Is your past holding you back? Do you find it difficult to move forward in your life because you’re constantly reliving your memories?
Maybe it’s not your past, but your present — are you in an unhealthy relationship where your partner is tearing you down instead of building you up? You want to improve, grow, and cultivate a healthy relationship, but your partner doesn’t seem to be operating on the same frequency as you.
Or maybe it’s not your present, but your future. You’re unsure of what your purpose is, and you struggle with feeling anxious about all the possible bad things that could happen to you. You desperately need something to place your trust in so that you can move forward confidently.
If you find yourself in either one (or all) of these camps, you’re not alone! Each day, we all struggle with different things that can hold us back from greatness and healthy relationships. Many people go throughout their lives held back — but this doesn’t have to be you.
We can heal from our pasts. We can have healthy, lifelong relationships. We can find trust and stability in a world that’s always changing. Today, I have a guest who is sure to inspire you that this is all possible. I’m thrilled to welcome Pastor Michael Todd onto The School of Greatness!
In this episode, Pastor Michael and I dive deep into how we can improve our relationships and be better partners. We also discuss how important it is to have transparency, common faith goals, and fun in relationships. Lastly, Pastor Michael reminds us of the real significance of sacrifices to have the healthy and loving relationships we’ve all been craving for.
So if you’re ready to master relationships, marriage, and sex, then let’s get started!
Since February 2015, Pastor Michael along with his wife Natalie have been the Lead Pastors of Transformation Church based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. They were entrusted with the church by its founding Pastor, Gary McIntosh. Their philosophy and driving passion is representing God to the lost and found for transformation in Christ. Their mission is to place Christ in the center of culture to impact their community, city, and world with the gospel presented in a relevant and progressive way.
In 2016, because of their obedience and the viral impact of the sermon series “Relationship Goals,” they gained influence and the ability to reach millions of people all over the world. With the popularity of the series for over two years and gaining over six million views, Pr. Michael knew that this wasn’t just a sermon but was a necessary lesson which the world needed to hear. You can pick up a copy of his debut book Relationship Goals here.
Pr. Michael is also a highly sought-after speaker and leader who has ministered and spoken in many local and international churches and events, while leading Transformation Church. The congregation is able to gather over 5,000 people in physical attendance and over 20,000 people online every week. He and his wife, Natalie, live in Tulsa with three beautiful children — Isabella, Michael Jr., and Ava Todd.
In addition to being a spiritual leader, I would consider Pr. Michael a relationship expert as well! In this interview, he gave tons of valuable advice in finding and maintaining healthy and lasting relationships, which I’m excited to share with you!
We might think that to have a thriving and loving relationship, we need to be this perfect or unflawed person to our partners and family. As human beings, however, this is unattainable.
This applies to church leaders, like Pr. Michael, who admits that as a person of faith, he even falters. During moments when he feels attracted to other women, he believes that as a disciple of Christ, he can fight such desires by focusing on his end goal. Pastor Michael shared the powerful goal he wants himself to have as a husband and as a father:
“My dream is to be married to one woman for my entire life. I also want my four kids to look at me and say, ‘Our father isn’t a man who followed his desires. He was disciplined enough to challenge himself every day with the world and everything at his fingertips. He’s so strong that he took my mother whose body and moods change and who doesn’t look the way when they first met. He stayed with her and showed us how to love somebody.’ … I believe that it doesn’t take a great man to learn how to love multiple women. It takes a great man, however, to learn how to meet the needs of one woman for a lifetime.” – Pr. Michael Todd
Pastor Michael also talked about the importance of good communication in a relationship. He believes that it’s the key to fight the feeling of isolation — the Enemy’s playground. This is where wrong thoughts, deception, and coping mechanisms begin. If left unchecked, some of these coping mechanisms can turn into habits that lead to addiction and eventually rule one’s life. He also pointed out that by having open communication, unity between partners will follow.
“It’s important to have communication in your relationship so you can talk about things in unity. I believe there’s a blessing in a relationship when there’s unity. There’s a level of authenticity that’s attractive. But where there are separate visions, that’s where everything crumbles.” – Pr. Michael Todd
To get into this unity, Pastor Michael emphasized honesty. Whether one has a dark or shameful past or bad memories, he believes that people need to be real with themselves and with their partners. He says because relationships are all about trust, which can be lost in buckets but gain back in drops. If we become dishonest, he advises us to be disciplined and be consistent enough to put those drops back in. Pastor Michael shared his beautiful perception on this matter.
“We’re flawed beings. God knows that, and that’s why he included a room for imperfection in his plan for us. And he gives grace. … Now, the beautiful thing about life is that it’s a journey. It’s all about becoming better from what we were weeks or years ago, which is the same with our relationships. We’ll make mistakes and hurt each other along the way, but as long as we’re trying to be better, then we can heal from the lies and deceptions in our relationships.” – Pr. Michael Todd
This is such a good insight — everything is about progression and never perfection. Truth is, we’ll never be perfect, and if we hold ourselves (or others) to that standard, we’ll be let down. Instead, wake up each day with a desire to be better — and include your partner in that discussion!
Just like what Pr. Michael said, open communication, which is born from trust and honesty, is one of the foundations of a thriving relationship. He also gave the keys for anyone to master relationship, marriage, and intimacy. He began with the importance of transparency, which he delineated from honesty.
“Honesty is, ‘When you ask me, I’ll tell you the truth,’ and a lot of times, most of us don’t get asked because the answers to these questions can be scary. Transparency, on the other hand, is ‘You don’t have to ask me, I’m going to offer it up.’ But this isn’t possible if the other person is not emotionally secure enough to trust you.” – Pr. Michael Todd
Pr. Michael also explained that by allowing yourself to be transparent, the more you’ll get to receive empathy from the other person. Fear creates a wedge between you and your partner, but vulnerability does the opposite — it deepens the relationship.
Aside from being transparent with one another, Pr. Michael talked about the importance of having common faith goals. He believes that faith goals empower two persons to stay together for the following reasons.
“When two persons are equally compatible in their beliefs, it’s easier to have conversations about how to raise children or handle finances. It’s easier to resolve things that they can disagree on. For Natalie and I, we can just go to the Bible, a book we believe in together. It reminds us to wrestle and work through our problems. Because we have the same faith, it allows us to move past emotions.” – Pr. Michael Todd
He also shared how their faith has helped him and his wife throughout their relationship and marriage.
“There’s this verse in the Bible which goes, ‘Love is patient, love is kind. It keeps no record of wrong.’ … Love offers forgiveness. These are words that we believe to be true, and we see them as principles to live by. Because we’re on the same level in that faith, it corrects us sometimes when we don’t want to be corrected.” – Pr. Michael Todd
Lastly, he emphasized the importance of having fun with your spouse or partner so that your relationship can endure difficulties.
“There will be troubles. Those are promised. But if you can find somebody to look at in the darkest part of the valley and be able to laugh with them, then that’ll be helpful so the two of you could go through it.” – Pr. Michael Todd
Transparency, common faith goals, and fun are the keys that allow Pastor Michael, his wife, and his family to thrive in their relationships. If Pastor Michael and his wife were able to live by them to overcome the tests in their relationships, you can do that, too!
Challenges in relationships are normal. Behind these challenges are opportunities for people to learn from and grow. As a couple, finding out that their son has autism provided a significant opportunity for Pr. Michael and Natalie to learn communication during trauma and difficult situations.
“Your way of communication changes in trauma. My wife wants to communicate about it and talk about it, while I want to think about it and get it fixed. But when we learned that our son, MJ, is not like other kids, I learned a different kind of communication. I learned to just listen, sit with her, and empathize with the way she felt. It was difficult at first, but I realized that all she needed was to know that somebody was with her at the place she was at.” – Pr. Michael Todd
By tapping into his strength and to another level of power, Pastor Michael was able to choose the needs of his wife over his own. For him, this is sacrifice, and his words beautifully captured its essence.
“When you talk about sacrifice in a relationship, it’s about knowing that you can get over a challenge on your own quickly, but you do the other thing for your partner. You slow down your pace and let yourself lose the race because you know that you won’t lose the most important person in your life. You get to the finish line together.” – Pr. Michael Todd
Just like how Pr. Michael sees it, I also believe that the problem with most relationships is that we force our partners to process problems the same way and within the same timeline we did it. This just puts pressure on them and in the end, they get mad at you. Now, you’ve created another problem that was not even the issue in the first place.
Lastly, Pr. Michael discussed how sacrifices are important in every relationship.
“By learning to think about Natalie and empathizing with what she felt and sacrificing my own needs, I think that our relationship today is more galvanized and stronger. … Because I’ve been in it with her during these difficult times, she trusts and she can be transparent with me. I was able to create a margin for her to be safe with me and let her know that she doesn’t need to carry these difficult and hard emotions all by herself.” – Pr. Michael Todd
Pr. Michael’s wisdom on sacrifice is powerful! It helps us deal better with our partner’s emotions, and in return, it also allows them to open up and be transparent with us. In doing so, we allow our relationships to grow at levels that are beyond our imagination!
Joyce Meyer said, “We can improve our relationships with others by leaps and bounds if we become encouragers instead of critics”, and Paulo Coelho said, “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
I believe that we all can cultivate and transform our relationships. By finding wisdom in Pr. Michael’s insights on marriage and relationships, we could start with that journey today!
Here’s Pr. Michael’s definition of greatness,
“Greatness is fulfilling what you’ve been called to do. To my core, I feel like everybody’s wired for greatness. I don’t think that is only for a select group of people. It may look different, but it is in your DNA. Sooner you’ll discover, who and how you were created to impact the world, because it’s always about somebody else, not about you.” – Pr. Michael Todd
Today’s insights are only a part of Pr. Michael’s book entitled, Relationship Goals: How to Win at Dating, Marriage, and Sex. This is a book you won’t want to miss if you want to recover from your past, have safe and lifelong relationships, and find confidence and stability in an ever-changing world. You can also learn more about Pr. Michael’s work by visiting his website, watching his videos on YouTube, and following him on Instagram and Facebook.
If today’s episode encouraged and supported you in some way, please tag Pr. Michael, @iammiketodd, and me, @lewishowes, on Instagram with your key takeaways. Also, give it a five-star rating on Apple Podcasts, and don’t forget to subscribe!
I hope you enjoyed today’s episode as much as I did! For more insights on relationships, dealing with self-worth, jealousy, and so much more, be sure to watch Episode 1,087 with Pastor Michael Todd on The School of Greatness!