I listen to lots of podcasts. I’ve noticed that many of them lately have focused on marriage and family. I thought I’d pass along some of the links to the ones I’ve most enjoyed.
Andy Stanley’s “Imarriage” series (Nov.-Dec.): http://feeds.feedburner.com/npm
Craig Groeschel’s “Once Upon a Marriage” (started Feb. 8th): http://feeds.lifechurch.tv/LifechurchtvMessageSeriesaudio
Wayne and Sara Jacobsen’s “Living Loved in Marriage”: http://www.lifestream.org/audio-library.php#llim
John and Stasi Eldredge’s “Love and War”: http://www.ransomedheart.com/more_podcast.aspx
I’ve only found one definitive resource for marriage that I constantly refer back to. It’s Jeff VanVonderen’s book, Families Where Grace Is in Place. Some people like Jeff and others don’t due to his role on the A&E show Intervention and his own personal struggles with addiction. That aside, the Christian perspective on marriage and parenting he puts forward in this book is the best I’ve read. In fact, he deals with issues at the heart of marriage that more “formulaic” marriage books (if you do this, your spouse will do this/five steps to a better marriage, etc.) never touch. I’ve read The Love Dare, Love and Respect, and the marriage books that involve waffles, spaghetti, Mars, and Venus. This one is better.
When Beth and I were first married, we really struggled. Really struggled. We both grew up in great homes with both parents present. Both sets of parents modeled a loving marriage well for us. We did all the premarital counselling. We read Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages. We did personality tests. But we had serious trouble learning how to live together without killing each other. As someone on staff at a church where we encouraged people to be honest about their struggles, we hid ours. After all, ministers don’t struggle with anything, right? I was listening to a speaker one day who suggested this book. I bought it the same day and read it cover to cover twice in a week. It didn’t magically “fix” our marriage, but it made us confront our expectations for each other and gave us a different perspective about marriage. And it exposed me for the controlling/suffocating spouse I was. Since then I have bought about 20 copies to give away and have read it eight times over the last decade. Every time I feel myself slipping away from the grace-oriented perspective that is the mainstay of our marriage, I read it again. When I find myself manipulating the behaviors of my children and controlling them for the sake of appearances, I read it again.
In fact, I just finished it.