Focus on the Family Broadcast

Tips for Building a Healthy Family (Part 1 of 2)

Tips for Building a Healthy Family (Part 1 of 2)

Using home improvement as a fun and easy-to-remember metaphor, Drs. Gary Chapman and Shannon Warden offer insights for creating a family blueprint that will help build up faith and godly character in a discussion based on their book The DIY Guide to Building a Family That Lasts: 12 Tools for Improving Your Home Life. (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: March 19, 2020

Jim Daly: Hi, this is Jim Daly. I know the coronavirus pandemic has turned life upside down. As a result, you and your family may be increasingly weary, anxious, uncertain and stressed. Just yesterday, John, I was at the grocery store – just to get a few things. I’m not overbuying. It was one gallon of milk and some bread and a few…

John Fuller: Just enough for right now.

Jim: …Yeah. Some coffee, actually. And there was a woman in front of me and we were in the self-check-out aisle. She’s on the phone with I think her children. And she’s screaming at them, “How many eggs do we have? Tell me how many eggs! I need to know.” And then finally she said, “I’m done with this.” And she hangs up…

John: Ooh.

Jim: …On whoever she was talking to which I can only imagine again were her children. That is not a great example because she’s transferring that anxiety…

John: Yeah, they’re picking up on that.

Jim: …Right to her kids. I mean, it’s not healthy to do that. Be calm. We are going to get through this. And, as God’s people, we definitely need to demonstrate that we believe God’s in control. And let me remind you, too. We’re here for you. We’re working from home, but the lines are open. The phones are being handled. So, if you have a need, call us. And, uh, by doing so we can help with ideas on what you can do with your family right now. Or maybe even other specific needs on, uh, marriage difficulties you might be facing or certainly again those parenting difficulties you might be facing. So, get in touch with us. We’re here.

John: Yeah, the easiest way to find, uh, all the resources that we’ve created to help you during this time is to go to our website and there’s a banner at the top – Look for the COVID-19 banner. That takes you to a page full of devotional ideas, activities for your family, uh, parenting tips. One of the articles is “Staying Sane While Working from Home with Kids.”

Jim: (Laughter).

John: Uh, there are marriage, uh, talking points as you deal with a different kind of financial circumstance. A lot of different things there. It’s all at Or call us. As Jim said, we’re here. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. And I should note, we have extended our free trial period for the Adventures in Odyssey Club, Jim. Uh, a four week trial lets folks, uh, listen to over 800 episodes on demand.

Jim: And in fact, John, 11,000 new people have just signed up for that over the last few days.

John: That’s awesome.

Jim: So, it’s a great tool for parenting.

John: Mm hmm. And Jim, we also have a special way for listeners to receive updates from us as we develop even more free resources to help during this crisis. You’ve recorded a special video message addressing the question, “Where is God in the Middle of this Pandemic?” And our friends can see that video by texting the word, TRUST, to 72000. Again, text the word TRUST to 72000. And we’ll send updates as they’re available.

(Construction sounds)

John: Today on Focus on the Family, we’ll explore something a little bit unusual – a do-it-yourself family-building project. (Laughter) And your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller.

Jim: That’s right, John. You know, these home improvement shows are very popular today.

John: They…

Jim: Have you seen them?

John: The – uh, you can’t avoid them. They’re everywhere.

Jim: I’m trying to avoid them.

John: I’m at my dentist’s office, and they’re on.

Jim: Right.

John: So…

Jim: Fixing up a place, you know, plumbing – it scares the daylights out of me.

John: (Laughter).

Jim: Man, I’m telling you what. I just can’t do that stuff very well. Usually Jean ends up showing me how to do it (laughter). It’s very embarrassing to say on national radio.

John: Yeah. Duct…

Jim: I’m trying.

John: Duct tape – duct tape is our savior in the house.

Jim: Duct tape works great. You just put it everywhere.

John: Everywhere.

Jim: But those home improvement shows are very popular, and people love the idea of that, uh, perfect home, right? The fixer-upper that looks just right, putting all the pieces together. But it’s intimidating, like I said. When it comes to family improvement, I’m all in. That’s what Focus on the Family is about. We want to build strong and healthy families. It’s what we’re trying to do each and every day here at Focus on the Family, and that’s why I’m thrilled about our special guests who will help you today tackle this topic of home improvement.

John: Mm hmm. Dr. Gary Chapman is here. He’s been on this broadcast many times before. He’s an award-winning author and speaker, a counselor and radio host and is probably best known for his series of books addressing the five love languages concept. And also, with us, Dr. Shannon Warden, who is a professor of counseling, an author and a blogger. And she’s been counseling families for more than 20 years. And together, they’ve written a book called The DYI – the Do-It-Yourself Guide to Building a Family that Lasts: 12 Tools for Improving Your Home Life. And, of course, we have copies of that at

Jim: Gary, welcome back.

Gary Chapman: Thank you. It’s good to be…

Jim: Good to have you back. Yeah. Shannon, great to welcome you for the first time.

Shannon Warden: Thank you, Jim.

Jim: Yeah – so good. OK, so where did you come up with this idea of a family-building project, and what are you trying to, uh – you know, to help families accomplish?

Gary: It was Shannon’s idea.

Jim: OK, good!


Jim: Even if it’s unpopular?

Shannon: I do – I do watch all those shows.


Jim: That’s funny. They do – there is something, um, special about them. I mean, we’re wired – we want to do it better, right? When it comes to our homes.

Shannon: They’re inspiring. It’s my – like most anything, I think we look at the other people doing it, and we think, we’ll never get there. Those shows, though, have a way of making you think, “Yes, we can.” And, you know, this man here has taught me a lot – uh, just been a great mentor and friend to me in the area of family improvement, in home life improvement. And it was just a natural fit. I said, “What do you think about this idea?” He said, “I love it.” And we…

Jim: Yeah.

Shannon: …Just took it from there.

Jim: OK, you’ve identified 12 tools for improving family life. Now, of course, you guys, we’re not talking about, you know, the best plumbing in the kitchen redo. We’re talking about your family, you know, your marriage, your kids and how to do the best job you can do. So, uh, give us a quick overview of these 12 tools.

Shannon: We cover a lot of the basics that you would expect in family life. If you look at your family life today even, you’re going to see – how is it we’re communicating with each other? How is it we’re sharing responsibilities? How is it that we’re having fun? Uh, this man here obviously wrote the book and books on love languages. We talk about that. Uh, just in your day-to-day, look around. And you’d think, what – you know, what are those tools that we need? These are the tools we’re riding on – kindness, sharing, consideration, communication, love, fun – down the board.

Jim: Yeah.

Gary: Replacing grumbling with gratitude…

Jim: That’s…

Gary: Yeah.

Jim: That’s good.

Gary: Yeah, that’s – that’s – yeah, that’s good.

Jim: Is that easy to do?


Shannon: We’re gonna spend extra time with you today, Jim…

Jim: Oh, absolutely.

Shannon: …Talking about how to do that.

Jim: I tend to be on the high side. It’s just…

Shannon: Nice.

Jim: …So funny. We had some water damage to our house, and it…

Shannon: Yeah.

Jim: …Peeled, you know, those window covers…

Gary: Mm-hmm.

Jim: …Uh, window wells. So, it peeled one away. And I was out with this guy, talking about how to get this repaired. And the guy says, “Well, this is a DIY job.” I went into Jean, and I said, “Hey. Do you know what DIY means?” Because I didn’t…


Jim: …I didn’t confess to the guy I didn’t even know what do it yourself, the acronym, meant. That was only, like, six years ago.


Shannon: Well, if – if we said – yeah, because you’d be familiar with the expression, if you want something done well, you’ve got to do it…

John: Pay somebody else to do it.


Shannon: John, cooperate, man.


Shannon: No, do it – well, yeah. For the harder jobs, yes.

Jim: Well…

Shannon: Trust me. I can’t do all of that.

Jim: Yeah. It’s your first point.

Shannon: Yeah.

Jim: The DIY, which I know now – do it yourself – why is that critical?

Gary: Well, I think because in a family, if the couple do not decide, we want to have a better relationship between us and between our children – because we’re dealing with children here, not just parents and not just the marriage but improving the whole family life. But, uh, they have to be on board, you know? They have to be all in. And then they bring the kids in because it has to be an all-in project if we’re going to really make progress.

Jim: And it is a good illustration because if you’re going to, you know, redo your home, you gotta roll up your sleeves and you get in there. And you do the fun things that we’re talking about, right?

Shannon: We do.

Jim: But with our marriages and with our parenting, we kind of expect it just to either come naturally or that, you know, we’ll know what to do when it hits us. Often there’s no game plan.

Gary: Yeah, and that’s what we’re trying to do.

Jim: Yeah.

Gary: We’re trying to give a game plan. If you really would like to have a better relationship in your family – and who wouldn’t? I mean, we’re either getting better or worse. We’re not standing still.

Jim: Right.

Gary: And most of us would like to have better family relationships. So, let’s get a plan, and then let’s implement the plan. And so, this book kinda gives them a plan on these basic areas, and, uh, we’re excited about it because we think it’s very practical and – and couples can do it, you know? Not – not alone! You’ve gotta have God’s help in the whole process.

Jim: Absolutely.

Gary: But you can do it.

Jim: And you speak very specifically about change taking time. You know, we’re pretty impatient, too. We want that – well, frankly, I’d pay the guy to come in to do it.


Jim: That’s how impatient I am. Can you get the leak fixed, like, right now?

Shannon: Like, let’s just pay Dr. Gary Chapman to come around the world and fix your homes. I know it. Wouldn’t that be great?

Jim: So that application to a family leak. Um, how do we, uh, as the adults in the – in the home, as the parents, how do we step back and remain patient while these changes, uh, occur?

Shannon: Well, as Dr. Chapman was saying, we’ve gotta do it ourselves. I can’t wait on my husband Stephen. “Stephen, you do it first, and then I will do it.” Uh, he’s a great husband, great dad, and he does take the lead in a lot of things. But there are moments instead of blaming him, I need to look at Shannon. Shannon, “What do I need to do in this area?” So, I’ve got a DIY. Then as Dr. Chapman, you were saying there, we’ve got a DIY together. And I like something else we need to, I think, reiterate there is these are affordable repairs. You know, you – we bounce back and forth – obviously, that’s what the book is about, is the home life and home improvement metaphor. So, we bounce back and forth from relationship to the metaphor of home improvement. But these are affordable fixes. You know, this is not – our – my relationships don’t need to be 1995 relationships; they need to be 2020 and beyond relationships. And that means keeping up with our kids and how they are developing and, uh, continuing to nurture our marriage. And reading and taking classes with this man right here – right? To keep us fresh and moving forward in our relationships.

Jim: Well, that’s interesting – like, the budget.

Shannon: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, if you – again, that metaphor…

Shannon: Go…

Jim: …You know, you have a budget for repairs. What’s your budget for your family and…

Shannon: Exactly.

Jim: …Improving your family? Um, how do you explain a budget for that stuff?

Gary: Well, I think the budget basically involves time.

Jim: Yes.

Gary: You’re gonna have to give time.

Jim: That’s it.

Gary: It won’t just happen. We’ll have to make some changes. And in order to make changes, you have to stop doing some things so you can do other things.

Jim: Hm.

Gary: Well, what I really like about the whole thing is the big reveal. (Laughter)

Jim: Right. That’s it.

Gary: You know, we – at our home, we were – in the last five years we’ve, uh, remodeled two, uh, bathrooms. Now, I did not – I didn’t do it myself, OK? But I was still involved in the whole process. But man, when you get to see the big reveal, it is nice. Yeah, it looks really great!

Jim: If you chose wisely.


Gary: Yeah. If you chose wisely, right. And so, I – I think if we can just realize that things can be better. And one of the things we suggest in the book is let every family member just share things…

Jim: Hm.

Gary: …That they would like to see improved in our family.

Jim: Wow.

Gary: You know? Let the kids share, and what – what do we complain about in our family?

Jim: Why do we either not think of that or we don’t take time to, um, solicit that kind of input? What – I mean, that’s a brilliant idea. I don’t know anybody who’s doing that, really.

Gary: Yeah. We’re so busy. We’re just going, going, going.

Jim: I mean, is it really just that?

Gary: Going, going and not thinking…

Jim: Right.

Gary: …About things, you know? And then I think also, as parents, sometimes we feel like, “Well, we’ve got to have all the answers.” Well, we need to know what our kids are thinking, and they can tell us. You know, “Why do you guys argue so much?” If we really let them know, “What would you like to see different in our family?” They’ll tell you. (Laughter)

Jim: Wow. That’s encouraging. Let’s look at – you know, you’ve got 12. We’re not gonna be able to touch on all of these, but we’ll touch on a few today and tomorrow. But, uh, let’s start with the first one – selfishness, which, you know, that – yeah, that covers a lot of ground. Why is this, uh, selfishness – why is it so critical in families today?

Shannon: Mm, it’s – it’s my, uh, native instinct – my – my human instinct, I suppose, is to be self-centered, self-focused. And so now there’s not just me in my family of five, but there are four other people whose instinct – our sin nature is to, you know, be self-centered, self-focused. So there the five of us are trying to coexist, and, as we’re talking about here, busy, our mind is on all sorts of other things including, “That’s my toy” or “This is my side of the bathroom countertop.”


Shannon: Or “That’s your duty to wash the dishes and empty the dishwasher.” So, it really becomes a mine mentality, and that defeats a lot of the good relationship building that we’re talking about here. So, yeah, a conscious awareness of it, taking a little assessment – “Hey, where are we being selfish?” So that’s something, you know, a listener would wanna do here is – uh, you know, and someone who’s reading the book. “Where am I being selfish?” Just taking that account, that inventory, now noticing the family and then, uh, Dr. Chapman, as you were saying, just being, uh, open to the conversation.

Jim: Right.

Shannon: Let’s get to work on it.

Jim: Now, you – you kind of highlight that shared bathroom issue. I was always careful to try to live in a place where we had enough bathroom space.


Jim: Not always achieving that, but, uh, kind of give us that deeper example of the shared bathroom.

Shannon: Well, I’m – what I’m thinking of here is…

Jim: (Laughter).

Shannon: …just mine and Stephen, as the leader of the family, how are we sharing our time with each other, for one? How are we sharing who it is we are in this life together? I heard a – a lady at church who was teaching, uh, recently, and she was talking about an eternity view of marriage. Instead of being focused on the now, which is a mine mentality, ultimately. Uh, “How is this helping me? How is this going to work out for me?” She was talking about having an eternity focus on marriage and on relationship. And “What is God doing in Stephen’s life? How – what is it? Why did he bring us together? Yeah, it was to bring these three kids into the world, but what else? “How am I partnering with Stephen to accomplish God’s goals and he with me?” That at the root, could be a selfishness issue if my heart and my mind is all about me and not about Stephen. So that is a little bit more of the deeper – it’s not just the sharing of the sinks but it’s, “Let’s share the space in this life and make each other better.”

Jim: Well, now I’m feeling convicted…

Shannon: Oh no.


Jim: …’Cause when we bought our house we’re in now, I purposely looked for two sinks.

Shannon: Oh.


Jim: Maybe I was avoiding hitting the selflessness effect. I just covered it up.

John: I mean, you were just serving Jean, I’m sure.

Jim: (Laughter Yeah, I thought two sinks…

Shannon: It’s all about Jean.

Jim: …Was a great solution. Now we can both be selfish…


Shannon: Yeah, I gotta tell ya…

Jim: …And have our own sink.

Shannon: …I do like two sinks. I think, you know…


Shannon: …There’s a practical matter here as well. I don’t wanna sound like we’re just using one, you know, small section for a family of five.

Gary: But, you know, this whole thing of kindness – yeah, I define kindness as words and actions that enhance the other person’s life.

Jim: Yes.

Gary: Well, selfishness is the opposite of that. You know, “I’m right. I want my way,” you know, rather than thinking in terms of “How can I speak to them in a way that’s gonna encourage them and help them?” And if you listen to our expressions that are not kind, almost always they grow out of selfishness.

Jim: Yeah.

Gary: You know, “You didn’t do this. You didn’t do that,” you know, or “Why did you do that?” or “Why did you do that?” You know, from our perspective they did wrong, and so we’re giving them harsh words rather than kind words. So, if we really care and want to enhance their lives, we try to speak words that are positive, that will encourage them.

Jim: Fixing selfishness, which is the one topic we’re talking about right now, it definitely takes time. You have a story about a couple named Jeremy and Lori who discovered that their kids really engaged in the process. It’s probably similar to what you’re saying, but what did Jeremy and Lori encounter?

Shannon: Well, I’m gonna to take this question because I have – I didn’t tell you about this, Dr. Chapman – but just in recent days because I’m a busy mom, you know this. And I’m – I’m hustling around doing a lot of things, as a lot of moms can relate to – a lot of dads, too, for that matter. But I kept, uh, promising Presley – she’s our 6-year-old. So, we have Presley, Carson and Avery – 6, 8 and 14.

Jim: (Laughter) Oh yeah, that’s busy.

Shannon: And, uh, oh my word – and so Presley kept saying, “Momma, are you gonna play Barbies with me tonight?” And, um, I said, “Yes, I am.” Well, I got busy working on something. And I did, you know, a modified playing – parents understand this. You know, you’re kind of, in essence, tricking your kid. I’m not advocating this, but it – you know, it was a little best of both. It wasn’t quite the full playing experience but, um, uh, it was still playing. Well, so the next night I told her, “Presley, we are definitely gonna play Barbies tonight.” And, um, we didn’t quite get to it again. And she said, “Momma,” – now, listen. Some people are gonna cringe when I say this. You’re gonna think, “Oh, you better discipline that child.” But because of the Jeremy and Lori story and because of what we talking about here in The DIY Guide, Presley said, “Momma, I think you’re lying to me.”

Gary: (Laughter).

Shannon: Ouch.

Jim: Yeah.

Shannon: I mean, that hurts.

John: Yeah.

Jim: Yes.

Shannon: And it’s the truth.

Jim: It’s a good thing, actually.

Shannon: Now, some parents would kind of recoil at that and say, “Oh, no, you won’t call me a liar.” But it was the truth. And because we’ve made an open conversation of – of home life improvement in our home, I could receive that. And then I said, “Presley, you know what? You’re right.”

John: Yeah.

Shannon: “And I’m sorry.”

Jim: Yeah.

Shannon: And, uh – which we talk about apology in the book as well, but, uh, she called me on it. And I received it because I want her to see in me the model that God is putting forth – one that says, “I hear you, and I’m responding.”

Jim: Well, and you need to be able to hear it…

Shannon: Mm hmm.

Jim: …And listen to it as a parent.

Shannon: That’s it.

Jim: You can’t react and say, “What? Why would you say that?”

Shannon: No.

Jim: …Or get defensive…

Shannon: Yeah.

Jim: …Because that’ll ruin it.

John: Yeah. You’re talking about not taking it personally because you had addressed it all up front. Our guests today on Focus on the Family are Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Shannon Warden. Uh, we’re talking about some of the concepts in their book The DIY Guide to Building a Family That Lasts: 12 Tools for Improving Your Home Life. And we have copies at or call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Another chapter you have is on apathy. That one kind of caught me by surprise in terms of how families may struggle with apathy. So, define apathy. Why is it a concern? And where does it come from?

John: Hm.

Shannon: Apathy for us is a taking each other for granted – is – we especially focus on love, loving each other in that particular tool or – or chapter. Um, it’s so easy. Just you need only ask your spouse, “Do you think I’m paying attention to you?” “Do you think I’m…”

Jim: Yeah, there you go.

Shannon: Right? Just ask.

Jim: Yeah.

Shannon: If you want the real answer…

Jim: That’s true of the kids, too.

Shannon: Yeah. Oh goodness, yeah. My kids – they let me know. In a – “Momma, is your phone more important than me?” Ugh.

Jim: Yeah.

Shannon: You’re so verbal.


Jim: Yeah. You’re so verbal – go to your room.


Shannon: Right. “I’m going to my room, and I’m gonna sit and think about that for a little bit.” (Laughter)

Jim: Gary, uh, your solution for apathy is your five love languages – that concept, which is brilliant, by the way. For those who aren’t familiar with it, give us the quick rundown. I – I can’t believe someone has not heard…

Gary: (Laughter).

Jim: …Of The 5 Love Languages but…

Gary: Well, basically there are five ways of expressing love on an emotional level. And if you want to build intimacy in a relationship and a real sense of connectedness and a real sense of “We love each other,” which is the opposite of apathy, uh, then what – each of your family members has a primary love language. And here are the five – uh, words of affirmation. “You really look nice in that outfit. I really appreciate what you did” Just looking for things that you can compliment the other person on. Receiving gifts – it’s universal to give gifts as an expression of love. The gift says, “They were thinking about me.” And it doesn’t have to be something expensive. You can pick up a feather taking a walk – a bird feather – and take it home and say to your spouse, “Honey, look what I found when I was walking. It reminded me, you are the – you are the wind beneath my wings, girl.”


Jim: You’re good!

Gary: Whoa, it didn’t cost a thing! Uh, gifts – and then there’s quality time, giving the person your undivided attention. And this is true with a marriage. This is true with children. This is what you were talking about, Shannon, when you said, you know, playing with – was it dolls?

Shannon: Barbies, yeah.

Gary: …Playing with your daughter, and she realized you weren’t all there, you know. Uh, so quality time means you give them your undivided attention. And then acts of service is doing something for the other person that you know they would like for you to do.

Jim: Hm.

Gary: For the family, it might be washing dishes. It might be making beds and all those kinds of things. And, remember, children have things to do appropriate to their age in the family because we all have jobs. And so, we’re doing things for each other – acts of service. And then physical touch – and we’ve long known the power of physical touch.

Jim: Yeah.

Gary: That’s why we pick up babies and hold them and kiss them and cuddle them, and the baby feels love before they even know what love is all about.

Jim: I remember, uh, preparing, for a broadcast with you years ago and I think my youngest, Troy, was probably 4 or 5. And I remember going through – I was reading the material and he was in my lap. And I just asked him, you know, “Which one of these meet your needs?” And I went through them. As soon as I said, “Physical touch” he said, “That’s me, Daddy. That’s the one I like.”

Shannon: That’s sweet.

Gary: (Laughter) Yeah. You can…

Jim: Just hugs – he loves hugs…

Gary: Yeah.

Jim: …And tickling his arm and…

Gary: Yeah.

Jim: …Just that kind of thing.

Gary: You can discover a child’s love language by the time they’re 4 years old…

Jim: Yeah.

Gary: …At least by the time they’re 4.

John: Hm.

Gary: My son’s love language is physical touch. When he was that age, I’d come home in the afternoon, he’d run to the door, grab my leg and climb on me.

Jim: (Laughter) That’s right! That’s what this guy did, too.

Gary: He’s touching me because he wants to be touched. Our daughter never did that.

Jim: Yeah.

Gary: At that age, she would say, “Daddy, come to my room. I wanna show you something.” She wanted quality time.

Jim: Yeah.

Gary: So, the idea is that every family member has a primary language, and you wanna speak that language fluently, and then you wanna sprinkle in the other four.

Jim: And, again, to the whole point, it takes effort.

Gary: Effort – absolutely.

Jim: And you can’t knock down a wall. You can’t redo your kitchen in the same way. You gotta spend time knowing what your love language and your kids’ love languages are…

Gary: Yeah.

Jim: …And your spouse.

Jim: Hey, uh, let’s examine another one – uh, resentment in a marriage and family. You know, that’s a serious one and some of these have been fun. But, in fact, you compare that to having termites in your home – just to keep that analogy going. Why is resentment such a serious problem?

Gary: I think because what happens is when we hurt the other person or they disappoint us and we don’t deal with it, we just hold it inside, and then we come to resent them because they – they did that to us. Or maybe we even lash out at them and tell them how horrible it is that they did, and they don’t apologize or anything. And so, we resent it, and resentment turns to bitterness, and bitterness turns to hatred. And eventually, we get to the place where we say, “I’m outta here.” So, you know, dealing with issues when they happen – that’s why I say apologizing and forgiving is absolutely essential to a healthy marriage.

Jim: Right.

Gary: We can’t just let things ride. We’ve gotta deal with them.

Jim: In fact, I love this saying you had in the book, Gary. You said, “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.”

Gary: Yeah.

Jim: Now, that is such a poignant sentence.  Uh…

Gary: Yeah. Yeah. Because, you know, if we let it build up, it gets worse and worse and worse. And eventually, we figure, you know, “I can’t take this anymore.” So, we…

Jim: And you tend – you tend to forgive less and less…

Gary: Yeah, you do.

Jim: …When resentment builds up.

Gary: And we’re not by nature apologizers. Because, again, by nature, we’re selfish. And our way is the right way. They’re the ones that are wrong. They oughta be apologizing. And I said – a lady said to me – she said, “Dr. Chapman, I understand about apologizing. But what if he’s the problem?” You know? I said, “OK, let’s assume he’s 95% of the problem. That would only leave 5% for you. Apologize for your 5%, you know, and let’s see what happens. Apologize and then love him in his love language. And…”

Jim: Hm.

Gary: “…Then maybe something will happen inside of him.”

Jim: Yeah.

John: And what’s the end of the story there? Did…

Gary: Well, what happens is, you know, we love God because God first loved us.

John: Yeah.

Gary: So, we love them by apologizing and loving them, even though they’re not loving us. But love stimulates love.

Jim: Yes.

Gary: So, he – he – she’s influencing him in the best possible way.

John: Hm.

Jim: I think in the Christian space especially, we have neglected this. I mean we talk about loving our neighbor as ourselves, as Jesus commanded us to do. This is one of the reasons we’re not very effective and the Holy Spirit can’t really work through us because we’re wagging our finger and we’re building up resentment toward others…

Shannon: Hm.

Jim: …Who don’t think like us, behave like us, believe like us, right?

Gary: Yeah.

Shannon: Yeah.

Jim: And it’s one of the core problems, I think – because love does crack the heart open of the other person. It’s an amazing tool. Shannon, you have a three-step plan, you call it, for forgiveness. Let’s hear it quick because we need some forgiveness!


Shannon: Well, you – you know, obviously, you’re gonna have to acknowledge that there is this need there, right? So that’s – that’s that cracking through the wall and – or doing the demolition we were talking about earlier. You know, it’s – let’s just acknowledge this is happening. Uh, it’s – it’s also, as Dr. Chapman is saying there, it’s just taking some accountability and then it’s, uh, kinda – kind of a continuing to monitor that process – that same process. I talk a lot in my counseling to folks about humility and compassion. And this takes great humility. Somehow or another in our humanness and in our sinfulness, we think “I’m gonna be this same house,” if you will, “This same person from now until whenever.” And I think even – and back to the home metaphor here – you know, some people think, “I’m gonna build this house and never have to change it. I’m gonna die in this house.” And yet, there’s so many changes. That’s not the God we serve. He’s somebody who’s changing us for the better all the time – requires humility, requires us to say, “God, change me from the inside out. Change me.” Same in this process of – of resentment and forgiveness is, “Hey, we’ve gotta change. I’m willing to do my part. I’m not gonna make you do your part. But I want you to know I’m willing to do my part. And we just – we gotta start somewhere. We’ve gotta get the process going.” But it’s honestly just a – a matter of humility, of awareness. Um, and then just actually doing something – not – not expecting this is gonna happen, um, by itself – that we’re actually gonna have to put a little sweat equity into it.

Jim: Yeah, it’s so good. I mean, both of you – Gary and Shannon – this book is filled with wonderful, rich content. And I love your encouragement and advice. I love the metaphor, uh, to do the home improvement project. Unfortunately, we’re out of time. We’re already hit – Day 1.  So, I wanna come back next time and share more of the 12. We’ve only covered three, so we’ve barely made any headway. But it’s been really insightful. I mean, I’m – I’m thinking, John, about going home tonight with Jean and – and Troy – Trent’s in his own place now – but I’d love to sit down and talk to them about doing more of this. That’s why I was kind of asking for a friend of mine…


Jim: …”How late can you do this,” you know? But I think it’s really valuable to open communication up. And so often we do let time kind of knock down the more important things in our relationship, like honesty and humility, like you both said. And I’m eager to do it. I wanna do it. And for our listeners, uh, let me recommend to you that you get a copy of The DIY Guide – and for the slow folks like me a few months ago, that’s “Do it yourself” – that Do-It-Yourself Guide to Building a Family That Lasts. I mean, it’s easy to use. It kind of focuses you on that blueprint, the plan, for how to do this well. And let me tell you, we believe in that content so much. Uh, if you’ll make a monthly pledge of any amount to Focus on the Family, we’ll send you this book as our way of saying, “Thank you.” We really need, uh, more monthly partners who will stand with us financially so that together, uh, we can meet the ongoing needs of families who contact us. In the past 12 months, our research shows we’ve helped over 770,000 moms and dads build stronger, healthier, and more God-honoring families. And that’s only possible because of the generosity of friends like you. So, anything you can give – even a one-time gift – will help make a significant difference in today’s families.

John: Join the support team and make that pledge or one-time gift and get the book as well at or when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459.

Jim: Uh, Gary and Shannon, let’s come back next time to continue the conversation. We still need to hit topics like building trust, letting go of control – did I say that? – letting go of control.


Jim: Man, why did we do that on Day 2? We should’ve covered that today – and having, uh, really, more fun together, which is great as a family. Can we do it?

Shannon: Let’s do it.

Gary: I’d love to.

Jim: All right.

John: And do plan to join us again next time. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, I’m John Fuller thanking you for joining us today for Focus on the Family. And we will once again, next time, help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

The DIY Guide to Building a Family That Lasts

The DIY Guide to Building a Family That Lasts

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