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Getting on the Same Page Financially in Marriage

Getting on the Same Page Financially in Marriage

Crown Financial Ministries CEO Chuck Bentley and his wife, Ann, share seven key principles for achieving financial and spiritual unity in marriage.
Original Air Date: July 13, 2021

Preview:

Chuck Bentley: I realized that money was in fact in control of my life. And I wept privately for the realization that I really was serving money, and in love with money, not God.

End of Preview

John Fuller: Well that’s Chuck Bentley reflecting about the mindset he once had about money and possessions. And, if you’re struggling with finances in your marriage, stay tuned. We have an encouraging program for you today. This is Focus on the Family with your host, Focus president and author Jim Daly, and I am John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, we hear from so many married couples who, um, struggle in this area of financial difficulty. I mean, it’s in the top three, depending upon the survey you look at. But, uh, financial problems are right there at the top. And, uh, for whatever reason, uh, many husbands and wives aren’t on the same page financially.

Jim: You know, so often we talk about our differences and how you’re an extrovert and you marry an introvert, et cetera. Those are general principles. I know that some people, some couples don’t hold true to that. And I ac- acknowledge that. But it’s true with finances true, you usually have a spender and a saver, and that creates great conflict.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Especially when money’s tight in the early years of marriage. But it can take, literally, years to resolve that and to do better in that area. There are some simple things you can do to get on a better pathway. And the earlier in your marriage that you do it, the better off you’re gonna be, for obvious reasons. You’ll have more peace in your home.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And we’re going to, uh, explore those things with our guests today.

John: Yeah, Chuck and Ann Bentley have been married for over 40 years. And, uh, they say it has taken them a long, long time to work out their money and relational issues. And, they’re very candid about their story. Uh, Chuck is the CEO of Crown Financial Ministries and has counseled thousands of couples about finances. And, uh, together with Ann, uh, he’s written this book, Money Problems, Marriage Solutions: 7 Keys to Aligning Your Finances and Uniting Your Hearts. And we have copies of that here at the ministry, focusonthefamily.com/broadcast or call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Chuck and Ann, welcome to Focus on the Family.

Chuck: Ah, thank you. It’s pleasure to be here.

Ann Bentley: Thank you, Jim.

Jim: It’s good to have both of you. This is that common topic. I mean, we do cover this from time to time, regularly, because it is one of the core problems that crop up in marriage. Uh, describe for us if you will, I mean, the early years for you, kind of paint the picture for the viewers, the listeners, about where the Bentley’s were at (laughing) early on and what were some of those issues that, uh, cropped up in your marriage about finances?

Chuck: Well, they say out of your misery comes your ministry, Jim.

Jim: (Laughs).

Chuck: So, I- I would say misery describes sort of where we were. We loved each other. We met and married, uh, very quickly. Uh, I asked Ann to marry me after six weeks-

Jim: Hmm.

Chuck: … of knowing her.

Jim: Okay. Hang on a second. Ann, is that true?

Ann: Yes it is.

Jim: What did your mom and dad think of that?

All: (Laughing).

Ann: Well, uh, I didn’t really ask. We were still-

Jim: (Laughs).

Ann: We were still in college. I knew better than to ask.

Jim: Right.

Ann: Um we were-

Jim: I’m sure.

Ann: Okay.

Jim: Wh- was that a shock for you, though? I mean it- I’m sure you were in love and moving in that direction. But six weeks is a pretty, pretty quick moment to go, “Okay, do you wanna make this permanent?”

Ann: Uh, we were, yeah. We were in agreement.

All: (Laughing).

Jim: That’s good. That’s good.

Chuck: But we didn’t know each other-

Jim: (Laughs).

Chuck: … Jim. And, we knew we loved each other, and that’s always held true. We’ve always loved each other. Uh, but as you know, opposites attract. And then after they get married, they attack. And you know-

Jim: Hmm.

Chuck: … so, I was, uh, difficult to live with. And, when it came to money, I had a very stubborn view of it. So I treated Ann like I was the right opposite and she was the wrong opposite. Like I … we’re totally different. But my view was, “If she would just be more like me, then we would get along.”

Jim: You’re a classic. (Laughs).

Chuck: And, I treated her that way for many, many years.

Jim: Hmm.

Chuck: I mean, I expected her to become like me. And so she lived under that sort of oppressive view of, uh, financial difficulties we were having. I was causing them. She was trying to solve them. But I didn’t give her the space to do that.

Jim: Well that’s important. Describe for us your, if I could say it this way, your financial personality.

John: Hmm.

Ann: Oh.

Jim: That might help us better understand you as a couple. So an, what- what was your approach to money?

Ann: I grew up in a home of school teachers. So we were savers. And I never knew that we didn’t have much growing up. You know, I was born in the ’50s, so back then-

Jim: But money was tight, it … you know-

Ann: Yeah, but I didn’t know it, Jim.

Jim: Okay, yeah.

Ann: We just lived very frugally.

Jim: Yeah.

Ann: Totally different from Chuck’s upbringing.

Jim: Hmm.

Ann: And it didn’t dawn on us until later in our marriage, how differently we had been raised, and why that had affected how we viewed money.

Jim: Well what was your Chuck? What was your-

Chuck: Well she’s the classic saver. And I’m the classic spender.

Jim: Okay.

Chuck: I’m the big spender in the family.

Jim: Right.

Chuck: I like to spend money. Uh, I have big dreams, big goals, big ideas. If it’s got four-wheel drive, camouflage, or any of those kinda things, then I would wanna buy it. And, uh, I’m a risk taker. I grew up in the oil and gas business. That’s my family background. So, when Ann and I married, I was ready to take a lot of risks. And she was always driving with her foot on the brake. So it immediately caused conflict.

Chuck: I really didn’t even know how to save. It wasn’t in my worldview that we needed to save money for the future. It was, “We need to invest and take a lot of risk.”

Jim: But this conflict went on for quite some time, right? I mean-

Chuck: Years.

Jim: I mean, like, a decade?

Chuck: No, two decades. (Laughs).

Jim: Okay, no, and I think that-

John: Wow.

Jim: … you know, there’s a realism in that. And I appreciate that being the case. Because, these aren’t things that you can kind of unwrap easily and then put back together. And Ann, during this time, I mean, 20 years of being married to a spender when the dollars weren’t necessarily there, how did you … how did you approach things? I mean, how did you go to Chuck and say, “Honey, we got a problem?”

Ann: Well, I was raised in a churchgoing home, but I was Biblically illiterate. And by the grace of God, some women invited me to a Bible study. And it’s where I first started learning what God said (laughs)-

Jim: How many years-

Ann: … in his word.

Jim: … had you been married at this time?

Ann: Oh goodness. I think I was … 30 when I started. That … it was in a Bible study. At that point we had baby number 2, we’d been married nine years.

Jim: Okay. So nine years in, which, you know.

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: You should have some maturing, uh, signals there.

Ann: Right.

Jim: But here you are in this Bible study and what happened?

Ann: And then, um, it wasn’t immediately, but several years later, an older woman said … and she didn’t even know that I was going through anything. She was talking to a group of us and just said, “You know, it’s not wise to nag your husbands.” She said, “It’s always better to just pray first. Go to God with it. Ask him to work it out.”

Jim: So that moment, I mean that woman said that, and then you s- thought about that. How did it change your behavior?

Ann: Oh, I started praying. I just took it to the Lord.

Chuck: We went through a lot of financial pain, Jim. I went on the course that I thought was best for us. And so I would make investments or decisions that didn’t work out.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Chuck: And we would live on the financial edge.

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Chuck: And it was … it made Ann feel very insecure.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Chuck: And looking back, I see why she was trying to get my attention, but I was just too stubborn to listen. I think I had that mindset of, “I need to have the answers and I don’t need to ask anybody for help.” So I was insular. I was trying to figure everything out myself. I wasn’t listening to her, and unbeknownst to me, she had just sort of given up. And she was praying for me, that God would get my attention. And what’s interesting, Jim, is even though we had a lot of financial pain, I would just double down. You know, some people go through financial pain and they say, “Okay, I’m not gonna do that again.” (Laughs). I would just sort of keep adding-

Jim: Well that’s your risk taker attitude.

Chuck: No. Yeah-

Jim: “I’ll get it all back.”

Chuck: “I’ll get it all back.”

Ann: Well your solution was to just make more money.

Chuck: Yeah. My … always, I mean, I was driven by more.

Jim: Yeah.

Chuck: And more would solve the problem. And quite frankly, I really thought it would. I thought the more successful I became, the happier Ann would become. And little did I know-

Jim: Hmm.

Chuck: … the more successful I became, the unhappier she became. And I didn’t know how to solve that problem.

Jim: Let me ask you in that regard, that’s really interesting, because I think most men would have that sense, that equation. H-h-how did that revelation then come to you that, that was not working? Your formula was not her heart’s ache?

Chuck: I’ll tell you a story, Jim, that really made it so apparent to me. We went out for our wedding anniversary. I think it was around 20, 21 years. And we went to our favorite spot (laughs) our favorite restaurant. And, we’re having a great celebration of our marriage. And one of my clients walked into the restaurant. And out of the corner of my eye I saw him standing over there, and I looked at Ann and I said, “Excuse me.” And I went over and started talking to my client. And I was super excited that we were, you know, gonna do a deal soon. And when I came back, I didn’t realize it had been 15 minutes. And Ann was crying in the booth, and I didn’t know why she was crying.

Jim: Let me, uh, guess. (Laughs). It was your anniversary.

Chuck: It was our anniversary, and I had put the deal, and the more and the s-

Jim: Wow.

Chuck: And I was telling her how excited I was. And I really did not know why she was upset. But I had put all of that above her.

Jim: That’s a perfect expression, Chuck, of exactly a guy’s attitude. Right? “I’m doing what … This should make you happy, Ann.”

Chuck: Let’s celebrate.

Jim: “I’m gonna be bringing home more bacon.”

Chuck: That’s right.

Jim: But what did you want that night?

Ann: I just wanted-

Jim: What did you want to hear?

Ann: I just wanted time with him.

Jim: Yeah.

Chuck: And I didn’t see that. And so, that was the sort of Exhibit A of where we were.

Jim: Hmm. Was that about the time, then, you went to the Crown Financial-

Chuck: (Laughs).

Jim: … I mean, how did that-

Chuck: Well-

Jim: What was it that you went to? And when did that occur? And what was the timeline?

Chuck: Well think about this, Ann had been praying for me-

Jim: (Laughs).

Chuck: … 10, 11 years?

Jim: Wow.

Chuck: And, this Crown Class is announced in our church bulletin.

Ann: Hold on. Can we back up?

Chuck: And she tricked me into it.

Ann: Can we back up?

Jim: This is always dangerous when the wife says, “Let’s back up.”

Ann: I need to back up, because, Chuck came home one evening and said, “Ann-

Jim: (Laughs).

Ann: … “I want you to pick out our new house. I’m gonna pick out the cars.” He was in a business that he assumed, you know, that he was gonna make a lot of money within the next year. That was my red flag. We had a major issue. And so, when I saw that our church was offering this Crown course, I thought, “We need it, now.” So …

Chuck: So you called the leader.

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Wow.

Chuck: And, well, first you asked me if I would go. And I said, “I’m too busy.” And so she’s trying to get me to go. And so I just said, “Okay, if they have it on Sunday night, that’s the only time I have available.”

Jim: (Laughs).

Chuck: And I thought that would be sort of the compromise where she, you know, would think, “All right, I’m trying, but it’s never gonna happen.”

Ann: So I called the, uh, man who was organizing these classes and he said, “Ann, I’m sorry. I only have one class available. It’s on a Sunday night-

Jim: (Laughs).

Ann: … and, here’s the catch. Anyone who agrees to attend, will lead another group.” I said, “Oh of course. We’ll do it.”

Jim: (Laughs).

Chuck: So-

Ann: I … there was no way I was asking Chuck.

Jim: Yeah.

Ann: Because I knew what he’d say.

Jim: Yeah. That would be a big no.

Ann: Right.

Chuck: Yeah, and so here I am. I’m going to a class. I don’t know that she’s pre-agreed that I will lead one-

All: (Laughs).

Chuck: … after we get through it. And I was totally obstinate. I was arrogant. I wasn’t interested. I thought I knew, Jim. I thought I knew what the Bible said about money. I grew up in church. And we started opening the word, looking at the scripture, and by week six of that bible study, I repented of my idolatry of money.

Jim: Hmm.

Chuck: I realized that money was in fact in control of my life. And Ann had not been able to help me see that, but God did. And the Holy Spirit convicted me as if I had committed the most heinous of sin against the Lord. And I wept privately for the realization that I really was serving money, and in love with money, not God.

Jim: Hmm.

Chuck: And that’s what changed everything.

Jim: Yeah.

John: Wow. Well, what a story we’re hearing today from Chuck and Ann Bentley on Focus on the Family. And they’ve written this book, uh, that we’re talking about that captures part of their story. Money Problems, Marriage Solutions: 7 Keys to Aligning Your Finances and Uniting Your Hearts. And, uh, stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast for your copy, or call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Chuck, I wanna pick up on that, because that’s a profound moment. And we need to understand that. I’m sure there are men and women that are listening who, maybe they came to that precipice but they didn’t spiritually cross over.

John: Hmm.

Jim: You know, they didn’t feel that conviction quite the same way. How did you find that humility in that moment to say, kind of like King David, “I am that man.”?

Chuck: I am that man. You know, Jim, I’ve never met anybody else that I’ve known in my life in all of these years of doing what I do, that have repented of idolatry of money. It was something unique to me. And something I didn’t know was happening, and Ann didn’t know how to describe it. But she sensed that was my problem. And it took the Lord to reveal to me that that’s really what was going on. My heart belonged to money, and Ann wondered why I wasn’t the spiritual leader of the home. Well, it’s because I was worshipping money. I did my devotion with the Wall Street Journal.

John: Mm-hmm.

Chuck: That’s how I lived. And once the scales fell from my eyes, I just immediately saw that we had to start over from the inside out. It wasn’t the money that would solve our financial problems. We had to solve them as a couple together. And so, we started just rebuilding from the very, very basics of our marriage. After 20 years of marriage, it started afresh.

Jim: Hmm.

Chuck: And we were just talking this morning, before we came here. It’s been a miracle. God did a complete transformational miracle. And I would say, apart from my original salvation, repenting of the love of money has been the most transformative thing that’s ever happened to me.

John: Hmm.

Jim: Yeah. Ann, that transformation, I mean, you prayed for nine, 10 years-

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … for that moment to occur. Um, it has to be a little surreal. “Is this really happening? Is he really making that change? Is he … you know, are we gonna move in a better direction?” Something that, you know, in your heart, you were hoping for. How did that feel to hear Chuck talk about his sin in that way, after you’d been praying for him for so long? I mean, were you hesitant? Or were you embracing? Or were you both? Uh …

Ann: I was just, um, grateful.

Jim: Hmm.

Ann: ‘Cause I saw the faithfulness of God at that time.

Jim: Yeah.

Ann: Uh, hoo. It was an emotional time for both of us. And we were surrounded with, um, people who were praying for us at the same time in that Crown group. I mean, he got on his knees in f- in the group and wept.

John: Hmm.

Ann: So, um, you know, it took time. There were big changes. I think I was pregnant with the number four at the time. (Laughs).

Jim: Four boys, right?

Ann: (Laughing) so I was emotional anyway, you know.

Jim: (Laughs). Well I just, I so appreciate that honesty, because I can imagine it came with a bundle of good and bad. Thinking, “Okay, is this really gonna be a change? Or is it gonna be a few days and then back to normal?” And I’m sure at times it’s a roller coaster ride, because those are habits.

Ann: You know what, Jim? I think, for me, it was all good. (Laughs).

Jim: That’s good to hear.

Ann: It was all good.

Jim: Yeah.

Chuck: You know, Jim, I’m reliving that moment, because not only did I repent before the Lord, but … I needed to repent before Ann for treating her the way I did. And I began to accept her. I realized she had been right and I had been wrong. And I grew to so deeply appreciate her willingness to persevere through my arrogance, uh, my stubbornness, my demanding my way, and sort of living on the edge. And I … it was like I looked at her one day and I thought, “Oh my goodness. You’re exactly what God knew I needed. I needed you-”

Jim: Hmm.

Chuck: … “to be complete.” And she had just persevered long enough til I realized what a wonderful, beautiful, Godly asset that she was as my wife. And that’s why we wrote this about marriage, because we were just really operating on half of the horsepower of our relationship, because she was excluded from helping.

Jim: Man.

Chuck: And once we came together, everything changed, dramatically. Our intimacy, our ability to get along, our financials, uh, changed. I mean, we, you know, we weren’t in financial trouble. But in a sense we were because we were so … I was so far off of God’s path that I was going in the wrong direction.

Jim: Yeah.

Chuck: And that- and that’s what brought us back together as a couple.

Jim: And it’s- there’s so many elements here. The stubbornness of man’s heart. And what I appreciate about what you’re expressing, there has to come a breaking point. And that’s what intrigues me about your story, your ability to zero in, through your idolatry, through your, uh, pride, God gave you that ability to see what was true.

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And you realize it, and you go, “Wow. That is my heart.” Let’s move to the practical help. You had seven keys to uniting in marriage. And we’re not gonna be able to cover ’em all in a few minutes here. But let’s start that and then encourage people to get the book, which is great. It’s a quick read. Um, Money Problems, Marriage Solutions: 7 Keys to Aligning Your Finances and Uniting Your Hearts. I man, (laughing) that’s pretty bold proposition. But, let’s get into it. The first was peacemaker.

Chuck: I think that I was avoiding peacemaking. And we realized that as long as we stayed in conflict, we would never make progress. And so, we came up with some ways to practically put that into action. I tell people, “If one of you is a peacemaker you’ll survive your marriage. But if both of you are peacemakers, you’ll start to thrive.” And so we came up with the first to apologize is the bravest.

Ann: First to forgive is the strongest.

Chuck: And the first to forget is the happiest. And so, we sort of had this little thing going of who would apologize first. Because, you know, it’s so interesting how hard it is to apologize when you’ve offended each other.

Ann: So even today, when … to apologize, I have to go away and think about it before I- I want to (laughing) apologize.

Chuck: Yeah.

Ann: You know, it doesn’t come naturally.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Well, and you want to make sure it’s true.

Ann: Yes.

Jim: I could tell that you and Jean have very similar hearts.

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: You want to make sure if you apologize, it’s coming from the core of my being.

Ann: Right.

Jim: It’s not superficial.

Ann: Yeah.

Chuck: So the baseline is we started to make peace with each other so we could attack the problem. Secondly, I had to go through a redefinition of prosperity.

John: Hmm.

Jim: And this is the second-

Chuck: What did God-

Jim: The second financial priority.

Chuck: The second priority, because what had happened to me is, uh, prosperity was how much was in the bank account and it was all external, the next bonus the- the next, uh, investment, everything that I considered a prosperity was wrong. Ann’s definition was in the home. And so we went to Jeremiah 29 and looked at, this … and when you get to the famous verse, verse 11. You know that everybody says, you know, they wanna claim is, “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” Well, it says before that, “Here’s how you do that. You build a house, settle down. Plant a garden. Eat from your own garden. Marry. And have sons and daughters.” And he says, “Then pursue prosperity in the city where I’ve called you. Stop listening to deceivers. Then I’ll prosper you.” Well, prosperity was in our family, Jim.

Jim: Ah.

Chuck: And we flipped over and started to see that God said, “If you marry and have children, he will prosper you.” And so there was an apologetic for marriage. Young people today think if they live apart they can do better financially. All the data says no. In fact, people do better financially if they do get married than any other living arrangement.

Jim: Right.

Chuck: And so, we wanted to redefine what we believed prosperity was according to the scripture. And that changed my focus completely to being in the home instead of out of the home.

Jim: Right, and, again, you’ve covered one and two. Three, discovering life’s purpose, you’re touching on that as well. I think, in that regard.

Chuck: Well, we realized money was not our purpose. Uh, for me it had been. Making a lot of money is not your purpose in life-

Jim: What is?

Chuck: Money is a tool to support your purpose. Your purpose is to glorify God.

Jim: Yeah. That’s a great position. And, uh, you know, I hope people are absorbing that. We’re gonna, again, I apologize, we’re running through these. But get the book. (Laughs). I mean, that’s the- the- the main point here. Uh, number four, was God’s philosophy of money. Uh, quickly describe that.

Chuck: Well, Ann had a philosophy of money coming from her frugal background. I had a philosophy of money coming from a risk orientation. And we couldn’t agree. No way we could agree with each other. But we realized God has a philosophy of money. We decided to dedicate ourself to knowing what the Bible said about money, and that’s what brought us into unity.

Jim: Um, number five was respecting your spouse’s personality. You certainly have described that, how that evolved for the two of you. But I want to double down, (laughing) as a risk taker in marriage, Chuck. It’s really critical that we get to know our spouse as best as we can and to respect the differences, not attack the differences.

Chuck: Yeah, for sure.

Ann: Well we realized we- we were opposite in every possible way. But, that was good. When we realized that that could be an asset, that helped.

Chuck: Well, I put Ann in charge of paying the bills, Jim. She’s the detail person.

Jim: Yeah?

Chuck: In fact, there’s a Harvard study that says if one of the people in the marriage is picky, and detail oriented, you’ll do better financially. But put them in charge. Well, that’s Ann. She’s detail oriented. And, I started to bring her in and take advantage of how God wired her. We never are late on any bill now. When I was in charge, we were always late.

Jim: Right. That’s interesting. I mean, go with the strengths of the couple, right? Who- whoever does whatever best. Number six was create a unified financial plan. Um, what are the basic elements there?

Chuck: Well first of all, we decided to make giving our highest financial priority, Jim. We flipped over the idea of from, “How much could we accumulate? To how much could we give away in our lifetime?” And we have lived that out, which is totally contrary to the way that we used to think about money.

Ann: Mm-hmm. Well I felt like if you could trust God, then it would work. (Laughs). He would help us make it work.

Jim: And he did.

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Yeah, that’s good. All right. The final key to make marriage and finances work is establishing a process that ensures success. And I- I would imagine you’re starting from spiritual success-

Chuck: Yes.

Jim: … and then working down. One of the things you implemented was called red light/ green light. And I love this. And I think every couple should do this, because it’s so simple, but effective.

Chuck: Well, Ann, I’m gonna describe some it and I’d like you to describe a little bit of it. Maybe tell the story of how-

Jim: Oh we need examples (Laughs).

Ann: Okay.

Chuck: Well, just real quickly, what happened was when we were trying to make a financial decision, we set a threshold of $250 or more. If it involved a spending of $250 or greater, then we would both need to agree. Well, what ha- would happen, if Ann didn’t agree with me, then I would just debate her until she did.

Ann: (Laughs).

Chuck: And she just got so tired of that. So one day she said, “Look. Let’s use the stop lights. If I say red, then it’s no. We’re not gonna do it. If either one of us say red. If it’s yellow, we’re gonna wait and pray, and just trust the Lord. If we’re both green, then we’ll go ahead and do it.” And I said-

Jim: Yeah, very simple but very effective.

John: Hmm.

Jim: You know, again, the- these are all great things that we’ve talked about. And your honesty has been wonderful. E-e- especially your 20-year struggle to do better.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I mean, what it we as Christian couples had that attitude about every area of our life? You know, “Lord, I’m giving this to you. Help my spouse.” And then that revelation that comes at some point. You being faithful in that prayer and then your spouse going, “Wow. I’ve just … you know the Lord just shared this with me (laughing) what do you think?” “Oh, I’ve been praying about that for 10 years.” (Laughs). But, in intimacy, in finances, in how we deal with in-laws, how we deal with friends as a couple, those are all the stressors and how- how we get along as couples can stress us out, rather than it being a thriving environment, which is what we want, uh, couples to have, it becomes contentious. And so many young couples today give up so early. And I’m thinking of that couple that’s in their late 20s or 30s and that wife is beginning to pray but she’s withering-

Ann: Hmm.

Jim: … like a- a flower that’s dying. And she’s not willing to stick with it til God answers that prayer. And my heart breaks, ’cause we get those phone calls every day. And our Hope Restored Marriage Intensive is filled with couples like that. This is the last hope they have. And I would just encourage you as a couple, if that’s where you’re at, contact us. I mean, this is a winsome way of how to get through financial difficulty. But there are some serious, uh, solutions here that Chuck and Ann have described in their book, Money Problems, Marriage Solutions: 7 Keys to Aligning Your Finances and Uniting Your Hearts. I would say that’s the Lord’s call for all of us as married couples, to unite our hearts and to behave in the ways that he would like us to behave. Thank you for being with us. Thank you for sharing the story.

John: Hmm.

Ann: Thank you for having us.

Chuck: Yeah, thank you, Jim. Thank you, John.

John: And we hope that you’ll follow up and get a copy of this great book, as Jim has said. Um, Money Problems, Marriage Solutions. We do have that. And when you get the book from Focus on the Family, you’re investing in our efforts to strengthen marriages, and, uh, to save babies and to help parents raise thriving kids. It’s all available at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or call 1-800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. And, if you’re able to help Focus on the Family financially, we sure would appreciate that, either a monthly pledge, or one time gift. Um, if you can make a contribution today, we’ll send that book to you as our thank you for joining the support team. Once again, our number, 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. And on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

Front Cover of Money Problems, Marriage Solutions

Money Problems, Marriage Solutions: 7 Keys to Aligning Your Finances and Uniting Your Hearts

Receive Chuck and Ann Bentley's book Money Problems, Marriage Solutions for your donation of any amount!

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Effective Habits to Embrace in Parenting

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Kim Meeder

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Revival Rising

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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

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Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

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

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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!

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

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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.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage - Part 2

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Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

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

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

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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?

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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.

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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.

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.

Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

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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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.