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Asking the Right Questions of Your Child’s Future Spouse

Asking the Right Questions of Your Child’s Future Spouse

Your daughter's boyfriend has asked you for her hand in marriage. What questions should you ask him before giving your blessing? Dr. Greg Smalley offers practical guidance covering a variety of topics including communication styles, handling conflict, finances, and more.
Original Air Date: October 29, 2019



Greg Smalley: So you’ve got to try to balance out, speaking the truth and saying, “Here are my concerns, and here’s what I would like to see you do as a result of that,” and balancing, “But I’m trying to protect this relationship.” Because I can always maybe be that person that Caleb, when they run into some problem, could come back to. So I might be used in a discipleship some way in his life. So I’m trying to protect the relationship because who knows? Maybe three, four, five months down the road, maybe they will…

Jim Daly: Yeah.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: That is Dr. Greg Smalley and he’s with us today, on Focus on the Family. Your host is Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim: John, we’re heading into the season when a lot of people, uh, are engaged. It’s that magical moment when somebody says, “Will you marry me?” And December is just around the corner and is by far the most popular month for engagements. Did you know that?

John: I did not, no. That’s news to me.

Jim: I know June’s the big wedding month, but I never knew December…

John: I wonder if it’s because of Christmas. People around…

Jim: Well, I think so.

John: …Christmastime are thinking…

Jim: Maybe because it’s so cold…

John: Yeah.

Jim: …That brings a little warmth into your heart.

John: (Laughter) That could be it.

Jim: “Hey, will you marry me?” But as parents, uh, we may be asked to give our blessing to that adult child’s engagement, um, especially if you have a daughter. And that boy suitor is going to come along and say, “Mr. Fuller…”

John: I’m waiting for that moment.

Jim: (Laughter).

John: I’m ready.

Jim: And it’s gonna happen. But here at Focus, we want to prepare you for that moment. And there are some things you can do that are very out of the box. And we have our very own Dr. Greg Smalley, uh, to walk us through some of these good questions that should be part of the courtship, not just between the couple, but with the parents of the two.

John: Yeah. I’m looking forward to the conversation, having three adult daughters and, uh, none of them married yet. So Greg is the Vice President of Marriage and Family Formation here at Focus on the Family. And he’s married to Erin and they have four children, and a son-in-law.

Jim: Well, I guess he’s passed the test. Right, Greg?

Greg: Yes.

Jim: That son-in-law. Welcome to the program.

Greg: Thank you for having me.


Jim: All right. You’ve had that experience of a young man asking for your daughter’s hand in marriage. Now, I’m never going to have that experience because I have my two boys. I mean, I’m looking forward to two daughter-in-laws at some point. But what is that like when the guy says, uh, “Mr. Smalley, I like your daughter a lot”?

Greg: (Laughter) Yeah.

Jim: (Laughter) What do you say?

Greg: It was a mixture of emotions for me ‘cause on one hand, I’m so excited for my daughter, for this young man.

Jim: Are you being honest?

Greg: I – oh, absolutely.

Jim: (Laughter) ‘Cause there’s another emotion called, “You stay away from my daughter.”

Greg: (Laughter) Well, remember; I said it was a mixture of emotions.

Jim: (Laughter).

Greg: So I felt excited because this is a big deal.

Jim: It is.

Greg: Next to our relationship with God, this is one of the most important decisions in the journey that they would then embark on. Marriage is such an amazing journey. So I was very excited for them but also feeling very, very protective. This is my firstborn daughter. And I’ve been protecting my daughter for – for many, many years. And now we’ve got some guy who’s…

Jim: Yeah. This is more serious, a little lighter.

Greg: …Who’s wanting to make my princess his queen.

Jim: Yeah. In that context, the – you know, some dads, we can be pretty passive at that moment. Speak to that passivity and the need for a father to be engaged. Some people are going to, you know, chide you, kid you for being old-fashioned when you start to ask your daughter about this guy or maybe ask permission to talk to the guy. Uh, but you should, right? This is important.

Greg: Completely. Absolutely, because God says in his word in Hebrews 13:4 that marriage should be honored by all. What an amazing example to show them of why we are honoring marriage. Marriage is important. I’m gonna make a big deal out of this. I’m not just going to simply say, “Sure, yeah. If you’re asking, yeah. You guys go for it.”

Jim: Or, “You don’t need to ask me.”

Greg: Right. I’m – I want to show them that marriage should be honored, and, therefore, I’m going to have this discussion. And you’re also teaching your future son-in-law how to relate to you.

Jim: Yeah.

Greg: You’re teaching him that we can have good conversations and that marriage is a big deal. And so I’m going to protect my daughter. All those things are going on, and that’s why this is so important…

Jim: Yeah.

Greg: …For us to do.

Jim: Before you talked with Caleb, your now-son-in-law…

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: …But before he was your son-in-law, you wanted to have three conversations. Uh, what were those? And why were these three conversations important?

Greg: Yeah. So before talking to Caleb, first and foremost, I wanted to sit down with my own daughter, Taylor, and ask her, what are her thoughts? Does she want to marry Caleb? What does her gut say? Does she have any concern? Did she feel pressured at all? So wanted to talk to Taylor.

So I wanted to talk to Taylor. But then it’s also important to talk to Taylor’s mom – so, in our case, my wife to understand her thoughts about Caleb. Did she have any concern? As she sees and has watched their relationship, is there anything that she’s concerned about? Because women have such an amazing intuition, I wanna really understand her gut around this. So I would encourage those men, when you go and talk to your daughter’s mom, really listen carefully. Don’t be defensive. Accept her influence. If there are some concerns then you can ask this young man about those concerns when you actually get to…

Jim: OK.

Greg: …Talk to him.

Jim: So you have that chat with your daughter. “Are you being pressured? Do you feel good about this? Are there any red flags?” Then you might have a discussion, uh, with the potential in-laws…

Greg: Absolutely.

Jim: …To see, “Hey, you know, you guys feeling good about this?” Or go out to dinner with them. It may be the first time you’ve met, you know?

Greg: Yeah. That was the case…

Jim: Is that right? (Laughter).

Greg: …With me.

Jim: That’s a little awkward, isn’t it?

Greg: It was. I didn’t know who this was.

Jim: “So good to meet you.”

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: “Now, what do you think about our kids marrying each other (laughter)?”

Greg: Oh, and I did this by text.

Jim: (Laughter).

Greg: I text – I asked Caleb for his dad’s cellphone number, sent him a text. I got a response, though, that so floored me. I was here at Focus on the Family, and I get this response. So I just introduced myself. “Hey, I’m Greg Smalley. Your son is, I think, gonna ask for my blessing. I just want to make sure that you have no issues, concerns about my daughter.” And so I get this text back saying, “Hey, great to meet you. However, my son has been dating several women, so can you send me a picture of Taylor…”

Jim: (Laughter).

Greg: “…So I know it’s her?”

Jim: Uh-oh.

Greg: “…Because there are some that I really wouldn’t give my blessing to.”

Jim: (Laughter).

Greg: And I’m going…

Jim: Oh, that’s a red flag.

John: (Laughter).

Greg: (Laughter) Seriously. And I’m waiting for the real quick, “Hey, hey, hey, just kidding.” And it didn’t come for hours. I walked around. John, and I’m even certain that I came and found you. Like, “Look at this.”

Jim: So now this is awkward.

Greg: “Is this true? What’s going on?” I get a response back finally, saying, “Ha, ha, ha. This is the wrong number. I’m just messing with you.”

Jim: Oh, man. That is a mean trick to play.

John: (Unintelligible), huh?

Jim: So that way, it’s a good thing it was a wrong number.

Greg: It was. So…

Jim: So then you connected. And…

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: Did you do that by phone…

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: …The next time?


Greg: Yeah.

John: See you in person.

Jim: See? That’s what I mean.

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: Technology is horrible (laughter).

Greg: Facetime.

John: Yeah.

Greg: Let me do that by Skype. But then – but to – just to hear from Caleb’s father if…

Jim: If they feel good about it.

Greg: …There were any concerns, and they felt great about it. So armed sort of with my daughter, my wife’s, Taylor’s mom’s blessing, his parents’ blessing, now I was ready…

Jim: Then you go to the…

Greg: …To have that conversation with Caleb.

Jim: OK. And what questions are you asking? I mean, that’s got to be a nerve-wracking moment…

Greg: Oh, yeah.

Jim: …For some 20-something young man…

Greg: Good.

Jim: …Meeting the father of the bride.


Jim: Yeah, good. Way to go.

Greg: Well, ‘cause I want him to know this is serious. I take this serious.

Jim: So what do you say?

Greg: So I honestly – so me – I mean, here I am. I have a doctorate in marriage and family. I run the marriage department here at Focus on the Family. And I was thinking, “I am certain I should ask this kid something.”

Jim: (Laughter).

Greg: “What do I ask him?” And so what I did is I dug into the research. I did a ton of reading. I asked some dads who had been through this, “What did you ask?”

Jim: So kind of best practices.

Greg: Yeah, and really identified what I felt were the 12 key questions to then ask.

Jim: OK. Everybody’s ears just lit up.

Greg: Yeah. But…

Jim: Let’s hit ‘em (laughter).

Greg: So Caleb, though – he – so he was in a different state.

Jim: Yeah.

Greg: And so he called this one day. And, you know, “Hey, can we talk? I have an important question.” I said, “Hold on.” I said, “If you’re gonna ask about my daughter, I don’t want to do this over the phone.” And so I said, “I’ll send you a ticket. I want you to meet up. I’m doing a marriage seminar.”


Greg: “And I want you to come.”

Jim: Just pile on the immersion.

Greg: Seriously. Could’ve been a little mean. But it’s like, “You know what?”

Jim: And I want you in the front row so I can look at your face.

Greg: And he was.

Jim: (Laughter).

Greg: And I did the whole conference seminar.

John: If he wants the girl, he’s gotta go through all of this.

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: I think it’s awesome.

Greg: Yeah. And so – but it gave us uninterrupted time.

Jim: Yeah.

Jim: But let’s get to it. I mean, what’s – you say, “ok, Caleb. I appreciate the fact that you wanna marry my daughter. My daughter is so important to me. Have I ever told you I was in the 82nd Airborne?”


Jim: Now, you get through that. Then you say, “I got a few questions I want to ask you.” Is that kinda how it goes?

Greg: You know, I didn’t do the (imitating gun cocking) shotgun sound or any of that because I wanted him, again, to understand that I value and honor marriage like God does. And I want to take this super, super seriously. And so here are some of the questions that I want to talk through. And I encourage the dads – or, by the way, this may be a mom…

Jim: Right.

Greg: …Having this conversation, could be a stepdad.

Jim: And single moms should do that.

Greg: Absolutely.

Jim: Yeah.

Greg: This could be a mentor, a pastor on behalf of someone. Maybe whose parents aren’t involved. But I wanted Caleb to understand that this isn’t a pass or fail. It wasn’t like I had a grade score sheet or something that…

Jim: Really?

Greg: …I’m checking on.

Jim: (Laughter) I’m thinking, yeah.

Greg: Well, because what I’m trying to do is establish that we can talk about serious things, and that’s OK.

Jim: That’s good. That’s really good.

Greg: And, hopefully, for the rest of our lives together, that we can talk about these things, knowing that this is a young man.

Jim: Yeah.

Greg: This is a human being. He doesn’t have it all figured out, immature in many ways – all of that. So I started in that way…

Jim: Yeah.

Greg: …And just saying, “Hey, man. Relax. And let’s – I just wanna walk you through some questions that I have.” Um, my goal is to get a good sense of their relationship, not like, “Oh, because you answered this way on this question…”

Jim: It’s not a test.

Greg: “…Yeah, we’re done, you know? You leave.” No, not at all.

John: Well, this is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. Our guest is Dr. Greg Smalley. And, uh, we’re going to have the 12 Questions that Greg has developed. Uh, that article – uh, we’ll link over to that from our website. We’ll also have details about the book, Ready to Wed: 12 Ways to Start A Marriage You’ll Love. Uh, two terrific resources and more at

Jim: Alright, Greg. Let’s hit it. Question one – here it is, opening night. What do you say to your future son-in-law?

Greg: OK. So the first one – No. 1 is, “Are you spiritually united?”

Jim: That’s a good one.

Greg: And why this matters is because it matters to God. OK, God isn’t a matchmaker. He doesn’t run eHeavenly (ph) dating service.


Greg: He has given us free choice of who we will choose to spend our life with. But what he does say is, “As a Christian, when you look for a spouse, you need to be united with…”

Jim: Like-minded.

Greg: “…With another believer.” And he says that multiple times throughout the scripture. That’s a big deal to him. And, therefore, it’s a big deal for me. And that’s where I began. And I started by asking Caleb just to talk about your testimony and just to hear him kind of walk through his relationship with the Lord. Again, I’m just listening and trying to better understand…

Jim: Sure.

Greg: …Where he’s at. It’s not looking for perfection at all. And then I asked him, “So what does that then spiritual relationship look like with Taylor, my daughter?” And this is where he stumped me. Like, there’s a question later on that I totally got him. He got me at this moment because he goes, “You know, honestly, Taylor and I don’t have a deep spiritual relationship.”

Jim: And you’re like, “What?”

Greg: I thought, “Wait; what?”

He said, “You know, having a spiritual relationship is so intimate, so deep. And it moves our relationship so deep that my fear – and Taylor and I talked about this – is that if we really developed a deep, deep spiritual relationship at this point in our relationship that we would be tempted to experience full intimacy.” And he goes, “I really, really wanted to protect, um, our relationship.” And so we’ve talked about, “Hey, as we get engaged, as we become married, this is what – how we’ll continue to deepen our relationship spiritually.” And I really liked that.

Jim: Yeah, it’s a good answer.

Greg: I couldn’t decide, is he like an Eddie Haskell, you know…


Greg: …The old Leave It to Beaver, like telling me what I wanted to hear? But, really, a better understanding of where he’s at.

Jim: Well, that was the opening question. There’s more to come.

Greg: (Laughter) Exactly.

Jim: So you can figure it out. What was the second question?

Greg: So, “Are you ready to make a lifelong commitment?”

Jim: That’s good context.

Greg: And, obviously, what’s he going to say? “Eh, you know, I’m thinking, like, 10 years, 12 years max.”

Jim: Right. Of course he’s going to say, “yes.”

Greg: But what I’m looking for – two things – is, one, is he ready to remove the word divorce from his vocabulary? That’s what we talked about. I talked about when Erin and I – early in our marriage, we’d fight. And we were at a bad place. We would joke about divorce. And I explained that so weakened our commitment. And are you ready to cut that word out? It doesn’t exist. But, more importantly, I was looking for grit. So grit in a marriage is one of the most important things. And that says that not only am I committed to you but, when we go through hard times, that I am willing to do whatever it takes to keep our marriage together.

Jim: To work through it.

Greg: Yeah. And so I asked him, “Would you be willing, when” – so not if because the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 7 that, “For those of you who marry, you will experience hard times.” So to say to him, “You are going to have hard times. What are you willing to do? Are you willing to go get counseling? Are you willing to get mentored” – those kinds of things. So really hearing him around – “I would do whatever it takes.” I mean, that’s what I was looking for.

Jim: Now, this third question – I would see it humorously as maybe a trick question. But go ahead. What is that question?

Greg: Yeah, “What do you see in my daughter…”

Jim: (Laughter).

Greg: “…That makes you want to marry her?”

Jim: How does a young man answer that? “Well, she’s kinda pretty.”

Greg: Well…

Jim: (Laughter).

Greg: And that’s it.

John: And then, “I like her hair.”

Jim: Right. “And she’s got beautiful eyes.”

Greg: “We love the Broncos together.”

Jim: Yeah, OK. There you go. But what are you looking for, seriously?

Greg: I’m looking at, does he recognize her inner beauty? Does he…

Jim: Correct.

Greg: …See the inner character qualities, the integrity? Does he understand the dreams that she wants to pursue? And so, obviously, he’s going to say, “Yeah, she’s beautiful, and, you know, we have so much fun together.” But you really wanna know, does he get who she really is? And does he…

John: The whole person.

Greg: …Value those things, as well as the things that irritate him? ‘Cause on this one, I said, “So tell me, what are some of the things that just drive you crazy about Taylor?” And he’s very extroverted – very, very extroverted – so he talked about just, “There’s times where all she wants to do is, you know, just stay home, and she doesn’t want to get out and do the kinds of things that I like to do.” So it just gave us, again, another opportunity…

Jim: That’s good.

Greg: …To have that conversation.

Jim: So for those just joining, we’re going through a list – uh, a list of 12 things you should ask your potential future in-law – your son-in-law, maybe even your daughter-in-law. You can, uh, curve these things toward a daughter-in-law discussion as well, which I think would be great.

Greg: Totally.

Jim: Let’s move to one of the other questions. We’re not going in order. We are – again, we’re going to post these at the website, so you can see them there. Uh, No. 5 in that list was, “How do you plan to financially support my daughter?” (Laughter) Because this is the one where your knees start shaking.

John: And this is one that I’m really attentive to…

Jim: (Laughter).

John: …For my girls.

Jim: You sat up in your chair…

John: I did.

Jim: …Here, John (laughter). You’re ready.

John: Yeah. I want to know this one.

Greg: And here’s what I’m looking for. I want to understand, what is his work ethic? You know, how will he be providing for my daughter? What are some of his financial goals? What are his goals around employment? What about debt? Caleb and I talked about debt as he was coming out of college. What does that look like? Does he have a plan to manage debt? More so, though, I wanted to understand once they get married, because Caleb still had another six months of school left. And so I said, “Caleb, understand that you’re not living in my basement.”

Jim: (Laughter).

Greg: “And I hope…”

Jim: So you said that right in the beginning.

Greg: Oh, very much so ‘cause I don’t agree with that. If a couple wants to get married but, yet, they can’t live in their own place, if they have to depend on their parents for finances, why are you getting married? I personally don’t agree with that.

Jim: Yeah, it’s smart to wait.

Greg: I get that there’s unique challenges, and there’s some situations that might come up that, you know, temporarily, I might have to house…

John: Yeah.

Greg: …You know, Taylor and Caleb. But I needed to understand that he had a plan. And it was really – so I asked him, “You know, you’re not done with school yet. What is this gonna look like?” And, boy. Now, he’s an engineer. So he’s a chemical and mechanical engineer, so he had a whole plan to show me.

Jim: (Laughter).

Greg: This was one that he knew…

Jim: He was ahead of the curve.

Greg: …That I would ask him.

Jim: Yeah.

Greg: So he, like, showed me a spreadsheet. “This is the jobs that I’m working. Taylor is a nurse, out practicing as a nurse. This is what she’s doing. Here’s how we’ll manage this.”

Jim: Wow. That’s good.

Greg: And I left feeling very comfortable with that.

Jim: Another question you had in there, which I – for me, this is really a good one. And maybe the punch – you should say it rather than me say it and you repeat it. But No. 6 was what?

Greg: Yeah, this is my favorite.

Jim: Yeah.

Greg: And this is the one that I got him on, finally, ‘cause as an engineer, he had prepared.

Jim: He had the notes.

Greg: He had read articles I’d written…

Jim: (Laughter).

Greg: …The book.

Jim: Yeah.

Greg: This question, though, is my favorite – “Would you marry you?”

Jim: That – ask yourself – the listener, ask yourself that question, “Would you marry you?” That’s a great question.

Greg: And he had to think about it. And he said, “Would you say that again but slower?”

Jim: (Laughter).

Greg: “Would I marry me?” I’ll never forget my mom. This is one of my favorite things my mom used to say to me. “Don’t look for the right person; become the right person.”

Jim: Oh, that is good.

Greg: You know, to have a great marriage, it requires two healthy individuals. Not perfect, knowing, again, this is a young man. He’s still trying to figure out who he is. But what I was looking for, though, is, is he aware of some of his challenges, some of his, um, weaknesses? What are some of his growth areas? So I asked him that. “What are some of the things that – what are some of your weaknesses? What are some of the challenges that you face and have faced?”

John: And I hear you saying that self-awareness is a real key element…

Greg: Yeah.

John: …Of the answer. That’s what you’re…

Greg: Yeah.

John: …Really driving at.

Greg: Right. Not that he had answers, not to where he would say, “Well, you know, here was a challenge. Here’s a growth area. Here’s a weakness, and I’ve got it all figured out.”

Jim: Yeah.

Greg: I was really looking for, is he aware that of his challenges, some of his growth areas? And then what is he doing about those? Is he willing to get help? Is he willing to go in and get counseling? And so just having that sort of conversation, it was really, really good. I asked him again, “What is it that – what’s Taylor’s biggest complaint about you?”

Jim: Oh, that’s a good one (laughter).

Greg: And I told him – now, this was, again, a place where I said, “Hey, I’m going to ask you something here. But I want you to know this is safe. Just relax. Let’s just have this conversation.”

Jim: You sound like a counselor.

Greg: “I’m not going to judge.” Yeah.

Jim: (Laughter).

Greg: “I’m not gonna – this isn’t a right or wrong.” But it also, though, required that I shared with him some of my own challenges – things that I face as a young husband, things that I dealt with because I wanted him – I wanted him to know that I’ve been through hard times. And I went and got counselling for those things. And that’s OK. And so to really better understand – that was the question that took the most time. We really, really talked through this – would you marry you?

Jim: Yeah, that’s good.

Greg: And, you know, and upon hearing his answers, I mean, he was, you know, “Yeah, I would.”


Jim: He’s changed. He’s trying to win ya.

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: Yeah. You had another really good one – are there any relational red flags? That’d be interesting to have that question asked of you as a young man or young woman from your future in-law.

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: How did that part of the conversation go with Caleb?

Greg: So the way you get at this is to have him describe their love story. A wonderful researcher, Dr. John Gottman can predict with 93% accuracy that couples who are likely to stay together or divorce simply based on how they describe their love story. So it’s a great way just to kind of better understand what I’m looking for is, did he feel pressured? Another red flag would be, “Well, we’ve dated for so long. And I’ve figured that I…”

Jim: It’s the normal next step.

Greg: “…Kind of owed it to her, normal next step. You know, I don’t think I could find anybody better.” I’m listening for abuse of any kind. Have, you know, how’s he handling anger in – are they living together? Is anyone feeling trapped or pressured? You know, for some, if there’s a pregnancy involved, well, that in and of itself is not a reason to get married. That’s a red flag. I would – if that was – had – if that had been the case, then I really would have wanted to better understand that. Drugs, alcohol, pornography – I mean, you think about what our young men and women face…

Jim: That’s true.

Greg: …In this day and age. I directly asked him, “Not if, talk to me about how you’ve dealt with pornography.”

Jim: Yeah. And this kind of sets up an important question because in Caleb, you found someone that the family could embrace. Obviously, your daughter said I do. And it’s all working well. What about that situation where there are red flags? You’ve had this discussion. And maybe you might have that with one of your other kids, and it’s not going well, and you have that intuition. And maybe Erin has that intuition…

Greg: Yeah.

Jim: …That this is not good. Speak to the parent that’s facing that right now. I mean, they’re in that moment where they’ve got a gut check that this person is not the right person for you. How did they manage that relational nightmare with a – maybe with a daughter who is really in love with this guy?

Greg: What I wanted Taylor to know first and foremost – so when Taylor and I talked about Caleb, I needed her to know that, Taylor, this is your choice. I told her, “I will walk you down the aisle to whomever you choose. That is your choice.” If there are concerns, then I want it to be honest in – so share with your daughter, share with this young man, so here’s some of my concerns that I have for you guys, you know, whatever those are. And then offer some sort of solution. So here’s my concern – you guys just met. I don’t believe you’ve had enough experiences together to really understand. So would you guys be willing maybe to wait a little bit longer? If you’ve identified one of those big red flags, would you be willing to go get premarital counseling, not so that I can bless this, it’s saying here’s some of my concerns, but ultimately, you guys, this is really your choice.

Jim: Here’s the wisdom that I know will work. You know, Greg, this is really good. And I know Caleb and Taylor have been married for a couple of years now. And it probably did a wonderful job of setting the foundation of the relationship that you have with Caleb.

Greg: It really did.

Jim: So you guys can talk about things.

Greg: Really did. What I’ve loved is there’s been multiple times within Caleb’s work as a rocket scientist (laughter), as an aerospace engineer…

Jim: He’s asking you questions? Greg.

Greg: Yeah, I know.

Jim: (Laughter).

Greg: Yeah, not technical questions. But what I’ve loved is he’s called me and said, “I’ve got this challenge at work with a supervisor or with a co-worker. What should I do?” And I’ve loved being able just to talk to – and I’ve loved just being able to talk about those things with him. And I know it’s because of this conversation…

Jim: Yeah. Greg, we’re right at the end. And one of the key things – you and Erin led the way on developing Ready to Wed, which is a resource here at Focus on the Family, a tool, uh, for parents, for young people to use to get that kind of premarital counseling. But the thing that always caught my attention with that program or that product is that – the data supporting the fact that if you get premarital counseling, you have a much greater chance of avoiding divorce. Mention that data to me again.

Greg: Yeah. For those couples who get at least 10 hours of good premarital education, 80% of those couples end up staying together.

Jim: So that’s – right there is a good reason to do that. I mean, if divorce rates are running 40%, 50% and this, uh, 10 hours of premarital counseling – and Ready to Wed is exactly geared to do that, to go through the right questions and, you know, talk to young people about what it means to be married – and that gives you an 80% success rate, that’s a good starting place.

Greg: Yeah. Why not give that as the gift? I actually handed Caleb Ready to Wed, the whole video series. And Taylor and Caleb chose a mentor couple. So obviously, Erin and I…

Jim: It’d be a little uncomfortable.

Greg: …Weren’t going to be – yeah, no.

Jim: (Laughter).

Greg: That would be weird.

Jim: “Dad, why do you always take his side, Dad?”

Greg: Exactly.


Greg: But they chose a mentor couple. They went through that.

Jim: Yeah.

Greg: And that can make such a big difference. So for those of us who are going to be going to weddings, why not give that as a gift? They don’t need another toaster. They don’t need another welcome mat. They need something that’s going to help them stay together, and Ready to Wed can really provide that.

Jim: Yeah. No, it’s a great resource. Greg, thanks so much for what you and Erin do here at Focus to help marriages not only survive but thrive in Christ. It’s so awesome. And there’s so many things going on here that you are leading in that way. So thank you for that leadership…

Greg: Oh, my pleasure.

Jim: …That you do every day

Greg: Thank you.

Jim: I mean, it’s kind of core, you know, foundational work that keep marriages together. And it’s working because of your leadership, so thank you for that. And let me remind you, these 12 thoughts – if you’re the father of sons, which, that’s me – I don’t have daughters. I don’t have to do that protection thing. But you know what I need to do – and I’ve done it with, uh, Greg’s 12 Questions – I’ve already begun to prime my boys for when their future father-in-law…

Greg: (Laughter).

Jim: …Might sit them down. And you’ve gotta be able…

Greg: It’s a cheat sheet for them.

Jim: …To answer these questions. And it’s great. I mean, Troy and Trent – they were into it, and they gave some good responses. Some silly ones…


Jim: …Because they’re not dating anybody. But, uh, that was one of them. “You know, Dad, maybe sometime when I date someone, I’ll need…

Greg: These’ll be helpful.

Jim: … the answers to these questions.” But the bottom line is these are great resources for you. We’ll have the 12 Questions, again, at the website. And you can get Ready to Wed right here through Focus on the Family.


John: And we’ll be happy to send a copy of the book, Ready to Wed, when you join our support team. Either a monthly pledge or a one-time gift of any amount, as our way of saying, “thank you” for making this kind of an outreach possible. Our number is 800-232-6459 Or online, we’re at

And I do hope that you can join us again tomorrow as Levi Lusko will help you declare war on your bad habits.


Levi Lusko: And so my eyes were opened to the fact that sometimes I think I’m complaining about, “Oh, the devil made me do this.” Or, “This is from the world.” And I think God kind of said, “Hey, pal. This was your own fault.”

End of Teaser

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