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What Is Spiritual Abuse in Marriage?

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Darby Strickland, a counselor and teacher at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation, defines spiritual abuse in marriage and offers advice for helping wives who are oppressed in this way.

[Focus on the Family is dedicated to bringing healing and restoration to couples who are struggling in their marriage. But God’s design for marriage never included abuse, violence or coercive control. Even emotional abuse can bruise or severely harm a person’s heart, mind and soul. If you are in an abusive relationship, go to a safe place and call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or visit them online at thehotline.org.]

When I asked Beth* how her husband, Joe, prayed for her, she shared the most recent example. 

“Last week he asked God to help me not to be so selfish and greedy and for Jesus to deliver me from the evils that plague me. He pleaded with God to watch over me because I can’t be trusted.” 

Through her tears, she continued to describe his prayer. “He said that my inability to control myself means that I hate God and that God would be right to cast me out of His kingdom.” 

Beth went on to say that Joe had prayed, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24, NIV).

And, if that were not bad enough, she finished by saying, “He pleaded with God to grant him the ability to tolerate what God himself barely can.” 

Why had Beth’s husband, an elder at their church, prayed this way? This had been his response to Beth’s overspending on groceries for their family of nine by six dollars. 

After years of her husband praying Scripture over her in this way, Beth found it nearly impossible to open her Bible without believing that God was condemning her, just as her husband had insinuated. This shattered her. Praying had become nearly impossible for her. Worse, she began to confuse the words of her abuser for what God said about her. She had come to believe she was unworthy of the Lord and His care because of her husband’s spiritual abuse. 

Men may be victims of domestic abuse, and Darby Strickland’s advice can be applied to them. Strickland addresses wives specifically in her advice since 85 percent of domestic abuse victims are women and Strickland’s counseling experience is with women.

Is it spiritual abuse? 

Spiritual abuse occurs when an oppressor establishes control and domination by using Scripture, doctrine or his “leadership role” as a weapon. This form of abuse can be subtle, because it can mask itself as religious practice. If a husband exhibits control-oriented leadership over his wife, lords his power over her, demands submission from her or uses Scripture in shaming and punishing ways, these are signs of spiritual abuse.

When a spiritual abuser twists Scripture and uses it to attack, his abuse can feel as though it comes from God himself. Even though he is taking Scripture out of context, distorting it and weaponizing it, the oppressor is using God’s words — so it can seem as if God is the one doing the shaming. 

Spiritual abuse is a close cousin to emotional abuse, except it’s more profoundly wounding as it often leaves victims isolated from God. Since it uses God and His Word to dominate and scold, victims can find it hard to separate the abuse from their understanding of who God is or of how He sees them. 

Does he use Scripture to control?

When husbands use Scripture to control and criticize, however, they are using it in the exact opposite way from what God intends. Ephesians 5 tells husbands that they are to use Scripture in a sanctifying way that lifts shame. 

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25–27)  

A husband should bring his wife to the Word in a way that helps her to know that she is cherished by Jesus as His radiant bride, one whom He loves and sacrifices for. 

When oppressors use religious teachings to shame victims and to highlight their failure and guilt, they leave their victims cut off from the knowledge of how Jesus’ sacrifice makes them worthy and unites them to Him. People who are degraded by harsh teaching are left without hope and grace. They come to believe that they are worthless, because their oppressors’ focus remains on them and not on what Jesus has done. 

The spiritual abuses of the Pharisees 

Jesus condemns those who preach things that they do not practice themselves — those who place heavy, difficult loads on others’ shoulders and do not lift a finger to help them. In Matthew 23, He pronounces seven denunciations against those who add oppressive burdens. His words are harsh because there is so much at stake.

Those who followed the Pharisees and scribes were burdened with the wrong things, and this kept them from following God. As in Beth’s case, so much of what was spoken to them was in direct contradiction to God’s actual Word. 

To help you better understand the wounds of marital spiritual abuse, focus on the serious harm Jesus pinpoints the Pharisees and scribes doing to those whom they were called to care for. He accuses them of: 

  • Shutting up the kingdom (verse 13).
  • Stealing from the vulnerable (verse 14).
  • Leading their converts on the wrong path (verse 15). 
  • Making them children of hell: converting them to an untrue religion that preached performance over relationship with the Lord (verse 15). 
  • Promoting technicalities that they used to get out of oaths (verses 16–22). 
  • Being obsessed with trivialities while neglecting the more important matters of the law, such as justice, mercy and faithfulness — which left people vulnerable (verse 23–24). 
  • Being full of greed and self-indulgence (verse 25).
  • Persecuting those whom they were called to shepherd (verse 34). 

The Pharisees, like spiritually abusive husbands, were leading others away from God. Their guilt-inducing and shaming words inflicted tremendous damage. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees so strongly because the damage they did broke His heart . Our hearts should break, too, when we encounter such damage. 

Spiritual abusers use guilt, fear and intimidation to manipulate their wives … They attack the personhood or character of their wives by using Scripture as a lance.

Spiritual abuse in marriage 

Husbands who use Scripture to oppress their wives tend to be control-oriented — they use guilt, fear and intimidation to manipulate them for their own comfort and glory. They attack the personhood or character of their wives by using Scripture as a lance. 

Spiritually oppressive husbands exhibit the following characteristics. They:

  • Overemphasize their authority. They may elevate their points of view above those of their pastors, above those of teachers and even above the Bible itself. Husbands who use spiritual abuse in marriage often require unconditional submission. 
  • Are image-conscious. They work hard to maintain an image of righteousness when they are in public. They deny or cover up their own sins and flaws. And they are good at performing acts that appear righteous and at bringing attention to their “holiness.”
  • Are paranoid. Their thinly veiled, performance-based spirituality is threatened by exposure. If others saw what they were really like, they would be quickly rejected — and so they work to isolate their victims and limit other influences on them. 
  • Suppress criticism. They will not allow questions, dissent or open discussions about issues.
  • Express theology that’s unbalanced. They tend to focus on minor or peripheral theological matters. 
  • Have unfair standards. They require others to have a high standard of righteousness while excusing their own failings. 
  • Are not teachable. They keep company only with like-minded people. 
  • Are legalistic. They make and enforce extra-biblical rules.
  • Do often not submit to authority. They tend to flee church discipline and fail to submit to church leadership and secular authorities. 
  • Use fear as motivation. They use fear and coercion to persuade others to obey them or share their point of view. 

The impact of spiritual abuse

Spiritual abuse does tremendous damage. Consider these examples of spiritual abuse in marriage.

Logan

A young wife, Logan, sees her husband, Nate, being harsh and acting unloving toward their children. Logan is concerned, so she approaches her husband later that night. Nate calmly tells her that she is not to challenge him and that he’s doing what the Bible says to do. She pushes back and brings to his attention the ways that he invoked fear in their children. Nate responds by questioning her interpretation of Scripture, her understanding of grace, her inability to trust his authority and ultimately her faith — and he artfully uses passages of Scripture to do it. Logan is left disoriented and littered with guilt and shame. She questions not just what she witnessed but also her own heart before the Lord. 

Carly

Carly’s husband presented her with long lists of her shortcomings and claimed that they were sins against God. There was not an evening during which he did not scrutinize her cooking, parenting, appearance or housekeeping. She began to question whether she was a believer. She believed she had failed at so many things, and she was left with many questions. If her heart produced only bad fruit, should she even lead her children in devotions? She questioned why God would not help her. Were her prayers wrong? Why else wouldn’t God grant her desire to be pleasing to Him? Could the Bible be wrong about what was required of her? It felt like too much for anyone to get right. 

Melissa

Stan was the model elder who always showed up at people’s homes to pray with them in their times of need. When Melissa and Stan’s baby died at birth, Stan was cold and cruel. He blamed Melissa’s lack of faith for their baby’s death and, instead of comforting her, lectured her for having a weak spirit and crying. As she watched him continue to care for others, Melissa’s interest in church faded, and she isolated herself from the community that adored him. 

Source: Is It Abuse? A Biblical Guide to Identifying Domestic Abuse and Helping Victims.

Helping the spiritually oppressed 

When someone uses the Word of God or spiritual speech to control and shame someone else, we cannot even imagine the distortions, injuries, lies and exploitations that result. We need to ask thoughtful questions in order to discover what parts of the Bible abusers have referenced, what they have said and what victims now believe. 

People wishing to help the spiritually oppressed need be aware of the damage that has been done to a victim of spiritual abuse and especially aware of the specific harm that has been done to her relationship with the Lord. We must be sensitive to the victim’s wounds so we don’t do more harm as we try to help her. 

The spiritually oppressed carry profound injuries with them, so we must slow down and understand their situations and experiences. 

Gather your information 

Knowing a victim’s story, her context, her particular wounds (as well as how she engages with her community and with Scripture) will help you as you seek to care for her. As you begin working with her, try to learn:

  • The specific teachings or passages used by the husband to harm or control the victim.
  • What it’s like for her to carry the wounds she has suffered.
  • How these wounds have shaped her perceptions of Christians, the church, marriage, people in authority, the Bible and God. 

Victims do not always see how they are damaged by this type of oppression, so you don’t want to ask them, “How was Scripture used to shame you?” They may not attribute their suffering to the things they’ve been told. Ask broader questions that try to find out what’s been said to them, such as “How do you think the Bible addresses our shame?” 

It’s usually not wise to label behaviors as abuse that you’ve heard about or observed — at least not initially. Doing so will likely shut down a victim’s disclosure of the misuses of Scripture that she’s enduring. 

Find out how much of the victim’s community voices the distortions that she’s hearing. An entire church culture or family structure may have distorted beliefs. Learn how her community thinks. 

Help victims see Jesus accurately

Our ultimate goal is to help victims of spiritual abuse see Jesus accurately and to repair their relationship with Him. In order for them to reach this goal, we need to restore their relationship with Scripture so they can believe and trust God’s love for them anew. But the process of reaching this goal needs to be just as redemptive as the goal itself. 

As we care for tender people, we need to do so in a way that represents Jesus’ heart for them. Oppressors have already told their victims what to think and in which ways they do not measure up, so we have to be very careful about how we proceed. 

How do we do this well? We must act in a way that redeems a victim’s perception of Jesus and that helps her to understand what God’s Word actually says — the way Jesus really views her and what He actually requires of her. 

Jesus’ own words in Matthew 11 are an invitation to broken and overburdened souls, and that includes wives suffering from spiritual abuse. Jesus spoke His words to the same people who sat under the Pharisees whom Jesus rebuked in Matthew 23. He says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30, NIV).

Jesus is speaking in this passage from Matthew to a people who are suffering under the overburdening words of Israel’s leaders and their misapplication of the law and of Scripture — just like wives who are suffering in spiritually oppressive marriages. 

Show them Jesus’ tender love

Jesus invites them to find rest in Him because He is different. He is the One who replenishes souls by fulfilling the law so that they can be unburdened and at peace with God. Jesus is the One who provides rest that’s based solely on what He has done. Jesus then invites them to take on His yoke. This is not the yoke of the Mosaic law but the yoke of learning about Jesus and being built by or grafted into Him, the One who has done all the work. 

Jesus is the one who fully knows the fallen state of our hearts and chooses to lift our guilt rather than to shame us. 

He does not threaten us (except those of us who misuse their authority: See Matthew 23:13–38Luke 11:37–54). 

He does not oppress us. He sets us free. His yoke is light, because He bears our burdens with us and bore our sins for us. By His choice and for His delight, He woos us to himself. It is out of love that He moves toward us, and He does so gently. 

The wounded and weak were drawn to Jesus because He affirmed their personhood by listening to them, empathizing with them and advocating for them. He loved them tenderly — and so should we.

To learn more about spiritual abuse and other types of abuse in marriage, and to access abuse assessments and tools to help victims of oppression, see Is It Abuse? by Darby Strickland.

* Names have been changed.

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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

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 2

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 2

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.

Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

As a spouse, you have three roles to play—a friend, a partner, and a lover. On this one-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Pastor Kevin A. Thompson explores those different roles and challenges you to live them out by investing emotionally, physically, and mentally in your relationship. As friends, he suggests we learn to play and laugh together. As partners, he equips us with solid ways to handle conflict and communication. As lovers, he offers some thoughts on how to bring back the sizzle. He shares five keys to saving your marriage: humility, respect, mercy, communication, and resilience. You’ll be encouraged to intentionally invest in your marriage.

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.

Tactics front cover

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

In a world increasingly indifferent to Christian truth, followers of Christ need to be equipped to communicate with those who do not speak their language or accept their source of authority. In Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition, Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to artfully regain control of conversations, keeping them moving forward in constructive ways through thoughtful diplomacy. You’ll learn how to stop challengers in their tracks and how to turn the tables on questions or provocative statements. Most important, you’ll learn how to get people thinking about Jesus.

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.

Giving up Sugar, Tasting God's Goodness

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 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!