No, I Can’t Make Your Wife Disappear: Misdirection

Danny RayBy Danny Ray14 Minutes

Excerpt taken from No, I Can’t Make Your Wife Disappear: A Magician’s Guide to a Magical Marriage by Danny Ray


Chapter 1

Focusing on What Matters

Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
—Proverbs 4:25


Misdirection is essential for creating effective illusions. Magicians know that in order to vanish a coin or make a ten-thousand-pound elephant appear, flawless misdirection is required. I love that moment in the show when audience members say to themselves, “I should’ve been watching that other hand!” Most people suspect that misdirection is all about having the audience look in the wrong place. In actuality, misdirection happens when the magician has the audience look in the right place at the right time. That’s what creates the illusion of the impossible. That’s what creates the magic.

In marriage, the goal is not an illusion of the impossible; the magic is created when we focus on the right things at the right time.

When a magician loses the ability to focus the audience’s attention in the right direction, the illusion falls apart. Lose focus in your marriage and the basement couch will become your new best friend. In our marriages, it’s easy to lose focus, easy to be distracted and create habits of looking in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Healthy marriages require focusing on the right things so we can have the marriage that God intended for us. What should we focus on?

Focus on Moving Toward, Not Away

Most people assume that a magician is trying to get them to look away from one object by directing them toward something else. Yes, we are directing attention away from the secret, but by pointing your attention elsewhere, we’re moving our audience toward something better—a magical experience. If we directed people toward the secret, there would be no wonder and awe, no surprise, and no special moment.

In your marriage, the principle is this: move toward what will bring out the best in your marriage and away from anything that distracts and hinders that effort.

Here’s an example: Let’s say your spouse went out and bought a big, nonrefundable toy like a Jet Ski without checking with you or the budget. (If you’re wondering what a budget is, see chapter 10). You might be upset, even furious. But guess what? You decide how you respond. Let’s look at some unhealthy and healthy options.

Kimberly’s Corner
Danny and I are like any other couple in that we argue and have disagreements. In the early years of our marriage, we fought about the surface-level issues. But the longer we are married, the more we realize where we need to put our focus when we disagree with each other. During the fight, we often ask ourselves these questions: What do I want out of this? How do I want this argument to end? Is this something truly important, or am I simply hungry, tired, or lonely?

Focus on communicating your needs instead of attacking your spouse. Focus on why you’re feeling angry or sad. Are you hurt, disappointed, frustrated, or jealous? Focus on that emotion and communicate it.

You can react by going ballistic. You can belittle your spouse. You can use phrases like “you always” and “you never.” You can take away debit and credit cards. All these reactions mean you’re treating your spouse like a child instead of a partner.

Or you can show grace. You can listen. Really listen. You can try to understand your spouse’s decision. You can forgive. You can press in and connect instead of pulling away and getting upset. Or better yet (since you can’t return it), you can be excited about jumping on the Jet Ski and having adventures together.

Here are two strategies to help focus on moving toward each other.

1. Create a Bonding Experience
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
● Watch the sunset on your roof, a hilltop, a lake, or at the beach.
● Picnic in the park, in your backyard, or take a drive to a favorite spot of natural beauty.
● Make a playlist, blast your favorite tunes, and dance together.

2. Look for Opportunities to Be Thankful
In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, we are reminded to “give thanks in all circumstances.” Our ability to focus on being thankful positions us to be closer to our spouse. Make a game of it: how many things can I thank my spouse for?
● Thank you for cleaning up.
● Thank you for putting gas in my car.
● Thank you for making the bed.
● Thank you for choosing me today.
● Thank you for breathing. Seriously, better breathing than not!

Focus on Loving

A friend of mine, Woody, has a septic tank on his property. About every fifteen to twenty years, he has to install a clean septic tank to get rid of everything that has ever been flushed down his toilets. This isn’t a one-person job, so he invited a couple of buddies to help and started working on the project. Around noon Woody told the guys he was going to pick up lunch.

While he was gone, his two buddies decided they would pry the lid off the septic tank. As you can imagine, when they opened it, the smell was so foul and disgusting that they tried not to throw up. Then they realized one of Woody’s dogs was running full speed toward the septic tank.

“No. He wouldn’t,” one said.

“There is no way!” said the other.

Before they could stop the dog, he leaped into the septic tank. Splash! The dog went under and didn’t come up.

“Where is he? Where is he? I can’t find him,” they frantically shouted as they were arms deep in raw sewage trying to locate him and pull him out.

“I’m going in.” The first guy jumped in. Splash! Waist-deep, he screamed, “I still can’t find him! I can’t find him.”

Splash! The other guy jumped in.

“Got him!”

They lifted the dog out of the tank, and when his four paws hit the ground, he went crazy. He ran in circles, barking and yelping while Woody’s two friends tried to chase him down. While they were running in circles covered in a hurricane of diapers, girly products, and human waste, Woody rolls up in his truck. “What the heck!”

Once the methane gas wore off the dog, the three friends spent the next several hours cleaning up the yard, the dog, and themselves. Eventually, everything was back to normal—well, as normal as can be after that kind of experience.

Sometimes marriage is a perfect storm of chaos; our relationship with our spouse feels like a hot mess. Sometimes our septic-tank story is just called Monday. But catch this: in the middle of our messes, we have a million ways to show love to our spouse. Marriage would be easy if couples could practice loving each other in perfect environments with no money problems, no family drama, and certainly no tension with each other.

But the craziness of life gives us the opportunity to laugh with our spouse and say, “Remember when we said, ‘In sickness and health!’ We had no idea what we were signing up for. But today in the middle of our mess, I want to remind you that I love you and there is no one else with whom I would want to navigate this storm. You are the one, baby!”

Focus on God

What you focus on changes everything. Imagine for a moment that you are holding a quarter in your hand. If you hold that quarter at arm’s length, it doesn’t appear that big. However, the closer you bring the quarter to your eye, the larger it appears. In fact, if you place it extremely close, the quarter can block out the entire sun. Of course, the quarter isn’t larger than the sun, but it can appear larger because of how closely you are focused on it. In the same way, when you focus on the small, trivial things in your marriage, you miss out on the massive blessings and grace God has in store for you.

Daily, you decide where to focus your attention. What will you choose? If you focus on lack of money, that struggle will appear disproportionately large. If you focus on God who provides for birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and the flowers in the field, then you’ll be reminded of God’s power, His miraculous provision, His constant care for His people, and you’ll be reminded that He will sustain you.

Focusing on God looks different for each couple, but here are some tips and tricks to try.

1. Debrief Together
If you attend church together, find ways of implementing the weekly messages you hear into your everyday life. Knowing that you’re going to talk about the message helps you to stay focused and actively engaged in listening.

2. Read a Great Book or Listen to a Podcast Together
There are lots of great books and podcast to choose from. Find one that will challenge both of you to grow in your faith.

3. Serve Together
Serving others together helps a couple grow in their faith and gain perspective. This kind of shared experience can have a profound impact on your relationship.

4. Play Together
Find an activity or two that you enjoy doing together and talk about what God has been teaching you while you walk, ride bikes, or kayak as a couple.

The principle of misdirection is all about focusing on the right things at the right time. In marriage, it’s easy to get offtrack, distracted, or caught up in our jobs, our kids, our activities, and to forget to invest in our spouse. The tips and tricks from this chapter will help you focus like a magician and create magic in your marriage.

Order your copy of No, I Can’t Make Your Wife Disappear: A Magician’s Guide to a Magical Marriage by Danny Ray