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Learning to Relish Life With Your Spouse

Learning to Relish Life With Your Spouse

Author and speaker Alexandra Kuykendall describes a nine-month experiment she undertook to renew her appreciation for daily life with her husband. She encourages married listeners to embrace life with their spouse by finding joy and contentment in everyday moments.

Opening:

Teaser:

Mrs. Alexandra Kuykendall: And it was that slowing down and noticing what God was doing already, that allowed me to change my heart posture to one of gratitude and being grateful for the gifts that He has given me and when I embrace those gifts daily, I’m loving my actual life more.

End of Teaser

John Fuller: Alexandra Kuykendall joins us today on “Focus on the Family.” I’m John Fuller and your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly.

Jim Daly: John, today we want to help families. We want to help marriages particularly have a healthy thriving relationship, but not just in marriage, in every relationship in your life. You know, in this life, we’re getting so busy that it’s hard to concentrate on what means the most to us and what matters the most to us.

And I think today this is the time to grab a cup of tea or a cup of coffee. Put your feet up and kick back for the next 25 minutes or so and listen to some great wisdom from our guest.

John: Yeah, Alexandra Kuykendall is gonna help us really think through some things, some priorities. She wrote a great book. It’s called Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What’s Right in Front of Me. And it’s the telling of her nine-month experiment to kind of rekindle a love for what she called “ordinary life.” And in addition to her writing, Alex is a speaker, a podcaster and a retreat hostess. (Laughter) And she’s married to Derek and they have four girls, ages 5 to 14.

Body:

Jim: You are one busy mom.

Alexandra: I am (Laughter), as most moms are.

Jim: How did you have time to write a book and come to Focus?

Alexandra: (Laughing) Well, I was writing about my life, so that helped.

Jim: (Laughing) Welcome, by the way.

Alexandra: Thank you.

Jim: It’s so good to have you here. What sparked this idea about loving my actual life, as compared to your not actual life? (Laughing)

Alexandra: Well, you know, I think we go into marriage and parenting, really adulthood with expectations of how it’s gonna go. And then real life hits and the mundane kind of kicks in and we start living in what I call the “when’s” and “if only’s.” When this happens, then life will be better.

So, as parents, we do that a lot with our kids. When the baby’s sleeping through the night, when I’m pregnant again, when the kids are off at school, then I’ll have more time for myself. If only we had a bigger house, then we could have people over. If only he got a promotion and then we could afford to go on vacation, then life would be good.

And I didn’t want to live that way and I realized that I was living for the future and I had a few major life events happen that kind of caught my attention. The first was, I had a dear friend whose husband died unexpectedly.

Jim: How old was he?

Alexandra: He was my age at the time, so around 40 and he left her with three children. The youngest was still in preschool and that was a wake-up call to me that tomorrow is not promised, because in my mind they were living life the right way. You know, he was a healthy guy and it was a total sudden surprise.

Jim: Yeah, when you look at that, how many years would you say it took you to come to this realization that maybe it’s not about tomorrow, it’s about right now and today?

Alexandra: Well, pretty soon after that I thought, I need to make some changes in my life. And the other thing that caught my attention is my oldest daughter was entering middle school. And as a mom, right away, a number popped in my head—seven. We have seven years left with her at home. And I get kind of emotion whenever I talk about it because it was the countdown.

Jim: Right.

Alexandra: Like we had been on the upswing and now we were starting to go downhill and it was starting to feel really fast. And I thought, if I don’t stop and pay attention, I’m gonna regret that I was so busy during these years and that I was striving in lots of ways to do really good things, but I was missing my ordinary life.

Jim: It’s an epiphany. You basically had this epiphany through an unfortunate tragic accident. In that context, what did that lead you to do? You talked about your nine-month adventure.

Alexandra: Uh-hm.

Jim: What is it and why did you go there?

Alexandra: Well, I realized it was this combination of, I want to maximize the time that I have right now with my family, with my kids at home and my life is filled with busy tasks. So, how can I break down my life in kind of manageable ways and examine it in order to love it a little more, so that I’m not living in the “when” and the “if only’s.”

So, I decided I can’t really tackle my whole life at once, that’s just too overwhelming, but what if I looked at one area of my life at a time? And so, I chose nine months for the entire length of my experiment, because for moms, we tend to think in nine-month chunks.

Jim: Okay.

Alexandra: You know, I’ve been pregnant four times and the school year is nine-months’ long. So, I thought, nine months works. And so, I took a different area of my life for nine months at a time.

Jim: Each month a different area.

Alexandra: Each month a different area and thought, if I just focus in on this and if I make small changes, will I enjoy my days a little more and will I be present with my family a little more? And I don’t say this in the book, but my gauge kind of was, if I can make the change in the next 24 hours, I’m more likely to actually do it and it’s more likely to be sustainable. So, it needed to be small enough that I could do it.

Jim: Right and you’re saying you emphasized that thing for a month, but hopefully, to develop a habit -that you don’t jettison it when you go to the next thing, correct? You’re still deploying those good habits that you learned in that month.

Alexandra: Right and so, I learned practical things. I learned a lot about myself, how I’m wired, that some things come naturally to me and others don’t. And I learned some ways to manage and do things better, but in a lot of cases, I simply had a perspective change that I wasn’t expecting, ’cause I was going into the month thinking I’m gonna have these practical changes and that’s gonna help me do life better, but really when I started looking at life differently, that was what changed my heart.

Jim: What are the nine, if I could ask you? And then we’re gonna concentrate on those that are relational, that kind of the marriage ones, but give us the nine.

Alexandra: Sure, well, it’s a combination of kind of big picture and then really practical from a mom’s standpoint.

Jim: Sure.

Alexandra: So, I started with quiet, because quiet, I can’t even hear myself think some days and I thought, if I’m gonna start this experiment, I need to really head God speak to me and I can’t unless I just stop.

Jim: You labeled it, “Bring It Down.”

Alexandra: Yes. (Laughter)

Jim: I like that better than quiet, ’cause that speaks to most moms’ hearts right there. Just bring it down.

Alexandra: That’s right; there’s constant noise in my house and in my life. So, that was the first month and then mornings, our morning routines. So, I titled that “First Things First,” because really we do set the tone for the day by how our morning goes as a family.

And I realized as I was yelling at kids to find their shoes and yelling at them to get out of the car at school because the car behind me was honking, we were constantly rushed and harried. I wasn’t sending them off into the world well.

Jim: Do you think moms really understand how valuable they are in setting that thermometer? I mean, they’re it. They’re the Mercury.

Alexandra: When we stopped and consider it, yes, but we’re so busy that I think we’re just in that mode of getting lunches made, getting out the door. In Colorado, we have to have gloves and hats and snow boots (Laughter) part of the year and–

Jim: Part of the day.

Alexandra: –right, (Laughter) the frenzy of getting everybody ready, not to mention my poor husband. You know, as I’m running around trying to get everyone out the door for the day, he’s setting out on his day, too and I want to send him off well.

Jim: So, you have “Bring it Down,” “First Things First” and then the third one, “My Peeps.”

Alexandra: My peeps. (Laughter) So, one of the things I realized is, I am surrounded by people all day long, but am I having quality time with them? There is a difference between again, telling my kids to pick up their room and really being with them.

So, how can I connect? So, I didn’t focus in just on my relationship with my husband, it was just all the people around me. How can I maximize my time with people? That was my goal.

Jim: That’s good. Hit No. 4.

Alexandra: Four was being kind to my body, just my physical health. So, as a mom, I tend to take care of everybody else’s physical needs. I feed them. I make sure they bathe. (Laughter) I take them to soccer practice, so they’re getting exercise.

Jim: Oh, that’s right. You have four girls. (

Alexandra: That’s right. (Laughter)

Jim: Bathing may come a little easier than our house.

Alexandra: That’s right; I don’t quite probably have as many fights as some (Laughter) moms do, but I’m constantly meeting other people’s needs. Doctors’ appointments is [are] a great example. I make sure my kids go their pediatrician appointments, but I had to ask myself, when was the last time I went for a checkup, not because something was wrong, but because I have a body that needs to be taken care of?

Jim: Sure.

Alexandra: So, that was the fourth month. And the fifth was “Unleashing the Wild,” adventure. Now this gets a little bit to the mundane of life, of waking up and realizing, you know, today isn’t really looking much different than yesterday. And when I look at tomorrow, it’s not promising to be much different either And the “boredom” almost, which is a funny word for moms to use, because when my kids tell me they’re bored, I hear them say, “I don’t have anything to do.”

Jim: Right.

Alexandra: I always have something to do, but the tasks can be very routine. So, how do we address the routine just to mix it up a little? The six month was probably my weakest point personally and I went into it knowing this and that’s home organization.

Jim: Okay.

Alexandra: So, I called it “Pushing Through the Piles,” because I literally have piles of laundry and dishes in my home. So, I also know that for everyone in my household does better if our house has some kind of order to it. I feel better. My husband definitely feels better when he comes home from his day at work. And my kids feel better if it’s not in total chaos. So, knowing who I am, how do I make some small changes in that are?

The seventh month was the month that I say was hardest for me to really value and that’s creativity. And I called it, “Love Is In the Details.” And you know, God has wired each of us to be a creator. If we know anything about Him, we know that He is the Creator. And if we know anything about ourselves, it’s that we are made in His image.

Therefore, we are meant to be creative, but what that looks like for me or for somebody else is going to be different. For my mom, her creative outlet is gardening. For me it happens to be writing. For others it’s cooking. So, if we spend a little bit of time each day in those elements, we are going to feel closer to Him and feel better about or ordinaries. And so, that felt like, almost like a frivolous topic, but as I got into that month, I realized, no, this really is necessary to live into God’s purposes for me.

Jim: Yeah. Okay, what’s next? I mean, we’re almost there.

Alexandra: Well, I think most moms will relate to this, meals was the eighth month and I called it, “Three Times a Day,” but I quickly realized no, it’s really all day long.

John: Yeah. (Laughter) Fourteen, fifteen meals a day.

Alexandra: Right, especially if you have kids at home in the summertime.

John: Yes.

Alexandra: I was doing that month in the summer and snacks, it’s just this constant need to feed people.

Jim: All the friends, yeah.

Alexandra: And this was not rocket science. This was, if you have a plan, things will go better. And what I learned that month though had more to do with welcoming people to the table and that God’s provision is abundant in our life and that He uses food often as an example to talk about abundance and also hospitality. And so, those were areas where I went a little deeper.

Jim: Yeah, it’s so good. That’s eight. What’s No. 9?

Alexandra: So, 9, the last one to kind of wrap it up was passion. And I title that, “I Am Made to Do Great Things.” And this gets a little bit to the creativity element, but about how God has wired me. How has He wired me so that I have a unique purpose in the world? Part of that is being a mom and a wife, but part of it is other things, too, whether it’s ministry in my church or paid work or simply an interest that I like to participate in. If I feed that passion just a little bit every day, again, I’m not going to wake up resentful for the tasks that are ahead, but excited that this little interest is going to be fed.

John: Well, we’re listening to some great insights from Alexandra Kuykendall and her book is called Loving My Actual Life. It’s a reflection of her experiment of trying to make sure she’s not overlooking what’s taking place right here and right now. And we’ll have copies of that book and of this conversation at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio or call us and we’ll send a CD to you. It’s 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Alex, I really like the overall theme of what you have done here and in some ways as I hear you express it, it’s almost the countercultural thing for women today, to embrace their God-given role, if I could say it that way and be politically correct, I mean, that it’s good to be a woman, that you give life. You nurture life. You provide life. It’s an awesome thing and right now in this culture, so many women seem conflicted about what their identity is and what their role is and do we want to be men? Or what do we want to be? And I love the refreshing approach of, hey, this is my actual life and I’m gonna embrace it.

Let’s concentrate on three or four of them that deal in the marital space and certainly, if you want to expand that to parenting, whatever you want to do in the application, but month No. 3 caught my attention where you focused on dating. And certainly, that’s something we encourage people to do here at Focus, is to do date nights and John and I may struggle occasionally with our wives on that, but—

John: Occasionally.

Jim: –occasionally. (Laughter) But it’s something good to aim at, so talk about how in that month, what specifically did you do to say, okay, this month I’m gonna really concentrate on dating my husband?

Alexandra: Well, it’s funny, ’cause the term “date night” is not something that we tend to use in our house.

Jim: Right.

Alexandra: In fact, we tend to be a little bit smug about it, like we don’t need to set aside that time. We’re so romantic. (Laughter) We want to be spontaneous. You know, we don’t do big Valentine’s Day or anniversary, ’cause we just want it to be organic. Well, what happens is that life takes over.

Jim: It’s called “weeds.”

Alexandra: And it’s called (Laughter) “children,” too, right? So, at the beginning of the month, I sat down with my calendar, which is on my computer and every person in our family has a different color. And so, the more colorful the computer screen, the busier I know we are as a family.

And I thought, I’m going to pencil in time with each person in my family—one-on-one time. And I got overwhelmed and I didn’t do it, because we were so busy I couldn’t find a regular chunk of time to be with my husband. And so, I walked away from that computer and thought, okay, well, I’m just gonna have to squeeze it into our regular schedule.

And I did this month even in February, which is Valentine’s Day, right? And at the end of the month, I looked back and I thought, we didn’t have one significant date. Had I made it happen and put it on the calendar at the beginning of the month, we would’ve done it. But because I walked away from that calendar, we didn’t make it happen because we’re so busy.

Now I did find some great ways to kind of sneak it in and take advantage. But I think schedule really does make a difference and that’s again, not rocket science. Like there’s no huge big news here to any person, but if you put it on the calendar and are intentional, it’s just more likely to happen.

Jim: And that was the thing you learned in essence.

Alexandra: That’s what I learned.

Jim: Be more intentional about doing that, at least once a month if not more often.

Alexandra: Right and just last night my husband called me on his way home from work. He was in traffic and he needed to get his exercise in and he said, “Why don’t we go for a walk.” And now our kids are old enough that, since we have a 14-year-old, we can leave them at home. And we went for a walk for 20 minutes. And it was a way for him to get some exercise and for us to spend some one-on-one time together that was just part of our schedule anyway.

Jim: And that leads right into another one of your monthly desires, was health and that’s an important feature. How have you worked that out? I think that’s where Jean and I maybe struggle the most. We seem so busy with the travel schedule and taking care of our teen boys and all the home and school issues. I think Jean’s like the school mom (Laughing) and does so much there at the school that she’s really busy with that. It’s hard to find time for ourselves to just go out and do a walk or something like that, but we have to do it, don’t we?

Alexandra: We do and when Derek and I, we’re in that really non-sexy part of our lives, that middle life (Laughter) and our bodies are changing and we can’t get away with the things we could when we were 25. If we eat Cheetos, we’re gonna know it. (Laughter)

Jim: Right. (Laughter)

Alexandra: And I’ve had four children and it’s just the changing of our bodies is a reality. So, if we can encourage each other in healthy behaviors, [it’s a good thing].

Jim: How do we embrace that though? I mean, I love [that] you’re very factual. You know, these are things, “I was seeing a deficit in my attitude, in my life. I put ’em out. I did a nine-month plan. I concentrated on them and they helped me to live life better.” That’s a beautiful thing to do, but how do we embrace that? That took some motivation, I guess is what I’m saying. Not everybody feels that motivated in that (Laughing ) middle part of life that you described, where Cheetos make a difference.

Alexandra: Right. (Laughing) I know.

Jim: How do you get motivated to make a change like that?

Alexandra: Well, I think part of it was the reality of knowing that tomorrow is not promised and we’re likely to be around and to be able to enjoy life more fully, we’re able to thrive if we are healthy. This was one of the months where I really had a big perspective shift, because especially for women when we go into a goal of, I’m going to exercise better and eat better, it often has to do with, I want my body to look different than it does right now. That’s my motivation. Either swimsuit season is coming or simply, I want to fit into those jeans again.

As I entered this month, I realized, you know, I’m pretty fortunate. It’s kind of like the food in the cabinet, right at dinner time. I’m fortunate that I have a body that works. I’m fortunate that I had a body that made four beautiful people. I am fortunate that my husband finds me attractive right now, the way that it is.

And I’m gonna live into that, because part of middle age is, I’m getting serious about [the fact that] God has purposes for me. And if I take care of my physical self, I am better able to do His purposes in the world. And I think of all the ways I use my body to impact the world. I hug my children. I’m intimate with my husband. I wave to people. I walk across the room so that I can sit at my computer and use my fingers and my brain to write words of encouragement to people.

So, my body is a tool that God has given me and that perspective shift of saying, “Okay, Lord, this is Yours.” That was huge for me, because no longer was it about fitting in a size 2 jean, which, hey, that’s always nice (Laughing) and always a benefit, but it wasn’t about that anymore. It was about how can I better serve You through my physical health?

Jim: Alex, one of the things I think I struggle with as a husband is how much guilt women express. You know, I see it in Jean. She feels guilty that this isn’t done or that isn’t done. And I struggle with that. It’s just something we’ve gotta work on, so let’s just put it out there and say by the end of the month, we want to try to accomplish that.

But I think this is true of most women. They do tend to carry a lot of guilt about their life not being perfect or the closet not being perfect or dinner not being perfect or the kids not dressed perfectly. How can we recognize that? In part I see that in your book. That’s really what you were doing, is just coming to grips with this is life.

Alexandra: Uh-hm.

Jim: It is messy. This is how it’s gonna be. The kids aren’t always gonna be super clean. And we’re gonna get through it and how does a woman just exhale and say, “Okay, Lord, I know You got me?”

Alexandra: Uh-hm, that’s a great question. It speaks to our expectations and the question is where do those expectations come from, right? If we have these standards that we think are essential to being a good woman, a good Christian woman, a good wife, a good mother, whatever the label is, we have in our mind what this standard is.

Part of it I will say, is I think, social media, because we have never as a people, lived in this intense environment of looking at everybody’s highlight reel like we do now. I am less likely to post a picture of my messy closet than I am my clean closet, right?

John: Uh-hm, yeah.

Alexandra: So, we look at people’s vacations, their amazing Christmas experiences, whatever it is, their kids getting an award, you name it. It’s likely to show a positive bent on their life. And we’re looking at that in the midst of our actual lives, in the midst of our mess.

So, even if we were already feeling kind of a little bit bad about what was going on at home, all of a sudden, the dirty dishes in the sink look really dirty and look even worse and so, as a people we’ve never had to deal with this before. And I think our generation’s trying to figure out, how do I live this one God-given life that I have been gifted in the context of seeing everybody else’s highlight reel?

So, one thing I tell women all the time is, just turn it off. Turn it off. Pinterest, now you guys may not be big into Pinterest. (Laughter) I personally am not either, but for some women, it’s huge. And what it does is, it sets these standards of, you’re not just gonna throw a birthday party. You’re gonna throw the birthday party with the best treats that match the theme of the party and the best decorations and the cake that’s in the shape of whatever.

John: And a lovely bag of things to take away at the end.

Alexandra: Yeah and if you’re not a woman who knows how to make a cake in the shape of whatever, your value or your self-worth suddenly takes a little bit of a plummet, even if you’re a pretty confident woman.

Jim: And that’s in part why I asked the question, because it seems like with everything at our fingertips today, there’s so much more anxiety, so much more depression, so much more hopelessness in a time when it should be the opposite. And I think a lot of it is that expectation you talk about that we put on ourselves and particularly women. They just have an amazing attribute to look at themselves pretty harshly and then turn outwardly.

But you look at yourselves so hard and say, “I’m not bein’ the right mom. I’m not bein’ the right wife.” And I think it’s just like, ah! I know the Lord just wants to put His arms around you and say, “Relax, daughter. I’m with you. I’ve got you.” And I think that’s what your book does in such a beautiful way. Loving My Actual Life speaks to that yearning in a woman’s heart to accept where God has you and then enjoy the journey. That’s what I’m hearing and is that a fair assessment? Are you enjoying it more?

Alexandra: I am. I am and I have been intentional about taking the things that I learned about myself and moving those into my regular routine. And that was my goal, was to discover the things that worked for me. And I’m really clear in the book that just because something works for me doesn’t mean it’s gonna work for somebody else, because God has wired us differently. And the things that I struggle with may be easy breezy for somebody else. And the things that were easy for me, may be difficult [for others].

So, I really was able to discover what is working better as a result of this month’s experiment. And at the end of each month, I’d make a list of, these are the things I want to continue in my actual life.

Jim: Alexandra, this has been terrific. If you’re living in that spot where life seems overwhelming, it sounds noisy all the time and you’re not finding that space where you’re rejuvenating and feeling God’s presence, this is a resource for you. And man, John, we need to make this available to anybody who needs it. So, we would just ask you to make a contribution to Focus of any amount and we will say thank you by giving you a copy of Loving My Actual Life. It’s our way of saying thank you and really putting a resource into your hands that will challenge you. It’s not gonna do the work for you, right, Alex?

Alexandra: Right, oh, no.

Jim: And you may have nine different types of things you want to work in and you know, that’s fine. The idea is the process is there. You can plug and play these things, I would think.

Alexandra: Exactly and I’ve had women say, you know, we’re doing it as a group together, because then we can hold each other accountable. Or I just did a week of each of these months, instead of a full month. So, it’s very adaptable.

Jim: Well, let me encourage you to get that resource and John, how can they get that?

John: Well, that first step is to call us or go online and our number is 800-A-FAMILY; 800-232-6459. Or you’ll find the book, a CD of our conversation and an opportunity to donate at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio.

Jim: Alex, it’s been great to have you on “Focus on the Family.”

Alexandra: Oh, thank you. Thanks for having me.

Closing:

John: Well, be with us again tomorrow. We’ll have Patsy Clairmont encouraging you with humor and laughter.

Excerpt:

Mrs. Patsy Clairmont: There are days when I wake up and I say, “This is the day that the Lord hath made.” And there are other days I wake up and I go, “This is the day that the Lord has made?” Doesn’t feel like it. There are days I wake up and I say, “I don’t feel like gettin’ out of this bed.” So, for years, I didn’t.

End of Excerpt

John: I’m John Fuller and on behalf of Focus president, Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening. Join us again next time, as we once again, help you and your family thrive in Christ.

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Loving My Actual Life

Receive Alexandra Kuykendall's book Loving My Actual Life for your donation of any amount!

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Newest Release - Episode 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

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

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

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

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Newest Release - Episode 6: Families Helping Families!

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

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

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

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Newest Release - Episode 3: The Power of a Picture

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

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

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

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Newest Release - Episode 2: Heroes Providing Hope

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

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

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

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 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!

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.

The Spiritual Battle for Your Marriage

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

Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff Cropped

Dr. Tim and Mrs. Noreen Muehlhoff

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

Defending Your Marriage

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

Effective Habits to Embrace in Parenting

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

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

Dr. Randy Schroeder

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

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

Simple Habits for Effective Parenting

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

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 1

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

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

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

Revival Rising

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

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 2

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

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

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

Revival Rising

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

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 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.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 2

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

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

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

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

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

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

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage Part 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.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage - Part 2

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

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

Headshot of Kevin Thompson

Pastor Kevin Thompson

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

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

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

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

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.