Best of our Podcast Network Part 2
About the Guest
- Learn More about Shelby Abbott on FamilyLife Blended "Growing Up in a Blender"
- View All the Podcasts FamilyLife Offers
- Listen to the Full Episode of Season 2 of Married With Benefits with Host Brian Goins and Shaunti Feldhahn
- Listen to FamilyLife Blended clip with Terry Moss & his family on how they worked through the adjustments in their adult stepfamily
- Find resources from this podcast at shop.familylife.com.
- Find more content and resources on the FamilyLife's app!
- Help others find FamilyLife. Leave a review on Apple Podcast or Spotify.
- Check out all the FamilyLife podcasts on the FamilyLife Podcast Network
Brian GoinsBrian and his wife Jen love building into families and eating great food together. They have three children who all want to move to Montana. Brian serves as Sr. Director Special Projects at FamilyLife. He is also the executive producer on an adolescent-focused documentary series called Brain, Heart, World (brainheartworld.org) aimed at helping change the conversation about pornography in our country and has written Playing Hurt: A Guy’s Strategy for a Winning Marriage.
Ron DealRon L. Deal is one of the most widely read and viewed experts on blended families in the country. He is Director of FamilyLife Blended® for FamilyLife®, founder of Smart Stepfamilies™, and the author and Consulting Editor of the Smart Stepfamily Series
Shelby AbbottShelby Abbott is an author, campus minister, and conference speaker on staff with the ministry of Cru. His passion for university students has led him to speak at college campuses all over the United States. Abbott is the author of Jacked and I Am a Tool (To Help with Your Dating Life), Pressure Points: A Guide to Navigating Student Stress and DoubtLess: Because Faith is Hard. He and his wife, Rachael, have two daughters and live in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.
Curious about other top players on the FamilyLife podcast network? Grab top-notch samples on how you are talking to your kids … and reading your wife’s mind.
Best of our Podcast Network Part 2
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'm 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.
Brian: One of my favorite characters in literature is Sherlock Holmes. One of the things that I love about him is that he is hyperaware and observant of people, so much so that it surprises the people he's talking to—where he can learn something about somebody just by totally observing them, and then speak into what they felt, what their occupation is—all of that kind of thing. What I think Peter's talking about, with “…live with your wives in an understanding way,” is: “Be Sherlock Holmes.”
Dave: Welcome to FamilyLife Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I’m Dave Wilson.
Ann: And I’m Ann Wilson, and you can find us at FamilyLifeToday.com or on the FamilyLife app.
Dave: This is FamilyLife Today.
Alright, we've got the FamilyLife Podcast Network hosts in the studio today, and they won’t stop talking. [Laughter] I'm trying to start this show, and you guys are just talking.
Shelby: I’m sorry.
Ann: You’d think they would have their own podcast or something?
Dave: Yes, they should have their own podcast. Actually, they do; and some of you don't even know what it is.
Today, you're going to meet these three guys: you're going to hear clips from them; and then, we're going to make comments about their show.
Ann: You're going to love this; because you're going to think, “I need to start listening to these podcasts.”
Dave: Yes, we should do a little “Name That Podcast and the Host”: so we got Married With Benefits™ is who?
Dave: Brian Goins.
We've got Real Life Loading…™
Dave and Ann: Shelby Abbott.
Dave: And Ron Deal:—
Dave and Ron: —FamilyLife Blended®.
Brian: We found out yesterday what those three dots were for Real Life Loading… I didn't know that.
Dave: We're going to find out today even a lot more about him.
Brian: That’s good.
Dave: Although, we're going to wait on Shelby. We're going to start with you, Brian—
Dave: —you know—Married With Benefits.
Brian: Yes, get me out of the way: [Laughter] “Let's get it out of the way.”
Shelby: We saved the best for the first.
Brian: Yes, that's right.
Dave: And I don't even know this: “How long has Married With Benefits been a podcast?”
Brian: We have two seasons, and we do more seasonal than we do like a weekly or regular. We pick more subject matter; so it's like, when we find something interesting, then we want to talk about it. It's myself—Shaunti Feldhahn is the other one, who has been on the podcast—she helps cohost on the first two seasons. We did “Questions Every Wife Is Asking”; and then, all the guys felt like they were left out; so we did “Questions Every Husband Is Asking.” Those are the first two seasons. This next season—it’s about to come out—is: “Questions Every Couple Is Asking About Sex.”
Dave: Oh, boy.
Dave: You're going there.
Brian: We're going there. We've got some great material and some—what I love about it—it is really science matching up with Scripture. Everything that God has revealed, it all gets backed up by the social sciences—that's why we have Shaunti—and also, we're having Dr. Michael Sytsma, whom you've had on the show before as well.
Ann: It's going to be good.
Brian: It’s going to be good; we're excited about it.
Ann: We're going to listen to a clip from Season Two of Married With Benefits; and it's: “Questions Every Husband Is Asking.”
[Previous Married with Benefits Podcast]
Brian: From the podcast network at FamilyLife, this is Brian Goins, host of Married with Benefits, where we're committed to helping you love the one you're with and discover all the benefits that came with saying, “I do.”
This entire season, I've been joined by Harvard-trained researcher and best-selling author, Shaunti Feldhahn, as we've been answering questions every husband is asking; but they've just never gotten a straight answer for.
Shaunti, it has been fun to sit down with you again.
Shaunti: Yes; I have loved being able to dig into some of these questions, man.
Brian: We've had a verse that's kind of guided us this whole season, which is from
1 Peter 3:7: “…live with our wives in an understanding way.” One translation—I think it’s the New American Standard Version—that says: “…for she is a woman.” [Laughter] She's not a man: she doesn't think like us; she doesn't feel like us.
We've been learning—it seems like every time we've gotten together—I feel like I've learned something new about my wife. I've been married for over 20 years; and yet, I'm going, “Oh, yes; she processes different, feels different; and I need to be a student of her.” I think this question especially really gets to the heart of this verse.
Bruce: Hi, I'm Bruce. I've been married for seven years; and my question is: “Why does my wife expect me to read her mind?”
Shaunti: I can see why a guy would be a little confused by that.
Brian: Shaunti, where have you found this to be an expectation? Do you feel like wives have this same expectation, like, “Yes, my husband should read my mind”?
Shaunti: Well, to some degree, this is really unfair; but yes, I think most women, obviously, are completely aware that this is not something we should expect. Under the surface though, there is an understandable feeling that he should notice—at least if there's something wrong—and press into it. He should be able to notice that:
When [he asks], “Are you okay?”—“Yes, fine.”
That should be a signal, to any thinking person, that the answer isn't: “Okay, great! I'll go turn on the game then.”
Shaunti: But there is a signal that is being given that: “If you care about me enough, you will press in to try to figure out what's wrong.”
Brian: Yes. One of my favorite characters in literature is Sherlock Holmes. One of the things that I love about him is that he is hyperaware and observant of people, so much so that it surprises the people he's talking to—where he can learn something about somebody just by totally observing them, and then speak into what they felt, what their occupation is—all of that kind of thing. What I think Peter's talking about with this verse: “…live with your wives in an understanding way…” is: “Be Sherlock Holmes.”
Shelby: I was ready for more.
Dave: Yes; I mean, you can listen to Married with Benefits and get the whole show.
I’ve just got to say, as a husband, when I hear Shaunti say that, I'm sort of upset. I'm like: “If I ask you if you're okay, and you say, I'm fine’; then, I literally am: “Good.” I'm like, “Good; I will turn on the game,”—because I asked you; you didn't say anything different. Are we really supposed to probe?
Ann: Yes! [Laughter] Yes; the answer is “Yes.”
Brian: I was going to say: “Dave, how's that worked out for you?”
Dave: Ask my wife: “How's that worked out?”
Ann: Every woman is saying: “Yes, observe me. You should know—after all these years—haven't I given off all these clues over the years?”
Yes, we don't want to make a big deal; and so, sometimes, our “I'm fine,” is we want to be fine; but we're not. We want you to observe us enough; because other women—we do observe each other—and they do know when something’s wrong.
Dave: Notice she's only talking to me right now. [Laughter]
Ron: I know.
Brian: It's been great having this conversation and watching you guys. [Laughter] I wish you could see Dave right now.
Ron: It's a little therapy session going on.
Dave: It’s like, “Sorry I brought that up”; okay!
Ron: Hey, let's decode the code.
Shelby: Uh, oh, here we go.
Ron: Because Ann—check me out on this—alright?
Ann: I like this; okay.
Ron: I think the real question is: “Do you care about me?”—
Ron: —and “Will you pursue me? Because if you hear what I'm trying to lay down; then, you're going to pick it up, and you're going to move toward me, and say, ‘That feels like there's something else here. What's going on? What are you feeling?’” It's the pursuit of you that feels like care and love.
Ron: So that's at the heart of it; like that's what it's about.
And I want to add here—as a guy, speaking as a man—“Part of my struggle”—Dave, I can identify with you a little bit—
Dave: Glad somebody here can. [Laughter]
Ron: —"that feels a little deceptive, almost, to me.”
Dave: Yes, yes.
Ron: It almost feels like: “Well, of course, I care for you. Of course, I love you. I've expressed that in lots of ways; why is that in question again?”—like, you know that's a little baffling for me.
But I finally just resolved, within myself one day, as a husband, that while that—it doesn't make sense to me—that's not the point for her. Like it doesn't matter what I think; what matters in that moment is what matters to her.
Brian: Well, I think 1 Peter doesn't say: “Help your wives understand you.” [Laughter]
Ann: That’s good.
Brian: It says, “…live with your wives in an understanding way.”
One of the best things that came out of that podcast was something that our Executive Producer, Jim Mitchell—he was also on that podcast—and he talked about the difference between being curious and asking questions.
Because I think for me, as a husband, I can hear that episode, and go, “I'm just going to ask my wife, ‘Well how does that make you feel?’” Or—and I kind of get into rote of just asking my three or four questions—versus: “Am I seriously curious about how she's doing?” and “What's going on in her mind?” and “What's going on in her heart?” I think that distinction was hugely helpful, to go: “Am I a curious person? Am I a curious spouse?”
Dave: Yes—and if I've learned anything—the agony, but the beauty, is: it never ends. It isn't: “Pursue her on Day One”; she wants to be pursued every single day, for now—for us— 42 years.
Dave: Am I right?
Ann: Yes. [Laughter]
Dave: Yes, and that's beautiful.
Ann: We all do.
Dave: I mean, it's work; but it's actually awesome if we love her. That's why he asked that question: “Do you want us to read your mind?” “Yes, pursue me,”—“Purse me,” “Pursue me,”—“Keep pursuing me.”
Ann: And it’s the beauty of God, pursuing us continually.
Shelby: And you mentioned that’s impossible—or somebody mentioned it was impossible—kind of when you think about the Christian life, it is impossible: that's why we need God; we need the Holy Spirit. I thought about this from Psalm 51,
verse 16: “For You will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; You will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”
So what does that say?—God doesn't want empty religion; and wives don't want empty religion either. They don't want the three or four questions—they want the contrite heart—a heart that's humble/that approaches, not with routine uniform things to check off boxes; they want the real connection. When the real connection happens, then the duties kind of fall into place afterward as a result of the already existing connection, which reminds me of the gospel.
The gospel is not about doing stuff in order to get a relationship with God. It's about an already existing relationship with God that transforms your heart; and therefore, you do the things as a result of what you already have.
Dave: Shelby, you've got the mic, and you just laid down some deep wisdom. Let's talk about Real Life Loading… You know, it's a podcast for the next generation.
Shelby: Yes, we intentionally called it Real Life Loading... —dot, dot, dot—so like when you plug in your phone to your car, or you're seeing something load on your iPad® or computer, you often see those three dots moving in sequence. It implies that something's about to happen, but we haven't really gotten there yet. The dots are intentional in our title, because it implies that we have not arrived; we are very much in a state of loading.
As we thought about how we could be intentional—to keep the attention of an 18- to 28-year-old audience—we've divided up each show into different segments/different parts. One of those we wanted to play a clip from right now; it's called “Three dots…three thoughts.”
[Previous Real Life Loading… Podcast]
Shelby: And now, it's time for “Three dots…three thoughts” on Real Life Loading… This is where I share three simple ideas that could potentially change your life—they probably won't—but they could.
Thought 1: “Never brush your teeth in the shower.” I have a friend, who does this. I stayed over at his house one night; got up the next morning; used the shower. And I saw his toothbrush sitting there, right next to his shampoo, and body wash, and razor, and shaving cream. I was like, “Eww, you should never place the utensils you use to clean the outside of your body in close proximity to the utensil you use to clean the inside of your mouth, especially in the context of like a humid and mold-friendly environment, like a shower.”
I was like, “Bro, why do you brush your teeth in the shower?” And here is his answer; ready? “It saves time.” It saves time?—I don't know; maybe I'm crazy on this one—do you all do this? If so, hit me up and give me a better reason than: “It saves time.”
Thought 2: “If you like sneakers, as much as I do, one of the best investments you can make to keep your shoes looking crispy is a shoe-cleaning kit,”—obviously; right? You could find them anywhere online. And they usually include like a specific kind of soap, along with a few different kinds of brushes to use, depending on the material your shoes are made from. Spend the $15 on a shoe-cleaning kit, and you'll extend the life of your Jordan® 1’s.
Thought 3: “Read a chapter in Proverbs every day.” I've been doing this for several years now. It's one of the best ways to absorb truth and grow in wisdom from God's Word. In the Bible, the book of Proverbs has 31 chapters; so basically, whatever day of the month it is, I just read that chapter in Proverbs. If it's like January 17, I read Proverbs 17; and in general, I can read the entire book every single month. And now, you can too.
This has been “Three dots…three thoughts” on Real Life Loading…
Shelby: Alright, so we're putting segments like this into the show. Some people might go: “Why? That's pointless.”
Ann: —and it's right in the middle?
Shelby: It's right in the middle of each show. And it won't be always “Three dots…three thoughts.” It'll be sometimes other different stories or anecdotes, or things like that, that connect to the gospel.
In general—not only do you need to change things up to keep the attention of a younger audience—but I did stand-up comedy for four years, so I get to flex those creative muscles in putting together different ideas for “Three dots…three thoughts.” I wanted to do something that would be attractive to a younger audience—that they might, maybe, not resonate with what we're talking about, or might be a little bit too deep for them in the context of the show—but they want to hang around for something like that.
I've always said that humor has the ability to be able to break down walls in people's lives. And what better thing to do, as ministers of the gospel, than to break down walls, utilizing humor; and then, move in with the strength of the gospel, which is what the rest of the show does.
Ann: Shelby, I'm curious, as parents, is there a certain way that would be more beneficial in how we talk to our kids? You know what I mean? You were talking earlier about how the attention span, like kids are just scrolling all the time. As parents, I'm guessing that these long lectures probably are like really boring; and they don't listen.
Shelby: I think that in general, if we're—you know that the show is called Real Life Loading…—somewhat anxious—always authentic. The anxiety part that we communicate is like: “Hey, we're always in a process of not getting things absolutely correct, and we always want to be real about that.”
I'd say, as parents, talking to their kids about stuff: you need be honest with them and say that you don't know everything—even though we kind of pretend that we do all the time [Laughter]—we don't know everything. We want to be intentional about communicating the good, the bad, the funny, the sad—all of those things in our lives.
I think that, when we're authentic—when we highlight something with our kids and say, “Hey, this is important, don't kind of check out right now,”—I think, if we have the backstory and the clout with our kids, that they go: “I know Mom and Dad are not trying to just get me to do something. They've been honest about things,”—and that we've built that framework—then, when we say, “Hey, this is something to pay attention to…” that they'll probably be more prone to listen in those moments.
Dave: Now, I will ask this real quick: “Are you trying to reach, not just a Christian audience, unchurched audience?” Because that would reach an unchurched audience—the way you did that: those three dots—I think a non-church-going kid would go: “That's funny,” “It's entertaining.” And then, you slip in Proverbs; and if I like you, I might go, “Hey, I'm going to check that out. I've never heard of a book called Proverbs.” That's what I was thinking.
Shelby: The audience is primarily a Christian audience, for sure—there's no question about that—but if people can get in the door by appreciating those kinds of things. I mean, I traveled for—of those four years—for two of those years in front of non-Christian audiences, doing comedy and trying to help people understand truth in the context of comedy for a primarily non-Christian audience.
But I would welcome anybody, saying, “Hey, you should listen to this; because, if anything, it might be funny and/or interesting.” I would love it if Christians, who are listening to Real Life Loading…, would actually share it with their non-Christian friends. That would be a tremendous blessing.
Dave: Yes, I definitely would. That's good, especially, for the toothbrush advice.
Alright, Ron Deal, we got FamilyLife Blended. We're going to hear a clip from one of your shows; and then, we get to talk about it.
Ron: That's right. Let me set this up for you. One of the bold things I like to do, every now and then, is get more than one person on the podcast from the same family. While we're talking to parents and stepparents primarily, I also want to talk to kids sometimes. In this particular interview, I interviewed a husband and wife/blended family couple, married later in life, with adult children. Then we invited one of Terry Moss's kids to be on the program with us; and Carol, his wife/one of her children to be on the program.
Ann: So step-siblings.
Ron: That's right. We have step-siblings, Brandon and Nina, on the program. We were talking about: “What's it like to combine a family, when everybody's an adult? Everybody knows what's going on; everybody's got choices, and decisions in their own lives, and careers, and things that are happening, while Mom is marrying this guy; Dad's marrying this woman. What's that like for you?”
There was a moment in the interview, where Nina is talking to her stepfather, Terry. He's listening; he's a part of the conversation. And she wanted to share some things with him about the influence he's had in her life. That's what we're listening to.
[Previous FamilyLife Blended Podcast]
Nina: That was always one thing I appreciated was my mom allowed my dad to, not more so, discipline me—but discipline me in his own separate ways—which I preferred over hers [Laughter]—throw that out there—over my mom’s.
Ron: Just to be clear to the listener: that you're talking about Dad/Stepdad—right?—Terry.
Nina: Yes, yes.
Ron: So you actually preferred his management style, as a parent, over Mom’s?
Nina: Yes, because it was exactly how you said; it was very managing. You're coming in the office/you're being called to the office—you're going to have a set time; we're going to sit and talk as to what you did; why you decided to do it; why you're never going to do it again—[Laughter]—we're going to sign a contract, and your name is on this sheet of paper. [Laughter]
Terry: I only remember doing that once.
Brandon: Yes, it's setting the expectations.
Nina: Those disciplinary conversations would turn into then hour/into two-hour conversations. And more so, I felt like, as an adult now, I look back at it as: “Oh, my goodness, Nina, you should have been way better.” [Laughter] But him really getting to know who I was, and who I was becoming.
Because again, he raised two young men; so he's coming into a relationship, or a marriage now, where he has a daughter—which, of course, feelings and emotions are having to be managed a lot different other than—[Laughter]—I always appreciate the way that I was disciplined. I was always talked to and coached to do better.
Ron: That's really neat. Now, again, you were 16, 17,18—those early years, when that was beginning to take place—what about now, as a grown woman, Nina: “What do you need from Terry?”
Nina: I need my parents to not be on Zoom® calls every time I try to call them. [Laughter] Still the same way—like I'll FaceTime® my mom—I'm like, “Mom, answer the phone.” [Laughter] She’s like, “I'm curling my hair. Me and Dad have a Zoom meeting in two minutes.” I'm just like, “Why do all these other people get all of your time and attention?” [Laughter] Meanwhile, I'm just asking for a cookie recipe.
Ron: Like I said: you're still a kid to your parents, no matter what age.
Nina: Yes, absolutely; absolutely.
Ron: Okay, Dave/Ann, I’ve just got to follow that clip by pointing out: “Look, stepparents often get a bad rap.” And I'm sitting right here with Shelby, who has a wonderful stepparent in his life. And Nina was saying to that man: “Thank you for coming into my world, and offering some guidance, and for loving me.” I just think we need to celebrate foster parents, adoptive parents, stepparents who do the hard work—come into a place, where they're not sure if they're going to be received or accepted; and they don't know what the rules are—and they find their way/find their footing and bring love to a child. It's a great thing.
Brian: Yes; that's one of the reasons why I love listening to FamilyLife Blended is that you give those pictures of gospel hope that, regardless of the past, we know that God can work all things together for His good and for His glory. And so to be able to see that—that stepdad or that stepmom has come into a situation and brought a vision of what the gospel looks like—that maybe, the child wouldn't have gotten.
Brian: Again, we're not endorsing divorce; but at the same time, if God is truly a redemptive God, He knows that that child needed a picture of the gospel; and it sounds like that's exactly what she received.
When I think about even the audience that we serve with Married with Benefits, one of the reasons why a lot of couples don't receive the benefits in marriage is because they're stressed out from parenting. That's one of the biggest obstacles to oneness that a couple will experience. To be able to get practical, great theological wisdom, I think, is hugely helpful, Ron, [in your arena]. Thanks for doing what you do.
Dave: And it's encouraging just to hear laughter in a blended home. So often, you think it's just hard work; it doesn't really come together to that extent, where they are really enjoying one another; and they're glad to be together. That was just/that was a message: just the joy and the laughter in that podcast.
Shelby: And to know that it sticks, too; because she's talking about this several years later.
I remember my dad/my stepdad dropping me off every day my sophomore year of high school, in front of the school. When we get out of the car, and slam the door, he would honk the horn every single time, and scream out the window, “I love you!” [Laughter] I hated it every single time; I hated it.
Ron: —embarrassed the fire out of you. [Laughter]
Shelby: But looking back on that, as a grown man, now, I love it—I loved it; I loved that he did that—because he wanted to tease me; and he wanted to like love on me in the way that he does; and nobody else did it like him. And so it’s stuck, you know?
Brian: Are you doing that with your kids?
Shelby: No, no. [Laughter] I would never do something like that.
Ann: I’m going to start doing that with my grandkids.
But Ron, I think the thing I've really appreciated, over the years, listening, is the authentic stories that you have on your show. I love that the hope is in Jesus. I love that you say, like, “It's messy. It can be complicated; it can be hard, but there's always hope.” I think that draws all of us in.
Dave: And Shelby, I think you’ve got to land the plane, baby.
Shelby: Yes; well, we're going to continue this conversation, again, tomorrow with Ron, Brian, myself, and the Wilsons. We hope that you'll join us.
On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Shelby Abbott. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife®, a Cru® Ministry.
Helping you pursue the relationships—
Shelby and Dave: —that matter most. [Laughter]
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