Joe and Tara Buchanan: Moving Past Your Past

Our past, our upbringing, and our experiences in life don’t stay in the past. They are carried into our marriages and affect how we operate in our relationships. This is a topic that we cover a lot in our book No More Perfect Marriages and in our coaching with other couples. The good news is that you are not powerless to stay stuck in the past! You can move beyond it and experience true intimacy in your marriage and relationships.

In this Dive Deep Interview we are joined by our friends, Joe & Tara Buchanan. Joe is the station manager at our Central Illinois radio station, WCIC. Together Joe and Tara are the hosts of the Behind Our Smiles podcast, in which they talk openly about their marriage journey and how their past has affected their marriage.

Talk About It

Tell me about a time in your childhood when you were hurting, disappointed, or grieving and share how your pain was handled.

Trauma in childhood can include parental divorce, neglect, abuse, death of a sibling, having an angry parent you couldn’t please, having an alcoholic parent or a parent who has so many of their own issues they are unavailable to nurture and lead their child. Understanding that, is there any trauma in your childhood?

Think About It

Trauma in childhood can include parental divorce, neglect, abuse, death of a sibling, having an angry parent you couldn’t please, having an alcoholic parent or a parent who has so many of their own issues they are unavailable to nurture and lead their child. Understanding that, is there any trauma in my childhood?

Is there anything in your past that might still be affecting your thinking, your fears, or your responses? Is there still work to be done? Should I consider working through any of those with a coach or a counselor?

Notes and Quotes

“I was pushing my anxiety and my fear on my wife.” Joe Buchanan

“There’s layer after layer after layer in the healing process.” Joe Buchanan

“I had to come to a place where I realized I wasn’t strong enough on my own. I needed God.” Joe Buchanan


Dino and Ashley Petrone: Intentionality in Marriage

A strong marriage and family doesn’t “just happen. It is created. In this Dive Deep Interview, Jill has a conversation about intentionality with Instagram influencers Dino and Ashley Petrone. Their book Designed to Last equates designing a marriage relationship the same way you would design a room in your home. This conversation is about strengthening your faith AND your marriage.

Transcript: Dino-and-Ashley-Petrone-Transcript.docx

Talk about it:

What is one takeaway or personal challenge you have from this teaching?

Is there some area of life you’d like for us to be more disciplined in as a couple?  What’s a next step we could take to start that rolling?

How do we do finding joy in the “in between?”

Talk about what activity you personally enjoy doing together.

Think about it:

Dino and Ashley talked about a disciplined life determining your success in growing your relationship with the Lord. Where do I need to be more disciplined?

Is God my first priority?

Dino and Ashley emphasized creating healthy habits in your marriage. What personal habits would be good for me to establish within my marriage?

How do I do at finding joy in the “in-between?”

Notes and Quotes

Zig Zigler says this. “If you aim for nothing, you will hit it every time.”

Instagram: @arrowsandbow

Designed to Last: Our Journey of Building an Intentional Home, Growing in Faith, and Finding Joy in the In-Between book

Living With Less So Your Family Has More: Redefining Your Priorities To Put Your Family First book 


Why Pursuing God Needs to Be First with Brad and Lisa Valencia

What does it look like to pursue God first in our marriage? What does that look like lived out? This conversation with marriage experts Brad and Lisa Valencia explores how the unrelenting pursuit of God first in our marriage, makes all the difference in the world!



Talk about it:

What is one takeaway or personal challenge you have from this teaching?

What are your thoughts, both positive and negative, about putting God first in your marriage?

What are your emotions, both positive and negative, about putting God first in your marriage?

What is one area of your life where you know you need to put God first?


Think about it:

What is one area of my life where I know I need to move myself aside and put God first?

What do I need to surrender in my life?

Is there anything I need to forgive myself for?


Notes and Quotes

“I had to be all in with Jesus. He is my strength.” Brad Valencia

The establishment of guardrails protect our marriage.

My personal and individual work and growth with Jesus are as important to our growth as a couple.

I have to get my vertical relationship right before I can get my marriage right.

Check out Brad and Lisa on Instagram @unrelentingpursuit_

Communication in Marriage with Patti Reed

Have you ever heard of a conversational intelligence coach? Well there is such a thing and this Dive Deep Interview is an interview with Patti Reed who is a conversational intelligence coach! Patti has so much wisdom that helps us have better conversations in marriage!



Talk about it:

One takeaway for me from this conversations was __________________________________.
As I listened I felt this way _____________________________.
I can see how our marriage would be strengthened if we _______________________________.

Think about it:

Do I communicate in a way that builds trust or undermines trust?
Do I tell, yell or sell when I need to ask, listen, or respond?

Notes and Quotes

We are often unaware of our harsh or hurtful communication. Words can trigger pain! Tone matters and can trigger listening or shutting down!

Do-overs are a way to redeliver our communication in a healthy way.

Our differences play so strongly into our perspectives.

Our tendency is in marital communication is to tell, yell and sell. It is best to learn to ask, listen and respond.

A powerful life-changing phrase regarding communication is “tell me more about that!”

We have to slow down…in our thinking…our responding…and learn to reflect what we are hearing, for the purpose of understanding our spouse’s heart.

Galatians 5:22-23 ESV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…

Philippians 4:8 ESV  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Say This and Not That:
Not This: I can’t believe you can’t figure this out!
Say This: Let’s talk about creative ways to solve this problem.

Not This: Well, that wasn’t good enough!
Say this: I don’t have all of the answers and I’d really like to have your perspective on this.

Not This: What in the world are you thinking?
Say This: Would you be willing to share your thoughts? I’d love to hear and to know what you are thinking.

Face to Face “PALS”:
P-Prep the conversation
A-Ask open-ended questions, for more, etc.
L-Listen to understand to connect
S-Support You don’t have to agree, but how can you support?



The-Power-of-Our-Words-PDF.pdf What-God-Says-About-Listening-PDF.pdf

Safe Conversations Video

Patti’s book:



Spouse in the House–Navigating Togetherness with Cynthia Ruchti

Do you and your spouse spend a lot of time in the same space? Maybe it’s due to working from home, maybe because you own a business together, or maybe you’re retired and learning how to navigate a new level of togetherness. In this Dive Deep Interview Mark and Jill talk with Cynthia Ruchti, author of Spouse in the House about rearranging our attitudes to make room for one another. This interview is chock full of practical advice on how to deal with the challenges of being a human being living close with another human being!


Talk About It

Role adjustments: How are we doing working together to accomplish what is needed at home? Is there a better way we can work together to accomplish what is needed at home? How can we divide house chores now that our time is different?

What is your morning routine? What’s important to you in the morning?

Could we calendar and establish a weekly time to discuss calendars?

What is your ideal daily routine?

What is your need for personal space?

Help me understand your spiritual plan for personal growth?

I want us to operate as a team: collaborating, working together, and working in sync. What is one thing I can do to improve that?

With us sharing our space now, are there any better ways that we both can identify and respect each other’s needs?

Think About It

How do I need to rearrange my attitude to better love my spouse in our togetherness?
Do I have unrealistic expectations? (If you’re constantly disappointed in your spouse, you DO have unrealistic expectations!)
Am I struggling to ask for what I need? If so, what is hindering me?
How can I join into my spouse’s likes and desires?

Notes and Quotes

You can have bliss or you can have blisters.

We can become sloppy in our relationships and stop being kind, gentle, or generous.

You might need to discuss and actually make room for each other by remodeling and actually adjusting space formations.

“Before we could make changes to our space, God led us to heart change. My husband began using the phrase, “excuse me my love.” These words informed my heart that he loved and respected me.” Cynthia Ruchti

Philippians 2 1-4 (The Message) “If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”

Recommendations (sign up for her newsletter)

My Heart’s at Home by Jill Savage (helping couples understand and have a vision for home)

Other Date Night content related to this topic:
Marriage Meetups with Bill and Pam Farrel
Safe Conversations
Your 8 God Tools

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