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FamilyMarriageParentingSpiritual Life View All

MFP 262: Men, Women, and Marriage

“You are called to have great hearts here, counter-cultural and brave.  You can build something better, freer, more generous, and nobler, beginning in your own home.” – Bishop Thomas Olmstead, Complete My Joy 59

Man and woman coming together to build a home is a natural experience that has happened over and over again since the creation of the world, but we need to keep learning about what marriage is for and how to nourish this essential communion.  In this interview with Mike and Sharon Phelan we discuss how marriage can be transformational in the lives of men and women and a path to the true flourishing of the individual.  The problems are coming from a culture that is lying to us and pointing us in all different directions.  We discuss the concept of “submission” and “headship” as well as NFP – the good, the bad and the ugly.  Join in this conversation and find wisdom from this Catholic couple.  

Key Takeaways:

  • Marriage is like ballroom dancing – without a leader, there is no dance.

  • Men need a mission!  And that mission should be to enable their wives to be a mother who is strong, beautiful and free. 

  • NFP unpacks the mystery of a woman’s body to her husband (and sometimes to herself!)

  • Following the Church’s teaching on marital sexuality changes us! Even if we don’t fully understand or agree, acting in a virtuous way promotes virtue.   

Couple Discussion:

  • How is does our marriage “dance” look right now?  How can we do this better? 

  • Are we in “awe” of our ability to bring children into the world?  How does this effect our marital relations? 

  • How can we learn more about the Church’s teaching on marriage and family? 



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Listen Here 57 MINUTE LISTEN

MFP 261: When Should Teens Date? Lessons Learned

“An important element in forming Christian maturity in teens is creating a ‘Yes’ culture in the home, where a child can take risks, try new things, and find out more about who they are all while under your guidance.” – Mike and Alicia

With the advent of the sexual revolution in the 60s and 70s and the subsequent increase in teen sexual activity, the response of the Christian community in the 80s and 90s was to make dating among conservative Christian teens verboten.  Among many good Catholic families, there is still a wide range of opinions on when kids should start dating, even among other families that we really respect.  We have allowed our older teens to date and in this podcast we explain why.  Like most of what we do, we have not guided our kids perfectly every time, but we have done it intentionally and we have learned some things over the years that we can share with you.  Listen in to this podcast on mentoring kids during this essential time of development.  

Key Takeaways:

  • Not all dating is the same – there are different levels.

  • We need to prepare our children for healthy relationships and this includes giving them dating guidance.  How you do that is up to you, but it needs to be done. 

  • Create a YES culture in your home.  Freedom and responsibility go together

  • Casual dating is for teens, serious dating is when you are ready for marriage – in college and beyond.  Don’t confuse them. 

Couple Discussion:

  • Have we created a yes culture in our home? 

  • What was our dating experience like? What would we like our children to imitate from our experience?  Avoid? 

  • What are our “rules for dating” for our children?

References to be included in summary: 


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Listen Here 64 MINUTE LISTEN

MFP 260: Dare To Surrender – from Addiction to Freedom

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world” – CS Lewis

Life can be hard.  Sometimes, in response to difficulties, instead of turning to the Lord in our pain, we self-medicate which can lead to addictions of one kind or another which only leads to more pain in the long run.  In this podcast, we hear the story of Ched and Nanette Salasek, Catholic parents of six children who have a story that every couple needs to hear.  Even if you haven’t struggled with addiction, you can learn from the lessons that they share about the healing grace of the sacrament of marriage, the role of the Blessed Mother in their family, and surrendering everything to the Lord.  Listen in to this inspiring and hopeful conversation.  

Key Takeaways:

  • The only path to freedom is through individual surrender.  No one can do it for us.  

  • The role of a spouse in helping an addict is one of support and prayer and constant surrender. 

  • God doesn’t want just our external actions – He wants our hearts! 

Couple Discussion:

  • Are there areas of our life that we have not surrendered to God?  

  • Do we have addictions in our life that are ruling us?  Are there areas that are out of control? 

  • How has God used our failings to draw us closer to Himself? 

References to be included in summary: 

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Listen Here 59 MINUTE LISTEN

MFP 259: Handling Parenting Crises Like a Pro

“With careful planning, honest communication, and the right help and care around you, your different tomorrow can be meaningful and extraordinary.”― John Delony

Let’s be honest, family life is full of stress! Sometimes there are big stresses like the loss of a job, a new colicky baby in the house, overwhelming responsibilities, or marriage issues. But even the little stresses can add up! Moody teens, worries over a child’s academic performance, or even a messy house can lead parents to feel like “I just can’t take it.” What is a parent to do?  In this episode we take an honest look at anxiety in parenting and help parents to put it all in perspective.  The bottom line is, the longer we do this family thing, the more we realize that the problems never go away, but we simply see them differently now than we did before.  Listen in as we share our perspective to give every parent encouragement and hope for your future as we learn to put it all in God’s hands.


Key Takeaways:

  • Take back your life

  • Don’t get trapped in the weeds – lift your head up! 

  • Do the little things well – Atomic Habits

  • Every Yes needs to be protected by 1,000 No’s.  Prioritize your life

Couple Discussion:

  • When have I recently felt stressed? Has it become overwhelming?

  • Where do I need perspective and help from my spouse?

  • What are essential elements for our simple life plan to bring order?


  • FBM download –

  • Survey –

  • John Delony book –

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Listen Here 50 MINUTE LISTEN

MFP 258: Seven Ways to Get More Out of Your Marriage

“The point is that neuroses don’t have to ruin a marriage. If you can accommodate each other’s “crazy” side and handle it with caring, affection, and respect, your marriage can thrive.” ― John M. Gottman

Many people are good at functioning in their marriage, getting along, caring for kids, paying the bills… but are they really thriving?  How can we get more out of the most important relationship we have – the one we have with our spouse? In this podcast, we look at the book, Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman, and explain how to use these ideas to make your marriage grow.  Though the expression of these ideas are new to us, the truth contained in them is not. We have found that we have done many of these things in our marriage over the years!  Listen in for some great relationship advice for anyone who wants to move from a marriage that is surviving to thriving.  

Key Takeaways:

  • Review 7 principles

Couple Discussion:

  • How can we Honor each other 

  • Start a Gratitude challenge 

  • When is our Daily connection and weekly date night

  • Do the Family Board Meeting

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Listen Here 70 MINUTE LISTEN

MFP 257: How to Change Your Heart – Lessons from the Sacred Heart of Jesus

“Behold the Heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming Itself, in order to testify Its love” – Jesus to St. Margaret Mary

How can we love like Jesus?  What is His love like?  Answering these questions is the role of devotions in the Catholic world.  They help us learn more about God and how He relates to us.  The Sacred Heart of Jesus teaches us to love as God loves and this is a lesson that all families need to embrace fully.  In this podcast, we interview Emily Jaminet of the Sacred Heart Enthronement network and author of the new book Holy Habits of the Sacred Heart.  Our conversation explains how both of our families have been impacted by this devotion and how it has given us a way to proclaim Christ as King, and also to have a place to go as a safe refuge in times of trial.  As we pray to the Heart of Jesus, He can change our hearts to make us more like Himself!  When we learn about how He loves, we can imitate that love which is a path of holiness itself.  Learn more about this devotion, what the Nine First Fridays are, how Jesus blesses families with the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart and why the Enthronement is a means of evangelization and transformation.  

Key Takeaways:

  • This devotion gives “spiritual stability”, focus, and a way to understand the love of Jesus in a concrete, defined way.  It prevents us from making Jesus into our own image, but instead reveals to us how He truly loves.

  • Jesus wants a relationship of love with each one of us and He wants to transform our hearts to be like His.  A great way to reconcile with children or those with whom we have conflict is to say, “I am allowing Jesus to change my heart”.

  • Forgiveness means that we are coming up against “cancel culture” which says that once someone does something wrong they are cut out of one’s life.  By following the Heart of Jesus we learn practice forgiveness in our home and communities.

  • The devotion of Nine First Fridays and the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in the home give families concrete ways to understand and come closer to the Heart of Jesus.

Couple Discussion:

  • How can we increase our devotion to the Sacred Heart? 

  • Emily mentioned that giving up control and trusting in Jesus is a first step to being docile to Jesus.  What does that mean to us? 

  • How can we practice forgiveness in our home?  Is there anyone in our lives that we need to forgive? 

Reference Links: 

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Listen Here 45 MINUTE LISTEN

MFP 256: Growing Your Family Culture – Questions Answered

We need to take a sacramental view of ordinary life – Mike and Alicia Hernon

We often say that family culture is the secret weapon of Catholic families.  Why is this?  Because the culture within your home is more powerful than any written word.  It communicates expectations, beliefs, and values to everyone in the family.  In this podcast, we tackle some questions that listeners have sent into us about the culture within their homes. We answer questions like “what do I do about kids always fighting?”, “how do I take care of individual kids in a big family?”, “how do we handle birthdays?”, and “Help! I feel like I’m drowning!” (which isn’t exactly a question, but it is a common email we get!).  In all of these situations, the issue comes back again and again to the culture you are fostering within your home.  When you see all that you do in light of that, all the other issues will fall into place.  Listen in and learn about this powerful tool that every parent should develop.  

Listener Survey:

Key Takeaways:

  • The culture within your home trains your children on how to wait, how to take turns, and how to play together. 
  • If community is a value to your and your spouse, you need to find a way to make it work for both of you. 
  • Part of your family culture is how you celebrate birthdays, significant days for your child, and holidays.  Find what works for your family and use that ritual to communicate to your children how important they are to you. 
  • When you have a child who is hard to love, the first question to ask is “What is it in ME that is making it hard to love this child?  How do I need to change?”
  • When you are drowning, get scuba certified.  Yes, having children who are all very young is a challenging time, but you can learn some incredible lessons through this time if you embrace it and receive God’s grace through it all.  You will be stronger in the end! 

Couple Discussion:

  • What is our family culture communicating to our individual children? 
  • How are we communicating about the commitments we are making outside of our family? 
  • Do we have our priorities right?  Are we putting in place our identity first as a daughter or son of God, then as a husband or wife, and then as a mom or dad, and last everything else?  How can we live this out more effectively? 

References : 

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Listen Here 74 MINUTE LISTEN

MFP 255: The Best Partner for a Great Marriage

Christ is present in a special way when a couple prays together.  They not only renew their yes to God, but also achieve a deeper union with each other, which springs solely from the union of hearts and couples in the sacrament of marriage. – Fr. Henri Caffarel

How can couples move their marriage from surviving to thriving, or from good to great? By making couple prayer a normal part of our marriage. Christian marriage is a supernatural endeavor, so that means that it is really not possible to have a successful marriage without Jesus!  Prayer between spouses isn’t just something you do, it is a gift from the two of you to Christ Himself.  It is acknowledging that Christ is the “glue” that keeps you together.   In this podcast we talk about how to incorporate prayer into your marriage, why it is so important, and how prayer can help you forge a deeper unity than you have ever had before.  Much of this conversation is discussing the writings of Fr. Henri Caffarel, founder of Teams of Our Lady.

Listener Survey:

Key Takeaways:

  • Meditate on John 17:20-22
  • This is how you will build real unity in your marriage
  • Don’t let difficulties stop you – your marriage needs this!
  • Find your own way of praying but be sure to include the key elements of Praise, Forgiveness, Intercession, and Thanksgiving

Couple Discussion:

  • What is holding us back from prayer?
  • What is a time and place that we can pray together at least once a week?
  • Let’s make a plan. How do we feel comfortable bringing in the Key Elements of prayer?


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Listen Here 51 MINUTE LISTEN

MFP 254: Journeying with Your Spouse – an interview with David & Margaret Bereit

The indissolubility of marriage…should not be viewed as a ‘yoke’ imposed on humanity, but as a ‘gift’ granted to those who are joined in marriage…  God’s indulgent love always accompanies our human journey; through grace, it heals and transforms hardened hearts, leading them back to the beginning through the way of the cross. – Pope Francis

The marriage sacrament is meant to heal and transform us into who God wants us to be!  But sometimes that journey is not what we would expect.  In this interview, David and Margaret Bereit share their story of marriage and David’s conversion – the two are completely intertwined!  Listen in as we talk about how they walked together in freedom though they were in different places, how they loved each other and their children in the midst of their different faiths, and how David came to join the Church and what that meant for them both.  There is some great advice in this interview for those in mixed marriages and for anyone who wants to know how to deeply love friends and family who are in a different place than yourself. 

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Listen Here 65 MINUTE LISTEN

MFP 253: Mentoring Mothers – Mom of Ten Tells All!

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. – Proverbs 31:30

Back by popular demand, this is another interview that we did with Michele Doman, Alicia’s mom and mother of 10 grown children, grandmother to over 55, and great grandmother to more than 7!  In the last interview, we talked about Michele’s life as a young wife and mother.  In this conversation, we talk more about being a parent of a large family and how she was able to do that successfully over the last 50+ years of marriage.  Listen in and get some wisdom on discipline, relationships with teens, and managing a large household.   You will hear that the struggles are real, but so are the joys and blessings of marriage and family life.  

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Listen Here 42 MINUTE LISTEN