FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Best of our Podcast Network Part 1

with Brian Goins, Ron Deal, Shelby Abbott | January 2, 2023
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Ready for FamilyLife Podcast Network’s best of the best? Catch slices of our best episodes in this mashup hosted by Brian Goins, Ron Deal, & Shelby Abbott.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

Ready for FamilyLife Podcast Network’s best of the best? Catch slices of our best episodes in this mashup hosted by Brian Goins, Ron Deal, and Shelby Abbott.

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Best of our Podcast Network Part 1

With Brian Goins, Ron Deal, Shelb...more
January 02, 2023
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Shelby: Hey, this is Shelby Abbott. Before we get started, if you gave to FamilyLife last month, I just wanted to say, “Thank you so much.” The gifts are still coming in, and we don’t have final numbers yet; but I sincerely hope that you know we couldn’t do this without you. I am so grateful for your partnership with us, at FamilyLife Today; and if you couldn’t give, that’s fine. We’re so glad to have you listening.

Alright, now to today’s show.

Rechab Gray: We need to be careful and also own the fact that a lot of the reason why the culture is anti-Christ is because Christians have been anti-love.

Ann: Welcome to FamilyLife Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I’m Ann Wilson.

Dave: And I’m Dave Wilson, and you can find us at or on the FamilyLife app.

Ann: This is FamilyLife


Dave and Ann:Today!

Dave: Okay, it’s 2023.

Ann: —a new year.

Dave: What are you excited about? [Long pause] Come on! Give me something you’re excited about. [Laughter] This is the year that—what?

Ann: I have no idea; I have no idea. Let’s start over. [Laughter]

Dave: “This is the year that the Lions win the Super Bowl,”—that’s what I’m thinking. [Laughter]

Dave: It won’t be next month, in February; but it will be—

Brian: So you’re doing stand-up this year, then/stand-up comedy.

Dave: No, this is the year that we get to introduce—

Ann: Wait; now, let’s start over.

Dave: I’m doing it right now!

Ann: Oh, okay.

Dave: This is real.

Ann: Okay.

Dave: We get to introduce our listeners to a whole network of podcasts that I don’t think a lot of our audience even knows exists.

Ann: And they’re amazing podcasts that will be super helpful. And because it’s a new year, it’s a great time to introduce some new listening/some ways to draw closer to God, to our families, to our kids.

Dave: —and guys, a lot better than us, as podcasters; they’re sitting in the room. We have Brian Goins in the house, with Married with Benefits. I’m going to have you introduce yourself, but I thought I’d do it a little different. We have Ron Deal with FamilyLife Blended®; we have Shelby, the Abbott/Shelby Abbott with Real Life Loading

Here’s what I thought it would be fun to do: Ron, you introduce us to Brian.

Ron: Oh, my goodness; wow.

Dave: Brian, you introduce us to Shelby, and Shelby can introduce Ron.

Ron: Do I get to go first?

Dave: Yes; Ron, introduce Brian Goins.

Ron: Brian is a friend—I like Brian—I actually like Brian.

Brian: Oh, thanks.

Ron: He and his wife Jen have been with FamilyLife a long time, speak on the Weekend to Remember® speaker team. Brian’s been doing this podcast—that he can say a little bit more about—we’re going to hear clips from. He leads a lot of creative thought around content and vision and how FamilyLife can better reach into the world and make a difference for the kingdom.

Dave: Wow! That’s pretty good.

Shelby: That’s a high bar.

Ann: No pressure, guys.

Brian: Yes, exactly.

Dave: You have to one-up that. You have to introduce—

Brian: I just met Shelby; this is just great. [Laughter] I hear he works here.

Dave: You don’t know Shelby?

Shelby: Brian was my boss for like two years. [Laughter]

Brian: I know! Yes, but I never saw the guy.

Shelby: —virtually; yes, virtually.

Brian: Exactly—it was pre-COVID, and we still never saw each other; because he’s up in Philly.

Shelby: Yes.

Brian: But Shelby’s been with Cru for what?—how long?—your whole life?

Shelby: —23 years.

Brian: He has such a passion for the next generation, and that’s what I love about this podcast. It’s really about: “How do we help prepare people for relationships?” We don’t have those skills, coming into marriage; and if we just try to get them at the point of marriage, we’ve already lost them. I love that your energy and passion is around how to reach the next generation, which you’ve been doing ever since you started with Cru.

Shelby: Yes; thanks, Brian.

Ron Deal—I’ve heard his name for several years before I even got involved with FamilyLife—the specialty/the lane that he’s in is one of the lanes that is so vital to be able to interject, speak to, communicate gospel truth. You’ve been doing that, as a writer, as a podcaster, as a speaker with FamilyLife for several years now.

I know that you’ve been extremely beneficial, not only to me, but to many other families, who are in a world that they sometimes feel neglected. They sometimes feel that “normal” family content is not directed at them. You have taken that, flipped that on its head, and weaponized it in a way that utilizes the gospel to speak into people’s lives and helps them to love Jesus, and love each other more, as husband and wife in blended families.

Ron: Wow!

Dave: Shelby, will you introduce us? Man, that was like, “Wow!” [Laughter]

Ann: Hey, you guys are really good. You should have your own podcasts. [Laughter]

Ron: Hey, there’s an idea.

Shelby: We’re working on it.

Ron: I have to tell you: I interviewed Shelby for the FamilyLife Blended podcast; he was one of our episodes. We have a series called “Growing Up in a Blender,” where we interview young adults and adults about their life, growing up in a blended family. Very compelling/really insightful interview that I did with Shelby. I would encourage people to go out and find it. You’ll learn a whole lot about him—about where he comes from and what makes him tick—it was awesome.

Dave: Each of your podcasts are very unique—they’re really similar, because it’s about marriage and family—but very different and distinct to a different audience. Today, we get to introduce our audience to all three of you. We’re going to start with Ron, with FamilyLife Blended, and hear a clip. I’m not even going to set it up—it’ll set itself up—and then, let’s just respond.

[Previous FamilyLife Blended Podcast]

Ron: Hey, welcome. This is FamilyLife Blended, and I’m Ron Deal. This donor-supported podcast helps blended families, and those who love them, pursue the relationships that matter most.

Kathi Lipp: When we’re talking about blended families, I know that for years, when it came to Christmas and birthdays, I was making up for them being in a blended family: we were overbuying, overspending, over celebrating. I may have had a little competition going on with their mom. It was my own need to be loved and accepted, by these very important people in my life, who I felt so much rejection from.

When I could finally kind of calm down—and say, “The stuff doesn’t represent our love; it just doesn’t,”—when I finally had to get to the place of: “This is not going to happen overnight; this is going to take years.” We’ve heard from other families that five years can really make a difference. We got to a point—where my stepson would not participate in our wedding; he refused to; he didn’t want to be there; he wouldn’t come to our wedding unless his mom came; I mean, it’s a whole bunch of mess—to the place, where:

  • He’s called me for advice;
  • To the place, where he’s gotten off the phone with his dad to talk to me to find out how I’m doing.

I never thought we would get to that place.

I had to calm down with the stuff and just understand that it takes some time to build into that place.


Shelby: I think that’s so helpful to hear someone’s honest interpretation about what they’re dealing with, as a stepmom; and then, even trying to understand their stepson. I remember my stepsister at my parents’ wedding when I was six. I remember her being sad the whole time. In fact, the wedding pictures with all of us, as a family, her eyes are puffy, and red, and tear-stained. That is the reality for a lot of kids out there as they’re seeing the “finality” of the death of the hope of their parents getting back together. I appreciated that clip in so many different ways, knowing also, that there’s hope on the other side; it just takes time.

Brian: Yes; one of the things I appreciate about you, Ron, is that you are able to paint the picture of what a family that may be—like, I know for me, I’ve not been in that situation; I didn’t grow up in that situation—but it gets painted so clearly on your podcast. I now have the confidence to walk in, and have a conversation with somebody, and ask the questions that might help uncork what’s going on in their hearts. What I love about the Blended podcast is it helps me identify with people—who are right in my neighborhood, right in my corner of the world—but I may not have the info I need to be able to go in and have an honest conversation with them.

Ann: I’m thinking of other women, just hearing that—even, as a stepmom, thinking, “That’s happened to someone else too? I’m not alone? This can be normal for families that are blending and adjusting?”—it makes you have hope, like, “Okay, so someone else has gone through this. I’m not alone in it.” And that feels good.

Ron: We had Kathi Lipp speak at the last Blended and Blessed®event, live-streamed to the world. She talked about a little bit further around some of the themes we just heard in this clip—this idea that: “Man, it started difficult; it started challenging. I had a stepson who wouldn’t even come to the wedding,”—and now, they have a relationship, where he calls her for advice. That tells you the level of trust that he has in her.

That’s the message we want blended families to hear: “Yes, there are some speed bumps. Who hasn’t had speed bumps in the midst of life, and parenting, and whatnot?—we all have. If we hang in there—we keep going, walk faithfully with God, trust things get smoother—then, you get to the place, where you see the reward and the payoff of the relationships. That’s a beautiful thing.

Dave: We have another podcast we’re going to introduce you to—Brian, your podcast, Married with Benefits—I guess you can respond later; but we want to hear a little clip from yours, and then we can all take shots at it. [Laughter]

Brian: That would be great.

[Previous Married with Benefits Podcast]

Brian: Welcome to the FamilyLife Podcast Network. I’m Brian Goins, host of Married with Benefits, where we’re passionate about discovering the benefits of saying, “I do.” This week, we’re here with Shaunti Feldhahn, Harvard-trained researcher, author, marriage speaker.

This is probably the number-one question that Shaunti gets after every conference she does; and that is, “How can I help my husband hear me? He always seems to go right into ‘Mr. Fix-it’ mode.” Well, I can fix that problem for you—or really, Shaunti can—she has some tips to help you feel heard every time.

Do you remember the video, “The Nail”?


Shaunti: Yes, absolutely!

Brian: “The Nail” video. That is one of the funniest videos, I think.

How, as you, as a woman, watching that—did you relate to it?—were you like: “Well, this is sincere,” or “Come on; she’s an idiot. She has the nail in her head.”

For those of you—if you haven’t seen it—just look on YouTube; look up“The Nail.

Shaunti: —"It’s Not About the Nail.”

Brian: —"It’s Not About the Nail”: you’ll find it; it’s hilarious.

But how did you feel, watching it, as a woman?

Shaunti: So here’s the thing: every woman thinks it’s hilarious, too; but we’re also like, “You’re not getting it.” [Laughter] The title of that: “It’s Not About the Nail,” is actually the case.

Here is what guys don’t get; okay? So ladies, this is what, now, you can share with your husband; because this is truly what men don’t understand—when you say, “I don’t want you to fix it; I just want you to listen,”—to your husband. I guarantee you—because I’ve talked to thousands of men about this—he is thinking to himself, “I have been listening for ten minutes.

Brian: Yes; right.

Shaunti: “What do you mean, ‘I just want you to listen?’ I’ve already been listening.”

And here’s what the difference is: is that they don’t realize that for us, as women, what that means is: “I want you to listen to my feelings.” And here is the hard part for a guy: when Jeff and I do marriage conferences, we see the men all lean forward when I explain, “Here is what you need to do. Guys, you have trained yourself”—and you can tell your husband this—“you’ve trained yourself, your whole life, that emotions and feelings, and all those jangling feelings, are going to kind of get in the way of solving the actual problem—what you think is the actual problem, which is the splinter,”—it’s:

You know, the boss embarrassed her in front of all her colleagues; and she’s upset. She’s talking about it in the evening; and so you’re like, “Okay; we have got to—let’s set all these emotions aside—because we have got to figure this out.”

Brian: “We have to get the hit list out.”

Shaunti: “What are you going to do?—what are you going to do tomorrow when you walk into the office?”

Brian: Yes.

Shaunti: So you get into this go-to mode.

Instead, guys, what you need to realize is that all those jangling emotions that you’re trying to filter out, in order to get to the problem, those emotions are what she most wants you to listen to.

If you can tell your husband: “I know this is going to sound really strange, but I want you to ignore the actual problem for a minute—I want you to set that aside; that’s Step Two—Step One is: ‘Truly focus in on all these feelings that I have.’”

Brian: Okay; well, as a guy, like how do I—[Fading out] [Laughter]


Dave: Notice who’s laughing right now: [Laughter] the woman at the table.

Ann: —because Shaunti kept talking and explaining.

Brian, I think that’s the thing that I love about you and Shaunti; you get super practical. In marriage, we’re wondering, “What do I do?” You guys, so often, answer that in a biblical way that’s so helpful for marriages. I just—listening to that—every woman is like: “I need my husband to hear this,” and “I need to listen.”

Dave: I want to know what a jangling emotion is.

Brian: Yes, that is an interesting—

Dave: What is a jangling emotion?

Brian: I don’t know, and I was trying to listen for the answer. [Laughter] It’s just these emotions that are out there, that we’re supposed to try to bring in.

Ann, do you have any idea what a jangling—

Ann: They’re out there, you guys—they’re just jangling around—and you have to kind of pick them up. [Laughter]

Ron: In other words, “It’s work.” You have to chase that thing down, whatever it is.

Dave: You’ve heard this—and I won’t go into details; it’s in our Vertical Marriage™ small group curriculum thing—but the day that Ann was sharing a bad day, I go upstairs.

Ann: I had told him, “I’m having the worst day; it’s been terrible.”

Dave: I pray.

Ann: Yes, he goes upstairs; he prays, and he comes down with a piece of paper.

Dave: And I handed it to her, literally, like: “This is from God.” I hand it to her.

Ann: And I thought he wrote—

Brian: You have the answer: “Here are the tablets—

Dave: “Here it is!”

Brian: —"that come down from Mount Sinai/

Ann: No, I thought—

Dave: Yes, exactly.

Brian: —“from Mount Bedroom.”

Dave: I carried them down. [Laughter]

Ann: I thought he wrote me a love letter—like an encouraging note of: “You’re the best mom,” “You’re a great wife.” I took it, like, “Oh, honey; thank you!”

It’s numbered one to ten; I thought, “Oh, these are ten reasons why I’m a good mom.” [Laughter] So number one says: “Get more organized.” [Laughter]

Brian: So helpful.

Ann: I’m like, “What?!”

Shelby: How sensitive.

Ann: And then, number two said: “Use your time more wisely.”

Dave: That’s enough! You don’t need to know one to ten. [Laughter] Tell them what you did with it.

Ann: I said, “You think this is like a joke?! Is this for real?” He goes, “I prayed about that; that’s from God.” And I said, “That is from Satan”; and I ripped it up, and I threw it in his face.” [Laughter]

Dave: She threw it in my face.

It was what Shaunti just explained. That was the first time that I’d ever heard it, because I said—I was that naïve; I’m embarrassed to admit it; but I was like, “That’s not helpful?”—she’s like, “No; this is what’s helpful…” That’s the first time I’d ever heard what Shaunti said.

Ron: The goal of connecting into those feelings is connecting hearts—connectication, right?—is really what this communication—

Brian: Is that a word?

Dave: —connectication.

Shelby: It’s not a real word.

Ron: It is now; alright? [Laughter]

Ann: It’s because he’s smart. [Laughter]

Brian: I’m going to use that.

Ron: It’s like you didn’t connect;—

Shelby: Don’t let him get out of it.

Ron: —you dis-connected.

Dave: Definitely.

Ron: So literally, she was downstairs; and you were upstairs—there’s a metaphor for you, right?—you were in two totally different places, rather than really—I get it, man/this communication thing: and trying to dig, and “What’s the emotion?” “What is she really saying underneath all these words?” That’s a challenge, but it’s gold.

Dave: Like Ann said: “That’s so practical.”

Brian: It is; Shaunti does a great job with that. She’s a Harvard-trained researcher; we’re bringing in the brain trust, because I have so many weaknesses. We bring somebody else in who can add a lot of value in that moment.

I think the thing that was highlighting though—was huge for me—was when she said, “The first part of fixing a problem is actually understanding the emotion.” We tend to separate those two, versus going: “No, that’s Step One; and then, we talk about how…” But really, Step Two, we don’t want…” And again, these are gender-alities; that’s not true for everyone.

Ann: Right.

Dave: Right.

Brian: But Step Two is:: “Then, invite the guy in to actually help: ‘Okay; now, what could we do?’” Once we understand the emotion, now: “Let’s”—if there’s a desire—“Let’s work on what the problem is.”

Shelby: One of the things that I think for young people, in particular—they can listen to this kind of stuff, and just immediately tune out—because they go: “I’m not married. This doesn’t apply to me. I’m not going to pay attention.”

But as I process this through, an 18- to 28-year-old lens, this stuff is gold. You don’t learn how to be a good husband, or a good wife, when you put the ring on. You can actually start to pre-game, so to speak, and learn all these things: “f you’re listening to these kind of things, as a single person or a young married, you don’t have to have those problems in the future. You can deal with them, right now/start to learn how to listen right now.”

You mentioned emotion was going on here, and there’s something behind what people are saying. You become an all-around better human being when you learn how to communicate well; it doesn’t matter what demographic you’re in.

Dave: Well, let’s listen right now to your podcast, Real Life Loading… You just set it up; we have to listen/let’s listen and let’s hear about your discussion with how this applies to the next generation.

[Previous Real Life Loading… Podcast]

Shelby: Somewhat anxious—always authentic—this is Real Life Loading... I’m your host, Shelby Abbott. Our desire with this podcast is to help guide you toward the life-changing power of Jesus for relationships in a constantly-shifting culture. We’re called Real Life Loading…—dot, dot, dot—and those three dots at the end of our title are super-significant. The dots describe being in process—we haven’t arrived—we’re very much in a state of loading. It’s my job to be a trusted friend, to come alongside you and help you walk with God closely, in the humor and hardship of life.

Today, I get to talk with a relatively new friend of mine, Rechab Gray. Obviously, the culture is pretty antagonistic toward Christians in general: “How do we continue to live for Christ when the culture is so anti-Christ?”

Rechab: Yes, I think the culture is sadly anti-Christ, not only for the same reasons that they were anti-Christ in the time, where Peter was writing to the church. One of the things that we know, historically, is they had just gone through crazy persecution and were smack dab in the middle of it.

There is a passage, I believe it’s in [1 Peter] Chapter 4, where he says: “Let none of you suffer as meddlers, or thieves, or evil-doers; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not at all be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that day.” He makes a distinction: there is a joy that can only come when you are actually being persecuted for the name of Christ.

But we need to be careful and also own the fact that a lot of the reason why the culture is anti-Christ is because Christians have been anti-love. Just to give a simple example/you know, an illustration—what you talked a little bit about: baseball—there’s a difference between batting leadoff; and then, batting last, right? [Laughter] You lead off, second, third—you want someone, who know what they doing; you know what I’m saying?

Shelby: —some strength, yes, yes.

Rechab: You’re ninth; you’re good. [Laughter]

Shelby: Pitcher, yes.

Rechab: Yes; you’re pitcher, right?  [Laughter] It’s like, “Alright; we’ll work with you,”—whatever. Whatever happens kind of happens, right? But for the most part, the ninth is following the suit of all the rest.

I think that the church has been batting ninth when it comes to issues of compassion and justice for far too long, and the culture is calling us out.


Brian: That message, right there, is so good. I’m glad you’re speaking—your audience is to the next generation, and to those who are about 18 to 28—but it’s like: “Man, all of us need that word.” In 1 Peter—you think about it—it’s all about being exiles in Babylon; and more and more, that’s what it’s starting to feel like. Instead of being fearful—I even like how you say, at the beginning of your podcast, “We’re a little anxious,”—but it’s like: “We shouldn’t be fearful,”—yes, we feel that anxiety; but yet—“How do we move into that with faith?”

Ron: And what I heard him talk about was leading with love instead of leading with—

Ann: —judgment?

Ron: —judgment/challenge—calling people out for the group that they may fit into, or the way they identify themselves, and just sort of going socio-political real fast, and attacking that—as if that somehow earns us influence in their lives?—no; that just fuels whatever fire they have back at us. We are losing influence when we take that posture to begin with.

I know listening to that, through the lens of the people that we talk to on the FamilyLife Blended podcast, I think they have felt attacked. A pretty good segment of that population has felt like they don’t really fully belong, sometimes within the Christian community, or that they sort of have to hide that part of their life. They’re afraid of that judgment: “Well, you guys don’t look quite like the way you should look.” So then, that comes with pain and feeling second-class.

What is always needed—whether we’re talking to somebody, who’s sort of marginalized within the Christian community, or somebody who’s completely outside the Christian community—is that we lead with compassion/love—see their heart; look beyond the externals of whatever it is they’re saying or doing with their life. But see somebody, who is made in the image of God, and needs someone to move toward them in love, not in judgment.

Shelby: Yes; the next generation is doing that—you call people out and say that we have been anti-love—the next generation says: “I want to be the solution. I want to be a part of changing the narrative/flipping the script.” When he talks about batting ninth, and the culture is calling us out, they’re like: “Let’s go; let’s do it. I’m ready to bat first.”

Young people—if you ask them to go get pancakes at 1:00 am—they’re going to do it, probably. I love that kind of spirit of: “Yes, we can change the world.” If we’re calling people to change the world, in the context of the gospel, there are so many young people, who get this bad rap that they’re just lazy, and they’re not willing to do stuff; but there are so many young people, who want to help change the world for the glory of Jesus. We just need to give them good tracks to run on.

Dave: One of the things that I heard in just that short clip—it’s probably because of my generation—is I heard a younger person talking about their world and wanting to make an impact for Christ.

I often said, as a pastor for 30 years, I often said, on our stage to the older people in our church, “If we do not understand the next generation, and if we don’t fill this place with 20- and 30-year-olds, this church will die in 20/25 years. It will be known as—wow!—one member, and it’s dead. You know what I often felt from the older generation?—defensiveness.

Ron: Yes.

Dave: Even hearing that clip, a lot of peers my age would say: “We love people; what are you talking about?”—rather than going—“We are batting ninth; this isn’t right.”

Initially, you would think Real Life Loading… is for the next generation—it is—but our generation should be listening to this; because it helps us understand our kids; our legacy; and what God is doing in the world, right now, in a time that we’re going to pass on. That’s what I heard; I was like, “Wow, that’s beautiful.”

Shelby: Yes; the beauty of it, too, is we’re airing as a podcast for young people; but we’re also airing on the weekends on radio, so this is an opportunity for parents and grandparents to be able to listen in and eavesdrop on the conversations that young people are having, and help be part of the solution, which is why I’m so excited about it.

Dave: And now, you get to do what you do best, Shelby: you get to wrap this show and get us ready for tomorrow. [Laughter]

Shelby: Well, we’re going to continue this conversation with Ron, and Brian, and Dave and Ann Wilson.

On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Shelby Abbott. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

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