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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Creating Sustainable Rhythms in Your Marriage

Creating Sustainable Rhythms in Your Marriage

Chris and Jenni Graebe both grew up with very strong opinions on how marriage should look. They eventually went to other couples who were years ahead of them, and compiled a list of biblical lifestyles of “rhythms” that married couples can create in their lives. In this interview, they’ll focus on the important rhythms that have helped them through the years,
Original Air Date: July 5, 2022

Preview

Woman #1: Every Saturday morning, my husband makes me breakfast and that’s just something that he does to show me how much he cares.

Man #1: Something that my wife and I do to stay connected is really get together once a month to go through our budget and take a look back at what we spent money on and take a look forward to kind of plan together.

Woman #2: Something I started doing years ago for my husband is I would sign off on our emails or text messages with the initials L-Y-S. Love you still.

Man #2: We love to do drama and working at community theater. And that’s one way that we connect and have something to talk about.

End of Preview:

John Fuller: Well, those are just some of the examples of kind of everyday rhythms of life that you can build into your relationship to improve your marriage. And we’ll be talking about more ideas today on Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller, and thanks for joining us. Your host is Focus President and author, Jim Daly.

Jim Daly: John, you know, marriage is one of the things we talk a lot about on this broadcast. And, uh-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And parenting too. That’s about 80% of the program. We measure it. So, 75, 80% of the time, we’re talking about marriage and parenting. And today, we have a great show. And one of the difficulties that we often have is, we get into marital ruts, right? You’ll go through seasons, unfortunately, sometimes that could be years, where it just feels like you’re in a routine.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And you’re not breaking out of that and finding, meh, something deeper, something more rewarding in your relationship as a married couple. We’re gonna give you some ideas today to change that.

John: Yeah, and we’ve got Chris and Jenni Graebe with us to talk about some of the things that they’ve learned. Uh, they’re a husband-and-wife team, parents of five kids, and they host the podcast, The Rhythm of Us. And they’ve written a book, uh, called The Rhythm of Us: Create the Thriving Marriage You Long For. Look for a copy at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or call 1-800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Chris and Jenni, uh, it’s great to have you here for the first time.

Jenni Graebe: Thank you so much. We’re so honored to be here.

Jim: Yeah.

Chris Graebe: Yeah, it’s gonna be fun.

Jim: Yeah.

Jenni: Yeah.

Jim: And what a, what a great concept. I so appreciate the fact that you’re trying to strengthen marriages. I mean, that’s what we’re all doing, right? Hopefully, our own marriages, let me just say that. Christian leaders, we need to make sure we’re walking the talk. And Jenni, yo- you went to a graduation party where you saw a table of memories for, uh, your friend’s daughter.

Jenni: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And that gave you some thoughts and ideas. Uh, that’s an interesting observation. Um… I don’t know that as a guy, I would’ve picked up on this.

Jenni: (laughs)

Jim: But go ahead. What happened?

Jenni: Well, actually, I saw the pictures of the party. I wasn’t there. I was actually on a writing day. I was supposed to be writing, not inspired at all.

Chris: So, beating yourself up for that.

Jenni: So, yes.

Chris: (laughs)

Jenni: Just like, please… I, I’m just not inspired. And, uh, some friends, uh, a friend sent me pictures of her daughter’s graduation party. And I was looking through the pictures, and she had this beautiful round table for her 18-year-old daughter. And on the table was just all the precious things that made up her 18 years of life.

Jim: Yeah.

Jenni: So there was a little baby rattle from when she was born, little set of footprints, a little guitar, some summer camp T-shirts. And, and as I was looking at these pictures, my eyes are, you know, welling up with tears because I have five kids of my own. I’m picturing sending them off and all the things that would be on their tables. And I just heard the Lord whisper, “What’s on your table?”

Jim: Wow.

Jenni: What do you want on your table?

Jim: Yeah.

Jenni: And I just thought, oh my gosh. And we use this analogy in the book, um, thinking about our marriage. When we, when we get to 50 years, hopefully 60 years, what do we want on that anniversary table? Who do we want around the table? What do we want those to say about us that are standing around our table?

Jim: Not our dentures, that’s for sure.

Jenni: Yeah. (laughs) Not our dentures.

Jim: (laughs)

Jenni: Maybe. (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Jenni: Um-

Jim: But that’s a great thought.

Jenni: Yeah.

Jim: And especially in that context of marriage.

Jenni: Yes.

Jim: You know, what does your table represent about you as a couple?

Jenni: Yeah.

Jim: That’s awesome. Chris, let me ask you. Uh… Taking a step back. Y- the book’s about rhythms, and ruts, and describe the rhythms. What are these patterns that you saw as a couple that are pretty generic to all couples?

Jenni: Mm-hmm.

Chris: Well, I think one of the things we wanted to do when we set out here… It’s like, okay, God’s calling us to write this.

Jim: (laughs)

Chris: And we wanted to kind of think differently about this… A lot of marriage books, and they’re al- that’s all great. We talk about budgeting, and communication, and sex, and in-laws, and all that. And we, we wanted to give couples a framework that’s a little bit different, a- a framework that kind of puts them on the same side of the table versus pointing fingers at each other.

Jim: Right.

Chris: Basically asking couples the question, are you in rhythm or are you out of rhythm? And when people think about that question, immediately, every couple within seconds goes, “All right. I know where we’re out of rhythm. I know where we need to get in rhythm.”

Jim: That’s interesting, they know.

Chris: Oh, 100%.

Jim: Yeah.

Chris: Everyone, liste- they may not verbalize it, but everybody goes like, “Okay, we’re out of rhythm in this department in our life.” And so, what we wanted to do was give a framework, and just some context for a couple to be able to have a safe conversation with each other. Not to say, “Hey, you really need to get better at this,” but just like, “Hey, are we in rhythm in this area of our life? Or are we out of rhythm? And how do we get back in rhythm?”

Jim: Yeah.

Chris: So, we focus on these five different rhythms that are pretty easy to digest and easy for couples to kind of walk together and have those good, simple, hopefully healthy-

Jim: Good, yeah.

Chris: Conversations.

Jim: And before we get to the five, I wanna talk about the ruts for a second.

Chris: Yeah, sure.

Jim: (laughs)

Jenni: Yeah.

Chris: Yeah.

Jim: Call it my personality type, I don’t know.

Chris: (laughs)

Jenni: Mm-hmm.

Chris: Yeah.

Jim: But, uh, you know, ruts are the other thing you describe in, in the book. And y- you use a story, which I thought was really good, about your kids, and going to Disney, and and… So, sorry to out you on that, but you wrote the book-

Chris: (laughs) We did.

Jim: And it’s in there.

Jenni: We did.

Jim: So who, who has the story on the Disney rut? (laughs)

Jenni: Um, I’ll tell that story.

Chris: Take that story. (laughs)

Jenni: Yeah. (laughs)

Jim: ‘Cause I so-

Chris: Disclaimer, where’s the disclaimer?

Jenni: Nobody-

Jim: No, no, no.

Jenni: No.

Jim: I so relate to this.

Jenni: Okay-

Jim: So.

Jenni: Thank you.

Chris: (laughs)

Jim: Yeah, I’m with you-

Jenni: I’m glad I’m not alone.

Jim: 100%.

Jenni: I… And I’ve had, you know, people have different reactions to it, so.

Jim: Really?

Jenni: People-

Chris: Oh.

Jenni: I mean, if you love Disney, please just let me hear you say-

Jim: J- just call it the, any amusement park.

Jenni: It… Yes.

Jim: I mean, the concept is just taking your family.

Jenni: Like, we have nothing against Dole Whip-

Jim: Yeah.

Jenni: And life-size cartoon characters. If that is your thing, please, please enjoy it. Um, we just learned the hard way that it was not for us.

Jim: (laughs)

Jenni: Um, and we talk about in the book that there’s kind of three ways that we have observed in our own marriage that you can fall into ruts. There’s inherited ruts. There’s ruts that you kind of inherit from your family of origin that you just bring into your marriage without even realizing it, because you observed it. And then, there’s seasonal ruts. There’s kind of, you know, these… Things that used to serve you when you first got married don’t necessarily serve you when you’re in your 40s.

Chris: Yeah, things change.

Jenni: So you have to reevaluate as you change as a couple. And then, there’s cultural ruts, which is where I told this story. Where, it ca- it can become really easy to look around at the couples around us and say, well, they’re doing this. Maybe we should. They’re doing this. Maybe we should. Everybody takes their family to Disney World. Maybe we should! Um-

Jim: (laughs)

Jenni: But from the moment we started having the conversation about going to Disney World, I had a pit in my stomach. I just… I did not wanna go. I kn- I knew that was not for us. I love taking th- I, you know, we talk about the vision you have for your marriage and your family. I wanna take them there. I wanna take them to the mountains, and the streams, and nature, and just be in that. That is my vision, absolutely, for time spent well with my family. And a crowded theme park-

Jim: (laughs)

Jenni: Full of fake food and like sweaty people is-

Jim: Fake, expensive food.

Jenni: Oh, it is so ex-

Jim: Let me tell you.

Chris: (laughs)

Jenni: I… It was, I knew it was the opposite, and I just did not listen to that, that whisper in my spirit at all. And we decided to go for it. It was like, well, you know, we got some discounts. And like, we should probably, every family, you know, if you can-

Jim: (laughs)

Jenni: You should probably take your kids to Disney World, so we said yes. And we spent an entire February day from morning till evening freezing and wh- it was so crowded. This was before COVID. So I mean, they shove as many people as possible into that theme park. Uh, we didn’t even see each other all day because it was like, “Okay, you take this one here. We’ll try and grab this ride here.” We, you know, we didn’t even get to spend any time together. And by the end of the day, we were so exhausted. All we could think about was getting to our nice, warm beds at the end of the day. And when we crashed-

Jim: (laughs)

Jenni: In those beds, we looked at each other, and we were like, “Let’s never do this again.”

John: Hmm.

Jenni: “Okay?” Um, but the gift that we received from that day was learning, okay, it doesn’t matter what fills other people’s tanks. Like, if they wanna do that, that’s fine. It’s our job to evaluate, what, what brings us life?

Jim: Right.

Jenni: And make decisions based on those values, and that’s where the peace comes from when we make decisions for our family and for our marriage that line up with those values.

Jim: Okay, Chris. So what did the kids think of the day?

Jenni: (laughs)

Jim: Did they (laughs) like it?

Chris: You know, u- u-

Jim: (laughs)

Chris: I don’t know.

Jenni: Probably.

Chris: You know, u-

Jim: (laughs)

Chris: U- I don’t… They won’t remem- they’re gonna look at pictures, right?

Jim: That’s true.

Jenni: Yeah.

Jim: That’s true.

Chris: You know, I, I look up and go, our four-year-old was much younger at the time. So you know, one day, she’s gonna send me a counseling bill-

Jenni: (laughs)

Chris: Because she didn’t get to go to Disney World.

Jim: But she won’t remember.

Chris: And I’m-

Jenni: Ye- that’s fine.

Jim: Yeah. (laughs)

Chris: Okay with that.

Jenni: That’s fine.

Chris: You know? (laughs) Send me that bill?

Jenni: (laughs)

Chris: I’ll pay that one ’cause-

Jim: Now, that’s really good. Now Jenni, let me ask you. You ob- observed, uh, how some couples can turn their stories about one another kind of into small jabs toward each other.

Jenni: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I can relate to that. I think if a person’s style might be verbal attack.

Jenni: Mm-hmm.

Jim: (laughs) You know, John, what do you think?

Jenni: (laughs)

John: Whoa. Whoa.

Jenni: He just looked right at you, John.

Jim: Sorry. No, I mean-

Jenni: (laughs)

John: And I am.

Jim: No, I… It just, you know, it’s not-

John: I am guilty of that.

Jim: It’s not-

Jenni: (laughs)

Jim: No, no, no, me. I was talking about me.

John: Oh.

Jim: I mean, it’s not malicious. But it’s more like, I can go to a verbal spat with you, if you’d like to.

Jenni: Yeah.

Jim: And I’m gonna try to win.

Jenni: Yeah.

Jim: Yeah, I know. You don’t have to write or call us. I know that’s not appropriate, but-

John: (laughs)

Jenni: (laughs)

Jim: I, u- my point here is, I’m relating to this, Jenni, that you know, you can turn a little, you know, even sarcasm into-

Jenni: Yeah.

Jim: Something that’s not edifying for your spouse.

Jenni: Yeah.

Jim: So m- relate the experience that you had in that regard, and how you corrected it?

Jenni: Yeah, I think it’s really, really common, um, to use your spouse as the butt of a joke. I mean, it happens every week in the circles that we hang out with. Um, but the story I share in the book is, as a little kid, I was always that kid observing the people around me. I was-

Jim: How interesting.

Jenni: Like an obsessive observer, especially of relationships. You know, I grew up in a really loving family, wonderful parents, but they would be the first to tell you that they struggled in their marriage. That was their, their biggest struggle. And so, I didn’t see a couple that I wanted to emulate. I didn’t see a marriage I wanted to emulate in my own house. So, it caused me to kind of ferociously look for-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Jenni: An example outside of my house that I could find for inspiration. And so, every fall, um, in Texas, we would go on these trips together with other, other families. Um, and it was to the Texas Hill Country. And after a long, hot, burning summer, it was such a, a wonderful thing to celebrate, the crisp breeze finally coming, um, into Texas. And so we would go out to the Hill Country, and we would all… You know, all the kids would be surrounded at one end of the table, and all the adults around the other. And I always listened in to the adult conversations.

Jim: (laughs)

Jenni: I was that kid, kind of scooting closer and closer to hear.

Jim: That’s where the intel was.

Jenni: That’s what it was.

Jim: (laughs)

Jenni: That was the fun.

Chris: That’s exactly right.

Jenni: They were telling the good jokes over there. Um-

Jim: (laughs)

Jenni: But you could start to hear. Each couple would kind of start sharing stories about their spouse. Listen to what Susie did last week, and-

Jim: Hm.

Jenni: And listen to what this idiot did. You know, or whatever the-

Jim: Right.

Jenni: The jab was. And, and it was funny, sure, but… You could watch their… I would watch their spouses face, and they would drop-

Jim: Hm.

Jenni: As they, as they were the butt of that joke. But there was one couple there that I noticed, Mike and Linda, and they just never seemed to join in that banter. In fact-

Jim: Interesting.

Jenni: The only stories that they shared about the other just revealed how much they really loved, and respected, and adored each other.

Jim: Yeah.

Jenni: And it just stood out to me as a little kid, and I just made a mental note, okay, never throw your spouse under the bus. There’s something there.

Jim: Yeah.

Jenni: They’re practicing this, and it’s showing up-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Jenni: In their marriage. They have the kind of marriage that I want. And here’s a key practice that I can kind of hold onto, even as a kid.

Jim: Well, and you caught it.

Jenni: I did.

Jim: That’s the thing.

Chris: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I mean-

Jenni: Yeah.

Jim: Ev- even with our own children, you think they’d, they won’t notice.

Jenni: They do.

Jim: Oh, they’re listening to everything.

Jenni: They do.

Jim: Chris, let me ask you. Uh, give us some practical ways that we can speak life into our spouse.

Chris: Yeah, well, this is definitely one of the rhythms. And I wanna, before we finish on what she just shared, is this can be an inherited rut, right? The, the-

Jenni: Yeah.

Chris: Jabbing thing.

Jenni: Yeah.

Chris: Mm-hmm.

Jim: ‘Cause of what you observed as a child?

Chris: You learn this as a child.

Jim: Yeah.

Jenni: Yeah.

Chris: Right?

Jim: Sure.

Chris: Yo- you hit it. It’s just, hey, we just as a family… We, u- u- you know, everyone, they kind of own it. Like, which, we al- we always love to poke fun at each other and go, and it’s just like-

Jim: And it was great!

Chris: Oh, yeah.

Jenni: Yeah.

Chris: It, but it-

Jim: (laughs)

Chris: But you look up and go, you know what?

Jim: Yeah.

Chris: Like that is not a rhythm that’s going to bring life.

Jim: Yeah, good point.

Chris: And so, this idea of speaking life, which was one of the rhythms we put in the book is that really, we, we think this is the cornerstone of the other rhythms. If you can get to this place where you’re verbalizing and communicating to your spouse your gratitude, your appreciation for them, and really helping them understand, you know, how thankful you are for them. Like, it just is, it is money in the bank-

Jenni: Mm-hmm.

Chris: That is going d-

Jim: Right.

Chris: To, to be a massive return on the side.

Jim: Great way to look at it.

Chris: Oh, 100%.

Jim: Yeah.

Chris: An- and you just look up, and… One of the practices that we talk about, even just practically speaking is like, we can go about our day. We’re busy. We have five kids. You know, y’all have kids. Everybody’s just busy, work, all that, or whatever. Now, I may be walking past her going, “Dang, she looks good today.”

Jenni: (laughs)

Chris: And, and just keep walking, but I have a moment right there to literally just say, “Hey, you look so good today.” And in that moment, I could’ve just had the thought and gone on with my life. But just taking that m- brief second to tell her, tells her I love her. It’s speaking life. It’s, it’s putting chips in the bank that ultimately has the opportunity to let her know that I love her, I’m for her, and it’s just that speaking life that then reciprocates, right? Then she… And it just kind of stacks on top of each other.

Jim: Yeah. No, it’s-

Jenni: It builds the culture-

Jim: It’s really good.

Jenni: In a marriage.

Chris: Yeah.

Jenni: Yeah.

Jim: It’s really good. I- i- another positive rhythm that you have in the book is service.

Jenni: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I mean, I think everybody gets that, but practically, how does that work in your marriage?

Jenni: Well, it’s so important, right? And you know, of the five rhythms, just so people know, like, you know, we’ve been married almost 18 years. But in the grand scheme of things, that’s not that long.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Jenni: So, we-

Jim: Although, you’ll notice, young people go, “18 years!”

Jenni: 18… I know.

Chris: (laughs)

Jenni: It, it is-

Jim: How have you done that?

Jenni: I’m proud of it. I’m-

Jim: Wait till you say 35.

Jenni: Yeah.

Chris: Yeah.

Jenni: 35.

Chris: (laughs)

Jim: Whoa.

Jenni: How long have you guys been-

John: N- almost 38. Yeah.

Jim: Yeah, that’s awesome.

Jenni: Okay, so you know, you know. And we, we really tried to sit with couples who had been married 50 years, 60 years-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Jenni: And learn from them in writing this book.

Jim: Oh, that’s good.

Jenni: So the five rhythms that we landed on are not only true of our marriage, we try and practice them. But they’re also true across the board-

Jim: Yeah.

Jenni: In these couples that we admire, who’ve been not just married for decades, but in love with each other for decades. Those kind of couples that you go, “Oh my gosh, how do you still have that? I want that.” What are those common five rhythms? So that’s where the rhythms came from. But this rhythm of serving was true across the board. And they would all tell us, “That’s where you start, is serving each other.” It’s, it’s so important to get your eyes off of yourself and to see your spouse. You know? We just all wake up every morning and instinctively think of our own needs. That’s just human nature. That’s the way that we are. And it takes a lot of intentionality and practice to learn to see in a different way.

Jim: I think it’s the whole purpose of marriage, actually.

Jenni: It is.

Jim: To become selfless.

Jenni: Yeah.

Jim: Because who’s character is that?

Jenni: Ye- yeah-

Jim: It’s God’s character.

Jenni: It’s Jesus.

Chris: Right.

Jim: (laughs) So-

Jenni: Yeah, that’s what he does.

Jim: I mean, I think he created the institution of marriage-

Chris: Yeah.

Jim: To teach us this point.

Jenni: Yes, for sure.

Jim: And then we just blow right threw it.

Chris: Well, I think the beauty of the way we kind of postured these five rhythms is, e- everything that we’re trying to say, “Hey, learn this rhythm with your spouse,” comes from a relationship with Christ.

Jenni: Yeah.

Jim: Right.

Chris: Right? We should speak words of life to Christ. Like, w- in our prayer, in our worship, you know, when we’re serving… I- we’re serving the Lord, right? S- ultimately, it’s a great way to express what he’s doing through us, to our spouse. But you know, serving, the rhythm of serving is not the one everyone’s gonna run to the book and go-

Jenni: (laughs)

Chris: “Ooh, let me read this chapter.”

Jenni: It’s not the sexiest one, yeah.

Chris: You know? Like-

Jenni: Yeah.

Chris: It’s just definitely not-

Jim: That kind of says it all right there. I mean to your-

Jenni: (laughs)

Chris: Yeah, yeah. You know-

Jim: Comment-

Chris: Yeah.

Jenni: Yeah.

Jim: About selfishness.

Jenni: Oh, yeah.

Chris: Well, I think for us, the way it kind of plays out for us is, I think you know, after a few years, we start to recognize, okay, there’s certain things she just does not and it’s really hard for her to do. And there’s certain things it’s, I- I don’t love to do. I mean, can I do the laundry? Yes, I’ll do the laundry.

Jenni: (laughs)

Chris: But she doesn’t mind. So for me-

Jim: (laughs)

Chris: We talk about in the book, like-

Jim: Wait a second, you don’t mind?

Chris: Ye-

Jenni: I… Yeah. (laughs)

Jim: (laughs) Yeah, I’m just checking. Go ahead.

Jenni: Yeah, well, we all have our least favorite chores. Right?

Chris: Right.

Jenni: You know?

Chris: Right.

Jim: (laughs)

Chris: And hers is, does not want, she does not wanna stick her hand in a dirty sink with dishes, so-

Jim: Okay.

Chris: I don’t mind it. I was a server for years. I put my hand in plenty of mashed potato-

Jim: Perfect.

Chris: For perfect strangers, right?

Jenni: (laughs)

Chris: So I’ve got five kids, you can imagine how gross our sink can get at times, right?

Jim: Yeah.

Chris: So, we, we serve each other in that way. And, and those are just the practical things of life, but, uh, the thing for us that we learned, you know, a, a few years ago… Well, it was probably 15 years ago. You know, we-

Jenni: It was a really long time.

Chris: Early on in our marriage decided, Jenni’s gonna stay home with our kids. You know, she’s gonna stay home with our kids. I’ll go out and, and work. And so, by Thursday, she would kind of hit this wall. And we just kind of said, okay, what’s a way that I can serve her? Having my ears and eyes attuned to what’s going on in her life, how could I serve her? And so, uh, we decided, hey, Fridays, you just leave. Go out into the world, I’ll watch what-

Jenni: Whoever’s home. Yeah. (laughs)

Chris: However many kids have at home at the time… I’ll work from home. We’ll make it work. And then what happened was, she goes out into the world. A few hours later, she’s walking to the tree, she’s doing her thing. She’s like, “I love you guys so much.” Like, she just-

Jenni: (laughs)

Jim: Needs a little space.

Chris: More… She just comes back.

Jenni: Yeah.

Chris: You know?

Jim: That’s good. That’s good.

Jenni: U- you gotta fill your tank back up.

Jim: W- while-

Jenni: Yeah.

Jim: We’re there… And John’s gonna mention how to get a copy of the book in just a moment, but we’re talking about speaking life and service for your spouse. What are the others just quickly before John jumps-?

Jenni: S-

Jim: In here?

Jenni: Slowing down.

Jim: (laughs)

Chris: Mm-hmm.

Jenni: Being present, um, seeking adventure, and staying in awe.

Jim: Okay, awesome.

Jenni: Yeah.

John: These are ways that you can bring balance and rhythm to your life as a married couple. And we would encourage you to contact us today and get a copy of the book by Chris and Jenni Graebe. It’s called The Rhythm of Us, and, uh, details are at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or call 1-800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

Jim: You mention in the book, um, about coming across… I th- I don’t know if it was a guy or a woman who mentioned that they m- had these dreams, but one dream was becoming a runner. And it was only a dream in his head.

Jenni: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Jim: U- th- it was kinda interesting, just a dream in his head. Describe it.

Jenni: Yeah, well, we were… You know, we were pastors for a really long time. So, we spent a lot of time in small groups, right?

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Jenni: Developing small groups, starting small groups. And this was one that we had started, so it was a group of strangers. And we kinda went around the circle. Everybody shared the top five things that they thought would help everyone get to know them. And he said, “Well, let’s see… I’m a, I’m a pastor. I’m a soon-to-be father. I’m a worship leader. And in my head, I’m a runner.” And everyone cracked up laughing, you know, because they know… We all resonate. We all have those things, those identities that we think we are in our heads. But if you look at our actual life, you’re like, you know what? I think I’m a runner in my head, but I actually haven’t run in a long time. (laughs)

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Jenni: And when he said that, I mean, light bulbs went off in my head. I j- he just put words to something I had been feeling in that season. But I was looking up in our life going, man… I, I feel like if you asked me, I would say, “You know, we go camping as a family. And we have a, a date night every week, romantic date nights, every single week. And I think I have a green smoothie every single morning of my life.”

Jim: (laughs)

Jenni: There’s things I thi- I would tell you, this is who I am. This is what I do. But if I took a look at my actual life, they’re nowhere to be found. We haven’t gone camping. We haven’t had a date night in weeks. You know, like, so it just caused me to look at our life and go, wait a second. We’ve gotta get more intentional with our life, or we’re just gonna drift into a place we don’t wanna be.

Jim: You know, that’s a really good point, because I can relate to that. Jean and I will set the compass to move that direction, but it’s like the wind of life then takes you off course.

Jenni: It does.

Jim: Because you just get caught up in the day-to-day routine, and you got somebody calling that needs you, or-

Jenni: Yeah.

Jim: You know, a couple that needs to talk with you, or whatever it might be. And so, it just kind of takes you away from the things that you planned.

Jenni: Yeah.

Jim: And now you’re beholden to the immediate, right?

Jenni: Yes.

Jim: What’s getting in your way.

Jenni: Yeah.

Jim: And you gotta kind of tack back toward that direction, which takes discipline. Let me, let me ask you too, Jenni. Y- you guys have moved quite a bit.

Jenni: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I’m thinking of spouses in the audience, uh, that are watching or listening, where their security comes from that home.

Jenni: Mm-hmm.

Jim: You know that we’re building something together. Our kids are here. We don’t wanna uproot them out of elementary school, or oh my goodness, junior high.

Jenni: Mm-hmm.

Jim: You know, you really wanna do that to the kids, but you’ve had to make those decisions to support Chris in a couple of moves. What advice do you have for that spouse that’s…? You know, that’s a tough one.

Jenni: Yes, for sure. I mean, I can speak to this pretty freshly because we just moved, um, a couple years ago, u- after being in the same place for 10 years. You know, we were in Texas for 10 years. We were pastors there. So that kind of community-

Jim: Yeah.

Jenni: Was so rich. I mean, we had friends who had become family. You know, th- our kids had grown up together. We had all had, you know, baby showers together. And just build these bonds that are, just feel irreplaceable. And then over time, we just sensed this invitation from the Lord for this big move to Franklin. And we had kind of always known that we would end up back there. It was just this sense that we had. That’s where we met, and fell in love, and started our family, and then went to Texas. And we just always thought we would come back, and… But when it became the reality of actually moving, like you said. Uprooting our kids, and-

Jim: Right.

Jenni: I had no… I- I said yes before I really had any clue what that would actually mean, and how heartbreaking that would be to leave all of that behind. But I think walking through it, you these last couple years, you know, it’s definitely… I think it can be a wilderness season that can-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Jenni: Also bring so much fruit. You know, we don’t ever wanna choose to walk through those wilderness seasons, but everyone will have them. If you follow God, the- you’re gonna have to walk through suffering. It’s just part of, of your walk with Him. And that’s what He does to bring the best fruit out of our lives, is walking through those seasons with Him, so.

Chris: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Yeah, and I, I would think, Chris too, you know, again… A husband can be erratic in those decisions-

Chris: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And that’s not what we’re talking about.

Chris: No, no.

Jim: This is where it’s-

Jenni: No.

Jim: Prayed for, it’s thought through.

Jenni: Yes.

Jim: You know, it seems like a good opportunity, what have you. It’s not where there’s a deficit in there in that leadership, where you’re just erratically going from one place to another ’cause you’re not succeeding, or whatever it might be. So-

Jenni: Yeah.

Jim: I wanna make sure we-

Chris: Yeah.

Jim: Make that point.

Chris: Well, I think i- I think in our years-

Jim: (laughs)

Chris: You know, our younger years, you just go, “Cool, look, shiny thing.”

Jenni: Let’s do it, yeah. (laughs)

Chris: “New opportunity, let’s go!”

Jim: (laughs)

Chris: And you just go-

Jenni: Yeah.

Chris: And you can feel the whiplash of that.

Jim: Yeah.

Chris: I, I think for us, the way we’re wired, and I’m imagining most of the people watching here is, I’m a very futuristic minded individual. She is kind of present and, and passer in. She loves to look back. She’s nostalgic. So in a move like that, when we’re gonna make those decisions, it hits me like a ton of bricks in that moment, and then it’s over. Uh, it takes a little bit of time. When we live in it, she starts to go, “Oh, gosh. This is more of the reality.” And so the grieving process is a little longer for her. Where for me, I understand-

Jim: Yeah, let’s go.

Chris: Wait… Hits me like a ton of bricks. Like, oh I’m so sad. I miss my friends. Like, wow. You really, really cried at that going away party.

Jenni: (laughs)

Chris: Like, ’cause I know, it’s over, and then we move on and move on with the life. But it’s just understanding your spouse’s wiring and how they’re wired. And depending on where you sit, to go like let me just help her get some time to walk through this. A- and our prayer, and what God has done in our life, is generally, when we find ourselves in a place of comfort, we start to see a little bit of a drift.

Jim: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Chris: Because it’s like, oh, seasons, schedules… But when it’s tough, when we have to lock arms and fight together… Like, against all the odds that are stacked against us, it draws us close together. When there’s nothing else, we don’t have anything else but each other, and the Lord, uh, those are those seasons, you go, “Wow. We got refined a little bit more in this season. I trust you more. I love you more. I, I, I’m so grateful for you, that you had grace for me as were trying to navigate this new season.” And that, that… Those are some really special times for us.

Jim: Now, that is really good. Let me, let me ask you… U- u- covering a little bit of the staying in awe that you mentioned, the last one. Um, you had a podcast guest who actually were on our program, Mark and Jan Foreman.

Jenni: Hm.

Jim: Terrific people.

Jenni: We love them, yeah.

Jim: They’re the parents of the Switchfoot guys.

Jenni: Yeah.

Jim: As, (laughs) as they’re known as, the parents of-

Chris: The Switchfoot-

Jim: The Switchfoot guys. (laughs)

Chris: The Switchfoot guys. (laughs)

Jenni: Yeah. (laughs) I love that, yeah.

Jim: But you know, real popular band, crossover band. You know, they’ve hit it well, and they’re great young men. I’ve met ’em a few times and they’re just great guys. But, uh, they said something to you when you were doing a podcast with them that I think is a beautiful place to end today.

Jenni: It is.

Jim: Um, what did they express to you?

Jenni: Yeah, we love the Foreman’s.

Chris: Yeah.

Jenni: They are a huge mentor couple for us, and we’ve had several times with them. They’ve taught us so much. But one of the things that they taught us, um, was what they call step into the painting. And it’s this idea of, if you’re driving by a sunset, don’t just keep driving.

Jim: Yeah.

Jenni: Pull over and take it in. You know, if you’re at the playground with your kids, don’t you dare stay on that park bench. Get up and join in the fun. If everyone breaks out dancing around you, don’t stay on the couch. You get up and join in that party. And the whole idea, the beautiful way that they put that, is that this is the one life we get-

Jim: Yeah.

Jenni: To live together.

Jim: That’s good.

Jenni: You know? And it’s an incredible gift, enjoy it. Don’t just sit back.

Jim: (laughs)

Jenni: And watch it unfold in front of you. Step into-

Jim: Yeah.

Jenni: Your life.

Jim: I’m laughing because of the number of times I played groundsies on the play-

Jenni: (laughs)

Jim: Equipment with my boys.

Jenni: Good. Yeah.

Jim: And if you don’t know the game, look it up. I’m not gonna tell you.

Jenni: (laughs)

Jim: But we must’ve played that 200 times, camping and everything else. (laughs)

Jenni: Yeah.

Jim: But that was always my attitude. Let’s jump in. Let’s play.

Jenni: Yeah. It’s-

Jim: Not sit-

Jenni: It’s where the-

Jim: And read a newspaper.

Jenni: Greatest moments happen.

Jim: Yeah. Well, what a great conversation, uh, Chris and Jenni. You guys, you’ve really brought it. What a great book. And I hope, if you’re in that spot, where you feel like you’re in a rut, and you don’t know the way out… This book will fill you with ideas, uh, The Rhythm of Us. And I wanna make sure you can get a copy. If you can make a gift of any amount, uh, hopefully a monthly gift, but a one-time gift as well, we’ll send it to you as our way of saying thank you for joining the ministry. And what a great resource to have, especially for marriages that are doing okay but could do much better.

Chris: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Get to that place. And I’m gonna go home tonight, Jean’s gonna say, “Did you hear what you said?” (laughs)

Jenni: (laughs)

Jim: Absolutely, I’m hearing.

Jenni: (laughs)

Jim: So, uh-

Chris: (laughs)

Jim: You know, u- I’m looking forward to applying many of these things to our own marriage, even though we’ve been married 35 years. So I would do that… Also, we have a great, uh, marriage assessment online. It’s free. Uh, you can take that. We’ve had well over a million couples do that, and it’ll point out some areas that you’re doing well, and some areas where you may need to do a little better, so check it out today.

John: Yeah, go ahead and stop by our website, that’s focusonthefamily.com/broadcast to find all the details, uh, about how to donate, get the book, and take that free marriage assessment. You can also call us. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Chris and Jenni, thanks for being with us. This has been so much fun. Thanks for putting these wonderful thoughts down into your book. It’s great.

Jenni: Thanks for having us.

Chris: Thank you. Been fun.

Jim: Yeah.

John: Mm-hmm. And we hope you enjoyed this episode of Focus on the Family as much as we did. And, uh, coming up tomorrow, a homicide detective sets out to prove the existence and claims of Jesus Christ.

Preview:

  1. Warner Wallace: If I don’t trust anything the New Testament tells me about Jesus, is there enough evidence in the fuse and fallout of history to show me what happened in the First Century? Even if I had nothing from the crime scene, if I had nothing from the New Testament.

End of Preview

Today's Guests

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The Rhythm of Us: Create the Thriving Marriage You Long for

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Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

As a spouse, you have three roles to play—a friend, a partner, and a lover. On this one-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Pastor Kevin A. Thompson explores those different roles and challenges you to live them out by investing emotionally, physically, and mentally in your relationship. As friends, he suggests we learn to play and laugh together. As partners, he equips us with solid ways to handle conflict and communication. As lovers, he offers some thoughts on how to bring back the sizzle. He shares five keys to saving your marriage: humility, respect, mercy, communication, and resilience. You’ll be encouraged to intentionally invest in your marriage.

Headshot of Kevin Thompson

Pastor Kevin Thompson

Kevin A. Thompson (MDiv, Beeson Divinity School) is lead pastor at Community Bible Church, a growing multi-site church with four locations in western Arkansas. Every year he meets with nearly one hundred couples with a range of needs, from pre-marital counseling to navigating the most serious betrayals. A marriage and parenting conference speaker, he and his wife, Jenny, have two children and live in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He blogs at kevinathompson.com.

Cover image of Kevin Thompson's book "Friends, Partners & Lovers"

Friends, Partners, and Lovers: What It Takes to Make Your Marriage Work

With engaging stories and clear, simple language, pastor Kevin Thompson shows how to live out three distinct roles in marraige. Using solid biblical principles, he helps you and your spouse grow your friendship, be supportive partners through the good times and the bad, and develop a healthy and satisfying sex life.

Sharing Your Faith with Grace and Purpose

You can confidently and lovingly share your faith—you just need to learn some new tactics to do so! In this Focus on the Family Daily Broadcast, apologist Greg Koukl outlines the “Columbo” tactic of asking questions, the “self-defeating argument” tactic to find holes in your opponent’s arguments, and other specific methods for engaging in faith-building conversations with others. Greg pulls from his over 30 years of experience debating atheists and agnostics to help you share your faith with grace and truth.

Mr. Greg Koukl

Greg Koukl is a writer, public speaker and talk show host who’s spent 30 years advocating for and defending the Christian worldview. Greg has written or contributed to 15 books, including The Story of RealityTactics, and Precious Unborn Human Persons. Greg has published nearly 230 articles and has spoken on 80 college and university campuses in the U.S. and abroad.

Tactics front cover

Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions

In a world increasingly indifferent to Christian truth, followers of Christ need to be equipped to communicate with those who do not speak their language or accept their source of authority. In Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition, Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to artfully regain control of conversations, keeping them moving forward in constructive ways through thoughtful diplomacy. You’ll learn how to stop challengers in their tracks and how to turn the tables on questions or provocative statements. Most important, you’ll learn how to get people thinking about Jesus.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 1

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

How a Former Abortion Doctor Became Pro-Life

As an abortion doctor at Planned Parenthood, Dr. Patti Giebink believed she was helping women. Later, she began reading scripture and God gradually changed her heart on the abortion issue. Patti tells the story of her long journey from abortion doctor to pro-life and encourages listeners to share the message of life with compassion.

Headshot image of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. Patti Giebink

Mrs. Patti Giebink

Dr. Patti Giebink is an OB-GYN who serves on the board of the Alpha Center, a well-known pregnancy center located in Sioux Falls, S.D. She also travels intermittently to work in mission hospitals in Pakistan and other countries. After completing her medical training, Dr. Giebink worked for Planned Parenthood from 1995-1997, during which she was the only abortion-provider in the state of South Dakota. She eventually experienced a radical change of heart on the issue of abortion after receiving God’s grace, forgiveness, and love, and she is now a passionate advocate for the pro-life movement.

Cover image of the book "Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life"

Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life

Unexpected Choice is told from the perspective of a doctor who actually performed abortions through Planned Parenthood. The book chronicles her journey from being a pro-choice physician to someone speaking on behalf of the pro-life movement.

Giving up Sugar, Tasting God's Goodness

As a latchkey kid, Wendy Speake turned to sugar for comfort. Every Friday, she would pedal to the candy show and use her allowance to fill her bag with candy. And one day, when she was older and a mom of three young boys, she came to realize that she was still “pedaling” away from her stress and using sugar as comfort, instead of turning to Jesus. She was joyless, worn out, tired, and in need of a change. In this interview, Wendy will challenge Christians to take 40 days to focus on fasting from something they turn to instead of Jesus for comfort. She invited people to break free from a dependence on sugar and taste the goodness of God.

Author Wendy Speake smiling as she holds up her book "The 40-Day Social Media Fast"

Mrs. Wendy Speake

With a background in Hollywood as a trained actress, Wendy Speake ministers to women as a bible teacher by applying the power of drama, poetry and comedy to the study of Scripture and real-life application of biblical truths. She has co-authored two books with Amber Lia titled Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and their latest, Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, Say Something New. Wendy is also the co-author (with Kelli Stuart) of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom.

Cover image of the book "The 40-Day Sugar Fast"

The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation

Welcome to the 40-Day Sugar Fast, a fast that begins with us giving Jesus our sugar and ends with Jesus giving us himself–the only thing that can ever truly satisfy our soul’s deep hunger. On this 40-day journey you’ll learn how to stop fixating on food and other things you use to fill the voids in life and instead fix your eyes on Christ. Anyone who runs to sugar for comfort or a reward, who eats mindlessly or out of boredom, who feels physically and spiritually lethargic, or who struggles with self-control will discover here not only freedom from their cravings but an entirely new appetite for the good things God has for us.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 1

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 2

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 2

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

Reconciling Faith and Science in a Medical Crisis

Dr. Lee Warren is a neurosurgeon who has faced many heavy challenges in his life – from serving in the Iraq War to removing deadly brain tumors to experiencing the loss of a teenage son. He’ll share about his difficult quest to find answers to some of life’s toughest questions, while holding onto his faith in God and the sure hope of heaven

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. W. Lee Warren

Dr. Lee Warren

W. Lee Warren, M.D., is a brain surgeon , inventor, Iraq War veteran, and author of I’ve Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know, winner of the Christian Book Award®. His previous book, No Place to Hide, was included on the 2015 U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff’s Recommended Reading List. Dr. Warren has appeared on The 700 Club and the CBS Evening News, and his writings have been featured in Guideposts magazine. His Dr. Lee Warren Podcast, which is heard in more than 60 countries, helps listeners use the power of neuroscience, faith, and common sense to change their lives.

Cover image of Dr. Lee Warren's book "I've Seen the End of You"

I've Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon's Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know

This gripping inspirational memoir grapples with the tension between faith and science—and between death and hope—as a seasoned neurosurgeon faces insurmountable odds and grief both in the office and at home.

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 1

Jodie Berndt loves to pray for her children. She’s been doing that for the past thirty years. Now she helps other parents to talk to God, asking for the salvation of their kids, and for wisdom, self-discipline, purpose, a future and much more. She offers fun and practical encouragement that moms and dads can put to work immediately in their daily lives as they prepare their children for a life in Christ.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt is a public speaker, a Bible teacher, and the the author of 10 books. Find out more about Jodie and get some free resources (including printable prayer cards and calendars) at her website, jodieberndt.com.

Cover image of Jodie Berndt's book "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children"

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

You will discover how using the Bible to shape your desires and requests opens the door to God’s provision—and frees us from things like worry and fear in our parenting! This expanded edition of the bestseller features updated content on issues like technology and identity, and comes with new material designed to invite children into the family prayer circle. Purchase now and receive 10% off your product.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 1

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

Drawing upon 35 years of experience as a mentor, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, Rhonda Stoppe offers encouragement and guidance to women as an author and public speaker. She is popularly known as the “No Regrets Woman,” as she is especially passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Rhonda’s books include Moms Raising Sons to Be MenReal Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.

Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage Part 1

They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lia’s story, you’ll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 1

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 1

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

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Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Thank you for committing to pray for the pre-born!

Sign up below for your free seven-day prayer guide. This daily guide will help give direction to your prayers for the pro-life movement. We will be praying with you! 

Focus on the Family

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