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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Inviting God Into Your Dating Relationship (Part 1 of 2)

Inviting God Into Your Dating Relationship (Part 1 of 2)

Debra Fileta discusses finding your identity before you make it your relationship, having emotional boundaries, and focusing on Christ as the true healing and fulfillment in your life. Her practical advice and fun stories are something you don’t want to miss! (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: February 9, 2023

Woman #1: Someone once told me that it is really important to focus on building a friendship as the foundation for your relationship.

Man #1: I was recently told by a friend that it’s always best for the guy to pay for the first date.

Man #2: The best piece of dating advice that I have received in the past was to always have good communication.

Woman #2: I would say that being open to new experiences in dating would be really helpful.

John Fuller: Well, those are a few dating tips that you might’ve heard at some in your life and today we’ll hear some great dating advice from our guest on Focus on the Family. Thanks for joining us. Your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, uh, of course the producers want me to talk about what great advice did I give Trent and Troy?

John: Oh, yes.

Jim: I think the great advice was to not have too much advice (laughs) as a parent-

John: Yes.

Jim: … in this area. But we did talk about the order in which it should work, which is, you know, you’re gonna date, hopefully school be somewhere underway, if not finished, get married, then have children.

John: That’s kinda the plan.

Jim: I think that’s a good way to go. (laughs) But in terms of the dynamics, I, I always aim for the heart.

John: Mm.

Jim: You know, for them to have good hearts and to be good toward people, and I think that’s not a bad way to go. I guess I’m looking forward to finding out.

John: It sounds like a good plan but time will tell.

Jim: Well, you never know but it’s certainly difficult. I think dating and family formation generally in our culture today is very different-

John: Hm.

Jim: … from when you and I (laughs) were doing this.

John: Absolutely different.

Jim: And, uh, you know, I’m looking forward to talking about it because we do, as parents particularly, it’s good to know if your teen and 20-something, how they’re doing in this arena and what should you say and maybe what you shouldn’t say when it comes to helping them with dating. You know, in the Scripture, in Psalm 119 at, uh, verse 105 it says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” That can apply to so many things. But one of the critical thing, man, there’s so many important decisions being made in your 20s that you want to be following the Lord-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … in those, uh, really big decisions like who you’re, you may marry and, you know, what’s the way forward and what’s your vocation. And I just think having that foundation spiritually of knowing the Lord and trusting the Lord, following the Lord is so critical.

John: Yeah, and reading the Scripture, that’s the Word, the lamp unto our feet. That’s, uh, also very, very crucial. Well, j- joining us today, Debra Fileta is a, a licensed professional counselor. She specializes in relationship issues, marriage, dating. She is the host of the Love and Relationships podcast and, uh, the founder of the Debra Fileta Counselors Network. Uh, Debra and her husband, John, have four kids, and, uh, she’s been here before. She’s the author of a number of books. The one that forms the foundation of today’s conversation is called True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life. And of course we have copies of that here, uh, stop by or call 1-800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY to get yours.

Jim: Debra, welcome to Focus on the Family.

Debra Fileta: Thank you. It’s good to be here.

Jim: Good to have you back. Yeah.

Debra: It’s good to be here again.

Jim: Yeah. And, uh, man, it, it’s pretty funny, huh, the, what we just talked about, John and I, when you look at, especially as parents-

Debra: Yeah.

Jim: … with kids that age, the dating scene. It changes from generation.

Debra: Dating changes over time.

Jim: Yeah.

Debra: And it’s funny you say that because a lot of people ask me to give them a biblical approach to dating.

Jim: Yeah, didn’t happen in the Bible (laughs)-

John: (laughs)

Debra: Well-

Jim: … a couple times.

Debra: … you probably don’t want a biblical approach because it would include a dowry-

Jim: Arranged marriage.

Debra: Some arranged marriage of some sort-

Jim: (laughs)

Debra: … camels, donkeys. You know, because culture changes, and with that, dating changes.

Jim: Yeah. Let me ask ya, you had a funny story i-in the book where I think it was you and John getting married. You-

Debra: Yeah.

Jim: … you had a little mishap with which hand the ring goes on. What happened?

Debra: Yeah, so on our wedding day, we were, we just said our vows and it was time to put the ring on. Well, I didn’t remember which hand to put the ring on.

Jim: (laughs) It’s pretty funny.

Debra: And, and John didn’t either. So he gives me both hands-

Jim: (laughs) No help there. Absolutely no help.

Debra: And I’m like, uh … So I just grab a hand, I’m like, “Nobody will notice.”

Jim: (laughs)

Debra: But my rambunctious family, somebody notices and they yell out, “Wrong hand.”

John: (laughs)

Debra: And so in the middle of our sacred wedding day, and I had to think quick. So I said, “Wrong hand, but at least I got the right guy.”

John: Ah.

Jim: That is a good.

Debra: You know, it was probably the highlight of my comedy career because everybody laughed. But I think there’s so much truth to the idea of finding the right person to marry. And I think sometimes when it comes to weddings, we get so caught up with the details of wedding planning, that we’re not even focused on whether or not we are marrying the right person for us.

Jim: Well, we want to talk about that and how you know that you’re as, as assured as possible that you’re marrying the right person. There’s no guarantee, obviously, but it takes work.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: You put work into it, and hopefully the Lord kind of reinforces for you that person that you’re desiring to marry. But let’s kind of talk from the beginning, what have you seen in some of those relationships that you’ve counseled with these pre-married couples? What are some of the negative things that you’re hearing about and seeing, and some of those experiences in the dating realm-

Debra: Yeah.

Jim: … that would give you concern as a counselor?

Debra: Well, I do think people are getting married later and later. And I don’t necessarily think that’s a concern. I think it’s a change of culture, but I think what the concern is, is that we have a long list of things we want in a partner. But we don’t necessarily turn that list around on ourselves.

Jim: Mm.

Debra: And I think, I, I see people who are in one unhealthy relationship after the next, and they think the main problem is everybody else. But human beings are magnetic, we attract and engage with people on our level of health.

Jim: Mm.

Debra: So as we get healthier as individuals, the people that we date become healthier as well, because we’re now attracting a different type of people, as well as repelling the ones that aren’t healthy.

Jim: Now, I’m sure someone’s out there going, “That can’t be true every time.” But you’re talking about probably the old 80/20 rule.

Debra: Right.

Jim: I mean, there’s going to be exceptions-

Debra: Right.

Jim: … of course-

Debra: When you see a general pattern-

Jim: Yeah.

Debra: … in your life of unhealthy dating relationship after unhealthy dating relationship, at some point you have to stop and ask, “W- w- … Am I the common denominator here? And what do I need to do to become a healthier person?”

Jim: You know, Debra, and I appreciate the cultural sensitivity to that that maybe this is just a pattern of marrying later. Uh, Dr. Al Mohler, who’s the president of Southern Seminary, was once on the Focus board, and we’ve had many discussions about that. His concern, as a seminary president, was young people are waiting too long. That the, you know, just the normal drive, sexual drive, is something that can be difficult to contain if you don’t get married, especially in a Christian context where you want to follow the Lord. And he encourages people to marry younger, you know? Rather than risk falling away from the Lord in that physical intimacy space. Do you have any thought on that?

Debra: Yeah, I, I hear that a lot. And sometimes people ask me, “Is it better to marry older or younger?” I think it’s different in every situation, because you can be 40, 50, 60 year old, and still not have the spiritual, emotional mental maturity that you need to have a healthy relationship. So I think it’s less about age and more about preparation.

Jim: Huh, interesting. That’s good. You explained three important stages of dating that you need to commit to in order to have a healthy relationship. So let’s get into those three.

Debra: Yeah. So in True Love Dates, I talk about three different areas. The first is dating inward which is all about getting to know yourself. How healthy are you standing alone? The second is dating outward, and that’s all about the health of your interpersonal relationships. What are you looking for? What’s healthy in a relationship? How do you protect yourself in those interactions? And thirdly, dating upward. Our relationship with God matters and bringing him into the picture of our dating life is a crucial component to healthy dating relationships.

Jim: Yeah, those are three good ones.

John: Mm.

Jim: Let’s dig into them a little bit. When you look at the I thing. I think in Christian understanding, we’re very, uh, sensitive to the I word because we don’t want to be selfish. We don’t want to put too much attention on ourselves. We need to be looking at others, et cetera. That’s what we’re taught in the Christian ethos and it’s right. But you also say there’s significance of I, what do you mean by the importance of I? (laughs)

Debra: You know, going back to that analogy, that human beings are magnetic, you are 50% of the equation of a healthy relationship. And I think sometimes we’re so focused on them, “What are they going to be like? What are they gonna bring to the table?” And we don’t take enough time to focus on our individual health. What are we bringing to the table? What’s our communication like? What’s the baggage that we bring from our past? What are the hurts and wounds and struggles and sins that we carry with us? Because you’re gonna carry that stuff into relationships, so it’s important to really take the time to get to know yourself, your identity, and God’s calling on your life. Because if you don’t know yourself, you don’t know the kind of person who matches your life from the kind of person who doesn’t.

Jim: Well, and s- It can become so simple. “I just like hanging out with this person,” right? And that becomes the-

Debra: Right.

Jim: … definer, which is not necessarily the only thing … (laughs)

Debra: Right.

Jim: It’s a good thing, but it’s not the only thing. Now, being an author of this book, True Love Dates, which, the reason I chuckled is because of the play on two … True Love Waits, right?

Debra: Yeah.

Jim: So that is pretty funny. Uh, but in that context, you put some of your own story in there. And when you were dating before you met John and married John, what was happening there that (laughs) I think in many ways helped form some of these, uh, positions that-

Debra: Yeah.

Jim: … you have in the book.

Debra: You know, I came from a culture a lot of people can relate to where dating was kind of seen as the bad guy.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Debra: Dating was inappropriate, and we were encouraged to kiss dating goodbye. Get away from dating altogether, just leave it alone, don’t touch it. And so when you come from that culture, and then the world, on the other hand, is telling you, “Oh, just date. Hookup, it doesn’t matter.” As a Christian you don’t-

Jim: Yeah, the other extreme.

Debra: The other extreme. You don’t really know who to turn to, which side … Where do I belong?

Jim: Mm.

Debra: And I think before John I dated the wrong guy. I, I spent a very long season of my life dating somebody that wasn’t a good match for my life, um, because it ended up being the first person I dated. And I thought, “Okay, I’m dating somebody. Well, I better marry them.” There’s a lot of pressure here, you know? You can’t just date for fun.

Jim: Let me ask you about that because that’s so helpful, I think, particularly to so many women, but I think men too. That fog of dating, you know? You think that … Especially if you’re coming from a Christian home that has had that kind of position.

Debra: Right.

Jim: And that’s what you’ve been taught. You know, date only the person you think you’re gonna marry.

Debra: Right.

Jim: Which, you know, that’s pretty credible.

Debra: That’s a lot of pressure.

Jim: But it’s a lot of pressure.

Debra: Yeah.

Jim: So how do you know if you don’t know anybody else in that way? Just personality mix and all that. So in that context, when you’re, you know, speaking to the broader culture, you know, what, what are some of the things you go into in the dating situation? And how do you extricate yourself, what happened with you?

Debra: Yeah.

Jim: Trying to get outside of that relationship when you’re thinking, after two years, three years, whatever it was, that, “This isn’t the guy.”

Debra: Right. Well, it was a really hard breakup, let’s just put it that way, because it’s all I knew. And you almost feel like a failure because you’re supposed to date to marry. But when all these yellow flags and red flags are coming to the surface, you realize it’s not about marriage as the end goal. It’s about following God’s best plan for my life, and I knew I wasn’t in that. And so I took a season of stepping back from dating because I realized that I didn’t know who fit into my life because I didn’t know who I was.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Debra: I needed to get my identity right and what I was looking for, so that I could find somebody that matched what God was doing in me and through me. So I took a season of just dating myself. Dating inward, getting to know myself. And I advocate, before you jump into the dating world, to take a season of dating inward. Get to know yourself first.

Jim: What does that look like?

Debra: Well, let me tell you what it doesn’t look like. One girl on Twitter said, “Does dating inward mean I take myself to a movie or to a restaurant?”

Jim: Right.

Debra: And, and it’s not about taking yourself out on dates. I think it’s more about doing the internal work. The purposes of a man’s heart are like deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. That’s what Scripture says. It takes work to draw out the deep waters inside of us. And for some people, maybe it looks like counseling. For some people, maybe it looks like getting a mentor. Understanding my likes and dislikes, facing my struggles and my weaknesses and taking ownership of my communication. And all of those things are part of the process of getting to know myself so that I know who fits into my life.

Jim: Yeah, in True Love Dates, you, you mention three questions that, I think, probably emerged out of this exercise that you did.

Debra: Yeah.

Jim: What are the three questions that you encourage-

Debra: Yeah.

Jim: … dating people to ask of themselves?

Debra: The first question is, where do I come from? What is my past and how has my past shaped who I am today? The second question is, who am I today? What is my identity? What do I believe about myself and what do I believe about myself in Christ? What are the lies that I believe about myself? Who am I today? And then the third question is, where am I going? What does the future have for me? What is God’s calling for my life? Because you need to know where you’re going to understand whether or not this person is coming along with you. If they’re on a completely different direction, a completely different trajectory, the dating relationship might not work out.

Jim: Right. That identity piece, you know, we talk a lot about it in the Christian community. Uh, your identity in Christ. So how, where did you come to the place in your dating years where you figured that out? And what did it look like when you said, “Okay, now I know who I am in Christ.” And how did that play out in your dating relationship?

Debra: You know, I see the process of becoming healthy and getting to know yourself more like stepping onto a moving walkway and less like getting on an elevator. Because some people are like, “Well, what floor do I get off? How do I know I have arrived?” But it’s more of the journey that you’re on, because it’s a never-ending journey, we’re always replacing the lies that we believe with God’s truth, this constant process. And I think it’s about finding somebody who is joining you in that process. For me, in that season, it meant facing some of the lies I believed about myself. For example, that my value came from what I did. That’s not a true statement.

Jim: Mm.

Debra: It’s something I grew up believing because of the culture that I came from. And living out of that, replacing it with the fact that God loves me standing alone because of Jesus. I don’t have to earn this love, this value. And you know, when you shift your beliefs about yourself, it shifts how you do relationships as well because now I’m not looking to earn love in relationships. So changing your understanding, changing your identity, changes everything.

Jim: Right.

John: Mm. Debra Fileta is our guest today on Focus on the Family. And we’re talking about many of the concepts in her book, True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life. Contact Focus on the Family today for your copy. Our website is or call 1-800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Debra, you mentioned a story in your book where a, a young man wrote to you, or texted you, and talked about his concern in his relationships because of his family of origin and the things he saw within the relationship between his mother and father. I think it’s really critical, this is where, you know, if you’re a mom and dad of 20-, 30-somethings, you have definitely shown your, your adult children what it means to have a healthy or an unhealthy marriage.

Debra: Right.

Jim: So speak to his concerns, then how did you address them with him?

John: Mm.

Debra: Yeah. He came to me with some fear because in his past, his relationship with his mom and dad, they didn’t seem like they really loved each other, you know?

Jim: Mm.

Debra: It was like they were in the relationship, and they didn’t believe in divorce, but they were divorced emotionally.

Jim: Wow.

Debra: And so in his mind, that’s what happens in relationships. At some point, you just kinda drift apart and you deal with it. And imagine going into a dating relationship with expectation that this is only get … gonna get worse-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Debra: … from here.

John: Wow. Hmm.

Debra: That impacts how you date. Maybe you come from a past where your parents were divorced, maybe you come from a past where you experienced trauma or abuse, and you don’t feel valuable. Th- All of those things from our past beginning to impact the way that we date and what we expect in relationships.

Jim: For that person that may have experienced that, you know, I’m kind of rhetorically asking this question, but how do they focus on themselves and not own their parents’ baggage? Which would be my suggestion, you know, they make decisions, they live their lives according to the way they did. That doesn’t necessarily have to dictate the way you live your life and your marriage and your relationship. So how do you process giving your parents what they need to own so that you don’t have to own what they did?

Debra: Right. I, I think that’s a-

Jim: That’s a big question.

Debra: It’s, it’s an important question though. I don’t think we realize how much our past does impact us.

Jim: Right.

Debra: But I think even beginning to ask these questions helps us unravel the pieces. What do I own here? And what don’t I own? What beliefs have I adopted from my parents that God doesn’t want me to believe about relationships? Where did things get tangled up? It takes time and effort to stop and start to kind of untangle the string and figure out, “What do I need to take ownership? What are the healthy beliefs? What are the unhealthy beliefs that I am carrying into the relationship?” Because I have to deal with my own unhealthy beliefs.

Jim: Mm-hmm. You mention the, the mirror illustration. I think this leans in that direction. And how does a person use that to describe how we are responsible for those choices that we make? So how, how do we use the mirror principle, and what is it?

Debra: Well, when you look at a mirror, a mirror doesn’t fix your appearance. It just shows you your appearance. You have to be the one to fix it, right?

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Debra: If there’s a hair sticking out-

Jim: (laughs)

Debra: … it doesn’t just fix it for you, it reveals it. Relationships are like a mirror because they reveal our flaws, they reveal our deficits, they reveal our problem spots. Then we have two options, after that it’s like, “Oh, well, they’re the problem.” You know, the mirror is the problem.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Debra: Or the problem is me, what do I do to fix and adjust this? How can I become healthier standing alone?

Jim: In that context, we’re so quick to look at the other person, aren’t we?

Debra: We are.

Jim: I mean, that’s part of it, but how do kind of regroup so that we’re looking at ourselves first, especially in a relationship? I mean, that, that can be some of the most difficult experiences to look at yourself first. I mean, the neighbor’s a little easier. Your spouse, well, a little more difficult.

Debra: Yeah.

Jim: And then your kids, oh my goodness.

Debra: Yeah.

Jim: They know all your flaws.

Debra: Right. You know, I think Jesus knew that this was human nature and that’s why he encouraged us to take the plank out of our eye first before removing the splinter from someone else’s. Imagine if we started applying that even before marriage in how we dated. “Okay, what am I bringing to the table? What do I need to work on? How am I contributing to this cycle of unhealthy relationships? What does that look like for me to remove the plank and do the work of getting healthy and whole?”

Jim: That may be the hardest thing of all. You, uh, refer to a scene from a movie. I always love when, you know, art reflects biblical truth, which is often-

Debra: Yeah.

Jim: … if we stop and think about it. But this movie was Runaway Bride. I don’t think I saw this movie.

Debra: Well, it’s a chick flick-

Jim: Okay. (laughs)

Debra: … you probably didn’t.

Jim: I try to sit down once in a while and watch one with Jean, but explain what took place in that movie that grabbed you-

Debra: Yeah.

Jim: … that proved a point.

Debra: Well, it’s about a woman who goes from one relationship to the next to the next to the next. And at some point in the movie she realizes that all of her likes and interests are based on the person that she’s with. And I think sometimes-

Jim: Mm.

Debra: … we define ourselves by the relationship that we’re in, instead of defining ourselves by who God says we are first and foremost.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Debra: And that’s an important thing to get right because it effects how and who you date.

Jim: Yeah. One of the things you recommend is to journal. I’ve always … I did that pretty easily for my boys, I’d completed a, you know, full journal for both of them when I would travel, especially internationally. I’d pull out their leather journal, it’s really nice, and 400 pages of journaling that I did about-

Debra: You could write a book.

John: (laughs)

Jim: … about family background. And it was a good thing to do, and to do it for both of them, two individual … But I’ve never really journaled for myself, interestingly enough.

Debra: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Jim: And you mention in the book kind of the importance of that practice. How does journaling help us better understand who we are and, maybe, how do you encourage those that don’t seem to have the time to journal?

Debra: Mm-hmm.

Jim: That’s going to be the excuse, “I’m so busy, Debra. How can you expect me to journal?”

Debra: Yeah. Well, if you are on a journey of dating in Word, I think you have to be intentional. Nothing of value comes by accident. You’re not going to date well by accident. Just because you’re a Christian doesn’t mean you are going to do relationships well unless you’re intentional about it. So take a season of dating and Word. Grab a journal and start to really face who you are. I like journaling because when you put something on paper, it makes it this objective thing that you have to face. So some topics for you to think about, what are your interactions and reactions? How do you interact with people around you? And, and what does that reveal about you? Who do I spend time with? And what are my … What does the conflict in my relationships look like? How do I resolve it? What are you behaviors? Do you have any habits or hangups, struggles or addictions in your life that you’re dealing with? What does that look like and what might be the roots of some of those things? What about your feelings? What’s your overall mood throughout the week? And then, lastly, what are your thoughts and beliefs? Do you tend to have negative thoughts, cynical thoughts, critical thoughts, worse case scenario thinking? Start to kind of track your thinking, and as you write things down and face them, you begin to get an idea of what areas you need to work on in yourself.

Jim: Yeah, that’s good. Maybe I should start doing that. (laughs)

John: Well, especially true if you want to do that deep dive that you’re talking about, so you kind of figure out who you are before you go too far in dating relationships.

Jim: Debra, let me ask you in that … Just to help school those of us that haven’t done a lot of self-journaling, we’ve done it like for our kids-

Debra: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … like I did. Uh, speak to a couple of examples of that, um, especially early on. Kind of through your day, what you’re experiencing, do you actually write that down? “Today I was upset that the waitress didn’t …” (laughs) You know, “Didn’t get me my food quickly enough.” I mean, is that something worth writing down, or is … Wha- Give me an example.

Debra: Yeah. When it comes to journaling about your feelings, I think it’s important to be aware of the areas where you have maybe an overreaction to things. Like, let’s say your wife says something to you and all of a sudden you’re extremely angry and upset, also disproportional to the situation. Or let’s say, in the dating context, somebody rejects you and says, “No thanks, I don’t really want to go out for coffee.” And you feel utter despair and rejection, write it down. Because there’s probably something in that feeling that’s being revealed that you need to work on. You know, maybe there’s a deeper rejection issue, a fear of abandonment, a self-worth issue. So I do think it’s important to be aware of those feelings because they’re a signal. And they signal something that’s happening underneath the surface.

Jim: Yeah.

John: Mm.

Jim: You know, we started this portion of the discussion … I’d like to come back next time and continue. There’s so much more content I want to get to that you’ve written in this great book, True Love Dates. Um, but one of the things as we discussed a moment ago, people are marrying later. Some people are feeling like they missed the bus, right? They’re late into their 30s, they thought it was going to happen earlier. It hasn’t happened. Do you ever encounter people that feel like, “You know what? It’s so late for me, I don’t think doing this kind of hard work is worth it.” I would probably argue that you may be the prime candidate-

Debra: Right.

Jim: … for doing this kind of work.

Debra: Right.

Jim: But speak to that person, if you can imagine him 37, he or she, they thought they were going to get married in their 20s. It didn’t happen. Is it too late to do some of this great work?

Debra: I hear from so many people in that boat at True Love Dates. And at the end of the day, you have to really take ownership of the health of your thinking. If you’re constantly thinking negative thoughts, if you’re constantly thinking desperate thoughts, you will date desperate-

Jim: Mm.

Debra: … as well. And you will do desperate things in dating. So you really have to adjust those thoughts. And, and remember this, the work is worth it whether or not you get married because it’s making you a better person in the end.

Jim: Yeah, which is the goal all around, right? That’s what the Christian faith is all about. Debra, this has been so good. Let’s come back next time, we’ll talk more about how to do that, run towards Christ. Uh, increasing your depth spiritually, uh, which is a great pursuit in and of itself, right? Good things tend to happen to people that deepen their relationship with the Lord. And I think it’d be a great, great way to take this conversation, can we do it?

Debra: Yeah, let’s do it.

Jim: All right. And then, for the viewer and for the listener, man, if you need this resource, get ahold of us. That’s the bottom line. We’ve got a big push right now to help us on a monthly basis by becoming a sustainer to the ministry. That could be like a $10 gift a month.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: If you can do that and afford to do ministry through Focus in that way, 10, 15 dollars a month would be awesome. And we’ll send ya a copy of Debra’s wonderful book as our way of saying thank you for being part of the ministry. You know, the Lord, uh, through a couple that donated, once shared with me, through this couple, that our goal, my goal, is to run Focus effectively and efficiently so you can do ministry through it. I’m committed to that. And I think that’s how the Lord sees us. So jump on board. Let’s do ministry together and we’ll send you this great resource by Debra, True Love Dates, as our way of saying thank you.

John: Call us today or go online to make your monthly donation, and when you do, request Debra’s book, True Love Dates. Our number’s 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY or stop by And while you’re at the website, be sure to check out the Boundless Ministry that Lisa Anderson and her team do so much to help young adults think critically so they can advance in their faith. It’s a really great ministry, and we’ll have the link at the website. And on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. Plan to be with us next time as we have Debra back, and once again, help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life

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Recent Episodes

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Experiencing God’s Mercy After Leaving the Abortion Industry (Part 1 of 2)

Abby Johnson recounts what God has done in her life since she originally released her book Unplanned and shares stories of the ways she’s helped women leave the abortion industry through her ministry, And Then There Were None. She shares stories about women she’s counseled, how God restored her desire to have children after leaving Planned Parenthood, and how she had to lean on God’s mercy while following the Kermit Gosnell trial. (Part 1 of 2)

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Answering Questions About Sex in Marriage (Part 2 of 2)

Shaunti Feldhahn and professional sex therapist Dr. Michael Sytsma join Jim and John to discuss common questions that married couples ask about physical intimacy. Whether you just tied the knot, or you’ve been married for decades, there are bound to be questions surrounding the topic of sex — and that’s okay! (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Answering Questions About Sex in Marriage (Part 1 of 2)

Shaunti Feldhahn and professional sex therapist Dr. Michael Sytsma join Jim and John to discuss common questions that married couples ask about physical intimacy. Whether you just tied the knot, or you’ve been married for decades, there are bound to be questions surrounding the topic of sex — and that’s okay! (Part 1 of 2)

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A Legacy of Music and Trusting the Lord

Popular Christian vocalist Larnelle Harris reflects on his five-decade music career, sharing the valuable life lessons he’s learned about putting his family first, allowing God to redeem a troubled past, recognizing those who’ve sacrificed for his benefit, and faithfully adhering to biblical principles amidst all the opportunities that have come his way.

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Accepting Your Imperfect Life

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