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Focus on the Family Broadcast

A Fresh Look at Dating (Part 2 of 2)

A Fresh Look at Dating (Part 2 of 2)

Author Gary Thomas discusses several issues within the modern dating scene – character vs. romantic attraction, the neurological impact of infatuation, the idea of soulmates – while encouraging singles to be intentional in their pursuit of a godly spouse. (Part 2 of 2)

Original Air Date: August 14, 2013


Gary Thomas: A good marriage is like a gift that keeps on giving. I have been blessed literally every day of my life, because of one decision I made as a single man that I wanted to marry Lisa. And I’ve seen others that have to carry a burden, literally every day of their life, because they made a foolish marital choice.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: That’s an important reminder from Gary Thomas about choosing wisely when it comes to marriage, and he’s back with us today on this episode of Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: Yeah John, what Gary’s talking about, and what we shared last time is, family formation. Uh, because when you look at the divorce rate and how marriages is often disregarded in today’s culture, it’s critical that we do everything we can to help single adults, uh, use spiritual discernment as they pursue their future spouse. And as we said last time, of course, not all singles are going to get married. I get that. Um, some may be called, um, by God, to celibacy. And we affirm that. But for the majority, getting married is what you plan to do. And it’s our desire to help you avoid infatuation and other dangerous influences that would lead you to a poor decision. And for parents of single adults, uh, this is good information for you as well. As a dad of two young men I want to encourage and support my sons in making wise and godly decisions about marriage. So, I urge you to lean in as we continue the conversation with Gary Thomas today.

John: And what he shared last time was so informative and helpful. And we really expect a lot more of the same today. Uh, contact us about getting an audio copy of the entire discussion with Gary, and his book as well, The Sacred Search: What If It’s Not about Who You Marry, But Why? Uh, we’ve got details when you call 800-A-FAMILY or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. All right, uh, here now is part two of our conversation with Gary Thomas on today’s episode of Focus on the Family.

Jim: You know Gary, I was thinking about our chat last time, and the Lord really blessed me. And I want to say this publicly, I think Jean, um, you know, both of us had committed to that scripture in Matthew 6:33 about seeking, uh, the kingdom of God, and that he would add all these things unto you. And I think both Jean and I, separately, without knowing each other, we were putting that scripture, that very same scripture forward. So, when Jean feels low, I say, “Man, God knows your heart. And He knows your heart is for Him.” And that, for us, was at least one good decision that we made in our 20s.

Gary: And what a blessing that then you can share your life w- with someone, like we said in the previous one, uh, a, a good marriage is like the gift that keeps on giving.

Jim: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gary: It makes everything better. It makes parenting better. It makes vocation better. You come home at the end of the day, you’re sharing your successes, you’re facing your failures, you’re crying together, uh, it really is a wonderful thing. And I, I wish we could give singles that vision of how good a good marriage can be. And also open up their eyes to how debilitating a difficult marriage can be. So that they’ll be more thoughtful-

Jim: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gary: … about making a wise decision.

Jim: Well, and it makes me feel, in your book you talked about the religious romance lottery.

Gary: Yes, yes.

Jim: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jim: And it does make me feel like, in a way, boy, I won it.

Gary: Yeah.

Jim: And hopefully Jean can say the same, (laughs), I’m not sure she would.

John: (laughs).

Jim: But, you know, talk about that. What is winning the religious romance lottery?

Gary: In that chapter I’m trying to take on, I think, a popular myth in Christian culture. And it goes like this, “God will bring the right person at the right time if I just sit back and wait.” And there are instances, clearly, where God has done that. In scripture, and in history, and Jim, in your own. But when I look at the normative teaching of scripture, I really see it trying to urge people to be more active in pursuing this decision, and it only makes sense. I never hear high school students come out saying, “Well, if God wants me to go to college, University of Texas will send me a dorm key. And that will be my sign.”

Jim: (laughs).

Gary: That God wants me to col- Or a college graduate. “Well, if God wants me to work for Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, you know, would give me a call.” “Hey, we heard you graduated, we wanna offer you a job.” We know we have to go pursue a college, we know we have to pursue a job, why do we think we don’t have to pursue marriage. And when I look at scripture, it seems like it puts a little carrot in front of guys. Because guys can be, I think, too passive on this. One of the most famous passages is Proverbs 31:10 when it says, “A noble wife who can find.” And here’s the carrot. “She is worth far more than jewels.” Some will say rubies or whatnot. Just so listeners get, in, in the ancient near east, jewels, that was the currency, that’s what made you wealthy, that’s what you traded in, that’s what would allow you to buy and acquire property. And so, in modern language, I think the writer of Proverbs would say this, “Hey guys, listen up, a good wife is better than a good job.”

Jim: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gary: You’re going to spend a lot… You will relocate to go to college, you’ll relocate to get an internship, you’ll relocate to get a job. Why wouldn’t you do the same thing for something that the Bible says is even better than a good job? And that’s a good wife. And I would just say w- walking through life with a good solid woman is worth more than a good job, ’cause you’re using it to pass on different jobs, and if you’re in a miserable marriage and you have success, it’s not quite as sweet, because you come home and there’s that pall over the air. If you have failure, it’s even worse, because you have nothing else to live for. I, I think scripture is honest and true, that a good marriage, pursuing God together, loving each other, supporting each other, is really one of the best human experiences we can have, and we should be more proactive in finding a marriage like that, not less.

Jim: Uh, Gary, I’m a little concerned that we might paint a picture that if you put character first, and if you wait, and if you don’t get wrapped around the stupidity of infatuation, (laughs), sorry to use that word. My kids would say y- you used the S word. (laughs).

Gary: (laughs).

John: (laughs).

Jim: But it’s what you wrote.

Gary: Yeah.

Jim: And it does make it stupid. But when you follow all of that, um, it can give the impression that if you do it all well that your marriage will be, uh, spectacular.

Gary: Right.

Jim: There is still gonna be difficulty in marriage, like you’ve talked about. We need to acknowledge that, because marriage is work.

Gary: Yes.

Jim: And, uh, we honor the Lord in working at our marriages as well. Once we have done the right things, it doesn’t mean, necessarily, that it’s easy.

Gary: Absolutely. James 3:2 gives a promise to every marriage person, that we are going to marry someone who hurts us, who disappoints us, who sins against us. James 3:2 says, “We all stumble in many ways.” You can get the top person of character in the world, and James 3:2 says, that person still will stumble, not just occasionally, but in many ways. We bring our struggle with sin, we bring our sin nature into the relationship, and so marriage is going to be difficult. But here’s the thing, if you marry a person of character, it helps you deal with those difficulties. For instance, if you marry a humble person, they’re going to grow out of some of those-

John: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gary: … character problems. If you marry a very arrogant person who’s just more concerned with changing you than changing him or herself, that’s never really gonna change.

Jim: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gary: So, uh, yeah, every marriage is difficult. Character gives you the promise, at least, that you can have that shared joy of being brother and sister in Christ, day by day, walking more toward Christ’s likeness and God’s purpose for your life.

Jim: Gary, I need to ask the practical question again, um, we’ve talked about the great, uh, pursuit of wisdom in finding a mate, in the idea of putting character first, watch your infatuation, but what does it look like to intentionally pursue marriage? Um, what are some of the proactive things that a single person can do-

Jim: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jim: … in their life today to prepare themselves? Uh, speak to that person. Where, “Okay, you’re making sense Gary, I get it.” Uh, give them some principles and some tools to go forward from now.

Gary: Okay. Absolutely the most important step, I believe, is to go deeper in your life of worship and faith. If you are desperate to be loved, that’s a very dangerous place to be dating from.

Jim: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gary: (laughs). You want to have your heart needs met by the Lord, you want to know his acceptance, you want to know his grace, you want to be filling his heart with vision. If you wanna seek first the kingdom of God and his righteous, if you want to find a person who does that, you have to be doing that or a person who is doing that won’t want to have anything to do with you. So, I’d say go deeper in your faith, know the Lord, because again, desperation and dating is a toxic mix. And if you’re asking, if you’re looking for somebody who’s gonna be for you what only God can be, you’re gonna be led astray.

Jim: Hm.

Gary: Uh, secondly, an exercise that I really encourage singles to do, is go to married people that you know and say, “Has marriage been easier or more difficult than you thought it would be?” And then just listen. And say, “What made it more difficult?” Or, “What have the challenges been?” Uh, do some field research. Look, all my kids, you know, they’re looking for jobs, they’re going to people in that field, and if it’s medicine, if it’s science, if it’s sales, if it’s business, “What do I need to know that I don’t know?” Do some research, figure out what you’re looking for. Um, and then, third, I’d say, go into the why of marriage. What makes for a successful marriage? And you’re gonna come up with, I think, some common things. Uh, communication is essential once infatuation fades. Can you resolve conflict? Conflict is guaranteed in a marriage. Now, that can be a good thing, because conflict can help you understand someone, it can help you grow as an individual. But if they respond with stonewalling, or even worse, violence, conflict will be disastrous in your relationship.

Jim: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gary: And so, find those traits that make for successful marriage, seek to grow them in yourself, and then start to look for them in others.

John: Uh, okay, so Gary, um, I have, uh, I have done this, okay? I’m a single, I’m maybe 23 years old, I’ve done the field research, I really wanna get married. And Jim, we hear a lot from women in this stage of life who are saying, “And I’m looking, and there ain’t nobody on the horizon.”

Gary: (laughs).

John: (laughs). “I mean, there’s nobody around here.”

Gary: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Right, right.

John: And so, I mean, dating services, I mean, should I change churches? What- What’s your counsel there?

Gary: John, this is the most common question I get. Particularly from women, although some from men as well. And here’s the thing, I think within some Christian traditions, women feel like they’re supposed to wait until the guy entirely pursues them. And they’ve been very frustrated as a result. And here’s what I say, even within those traditions, I think there are still some steps you can take. There- There’s a gal in college that wanted to get to know me a little bit better, and what she simply did is, she knocked on my dorm room door one day, handed over a plate of brownies, and they were good brownies-

Jim: (laughs).

Gary: … and just said, “Look, if you wanna work ’em off, we can go play tennis next week.” And it wasn’t obnoxious, but it was just a little way to say, “You know what? I’m interested if you’re interested.” And I don’t think that’s being too forward, it’s just kind of giving guys a clue. “Can we get to know each other?”

Jim: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gary: And so I would say, be proactive, and that a group of women can invite a group of men together, and you don’t have to have five women and five men, it might even be better if you have an uneven number. But if the Bible says, “A good wife is better than a good job,” and I think it would say the same thing for women as far as a good husband, I think that’s a little carrot saying, “Pursue this.” I, I mentioned before, people will relocate for college, they’ll relocate for a job-

Jim: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gary: … or even an internship. I don’t think it’s ridiculous to relocate for something that the Bible says is better than a good job. And I think, today, in many ways, it’s much easier than it’s ever been, although I know it’s harder in others. But there are any number of online meeting and and dating sites. I think you have to be careful. I don’t have a lot of experience with those because I got married well before there was an internet-

Jim: Computers. (laughs).

Jim: (laughs).

Gary: … much less, uh, dating sites.

Jim: Nah.

Gary: So, I, I don’t give out names, and I don’t say it. But here’s the thing, if I don’t think there’s just one person God has created just for me, it seems to me the larger pool that I can draw from, that seems to me like a wise thing, it seems to me like it’s using technology in a way where we could meet. If it’s a site that asks the right questions, it isn’t based on silly notions, and it might even pre-select people. I think that could be helpful.

Jim: Okay, but I’ve gotta ask, I’ve gotta ask this question-

Gary: Sure.

Jim: … because it does… y- you know, marriage, when you look at what God is accomplishing through marriage, and we’ve said this very often at Focus on the Family. Uh, there’s something in marriage that’s hard-

Gary: Yes.

Jim: … and that’s called rubbing off your selfish edges, (laughs).

Gary: Yeah.

Jim: And you could see God’s design in that, that we come together as one, in him, created in his image, male and female, and that’s, I think, part of the heavenly and godly design of marriage, is that we become more like Christ when we do it well, because we’re becoming more selfless.

Gary: Yes.

Jim: And servant oriented.

Gary: Yes.

Jim: Um, those services, at times, can… they wanna make it so compatible you’re gonna find the person that doesn’t rub you the wrong way. Um, is there a danger in that?

Gary: Well certainly, particularly the way, the way you put it, I think that’s a big danger, because I think that’s a misunderstanding of marriage. But I think you don’t have to go along with their faults, you can use the tool for your purposes, with your motivation-

Jim: Correct. It’s not the tool that’s faulty, but you wanna go in with the right attitude.

Jim: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gary: But here’s the thing. And I, I would remind singles, you’re not just searching for a great companion. If you wanna have kids, you’re searching for your kids’ mom or dad. And I would search from West Coast to East Coast, South America, North America, the entire corners of the world, to find a good mother for my kids.

Jim: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gary: Uh, it- it’s hard for singles, because when a child is just a potential being, they can’t possibly know the emotions that your own child will pull out of you. And I’ve talked to so many wives where they’re almost frustrated at this, that they’re, they’ll be so angry at their husbands, and then they catch their husbands loving on their kids, and they all in love with their husband all over again, almost resenting the fact because they’re so angry. But nothing melts a mother’s heart like seeing her husband love on her kids.

Jim: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gary: And so, look, I’m gonna try to find the best woman I can to raise kids, ’cause I know that the day’s gonna come when my kids mean more to me than anything else in this world. And so, I wanna go wherever I have to go, because it’s gonna matter so much that I get someone that’s gonna do that job well. Not just well, but spectacularly well.

Jim: Yeah. And, and Gary, we’ve talked a lot about character, last time and this time, and again, if you didn’t, uh, hear last time’s discussion, I encourage you to go to the website and download it or get the CD, ’cause it was powerful.

Jim: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jim: Uh, Gary, we’ve gotta say, what is character? I mean, it sounds simplistic, we’re in it every day together, but what does character truly mean? What does the Bible, and what is the Lord driving at when he talks about character?

Gary: I think that’s easy for Christians to answer. Character, in a Christian context, is Christlikeness. Is this person like Christ? And the Bible actually has a list that we can follow. It’s found in Galatians 5:19-23 when it compares acts of the sinful nature with the fruit of the spirit. And the fruit of the spirit is really the fruit of walking with God. And they’re very clear. Love. Is this person motivated by love? Is there joy in their life? I mean, uh, how much more fulfilling and fun is it to live with somebody who is filled with joy rather than living with Eeyore?

Jim: Mm-hmm (affirmative). (laughs). No, it’s a great blessing.

Gary: I mean, seriously. Uh, peace. This is a world filled with so much anxiety and fear mongering. To live with somebody who is calm because they trust in the Lord is such a blessing. Patience. Look, I’m gonna mess up, my kids are gonna mess up. I wanna marry somebody who exhibits the patience of Christ. Kindness. Kindness never gets old. It’s, it’s wonderful to live with somebody who’s kind. Goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, uh, [inaudible 00:16:17] against these things, there is no law. These are wonderful traits. And so, for character you wanna look at what is evidence is the person of Christ. And what do you hope to see in your own kids’ lives? Well then, marry somebody who is growing in that. Now, here’s a warning to women, and I’ve had one woman say that, uh, you can’t expect a 22-year-old guy to show the traits of a very mature senior pastor. Uh, it, it just, it-

Jim: That will come with time.

Gary: Character is something that grows, decades of walking with the Lord. What you wanna see is a man or a woman who is on a trajectory. They’re opening up their hearts to the work of the spirit, they’re studying scripture so they can grow in wisdom. God has their heart, he’ll bring ’em along. But if you see that pursuit, they, notice Jesus says, “Seek first.” In, in, in the Greek that’s continuous tense. Keep seeking. It’s present tense. Keep seeking. Is this person seeking God’s kingdom? Is this person seeking righteousness? The end product eventually will get there, but you can’t expect a 22 or a 25-year-old to exhibit all the fruits of the spirit in a fully mature form. It takes time.

Jim: Uh, Gary, one of the things that can trip a single up in the dating experience is, uh, uh, a person that they’re dating is maybe exhibiting or saying these things, but, uh, there are these occasions where it’s not there. The honesty isn’t there. Or the character qualities, one or more of them that you just described, uh, it isn’t present. Uh, how would a person approach that with that potential spouse?

Gary: Two steps I’d suggest. The first step is a listening step, the second step is an asking step. So, for the listening step, just listen to what this man says. If I have a very close friend, it would be bizarre if my wife never heard me talk about him. I mean, just in normal conversation, it would come up. I was talking to, to Chuck, or I, uh, Chuck and I did this. Or Chuck was telling me this. It just would be a natural part of my conversation that that would happen. Women, if he never brings up God, if he’s never talking about God, he’s not talking to God. If God is a daily presence, if God’s challenging him, if God’s inspiring him, he’s going to bring it up. It’s just, if God is truly his friend, it would be bizarre if it never came up at a conversation. So, listen, without bringing it up. Does God seem to be an active presence in this man’s life? And then second, here’s what I love to ask, what is God challenging you with now? What is God laying on your heart today? That tells you if he’s listening to God. God is so concerned about this world. W- I- I’m just overwhelmed when I see God inspire people to address sexual trafficking, things like abortion, and injustice, and evangelism, and poverty, and and… I mean, there’s so many issues where God is inspiring people to build his kingdom to reach, you know, in the fields of education, and in business, and, and so many areas. To believe that somebody is interacting with God and he isn’t laying a mission of some kind on their heart, I, I just can’t believe they’re listening. So, where’s God telling you you need to grow today? What is God inspiring you to do today? And if you get this, “Uh, well, uh, you know, I thought I might start a popsicle stand sometime.” I mean, no-

Jim: (laughs).

Gary: … it’s just, you, you pretty much can clue in, “You know what? They’re giving lip service to God. They’re not seeking first the kingdom of God.”

Jim: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gary: There, there should be something that comes to my mind when somebody says, “What is God laying on your heart?” If I’m seeking first God’s kingdom, I, I know what I’m seeking.

Jim: I would think another area, and again, this is something that for Jean and I, it was part of our dating relationship. Uh, the respect for each other physically. In other words, I remember our first date, I shook her hand. I think she was blown away by that, she thought was, uh, cute. But a little-

John: Unusual?

Jim: … old fashioned. (laughs). But I didn’t. I mean, there were several dates before I even gave her a kiss on the cheek. And that’s what I did. And I think that physical area, you’re showing that person of interest respect when it is not aggressive, when it is appropriate. And I think that would be a key indicator as well.

Gary: Absolutely, Jim. I tell guys, you wanna find a woman who is so into God she will offend you before she’ll offend God. And that means, if you’re trying to push the envelope she’ll say, “Not a chance.” And I said, “Here’s why. The same God who commands single women not to be sexually active with their boyfriends is the God who commands wives to be sexually active with their husbands after marriage.”

John: Uh, okay. So, what’s, uh, talk to parents here, for just a moment. How do you encourage your child to be on this pursuit? On this search? Without, you know, oh, here it comes again, here’s the question-

Jim: Well maybe without-

John: … did you find anybody nice yet?

Jim: (laughs).

John: How, how do you encourage that child, and, you know, find out how that pursuit is going without them rolling their eyes saying, “Well here comes that question again. And no, I haven’t found anybody yet.” I mean, what have you done in that realm?

Gary: Well, I think it starts much younger than that. And I, if I’m talking to parents of younger kids, I think, really, the absolute best thing you can do to train your kids is to work on your own marriage. I mean, the best way you can give them a vision for godly marriage is to strive to build one yourself so that they can see the satisfaction. You know what’s holding so many young people back today? Is that they saw their parent’s marriage was so dysfunctional-

John: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gary: … and so unhappy. They don’t wanna have anything to do with… they’re terrified.

John: Yeah, why should I go there?

Gary: Of taking that step. I don’t wanna be in that situation. So, parents, before you get to that age, really, let God in, and seek to grow, and begin seeking, first, God’s kingdom and righteousness. And then you’re gonna find that, that you’re gonna have kids that will desire to have what they see at home. Uh, obviously, none of us can model a perfect marriage. But we can model a marriage where we’re seeking God together. I think it’s being aware of the whys of marriage, talking about that as it comes up, uh, we would discuss with our kids, you know, we, we talked about high school dating. And it would often be, what a waste of time it was in some cases.

John: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gary: Now, you can’t always say that some high school couples end up together. But, uh, I would tell them about how m- in my years it was just a colossal waste of time. Instead of finding out who I am, growing in Christ, finding out my calling in life and vocation-

Jim: Studying.

Gary: Y- (laughs), Yeah.

Jim: (laughs).

Jim: (laughs).

Gary: So much time and energy was wasted. And so, when their, their friends would go through these just emotional travails-

John: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gary: … and weeks of crying. And we would just point it out and talk about it, uh, and giving them that vision. But then, I think, talking it up. Going through Proverbs 31:10, that a good wife is, is better than a good job. You know, we’re in a culture that has really put marriage down, except gay marriage. We’re gonna celebrate that, but heterosexual marriage, well you don’t wanna rush into that too much. It’s just, we’ve completely turned God’s order upside down.

John: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gary: I think we need to speak well of marriage as God designed it. One man, one woman, for life, pursuing God’s kingdom together. Showing them the richness, wanting to grow in our marriage so that they’ll desire that. And then, I think it’s entirely appropriate, as our relationship with our kids allows, being encouragers, or trying to open up their eyes to somebody we think might be a good mix.

John: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gary: Now, at, that depends on every kid. Some kids will resent that, some kids will welcome that. I think that’s more of an individual application of that general principle, that part of parenting is helping our kids be married well.

Jim: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Uh, Gary, you’re talking exactly to the mission here at Focus on the Family. And I’m so glad that we can partner with people like you who are speaking such great wisdom from scripture into practical life and how we do this. And-

John: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jim: … if you are, um, troubled, or need encouragement, I would, uh, ask you to call us. We have a counseling team, uh, that’s standing there ready to talk with you, and ready to help you with resources from Gary Thomas and others, uh, to help build and create in your heart that aspiration for marriage, uh, so you can do it well. And in that, being a good witness to our Lord Jesus Christ. Uh, Gary Thomas, thank you for being with us, thank you for the book, The Sacred Search. We have really covered so much. Uh, in fact, we’re gonna keep rolling, we’re gonna, uh, add some things to the website that, uh, aren’t, won’t be a part of the program. But if you are interested, come to the website, and we’re gonna keep asking questions of Gary. Thank you for being with us.

Gary: Thank you for having me.

John: We do recommend that you check out these, uh, extra conversations with Gary and his book as well. It’s a wonderful resource for single adults. And parents, you might wanna get a copy for a single friend of a family member. And if you make a donation of any amount to Focus on the Family today, we’ll say thank you by sending The Sacred Search right out to you. Uh, call 800-A-FAMILY, 800-232-6459. Or donate online at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Uh, John, another great resource Focus has is our Boundless podcast, and, um, what comes with that is the only community for single adults. Uh, Boundless is designed to help singles live out fulfilling lives as followers of Jesus Christ. And I remember, we received a comment from one listener, uh, we’ll call him Martin, who said this, “Your Boundless podcast has been a tremendous help for me in this season of my life. Four years ago, I was involved in a relationship and things didn’t go well. Lots of mistakes and sins. Uh, God helped me go through it, healing my past and giving me a new beginning. Uh, about seven months ago I met this wonderful lady, it’s clear God was orchestrating everything, and we are now in a serious relationship heading towards marriage. I found the Boundless show right on time. I had so many questions and concerns, and I wanted, with all my heart, to do things right this time. And the resources of your ministry have helped me. I’m so grateful for Focus on the Family and the Boundless show.” Um, that is so encouraging.

John: It is.

Jim: And I am thankful for the generous friends who help support this ministry and provide the fuel we need to produce podcasts like Boundless and provide the resources Martin mentioned. Uh, you can join the family formation team by making a monthly pledge to Focus on the Family today. Partner with us to give hope and help to hurting singles like Martin and empower them to live godly lives in the future. Can we count on your support today? I hope so.

John: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well, your monthly pledge can have an exponential effect in the lives of single adults and their future families. And a one-time gift will, uh, certainly make an impact as well, so please, donate as you can when you call 800-A-FAMILY, or at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And coming up next time on this broadcast, Dr. Shelby Steele joins us to challenge our thinking and, uh, prompt us to rethink racism in America.


Dr. Shelby Steele: We will claim, quite wrongly, that racism is our big problem. At least, that that’s what keeps us down. Not remotely. I argue against that vociferously. Our problem is the decline of our family life.

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The Sacred Search: What If It's Not About Who You Marry, But Why?

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Hope and Encouragement for Military Families

Jessica Manfre describes the unique challenges military spouses and families face. Long separation, constant moves, and work-related trauma can devastate a marriage. The good news is — God is always there. Faith, friendship, and service can build a strong foundation for facing life’s challenges.

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Honoring the Fallen on Memorial Day

Focus President Jim Daly and John Fuller share listener-submitted stories of friends and family members who gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms we enjoy today as Americans.

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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.

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Affair-Proof Your Marriage (Part 1 of 2)

Pastor Dave Carder offers couples practical advice for protecting their marriages from adultery in a discussion based on his book Anatomy of an Affair: How Affairs, Attractions, and Addictions Develop, and How to Guard Your Marriage Against Them. (Part 1 of 2)