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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Best of 2022: Simple Habits to Embrace in Your Marriage

Best of 2022: Simple Habits to Embrace in Your Marriage

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


Dr. Randy Schroeder: And I always ask couples, “When was the last time you had a 10-minute eye-to-eye, consistent eye contact with each other, purposely focused eye contact, without any distractions, cellphone in the other room, TV off?” Almost every couple that comes to see me will say, “We can’t remember.”

End of Preview

John Fuller: What a great question and wise insight from Dr. Randy Schroeder, and he’ll be offering more insights to help you better understand and enjoy your spouse on today’s episode of Focus on the Family. It’s a Best of 2022 program, and thanks for joining us today. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly and I’m John Fuller.

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

John: Right. If you’re in trouble, if you’re, uh, feeling like, “We’re in a crisis we can’t pull up,” uh, give us a call. We have, really, a terrific team of caring counselors, 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. As you said, though, Jim, this is more of a tune-up for couples, and I think it’s gonna help a lot of folks feel like they’re closer.

Jim: Uh-huh.

John: As I said, we have Dr. Randy Schroeder here. He’s a pastor, former seminary professor, and has been a marriage and family counselor for over 30 years. And, uh, Randy’s been married to Ginny for over 45 years and they have two children, and, is this right, six grandchildren. Uh, his book is going to be the foundation of our conversation today. It’s called Simple Habits for Marital Happiness: Practical Skills and Tools That Build a Strong, Satisfying Relationship.

Jim: Uh, Randy, welcome back to Focus on the Family (laughs).

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

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

Randy: Great question and it always begins, Jim and John, with, I think, expectations, the big E.

Jim: That’s so true.

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

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

Randy: Uh-huh.

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

Randy: Uh-huh.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: She wasn’t happy about that (laughing) because that’s not a properly rated movie.

Randy: Uh-huh.

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

Randy: Yeah, yeah.

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

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

Jim: Yeah.

Randy: … and you and Jean talking about that.

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

John: 37.

Jim: Yeah, so you think-

Randy: Congratulations to both of you. That’s terrific.

Jim: Well, thanks.

Randy: That is terrific.

Jim: And you’re 45, right?

Randy: Uh, 46.

Jim: 46. I mean, that is great.

Randy: Yeah. Yeah.

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

Randy: Yes, sir.

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

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

Jim: Yeah, this is happy time.

Randy: Yeah. Th-

Jim: Kids are gone.

Randy: Well-

Jim: This is time to enjoy life (laughs).

Randy: … if you, uh, a big, a big range, 25 to 35 years-

Jim: Yeah.

Randy: … is, uh, seeing-

Jim: Is dangerous.

Randy: … a lot, a lot of couples getting, getting divorced. It’s-

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

Randy: Well, they just … there was no unfaithfulness, but they just weren’t happy. They were not meeting each other’s expectations without knowing how to make the expectations known and I think that is the key. I, I’m on a mission to share with couples practical, specific behaviors, words, and guidelines that make a difference. And so they came to see me. Uh, with every premarital couple, uh, Jim and John, with every couple, in the first couple sessions, I talk about expectations and I talk about being specific. Oftentimes, what I’ll do, I’ll have a couple make a list of their top 10 expectations for their marriage.

Randy: And so I explained expectations to this couple in the first session, because they were in a crisis, and then I asked them, “For the next seven days, will you please,” and I think requests are better than commands, which are sentences,” will you please ask one expectation of each other every day? It doesn’t have to be anything big. Will you please put your shoes in the closet when you come home? You know, will you please put your clothes in the laundry rather than throw them on the floor?” So 14 total expectations, they came back the next week and they both had smiles on their faces and they said, “We want you to know we contacted our lawyers and told them we’re putting our divorce on hold, and we want you, Dr. Schroeder, to give us the specific, practical words, behaviors, and guidelines that lead to a satisfying Christian marriage.”

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

Randy: Yeah, yeah, yes, sir.

Jim: … those things that are going to irritate you, and, and I would say the other aspect of this is don’t assume your spouse knows what your, your expectations (laughs) are.

Randy: And then need to be specific. You know, when couples make a list of their top 10 expectations premaritally, you know, ’cause I do it with premarital couples too, they’ll say, “Go to church.”

John: Sure.

Randy: Well, that’s a good expectation, but what church, you know? How often are you going to go to church, once a month, once, uh, a year, Christmas and Easter, every Sunday? So it’s good to be specific with those expectations.

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

Randy: These are … I, I really wish I had called them stay-in-love habits. These, they are fall-in-love habits that need to become stay-in-love habits. And so what do all couples, premaritally, do? Well, they go on a variety of dates and they, uh, do a lot of fun things together all the time-

John: Mm-hmm.

Randy: … and they also look into each other’s eyes. They make, uh, the, uh, heart … the Bible says the heart, the eye is the lamp of the body. They look into each other’s eyes and they make a heart connection and they talk hours and hours premaritally and, again, they’re meeting each other’s expectations and then, premaritally, they give each other lengthy hugs and lingering kisses, and those four fall-in-love habits need to continue, Jim and John, after marriage. Unfortunately, after the second or third year of marriage, I would suggest to you, have no scientific facts, 95% of couples stop doing the fall-in-love habits and, and that’s what causes their hearts to go cold, what causes them to drift apart, what causes them to stop making their expectations known.

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

Randy: Yes, sir.

Jim: … again, not serious-

Randy: Yeah.

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

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

Jim: Right.

Randy: … they’re not going to be emotionally connected. And the, uh, I, I would ask your listeners, Jim, and I always ask couples, “When was the last time you had a 10-minute eye-to-eye heart contact, consistent eye contact with each other, purposefully focused eye contact, without any distractions, cellphone in the other room, TV off?” Almost every couple that comes to see me will say, “We can’t remember.”

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Yeah.

Randy: “We can’t remember the last time we spent-”

Jim: That’s interesting.

Randy: “… 10 minutes,” because couples are, you know, they may cook dinner together, clean up the, uh, dishes together, but it’s just passing eye contact. Just to look into each there’s eyes, like the three of us are doing, just doesn’t happen after the second or third year of marriage. Complacency sets in.

Jim: I think that’s so good.

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

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

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

Jim: That’s all, yeah, all those things.

Randy: Yeah. Yeah.

John: Mm-hmm.

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

John: Mm-hmm.

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

Randy: Well, I actually was going to … I’m glad you said that, Jim (laughing) and I’m glad we’re talking about this. So what inside the nines means is there’s never a serious discussion before 9:00 in the morning or after 9:00 at night. When I ask couples, “When was the last time you had a big blow-up?”, almost 100% of the time, they’ll say before 9:00 in the morning or after 9:00 at night. Now, Jim, you mentioned the eights, (laughing) I’ll, and, and I … one, one of the, one of the things-

Jim: Can we stretch it a little?

Randy: … I love about you, Jim, is your sense of humor, (laughing) uh, but, yeah, I tell couples massage those guidelines. You know, but the thing is, when we’re tired, early in the morning or late at night, our feelings are tender and so, even though I’m a marriage expert and have helped thousands of couples, my wife and I abide by that guideline because, if we don’t have the energy, what do we do? We blame our spouses and we don’t look for solutions. So some couples, Jim, based on your eights, will say, “We’re not going to have a serious discussion before 10:00 in the morning.”

Jim: Right.

Randy: “We both are not energized to look for solutions. We’re going to look for blame,” or, “We’re not going to have a serious discussion after 8:00 at night.”

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

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

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

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I think I’m more of a like sit across the table from you, here’s where we’re going to go (laughs)-

Randy: Yes, sir.

Jim: … competitive mentality, you know.

Randy: Well, and, and that puts, you’re right, Jim, that kind of puts that wall there-

Jim: Yeah.

Randy: … and, and I, uh, I appreciate you having me, in the spring, to talk about my parenting book. I suggest the same guideline to parents is to sit at the kitchen table-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Randy: … uh, when they talk to their kids so they’re … can listen and have good eye contact.

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

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

Jim: Yeah.

Randy: … and that makes a big difference.

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

Randy: Great, great, yeah, great insight, Jim. Again, (laughing) you’re, you’re right, what, uh, what one defines as a scratch could be a cut, you know, and, and so that could lead-

Jim: Or everything’s, uh, uh-

Randy: … yeah, that can lead to issues.

Jim: … a cut or a scratch.

Randy: Yeah. If, if one, uh … well, what does the Bible say, uh, uh, gentle words create life and health, griping brings discouragement. And so griping all the time, God’s telling us in His word, don’t do that, that brings discouragement, and so we got to let those scratches go. So if I, uh … and, and it … the, going back to the hug and the kiss, Jim and John, Ginny and I giving each other a lengthy hug, lingering kiss every day, and it’s an odd day, hopefully, it becomes natural, but it’s an odd day and I co- … or come home and forget to give that to Ginny, hopefully, if I’ve done it 300 days in a row, she would forgive me and say, “Randy just forgot,” (laughing) not, not that she couldn’t initiate, but, hopefully, she would just view that as a scratch-

Jim: Right.

Randy: … you know, and just kind of let it go and so not deal with it.

Jim: You use an analogy of wallpaper, um, uh, about the importance of apologizing and forgiving. How, how does that work (laughs)? These are so catchy, that’s why they do work.

Randy: If this room, and I know there’s brick on the wall, but let’s say there wasn’t any brick, if this room was filled with steam and we wanted to wallpaper to beautify this room, uh, we could try to wallpaper til Jesus returns, (laughs) but the, the walls will be damp and the wallpaper would just keep sliding down. So what we would need to do is open the door, let the steam out of the room, let the walls dry, and then we can wallpaper the room and beautify it. Likewise, in a marriage, when a marriage is struggling, the heart is filled with the steam of bitterness and resentment and apologizing and forgiving allows that steam to leave the heart so that the, the heart can be beautified. The, the … we talked about the stay-in-love habits, the hug, the kiss, the eye-to-eye heart talk, that’s not going to stick if there has not been apologizing and forgiving for a cut or laceration to get that steam of bitterness out of the heart. That needs to be there first. And forgiveness is the core of our Christian faith. There are 125 references in the Bible to the importance of forgiveness for interpersonal relationships, and so that is the glue for brokenness, for my marriage when it happens, for your marriage, for every marriage.

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

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

Jim: Yeah.

Randy: “… being unfaithful.”

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

Randy: Yes, sir.

Jim: … in that situation and, you know, there has to be balance in that, that people need to be responsible. We don’t have time to cover all that. I do want to address, uh, and I think from the wife’s perspective, if I can speak for Jean, (laughing) but that, that concept that maybe the wife feels like she is trying, she is putting in the effort, what we’ve talked about today may provide some additional tools that she hasn’t thought about, but it’s a very uneven effort, “I’m giving 100% and he’s only giving 20%.” What does she do with that angst, uh, so she doesn’t get the, uh, humidity or the, uh, steam of bitterness?

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

Jim: Most typically.

Randy: Yeah, most typically.

Jim: Yeah.

Randy: Yeah, I should say generally speaking, yeah.

Jim: Yeah. Yeah.

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

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

Randy: Exactly. He can pick one out, she can pick one out, and if it’s two a week, and just say, “Hey, let’s talk about this. This is specific words and behaviors and guidelines that we can use and let’s just talk about it,” and it doesn’t take that long.

Jim: Yeah.

Randy: And he, and he’ll get on board with that, but he won’t get on board with, “Here’s a great big book-”

Jim: A PhD dissertation (laughing).

Randy: “… with, with a lot of, yeah, with a lot of di-, with a lot of diagrams and, uh, a lot of concepts and a lot of philosophies and this is ex- explanation of marriage.” They won’t get into that.

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

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

John: Some great advice for married couples today on a Best of 2022 Focus on the Family, and I hope you’ve been inspired by Dr. Randy Schroeder’s ideas to improve your relationship with your spouse.

Jim: And I hope, you know, Focus on the Family is here for you. Uh, we want to give you the resources you need to end the year strong in your marriage. One way to kick off that journey is through our marriage assessment. It takes just a few minutes to complete and it will point out some areas that you’re doing really well in and then some areas that probably need some improvement, and it’s absolutely free.

John: Yeah, it’s a great conversation starter with your spouse, and then we, uh, do have Dr. Randy’s terrific book, Simple Habits for Marital Happiness, uh, right here at the ministry.

Jim: Uh, the great thing about getting it from us is that all the proceeds go right back into ministry. We’re not paying shareholders anything and, as we approach the holidays, it’s more important than ever to share the hope that Jesus Christ came to give each one of us. Uh, with overwhelming inflation and high costs for food and fuel and marriages that are struggling, uh, we need inspiration from the Lord.

John: Yeah, this is a tough, uh, time of year for a lot of people and, uh, thousands reach out to Focus on the Family by phone, mail, and email. They’re seeking answers.

Jim: They are, John, and this time of year is also an opportunity to come alongside those facing challenges and give families hope through your support of Focus on the Family. Your prayers and financial gifts provide scripture-based resources and programs to strengthen marriages and help strengthen parents as well and, when you donate today, a gift of any amount, we’ll send you a copy of Dr. Randy’s book, Simple Habits for Marital Happiness, as our way of saying thank you for partnering with us. So on behalf of the families you’ll be reaching through Focus on the Family, let me say thank you.

John: And, right now, through a special year-end matching opportunity, your gift is going to be doubled dollar for dollar and so donate and God will use your gift to bring healing and redemption to twice as many couples. Donate today and get your copy of Simple Habits for Marital Happiness when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, 800-232-6459, or online at

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

Today's Guests

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Simple Habits for Marital Happiness: Practical Skills and Tools That Build a Strong Satisfying Relationship

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How to Be a Prayer Warrior for Your Child

Dr. Erwin Lutzer shows parents how to abandon their routine lists of requests and trade them for scriptural prayers, immersing them in God’s promises and will.

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Creating a Marriage Full of Love and Laughter

Lisa Jacobson and Phylicia Masonheimer discuss the series of “flirtation experiments” they created to rekindle their connection with their husbands. Through simple acts of love and kindness, these women were able to start a chain reaction that resulted in happier, stronger marriages.

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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.