because sometimes we can mistreat them or see them as second class citizens as well as equal in ministry in what they can do. So, it was just really... Is really been a godsend. She's a godsend. So, that's what I would tell myself, "If you really want to help them get better, then I go where I can find get help." And if you don't want help, then you can stay where you are and you have to ask yourself how is that working for you?

Chris Grace: Yeah. Boy, isn't that right?

And many times it takes a little bit of experience with those dark places, those moments of... Either it's a crisis of faith that's happening spiritually, but most likely, it's accompanied by this emotional deadness and this deep sadness. And Clarence, I'm just so grateful that you've taken this on and that book comes out and it sounds like a November of '22. And so, tell us one more time the title and who should go buy that thing?

Clarence Schule...: Well, actually, I think anybody should go by just because if you're not depressed, hopefully, you aren't, but you may have a friend who is, and it really gives you some information as to how to walk with them. If you're personally depressed, we very gently walk with you and trying to get you to see where you have some choices and help you take baby steps. But the name of the book is Finding Hope in a Dark Place: Facing Loneliness, Depression, and Anxiety with the Power of Grace. And Power of Grace is really God is what we're talking about. So, it's very transparent, most transparent book I've ever written. Everyone who's endorsed it, like Gary Chapman, Stephen Kendrick, and all these other folks. You guys knew Jackie Bledso?

Chris Grace: Yeah.

Clarence Schule...: They have just really have profound response to the book. So, we're really excited and people can actually pre-order it now.

Chris Grace: Oh.

Clarence Schule...: It'll be officially out I think December 14th.

Alisa Grace: Wow!

Chris Grace: Okay, great. Of '22.

Alisa Grace: Clarence, one of the words that you have in the title there. I'd love to hear your thoughts a little bit more on the relationship between loneliness and depression. Just this last week, I came across a statistic here at Biola University of all things that at some point, during the school year, 72% of our students report feeling lonely. That's significant. I had no idea that it would be that high. But talk a little bit for us about the relationship between loneliness and anxiety, and loneliness and depression.

Clarence Schule...: Well, you might have to come back with some of that questions because I'm on Medicare, so I can't remember all of that. But I think especially at, not just by all, but in college and even at near the end of high school or transition from elementary to middle school, those transitions takes us to the place we haven't been before. And we can be really lonely if we don't know what to do or have a friend who's gone before us to help us walk through that. We can question our adequacy, academically, intellectually. We look at ourselves, are we not really good looking enough or athletic enough or have enough money? All those things can make us be... Challenge us. I think at a school like Biola, where it's academically challenging, it might take everything that a student has to be the very best. Whereas in high school, he or she didn't have to work as hard. That can be challenging, that could create self doubt.

And typically, what I tell singles, you need to you and you need to understand the difference between self-worth and self-worship. And I say self-worth means you have value and you have purpose, you have a destiny. And so, if you understand that and steer yourself the way God sees you, that makes a tremendous difference. But if we have a poor self image and I need somebody else to make me feel good, then that loneliness can become an idol or a plague. And we're always searching for someone else to feel it. And we typically don't go to God to feel that, we want someone we can physically see. And so, I think that can really make us depressed.

When I was at Moody, I was the first African-American to play basketball there, and there were like 1100-1200 students. There may have been 11 or 12 African-Ame... People of color, not just African-Americans, probably about nine African-Americans. And it was a time when people... It was a culture design without people of color in mind and so, it was very lonely. In fact, people didn't even speak to me until basketball season started. And then I went from the outhouse to the penthouse. And so, you have to figure out ways, how do you navigate that. And if you're not a leader, then I think it's even more pronounced. So, those are things I think are important. Then anxiety comes to... It's typical when expectation, like for students taking an exam, now I'm not going to pass it or whatever. And so, you're afraid of what's next, you're not sure how to deal with what's next.

Chris Grace: Yeah.

Clarence, one of the things that you are known for and you've written about is race relations and cross cultural perspectives. Does this particular issue of depression show up differently, let's say in an African-American community than in an Asian community or a white community? And what have you found about that when you go around speaking? Does it just seem different? Does community come around differently in different places? Because we have certainly found that here that some cultures talk about this and allow it and others, man, they run from it and hide. What's your find? What's your insight on that?

Clarence Schule...: Well, it's really a great question. In fact, Bill Pannell, who read this book, he said, "Your treatment for the black male in this book dealing with depression is huge." He said, "You're going to help a lot of black men." Often, I've been the first black American to work for a Christian organization. And when you're first one in a house, it's really, really difficult because they're not really designed to help you be a part of that. Sometimes they're threatened by that. And so, sometimes you get a constant rejection. Or in some Christian circles, conservative circles, the black male is the root or cause of all social ills in America. And it's communicated very subtly, but you become... The issue is you. And so, it's really hard to deal with in the context of Christian folks because you're like the enemy. And so, you try to navigate that. Then some people try and prove that they're worthy to meet a certain standard and it can become really difficult.

And I've talked to Asians who are the acceptable minority in America, have also struggle with that, and also Latinos as well. But typically, they say the biggest rub is between whites and blacks and how that makes a difference. So, it's a really big deal in the Christian community of how people of color, how women are treated in Christian organizations, Christian institutions of a higher learning. It is huge. And if you don't have someone to talk about it, it can make you crazy. And then there's a difference between those who are depressed who are leaders and visionaries versus those who tend to be followers.

Chris Grace: Yeah, that's exactly right because there's... Even your very last point, it's much easier to hide if you haven't made yourself a target out there. That is, if you're not speaking a lot and you're just doing your job, doing your ministry and serving God in a way, depression's going to hurt and be hard. But for some people like yourself and others that have been put in leadership positions, that target seems to be strongly on top of you and the ability to fight off or admit to be dealing with some issue that is, like you said, Superman, super human. And those in the penthouse, man, they don't need that and they're not dealing with that. But in reality, Clarence, it feels as if there's a target and even our enemy can attack some of us in that way. What do you think about that as a leader, a CEO of an organization, as someone nationally known? It feels as if our enemy, Satan, can actually go at you much harder in this area.

Clarence Schule...: Well, you asked some really great questions and making great statements. What's sad is that a lot of times in a Christian organization or a church, Satan can use other believers who aren't necessarily walking with him at the time, who aren't necessarily out super antagonistic, but they can be instruments of insensitivity.

And so, when you get that, it really becomes hard as an individual and you have to have a support group around. Well, you don't have to, but I think it's important to have a support group around you who you can talk about anything. And even though that support group may not agree with everything you say, they'll allow you to be heard. And there's tremendous therapy in just being heard. And you might want to come back later to that person a couple hours later and say, "Hey Chris, you shared this, or at least you shared this. Can I share... Give you a response?" And then that's okay because you've been heard. But you really need that. A lot of times though, when you're the first one in the house, you don't have that support group.

Chris Grace: That's right.

Clarence Schule...: And honestly, you actually need, if you're a person of color, you need a person who is white, who's a part of majority culture, who's sensitive enough to understand it, to help you navigate all that. And if you don't, it tends to be us against them and they wonder how come you aren't performing?

Chris Grace: Yeah.

Clarence Schule...: And so, there's so many nuances to all that, to how we process information, to how we respond to conflicts, which I wrote about in one my other books. So, those are things that a good CEO has some substance, be like a pastor and visionary and try and minister to everybody and understand, I got to get the whole body working together well, plus it'd be productive and effective and profitable in this ministry. And in the church, you want to do the very same thing. So, it becomes a safe place for people no matter what their culture or race is that they can come to your church. But that takes work, it takes a lot of cultivation, takes a lot of really biblical discipleship in growing people in their faith and teaching them how to really help make disciples. And then you get a real vision for that.

Chris Grace: Just following up too, with your life story, I would bet that there's a lot of insight and wisdom and experience that you can share too. When you mention the idea being an athlete, going from the outhouse to the penthouse when people recognized who you are. And then as your career comes to a close or as you're playing days end, it would almost feel like there's an amazing change again back. And I would imagine for a lot of young athletes, a lot of people that feel accepted in let's say, a sports environment, let's say, an African-American excels in an area and is seen as a leader, and then all of a sudden those playing days end. Clarence, is that an issue? Was it an issue or was it hard for you to, as an African-American, to also navigate, "Wow! Here I am. People recognize me and see me. But now, I'm done playing"?

Alisa Grace: Like a crisis of identity.

Chris Grace: Yeah. Like you're no longer this athlete that can have a platform that you built... You looked into that and invested in that.

Clarence Schule...: Well, y'all not going to charge you for this counseling session, are you? I'm telling you all my stuff.

Yeah, I got to play basketball at very high level. Someone at Moody saw me play and then I got to play these teams that played around the globe playing basketball and sharing a gospel against national and Olympic teams. And then my coach at Moody even was going to work out a deal with me, getting a trial for the Boston Celtics. And so, I was used to playing at high level, play against Brazil's Olympic team, and loved it. But yeah, when it comes to an end, what I really did, so I cheated when my basketball days ended like that because the bigger the crowd was, the better you played. And it was just a really great feeling. But then I cheated and I went to play tennis. And so, I became really good at tennis through my mid 30s and 40s.

But eventually, when that goes away, you have to figure out how to... That's another transition where you become lonely, you become depressed because I'm now not getting the recognition of the crowd. But then I also, through the grace of God, began to see that that was also sometimes for me, not everybody, it could be forms of idolatry. And that you need to recognize me because of what I used to do. Or you go in a room thinking, if you knew how good a ball player I was, you would really want to talk to me or whatever. And that's really a negative thing. And so, the good thing about not playing now at that level is just I've learned that... I've learned to like me more and I've learned to get to know me more. And it's not what I can do for folks, it's just being me. And I've come to this thing where if people like me, that's great, but if they don't like me, I'm okay with that, and not in a sour grapes thing.

So, I think we have to really get our identity. And let me just share this one thing I think is really, really important for who he is single or married or ex-athlete, whatever. In Genesis 1:26-28, God asked the Trinity about making humans. And he's omniscient, so he knows when he makes us, we're going to make mistakes. And so, I think what's significant about that is that God wants us. And then because he gives us his DNA, it talks about... Three times in two verses, he mentions the word image. I call it DNA. So, it means because we have his DNA that we're valuable, we have purpose, we have a godly destiny. And then the last one, verse 28, some Hebrew scholars said that word, it can be translated wow. So that means that every time God looks at you and me, he goes, Wow! And so, I think it's really cool because the God of all creation calls you and me... He says, Wow! Or in Psalm 139, I think verse 14, in some translations, it says wonderful or marvelous.

And so, if we understand that's how God views us, then that puts a whole different perspective on us trying to perform or have a reputation and just learning to be accepted for who we are. And it's really as who we are, it's what really brings blessing to those who don't know Christ, to those who do know him. And so, I think learning to know yourself and really liking yourself is a real big thing I talk to singles about because if you're not content being single, you'll never be content in a friendship, later relationship or a marriage.

Alisa Grace: Wow! That's good.

Clarence Schule...: You'll always put that the person on a performance track.

Chris Grace: Man, that's so good. And by the way, if any listener has haven't read Single and Free to Be Me from Clarence, and I think it's Marina Gutierrez, go check that out. It's a great book as well.

Clarence Schule...: Thank you.

Chris Grace: I love that, Clarence, those versus about our DNA. Every time I get in trouble with Alisa, I'm like, Alisa, I am God's child. I have his DNA. Who are you to look down on God's DNA?

Alisa Grace: I'm looking at you going, "Who's your daddy?"

Chris Grace: Yeah. And, woo.

Alisa Grace: Because I need to have a talk with him.

Chris Grace: Woo. And I keep saying, I'm in his image. And why are you telling me to go clean the toilets and the kitchen? And she points to somebody named a servant Jesus. And then it gets all messed up, so... Maybe we can reverse this and you can help us with this stuff.

Clarence Schule...: Chris, I'm off duty. Yet, y'all not paying me for this session. This is an A and B conversation that starts with C. So, I'm going to see my way out of that. Okay.

Alisa Grace: Gosh! You know what? That does springboard me to another question I wanted to ask you, Clarence. Your wife Brenda, how long have you guys been married?

Clarence Schule...: 37 years. She said that she would've traded me in, but she waited too late my warranty to expire, she didn't get rid of me. So, she stuck with me. So, 37 years.

Alisa Grace: Oh, all right. I wanted to ask you because in marriage, when you have someone in your family that's struggling with depression, especially in a marriage relationship, that can be so key to how this plays out in your ability as the one who's struggling and dealing with the depression, your spouse's support can be one of those elements that makes or breaks your healing process. And so, how did you and Brenda even have that initial conversation? And then how did she come alongside you? What are some specific ways she came alongside you and supported you? And in thinking that people that are listening to this podcast today, there are many out there who are married to somebody or have a family member that is struggling with this. But specifically marriage, how did you initiate that conversation or how did she? And did she come alongside you? What did she do that was really helpful for you in the support network?

Clarence Schule...: Well, I think she was surprised because my persona is one of strength. Being raised to say, there's nothing I can't do if I don't want it bad enough. And so, getting a scholarship to play basketball, getting to play... Doing all these things, even through God's grace, writing books, I hope and haven't been a pastor, there's a very strong persona. So, she was really surprised when I began sharing about my depression and the causes of it. And so, I think the biggest thing she did was, listen. I think it's important if you can, that you don't make your spouse or significant other your caretaker in regards of...

Chris Grace: That's right.

Clarence Schule...: If they want to do that, that's fine. But I wouldn't necessarily put that on them or expect them to do that.

Chris Grace: It's above most people's pay grade, isn't it?

Clarence Schule...: It really is. And they're not really trained in that, so they can listen to that. So, there was probably more affection. When Isaac lost his mother and they brought Rebecca to him, there are implications that when he loved her, it wasn't just the emotional, well, there's also a physical love. And so, even in that, I said that even the sexual intimacy a lot of times can be a gift from one spouse to the other, to sooth them, to calm them down, to help them feel better. And also that intimacy, that closeness, that touching can be really, really important. And so, I think those are really important things.

And then I think for Brenda, she had to understand that... At first, she would say, "Well, you doing this and that, so how depressed are you?" And so, that was hard for her because if you're still functioning... Because we had three girls you had to take care of and different stuff. Sometimes people say, "Well, if you're still functioning, you're not in a room, you're not in a ball in the room somewhere, then you're not really depressed." So, it was an education piece for her in that. And just because I speak so much and do so much counseling, stuff like that, I've become... Instead of the life of the party I used to be, I've become a recluse. And she who is very shy is now the party animal. And so, she's always dragged me somewhere. But I think just that communication. And one of my phrases is that, "Communication is to marriage what location is to real estate." You got to communicate, communicate, communicate. Assume nothing and talk about everything.

Chris Grace: Yeah.

Clarence Schule...: And so, when she began to see something different, so we also emphasize one of things we've been doing for 35 years is telling people, "You need to be a student of your spouse." And so, when she can see something's different, then she could ask and then I would tell. So, that's how that came about. It's like, "Hey, you're a little bit different. What's going on?" And that began the conversation.

Alisa Grace: So, what I hear is really, there were two parts to that, wasn't there? That she had to be curious and ask, but then you also had to be honest and share.

Clarence Schule...: Yeah, that's not my strong suit. But yeah, I had to. One thing in our marriage, we've tried to be brutally honest with each other. That works for us, that doesn't work for other couples. And so, when we answer a question or you ask a question, then you answer the question.

Chris Grace: No, that's really good. Gosh! There's so much to talk about and we are not going to keep you any longer. Clarence, just so much there. We barely even mentioned that you have a book that just came out as well on, Life-Changing Cross-Cultural Friendships.

Alisa Grace: Which is part we were supposed to be interviewing you here now.

Chris Grace: Here, we're talking about... You've got so many books out there where Singleness and Cross-Cultural Friendships. But that book, the Life-Changing Cross-Cultural Friendships just came out. And I'm going to encourage listeners to go out and find that book. It's written with Gary Chapman, the author of The Five Love Languages, and somebody that, again, that we love and respect as well. And Clarence, I would love to have you back on.

Alisa Grace: Yeah.

Chris Grace: And just to talk about, what is that the life changing part of this? Your story with Gary is amazing.

Alisa Grace: Incredible.

Chris Grace: Walking into a gym. I'd love to hear about Russell as well, man, your buddy.

Alisa Grace: Whatever happened to Russell.

Chris Grace: Yeah, we want to know more about Russell because that boy sounds like someone who is like, "I'm just going to go in there. I'm the most beautiful looking thing in the world and everybody's going to love me." And you're like, "I'm going to follow you and take care of you." Even though you were one inch taller than him. I love that story.

Clarence Schule...: Oh, man.

Alisa Grace: Yeah.

Chris Grace: Anyway, Clarence, we need to have you back on and talk about that. For listeners, you can find the book we've been talking about just now called Facing... Well, it's Finding Hope in a Dark Place, right?

Clarence Schule...: Yeah.

Chris Grace: Facing Loneliness, Depression, and Anxiety.

Clarence Schule...: Finding Hope in a Dark Place, yes.

Chris Grace: And that's coming out in late 2022.

Clarence Schule...: Right.

Chris Grace: And then the one that came out this summer, Life-Changing Cross-Cultural Friendships, that one came out already-

Alisa Grace: This summer.

Chris Grace: ... At this summer.

Clarence Schule...: Yes.

Chris Grace: And Clarence, apparently you write a book every couple of months. And so, we'll just have you on you. Because man, that's awesome.

Alisa Grace: A standing podcast interview every six months.

Chris Grace: That's right. "Clarence, what's the latest book you got out there?"

Alisa Grace: Yeah.

Clarence Schule...: Oh, man.

Chris Grace: Well, thank you. What concluding thoughts, thoughts about... Just you've been such an encouragement to no doubt, the listeners who are struggling in areas and want to know-

Alisa Grace: What would be your final challenge to someone who's struggling in this area?

Clarence Schule...: Well, I would say if you know you're struggling, admit it to yourself that you're struggling. And then someone you really can trust, I would say, I need help. Can you help me?

Chris Grace: Good.

Clarence Schule...: And then if you're a Christian, I would ask God to provide that person you need for help.

Chris Grace: That's great.

Clarence Schule...: And if you're not a Christ follower, then I would really research a person, a psychiatrist, psychologist, who could possibly help me, who has a good reputation in their field with clients. So, that's what I do. So, the biggest thing is admitting you have a problem and then seeking help for that problem.

Alisa Grace: Beautiful, Beautiful. Clarence, thank you. Thank you so much for joining us today. This has been a fabulous conversation. We hope you'll come back. We'll definitely be hanging up and scheduling our next podcast with you. We'll be calling Brenda to get on your schedule. But we really do want to thank you. We hope that we get the chance to speak with you and Brenda one day at Weekend to Remember.

Clarence Schule...: I would love that. I would love that.

Alisa Grace: So, we're going to call and put in our special request for that.

Clarence Schule...: Y'all do that. Y'all do that. I love that. That'd be so much fun. And thank you to, one, for your relationship with each other, your relationship with Christ. And then I thank you for the gift of your friendship. I really have been blessed by that. So, I'm looking forward to-

Chris Grace: Thanks, Clarence.

Clarence Schule...: ... Hugging your neck in January.

Chris Grace: That sounds awesome. Yeah, we'll see you there at the conference. That's right.

Alisa Grace: Yeah. And we just want to tell everyone, thank you so much for tuning in to the Art of Relationships podcast. It's produced by the Biola University Center for Marriage and Relationships. If you want to find out more information about the center, go to our website, Be sure to subscribe, give us five stars and share this podcast with a friend, a family member that you already know needs to hear about it. And we'll look forward to our next episode with you.

Chris Grace: Yep. See you all next time.

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