Real FamilyLife®

Dave and Ann Wilson

The Vacuum Cleaner

August 18, 2017

I learned many wonderful things from my parents, but one of the very  best was to enjoy laughter.  My mom and dad used to make me laugh so hard, tears would literally stream down from my eyes.  Practical jokes, good-natured teasing, and spontaneous fun were all a part of our home.

My dad, whose name was Ward, had a rumbling laugh, and my mom had a finely tuned sense of humor, that she had up until her death at the age of 90. 

I recall one Christmas, when my mom gave herself a new vacuum cleaner.  Under the tree was a huge wrapped present with a tag that read, "To my dear wife, from Ward."  Well, that was one of many Christmas mornings when laughter filled the air.

One final thought.  When's the last time you made your family laugh?  Take some time and think about a way you can brighten their spirits.  They may never forget it.

I'm Dennis Rainey, and that's Real FamilyLife.

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If you've ever sewn a dress (or attempted to sew one), you know how a pattern works.  There are many pieces, both large and small, none of which resembles the finished product.  I'm told that every pattern has pairs of parts: two sleeves, two bodice pieces, a front and back skirt.  Well, your marriage is similar.  God has designed a master pattern for husbands and wives.  When we follow it, we'll create a whole, usable, beautiful, purposeful marriage. One final thought.  In the same way a dress can be made various sizes and colors with numerous differences in detail from one pattern, so my marriage may look different from yours.  The key is for us to follow God's plan, to know our part, and to work to fit in with what He wants to do in our lives. I'm Dennis Rainey, and that's Real FamilyLife.
August 17, 2017
Well, I wish my wife, Barbara, were here to do this instead of me, but let me give you some tips that she shares with wives on how to become a "dynamite" wife: 1) Be a helper to your husband.  He needs you.  I promise you, he really does.  He is incomplete without you. 2) Love and respect your husband.  Accept him unconditionally.  And, yes, love him sexually, too.  3) Submit to his leadership.  As you voluntarily submit to your husband, you are completing him.  You're helping him fulfill his responsibilities, and you're helping him become the leader God intended him to be.  There.  I said it. One final thought.  God's plan for you as a wife doesn't restrict your creativity in expressing who you are.  I believe if you trust Him, the finished product will be a life that reflects the full beauty that the Creator intended. I'm Dennis Rainey, and that's Real FamilyLife.
August 16, 2017
There's no doubt: Spanking is becoming a cultural no-no.  Many people equate any type of physical discipline with abuse.   I may be in the minority when I say it, but I don't believe that's necessarily true.  All discipline (not just spanking) is a measured amount of pain administered to the child in love, for the purpose of showing him or her the error of their ways.  Parents need to have lots of tools in their discipline tool box.  And spanking certainly ought to be one of them.  The Bible explains that the rod of correction drives the foolishness out of your child.  "And if you don't use it," God says, "then you hate your child."  Pretty strong words, aren't they? One final thought.  The difference between spanking and abuse lies in why you spank.  Venting your anger on your child is both abusive and wrong.  But carefully administering some physical pain for the purpose of training your child is true love. I'm Dennis Rainey, and that's Real FamilyLife.
August 15, 2017
My wife Barbara is good at many things.  I try to praise her for the wonderful abilities and traits she has.  I can never express too much appreciation for her, but I don't mind trying. You know, in marriage, we really ought to be more like a mirror that reflects the talents and gifts that our spouses have.  If our husband or wife does a great job in a certain area, you should tell them so.  It's amazing how much life is given to a marriage, when you and I  focus on the positive things our spouse does.  The writer of the Proverbs had it right when he said, "How delightful is a timely word."  One final thought.  I want to encourage you to take five minutes tonight, and list on a 3 by 5 card a couple of strengths you see in your spouse.  Then, tonight, at the dinner table, share your observations.  I promise you, it will encourage your husband or wife more than you realize. I'm Dennis Rainey, and that's Real Family Life.
August 14, 2017
Collecting can be a fun hobby.  In 1950, Francis Johnson, a farmer in Minnesota, started a unique collection.  He decided to make the biggest ball of twine in the world.  He worked on this project four hours a day, every day for twenty-nine years.  When he was finished, his ball weighed 8.7 tons. Johnson's twisted monument is still proudly displayed in Darwin, MN.  And in case you wondered, residents there will celebrate their annual "Twine Ball Days" tomorrow. But you know what?  That ball of twine won't last forever.  There's nothing wrong with having hobbies or maintaining collections, but I hope your greatest energy is being spent on the things of eternal value. One final thought.   I Timothy 6:18 tells us to "be rich in good works."  Consider what kind of good works you could start collecting today. I'm Dennis Rainey, and that's Real FamilyLife.
August 11, 2017
It is important for Moms and Dads to teach their children manners, and to be unified as they do it.  But there's something also to be said for occasionally doing something goofy at the dinner table.  One evening in our home, we threw marshmallows at one another and laughed so hard we had tears streaming down our faces.  Laughter needs to be a welcome member in our homes.  Martin Luther once said, "If the earth is fit for laughter then surely heaven is filled with it.  Heaven is the birthplace of laughter."  As moms and dads, we shouldn't get too busy to have fun, or become so goal - oriented that we think members of our family are simply "in the way."  One final thought.  What can you do tonight to let the laughter bounce off the walls?  What would your children do if you let a marshmallow fly or squeezed mashed potatoes between your teeth? I'm Dennis Rainey, and that's Real FamilyLife.
August 10, 2017
That IS a tough situation.  C.T. Studd was a missionary in Africa.  He faced a tough situation as well.  His family had run out of food.  They were facing starvation.  They had a night of prayer, pleading for help.  The next day they received a substantial check from a man they had never heard of.  In the note he said simply that God had told him to send the money. Does God always respond to our requests as dramatically as that?  No.  But what He does respond to is humility that expresses utter dependence on Him.  I've observed one of God's most prized prayers is one that cries out to Him in total desperation. One final thought.  If you find yourself in a hopeless situation,  express your needs to God in prayer.  Confess your helplessness in dealing with them and your total trust in God's power to bring you help. I'm Dennis Rainey, and that's Real Family Life.
August 8, 2017
Every parent has a special opportunity to pass on the truths of God's Word to the next generation.  When we try to navigate life without following Biblical instructions, it reminds me of a time I visited a building that was being remodeled. I asked a custodian for directions, and he pointed across a mass of construction debris to a hallway.  With a confused look, he said, "That's where you need to go.  But you can't get there from here." If you aren't seeking God through his Word, life will be as confusing and muddled as trying to negotiate through that construction debris.  We simply won't know how to get there from here. One final thought.  Why don't you take some time tonight, pull your family close, and read from the scriptures together.  Make it a daily habit.  God will show you how to get from where you are, to where you need to be. I'm Dennis Rainey, and that's Real FamilyLife.
August 7, 2017
A magazine editor named Gilbert Beers, once wrote about one of his ancestors and the legacy she left.  She was captured by a tribe of Indians in 1663, and was about to be burned at the stake, when she began to sing hymns to God.  Her husband heard her singing, was able to find her in the middle of the forrest and rescue her.  Had she not sung in the face of death, Gilbert's family would have never existed. That story illustrates a profound truth:  By honoring your parents and ancestors for their positive contributions in your life, you highlight the legacy of their lives.  In doing so, you pass on to succeeding generations stories of lessons learned and wisdom gathered.  One final thought.  How you relate to your parents and speak about them today, can demonstrate for your children a powerful statement of love.  It also allows the wisdom of one generation to pass to the next. I'm Dennis Rainey, and that's Real Family Life.
August 4, 2017
Yeah, that's a great song.  The Bible is full of stories of God blessing people who trusted and obeyed His commandments.  The eleventh chapter of Hebrews reminds us of heroes like Noah, Abraham, and Moses.  They stand as examples of people who were blessed because of their faithful obedience. The formula of "trust and obey" works in families too.  When a man and a woman are married in a holy, lifelong commitment to God, they receive His blessing.  Does this mean that that marriage will never have problems?  Of course not.  Your family and mine will take hits.  But our setbacks are temporary when we do things God's way. One final thought.  As you read and study the Bible, determine if you and your family are trusting God, and obeying His commands.  If you're not, it's time to begin to trust and obey. I'm Dennis Rainey, and that's Real Family Life.
August 3, 2017
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There are 8,760 hours in a year. You’ll spend roughly 2,080 of those hours at work. On average, almost 900 hours swiping on social media. How much family time are you getting in? 

About Real FamilyLife®

Real FamilyLife® is conversational in nature and provides practical, biblical tools to address the issues affecting your family. You'll receive motivation, encouragement, and help.

About Dave and Ann Wilson

Dave and Ann Wilson are co-hosts of FamilyLife Today©, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program.

Dave and Ann have been married for more than 40 years and have spent the last 35 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® since 1993, and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country.

Dave and Ann helped plant Kensington Community Church in Detroit, Michigan where they served together in ministry for more than three decades, wrapping up their time at Kensington in 2020.

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 books Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019) and No Perfect Parents (Zondervan, 2021).

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 thirty-three years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active with Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small group leader, and mentor to countless women.

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.

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