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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Are You Ready to Remarry? (Part 1 of 2)

Are You Ready to Remarry? (Part 1 of 2)

Ron Deal describes some of the unique challenges that couples experience through remarriage and the formation of a stepfamily. He discusses the importance of drawing a “family map,” to identify the complex web of relationships with kids, stepkids, ex-spouses and their partners, and extended family. (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: September 13, 2022

John Fuller: I’m John Fuller. And today on Focus on the Family with Jim Daly we’ll be examining life in a stepfamily and specifically what to anticipate if you plan to marry into a stepfamily.

Dramatic teaser

Man: Okay. Let’s go over the family rules again.

Woman: Okay, okay, right. I’m not supposed to say the name Debbie because your uncle’s wife will go into hysterics.

Man: Right?

Woman: Ruth is your step grandmother.

Man: Grandmother.

Woman: But you call her Aunt Ruth?

Man: Aunt Ruth, yeah.

Woman: Okay. Your stepmother prefers Jane.

Man: Oh yeah.

Woman: Not mom or mother.

Man: Yeah.

Woman: Oh, honey, maybe we should just email everyone to say we’re getting married. Man: No, no, no, no. That’s how my brother-in-law told my sister they were getting a divorce. That’s out. No. Okay. Now, don’t worry about it. We’ll go over all this again when we visit my dad’s family.

Woman: Oh, dear.

Jim Daly: John, that sounds really complicated. And I wonder how many couples who are considering remarriage really understand what they’re getting into. And, uh, first time marriages have their challenges too, uh, different expectations, managing conflict, learning how to communicate effectively. Those are all things that married couples struggle with, but for stepfamilies, there’s another whole level of complexity. Uh, factoring in the needs of your kids and step kids, adjusting to different rules for different households in a different moment and the list goes on. Today we want to offer encouragement and practical help to couples who are considering remarriage. And I’m sure if you’re already in a stepfamily, this information will be equally helpful to you. And for the greater Christian community, we need to be aware of the unique challenges these stepfamilies are facing. I- I’m sure many of these families are in your church and in your community.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And a greater sensitivity to their needs and how we can help them will benefit everyone. I know we’re always critical about, you know, divorce and that’s understandable, that’s right in the Christian community, but it does happen. It could happen through the death of a spouse or a divorce and a remarriage. So let’s be there for people to pick up the pieces and live their lives, uh, closely to the Lord in the future.

John: Yeah, and we have an expert coach with us. Ron Deal is back with us. He’s the founder of Smart Stepfamilies and directs the blended family outreach of Family Life Ministries. Ron has authored or co-authored more than 12 books and resources including, um, one title we’ll, uh, learn more about today, it’s called Preparing to Blend: The Couple’s Guide to Becoming a Smart Stepfamily. Stop by our website to get your copy focusonthefamily.com/broadcast or call 1 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Ron, welcome back to Focus.

Ron Deal: Guys, it’s always good to be with you.

Jim: (laughs) Good to be here.

Ron Deal: Thanks for having me back.

Jim: Hey, um, you heard that opening, that is kind of the description of a very complex web of relationships that typically are created when, uh, two different families come together in a remarriage situation. Was it a fair representation?

Ron: Yes, it actually, it is. And one of the things that we want pastors who work with couples doing premarital counseling, for example, and the couples themselves to understand is that you’re being born into a complex family situation, lots of ambiguity in terms of the roles and relationships, and the more you know about that stuff, the better you can anticipate it, the smoother your transition will be. The less you know, the more you can get caught in all the little traps.

Jim: And we’re gonna talk about a number of those today to help those families do better for their success.

Ron: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And, uh, you know, to, uh, I think help the children particularly better understand the environment-

Ron: Yes.

Jim: … they’re in. One thing you recommend as a family map with that crazy, uh, matrix, do you really have people sit down and map out all-

Ron: Absolutely.

Jim: … the connections in relationships?

Ron: You know, family therapists have used what we call a genogram for, ah, 70 years. It’s been, uh, something that we use to help people kind of see their entire family on paper. Uh, I got some friends who went and created a digital map that people can go online and do specifically for blended families, Blending.Love. How’s that for a website address?

Jim: Hmm.

Ron: And it’s built right into this book Preparing to Blend because we want people to be able to look down and say, “Okay, we’re not just creating a family with two adults and five kids. You brought three, I have two, we’ve got five plus the two of us that’s… We’re a family of seven.” No, really, as a blended family, there’s at least two generations, probably three generations and often not always, but often two households or three households. And so you start adding up all of those people and you go from 7 to 20 really fast. And the reason you put it down on paper in terms of this digital map is for the first time Jim, some people going through their premarital prep will see the family they are creating. This is really what you’re building.

Jim: (laughs)

Ron: And it’s eye-opening.

Jim: It can be overwhelming.

Ron: It can be overwhelming and it’s eye-opening. And here’s the thing, I would rather them see it before they start than get completely blindsided by that complexity and it cause strife and marital problems after the wedding.

Jim: Yeah. It’s good to hit those issues head on-

Ron: Yes.

Jim: … and the temperaments and the personalities that are gonna be, um, you know, confronting you as a couple, right?

Ron: That’s it.

Jim: Um, you mentioned in the book that, um, it’s kind of unique with the stepfamily because their, their foundation is built out of loss, the breakup of a previous family, uh, because of something, like I said, it could be death of a spouse.

Ron: Yeah.

Jim: Um, or it could be something where that first marriage didn’t survive and there, in that adult is remarrying. Um, in that context, speak to that idea of being born out of loss. How does that impact the relationships and the dynamics of things?

Ron: Yeah. Well, let me just add to that because we do like to say that blended families are born out of loss. And I like to add that they’re born into ambiguity.

Jim: Huh,

Ron: …and that is another form of loss. Ambiguity is, okay what’s my role as a stepparent? I mean, I’ve got an idea. I- I’ve read a book or heard a podcast or something, and I got a sense of that, but the biological parent also has another idea, there’s two definitions of that stepparent’s role. The kids have an idea. Your former spouse has an idea. Um, the kids’ biological parent, if you’re gonna be a stepdad, they’re bio dad, he has an idea of what you should do and not do in the role with his kids. Like there’s just five or six definitions and so right from the get-go, here’s a stepparent trying to figure out what he’s supposed to do.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Ron: That’s ambiguity and that creates more confusion and, uh, arguments and conflict potentially. And so there’s loss on the front end. And now there’s a sense of loss of we are don’t, we don’t know how to move forward in this new family. All of that gets in the way of bonding.

Jim: You know, some people may not realize I was part of a blended family way back when I was eight years old, my mom had left and divorced my dad. And then she remarried about three years later to Hank. I nicknamed him Hank the tank, ’cause he was a ex-military guy who literally did Saturday morning white glove inspections in our bedroom.

Ron: Wow.

Jim: And you know the, the thing, when I look back on it now, all these years later, I could tell, I knew he loved my mom deeply. You could see it certainly as she was dying of cancer, he was overwhelmed with emotion. He knew what that would mean for him and for their relationship obviously and she died when I was nine. And in that context, I remember him, you know, saying, I just didn’t sign up for all the kids so I’m out of here and he left the day of the funeral. And you know, there was certainly bewilderment with that, I ended up in foster care. But the point, what I’m trying to say is that he really did love her. He didn’t really care about us much and I get it. You know, that wasn’t what he was signing up for, even though that was part of the deal. But even that the expectation of what the marrying spouse, in my case, the mom had and what that relationship would look-

Ron: Yes.

Jim: … like, the kids have some kind of expectation. What is this gonna be? It can be all over the map-

Ron: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … in terms of what you get with a stepparent. And then of course, the stepparent coming into the family and their expectations.

Ron: Jim, you are making-

Jim: (laughs)

Ron: … you’re making a critical point here. And, and I just gotta put words on it because couples and pastors alike have this sense that when they are gonna get married, that they are just creating coupleness, you know, and they’ve fallen in love, and they love each other. Hank loved your mom. There was something there, there was substance. I- I don’t know the depths of it.

Jim: Absolutely. You could see it.

Ron: There was something there and that’s what brought them together. But the reality is you’re not just creating coupleness, you’re trying to create familiness.

Jim: Right.

Ron: And and let me just pause for a second and talk about premarital counseling, because do you realize we have not done any major overhaul in premarital counseling in 60 years. This book Preparing to Blend is the first overhaul that says, look, you’re not just trying to equip couples to be married. You’re trying to help them lead a family and navigate the journey of becoming a family. You might have become a couple, but that does not mean that the stepparent, y- you are a good example, Jim, that the stepparent is got a great bonded relationship that will last a lifetime with the stepchildren. That is something that has to develop on its own accord over time, often well after the wedding has taken place, in fact, it’s five to seven years for average, right?

Jim: Yeah.

Ron: And some families can take a little longer depending on the age of the children and all the circumstances wrapped around that. The point is, if you go into it blind thinking only about becoming a stronger couple, then you get blindsided by the familiness factors, the complexity and the ambiguity and that’s what takes couples down. We’re preventing re-divorce here, that at the end of the day is my heart, preventing re-divorce and another loss for children in particular.

Jim: Yeah, Ron let me, let me have you address this question because it’s out there, y- you know, in the Christian community, we believe in the permanence of marriage-

Ron: I do.

Jim: … in fact, it’s one of the pillars here at Focus and we say it very boldly. So some people in the Christian community can be critical that if you’re addressing this issue of, uh, remarriage in a new blended family, a- and I- I don’t wanna be smug with this, but some, they write us here at Focus after we’re doing a broadcast together, people will write or text us and say, you know, you really shouldn’t cover that because we’re about first marriages and keeping those marriages together. But it’s kind of, to me, it’s the analogy of the lord dealing with the woman caught in adultery, not the same kind of sin, but what he said there is go and send no more.

Ron: Yeah.

Jim: And I- I hear that in what you’re explaining there, our goal, once a family is fractured is how do we put it back together and God’s design for the future of that family. Um, and it may mean the two people remarried different people, right?

Ron: I’m the biggest advocate in the world for first marriages lasting.

Jim: Yeah.

Ron: Because I spend an awful lot of time with people trying to pick up the pieces and find the next level of love and care for their family and for their kids. And it’s harder, it can be done. And again, like I said, God’s grace is so incredible, some people’s second chance is far better than, uh, anything they’ve experienced thus far in their lifetime, going back to their childhood. In other words, God continues to work in relationships in spite of who we are, all you gotta do is read the Old Testament, you’ll find out really nobody, all those heroes of the faith, nobody got it right when it came to their family. Right? And all those dynamics are true still today. So we wanna be truthful about God’s intent and we want to go heavy on mercy for those who are in need of repair or redemption. And let’s not forget that a lot of people find themselves in blended families because of no sin of their own. Maybe somebody else’s sin sometimes. And sometimes it’s due to a death of a spouse that wouldn’t sin at all. And yet we just sort of leave them hanging out there with note guidance and help and support for their family, you know, post being widowed. So we wanna cover all of that-

Jim: Hmm.

Ron: … with a message of yes, truth, marriage needs to last.

Jim: Yeah, and I-

Ron: Tells the right story about God,

Jim: I appreciate that. I just, you know, those are the comments that are made kind of under everybody’s breath, but it’s good to hit it.

Ron: Yes.

Jim: And just get it out there.

Ron: Yes.

Jim: You know, we’re trying to help people do the best they can do in the moment they’re in and that’s where it’s at. Be honest, if we didn’t have a 35, 40% divorce rate in the church, we wouldn’t have to deal with it. So that’s a great place to start, which is a lot of the effort that Focus puts forward.

Ron: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Um, moving on, you have a story about one step couple that you call Aaron and Morgan in the book-

Ron: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And they had kind of those different expectations of what it would be. What was their story?

Ron: Well, you know, o- one of the things that we talk about in this book Preparing to Blend is anticipating the changes that are gonna come and managing your expectations about how life is gonna go after the wedding. Again, if you’re thinking, I’ve fallen in love with a person that’s really all there is. And because you and I are in love, the kids are gonna love that we love each other. Well, sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t, or sometimes they’re a little confused by it. It, often children experience both, um, things. They experience happiness that mom’s getting married and they like the stepdad and there’s something about him that they’re really drawn to. And at the same time, they feel a little weird about drawing into him when their biological dad is on, in somewhere else. And they don’t get to spend as much time with him as they would like to, but yet I’m spending more time with my stepdad, and it is just sort of a confusing place for kids to be. And so this couple in particular started thinking about that exp- well, the expectation below the surface I should say was that I’m not gonna have to change my relationship with my kids once I marry you. And I’m really quick to tell people, “Look, leave and cleave applies to blended marriages as well. That you’re not just leaving father and mother, there has to be a shift in your allegiance, such that you are leaving. That’s a really hard word for people to swallow, leaving your children. And I don’t mean neglecting. I don’t mean y- you are not abandoning in any sense of that word, just like we don’t neglect or leave our parents. It’s that emotional process of transitioning allegiance to that primary relationship of husband and wife so that we can lead this family and care for our children in the, in the process over time. But they didn’t anticipate that having to shift. And so all of a sudden stepdad in this case comes in and Aaron’s like, “Okay, hey look, I need a little time at the end of the day.” And Morgan’s like, “No, I’m spending that with my kids.” That’s what they’re used to. I always spend time with them. Um, wow. You know, it’s sort of like, that’s the reality moment of, okay, so where is allegiance and how do we make these subtle little shifts? Because children are gonna be disappointed and a new spouse is gonna be disappointed. And that biological parent feels stuck between the two of them and they’re caught. Like those are the moments of complexity where we try to help people navigate that space and see there’s a both/and here.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Ron: We’re gonna move toward your children, even as you’re moving toward your spouse. Sometimes children have to hear the word, “I’m sorry not now, ’cause I’m gonna spend a little time with my new husband.” Children have to hear, uh, at the same time they need to know they’re important and they haven’t lost their biological parent in this process. So it is a delicate balancing act that when both parent and stepparent, when they see the need for that and can work toward that together, then we don’t have somebody winning and somebody losing. I mean, that’s what we’re trying to avoid is that natural competition of relationships in a blended family. When we’re, everybody’s winning, that goes a long way towards preserving the heart and mind of a couple and a- and a child. And at the same time, moving that whole family system forward towards becoming a family.

Jim: But that winning has such complexity to it.

Ron: Yes.

Jim: And, uh, we’ll talk about that in a second.

John: Well, you’re listening to, uh, Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller and our guest today is Ron Deal who has captured a lot of his wisdom and experience in this book Preparing to Blend: The Couple’s Guide to Becoming a Smart Stepfamily. Stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast or call 1800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY to get your copy.

Jim: Ron, uh, that dance, if you could call it that i- it is really complicated because especially for that poor mom, she can be in that position. You know, these are her kids.

Ron: Yes.

Jim: To her often this is the number one priority and you’ve got the guilt of what they’ve gone through.

Ron: Mm-hmm.

Jim: For whatever reason, fill in the blank. But like her heart is right there.

Ron: Right.

Jim: And so she’s kind of in protective mode.

Ron: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And then new step husband comes into the scene.

Ron: Mm-hmm.

Jim: He’s trying to figure out where do I land in here? How d- oh my goodness, discipline, discussion, all that stuff we’re gonna talk about today and tomorrow. But just that idea where it’s hard for the mom, I would say particularly in that, in that direction, it can go both ways, but I think more moms feel guilt.

Ron: Yes.

Jim: And they’re trying to figure out how to manage all this. And then when the husbands say, “Man, you’re, you’re not really making me a priority right now.”

Ron: Mm-hmm.

Jim: That’s gotta be crushing for her.

Ron: It really is tough because she doesn’t, she can’t win for losing.

Jim: Yah.

Ron: That’s the way it feels to her.

Jim: It feels like too bad choices.

Ron: And we’ve gone all the way back to loss where we started the conversation. You see, part of her guilt is tied into the loss that their family has gone through, that she’s seen her children have to suffer through whatever that was, that backstory. And she wants to help with that, of course, she does. It’s not a matter of again, I wanna be really clear about this because I don’t wanna be misunderstood at all. She is going to continue to love and care for her kids and help them through whatever more transition the blended family is bringing into her children’s lives. Um, and at the same time, she is going to give priority to that new husband and wife relationship and show her children that her husband really matters. It matters to her, matters in her life. Um, they don’t have to love him, they get to decide if and when they love him, but they do have to be respectful. She sets him up as a- as a parent figure when she insists that from her kids. I- I- I worked with a- a family one time where a guy said, “Yeah, my stepdad came into my life when I was four or five. My parents had divorced, and stepdad came,” in and he- and he just started saying, and I love the guy, he’s great. And we had a good time together and I was going, “Oh, that’s really awesome.” And then he said, “But I didn’t respect him.” And I went, “Whoa, our guy just got whiplashed there.” You know, I- I thought we were going down this way. And then you made a hard left and we’re going a different direction. What’s that about? And he goes, well, my mom told us, you know, she just came to us after she got married and said, “You know, I love him. But if he ever does anything that makes me not feel good about our marriage, I’m gonna take you guys and we’ll just leave.” And so as a five-year-old, he heard the message loud and clear, mom doesn’t respect him, I don’t have too either.

Jim: Wow.

Ron: And that forever changed the stepdad’s ability to be a leader. He could be fun, and games and we loved him for that, but he really could not be a parental leader-

Jim: Couldn’t confront her in like yeah.

Ron: … in this child’s life.

Jim: Yeah, sure. Always-

Ron: That’s what we wanna avoid. Big time.

Jim: The fear of a big consequence-

Ron: Right.

Jim: … if I assert any kind of leadership kind of role.

Ron: And so when somebody’s paralyzed by guilt, they just need to acknowledge that, that’s what it is.

Jim: Yeah.

Ron: Put it down on a piece of paper, tell a friend, that’s what helps you acknowledge it. And then you kind of pull back and you go, “All right, how do I in this situation, honor my children, care for them and honor my spouse. It’s really helpful if the stepparent is also willing to see the need for the children to have that reassurance from their biological parent. You’re both working in the same direction and that’s what helps keep this from becoming something that divides and conquers you.

Jim: And we just identified a pretty important aspect to conflict, but let’s wind the clock back-

Ron: Okay.

Jim: … for a minute. And let’s assume these two people are dating, Aaron and Morgan in your example.

Ron: Mm-hmm.

Jim: They’re back at the dating phase. That’s gotta feel awkward already.

Ron: Yes.

Jim: Because you’re in something that is-

Ron: Yeah, but I’m not s- but a lot of couples don’t feel the awkwardness yet, Jim, and see, and that’s part of the problem. That’s why I wanna… We’re doing virtual training of pastors and marriage mentors to help them do a better job in priest, stepfamily preparation, because it often doesn’t show itself until right close to the wedding or after the wedding when real life sort of kicks in. A lot of times couples are duped. If I can use that word by th- everybody’s nice and kind during the dating, even children are sort of going along with this, but the minute, you know, we’ve moved into the house together and now he’s telling me I gotta clean my room. I don’t really know how I feel about this stepdad being in my life and that changes something emotionally for children. So they often don’t see it ahead of time. We wanna try to help them anticipate that with good premarital prep.

Jim: Well, and the, the question was leading toward how do you slow it down if you feel like it’s brittle, we don’t have the right foundation yet. And then go about creating the right foundation.

Ron: Well, I do think that’s part of the process. Um, one of the reasons this book is sort of a do-it-yourself guide for couples, but also doubles as a premarital guide for pastors is if in talking about some of these realities couples begin to see that and go, “Wow, we, we were lost. We don’t really know what to do.” I do think it’s a wise thing to just sort of slow down the, the push towards a wedding or what have you. Keep working on it, see if it does- if that yellow light doesn’t turn green, if it turns green, keep on going. If that yellow light turns red, yeah then we really need to slow down. Not necessarily in the relationship, but at least pause until our confidence goes up, that we’re gonna be able to navigate this terrain.

Jim: Yeah, Ron you’ve shared this before, but it’s a good reminder and a powerful analogy. Sometimes stepfamilies are called blended families. You used the title Preparing to Blend.

Ron: Hmm.

Jim: But you, you say you really don’t like that term blended, but what, what is, what’s the problem with the word blended?

Ron: Yeah. Blended is the more popular term in the US, by the way, stepfamily’s still the more popular term used around the world. Um, blended implies that you’re all done. (laughs) You blended, you know, uh, you put stuff into the, uh, mixer and you’re gonna make a smoothie. It’s blended, it’s done. Actually, it’s more like blending, like it’s a process of developing relationship over time. We talked about how on average, you know, it takes a number of years for most stepfamilies to really integrate well. Even on the front end, I believe we can help speed up the momentum of blending, of merging. When you get intentional about your relationship. If you’re not intentional, you’re just sort of floating into marriage, floating into the blended family thing. More often than not couples just find that they end up with lots of questions and no answers.

Jim: Well, and, and not blended. (laughs)

Ron: And not blended, frustrated.

Jim: You’re just ingredients sitting in that blender.

Ron: They’re just frustrated.

Jim: That’s interesting.

Ron: Yeah.

Jim: Um, you often compare the blender to a Crockpot in that, uh, context of remarriage. Why is that difference significant?

Ron: Yeah, for those that are not familiar with it, I’ve written about this prolifically because it’s become some thinking that, I mean, people quote this back to me all the time Jim, they come to me… I got an email just the other day from a guy saying, you know, you taught us to think differently about our family. And here we are seven years later and now we’re celebrating all the gains that we’ve made. It’s not an overnight change to shift to a Crockpot mentality, but here’s the difference real quickly, blenders are fast and furious and there’s blades and somebody’s gonna get hurt. (laughs) We don’t want that for your family. Crockpots are slow, you drop in ingredients and force nothing. Nothing is forced. It all just sits there until it warms up until those ingredients soften. And they decide how they’re gonna share themselves with other ingredients. That is a better process. It’s genuine, it’s authentic. It’s emerging that everyone agrees with ’cause they don’t feel violated by the blade, you know, if you will. That when, when you lead your family into that Crockpot process and do so with a great deal of wisdom, what you get on the, on the end of that is something really good to taste. That’s what Crockpots produce but-

Jim: If you use enough water. (laughs)

Ron: If you use enough water and give it enough time,

Jim: I’ve tried that Crockpot. If it dries out you’re in trouble.

Ron: That’s right. (laughs)

Jim: Um, let me end here for today. We’re gonna come back next time and pick up the conversation, hopefully to give people more tools-

Ron: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … uh, to do this well, but um, what are… At the end here, what are some practical things a step couple can do to help facilitate that effective and healthy merging of the two families.

Ron: I said a little while ago, get intentional. And again, there are lots of tools out there. It’s what we’re doing at Family Life Blended. We are given lots of tools in the form of podcasts and videos and online courses and virtual training, et cetera, et cetera. And when you get wise about what’s happening between you and among you with your children, your future stepchildren, whether or maybe you’re already married, you’re trying to make sense of what’s going on. Getting some, getting the right answers to your questions and then beginning to walk out that with wisdom, I’m telling you it’s a game changer.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Ron: I am a firm believer, blended families can be homes of redemption, but you gotta do it right. If you get it wrong, it just adds more pain and suffering to everybody’s life.

Jim: Well, it’s so true and well said, uh, that’s why we’re here doing this program and why we’re covering it with you, uh, Ron, because you really are the expert in this area and I’d like to come back next time, pick up the conversation and dig a little deeper on the tools that help step families do the best job they can possibly do, because we should wanna see these families succeed. Uh, we don’t want to see the breakdown of yet another family. First families, if I can call them that are already complex, then you add on even more difficulties like having two separate households and multiple in-laws. Uh, it makes life harder, but not impossible. Thanks to the generosity of friends like you, we have been able to help over 350,000 couples build stronger marriages over the past 12 months. That’s a huge number. And I just wanna say thank you. When you make a monthly pledge to Focus on the Family, you’re helping us educate and equip families and stepfamilies. So please be generous with your support of this family outreach today.

John: Yeah. And when you give to Focus on the Family, whether that’s a monthly pledge or one-time gift of any amount, we’ll say thank you for being part of the support team by sending Ron’s book, Preparing to Blend, uh, right out to you. We’ll also include a digital download of today’s broadcast along with some extra content. Reach us when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY or donate generously and get your copy of the book. The details are at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And if our conversation today has raised any concerns about your family or marriage, I do hope you’ll contact us. Focus on the Family is here, we have a team of really wonderful caring Christian counselors that can help you, uh, really work through pretty much any issue you’re dealing with. Just call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. We’ll continue the conversation with Ron Deal tomorrow, uh, as we talk about preparing to remarry and for now on behalf of Focus president Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening to Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

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Preparing to Blend: The Couple's Guide to Becoming a Smart Stepfamily

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Living For an Audience of One (Part 1 of 2)

Karen Ehman’s journey as a recovering people-pleaser began when she realized she was seeking others’ approval more than God’s. In this conversation, Karen shares practical guidance on healthy boundaries and encourages you to serve God intentionally in the areas he’s called you to serve.

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Helping Your Daughter Navigate Friendships

Describing some of the challenges young girls face, Dannah Gresh exposes the lies girls are being told about their friendships, themselves, and God. She shares how parents can help their daughters combat these lies with the truth and discusses the importance of falling in love with God as their true source of fulfillment.

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A Legacy of Music and Trusting the Lord

Popular Christian vocalist Larnelle Harris reflects on his five-decade music career, sharing the valuable life lessons he’s learned about putting his family first, allowing God to redeem a troubled past, recognizing those who’ve sacrificed for his benefit, and faithfully adhering to biblical principles amidst all the opportunities that have come his way.

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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.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 2

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.

Cherishing Your Spouse Every Day

Do you love your spouse, or do you truly cherish them? Gary Thomas encourages couples to make a daily effort to go beyond the ‘duty’ of love, and combat the natural inclination to drift apart, by choosing to see the best in their spouse.

Mr. Gary Thomas

Gary Thomas is an international speaker and best-selling, award-winning author whose books include Married SexSacred Marriage and Sacred Parenting. He has also written numerous articles for several prominent national magazines. Gary and his wife, Lisa, reside in Texas and have three children. You can learn more about Gary by visiting his website, www.garythomas.com.

cherish front cover

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

“Most marriages survive by gritting teeth and holding on. But marriages can and will not only survive but thrive when husbands and wives learn to cherish one another.” Those are the powerful words of bestselling author Gary Thomas in his newest book–Cherish. And in a world desperate for marriage redemption, it is needed now more than ever. Thomas shows that although there are a countless number of marriages consisting of two people just going through the motions, there are real ways this pattern can be reversed: when husbands and wives learn to cherish one another in proven, loving, and everyday actions and words.

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Newest Release - Episode 2: Heroes Providing Hope

Discover the amazing work our PRC’s Directors, Nurses, and Volunteers are making in their communities! You’ll see firsthand testimonies of a PRC in action, and that there are other options outside of abortions! You’ll also discover how your family can support your local PRC!

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!

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Newest Release - Episode 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

Hear real life stories of parents who have made the decision to choose life even though the circumstances were overwhelming. You’ll see why “ALL” life is precious to God and why choosing life is always the right decision!

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!

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Newest Release - Episode 3: The Power of a Picture

Have you ever wondered what a baby looked like in the womb? With today’s technology, Moms and Dads can see the baby’s heartbeat, facial expressions, and movements! You’ll find out why more women choose life once they hear their baby’s heartbeat and realize it’s a real living human!

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!

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Newest Release - Episode 5: It’s Going to be Amazing!

After a couple has chosen life, hear the heartwarming stories of children that culture would have cast aside, yet are making tremendous impacts in their communities. Whether the diagnosis was adverse or the circumstances were difficult, these stories will inspire you to come along side of families who have chosen life!

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!

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Newest Release - Episode 6: Families Helping Families!

So, after all you’ve seen through the SeeLife ‘21 Episodic journey; what can you do now? We’ll share how you can partner with some amazing organizations that are making significant impacts in the pro-life movement! You want to Celebrate Life!

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!

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 2

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.

Effective Habits to Embrace in Parenting

To be an effective parent, you must be a leader in your child’s life, guiding with a gentle hand and setting a solid example. Dr. Randy Schroeder provides the insight you need to be a leader-parent. As he explores the foundational Rs—relationship, routines, responsibilities, and rules—you’ll better understand the role you play in your child’s life. You’ll learn great phrases to employ such as “Either/Or/You Decide” and “When You/Then You”. While there is no perfect parent, this nuts-and-bolts material will equip you to lead your child in a loving, confident manner.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. Randy Schroeder

Dr. Randy Schroeder

Dr. Randy Schroeder has spent more than four decades writing, counseling, speaking, and teaching. For nearly 25 years, he was Vice President of Student Personnel Services, Dean of Students, and a professor of pastoral counseling at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind. He’s also led a successful counseling practice helping individuals, couples, and families to thrive in their lives and relationships.

Cover image of Dr. Randall Schroeder's book "Simple Habits for Effective Parenting"

Simple Habits for Effective Parenting

Effective parenting is now within your grasp! With this inspiring how-to comprehensive book, achieve extraordinary results in raising a child to be self-assured, self-reliant, and responsible! You will be able to successfully lead and lovingly encourage your child toward a Godly life!

The Spiritual Battle for Your Marriage

God designed marriage to reflect His love to the world; and because of this, the enemy wants to destroy God’s beautiful design. Based on his book, Defending Your Marriage, Dr. Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff share about the reality of spiritual warfare against marriages, and how to combat the enemy’s lies with the truth of God. Couples will be encouraged that they’re not alone in the fight for a godly marriage and better equipped to be a shining example for the world around them.

Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff Cropped

Dr. Tim and Mrs. Noreen Muehlhoff

Dr. Tim Muehlhoff is a professor of communication at Biola University in La Mirada, California where he teaches classes in family communication, interpersonal communication, apologetics, gender, and conflict resolution.  Tim and his wife, Noreen, are both on staff with Biola’s Center for Marriage and Relationships  where he is a co-host of The Art of Relationship podcast. 

Defending Your Marriage

Is your marriage under attack? Sometimes it can feel like the world is trying to tear your marriage apart. Internal conflicts or external pressures might make you wonder if something sinister is going on. How can you tell if you’re facing spiritual opposition? And what can you do about it? Tim Muehlhoff provides a straightforward resource for protecting your marriage from the threats of the evil one. He looks at what Scripture says about spiritual warfare and how our everyday struggles have deeper spiritual realities. And he provides practical steps for guarding our marriages with the whole armor of God.

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 1

For those of faith whose passion has waned over time, Kim Meeder will reinspire you in your relationship with Jesus Christ as she tells powerful, true stories about God that will spark renewed joy in your heart and encourage you to share the Gospel with others.

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder and her husband, Troy, are the co-founders of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, a non-profit organization in Bend, Oregon, that rescues abused horses and pairs them with hurting kids for mutual healing. Kim is a popular motivational speaker and the author of a half dozen books including Hope Rising and Bridge Called Hope, which feature inspirational stories from her ranch.

Revival Rising

With enthusiasm that will set ablaze your passion to reach the hurting, Kim Meeder encourages you to let the holy fire of God’s presence fill your heart, soul, mind and strength. As your fear and pride melt away, those around you who are losing their battle for hope will be transformed by encountering His redeeming love in you. This–this is revival rising.

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 2

For those of faith whose passion has waned over time, Kim Meeder will reinspire you in your relationship with Jesus Christ as she tells powerful, true stories about God that will spark renewed joy in your heart and encourage you to share the Gospel with others.

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder and her husband, Troy, are the co-founders of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, a non-profit organization in Bend, Oregon, that rescues abused horses and pairs them with hurting kids for mutual healing. Kim is a popular motivational speaker and the author of a half dozen books including Hope Rising and Bridge Called Hope, which feature inspirational stories from her ranch.

Revival Rising

With enthusiasm that will set ablaze your passion to reach the hurting, Kim Meeder encourages you to let the holy fire of God’s presence fill your heart, soul, mind and strength. As your fear and pride melt away, those around you who are losing their battle for hope will be transformed by encountering His redeeming love in you. This–this is revival rising.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 2

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 2

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 2

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.

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!