Focus on the Family

Focus on the Family with Jim Daly

Making Daily Choices to Love Your Spouse

Making Daily Choices to Love Your Spouse

Ron and Deb DeArmond discuss the importance of being intentional when it comes to loving your spouse, and offer practical suggestions for how you can do so in a conversation based on their book I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last.
Original Air Date: January 4, 2019


Deb DeArmond: Love is not a feeling. It’s a – neither is marriage. It’s a choice. One that you have to make every single day even if you have to do it through gritted teeth.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: That’s Deb DeArmond, reminding us of what it takes to have a happy, healthy marriage — even when you might be facing some challenges with your spouse.

Welcome to another “Best of” edition of Focus on the Family.  Today we’re featuring a great conversation we recorded earlier this year with Deb and her husband Ron.  And your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly.  And I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, it’s been wonderful sharing these “Best of” programs with our listeners because these are the broadcasts that most resonated with you.  And I urge you to check  out our entire “Best of 2019” collection.

There’s some great, great stuff in there. For example, we had a wonderful conversation with Dr. Kathy Koch about how you can help your children reflect God’s character.  And Milan and Kay Yerkovich, good friends of Jean and myself, we were discussing stress in marriage. I think many marriages are feeling stress…

John: That was really…

Jim: …especially this month.

John: …really helpful broadcast.

Jim: Yeah. And we also featured an inspiring prolife message from Emily Colson, the daughter of the late Chuck Colson.

These are wonderful programs. And you can learn more about the “Best of 2019” collection at our website.

John: And we have this delightful conversation that we’re featuring today with the DeArmond’s, based on a book that Deb wrote called I Choose You Today: 31 Choices To Make Love Last. You can find the book and the entire “Best of 2019” collection at

Jim: And I want to confess that this program… it was a bit of an “ouch” for me, because there were many years in my relationship to Jean that I wasn’t as intentional as I should have been with her. And I’ve since tried to remedy that situation.

But we all need this reminder — husbands and wives — that we can’t afford to just coast in our marriages.  You may think you’re “in a groove” together, but it may be more of a rut!

And the fact is, we need to make our spouse a priority, where we serve and sacrifice for one another. I think that’s the whole intention of why God designed marriage the way he did – to become more like Him, which is selfless. And that’s tough in today’s culture.

We live in a culture that screams the opposite message — you know, it’s all about you, all about you. That is not the way of the cross and not the way of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

It’s a tragic consequence when we fail to live out our marriages the way God designed them. And maybe think of this as a resolution for the new year — that you will value your spouse and honor the Lord by how you love your spouse unconditionally

John: Hmm. Well, with that, let’s go ahead and hear this “Best of 2019” broadcast with Ron and Deb DeArmond on Focus on the Family.

Jim: You’ve identified 31 ways that husbands and wives can strengthen their marriage. And we’re going to cover those today. But explain the book title, I Choose You Today. Let’s start with that.

Deb: Well, Ron actually started it. We were making the bed one morning early in our marriage, maybe year two or three.

Jim: OK. The fact you were making the bed is a good start…

Deb: Yeah. It was.

Jim: …Together.

Deb: Can’t leave the bedroom (Laughter) usually until it’s made.

Ron DeArmond: Yeah. It’s a her…

Deb: That’s my quirk.

Ron: That’s a her thing.

Jim: OK.

Deb: And he looked over the top of the coverlet and said to me, very intentionally, Jim, “Babe, I choose you today.” And I said, “Great. What am I being chosen for?” He said, “I just choose you.”

Jim: That’s good. Did that reaffirm something for you? Did it mean something to you?

Deb: It didn’t in the moment except that it was some sort of declaration of intentionality. And I thought maybe I’ve not been a person who he could choose yesterday. I don’t know.

Jim: Yeah. Well – and you’ve self-described, Ron, that you’re the romantic in your marriage. Now, that’s not always the case.

Ron: No, it isn’t.

Jim: The shoe is typically on the other foot. But what are some of those ways that you show that romance?

Ron: Well, as you said in your open, we have this culture. We have our jobs, we have our things, so we do have to be intentional. And it really hit me to be intentional about being her husband and loving her in a way that feels natural to me, which was the romantic side. Which meant that, you know, I would surprise her by driving from San Francisco to Southern California where she was on business on a weekend where the kids were all taken care of and walk up to my mother’s house where she was staying that night and surprise her. But it took intentionality to break the molds and say, “Hey. You’re bigger and better than the job that I have or the position that I have.”

Deb: And it was Valentine’s Day weekend.

Jim: Yeah.

Ron: Yes.

Deb: So that really made it…

Jim: That was a good one.

Deb: That was a grand gesture.

Jim: Deb, let me ask you this because, you know, so often, opposites attract. And it’s OK. It’s the way God does these things. And I know there’s couples listening that, you know, you don’t see a great distinction in your spouse and your personality type. And that’s OK, too. I’m just saying, in general, opposites attract.

So, in that context, you not being the more romantically inclined to do things like that – how do you step up to the plate? And have you learned that over time? Or do you still struggle not stepping up?

Deb: Well, it’s – I will tell you. It’s still not sort of the first thing on my mind. Um, he’s tucking notes in my suitcase…

Jim: Aw.

Deb: …To open or leaving notes for me numbered while he’s away. And I’m saying to him, “Oh, I forgot to buy you a birthday card. I love you. Happy birthday.” (LAUGHTER) So I have…

Jim: This is good.

Deb: I’m a planner. I have a list.

Jim: Yes.

Deb: If It’s on the list, it’s going to get done. And so, I’ve discovered, I have to make myself some notes about those kinds of things.

Jim: Yeah.

Ralways ask her with her list, “Am I on your list?” (Laughter) Did you put that on… And, you know, I need to be on it.

Jim: Well, let me ask you this, Ron, because sometimes the romantically inclined to do these special deeds can be offended that they’re not getting reciprocal treatment. And it becomes a point of bitterness. Uh, have you ever dealt with that?

Ron: No ’cause it – I knew – I knew if the house was on fire, she would know when the firemen came to her desk and say, “Hey, ma’am. You need to leave…”

Jim: Yeah. Right (laughter).

Ron: …Because she wouldn’t even know. So, I know I have to be intentional about waking that up and finding different ways to wake that up. And I always do. There’s always – the card is always in the visor above her seat in the car. So, when we’re going to a dinner and she – I know the first thing she’s going to do is – what? – check the makeup. Well, she’s going to get hit in the head with a card. And thankfully, they all fall…

Deb: And he is an engineer. This is…

Jim: This is amazing!

Deb: This is way out of bounds. He’s…

Jim: He’s in touch with all his, uh, sides of his heart.

Deb: He’s the empathy guy. I’m the “Suck it up… (Laughter) Let’s get moving. Move forward.”

John: But to Jim’s point, there really are some people that will say, “I’ve tried…”

Deb: Uh-huh.

John: “And there’s not a reciprocation here, so whatever. I give up.”

Ron: No. Keep trying.

John: Why?

Jim: Good.

Ron: Because there is a Holy Spirit that is doing his thing behind the scenes. And so, with my intentionality there is a Holy Spirit speaking to her about that and being intentional.

Jim: Well, if I could be blunt, too – I mean, if that’s the motivation then you’ve got the wrong motivation.

John: Thank you. Yes.

Jmean, if you’re looking for the quid pro quo…

John: Right.

Jim: …Then you’ve got to go back to the beginning and say, “OK. Why am I doing this? What’s motivating me?” And I love it, Ron, the fact that you just do it out of your heart.

Deb: Yeah. The whole concept of love is not “What can I get from this?”

Jim: Right.

Deb: It’s “What do I want to give to this individual?”

Jim: And that’s good. The ability to listen is another aspect of the book – the listening skills. Um, it’s important. A lot of men may struggle with this. I think I’m a pretty good listener. But Jean will tell me tonight after she hears the show (LAUGHTER) and that’s fair. I need to…

John: Oh, wait. We’ve got her on the call. We’ve got her on the phone right now.

Jim: Uh, no. She’s hung up. No. I’m kidding. But, you know, that is part of it stereotypically. Men struggle to multitask, to listen.

What I’ve tried to do lately is when I really don’t catch her saying something because I’m looking at something or reading something, and she’s caught me at a bad time – to actually stop and look at her and say, “What did you just say? I actually did not hear it.” And she’s good about responding. She doesn’t respond with any kind of, you know, attitude in that regard. And I think she appreciates the fact that I’m really interested.

Ron: Right.

Jim: But what kind of clues have you helped each other with to make sure your listening skills are at the top of their game?

Ron: Well, it’s been her lifelong prayer that God built us with a little red light right here that says…

Jim: Right between your eyes?

Ron: Yeah – that says I’m listening. And I’m recording what you’re saying. So, it can be…

Deb: And if the light’s not flashing…

Jim: Yeah.

Deb: …I stop talking.

Jim: Yeah. Comprehending is the other aspect.

Ron: Right.

Jim: You can hear it.

Deb: Yeah.

Jim: But it doesn’t – you don’t comprehend it.

Ron: Truly, all jokes aside – it is a thing where you have to stop. You got to pause the TV. You have to put that thing down. And we do it to each other when we’re talking and the other one’s looking in a book. We just wait. We just wait. “Oh, OK.” Or the phone, you know? – when she gets talking to me, and I’m – you know, something dings on the phone and she’ll just stop and wait. And it’s like, “OK, that’s a sign. Where were you? What were you saying?”

Dthink the other half of that is that we need to remember just because I want to tell you something right now doesn’t entitle me to usurp your time in this moment.

Jim: Well, that’s a really important fact.

Deb: So, it may just be, “Hey.”

Jim: Yeah.

Deb: “I’d like to talk to you about X, Y, Z. Is this a good time?” And he’s absolutely free to say, “Not really – I’ve got this stuff. I need to get through this email.” “Great – then when’s a better time?”

Jim: Yeah.

Deb: Because if you want it to be meaningful, you have to recognize just because I think it’s time doesn’t mean it’s time for you.

Jim: (Laughter) Well – and that is learned.

Deb: Oh, it is.

Jmean, I think maturity helps with that. But I can remember – you know, I enjoy watching football on TV.  (Laughter) And that’s probably one of my greatest wastes of time. And Jean realized, and she told me, “I know now not to ask you something while you’re watching a football game.” And her timing was always uncanny. It’d be…

Ron: Yeah.

Jim: …Right when the score is gonna happen. And I couldn’t hear her. And she was smart enough to say, “OK. I’ll ask you at halftime. Or I’ll ask you after the game.” And that’s been a good thing for us.

John: Yeah. And this is one of those crucial skills, listening.

Deb: Yup.

John: You’re gonna find all sorts of great insights in the book I Choose You Today: 31 Choices To Make Love Last written by Deb DeArmond. And we’re talking to Deb and her husband, Ron, on today’s episode of Focus on the Family.

You can find the book and the resources to strengthen your marriage. That’s really a core principle of what we want to do here at Focus on the Family. Just stop by our website or give us a call – – 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Let me move to another category, which was loyalty, and specifically loyalty in your marriage. That’s an interesting term. You know, you talk about fidelity in marriage and commitment in that way. Loyalty in marriage – it’s rare that you hear that term.

Deb: It’s out of vogue…

Jim: Yeah.

Deb: …I hate to tell ya (laughter).

Jim: But you – you know, I love it because you referenced a documentary about a couple and their journey through Alzheimer’s. Describe that. And the thing that catches me here is it’s always that sensational story.

Deb: It is but…

Jim: But it’s so beautiful. Tell us what happened.

Deb: So powerful, so powerful. Um, two college professors – she, a professor of dance. He was – I don’t remember his field, but it was mathematics or something much less defined. And she was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s in the early 50s. And piece by piece, she just disappeared. And eventually, he had to take a leave of absence. And he had to quit the job completely to take care of his wife. He was determined to keep her at home.

And I’ll never forget this documentary. It’s, as you say, 20 years old. And it’s he and his grown daughter sitting in two folding chairs on a stage. And she’s sobbing and says, “You’ve given your entire life. It’s enough, Dad. It’s enough. She doesn’t even know who you are.” And he turned and said to her, “But I haven’t forgotten who she is.”

Jim: Huh.

Deb: That, for me, was a – that was a moment. It even still…

Jim: Yeah.

Deb: …Causes a little bit of emotion. The investment is there on his part. She’s benefiting from it. And she’s not even aware of it…

Ron: Mm.

Deb: …Or even – at that point, she wasn’t even verbal any longer.

Jim: But, you know, it speaks to the character in our souls. And that’s what is a little scary because these stories that we hear – and I did a blog about one…

Deb: Yeah.

Jim: …Where a man whose wife had a stroke, could no longer do her hair. And it brought her such a joy…

Deb: Yeah.

Jim: …To have her hair done. So, he goes to the hairdresser and learns what hair products she used…

Ron: Yep.

Jim: …Bought the brushes and began to do her hair every day. And, you know, people say, “Why would you do that?”

Deb: Yeah.

Jim: “Does it really matter?” Yes.

Deb: It does. I had two surgeries – heart surgeries just in a very short period of time. And he took incredible care of me. He anticipated needs. He didn’t wait for me to think about what I needed. He just took care of me. And I jokingly said, “If he ever needs that kind of care from me, he’s going to die,” Jim, because it’s not who I am. But in the moment, it would be there because we are loyal to one another.

Jim: Yeah. And that’s – that’s what I like about that loyalty component is when the chips are down, who will you be?

Deb: Absolutely.

Jim: In so many ways, that’s where you see who you are.

Ron: Exactly right – it’s reliability. It’s us being – she doesn’t need a doctor at this point. She needs me, her husband. Not even the pastor or the engineer. It’s being me, you know? And sometimes we have a hard time transitioning out of our job and what we think and how we process. “Oh, you need the pastor.” No – in that loyalty, it’s just – I just need to be her husband and her friend right now. And I just need to take care of her and vice versa.

Jim: Well, being in tune with it is the biggest concern…

Ron: Yeah.

Jim: …That I’ve got. And I can rationalize as well as anybody else. You know, I’m busy. I’m traveling. I’m doing things. And somehow you have to arrest all that thinking and stuff it in a box and say, “What’s my primary job here?”

Ron: Yeah.

Deb: An element of loyalty, too, is that my very best friend knows all about my life. But I don’t speak to her about my issues with him. That’s not loyalty.

Jim: Hm. That’s sacred.

Deb: And if I ever…

Jim: …like that.

Deb: …Complain about him, you know what she says? “And what did Ron say when you brought this up to him?”

Jim: (Laughter) That’s good. That’s a good friend!

Deb: Because she’s not – she’s the best…

Ron: She’s – yeah.

Deb: She’s not going to have that conversation with me because she recognizes it’s not healthy.

Jim: Yeah.

Deb: She says, “I’ll pray with you.”

Jim: Well, I think we’ve touched on that one. Let’s move to another one. I was intrigued by your chapter called Choosing To Live In Peace With Your Spouse (laughter). Let’s all say that together.

Deb: (Laughter) Yes. (Laughter)

Jim: Choosing to live in peace with your spouse.

John: …With your spouse. Yes.

Deb: Yes.

Jim: But I guess that most couples aren’t intentional about choosing peace over conflict. We get into that rut as well. It’s like we feed off of the controversy, the conflict. So, what does it look like day to day in marriage to live in peace?

Ron: The scripture there, Romans 12:18, you know, we have the ability to walk in peace but not always the desire…

Jim: Isn’t that interesting? (Laughter).

Ron: …To walk in peace, you know?

Jim: Man, the Word speaks right to a human heart…

Ron: Yeah.

Jim: …Doesn’t it?

Ron: Right? So, it is – yeah. I know I have the ability to walk in peace, but it is – it’s getting there because we’re triune beings – spirit-soul bodies. So, it’s what’s being stirred right now.

Jim: So, what are some of those common mistakes husbands and wives make that lead to the opposite of peace – conflict?

Dthink it’s keeping score.

Jim: (Laughter) Oh!

Deb: Because if I have not had closure, if we’ve not had closure – even if we said…

Ron: No, you said it right the first time. (LAUGHTER)

Jim: Oh, here’s an illustration.

Ron: OK.

Deb: Oh, there we go.

John: How is he choosing to love her?

Ron: You said it right the first time.

Deb: There you go. Um, if there hasn’t been closure, then the next little, tiny evidence of that – man, it pops right back up. And we are at it again at full throttle almost from the word go.

Jim: Wow. That’s a profound statement. I think a lot of people are imagining a lot of unclosed issues in their marriages right now.

Deb: We just walk away because we’re tired of fighting.

Jim: Yeah.

Deb: But it’s never really…

Jim: So how do you…

Deb: …Reconciled.

Jim: …Go about it resolving this? How do you get to peace?

Ron: It takes a conversation. And I think the biggest thing – we know how to forgive. “Hey, will you forgive me for what I said, the way I handled it?” But one of the clearest questions I need to ask her in that conflict is, “How did what I did make you feel? Is there anything that I’ve missed?”

Deb: “What do I need to know?”

Ron: …To where she has the opportunity to express what was really in her heart when I broke the peace, and it caused an emotional reaction. And sometimes it’s, “Well, forgive me for breaking the peace.” But, really, it’s, “Is there anything else I missed that you want to talk about?”

Jim: The problem with that – it sounds so easy. But, for some reason, it’s really hard.

Deb: Oh, it is hard.

Ron: It’s the hardest thing to do.

Jim: Yeah. I don’t – but it sounds so easy to do…

Ron: Right.

Jim: …If you’re just thinking correctly, thinking straight.

Deb: Well, humility is tough like loyalty.

Jim: So that’s the problem.

Deb: And it really is to humble your heart…

Ron: That’s the challenge, yeah – the challenge.

Deb: …And say, “I want to understand what the impact was so that I can avoid doing that. I know you love me, and you don’t want me to feel like that again.”

Jim: Hm.

John: So how long did it take for you to come up with this concept and to grab onto it and really practice it?

Deb: Forty-three years.

Ron: (Laughter) I was going to say 10 minutes.

Jim: Good. So, there’s hope for the – (laughter).

Deb: You know, I don’t know that we ever stop learning…

Jim: Yeah.

Deb: …How to do this better. And I think that when we go, “OK, well, we know everything there is to know. We’re done.”

Ron: No.

Jim: You tell couples that you can’t be each other’s Holy Spirit.

John: Hm.

Jim: OK. That’s the dagger of the program right there because we do that in marriage. We have expectations. We know you can do better because I do better in that area. You could be doing better in that area. And I’m, in fact, trying to be the Holy Spirit in your life. So, speak to that straight. Let me know why that’s not a good approach.

Ron: Um, there truly is something in – that I know I feel in – especially in money things or things like that that we’ve agreed on – that when I violate that, I’m feeling something. I’m feeling a prick that this isn’t what we agreed on. And…

Jim: How do you differentiate between not being somebody’s Holy Spirit and getting the point across?

Dthink that Holy Spirit really can do a better job than I can. And…

Jim: So how do we do – how do we…?

Deb: So, I’m going to pray.

Jim: OK. Wow.

Deb: I’m going to bathe that issue in prayer.

Ron: Can I recite one of my prayers like that?

Deb: Yeah.

Ron: “Oh, God. Oh, God.” (Laughter)

Deb: That’s it right there.

Ron: “Make her see my point.” (LAUGHTER)

Jim: Now, are you praying this in front of…

Deb: No.

Ron: No. Oh, no. This is in a…

John: That’s a common prayer.

Jim: This is the car prayer.

Ron: This is the car prayer. This is the out front, it’s like, “Oh, God.”

Deb: We can’t…

John: If only she’ll see.

Deb: We can’t shame people into seeing it our way.

Jim: Right.

Ron: But it is a prayer of faith that…and it’s amazing, truly – on the way home from work – and that thing – and you walk in the house, and everything’s different. And it’s like, you honored that short, heartfelt…

Jim: So, the Lord heard your prayer.

Deb: Yup.

Jim: …Prayer of “I need your help because I can’t do this myself.”

John: Is there a time when that’s not an appropriate prayer?

Ron: Not between me and Him – it’s never not appropriate.

Jim: Yeah. I was going to – I jumped on that emotion. When you said it, I felt It was like…

Ron: Oh, wow.

Jim: …Hey. How could it never be right…?

Ron: Yeah.

Jim: …To pray for somebody?

Ron: It’s always appropriate just to get my feelings out and say, “This is frustrating. This is not – and this is” and just share my emotion with Him. He’s the God of all comfort.

John: Yeah.

Ron: He’s ready to comfort me in that. But it’s amazing what He does when we get together, that’s like, oh, my gosh. There’s a piece where we can talk about the tension.

Deb: So, a great example is that before we were engaged and teens, we had curfews from both of our parents. And the night that he led me to the Lord was the night before we graduated from high school. And we were out way past that curfew.

Jim: You’re in trouble.

Deb: We knew it.

Jim: We needed God.

Deb: We knew it. (Laughter) And we both prayed. And when he walked in, his mother was sitting in her rocking chair. And she looked up and said, “Hi. Did you have a good evening?” And he said, “I did.” And he said – and she was done talking. And I went directly to my room. And it was pretty much the same for me. God honored that because we weren’t…

Jim: Yeah.

Deb: Weren’t misbehaving. We weren’t being defiant. And God goes before us, (whispers) thank goodness.

Jim: Yeah. That’s so true.

Ron: Thank you, God.

Jim: Let’s end here. Speaking about that night and what then transformed your lives – you ended up getting married. But Ron, you did something very romantic, very typical for Ron (laughter). And I say that actually with applause.

Ron: Well…

Jim: But what – what did you do 38 years later because maybe you felt it wasn’t done right the first time?

Ron: Well, and it was. When we – we talked so much when we were engaged, and it was – well, not even engaged – we would talk so much just in our relationship. And it’s like – so like, “Do you want to get married?” And it’s like, “Yeah. I think it’s time. I think, you know…”

Jmean, you’re teenagers.

Ron: So that was our proposal. Yeah. We were 18 and going into this. And it’s – and, all of a sudden, the proposal was out. It was like, “Oh, OK. Well then, these are the next thing.” So, we really never…

Jim: So, it was pretty perfunctory.

Ron: Well except that I had to go talk to her dad…

Jim: Right.

Ron: …Of course. And he had just gotten all of his teeth pulled. And so…

Jim: Not good timing.

John: So, he really couldn’t object. (LAUGHTER)

Ron: No, no. I couldn’t laugh…

Jim: Right.

Ron: …Because I had talked to Mr. Graham (ph) many, many times.

John: Hm.

Ron: But now he had no teeth. And it was – I – as soon as I was done talking to him, I said, “We have to go right now. We have to leave.” And she honored that. And we got out of the house because I was – he was – you understand my drift.

Jthink I’m going there.

Ron: It was so hard. But I wanted her hand. Anyway, it was a thing of wanting to give her the surprise.

Jim: So, what did you do? Thirty-eight years later, what happened?

Ron: We were planning a trip to California – all the kids there. And we… I talked to my son, who lives there. And he’s in advertising. I said, “We need a photographer to shoot pictures. And find a beach where we can go. And – I mean, set up the whole thing.” And I had a new ring for her. And the kids knew about it. Everybody knew about it except for her. And so, uh, they had arranged it. Shoot all the other kids and then us last. And so, I get right to that point where I’m ready to pose with her. And then I drop to one knee.

Dthought he was having a stroke… (LAUGHTER)

Jim: Oh, man.

Deb: …Or a heart attack. I really did. It so…

Jim: He went down to one knee.

Deb: It so startled me. He was in the sand.

Ron: He’s never done that before.

Deb: No – never done that before.

Ron: And so, you know, just that – you know, if you had it all to do over again, would you want to do it with me?

Deb: He said, “Knowing what the last 38 years has been, would you still say yes? Would you still choose me today?” – said those words.

Jim: Did you hesitate?

Deb: I… (Laughter).

Ron: All of her kids…

Deb: You know, Jim, to be honest? All the words I understood, I couldn’t put them together to mean something. And I went, “Oh, yeah. Yeah. Absolutely.” And then he pulled the ring out of his pocket. And then I understood.

Deb: But when we sat together later, overlooking the Pacific – and I said, “Where did you get this idea?,” he said, “Well” – he said, “When we spoke to that young adults group and they asked – or young marriage group and they asked how he proposed, you told them, ‘Well, we just started making marriage plans.’” He said, “Every girl should have a proposal. And this is yours, even if it’s 38 years late.”

Jim: Yeah, it’s so good.

Deb: How can you not love a guy who does that?

Jim: Way to go, Ron. That was a great conversation with Ron and Deb DeArmond. It’s obvious why this made the “Best of the Year” programs for us. And I’m sure many marriages have been encouraged by what we shared today

In fact, we heard from a few listeners who heard this program earlier this year. And one husband said this:

“I got some great ideas about how to be more intentional with my wife.  I’ve let too many days go by without letting her know how lucky I am!” I resonate with that! I changed luck to blessed, of course, but I get it.

Another husband shared how this program gave him hope for his upcoming 25th wedding anniversary. And he was looking forward to reading the DeArmond’s book to help him “tune up” the relationship with his wife – and that’s great news!

And that’s why Focus on the Family is here — to give you the encouragement and support you need so that your marriage is not only a blessing to you and your spouse, but also a witness to a watching world! And those are just two examples. We do regular annual research here at Focus on the Family and it’s been very consistent. And the methodology is run by a PhD. We’re very confident in how we go about doing this. But, the research shows that about 808,000 marriages were helped last year. And that’s an awesome thing, so thank you for investing in the ministry here at Focus.

We want to help you do marriage better!  Contact us for resources like Deb’s book, I Choose You Today, ore get in touch with our Counseling team if you need to talk to somebody more urgently. And whatever else you need to experience a solid and healthy marriage — we’re here for you.

John: And we’re a phone call away. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or stop by

Jim: Okay. I know I say this a lot, but we are listener supported. You’re the folks that make the wheels spin here at Focus on the Family. Without you ministry doesn’t happen. Those 808,000 marriages that were helped the last 12 months won’t happen if we don’t hear from you.

So, can I ask you to please be a partner in the ministry here at Focus. I believe that’s God’s economy – that you are working hard to do what you do vocationally, and you’re kind enough to send a little bit here to Focus that helps us do ministry together.

And when a lot of people are doing that we can impact the world in a wonderful way.

So, again, let me encourage you to support the ministry of Focus. Lock arms with us. Let’s improve and strengthen God’s institution of family. That’s why we’re here and I know that’s why you’re listening.

John: And anything, of course, that you give will really mean a lot and make a big difference. Especially here at the end of the year.

And we have a matching gift opportunity right now thanks to some generous friends, They’re inviting you to be part of the financial team by saying we’ll match whatever you give. So, anything you donate today will be doubled and that’ll make a big, big difference.

And the gifts we receive right now will help us prepare for the hundreds of thousands of families who will contact us in 2020. So, please. Reach out to us today. We need to hear from you today.

Make your gift at Or when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

And as we often do here, when you’re able to join our support team, either a monthly pledge or a one-time gift, we’ll say “thank you” by sending a copy of Deb DeArmond’s great book, I Choose You Today.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend with your family and your church family as well.  And then please join us again on Monday for some great “on-the-job training” from Cynthia Tobias.


Cynthia Tobias: Who are we reaching? What is the point? What are we trying to accomplish in your life? Do you know? What are you trying to accomplish? Do you even have a goal defined? Do you know what it is? Do you know where you’re going? Will you know when you get there? ‘Cause you need to know where you’re going.

Today's Guests

I Choose You Today

Receive Deb DeArmond's book I Choose You Today for your donation of any amount! And when you give today, your donation will be doubled to support the Gift of Family.

Recent Episodes

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Home Schooling: Giving Your Child a Strong Foundation

Home schooling is one of the fastest growing forms of education in the United States and a lot of families are interested … but intimidated as well! Monica Swanson describes how she was reluctant at first, but soon reveled in the many benefits of home schooling. Things like prepping them for life in the real world, shaping the character of her sons, and providing them with a solid Christian worldview.

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Practical Ways to Celebrate Your Marriage

Jay and Laura Laffoon laugh their way through a conversation on practical ways to celebrate your marriage. This couple of over thirty-nine years talks about how to enjoy your spouse by improving your day-to-day habits and attitudes. Work, parenting, and the realities of life can keep couples from taking the time to invest in each other, so Jay and Laura advise couples about how to be intentional and connect more deeply.

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Moms and Anger: Understanding Your Triggers (Part 2 of 2)

Amber Lia and Wendy Speake discuss common external and internal triggers that can make mothers angry. They share their journeys overcoming their own triggers, like when their children disobey and complain, and when they have to deal with exhaustion. Our guests offer encouragement to moms and explain how they can prepare to handle their triggers in a healthier way. (Part 2 of 2)

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A Legacy of Music and Trusting the Lord

Larnelle Harris shares stories about how God redeemed the dysfunctional past of his parents, the many African-American teachers who sacrificed their time and energy to give young men like himself a better future, and how his faithfulness to godly principles gave him greater opportunities and career success than anything else.

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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.

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Affair-Proof Your Marriage (Part 1 of 2)

Pastor Dave Carder offers couples practical advice for protecting their marriages from adultery in a discussion based on his book Anatomy of an Affair: How Affairs, Attractions, and Addictions Develop, and How to Guard Your Marriage Against Them. (Part 1 of 2)