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Can I Laugh On Your Shoulder?

Jun 3, 2020

When people ask me where I want to be when I’m 80-years-old, one of the first answers I always give is something to the effect of, “Holding hands and still madly in love with my husband, John.” I am so passionate about marriage and the amazing gift that it is. Today’s episode is for both married and single people. There really is something for everyone in this episode. I understand that marriage can be a sensitive topic for some who’ve maybe been divorced, in harmful marriages, grew up as a child of divorced parents, or maybe you long to be married. I want you to know that you are loved, and I hope this episode is encouraging to you. My guest today has spent the majority of his life using his ministry to bless and encourage couples and families. Dr. Randy Schroder is a licensed marriage therapist, pastor, and retired professor of pastoral counseling who has a lifetime of expertise in marriage both professionally and personally. For three decades he has helped well over 1,000 couples establish the simple habits that are essential for developing a fulfilling and gratifying marriage. I actually just finished reading Dr. Schroder’s book, Simple Habits for Marital Happiness. We had such a great conversation and I hope you enjoy this episode and are blessed by it!

7:58 - The Randy 101

  • Randy and his wife have been married for 45 years. They have two married sons and six grandchildren. Randy has helped individuals, couples, and marriage have satisfying lives with over 60,000 hours of counseling. Randy plans on continuing helping people until he’s 90!
  • Randy’s wife encouraged him to write a book to give couples skills and tools to work on their marriages together. His book is called Simple Habits for Marital Happiness
  • His counseling practiced opened in 1990, and as he helped more and more people, he also started to learn from couples what skills, behaviors, words and tools make for a happy marriage.
  • The divorce rate is roughly 50% and Randy says that of couples who are married, about 70% are not happy. Randy was discouraged by those odds and that was another reason he decided to write a book to give couples the simple knowledge needed to work on marriage.

14:28 – Intentionality

  • Intention is the first step to healthy, happy relationship. A lot of couples don’t recognize the importance of never taking your spouse or your marriage for granted. The number one goal is to overcome complacency.
  • Motivation alone is not sufficient; couples have to be equipped with knowledge. This means understanding how to communicate, apologize, forgive, manage finances, staying in love after the honeymoon, guarding your relationship, disagreeing, and more.
  • You can’t change your spouse, but you can change how you react and handle situations. It’s impossible to change someone else but continuing to grow and adapt together will lead to more understanding.
  • It’s important to work on your marriage as a couple, but it’s equally important that each individual in the marriage continues to work on their own growth as well. Complacency is the biggest threat to any marriage.
  • It’s ok to communicate with your spouse about what you need! If it’s comfort you seek from your spouse, figure out for yourself how you want to be comforted, and then ask for that directly from your partner.

26:22 – Grieving Together, Differently

  • It’s important to talk about times when you’re grieving and how to communicate that and walk through it together, even when it may be happening in different ways.
  • Expectations affect everything in a marriage. Making our expectations known clearly and directly can bond couples together in powerful ways.
  • Your spouse cannot read your mind, but it’s a very common expectation that people have of their spouses!

30:27 – The Success Stories

  • In his former work as a pastor and now a counselor, Randy’s greatest joy is hearing the success stories of the people he’s helped. There have been couples on the brink of divorce who come back and work to find a happy marriage after being equipped with knowledge.
  • Simple Habits for Marital Happiness helps people have direction on how to have a satisfying relationship. If someone asks you to drive without your GPS or without a map, you may get there but it may take weeks or months for you to get there because you don’t know where you’re going.
  • It’s not hard to give up when you’re frustrated instead of equipped. Specific skills are needed for all areas of marriage, and for that matter, all areas of dealing with life in general.
  • Many couples will come to see Randy before there is trouble because they want to be equipped so that down the road, their marriage is stronger and ready to handle anything they might go through in the future of the relationship.

38:24 – Struggle During the Coronavirus

  • The number of people filing for divorce has gone up over the past few months since the start of stay-at-home ordinances around the country. Couples can focus on improving their relationship by 1% per week, work on having healthy disagreements.
  • Randy says to go slow and to do things in the home now to help. Lighten the mood by watching comedy at home together, schedule phone counseling sessions, and alternate doing fun activities like games, going for walks together, and having an at-home date nights.
  • John and I had a putt putt date night where John set up a course in our house with a frisbee as the putting hole and obstacles just like a real putt putt course!

43:00 – We Need to Talk 

  • Conflict and difficult discussions are never fun or easy. Randy reminds us not to approach the start to a conversation “We need to talk”, but instead with “I need your help.” This humbles the other person and eases the tension and wall that goes up with “We need to talk.”
  • It’s important for every couple to realize that happy marriages have disagreements, what they don’t have are arguments, fights, and conflicts. We don’t want to go to war in our marriages, but we do want to respect each other’s differing opinion and find a solution to that differing opinion.
  • Randy has “terrific twos” that help save marriages. When you stay inside the “9s”, you have healthy discussions after 9:00 in the morning, or before 9:00 at night. We need to have energy to find the solution to differing opinions. The second “terrific two” is to always sit down when you talk. Standing is an intimidating posture, and it’s easier to escalate into yelling when you’re standing. 

52:57 - Getting to Know Our Guest

  • Find out what Randy is learning about himself and his marriage during Covid-19, what his ideal date night with his wife would be, and after 45 years of marriage, what his favorite thing is about marriage, and which of his pet peeves in the strangest. Stay tuned to hear what is means to Randy to run a business with purpose.

Memorable Quotes:

Everyone wants a happy marriage. No marriage is going to be happy 100% of the time, but the goal is to have a consistently happy marriage.

It’s important for every couple to realize that happy marriages have disagreements, what they don’t have are arguments, fights, and conflicts. We don’t want to go to war in our marriages, but we do want to respect each other’s differing opinion and find a solution to that differing opinion.



Dr. Randy Schroeder was born and raised in Austin, Texas.  He earned a Bachelor of Science from Concordia University Chicago, and received a Master’s of Education in Administration from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.  He also earned a Master of Divinity from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana and holds a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy from The Chicago Theological Seminary. 

For the first eight years of his professional career, he was a Lutheran high school teacher, an assistant principal, athletic director, and varsity football and basketball coach winning two conference football championships. After eight successful years as an educator, he felt called to serve the Lord as a Pastor and left teaching to prepare for the pastoral ministry at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne. 

After graduating in 1986, the seminary administration asked him to become a Professor of Pastoral Counseling, Vice President of Student Personnel Services, and Dean of Students.  As a Professor of Pastoral Counseling, it was an absolute joy for Dr. Schroeder to teach pastors how to counsel individuals, marriages, and families in their future churches. For 25 years he taught a number of classes in marriage counseling, premarital counseling, family counseling, crisis counseling, and general pastoral care classes. 

In 2010, he retired as Professor of Pastoral Counseling at Concordia Theological Seminary. After being an educator for 33 years, he strongly desired to serve God and others as a full-time Christian counselor in order to help individuals, marriages, and families with the practical Simple Habits that can make a profound difference in relationships and achieving a rewarding life.

Dr. Schroeder has committed his life to encouraging and motivating others to have fulfilling lives and healthy relationships.  He firmly believes that an absence of knowledge, not a lack of desire, is what holds people back from accomplishing their personal and relationship goals.  He is fervently devoted to sharing with others the practical wisdom and Simple Habits that produce meaningful relationships. 

He is a marriage expert, parenting specialist, pastor, speaker, author, and retired professor.  Dr. Schroeder has spoken to numerous church groups, conferences, and businesses, providing practical tips and inspiration on marriage, parenting, and various life challenges. 

He wrote a FAMILY COUNSELOR column for the Lutheran Witness magazine for 15 years; spoke to the Indiana Section of The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists on the Simple Habits for Marital Happiness; addressed thousands of couples on how to have a happy marriage; and made presentations to thousands of parents providing skills and tools for effective parenting.

Dr. Schroeder continues to write, speak, and have a successful counseling practice because he is passionate about helping individuals, couples, and families enjoy satisfying personal lives and rewarding relationships. He is a well-known relationship speaker and very popular presenter on the topic of marriage, parenting, communication, and more.  Audiences enjoy his influential style of encouraging and guiding individuals, couples, and parents to have a fulfilling life.  He still has numerous life goals, including two future books, Simple Habits for Effective Parenting and Simple Habits for a Satisfying Life

Dr. Schroeder and his wife, Ginny, have been happily married for forty-five years and have two married sons, along with six grandchildren.  Randy and Ginny love nurturing their grandchildren and moved from Fort Wayne to the Indianapolis area to accomplish that goal.  Traveling is something they really enjoy because they like meeting new people and experiencing different cultures.