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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Taking Courageous Steps to Save Your Marriage (Part 2 of 2)

Taking Courageous Steps to Save Your Marriage (Part 2 of 2)

Ann White’s marriage was in desperate trouble, but she was terrified to let anyone know. She discusses how God helped her to break through dysfunctional patterns and finally ask for help. Hear this courageous story about a marriage restored. (Part 2 of 2)
Original Air Date: April 27, 2018

Preview:

Ann White: You can no longer live like this. You can no longer hide your pain, your sin, your brokenness, um, it’s time for you to come out, and be open, and get this dealt with.

End of Preview

John Fuller: Mrs. Ann White sharing about how God worked in her life and her broken marriage. And you’ll hear more from her today on Focus on the Family. We’re gonna have hope for your marriage. And your host as Focus president and author, Jim Daly.

Jim Daly: John, Ann White, uh, she shared last time about a super dysfunctional marriage. And I really appreciated her openness because all of us can connect to portions of that. She talked about how she hid, her and her husband, both, they projected a really, uh, professional marriage, uh, a good marriage, a strong marriage, a Christian marriage, but underneath it, there was a lot of turmoil-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … that they were struggling to deal with. And I love it because it’s refreshingly honest. And I think many couples are in that place where, on the outside, it looks good, especially on Sunday, but on the other days, uh, there’s a lot of turmoil, a lot of angst-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … a lot of anger, a lot of bad things going on. And she talked about that very openly. If you missed it last time, get the download, uh, on your smartphone. You can get the app and listen that way or call us for a CD, uh, whatever you need to do. I think you will connect with what Ann had to share last time. And today we’re gonna pick up where we left off and, uh, continue the discussion to provide you the hope and the, I think inspiration to really move forward with God first and in your marriage second.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Ann, welcome back to the Focus on the Family.

Ann: Thank you again for having me. It’s wonderful to be here.

Jim: Now, we, we did give you three words to end last time. And I, I want to give you a little bit more. You’re, to set the stage, you were in Israel with your son and, uh, you had a slam the phone kind of disagreement.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Not that you did, I’m just saying it didn’t end right.

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And you burst into tears thinking the marriage was over, what are the next steps? But you did something that took a lot of courage. And that was, you wrote this note to your pastor and his wife who were good friends, who thought you had a good marriage. And you delivered it that evening to them. Which was your first step in courage, right?

Ann: It was.

Jim: Which is the title of your book, Courage for Life.

Ann: Yes.

Jim: This is step one.

Ann: This is. (laughs)

Jim: I could feel it. And, uh, I took… That took a lot of courage. And I commend you for it. Because that was the ripping away of the facade.

Ann: It was, it was. It did. It took a lot more courage than I, I would’ve ever dreamed it, with it.

Jim: I mean, the way you described it last time, hearing the, the sounds in the room in the hallway and the two grandsons of the, your pastor and the, the vibrancy of your description says to me, your body chemistry was searing this memory into your mind.

Ann: Oh, I can remember every moment, every detail. And when I dropped this letter off to them and, and said, just pray for us, um, we’re on life support and we need your prayers. And I came back and I, I think I mentioned in our last time together, but just very briefly as we were ending the program, that I got back on the phone with Mike, shared with him, what I had done. At first, he was not really happy. Because it’s, it was difficult.

Jim: Oh.

Ann: It was a new thing for us. And so it was sh- you know, it was a surprise to him. And then he-

Jim: That was your next conversation?

Ann: Yes. That was the next conversation.

Jim: Still you in Israel with your son-

Ann: Yes.

Jim: … and Mike back home?

Ann: But I had to let him know. So-

Jim: Oh, yeah. But yeah. Describe that a little bit, because that would’ve been… You know, you took a step of faith and courage, but maybe Mike wasn’t ready.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: A lot of us husbands would be going, how could she do that?

Ann: Exactly. (laughs) I’m sure he was. I think he was quiet. Um, best I can remember. And I simply told him, I said, Mike, I’m gonna get help. I knew for myself that I had to get help, whether he chose to get help with me or not, I needed to reach out and ask for help.

Jim: Yeah.

Ann: And I think our convers- our first conversation was short, but I remember him calling me back shortly thereafter and saying, and I do I credit him was so much courage, that he said, you know what, Ann? Let’s get help together.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Awesome. That is the answer. And, uh-

Ann: It is the answer.

Jim: … you know, when, when… At Hope Restored our marriage intensives, that’s one of the questions that’s the question we ask a couple who’s in trouble. Again, maybe the divorce papers are signed. And the question is, do you believe God can work a miracle in your marriage? And oftentimes that answer is yes, but, you know, he doesn’t really know my husband. (laughs) Or he doesn’t know my wife or whatever it might be.

Ann: Right. Right.

Jim: But if they can affirmatively answer that to say yes, I believe that I don’t understand how that can happen.

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And I’m sure you and Mike in this moment were in that same boat. You didn’t know what the next steps were gonna be.

Ann: We had no clue.

Jim: But you were willing.

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And that is the first step.

Ann: The first step in, in courage is just to make that commitment, to say I will get help. I will do what God is calling me to do. And Mike and I loved each other. We’ve loved each other since we were teenagers. That never ended, you know, God grounded that love from the very beginning. But we allowed the world and we allowed sin, and difficulties, and hardships, and frustrations, and anger and, um, mistreating one another to really just put so many cracks in our marriage that it separated us to a point we didn’t think that we could bridge ourselves back together. And we couldn’t.

Jim: Yeah.

Ann: But God could.

Jim: And let me explore that for a minute on behalf of the listeners.

Ann: Sure.

Jim: Because I think it’s, this is vital. We allow those patterns to develop where we get snippy, and we think we’re winning. There may be a little tote board in our heads. You know, I won that one, whatever it might be, but we do fall into these traps of patterns that we just get on each other. And talk to us about the deadly nature of that and what you’re experiencing now with Mike versus what you had before that was destructive, dysfunctional-

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … and now closer to God, more in tune with each other. Um, describe that difference and what it means to your heart.

Ann: Well, the dance is that you’re talking about, it’s often described as a dysfunctional dance. And it’s, often we bring it out a childhood. We learn by, um, what we see, and we observe other broken relationships. And of course, in the case of my husband’s, um, upbringing in mind, both, we witnessed very broken relationships within our households. So we saw that dance going around, where one person hurts the other person, and the other person gets defensive and comes back and criticizes or hurts the other. It becomes a vicious cycle. And I think in order to break that cycle, you’ve got to take your eyes off the other person and start looking in the mirror. And that’s one of the most courageous steps that I had to learn in this process that I talk about in the book, is I had to learn, I can’t change someone else. I spent my entire life and my entire marriage believing I could change Mike, I could change my kids, I could change whatever I needed to change and make it the way I thought it needed to be or make that person the way I thought they needed to be. When instead I needed to be looking in the mirror and saying, what needs to change in me? Is it my attitude, my behaviors, my amount of courage? What needs to change in my life? And so I think God was calling me to look in the mirror. And I think that’s the first step, number one we talked about. And if a couple’s struggling, it takes two. It takes two to get married. It takes two to stay married. And if you’ve got both members of that marriage that are willing to get help and willing to surrender their marriage to God, it can not only be healed, but it can be better than ever. And that’s been the experience Mike and I’ve had.

Jim: And that’s the goal. Um, but let me ask you, when you’re describing that dance, that dysfunctional dance, as you mentioned, how does a person really get ahold of that? You think, you know how to do that-

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … but in fact it’s not happening.

Ann: Well, Jim, it’s a process. I mean, and, and it takes time. And I think that’s what… When I decided to write a book, I had never wanted to write a book. There was not something that I set out to do or say, you know, someday I wanna write a book. Matter of fact, I was terrible at English. (laughs) We won’t there.

Jim: Join the crowd.

Ann: It was, (laughs) you know, it’s just not something that was ever on my radar. But when God called me to comfort others with the same comfort he’d given me, and called me, I felt that it was imperative that I share the steps and that process that I went through to heal myself.

John: Mm-hmm.

Ann: And in healing myself, it changed the dynamics of our relationship and our marriage. And of course Mike joined me in that healing and the counseling. But in order to change that dance, this dysfunctional dance, if you change one partner in that dance, the dance changes.

Jim: Huh?

Ann: If one partner gets healthier, the entire dance changes. And then the other person responds differently. They see and recognize that change in the person. So I’ve had couples go through, um, the seven steps to courage that’s in the book, Courage for Life. I’ve had many women in, um, whatever they need courage for, but go through this. So I talk about this process that I went to in committing to change, looking at the obstacles that I needed to overcome. And those obstacles could be bad attitudes. They could be behaviors. They could be sin in my life. They could be, um, past hurt, fear, pain that I was experienced that I needed to deal with.

Jim: And those seven steps you’re touching on the first one, this acrostic that-

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … you, you you use the word courage for that. So, uh, let’s go through them. Let’s hit them for the listeners. So C-

Ann: Sure.

Jim: … you just hit.

Ann: It. C, commit to change. I mean, the first thing we have to do when we step out in courage is make a commitment. And I made that commitment on that day that I was going to change that I, I knew, um, I learned. I didn’t know right up front, and it wasn’t ingrained in my, you know, personality at first, but I learned over time I can’t change anyone else. I can only change myself. So I knew I had to make a commitment to change the things that were broken. Change those broken places in my life to get healing and allow God to usher in the healing.

Jim: Ann, a tough question. And we’re gonna get to the others.

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I want to cover them all. And of course, this is in your book. And you can get a copy of the book through Focus. And John will have those details in a minute. But, Anne, um, Mike responded in a way that made this doable.

Ann: Made the marriage possible. Yes.

Jim: So I want to first say way to go, Mike.

Ann: Yes.

Jim: Your husband. And then secondly, what about the spouse, it could be the husband or the wife who doesn’t get that response? They’re ready to go. They’re ready to make the change.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And they have the phone call, and the spouse says, well, you know, all the best with that, ’cause you really do need to work on yourself.

Ann: Mm-hmm. And they need to have the courage to make those changes. ’cause that change that they’re gonna go through and make in their life, and when they begin to build courage and they go through these steps, they’re gonna be able to handle whatever situation comes up before them, with God, with courage, and with healing.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Let me ask you, because I don’t wanna leave this scar ripped open and left there bleeding for somebody.

Ann: Yes.

Jim: What advice do you have for that person who’s not seeing the responsiveness, a positive responsiveness from that spouse? What advice would you give her or him? Um, in terms of working on yourself in this area of commit to change-

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … changing yourself-

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: What would you say to them? God has to work that out in their lives. You can’t be responsible for that. You can’t control that.

Ann: Right.

Jim: Work on yourself. Those are the things that jump to my head, but you lived it.

Ann: That’s exactly what I would say. Yes. And I would say those and others. You have to give God time to heal yourself.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Ann: Um, you can’t control the other person. And so if they choose to leave, you have to give them the grace and le- and let them go. But you pray for them. You don’t harbor that anger and that bitterness because you-

Jim: That’s critical.

Ann: … understand they’re broken.

Jim: Yeah. That’s critical, because part of me, I would say don’t take the bait.

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I mean, when you love somebody really-

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: That test of love comes at the bottom in the valley not on the mountaintop. You need to love that person even though they may be baiting you into an argument.

Ann: Right.

Jim: Right?

Ann: Right.

Jim: So you have to step back. And at that point be the one who’s more mature to say, I love you. I love who we are together. I know God’s heart is for us. So I’m sorry I’ve wounded you. Let me continue to work on my thing. And I’m gonna try to do better. And then walk away.

Ann: Absolutely. It’s one of the things I talk about in the book. We have to communicate care at all times, even when we don’t feel like it. When we start a conversation with our spouse or with really with anyone-

Ann: Yeah.

Jim: … God tells us to speak truth in love. But if we don’t start with care, then everything else falls apart.

John: This is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller. And our guest today is Ann White. And, uh, you can find out more about her story and this is acrostic courage when you get her book, Courage for Life. Now, we’ve got that and a CD or download, as well as our, uh, mobile app, all available for you at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Or call for details. Our number 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Uh, and when you look at that acrostic, uh, commit to change, that’s the C. Let’s get to the O, which is overcome obstacles.

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Describe it.

Ann: We all have obstacles. And, uh-

Jim: No we don’t.

Ann: Yes, we do.

Jim: (laughs)

Ann: Yes, we… and just-

Jim: We need a little levity here. This is heavy.

Ann: But in this life we definitely have obstacles.

Jim: What do they look like?

Ann: You know, they can be a lot of things. They could be our attitude. They could be our past. And I talk about what I call in the book the four pests of pressure. And-

Jim: The four pest’s pressure.

Ann: … as I began to think about, God, what is underneath all of my obstacles in life? What are the things that are kind of at the surface of my obstacles causing me the gr- biggest issues? I came up with, fear, hurt, sin, and shame.

Jim: Say it again so people grab it.

John: Mm-hmm.

Ann: Fear, hurt, sin, and shame.

Jim: Boy, those are powerful.

Ann: They are. And they tend to control our life if we allow them to. Now, Satan, of course, will take those and just beat us over the head with ’em. And if we don’t deal with our fear, our hurt, our sin, and our shame, then we’re just gonna stay in this cycle, uh, that’s gonna be very difficult. And we’re gonna come up against obstacles all the time. You know, I operated for years making choices and decisions based on fear. Maybe fear of rejection, fear of abandonment, fear of, uh, fear of someone knowing and judging me.

Jim: Yeah. That’s obvious.

Ann: That was the reason for hiding-

Jim: Yeah.

Ann: … all of our issues for so many years, is how will others perceive this?

Jim: Yeah.

Ann: And so when you lay that fear aside and God says, what other people think of you is none of your business. (laughs)

Jim: That’s hard to embrace, but it’s true.

Ann: It’s, it’s true.

John: Mm.

Ann: But what God thinks of you is what really matters.

Jim: Right.

Ann: And so as I began to walk through those steps, committing to change and then overcoming the obstacles, I had to identify what obstacles were there. Because my obstacle might be my attitude or my behavior, but is it fear that’s driving my attitude? Is it sin? Or is it shame that’s driving my attitude?

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Ann: What is it that’s going on underneath that I need to deal with?

Jim: Let’s get to U. That C-O, co- commit to change being C. overcome obstacles we just covered. Now U, uncover your true self.

Ann: Uncover your true self.

Jim: Oh, this one’s a little risky.

Ann: It is. But it, di- A- actually, this is where you really get to open up. ’cause God set us free for freedom. Not so that we would live a life of bondage and shame and in fear. And so when we uncover our true self, we take a look at what God has to say about us and uncover who we truly are, the good, bad, and the ugly, but not looking at what the world has to say, but what does God have to say about us. And then we began to understand that we are fully loved, right where we are.

John: Mm-hmm.

Ann: That we are wonderfully made. God loves us. He wants to heal us. And he wants to take us to the next place.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: You, you know, Ann, when you think of the Apostle Paul, he embraced this in a beautiful way.

Ann: Yes.

Jim: From a human standpoint. I mean here, this man was a deeply devoted religious man. You know, he studied at the knee of the, the most famous, uh, Pharisees of the day.

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And he was a zealot for the scriptures of the Old Testament, living it to the absolute perfect level. Right?

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And then he realizes that he’s not what he thinks he is.

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: He… And, you know, the Lord reveals his true self to Paul.

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And he begins to loathe who he is. And yet he was this religious righteous man.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I think Paul and Paul’s life is a great example of uncovering your true self.

Ann: He is. Absolutely.

Jim: And it’s a beautiful part of the scripture, I think. To read Paul in that, in that way.

Ann: It is. It is. And it… We have to uncover two things. We have to uncover who we are and the things that we need to work on in our lives and allow God to bring those to the surface. But at the same time, we need to uncover who we are in Christ.

Jim: Mm.

Ann: And that gives us a lot of courage.

John: Mm-hmm. Ann you’ve already, uh, talked about this, uh, in the previous broadcast and today a little bit. We have a lot of things that hold us back from sharing our true selves. And yet close friends of yours, pastors of the church, with whom you’d traveled and spent so much time over so many years, they didn’t know your true self. How do we get there? How do we get there without a crisis moment?

Ann: Transparency and vulnerability.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Ann: Two words that are very scary until you exercise them. And you don’t have to reveal your every deepest, darkest secret. But God didn’t create us to walk through this life alone. He created us to be together. And his word tells us that we sharpen one another. We’re to pray for one another-

John: Mm-hmm.

Ann: … that we might be healed. That two are better than one. When one falls down, there’s someone to pick him up. And I believed in isolation. I grew up believing that, that I was to keep everything to myself, that it was just me and God.

John: Mm-hmm.

Ann: And while God is there and he is our savior, he is there, our comforter, our hope, and our encouragement, he also wants to bring us in relationship with what I call, for me, would be safe, what I call safe sisters.

John: Yeah.

Ann: And I talk about that in the book. But people who will come alongside us, that we can be transparent and vulnerable with, to speak all of our hurt and our fear and our shame. And get that out where it can be dealt with.

John: We have so many lone wolf Christians, if you will. So many isolated Christians that don’t have that kind of community around them.

Jim: Well, we need to work on that.

Ann: We do need to work on that.

Jim: And that’s good to recognize that. Um, let’s talk about R. We’re not gonna have time for A and G, but I want to cover R and E, encourage.

Ann: (laughs)

Jim: So let’s hit R, which is replace worldly lies with scriptural truth.

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: This is it.

Ann: It’s a big E.

Jim: (laughs)

Ann: And, and, and I go through a worksheet in, um, in my book and in the workbook that you really break down those lies. I had about 16 lies I believed about myself. Um-

Jim: Wow.

Ann: … lies that I needed to prove myself to others to be valuable. Things like that that the world would tell us that we need.

Jim: Mm?

Ann: And yet God says, you’re valuable. I love you unconditionally. And you’re valuable. So I had to replace the worldly lies that I’d learned for many, many years-

John: Mm-hmm.

Ann: … and replace them with God’s word that was healing and gave me courage.

Jim: Yeah.

John: And that requires spending time in the scripture on a regular basis.

Ann: Every day. You know, um, there’s statistics out that tell us if we are in God’s word four or more times a week, that it changes our behavior, it, and it gives us courage. I mean-

John: Mm-hmm.

Ann: … John, Jim, y’all realize that, but I found that to be so true.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Ann: The more I, um, imparted God’s word into my life, the healthier spiritually I became.

Jim: Well, again, that’s one of the great secrets to marriage. You know, people that pray together regularly, not every day, but regularly and read the word together, the divorce right there is extremely low. Single digits.

Ann: That’s correct.

Jim: And, uh, that’s the silver bullet, if you really want to hear that. Um, again, Ann, uh, A, in the acrostic, courage is accept the things we cannot change. Uh, people can read that in the book. G is grasp God’s love for us. That’s a big one as well. None of these are weak. But let’s get to E, which is embrace a life of grace.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Uh, this is probably one of the most difficult things for us as human beings to accept that God’s love for us is unconditional. It’s not about our performance because we are saturated in performance from the time we’re born about, uh, you know, if, if-

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … we act this way, behave this way, we get these rewards. Why do we need, as Christians, to say, no, no, God’s grace is what it’s about?

Ann: We have to embrace it. And that’s what I talk about in that chapter. You know, the definition of grace is unmerited favor, undeserved. God’s given us his grace. It’s already there. But the result of grace is empowerment. And so if we embrace it, God gives us the power to do what he’s calling us to do. And I not only had to have grace for myself. And that was actually hard for me. You know, going through some things I went through in my childhood, things that I did in my teenage years that I’m not proud of. Um, I carried shame along with me for many, many, many years. And as I did, Satan just continued to undermine, uh, my confidence, um, my ability to be transparent and vulnerable. Um, and to deal with the hurt and pain and that shame, I just kept on piling it on. I said, I didn’t deserve grace.

Jim: Huh?

Ann: And I don’t. But I had to embrace it anyway. And I had to say, you know what? God’s wiped all that away. And so I had to embrace it for myself. But then you have to take it a step further. And you’ve got to give that same grace to your spouse or other people in your family. You may not need courage for a marriage. You may need courage. Your listeners may need courage for something else.

Jim: Yeah.

Ann: But grace is that important component that we need to receive for ourselves and embrace it, but we also have to embrace it and give it to others.

Jim: You know, Ann, there’s no scientific proof of this, but when you look at grace and how you embrace grace in your own life-

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … and then how you project it to those around you, I think there’s, uh, uh, an equation there-

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … of equilibrium.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: In other words-

Ann: Yeah.

Jim: … as much as you receive for yourself is what you’re going to give to others. And if you’re in that spot where you’re not a grace-filled person, that you are a judgmental person with everyone around you, my guess will be, you’re also that way with yourself.

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And that’s part of your dilemma.

Ann: Very well said.

Jim: And you’ve got to move into that. What I love your embrace of God’s grace. That is the secret that… And it’s not a secret.

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: (laughs) We just gotta believe it.

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And I want you to pray for f-folks in their marriages in just a minute.

Ann: Sure.

Jim: But I gotta ask you this and we’re gonna wrap up here. But, um, with you and Mike now, uh, a few years beyond this revelation and the embrace of something different, uh, do you still have those disagreements? Is it better?

Ann: Yes.

Jim: How do you two battle through each other’s desires and wants and disagreements today?

Ann: Well, a lot has changed, but there is no perfect relationship. There, there will never be a perfect marriage because we’re both human.

Jim: Mm-hmm

Ann: But we are, we are more equipped now to handle our disagreements with love, truth in love. We sit down. Uh, we pray about ’em. And yet we have that grace for one another. We communicate care. We’ve learned communication skills that I’ve talked about in the book that are critical to being able to have those healthy conversations and healthy disagreements that they’re then resolved, and we can move on. And not all of them are necessarily resolved. I do talk about that. We’re not always gonna agree on everything-

Jim: And that’s okay.

Ann: … but we can respect one another-

Jim: Yeah.

Ann: … love one another, pray for one another, and be healed like God’s word tells us to.

Jim: well, I love that. And your book Courage for Life is a great resource and tool to help couples start that process.

Ann: Yes.

Jim: If you’re living in that dark place where you’ve covered up, you’ve projected that perfection we were talking about, especially in your marriage, uh, get Ann’s book. Uh, you can get it here, Focus on the Family. If you can’t afford it, uh, we’ll get it in your hands. Just call us. We believe in the content that Ann has provided, the testimony of Ann and Mike and what God has done in their lives. This is the right stuff, everybody. And again, if you’re in a place where you need help, just contact us. Uh, also, John, let me make sure people hear this, that if you’re in a desperate spot, we have Hope Restored, which is an intensive marriage counseling experience. Uh, we have an 81% two-year success rate. Meaning, uh, post two years of the counseling, those couples are still together and doing better in their marriages. So get ahold of us for that as well. Ann, let me have you pray for those marriages-

Ann: Yes.

Jim: … that are struggling. Can we, do it?

Ann: We absolutely can do it. (laughs) It would be an honor. Father, thank you, Lord, for this opportunity to, um, to speak through you today, Father. And God, I just pray for marriages out there that are in the place where, um, I’ve been. And God, my heart goes out to each and every, um, person that’s listening today, that’s struggling and suffering and needs to come forward, God, and just, uh, receive your healing and hope and encouragement, Lord. So Father, God, I just pray your holy protection around those marriages. Give them hope. And give them encouragement. And give them wisdom and discernment, Father, and to do, and to take that first step in courage, to take that step and commit to making a change, and commit to getting the help that they need, Lord. God, just bring people into their life that can help them on their journey to restoring and healing their marriage. Father, we ask these things in your holy and precious name. And we give you all the glory. In Jesus Christ. Amen.

John: Hmm. Well, as we close here, let me remind you that, uh, here at Focus on the Family, we have caring Christian counselors and a number of resources that you can trust and rely on. And of course, one of those is Ann’s great book, Courage for Life. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. And online, you’ll find those and much, much more at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Well, again, our thanks to our guest today, Ann White, for her story. And thank you for listening today to Focus on the Family. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, I’m John Fuller, inviting you back next time as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

Courage for Life: Discover a Life Full of Confidence, Hope, and Opportunity!

Receive Ann White's book Courage for Life for your donation of any amount!

Recent Episodes

Focus on the Family Broadcast

Understanding How Birth Order Impacts Your Marriage

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

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Kim Meeder

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

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Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 2

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

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

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

Revival Rising

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

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 2

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Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

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

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

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Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage - Part 2

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

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

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 2

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Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

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Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

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Headshot of Kevin Thompson

Pastor Kevin Thompson

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

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

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

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

Sharing Your Faith with Grace and Purpose

You can confidently and lovingly share your faith—you just need to learn some new tactics to do so! In this Focus on the Family Daily Broadcast, apologist Greg Koukl outlines the “Columbo” tactic of asking questions, the “self-defeating argument” tactic to find holes in your opponent’s arguments, and other specific methods for engaging in faith-building conversations with others. Greg pulls from his over 30 years of experience debating atheists and agnostics to help you share your faith with grace and truth.

Mr. Greg Koukl

Greg Koukl is a writer, public speaker and talk show host who’s spent 30 years advocating for and defending the Christian worldview. Greg has written or contributed to 15 books, including The Story of RealityTactics, and Precious Unborn Human Persons. Greg has published nearly 230 articles and has spoken on 80 college and university campuses in the U.S. and abroad.

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Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions

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Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

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How a Former Abortion Doctor Became Pro-Life

As an abortion doctor at Planned Parenthood, Dr. Patti Giebink believed she was helping women. Later, she began reading scripture and God gradually changed her heart on the abortion issue. Patti tells the story of her long journey from abortion doctor to pro-life and encourages listeners to share the message of life with compassion.

Headshot image of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. Patti Giebink

Mrs. Patti Giebink

Dr. Patti Giebink is an OB-GYN who serves on the board of the Alpha Center, a well-known pregnancy center located in Sioux Falls, S.D. She also travels intermittently to work in mission hospitals in Pakistan and other countries. After completing her medical training, Dr. Giebink worked for Planned Parenthood from 1995-1997, during which she was the only abortion-provider in the state of South Dakota. She eventually experienced a radical change of heart on the issue of abortion after receiving God’s grace, forgiveness, and love, and she is now a passionate advocate for the pro-life movement.

Cover image of the book "Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life"

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Unexpected Choice is told from the perspective of a doctor who actually performed abortions through Planned Parenthood. The book chronicles her journey from being a pro-choice physician to someone speaking on behalf of the pro-life movement.

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As a latchkey kid, Wendy Speake turned to sugar for comfort. Every Friday, she would pedal to the candy show and use her allowance to fill her bag with candy. And one day, when she was older and a mom of three young boys, she came to realize that she was still “pedaling” away from her stress and using sugar as comfort, instead of turning to Jesus. She was joyless, worn out, tired, and in need of a change. In this interview, Wendy will challenge Christians to take 40 days to focus on fasting from something they turn to instead of Jesus for comfort. She invited people to break free from a dependence on sugar and taste the goodness of God.

Author Wendy Speake smiling as she holds up her book "The 40-Day Social Media Fast"

Mrs. Wendy Speake

With a background in Hollywood as a trained actress, Wendy Speake ministers to women as a bible teacher by applying the power of drama, poetry and comedy to the study of Scripture and real-life application of biblical truths. She has co-authored two books with Amber Lia titled Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and their latest, Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, Say Something New. Wendy is also the co-author (with Kelli Stuart) of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom.

Cover image of the book "The 40-Day Sugar Fast"

The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation

Welcome to the 40-Day Sugar Fast, a fast that begins with us giving Jesus our sugar and ends with Jesus giving us himself–the only thing that can ever truly satisfy our soul’s deep hunger. On this 40-day journey you’ll learn how to stop fixating on food and other things you use to fill the voids in life and instead fix your eyes on Christ. Anyone who runs to sugar for comfort or a reward, who eats mindlessly or out of boredom, who feels physically and spiritually lethargic, or who struggles with self-control will discover here not only freedom from their cravings but an entirely new appetite for the good things God has for us.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 1

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 2

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 2

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

Reconciling Faith and Science in a Medical Crisis

Dr. Lee Warren is a neurosurgeon who has faced many heavy challenges in his life – from serving in the Iraq War to removing deadly brain tumors to experiencing the loss of a teenage son. He’ll share about his difficult quest to find answers to some of life’s toughest questions, while holding onto his faith in God and the sure hope of heaven

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. W. Lee Warren

Dr. Lee Warren

W. Lee Warren, M.D., is a brain surgeon , inventor, Iraq War veteran, and author of I’ve Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know, winner of the Christian Book Award®. His previous book, No Place to Hide, was included on the 2015 U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff’s Recommended Reading List. Dr. Warren has appeared on The 700 Club and the CBS Evening News, and his writings have been featured in Guideposts magazine. His Dr. Lee Warren Podcast, which is heard in more than 60 countries, helps listeners use the power of neuroscience, faith, and common sense to change their lives.

Cover image of Dr. Lee Warren's book "I've Seen the End of You"

I've Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon's Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know

This gripping inspirational memoir grapples with the tension between faith and science—and between death and hope—as a seasoned neurosurgeon faces insurmountable odds and grief both in the office and at home.

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 1

Jodie Berndt loves to pray for her children. She’s been doing that for the past thirty years. Now she helps other parents to talk to God, asking for the salvation of their kids, and for wisdom, self-discipline, purpose, a future and much more. She offers fun and practical encouragement that moms and dads can put to work immediately in their daily lives as they prepare their children for a life in Christ.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt is a public speaker, a Bible teacher, and the the author of 10 books. Find out more about Jodie and get some free resources (including printable prayer cards and calendars) at her website, jodieberndt.com.

Cover image of Jodie Berndt's book "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children"

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

You will discover how using the Bible to shape your desires and requests opens the door to God’s provision—and frees us from things like worry and fear in our parenting! This expanded edition of the bestseller features updated content on issues like technology and identity, and comes with new material designed to invite children into the family prayer circle. Purchase now and receive 10% off your product.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 1

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

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

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

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

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

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

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage Part 1

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

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

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

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

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

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

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

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 1

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 1

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

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Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

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

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

Thank you for committing to pray for the pre-born!

Sign up below for your free seven-day prayer guide. This daily guide will help give direction to your prayers for the pro-life movement. We will be praying with you! 

Focus on the Family

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