Focus on the Family Broadcast

Becoming Friends With Your In-Laws (Part 2 of 2)

Becoming Friends With Your In-Laws (Part 2 of 2)

Dr. Gary Chapman offers seven principles that will radically transform your relationship with your in-laws. By learning and practicing these basic communication skills, you will build and strengthen the connection you have with your spouse’s parents and siblings. It’s not an overnight process, but a journey that will revive and improve any relationship. (Part 2 of 2)
Original Air Date: July 8, 2015


Dr. Gary Chapman: Let me say a word to the parents themselves. Remember the objective in raising your children independence, you raise them to be able to go out on their own in the world and make a contribution. So don’t control them after they get married, you raise them to be independent.

End of Preview

John Fuller: This is Focus on the Family with your host, Focus president and author, Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller, and today we have more insights from Dr. Gary Chapman about fostering a stronger relationship with your in-laws.

Jim Daly: (laughs). I can imagine some people just rolled their eyes. “How can I build a better relationship with my in-laws?” Well, it’s not going to just happen. It takes a bit of work, but it is possible, especially if you’re aiming to honor the Lord, which should be our goal, as well as your relationship with your in-laws. Uh, last time we started exploring the seven principles that our guest, Dr. Gary Chapman, who’s always an A lister-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … has outlined in his book Happily Ever After. One of the sections in that book deals with how to build a stronger relationship with your in-laws. If you missed any part of the conversation last time, I hope you’ll go back and listen online or on our app, uh, or watch the video on the YouTube channel. That discussion and what you’re going to hear today will give you the tools you need to build that stronger relationship with your in-laws.

John: And you’re likely familiar with Dr. Chapman. He’s been, uh, here in the studio and with us a number of times. He’s perhaps best known for his book, the Five Love Languages. And today we’re referring to another great book that he wrote. It’s called Happily Ever After: Six Secrets to a Successful Marriage. And one of those traits is building a strong relationship with your in-laws. We do have the book here at Focus on the Family, all the details at Let’s pick up the conversation, uh, with Dr. Chapman. As Jim, you asked him about a rather humorous story.

Jim: You mentioned, and I’m not sure that these would be the, uh, same names, but Tim and Marie who told you about a situation (laughs) they were dealing with. Sorry. It’s just so funny. They put the kids down early. They were planning to have a nice romantic evening together with the kids falling asleep. And they’re right in the moment of passion and the doorbell rings (laughs). What, what happened?

Dr. Chapman: (laughs). Well, you could imagine it, it destroyed the evening for them. Okay.

Jim: And who was at the door?

Dr. Chapman: It was their parents.

Jim: (laughs).

Dr. Chapman: Well, the (laughs) parents. His parents, as a matter of fact. And this was not the first time, this was just the capstone, you know, they would just show up without calling.

Jim: Ah.

Dr. Chapman: They lived in the same town.

John: “We were in the neighborhood and thought…”

Dr. Chapman: Yeah. “And just dropped by to see you.” You know, and she had, the wife had already been concerned about this, you know, upset about this. “You know, they need to call us because sometimes I’m working with the kids and it’s not a good time for them to be coming. We want ’em to come, but if they just call and ask, you know, if it’s a good time.” And so this had been going on for a while, and this night was the night that just sent her over the top, you know.

Jim: (laughs). Don’t mess with that stuff. (laughs).

Dr. Chapman: Yeah. Yeah. And so, uh, they, they asked me what they should do and my response was that he needed to talk to his father-

Jim: Oh.

Dr. Chapman: … not his mother.

Jim: Dad to dad.

Dr. Chapman: Just tell his father exactly what happened that night. Oh. I said, “Your father will take care of your mother.” (laughs).

John: Did it work?

Dr. Chapman: And he did. And he did. (laughs). And, and she said his mother, “They did not come to see us for three weeks ’cause his mother was kind of upset with us.”

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: But at the end of the three weeks, she said everything went back to, you know, and they started calling and saying, “You know, we were thinking about coming by this afternoon, would that be a good time for us to come by or tomorrow?” You know? And she said, it worked out fine.

Jim: Let’s not be too hard on mother-in-law in that case. Talk about that emotional transition. She thinks she’s doing the right thing by stopping by.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah, absolutely.

Jim: And, and talk about her emotional issue there to feel hurt and wounded.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: And then for her to have to process the why.

Dr. Chapman: Because one of her responses was her son would always call her when he was coming over to her house to pick up some, some, uh, tools. He’d say, “Mom, would it be okay if I stop by and pick up a tool?” And she’d say, “Son, you don’t need to call your family. Just come on over.” And he said, “No, mom, I, I just want, you know…” So he was doing the right thing and but her attitude showed you she thought she was doing a good thing-

Jim: Right.

Dr. Chapman: … by coming-

Jim: She’s family.

Dr. Chapman: … coming to visit. There, “We’re family.” So you just show up. You don’t have to call to go see family, you know?

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Chapman: It took her a little while just to realize that though her intentions were good. It was not sitting well with her son and her daughter-in-law. And she recognized that. And so they got in the pattern of calling and it was, they negotiated the settlement, but he had to talk to them first before… Nothing would’ve happened if he had not shared that with his father.

Jim: Right. And again, in your book, Happily Ever After, uh, you talk about these seven principles and learning, uh, to show respect, that’s one of them.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: And it’s gotta go both ways, right?

Dr. Chapman: Yeah. Yeah. The respect has to go both ways. I think young married couples have to show respect to their parents on both sides, even if they’re not respectable. And let’s face it, some parents aren’t respectable.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Chapman: They don’t live respectable lives, but his parents gave life to him. And therefore you need to honor the parents for giving him life, even if they don’t live responsible lives. And so we honor them and we do that in several ways. I think we do that by keeping in touch with them. You know, if it’s, uh, local, you can see each other, have dinner together, have lunch together from time to time. If it’s long distance, you can send emails or text or, or, you know, call ’em on the phone.

John: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Chapman: So we honor our, our in-laws by keeping in touch with them. And it doesn’t, and there’s no magic number of how often do you do that, but you keep in touch with them. And I think we also honor them by praying for them.

Jim: Hmm.

Dr. Chapman: You know, praying that God will bless their lives and their ministry and, and, and our relationship. So, uh, you know, we, we have the responsibility to honor our parents, but we cannot allow our parents to interfere with the wellbeing of our marriage. And this is where we have to make our own decisions. One of the common complaints is, uh, a wife, I remember the wife who said, “You know, I thought I was marrying Jake. I really found out I was marrying Jake and his parents.”

Jim: Mm-hmm. That’s true. Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: “Because every decision we made, he had to run by his parents, make sure it was okay with them.” And she said, “It just irritated me to death, you know.” And, and what I said is this, “It’s fine to listen to your parents. That’s a way of honoring them. If they wanna share their ideas on whatever the topic is and whatever the decision is, let them share their ideas. You receive that as information, but you go home and the two of you decide what you’re going to do, you make your decisions, not your parents.”

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Chapman: And if the parents get upset, then give them the freedom to be upset.

Jim: Right.

Dr. Chapman: You know, and they’ll likely get over it once they begin to realize that things are different. Now you’re married and the two of you’re making decisions.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: And you don’t have to run everything by them. And another area, Jim, that I think, uh, is often, uh, young couples make a mistake, is they will have conflicts themselves. And she goes home to her mother and talks about their conflicts-

Jim: Hmm.

Dr. Chapman: … and tells her mother what’s going on in their conflicts.

Jim: Well, let me ask you, is some of that helpful? Or is it always harmful?

Dr. Chapman: It may be if the mother-in-law’s a counselor, (laughs).

Jim: (laughs), well-trained.

Dr. Chapman: But most of the time your parents are not in the best position to be your counselor.

Jim: What, what motivates the daughter to, to do that? She’s gonna find comfort there.

Dr. Chapman: Comfort there. Right.

Jim: But it does create a wedge-

Dr. Chapman: It does.

Jim: … which is what we’re pointing to.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah, yeah. It, it does. And I think, you know, what happened was she would go home and share with her mother, then two days later, he would apologize to her and they’d make everything right. But she didn’t tell her mother about that.

Jim: Right.

Dr. Chapman: So three or four or five of these conflict areas, her mother’s began to think he’s a big bad wolf. You know?

Jim: Right.

Dr. Chapman: And so they built, she’s built up a real barrier between her, her mother, and him.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: So I, I say, you know, typically better to go to a trusted older friend and share conflicts, you know, or-

Jim: Right.

Dr. Chapman: … a pastor or someone that you trust. And I’m not saying never go to your parents, but that should not be the pattern that you’re running to them with every little difficulty that the two of you have.

Jim: Well, and that’s true. I mean, I’m, uh, in more serious situations, there may be some things that are going on that, um, talking to your, your dad or your mom or both-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: … would be helpful. I’m thinking of an abusive situation.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah, absolutely.

Jim: And that’s usually mom and dad are gonna be aware of it, and then you need to quickly decide to get help and get safety.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: That would be the right thing to do. But those are severe-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: … situations. Uh, I appreciate that. You’re kind of talking in one of the seven key directions that you highlight in the book, and that is to speak for yourself.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: Now, my sense is that husbands tend to not force themselves in this area very much. That’s just my assumption. So when your wife is talking about your mom and your dad being too engaged or whatever it might be, I would think that the normal thing is that a lot of husbands roll over and say, “Okay, well, let me know what you want me to do.” Is that fair? That that would be the normal thing? That there’s not a lot of, there may be conflict, but it’s passive conflict. In other words, the husband is saying, “Okay, I’ll talk to my mom about it,” and then maybe he does or doesn’t.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah. Yeah. It depends on the personality of the individual. Some guys use that as a cop out. They’ll just say, “Okay, I’ll take care of it.” They don’t intend to do anything. They think time will take care of it.

Jim: And that can create, that can create friction.

Dr. Chapman: That creates more friction. Yeah. But I think to be honest with each other and share your feelings, your ideas with each other about whatever the situation is. Because the husband often will not feel the way the wife does.

Jim: Right.

Dr. Chapman: For example, I remember the wife complained, she said, “His parents give us money every month to pay our bills.” She said, “That’s not right.”

Jim: Huh.

Dr. Chapman: And he said, “What’s wrong with that (laughs)? What’s wrong with that? You know, free money (laughs).”

Jim: Yeah (laughs).

Dr. Chapman: And, and so she had to hear his perspective, he had to hear her perspective, and they had to find a meeting place on that.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: You know, as to what they, what do they want together, what did they want? Because the parents were just trying to be helpful.

Jim: Yeah. But it is an issue of independence.

Dr. Chapman: It is. Yeah.

Jim: How did that one turn out, by the way?

Dr. Chapman: Well, what happened was he got a better job about two months later, (laughs) and was making enough money to pay the bills.

Jim: Right.

Dr. Chapman: And then he agreed. “Okay. You know, to be honest with you, honey, I couldn’t, we could not have made it without their help.”

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: “But now that I’ve got a better job, we, we can make it.” And so.

Jim: And that, that’s a good thing. You just, you don’t want to have strings attached to that-

Dr. Chapman: Absolutely.

Jim: … as the daughter-in-law, you want to be careful that that doesn’t come at a cost-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: … that’s too high a price.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah. And again, let me just say to the parents, always ask your children, “Would it be helpful to you if we did so-and-so?”

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: And if they say, “Yes, that would be very helpful,” then fine. And if they say, “You know, really, we, we prefer you not do that,” then respect that. Respect their wishes.

Jim: Gary, one of the, the things that I took away from the book that spoke to my heart was this idea of making requests, not demands. That applies in every aspect of our life. It’s not just how you deal with your in-laws, it’s how you deal with your spouse. Even, uh, to some degree with your older kids, you know, when they-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: … become teenagers, you want them to begin to think independently and, and you still have control. But I just found that to be one of the best aspects of what you’re saying. Learn how to make requests, not demands.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: Give us a practical example of how that plays out in the, in-law battles.

Dr. Chapman: Well, the one that jumps to my mind was the, the parents who were reluctant to take their grand, grandchildren over to see the grandparents because the grandfather was an alcoholic.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Chapman: And, uh, they’d been over there a couple times when he was drunk.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: And they did not want their children to be exposed to that.

Jim: Now that makes sense.

Dr. Chapman: It makes a lot of sense. And so the son talked to his father and his, and his mother together and said, “You know, here’s the situation. And Dad, I know you know that you drink and I can’t make you stop drinking, but I’m gonna request that when my children come over here, you not be drinking before that. You know, so that you’ll be sober when they come because we, we want them to love and respect you.” And he made that request to his father. And his father said, “I’ll try to do that.” And for a little while he did. But on one occasion they came over and he was drunk. And so after the next week he said to his father, he said, “Dad, if, you know, I, I’m willing to be forgiving one time, but if that happens again, we won’t bring the kids back for a month. I just want you to know that’s how important it is to us. I want my kids to know you, but I don’t want my kids to be exposed to that behavior.”

Jim: Wow.

Dr. Chapman: And so his father after that acquiesced in that.

Jim: That’s amazing. I mean, the fortitude of that young man, he learned-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: … a lot growing up in an alcoholic home.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: That took a lot of courage-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah, it did.

Jim: … for that young-

Dr. Chapman: And it takes a lot of courage to talk to your parents about-

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: … anything. I mean, you know, if it’s a conflicting a- area.

Jim: Sure. How do you, um, how do you measure that? How do you, as the son or daughter, you’re now in your 20s and 30s, maybe 40s, and your kids are coming over there and you have that, how, how do you muster the courage to confront a parent that maybe their behavior is that bad-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: … and you’ve, to some degree, you’ve been under their control? And there’s, you know, organizations, I mean adults of alcoholic parents that exist to help you cope-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: … in areas that you didn’t learn good coping skills in the first place.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: H- how does a person find that courage? Where do you go?

Dr. Chapman: I think what we have to do as a couple is to recognize that if we don’t confront the issues, they will not go away. The passing of time does not solve anything.

Jim: Or looking the other way.

Dr. Chapman: Or looking the other way. And if we think this is important for us and our, our children, then we have to find the courage to go do that. And I think, yes, again, prayer is important. We ask God to guide us. We ask God to give us wisdom and how to express it-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Chapman: … so that we’re not going over there, you know, with demands, but we’re going over there with requests. And uh, yes, there does come a time if they don’t acquiesce in our request, that we make the decision, you know, the consequences are there. But we’re not going over there and say, “You’ve got to do this and you’ve got to do it now.” I mean, that just destroys the relationship further.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Chapman: But if you request and tell why you’re requesting, most of the time in-laws will understand that. And even if they don’t respond exactly at the timetable you wish they would, they will come around.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

John: Dr. Gary Chapman is our guest today on Focus on the Family. And whether you are the in-laws on the parent side or the younger couple, trying to kind of navigate some of those conversations, you’re gonna find more help in Gary’s book, Happily Ever After: Six Secrets to a Successful Marriage. Get the book and donate online at Let’s go ahead now and get back to that conversation with Dr. Gary Chapman.

Jim: Gary, let’s, uh, talk at length about what I think is, again, one of the most important… I keep saying that with each one, don’t I, John? But that idea that love is above everything else, um, that you can actually be good friends with your in-laws-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: … as a goal. Um, how do you, how do you set the compass to move in that direction? How do you put love above all when you have irritation under it all (laughs)?

Dr. Chapman: Oh, well, I think you have to recognize that love really does reach out to try to create a positive relationship. If it’s not there, then love says, “I really want to have a better relationship.” And one of the things I suggest in the book is the in-law with whom you’re having trouble, take them to lunch and sit down and spend expended time asking them questions about their past, about their childhood, about their own marriage, how they met each other. How did their early years go? And the more you get to know your in-law, the better you’re gonna understand their behavior.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: And the more you ask questions of them, they begin to ask questions of you. And let’s face it, friendships are developed with conversations.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: You can’t stay away from your in-laws and expect things to get better.

Jim: You know, one of the things I remember with, uh, Jean’s dad, it was really interesting ’cause um, Jean would say that, you know, they weren’t really open with their early years and she didn’t know a lot about, um, how they met and those kinds of things. And, and there may have been details there that they didn’t want to talk about, I don’t know. But it was really interesting in-laws can sometimes have the ability to, uh, ask questions that maybe are too tough for the family to ask.

Dr. Chapman: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Have you ever found that? So I can remember we had a video, uh, recorder ’cause Jean, this really troubled jean ’cause she wanted our boys to know some of her dad and mom’s family history and that.

Dr. Chapman: Mm-hmm.

Jim: So we were on vacation together. So we were in the hotel room and I got out the video machine. I just started asking her dad questions.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: You know, “Where’d you grow up? And what was it like?” And he was very vulnerable and shared-

Dr. Chapman: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … tough stuff, and did it all gladly on the video. And I walked away going, “That wasn’t difficult.” But Jean was saying, “Oh my goodness, I couldn’t believe that he was answering those questions.”

Dr. Chapman: (laughs).

Jim: Uh, that could be a positive thing too. Sometimes you get-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: … a little more latitude than what the, the-

Dr. Chapman: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … close family members would get.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah. I think that’s true. And I think it’s extremely important for us to build those kind of relationships with our in-laws. We already have some kind of relationship with our parents, but the in-laws are new people and we don’t know much about them. And the only way you find out is to ask questions. And asking questions shows that you’re interested in them. You want to know about them. You want to know what their life has been like. And most in-laws respond positive to that.

Jim: Sometimes generationally that can make a difference. I know the older generation, they were a little more close to those things, how they met-

Dr. Chapman: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … because circumstances may have been not as pristine as the, what they would like now. They’ve got the advantage of wisdom and years and they would not tell you as a child of theirs what they did in their 20s.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, that’s normal for parents, right?

Dr. Chapman: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: So you did, it’s a matter of just talking with them and being interested. I think that is a great way to go. And that’s how you build friendship, isn’t it?

Dr. Chapman: It is indeed. Yeah. And becoming friends with your in-laws is worth the time and effort.

John: What about the person that marries into a family and wants that level of friendship, but just can’t? I mean, it, it may be the guy cannot connect with the dad or the, the new wife cannot connect with the mom. I mean, that, that has to be somewhat common. Uh, how do you get to a point of accepting it’s not gonna be what I hear Dr. Chapman saying?

Dr. Chapman: Yeah. Well, it takes two people to have a friendship. One can reach out, one can try, one can do even what I’ve suggested in terms of conversations and the other person can still shut you out. Maybe they didn’t want you to marry their son or their daughter anyway, (laughs). And they’d have a little resentment about that-

John: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Chapman: … and they haven’t gotten over it. And so they tend to cut you out of things. Uh, maybe they’ll invite y- your husband over for a dinner and don’t invite you.

John: Oh.

Dr. Chapman: That hurts. You know? Uh, so it’s expressed in different ways. And I think we have to recognize that ultimately we have to give our in-laws freedom to reject us if that’s what they choose to do.

John: Hmm. You know-

Jim: That takes great courage.

John: I know, it’s hard.

Dr. Chapman: God gives us freedom to reject him. It must hurt God and it hurts us, but there are some people who will reject you no matter what you do.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Chapman: You can’t make people love you.

Jim: And what you-

Dr. Chapman: And we have to recognize that.

Jim: What you’re getting at there, Gary, again, it, it, it impacts so many areas of our lives, but you’re talking about expectations. So when you get married, you think it will flow in a certain direction.

Dr. Chapman: Mm-hmm.

Jim: That’s an expectation. “I’ll have good relationships with my mother-in-law, with my father-in-law.” And then you get into it and they don’t invite you into the family, so to speak.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: You feel it, it may not even be verbalized, but you’re not invited to certain things to participate and, uh, it can really hurt and wound. But to have that ability, that maturity to say, “Okay, it’s their choice.”

Dr. Chapman: Mm-hmm.

Jim: “If they don’t wanna love me-“

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: “… I can’t control that.” But that is painful. And then how do you, the next step then is how do you have the pillow talk with their son or daughter-

Dr. Chapman: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … which is your spouse?

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: How do you convey to them, “It hurts, but I’ll accept it?”

Dr. Chapman: Yeah. Well I think essentially you do that, you simply say to them, “You know, if you have any other ideas, I’m certainly willing to try them, but I’ve tried everything I know to do to get along with your mother and just seems to me like she didn’t want me to be around. So if you have any other ideas, I’m open. Otherwise, I’m just gonna accept that, that we’re not gonna have a close relationship and, uh, hope that maybe someday her attitude will change or something will happen.”

John: I can hear a husband who wants to fix things, giving one or two answers there. “Well, you just need to tell her or I’ll talk to her.” And neither of those seem like they would be very appropriate, um, pieces of advice to give.

Jim: Well, it sounds like it’s not logical, so it’s hard to fight illogical-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … irrational behavior with logic and patience.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah. And when you’ve done everything, you know, to do already trying to reach out, trying to build a relationship, I think we just have to recognize the reality. You can’t build a relationship by yourself. There has to be some response on the part of the other person.

Jim: Well, at some point the healthy response that you’re saying is there’s something broken in the person’s heart.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: You know, they’re not willing. There’s gotta be pain, there’s gotta be something that’s happened-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: … in that person that is preventing them from even being open to a relationship-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: … even if it’s mediocre.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: So, uh, let me give you another hypothetical, Gary. And I think some people are caught in this kind of situation, kind of that sandwich generation, you know, where you have kids that are just being launched at the same time you have parents relying upon you. Um, someone close to me has been in that space. Uh, they have made decisions with their spouse, uh, to limit their career advancement. Um, they chose to be near the in-laws, his in-laws, in order to give the grandkids the opportunity to know the grandparents. Um, and then by the time it was ready to find that better career experience, maybe outside of that geographical area, moving out of the small town, now grandma’s sick and no one else is here to take care of her. And your wife is saying, “I’ve gotta take care of my mom.” Um, you could feel trapped in that situation.

John: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah. I think you can. And I think you have to stop and analyze your situation and ask yourself the question, “Do I regret the decisions that I made to allow my children to have contact with their grandmother or grandfather? Do I regret that?” Well, you can undo it, but you can, you’re trying to identify, you know. And then, and then again, “Do I at this juncture want to abandon my mother-in-law that she’s sick?” Or, you know, if it’s a matter of survival in terms of, you know, having enough money to survive and a job to survive, you might just say to your wife, “You know, honey, I’ve got a job. It’s 600 miles away. We can take your mother with us and we’ll take care of her there. You know, we’ll still be together, it’s just gonna be a different place. But right now I don’t see how we’re gonna survive here because I’ve been for six months looking for a job and I can’t find one.”

Jim: Hmm.

Dr. Chapman: And at that juncture, the wife may be willing to, to go with that.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: You know, you, you’re still, so you’re doing both. You’re providing for the family, but you’re also taking care of the mother-in-law.

Jim: Yeah. These are difficult intersections where life is messy.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: Family life is messy. And Gary, I so appreciated, uh, your wisdom and writing the book Happily Ever After that addresses not only the in-law issue, but so many other issues. Uh, thanks for being with us today.

Dr. Chapman: Well, thank you. Always good to be with you.

John: I so appreciate the expert advice we’ve heard today from Dr. Gary Chapman on Focus on the Family. Uh, he always speaks with grace and wisdom and I’m really grateful for the insight he provided today.

Jim: Gary is so good at helping us learn how to navigate problems in marriage. Whether we’re dealing with issues between us as husband and wife, or external situations like in-laws. Here at Focus on the Family, we want to help you have a thriving Christ-centered relationship with your spouse because marriage is the bedrock for the family. That’s where it all starts. But we’re seeing so many unhealthy messages from the culture as well as growing economic challenges in our nation. And that means more and more marriages are in trouble. Our Hope Restored Marriage Intensives can help, highly qualified marriage counselors walk couples through their issues and concentrate and develop ways to make their relationship better.

John: Yeah. A few years ago, Dena and I, uh, wanted to refresh our marriage. We needed, uh, kind of a reset. We went to one of the Hope Restored Intensives, and my goodness, we had such great experiences there and such practical information.

Jim: I’m so proud of you and Dena for doing it, John. And uh, the point is it really works. And you heard from John, more than 80% of surveyed participants are still married two years after they go to Hope Restored, and they have significant improvement in their marital satisfaction as well. Currently, we have locations in Missouri, Georgia, Michigan, and a new location in the Phoenix area. It’s a temporary spot. We’re currently building the permanent facility there, along with, uh, a location outside of Austin and Wimberley, Texas. Um, all of those will be up and running over the next couple of months. So I want to ask you, will you help us in this ministry to help couples? I think it’s the paramount mission right now is to save marriages, which ironically will help save the culture. Your support of Focus on the Family allows us to continue providing resources like Hope Restored, this broadcast podcast, counseling resources, print and online materials, mentoring, training, uh, special events, and much, much more. Any amount makes an impact. And we’ve crunched the numbers. Just $30 saves a marriage through our Hope Restored Marriage Intensives and other resources. And I would say, isn’t that remarkable? $30. When you donate today, and no amount is too small, we’ll send you a copy of Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, Happily Ever After: Six Secrets to a Successful Marriage, as our way of saying thank you for being a part of the team to help save marriages.

John: And right now through a matching opportunity provided by generous friends who care about marriages and family, your gift will be doubled to impact twice as many marriages. Donate and request your copy of Happily Ever After at Or when you call 800 the letter A and the word FAMILY. That’s 800-232-6459. Well plan to be with us next time as we hear from Arlene Pellicane. She’ll have some great insights about raising godly kids in today’s difficult culture.


Arlene Pellicane: If you’re going to have the rules, you also have to have fun time that you need that relationship with your child. That you have to ask yourself, “Are there times that I’m actually having fun with my child? Like, do we laugh together? Do we smile together? Do you know… If I was my child and I had to look at my face (laughs) all day long, you know, would I be afraid or would I be okay with this?” And for a parent, you need to ask this question ’cause it’s true. You do need the rules, but you must have the relationship or those rules don’t mean a thing.

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Today's Guests

Happily Ever After: Six Secrets to a Successful Marriage

Receive Happily Ever After for your donation of any amount! Through your support of Focus on the Family, you’ll save marriages through efforts like our Hope Restored marriage intensives. And right now, DOUBLE YOUR DOLLARS to impact twice as many marriages through a $1.4 MILLION matching opportunity provided by generous friends of the ministry.

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