Focus on the Family with Jim Daly

Simple Habits to Embrace in Your Marriage

Simple Habits to Embrace in Your Marriage

Dr. Randy Schroeder has counseled thousands of married couples and has discovered simple tools that help couples avoid divorce and build a thriving marriage. In this broadcast, he describes practical habits to help couples navigate expectations in marriage, build emotional closeness, and resolve disagreements.
Original Air Date: January 24, 2022

Sponsor ID: The following program is sponsored by Focus on the Family and is supported by the prayers and financial gifts of wonderful friends like you.


Dr. Randy Schroeder: Now, I always ask couples. When was the last time you had a 10-minute eye to eye consistent eye contact with each other, purposely focused eye contact without any distraction, cell phone, the other room TV off, almost every couple that comes to see me will say we can’t remember.

End of Preview

John Fuller: Some wise advice from Dr. Randy Schroeder. And, uh, he’ll be equipping you with more insights to help you better understand and better enjoy your spouse. Thanks for joining us today on Focus on the Family with your host Focus is president and author Jim Daly and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, the normal wear and tear on a marriage can take its toll and it can be anything from financial worries to getting the kids homework done. Just the routines can really wear down your relationship with your spouse. And many of these stressors are unavoidable. We get that, but there are some things you can do that are what I would call regular maintenance that really help your marriage thrive. And that’s what we’re gonna talk about today. It’s not the situation where you’re in some serious trouble. This is more the tune up activity that we all need, and we all can do.

John: Right, if you’re in trouble, if you’re, uh, feeling like we’re in a crisis, we can’t pull up, uh, give us a call. We have, uh, really a terrific team of caring counselors, 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. As you said, though, Jim, this is more of a tune up for couples, and I think it’s gonna help a lot of folks feel like they’re closer. As I said, we have Dr. Randy Schroeder here. He’s a pastor, former seminary professor and has been a marriage and family counselor for over 30 years. And, uh, Randy’s been married to Jenny for over 45 years, and they have two children. And is this right, six grandchildren. Uh, his book is gonna be the foundation of our conversation today. It’s called Simple Habits for Marital Happiness: Practical Skills and Tools That Build a Strong Satisfying Relationship.

Jim: Uh, Randy welcome back to Focus on the Family,

Dr. Schroeder: Jim and John, it’s great to be with you again. I really appreciate you and Focus on the Family for promoting biblical values and supporting marriages and parents and families. Just thank you so very much for having me again.

John: Well, it’s a treat actually, and I was telling the team as we were getting ready for the program, you- you have a really good gift, which is to bring everyday metaphors into the marriage situation. So you make it rather easy, I think to remember, uh, little principles that really do help your marriage. And we’re gonna unpack those today. And I’m looking forward to people hearing more from you in this marriage area. In fact, you’ve counseled thousands of married couples. So that’s where you get your expertise from. You’ve got stories galore. Um, what are some of those top skills, uh, that you need to make a successful marriage?

Dr. Schroeder: Great question. And it always begins Jim and John, with I think, expectations, the big E-

Jim: That’s so true.

Dr. Schroeder: … expectations, impact relationships. The habits determine the quality of our life and our relationships including marriage. And so what, uh, happens before marriage, Jim and John are couples are meeting each other’s expectations over and over, and that feels good, you know, to have your expectation met over and over and so they decide to get married because they want that gratifying relationship for the rest of their life. And what happens though, after marriage often couples stop expressing their expectations, that they so much desire and requesting different things, expectations from their spouse and they forget it’s all about the big E

Jim: Well, let me ask you this though, because do you think in the courtship phase that, that expression is happening any differently? I mean, I- I think of Jean and I, when we’re courting, I don’t know that I was expressing my expectations of our relationship, you know, any differently than our first, second, third year of marriage. I w- I’m not saying it was effective, but I did, I, it doesn’t catch my attention that I was sitting down saying, well, Jean, here are the three things I really need from you. Uh, what- what are you meaning-

Dr. Schroeder: Uh, no, I think that’s so true that- that before marriage, uh, there is a goal to make the other person happy and making the other person happy says, hey, I’m gonna kind of assume expectations and meet expectations. And then after the first couple years of marriage couples fall into complacency. Complacency is the dreaded disease for every marriage taking one spouse for granted, taking the marriage for granted. And they forget about meeting each other’s expectations. And so then they need to request those expectations.

Jim: Yeah, sometimes expectations can be, um, boy, they’re- they’re conflict oriented. I’m thinking of Jean and I, one of our early conflicts-

Dr. Schroeder: Uh-huh.

Jim: … and it was around this area of expectations was if I went to the movies with my guy friends, like I went and saw Terminator-

Dr. Schroeder: Laugher

Jim: … she wasn’t happy about that. ‘Cause that’s not a properly rated movie.

Dr. Schroeder: Uh-huh.

Jim: And I was shocked like Terminator, just, you know, good old robot violence (laughs).

Dr. Schroeder: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: But that was something that she thought, wow, you know, I wouldn’t expect, uh, you know, a decent Christian man to go and enjoy that. So we had to kinda work through that, like what is, uh, appropriate in that way. And that kind of took me by surprise a little bit.

Dr. Schroeder: And that is a good point, Jim but because we all have our own dictionary, uh, of words and how we define them. And so, uh, it’s important to make sure expectations are specific. And then you talk about what’s reasonable, what’s realistic. Are they godly words and behaviors that need to be met to make an emotional connection for a couple. And, uh, but it still comes back to the big E, expectations-

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Schroeder: … and you and Jean talking about that.

Jim: Let me ask you too, in the book, you have a, an example of a couple that had been married 32 years and you know, Jean and I have been married 35. How long have you been-

John: 37.

Jim: Yeah, so you think-

Dr. Schroeder: Congratulations to both of you, that’s terrific.

Jim Well thanks.

Dr. Schroeder: God help us.

Jim: And you’re 45, right?

Dr. Schroeder: Uh, 46.

Jim: 46, I mean, that is great.

Dr. Schroeder: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: And that’s something, I think we, three men are committed to our marriages, right?

Dr. Schroeder: Yes, sir.

Jim: But a lot of young couples would look at us and say, wow, how’d you do that? How did you get through all that expectation issue? This particular couple at 32 years had some major unmet expectation issues. Describe what was going on.

Dr. Schroeder: Well, they went to their pastor and, uh, they were very faithful. Christians, Jim and John, they went to church every Sunday. Uh, they had adult children that were married out of the house and, uh, and they both contacted lawyers. They absolutely wanted divorce.

Jim: Yeah, this is happy time.

Dr. Schroeder: Yeah, the-

Jim: Kids are gone. This is time to enjoy life.

Dr. Schroeder: Well, if you, uh, a big, a big range, 25 to 35 years is a seeing a lot-

Jim: Is dangerous.

Dr. Schroeder: … a lot of couples getting- getting divorced.

Jim: So what- what was going on there just to be clear?

Dr. Schroeder: Well, they just, there was no unfaithful, but they just weren’t happy. They were not meeting each other’s expectations without knowing how to the expectations known. And I think that is the key. I, I’m on a mission to share with couples, practical, specific behaviors, words, and guidelines that make a difference. And so they came to see me. Uh, with every premarital couple, uh, Jim and John, with every couple, in the first couple sessions, I talk about expectations, and I talk about being specific. Oftentimes what I’ll do, I’ll have a couple, make a list of their top 10 expectations for their marriage. And so I explained expectations to this couple in the first session because they were in a crisis. And then I asked them for the next seven days, will you please, and I think request are better than commands, which are sentences, will you please ask one expectation of each other every day, doesn’t have to be anything big. Will you please put your shoes in the closet when you come home? You know, will you please put your clothes in the laundry rather than throw them on the floor? So 14 total expectations. They came back the next week and they both had smiles on their faces. And they said, we want you to know, we contacted our lawyers and told ’em, we’re putting our divorce on hold. And we want you Dr. Schroeder to give us the specific practical words, behaviors, and guidelines that lead to a satisfying Christian marriage.

Jim: All right, so we write down our expectations, I guess, big and small, those things-

Dr. Schroeder: Ye- ye- yes sir.

Jim: … that are gonna irritate you. And- and I would say the other aspect of this is don’t assume your spouse knows what your- your expectations are.

Dr. Schroeder: And they need to be specific. You know, when couples make a list of their top 10 expectations, pre-maritally, you know, ’cause I do it premarital couples too, they’ll say go to church. Well, that’s a good expectation, but what church? you know. How often are you gonna go to church? Once a month? once a- a year, Christmas and Easter, every Sunday. So it’s good to be specific with those expectations.

Jim: Yeah, that’s good. All right, we have that down. Now we move into, um, the idea of practical wisdom and those good wisdom habits. You- you identify four, what are those four?

Dr. Schroeder: These are, I- I really wish I had called them stay in love habits. These, they are fall in love habits that need to become, stay in love habits. And so what do all couples pre-maritally do? Well, they go on a variety of dates and they, uh, do a lot of fun things together all the time. And they also look into each other’s eyes. They make the heart, the Bible says the heart, the eye is the lamp of the body. They look into each other’s eyes, and they make a heart connection, and they talk hours and hours pre-maritally. And again, they’re meeting each other’s expectations and then pre-maritally they give each other lengthy hugs and lingering kisses. And those four fall in love habits need to continue, Jim and John, after marriage. Unfortunately after the second or third year of marriage, I would suggest to you have no scientific facts, 95% of couples stop doing the fall in love habits. A- and that’s what causes their hearts to go cold. What causes them to drift apart. What causes them to stop making their expectations known.

Jim: The challenge there, it seems almost too simplistic. I’m sure some couples that are listening that are in some trouble, um, you know, they’re not where they want to be.

Dr. Schroeder: Yes sir.

Jim: … Again not serious.

Dr. Schroeder: Yeah.

Jim: And- and we’re here for you. If you’re in a more serious situation, give us a call. Our counselors are here, and John will give those details in a minute. But even for, you know, again, the tune up kind of attitude, it sounds almost too simple, Randy, that really, it’s just like spend 10 minutes eye to eye talking hug for 10 seconds, give a ten second kiss. Uh, you know, and then make sure you’re dating your mate. If I do those things, I’m gonna have a great marriage, seriously.

Dr. Schroeder: Well, marriage, yeah, and that’s a good question Jim. Marriage takes a lot more than the fall in love habits and the stay in love habits, but if couples are not doing those, I kind of call them the foundation.

Jim: Right.

Dr. Schroeder: They’re not gonna be emotionally connected. And the, uh, I- I would ask your listeners, Jim and I always ask couples. When was the last time you had a 10-minute eye to eye, heart contact, consistent eye contact with each other purposefully focused eye contact without any distraction?  Cell phone in the other room, TV off. Almost every couple that comes to see me will say, we can’t remember.

Jim: Yeah, that’s interesting.

Dr. Schroeder: We can’t remember the last time we spent 10 minutes because couples are, you know, they may cook dinner together, clean up the, uh, dishes together, but it’s just passing eye contact just to look into each other’s eyes like the three of us are doing just doesn’t happen after the second or third year of marriage, the complacency sets in.

Jim: I think that’s so good.

John: Yeah, and this is some great, uh, stuff from Dr. Randy Schroeder. Good handles, very memorable content, uh, categorizations from him. The book is called Simple Habits for Marital Happiness: Practical Skills and Tools That Build a Strong, Satisfying Relationship. Get your copy from us here at Focus on the Family, when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, or stop by,

Jim: Uh, Randy, you describe the book, uh, something I’d really not connected, but it’s the attractiveness of politeness. And that, you know, I- I hadn’t thought about it that way. I just think of being polite as the right thing to do, but the attractiveness of being polite to your spouse.

Dr. Schroeder: Well, and- and again, after the first few years of marriage politeness kind of drops out and, and being extra polite saying, please, and thank you and you’re welcome. And, uh, if there’s a sneeze, God bless you. Uh, but when couples or spouses have affairs, it’s often because, uh, the other person is so polite and kind to them. In fact, I mentioned in my book, a- a husband who had an affair and he- he said to me, he said, the other woman wasn’t really that attractive, but she was polite. She gave me compliments. She looked me in the eyes for lengthy period of time, what we just talked about, yeah.

Jim: I saw all those things.

Dr. Schroeder: Yeah.

Jim: Let’s cover two simple habits for resolving conflict. I mean, these are just all, like you said, John, great handles-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … that you could rapidly, uh, put to work and hopefully folks will get a copy of the book, ’cause there’s so much, we’re not gonna be able to cover. But the first, uh, idea of resolving conflict is to stay inside the nines. Now you’re gonna explain this and I’m gonna come back and say, could we make it inside the eights because I’m a morning person and not a night owl but go ahead.

Dr. Schroeder: Well, I actually was gonna, I’m glad you said that Jim, (laughs), and I’m glad we’re talking about this. So what inside the nines means is there’s never a serious discussion before 9:00 in the morning or after 9:00 at night. When I asked couples, when was the last time you had a big blow up almost a hundred percent of the time they’ll say before 9:00 in the morning or after nine o’clock at night. Now, Jim, you mentioned the eights, (laughs), and I, and I, one of the things, one of the things I love about you, Jim, is your sense of humor.

Jim: (laughs).

Dr. Schroeder: Uh, but yeah, I tell couples massage those guidelines, you know, but the thing is when we’re tired early in the morning, or late at night, our feelings are tender. And so even though I’m a marriage expert and, uh, helped thousands of couples, my wife and I abide by that guideline because if we don’t have the energy, what do we do? We blame our spouses, and we don’t look for solutions. So some couples, Jim, based on your eights, we’ll say, we’re not gonna have a serious discussion before 10:00 in the morning. We both are not energized to look for solutions. We’re gonna look for blame or we’re not gonna have a serious discussion after eight at night.

Jim: Uh, you also mentioned it’s important to sit, uh, next to each other, not to stand and not to be across from each other. I mean, these are subtle things. I don’t know that I would think of that, but it makes sense.

Dr. Schroeder: And I’ll ask couples, what, when was the last time you had those three negative words, a fight, an argument, or a conflict, were either one of you standing? Jim and John, a 100% of the time, 99%, they almost always say yes, one of us was standing. If I had the two of you yell right now, you could yell. If I have you stand up and yell, you’d do a better job, and you would yell louder. And so standing is an intimidating posture. Standing leads to poor listening. We can’t listen as well. I mean the three of us right now are not standing, we’re sitting so we can look each other in the eye and listen well to each other. And so it’s essential in the business world when there’s an, I need your help situation, where do they all sit around the conference table so they can look for solutions. In the marriage world I suggest sit at the kitchen table and kinda sit adjacent because this is one time Jim and John couples don’t wanna look eye to eye because they’re talking about tense topic and s- and so they need to be able to kinda look away, you know, if we’re kinda adjacent and a lot of couples will hold hands. Okay? Uh, now that may not always work with kids. Some, if you have kids, sometimes they have to go to the bedroom and have two chairs there so they can be seated, but standing will lead to poor listening, leads to yelling and- and when couples implement, stay inside the nines, I need your help always be seated, it’s amazing, amazing how their discussions improve.

John: Mm.

Jim: Absolutely and I can certainly feel that. It- it might even feel a little awkward though, too- to do that at first, until you get used to it.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I think I’m more of a like sit across the table from you, here’s where we’re gonna go.

Dr. Schroeder: Yes sir, yes sir.

Jim: Competitive mentality, you know?

Dr. Schroeder: Well, a- and that puts you’re right, Jim, that kinda puts that wall there. And-

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Schroeder: … and I, uh, I appreciate you having me in the spring to talk about my parenting book, I suggest the same guideline to parents is to sit at the kitchen table and when they talk to their kids so there can listen and have good eye contact.

Jim: Uh, Randy, I- I wanna get through the last couple of, uh, analogies here, because again, they’re so good. Y- you talk about, uh, scratches, cuts, and lacerations, and this is really helpful. I mean, I love this, describe it.

Dr. Schroeder: So I use a medical model, scratches, cuts and lacerations. Scratches, if the three of us are working around the house and we scratch ourselves, you know, it’s not hurts a little, maybe a little- little, uh, faint, uh, mark on our skin, but we know that’s gonna heal up on its own. So we don’t do anything with it. If we cut ourselves working around the house, we will put ointment and a band aid on that cut so that, uh, it doesn’t get infected. And so couples need to let scratches go and don’t stress out over scratches in your marriage, okay? Uh, and- and let those go and address cuts and then lacerations, rarely, rarely do we get laceration working around the house that we have to go to the doctor and get stitches to pull it back together., okay. But, uh, but, and- and la- laceration would for, uh, my description would be adultery. Physical abuse, extreme verbal abuse, you know, those kinda things. And hopefully lacerations don’t happen too often, but couples need to just address cuts and lacerations and let scratches go.

Jim: Yeah. gi-

Dr. Schroeder: And that makes a big difference.

Jim: … give some more illustration to scratches and cuts because you know, one spouse’s cut is another spouse’s scratch (laughs).

John: Mm.

Dr. Schroeder: Great, great, yeah, great insight, Jim, again, you’re- you’re right. What, uh, what one defines as a scratch could be a cut, you know, and- and so that-

Jim: Or everything is just-

Dr. Schroeder: Yeah, that could lead to issue.

Jim: … a cut or a scratch.

Dr. Schroeder: Yeah. If- if one, uh, well, what does the Bible say? Uh, uh, gentle words create life and health, griping brings discouragement. And so griping all the time God’s telling us into his word, don’t do that. That brings discouragement. And so we gotta let those scratches go. So if I, uh, and- and it, the going back to the hug and the kiss, Jim and John, Jenny and I giving each other a lengthy hug, lingering kiss every day and it’s an odd day and hopefully it becomes natural, but it’s an odd day, and I come, or come home and forget to give that to Jenny. Hopefully if I’ve done it 300 days in a row, she would forgive me and say, Randy, just forgot.

Jim: (laughs).

Dr. Schroeder: Not- not that she couldn’t initiate, but hopefully she would just view that as a scratch.

Jim: Right.

Dr. Schroeder: You know, and just kinda let it go. And so not deal with it.

Jim: You use an analogy of wallpaper, um, about the importance of apologizing and forgiving. Ho- how does that these are so catchy, that’s why they do work

Dr. Schroeder: If this room, and I know there’s brick on the wall, but let’s say there wasn’t any brick. If this room was filled with steam, and we wanted a wallpaper to beautify this room, uh, we could try to wallpaper till Jesus returns (laughs), but the w- the walls will be damp, and the wallpaper would just keep sliding down. So what we would need to do is open the door, let the steam out of the room, let the walls dry. And then we can wallpaper the room and beautify it. Likewise, in a marriage, when a marriage is struggling, the heart is filled with the steam of bitterness and resentment.

John: Hmm.

Dr. Schroeder: And apologizing and forgiving allows that steam to leave the heart so that the- the heart can be beautified. The- the, we talked about the stay in love habits, the hug, the kiss, the heart-to-heart talk. That’s not gonna stick if there has not been apologizing and forgiving for a cut or laceration to get that steam of bitterness out of the heart, that needs to be there first and forgiveness is the core of our Christian faith. There are 125 references in the Bible to the importance of forgiveness for interpersonal relationships. And so that is the glue for brokenness, for my marriage, when it happens for your marriage, for every marriage.

Jim: And in that context, I think it’s really important to hit the three, uh, types of forgiveness or components of forgiveness that you illustrate.

Dr. Schroeder: So the first one Jim is to say, I’m sorry, I hurt you by, and to use the word hurt, you know, and- and be specific. I’m sorry I hurt you by calling you a name, I’m sorry I hurt you by forgetting to do that important, uh, action. Uh, and- and that’s the first step. Probably though the most important is the second one, which creates humility. Will you please forgive me? Uh, and that can be a tough one because it takes a lot of courage, a lot of humility for someone to ask, will you please forgive me? And then the third part is to always use the forgive word. Couples should never say no problem. That’s okay, I’m over it, whatever. We always need to use the forgive word. And forgive others as we had been forgiven. Now there’s two phrases, I suggest I forgive you or with God’s help I’ll work at forgiving you. With God’s help, I’ll work at forgiving you, it’s gonna apply more to lacerations or, uh, deep cuts. But I had, when I went over this, it was not healthy on my part because I had couples that came where it was mostly husbands had committed adultery. And the, uh, I would have the husband say to the wife, I’m sorry, I hurt you by being unfaithful? Ask, will you please forgive me? And when I was doing my dissertation, I just had, I forgive you. A- and the wife would be in tears saying, you know, “Pastor Schroeder, do I have to say, I forgive you?” And I say, “Yes, you do.” Which was unhealthy because forgiveness is a process. The Bible says, God forgives and forgets. We only forgive. And so I re- recognize now what’s important because forgiveness is a process for us as human beings is to say with God’s help, I will work at forgiving you basically every day for being unfaithful.

Jim: Well, there’s so much here, Randy, you- you think of the habitual, uh, sinner-

Dr. Schroeder: Yes sir.

Jim: … in that situation. And, you know, there has to be balance in that, that people need to be responsible. We don’t have time to cover all that. I do want to address, uh, and I think from the wife’s perspective, if speak for Jean. (laughs).

Dr. Schroeder: Uh-huh.

Jim: But that- that concept that maybe the wife feels like she is trying, she is putting in the effort. What we’ve talked about today may provide some additional tools that she hasn’t thought about, but it’s a very uneven effort. I’m giving a 100% and he’s only giving 20%. What does she do with that angst, uh, so she doesn’t get the, uh, humidity or the, uh, steam of bitterness?

Dr. Schroeder: Jim, another terrific question. And I’m glad you brought that up because wives are very committed to learning and growing to be healthy.

Jim: Most typically.

Dr. Schroeder: Yeah, most typically, yeah.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Schroeder: I should say generally speaking. Yeah, you’re right Jim, most typically. And, uh, and husbands not so much, okay. And so I have 90 simple, yet effective habits in simple habits for marital happiness, that most of them can be read in two or three minutes. So that although a husband doesn’t wanna read, they’ll take two or three minutes to read about staying inside the nines, to always sit, to give a lengthy hug, a lingering kiss, you know the, and so I suggest to couples that they, a- and husbands are willing to do that, they don’t wanna read. And that’s why my book is so thin. Like I said, I had 350 pages on apologizing, forgiving, but I wanted a thin marriage book that can be looked at immediately and that the husband be, will be willing to get on board and say, “Hey, I wanna implement this so that we can have healthy disagreement discussions, so that we can have emotional closeness and connect.” And so that I think makes the difference is that it’s not gonna be, take a lot of time. It could take, and couples, I tell you, Jim and John, a lot of times will do this doing their eye-to-eye heart talk. They’ll take one simple yet effective habit three times a week and just keep growing.

Jim: So you’re saying relax a bit, let the process take place and encourage him to read two or three of these with you on a regular basis.

Dr. Schroeder: Exactly. He can pick one out. She can pick one out. And if it’s two a week and just say, hey, let’s talk about this. This is specific words and behaviors and guidelines that we can use. And let’s just talk about it. And it doesn’t take that long.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Schroeder: And- and he’ll get on board with that, but he won’t get on board with, here’s a great big book with a-

Jim: PhD dissertation, (laughs).

Dr. Schroeder: … with a lot of, yeah, with a lot of dia- with a lot of diagrams and a- a lot of concepts and a lot of philosophies. And this is ex- explanation of marriage, they won’t get into that.

Jim: Well, Randy, this has been so good. And, uh, man, I hope this, uh, gives you an inkling of the tools and the resources here. And Randy’s done such a good job, uh, distilling what he learned through his PhD and really grabbing the core things from a Christian perspective, which I also appreciate Randy. Uh, we want to be biblically based here at Focus on the Family and use those principles that really do help in the human relationship of our lifetime, which is the one with our spouse. So thanks for being with us.

Dr. Schroeder: Thank you again for having me and God’s richest blessings on your lives and your marriages and your families as well.

Jim: Thanks so much. And of course we have wonderful resources, including, uh, Randy’s book, Simple Habits for Marital Happiness. We also have a marriage assessment tool, it’s free. You can come and take that, and it’ll- it’ll point out some areas that you’re doing great in and some areas that you might need some additional work. And I’m sure Randy book, (laughs) will augment those, uh, additional areas you need some work in. But get in touch with us. Uh, if you can give us a monthly gift, we’ll send you a copy of Randy’s book as our way of saying thank you. And if you can’t afford that, we get it a one-time gift would be great and we’re committed as Christians to helping you. So if you just simply can’t afford it, we’re gonna trust others we’ll take care of the cost of that. So call us, get in touch with us. We will get it out to you ’cause we want your marriage to be strong.

John: Yeah, we’d love to hear from you. And our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY or online, we’re at Well, join us next time as Dr. John Townsend helps us understand how we give and receive people fuel.


Dr. John Townsend: Proverbs 4:23, “guard your heart for from it flow the wellsprings of life”. If I don’t take care of my heart, which is my emotions and my values and my schedule and all that, then I’m not gonna be able to give it to anybody else.

End of Preview:

John: On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we, once again, help you and your family thrive in Christ.

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A Legacy of Music and Trusting the Lord

Larnelle Harris shares stories about how God redeemed the dysfunctional past of his parents, the many African-American teachers who sacrificed their time and energy to give young men like himself a better future, and how his faithfulness to godly principles gave him greater opportunities and career success than anything else.

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Accepting Your Imperfect Life

Amy Carroll shares how her perfectionism led to her being discontent in her marriage for over a decade, how she learned to find value in who Christ is, not in what she does, and practical ways everyone can accept the messiness of marriage and of life.