In a discussion based on their book The 4 Habits of Joy-Filled Marriages, Dr. Marcus Warner and Pastor Chris Coursey offer practical guidance for how a husband and wife can work together to experience greater joy in their relationship.
Jim Daly: Hi, this is Jim Daly with Focus on the Family. Before we start the broadcast, we’re going to do something special today. I’ve asked, uh, the Majority Leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, to join us. Uh, of course, the Senate passed an historic stimulus bill to bring relief to the American people and the economy. The bill is the largest in American history and is expected to be voted on in the house today. I recorded this with the Leader yesterday and he’s referencing that vote on Wednesday night. So, that’s the lapse in time. But, uh, let’s move on to that discussion with the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell.
Jim: Mr. Leader, it is great to have you back on Focus on the Family.
Senator Mitch McConnell: Glad to be with you. Uh, as you as and I are speaking, Jim, I’m, uh, at home. (Laughter)
Jim: Well, that’s a…
Senator McConnell: And yeah. In the Washington area they have, uh, order everybody to go home. I guess they’re consumed with trying to stop Washington from becoming as hot a spot as New York is. And, uh, so this has really been quite a challenge.
Jim: Well, it’s a – it’s an amazing moment for leadership and, of course, you carry the title Mr. Leader. And congratulations on getting that stimulus package through. And it was a unanimous vote, correct?
Senator McConnell: It was. Not a single Senator voted against it. There were a couple who were out, ironically, in isolation because of the potential to come down with coronavirus. But, so, it obviously, you know, hit the Capital. Hit the Senate as well. But we – we stayed the course. Did it in rapid time. Uh, this whole package came together in under, uh, week which is, uh, warp speed for Congress.
Jim: Oh, without a doubt. That’s fast.
Senator McConnell: I’m hoping they, um – I’m hoping the Speaker can get it through the House, uh, tomorrow.
Jim: When you look at the bill – 2 trillion dollars. It’s a lot of money and many on the conservative side of the political spectrum, you know, were already antsy about the amount of debt that we have. But, I mean, there’s really no way out. The government has got to step in, correct?
Senator McConnell: Yeah, there was no alternative. I – you know, I’ve got some pretty conservative members. Everybody voted for it. There was no alternative. Well ’cause, the government itself because of the public health pandemic shut the economy down. It’s nobody’s fault. I mean, nobody did anything wrong. This is not like a bank bailout. No one did anything wrong. We’re trying – trying to bend the curve and get this public health crisis behind us. And the best advice we’re getting is that people have to separate and that leads into this situation we’ve found ourselves in now. So, the package has direct assistance for American families. It has, uh, has direct assistance for small businesses, and for some of the large businesses as well. Like the airlines for example who, uh, don’t have any – customers anymore. Uh, as you can imagine people are reluctant to get on a plane and fly anywhere. They’re being given medical advice not to do that, so. I did want to touch on something that both you and I care about that was not in the bill. And that was the, uh, Democrats, not surprisingly, wanted to try and make Planned Parenthood eligible, uh, for funding. And we prevented that so…
Senator McConnell: …We will not be using this, uh, emergency rescue package to fund Planned Parenthood.
Jim: I so appreciate that and, you know, regardless of what side of the aisle you’re on – someone like Lipinski, uh, who was a former pro-life Democrat in the Congress who was beaten in his primary. Uh, those of us on the pro-life perspective, we can all applaud the fact that we’re trying to save lives. I mean, the thing is, at least you’re very consistent. Whether it’s the coronavirus taking life or abortion taking life, you’re standing for life. And we applaud you and thank you for that leadership specifically. Let me, if I can, on the, uh, stimulus package – I asked a couple of folks that I know – this is an interesting question I hadn’t contemplated this – but, uh, one of the commanders of the Colorado Springs Police Department is a friend of mine and he mentioned, uh, one of the concerns that he and, as he called them “the badges”, are a little worried about is, at the local level, most first responders salaries come out of sales tax. That’s how they are funded. And he said there’s a bit of concern within the Colorado Springs Police Department amongst the officers whether they’re going to have jobs. He said he hadn’t read the bill yet. Did we anticipate that or is anybody thinking about that aspect of first responders?
Senator McConnell: Yeah, well. There was over a hundred and fifty billion dollars in the package for state and local governments for coronavirus related expenses. So, anything that is directly related to the virus is eligible and that’s a very significant amount of relief to state and local governments. In addition to that, there was a massive package for hospitals. We know that they are under enormous stress. So, we’re trying to get this money out the door as rapidly as possible. And the treasurer, Senator Mnuchin, uh, who was deeply involved in this whole negotiation is also going to be on the point and executing the funding. Getting it out as rapidly as, uh, possible. And everything we did in this bill had speed in mind. In other words, getting relief there quickly.
Jim: Right. Well, that’s good and I know millions of Americans appreciate the help in this moment. Um, let me also ask on behalf of a donor and supporter to Focus on the Family. His name is Randy. He does manufacturing, uh, labor placement and he works internationally. He raised an interesting question with me saying right now four of his global accounts have said to him if there was an economic incentive package to bring, uh, these manufacturing – American manufacturing – back to the United States, they’d be open to making that move right now. Has anybody given any consideration to the long-term impact that that could have to incentivize like cities do. We have economic development groups like in here in Colorado Springs. But to do that at a national level to try to get some of this – especially essential manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, etc. – back to the United States?
Senator McConnell: Yeah, a lot of thought given to that because the distribution chain for medical devices and some medicines from around the world certainly brought home the concern if part of the, uh, distribution chain breaks down.
Senator McConnell: So, I think we’ll be looking at that in a – in a very different way than we have in the past. Uh, after – after this pandemic and the weaknesses created by having certain things done mostly overseas.
Jim: I think that’s really good and I thought that was an insightful long-term perspective on what we might be able to do. And, uh, you know, as we wrap up our time – and again I’m grateful to you for the time you’ve given us. From your perch as the Senate Leader. Speak to the American people generally about what you see in the short-term and the long-term for our Nation.
Senator McConnell: Well, in the short-term I want you to know we’ve all taken inspiration from the way the American public has reacted to this. As strangers helping strangers. People, uh, looking for ways to be helpful. Particularly with, for example, volunteers delivering things to nursing homes and to elderly people who are stuck at home as a result of this. We wanted to, um, to show the American people we can come together just as they’re coming together and do something rapidly for the country. So, I think that the American public’s reaction to this has been an inspiration. We’ve all noticed that, and I think it helped us get this whole massive measure through in just about one week which is warp speed in Congress without a single descending vote.
Jim: That’s so appreciated again. And you know, uh, being people of faith – you and your wife. How do you translate – the question we’re getting here at Focus on the Family is, “Where is God in all of this?” And I think now, not as a – a politician, Leader of the Senate – but as a fellow believer. How would you respond to that question? Where is God in all of this?
Senator McConnell: Well, you know, when something like this happens that’s an obvious question. I think God gives us guidance during a period like this. He teaches us, uh, to have tenacity and perseverance and the optimism that when this is over, uh, this will be still a great country under God as it always has been.
Jim: Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, this has been so good. I want to end with a quote that you gave the other night while the bill, I think, was being voted upon. You said, “Let’s continue to pray for one another, for all of our families, and for our country.” That’s to me is wonderful leadership and we’re grateful to you for exhibiting that. And we’re praying for you too.
Senator McConnell: Thank you. We all need it. We’re going to get through this. The country’s going to be just fine.
Jim: Thank you so much for your time. God bless you and Godspeed.
Senator McConnell: Thank-you. Bye bye.
Fawn Weaver: But look at the arguments that most people have. It’s very rarely about huge things. They’re usually about very small things, compounded with other things that become these big blowout arguments and then when you try to figure out where did it all come from, you can’t even figure that out.
End of Excerpt
John Fuller: Well, you’ll be hearing more from Fawn Weaver today on Focus on the Family with your host, Focus president and author, Jim Daly and thanks for joining us. I’m John Fuller.
Jim: John, every day here at Focus on the Family, we hear from couples that struggle in their communication. We talk about it in many of our broadcasts. Um, today we want to equip you through the observation and the writings of our guest, on how to communicate better in your marriage. In fact, her book is called The Argument-Free Marriage and we’re gonna have fun with that today, because…
John: I think so.
Jim: …I’m not so sure…
Jim: …You can do marriage without a couple of sincere discussions going on. (Laughter) But we’re going to explore that idea that you in your relationship with your spouse can be argument free.
John: And you can find out more about the book and our guest, Fawn Weaver, at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Fawn is a popular writer and, uh, a blogger. She founded The Happy Wives Club. That’s a community of about a million women I think – that you have.
Fawn: Yeah, a little more than a million.
John: That’s a lot of happy wives.
Fawn: There are. There are.
John: So, thank you for doing that.
Jim: Fawn, welcome back to Focus on the Family.
Fawn: Thank you for having me.
Jim: Love your energy. I mean, you just come at this with such great sparkle.
Jim: And I so appreciate that. Your husband, Keith, uh … is the silent partner here, right?
Fawn: The silent partner.
Jim: He’s not gonna participate today, but obviously, you guys have a very strong marriage. Um, let’s start there. Really, you can have an argument-free marriage?
Fawn: You can, and I think that it’s important to say when you said, it’s important for couples to have serious discussions, it absolutely is. And so, this doesn’t negate that. We are two incredibly strong-willed people. So, out of the gate before we lose every listener here…
Fawn: …I think that it’s important to say, this is not some pipe dream type of thing. This is not saying, you aren’t going to have conversations that are serious and it’s not saying that you’re doing to sweep anything under the rug. This is saying there’s a different way to communicate. When Paul said and I love this and for some reason, for us as Christians, we like to ignore it when he says to, “Do everything without arguing and complaining.” How did that stop at marriage?
Fawn: There is a recipe for success in that, whether that’s a business, if that’s parenting, no matter what it is. And so, I take his words there very seriously and looked at it and said, “Okay, how do we do this in marriage? How do I get what I want? How does my husband, Keith, get what he wants? But then we still remain solid, intact without having regrets.
Jim: Now I want to go right to the challenge…
Jim: …As I read your book, The Argument-Free Marriage, you talk about a story in there where you and Keith agreed to have your in-laws come and live with you, which is very, very kind of you, by the way. But there were only two conditions you had and one of them was broken.
Fawn: (Laughter) Yes.
Jim: And you ended up doing like a six-mile walk.
Fawn: It was … it was longer than six miles.
Jim: Set that up, because I think that was as close to an argument as you might … may have come to, but let’s get right into it.
Fawn: Well, you know what? It taught me a huge less and it’s the reason why it’s the closest to a huge blowout we’ve ever gotten.
Jim: And what happened? Give us the circumstances.
Fawn: And it was – so there were two requests that I had when I invited them to come live with us and keeping in mind, having in-laws come to live with you…
Jim: That was bold.
Fawn: …Is bold, right?
Fawn: …It was my suggestion and not only was I saying, “Come live with us, but we’re going to move out of the master bedroom and move into the guest bedroom, because I don’t feel like our parents should be in the guest bedroom.”
Jim: Wow, so that was honoring them.
Fawn: So, that just sets the stage, right?
Fawn: So, I had two requests. One was that Pop would not put any, uh – would not start any projects – any home improvement projects.
Jim: Kind of remodeling.
Fawn: I liked our house the way it is and he’s very much a hands-on fix-it guy. And I…
Jim: Yeah, that seems reasonable.
Fawn: It does, except…
Jim: Don’t put on an extension to the house without my permission.
Fawn: Yeah, right.
Fawn: So, that was one and the other was not to bring sweets into the house. Now you have to understand that I have a sweet tooth like something you’ve not experienced before.
Fawn: I can sit with bags of candy and just go one after the – I don’t know.
Jim: Cause it doesn’t show. You must refrain from that.
Fawn: So, here is the key.
Fawn: I don’t bring it in the house. So, when I was 20, I lost a good amount of weight, slowly, systematically doing this Christian book called Weigh Down at the time was very popular. And one of the things was, you eat whatever you want. You stop when you’re full, yada, yada, ya. But one of the tenets for me is, I would not bring any sweets in the house, so if I wanted a sweet, I had to out to get it.
Jim: The extra effort.
Fawn: The extra effort to go get it. And this is just something that I had done to keep the weight off for, at that point, I think 10 years.
Jim: Wow, okay.
Fawn: So, it was important to me. And my mom, my mother-in-love, one night she decided that, um, she wanted to bake. So, we’re in – I’m in the middle of the night.
John: It’s kinda therapeutic for some people.
Fawn: It’s therapeutic for her, very therapeutic. And so, in the middle of the night it has to be, I don’t know, 1 o’clock, 2 o’clock in the morning, my sweet-loving body keeps wanting to wake up because…
Jim: The wafting smell of pie.
Fawn: …It’s coming through the air conditioning vent. And so, all night I am sitting, looking at the ceiling and so, now by the morning, I’m sleep deprived, so that’s part of the problem, right?
Fawn: And so, I go wake up, I go into the kitchen. It’s pretty early and there’s pies everywhere. Now I only have one request for my mom and that’s no sweets in the house because it’s a huge weakness for me. So, needless to say, that became sort of the, okay, everything that had ever been wrong, right?
Fawn: Any – anything that she had ever done that I wasn’t 100% pleased with, all of a sudden, it got compounded into this issue. And I went back into the room and I looked at my husband and I said, “I have done everything that I could possibly do to make them comfortable.” And I just started to go and then I stopped myself and I looked at him and I’m like, “This could be a huge blowout argument over in-laws. I’m not going to allow it.” So, I as quickly as possible, put on my tennis shoes and bolted out the front door. And I walked and I walked until those voices in my head telling me, “I was right; she was wrong. I needed to give Keith a piece of my mind. I needed to give her a piece of my mind.” Until those voices were covered up by voices of love saying, “This wasn’t done intentionally to hurt you. This was not to push your buttons. Let’s bring it down a notch and let’s have this conversation.” It took me though hours to get to that place.
Jim: Mm. So, you stayed out of the house that entire time.
Fawn: I stayed out of the house and I just kept walking until I could come back and have a conversation with the both of them. And when people look at this, I remember when I first wrote about this and I got all of these responses saying, “How silly are you? And how petty are you that this would be a big deal?” And I said, “Well, here’s the thing. Let’s start again with the fact that it was my home…”
Fawn: “…That I invited them into, and I made life as comfortable as I possibly could, and I just had this request and I actually expected it to be honored. But look at the arguments that most people have. It’s very rarely about huge things. They’re usually about very small things, compounded with other things that become these big blowout arguments and then when you try to figure out where did it all come from, you can’t even figure that out.
Jim: Well, and you alluded to that when you said all the voices speaking to you. It was saying, “You’re not being respected. You’re not…” It’s that compounding factor and then…
Jim: …You cut loose. Now that’s what I would suggest as more typical in marriage.
Jim: I mean, that’s why husbands and wives go at each other. It’s not just that the garbage was not taken out.
Jim: I mean, that – if you think about it, it’s pretty silly.
Fawn: It’s absolutely silly.
Jim: So, how – give us a couple of those points that you direct people, you know, getting out of the situation is one that we’ve heard clearly.
Jim: Go for a walk…
Jim: …Till you cool down. But how do you de-escalate that trigger in you when, you know, your spouse is coming at you again.
Jim: And you’ve gotta decide as a Christian –
Jim: Going back to your opening words about Paul.
Jim: Um, how do we de-escalate in a healthy way to say, “Whoa, wait a minute”?
Fawn: The very first thing that you do is something that Keith wrote, and he wrote one chapter here…
Fawn: …And I told you it was pulling teeth to get him to write. But I said, “Honey, people are going to want to know from the male perspective what it feels like on your side of this. They don’t want to just hear from me. We’re – there’s two of us in this. And so, he wrote this chapter and it – his point and I think it’s where you begin is to presume innocence.
Jim: Of the other person.
Fawn: Of the other person.
Fawn: If you start by thinking, “This person isn’t doing this to hurt me. This person isn’t doing this because they think I’m a terrible person and they are the person who I’ve chosen to be with for the rest of my life because I found them to be better than all the other choices (Laughing) that I had.” And when you begin with looking at them and going, “They love me. They want to be with me till the end of time. Let’s try to get beneath the surface here.”
Fawn: That’s the very first thing. The second thing is – is during that time when you’re pausing and you’re presuming innocence, take a step back and make sure it’s the right timing. It’s not that the conversation shouldn’t be had. That conversation, you better believe I had it as soon as I got back home. But it’s that timing. Making sure that when you’re saying what you’re saying, the person you’re speaking to is at a place of being able to receive it and you’re at a place of being able to say it in such a way where they can receive it.
Fawn: And if you do those three things – if that’s the only thing that you do – then you’re going to be able to sort of ease into a conversation rather than crashing into an argument.
Jim: Right, why do we have that appetite in our heart to go to the argument, especially as Christians? You would think we understand the Scripture. We know those thoughts that the Lord has given us.
Jim: If we look at how we relate to God, God doesn’t treat us in an argumentative way. He treats us in a authoritative way.
Jim: Here’s My Word. Here’s what I’ve said. But I don’t hear in my spirit, in my heart God ever coming after me. “What have you done, you stupid person.” Um…
Fawn: Hm. Yeah.
Fawn: It – I’ll tell you where it starts. Where I believe that it starts is our lack of vulnerability. We aren’t comfortable with vulnerable emotions, so when you look at an argument, if you think about the last argument that you all had with your wives, okay, if you…
John: You – you presume too much.
Jim: Why do we want to do that?
Fawn: Well, we – I – I…
Fawn: …I presume just on the start of this…
Fawn: …’Cause I knew you guys were gonna come at me on this one.
Jim: We have discussions.
Fawn: When you have your – my – my father used to say, “We have intense fellowship.” I say, call it what you want.
Fawn: (Laughter) I am going to do it differently. But when you look at it, at any “intense fellowship” that you’ve recently had with your spouse, if you just kinda go back in your mind, if you look at it, if I said, “What was it that caused you to fly off the handle?” If you say, “She made me angry,” No, she didn’t. She either hurt you. She exposed a fear. There was something that was an underbelly that she, mistakenly maybe, went after. And it’s not being comfortable with saying, “What you just said hurt me.” That’s what causes this. Instead we sort of cover that up with angry. We cover that up with other emotions that are aggressive. Those aren’t our initial responses. Our initial emotions are always, always vulnerable ones.
Jim: Hm. That is good. What is the end of that pie story? Did you actually come back and you were able to talk to Keith and …
Fawn: I – I came back once I was – well, halfway through I called and I said, “I can’t talk right now because I still have voices in my head that are escalating this conversation. But I just wanted to let you know where I was and the path I had walked.” And when I got back home, I couldn’t really say anything because as soon as he saw me, he just came over to me and wrapped me in his arms because he knew how hard it was for me as a very strong woman, not to speak my mind in that very moment…
Fawn: …And to take the time to calm down and to come back and to have a conversation. And the end result was, he wanted them to feel very comfortable in their new home, right?
Jim: It’s just a pie.
Fawn: It’s just a pie, I guess. And so, what we decided was, there is a designated sweets closet that I would just stay out of and…
Fawn: …Yeah. And it was – it was…
Jim: Okay, we’ll see a little give and take.
Fawn: It was rough, because again, I’m – this was a part of how I kept from, you know – anyway.
Jim: Adding weight.
Jim: Fawn, let me ask you this. It sounds like Keith is a very understanding person. I’m sure there’s women who are hearing this saying, “Yeah, you don’t know my husband.”
Jim: “He wouldn’t come and wrap his arms around me.”
Jim: “He would be angry at me. I would be angry at him. It would continue into the night. We would sleep on the edges of the bed. We wouldn’t look at each other.” Speak to her heart about that compatibility issue. “It sounds like you two, maybe you’re the soul mate for each other.”
Jim: “But I didn’t marry my soul mate. I married somebody else. I must have missed the boat.” Talk to her.
Fawn: Yeah. Well, that’s indeed is a challenge, but I think one of the things that we have to consider and it’s something my mother used to tell people all of the time when they would come to her, because she and my father both did marriage counseling at times. And women would come to her and they would complain and say, “Bunny, you don’t know my husband. You don’t know this; you don’t know this; and you don’t know this.” And she says, “You know what? I don’t. I don’t know your husband and he may be all those things that you say that he is. What I do know is you had a choice and you chose him, so let’s start there.”
John: Hm. And if you would like some starting points. If you’re struggling in this matter of “intense fellowship”
John: As you called it, Fawn.
John: Or you’re just wondering, “How do we even get to a point where we can have discussions and not arguments?” Then please know that we’re a phone call away. We’d love to help out. We have great Christian counselors, caring counselors, on the team here and the number is 800-A-FAMILY. When you call, also ask about Fawn’s book, The Argument-Free Marriage: 28 Days to Creating the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted with the Spouse You Already Have. That kinda goes to your point about decide right then and there as the argument starts to spin up perhaps.
John: I actually chose this person and reflect on some of those better qualities.
Fawn: Yeah and then decelerate from there.
Jim: Hm. That is good. What you and Keith have learned to do is to de-escalate quickly. So, you just don’t get to the argument point. You guys have done a great job of understanding each other and loving each other, presuming the best of each other. And then, uh, derailing the argument and say, “Okay, let’s just come back. Talk about this later.” It’s great advice on how to manage a marriage in a way that honors the Lord.
Fawn: Well, and you…
Jim: Which is what you’re saying.
Fawn: …And you want to solve the problem, right?
Jim: Yeah, don’t miss that.
Fawn: How many arguments actually solve the problem?
Fawn: When you have a true discussion where people are speaking from a place of vulnerability, then the problem gets solved. When you look at arguments, if you think about them, the majority of whatever you’re talking about is going to come up at a later argument. And that’s just because it was never resolved the first time. So, Keith and I are in the business of resolving the issue the first time.
Jim: Yeah. Fawn Weaver, author of the book, The Argument-Free Marriage: 28-Days to Creating the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted with the Spouse You Already Have. And Fawn, this has been such a good conversation. You’ve made a believer out of me.
Jim: So, Jean, it’s clear sailing from here.
John: We’ll look forward to the good report that you’re gonna bring.
Jim: It will be. But listen, if you’re in that spot where you have had an argument-filled, not an argument-free marriage, uh, contact us today because we want to put this resource into your hands and, uh, we want to do that today. So, get a hold of us. We also have caring Christian counselors who can help talk through that difficulty that you’ve been having. Maybe you’ve been in this, uh, relational desert for a long time and this has been the way you have operated in your marriage and you know it’s not Biblical and you know it doesn’t please Christ. Uh, let’s turn it around together. And we are privileged every year to help hundreds of thousands of couples do just that. There’s no secret to it and with the help of Fawn Weaver, I think this is a tool that will help you do just that.
John: Hm. And certainly, I’d add to make sure that you tell a friend about this conversation. Especially during this time when everyone’s family is more stressed than usual. Get the CD or the download at www.focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Or call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. And today when you get in touch, please consider making a generous gift of any amount to support this ministry so we can reach out and help save marriages. We’ll express our appreciation as you join our support team by sending a copy of The Argument-Free Marriage.
Jim: Fawn, I want to give you the last word. So, for that wife who’s struggled, um – what would you say to her, that last word of hope for her?
Fawn: It gets better.
Jim: Hm. That’s good. It gets better. Thanks for being with us.
Fawn: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
John: Well, have a great weekend with your family. And I hope you’re able to catch an online service. Or do as we did the other day and have kind of a virtual Sunday school class. And be sure to join us again on Monday as we hear reasons you can relax when it comes to parenting!
Amber Lia: I’m one mom. I’m doing – I am the best mom for the job because God gave me these kids.
Jim: He chose you.
Amber: He chose me. And so, I don’t need to be stressed.
In a discussion based on their book The 4 Habits of Joy-Filled Marriages, Dr. Marcus Warner and Pastor Chris Coursey offer practical guidance for how a husband and wife can work together to experience greater joy in their relationship.
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