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March 15, 2021 2:00 am
How can a parent respond when their child is married to a toxic person? Join hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, on FamilyLife Today as they talk with author and counselor Doyle Roth about his new book, "Toxic Sons- and Daughters-In-Law." Learn ways to wade through the difficulties that come with those hard relationships.
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Doyle Roth says he's a firm believer in premarital counseling but I think a lot of the premarital counseling focuses on the company and that's good news, but they need to talk about what happens in relation to your mother and father-in-law. What does that love look like what does that respect look like this is family life today hosts are David and Wilson and Bob Lapine can find us firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Bible says that a man should leave his father and mother clean to his wife to become one flesh. That's what marriage is.
That doesn't mean that our extended families don't play a role in the success of our union talk more about that today. Stay with us and welcome to family life to the thanks for joining us was a couple months ago we aired on family life to a series that the three of us did, where we had been talking to people about dealing with adult children. For those of us who are old enough to have adult children. There can be some challenges to come in those relationships and more and more as were talking with moms and dads all around the country were hearing about sharp divisions that are taking place in families between parents and their adult kids and we didn't really get into the fine points that were to talk about today but one of the areas where this can get challenging as with sons and daughters in law's those new grafted in members of the family.
Sometimes I graft is not as easy as you thought was and it's one of those topics. Nobody wants to talk about his very own, but it's not an easy one to talk about I lead a Bible study with the Detroit Lions wives for 33 seasons and when this topic came up. I purchased talking and suddenly the topic of in last came up it was like a volcano when off in the room.
People were expressing loud and angry and I would have to slow things down because there is so much emotion and you were talking to the daughters in law you are talking so you're talking about there in law parents here were talking to the moms and dads about looking back the other direction and looking at the new grafted in, sons or daughters and going.
Wow. That's because were all did the parents were perfect. All the listener is going to say.
Finally, we are addressing we found a brave man who would help navigate this Doyle Roth is back with us on family life to Doyle. Welcome back. Thank you so much for having become great to see you all, Bob, David and nice to see you all.
Doyle has been with us before Doyle wrote a book called hoops I forgot my wife print title for a list of the life it's about husbands who don't know what it means to love their wives and every day and follow that up with several of the children about parenting and did you think about hoops we got a son-in-law try to bring it into that at the subject was too hot as a separate sent written a book called toxic sons and daughters in law, untangling difficult relationships and there's a fence post with barbed wire, all tangled around the front cover which is what it can feel like for some of these parents for absolutely this is a very very interesting in a very difficult problem. What I wanted to highlight in the book is that this is about good parents. It's not just about toxic sons and daughters in law's I'm dealing with good parents. Parents that have been raised really under the teaching of family life. They love Jesus there trying to bring godly parenting into their families there raising kids in a God honoring way. But when these kids grow up a lot of things begin to change for this lovely Christ honoring family.
And when you bring an outsider, which I call the son or daughter in law that comes into the family when an outsider comes into the family it can create a lot of turbulence in the family infected can be very very divisive and I can be sort of disconcerting because as you mention, I think there is sort of a belief by a lot of us if we do the right things.
If we honor God. If we follow Jesus and we raise our kids. That way you know there's sort of this building belief it already pre-there will be barbed wire in our future. It'll go pretty well, and yet great families as you said sometimes end up with toxic family breakdowns right. That's exactly right.
It's unexpected. These things show up in the times when it just surprising to you, your son or your daughter leaves home goes off to school.
Or maybe in high school meet somebody and before you know it there in a in-depth relationship and all of a sudden the writing is on the wall what you mean by toxic toxic is the kind of person that is uncompromising self-willed self defensive self-righteous higher lot of self in this very self focused him to the point of extreme.
They can be also addictive people addicted to alcohol addicted to pornography.
A lot of people fall under that toxic class and it comes in through those various means that this all of a sudden finds itself in a good wholesome family and there's a continuum here of toxicity. I mean, there's everything from it's an unpleasant relationship all the way to, it's a dangerous relationship when you use the word toxic you're talking about both ends of that continuum right yes correct and we should start off by making clear for your children's sake that you're not writing this because your four kids wound up marrying toxic spouses.
No, thank you for putting me when this is all over. In fact, if it was any part of this book that related to your own family you at the very beginning say, your wife's parents had to deal with a toxic son-in-law when your wife got married. Do you exactly right Bob, we started our marriage very young but I brought into our marriage. A lot of these self oriented issues. I remember fighting my mother and father-in-law who were great people. I have come to love them and respect them. They were very patient with me as a very immature young man I was married at 19.
The things that they did to try to help us. I resisted the way they wanted to handle and be with our grandchildren. I didn't want them to do that and actually created a lot of turbulence in the family because of that, but God in his grace really help me to grow and mature and be taught through the Scriptures of what it really means to be a loving husband and also to honor not just my mom and dad but honor mom and dad in-laws is part of this as well and I had to I had to learn that biblically that that was important to Jill her neck as I am like Bob and I stare in your book. I did not expect chapter 1 to be that you like out here we go. And then you're like I know about toxic son-in-law is because I is one I was one right, but something changed. I mean, how did you mature onto the main thing is that I appreciate what God has in his word and one of the problems that I find in my own heart in the lives of people that I counsel with is a lack of a application of biblical truths to their lives.
They can read the Scriptures memorize the Scriptures, but application is not always on their radar and for me as a young Christian guy felt like that was the thing that I was learning I was learning to take, actually husbands, love your wives honor your parents. I was taking those things much more seriously and my Christian character. Thank God was growing what would you imagine.
Maybe you've talked about this with them. Your in-laws are are now in glory. But in the first years of Nancy's marriage to you.
What kinds of private conversations.
Do you think they were having about Doyle and the choice Nancy made to marry, you will I know for a fact that they were saying. Why did my daughter marry this city is a gymnast and is all he did was to stand on his head. They really did not embrace our spiritual convictions. We were religious, not spiritual, I should say and they were in a church, but they didn't appreciate some of the regulations that I brought into the family of those that you are a legalist. Oh yes. So what did that dynamic look like in your relationship with them like what were you saying you need to believe this and trying to tell them. Oh yes, when I spoke of my first grandchild as being the center of a bout hit the fence so it didn't go over very good Bob little yes right will let me pull it back because this doesn't start after our kids get married this whole issue starts to emerge. When we see our son or daughter starting to develop an interest in a young man or young woman and we start to go. Who is this young man or this young woman and sometimes his parents were little concerned about where our children's affections are being drawn, so did take us back to the headwaters of this when your kids are in high school or in college and you start to see them pairing off with somebody and you start to have concerns.
What's the right approach to take is apparent in that situation.
Well, you've entered into some pretty dangerous water because when your kids are of the age to start dating or their off at college there in an age were your opinion is not quite as strong as it was when they were in elementary school and so there's a lot of resistance, and especially if you're trying to describe the one that they care about in unfavorable or negative terms. They start to bristle real badly about that and you'll find that the relationship that you have with your son or daughter begins to diminish because they care for this person and the more that you talk about that the more distance will come between you and your future daughter and son-in-law and the thing gets more and more complicated. The closer they get to the marital ceremony and then afterwords is where the real break begins when that son-in-law are that daughter law says we are not going to get together at family meetings or were not going to share the grandchildren or were going to this or that and it makes things just very, very difficult, but I Bob and Dave and and I'm a real believer in premarital counseling, but I think a lot of the premarital counseling focuses on the couple and that's good news right we should do that. But this is an additional piece that I think is really significant they need to talk about what happens in relation to your mother and father law. What does that love look like what does that respect look like those things come out in the premarital contacts out here. If your parents you know you're just talking about that in your watching your daughter son start to date somebody that shows real signs of being toxic.
You know, maybe addictions or uncontrolled anger control. You see, this is a as a mom and dad are 20 do you just said man. If you step into it can really cause so you can't just step out of it.
So there's that tension writing what would you counsel appeared to do well. I have a section of my book on the preventative resources that are available to people because dad and mom don't always communicate effectively with their son or daughter right at this age about things like this and almost can't. As of who they are versus having a young person and adolescent, whether they're in their late teens early 20s, they are wanting to demonstrate to themselves and others on my own person and so for mom and dad to come and say here's what we think it's almost like well then I have to think differently to be my own person and this is where I thought this was a great insight in your book, you're saying mom and dad need to lean into a broader community. And guess right get some mentor helped know that's the protective resources the preventative or protective resources. A good mentor a youth leader someone from crew someone from this or that a pastor counselor. These are people that need to come into this relationship and they help describe and define what the relationship really looks like in a way that's more receivable by the kids and so I think that's a very important piece of where this thing goes.
Because if the parents are out front. I've had parents say things to their kids premarital.
He that those kids have never forgotten into the marriage and they hold those things against mom and dad and that's the distance that we as Christian parents don't want. Now that I'm older and I've and a lot of my friends kids are now getting married or even in high school and you're dating someone the mom will describe this horrible relationship that their son or daughter thing and there expressing out to their son or daughter like you. Cindy dating and I said be very very careful with what you're saying because they could end up nearing that person's right and you have no idea what the future brings.
So I would pray before you have those conversations because they are not always received readily and they can be real kid can really push back.
And you're right. I've seen sometimes if those words are spoken, they are never forgotten.
Parent comes back and I sent it said that, but it's still hard. Even Christian families and Christian people that are suffering like were talking when something is said they can say I forgive you. Or they can say. I confess that I did wrong, but those things burn in the brain, and they're still there. I had one family.
He called a girlfriend, a slot and that girl never ever forgot that. How could she shoot that they'll burn on young woman's soul, and so there can be forgiveness but that wound there's gonna be a scar patch there for long. Exactly right. And in some ways he comes in here obviously is the dad.
You know thinking again is apparent how you not say the wrong thing I can said you can be so careful maybe you shouldn't say anything and I think at the end of the day, you sort have to trust that there's a God that can speak into and I'm there I think of my own experience growing up I was dating a girl I had no reason to marry. Guess he told me that my mom single mom who I love and I know she's praying about this, but she said to me several times.
I don't think since he said it really gentle so there was never this. I remember her chopping her. It was very gentle. I don't think she's the one I just it was just like he said Bob before Zico gave you say that, then she is the one right that was sort in my heart high school now in college junior year in college a year from now probably to get married and I know she was praying because I wasn't listening to her that God would somehow show me right as I look back now and sit there literally gone. Oh my goodness.
I remember I was going to see her at her college I was different school and I bump into her sister, younger sister and she says to me hey I just need to tell you some helmets that my sisters not who you think she is right we don't have far blew it off right. I was at a New Year's Eve party and I shooting the dog by this at some frat house.
Don't know anybody this stranger dude walks up to me at the party close to midnight. My girlfriend are just gone to the bathroom so she's not thin beside me goes dude I respect you. I believe your good guy you should not marry that girl. She's not who you think you are. She has I literally yelled at him posting right get away from me, you have no idea.
You talk about Michael, my goodness, I'm looking back now, God's given me sign after sign until the day I walk in and surprise her at a dorm room and catcher with another guy. And that's when I went rail my goodness in them. Like my mom tried to tell me three years before I have sit beside the most incredible woman ever and I've said this as a preacher many times if I would've made the choice to marry her and I don't know this hundred percent but I would bet 98% were divorced right is who she was, was not the woman of character. I thought she was. And I'm not even hearing my entire legacy.
Every job ever.
Everything would been changed by that one decision exactly and my mom told me that I would listen that kind of depressing. His parents, and we have no power and have no say so what should lead to outside. I can tell you that I'm a hardhead, stubborn heart and if my dad or my mom would've said don't married Nancy.
It would've pushed us closer together.
It would've worked on. If Nancy's parents would've said, don't marry that flathead guy that would not have worked.
It would've forced us closer together. I think we have to be realistic and understand the limits of what we can do is parents with adult kids, we had the opportunity to interview RC Sproul, the famous author and theologian who is now going to heaven and we found out before we did the interview that his son RC Junior had been engaged to an unbeliever. At one point prior to his getting married RC Junior eventually married, broke off the engagement married somebody else, but we ask RC about that. We said what was it like for you and your wife Vesta when your son is now engaged to be married to somebody who is not a believer. What did you do and he said well he said Vesta wore out the rug in the bedroom with her knees. She was praying passionately and he said, and I knew well enough that I better not say too much, but I needed to say something so we set I went to my son and I said son remember who you are and he didn't mean you're a scroll really meant your your believer, your you're a child of God remember who you are and we we have the opportunity to talk to his son and Savior. Remember the conversation in an RC Junior said yeah he said I that stuck with me and he said I know he was being cautious not to say too much because just like we would confess dear.
If you do said too much RC Junior would've bowed his back a little bit. I can relate to this. One of our sons was dating a girl and even I do married Steph so we see all these red flags. She was a great girl but there are just some things that we thought we can just foresee the future of what could happen in this and so I did the same thing I was praying I went fast when people talk about this and I can be fasted about this for your child as I was fasting in the sun because he's on his way to see this girl in college and he said just a few) only's finding of character steps going on and then he said the magic words, what do you think say something I'm super cautious insight say that little prima had Lord help me to know how to say this in a way that it can be received and so I asked a few questions I said do you feel like this fighting is something I keep hearing that honeymoon stage is just dating.
If that's the fun part is been going on for a while that you're continually fighting. I think asking those questions is a good thing to let them come up with the answer is always doing anything you think it would get better when you get married when you think it could get worse with the screen that you have with kids and jotting us, it would probably be harder so I think those are some things to think about this as it somebody that's been married, I'm telling you that the stress and strain of life just pushes on your marriage and relationship itself.
I think those are things that just think about and pray about and that you've got a great head on your shoulders.
And I know you're praying. So I'm sure that you make the right decision. think she wasn't a great girl that I'm saying it probably would've been hard. We got to speak to this because there are some folks are listing on this and we had those conversations and they got married. Our daughter married an unbeliever more said he was a believer or toxic their believers and now they've got problems.
Sometimes parents can be really careful and and all you speak to this in the book. I've seen parents who now it almost becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and they find themselves, and this is what I thought was going to happen and it's almost justification or validation instead of parents at that point pivoting and saying no, I've got a be here to help this marriage endure there almost like I need this marriage to fail so that I'm vindicating you right and so if parents are in a situation where a son or daughter has married somebody and it's not been what you wanted and they knew it wasn't what you wanted. How can the mom and dad start to do some repair work and try to build it as healthy as possible going forward will I think you gotta stay below the radar. I think you gotta be able to encourage them love them come alongside of them.
But I think you better be careful correcting them. I think you step too far into the weeds.
If you're talking about their marriage if they invite you to do something like that. That's one thing if they are not inviting you to help them with their marriage.
I would stay away from that. In fact, I would be careful, careful about doing that I careful I would again recommend that they find somebody to talk to because your prejudice the mom and dad are prejudice and they've got their kid involved here and our kids are really at risk in these things, and my goal is to try to encourage parents to see their child as the ultimate win. Keep the relationship with your child. Keep that functioning. Talk with them about the blessings of what's going on in their lives try to connect with your child continually because that's really what this is about to the toxic person wants to break that relationship they want to pull you away from that. That's why a lot of isolation goes on, they try to isolate your son or daughter from the parents. They try to win that argument, and I don't think it's healthy to be a part of that argument.
I think it's better to be an example of what God wants us to be in love and affection for them and stay strong, and I have a saying in my book and I see it over and over and over again smile, keep your mouth shut and pray. Yeah, that's the basic thing is that what your in-laws did you and that's why I dedicated the book to them. They walked a very, very difficult line and they smiled. They kept their mouth shut and they prayed and I might add. The fix roast a lot on Sunday morning had his heart and there's some hope there, because your in-laws had a son in law that they were concerned about. And over time, God did the work and that's what our listeners need to hear wherever you are in this continuum, whether on the front end and your son or daughter is headlong into a relationship that you're concerned about or other they've already gotten married and now you're starting to see the red flags. God is still God and he's in the business of transforming bringing beauty from ashes, making all things new and I can do that with relationships and with marriage, and I would say where on the rug. You were out there that's right and made her a copy of Doyle's book and read through this together. Pray through this book is is what I'd say were making Doyle's book available this week to those of you who are regular family like today listeners who want to help extend the reach of this ministry through donation when you help us reach more people more often through your donations. We want to help you by providing resources like Doyle's book, toxic sons and daughters-in-law untangling difficult relationships you can order the book from us email@example.com or you can receive a copy of the book when you make a donation to help support the mission of family life to the date help us effectively develop godly marriages and families that change the world one home at a time. Your financial support extends the reach of this ministry, you make it possible for us to reach more people more often. In fact, when you donate that there are hundreds of thousands of people every day who benefit from the practical biblical help and hope they receive from this radio program from this podcast so thank you in advance for whatever you're able to do and be sure to ask for your copy of Doyle Roth's book, toxic sons and daughters in law as our thank you gift in exchange for your donation. Donate firstname.lastname@example.org or donate by calling one 803 586-329-1800 F as in family L as in life, and then the word today. Another quick note want to remind you we got an event coming up next month that many of you are to be interested in. It's a virtual event. It's our 2021 blended and blessed event for couples who are in blended families are stepfamilies, this is set for April 24 and you can get more information about how you can view this in your home or in your church go to family life to.com for more information.
It's a one-day event on a Saturday, April 24 starts at 830 in the morning central time and wraps up about 330 in the afternoon again. Get more information. When you go to our website. Family life to.com. There's a link there. If you're in a blended family or if your church has a lot of blended families in it. Consider hosting this event as a help to couples who are facing challenges in the dynamic of their blended family again.
More information email@example.com tomorrow morning to continue our conversation with Doyle Roth about how we deal with disruptive sons or daughters in law when they come into a family and did fractures things what we do continue that conversation tomorrow. Hope you can join us think our engineer today. Keith Lynch got some help from Bruce got this week also think our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our hosts Dave and Ann Wilson unpopular pain. See you back next time for another edition of family life family like to use a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas. Accrue ministry help for today hope for tomorrow