Custom CSS of Section contains Conditional Preview for See Life Campaign Elements

Focus on the Family Broadcast

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Enjoying Mealtime as a Family

Enjoying Mealtime as a Family

Ted Cunningham offers practical suggestions for making family mealtimes more meaningful in a discussion based on his book Come to the Family Table: Slowing Down to Enjoy Food, Each Other and Jesus.
Original Air Date: May 5, 2017

Preview:

Ted Cunningham: We want our kids to walk away from our family table when they leave our home going, “That was a place that was slow. It was enjoyable.” Uh, we always want that family table to be a place where they long to come back to. We want them to come back. We want them to bring their children. We want them to bring our grandchildren.

End of Preview

John Fuller: Ted Cunningham is our guest today on Focus on the Family sharing his hopes for many family memories to be, uh, happening around the dinner table for years to come. Your host is Focus president, Jim Daly, I’m John Fuller. And Jim, I think this is, uh, one of those things people want family dinner time to be a place of good conversation and laughter and fun and togetherness.

Jim Daly: It definitely is important. It’s certainly important in our home, John. Uh, we love it and there are different reasons, uh, why it doesn’t work for everyone, schedules and those kinds of things, but it’s very good to set that goal so that hopefully a couple of times a week, maybe three, four times, you can have that dinner time together. Uh, you’ve got six kids, how do you make that work?

John: Well, i- it’s harder now that they’re older, but when they were all together and, um, you know, 10, 12 and under, uh, in age, we had a lot of energy, obviously, a lot of, uh, a lot of food. And-

Jim: (laughs)

John: … we did have some fun. We tried to make it… You know, th- there’s the high-low game you can play, there’s, uh, there are a variety of things, but, uh, we did do, as you just said, we made a point of saying, “Dinner time together, it’s important.”

Jim: Yeah. And that’s good, John, and, uh, eh, some of our funniest moments have happened around the dinner table, like Troy having milk come out his nose. (laughing) But, uh, ’cause he was laughing so hard. But those are the fun moments, and we enjoy them. I’d encourage every family to do it and, uh, today, Ted Cunningham will fill us in on some great ideas on this topic that he and his wife Amy have written about.

John: And Ted is the founding pastor of Woodland Hills Family Church in Branson, Missouri. He and his wife Amy have two children and we recorded, uh, a conversation you had, Jim, with Ted when he was here just recently at Focus on the Family.

Jim: Ted, welcome back to Focus on the Family.

Ted: It’s great to be back.

Jim: Okay, you’ve written this book now, Come to the Family Table. Why is the family table so important to communication? I mean, it’s not just sit around and eat. That’s not what we’re talking about, right?

Ted: Yeah, w- w- for Amy and I, the family table became (laughs) like every other part of our life. It’s something we rush to, we got through, and we moved on.

Jim: (laughs)

Ted: And-

Jim: You had things to do.

Ted: We had things to do and, and food was getting in the way.

Jim: Wow. But that is a lot of families, Ted.

Ted: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, we’re busy. Uh, some people, double income maybe, and there’s a lot going on and, you know, eating is just a necessity. So, you get together, you throw something in the microwave, and you quickly eat and then you got laundry to do and dishes to do and other things you gotta do. Um, that is reality. How do we make this a priority?

Ted: Well, and what happens is we start thinking (laughs) about all that you just listed, and we decide to grab something on the way home and eat it on the way home, so we have more time when we get home to do all the other chores.

Jim: Are you guilty of that?

Ted: Yeah, very. Very guilty.

Jim: (laughs) That sounds like something I’ve done before.

Ted: Yeah, and we, so we wrote Come to the Family Table and we wanted to make sure from the beginning the reader understood we are, we’re not fanatics. Like we’re not talking three-hour dinners seven days a week.

Jim: Home baked biscuits?

Ted: Yeah. (laughs) We, we-

Jim: Oh, that sounds good, though. Some home baked biscuits.

Ted: We just said-

Jim: (laughs)

Ted: … “Let’s prioritize. Let’s start with a night a week.” Like, let’s declare one night a week where we sit together as a family with no rush, and I mean it’s full on. It’s food, it’s a, a devotional, we can read something, we can play a game.

Jim: Well, take me back before that decision. What was your family like before you had this realization that we need to eat in a way that would please God?

Ted: Well, when we entered the tween and the teen phase-

Jim: Yeah. (laughs)

Ted: … we lost complete control of our schedule because you, you’re no longer just on a family schedule, you’re on… You got school, you got church, you got friends, you got small groups.

Jim: Band, you got soccer. (laughs)

Ted: And we were going in every direction and trying to find intersections during the day and that usually was at a restaurant eating out, uh, somewhere fast. We’d drive by a restaurant, we would jump out and just grab something and then we became that family where we were like, “Well, I don’t really want that, but I want that,” and so we’d go to two different places and grab it on the way home. And I mean, and it just, it got so-

Jim: (laughs) Guilty of that.

Ted: Yeah, it got so chaotic that we said, “Something’s gotta change,” because it ultimately, uh, affected our health, not just relationally and emotionally, but like-

Jim: Interesting.

Ted: … “Okay, we’re not eating all that well. Let’s just make a few changes here and see if we can bring about a little bit better quality to life.”

Jim: And what did you start doing? You began to express that once a week? You aimed for just one time a week?

Ted: We, we aimed for once a week and let it grow from there. And we, you know, we thought about the holidays. You know, holidays are a good time for us because we’re not competing with schedules and so we just loved sitting down as a family. I, I, we talk about it in the book. We had one Thanksgiving where we invited friends over from the church and my parents were there, Amy’s parents were there, other family there, and we ended up sitting around that table, I mean we’d get up every now and then, but we’re about eight hours.

Jim: Oh, really?

Ted: I mean, it, it was the center of the day.

Jim: Yeah.

Ted: Y- you know, we ended up having two meals there-

Jim: (laughs)

Ted: … throughout the day, but it went so fast. It was so enjoyable and, yeah, it was Thanksgiving. There’s games on and there’s other stuff to do but we just said, you know, “What would happen if we had a little bit of this in our life on a regular basis?”

Jim: Huh.

Ted: Again, we’re not doing Thanksgiving every week. We’re not gonna have a 3,000-calorie meal, you know, every day, so we just said, “Hey, let’s just start somewhere,” and for us it was once a week, so that was a great place.

Jim: Well, Jean and I, yeah. I, I must say to Jean’s credit, um, we’ve done a really good job in this area of having dinner every night together and it’s usually a lot of fun. It’s 30 to 60 minutes that we’ll be at the table.

Ted: Yeah. I mean, th- we can make time for this. We, we’re doing so much other stuff that we can carve out a little bit of time, uh, and if that means you have activities to do, a part of school, or an assignment or something and we’re done eating but we’re gonna stay at the table? You know, go get whichever you gotta do, bring it back here and, and-

Jim: Sit and do it together.

Ted: Yeah, we don’t need to jump up and-

Jim: I like that. So, give me the objectives.

Ted: … turn something on.

Jim: When you’re sitting there, uh, Jean tends to be a little more organized that way than I am. I mean, she wants a more formal devotion time. You know, today we will look at 2 Corinthians.

Ted: Yeah.

Jim: (laughs) And I’m going-

Ted: And I did too when the kids were younger.

Jim: Okay.

Ted: (laughs)

Jim: So, you two think the same, but for me, it’s more kinda f- you know, let’s just work in the spiritual truths into the conversation.

Ted: Absolutely.

Jim: Be a little more gentle about it. Uh, n- not that it doesn’t work effectively. Actually, I think it works more effectively to talk about what’s happening in school. Uh, man, what, does the Bible say anything about that?

Ted: Yeah. That’s-

Jim: And, uh, how do you go about looking at that, Ted?

Ted: Well, this was the hardest for our son and still is. So, uh, he just, ugh, he labored over long meals. I mean, he would be like-

Jim: (laughs)

Ted: … “Oh,” and every meal started with the same question. “How long are we going to be here?”

Jim: What was pulling him away? What did he wanna go do?

Ted: Well, he saw it, and it was, it’s how he’s been conditioned his whole life, right? We go, go, go, go, go. We got stuff to do. So, we would sit down. He found it at first boring.

Jim: (laughs) Okay.

Ted: It’s just, you know, we ate, we’re done eating, now what are we still doing here? So that’s when we started to bring in the games, that’s when we started to bring in, you know, the honor bombardment that we talk about where we just go around the table and-

Jim: Honor bombardment. I like that.

Ted: Yeah. W-

Jim: What do you go around the table and do what?

Ted: Yeah, everybody shares a kind, positive word. We got this from Gary Smalley years ago.

Jim: Yeah.

Ted: And so, and we just, it’s like a game. We see, you know, keep going until we run out of things to say about the one person and then we move on to another person. And so, I think there’s a lot of that you can bring into it and that’s what we tried to bring into the book. I mean, we brought everything from recipes to games to devos. You know, u- uh, to do more at the table than just eat and ask the same question, “How was your day?”

Jim: (laughs)

Ted: There’s, there’s more to it than that and there’s more you can do to bring about the laughs like you’re talking about.

Jim: Be a little more clever. More clever about it.

Ted: Yeah.

Jim: But let’s bring it into reality. Thankfully you have two children, and we have two kids as well and, you know, some days they didn’t get along all that well so when you’re sitting there saying, “Let’s honor the other child.” (laughs)

Ted: Yeah.

Jim: Have you ever had, “I really don’t feel like doing that, Dad,” ’cause, uh-

Ted: Yeah, well, you gotta know when to play what game-

Jim: (laughs)

Ted: … and so we, we move on to the more competitive games like, uh, Monopoly.

Jim: (laughs)

Ted: We play Yahtzee. We love Yahtzee.

Jim: At dinner? Oh, that’s fun.

Ted: Yeah. But we’ve also, we wanna mix it up. So, my son got to a place where he was setting up the game before dinner started and we would have to say, “Hey, let’s just wait just a little bit on that, Carson. Let’s eat first. Let’s enjoy the meal that Mom has just prepared.”

Jim: Then we’ll play the game.

Ted: And then we’ll get into the game. Then we’ll do something because it’s this digital age that we live. We’ve always gotta have something in front of us keeping us busy, keeping us active, and so the opportunity to just, you know, slow down. We don’t need to be rushed. No technology at the table. Every now and then, we, we bring the technology in if we wanna show a video or something and, or somebody saw something and, “Hey, I saw this thing today. Made me laugh.”

Jim: But you’re using it as an object lesson of some sort.

Ted: It’s, it’s more of a lesson than just a mind-numbing surf of Pinterest or Facebook.

Jim: Now you and your wife, you and your, your wife, Amy, you model that well? You’re not sneaking emails at the-

Ted: Let’s move on to the next subject.

Jim: (laughs) Yeah, come on.

Ted: Jim. Yes.

Jim: No.

Ted: Unless there’s a real important call we’re waiting for, right?

Jim: But it’s rare.

Ted: It’s rare. Yeah.

Jim: Yeah. That’s good ’cause that’s what kids-

Ted: Yeah.

Jim: … are gonna see. They’re gonna… It’s not, “Don’t tell me what to do. Show me what to do.”

Ted: Yeah, and, and I just saw it the other day. A third restaurant, I, I won’t give the name but a third restaurant has this thing now with a basket, I think it was in Springfield, Missouri, where if you can put all your technology in that basket, a chain restaurant did this too with little boxes, if you can put all your technology in that basket and leave it there for the whole meal, we’ll give you 10% off your bill.

Jim: Yeah.

Ted: And other ones are doing ice cream cones and stuff like that and I’m like, “That, it’s kinda where we need to get back to to say, ‘Hey, we can go 30, 45 minutes without looking at this device.’” ‘Cause I don’t know about you, but I go into restaurants, I see couples on dates that aren’t even looking at each other.

Jim: Right.

Ted: When the families are… And I call it that mind-numbing surf. Not the “I’m checking to see the babysitter.”

Jim: Yes, right. (laughs)

Ted: You know, checking, or I’m, you know-

Jim: Looking at news and updates and sports scores.

Ted: Y- yeah. (laughs)

Jim: And your k- your family is sitting there looking at you like, “What’s he doing?”

Ted: And that was another piece of it-

Jim: Yeah.

Ted: … for us to say, “We’re, we’re on this stuff or connected to it all day. We can take a break.”

Jim: Yeah. U- uh, what is your goal when you’re, um, setting out to say, “Okay, we’re gonna do this, uh, mealtime with the family,” do you have a goal in mind? Or is it a little more haphazard? I heard you talk about set the board game up later, but is there any kind of formula that you’re looking for? Listen, especially for dads, you gotta make it simple for me.

Ted: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: I mean, what, what am I trying to do here?

Ted: Well, then-

Jim: What am I trying to achieve? (laughs)

Ted: Then you don’t even need to read the book.

Jim: (laughs)

Ted: You can just look; you can just look at the cover because we put it on the cover. It’s slowing down to enjoy food, each other, and Jesus. So, there’s four things in that. We wanna slow down. We wanna enjoy the food-

Jim: Yep.

Ted: … and not rush through it and tell your kids, “Even if you don’t like what’s on your plate, I promise you in 10, 15 years you’ll get used to it and you’ll probably long for it as we long for meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and corn that Grandma always fed us.” And-

Jim: That’s right. (laughs) Potatoes au gratin. I did get used to that. (laughs)

Ted: And s- yeah. And so, uh, each other, and that would be the game or the honor bombardment and then Jesus. We just wanna take time, uh, we pray together as a family around the table. We can read together, we can memorize together, and I think the key we’ve picked up with kids is to mix it up. You know, if we s-

Jim: Yeah, make it spontaneous.

Ted: Yeah, if we sit down every night and do the exact same thing… They know what the goals are, but the methods can change, and we can do different activities at the table.

Jim: Let me ask you this. When you look at scripture, I mean I love the way Jesus used mealtime. I mean, he seemed to understand.

Ted: Yeah. Reclining at the table with the 12. I love that, yeah.

Jim: Yeah, and eating and talking and there’s something… And the Lord even talks about the feast, you know. There’s something there that he’s wired us for that moment, that we’re occupied occupationally during the day doing different things, but God is trying to say, “Hey, I want you to sit together, to eat together, to think and talk about me.”

Ted: Yep.

Jim: “Talk about your day.” It’s something that He modeled for everybody.

Ted: Yeah, and we’ve kind of jumped back to that Deuteronomy 6 passage and I’m all about along the way. From the time you get up to the time you go to sleep, when you go here, when you go there, be talking about the Lord. I think we’ve adapted that verse to our lifestyles today to where now it’s like run, run, run as fast as you possibly can and bring the Lord with you along the way.

Jim: (laughs)

Ted: And I get that. We do that. I understand that but I also think, I think the family table for us is it doesn’t mean that our schedule is gonna get any less crazy. We’ll still be a little chaotic at times. We get that. But this is our Sabbath. This is our break from the grind of life. We can pause and it’s something we have to schedule like everything else we put on the schedule, so this is a different pace. We want our kids to walk away from our family table when they leave our home going, “That was a place that was slow, it was enjoyable, we were relaxed. I feel there is where my mom and dad really got to know me.”

Jim: Hm.

Ted: I, they asked me probing questions there. One of the big aspects of the family table for us is safety. This is a safe place so you can share, uh, we can hold one another accountable here, we can confess here. Uh, we always want that family table to be a place where, where they long to come back to. We want them to come back. We want them to bring their children. We want them to bring our grandchildren one day and to know let me tell you what happened there. And it, and you probably heard this story. I have my grandma. I mean, Mary Jane, she passed away at 90. Uh, she was a good-sized woman. We’ll just say that.

Jim: (laughs)

Ted: A fluffy grandma, if you know. And I love Mary Jane.

Jim: The best kind.

Ted: Uh, she, uh… Uh, this is a story my mom loves me sharing about my grandma. She was, (laughs) she was in the doctor’s office when she was s- uh, in her 70s and she saw the doctor write down on her chart the word obese and it completely and totally ticked my grandma off.

Jim: (laughs)

Ted: And this, this is my grandma’s sense of humor. She made that young doctor cross off the word obese and write the words little chubby underneath it.

Jim: (laughing) Oh, man. That’s a smart doctor actually.

Ted: I know, I love it. And I wish I… O- one day on Ancestry.com I’m gonna get her medical chart. I’m gonna find that little chubby…

Jim: All the scratch outs. (laughs) For everything.

Ted: Yeah, all the scratch outs that she made the doctors do. But I, I love that because when we were writing the book, I was back at Mary Jane’s table as a five-year-old, as a 10-year-old, going-

Jim: You remember.

Ted: … “This is what we did.” My grandma, she hated TV. She had one of those old TVs. You remember those terrible days, Jim, when we, we were the remotes?

Jim: (laughs)

Ted: We had to get up off the couch and change one of the three channels for her.

Jim: Well, y- you laid right in front of it-

Ted: Yeah. (laughs)

Jim: … so it was in arm’s length.

Ted: (laughs) And I just go, “Man,” I, she sat on her front porch-

Jim: (laughs)

Ted: … and at her kitchen table. That was it.

Jim: Yeah.

Ted: She talked to neighbors, and she talked-

Jim: Mm.

Ted: … to her family. That was her life.

Jim: Yeah.

Ted: And every now and then she’d take us to Dunkin’ Donuts. That was-

Jim: (laughs)

Ted: That was, that was life. And I told Amy, it, I believe, personally, I can’t prove it but it’s one of the reasons she lived to 90. It’s one-

Jim: Man, think about that.

Ted: Yeah.

Jim: The Dunkin’ Donuts, huh? (laughs)

Ted: Dun- yeah. Dunkin’ Donuts.

Jim: That’s not what my doctor’s telling me.

Ted: (laughs)

Jim: You’re listening to Focus on the Family. Today our guest is Ted Cunningham, Pastor Ted Cunningham, and he and his wife, Amy, have written a book, Come to the Family Table: Slowing Down to Enjoy Food, Each Other, and Jesus. You know, the research is so supportive of what you’re talking about in the book in terms of at-risk behavior that kids f- you know, decide to go into. When families are spending time at the table, they’re far less likely-

Ted: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … uh, to go into premarital sex, drugs, alcohol, all those things. Why do you think that is? That it’s that substantial?

Ted: Mm, well, my favorite quote and it was one… I found this years ago and you’ve heard it. It’s one of, from one of my favorite presidents and I won’t say his name, but his initials are Ronald Reagan.

Jim: (laughs)

Ted: And he said, “All great change in America happens around the dinner table.”

Jim: Ah, he had it. Even before the research was there.

Ted: Yeah. Yeah, and boy, the first time I heard that I’m like, “That’s right.” ‘Cause I went back to my family.

Jim: Mm.

Ted: I went back to my grandma and grandpa and sitting around their table when they didn’t have the distractions that we had. They weren’t exposed to what we were exposed to. And for me, if I’m truly the primary author of my child’s heart, which is what we believe, I’m the one writing messages on my child’s heart. Uh, I believe speed is the enemy of intimacy. Speed-

Jim: Mm.

Ted: … is the enemy of that process, so if the family table can be a place where speed is eliminated and we slow down there, I believe it’s gonna do nothing but create that intimacy you’re looking for between a parent and a child, so I can speak into my child’s heart messages that I believe are gonna be branded on their hearts for life and take with them into every relationship.

Jim: It’s so good. It really is. Yeah, it is so good for us to remember that. Uh, before we move to another topic on this subject, um, speak to the parents that are struggling. Maybe the single mom-

Ted: Mm.

Jim: … who, you know, she’s got a lot on her plate and whenever we mention single moms, all the single dads write us notes, and we appreciate that, saying, “Don’t forget us.”

Ted: Yeah. You bet.

Jim: So just a single parent, when you’ve got so much of a load, um, now we’re making them feel guilty that they’re not spending enough time at dinner time to be with their kids, but what a beautiful time, whether you’re a two-parent family or a one-parent family.

Ted: Absolutely. And, and whether you’re a two-parent family or a one-parent family, the kids need to be involved in the process of preparing the meal.

Jim: That’s a great idea.

Ted: I mean, yeah. They need to be setting the table, they need to be pouring the water. So just start the kids off with one side and it can be an easy, as easy as salad in a bag, you know? But they’re showing responsibility. This, this idea, I think we’re beyond this in many homes, and I understand it that, you know, mom comes home and does all the work cooking while we play and then she calls us in for dinner. I think preparing for the family table can be a family project and everyone can be involved, and I think that’s one great way for a single dad or a single mom-

Jim: Absolutely.

Ted: … to get the family table started is to say, “Tuesday nights. We are guarding Tuesday nights, or we’re guarding Thursday nights,” whatever the night that works for your schedule is and it’s from 6:00 to 8:00, it’s from 5:00 to 7:00, whatever time works for you but it’s two hours, and that’s start to finish. That’s, that is preparing the meal, that’s having the meal, that’s having the fun at the table. One oth- thing th- I, you know, here’s the other problem we have if… You gotta fight this if it’s your personality that everything gotta be perfectly clean before you move on to the next activity, but we have found we’ll do that in a minute. We know we’re gonna get to that because that’s a family activity, too. Clearing the table, cleaning the dishes, getting whatever needs to be put away. And that can be a two-hour deal and doesn’t need to be just on one person and so that’s where I kinda take this to the single mom and the single dad, don’t make this a one-person activity.

Jim: Yeah. Um, you talk in the book about delay, withdraw, and abandon in terms of time.

Ted: Yeah.

Jim: Explain that to us, where you and Amy came to this understanding that you needed time for yourselves as a couple.

Ted: Yeah.

Jim: Man, we all struggle with that, whether it’s, uh, you know, weekly or monthly, annually. But describe what you mean by daily delay, weekly withdraw, and annual abandon.

Ted: Yeah, so well, probably 15 years ago now, Joe White from Kanakuk Kamps, uh, took me out-

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Ted: … to breakfast and said, “I learned these three… From my marriage, if you want your marriage to go the distance and you wanna make it in ministry and you wanna raise a healthy family, you have to do these three things for your marriage.” And I was on the edge of my seat.

Jim: (laughs) Yeah, right.

Ted: Right, like this is gonna be the most amazing information-

Jim: Say I love you. (laughs)

Ted: … I’ve ever received, and he says, “Daily delay, weekly withdraw, annual abandon.” And it’s one of those outlines. The moment he mentioned it to me I memorized it, I never forgot it, and I put it in practice right away. How it works with the family table is this. The daily delay is 15 to 20 minutes a day. Husband and wife, eyeball to eyeball.

Jim: No distractions.

Ted: Distraction free, I believe even kid free. Weekly withdraw is the date night. It’s getting out. So, the daily delay is in or around the home. The weekly withdraw is out of the home but around town, and then the annual abandon is a trip you plan every year, a night or two away. Uh, in the Song of Solomon you see all three of these. You see the-

Jim: Yeah.

Ted: … daily delay in the secure home, you see the weekly withdraw. I’m coming to pick you up and take you on the annual abandon. She says, “Let us get out of here and go to the countryside,” you know, after they’re married. For us, we found some of the best family table time is we would sometimes start the meal with salad when our kids weren’t big salad eaters and really still aren’t.

Jim: (laughs) And that gave you 15 minutes to talk and, yeah. That’s smart.

Ted: And we said, “Your mom and I are gonna start the meal together.” We oftentimes, too, let them bus the table and said, “We’re gonna sit here and have a cup of coffee and talk for a few minutes while you guys get the kitchen cleaned up.” And so that’s as simple as 15 to 20 minutes can be. 15 to 20 minutes of the daily delay made date night so much better because it’s typically a date night that you start talking budget and children-

Jim: Right. (laughs)

Ted: … and catching up and it’s a business meeting.

Jim: Right.

Ted: Date night should never be a business meeting.

Jim: Yeah.

Ted: So, when you have the daily delay, you’re keeping short accounts during the week so when you go out, our rule on date night is let’s l- (laughs) the best we can, not talk about the children and their needs tonight. Let’s not talk about money, okay. Let’s focus on having fun and dreaming together and enjoying the company of one another.

Jim: Huh.

Ted: And then the annual abandon, best thing we ever put into our marriage. And the farther out you can plan this, the better, because then you can anticipate it all the way up to it. And it can be a simple… We’re here in Colorado Springs. You can plan an, a night or two in Denver. Uh, you, it can be in the n- town next door but just go somewhere. Do something different. Practice something different.

Jim: And it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Ted: Never has to be expensive. You can get on all these travel, great travel websites. Go to towns out of season. You know, when they’re out of season they’re offering great rates at the hotels. I mean, you can do a lot for cheap and get the grandparents involved.

Jim: Yeah. Eh, you know, you have a great sense of humor. I know our listeners love that. In fact, one of your shows is one of the most popular that we’ve done and, uh-

Ted: Mm.

Jim: … you know, people just connect with your, your sense of humor that way. When you sat around the table with the family, have there been a couple of funny moments that make you roll?

Ted: Oh, yeah. Some of them. There’s like, kinda like social media. I can’t share everything that happens (laughing) around our table. Uh, but we have some great moments and w- our, probably our funniest moments are when we do impersonations.

Jim: (laughs)

Ted: And, uh, and Carson and Corine, are… They’re becoming little comedians and Carson, my youngest, he’s great at quoting the, the comedian greats and, and retelling stories and he’s at the place now where he wants me to pay him every time I use a story, uh, with him in it so that’s probably why I shouldn’t share too much. I, I don’t have no idea how much the Focus broadcast would cost me if I shared a Carson story.

Jim: (laughs)

Ted: If, if it’s five bucks for a sermon, this could be 50 or 100. This could be really expensive.

Jim: There we go. Carson, we’re in your corner here.

Ted: (laughs)

Jim: We’re gonna help you with some allowance.

Ted: Yeah, for me, we do a bunch that leads to laughter. Singing, dancing.

Jim: (laughs)

Ted: Uh, if you can’t sing and you can’t dance, all the better. That’s what makes it funny. Impersonations, uh, joke telling, storytelling.

Jim: Um, another aspect in the book, you talk about hospitality and I wanna make sure we get this in in the last couple minutes here because hospitality, I think Christians as a community aren’t doing as well in this area. And, and we struggle, to be honest, uh, to do it as well. And that is to invite people to the table.

Ted: Yeah.

Jim: Um, outsiders. Um, you emphasize that. How do you do that and how has the family responded?

Ted: Yeah, see, t- talk about hard enough getting your own family to the table.

Jim: (laughs)

Ted: Now we’re talking about coordinating your family’s schedule with another family’s schedule and we actually have a great story with this. We were sitting down finishing dinner one night. We just pushed the plates to the side of the table and we’re beginning a fun time and a family from our neighborhood that we invited over for dinner two nights from now were knocking on the front door holding a cake.

Jim: (laughs)

Ted: And Amy, my wife, about falls over because she thought she got the schedule wrong. It wasn’t actually us it was them that got the schedule wrong. We invite them in and ended up sharing with them for two hours. We had nothing to feed them.

Jim: (laughs)

Ted: We had nothing left in the house, our meal was completely done.

Jim: There was nothing.

Ted: They came back two nights later for another dinner. But we broke the book down. First half is our family at the table and the second half is how can our family minister to other families? And so, whenever we have a family gathering now, we try to think about somebody at the church that doesn’t have family.

Jim: Uh.

Ted: We try to think of someone in the community that we can invite over. It can be a single, it can be a couple, it can be an entire family. And we just found, you know, we’re already making all this food. We’ve got plenty to go around. Uh, let’s make sure there’s always an empty seat that we can fill.

Jim: I think it’s so good and teaches the children so much, doesn’t it?

Ted: It-

Jim: About hospitality, about engaging people.

Ted: Yeah, and part of the burden I think on hospitality that people don’t like to do is because I think when you’re a host, you have a responsibility, not to talk about yourself but to talk about the other people at the table. And to get to know someone at your table when everybody pretty much already knows each other. Family, you know.

Jim: Right.

Ted: It just brings a whole new level of storytelling to the table-

Jim: Yeah.

Ted: … life experience to the table and we just had a great time with that over the years, bringing in folks from the church that we know aren’t gonna be traveling home for the holidays and so now we try to do that more often throughout the year.

Jim: Well, that is a great idea. Hey, one thing. We’re out of time but I want to, uh, keep going here and we’ll put this on as a web extra. I wanna talk about your family constitution-

Ted: Mm.

Jim: … and, uh, give people some pointers on how to develop that. So, we’ll do that as a web extra. We’ll ask you a few questions-

Ted: Yeah.

Jim: … and, uh, John can provide the details of how to find that at the Focus on the Family website. Uh, but, Ted, it is so good to have you back and I think you’re on to one of the most important things in terms of teaching families some healthy habits. In your book Come to the Family Table: Slowing Down to Enjoy Food, Each Other, and Jesus, this book is full of great advice and if you want to position your children… It’s not a, a, you know, a promise, but it is the right thing to do so that your kids have a shot at a healthy childhood.

Ted: Yeah.

Jim: Um, hearing your heart and learning those traits and those values from you that you believe in, most of that transmission’s gonna come at the dinner table, so make it a priority. I’ve heard that loud and clear. Thanks for being with us.

Ted: Hey, thanks for having me.

John: And Pastor Ted Cunningham has been visiting with Jim Daly here on Focus on the Family about being intentional and connecting at family mealtimes, whether that’s a special dinner once a week or several times a week. And the book Jim just mentioned is available from Focus on the Family. It includes, uh, devotional ideas for your family, recipes, and games you can use as you’re gathered for meals. Request Come to the Family Table when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Or you’ll find it at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And while you’re at the website be sure to watch the video of that additional conversation about creating a family constitution. And when you get in touch, please remember our financial needs. Uh, we rely on your generosity and, uh, as you contribute, you’re helping us provide resources and radio programs, podcasts, counseling, various events, all designed to help strengthen families. So, if you can make a generous donation today to the ministry of Focus on the Family, we’ll express our gratitude by sending a copy of Ted’s book. And some generous friends of Focus have offered to match your donation to help us come a long side even more struggling families and especially during this time of the holidays. So, please give families hope today knowing that your gift will be doubled to impact twice as many families. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, I’m John Fuller, inviting you back as next time we’ll hear from Dr. John Townsend on strained relationships between parents and adult children and once more help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

Come to the Family Table: Slowing Down to Enjoy Food, Each Other, and Jesus

Receive Ted Cunningham's book Come to the Family Table for your donation of any amount! Your monthly support helps families thrive. And when you give today, your support will be DOUBLED to Give Families Hope!

Recent Episodes

Promotional image for Focus on the Family broadcast "Embracing Your Role as a Spouse"

Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

Pastor Kevin Thompson explores three primary roles in marriage – friend, partner, and lover – and explains how spouses can live out those roles optimally by investing in their relationship mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Promotional image for the Focus on the Family broadcast "Praying Scripture Over Your Child's Life"

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life (Part 2 of 2)

Jodie Berndt, best-selling author of the Praying the Scriptures book series, offers parents guidance for how they can more frequently and effectively pray for their children’s faith, wisdom, self-discipline, character, life purpose, and more. (Part 2 of 2)

Promotional image for the Focus on the Family broadcast "Praying Scripture Over Your Child's Life"

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life (Part 1 of 2)

Jodie Berndt, best-selling author of the Praying the Scriptures book series, offers parents guidance for how they can more frequently and effectively pray for their children’s faith, wisdom, self-discipline, character, life purpose, and more. (Part 1 of 2)

You May Also Like

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Avoiding Shame-Based Parenting

Psychologist Dr. Kelly Flanagan discusses the origins of shame, the search for self-worth in all the wrong places, and the importance of extending grace to ourselves. He also explains how parents can help their kids find their own sense of self-worth, belonging and purpose.

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Becoming a Clutter-Free Family

Joshua Becker discusses the benefits a family can experience if they reduce the amount of “stuff” they have and simplify their lives. He addresses parents in particular, explaining how they can set healthy boundaries on how much stuff their kids have, and establish new habits regarding the possession of toys, clothes, artwork, gifts and more.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 1

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

How a Former Abortion Doctor Became Pro-Life

As an abortion doctor at Planned Parenthood, Dr. Patti Giebink believed she was helping women. Later, she began reading scripture and God gradually changed her heart on the abortion issue. Patti tells the story of her long journey from abortion doctor to pro-life and encourages listeners to share the message of life with compassion.

Headshot image of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. Patti Giebink

Mrs. Patti Giebink

Dr. Patti Giebink is an OB-GYN who serves on the board of the Alpha Center, a well-known pregnancy center located in Sioux Falls, S.D. She also travels intermittently to work in mission hospitals in Pakistan and other countries. After completing her medical training, Dr. Giebink worked for Planned Parenthood from 1995-1997, during which she was the only abortion-provider in the state of South Dakota. She eventually experienced a radical change of heart on the issue of abortion after receiving God’s grace, forgiveness, and love, and she is now a passionate advocate for the pro-life movement.

Cover image of the book "Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life"

Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life

Unexpected Choice is told from the perspective of a doctor who actually performed abortions through Planned Parenthood. The book chronicles her journey from being a pro-choice physician to someone speaking on behalf of the pro-life movement.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 2

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

Cherishing Your Spouse Every Day

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

Mr. Gary Thomas

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

cherish front cover

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

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

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 2: Heroes Providing Hope

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

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

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

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 3: The Power of a Picture

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

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

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

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

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 6: Families Helping Families!

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

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 2

Jodie Berndt loves to pray for her children. She’s been doing that for the past thirty years. Now she helps other parents to talk to God, asking for the salvation of their kids, and for wisdom, self-discipline, purpose, a future and much more. She offers fun and practical encouragement that moms and dads can put to work immediately in their daily lives as they prepare their children for a life in Christ.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt is a public speaker, a Bible teacher, and the the author of 10 books. Find out more about Jodie and get some free resources (including printable prayer cards and calendars) at her website, jodieberndt.com.

Cover image of Jodie Berndt's book "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children"

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

You will discover how using the Bible to shape your desires and requests opens the door to God’s provision—and frees us from things like worry and fear in our parenting! This expanded edition of the bestseller features updated content on issues like technology and identity, and comes with new material designed to invite children into the family prayer circle. Purchase now and receive 10% off your product.

Effective Habits to Embrace in Parenting

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

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

Dr. Randy Schroeder

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

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

Simple Habits for Effective Parenting

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

The Spiritual Battle for Your Marriage

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

Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff Cropped

Dr. Tim and Mrs. Noreen Muehlhoff

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

Defending Your Marriage

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

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 1

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

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

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

Revival Rising

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

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 2

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

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

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

Revival Rising

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

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 2

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

Drawing upon 35 years of experience as a mentor, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, Rhonda Stoppe offers encouragement and guidance to women as an author and public speaker. She is popularly known as the “No Regrets Woman,” as she is especially passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Rhonda’s books include Moms Raising Sons to Be MenReal Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.

Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage - Part 2

They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lia’s story, you’ll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 2

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

As a spouse, you have three roles to play—a friend, a partner, and a lover. On this one-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Pastor Kevin A. Thompson explores those different roles and challenges you to live them out by investing emotionally, physically, and mentally in your relationship. As friends, he suggests we learn to play and laugh together. As partners, he equips us with solid ways to handle conflict and communication. As lovers, he offers some thoughts on how to bring back the sizzle. He shares five keys to saving your marriage: humility, respect, mercy, communication, and resilience. You’ll be encouraged to intentionally invest in your marriage.

Headshot of Kevin Thompson

Pastor Kevin Thompson

Kevin A. Thompson (MDiv, Beeson Divinity School) is lead pastor at Community Bible Church, a growing multi-site church with four locations in western Arkansas. Every year he meets with nearly one hundred couples with a range of needs, from pre-marital counseling to navigating the most serious betrayals. A marriage and parenting conference speaker, he and his wife, Jenny, have two children and live in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He blogs at kevinathompson.com.

Cover image of Kevin Thompson's book "Friends, Partners & Lovers"

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

With engaging stories and clear, simple language, pastor Kevin Thompson shows how to live out three distinct roles in marraige. Using solid biblical principles, he helps you and your spouse grow your friendship, be supportive partners through the good times and the bad, and develop a healthy and satisfying sex life.

Sharing Your Faith with Grace and Purpose

You can confidently and lovingly share your faith—you just need to learn some new tactics to do so! In this Focus on the Family Daily Broadcast, apologist Greg Koukl outlines the “Columbo” tactic of asking questions, the “self-defeating argument” tactic to find holes in your opponent’s arguments, and other specific methods for engaging in faith-building conversations with others. Greg pulls from his over 30 years of experience debating atheists and agnostics to help you share your faith with grace and truth.

Mr. Greg Koukl

Greg Koukl is a writer, public speaker and talk show host who’s spent 30 years advocating for and defending the Christian worldview. Greg has written or contributed to 15 books, including The Story of RealityTactics, and Precious Unborn Human Persons. Greg has published nearly 230 articles and has spoken on 80 college and university campuses in the U.S. and abroad.

Tactics front cover

Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions

In a world increasingly indifferent to Christian truth, followers of Christ need to be equipped to communicate with those who do not speak their language or accept their source of authority. In Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition, Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to artfully regain control of conversations, keeping them moving forward in constructive ways through thoughtful diplomacy. You’ll learn how to stop challengers in their tracks and how to turn the tables on questions or provocative statements. Most important, you’ll learn how to get people thinking about Jesus.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 1

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Giving up Sugar, Tasting God's Goodness

As a latchkey kid, Wendy Speake turned to sugar for comfort. Every Friday, she would pedal to the candy show and use her allowance to fill her bag with candy. And one day, when she was older and a mom of three young boys, she came to realize that she was still “pedaling” away from her stress and using sugar as comfort, instead of turning to Jesus. She was joyless, worn out, tired, and in need of a change. In this interview, Wendy will challenge Christians to take 40 days to focus on fasting from something they turn to instead of Jesus for comfort. She invited people to break free from a dependence on sugar and taste the goodness of God.

Author Wendy Speake smiling as she holds up her book "The 40-Day Social Media Fast"

Mrs. Wendy Speake

With a background in Hollywood as a trained actress, Wendy Speake ministers to women as a bible teacher by applying the power of drama, poetry and comedy to the study of Scripture and real-life application of biblical truths. She has co-authored two books with Amber Lia titled Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and their latest, Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, Say Something New. Wendy is also the co-author (with Kelli Stuart) of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom.

Cover image of the book "The 40-Day Sugar Fast"

The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation

Welcome to the 40-Day Sugar Fast, a fast that begins with us giving Jesus our sugar and ends with Jesus giving us himself–the only thing that can ever truly satisfy our soul’s deep hunger. On this 40-day journey you’ll learn how to stop fixating on food and other things you use to fill the voids in life and instead fix your eyes on Christ. Anyone who runs to sugar for comfort or a reward, who eats mindlessly or out of boredom, who feels physically and spiritually lethargic, or who struggles with self-control will discover here not only freedom from their cravings but an entirely new appetite for the good things God has for us.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 2

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 2

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

Reconciling Faith and Science in a Medical Crisis

Dr. Lee Warren is a neurosurgeon who has faced many heavy challenges in his life – from serving in the Iraq War to removing deadly brain tumors to experiencing the loss of a teenage son. He’ll share about his difficult quest to find answers to some of life’s toughest questions, while holding onto his faith in God and the sure hope of heaven

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. W. Lee Warren

Dr. Lee Warren

W. Lee Warren, M.D., is a brain surgeon , inventor, Iraq War veteran, and author of I’ve Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know, winner of the Christian Book Award®. His previous book, No Place to Hide, was included on the 2015 U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff’s Recommended Reading List. Dr. Warren has appeared on The 700 Club and the CBS Evening News, and his writings have been featured in Guideposts magazine. His Dr. Lee Warren Podcast, which is heard in more than 60 countries, helps listeners use the power of neuroscience, faith, and common sense to change their lives.

Cover image of Dr. Lee Warren's book "I've Seen the End of You"

I've Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon's Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know

This gripping inspirational memoir grapples with the tension between faith and science—and between death and hope—as a seasoned neurosurgeon faces insurmountable odds and grief both in the office and at home.

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 1

Jodie Berndt loves to pray for her children. She’s been doing that for the past thirty years. Now she helps other parents to talk to God, asking for the salvation of their kids, and for wisdom, self-discipline, purpose, a future and much more. She offers fun and practical encouragement that moms and dads can put to work immediately in their daily lives as they prepare their children for a life in Christ.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt is a public speaker, a Bible teacher, and the the author of 10 books. Find out more about Jodie and get some free resources (including printable prayer cards and calendars) at her website, jodieberndt.com.

Cover image of Jodie Berndt's book "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children"

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

You will discover how using the Bible to shape your desires and requests opens the door to God’s provision—and frees us from things like worry and fear in our parenting! This expanded edition of the bestseller features updated content on issues like technology and identity, and comes with new material designed to invite children into the family prayer circle. Purchase now and receive 10% off your product.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 1

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

Drawing upon 35 years of experience as a mentor, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, Rhonda Stoppe offers encouragement and guidance to women as an author and public speaker. She is popularly known as the “No Regrets Woman,” as she is especially passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Rhonda’s books include Moms Raising Sons to Be MenReal Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.

Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage Part 1

They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lia’s story, you’ll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 1

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 1

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!