Focus on the Family

Focus on the Family with Jim Daly

Navigating Tough Issues in Your Family (Part 1 of 2)

Navigating Tough Issues in Your Family (Part 1 of 2)

Dr. Mike Bechtle offers insights on common barriers to communication within the family and how those obstacles can be removed in a discussion based on his book Dealing With the Elephant in the Room: Moving From Tough Conversations to Healthy Communication. (Part 1 of 2)


Jim Daly: I’m Jim Daly, and I’m here with John Fuller on today’s Focus on the Family. Before we start, John, there’s something that I want to discuss with you. I really got to discuss it with you.

John Fuller: Uh-oh.

Jim: It’s kind of serious.

John: No, there’s nothing – nothing wrong. Move along. There – I don’t think there’s anything we really have to talk about right now.

Jim: John, we need to talk about it. We’ve been avoiding the problem for weeks now and…

John: No, nope, everything’s great. I’m good. You’re good. Let’s move on to the program, please.

Jim: (Sigh) If you’ve ever had a conversation like that one (Laughter) or know someone – maybe your spouse, or your kids, or someone you work with – a business partner or your boss – um, we want to equip you, today, to do a better job of understanding human communication, human behavior, both in yourself and in the person you’re struggling with.

John: Yeah, the – our role-playing may not have conveyed it…

Jim: (Laughter) Yeah, right.

John: …Really, really well, but there’s usually what we would call an elephant in the room, I think, right, Jim?

Jim: That – I think that’s it – the elephant in the room – we don’t want to talk about it.Over time, those problems, they grow, and they linger. And there’s probably a relationship in your life where you go, OK, yeah – OK, Lord, you’re talking to me now, that’s got my heart. And, uh, we’re going to equip you today to begin to deal with that with a very special guest.

John: Yeah, Dr. Mike Bechtle is back with us to, uh, help us speak up and better manage whatever relational issues you’re facing. Dr. Bechtle is an author, a speaker, a corporate consultant, a ministry coach. He’s written a number of books. He’s been here before, as I indicated. And, uh, one book that we really want to zero in on today is calledDealing With The Elephant In The Room: Moving From Tough Conversations To Healthy Communication.


Jim: Mike, welcome back to Focus.

Mike Bechtle: Thanks. It’s always a privilege.

Jim: So good to have you. And I love your spirit, love your heart and love your experience.This is a big one. I think when you look at conflict, whether it’s in the marriage, in your parenting, in your friendships, in your business partnerships, even nationally – conflicts between nations – wars are started over misunderstanding and other issues related to that. This is a big topic. Why in the world are you interested in it?

Mike: Well, I think it’s becoming a bigger topic because when you think about what happens in politics and what happens in our– in the news, you’ve got two sides that are yelling at each other, and they’ve got their opinions – nobody’s really communicating. They’re just talking.

Jim: That’s interesting – nobody’s really communicating. It is like a bad marriage, isn’t it? – where…

Mike: Yeah.

Jim: …You’re just kind of yelling at each other, arguing with each other, never enjoying each other.

Mike: Well, I believe that I’m right. You believe you’re right. And so I think if I can just give you the right facts that you’ll come around – I’ll convince you. And you’re doing the same thing, so we’re both trying to be stronger with each other to make our points.

Jim: Is that the first lesson here – is you shouldn’t say those things – I’m right, and you’re wrong? (Laughter)

Mike: It might be how you say it!

Jim: Yeah, well, help – teach me how to do that today is the point.Describe the elephant problem that people do face. What is that elephant in the room?

Mike: You know, I think it’s a phrase we’ve heard before, but it’s anything that everybody knows about but nobody’s talking about. And it happens in families. It happens in marriages. It happens in business where you’ll be in a business meeting, and there’s something that nobody’s talking about but everybody knows.

Jim: Is there ever – is there ever a time that it’s appropriate not to talk about the elephant?

Mike: Yeah, I think so. (Laughter) I mean, especially, it has a lot to do with timing…

Jim: Yeah.

Mike: …Because the elephant in the room – think about a relationship where you’ve been going for a while, and there’s something that’s been growing, but nobody wants to talk about it because somebody might be offended, or you think if I say something, you’re not going to like me.

And so we start just not talking about it. And it’s in the – this elephant’s in the middle of the room. We’re peering between its legs trying to see the other person. It smells. It’s big. It’s obvious, (Laughter) but nobody says anything.

Jim: You know, too, Mike, I don’t know that this is applicable, but correct me if I’m wrong, but when you look at the elephant in the room in different scenarios, I think the elephant in the room at work is a little easier because you can say things straightforwardly – hopefully – and, you know…

Mike: Yeah.

Jim: …Hopefully change happens. I think it gets more difficult the more intimate the relationship. So the next is your family – your broader family, then your immediate family, and then it’s your spouse.

Mike: Yeah.

Jim: You had a situation with your daughter, I think, that was an eye-opener for you. What happened?

Mike: Well, that’s kind of where it came from is because my daughter asked me if I had, uh, the time to build a couple of bunk beds for (Laughter) …For her girls.

Jim: And you didn’t say no right away? (Laughter)

Mike: Well… No, actually, I made her – because I’ve done woodworking, and I’m real good with plans but not with making things up. And…

Jim: That scares me.

Mike: Yeah. And she, um, likes to make things up. So I gave her a certificate for Christmas, and I said I’ll make you these bunk beds. That was her Christmas present. And two years later, I hadn’t done anything. (Laughter) But it was because I had – I didn’t know what to do.

Jim: Yeah.

Mike: And – but then I felt bad because I’d promised it, but I didn’t talk about it. And I was just feeling guilty the whole time. And then maybe I’d think about, well, what should I do next? And I don’t know how to do it. And I couldn’t figure it out. So then I’d stop and go online and see if I could find some plans.

But two years later, nothing had happened. And I realized it was a gap between us. There was an elephant in the room. And when we finally sat down and talked about it, she is – next to my wife, she’s my favorite person to talk to in the entire world.

Jim: Hm.

Mike: And I realized it was a barrier. I hadn’t said anything. I didn’t know what she was thinking, but I assumed that she felt bad. I felt guilty. So finally, we just sat down, and I apologized. We talked through it, and she said, you know, if we had talked about it, we could have sat down, planned it out, figured it out, gone to Home Depot, gotten Starbucks first, (Laughter) got the supplies, come home and worked on it.

Jim: Man…

Mike: And it would have been perfect.

Jim: …So she sounds like a planner.

Mike: Yeah, she is. But the fact that – and that’s when she said, yeah, it was the elephant in the room. And that’s really what got me thinking we have so many of those.

Jim: And, you know, that’s a – it was serious for you, but it’s a lighter-hearted example of the same formula…

Mike: Uh-Huh.

Jim: …Right? It just plays over and over again. It can be a married couple that they haven’t talked about an aspect of their relationship that wounds both of them, or maybe just one of them. The other one doesn’t even know about it.

Mike: Well, you don’t want to hurt their feelings.

Jim: Yeah.

Mike: And you don’t want anything negative to come in. It’s interesting that the longer we’re married, the longer we’re connected with someone, sometimes the harder it is because we don’t want to go there. Little kids, they’re very honest about it. They’ll tell you if there’s an elephant in the room.

Jim: Yeah.

Mike: When my granddaughter was probably about 2 years old, and she was just barely talking and toddling around, I’m sitting out in the patio. And I weighed about 20 pounds more than I do right now.

Jim: Oh, no.

Mike: And she wandered up. And she just kind of poked me in the belly, and she said, baby? (LAUGHTER) And I thought, what would happen if we could find a way to do that cautiously with adults or with the rest of our family? But kids are so honest. There’s an elephant in the room.

Jim: Yeah.

Mike: What’s it doing here? It smells.

Jim: Yeah. Let me just say to everybody listening, don’t do that…

John: Yeah.

Jim: …As an adult, to anybody. (LAUGHTER) That’s the warning. But it’s so true and that’s the key. You mentioned default communication style. What do you mean by default communication style?

Mike: We tend to learn our tools for communication from what we see when we’re growing up.

Jim: Yikes!

Mike: It really doesn’t matter…

Jim: A lot of people — whoa!

Mike: It’s true. I used to go in and watch my daughter discipline her dolls, and she didn’t do what we told her to do. She disciplined them the way we disciplined her. And I’m going, OK, that may not be the best.

Jim: (Laughing) Right!

Mike: Because when we’re – we try and use those tools, and we try and have good communication. But then when we’re under pressure, we tend to drop back to what we saw, whether we grew up in a – in a functional home, a dysfunctional home, if it was single parent, if it was a foster home. Still, whatever we saw in the parent role, that’s where we learned. Those were the tools we picked up. They may not be effective, but we tend to go back there automatically even years later.

Jim: And that’s – you know, it’s very insightful. How does a person do a self-assessment to say, OK – even in their gut, they know, perhaps, the communication that they’re defaulting to is not healthy. How do they grab a hold of that and say, “OK, I’m talking like my mother, I’m talking like my dad?” When they have that realization, then what can they do to say, “I don’t want to do that anymore, it hurt my feelings when they did it to me, and now I’m doing it to others”?

Mike: I think that recognition is the turning point right there – that when you see it, and you feel that, it’s like, OK, these were the tools I was given. These are the ones I picked up. But all of a sudden, I’m at a point where they’re not working. I need to do something differently. And so that’s when we start looking for a different tool and seeing if I can pick up some new things. It takes that kind of an emotional connection to be able to say, let’s look beyond what I’ve got.

Jim: Yeah.Last time you were on, we talked about communication problems in marriage. And if you missed that program, I hope people can get it, John, (laughter) because it was really good with Dr. Bechtle. But we often address, in the marriage conflict, personality differences, gender differences. Men’s brains work differently from women’s brains. And most women say “hallelujah,” (laughter) right? Uh, but you learned something interesting about communication with you and your wife, uh, Diane, when you went through premarital counseling.

Mike: Uh-hm.

Jim: What was the situation there? I think we all learn things in premarital counseling that we didn’t know!

Mike: Oh, yeah, I think premarital counseling was the best thing we ever did.

Jim: Absolutely.

Mike: It set the foundation. We’ve been married 40 years. And it – really, a lot of it came out of that.But during that time, we thought we had a dialed in. I was – I was, uh, an associate pastor at the time. I had gone to seminary. I had taken the counseling classes from some of the best. I thought I know how to do this. I know this marriage thing. And so we went through the premarital counseling. And the counselor said, “Do you want to get a good idea what your communication with each other’s going to be like?” And we said…

Jim: Wow.

Mike: We said, sure. He says, “Well, it’s not foolproof, but imagine if you – Mike – if your dad was married to you – Diane’s – mom.”

Jim: (Laughing) Oh!

Mike: Because she learns how a woman functions from her mom. I learned from my dad. Put the two of them together. And we almost passed out.

Jim: Right.

Mike: Because looking at that, we thought, OK, that’s the dynamic. And we said, but we’re not them. That’s not fair. But we realized that’s our default setting.

Jim: Did – was there a close correlation? I mean, a lot of…

Mike: Yes.

Jim: …Young couples would say never.

Mike: Yeah.

Jim: It’s almost – you despise it, but it is what you become.

Mike: Yeah. And you despise it, but there’s also some good in that, as well. You become the best, but you also become some of the things that you…

Jim: Yeah.

Mike: …Just pick – it’s how they respond.

Jim: You know, when you think about it spiritually, Mike, it’s quite interesting that the Lord put that mechanism in us to learn from our parents. I mean, when you have healthy, strong, God-fearing parents, that’s a good thing that they’re going to mimic you and…

Mike: Sure.

Jim: …Grow up to be like you in that way. And we should want that, as parents and as sons and daughters. But there is the other side of humanity and the flesh, and that gets in there, too, right?

Mike: Yeah, I think so. It’s because we want to be our own person, but so much of that has shaped who we are. And a lot of times, we say, I don’t want to be – especially if it was negative – I don’t want to be like my mom, I don’t want to be like my dad. But we’re going to find ourselves – that’s the wiring that we came with. That’s what we learned initially. So we need to learn how do we work with who we are? It’s – we’re our own person, but that’s the base that we came from.

Jim: So that next, um, obvious question is how do I recognize the warning signs? How do I know that I’m in poor behavior? I mean, there – again, there’s good attributes in your parents. I think, even regardless of your – who your parents are, there’s got to be at least one good thing…

Mike: Sure.

Jim: …That you could pick up on it. But in that regard, what would be the warning signs we should look for?

Mike: I think it comes out of results. When we’re looking at our relationships, and we start seeing things happening that just aren’t working, we have to take the time to stop and look at that. We had frass at our house a while back.

Jim: What’s frass?

Mike: Frass is termite droppings.

Jim: Oh, OK.

Mike: And I had never heard the term before, but we had an exterminator that told me. Because we have a patio – a wooden patio out back, and I noticed termite – I knew what they were. I didn’t know they were called frass. But I looked at that. I thought, OK, there’s termite droppings, which means there’s termites.

Jim: Right.

Mike: And if there’s termites, the patio’s going to fall down. The house will fall down eventually. So I need to solve that problem. So I got a broom. I swept away the frass, and the problem was solved. (Laughter) But then a few weeks later, there was more frass. And it was so easy to just sweep it away, but I had seen those first symptoms. It’s like the elephant comes in the room when it’s small.

That’s the same thing here. I need to deal with those things when I first noticed there’s results happening in these relationships that just something’s not quite right, I need to stop then and look at it and address it and find out where to go with it, instead of just letting it happen, hoping it’ll get better.

Jim: Well, now, from your observation, as a counselor, as a speaker and all the good things that you do, how do relationships begin to break down and move from that honeymoon phase – and that just doesn’t apply to marriage. It could be anything.

Mike: Yeah.

Jim: It’s where everything’s good, no matter what the person says. Oh, that’s really insightful.But like, six months later, you’re going that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard (laughter). What are – what are those phases? And why does that communication break down? And what can we do to do a better job keeping that communication open?

Mike: I think all of us are drawn together by our similarities. We’re attracted to somebody else when we see common ground. There’s something that pulls us together. And so in that honeymoon phase, we feel like, they can do no wrong. And this is the person I’ve been looking for. Everything’s perfect. And then after the honeymoon, or after the wedding, there’s little things that come up, and it’s like, I wasn’t expecting that. I didn’t – it must be a fluke because that’s not the person they are. And then it happens more and more, but we’re not saying anything.

And we start relaxing. And we start settling into our normal modes. And then you have kids, and you get tired, and it’s hard to maintain that. So it really comes back to being intentional right from the beginning.

I call it elephant prevention. (Laughter) It’s like, from the very get-go, looking for any little thing.And typically, when something goes wrong, and the other person’s not responding the way we want, we think they’re doing something wrong. But it’s bigger than just the other person who’s right, who’s wrong. It’s like, we’re bigger than this problem. It’s something that we need to address and look at together.

John: Dr. Mike Bechtle is our guest on Focus On The Family.Dealing With The Elephant In The Room: Moving From Tough Conversations To Healthy Communication– that’s the book that he’s written, that, uh, we’re talking about today. Get a copy of the book and a CD or download of our program, or get the broadcast app so you can listen on the go. All of this and more at, or call 1-800-232-6459.

Jim: Mike, I want to make sure that we’re all hearing you clearly because when you, uh, talk about changing the other person, so often, rightfully, we hear, you know, God wants you to concentrate on you, and you can only control you emotionally, etc., especially in marriage.

Mike: Right.

Jim: But you’re talking about the power of influence, I think, and how you can influence a person close to you in a positive way. Describe that balance for me, and make sure that we understand you clearly. Because you can’t control another person and that shouldn’t even be your desire. I mean, the Lord doesn’t even control us.

Mike: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, He wants us to behave in a way that comes out of our love for Him, but it’s not control. It’s out of love. So how do we look at that in a marital situation, particularly, where the little elephants are now big elephants, and it’s eroding our relationship? How do we, um, do what we need to do for ourselves with reasonable, not big, expectation on our spouses?

Mike: I think it’s fair because it’s so hard to change ourselves.

Jim: (Laughing) Yeah, it is.

Mike: We can’t – we think we can change somebody else. But to change our own habits, the things we’ve done for so long, we know how we struggle with that. And so to think we can change somebody else by telling them what they should do differently, it’s going to be pretty frustrating. But if we realize, from the beginning, that we’re committed to the relationship…

Jim: To each other.

Mike: …To each other, and that we’re – I think an important thing for a – I’ll take a husband, for instance. An important thing for a husband to say during conflict, is – sometimes he can’t think as quickly because he doesn’t have the connective tissue in his brain that a woman does. And he gets frustrated. And he might just leave, and that’s just terrifying for a woman. But I think to be able to say something like, you know what? I need a little space. I need to think through this because I don’t want to say something that’s wrong because I care so much about you. So I’m going to go away for 30 minutes, but I will be back.

Jim: Wow, that can be hard…

Mike: I’m not going anywhere.

Jim: …In the moment.

Mike: Well, yeah, but I think it’s – if we have that as our mindset, that in this relationship…

Jim: That’s true.

Mike: …It’s going to be tough, we’re going to do some stuff, but we’re – I’m not leaving. You’re stuck with me, and I’m going to stay committed to this. We know we’re going to work on – so no matter how tough it gets and what kind of an elephant stampede we may be having (Laughter) we still are committed to that relationship.

Jim: You know what I like about that, too, Mike, is what you’re saying is my – my faith in Christ is also foundational. So I’m – I’m in this relationship in my marriage, particularly, forever. I mean, I’m not bailing out. And therefore, because of that commitment to God…

Mike: Yeah.

Jim: …I’m here, and I’m here for you. And how do we move forward? I like that context, too.

Mike: Well, there’s so much safety in that.

Jim: Yeah.

Mike: Because if I feel safe in a relationship, it gives me the freedom to be able to actually talk about the tough stuff.

Jim: Yeah. In your bookDealing With The Elephant In The Room, you offer some wonderful word pictures. I love the way you write. I think you do an outstanding job. For example, you compare communication to dancing. (Laughter) I’m not a dancer. Are you a dancer, John?

John: I am not a dancer (Laughter). In the least.

Jim: So – uh, yeah, help two guys that don’t know how to dance. How – how does that look for us?

Mike: I probably know how to dance less than you guys.

Jim: (Laughter) OK.

Mike: I wasn’t allowed to when I was growing up, and so using that as an example was actually a little strange. But the whole idea of dancing means I can control the moves I make. I move one foot forward. Somebody else moves their foot. But I can’t control their moves.

Jim: They could step on your toe.

Mike: They could, and they probably will. But in that process, it’s easy to get frustrated at what they’re doing and say you need to do it differently, you need to take this step, you need to change. But really, all I can do is work on my steps so that I’m the best dancer possible for them, work on that side of it. And then as they respond, I respond to their responses. So it’s a give and take. It’s very fluid. It’s not textbook where I’ll do this, you do this, and we’ve got it locked down.

John: That assumes that both parties want to dance, right? I mean, I’m just thinking of there are a lot of folks who have either extended family or maybe an adult child, and there’s only one person here that wants to dance. So how do you navigate that?

Mike: You know, if there’s one person in a relationship that wants to do it and the other doesn’t, I will still try to work on my side of it. I’ll approach that with as much strength as I can for myself doing what I can do. But at the same time, I may not be able to change the other person. There’s always hope, but there’s never guarantees.

John: Yeah.

Mike: And at a certain point, um, I may need to have an exterminator come in and not just sweep the frass away. That’s when you may come to a point where it’s beyond the – what’s happening, and the relationship needs professional help, like what’s available through Focus on the Family, what’s available through a – through a therapist or a counselor.

Jim: You also talk – maybe those of us that don’t get dancing, you talk about checkers (Laughter) and how life is like checkers. Why?

Mike: Same thing – checkers or chess. I’m on one side of the board, you’re on the other side. I’m trying to think two or three moves ahead of what’s going to happen because I’m guessing what you’re going to do. But I can’t jump over to your side and help you make the right moves. All I can do is respond to what you’re doing. So it really comes back to I need to stay on my side of the checker board, make the moves that I’m responsible for, do the best that I can in order to make it a fulfilling game, as it were.

Jim:Hey Mike, in the book, you identified ways we can improve our communication with other people. That’s the whole core of it, right? Isn’t it interesting that God is such a God of relationship, and it’s one of our weakest things? I mean, we can really mess relationships up so easily. You would think, as Christians particularly, we would really redouble our efforts to understand what God thinks about relationship, how He wants us to behave in relationship. And I think it’s there in scripture. We just need to pull it out, right?

Mike: Well, I think it’s fascinating because we – we take courses in so many different things. We learn how to play golf. We learn how to…

Jim: That’s a course I still need to take! (LAUGHTER)

Mike: Well, think about whether – I have a brand new grandson. He’s two weeks old. And I’m thinking about where – what they’re going to be teaching him. They’re not teaching him to drive. They’re not teaching him to paint or watercolor. The only thing they’re teaching him is how to communicate.

Jim: Right.

Mike: And at that age, it’s the basic life skill. But we get older, and we don’t take any training on how to do that when it’s such a – a key part. I remember Norm Wright wrote a book years ago called “Communication: Key To Your Marriage.” I just love that title because it – it really is. If we get that right…

Jim: Right.

Mike: …It makes everything – it lubricates the process.

Jim: Well, and you start by saying, in your book, that we need to prioritize our relationships. Um, help me understand what you’re getting at there. Shouldn’t we treat everybody the same?

Mike: Yeah. It’s true except that time is limited. I have a certain bandwidth, and I can only be involved in so many people’s lives. If I give everyone what they want, it’s going to be really hard. So I triage people, in a sense, that my wife is the closest to me. She will always get my full attention. Then I’ve got my kids, my grandkids, and it works out from there. The people that I’ve connected with on Facebook that I went to high school with shouldn’t be getting nearly as much energy as my wife does. And you don’t want the people that are the most important to have to suffer at the hands of someone else getting some of that time.

Jim: Sure. Is there the possibility that that can be overplayed? I’m just thinking of the myopic application of that where maybe you have a spouse where they are driving that need for you to – to meet in them, and it’s actually unhealthy…

Mike: Sure.

Jim: …To a degree. You need interests. You need other external activities. Make sure we get that balance factor in there.

Mike: Yeah. I think it’s a matter of deciding where I’m going to put my time because I’m making the choice of where I’m going to do that. Those kind of issues – there are other issues that come up where someone is trying to get our time. But I can have someone on the outside and a spouse, or someone just…

Jim: Right.

Mike: …Looking for an inappropriate amount of time…

Jim: So you’re really saying that – prioritization – exactly what you say.

Mike: Yeah.

Jim: And that’s the key.

Jim: Mike, there’s a lot more we want to cover, but I want to ask this question, uh, before we get out of here. And we’ll come back next time and talk more about this great book, uh,Dealing With The Elephant In The Room.And that is this idea that we have to win. And I think, again, I’m pointing to men, particularly, in the marital relationship. Whether it’s an argument or a decision, we kind of play a zero-sum game oftentimes. And hopefully you’re mature enough – and all of us who are immature in this regard, just bear with us then.

But this idea that in an argument or in a discussion with our spouse that I know what we need to do. And you really just need to agree with me. That’s what I’m looking for. Define that elephant in the room and the rules of that engagement. And how – where’s a better win-win for everybody?

Mike: Well, I think win-win is the operative term there. Because if I think I’m right, I’m really not interested in your opinion. And I will listen to you until you’re done so that you can feel like you had something to say, but I’m still waiting to bring you around to my side.

Jim: Yeah, I got to tell you, wives have, like, a sonar on this. They know that – when we’re, like, fibbing to them that way.

Mike: Yeah, but I think…

Jim: We really don’t care what you think.

Mike: You know, I really…

Jim: They’re, like, right on that.

Mike: I think it really comes back to humility, of recognizing that this is not me against you, it’s us together…

Jim: Yeah.

Mike: …That we’re in this as a team. And if I can keep that approach that I do feel strongly about something, and maybe I do think you’re wrong, but I’m going to set that aside, and I want to hear your whole side of it, because if I let you talk – if – and I listen, and you feel heard, it opens up the communication between us so we can face the issue together, instead of putting it between us and pushing us apart.

Jim: I want to pick up on this next time because, as a – as a teacher, you mentioned this in your book, as you spent time with students. You learned listening is the best thing. And that’s probably the greatest aspect of what we need to talk about. So Mike, let’s – let’s do that – let’s come back next time, talk about listening skills and some of the other spiritual, um, attributions that we need to make here to make your communication work for you in your marriage, in your relationships and in your friendships, as well.


John: Yeah, I think, uh, it’s really important for us to recognize that listening is a skill. It’s got to be really worked on. And so do plan to be with us next time. Meanwhile, stop by, 800-A-FAMILY and ask for your copy ofDealing With The Elephant In The Room. Get a CD, a download or the mobile app so you can listen on the go. But review this content maybe with somebody in your sphere that you need to kind of start talking about the elephant with. (Laughter) And, uh, let this be a great tool for that conversation.

Jim: And again, you have heard me say this – uh, the resources that we identify, that we bring here into the studio, the guests like Dr. Mike Bechtle that we have– we do that to help you. A side benefit is it really gets to help us, too, at home. But we need your help financially. And what I’d like to do is if this content is speaking to your heart – maybe you’ve got some broken relationships– could be a spouse, could be, uh, you know, an adult child – um, send a gift of any amount to Focus on the Family, and we’ll send Mike’s book to you –Dealing With The Elephant In The Room– as our way of saying thank you.

And we believe in it. That’s why Mike is here. We have vetted the content. We believe it is strongly biblical and that the applications that Mike, uh, suggests and, uh, you know, the examples that he talks about are in alignment. Uh, we hope to be your good housekeeping seal of approval. And, help us by supporting the ministry so we can touch many more parents and many more married couples.

John: Mm-hmm. Your financial help if vital and you can donate at or when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.

Join us next time for a simple but profound truth about how listening more and talking less will lead to better communication.


Mike Bechtle: It’s real easy, when we have kids, to assume that I’m the parent, I’m supposed to guide them and tell them what they need to know and shape them and give them wisdom. But I found, when I had teenagers, that some of the best times were when, instead of trying to direct them and steer them, I would ask them a question.

End of Teaser

Today's Guests

Dealing With the Elephant in the Room

Receive Dr. Mike Bechtle's book Dealing With the Elephant in the Room for your donation of any amount!

Recent Episodes

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Loving Your Spouse Unconditionally (Part 2 of 2)

Dr. Bob Paul and Tara Lalonde share their marriage counseling expertise to help couples communicate in a healthy way and build a marriage that is emotionally safe for both people. They offer some of the powerful tools taught to couples at Hope Restored marriage intensives, including the reactive cycle and heart talk. (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Loving Your Spouse Unconditionally (Part 1 of 2)

Dr. Bob Paul and Tara Lalonde share their marriage counseling expertise to help couples communicate in a healthy way and build a marriage that is emotionally safe for both people. They offer some of the powerful tools taught to couples at Hope Restored marriage intensives, including the reactive cycle and heart talk. (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Developing a Passion for Evangelism and Discipleship

Bible teacher Ray Vander Laan has been exploring ancient Jewish culture for decades. As he shares his insights and stories, he’ll help you to develop a passion for evangelism and discipleship. Ray unpacks Scripture to aid your understanding of what it truly means to be a disciple of the Rabbi and Messiah – Jesus.

You May Also Like

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

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)

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Affair-Proof Your Marriage (Part 2 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 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Balancing Gender Differences in Your Marriage (Part 1 of 2)

Robert and Pamela Crosby help married couples understand and celebrate their gender differences so that they can enjoy a stronger bond and deeper intimacy. Our guests offer practical tips for improved communication, successful conflict resolution and offering affirmation to your spouse. (Part 1 of 2)