Focus on the Family Broadcast

If You Want a Great Marriage, Do This (Part 1 of 2)

If You Want a Great Marriage, Do This (Part 1 of 2)

Katharine Hill, Director of Care for the Family in England, offers couples helpful reminders for cultivating a thriving marriage in a discussion based on her book If You Forget Everything Else, Remember This: Building a Great Marriage. (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: August 29, 2019

Preview:

Katharine Hill: Sometimes it’s not just the amount of time, but it’s what we do with it that’s important. And certainly in marriage we’ve got those little moments when we can connect over everyday things, but it’s good, sometimes, just to make time, to put time in the dowry. It- it sounds a bit prosaic, it sounds a bit- bit, sort of, structured, but sometimes we just have to do it.

End of Preview

John Fuller: That’s Katharine Hill describing some of the simple and pr- practical things you can do to have a great marriage, and it’s something we all want, it’s really not all that hard either. You’ll hear more insights from Katharine today on Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus president, Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: Uh, John, I think it’s unfortunate that in the Christian community we sometimes communicate the wrong message about marriage, uh, we tend to focus on the challenges and struggles that husbands and wives are going to face and how to overcome them, and it’s all well-meaning, of course. We want to help couples, young couples especially, understand that great marriages don’t happen by accident. You can’t coast by on autopilot, uh, you have to work on your relationship with your spouse, uh, you must choose to love and sacrifice for each other on a daily basis, that’s how a strong marriage is built. But what’s often missing from our messaging is how wonderful and glorious marriage can be, that’s God’s design. He intended for you to experience joy, and intimacy, and a bonding together that’s unlike any other relationship you’ll experience on this earth.

John: And that really is a beautiful thing when- when you get to that point in your relationship. We want to share that, kind of, good news with you today and we’re talking to couples who are in a good place, not, um, struggling and- and thinking all is lost. Uh, if you are going through a crisis, reach out to us, we have a lot of resources here.

Jim: That’s right, John, we have many other broadcasts where we deal with the more serious problems and painful situations that husbands and wives experience. We hope you’ll contact us if you’re going through something like that, that we’re here to help you. But today we’ve got more of an upbeat message. And we invited Katharine Hill to record a conversation about her book, If You Forget Everything Else, Remember This: Tips and Reminders for a Happy Marriage.

John: And, Jim, I was really, uh, sad I couldn’t make that trip and-

Jim: Yeah, that’s too bad.

John: … and, uh, join you for the interview. We should mention Katharine is a colleague of sorts, uh, the U.K. director for Care for the Family, which is, kind of, a sister ministry to Focus on the Family in Newport, South Wales. And Katharine speaks and writes extensively on family, marriage, and parenting topics, and here’s how you began that conversation with her on Focus on the Family.

Jim: Katharine, welcome to Focus on the Family.

Katharine: It is so good to be here.

Jim: Uh, before we start the conversation, describe some of the challenges you were seeing in your law practice, uh, and now you’re doing family ministry. I don’t know if that’s good training or (laughs) not so good training being a past lawyer.

Katharine: It was good training, Jim, I think because I specialized in family law. So, I saw first-hand, I think, the heartbreak of when family life hasn’t turned out as people hoped it would and, so, I think that gave me the passion to want to try and work and to help couples build strong relationships where possible.

Jim: Now your husband, Richard, is also an attorney, so I can only imagine. Who wins the arguments when you’re (laughs) talking?

Katharine: I do, always. (laughs)

Jim: (laughs) I love it, you’re well trained, right?

Katharine: Well trained. No, we do … Yes when we were first going out, when we were first married, we would often get into that, sort of, sparring with words. He’s probably quicker than I am-

Jim: Really.

Katharine: … if I’m really honest about that.

Jim: Oh, that’s so sweet of you to say.

Katharine: That’s, uh-

Jim: I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s (laughs) sweet of you to say.

Katharine: It probably is true, but any-

Jim: Okay, uh, describe your, uh, wedding day to Richard and the unexpected weather, which you have, kind of, uh, used as an analogy to marriage.

Katharine: So we got married, uh, and, uh, on the wedding day we woke up. And I remember seeing, remember looking through the curtains and seeing this tiny, uh, little, b- bit of blue sky right through the window and being really excited, sca-, ’cause we had been, like every bride, I had been praying for a sunny day. And then I drew the curtains back and there were loads of gray clouds and then throughout the day we had every bit of British weather imaginable, so-

Jim: So did it rain on your reception?

Katharine: Uh, it didn’t rain on the reception, it rained when were in the church, but then a rainbow came through the stained-glass window-

Jim: Oh, that’s nice.

Katharine: … caused my mother-in-law to cry-

Jim: (laughs)

Katharine: … that was very lovely. But then it was windy and sunny for the reception, uh, and then, when we left, it snowed.

Jim: Now- (laughs)

Audience: (laughs)

Jim: yeah-

Katharine: So I was wearing, I was wearing a little, uh, thin cotton suit and it was-

Jim: Oh my.

Katharine: … very cold.

Jim: I don’t mean to be cheeky here, but you sure your mother-in-law was crying for the, because of the rainbow? (laughs)

Katharine: She was. (laughs)

Jim: I just thought you might want to check that with her-

Katharine: (laughs)

Audience: (laughs)

Jim: … but no, that’s good. Um, all right, you ex-, in the book, you stress paying attention to the little things, which for me as a husband, and we’re, you know, with a lot of guys and their wives in this room, uh, stressing the little things can be exhausting and you know, it- it can be tough, and we tend to avoid stressing the little things. So what do you mean by stressing the little things and how do we encourage each other to do that?

Katharine: Well so often, I think, when we are speaking at Care for Family on the subject of marriage, it seems so simple, it seems that we’re just talking about, uh, the little things, how we talk to each other, paying attention to each other, uh, wh- what it really looks like to cherish each other. Um, but those are the things that if we do pay attention to them, those are the things that really fuel a marriage.

Jim: So when you’re talking to couples, wh- wh- what do you hear from, um, both wives and husbands in this area of trying to pay attention to the little things? Wh- wh- when do they it well and where does it fall apart?

Katharine: So often I think in marriage, we end up taking each other for granted. It’s easy in those first few years when we’re madly in love, but then routine sets in and we slip into something we often call parallel living and that- that happened to us in our marriage. So, I was at home at that stage with our four children and Richard, my husband, was building his office, and our two worlds were very- very different. So mine was all about the school run, and the lost hamster, and the, uh, reading books, and all the things of family life and his was about building an office, and the bottom line of the accounts, and, uh, all the things that go to- towards office life. And we literally stopped paying attention and being interested in each other’s worlds, and began to drift apart, and did that parallel living.

Jim: And part of that is you- you, kind of, reacquainted each other with your hobbies, I mean, which I found really interesting, especially the hobby that Richard had and your willingness to embrace it. Explain, uh, for both of you, what your hobbies are and then how you each decided, “Okay, even though it drives me crazy, I’ll do this.”

Katharine: Well so often in the early years of marriage, it’s easy to be interested in what the other person is interested in and so it’s really good, if you hit tough times, to go back and remember what those things were. So I would love going to nice coffee shops, I like going to nice art galleries. Uh, Richard didn’t really know a painting if he saw one-

Jim: (laughs)

Katharine: … didn’t really like coffee, but he would make the effort and I actually thought he was interested in those things. But then on the other foot, uh, he was building a kit car at the time, when we were first going out-

Jim: Now we’re talkin’.

Katharine: … and I spent lots of weekends … He was living in Birmingham, which is about an hour away from where I lived, and so, um, every weekend I would drive up there and all Saturday would be spent, uh, the traipsing around these cold scrapyards looking at these bits of metal that went into the, uh, engine cluster and I, it smelled horrible, and it was cold-

Jim: (laughs)

Katharine: … but I-

Jim: You’re convincing me.

Katharine: … pretended, I pretended I loved it. And actually I just loved it, ’cause I wanted to be with him. So we try to remember, what were those things? Thankfully he didn’t then go and build another kit car, but we tried to be interested in each other’s worlds and I think that’s a good lesson.

Jim: Okay, let me ask you, are you still doing that today? How long, how many years have you been married?

Katharine: We have been married 34 years.

Jim: Okay, we’ve been married 32. So are you doing that still? Do you get interested in what he’s doing even though it drives you crazy?

Katharine: We try to, but-

Jim: (laughs)

Katharine: … so often we get it wrong, but when we get it wrong now, I think we know what we have to do and we have try and remember, but I think the busyness of life just creeps in. Our kids have left home now, and I think that’s very often what can happen is we’ve just been talking about them, and the arrangements, and-

Jim: Oh yeah.

Katharine: … who’s taking who to football, and suddenly they’re not there, and we look at each other and think, “What are we gonna be talking about?”

Jim: Well, and it’s really important that you continue to develop your relationship. I mean the, in the U.S. at least, the, uh- uh, the fastest growing divorce rate is amongst empty nesters because typically, uh, the wife, the mom says, “You know, I- I don’t know you anymore,”-

Katharine: And that’s exactly-

Jim: … and that’s what you’re saying, don’t be caught in that trap. Uh, I love a quote from your book. You said, “One of the greatest gifts you can give your spouse is to be that person in their lives who will ask how they’re doing and then wait to hear the answer.” That’s … I’m not good at that-

Katharine: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … let me just put it that way.

Katharine: I think one thing we’re all bad at is interrupting. I think the average person listens for something, like, 17 seconds before interrupting.

Jim: That long?

Katharine: Well maybe not that long.

Jim: (laughs)

Katharine: I think my, I’m probably more, like, five.

Jim: (laughs)

Katharine: Um, but what we, what I do, anyway, I’m trying to construct my reply, I’m trying to think of something to say back, and not really- really listening-

Jim: Okay-

Katharine: … to what they’re saying.

Jim: … we gotta get into this, because this is a total gender thing. So with Jean and I, I call it interactive listening, you know, so she’s tellin’ me something that is really important to her and I’ll begin to clarify things, right? I think that’s interactive, I’m engaging. It drives her crazy. So why- (laughs) why is that? I’m saying, “No it, you know, it, you, what color was it, how was …” “Would you not interrupt me.”

Katharine: Oh, well there’s interrupting like that, because probably she was gonna say something different, maybe.

Jim: Yeah.

Katharine: And also, I think, a common thing, certainly, in our marriage is Richard, my husband, wants to fix the problem and actually-

Jim: That’s very common.

Katharine: … all I want to do is talk about it, so-

Jim: What does that sound like, um, you know, he wants to fix the problem? Give me that dialogue.

Katharine: So I’ll come in and I’ll say, “There was this really difficult situation at work today, and this person did X, and this other person said Y, and I don’t really know, you know, what- what can I do about it,” and I’ll-

Jim: “Oh, you should go to X and tell him this.”

Katharine: Well exactly.

Jim: Is that what he says? (laughs)

Katharine: He will, he’ll give me some advice, and that’s okay, but then the next night I’ll say the same thing again and he’ll say, “But I thought I told you what to do,” and actually I didn’t need telling what to do, um, I just wanted him to listen.

Jim: So is he doing better at that?

Katharine: He’s pretty good.

Jim: Oh, that’s good. All right, um, you believe married couples, uh, can learn from Winston Churchill, that’s pretty good. Now you’re British, of course, Winston Churchill is a hero of both the U.S. and Britain. Uh, wh- why should we listen to Winston Churchill on the issue of marriage?

Katharine: Well, during the war when he must have been super- super busy, um, he was often away and there are a series of letters that you can still see today that he wrote to his wife, Clementine, uh, just keeping in contact, telling her about the little things that he’d been doing, talking about his feelings, telling her that, um, that he loved her, and that was all in the context of, uh, his role at the time in terms of the-

Jim: Think of that. I mean we think we’re busy? We’re not tryin’ to save the world, he was, and… yet he took time to write a, uh, write many letters. How many letters did he write?

Katharine: Well I think there’s loads and loads, and you can see them, I think, in one of the, maybe the British Museum or somewhere, um, lots of them are there. And they had little pet names for each other as well that was very sweet and he’d do little drawings, but just the effort. Today we can do that more easily, we can send a text message, we can, uh, keep in contact more easily, but he would get the pen out and actually write these letters.

Jim: Okay, you mentioned that, e-, active listening in that, kind of, dialogue between a husband and wife involves eye contact. Uh- uh, gosh, I’m just confessing all my weaknesses, I’m not sure I do that very well either. So why is that important? Do I really have to look?

Katharine: Well I was at a party with somebody recently and I was wearing, um, quite a nice scarf, and I thought that they were looking at that, and then we were chatting, and then I realized they were not looking at my scarf, they were actually looking at someone more interesting over my left-

Jim: (laughs)

Katharine: … shoulder.

Jim: Oh no.

Katharine: And I think all of us have been in that situation where we’ve not been listened to and it makes us feel that we’re not valued, it makes us feel that we’re not important. And so listening with your eyes gives that person that huge sense of value, and love, and care. And so if we can do that, and it is hard, uh, because there’s often more interesting things, maybe, to be looking at. (laughs) Maybe, you know, you’re reading the, reading an article in the paper or something-

Jim: Right.

Katharine: … but actually just giving that eye contact, uh, gives, sends an-

Jim: I’ll work on it.

Katharine: … incredible message of support.

Jim: Okay, I’m gonna work on that one.

John: Some really good advice for your marriage or really for any interaction that you have with others. This is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly and our guest is Katharine Hill. She’s written a very practical book called, If You Forget Everything Else, Remember This: Tips and Reminders for a Happy Marriage. We’ve got the book and also an audio copy of this conversation at our website, focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Here’s more now from Katharine Hill on today’s episode of Focus on the Family.

Jim: Katharine, you use, uh, STOP as an acronym for us to remember four key things. So, how does it work, what does STOP stand for?

Katharine: Well we often use this when we’re talking to new parents, because when someone’s just had a little baby the whole marriage relationship changes and this is a really good one for any couple to remember, not just new parents. And so S, S stands for scoring points. So these are four-

Jim: (laughs)

Katharine: … things that we shouldn’t do.

Jim: Okay, don’t-

Katharine: S- so-

Jim: … score points.

Katharine: … don’t score points. So that’s, like, they say, “You did that,” and you say, “Well you did that,” “Well you did that,” and then up it goes, and the whole thing escalates.

Jim: Let’s just take a little poll. We’re here in front of, you know, 16, 17 couples. How many people in here understand the scoring point mechanism in marriage? Oh, and- and how many people are liars? (laughs) Okay, let me see, about- about a third of the group put their hand up. Thank you for being honest.

Audience: (laughs)

Jim: All right, what’s the next one?

Katharine: T is thinking the worst. So that’s when maybe your husband brings you a beautiful bunch of flowers and you think, “Oh, what’s he done wrong,” rather than just saying, “How lovely,” or whatever the issue is. But you- you go to the worst, you, kind of, catastrophize, you go to the worst possible scenario-

Jim: Okay-

Katharine: … every time.

Jim: … how many wives agree with that statement? All right, not man- … The … Wow, really, that’s good. One of the things in that particular space that I think is difficult, and again I want to see the- the heads nodding or, uh, disagreeing with me on this. But when it comes to ruminating, I think this is, in a gender context, it really is a- a female thing. And Jean will do this with me, where, uh- uh, it, kind of, goes to the worse possible scenario, right, and I didn’t intend for that. So how do we clarify that? What kinda, uh, we, what mechanism do we use to not trigger each other?

Katharine: Well there’s a really good little phrase to use, which is “What do you really mean?”

Jim: Uh, (laughs) that’s good.

Katharine: So really asking what’s behind the issue, not just taking it at face value.

Jim: So don’t go right to the concern of the, what feels like threat-

Katharine: Exactly.

Jim: … “What are you really covering up here?”

Katharine: Well, or just saying, uh, just really, I think, believing the best, believing the best about-

Jim: That’s good.

Katharine: … about them.

Jim: So we’ve covered S and T, but we need to cover O and P, so what is O and P stand for?

Katharine: So, O is opting out. So that’s when someone withdraws, when they don’t engage with the, um, discussion or argument, uh, and they just bury everything and try and push it under the carpet and-

Jim: Now some people might think that’s a good coping skill. Speak to that person that is justifying that.

Katharine: So that’s not a good coping skill because the other person doesn’t, sometimes doesn’t even know, um, that there’s an issue and it’s much better to get things out into the open, to be able to say why we’re upset, if we are, and then together to be able to deal with it.

Jim: That’s O, what about P?

Katharine: So P is for putdown, putting down, so it’s when you make the other person, um, feel inferior. And it could be verbally, it could be by calling them names, making it a bit personal, but also it could just be by body language. So raising your eyes, putting your hands on your hips, sighing, that, sort of, thing, and none of those things are a good way to resolve conflict. So-

Jim: Hm.

Katharine: … scoring points, thinking the worst, opting out, and putting down.

Jim: All right, um, I’ve always believed that compromise is a good thing, it’s a good strategy for avoiding conflict in marriage, I mean that’s what it’s about. Even the scripture says to husbands, particularly, “Lay your life down for your wife,” that’s the ultimate compromise. Why are you cautious about compromise?

Katharine: I think compromise is a really good tool and it can get us out of some, uh, difficult situations, but ultimately what can happen is one or the other is the one who always ends up giving in and you end up with not the best. And so what we talk about, instead, is finding the third way, so finding something that is a b-, a bit of him, and a bit of you, and finding a different solution that you’re both really happy with.

Jim: Okay, so for the men who are thinking, “You know, it’s good to win, it’s good to give direction, it’s good to lead.” But in that context, um, how do we lay that down to say, “It’s not about winning, it’s not a zero-sum game.”

Katharine: Well I think sometimes we can say it’s worth, uh, losing the argument, uh, just for the sake of the relationship, for the sake of the marriage. But the best advice is to remember, you’re on the same side, so this isn’t about, uh, one of you pitching against the other, but this about being on the same side and then putting the issue out in front of you and trying to work at it together. It sounds easy to say it like this, but actually, uh, in practice it is more difficult, but that’s a really good thing-

Jim: Hm.

Katharine: … to have in mind.

Jim: Um, Katharine, let’s, uh, use a positive example. You talk about the third way, so, uh, what’s an example of accomplishing this in the third way?

Katharine: Well I have a colleague, uh, that we work with at Care for the Family and he has a great example of this with his wife. So, they were decorating their house. Now lots of couples wouldn’t think decorating was a big deal, but he really does. And, uh, he- he cares a lot about what the house is like and so does she, but they have completely different styles. So, she likes everything to be floral, and roses, and vines, and creepers, and billions of cushions-

Jim: (laughs)

Katharine: … and he is much more, uh, chic, minimal, black, white, chrome, those kind of things.

Jim: Sounds like a marriage made in heaven.

Katharine: Well they tried decorating and, uh, there was a big argument and then she-

Jim: (laughs)

Katharine: … said, “Honey, you can do, I will let you do the first room.” So, uh, he thought, “My wife is an angel, I will,” and it was the spare room.

Audience: (laughs)

Katharine: So, he decorated the spare room in his style, black, white, chrome, minimal and then he realized that he had been outmaneuvered because she then said, “Well as you’ve done the spare room, it’s only fair that I do our bedroom.” And so he talks about this bedroom, now that’s it pink, and floral, and fluffy, and cushions, and he’s very funny, he said, uh, “I was lying in bed and didn’t know whether to go to sleep or do the pruning.”

Jim: (laughs)

Audience: (laughs)

Katharine: Anyway, they had, they carried on like this-

Jim: Uh-huh.

Katharine: … decorating their home. Your way, my way, your way, my way, until they found that this house had an odd number of rooms. And, so, they didn’t know what to do and they decided to try and combine both of their styles. And he said, “Having done that,” and it took work, and it was hard, and they had to tussle it out, but it is now the best room in the house and, in fact, they’ve gone back and decorated the rest of the house and they call it floral minimalism.

Jim: (laughs) And so it-

Katharine: (laughs)

Jim: … worked for them.

Katharine: It worked for them. But you can apply that to everything. You can apply that to how you bring up your children, you can apply that to, um, your recreation time together, you can apply it to how you spend your money. All different issues, apply-

Jim: Yeah.

Katharine: … that third way.

Jim: You know, one of the, one of the things, and I’m sure both you and Richard as attorneys have seen this, um, the choices people make-

Katharine: Hm.

Jim: … in marriage, uh, the way they either build each other up or tear each other down. Uh, first of all, why do we lean, some of us, will lean toward sarcasm, or tearing one another down, it’s part of, especially for men, it’s part of the way we communicate, and we think it’s fun, uh, but sometimes it’s not so fun for our spouses. So, you know, in that context, how do we become more mindful and- and- and better with our hearts?

Katharine: Well I think words are really- really powerful. Um, in the book of Proverbs it says, “Our words have the power of life and death,” and we can literally be speaking life into our spouse by the words that we speak.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Katharine: But I think people don’t often realize that and for some people words are more impactful than others. For me, words are very impactful, Richard less so, and he is quick and quite witty with his words. And there was one time, it was my birthday, and we have been out to a restaurant with another couple. And they arrived with a gift, and with a card, and this card, they had written all down one side really lovely things about me, completely over the top, but it made me feel a million dollars.

Jim: Oh yeah.

Katharine: I picked it up and I read it, and then he, uh, lent over the table, and he picked it up, and he said, “Guys, is there any Katharine?” And at that moment my little birthday balloon popped and it wasn’t such a fun evening anymore, and he had thought it was just a fun comment.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Katharine: Um, I should preface it to say that he- he often says really great things about me in public-

Jim: (laughs)

Katharine: … so this wasn’t only … But nevertheless, it was really hurtful.

Jim: That’s a real-

Katharine: So-

Jim: … life, uh-

Katharine: Well we-

Jim: … scenario.

Katharine: … we got home and, um, we sorted it out, as they say, um, but actually it was such a lesson to us in how just what sounds like a fun quick comment, um, can actually be really hurtful. So I think being mindful of the power of our words.

Jim: So how, uh, y-, how did you bring that up with Richard when you got back home?

Katharine: I think he knew straight away. (laughs)

Jim: Okay, so you were giving the vibe that you weren’t happy.

Katharine: I was giving the vibe that I wasn’t happy.

Jim: So, yeah- yeah, so then, again, how do you enter into that conflict moment in a way that’s productive and not destructive?

Katharine: So, my natural way of dealing with conflict, because of, um, the way I was brought up. I was brought up in a home where I didn’t see conflict ever resolved, it was all pushed under the carpet, and I honestly thought that was the way to deal with it. And so I used to do that, I used to never deal with it properly, I would just sulk, or hold a grudge. And it was only when I understood that actually doing that is just as harmful to a relationship as somebody who, um, says it as it is and who is a bit more, sort of, on the front foot, really, with- with how they are expressing their annoyance with their spouse. But neither of those are a good way of resolving it, and actually it’s healthier to be able to get it out into the open.

Jim: The, you know, the Christian overlay to all this is some of us can believe that taking it, or being quiet about it is actually spiritually good to do, but you’re- you’re saying it’s not.

Katharine: There’s lots of research about this, about what’s called the negativity threshold, it’s a bit of a mouthful. But what it means is that some people, um, have a high and some people have a low negativity threshold. And if you have a high negativity threshold, it means you can take loads of stuff, and you just take it all on board, and you absorb it, but then one day there will probably be an almighty explosion. Whereas low negativity threshold means people deal with stuff quickly and, um, they don’t let it harbor.

Jim: Hm.

Katharine: And I do think you’re right, I think that sometimes in the Christian community, um, that we can think that we’re doing a good thing by not reacting, but the healthy way is to put it out in front of us, not make it personal, lots of little tips on how not to do that, and then deal with it together.

Jim: Katharine, this has been so good. We need to come back next time, pick up the conversation, and provide more insights on how to communicate, uh, in a more healthy way in your marriage, can we do that?

Katharine: We certainly can.

John: Well we do hope you’re gonna make plans now to join us for part two of Jim’s conversation with Katharine Hill talking about her book, If You Forget Everything Else, Remember This: Tips and Reminders for a Happy Marriage.

Jim: Katharine offers a lot of practical help and hope for couples and these are simple yet important reminders about how to, uh, communicate better, offer grace and acceptance to your spouse in a better way, and find common ground in your marriage. Yeah, I can’t think of a better how-to resource and it works for every situation, whether you’re engaged, a newlywed, or even if you’ve been married 20 or 30 years like me, this book will benefit you. And I’ll admit that there are some things I still need to learn about being a good husband and I’m sure we could all use a refresher course now and then. So contact us today about getting Katharine’s book. And if you sign up to make a monthly pledge, which really helps us, of any amount, uh, we will say thank you by sending a copy out to you right away. Even a one-time gift will work. Anything you can do to stand with us in supporting, and strengthening, and saving marriages is greatly appreciated.

John: It really is and, uh, in addition to Katharine’s book, we also have an audio copy of the entire conversation with her, we’ll include next time’s broadcast as well. Check out our free marriage assessment online, it really is easy and quickly gives you and your spouse a good overview of what’s working well and what you might want to look at as- as far as, uh, opportunities to improve, some good talking points on that. Again, it’s the free marriage assessment and it’s available online. Details about these resources and, uh, ways to donate at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast or when you call 800-232-6459. 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Coming up next, more from Katharine Hill about making your marriage the best it can be.

Katharine: I think couples can just sit down, and think, and pray, and say, “What is it in our marriage that we can do that is bigger than the sum of the two of us?”

Today's Guests

If You Forget Everything Else, Remember This

If You Forget Everything Else, Remember This

Get Katharine Hill's book If You Forget Everything Else, Remember This for your donation of any amount! Plus, receive member-exclusive benefits when you make a recurring gift today. Your monthly support helps families thrive.

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Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff Cropped

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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.

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Kim Meeder

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Revival Rising

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Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

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

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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,

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Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

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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.

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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.

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

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Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

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

Mrs. Patti Giebink

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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

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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.

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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!