Give 2X the Families Hope!
Double your gift for struggling families.
Click Here to Help Families
Choose the gift amount you
would like to give.
$

Help 2X the Families!
Give Families Hope!
DOUBLE YOUR GIFT

Or choose the gift amount you
would like to give.
$
#GivingTuesday
Start your holidays off by GIVING FAMILIES HOPE!
Click Here to Help Families
Choose the gift amount you
would like to give.
$

Give back by helping families!
#GivingTuesday
DOUBLE YOUR GIFT

Or choose the gift amount you
would like to give.
$

Giving Tuesday header (general version):

Give 2X the Hope
Double your gift to rescue moms
and babies from abortion!
DOUBLE YOUR GIFT!
Choose the gift amount you
would like to give.
$

After Roe, moms and babies are still at risk of abortion.
Give Hope!
DOUBLE YOUR GIFT

Or choose the gift amount you
would like to give.
$
#GivingTuesday
Start your holidays off by saving lives
and GIVING HOPE!
DOUBLE YOUR GIFT!
Choose the gift amount you
would like to give.
$

Give back by saving lives!
#GivingTuesday
DOUBLE YOUR GIFT

Or choose the gift amount you
would like to give.
$

Giving Tuesday header (SOHL version):

Focus on the Family Broadcast

Establishing Healthy Boundaries With Your In-Laws (Part 1 of 2)

Establishing Healthy Boundaries With Your In-Laws (Part 1 of 2)

Well-known psychologists and authors, Dr. John Townsend and Dr. Henry Cloud share broadcast advice on how to relate with your in-laws. (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: July 1, 2013

John Fuller: Today on Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. We’ll explore the issue of in-laws and how that relationship will impact your marriage. And Jim, there is a warning that we might have for women about extended families. I believe this applies to us guys as well. Did you know that when you married your prince, you also inherited the king, the queen and the whole court, and maybe even a court jester as well?

End of Preview

Jim Daly: Well, I think everyone can relate, John. There’s always that weird Uncle Bob somewhere in the mix. But whenever this topic of in-laws comes up, you can feel the tension in the air. We’ve all heard the mother-in-law jokes and stories on social media about crazy encounters with her parents or his parents. Sometimes those relationships don’t go as smoothly as you might expect or perhaps hope for. And like I said, we don’t often think about the extended family we’re marrying into and how those relationships will impact our marriage. So today, we’re going to offer you some practical ideas about how to establish healthy boundaries with your in-laws in God honoring ways.

John: And when we’ve addressed this topic in the past, Jim, we’ve pointed to research that says that when you have a healthy relationship with your in-laws, it actually helps your marriage pretty substantially.

Jim: Well, that’s right. And that was certainly true for Jean and me. And I regret that my wife, Jean, didn’t get the in-law experience because my folks had passed away years ago. And I believe Jean and my mom would have really hit it off and become close friends. I think they really would have. On the other hand, Jean’s parents were alive up until recently, so we had that experience. And, you know, there’s always those little things, but they were so kind toward us. And I love when we would take the kids and, you know, they’d spend time with the kids, usually up here in Estes Park in Colorado. They love coming there. It was just a great memory for us. That’s the kind of relationship we want to help you aim for with your in-laws. It might not be perfect, but it can be healthy and good.

John: Yeah, we have some experts to help us better unpack and understand these dynamics. Dr.’s Henry Cloud and John Townsend were in our studio a while ago and they talked about marriage and in-laws. And both men are psychologist, authors and popular speakers. And I’m pretty sure their sons in laws as well. They’re most famous for their series of books about boundaries in relationships. Now you can learn more about our guests and their book Boundaries, when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY 800-232-6459. Or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Jim, here’s how you began the conversation with Dr.’s Townsend and Cloud on today’s episode of Focus on the Family.

Jim: Let’s talk about general atmosphere out there. When you’re counseling and engaging couples, how often is the in-law issue uh involved in marital problems?

Dr. John Townsend: Jim, it’s huge. Um what you find a lot of times is you said a really good line about the space that they allow. And um there’s a good appropriate space to allow, where at the same time, there’s a commonality and a history and a friendship.  You know, while I was thinking about uh Ruth, in the book of Ruth, her her mother-in-law, Naomi had a wonderful relationship.  So, there are really good relationships. But it comes down to the problems being, when something, either the husband or the wife, hasn’t allowed them to do the leaving and cleaving they need.  Then the in-law problem gets worse, and it comes in and feeling’ controlled, feeling’ helicopter parented, feeling’ told what to do. They feel intrusive. And you’ve gotta be an advocate for your marriage, so it’s a big problem.

Jim: Hm.  Uh … in fact, Cambridge University, they came out with a study where they identified, 60 percent of women felt that conflict with their mother-in-law caused long-term stress–60 percent of married women!  That’s remarkable in my mind. And two thirds of women felt like their mothers-in-law were jealous of the marriage. That’s probably a common theme, I would think, that this mother has raised her little, precious little boy, and now he’s in the arms of another woman. And how does a mom deal with that in a healthy way? And what’s going’ on there?

Dr. Henry Cloud: Well, you know, a lot of times you hear it talked about between the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law, right? But but a lot of times what that really speaks to is a young man who has not properly separated and individuated from their own family. And so, the poor wife is getting pulled into this struggle that would’ve been there, you know, whether she was there or not. And so, the Bible talks about leaving and cleaving. And there is a balance that is very important. It is so important to have multi-generational in-law great relationships. There’s grandparenting relationships that are so important. There’s help. There’s all sorts of stuff. And so, you’ve gotta have the high value of in-laws and at the same time, get a couple of things right. And it comes down in my view to governance and resources.

Jim: Well, what I hear you also implying in that is, it’s worth the effort to develop that relationship.

Dr. Cloud: Absolutely.

Jim: I think a lot of peo …

Dr. Cloud: It’s a treasure.

Jim: Well, and then a lot of people, when you enter the marriage covenant, it’s in their minds, the married spouse is saying, “I did not sign up for this. I did not sign up to have to engage your mother or your father.”  And you begin to just immediately set that up as an adversarial relationship–

Dr. Cloud: Right.

Jim: –instead of a golden opportunity to treasure your spouse in a way that I think the Lord would be pleased with.

Dr. Cloud: And actually, they are signing up for it.

Jim: They (Chuckling) just don’t know it.

Dr. Cloud: That’s that’s–

Dr. Townsend:  And and–

Dr. Cloud: –part of the package.

Dr. Townsend:  –get to know ’em while you’re dating, ’cause you are signing up.

Dr. Cloud: Right.

Jim:  Well, that’s a great point, so take the time to spend time. Don’t avoid them.

Dr. Townsend:  Yeah.

Jim:  Um.

Dr. Townsend:  They’re gonna be around you all all your life.

Dr. Cloud: They should be friends.  I mean, it’s one of the richest potential relationships that anybody can ever have. And it’s very important to work on.

Jim:  Uh, earlier this year I asked a question on my on my blog. We did a blog on this idea of in-laws and how is your relationship with your in-laws?  We had hundreds of people respond, both in a positive direction, but also in a negative direction.  About 40 percent of those who responded reported positive in-law experiences. But among wives that number dropped almost 10 points. Um they it seems that the tension between wife and mother-in-law is higher than the other combination uh with the husband to her mom and dad. What is unique about that?  What is driving some of that angst that’s particular to a wife and the parents of the husband?

Dr. Townsend:  Well, there’s a couple things going on. One is what Henry mentioned was the mom whose son has not really done the leaving and cleaving yet. So, she’s still his golden child [sic] or his little boy or that sort of thing. He could be 35 years old.

But the other thing is, I think that sometimes wo the wife will experience this at a deeper level because she’s more made for relationship that we are, you know, than men are. She’s more of the connector, the “attacher.”  So, any kind of disruption from the relationship affects her more.  But let me cut to the chase on this, I think, um Jim, is, if you’ve got that problem, the very best thing you can do if you’re in the middle of it and you’ve got the feeling intruded upon and feeling left out, is that the spouse who’s got the intrusive mother-in-law has got to have the talk and say, “I love you guys, but I prefer my spouse and she comes No. 1,” or he comes No. 1 above you.  And I’ve got to put them first. Because so many wives especially will say, well, he never says that. He just lets them do what they want and and he never says that I come first, and I feel sort of like I don’t matter.

Jim: Yeah, we think, many husbands they don’t want that battle. They just have learned to-

Dr. Townsend:  Oh.

Jim: –live with the um … you know, the emotional relationship with their moms and they haven’t done anything to leave and cleave and to build that healthy distance.

Dr. Cloud:  Yeah, and I think it’s important for ’em, you know, I’ll just sit down together and say, let’s talk about it.  Because what’s really important is that we have really good relationships, and we want time with you guys. And we also have to figure out, you know, how to establish our own family.  And so, vacations or you know, holidays, all of that, let’s really talk about how we can have a really good balance here to … to have our own family and have the extended family.

Jim: Let me read one of the quotes that came in on the blog site. It … one woman wrote in and said, “My mother-in-law is meddling, intrusive and overbearing.  And worst of all, she lives with us.” Wow, she’s gotta deal with this, if that is the underlying reaction that she’s having to her mother-in-law’s presence.  Here you’ve done the right thing in my view, which is to take in your elderly parents.

Dr. Cloud:  Uh-hm.

Jim: That’s a great thing to do.  It’s one of the worst things in Western Culture.  We don’t do that well.  Um but here in essence, you’ve invited the what she perceives to be the cancer into the home. What would you–

Dr. Townsend:  Yeah, but–

Jim: –say to her?

Dr. Townsend:  –but it’s like having any kind of person in your life.  There will have to be some covenants and ground rules set about the nature of the relationship, how much time we spend together and the nature of that. And a lot of times it’s a discussion that was never had. So, I mean, you do want to welcome them and and if she’s experiencing mother-in-law as a cancer, sometimes that’s a judgment on the mother-in-law because the wife herself hasn’t been able to be clear about the expectations and what works and what doesn’t work.

Jim: Hm.

Dr. Cloud: And and Jim, at the same time, I I have seen a lot of situations where … and it may be from the families of origin that they come from, but where the daughters-in-law or the sons-in-laws, they’ve never had good models that they do have a responsibility and a duty–

Jim:  Uh-hm.

Dr. Cloud: –to the spouse’s parents and to extended family. And sometimes you gotta train ’em the other way.  It’s not always the mother- or the father-in-law. Sometimes somebody’s gotta be trained, how does a multi-generational family operate?  You can have just this total detachment and you know, don’t care attitude.

Jim: Well, it’s fascinating, too. You know, I studied in Japan at Wasada for a year when I was in college. And I lived with a Japanese family, and I got a a really interesting insight into that culture living it and the deference that they pay to mother-in-laws in particular in the Asian culture. It kind of tips in the other direction.  There’s a very high expectation of the daughter-in-law that, that daughter-in-law will clean the home and do the grocery shopping and actually, in many ways, almost be a servant to the mother-in-law.

Dr. Cloud:  Hm.

Jim: And mother-in-laws had to do it when they were daughter-in-laws. So, the expectation’s quite high. In Western Culture we’re so independent.  It is about the immediate family. I don’t really care that much if I’m connected to the extended family. I mean, that’s some of the attitude out there.

Dr. Cloud: Yeah, and that’s sad.

Jim: And those seem–

Dr. Townsend:  Yeah, they’re missing out.

Jim: –to me the two extremes, you know, the uh you actually become almost a slave in that Asian context, or you’re totally disconnected in the Western context.  What’s a biblical framework?

Dr. Cloud: Well, I think the biblical framework is, that there is a multi-generational tie and that’s very clear in the Bible. At the same time, there’s a leaving and cleaving in terms of where the primary unit is.  And I think one of the ways to think about this is where the governance is.  You know, for, each family unit has gotta be in control of making its decisions about parenting and about you know, all the values and all that kind of stuff.

And at the same time, permeable boundaries where there’s input and discussion to learning and all of that, but ultimately, where they govern their own family unit without losing the ties and the relationship.

Jim: I think at times some of us can uh kind of shake this off, because we don’t have bad experiences in this regard. And we couldn’t imagine a marriage being on the line because of in-law issues. But again, let me read two quotes that we got off the blog and have you respond to this in general. One was from a woman. She writes, “My mother-in-law expects my husband to put her needs first over mine.”  Um.

Dr. Cloud: Well, you can just stop right there.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Cloud:  No no, seriously, that that just won’t work.

Jim: Right.

Dr. Cloud: And so, that wife is struggling, because the created order that God designed is being violated.

Jim: And the husband needs to know.

Dr. Cloud:  It’s the husband’s problem.

Jim: (Laughing) Yeah, exactly.

Dr. Cloud: Right.

Jim: She goes on to say, “I don’t think our marriage will survive this.” That was the point I wanted to drive to. This is such a deep wound in her that she’s not being placed in the right position relationally, that she’s willing to give up–

Dr. Townsend:  Right.

Jim: –these vows.

Dr. Townsend:  But–

Jim:  Well.

Dr. Townsend:  –but you go back to who’s got to take the next step and it’s really the husband.  You really don’t blame the mother-in-law for those things, ’cause she may not know what the ground rules are.  She may not know what the expectations are and she’s just maybe she has no boundaries and she’s sort of, you know, overinvolved.  But the husband needs to stand up and in a loving way, to let his mom know that his marriage comes first, but he really wants her involved.  And so, when the daughter-in-law’s trying to solve it with the mother-in-law, there’s kind of a no-win there.

John: Hmm. Well, it it seems that that there’s a tough conversation that has to happen then for that wife to address her husband to say, this is not working, so much so–

Dr. Cloud:  Right.

John: –that I don’t think we can make it. And then for the husband to go against 30, maybe 40 years of training from mom that, if he sits down and has this conversation, I can just imagine the fireworks that he has to face.

Dr. Cloud:  Right.

John:  Um boy, that is a real dilemma.

Dr. Townsend:  Well, especially if where there’s 30, 40 years of training, he may not now be able to it that night.  He may need to sit down with somebody he trusts and talk about what life is really about.  Like, why did you get married?  Because it’s clear, leave all others, forsake all others and to kind of return to that and and kind of get a new perspective on his values.

Jim and Dr. Cloud:  Hm.

Dr. Cloud: I think a lot of these problems can be avoided when there’s a very loving respectful conversation that happens where the couple goes to the in-law parents and and say, “You know what? We love you guys and we we want to spend time with you. We want to hang out. We we want to figure out how that works, so let’s just kind of talk about what that would look like and what everybody’s expectations are” and have an adult conversation about it, where they really feel valued and cared about. And then you avert a lot of this.

John: It sounds like that poor wife might have to kind of lie through her teeth though to say something so forward, to say I want to spend time with you. I mean, it’s … it seems pretty apparent from that comment that Jim read that there’s not a real desire for relationship there.

Dr. Cloud:  Well, she’s certainly not wanting more time, because (Laughing) she feels like she’s getting more more than she needs.  But

Dr. Townsend:  But she doesn’t want no time.

Dr. Cloud: But she doesn’t want no time and and I think that to reassure, you know, everybody that the relationship is desired. It’s just how we’re structuring the relationship right now isn’t working.

John: This is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller. And our guests today are Dr.’s John Townsend and Henry Cloud. And our topic is how to strengthen that important relationship you have with your in-laws. Now, a lot of Henry and John’s insights are drawn from their book called Boundaries. It is terrific and we recommend you get a copy of that. We can tell you more when you call 800-232-6459. 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And now more from our conversation with Dr.’s Cloud and Townsend on today’s episode of Focus on the Family.

John: Let me ask this question on behalf of the wife who is right there. I mean, she’s struggling in this area.  How does she talk to her husband about that difficulty, what she’s experience and her feelings about it?

Dr. Cloud: I think it’s very important that she starts from the vulnerable position and not the angry position-

Jim:  Hm.

Dr. Cloud:  –that she talks about how sometimes I feel um a little ignored in our relationship and sometimes it feels like uh you’re you’re a little more attuned and caring about what your mom wants than sometimes what I need. And I end up feeling’ lonely and sad.  That’s very different than coming at it with, you don’t pay attention to me, and you don’t do.  You know, it’s just a totally different conversation.

Jim: Well, that’s good advice. Again, it’s so natural.  You know, when we look at this and we apply all of these things, all of these truths that we’ve been talking to, to life. Isn’t it interesting that when we rely on our flesh to resolve the conflict, meaning we go to anger?  We go to uh more radical expressions of our emotion, rather than a biblical expression of our emotion which is, this is how I’m feeling’. This is how you’re hurting me. Can you help me?  Um, it’s amazing how much more trauma we create, but we’re working out of our own fleshly nature in that regard, aren’t we?

Dr. Cloud: That’s right and whenever, you know, the Bible says the wrath of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God. And there are very few problems that leading with anger is gonna get a good result.

Jim: Why do we keep going to that well?

Dr. Cloud: Well, because I think it’s um, you know, when we experience loss or frustration, we want to protest it.  It’s a natural emotion to protest it. And protest is good, but wh the anger should kind of give us the signal to – I’ve got to get proactive and protest this problem but do it in a way that it’s gonna have a good resolution in God’s formula of speaking the truth in love.

Jim:  Now in your book, Boundaries in Marriage, you talk about some of the things that can create problems between a husband and a wife that I think you call that “intruders.”  Uh … you include in-laws on that list.

Dr. Townsend:  Well, think about what is required to have a good marriage. I mean, you’ve got to have the love and the truth between you.  You’re building a family. You’re building a culture. You’re working on finances and parenting and all the things that create the next 40 or 50 years. There are all sorts of intruders that come in and kind of undo what you’re doing. There’s cultural intruders. There’s uh … there’s sometimes friends that are kind of toxic. And if you haven’t done the leaving and cleaving, sometimes the mother-in-law and father-in-law can be seen that way.  So, your first job is to guard what you’re trying to create in this family structure. And that’s your primary responsibility–

Jim:  Hm.

Dr. Townsend:  –is to guard it from the intruders.  But you don’t make the mother-in-law and the father-in-law the bad guys here.  You make the fact that you’re vulnerable to that or still need them in some way and you fix it within the couple.

Jim:  Well, le let’s go back to some of those examples we talked about from the blog post we did. Um, if there is that kind of conflict, that deep conflict where I don’t think my marriage is gonna survive, um, let’s role play a little bit.  I’m the husband and talk to me and my wife about how we need to address this issue. Just help me understand. I mean, we’re at the brink of divorce here and it’s because of the in-laws. We kind of still love each other, but this frustration runs so deep.  Um, what would you counsel me to do?  What can I do first to engage uh, the problem?

Dr. Cloud:  Well, I think the very first thing is, it’s not about the in-laws.

Dr. Townsend:  That’s a symptom.

Dr. Cloud: Yeah, if they’re marriage is about to break up, there is something that he is not getting about the level of distress that she’s in. And whether – it doesn’t matter what the topic is, if you’ve got a guy that is so unplugged from the amount of misery that she’s in, that’s the first point.

Jim:  Okay, so–

Dr. Cloud: Like, how can …

Jim:  –you gotta work on that.

Dr. Cloud:  You gotta work on that.

Jim:  –together as a couple.

Dr. Cloud:  You you say say you know; your marriage is in a lot of pain. And something is breaking down in the two of your’s ability to hear each other’s needs and pain and to respond to that well.  We can figure out the practical part of solving, you know, the family relationships later, but wh how have you guys gotten so apart in this?  Because that’s the first part of the problem.

Dr. Townsend:  And the second part of the problem is your view of the function of marriage as God designed it. So many people think that marriage is supposed to make me happy. So, my wife or my husband, their task is to make me a happy person.  God never intended it that way. Marriage is supposed to make me grow.

Jim: Hm.

Dr. Townsend:  And sometimes growing means confrontation and dealing with reality. And then I get happy because we’re growing together. But we’ve got to get happiness off as the primary goal of marriage. The primary goal of marriage is to grow.

Jim: Uh … there’s a collective sigh as people hear that, John. I mean, because so much of our culture, even in Christian circles, is about my happinessmy joy, uh not necessarily what the Lord wants for me.

Dr. Townsend:  And you don’t make me happy the way my mom made me happy.

Jim: Correct. And their–

Dr. Townsend:  And that can …

Jim: –comparison and that need to uh step up.  Uh, we’ve lost the covenant relationship in marriage and turned it into the contract.  And you’re you’re hitting on something I think is the core problem, not just in in-law relationships, but in our marriages, that it is about my happiness and about what I want and what I perceive I need. And uh wow!  That is a whole bucket of issues that we need to deal with.  Let me say though in the role playing.  Let’s say I’m one of your you know; my wife and I are one of your better patients. And so, we’ve tried to mend these big issues. She feels better defended in that relationship with the in-laws. But now how do we finish that process and what kind of discussion do we have with father-in-law and mother-in-law? How should that play out? We go to dinner, we’re at the dinner table what should we be saying?

Dr. Cloud: Well, I wouldn’t do this at dinner. That’s a dumb idea. No seriously, I mean if it is at that point what is wrong with going to the in-laws and saying you know what, we love you guys and we want our relationship to be strong. We’ve had some struggles in figuring out what you want from us and what we need from you and all of that. And we haven’t done a good job at talking about it.  So, we’d like to invite you to sit down and let’s talk about our expectations and talk about how we can have a good relationship and what all of us need here. And then I would go further, Jim, that this is worth it to say and if we can’t do that alone, why don’t we go see a good family counselor together, all four of us?

Jim:  Hm.

Dr. Townsend:  You know, so many problems with the in-laws can be solved when you do the hard work as a couple and the in-laws just most of ’em, unless it’s really serious like in what Henry was talkin’ about, most of ’em appreciate that. I remember when um, our kids were really young and my mom I’m the firstborn, so my mom had never had grandkids before. And so, she’s kind of trying to figure it out. And we’re at dinner, you know, my wife and kids and my parents.  And one of my kids acted out.  I don’t know talked too loud or threw something’ or whatever and my mom came in as the mom, disciplining my son. And I thought, okay, I gotta nip this in the bud.

John:  Uh-hm.

Dr. Townsend:  So, my mom and I had a little sidebar conversation and I just said, well, this is new for all of us, but can you just come to me and say, you know, uh, Ricky’s doing’ whatever?  And she got it.  She goes, “Well, thanks, you know.  This I’m kind of trying to figure this out, too.” So, it’s just the conversation doesn’t have to be bad.  They appreciate sometimes that kind of structure and value.

Jim:  Hm.  You know, with the blog post there was one that caught my attention. It was so positive, and I think it’s important to let everybody know this example. Uh, this young man wrote in and said, “I became engaged a week ago and my future in-laws are part of the reason that I proposed.”  Um, he goes on to say, “They’ve always been kind and hospitable to me and they were overjoyed when I asked them for permission to marry their daughter.”  Um, that’s a very positive statement, isn’t it? This is a young man who’s looking to the future and actually, that’s part of his proposal is looking at the relationship with the in-laws.

Dr. Townsend:  Uh-hm.

Jim:  That’s healthy, don’t you think?

Dr. Townsend:  Oh, it’s very healthy and it it really bodes well um for the future relationship thing and if you’re starting out on a good track.  And I would say to all the singles out there or the engaged couples, get this right from day one.  Establish that healthy relationship and show them that you care and and respect them and all that and it’ll go a lot better later.

John: That’s Dr. Henry Cloud, our guest today on Focus on the Family, joined by his colleague, Dr. John Townsend. And they’re sharing insights about marriage and family relationships. They’ve written so well about these topics in the book Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No, to Take Control of Your Life.

Jim: And John, this has been a great conversation today about some of the common pitfalls husbands and wives can experience when they haven’t navigated that relationship with their in-laws very well. That’s probably why we have so many in-law jokes, right. And the core message we keep coming back to is the importance of good communication, not perfect. You can’t expect to have healthy boundaries in your marriage or with your extended family if you haven’t taken the time to sit down and talk about it. I bet your spouse has some great insights about your in-laws. This issue is so important for couples to get right, and we plan to come back next time with more from Henry and John. We’ll discuss how you can reap the benefits of a healthy, loving relationship with your in-laws, how that will strengthen your own marriage and be a blessing to your children. But in the meantime, I want to recommend you get a copy of John and Henry’s book Boundaries. This is a must-read resource for every marriage and every Christian. Because there’s so much more content in this book about healthy relationships beyond the topic of in-laws. We can send you a copy of Boundaries when you make a pledge of any amount to Focus on the Family today. Your ongoing support every month helps provide the fuel we need to strengthen marriages, equip parents, and share God’s love with hurting people. And if a pledge is more than you can do right now, I get it. A onetime gift is fine. Just let us know and we’ll send you the book as our way of saying thank you.

John: Yeah. Request the book Boundaries by Dr.’s Cloud and Townsend, when you donate generously. Call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And it might be that this conversation has surfaced some concerns that you have about your own marriage or family relationships. Please know that we have a team of caring Christian counselors here at Focus on the Family ready to help. Donors make it possible for us to offer you a one-time phone consultation with one of those counselors. So call today and request to speak with one of them. Our number again, 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Next time, you’ll hear more from Dr.’s Cloud and Townsend about healthy ways to interact with your in-laws. For now, on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening to Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller, inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

book cover for boundaries by john townsend

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life

Receive the book Boundaries for your donation of any amount! Plus, receive member-exclusive benefits when you make a recurring gift today. Your monthly support helps families thrive.

Recent Episodes

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Caring for the Forgotten Generation

Chaplain Bill Goodrich of God Cares Ministry describes the vibrant opportunity to befriend and share Christ with the elderly in your community. He shares his heart for this forgotten generation of precious people who deserve our love and attention.

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Reflecting on Our Blessings at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the blessings God has given us and express our gratitude for His bountiful grace and mercy. Becky Kopitzke will share fun ideas to incorporate gratitude into your family’s Thanksgiving traditions.

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Removing the Barriers Between You and Your Prodigal Child

When someone you love makes poor choices in their lifestyle, relationships, or moral decision-making, there IS hope! Phil Waldrep provides concrete steps to removing any barriers that might stop your prodigal child from coming back to the Lord.

You May Also Like

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

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.

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Accepting Your Imperfect Life

Amy Carroll shares how her perfectionism led to her being discontent in her marriage for over a decade, how she learned to find value in who Christ is, not in what she does, and practical ways everyone can accept the messiness of marriage and of life.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 2

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

Mrs. Meg Meeker

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

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

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

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

Cherishing Your Spouse Every Day

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

Mr. Gary Thomas

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

cherish front cover

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

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

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 about see life episode 4 normal version

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 about see life episode 5 normal version

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.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 1

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

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

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

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

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

How a Former Abortion Doctor Became Pro-Life

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

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

Mrs. Patti Giebink

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

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

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

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

Giving up Sugar, Tasting God's Goodness

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

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

Mrs. Wendy Speake

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

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

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

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

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

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

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

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

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

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

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 2

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

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

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

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

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

Reconciling Faith and Science in a Medical Crisis

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

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

Dr. Lee Warren

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

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

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

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

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 1

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

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

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

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

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

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

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 1

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

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

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

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

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

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

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage Part 1

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

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

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

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

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

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 1

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

Mrs. Meg Meeker

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

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

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

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

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!

Thank you for committing to pray for the pre-born!

Sign up below for your free seven-day prayer guide. This daily guide will help give direction to your prayers for the pro-life movement. We will be praying with you!